Where are my Simple Caster Classes?

One issue which has come up again and again in the playtest discussions is the "simple vs complex" question.

Some D&D players want simple classes, either because they reject system mastery or for new players.  This is a totally reasonable request.

Some D&D players want complex classes, because they want to play mechanically as well as thematically and conceptually interesting characters.  This is ALSO a totally reasonable request.

So far we have seen a lot of effort go into making some of the previously simple classes (I'm looking at you Fighter and Rogue) more mechanically interesting and dynamic, so that they are acceptable to the people who want complexity without playing casters.

This is a good thing.

Though it IS important to note that there NEED to be mechanically simple options provided alongside the more mechanically complex within these classes so that they can still fulfil the desires of those who want to play a simple Fighter or simple Rogue.

...

However,

There has NOT yet been any progress towards the development of simple casters.

None of the proposed optional casting systems are simple and I suggest that no casting system based on the complex network of mini-systems known in D&D as a "spell list" will EVER be simple.

Some players want to play simple Arcane and Divine characters.

Some players want to play simple Casters.

Many young people entering the target age bracket to first pick up D&D have grown up with Harry Potter and will expect to see characters like these possible to build in D&D.  They currently are NOT.



So,

My question is simple:

Where is my simple Caster? 
So,

My question is simple:

Where is my simple Caster? 


The same place as the complex melee classes, hybrid classes, pet classes: they haven't been released in the playtest yet. Expect the warlock to be a simpler caster class, and the sorcerer might potentially be a little easier to manage than a full wizard. And there is bound to be a gish class eventually that is a simpler caster but more complex fighter.

Simpler casters are not one of the archtypal four classes so they're just not what we're seeing at the moment. But I'm sure they're coming along with a melee class that has resources to manage and complexity. 

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Posting to say that if it were release, I would definitely play a simple caster. Especially if it focused on primarily at-will casting (which is something I've always wanted).
Warmage at-will spammers !
With enough of them, you can vitrify the planet ! 

If you think my english is bad, just wait until you see my spanish and my italian. Defiling languages is an art.

Something resembling the 3e Warlock, without the lame flavor baked into the class, would be ideal, I think.  All the casting you would want.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
Utility caster.. able to use intellect/wisdom for "most" every action he takes... including normallly physical ones, describe it magically
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

Something resembling the 3e Warlock, without the lame flavor baked into the class, would be ideal, I think.  All the casting you would want.

With or without the flavor I vote for it, too.
But if warts for fey lovers is all the flavor they can give, then no flavor would be absolutly better, lol.

If you think my english is bad, just wait until you see my spanish and my italian. Defiling languages is an art.

Something resembling the 3e Warlock, without the lame flavor baked into the class, would be ideal, I think.  All the casting you would want.

With or without the flavor I vote for it, too.
But if warts for fey lovers is all the flavor they can give, then no flavor would be absolutly better, lol.



heh I did conjure some, she steals your voice no singing or communicating with lesser beasts (two things highly valued by fey) but feels pitty and does leave you a telepathic mind speach in its stead. I kind of like it but there ought to be many bits of fun possible 

I like the price of power concept in general and the impact on the caster aspect of the sorceror... so count me amongst thoe finding the flavor pretty good. Even though as usual I will mangle it to my own ends not mattter what
  Creative Character Build Collection and The Magic of King's and Heros  also Can Martial Characters Fly? 

Improvisation in 4e: Fave 4E Improvisations - also Wrecans Guides to improvisation beyond page 42
The Non-combatant Adventurer (aka Princess build Warlord or LazyLord)
Reality is unrealistic - and even monkeys protest unfairness
Reflavoring the Fighter : The Wizard : The Swordmage - Creative Character Collection: Bloodwright (Darksun Character) 

At full hit points and still wounded to incapacitation? you are playing 1e.
By virtue of being a player your characters are the protagonists in a heroic fantasy game even at level one
"Wizards and Warriors need abilities with explicit effects for opposite reasons. With the wizard its because you need to create artificial limits on them, they have no natural ones and for the Warrior you need to grant permission to do awesome."

 

Honestly when I think of a simple caster I think of the Charmed sisters from Charmed. Each sister has an active power and it grows. They usually gain another ability later but all have scrying, spell writing, and The Power of Three. I think if you strip it down it could translate as an inspiration for a simple caster class. I'm not sure you would call them witches though as most witches are thought of as hexers in the medieval times though. But basically you would choose an evolving power and it would gain more die as you level up. Some of their powers included molecular manipulation (Piper could combust her target causing her enemy to blow up and she could slow down molecules causing her target to freeze), seeing the future (Phoebe could see the future and in some cases the past), and telekinesis (Prue could move things with her mind and in an episode the future was seen and she eventually had it so powerful she could use it to blow up the house). I think powers such as those aside from seeing the future could be great evolving powers. They would be different than spells because they could be innate abilities and then you could give them a minor amount of spells and more cantrips than a wizard would have. The bulk of their power should come from the abilities they have which evolves. As you do it more it changes and gains more powerful abilities. Perhaps first you can freeze your enemy in place. Later you can target perhaps the feet or unfreeze another part. Maybe later you can use your power to blow the enemy up. This gives you options so you are not doing the same blast because you are unlocking features of your power. You only choose it once when you create your character. Of course it doesn't need to be molecular combustion as I was just drawing inspiration from my favorite series. 
IMAGE(http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y152/RockNrollBabe20/Charmed-supernatural-and-charmed_zps8bd4125f.jpg)
A simple caster is really easy. I mean, really easy. Give them a pool of "arcane damage dice" and a list of maneuver-like spells. Tada, done. 

Poe's Law is alive and well.

A simple caster is really easy. I mean, really easy. Give them a pool of "arcane damage dice" and a list of maneuver-like spells. Tada, done. 



Hey, look, it's my sorcerer idea again!
Well, later-4e already had the Elemental Sorcerer, it was about as simple as the Knight or Thief (not quite as simplistic as the Slayer), so like every problem 5e is struggling with... ;)

Seriously, though, a simple caster can't be that difficult in concept or design.  A 'blaster,' a Warlock or Warmage like class with an 'Eldritch Blast' or 'Mana Bolt' and perhaps a "Mana Shield" or "Dispel" ability, as well.  He just spams away, getting more dice as he levels, just like the guy with the big sword.  The difficult part is the same problem D&D (except 4e, of course) has always had with non-casters:  making them a worthwhile and contributing alongside the complicated casters.

 

 

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A simple caster is really easy. I mean, really easy. Give them a pool of "arcane damage dice" and a list of maneuver-like spells. Tada, done. 



This is what I'd mostly like to see.

In other words, something VERY similar to the Warlock in 3.5. 
And a healer is also simple to do. Healing magic don't have to be regular spells, 4th edition showed it.

If you think my english is bad, just wait until you see my spanish and my italian. Defiling languages is an art.

Just give them utility powers to offset simple magical damage dice
I would love to see an atwill caster that each has a scaleing at will attack (not just eldritch blast, but 2-4 diffrent options) and 2-3 at will powers that dont scale over the cource of the first 10 levels... but also gain spell ritual casting... infact the more I think about it the more charmed works

Before posting, ask yourself WWWS: What Would Wrecan Say?

For simple caster classes, I woukd turn magic into what it is from elder scrolls. You have to wield magic in a hand, have to take time to swap spells, and the vast majority of spells are element based combat magic.
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Thank_Dog wrote:

2Chlorobutanal wrote:
I think that if you have to argue to convince others about the clarity of something, it's probably not as objectively clear as you think.

No, what it means is that some people just like to be obtuse.

So, blasty-type with rituals seems to be popular.
I don't consider Damage Dice plus Maneuvers to be inherently simple.  It can certainly be played that way: just put all your dice into damage every round.  But even at level 1, a fighter has three choices: parry, damage, or maneuver.  By level 11, he has 6 dice and 7 maneuvers (including damage and parry).  When you think about it, that is a lot of complexity.

So to me, complexity doesn't directly relate to at-will or daily powers.  It comes down to choices that you make during the game.  A simple character is one with few choices to make: a fighter who always uses his dice for the same thing, for example.

What this means is that we already have a simple caster: the wizard.  All you have to do is make sure to prepare damaging spells and cast them with every slot you have.  You don't even have to prepare your full number of spells if you don't want to; just as a fighter can choose to ignore his other maneuvers.
Because all the damage spells deal increased damage with higher slots, you could even make a VERY simple caster who only uses one spell (in addition to at-wills).

You are certainly giving up the versatility that comes with being a wizard, but so is the fighter who decides to always use his dice for the same thing every round.
I don't consider Damage Dice plus Maneuvers to be inherently simple.  It can certainly be played that way: just put all your dice into damage every round.  But even at level 1, a fighter has three choices: parry, damage, or maneuver.  By level 11, he has 6 dice and 7 maneuvers (including damage and parry).  When you think about it, that is a lot of complexity.

So to me, complexity doesn't directly relate to at-will or daily powers.  It comes down to choices that you make during the game.  A simple character is one with few choices to make: a fighter who always uses his dice for the same thing, for example.

What this means is that we already have a simple caster: the wizard.  All you have to do is make sure to prepare damaging spells and cast them with every slot you have.  You don't even have to prepare your full number of spells if you don't want to; just as a fighter can choose to ignore his other maneuvers.
Because all the damage spells deal increased damage with higher slots, you could even make a VERY simple caster who only uses one spell (in addition to at-wills).

You are certainly giving up the versatility that comes with being a wizard, but so is the fighter who decides to always use his dice for the same thing every round.


This can work, but the presentation will be important. In the PHB, you need to show players how to use the simple version of each class.

So, blasty-type with rituals seems to be popular.



I blame the energy drink generation...Laughing

Sometimes summoning is much more fun. 

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I don't consider Damage Dice plus Maneuvers to be inherently simple.  It can certainly be played that way: just put all your dice into damage every round.  But even at level 1, a fighter has three choices: parry, damage, or maneuver.  By level 11, he has 6 dice and 7 maneuvers (including damage and parry).  When you think about it, that is a lot of complexity.

So to me, complexity doesn't directly relate to at-will or daily powers.  It comes down to choices that you make during the game.  A simple character is one with few choices to make: a fighter who always uses his dice for the same thing, for example.

What this means is that we already have a simple caster: the wizard.  All you have to do is make sure to prepare damaging spells and cast them with every slot you have.  You don't even have to prepare your full number of spells if you don't want to; just as a fighter can choose to ignore his other maneuvers.
Because all the damage spells deal increased damage with higher slots, you could even make a VERY simple caster who only uses one spell (in addition to at-wills).

You are certainly giving up the versatility that comes with being a wizard, but so is the fighter who decides to always use his dice for the same thing every round.



I'm sorry but this is objectively wrong.

Every single spell in the spell list is an individual mechanical system, which means that any use of the spell lists is inherently complex.

We need to get away from spell lists and ESPECIALLY the selection from them (with all the inherent risk of "trap" or useless options) if we want simple casters.

Which is not to say that some spells from the spell list can't be the basis for a simple caster, but they need to have related mechanics and similar systems.  This is NOT true of all the "blasty" combat spells. 
Simple casters are specialists, automatically.
But this specialist can be an illusionist with psychic damage as a damaging option to spam, or a necromancer with an indestructible minion to deal the at-will damage, and conditions in higher levels, each of them having iconic utility derived from their specialties.

But a step toward complexity could be access to rituals through spellbook or a prayer book, a class feature that new players could totally ignore at first and slowly use later to get used to the level of complexity available in advanced game.

If you think my english is bad, just wait until you see my spanish and my italian. Defiling languages is an art.

So, blasty-type with rituals seems to be popular.


Sounds like a good system for the sorceror. Raw magic for blasting mooks, and rituals for more complex spells that he just can't manage well. It reinforces the sorceror as a raw-talent type of caster: he can channel powerful, simple combat magic, but more complex spells are not his forte, and he has to stop to put together a ritual. On the other hand, wizards cant channel as much sheer arcane power, but they can use complicated spells easily, having studied under a mage or whatevs.
So, blasty-type with rituals seems to be popular.


Sounds like a good system for the sorceror. Raw magic for blasting mooks, and rituals for more complex spells that he just can't manage well. It reinforces the sorceror as a raw-talent type of caster: he can channel powerful, simple combat magic, but more complex spells are not his forte, and he has to stop to put together a ritual. On the other hand, wizards cant channel as much sheer arcane power, but they can use complicated spells easily, having studied under a mage or whatevs.



See, that might work well for a simple caster.

The ritual system is there for players who DO later want to add to their experience, but the basic class is simple for those who want an arcane caster without the complexity of the spell lists.

Though the question remains, what would a simple Cleric look like?