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Why are wizards considered overpowered?


Pathfinder RPG General Discussion

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Halek wrote:
Nope still wrong have a summoning based caster with hours per level spells have his minions tank and everyone whips out a crossbow or a cantrip boosted with alchemical focuses in the early levels.

But you might not be that type of caster. And amateur crossbow usage is no substitute for an optimized martial.

Halek wrote:
Past that you have more than enough spell slots for the day especially if you just replace the martials with casters.

That's another valid way to eliminate caster/martial disparity; eliminate the martials.

Halek wrote:
Past that you have more than enough spell slots for the day especially if you just replace the martials with casters.

But every spell you cast is one you don't have any more. How do you know you won't need it later, if you don't know what's coming up?

Halek wrote:
And again there are spells allowing you a safe place to rest once your high enough level that this tactic wont work.

But your kidnapped friend is being held in a torture chamber, and the villains are busy trying to summon a demon lord, and you can only refresh your spells once in a 24 hour period...


Matthew Downie wrote:
But every spell you cast is one you don't have any more. How do you know you won't need it later, if you don't know what's coming up?

You don't. You also don't have to. You have other spell slots, and you have contingencies, you have options.

And past the lowest levels, you have so many spell slots that if you're judicious, they are NOT a meaningful limit on caster power.

What's more, as you're not reliant on the ever-improving treadmill of up-to-date magical weapons and armor, you can afford to divert more resources to just-in-case consumables.

Matthew Downie wrote:
But your kidnapped friend is being held in a torture chamber, and the villains are busy trying to summon a demon lord, and you can only refresh your spells once in a 24 hour period...

Then I'd much rather have more casters by my side so that we have more tools to solve these problems!


Ok take the druid archetype with plant shape. From the moment they get to shift into medium plants they can get the natural attacks of a greenman. Pfs has banned this but it still exists.

That druid can do everything martials can do and also has spells. And a really cute leaf friend to boot.


Scrolls in my handy haversack for emergencies cover when i run out of slots and it is cheaper for me than a figther.

For my friend i can just prepare 3 plane shift spells yoink them out and then send a horde of say summoned pterosaurs to deal with the demon summoning. Thats solved in less than 30 minutes. Whats the figther gonna do? Oh right get stopped by any secret door since he is stuck with 2 skills per level.


Halek wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:
You don't need to force everyone to fight ten encounters a day to reduce disparity; you just need to create the impression that the players are not in control of the number of encounters they will face before they can rest. If the players believe there might be something bad coming up that they need to conserve their spells for, then the most efficient way to deal with regular encounters is to let the martials do most of the work and then heal them with wands after it's over. Once this mind-set is established (which isn't easy, especially when teleporting is an option), the sense of disparity is greatly reduced.

Nope still wrong have a summoning based caster with hours per level spells have his minions tank and everyone whips out a crossbow or a cantrip boosted with alchemical focuses in the early levels. Past that you have more than enough spell slots for the day especially if you just replace the martials with casters. And again there are spells allowing you a safe place to rest once your high enough level that this tactic wont work.

I am not saying your way wouldnt work and isnt fun. I am just saying that it isnt the most optimal. Notice how the casters can craft wands and the figther cant? Notice how the casters dont need use magic device for most of them?

You need dm fiat to prevent the "well i rest when i want to tactics".

As said previously, a ticking clock is needed to make this setup work. If you only have 5 days to stop the thing and the events of those 5 days span multiple levels, the party will have no choice but to go through everything in the allotted period. This would also allow little to no time for crafting wands or other items.

Also if the BBEG knows about the all powerful wizard who is single handedly beating all of his enemies, they will assuredly use mindwipe, spellcrash, night terrors or other effects to make the wizard less viable.


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So, has this thread become an argument of the benefits of the 15-Minute Adventuring Day vs the 15-Day Adventuring Career?


While pure martials are hot garbage i love the 4th level casters.

Rangers start out early on being able to help by hitting with a stick. Later he can provide useful knowledge skills and even has limited spells. He has just enough to recharge a staff though so it isnt that different from having a less casty druid.

Paladin can get some wizard spells from unsanctioned knowledge and can also use staffs. But they can be half decent summoners with some archetypes and even without that they can heal themselves. They can replenish there hitpoints and even remove some conditions.

They are martials that arent useless because they are limited casters.

Take a 20th level paladin and a 20th level figther.
Which one can hold a bridge against a horde of critters the paladin can heal through the natural 20, while the figther is whittled down and dies.

Which can do skills better suprise its the paladin with his spells.

Pure martials have a limited and largely obselete role. Meatshield can be filled by other classes that provide more.


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Where's my 10ft pole?

Never mind, best to just leave it be.


Gallant Armor wrote:
Halek wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:
You don't need to force everyone to fight ten encounters a day to reduce disparity; you just need to create the impression that the players are not in control of the number of encounters they will face before they can rest. If the players believe there might be something bad coming up that they need to conserve their spells for, then the most efficient way to deal with regular encounters is to let the martials do most of the work and then heal them with wands after it's over. Once this mind-set is established (which isn't easy, especially when teleporting is an option), the sense of disparity is greatly reduced.

Nope still wrong have a summoning based caster with hours per level spells have his minions tank and everyone whips out a crossbow or a cantrip boosted with alchemical focuses in the early levels. Past that you have more than enough spell slots for the day especially if you just replace the martials with casters. And again there are spells allowing you a safe place to rest once your high enough level that this tactic wont work.

I am not saying your way wouldnt work and isnt fun. I am just saying that it isnt the most optimal. Notice how the casters can craft wands and the figther cant? Notice how the casters dont need use magic device for most of them?

You need dm fiat to prevent the "well i rest when i want to tactics".

As said previously, a ticking clock is needed to make this setup work. If you only have 5 days to stop the thing and the events of those 5 days span multiple levels, the party will have no choice but to go through everything in the allotted period. This would also allow little to no time for crafting wands or other items.

Also if the BBEG knows about the all powerful wizard who is single handedly beating all of his enemies, they will assuredly use mindwipe, spellcrash, night terrors or other effects to make the wizard less viable.

A druid provides more to the party than a figther.

Take a 4 man group of cleric wizard rogue and fighter.

Compare it to cleric wizard druid and bard.

The bard has more skills and can even get charisma to damage. The druid has a native pounce option and has better action economy.

So in order for the martials to not suck you need to tell only time limited stories and dont give downtime. When you need dm fiat to prevent casters from running roughshod they are better.


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Gallant Armor wrote:
As said previously, a ticking clock is needed to make this setup work. If you only have 5 days to stop the thing and the events of those 5 days span multiple levels, the party will have no choice but to go through everything in the allotted period. This would also allow little to no time for crafting wands or other items.

Yes, that's what makes for an immersive roleplaying experience. Forced level grinding rather than directly pursuing the goal in a fashion that makes sense in-character.

Setting that aside, if we're talking "normal" adventuring days, at four encounters a day, thirteen encounters a level, you're describing about a level and a half. If you're talking about above-four-encounter adventuring days, those are exhausting on the PLAYERS. But you're also getting into the realm where, in character, it makes absolutely ZERO sense to slaughter your way through everything. You're in a hurry! Why are you letting the mooks who are there just to slow you down and tire you out ACTUALLY slow you down and tire you out?! If there is an army between you and Steve the Necromancer, and your goal is to kill Steve the Necromancer, does it make more sense to murder the entire army one by one, or to get past the army and kill Steve the Necromancer? There is no concept of experience points in-character. There is no concept of level. There is no abstract concept in character that if you don't murder this literal entire army in your way that you won't have collected enough experience pinatas to ding. There is the concept that there is an evil necromancer, and they have got to die within five days, and there is no time to play around with the petty rank and file.

If those five days are followed up IMMEDIATELY by another ticking clock crisis, because that's the only way you have to keep the party in line, you've just created the rocket railroad.

If you have players who are invested in crafting, and you refuse to ever give them time to actually craft, you are being a bad and adversarial GM.

If you don't have players who are invested in crafting, they still get loot and wealth, and the game explicitly expects them to be able to spend their wealth on things they want. Consumables are far and away the most reasonable and accessible of these, while the muggles more likely want bigger, more expensive, permanent items suited to them; a magic weapon of a type they're invested in, magic armor of the specific cut best suited to their dexterity score, magic items that improve whichever physical stat they care about most. And so on.

The muggles get screwed by this even more, unless you are deliberately putting in the exact items the muggles need while denying the mages the ability to use their rightfully earned rewards to get the things they want, which are genuinely more modest to begin with.

Gallant Armor wrote:
Also if the BBEG knows about the all powerful wizard who is single handedly beating all of his enemies, they will assuredly use mindwipe, spellcrash, night terrors or other effects to make the wizard less viable.

That is fully and freely admitting that one member of the party is SO OVERPOWERED that you have to look to them personally and declare rocks fall, you specifically die, you are no longer allowed to play. And that's TERRIBLE GMing, and a sign that the game is TERRIBLY balanced.

Yes, the GM is God, and can give one player specifically the middle finger. That doesn't stop the god casters from being overpowered. It just means that if you want to try and FORCE balance into the game, you have to go through some ridiculously convoluted gyrations that STILL FAIL TO BALANCE THE GAME.


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This hypothetical campaign where everything is on a strict timer and adventuring days are intentionally dragged out while free consumables are showered upon martials to keep them going and the wizard is prevented from resting for eight hours or even learning new spells at all seems more like one designed to make the wizard player either quit or try even harder to break things than one meant to balance the game.

Honestly if a specific character is being disruptive in a specific campaign, you should talk to their player. Trying to annoy someone into submission by making it miserable for them to even play the game is something I've never actually seen work out in practice.


Saffron Marvelous wrote:
As a point of comparison, I offer Anima: Beyond Fantasy, where mages run on a point system that becomes easily replenished by level 3 or 4, laugh at the game's pitiful attempts to restrict them, and can effortlessly do essentially anything. I found playing a magic user in that game downright stressful because I either felt like I was ruining it for the other players, or like I was ruining it for myself by not using my awesome superpowers.

There's only one 'martial' class in that game that can compete in battle power with mages, summoners, and mentalists: the technician. And that's because they can (and should) create/learn their own techniques. Make a 4 man party of each class and you can easily call your party "The Gaiatrotters".

There is a fair point here, if you give 'mystical' powers to martial classes they can somewhat maintain the same pace as casters at high levels, at least in combat. Book of Nine Swords is another good example.


Omnius wrote:
Saffron Marvelous wrote:
As a point of comparison, I offer Anima: Beyond Fantasy, where mages run on a point system that becomes easily replenished by level 3 or 4, laugh at the game's pitiful attempts to restrict them, and can effortlessly do essentially anything. I found playing a magic user in that game downright stressful because I either felt like I was ruining it for the other players, or like I was ruining it for myself by not using my awesome superpowers.
When you have to use reference Rolemaster derivative to frame a game as balanced, something has gone terribly, terribly wrong.

I mean the first thing I said is that Pathfinder/D&D ISN'T balanced with respect to casters, so I resent that insinuation. I referenced the other system to demonstrate the difference between unbalance that's kind of annoying and unbalance that renders a game nigh unplayable.


At the same time, Anima STRONGLY expects everyone to pick up some sort of magic eventually, and go all in on the over-the-top superpowers, 'cuz that's the sort of game it is.


Omnius wrote:
Gallant Armor wrote:
As said previously, a ticking clock is needed to make this setup work. If you only have 5 days to stop the thing and the events of those 5 days span multiple levels, the party will have no choice but to go through everything in the allotted period. This would also allow little to no time for crafting wands or other items.

Yes, that's what makes for an immersive roleplaying experience. Forced level grinding rather than directly pursuing the goal in a fashion that makes sense in-character.

Setting that aside, if we're talking "normal" adventuring days, at four encounters a day, thirteen encounters a level, you're describing about a level and a half. If you're talking about above-four-encounter adventuring days, those are exhausting on the PLAYERS. But you're also getting into the realm where, in character, it makes absolutely ZERO sense to slaughter your way through everything. You're in a hurry! Why are you letting the mooks who are there just to slow you down and tire you out ACTUALLY slow you down and tire you out?! If there is an army between you and Steve the Necromancer, and your goal is to kill Steve the Necromancer, does it make more sense to murder the entire army one by one, or to get past the army and kill Steve the Necromancer? There is no concept of experience points in-character. There is no concept of level. There is no abstract concept in character that if you don't murder this literal entire army in your way that you won't have collected enough experience pinatas to ding. There is the concept that there is an evil necromancer, and they have got to die within five days, and there is no time to play around with the petty rank and file.

If those five days are followed up IMMEDIATELY by another ticking clock crisis, because that's the only way you have to keep the party in line, you've just created the rocket railroad.

If you have players who are invested in crafting, and you refuse to ever give them time to actually craft, you are being a...

What I have laid out is just a bare bones outline of the type on scenario you could do to let martials shine. A GM could fill in various plots to make this interesting to play. 12-16 encounters a day would still be only a small fraction of time in game. These 5 days could take place over 4 levels or so and there would be multiple goals given to give the characters motivation for the encounters. There would be plenty of time for immersion and RP, how much of the average in game day do you normally play out, 1 or 2%?

The point of killing/disabling/capturing enemies is that they can no longer help the BBEG with their plans. If you leave them those resources, they will use them.

My outline would actually be far more realistic for dungeons as the party resting 8 hour's after an hours work is ridiculous.

A 4 level arc without crafting would not be the end of the world.

As for targeting the caster, if wizards are all powerful any BBEG worth their zombie horde will target them any way they can - it would be the logical thing to do. Not using those options would be treating the caster with kid gloves.

I think the issue here is you seem to think that the martials should know their place and anything that might make them outshine the wizard for a few encounters is unfair.


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...

Twelve to sixteen encounters A DAY?

WTF?

Okay, one, Hell with that. That's nonsense. You're outright breaking the paradigms of the game AND of any reason at that point.

No sane party would ever march face-first through that. If the GM is throwing up THAT MUCH resistance, it's a straight up decree that you are NOT supposed to be just fighting your way through, and you're SUPPOSED to go around a lot of these fights!

At that point, you ARE talking about infinite free healing to keep the muggles moving, or they're all just gonna die. But fighting through SIXTEEN ENCOUNTERS A DAY is the OBVIOUSLY WRONG CHOICE! Your theoretical opportunity to make the muggles shine is outright abusive GMing that relies on the party all being imbeciles!

After just ONE day of that, if you even get that far, you'll have everyone in the party shouting, "GET ON WITH IT!"

And again, NO, those guards you bypassed don't just magically and instantly teleport to the big bad en masse over the span of a fight. They're scattered, and take time to move. Meanwhile, you cut off the head of the organization, and the organization is a lot less dangerous.

As to resting after some exploration, no, resting for the day after a couple life-or-death fights is not ridiculous. That's sensible! If I just murdered an entire tribe of green-skins, I'd want a meal, a bath, and a nap, too! The mindset of adventurers just constantly fighting all day every day is absurd.

And still, if you have to finger-of-god a single party member, the game was never balanced.


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Gallant Armor wrote:
Omnius wrote:
Gallant Armor wrote:

So you are saying that the wizard is going to allow the party to skip encounters? If that tactic is used often expect the skipped encounters to come back and bite you when you least expect it.

If healing resources are managed it shouldn't be a problem keeping people up. Additional wands/scrolls/potions can be dropped in if there are issues.

As for martials with x/day abilities, there are several classes that would have to stretch resources but a barbarian without rage will be more effective than a wizard without spells.

So you're suggesting that, placed on a tight time limit to stop the BBEG from enacting The Evil Plan, then you expect the party to smash their way through everything in their path, rather than find a more efficient and less draining path to their actual objective, said big bad evil dude?

This is not logic.

So you're suggesting that the party make their own path, leaving enemies in their wake that could attack them en masse at any time rather than taking the 42 seconds to kill them and heal up after?

This is not logic.

That's how you play the Dwarven Door Game.


Ryan Freire wrote:
Biggest contributing factor to C/MD is that there isn't a single feat requiring level 11+ that really has much of a "wow" factor to it.

Burrowing Shot only eats 3 feats (2 if you have Weapon Training already), you can use it once per round since it uses a swift action, it doesn't give the target a save, and benefits everyone in the party. Even though the penalties don't stack, you can use it repeatedly on one target so that the enemy can't remove the penalties without taking multiple standard actions and extra damage. It's not 11th+, but 9th is pretty close.


Halek wrote:

While pure martials are hot garbage i love the 4th level casters.

Rangers start out early on being able to help by hitting with a stick. Later he can provide useful knowledge skills and even has limited spells. He has just enough to recharge a staff though so it isnt that different from having a less casty druid.

Paladin can get some wizard spells from unsanctioned knowledge and can also use staffs. But they can be half decent summoners with some archetypes and even without that they can heal themselves. They can replenish there hitpoints and even remove some conditions.

They are martials that arent useless because they are limited casters.

Take a 20th level paladin and a 20th level figther.
Which one can hold a bridge against a horde of critters the paladin can heal through the natural 20, while the figther is whittled down and dies.

Which can do skills better suprise its the paladin with his spells.

Pure martials have a limited and largely obselete role. Meatshield can be filled by other classes that provide more.

Barbarians would like to have a word with you, and the Warrior of Holy Light Paladin archetype that trades out spellcasting is a decent sidegrade, as is the equivalent archetype for Antipaladins (Dread Vanguard).

Oh, yeah, and what Ranger or Paladin is going to waste money on a staff?


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Omnius wrote:
Gallant Armor wrote:
Also if the BBEG knows about the all powerful wizard who is single handedly beating all of his enemies, they will assuredly use mindwipe, spellcrash, night terrors or other effects to make the wizard less viable.
That is fully and freely admitting that one member of the party is SO OVERPOWERED that you have to look to them personally and declare rocks fall, you specifically die, you are no longer allowed to play. And that's TERRIBLE GMing, and a sign that the game is TERRIBLY balanced.

Firstly, Omnius, you really need to take a breath - when you've resorted to RANDOM caps LOCK to try to make a point, you've conceded defeat already.

Secondly, maintaining verisimilitude within the game world is not abusive GMing. Given the scenario posited by Gallant Armor above, an intelligent BBEG absolutely should be figuring out ways to target those he (or she) views as the biggest threat. If the few minions who get away are talking about the powerful wizard, that's who he'd be looking to target - and if they were talking about a might Fighter, a cunning Rogue, or a saintly Cleric as the biggest problem, I'd expect them to be the target instead.


Omnius wrote:

...

Twelve to sixteen encounters A DAY?

WTF?

Okay, one, Hell with that. That's nonsense. You're outright breaking the paradigms of the game AND of any reason at that point.

No sane party would ever march face-first through that. If the GM is throwing up THAT MUCH resistance, it's a straight up decree that you are NOT supposed to be just fighting your way through, and you're SUPPOSED to go around a lot of these fights!

At that point, you ARE talking about infinite free healing to keep the muggles moving, or they're all just gonna die. But fighting through SIXTEEN ENCOUNTERS A DAY is the OBVIOUSLY WRONG CHOICE! Your theoretical opportunity to make the muggles shine is outright abusive GMing that relies on the party all being imbeciles!

After just ONE day of that, if you even get that far, you'll have everyone in the party shouting, "GET ON WITH IT!"

And again, NO, those guards you bypassed don't just magically and instantly teleport to the big bad en masse over the span of a fight. They're scattered, and take time to move. Meanwhile, you cut off the head of the organization, and the organization is a lot less dangerous.

As to resting after some exploration, no, resting for the day after a couple life-or-death fights is not ridiculous. That's sensible! If I just murdered an entire tribe of green-skins, I'd want a meal, a bath, and a nap, too! The mindset of adventurers just constantly fighting all day every day is absurd.

And still, if you have to finger-of-god a single party member, the game was never balanced.

I have played 12+ encounters per day at mid/high level and it's challenging and exhilarating. Past mid level, 6 to 8 encounters would be the lowest you can go if you want any sort of challenge to the party, 9 to 11 is better, 12 to 16 if you want to push the party.

Any GM that lets you "beat" an encounter by teleporting without some consequence is letting you play on easy mode. Either there should be a teleport trap to stop you, or better yet let the party teleport and have the wizard be hit with Dimensional Anchor and raise an alarm for a dozen encounters worth of enemies to converge on the boss room.


dysartes wrote:
Omnius wrote:
Gallant Armor wrote:
Also if the BBEG knows about the all powerful wizard who is single handedly beating all of his enemies, they will assuredly use mindwipe, spellcrash, night terrors or other effects to make the wizard less viable.
That is fully and freely admitting that one member of the party is SO OVERPOWERED that you have to look to them personally and declare rocks fall, you specifically die, you are no longer allowed to play. And that's TERRIBLE GMing, and a sign that the game is TERRIBLY balanced.

Firstly, Omnius, you really need to take a breath - when you've resorted to RANDOM caps LOCK to try to make a point, you've conceded defeat already.

Secondly, maintaining verisimilitude within the game world is not abusive GMing. Given the scenario posited by Gallant Armor above, an intelligent BBEG absolutely should be figuring out ways to target those he (or she) views as the biggest threat. If the few minions who get away are talking about the powerful wizard, that's who he'd be looking to target - and if they were talking about a might Fighter, a cunning Rogue, or a saintly Cleric as the biggest problem, I'd expect them to be the target instead.

The Fighter or Rogue are never going to be as much of a problem for the BBEG as the Wizard or Cleric, is the point.


A Paladin Or Barbarian very well can be, though...


Oh, for sure. I've always maintained that the Paladin and Barbarian are in an entirely acceptable position, balanced against the gold standard of the Bard in terms of overall power and utility; the BBEG will throw fits when he finds out the Barbarian AM SMASHED the dominate person right off of his favorite minion.

Unfortunately the Wizard/Druid/Cleric are still leagues ahead of the Paladin and Barbarian, but that's because the 9th level casters are too strong, not that the Paladin and Barbarian are too weak.


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dysartes wrote:
Secondly, maintaining verisimilitude within the game world is not abusive GMing. Given the scenario posited by Gallant Armor above, an intelligent BBEG absolutely should be figuring out ways to target those he (or she) views as the biggest threat. If the few minions who get away are talking about the powerful wizard, that's who he'd be looking to target - and if they were talking about a might Fighter, a cunning Rogue, or a saintly Cleric as the biggest problem, I'd expect them to be the target instead.

*Points to the topic.*

The question is not, "Would an intelligent villain single out the greatest threat?"

It is not, "How to you rearrange the game to screw the wizard?"

It's, "Are wizards overpowered?"

Yes. Yes, they are. Extremely overpowered. At a point where you have to go to such extremes, or make such arguments, the fact that they are overpowered is clear. And if I'm GMing, I'd rather put myself in a position to challenge the party, not the wizard (/druid/cleric/witch/shaman/arcanist/...).

The game has massive, glaring balance issues.

As to the verisimilitude point, D&D is bad at letting wildly different ends of the power scale coexist, and requires a suspension of the nuclear option.

In most APs. it would make way more sense for the BBEG to send the boss of book five to squish the party like a bunch of little bugs some time during book 2. They don't do that because that's terrible adventure design. You don't send the level 20 wizard big bad to crush a single member of that 10th-level party. What's more, if there is a clear single member of the party who is far and away the biggest threat, to the point where they ARE the military consideration of the party, yes, there is a balance issue at play.


Mykull wrote:
Fergie wrote:
However, every wizard spell in the game is easily accessible to him. He might get the spells when he levels up, or buy a scroll, wand, or staff.

I've seen this sentiment expressed before in this thread and many other places besides. However, I don't see it actually occur in games I've played.

(...more...)
My point is that I have rarely seen a PC wizard cruising around with every spell in the rulebooks in their spellbooks (which, at 1 page per level and 100 pages per book, is a lot of spellbooks!).

Sorry, I expressed that idea poorly.

My point was not that he will easily have all the spells in his spellbook, but rather that every spell in the PRD is a realistic option for him at some point. Most martial characters are limited to at most 20 or so feats (a few more with retraining) but realistically picking a feat is a commitment. On the other hand, spells are easily swapped out daily, or you can even leave spell slots open, and memorize a spell from your book in the middle of the day. My comment about scrolls, wands, and staves was intended to mean that is another avenue for access to spells without needing to memorize them or add them to a spell book.

Once a wizard has access to teleport, he can hop around to major cities and find anything he wants. While it might seem obvious the GM would discourage or limit that kind of activity, by the rules it is much easier to find that scroll then a +2 ghosttouch kukri or whatever the fighter is looking for.

I don't mean to imply that additional options are better then what is presented in core. Some of the most powerful options are core. My point was that the wizard can tailor his spell selection to the situation, and if you have some idea of what you could be facing, that can be very powerful. For example, in 3.5 supplemental material there were several spells that specifically affected dragons. If you are highly likely to fight dragons, having these spells is going to be a large power boost.

The wizard can make an educated guess at what he will be facing, and select from any spell in his book. If he has a couple of days, he can get any spell in the game that he can afford. If the fighter has a week to prepare, it will make very little difference in most situations. (Note clerics and druids can wake up and memorize any appropriate spell in the PRD. Every spell added to the game is a daily option for them!)


Omnius wrote:
dysartes wrote:
Secondly, maintaining verisimilitude within the game world is not abusive GMing. Given the scenario posited by Gallant Armor above, an intelligent BBEG absolutely should be figuring out ways to target those he (or she) views as the biggest threat. If the few minions who get away are talking about the powerful wizard, that's who he'd be looking to target - and if they were talking about a might Fighter, a cunning Rogue, or a saintly Cleric as the biggest problem, I'd expect them to be the target instead.

*Points to the topic.*

The question is not, "Would an intelligent villain single out the greatest threat?"

It is not, "How to you rearrange the game to screw the wizard?"

It's, "Are wizards overpowered?"

Yes. Yes, they are. Extremely overpowered. At a point where you have to go to such extremes, or make such arguments, the fact that they are overpowered is clear. And if I'm GMing, I'd rather put myself in a position to challenge the party, not the wizard (/druid/cleric/witch/shaman/arcanist/...).

The game has massive, glaring balance issues.

As to the verisimilitude point, D&D is bad at letting wildly different ends of the power scale coexist, and requires a suspension of the nuclear option.

In most APs. it would make way more sense for the BBEG to send the boss of book five to squish the party like a bunch of little bugs some time during book 2. They don't do that because that's terrible adventure design. You don't send the level 20 wizard big bad to crush a single member of that 10th-level party. What's more, if there is a clear single member of the party who is far and away the biggest threat, to the point where they ARE the military consideration of the party, yes, there is a balance issue at play.

Right, but the point is that wizards aren't inherently overpowered, they are overpowered because GMs let them be overpowered. With a properly structured rest cycle (either due to group decision or necessitated by a ticking clock) wizards can be brought closer to balance with the rest of the party. If you normally have a 4 combat day, try an 8 combat day.

Past mid level, if a wizard is casting a spell from either of their two highest spell levels every combat the GM is doing something wrong. Those should be cherished and treasured resources that the wizard considers before using.


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"They aren't overpowered because I take steps to mitigate their power"

Isn't saying they are not too strong it's conceding that they are too strong but that strength can be mitigated.


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dysartes wrote:
Firstly, Omnius, you really need to take a breath - when you've resorted to RANDOM caps LOCK to try to make a point, you've conceded defeat already.

Really? I've never heard that rule before. Sounds kind of absurd though.

But if random caps lock is conceding defeat, what does it mean when you have to resort to insulting someone's writing style? That must be like, ultra concession or something.

Quote:
Secondly, maintaining verisimilitude within the game world is not abusive GMing

No, but trying to justify abusive GMing with a versimilitude argument is a pretty weak defense. Going out of your way to make one player's experience miserable is just that, regardless of whether or not you can come up with a reason that it makes sense.

You're the GM, by definition you can justify pretty much anything. Doesn't make it a good way to run a game.


Firewarrior44 wrote:

"They aren't overpowered because I take steps to mitigate their power"

Isn't saying they are not too strong it's conceding that they are too strong but that strength can be mitigated.

I'm saying that it's how the game is run that allows wizards to be so overpowered. It's not taking steps to mitigate a wizards power, it's correcting for mistakes in how the game is run.

You need to take a step back a realize that the way that your games are run is not the only way to run a game. If you want to have games where characters have most of their per day abilities for the average combat it's your prerogative, but you don't get to complain that wizards are overpowered.


Squiggit wrote:
dysartes wrote:
Firstly, Omnius, you really need to take a breath - when you've resorted to RANDOM caps LOCK to try to make a point, you've conceded defeat already.

Really? I've never heard that rule before. Sounds kind of absurd though.

But if random caps lock is conceding defeat, what does it mean when you have to resort to insulting someone's writing style? That must be like, ultra concession or something.

Quote:
Secondly, maintaining verisimilitude within the game world is not abusive GMing

No, but trying to justify abusive GMing with a versimilitude argument is a pretty weak defense. Going out of your way to make one player's experience miserable is just that, regardless of whether or not you can come up with a reason that it makes sense.

You're the GM, by definition you can justify pretty much anything. Doesn't make it a good way to run a game.

Those tactics are based on if the wizard is the "all powerful god capable of ending any encounter with a flick of their wrist". I have never seen that except at high level games where balance is much more difficult to achieve.

If the wizard is consistently stealing the spotlight and the other players feel like an afterthought it is the GM's duty to use all of these methods and more to achieve balance and allow others to shine.


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So what, are these half dozen extra encounters just pathetically weak trash clearing events? Because otherwise I don't understand how the non-casters are getting through without dying with the casters just straight up not participating in case something more troublesome comes along. HP is a limited resource, too.


To be honest, 12-16 combats in a day isn't that unusual, in my experience. Sometimes the party just wants to finish the dungeon or haunted sewer or whatever without giving the opposition the chance to react, regroup, or reinforce (which they will if the party needs to take an eight hour nap back home). This can be a lot of fun, as it's the party pushing themselves to overcome an existing obstacle of significance. Rather than like endless random encounters that exist only to be a very gamey convention that exists pretty much solely for resource attrition purposes.

I wonder how this is related to how 9-level arcane casters are fairly rare (especially compared to divine full casters). All the 3/4 BAB classes at least have something useful useful to do that doesn't run out.


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Arachnofiend wrote:
So what, are these half dozen extra encounters just pathetically weak trash clearing events? Because otherwise I don't understand how the non-casters are getting through without dying with the casters just straight up not participating in case something more troublesome comes along. HP is a limited resource, too.

One of the earlier mentioned conditions was that you shower noncasters with a virtually endless supply of free consumables.


Bloodrealm wrote:
Ryan Freire wrote:
Biggest contributing factor to C/MD is that there isn't a single feat requiring level 11+ that really has much of a "wow" factor to it.
Burrowing Shot only eats 3 feats (2 if you have Weapon Training already), you can use it once per round since it uses a swift action, it doesn't give the target a save, and benefits everyone in the party. Even though the penalties don't stack, you can use it repeatedly on one target so that the enemy can't remove the penalties without taking multiple standard actions and extra damage. It's not 11th+, but 9th is pretty close.

Its functionally a ranged swift action intimidate check. At level 9 casters are teleporting and hurling save or die.

Thats not to say it isn't a useful and cool feat, i like it a lot but the penalty doesn't scale, swift action requirement prevents efficient spreading of the debuff. it kind of lacks wow factor.


Arachnofiend wrote:
So what, are these half dozen extra encounters just pathetically weak trash clearing events? Because otherwise I don't understand how the non-casters are getting through without dying with the casters just straight up not participating in case something more troublesome comes along. HP is a limited resource, too.

What Squiggit said.

While I'm not particularly a fan of that, I do like the spell-wasting "fake encounter" which you describe, where weak monsters make a different type of challenge appear to be a combat.


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Squiggit wrote:


No, but trying to justify abusive GMing with a versimilitude argument is a pretty weak defense. Going out of your way to make one player's experience miserable is just that, regardless of whether or not you can come up with a reason that it makes sense.

It feels like there's an unexamined assumption going in here, which is that "BBEG focuses intelligently on biggest threat" == "making player of most powerful character miserable".

It seems to me to be perfectly possible, if sometimes challenging, for a GM to construct a climactic fight such that different characters with widely varying abilities and power levels each have useful and enjoyable things to do while facing challenges appropriate to their power levels. My go-to example for that kind of thing is the final battle in the first Avengers movie.


Arachnofiend wrote:
So what, are these half dozen extra encounters just pathetically weak trash clearing events? Because otherwise I don't understand how the non-casters are getting through without dying with the casters just straight up not participating in case something more troublesome comes along. HP is a limited resource, too.

With 12 combats a few should be challenging (several significant injuries, risk of serious injury or death) a few should be easy (minor injures at most) and the remaining should be average/solid encounters (several minor injuries, risk of significant injuries).

Being generous with healing consumables, allowing boots of the earth and/or providing a healer NPC are ways the GM can help them stay up.

Minor injuries: Less than 1/4 HP lost, no ability damage, no lingering conditions

Significant injuries: Between 1/4 and 3/4 HP lost, 4 points or less of ability score damage, possible lingering conditions easily dealt with (disease, poison, etc.)

Serious injuries: More than 3/4 HP lost and/or 5 or more points of ability damage, possible lingering conditions difficult to remove (negative levels or any condition the party is not prepared to deal with)


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Squiggit wrote:
One of the earlier mentioned conditions was that you shower noncasters with a virtually endless supply of free consumables.

They don't even need to be free- wands of CLW are really cheap and you can carry a lot of them. I've seen a party carry a dozen or more into a particular encounter series.

Plus, I mean it's not as though a few cakewalk fights don't serve a valid purpose; sometimes just rolling the opposition cultivates a nice feeling of being awesome.


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The most ironic thing to me is that for all the complaint threads about wizards being overpowered, the screeching when people suggest altering the game world or encounter system to make things harder for them and more favorable to martials with limitless day to day abilities gets pretty intense.


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Ryan Freire wrote:
The most ironic thing to me is that for all the complaint threads about wizards being overpowered, the screeching when people suggest altering the game world or encounter system to make things harder for them and more favorable to martials with limitless day to day abilities gets pretty intense.

Okay but like, adding weak encounters that nobody has to spend any resources to beat doesn't actually make the wizard less strong, it just means the wizard doesn't need to do anything in that encounter (leading to the wizard player being bored out of their minds). I feel like all you've accomplished is making sessions more tedious.


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I feel like the ultimate purpose of easy encounters in a given dungeon or analogous sequence is less "what this does to the party" and more "what actually makes sense to be in this place.". Like if a party of heavily armed adventurers charges into the kitchen, nobody is there *because* they are good at fighting.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Darigaaz the Igniter wrote:

...downtime was so scarce that the 1 hour/spell level to copy new spells into a spellbook was hard to come by, let alone the time and money to create scrolls. Nothing like getting to 10th level and realizing it's only been a week in game.

We did not realize how precious a few hours of downtime would be. And yes, by the end of an adventuring day our martial types would be going into battle starting at 12 hp out of 80 or so. No wands or potions, divine caster out of spells, and we have to keep going or else the bad guys win.

This has been my experience pretty much every time I try to play a 9th level caster.

This once got so bad that the three casters 'rebelled' and went on vacation! Let the princess be burned as a witch! I need to reload. Starting every day at half spells got tedious...fast!


Arachnofiend wrote:
Ryan Freire wrote:
The most ironic thing to me is that for all the complaint threads about wizards being overpowered, the screeching when people suggest altering the game world or encounter system to make things harder for them and more favorable to martials with limitless day to day abilities gets pretty intense.
Okay but like, adding weak encounters that nobody has to spend any resources to beat doesn't actually make the wizard less strong, it just means the wizard doesn't need to do anything in that encounter (leading to the wizard player being bored out of their minds). I feel like all you've accomplished is making sessions more tedious.

Look at my post above; the ratio of challenging/normal/easy would stay the same, the balancing factor is there will be enough combat rounds where the wizard will feel the need to conserve resources. The wizard wouldn't sit and do nothing, they would likely have a wand of magic missile, scorching ray or other spell that they can use to contribute.


Bloodrealm wrote:
Halek wrote:

While pure martials are hot garbage i love the 4th level casters.

Rangers start out early on being able to help by hitting with a stick. Later he can provide useful knowledge skills and even has limited spells. He has just enough to recharge a staff though so it isnt that different from having a less casty druid.

Paladin can get some wizard spells from unsanctioned knowledge and can also use staffs. But they can be half decent summoners with some archetypes and even without that they can heal themselves. They can replenish there hitpoints and even remove some conditions.

They are martials that arent useless because they are limited casters.

Take a 20th level paladin and a 20th level figther.
Which one can hold a bridge against a horde of critters the paladin can heal through the natural 20, while the figther is whittled down and dies.

Which can do skills better suprise its the paladin with his spells.

Pure martials have a limited and largely obselete role. Meatshield can be filled by other classes that provide more.

Barbarians would like to have a word with you, and the Warrior of Holy Light Paladin archetype that trades out spellcasting is a decent sidegrade, as is the equivalent archetype for Antipaladins (Dread Vanguard).

Oh, yeah, and what Ranger or Paladin is going to waste money on a staff?

Oh i agree. Barbarian can effectively be a really durable counterspells specailist with some other stuff like flight and rage cyclying. Havent heard of that archetype but most paladin archetypes are good.

Id still say that a summoning wizard fulfills the meatshield role better.

You can make custom staffs and recharge them with your 4th level spells. It gives them effectively any 4th level spell. I can see some paladins who would like some buffs and rangers who would like some druid spells.


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Ryan Freire wrote:
The most ironic thing to me is that for all the complaint threads about wizards being overpowered, the screeching when people suggest altering the game world or encounter system to make things harder for them and more favorable to martials with limitless day to day abilities gets pretty intense.

There's nothing ironic about simultaneously thinking that on paper Wizards are powerful but also believe that creating a hostile gameplay environment is a poor way to deal with that problem in a real game scenario.

Dismissing people with such an opinion as 'screeching' or acting as though they're oblivious just because they disagree with you is obnoxious.


the nerve-eater of Zur-en-Aarh wrote:
It feels like there's an unexamined assumption going in here, which is that "BBEG focuses intelligently on biggest threat" == "making player of most powerful character miserable".

There were listed specifics on what the singling out was a page or two back. It was, in fact, pretty miserable.

the nerve-eater of Zur-en-Aarh wrote:
It seems to me to be perfectly possible, if sometimes challenging, for a GM to construct a climactic fight such that different characters with widely varying abilities and power levels each have useful and enjoyable things to do while facing challenges appropriate to their power levels. My go-to example for that kind of thing is the final battle in the first Avengers movie.

That requires characters having abilities to spotlight. When you get characters from such wildly different ends of the power scale as a Fighter and a Wizard, or especially a Cleric or Druid, that becomes impractical.

And referencing Avengers is... not appropriate, in context, because Pathfinder simply does not work that way. Pathfinder is terrible at dealing with power disparities. If you want that, you're talking a game like Masks, where how powerful you are is literally completely unrelated to how effective you are narratively. The Avengers movie is told in a way that cares very little about how powerful someone actually is; that's an aesthetic, not something that actually gives someone greater or lesser narrative impact. But in Pathfinder and traditional games in general, yes, raw power gives a character more narrative control.

Firewarrior44 wrote:

"They aren't overpowered because I take steps to mitigate their power"

Isn't saying they are not too strong it's conceding that they are too strong but that strength can be mitigated.

YES! THIS!

So much this!

PossibleCabbage wrote:

They don't even need to be free- wands of CLW are really cheap and you can carry a lot of them. I've seen a party carry a dozen or more into a particular encounter series.

Plus, I mean it's not as though a few cakewalk fights don't serve a valid purpose; sometimes just rolling the opposition cultivates a nice feeling of being awesome.

While simultaneously denying casters access to their contingency wands and scrolls?


Arachnofiend wrote:

Oh, for sure. I've always maintained that the Paladin and Barbarian are in an entirely acceptable position, balanced against the gold standard of the Bard in terms of overall power and utility; the BBEG will throw fits when he finds out the Barbarian AM SMASHED the dominate person right off of his favorite minion.

Unfortunately the Wizard/Druid/Cleric are still leagues ahead of the Paladin and Barbarian, but that's because the 9th level casters are too strong, not that the Paladin and Barbarian are too weak.

Barbarian rage powers are worth more than feats. I wish that other pure martials fit to the barbarians baseline instead of the figthers.

Barbarians can do truly impressive things and can even shatter spells with anger. Thats cool and useful. Paladins can self heal and have casting. Also they can sense evil at will and have excelent saves.

I wish bard was the baseline for classes. You need swagtastic class features to pull off 4th level casting well and you need to be barbarian to have none. I havent found a class besides barbarian that isnt hot garbage.


Ok so for the avengers lets look at that ananolgy. Now what does hawkeye and captain america provide to the final battle? Wouldnt 2 more thors be better and end that fight faster? Like a fighter is on the level of the policemen not a main character.

You dont choose to not be a main character. Do nt be a fighter play a wizard/thor


I'm going to stop you right here:

Gallant Armor wrote:
...Being generous with healing consumables, allowing boots of the earth and/or providing a healer NPC are ways the GM can help them stay up.

Unless the statement immediately after this is about what you provide for other classes, you're actively discriminating in favor of specific classes. That's not proof the classes you're discriminating against are overpowered but it's certainly proof they're more powerful.

So what did you say next?

Gallant Armor wrote:

Minor injuries: Less than 1/4 HP lost, no ability damage, no lingering conditions

Significant injuries: Between 1/4 and 3/4 HP lost, 4 points or less of ability score damage, possible lingering conditions easily dealt with (disease, poison, etc.)

Serious injuries: More than 3/4 HP lost and/or 5 or more points of ability damage, possible lingering conditions difficult to remove (negative levels or any condition the party is not prepared to deal with)

Well, not what you needed to. And there's pretty serious problems with this. Minor injuries can be cured by a consumable. Significant injuries might be treatable with a consumable but as you get higher level the chance goes down. Neutralize Poison is a caster level check. Remove Disease is a caster level check. Remove Curse is a caster level check. You have d20+5 versus the DC unless you pay more and that just doesn't cut it. The only "easy" condition to remove (in that there's no check) is Blindness/Deafness.

So if the consumable aren't providing that, who is? The Cleric? The Paladin? Is someone giving up their character to play healer to the rest of the party? Because then those party members aren't just less powerful, they're actively a drain on the party, both in resources and possibly fun (if that isn't what the healer player wanted to do). If it's the NPC, well, they need to be almost as high level as the party (otherwise it's the consumable problem) and they need to be accessible out in the wild (otherwise the condition isn't actually treatable). So... a DMPC healbot that follows the party around to make it so the martial characters are as good as the casters. If they need a second character to be viable....

You do at least address giving Wizards consumables too, but then you torpedo your own point. Your point was that you could drain the caster's resources. If you're giving the casters consumables to blast with then how do any of those easy combats drain resources? They just use the consumables (it's when they'd be most useful).

And Captain American contributed. He got the civilians out. But that's just diplomacy. It's just, nobody else in the party had it. You could easily replace Hawkeye with, say, another Iron Man. Maybe War Machine. He could also replace Captain America.

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