Wizards Shouldn't Get Spells Automatically, A Modest Proposal

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In my latest blog, I am making the case that Wizards should not get spells automatically. Tell me what you think. Do you think I am crazy or that I am onto something?

Dale McCoy

President of Jon Brazer Enterprises

Read my D&D 5E Blog and sign up for our D&D 5E Newsletter

Can you summarize without us redirecting to your blog?

"The Apollo moon landing is off topic for this thread and this forum. Let's get back on topic." Crazy Monkey

We've always played that wizard characters have to roll for their spells at character creation to reflect "This is what your master taught you." Any later spells that might be learned were determined by random roll on the treasure table. There is no free picking and choosing.
We've always played that wizard characters have to roll for their spells at character creation to reflect "This is what your master taught you." Any later spells that might be learned were determined by random roll on the treasure table. There is no free picking and choosing.



I high five your group!

I like the thought of magic being random and risky

"The Apollo moon landing is off topic for this thread and this forum. Let's get back on topic." Crazy Monkey

I think you're onto something, but it needs more work. Though that just might be me, because I'm disappointed by what I've seen of the classes so far.

Otherwise, I like the idea of all the classes having to learn their skills instead of automatically being granted new abilities. Especially if I don't happen to want said ability ... but that's an entirely different topic.
We've always played that wizard characters have to roll for their spells at character creation to reflect "This is what your master taught you." Any later spells that might be learned were determined by random roll on the treasure table. There is no free picking and choosing.



I did something similar in 1e-2e.  Half the level one spells were selectable, since as an apprentice your master might teach you stuff you want to be taught.  The rest were rolled and then none were just "gained" unless you were a specialist.  Specialists got one spell of their specialty when they gained a level.

Much of 3e's brokeness was from allowing spellcasters to just pick and choose 2 spells a level.  
This sounds fine for wizards and those who only learn magic from books, but does not work for those born with natural arcane talent such as sorcerers or those who gain power from arcane pacts with powerful beings sch as warlocks.
^ In the case of the sorceror it's the DM who says what you learn/naturally develope. In the case of the warlock it's the DM who tells you what your pact power decided to "teach" you.
We've always played that wizard characters have to roll for their spells at character creation to reflect "This is what your master taught you." Any later spells that might be learned were determined by random roll on the treasure table. There is no free picking and choosing.



If you were playing 3.5E you were house ruling...
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
I think you're onto something, but it needs more work.



I agree it is just a rough idea. Basically it was an idea I had in the shower this morning and thought I'd throw it up on the web and let people share their thoughts.

Dale McCoy

President of Jon Brazer Enterprises

Read my D&D 5E Blog and sign up for our D&D 5E Newsletter

We've always played that wizard characters have to roll for their spells at character creation to reflect "This is what your master taught you." Any later spells that might be learned were determined by random roll on the treasure table. There is no free picking and choosing.



I did something similar in 1e-2e.  Half the level one spells were selectable, since as an apprentice your master might teach you stuff you want to be taught.  The rest were rolled and then none were just "gained" unless you were a specialist.  Specialists got one spell of their specialty when they gained a level.

Much of 3e's brokeness was from allowing spellcasters to just pick and choose 2 spells a level.  



I'm not certain picking and choosing was that broken of a mechanic. But that's another subject.

I began in 1st and I liked the set-up that the DMG had where a beginning magic-user got certain base spells and one each from a list of offensive, defensive, and miscellaneous spells. As a house rule, I used to let them add in additional spells based on having extraordinary Int scores.

When leveling, since the idea was that the character was putting themselves through some sort of (mostly) "off-camera" training, I had no problem with them gaining a new spell of their choice. Of course, back then you had to roll for knowing the spell chosen, so sometimes your actual spell gained wasn't that first choice.

We've always played that wizard characters have to roll for their spells at character creation to reflect "This is what your master taught you." Any later spells that might be learned were determined by random roll on the treasure table. There is no free picking and choosing.



If you were playing 3.5E you were house ruling...




We also used spell points and removed alter reality, limited wish and wish spells from the game. We had a much better time and more enjoyable game play than the groups that did not.
We've always played that wizard characters have to roll for their spells at character creation to reflect "This is what your master taught you." Any later spells that might be learned were determined by random roll on the treasure table. There is no free picking and choosing.



If you were playing 3.5E you were house ruling...




We also used spell points and removed alter reality, limited wish and wish spells from the game. We had a much better time and more enjoyable game play than the groups that did not.



Which only proves how broken 3.xE was...
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
We've always played that wizard characters have to roll for their spells at character creation to reflect "This is what your master taught you." Any later spells that might be learned were determined by random roll on the treasure table. There is no free picking and choosing.



If you were playing 3.5E you were house ruling...




We also used spell points and removed alter reality, limited wish and wish spells from the game. We had a much better time and more enjoyable game play than the groups that did not.



You can't actually know that forcertain.
Player Empowerment

DM: "Oh look, you've selected all the broken spells."
Yeah,

I had a DM who would grant your wish exactly as worded (no mechanics terms allowed only character terms). If there was any room for him to add a drawback to the wish you better believe he would add it.

Sometimes he was a bit harsh but it kept your wizard from running around wishing for everything in sight.

Edition wars kill players,Dungeons and Dragons needs every player it can get.

Yeah, I had a DM who would grant your wish exactly as worded (no mechanics terms allowed only character terms). If there was any room for him to add a drawback to the wish you better believe he would add it. Sometimes he was a bit harsh but it kept your wizard from running around wishing for everything in sight.



I love when players wish for more experience...

I plop them in the middle of a round table of dragons....

or

I summon one of each of the golem types one after another...

or

I summon an infinite number of kobolds in groups that put it at a hard encounter....
"Unite the [fan] base? Hardly. As of right now, I doubt their ability to unite a slightly unruly teabag with a cup of water."--anjelika
1-4E play style
The 4E play style is a high action cinematic style of play where characters worry less about being killed in one hit and more about strategy and what their next move is and the one after it. The players talk back and forth about planning a battle and who can do what to influence the outcome. 4E play is filled with cinematic over the top action. An Eladrin teleports out of the grip of the Ogre. The Fighter slams the dragons foot with his hammer causing it to rear up and stagger back in pain. The Cleric creates a holy zone where their allies weapons are guided to their targets and whenever an enemy dies the Clerics allies are healed. 4E is about knowing when to lauch your nova attack, whether its a huge arcane spell that causes enemies to whirl around in a chaotic storm, or if its a trained adrenaline surge that causes you to attack many many times with two weapons on a single target, or a surge of adrenaline that keeps you going though you should already be dead. Its about tactics and the inability to carry around a bag of potions or a few wands and never have to worry about healing. Its about the guy that can barely role play having the same chance to convince the king to aid the group as the guy that takes improv acting classes and regularly stars as an extra on movies.
Stormwind Fallacy
The Stormwind Fallacy, aka the Roleplayer vs Rollplayer Fallacy Just because one optimizes his characters mechanically does not mean that they cannot also roleplay, and vice versa. Corollary: Doing one in a game does not preclude, nor infringe upon, the ability to do the other in the same game. Generalization 1: One is not automatically a worse role player if he optimizes, and vice versa. Generalization 2: A non-optimized character is not automatically role played better than an optimized one, and vice versa. ...[aside]... Proof: These two elements rely on different aspects of a player's game play. Optimization factors in to how well one understands the rules and handles synergies to produce a very effective end result. Role playing deals with how well a player can act in character and behave as if he was someone else. A person can act while understanding the rules, and can build something powerful while still handling an effective character. There is nothing in the game -- mechanical or otherwise -- restricting one if you participate in the other. Claiming that an optimizer cannot role play (or is participating in a play style that isn't supportive of role playing) because he is an optimizer, or vice versa, is committing the Stormwind Fallacy.
The spells we should getLook here to Check out my adventures and ideas. I've started a blog, about video games, table top role playing games, programming, and many other things its called Kel and Lok Games. My 4E Fantasy Grounds game is currently full.
well, maybe just remove the broken/bad spells before the game goes "live"?

It may make a good house-rule, but I as a player would be seriously pissed if my luck was bad and I ended up with pretty useless spells all the time. Same thing if my DM just wanted to keep me away from that one combat spell (heared stories about DMs hiding any existing scroll or tome containing fireball or lightning bolt in 2e)

Just balance all the spells so they'll be equally desirable and free choice (as well as random rolling) will leave no one in extreme (dis)advantage. It also lessens the amount of "mandatory spells".
We've always played that wizard characters have to roll for their spells at character creation to reflect "This is what your master taught you." Any later spells that might be learned were determined by random roll on the treasure table. There is no free picking and choosing.



If you were playing 3.5E you were house ruling...




We also used spell points and removed alter reality, limited wish and wish spells from the game. We had a much better time and more enjoyable game play than the groups that did not.



Which only proves how broken 3.xE was...



Those weren't the spells that broke the game.  They were very powerful, but also very manageable. 
Tried to find satire in your "modest proposal", located none.  Quite disappointed in that.

I think you're basically on the right track, but first of all don't go far enough.  Without spending some character advancment resource (like fighters seem to in order to advance damage/to-hit/etc), a wizard's casting should not advance in any way.

Right now, we know a fighter gets Surge at 2nd and +1 Damage at 3rd.  It's possible (even probable) that either or both of these abilities come from some sort of menu to select between.  For the moment, I'm going to assume that there was a hidden fighter's option list for levelling up, and the playtest examples were simply pre-chosen just like the wizard's spells were.

Right now, the Wizard gets more spells per day at each level, and access to a higher level of spells at character level 3.  The wizard also gets better at one spell in particular: Magic Missile.

Proposal for Wizard spell advancement: At each level past first, the wizard may choose a level of spells he can already cast.  He gets an extra spell per day of that level.  One may never have more level X spells per day than level X-1 spells per day.  Instead of taking an extra slot, a wizard may choose to lose one slot of every level they currently have access to, as long as each spell level would have at least one slot remaining.  If a wizard does, they gain a single slot of a new spell level. (So if a first level wizard has 2 first level spells/day, a second level wizard has either 3 first or 1 first and 1 second.  A third level wizard can have two first and one second or four first and no second.  If my math is correct, new spell levels become geometrically more difficult to attain: 3rd arrives on time if you push for it, everythign else starts arriving late compared to 'classic')

Spells do not scale in any way, shape, or form.

Minors go away.

Cherry-picking spells known goes away.

"Enjoy your screams, Sarpadia - they will soon be muffled beneath snow and ice."
On Worldbuilding - On Crafting Aliens - Pillars of Art and Flavor - Simulationism, Narritivism, and Gamism - Shub-Niggurath in D&D
THE COALITION WAR GAME -Phyrexian Chief Praetor
Round 1: (4-1-2, 1 kill)
Round 2: (16-8-2, 4 kills)
Round 3: (18-9-2, 1 kill)
Round 4: (22-10-0, 2 kills)
Round 5: (56-16-3, 9 kills)
Round 6: (8-7-1)

Last Edited by Ralph on blank, 1920

In my latest blog, I am making the case that Wizards should not get spells automatically. Tell me what you think. Do you think I am crazy or that I am onto something?



I think your initial premise is mistaken. They never said fighters aren't going to automatically get better with level. They said "we make no assumptions that your accuracy or defense (AC) will get better." Damage is going to get better, you're going to get new capabilities, more hit points, etc. You're just not going to get that automatic +1 to hit every level.

That said, I agree that there needs to be a very careful approach to how wizards' spells improve as they level. I was happy to read that they were not planning to allow spells to automatically get better with level, but then there it is with magic missile in the playtest, so I'm not sure if they changed their minds on that.

I don't know if not gaining higher level spells automatically is the answer though. I can see that as an option (sort of like the alternate class features in 3.5 Unearthed Arcana) but I wouldn't build that into the core rules. It's several steps too far from what the traditional D&D wizard is like.

As for not getting automatic spells of the player's choice at level up, I have mixed feelings about it. I like for the players to be empowered to create the character they want - both as DM and as a player whose favorite class is wizard. But I also see how it can become a problem if it's too easy for a wizard character to get every spell they want with no limitations.

In 2nd edition, my group developed some fairly detailed rules about researching existing spells, copying spells from borrowed or acquired spellbooks, etc. I don't know if the core rules need to have that level of detail either, but the gist of it was that learning a new spell required not only an ability check to learn, but also an investment of time and money. How much time and money, and how difficult it was to learn, depended on whether it was a spell you had in a book in front of you, a spell you had heard of but never actually seen written down, or a spell you had never heard of anyone else using which you just invented from scratch. 

Again I don't think you need to go into too much detail in the core rules, but at the very least the DC should be different when you roll to learn a spell. But I also don't think it hurts to let the player start with a number of freebies of whatever they want, and maybe work in a freebie every other level so they have SOMETHING to cast when they get a new spell level.

In the end though, I think it's up to the DM to say yes or no to the wizard's spell choices, and how easy it is to learn the spells the player wants, based on what kind of game the DM is trying to run. A good DM is going to do his/her best to balance player goals with campaign goals in this regard, as in everything.
We've always played that wizard characters have to roll for their spells at character creation to reflect "This is what your master taught you." Any later spells that might be learned were determined by random roll on the treasure table. There is no free picking and choosing.



I've done that on several occasions (played and DM) and the extreme bad result (which happens more often than you think) is that the player gets spells he feels are completely useless.  Further, when this happens the DM can create instances where those spells are useful but the player does not see it simply because he's upset.

In addition, what if the player has a specific character concept in mind and the random spells totally breaks that concept?

I agree that the 3e mechanic of simply choosing 2 new spells every level is not the way to go.  However, there is a method to the madness (as detailed in the 3e PHB) - the wizard is constantly training and the picking of new spells each level is the culmination of that process.

In my house rules, I take it a step further, at each level a player of a wizard must inform me what spells he intends to take at the next level i.e. so at level 1 he must tell me that he plans to learn spells X and Y upon reaching 2nd level and so on.

Further, I restrict the "studying" mechanic for new level spells.  If a player informs me that his 4th level wizard is going to study fireball for when he reaches 5th level, that is the ONLY spell he can learn; if the wizard gets a scroll with a spell he does not know, he has to wait to scribe it to his spellbook.  My reasoning: increasing one's power like that takes all your effort and any "distraction" risks failure to achieve the goal - the new spell.

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/19.jpg)

RedSiegfried wrote:
The cool thing is, you don't even NEED a reason to say yes.  Just stop looking for a reason to say no.
For Booky based casters, or people who actually use formuale to make magic happen, and can have an expansive lsit of spells to choose from in their library, I allowed the specialist to pick a new spell when they leveled, but generalists were sorta up the creek, and would be well served by association with other mages to excahnge lore, and seek out ancient tomes or places of power. Mind you, I would usually provide a plot hook to whatever it is they expressed they really wanted, and many useful spells will be fairly common amongst those who cast them. 

I've seen this system abused horribly, because some DMs hate Wizards, or their players, or both... and by hate, I mean take sadistic glee in making them feel weak or stupid. All it takes is one bad experience to create the knee jerk. 

Now, for games starting at more advanced levels, I do like to give my players more control over their character's histories, and would allow selection within reason. I may say a particular spell or two are not allowed, or one or so are mandatory, but the full list is still largely under their control. 
I have an answer for you, it may even be the truth.
What I think is that your thread title and blog summary ask a very different question than your blog does.


You can't actually know that forcertain.


Sure they can.  They didn't remove divinations.
Seriously, though, you should check out the PbP Haven. You might also like Real Adventures, IF you're cool.
Knights of W.T.F.- Silver Spur Winner
4enclave, a place where 4e fans can talk 4e in peace.
In my campaigns using random spell acquisition, the generalist mage gets 2 random spells from each of the three silos in his starting spellbook - attack, defense, utility. After that, further magical power in the form of spell scrolls comes from whatever he finds in the game and manages to learn.

If a player wants to play a specific themed mage, he can do so. He gets to pick one spell each time he gains a new spell level. This spell must be on the 'theme' list for his specific type of mage. There's another (generally bigger) list of spells he can never learn, and never even cast through an item. Otherwise, random acquisition.

If a player wanted (hasn't happened yet) to have no random acquisition, we would work together to build the list of spells he will learn. He can't learn or cast spells outside that list at all, from any source.

I'd no more let a wizard player pick 2 spells every level from the entire list and just 'know them' than I'd let fighters pick 2 magic items every level that duplicate a wizard's spell of that level and just 'have them'.
Maybe everyone picks the same spells because the rest aren't very good.
I like the idea of one free spell every spell level (not character level) of the player's choice.  This simulates the learning the character has been working towards in her spare time.  Anything else must be obtained by barter/purchase (very rare, as I have no magic shops), adventuring, knowledge exchange, or captured spellbooks.  You can also research a spell, but it's costly and time-consuming.  That's the only way to 'pick your own' spell though (again...other than the one free every spell level).

I've run wizard-loving players for a very long time, and although most object to this in the beginning, they rapidly find it much more to their liking when the party doesn't have to plan on every enemy wizard having the 'perfect' spell selection, either.

"Lightning...it flashes bright, then fades away.  It can't protect, it can only destroy."

For Booky based casters, or people who actually use formuale to make magic happen, and can have an expansive lsit of spells to choose from in their library, I allowed the specialist to pick a new spell when they leveled, but generalists were sorta up the creek, and would be well served by association with other mages to excahnge lore, and seek out ancient tomes or places of power. Mind you, I would usually provide a plot hook to whatever it is they expressed they really wanted, and many useful spells will be fairly common amongst those who cast them.



This is pretty much my preference too. I'm happy to work with wizard players to get them spells, but I'm not entirely comfortable with a character having access to every spell from anywhere, instantly. 

I like the idea of one free spell every spell level (not character level) of the player's choice.  This simulates the learning the character has been working towards in her spare time.  Anything else must be obtained by barter/purchase (very rare, as I have no magic shops), adventuring, knowledge exchange, or captured spellbooks.  You can also research a spell, but it's costly and time-consuming.  That's the only way to 'pick your own' spell though (again...other than the one free every spell level).

I've run wizard-loving players for a very long time, and although most object to this in the beginning, they rapidly find it much more to their liking when the party doesn't have to plan on every enemy wizard having the 'perfect' spell selection, either.


I think you have brought up a fantastic point.

Many DMs have the problem of loading their villains and NPCs with "the perfect spells" to combat the party with.  This often creates scenarios where the players are required to have certain spells or face huge disadvantages that are often unfair.  This leads to the players thinking that having every spell is mandatory, and it often is in such campaigns, since their opponents will have every spell at their disposal.

If I knew that the villains had the same disadvantage as me, I would not balk at the idea of having to find or earn my spells.  But if every villain has the perfect spell list in which to challenge me every time, you bet I am going to insist on auto picks by class level.
I like the idea of one free spell every spell level (not character level) of the player's choice.  This simulates the learning the character has been working towards in her spare time.  Anything else must be obtained by barter/purchase (very rare, as I have no magic shops), adventuring, knowledge exchange, or captured spellbooks.  You can also research a spell, but it's costly and time-consuming.  That's the only way to 'pick your own' spell though (again...other than the one free every spell level).

I've run wizard-loving players for a very long time, and although most object to this in the beginning, they rapidly find it much more to their liking when the party doesn't have to plan on every enemy wizard having the 'perfect' spell selection, either.


I think you have brought up a fantastic point.

Many DMs have the problem of loading their villains and NPCs with "the perfect spells" to combat the party with.  This often creates scenarios where the players are required to have certain spells or face huge disadvantages that are often unfair.  This leads to the players thinking that having every spell is mandatory, and it often is in such campaigns, since their opponents will have every spell at their disposal.

If I knew that the villains had the same disadvantage as me, I would not balk at the idea of having to find or earn my spells.  But if every villain has the perfect spell list in which to challenge me every time, you bet I am going to insist on auto picks by class level.


Of course, once you sieze the villain's spellbook, the "Perfect Spell list" is within your grasp ;)

"Enjoy your screams, Sarpadia - they will soon be muffled beneath snow and ice."
On Worldbuilding - On Crafting Aliens - Pillars of Art and Flavor - Simulationism, Narritivism, and Gamism - Shub-Niggurath in D&D
THE COALITION WAR GAME -Phyrexian Chief Praetor
Round 1: (4-1-2, 1 kill)
Round 2: (16-8-2, 4 kills)
Round 3: (18-9-2, 1 kill)
Round 4: (22-10-0, 2 kills)
Round 5: (56-16-3, 9 kills)
Round 6: (8-7-1)

Last Edited by Ralph on blank, 1920

I like the idea of one free spell every spell level (not character level) of the player's choice.  This simulates the learning the character has been working towards in her spare time.  Anything else must be obtained by barter/purchase (very rare, as I have no magic shops), adventuring, knowledge exchange, or captured spellbooks.  You can also research a spell, but it's costly and time-consuming.  That's the only way to 'pick your own' spell though (again...other than the one free every spell level).

I've run wizard-loving players for a very long time, and although most object to this in the beginning, they rapidly find it much more to their liking when the party doesn't have to plan on every enemy wizard having the 'perfect' spell selection, either.


I think you have brought up a fantastic point.

Many DMs have the problem of loading their villains and NPCs with "the perfect spells" to combat the party with.  This often creates scenarios where the players are required to have certain spells or face huge disadvantages that are often unfair.  This leads to the players thinking that having every spell is mandatory, and it often is in such campaigns, since their opponents will have every spell at their disposal.

If I knew that the villains had the same disadvantage as me, I would not balk at the idea of having to find or earn my spells.  But if every villain has the perfect spell list in which to challenge me every time, you bet I am going to insist on auto picks by class level.


Of course, once you sieze the villain's spellbook, the "Perfect Spell list" is within your grasp ;)


True that unless your DM is being obtuse.  You have no idea how many villains I have faced where the spell book didn't match what the villain cast in battle, or by some stroke of good fortune (for the villain) the spell book is destroyed or can't be found.

Of course, if the book is available and matches what was cast, then yes it is problem solved... for the caster players at least, though it is exactly this that leads to the magical escalation that can render non casters into secondary roles later in the game.
Did anyone even read his blog post? It is about the fact that magic missile scales, not how you select your spells.
Did anyone even read his blog post? It is about the fact that magic missile scales, not how you select your spells.


From the first paragraph of the Op's blog post:

"So last week we read in Legends and Lore that Fighters are not going to automatically get better with each level. This is great in my opinion. Finally, you can use a basic orc, goblin, kobold, etc at all levels of the game. But the question is: how do you balance that against the Wizard. In my humble opinion, that's easy: don't make the wizard automatically get new spell levels every other level. Give the wizard other options like being able to cast his existing spells better. "

He then goes on about an option to make a currently known spell better by choosing to upgrade rather than an automatic scaling as the play test has Magic Missile scale.

It is an idea worth looking into. 

The idea of how spells are gained has a huge impact on his idea, since, as noted above, there are quite a few DMs who don't let spells be automatically gained as characters level as the OP's premise suggests.  If this is the case, how will he reconcile his options in such a campaign?  Will the player just simply be forced into the upgrade option if he found no new spells, or will the option to upgrade be made into something that has to be found or earned as well?

So, as you can see, the discussion currently going on IS relevant to the OP's blog.
Kishri:  Spell Level, not Spell.
Seriously, though, you should check out the PbP Haven. You might also like Real Adventures, IF you're cool.
Knights of W.T.F.- Silver Spur Winner
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Kishri:  Spell Level, not Spell.


Doh!  Good catch.  I totally misread that.  Thank you!
;)
Seriously, though, you should check out the PbP Haven. You might also like Real Adventures, IF you're cool.
Knights of W.T.F.- Silver Spur Winner
4enclave, a place where 4e fans can talk 4e in peace.
It's just lines like this from the original blog that throw me off:

"That's an automatic power increase that the fighter does not get."

My first read through had me going, 'OMG! Another person arguing wizards are too powerful.'  And then the comments in the thread had nothing to do with even what his blog was about.  But seriously Dale, I don't exactly understand what you want.  Most wizard spells don't scale in the same range as magic missile.   So what does "instead of the wizard getting a new spell level, the wizard can choose to make all his spells better" mean exactly.  Are you saying that when you hit second level gaining an additional first level spell, you could choose to take an effect instead.  And then when you hit third level, you can either gain the additional first level spell you would have taken at second or another option entirely. 

I just want to understand.  I would like to see the actual mechanics of the effects. But I don't know if I really want to seperate caster level from character level.  If Fireball follows the same mechanics it did for years a 5d6 fireball cast by a 5th level character (save for half, takes a 3rd level spell slot) is simple enough.  To say well, my character is actually sixth level, my caster level is 5th, and because I took an effect at 2nd level I can cast that same fireball twice in one round (um, twice per day).  That would be definately cooler than just increasing the area of effect or being able to cast a 6d6 fireball at 6th level.  I could probably live with a metamagic style rule like that.    
 
If it was intended to be another wizards are too powerful thread, then I apologize.  I refuse to argue that point any more. 
Thank you! I was really wondering where this whole branch of choosing spells came from and just decided to let the bunny trail go on. Thank you for bringing it back on topic.

First off, I love wizards. One of my all time favorite characters was halfling necromancer that hated undead (he was good at his job, just didn't like it). Over my years, I learned I know how to play a spellcaster well, not a fighter. But that doesn't means I don't see a need for some change to how spellcasters work. I don't know how spells scale in 4E, but just about every spell scales in 3.x/Pathfinder.

Fireball: deals 1d6 damage/level.
Teleport: teleports you and 1 additional creature/3 caster levels.
Greater Magic Weapon: +1 enhancement bonus/4 caster levels.

Whether it is by duration or by number of creatures affected or range or damage or whatever, just about every spell scales as you go up in level. Sure they have limits as to how far they can scale, but there is still scaling. Couple that with the fact that wizards get new spell slots every level and new spell levels every other level. So weaker spells get more powerful and more powerful spells are added. Compare that with the fighter that in D&D Next gets to make 2 attacks in a round. Its seems like a 2-to-1 advantage to me. 

To use your example, Damar: the 2nd level wizard takes the heighten spells ability instead of gaining new spells. So, twice per day, that wizard that uses magic missile can now fire 2 magic missiles instead of 1. At first glance that might seem overpowered, but remember, he didn't gain a new spell level. So this wizard would have to take new spell levels every level just to cast that fireball at 6th level, instead of 5th. Sure he can now use that heighten spell ability to let the fireball deal more damage. 

Now here's a crazy example of the other direction. That 6th level wizard never added another spell level beyond the first. Instead he took a number of different options that cost him an increased spell level.  Now he has a choice to fire off 3 missiles (because he took heighten twice), increase the range, potentially confuse the target (on a failed Wisdom save) for a short time, and increase the damage to a 5 ft. burst. Each of these options being a 2/day choice that the wizard choose to go with instead of new spell levels. The wizard can choose to stack them if he so desires. Mind you, he can only do the minor spells and a few 1st level spells. He can't cast fireball or invisibility. But he has alot of options that can make him more powerful without automatically giving him new spell levels. 

Does this explain my idea a bit better?

Dale McCoy

President of Jon Brazer Enterprises

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Buhler?... Buhler?... Buhler?... Buhler?... 

Dale McCoy

President of Jon Brazer Enterprises

Read my D&D 5E Blog and sign up for our D&D 5E Newsletter