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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default I'm thinking of banning the core spellcasters.

    I'm currently planning on running a third edition DnD game and the more I try to make a setting mesh with the rules the more I want to just ban the core spell casters. Not the Paladin or the Bard but the fullcasters like the Wizard and Cleric. My problem isn't with the overall power of the classes since there are plenty of fixes to bring non-spellcasters up to par, my compaint is that they destroy any sort of comprehensible setting if you allow for the assumption that High level spellcasters exist.

    I have two main issues with the classes in the core, firstly there are simply too many spells that just break the game and/or the setting. I'm not just talking about Tippyverse insanity or how Planar Binding wns the game instantly. But even lower level spells destroy settings, wars cease being any sort of tactical affair or even involve troops at all. Instead you just have a magical arms race. Now I'm sure that can make for an interesting setting, but it's not what I want or one that I can relate to in any way.

    Secondly the Wizard class as written (and by extension the Sorceror) is ridiculously broad in the niche it's concept fills. Compare it to the Fighter where a guy who gets really angry and and is super-tough is considered thematicallly different enough to be a whole seperate base class, as is a guy who fights without equipment, a guy who has minor holy powers to augment his fighting and a guy who understands nature and has mior magic powers. All these archtypes are based on the same base but are considered different enough from the Fighter to be their own class. Contrast the Wizard where a guiy who reanimates the dead, a guy who smmons demon or angels, a guy who shoots raw elemental energy at people, a guy who mind controls people, a guy who manipulates light to disguise anything as anything and a guy who can create matter out of thin air. Not only are all these cocepts covered by the same class but they can generally all be covered by the same character, who also has a host of minorutility powers as well.

    Now that was somewhat more rantish than intended but I wanted to explain why I'm trying to remove them. The Cleric and Druid, while more narrow (at least in core) still disrupt my sort of setting and I've never been satisfied with the conceptual space they occupy (at least, the space they occupy in 3.5). The obvious problem is how simply banning them disrupts balance and setting, the rules are built around having casters and I don't want a low magic setting.

    My current plan is to replace the Wizard with the various dedicated specialist base classes such as the Dread Necromancer, the Warmage and Beguiler. This is where I need help because I want to know what classes are both:
    A) Powerful enough to replace the Wizard/Cleric in a party.
    B)Don't have any spells that destroy the setting.

    I don't own any of the Complete X books but I do have access to them. Also is the Binder from Tome of Magic a viable caster replacement?
    Last edited by Axolotl; 2010-06-07 at 08:36 AM.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: I'm thinking of banning the core spellcasters.

    Spontaneous Divine Casters as described in UA will let you use the Cleric/Druid without them completely breaking the game, depending on spell choices. Just remove the spells that you feel break your game, like the Planar Binding line, or turn them into complicated rituals that cost lots of time and gold.

    Binder is a niche class. It can fill a lot of roles depending on what vestige they bind, but it's by no means a full caster.

    Also, I think you mean Dread Necromancer (HoH), not True Necromancer (LM). While the forced-specialist classes are less powerful, some of them can still break your game. Once a DN reaches level 8, they become a ridiculously powerful undead army platform - much, much more dangerous than someone using Planar Binding for wishes or guardians or whatnot, especially if you're handing them high HD opponents that are supposed to challenge the entire party on their own, as they'll usually have the Animate Dead control pool to animate them afterwards.

    Beguilers have a whole other problem. Their entire class is obviated by Mind Blank or an appropriate Protection from Alignment spell.
    Last edited by RelentlessImp; 2010-06-07 at 07:45 AM.
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    Default Re: I'm thinking of banning the core spellcasters.

    Warlock from Complete Arcane is a good option. Psion and Psychic Warrior are available on d20srd.org and can quickly be renamed "Witch and Witch Warrior" or whatever you'd like. Wildshape Ranger is also available in the variant section of d20srd.org and it makes a good druid replacement. Totemist from Magic of Incarnum also does. Binder is kind of completely different than spellcasters, it isn't a very optimal option for replacement.


    Quote Originally Posted by Axolotl View Post
    My problem isn't with the overall power of the classes since there are plenty of fixes to bring non-spellcasters up to par
    ...Oh?

    Quote Originally Posted by RelentlessImp View Post
    Beguilers have a whole other problem. Their entire class is obviated by Mind Blank or an appropriate Protection from Alignment spell.
    Well, yeah, but being a good DM means not doing things that specifically obviate or nerf characters, like using flying enemies against Fighters. Besides, without Wizards, those specific spells will be less readily available anyway.
    Last edited by SilveryCord; 2010-06-07 at 07:52 AM.

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    Default Re: I'm thinking of banning the core spellcasters.

    Quote Originally Posted by Axolotl View Post
    I don't own any of the Complete X books but I do have access to them. Also is the Binder from Tome of Magic a viable caster replacement?
    What the party needs depends entirely on what the gm confronting the players with.
    I have never seen a binder in action, but they don't seem like actual spellcasters to me. They have a couple of magical abilities, but you simply don't have the wide range of spells to select from.
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    Default Re: I'm thinking of banning the core spellcasters.

    Quote Originally Posted by Axolotl View Post
    My current plan is to replace the Wizard with the various dedicated specialist base classes such as the True Dread Necromancer, the Warmage and Beguiler.
    Fixed that for you.

    In general, nixing tiers 1 and 2 isn't such a bad idea.
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    Default Re: I'm thinking of banning the core spellcasters.

    If you haven't already, look up the tier system. It seems what you are intending to do is banning the lowest tiers (which are most powerful). These include the core full casters, but also the psion, archivist and a few others equally broken ones.

    Generally, even without banning, my games seem to mostly involve tiers 3 and 4, where you can find the generally balanced classes like barbarian, rogue, warlock, beguiler. Most of which you actually mentioned.

    About the only thing slightly problematic in that system, assuming you wanted to go with the core set-up of four characters covering the roles of artillery, tank, damage dealer/skill monkey and healer would be the healer role: few of the weaker classes get reliable access to healing, so you could consider putting the cure spells on the lists of a few of the weaker ones.
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    Default Re: I'm thinking of banning the core spellcasters.

    Let them exist, but make Cleric 3/Wizard 3 Mystic Theurge mandatory.
    Quote Originally Posted by Doc Roc View Post
    Ring of Evasion means never playing a monk with monk levels again. There is just no reason to dip that stuff. I know we're all about using every part of the buffalo here, but can we just admit that it's inedible?

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    Default Re: I'm thinking of banning the core spellcasters.

    Quote Originally Posted by SilveryCord View Post
    Well, yeah, but being a good DM means not doing things that specifically obviate or nerf characters, like using flying enemies against Fighters. Besides, without Wizards, those specific spells will be less readily available anyway.
    Quite a few caster classes have the Protection from X line available. A first level spell completely destroying a class intended to go from 1-20? Meh. It makes no sense NOT to use it, too.

    Not to mention the prevalence of enemies in any game world that are immune to mind-affecting effects.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    About the only thing slightly problematic in that system, assuming you wanted to go with the core set-up of four characters covering the roles of artillery, tank, damage dealer/skill monkey and healer would be the healer role: few of the weaker classes get reliable access to healing, so you could consider putting the cure spells on the lists of a few of the weaker ones.
    Healer's on the higher tiers, and it can take care of the healing at all levels up til 17, when they get Gate. So if you want the healer to be a dedicated healbot, that takes care of that.
    Last edited by RelentlessImp; 2010-06-07 at 08:01 AM.
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    Default Re: I'm thinking of banning the core spellcasters.

    Healing is not a requirement for a game that does not revolve around continuous dungeon crawling.

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    Default Re: I'm thinking of banning the core spellcasters.

    Protection from Evil does not "shut down" Beguilers. It only blocks ongoing Compulsions and Charms; Beguilers have plenty of spells that do not fall under that umbrella, and they are excellent skillmonkeys to boot.

    Even at first level, Pro: Evil will do nothing to stop a well-placed Color Spray.

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    Default Re: I'm thinking of banning the core spellcasters.

    Quote Originally Posted by RelentlessImp View Post
    Beguilers have a whole other problem. Their entire class is obviated by Mind Blank or an appropriate Protection from Alignment spell.
    Beguilers are not remotely negated with Mind Blank or Protection from X.

    Those spells do not stop Illusions. Beguilers have lots of Illusions.

    Those spells do not stop party buffs. Beguilers have some good ones, like haste.

    Those spells do not stop Slow, Time Stop, or several other beguiler offensive spells.

    Those spells probably do not stop the spells the Beguiler has added to his list from Arcane Devotee, Sandshaper, Shadowcraft Mage, Rainbow Serpent, or other feats and PRCs.

    Those spells do not stop the spell trigger or completion items that the beguiler is UMDing.

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    Default Re: I'm thinking of banning the core spellcasters.

    Spirit Shaman, Favored Soul, Shugenja... spontaneous divine casters do exist...
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    Default Re: I'm thinking of banning the core spellcasters.

    In my homebrew campaign world based on ancient Rome and Greece, full casters exist, but are exceptionally rare. The PCs can play full casters or other Tier 1 classes if they want to, but by gentleman's agreement they choose spells that put them on the same general power level as the other players in their group, which is usually Tier 3. Almost all balance related issues can be solved by having the players talk to each other while they go through character creation.

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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: I'm thinking of banning the core spellcasters.

    Quote Originally Posted by RelentlessImp View Post
    Spontaneous Divine Casters as described in UA will let you use the Cleric/Druid without them completely breaking the game, depending on spell choices. Just remove the spells that you feel break your game, like the Planar Binding line, or turn them into complicated rituals that cost lots of time and gold.
    Yes but I'm still left with a very open-ended spell list and fairly uninspiring concepts (from my point of view). Also I want to allow lots of splatbooks so I'd have to read through alot of spell lists.

    Binder is a niche class. It can fill a lot of roles depending on what vestige they bind, but it's by no means a full caster.
    I'm looking for niche classes ideally because that helps put them on par with non-magic based classes. Can Binders compete with full casters in general power terms if not utility?


    Also, I think you mean Dread Necromancer (HoH), not True Necromancer (LM). While the forced-specialist classes are less powerful, some of them can still break your game. Once a DN reaches level 8, they become a ridiculously powerful undead army platform - much, much more dangerous than someone using Planar Binding for wishes or guardians or whatnot, especially if you're handing them high HD opponents that are supposed to challenge the entire party on their own, as they'll usually have the Animate Dead control pool to animate them afterwards.
    Yes I did mean Dread Necromancer I'll go edit that. As for Animating, it's not general power I'm concerned about, I'm going to significant buff up non-casters. It's spells that simply break the whole setting as soon as they're incorperated. Animating the dead will give a player a big power boost yes. But with Planar binding as written the first person to cast it wins, everybody else can just give up because they can do anything.

    Beguilers have a whole other problem. Their entire class is obviated by Mind Blank or an appropriate Protection from Alignment spell.
    But if I remove Cleric, Wizards, Druids and Sorcerors from the setting that'll be less of a problem surely?

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    Default Re: I'm thinking of banning the core spellcasters.

    Quote Originally Posted by Axolotl View Post

    I'm looking for niche classes ideally because that helps put them on par with non-magic based classes. Can Binders compete with full casters in general power terms if not utility?
    No, they can't. They have a very small list of abilities (slightly larger if you permit certain web-based vestiges, such as the one that lets them use Summon Monster line), and can only have up to 2 vestiges bound at most - maybe 3, with a feat. They're very fun to play, but typically take the spot of Face or 5th-wheel to the standard 4 man party, much akin to a Bard.

    Quote Originally Posted by Axolotl View Post
    But if I remove Cleric, Wizards, Druids and Sorcerors from the setting that'll be less of a problem surely?
    You're forgetting that Paladins & Rangers get the spell, too. But as others have pointed out, I was mistaken about how far Protection from Alignment goes to block out a Beguiler's spells - though a lot of their BFC-style spells are still Enchantment (Charm) and (Compulsion) effects, they have enough Illusions and buff spells to make up for it.

    EDIT:
    Quote Originally Posted by Axolotl View Post
    Yes I did mean Dread Necromancer I'll go edit that. As for Animating, it's not general power I'm concerned about, I'm going to significant buff up non-casters. It's spells that simply break the whole setting as soon as they're incorperated. Animating the dead will give a player a big power boost yes. But with Planar binding as written the first person to cast it wins, everybody else can just give up because they can do anything.
    The moment the Dread Necromancer starts animating melee monsters, like Fire Giants, Ogres, Dragons, Outsiders, etc., the rest of the party can just sod right off because he'll be taking so long in combat for all of his undead creatures and be dishing out so much damage on his turns that melees are kind of pointless.

    You can, of course, limit this by asking the player to restrict their pool to 2-3 high HD creatures, but pretty soon that'll leave them with around 100 or so HD unused.
    Last edited by RelentlessImp; 2010-06-07 at 08:51 AM.
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    Default Re: I'm thinking of banning the core spellcasters.

    Quote Originally Posted by RelentlessImp View Post
    No, they can't. They have a very small list of abilities (slightly larger if you permit certain web-based vestiges, such as the one that lets them use Summon Monster line), and can only have up to 2 vestiges bound at most - maybe 3, with a feat.
    Not sure where you got that from: Binders can bind 3 vestiges at 14, and 4 at 20. Furthermore, with the right feats and items you can swap them out during the day without too much downtime.

    I agree that they are a poor replacement for casters, but if the whole game is geared to Tier 3 you won't have too many problems.

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    Default Re: I'm thinking of banning the core spellcasters.

    FWIW, in AD&D Planar Binding allowed you to restrain, or "bind" an outsider. And that's it!. There was no "Charisma check" to make the Balor your **** If you made a deal with a demon (or other powerful outsider) you'd better have a way to send it back afterwards, because once it's out of the summoning circle, all bets were off.

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    Default Re: I'm thinking of banning the core spellcasters.

    Quote Originally Posted by Optimystik View Post
    Not sure where you got that from: Binders can bind 3 vestiges at 14, and 4 at 20. Furthermore, with the right feats and items you can swap them out during the day without too much downtime.

    I agree that they are a poor replacement for casters, but if the whole game is geared to Tier 3 you won't have too many problems.
    >.> Shows what I know. I haven't played a Binder past level 8 so don't have a lot of working knowledge beyond about 10th. But, I agree, really; at Tier 3-4 they could be fairly valuable additions to the party. They're just not replacements for casters.
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    Default Re: I'm thinking of banning the core spellcasters.

    Quote Originally Posted by AstralFire View Post
    Healing is not a requirement for a game that does not revolve around continuous dungeon crawling.
    I know that and have never made a dungeon crawling campaign in any shape or form. I was talking from the hypothetical standpoint of a classical D&D campaign, the way it is assumed to be in the core books, which I stated in my post.
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    Default Re: I'm thinking of banning the core spellcasters.

    Quote Originally Posted by Axolotl View Post
    But if I remove Cleric, Wizards, Druids and Sorcerors from the setting that'll be less of a problem surely?
    Well, exactly. You're the DM. Choose to not use Mind Blank.

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    Default Re: I'm thinking of banning the core spellcasters.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    I know that and have never made a dungeon crawling campaign in any shape or form. I was talking from the hypothetical standpoint of a classical D&D campaign, the way it is assumed to be in the core books, which I stated in my post.
    Dedicated healers are not necessary in "classical D&D campaigns" either, assuming we're still talking about 3.5.

    this post intentionally not bolded

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    Default Re: I'm thinking of banning the core spellcasters.

    You seem to have more of a problem with high levels than with casters. While banning the big 5 is definitely a good move, I'd also recommand you to simply play E6.

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    Default Re: I'm thinking of banning the core spellcasters.

    First piece of advise. Don't ban anything because doing so would be stupid. The splat book classes are lame compared to the core casters and nobody will dispute that. The broken spells are easy to fix, just say no, or tell your characters that if they use them, then the spells are fair game. I run pathfinder now, so most of those spells have been retooled, however, in 3.5 none of my wizards had ray of enfeeblement. If the party wizard used one, even one, he would eventually be layed out by a maximized empowered RoE and be knocked out of a fight...because I'm mean like that. Easiest way, say no.

    Second. High level casters are governed by a "higher power" so to speak. Druids go off to commune with nature and can be as viscious or tranquil as the natural world. Wizards and Sorcerers seek out more magic, focus on teaching the craft to the "new blood", or delve into research to learn the secrets of something. Clerics have dogma and a church/god to answer to. High level clerics often times, in my games and in every game I've ever played in, become priests and teachers within the church. They are surely powerful, but are even more adhearent to the wishes of their gods. Lastly on this note, does your world have dragons or demons/devils. There is ALWAYs someone bigger and badder that wants to steal your cookie.

    Another alternative is to say that full casters are rare in the extreme. That way, the PCs can play them, but there isn't a cleric or wizard in every town. That also means that the services provided by casters is in high demand, and not easily squandered on a battle field, that is what soldiers are for.

    Reading these boards is a bad thing for most people since most players won't powergame/optimize/munch their characters and won't rules monger you to death either.

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    Default Re: I'm thinking of banning the core spellcasters.

    Allow the core magic users in a limited Dip capacity, in such a way that you can not have 3rd level spells before 7th-9th (depending on the power level you want).
    or Give the classes requirements to meet and basically make them prestige classes.
    or both.

    I've limited such things before and it works just fine.
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    Default Re: I'm thinking of banning the core spellcasters.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kalrik View Post
    First piece of advise. Don't ban anything because doing so would be stupid. The splat book classes are lame compared to the core casters and nobody will dispute that.
    I would. The core casters are so versatile they have no flavor and you essentially cannot play a specialist in say, fire, because you're crippling yourself.

    Second. High level casters are governed by a "higher power" so to speak. Druids go off to commune with nature and can be as viscious or tranquil as the natural world. Wizards and Sorcerers seek out more magic, focus on teaching the craft to the "new blood", or delve into research to learn the secrets of something. Clerics have dogma and a church/god to answer to. High level clerics often times, in my games and in every game I've ever played in, become priests and teachers within the church. They are surely powerful, but are even more adhearent to the wishes of their gods. Lastly on this note, does your world have dragons or demons/devils. There is ALWAYs someone bigger and badder that wants to steal your cookie.
    You're completely off-base and missing why he wants to get rid of them. He's annoyed with their interaction with the setting - high level core casters can eliminate a LOT of fantasy tropes, easily. Even if they are rare, as you say, one can change the world by themselves.

    Reading these boards is a bad thing for most people since most players won't powergame/optimize/munch their characters and won't rules monger you to death either.
    Really? Because I get a lot of very useful, thought out, in-depth thoughts about roleplay and I typically play at a much lower power level than these people.

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    Default Re: I'm thinking of banning the core spellcasters.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kalrik View Post
    First piece of advise.
    Advice. The word you're looking for is advice.

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    Default Re: I'm thinking of banning the core spellcasters.

    Perhaps if you don't want to ban them outright, reduce the spell progression by a lot. Like reducing the full casters to bard progression. It reduces the spells available to level 6, thought there is likely plenty of broken on stuff in the spells before 6th level.
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    Default Re: I'm thinking of banning the core spellcasters.

    Another idea is to have some kind of "anti-world-altering-system". For example; every time someones uses an ability that changes something in your setting you get a number of points which do something bad to you, depending on the effect of the power on your setting. Though this still allows for the things to happen, it's less likely to happen due to the cost, which is often the case in a lot of fantasy settings. Not sure how you want to go with that in your setting though.
    Please read and evaluate the changes I'm trying to smooth out in this thread: http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=154036

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    Default Re: I'm thinking of banning the core spellcasters.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kalrik View Post
    First piece of advise. Don't ban anything because doing so would be stupid. The splat book classes are lame compared to the core casters and nobody will dispute that. The broken spells are easy to fix, just say no, or tell your characters that if they use them, then the spells are fair game. I run pathfinder now, so most of those spells have been retooled, however, in 3.5 none of my wizards had ray of enfeeblement. If the party wizard used one, even one, he would eventually be layed out by a maximized empowered RoE and be knocked out of a fight...because I'm mean like that. Easiest way, say no.

    Second. High level casters are governed by a "higher power" so to speak. Druids go off to commune with nature and can be as viscious or tranquil as the natural world. Wizards and Sorcerers seek out more magic, focus on teaching the craft to the "new blood", or delve into research to learn the secrets of something. Clerics have dogma and a church/god to answer to. High level clerics often times, in my games and in every game I've ever played in, become priests and teachers within the church. They are surely powerful, but are even more adhearent to the wishes of their gods. Lastly on this note, does your world have dragons or demons/devils. There is ALWAYs someone bigger and badder that wants to steal your cookie.

    Another alternative is to say that full casters are rare in the extreme. That way, the PCs can play them, but there isn't a cleric or wizard in every town. That also means that the services provided by casters is in high demand, and not easily squandered on a battle field, that is what soldiers are for.

    Reading these boards is a bad thing for most people since most players won't powergame/optimize/munch their characters and won't rules monger you to death either.
    Keep in mind that in his original post his issue was not power levels, but rather the intrinsic access wizards, druids, and clerics get to things like Time Stop, Polymorph, Plan Binding, Plane Shift, Find Traps, Knock, Divine Power, Freedom of Movement, Rope Trick, Major Image, and Alter Self. Sure, the other casters get access to some of these spells, but the issue is more that tier 1 casters get *all* of them (divided into arcane/divine, that is). He also explained that he didn't want to run a low magic world.

  30. - Top - End - #30
    Titan in the Playground
     
    AssassinGuy

    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Sunnydale

    Default Re: I'm thinking of banning the core spellcasters.

    You could try addressing it with variable point buy by tiers.
    1. 15 ("low-powered campaign", DMG page 169)
    2. 22 ("challenging")
    3. 28 ("tougher")
    4. 32 ("high-powered")
    5. 36
    6. Fuhgeddaboudit!
    If somebody plans on dipping into higher-level classes in the future, they use the lower number of points corresponding to the more powerful tier.

    At least this way a Tier 1 character can't start with any stat higher than 17 (before racial adjustment).

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