View Full Version : D&D 3.x Other WIP: Good At-Will Abilities for low level spellcasters

2016-02-04, 01:20 PM
The biggest weakness of low-level Wizards at the table, in my experience, is the 6/12/18 second effective adventuring day. Cast a spell or two--and you're a commoner. So much worse if you roll poorly or the enemy rolls its Save well. The D&D Cleric also always bugged me--the warrior-priest is pretty much a creation of D&D mechanics rather than anything that comes out of fantasy stories people told each other. Yes the crusades and the Knights Templar, but you'll notice a distinct lack of spellcasting there. (Lurid propaganda and secret histories of Masonic cults of Baphomet aside.) Shamans and oracles and witch-doctors and medicine men and priest-kings are a thing, but Thusla Doom is much better represented by an arcane caster with a divine caster's spell list than by Durkon).

If I ever do come up with a satisfactory way to limit the Tier 1 casters, I'd really want something to help low-level squishy casters.

Proposed Class Feature for low-level Wizards:
Arcane Assistance
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range: Close (25 ft +5 ft/2 levels)
Target: One ally within close range and line of sight
Effect: Luck bonus of d6
Duration: Concentration

Using your mastery of arcane power, you channel arcane energy into an ally's attack rolls, skill checks, saving throws, caster level checks or any other checks where a competence bonus would apply. Your ally gets a bonus of d6 to the type of roll you specify when casting the spell.

Why? A major reason that Tiers are a problem is the way they make the game unfun for Tier 4-5s and even 3s. It's not that the Tier 1 has more tricks, it's that he can do your job as well as you can without much effort. Knock > ranks in Open Locks, Fly >>> ranks in Climb and Jump, Summon Monster ~~ beatstick. With Arcane Assistance, the wizard player is happy because he's using magic to buff an ally, and the ally player is happy because he's extra awesome at his job. (the wizard ability is also "better" than the bard because the wizard player gets to roll a die.)

Does it take too much from the Bard's Inspire Competence shtick? The bard can inspire the entire party, but does that make up for Arcane Assistance' flexibility? Does it work as a luck bonus?

Proposed class feature for low-level squishy divine casters, like better Adepts:
Chanting. You give your party a +1 bonus in the first round, +2 in the second round of the chant, up to your wisdom bonus. Chant can continue indefinitely at your wisdom bonus.
Maybe a skill check to start the chant and to keep chanting? (Because you're not playing D&D if you're not rolling dice, dammit!)

PRoblem is this steps all over the Bard.

Why? Priests exist in relation to a community. So their magic should be communal in some way. I really like the flavor of a squishy adept-type PC chanting at the back of the party as their standard action, giving the other PCs an increasing boost as the combat goes on. Also works for NPC priests, too, of course. ANd Inigo Montoya, a party of one.

2016-02-04, 01:34 PM
I like the low level Arcane at-will.

The Divine one, though... It's basically Bard+, especially since (if you have forewarning) you can pre-chant.

2016-02-04, 02:45 PM
I like the low level Arcane at-will. Thanks.

The Divine one, though... It's basically Bard+, especially since (if you have forewarning) you can pre-chant.

Pre-chanting might be okay--you're giving up any chance of stealth. Balancing against the Bard, chanting has to continue to work--that's your standard action. The bard can stop singing and the benefits persist for 5 more rounds.

Maybe it becomes part of a larger Bard/priest re-work for E6. Instead of a long spell list, the cantor gets a shorter song list, the songs escalating in power round by round.

The D&D Bard, much like the D&D cleric, is almost entirely an outgrowth of the D&D rulesets. The cleric hits the thematic question of "why is my priest(ess) of Isis/Poseidon/Loki using a mace, plate mail and a shield"? The bard runs into the story problem of "yes, I am an awesome singer. What I should do is go poke around dungeons and savage wildernesses looking for monsters to fight."

The cantor, though, maybe makes sense. The power of the music makes the cantor a valuable party member, and the priest role gives him a community or a god to be fighting on behalf of.

I'm not sure it's a super-fun playstyle though. "I roll to keep singing and boost everyone another +1", and again the next round, and again the next round.

2016-02-05, 04:22 PM
If I develop the Chanting idea, then the squishy-divine-caster morphs into a bard-type. Which is something I think I'll develop, but does anyone have an idea for a fallback ability for squishy-divines, along the lines of Arcane Assistance for arcane casters?

I want to work with the program that divine casters do a lot of helping others, rather than acting directly themselves.
Pathfinder did something along these lines with their domain powers, and "ranged touch attack for d6 + 1/2 levels 3 times a day plus WIS modifier" is nice, can we do something more interesting than refluffing the Warlock's eldritch blast?

2016-02-05, 05:02 PM
You might do an at will power allowing to make the priest shine providing illumination.(for example if the team is paranoiac about having light at low level)

2016-02-05, 05:55 PM
You could just give everyone a free Reserve feat