5E Wizards (et al.) Casting Known Spells?

dnd4vr

Hero
Since some classes have known spells, I have been toying with the idea of giving Clerics, Druids, and Wizards known spells as well instead of prepared spells, using the same ideas as Bards and others (you start with 2 or 3, get one a level, exchange one, etc.). I know Wizards "know" the spells in their spellbooks, but I am looking to remove the idea of having to select preparing spells.

As an aside, maybe Ritual spells would count as known for Wizards since ritual casting is a big deal for them.

I don't know. I am not crazy about the idea of prepared spells for those classes and would like to streamline them. Any one have any thoughts about removing prepared spells or have other ideas?
 
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Cap'n Kobold

Adventurer
Don't Wizards already have 'known spells'? - The spells that they choose to learn and put in their spellbook.
Its pretty core to the concept of the D&D Wizard class.

Clerics and Druids having a limited list of known spells rather than being able to prepare any spells on their list would be pretty similar to the way wizards work. Balancing might be tricky however since it would be a not-insignificant hit to their versatility.
 

dnd4vr

Hero
LOL ok, so technically the known spells of a wizard are the ones in his spellbook. I meant the idea of known spells similar to Bards so that I can nix the idea of "prepared" spells.

Clerics and Druids have no known spell list. They "know" all the spells available to them but select spells to prepare. I would like to change that to "known" spells akin to Bards, et al.

Sorry for the confusion.
 

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
LOL ok, so technically the known spells of a wizard are the ones in his spellbook. I meant the idea of known spells similar to Bards so that I can nix the idea of "prepared" spells.

Clerics and Druids have no known spell list. They "know" all the spells available to them but select spells to prepare. I would like to change that to "known" spells akin to Bards, et al.

Sorry for the confusion.
Having seen some confusion about preparing spells at my table, and seeing that once my players selected their spells and prepared, they did not care to switch them, I decided to put all caster in the ''known, no prep'' team. You could see a loss of versatility if you noticed your players tend to switch their spell a lot, but I think that most players select their favorite spells from the list and stick with them so YMMV.

EDIT: My wizards also have to select a least one spell from their chosen school at level up (if any remaining).
 

dnd4vr

Hero
I've seen much the same. Although other casters might swap out spells once in a while, by and large they seem loyal to their favorites. Here is the progression I am thinking of for the other classes in gaining known spells instead of using prepared spells.

KnownSpells.png

I'm also considering having the spellcasting ability score modifier added to the number of known spells for all spellcasting classes.

(If the chart is HUGE, I have no idea why... :( If it is normal, then never mind.)
 
If you do this then why play a wizard? A sorcerer does everything they do, with the addition of sorcery points and metamagic.

The process of sitting down at the beginning of the day and picking spells is part of the concept of the wizard and cleric classes. Versatility is a core concept. Sorcerers and bards et al are trading this versatility for other features.

Personally, my cleric is swapping out a few spells known every rest, based on what I think is coming up. Some days I'll prepare silence, darkness; other days something else. Sometimes healing word, sometimes cure wounds, occasionally both.
 

DM Dave1

Adventurer
If you do this then why play a wizard? A sorcerer does everything they do, with the addition of sorcery points and metamagic.

The process of sitting down at the beginning of the day and picking spells is part of the concept of the wizard and cleric classes. Versatility is a core concept. Sorcerers and bards et al are trading this versatility for other features.

Personally, my cleric is swapping out a few spells known every rest, based on what I think is coming up. Some days I'll prepare silence, darkness; other days something else. Sometimes healing word, sometimes cure wounds, occasionally both.
Yes to all this. Plus the wizard PCs I’ve seen in play enjoy looting enemy wizard spellbooks. I see no reason to take that fun mini-quest away.
 

dnd4vr

Hero
Oh, there are still reasons to play Wizards and Clerics (and even Druids :p ). First, you'll notice those spellcasters get more known spells (not a lot at first, but quite a bit more later on). As I mentioned as an option, Ritual spells could be automatically known and used maybe (at least for Wizards). I was also considering granting more uses of Channel Divinity and likewise with Druid class features.

In our group the versatility of these classes is nothing compared to the delay in time it takes when players pour over their spell lists trying to decide what to take for the day. 90% of the time, nothing changes, except maybe a few spells as Greenstone.Walker mentions, and several minutes or longer of precious game time is wasted.

And the looting of enemy spellbooks is hardly a "mini-quest" IMO, but really just another piece of treasure. Since there is no threat to not understand what another wizard writes, it is pretty mundane since it is automatic.

Obviously this is not something for everyone, and I am more interested in ways to remove preparing spells -- not discussions why we shouldn't. I know those, and don't care for them; to me they aren't good enough reasons.
 

Staffan

Adventurer
A word of warning regarding making clerics (and to a lesser extent druids) spells known-casters:

I used to play an Oracle in Pathfinder, which is basically a spells known-cleric. One of my major issues with that was that the cleric spell list is mostly reactive. Let me delve a little deeper into that.

The wizard spell list is mostly proactive. It's about causing trouble for others via damage, crowd control, or both. You got your blasts, your hypnotic patterns, your illusions, your sleeps, your charms, and so on. There are some situational issues, but most of the time whatever spell you're going to cast is going to eff someone up, and it doesn't much matter which spell you cast.

The cleric list, on the other hand, is mostly reactive. It's about fixing things that have gone wrong. Someone has taken damage, or been cursed, or poisoned, or whatever. These problems all have different solutions, and the cleric needs to be able to solve them all. That's going to eat up a chunk of the cleric's spells known.

This problem is not as bad in 5e as in 3e/PF, because many of the fixer spells have been folded into Lesser and Greater Restoration. But it still exists, and is worth considering before making the cleric reliant on a small spell list.
 
In our group the versatility of these classes is nothing compared to the delay in time it takes when players pour over their spell lists trying to decide what to take for the day.
This is the way wizards should be. Pouring over their spell books trying to anticipate every eventuality whist the rest of the party nags them, eager to get going. If they really hate it they should dump the wizard and put out "help wanted" ads for a sorcerer.
 

jaelis

Explorer
I have to agree: mechanics and everything else aside, the idea of spell preparation is pretty central to my concept of the wizard class.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Oh, there are still reasons to play Wizards and Clerics (and even Druids :p ). First, you'll notice those spellcasters get more known spells (not a lot at first, but quite a bit more later on). As I mentioned as an option, Ritual spells could be automatically known and used maybe (at least for Wizards). I was also considering granting more uses of Channel Divinity and likewise with Druid class features.
Less than 1 spell per spell level over bards, and half that over clerics and druids is hardly what I would call "quite a bit."

In our group the versatility of these classes is nothing compared to the delay in time it takes when players pour over their spell lists trying to decide what to take for the day. 90% of the time, nothing changes, except maybe a few spells as Greenstone.Walker mentions, and several minutes or longer of precious game time is wasted.
Then 90% of the time there should be no delay. Most of the remaining 10% should also be no delay as they should know their spells and be thinking about what to switch out while watches are being taken and other things being described. The length of time it takes me to tell a DM I made changes is a few seconds on average.

Edit: I'm also not sure why you gimped Sorcerers that badly. Warlocks are a spell light class. Sorcerers aren't and you removed 1/3 of their spells.
 
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DEFCON 1

Legend
In my two current Eberron campaigns I've turned every long-rest spellcasting class into a 'Known Spells' caster, and they all run with the same spell slot table, Spells Known, and Cantrips Known (except for isolated changes here and there-- Sorcerer gains an extra Cantrip over the others for example). And the three primary casters who normally are Prepared but now aren't (cleric, druid, wizard)... the Cleric and Land Druids get to add their domain/land spells to their Spells Known, and Wizards still have a ritual book that they use to collect any Rituals they come across in scrolls or other spellbooks (although any rituals in their book that aren't also a Known Spell for them can only be cast as a 10-minute ritual.)

Thus far there have not been any issues. And for those that are wondering about the wizard versus sorcerer thing-- in my Eberron campaigns sorcerers are only dragonmarked characters who focus on their dragonmark magic, and thus they have specialized spell lists they have to use per dragonmark and have story compels that keep them balanced against wizards.
 

dnd4vr

Hero
Less than 1 spell per spell level over bards, and half that over clerics and druids is hardly what I would call "quite a bit."
Well, compared to Sorcerers and Warlocks, Wizards eventually would know twice as many spells (30 vs only 15), and more than 35% more than Bards. Clerics and Druids have more "extra" features so would receive more spells than Bards, Sorcerers, and Warlocks, but not quite as many as Wizards. Even clerics and druids have an spell known edge over Bards, and a significant on over Sorcerers and Warlocks at higher levels. I would call those percentages "quite a bit", yes.

Then 90% of the time there should be no delay. Most of the remaining 10% should also be no delay as they should know their spells and be thinking about what to switch out while watches are being taken and other things being described. The length of time it takes me to tell a DM I made changes is a few seconds on average.
The delay is still there. That is the annoying part. The time is wasted wondering what spells to swap out, and the vast majority of the time there are very minor or no changes made. It takes several minutes since the players discuss "What spells should my Wizard or Cleric take today?" If the changes were significant or actually played a role in the game I would be more understanding of it, but frankly that isn't what happens at our table anyway.

Edit: I'm also not sure why you gimped Sorcerers that badly. Warlocks are a spell light class. Sorcerers aren't and you removed 1/3 of their spells.
I'm not sure what you're talking about, I didn't change Sorcerers at all. They cap out at 15 known spells in the PHB.

As to the other comments, like any changes at our table we will discuss it and test it on a trial basis. If it works we keep it and if not, we go back to the RAW. Some of our changes have worked out great and we've kept them (like using average damage). I appreciate the warnings but all those have been considered, which is why I am not asking about possible pitfalls, but other options that would quicken the process of selecting prepared spells or remove it altogether.

Like one idea I had last night was maybe limited the spell swapping. Something like one spell per short rest, three over a long rest, or some combination not to exceed three?
 

dnd4vr

Hero
In my two current Eberron campaigns I've turned every long-rest spellcasting class into a 'Known Spells' caster, and they all run with the same spell slot table, Spells Known, and Cantrips Known (except for isolated changes here and there-- Sorcerer gains an extra Cantrip over the others for example). And the three primary casters who normally are Prepared but now aren't (cleric, druid, wizard)... the Cleric and Land Druids get to add their domain/land spells to their Spells Known, and Wizards still have a ritual book that they use to collect any Rituals they come across in scrolls or other spellbooks (although any rituals in their book that aren't also a Known Spell for them can only be cast as a 10-minute ritual.)

Thus far there have not been any issues. And for those that are wondering about the wizard versus sorcerer thing-- in my Eberron campaigns sorcerers are only dragonmarked characters who focus on their dragonmark magic, and thus they have specialized spell lists they have to use per dragonmark and have story compels that keep them balanced against wizards.
Cool. Thanks for your input and experiences in doing something like what we are considering. I was already planning on working ritual spells into Wizards somehow and the idea about domain spells for cleric and druids works well I would think.
 

Laurefindel

Explorer
I too had considered a "everyone is a spontaneous casters" for a while (except for the wizard; spell preparation was their thing). For me,this was meant for young and new players; this way they wouldn't feel pressured to know each and every spell to make a judicious choice. It just didn't turned out to be necessary in the end.

I would have given the bard's progression to cleric and druid, and half of the bard's progression to the paladin similarly to how the ranger gets half of the sorcerer's progression. With bonus spells from divine domain and sacred oath (and land druid), that came to a manageable yet flexible repertoire.

Alternatively, make changing your list of prepared spells a downtime activity (1 week) requiring research, pilgrimage, special prayers, offerings, eclipse, new/full moon, alignment of planets/planes etc.

With everyone a spontaneous caster, a bonus spell known makes a nice treasure/reward at the end of a thematically appropriate quest.
 
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Saelorn

Adventurer
The only hard part, from a design perspective, is how to balance the number of spells that a wizard can know in order to maintain their role as knowing a lot of spells - but without overwhelming the player, or slowing down gameplay, by giving them access to all of those spells at once. Presumably, they would end up knowing a few more spells than the base rules would allow them to prepare.

Personally, I consider this to be one of the many design flaws of 5E, which is why I moved all spellcasters onto the sorcerer model when I did my big re-working of the edition.
 

Ashrym

Adventurer
At the OP

If you don't like spell prep simply playing in campaigns that ban spell prep classes is also a solution. I've played many and they run fine. No class is needed.

In my two current Eberron campaigns I've turned every long-rest spellcasting class into a 'Known Spells' caster, and they all run with the same spell slot table, Spells Known, and Cantrips Known (except for isolated changes here and there-- Sorcerer gains an extra Cantrip over the others for example). And the three primary casters who normally are Prepared but now aren't (cleric, druid, wizard)... the Cleric and Land Druids get to add their domain/land spells to their Spells Known, and Wizards still have a ritual book that they use to collect any Rituals they come across in scrolls or other spellbooks (although any rituals in their book that aren't also a Known Spell for them can only be cast as a 10-minute ritual.)
This is pretty much what I was thinking when I was looking at the OP. Wizards swapping spells is largely situational and minor, domains included in spells known makes the loss of swapping a minor inconvenience, and druids tend to be druids for shape-shifting while land druids add circle spells.

Giving the wizard class a free ritual caster feat for the book was my first thought but I would probably work out a table to add rituals to it for free. The wizard ritual casting mechanic makes it easy to have several rituals under standard rules so a freebie every third level or so makes sense.

I would probably give clerics and druids the same free ritual book but not the free rituals. Not being able to swap in rituals reactively can impact them.

I think that's all it takes to balance out giving up spell prep versatility on these classes.
 

Laurefindel

Explorer
At the OP

If you don't like spell prep simply playing in campaigns that ban spell prep classes is also a solution. I've played many and they run fine. No class is needed.
That would leave the ranger as the only divine caster, getting rid of wizard, druid, paladin, and cleric, making the bard the main healer and the warlock the most priestly-type character. A whole lot of spells would exist as magical secrets for bard only, although the divine soul sorcerer technically covers all of the cleric spells.

that would be a very cool campaign premise, but a clear departure from the base assumptions of a typical D&D game.
 
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