Why are wizards considered overpowered?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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Halek wrote:

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

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

Please bear in mind it has been about a year since I last watched Avengers, but...

Spoiler:
Hawkeye seems to be working on picking off the crew of the skimmer things.

Black Widow figures out how to use the enemies weapons/gear against them, and does that.

Captain America fights to protect the civilians, and draw the Chitauri at him rather so the civilians can get to safety.

Thor helps disable the two massive flying troop carriers, I think - and gets punched by Hulk.

Hulk - the archetypal Brute Vigilante, no less - beats up an Asgardian ("Puny god..."), teams with Thor to beat up one of the flying troop transport, and generally jumps around punching things.

Iron Man distracts the enemy, provides anti-air cover, and plays catch with a nuclear missile - and without the latter, this fight probably never ends

As it happens, I'd take another couple of Iron Man suits, please...


Bob Bob Bob wrote:
I'm going to stop you right here:
Gallant Armor wrote:
...Being generous with healing consumables, allowing boots of the earth and/or providing a healer NPC are ways the GM can help them stay up.

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

So what did you say next?

Gallant Armor wrote:

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

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

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

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

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

Everyone benefits from healing items, so giving extra to the party doesn't discriminate against anyone.

As for conditions. I included those for reference, but those aren't things that are needed in most encounters, maybe one a day or so at most.

The point of giving wizards consumables is that they will be useful but not necessarily outshining anyone.


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

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

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

Essentially my point in all of this is that if the wizard seems overpowered it's because they are coddled by the GM. Casters are constantly given situations where they can easily shine and then people complain that they are overpowered. What you see as "hostile" is normalizing to a reasonable power dynamic.


If you want a baseline of what "normal" is, I've yet to see an AP that reads ANYTHING like what you describe on any sort of consistent basis!


Omnius wrote:
If you want a baseline of what "normal" is, I've yet to see an AP that reads ANYTHING like what you describe on any sort of consistent basis!

Read the rest of the sentence: "normalizing to a reasonable power dynamic". An unbalanced system can become more balanced if the right force is applied.

If the system allows casters to outshine martials to an unreasonable degree then change the system. Encounters per day is a guideline, if that no longer works then change it.


If it takes changing the system to bring balance, then the system as it exists is not balance.


Omnius wrote:
If it takes changing the system to bring balance, then the system as it exists is not balance.

Yeah...hence why I suggest changing the system.

What are you even arguing? That wizards are all powerful, martials are weak, the system is broken and we shouldn't even attempt to fix it?


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Gallant Armor wrote:
Omnius wrote:
If it takes changing the system to bring balance, then the system as it exists is not balance.

Yeah...hence why I suggest changing the system.

What are you even arguing? That wizards are all powerful, martials are weak, the system is broken and we shouldn't even attempt to fix it?

What are you even arguing?

Your point seems to be that if you disregard the system guidelines and severely restrict the sort of campaign you can run in order to rein in the excessive power of some classes (which you basically acknowledge as excessive), then those classes don't generally have excessive power and everything is just dandy?

What?

Seriously, why are you acting as if "just beat and twist the system into some vague sort of balance at the expense of virtually everything else and maybe if you are an amazing GM then you will not have a horribly unfun game at the end of it" is a reasonable position?


Gallant Armor wrote:

Yeah...hence why I suggest changing the system.

What are you even arguing? That wizards are all powerful, martials are weak, the system is broken and we shouldn't even attempt to fix it?

I'm saying they're overpowered. That is the ONLY thing I'm saying. Whether or not you can change the system to fix it has nothing to do with whether or not they are broken to begin with.


Snowblind wrote:
Gallant Armor wrote:
Omnius wrote:
If it takes changing the system to bring balance, then the system as it exists is not balance.

Yeah...hence why I suggest changing the system.

What are you even arguing? That wizards are all powerful, martials are weak, the system is broken and we shouldn't even attempt to fix it?

What are you even arguing?

Your point seems to be that if you disregard the system guidelines and severely restrict the sort of campaign you can run in order to rein in the excessive power of some classes (which you basically acknowledge as excessive), then those classes don't generally have excessive power and everything is just dandy?

What?

Seriously, why are you acting as if "just beat and twist the system into some vague sort of balance at the expense of virtually everything else and maybe if you are an amazing GM then you will not have a horribly unfun game at the end of it" is a reasonable position?

I'm actually curious now, do many parties follow 4 encounters per day past mid level? The animosity at my suggestions make me think that at least some do which is shocking to me.

I can understand having some days with only one or two encounters (when traveling for example) but for the bulk of the campaign, I can't imagine not having at least some sections with 8 to 12 encounters per day.

It's not beating and twisting the system to add encounters and push the party, it's the only thing that keeps it fun.


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Fergie wrote:
Stuff
Mykull wrote:
Stuffy-stuff
Fergie wrote:
Stuffy-McStuffins

Thanks for clarifying your point; I understand it much better now and agree with it.


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dysartes wrote:
Halek wrote:

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

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

Please bear in mind it has been about a year since I last watched Avengers, but...

** spoiler omitted **

As it happens, I'd take another couple of Iron Man suits, please...

UnArcaneElection already referenced this earlier in the thread, but it bears repeating that to see the caster/martial disparity in the Marvel universe you need look no further than that one scene in

Thor: Ragnarok:
Thor: Now listen, I need my brother back.
Strange: Oh, yeah, right. [opens a portal and Loki falls in]
Loki: I have been falling for 30 minutes!
Strange: You can handle it from here.
Thor: Yes, yes. Thank you very much for your help.
Strange: Good luck.
Loki: Handle me? Who are you? [pulls out blades] You think you're some kind of sorcerer? Don't think for one minute, you second-rate...
Strange: Okay, bye-bye. [hurls Thor and Loki through a portal]


Gallant Armor wrote:
Omnius wrote:
If it takes changing the system to bring balance, then the system as it exists is not balance.

Yeah...hence why I suggest changing the system.

What are you even arguing? That wizards are all powerful, martials are weak, the system is broken and we shouldn't even attempt to fix it?

If you look at a typical AP, it doesn't normally expect the PCs to handle 12+ encounters in a single day. Near as I can tell the norm is closer to 5, with some days being low (1-2) and some being high (8-9). The most recent AP I GM'ed was the final book of Hell's Rebels, Breaking the Bones of Hell. I'll outline the encounters but keep out the story in case anyone plans on playing it:

Hell's Rebels Book 6 spoilers:

Party is assumed to be level 15 at the start, level 17 by the end.

First Part
Series of Social skill challenges with one CR=Level+2 combat encounter (but with party allies present, CR is hazy) in a three-day period.

Second Part
5 CR=level combat encounters spread across city, requiring skill checks and information gathering to find each one. The AP provides rules and storyline for what happens if the PCs do not resolve the five encounters in the first week, seems to assume PCs will find and resolve one encounter per night.

Third Part
Dungeon Crawl. Four encounters: CR=level+1, CR=level, CR=level+2 (can be avoided by diplomacy), CR=level+3 (can be aided by previous encounter if resolved by diplomacy).

Fourth Part
Long dungeon crawl. 8 combat encounters, majority CR+1. Many of these can be avoided since the dungeon is essentially a maze - a lucky party can make it to the end boss with only 3 combat encounters. Very obvious "rest place" in the middle, complete with friendly NPC to keep watch and provide music(!). Ends with "boss encounter", CR 20 or CR 22 (depending on PC actions, likely CR 20).

Hell's Rebels is perhaps a bit more relaxed than other APs when it comes to encounter pacing but so far I've played Rise of the Runelords, Mummy's Mask, and Hell's Rebels to completion and played a fair bit of Skull & Shackles and Iron Gods. My general experience is that the APs very rarely put PCs under the gun the way you seem to do in your games.

I think this is part of the reason why you're getting a bit of push-back. You may not have realized it, but by playing games that frequently have harsh time-limits and/or an abnormally high amount of encounters, you've effectively already put into place anti-caster measures compared to normal games - you're just not realizing it, since that's "a normal game" to you.

The reason why I mention this is that we have to agree on what "a normal game" is before we can decide if a wizard is overpowered in a normal game, and if so how - which is the question the thread asks. Once we've reached a conclusion on that question, then we can start talking about solutions to the problem - which would probably take place in either the Homebrew or the Advice forums, depending on the nature of the fix.


I still don't see the logic in claiming a wizard doesn't run out of spell slots. His highest level slots are a very limited resource, and those are the ones that really carry weight. Sure, he can contribute, but a fireball or magic missile won't do much against a CR 15 creature. The alternative is scrolls, and they cost money. Just like pearls of power do.


Skull and Shackles has to be the most no pressure AP in the game. Fights happen with days maybe weeks apart, really.

While on a ship that is.


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

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

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

They should probably spend less time screeching about it if they don't want to be called on it.


*Shrug*

I had a Conjuration Wizard in my RotRL game, who picked up crafting feats. It was the first game I ever GMed in Pathfinder. Based on advice from the forums back then I tried running the first two books "under the gun" to curtail the wizard and limit crafting WBL shenanigans, giving the party minimum downtime and heavily encouraging my party to push as far as possible. The game definitely suffered from that, with the players expressing some frustration from constantly being hurried along. It eventually came to an end around book 4 with fatigue on both sides of the table. A few years later I finished the AP with a different group.

The wizard was still easily able to participate in combat, and would frequently turn the tide with a cleverly placed spell, dropping a wall of Bison etc. His crafting was inconvenienced (he picked up a ring of sustenance and would craft at night), so they stayed more or less on WBL. However the rush also heavily penalized the poor paladin player, who wanted to use the downtime rules to retrain various things he was unhappy with. RP was impacted, since the players never spent enough time in any one place to really put down roots. They also frequently missed out on plot points since they felt they didn't have time to stop and do a thorough investigation.

I like to think I've grown a bit more mellow since then. In later games I tend to follow the time rhythm of the AP, pressing when the AP tells me to press but otherwise let the party set their own pace. The party typically presses along at a decent clip anyway - referencing book 6 of HR from my previous post they resolved part 2 in ~2 days, all of part 3 in a single day, and did part 4 in another two days.

We have however added in houserules that heavily nerfed the magic item crafting options, so the value of downtime is relatively small. We also generally try to limit ourselves to Tier 3 classes and below, which both curtails some of the more severe shenanigans one can get up to and has made for some very interesting games. Finally, we like optimized characters but try to toe the line and respect one another's niches - there's very much a gentleman's agreement in place.

Most recently we've made the jump to Starfinder and are having a great time with that. So far I really enjoy it and hope they use a similar base if they ever decide to update Pathfinder.

Cavall wrote:

Skull and Shackles has to be the most no pressure AP in the game. Fights happen with days maybe weeks apart, really.

While on a ship that is.

Yep, S&S is definitely one of the more relaxed APs. I wonder if Kingmaker doesn't give it a run for its money though - Kingmaker is written so that a party can spend literally decades to complete it. In one very memorable KM campaign journal the PCs settled down, married, started families, skipped ahead 20 years, then switched characters and started RPing their own kids taking on the responsibility their parents once had. :)


Kudaku wrote:
Gallant Armor wrote:
Omnius wrote:
If it takes changing the system to bring balance, then the system as it exists is not balance.

Yeah...hence why I suggest changing the system.

What are you even arguing? That wizards are all powerful, martials are weak, the system is broken and we shouldn't even attempt to fix it?

If you look at a typical AP, it doesn't normally expect the PCs to handle 12+ encounters in a single day. Near as I can tell the norm is closer to 5, with some days being low (1-2) and some being high (8-9). The most recent AP I GM'ed was the final book of Hell's Rebels, Breaking the Bones of Hell. I'll outline the encounters but keep out the story in case anyone plans on playing it:

** spoiler omitted **

Hell's Rebels is perhaps a bit more relaxed than other APs when it comes to encounter pacing but so far I've played Rise of...

To be clear, I'm not suggesting that 12-16 combats per day be the norm, I'm saying that if wizards are making the rest of the party feel unimportant adding in a section that uses these tactics can help narrow the gap and give full casters the mindset that they might want to conserve resources in general (at least a bit).

The easiest way to implement this would be a dungeon crawl. If you have a 15 encounter dungeon that you would normally do in 3 or 4 game days, try completing in in 1 or 2. This also makes sense logically as as more time passes the more likely there would be some sort of reaction from the remaining guards.

I'm in HR now so I didn't read your spoiler.

Mild Hell's Rebels spoiler:
There is at least one dungeon with 10+ encounters, one of which is pretty massive, that is fun and challenging to do in a single game day and it also makes sense thematically.


Kudaku wrote:

*Shrug*

I had a Conjuration Wizard in my RotRL game, who picked up crafting feats. It was the first game I ever GMed in Pathfinder. Based on advice from the forums back then I tried running the first two books "under the gun" to curtail the wizard and limit crafting WBL shenanigans, giving the party minimum downtime and heavily encouraging my party to push as far as possible. The game definitely suffered from that, with the players expressing some frustration from constantly being hurried along. It eventually came to an end around book 4 with fatigue on both sides of the table. A few years later I finished the AP with a different group.

The wizard was still easily able to participate in combat, and would frequently turn the tide with a cleverly placed spell, dropping a wall of Bison etc. His crafting was inconvenienced (he picked up a ring of sustenance and would craft at night), so they stayed more or less on WBL. However the rush also heavily penalized the poor paladin player, who wanted to use the downtime rules to retrain various things he was unhappy with. RP was impacted, since the players never spent enough time in any one place to really put down roots. They also frequently missed out on plot points since they felt they didn't have time to stop and do a thorough investigation.

I like to think I've grown a bit more mellow since then. In later games I tend to follow the time rhythm of the AP, pressing when the AP tells me to press but otherwise let the party set their own pace. The party typically presses along at a decent clip anyway - referencing book 6 of HR from my previous post they resolved part 2 in ~2 days, all of part 3 in a single day, and did part 4 in another two days.

We have however added in houserules that heavily nerfed the magic item crafting options, so the value of downtime is relatively small. We also generally try to limit ourselves to Tier 3 classes and below, which both curtails some of the more severe shenanigans one can get up to and has made for some very interesting...

As I mentioned elsewhere, I don't necessarily recommend this pace continually. Give players downtime to craft, retrain, etc. and then hit them with a challenging section.

Wizards should have days where they feel powerful/useful as well as martials. My point is that the excepted norm shouldn't be that the wizard is all powerful always as that hurts everyone else's fun.


Gallant Armor wrote:


As I mentioned elsewhere, I don't necessarily recommend this pace continually. Give players downtime to craft, retrain, etc. and then hit them with a challenging section.

Wizards should have days where they feel powerful/useful as well as martials. My point is that the excepted norm shouldn't be that the wizard is all powerful always as that hurts everyone else's fun.

And yet your proposed solution doesn't give wizards days when they feel powerful/useful and days when the other characters do. It takes it down to the level of the encounter, and it's up to the wizard when and where that happens - the non-caster characters don't have any say in the matter, or any way to ensure that this encounter is where they get to do something awesome or impressive. Maybe a wizard who saved all their spells out of fear they'd run out and then blasts the final encounter apart in an anti-climactic fashion, or maybe they expended them trivialising earlier encounters so that the last encounter is either impossible or needs toning down. Maybe the player judges everything perfectly and only does something significant when it really matters. In each case, the game is about what the wizard decides to do, and the players will notice that.


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Halek wrote:


You dont choose to not be a main character.

When I play, I pretty much always do choose not to be a main character. For what that may be worth. Main characters get focused on by BBEGs.

What Captain America is contributing to that fight, fwiw, is small-unit combat experience and tactical smarts. Pointing everyone at the most useful thing for them to do is not a trivial contribution.


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Sissyl wrote:
I still don't see the logic in claiming a wizard doesn't run out of spell slots. His highest level slots are a very limited resource, and those are the ones that really carry weight. Sure, he can contribute, but a fireball or magic missile won't do much against a CR 15 creature. The alternative is scrolls, and they cost money. Just like pearls of power do.

Fireball and magic missile are never primary options.

Effective use of lower-level spell slots is important. And you get that not by throwing around damage spells, but rather control spells. A few slightly dated control spells that target different saves will go a LONG way. Grease and Web are effective on low-reflex targets for a very long time, as is glitterdust against low will targets and so on.

Also, as wizards are not on the treadmill of ever-improving magical weapons and armor like the frontline combatants, they have the disposable income to spend on things like those consumables or pearls of power.

the nerve-eater of Zur-en-Aarh wrote:
What Captain America is contributing to that fight, fwiw, is small-unit combat experience and tactical smarts. Pointing everyone at the most useful thing for them to do is not a trivial contribution.

It's a contribution that is not modeled in the context of the game to any viable degree. If the PLAYERS at your table are not playing as a team or tactically competent, you as a PLAYER can bring that, but this isn't 4e with the Warlord, where "person who fights pretty okay but is a good leader," is a fully functional character idea. There are a handful of effects that let you do that as a secondary thing, but not primary.

So, that element of leadership becomes mechanically irrelevant, there's nothing keeping the character who brings that from also being something functional.


The simplest answer is that the wizard/sorcerer spell list is really, REALLY big and can do a lot of stuff a GM will have more trouble preparing for than the more specialized spells and abilities of other sets.

The wizard gets the most access to the spell list of the three classes that cast from it, so it has the most chance of finding spells that the GM will have to plan around, often in a somewhat different manner than he would take into account what other classes can do.

The fact that plotlines and locations need to be "caster-proofed" at all is an indication of how the GM needs to account for spellcasting in a way that they don't necessarily need to for other things.

The enemy stronghold! The Key To Oblivion is inside, and cannot remain there! What's the plan, heroes?

Well, without magic, the plans will largely boil down to one of two options; fight your way inside or sneak your way inside. These have a variety of forms they can take, but ultimately through some combination of swords, stealth, bluffs, or just climbing in tricky places, the party will try to roll their skills and/or attack rolls, and the GM can easily concoct plans for the fortress that will adapt well to everything the party is likely to do in this regard for varying degrees of success and failure.

Magic requires you to think a little more carefully about how they're getting into the fortress. Is the fortress protected against aerial assaults, if the mage can cast fly? Is there something in place to stop one from using burrowing spells to get in from underneath? Can they scry on things inside the castle to learn more about what they're up against? God forbid, can they teleport past the outer defenses, and what happens if they do? Can they open holes in the walls with magic? Can they supplement the aforementioned plans to fight, sneak, or talk their way inside with things that make these plans much, much more likely to succeed?

Magic can do a lot of things, and it's hard to account for them all. Which tends to lead to the GM experience that a wizard (and to a lesser but not by much extent a cleric) that knows what they're doing is a PC the GM has to keep an eye on when laying his plans to a greater extent than the other classes, because magic has a lot of nasty wrenches it can throw into plans that the bad guys MUST account for to be successful. With knowledge of this need to "caster-proof" certain elements of gameplay, the feeling is this makes the Wizard a little too powerful because it's usually not nearly as important to "martial-proof" those same elements, merely consider what skills said martials are good at and plan accordingly.


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Sissyl wrote:
I still don't see the logic in claiming a wizard doesn't run out of spell slots. His highest level slots are a very limited resource, and those are the ones that really carry weight. Sure, he can contribute, but a fireball or magic missile won't do much against a CR 15 creature. The alternative is scrolls, and they cost money. Just like pearls of power do.

In 1e AD&D, spell slots were limited. A level 10 magic-user had 15 spells. Once those were gone, it was dart throwing time. Now, a 10th level wizard has 16 spells, plus 4 cantrips, plus 5+ bonus spells, plus 5 school spells, plus 1 for bonded object. Twice the spells! And once their spells are gone, there are still some nice school abilities to use up, and then there are all the scrolls, wands, staves, potions, etc. that the wizard has made for themselves at half price. The AD&D magic-user was still a level away from being able to scribe a scroll or make a magic item, and that could take "weeks or months" to make!

Oh yeah, and I almost forgot, there are all the spells that the wizard cast yesterday, or a week ago, that are still in effect. Dominate Person, Contingency, Planar Binding, Simulacrum, etc.

The idea that if you just do four good APL+1 encounters, or make the adventuring day last 8 hours, the caster will run out of resources, and the martials will shine just isn't true anymore. The level 10 caster can cast a spell from each spell level, in five encounters, everyday, and not come close to running out of useful contributions!

Finally, lower level spells are often very useful well into the game because the wizard can use the best one for the situation. Even if it has a relatively low chance of success, or moderate effect, it can still be a useful option. Casting grease on the giants greatsword, or even ray of enfeeblement (likely to be a -4 str penalty from a level 10 caster even though the creature made its save). Magic missile is usually enough to disrupt a caster if you ready it. Spells like blindness and hold person can be encounter enders.

High SR, good save opponents like demons, devils and dragons are really tough to deal with, but I think that is true for virtually all classes. The wizard might not have the best solution always, but he usually has a wide variety of options.


Bluenose wrote:
Gallant Armor wrote:


As I mentioned elsewhere, I don't necessarily recommend this pace continually. Give players downtime to craft, retrain, etc. and then hit them with a challenging section.

Wizards should have days where they feel powerful/useful as well as martials. My point is that the excepted norm shouldn't be that the wizard is all powerful always as that hurts everyone else's fun.

And yet your proposed solution doesn't give wizards days when they feel powerful/useful and days when the other characters do. It takes it down to the level of the encounter, and it's up to the wizard when and where that happens - the non-caster characters don't have any say in the matter, or any way to ensure that this encounter is where they get to do something awesome or impressive. Maybe a wizard who saved all their spells out of fear they'd run out and then blasts the final encounter apart in an anti-climactic fashion, or maybe they expended them trivialising earlier encounters so that the last encounter is either impossible or needs toning down. Maybe the player judges everything perfectly and only does something significant when it really matters. In each case, the game is about what the wizard decides to do, and the players will notice that.

The wizard not casting a high level spell does not take away the fighter slashing the enemy to ribbons with their sword. Part of working together as a party is managing resources. If I was a martial character and the wizard pulled back because they know the martial characters can handle the encounter I would take that with a sense of pride in my abilities.

No one can predict when something amazing will happen or who will do the amazing thing. I think everyone agrees that wizards have a great capacity for having amazing moments. If you let them be at or near full power for most encounters wizards tend to have the lion's share of those moments. If you make them conserve their spells, others have the opportunity to be amazing as well.


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I think my issue is less that wizards are competent in combat; as everybody should be- the PCs should win their fights. The issue is more that there are a host of spells that singlehandedly trivialize out-of-combat situations; to sit no place is difficult to reach when you can fly and teleport and be invisible.

If the Wizard is forced to conserve resources for those nontrivial fights which are unavoidable, more of those situations will be tackled by the rest of the party, as opposed to the Wizard just handwaving it done, which is more or less what you want. This is, I find a major issue with the more relaxed APs - the full casters can magic whole problems away with zero risk. Though this isn't specific to nine-level casters either- the bomb chucking alchemist in our Skull & Shackles game was a terror. But, probably balancing the same amount of adventuring stamina within the party is just a basic party composition issue.


Wizards are okay until they come up against a character with UMD and access to 1,650gp. My brawler spent all his money I scrolls of antimagic field(after buying armor). Loved casting it, giving himself step up, and beating the casters to a pulp.

Enemies with antimagic field come up in just about every non-PFS game I've played.


Merm7th wrote:

Wizards are okay until they come up against a character with UMD and access to 1,650gp. My brawler spent all his money I scrolls of antimagic field(after buying armor). Loved casting it, giving himself step up, and beating the casters to a pulp.

Enemies with antimagic field come up in just about every non-PFS game I've played.

Meh. This tactic should probably never work in the first place.

Why? You're in an antimagic field, meaning you're stuck on the ground.

The wizard should be flying. Out of your reach in the first place.

Honestly martials attempting to use antimagic field to counter spell casters is hilarious, and should only work on wizards being played by people who don't understand how to protect themselves from silly tricks like this.


Gallant Armor wrote:

Everyone benefits from healing items, so giving extra to the party doesn't discriminate against anyone.

As for conditions. I included those for reference, but those aren't things that are needed in most encounters, maybe one a day or so at most.

The point of giving wizards consumables is that they will be useful but not necessarily outshining anyone.

No. The party as a whole benefits from healing consumables, individuals benefit much differently. Wizards do not mitigate damage the same as a martial. Summons don't need to be healed up afterwards. Fly means the monster can't even attack them. Displacement or Mirror Image are (generally) superior to armor. And that's already assuming a Wizard who's hurling themselves into the thick of it rather than trying to stay behind their party members.

Similarly, those conditions affect Wizards much less. Disease and poison are, for the most part, melee abilities. Curse is also usually either melee or short range (aura or gaze, 30 feet usually). And, again, summons don't need any kind of aftercare.

So one poisoning a day. Again, who's treating it? Consumables (unless you pay more) will be rolling d20+5 against the DC. Unless we're talking humanoids poisoning their weapons the DCs just go up. The monster creation guidelines tend to be around 10+CR for a primary DC and 5+CR for secondary (but most seems to be higher, looking at you scorpions). That's not great odds for d20+5. Poison tends to be quite immediate, if the healer isn't on hand then it's probably going to run its course. Unless you're also using Delay Poison but that also still has a time limit. Seriously, how many potions are they expected to have? Because it's probably taking more than one (probably more like three or four) to treat anything.

Giving the Wizard more spells can never make them weaker. It doesn't matter that they have terrible DCs or don't do as much damage, you're literally giving them more. If they could already outshine people without the consumables then why would they do less with them? What's the point of making them fight a bunch of trash mobs if you give them something so they don't have to expend slots to fight them? The only explanation I've seen is "to make them think about whether to use their spells" but are you really saying that you're keeping Wizards in check with mind games? Fake them out so they don't throw out any high level spells? You know, until they decide they want to and utterly destroy an encounter. Or heck, have all their spells left when they get to the known boss and hit 'em with everything.


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Claxon wrote:
Merm7th wrote:

Wizards are okay until they come up against a character with UMD and access to 1,650gp. My brawler spent all his money I scrolls of antimagic field(after buying armor). Loved casting it, giving himself step up, and beating the casters to a pulp.

Enemies with antimagic field come up in just about every non-PFS game I've played.

Meh. This tactic should probably never work in the first place.

Why? You're in an antimagic field, meaning you're stuck on the ground.

The wizard should be flying. Out of your reach in the first place.

Honestly martials attempting to use antimagic field to counter spell casters is hilarious, and should only work on wizards being played by people who don't understand how to protect themselves from silly tricks like this.

Natural flight is a thing, man. A wizard who underestimates his enemies is the first of his class to die from said enemies.


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Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Claxon wrote:
Merm7th wrote:

Wizards are okay until they come up against a character with UMD and access to 1,650gp. My brawler spent all his money I scrolls of antimagic field(after buying armor). Loved casting it, giving himself step up, and beating the casters to a pulp.

Enemies with antimagic field come up in just about every non-PFS game I've played.

Meh. This tactic should probably never work in the first place.

Why? You're in an antimagic field, meaning you're stuck on the ground.

The wizard should be flying. Out of your reach in the first place.

Honestly martials attempting to use antimagic field to counter spell casters is hilarious, and should only work on wizards being played by people who don't understand how to protect themselves from silly tricks like this.

Natural flight is a thing, man. A wizard who underestimates his enemies is the first of his class to die from said enemies.

You're right, but not that many races have natural flight. And I wasn't trying to say that my response couldn't be countered, just that his plan/suggestion is actually not a very good one.

Ultimately though, when you're looking at high level wizards it's not just that they're flying. They're flying, invisible wizards astrally projecting themselves from their pocket dimension with their cadre of bound allies, simulacrums, crafted constructs, etc and contingencies set up for a plethora of situations.


Merm7th wrote:

Wizards are okay until they come up against a character with UMD and access to 1,650gp. My brawler spent all his money I scrolls of antimagic field(after buying armor). Loved casting it, giving himself step up, and beating the casters to a pulp.

Enemies with antimagic field come up in just about every non-PFS game I've played.

"The best way to beat casters is by casting at them" isn't exactly encouraging, all the issues with this plan aside. I dunno about you, but when I decide to play a Brawler it isn't so that I can spend all my money faking being a Wizard.

Silver Crusade

Arachnofiend wrote:
Merm7th wrote:

Wizards are okay until they come up against a character with UMD and access to 1,650gp. My brawler spent all his money I scrolls of antimagic field(after buying armor). Loved casting it, giving himself step up, and beating the casters to a pulp.

Enemies with antimagic field come up in just about every non-PFS game I've played.

"The best way to beat casters is by casting at them" isn't exactly encouraging, all the issues with this plan aside. I dunno about you, but when I decide to play a Brawler it isn't so that I can spend all my money faking being a Wizard.

That reminds me of a previous M/C D thread where someone more-or-less argued that the disparity wasn't a think because martials can get wizard cohorts and hire spellcasting services. "Casters aren't overpowered because martials can get their own casters" is an amusing argument.

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Removed some posts and replies. Even if you frequently disagree with other forum members, it is not appropriate to accuse them of being bots/viral marketers/trolls/etc.


Bob Bob Bob wrote:

No. The party as a whole benefits from healing consumables, individuals benefit much differently. Wizards do not mitigate damage the same as a martial. Summons don't need to be healed up afterwards. Fly means the monster can't even attack them. Displacement or Mirror Image are (generally) superior to armor. And that's already assuming a Wizard who's hurling themselves into the thick of it rather than trying to stay behind their party members.

Similarly, those conditions affect Wizards much less. Disease and poison are, for the most part, melee abilities. Curse is also usually either melee or short range (aura or gaze, 30 feet usually). And, again, summons don't need any kind of aftercare.

Given a longer day, the methods you have described for a wizard to mitigate damage will be in shorter supply. Even if the wizard could have those up each round a competent GM would include enemies with flight, see invisibility, true sight, ranged attacks, etc. Given that, the wizard will be injured as well and need healing.

Bob Bob Bob wrote:


So one poisoning a day. Again, who's treating it? Consumables (unless you pay more) will be rolling d20+5 against the DC. Unless we're talking humanoids poisoning their weapons the DCs just go up. The monster creation guidelines tend to be around 10+CR for a primary DC and 5+CR for secondary (but most seems to be higher, looking at you scorpions). That's not great odds for d20+5. Poison tends to be quite immediate, if the healer isn't on hand then it's probably going to run its course. Unless you're also using Delay Poison but that also still has a time limit. Seriously, how many potions are they expected to have? Because it's probably taking more than one (probably more like three or four) to treat anything.

Lingering effects such as poison, curses and disease should be planned for by the party, either with a caster or consumables. This is a fairly standard thing. The heal skill can help boost save DCs and there are items that can help as well.

Bob Bob Bob wrote:


Giving the Wizard more spells can never make them weaker. It doesn't matter that they have terrible DCs or don't do as much damage, you're literally giving them more. If they could already outshine people without the consumables then why would they do less with them? What's the point of making them fight a bunch of trash mobs if you give them something so they don't have to expend slots to fight them? The only explanation I've seen is "to make them think about whether to use their spells" but are you really saying that you're keeping Wizards in check with mind games? Fake them out so they don't throw out any high level spells? You know, until they decide they want to and utterly destroy an encounter. Or heck, have all their spells left when they get to the known boss and hit 'em with everything.

By the time these tactics might be warranted, a wand of magic missile or scorching ray will do far less damage per round than any martial. Anything with a DC will have a significant chance of failure and thus the potential to be ineffective. This gives martials room to shine.

I'm not saying you have to give wizards consumables, but it is an option to make sure they have something to do when they feel they want to save their spells.

Most encounters should still be solid challenging encounters, I would say 1/4 or less should be easy for the players to accomplish without consumable resources.

Part of this is a "mind game" as you say to convince a wizard to save spells. If they want to nova an encounter, that is their prerogative, but that means they will have far fewer resources for other encounters.

One thing to understand is that all of these are suggestions for the types of thing GMs can do, not a regimen that should be followed exactly. If your party wizard is steamrolling at 4 encounters per day try 6 or 8 and see how that feels.


Sissyl wrote:
I still don't see the logic in claiming a wizard doesn't run out of spell slots. His highest level slots are a very limited resource, and those are the ones that really carry weight. Sure, he can contribute, but a fireball or magic missile won't do much against a CR 15 creature. The alternative is scrolls, and they cost money. Just like pearls of power do.

Oh, I dunno about that. You start stacking Dazing on top of other metamagic, and it gets whack in a hurry.

(Caveat: I don't play full-casters much, and some of those gimmicks might be nerfed now.)


Gallant Armor wrote:


Given a longer day, the methods you have described for a wizard to mitigate damage will be in shorter supply. Even if the wizard could have those up each round a competent GM would include enemies with flight, see invisibility, true sight, ranged attacks, etc. Given that, the wizard will be injured as well and need healing.

The spells are any level (summons), 3rd level (Fly, eventually replaced by Overland Flight at 5th), 3rd level (Displacement), and 2nd level (Mirror Image). Again, you're throwing consumables of 2nd (Lesser Restoration) and 3rd (Remove <condition>) level spells at the party. The Wizard has as many scrolls as the Fighter has potions. And, as I keep telling you, the math requires that the Fighter is chugging more than one potion for every poisoning.

And no, the Wizard doesn't try to use Fly to counter an archer or other flier. They use it on a big dumb monster like a T-Rex. They have a variety of scrolls that they use in different situations. Yes, they will eventually be injured. Less often and less severely than the Fighter. Very much less.

Gallant Armor wrote:
Bob Bob Bob wrote:
So one poisoning a day. Again, who's treating it? Consumables (unless you pay more) will be rolling d20+5 against the DC. Unless we're talking humanoids poisoning their weapons the DCs just go up. The monster creation guidelines tend to be around 10+CR for a primary DC and 5+CR for secondary (but most seems to be higher, looking at you scorpions). That's not great odds for d20+5. Poison tends to be quite immediate, if the healer isn't on hand then it's probably going to run its course. Unless you're also using Delay Poison but that also still has a time limit. Seriously, how many potions are they expected to have? Because it's probably taking more than one (probably more like three or four) to treat anything.
Lingering effects such as poison, curses and disease should be planned for by the party, either with a caster or consumables. This is a fairly standard thing. The heal skill can help boost save DCs and there are items that can help as well.

How is this an answer? I'm not talking about making the save, I'm talking about curing the condition and how multiple consumables will be required. Possibly dozens, if you roll poorly enough. Yes, it's probably more effective (certainly more cost effective) to just raise their save against a poison. What about curses? This baby is CR 8 and packs a DC 21 1/day Wisdom drain and fatigue. 3 saves to cure, a potion of Remove Curse only works on a 16+, and it's not fixable with rest or Lesser Restoration. The Fighter has longer to reach a healer, sure, but you keep advocating the way to limit the Wizard is to put the party on a ticking clock. If the Fighter gets cursed on day one they may be comatose by day four. On average they'll need three potions of Remove Curse to get it to work. There's a 10% chance it'll take 8 or more. And heaven forbid a second character gets hit as well. That's not so much plentiful consumables as Costco.

Gallant Armor wrote:

By the time these tactics might be warranted, a wand of magic missile or scorching ray will do far less damage per round than any martial. Anything with a DC will have a significant chance of failure and thus the potential to be ineffective. This gives martials room to shine.

I'm not saying you have to give wizards consumables, but it is an option to make sure they have something to do when they feel they want to save their spells.

Most encounters should still be solid challenging encounters, I would say 1/4 or less should be easy for the players to accomplish without consumable resources.

Part of this is a "mind game" as you say to convince a wizard to save spells. If they want to nova an encounter, that is their prerogative, but that means they will have far fewer resources for other encounters.

One thing to understand is that all of these are suggestions for the types of thing GMs can do, not a regimen that should be followed exactly. If your party wizard is steamrolling at 4 encounters per day try 6 or 8 and see how that feels.

I'm pretty sure a well-built martial always beats a consumable of Magic Missile/Scorching Ray. I mean, those are at minimum. One missile for 1d4+1 or one ray for 4d6 fire? I think I can make a level 1 Barbarian that beats both of those. And how does a Wizard having "the potential to be ineffective" let the martials shine? I can't be the only one reading this as "If the Wizard screws up then the Fighter actually has a chance to contribute to combat." That's... well, pretty decent proof the Wizard is too powerful.

As others have told you, you are not presenting these as suggestions. This is not the thread for houserules about how to make Wizards less powerful. This is a thread about why they are perceived as such (that has mostly devolved into whether they are). You are offering your version of the game as proof of how Wizards are not overpowered. If these are really just suggestions then we can dismiss everything you've said based on those assumptions. I'm working assuming you actually believe the game works that way.

And, well, even in your version of the world Wizards are overpowered. Untouchable, encounter-destroying monsters the GM needs to fake out outside of the game to prevent them from stomping all over it. Yes, the martials will have their time to shine. Whenever the Wizard decides not to nova. So the Wizard is literally choosing when the other players get to shine. That's... probably too much power for a player. Definitely overpowered.


Gallant Armor wrote:
Bluenose wrote:
Gallant Armor wrote:


As I mentioned elsewhere, I don't necessarily recommend this pace continually. Give players downtime to craft, retrain, etc. and then hit them with a challenging section.

Wizards should have days where they feel powerful/useful as well as martials. My point is that the excepted norm shouldn't be that the wizard is all powerful always as that hurts everyone else's fun.

And yet your proposed solution doesn't give wizards days when they feel powerful/useful and days when the other characters do. It takes it down to the level of the encounter, and it's up to the wizard when and where that happens - the non-caster characters don't have any say in the matter, or any way to ensure that this encounter is where they get to do something awesome or impressive. Maybe a wizard who saved all their spells out of fear they'd run out and then blasts the final encounter apart in an anti-climactic fashion, or maybe they expended them trivialising earlier encounters so that the last encounter is either impossible or needs toning down. Maybe the player judges everything perfectly and only does something significant when it really matters. In each case, the game is about what the wizard decides to do, and the players will notice that.

The wizard not casting a high level spell does not take away the fighter slashing the enemy to ribbons with their sword. Part of working together as a party is managing resources. If I was a martial character and the wizard pulled back because they know the martial characters can handle the encounter I would take that with a sense of pride in my abilities.

No one can predict when something amazing will happen or who will do the amazing thing. I think everyone agrees that wizards have a great capacity for having amazing moments. If you let them be at or near full power for most encounters wizards tend to have the lion's share of those moments. If you make them conserve their spells, others have the opportunity to be amazing as well.

For values of amazing where it means getting exceptionally fortunate rolls in a situation that was so obviously filler that half the party (assuming a fairly traditional F/M/C/T group) didn't even need to make a significant effort in it. Maybe not taking a sense of pride in being able to do the scut-work so that other characters don't have to use actually important resources like spells is a personality flaw all my players over the years have shared.


Isonaroc wrote:
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.

See... I play hardball when I run home games.

I plan a series of encounters along the path to their destination, it is assumed that overcoming these challenges give the party experience points. I don't downgrade enemies.

My players learned early on trying to "skip" to the end results in a total party wipe as they lack the weapons, levels, and information to effectively win.

So... Example:

Traveling from Mangamar to Nybor takes 3-4 days. The BBEG is attacking Nybor. Outside of Nybor there is a blockade.

The players have a number of options:

-----

Path A: The Path Expected -

Travel from Magnamar to Nybor, risking 3-4 encounters along the way, gaining experience from each encounter they come across.

If they see a group of bandits and stealth past them, or potentially diplomancy past them, they gain full experience. If they defeat the bandits they gain full experience and loot. If they never encountered the bandits they get nothing.

Reach Nybor and encounter the blockade. Sneaking around it, bluffing past it, or fighting past it, doing so nets experience points, information, items, and more.

Encounter and defeat the Big Bad Evil Guy.

-----

Path B: The Path Of Least Resistance -

Teleport from Magnamar to Nybor and beat the BBEG down. Never encountering anything other than the BBEG.

-----

Here is what happens next...

I calculate the total experience they would have gained on Path A. That is the level of the party. I also calculate the loot they gained on Path A. That is the loot that provides the WBL for the party.

When I design the next adventure, that is the experience and items I assume the players have... Even if they don't.

If they skipped everything and my notes say that they are a level 10 party, even if they are level 9. Then my next encounter set puts them up against enemies as if they were level 10. If they keep winning, then they are obviously appropriate to the level of the adventure and I keep moving on.

This continues until they either:

A. Total Party Wipe

B. Realize they are swinging way over their weight class and need to do things "the hard way" to make up for lost power.

C. Complete the story. (I don't run Sandbox.)


Ah yes, the "party is soul reapers" approach to running an AP.

Never had the privilege of running in such a campaign, since every GM would just boost is to appropriate level as the story progressed.


Bluenose wrote:
For values of amazing where it means getting exceptionally fortunate rolls in a situation that was so obviously filler that half the party (assuming a fairly traditional F/M/C/T group) didn't even need to make a significant effort in it. Maybe not taking a sense of pride in being able to do the scut-work so that other characters don't have to use actually important resources like spells is a personality flaw all my players over the years have shared.

You are the one who is saying these would be filler. Almost all fights should feel challenging (some risk of injury/failure).

I feel like we are playing completely different games. If killing enemies is "scut work" then no one should be a martial as that is what they do best. The sense of pride is having a fairly challenging encounter where the martials do the brunt of the work. If you don't like killing things that are trying to kill you, you probably shouldn't be a martial.

From these repeated conversations is seems like people are locked into their concept of the game and unwilling to change.

By your logic there is no reason to ever be a martial as you can never really contribute. That is an acceptable mindset, simply don't play martials.


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Starfinder Superscriber

Perhaps it is time to boil this all down?

1. The most common refrain seems to be that the primary reason Wizards are overpowered is that they gain the greatest access to the Wizard spell list. (By extension, this seems to indicate that Arcanist and extremely well funded sorcerers at even levels would present most of the same problems).

2. Second is certain spells themselves functioning as too much of a "Swiss Army Knife." Specifically Summon Monster Spells

3. Finally, there is a clump of things I'll call "GM Issues." This would include things like unlimited resting, enemy tactics, and so on.

Any other big one?


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I dunno, HWalsh... Things turn JRPG pretty quickly if you do that. Suddenly, PCs need to encounter absolutely every spot in an area, loot absolutely everything not nailed down, acquire adamantite crowbars for those things nailed down, kill every NPC for treasure (even/especially those whom you've defeated with diplomacy), and spend hours in minor encounter rooms trying to decide how to open a grate.

I'm not saying you can't have fun like that, but you're really giving them other main goals than "defeat BBEG and save people" (it's a different kind of fun when the BBEG is only standing in your way of acquiring more loot, but still fun).

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

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IMO it's best to use a variety of these tactics regardless of party composition. Sometimes have days with 1-2 encounters. Sometimes have 8 easier ones instead. Don't always make the difference obvious. It's ok for some encounters to be way below APL, that makes the PCs feel powerful and like their leveling means something.

Don't restrict downtime with an iron fist, but also don't juts give the PCs months of free time to do whatever. A week or so between adventures is plenty.

Absolutely make sure to enforce base value limits for buying magic items. The game isn't really meant for PCs to just buy +5 weapons and +6 stat items, even at high levels. If the caster has to spend all of their downtime crafting permanent items, they aren't making scrolls. If they want to use teleport to shop at every metropolis in the world, that's fine. What are there, maybe 20 of them? I can use an online item roller and generate the major items available at each one, and expect to spend a few hours in each one finding out what's for sale.

Do remember that high level characters have earned their toys and they should generally work as expected. Build adventures that require the caster - it makes them feel useful, and uses up resources if they have to expend multiple spells just to get to the adventure or survive there.

Spells with questionable interpretations like simulacrum and planar binding - it's okay to rule these have the most restricted power level. Sno-cone wish machine is only a problem if the GM allows it.

High level casters certainly have more narrative ability. But I've seen a group declare a CRB rogue as MVP for a CR21 boss fight. A high level martial can still shine in a party with casters, it just takes some awareness on the part of the GM.


Bob Bob Bob wrote:
Gallant Armor wrote:


Given a longer day, the methods you have described for a wizard to mitigate damage will be in shorter supply. Even if the wizard could have those up each round a competent GM would include enemies with flight, see invisibility, true sight, ranged attacks, etc. Given that, the wizard will be injured as well and need healing.

The spells are any level (summons), 3rd level (Fly, eventually replaced by Overland Flight at 5th), 3rd level (Displacement), and 2nd level (Mirror Image). Again, you're throwing consumables of 2nd (Lesser Restoration) and 3rd (Remove <condition>) level spells at the party. The Wizard has as many scrolls as the Fighter has potions. And, as I keep telling you, the math requires that the Fighter is chugging more than one potion for every poisoning.

And no, the Wizard doesn't try to use Fly to counter an archer or other flier. They use it on a big dumb monster like a T-Rex. They have a variety of scrolls that they use in different situations. Yes, they will eventually be injured. Less often and less severely than the Fighter. Very much less.

The GM is under no obligation to hand out scrolls that only the wizard can use as much as potions that everyone can use. The wizard can of course buy their own scrolls, but most things can be countered by a competent GM.

You seem hung up on poisoning, I am not suggesting that GMs poison their players repeatedly, I only used that as an example of ways to boost the challenge/risk of an encounter. Most martials have good fort saves and con scores, so they should be able to resist/shake off those conditions on their own.

Wizards are only injured "very much less" if the GM coddles them. They will be attacked less often but they will have lower AC then most martials. AOE for mirror image, ranged for fly, see invisibility and/or true seeing for invisibility, blur and displacement. Given that they have lower HP than a martial, it is important for them to stay topped up.

If you try to summon your T-rex out of combat, good luck getting through the door. If you try to summon it in combat, good luck making the injured while casting concentration check(s). To be clear I am saying this is an option if a wizard's summons are dominating combat, not something that all GMs should do always. If the enemy is competent, they should act intelligently. If any enemy with ranks in spellcraft makes the check they can tell everyone else to focus on the wizard in order to prevent the summons.

Bob Bob Bob wrote:
Gallant Armor wrote:
Bob Bob Bob wrote:
So one poisoning a day. Again, who's treating it? Consumables (unless you pay more) will be rolling d20+5 against the DC. Unless we're talking humanoids poisoning their weapons the DCs just go up. The monster creation guidelines tend to be around 10+CR for a primary DC and 5+CR for secondary (but most seems to be higher, looking at you scorpions). That's not great odds for d20+5. Poison tends to be quite immediate, if the healer isn't on hand then it's probably going to run its course. Unless you're also using Delay Poison but that also still has a time limit. Seriously, how many potions are they expected to have? Because it's probably taking more than one (probably more like three or four) to treat anything.
Lingering effects such as poison, curses and disease should be planned for by the party, either with a caster or consumables. This is a fairly standard thing. The heal skill can help boost save DCs and there are items that can help as well.
How is this an answer? I'm not talking about making the save, I'm talking about curing the condition and how multiple consumables will be required. Possibly dozens, if you roll poorly enough. Yes, it's probably more effective (certainly more cost effective) to just raise their save against a poison. What about curses? This baby is CR 8 and packs a DC 21 1/day Wisdom drain and fatigue. 3 saves to cure, a potion of Remove Curse only works on a 16+, and it's not fixable with rest or Lesser Restoration. The Fighter has longer to reach a healer, sure, but you keep advocating the way to limit the Wizard is to put the party on a ticking clock. If the Fighter gets cursed on day one they may be comatose by day four. On average they'll need three potions of Remove Curse to get it to work. There's a 10% chance it'll take 8 or more. And heaven forbid a second character gets hit as well. That's not so much plentiful consumables as Costco.

Why are you so hung up on poisons? They are a thing that exists, the party should plan for that in any game. If it's 1 encounter per day or 50 they still need to plan for what to do about poisons, diseases, curses, etc. Higher CL consumables are a thing if the party wants to buy them.

The reason you didn't get much of an answer was that the question was irrelevant unless you expect GMs to never use any of those things ever.

Bob Bob Bob wrote:


I'm pretty sure a well-built martial always beats a consumable of Magic Missile/Scorching Ray. I mean, those are at minimum. One missile for 1d4+1 or one ray for 4d6 fire? I think I can make a level 1 Barbarian that beats both of those. And how does a Wizard having "the potential to be ineffective" let the martials shine? I can't be the only one reading this as "If the Wizard screws up then the Fighter actually has a chance to contribute to combat." That's... well, pretty decent proof the Wizard is too powerful.

I think the biggest disconnect is that I don't really think wizards are that over powered until late level (15+ or so). Even late level they can be kept in check if the GM wants to. It seems you are so convinced that wizards are overpowered that you completely reject any situation where they are not overpowered. As I have said repeatedly - a wizard is only overpowered if the GM allows it.

Bob Bob Bob wrote:


As others have told you, you are not presenting these as suggestions. This is not the thread for houserules about how to make Wizards less powerful. This is a thread about why they are perceived as such (that has mostly devolved into whether they are). You are offering your version of the game as proof of how Wizards are not overpowered. If these are really just suggestions then we can dismiss everything you've said based on those assumptions. I'm working assuming you actually believe the game works that way.

And, well, even in your version of the world Wizards are overpowered. Untouchable, encounter-destroying monsters the GM needs to fake out outside of the game to prevent them from stomping all over it. Yes, the martials will have their time to shine. Whenever the Wizard decides not to nova. So the Wizard is literally choosing when the other players get to shine. That's... probably too much power for a player. Definitely overpowered.

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

From my first posts. From the outset I made it clear that these are suggestions. None of them are houserules, as everything I have posted exists in the rules.

The answer to "why are wizards considered overpowered" is that if you consider wizards overpowered, the GM isn't challenging the wizard enough. You seem to think using tactics and abilities that make the wizard less effective is cheating by the GM. There are many effects that limit martials more than casters (difficult terrain, staggered) but it doesn't mean they shouldn't be used. You say that martials get injured more than wizards, does this mean that enemies with attack rolls high enough to beat their AC is cheating?

The game works in whatever way you want, that is the beauty of it. You can certainly dismiss my suggestions if you wish, or provide your own.

I don't see wizards as being that overpowered for most of the game honestly. They have the potential to nova, but martials do more consistent damage. Saves, SR and DR (for summons) all help to keep them in check naturally.

I wouldn't necessarily use the tactics that I described in any given encounter. The point of all of this is that it is the GMs job to challenge the party, you can use some or all or none of my suggestions to provide an adequate challenge to all players.


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Blackwaltzomega wrote:

. . . The fact that plotlines and locations need to be "caster-proofed" at all is an indication of how the GM needs to account for spellcasting in a way that they don't necessarily need to for other things . . .

Magic requires you to think a little more carefully about how they're getting into the fortress. Is the fortress protected against aerial assaults, if the mage can cast fly? Is there something in place to stop one from using burrowing spells to get in from underneath? Can they scry on things inside the castle to learn more about what they're up against? God forbid, can they teleport past the outer defenses, and what happens if they do? Can they open holes in the walls with magic? Can they supplement the aforementioned plans to fight, sneak, or talk their way inside with things that make these plans much, much more likely to succeed?

Magic can do a lot of things, and it's hard to account for them all.

This is not the first argument of this type that I've seen in this thread, or in others. It implies that the over-powered wizard "just showed up, <*POOF*>, from, like, nowhere, man." That the castle was all prepped for a frontal assault or sneaky-creepy thieves, but had absolutely not one iota of an inkling that such a thing as arcane magic was in existence.

And if that were true, I'd agree that it's a good reason to consider a wizard to be overpowered. HOWEVER, it isn't true.

The castle exists in a magical world and is aware of that fact. The castle that readies defenses against magical assault makes the castle prepared, not the wizard overpowered.

A goldsmith or silversmith who protects his shop with simple locks and then gets robbed doesn't have the right to moan, "Oh, thieves, with their masterwork thieves' tools are just so overpowered!" Passersby would, quite justly, chide the smith, "Dude, you're the one who deals in precious metal and used only simple locks! You know there are thieves and that they have pretty good tools and are pretty good at what they do: You should have known to use better locks and hired night guards or bribed the watch to patrol your shop's street."

Magic is part of the realm, built into its foundations since before Time began. To suggest that wizards are OP because <INSERT REASON> is to, essentially, say that wizards are OP because they are.

My complex might catch fire. So I have to teach my five-year-old son fire safety, how to escape a burning building, and where is our rendevous point. FIRE IS SO OP! No, it isn't. It's part of our existence and we take that knowledge into account and plan accordingly.

Magic requiring me, as a DM, to think more carefully doesn't make the wizard over-powered. I create pantheons! If I can't deal with some upstart flim-flam man, I should sit down, re-read some Dungeocraft articles by Monte Cook and let someone else have a turn behind the screen!


KapaaIan wrote:

Perhaps it is time to boil this all down?

1. The most common refrain seems to be that the primary reason Wizards are overpowered is that they gain the greatest access to the Wizard spell list. (By extension, this seems to indicate that Arcanist and extremely well funded sorcerers at even levels would present most of the same problems).

2. Second is certain spells themselves functioning as too much of a "Swiss Army Knife." Specifically Summon Monster Spells

3. Finally, there is a clump of things I'll call "GM Issues." This would include things like unlimited resting, enemy tactics, and so on.

Any other big one?

Basically correct, I would say.

1. Having GMed for Arcanists multiple times, I would say the Arcanist is similarly overpowered, particularly since arcane exploits let them do annoying things like boost the DC or CL of certain spells into the stratosphere or use Quick Study to prep corner-case spells in a matter of seconds. The sorcerer somewhat less so, because unlike the wizard and arcanist it has the most spell slots but a relatively small list of spells known that makes life much easier on the GM. Prepared casting is a fairly big issue, as it's much simpler to plan for the sorcerer's consistent spell list than the wizard and arcanist's regularly-shifting one. But yeah, a sorcerer that knows what they're doing is still very powerful indeed.

2. I've mentioned before the "app store effect" that turned me away from using PF's base casting in favor of Spheres of Power. "There's a spell for that" becomes a bit too much of a thing as adventures progress for my liking, and there's a mix between specific spells that can cut right to the heart of a matter without much difficulty and "swiss army knife" spells, like you mentioned; most of the casters I've seen have had a good mix of general-purpose spells and ones that they suspect will be relevant to what they know about the adventure, and I've never seen a caster be out of options, even in particularly bad situations like a lightning blaster faced with a lightning-immune Grave Knight.

3. I agree with you that the third and most important factor is just the various issues the GM will have to deal with. For the most part when I GM I am free to let the rogues and rangers and fighters just do their thing, even giving them leeway the rules don't always allow for, and things proceed smoothly. On the other hand I usually have to be much stricter with the casters to make sure things don't get out of hand, and I don't really see why the rules are making it my job to let one group of classes do their thing and police another group because the rules don't seem to be up to the task of keeping things on an even keel unless I put a finger on the scales.


Slim Jim wrote:

Oh, I dunno about that. You start stacking Dazing on top of other metamagic, and it gets whack in a hurry.

(Caveat: I don't play full-casters much, and some of those gimmicks might be nerfed now.)

Of course, the operating part of this is not Fireball or Magic Missile. It's Dazing Spell. The point is, the damage spells aren't the real power. It's the control aspect. Dazing Spell turns damage spells into control spells.

This is just muddying the real point.

HWalsh wrote:

Here is what happens next...

I calculate the total experience they would have gained on Path A. That is the level of the party. I also calculate the loot they gained on Path A. That is the loot that provides the WBL for the party.

When I design the next adventure, that is the experience and items I assume the players have... Even if they don't.

If they skipped everything and my notes say that they are a level 10 party, even if they are level 9. Then my next encounter set puts them up against enemies as if they were level 10. If they keep winning, then they are obviously appropriate to the level of the adventure and I keep moving on.

This continues until they either:

A. Total Party Wipe

B. Realize they are swinging way over their weight class and need to do things "the hard way" to make up for lost power.

C. Complete the story. (I don't run Sandbox.)

Don't forget. Because they're a lower-level party taking on higher-level enemies, they're earning more XP.

That said, what you describe is not hardball. That's just silly and kind of vindictive metagaming. Level grind is not a concept that has any in-universe meaning. If they have the option of teleporting to the BBEG, why, in character, wouldn't they? Characters don't see experience points. They don't see the ding.

If bad guy is doing bad things to place X, it makes way more sense to go to place X as fast as possible to stop the bad guy from doing bad things to it. That method might be teleportation. This behavior makes sense for the characters, and should not be punished. If someone in the party wanted to retort this proposal in a logical, in-character way, what would you even suggest they say?

ryric wrote:
Absolutely make sure to enforce base value limits for buying magic items. The game isn't really meant for PCs to just buy +5 weapons and +6 stat items, even at high levels. If the caster has to spend all of their downtime crafting permanent items, they aren't making scrolls. If they want to use teleport to shop at every metropolis in the world, that's fine. What are there, maybe 20 of them? I can use an online item roller and generate the major items available at each one, and expect to spend a few hours in each one finding out what's for sale.

This statement does FAR more to impair the mage than the martial. A mage can get away with just a +6 item to their casting stat and not much else, while a muggle will want one for their constitution and hitting stat with a high end weapon/armor/maybe shield suite paired with other protective items.

Many of the other things a mage wants are of low enough value that they wouldn't even have to roll in a big enough city.


Gallant Armor: The fact remains that the question is not "Are Wizards overpowered in your game?"


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Mykull wrote:
Blackwaltzomega wrote:

. . . The fact that plotlines and locations need to be "caster-proofed" at all is an indication of how the GM needs to account for spellcasting in a way that they don't necessarily need to for other things . . .

Magic requires you to think a little more carefully about how they're getting into the fortress. Is the fortress protected against aerial assaults, if the mage can cast fly? Is there something in place to stop one from using burrowing spells to get in from underneath? Can they scry on things inside the castle to learn more about what they're up against? God forbid, can they teleport past the outer defenses, and what happens if they do? Can they open holes in the walls with magic? Can they supplement the aforementioned plans to fight, sneak, or talk their way inside with things that make these plans much, much more likely to succeed?

Magic can do a lot of things, and it's hard to account for them all.

This is not the first argument of this type that I've seen in this thread, or in others. It implies that the over-powered wizard "just showed up, <*POOF*>, from, like, nowhere, man." That the castle was all prepped for a frontal assault or sneaky-creepy thieves, but had absolutely not one iota of an inkling that such a thing as arcane magic was in existence.

And if that were true, I'd agree that it's a good reason to consider a wizard to be overpowered. HOWEVER, it isn't true.

The castle exists in a magical world and is aware of that fact. The castle that readies defenses against magical assault makes the castle prepared, not the wizard overpowered.

A goldsmith or silversmith who protects his shop with simple locks and then gets robbed doesn't have the right to moan, "Oh, thieves, with their masterwork thieves' tools are just so overpowered!" Passersby would, quite justly, chide the smith, "Dude, you're the one who deals in precious metal and used only simple locks! You know there are thieves and that they have pretty good...

And the shopowner gets those wonderful locks and finds the following day he's been robbed anyway because a thief with magic simply enchanted them open or teleported inside, took everything that wasn't nailed down and on fire, and teleported back out. The guards noticed nothing because the thief was invisible. Was the shopkeeper a fool because he quite reasonably can't afford to hire wizards to make his store dimensionally locked?

The fact that worldbuilding by default has to revolve around how powerful magic is in Pathfinder is an indicator to me that magic is overpowered. It's only part of the world that everyone worth taking seriously lives in a lead-lined fortress that dispels invisibility, blocks summoning and teleportation, and has sleepless heavily armed guardians constantly on alert for spellcasting because the magic system is powerful enough that any sort of real-world defenses seem laughably quaint, and so nobody that isn't a very high level caster or has several on their payroll is going to be equipped to deal with the PCs.

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