D&D 5E [+] Ways to fix the caster / non-caster gap

billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him)
It did. Having the thief keel over from a heart attack after the haste spell concluded made for subsequent castings rare.
Unless the target was an elf. That really made the 1 year aging trivial. Worked kind of well for my elven ranger/magic user though.
 

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Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Supporter
Here’s a thought: design 4 official versions of each class, one for each Tier.

The Fighters get progressively more supernatural/Wuxia/etc. as they go up the tier levels. The spellcasters become less powerful as they grow down the Tiers. And then either don’t mix the Tiers within a given campaign or set a maximum Tier level for the campaign.

The issue of Tier 1 fighters vs Tier 4 spellcasters vanishes.


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billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him)
Here’s a thought: design 4 official versions of each class, one for each Tier.

The Fighters get progressively more supernatural/Wuxia/etc. as they go up the tier levels. The spellcasters become less powerful as they grow down the Tiers. And then either don’t mix the Tiers within a given campaign or set a maximum Tier level for the campaign.

The issue of Tier 1 fighters vs Tier 4 spellcasters vanishes.


View attachment 296096
How much financing will I need to take out to get the next edition?
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Supporter
How much financing will I need to take out to get the next edition?
The Devil is in the details. Depending on the actual mechanics of such an edition, it need not be significantly more expensive than past ones, if at all.

Pare the classes down to a few key archetypes (let’s say 4) with modular features sets within them (let’s say 4), each with their own Tier structure. That’s hundreds of options in a PHB.

Those Tiers- both for classes and modules- could involve increased power of the options (a D6 whatever becomes a D10, or gets a multiplier to increase efficacy, etc.), increasing numbers of options (4 options at Tier 1 becomes 8 options at Tier 2) or whatever.

Instead of releasing new classes with every sourcebook or splat book, you could add modules to the core 4. (You could also add actual classes, but…)

(FWIW, the same kind of thing could probably be done with playable races as well.)
 
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M_Natas

Hero
Again…. You are talking about solving the problem via very setting specific stuff. Not as good as generic solutions IMO.
But only having sword-lile technology instead of having other options that are more advanced is also setting specific. Only having the weapons that are in the PHB and nothing better right now is a pure setting decision.

And like for me, in a medieval life fantasy setting with the technology that is shown in the PHB it makes absolut sense, that non magical characters will be weaker and left behind by magical characters. Because Magic for me is just another form of technology. And the non magical tech in the generic 5e D&D setting doesn't allow nonmagical people to compete with high level wizards/spellcasters, which is something I'm totally fine with.

So, the nonmagical martials/supportclasses either need to get their hands on magic or they need to advance their non magical technology.

I personally wouldn't like Anime/Manga Protagonists who just trough mundane training become as good as a 20th level wizard. That just feels wrong to me and I wouldn't want that in my game. If you have a supernatural explanation for their super strength or abilities, it is fine by me (so like One Piece is better than One Punch Man).

Even in the super hero genre if you want super powers you need to get hit by gamma radiation, take a "magical" serum or drug or build a suit or something.

Like Batman. In a fight with superpowers villains he isn't punching them super hard. He defeats them with planning, gadgets and often super powered allies.

Or Tony Stark. Without his suit he is just a more smarter, nicer, better looking version of Elon Musk.

And I think a lot of people think like me (at least in the West), that unless you have tech or magic/supernatural source, a mundane person, no matter the training, should never be better than somebody with magic/tech/supernatural abilities in direct competition. Should the mundane be able to defeat the super natural? Of course. But not trough brute force but trough cunning, planning and passion. Like Batman does.

But if you want a level playing field, where a mundane person goes toe to toe with high level supernatural beings like Wizards or Hulks, you need an Iron Man suit or the fantasy equivalent in my book.

Because in my fantasy worlds, the abilities of mundane folk compares to Frodo, Bilbo, Boromir, Aragon, Gimli, Legolas and not One Punch Man or Kirrin from Dragon Ball.
 


overgeeked

B/X Known World
Because in my fantasy worlds, the abilities of mundane folk compares to Frodo, Bilbo, Boromir, Aragon, Gimli, Legolas and not One Punch Man or Kirrin from Dragon Ball.
Trouble is Gandalf isn’t the template for the wizard. It’a closer to Doctor Strange. Yeah, Gandalf is an angel or whatever, but he casts maybe 3-4 spells in the entire series. He’s not the infinite cantrips plus leveled spells caster that is the D&D wizard. So why restrict martials to the mundane people from Lord of the Rings when the wizard is not also restricted to the caster of that franchise? This is one of the sources of the problem.
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
Trouble is Gandalf isn’t the template for the wizard. It’a closer to Doctor Strange. Yeah, Gandalf is an angel or whatever, but he casts maybe 3-4 spells in the entire series. He’s not the infinite cantrips plus leveled spells caster that is the D&D wizard. So why restrict martials to the mundane people from Lord of the Rings when the wizard is not also restricted to the caster of that franchise? This is one of the sources of the problem.
Trouble is, casters have infinite cantrips.
 

M_Natas

Hero
Trouble is Gandalf isn’t the template for the wizard. It’a closer to Doctor Strange. Yeah, Gandalf is an angel or whatever, but he casts maybe 3-4 spells in the entire series. He’s not the infinite cantrips plus leveled spells caster that is the D&D wizard. So why restrict martials to the mundane people from Lord of the Rings when the wizard is not also restricted to the caster of that franchise? This is one of the sources of the problem.
It all depends how powerful you want the Magic to be in your setting. If magic is not powerful and mundane people without supernatural abilities can match magic, why have magic in the first place?

Why not make the Hulk weaker, so Hawkeye doesn't feel so useless and him being in this big battles making no real sense?

In my book, if you want Non-Magical Characters compete at high levels with magical characters, the Nonmagical Characters need on of the following three:

  • supernatural Bodymodification (One Piece, Cpt. America, Hulk)
  • Magical Items
  • Technology (like renaissance Iron Men or renaissance James Bond gadgets).

What I could get behind as game mechanic, to make if have sense that a fighter and wizard are still adventuring together at high levels is actually time.
Like, have high level spells take time to take effect. Time in which the caster needs to be protected.
If a fireball needs two rounds to be cast, suddenly it is super important that the wizard gets protected and not interrupted. If the enemy caster is casting fireball, a martial trying to stop him works.

With this, you can have high impact magic, that I like for higher levels, but in combat have it more balanced, because of the time frame.

Like, if a Wizard can prepare in advance, he should be nearly impossible to beat, but if you can surprise him, he should be easy to take down.

So, low magic effects should be like they are now, costing an action, medium magic effects 2 actions and high level effects even longer.

That way you can balance the.combqt part pretty well between martials and magic users.
 

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
It all depends how powerful you want the Magic to be in your setting. If magic is not powerful and mundane people without supernatural abilities can match magic, why have magic in the first place?

Why not make the Hulk weaker, so Hawkeye doesn't feel so useless and him being in this big battles making no real sense?

In my book, if you want Non-Magical Characters compete at high levels with magical characters, the Nonmagical Characters need on of the following three:

  • supernatural Bodymodification (One Piece, Cpt. America, Hulk)
  • Magical Items
  • Technology (like renaissance Iron Men or renaissance James Bond gadgets).

Dont forget Legolas with his arrows and high athletics check got to climb, slay and surf down the trunk of an oliphant - no enhancements other than being skilled and awesome. Batman‘s also a gadget-guy but he also got superior stealth, perception, intimidation and martial arts skills.. In the same way Sherlock Holmes is a hero with ‘super’ investigation, Insight and Lore skills (as well as high level martial arts).

but yeah after reading this thread I went and had a flick through Mutants and Masterminds and infact an online Hawkeye build. It reminded me that Hawkeye is in fact Olympic Athlete-Remarkable levell when it comes to his Athletics and Acrobatics skills, and that his eyesight is superior to most people too. I did wonder is at Tier 3 a new set of Heroic Ability Ranks could be used to push PCs beyond the 20 cap. Hawkeye would be Str rank 3 (gifted) and Dex rank 7 (peak human)

The Avengers problem isnt a problem though because while Hawkeye and Black Widow dont stand a chance in melee against the Hulk or Thor, they dont have to. Hawkeye is a sniper using his trick arrow (tech) for range attacks and area control (and has agility to survive melee too). Black Widow is all about Stealth, Infiltration and Charisma (seduction), she could get by as gifted human (though she needs a quick kill/coup de grace ability) The MCU Widow also gets her lullaby ability that allows her to de-rage the Hulk and bring Banner back.

Anyway my point I think is that making Tier 3 explicitly superhuman (and Tier 4 Immortals) might work by adding Tier 3 Skills and Ability ranks that allow for Martials to get a power boost without busting bounded accuracy.
It also highlights though that the Avenger, despite being of different power levels, can work together because their skill sets are distinct (and the story is set up to showcase those differences). Which again points to the problem of DnD Wizards being broad generalist who stand on everyone elses toes.
 

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