PDA

View Full Version : [3.5]How do I knock spellcasters down a few knotches?



Killersquid
2008-06-16, 07:17 PM
Yea, spellcasters, almost broken. Besides getting the Tome of Battle to help a bit (but not much) what good houserules or other books are useful to kick spellcasters in the groin so they don't hog everything?

Akisa
2008-06-16, 07:40 PM
ummm... If you nerf em too much people might not want to play them. And even melee may be discouraged to join because all the nerfs brings fear of dominator dm who railroads or is "always right". This may not but you, but just be careful. But I recomend removing stuff like find the path, rope trick or have intelligent trap designers.

Knock opens multiple locks right? Why not have a chest with two locks but if wrong lock or both locks are opened then have it trigger a trap.

Azerian Kelimon
2008-06-16, 07:49 PM
Give the casters more spells per day, but have them follow this progression, starting on spell level 2, representing the number of levels between that spell level and the previous one: 2-3-4-2-3-2.

Yes, that means you cap the spell level at 7. Remove the problematic spells of lower levels and you'll be set.

Killersquid
2008-06-16, 08:03 PM
Give the casters more spells per day, but have them follow this progression, starting on spell level 2, representing the number of levels between that spell level and the previous one: 2-3-4-2-3-2.

Yes, that means you cap the spell level at 7. Remove the problematic spells of lower levels and you'll be set.

I dunno about that one, sorry.

Miles Invictus
2008-06-16, 08:04 PM
Ban broken spells, reign in abusive ones. Limit the metamagic you allow (no rods of Quicken, for example). Make things clear from the outset, so your players don't build their characters around stuff you've ruled out. Remember that you don't need to weaken spellcasters to the point of unplayability; you just need to nerf them enough that they rely on the rest of the party.

Killersquid
2008-06-16, 08:14 PM
Ban broken spells, reign in abusive ones. Limit the metamagic you allow (no rods of Quicken, for example). Make things clear from the outset, so your players don't build their characters around stuff you've ruled out. Remember that you don't need to weaken spellcasters to the point of unplayability; you just need to nerf them enough that they rely on the rest of the party.

Yea, I'm probably banning Find the Path like Akisa said, and use that awesome trap idea. I'm just worried about banning spells that are cool.

Azerian Kelimon
2008-06-16, 08:22 PM
Like what? Broken spells are not cool, they're broken. Things like Enervation or Solid Fog (Which are very powerful, but do not become broken until you start a Combinatorial Explosion) are cool, as you'd say. Things like Celerity or Chilling Touch are plainly broken.

Also, what is it that you don't know about my suggestion? It works like this:

Universal: All casters gain 4 spells per level gained, as per PHB rules. Collegiate wizards gain 6 spells per level.

Spell levels: The spell levels go up to 7, with all the normal spells they'd have, minus broken ones. You gain your first spell level at level 1, your second one at level 3, your third one at level 6, your fourth one at level 10, your fifth one at level 12, your sixth one at level 15, and your seventh one at level 17.

Killersquid
2008-06-16, 08:33 PM
Like what? Broken spells are not cool, they're broken. Things like Enervation or Solid Fog (Which are very powerful, but do not become broken until you start a Combinatorial Explosion) are cool, as you'd say. Things like Celerity or Chilling Touch are plainly broken.

Also, what is it that you don't know about my suggestion? It works like this:

Universal: All casters gain 4 spells per level gained, as per PHB rules. Collegiate wizards gain 6 spells per level.

Spell levels: The spell levels go up to 7, with all the normal spells they'd have, minus broken ones. You gain your first spell level at level 1, your second one at level 3, your third one at level 6, your fourth one at level 10, your fifth one at level 12, your sixth one at level 15, and your seventh one at level 17.

Because that removes useful spells from higher levels, whereas in place I could keep the 8th and 9th level spells and just remove the broken spells or give non casters the ability to do other things.

Azerian Kelimon
2008-06-16, 08:47 PM
8th and ninth level are MADE of useless or brokenly good spells. There's practically no middle ground, because those slots are too valuable to spend on crap. Out of a core list:

Freedom: Useless.

Imprisonment: If you don't mind loosing loot, brokenly good. Else, useless.

Mage's Disjunction: Broken.

Prismatic Sphere: Brokenly good, no reason to not have it,

Gate: Gaterape. 'Nuff said.

Refuge: Useless.

Summon Monster 9: Useless. The mobs will be shredded by higher power monsters.

Teleportation Circle: Useless or super useful, depending on how much you value one level 9 spell against 4 or 5 level 7 ones.

Foresight: No explanation needed.

Dominate Monster: Brokenly good. Get it off and you have a slave for life.

Hold Monster: Useless.

Power Word: Kill: Useless. You could one shot an opponent instead of waiting around 7 rounds for this one.

Crushing hand: Useless.

Meteor Swarm: A joke.

Shades: Considering the kind of things conjuration has, it's broken by extension.

Wierd: Useless. Enemies WILL make one save.

Astral Projection: Broken.

Energy drain: Useless. An enervation does it better.

Soul Bind: Useless.

Wail of the Banshee: Useless, other spells do this and do not require a level 9 slot.

Etherealness: Useless.

Shapechange: Broken.

Time Stop: Borked, almost as much as Shapechange or Gate.

Wish: Broken or useless, depending on the DM.

JaxGaret
2008-06-16, 08:50 PM
Halve their number of spell slots per level, rounding down for their highest two spell levels, and rounding up for all lower levels. Include Domain slots and Specialist Wizard slots etc. in these calculations.

There you go. They'll be less powerful, but not unplayably so.

Killersquid
2008-06-16, 09:07 PM
8th and ninth level are MADE of useless or brokenly good spells. There's practically no middle ground, because those slots are too valuable to spend on crap. Out of a core list:

Freedom: Useless.

Imprisonment: If you don't mind loosing loot, brokenly good. Else, useless.

Mage's Disjunction: Broken.

Prismatic Sphere: Brokenly good, no reason to not have it,

Gate: Gaterape. 'Nuff said.

Refuge: Useless.

Summon Monster 9: Useless. The mobs will be shredded by higher power monsters.

Teleportation Circle: Useless or super useful, depending on how much you value one level 9 spell against 4 or 5 level 7 ones.

Foresight: No explanation needed.

Dominate Monster: Brokenly good. Get it off and you have a slave for life.

Hold Monster: Useless.

Power Word: Kill: Useless. You could one shot an opponent instead of waiting around 7 rounds for this one.

Crushing hand: Useless.

Meteor Swarm: A joke.

Shades: Considering the kind of things conjuration has, it's broken by extension.

Wierd: Useless. Enemies WILL make one save.

Astral Projection: Broken.

Energy drain: Useless. An enervation does it better.

Soul Bind: Useless.

Wail of the Banshee: Useless, other spells do this and do not require a level 9 slot.

Etherealness: Useless.

Shapechange: Broken.

Time Stop: Borked, almost as much as Shapechange or Gate.

Wish: Broken or useless, depending on the DM.

Thats only the Wizard/Sorcerer list, there's also the Cleric and Druid list, which contain other spells, but I will consider using this.

Miles Invictus
2008-06-16, 09:42 PM
Halve their number of spell slots per level, rounding down for their highest two spell levels, and rounding up for all lower levels. Include Domain slots and Specialist Wizard slots etc. in these calculations.

There you go. They'll be less powerful, but not unplayably so.

The problem with spellcasters isn't the number of spells they can sling. The problem is that some spells are brokenly good. If you're going to do a sweeping change like that, you'd be better off doing something I've suggested before -- you ban all spells past a certain level, but let players keep the higher-level slots for metamagic and the like.

JaxGaret
2008-06-16, 09:54 PM
The problem with spellcasters isn't the number of spells they can sling. The problem is that some spells are brokenly good. If you're going to do a sweeping change like that, you'd be better off doing something I've suggested before -- you ban all spells past a certain level, but let players keep the higher-level slots for metamagic and the like.

Hmm... that's not a bad idea, but it doesn't do anything at the mid levels to balance spellcasters.

You could actually extend it to all levels: your highest level slots can only ever be used by metamagiced spells. That combined with my nerf would work fairly well.

Mark Hall
2008-06-16, 10:32 PM
I've liked the idea of moving them all to the Bard spell progression. Move Bards to the "Bardic Knack" class feature, and give wizards Bardic Knowledge. Do something for sorcerers... I've never had anyone play one, so I don't consider them, much.

ZeroSpace9000
2008-06-16, 11:26 PM
Hmm... that's not a bad idea, but it doesn't do anything at the mid levels to balance spellcasters.

You could actually extend it to all levels: your highest level slots can only ever be used by metamagiced spells. That combined with my nerf would work fairly well.


'Cept if you do this, casters are even more foobed at lower levels. What? I must fill my lvl 1 slots with metamagic'ked cantrips? Heck NO!

Tempest Fennac
2008-06-17, 02:52 AM
I'd agree with what Miles Invictus in he's first post. I don't like Mark Hall's idea at all due to Bards being designed as a "Jack of all Trades" class which don't rely on magic. Also, banning some high level spells wouldn't really nerf the casters, but they could affect that party badly (eg: getting rid of Righteous Might and Divine Power would stop Clerics from being able to take over from the Fighter, but making True Ressurrection and Mass Heal Epic level spells while putting Ressurrection, Heal and Regenerate* back so Clerics get them later could cause problems).

*If the DM likes to amputate the PC's limbs.

TempusCCK
2008-06-17, 04:09 AM
Ban the things that increase iniative. Place a houserule in that in any round you cast a spell, you take the level of the spell away from your initiative roll. So a ninth level spell is a -9 to init. Also make sure you take out metamagic reducers, and take out anything that allows you to pump the saves on spells, except for maybe the feats, that's a decent trade off.

Ban or nerf the obviously broken spells. Rope trick should be removed... Solid Fog should allow a an STR check equal to move normally... those are just quick fixes.

If you feel very strongly about nerfing casters I suggest you go through the whole spell list in any of yoru books and make physical changes to things, and whenever they get spells make sure they look up the new version in your "Spell Compendium"

Another good one is to allow force effects to be harmed by physical damage. I usually throw in "any weapon with a +2 or greater enhancement can do damage to force effects" because the whole "Immune to damage" cop-out really sucks.

Encounter design really helps with this issue too. Sure, the Wizard can fly, but if the enemy has dispel prepared... well, no, he can't anymore, now Mr. Fighter has to help him...

nagora
2008-06-17, 04:57 AM
Yea, spellcasters, almost broken. Besides getting the Tome of Battle to help a bit (but not much) what good houserules or other books are useful to kick spellcasters in the groin so they don't hog everything?
Obvious one: being injured while casting a spell spoils it, no save.

Other obvious one: haste and similar spells age the target and causes them to save or die from the shock at the end of the spell's duration. This tends to reduce the player's desire to have it cast on them, while undermining its effective use as an offensive spell. Aging can be similarly appiled to other over-powerful spells to make spell-casters think twice about casting them casually.

Spells are hard to find and hard to research. Some spells are known only by 1 NPC, who won't give it away to just anyone.

Re-introduce casting times. TempusCCK's initiative suggestion is such a mechanism, although you should probably modify it so that things like power words have no initiative penalty, for example.

Turcano
2008-06-17, 05:49 AM
Other obvious one: haste and similar spells age the target and causes them to save or die from the shock at the end of the spell's duration. This tends to reduce the player's desire to have it cast on them, while undermining its effective use as an offensive spell. Aging can be similarly appiled to other over-powerful spells to make spell-casters think twice about casting them casually.

Why would you want to nerf haste any further? Haste's biggest problem was that it used to give targets two standard actions, which spellcasters could use as a free Quicken. Now it just gives an extra iterative attack, a small attack and AC bonus, and increased speed; these all benefit melee types much more than a spellcaster. Spells like this reduce spellcaster scene-stealing, not increase it.

Kizara
2008-06-17, 06:03 AM
To do it comprehensively you have to make alot of subtle changes that I won't bother to detail here, however I will give you my list of spell changes:

It's mostly complete:

Magic and Spells (Core):

Any spell less than 5th-level that effects the status of the target allows a save, generally Fortitude. This covers everything from Ray of Enfeeblement to Enervation. Spells that apply an ability penalty apply an enchantment penalty. Some basic cleric spells (Bane, Prayer, Doom) are an exception from this rule.

The caster level cap on Dispel Magic is removed. Greater Dispel Magic now gives you +4 to the check.

Spells that create permanent materials (such as Wall of Iron or Wall of Stone) create materials that are inherently inferior and worthless for use in all but the most primitive of crafting. This difference is one of the ways such a wall is identified from a mundane wall.

The ability score bonus spell chart is expanded to include cantrips/orisons, thereby granting casters bonus 0-level spells according to high ability score.

You may dismiss an active spell as a Swift action on your turn, although this disrupts your Concentration.

*I am generally dissatisfied with the logic and consistency of the assignment of spell schools. However, I do not currently intend to re-work the entire system. Thus, spell schools may be changed during play at an ad-hoc basis to support my view of what they should be. Specialist wizards are advised to take care with this, as it may lead to unbalancing within the spell schools.

Sorcerers and other unprepared casters may use Quicken Spell, and other metamagic feats that speed spellcasting normally, without the normal requirement of a full-round action when using a metamagic feat.

Players are encouraged to create alternate versions of existing elemental attack spells that deal a different primary elemental (acid, cold, electricity, fire) damage type. For example:
Lightning bolt (electricity) -> Line of Fire (fire)
Cone of Cold (cold) -> Cone of Fire (fire)
Fireball (fire) -> Frost Nova (cold)
Scorching Ray (fire) -> Caustic Tendrils (acid)
The new versions must make sense and might be modified to accommodate the new elemental types.

Also, see changes to Concentration skill (above).

Bard:

-Alarm duration is now 1hr/level.
-Add Detect Undead to 0-level list.
-Erase: Chance to erase held writing is 50%, DC to destroy magical writing is 10+ caster level.
-Grease: See sor/wiz list.
-Undetectable Alignment lasts 2hrs/level.
-Comprehend Languages is a 3rd-level spell.
-Detect Secret Doors is a 2nd-level spell.
-Charm Person duration is now 10 min/level.
-**Identify M component removed.
-Grease: see sor/wiz list.
-Comprehend languages is a 2nd-level spell.
-*Hyponotism
-Tasha’s Hideous Laughter is a 2nd-level spell.
-Alter Self: See sor/wiz list.
-Blindness/Deafness duration is 2hours/level.
-Blur lasts 2rounds/level.
-Glitterdust: see sor/wiz list. It is a 3rd-level spell.
-Heroism has a casting time of 1 round.
-Invisibility: See sor/wiz list.
-Mirror Image: See sor/wiz list.
-Shatter: See sor/wiz list.
-Add Knock to 2nd-level list.
-Glibness only grants +15 to bluff, and the DC to overcome its effects is 12 + your caster level, instead of as written.
-Add Lesser Restoration to 3rd-level list.
-Phantom Steed speed is now 30ft + 10 ft/2 caster levels (maximum 100 ft).
-Tongues is a 4th-level spell.
-See Invisibility is a 2nd-level spell.
-Dimension Door: see sor/wiz list.
-Leomund’s Secure Shelter: see sor/wiz list.
-Shadow Conjuration is removed.
-Zone of Silence is a 3rd-level spell.
-Shadow Evocation is removed.
-Heroism, Greater has a casting time of 1 round.
-Find the Path: see Clr list, it is a 5th-level spell.
-*Mislead
-Song of Discord allows creatures a +2 to +4 bonus to saves to resist its effects if they are starch allies, long-time friends or intimate with each-other.

Cleric:

-Create Water only creates 1 gallon/level.
-Divine Favor is a 2nd-level spell and has a duration of 1min/level.
-Find Traps is removed from the normal list, still exists as a Domain spell.
-Silence is a 3rd-level spell.
-Undetectable Alignment lasts 2hrs/level.
-Add Gust of Wind to 2nd-level list.
-Add Darkvision to 2nd-level list.
-Wind Wall is a 6th-level spell.
-Blindness/Deafness duration is 2hours/level.
-Divine Power now has a casting time of 1 round.
-Air Walk has a casting time of 1 minute. When the effect ends, you fall without any floating effect. Target must be within 1 size of the caster.
-Freedom of Movement grants a bonus equal to your caster level to resist grapple attempts and all Escape Artist checks, instead of immunity. It still grants immunity to the listed magical effects.
-Add Contact Other Plane to 5th-level list. If a divine caster fails the check, his Wisdom and Charisma are penalized (instead of as-written).
-**Raise Dead, Resurrection and True Resurrection cost 1,000 XP to cast.
-Righteous Might now has a casting time of 1 round, no-longer grants DR or natural armor, and the size bonus to strength is reduced to 6.
-Find the Path does not circumvent hazards such as traps, puzzles or glyphs of warding. It does still provide a route around gross natural hazards, such as a lava stream. Finally, it is a 5th-level spell (for all casters).
-Wind Walk has a casting time of 1 round.
-Holy word/Dictum/Word of Chaos/Blasphemy do not allow caster-level boosting effects, such as Necklace of Prayer beads, to benefit them. Also, they are all negated by being unable to hear the spell (such as a Silence effect).
-Word of Recall has a casting time of 1 round.
-Regenerate is a 5th-level spell.
-Etheral Jaunt is a 6th-level spell.
-Etherealness is a 8th-level spell.
-Gate grants you no control over called creatures, ever. The HD restrictions on controlling are instead applied to summoning. The XP cost for the calling version is removed.

Druid:

-Entangle has a range of Medium and is a 20-ft radius spread.
-Faerie Fire is a 2nd-level spell.
-Warp Wood does not work on enchanted wood, or wooden magical items.
-You may apply your Armor Bonus to AC to your save vs. Spike Growth. Also, area is reduced to 1 10ft cube/level; casting time increased to 1 round.
-Casting time of Spike Stones increased to 1 round, and you may apply half your armor bonus to AC to your save.
-Add Leomound’s Tiny Hut to 3rd-level list.
-Air Walk: see Clr list.
-Find the Path: see Clr list.
-Add Wall of Stone to 5th-level list.
-Wind Wall is a 6th-level spell.
-Regenerate is a 7th-level spell.
-Wind Walk has a casting time of 1 round.
-Shapechange is removed from normal play, exists as an epic spell.
-Reincarnate is a 5th-level spell. Bonuses accrued from aging do not transfer to new forms (nor do penalties).
-**Reincarnate and its variants cost 1,000xp to cast.
-Repel Wood and Repel Metal or Stone now both allow SR.

Paladin:

-Add Detect Magic to 1st-level list.
-Lesser Restoration is a 2nd-level spell.
-Undetectable Alignment, when cast by a paladin, allows him have his aura not have a lingering effect.
-Add Bear’s Endurance to 2nd-level list.
-Add Spiritual Weapon to 2nd-level list.
-Cure Moderate Wounds is a 2nd-level spell
-Cure Serious Wounds is a 3rd-level spell.
-Add Cure Critical Wounds to 4th-level list.
-Add Magic Vestment to 3rd-level list.
-Add Invisibility Purge to 3rd-level list.
-Add Dimensional Anchor to 4th-level list.
-Add Divine Power to 4th-level list.
-Remove Restoration from the 4th-level list (add to 5th).

5th-level list:

-Cure Light Wounds, Mass
-Disrupting Weapon
-Righteous Might
-Spell Resistance
-True Seeing
-Spell Immunity
-Restoration
-Mark of Justice
-Find the Path

Ranger:

-Add Create Water as a 1st-level spell.
-Calm Animals is a 2nd-level spell.
-Delay Poison is a 2nd-level spell.
-Add Detect Magic to 1st-level list.
-Add Magic Weapon to 1st-level list.
-Resist Energy is a 2nd-level spell.
-Barkskin is a 1st-level spell.
-Protection From Energy is a 3rd-level spell.
-Cure Light Wounds is a 1st-level spell.
-Wind Wall is removed from these lists. (and added to 5th)
-Darkvision is a 2nd-level spell.
-Add Lesser Restoration to 3rd-level list.
-Add Dispel Magic to 4th-level list.
-Add Spike Stones to 4th-level list.

5th-level list.
-Wind Wall
-Animal Growth
-Commune with Nature
-Death Ward
-Find the Path
-Stoneskin
-Tree Stride
-Wall of Thorns
-Wall of Stone
-Spell Resistance

Sorcerer/Wizard:

-Alarm duration is now 1hr/level.
-Detect Undead is a 0-level spell.
-Hold Portal range is now Close.
-Comprehend Languages is a 3rd-level spell.
-Detect Secret Doors is a 2nd-level spell.
-Charm Person duration is now 10 min/level.
-**Identify M component removed.
-Tenser’s Floating Disk is now 10 min/level.
-Grease: you may attempt to move through a greased square normally if you did not start in one. Doing so provokes a Reflex save for every greased square you pass through; failing these saves results in falling.
-Color Spray is a 2nd-level spell.
-Jump gives +5/10/20 instead of the listed bonuses.
-Arcane Lock now has a 250gp M component (instead of as listed).
-Fog Cloud can be burnt away in the same manner as Obscuring Mist.
-Glitterdust is a 3rd-level spell, save is changed to Fort, and this spell negates concealment or displacement for its duration.
-Melf’s Acid Arrow now does 2d6 acid damage/round.
-Touch of Idiocy: Pick 2 scores to drop, not all 3. Damage is now 2d4. Will negates, lasts for 1 min/level.
-Shatter: Held or attended objects are allowed a save, including the use of Shatter.
-Invisibility is broken by any strenuous action, including casting any spell. Essentially, recipients are restricted to actions such as mundane conversation or movement, possibly including actions such as swimming or climbing. Any action that would be difficult to perform under duress likewise breaks the spell. These rules cover Invisibility Sphere and Mass Invisibility as well.
-Mirror Image: An Enemy can strike at up to three adjacent ‘images’ as a full-attack action by sweeping his weapon through the area. He makes touch attacks against the targets; hits against the images dispel them, but hits against you in this fashion deal no damage.
-Ghoul Touch duration now simply 1d6 rounds.
-Tasha’s Hideous Laughter is a 3rd-level spell.
-Blindness/Deafness duration is 2hours/level.
-Blur lasts 2rounds/level.
-Knock functions as-stated in regards to barriers held closed by magical spells (such as a door with Hold Portal). However, against mundane means, it has the result of a DC 25 Open Lock check on the door in question. Alternately, it can give +10 to Open Lock checks and the ability to use the skill untrained (to creature touched) for 1 min/level. Finally, it’s range is now touch.
-Rope Trick is removed.
-Spider Climb also grants immunity to webs, including the Web spell. However, it is now 1 min/level.
-Alter Self: If your new form has wings, you may glide (but not fly) at your base movement speed (max). Other forms of movement are likewise restricted. You can gain a maximum natural armor bonus of +2. Although you gain the natural weapons of the assumed form, you are not proficient with them unless you have proficiency from another source (you took a feat, or you normally have similar natural attacks). You do not gain racial feats, and you may gain a maximum of +4 from racial skill bonuses.
-See Dispel Magic changes, above.
-Explosive Runes now has 250 gp material component cost (gold dust) and has a 1 minute casting time.
-Phantom Steed speed is now 30ft + 10 ft/2 caster levels (maximum 100 ft).
-Stinking Cloud: Only 1 save is needed against it, and you can try every round till you make it (suffering effects until you do). Once you make the save you are immune to the effects of that Stinking Cloud.
-Suggestion: While a reasonable suggestion imposes -1 or -2 to the save, an unreasonable one or one that is highly contrary to the subject’s desires simply will not work.
-Displacement is a 4th-level spell.
-Tongues is a 5th-level spell.
-Wind Wall is a 6th-level spell.
-Ray of Exhaustion cannot stack with itself, or with any other magical effect that creates fatigue. That is, you cannot simply cast it on someone twice to make them exhausted, regardless if they make their saves.
-Fly now has a casting time of 1 round and a duration of 2 rounds/level. Furthermore, you drop uncontrollably if the spell ends.
-Fire Trap is a 2nd-level spell.
-Dimension Door: If cast as a swift action, has a range of close. If cast as a standard action, has a range of close +40ft. If you take 1 round to cast it, it has a range of long. Furthermore, if you cast the swift action version your turn does not end, as is normal for the spell.
-Leomound’s Secure Shelter is a 5th-level spell.
-Solid Fog allows you to make a strength check (DC 25) to be able to move through it at half speed, and not suffer the penalty to attacks.
-Crushing Despair is a 3rd-level spell.
-Otiluke’s Resilient Sphere has a casting time of 1 round. Note: This may result in you trapping yourself with enemies in the sphere.
-Shadow Conjuration is removed.
-*Polymorph: Aberration, Ooze, Plant and True Dragon forms are removed. Casting time is 1 round. A -4 circumstance penalty applies on all attacks, saves and checks due to disorientation. Pay 500 XP as an additional cost to cast the spell.
-Animate Dead is a 3rd-level spell.
-Mordenkainen’s Private Sanctum is now 10ft cube/level, and the cubes must be continuous. Any spell or ability able to penetrate magical Darkness overcomes the screening effect of this spell.
-Flesh to Stone functions against corporeal undead.
-Teleport has a casting time of 2 rounds.
-Baleful Polymorph: You may not polymorph them into a fatal form. Duration is 1 round/2 levels. No secondary Will save (or subsequent penalties). Equipment melds into the new form and re-forms with the subject when the duration expires. Normal form is resumed after duration, with a -2 circumstance penalty to all actions for 1 round due to disorientation.
-Fabricate is removed.
-Feeblemind: The penalty to the Will save for arcane casters is removed. It can be dispelled by a Break Enchantment as well as the listed effects.
-Shadow Evocation is removed.
-**Magic Jar is removed.
-Overland Flight now grants poor manoeuvrability.
-Mordenkainen’s Magnificent Mansion: The entrance is a barrier that requires a Will Save to pass. If the mansion is dispelled (targeting the entrance), those inside are deposited outside where the entrance was and are stunned for 1 round (no save). Nothing can be removed from the mansion.
-Contingency’s triggered spell can’t have a casting time longer then 1 standard action. Triggering condition is based on your perceptions and must be external. “Cast stone skin when I’m attacked” is valid, “cast stone skin when I feel hungry” is not.
-Teleport, Greater has a casting time of 1 round.
-Teleport Object has a casting time of 1 round.
-Insanity is an 8th-level spell.
-Etheral Jaunt is a 6th-level spell.
-Delayed Blast Fireball does 1d8/level fire damage.
-Forcecage has a casting time of 1 round.
-Shadow Conjuration, Greater is removed.
-Simulacrum is an 8th-level spell.
-Moment of Prescience does not apply to Initiative checks (this is not a house rule).
-Symbol of Insanity is a 9th-level spell.
-Otiluke’s Telepathic Sphere has a casting time of 1 round.
-Polymorph Any Object: Fortitude Negates. If cast on a person, acts as permanent-duration Baleful Polymorph. If cast on objects, it effects a 10ft cube/level, cannot create materials of great intrinsic value, and costs 1,000 XP. (similarity chart is removed)
-Shadow Evocation, Greater is removed.
-Etheralness is a 8th-level spell.
-Gate: see cleric list
-*Mordenkainen’s Disjunction
-Shades is removed.
-Shapechange is removed from normal play, exists as an epic spell.
-Time Stop is removed from normal play, exists as an epic spell.

Tempest Fennac
2008-06-17, 06:46 AM
I agree with what TempusCCK said about Force, and the 2nd Edition-type Initiative reducing idea is good. (Is Rope Trick really broken, though? If the DM was using rules which resultin not sleeping enopugh would result in various penalties, that spell would be essnetial for non-casters who would otherwise need to stay up for long peroids). I desagree completely with the System Shock/magical ageing idea based on the fact that they would probably harm other classes more then the casters (eg: Haste isn't that useful for a Wizard, but it's great if you're a Fighter).

nagora
2008-06-17, 07:06 AM
Why would you want to nerf haste any further? Haste's biggest problem was that it used to give targets two standard actions, which spellcasters could use as a free Quicken. Now it just gives an extra iterative attack, a small attack and AC bonus, and increased speed; these all benefit melee types much more than a spellcaster. Spells like this reduce spellcaster scene-stealing, not increase it.
Sorry, I was thinking in terms of putting haste back to the way it was and using aging/system shock as the balance point as per 1ed instead of nerfing it as per 3.5. I should have said that.

hamishspence
2008-06-17, 07:06 AM
d20 moderns + Urban Arcana way: magic is unavailable at bottom levels. It grants only about 6 levels of spellcasting, which tend to be weaker than D&D conterparts. It has incantations:

(work like 4th ed rituals, but take longer, minimum 60 min, uses the same basic system as skill challenges, 10 min per check, BAD consequences for failure. It provides a system for building them a bit like epic magic, with some of the holes filled in: minimum check results needed, maximum number of secondary casters, fixed bonus for all secondaries to provide)

Would Urban Arcana spellcasters have the advantage of not overshadowing D&D other classes

bosssmiley
2008-06-17, 07:27 AM
Use the Bard spell progression table for all full casters (max out at level 6 spells)

Tempest Fennac
2008-06-17, 07:29 AM
Wouldn't that make Wizards and Sorcerers weak without other abilities being added to them? As I said, Bards are designed to do several things rather then specialise in 1 roll, so I fail to see how that idea would balance full casters.

Griffin131
2008-06-17, 07:32 AM
I just ask my spellcaster players not to stage-hog. It normally works, and if it doesn't, a short talk later does.

Whats the difference between a player who is killing every NPC he meets (cf a similar thread on the forums, where many posters said the OP should have a talk with the player) and a player who disrupts play by hogging the spotlight?

Most of the mentioned house rules are unnecessary given reasonable people.


note: The above does not mean that the classes are balanced. It means that imbalance doesn't matter if people aren't willing to exploit it.

Telonius
2008-06-17, 08:06 AM
General rules for "fixing" casters:

1. Remove completely game-breaking spells, spell combinations, feats, and items.
2. Remove spells that make other classes redundant.
3. Tone down overpowered (no save, save-or-die, problem-bypassers, more powerful/useful than similarly-leveled) spells.


Examples (not an exhaustive list):

1. Polymorph family, candle of invocation abuse, multiple nightsticks, Natural Spell, Contingency, Time Stop.
2. Divine Power, Knock, Find the Path.
3. Magnificent Mansion, Rope Trick, Haste, Celerity, Orb spells, Forcecage, Fly, Black Tentacles, Blasphemy/Dictum/Word of Chaos/Holy Word, Gate, Lesser Vigor.

PnP Fan
2008-06-17, 08:07 AM
How to knock spellcasters down a few notches?
Play 4ed.
;-)
Not meant to antagonize, just to be funny. :-)

Tempest Fennac
2008-06-17, 08:11 AM
What do Nightsticks and Candles of Invocation do, Telonius? Also, how is Lesser Vigour overpowered?

Telonius
2008-06-17, 08:34 AM
Lesser Vigor is overpowered because it heals more HP per level than an equivalent healing spell. (It's more useful out of combat, since it only heals 1hp/level, but most healing is done outside of combat in any case). If Lesser Vigor is in the game, you will never purchase another wand of Cure Light Wounds.

Nightsticks give their holder the same benefit as the Extra Turning feat. As written, their bonuses stack. (i.e. two nightsticks give you twice the extra turning attempts, three give you 3x, etc). Combine them with Persistent Spell and Divine Metamagic (which allows a player to use turn attempts to fuel divine metamagic spells), and a Cleric can walk around all day with buffs such as Divine Power and Righteous Might active.

Candles of Invocation allow the user to cast Gate. The way Gate is worded, you can call in an Efreeti, have it grant you a Wish spell. You can make a tidy profit off of that (25,000 gp item vs 8400gp candle of invocation), grant yourself an inherent ability bonus, raise the dead, and do all kinds of other ridiculous things.

Tempest Fennac
2008-06-17, 08:36 AM
Thanks for explaining (the fact that Lesser Vigour is poor for use in combat was the main reason why I thought the spell was balanced). I know what you mean about the other 2 items, though.

Curmudgeon
2008-06-17, 09:06 AM
I suggest fully enforcing existing rules rather than making your own. And where you've got to make a decision that's not covered by the rules, tend toward less power for a spell. Some examples:
Shatter depends on the definition of "solid". Use the more common "rigid, not flexible" instead of the chemistry definition "neither solid nor gas". Also, a door is a D&D object, but a plank of a door isn't. (Most doors exceed the weight limits for Shatter.)
Enlarge Person multiplies the target's gear by 8 times -- but doesn't give them nearly that much Strength boost. This is really a better attack spell to encumber enemies than a boost for allies (except maybe Monks).
Freedom of Movement requires the spellcaster bind a thong around the target's arm. This takes both hands (or a Use Rope check if you're trying to tie a knot with your teeth).
Summon Monster n can't be done unless the spellcaster knows about a particular type of monster. This requires that they have personal knowledge of that monster, or make the appropriate Knowledge check. (Note that Knowledge can't be used to know about creatures of more than 0 HD without training.)
Alter Self gives you racial bonus feats, and also takes away any you already have. A spellcaster must lose their bonus feat if they started out as a human.
Brilliant Blade changes only the operative part of a weapon. So an arrow head will pass through a shield, but then the shaft hits the shield and stops immediately.
Telekinesis lets a spellcaster hurl weapons -- but doesn't give them proficiency with the weapons, make melee weapons other than improvised for throwing, or change weapon range increments. So using Violent Thrust on a pile of greatswords is going to be more comedy than carnage.
For Mordenkainen's Disjunction, look up each item's saving throw to see if it has a better save than the wearer/wielder. I guarantee that after one session grinds to a halt for 2 hours of bookkeeping the other players aren't going to let anybody use this spell again!
Mind Blank doesn't protect against True Seeing, because True Seeing doesn't read emotions or thoughts.
In addition to strict adherence to the rules for particular spells, also note that many spells require designating a target. In D&D rules, this requires succeeding on a Spot check to notice that target -- and most spellcasters have sucky Spot skills. The first time the spellcaster has line of sight to the target, they get to make a reactive Spot check. The DC to Spot a large creature in plain sight, within 10', is 0. Increase the DC by 4 for each size category less than large, and modify the Spot check by -1 for each 10' of distance. (Example: A medium size enemy stepping out of the shadows at 100' is going to require a Spot check of 14 or better.) Then, whenever the reactive Spot check fails on a target in plain sight, simply follow this rule:
Trying to spot something you failed to see previously is a move action. Don't award "line of sight" to PCs who haven't earned it, by the rules. Not being able to discern targets is going to seriously limit a spellcaster's power.

DrowVampyre
2008-06-17, 04:17 PM
Candles of Invocation allow the user to cast Gate. The way Gate is worded, you can call in an Efreeti, have it grant you a Wish spell. You can make a tidy profit off of that (25,000 gp item vs 8400gp candle of invocation), grant yourself an inherent ability bonus, raise the dead, and do all kinds of other ridiculous things.

Oh, it's worse than that. See, the efreeti gives you 3 wishes...2 of which go into whatever it is you want to get, and the third for...another candle of invocation so you can do it all over again.

Illiterate Scribe
2008-06-17, 05:20 PM
Mind Blank doesn't protect against True Seeing, because True Seeing doesn't read emotions or thoughts.


Actually, enforcing the spell as it is written makes it worse:


The subject is protected from all devices and spells that detect, influence, or read emotions or thoughts. This spell protects against all mind-affecting spells and effects as well as information gathering by divination spells or effects.

The second sentence renders you, according to a highly literalistic reading to all detect/true seeing type spells. True seeing is an effect that, depending on your interpretation of 'information gathering', does indeed fall under that category.

nagora
2008-06-17, 05:37 PM
Oh, it's worse than that. See, the efreeti gives you 3 wishes...2 of which go into whatever it is you want to get, and the third for...another candle of invocation so you can do it all over again.

Until the Mayor of the City of Brass uses a Gate spell to drag your sorry ass to the Elemental Plane of Fire and gives you the task of recharging the energy of all those effreet who are now wandering about sans wishes!

Griffin131
2008-06-17, 06:02 PM
Until the Mayor of the City of Brass uses a Gate spell to drag your sorry ass to the Elemental Plane of Fire and gives you the task of recharging the energy of all those effreet who are now wandering about sans wishes!
Yeah. Because Efreetis can totally use their wishes for anything they want, and once used they never come back.

Oh wait. Only non genies can benefit from the wishes and the recharge daily. Nevermind.

tyckspoon
2008-06-17, 06:21 PM
a lot of bad advice

Spellcaster date your sister or something?

Even in the absurd world of a very strict RAW game (such as the one provided by using the Spot rule, where things are completely impossible to see at a certain distance no matter what, giving the game world a draw distance and pop-in and you can't see something you failed to see *ever* unless you specifically look for it again) you've gotten some things wrong. There is no familiarity requirement on Summon Monster, either in the text of the spell itself or in the general terms for Conjuration spells. Nor does Freedom of Movement require that the thong be tied around the target's arm, or even clearly state that the tying must occur at the time of casting.

Hawriel
2008-06-17, 06:37 PM
I suggest fully enforcing existing rules rather than making your own. And where you've got to make a decision that's not covered by the rules, tend toward less power for a spell.

Oh my god. You are the first person ever (that I have seen) to suggest actualy inforcing the rules in order to deal with the uber geek power gamer magic user players.

I agree with your examples. Ok you have the magic candle thing. How can you summon an efreeti when your character has never encountered or heard of such a thing? Do you know what an efreeti can do? Do you know how to enteract with one safly? Do you know all of the properties of the candle? Does your character even know of the plane in wich you want to open a gate to? Is that really a safe idea to open a gate to the plane your choosing?

Does the wizard have the proper knowledge skill or personal experince to do the above or an act similar to it? Even if the character has the skill or experince did they make the knowledge roll in order to allow him to do it?

This example also works with polymorf.

Here are afew more rule enforcements.

Did your wizard get the requiered 8 hourse sleep, pluss time to studdy their spell book or complete daily retual requiered by devine sorce of power?

Do you have the material components on hand to cast that spell?

The spell caster still needs to get the spell component from his pocket/pouch/backpack or other contaner.

Is your spell book safe?

Celerity (lesser, normal, and greater) may give you an action deppending on the level of the spell cast. However once that action is taken the wizard is DAZED for one turn. I had to look up dazed in the SRD. A character that is dazed cannot take any actions, however they can deffend themselves wich is represented by not being flat footed. they keep there dex/dodge bonusess to AC wile dazed.

Time stop. Your not allowed to take any offensive action toward any opponent wile in time stop. Any spell effects can only effect things out side of time stop if their deration lasts longer than the time stop deration.

It makes time stop not that all powerful. Wizards even wrote in the spell description it's primarily used to run away. I know their is alot a smart player can do in his one x number of round bubble but the restraint in the spells rules does limit options.

There are so many examples of using the proper rules already given or thinking logicily with in thoughs rules that homebrewing fixes is only nessasary in extreem cases.

Collin152
2008-06-17, 06:45 PM
Celerity (lesser, normal, and greater) may give you an action deppending on the level of the spell cast. However once that action is taken the wizard is DAZED for one turn. I had to look up dazed in the SRD. A character that is dazed cannot take any actions, however they can deffend themselves wich is represented by not being flat footed. they keep there dex/dodge bonusess to AC wile dazed.

Time stop. Your not allowed to take any offensive action toward any opponent wile in time stop. Any spell effects can only effect things out side of time stop if their deration lasts longer than the time stop deration.

It makes time stop not that all powerful. Wizards even wrote in the spell description it's primarily used to run away. I know their is alot a smart player can do in his one x number of round bubble but the restraint in the spells rules does limit options.

There are so many examples of using the proper rules already given or thinking logicily with in thoughs rules that homebrewing fixes is only nessasary in extreem cases.

Celerity -> Timestop = Free round to be dazed in, and then time to cast spells.
Timestop -> Solid Fog, Cloudkill, Acid Fog, Forcecage...

marjan
2008-06-17, 07:01 PM
Celerity (lesser, normal, and greater) may give you an action deppending on the level of the spell cast. However once that action is taken the wizard is DAZED for one turn. I had to look up dazed in the SRD. A character that is dazed cannot take any actions, however they can deffend themselves wich is represented by not being flat footed. they keep there dex/dodge bonusess to AC wile dazed.


This one you won't find in SRD. Dazed = meaningless if your enemies are all dead when it kicks in.



Time stop. Your not allowed to take any offensive action toward any opponent wile in time stop. Any spell effects can only effect things out side of time stop if their deration lasts longer than the time stop deration.

It makes time stop not that all powerful. Wizards even wrote in the spell description it's primarily used to run away. I know their is alot a smart player can do in his one x number of round bubble but the restraint in the spells rules does limit options.


That exactly is how everyone uses Time Stop and it is still too powerful.


As for original poster: Being anal about RAW isn't very good idea for two reasons: 1) it doesn't always help, 2) even if it does it will annoy your players.

What you want to do if you'd like to avoid changing mechanic is look at specific spells. It doesn't really matter if Celerity is broken if noone is going to use it. Talk to your players and see what spells they would like to use. Once you know that you decide if spell is balanced and if it is not you'll either have to remove it or water it down. Just make sure that your players know what each of their spells do.

This will only work if your players are being reasonable. If they are not, then they'll get annoyed no matter what you do, in which case it is valid to "enforce RAW", as it will make you feel better.

Killersquid
2008-06-17, 07:25 PM
After putting deep though into this, I decided instead of limiting spells at first, I will play a few games of the first campaign I do (yay newbie DMs) with my players and see what spells they use, abuse, and just plain break the game with. After which, I will design later encounters to counter specifically that. If that doesn't help, later games or campaigns I will limit certain spells.

marjan
2008-06-17, 07:49 PM
After which, I will design later encounters to counter specifically that.

This might not be as good idea as you believe it to be. It will lead to you specifically going after the casters and ignoring other characters, or create a situation in which casters are challenged and the rest of the party can only sit there and cry. Eventually it will become frustrating for some of your players.

Idea that you play a few games is not bad if you are willing to mess them up and have enough time and will for it.

Solo
2008-06-17, 08:36 PM
Alter Self gives you racial bonus feats, and also takes away any you already have. A spellcaster must lose their bonus feat if they started out as a human.
Citation needed.

Curmudgeon
2008-06-18, 12:24 AM
Alter Self gives you racial bonus feats, and also takes away any you already have. A spellcaster must lose their bonus feat if they started out as a human.

Citation needed.
Certainly.

Alter Self

You keep all extraordinary special attacks and qualities derived from class levels, but you lose any from your normal form that are not derived from class levels.

You acquire the physical qualities of the new form while retaining your own mind. Physical qualities include natural size, mundane movement capabilities (such as burrowing, climbing, walking, swimming, and flight with wings, to a maximum speed of 120 feet for flying or 60 feet for nonflying movement), natural armor bonus, natural weapons (such as claws, bite, and so on), racial skill bonuses, racial bonus feats, and any gross physical qualities (presence or absence of wings, number of extremities, and so forth).


Races
Humans

* 1 extra feat at 1st level.
The form-altering spells are notorious for being hard to decipher. I've highlighted the relevant parts, but it may also help to summarize here:
You keep a lot of qualities with Alter Self:
supernatural qualities from your form (race)
spell-like qualities from your race
mental qualities from your race
class abilities

However, you lose physical qualities from your race.
Physical qualities include racial bonus feats.
If you choose Human as your race, you get a bonus feat at 1st level. That's a racial bonus feat.
This has also been addressed in the FAQ:
When my human uses polymorph* to take the form of another creature, he loses any extraordinary special attacks and qualities. Does this include his bonus feat and bonus skill points? If so, how do I figure out which feat and skill points are derived from his racial traits?
A human’s bonus feat and bonus skill points—like most other racial traits—are considered extraordinary qualities, and thus are lost when the character would lose such abilities (including when polymorphed). This is a good reason to keep track of which feat is your human bonus feat, since it might have wide-reaching effects. (For instance, if Dodge was your bonus feat, you’d lose the benefits of any other feats that have Dodge as a prerequisite, such as Mobility and Spring Attack.)
*The question and answer uses “polymorph” to refer specifically to spells that rely on the polymorph or alter self spell to adjudicate their effect (including alter self, polymorph, polymorph any object, and shapechange), psionic powers based on the metamorphosis power (including metamorphosis and greater metamorphosis), and any other effect based on either of these lists.

Curmudgeon
2008-06-18, 12:42 AM
Nor does Freedom of Movement require that the thong be tied around the target's arm, or even clearly state that the tying must occur at the time of casting.
If you'd read carefully, you would have seen this:

And where you've got to make a decision that's not covered by the rules, tend toward less power for a spell.
I didn't claim that this was "clearly stated" in the Freedom of Movement spell. I just put forward the thong tying limitation as a way to help meet the OP's request:
How do I knock spellcasters down a few knotches?
Did you fail to notice the topic?

Solo
2008-06-18, 12:53 AM
Certainly.


The form-altering spells are notorious for being hard to decipher. I've highlighted the relevant parts, but it may also help to summarize here:
You keep a lot of qualities with Alter Self:
supernatural qualities from your form (race)
spell-like qualities from your race
mental qualities from your race
class abilities

However, you lose physical qualities from your race.
Physical qualities include racial bonus feats.
If you choose Human as your race, you get a bonus feat at 1st level. That's a racial bonus feat.

I don't have the SRD at my command right now (internet issues from China, office internet) but could you provide a citation from the text of the Alter Self spell?


This has also been addressed in the FAQ:
I see a problem right here.

Curmudgeon
2008-06-18, 01:23 AM
I don't have the SRD at my command right now (internet issues from China, office internet) but could you provide a citation from the text of the Alter Self spell?
I did. It's in the quote box that starts with

Alter Self
I added bold in a few places.

Solo
2008-06-18, 01:33 AM
So, humans getting a bonus feat (any bonus feat) is a physical quality?

What does Lord Silvanos have to say about this subject?

TempusCCK
2008-06-18, 02:47 AM
Awesome nerf to Timestop:

The character does not actually stop time, but instead moves very faster, so as to seem that time is in fact stopped for them. This gives them a certain numbe rof rounds of free action. However, in a realistic setting (Death to Catgirls!) this is an extremely dangerous situation, molecules of air rocket through your body, tearing you to bits. However, this is a 9th level spell, and some protection is guarenteed.

My fix is to simply say 3D10 damage per round of the timestop, fort DC of 19 negates. Suddenly spamming timestops... let alone maximized timestops, is a very dangerous proceedure... Better make sure it's worth it...

Tempest Fennac
2008-06-18, 09:27 AM
Wouldn't that make the spell too risky for a typical Arcane spellcaster to use? I agree that the spell is overpowered if it's combined with the right spells, but I'd say that banning it all together would possibly be the best solution considering how hazardous using your fix would be.

Curmudgeon
2008-06-18, 09:56 AM
Mind Blank doesn't protect against True Seeing, because True Seeing doesn't read emotions or thoughts.

The subject is protected from all devices and spells that detect, influence, or read emotions or thoughts. This spell protects against all mind-affecting spells and effects as well as information gathering by divination spells or effects.

The second sentence renders you, according to a highly literalistic reading to all detect/true seeing type spells. True seeing is an effect that, depending on your interpretation of 'information gathering', does indeed fall under that category.
I think I need to remind you of this leading statement from my post:
And where you've got to make a decision that's not covered by the rules, tend toward less power for a spell.
The object, after all is to help meet the OP's request:
How do I knock spellcasters down a few knotches?
Your reading of Mind Blank is one of the options of this highly-debated spell, as is mine. My aim was to leverage ambiguities in some powerful spells so that they aren't quite so über, to help Killersquid take spellcasters down a bit -- but without needing to change the core rules. Mind Blank is an 8th-level spell. Interpreting the spell my way gives it a vulnerability that various enemies can exploit, ranging from a Balor (continuous True Seeing) down to a 9th level Cleric NPC.

seedjar
2008-06-19, 11:39 AM
After putting deep though into this, I decided instead of limiting spells at first, I will play a few games of the first campaign I do (yay newbie DMs) with my players and see what spells they use, abuse, and just plain break the game with. After which, I will design later encounters to counter specifically that. If that doesn't help, later games or campaigns I will limit certain spells.

An arms race with your caster PCs is not something that you should engage in as a DM. I (naïvely) suggest a more proactive approach. Like nagora said, if there's a lot of Wishes getting thrown around, that energy probably came from someplace. Sometimes, magic breaks or works in unpredictable ways. Unless your campaign setting holds that magic has been mapped out as a science with complete and overt logical consistency, I think it's perfectly admissible to have unforeseen consequences to casting spells in flashy and unorthodox ways. Whether or not you want to implement some mechanic for generating mishaps or just fly by the seat of your pants is up to you.
~Joe