View Full Version : nerfed wizard progressions, which is best to use (PEACH):

2012-01-03, 12:49 AM
I'm looking at a few alternate wizard spells/day progressions, to nerf wizards power level somewhat (other casters would get similar tables later); and also to address the issue where skipping caster levels for dips is very bad; but the martial classes tend to be hurt very little by dips; so by making wizard levels a little more even in how much they improve from level to level; i'm hoping to make the worthwhileness of multiclassing more similar between casters and fighters.

So here's a few systems; please tell me which one you think is best and why;
note: dealing with the impact of extra spells for specialization and high stats will be dealt with at a later time, assume those will be scaled down appropriately.
when I refer to points (pts), i'm counting the level of a spell as the number of points.
The spells are in spells/day, with the / symbol separating the levels; anything unmentioned is a - (no spells possible);
all sets start at first level, and so ignore cantrips.

3 pts a level,

get 1 then 2 for each level you gain access to, then some extras at 19;
so pts / level ~ level/2

2pts - 6 pts growth, staggered. low level heavy

3pts - can have more spells of higher level than a lower level.

2012-01-03, 01:12 AM
Without looking into it too throughly, this does nothing to help with the "no multiclass" general rule for spellcasters. In fact, you would be even less advised to lose caster levels in this case because those higher-level spell slots are so much more important.

2012-01-03, 01:28 AM
Perhapce a rule simmiler to martial addepts? Other classes count as 1/2 casterclass for spells per day/CL?

2012-01-03, 09:31 PM
you need to look more closely erikun; while it's true that the fewer slots you have, the more precious each slot is; that doens't mean having fewer slots makes it more necessary to take the levels; this is esaily demonstrated by considering more extreme cases;
clearly there's some point where having the extra slots isn't worth the penalties paid.
Making the levels where you get new high level slots involve sacrificng lower level slots, so the total slotlevels still only goes up by 3 should do some to making it more worthwhile to splash.
Part of the reason it's normally worth maxing is that at high levels you gain multiple high level slots.

So i'd really like some comments on these ones I developed, rather than musings on other possible systems.

2012-01-03, 10:48 PM
problem with all the progressions. 9 first level spells per day does not equal one 9th level spell per day in power. spells still scale exponentially in power, and losing higher level spells still hurts a TON. A 16th level wizard/4th level fighter is still worse then a 20th level wizard. a wizard 5/sorcerer 5 is still weaker then a wizard 10 or sorcerer 10.

oh gosh, I lost first level spell casting to gain "dominate monster"! oh dear... oh wait, at level 17 I don't mind the loss, I have magic items for that. and I can cast dominate monster! were as dippy mc dip still has his first level casting, but no dominate monster. he can take comfort in his ability to fight like a fighter, and sneak like a rogue! actually, it really doesn't help that much...

2012-01-03, 11:08 PM
problem with all the progressions. 9 first level spells per day does not equal one 9th level spell per day in power.
This. The standard wizard can afford to lose a spellcaster level or two because they can easily have enough bonus spells that they won't miss the one less spell each level. A 19th level specialist wizard with 36 INT has six 9th-level spells, and so could get by without the seventh if the tradeoff is worth it. Restricting the number of spells available just makes them more valuable - because spells really are better than most other actions - and highly discourages stepping out by multiclassing and taking those few high-level spell slots.

Take a look at the fourth option. A 17th level wizard and a 20th level wizard have the same number of spell slots. However, those three levels exchange a 6th-level slot for a 7th-level one, and a 1st-level slot for a 9th-level one. 6th-level and 7th-level doesn't differ much, but the difference between 1st-level and 9th-level is literally around 90% of the spells you can cast! What's more, by restricting bonus spell slots about as much, a 20th level wizard could have twice as many 9th-level spell slots as the 17th level wizard.

Simply put, it isn't a question of if multiclassing into other classes is worth it. It isn't, with perhaps the few exceptions of 9/9 theurges. Rather, it is if the character is willing to give up what they lose for not going 20 levels in exchange for what little they get in the other class. It generally isn't worth it - even Monk 2/caster X is quite unimpressive compared to pure caster - but the less the caster has, the more important those few bonus spells or spell slots become.

2012-01-04, 01:20 AM
it sounds to me like you're saying these dont' go far enough, and they need to be nerfed even further.
It is NECESSARILY the case that at some point the value of getting more caster levels and of various splash options starts to equalize.
And it sounds like the normal spellcasters just has far too many slots.

While having an extra 9th slot is a big deal; given the limit to the number of spells you can cast, one extra 9th is still just one (powerful) spell; after that you've still got the others to work with.

Spell growth isn't exponential, though it could be quadratic or some other polynomial. Determining what the actual growth is would be helpful for balance work. Though getting a quadratic to even out would be difficult, i guess there's also a bunch of complications from the iterative nature of what happens with higher slots.

Hmm. Given that any major nerf would likely require reworking other bonus spell sources, relying on 0's at certain levels wouldn't be very effective.

Also, this isn't just for making splashes viable, it's also about if you're nerfing them anyways, which setups to use. Some people may find certain things (like having more spells of higher levels than lower levels); so I like some thoughts about how objectionable certain setups now.

2012-01-04, 10:00 AM
it sounds to me like you're saying these dont' go far enough, and they need to be nerfed even further.
It is NECESSARILY the case that at some point the value of getting more caster levels and of various splash options starts to equalize.
And it sounds like the normal spellcasters just has far too many slots.

Spell progression path of nerfing a wizard, is similar to say, trying to slow down a ferrari by giving it standard 50.00 tires from wal-mart.

Sure, it'll have "some" effect, but the car is still fast as hell. Personally, I think the way to go with spell progression is not to lower the rate at which a wizard gains extra levels of spells, but rather spread the entire line up of spells 0-9 to something like 0-15. So you have to gain a few more levels before you even begin to slow down said wizard.

While similar, doing it this way, will still leave the wizard fun to play at early levels (when it is a bit more balanced), then leave the wizard still challenging, but not the answer to every problem at the heart of most campaigns (EL7-15 ISH)

2012-01-04, 01:48 PM
Show me a non-magical class ability that compares with the Shapechange, Gate, or Shades spells. Chances are, the only ones you will find are the ones that replicate the above - a Healer's Gate 1/day, or a Factotum mimicing 9th-level spells. There are absolutely no "mundane" abilities that can compare to spells like this, and that is ignoring that a multiclassing Wizard doesn't get the highest level abilities from a class; they are getting the first-level abilities in exchange for another casting of Shapechange.

What we are running into is two different an opposing issues. First, magic is the best option, bar none. There isn't even a close competition. Outside of silliness like using Iron Heart Surge to eliminate reality, even the best non-magical options are weak in comparison to magical options.

Second, the less of something that is available, the more valuable it is. Raise Dead could easily be an epic-level spell (and is, in some systems) if it was the only way to bring a dead character back to life. Resurrections would be exceptional quests involving searching for deities or artifacts, and death would be far more serious and irreversable. As it is, though, Raise Dead is a 5th-level spell (and not even the lowest), and death tends to be more of a slowdown and annoyance than anything else.

When I look at multiclassing with a spellcaster, I don't ask "Will this make my character more powerful?"... because almost universally, the answer is no. Rather, I ask "Will I be able to stand what I give up in exchange for what I get?" Throwing in a level or two of Fighter, Monk, or Crusader on a Cleric build doesn't make it stronger, but they can end up getting some nice things in exchange for the spells they lose... because they still have enough spells to cover what they need to do.

That last part is the key. If the Cleric no longer has the spells they need after multiclassing, then the multiclass becomes a bad idea.


For another example, consider the Gish. This is a class combination that basically needs to multiclass, to get both the BAB and the spells to assist them. What does this system do? It kills the gish, because a few levels out of Wizard could cause you to lose a third or half your higher-level spell slots. Any system that is supposed to aid in spellcaster multiclassing should be productive to gishes, not penalize them even more.

2012-01-04, 08:36 PM
I'm more concerned with general power level; not the fact that there's a few broken spells like gate which simply shouldn't be used. One of the first things ANY body does when they're fixing 3.5 is fix the glaringly broken spells.
So assume those don't exist (aka are fixed to a point of actual balance)

As to gish - i'll try to consider how it affects the gish builds; though there's a lot of room for building other things to permit gishes.

Need is a relative term; maybe you don't evne have all the spells you need without multiclassing, in fact, that should be the case.
Remember, it is NECESSARILY the case that at some extreme point the benefits of an extra level are so small that considering splashes is eminently feasible. (given that the limiting condition is no benefit, which clearly sucks; so a middle ground must exist).
So how extreme would it have to be?
What if getting 9th level spell slots meant giving up 8th level spell slots?
Is that extreme enough?

2012-01-04, 09:06 PM
Ok, definition of glaringly broken spells? Anything better then meteor swarm, or some such definition? Mind elaborating the definition.

but no. it really isn't. shocking a man every time he grabs another million dollars is unlikely to stop the man grabbing a million dollars. It will just annoy him at best.
even past glaringly broken spells(aka the entire magic system), you are giving up a LOT of power(aka higher level slots), for abilities from other classes at level one. It might be better to give a little power out as they gain other class levels. as I sugested earlier, 1/2 progression would let full casters multy class more esaly, but still require some class levels to gain full power. a wiz14/fighter 6 would have 17th level casting, which is rather nice.

2012-01-04, 09:17 PM
Well then, yes. Your wizard progression does make them weaker than the standard wizard. However, no, they are not so weak that multiclassing becomes a better option. You are basically asking, "What 9th-level spell is only equal to having the evasion ability or a bonus fighter feat?" The answer is going to be none unless you've done something like only allowing the wizard to cast four spells throughout the entire day... and even then, a fighter bonus feat isn't going to be very useful to that character.

Also note that "glaringly obvious" is actually quite difficult to judge. Is Etherealness glaringly obviously broken? Raise Dead? Freedom of Movement? Greater Dispel Magic? Meteor Swarm? If we are comparing broken to what a fighter (or even warblade) can do, than anything above 4th level and half the spells below it would fit that description - but I doubt that the first thing most people do is eliminate three quarters of the spells available.