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    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Default Hypothesis: moving spells from class list to subclass list would improve the game

    NOTE: I'm not entirely convinced by this argument. But it seems plausible.

    Idea: For all full casters except warlocks, (ie Bard, Wizard, Sorcerer, Cleric, and Druid) WotC should follow the path set by the warlock and give them a small core list, expanded by choices from a subclass-locked extra list. The goal is to make subclasses meaningful, so you don't get the "I'm a generic sorcerer, just like every other sorcerer" issue. This would also go a long way to removing the "caster/martial disparity" that people find.

    For wizards (the one I'm most convinced about), I'd estimate that approximately half their list needs to either go away entirely or be moved to subclass feature access. Want to cast polymorph or true polymorph? Got to be a Transmuter. And if you choose that, you're loosing out on Simulacrum, which is now an Illusion-only spell. And all the conjure/summon spells, which are conjuration only. Etc.

    Sorcerers might probably work better on the cleric model (ie bonus spells known, not expanded lists), but I'd rather just give them more spells known and use the expanded list thing.

    Clerics especially, for thematic reasons, should have some domain-specific spells and/or lose some from the base list. Animate dead is an obvious example--why are gods of good and light and healing granting animate dead?

    But in the end, the only one I'd be willing to use this model for as it stands is wizards. Because half their levels between 2 and 17 are "I get a new level of spells". And that's boring. And promotes every even-sort-of-optimized wizard looking the same and no one taking the majority of the spells.
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    Default Re: Hypothesis: moving spells from class list to subclass list would improve the game

    It's an idea, but it'd definitely require a lot of work.

    The schools (for Wizards) are NOT equal. And I'd imagine that a lot of subclasses wouldn't have enough spells for other classes too.

    I'm not against it, by any means-but it's more work than just saying "Transmuter Wizards can only learn 4th or higher Transmutation spells."
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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Hypothesis: moving spells from class list to subclass list would improve the game

    sounds like something that could cause more issues than improvements. Unless you make sure each subclass gets the same amount of useful spells, and those useful spells all have a similar level of impact.
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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Hypothesis: moving spells from class list to subclass list would improve the game

    I do think often having a mix of class and subclass lists would work best (and as a bonus[1], it's technically correct[2] that bards can only steal spells from any class, but there's no mention of subclass or race). Then again, often a tag system might be ideal for simplicity; you have a list with the Fey tag and those spells are available to Fey-origin sorcerers, for example.

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    Default Re: Hypothesis: moving spells from class list to subclass list would improve the game

    Well given I have been arguing for pretty much exactly this for years, I am hardly likely to disagree.

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    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: Hypothesis: moving spells from class list to subclass list would improve the game

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    NOTE: I'm not entirely convinced by this argument. But it seems plausible.

    Idea: For all full casters except warlocks, (ie Bard, Wizard, Sorcerer, Cleric, and Druid) WotC should follow the path set by the warlock and give them a small core list, expanded by choices from a subclass-locked extra list.
    I certainly do like AD&D priests more than 5E clerics, because a priest with access to the spheres of Numbers, War, and Mind is very different from a priest with access to Healing and Elements.

    I don't love the idea of organizing access by subclass-specific lists, because that's too much redundancy, but if different subclasses granted access to one or more pre-defined lists, that would be an improvement over the current way of doing clerics.

    For wizards, it's more traditional to exclude opposed schools than to exclude every school but your own - - so unless you add back in a non-specialized wizard with no opposed schools, I wouldn't change anything here except eliminating the 2 auto-picks you get on leveling up. They are already limited by having to acquire spells before adding them to their spellbook (adventure hook ahoy!). Adding mandatory school restrictions on top would be needlessly punitive. But do eliminate (or at least reduce) the auto-picks, and import spell research rules. Finding the long-lost Simulacrum spell created by the archwizard Phandaal should be as exciting as finding a Holy Avenger is for a Paladin.

    Then just eliminate sorcerers (the other Wish casters) from the game and I think you're good.
    Last edited by MaxWilson; 2021-04-17 at 10:46 AM.

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    Default Re: Hypothesis: moving spells from class list to subclass list would improve the game

    Quote Originally Posted by PhantomSoul View Post
    I do think often having a mix of class and subclass lists would work best (and as a bonus[1], it's technically correct[2] that bards can only steal spells from any class, but there's no mention of subclass or race). Then again, often a tag system might be ideal for simplicity; you have a list with the Fey tag and those spells are available to Fey-origin sorcerers, for example.

    ____
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    I like this... it does sound like a fair amount of work but I'm gonna give it a shot. Thanks.
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    Default Re: Hypothesis: moving spells from class list to subclass list would improve the game

    Not all Wizard schools have even one PHB spell per spell levels, let alone two.

    Removing 16 spells per level would cut it by more than half for higher level spells, e.g. level 5 Wizard spells there are 23, so it's be removing 70%.

    Mainly though ... how do you introduce new spells? To the main list, or by expanding the additional spells lists? Personally I'd say it has to but the latter. But I'd also be in favor of cutting back in spell bloat and power creep.

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    Default Re: Hypothesis: moving spells from class list to subclass list would improve the game

    It's not unheard of. 2E specialist wizards had two banned schools. Illusionists for example could never learn or cast Necromancy and Invocation spells. 3E Psionics did this if not as much as you might prefer. The 2E cleric sphere system was supposed to do this, but the PHB made it meaningless. The Priest's Handbook went full into it but became obsolete when 2E Tome of Magic published new Spheres. There is a major problem and minor problem.

    Major
    Perfect equivalence of power may be impossible among the subclasses, but they need to be close enough. There's a reason in 2E Divination specialists only had one banned school. 5E Diviners get Portent, which is a juicy ability, but how many players in this hypthetical would be willing to cast Clairvoyance in exchange for never casting Fireball or Hypnotic Pattern? You will need some Big Boom spells be available for everyone. Maybe Fireball is iconic enough you'll allow for every wizard and gate Wall of Fire as Evocation only. Even so you will need to have worthy exclusive spells unless you're willing to accept School Special Abilities not being equal. That is, Divination has powerful School Abilities because it has weak exclusive spells, but Transmutation has weak School Abilities because it has powerful exclusive spells. It's not enough just to declare only Transmuters may cast Polymorph.

    Minor
    Player perspective. Presuming the idea works in balance, how players perceive it matters. "Wizard" needs to be changed to "Mage". For good or ill "wizard" implies you can cast any spell via game history and media. Flavor text needs to stress your character is more the School Specialization than the generic class name. Helping in Worldbuild it needs be advised it's gameworld normal that no one can cast every spell and are not supposed to. Whether there is a rivalry between Schools is for the DM to decide. You'll need a plausible explanation as why exclusive spells are such. Why can't an Illusionist cast Polymorph more than just because the rules say so? Rather, help the DM create a reason. Offer different ideas the DM can use and otherwise inspire the DM to create his own.
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    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: Hypothesis: moving spells from class list to subclass list would improve the game

    Quote Originally Posted by Pex View Post
    It's not unheard of. 2E specialist wizards had two banned schools. Illusionists for example could never learn or cast Necromancy and Invocation spells. 3E Psionics did this if not as much as you might prefer. The 2E cleric sphere system was supposed to do this, but the PHB made it meaningless. The Priest's Handbook went full into it but became obsolete when 2E Tome of Magic published new Spheres. There is a major problem and minor problem.
    Legends and Lore and Monster Mythology priests include priests with access to Tome of Magic spheres. There's nothing wrong with priests like CPH priests that don't use those spheres, though. That is, I don't think CPH is obsolete. Tome of Magic spheres are deliberately esoteric.
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    Titan in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Hypothesis: moving spells from class list to subclass list would improve the game

    No offense, PhoenixPhyre, but it sounds like a solution looking for a problem.

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    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Default Re: Hypothesis: moving spells from class list to subclass list would improve the game

    Quote Originally Posted by Unoriginal View Post
    No offense, PhoenixPhyre, but it sounds like a solution looking for a problem.
    None taken. And I don't completely disagree. It's certainly not a priority in any of my games. The only class I feel really needs a change is wizards. IMO, they're the absolute, hands-down worst designed class in 5e. No thematic consistency, the (PHB) subclasses are vacuous (each has one major feature), and most of the levels are dead other than getting new spell levels. So boring + nearly impossible to balance because they can do almost anything and have very little opportunity cost. A bard can be built to do lots of things, but once specialized isn't nearly as good at the other things. A sorcerer must specialize. A wizard? Nah, tomorrow they can be completely different. That's horrible design that only encourages no-theme min-max. Clerics slightly less so--I dislike that clerics of all domains play so similarly, relying on the same couple of spells.

    Quote Originally Posted by PhantomSoul View Post
    Then again, often a tag system might be ideal for simplicity; you have a list with the Fey tag and those spells are available to Fey-origin sorcerers, for example.
    That would be my ideal. One of the things about D&D I like least is the fixed class spell lists. I've made an initial stab at breaking them out into "tagged" lists, organized by theme. Available as a google doc, I've found it useful for NPCs. Never playtested it for PCs yet, because I tend to run pretty "vanilla" (mechanically) games.
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    HalflingRangerGuy

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    Default Re: Hypothesis: moving spells from class list to subclass list would improve the game

    I think to make it work it would have to be WotC doing it (5.5e?) in order to ensure that everyone is on the same page (people are not going to want to join your game if you homebrew this) and also to add a bunch of spells to ensure that every subclass has at least one thematically sensible spell at every level. If those two things were to happen then yeah I think it would be better than the current system.
    Last edited by verbatim; 2021-04-17 at 02:03 PM.

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    Titan in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Hypothesis: moving spells from class list to subclass list would improve the game

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    None taken. And I don't completely disagree. It's certainly not a priority in any of my games. The only class I feel really needs a change is wizards. IMO, they're the absolute, hands-down worst designed class in 5e. No thematic consistency, the (PHB) subclasses are vacuous (each has one major feature), and most of the levels are dead other than getting new spell levels. So boring + nearly impossible to balance because they can do almost anything and have very little opportunity cost. A bard can be built to do lots of things, but once specialized isn't nearly as good at the other things. A sorcerer must specialize. A wizard? Nah, tomorrow they can be completely different. That's horrible design that only encourages no-theme min-max. Clerics slightly less so--I dislike that clerics of all domains play so similarly, relying on the same couple of spells.
    Since this is your issue with it, wouldn't it be better to re-work the Wizard subclasses to be more about their specialties and less about getting the next spell level, rather than just modify the spell lists (which wouldn't help make the subclasses less vacuous)?

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    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Default Re: Hypothesis: moving spells from class list to subclass list would improve the game

    i looked at you tag list (i also agree with the idea of tags). 28 tags is quite excessive since each tag only has a few spells at certain levels (voidwalker only has one 2nd-level spell) i would focus on condensing them to maybe 14 or less. maybe hydromancer, geomancer, aeromancer, and pyromancer can get condensed into Elementalist. i understand the different mentalities often associated with the different elements but with each tag list having so few spells at each level it might be necessary. i will take a closer look at the tags and maybe come up with some more suggestions as to how to condense them.

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    HalflingRangerGuy

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    Default Re: Hypothesis: moving spells from class list to subclass list would improve the game

    An interesting alternative would be giving Wizard subclasses the ability to scribe spell scrolls of their school of magic that they can't normally learn.
    Last edited by verbatim; 2021-04-17 at 02:05 PM.

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    Daemon

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    Default Re: Hypothesis: moving spells from class list to subclass list would improve the game

    Quote Originally Posted by Unoriginal View Post
    Since this is your issue with it, wouldn't it be better to re-work the Wizard subclasses to be more about their specialties and less about getting the next spell level, rather than just modify the spell lists (which wouldn't help make the subclasses less vacuous)?
    But to do anything interesting with the subclasses requires first taking an axe to the spell list. Because giving them anything more as it stands would push them from "arguably the most powerful (and blandest)" to "absolutely the most powerful and slightly less bland". Both have to be done. There's no room to give them anything thematic without chainsaw surgery on the spell list, because currently they get a major feature every other level--new spell levels of a massive list.

    Quote Originally Posted by KittenMagician View Post
    i looked at you tag list (i also agree with the idea of tags). 28 tags is quite excessive since each tag only has a few spells at certain levels (voidwalker only has one 2nd-level spell) i would focus on condensing them to maybe 14 or less. maybe hydromancer, geomancer, aeromancer, and pyromancer can get condensed into Elementalist. i understand the different mentalities often associated with the different elements but with each tag list having so few spells at each level it might be necessary. i will take a closer look at the tags and maybe come up with some more suggestions as to how to condense them.
    The idea was that you'd generally have your personal spell list be the union of two of those themes. Generally one free choice (from a subset chosen by class) and one dictated by your subclass. But I agree, there needs to be condensing.
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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Hypothesis: moving spells from class list to subclass list would improve the game

    Back when I thought I might be decent at DMing, I worked up a separate spell list for each of the Norse gods' clerics. I took away many spells, added a few non-cleric spells, and threw in a few thematic homebrew spells for each deity (and narrowed each god down to 3-4 possible domains so as to increase thematics and decrease redundancy). It was a huge amount of work, and I never even reached the point where I seriously considered real balancing.

    Of course, it never saw any actual play because I punted on DMing before that could happen. But I imagine that any players would have absolutely hated it, and either carped continuously about the inadequacy of certain god's lists and how I'd gutted some clerics, or had a field day with creating exploits that I'd never considered. And that's assuming that anyone would even buy into a Norse-god-only campaign.

    So, I agree with you wholeheartedly about the concept. But I can assure you it'd take a ton of work (for a possibly dubious payoff).

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    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Hypothesis: moving spells from class list to subclass list would improve the game

    I have had the same idea in the back of my head for a while. I'd be down to help sort spells.
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    Default Re: Hypothesis: moving spells from class list to subclass list would improve the game

    Having played a wizard of the school of enchantment (I think I'll just say enchanter), there are things I do and don't like about this idea. Many enchantment spells aren't on the wizard list and are almost the 'signature spells' of some classes. Your idea could break this barrier down and let enchanters buff and cc with the other classes.

    The problem is that this idea runs aground of some spells not always fitting their thematic school. It's utterly reasonable for an enchanter to know the spells Cause Fear and Fear, but for whatever reason, they are Necromancy and Illusion respectively. Hex is an enchantment spell, but Bestow Curse is necromancy. There are a bunch of spells that fit thematic lines better than they fit school lines and your proposal can keep a player firmly locked to one school even if it hurts their theme or function.

    As it stands, I think I can stand it the way things are. While an enchanter wizard won't be the best enchanter, they're still an effective wizard. All the rituals you can eat, no preparation necessary.

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    Default Re: Hypothesis: moving spells from class list to subclass list would improve the game

    This doesn't have to be divided solely along schools. The enchanter can get fear and bestow curse could reasonably stay on the class list. Same thing with blasting. All wizards might get lightning bolt, but only an evoker gets fireball. Then you look at the sorcerer and say that shadow sorcerers can get vampiric touch.
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    Daemon

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    Default Re: Hypothesis: moving spells from class list to subclass list would improve the game

    Quote Originally Posted by thoroughlyS View Post
    This doesn't have to be divided solely along schools. The enchanter can get fear and bestow curse could reasonably stay on the class list. Same thing with blasting. All wizards might get lightning bolt, but only an evoker gets fireball. Then you look at the sorcerer and say that shadow sorcerers can get vampiric touch.
    I agree. I, personally, think that the schools of magic are a legacy element that doesn't serve much purpose at this point. Balance lists by theme of spell. My general rule of thumb is that anything that could be described as spell X, but improved should be subclass specific (ie teleport vs teleport circle, true polymorph vs polymorph vs alter self, major image vs minor image, most of the wall of X spells (including forcecage), etc. Being an awful person, I'd say that most spells that make you go "yeah, this is a sure pick for almost any wizard" should go on a sub-class list instead of the main list. I'd leave mage armor and a few of the basic spells on the main list, even with that criterion, but yeah.
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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Hypothesis: moving spells from class list to subclass list would improve the game

    Quote Originally Posted by No brains View Post
    Having played a wizard of the school of enchantment (I think I'll just say enchanter), there are things I do and don't like about this idea. Many enchantment spells aren't on the wizard list and are almost the 'signature spells' of some classes. Your idea could break this barrier down and let enchanters buff and cc with the other classes.
    Wizards are definitely not the place I'd look for the expansion overall (that's why my mind jumped to Sorcerers, for whom a core list + a thematic expansion seems best). For Wizards, I'd potentially have it so that they can use (but not scribe) spell scrolls of their chosen school if changing anything, but really, I'd be quite happy to have Wizards toned down a bit (e.g. having something like the old opposing schools + maybe a generalist option), though I'm all for a different class structure for them overall (e.g. having them have an initial school-based subclass and then the option for a prestige subclass sometimes based on their school, e.g. having war wizard, bladesinger and scribe wizard not be entry-level subclasses but instead advanced specialisations, a bit more like the class is organised into tiered education/learning).

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    Default Re: Hypothesis: moving spells from class list to subclass list would improve the game

    Quote Originally Posted by PhantomSoul View Post
    Wizards are definitely not the place I'd look for the expansion overall (that's why my mind jumped to Sorcerers, for whom a core list + a thematic expansion seems best).
    Agreed. The idea works much better, both mechanically and thematically, with Sorcerers, Clerics and Warlocks.

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    Default Re: Hypothesis: moving spells from class list to subclass list would improve the game

    The idea is to trim down the base class spell list, by moving some of the spells to subclass lists. I argue that this idea is best applied to wizard, as they are the class with the most bloated spell list. The reason wizards are seen as the best class is because all of all of the dynamite spells that every wizard instantly has access to. If you move these spells to the subclasses, the wizard overall becomes less powerful, which means you can add back in strength elsewhere. For example, moving polymorph from the wizard spell list to a hypothetical transmuter spell list makes it so that not every wizard has access to one of the most powerful buff spells in the game.
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    Default Re: Hypothesis: moving spells from class list to subclass list would improve the game

    Quote Originally Posted by MaxWilson View Post
    ...
    Then just eliminate sorcerers (the other Wish casters) from the game and I think you're good.
    Hey!

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    Default Re: Hypothesis: moving spells from class list to subclass list would improve the game

    I have drafted some preliminary lists (5th-level, which takes us through Tier 2) to generate some discussion. The idea is mostly to move the absolute best spells onto separate lists, so that each subclass gets something nice to play with. If a spell appears in one of the subclass lists, it isn't on the wizard spell list anymore. Spells in red are not originally wizard spells.

    Spoiler: abjurer
    Show
    1st shield
    2nd barkskin
    3rd counterspell
    4th banishment
    5th dispel evil and good

    Spoiler: conjurer
    Show
    1st unseen servant
    2nd misty step
    3rd sleet storm
    4th Evard's black tentacles
    5th steel wind strike

    Spoiler: diviner
    Show
    1st gift of alacrity
    2nd detect thoughts
    3rd nondetection
    4th divination
    5th scrying

    Spoiler: enchanter
    Show
    1st Tasha's hideous laughter
    2nd Tasha's mind whip
    3rd intellect fortress
    4th compulsion
    5th synaptic static

    Spoiler: evoker
    Show
    1st chromatic orb
    2nd darkness
    3rd fireball
    4th wall of fire
    5th wall of force

    Spoiler: illusionist
    Show
    1st color spray
    2nd mirror image
    3rd hypnotic pattern
    4th greater invisibility
    5th mislead

    Spoiler: necromancer
    Show
    1st inflict wounds
    2nd darkness
    3rd animate dead
    4th shadow of moil
    5th danse macabre

    Spoiler: transmuter
    Show
    1st entangle
    2nd enhance ability
    3rd slow
    4th polymorph
    5th animate objects


    Spoiler: war wizard
    Show
    1st shield
    2nd aid
    3rd slow
    4th wall of fire
    5th steel wind strike
    Last edited by thoroughlyS; 2021-04-18 at 12:53 AM.
    Goblin in the Playground

    Most 3.5 thing I've ever seen: RAW on RAW. Love you, Curmudgeon.

  28. - Top - End - #28
    Orc in the Playground
     
    ClericGuy

    Join Date
    Oct 2013

    Default Re: Hypothesis: moving spells from class list to subclass list would improve the game

    It seems like an interesting idea if you want to really make each specialization more...Specialized. Id suggest you give it a shot at your table and see if you like it! It could be a lot of fun, but Id probably let it stay an optional/home ruling.

  29. - Top - End - #29
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    PirateGuy

    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Hypothesis: moving spells from class list to subclass list would improve the game

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    Being an awful person, I'd say that most spells that make you go "yeah, this is a sure pick for almost any wizard" should go on a sub-class list instead of the main list. I'd leave mage armor and a few of the basic spells on the main list, even with that criterion, but yeah.
    I agree with this sentiment one hundred percent. Honestly, I think its mostly because I'm tired of "diviners" mainly abusing transmutation spells, but I do fully agree that the wizard list as a whole is way too bloated, and the best options being available to everyone makes them feel bland and same-y.

    Pretty much every spell that is a "must pick" could be subclass exclusive, and the game would be far better for it, imo.

  30. - Top - End - #30
    Halfling in the Playground
     
    BardGuy

    Join Date
    Sep 2019
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Hypothesis: moving spells from class list to subclass list would improve the game

    I totally agree. If Evokers only had fireball, and transmuters only had polymorph it would have made each school feel more special, and having these powerful spells would be a benefit in itself for choosing to play them.
    Each subclass should feel different. Right now everyone can blast, and they do it as well as the evoker. But if evokers had their own, better, blasting spells it would've made them unique.

    I was also experimenting with the idea. I thought about making a general list for all wizards, and then each school adds on the general list with their own specialty list.

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