Wizard Traditions

I've seen a lot of discussion about the Rogue and the Cleric, but not much on the wizard so I thought I'd bring it up. I'm a little nervous about the Traditions as they are currently presented, though they seem more balanced than I first thought.

With the Academic Tradition all four of your prepared Lv 0 spells are at-will and you gain an additional spell slot of your highest level. I'm a little disappointed it receives no ability to use a "signature spell" (which I shall come back to in a moment), but I see they receive 1 more at-will than the other traditions.

The Battlemage tradition can use burning hands, shocking grasp, and mage armor at-will, Thunderwave is their "signature spell" so it is an encounter power and they gain the Spell Tactician ability, which is interesting. It allows for a wizard to choose targets equal to the spells level + 1, deal no damage to those targets but the targets are automatically effected by any of the spells other effects, including additional damage... which is a little awkward but I see what they mean.

The Illusionist receives mage hand, minor illusion, and shocking grasp at-will and color spray as a "signature spell". They also have the arcane ceception ability meaning they use both of minor illusions effects instead of one and the DC of all their illusions receive a +2.

Here are a few of my problems.

1) Signature Spells: First of all, I'm not sure about being told "this is your signature spell, the same signature spell as every other ###### wizard" I feel having a small list of signature spells might be a better option. I know the DM could just rule in a different signature spell if they felt it fit, but no one likes that sort of thing. Also your signature spell does not change from lv 1 to lv 10 which seems odd to me. Yeah a recruit might only learn Thunderwave as teir signature, but a seasoned battlemage shoul be able to upgrade to a more powerful spell, right? I'm not sure if that will cause balance issues, but it just makes sense to me

2) Spell selection: right now a 1st level character can only prepare 3 lv 0 spells and 1 lv 1 spell. This means that choosing 2 of our 3 traditions is also the same as choosing your entire spell list. After all, why would you pick something other than your at-will and encounter power? So really, you get no meanignful options until level 2, where you will pick 1 lv 0 spell and 1 lv 1 spell as dailies. This doesn't sit right with me, I feel a player should have more options. I get that the Academic is the versatile one, but the other wizard traditions should still offer enough wiggle room that you won't see the same exact set-up for every single lv 1 Battlemage. This leads me to my next point

3) Shocking Grasp: Shocking grasp is a good spell, very useful, but do both of our traditions with actual liss use it instead of Ray of Frost. Battlemages are just as squishy as their academic partners so they want to avoid melee if at all possible, but that means their only other at-will attack spell is burning hands which a) was nerfed hard and b) hits a cone area which makes it less than ideal if your allies are between you and your targets. This is beyond simple tactics. A single target ranged spell is preferable for a wizard so they can avoid melee and not risk hurting their allies. Why are academics the only wizard tradition that seem to have figured that out?

Adding to issue 2 is this new spell slot progression. I feel wizards are recieiving far too few slots since they have to prepare their spells ahead of time. Honestly, I feel a wizard does not need to expend all his spells by the end of the day. His utility comes in being able to use spells when they are needed, so limiting him this far means he has almost no choice. You will pick what is guarenteed to be useful, because you only get 2 spells of each level. That means either 2 attack spells or an attack spell and something like shield or invisibility. I think they should return to 3 or 4 spell slots so that the wizard actually has some room for unique tactics.

Side note: I mentioned this a month or so ago, but I do not beleive Detect magic should be a spell, it should be a class feature. I cannot imagine a wizard, master of the arcane forces of the universe, going around blind to these forces simply because he doesn't know a spell. It's be like a Jedi who can't sense the Force but can still do Force lightning and throws. It just doesn't make any sense. Also, considering how Read Magic is worded I wonder if it should be regulated to a Knowledge (aracana) check instead of a spell. After all, why bother writing a spell in a cypher so other wizards can't read it, if there is a spell that breaks all cyphers and allows wizards to read it... the only way it makes sense is to hide it from non-wizards... who probably couldn't understand it anyways since they don't have the neccesary background training. I could stare a molecular chemist's notebook all day, doesn't mean I'll have a clue what the heck he is writing about
1) I think the signature spell should be one that can be used in higher level slots - like thunder wave I believe.  I think all of the signature spells should be like that.

2) I think they are still playing with the number of spells wizards and other casters get, the earlier playtests were probably too high, and I think this one may be slightly low, but I need to play it a while to see.

3) Shocking grasp is probably a placeholder for the illusionist - they will probably get a more illusion/mind effecting attack cantrip in the future instead of shocking grasp.  As for the battle mage, burning hands in tandem with their ability to 'shape their area of effect spells to avoid hitting allies is probably perfect.  It does put them somewhat close to the battle, but they are battle mages so... 
I think all minor spells memorized should be At-will (like they did in Pathfinder).

I like the signature spell idea (refreshes after 10 minutes), though I would like to build on that to make it a more powerfull spell (like meta feats)

There needs to be a generic school specialist tradition (Invoker, Necromancer, Conjurer etc.. as well.
I like the Signature Spell idea. 
Lit needs more flexability in its design. Something like letting the player pick a spell from the appropriate school to either be, always, the Sgnature Spell or let the Wizard player prepare their Signature Spell from a list of spells for that tradition.
0 level spells should be at-will, though there is a bonus to being able to change them out, a la Pathfinder.
I don't feel the Traditions are being implemented well just yet. There are great possibilities here and I'm looking forward to seeing future developments of it.
+1 Slygamer going back to specalisation schools seems a good thing to me. Also read magic, detect magic should be just wizard skills/feats/features or whatever you want to name it. Mage hand should be a cantrip who could scale as the wizard becomes more powerful. And it seems tome  that some kind of armor spell (shield/mage armor) should be cantrip as well. As for the signature spell, as Chaomancer said, if every wizard has the same signature spell, can it be called signature at all ? Maybe have the wizard choose his signature spell at creation and have it metamagicked in some way.

This was my idea for wizard traditions:


Normal Wizard Progression + 1 extra spell slot per level only for spells in your tradition (or maybe your tradition's spell slots use 1 level lower of a slot) + 1 signature spell from your tradition that can be cast as an encounter instead of a daily. This spell is chosen at level up, and must be a spell you know at that time.


I would also like level 0 spells to go back to being at-wills.


In addition, I prefer that you get fewer spells from level up and there is more emphasis on finding or inventing spells as part of the adventure. Maybe you only gain spells from your tradition at level up and other stuff you have to find/buy/create.


I understand why they might want to limit spell progression. Do you really want to have 30+ spells memorized at high levels? I think maybe they should sit down and consider whether they really need 9 levels of spells or whether they can shrink it down to 4 or 5 (allowing for more spells/level). It must be really hard to manage/balance that progression knowing they have to keep introducing new tiers of spells.


I agree with OP.   With these traditions, the wizard becomes a mishmash of spell slot, "at will", signature...it really isn't very neat/clean.  The changes to the backgrounds/specialties that grant daily uses of specific spells adds to the mishmash (it also does that to the Clerics...but that's a different thread).

I'm not against the idea of Traditions, but implementation needs to become cleaner, more fluid, and choices have to yield variety not too many clone Battle Mages or Illusionists.   I'm assuming that when more spells are available, the cookie cutter aspect of a tradition will not be as cookie cutter.  I think they need to go back to utillizing spell schools as a way to create each tradtion so that individual players can choose different spells for their mainstays and signature spells.   

I'm also a fan of more spell slots and more choices overall, and I'm not sure I like changing burning hands to a cantrip, and making magic missle a 1st level spell.  

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The signature spells are level 1 spells. At level 1, they are balanced. At level 10, they are no longer acceptable.

This was my idea for wizard traditions:


Normal Wizard Progression + 1 extra spell slot per level only for spells in your tradition (or maybe your tradition's spell slots use 1 level lower of a slot) + 1 signature spell from your tradition that can be cast as an encounter instead of a daily. This spell is chosen at level up, and must be a spell you know at that time.


I would also like level 0 spells to go back to being at-wills.


In addition, I prefer that you get fewer spells from level up and there is more emphasis on finding or inventing spells as part of the adventure. Maybe you only gain spells from your tradition at level up and other stuff you have to find/buy/create.


I understand why they might want to limit spell progression. Do you really want to have 30+ spells memorized at high levels? I think maybe they should sit down and consider whether they really need 9 levels of spells or whether they can shrink it down to 4 or 5 (allowing for more spells/level). It must be really hard to manage/balance that progression knowing they have to keep introducing new tiers of spells.




I'm not sure I understand your progression suggested at the top. Could you clarify?

As for spell levels, I have always felt that 9 is a relatively arbritrary number, 10 seems neater, but that doesn't help our situation. I'm also not sure about dropping down as low as 4, though perhaps if the upper limit of spells was lower we would have less of a problem with level 20 wizard = god.

That's a good question, how high do we really need a wizard's spells to go? Maybe somewhere around 7 would be more ideal? I'm more than willing to see truly epic spells such as Wish be regulated to rare rituals that an entire adventure could be built around finding and casting, just so we could still have the highest level spells.
The signature spells are level 1 spells. At level 1, they are balanced. At level 10, they are no longer acceptable.


adrisiankhaine already pointed out that Thunderwave, the signature spell for Battlemages, improves when prepared at higher spell slots (thanks for that, artisiankhaine; I failed to notice that). If all signature spells can scale as such there shouldn't be much of a problem.

I understand why they might want to limit spell progression. Do you really want to have 30+ spells memorized at high levels? I think maybe they should sit down and consider whether they really need 9 levels of spells or whether they can shrink it down to 4 or 5 (allowing for more spells/level). It must be really hard to manage/balance that progression knowing they have to keep introducing new tiers of spells.



 On the contrary. Having less levels to work with would make placing and balancing spells a real hassle, and will only increase the likelihood of junk/auto-pick spells.

Signature Spells: First of all, I'm not sure about being told "this is your signature spell, the same signature spell as every other ###### wizard" I feel having a small list of signature spells might be a better option. I know the DM could just rule in a different signature spell if they felt it fit, but no one likes that sort of thing. Also your signature spell does not change from lv 1 to lv 10 which seems odd to me. Yeah a recruit might only learn Thunderwave as teir signature, but a seasoned battlemage shoul be able to upgrade to a more powerful spell, right? I'm not sure if that will cause balance issues, but it just makes sense to me


The whole idea of a signature spell as it has been implemented is nothing more than 4E's encounter power concept in disguise. A wizard shouldn't be getting a signature spell as worded above. He should be getting something else, such as an ability similar to 3.5E's reserve feats.

[spoiler Suggestion: Signature Wizardry]
You are able to manipulate the magic energy of spells you have memorized in unique ways, as taught by your tradition. You can use your Signature Wizardry ability at will.

Academic: You can replace one prepared spell with another that you know during a short rest. You need access to your spellbook to accomplish this, and the level of the spell is limited by your magic ability (Intelligence) modifier.

Battle Magic: You have advantage on all Constitution saving throws you make to avoid losing concentration on a spell. If you do lose concentration on a spell, you can immediately spend a prepared spell slot as a reaction, and reroll the Constitution save (with advantage, as normal). If you succeed in this second save, you manage to maintain concentration after all. You may use this ability only if the level of the spell you were concentrating on does not exceed the sum of your magic ability (Intelligence) modifier plus the level of the spell expended.

Illusion: If you use an illusion spell but no target is affected (typically because they all succeeded on their saves), you can make a magic ability (Intelligence) saving throw against a DC of 10 plus the spell's level. You can apply no other modifier that normally applies on saving throws on this save. If you succeed, you do not lose the spell from memory, just as if you hadn't cast it. Your action is still expended, however.
[/spoiler]


2) Spell selection: right now a 1st level character can only prepare 3 lv 0 spells and 1 lv 1 spell. This means that choosing 2 of our 3 traditions is also the same as choosing your entire spell list. After all, why would you pick something other than your at-will and encounter power? So really, you get no meanignful options until level 2, where you will pick 1 lv 0 spell and 1 lv 1 spell as dailies. This doesn't sit right with me, I feel a player should have more options. I get that the Academic is the versatile one, but the other wizard traditions should still offer enough wiggle room that you won't see the same exact set-up for every single lv 1 Battlemage. This leads me to my next point

3) Shocking Grasp: Shocking grasp is a good spell, very useful, but do both of our traditions with actual liss use it instead of Ray of Frost. Battlemages are just as squishy as their academic partners so they want to avoid melee if at all possible, but that means their only other at-will attack spell is burning hands which a) was nerfed hard and b) hits a cone area which makes it less than ideal if your allies are between you and your targets. This is beyond simple tactics. A single target ranged spell is preferable for a wizard so they can avoid melee and not risk hurting their allies. Why are academics the only wizard tradition that seem to have figured that out?


Indeed, picking any tradition other than Academic makes you a 4E mage: 3 at-will, an encounter, and at lvl2 a daily and something more. I did think this playtest was not 4E. After all, we know that 4E was the wrong way to do things...
As for shocking grasp, it actually makes some sense for the Battle Mage. I am a Battle Mage, I need to maneuver more than my Academic fellow or my Illusionist, to get into the best position to cast my awesome battle spell called Open can of whoop-ass. Which means, I am more likely to find myself facing a raging orc and his battleaxe. Shocking grasp is the way out of that mess. I imagine that is why the Illusion tradition also has it as an at-will spell.
And a Battle Mage can use his Spell Tactician ability to exclude a (single) ally from burning hands' area. But yes, a single target spell (like ray of frost) would also be preferable.


Adding to issue 2 is this new spell slot progression. I feel wizards are recieiving far too few slots since they have to prepare their spells ahead of time. Honestly, I feel a wizard does not need to expend all his spells by the end of the day. His utility comes in being able to use spells when they are needed, so limiting him this far means he has almost no choice. You will pick what is guarenteed to be useful, because you only get 2 spells of each level. That means either 2 attack spells or an attack spell and something like shield or invisibility. I think they should return to 3 or 4 spell slots so that the wizard actually has some room for unique tactics.


+1 to that, the new spell progression seems to have too few slots.


Side note: I mentioned this a month or so ago, but I do not beleive Detect magic should be a spell, it should be a class feature. I cannot imagine a wizard, master of the arcane forces of the universe, going around blind to these forces simply because he doesn't know a spell. It's be like a Jedi who can't sense the Force but can still do Force lightning and throws. It just doesn't make any sense. Also, considering how Read Magic is worded I wonder if it should be regulated to a Knowledge (aracana) check instead of a spell. After all, why bother writing a spell in a cypher so other wizards can't read it, if there is a spell that breaks all cyphers and allows wizards to read it... the only way it makes sense is to hide it from non-wizards... who probably couldn't understand it anyways since they don't have the neccesary background training. I could stare a molecular chemist's notebook all day, doesn't mean I'll have a clue what the heck he is writing about


My group has been letting wizards use detect magic and read magic at will without the need to even have them prepared since we began playing together (at the dawn of 3E). It feels incredibly stupid otherwise.
The signature spells are level 1 spells. At level 1, they are balanced. At level 10, they are no longer acceptable.


adrisiankhaine already pointed out that Thunderwave, the signature spell for Battlemages, improves when prepared at higher spell slots (thanks for that, artisiankhaine; I failed to notice that). If all signature spells can scale as such there shouldn't be much of a problem.

That would work. Scalability might even be the definition for a “signature” spell.
Signature Spells: First of all, I'm not sure about being told "this is your signature spell, the same signature spell as every other ###### wizard" I feel having a small list of signature spells might be a better option. I know the DM could just rule in a different signature spell if they felt it fit, but no one likes that sort of thing. Also your signature spell does not change from lv 1 to lv 10 which seems odd to me. Yeah a recruit might only learn Thunderwave as teir signature, but a seasoned battlemage shoul be able to upgrade to a more powerful spell, right? I'm not sure if that will cause balance issues, but it just makes sense to me


The whole idea of a signature spell as it has been implemented is nothing more than 4E's encounter power concept in disguise. A wizard shouldn't be getting a signature spell as worded above. He should be getting something else, such as an ability similar to 3.5E's reserve feats.

[spoiler Suggestion: Signature Wizardry]
You are able to manipulate the magic energy of spells you have memorized in unique ways, as taught by your tradition. You can use your Signature Wizardry ability at will.

Academic: You can replace one prepared spell with another that you know during a short rest. You need access to your spellbook to accomplish this, and the level of the spell is limited by your magic ability (Intelligence) modifier.

Battle Magic: You have advantage on all Constitution saving throws you make to avoid losing concentration on a spell. If you do lose concentration on a spell, you can immediately spend a prepared spell slot as a reaction, and reroll the Constitution save (with advantage, as normal). If you succeed in this second save, you manage to maintain concentration after all. You may use this ability only if the level of the spell you were concentrating on does not exceed the sum of your magic ability (Intelligence) modifier plus the level of the spell expended.

Illusion: If you use an illusion spell but no target is affected (typically because they all succeeded on their saves), you can make a magic ability (Intelligence) saving throw against a DC of 10 plus the spell's level. You can apply no other modifier that normally applies on saving throws on this save. If you succeed, you do not lose the spell from memory, just as if you hadn't cast it. Your action is still expended, however.
[/spoiler]


2) Spell selection: right now a 1st level character can only prepare 3 lv 0 spells and 1 lv 1 spell. This means that choosing 2 of our 3 traditions is also the same as choosing your entire spell list. After all, why would you pick something other than your at-will and encounter power? So really, you get no meanignful options until level 2, where you will pick 1 lv 0 spell and 1 lv 1 spell as dailies. This doesn't sit right with me, I feel a player should have more options. I get that the Academic is the versatile one, but the other wizard traditions should still offer enough wiggle room that you won't see the same exact set-up for every single lv 1 Battlemage. This leads me to my next point

3) Shocking Grasp: Shocking grasp is a good spell, very useful, but do both of our traditions with actual liss use it instead of Ray of Frost. Battlemages are just as squishy as their academic partners so they want to avoid melee if at all possible, but that means their only other at-will attack spell is burning hands which a) was nerfed hard and b) hits a cone area which makes it less than ideal if your allies are between you and your targets. This is beyond simple tactics. A single target ranged spell is preferable for a wizard so they can avoid melee and not risk hurting their allies. Why are academics the only wizard tradition that seem to have figured that out?


Indeed, picking any tradition other than Academic makes you a 4E mage: 3 at-will, an encounter, and at lvl2 a daily and something more. I did think this playtest was not 4E. After all, we know that 4E was the wrong way to do things...
As for shocking grasp, it actually makes some sense for the Battle Mage. I am a Battle Mage, I need to maneuver more than my Academic fellow or my Illusionist, to get into the best position to cast my awesome battle spell called Open can of whoop-ass. Which means, I am more likely to find myself facing a raging orc and his battleaxe. Shocking grasp is the way out of that mess. I imagine that is why the Illusion tradition also has it as an at-will spell.
And a Battle Mage can use his Spell Tactician ability to exclude a (single) ally from burning hands' area. But yes, a single target spell (like ray of frost) would also be preferable.




I disagree about not having signature spells act like encounter powers, I think that perfectly captures a wizard who has one spell they are very good at that they can use repeatedly. Also, while your suggestions are interesting there are currently no rules for spell disruption so the BattleMage ability is useless, and I'd prefer making the illusionist have an illusion encounter than a daily they might not expend.

I don't think these feel too much like 4e, and even if they do I don't see a problem with that. 4e had some good concepts and I don't mind seeing them in Next, in fact I'd be disappointed if I didn't as I would think wizards got scared of a little negativity and ran back to a decade old system that had it's own problems.... but we can agree to dsagree about that.

 I had not considered using their Tactics ability in that manner, which makes it a little cooler than I first thought it was. However the 1+spell level thing kind of bothers me, since it is optional why not 1+wizard level, so you being a more skilled caster is more important than the power of the spell you are using?
Signature Spells: First of all, I'm not sure about being told "this is your signature spell, the same signature spell as every other ###### wizard" I feel having a small list of signature spells might be a better option. I know the DM could just rule in a different signature spell if they felt it fit, but no one likes that sort of thing. Also your signature spell does not change from lv 1 to lv 10 which seems odd to me. Yeah a recruit might only learn Thunderwave as teir signature, but a seasoned battlemage shoul be able to upgrade to a more powerful spell, right? I'm not sure if that will cause balance issues, but it just makes sense to me


The whole idea of a signature spell as it has been implemented is nothing more than 4E's encounter power concept in disguise. A wizard shouldn't be getting a signature spell as worded above. He should be getting something else, such as an ability similar to 3.5E's reserve feats.

[spoiler Suggestion: Signature Wizardry]
You are able to manipulate the magic energy of spells you have memorized in unique ways, as taught by your tradition. You can use your Signature Wizardry ability at will.

Academic: You can replace one prepared spell with another that you know during a short rest. You need access to your spellbook to accomplish this, and the level of the spell is limited by your magic ability (Intelligence) modifier.

Battle Magic: You have advantage on all Constitution saving throws you make to avoid losing concentration on a spell. If you do lose concentration on a spell, you can immediately spend a prepared spell slot as a reaction, and reroll the Constitution save (with advantage, as normal). If you succeed in this second save, you manage to maintain concentration after all. You may use this ability only if the level of the spell you were concentrating on does not exceed the sum of your magic ability (Intelligence) modifier plus the level of the spell expended.

Illusion: If you use an illusion spell but no target is affected (typically because they all succeeded on their saves), you can make a magic ability (Intelligence) saving throw against a DC of 10 plus the spell's level. You can apply no other modifier that normally applies on saving throws on this save. If you succeed, you do not lose the spell from memory, just as if you hadn't cast it. Your action is still expended, however.
[/spoiler]


The suggestions seem to assume, there are no players who dislike vancian spellcasting. There are.

1) Signature Spells: First of all, I'm not sure about being told "this is your signature spell, the same signature spell as every other ###### wizard" I feel having a small list of signature spells might be a better option. I know the DM could just rule in a different signature spell if they felt it fit, but no one likes that sort of thing. Also your signature spell does not change from lv 1 to lv 10 which seems odd to me. Yeah a recruit might only learn Thunderwave as teir signature, but a seasoned battlemage shoul be able to upgrade to a more powerful spell, right? I'm not sure if that will cause balance issues, but it just makes sense to me

I agree entirely with this.

2) Spell selection: right now a 1st level character can only prepare 3 lv 0 spells and 1 lv 1 spell. This means that choosing 2 of our 3 traditions is also the same as choosing your entire spell list. After all, why would you pick something other than your at-will and encounter power? So really, you get no meanignful options until level 2, where you will pick 1 lv 0 spell and 1 lv 1 spell as dailies. This doesn't sit right with me, I feel a player should have more options. I get that the Academic is the versatile one, but the other wizard traditions should still offer enough wiggle room that you won't see the same exact set-up for every single lv 1 Battlemage. This leads me to my next point

I agree in theory, but I like the amount of prepared spells that wizards have now. I honestly think traditions need a total revamp, not determing at-wills entirely but restricting spell choice later on as well.

3) Shocking Grasp: Shocking grasp is a good spell, very useful, but do both of our traditions with actual liss use it instead of Ray of Frost. Battlemages are just as squishy as their academic partners so they want to avoid melee if at all possible, but that means their only other at-will attack spell is burning hands which a) was nerfed hard and b) hits a cone area which makes it less than ideal if your allies are between you and your targets. This is beyond simple tactics. A single target ranged spell is preferable for a wizard so they can avoid melee and not risk hurting their allies. Why are academics the only wizard tradition that seem to have figured that out?

Yeah, the specific spell choices here aren't good.

Adding to issue 2 is this new spell slot progression. I feel wizards are recieiving far too few slots since they have to prepare their spells ahead of time. Honestly, I feel a wizard does not need to expend all his spells by the end of the day. His utility comes in being able to use spells when they are needed, so limiting him this far means he has almost no choice. You will pick what is guarenteed to be useful, because you only get 2 spells of each level. That means either 2 attack spells or an attack spell and something like shield or invisibility. I think they should return to 3 or 4 spell slots so that the wizard actually has some room for unique tactics.

I don't really think the Wizard needs more versatility, even if his known spells, as with the cleric, are a far bigger problem than prepared spells.
IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/2.jpg)
That would work. Scalability might even be the definition for a “signature” spell.


I agree on that. If the signature spell thing does not change, scalability is a must.


I disagree about not having signature spells act like encounter powers, I think that perfectly captures a wizard who has one spell they are very good at that they can use repeatedly. Also, while your suggestions are interesting there are currently no rules for spell disruption so the BattleMage ability is useless, and I'd prefer making the illusionist have an illusion encounter than a daily they might not expend.


I was not consdering spell disruption, I was considering a Battle Mage concentrating to maintain a spell, such as cloudkill. These spells now require concentration to maintain.


I don't think these feel too much like 4e, and even if they do I don't see a problem with that. 4e had some good concepts and I don't mind seeing them in Next, in fact I'd be disappointed if I didn't as I would think wizards got scared of a little negativity and ran back to a decade old system that had it's own problems.... but we can agree to dsagree about that.


4E did indeed have some good concepts, and encounter powers were a good one. However, I believe the wizard is defined by versatility; if given time and information to prepare properly, he can overcome obstacles. The class implementation should aim to enforce that concept, not simply provide a way for wizards to fill in their combat actions without truly expending their precious few daily spells, or casting only at-wills. I'd accept encounter spells for the Battle Magic tradition, and more than one encounter spell at that, but not as a universal tradition mechanic. In fact, I believe every tradition should have its own, unique mechanic as signature, something that can potentially apply to multiple spells, not just an encounter spell.


 I had not considered using their Tactics ability in that manner, which makes it a little cooler than I first thought it was. However the 1+spell level thing kind of bothers me, since it is optional why not 1+wizard level, so you being a more skilled caster is more important than the power of the spell you are using?


hm... 1+wizard level seems to get kinda high after a while... But then again, a Battle Magic wizard would need to be able to exclude the troopers of his unit (10+) from that fireball or cloudkill he's gonna cast, so I guess your suggestion works fine. +1 from me

The suggestions seem to assume, there are no players who dislike vancian spellcasting. There are.


Yes. And I'm one of them. And if WotC ever decides to go further from the vancian system, I'll gladly jump in to test and play (as I'm doing now). However, at the moment the DDN wizard is vancian-based. I'm offering suggestions that can work to improve that system.
+1 Slygamer going back to specalisation schools seems a good thing to me. Also read magic, detect magic should be just wizard skills/feats/features or whatever you want to name it. Mage hand should be a cantrip who could scale as the wizard becomes more powerful. And it seems tome  that some kind of armor spell (shield/mage armor) should be cantrip as well. As for the signature spell, as Chaomancer said, if every wizard has the same signature spell, can it be called signature at all ? Maybe have the wizard choose his signature spell at creation and have it metamagicked in some way.



+1 to choosing your signature spell

In fact I have already adopted that House Rule in my playtest game


The only issue with that is that WOTC has to be careful, but a 1st level utility spell that is in effect 'unlimited' could potentionally become a problem.

Imagine something like Cure Light Wounds as a signature spell... well obviously that is broken ... so they have to tread carefully with this one... (bad example I know, but you get the idea)
I would say, treat the signature spell similiar to the at wills, but more restrictive.  It makes sense to me for a Enchanter to get Charm Person, a Evoker (battle mage) to get Thunderwave, and an Illusionist to get Color Spray.  Turning these staple spells of the caster profession into encounters shows the benefit of being a specialist mage far better than a +1 spell slot (personal opinion).  However, I think some flexibility in choice, and perhaps a second signature spell at level 11 would be a nice addition.  Taking into account this is a playtest, not having many options to choose from for signature spell is a minor point at the moment, as more spells become available, this feature will inevitably get better.

And scalability does make sense, if you look at fighter damage output.  I think the fighter should do the most damage over the course of a day, if you have a large amount of encounters, but with a smaller number of encounters, it should be the wizard.




And scalability does make sense, if you look at fighter damage output.  I think the fighter should do the most damage over the course of a day, if you have a large amount of encounters, but with a smaller number of encounters, it should be the wizard.





You know, I don't agree. The wizard does not just deal damage. The wizard has plenty of utility. The fighter pretty much just deals damage. It doesn't get abilities like Knock, or Charm, or Web, or the like. It doesn't get anything close, even with the manoeuvre system. I am ok with that (as long as those powers do not invalidate what other classes can do—ie: as long as a rogue’s skills are still more economical/effective than spells like Knock, and a wizards control powers don’t obviate the need to deal damage). I am also fine with wizards dealing more AoE damage than fighters (at least until you hit the 20th or so round of combat in one day). But I am not ok with wizards ever dealing as much single target damage as a fighter. Thankfully, right now, they can't. To be honest, I think the wizard and the fighter are fairly well balanced against each other right now!


Anyway, wizard traditions: I don’t think anyone other than the academic should ever be able to gain both burning hands and ray of frost. That is why I am happy that the battlemage doesn’t get ray of frost. And, I am not 100% certain (I have not run the numbers), but I think having both burning hands and ray of frost, having one extra at-will spell slot, and getting one extra highest level daily spell slot, balances out against what the battlemage gets. The illusionist looks like it needs some work. But yea… I don’t have much else to add right now. Surprisingly, I really like wizards so far! 


P.S. The restrictiveness doesn't really bother me either. Right now, academics have some of the most choice of any class. The other traditions are more restrictive, but they still seem to get about as much choice as any other class. Meanwhile, as they level they get more choice than many of the classes. Honestly, I sort of like things as they are!

The signature spells are level 1 spells. At level 1, they are balanced. At level 10, they are no longer acceptable.


adrisiankhaine already pointed out that Thunderwave, the signature spell for Battlemages, improves when prepared at higher spell slots (thanks for that, artisiankhaine; I failed to notice that). If all signature spells can scale as such there shouldn't be much of a problem.

Something that's kind of weird, and I would go so far as to call it my only major greivance with wizard spellcasting in this packet, is that low-level non-damaging spells retain their full utility at higher levels, while damage-dealing spells need to be placed into higher level slots in order to deal relevant damage.

Color Spray only ever takes up a level 1 spell slot, and it works just as well against a demon as it does against a kobold (although you may have something better to do with your actions, by the time you hit level 7).  Thunderwave always takes up one of your highest-level spell slots, in order to maintain its relative power against level-appropriate enemies.

The metagame is not the game.

The suggestions seem to assume, there are no players who dislike vancian spellcasting. There are.


There is nothing wrong with catering to a crowd who would prefer a non-vancian system. However, IMO, that should be done:
1) in a different class, that incorporates a single, clear system consistently, in order for it to
2) balance with the alternative classes, and choices within itself
3) in a way that is both interesting and actually allows choice before level 2

The current playtest iteration does none of these. Being able to sling higher level spells all day in no way balances out with a single extra spell and a handful of at will cantrips. Having the tradition you choose dictate all your level 1 spells for you is both bland and boring, while breaking verisimilitude all in one go. Because there is no way any and all illusionists or war wizards all learn the same things until "reaching level 1." Not in a profession that's all about knowing rare knowledge metaphysically, and about versatility mechanically.

And then still, like putting rings on monkies, you might layer a thin veneer of at will spells and a per encounter spell over a vancian system, but that doesn't suddenly make it non-vancian.


And scalability does make sense, if you look at fighter damage output.  I think the fighter should do the most damage over the course of a day, if you have a large amount of encounters, but with a smaller number of encounters, it should be the wizard.





You know, I don't agree. The wizard does not just deal damage. The wizard has plenty of utility. The fighter pretty much just deals damage. It doesn't get abilities like Knock, or Charm, or Web, or the like. It doesn't get anything close, even with the manoeuvre system. I am ok with that (as long as those powers do not invalidate what other classes can do—ie: as long as a rogue’s skill as still more economical/effective than spells like Knock, and a wizards control powers don’t obviate the need to deal damage). I am also fine with wizards dealing more AoE damage than fighters (at least until you hit the 20th or so round of combat in one day). But I am not ok with wizards ever dealing as much single target damage as a fighter. Thankfully, right now, they can't. To be honest, I think the wizard and the fighter are fairly well balanced against each other right now!


Anyway, wizard traditions: I don’t think anyone other than the academic should ever be able to gain both burning hands and ray of frost. That is why I am happy that the battlemage doesn’t get ray of frost. And, I am not 100% certain (I have not run the numbers), but I think having both burning hands and ray of frost, having one extra at-will spell slot, and getting one extra highest level daily spell slot, balances out against what the battlemage gets. The illusionist looks like it needs some work. But yea… I don’t have much else to add right now. Surprisingly, I really like wizards so far! 


P.S. The restrictiveness doesn't really bother me either. Right now, academics have some of the most choice of any class. The other traditions are more restrictive, but they still seem to get about as much choice as any other class. Meanwhile, as they level they get more choice than many of the classes. Honestly, I sort of like things as they are!




I agree with the first part, wizards don't need to be dealing a ton of damage. In fact, increasing Utility spells might make for a more interesting class

However, I see no problem with any wizard learning both burning hands and ray of frost, well maybe illusionists but if they are true to the concept they don't want more damage spells anyways, they want more tricky utility spells. Anyways, back to my reasons.

First of all these are good ranged abilities and at low levels would be good for a mage who tries not to be near the front line. Power-wise I don't see a problem as they deal similiar damage and would be used in two completely different circumstances.

Secondly, if we ignor the fire vs ice mentality and look at physics, they are essentially one and the same, one spell adds heat the other removes heat. So a person trained in manipulating the fabric of reality could easily inverse one two create the other. The hard part would be changing it from a cone to a bolt, but that's why someone has already constructed the spell.
Traditions should be replaced by school specialists (including Universalists).

Signature Spells are a great idea, but these should scale with caster level (new signature spells become available as you gain spells of higher levels). You should only be able to pick Signature Spells of your school assuming we go the specialist route.

Also, why on earth is the Illusionist tradition not able to cast Disguise Self as an at-will?
The suggestions seem to assume, there are no players who dislike vancian spellcasting. There are.


There is nothing wrong with catering to a crowd who would prefer a non-vancian system. However, IMO, that should be done:
1) in a different class, that incorporates a single, clear system consistently, in order for it to
2) balance with the alternative classes, and choices within itself
3) in a way that is both interesting and actually allows choice before level 2


1)
a) I love the *Wizard* narrative.
b) I dont want the “evil spirit” Sorcerer flavor. I am disinterested in fighting against official narrative.
c) Similarly I dislike the “oath breaking” brown-nosing Warlock flavor. I am disinterested in fighting against official narrative.
d) The Psion flavor of personal magic is right, but the designers refuse to reunify it with the medieval European milieu.
e) I really dont want a “different class”. I want the Wizard.
f) Maybe it is best if the designers create a different class called the “Vancian”, since it is unlike any archetype ever?

2) It is impossible to balance per-sleep with per-encounter.

3) Ok, I agree, player personalization and customization is probably the highest priority there is.

           

The current playtest iteration does none of these. Being able to sling higher level spells all day in no way balances out with a single extra spell and a handful of at will cantrips. Having the tradition you choose dictate all your level 1 spells for you is both bland and boring, while breaking verisimilitude all in one go. Because there is no way any and all illusionists or war wizards all learn the same things until "reaching level 1." Not in a profession that's all about knowing rare knowledge metaphysically, and about versatility mechanically.

And then still, like putting rings on monkies, you might layer a thin veneer of at will spells and a per encounter spell over a vancian system, but that doesn't suddenly make it non-vancian.



I dont have a problem with preparing spells in advance. I have a problem with the per-sleep mechanic.