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    Default How much stronger is the Wizard's List over the Cleric's List?

    A random thought occured in one of my games, and I felt like asking what the forum thinks.

    Essentially, our group of 4 has 2.5 Clerics (one person is a Chameleon). I was thinking about considering trying to recruit 2 more players to the group, particularly an Arcanist, since none of us (except maybe a semi-insane Warlock Dragon Shaman) have that even remotely covered. One member notes the amount of Clericness we've got, and that we might not need an Arcanist.

    It's generally true that Clerics aren't -quite- as strong as Wizards, in the sense that Green Lantern isn't usually as strong as Superman. But does a group require a dedicated Arcanist? What is on the Wizard List that the Cleric doesn't really cover?

    This group is on a low cheese diet, so feel free to factor that into your thinking.

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    Default Re: How much stronger is the Wizard's List over the Cleric's List?

    The Cleric isn't limited compared to the Wizard as much in what it can do as it is in how well it does it.

    The wizard has a major advantage in shapeshifts, enchantments, illusions, mass-debuffs, action economy abuse, summons and major battlefield control spells.

    The cleric still has powerful buffs and utility buffs, it has minor enchantments (and summons that can cover some of the rest), few illusions without the appropriate domain (again, summons can patch that, but usually at a higher level), debuffs that are usually either single-target, numeric or alignment-restricted, minions and access to out-of-class abilities that can take advantage of the action economy (feats like Divine Defiance or Dragonmarks for Spell Haven, Contingency from domains or Thaumaturgist), summons that are individually as powerful as the Wizard's but alignment-restricted, and control effects that are usually restricted to limited effects like Wall of Stone or that are accessed by summons.

    If you don't have a Wizard, you aren't necessarily missing out on anything. Especially with apt domain choices and a couple reaches or tricks to match the wizard.
    Last edited by eggs; 2012-10-25 at 07:50 PM.

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    Default Re: How much stronger is the Wizard's List over the Cleric's List?

    It depends on your clerics really. Wizards get things like invisibility, blasting, polymorphing, walls, prismatics, and better illusions.

    Your Clerics' domains can cover more ground than the straight up Cleric list, so it's not so bad if you have 2 very different clerics for max diversity.
    Last edited by Snowbluff; 2012-10-25 at 07:34 PM.
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    Default Re: How much stronger is the Wizard's List over the Cleric's List?

    The wizard can cast spells of opposite alignment.

    The Wizard's list isn't really THAT much broader than the cleric's. The two are very close to parity, especially with the inclusion of domains. There's even things Clerics can always do BETTER than a wizard. A cleric, for example, always makes a better Necromancer than a Wizard.
    However.
    A cleric's own list is actually partially restricted from him. An Evil cleric (Like the above) cannot cast any "Good" tagged spells. If he is also Lawful or Chaotic, he cannot cast the opposed alignment's spells, either.
    There's about 50% of a Cleric's list that don't have tags one way or the other, but the other 50% do, and if you're a Lawful Good cleric, you're playing with 75% of the list. Savvy?

    Further, alignment changes hamper Clerics, so even if you DO start as N/E, casting Chaotic spells with any regularity (Like to help you kill off that Paladin that's decimating your undead) will eventually shift your alignment, restricting you from casting Lawful spells. Which isassuming you can still cast at all, because a 1 step shift could mean you're now 2 steps from your patron deity.

    Really, that's the only weakness in cleric casting, and the main reason Wizards have the edge. Sure, there's other reasons, but they're mostly niche or require the cleric to have not selected a certain domain or other.

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    Default Re: How much stronger is the Wizard's List over the Cleric's List?

    Properly built cleric can do everything wizard can. But Cleric is less flexible.

    All wizard needs to do is to choose spells that let him do that. And changing chosen spells is easy. Cleric on the other hand needs to choose alignment and domains that give it access to spells it wants. And that's harder to change.

    Anyways don't pressure anyone when they build character. I almost quit my group because I was made to play character I didn't really want to (one member of the group kept pressuring me to play certain type of character so I made cleric that could cover that and be fun... or so I thought but then DM banned some feats that I wanted to make the build fun).

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    Default Re: How much stronger is the Wizard's List over the Cleric's List?

    Quote Originally Posted by Acanous View Post
    The wizard can cast spells of opposite alignment.

    The Wizard's list isn't really THAT much broader than the cleric's. The two are very close to parity, especially with the inclusion of domains. There's even things Clerics can always do BETTER than a wizard. A cleric, for example, always makes a better Minion focused Necromancer than a Wizard.

    Wizard necromancers might not get animate dead as early as clerics do and loose out on the rebuke pool but they make Much better debuff/battlefield control focused Necros.

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    Default Re: How much stronger is the Wizard's List over the Cleric's List?

    The cleric being less flexible? I remember a fairly lengthy discussion here earlier in the year on the wizard/cleric spells, and my impression of that was that the cleric is a very flexible chassi.

    Simply picking domains, and PrC's, etc, that grant more domains greatly extends the clerics flexibility (as well as versatile spellcaster and similar feats).

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    Default Re: How much stronger is the Wizard's List over the Cleric's List?

    Quote Originally Posted by Malroth View Post
    Wizard necromancers might not get animate dead as early as clerics do and loose out on the rebuke pool but they make Much better debuff/battlefield control focused Necros.
    The Command Undead spell is how they use their commanded undead allowed, IIRC.
    Last edited by Snowbluff; 2012-10-26 at 07:10 AM.
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    Default Re: How much stronger is the Wizard's List over the Cleric's List?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gwendol View Post
    The cleric being less flexible? I remember a fairly lengthy discussion here earlier in the year on the wizard/cleric spells, and my impression of that was that the cleric is a very flexible chassi.

    Simply picking domains, and PrC's, etc, that grant more domains greatly extends the clerics flexibility (as well as versatile spellcaster and similar feats).
    Less flexible than Wizard. Specifically:
    - Worse battle field control (Wizard gets good spells for that starting level 1).
    - Less extremely versatile spells (Wizard gets Minor Image at level 1, Alter Self at level 3).
    - Cleric can't cast spells opposing it's alignement (which, for example limits versatility of Summons).
    - Planar Binding is better than Planar Ally.

    Yes, cleric can overcome all those with domains, feats and PrCs. But question was Cleric list vs Wizard list.

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    Default Re: How much stronger is the Wizard's List over the Cleric's List?

    One thing that isn't mentioned when we talk about the cleric's restricted list is that the wizard's list is likely restricted also.

    1. Cleric has access to their entire spell list. Thats 10-20 spells from the PHB, + more from spell compendium, PHB 2, Complete Champion, etc... Wizard gets 2 spells per level + whatever he can lay his hands on. We tend to assume that the wiz has this giant spell list, but in practice I rarely see a wiz with more than 10-12 spells of any given level, and often much less, especially of his highest 2 levels. If he does have this giant spell list, he is likely spending part of his WBL to get it.

    2. If the wizzy is matching the cleric in spells/day, he is a specialist. He therefore has 2 (maybe 3) banned schools. Even if these are (say) evocation and enchantment, he still has a number of useful spells that he can't take.

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    Default Re: How much stronger is the Wizard's List over the Cleric's List?

    Yes, I was coming to that: in actual play, the cleric has typically access to more spells than the wizard.

    That said, it is generally acknowledged the wizard spell list (as published) is more versatile than that of the cleric. To be more versatile a cleric typically looks for ways to include more wizard spells in his repertoire.

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    Default Re: How much stronger is the Wizard's List over the Cleric's List?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gnaeus View Post
    1. Cleric has access to their entire spell list. Thats 10-20 spells from the PHB, + more from spell compendium, PHB 2, Complete Champion, etc... Wizard gets 2 spells per level + whatever he can lay his hands on. We tend to assume that the wiz has this giant spell list, but in practice I rarely see a wiz with more than 10-12 spells of any given level, and often much less, especially of his highest 2 levels. If he does have this giant spell list, he is likely spending part of his WBL to get it.
    But if you choose wisely intelligently you have spells to do what you need to. You don't need every Wall of Something spell ever published. The thing is Wizard can have (even if it can't buy spells) enough spells to cover everything.

    Also Mage of the Arcane Order (yes I know it's not Cleric list vs Wizard list).

    Quote Originally Posted by Gnaeus View Post
    2. If the wizzy is matching the cleric in spells/day, he is a specialist. He therefore has 2 (maybe 3) banned schools. Even if these are (say) evocation and enchantment, he still has a number of useful spells that he can't take.
    Specialist wizard may loose access to some good spells but it doesn't loose any abilities (if it chooses banned schools and known spells properly).

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    Default Re: How much stronger is the Wizard's List over the Cleric's List?

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    Default Re: How much stronger is the Wizard's List over the Cleric's List?

    Quote Originally Posted by ahenobarbi View Post
    But if you choose wisely intelligently you have spells to do what you need to. You don't need every Wall of Something spell ever published. The thing is Wizard can have (even if it can't buy spells) enough spells to cover everything.
    A wizard with 4 spells known per level (or 2!) is not more versatile than a cleric with 50. He may be more powerful, if his spells are sufficiently better than the cleric spells, but his ability to Tier 1 and switch his spell list up to react to circumstances is severely impared.

    Quote Originally Posted by ahenobarbi View Post
    Specialist wizard may loose access to some good spells but it doesn't loose any abilities (if it chooses banned schools and known spells properly).
    In practice, they generally do. You can blast without Evocation, but you probably lose Contingency. Enchantment and Necromancy may not have CRITICAL abilities that you lose, but your ability to do mind control without Enchantment or to create and control an army of undead without necro is much reduced.

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    Default Re: How much stronger is the Wizard's List over the Cleric's List?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gnaeus View Post
    A wizard with 4 spells known per level (or 2!) is not more versatile than a cleric with 50. He may be more powerful, if his spells are sufficiently better than the cleric spells, but his ability to Tier 1 and switch his spell list up to react to circumstances is severely impared.
    Make it 6 and (or 3!) spells respectively I think all wizards are Collegiate Wizards in such setting. Ah and More 1st and 9th level spells too.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gnaeus View Post
    In practice, they generally do. You can blast without Evocation, but you probably lose Contingency. Enchantment and Necromancy may not have CRITICAL abilities that you lose, but your ability to do mind control without Enchantment or to create and control an army of undead without necro is much reduced.
    I think we understand <<ability>> differently. I didn't consider "creating and controlling an army of undead" an ability I thought about it as a part of "have minions" ability (which wizard that didn't ban conjuration has).

    But it's a bit of topic - question was how much stronger Wizard List (comparing to Cleric List). And I think the list is much more potent. Just look at for example level 1.
    Wizard has following (good) spells that are not on Cleric list (level 1) (just PhB):
    • Alarm
    • Grease
    • Mage Armor
    • True Strike
    • Sleep
    • Animate Rope
    • Enlarge Person


    Cleric has
    • Cure light wounds (it's useful if you don't have Vigor, lesser)
    • Obscuring Mist
    • Sanctuary

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    Default Re: How much stronger is the Wizard's List over the Cleric's List?

    Quote Originally Posted by ahenobarbi View Post
    Make it 6 and (or 3!) spells respectively I think all wizards are Collegiate Wizards in such setting. Ah and More 1st and 9th level spells too.
    Even if true, 3 or 6 versus 50 is not impressive. And I suspect that 50 is understating the clerics range for most cleric levels.

    Quote Originally Posted by ahenobarbi View Post
    I think we understand <<ability>> differently. I didn't consider "creating and controlling an army of undead" an ability I thought about it as a part of "have minions" ability (which wizard that didn't ban conjuration has).
    So your wizard has a couple of planar allies and a summon monster x. My wizard has a couple of planar allies, a summon monster x, a zombie hydra, a skeleton dragon mount, half a dozen controlled allips or shadows, and a Mindraped fighter. You have lost significant parts of your "have Minions" ability.

    Quote Originally Posted by ahenobarbi View Post
    Wizard has following (good) spells that are not on Cleric list (level 1) (just PhB):
    The question was whether the wizard's spell list is stronger than the cleric's in the context of discussing whether a team of clerics needs a wizard. In that context, counting how many strong spells a generalist wizard could in theory have is much less relevant than how many strong spells a particular wizard will have that could not be duplicated or exceeded by 2 clerics and a chameleon.

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    Default Re: How much stronger is the Wizard's List over the Cleric's List?

    Wizard's major advantages are:
    - Better Control-spells (Cleric needs heavy Domain-dipping for these)
    - Better Teleportation-skills (see above)
    - Illusions
    - More game dominating spells (for the lack of better umbrella term to put Time Stop, Simulacrum, Polymorph, Planar Binding, Disjunction, Contingency, etc. under - basically spells that create entire new minigames around themselves)
    - Better damage spells (it's much easier to build a Mailman Wizard than a Mailman Cleric though both are viable)


    The most significant difference are the few game-changing spells, and the Wizards' superior control and teleportation. Clerics are better at planar travel tho and Travel-domain gives them Wizard-level teleportation later on (they miss out on the low level gems without Anyspell tho).

    Clerics catch up a bit in area control later on but early on, Glitterdusts, Webs, etc. are entirely unmatched on the Cleric-list and even later on, Wizards maintain significant advantages in the area. Wizards also have a fairly good advantage in the save-or-die/Ray (Enervation!) department. Illusions vary in power from player to player but the peak potential is really high.


    Overall, Wizard spell-list has more offense and utility, while Cleric list is largely better for defense while still being passable for the roles Wizard-list covers. Outside the gamechanging spells; those are Wizard- and Domain-territory (outside Gate, and Clerics do have Miracle; Planar Ally kinda blows compared to Planar Binding tho, and Clerics have no Simulacrum-like abilities).

    But Cleric Domains help a lot tho most of the big stuff comes a bit later than for Wizards and Domain slots are obviously restricted so you might have to work around that.
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    Default Re: How much stronger is the Wizard's List over the Cleric's List?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gnaeus View Post
    So your wizard has a couple of planar allies and a summon monster x. My wizard has a couple of planar allies, a summon monster x, a zombie hydra, a skeleton dragon mount, half a dozen controlled allips or shadows, and a Mindraped fighter. You have lost significant parts of your "have Minions" ability.
    But I get allies and summons from more slots than you get allies, summons, undead and dominees. I have more minions

    Quote Originally Posted by Gnaeus View Post
    The question was whether the wizard's spell list is stronger than the cleric's in the context of discussing whether a team of clerics needs a wizard. In that context, counting how many strong spells a generalist wizard could in theory have is much less relevant than how many strong spells a particular wizard will have that could not be duplicated or exceeded by 2 clerics and a chameleon.
    I don't have access to chameleon but IIRC the class has arcane focus thing which lets it use any arcane spell, is that right?

    And I'd need to know what clerics are in the group to know if wizard would add anything (and as I wrote in my first post I strongly advice against pressuring players anyways).

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    Default Re: How much stronger is the Wizard's List over the Cleric's List?

    Quote Originally Posted by ahenobarbi View Post
    But I get allies and summons from more slots than you get allies, summons, undead and dominees. I have more minions
    Wrong again. My mindraped fighter, and created undead last forevers. Your allies only a few hours or days, and the summons only rounds. And I have access to a wider variety of minions. And a first level spell doesn't stop my minions from attacking.

    Dont get me wrong, specialization is generally good. But pretending a wizard loses nothing by banning schools because "you can get minions anyway" is like saying that a cleric is as good at crowd control as a wizard because Holy Word is a powerful crowd control spell. Both statements are true but they do not prove the argument.


    Quote Originally Posted by ahenobarbi View Post
    I don't have access to chameleon but IIRC the class has arcane focus thing which lets it use any arcane spell, is that right?
    As written, any spell through level 6. Higher level spells can be obtained with tricks, but if the group is on a low cheese diet those tricks probably won't pass the lactose test.

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    Default Re: How much stronger is the Wizard's List over the Cleric's List?

    The Wizards spell list is more versatile, powerful, and game breaking than the Clerics; at maximum optimization levels.

    In general play I find that I can get more out of the wizards spell list but a large part of that is because I am incredibly proficient at using spells in legal but innovative ways that make them far more versatile and powerful than a cursory reading and analysis would indicate.

    In normal op games the lists are pretty much equal.
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    Default Re: How much stronger is the Wizard's List over the Cleric's List?

    Quote Originally Posted by INoKnowNames View Post
    A random thought occured in one of my games, and I felt like asking what the forum thinks.

    Essentially, our group of 4 has 2.5 Clerics (one person is a Chameleon). I was thinking about considering trying to recruit 2 more players to the group, particularly an Arcanist, since none of us (except maybe a semi-insane Warlock Dragon Shaman) have that even remotely covered. One member notes the amount of Clericness we've got, and that we might not need an Arcanist.

    It's generally true that Clerics aren't -quite- as strong as Wizards, in the sense that Green Lantern isn't usually as strong as Superman. But does a group require a dedicated Arcanist? What is on the Wizard List that the Cleric doesn't really cover?

    This group is on a low cheese diet, so feel free to factor that into your thinking.
    IMO, the bold is the important question that the OP is asking.

    The answer is an unequivocal NO.

    Under a skilled DM you don't -need- anything you don't have, or at least not anything you don't have and can't get one way or another.

    Even under a DM that picks his encounters by random tables, either a cleric or a wizard likely has -some- answer.

    To reiterate my main point; No, you don't -need- a wizard and you don't -need- a cleric, but it's generally a good idea to have one or the other. With 2 clerics and a chameleon (who can cast any arcane or divine spell up to 6th level depending on level and what he can find for his spellbook) you have absolutely no need to ask anyone to play an arcanist.
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    Default Re: How much stronger is the Wizard's List over the Cleric's List?

    A group doesn't absolutely require a dedicated Arcanist, but there are some situations where having one makes things a whole lot easier, and certainly cheaper. A Cleric with the Spell domains can kinda fake it with Anyspell/Greater Anyspell, for those times you absolutely have to have a lower-level spell. Anybody with UMD can fake it with scrolls, but that gets expensive rather quickly.

    Flesh to Stone is the most dangerous thing I can think of that the Cleric spell list just can't undo with anything short of Miracle. You need to have some Stone Salve, or UMD a scroll of Stone to Flesh, to deal with that. (Break Enchantment is good for lower-level petrification effects, but the Flesh to Stone spell exceeds the cap).
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    Default Re: How much stronger is the Wizard's List over the Cleric's List?

    I'd say about a spell level worse. It has some similar tricks but overall they're severely limited especially in the battlefield control and mass debuff department. Next comes status buffs and area damage which are also behind. Single target save or X, enchantments and numerical buffs are where cleric does well and these are also the weakest wizard spells.

    There are some things that are hard (but not impossible) to do at all which might make cleric more than a level behind in those areas, but same goes for wizard trying to imitate a cleric. Overall I'd still say the effects the cleric gets instead are worth 1 less spell level. And even if it were worse a heavy optimizer could always anyspell cheese away most of the difference.

    So in some sense a cleric is about as good as an armor wearing eldritch knight. Sucks for squishy EKs everywhere, but OTOH some builds want specific spells not equally good spells so you go EK (or abjurant champion, I know).

    To the original question you don't need an arcanist but the variety would help a great deal. Like I touched on, in some areas wizards are way better so when you have none at all it will make a big difference. Even a bard or some such partial arcane caster would. But no it's not essential.
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    Default Re: How much stronger is the Wizard's List over the Cleric's List?

    Oh. If the question is "Does a party of Clerics *Need* a Wizard", then no. They can do pretty much everything that any (One) wizard could do, assuming the clerics are at least of three different alignments and subsequent different domains (Lawful, Chaotic and Good, for example, lets you have almost all of the list, and your party can still get along. The diference in alignments means different gods (Usually) with different domains. Now you can do anything)

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    Default Re: How much stronger is the Wizard's List over the Cleric's List?

    Quote Originally Posted by Acanous View Post
    Oh. If the question is "Does a party of Clerics *Need* a Wizard", then no. They can do pretty much everything that any (One) wizard could do, assuming the clerics are at least of three different alignments and subsequent different domains (Lawful, Chaotic and Good, for example, lets you have almost all of the list, and your party can still get along. The diference in alignments means different gods (Usually) with different domains. Now you can do anything)
    I recall one of these charop sites making Team Cleric; an 4-5 man party of 3.5 Clerics, each of them dedicated to a traditional party role (Fighter, Skillmonkey, Magic-User, etc). It's amazing how versatile/customizable Clerics are. Team Bard still wins in terms of awesome flavor, though
    Last edited by Slipperychicken; 2012-10-27 at 10:40 AM.
    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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