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    Default Wizards vs Sorcerer

    Ok, so our group must being having a derptastic moment on this, but we can not for the life of us figure out why a Wizard is better than a Sorcerer. Except for going into prestige classes and such. Let's assume both are pure 20.

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    Default Re: Wizards vs Sorcerer

    Pure versitility.
    A 20th level wizard stands a fair chance of being able to cast every spell on the class spell list (and more than a few from other spell lists, if the DM is okay with Researching or Creating your own spells)
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    Default Re: Wizards vs Sorcerer

    Wizards get spells earlier, know more spells, and can cast at least as many spells of their highest spell level as a Sorcerer. Int>Cha generally. They are more skilled for instance.

    They get bonus feats (5 of them), and are not nerfed with Quicken Spell, or long casting times for metamagic.

    Sorcerer is a fine class, but it falls short at just about every metric next to a Wizard.
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    Default Re: Wizards vs Sorcerer

    The wizard is more versatile, the sorceror is more durable. In most games, versatility is very important. The wizard generally has a larger selection of spells at the start of the day than the sorceror, particularly when you start factoring in bonus slots from high int and from specialisation.

    Durability (ie the capacity to cast a large number of spells per day) is only important if your group regularly has enough encounters each day that the wizard would start to run out of spells. Even then you'd have to have enough encounters so that the number of encounters the wizard spends with fewer spells to choose between than the sorceror, is greater than the number he enjoyed early on in the day with more to choose between.

    So-called high optimisation games tend to favour wizards, because they pursue one-shot kills and other tactics that favour having the right spell over being able to cast more often. Games where adventures are static sites, and the party is free to rest and recover spells whenever they want, also favour the wizard.

    If you have a game where optimisation is not permitted, and the pace is set by the DM, there's not that much difference between them.

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    Default Re: Wizards vs Sorcerer

    I understand the versatility, that I always knew. I believe its because we all have a dread of taking the time to prepare spells. I'm going to be playing a gish who's caster class is Wizard.
    can cast at least as many spells of their highest spell level as a Sorcerer.
    Actually they can't. Assuming both are human and have max cast stat, Sorcerers get more spells per day. Still more than a Specialist, only if you focused specialist do you get the same.

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    Default Re: Wizards vs Sorcerer

    Ok, I believe I fully understand now.

    Sidenote: I don't know if you can ban optimization. Its kind of hard to not optimize.

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    Default Re: Wizards vs Sorcerer

    Well for one, just look at their spell progression tables. The Wizard has teleport and two bonus feats when the Sorcerer has dimension door and no bonus feats.

    For another, look at the spells known. The Wizard can afford to stick Knock in his spellbook and just bypass doors (or find the path/rope trick/fabricate whatever other niche immediate problem-solvers it needs), or achieve concepts like Summoner without committing half its arsenal to just learning summoning spells at all and piecing the Planar Binding+Dimension Anchor+Magic Circle Against X combination together.

    And then look at the hoops the Sorcerer has to jump through to do simple - but important - things like Quickening a spell.

    Then look at their stats: A level 20 Sorcerer maybe gets +10 to 1-2 skills. A level 20 Wizard gets full ranks in maybe 4-6 extra skills, as well as the same +10 to whatever skills it chooses to apply its int to.

    And in terms of ACFs, look at the Wizard's big appealing options: things like better feats, spontaneous casting from an entire school, accelerated summoning, immediately saying "no" to 3-10 attacks per day; compare those to the Sorcerer's best trick: using metamagic as well as a well-prepared wizard does by default, but only a handful of times per day.

    And for the last nail in the coffin, Focused Specialist wizards get more spells per day than the Sorcerer - especially on odd-numbered levels.

    I don't want to sell the Sorcerer short - Sorcerers can be extraordinarily game-breakingly powerful, can outdo almost any other class for spell output, and can have enough spells that are "good enough" for dealing with obstacles that it can problem-solve better than most classes past the lowest levels - but the Wizard just has some ridiculous advantages going in its favor.
    Last edited by eggs; 2012-10-12 at 05:02 PM.

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    Default Re: Wizards vs Sorcerer

    I think a nail most people dont know about is the one that happened in the 3-3.5 conversion: Wizards in 3rd had to bar schools, and the specialization benefits simply werent there.


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    Default Re: Wizards vs Sorcerer

    Quote Originally Posted by Cranthis View Post
    Actually they can't. Assuming both are human and have max cast stat, Sorcerers get more spells per day. Still more than a Specialist, only if you focused specialist do you get the same.
    Compare levels 7 and 8, human, casting stat 18. At 7, a wizard can cast any 3 3rd-level spells and any 2 4th-level spells; a sorcerer can cast either of 2 3rd-level spells up to 4 times advantage: wizard by a substantial margin. At 8, a wizard can cast any 4 3rd-level spells and any 3 4th-level spells; a sorcerer can cast either of their 2 3rd-level spells up to 6 times and their single 4th-level spell up to 4 times advantage: sorcerer by a smaller margin.
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    Default Re: Wizards vs Sorcerer

    As a note, if a sorcerer screws up his spell selection he's stuck with it. If a wizard does the same, he can change it the next day.
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    Default Re: Wizards vs Sorcerer

    There are a lot of useful spells that you would only want to cast once per day, like rope trick, overland flight, elemental body, greater magic weapon, mage armour, so on. A wizard can just prepare them once, but if a sorcerer gets that spell as a spell known, then he only casts it once a day and after that it's just kind of wasting space in the spells known area.

    Faster spell progression, bonus feats, more skill points, quicken spell and the ability to use Pearls of power are also pretty much gravy.

    The sorcerer's edge, more spell slots, matters less at higher levels. If you've got 36 non zero spell slots, that's enough to go through 6 encounters casting 5 spells each one, with enough spells left over for all day buffs. And you generally don't get 6 encounters a day.

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    Default Re: Wizards vs Sorcerer

    Throw Focused Specialist onto a wizard and he has as many spells per day as a sorcerer of equal level, probably more. Gaining a new spell level entitles him to at least 3 spells per day, possibly 4 from a high casting stat.


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    Default Re: Wizards vs Sorcerer

    Also, given time, a Wizard can solve any problem. The cost of scribing new spells in his spellbook is negligible compared to WBL (and he doesn't need WBL nearly as badly as other classes) so he can know every spell in the PHB and all the useful ones from other books. Even if he hasn't prepared the necessary spell, as long as he's left a spell slot open he can take an hour and get the right spell, or if he has Uncanny Forethought he can just say "yeah, I prepared that".

    Sorcerer's primary appeals are increased spell slots, the short-term versatility of spontaneous casting, in being able to recast spells if necessary, and in the few Sorcerer-only spells like Arcane Spellsurge, Arcane Fusion, Wings of Cover and Wings of Flurry. The first is an illusion, as (focused) specialist Wizards get as many or more slots than a Sorcerer, and if you don't want to ban schools the Elven Generalist gets nearly as many. The second is usually not a factor, as a well-played Wizard in the Batman style (God less so) should be able to solve nearly any encounter in a single spell. The third is a valid advantage, but it's usually not enough to overcome the other two.

    ~EDIT~ Also, I personally detest prepared casting as I keep on thinking of worst-case scenarios in which I'll be totally useless and suchlike, so I prefer spontaneous casters for my peace of mind. Or I'll play a Persistomancer and fill all my slots with Persistent spells.
    Last edited by kardar233; 2012-10-12 at 07:22 PM.
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    Default Re: Wizards vs Sorcerer

    Additionally, re: the spells-per-day issue, a Wizard's bonus feats (including Scribe Scroll at level one) mean they can afford to drop a feat or two on crafting. Potions are generally not worth it, but Scribe Scroll and Craft Wand both mean that a Wizard can have many, MANY more spells-per-day than you might otherwise think, especially since you get the XP back pretty easily.


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    Default Re: Wizards vs Sorcerer

    Quote Originally Posted by kardar233 View Post
    Also, given time, a Wizard can solve any problem.
    This. Give a Wizard one day, and your problem is solved.

    If he left a slot open, he just needs 15 minutes.

    If he has the right feats/ACFs (Uncanny Forethought, Spontaneous Divination), less than six seconds (a Full-Round action).

    If he prepared the right spell from the get-go, a Standard action.

    If he's (ab)using Divinations, he solved it a week ago.


    If a Sorcerer doesn't have the right spell known, he's stuck forever. Unless your playing Pathfinder, and he took Paragon Surge as a spell known. In which case you are no longer playing D&D, you are playing "Book Diving: The RPG".
    Last edited by Slipperychicken; 2012-10-12 at 07:38 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Emperor Tippy View Post
    By level 20 though, you aren't capturing a wizard. A character lives to level 20 by being the most ruthless, lucky, capable, and paranoid bastard around. A wizard is throwing around a 30+ Int score and has, entirely in character, planned contingencies for his contingencies. He may well be running around with flat out total immunity to harm, he does not walk outside without an entire bevy of defensive magics around him and enough magic items to buy himself a nation.

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    Default Re: Wizards vs Sorcerer

    Quote Originally Posted by Cranthis View Post
    I understand the versatility, that I always knew. I believe its because we all have a dread of taking the time to prepare spells. I'm going to be playing a gish who's caster class is Wizard.
    Actually they can't. Assuming both are human and have max cast stat, Sorcerers get more spells per day. Still more than a Specialist, only if you focused specialist do you get the same.
    Half the time (odd levels after 1), even a Generalist Wizard will beat a Sorcerer in highest level spells per day, since the Sorcerer has no spells of that level. At even levels (after 2), the Sorcerer and regular Specialist are tied. If Focused Specialist is in play, then the FS Wizard actually has more highest level spells per day, even on even levels.

    This is considering equal casting stats.
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    Default Re: Wizards vs Sorcerer

    Generally I find sorcerers tend to be better but wizard wins theoretical optimization with the sheer number of things they can do given enough time. In play you often don't have a day; even the DM might not be planning so far ahead. Even if you make the effort it'd be a pain for him to match it. Between being able to repeat the same spell without losing options and metamagic means sorcerers have more options in the short run. Clever spell selection (like web) makes even 2nd level spells useful for a long time after you get it so being behind only hurts a little.

    So really it depends how hardcore of a gamer you and those around you are. On the flipside if you don't know what you're doing at all you can really screw up a sorcerer spell selection with no way to fix it, unlike a wizard. It is very much a medium optimization class.

    That's probably where your group is which is why they can't figure out the theoretical stuff from 2 dozen splatbooks. Once you learn to exploit 50 spells, plan ahead and swap them in accordingly you may change your mind. But therein lies headaches.
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    Default Re: Wizards vs Sorcerer

    From a flavor point of view, it depends if you like nerds or... people with innate abilities. Need a good word for it.

    The Wizard is a nerd. They spend like their whole life reading books and stuff and are generally pretty smart.

    The Sorcerer has some draconic blood (friggin' sweet) and the magic flows naturally. I imagine they just like hang out and stuff.
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    Default Re: Wizards vs Sorcerer

    Quote Originally Posted by danzibr View Post
    From a flavor point of view, it depends if you like nerds or... people with innate abilities. Need a good word for it.

    The Wizard is a nerd. They spend like their whole life reading books and stuff and are generally pretty smart.

    The Sorcerer has some draconic blood (friggin' sweet) and the magic flows naturally. I imagine they just like hang out and stuff.
    The wizard should be like Batman, and the sorcerer should be like Superman?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dante & Vergil View Post
    The wizard should be like Batman, and the sorcerer should be like Superman?
    Ehh, I wouldn't go that far, seeing as how Superman has the power to acquire new powers at the drop of a hat.
    Last edited by Coidzor; 2012-10-12 at 09:53 PM.
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    Default Re: Wizards vs Sorcerer

    Another, minor, advantage of being a wizard is that Intelligence is generally better than Charisma. It governs skill points and several skills that are important for casters. Charisma governs social skills, and for that there's charm/dominate.
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    Default Re: Wizards vs Sorcerer

    Here's a dirty little secret about the wiz/sorc comparison that almost always gets left out of these discussions.

    While it's true that a wizard is objectively more capable than a sorcerer of the same level, it doesn't matter at all.

    What matters is which one fits you and your group's playstyle better. All the advantages wizards have don't really mean much if what a sorcerer gets is enough for what your DM throws at you, and the primary advantage, strategic versatility, can be rendered moot or even become a major detriment if you don't know how to wield it properly. Being paralyzed by excessive choice, failing to discover the appropriate info for informed choices on what to prepare*, and leaving too many slots open can all end with your wizard in a shallow unmarked grave. With a sorcerer, you select a set of broadly applicable spells and then shoe-horn them into whatever situation comes up. Though it'll rarely be a perfect fit, it'll also rarely fail to be enough, though such improvisation may require outside the box thinking that can be just as difficult as learning to ask the right questions and pick the right spells.


    *given RAW and the nature of predicting the future, divinations aren't nearly as useful as people seem to think.

    First, the only creatures that have an explicit ability to predict the future by more than a matter of moments are greater gods. Which is fortunate, because the spells that are supposedly used to predict the future actually call on them anyway. Going by core, there's augury and divination on the divine lists, both of which are unfortunately ambiguous in their answers and only give you a single question each. Then there's everyone's favorite; contact other plane. Here're the problems with it:

    A) You have to contact a greater god, which means making a dc16 int/cha check to avoid becoming a non-caster for 5 weeks. A trivial check at higher levels, but at level 9 (the level the spell becomes available) that's going to be close to even odds and certainly an unwise risk to take for any but the most serious of questions, certainly too much risk just for making spell selection for tomorrow.

    B) You're basically restricted to yes/no questions since the gods resent such contact and keep their answers short. (you might get a short phrase if the DM's feeling generous)

    C) Sometimes the gods lie. There's a 12% chance that you're going to get either "I don't know," or an answer that may or may not be correct based on the knowledge of the god contacted. (This chance increases up to as much as 100% depending on how much you've irritated your DM.)

    D) Unless you're comfortable with the idea that your fate is written in stone, a god can't be reasonably expected to know what you'll do tomorrow unless you've already made nearly all the decisions that will affect your actions tomorrow. Since you're contacting the god for advice about what to do tomorrow, there's no way he can know with certainty what'll happen. This means that just because the predictions were accurate when they were given to you doesn't mean they'll stay accurate once you start acting, unless the DM nails your butt to the rails and calls it fate.

    Secondly, many of the problems I descibed above with CoP, stem from the very nature of predicting the future. Since fate=railroading, it's not really feasable for fate to be a thing at most tables. This means that what the greater gods see, is actually just the most likely future given the information the god has available (a truly prodigious amount of info, to be sure). When an individual asks the god about his future, even under the most amicable of circumstances much less an annoyance of an arcane spell, the god can really only make a prediction based on the patterns that the individual has shown and the patterns seen in the things he's likely to interact with. If the individual is asking so as to determine how to act in the future, the god either has to look at the picture as it exists without any input from the querying individual, or has to make his best guess based on how he thinks the individual will react to his advice. (or he could just be honest and say, "I really can't know until you decide what to do," though the odds of that are pretty slim.)

    Divinations are an extraordinarily powerful tool when carefully wielded, especially if the enemy doesn't take steps to defend against them, but they can only read the present and past with near perfect accuracy. They can't read the future any better than the guy adjudicating them.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ericgrau View Post
    In play you often don't have a day; even the DM might not be planning so far ahead.
    This is extremely important to RPGs in general: If the DM doesn't make plans, you can't either. And it's why I take Uncanny Forethought on all my Wizards. This is also why future-telling Divinations can suck (and why many DMs are such s***heads about it); you can't see the future if the DM doesn't know it.

    If you (the DM) aren't even going to plan one in-game day in advance, why should I?
    Last edited by Slipperychicken; 2012-10-12 at 10:14 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Emperor Tippy View Post
    By level 20 though, you aren't capturing a wizard. A character lives to level 20 by being the most ruthless, lucky, capable, and paranoid bastard around. A wizard is throwing around a 30+ Int score and has, entirely in character, planned contingencies for his contingencies. He may well be running around with flat out total immunity to harm, he does not walk outside without an entire bevy of defensive magics around him and enough magic items to buy himself a nation.

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    Default Re: Wizards vs Sorcerer

    Assuming you're an adventurer who only casts adventuring spells in random adventuring sites, wizard is only a hair better than the sorcerer. Bonus feats, better ACFs and earlier spell access are nice, but the two characters are still in the same league.

    What puts the wizard miles ahead is when you look at all the spells that aren't adventuring spells. Wizards can make items, cast plot devices (and 3.5 carries a lot of legacy plot devices that are shoehorned into the standard casting mechanic), or otherwise set things up/alter the world. Once you stop thinking about combat turns and start thinking about longer term objectives, you'll see why being able to alter your layout is a very good thing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kelb_Panthera View Post
    divinations aren't nearly as useful as people seem to think.
    this is very true. Divinations dont even remotely match how overpowered a Knowledge (History) 13 check is. Anyone who can match that DC on a natural 1 knows all of time
    Last edited by toapat; 2012-10-12 at 10:42 PM.


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    Default Re: Wizards vs Sorcerer

    Quote Originally Posted by toapat View Post
    this is very true. Divinations dont even remotely match how overpowered a Knowledge (History) 13 check is. Anyone who can match that DC on a natural 1 knows all of time
    Only in Pathfinder, and it's DC 15.

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    Default Re: Wizards vs Sorcerer

    If I had to narrow down the wizard is better then sorcerer issue? Not sure if all these are mentioned already. And in no particular order of importance.

    1. Bonus metamagic feats.
    2. More spells known.
    3. Scribe scroll feat at lvl 1 (some people allow this to be dropped for a different feat)
    4. Can use Quicken Spell effectivly without needing another feat.
    5. Gets their next highest spell level 1 level faster then Sorcerer.
    6. Versatiltiy (with right feat selection, barely if ever needs to have right spell prepared, just needs them in spellbook)
    7. A focused specialist wizard has same amount of spell slots (fewer schools to cast from, but that can also be mitigated somewhat) as Sorcerer.
    8. As INT based, tends to have more skill points.

    To be fair, Sorcerers have some advantages over Wizard.
    1. No spellbook.
    2. No preperation headaches
    3. As CHA based, can be great at NPC interactive skills.
    4. More spell slots (usually)

    In short, most wizards tend to overpower sorcerers. Usually by overwhelming them quickly and relying on their ability to focus their spells for that day on killing that sorcerer. After all, what good is more spell slots if your to dead to use them, and no real need to worry about spell selection, can change it tomarrow if attack failed.

    Granted, a sorcerer that picks spells that are almost always useful (greater dispel, wings of cover, etc) can very well slay an unprapared wizard.
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  28. - Top - End - #28
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Wizards vs Sorcerer

    Quote Originally Posted by Kelb_Panthera View Post
    A) You have to contact a greater god, which means making a dc16 int/cha check to avoid becoming a non-caster for 5 weeks. A trivial check at higher levels, but at level 9 (the level the spell becomes available) that's going to be close to even odds and certainly an unwise risk to take for any but the most serious of questions, certainly too much risk just for making spell selection for tomorrow.
    I take from that that you don't think taking 10 on this check is possible, as some of the spell's proponents do?`

    D) Unless you're comfortable with the idea that your fate is written in stone, a god can't be reasonably expected to know what you'll do tomorrow unless you've already made nearly all the decisions that will affect your actions tomorrow. Since you're contacting the god for advice about what to do tomorrow, there's no way he can know with certainty what'll happen. This means that just because the predictions were accurate when they were given to you doesn't mean they'll stay accurate once you start acting, unless the DM nails your butt to the rails and calls it fate.
    The problem here is that the god knows more than the DM does. A solution would be to "postpone" the advice. For example, if the caster asks what the greatest danger will be that he faces the next day, the DM doesn't answer, but the god does. When the caster meets the opponent the DM deems the most dangerous, he tells the player what the god said, and the player may change around a few spell slots retroactively. It's not a perfect solution, but it makes the spell workable without using the rails.
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  29. - Top - End - #29
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    Default Re: Wizards vs Sorcerer

    One more advantage that no one's mentioned yet: Pretty much every arcane full-casting prestige class in 3.5 seems to be designed with the Wizard in mind.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cirrylius View Post
    That's how wizards beta test their new animals. If it survives Australia, it's a go. Which in hindsight explains a LOT about Australia.

  30. - Top - End - #30
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    Default Re: Wizards vs Sorcerer

    Quote Originally Posted by Sith_Happens View Post
    One more advantage that no one's mentioned yet: Pretty much every arcane full-casting prestige class in 3.5 seems to be designed with the Wizard in mind.
    This is actually pretty huge, and kind of complements the "wizards get bonus feats" thing. Not that 9th-level spellcasting isn't a good enough class feature, but Sorcerers basically are stuck without anything but familiar progression to look forwards to. The only full casting prestige class that seems made for sorcerers is Archmage, since they have plenty of spell slots to give up. The "spell-like ability" spell High Arcana is probably meant with Wizards in mind though.

    Also, due to the slightly slower spellcasting progression, if you make a gish Sorcerer you can only give up 2 caster levels if you want 9th-level casting by level 20.
    Last edited by blazinghand; 2012-10-13 at 05:53 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gavinfoxx View Post
    Well at least your houserule skill check fumbles have houseruled fumble confirmations.
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