D&D 5E What is REALLY wrong with the Wizard? (+)


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Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
The wizard has the weakness of being weak physically.

I'm not sure the wizards flavor is "being good at magic", but it should be something close to that. I'd say the wizard should be the intelligence magic user. That is they are the ONLY ones in the world that know and study magic in great detail.

The bard sings songs and dabbles in magic, the sorcerer just 'does magic' naturally, the warlock is granted some magic from another, the clerics magic comes from faith(and granted by another again), and the druids magic comes from nature, faith (and granted by another again). But none of them know really anything about magic. None of them really study magic. They just use magic.

If anything the wizard should be able to understand all magic, and use it against others. This fits in nicely that the wizard would be the only one that can create spells too.
Too bad like I said the community
  1. voted out most of the wizard's weak physicality
  2. voted out most of the benefits of strong physical stats
  3. voted in powerful version of spells that ignore being weak (shield, magic armor, touch attacks that use Int, bladesinging)
Hence the problem.

Edit: The wizard was slowly buffed into being boring once fans started caring about balanced. The wizard had all the strengths in magic, their weaknesses were reduced, and the wiggle room to make cool stuff for was eliminated.

It's kinda like how Human factions in strategy wargames, RTSs,an TBS games in the 90s and 00s. Might&Magic/HOMM, AOE, MasterofMAgic/Orion, Warlords, Warhammer, GalCiv, EndlessSpace,

Strong, versatile, but boring.
 
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Azuresun

Adventurer
What is wrong with the wizard is that you can't do anything fun with it because its flavor is being good at almost everything magical. Therefore every single other caster gains flavor by gaining something over base spellcasting by taking a weakness.
  • The bard can heal and has better social spells
  • The sorcerer can alter their spells
  • The warlock has higher magic endurance and tweaking of cantrips
  • The cleric has better healing and resurrection
  • The druid can heal and has more versatile conjurations

I think my favourite solution was the "magic specialist" core classes that 3e introduced--the Beguiler, Dread Necromancer and War Mage (and maybe another one I forgot). Essentially Wizards who were very accomplished in one (or two) highly thematic areas of magic and who had a bundle of thematic class abilities, but who couldn't really expand out of it. With base Wizard, you're making your character objectively worst if you don't grab Fireball / Hypnotic Pattern / Polymorph, no matter how non-thematic those spells are for a Abjurer, Necromancer or Diviner.
 

bloodtide

Legend
Too bad like I said the community
  1. voted out most of the wizard's weak physicality
  2. voted out most of the benefits of strong physical stats
  3. voted in powerful version of spells that ignore being weak (shield, magic armor, touch attacks that use Int, bladesinging)
By "voted" are you saying "nearly everyone chose to do so"? I agree that most gamers created the problem with things like "max HP per level" and "builds with high ability scores".

But there is also the big Game Frame Work : the game play style. That is the big one. A LOT of gamers give the wizard a free pass or easy button. Then they act schocked when that causes a problem.

The problem being that "being weak physically" actually matters for only about 5 or so levels, at most.

Right, so some few low level games might...sometimes...inconvenience a wizard character for a coupe rounds with something physical. Though way to many games just give the wizard a free pass and/or just don't have anything that might negatively effect the wizard.

The the level problem is a BIG problem. It's the scale problem. Modern D&D does not do campaign scaling...it only really cares about monsters.

Lets take climbing a cliff.

First flaw-The DM leaks what the wizard needs. The wizard is great and versatile, but ONLY when they know in advance what might happen. You can't "plan ahead" for everything. If you KNOW...that is the DM tells you, "ok there will be climbing in this adventure", then that allows the wizard to go to town and buy/make needed things. Oh the wizard just RANDOMLY bought a wand of spider climb after the DM told the player "there will be climbing"....hum.

Also not only can a wizard not plan for everything, but they also have limits....only so many spells can be cast, so many charges, and so on. So they might be able to handle three or so cliffs, but more starts cutting to deep. Plus the allocation of resources, each 'climbing spell" they pick is one less of another spell.

Second flaw-The Big One: The game world does not scale up. This has been a problem starting in 3E. Up to 5th level it's just a "normal rocky cliffside", after 5th level you MIGHT find a published "more challenging" cliffside, but likely not. And so THAT is the huge problem. At like 10th level the DM is like "there is a cliff" and the player of the wizard just half asleep says "whatever, zip, my wizard flies to the top". Why? Because it's just a rocky cliff.

But if the cliff side...and the whole world scaled up, then the wizard starts having problems. Is the cliff side covered in archer bushes? Does the cliffside animate and shoot rocks? Does the cliffside have a magic gravity effect? Are there flying foes nearby? Is the whole cliffside area in an anti magic field?

See, when you scale up the game world, it fixes a lot of the problems in the OP. And it's NOT to "just attack" the "poor" wizard, after all it effects everyone. And sure too many players...and sadly DMs....looks at anything taht might negatively effect the "poor" wizard as wrong. Tell a player it's an anti magical cliff area and they will likely walk out of the game and say "I'm not going to stay in a game where the DM won't let me play my character!" Though a better player would not do that.

And even with scaling up, the wizard does still have a nice tool box. A smart, savvy, clever player can STILL....sometimes...at least partially over come the scaled up. But even if they do, it does take up resources....and that has a huge effect on game play over all.

But D&D falls flat on this. There is very little about this in the core rules at all. Nothing like an Encounter Manual to match the Monster Manual. So few gamers even know that scale even exists.
 

jgsugden

Legend
I'm not understating WOTC's capabilities. I stating that the community won't allow WOTC the room.

The community won't allow wizards to be weakened enough in order to give it more interesting stuff. The last thing WOTC, the community tanked the edition and many swapped games.

The base idea of the D&D wizard is too close to the edge of balance. This gives WOTC no real space to design within the parameters the community allows. That's why the 5e wizard has the least class features and the most boring/blandest subclass. There is little room to be fun.
You're making a lot of assumptions in there. Wizards do not need to be weakened to give them this type of versatility. Further, they'll do what is best for the game, even if it is unpopular. People SCREAMED that they had to change Sharpshooter and Great Weapon Master - did they? No - because in their viiew, it was not what was best for the game, despite the 'popular opinion' they heard.

Popular opinion will make them ask questions. It will not make them make decisions.
 



Second flaw-The Big One: The game world does not scale up. This has been a problem starting in 3E. Up to 5th level it's just a "normal rocky cliffside", after 5th level you MIGHT find a published "more challenging" cliffside, but likely not. And so THAT is the huge problem. At like 10th level the DM is like "there is a cliff" and the player of the wizard just half asleep says "whatever, zip, my wizard flies to the top". Why? Because it's just a rocky cliff.

But if the cliff side...and the whole world scaled up, then the wizard starts having problems. Is the cliff side covered in archer bushes? Does the cliffside animate and shoot rocks? Does the cliffside have a magic gravity effect? Are there flying foes nearby? Is the whole cliffside area in an anti magic field?
Which would be OK if the non-casters leveled up. Unfortunately there's a vocal crew that demands that if fighters/barbs/rogues, etc are just regular dudes their poor little imagination can't take it. So if you level up the world without leveling up the martials appropriately, they just become more useless.

The obvious solution is to make martials supers in their own right, just with a tighter power grouping, but then people couldn't play out their fantasies of being a slightly tougher town guard or cutpurse. I mean, they could just not use those abilities, or not level up, but then they couldn't dictate the power level of everyone else's non-caster.
 


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