Wizard balance within the wizard class

I don't understand the disparity between the power levels of the different traditions of Wizard, how it came about, and why it needs to be there. I'm hoping that I'm misinterpreting the rules as described.

Scholar:  4 cantrips, 1 extra spell/spell level prepared, 4 first level spells to start, 2 spells learned/level, ability to cast rituals.

Evoker:  3 cantrips, 3 first level spells to start, 1 spell learned/level, energy substitution to one type, allied protection to area effect spells, resistance to one elemental damage type.

Illusionist:  3 cantrips, 3 first level spells to start, Increased DC to illusion spells, advantage to detect illusions.

So, on paper, the scholar and evoker look pretty much even, while the illusionist is nerfed. Here are the things that I don't like.

1) Why can't all spellcasters cast rituals? Something mechanical, not "you spent too much time trying to figure out how to cast snowball from fireball". For balance, I get that being able to have special abilities (energy sub, etc) is pretty nice, but c'mon! The wizard lives and dies by his spells and the scholar can cast any ritual he knows whenever he wants.

2) Spell selection disparity. Uh, I don't understand this one at all. Why can the scholar learn more spells and prepare more spells than everyone else? If they get the ability to cast rituals willy-nilly, and we assume that feature balances the increase to illusion DC's and adv to detect them, then why wouldn't the other specialist classes not get something like this as well? I get the idea of "your intense study of a broad range of magic ,blah, blah, blah", but if you're going to tell me that a specialist, like an evoker or illusionist, has studied less intensely, then I'd hazzard to call you out to a spell duel. More spells per level learned makes perfect sense, but do they really need to be able to prep more too? If so, then what balances that extra spell out, machanically or story-wise, with the fact that the Evoker can't prep an additional evocation spell/spell level, or learn 1 spell + 1 evocation spell per level?
Scholar tradition needs to not exist.  Generalist spellcasters are the bowel obstruction that killed the old universe. Yell
As it stands thee is absolutely no reason to play any tradition other than scholar. That's a problem. They should all be equal in power but have different flavors. I agree with Eisenritter, scholar shouldn't exist. There should be other flavors of wizard that gain all the same things in different flavors. I think that there should also be an Elemental school as well but honestly you can achieve that within Evoker. Perhaps an enchanter or transmutation school
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The illusionist is currently a bit weak, excepting that the Illusion spell DC increase is actually significantly powerful with the current saving throw system and that illusions in general are very nebulous as to their actual effect by design and so as written could be the most powerful wizard tradition in the right campaign or under the right DM.

The other two are fairly well balanced because the Evoker gets a lot more "boom" for a decrease in versatility, and the scholar has basically nothing but versatility.

...and as for the idea that generalist wizards are somehow detrimental (in a way that all other wizards aren't) that is just bonkers - the whole point of them is that they don't have any particular failings when it comes to magic and because of that are also not as potent in any area as a specialist. If a generalist can break something, then by definition a specialist can break it easier or with more flair.

ATTENTION:  If while reading my post you find yourself thinking "Either this guy is being sarcastic, or he is an idiot," do please assume that I am an idiot. It makes reading your replies more entertaining. If, however, you find yourself hoping that I am not being even remotely serious then you are very likely correct as I find irreverence and being ridiculous to be relaxing.

The illusionist is currently a bit weak, excepting that the Illusion spell DC increase is actually significantly powerful with the current saving throw system and that illusions in general are very nebulous as to their actual effect by design and so as written could be the most powerful wizard tradition in the right campaign or under the right DM.

The other two are fairly well balanced because the Evoker gets a lot more "boom" for a decrease in versatility, and the scholar has basically nothing but versatility.

...and as for the idea that generalist wizards are somehow detrimental (in a way that all other wizards aren't) that is just bonkers - the whole point of them is that they don't have any particular failings when it comes to magic and because of that are also not as potent in any area as a specialist. If a generalist can break something, then by definition a specialist can break it easier or with more flair.


not to mention the evocation specs battle tactician ability is amazing. imagine it, a fireball into the middle of a battle and avoid ALL your party members

...and as for the idea that generalist wizards are somehow detrimental (in a way that all other wizards aren't) that is just bonkers - the whole point of them is that they don't have any particular failings when it comes to magic and because of that are also not as potent in any area as a specialist. If a generalist can break something, then by definition a specialist can break it easier or with more flair.



Taking into account WotC's track record with magic, you're wrong.  One extra spell per day, at each spell level.  Looking at the wizard's advancement chart, I note that the three highest spell levels only get 1 slot each, ever.  I would imagine there's a reason for this.

...and as for the idea that generalist wizards are somehow detrimental (in a way that all other wizards aren't) that is just bonkers - the whole point of them is that they don't have any particular failings when it comes to magic and because of that are also not as potent in any area as a specialist. If a generalist can break something, then by definition a specialist can break it easier or with more flair.



Taking into account WotC's track record with magic, you're wrong.  One extra spell per day, at each spell level.  Looking at the wizard's advancement chart, I note that the three highest spell levels only get 1 slot each, ever.  I would imagine there's a reason for this.


you may have misread scholarly wizard.
they can only prepare an extra spell of each level. it doesnt give you any extra casting
The only spells that matter are the three highest levels you can cast.
Correction: The energy substitution thing was a feat that anyone could take.

I'm unsure what your reasoning is behind "the scholar tradition doesn't need to exist". I think that there's a good place for it, I just don't like the fact that it's currently overshadowing the other specialists

You can't cast a second spell at the higher levels, but you can prepare a second spell and choose which one you'd rather cast.

I like the fact that you can have a generalist wizard, but really, I also think that the balancing act between the different flavors of wizard should feel more like different flavors. Your illusionist is going to be a totally different caster than your evoker would be, just like the generalist should be different from a necromancer. I love the ability to exclude people from an attack spell, because it really captures the feeling of having mastery over your chosen specialty.  Giving the Illusionist better mastery over peoples minds (raising the DC of illusion spells) seems appropriate as well. If the generalist only got the additional ability to cast rituals I think that would be okay, but I think that coupling that with more spells/level and more prepared spells/level is too big of a jump.

Actually, if the traditions were done so that the generalist could cast rituals, the evoker could have the elemental resistance and spell exclusion, and the illusionist his increased DC and advantage to detect illusions, period, then that would work for me. In addition, I think that all wizards should be able to have at least one spell per spell level prepared for free. The generalist could chose any spell he knew; the specialists only a spell of their school. Then let them all have the same PC level +1 additional spells prepared. I like that a lot better. Comments?
The only spells that matter are the three highest levels you can cast.



But... it doesn't let you cast any extra spells.  It lets you prepare extra spells.  You're still casting one level 6, one level 7, one level 8, and one level 9 a day.
perhaps bring back signature spells? of course, allowing the player to choose their signature spell, but perhaps this would make specialists a better option
They seem fine to me, with the caveat that I am under ther assumption we willl see a lot more illusion spells in the "real" game.

One crucial point: you can still learn spells from spell books and such!  So the scholarly wizard's extra spell known each level just means they learn more spells by leveling up, that is a decent bonus, but given time any wizard can learn just as many spells by finding them in enemy spellbooks and such.

The invoker's ability to AOE without hurting allies, that is HUGE.  Seems overpowered even, Fireball has always been a strong spell but being able to cast it into the middle of a small room and fry all the enemies without hurting any party members seems almost too strong.

The illusionist's +2 DC to illusion saves, well the problem is lack of higher level illusion spells in the playtest packet.  With spells like Phantasmal Killer or Weird that +2 DC is incredibly strong, so hopefully those spells make it into the game. 
The only spells that matter are the three highest levels you can cast.



But... it doesn't let you cast any extra spells.  It lets you prepare extra spells.  You're still casting one level 6, one level 7, one level 8, and one level 9 a day.



Irrelevent.  Generalist spellcasters need to die, for the good of the game.  They are not a trope and thus aren't an option.  Period.  It's bad enough the wizard's gotten back unrestricted access to every spell on its list, it doesn't need to have the ability to cast them as well!
Irrelevent.  Generalist spellcasters need to die, for the good of the game.  They are not a trope and thus aren't an option.  Period.  It's bad enough the wizard's gotten back unrestricted access to every spell on its list, it doesn't need to have the ability to cast them as well!


What in the...?

Not a trope? Show me 5 examples of spell-users that are tropes - for whatever reason that is supposed to matter - that are also limited in the magic they can wield by anything other than "haven't figured it out yet."

Tolkein wizards - not actually restricted in the spells they know, but choose carefully what magics to use.
Harry Potter wizards - no one is restricted in what they can cast by anything other than "haven't learned that one yet."
Harry Dresden - not a specialist, limited only by his experience and how much mojo (for lack of a better word) he can muster.

...then we get to where the only other wizards I can think of are actually D&D wizards...

Next point: There is no such thing (outside the cleric class since 3rd edition forward, excepting 4th edition) as a class that has "unrestricted access" to their spell list - having to go out and find the spell is a restriction, and a pretty solid one at that.

ATTENTION:  If while reading my post you find yourself thinking "Either this guy is being sarcastic, or he is an idiot," do please assume that I am an idiot. It makes reading your replies more entertaining. If, however, you find yourself hoping that I am not being even remotely serious then you are very likely correct as I find irreverence and being ridiculous to be relaxing.

Irrelevent.  Generalist spellcasters need to die, for the good of the game.  They are not a trope and thus aren't an option.  Period.  It's bad enough the wizard's gotten back unrestricted access to every spell on its list, it doesn't need to have the ability to cast them as well!


What in the...?

Not a trope? Show me 5 examples of spell-users that are tropes - for whatever reason that is supposed to matter - that are also limited in the magic they can wield by anything other than "haven't figured it out yet."

Tolkein wizards - not actually restricted in the spells they know, but choose carefully what magics to use.
Harry Potter wizards - no one is restricted in what they can cast by anything other than "haven't learned that one yet."
Harry Dresden - not a specialist, limited only by his experience and how much mojo (for lack of a better word) he can muster.

...then we get to where the only other wizards I can think of are actually D&D wizards...

Next point: There is no such thing (outside the cleric class since 3rd edition forward, excepting 4th edition) as a class that has "unrestricted access" to their spell list - having to go out and find the spell is a restriction, and a pretty solid one at that.



Tolkein wizards - don't exist.  Gandalf is a plot device, not a player.
Harry Potter wizards - don't count.  If everyone is magical, no one is.
Harry Dresden - won't be touched due to my lack of familiarity.

And if you can't name five wizards outside of D&D that are generalists, then my point stands.

Next point:  If you do not have a limited number of spells known that is only increased by gaining levels in your class, you have unrestricted access to your spell list.
Tolkein wizards - don't exist.  Gandalf is a plot device, not a player.
Harry Potter wizards - don't count.  If everyone is magical, no one is.
Harry Dresden - won't be touched due to my lack of familiarity.


You are not refuting my arguments and participating in conversation so much as you are stuffing your fingers in your digital equivalent of ears and going"Nuh uh! not listening! la la la la la!"

...but yet I am stuck at home with no idea what I'd rather be doing, so I will keep responding:

Gandalf might be a plot device, but he is still a wizard and magic is still an established thing that people can learn - and it does not involve an inherent limitation as to what types of spells they can learn. There are Wizards or Magicians - there are not "well, Saruman is a Transmuter, but Gandalf is a Diviner and elves tend to be Conjurers" or anything even remotely equivalent going on.

Harry Potter does count because every character focused on happens to be  magical, but comprise only a small portion of the world population which a massive majority of are completely mundane and oblivious to the existence of magic - the character's one might find while exploring a Wizard's academy in D&D are no less magical just because no mundane characters happen to be inside the academy.

...and as for finding other examples of generalists outside of D&D, I absolutely should not have to in order to prove that generalists have a place inside D&D, and every wizard ever written into a D&D novel that happened to be a generalist reinforces my stance that they absolutely do have a place.

Matter of fact is that the word "wizard" or "mage" by itself is actually refering to a generalist in almost every case, and the specialist types that you seem to insist are more prevalent while also refusing to provide any evidence are typically referred to as a "wizard" or "mage" only with a qualifier added, such as being a "fire mage," or a "black mage," or even an "ice wizard."

Next point:  If you do not have a limited number of spells known that is only increased by gaining levels in your class, you have unrestricted access to your spell list.


A quick stop at a local dictionary has provided me with the following definitions of the word "unrestricted":
1) Not subject to or subjected to restriction.
2) Free of restrictions on conduct
3) Accessible to all.

And these defintions for "restriction"
1) A limiting condition or measure, esp. a legal one
2) The limitation or control of someone or something, or the state of being limited or restricted.

So we see that something that is limited, such as the number of spells that a character is entitled to know based on level, is by definition restricted.
Further, we see that anything which someone else can tell you "no" about is limited, and by definition restricted - and a DM can control a player's spell acquisition in that manner of saying "No, I don't think you should take that spell," or "No,  your character doesn't find any new spells to learn."
And last, but not least, we see that anything which someone does not have access to is by definition restricted - and wizards do not automatically have every spell on their spell list also in their spell book, and so have only restricted access to their spell list.

A wizard could theoretically possess unrestricted access to their spell list, but it is by no means the default nor assumed state - unlike the case of clerics and their spell list.

ATTENTION:  If while reading my post you find yourself thinking "Either this guy is being sarcastic, or he is an idiot," do please assume that I am an idiot. It makes reading your replies more entertaining. If, however, you find yourself hoping that I am not being even remotely serious then you are very likely correct as I find irreverence and being ridiculous to be relaxing.

...You know what?  You've convinced me.  Screw this.

You guys were probably writing these things while I was reading them, it depresses me that some mutual agreement could be reached even if opinions would not be compromised. I would like to see more Specialist wizards but I usually like generalist types unless going for something specific, which, as I don't personally go for wizards that often to begin with, means I don't often ... thought lost here. I've seen my cousin (a player while DMing) go evoker once, and necromancer another time, I think that second one. I think he likes the sizzle and bang, I am a bit more mechanically minded and try to get the most out of my characters and tend towards general use. [This all being from 4th and 3.5 Editions I'm talking here]. So please go on I’m curious on some more thoughts, do you see possible suggestions to fix it?
 

AD&D 1st Edition Character (Simplified)

BIOGRAPHY
Name: Brother Michael
Adventuring Class: Cleric
Adventuring Experience: 1446 out of 1501
Bonus Experience: 10%
Languages Known: Common, Orc, Elven.
Alignment: Lawful/Neutral Good
ABILITY SCORES
Strength: 10
Dexterity: 10
Intelligence: 11
Charisma: 11
Constitution: 14
Wisdom: 16
WEAPONS: HIT; MEDIUM; LARGE
Footman’s Flail: 1d20; 1d6+1; 1d4
Hammer (Thrown): 1d20; 1d4+1; 1d4
Sling: 1d20-3; 1d4+1; 1d6+1
MAGIC
Today’s Prepared Spells: Cure Light Wounds x2, Command x1
Spells Spent: Cure Light Wounds x1
Other Cleric Abilities: Turn Undead
Spell Failure: 0%
Magical Attack Adjustment: +2
DEFENSES
Armor: 5 (-4 Armor, -1 Shield)
Maximum Health: 10
Current Health: 9
CONSUMABLE ITEMS
Water Skin
7 Days of Trail Rations
7 Pints (Flasks) of Oil
1 Ounce (Vial) of Holy Water
4 Parchments
12 Sling Bullets
6 Pieces of Silver
8 Pieces of Twine



Irrelevent.  Generalist spellcasters need to die, for the good of the game.  They are not a trope and thus aren't an option.  Period.  It's bad enough the wizard's gotten back unrestricted access to every spell on its list, it doesn't need to have the ability to cast them as well!



Is it true that sunlight will turn you to stone, Eisenritter?
perhaps bring back signature spells? of course, allowing the player to choose their signature spell, but perhaps this would make specialists a better option

I'd LOVE to see them come back.

perhaps bring back signature spells? of course, allowing the player to choose their signature spell, but perhaps this would make specialists a better option

I'd LOVE to see them come back.





+1
I don't understand the disparity between the power levels of the different traditions of Wizard, how it came about, and why it needs to be there. I'm hoping that I'm misinterpreting the rules as described.

Scholar:  4 cantrips, 1 extra spell/spell level prepared, 4 first level spells to start, 2 spells learned/level, ability to cast rituals.

Evoker:  3 cantrips, 3 first level spells to start, 1 spell learned/level, energy substitution to one type, allied protection to area effect spells, resistance to one elemental damage type.

Illusionist:  3 cantrips, 3 first level spells to start, Increased DC to illusion spells, advantage to detect illusions.

So, on paper, the scholar and evoker look pretty much even, while the illusionist is nerfed. Here are the things that I don't like.

1) Why can't all spellcasters cast rituals? Something mechanical, not "you spent too much time trying to figure out how to cast snowball from fireball". For balance, I get that being able to have special abilities (energy sub, etc) is pretty nice, but c'mon! The wizard lives and dies by his spells and the scholar can cast any ritual he knows whenever he wants.

2) Spell selection disparity. Uh, I don't understand this one at all. Why can the scholar learn more spells and prepare more spells than everyone else? If they get the ability to cast rituals willy-nilly, and we assume that feature balances the increase to illusion DC's and adv to detect them, then why wouldn't the other specialist classes not get something like this as well? I get the idea of "your intense study of a broad range of magic ,blah, blah, blah", but if you're going to tell me that a specialist, like an evoker or illusionist, has studied less intensely, then I'd hazzard to call you out to a spell duel. More spells per level learned makes perfect sense, but do they really need to be able to prep more too? If so, then what balances that extra spell out, machanically or story-wise, with the fact that the Evoker can't prep an additional evocation spell/spell level, or learn 1 spell + 1 evocation spell per level?



Where does it say that evokers get energy subsitution? Is there a new package that came out in the last day or two that I don't know about?

The spellcasting list is a bit confusing. As I understand it, everything under it applies to all wizards. It says that wizards can cast rituals of any spell they know if it has a ritual version of it. The scholar says the same thing again. Why?
It says that wizards can cast rituals of any spell they know if it has a ritual version of it. The scholar says the same thing again. Why?


It says they can cast the ritual version of any spell they have prepared, which is pretty much worthless as far as I know. If you prepared the spell, then you don't need to cast it as a ritual.
It says that wizards can cast rituals of any spell they know if it has a ritual version of it. The scholar says the same thing again. Why?


It says they can cast the ritual version of any spell they have prepared, which is pretty much worthless as far as I know. If you prepared the spell, then you don't need to cast it as a ritual.



Well, the one thing it doesn't say is IF it takes a spell slot from using the spell as a ritual.

Well, the one thing it doesn't say is IF it takes a spell slot from using the spell as a ritual.


That would be interesting, but the ritual rules are pretty clear that you do actually cast the spell when you cast the ritual version of it, and the class rules are pretty clear that you can only cast as many spells per day as the table says.

I guess there could be some spells where the ritual version works a bit differently than the normal version, and they are just saying that if you've prepared the spell, you can cast the ritual version if you want. (For instance, knock works better as a ritual.)

Personally, I think that an evoker should be able to cast any evocation ritual, whether they've prepared it or not, and an illusionist should be able to cast any illusion ritual.

Evoker:  3 cantrips, 3 first level spells to start, 1 spell learned/level, energy substitution to one type, allied protection to area effect spells, resistance to one elemental damage type.

Where does it say that evokers get energy subsitution? Is there a new package that came out in the last day or two that I don't know about?

 

Sorry. I went back and corrected that in the third post or so. That was a feat that I took.
It says they can cast the ritual version of any spell they have prepared, which is pretty much worthless as far as I know. If you prepared the spell, then you don't need to cast it as a ritual.



In the "how to play" pdf:

"The advantage of casting a spell as a ritual is that you do not have to prepare the spell ahead of time."

Pretty clear that you don't need to prepare a spell to cast it as a ritual. 

Further, in the classes pdf, under scholarly wizard, it says you can cast a spell as a ritual if you have the spell in your spellbook.  Note that having a spell in your spellbook and having a spell prepared are two completely different things.
perhaps bring back signature spells? of course, allowing the player to choose their signature spell, but perhaps this would make specialists a better option

I'd LOVE to see them come back.



good to see im not the only one who thinks that.

on the topic of the evoker specialty, i like the idea of free energy substitution.
and what i say to those who would complain about what if we arent using feats" as has been said about the rogue. dont see it as getting a free feat, see it as the feat gives you the evoker class feature. like the rogue ones as well.

thats how i see feats now anyways
For the record, I would love to see wizard class features at certain levels, similar to the way that 3.5 treated them and also similar to how other classes get class abilities now.

For instance, give the invoker the "feat" Energy substitution at like 5th level for free, and then if they want to take it more times that's okay. 
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