Quadratic Wizard - Specific Spell Issues?


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I tried searching for this, but does anyone have a full specific list of the spells that are the issue for those who feel the wizard is unbalanced? Preferably including the issue with each spell?

A lot to ask I know, but I'm hoping someone has done this already and I just need to be pointed in the right direction.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

It's more permissive DM issues than quadratic spells. Such as DMs letting players use an augmented Con score for Blood Money. When Wizards or other spellcasters go out of control, almost all the time, the blame can be put on the DM.

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I'm not looking to start yet another thread arguing what (if anything) is the problem. I just want to find a semi-comprehensive list of the spells that (some) people feel are the issue. If you feel there is another issue or that it's not an issue, please find another thread to discuss it.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I'm trying to show you that you're barking up the wrong tree. In almost every discussion of "problem spells" there has been on the board it's been because the DM allowed corner interpretations clearly not intended by the designers, they ignored their own power to interpret and change as needed, or they ignored self built limiting factors such as unique and/or expensive components.

As far as actual spells, the list is actually very small. Once you've discussed the Wish family, Blood Money, and Simulacrum, you've pretty much got the list, save for folks who are getting Fabrication totally wrong. These and every other spell talked about pretty much boil down to what the DM allows.

The much more common way for campaigns to go out of control, is custom item fabrication, especially multi-function items that take one slot.


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1. Spells that imitate other classes such as knock, detect traps, etc.
2. Spells that break in game quotas like blood money, fabricate, simulacrum, etc.
4. Spells that just rewrite reality or too open ended like suggestion, wish, etc.
5. Spells that outclass others of the same ilk like snowball being the best damage spell while also ignoring spell resistance.

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Onyxlion wrote:

1. Spells that imitate other classes such as knock, detect traps, etc.

2. Spells that break in game quotas like blood money, fabricate, simulacrum, etc.
4. Spells that just rewrite reality or too open ended like suggestion, wish, etc.
5. Spells that outclass others of the same ilk like snowball being the best damage spell while also ignoring spell resistance.

Rather than categories that may require judgement calls, I was hoping for SPECIFIC lists, as said in the title.


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Well to repeat LazarX; the main offenders are:
Wish - Because of their ridiculous amount of versatility and power (while simultaneously giving bad GM's an "excuse" to screw with you).

Blood Money - Because it can be easily abused to break WBL to a severe extent.

Simulacrum - Because you can use it to create perfect minions out of anything (sorta).

Quote:
Apparently I was naive to think I could ask a (relatively) simple question without this turning into another debate thread. Thanks for nothing.

*Shrug* It's a super subjective question. It was inevitable, deal with it.


What books? Extended core or the entirety of 1st party pazio? I'll work from core upwards it'll probably be in pieces though.


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LazarX believes that spell power is all in "weak GMs" and "nebulous interpretations" when this is explicitly not the case. Most people who advocate the strength of these spells are using them as they are both written and intended. But lets look backwards starting with the height of quadratic power.

Create Greater Demiplane - Sticking purely to the rules you basically get twice as many spells per day and can craft twice as fast.

Time Stop - Massive turn advantage to prepare buffs or surround an enemy with Explosive Runes.

Gate - Control two 25 HD (easy to hit 25 CL) or lower creatures and order them around.

Mage's Disjunction - Guaranteed Dispel with the chance to reduce all magic items in range to normal items for *minutes* per level in 40 ft. radius burst.

Aroden's Spellbane - Anti-antimagic field. Can also stop your caster from getting Mage's Disjunctioned.

Teleportation Circle - Continuous instantaneous movement between two points. Tippyverse ho~!

Astral Projection - Even ignoring the fact that this lets you use consumables without actually using them, this is one of the easiest ways for casters to turn death into an inconvenience.

Energy Drain - No Save, get 2d4 negative levels.

Mass Suffocation - Reliable mass Save or Die versus 10+ creatures (provided no 2 are more then 30 ft. apart.)

Shapechange - Multiple forms, long duration, easy access to both utility and combat forms.

Wish - Turn long casting time spells into 1 standard action! Raise your stats! Get access to other spell lists!

I'm not going to do a full list (oh man that would take forever), but that should be a decent start.

You shouldn't really *need* specific spells to see the power gap though. It really just boils down martials need to worry about things like distance, geography, armor class, actually having to roll dice to determine success and what not and casters... don't. Just look at what I've posted for example. Can the fighter remove all magic in a 40 ft. radius? Can they call on two powerful creatures to aid them? Move instantly and repeatedly between two points? Stop time? Go Astral and use all their consumables without using them and not die if they are killed? Turn into a dragon?


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The 'Quadratic' issue relates to most casters and most spells. For example, Invisibility and Fly and Haste. As the wizard levels up, he can cast Haste more times a day, it lasts longer and it affects more targets. This requires no investment by the wizard - it's just something they get for free while also gaining whole new levels of spells.

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Onyxlion wrote:
What books? Extended core or the entirety of 1st party pazio? I'll work from core upwards it'll probably be in pieces though.

Core is primary, and I only have the hardcover books, not all the various soft cover companions. Thanks.

Anzyr wrote:
I'm not going to do a full list (oh man that would take forever), but that should be a decent start.

Is it really so many spells? Maybe categories would be the better way to go. Hmm. Or categories with lists of the spells that fall under each issue.

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Matthew Downie wrote:
The 'Quadratic' issue relates to most casters and most spells. For example, Invisibility and Fly and Haste. As the wizard levels up, he can cast Haste more times a day, it lasts longer and it affects more targets. This requires no investment by the wizard - it's just something they get for free while also gaining whole new levels of spells.

But assuming he's casting these on allies as well, is it really an issue?

Wouldn't Unchained's "Limited Magic" option solve some of those issues?


CrackedOzy wrote:
Onyxlion wrote:
What books? Extended core or the entirety of 1st party pazio? I'll work from core upwards it'll probably be in pieces though.

Core is primary, and I only have the hardcover books, not all the various soft cover companions. Thanks.

Anzyr wrote:
I'm not going to do a full list (oh man that would take forever), but that should be a decent start.
Is it really so many spells? Maybe categories would be the better way to go. Hmm.

Well what I posted just now was a good percentage of all the 9ths. And there's not to many 9th's in general. So, it'd be that again for all the levels going down.

CrackedOzy wrote:
Wouldn't Unchained's "Limited Magic" option solve some of those issues?

Not really. When the caster is out of spells, it's time to stop and rest. That's not even "5 minute workday" logic, that's just playing smart. If your 20th level caster is down to 2nd level and lower spells, your fight with Karlista, the Laughing Void, is not going to go well.


CrackedOzy wrote:
Wouldn't Unchained's "Limited Magic" option solve some of those issues?

I would mitigate the issue to a lesser extent, but it would not solve those issues. Spells can just do.... everything as the mage increases in power, and the power of spells increases faster than the power of anything else in the game.

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I meant solve (or at least help) the specific issues of longer durations and increased spell effects.


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CrackedOzy wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:
The 'Quadratic' issue relates to most casters and most spells. For example, Invisibility and Fly and Haste. As the wizard levels up, he can cast Haste more times a day, it lasts longer and it affects more targets. This requires no investment by the wizard - it's just something they get for free while also gaining whole new levels of spells.
But assuming he's casting these on allies as well, is it really an issue?

In the case of Haste, probably not. (Unless you want to be able to run a martial group through an adventure balanced around having full casters - the lack of access to spells like Haste will hurt them a lot.)

Problematic caster-martial disparity is most commonly along the lines of "I teleport us past the adventure" or "I use my scrying powers to solve the mystery instantly" or "I send my dominated oni/undead minions/horde of summoned angels to do the quest on our behalf" or "All enemies must make a DC28 save against their worst saving throw or stand there helplessly for several rounds while we kill them."


CrackedOzy wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:
The 'Quadratic' issue relates to most casters and most spells. For example, Invisibility and Fly and Haste. As the wizard levels up, he can cast Haste more times a day, it lasts longer and it affects more targets. This requires no investment by the wizard - it's just something they get for free while also gaining whole new levels of spells.

But assuming he's casting these on allies as well, is it really an issue?

Wouldn't Unchained's "Limited Magic" option solve some of those issues?

Cross-posting from other thread, since it tackles this issue as well.

The issue with this is that Wizards would be better working with another caster (preferably a different caster) instead. It will always be more efficient. I mean if all you have is a martial PC sure, but martial PCs tend to be resource drains on casters. They need Fly, Haste, Protection from X, etc. and they can't provide their own. Another Caster conversely doesn't drain these resources since they can provide their own and thus tend to be resource surpluses.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Onyxlion wrote:
LazarX wrote:
It's more permissive DM issues than quadratic spells. Such as DMs letting players use an augmented Con score for Blood Money. When Wizards or other spellcasters go out of control, almost all the time, the blame can be put on the DM.
You blame the DM for the printed material options? Sorry but having to ban large sections of the game to make it playable shows a much larger problem than a permissible DM.

Yes I do. You don't have to "ban large sections" of the material, you simply have to moderate it's abuse.

Blood Money can be moderated by simply limiting it to the player's own natural Con score not counting any augmentations.

Create Demi-Plane moderates itself by the resource cost and TIME it takes to do so. Having adventures with time dependencies takes care of much mischief potential.

Invisibility, Fly, and Haste become much less of a problem with varied encounter and environment design. And remembering that what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

That said, I do think that there is such a thing as material that can only be used if players voluntarily decide not to break the system.

Mythic, I'm looking at You!


LazarX wrote:
Onyxlion wrote:
LazarX wrote:
It's more permissive DM issues than quadratic spells. Such as DMs letting players use an augmented Con score for Blood Money. When Wizards or other spellcasters go out of control, almost all the time, the blame can be put on the DM.
You blame the DM for the printed material options? Sorry but having to ban large sections of the game to make it playable shows a much larger problem than a permissible DM.

Create Demi-Plane moderates itself by the resource cost and TIME it takes to do so. Having adventures with time dependencies takes care of much mischief potential.

Invisibility, Fly, and Haste become much less of a problem with varied encounter and environment design. And remembering that what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

Create Demiplane does not take particularly long to cast or cost particularly much for the benefit it provides. 4 hours while ineffectively long for combat, is not a particularly long period of time for the benefit. Trying to sustain a situation where the players cannot have even 4 hours of rest is virtually impossible without blatant railroading.

Secondly, encounter variety while helpful is unsustainable as well, due to the resource drai... er martial characters. A group of flying invisible enemies renders the martial characters virtually useless. I would much prefer the caster expend See Invisibility on themselves so they can target the flying invisible enemies with fight ending abilities, rather then use the resource on martials and hope they have an effective ranged ability/can hit/can deal enough damage/etc. Fights that are difficult for casters at later levels tend to become impossible for martial characters.


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LazarX wrote:
Onyxlion wrote:
LazarX wrote:
It's more permissive DM issues than quadratic spells. Such as DMs letting players use an augmented Con score for Blood Money. When Wizards or other spellcasters go out of control, almost all the time, the blame can be put on the DM.
You blame the DM for the printed material options? Sorry but having to ban large sections of the game to make it playable shows a much larger problem than a permissible DM.

Yes I do. You don't have to "ban large sections" of the material, you simply have to moderate it's abuse.

Blood Money can be moderated by simply limiting it to the player's own natural Con score not counting any augmentations.

Create Demi-Plane moderates itself by the resource cost and TIME it takes to do so. Having adventures with time dependencies takes care of much mischief potential.

Invisibility, Fly, and Haste become much less of a problem with varied encounter and environment design. And remembering that what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

That said, I do think that there is such a thing as material that can only be used if players voluntarily decide not to break the system.

Mythic, I'm looking at You!

So your solution is to rewrite problem spells, but that somehow negates them having been problems in the first place. That's some circular logic for you.


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BigDTBone wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Onyxlion wrote:
LazarX wrote:
It's more permissive DM issues than quadratic spells. Such as DMs letting players use an augmented Con score for Blood Money. When Wizards or other spellcasters go out of control, almost all the time, the blame can be put on the DM.
You blame the DM for the printed material options? Sorry but having to ban large sections of the game to make it playable shows a much larger problem than a permissible DM.

Yes I do. You don't have to "ban large sections" of the material, you simply have to moderate it's abuse.

Blood Money can be moderated by simply limiting it to the player's own natural Con score not counting any augmentations.

Create Demi-Plane moderates itself by the resource cost and TIME it takes to do so. Having adventures with time dependencies takes care of much mischief potential.

Invisibility, Fly, and Haste become much less of a problem with varied encounter and environment design. And remembering that what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

That said, I do think that there is such a thing as material that can only be used if players voluntarily decide not to break the system.

Mythic, I'm looking at You!

So your solution is to rewrite problem spells, but that somehow negates them having been problems in the first place. That's some circular logic for you.

We have a Code Ouroboros! I repeat we have a Code Ouroboros!

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
BigDTBone wrote:
LazarX wrote:
Onyxlion wrote:
LazarX wrote:
It's more permissive DM issues than quadratic spells. Such as DMs letting players use an augmented Con score for Blood Money. When Wizards or other spellcasters go out of control, almost all the time, the blame can be put on the DM.
You blame the DM for the printed material options? Sorry but having to ban large sections of the game to make it playable shows a much larger problem than a permissible DM.

Yes I do. You don't have to "ban large sections" of the material, you simply have to moderate it's abuse.

Blood Money can be moderated by simply limiting it to the player's own natural Con score not counting any augmentations.

Create Demi-Plane moderates itself by the resource cost and TIME it takes to do so. Having adventures with time dependencies takes care of much mischief potential.

Invisibility, Fly, and Haste become much less of a problem with varied encounter and environment design. And remembering that what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

That said, I do think that there is such a thing as material that can only be used if players voluntarily decide not to break the system.

Mythic, I'm looking at You!

So your solution is to rewrite problem spells, but that somehow negates them having been problems in the first place. That's some circular logic for you.

I did not rewrite a single spell. At most, I put a limiting interpretation on Blood Money. The Create Demi-Plane spells have never been an issue as hardly anyone I know is interested in bringing wizards that high, and few sorcerer players are willing to use a spells known slot on them.

Invisibility becomes less useful as the number of enemies that can simply ignore it increase in the upper tiers. Haste is easily countered by slow or by the opposition Hasting itself.

Flying targets have never been an issue for my martials, even the ones who aren't dedicated archers. All of them have good composite longbows that they enchant as secondary weapons, and the fighters can and do spare a few feats to make archery a good secondary combat choice. And bows generally have better range than wands.


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CrackedOzy wrote:
Onyxlion wrote:
What books? Extended core or the entirety of 1st party pazio? I'll work from core upwards it'll probably be in pieces though.

Core is primary, and I only have the hardcover books, not all the various soft cover companions. Thanks.

Anzyr wrote:
I'm not going to do a full list (oh man that would take forever), but that should be a decent start.
Is it really so many spells? Maybe categories would be the better way to go. Hmm. Or categories with lists of the spells that fall under each issue.

It is really so many spells.

Lets look at level 3, the first spell level where this becomes really blatent. I will skim through the wizard/sorcerer spell list and make a non-inclusive list of stuff that is powerful at that level.

Stuff that completely negates the need for whole skills
Fly
Tongues
Spider Climb, Communal
Invisibility Sphere

Stuff that does things martials just *can't*
Fly
Seek Thoughts
Water Breathing
Burrow
Animate Dead, lesser
Dispel Magic

Stuff that can shut down encounters with a bunch of enemies by itself
Aqueous orb
Sleet Storm
Ash Storm
Stinking Cloud

Stuff that can effectively end or neuter an encounter that consists of a single powerful creatures (possibly accompanied by a couple of mooks).
Spiked Pit
Stinking Cloud
Hold Person
Suggestion
Ray of Exhaustion

Stuff that, when specialized into, wrecks encounters
Fireball

Stuff that provides a disgusting amount of utility
SMIII
Paragon Surge

Stuff that provides good defensive value
Displacement(amusingly, beaten by mirror image, a level 2 spell)
Fly

Stuff that provides a gross amount of force multiplication
Haste

Note that while a wizard won't have all of this prepared, they will have some of it prepared. There are a fair few repeats there, so a smart caster can bring along a selection that is useful in *most* situations.

The reason casters are so much better than martials is that spells can solve almost any problem. Martials just hurt things (although casters can do that on top of all the other stuff).

Lets try a concrete example of a caster that can be useful pretty much all the time.

A typical level 7 wizard has the following slots (assuming 20 int):
4 level 0
6+1 level 1
4+1 level 2
3+1 level 3
2+1 level 4

Lets say they are a Teleportation Specialist (Opposed are Necromancy, Enchantment), and prepare the following

Level 0:Detect Magic, Whateverx3
Level 1:Prot/Evilx2, Mage Armor, Enlarge Person, Shield
Level 2:Invisibility, Glitterdustx2, Mirror Image
Level 3:Stinking Cloud, Fly, Haste
Level 4: Wall of Ice, Dimension Door
1+ spell slots are open at every level. With quick study, prep time becomes a non-issue.

This wizard can fly, blind in an AOE(Glitterdust), make themselves more durable than many martials(Mage Armor+Mirror Image+Shield), reveal invisible creatures(Glitterdust), detect magical auras nearby(Detect Magic), turn invisible, make the entire party lightning fast while massively buffing martial damage (Haste), block LOS and cause nausea in an AOE (Stinking Cloud), Suppress mind controlling effects(Prot/Evil), Make a buddy Ginormous (Enlarge Person), teleport half of the party around a quarter of a mile(Dimension Door) and block advancing enemies with a wall of ice. I avoided taking SMIII/SMIV in order to prevent this list doubling in size.

With 1 minute of prep, this wizard can turn invisible(Invisibiliy), disable traps (Aram Zey's Focus), make people their best friend(Charm Person), understand and/or speak any language(Comprehend Languages, Tongues), Learn about a dead person from their blood (Blood Biography), Look like another creature(Disguise Self), be another creature (Alter Self), Create an extra-dimensional cubby hole (Rope Trick), Allow the whole party to stay up all night (Keep Watch), Allow the whole party to be invisible(Invisibility Sphere), Greatly increase someone's carry capacity(ant haul), unlock a door(knock), remove or suppress a magical effect(Dispel Magic), protect the entire party from mind control and summons(Prot/X) as well as much, much more. All of the above comes at the cost of 10-15gp/sl^2 to put the spell in a spellbook. The majority of the above comes from core as well, so most of it is going to be available in typical campaigns.

The reasons wizards are unbalanced is because wizards can do anything. *Most* spells aren't broken in and of themselves, but the fact that a single person can cast ALL of them is.

As for those saying wizards need martials to carry their buffs, try replacing the party fighter with a wildshape druid. The party will become much stronger for it, because combat druids can fight about as well as fighters using wildshape+their own buffs while providing nearly as much utility as a wizard (they have vastly differing spell lists, so ideally you want one of each).


Milo v3 wrote:

Well to repeat LazarX; the main offenders are:

Wish - Because of their ridiculous amount of versatility and power (while simultaneously giving bad GM's an "excuse" to screw with you).

Blood Money - Because it can be easily abused to break WBL to a severe extent.

Simulacrum - Because you can use it to create perfect minions out of anything (sorta).

Quote:
Apparently I was naive to think I could ask a (relatively) simple question without this turning into another debate thread. Thanks for nothing.
*Shrug* It's a super subjective question. It was inevitable, deal with it.

I find those are offenders mostly in forum debates, not in real tables. I doubt that cheese is allowed in most tables, and those where it's allowed, it's not an offense.

Spells like Invisibility and Fly have allowed my sorcerer in the past, in a real game in a real table, to pretty much make the party rogue/ranger/monk infiltration ability useless. Not just because I could infiltrate, but because I could make *the party fighter* infiltrate as well.

In another game, I remember we used "find the path" to pretty much ignore the trap-filled dungeon.

I'm not sure if you could count Summon T-Rex for grab as stepping into the party grappler's role.

Those are the ones that come to mind.

However, "spotlight steal" is not what quadratic wizards are about. Quadratic wizards are about growing exponentially: each level, they do what they do, better than the previous level, and they do more things too. That means basically every spell that does something new, is a "quadratic spell". That includes things like Fly, Invisibilty, Teleport, Contact other plane, Summon monster (with new SLA), Gate, Make Whole, "Polymorph self" equivalents, etc


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I thought a quadratic wizard was any wizard who sat on the ground and held his feet and hands up in the air.

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gustavo iglesias wrote:


However, "spotlight steal" is not what quadratic wizards are about. Quadratic wizards are about growing exponentially: each level, they do what they do, better than the previous level, and they do more things too. That means basically every spell that does something new, is a "quadratic spell". That includes things like Fly, Invisibilty, Teleport, Contact other plane, Summon monster (with new SLA), Gate, Make Whole, "Polymorph self" equivalents, etc

Limited Magic from Unchained would ameliorate some of that - it removes caster level and stat dependence from spells. Under that system all 1st level spells are CL1 with a save DC11, even if cast by a wizard 20 with a 36 Int. All 2nd levels are CL3 with DC13, and so forth - like default magic items. So spells don't get better as you level and casters are less encouraged to max out their casting stat.

SR really starts to suck, low level spells are easy to dispel, and wands of spells are just as effective as casting them. Heighten Spell becomes worthwhile as it pumps CL and save DC.


Yep, Unchained has a couple good tentative solutions for quadratic wizards. Limited magic and the other one (can't remember how it's called, the one where you cast your lower level stuff from a pool)


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Linear warriors quadratic wizards is a misstatement of the problem. They're both of the same order. Still having lower level spells is analogous to having iteratives. Casters just scale faster. They get several times more spell options than even the fighter gets bonus feats, but it's still linear. If a feat were worth three spells known they'd be even on that front. If combat maneuver math lined up properly martials would also be able to bypass hitpoint attrition, but it doesn't. It fails to line up linearly, though.

A caster isn't worth a martial squared. A caster is usually worth between two and three martials when not absolutely required by some fool putting together an encounter or puzzle that is impossible for any non-caster to solve.

The real problem is that non-casters can't have nice things. Spells are available in larger numbers than even the most generous bonus feats, but are individually better. Save or Whatever spells face saves that only have one stat added to them while combat maneuvers face CMD that has two and size. Martials, except barbarians, must be realistic at level 20. Casters must be fantastic from level 1.


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bookrat wrote:
I thought a quadratic wizard was any wizard who sat on the ground and held his feet and hands up in the air.

No, that's a parabolic wizard. They are easy to mix up. :P


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Atarlost wrote:

Linear warriors quadratic wizards is a misstatement of the problem. They're both of the same order. Still having lower level spells is analogous to having iteratives. Casters just scale faster. They get several times more spell options than even the fighter gets bonus feats, but it's still linear. If a feat were worth three spells known they'd be even on that front. If combat maneuver math lined up properly martials would also be able to bypass hitpoint attrition, but it doesn't. It fails to line up linearly, though.

A caster isn't worth a martial squared. A caster is usually worth between two and three martials when not absolutely required by some fool putting together an encounter or puzzle that is impossible for any non-caster to solve.

The real problem is that non-casters can't have nice things. Spells are available in larger numbers than even the most generous bonus feats, but are individually better. Save or Whatever spells face saves that only have one stat added to them while combat maneuvers face CMD that has two and size. Martials, except barbarians, must be realistic at level 20. Casters must be fantastic from level 1.

It's quadratic because the options increase linearly (as does the martial) but the power of those options increase geometrically (while the power of martial options increase linearly.)


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Here's several lists. Here's another. Good luck sorting through the 300+ posts of each and finding out which lists you agree with. Here's some more. Heck, maybe you should read your own work every now and then. Both of them.

Seriously though, there will never be one list that everyone agrees with and the list will always be huge and take a lot of time. I swear I helped a goblin out with which spells were overpowered (or at least out of line power-wise) once upon a time but I can't find it now. Either way you're best off looking at homebrew to see what spells people picked out to adjust.

Short answer? All of the spells. Just all of them.


gustavo iglesias wrote:
Yep, Unchained has a couple good tentative solutions for quadratic wizards. Limited magic and the other one (can't remember how it's called, the one where you cast your lower level stuff from a pool)

I believe simplified casting is the other variant, limits how many spells you get to a severe degree but it works flavour-wise.

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Removed a series of back and forth/derailing posts.


I had a thread needing problem spells. Wow is it a lot of work! I think I did up to wizard nine.

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