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    Default Are Spellcasters Overpowered?

    So I read these boards daily & the consensus seems to be that the T1 casters (wizards especially) are overpowered in the extreme when compared to non-spellcasters.


    But are they? Well, they sure are not in any game I run or most of the games I know of run by DM's that are Old Gornads like myself. It's not in the rules. So where does it come from? What makes the play style of some games make spellcasters so over powered?

    First random thoughts:

    1.Gentleman's Agreement This is the first thing that comes to my mind with other games. The DM and players make some sort of agreement to 'play fair' and 'not cheat' and 'not use broken or cheesey things' and to 'make sure everyone has fun'. The last one is the most odd one of all, as if spellcasters are overpowered in your game, then anyone without a spellcaster character is not having so much fun. I wonder what happens when you break the Agreement?

    2.The Buddy Group This is where the group is all 'buddies' so everything is relaxed and carefree. Where the DM is not apart from the players, the DM is a player. This has the classic ''everyone is on the same side problem''. If all the players(and the DM player) all agree and think alike, then you will have problems.

    3.Low Magic Worlds I think this is a big one. A great many DM's like Low Magic. But when you make the world magic weak, then any magic that exists is twice as strong. And you can do a fine Low Magic D&D game, if you alter the whole setting and rules to low magic. But if you just do the easy way of ''saying it's low magic'' you will run into problems.

    4.More versatility This is the idea that a spellcaster can do anything. Though I'm not sure where it comes from, as spellcasters can't do anything. My best guess is that too many players play the character sheet. This is simple enough and easy to spot: this is the player who when anything happens in the game immediately looks down on their character sheet for the answer. So you have Player A is a fighter with a single character sheet full of equipment, feats, skills and notes; and Player B who has a character sheet, plus a couple pages of spells. So when both players characters encounter a locked door, then both look down to their character sheet for a way to open it. Player B can easily find Knock and use it to open a locked door, but player A does not have any type of ability on his sheet that says ''open door''. So by this line of thinking Player character A can't open a door as the ability is not on the sheet.

    5. That a spellcaster makes other characters feel useless. This one is a bit confusing to me. How does a spellcaster do this? Sure there are some spells and magic effect that can do the work of class features, but none of them are infinite uses per day. A rouge can check for and remove traps all day and night, but a spellcaster can't.

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    Default Re: Are Spellcasters Overpowered?

    Short answer- Yes.
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    Default Re: Are Spellcasters Overpowered?

    Quote Originally Posted by ThirdEmperor View Post
    Short answer- Yes.
    Long answer- Yyyyyeeeeeesssssss.

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    Default Re: Are Spellcasters Overpowered?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tork View Post
    A rouge can check for and remove traps all day and night, but a spellcaster can't.
    How does makeup remove traps?
    Things to avoid:

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    Default Re: Are Spellcasters Overpowered?

    To resolve #5, it's a difference between theoretical unlimited use and practical uses. The rogue could, in a vacuum, pick locks every round for an entire day. But unless you're in the Tomb of Horrors, one Wand of Knock will earn its weight many times over in terms of 'actual times you will need a lock opened per day'.

    As for the rest of it...it's very easy to not play spellcasters as overpowered. But the ability to play one at less than 100% efficiency doesn't reduce their maximum power, any more than the DM's ability to houserule broken items/combos away makes said items/combos any less broken. It just means that particular group has avoided/solved the issue, while leaving it untouched for others to discover or stumble into in the future.

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    Default Re: Are Spellcasters Overpowered?

    The first two points show how a game can still be fun with tier ones, not how tier ones are not broken. I'm not really certain what you mean by the third. The fourth is simply not true; spellcasters have hundreds (probably thousands) or spells, and can do anything. Also, it doesn't matter how resourceful the fighter's player is, I don't think he'll be able to come up with a way to teleport, fly, travel the planes, etcetera. As for the final point, he doesn't need to be able to open doors all day; how many doors will the average party need to unlock per day? Also, stepping on someone's toes half the time still sucks for the person whose toes are being stepped on.
    Last edited by White_Drake; 2013-06-03 at 03:36 PM.
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    Default Re: Are Spellcasters Overpowered?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tork View Post
    1.Gentleman's Agreement This is the first thing that comes to my mind with other games. The DM and players make some sort of agreement to 'play fair' and 'not cheat' and 'not use broken or cheesey things' and to 'make sure everyone has fun'.

    2.The Buddy Group This is where the group is all 'buddies' so everything is relaxed and carefree.

    4.More versatility This is the idea that a spellcaster can do anything. Though I'm not sure where it comes from, as spellcasters can't do anything.

    5. That a spellcaster makes other characters feel useless. This one is a bit confusing to me. How does a spellcaster do this?
    Answering the last one, with an example that falls also in the other questions.
    We have a group that plays by gentleman's agreement, relaxed, yada yadda.
    When you start to depend from the spellcasters for long distance rapid movement (also to flee from difficult fights), reliable informations, protections from nasty magic / energy drain / massive damage... in the end, you'll end thinking: what am I doing here?
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    Default Re: Are Spellcasters Overpowered?

    Spellcasters are theoretically more powerful than non-casters. It's not hard to build a caster that is not powerful. It's also not hard to build one that is. Anyway, to address your points.

    1. A gentleman's agreement is not a spoken thing. You don't sit down and sign a paper. It is merely assumed, when you sit down at the table, that you are going to be a reasonable human being regardless of what character you brought. If someone breaks it, whether or not they're playing a caster...well, the group will handle it however they do things.

    2. Elaborate. What are the problems when everyone is having fun?

    3. 3.5 is possibly the worst system for low-magic, yes.

    4. Fallacy. The wizard and the fighter can both use their imaginations to solve problems. But the character's capabilities are how those solutions are implemented into the game world, and when one has assets like "turn into any monster" and "summon any substance from thin air", creativity simply goes a whole lot further than if all you have is "I hit things with swords for +2 damage". Creativity doesn't let a fighter dispel a Wall of Force, or banish a demon, or fly.

    5. Fallacy. Sure, a rogue can disable traps all day. But you don't need to disable traps all day, and if you replace that rogue with a wizard, the wizard can disable traps the few times you need traps disabled and do other things the rest of the time. Sure, a fighter can swing a sword all day. But when his hit points run out, he can't - and it's fairly trivial, as a spellcaster, to avoid taking any damage whatsoever, with a range of options from having summons/mind controlled minions to do the fighting for you, to making yourself impossible to harm by stacking all-day buffs.

    In short, being a spellcaster doesn't simply let you be the greatest just because. It provides more ways you're able to affect the world around you. And in a game of make-believe, that's always incredibly powerful.
    Quote Originally Posted by Inevitability View Post
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    Quote Originally Posted by Artanis View Post
    I'm going to be honest, "the Welsh became a Great Power and conquered Germany" is almost exactly the opposite of the explanation I was expecting

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    Default Re: Are Spellcasters Overpowered?

    I've personally never played in a game where the casters went power crazy and only used the most optimized choices and powers available to them. I recognize that they have the capacity to leave the mundanes far, far behind, but it's just not been my experience.

    Are casters overpowered or are mundanes underpowered? Probably a little of both, but I think that the disparity is highlighted by the TO mentality of these (and other) message boards. I don't think in actual play you see as much, but it is still there. Otherwise nobody would ever play a monk, and in every game I've ever played someone has played one. And there's always been a fighter too, now that I think of it.
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    Default Re: Are Spellcasters Overpowered?

    Quote Originally Posted by White_Drake View Post
    The first two points show how a game can still be fun with tier ones, not how tier ones are not broken. I'm not really certain what you mean by the third. The fourth is simply not true; spellcasters have hundreds (probably thousands) or spells, and can do anything. Also, it doesn't matter how resourceful the fighter's player is, I don't think he'll be able to come up with a way to teleport, fly, travel the planes, etcetera. As for the final point, he doesn't need to be able to open doors all day; how many doors will the average party need to unlock per day? Also, stepping on someone's toes half the time still sucks for the person whose toes are being stepped on.
    Lots of Low Magic worlds just take all the magic and fantasy away from the world...then let the players be a by-the-book spellcaster. That makes them one of the few users of magic in the world, making them nearly all powerful. How do the guards that just have wooden clubs and fire deal with magic?

    How do spellcasters get even hundreds of spells? Don't you use the spellcaster rules? Spellcasters can only memorize a set number of spells a day or cast a set number of spells per day. Spellcasters only know a set number of spells or only have a section to pick from. It is impossible for a spellcaster to do 'anything', as they have set limits as to what they can do. And my answer to the fighter teleporting would be to do it ''in game'', such a thing as bullying another to teleport them(but I know this does not count for most as the fighter ''did not do it himself'' or something).

    The stepping on toes comes back to the problem of how can a spellcaster have so many 'anythings' to do all the time. Even a wand of knock will run out of charges. And does anyone note that Knock can only open stuck, barred, locked, held, or arcane locked closures of one door, box, or chest? Anyone notice that you can't effect anything with a Knock spell? Or do you just let knock work on anything? And did you know the spell can only undo two things per casting? Put three locks on a door and that is two knock spells to open...

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    Default Re: Are Spellcasters Overpowered?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tork View Post
    And does anyone note that Knock can only open stuck, barred, locked, held, or arcane locked closures of one door, box, or chest? Anyone notice that you can't effect anything with a Knock spell? Or do you just let knock work on anything? And did you know the spell can only undo two things per casting? Put three locks on a door and that is two knock spells to open...
    Now who's not thinking outside the box? If you're a spellcaster, knock is far from your only means of getting past a door. You can turn to mist and slip through the cracks, delete the lock from reality, turn the door into a statue of your cat, phase through it as an ethereal or shadow being, teleport through to the other side, blow it up...
    Quote Originally Posted by Inevitability View Post
    Greater
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    Quote Originally Posted by Artanis View Post
    I'm going to be honest, "the Welsh became a Great Power and conquered Germany" is almost exactly the opposite of the explanation I was expecting

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    Default Re: Are Spellcasters Overpowered?

    Tork, I think you'll find the problem of gamebreaking casters more often in online games or game-store pickup games where not everyone knows each other from way back. With my real life group, casters aren't often a problem. We do have a gentle(wo)man's agreement, and everyone understands that they're on the same team, so when the mage hits certain power points, that's good for the ranger and the rogue as well.

    However, what my group and many others who worry about T1 power have encountered is that by a certain point the primary casters make everyone else redundant.

    Sure the rogue can check for traps all day. But, by level 10, there's no reason to put the rogue's neck on the line when the druid can do the job better.
    The fighter can kick in doors, and hack down enemies like he's the second-coming of Guts, but by level 11, pretty much every warrior is starting to feel either redundant or completely unnecessary if there's a wizard, druid or cleric in the party. How much fun is it to be the fighter if anyone who can cast spells is better at fighting in melee than you? And if not that, they can either blow up or completely shut down anyone who you'd need to fight before you have a chance to cut down even one enemy.

    And that's not even getting into what happens outside of combat. A caster's options both in and out of combat scales exponentially, while a mundane character's options are pretty much the same as when they started, with a few more bonuses.
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    Default Re: Are Spellcasters Overpowered?

    Quote Originally Posted by Flickerdart View Post
    Now who's not thinking outside the box? If you're a spellcaster, knock is far from your only means of getting past a door. You can turn to mist and slip through the cracks, delete the lock from reality, turn the door into a statue of your cat, phase through it as an ethereal or shadow being, teleport through to the other side, blow it up...
    Beat it down with your fists...
    KORG CAST KNOCK!

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    Default Re: Are Spellcasters Overpowered?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tork View Post
    Lots of Low Magic worlds just take all the magic and fantasy away from the world...then let the players be a by-the-book spellcaster. That makes them one of the few users of magic in the world, making them nearly all powerful. How do the guards that just have wooden clubs and fire deal with magic?

    How do spellcasters get even hundreds of spells? Don't you use the spellcaster rules? Spellcasters can only memorize a set number of spells a day or cast a set number of spells per day. Spellcasters only know a set number of spells or only have a section to pick from. It is impossible for a spellcaster to do 'anything', as they have set limits as to what they can do. And my answer to the fighter teleporting would be to do it ''in game'', such a thing as bullying another to teleport them(but I know this does not count for most as the fighter ''did not do it himself'' or something).

    The stepping on toes comes back to the problem of how can a spellcaster have so many 'anythings' to do all the time. Even a wand of knock will run out of charges. And does anyone note that Knock can only open stuck, barred, locked, held, or arcane locked closures of one door, box, or chest? Anyone notice that you can't effect anything with a Knock spell? Or do you just let knock work on anything? And did you know the spell can only undo two things per casting? Put three locks on a door and that is two knock spells to open...
    You're over-complicating things a little bit. Spell casters can't usually do everything all the time, but they can do most things all the time, and everything relevant some of the time. Sometimes, particularly at later levels, they can do everything all the time. Knock is far from the problem with spell casters. It just does one thing, and does it fairly well. The circumstances in which it's relevant are limited. Compare that to something like freezing fog. Imagine any battlefield you want, and then imagine slowing down everything in a 20 foot radius to five feet per round, having a grease effect over that whole area, and a terrible damage effect during the duration. It just ends combat, and does so without ever really interacting with the enemy.

    What you need to do, in order to compare fighters and wizards, is to imagine them being played by the same player. Any level of creativity that the fighter brings to the table is also being used by the wizard, except the wizard can also reshape reality. You don't ask, "What can the fighter do?" You ask, "What can the fighter do that the wizard can't." It's a short list. Also, to make matters even worse, you have classes like the druid. Those guys tend to have more combat ability than a fighter, and that's before in combat spell casting.

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    Default Re: Are Spellcasters Overpowered?

    Quote Originally Posted by The Glyphstone View Post
    To resolve #5, it's a difference between theoretical unlimited use and practical uses. The rogue could, in a vacuum, pick locks every round for an entire day. But unless you're in the Tomb of Horrors, one Wand of Knock will earn its weight many times over in terms of 'actual times you will need a lock opened per day'.

    As for the rest of it...it's very easy to not play spellcasters as overpowered. But the ability to play one at less than 100% efficiency doesn't reduce their maximum power, any more than the DM's ability to houserule broken items/combos away makes said items/combos any less broken. It just means that particular group has avoided/solved the issue, while leaving it untouched for others to discover or stumble into in the future.
    It also depends on the level of the party. At low levels, a wand of knock would cost a small fortune, and a wizard likely doesn't want all of his 2nd level spell slots going towards knock, but until mid-levels where wands are more easily purchased, a rogue can more easily earn his keep in the party.

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    Default Re: Are Spellcasters Overpowered?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tork View Post
    How do spellcasters get even hundreds of spells? Don't you use the spellcaster rules? Spellcasters can only memorize a set number of spells a day or cast a set number of spells per day. Spellcasters only know a set number of spells or only have a section to pick from. It is impossible for a spellcaster to do 'anything', as they have set limits as to what they can do.
    You can always use spells that can cast spells. Summon up creatures and command them to use their magical abilities, you now can cast 5-6 spells at least with one spell from your own personal resources.

    You can get really crazy with things like the Shadowcraft Mage, who can cast Silent Image and have Silent Image cast spells for him all day long.

    Spellcasters can get there. It doesn't mean they will in a given game though. Although my table's spellcasters get there frequently.

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    Default Re: Are Spellcasters Overpowered?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tork View Post
    4.More versatility This is the idea that a spellcaster can do anything. Though I'm not sure where it comes from, as spellcasters can't do anything. My best guess is that too many players play the character sheet. This is simple enough and easy to spot: this is the player who when anything happens in the game immediately looks down on their character sheet for the answer. So you have Player A is a fighter with a single character sheet full of equipment, feats, skills and notes; and Player B who has a character sheet, plus a couple pages of spells. So when both players characters encounter a locked door, then both look down to their character sheet for a way to open it. Player B can easily find Knock and use it to open a locked door, but player A does not have any type of ability on his sheet that says ''open door''. So by this line of thinking Player character A can't open a door as the ability is not on the sheet.
    .
    This line of thinking is slightly annoying to me. Given an equally smart player, both can come up with the same non-ability idea. Or in other words:
    The fighter can have a smart idea to overcome an obstacle.
    The wizard could have the same smart idea or use a spell, so he has more options.
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    Default Re: Are Spellcasters Overpowered?

    My two cents.

    In mid-op and up the problems start to show. Spellcasters do not need every spell to outshine or overpower, they just need a good selection.

    This was evident in the last campaign i played in. Short version goes like this: wizard becomes from almost useless to valuable asset just by getting glitterdust and being the only one with force effects, able to hurt incorporeal enemies, dread necro debuffs everything, his summons stand toe to toe with the swordsage and surpass the two weapon fighting ranger (most of the times) and still has the Cha and skills to be partyface with minimal investment.

    When your ranger, fully focused on combat, is being surpassed by the summons of the DN that just took two feats to compliment them, and that summon is just one spell of that DN's class features, with in and out of combat value, i think you are entitled to feel a tad disappointed.

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    Default Re: Are Spellcasters Overpowered?

    Quote Originally Posted by Raineh Daze View Post
    How does makeup remove traps?
    It gums up the gears to the point it doesn't spring open properly.

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    Default Re: Are Spellcasters Overpowered?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    This line of thinking is slightly annoying to me. Given an equally smart player, both can come up with the same non-ability idea. Or in other words:
    The fighter can have a smart idea to overcome an obstacle.
    The wizard could have the same smart idea or use a spell, so he has more options.
    Or, more importantly, the wizard can have a smart idea and use a spell. Lots of smart ideas are rubbish if you have no way of making them happen. The mundanes can only use the environment for resources. The casters can make their own environment, and their own resources.
    Quote Originally Posted by Raineh Daze View Post
    How does makeup remove traps?
    It doesn't, but it can create them.
    Last edited by Flickerdart; 2013-06-03 at 04:28 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Inevitability View Post
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    Quote Originally Posted by Artanis View Post
    I'm going to be honest, "the Welsh became a Great Power and conquered Germany" is almost exactly the opposite of the explanation I was expecting

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    Default Re: Are Spellcasters Overpowered?

    Quote Originally Posted by Flickerdart View Post
    Or, more importantly, the wizard can have a smart idea and use a spell. Lots of smart ideas are rubbish if you have no way of making them happen. The mundanes can only use the environment for resources. The casters can make their own environment, and their own resources.
    Yes, this. This is exactly what I was going to say.

    Sometimes, you do just cast Knock on the door.

    Other times you don't have Knock, but instead you convert the door into a rolling spikeball* that crashes into all those pesky enemies hiding behind it.

    *Results may vary depending on door material and quality. The writer of this post takes no responsibility for any horrible outcomes that occur from attempting this. The writer of this post takes all responsibility for any awesome outcomes that occur from attempting this.
    Last edited by AmberVael; 2013-06-03 at 04:35 PM.

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    Default Re: Are Spellcasters Overpowered?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tork View Post
    Lots of Low Magic worlds just take all the magic and fantasy away from the world...then let the players be a by-the-book spellcaster. That makes them one of the few users of magic in the world, making them nearly all powerful. How do the guards that just have wooden clubs and fire deal with magic?

    How do spellcasters get even hundreds of spells? Don't you use the spellcaster rules? Spellcasters can only memorize a set number of spells a day or cast a set number of spells per day. Spellcasters only know a set number of spells or only have a section to pick from. It is impossible for a spellcaster to do 'anything', as they have set limits as to what they can do. And my answer to the fighter teleporting would be to do it ''in game'', such a thing as bullying another to teleport them(but I know this does not count for most as the fighter ''did not do it himself'' or something).

    The stepping on toes comes back to the problem of how can a spellcaster have so many 'anythings' to do all the time. Even a wand of knock will run out of charges. And does anyone note that Knock can only open stuck, barred, locked, held, or arcane locked closures of one door, box, or chest? Anyone notice that you can't effect anything with a Knock spell? Or do you just let knock work on anything? And did you know the spell can only undo two things per casting? Put three locks on a door and that is two knock spells to open...
    I meant that there are hundreds of spells in 3.5, not that casters get all of them at once; sorry, I was unclear. Of course, they still get a lot of spells if they're tier one, and I think that they can have spontaneous access to all of them if they really want it. Of course, that's TO. Also, saying that you can get help from a wizard, and therefore you are as versatile as a wizard is a bit odd. You're right that 3.5 is horribly suited to low-magic, but 3.5 is high-magic by default, and poor DMing is poor DMing, so I don't really see how it's relevant to the discussion.
    Last edited by White_Drake; 2013-06-03 at 04:35 PM.
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    Like one, that on a lonesome road
    Doth walk in fear and dread,
    And having once turned round walks on,
    And turns no more his head;
    Because he knows, a frightful fiend
    Doth close behind him tread.
    The Rime of the Ancient Mariner -- Samuel Coleridge Taylor

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    Default Re: Are Spellcasters Overpowered?

    Quote Originally Posted by White_Drake View Post
    I meant that there are hundreds of spells in 3.5
    Thousands, actually.
    Quote Originally Posted by Inevitability View Post
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    I'm going to be honest, "the Welsh became a Great Power and conquered Germany" is almost exactly the opposite of the explanation I was expecting

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    Default Re: Are Spellcasters Overpowered?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tork View Post
    but player A does not have any type of ability on his sheet that says ''open door''. So by this line of thinking Player character A can't open a door as the ability is not on the sheet.
    This ability was actually on the character sheet in 2e and is based on strength. 3.5e still has it and it even has more well defined rules on a greater variety of ways to do it with a melee character. Heck it even tends to be easier/cheaper than knock because then you don't have to blow all your spell slots on knock, shatter, disintegrate, etc. But the problem is those rules are buried deep in the rules and not on your character sheet. Many rules are like that too. With the ability of computers to figure out a large number of modifiers and insert them onto a printable sheet, I think they should bring it back onto the character sheet via some automated tool. Or maybe I'll make that tool some day when I'm not lazy. In the mean time it is in my sig cheat sheets. But having what you can do and not what you can't do right in front of you would be even better.
    Last edited by ericgrau; 2013-06-03 at 04:48 PM.
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    Default Re: Are Spellcasters Overpowered?

    Quote Originally Posted by ericgrau View Post
    This ability was actually on the character sheet in 2e and is based on strength. 3.5e still has it and it even has more well defined rules on a greater variety of ways to do it with a melee character. Heck it even tends to be easier/cheaper than knock because then you don't have to blow all your spell slots on knock, shatter, disintegrate, etc.
    1. The druid is very likely to have a higher strength than the fighter, as is the wizard, if he is in a combat form, as is the cleric, with persist Righteous Wrath.

    2. I find that for the locked door to even be a factor, pretty soon all the doors are 3 foot thick steel or unobtanium. Then the walls have to ALSO be made of unobtanium, or people just break/thoqqua the wall next to the door.

    But ultimately the door is a red herring. In a group with a rogue, most folks will let him have his 30 seconds of fame and open the locked door. The reason that a caster is stronger than the rogue is only partially because he can replace the rogue if he chooses to do so. It is more because the fighter has times when his class abilities are useless (anytime when he isn't fighting). The rogue has times when his class abilities are useless (like when fighting undead or oozes). The cleric or wizard can fly, poof themselves across the world, see invisible things, melee or ranged attack approximately as well as or better than the fighter, bypass obstacles (not just doors, but walls, cliffs, traps, etc) approximately as well as or better than the rogue, lock down battlefields, make minions, create magic items, and a whole lot more, all in the same day with a good spell selection, and he can make more items to cover the days when he chooses poorly. He can also completely retool his abilities between one day and the next to do completely different things if the situation calls for it.

    Going back to original question, however, my answer would be no. Casters are stronger than non casters, but this does not make them overpowered. Muggles are weaker than casters, but this does not make them underpowered. It means they are at different power levels. An all caster party works fine. An all muggle party works fine. A caster/muggle party has power issues in some groups.
    Last edited by Gnaeus; 2013-06-03 at 05:14 PM.

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    Default Re: Are Spellcasters Overpowered?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tork View Post
    But are they?
    They can be overpowered, yes. I often play spellcasters because I find it enjoyable to have the energies of the cosmos at my finger tips and using only a fraction of the power available to me to resolve the situations I come across.

    Should I come across a situation that demands every last ounce of my arcane might to overcome, I rise to the challenge in a blazing maelstrom of destruction and complain about it afterwards. I'm a bloody spellcaster! Leave the grunt work for the mudanes. Someone has to pull them to safety when they chose to jump from frying pan to fiery inferno.

    That is my entire reason for playing a spellcaster. Not everyone likes the bookwork that comes with being one. I take the spotlight only when I am needed. Your mileage may vary.

    1.Gentleman's Agreement This is the first thing that comes to my mind with other games. The DM and players make some sort of agreement to 'play fair' and 'not cheat' and 'not use broken or cheesey things' and to 'make sure everyone has fun'. The last one is the most odd one of all, as if spellcasters are overpowered in your game, then anyone without a spellcaster character is not having so much fun. I wonder what happens when you break the Agreement?
    Bah, I don't like the gentleman's agreement. Then again, its not how I play the game.

    2.The Buddy Group This is where the group is all 'buddies' so everything is relaxed and carefree. Where the DM is not apart from the players, the DM is a player. This has the classic ''everyone is on the same side problem''. If all the players(and the DM player) all agree and think alike, then you will have problems.
    I don't know about this quote. I run pretty good, relaxed games (and participate in them as well, when not the DM). As the DM, I play along with the players, but not as a PC. I live and breathe every NPC and weave a tapestry of fantasy the reacts dynamically to the actions of the players, who had better be on the same side, otherwise why are they playing anyway? D&D is a cooperative game and isn't designed for PvP.

    I run combat and encounters as though the creatures had intelligence and the players have to push themselves to keep pace. The concerned look on a players face when facing the mortality of his character is the stuff on which I thrive. The rush of triumph when they squeak through an encounter, barely intact but functional, is the dessert that comes with a game well played. I don't actively try to kill the characters, the monsters do. I am not above pointing out optimal tactics to the group when I feel as if they aren't playing to their character's strengths.

    All of that is what I consider a 'relaxed and carefree' enviroment to roleplay in. Hold on to your seats!

    3.Low Magic Worlds I think this is a big one. A great many DM's like Low Magic. But when you make the world magic weak, then any magic that exists is twice as strong. And you can do a fine Low Magic D&D game, if you alter the whole setting and rules to low magic. But if you just do the easy way of ''saying it's low magic'' you will run into problems.
    Low magic worlds are fun. I've never ran one without approval of my players and when I have, it was to be expected. Gritty, difficult and rewarding. None of the players chose to play a spellcaster (or a 'pure' caster, anyway), though I could have adapted one of those in as well.

    4.More versatility This is the idea that a spellcaster can do anything. Though I'm not sure where it comes from, as spellcasters can't do anything. My best guess is that too many players play the character sheet. This is simple enough and easy to spot: this is the player who when anything happens in the game immediately looks down on their character sheet for the answer. So you have Player A is a fighter with a single character sheet full of equipment, feats, skills and notes; and Player B who has a character sheet, plus a couple pages of spells. So when both players characters encounter a locked door, then both look down to their character sheet for a way to open it. Player B can easily find Knock and use it to open a locked door, but player A does not have any type of ability on his sheet that says ''open door''. So by this line of thinking Player character A can't open a door as the ability is not on the sheet.
    Given enough time and fore-warning, a wizard can prepare for anything. Don't give him that much power. Someone that abuses the divination powers will quickly begin irratating the spirits, regardless if they are compensated for their service. They are not at the beck and call of some mortal fool tampering with the arcane magics.

    Divorcing the fluff from the mechanics and not allowing the world to live, breath and react to the often mentioned 'abuses' or theoretical builds that frequent the board, can (and is) often game-breaking. That way lies madness. Sure, the rules say that you can do it. The rules don't say how the world reacts. That's the DM's job.

    5. That a spellcaster makes other characters feel useless. This one is a bit confusing to me. How does a spellcaster do this? Sure there are some spells and magic effect that can do the work of class features, but none of them are infinite uses per day. A rouge can check for and remove traps all day and night, but a spellcaster can't.
    A spellcaster making the others feel useless, in my opinion, is a poorly played character. I've described how I play one. It isn't the only way to play one. I just know that my way doesn't leave anyone with any hurt feelings, and I sincerely enjoy it.

    Disclaimer: If your group/DM plays differently that what I have described, good for you! I neither hinted nor proclaimed my way to be superior or right.
    Last edited by Eldonauran; 2013-06-03 at 05:47 PM. Reason: fixing typos

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    Default Re: Are Spellcasters Overpowered?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tork View Post
    1.Gentleman's Agreement This is the first thing that comes to my mind with other games. The DM and players make some sort of agreement to 'play fair' and 'not cheat' and 'not use broken or cheesey things' and to 'make sure everyone has fun'. The last one is the most odd one of all, as if spellcasters are overpowered in your game, then anyone without a spellcaster character is not having so much fun. I wonder what happens when you break the Agreement?
    The issue here is that it becomes more and more pronounced as time goes on. I was playing a spellcaster in a game where everyone else was various fighty types. I wasn't even really trying to break the system, just straight up single class full caster. At a certain point, I turned into Angel Summoner, and the only way that I could let them have fun was if I overtly didn't do anything effective in cases where everybody at the table knew that I could have soloed the encounter without blinking, and each one of them knew a different combo of my abilities I could do it with. "Um... or I could cast ___.. it's no trouble really, I have loads and loads of spells left for the day... *meek*"
    4.More versatility This is the idea that a spellcaster can do anything. Though I'm not sure where it comes from, as spellcasters can't do anything.
    The rest of the party learns what you can do. The fighter goes to the door and thinks, "Hmm, I could kick it down and maybe alert everyone or set off a trap, or, um, chop it.. or I can look over at the Wizard's Wand of Knock.

    Also, at a point, the wizard actually has more resources to expend than the rest of the party. The fighters are hamburger and the wizard has half their spells left, they just haven't had time to cast them because the combats are only so long.
    Last edited by JusticeZero; 2013-06-03 at 05:50 PM.
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    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Default Re: Are Spellcasters Overpowered?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tork View Post
    How do spellcasters get even hundreds of spells? Don't you use the spellcaster rules? Spellcasters can only memorize a set number of spells a day or cast a set number of spells per day. Spellcasters only know a set number of spells or only have a section to pick from. It is impossible for a spellcaster to do 'anything', as they have set limits as to what they can do. And my answer to the fighter teleporting would be to do it ''in game'', such a thing as bullying another to teleport them(but I know this does not count for most as the fighter ''did not do it himself'' or something).
    A wizard who leaves spell slots open can take 15 minutes and fill one (or more) of them with any spell he has access to. That could well constitute hundreds. Throw in that one option is the ability to planeshift somewhere with slow time, where an hour passes in a year, and you've got all the spells you could ever want with all the time to memorize them.

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    Default Re: Are Spellcasters Overpowered?

    I don't understand where this specific claim comes from. That a wizard can spend 15 minutes at any time to prepare spells, could you explain how this works?
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    Default Re: Are Spellcasters Overpowered?

    Quote Originally Posted by Grytorm View Post
    I don't understand where this specific claim comes from. That a wizard can spend 15 minutes at any time to prepare spells, could you explain how this works?
    Here ya go:
    "When preparing spells for the day, a wizard can leave some of these spell slots open. Later during that day, she can repeat the preparation process as often as she likes, time and circumstances permitting. During these extra sessions of preparation, the wizard can fill these unused spell slots. She cannot, however, abandon a previously prepared spell to replace it with another one or fill a slot that is empty because she has cast a spell in the meantime. That sort of preparation requires a mind fresh from rest. Like the first session of the day, this preparation takes at least 15 minutes, and it takes longer if the wizard prepares more than one-quarter of her spells."

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