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Thread: Spell Imbalance

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    Default Spell Imbalance

    So note, I'm new here and this is my first homebrew post here. I noticed a while back that low-level spellcasters are terribly underpowered compared to other classes of equivalent level. Magical abilities at low levels are meant to be weak, but not obsolete. I don't like the fact that a level 1 spellcaster can be torn apart and outmatched with ease by a level 1 anything else. I want them to have SOME utility. So I thought up this variant rule.

    PROBLEM:
    Most 1st-level spellcasters find themselves relatively useless and most high level casters find they're able to cast more 1st-level spells than 0-level spells, which is an obvious oddity and imbalance in the spellcasting classes.


    SOLUTION:
    Give spellcasters a number of bonus 0-level spells per day equal to the ability modifier they use to cast them (minimum +0). The low levels gain more spells per day and thus are not utterly useless although they only gain level 0 spells which inevitably does not make them much more powerful and becomes obsolete at higher levels (but still keeps them in balance so they don't have more 1st level spells per day than 0-level ones).


    This does not make casters stronger since cantrips are relatively weak, but it does make them more useful at lower levels so that they are not outdone at EVERY aspect of gameplay by other classes.
    Last edited by arkanis; 2007-12-28 at 12:05 PM.
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    Default Re: Spell Imbalance

    Interesting solution. The first few levels do need some significant boost, but weather its more spells, more skills, or some feat like talent...

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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Spell Imbalance

    But who use's 0 level spells? I find the usless....kinda...... in a way

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    Default Re: Spell Imbalance

    Perhaps battle-wise. I don't know about you but it bugs the heck out of me that a standard spellcaster will have more 1st-level spells than 0-level spells at higher levels and run out of spells at low levels before a whole minute of combat has passed. At least this balances things if not entirely making it fair combat-wise don't you think?
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    Default Re: Spell Imbalance

    At level 1, a spellcaster has the same BAB as a 3/4 class. At level 2, it's only 1 behind. As the gap starts to get bigger, the spellcaster gets more spells. So at low levels use a crossbow, you should be fine.

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    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: Spell Imbalance

    My Wizard has had so many many moments where he has been stuck between choosing to cast a Message spell and finishing off that Goblin with a Ray of Frost. Seriously, at 1st level, Ray of Frost has a necessary utility. Magic Missile, if it doesn't kill most weak foes, will usually leave them weak enough that 1-3 points of damage is what you need. Besides, a crossbow means an attack roll vs AC. Ray of Frost means attack roll vs touch. Message & Mage Hand are both valid utility spells that our party uses frequently. So is Detect Poison.

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    Default Re: Spell Imbalance

    Sounds fine to me. Never did make sense that they have more 1st lvl spells-per-day than 0 level. Adding the same number of bonus spells that they get to every other level seems like a simple and elegant fix.
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    Default Re: Spell Imbalance

    Or, you could give said caster a crossbow.

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    GreenSorcererElf

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    Default Re: Spell Imbalance

    I've always thought they should just roll the bonus spell table back another level to include 0th level spells. Not changing what's already there, but just adding a 0 column that follows the same pattern. This would give more slots than that, but it would have to to be useful.

    Really though, the BAB point hits the mark. They can hit things pretty much as well as any other non-fighter class/build: shoot things with crossbow. The first few games I played I ended up doing that most of the time even if I had spells, since magic missile never killed anything. I used the missile as a finisher when the fight needed to end, and crossbow'd stuff until then.
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    Default Re: Spell Imbalance

    I don't have much experience playing casters at all, but the only time I've played a caster before was a wizard necromancer variant of 1st lvl, and my Skeleton was very powerful and I was generally seen more as overpowered than underpowered, though I do agree most of my damage spells were less than satisfactory considering my 1d4 hitdie..

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    Default Re: Spell Imbalance

    Inevitably this variant was just supposed to balance the spells already there.

    "Just give them a crossbow" isn't the solution because the wizard breaks out of their original character concept of "spellcaster" and compromises with "archer/spellcaster" just to survive what should've been a fair fight. Why can't we just remain consistent?

    A couple extra acid splashes or rays of frost or detect poisons wouldn't be too strong but it would make a low level caster a caster rather than just a peasant who sparks off a spell occasionally.
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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Spell Imbalance

    I agree with Arkanis. I'm a spellcaster-heavy player. A simple and probably more elagant fix would to just roll back the slot column to include 0-level spells. Or, have 0-level spells per day = 3 + 1/2 CL + permanant caster modifier. It's what I use in my games and i haven't found it to be overpowered.
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    Default Re: Spell Imbalance

    I completely agree with Arkanis. I think this is a brilliant idea. In fact, since I'm the DM, I'm going to implement this immediately. This is the perfect solution to underpowered low-level spellcasters (particularly at first level, but also at 2nd level).

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    Default Re: Spell Imbalance

    I really can't see why you think spell-casters out out-matched by other classes at low levels. They simply don't out-match them by as much at this point. They have access to Sleep, which is essentially a Save or Die spell at this level, as almost nothing has a good save.

    A wizard armed with a scythe and Sleep can easily take down multiple opponents. He doesn't need to be proficient with the scythe to use it in a coupe de grace.

    A level two wizard could probably take down a fighting class of an equivalent level using this strategy.

    I don't think wizards need any sort of boost at lower levels.

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    Default Re: Spell Imbalance

    I suppose that's likely because you're not as big a fan of casters as myself. I've been every base class except bard and have a particular love of divine casters.

    Having been in countless skirmishes between casters, warriors, and rogues, I can tell you casters are terribly underpowered at low levels and overpowered at high levels (but that can be fixed by adding in magical items and passing them out like candy at higher levels).

    However, Sleep is not a save or die and is relatively useless since most anyone can pass the save with ease. Plus not every caster is going to choose the same spellcasting style. The game should be open for an evocator to be just as good as a necromancer, but its not at low levels. Effectively, most low-level fights won't involve a simply "put one target to sleep then coup de grace it when its down". Even if you get lucky enough to get into a rare situation like that, more than half the time the spell won't work because the target is either too high of HD or passed its save. Besides, it doesn't make much sense for someone to carry a scythe without proficiency and only use it to coup de grace, that's sort-of munchkiny/metagamey there and misses the concept of being character rather than a stats maximizer.

    But this is aside the point since adding 0-level spells doesn't actually make a caster better at combat, it just makes them more free to use what little they have more often so they can act and fight like a caster and not an archer who has one or two spells they may be able to use sometime during the day if they get lucky.
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    Default Re: Spell Imbalance

    Quote Originally Posted by arkanis View Post
    I suppose that's likely because you're not as big a fan of casters as myself. I've been every base class except bard and have a particular love of divine casters.

    Having been in countless skirmishes between casters, warriors, and rogues, I can tell you casters are terribly underpowered at low levels and overpowered at high levels (but that can be fixed by adding in magical items and passing them out like candy at higher levels).

    However, Sleep is not a save or die and is relatively useless since most anyone can pass the save with ease. Plus not every caster is going to choose the same spellcasting style. The game should be open for an evocator to be just as good as a necromancer, but its not at low levels. Effectively, most low-level fights won't involve a simply "put one target to sleep then coup de grace it when its down". Even if you get lucky enough to get into a rare situation like that, more than half the time the spell won't work because the target is either too high of HD or passed its save. Besides, it doesn't make much sense for someone to carry a scythe without proficiency and only use it to coup de grace, that's sort-of munchkiny/metagamey there and misses the concept of being character rather than a stats maximizer.

    But this is aside the point since adding 0-level spells doesn't actually make a caster better at combat, it just makes them more free to use what little they have more often so they can act and fight like a caster and not an archer who has one or two spells they may be able to use sometime during the day if they get lucky.
    I whole heartedly agree. Like i mentioned, or think i did, in my games we have a 0-level spell calculation = 3 + 1/2 level (rounded down) + permanant caster modifier. It may be a bit much at lower levels, but it's useful, and above all, simple to calculate.
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