D&D 5E Should we let the 'Wierd Wizard Show' begin in 5e?

Is it time to start the Wierd Wizard show and leave non-casters out of the game?


  • Poll closed .

Tony Vargas

Legend
Given the Skills and Abilities discussion and Class discussion from DDXP it would seem that the designers are shooting for;

Wizard can be spectacular once and a while.

This balanced against, say, the fighter doing a consistent good job.
Prettymuch like always, then.

(3.5e rules). You are now looking at +25 damage per attack.

Multiply by the four main attacks of the fighter at level 16 and you have 100 points of damage without rolling a die for the type of weapon held.

A spell rolling 16d6 will average out to 56 damage or roughly a third but usually spread over a group of targets that can attempt saves to reduce the 56 to half or 28 damage.
You're leaving out one thing (OK, two things, there's also weapon damage, which can be pretty trivial at high level). Hitting. A high level fighter has to hit each time to do that damage, and he has to pile it onto one target to do damage comparable to the spell.

If the spell engulf 4 enemies, all of whom save, that's still more than 100 damage. Assuming worst case (all saved) vs best (all attacks hit).

And, Full Attack is the fighters best option. Blasting spells are typically the casters' worst options.


Balance in the new set of rules looks like it is being compared on a mixture of Combat, Exploration, and Role-play expressions. This is good as this allows for different characters to have a chance to practice and use a variety of things and shine in different ways.
And sit out large swaths of game time. The balance of boredom.

Actually, the biggest breakers of balance are not the game designers but it is the fan/freelance writers that produce the support books.
Can't argue too hard about that. D&D has generally gotten better with each ed, and degraded slowly within each ed. (making the next one almost welcome, some of the time -though not so much this time, it hasn't even been 4 years yet). Sure, there was a lot of broken stuff in the PH1 in 3.5, and Blade Cascade and split-primary classes in the 4e PH1. But still, it only got more broken as you added to it.
 

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avin

First Post
Wizard can be spectacular once and a while.

This balanced against, say, the fighter doing a consistent good job.

Problem is... if the Wizard is faster and it's a game with no much daily combat, Wizard will have ended combat with a Fireball before Fighter can start :p
 

Argyle King

Legend
thanks, that's a the germ of a good idea, there.

Points - be they action points, mana points, power points, plot coupons, or healing (or 'heroic') surges - give the players some flexibility, peak power and even narrative control, all of which spice up the gaming experience, and which could concievably be done in a balanced way while still making each feel distinct. (not that all-dailies or no-dailies couldn't still have distinct classes).

If I could, I'd add a "No, power points for everybody!" answer. :)

It'd mean getting rid of dailies, though, so you could click that answer - you'd be in good company.

Fluff mixed into rules leads to all sorts of situational fluctuations, it limits the range of things you can do with the rules. Keeping fluff separate, changeable - even undefined - supports more play styles and campaign and character possibilities (or, at least, doesn't narrow the game and force you to mod it to get to there).

The extreme example of the fluff/crunch divide is Hero System. It has one set of rules for 'powers' in the main book. No fluff is associated with those powers. Any character, of any kind, in any genre, can be built using that core rule book - the player just assigns the fluff to the customized power that he feels best fits it and takes that power.

Keeping the two separated doesn't always help to encourage more playstyles though. Sometimes a set of mechanics can simply just be a poor fit for trying to support fluff because they were made without any thought toward each other. This is one of the areas where I have somewhat of a gripe toward 4th Edition. I don't feel that 4E's mechanics support the 'Points of Light' idea or the image that 'Points of Light' as a term paints in my head very well. Likewise, I feel that there are inconsistencies created in 4E's fiction because there isn't a coherent relationship between fluff and crunch.

This too is something I've said elsewhere, but an extreme example is easy to illustrate by looking at the three core books in their original form. A lot of the powerful monsters, demon lords, and etc are said (in the fluff) to be scourges of the land; a terror to behold; etc; etc. In actual play, they are completely stomped by the PCs.

However, that's only the tip of the issue. Do a comparison of the numbers which monsters are capable of generating compared to the 'physics engine' (for a lack of better words) of the game world; then do the same using PC numbers versus the world. There are cases in which high powered monsters struggle to break through basic structures; meanwhile, the PCs can blow throw the gates of hell using at-will powers and a few seconds of their time. The latter is something I played through as a player during my first campaign from 1-30.

It is my opinion that there would be less of a disconnect between what the rules say is going on and what the fluff says the story is if the two aspects of the game had a relationship which did a better job of complimenting each other. I think the mechanical structure of the current game seems to support a set of playstyles which are sometimes at odds with some of the stories that the fluff tells.

I see merit in allowing many playstyles. I am not familiar with HERO, but I do play GURPS, so I totally understanding the idea of allowing groups to use mechanics in a variety of ways without hardwired fluff getting in the way. However, I also like there to be a coherent relationship between the two aspects (fluff and crunch) of the game I'm playing. In the case of the CoDzilla issue, I believe that a more coherent relationship could potentially hold the solution as well -simply by making the rules support the idea that magic is difficult to master and control.
 


OnlineDM

Adventurer
I'll agree with others who've said that there's no option in the poll that reflects my opinion.

Casters and non-casters should be balanced at ALL LEVELS in my opinion, and furthermore I believe this can be done without having to give non-casters pseudo-magic daily powers. Look at the martial classes from Heroes of the Fallen Lands onward; no dailies, but plenty of balance in my experience so far (through mid-paragon). That's the way I'd like to see things in the future.

I personally like 4e and have no problem with the "gamist" nature of martial dailies, but I don't expect them to continue into D&D Next, at least not anywhere near the "core". I do NOT believe this means we have to go back to the bad old days of Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards.
 

Nagol

Unimportant
Pet moose play clerics. They're all about healing and removing poisons.
Now pet tigers. They always play wizards. And don't try talking them out of it.


As long as the restraints are kept and casters don't hog ever effect, it'll be fine.

IME, tigers play illusionist sorcerors who wear bathrobes and smoke a pipe.
 


dagger

Adventurer
I like the 1e approach...so thats my answer.

1) Magic is dangerous to the caster and other people.
2) Magic often has a price. (haste ages you a year and a system shock roll)
3) Spell casting is easily disrupted.
4) Spellbooks are easily destroyed (well most items are).
5) Spells can be hard to learn depending on your casting stat.
6) Takes effort and dedication (and luck) to earn the power.
7) Some of the spell information is in the DMG.
8) To me the game gives off a vibe that other casters are loath to let other casters 'copy' spells.
 

Salamandyr

Adventurer
I don't like any of the options presented in the poll. What I prefer is the balance that exists in 0e, B/X, 1e, and early 2e, before we decided that play beyond 12th level was a desirable activity.

Fighter vs. Wizards arguments often seem to suppose that the fighter is Batman, and the Wizard is Superman (or Angel Summoner, or God, or whatever). This is the wrong way to look at it. The fighter is, indeed should be, Batman. He's someone who, while he cannot do the impossible, by dint of training, skill, and sheer physical perfection, can accomplish the improbable more and more often (expressed in game terms by high hit points, and very good saves that allow a high level fighting man to stand on equal terms with a monstrous dragon).

The Wizard, by contrast, isn't Superman. The wizard is a man with a gun, with a number of very effective, but limited bullets. Leveling as an adventuring wizard never really causes him to advance physically much beyond the skills of a normal man. Instead, as he gains in levels, he may gain more bullets for his gun, but he never has so many that he can use them profligately. If he chooses to use one, he will dominate (as much as a man with, say, a hand grenade would threaten Batman, as long as he has another hand grenade) but he can't use one all the time.

3e edition got rid of nearly every limitation that magic had, while adding several to non magic classes. The problem isn't wizards in D&D, it's Wizards in 3rd edition.

We're playing a fantasy game. When magic happens, it needs to be magic. It needs to impress. But that's also why it needs to be of much more limited use, and characters who use magic need to get a whole lot less of other things (like skills and physical advantages).
 

GM Dave

First Post
Prettymuch like always, then.

Whether this is better or worse then having X=Y every round, I'm not of much opinion. Actually, I do prefer to have some choice between X and Y in how they behave from round to round and damage is not the only way to compare X and Y (a spell or power that causes blindness can be worth several rounds of damage and a sleep spell can be almost a death sentence)

You're leaving out one thing (OK, two things, there's also weapon damage, which can be pretty trivial at high level). Hitting. A high level fighter has to hit each time to do that damage, and he has to pile it onto one target to do damage comparable to the spell.

If the spell engulf 4 enemies, all of whom save, that's still more than 100 damage. Assuming worst case (all saved) vs best (all attacks hit).

And, Full Attack is the fighters best option. Blasting spells are typically the casters' worst options.
Yes, I did simplify the discussion of damage by leaving out the weapon characteristics because it is the stack of bonus to damage behind the weapon that can take a short sword wielded 2H and make it almost as dangerous as a Great Axe.

It is also the rain of attacks on the target with the additional damage bonus that can make things pretty terrible.

You are right that I did not include hitting but this is usually a problem choice for the average DM in the high game. You either keep the AC low enough that the non-fighters can still hit the target on 15+ which generally means the Fighter can land the third blow on a 2+ and still hit the 5th blow on 10+ (pretty good odds of getting 4 of the 5 swings to hit); or, you jack up the defense so non-fighters need 20s to hit and the fighter still needs 10+ with their third swing making them well ahead of the curve for damage.

Since Saving Throws and Touch defenses usually follow the main AC choice the two stay in sync in most monster design.

And sit out large swaths of game time. The balance of boredom.
This is just what they listed in the Class Discussion on what they are planning to do.

Personally, I like it when everyone has a chance to do something meaningful in each type of situation.

I do run a large group (7-9 players on a game night plus me) and I can only bring out so much star time in a 3 hour session. I work to alternate the Social/roleplaying scenes so that I can give each player usually some star time every other week and still fit in some sort of combat (so they can roll some dice).

While there are one or two that have troubles being 'spectators' while others are solving their life situations, most tend to enjoy a chance to listen and heckle from the side lines. This is one of the best parts of group play is that you get a chance to succeed, fail, and perform before a group of your peers. MMORPG play tends to lack this value as often you have no visual clues or feedback on your game play and a chance to 'star' while the others watch.

Can't argue too hard about that. D&D has generally gotten better with each ed, and degraded slowly within each ed. (making the next one almost welcome, some of the time -though not so much this time, it hasn't even been 4 years yet). Sure, there was a lot of broken stuff in the PH1 in 3.5, and Blade Cascade and split-primary classes in the 4e PH1. But still, it only got more broken as you added to it.
It is the nature of book creep and splat book sales that you need to hold up a 'shiny' to encourage people to purchase.

One of the troubles with most adventure sales is that they lack the 'shiny' quality as people usually feel they could have come up with something at least as good (This likely explains why adventures like Ravenloft, Keep on the Borderlands, and Temple of Elemental Evil continue to do well as they are not shiny but hard to beat for doing a better job then a GM).

Paizo's Pathfinder products have the 'shiny' quality by usually providing a free player's book with several new feats and abilities to be used in the Pathfinder Product. People want to justify the shiny; so, they buy and play the adventure.
 

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