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Playtest (A5E) Level Up Playtest Document #11: Wizard

Welcome to the 11th Level Up playtest document. This playtest contains a candidate for the first 10 levels of the game’s wizard class.


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What this is
This is a playtest document. We’d love you to try out the rules presented here, and then answer the follow-up survey in a few days.

What this is not
This is NOT the final game. It’s OK if you don’t like elements of these rules; that’s the purpose of a playtest document. Be sure to participate in the follow-up survey in a few days. All data, positive or negative is useful.

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Your survey responses help form the direction of the game as it goes through the development process.


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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
  • Equipment lists: The Scholar's package includes "10 sheets of parchment" among other things as does the phb scholar's pack but given the lack of use for that parchment in o5e it's bewildering why. Hopefully in a5e it lets them scribe scrolls or something?
  • Having the fluff prestidigitation cantrip known by default on top of the pick three makes a lot of sense. Those fluff cantrips are interesting & add neat flavor, but the opportunity cost is generally too great to justify so a lot of those kinds of cantrips should just pile on relevant classes like that.
  • Signature spells: These are the first big change for wizards & it sounds pretty neat but how useful it is will depend on how the spells rework is I expect. Gaining an extra first level spell prep & slot is pretty useful even with the o5e spells since spells like shield & absorb elements are pretty much always prepped. This should really be worded in a way that makes it so your signature spell is explicitly counted as prepared without consuming a prep slot or explicitly not counted as prepared for purposes of casting it with spell slots to avoid arguments at the table if nothing else because as written both interpretations are supported .
  • Spell study: Almost all of these are really awesome in ways that feel like two wizards will be a little different but arcane objects is iffy in a "I think there was an oversight" way Add identify to spellbook & cast it once without a spell slot & identify two objects instead of 1 when you cast it with a spell slot... seems neat at first glance, but wizards can ritually cast any spell in their spellbook without using a spell slot & identify is a ritual spell. Something is off about this trap option unless there is more to discover with identify in the spells themselves.
  • Wizard's flair. Sorcerer had a bunch of +damage type things linked to damage types & it fit them well. I'm glad to see wizards going in a different but still cool direction with a bunch of short lived single target save or suck type effects that are choose a creature & the ability to swap them as needed on a long rest. I'm looking forward to seeing the new spells even more now :D
  • Presto prestidigitation is really impressive with a lot of cool minor "that feels like a wizard thing" in it but I've gotta wonder the utility of being able to see through a pebble for 1 hour as long as it's within ten feet of you. That distance might as well say that you can see through doors with a big enough gap at the bottom as 10 feet is not really even enough to see down a well pit or similar. The other knack options feel closer to the druid knacks than sorcerer or any other class's knacks so maybe the spell rework makes up for it?
 



tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Might have been interested if not for the vancian magic and the spellbook (but still different from a sorcerer)
1614968550989.png

That's not vancian, it's 5e default. Wizards especially actually lose a lot by going to it from vancian prep each slot where they were able to prep just one of that niche spell just in case without a very high opportunity cost so going back to vancian would be a big bump for them. Even better avoiding the arguments over if one ruins the game or not by having a pick your style between default o5e style & vancian prep each slot with a kkarger pool of slors like adept/berzerkers get a choice on armor
 
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Faolyn

Hero
Of course you drop this when I have to write up some stuff for my game tonight that I've been putting off for two weeks!

(Seriously, though, I shall read this with great interest!)

  • Equipment lists: The Scholar's package includes "10 sheets of parchment" among other things as does the phb scholar's pack but given the lack of use for that parchment in o5e it's bewildering why. Hopefully in a5e it lets them scribe scrolls or something?
The parchment is mostly a fluff thing, I think. If you have the kind of character who likes to take notes or leave notes behind for others to find--that's what the parchment is for. Like, I was in a game where the rogue (I think that was his class) was actually a sage who wrote detailed notes on the monsters we came across and did autopsies on them (or would it be necropsies, if they're not humanoid?). I don't think the parchment is considered high quality enough for real scroll writing.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Of course you drop this when I have to write up some stuff for my game tonight that I've been putting off for two weeks!

(Seriously, though, I shall read this with great interest!)


The parchment is mostly a fluff thing, I think. If you have the kind of character who likes to take notes or leave notes behind for others to find--that's what the parchment is for. Like, I was in a game where the rogue (I think that was his class) was actually a sage who wrote detailed notes on the monsters we came across and did autopsies on them (or would it be necropsies, if they're not humanoid?). I don't think the parchment is considered high quality enough for real scroll writing.
Yea I agree that it's mostly fluff but ten sheets is an absurdly limited amount of fluff where the limitation is probably going to almost immediately stop that kind of player's goals. I called it out more because of how o5e drops the ball with scroll scribing.
 

stadi

Explorer
View attachment 133720
That's not vancian, it's 5e default. Wizards especially actually lose a lot by going to it from vancian prep each slot where they were able to prep just one of that niche spell just in case without a very high opportunity cost so going back to vancian would be a big bump for them. Even better avoiding the arguments over if one ruins the game or not by having a pick your style between default o5e style & vancian prep each slot with a kkarger pool of slors like adept/berzerkers get a choice on armor
By vancian I meant the whole spell slot thing. Having spell slots and needing access to your spellbook is what I dislike in the D&D wizard.
 


Faolyn

Hero
Yea I agree that it's mostly fluff but ten sheets is an absurdly limited amount of fluff where the limitation is probably going to almost immediately stop that kind of player's goals. I called it out more because of how o5e drops the ball with scroll scribing.
Well, paper was expensive back then. Also, it's unlikely that these are letter/A4 size sheets. You can easily that these sheets are newsprint or quatro-sized, making each sheet the equivalent of eight sheets of regular paper. Plus, you can always buy more parchment. Or make your own, with the leatherworker's tools.
 



tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Well, paper was expensive back then. Also, it's unlikely that these are letter/A4 size sheets. You can easily that these sheets are newsprint or quatro-sized, making each sheet the equivalent of eight sheets of regular paper. Plus, you can always buy more parchment. Or make your own, with the leatherworker's tools.
That only applies to some settings though, Of the two settings a5e is written for one uses steam power putting it closer to an age where it wasn't all that expensive as it was when monks were transcribing bibles by hand & the other is a fallen civilization. The parchment is misleading in that depressingly often some newbie asks to make scrolls with it. If it's just to keep some light notes with then replace it with something like a wax tablet/roman diptych or apply some super minor magic to make it have multiple pages in a named item with tons of pages similar to a ton of wuxia/isekai or eberron's dragonshards
 

Faolyn

Hero
I don't have a lot to say at first read-through. It all seems pretty cool, and some of it--the flair, for instance--is making me think about how I'll run an upcoming wizard character of mine.

except your cantrips, which you maintain in your memory. With Tasha's solidifying it as an option, wizards (and others) can now swap out cantrips at certain times. How will this be accomplished here? Personally, I'd say that cantrips are written in your spellbook.

Flora and Fauna. I'm surprised you didn't give them speak with animals.

Exploration Knacks. I like the Prestidigitation one. I imagine it comes with a built-in tooth sparkle. What if you already have darkvision--does the coin thing increase your range?
 

WarDriveWorley

Explorer
As a huge fan of altering spells for thematic purposes I love Wizard's Flair on paper. That said I think that it's a bit bland as written. I would have liked to see this as an early level ability with powers that get better as you level up. Maybe a list of 6 to 10 abilities at 2nd level, then a new list available once the wizard reaches certain levels (say 6, 10, 14, and 18th levels as examples).
 

Faolyn

Hero
As a huge fan of altering spells for thematic purposes I love Wizard's Flair on paper. That said I think that it's a bit bland as written. I would have liked to see this as an early level ability with powers that get better as you level up. Maybe a list of 6 to 10 abilities at 2nd level, then a new list available once the wizard reaches certain levels (say 6, 10, 14, and 18th levels as examples).
I would imagine that this is to encourage players to start adding flair to their spells early on, and only at 9th level do the flairs become mechanically meaningful (one of my players does this for all of his spellcasting characters). Although that's something that should be mentioned in the actual text and not just implied.
 

Faolyn

Hero
That only applies to some settings though,
The default D&D setting is "kinda Medieval, kinda Renaissance, plus whatever." Meaning large individual sheets of paper or other writing surface are likely the norm. For settings outside that norm, you can specify that the sheets of paper are different sized. If you're playing a game where paper doesn't exist, then simply say the scholar's pack contains a wax tablet and stylus instead of parchment. It's no biggie.

Also, "sheet of parchment" is a very inconsequential object. It's 2 sp. It hardly matters. Only the most nitpicky DM is going to demand that you figure out how much text you can cram onto a single sheet of whatever your setting's version of letter/A4 is, and only the most penny-pinching of players is going to pretend they wrote a novel on those 10 sheets instead of spending a couple of gold in town on a new ream of paper.
 

WarDriveWorley

Explorer
I would imagine that this is to encourage players to start adding flair to their spells early on, and only at 9th level do the flairs become mechanically meaningful (one of my players does this for all of his spellcasting characters). Although that's something that should be mentioned in the actual text and not just implied.
Good point and that's definitely a possibility, but I still think 9th level is a bit late to wait for that ability to kick in
 

Faolyn

Hero
Good point and that's definitely a possibility, but I still think 9th level is a bit late to wait for that ability to kick in
Maybe. It's a bit hard to tell. You don't normally get anything at 9th level. 7th level in LU gives us the Spell Study. Maybe Flair and Spell Study should be swapped, since a free spell per day is a bit more powerful.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Maybe. It's a bit hard to tell. You don't normally get anything at 9th level. 7th level in LU gives us the Spell Study. Maybe Flair and Spell Study should be swapped, since a free spell per day is a bit more powerful.
Not really. Sorcerer by comparison gets a conduit at level 2, an arcane refinement at 6th*, & then at 9th gets either a second conduit or a tier2 evolving manifestation of the first.
1614981174234.png

charisma mod ritual spells from any class' list?.... unless the spell list has a huge number of newly ritualized spells this should allow most if not all of the worthwhile ones including one like revivify/raise dead
I really like the flash, but @WarDriveWorley is right that it comes much too late given how few changes wizard sees at earlier levels.
 

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