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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Default Save a Fighter, Hire a Mage?

    Poll,

    Who is sick of people playing casters like a big sac o' flamin' d6's and wondering where all the divinations went?

    Who wishes that the spellcasters in their own party would pay attention to some buff/debuff spells once in a while instead of tossing energy damage wherever they go?

    How many DMs out there have to keep tossing energy resistant opponents against the party just so the mage doesn't nuke everything round 1?

    likewise....

    Is anyone tired of casters playing the run n' buff game or hiding behind the fighter at every turn?

    Does anyone wish that the casters in their party would stop preparing only conditionally effective spells instead of more global-use magic?

    Is anybody sick hearing the mageling wine about not being able to do anything because he's run out of Magic Missiles for the day?


    I wanted to gather some other opinions regarding the role spellcasters play in a party. What role should they be filling? Share some of your horror stories related to incompetent (or over competent) magi.

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    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    Emperor Tippy's Avatar

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    Default Re: Save a Fighter, Hire a Mage?

    What wizard in his right mind spends his time blasting?

    It's the fighters job to do HP damage. That's what you keep him alive for. Or teh clerics or druids job. But it is not the wizards job.

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    Troll in the Playground
     
    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Save a Fighter, Hire a Mage?

    Competent mages do nothing of the sort.

    Sack of flaming d6's? I could disable the entire crowd if they fail saves with a stinking cloud. Bam, they're out of the fight, puking on the ground, or as the DMG puts it "Experiencing stomach distress".

    Haste the party. Fear. Confusion. Glitterdust. Major Image. All useful spells. Better than Fireball, by a lot.

    Divination... well, I use it on occasion. Often it's hard to get an excellent opportunity, but when it's available, it also makes things pretty easy.

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    PirateGuy

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    Default Re: Save a Fighter, Hire a Mage?

    Believe it or not, I PREFER the bucket of flaming d6's. Because it means they AREN'T playing "effectively" (read: like a mathematical equation).

    I, personally, go for the median. Sure, throw around your d6's. But don't forget to cast a grease now and then, just to keep things interesting.

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    Halfling in the Playground
     
    EvilClericGuy

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    Default Re: Save a Fighter, Hire a Mage?

    Exactly. I miss the days when people thought fireballs were good (if they ever though so).
    <insert witty comment here>

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Save a Fighter, Hire a Mage?

    when I was setting up my first sorceror, he was sort of like spiderman when it came to spells, web was my favorite thing to cast, among spiderclimb, animate rope, etc.. when I got moy fireball, it merely made the web a more effective offensive weapon.
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    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Save a Fighter, Hire a Mage?

    Quote Originally Posted by Magi_Ring_O View Post
    Exactly. I miss the days when people thought fireballs were good (if they ever though so).
    Forget fireballs. I cast thunderballs.

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    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Save a Fighter, Hire a Mage?

    Quote Originally Posted by Magi_Ring_O View Post
    Exactly. I miss the days when people thought fireballs were good (if they ever though so).
    They were better in 3.0, since back then Haste let you cast twice per round and a mage could reliably do damage fast enough to drop large numbers of decently-challenged foes. Nowadays it isn't generally worth it, since the only things you can take out fast by blasting are things your party wouldn't have had trouble with anyway.

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: Save a Fighter, Hire a Mage?

    To be honest, a well-placed Slow can do far more harm than a Fireball can, particularly against energy-resistant critters.

    Please note, Slow affects 1/CL critters. So at 10th level, you've got ten critters who are hozed as your meat shield charges up with his greatsword using a Shock Trooper/PA/Leaping Blow to exterminate with extreme prejeduce.

    It works surprisingly well on BBEG's too. Unless it's specifically a caster BBEG, most BBEG's have shockingly low Will saves...
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    Pixie in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Default Re: Save a Fighter, Hire a Mage?

    Truly, it is all about balance then. Any caster who goes too far over to one side or the other becomes too much of a one trick pony. Evocations won't help in most non-combat situations but all the illusions in the world mean nothing to a Destrachan who just finished mucking up the fighter.

    Does anyone have any advice to give or stories to share in regards to players who just don't seem to get it? Or worse still the players that haven't "got it" since the day they picked up a d20?

    I have some players who have been continuously "not getting it" on all fronts of gaming. How can I assist their transition to "getting it" without coming off like an arse or starting a big out of game feud?
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  11. - Top - End - #11
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Save a Fighter, Hire a Mage?

    A mage is a veritable circus of tricks, possibly a convention of circuses... thats why they are so dangerous.
    A sorcerer can become such if they are not too smart about spell selection, but never a wizard surely.
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    BarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: Save a Fighter, Hire a Mage?

    Bah even my sorceror, who I was the first to admit was sub optimal as he was my first and only arcane spellcaster, soon learned that his fireballs hardly ever got any use but that glitterdust effectively ended a number of supposedly tough encounters before they started.

    I was still one of those who pumped the magic missile button far too often though, all too often the unerring ability to hit stuff was far too tempting.

    Then again I was playing a sorceror with a wisdom score of 7 so I could be a sub optimal blaster person and call it roleplaying :)

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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Save a Fighter, Hire a Mage?

    Quote Originally Posted by Magi_Ring_O View Post
    Exactly. I miss the days when people thought fireballs were good (if they ever though so).
    Fireballs were good, back in previous editions, when monsters had fewer hit points, characters had fewer attacks and you didn't have this CR thing mucking up encounters. Lots of rooms of bugbears to torch. Even on giants, you'd soften them up enough that the melee characters could take them out in one hit. Plus you had that interesting blow back feature to take account of. For younger viewers, fireball used to always fill the same volume, regardless of the area you cast it in. None of this hitting a wall and stoping. You could fry half a dungeon (or all a party) if the dimensions were right. With that and rebounding lightning bolts, 5th level mages were seriously dangerous. The only problem was that there weren't any spells at other levels that really had the same 'oh yeah, I've arrived' feeling.

    Also, in previous editions, saving throws were based on the target's level or HD, not on the caster. So once you reach a certain level, the monsters you are facing are going to be saving on 2+, so there's no point throwing save or die/suck at them - you've got a 95% chance of just wasting a spell, when at least with a fireball you strip off some HP.

    As for current editions - well, there is always something fun about rolling lots of dice! But the thing people tend to ignore in these discussions is that it is very much horses for courses. I played a blaster mage in a recent campaign who was very effective, but I could also quite easily knock up an adventure which would make all the batman builds you see pretty useless (and I don't just mean spamming AMFs)
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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Illiterate Scribe's Avatar

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    Default Re: Save a Fighter, Hire a Mage?

    Oh, but I loved the bouncing lightning bolts!

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Save a Fighter, Hire a Mage?

    My current character... A Conjurer. Banned schools, Necromancy and.... Evocation. He sets the scene. He casts bull's strength on all combat characters every morning, Mage armour and Fox's Cunning on himself, as soon as an encounter appears, a common strategy is web, Grease, Grease, Enlarge person on Dwarven fighter, then turn invisible and hide in a corner until I see a good way to control the battlefield (usually by throwing monsters in so that the rogue has an oppertunity to flank).
    Last edited by Last_resort_33; 2007-05-23 at 06:01 AM.

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    SwashbucklerGuy

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    Default Re: Save a Fighter, Hire a Mage?

    Quote Originally Posted by ShneekeyTheLost View Post
    To be honest, a well-placed Slow can do far more harm than a Fireball can, particularly against energy-resistant critters.

    Please note, Slow affects 1/CL critters. So at 10th level, you've got ten critters who are hozed as your meat shield charges up with his greatsword using a Shock Trooper/PA/Leaping Blow to exterminate with extreme prejeduce.

    It works surprisingly well on BBEG's too. Unless it's specifically a caster BBEG, most BBEG's have shockingly low Will saves...
    And I guess, this example is at the heart of some of the misunderstandings. Somehow since LogicNinjas otherwise excellent guide for wizards there is the fallacy that direct damage evocation spells are useless.

    They are not.

    Consider Slow vs Fireball, both 3rd level spells. The advantages of Fireball are:
    - it has long range vs close range of slow (actually most evocation spells have long range, making them extremely powerful for wizards who love to keep distance between themselves and their opponents)
    - it will do damage even if the opponents make their saves (only a very tiny minority in lvls 5-10 will have evasion or fire resistance up)
    - it cannot be dispelled (since it is instantenous in effect. Plus, it cannot be countered by an extra spell like haste which is often prepared)
    - it will need a reflex save, which is the weakest save for most classes and monsters (including animals). And those who have strong Reflex saves (Bard, Rogue) have weak hps. Only the monk may get through (rogue also has evasion), but those are not that frequent.

    At higher levels, the slow spell can be more useful since hps are higher for opponents while slow robs them of much more potential (like multiple attacks). However, at higher levels the DC is also not that great (barring heighten spell effects).

    - Giacomo

    EDIT: at higher levels, you may cast two fireballs, one maximised, one quickened, for 95 average damage (likely one Reflex save will not be made even). Not too shabby, and from around 250 Metres distance to boost....
    Last edited by Sir Giacomo; 2007-05-23 at 06:52 AM.

  17. - Top - End - #17
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Zombie

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    Default Re: Save a Fighter, Hire a Mage?

    But you all seemed to of forgotten that wizards are also a item creation machine. 1st level scribe scroll, prob in my eyes one of the most usfull feats. Why would a wizard not scribe scrolls of spells that they dont use all the time, so he/she has them when needed. Wands, a wand of bulls strength, mage armor all very usefull at the start of combat, but still giving the wizard the chance to throw a few fireballs or magic missile's into the combat. So with just these 2 feats a wizard can cast many spells and not using up all there spells for the day.

    I think at the end of the day its each down to the player. Some like killing every thing in site and asking questions later and some like casting buff spells and then running away with there tail between there legs. But any spell caster played correctly can be both with out running otu fo spells at the end of combat.

  18. - Top - End - #18
    Titan in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Save a Fighter, Hire a Mage?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Giacomo View Post
    And I guess, this example is at the heart of some of the misunderstandings. Somehow since LogicNinjas otherwise excellent guide for wizards there is the fallacy that direct damage evocation spells are useless.

    They are not.

    Consider Slow vs Fireball, both 3rd level spells. The advantages of Fireball are:
    - it has long range vs close range of slow (actually most evocation spells have long range, making them extremely powerful for wizards who love to keep distance between themselves and their opponents)
    - it will do damage even if the opponents make their saves (only a very tiny minority in lvls 5-10 will have evasion or fire resistance up)
    - it cannot be dispelled (since it is instantenous in effect. Plus, it cannot be countered by an extra spell like haste which is often prepared)
    - it will need a reflex save, which is the weakest save for most classes and monsters (including animals). And those who have strong Reflex saves (Bard, Rogue) have weak hps. Only the monk may get through (rogue also has evasion), but those are not that frequent.

    At higher levels, the slow spell can be more useful since hps are higher for opponents while slow robs them of much more potential (like multiple attacks). However, at higher levels the DC is also not that great (barring heighten spell effects).

    - Giacomo

    EDIT: at higher levels, you may cast two fireballs, one maximised, one quickened, for 95 average damage (likely one Reflex save will not be made even). Not too shabby, and from around 250 Metres distance to boost....
    Sure, they're not useless. They're simply use impaired when the fighter can dish out just as much damage with a six-foot-long metal stick.

    A fireball is useful against tiny little mooks who gather together in close-knit clusters and have next to no HP. It's barely worth the effort of memorizing against a single CR-appropriate monster.

    (Also, a rogue will survive a fireball every single time with Improved Evasion. 47 damage? Pfft.)
    Last edited by Yuki Akuma; 2007-05-23 at 07:02 AM.
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    SwashbucklerGuy

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    Default Re: Save a Fighter, Hire a Mage?

    Quote Originally Posted by Yuki_Akuma View Post
    Sure, they're not useless. They're simply use impaired when the fighter can dish out just as much damage with a six-foot-long metal stick.

    A fireball is useful against tiny little mooks who gather together in close-knit clusters and have next to no HP. It's barely worth the effort of memorizing against a single CR-appropriate monster.

    (Also, a rogue will survive a fireball every single time with Improved Evasion. 47 damage? Pfft.)
    Improved evasion is quite rare, in particular for monsters. The double/maximised/quickened fireball combo will also hurt a single CR-appropriate monster, and most definitely its minions stopping the fighter from getting to the BBEG.

    In total: yes, slow has its uses, as does fireball. Sleep has its uses, as has magic missile. And so on. No reason to see absolute advantages/"win buttons" in either.

    - Giacomo

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    Yuki Akuma's Avatar

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    Default Re: Save a Fighter, Hire a Mage?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Giacomo View Post
    Improved evasion is quite rare, in particular for monsters. The double/maximised/quickened fireball combo will also hurt a single CR-appropriate monster, and most definitely its minions stopping the fighter from getting to the BBEG.

    In total: yes, slow has its uses, as does fireball. Sleep has its uses, as has magic missile. And so on. No reason to see absolute advantages/"win buttons" in either.

    - Giacomo
    Nuking everything you see with two spells in a single round is a great way to blow through your spell slots for the day.
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    Quote Originally Posted by archaeo View Post
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    ElfWarriorGuy

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    Default Re: Save a Fighter, Hire a Mage?

    Quote Originally Posted by Last_resort_33 View Post
    My current character... A Conjurer. Banned schools, Necromancy and.... Evocation. He sets the scene. He casts bull's strength on all combat characters every morning, Mage armour and Fox's Cunning on himself, as soon as an encounter appears, a common strategy is web, Grease, Grease, Enlarge person on Dwarven fighter, then turn invisible and hide in a corner until I see a good way to control the battlefield (usually by throwing monsters in so that the rogue has an oppertunity to flank).
    Hmmm, bulls strength every morning.....So your conjurer has what caster level? My wizard, who mixes buffs with explosions because they both have their place casts greater resistance and extended mage armor every morning, to cover him for the full day. Would not work with foxes cunning, as much as I might like, due to the 1 min per level duration. The rest is pretty good tactics though.

    The way I see the role of the wizard is a bit different. From a mechanics point of view we all see this huge bag of spells that we can use to optimise our arcane casters. But to them, and their friends, they have the spells they have stumbled upon in the books of their dead enemies, the spells they have luckily discovered in a dusty library tome or what not. The thing to do is to take whatever spells your wizard has and try and play him effectively rather than slamming spells.

    Mass Energy resistance plus fireballs makes for a fun and rewarding encounter for the team, so why not.
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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Save a Fighter, Hire a Mage?

    The wizard could invest their cash in a few wands of quicken. Or they could use delayed blast fireballs, maximizing it for 120 damage with one 8th level spell. And for single enemies, use something like Scorching Ray. Wheeeee, 12d6 of damage for the cost of a second level spell. Again, maximize it for 72 average damage if all touch attacks hit, and at high levels use a second quickened maximized scorching ray, for a whopping 144 damage.

    Complete arcane gives even more choices. Prepare two maximized twinned scorching rays, for two level 7 spell slots. You can fire them both in the same round with a greater rod of quicken, for a total of 288 damage if all rays hit. With the fireball, you can do the same rod quickened maximized twinned technique for two 8th level spells, for 120 minimum damage. Done to all enemies within it's area of effect, it would make life a lot easier when attacking two or three slightly lower CR enemies.

    Uses up a lot of spell slots, yes. But even one of these can weaken enemies sufficiently for a fighter to start finishing off enemies by themselves. In later rounds, just toss a single spell for round to hamper the enemies ability to attack the fighter, and you got one easy encounter where everyone helped out.

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    SwashbucklerGuy

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    Default Re: Save a Fighter, Hire a Mage?

    Quote Originally Posted by Yuki_Akuma View Post
    Nuking everything you see with two spells in a single round is a great way to blow through your spell slots for the day.
    Ach, come on. Would your wizard cast slow on everything she/he sees without thinking first?
    The point remains that both spells and their combinations can be highly useful in different situations.

    - Giacomo

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    Yuki Akuma's Avatar

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    Default Re: Save a Fighter, Hire a Mage?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Giacomo View Post
    Ach, come on. Would your wizard cast slow on everything she/he sees without thinking first?
    The point remains that both spells and their combinations can be highly useful in different situations.

    - Giacomo
    No, my wizard would cast Glitterdust on everything without thinking first.
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    Quote Originally Posted by archaeo View Post
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    Default Re: Save a Fighter, Hire a Mage?

    My group has nothing but blasters. A wizard blaster and a warmage that compete for damage. It's going to be SO easy to make them ineffective for a while....
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    Default Re: Save a Fighter, Hire a Mage?

    our wizard is a fireball-flinging machine. That might be okay, but he is 2 levels ahaead of the party (CURSE YOU, DECK OF MANY THINGS! CURSE YOUUUUU!) and it kind of sucks, because he's really only blasting our enemies away and our melee-fighters dont get anything to do. If that werent enough he likes to go on solo errands blasting away even more stuff and get even more XP and its actually just pissing me off anymore.

    this stupid deck really managed to screw up the whole balance...

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    ElfMonkGuy

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    Default Re: Save a Fighter, Hire a Mage?

    My group's spellcasters generally go with themed spells. None of this "Well, my caster is clearly aware of every concievable spell in the book, I'll go cherry picking the best of them," business. Generally they lean towards blaster, but can and do use utility magic as well.

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