?

Log in

No account? Create an account
D&D 3E
Another Stab At Sorcerers and Wizards 
6th-Mar-2010 10:16 am
jelly
After reading the comments I definitely think that my last attempt at this was poorly done. I think a lot of you felt that way too. My reasons are still the same: I want to make sorcerers and wizards conceptually different from each other.

My vision is that wizards should be scholarly people who are seldom seen as daring adventurers. The kind of arcane caster that lives alone in a remote tower and studies a lot. Sorcerers, on the other hand, are the more wild and free type. They love adventure more than a sedentary life, and they're a bit more dangerous in a bar fight than a wizard would be.

It seemed to me like the only option to differentiate the classes was to split the spells up. A new possible list looks something like this:

Sor/Wiz: Conjuration, Divination, Universal
Sor: Evocation, Illusion, Necromancy
Wiz: Abjuration, Enchantment, Transmutation

This is a bit more extreme than I proposed before, but I have something new to add to it later. This fits well into what I'm hoping for in several cases, but it leaves a lot of empty spaces because there are a lot of spells that I think should be available to both classes. I had originally tried dividing up the entire spell list by individual spell, but that was just a nightmare. This new list puts the bulk of the spells where I think they should go, but isn't really viable because there are enough important spells that are locked out for one class or another.

My solution is spell level adjustment! Sorcerers are good at the spells on the sorcerer list; better than wizards, so a sorcerer can cast that spell as if it were one spell level lower than the book. That makes magic missile a 0 level spell for a sorcerer, and I do believe I like that. Wizards don't get magic missile until 2nd level, but they get it. Wizards don't get 9th level evocations spells until they can cast 10th level spells, and that seems fine to me as well. If you need a meteor swarm, find a sorcerer! Spells that are on the sorcerer/wizard list retain their normal spell level.

There is still plenty of reasons to take a wizard adventuring, so they don't have to worry about vanishing from the players table. The sorcerers might be able to rattle off damage like a machine gun, but they will be quite a bit more limited when it comes to non-combat utility spells. As a side note, one thing I am heavily considering is adding in a rule that says sorcerers can not write or cast from scrolls. That fits into my notion of how the classes are different, and helps to buff the wizard back up in power.

Play testing this is a long way off. Warren has to finish his campaign, which he said would last 3.5 years (I don't expect it will last near that long) then I'm committed to running a published module series which I'll use stock rules for.

But in the mean time, I subject myself to your comments again, to see what you think about this.
Comments 
6th-Mar-2010 05:39 pm (UTC)
if you're going to tear apart the rules to this extent just to customize some classes, then just play gurps.
6th-Mar-2010 05:41 pm (UTC)
also, you are weakening a wizards quite a bit, and their only reconciliation is that sorcerers can write or cast spells from scrolls!?!?

You're out of your damn mind.
6th-Mar-2010 05:42 pm (UTC)
can't*
6th-Mar-2010 05:46 pm (UTC)
If you think Evocation spells are the end-all be-all spell type for wizards, then I suppose you could see it as a weakening.
6th-Mar-2010 06:01 pm (UTC)
Rogues and clerics can pick of the slack for lack of a utility caster, but no one can pick up the slack for lack of a crowd control caster.

People, when faced with this setup, will almost always gravitate towards the sorcerer. Spontaneous caster, casts highly damaging spells, isn't even EXPECTED to be a utility caster since they CAN'T be!?

One of the only things that keeps sorcerers and wizards on the same playing playing field is NOT their ability to both scribe scrolls, it's that the sorcerer has to pick and choose his spells wisely. The second you say "you can only do damaging spells" you make their choice easy, and they turn into damage monkeys. Then, on top of that, you tell wizards that they cannot cast those same spells as well because..why? Because you have a hard on for sorcerers and want them to succeed more?

Splitting it up this way also drastically effects their feat choices. Wizards will not want half the meta magic feats because who the hell cares about widening the effects of a utility spell?

If you want to make the two classes fundamentally different, even more different then they already are, then allow one access to dragon heritage feats...oh wait, or allow one to spontaneously cast spells...oh wait...or give one more spells per day, or give one bonus feats, or give one better weapon proficiencies, or give them different skills, or base their spellcasting ability off of different stats, or allow one to know more spells then another......

This is not balanced. I think you need to revisit it.
6th-Mar-2010 10:11 pm (UTC)
Hmmmmm.

I look at this as pushing people towards wizards, because I've nerfed sorcerers down to just doing damage. They aren't useful for much else, while the wizards are now top caster in the party. Not letting sorcerers use scrolls both fits beautifully into the flavor of the cast, and it helps solidify the wizard as the ideal caster.
6th-Mar-2010 06:33 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure you're going about this the right way. I suggest stepping back a second. Why do you want Sorcerers and Wizards to be "different?" If it's because you want NPCs/bad guys to feel different, you can get that effect more readily just by flavoring how things work and choosing spell lists as appropriate--you don't need to come up with "rules" for it.

Is it because the spell-casting player never seem to make a choice between Sorcerers and Wizards (or dislikes the choice)? Why does he not like that choice? What is it he's seeing as different (or not different) between Sorcs and Wizards?

Is it that you frequently have a Sorcerer and a Wizard in the party and they complain about being the same? What makes them think they are the same?

3e is not really a class-based system. You can play a paladin without taking levels in the "Paladin" class. So trying to make the classes different is counter to the overall design of the game.

If you don't like that there are two classes that are fundamentally the same, I'd suggest two (easier) alternatives:
1) Get rid of the Sorcerer, and just leave the various specialist spontaneous casters (Warmage, Dread Necromancer, etc). Now you have these kinds of spontaneous casters who drip with flavor and specialize along a certain path.
2) Replace Sorcerers (or Wizards, your call) with Psionics. Psion (particularly telekineticists) can do much of the same stuff as a blaster Sorcerer, but have an entirely separate spell list and casting mechanic. They will feel as different as a Wizard and a Cleric
2b) OR you could do what I did and replace Wizard with Psion and Sorcerer with Wilder. These two classes also draw from the same spell list, but cast spells (and do other things) in such different ways that they don't feel the same at all.

So ask yourself: why do you want to make this change? What is it benefiting? Can you get the same effect without making the change, just emphasizing character and roleplaying more? Will it even matter (if you come up with a complicated houserule to separate these two, but no one plays both, who will even notice)?

If you can come up with a more specific design goal than "making them feel different", we'll be able to help you more.
6th-Mar-2010 10:25 pm (UTC)
I want them to be different because now they are the same. The both cast magic missile, identify, expeditious retreat, shield, mage armor, read magic, and light.

I have one player who routinely plays a spell caster. He typically has a high strength and a high con, uses his feats to wear plate armor and wield a great sword. The only difference between a sorcerer and a wizard seems to be how many scrolls need to be bought. That's not a very viable way, in my opinion, to differentiate casters.

I don't see the ability to play a paladin being open to non paladins. Lay on hands, the mount, stuff like that, is only available to paladins. Paladins are different and special compared to clerics and fighters. Wizards and sorcerers, however, are basically the same, except one gets daily variety instead of daily repetition. Otherwise they both do the same things.

Getting rid of the sorcerer is an option I've tried, but didn't like. I like the idea of the sorcerer, but I think it could be implemented as something other than a wizard. What I'd like to do is make the sorcerer interesting without a major class rewrite.

I don't particularly like the way psionics were implemented, so I prefer to avoid them. I can't think of where the Wilder comes from, and I'm not familiar with it.

Why the change? To make wizards and sorcerers interesting enough that you can tell them apart.

From this comment I have realized that if I just take away sorcerers abilities to use scrolls (and take away read magic), then I suddenly have made sorcerers and wizards far more distinct. This has the side benefit that sorcerers are suddenly a lot more like their flavor text, being creatures that can spontaneous cast spells, but aren't learned about magic.
6th-Mar-2010 11:09 pm (UTC)
I want them to be different because now they are the same. The both cast magic missile, identify, expeditious retreat, shield, mage armor, read magic, and light.

But they don't cast them in the same WAY. One can only choose a subset of those to cast ever (but can cast magic missile 4-5 times a day if they wanted), while the other gets versatility. But this isn't enough of a difference is what you're saying.

[Note that I function under the belief that the Sorcerer is severely overpowered, particularly compared to the Wizard (the third most powerful class in the game)]

I have one player who routinely plays a spell caster. He typically has a high strength and a high con, uses his feats to wear plate armor and wield a great sword. The only difference between a sorcerer and a wizard seems to be how many scrolls need to be bought. That's not a very viable way, in my opinion, to differentiate casters.

There is no different for that particularly character build. And yeah, he'd probably function exactly the same if he played a Cleric or a Paladin or any other spellcasting class. If you play a class so that you aren't making use of the different mechanics, they aren't going to feel different.

I don't see the ability to play a paladin being open to non paladins. Lay on hands, the mount, stuff like that, is only available to paladins. Paladins are different and special compared to clerics and fighters. Wizards and sorcerers, however, are basically the same, except one gets daily variety instead of daily repetition. Otherwise they both do the same things.

And here is where we're going to disagree. You seem to see a paladin as defined by what they can do (summon a mount, lay on hands, use armor). I see a paladin as a warrior for good who may have some magical abilities. A Fighter with 1 level of Wizard to cast "Mount" 1/day would work fine as a paladin. A Fighter multiclassed into Cleric for CLW ("lay on hands") would do the same thing. They can all be paladins. And if you don't see magic as an integral part of a paladin, then you can play a paladin-like character using Rogue or Fighter or Bard or whatever you want as the base.

So what is the difference between a Fighter and a Barbarian? They both use weapons. They both hit things. Except one hits things in a different manner. Just like the Sorcerer casts spells in a different manner than the wizard. They are already pretty different, but you need to determine what manner of "difference" you're looking for. If the way they use magic--the mechanics behind how they are built and played--isn't different enough, then what is?

Why the change? To make wizards and sorcerers interesting enough that you can tell them apart.

Here's the crux of it: so that who can tell them apart? The players can identify them based on style and flavor--you don't need to change the class, just have your sorcerers have different personalities than the wizards. Do you have both classes present in a game so that people are confused which is which?? I don't see the point of making them more "different". They are mechanically different. Everything else is just how a character is roleplayed.


What I'm trying to say is that what defines a "difference" is going to be incredibly depending on the exact circumstances of your game. Who is playing what class and why. Coming up with broad houserules (that you can get a group of people who aren't in your game to agree with no less) is pretty futile. Just do what you need to do to make the specific instances of characters difference, and the underlying mechanics or what is written under Class on the character sheet doesn't matter.
7th-Mar-2010 03:47 pm (UTC)
The webcomic Order of the Stick actually addresses this "paladin without being a paladin" thing at least twice. Once, it's a "samurai" who is actually a monk/paladin - she didn't take any "samurai" (Complete Warrior) levels at all. The other is a "bard" who turns out to in fact be "a multiclass fighter/rogue/sorcerer who specializes in enchantment spells."

There's mechanics, and there's flavor, and it's important to distinguish between the two.
7th-Mar-2010 06:17 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I was trying to find a link to the specific comic :p
8th-Mar-2010 11:45 pm (UTC)
Samurai, Bard. Whee!
8th-Mar-2010 11:57 pm (UTC)
Thank ye kindly, good sir ;)
6th-Mar-2010 11:12 pm (UTC)
From this comment I have realized that if I just take away sorcerers abilities to use scrolls (and take away read magic), then I suddenly have made sorcerers and wizards far more distinct.

If that's enough for your game, great! In my game people rarely use scrolls or read magic, and so that wouldn't do anything to help. So again, it's based on the exact context of a particular instance of your game. You aren't going to be able to really fix it (without causing other problems or just causing confusion) until you have a specific symptom to try and address. Everyone just using scrolls is a good specific symptom. "They both do damage with spells" is not.

Good luck!
7th-Mar-2010 11:21 am (UTC)
"I have realized that if I just take away sorcerers abilities to use scrolls (and take away read magic), then I suddenly have made sorcerers and wizards far more distinct. This has the side benefit that sorcerers are suddenly a lot more like their flavor text, being creatures that can spontaneous cast spells, but aren't learned about magic."

How about instead of simply removing scibe scroll and read amgic, swapping that for the eschew materials feat (basically ignore material components unless they're the expensive ones like 500G of diamond etc-which you could argue are more integral to the spell). I'd tend to think that leads wizards to be studied and using stuff for power and sorcerers to be power themselves.
7th-Mar-2010 03:48 pm (UTC)
+1 to this suggestion! I like it. Wizards get Scribe Scroll; sorcerers get Eschew Materials. (Giving that as a bonus feat at first level doesn't seem overly broken to me. If you wanted to balance it a bit, you could move Summon Familiar to second level. Har har har.)

But that's a neat way to deal with it.
6th-Mar-2010 06:34 pm (UTC)
If this is what you want to do to split wizards for sorcerers, play 4e. This is pretty much exactly the big differences in the 4e classes.

Also, I'm trying to figure why you're doing this for arcane casters, and not trying something similar for Cleric/Favoured Soul.

With all the customizing and alterations done to 3e/3.5e/pathfinder classes in existence, with mindfulness to balancing the various classes, you won't find any major divisions like this, because they aren't necessary.

If you want there to be a big difference between spontaneous casters and memorizing casters, just don't allow the Sorc, and stick with Bards for spontaneous arcane casters.

Or move to Monte Cooke's Arcana Evolved style spell lists, giving the Sorc access to simple spells only, and wizard simple and complex. (Although, in AE, every caster is pseudo spontaneous and pseudo memorizing -- they pick a list of spells they can spontaneously cast, and can change that list like a memorizing caster can get spells).

6th-Mar-2010 10:30 pm (UTC)
I played 4e. I wasted a lot of money on books. It's even worse in that all the characters are essentially the same and all that changes is a little flavor text from action to action.

I don't see clerics as being a big enough target. With their domain spells, and bringing in things depending on the deity worshiped they seem ok. If anything I'd make deity choice more important for clerics

Arcana Evolved is interesting, but not where I want to go. I'd have to dig it out of the bog it's in to try and remember specifics though.
6th-Mar-2010 06:40 pm (UTC)
Sorcerers and wizards are quite sufficiently different to begin with. Making a sorcerer the crowd control machine gun and the wizard the "wise old sage" with a spell for every situation (but oh, you can't really do any damage, unless you want to do it worse than the other guy) is just going to make the wizard unattractive.

I also think that if you make the spells in their arsenal one level lower for their "good" schools, you're going to create an imbalance from which your campaign will not recover. 9th level spells will be castable at wizard level 15 and sorcerer level 16, two levels ahead of the normal curve. Likewise 3rd level spells become 2nd level spells? Yes plz! If I'm playing a sorcerer I'd want my fireballs and lightning bolts to be 2nd level spells. Think of all the sweet metamagic I could do with that as well. Sure, I can't cast fly or haste, but oh well, I'll just have to console myself by this toasty fire that I've created from my enemy's bones.

Did I understand correctly that for the spellcaster's "bad" schools the spell level is one higher? Turning level 1 spells into 2nd level spells (and 2nd into 3rd, and so on...) makes them completely unnecessary spells for that class and devalues a lot of the content of wizards and sorcerers.

My suggestion would be, off the top of my head, if you absolutely want to distinguish between the two classes, you make every wizard a specialist wizard with the usual perks and no more generalist wizards. Sorcerers can't specialize (except in their Spheres if you're using that optional rule) so they're more of a general cast-as-you-like type of adventurer while wizards become a more potent, if specialized, force to be reckoned with. If you feel that's still not enough distinction, have all sorcerers become battle sorcerers. Their spellpower is decreased in exchange for more hardier adventuring skills.

That's just a quick idea though, and personally I wouldn't do it like that, but ah well...
6th-Mar-2010 10:34 pm (UTC)
Ok, last comment on the page, and I'm tired of thinking!

I've realized from what people said above that there is a much simpler way to go about this. Take away a sorcerers ability to use scrolls and read magic. All of a sudden sorcerers act just like their flavor text describes them they aren't interchangeable with wizards.
6th-Mar-2010 11:25 pm (UTC)
Well, that's really... something I wouldn't think would have ANY effect on making them "different" at all. But if that works for you, sure, that probably wouldn't be too imbalancing.
7th-Mar-2010 02:26 pm (UTC)
If you wanted something as simple as that, why not just make all sorcerers in your world Battle Sorcerers? That'd fit in your 'bar room brawl' idea of a sorcerer better anyway.
7th-Mar-2010 03:51 pm (UTC)
I like this idea too!
7th-Mar-2010 03:50 pm (UTC)
My sorcerer (well, sorcerer/cleric/mystic theurge, but who's counting?) in the game I'm currently in has never needed Read Magic, and has only used a handful of scrolls. Moral of the story: Every game and every player is different.
5th-Jul-2011 09:07 pm (UTC) - i agree
Anonymous
thank you
This page was loaded Oct 17th 2017, 6:00 am GMT.