D&D General Why Do You Think Wizards Are Boring?


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What if they added a Vancian arcane caster class that was actually Vancian. I wonder if anyone would actually play one.
It's not a bad way to make the Wizard distinct (beyond being just better) and pushes other casters to finding their own, new ways to be casters.

Basically, Spellcasting shouldn't be an inter-class feature. It should be what wizards (and maybe arcane tricksters) do.
 

CleverNickName

Limit Break Dancing
I like wizards. I think they're fun and interesting and versatile and exciting. But there are parts of them that are truly boring, just like every other character class in the game. But relax, I'm not gonna be That Guy, who reads the thread title and still decides to chime in with "BUT THEY'RE NOT BORING." I can see both sides of the issue, and I can admit that the things I like can still have room for improvement.

The big one for me: Familiars. In the words of Don Corleone, "look at how they massacred my boy."

Familiars
Sorry, but they really botched this one in 5th Edition. They took an interesting premise and a minor chance for customization, and turned it into a disposable ambush-detection spell. Tsk, tsk. I had to stitch back in the static bonuses and flavor from 3E/3.5E that they dropped, and I've made several adjustments over the years for my players. Here's where I'm at so far.
"Find Familiar" is no longer a spell, it is a class feature that Druids, Sorcerers, and Wizards all get at 2nd level. Why druids? Because one of my players asked if their druid could have a familiar, and I couldn't think of a compelling reason why not.

The caster chooses the familiar they want, from a special list prepared by the DM. (Why are squirrels on the list? Because one of my players asked for one, and I couldn't think of a compelling reason to say no.) This choice is sorta-permanent; it can be changed later by completing a 24-hour ritual (that consumes 100gp worth of components). But the first one's free.

While their familiar occupies the same space as the caster, they get a minor bonus. My list is below, cribbed from the 3.5E PHB:
  • Bat: caster gains Blindsight to a range of 10'. If the caster already has Blindsight, the range increases by 10'.
  • Cat: caster gains Advantage on Dexterity (Stealth) checks. (In the past, I've had a player ask if they could swap out "takes half damage from falling" instead of Stealth, "because cats always land on their feet." I thought that was a cool idea so I allowed it.)
  • Hawk: caster has Advantage on Wisdom (Perception) rolls involving sight
  • Lizard: caster gains a Climb speed of 10'. If the caster already has a climb speed, that speed increases by 10'.
  • Owl: caster gains Darkvision to a range of 60'. If the caster already has Darkvision, the range increases by 60'.
  • Rat: caster has Advantage on Constitution saving throws.
  • Raven: caster can speak and understand one additional language of their choice.
  • Snake: caster gains Advantage on Charisma (Deception) checks.
  • Squirrel: caster gains Advantage on Dexterity (Acrobatics) checks.
  • Toad: caster gains a Swim speed of 10'. If the caster already has a swim speed, that speed increases by 10'.
  • Weasel: caster gains Advantage on Dexterity save throws.
The familiar is an NPC with its own character sheet...it's basically the stats for the creature in the Monster Manual, but with the following changes. (These changes were also cribbed/adapted from the 3.5E PHB. The stats for squirrel are homebrew.) It uses the caster's initiative, and acts immediately after the caster in the turn order.
Hit Dice: the HD of the creature is equal to the caster's level.
Hit Points: always 1/2 the caster's total hit points.
Attacks: the familiar's attack rolls use the caster's spell attack bonus
Save throws: the familiar adds the caster's proficiency bonus to all save throws.
Familiar Abilities: both the familiar and the caster gain the Alert feat whenever they occupy the same space. The caster can communicate telepathically with the familiar to a range of 100 feet, and can see what it sees and hear what it hears (but is blind/deaf during this time). The familiar can deliver touch spells to a range of 100 feet.
Is it perfect? Nah.
Is it boring? Also nah.
 
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Vaalingrade

Legend
That's a fault the 4e has to eat, turning the familiar from an actual creature into an admittedly more historically accurate horrible spirit thing, but solving the 'DM's gunning for pets' thing unsolved the 'you have a pet' thing.

And arguable opened the door to 'here is a spell to own a book' that 5.5 is giving flirtatious looks at.
 

UmbraCarmen

Villager
You mean when the wizard fans went on a campaign of sabotage that ended up tanking the Good Edition so they could get their superiority back?
I'm really glad you found an edition of D&D that you like. There is more that I want to say but maybe we should leave things there.

Your happiness with 4th edition doesn't take anything away from my own happiness with the other editions including 5th. I hope that feeling is mutual.

There are some things from 4th that I wish had made it through to 5th including move actions and being able to cast certain spells or activate certain move related powers with it. These were great for all the classes that had them and many did including the Bard. Extra classes having healing powers as minor actions including the Warlord was truly great as it placed less pressure on the cleric as did the cleric doing a lot of healing with minor actions. Healing surges and some of these have made it through which is nice. Lots of innovation with 4th that should be applauded.
 

It's not a bad way to make the Wizard distinct (beyond being just better) and pushes other casters to finding their own, new ways to be casters.

Basically, Spellcasting shouldn't be an inter-class feature. It should be what wizards (and maybe arcane tricksters) do.
So the answer to making wizards feel special is to take away something all other spellcasting classes have had for almost 50 years (or at least as long as they have been in the game)? Yeah, no.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
Wife went looking online and found this comment.

There's to many charisma classes and they're tuned fairly high in power.

They all MC together fairly well and hexblades, eldritch blast and agonizing blast exists.

Basic tomelock basically eats a liw level wizard for lunch (better at rituals, more cantrips, more spells per day, more damage, better stat for social pillar etc). Better at skills as well (guidance, invocations as options).

So a wizards hypothetical versatility doesn't kick in until later when more spells and better spells start becoming relevant.

Sorcerer don't technically have more spells but may as well if they want to with twin spell or do more stuff via quicken.
 
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Li Shenron

Legend
My 2cp, even though I personally love playing Wizards, there's a couple of reasons why they can in fact be boring:

1st cp: when a Wizard covers with spells too many adventuring functions, it stops having a role of its own in the party; a jack-of-all trade is the worst possible character in a cooperative group game, both for the player and the other players as well

2nd cp: an optimized Wizard more or less always picks the same spells known

And yes the root cause is that, because the class pretends to be able to cover all fantasy tropes (with the traditional exception of the healer, but effectively including also Warlock, Sorcerer, Psion and Artificer to some extent... the introduction of which never took anything away from the Wizard) then you get individual Wizard characters wanting to cover all possible roles.

As a result, most Wizard players will try to cover as much functional range as possible so they always have a spell for everything, which is in fact boring during a campaign, and more or less create copy-cat Wizards characters with many "cannot live without" spells, which is boring across campaigns.
 

Mind of tempest

(he/him)advocate for 5e psionics
My 2cp, even though I personally love playing Wizards, there's a couple of reasons why they can in fact be boring:

1st cp: when a Wizard covers with spells too many adventuring functions, it stops having a role of its own in the party; a jack-of-all trade is the worst possible character in a cooperative group game, both for the player and the other players as well

2nd cp: an optimized Wizard more or less always picks the same spells known

And yes the root cause is that, because the class pretends to be able to cover all fantasy tropes (with the traditional exception of the healer, but effectively including also Warlock, Sorcerer, Psion and Artificer to some extent... the introduction of which never took anything away from the Wizard) then you get individual Wizard characters wanting to cover all possible roles.

As a result, most Wizard players will try to cover as much functional range as possible so they always have a spell for everything, which is in fact boring during a campaign, and more or less create copy-cat Wizards characters with many "cannot live without" spells, which is boring across campaigns.
so we need to artificially stop that? make them less able to cover all roles
 

So the answer to making wizards feel special is to take away something all other spellcasting classes have had for almost 50 years (or at least as long as they have been in the game)? Yeah, no.
1. This assumes Cancian casting is a plus.

2. If the bard's signature feature is the ability to do anything, and the cleric's signature feature is the ability to do anything, and the druid's signature feature is the ability to do anything, and the sorcerer's signature feature is the ability to do anything, and the wizard's signature feature is the ability to do anything, I think we've done a poor job diferentiating the various classes. Maybe - just maybe - we can consider the idea that some classes might have a signature feature that isn't the same as every other spellcaster?
 

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