D&D 5E Would a feat to turn a "known spell" caster into a spellbook-style prepared caster be overpowered?

I'm not really following the 5.5e playtest because I know I won't be able to adopt the edition change in general. But that doesn't mean I won't snag ideas I like from the SRD when it's done. And I happen to run across a news article that said the bard is being changed to a prepared caster.

Which got me thinking. I'm not going to change the class, but the old school flavor of giving bards the option to be a prepared caster sounds like something I would consider. And I have a current bard player who would probably be all over that, since they are really into playing a wizardy bard.

The easiest way to implement it would be through a feat, which should probably also be available to sorcerers and warlocks. The way I'm thinking of it is that it would give you a spellbook (or something equivalent), rather than making you know the whole list like a cleric. So you'd be able to prepare your spells (or a subset of them) just like a wizard, and you'd be able to learn new spells from scrolls, etc.

The question is whether there is any way to do this that would be balanced. And if class would matter. Maybe it would work for bards, but not sorcerers. Maybe it would need to be an optional alternative 1st level class feature instead of a feat, etc.

What do you balance-sensitive DMs think? Can it be done at all, and what method of providing it or use limitations would hit the right balance?
 

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Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
I'm not really following the 5.5e playtest because I know I won't be able to adopt the edition change in general. But that doesn't mean I won't snag ideas I like from the SRD when it's done. And I happen to run across a news article that said the bard is being changed to a prepared caster.
The bard is not just a prepared caster, he's prepares them like an arcane cleric would. He can just prepare any spell he wants each and every day from the full arcane list, just like a cleric prepares spells.
Which got me thinking. I'm not going to change the class, but the old school flavor of giving bards the option to be a prepared caster sounds like something I would consider. And I have a current bard player who would probably be all over that, since they are really into playing a wizardy bard.
Why even make it a feat? It adds vulnerability in that the spellbook can be lost. This compensates for the extra spells in the book to choose from.
The question is whether there is any way to do this that would be balanced. And if class would matter. Maybe it would work for bards, but not sorcerers. Maybe it would need to be an optional alternative 1st level class feature instead of a feat, etc.
That would work. Just make it an alternative spellcasting class feature. That way he can save his ASI/Feat for something else.
 


Hriston

Dungeon Master of Middle-earth
I think for it to be worthwhile as a feat, the spell book would need to contain four spells initially. So the prerequisite for the feat is at least four spells known (1st level for bards, 3rd level for sorcerers and warlocks, and 5th level for rangers), and the spell book comes with four of your known spells written in it.

You can prepare spells from the book up to your number of known spells from your class, and when you prepare a spell, it replaces one of your known spells, meaning that the total number of prepared and "active" known spells cannot exceed the original number of known spells from your class.

You cannot ritual cast spells directly from the book. A bard can ritual cast if the spell is prepared/known, but rangers, sorcerers, and warlocks do not gain the ability to ritual cast from this feat.

You can copy additional known spells into your book using the procedure given in the "Replacing the Book" section of the wizard's "Your Spellbook" sidebar, and you can copy found spells using the procedure in the "Copying a Spell into the Book" section.

I think I would call the feat Prepared Caster.
 
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Li Shenron

Legend
Very difficult question...

Perhaps one way to look at it would be, compare the resulting Sorcerer to a Wizard of the same level (rather than to a Sorcerer with a different feat), and see if they look balanced with each other. My gut feeling says they more or less would be: the Sorcerer will have the metamagic or additional slots, the Wizard will have easier ritual use and more than twice the spells known (before scribing) plus arcane recovery and one more feat.

Maybe it could be actually that the Bard will be a bit better, considering all the class feature it gets, in exchange for having originally not so many known spells.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
I have no concerns. If anything, the feat is probably too weak.

Things might end up a little different. Some classes may end up better or worse with it. But it's all going to be within acceptable margins. IMO.
 

see

Pedantic Grognard
From a project of mine I've been tinkering with:


Tome Mage​

Prerequisites: Intelligence 13 or higher, Spells Known of 1st Level and Higher feature

Through intense study you have learned to partly emulate the way wizards learn and prepare spells with your magic. You gain the following benefits:
  • You gain a spellbook. It contains all your spells known, plus two additional 1st-level spells you could have selected with your Spells Known of 1st Level and Higher feature.
  • You may add additional spells that you could have selected with your Spells Known of 1st Level and Higher feature to your spellbook if you find copies of them, just as if you were a wizard adding wizard spells to a spellbook.
  • As part of a long rest, you may replace any one of your spells known with a spell in your spellbook, under the same restrictions (such as class and school) as replacing one of the spells you know upon gaining a level with your Spells Known of 1st Level and Higher feature.
  • Ritual Casting. You can cast a spell on the wizard spell list as a ritual if that spell has the ritual tag and you have the spell in your spellbook. You don’t need to have the spell be one of your spells known or prepared.


Replacing just one spell per long rest might be excessively restrictive, but it does come with two 1st level spells free and the ritual magic bennie, and my target was to have it simultaneously work for bards, sorcerers, warlocks, eldritch knights, arcane tricksters, and sidekick spellcasters.
 

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