Why are wizards considered overpowered?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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I feel like there's always going to be a class that is player-skill dependent and has a low optimization floor and a high optimization ceiling as a result. It just happens that the Wizard is that one here (and in the last couple editions PF takes inspiration from).

I think the problem with the Wizard in Pathfinder, as to why people don't play a lot of them, comes at it from both ends. Not only are you small, weak, and squishy at first (which might not be fun) but you're also complex and potentially game-warping thereafter.

In a hypothetical PF2.0 you could probably make Wizards a little easier to play, in part by making them better at low levels and less potentially absurd at high levels. Sure, wizards are really powerful, but nothing about playing a wizard is fun to me.

Silver Crusade

My first PFS char is a conjuration (nonsummoning) arcanist.

While the first few levels were pretty rough, standing in the back casting grease a few times a day, once you hit level 4 things are fine, and once I hit l6 you become really powerful.

And the reason is, I can attack every defense on my opponent and I have the knowledge skills to know what to attack.

In pathfinder you can attack AC, touch AC, 3 saves and CMD. And you may have spell resistance or displacement.

My entire career was things like
'create pit beneath the antipaladin on his undead horse'
'Fireball against the group of mummies'
'Glitterdust against the fighters
'Wall of force to compartmentalize the giant fight, leaving half the enemies idling'
'Haste to greatly increase the odds the paladin kills the demon before it attacks again'
'Grease on the special artefact dagger about to CdG a sacrificial victim'
'Black Tentacles on the group of assassin archers'
'Dimension Door the party while having invis sphere up next to the Admiral of the fleet, and have the paladins shank him before he even took an action.'
'Baleful polymorph on the enemy sorceror'

A wizard played well plays chess when everyone else is playing checkers.

Now it takes a lot of system knowledge, spell knowledge to do this well, but you can bypass encounters one a single defense you pick.
And you make mistakes, like the I cast confusion on a bunch of vampires.

It is a very fun game to play, though I won't be repeating the game fromntge start again.


Dalaan wrote:


A wizard played well plays chess when everyone else is playing checkers.

So a well-played Wizard is an idiot who plays the wrong game? Yes, I know what you meant, but I'm not a fan of that analogy.


Bloodrealm wrote:
Dalaan wrote:


A wizard played well plays chess when everyone else is playing checkers.
So a well-played Wizard is an idiot who plays the wrong game? Yes, I know what you meant, but I'm not a fan of that analogy.

It's a good analogy. Most classes can't even move onto the red squares, can only move one at a time, and get forced into detrimental situations as a matter of course.

Wizards are given so many more tools at their disposal and can most often pick where they chose to act or strike.


PossibleCabbage wrote:

I feel like there's always going to be a class that is player-skill dependent and has a low optimization floor and a high optimization ceiling as a result. It just happens that the Wizard is that one here (and in the last couple editions PF takes inspiration from).

I think the problem with the Wizard in Pathfinder, as to why people don't play a lot of them, comes at it from both ends. Not only are you small, weak, and squishy at first (which might not be fun) but you're also complex and potentially game-warping thereafter.

In a hypothetical PF2.0 you could probably make Wizards a little easier to play, in part by making them better at low levels and less potentially absurd at high levels. Sure, wizards are really powerful, but nothing about playing a wizard is fun to me.

It feels like you're insinuating that Wizard is skill-dependent when the other classes are not. That's a bad assumption. All classes have limited resources (some of them are hitpoints, some of them are money; note that the wizard can cope with low values of both) that they need to balance. All classes need a careful build to be effective (think of an easy, yet effective Halfling Slinger build).

The assumption that the Wizard starts out sucking is also a bad one. I can start out at level 1 being able to cast 8 Magic Missiles. Also, I can cast 5 spells. I can start out at level one casting a cone of save-or-die (which is awfully tricky sometime to position), create walls (or cages or giant hamsters) out of nowhere, and flank at will (Ghost Sound with Threatening Illusion metamagic plus one of two traits which lowers the level of metamagic by 1). I can start out at level 1 turning key NPCs friendly and casting an AoE save or die (effecting up to 4HD). Don't get me started on Charm Person + Hypnotism shenanigans.

The assumption that a Wizard has a low optimization floor is also a bad one. Poorly optimized non-spellcasters have to retrain to be useful. A Wizard simply must prepare different spells. Sure, he might not be as useful as someone who has optimized to a purpose, but he'll be able to pull his weight. At the worst, you can get your Wizard to prepare blasting spells. It's not optimal, but he's at least contributing.

To be honest, the downside of the Wizard is 2hp fewer than a Fighter each level (4 at 1st) and a low Fort save.

Silver Crusade

Kitty Catoblepas wrote:
Bloodrealm wrote:
Dalaan wrote:


A wizard played well plays chess when everyone else is playing checkers.
So a well-played Wizard is an idiot who plays the wrong game? Yes, I know what you meant, but I'm not a fan of that analogy.

It's a good analogy. Most classes can't even move onto the red squares, can only move one at a time, and get forced into detrimental situations as a matter of course.

Wizards are given so many more tools at their disposal and can most often pick where they chose to act or strike.

Not everyone would agree that it's a good analogy.


Omnius wrote:
UnArcaneElection wrote:

(*)I seem to have been made with point buy in the range -3 to +6.

Thankfully, I don't think you beat demons to death with a pointy metal stick for a living. ^^U

I don't do that, but I do Modern Necromancy Life Science Research. Unfortunately, in addition to low point buy, I seem to be made awfully poorly optimized (for starters, wrong selection of Deadly Sin to go with Necromancy) . . . .

Perfect Tommy wrote:

{. . .}

Generally speaking, casters win. And each year additional restriction are made to make it harder and harder for casters to win. Its gone from 11th level to 9th; eliminated a bunch of things like contingency spells, permanent spells, partial wand purchases, blink etc.

Out of curiosity, which particular kind of casters win most often?


Bard, sorcerer, wizard.
In similar competitions ive seen sorceror, witch, spellslinger.


Omnius wrote:
UnArcaneElection wrote:

(*)I seem to have been made with point buy in the range -3 to +6.

Thankfully, I don't think you beat demons to death with a pointy metal stick for a living. ^^U

In its own way, that's really indicative of why Wizards are seen as overpowered. They have options. Fighters 'beat demons to death with a pointy stick'. Never mind that real combat has stances and manoeuvres and different weapons for different purposes with different advantages, it's all reduced to something that simple. It'd hardly a wonder that a class with a load of options is regarded as overpowered compared to the ones with few, especially since those with few options aren't made much more powerful in their areas of expertise than the ones with a wide choice.


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Bluenose wrote:
In its own way, that's really indicative of why Wizards are seen as overpowered. They have options. Fighters 'beat demons to death with a pointy stick'. Never mind that real combat has stances and manoeuvres and different weapons for different purposes with different advantages, it's all reduced to something that simple. It'd hardly a wonder that a class with a load of options is regarded as overpowered compared to the ones with few, especially since those with few options aren't made much more powerful in their areas of expertise than the ones with a wide choice.

Careful, friend. You're getting dangerously close to espousing that book of weeaboo fightan magick.

True warriors don't use techniques or tactics or god forbid thinking! They kick each other in the shins until someone's health bar is empty! :P


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Oh man! A good wizards are overpowered thread, that brings me back!

When discussing class power, it is important to note a few things. First of all, like the various versions of D&D, Pathfinder has no victory conditions beyond fun and enjoyment. That is it. if you have a good time, you are successful. With that said, there are some less arbitrary metrics such as completing challenges of an appropriate CR. Successfully completing challenges is usually (but not always) more fun then failing. However, some of the best ways to succeed are often the most boring. For example, success in encounters well below your APL is often considered boring.

Another factor is that class "power" changes based on level, types of challenge, GM/Player style, party composition, etc. When we talk about these things, it is assumed that to be a four or five person party, with mixed classes and races playing something like an adventure path or pre-written module, with minimal house rules. Finally, when comparing classes, a 1-vs-1 arena battle is a fairly poor set of goal posts to use.
------------------------------------------
The caster martial disparity
While the following is about classes that access 9 levels of magic, the wizard class is the most casting of the casters, so it is a good example of class imbalance. At the lowest levels of play, martial characters are often considered to be better off then casters. A strong fighter or skilled rogue can effectively solve most problems that low level adventures face, and magic is usually fairly limited. This is not to say that casters are weak, they are fully effective at facing CR appropriate encounters, and if built for it, can disrupt encounters from level 1.

Most effects of the disparity begins around level 6, although they frequently don't affect gameplay much until level 11 or so. These effects can be broken into several categories.

Point Buy Economy Casters generally need only one really good stat, and have numerous class features (magic!), and supernatural and spell-like abilities that benefit from that stat. They also have class features to boost that stat, or compensate for a lack of other stats. Wizards often have more skill ranks then rogues later in the game, and the spellcraft skill is what item crafting is based off of. Bards and sorcerers are well set up to dominate social encounters. Druids and clerics can have great perception and whopping will save modifiers.

Action Economy Generally, martial characters need a full attack action to be fully effective, while casters can generally do almost everything as standard actions. Casters are also given numerous class features that allow their player additional actions. From an animal companion or familiar, to summoned creatures, to dominated or bound minions, casters frequently act for several creatures, while martials are often forced to spend actions moving, switching weapons, etc.

Economy Economy Casters are far more adept at creating their own magic items. This can have a drastic effect on individual power as magic items make up a substantial chunk of a characters power, especially as they get to the mid to high levels. Wizards easily have whopping spellcraft, bonus crafting feats, and the ability to access or bypass many crafting requirements. While a caster can craft for other party members, those items are treated as purchased when calculating WBL, while items the caster makes for themselves count as cost to craft. This results in casters often having 125% to 175% of WBL. Since casters often don't need weapons (some of the most expensive items) and get amazing use out of stat boosting items, they are much better served by the game economy.

Skills vs. Spells - Some martials have can have substantial access to skills, however, even max ranks and a decent ability modifier in a class skill is often a very poor substitute for what a spell can accomplish. Skills are useful if you need to do a fairly easy task for a long time, but in many cases, magic allows automatic success for more time then you need to accomplish the task. For example, rather then make a bunch of climb and acrobatics checks to climb up a 100' wall and cross a narrow ledge, the caster can just fly right up, much quicker, and with no checks required. While skills do have their place, they are severely limited for classes like the fighter, and many other martial classes lack the ranks or class skills to use them effectively. Casters generally also have ways to increase their use of skills, while martials have none. Several casting classes are better able to use skills, and even the "master of skills" - the rogue, is often outdone by bards and even wizards.

Versatility. Martial characters generally have three basic options for dealing with a combat situation: Melee attack vs. AC, Ranged attack vs. AC, or Attack vs. CMD. In social or adventuring encounters, they can use a skill. Casters on the other hand, can target AC, touch AC, 3 saves, etc. they can use deal damage from 5 different elements, force, positive/negative energy, etc. The can alter the environment, add allies, move friends or foes, buff/debuff, etc. Outside of combat, they can do... well... anything they wish. Prepared casters also have the option of selecting spells based on what they expect to face on a given day. Martials generally have no class options to customize their PC for specific situations.

Please note that the following are myths:
"Casters are better at fighting then martials"
"Casters can solo any encounter with a single spell"
"Casters are squishy"
"spells are a limited resource"
Read more here: The caster martial disparity


If Wizards are overpowered in your game, limit how often the party rests. There are also effects that can interrupt sleep to prevent spell preparation.

Creatures with high SR, good saves, or magic immunity are another way to add balance.

At higher levels they will still have an advantage, but they will likely hold back a bit to save resources and let others shine.


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One more quick note:
Casters are generally better served by supplemental material. For example, lets say you have all the core material, then double that by adding the made up, "Advanced Core Guide".

The fighter looks through the "ACG", and finds a few cool feats, and some magic weapons and armor. Lets say five new feats, two new magic weapons and a suit of magic armor. Cool.
The wizard looks through, and finds a few new feats as well. He might find something handy in the magic weapons and armor section, but decides to save his money for now. 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. Speaking of magic items, with scribe scroll, craft wand, and craft wondrous item, he can make the vast majority of new items he wants.
So while the fighter just got a few new options, the wizard gets most of the same stuff, AND double his potential spell list, double the magic items he can craft, etc. The benefits are just much greater because the wizard class uses more parts of the game, and uses those parts more efficiently.

Also, every new bestiary that comes out includes new mounts for the fighter, but also mounts for the wizard, AND familiars, summons, planar allies, and things to polymorph into!


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Gallant Armor wrote:

If Wizards are overpowered in your game, limit how often the party rests. There are also effects that can interrupt sleep to prevent spell preparation.

Creatures with high SR, good saves, or magic immunity are another way to add balance.
At higher levels they will still have an advantage, but they will likely hold back a bit to save resources and let others shine.

I recommend clicking on the link in my post and reading the whole section on the "caster martial disparity".

Note that interrupting sleep generally only delays the party for an hour or two. You only lose the hour that was interrupted, not the whole night. In most situations, the party just goes back to sleep. Also, there are many many spells, that help the party from getting ambushed at night. It is sort of adding a problem that the casters are the only ones who have the tools to fix.

It should also be understood that if the GM needs to take special steps (or the player needs to hold back) because the wizard if overpowered, that is more evidence of class imbalance, not an argument against it.


Gallant Armor wrote:

If Wizards are overpowered in your game, limit how often the party rests. There are also effects that can interrupt sleep to prevent spell preparation.

Creatures with high SR, good saves, or magic immunity are another way to add balance.

It's tricky to balance this though without making the Wizard feel if not precisely "useless" at least excessively hated on. I tend to err on the side of long adventuring days and sometimes worry about being unfair as classes have a range of "adventuring stamina" and I don't want to force people not to play the character they want to just because it's liable to run out of stuff.

Plus sometimes the narrative dictates some days are short; if the party is traveling overland they likely won't be beset by bandits every few hours as that's just unreasonable.


IF there's bandits every few hours you're doing the wizard a favor in a roundabout way. As you'd level insanely fast if that was the case.


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Gallant Armor wrote:

If Wizards are overpowered in your game, limit how often the party rests. There are also effects that can interrupt sleep to prevent spell preparation.

Creatures with high SR, good saves, or magic immunity are another way to add balance.

At higher levels they will still have an advantage, but they will likely hold back a bit to save resources and let others shine.

1) This does not work. Fighters do not have infinite use of "swing sword." They may only swing their sword so long as they still have hit points. Hit points are a much more limited resource than spell slots, particularly past level 3 or so, and if there is a long time between rests, fewer resources can be spared keeping the muggles on their feet. Also, even in this situation is much eased if there are more casters in the party.

2) You cannot do this every time or even terribly often without it becoming a contrived nuisance that becomes outright adversarial.

3) The party, not the GM, chooses how often to rest. The GM can try and make it hard to rest, but the party can also try hard to do it anyways, and the GM can only push so far before it becomes adversarial.

4) If you MUST consistently throw out creatures to SPECIFICALLY counter the mages and not the muggles, then the one you must always specifically counter is overpowered. You are not arguing that mages are not overpowered. You are proposing ineffective ways of handling the fact that they are.

5) Mages are better equipped to bypass things that resist them. Many spells ignore spell resistance. Magic immunity is not immunity, but rather infinite spell resistance. Few monsters are good at EVERY save, and one of the mage's greatest strengths is in being able to disable targets based on their worst defense, whether that's reflex, will, fortitude, CMD, or AC. Muggles, meanwhile, have far fewer options to get around enemies who have a high AC or CMD.


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Fergie, PossibleCabbage, Firewarrior44, Omnius I will answer you here as there will be quite a lot of overlap.

First and foremost, I didn't say that wizards aren't overpowered; in general they are better than martials if they are allowed to stay at full power or near full power for most encounters in an adventuring day.

I am also not saying that you should use the tactics I outlined all the time as it would be tiresome and adversarial as Omnius said.

But it is certainly possible to set up a campaign or a section of a campaign where the wizard doesn't outshine martials consistantly.

1. Make a ticking clock (Task has to be completed in x number of days, making them push each day)
2. Make a dungeon that doesn't easily allow for rest in or near it
2. Give them consumable healing
3. Provide a variety of challenges that can't easily be predicted
4. Build encounters that will challenge a full caster (as stated above: good saves, SR, etc.)

This will mean that for some situations the wizard may not have a spell available or will not wish to expend the spell slot and/or they will leave more spell slots open to increase flexibility meaning they will have less spells prepared at any given time.

I am not saying that Wizards aren't OP, but a GM can find ways of making it less apparent and letting other players shine more often.

Fergie - as to your note on sleeping and spell preparation, I was referring specifically to effects that prevent a full night's sleep and thus preparing spells.


Fergie wrote:

One more quick note:

Casters are generally better served by supplemental material. For example, lets say you have all the core material, then double that by adding the made up, "Advanced Core Guide".

I'm not sure I really agree. More spells and more monsters and more things are always awesome, but it's not like Core doesn't have a really strong suite of spells too.

But I don't really want to play a fighter without AWT on the table and I'd really be sad if I couldn't get greater beast totem or come and get me on a high level barbarian. Or be stuck with only a chained rogue and none of the niftier archetypes. Etc.


Gallant Armor wrote:

Fergie, PossibleCabbage, Firewarrior44, Omnius I will answer you here as there will be quite a lot of overlap.

First and foremost, I didn't say that wizards aren't overpowered; in general they are better than martials if they are allowed to stay at full power or near full power for most encounters in an adventuring day.

I am also not saying that you should use the tactics I outlined all the time as it would be tiresome and adversarial as Omnius said.

But it is certainly possible to set up a campaign or a section of a campaign where the wizard doesn't outshine martials consistantly.

1. Make a ticking clock (Task has to be completed in x number of days, making them push each day)
2. Make a dungeon that doesn't easily allow for rest in or near it
2. Give them consumable healing
3. Provide a variety of challenges that can't easily be predicted
4. Build encounters that will challenge a full caster (as stated above: good saves, SR, etc.)

This will mean that for some situations the wizard may not have a spell available or will not wish to expend the spell slot and/or they will leave more spell slots open to increase flexibility meaning they will have less spells prepared at any given time.

I am not saying that Wizards aren't OP, but a GM can find ways of making it less apparent and letting other players shine more often.

Fergie - as to your note on sleeping and spell preparation, I was referring specifically to effects that prevent a full night's sleep and thus preparing spells.

You're not replying to me. I already explained why those things don't work.

When you get past the lowest levels, spell slots are not a meaningful limit on casters going through anything approaching a reasonable adventuring day. Extending adventuring days is tiring on the players and GM, while still not favoring the martials. The casters have a variety of options, making them better equipped to taking on a variety of unexpected challenges, casters are the ones equipped to get around defenses tailored toward them, with effective disabling spells targeting every save, CMD, and AC, while very few enemies have ALL of those high, and those who do are highly resistant to the martials, too. Many, many spells, including most conjuration spells, don't care about that spell resistance/immunity.

And even then, that's to give a martial a chance once in a while. A chance that is still slimmer than putting another caster in the party, as a resource source is more valuable than a resource load in that format.


Omnius wrote:
Gallant Armor wrote:

Fergie, PossibleCabbage, Firewarrior44, Omnius I will answer you here as there will be quite a lot of overlap.

First and foremost, I didn't say that wizards aren't overpowered; in general they are better than martials if they are allowed to stay at full power or near full power for most encounters in an adventuring day.

I am also not saying that you should use the tactics I outlined all the time as it would be tiresome and adversarial as Omnius said.

But it is certainly possible to set up a campaign or a section of a campaign where the wizard doesn't outshine martials consistantly.

1. Make a ticking clock (Task has to be completed in x number of days, making them push each day)
2. Make a dungeon that doesn't easily allow for rest in or near it
2. Give them consumable healing
3. Provide a variety of challenges that can't easily be predicted
4. Build encounters that will challenge a full caster (as stated above: good saves, SR, etc.)

This will mean that for some situations the wizard may not have a spell available or will not wish to expend the spell slot and/or they will leave more spell slots open to increase flexibility meaning they will have less spells prepared at any given time.

I am not saying that Wizards aren't OP, but a GM can find ways of making it less apparent and letting other players shine more often.

Fergie - as to your note on sleeping and spell preparation, I was referring specifically to effects that prevent a full night's sleep and thus preparing spells.

You're not replying to me. I already explained why those things don't work.

When you get past the lowest levels, spell slots are not a meaningful limit on casters going through anything approaching a reasonable adventuring day. Extending adventuring days is tiring on the players and GM, while still not favoring the martials. The casters have a variety of options, making them better equipped to taking on a variety of unexpected challenges, casters are the ones...

How is a longer day not beneficial to martials? How are long days tiring on martials or the GM? Citation needed. Some martials have x/day abilities but will still outlast a wizard in the long term. GMs completely ignore rest for the most part so I don't see how it would impact them at all.

Full casters are hurt the most by a longer day, so that is one of the best balancing mechanisms to use. If you have a game day spanning multiple sessions and healing items are available, there is absolutely no reason to expect the wizard to outlast martials.


Gallant Armor wrote:
Omnius wrote:
Gallant Armor wrote:

Fergie, PossibleCabbage, Firewarrior44, Omnius I will answer you here as there will be quite a lot of overlap.

First and foremost, I didn't say that wizards aren't overpowered; in general they are better than martials if they are allowed to stay at full power or near full power for most encounters in an adventuring day.

I am also not saying that you should use the tactics I outlined all the time as it would be tiresome and adversarial as Omnius said.

But it is certainly possible to set up a campaign or a section of a campaign where the wizard doesn't outshine martials consistantly.

1. Make a ticking clock (Task has to be completed in x number of days, making them push each day)
2. Make a dungeon that doesn't easily allow for rest in or near it
2. Give them consumable healing
3. Provide a variety of challenges that can't easily be predicted
4. Build encounters that will challenge a full caster (as stated above: good saves, SR, etc.)

This will mean that for some situations the wizard may not have a spell available or will not wish to expend the spell slot and/or they will leave more spell slots open to increase flexibility meaning they will have less spells prepared at any given time.

I am not saying that Wizards aren't OP, but a GM can find ways of making it less apparent and letting other players shine more often.

Fergie - as to your note on sleeping and spell preparation, I was referring specifically to effects that prevent a full night's sleep and thus preparing spells.

You're not replying to me. I already explained why those things don't work.

When you get past the lowest levels, spell slots are not a meaningful limit on casters going through anything approaching a reasonable adventuring day. Extending adventuring days is tiring on the players and GM, while still not favoring the martials. The casters have a variety of options, making them better equipped to taking on a variety of unexpected challenges,

...

a dead martial wont out last a caster so unless the martial has some fast healing to heal up between fights they wont be outlasting anyone


Squiggit wrote:


Fergie wrote:

One more quick note:

Casters are generally better served by supplemental material. For example, lets say you have all the core material, then double that by adding the made up, "Advanced Core Guide".

I'm not sure I really agree. More spells and more monsters and more things are always awesome, but it's not like Core doesn't have a really strong suite of spells too.

But I don't really want to play a fighter without AWT on the table and I'd really be sad if I couldn't get greater beast totem or come and get me on a high level barbarian. Or be stuck with only a chained rogue and none of the niftier archetypes. Etc.

That they don't even need to benefit from additional resources just shows that their base line is that much higher. They can still make better use out of additional resources.


Firewarrior44 wrote:
IF there's bandits every few hours you're doing the wizard a favor in a roundabout way. As you'd level insanely fast if that was the case.

I figure that one should do away with XP, which is already reasonable as it's just unless a lot of bookkeeping for little benefit, BEFORE you put your party on the endless bandit treadmill between their starting point and destination. But YMMV, of course.


Lady-J wrote:
Gallant Armor wrote:
Omnius wrote:
Gallant Armor wrote:

Fergie, PossibleCabbage, Firewarrior44, Omnius I will answer you here as there will be quite a lot of overlap.

First and foremost, I didn't say that wizards aren't overpowered; in general they are better than martials if they are allowed to stay at full power or near full power for most encounters in an adventuring day.

I am also not saying that you should use the tactics I outlined all the time as it would be tiresome and adversarial as Omnius said.

But it is certainly possible to set up a campaign or a section of a campaign where the wizard doesn't outshine martials consistantly.

1. Make a ticking clock (Task has to be completed in x number of days, making them push each day)
2. Make a dungeon that doesn't easily allow for rest in or near it
2. Give them consumable healing
3. Provide a variety of challenges that can't easily be predicted
4. Build encounters that will challenge a full caster (as stated above: good saves, SR, etc.)

This will mean that for some situations the wizard may not have a spell available or will not wish to expend the spell slot and/or they will leave more spell slots open to increase flexibility meaning they will have less spells prepared at any given time.

I am not saying that Wizards aren't OP, but a GM can find ways of making it less apparent and letting other players shine more often.

Fergie - as to your note on sleeping and spell preparation, I was referring specifically to effects that prevent a full night's sleep and thus preparing spells.

You're not replying to me. I already explained why those things don't work.

When you get past the lowest levels, spell slots are not a meaningful limit on casters going through anything approaching a reasonable adventuring day. Extending adventuring days is tiring on the players and GM, while still not favoring the martials. The casters have a variety of options, making them better equipped to taking on a

a dead martial wont out last a caster so unless the martial has some fast healing to heal up between fights they wont be outlasting anyone

Hence why I recommended giving them healing consumables.


Are you recommending giving them infinite free healing, or are you ignoring that casters can purchase consumables?


Kitty Catoblepas wrote:
Are you recommending giving them infinite free healing, or are you ignoring that casters can purchase consumables?

I wouldn't recommend infinite healing, but a fair amount of consumable healing should keep people up.

As for casters purchasing consumables, they obviously can do so but those consumables are generally going to be lower level spells and lower caster level items, thus they aren't going to be nearly as powerful as if you let the caster have most of their spells throughout the day.


Gallant Armor wrote:

How is a longer day not beneficial to martials? How are long days tiring on martials or the GM? Citation needed. Some martials have x/day abilities but will still outlast a wizard in the long term. GMs completely ignore rest for the most part unless so I don't see how it would impact them at all.

Full casters are hurt the most by a longer day, so that is one of the best balancing mechanisms to use. If you have a game day spanning multiple sessions and healing items are available, there is absolutely no reason to expect the wizard to outlast martials.

Because, again, the hit points are a more limited resource than the spell slots. Not just getting them back, but preventing their loss in the first place. In that longer day, it's harder to spare resources on keeping the resource loads (muggles) alive, and more beneficial to have another resource source (casters).

And that's not counting the muggles with limited ammo, like Barbarians and their rage rounds.

On top of that, the casters are much more likely to have options to go around many of these additional encounters in the longer day, which saves resources further.


Omnius wrote:
Gallant Armor wrote:

How is a longer day not beneficial to martials? How are long days tiring on martials or the GM? Citation needed. Some martials have x/day abilities but will still outlast a wizard in the long term. GMs completely ignore rest for the most part unless so I don't see how it would impact them at all.

Full casters are hurt the most by a longer day, so that is one of the best balancing mechanisms to use. If you have a game day spanning multiple sessions and healing items are available, there is absolutely no reason to expect the wizard to outlast martials.

Because, again, the hit points are a more limited resource than the spell slots. Not just getting them back, but preventing their loss in the first place. In that longer day, it's harder to spare resources on keeping the resource loads (muggles) alive, and more beneficial to have another resource source (casters).

And that's not counting the muggles with limited ammo, like Barbarians and their rage rounds.

On top of that, the casters are much more likely to have options to go around many of these additional encounters in the longer day, which saves resources further.

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.


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.

CRB wrote:
Wizards perform a certain amount of spell research between adventures. Each time a character attains a new wizard level, he gains two spells of his choice to add to his spellbook. The two free spells must be of spell levels he can cast.

I've had DM's deny my wizard gaining new spells because we "leveled on the go" and, storywise, there really hadn't been any time for me to do any of that research (it does take a week/spell level to research a new spell). It made sense so I didn't sqwawk.

Staves are expensive. Besides, I don't know of any way for a wizard to learn a spell from a staff or a wand. Fergie doesn't explicitly state this, but the sentence (intentionally or not) implies it to me.

Scrolls are a good source, but I've played with DM's who've ruled that the fragile magical scrolls were just damaged enough during the combat that they can't be scribed. And I've had to do entire side treks to locate a villain wizard's lair, to find their spellbook (a side trek that the rest of the group doesn't usually want to go on because it isn't directly tied to the current adventure and doesn't directly enhance everyone [yeah, yeah, a wider selection of spells for the party's wizard helps the group, but not everyone sees it that way]).

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!).


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.

Realistically you'd be expecting things like "every hit causes significant bleed" or similar always on fighting abilities. Instead you get 2nd or 3rd level spell effects, on crit, assuming the target fails a fort save. Realistically the strongest combat feats are dinking around sub level 6 to learn them and thats not because they're super powerful, its because the high level feats aren't really very impressive.

Feat compression would IMO go a long way to narrowing that disparity, redesigning them to work like vigilante talents, where as you level you get improvements rather than burning 1/2 your feats as a fighter to do 1 combat style. Anything that chains to improved-->greater should be a scaling feat you take once.


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.

Realistically you'd be expecting things like "every hit causes significant bleed" or similar always on fighting abilities. Instead you get 2nd or 3rd level spell effects, on crit, assuming the target fails a fort save. Realistically the strongest combat feats are dinking around sub level 6 to learn them and thats not because they're super powerful, its because the high level feats aren't really very impressive.

Feat compression would IMO go a long way to narrowing that disparity, redesigning them to work like vigilante talents, where as you level you get improvements rather than burning 1/2 your feats as a fighter to do 1 combat style. Anything that chains to improved-->greater should be a scaling feat you take once.

Dazing/Stunning Assault are pretty good. Your DCs aren’t as high as a full caster, but you can apply it several times per round.


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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.


Xenocrat 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.

Realistically you'd be expecting things like "every hit causes significant bleed" or similar always on fighting abilities. Instead you get 2nd or 3rd level spell effects, on crit, assuming the target fails a fort save. Realistically the strongest combat feats are dinking around sub level 6 to learn them and thats not because they're super powerful, its because the high level feats aren't really very impressive.

Feat compression would IMO go a long way to narrowing that disparity, redesigning them to work like vigilante talents, where as you level you get improvements rather than burning 1/2 your feats as a fighter to do 1 combat style. Anything that chains to improved-->greater should be a scaling feat you take once.

Dazing/Stunning Assault are pretty good. Your DCs aren’t as high as a full caster, but you can apply it several times per round.

By level 16 people are doing a damn sight better than "pretty good" Power word stun is accessible a level lower and lasts longer and has no save.


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.


Ryan Freire wrote:
Xenocrat 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.

Realistically you'd be expecting things like "every hit causes significant bleed" or similar always on fighting abilities. Instead you get 2nd or 3rd level spell effects, on crit, assuming the target fails a fort save. Realistically the strongest combat feats are dinking around sub level 6 to learn them and thats not because they're super powerful, its because the high level feats aren't really very impressive.

Feat compression would IMO go a long way to narrowing that disparity, redesigning them to work like vigilante talents, where as you level you get improvements rather than burning 1/2 your feats as a fighter to do 1 combat style. Anything that chains to improved-->greater should be a scaling feat you take once.

Dazing/Stunning Assault are pretty good. Your DCs aren’t as high as a full caster, but you can apply it several times per round.
By level 16 people are doing a damn sight better than "pretty good" Power word stun is accessible a level lower and lasts longer and has no save.

You're not making the point you think you're making by comparing an 8th level spell to an ability that can apply to every single melee attack. But I am glad to see you backtrack from "2nd or 3rd level spell effects, on a crit" to "LOL, this loser can't match an 8th level spell."

In any case, Dazing Assault at 11th is the smarter pick, given that almost nothing is immune to Daze, but several things are immune to Stun.


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Gallant Armor wrote:

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.

Are you suggesting that every enemy we've passed in the last three days travel will magically simultaneously converge on our location across impossible distances during the 36 seconds it takes to fight Steve the Necromancer and his buddies in his Rec Room of Moderate Surprise?

This is not logic.

I mean, seriously. You don't kill the king by killing every person in the capital and then when they're all good and dead and done screaming, mosey on to stab the king a time or two. You kill the king by killing the king!


Omnius wrote:
Gallant Armor wrote:

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.

Are you suggesting that every enemy we've passed in the last three days travel will magically simultaneously converge on our location across impossible distances during the 36 seconds it takes to fight Steve the Necromancer and his buddies in his Rec Room of Moderate Surprise?

This is not logic.

I mean, seriously. You don't kill the king by killing every person in the capital and then when they're all good and dead and done screaming, mosey on to stab the king a time or two. You kill the king by killing the king!

It depends on the GM I suppose, but for me if a party were to teleport past half a dozen encounters there would be some effect of that decision. It could be an encounter with 4x the baddies. It could be the death of a beloved NPC who was killed by one of the enemies you didn't take the time to properly deal with. It could be not being of the proper level to defeat the BBEG or not having an item needed to finish the quest.

If the point of the campaign was just to kill the BBEG, a campaign would only last a few sessions until you can afford scrying and teleport casting services. There is a reason that campaigns last months and progress over many levels. A campaign is made up of a thousand moments of glory and shame, not just defeating a boss.

To put it another way; life's a journey not a destination.


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Encounters have goals.

Experience is given for overcoming encounters.

If you are setting forth to kill Steve the Necromancer and you come across a group of enemies between you and Steve the Necromancer, the goal of the encounter is to get past them and get to Steve.

If the party manages to go around them and continue on, then they have overcome the encounter and earned their XP.

What's more, the choice of tactics for dealing with an encounter are up to the party. If they choose more sound tactics than MURDER EVERYONE, turning around and offing an NPC for being, you know, actually intelligent instead of murder hobos? That's just being vindictive and adversarial.

There's more to being the stalwart hero of the land than kill-n-loot. And getting back on topic, mages are WAY BETTER at outside-the-box solutions than muggles, because they're actually given the tools to do so.

Dark Archive

Ok lets take the goal of getting something off the top shelf that you cant reach. It is fragile so throwing things at it isnt the best idea. Wizard mage hands it down. Figther didnt put ranks into climb and cant get it.
If the wizard didnt prepare it today they can wait a day. The figther goes to buy a ladder.

Lets take going to visit the royal library. This time at about 5th level. You encounter a bridge that is out. Wizard just flys over and recasts mount. The figther needs to go buy a boat and hire someone with skills since he sucks at them.

Now lets go to 10th. The wizard gets more spells and the figther is more hitty. The challenge is to uncover a lost relic. Wizard has diviniations and the figther doesnt even truly have skills on account of the whole 2 per level. The wizard has inumerable options to find it. The figther might as well be a commoner.

Above 10 it is more of the same the figther class doesnt provide more pptions than a warrior npc. The figther doesnt have a chance without massive help.

Lets go to third level without any real optimazation. The figther might be able to make 5 attacks with ranged and two weapon fighting, pushing it. The wizard can heigthen mount and alter summon monster into having a gaggle of level 2 tiefling rogues. He can do that every day. He can heal. He can use truestrike to best the figther at archery competions even. A level 3 wizard provides to a party trying to do things more than the level 3 figther.


Omnius wrote:

Encounters have goals.

Experience is given for overcoming encounters.

If you are setting forth to kill Steve the Necromancer and you come across a group of enemies between you and Steve the Necromancer, the goal of the encounter is to get past them and get to Steve.

If the party manages to go around them and continue on, then they have overcome the encounter and earned their XP.

What's more, the choice of tactics for dealing with an encounter are up to the party. If they choose more sound tactics than MURDER EVERYONE, turning around and offing an NPC for being, you know, actually intelligent instead of murder hobos? That's just being vindictive and adversarial.

There's more to being the stalwart hero of the land than kill-n-loot. And getting back on topic, mages are WAY BETTER at outside-the-box solutions than muggles, because they're actually given the tools to do so.

Non-lethal damage, grapple to tie up, diplomacy to convince them to abandon their evil ways.

There are plenty of honorable ways to deal with an encounter besides murder-hoboing, skirting the battle is not one of them. If you teleport past enemies you did not deal with the encounter at all. If you teleport to the end of a dungeon do you expect to get the XP from all of the encounters you skipped over?

Dark Archive

Non lethal just means your less accurate. Grapple is impossible for a figther who didnt dump all his feats and even then it becomes etremely diffucult. Diplomancy takes to long they will kill you first. As a wizard i can dominate them or do any of the various geas in a standard action tricks to turn them good. I could even craft a helm of opposite alignment and force him to be good.

If the encounter is a trapped bridge and we fly over we beat the encounter. If the encounter is a castle and we teloport to the throne room we beat the encounter. You dont havw to fight them to get xp.


What Gallant listed are also valid but so is Ominus' approach in the given scenario.

Simply avoiding a fight is totally a valid way to defeat an encounter, especially if the goal isn't to explicitly kill or beat up those enemies it's just get to the end and kill the BBEG.

Because hey now with their leader dead it's probably a lot easier to use that 4th option Gallant presented (Which is the only one that's not a variation on kill everything in the rooms, instead being incapacitate)


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I would strongly oppose the mindset of teleport=XP for all encounters you skip. You could level from 1 to 20 with a scroll with that logic.

Silver Crusade

Gallant Armor wrote:
Omnius wrote:

Encounters have goals.

Experience is given for overcoming encounters.

If you are setting forth to kill Steve the Necromancer and you come across a group of enemies between you and Steve the Necromancer, the goal of the encounter is to get past them and get to Steve.

If the party manages to go around them and continue on, then they have overcome the encounter and earned their XP.

What's more, the choice of tactics for dealing with an encounter are up to the party. If they choose more sound tactics than MURDER EVERYONE, turning around and offing an NPC for being, you know, actually intelligent instead of murder hobos? That's just being vindictive and adversarial.

There's more to being the stalwart hero of the land than kill-n-loot. And getting back on topic, mages are WAY BETTER at outside-the-box solutions than muggles, because they're actually given the tools to do so.

Non-lethal damage, grapple to tie up, diplomacy to convince them to abandon their evil ways.

There are plenty of honorable ways to deal with an encounter besides murder-hoboing, skirting the battle is not one of them. If you teleport past enemies you did not deal with the encounter at all. If you teleport to the end of a dungeon do you expect to get the XP from all of the encounters you skipped over?

It's situational, but sometimes, yeah, absolutely. If your party manages to stealth past the guards you should totally get the XP for the encounter. If you just teleport to the bottom of Rappan Athuk, no you shouldn't get all the XP of everything you bypassed. But if your goal is to kill the evil duke in his keep and escape, you absolutely should get the experience for evading fights and traps via judicious magic.


Omnius wrote:
Gallant Armor wrote:

Fergie, PossibleCabbage, Firewarrior44, Omnius I will answer you here as there will be quite a lot of overlap.

First and foremost, I didn't say that wizards aren't overpowered; in general they are better than martials if they are allowed to stay at full power or near full power for most encounters in an adventuring day.

I am also not saying that you should use the tactics I outlined all the time as it would be tiresome and adversarial as Omnius said.

But it is certainly possible to set up a campaign or a section of a campaign where the wizard doesn't outshine martials consistantly.

1. Make a ticking clock (Task has to be completed in x number of days, making them push each day)
2. Make a dungeon that doesn't easily allow for rest in or near it
2. Give them consumable healing
3. Provide a variety of challenges that can't easily be predicted
4. Build encounters that will challenge a full caster (as stated above: good saves, SR, etc.)

This will mean that for some situations the wizard may not have a spell available or will not wish to expend the spell slot and/or they will leave more spell slots open to increase flexibility meaning they will have less spells prepared at any given time.

I am not saying that Wizards aren't OP, but a GM can find ways of making it less apparent and letting other players shine more often.

Fergie - as to your note on sleeping and spell preparation, I was referring specifically to effects that prevent a full night's sleep and thus preparing spells.

You're not replying to me. I already explained why those things don't work.

When you get past the lowest levels, spell slots are not a meaningful limit on casters going through anything approaching a reasonable adventuring day. Extending adventuring days is tiring on the players and GM, while still not favoring the martials. The casters have a variety of options, making them better equipped to taking on a variety of unexpected challenges

Including fighting things pretty well, if you're a Cleric or Druid (and that's just in the core). I'm sure there's some clever encounter which is just too hard for an unbuffed caster to handle but which a martial can deal with without needing to have buff spells cast on them and without getting too badly affected. That certainly does create a situation where, if the players assess everything perfectly, having a martial character along does mean you save on using the actually important resources while only having to replenish hp. It's still going to be just as easy to bring another caster along and use the extra spells as a buffer.


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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.


Casters are unbalanced sure, but I think the game carries that lack of balance well. Yeah, running right out of spells isn't commonly an issue, but Vancian casting still means your caster is motivated to pick the most potentially useful spells, which in turn means they don't tend to step on the toes of other players, because there's no reason to waste space on a spell for solving a problem the party already has a perfectly good solution for.

As far as fighters running on limited resources goes, a lot of the talk I see is about mid-high level mages, by which point it's not that hard to have fast healing in some form, or just a million CLW wands.

I do feel that martials get way too few skill points when they're already being penalized for being based around the wrong stat. Pure martials should bottom out at 4+. I also agree with the person who pointed out that feats in general don't scale; the fighter is burning a feat slot on getting another +1 to hit while the wizard's spells keep getting better on their own.

For me, it comes down to whether or not the players feel engaged, and how often they feel like they are instrumental to the party's success, and with Pathfinder I find that even if the actual quality of their abilities doesn't balance out, that aspect does. So yeah there's a balance issue, and some aspects of that issue are really easy fixes that shouldn't be a problem in the first place, but overall it's a balance issue that's pretty easy to take.

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.

Dark Archive

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".


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.

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