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Dark_Juggernaut
2010-09-16, 06:59 PM
So I was interested by a previous thread about the class tier system (of which there are many I assume).

I had a couple of ideas of how to bring casters down a notch or two, and wanted to know what everyone thought.

First off, what if your casters could only choose 1 or 2 schools they could cast from, of which they are considered specialized in. Generalists get 2-3. How high can a caster with only 1-3 schools be on the tier system then?

My second Idea was to simply remove all spells with material components. What effect would that have on on the game exactly?

Similar to my second idea, maybe have your casters choose between being a Voice Caster or a Hand Caster, barring all spells that use Somatic or Verbal components respectively. If that seems to harsh, Still/Silent Spell feats might unlock the spells with both Verbal and Somatic (obviously costing a higher slot), but not spells without the casters main component.

If any one of these wouldn't be enough, does any combination of them seem more suitable?

They each seem like they would really limit the vast versatility that makes casters so much better than everyone else, without completely ruining them. I could be wrong though, and maybe any sort of such blanketing would ruin them?

Urpriest
2010-09-16, 07:06 PM
Eunuch Warlock is the best prestige class for castrating casters.

...What?

Flickerdart
2010-09-16, 07:10 PM
Easy - pick the schools of Transmutation and Conjuration. You now have something like 50% of all spells. Continue winning the game.

However, making people choose between Vocal and Somatic...makes most spells unavailable. There's only two spells I know that's Somatic but not Vocal and that's Gaseous Form and Rainbow Pattern.

oxybe
2010-09-16, 07:10 PM
honestly, the only way to properly nerf 3.5 casters is to parse down the spell list.

print out the spell list in black & white, grab a big red marker and start scratching off spells that break the game until you get a list you're comfortable with.

simply adding extra hoops to jump through just means the casters need to click off the safety before they shoot their laser-guided uranium-powered sharkzooka.

you're over-complicating your life & your player's life.

find the list, parse it down. anything else is akin to telling the casters: "Keep your guns, you can only fire them on the 4th thursday of the month and if Sten Stenson is nearby"

so wizard kidnaps Sten, sovereign glues him to a dolly and hides out until the 4th thursday arrives and goes nova.

Nich_Critic
2010-09-16, 07:11 PM
The first is no good. The schools of conjuration, transmutation and abjuration are good enough that the wizard would simply pick any two.

Do you mean material components, or expensive material components? If the former then you won't have many spells left. Almost everything takes some kind of component. If the latter, you've eliminated a couple of broken spells, but not nearly all of them.

For the verbal/somatic components, again, you wouldn't be left with much. It at least would be interesting, but there aren't very many spells a wizard can cast that has one but not the other. If you allow the feat to open the ones with both up, you've basically just created a feat tax, because every wizard will take it at 1 to get most of their spells back.

Your ideas are nice thoughts, but you need to look at the proportions of these things when considering if it would be a balancing fix. Personally, there are enough tier 3 casters that I would simply say "no classes above tier 3" and be done with it. Have the melee types play ToB Characters and the mages play tier 3 casters, and everyone will be happy.

Nohwl
2010-09-16, 07:14 PM
how would eschew materials work?

i guess noone would be coming back from the dead because raise dead is banned.

edit-- cure light wounds and vigor have both components, so healing is banned too.

Dark_Juggernaut
2010-09-16, 07:23 PM
That's why I posted the ideas, to see what all was wrong with basic blanketing, and I knew you guys would have some great immediate answers.

Though so far, it sounds like forcing all casters to pick a single school to cast from might be a simple fix.

Picking from an ENTIRE list of spells what's ok and what's not...well it sounds like it'd be more fun to have a persistent force in the game that bans spells as they break the game, haha!

Kurald Galain
2010-09-16, 07:25 PM
The first is no good. The schools of conjuration, transmutation and abjuration are good enough that the wizard would simply pick any two.

Why abjuration, though? I wouldn't miss any spell from there except for Dispel Magic.

Flickerdart
2010-09-16, 07:26 PM
That's why I posted the ideas, to see what all was wrong with basic blanketing, and I knew you guys would have some great immediate answers.

Though so far, it sounds like forcing all casters to pick a single school to cast from might be a simple fix.

Picking from an ENTIRE list of spells what's ok and what's not...well it sounds like it'd be more fun to have a persistent force in the game that bans spells as they break the game, haha!
A Focused Specialist Conjurer or Transmuter can still ruin your day. There is no quick and easy fix for spellcasters that leaves them fun and effective without being campaign breaking. Just play T3 casters...

Glimbur
2010-09-16, 07:28 PM
I'm going to take a random sample of spells from the SRD. Let's go... 10. Also, it's not really random because true randomness is hard.

Find Traps (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/findTraps.htm): V and S. Cleric 2. Divination.

Shatter (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/shatter.htm): V,S,M/DF. Bard, Cleric, Wizard, Domains all level 2. Evocation[Sonic]

Acid Fog (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/acidFog.htm): V,S,M/DF. Sorc/Wiz 6, Domain 7. Conjuration (Creation)[Acid]

Stinking Cloud (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/stinkingCloud.htm):V,S,M. Conjuration(Creation). Wizard 3

Comprehend Languages (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/comprehendLanguages.htm):V,S,M/DF. Bunch of people, level 1. Divination

Raise Dead (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/raiseDead.htm):V,S,M,DF. Cleric 5. Conjuration(Healing)

Guidance (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/guidance.htm): V,S. Cleric and Druid 0. Divination

Sleet Storm (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/sleetStorm.htm):V,S,M/DF. Conjuration(Creation) [Cold]. Druid or Sorc/Wiz 3.

Delayed Blast Fireball (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/delayedBlastFireball.htm):V,S,M. Sorc/Wiz 7. Evocation[Fire]

Water Breathing (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/waterBreathing.htm):V,S,M/DF. Druid/Sorc/Wiz/Cleric/Domain 3. Transmutation.

Removing spells with material components, by this random sampling, means that arcane casters can no longer cast spells. This is a possible fix, but requires further thought and should be phrased as "no arcane casters" instead of "arcane casters have no spells". Divine casters, by contrast, will be mostly unaffected except they cannot raise the dead.

Every spell selected has both verbal and somatic components. Therefore, requiring casters to only be able to do one or the other is very similar to banning casters.

Schools are actually easy to compare on the SRD using this list (http://www.d20srd.org/indexes/spellLists.htm). For a wizard, if I had to take only three schools I could get by with Conjuration, Transmutation, and ... Abjuration, Illusion, or Divination.

The best way to fix casters is to fix the spells. This is a large undertaking, which is why I don't know of anyone who has successfully done it. An easier method is to use casters like the beguiler, warmage, and dread necro who have a much smaller list.

Dark_Juggernaut
2010-09-16, 07:32 PM
A Focused Specialist Conjurer or Transmuter can still ruin your day. There is no quick and easy fix for spellcasters that leaves them fun and effective without being campaign breaking. Just play T3 casters...

How much more could they ruin my day than the T3s though? They're STILL so versatile and SO powerful that they stay at T2+?

Kurald Galain
2010-09-16, 07:35 PM
The two easiest ways of fixing casters are,

(1) play at relatively low level; whatever problems exist are far more noticeable at level 15 than at level 5.

(2) invoke the "don't be a jerk" rule: a caster PC can try to upstage everybody, or try to support everybody; nudge them towards the latter.

Also, it makes a lot of difference whether the non-caster party members are bottom tier (e.g. fighter or monk) or average tier (e.g. rogue or swordsage).

SurlySeraph
2010-09-16, 07:37 PM
The problem with any simple and systematic idea like that is that there are so many exceptions and weird cases in all the spells available that there's a way to be powerful despite almost any restriction.

A good way to do DMing-wise is just putting in hassles for casters that work fluff-wise. Make them actually keep track of material components, have people attempt to steal their spellbook (or individual pages of their spellbook so they don't lose all power but still have a hassle; a thief stealing an obscure spell from the wizard for some mysterious patron would be both a good way to deny the wizard a problematic spell and a good plot hook), superstitious peasantry who mistrust them, enough encounters per day/ encounters with hordes of weak enemies coming in waves so that they actually run out of spells, lots of enemies with spell resistance, golems, enemy casters so they can mage-duel equivalent opponents while the melee types sword-duel, enemies and situations that they do not have useful spells prepared for, and so on.

RAW-wise, there are plenty of ways. You can require them to make skill checks or caster level checks to cast their spells at full CL and full DCs (having them make skill checks to cast at all gets incredibly frustrating after a series of bad rolls, but "OK, your Glitterdust does not disable everyone" is fine). Ban metamagic reducers. Ban the big problem spells like Celerity, Polymorph, etc. Switch around what schools certain spells are in so that giving up Evocation actually does make it hard to do direct damage, giving up Enchantment does make you lose most of your Will-save-or-screwed effects, etc. At higher levels, reduce their spells per day and don't let them have Pearls of Power or Rings of Wizardry.

Really, there's any number of ways to restrain casters, but doing it by making simple changes to their spell lists isn't a very effective way. The best is probably to tell the player to be restrained.

Dark_Juggernaut
2010-09-16, 07:43 PM
Hmm, thanks for all the advice :smallsmile:

Glimbur
2010-09-16, 07:46 PM
A good way to do DMing-wise is just putting in hassles for casters that work fluff-wise. Make them actually keep track of material components

This is a bad idea. Do you really want to audit the wizard's inventory to see if he has thirty pork rinds or only twenty nine? How much mass of bat guano do I need to cast a fireball? How big of a lodestone and how many iron fillings do I need to reverse gravity?

On the other hand, the rest of that paragraph is pretty reasonable.

Making checks to cast spells well is not like making attack rolls, it is more like rolling to see how many hit points you have every time you are hit. Melee takes and deals damage, casters cast spells. Again, the rest of your paragraph is pretty reasonable.

I agree that the best approach is self-restraint on the hand of players.

prufock
2010-09-16, 07:50 PM
First off, what if your casters could only choose 1 or 2 schools they could cast from, of which they are considered specialized in. Generalists get 2-3. How high can a caster with only 1-3 schools be on the tier system then?
Prediction: everybody chooses illusion, but not conjuration or evocation. You effectively get 3 schools for the price of 1. However, still not a terrible idea, if you're looking to nerf-bat them. I have no idea how this would play out balance-wise; I'd have to play-test it first.


My second Idea was to simply remove all spells with material components. What effect would that have on on the game exactly?
You mean ANY material components or just material components over 1gp in value? I don't like this option because SO many good spells are lost, and there's no choice on the part of the player. Go filter (http://www.penpaperpixel.org/tools/d20spellfilter/)them and see what you'd be missing.


Similar to my second idea, maybe have your casters choose between being a Voice Caster or a Hand Caster, barring all spells that use Somatic or Verbal components respectively. If that seems to harsh, Still/Silent Spell feats might unlock the spells with both Verbal and Somatic (obviously costing a higher slot), but not spells without the casters main component.
This is a bit more reasonable, but again, I'd have to see it in action. EVERYONE is going to take those feats, though, so all you really end up with is costing all casters one feat. Though it does cost higher slots. Maybe give them the feats for free, in that case?

Alternatives:
Decrease the available spell options. Heck, a simple rule like "core spells only" cuts down on a lot of issues (though, granted, there are still powerful core spells).
Make it much more costly to scribe spells into a spellbook.

The Glyphstone
2010-09-16, 08:03 PM
If you want to tackle it from the 'problematic spells' angle, start by eliminating the Polymorph/Shapechange line and the Shadow Conjuration/Evocation lines.

Dark_Juggernaut
2010-09-16, 08:11 PM
So how about pathfinder? Does the list of spells provided by the Core Rulebook and AVG solve any of this madness? Would a caster limited to these spells suddenly be a great deal more balanced?

Urpriest
2010-09-16, 08:12 PM
So how about pathfinder? Does the list of spells provided by the Core Rulebook and AVG solve any of this madness? Would a caster limited to these spells suddenly be a great deal more balanced?

Some things get solved (Polymorph for example is mostly dealt with), but there are still enough encounter-winning spells to ruin your day.

Flickerdart
2010-09-16, 08:23 PM
How much more could they ruin my day than the T3s though? They're STILL so versatile and SO powerful that they stay at T2+?
Honestly? Yes. T2 isn't about versatility, though. A transmuter has access to Shapechange and Time Stop. A conjurer enjoys the benefits of Gate and Planar Binding. Just because each one can't access the other's broken toys doesn't mean he can't use his own.

Tyndmyr
2010-09-16, 08:29 PM
Easy - pick the schools of Transmutation and Conjuration. You now have something like 50% of all spells. Continue winning the game.

However, making people choose between Vocal and Somatic...makes most spells unavailable. There's only two spells I know that's Somatic but not Vocal and that's Gaseous Form and Rainbow Pattern.

Conjuration?

Illusion. Look up shadow spells. Continue winning the game with effectively a couple more schools.

Oh, and spell components are indeed terrible. If you track em, that just results in the caster stockpiling lots of essentially free items in a very smelly handy haversack. Lots of math. Having to discuss how he readies his spell components. No real change in power.

Lans
2010-09-16, 11:26 PM
step 1 Just get rid of/fix all of the broken spells you can find to knock them down a peg.
Step 2 Give a boost to the lower pegged classes and expand the range on what they can do.
Step 3 fix/ban the broken spells that come up during game play.
That should do it. Casters will still be on the tier 2/3 boundry and the noncasters will be on the tier 3/4 boundry.

ericgrau
2010-09-17, 12:28 AM
Eh, limiting schools just makes it more annoying to play and more effort to find splat-book substitutes that let you do the same thing within the schools you keep.

I'm in favor of the opposite approach: Let them have all their spells and versatility but drop the spell levels. Casters and non-casters are like apples and oranges since their roles are so far apart, so you can't make a direct comparison. That works against you b/c casters will always be useful no matter how much you nerf them, but it also works for you b/c casters will always be useful no matter how much you nerf them. Basically they'll end up as a utility role in that they'll be the only ones that can do certain things, so they're still more versatile than others, but they'll need to rely on the beat-sticks to actually kill things.

Actually the well built caster is already like this. As said merely fixing the broken stuff is a lot already. Plenty IMO. By also lowering the caster's level you're giving him less limelight. I've done an effective level 12 batman sorcerer in a party with 2 level 16-17 damage dealers, one blaster wizard and one ranger/barbarian. So I think this would work out just fine. The two level 16-17 guys were the main stars as always, but they were amazed how well I supported them. So basically the non-casters get more time to shine at the expense of the caster. For something similar you could maybe do 3/4 casting with the dead level every 4th level (so there's no nerf on levels 1-3). Though that assumes the caster picks the right spells.

Awnetu
2010-09-17, 01:21 AM
Use my DMs current method its fun fun fun.

Spells text is negotiable, but only for his stuff. True Sight? Doesn't actually work for seeing ethereal creatures. Choker of Undying Fortitude? Doesn't actually make you immune to things requiring fortitude saves. Why? Because he is the DM, how dare you question his ruling.

Save dcs? through the roof, the creatures are running around with +40 fort saves, +28 Reflex Saves +30 Will saves against Level 17 parties. (Those saves were on the same creature)

Piercing Cold and the like? His creatures ignore the entire text of that feat, if I wanna bypass the resistance, tough.

DR also works against spells.

His creatures are allowed access to rules he denies his players (Bypassing AMF, had to complain about it before he relented, never mind he didn't let us know such house rules would be there to begin with).

His creatures SR is through the roof, when a player brought up the fact that he rolled an 18 on a caster level check to bypass SR and failed, the dm said you were only 2 off from making it. (I HOPE SO, THAT'S A 20. Also, it was a full caster that failed.)

But yeah, if you use rules like that, wizards that aren't trying to blast don't break games at all :)


Sorry had to vent. :smallfurious:

Edit, have you tried a 2e version of Wizard spells etc? The casters have to find the spells, they dont just get to pick them at will.

Arbane
2010-09-17, 02:31 AM
Play something besides standard D&D3.5, like Iron Gauntlets or d20 Conan?

(Nerfing D&D magic will probably require rewriting the game from the spell-lists on up, so might as well let someone else do it for you...)

Mystic Muse
2010-09-17, 02:40 AM
Save dcs? through the roof, the creatures are running around with +40 fort saves, +28 Reflex Saves +30 Will saves against Level 17 parties. (Those saves were on the same creature) Don't use spells that allow saves. Still really unfair though.



Piercing Cold and the like? His creatures ignore the entire text of that feat, if I wanna bypass the resistance, tough. Don't take the feat or change it. If he argues, tell him that if you had known the feat wasn't going to do anything, you wouldn't have taken it.



DR also works against spells. This can work in your favor I bet.



His creatures are allowed access to rules he denies his players (Bypassing AMF, had to complain about it before he relented, never mind he didn't let us know such house rules would be there to begin with).
His creatures SR is through the roof, when a player brought up the fact that he rolled an 18 on a caster level check to bypass SR and failed, the dm said you were only 2 off from making it. (I HOPE SO, THAT'S A 20. Also, it was a full caster that failed.) Yeah, this is just mean


Sorry had to vent. :smallfurious: Have you tried just talking to him and telling him these rules aren't fun?

Personally, if I ban something, I don't use it against my players either.

ericgrau
2010-09-17, 02:58 AM
Sorry had to vent. :smallfurious:
Wall of force. For that matter my battlefield control sorc had 1 or 2 spells that had saves or SR and I hated using them. Of course it's only a matter of time before your DM nerfs the no save/SR spells into unusability too and all anyone can do is blast. Like the other poster I don't think "You can't do anything you normally like to do" is a solution.

Animefunkmaster
2010-09-17, 03:18 AM
Well Casters win because they have versatility and adaptability built into the spell casting mechanics (not to mention debuffs, and control). Instead of nerfing the casters give the martial class versatility. I recommend a tome of battle approach.

Kurald Galain
2010-09-17, 03:34 AM
Prediction: everybody chooses illusion, but not conjuration or evocation. You effectively get 3 schools for the price of 1.
Prediction: that's not such a great idea considering it eats your highest-level slots for the ability to mimic lower-level spells.

Bottom line, though, is that a one-school wizard is very much playable (albeit not for every single school) and does noticeably reduce a wizard's power level by reducing the amount of tricks he can pull off.

Mastikator
2010-09-17, 03:48 AM
How about a different approach, the caster has to choose between buffs, debuffs, blasts and utility (and heal if applicable). Pick one.

Now the casters are no longer versatile.

Otodetu
2010-09-17, 04:48 AM
Can't you just kindly ask the players not to break the game?

If not, try limiting the influx of powerful classes, as in sticking to t2 and below and keeping the level of the game low, as in up to level 10.

What sort of game are you playing, and what impact on the world would your fixes have?

IncoherentEssay
2010-09-17, 05:28 AM
How about bumping spells up levels as a fix?
Sure, Polymorph is powerful, but does it compare to lvl 9 spells? lvl 8? lvl 7? 6?
At some point it should be in line with what is acceptable on that spell level. I would probably place Polymorph as a 6th level spell.

Admittedly some spells are just unsalvageable, mostly ones in hte 7-9 brackets. The few that aren't world-breaking can be left as is and the rest moved to spell levels 10+, accessible through expanded spell capacity.
Ditch Epic Spellcasting, obviously. A side benefit of the spell-level-shuffle type of fix is how it requires only one document for the new list of spell levels, the actual spells remain as is and can thus be referenced from their respective books.

Now, how clueless is this idea :smalltongue:?

Otodetu
2010-09-17, 05:44 AM
In general i support common sense, gentlemans agreements and buffing over nerfing.

As in don't play an optimized Incantrix in a lowly optimized party or with a inexperienced dm.

Ozymandias9
2010-09-17, 06:32 AM
The core of my solution, when I desire one, is to get rid of 8th and 9th level spells (or more) and slow the acquisition of new spell levels accordingly. This will. There's still an imbalance, but it makes it significantly lower and less noticeable.

There are still specific spells that are issues, but my general policy is to start with core the core list, ban the big offenders, and judge the rest la carte.

2xMachina
2010-09-17, 06:43 AM
In general i support common sense, gentlemans agreements and buffing over nerfing.

As in don't play an optimized Incantrix in a lowly optimized party or with a inexperienced dm.

Hear! Hear!

prufock
2010-09-17, 08:52 AM
Prediction: that's not such a great idea considering it eats your highest-level slots for the ability to mimic lower-level spells.

Bottom line, though, is that a one-school wizard is very much playable (albeit not for every single school) and does noticeably reduce a wizard's power level by reducing the amount of tricks he can pull off.

That's a good point. Illusion is a pretty decent school of it's own accord, though. SoD's, SoL's, control. Not a lot of direct damage, but that's what SE is for. Alas, it doesn't help with my favourite school, Transmutation.

jiriku
2010-09-17, 10:21 AM
Use my DMs current method its fun fun fun.

Spells text is negotiable, but only for his stuff. True Sight? Doesn't actually work for seeing ethereal creatures. Choker of Undying Fortitude? Doesn't actually make you immune to things requiring fortitude saves. Why? Because he is the DM, how dare you question his ruling.

Save dcs? through the roof, the creatures are running around with +40 fort saves, +28 Reflex Saves +30 Will saves against Level 17 parties. (Those saves were on the same creature)

Piercing Cold and the like? His creatures ignore the entire text of that feat, if I wanna bypass the resistance, tough.

DR also works against spells.

His creatures are allowed access to rules he denies his players (Bypassing AMF, had to complain about it before he relented, never mind he didn't let us know such house rules would be there to begin with).

His creatures SR is through the roof, when a player brought up the fact that he rolled an 18 on a caster level check to bypass SR and failed, the dm said you were only 2 off from making it. (I HOPE SO, THAT'S A 20. Also, it was a full caster that failed.)

But yeah, if you use rules like that, wizards that aren't trying to blast don't break games at all :)


Sorry had to vent. :smallfurious:

Edit, have you tried a 2e version of Wizard spells etc? The casters have to find the spells, they dont just get to pick them at will.

Fun times. I had a DM like that once. To get things working, I had to switch to a mailman sorcerer build using heavily metamagicked hail of stone spells. Only thing was, once I was dealing damage without needing attack rolls or line of sight and disallowing saving throws and spell resistance, all the monsters that our level 14 party was facing suddenly had 300-800 hp.

Glimbur
2010-09-17, 10:25 AM
Fun times. I had a DM like that once. To get things working, I had to switch to a mailman sorcerer build using heavily metamagicked hail of stone spells. Only thing was, once I was dealing damage without needing attack rolls or line of sight and disallowing saving throws and spell resistance, all the monsters that our level 14 party was facing suddenly had 300-800 hp.

I would instead try volunteering to DM. You clearly are frustrated, so it is likely the rest of the party is also. Phrase it diplomatically and you have a nonzero chance of changing things with minimal drama.

jiriku
2010-09-17, 10:46 AM
I did. It worked. :smallbiggrin: But I miss being a player. :smallfrown:


Back on topic, narrowing spell selection is a big way to manage caster power. Cutting schools IS effective, but not extremely so because some schools are extremely powerful and flexible.


One tactic that could work well would be to reinstate the limits that existed in 1e and 2e for the magic-user and mage classes, in which you can only learn and place in your spellbook a limited number of spells. Essentially, this makes the wizard into a limited-list caster like a beguiler, dread-necromancer, or warmage, but gives him the flexibility to choose what spells go onto that limited list, and the restriction that his default set of spells known is quite small until he gets ahold of new ones through adventuring. A maximum of, say, 10+Int bonus spells per level should do the trick.



Another technique for more actively managing wizardly power is to control spell availability.

(long)
By default, the wizard only gets a very small number of spells "for free". The wizard's player is dependent on you as the DM to allow his character to find other spells in the game world.

Don't let him.

I'm not saying you have to choke the fellow off entirely, but you can make it difficult to acquire wizard spells. Don't allow him to walk into a major city, trundle a wheelbarrow full of gold into Ye Old Magic Item Shoppe, and walk out with 30 new spells scribed into his spellbook. Force him to do it the old-fashioned way, by looting spellbooks from fallen enemies, finding scrolls of spells in treasure hoards, and making alliances and trades with NPC wizards.

Something I commonly tell my would-be wizard players is "Other wizards are usually as rich as you, so they're not going to give you access to their precious spells in exchange for mere gold (although you'll need gold, too). For every spell you copy from an NPC wizard, you'll have to let him copy a spell from your book of equal or higher level that he doesn't already know. And you'll need to establish a trust relationship with him first, either through the Diplomacy skill or through your in-game actions. Alternately, if you want a rare spell and no one knows it, you may have to quest for the spell, and convince your companions to come along on the adventure."

A lot of the "wizard=god" culture comes from an overly permissive DMing style where you give the wizard whatever spells he wants in whatever quantity he wants without making him work for them. It's easy to change that habit.


Note that you can use these two techniques in conjunction with one another. They work really well; again, this is How Things Used To Be back in the 70's, 80's and 90's when people were playing 1e and 2e D&D.



A third technique you can use is to attack the fact that the "standard copying fee" listed for a spell is grossly low for the power that's granted. Rule that spells can only be learned from scrolls, meaning that if you want to learn a spell from an NPC wizard, you have to pay the much higher purchase price of a scroll, rather than the extremely low copying fee (you may also have to wait a day for him to create the scroll, since he may not have one lying around that he's willing to sell to you). Better still, this means that you can easily use wizardly villains without worrying that the wizard PC is going to get his hands on 30-50 new spells every time he loots a spellbook -- the spellbook itself isn't useful for learning new spells, and the wizard can only pick up new spells from scrolls the enemy might have been carrying.

Awnetu
2010-09-17, 11:06 AM
How about a different approach, the caster has to choose between buffs, debuffs, blasts and utility (and heal if applicable). Pick one.

Now the casters are no longer versatile.

Or fun. Your just playing the Healbot/Buffbot/Debuffbot Only one of those would really make me go, heck yes, and after a few fights where you make the targets strength and dex drop to 0 or kept half the enemies from doing anything, your dm would likely be a little frustrated.

As far as my dm goes, his excuse is that otherwise my blaster would plow through his campaign, because my 15d6 damage a round is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too much damage. He took my wizard and said I could only use the warmage spell list. So Wall of Force doesn't work, =(. The DR for spells? Only applied for his creatures as well.

Im burnt out on DM'ing, last time I held a campaign a player who had been making silly decisions when trying to take over the local drug trade died, and it was my fault, I was just gunning for his character.

Anyways back on topic, I read in a recent thread for something like this that someone had tried pushing back the utility spells by 2-3 levels each so stuff like Fly was actually a serious investment instead of just a low level tool. I havent gotten a chance to do this yet, but I think it might help bring them down a notch. Also you can ban the obvious cheese in the Polymorph Line and some such, and presto you have toned them down a bit. If your willing to look at a slightly different system, d20r by Fax has gone through and revised spell lists for the casters, what you are looking for may be there. Those classes looks like strong T3 material.

Mystic Muse
2010-09-17, 11:56 AM
As far as my dm goes, his excuse is that otherwise my blaster would plow through his campaign, because my 15d6 damage a round is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too much damage. He took my wizard and said I could only use the warmage spell list. So Wall of Force doesn't work, =(. The DR for spells? Only applied for his creatures as well.

15d6 damage a round is way too much? whaaa?

I say die and re-roll as something else if he's going to be a jerk about it.

Tyndmyr
2010-09-17, 02:20 PM
15d6 damage a round is way too much? whaaa?

I say die and re-roll as something else if he's going to be a jerk about it.

Oh yeah. I'd reroll as an ubercharger. Or a hulking hurler. Then, when I kill something that mysteriously had 800 hp, gleefully voice my opinions regarding the massive amount of xp for something that's clearly so tough.

But then, when DMs do arbitrary crap all the time, I tend to react badly. I've suffered through enough terrible games to realize that while everyone SAYS burning bridges is a bad idea, in practice, it's a lot more fun than continuing to deal with a bad DM.

Mystic Muse
2010-09-17, 02:22 PM
But then, when DMs do arbitrary crap all the time, I tend to react badly. I've suffered through enough terrible games to realize that while everyone SAYS burning bridges is a bad idea, in practice, it's a lot more fun than continuing to deal with a bad DM.

Especially a bad DM who isn't willing to listen when his player says "This isn't how the rules work and I don't find the fact that you're gimping me to the point of uselessness fun"

Zeful
2010-09-17, 02:44 PM
Can't you just kindly ask the players not to break the game?

Look through all the forums about someone complaining about their game and count the number of times people tell the disgruntled player to break that game.

Our own forum proves that "playing nice" is not a viable suggestion.

From a design perspective, if you have to ask someone to deliberately weaken themselves so the rest of the team in a cooperative game can have fun, the game is so horrifically designed that you'd probably have fun playing any other game (except maybe FATAL).

On Topic: I think there are some things to make casting just a little harder, and weaken casters without castrating them entirely.
Make at least one of the three spellcasting aspects (DCs, Spell Slots, Spell Access) key off of any other mental stat then their key stat. Redefine what each school does and move/pitch anything that no longer fits. Reintroduce Spheres for divine casters, you can only cast the spell if your deity has the sphere in their portfolio (this takes extensive work, but makes casters of different religions very different). Tightly control non-source spells from all casters (this is a little disproportionate, but since the spells are the problem, it should be considered).

Other than that you need to buff the mundanes a little more (ideally all classes should be similar in design to the Rogue rather than the Fighter).

Tyndmyr
2010-09-17, 02:46 PM
Look through all the forums about someone complaining about their game and count the number of times people tell the disgruntled player to break that game.

Our own forum proves that "playing nice" is not a viable suggestion.

Usually people advise talking first. And frequently, the complainer has already tried talking, and it didn't work. And VERY frequently, the target of complaining is a highly authoritarian DM who enjoys heavy use of fiat.

You are trying to use the symptom to justify the disease.

ericgrau
2010-09-17, 03:29 PM
Oh yeah. I'd reroll as an ubercharger. Or a hulking hurler. Then, when I kill something that mysteriously had 800 hp, gleefully voice my opinions regarding the massive amount of xp for something that's clearly so tough.
Well a sensible group would also disallow uberchargers / etc. But yeah I get that a DM limiting every little thing the caster can do is lame.

As for resolving issues, the best method that seems to appear in every such thread seems to be first talking, then threatening action, then taking the same action threatened. In that order. "Action" means either a penalty or more often all you can do is boot or leave. If someone won't listen to talking then fine move to the next step but you should at least try before attempting more extreme (but often necessary) measures.

Awnetu
2010-09-17, 03:41 PM
Sensible is weird when the DM has a questionable sense of balance.

the Defiant from planar handbook? Zomg OP.

The Rainbow Servant from a warmage entry? Sure why not. (This one is a little different I guess, if the cleric doesn't work at all.)

Factotums ability to buy extra standard actions for inspiration points? Broken.

Warblades with white raven tactics and iron heart surge? reasonable.

Thankfully that game ended last night, one of our casters magic missled the amulet a boss was channeling a spell through to stop the spell. The result was that caster was ported to Baator, and turned into a level one, the warblade was dropped off in the Twin Paradises, the cleric went back to his home plane, and my char is now on a hunt for his brother. Also the planet we were fighting on? It is now a dead planet apparently the amulet was keeping the planet alive AND belonged to the Lady. Poor caster getting thrown to Baator.

Actually... I kind of like that ending, means I have 4 different hooks to work off of. Should I choose to dm.

JonestheSpy
2010-09-17, 03:59 PM
A lot of the "wizard=god" culture comes from an overly permissive DMing style where you give the wizard whatever spells he wants in whatever quantity he wants without making him work for them. It's easy to change that habit.

Yeah, that's the crux of it. I think most of the OverWizard meme comes from internet theorizing where everything is permissible, lax reading of the rules (such as people forgetting all the dangers of using fave spell Contact Other Plane), and too many splatbooks.

Multiple encounters between rest periods, losing non-core cheese stupidity (such as Celerity, metamagic reducers, and Persist Spell,), monsters with spell resistance (there are lots of 'em, you know), fixing a small number of obviously broken rules (e.g. Saying summoned Efreeti can't be forced to grant wishes) are things that stop spellcasters from dominating the game without the DM needing to rewrite the game.

And frankly, I find the whole "Hope the spellcaster plays nice and doesn't act as powerful as he could" thing to be a load of condescending bullhockey.

jiriku
2010-09-17, 08:12 PM
Yeah, that's the crux of it. I think most of the OverWizard meme comes from internet theorizing where everything is permissible, lax reading of the rules (such as people forgetting all the dangers of using fave spell Contact Other Plane), and too many splatbooks.

Multiple encounters between rest periods, losing non-core cheese stupidity (such as Celerity, metamagic reducers, and Persist Spell,), monsters with spell resistance (there are lots of 'em, you know), fixing a small number of obviously broken rules (e.g. Saying summoned Efreeti can't be forced to grant wishes) are things that stop spellcasters from dominating the game without the DM needing to rewrite the game.

And frankly, I find the whole "Hope the spellcaster plays nice and doesn't act as powerful as he could" thing to be a load of condescending bullhockey.

Yep.

Although as a DM, I'd hate to give up my DMM: Persist cleric villains. Nothing makes the PCs invest in better touch AC like a persistent ice axe. :P

ericgrau
2010-09-17, 11:12 PM
I see the lure of the dark-side is strong to you.



Thankfully that game ended last night, one of our casters magic missled the amulet a boss was channeling a spell through to stop the spell. The result was that caster was ported to Baator, and turned into a level one, the warblade was dropped off in the Twin Paradises, the cleric went back to his home plane, and my char is now on a hunt for his brother. Also the planet we were fighting on? It is now a dead planet apparently the amulet was keeping the planet alive AND belonged to the Lady. Poor caster getting thrown to Baator.

Actually... I kind of like that ending, means I have 4 different hooks to work off of. Should I choose to dm.
Player 1: But you can't target objects with magic missile, for that matter you can't sunder with ranged attacks in general.
Player 2: Shush! Campaign over.

Yeah, if you think you can DM better than go for it. Doesn't have to be perfect as long as it's better.

Lysander
2010-09-17, 11:23 PM
Honestly, just nerf the most powerful spells. Whenever the player requests a spell you think would break your game just tell them how it operates in your world. For example:

Teleport - Requires difficult to construct, expensive, and stationary departure and arrival chambers. Basically, only useful for traveling between major cities and wizard's keeps.
Polymorph - Only transforms people into mundane animals.
Plane Shift - Requires an hour to cast, only sends people to the astral plane where they must find a portal to the plane they wish to ultimately reach.
Wall of Force - No longer invincible, just as strong as one inch of steel.

Etc.


Eunuch Warlock is the best prestige class for castrating casters.

...What?


Actually, the best caster to castrate would be bard. So they can hit the high notes.

Gavinfoxx
2010-09-18, 12:21 AM
Actually, the best caster to castrate would be bard. So they can hit the high notes.

Didn't the italians call them Castrati?

BeholderSlayer
2010-09-18, 09:28 AM
Unless you go to extreme measures to prevent it, a caster only really needs Alter Self and Polymorph and can win the game by themselves when in a dungeon. Social encounters can be a bit tougher though. Once they set foot in the dungeon, the ability to bypass or defeat virtually anything (traps, enemies, dungeon ecology, etc) is granted by these two spells alone.

Enemy monsters? Polymorph and kill.

Traps? Bypassed. Polymorph to Xorn and swim through the floor.

Ledges, pits, canyons, etc. Flight can be obtained by Alter Self.

The only thing that can ruin their day is a spellcasting enemy.

MarkusWolfe
2010-09-18, 10:15 AM
The solution to this is the gentlemen's agreement: the entire party gets together, looks through all the spells and agrees on which spells the caster will take. They shouldn't turn the caster into trash, but they should have him on par with the melees and not upstaging everyone.

BeholderSlayer
2010-09-18, 10:19 AM
The solution to this is the gentlemen's agreement: the entire party gets together, looks through all the spells and agrees on which spells the caster will take. They shouldn't turn the caster into trash, but they should have him on par with the melees and not upstaging everyone.

There is a problem with this idea, but it only rotates around the bolded text. If you had left that out I could agree with you.

If you limit a spellcaster to being on par with melee, you end up with a party that cannot compete with encounters at their level. Melee is horrendously underpowered, so much so that the casters must be equally overpowered to make up for the discrepancy in power level just to have the PC's be successful.

Mark Hall
2010-09-18, 10:30 AM
One thing I have suggested is to go with the Bard spells per day list for wizards, and double that for sorcerers. It doesn't completely remove the more powerful spells from consideration... you're still hitting 6th level spells... but you're hitting them later (16th level as opposed to 12th). This also means that saves are generally higher against top-level spells.

If you go this route, I suggest putting a 0 in the 1st level column at 1st level, meaning that 1st level casters (with a stat bonus) will have 1st level spells.

MarkusWolfe
2010-09-18, 10:40 AM
There is a problem with this idea, but it only rotates around the bolded text. If you had left that out I could agree with you.

If you limit a spellcaster to being on par with melee, you end up with a party that cannot compete with encounters at their level. Melee is horrendously underpowered, so much so that the casters must be equally overpowered to make up for the discrepancy in power level just to have the PC's be successful.

Fair enough. Ahead of melee, but not upstaging melee. I'd always let my casters use the meteorswarm spell.

BeholderSlayer
2010-09-18, 10:45 AM
Fair enough. Ahead of melee, but not upstaging melee. I'd always let my casters use the meteorwarm spell.

In an ideal world, the wizard himself would know how to avoid upstaging melee. The typical GOD wizard using spells to buff/BC and let the melee trounce the opposition. It's when a player (not the character, a player) decides to use abilities that make the other players look completely irrelevant that there are problems.