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D&D 5E Wizard academy providing “all spells”, how strong?

Stalker0

Legend
A discussion on how powerful the wizards “breath of knowledge” is.

let us assume a common scenario in some campaigns.

The party’s wizard is an alumni at a Wizards academy. An alumni perk, access to their spell library. while the wizard must supply their own inks, they effectively can have any core spell in the game if they use their downtime to swing by the alma mater.

compared to the standard wizard who finds the occasional scroll for copy, how “strong” is this?

how much better is the alumni wizard in comparison? Or put another way, how much money is the privilege or all of that spell access “worth” should the school charge its alumni for access?

For this purpose let’s assume the wizard is your typical adventuring PC, receiving normal treasure, and gets some downtime between each major adventure.
 

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Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
It's obviously up to you, but I would say 7th or higher spells are definitely not included for alumni wizards. These are truly the high-tier spells.

I use those as a baseline, because I know Rakshasa have limited magic immunity that makes them immune to spells of 6th level or lower. It's a pretty insane ability, but shows that 7th or higher really are in a tier of their own.
 

jgsugden

Legend
In my setting, it is fairly trivial to find a PHB spell. The majority of the joy for players is finding the homebrew spells that they didn't know they really wanted. It has never been a problem having the PHB spells be easy to locate.

If you like this idea, I'd suggest looking at some of the higher ranked spells on D&D Beyond to add to the collection.
 



Mort

Legend
A discussion on how powerful the wizards “breath of knowledge” is.

let us assume a common scenario in some campaigns.

The party’s wizard is an alumni at a Wizards academy. An alumni perk, access to their spell library. while the wizard must supply their own inks, they effectively can have any core spell in the game if they use their downtime to swing by the alma mater.

compared to the standard wizard who finds the occasional scroll for copy, how “strong” is this?

how much better is the alumni wizard in comparison? Or put another way, how much money is the privilege or all of that spell access “worth” should the school charge its alumni for access?

For this purpose let’s assume the wizard is your typical adventuring PC, receiving normal treasure, and gets some downtime between each major adventure.

How strong this depends on a few factors.

1. How much time the wizard have and how close is he to the actual library?

If, for example, the wizard is based in Sharn and so is the university then (depending on #2) this is a big perk. If, on the otherhand, the university is in Sharn and, after level 3, the wizard is on Xen'Drik - the benefit is near illusory. Or if the wizard is closer but the DM has a ton of doom clocks and other pushes on the wizards time that barely allow for a long rest, much less going to the library? the benefit is wasted.

2. How much spare gold does the wizard actually have?

If the wizard has enough AND #1 is also true, this is a significant benefit. If the gold is constantly tied up to the point where the wizard can barely afford ink? benefit is illusory.

But to answer the strength if the conditions above are met? It's strong, especially if players can dictate the pace of play.

That said, if the spells are restricted, the smart player just grabs the restricted spells through their class feature and copies the rest!

I think, this shouldn't break the game - but to the smart player it's a big boon.
 


Galandris

Foggy Bottom Campaign Setting Fan
Some thoughts about potential arguments around this idea (which I like).

1. No sane wizard would allow one to get away with his spellbook.

That's... true. But creating a backup spellbook takes 1 hour and 10 gp per spell level. Settings where there is a wizard academy would have curricular spellbook, sorted by school, made from the faculty's spellbook (up until a level that is fine for you to have "restricted", I feel the Eberron divide of 1-3 = common magic, 4-6 = strong magic, but you could find it in a world-class academy, 7+ = restricted reading at best, unavailable at worst) is fine. So the alumni would simply come to the school and work from a student copy. The investment would be worthwhile for the academy, either because it's only 5,090 gp to make a copy. If you consider the School Savant feature to apply, they can have the books readied for half as much gold. The benefit for the studients are invaluable and the first one to do that would recruit the best of them... until at some points everyone does this and a nominal fee will be created. You can't commission spells to be copied, since copying involves understanding, experimenting, and converting in your own arcane notation the works of another wizard, so the 50 gp cost wouldn't be lowered, but charging 10% gp on top of that sounds perfectly accceptable.

2. When exactly are those adventuring wizards doing magical research?

If one wanted to explain away why nobody thought about it before -- because if no school does it, a player wizard should be the first to do it and open his own school as part of a get-rich-quick scheme -- one could say that the "research" leading to two new spells every level already reflects the ability to exchange information with life-long training manager at their alma mater. Wizards don't do "downtime research" and I don't see every wizard reinventing fireball independently when reaching level 5. Instead, they subscribe to Teach Enchantment by Dreaming service (also known as TED talks) where the basics of the spells are explained so they just need a few hours of work to copy it once they have digested the learning.
 

aco175

Legend
I thought the 'standard' wizard gets 2 spells per level for free. This was one of the better features of being a wizard. I let them pick PHB spells for this. I would have an academy be where you can pick some of the other books and 3pp spells. Maybe focus them into schools or themes.
 

Laurefindel

Legend
I guess it depends how accessible magic is in myour world, but the game seems to make an important distinction between level 1-5 spells and level 6-9 spells (half casters cap at spells level 5, domain spells and other bonus/expanded list spells go until level 5, the warlock's mystic arcanum starts at level 6 etc)

Free access to level 1-5 spells from the library seems alright for a wizard alumni. To get access to level 6-9 spells, I'd say you need to make more than a one-time donation, you'd need to be one of the major sponsors of the university/college/academy (which isn't outside the scope of tier 3 and tier 4 play, actually).
 

J.Quondam

CR 1/8
copier_credit_card_jpeg-326x200.jpg
 

toucanbuzz

Legend
It's off topic a bit, but I'm a fan of Colville's Strongholds and Followers alternative that could be applied to high level members of a college of wizards: ability to permanently modify a spell through experimentation. You get bang for your buck.

Otherwise, on topic, here's a link to a GM Binder project where the author organized spells by "rarity." Perhaps outer circle members have access to copy "common" spells and as you work your way in, you get more. Only the master of the tower, as it were, would get legendary spell access like wish.
 

Stalker0

Legend
Based on some of the responses, I think I may have led people astray a bit.

My question is not really around the idea that a wizard could have any spell in the book.... again they can in theory do this now with the 2 spells that get every level. so its not about spell access.

Its more about the idea that an academy wizard could have a very large personal spellbook filled with spells (assuming they had the gold) and so would have most spells available to them for prep on any given day.
 

Stalker0

Legend
How strong this depends on a few factors.

1. How much time the wizard have and how close is he to the actual library?

If, for example, the wizard is based in Sharn and so is the university then (depending on #2) this is a big perk. If, on the otherhand, the university is in Sharn and, after level 3, the wizard is on Xen'Drik - the benefit is near illusory. Or if the wizard is closer but the DM has a ton of doom clocks and other pushes on the wizards time that barely allow for a long rest, much less going to the library? the benefit is wasted.

2. How much spare gold does the wizard actually have?

If the wizard has enough AND #1 is also true, this is a significant benefit. If the gold is constantly tied up to the point where the wizard can barely afford ink? benefit is illusory.
My assumption for 1 is.... during the downtime that each player gets, the Wizard would have the means to return to the academy and scribe as many spells into their spellbook as their ink supply allows (which is really their gold supply, as I am quite sure the academy would sell such inks).

For 2, its based on standard treasure for 5e, there have been a few threads around that give a rough idea of how much money a given character would have if you use the normal treasure tables.
 

Mort

Legend
Based on some of the responses, I think I may have led people astray a bit.

My question is not really around the idea that a wizard could have any spell in the book.... again they can in theory do this now with the 2 spells that get every level. so its not about spell access.

Its more about the idea that an academy wizard could have a very large personal spellbook filled with spells (assuming they had the gold) and so would have most spells available to them for prep on any given day.
Like I said in my original post. "Assuming they had the gold..." covers a bit of ground!

This means they could exceed the 2 spells per level by nothing, a little, a lot, or completely. How big a benefit this is depends on this.

Assuming it's a lot or completely (as in the academy wizard effectively has the clerics ability to pick any spell available) then this could be a very large benefit.
 

I run my campaigns in eberron or an eberron-like world where libraries and such are common so have some experience with easily available spells to copy for wizards. It depends on:
  1. The level of your game
  2. The level you expect the campaign to run to
  3. How much gold/downtime is available
1&2 If the game is low level & expected to stay there it can be a significant boon given adequate 3 because nearly all of the maybe useful ritual spells are 1st-2nd level spells with lie one 3rd level spell(tiny hut). The problem is that the vast majority of those spells are so deep into edge case niche territory that they would otherwise not likely ever be worth taking or rally even spending much on scribing.

If 3 is too restricted then the benefit is meaningless as the nice nature of ritual spells & wide assortment of 5e's unused by design spells make it into a benefit not worth using even if the player can.

As the game advances beyond low levels into mid (6-10) levels the benefit of having all those ritual spells melts away as it's clear that the vast majority will never get used by now, are easier handled by classes with a relvant skill/ability, & other classes have powerful class features by now. In short, the early benefits are nullified without this sounds like a job for aquaman contrived situations because the ritual spells don't continue to grow in the spell list & the o5e spells themselves lack any meaningful choices beyond a few must take "iconic" spells in a sea of trash by design spells.

Most of my campaigns run into low to mid teens so I can confidently say that from 11 on up the benefit is almost pointless. There are a lot of things that contribute to this
  • First there is the continual slowing of spell slot acquisition that begins at level three
    1626120253209.png
    By level 7 it's almost at a standstill & at level 11 there is basically no more slot acquisition. Because of this a wizard IME is likely to devote the additional prep slots they are gaining towards lower level spells that were not good enough to make the always prep list like dragonbreath so they can send their familiar out to do something if the party is using tiny hut as a bunker during a rest or whatever.
  • The math is absolutely bonkers against casters from the getgo & gets worse as fighter/warlock/scorlock accumulate additional attacks at these levels martials are likely to get magical gear that makes things even worse. There just aren't enough high level spells to make the what to prep for that one slot an even trivially difficult choice so having a larger selection of them is not even a theoretical benefit.
  • Nearly every spell if not literally every spell in o5e when upcasted is either exactly the same or worse when rated on a scale of x benefit per slot level as upcasting causes the value for x to shrink more & more the further you upcast. The wizard won't be looking back & dogging up new gems that were previously not useful like in 3.5 when spells often went from pointless to good or great as castr level improved.
  • Agonizing repelling blast in o5e at this point is easily the equivalent of a 4th or 5th level spell when rated against dmg284's spell damage chart allowing a warlock or scorlock/pallylock/bardlock with 2 levels of warlock to cast it at will as the cost of one barely useful spell slot. It's hard to ignore everything above & find any real strength while blistering under the nuclear furnace of fighters extra attack/agonizing repelling blast with a straight face. Levelup corrects this to some degree by making EB a warlock class feature but we don't have the spells yet
  • Levelup's rare spells likely add some amount of extra value if they are in that library but at this point we don't have enough details to guess at how much value.
TL;DR version? In my last campaign with a wizard player I gave them a spellshard with a zero cost scribe cost, plenty of downtime, & made libraries like that available but I'm pretty sure they were never used after level 5 & barely used before that... That game ended around level 14.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Based on some of the responses, I think I may have led people astray a bit.

My question is not really around the idea that a wizard could have any spell in the book.... again they can in theory do this now with the 2 spells that get every level. so its not about spell access.

Its more about the idea that an academy wizard could have a very large personal spellbook filled with spells (assuming they had the gold) and so would have most spells available to them for prep on any given day.
People can buy whatever spell scrolls they want in my campaign and can frequently find spells for free from other wizards.

Like I said, it's never been a problem.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
The party’s wizard is an alumni at a Wizards academy. An alumni perk, access to their spell library. while the wizard must supply their own inks, they effectively can have any core spell in the game if they use their downtime to swing by the alma mater.
D&D makes the Wizard cast any spell except healing spells − and even then Regenerate, Clone, and Wish are among the best healing spells in the game.

Having access to a Wizard Academy library makes sense, and is a great way to help players invest in the setting.

Given the nature of the Wizard class, it seems fine. The Wizard can still only cast one important spell at a time. To avoid choice paralysis maybe encourage the player to pick a set of "favorite" spells, maybe ten. Only start rummaging thru the rest of the available spells if the go-tos seem unhelpful at the moment.



Re the Wizard class. It can split up into different classes, while dividing the spell list up thematically. But this is a critique of the class. Your Wizard Academy sounds excellent.
 

I always let PHB spells be freely available during level up. Often other spells too.

IMO, if I don't then I have to worry about balance with other classes. Do you make fighters or anybody else pay for or limit what feats/abilities/etc they can learn at level up?

Now, I do take spells from 3rd party products or maybe things like Xanathar's etc and they typically are not available too much unless I put them in a NPCs spell book or in a scroll. Keeps the wizards balanced and with choices, and gives me the opportunity to introduce new things as well.
 

cbwjm

Hero
I don't think it's too strong to enable a wizard player to have access to a spell library. It does give them a greater breadth of spells which allows for them to collect a few spells that were their 2nd or 3rd pics rather than 1st and allows them to learn some spells that they know will be important in a coming adventure which is a great things in my opinion. One thing I would do is make sure that spells take space in the spellbook, they may end up having to carry multiple books if they want all of their spells available.
 

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