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5E Making Prepared-Spell Casters Into Known-Spell Casters (+)

dnd4vr

The Smurfiest Wizard Ever!
All the discussion/debate about Spell Versatility brought me back to an idea I had about a year ago: What if all casters only had known spells?

First, I know a lot of people like the prepared spell mechanic. If you are one of those people, please help in this discussion but the goal is not to debate which mechanic is better, etc. but to find a balanced way to make all spell-casters use known spells. If you participate, I respectfully ask you to keep that goal in mind. Thank you. FWIW, I grew up on AD&D so I am used to it and like it, but I think in the future of D&D it will probably vanish. I could be wrong... 🤷‍♂️

Most importantly, every class adds their spellcasting ability modifier (minimum 1) to the number shown on the table below.

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DESIGN NOTES:

This is a bit of a nerf to Bards at lower levels since, even with their CHA modifier added in, they really won't gain more spells than RAW until tiers 3 and 4. I am not sure if I want to single Bards out and give them a bit more known spells, especially since they do gain up to 13 more by 20th level. Since Bards are also considered by many one of the stronger classes overall, I don't think keeping them more in check at lower levels is bad necessarily. Please, Bard lovers, open this for discussion if you feel there should be more for Bards! Thanks.

Bard's Magical Secrets adds those spells to the Bard's Spell List. If the Bard swaps one out for another bard spell, they can swap it back to the original magical secret spell. You cannot use Magical Secrets to gain other spells from other spell lists.

The spell known by Warlocks at levels 11, 13, 15, and 17 are their Mystic Arcanum. I considered having them not count as known spells (as RAW) but then Warlocks could have up to 29 known spells effectively (25 of levels 1-5 plus the 4 Mystic Arcanum). Is this too much? Warlock players, let me know your thoughts.

I've included an Alternative Wizard option for people who think 40+ known spells is too many for Wizard. Since they can current learn 44 at a bare minimum by level 20, I don't think this is too much, but I can understand how others feel it might be too high.

Also, the concept of the Wizard's spellbook should only be used for Ritual Casting spells if this concept is adopted IMO.

So, thoughts any one?
 

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BlivetWidget

Explorer
To me, it seems like a solution without a problem. Prepared casters in your system are trading the ability to plan ahead with having more options than usual in the moment. I don't think it's bad per se, but you haven't explained what you're trying to accomplish with such a change.
 

dnd4vr

The Smurfiest Wizard Ever!
To me, it seems like a solution without a problem. Prepared casters in your system are trading the ability to plan ahead with having more options than usual in the moment. I don't think it's bad per se, but you haven't explained what you're trying to accomplish with such a change.
In short, it would negate the issue with Spell Versatility. As it stands with the new material coming out, Wizards are the only casters who have to lug around their spell-supply (i.e. spellbook) with them and thus are the only casters without access to their entire spell list after completing a short rest.

This idea makes them (and others) into known casters as well, so every class has access to their complete spell list.

I don't know if you followed the other threads, but in one post I showed how my 12th level Wizard with 84 learned spells from levels 1-6 has access to less spells than every other full caster with this new Spell Versatility feature. For a class that is often touted around as being known for its versatility, this is not good.

Hopefully that explains my intent more. As a "bug", it is also because IME most tables have prepared spell casters rarely changing more than 1-2 spells after a long rest, anyway.

Thanks for your interest.
 

ardoughter

Adventurer
Supporter
This seems like a lot of work when simpler approaches would work better. Presumably the situation prior to Tasha's did not concern you so why not ban Tasha's? or just ban spell versatility? If you do not want to ban anything then simply allow the wizard to have more spells in their spellbook as part of the levelling process. Say 12 at first and 4 per level afterwards, or 6 per level? Or make copying from scrolls easier and cheaper and give more scrolls as treasure.
 

dnd4vr

The Smurfiest Wizard Ever!
This seems like a lot of work when simpler approaches would work better. Presumably the situation prior to Tasha's did not concern you so why not ban Tasha's? or just ban spell versatility? If you do not want to ban anything then simply allow the wizard to have more spells in their spellbook as part of the levelling process. Say 12 at first and 4 per level afterwards, or 6 per level? Or make copying from scrolls easier and cheaper and give more scrolls as treasure.
Well, first, as I stated in the OP this was an idea I've had for about a year or so, not just because of the new material in Tasha's book. So, it has been a concern for other reasons. A larger part is the exchanging of spells by prepared casters is uncommon except just a one or two at a time. The long rest feature of Spell Versatility can handle that little bit of exchanging nice provided all casters get access to their spell lists.

Of course, DM fiat can also take care of spell access, even houserule the cost away so gold isn't a factor, but I would rather the rules support things instead of DM fiat.
 

ardoughter

Adventurer
Supporter
It still seems to me that is a problem best solved by letting the wizard have more spells in their book than by changing casters to the same mechanic. I have seen a nice suggestion in the other thread.

Allow wizards to swap a prepared spell on a short rest. They suggested up to proficiency level. In my view one could also tie it to the Arcane recovery feature. That is when a wizard does arcane recovery they can swap prepared spells of the levels recovered. I would go this way as it seems to me more wizardly the approach you are taking.
 

dnd4vr

The Smurfiest Wizard Ever!
It still seems to me that is a problem best solved by letting the wizard have more spells in their book than by changing casters to the same mechanic. I have seen a nice suggestion in the other thread.

Allow wizards to swap a prepared spell on a short rest. They suggested up to proficiency level. In my view one could also tie it to the Arcane recovery feature. That is when a wizard does arcane recovery they can swap prepared spells of the levels recovered. I would go this way as it seems to me more wizardly the approach you are taking.
This still does not solve the issue of wizards being the only class without full access to their entire spell list, as every other caster can if Spell Versatility is being accepted--which many people seem to favor.

Anyway, how does it look from a balance perspective across the classes?
 



Lanefan

Victoria Rules
This still does not solve the issue of wizards being the only class without full access to their entire spell list, as every other caster can if Spell Versatility is being accepted--which many people seem to favor.
Question: when you say, as an example from your chart above, that a Wizard has access to 14 spells at 7th level, is that 14 spells in total across spell levels 1-4, or 14 spells per spell level?

If the former, it's too harsh on all casters IMO and extremely harsh on low-level Clerics. If the latter, it's probably too easy but I could be talked into thinking it's fine provided their castable-slots-by-level-per-day is kept in check.
 

dnd4vr

The Smurfiest Wizard Ever!
Question: when you say, as an example from your chart above, that a Wizard has access to 14 spells at 7th level, is that 14 spells in total across spell levels 1-4, or 14 spells per spell level?

If the former, it's too harsh on all casters IMO and extremely harsh on low-level Clerics. If the latter, it's probably too easy but I could be talked into thinking it's fine provided their castable-slots-by-level-per-day is kept in check.

It is in total, but includes their spellcasting ability modifier. So, a Wizard 7 with INT 16 would know 17 spells total, not 14.

A Cleric 4 with WIS 16 would know 7 spells (incidentally the same number they could have prepared RAW). Since you can swap them out on a long rest, it puts all casters on an equal footing now.

A Cleric 7 with WIS 16 would have 13 spells (or 3 more than the prepared caster, so more options).

I don't think this really hurts anything since IME most prepared casters don't swap out spells often.
 

BlivetWidget

Explorer
I don't know if you followed the other threads, but in one post I showed how my 12th level Wizard with 84 learned spells from levels 1-6 has access to less spells than every other full caster with this new Spell Versatility feature. For a class that is often touted around as being known for its versatility, this is not good.

If it solves the problem for your group, go for it. I don't think it breaks anything mechanically, just thematically.

84 spells by level 12 is quite good - kudos to the DM. IMO the problem with the wizard rules is that it's extremely dependent on DM generosity for spells learned. You get 2 per level and an entire subset of rules and features about learning more spells, but in the end, you are completely dependent on the DM giving you resources to actually make use of that feature. I don't play AL, but I'm given to understand that the anemic loot rewards baked into their system make adding spells extremely difficult and that the last few seasons have been hard on wizard players.

In order to actually play out the role of "fantasy academic" that is the DnD wizard, I think there simply needs to be either more spells granted per level and/or a way (like downtime) for a wizard to perform spell research. As a DM you can of course come up with a way for downtime to work for spell research, but it's not codified. I also really like the idea mentioned above of letting wizards swap out some prepared spells on a short rest.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Something's not making sense here.

Upthread you said this:
dnd4vr said:
I don't know if you followed the other threads, but in one post I showed how my 12th level Wizard with 84 learned spells from levels 1-6 has access to less spells than every other full caster with this new Spell Versatility feature. For a class that is often touted around as being known for its versatility, this is not good.

But here you say this:

It is in total, but includes their spellcasting ability modifier. So, a Wizard 7 with INT 16 would know 17 spells total, not 14.
And thus a 12th would know 24+mod, so maybe 27-29-ish. Last I checked, there's a rather big difference between that and 84. Either I'm missing something or Wizard flexibility goes out the window with this change - they become few-trick ponies, much like 3e Sorcerers.
 

dnd4vr

The Smurfiest Wizard Ever!
Something's not making sense here.

Upthread you said this:


But here you say this:


And thus a 12th would know 24+mod, so maybe 27-29-ish. Last I checked, there's a rather big difference between that and 84. Either I'm missing something or Wizard flexibility goes out the window with this change - they become few-trick ponies, much like 3e Sorcerers.
You are confusing the two threads (sorry for being unclear!). In the other thread my level 12 Wizard had learned (and can thus prepare from) 84 spells, which are in her spellbook.

In this thread, the idea is to remove "prepared spells" and replace them with known spells. Following this idea, the same wizard would know 28 spells, from which via Spell Versatility she could swap out 1 per long rest.

Hopefully that is clearer.
 

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