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    Default Wizard Balancer? [3.5, SoD]

    I've been balancing Core in my spare time (not as impressively as Fax though) and aiming for a Tier 2-4 range. All spellcasting gets spells (levels, known, and per day) delayed by an additional (minor) amount. But the Cleric is still awesome despite spontaneity, the Druid is simply running Aspect of Nature and spontaneity but remains much the same, and Sorcerer's buff of extra armor and 3/4 BAB (the Bard gets up to medium and retains its normal/current spell progression) are just enough to differentiate from the wizard to make it helpful. Unfortunately, making the wizard spontaneous is kinda stepping on the Sorc's toes. Ergo, I've decided to let them remain a Prepared Caster, and made the decision to expand the Wizard Spell List to include both Wizard and Cleric spells. In exchange, however, I want them to become 'weaker' and so, the Spell Checker idea is made.

    Anyone attempting to cast a spell make a Spellcraft Check with a DC of (10+Spell Level+Caster Level). If they fail, the spell fizzles, useless. Arcane Spell Failure Chance boosts the DC by 1 per 5% of ASF chance, and Armor Check Penalties apply to spellcraft checks to cast a spell. (Sorcerer can ignore Light Armor, as can Druid. Cleric and Bard can ignore Medium). Spontaneous casters do NOT consider the spell to be used, though prepared casters lose the spell.


    Thoughts? I number crunched and it's easily possible to have a 95% chance of casting a spell at level 1... And it doesn't really get lower than 60 unless you aren't pumping Spellcraft. If it seems like an issue, I kin of had it apply to everyone at the last second so limiting it to Wizards again works.

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    Default Re: Wizard Balancer? [3.5, SoD]

    I've heard similar things, but the problem with basing magic around a skill check becomes apparent when you look at the Truenamer. If the DC is too high, the class becomes useless. Gain a few levels and invest in a few feats and magic items that give +10, and it becomes ridiculously broken.

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    Default Re: Wizard Balancer? [3.5, SoD]

    I wouldn't say broken: 5% of the time you'll fail, period. But the idea is that you gotta try for it. I would say "what about a multiplier?" but spell level as a multiplier gets crazy. Maybe 150% caster level?

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    Default Re: Wizard Balancer? [3.5, SoD]

    Skill checks don't normally fail on a natural one.

    Look at it this way, as an example. Your class is all about making potions. 1/2 BAB, only good will, etc. Potions are all it does well. At first level you make ten healing potions. After a combat, the fighter wants one of your healing potions. Ok, you say, but I have to roll to see if it works. Does this seem strange to you?

    That's exactly the same thing you are doing to wizards: spells are not the same thing as attack rolls because you only get a limited number of spells per day but you have as many attack rolls as you have actions. You are better off fixing wizards just by fixing their spells, which you are already doing.

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    Default Re: Wizard Balancer? [3.5, SoD]

    This, along with all the "they have a chance to fail," solutions, is bad.

    Fix the spells, don't make it a diceroll (or, considering the check, more of a guarantee if you buy a +30 item, but still.)

    At first level, you can get 4 ranks, 4 int bonus, and a +2 masterwork item, so a 90% chance, and it only goes up from there (well, down at level 3, since you can't buy a +5 spellcraft item yet.)

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    Default Re: Wizard Balancer? [3.5, SoD]

    Hurr. Back to the drawing board.

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    Default Re: Wizard Balancer? [3.5, SoD]

    if your looking at a good place to start convert everything to spellpoints from unearthed arcana and work from there by creating feats/abilities that are powered by spellpoints and alter current abilities to possibly require spellpoints

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    Default Re: Wizard Balancer? [3.5, SoD]

    Yeah, bad. Failing to cast 5% of the time does not balance the Wizard getting the Cleric spell list as well.
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    Default Re: Wizard Balancer? [3.5, SoD]

    Hmmm...

    To prevent cheese/optimization, you could always resolve the spellcasting check as a character level check (not a caster level check) against a DC of 5 + 3 x spell level (+ 1/5% of arcane spell failure for arcane casters). Furthermore, a natural 1 on this roll always fails.

    In this way, at 1st level, you need to roll a 4+ higher to use a cantrip or a 7+ to use a 1st level spell.

    Meanwhile, by 20th level, you can cast 1st-5th level spells without fear (only a 5% chance) but only have a 40% sucess rate with your 9th level spells.

    If you restricted the wizard back down to only his own spell list and allowed a failed spells to fizzle without being wasted for everyone (rather than just for spontaneous casters), this would probably be more balanced.

    Though spellcasters outside of combat would obviously remain better than non-spellcasters (as they could keep attempting that teleport/planeshift/create food and water spell until it worlds), this would help to even out the battlefield in... the battlefield. It wouldn't be perfectly even, of course (as spellcasters could prebuff if given time and they are likely rolling for for save-and-dies rather than for damage like the martial classes), but it is a step in the right direction (probably).
    Last edited by Realms of Chaos; 2010-10-01 at 03:58 PM.
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    Default Re: Wizard Balancer? [3.5, SoD]

    Quote Originally Posted by Realms of Chaos View Post
    Hmmm...

    To prevent cheese/optimization, you could always resolve the spellcasting check as a character level check (not a caster level check) against a DC of 5 + 3 x spell level (+ 1/5% of arcane spell failure for arcane casters). Furthermore, a natural 1 on this roll always fails.

    In this way, at 1st level, you need to roll a 4+ higher to use a cantrip or a 7+ to use a 1st level spell.

    Meanwhile, by 20th level, you can cast 1st-5th level spells without fear (only a 5% chance) but only have a 40% sucess rate with your 9th level spells.

    If you restricted the wizard back down to only his own spell list and allowed a failed spells to fizzle without being wasted for everyone (rather than just for spontaneous casters), this would probably be more balanced.

    Though spellcasters outside of combat would obviously remain better than non-spellcasters (as they could keep attempting that teleport/planeshift/create food and water spell until it worlds), this would help to even out the battlefield in... the battlefield. It wouldn't be perfectly even, of course (as spellcasters could prebuff if given time and they are likely rolling for for save-and-dies rather than for damage like the martial classes), but it is a step in the right direction (probably).
    This is a very, very, very, very, very bad idea.

    Making a class rely entirely on luck to do anything is bad.

    Fix the spells, make limited list casters, or ask them to tone down their play. Don't make it so casters can, 40% of the time, murder gods, and 60% of the time, get their eyes shanked out by warrior 20s.
    Last edited by Milskidasith; 2010-10-01 at 04:05 PM.

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    Default Re: Wizard Balancer? [3.5, SoD]

    Quote Originally Posted by Milskidasith View Post
    This is a very, very, very, very, very bad idea.

    Making a class rely entirely on luck to do anything is bad.

    Fix the spells, make limited list casters, or ask them to tone down their play. Don't make it so casters can, 40% of the time, murder gods, and 60% of the time, get their eyes shanked out by warrior 20s.
    Unless you are fully optimizing, pretty much every single martial class relies on "luck" (AKA attack rolls) in order to function and they get along just well (not as well as spellcasters, of course, but the point of this thread was to push all spellcasters back into lower tiers).

    While a caster using this version may be killed by warrior 20s (if they fail their checks, don't have any active buffs, and don't just use weaker spells that they can activate with impunity), Everybody else is killed by warrior 20s if they keep failing on their attack rolls. Bad luck is just bad luck.

    DnD uses a d20 system. Though we like to pretend that only modifiers exist, the fact is that some degree of luck exists for everyone who doesn't use magic or extreme optimization to do everything automatically. While my suggested version takes out the possibility of optimization that exists with attack rolls, how is requiring spellcasters to make rolls just like everybody else a bad thing?

    If the target tier for spellcasters was 2-4, giving them the choice between weaker reliable spells and risky "god-slaying" ones seems completely natural (and giving them this choice is certainly more balanced than just giving wizards god-slaying spells for free like we do now).
    Last edited by Realms of Chaos; 2010-10-01 at 05:05 PM.
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    Default Re: Wizard Balancer? [3.5, SoD]

    The problem is those god slaying spells though. Even if they're very lower probability, a wizard still has an ability that a warrior class just plain can't match.

    I really don't think that any amount of tinkering with class mechanics will solve the wizard/sorcerer problems. They get too varied a spell list with too much scaling and too much synergy. Everyone has seen a wizard that functioned like a tier 5 rather than a tier 1 because the player didn't know how to use his spells effectively. It all comes down to there being "an ap spell for that" for every damn situation if you know what you're doing.

    What I would suggest would be to have each wizard choose a school to specialize in. For all the other schools, they're treated as half their current wizard level for eligibility. So if you're an abjurer, you're great with abjurations but you're going to be pitiful with necromancy. Combined with a little spell damage clipping and synergy cheese removal and they roll back to tier 2 pretty easily. But that's just my suggestion.

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    Default Re: Wizard Balancer? [3.5, SoD]

    The spells are delayed into epic. Which means that they are much less quadratic early. Godkillers are much less powerful if you're maxing out at, maybe, sixth or seventh level spells at 20th. So... Yeah. I /like/ the randomizing.

    The level check works. As does specialization like that.

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    Default Re: Wizard Balancer? [3.5, SoD]

    Quote Originally Posted by zalmatra View Post
    if your looking at a good place to start convert everything to spellpoints from unearthed arcana and work from there by creating feats/abilities that are powered by spellpoints and alter current abilities to possibly require spellpoints
    check my sig for spellpoints homebrew. it's a big, unwieldy conglomeration of ideas I've strung together, but I've got a pretty good conversion from per day to spell points, and I also have a good converting spells to psionics... using a base cost for spells, then a simple formula for augmenting... like fireball is 5d6, requiring extra spellpoints to pump up very akin to normal psionic shenanigans.. but since nearly EVERY spell auto-augments, it's pretty easy to get the swing of it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Realms of Chaos View Post
    Unless you are fully optimizing, pretty much every single martial class relies on "luck" (AKA attack rolls) in order to function and they get along just well (not as well as spellcasters, of course, but the point of this thread was to push all spellcasters back into lower tiers).

    While a caster using this version may be killed by warrior 20s (if they fail their checks, don't have any active buffs, and don't just use weaker spells that they can activate with impunity), Everybody else is killed by warrior 20s if they keep failing on their attack rolls. Bad luck is just bad luck.

    DnD uses a d20 system. Though we like to pretend that only modifiers exist, the fact is that some degree of luck exists for everyone who doesn't use magic or extreme optimization to do everything automatically. While my suggested version takes out the possibility of optimization that exists with attack rolls, how is requiring spellcasters to make rolls just like everybody else a bad thing?

    If the target tier for spellcasters was 2-4, giving them the choice between weaker reliable spells and risky "god-slaying" ones seems completely natural (and giving them this choice is certainly more balanced than just giving wizards god-slaying spells for free like we do now).
    isn't this essentially what 4e did? I hate it though... everything "feels" the same. attack+charisma spell! attack+dex bow! attack+str sword!
    I'm a swordsage-- I have attack+int sword!!!!
    AWESOME!!!!!
    /not.

    Quote Originally Posted by Grendus View Post
    The problem is those god slaying spells though. Even if they're very lower probability, a wizard still has an ability that a warrior class just plain can't match.

    What I would suggest would be to have each wizard choose a school to specialize in. For all the other schools, they're treated as half their current wizard level for eligibility. So if you're an abjurer, you're great with abjurations but you're going to be pitiful with necromancy. Combined with a little spell damage clipping and synergy cheese removal and they roll back to tier 2 pretty easily. But that's just my suggestion.
    that's a REALLY cool idea!

    Quote Originally Posted by DythTheKobold View Post
    The spells are delayed into epic. Which means that they are much less quadratic early. Godkillers are much less powerful if you're maxing out at, maybe, sixth or seventh level spells at 20th.
    Oh how funny... I'm putting that game together with only 6th level spells.

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    Default Re: Wizard Balancer? [3.5, SoD]

    Quote Originally Posted by fil kearney View Post
    isn't this essentially what 4e did? I hate it though... everything "feels" the same. attack+charisma spell! attack+dex bow! attack+str sword!
    I'm a swordsage-- I have attack+int sword!!!!
    AWESOME!!!!!
    /not.
    Nope, not like 4e.
    Instead of trying to beat a target's specific defense, you are aiming at a standardized DC that does not change with the situation.
    Also, you eventually develop the option of using your weaker spells with next to no chance of failure, thus making you decide between weak while reliable and strong but risky.
    That isn't bringing up the dimensions that out of combat casting, buffing to help you get ahead, and the limited number of sucesses you could get in this way (no more than one per spell slot/prepared).
    In addition, requiring a roll to make effects activate is far from saying that there are suddenly no long-term enchantment effects, good teleportation spells, undead reanimation, etc. This option grants you the full array of spell effects that 3e has to offer (As opposed to xd10 damage + push/pull/temporary status) but adds some risk in combat for casters (like the risks noncasters deal with).
    Last edited by Realms of Chaos; 2010-10-01 at 07:36 PM.
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    Default Re: Wizard Balancer? [3.5, SoD]

    If you want to balance the classes, first, tell us please how much the spell levels gained are delayed. Do they go up to 7th level spells before epic, more, or less? Also, I'd get rid of Divine Metamagic and some of the stronger Turn Undead-based things, make Druids use the Shapeshifting variant and possibly also get rid of their animal companion or make it so that the animal companion progresses at the speed of the Ranger's. What would be even better would be to have the Ranger's animal companion progress at the speed a Druid's normally would.
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    Default Re: Wizard Balancer? [3.5, SoD]

    As I stated up-thread, "fighters need to roll so wizards should too" isn't a compelling argument. Rolling to see if a spell works is like rolling to see if you remembered your Improved Weapon Focus this round.

    Spells are limited in a per day fashion, while regular attacks are not. Fixing casting by making spells less game-changing is much harder but a much more fair approach than making wizards awesome some of the time and terrible the rest.

    That isn't bringing up the dimensions that out of combat casting, buffing to help you get ahead, and the limited number of sucesses you could get in this way (no more than one per spell slot/prepared).
    In addition, requiring a roll to make effects activate is far from saying that there are suddenly no long-term enchantment effects, good teleportation spells, undead reanimation, etc. This option grants you the full array of spell effects that 3e has to offer (As opposed to xd10 damage + push/pull/temporary status) but adds some risk in combat for casters (like the risks noncasters deal with).
    As you stated yourself, your proposed solution does not actually make spellcasters and non-spellcasters stand on an even footing.

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    Default Re: Wizard Balancer? [3.5, SoD]

    Spell Aquisition for fullcasters is delayed a full level... Cumuliative. So if you get a new spell level every 2 levels, it's now every 3. So at (I think) 21 you get eighth level spells. This applies to spells prepared/per day/known as well. If specialization and 1/2 casting is made, they'll be able to learn them early.

    Cleric/Druid are being screwed with separately. Cleric will draw heavily from the D20r Cleric in terms of spellcasting, with their proficiencies decided by diety. Much less uber.

    Druid is keeping animal companion as is, but they're losing Wildshape for Aspect of Nature.

    Sorc is getting a few minor buffs, as will bard.

    Both Cleric and Druid are now spontaneous as well.

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    Default Re: Wizard Balancer? [3.5, SoD]

    Looking at what was said above...

    Quote Originally Posted by Glimbur View Post
    Look at it this way, as an example. Your class is all about making potions. 1/2 BAB, only good will, etc. Potions are all it does well. At first level you make ten healing potions. After a combat, the fighter wants one of your healing potions. Ok, you say, but I have to roll to see if it works. Does this seem strange to you?
    Actually take time to look at what I suggested above.
    You'll note that I suggest nobody loose spell slots for failing the check. All that I want to do is give casters the same chance to fail at their tasks that everyone else possesses at theirs. They wouldn't waste resources, only time.
    In the specific example you gave above, that fighter is definitely going to recieve his healing. Because you can keep casting until you roll high enough, you can effectively "take 20" on all of your noncombat spells.

    Quote Originally Posted by Glimbur View Post
    Spells are limited in a per day fashion, while regular attacks are not. Fixing casting by making spells less game-changing is much harder but a much more fair approach than making wizards awesome some of the time and terrible the rest.
    Wait. What?
    What my suggestion does is turn spellcasters into close equivalent to martial adepts. Martial adepts and my suggested caster, can only use one maneuver/spell per round (unless they have a boost/counter/quickened spell, which gives them a second). When using these abilities, both the martial adept and the suggested caster make a d20 roll that determines success or failure for the ability.
    Are you trying to say that martial adepts completely suck and are "terrible" because they could possibly miss? If you want to bring up the issue of "squishiness", remember that you can (and most wizards would) "take 20" with your buffs ahead of time, poking terrible holes in this argument.
    The only difference here is that spellcasters get a wider array of abilities but can only use them once per day rather than once per encounter.


    Quote Originally Posted by Glimbur View Post
    As you stated yourself, your proposed solution does not actually make spellcasters and non-spellcasters stand on an even footing.
    I say this because, short of giving everyone magic (like 4e) or completely removing all spells that don't just blast/kill/inconvenience people (like 4e), making spellcasters and non-spellcasters equal is IMPOSSIBLE!

    Even if you remove the broken spells like forcecage, celerity and gate and restricted wizards to a single school of magic, that doesn't stop the fact that, for example, an enchanter could charm/compel other people (including people potentially stronger than the nonspellcasters in the party) into helping you out or a necromancer from building an exploding army of the dead. It does not stop spellcasters from randomly spamming save-or-dies nor teleportation that bypasses entire adventures nor divinations that ruin the best-laid plans in moments.

    If you are not a spellcaster, the best you can hope for are a few supernatural or spell-like abilities that imitate spells (usually with less depth even after the suggested changes of the OP) and failing that, all you have are skills, magic items, and combat.

    Outside of combat, spellcasters are always going to be the #1 because they are the ones who can do more or less what they want. My suggested fix DOES even the odds within encounters, where any given round may be wasted trying to cast a powerful spell just as mundanes may end up wasting an action to a missed attack. As many (perhaps most) campaigns end up revolving around encounters, evening out the scales here is of paramount importance. As you've said, weeding out every single harmful spell would be difficult (and that's not even going into the topic of PrCs) so this is an easier solution that will work for most groups.
    Last edited by Realms of Chaos; 2010-10-01 at 09:59 PM.
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    Default Re: Wizard Balancer? [3.5, SoD]

    Going the other way (uberpowering everyone else) would break the game that way. I'm working entirely within SRD. I'd rather get everyone (near to) Tier 3 with a one tier range. That's easier than raising everyone.

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    Default Re: Wizard Balancer? [3.5, SoD]

    If you want to make casters less powerful, just give them a reason not to go into a prestige class.
    Fighter: "I can kill someone in a turn."
    Cleric: "I can kill someone in half a turn."
    Wizard: "I can kill someone before my turn."
    Bard: "I can make three idiots kill people for me."

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    Default Re: Wizard Balancer? [3.5, SoD]

    The great thing about the wizard is that it fits into multiple gameplay styles, with the power level of the class largely dependent on the wizard's spell selection. It's like the difference between a fighter who chooses his feats intelligently and a fighter who takes Toughness for every feat, except that the wizard is good enough as a class that it is never that useless.

    If you're aiming for a tier 2 to 4 wizard, make it cast spells like lightning bolt and fireball. If you're just dealing damage (and not even a tremendous amount at that) and offering Reflex saves to everyone, you're not going to dominate like a wizard he uses color spray and glitterdust to own everyone. The wizard can regulate itself; it's just up to the player and DM to decide how weak they want to push it.
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