View Full Version : Proposed 3.5E Wizard Fix

2008-12-30, 05:31 PM
My gaming group prefers 3.5E to 4E but recognizes that primary spell casters are broken. We are experimenting with "simple" proposed fixes to 3.5E and hope to find a way to keep it playable in the mid to high levels while maintaining the overall D&D feel. We will start out in a low-magic campaign with just the PHB, DMG, and MM and build out from there. Note: we are trying to balance characters to roughly the power level of the Fighter, though individual levels may vary and roles will certainly be different... in any case, the Fighter is our rule-of-thumb.

With that in mind, I'd appreciate any thoughts on the following fix for the Wizard class:

Slow down spell casting.

Immediate --> Free
Free --> Standard
Standard --> Round
Round --> 1 Minute
1 Minute --> 10 Minutes
10 Minutes --> 1 Hour
1 Hour --> 1 Day

The vast majority of spells require a Standard Action to cast; moving this to a Round changes their strategy significantly. It becomes easier to disrupt a spell caster as they must wait until just before their next turn to launch most of their spells. Monster summoning now takes 1 minute so for practical purposes, this will only happen before combat. Move and cast strategies would have to be rethought as well. Contingency may become the most valuable spell in the book.

As part of a party, however, the Wizard still wields considerable power. Scrolls and wands would be necessities, but in a low-magic campaign, the caster will probably end up making these himself.

Some individual spells may need to be exceptions. Teleport, for example, has always been a problem in our campaigns and will be restricted. Feather fall as a free action is pretty weak and counterspelling doesn't make much sense if it takes a full round to cast.

So, what do you guys think?

2008-12-30, 05:39 PM
To start with, going core on its own means that the game is far more balanced. Fewer spells for spellcasters make the game bearable on its own.

I like this idea. It would do what it attempts to do, which is make wizards weaker. However, polymorph is broken anyway, and lots of spells are too broken to be allowed in at any casting time.

Does this apply to clerics/druids too?

Lert, A.
2008-12-30, 08:16 PM
It's pretty much what I like to do with my casters. I basically use Quicken to reduce the casting time by one step, so if you really want to summon the monster on short notice you have to eat a higher level spell slot.

2008-12-30, 10:45 PM
To start with, going core on its own means that the game is far more balanced. Fewer spells for spellcasters make the game bearable on its own.

This. Holds in all the actual games I've been in or read about.

Really it's like apples and oranges, so I don't know how you could balance casters out in one way without making something way too weak and something else hardly affected at all. D&D has brawn, magic and skills which are difficult to compare to eachother. From a bird's eye view it seems magic > brawn > skills, but even that can depend on a lot of things. Once you take a closer look, it's hard to make adjustments to make anything equal. It's like balancing a sunset with salt-water taffy. I'd just recognize that all 3 are necessary (or should be) and stop worrying from there.

2008-12-30, 10:57 PM
If you're going core, your best bet would be to limit the number of schools the class has access to. By simply making all Wizards Specialists (with no specialization bonus) and having to drop three schools of spells to do so. You'll limit some abuses.

2008-12-30, 10:58 PM
Sorry, I don't get what the post talking about apples and oranges means. Could someone please explain it for me?

What I mean is that when a new book comes out, spellcasters get more options, but generally, warriors don't, with the exception of ToB. So every new book makes spellcasters at the very least a little bit better, and at best gives them some ridiculous new spell that is too powerful.

2008-12-30, 11:13 PM
I'm guessing it has to do with the inherant differences between the different systems. If you nerf magic then melee/skills becomes overpowered, as an example.

2008-12-31, 09:54 AM
The speedster caster is one reason casters are overpowered in 3.5
The wizard casts one spell that lasts all day in the morning (normal, or metamagic)
Then he casts one that lasts for hours, right before entering the dungeon
Then he casts one right outside the BBeG's room.
Then he quicken a spell, runs, tumble, makes a Concentrate check, and casts another spell in the BBeG's face.

Slowing down their spells makes it more challenging, as he actually have to face dungers instead of just solving everything with a spell, so I approve.
That's how it went in AD&D, and it worked fine.
Ah, split the Quicken Metamagic into two: Lesser (spell level +2) enchances the speed in one step, and Greater (spell level +4) enchances the speed in two steps.

And if you want to avoid the "nova" casters, do it like this: To memorize a spell, you need 10 minutes for each level of the spell (0 levels take 5 minutes). Same thing to recharge slots of espontaneous casters.
This way, a 20th level wizard will take 6 hours only to memorize his 9th level spells. Not worth to just dump it all at once anymore. Again, worked fine in AD&D.