Spell Level Cap Below 9th

MechaPilot

Explorer
I've been considering running a game where I cap the maximum spell level at 5th level. I'd be using the spell-point variant, and I'd be keeping the available spell points at each level and the cost for spells of each level the same as listed in the DMG. The primary change I'd be instituting is at what levels the classes get access to higher level spells.

1st lvl spells @ 1st level,
2nd lvl spells @ 5th level,
3rd lvl spells @ 9th level,
4th lvl spells @ 13th level, and
5th lvl spells @ 17th level.

What I'm attempting to achieve by doing this is to create a feeling that high-end magic is less powerful in the game setting, and that the world's distant gods means no access to high-end miracles. However, I'm not trying to punish people for taking a caster class; hence the casters don't receive any fewer spell points.

What do you think of this approach? Do you have any thoughts, concerns, or criticisms.
 
I've been considering running a game where I cap the maximum spell level at 5th level. I'd be using the spell-point variant, and I'd be keeping the available spell points at each level and the cost for spells of each level the same as listed in the DMG. The primary change I'd be instituting is at what levels the classes get access to higher level spells.

1st lvl spells @ 1st level,
2nd lvl spells @ 5th level,
3rd lvl spells @ 9th level,
4th lvl spells @ 13th level, and
5th lvl spells @ 17th level.

What I'm attempting to achieve by doing this is to create a feeling that high-end magic is less powerful in the game setting, and that the world's distant gods means no access to high-end miracles. However, I'm not trying to punish people for taking a caster class; hence the casters don't receive any fewer spell points.

What do you think of this approach? Do you have any thoughts, concerns, or criticisms.
The rest doesn't matter so much but you need to get 3rd level spells at 5th level
 

mortwatcher

Explorer
so you are pretty much ensuring that most people will roll a martial class, as this will not affect their power curve, but will significantly butcher that of a caster

I suppose it is one way of doing it
 

Coroc

Hero
The better reason to limiting magic level would be a low magic setting. Still @FrogReaver is right you need to keep the spell progression as is. And 5th level as maximum is also a good choice.
But to really balance it out versus martial classes would be to heavy, heavy, heavily restrict magic items especially magic weapons, and not have the above +1 or comparable powerlevel and also make them available only at later levels if at all.
The reason behind this is in a low magic setting there would be less amount of magic items anyway but also to compensate that the caster does not get higher level spells.

Instead of spell points:
You could eventually also give the slots but no spells for it, so upcasting still possible.

Or you give lower level slot each time a RAW char would get a slot. E.g. when he would get a 6th give an additional 3rd instead, or two, 7th ->4rth etc.
 
If you want to turn everyone into a half-caster, I'd just take the paladin/ranger spell progression rates and use those. You might then change there progression rate to the 1/3 rate of the eldritch knight and arcane trickster.
 

Horwath

Adventurer
Or you make every caster take multiclass mandatory with maximum level of single casting class at half total level(round up).
 

jgsugden

Adventurer
You get a similar feel, but at no mechanical expense, if you cap NPC spell casters at 5th level spells and give PCs the capability to rise above the cap. They're special - chosen to return to the heights of magic not seen in centuries.... The world feels low magic, they feel like special heroes.... all good.
 

dave2008

Legend
I noticed you mentioned spell points. Are you assuming that variant for all casters? I am not real familiar with that variant, but if the have all the spell points, then the fact they can't cast higher level spells shouldn't be much of a problem. Are they keeping there other high level features?
 

CapnZapp

Hero
I've been considering running a game where I cap the maximum spell level at 5th level. I'd be using the spell-point variant, and I'd be keeping the available spell points at each level and the cost for spells of each level the same as listed in the DMG. The primary change I'd be instituting is at what levels the classes get access to higher level spells.

1st lvl spells @ 1st level,
2nd lvl spells @ 5th level,
3rd lvl spells @ 9th level,
4th lvl spells @ 13th level, and
5th lvl spells @ 17th level.

What I'm attempting to achieve by doing this is to create a feeling that high-end magic is less powerful in the game setting, and that the world's distant gods means no access to high-end miracles. However, I'm not trying to punish people for taking a caster class; hence the casters don't receive any fewer spell points.

What do you think of this approach? Do you have any thoughts, concerns, or criticisms.
I think you overestimate the value of getting the slots/spell points, and underestimate the loss of power associated with not getting higher-level spells in a timely fashion.

I would suggest you instead consider multiclassing: simply say that any full caster must multiclass every other level.

That way a 10th level "Wizard" will actually be Wizard 5 / Something Else 5.

The end result will still be the same (i.e. Wizards getting access to third level spells at level 9) but now the overall power of the character is much more robust - that Wizard could now be five levels of Fighter or Cleric or whatever...

The overall power level of a multiclassed spellcaster will still be less than a pure singleclassed caster (by virtue of spell power exponentially increasing with spell level) but at least you aren't actively hobbling your casters.
 

dnd4vr

Tactical Studies Rules - The Original Game Wizards
I've been considering running a game where I cap the maximum spell level at 5th level. I'd be using the spell-point variant, and I'd be keeping the available spell points at each level and the cost for spells of each level the same as listed in the DMG. The primary change I'd be instituting is at what levels the classes get access to higher level spells.

1st lvl spells @ 1st level,
2nd lvl spells @ 5th level,
3rd lvl spells @ 9th level,
4th lvl spells @ 13th level, and
5th lvl spells @ 17th level.

What I'm attempting to achieve by doing this is to create a feeling that high-end magic is less powerful in the game setting, and that the world's distant gods means no access to high-end miracles. However, I'm not trying to punish people for taking a caster class; hence the casters don't receive any fewer spell points.

What do you think of this approach? Do you have any thoughts, concerns, or criticisms.
Here is what I would do:

Either using spell points or spell slots, keep the progression the same, so spell slots up to 9th are available. But, make the spell levels available at the progression you suggest, i.e. 2nd at 5th, 3rd at 9th, etc.

Here is the difference: spells are always cast at maximum level, similar to warlocks.

For example, at 4th level, when normally 2nd-level slots are the maximum, a magic missile spell would always cast 5 missiles as if cast with a 2nd-level slot. At 17th-level, the 5th-level spells would be cast as if using 9th-level slots.

I am not sure if it would really work out well or not, but that's my first thought.
 

Ath-kethin

Adventurer
I think the easiest approach is to use the multiclassing spell progression table as the normal progression for full casters. This is the approach I used and it works well.
 

Immoralkickass

Explorer
Or cap levels at 10 instead of 20. Campaigns and groups rarely get much farther anyway.
This would be the best way to do it while still keeping the balance between martial and casters. There is already a guy called Zman who did some tweaks. Its called E10 or something.
 

CapnZapp

Hero
I think the easiest approach is to use the multiclassing spell progression table as the normal progression for full casters. This is the approach I used and it works well.
I think this is pretty much the same as the OP's approach. My previous post applies equally to this.
 

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