View Full Version : [3.5] Wizard fix - Has to specialize; UA add ons; limited outside-school casting

Rogue Shadows
2011-08-12, 01:14 PM
Ah...the Wizard.

The Nemesis of Balance.

Without even intending to, you take take the Wizard and break the game. You don't even need to optimize. Quite the opposite - people have to optimize to keep up with you, unless they're playing another Tier 1 class. But you can totally select prepared spells based on "coolness" and nothing else and still sideline just about everyone else in the party. It takes effort to not make the DM cry.

That's perhaps a little unfair. The Wizard is not necessarily the most broken class, and not necessarily as broken as my diatribe up there would make it out to be. What it is, however, is iconic of the problems with 3.5.

What is needed to fix the Wizard is nothing more nor less than a complete overhaul of every spell in the game and a radical alteration on how the wizard works. The problem isn't so much the spells, per se, but rather what they represent: options. Wizards simply have more options, and more options means more power.

Well...here's some thoughts on that.

STEP ONE: Limit the class' access to spells outside of their specialized school.
STEP TWO: Wizards do not get any of the normal bonuses for specializing in a school, other than being able to prepare an extra spell per day (taken into account with the table below).
STEP THREE: Make their casting dependent on two ability scores (Wisdom and Intelligence)
STEP FOUR: Read magic is now a Universal spell rather than a Divination.
STEP FIVE: Get rid of the familiar as a base class ability. Though I could probably be convinced to make it a feat.
STEP SIX: Add in the Specialized Wizard variants from Unearthed Arcana, though they are simply added on and don't replace anything.

This class is intended to be mixed with a large-scale overhaul of the entire spell system; however, I have not yet reached that part of my Big Bad Fix. So for now, I'd just like opinions on the tier of this class with the given information and current spells.



Class Features
All of the following are class features of the wizard.

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Wizards are proficient with the club, dagger, heavy crossbow, light crossbow, and quarterstaff, but not with any type of armor or shield. Armor of any type interferes with a wizardís movements, which can cause her spells with somatic components to fail.

Spells: A wizard casts arcane spells which are drawn from the sorcerer/ wizard spell list. A wizard must choose and prepare her spells ahead of time (see below).

To learn, prepare, or cast a spell, the wizard must have an Wisdom score equal to at least 10 + the spell level. The Difficulty Class for a saving throw against a wizardís spell is 10 + the spell level + the wizardís Intelligence modifier.

Like other spellcasters, a wizard can cast only a certain number of spells of each spell level per day. Her base daily spell allotment is given on Table 2-18: The Wizard. In addition, she receives bonus spells per day if she has a high Wisdom score.

Spell Schools: While the list of arcane spells is quite large, learning them requires focus and study. Most spells are grouped into one of eight schools of magic: Abjuration, Conjuration, Divination, Enchantment, Evocation, Illusion, Necromancy, and Transmutation. At 1st level, a wizard must choose to specialize in one of these schools. This grants the wizard a variety of special abilities, depending on the school choice. However, a wizard cannot normally cast spells from any other school than the one they have specialized in, and Universal spells (which have no school). The feat Expanded Knowledge allows a wizard to learn spells from their non-specialized school; however, each school has two prohibited schools that a wizard can never learn spells from.

Bonus Languages: A wizard may add Draconic as one of the bonus languages available to the character because of her race.

Scribe Scroll: At 1st level, a wizard gains Scribe Scroll as a bonus feat.

Bonus Feats: At 5th, 10th, 15th, and 20th level, a wizard gains a bonus feat. At each such opportunity, she can choose a metamagic feat, an item creation feat, or the feats Spell Mastery or Expanded Knowledge. The wizard must still meet all prerequisites for a bonus feat, including caster level minimums.

Spellbooks: A wizard must study her spellbook each day to prepare her spells. She cannot prepare any spell not recorded in her spellbook, except for read magic, which all wizards can prepare from memory.

A wizard begins play with a spellbook containing all 0-level and 1st-level wizard spells from her specialized schools, plus all Universal spells.

At each new wizard level, she gains two new spells of any spell level or school that she can cast (based on her new wizard level) for her spellbook. At any time, a wizard can also add spells found in other wizardsí spellbooks to her own, provided they are not of a prohibited school.

Specialized School Abilities
Masters of protective magic, abjurers can fill many roles in a campaign, from bodyguard to battlemage to adventurer. Although it lacks offensive options, the school of abjuration provides some of the most effective combat spells in the game. An evoker or transmuter might find it easier to bring down large groups of foes, but an abjurer is far more likely to bring herself and her companions through a fight alive.

Prohibited Schools: Evocation, necromancy

Resistance to Energy (Su): Once per day, an abjurer can create a mystical shield that grants herself or any one creature that she touches limited protection against a chosen energy type (acid, cold, electricity, fi re, or sonic). The affected creature gains resistance equal to 5 plus one-half the abjurerís class level against the chosen energy type. Activating this ability is a standard action. Once activated, the protection lasts for 1 hour. This protection overlaps with (and does not stack with) the effects of spells such as resist energy.

Aura of Protection (Ex): Once per day, a 5th-level abjurer can generate a protective aura that shields against both physical and magical attacks. When the abjurer generates this field, she gains a deflection bonus to her Armor Class and a resistance bonus on all saving throws equal to her Wisdom modifier. This ability requires a standard action to activate, and each use protects against only one attack or spell. Once activated, the protective aura lasts for 1 minute or until the abjurer is attacked or required to make a saving throw, whichever comes first.

An abjurer can use this ability one additional time per day for every five class levels gained above 5th.

Spontaneous Dispelling (Ex): At 5th level, an abjurer gains the ability to spontaneously cast the spell dispel magic. This ability is similar to the druidís ability to spontaneously cast summon natureís ally spells, with a few exceptions. The abjurer can ďloseĒ four or more levels of prepared spells to cast dispel magic. The prepared spells can be of any level or combination of levels as long as the total spell levels add up to four or more (0-level spells donít count). For example, an abjurer could lose two 2nd-level spells or one 1st-level spell and one 3rd-level spell to cast dispel magic.

At 11th level, an abjurer can ďloseĒ seven or more levels of prepared spells to spontaneously cast greater dispel magic. An abjurer can use it in conjunction with a readied action to use dispel magic or greater dispel magic as a counterspell.

One of the most versatile schools of magic, conjuration offers its disciples an effective solution to nearly any task: Simply summon the appropriate monster and let it solve the problem. In combat, high-level conjurers fight from behind wave after wave of summoned foes, and in most battles they simply direct their summoned allies into the conflict. In addition to these vaunted summoning powers, conjuration provides effective combat spells and access to teleportation magic.

Prohibited Schools: Necromancy, transmutation

Enhanced Summoning (Ex): At 1st level, a conjurer gains the Augmented Summoning feat for free.

Rapid Summoning (Ex): Any time a conjurer casts a summon monster spell, its casting time is 1 standard action rather than 1 full round. (Creatures so summoned can only take a standard action in the round they are summoned.) Conjurers gain the normal benefits from enhancing a summon monster spell with the Quicken Spell feat.

At 5th level, the conjurerís summoned creatures become particularly tough to dispel. Add 2 to the DC of any caster level check made to dispel the conjurerís summoned creatures. At 15th level, this addition to the DC increases to 4.

At 10th level, the conjurerís summoned creatures gain an additional +2 bonus to Strength and Constitution. At 20th level, these bonuses increase to +4. These bonuses stack with those granted by the Augmented Summoning feat.

Spontaneous Summoning (Ex): Conjurers can ďloseĒ a prepared spell to cast any summon monster spell of a lower level. For example, a conjurer who has prepared greater invisibility (a 4th-level spell) may lose that spell to cast summon monster I, summon monster II, or summon monster III.

Note: Since conjurers obviously summon monsters frequently, the DM should require the conjurerís player to prepare simple record sheets ahead of time for each monster that the character commonly summons. It is also important to emphasize speedy play on the part of the conjurer and his summoned monsters.

Seekers of knowledge, hoarders of lore, and master spies, diviners are perhaps the most underrated specialist wizards. Because they must give up access to only one other school of magic, they are also the most versatile specialists. More than any other specialists, diviners excel at gathering information, and an adventuring party that includes a diviner is much more likely to prepare properly for an adventure.

Prohibited Schools: Abjuration, illusion

Enhanced Awareness (Ex): A diviner adds Sense Motive to her list of class skills. In addition, she gains minor benefits when casting certain divination spells. She needs only to study an item for 10 minutes (rather than 1 hour) when casting identify.

An arcane eye cast by the diviner travels at 20 feet per round when studying its surroundings (rather than 10 feet per round).

Add +1 to the saving throw DCs of the characterís divination spells. (This bonus stacks with the bonus from the Spell Focus and Greater Spell Focus feats.)

Bonus Feat List: A diviner gradually grows in awareness and perceptive ability. The following feats are added to the list of bonus feats available to her: Alertness, Blind-Fight, Improved Initiative, Lightning Reflexes, and Skill Focus (Spot, Listen, or Sense Motive only).

Prescience (Ex): Gifted with extraordinary insight and perceptive abilities, a diviner can add an insight bonus equal to her Wisdom modifier to any attack roll, saving throw, skill check, or level check she makes. The diviner can use this ability once per day, plus one additional time per day for every five class levels attained. Using this ability is a free action that can be taken out of turn if needed, but the character must choose to use this ability before the die roll is made.

Charmer, schemer, deceiver, pacifist: An enchanter can be all these and more. As a practitioner of one of the most subtle schools of magic, an enchanter might charm a guard into opening a well-defended gate that fifty warriors couldnít take by force. Good-aligned enchanters use their powers to seek out truth and encourage others onto the path of good, while their evil counterparts bend othersí minds at their whim and gather personal power as rapidly as possible.

Prohibited Schools: Necromancy, transmutation

Social Proficiency (Ex): Enchanters are as proficient at manipulating others through mundane means as they are at influencing their minds magically. Add the following skills to the characterís list of wizard class skills: Bluff, Diplomacy, Gather Information, Intimidate, and Sense Motive. The enchanter also gains a +2 competence bonus on checks involving one of these skills (playerís choice) every five levels (5th, 10th, 15th, and 20th). This bonus can only be applied once to each skill.

Cohort: Upon reaching 6th level, an enchanter gains the service of a loyal cohort of the playerís choice (with the DMís approval). The cohort is a 4th-level character when first gained; after that point, follow the normal rules described in the Leadership feat to determine the cohortís level, but treat the enchanterís level as being two lower than normal.

The enchanter doesnít gain any followers from this ability. If the enchanter selects the Leadership feat, he attracts followers as normal, the penalty to the enchanterís effective level is eliminated, and the enchanter automatically qualifies for the ďspecial powerĒ modifier to his Leadership score.

Extended Enchantment (Su): Enchanters ensnare the minds of others more easily with their magic, and as a result their enchantment spells last longer than those cast by other spellcasters. Once per day, plus one additional time per two class levels gained above 1st, an enchanter can cast a spell from the enchantment school as if it were enhanced by the Extend Spell metamagic feat. This enhancement does not affect the spellís level. This ability cannot be used to extend a spell with a duration of concentration, instantaneous, or permanent.

Masters of the raw power of magical energy, evokers can turn the tide of a battle with a single powerful spell, leveling groups of foes faster than any other practitioner of magic. Where some wizards focus on careful spell preparation and protective spells to survive combat encounters, evokers simply blast away with powerful energy attacks. Their prodigious offensive abilities ensure that evokers become the center of an adventuring groupís battle plan.

Prohibited Schools: Abjuration, enchantment

Energy Affinity (Ex): Evokers must choose an energy type (acid, cold, electricity, fire, or sonic). This choice is made upon character creation and cannot be altered thereafter. Any time the character casts an evocation spell with the chosen energy type, she casts the spell as if her caster level were one higher (affecting range, duration, damage, caster level checks, and any other factor influenced by caster level).

Energy Substitution (Ex): An evoker of 5th level or higher can substitute energy of one type for another. When casting a spell that has an energy descriptor (acid, cold, electricity, fi re, or sonic), the evoker can change the energy descriptor and the spellís effects to energy of a different type.

Using this ability is a free action that must be declared before the spell is cast. The evoker can use this ability once per day for each five class levels he has attained (1/day at 5th, 2/day at 10th, and so on).

Overcome Resistance (Ex): The energy spells of an evoker can ignore some or all of a targetís resistance to energy. Using this ability is a free action that must be announced before the evoker casts the spell to be affected. Every creature affected by the spell is treated as if its resistance to the spellís energy type was 10 points lower, to a minimum of 0. (This lowered resistance applies only to this spell; other effects with the same energy descriptor must get through the creatureís normal resistance.) The overcome resistance ability does not give the affected spell any ability to affect creatures with immunity to the spellís energy type, nor does the affected spell have any additional effect on creatures that do not have resistance to energy.

An evoker may use this ability one time per day, plus one additional time per day for every two class levels attained beyond 1st (2/day at 3rd, 3/day at 5th, and so forth).

Illusionists control their surroundings by shaping, distorting, and deceiving the perceptions of others. To some their abilities seem weak, because they only distort and disguise rather than effecting true change, but those affected by an illusionistís spells know better, understanding that their own senses can be turned against them at any time.

Prohibited Schools: Conjuration, divination

Chains of Disbelief (Ex): Even if a viewer disbelieves an illusion created by an illusionist and communicates the details of the illusion to other creatures, those other creatures do not receive the normal +4 bonus on their saving throws to disbelieve the illusion. Furthermore, even when presented with incontrovertible proof that the illusion isnít real, creatures must still succeed on a Will saving throw to see objects or creatures that the illusion obscures, although they get a +10 bonus on the saving throw.

Shadow Shaper: An illusionist has a special bond with the Plane of Shadow, and gains several special abilities as he advances in level.

At 1st level, Hide is treated as a class skill for the illusionist.

At 5th level, the illusionist may add his Wisdom modifier (in addition to his Dexterity modifier) to his Hide skill checks.

At 10th level, the illusionistís illusions become infused with shadow stuff from the Plane of Shadow, making them more realistic and more likely to fool the senses. The save DCs of the illusionistís illusion spells increase by +1. This benefit stacks with similar bonuses, such as from Spell Focus.

At 15th level, the illusionist can hide in plain sight (as the ranger ability, except that the illusionist need not be in natural terrain).

At 20th level, the illusionist gains the ability to blend into shadows. In any condition of illumination that would normally grant the illusionist concealment, he instead gains total concealment (as if he were invisible).

Illusion Mastery (Ex): An illusionist automatically adds two illusion spells to his spellbook every time he gains a level that grants access to a new spell level. Furthermore, any time the illusionist learns a new illusion spell, he treats that spell as if he had mastered it with the Spell Mastery feat.

Wrapped in mystery and burdened by reputations of evil, necromancers control dangerous energies that rob the living of strength and grant unlife to the dead. The most powerful necromancers command dangerous undead minions and threaten towns, cities, and sometimes even entire kingdoms with their power. Although necromancers make excellent villains and nemeses for a group of adventurers, neutral- and good-aligned necromancers who view themselves as the shepherds of the living and guardians of the dead can also prove valuable allies.

Prohibited Schools: Conjuration, illusion

Skeletal Minion: A 1st-level necromancer can begin play with an undead minion (a human warrior skeleton, as described on page 226 of the Monster Manual). Obtaining this minion takes 24 hours and uses up magical materials that cost 100 gp. This creature is a loyal servant that follows the necromancerís commands and accompanies her on adventures if desired. If the skeletal minion is destroyed, the necromancer suffers no ill effects and may replace it by performing a ceremony identical to the one that allowed her to obtain her first servant.

At 1st level, the skeleton is completely typical, but it gains power as the necromancer gains levels. The skeleton has a number of Hit Dice equal to the necromancerís class level. Add one-half the necromancerís class level to the skeletonís natural armor bonus. Add one-third of the necromancerís class level to the skeletonís Strength and Dexterity scores.

Undead Apotheosis (Ex): As a necromancer progresses in levels, she gains some of the qualities that typify undead creatures.

At 5th level, the necromancer gains a +2 bonus on all saving throws made to resist sleep, stun, paralysis, poison, or disease. This bonus increases to +4 at 15th level.

At 10th level, the necromancer gains a +4 bonus on saving throws made to resist ability damage, ability drain, or energy drain.

At 20th level, the necromancer gains 25% resistance to critical hits, as the light fortification armor special ability.

Enhanced Undead (Ex): Any time a necromancer creates an undead creature (such as with animate dead, create undead, or create greater undead), all undead creatures created gain a +4 enhancement bonus to Strength and Dexterity, and two additional hit points per Hit Die. This ability does not affect the number or Hit Dice of animated creatures that the necromancer can create or control.

Masters of change, transmuters are among the most varied and versatile specialists. Transmutation spells, by their very nature, can change the environment and allow the spellcaster to solve nearly any problem.

Prohibited Schools: Conjuration, enchantment

Enhance Attribute (Ex): Once per day, plus one additional time per five class levels, a transmuter can add a +2 enhancement bonus to any one of his ability scores. This bonus lasts for a number of minutes equal to the transmuterís class level. Using this ability is a free action (and counts as using a quickened spell, so it may only be used once per round).

Spell Versatility (Ex): A 5th-level transmuter can adapt magic of some other other schools to his own style of spellcasting. For every five class levels that the transmuter gains, he can select one spell of any spell level that he has access to from the following schools: Abjuration, Divination, Illusion, or Necromancy. He can treat the selected spell as if it as if it were a transmutation spell. This means, for example, that the transmuter can learn the spell normally. Once a spell is chosen to be affected by this ability, it cannot be changed.

Transmutable Memory (Ex): A transmuter can alter some of his prepared spells in a short amount of time. Once per day, the transmuter can give up a number of prepared spell levels (up to a maximum total equal to half his class level) and prepare different spells in their place, as long as the number of newly prepared spell levels is equal to or less than the number of spell levels given up (0-level spells donít count). For example, a 12th-level transmuter who uses this variant can lose two 1st level spells and two 2nd-level spells from memory (a total of six spell levels, half the characterís class level) and prepare two 3rd level spells.

Using this ability requires a number of minutes of concentration equal to the number of spell levels given up. If the transmuterís concentration is broken during this time, all spells to be lost are gone and no spells are gained in their place.

Last but not least is the following feat, available as a Wizard bonus feat.

Expanded Knowledge
Many wizards chafe at the restrictions of being limited to only a single school of magic, and as a result decide to branch out in their studies.

Prerequisite: Wizard level 4th

Benefit: Choose a school of magic other than your prohibited schools, and which does not prohibit your specialized school. You may now learn and cast spells from that school. Further, you gain a single spell of a level that you can cast from the chosen school. However, you may never apply metamagic feats to spells from the chosen school.

For example, an Abjurer selecting this feat could choose one of the following schools: Conjuration, Enchantment, Illusion, or Transmutation, He couldn't select Evocation or Necromancy, since they are prohibited to Abjurers, and he couldn't select Divination, since the Divination school prohibits Abjuration.

Special: A wizard can take this feat multiple times, selecting a different spell school each time he does.

Wizards may select Expanded Knowledge as a bonus feat.

2011-08-12, 02:41 PM
The problem with wizards, IMO, isn't so much the options (provided, of course, that the available sourcebooks are sufficiently restricted) as the fact that the spells are individually too powerful. Being able to cast any one of a lot of weak spells really isn't so powerful (well, except in the hands of a really skilled person, but that's true of any complex powerset).

Rogue Shadows
2011-08-12, 03:02 PM
The problem with wizards, IMO, isn't so much the options (provided, of course, that the available sourcebooks are sufficiently restricted) as the fact that the spells are individually too powerful. Being able to cast any one of a lot of weak spells really isn't so powerful (well, except in the hands of a really skilled person, but that's true of any complex powerset).

While I do agree with this, the principle advantage of Tier 1 is the sheer versatility. The wizard was formerly capable of learning every arcane spell in the game and casting all ten levels of spells, giving them undreamed-of versatility as they could by and large do anything. It was this feature that gave them an advantage over the Sorcerer, Favored Soul, or other Tier 2 or lower class.

So the goal with my Big Bad Fix, at least insofar as classes is concerned, is to limit the Tier 1 Core classes' spellcasting. In the case of Clerics, this was with restricting them to Domains. With Druids, I'm limiting them to Bard-type casting and learning of spells (but they still prepare).

And with Wizards, it's restricting all wizards to just one spell school unless they take feats, and even then they'll never be able to cast from more than 5 (and most are restricted to 4).

It's a step. There is a reckoning coming for the spell system, but I need to finish hammering out all the classes first, then move on to feats, and then I'll start tackling spells.

I can say right now that I'm going to be creating seperate spell lists for the Sorcerer and Wizard, though.

Speaking of sorcerer, need to get to work on them now.


2011-08-12, 04:58 PM
While I do agree with this, the principle advantage of Tier 1 is the sheer versatility.

The advantage of Tier 1 over Tier 2 is versatility. But the primary advantage of Tier 1 over Tier 3 is, like that of Tier 2 over Tier 3, being powerful to the point of being broken.

Remove versatility and you'll get a tier 2, which still needs fixing. Remove the power, and you'll get a solid tier 3, which is generally playable. (In fact, IMO all classes should be made tier 3, except the barbarian who should stay a strong tier 4, and the ranger who should become a very weak defensively oriented tier 2 when played properly. And of course rogues and bards, who are limited only by the player's capacity for in-character strategizing.)