View Full Version : Would doing this balance full casters?

2008-03-12, 01:51 PM
Yes, another balance thread. There are threads talking about mages vs fighters, threads about balance via cutting classes, and many opinions on exactly what must be done to curb magic broken-ness (I think people pretty much agree on *how* wizards are broken).

My thoughts? I believe most of the broken-ness come from the spells themselves. Sure Incantatrix and Planar Shepherd have stupidly overpowered abilities, but most DMs probably don't allow those classes anyways. For the more commonly played magic classes like Wizard, Sorcerer, Cleric, etc, the problem is the spells. They are too powerful and broken sometimes. My solution, is to use/design classes with a tailored and set class list, with very limited options on obtaining new spells (like Advanced learning from Warmages/Beguilers). This will allow DMs to carefully controle xactly what kind of power and what kind of cheese casters can do. I mean, when was the last time you saw a Warmage break the game without some *really* lax and bad DMing?

As a quick fix, I believe that limited casters to those that specialize in a few areas will limit a lot of the abuse. If the casters you can choose from are Beguiler, Dread Necromancer, Warmage, and Healer, the vast majority of the broken combos and "caster can do it all, including covering for other classes" scenarios would go out the door. Sure there will be some overlap, like between an archer and a warmage or between Bard and Beguiler, but at least the casters aren't covering 3248199 roles at once and being damned good at all of them. Of course, we'd need to design a better divine caster class than the Healer (maybe Cloistered Cleric with a set spell list), but I think this will go a long way in making other casters balanced with everything else.

Who's with me?

Mr. Friendly
2008-03-12, 01:53 PM
I pretty much agree with you.

2008-03-12, 01:59 PM
I'd rather do more subtle changes, some of which I mentioned in the other thread (not allowing extra additions to the spellbook, removing metamagic-reducers, altering some spells so they're more reasonable, etc). Removing bonus spells from high stats would help the balance as well, because really half the problem is not that Wizards can do XYZ, it's that it doesn't really cost them anything to do it and rarely actually run out of spells. By reducing spells-per-day, we restore that lost limiter and dampen their power without slashing entire classes.

2008-03-12, 02:03 PM
I, for one, like this idea.

Currently, an illusionist with evocation and conjuration as barred spells can be an all trick monkey with plenty of potential to overepower anything that get's in his way.

But what if that smae illusionist were limited to spells of the school of illusion and could, at later levels, be able to use a bit of, say, enchantment and abjiration (not on the same skill level as he uses illusion,) I was thinking that two other schools could be chosen as secondary schools. These secondary schools would be learned at half the rate of the primary school. For example, a 7th level ilusionist like the one above would be able to cast 4th level illusion spells, but only 2nd level enchantment and abjurations.

Illusion and conjuration are pretty powerful on their own, and transmutation and abjuration have usefull spells in each level. This will force a wizard to specialize in a few areas and not end up being a solution to every problem.

Just my own suggestion.

Tempest Fennac
2008-03-12, 02:12 PM
My problem with Cloisterelerics is that they can't really survive on the frontline (which is where they need to be to use Cure spells), and all they get in exchange is extra skill points and a load of knowledge skills which aren't that useful in comparison to heavy armour proficiency and an averag HD and BAB. Flavourwise, I'd say Archivists with limited spells (preferably just from the Cleric spell list and possibly a couple of Domains) are a much better choice. Excluding Divine Might, are Clerics as they are that overpowered? If they are, would cutting their armour proficiency while giving their Cure spells a range of Close rather then Touch reduce how overpowered they are whilepreventing them from being too vurnerable? (I'd assume that intelligent enermies would try to take the group's healers out as quickly as possible).

I like the idea for Arcanists (I developed a class which mainly uses Transmutation and Conjuration spells a while back, but the concensus was that it's underpowered: http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=72836 ). Regarding Druids, is the Shapeshifting variant particularly balanced? I know it eliminates Natural Spell and the animal companion and that the forms it allows aren't as powerful as Wild Shape.

2008-03-12, 02:16 PM
Beguilers are, from what I know, very overpowered but apart from that it seems like a decent idea.

2008-03-12, 02:48 PM
Cloistered clerics...I'd either give healing spells a range of 20 feet or give the clerics more hitpoints. fighter HP even (remember their BAB is 1/2)

Beguilers are not overpowered at all. I've played a few. I can't fly, teleport, conjure things, change myself into a hydra, blast things (except for the whelm spells which suck except for Mass Whelm), or hurt anything with a good will save and/or have good spell resistance. I just kinda sat there and cried when I met a Chain Golem.

Now, Beguiler/Shadowcraft Mages are overpowered, but that's b/c of Shadowcraft Mage, not Beguiler. Remember, Illusion and Enchantment are two of the weakest schools in terms of optimization. They, and sometimes necromancy, are the first ones dropped for specialization.

Tempest Fennac
2008-03-12, 02:50 PM
Are they that bad? I would have thought that the fact that most of their spells have Will saves would be a weak point (admittedly, I'm playing one in a solo campaign due to seeing it as a good choice due to being an Arcanis/skill monkey with huge weaknesses).

EDIT: Frost, were you on about giving Cloistered Clerics more HPs? I agree that giving them ranged healing would reduce the need for them to be tanks.

2008-03-12, 03:02 PM
Nah, they're not that bad. As noted, they find it very hard to do anything against an enemy with immunity to mind-affecting things, but when confronted with golems or undead (or anything else immune to your stuff), you still have a few choices.

-Illusions! Most golems and undead are mindless, which means they will fall for your simple illusion spells like a charm. This is highly subject to how your DM interprets illusions; some count seeing an illusion as interaction and give a save at that point, some will demand you actually touch or talk to the illusion.

-If you're alone, use skills and trickery. An iron golem is not providing you with a problem at all if you're picking the lock while Silenced and Invisible. Or if you just sneak past it.

-If you're with a party, buff your friends. Displacement, Haste, Freedom of Movement, Slow (okay, that one's for the enemies)... you have enough spells that you can still contribute.

Beguilers are overpowered in a way, because their spell list focuses rather heavily on enchantment save-or-lose spells. And save-or-lose spells are some of the best in the game. However, they lack enough other spells (teleportation, flying, save-or-lose that targets something other than Will) that they're definitely under the wizard in power, and probably under a well-made sorceror as well.

The other two classes that use the spellcasting method are nicely balanced (in the case of the dread necromancer) and somewhat underpowered (in the case of the warmage, though a high-level warmage is actually on par with decent melee characters of the same level).

2008-03-12, 03:05 PM
Are they that bad? I would have thought that the fact that most of their spells have Will saves would be a weak point (admittedly, I'm playing one in a solo campaign due to seeing it as a good choice due to being an Arcanis/skill monkey with huge weaknesses).

EDIT: Frost, were you on about giving Cloistered Clerics more HPs? I agree that giving them ranged healing would reduce the need for them to be tanks.

I see two options for cloistered clerics. EITHER give them more HP, or give them ranged healing. Not both. As for Beguilers, they are a *good* class. Don't get me wrong. I love them to death. Versatile within its element, but with enough glaring holes in its arsenal to need other members to survive. I agree that it is good that the Beguiler has such a glaring weakness as being impotent vs high Will saves. It is part of what makes the Beguiler a good, but not overpowered, class.

Tempest Fennac
2008-03-12, 03:05 PM
While it isn't ideal, they could use Teleport and secure Shelter (which can both be useful) alog with some other Conjuration spells by using Shadow Conjuration. (Admittedly, their weaknesses is 1 reason why I'm playing as 1 in a solo game).

Thanks for clarifying. Would normal Clerics be okay without access to Divine Power? Someone on the other thread said it's a problem due to allowing them to out perform a lot of focussed melee classes.

2008-03-12, 03:08 PM
Nah, they're not that bad. As noted, they find it very hard to do anything against an enemy with immunity to mind-affecting things, but when confronted with golems or undead (or anything else immune to your stuff), you still have a few choices.

-Illusions! Most golems and undead are mindless, which means they will fall for your simple illusion spells like a charm. This is highly subject to how your DM interprets illusions; some count seeing an illusion as interaction and give a save at that point, some will demand you actually touch or talk to the illusion.

My DM ruled that chain golems are immune to *all* magic, so illusions don't really work on it. It ignored Grease as well. I was useless that battle. it was a long dungeon and I had to conserve some spell slots.

But yes, solo, just be invisible and silent, and pick the darned lock.

2008-03-12, 03:12 PM
While it isn't ideal, they could use Teleport and secure Shelter (which can both be useful) alog with some other Conjuration spells by using Shadow Conjuration. (Admittedly, their weaknesses is 1 reason why I'm playing as 1 in a solo game).

Thanks for clarifying. Would normal Clerics be okay without access to Divine Power? Someone on the other thread said it's a problem due to allowing them to out perform a lot of focussed melee classes.

To be honest, clerics doing melee isn't that bad in my opinion. Oh noez, they are now fighters with NO BONUS FEATS! Not really worried. A cleric in one of my campaigns has Persistent DMM to have Divine Power all day long. He swings like 3 times a session. The rest of the time, he'd rather cast spells. Worth the investment? You be the judge.

I've houseruled that clerics only get Light armor proficiency in my campaign. It seems to help a bit reign in their toughness. My players also don't abuse the game as people on the char-ops boards can, so...

Tempest Fennac
2008-03-12, 03:16 PM
Do your Clerics also get the ability to use heavy shields? I know some one on the other thread suggested reducing the BAB to 1/2 while saying that they are too powerful with 3/4 BAB.

2008-03-12, 03:37 PM
1/2 of 3/4 BAB doesn't matter if Divine Power is used. I believe they also get heavy shields. As for shields, get rid of them if you want Clerics to have less defenses. to be honest, it's their offense I'm more worried about.

2008-03-12, 04:14 PM
Cloistered clerics...I'd either give healing spells a range of 20 feet or give the clerics more hitpoints. fighter HP even (remember their BAB is 1/2)

Beguilers are not overpowered at all. I've played a few. I can't fly, teleport, conjure things, change myself into a hydra, blast things (except for the whelm spells which suck except for Mass Whelm), or hurt anything with a good will save and/or have good spell resistance. I just kinda sat there and cried when I met a Chain Golem.

Now, Beguiler/Shadowcraft Mages are overpowered, but that's b/c of Shadowcraft Mage, not Beguiler. Remember, Illusion and Enchantment are two of the weakest schools in terms of optimization. They, and sometimes necromancy, are the first ones dropped for specialization.

My beguiler owned all encounters with goblins and orcs at 1st level once, untill we met 3 monks... after I fizzled 3 spells on them, I sat in the back with my crossbow while the rest of the group beat them :smallbiggrin:
I like the idea of specialized casters. It does fall into the "cutting a class off", but replacing it with more balanced ones is a good idea.

2008-03-12, 04:36 PM
While it isn't ideal, they could use Teleport and secure Shelter (which can both be useful) alog with some other Conjuration spells by using Shadow Conjuration. (Admittedly, their weaknesses is 1 reason why I'm playing as 1 in a solo game).

Secure Shelter, yes, but not Teleport. Shadow Conjuration and its improved versions only allow conjuration (summoning) and conjuration (creation) spells to be mimicked, not conjuration (teleportation).

Cutting down cleric armor proficiency a little bit (the cloistered cleric variant is a good variant, as it does this while giving things like skill points in return) and allowing them to use Divine Favor and Righteous Might on other people is probably a good idea. Take out Divine Power too if you're worried about clerics becoming melee machines; if your players aren't optimizers who prepare tons of self-buffs, you probably don't need to worry about it.

Also, chain golems immune to illusion? That's kinda weird, as the illusion isn't targeting the golem. Would it also have been immune to the extra damage from a magic sword, and the like?

Sir Giacomo
2008-03-12, 04:45 PM
A simple way would be to restrict the rules to core at first and gradually as a DM allow other rules into the game (as fitting for the campaign). This would include spells (or feats/skills/skill tricks for the non-casting classes).

Precondition for this to work: you need to believe that the core rules are balanced.

- Giacomo

2008-03-12, 04:49 PM
The way I balance full casters is something like.

Clerics: d4 hit die, 1/2 bab, removal of personal buffs like divine favor, divine power and the like, they are moved to the paladin's spell list. Lose all martial weapon and armor proficiencies. Change name to Priest.

Druids: Nothing except provide them a list of creatures they can wildshape into at 5th level based on backstory and gameplay, expand the list as time goes on. But then I've never DM'd for a druid...

Wizards: Ban rope trick and MMM and limit the number in the world. There are more monks in my worlds then there are wizards, because they are all Batman-wizard level paranoid. Sorcerers, which become the main caster of the world, don't generally craft scrolls. So player wizards end up getting 3-4 spells for every level.

2008-03-12, 04:58 PM
Also, chain golems immune to illusion? That's kinda weird, as the illusion isn't targeting the golem. Would it also have been immune to the extra damage from a magic sword, and the like?

Well basically, the DM ruled that once the golem interacted with the illusion in any way, it auto-passes the will save and disbelieves. And since we ahd to defeat the golem to move on, so I can't just lead the golem off to a wild goose chase, I was doing nothing that battle.

On the other hand, I single-handedly won the next battle for the group with a well-placed Legion of Sentinels.

2008-03-12, 05:26 PM
Not too long ago, we got this close to playtesting a fix that would revolutionize the industry. It would address all relevant balance issues, while keeping, nay, improving the flavor. Best part, there were no complicated rules and weird math and banned spells. It would be a fluff fix. :smalleek:

And this was it: There is no such thing as a "generalist" spellcaster. Choose a flavor - not school, not deity, not alignment - just flavor. Choose a role. And stick to it. No other spells. If you're a trickster, you can't buff and debuff. If you're a buffer, you can't do direct damage. If you do direct damage, you don't know what a mind-affecting spell is. If you mess with people's minds, you can't control the battlefield.

It was wonderfully simple. I bet half my books it would have actually worked if we got around to do it. (Sadly, we never did.) It had only one drawback. But it's a big one: it completely depends on the players to keep from abusing it. It absolutely requires the players to want to limit their spell choices for the sake of flavor (and, coincidentally, balance). Because, otherwise, it's the easiest thing in the world to invent a "role" that allows you to cast anything you want.

I only mention it because if you ever find yourself in a group that's really dedicated, maybe you don't have to rewrite half the rules. And if your group is not really dedicated, they will probably stop having fun as you limit the casters' abilities, and no house-rule or DM fiat can fix that.

PS- Regardless, I'm following the thread with great interest, and would love to see a coherent set of rules come out of it. :)

2008-03-12, 06:16 PM

Yes, it can work. The easy way to demonstrate that is to show how you can make a caster nearly useless compared to the Fighter just by gutting the spell list and replacing it with stuff that's very, very weak - if we, say, remove all current spells, remove spell research, and put in nothing but spells that are always single-target, 1-round action casting, touch-range, instant 1d6 hp damage per spell level (not caster level, spell level) spells, we can demonstrate that, just by changing the spell list and removing spell research, we've got a totally weak class. An NPC Warrior or Expert will likely slaughter a Wizard of equal level, under such circumstances.

There's a few catches, though.
1) You have to cull things to the "right" power level - you don't want something that's beaten by an NPC class, but nor do you want something that's got a high probability of successfully soloing most critters 3 CR over the Wizard's level (like what can happen with a too-well-built CoDZilla or Batman Wizard). Pity most people disagree on exactly where that should be.
2) Most people hate getting their favorite class/spell/combo/other crunchy bit hit with the Nerf-bat at the table. Any attempt to do so, unless you're doing it for yourself, is liable to be met with something along the lines of "but now he's useless" or similar.

Titanium Dragon
2008-03-12, 06:50 PM
If you were to just get rid of all the rediculous full caster classes (which is basically what I did in my thread on cutting classes, I might add, because they're the only broken casters) then yes, you will fix them. What makes them broken is the lack of saving throws their spells allow, combined with their ability to superscede the roles of all other party members. The only real exceptions are the artificer and the archivist, who actually manage to superscede and obsolete all the other -full casters-, though not by nearly as much admittedly (as you're already rediculously broken and there's not a whole lot you can pile on top to make things worse, though artificers don't actually have to rest which arguably DOES make them worse, but I digress).

The remaining classes - the Dread Necromancer, the Beguiler, the Shugenja, the Wilder, the Warmage, and similar weaker full casters - all are weaker because they have fewer of or lack entirely the really broken, role-supersceding spells. Beguilers are the strongest of the lot, mostly because they superscede skill monkeys but still have lots of save-or-suck abilities (which are powerful, but not as good as the saveless spells wizards have like Solid Fog) and a handful of still-broken spells (possessing both Solid Fog and Time Stop, two of the more broken wizard spells). Dread Necromancers lack the latter category of spells, and from there you get more reasonable. That said, none of the full casters are too low in power; even the warmage is pretty strong and the Adept is stronger than many PC classes despite a sharply limited and slow spell progression. The lack of versatility is part of it, but if you look at the shugenja, it doesn't really lack versatility - it can do a lot. It just lacks anything which is actually broken. But it is still on par with the ToB classes.

2008-03-12, 07:12 PM
My plan is to allow mages of different kinds. Each kind would specialize in 2 schools. Warmages did Evocation and a bit of conjuration. Beguilers do Enchantment and Illusion. For example, we may want to homebrew one up that specializes in Conjuration and Divination, and another in Abjuration and Transmutation. Spell lists would be carefully tailored to avoid too much abuse, and class abilities tailored for flavor.

Tempest Fennac
2008-03-13, 02:36 AM
I'm sorry for getting confused, Snark. While it isn;t quite what your looking for, would my Planemorpher class be useful? (It focusses on Conjuration and Transmutation spells): http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=72836 . Tura, was your fix the one while suggested using all mental stats for spellcasting? Also, Zeful, that Cleric fix sounds really underpowered to the point where Healers would probably be much better (I agree with what someone on the other thread said about Clerics needing survivability due to how the whole party is in trouble if they go down unless there's a back-up healer). Also, I'd say that you would be better off replacing Druids with a full BAB class which can Wildshape while getting access to a few other class features (I tend to see spellcasting as an important part of the Druid's fluff due to the classes origins).

2008-03-13, 02:47 AM
Actually, I've had this idea before, so naturally I have to agree with it wholeheartedly. Then again, I also got rid of every core class and replaced it with something else.

Beguilers could use a bit of tweaking to make them not overshadow rogues and scouts quite so much, and healer's need to lose that flat-out retarded code they have.

2008-03-13, 02:58 AM
Theres some good ideas here here. Though I think that balancing the classes shouldn't just involve nerfing the casters, but also pumping up the non-casters, but thats a topic for another thread.

A quick look identifies these as the main reasons casters are so powerful

-Access to abilities. The simple fact that a caster has access to a useable ability list and a fighter doesn't is a huge advantage for a caster. This can only be fixed by giving fighters abilities (see ToB).

-Unlimited Adaptability. A wizard, cleric, or druid can essentially rewrite their spell list(and thus their entire class) every day. There is no good way to balance this. All classes should be required to make choices as to what abilities they have, and what abilities they do not have. This is why sorcerers are much more balanced then wizards.

-Unlimited Utility. You can make a spell to do pretty much anything, there is no predefined limit on what a spell can and cannot do. Why create a fighter when a cleric can do all the same things and still heal? A class needs to have something they do, and they need to expend significant character resources to work outside that field so they don't step on other classes toes.

-Single Ability Dependence. Most spell casters only have one really important ability score. Sure it's nice for your wizard to have a high Con and Dex(and high scores in other stats never hurt), but really Int is where it's at, every spare stat point you get goes into int. It is never a bad investment, you never get more return out of another stat then int, and your ability as a wizard is direct ally correlated to your int. Favored Soul went quite a ways to fix this, by making their spells based on two ability scores, but in general you need to a)make other abilities scores more relevent, and b)decrese the impact one single ability score makes on your character.

-Magic Item Freedom. A fighter needs to stay on the bleeding edge of magical equiptment. They need the best possible weapons and armor at any given moment, plus they also need magic items to cover basic fuctions that casters can easily cover with low level spells. A fighter needs items to fly, see invisible creatures, heal themselves, and remove negative conditions, all things that characters are expected, practically required to be able to do to some extent. On the other hand, casters just use their spells to cover most those basis, and are able to spend more of their money on items that make them more powerful. This can be fixed by a)reducing dependance on magic items for fighter classes b)increasing depedance for casting classes.

-Poor Spell Design. A large portion of spells are just poorly designed. See polymorph, alter self, celerity, ray of enfeeblement, shapechange, fly, dimension door, ect, ect, ect. Sure their cool, but they don't take into account how they affect a game, and every new book comes out with new spells. There is no easy way to fix this.

Balancing spellcasters is something that can be done, but would require an almost complete re-write of many of the in-game systems. Luckily, WotC is doing that right now, and hopefully they will do a good job of it.

Tempest Fennac
2008-03-13, 03:51 AM
Ray of Enfeeblement and similar spells could be fixed to a degree by allowing a saving throw. Banning Polymorph and Celerity altogether would probably be wise. While using other stats to calculate bonus spells would help, would it make Wizards and Clerics a liability early on in the game before they get a lot of spellslots (unless the player rolls really well and they are able to bost a secondary spellcasting stat)? It's not that much of a problem for FSs and Sorcerers due to how many slots they get anyway.

I just remembered something that could help: I'm not really an Ultimate Class fan due to them only going up to level 7 spells with it seemingly being harder to get spells (also, I don't get why Clerics should need to pay for spells considering how their gods would obviously want them to be as versatile as possible, and Druids destroying "Products of civilisation" to get spells only fits in with evil Druids), but there are a couple of classes (specifically Conjurers and Maguses) which could provide decent templates for specialist casters (the Warmage could be made more like the Magus to make it a lttle bit more versatile: I know the classs has been critercised due to only being able to blast unless you use the Eclectic Learning variant). The Ultimate Druid could be useful with normal D&D full spellcasting as well.

EDIT: here's a link to all the Ultimate Classes: http://www.liquidmateria.info/wiki/Ultimate_Classes . Wildshape is severely nerfed as well, so it's only practical to use it for very short peroids (there's no mention of Natural Spell either).

2008-03-13, 09:36 AM
Actually, I've had this idea before, so naturally I have to agree with it wholeheartedly. Then again, I also got rid of every core class and replaced it with something else.

Beguilers could use a bit of tweaking to make them not overshadow rogues and scouts quite so much, and healer's need to lose that flat-out retarded code they have.

I'd just power up the Scout and Rogue instead. Give them some ToB style abilities aka 4e, maybe setting sun, tiger claw. Well, we'd need a ranged discipline for Scouts as well.

Tempest, putting Conjuration and Transmutation in one caster seems a tad...much, unless you are really careful with the spell list.

Tempest Fennac
2008-03-13, 09:42 AM
Thanks (I found it ironic that most people told me my class was underpowered: I was worried about it being overpowered due to the spell list).

2008-03-13, 02:04 PM
Here is the first draft of a class Tempest Fennac and I came up with. He did the spell list. I came up with the class abilities

<Name yet to be decided. Suggestions?>
This class is an INT-based caster. Spell progression is as Sorcerer. Spontaneous casting.
2+INT skill points
d4 hp

Good save: Will
Bad save: Fort, Ref
BAB: 1/2

Armored Mage - cast in light armor

Extended Summoning - Summoned creatures stay for 2 more rounds than normal.

Wall of Will - bonus to dispel checks made to counter a spell being cast. Bonus equal to Int bonus. Increases max CL allowed by Dispel and Greater Dispel for this purpose equal to Int bonus.

Advanced learning - as Beguiler, except limited to Conjuration and Adjuration spells. Possibly ban the Orb spells so they don't end up out-damaging the Warmages.

Extend Spell - Bonus feat

Magic Breaker - bonus to all dispel checks instead of just to counter spells. Bonus equal to Int bonus. Increases max CL allowed by Dispel and Greater Dispel equal to Int bonus.

Advanced Learning

Rapid Metamagic - bonus feat

Absorbing Counter - If you successfully counter a spell, then, until the end of your next round, the next Summoning spell you cast only takes 1 standard action normally instead of 1 round.

Advanced Learning

Summoning Dispel - For a number of time equal to your Int bonus (min 1) per day, when you cast a summoning spell, you may also choose to have the creature release a burst of anti-magic energy when it appears. The burst 10 ft in radius is centered on the creature, but doesn't affect the creature. It acts like an area Greater Dispel Magic with a CL equal to your character level.

Advanced Learning

Advanced Learning

Immediate Dispel - You may cast all Dispel and Greater Dispels as Immediate actions instead of Standard actions. You may do this for a number of times equal to your INT bonus. Minimum once/day.

Spell list for this Abjurer/Conjurer

Acid Splash
Chalk Board
Arcane Mark

Mage Armor
Summon Monster I
Unseen Servant
Protection from Alignment
Endure Elements
Hail of Stone
Cause Fear
Know Protection

Fog Cloud
Summon Monster II
Summon Swarm
Arcane Lock
Protection from Arrows
Resist Energy
Daggerspell Stance
Battering Ram
Daze Monster

Magic Circle Against Alignment
Dispel Magic
Protecton from Energy
Shadow Tentacle, Lesser
Reverse Arrow
Phantom Steed
Sleet Storm
Stinking Cloud
Summon Monster III
Bands of Steel
Hold Person

Black Tentacles
Dimension Door
Resist Energy Mass
Secure Shelter
Solid Fog
Summon Monster IV
Anticipate Teleportation
Dimensional Anchor
Wall of Alignment
Remove Curse

Mage's Faithful Hound
Break Enchantment
Wall of Stone
Shadow Tentacle, Greater
Ironguard, Lesser
Fireshield Mass

Summon Monster VI
Wall of Iron
Acid Fog
Dispel Magic, Greater
Guards and Wards
Globe of Invurnerability
Bigby’s Forceful Hand

Mage's Magnificent MansionF
Phase Door
Summon Monster VII
Teleport, Greater
Energy Immunity
Symbol of Stunning

Incendiary Cloud
Summon Monster VIII
Mind Blank
Dimension Lock
Prismatic Wall
Trap the Soul

Gate <Replace with something yet to be decided>
Summon Monster IX
Teleportation Circle

Tempest Fennac
2008-03-13, 02:40 PM
What class skills should this class have? I was thinking Concentrate, Decipher Script, all Knowledge skills, Profession, Apprise, Spellcraft, Search and Craft. Also, would Summon Elemental Monolith be a good replacement for Gate?

2008-03-13, 02:52 PM
Don't forget Spellcraft. Summon Elemental Monolith is fine.

Tempest Fennac
2008-03-13, 02:57 PM
Well remembered. I'll add that to my past post.

Idea Man
2008-03-13, 04:02 PM
You could always alter gate to non-brokenness. When calling, you can get one creature of up to your caster level in HD, or several creatures up to double your level in HD, but no one with more than half your level in HD. That should take care of the biggest flaw of this spell. Give the creatures a save, if you want more balance.

Tempest Fennac
2008-03-15, 02:46 AM
I was thinking of some Divine spellcaster fixes: replace Clerics ith Favoured Souls as martial casters, and ban broken self buffs such as Righteous Might and Divine Power and have Archivists as academic casters (my problem with Cloisters Clerics is that they basically lose the ability to be usful on the frontline for skills which aren't that useful considering how normal Wizards get them while Archivists use Int for spellcasting, and they get Dark Knowledge, which needs ranks in knowledge skills to work).
In order to fix Archiviss, I'd let them use Int to calculate bonus spells rather then Wis, but I'd bar them from being able to learn spells which aren't on the normal Cleric spell list, or their dieties Domain list (they would have the same rules as Clerics ragarding falling and atonement while needing to have a diety. Letting them have causes would probably be a bad idea due to how they would get more choice regarding Domains to a degree).
In regards to Druids, I'd make people se the Shapeshifter variant as its forms are weaker then Wild Shape, and this would easily eliminate Natural Spell cheese and the animal companion.

2008-03-16, 07:56 AM
I'm not very good at this stuff, but I was asked to look at it. Maybe you put it on the previous page, but what, exactly, is the purpose of this class? Is it to replace all the casters? It mentions just Abjuration and Conjuration. So it's a maker-protector? Protector works, they're always needed, but how will the making fit in? It seems like a slightly odd pair of schools to put together, too... It might be worth just adding a decisive note on what exactly this class' role is meant to be.
Meh. Like I said, I'm no good at looking critically at these things. That's just what came to mind.

Tempest Fennac
2008-03-16, 08:04 AM
I thought Abjuration would go better with Conjuration then it wold with Transmutation (due to the Dread Necromancer, Warmage and Beguiller existing, we needed classes which covered the other schools). Here is the Diviner/Transmuter:

BAB: Wizard. HD: 6. Good save: Will. Skill points: 2/level.
Casts spontaneous Cha-based spells (same progression as Sorcerers).
Class skills: Knowledge (Arcana+Planes), Concentrate, Bluff, Diplomacy, Disguise and Spellcraft (and UMD if that wouldn't be too powerful).

Spell list:

Detect Magic
Read Magic
Mage Hnd
Mending Stick
Touch of Fatigue

Animate Rope
Enlarge Person
Expeditious Retreat
Feather Fall
Magic Weapon
Reduce Person
Comprehend Languages
Detect secret Doors
Arrow Mind
Critical Strike
Spontaneous Search
True Strike

Bear's Endurance
Bull's Strength
Cat's Grace
Eagle's Splendor
Fox's Cunning
Owl's Wisdom
Spider Climb
See Invisibility
Detect Thoughts
Cloud of Bewilderment
Hypnotic Pattern
Force Ladder

Flame Arrow.
Gaseous Form.
Keen Edge
Magic Weapon, Greater
Secret Page
Arcane Sight
Telepathic Bond, Lesser
Dispel Magic

Reduce Person, Mass
Stone Shape
Enlarge Person, Mass
Arcane Eye
Detect Scrying
Crushing Dispair
Darkvision, Mass
Wall of Ice

Rary’s Telepathic Bond
Prying Eyes
Contact Other Plane
Blink, Improved
Fly, Mass
Nightstalker’s Transformation
Baleful Polymorph
Magic Jar
Shadow Form

Stone to Flesh
Flesh to Stone
Analyze Dweomer
Probe Thoughts
True Seeing
Wages of Sin

Ethereal Jaunt
Reverse Gravity
Mordenkainen’s Sword
Scrying, Greater
Arane Sight, Greater

Moment of Prescience
Prying Eyes, Greater
Discern Location
Simbul’s Skeletal Deliquescence
Scintillating Pattern

Transmute Rock to Lava
Astral Projection
Eye of Power

I'm still working on the fluff, and I need to chat with Frost about the class' abilities.

2008-03-16, 08:46 AM
Heh, I'm thinking more along the lines of eliminating the core melee classes. But I'd probably toss the Wizard too, or limit them to one school. Sorcs aren't as broken because they can't learn spells beyond what they're granted per level.

I have no clue what to do about Clerics and Druids though.

To clarify though, I'd be tossing the core melee classes in favor of ToB classes (Probably fused with the core classes... Since I wouldn't be including Fighters and Rogues and Rangers and Paladins and Monks, there'd be no worry about the newly pumped up martial adept types stealing the core classes' thunder.

I'd give the Warblade the fighter's bonus feats, create monk and rogue swordsage combinations, and the paladin would obviously fuse with the Crusader.

Not quite sure whether the Ranger would make a better swordsage variant or Warblade variant. Possibly would need to be something kind of in between.

That would power up melee considerably. Then the limits on Wizards would prevent Batman builds. Although I would probably strongly urge my players to be a Sorcerer or Psion instead, to be honest.

Tempest Fennac
2008-03-16, 08:55 AM
I'd ban Wizards rather then just limiting them to 1 school due to how they would become ridiculously underpowered (limiting them to up to 3 or 4 schools would probably be better, but that would mean not banning some schools due to just needing a couple of spells from them. eg: I could get by without Enchantment, but I'd need Abjuration for Dispel and Break Enchantment, as well as Illusion for the invisibility spells, but I wouldn't be that bothered about other spells from those schools).

2008-03-16, 04:07 PM
Well, I was considering an eight pointed star diagram allowing me to determine which schools negate others, instead of allowing Wizards to choose which schools they lose when they specialize, and increasing the schools lost to 3-5 instead of 2, and then REQUIRING specialization...

But I'm not too worried about it really. I mean, players that want to be arcane casters can be a Sorc if they think the Wiz is too nerfed under these rules, or just be a Psion which is much more easy to handle.

The biggest challenge is still the CoDzilla. Cleric and Druid aren't as simple to curtail.

2008-03-16, 11:25 PM
Sure, D&D is "broken." Magic is powerful. But most balance issues are tracable to either a weak spine or a lack of imagination in the DM. Don't make the rules do your job for you. Power should never be free. Period. Some may call this fluff, but it really seems to be common sense when you think the consequences of casters through.

General points applicable to casters:

First, all spellcasters need rest. What's that, didn't get 8 hours of uninterrupted rest? Goodbye, demigodhood! An unrested fighter is tired. An unrested wizard is next to useless.

Second, spelling up is an earned luxury. Did the PCs do a lot of divination and/or planning to make that prep time beleivable, or have you as a DM facilitated a spell-up phase at the start of your encounters?

Third, I like to make my NPCs exactly as cheap as the PCs. If they want to spell-cheese their way through my encounters, they can expect to be treated in kind. They can make things as hard on themselves as they want...

Specific things for the caster types:

A. Divine spell casters are easy to balance. You just need to look at where the power is coming from: some godthe character has a relationship with. How's that relationship coming along? Sure, Thor or Baphomat or Pelor or whoever probably doesn't worry too much about what his 1st level, or even 5th level followers are up to, as long as it's basically "Up to Code" with s/he/it's portfolio. But once you bust up into the 9th level and up range, I think that a divine character should be reminded who is boss. OFTEN. You serve at the deitie's pleasure. Characters who are more intent on their own business than their celestial (or infernal) leige's should find their spell power withering as a result.

If your gods don't care enough about their clerics to look in on them now and then, why are they feeding them all that divine might?

B. Druids have their own rather obvious limitations, once you stop viewing them as stat blocks.

Animal companions are not robots. They have to be fed, first of all. Sure, your may be toting a dire tiger around, but you also have to be feeding it. What's that? It's "hunting?" Well, I sure that having set a hungry dire-terror loose on the countryside isn't going to cause any problems for the PCs. Oh, what's that, you're down in the Temple of Unholy Evil or the Undless Chasms of the Underdark or whatever? Well, the dwarf is probably going to start looking tasty, then.

Also, Animal Companions are like fighters with crappier will saves. They can and should be dominated regularly, especially if the PC spellslingers like playing this card. What, you awakened them? Hope your diplomacy score is pretty decent while you explain why it's always getting lvldrained and maimed for you...

Also, druids should also find their power mysteriously failing them if they stop performing the various duties that your setting demands of them. ******* around in Waterdeep or the Underdark or some other plane or something should be draining. At the least, a periodic rejuvination and communing with a real wild place should be nessesary. Pin down where the power comes from and stick it to them!

You can always bring back the old "duel to lvl" rules... but more realisticly, learing things like wildshaping and such from elemental powers or fey can be pleasant fluff while imposing very real obligations on the character.

C. Ah.... wizards....

1. No multiclassing into arcane magic without AT LEAST one NPC level of Expert(arcanist). Bump up that spellcraft, buddy. This stuff is hard work. Multiclassing is at the heart of much of the brokenness in 3.x, but I particularly refuse to accept that some fighter can swing his sword around in a dungeon for a few days and in a sudden epiphany gain the knowledge it took a first lvl wizard a whole youth to master.

2. No free spells. PERIOD. Magic is stupidly, brokenly powerful. So why is it so easy to access in 3.x? Your mentor gave you a couple. Maybe some of the crappier 1st and 2nd level spells might be up for sale, at exorbinant price, in select major cities. But anything beyond that is going to be a prized secret. If you are a wizard and you know Black Tentacles or Teleport or Broken Spell #76, why would you ever share it? For mere GOLD? Obtaining spells should be WORK. the higher lvl the spell, the harder to find it should be. Horrifying pacts with extraplanar beings, perilous excavations of ancient ruins, genuinely expenisive and inconviently time-consuming research... or some other wizard's spellbook...

3. Which brings me to the spellbook. Once spells aren't gamebreaking goodies sprinkled willy nilly into the game, they become dangerously valuable. Any mid-to-high lvl wizard should be half mad with paranoia about the safty of hir precious spellbook at all times. Once the PC spellcasters start throwing those badass spells around, the vultures should begin to circle. Why do you think NPC wizards are always entombed in those impregnable towers? PCs should expect telelported assassins, master burglers, and of course, greedy anti-PC partys looking to make a buck. A naked wizard without a spellbook is... a glorified expert. A naked warrior grabs a chair and is still a dangerous individual. A naked monk probably needn't notice.

I actually like to apply this to magic items in general. Really compettent, high lvl warriors and rogues might run around with just masterwork items becasue they're sick of dealing with it.

4. A final balance point about arcane types. The reason that lvl20 wizards exist is that some fighter saved his ass over and over from lvls 1-5. "On no! Only 2/3 of the kobalds failed the save! Hide behind the fighter!" "Oh no! We actually have more than one encounter today! Hide behind the fighter!" etc. Sure, they outshine the fighter eventually, but they OWE their tank. Of course, nobody seems to start at lvl 1 these days. I guess it just takes to long to get your "uberbuild" set up that way.

DMs, straighten that backbone! Don't let those spellcasters walk all over you. Give power a price.

2008-03-16, 11:39 PM
My fix is to tone them down. The next campaign I'm running in D&D has the spellcaster with the bardic progression of spells, and a choice of two schools of magic. I'm also adding some general magical abilities that are similar to bardic music in progression, but I haven't finished that yet.

Generally, I am perfectly fine with 7+ level spells as being epic spells. That leaves pretty much the polymorph line as the remaining problem, which there are some good fixes for.

RE: Above.

Animal Companions are like fighters. With bad will saves. So like fighters. Which means the Druid gets a fighter as a class feature. As for care and feeding, let me introduce you to Goodberry (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/goodberry.htm). If there is a cleric in the party, there is also Create Food and Water.

-also, animal companions have the same progression as the fighter on Will saves, tend to have a 12 wisdom, and get a +4 bonus to will saves from being an animal companion. Which adds up to a better will save then the fighter, especially if he PrC'd or multiclasses into something else fightery.

RE: Rutee

Well put, Rutee. Couldn't have said it better myself.

2008-03-16, 11:40 PM
So it's either balance the class, or jump through hoops and screw with the players.

Option A sounds nicer.

2008-03-17, 12:17 AM
If you want to view the idea that gaining your PC near-godlike power might actually involve some in-game work as hoop-jumping and player-screwing, that's fine, I suppose.

I think it makes caster play both more challanging and more fun. Whipping out "Save-or-Die spell'o'doom" is a lot more satisfying when you played through obtaining it. Also, it makes individual casters more vibrant and unique. If Kazbad the Strange traveled through the Abyss to a place where the arcane formula for Contingency blazed across the sky in letters of flame, He's earned the right to cheese the game with it, and he's become an infinitly cooler character too. Oh, you just kind-of figured it out when you leveled? Well, that's fun too, I guess.

Want to know and do things no mortal can imagine? Do things and pay prices no mortal can imagine.

Fair points on the Animal Companion comments. Though convincing Huge carnivors to subsist on a handfull of berrys should at least take a Handle Animal roll... :smallwink:

2008-03-17, 12:50 AM
And yet, for a pittance of gold and xp, a scroll of a spell can be made, which can in turn to scribed into a spellbook. All issues of versimilitude aside, it actually hurts other classes more when you make scrolls arbirtarily hard to get, as the ability to use scrolls via Use Magic Device is a significant factor for classes like rogue and bard.

Not to mention that your proposed solution turns the game into 'lets follow the wizards around while he finds new spells'. Which makes the wizard dominate even more of the game, as his class now requires that he force the party into side-quest after side-quest. The problem is the spells themselves, not the automatic learning of spells each level (which actually makes sense, as researching those spells is what the wizard is assumed to be doing during his downtime anyway).

The other problem is the interchangable class features. Most classes are locked into their build. You can't swap out skills, feats, or class featurse, but spells, you can switch out your spell list every day. That's like a fighter swapping out his list of feats every day. Which is a very close analogy, as Wizards get very little other than spells, and fighters get only feats.

2008-03-17, 12:52 AM
This is why DnD players often need heavy deprogramming in my experience. "Earn" fictional power that is only meaningful in a game and story sense? You earn things that are useful in the real world, not game and story constructs that are there for fun. Now, that said? Think about what you just told me for 2 seconds. You told me that if I want godlike power- stop. I am arguing towards nerfing an OP class. A class I like on a conceptual level and would play given a proper opportunity. Do you really think that I want godlike comparative power? Think about that for a minute. I'll get back to that later.

A quest for a spell is interesting on a conceptual level, I'll agree with that. The problem is, it's an undue amount of story attention for one person's mechanical ability. In fact, it's too much story attention for what amounts to mechanical ability in the first place. I can imagine handing out spells as an incidental benefit to the Wizard at the end of a quest, but not of making them the purpose of a party quest a spell.

Like I said, we'd get back to this. What you're doing with your players? It isn't even about screwing with them. It's about marginalizing them out of this misguided belief that one must 'earn' fictional power. I want them balanced, sure, but it's only because I want them /balanced/. I would prefer it be done by boosting the fighter, monk, etc. But that's more daunting then nerfing the casters. Now, that said, a quick examination of your techniques. The Cleric? Becomes Bitch for his God. Making Players errand boys is generally bad form, even if you have every 'reason' to do so. Feeding the Druid's pet? Handled by Skjald. Wizards? Already went over that in vague detail. How much do you want /mechanics/ to be the focus of a story? It applies to everyone, but it's at its most offensive with Wizards, since there's no Character there that has a legitimate reason to hassle the Wizard. Just the GM deciding people must 'earn' power. So no. You haven't solved anything.

2008-03-17, 02:27 AM
The only time I can see questing for a spell would be "BBEG X can only be harmed/defeated through the use of spell Z. You must find the one and only scroll of this spell to stand a chance!"

Anyone have any thoughts on my idea of combining the base melee classes with the ToB classes to make them stronger?

Tempest Fennac
2008-03-17, 02:38 AM
Excluding what he said about Wizards, I have to agree with what Aravail said (admittedly, I would ave thought that a lot of high level Wizards would be likely to get together to share spells due to how it would probably benefit them as much as it benefits the person they are swapping with, and I would have thought that high level Wizards would often be happy to share as many spells with their students as possible due to wanting them to do well, in theory). Skjaldbakka, unless the supernatural-type abilities are really good, wouldn;t that make Wizards too weak in your campaign? The problem with using Bards as a guideline is that they are designed as a "Jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none" class rather then as a proper Arcanist.

In regards to GammaPaladin's idea, I was thinking about opposite schools the other week: I thought it could go like this:

Evocation/Abjuration (One focusses on blasting while the other focusses on protection).

Conjuration/Illusion (One deals with creatng or summoning tangible things while the other creates things which only look real).

Enchantment/Divination (One alters how people think while the other focusses on gaining real information).

Necromancy/Tranmutation (I can't think of a good reason, but they are the only 2 remaining schools).

2008-03-17, 02:45 AM
It is my personal opinion that Bard is the power level that full spellcasters should be at. It is the opinion of most that spellcasters are too powerful, therefore the other classes should be brought up to match them. It is my opinion that spellcasters are too strong, so they should be reduced in power.

Some spells will be reduced in level. Fireball will probably be second level, for instance, although you wouldn't really be getting it sooner than a 3.5 wizard.

That project is one the backburner right now though, so it won't be done for awhile.

Tempest Fennac
2008-03-17, 03:38 AM
To be honest, I tend to see other classes being too weak as the problem (I have been talking with a lot of people who haven't been posting in this thread or the "balancing by cutting classes" thread, and they didn't think that spellcasters were that much more powerful then other classes).

2008-03-17, 03:41 AM
Hate to say this, but 'they'- are wrong. Especially if you use 'druid' and 'not more powerful than the other classes' in the same sentence.

Ah druid. It gets a fighter as a class feature. It is better (at being a fighter) than the fighter because of another class feature. Oh yeah- it is also a full spellcaster, which makes it better than fighter anyway.

Tempest Fennac
2008-03-17, 04:32 AM
That's why I suggested the Shapeshifter Druid variant: page 39 of http://www.crystalkeep.com/d20/rules/DnD3.5Index-Classes-Base.pdf . (It doesn't get an animal companion, and it can't use Natural spell. It's forms are also less powerful then Wild Shape). Are you sure it isn't mainly the DM styles if other players don't class spellcasters as overpowered? I still think Aravail had some good ideas about Divine Casters, though.

EDIT: If you think Shapeshifting is too powerful, could you limit it to the same number oif times/day as the Barbarian's Rage ability while only allowing the Druid to shapeshift for up to 2 rounds+Con modifier?

2008-03-17, 04:51 AM
It is more playing styles that can change the appearance of how a class plays. However, the fundamental reason that casters are better is because they have more options, and they are not locked into their build (with the exception of sorceror and bard).

More options are always better. Spellcasters always have more options than fighters. Also, most spellcasters can pick what they want to do each day. Most non-spellcasters have to make this decision at character creation.

Imagine playing a 2WF, and going up to fight a creature that can't be caught in melee. Time to use the bow, right? But your entire build is useless at that point.

Imagine the same scenario with a wizard, one that decided blasting things was cool. Up comes a nasty high SR monster. The Wizard flees, and comes back the next day loaded up with no SR spells.

The fighter can't run away and come back tomorrow specced for ranged combat.

Tempest Fennac
2008-03-17, 05:04 AM
That is a good point. I suppose limiting Wizards to only getting the spells they get when they level up would help to a degree, but the situation is more difficult for Clerics and Druids due to the fluff surrounding where they get their spells. I know Ultimate Clerics and Druids need to pay for spells by making sacrifices, which I didn't think made much sense (eg: gods would want their servnts to be as verstile as possible, while the idea of non-evil Druids destroying products of civilisation to get spells doesn't fit due to how they would probably be in favour of nature and civilisation co-existing).

I'd use this appoach to limiting spells for Divine Casters: when a new spell level is available, get the relevant Cure or SNA spell for that level with 2 others of your choice. If a new spell level isn't available, pick any 2 spells. (Eg: if I was using this rule with my Shapeshifter Druid, http://rustmonster.net/sheet/?view=598 , I'd pick SNA 1, Lesser Vigour and Entangle at level 1. At level 2, I'd pick Speak with Animals and Endure Elements while not getting access to any oter spells unless I could find the relevant magic item). Fluff wise, it could just be assumed that mortals can only have so much access to Divine spells without suffering from health problems.

2008-03-17, 05:32 AM
I don't think that is the right approach. For one, why ever play a wizard in that case? I much prefer to simply slow down the progression. Much less heavy handed that way.

Of course, we could make a nod to Basic D&D, and stop giving wizards free spell knowledge after 4th level.

Tempest Fennac
2008-03-17, 05:39 AM
If I'm honest, I'd much sooner just have less spells (playing a caster while missing out on the best spells just because everyone else is weaker negates the point of playing a spellcaster if you're limited to the same progression as a class which is designed to do pretty much everything to a small degree rather then focussing on 1 thing).

Stopping free spells after level 4 sounds good as well. Would you let players buy spells, or would they need quests to get them?

2008-03-17, 05:45 AM
Note- the plan was to give the bard's spell progression, not the bard's spell list. The wizard spell list, with some tweaks, is what I was planning on doing. For example, fireball being a 2nd level spell. The Bard was being upgraded to a full BAB class with the paladin spell progression and a d8 HD (with its spells being compressed into 4 levels).

Anyway, in Basic, you got Read Magic, + 1 spell chosen by the DM at 1st level. Each level, you'd get a new spell, chosen by the DM. This stopped at 4th level. You got most of your spells from scrolls, captured spellbooks, etc.

Tempest Fennac
2008-03-17, 05:54 AM
I know what you meant about Bard spell progression. That would still mean a lot of great spells not being available at all unless you reduced their level, which could make things complicated (eg: Greater Teleport, Ressurrection, Regenerate (which is brilliant if the DM has traps or other hazards which cause limb loss) and Finger of Death being 4 that aren't broken).

I don't like the idea of DMs picking my spells like that (mainly because I don't trust other people), but the rest of that system sounds okay.

2008-03-17, 05:57 AM
I have no problem with those spells being in the "epic" level range. I of course have to extrapolate that progression, but that's no big deal for me.

Finger of Death could stand to be a 5th or 6th level spell in that system. Greater Teleport, on the other hand- I have personal bias against the teleportation spells. It would probably be reduced to 5th or 6th level as well, if such bias were not present.

Tempest Fennac
2008-03-17, 06:08 AM
I still think most of the spells are fine for their level range (things which protect mages from archers should probably be banned, along with contingency, polymorph spells, Magnificent mansion, Rope Trick (at least once you can use it for 8 hours) and possibly contingency, but I don't see how a lot of te others are considering when you get access to them. What sort of things were you planning on giving to full spellcasters as compensation?

2008-03-17, 09:09 AM
Personally, I agree that the Wizard needs a bit of a nerf. Not quite as badly as Cleric and Druid perhaps, but those are significantly harder to nerf, unfortunately.

The big deal to me is, that the core melee classes need a buff even with those classes nerfed. They're too limited in power, options, and honestly, interactivity. By which I mean that they just don't have enough mechanical options to keep anyone but a beginning player actively engaged in the encounters...

I think the target for balancing full casters should actually be the Sorcerer, or the Psion. The Sorcerer is powerful, I think you would have to descend into fairly serious munchkinland to argue otherwise. But he can't prepare for everything, there are always going to be holes in his armor.

The Psion is powerful and versatile, but again, he can't have a power for everything.

I think casters should be very powerful. And when they're up against what they're built to destroy, they should utterly demolish it. But that should be the extent of their coolness.

Basically, I like them as fragile artillery or utility casters. I don't think their powers should be able to negate the vulnerable, fragile part of that equation ;)

Tempest Fennac
2008-03-17, 09:18 AM
I think the problem with those classes is that they are all based largely off real life abilities (except for possibly Rage, but berserker warriors in real life could do that as well). I don't think rogues are that bad due to their skills (using spells for the things skills can handle is often a waste of spell slots), but the straight warriors have problems like that (unless you're a Ranger in the wilderness, in which case a Rogue wouldn't be as good).

2008-03-17, 09:27 AM
Well, my solution is just to move away from any attempt to make them "Like real life", as if they were in the first place.

I'd be giving them all access to ToB maneuvers, and probably expanding the maneuvers list.

Tempest Fennac
2008-03-17, 09:42 AM
That is a good idea. Don't the Swordsage and arblade make the Fighter and Monk redundant, though? I don't know much about ToB, but it could be interesting to try and make a maneuver-powered Barbarian with rage (unless there is already one).

2008-03-17, 09:44 AM
The only time I can see questing for a spell would be "BBEG X can only be harmed/defeated through the use of spell Z. You must find the one and only scroll of this spell to stand a chance!"

Yeah, but there's a difference between MacGuffin's Plot Armor Destroyer and... I don't know, Celerity :P

*Lurks Moar*

2008-03-17, 10:36 AM
Imagine the same scenario with a wizard, one that decided blasting things was cool. Up comes a nasty high SR monster. The Wizard flees, and comes back the next day loaded up with no SR spells.

The fighter can't run away and come back tomorrow specced for ranged combat.

But the warblade can certainly run away and re-spec (even though in this instance he can't do anything because he doesn't know how to fire a bow). ToB melee classes are exactly where they need to be. It's the wizards and druids that need to be toned down to the level of the Beguiler/Dread Necro.

2008-03-17, 06:35 PM
That is a good idea. Don't the Swordsage and arblade make the Fighter and Monk redundant, though? I don't know much about ToB, but it could be interesting to try and make a maneuver-powered Barbarian with rage (unless there is already one).
Well, the Warblade and Swordsage are slightly more powerful, but it's obvious the designers held them back a little to keep from completely eclipsing the core classes.

If you eliminate the standard core classes, there's no need to hold back ;)

Tempest Fennac
2008-03-18, 02:24 AM
I'm fine with that approach. :smallsmile: . Considering how underpowered a lot of the core classes seem to be, not holding back with the ToB classes is probably a good idea.

2008-03-18, 03:54 AM
I'll probably get lynched for saying this, but while I generally like Tome of Battle, it isn't right for all campaigns, and I especially don't think it fits well in the campaign I'm redesigning spellcasters for. The homebrew I am working on for that campaign shifts the emphasis away from magic-use. Tome of Battle is flashy and flamboyant and very *not gritty* out of the box.

Which means at best I may incorporate some of the manuevers that are appropriate as skill tricks. I like skill tricks a lot, btw. Since all ToB stuff is skill-associated anyway, that lets me pick and choose what I like w/o actually using ToB.

ToB does help quite a bit with the fighter versatility issue, though- in general. Just keep in mind that while this forum seems to love ToB to death, I have found that in most actual games I've been in post-ToB, it has been allowed less than 50% of the time.

2008-03-18, 06:08 AM
There's nothing wrong with that.

I just personally like the "You are more than a mere mortal" style of play, so ToB is perfect for me. When I got my first reaction was "OOOH, a DnD version of Exalted!". Because it really is a lot like the Charms system from Exalted, conceptually.

If you want to strip magic way down in your campaign, then yeah, I agree it's not for you. But I want to integrate magic more fully, make every character live and breathe it. So obviously I'm all over it :smallbiggrin:

2008-03-18, 06:18 AM
odd that it has only really been mentioned once, but is there a tendancy to not play low leveled games anymore?
the last 4 games i have been involved in (2 running , 2 playing) have all started at level 1 and finshed at levels 4 and 9 with 2 still going, at level 1 and level 7) the mages really struggle in these games especially below level 3, while the melee classes are popular. that said mostof the groups i have gamed with don't like Tome of Battle as being overpowered (i'm not convinced it's worse than the Wizard/Cleric, but others are not convinced)
certainly the Cleric seems worse than the mage due to no need to find the spells (something we roleplay out as it is part of the fun playing the mage).
and the cloistered cleric in the game i currently run is the main healer and has little problem healing in combat because the fighters work as a team to allow the cleric to function(though they have no mage so that may make a difference)

2008-03-18, 06:56 AM
Since the main topic is about balancing full casters, how about this - What if the spell progression were slower, like 1 new spell level at every 3rd caster level. This makes the 20th level caster max at 7th level spells. Throw stones, call me names, do whatever. I think that's a much better solution than most things people try short of rewriting half or more of the spells in print. That means 9th level spells are truly epic since you would have to be 24th level to cast them. Casters are still the superior classes, but require a lot less other houserules to keep them in check. :smallsmile:

Tempest Fennac
2008-03-18, 02:12 PM
Have you ever heard of the Ultimate Classes, KoDT69? If you haven't, that exactly the same system which they use: http://www.liquidmateria.info/wiki/Ultimate_Classes. Also, what is the set-up in the game you mentioned, Fitz? I'm guessing that having a lot of frontline warriors would make a difference to how effective Cloistered Clerics are as combat healers. Considering how D&D is such a high magic game, have you considered trying a different system, Skjaldbakka? D&D Modern could be worthwhile due to spells only going up to level 5, and Mazes and Minotaurs lacks really powerful magic (each of the casters only gets access to 6 spells each, and Priests can have difficulty with regaining magic points, so healing should only be used sparingly, and using magic to solve problems isn't really possible: http://mazesandminotaurs.free.fr/revised.html ).

2008-03-18, 11:59 PM
Don't get me wrong - I don't have a problem with ToB in general. It is a major factor in my current campaign, as ToB is the only sourcebook being used in it.

Perhaps I do a lot more custom work from one campaign to the next than most DMs do, but magic gets an overall everytime I start a new campaign, as I work out how it interacts with the game world, and figure out the how and why of magic.

Tempest Fennac
2008-03-20, 04:14 AM
That sounds like a lot of work. What other magic system changes have you made to your games?

2008-03-20, 04:42 AM
Well lesee . . . In my Cytir campaign I homebrewed a class called the symbologist (a rune-based full caster). I incorporated a write-up of blue mage and worked it into the cosmology (taking the cha-based arcanist slot). And I modified Arcana Evolved's Witch class into a full spellcasting class.

In The Center Cannot Hold, there are no clerics, druids, or wizards, due to plot reasons (clerics are persecuted, druidid teachings are lost, and wizards are a forgotten art from a fallen empire).

I am currently working on a weaker spellcaster for my Middle Earth campaign, and a system of elemental spellcasting for my BESM campaign (although that is of course, BESM, which makes it a list of allowed attributes, not a homebrew class).

Tempest Fennac
2008-03-20, 04:49 AM
Will the Middle Earth setting use D&D classes? Looking at the books, I'd say that eliminating all healing magic would be a good idea (there was no mention of that sort of magic in the books if I remember). What does BESM mean, and were any classes removed or nerfed in the Cytir campaign?

2008-03-20, 04:54 AM
Cytir had an allowed class list that combined my favorite aspects of Arcana Evolved and 3.5. It was pre-ToB, which was unfortunate, because that game was all kinds of crazy anime goodness.

BESM stands for Big Eyes Small Mouth. It is an effects-based system* that uses 2d6 as its task resolution method.

*you have points, which are spent to buy abilities, as opposed to levels or classes.

As to healing in LotR, Glorfindel, Aragorn, Gandalf, and Elrond all used healing magics. They were closer to Lay on Hands/Remove Disease then cure X spells, but healing magic was there. I have made arguments for Gandalf being a Paladin before. Of course, its better to just give him outsider HD and SLAs, but meh- it was a thought experiment anyway.

Since you asked:
The following classes exist in the world of Star Ocean. Those classes marked with an asterisk* are either modified from the original class or are original classes. All classes will be posted to the files section of this group.

Totem Warrior*, Barbarian, Symbologist*, Champion*, Martial Artist*, Ranger*, Mage Blade*, Ritual Warrior, Blue Mage*, Unfettered, Warmain, Witch*, Rogue, Akashic, Samurai, Hexblade*, Soldier*

Totem Warrior
The totem warrior follows an animal spirit, and takes on certain characteristics of his totem animal, eventually gaining an animal companion and the ability to take on the shape of his totem, as well as nifty abilities related to his totem. The following totems are available in my game:
Bear, Hawk, Wolf, Snake, Wolverine, Shark, Puma^, Elk, Raven, Toad, Tortoise, Opossum, Ape, Lion
^otherwise known as the Warthog ;)

Good old-fashioned rage, DR, fast movement, medium armor, illiterate guy. Go illiterate angst! Unchanged from the PHB.

Core casting class number one for my campaign, the symbologist casts spells from specially prepared runes he inscribes across his body. Symbologists are intelligence based casters.

Champions, what paladins wish they could be. Choose an ideal to champion, gain special abilities related to that ability. By the Power of Greyskull!
The following are allowed causes in my game:
Courage, Commerce, Love, Light, Life, Darkness, Death, Magic, Freedom, Justice, Knowledge.

Martial Artist
The name says it all. The quintessential unarmed fighty-guy. Combined all the better parts of monk and oathsworn(so, took out ki strike, put in shattering strike, otherwise, monk), added in the ability to use combat rites, and I am using the variant martial artist styles from Unearthed Arcana, the great book of variants.

Rangers now have the option to take a favored terrain instead of a favored enemy. I like to think of favored enemy being the option, and favored terrain being the standard, but if you want to be the cliché, angsty, I-hate-goblins-ranger, go for it. Also, rangers get combat rites instead of spells, with the same progression.

Mage Blade
Mage blade is the iconic RPG main character class. You use a sword, you have good charisma, you get some spel- combat rites, and your father’s sword becomes more powerful as the anime goes on. So the change I made to Mage Blade is: no spells. You get combat rites instead. (see Mageblades/Hexblades)

Ritual Warrior
So all those combat rites I mentioned in previous classes. Other classes got spells taken away, and combat rites switched in. This class is THE combat rites guy. Combat Rites are free actions that can be used once per round that confer some benefit such as automatically confirming a critical hit, or giving sneak attack damage, or increasing your speed. The ritual warrior gets a LOT of them per day.

Blue Mage
Core casting class number two, charisma based caster. Do I really have to tell you what a blue mage does? If I do, or if you are interested, the write up is available just a few files away.

Dexterous fighter duelist guy. This is your charismatic sword swinging guy in light armor with a rapier. Really good at not getting hit, not so good at doing damage. But he gonna cut you so bad, you gonna wish he not cut you so bad.

War is the main thing for a Warmain. No really, Warmain is like fighter, except more bad-ass, and less versatile. Unfettered is the dexterous fighter in the light armor, Warmain is the not-so-dexterous guy in heavy armor with a big axe.

Core casting class number three, wisdom based caster. Also the last one. Witches draw mystical energy from some force of nature or element or other thing, and gain ‘powers’ from them. You could just as easily call this class ‘sorceror’ or ‘mutant’. They also gain spellcasting ability. There are significant changes to the way witches cast spells. File coming soon. The types of witches are as follows:
Iron, Mind, Winter, Sea, Wind, Wood, Beast, Blood, Echo, Lunar, Solar, Thunder

Sneak attack, evasion, uncanny dodge, lots of skills. Unchanged from PHB.

Akashics have the ability to tap into the thoughts, feelings, and experiences ever held by a living being. They gain various abilities based on this. They also have a large amount of skills. Unchanged from Arcana Evolved.

Samurai specialize in using the katana and wakizashi in a two-weapon fighting style, intimidating people, and, oh yeah, beating the crap out of people with swords. The write up is in the Complete Warrior, plus they get the warmain’s combat rite progression.

Michael’s nemesis, and the flip side of the mage blade. Mage-blades get abilities that increase their effectiveness; hexblades get abilities that decrease their opponent’s effectiveness. The write up is in the Complete Warrior, with the following changes- no spells, and skills are changed (see mageblade/hexblade file). Gains the same combat rites progression the mage blade uses. Hexblades are the only class with familiars.
(as tempting as it is to take that away)

Soldiers use guns, lots of guns. Soldier is a home-brew class that is sort of a mixture between ranger, gunfighter, and order of the bow initiate stretched over 20 levels. See the write-up for more info.

Tempest Fennac
2008-03-20, 04:57 AM
Thanks for telling me. I don't remember any healing spells in the books at all. I always thought Gandalf was a level 8 Sorcerer due to his use of a spell which resembles Channelled Pyroburst in the 1st book (to be fair, I got really bored of the books near the end of the 2nd book, so I don't know what happened after that).

2008-03-20, 05:01 AM
I tend to attribute that to Narya, myself. But that is a whole nother can of worms, with nothing to do with this thread. People like to argue about how you would write up LotR characters, and what level you think they are.

Tempest Fennac
2008-03-20, 05:04 AM
I only remember seeing a couple of discussions about that. About the classes in your homebrew world: can Witches be used as healers, or can Symbolists fill that roll? (I like playing as healers). Also, ar these classes on the internet anywhere? If they are, please could I have a link to them?

2008-03-20, 05:11 AM
Well, Soldier and Symbologist are homebrew classes I made myself. They are on a yahoo group. If you have a yahoo ID, the easiest way would be to invite you to the group. Then you could peruse the files at your leisure. The game has been over for a year or two now.

I used the Arcana Evolved magic system, which doesn't have an arcane/divine breakdown of spells. Instead, it divides spells into simple, complex, and exotic spells. Healing spells are simple, and are better than cure X at some levels, and not as good at other levels.

2008-03-20, 05:27 AM
ok since it was asked (sorry about the delay)
the group with a cloistered cleric, (all 7th level): 1 Duskblade, 1 Scout, 1 rogue, 1 Dragon Shaman, 1 Fighter (greatsword) 1 Swashbuckler/bard, and the cloistered cleric, in a mix of winlderness, city and dungeon adventureing.

going back to other points, the fact that some DM,s homebrew classes to re-balance the casters , shows at least some dissatifaction, but i do wonder why it seems so many apparently start the game at 8th level plus, if the game is run over all 20 levels the over the course of the game the roles seem to balance a bit, though i do like the idea of reintroducing risk for magic, all the fiction i read emphasises the cost of magic as well as the power.

just my thoughts,

Tempest Fennac
2008-03-20, 05:32 AM
Thanks for telling me (I can see why you woldn't need the Cleric to act as a secondary meat shield). I know what you mean about the cost of magic. What sort of things would you recommend? I can't think of anything that wouldn't make spellcasters too much of a liability.

2008-03-20, 05:44 AM
well the system i have been looking at recently was the New warhammer fantasy, whereby you roll to generate power, but if you roll 1's the spell works but something else happens too, the more 1's you roll the worse the side effect.
not sure how i would include this in d & d though, i can see an idea about con fading the more spells you cast, but spell damage healing much quicker than other can damage, but that is a very new idea, based on re-reading dragonlance recently (the amount of exhaustion Rastlin suffers after casting powerful spells) but it would be a question of how to balance it, and again it leaves the "wizard/cleric is out of spells we need to rest,....after 3 encounters?" situation at low levels.

just some ideas, i may try them out at some point.


Tempest Fennac
2008-03-26, 11:20 AM
I was thinking of Con damage. As you said, balancing it is a huge problem due to how needing to rest too often would just annoy the other party members. In regards to Druid animal companions: Id probably go with allowing players to take the Focussed Animal variant (page 39 of http://www.crystalkeep.com/d20/rules/DnD3.5Index-Classes-Base.pdf ) if they wanted one. (If they have to chose between that variant or the Shapeshifter variant, that should prevent a lot of brokeness).

2008-11-02, 08:39 AM
just responding to the OP, the problem with 3E's balence is that there isn't a proper "place" for the balance. Basically, what do we want them to be balenced too? I mean, we could very easily balance them to be the level of beguilor or we could do make them all on par with the fighter. I can offer advice, but we need to know what we want this compatible with. one way of fixing things could be to make everything on par to say a ranger by bumping all the other classes up and bringing the others down, or you could bump everything up to the level of wizard.

So i have to know, what are you aiming for here?

Nice idea by the by
Oh i was linked this thread, bugger i'm a necromancer now. Sorry