View Full Version : Generalist Spell Casters

2010-11-22, 10:42 PM
A common method of solving the imbalance of Tier 1 Arcane casters (specifically the Wizard class) has been removing them in favor of more specialized Tier 3 casters with limited spell lists (but know their entire spell list) like the Beguiler, Dread Necromancer, and Warmage (which is slightly weaker, but manageable). In fact people have homebrewed these specialized casters for the other schools of magic (Conjuration, Transmutation, etc.) while using Bard as the Enchantment caster.

But what about the general caster?

I have always like the flavor of a general caster; a person who eschews "specializing" in hopes of learning as much as possible. The drive for knowledge is too great and the power of magic is too captivating; why would anyone willingly sacrifice such versatility away? I think the cost of a more general caster might be a large cost to pay.

But at the same time I realize the Wizard was broken because it had access to EVERYTHING and was simply too powerful. Yet I still want to use a "general caster" type in my games. How?

What would you suggest?

2010-11-22, 10:49 PM
Play a MT. They are fantastic at little things, but they don't play rocket tag very well, so they don't overwhelm enemies with a finger (of death!).

2010-11-22, 10:53 PM
You could always, y'know, just not choose the really broken spells. Impose some limits on the spells you are willing to learn. You could even make up some IC reasons, such as your wizard hearing about somebody who teleported into a mountain and died or something, and as such not wanting to have anything to do with the spell. It's a much simpler fix than trying to throw together some conglomerate of classes and spell lists to make it work.

2010-11-22, 11:10 PM
You could voluntarily multiclass, or take a PRC that doesn't give full casting. This will tone your caster down a Tier or two...and you can adjust as you go along. If your character seems to be getting more powerful than the other PCs, and/or game-breakingly versatile, take another suboptimal level. If he seems to be falling behind the others, or if the game could benefit from a little more versatility, take levels in your main casting class for a while.

You could shoot for a PrC like Arcane Trickster, though the trouble with those is you take all your lost caster levels early in your career, and end up being well behind the power curve, then gradually regaining lost ground...

As long as you've already decided you don't want a full-bore Tier 1 character, "poor" class choice can give you a lot of fun and flavorful choices, and flesh your character out by giving them a secondary focus very different from their main one.

I've seen DMs make this mandatory before -- usually something like "Every 5 levels, a PC full caster must take a class that doesn't advance her main casting" -- and it seemed to work well for their campaigns.

Dusk Eclipse
2010-11-22, 11:13 PM
Well there are many flavorfull half casting advancing classes... crunching the numbers if you loose 5 spellcasting level you would be able to cast 8th level spell... that is something powerful but not as powerful as 9th level spells

2010-11-22, 11:16 PM
You could give it bard-like spellcasting progression and some actual class features. That would represent the sacrifice they make for not being uber specialist, they only get up to 6ths pre-epic.

2010-11-22, 11:16 PM
Don't hate the wizard, hate the spells.

(What Galsiah said.)

2010-11-22, 11:23 PM
You could give it bard-like spellcasting progression and some actual class features. That would represent the sacrifice they make for not being uber specialist, they only get up to 6ths pre-epic.

That is a good idea because it limits access to some of the really broken stuff and also slows down accumulation of broken spells.

I would recommend an and/or of getting rid of the downright horrible stuff like the Alter Self line, Avasculate and Shivering Touch. Then take stuff like Planar Binding and make it much riskier and costlier (GPwise), and things like plane shift and teleport are expensive rituals that fall firmly within the land of DM Fiat.

2010-11-23, 08:59 AM
You generalize with psionics fairly easily by playing an Erudite, which is much less extreme than having to play in a game with Wizards and Archivists while having a fairly similar selection of powers to a wizard's spells. The StP option brings the headache of the tier-1 spellcasters back into play, but since it is just an ACF it is easy to simply remove from your game without requiring any extra work.

2010-11-23, 09:01 AM
Play a Sorcerer and scrap the Wizard entirely?

Edit: 11111!!!!!! WOO! :smallcool:

2010-11-23, 09:14 AM
Play a Sorcerer and scrap the Wizard entirely?

A Sorceror is still just a customized specialist because of how few Spells Known they get.