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  1. - Top - End - #691
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    Default Re: Wizards should be better than fighters.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ignimortis View Post
    Does Zceryll actually give you as much combat power as a Warblade 20 would have? Like, two full-round attacks while still moving, or outright making 10+ attacks with a 2H weapon in one maneuver?
    Summoning gives you as many full attacks in your turn as you have monsters on your team, so yes - and that's before all the utility they bring with them.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    But really, the important lesson here is this: Rather than making assumptions that don't fit with the text and then complaining about the text being wrong, why not just choose different assumptions that DO fit with the text?
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  2. - Top - End - #692
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    Default Re: Wizards should be better than fighters.

    Quote Originally Posted by Quertus View Post
    I would say that the choices characters make, and the "muggle skills" they bring, matter more than wall-creating spells in most games I run.
    But that's not the relevant question, which instead is whether the muggle's class abilities matter more than wall-creating (or whatever) spells.

    So let's look at something purely strategic: Authority.
    Nitpick, but I sure don't think of "authority" as something necessarily having purely strategic impact.

    Imagine if, instead of being a member of the Arcane Order, a PC was the head of the Arcane Order; if, instead of being a member of Golgari, a PC was the leader of Golgari; if, instead of being a student at Hogwarts, a PC was the headmaster of Hogwarts; if, instead of being a citizen, a PC was the Emperor. Now imagine - and this is key - that only *one* PC is in such a position. This isn't a game about the heads of the guilds; this is an Izzet inventor, a Simic scientist, a Rakdos artillery, and the leader of the Golgari in a party together. Sound like the odd man out could warp the game? Good. That's the point.
    No, it honestly doesn't sound like the old man's authority is going to be able to warp say at least the latter half of Rappan Athuk at all, not without mechanical abilities which actually matter on a direct tactical/operational level (as the vast majority of spells do).

    Their mechanic is, "I can direct the flow of the game, by directing anywhere from dozens to millions of people just like you".
    Who gives a crap, those minions will simply die if they're commanded to follow their leader down into the deeper levels of RA. So unless the old man's capable of poofaporting his armies of minions to his side whenever needed and wherever he might be, or is simply a background character who adventures through his most powerful minions (meaning NPC or PC build(s) of approximately the same level and capability as the rest of the PCs in the party), he's alone with nothing besides at best a few of his fellow party members to command.

    Sure, the old man's got tons of power to warp the game in large parts of the world outside. But in the many places/situations where/when he can't mobilize that power - such as most parts of RA which also happens to be ruled by an entity with a vastly greater "authority" and "strategic power" than anything the old man and his comparatively pathetic little empire can muster - it also means jack. And you can be pretty darn certain none of Orcus' followers in RA will give a flying f[censored] about whether the old man commands armies on the surface, and they'll murder him with as little hesitation as they'll murder any other intruder.

    It's the muggle equivalent of the Angel Summoner. Difference is, you don't (or, at least, probably shouldn't) play out the details of what the army of minions do, and instead focus on the actions of the actual party. Which means that some content goes tactical, while other content remains strategic. What content goes tactical, what content you focus on, is chosen live by the PCs. That's what I mean by "seat of your pants".
    DM: "So, do you take the western stairs down, or follow the river along the eastern tunnel?"
    Party wizard: "Well, as far as I've been able to deduce, we can expect the opposition to be quite a bit more deadly beyond the stairs than along the river."
    Old Man: *Fishes a wand of sending out of his handy haversack.* "Right, then I suggest we proceed down the stairs, and I'll just order High Marshal Mastermook to send a few my veteran commando minion brigades along the river and have him report back once they've secured the area and anything of value..."

    A day later...

    DM: "You receive a sending, Old Man."
    Old Man: "Oh do tell me it's my dear old High Marshal Mastermook finally reporting back?"
    DM: "Yes. He says your commando minions have neutralized two hydras, a succubus sorcerer and three priests of Orcus, and have found 48,241 gp, a bag of holding and a fancy-looking and very magic warhammer they haven't yet iden-"
    Party Fighter: "A warhammer? That's mine! Let's move back up and have a look at it!"
    DM: "Wait, that also nets you, let's see... 35,200 xp each, enough to reach 13th level."
    Old Man: "Fantastic! This is precisely why I always tell my imperial treasurer commando minions are worth every copper!"

    Yeah, seems perfectly reasonable...

    If this isn't how you believe the "strategic power of authority" actually works in practice, I'd love to hear your version of the above scenario.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Psyren View Post
    Strange being able to both fight directly and control from afar by turns as the need arose is exactly what powerful casters should be able to do,
    But martials should generally be limited to fighting "directly", and not as effectively?

    and not being able to do both simultaneously is what the system should be aiming for.
    But PF casters can do precisely that.

    I don't think either system is perfect, but "optimized casters are capable of doing multiple roles as needed" is not an inherently bad place to be.
    Of course not, but that means martials must have a comparable capability. And outside of extreme high-op "Martial Danvers" "PoWzilla" builds very few casters are going to want to adventure with (since their class abilities typically won't be able to do jack in against opponents appropriate for the martial), this most definitely not the case in PF. (Though I certainly agree that it's better than in 3.5.)

    Okay, so allow me to show you where your analogy breaks down, and therefore why I still disagree - your "Superfighter" has almost no chance of being worse in any situation than a Figher either, because all you did was take the Fighter's chassis and add to it (same abilities but more WBL, BAB, saves, etc.). A Wizard, Druid or Cleric is not equivalent because they have to (a) pick the right spells/powers for the job (whether on level-up, in the morning when preparing, or even moment-to-moment in combat - including not just spells but powers like Wild Shape), and (b) also deal with caster-specific counters that the GM should be incorporating into their encounter design.
    Sure, if you're mostly looking at combat performance with a focus on enduring several combats per day. But if you widen the scope to adventuring challenges in general over the course of a typical adventuring day, the difference in overall adventuring capability is indeed comparable. Superfighter is still highly likely to suck in comparison to a 10th-level wizard in non-combat challenges. Worse, at least if the wizard focuses a little bit on summoning, Superfighter is likely of less use also in most combats around CR 10, since unless he's very high-op he's still most likely a one-trick single-target DPR pony.

    In other words - the upside/ceiling might be higher for a caster, but the downside/floor is also much lower. The extreme examples illustrating that are the wizard with Read Magic in every slot, or the one that hops into the Far Realm and gets retired. Obviously almost no one in an actual game would do either of these things, but my point is that there's still a huge range of possibilities between that nadir and Pun-Pun where spellcasters can fall. With this many moving parts, the broad designation for them being the same level at the same XP total as the Fighter for ease of play is the most appropriate one, even if their effectiveness can spike higher or lower than that in practice. This makes "Superfighter" comparisons not useful, and the insistence that level should == power impractical.
    Tell you what, if martials are given as "unreliable" abilities at a comparable power level, I'd find it perfectly fine.

    The trouble with the Same Game Test is that it discounts any contribution that requires teamwork to achieve.
    No, because teamwork is of course a part of a well-designed same game test.

    The Avengers only won because Black Widow closed the portal before they were overwhelmed, which she was only able to do because (a) she's generally sneaky but also (b) Loki and the army in general were focused on the flashier members of the group. Is she as powerful as Thor? No of course not. But could Thor have done what she did in that fight? Id say no to that too - and even if he could have, who would have been taking down the Chitauri Leviathan while he was?
    Ask yourself whether you think the Avengers would benefit more overall if they had two members with the abilities of Black Widow or two members with those of Scarlet Witch/Captain Marvel/Thor/Doctor Stange. That's the relevant question.

    You can design encounters where the party members have different but important roles like this to play in D&D today; it's all about using your tools and describing the scene properly.
    Yes, you can do this, but it requires a level of rail-roading far beyond what I'd call acceptable.

    I think the decision to ban by tier is drastic,
    The tiers were simply shorthand for "level of overall adventuring capability" in this case, and the point was simply to show what the most acceptable class balance would look like if aiming to include as many existing 1PP and DSP classes as possible but no other.

    and thus should be left in the hands of individual GMs/tables looking to tighten their grip, rather than something the designers should implement on everyone's behalf baseline.
    PF is far too complex to burden GMs/tables with such considerations. You should be able to trust the designers in this matter, and not need the equivalent of a friggin' PhD in PF in order to get a reasonably balanced game during all levels.

    Last edited by upho; 2020-04-10 at 02:31 AM.

  3. - Top - End - #693
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    Default Re: Wizards should be better than fighters.

    Quote Originally Posted by Psyren View Post
    Summoning gives you as many full attacks in your turn as you have monsters on your team, so yes - and that's before all the utility they bring with them.
    Zceryll only allows summons up to SM VII, and it lasts 1 round/level, with a cooldown of 5 rounds, so even at level 20 that gives you three creatures from the SM VII list (so up to CR9 at best) with Pseudonatural template applied, which isn't that great. I doubt those are anywhere near as good as a Warblade 20, even if there are three of them. And yet Zceryll is considered one of the best vestiges. Suffice to say, I have never seen a Binder break a game.
    Last edited by Ignimortis; 2020-04-10 at 07:58 AM.
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  4. - Top - End - #694
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    Default Re: Wizards should be better than fighters.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ignimortis View Post
    Zceryll only allows summons up to SM VII, and it lasts 1 round/level, with a cooldown of 5 rounds, so even at level 20 that gives you three creatures from the SM VII list (so up to CR9 at best) with Pseudonatural template applied, which isn't that great. I doubt those are anywhere near as good as a Warblade 20, even if there are three of them. And yet Zceryll is considered one of the best vestiges. Suffice to say, I have never seen a Binder break a game.
    Zceryll actually gives you on-level Summon Monster; the SM VII is just listed as an example breakpoint. But I figure three options from Summon Monster IX aren't that much stronger (remember that you can still summon multiples of lower lists). There's also the issue that Summon Monster has a full round casting time, so either you'll be on the backfoot trying to summon them in combat or you'll substantially lower your travel speed to maintain the summons.

  5. - Top - End - #695
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    Default Re: Wizards should be better than fighters.

    Quote Originally Posted by upho View Post
    But that's not the relevant question, which instead is whether the muggle's class abilities matter more than wall-creating (or whatever) spells.
    Getting minions (and status) was a class ability in earlier editions.

    Granted, I am, at times, talking about giving that ability steroids.

    Quote Originally Posted by upho View Post
    Nitpick, but I sure don't think of "authority" as something necessarily having purely strategic impact.
    Fair. I meant, "as opposed to carrying inate power".

    Quote Originally Posted by upho View Post
    No, it honestly doesn't sound like the old man's authority is going to be able to warp say at least the latter half of Rappan Athuk at all,
    So it probably would the first half? Good. Just hold onto that mental image of the directions that it could warp the narrative - that's all I'm after.

    Quote Originally Posted by upho View Post
    Who gives a crap, those minions will simply die if they're commanded to follow their leader down into the deeper levels of RA.
    Ah. Here we've run into a snag. You are assuming that the minions a) are weaker than the party, and b) are going with the party. Instead, imagine that they are as powerful as the party, more numerous than the party, and going in the party's stead.

    Quote Originally Posted by upho View Post
    So unless the old man's capable of poofaporting his armies of minions to his side whenever needed and wherever he might be, or is simply a background character who adventures through his most powerful minions (meaning NPC or PC build(s) of approximately the same level and capability as the rest of the PCs in the party), he's alone with nothing besides at best a few of his fellow party members to command.

    Sure, the old man's got tons of power to warp the game in large parts of the world outside. But in the many places/situations where/when he can't mobilize that power - such as most parts of RA which also happens to be ruled by an entity with a vastly greater "authority" and "strategic power" than anything the old man and his comparatively pathetic little empire can muster - it also means jack. And you can be pretty darn certain none of Orcus' followers in RA will give a flying f[censored] about whether the old man commands armies on the surface, and they'll murder him with as little hesitation as they'll murder any other intruder.

    DM: "So, do you take the western stairs down, or follow the river along the eastern tunnel?"
    Party wizard: "Well, as far as I've been able to deduce, we can expect the opposition to be quite a bit more deadly beyond the stairs than along the river."
    Old Man: *Fishes a wand of sending out of his handy haversack.* "Right, then I suggest we proceed down the stairs, and I'll just order High Marshal Mastermook to send a few my veteran commando minion brigades along the river and have him report back once they've secured the area and anything of value..."

    A day later...

    DM: "You receive a sending, Old Man."
    Old Man: "Oh do tell me it's my dear old High Marshal Mastermook finally reporting back?"
    DM: "Yes. He says your commando minions have neutralized two hydras, a succubus sorcerer and three priests of Orcus, and have found 48,241 gp, a bag of holding and a fancy-looking and very magic warhammer they haven't yet iden-"
    Party Fighter: "A warhammer? That's mine! Let's move back up and have a look at it!"
    DM: "Wait, that also nets you, let's see... 35,200 xp each, enough to reach 13th level."
    Old Man: "Fantastic! This is precisely why I always tell my imperial treasurer commando minions are worth every copper!"

    Yeah, seems perfectly reasonable...

    If this isn't how you believe the "strategic power of authority" actually works in practice, I'd love to hear your version of the above scenario.
    … kinda? Yes, you focus on the exploits of the party, at the tactical level. But it's (usually, due to the lack of poof-a-port you mentioned (less an issue in a Harry Potter type setting)) less "western stairs vs eastern river tunnel" and more "RHoD vs Rappan Athuk". I'm assuming. I'm not terribly familiar with either. If it makes sense to send an army to either one, then, sure, your way could work, too. Just, you know, use sense, and apply it where and how it's reasonable for it to apply.

    Also, the "old man" is a fully operational battle station; ie, he is a tactically-enabled PC; "authority" is simply a strategic button he can push.

    Also also, I thought I picked "the guy who ruled Rappan Athuk" as an example of authority warping the narrative. I guess I know less about that module than I thought.

    -----

    So, since I can't say *exactly* how it would play out in modules I don't know, instead, let me tell you how it has played out in modules you don't know (ie, in custom content at my tables).

    There's lots of stuff going on in my worlds. The Authority chose how to deploy imperial troops and resources, how to shore up imperial defenses, how to utilize imperial scouts… and the party took tactical action on one front. The results of the actions on all fronts shaped what the world looked like. Wash rinse repeat.

    Or… the Authority set up meetings that the party never could have had on their own, got them access to information and tools otherwise unavailable.

    Or… the Authority set religious dogma / imperial edicts throughout the land; the party handled backlash / crowd control / enforcement.

    Or… the Authority went to war. The party - and the Authority's troops - took part in that war.

    Or… rather than meeting with the town elders, the Authority asked, "who's in charge here?", And countered their response with, "Wrong - *I* am in charge here." Negotiations were much different after that, as, instead of the party trying to convince the town leaders, the town leaders were trying to convince the Authority.

    And don't underestimate the importance of, "I will make it legal!". Or how easy it is to deal with Clerics (and other religious folk)… when you're the high priest… or even their god.

    Authority is like high stats in some CRPGs - it opens up options that are otherwise unavailable.

    And, also, it turns every piece of content into a choice between tactical party involvement, or strategic win button - just like many spells do. Just at a larger scale.

    So, when (level appropriate) spells can solo Rappan Athuk, let me know. Until then, Authority, as I define it, is OP trump comparatively.
    Last edited by Quertus; 2020-04-10 at 09:26 AM.

  6. - Top - End - #696
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    d20 Re: Wizards should be better than fighters.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ignimortis View Post
    Zceryll only allows summons up to SM VII, and it lasts 1 round/level, with a cooldown of 5 rounds, so even at level 20 that gives you three creatures from the SM VII list (so up to CR9 at best) with Pseudonatural template applied, which isn't that great. I doubt those are anywhere near as good as a Warblade 20, even if there are three of them. And yet Zceryll is considered one of the best vestiges. Suffice to say, I have never seen a Binder break a game.
    You are incorrect:
    Summon Alien: You can summon any creature from the summon monster list that a sorcerer of your level could summon. Any creature you summon with this ability gains the pseudonatural template. Thus, at 10th level you could summon any creature from the summon monster I-V list. When you reach 14th level, you can summon any creature from the summon monster I-VII list. You can only summon creatures that can be affected by the pseudonatural template. Once you have used this ability, you cannot do so again for 5 rounds.
    As we can see, neither did it limit possible level to SM VII, nor does it set any time limit to the summoned creatures - Summon Alien uses "summon monster list", not whole summon monster RAW


    For the thread theme...
    People there asking to turn Fighter class into "Super-Fighter", so it would be able to "to keep up with a Wizard" (somehow) like D&D is a competitive game
    There are some problems with it.

    Challenge
    You looking at the Fighter and seeing a problem
    Some other people looked at the Fighter, but seeing only challenge: to make the initially unassuming class as strong as possible!
    Note: the very same players also tend to create a Commoners PC
    (Monks are less popular, since that class is barring from usage of so many items, and also restricts alignment and multiclassing...)

    Simplicity
    Some people play Fighters over Wizards not because they prefer sword-swinging over spell-slinging, but because they dislike the bookkeeping and dumpster diving

    Simulationism
    Isekai fantasy is popular this days
    So, some people tend to fantasize about what could happen if they would get into fantasy world (in the flesh)
    (Expect them to play as Human of the same age as they're IRL; and maybe even have Str score set to amount necessary to lift a weight which they're able to lift)
    And they want to start to kick @** from the very start, not after leaning for 7 years in a local Martial Arts school (or pulling magical ax from a root of World Tree)
    Note: despite of how ridiculously deadly fantasy worlds are tend to be, their 1st-levels encounters are consist mostly of rats (with occasional lone Wolf - as a "serious" threat)

    Now, do you remember the release of ToB, and all the flak Warblade got?
    No, I don't mean: "Too anime!.."
    I mean: "They want to replace Fighter!.."

    Now, let's look at the Warplade from those three points:
    Challenge? Maybe, but still - not at the same scale as a Fighter (heck, a Barbarian would be more challenging)
    Simplicity? No! There is the bookkeeping (Wizard-style), and only end of 3.5 prevented accumulation of sources for dumpster diving
    Simulationism? Heck, no! Warblade's maneuvers are tend to do IRL-impossible things even at level 1

    Thus, any proposed "Super-Fighter" would get the same flak as Warblade (or worse)

  7. - Top - End - #697
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    Default Re: Wizards should be better than fighters.

    Quote Originally Posted by ShurikVch View Post
    You are incorrect:As we can see, neither did it limit possible level to SM VII, nor does it set any time limit to the summoned creatures - Summon Alien uses "summon monster list", not whole summon monster RAW
    Alright, got it wrong with limits of what SM you get limited on, but why would there be no time limit? Does that mean that the monsters last from the moment you bind the vestige and until you unbind them, usually 24 hours later? That would be ridiculous and would allow you to call up a veritable army of monsters in an hour (CD of 5 rounds means you can summon once per 30 seconds, so 60 casts in an hour).
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    Default Re: Wizards should be better than fighters.

    @Zceryll: by RAW the summons either last the duration of your pact, or the normal duration of summon monster (rounds/lvl.) As the cooldown per use is 5 rounds either way, both approaches can give you plenty of level-appropriate minions, though of course the latter is much more reasonable to stop you from rolling into the dungeon with a retinue of aliens that mow everything down for you while you toss out bolts of madness or use your other vestige powers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by upho View Post
    But martials should generally be limited to fighting "directly", and not as effectively?
    What I'm saying is that the things they can already do outside of a straight fight (both in base PF, and with DSP/PoW added) I'm okay with. Anything beyond that would depend on the specific ability being added, and I would evaluate it then.

    Quote Originally Posted by upho View Post
    But PF casters can do precisely that.
    ..
    Yes, you can do this, but it requires a level of rail-roading far beyond what I'd call acceptable.
    That would be where the "encounter design" comes in; if they have the freedom to enter melee and dilute the martial's contribution that easily, it means you haven't designed the encounter asymmetrically enough to challenge their other abilities. See once again the Doctor Strange Endgame example. And keep in mind that the Avengers live in a world where magic is relatively unknown; in D&D, it would be even more expected that a caster of his caliber would be found amongst the heroes, and so any villain with a brain would know they need to bring an Ebony Maw or two along for the ride or else get stomped. Thanos certainly knew it; that's not "railroading", that's common sense.

    Quote Originally Posted by upho View Post
    Sure, if you're mostly looking at combat performance with a focus on enduring several combats per day. But if you widen the scope to adventuring challenges in general over the course of a typical adventuring day, the difference in overall adventuring capability is indeed comparable. Superfighter is still highly likely to suck in comparison to a 10th-level wizard in non-combat challenges. Worse, at least if the wizard focuses a little bit on summoning, Superfighter is likely of less use also in most combats around CR 10, since unless he's very high-op he's still most likely a one-trick single-target DPR pony.
    What? If you widen it to "adventuring challenges over the course of an adventuring day" then you should be taxing the caster's allotment even more. Now they need to worry about having the right spells for fighting, the right spells for exploration, the right spells for social interaction, the right spells for recovery/decursing etc. And if they want a general idea of how much of each they'll be doing the next day, now they need some spells for divinations to figure that out.

    Quote Originally Posted by upho View Post
    No, because teamwork is of course a part of a well-designed same game test.
    Is it? Because the definition I saw was putting two or more lone 10th level characters (or 5th, or 15th) through a series of challenges and seeing how they do by themselves. Useful for measuring the capabilities of that one character, not nearly as useful for gauging a character's contribution to a group's success in an actual narrative.

    Quote Originally Posted by upho View Post
    Ask yourself whether you think the Avengers would benefit more overall if they had two members with the abilities of Black Widow or two members with those of Scarlet Witch/Captain Marvel/Thor/Doctor Stange. That's the relevant question.
    No, it's not relevant; a party would be better off if everyone was Pun-Pun too. If all you care about is power, there's no reason to have different classes at all. To Gnaeus' earlier point, some people want to play Black Widow, Cap, or Hawkeye - just because you don't, doesn't mean you get to dictate that for everyone else at the table.

    Quote Originally Posted by upho View Post
    PF is far too complex to burden GMs/tables with such considerations. You should be able to trust the designers in this matter, and not need the equivalent of a friggin' PhD in PF in order to get a reasonably balanced game during all levels.
    You don't need a "PhD" to simply ask "hey Don, I don't think I can properly challenge both your druid and Bill's barbarian in the same party - mind playing a Hunter or Shifter or Wild Shape Ranger instead?" (And in truth, you don't need a PhD to challenge them both either, but if a GM is really that inexperienced - or lazy - then banning is indeed the quickest and easiest option.) But that decision should be up to that table, not the game system saying "no druids" or "milquetoast druids only."

    Quote Originally Posted by upho View Post
    Of course not, but that means martials must have a comparable capability. And outside of extreme high-op "Martial Danvers" "PoWzilla" builds very few casters are going to want to adventure with (since their class abilities typically won't be able to do jack in against opponents appropriate for the martial), this most definitely not the case in PF. (Though I certainly agree that it's better than in 3.5.)
    ...
    Tell you what, if martials are given as "unreliable" abilities at a comparable power level, I'd find it perfectly fine.
    You're perfectly free to do that at your table if you wish, too.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    But really, the important lesson here is this: Rather than making assumptions that don't fit with the text and then complaining about the text being wrong, why not just choose different assumptions that DO fit with the text?
    Quote Originally Posted by gogogome View Post
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    Default Re: Wizards should be better than fighters.

    Psyren, you made a comment about the "unique disadvantages" of spellcasting.

    Can you explain what you mean by that?
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    Default Re: Wizards should be better than fighters.

    The whole Binder v Warblade argument is rather missing the point, I think. Even if Pysren was right here (which he is not), the broader point is quite obviously true. I'm sure anyone here can name two classes they think are balanced, and those classes will in fact be different, because there aren't any identical classes.

    That said, while his specific complaint is wrong, his broad point is wrong as well. Heterogeneity doesn't make balance harder, it makes it easier. If classes are close to identical, it's very easy for them to fall into the trap of being strictly better or strictly worse. But if they're different, it's fairly easy, because it turns out that you can solve the same problem in similar ways. Look at Pokemon. Alakazam and Mewtwo aren't balanced, because they're trying to do pretty much the same thing (fast Psychic special attacker). But Mewtwo and Groudon are reasonably balanced, because they have different niches. Making classes different makes it easier to make them balanced, because obviously having multiple things you care about makes it easier to tune power.

    Quote Originally Posted by MeimuHakurei View Post
    Zceryll actually gives you on-level Summon Monster; the SM VII is just listed as an example breakpoint. But I figure three options from Summon Monster IX aren't that much stronger (remember that you can still summon multiples of lower lists). There's also the issue that Summon Monster has a full round casting time, so either you'll be on the backfoot trying to summon them in combat or you'll substantially lower your travel speed to maintain the summons.
    Also summons just aren't that good. Summon Monster N gives a CR N monster. Even two or three of those isn't equal to a Warblade. By a large margin. It's better utility, but utility doesn't matter as much as combat power, and the Warblade is ahead by a lot on that front. As I said initially: similar power level, different strategies.

    Quote Originally Posted by Psyren View Post
    Do you not get that I disagree with your premise that level should === power? You're continually parroting that you don't think she should be the same level because she can't do the same things as the rest of them and I'm telling you that I do. not. care.
    Yes, I understand that you want the game to work poorly instead of working well. I'm pointing out that the example you're giving doesn't particularly support that. Black Widow could, in fact, be an 8th level character while Thor is a 15th level character, and everything that happens in the MCU would work fine. I understand that you don't want that, but since not doing that makes things harder for GMs and gets us nothing, I don't really care.

    More argumentum ad populum instead of just looking at the classes objectively with your own two eyes.
    Robust averages of informed opinions produce better outcomes than asking individuals. I'm sure I could find someone as convinced that Warblade > Binder as you are that Binder > Warblade. But that's not actually a good way to reach a decision.

    You have yet to show a single example of balanced heterogeneity among classes.
    I've shown plenty. Contra to your assertion, there is a difference between an imbalance of .04 and 4. If all you have is an equivocation between those scenarios, you have nothing I or anyone has any reason to care about.

    Wrong, Odin did
    Yes, as part of Thor's backstory. Within the context of the Avengers, it's a part of Thor. In fact, even in the Thor movies, they state pretty explicitly that the power comes from Thor, not the hammer.

    Quote Originally Posted by Psyren View Post
    To Gnaeus' earlier point, some people want to play Black Widow, Cap, or Hawkeye - just because you don't, doesn't mean you get to dictate that for everyone else at the table.
    And they don't get to force everyone else at the table to play a game that pauses its epic world-hopping for an encounter a 6th level character can deal with. If you want to play a 6th level character and I want to play a 12th level one, the solution is to play at different tables. Not to have the game lie and say your 6th level character is 12th level. Doing that just means the guy who likes the same concept, but wants a 12th level character, suffers. Just as if you want to play Exalted and I want to play Shadowrun, the solution is not a party comprised of a Solar and a Street Samurai.

    GM is really that inexperienced - or lazy - then banning is indeed the quickest and easiest option.
    No, the easiest option is for the game to work well. I get it, you like imbalance. That's fine. But most people don't, and you can imbalance a balanced system far easier than anyone else can do the reverse. So stop demanding that everyone else suffer so you get what you want.

    Quote Originally Posted by JNAProductions View Post
    Psyren, you made a comment about the "unique disadvantages" of spellcasting.
    What he means is that spellcasters have limited spell slots, and that is a different paradigm from martials being all at-will. You'll note that this is the exact heterogeneous balance he claims to reject, but it's not like the baseline amount of sense his arguments make is very large.

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    Default Re: Wizards should be better than fighters.

    Quote Originally Posted by NigelWalmsley View Post
    I get it, you like imbalance. That's fine. But most people don't, and you can imbalance a balanced system far easier than anyone else can do the reverse. So stop demanding that everyone else suffer so you get what you want.
    Great, we're finally on the same page. You acknowledge that balancing an imbalanced system is harder than the reverse. Where we differ is that you think designers should waste spend valuable time/resources catering to your whims anyway, whereas I think they have better things to do. So far, current design supports my view; vote with your wallet.

    Quote Originally Posted by JNAProductions View Post
    Psyren, you made a comment about the "unique disadvantages" of spellcasting.

    Can you explain what you mean by that?
    Components, limited slots, preparation/selection, dependence on the planar magic trait, dispellability, concentration necessity, school-specific disadvantages, spell-specific disadvantages, opportunity costs, and spellcaster chassis drawbacks.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    But really, the important lesson here is this: Rather than making assumptions that don't fit with the text and then complaining about the text being wrong, why not just choose different assumptions that DO fit with the text?
    Quote Originally Posted by gogogome View Post
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    Quote Originally Posted by Psyren View Post
    Where we differ is that you think designers should waste spend valuable time/resources catering to your whims anyway,
    Not my whims. As we've established, "make the game more balanced" is a majority preference. You're the one demanding that the game does what you want at the expense of everyone else. Everyone here is perfectly fine with characters at different power levels existing in the system, which allows you to have games where martials are worse than casters. No one wants to take that away from you. But that's not good enough. It can't be that the game does what you want and what other people want. The only outcome you will accept is a game that does only what you want. I would suggest that maybe you could learn to appreciate the merits of things like "sharing" and "compromise", but you've already said that you can't imagine supporting a change because other people care about it, so that seems like a dead end.
    Last edited by NigelWalmsley; 2020-04-10 at 03:56 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NigelWalmsley View Post
    Not my whims. As we've established, "make the game more balanced" is a majority preference.
    1) Repeating this assertion does not make it fact.
    2) Even if it is, "more balance" does not preclude a gap (even a smaller one) between casters and martials.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    But really, the important lesson here is this: Rather than making assumptions that don't fit with the text and then complaining about the text being wrong, why not just choose different assumptions that DO fit with the text?
    Quote Originally Posted by gogogome View Post
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    Default Re: Wizards should be better than fighters.

    Quote Originally Posted by Psyren View Post
    1) Repeating this assertion does not make it fact.
    2) Even if it is, "more balance" does not preclude a gap (even a smaller one) between casters and martials.
    Run a poll. Ask around. Outside you and Quertus, I don’t think you’ll find many people that share your position.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JNAProductions View Post
    Run a poll. Ask around. Outside you and Quertus, I don’t think you’ll find many people that share your position.
    No, you're the ones so confident in your position, you run the poll. The game designers that designed the game kept a power gap between casters and melee, so clearly they are seeing something that some of you in one thread on one message board don't seem to.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    But really, the important lesson here is this: Rather than making assumptions that don't fit with the text and then complaining about the text being wrong, why not just choose different assumptions that DO fit with the text?
    Quote Originally Posted by gogogome View Post
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    Default Re: Wizards should be better than fighters.

    Quote Originally Posted by JNAProductions View Post
    Run a poll. Ask around. Outside you and Quertus, I don’t think you’ll find many people that share your position.
    My position is certainly closer to Psyren’s than anyone he has been arguing with in this thread.

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    Default Re: Wizards should be better than fighters.

    Alright-how would you suggest phrasing the question to avoid bias?
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    Default Re: Wizards should be better than fighters.

    Quote Originally Posted by Psyren View Post
    1) Repeating this assertion does not make it fact.
    Take your own medicine. I find your assertions the most repetitive and tiresome of all, and contribute nothing to the discussion. I cannot take you seriously when your entire argument consists of elaborate ways to say "no" while not budging from your position in the slightest. If you cannot entertain even the slightest fraction of allowing my position to coexist with yours, there is no conversation to be had with you because your not allowing a meaningful conversation to exist at all.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Psyren View Post
    1) Repeating this assertion does not make it fact.
    Of course not. But we saw that reducing the gap made 5e very successful. That's strong evidence people want balance. I know you think it's evidence people want imbalance, but that doesn't make any sense, and we all know it. The majority in this thread disagrees with you. The majority of customers disagree with you. So where exactly are the people who agree with you?

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    Default Re: Wizards should be better than fighters.

    Quote Originally Posted by NigelWalmsley View Post
    But we saw that reducing the gap made 5e very successful. That's strong evidence people want balance.
    5e is successful (though I'd quibble with the "very" part) and 5e reduced the martial/caster gap, but that doesn't mean 5e is successful because it reduced the martial/caster gap. 5e could have been successful because of that, or because character creation is faster, or because the math is simpler, or because new players prefer subclasses to prestige classes, or any other number of reasons.

    There are also a bunch of other reasons it might have been successful that had nothing to do with 5e itself, such as the marketing (a long playtest period getting more people on board, AD&D players coming back to D&D because it was marketed as being AD&D-inspired, etc.), people being against 4e rather than people being for 5e (Forgotten Realms fan who hated 4e FR giving the setting another try, "4e is WoW on paper!" fans giving the rules another try, etc.), several popular series like Critical Role "making D&D cool again" when 5e happened to be the edition in print, 5e being the big edition now so people who prefer other editions simply giving in because it's hard to find a game otherwise, or many other possible factors.

    Remember, "the classes are all balanced!" was 4e's rallying cry, and we all saw how that went over, so if you're going to attribute the entirety of 5e's popularity to that factor you'll need more evidence than just an assertion along those lines.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    Take your own medicine. I find your assertions the most repetitive and tiresome of all, and contribute nothing to the discussion. I cannot take you seriously when your entire argument consists of elaborate ways to say "no" while not budging from your position in the slightest. If you cannot entertain even the slightest fraction of allowing my position to coexist with yours, there is no conversation to be had with you because your not allowing a meaningful conversation to exist at all.
    Thanks for your input!

    Quote Originally Posted by NigelWalmsley View Post
    Of course not. But we saw that reducing the gap made 5e very successful. That's strong evidence people want balance. I know you think it's evidence people want imbalance, but that doesn't make any sense, and we all know it. The majority in this thread disagrees with you. The majority of customers disagree with you. So where exactly are the people who agree with you?
    Reducing is not eliminating. I can just as easily conclude that the majority of customers appear to want a gap of some kind to remain, which is all I want too.

    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'Dice Lost View Post
    Remember, "the classes are all balanced!" was 4e's rallying cry, and we all saw how that went over, so if you're going to attribute the entirety of 5e's popularity to that factor you'll need more evidence than just an assertion along those lines.
    Precisely, someone else who gets it.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    But really, the important lesson here is this: Rather than making assumptions that don't fit with the text and then complaining about the text being wrong, why not just choose different assumptions that DO fit with the text?
    Quote Originally Posted by gogogome View Post
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    Default Re: Wizards should be better than fighters.

    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'Dice Lost View Post
    5e is successful (though I'd quibble with the "very" part) and 5e reduced the martial/caster gap, but that doesn't mean 5e is successful because it reduced the martial/caster gap.
    That is true, and I made the same point to Psyren when he claimed it was successful because it kept the gap. I should have clarified that there's a "by your own logic" caveat in there. If you ask me, the primary reason 5e succeeded more is because of greater relevance of the D&D brand. Stranger Things probably did more for sales than any mechanical decision made by the designers.

    Remember, "the classes are all balanced!" was 4e's rallying cry, and we all saw how that went over, so if you're going to attribute the entirety of 5e's popularity to that factor you'll need more evidence than just an assertion along those lines.
    What people forget about 4e is that it had enormous pre-release hype. People actually wanted the things 4e was promising them. The problem was that it failed to deliver. And it failed to deliver on such a wide range of promises and to such a dramatic degree that you can't reasonably claim the designers were hamstrung by any particular design goal. If you picked eight T3 classes from 3e and put them in the 4e PHB, you'd have a list of classes that was at least as balanced as what we got, and an order of magnitude more diverse. Since WotC could totally have done that, it doesn't seem reasonable to conclude that the reason the classes were all the same was balance. Especially because things totally unrelated to class balance, like skill challenges and Solo monsters were also terrible.

    Quote Originally Posted by Psyren View Post
    Reducing is not eliminating. I can just as easily conclude that the majority of customers appear to want a gap of some kind to remain, which is all I want too.
    You certainly can conclude that. You've been doing so quite loudly for a while now. But the evidence doesn't actually support that conclusion. If I give you a dollar, and you thank me, that is not evidence you'd be angry if I gave you a hundred dollars.
    Last edited by NigelWalmsley; 2020-04-10 at 08:29 PM.

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    I'm another person that more closely agrees with Psyren's point of view, and am also perfectly fine with the balance point of the given class archetypes in D&D/PF, etc. Personally I've lurked and refrained from posting in this thread for weeks up until this point purely due to the clickbait title - and I feel like there's probably a silent majority that feels the same way.

    I will say that my first real experience with D&D and Vancian casting in particular was with the Dragonlance novels. Reading about Raistlin collecting flower petals for his first Sleep spell, the Curse of the Magi causing a spell to fizzle out, the effects and aftermath of a Charm spell, and the sheer effort it took to become a Wizard has likely colored my views in this. I came away from all of that with the view that magic is hard.

    The Wizard is supposed to face it's own mini-game of resource management (spells, components, and other things Psyren's already listed). Unfortunately, it appears from what I've read that most people consider that more akin to roleplay than rollplay, and the possibly useful balance points like spell-component pouches, costly or rare material components, limited spell selection, are thrown out in the same way things like managing encumbrance are.

    It's been demonstrated there are plenty of other ways to challenge casters while the martials of the group remaining relevant (or vis versa!) for a given encounter as well, but I feel like half the problem is that people discard many of the tools to design encounters from the outset due to "railroading". ...but I'm one of those people that find a sundered spellbook or rust monster entertaining occasionally.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Psyren View Post
    Components, limited slots, preparation/selection, dependence on the planar magic trait, dispellability, concentration necessity, school-specific disadvantages, spell-specific disadvantages, opportunity costs, and spellcaster chassis drawbacks.
    • Components are 90% of the time handled by foci or spell component pouches, which are cheap and common enough to have one at chargen.
    • Limited slots only matter if the game is structured in such a way that you have to spend the majority of them on "unimportant" things before the real challenge.
    • Planar magic trait - is this a common and major occurence? I was under the impression most planes had normal magic rules.
    • Dispellability - so only magic can beat magic. That's basically saying "but another caster can spend his own resources to drain yours".
    • Concentration necessity - only in 5e for the most part, which has mostly balanced wizards and fighters for combat.
    • School-specific disadvantages - not in 5e, and in 3.5 if you don't wanna mess with that, you can just be a generalist anyway.
    • Spell-specific disadvantages - whatever do you mean? There are maybe 10% of spells that come with inbuilt disadvantages to using them, and most of those can be mitigated just by using them right.
    • Opportunity costs - what would those be?
    • Spellcaster chassis drawbacks - yes, the Wizard chassis is quite weak by itself, but the spells in 3.5 overcompensate for that harshly, and in 5e, well, combat-wise it's fine, and out of combat, where the wizard's main versatility lies, their chassis basically doesn't matter.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tryxx View Post
    Personally I've lurked and refrained from posting in this thread for weeks up until this point purely due to the clickbait title - and I feel like there's probably a silent majority that feels the same way.
    And I feel like there's a silent majority that agrees with me. Not a terribly compelling way of deciding things. Insofar as there's a majority at play, they seem to be looking for games with better balance, though it's hard to draw firm conclusions. But if you look at 5e, improved balance correlated with sales. Even taking 4e into account, we see that "improved balance plus a bunch of other changes" correlates with reduced sales. Which, given the first data point, would seem to suggest the problem was something other than the balance.

    Unfortunately, it appears from what I've read that most people consider that more akin to roleplay than rollplay, and the possibly useful balance points like spell-component pouches, costly or rare material components, limited spell selection, are thrown out in the same way things like managing encumbrance are.
    Most of these aren't particularly useful balancing tools. A spell component pouch costs all of 5 GP. It contains all the spell components you might want or need. There are spells that have costly components, but which spells have them isn't particularly well correlated with which spells are good. Limiting spell selection doesn't do much of anything, because the Sorcerer, Cleric, and Druid get all their spells from leveling up, and the Wizard gets enough. You certainly could write a game where getting and using spells was very painful, but that turns out not to be very much fun. People like to use their abilities, and its better to have a balance point that assumes they will get to do so.

    It's been demonstrated there are plenty of other ways to challenge casters while the martials of the group remaining relevant (or vis versa!) for a given encounter as well, but I feel like half the problem is that people discard many of the tools to design encounters from the outset due to "railroading".
    It hasn't really. Or maybe it was in one of the spoilers that people were using, but what I've seen Psyren suggest is that if you add a separate encounter for the Wizard that takes up all his resources, the Fighter will get to do things. Which, sure, but that's kind of awful. The Fighter isn't contributing because he's a Fighter, he's contributing because he's another warm body. If he was instead another Wizard, the party would win as much or more. Doesn't really deliver what people want in terms of making the character matter.

    But more broadly, I would argue that this isn't actually a desirable paradigm. Maybe you can design encounters that support a paradigm where one character is much better or much worse than the rest of the party. But that's not, in and of itself, compelling. It would be better if DMs could assume all characters would make reasonably equal contributions, so they could focus on designing encounters that were tactically interesting, or advanced the plot, or were memorable. It's not that you can't deal with a flawed system, but DMing is hard, and no one has managed to give any reason we should make it harder by adding unnecessary imbalance.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tryxx View Post
    I'm another person that more closely agrees with Psyren's point of view, and am also perfectly fine with the balance point of the given class archetypes in D&D/PF, etc. Personally I've lurked and refrained from posting in this thread for weeks up until this point purely due to the clickbait title - and I feel like there's probably a silent majority that feels the same way.

    I will say that my first real experience with D&D and Vancian casting in particular was with the Dragonlance novels. Reading about Raistlin collecting flower petals for his first Sleep spell, the Curse of the Magi causing a spell to fizzle out, the effects and aftermath of a Charm spell, and the sheer effort it took to become a Wizard has likely colored my views in this. I came away from all of that with the view that magic is hard.

    The Wizard is supposed to face it's own mini-game of resource management (spells, components, and other things Psyren's already listed). Unfortunately, it appears from what I've read that most people consider that more akin to roleplay than rollplay, and the possibly useful balance points like spell-component pouches, costly or rare material components, limited spell selection, are thrown out in the same way things like managing encumbrance are.

    It's been demonstrated there are plenty of other ways to challenge casters while the martials of the group remaining relevant (or vis versa!) for a given encounter as well, but I feel like half the problem is that people discard many of the tools to design encounters from the outset due to "railroading". ...but I'm one of those people that find a sundered spellbook or rust monster entertaining occasionally.
    Indeed, and my thanks

    Quote Originally Posted by Ignimortis View Post
    • Components are 90% of the time handled by foci or spell component pouches, which are cheap and common enough to have one at chargen. Pouches can be stolen/sundered, and in any event, I meant ALL components here - that includes verbal, somatic, foci, and XP/gold. For example, while you need additional resources to eliminate the verbal component your Knock spell (and can't do even that in 5e), the party rogue can pick any number of locks without making a sound.
    • Limited slots only matter if the game is structured in such a way that you have to spend the majority of them on "unimportant" things before the real challenge. Why yes, and that's a little concept known as "encounter design." Good eye!
    • Planar magic trait - is this a common and major occurence? I was under the impression most planes had normal magic rules. "Common," no - most adventuring takes place on the Material after all - but it's a tool in the toolbelt nevertheless, and could easily be "major." Note that there are traits other than "magic" and "no magic" too; If the climax of your campaign is in Limbo or the Far Realm, you can't exactly get the big bad on the phone and ask him to pretty please give your casters the home team advantage instead of his.
    • Dispellability - so only magic can beat magic. That's basically saying "but another caster can spend his own resources to drain yours". The beauty of NPCs is that they don't have to worry about "resources." Those cultists trying to end the world don't have to care about saving their spell slots for the next wave like you do.
    • Concentration necessity - only in 5e for the most part, which has mostly balanced wizards and fighters for combat. I didn't mean 5e's specific concentration mechanic, though that's certainly a great weakness. I meant the need to concentrate to cast spells at all, which 3.5 and PF also have. That means worrying about continuous damage, AoOs, and even nondamaging effects like severe weather interfering with your spellcasting.
    • School-specific disadvantages - not in 5e, and in 3.5 if you don't wanna mess with that, you can just be a generalist anyway. Spells have schools whether you're a generalist or not (or even a wizard or not), and schools have properties that can be exploited through, you guessed it, encounter design. For example, most summoning and calling subschool spells have the drawback of not working in an area that's been Dimensionally Locked.
    • Spell-specific disadvantages - whatever do you mean? There are maybe 10% of spells that come with inbuilt disadvantages to using them, and most of those can be mitigated just by using them right. I mean spells with limiting clauses, like the "hazardous" clause in teleport, or the "unreasonable commands" clause in planar binding, that can be invoked to keep those spells from becoming a crutch.
    • Opportunity costs - what would those be? With a limited resource like slots, every spell you prepare (or use, for spontaneous casters) is another that you can't.
    • Spellcaster chassis drawbacks - yes, the Wizard chassis is quite weak by itself, but the spells in 3.5 overcompensate for that harshly, and in 5e, well, combat-wise it's fine, and out of combat, where the wizard's main versatility lies, their chassis basically doesn't matter. See the "dispellability" and "encounter design" points above.
    ^ Hope that helps.

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    Default Re: Wizards should be better than fighters.

    Quote Originally Posted by Psyren View Post
    ^ Hope that helps.
    See, the thing is, those factors exist, but most of them are easily mitigated or rarely present, which prevents them from making a significant difference. The whole issue is that rock-paper-scissors with a Wizard of a high enough level turns into 4d chess - they can easily have too many tools to account for all of them outside of just saying "alright, antimagic field dungeon, get dunked", which doesn't really help anyone else relying on magic items either. Basically, the amount of work a DM has to do to fairly counter or at least reduce the effectiveness of wizards (and other high-flexibility 9-casters) vastly exceeds the amount of work to counter any non-caster, while crippling non-casters can even be accidental - the next fight is against flying enemies and none of the casters pack a Fly spell? Hope your Fighter likes to plink away with their 1d8+4 longbow to which none of their feats or abilities apply.

    And D&D has long had classes that don't create this problem. Take Sorcerers, for instance - their spell lists are short enough that you always know what they bring to the table and just plop a fire-immune enemy in the room, or ward the dungeon boss against divination. Any T3 or lower caster is even easier to counter - what exactly Beguilers will do against at least remotely intelligent undead who can deal with illusions but are still immune to mind-affecting effects? Not much, I can tell you that. Does a Warmage contribute much out of combat? Not really, their magic only explodes things. Etc, etc.

    On the other hand, Warblade can at least tunnel through walls and jump for 10s of feet at once, while possessing a decent skill list and enough skillpoints/INT synergy to actually utilize it properly. PoW does this even better, since in addition to good skills and skillpoints you can get flight and/or teleportation, as well as some other effects usually exclusive to magic, for yourself without relying on any external sources. PoW classes are usually self-sufficient in combat and somewhat competent out of combat.

    Specialization is good. Versatility should come with a severe hit to power, not conditions which the GM can randomly evoke to say "alright, any of your powers that break the dungeon layout/plot don't work today". You call that encounter design, I call that unfun if it arises too often. However, if a Wizard gets 2/3 casting to compensate for their versatility, that would actually solve a lot of mid-level problems of them overshadowing the rest of the party simply by using the right spells, and by high levels other characters can actually get powers which allow them to stay on par anyway. Sadly, that doesn't solve the issue with Fighters, because the Fighters are an issue of their own, that just so happens to contrast with the Wizard problem harshly.
    Last edited by Ignimortis; 2020-04-11 at 01:24 AM.
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    Default Re: Wizards should be better than fighters.

    Quote Originally Posted by NigelWalmsley View Post
    If you ask me, the primary reason 5e succeeded more is because of greater relevance of the D&D brand. Stranger Things probably did more for sales than any mechanical decision made by the designers.
    Agreed 100%.

    Quote Originally Posted by NigelWalmsley View Post
    What people forget about 4e is that it had enormous pre-release hype. People actually wanted the things 4e was promising them. The problem was that it failed to deliver.
    Quote Originally Posted by NigelWalmsley
    But if you look at 5e, improved balance correlated with sales. Even taking 4e into account, we see that "improved balance plus a bunch of other changes" correlates with reduced sales. Which, given the first data point, would seem to suggest the problem was something other than the balance.
    I'm definitely not saying that balance is or should be an anti-goal for any D&D edition, or that people don't clamor for better balance in the lead-up to new editions, or anything like that; I would broadly agree that many people agree with "classes should be more balanced" as a design goal. I was just pointing out that there were so many things 4e did to make it unpopular or that screwed it over and so many things that 5e did to make it popular or that helped it become successful that even talking correlation of success with balance level, much less causation, is a fool's errand.

    As one deliberately silly example, you could easily claim that the popularity of a D&D edition depends on how many classes go out the door in the first PHB. 1e had 10 classes in its PHB and is what allowed the AD&D line to win out over the BD&D line, 2e had 9 classes in its PHB and eventually sank and brought TSR down along with it, 3e had 11 classes in its PHB and basically revitalized the industry and created the OGL boom, 4e had 8 classes in its PHB and totally tanked as people cried out for their missing bards and druids, and 5e had 12 classes in its PHB and brought a ton of players back into the fold.

    Even that silly idea has a lot of merit buried somewhere in it--a higher number of classes at release correlates with more options and customization, more thematic ground covered, potentially more resource systems to play with, wider party composition variety, and such, while a lower number implies (or at least did in 4e's case) a lack of design effort and/or deliberately holding classes back for splatbooks--but you can't draw any wider conclusions than that "number of PHB 1 classes" is loosely positively correlated to "edition popularity" in the same way and to the same extent that naval piracy is inversely correlated with global warming.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tryxx
    The Wizard is supposed to face it's own mini-game of resource management (spells, components, and other things Psyren's already listed). Unfortunately, it appears from what I've read that most people consider that more akin to roleplay than rollplay, and the possibly useful balance points like spell-component pouches, costly or rare material components, limited spell selection, are thrown out in the same way things like managing encumbrance are.
    Indeed, the whole reason D&D had "classes" initially was that a class was supposed to define and shape your entire playstyle. The Fighter, Magic-User, Thief, and Cleric got constant good combat numbers, attrition-limited offensive-focused spells, situational skills, and attrition-limited defensive-focused spells, respectively, and there was very little to no overlap in weapons usable by Fighters and Clerics, spells usable by Magic-Users and Clerics, and magic items usable by any class, all because the point was that playing a Fighter was supposed to be a completely different experience in terms of pacing, tactics, resources, etc. than playing any of the other classes.

    Multiclassing let you meld 2 or 3 classes (and thus playstyles) to a limited extent and dual-classing let you swap from one to another, but they were all supposed to be clearly distinct. Things like lots of 3e caster classes just being small variations on other classes (Sorcerers and Wizards sharing the same list, Wizards and Wu Jen sharing the same casting mechanism and so on) diluted that a bit, continued by 5e's worse "every caster is now a pseudo-Vancian caster" setup and 4e's much worse "everyone is now a pseudo-Vancian caster" setup, and I feel that any attempt to tweak class balance by bringing classes closer together mechanically and/or diluting their identities thematically is a misguided one.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ignimortis
    Specialization is good. Versatility should come with a severe hit to power, not conditions which the GM can randomly evoke to say "alright, any of your powers that break the dungeon layout/plot don't work today". You call that encounter design, I call that unfun if it arises too often. However, if a Wizard gets 2/3 casting to compensate for their versatility, that would actually solve a lot of mid-level problems of them overshadowing the rest of the party simply by using the right spells, and by high levels other characters can actually get powers which allow them to stay on par anyway.
    That's probably going too far in the other direction, I'd say; you generally want all the major caster classes to get roughly the same effects at roughly the same time to match up with monsters (run into petrifyers around when you get stone to flesh, run into incorporeal baddies when you get magic weapon, and so on), so if you're going to drop casting to 2/3 that should probably be an across-the-board thing along with tweaking or carefully selecting monsters accordingly.

    But reducing wizard power by giving a noticeable cost to versatility is a good idea. One idea I've seen suggested but never tried in practice was the idea of forced generalization, the opposite of forced specialization, where a wizard is required to spread out spell picks and can't have too many more spells of a single school than any other; it certainly makes them thematically distinct from the fixed-list casters, and having 1 or maybe 2 spells of a given school at each level is a significant handicap even if you try to cherry-pick the "best" ones at each level. No idea how it would work out in practice, but I'd love to see it taken for a spin.
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    Default Re: Wizards should be better than fighters.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ignimortis View Post
    *snip*
    It doesn't have to be "your powers just don't work today," which would be a sledgehammer approach. It can be "they don't work in this specific fight" or "if you want to do X, first take out the enemy caster who knew you were coming" or "there's an item/active spell that is interfering with your ability to do Y, either settle for a more limited version of Y or go deal with it," or "You can do {spell} Z times, but this dungeon has Z+4 of the obstacles/encounters you'd use it on, probably a good idea to work with the other members of your team to save resources." All of these scenarios are possible in the rules, because all of these were expected to be used by GMs who put in a modicum of effort to craft challenging encounters and sessions.
    Last edited by Psyren; 2020-04-11 at 03:32 AM.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    But really, the important lesson here is this: Rather than making assumptions that don't fit with the text and then complaining about the text being wrong, why not just choose different assumptions that DO fit with the text?
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    Default Re: Wizards should be better than fighters.

    I still don't understand why we want DMs to spend their time figuring out how to counter one PC instead of creating encounters that are engaging for the whole group. Every minute spent figuring out how to make the Fighter relevant in a group full of people who are straightforwardly better than him is a minute not spent figuring out how to create an encounter that will be memorable or enjoyable. Once again the proposal appears to be that we should pay a large cost in exchange for actual nothing. I understand that you can propose that, but I don't understand why you would expect anyone to accept it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ignimortis View Post
    And D&D has long had classes that don't create this problem.
    It's not any particular class that creates this problem, it's imbalance. You can write adventures that challenge casters. You can write adventures that challenge non-casters. The problem is writing adventures that challenge both, because it's very hard to create a problem where "have an ability that solves the problem" and "don't have an ability that solves the problem" are equally valid solutions.

    Specialization is good.
    Character identity is good. Specialization is neutral at best. Having a character who solves "Rogue Problems" or "Cleric Problems" isn't good. It doesn't create a healthy party dynamic, and it doesn't create a healthy game dynamic. Specialization leads to characters who can't participate in large parts of the game, meaning those parts are either ignored, or some players aren't able to do anything for chunks of the game.

    Just from a mathematical perspective, if you're going to have any meaningful range of problems for characters to be asked to solve, you're going to need characters to have a pretty wide range of options. I agree that it's important that the Rogue feel like a Rogue and the Wizard feel like a Wizard, but that needs to be implemented in a way that doesn't result in the Ranger/Sorcerer/Barbarian/Monk party being stopped dead by a locked door.

    Versatility should come with a severe hit to power
    Versatility is power. Or rather they're both part of a greater "overall effectiveness" that also includes factors like "flexibility" or "sustainability" or "durability". And, frankly, it's not actually that much power. The problem with the Wizard isn't that it can cast Fireball and also Stinking Cloud. The Warmage can do that. If the Wizard was a half-level behind the Sorcerer (instead of the reverse), the latter would be more effective in combat. The Wizard's power comes from two things, and only one of those is something I think you can reasonably call broken.

    The first thing is that the Wizard gets way better downtime and utility options than other classes. Or I should say that it gets them at all. The Wizard gets Fabricate and Teleport and Major Creation and Scrying. This makes the Wizard more powerful than a lot of other classes, but ultimately it's a good thing, because these are abilities characters should have. We shouldn't penalize the Wizard for getting these abilities, we should be giving things like them to other classes (in ways appropriate to those classes concepts, of course).

    The second thing is that the Wizard gets spells that are just broken. RAW Planar Binding blows up any game it comes into contact with because it allows you to produce an army of monsters who are more numerous than the party and individually stronger. But while this is a problem that manifests with Wizard characters, it's not really anything to do with the Wizard as a class. Planar Binding is just as broken in the hands of a Sorcerer or a Dread Necromancer.

    Overall, the Wizard really is a pretty well-designed class. Specialization is a good tool for customizing characters (particularly with all the specialist ACFs), the ability to get spells as loot via scrolls or spellbooks allows for good organic growth, and the fact that the class has utility options is an unvarnished good. If you were redesigning the game, the Wizard is one of the classes you'd want to change the least.

    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'Dice Lost View Post
    As one deliberately silly example, you could easily claim that the popularity of a D&D edition depends on how many classes go out the door in the first PHB. 1e had 10 classes in its PHB and is what allowed the AD&D line to win out over the BD&D line, 2e had 9 classes in its PHB and eventually sank and brought TSR down along with it, 3e had 11 classes in its PHB and basically revitalized the industry and created the OGL boom, 4e had 8 classes in its PHB and totally tanked as people cried out for their missing bards and druids, and 5e had 12 classes in its PHB and brought a ton of players back into the fold.
    I don't think that's a silly idea at all. One of the things people absolutely hated about 4e was that it cut a bunch of classes for no reason. People like Bards and Sorcerers and Barbarians, and taking them out offends people. One of the big reasons 4e failed was that not having the classes it needed reduced initial interest, and then lack of word of mouth stopped it from picking back up.
    Last edited by NigelWalmsley; 2020-04-11 at 03:35 AM.

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