D&D 5E Truly Understanding the Martials & Casters discussion (+)

Mort

Legend
Supporter
Mirror image suffers a major issue though. It only lasts 1 minute and takes a pretty significant number of attacks to exhaust its duplicates on average.

In our adventure day of 8 3 round encounters I’m not sure that mirror image is a particularly good defensive investment, even when it can be precast.

First, shouldn't the combats be 3-5 rounds average not just the low end 3?

Second, by 11th level many monsters have multiple attacks so the wizard getting attacked/hit multiple times in a round is common. I don't think expecting 3 hits in 3 (or more) rounds is at all unusual.

Mirror image soaks up the damage here AND, as importantly, avoids the need for a concentration check. This is a solid investment for a 2nd level slot - especially if precast.
 

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First, shouldn't the combats be 3-5 rounds average not just the low end 3?

Second, by 11th level many monsters have multiple attacks so the wizard getting attacked/hit multiple times in a round is common. I don't think expecting 3 hits in 3 (or more) rounds is at all unusual.

Mirror image soaks up the damage here AND, as importantly, avoids the need for a concentration check. This is a solid investment for a 2nd level slot - especially if precast.
If it's 8 encounters, that's on the higher end of the normal adventuring day, so lower number of rounds seems reasonable.

I expect that the issue is the budgeting of leveled slots. At level 11, you have 16 (+ a few more from arcane recovery) slotted spells to get you through 24 rounds of combat.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
First, shouldn't the combats be 3-5 rounds average not just the low end 3?
Considering that would increase average combat rounds to 4. No. It doesn’t align with the reasonable assumption of 3 rounds we already have chosen. 3-5 rounds is also a fine assumption as well though.

Second, by 11th level many monsters have multiple attacks so the wizard getting attacked/hit multiple times in a round is common. I don't think expecting 3 hits in 3 (or more) rounds is at all unusual.

Mirror image soaks up the damage here AND, as importantly, avoids the need for a concentration check. This is a solid investment for a 2nd level slot - especially if precast.
So a level 11 wizard with 16 con and 14 dex has 15 ac with mage armor and 79 hp.

He can only be hit by 8 attacks averaging 10 damage each before he drops.

he probably has a 70% chance to be hit. 8 attack vs 15 ac base.

If he’s being attacked even 3 times per encounter he’s dead long before adventuring day is over.

even if he precasted mirror image before every encounter and the attacks came in uniformly like that, he’d still take about 8+ attacks - on average enough to down him by the end of the adventuring day.
 

Mort

Legend
Supporter
If it's 8 encounters, that's on the higher end of the normal adventuring day, so lower number of rounds seems reasonable.

Sure but in any "real" situation you can't predict the number of rounds. Plus the lower number of rounds slightly favors the wizard (less time to expend slots).

I expect that the issue is the budgeting of leveled slots. At level 11, you have 16 (+ a few more from arcane recovery) slotted spells to get you through 24 rounds of combat.
Sure, but keep in mind that IF the wizard gets hit then any concentration spell potentially drops (so in addition to not taking damage mirror image is essentially an auto save to the concentration check - that's not minor)

Anyway, I'm not the one modeling and this is a (relatively) minor point - so I should stop harping on it. Other than to say, it's one of the MANY things wizards get an edge on re: survivability.
 

Mort

Legend
Supporter
Considering that would increase average combat rounds to 4. No. It doesn’t align with the reasonable assumption of 3 rounds we already have chosen. 3-5 rounds is also a fine assumption as well though.


So a level 11 wizard with 16 con and 14 dex has 15 ac with mage armor and 79 hp.

He can only be hit by 8 attacks averaging 10 damage each before he drops.

he probably has a 70% chance to be hit. 8 attack vs 15 ac base.

If he’s being attacked even 3 times per encounter he’s dead long before adventuring day is over.

even if he precasted mirror image before every encounter and the attacks came in uniformly like that, he’d still take about 8+ attacks - on average enough to down him by the end of the adventuring day.

Shouldn't we put in 2 short rests? that will give the wizard significantly more staying power, fighter too but that makes it accurate. Aside, of course, from the fact that he would probably have access to a cleric and healing potions somewhere in those 8 encounters.

Pus, allowing for a short rest means the wizard gets some spells back - and the fighter gets some stuff back too (action surge and second wind both being biggies, plus maneuvers if you're modeling a battle master)
 

TheSword

Legend
Contingency is a really interesting spell. You have a tough choice to make though. Do you cast it with a simple common defense spell and have it go off in the first encounter you get to, then having to cast it again and lose a precious 6th level slot. Or put it on something less common like an emergency escape and have it not go off.

To me, using to avoid having to cast mirror image on round 1 buys you one spell action in one combat once per period. It’s a very incremental benefit. Maybe handy if you have nothing else to do with it.

Wizards can’t easily get that healing magic. The most useful spell would probably be greater restoration but that’s a no go.

Emergency escape is always difficult. You either trigger it off a conscious trigger like a command word or gesture (free action) in which case it isn’t happening when paralyses/unconscious/asleep/feebleminded etc or it takes affect on an unconscious trigger in which case you can’t choose your dimension door location if you’re unconscious/asleep/feebleminded, or worse you’re dying and your friends can’t find you because you’re invisible etc.

Probably worth saving for a spell you know you’ll cast every so often but not every day. Save you having to memorize it and save the round to cast it. Polymorph for instance.
 

Considering that would increase average combat rounds to 4. No. It doesn’t align with the reasonable assumption of 3 rounds we already have chosen. 3-5 rounds is also a fine assumption as well though.


So a level 11 wizard with 16 con and 14 dex has 15 ac with mage armor and 79 hp.

He can only be hit by 8 attacks averaging 10 damage each before he drops.

he probably has a 70% chance to be hit. 8 attack vs 15 ac base.

If he’s being attacked even 3 times per encounter he’s dead long before adventuring day is over.

even if he precasted mirror image before every encounter and the attacks came in uniformly like that, he’d still take about 8+ attacks - on average enough to down him by the end of the adventuring day.
I think maybe a better analysis might be how many resources does each class need to expend to survive the day.

The wizard has hit dice and spells, the fighter has second wind and hit dice.

If there's a deficit after extending all available resources, you make up for it in external healing and disclose the amount of healing required as indicator of the level of "drain" on the party each class represents.

Edit: this might be a bit of a slider for the wizard as spell slots used for defense are not used for damage, so "drain" at different levels of damage output might be useful

Edit 2: of course this slider would be imperfect since high damage output is also a form of damage mitigation..:unsure:
 
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Mort

Legend
Supporter
Contingency is a really interesting spell. You have a tough choice to make though. Do you cast it with a simple common defense spell and have it go off in the first encounter you get to, then having to cast it again and lose a precious 6th level slot. Or put it on something less common like an emergency escape and have it not go off.

To me, using to avoid having to cast mirror image on round 1 buys you one spell action in one combat once per period. It’s a very incremental benefit. Maybe handy if you have nothing else to do with it.

Wizards can’t easily get that healing magic. The most useful spell would probably be greater restoration but that’s a no go.

Emergency escape is always difficult. You either trigger it off a conscious trigger like a command word or gesture (free action) in which case it isn’t happening when paralyses/unconscious/asleep/feebleminded etc or it takes affect on an unconscious trigger in which case you can’t choose your dimension door location if you’re unconscious/asleep/feebleminded, or worse you’re dying and your friends can’t find you because you’re invisible etc.

Tough choices - absolutely. BUT

The wizard (player) can base those choices on the campaign, the DM etc. By the time the wizard can cast contingency, unless the campaign started at high level - the player should have a decent feel for what to expect, when best and how best to use the spell. Will that be perfect? Not by a long shot. But it's still very handy and pretty good emergency plan (as opposed to the fighters, hope your HP hold and if not, hope someone is there to save you)!
 

TheSword

Legend
Tough choices - absolutely. BUT

The wizard (player) can base those choices on the campaign, the DM etc. By the time the wizard can cast contingency, unless the campaign started at high level - the player should have a decent feel for what to expect, when best and how best to use the spell. Will that be perfect? Not by a long shot. But it's still very handy and pretty good emergency plan (as opposed to the fighters, hope your HP hold and if not, hope someone is there to save you)!
Everyone has to hope someone is there to save them if their hp’s don’t hold. Fighters are just as useful at 0 hp as Wizards are. Except maybe the wizard is easier to carry 😂
 


TheSword

Legend
This conversation takes me back to the halcyon days of spell sequencer, Synostodwoemer, Chain Contingency, Spell Trigger and the Crown Jewel - Elminster’s Evasion… ahhhhh the heady days of god wizards. How the mighty have fallen.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Contingency is a really interesting spell. You have a tough choice to make though. Do you cast it with a simple common defense spell and have it go off in the first encounter you get to, then having to cast it again and lose a precious 6th level slot. Or put it on something less common like an emergency escape and have it not go off.

To me, using to avoid having to cast mirror image on round 1 buys you one spell action in one combat once per period. It’s a very incremental benefit. Maybe handy if you have nothing else to do with it.

Wizards can’t easily get that healing magic. The most useful spell would probably be greater restoration but that’s a no go.

Emergency escape is always difficult. You either trigger it off a conscious trigger like a command word or gesture (free action) in which case it isn’t happening when paralyses/unconscious/asleep/feebleminded etc or it takes affect on an unconscious trigger in which case you can’t choose your dimension door location if you’re unconscious/asleep/feebleminded, or worse you’re dying and your friends can’t find you because you’re invisible etc.

Probably worth saving for a spell you know you’ll cast every so often but not every day. Save you having to memorize it and save the round to cast it. Polymorph for instance.
IME 5e's ultra low risk of death to anything but the GM choosing to execute a PC & the trivial cost/huge benefit of healing word/healing light/etc tends to make contingency less about the old school safety net uses than using it as a surprise ace in the hole. Even then it tends to run into the same kind of "very incremental benefit" problem you noted because 5e removed all of the old stuff that allows anyone to interrupt a spell being cast with the free AoO that casting it granted.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
Sure but in any "real" situation you can't predict the number of rounds.
This is true, but the effect of knowing your number of rounds ahead of time is going to be fairly minor. It's also something that can't be helped unless we declared actions on a round by round basis and let some referee randomly roll and call the encounter when that number of rounds was over with neither of us knowing ahead of time.

Plus the lower number of rounds slightly favors the wizard (less time to expend slots).
In some ways yes, but a more holistic picture indicates there's some tradeoffs.
  • Wizard's get concentration spells as well. Lengthening the encounter means those spells are active more rounds.
  • Fighter's superiority dice and action surge uses are fixed in this comparison. Lengthening the adventuring day means they overall have less relative impact than they would in a shorter adventuring day.

Sure, but keep in mind that IF the wizard gets hit then any concentration spell potentially drops (so in addition to not taking damage mirror image is essentially an auto save to the concentration check - that's not minor)
Certainly a possibility. But I think the impact on this will be fairly minor. There's just not going to be alot of difference in the damage of an equal level fireball spell under the target assumptions and the damage of a multiround concentration spell over 3 rounds.

We also are talking through any additional specific criteria for this. For example, my proposal was that if he takes a concentration boosting feat or ability like war wizard gets that concentration becomes such a minor issue (especially coupled with the fireball point above).

Anyway, I'm not the one modeling and this is a (relatively) minor point - so I should stop harping on it. Other than to say, it's one of the MANY things wizards get an edge on re: survivability.
I'm don't think that they actually are more survivable - at least not when it comes to taking hits via defensive options. If we can't mobility, range and staying away from enemies I think there's a strong case for the Wizard.
 
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FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
I think maybe a better analysis might be how many resources does each class need to expend to survive the day.

The wizard has hit dice and spells, the fighter has second wind and hit dice.

If there's a deficit after extending all available resources, you make up for it in external healing and disclose the amount of healing required as indicator of the level of "drain" on the party each class represents.

Edit: this might be a bit of a slider for the wizard as spell slots used for defense are not used for damage, so "drain" at different levels of damage output might be useful

Edit 2: of course this slider would be imperfect since high damage output is also a form of damage mitigation..:unsure:
The more I think about it the less I'm worried survivability differences. IMO. In most adventuring days both characters are going to make it through with never dropping to 0. Out of the days the less survivable one drops to 0, it's likely the more survivable one will as well a few rounds later. There's extremely few cases where a less survivable character falls to 0 where the more survivable character never does.

So I'm mostly happy with as long as the Wizard sets level 1 and 2 slots to defense/mobility that I think more survivability and the benefits it provides is going to have very little impact. You need to reach a minimum threshold, but after that the gains for more survivability tend to be minor.

As a side question though I am interested in finding a better way to compare survivability as I find it a very interesting question.
 
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TheSword

Legend
The more I think about it the less I'm worried survivability differences. IMO. In most adventuring days both characters are going to make it through with never dropping to 0. Out of the days the less survivable one drops to 0, it's likely the more survivable one will as well a few rounds later. There's extremely few cases where a less survivable character falls to 0 where the more survivable character never does.

So I'm mostly happy with as long as the Wizard sets level 1 and 2 slots to defense/mobility that I think more survivability and the benefits it provides is going to have very little impact. You need to reach a minimum threshold, but after that the gains for more survivability tend to be minor.

As a side question though I am interested in finding a better way to compare survivability as I find it a very interesting question.
I think that is a respectable position to take. I think it’s reasonable to limit the scope of any investigation… so as not to go loopy and get dragged down all sorts of rabbit holes.

Hopefully @EzekielRaiden will consider some defensive buff spells (blink, mirror image etc) reasonable across the day, both in terms of 1st round activation, consumption of spell slots, and occupying memorization space. How they quantify is up to them of course.
 

Oofta

Legend
Animate objects is SO situation dependent. In the right conditions - it's a devastating spell. But there can be vast swaths of time where there is no opportunity/point in casting it! I suppose the wizard can carry around a bag of knives (10+) and that could get pretty nasty.
Just carry a bag of ball bearings. Helps if your DM (i.e. me) let's you dump the ball bearings as your object interaction.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
If it's 8 encounters, that's on the higher end of the normal adventuring day, so lower number of rounds seems reasonable.
7 encounters is mid ground for 6-8. At 4 rounds average, that's 28 rounds of combat. By going to 8 fights of 3 rounds each, you are only in 24 rounds of combat. You're basically fighting only 6 encounters for the average of 4 rounds. You've essentially picked the very lowest number of encounters for an adventuring day..
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
7 encounters is mid ground for 6-8. At 4 rounds average, that's 28 rounds of combat. By going to 8 fights of 3 rounds each, you are only in 24 rounds of combat. You're basically fighting only 6 encounters for the average of 4 rounds. You've essentially picked the very lowest number of encounters for an adventuring day..
If enough people want to move it to 4 I don’t have any issues. Your thoughts @EzekielRaiden ?
 


7 encounters is mid ground for 6-8. At 4 rounds average, that's 28 rounds of combat. By going to 8 fights of 3 rounds each, you are only in 24 rounds of combat. You're basically fighting only 6 encounters for the average of 4 rounds. You've essentially picked the very lowest number of encounters for an adventuring day..
Fair enough. Since I can't say I've ever actually seen this 'normal' adventuring day happen at a table in play, my judgement may be skewed. :p
 

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