Should bring back diverse spellcaster level design.


The EN World kitten
D&D is getting bigger for two reasons, and two reasons only.
1) Cultural Momentum.
2) Advertising.

Changing or adding systems does nothing to alter those two things unless you change the systems so -drastically- as to somehow undermine the cultural momentum.
Normally I would have just tagged this with a like, but that was a long post and I wanted to highlight that this was the specific part that I found to be praiseworthy.

log in or register to remove this ad

I wouldn't mind if clerics got warlock casting (but domain spells didn't count against spells known or prepared) and got more specific "divine interventions" instead of 6-9 level spells.

I would cut the wizard list but move magical secrets to them (at lower levels, they could only learn spells from their school).

Jacob Lewis

Ye Olde GM
I don't know that many people who might care so much about what level of spells a character class gets at 18th level if most campaigns rarely get past 10th. 🤷‍♂️


I mean it could work.
The issue is you have to

  1. Use a lot of class exclusive spells
  2. Determine what each progression does for the PC.
For example Rangers work as 1/2 casters because its spell are just buffs of attacks, defense, and stealth and divination and communication magic. The later is fine at spell level 1-5.

If you do 3/4 caster, you must determine what is the difference between a 7th level spell and a 9th level spell.


My frustration is with half casters and third casters. I think it's fine to get a spell level 2-3 levels behind a full caster. I think it's honking absurd to get a spell level 6-9 levels behind a full caster. Simply put, there is no way for those new spells to still be the same spells that the other class got and not have them end up completely underpowered. It's ridiculously depressing as a player.
That's the point.

The "core" spells of a full caster, half caster, and third casters are different sets of spells. A ranger isn't throwing fireballs. That's straight up 1990s game design that we learned didn't work 30 years ago. A ranger is casting swift quiver and water walk to shoot a ton of arrows from the middle of a pond.

Honestly, spells are already an issue in dungeons and dragons by being rule breakers.

The last thing we need is spellcaster's apartheid.

If your going to introduce new magic, make it so distinct that it doesn't use spell levels, but also creates an agony of choice, otherwise nobody will pick the new class.


Wizards and Sorcerers should have 9 levels of Arcane Spells.
Clerics and Druids should have 7 circles of Divine Spells.
Bards and Warlocks should have 5 mysteries of Occult Spells.

And they should all map to be equal at max-level for the power of a given spell. And also be largely, but not completely, separate from each other.

Sound insane? It is a bit. But c'mon, at least it would make the caster classes leveling more interesting and varied, and make room for stronger class and subclass abilities in the gap-levels between spell level increases for Bards, Clerics, Druids, and Warlocks.

Wizards and Sorcerers get access to a new level of spell every odd numbered level per usual. Clerics and Druids get a "Gap" level for 5th where they get cool Cleric and Druid themed stuff equivalent to extra attack or third level spellcasting. Same thing happens again at level 15 instead of getting 7th level spells. And, of course, Commensurately fewer spell slots.

Warlocks and bards, on the other hand, don't get 2nd level spells at 3rd, but at 5th their 2nd mystery spell slots are equal to 3rd level spells and they get something cool at level 3, instead. Same thing happens at level 9 and 11, then again at at 17.

All four of those classes get commensurately fewer spell slots compared to the wizard/sorcerer, with bard/warlock getting the least number of slots out of any 'full caster'.

And then the -actual- half-casters, Arcane Tricksters, Eldritch Knights, Paladins, Rangers, etc, follow the same sort of format. Tricksters and Knights get 4 levels of spellcasting, Paladins and Rangers only get 3 circles, but cooler tricks that better encapsulate Paladin/Ranger concepts when their circles skip.

L--S C M
1--1 1 1
3--2 2 1
5--3 2 2
7--4 3 3
9--5 4 3
11-6 5 3
13-7 6 4
15-8 6 4
17-9 7 5

I know what you're thinking. "That's too complex! It doesn't make sense!" to which I say "Okay. Cool. Do it anyway. Only way people come to understand is through either laborious discussion or simple demonstration."

They're not gonna do it, obviously, as it would mean more writing, more pages, more balancing between spells... and that's not something they want to do for their steamlined game... But it'd be so nice if they did...
pathfinder tried that and it's a freaking mess.

An Advertisement