Why are wizards considered overpowered?


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Blackwaltzomega wrote:
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?

If the potential take from the heist is worth the time of someone who can cast 4th level spells, the shopkeeper certainly has the resources to block teleportation. Said shopkeeper also has the means to hire divinations and mercenaries to recover his stolen property. And now we have an adventure!


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KapaaIan wrote:
Perhaps it is time to boil this all down?

I recommend clicking on my name and taking a look at my profile open the spoiler for "The Caster - Martial Disparity" and give it a quick read.

These issues are not specific to wizards or even arcane magic, but rather to the way 9 level casting arcs up in power. Clerics, druids, sorcerers, witches, oracles, etc. all present some similar issues, but wizards check the most boxes.

Single Attribute Dependent. Virtually everything a wizard does, from casting, to crafting, to most skills, comes off of one stat.

Best at crafting magic items. Wizards get bonus magic item crafting feats, and crafting runs off of Spellcraft. Intelligence = crafting = power = intelligence. Repeat.

Effective use of actions. Wizards can do the vast majority of their best stuff with a standard action. They also have numerous was to get additional actions, from familiars, summons, dominated minions, contingencies, quickened spells, etc.

Versatility. By the mid levels casters generally have at least two dozen different spells they can cast in a given situation. If they don't have the right spell memorized, they have numerous options to get the spell, use a consumable, or achieve a similar effect, often simply by memorizing different spells the next day. I think the entire conjuration school is a good illustration of versatility.

Again, see the link above and click on "The Caster - Martial Disparity" for more.

"GM Issues" is a tricky topic. I would absolutely say that it is the GMs job to make sure that everyone has fun (and that usually means feels challenged). With that said, Pathfinder isn't 1e AD&D. Players have all the rules, and most of them are designed to work a certain way. Adventure Paths and Modules are written the way they are. There is only so much a GM can do while playing "by the book". Dealing with a well played wizard takes years of GM experience, and even then it is mostly just mitigating it by working with the player to hope they don't disrupt the game. The GM should not be handed the responsibility of dealing with serious class imbalance, when that imbalance does not add much enjoyment to the game to begin with.

Just a final note that wizards and other casters are not the only classes capable of disrupting the game. Low level barbarians/ fighters, some archery builds, and even some trip/grapple builds can be disruptive. With that said, nothing is more difficult to continually challenge then a well played wizard.


Among many things that Starfinder did, it also did the one thing that is unimaginable for Pathfinder.

A whole new system has the privilege of being able to reboot its spell lists.

Spell list is akin to MTG or any card game. It is so easy to just write new spells, just go ham and write all kinds of interesting spells. But by now, over 15 years later, the spell list is unmanaged. But roleplaying like this is not really "competitive" to say, so has never been a crucial need to reboot the spell list.


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

Then the answer is a quantum state of undetermined power level. There are situations where the wizard can do nothing and situations where the wizard dominates. Without context there is no way to address the question.

The answer to the question "why are wizards considered overpowered?" has to include how the GM runs their games, it should also include how players run their characters and the way the class was designed. Since telling a wizard "don't be so good" isn't likely going to go well and redesigning the class would be problematic, how GMs run the game makes the most sense to address.

Unless this should just be a gripe thread with no suggestions on how to make games more balanced.


ryric wrote:
Blackwaltzomega wrote:
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?
If the potential take from the heist is worth the time of someone who can cast 4th level spells, the shopkeeper certainly has the resources to block teleportation. Said shopkeeper also has the means to hire divinations and mercenaries to recover his stolen property. And now we have an adventure!

Given what shopkeeps make from profession checks, no, I really don't think that 1200 gp every two weeks to keep your shop locked to teleporters (remember, first level teleportation wizards can do this if they want to; a thief that studied even slightly in how teleportation magic works could pull this off without spending any spells at all) on top of bribes to watchmen and locks good enough that they won't just get charmed open by a skilled thief or any idiot with a knock spell is some negligible common-sense measure.

And about the scrying, once again we get into a point where the worldbuilding has to bend over backwards for magic because all crime has to revolve around its existence as well. Normal detective work is practically useless as cantrips like prestidigitation can befuddle Sherlock bloody Holmes but some doofus with a spell list can take ten minutes out of their day and solve practically any crime before lunch unless all thieves everywhere act constantly in knowledge that they might be scried after by their victims.


ryric wrote:
Blackwaltzomega wrote:
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?
If the potential take from the heist is worth the time of someone who can cast 4th level spells, the shopkeeper certainly has the resources to block teleportation. Said shopkeeper also has the means to hire divinations and mercenaries to recover his stolen property. And now we have an adventure!

Wizards are overpowered because shop keepers and BBEGs have to pay them 28,800gp/year to maintain a dimensional lock spell.

8x15x10=1,200gp every 15 days.


Envall wrote:

Among many things that Starfinder did, it also did the one thing that is unimaginable for Pathfinder.

A whole new system has the privilege of being able to reboot its spell lists.

Spell list is akin to MTG or any card game. It is so easy to just write new spells, just go ham and write all kinds of interesting spells. But by now, over 15 years later, the spell list is unmanaged. But roleplaying like this is not really "competitive" to say, so has never been a crucial need to reboot the spell list.

A lot of the worst offenders among spells are from the core rulebook, but Starfinder actually approaches the problem from several angles.

1) As you say, revamping the spell lists and the spells themselves.

2) Limiting things to the sixth-level casters, who have magic, but also do other things. A Starfinder caster is still going to spend quite a bit of time firing guns or using class abilities, and longarm proficiency is actually a worthwhile investment.

3) Technology! This takes a LOT of abilities out of the hands of mages, and puts them in the hands of mundanes. You can be a perfectly valid and effective character in Starfinder without one scrap of magic, though there are some effects you'll miss. No Fly effects? Oh well! I have a jetpack!

One of the biggest problems with balancing magic in a medieval fantasy setting, and especially with the D&D approach is it's filling the place of technology in a lot of ways, so you have a very staunch haves/have nots divide. No force really rivals it.


Blackwaltzomega wrote:
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?

So, the thief spends:

* 2,250 gp for a scroll of teleport. But since he's buying a powerful spell for a theft, he probably doesn't want the transaction registered, so he goes to the Black Market and pays significantly more (3,375 - 5,500). The DC to Use Magic Device on that scroll is 27 (assuming minimum caster level of 7). This is generic NPC thief, so he probably has a 16 DEX. +3 DEX and +3 Trained brings it down to 21. If he's eleventh level, that'll bring the DC down to 10. And he Takes 10 on it, presto, spell is cast. Except, of course, that one can't Take 10 on Use Magic Device. So even an average 11th level npc rogue who's just dropped 2,250 minimum is relying on a 50/50 die roll to not have flushed those jeeps down the chamber pot.

* Let's assume skill focus (Use Magic Device) and a whole slew of other specializations that make it reasonable to assume that the 11th level thief will be able to cast the spell. There'll be no signs of forced entry and the faint aura of Conjuration (teleportation) for the Magical Threats Agency to detect. Thief knows that there aren't that many casters in town that can cast teleport and they'll have alibis (since they didn't do it). So the thief knows he'll need non-detection to cover his tracks. 750 gp a piece for 5 hours of non-detection. Figures he'll need 48 hours of obfuscation to make his getaway, so that's ten scrolls, or another 7,500 gp to cover his escape.

* So, the thief is looking at an outlay of 10,000 gp minimum to rob the place. Is this Ocean's 11? Is it the night of the fight? Is this silversmith named Tony Benedict? Thief will have to cart off one hundred thousand silver coins just to break even!

On the other hand, if this silversmith does have property of such value, then he probably does have magical protection. I have a dead bolt and an alarm system. My front door is not a bank vault door. Might I still get robbed? Sure. Do my valuables warrant electrified laser fencing patroled by dogs and guards monitoring security cameras. I wish, but no. Does that make me a fool because I didn't bankrupt myself with all possible security. Nope.


Mykull wrote:
Blackwaltzomega wrote:
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?

So, the thief spends:

* 2,250 gp for a scroll of teleport. But since he's buying a powerful spell for a theft, he probably doesn't want the transaction registered, so he goes to the Black Market and pays significantly more (3,375 - 5,500). The DC to Use Magic Device on that scroll is 27 (assuming minimum caster level of 7). This is generic NPC thief, so he probably has a 16 DEX. +3 DEX and +3 Trained brings it down to 21. If he's eleventh level, that'll bring the DC down to 10. And he Takes 10 on it, presto, spell is cast. Except, of course, that one can't Take 10 on Use Magic Device. So even an average 11th level npc rogue who's just dropped 2,250 minimum is relying on a 50/50 die roll to not have flushed those jeeps down the chamber pot.

* Let's assume skill focus (Use Magic Device) and a whole slew of other specializations that make it reasonable to assume that the 11th level thief will be able to cast the spell. There'll be no signs of forced entry and the faint aura of Conjuration (teleportation) for the Magical Threats Agency to detect. Thief knows that there aren't that many casters in town that can cast teleport and they'll have alibis (since they didn't do it). So the thief knows he'll need non-detection to cover his tracks. 750 gp a piece for 5 hours of non-detection. Figures he'll need 48 hours of obfuscation to make his getaway, so that's ten scrolls, or another 7,500 gp to cover his escape.

* So, the thief is looking at an outlay of 10,000 gp minimum to rob the place. Is this...

Well or the thief is a wizard and not a rogue and spends a grand total of 0gp to rob you blind. Don't got to be a rogue to steal stuff.


Mykull wrote:
Blackwaltzomega wrote:
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?

So, the thief spends:

* 2,250 gp for a scroll of teleport. But since he's buying a powerful spell for a theft, he probably doesn't want the transaction registered, so he goes to the Black Market and pays significantly more (3,375 - 5,500). The DC to Use Magic Device on that scroll is 27 (assuming minimum caster level of 7). This is generic NPC thief, so he probably has a 16 DEX. +3 DEX and +3 Trained brings it down to 21. If he's eleventh level, that'll bring the DC down to 10. And he Takes 10 on it, presto, spell is cast. Except, of course, that one can't Take 10 on Use Magic Device. So even an average 11th level npc rogue who's just dropped 2,250 minimum is relying on a 50/50 die roll to not have flushed those jeeps down the chamber pot.

* Let's assume skill focus (Use Magic Device) and a whole slew of other specializations that make it reasonable to assume that the 11th level thief will be able to cast the spell. There'll be no signs of forced entry and the faint aura of Conjuration (teleportation) for the Magical Threats Agency to detect. Thief knows that there aren't that many casters in town that can cast teleport and they'll have alibis (since they didn't do it). So the thief knows he'll need non-detection to cover his tracks. 750 gp a piece for 5 hours of non-detection. Figures he'll need 48 hours of obfuscation to make his getaway, so that's ten scrolls, or another 7,500 gp to cover his escape.

* So, the thief is looking at an outlay of 10,000 gp minimum to rob the place. Is this...

Or the thief has one level in wizard, spends 0 GP, and will never be caught unless the shopkeeper is willing to hire a caster to divine into the past and discover who currently has his merchandise because there isn't any way someone's going to figure this caper out with a bloody perception check.

There are also some other points here I'm taking issue with.

1. The job can be done with a pair of Dimension Door Scrolls, which are easier to activate and come out to 1400 GP tops even if you're using the black market, as a rogue's black market connections from said talent never increase the price of the item sought, only how big the settlement counts as for acquiring such things.

2. Going back to my one level in wizard, if you have even one level in a class that can theoretically cast Dimension door from its pell list and have 14 intelligence, you can use a scroll of dimension door automatically, success guaranteed.

3. No, there won't be any aura for this theoretical magical law enforcement to detect, because faint auras dissipate in a matter of seconds. Leaving behind a faint aura of conjuration gives the detect magic cops at most one minute after the criminal's exit before the crime scene is magically sterile. If they got there in time to detect the aura, they should have caught the thief red-handed. Even with a moderate aura you have 6 minutes, tops; once again, if you're that close to search for auras that soon after the crime you should be pursuing the fleeing criminal.


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?

I like this list a lot. I would add in AP design as several people have mentioned that.


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Fergie wrote:
KapaaIan wrote:
Perhaps it is time to boil this all down?

I recommend clicking on my name and taking a look at my profile open the spoiler for "The Caster - Martial Disparity" and give it a quick read.

Fergie, I enjoyed the article. Caster-Martial Disparity isn't apparent in my PF group. Your comments helped me to understand why this is so.

For example, we're mostly interested in the role-playing side of things, we divide treasure equally based on its crafting value, and it's an unspoken agreement (because we've never discussed it but it always happens) that all PC casters will take at least one crafting feat and craft magic items for the whole group. Because we're team-players we consider spellcasting to be a group asset and don't begrudge our spellcasters their versatility.

As I mentioned in an earlier post the only disruptive PF character I've known was an archer who outclassed the other martials in the party. And much of the problem was because he wasn't a team-player (and has since left the group).

In my experience the game breaks down when players stop co-operating and start competing with each other. And that's when any disparity becomes most apparent.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

Specifics of a shop vs thief arms race are mostly besides the point...the point being that is the shop has 1000s of gp to steal, it can spend part of that amount on security. Dimension lock is overkill...well, unless you're protecting the Royal Vault with its millions. In that case there will also be golems and bound servitor outsiders and other fun things.

Heck, a 150gp superior lock (DC40) shuts down knock spells below caster level 10. Before leaving each night, throw all the valuables in an extradimensional space then lock that in a floor mounted safe behind a superior lock. Spring for a security guard and give him a potion of see invisible in case something starts fiddling with the lock. Will this keep out a dedicated high level caster? No. But it will stop most casual "easy" attempts.

Basically, if my PCs want to do a heist adventure, we'll do a heist. It will have consequences and rewards. If a player wants to handwave committing theft using no resources, they can make a Profession check.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

Blackwaltzomega wrote:
Going back to my one level in wizard, if you have even one level in a class that can theoretically cast Dimension door from its pell list and have 14 intelligence, you can use a scroll of dimension door automatically, success guaranteed.

Just want to point out that this factually wrong. There is a caster level check to activate scrolls above your caster level - so a 1st level wizard has a 30% chance to fail to activate a 7th level scroll of a wizard spell. He needs a 7 on a d20.

Silver Crusade

Mykull wrote:
Blackwaltzomega wrote:
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?

So, the thief spends:

* 2,250 gp for a scroll of teleport. But since he's buying a powerful spell for a theft, he probably doesn't want the transaction registered, so he goes to the Black Market and pays significantly more (3,375 - 5,500). The DC to Use Magic Device on that scroll is 27 (assuming minimum caster level of 7). This is generic NPC thief, so he probably has a 16 DEX. +3 DEX and +3 Trained brings it down to 21. If he's eleventh level, that'll bring the DC down to 10. And he Takes 10 on it, presto, spell is cast. Except, of course, that one can't Take 10 on Use Magic Device. So even an average 11th level npc rogue who's just dropped 2,250 minimum is relying on a 50/50 die roll to not have flushed those jeeps down the chamber pot.

* Let's assume skill focus (Use Magic Device) and a whole slew of other specializations that make it reasonable to assume that the 11th level thief will be able to cast the spell. There'll be no signs of forced entry and the faint aura of Conjuration (teleportation) for the Magical Threats Agency to detect. Thief knows that there aren't that many casters in town that can cast teleport and they'll have alibis (since they didn't do it). So the thief knows he'll need non-detection to cover his tracks. 750 gp a piece for 5 hours of non-detection. Figures he'll need 48 hours of obfuscation to make his getaway, so that's ten scrolls, or another 7,500 gp to cover his escape.

* So, the thief is looking at an outlay of 10,000 gp minimum to rob the place. Is this...

Or the 1st level dimensional jaunter rogue used his jaunter's hop ability and spends exactly nothing. And why, in this scenario, would the thief need non-detection? If the CL of the scroll is 7 (as you indicated), the lingering aura would last 60 minutes at most, so the crime would have to be discovered, the authorities summoned, and the spell detected all within an hour (or less, given the aura could disappear after 10 minutes). So there will be no indication at all what happened.

Also, you're assuming the thief isn't a caster (thief =/= rogue) who doesn't have to spend anything but spell slots. And, really, knock still gets you past anything but an amazing lock without much hassle, no need mucking about with teleportation. Or use blink and just walk through the wall.


ryric wrote:

Specifics of a shop vs thief arms race are mostly besides the point...the point being that is the shop has 1000s of gp to steal, it can spend part of that amount on security. Dimension lock is overkill...well, unless you're protecting the Royal Vault with its millions. In that case there will also be golems and bound servitor outsiders and other fun things.

Heck, a 150gp superior lock (DC40) shuts down knock spells below caster level 10. Before leaving each night, throw all the valuables in an extradimensional space then lock that in a floor mounted safe behind a superior lock. Spring for a security guard and give him a potion of see invisible in case something starts fiddling with the lock. Will this keep out a dedicated high level caster? No. But it will stop most casual "easy" attempts.

Basically, if my PCs want to do a heist adventure, we'll do a heist. It will have consequences and rewards. If a player wants to handwave committing theft using no resources, they can make a Profession check.

And you don't think that this level of preparation every night against a magical thief like a crooked wizard as opposed to just having good locks and a guard dog against a rogue doesn't suggest magic-users might be overpowered for what the game considers reasonable precautions?

As I said before, part of the reason I consider the wizard overpowered is that Pathfinder's particular version of magic by default warps everything else in the setting in a way that does not happen for nonmagical classes. Which creates the impression that a highly casty party must have significant elements of worldbuilding done specifically to police their activities and defend good and bad guys alike against their spells (and explain why caster bad guys don't rule the world right now, which is usually "because good guy casters DO.") while I keep coming back to the impression it's just considered part of the game that the only thing separating a PC fighter from any idiot who can be trusted to hold a sword by the right end is that he's somewhat better at it and can afford a nicer sword. I don't need to add the Bureau Of Fighter Abuse-Stoppers or make the BBEG lie awake at night wondering if there's some combat feat they need to go buy a contingency plan for.

Quote:
Just want to point out that this factually wrong. There is a caster level check to activate scrolls above your caster level - so a 1st level wizard has a 30% chance to fail to activate a 7th level scroll of a wizard spell. He needs a 7 on a d20.

Fair enough, I was thinking about wands for that bit. The fact remains even with a fairly minimal investment the odds of a scroll failing are not particularly high.


Blackwaltzomega wrote:
3. No, there won't be any aura for this theoretical magical law enforcement to detect, because faint auras dissipate in a matter of seconds. Leaving behind a faint aura of conjuration gives the detect magic cops at most one minute after the criminal's exit before the crime scene is magically sterile. If they got there in time to detect the aura, they should have caught the thief red-handed

Greater Detect Magic sees residue from every spell cast in the last CL/days, and let’s you identify a magical signature to fingerprint the guilty caster. It’s meant for precisely this sort of problem.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

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Shopkeepers in a world with magic would be wise to take into account common uses of it when dealing with security, yes. The same as a shopkeeper in the modern world has to take into account security versus technology like lockpick guns and computer hacking.

Having the entire world act in all ways as if it were medieval or renaissance Earth and blatantly ignoring the fact that magic is super common leads to all sorts of bad places, and drastically increases the power of casters.


Xenocrat wrote:
Blackwaltzomega wrote:
3. No, there won't be any aura for this theoretical magical law enforcement to detect, because faint auras dissipate in a matter of seconds. Leaving behind a faint aura of conjuration gives the detect magic cops at most one minute after the criminal's exit before the crime scene is magically sterile. If they got there in time to detect the aura, they should have caught the thief red-handed
Greater Detect Magic sees residue from every spell cast in the last CL/days, and let’s you identify a magical signature to fingerprint the guilty caster. It’s meant for precisely this sort of problem.

Awesome! Now you just need to examine every magic user you don't personally know in the city while they're casting another spell until you find the guilty party!

"His/her magic looks like this" isn't super-helpful if you don't find the person that signature belongs to and observe them using magic again. You'd be better off just shelling out for the expensive divinations that let you just look back in time or locate a particular piece of the merchandise or crank-call God to give you the details of the robbery.

Which is kind of reinforcing my point that magic is overpowered, not countering it.


Starfinder Superscriber
Gallant Armor wrote:
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?

I like this list a lot. I would add in AP design as several people have mentioned that.

Agreed. AP design kinda falls under GM issues I would say (the enemy tactics area specifically) but should have a specific call out for people who do want to be able to grab and go.

So this topic isn't going to likely result in a "Chained" Wizard like the Summoner, but what can people do with it?

1. To mitigate the spell list, make magic special again.

*Spells may not be learned from scrolls*

I mean think about it. Why does a spellbook version of a level 5 spell take up 5 pages, but the scroll of the same spell is basically less than a page?

A wizard with a starting INT of 20 starts with 8 first level spells. With no additional research or findings, they get two more spells per level. That works out to about 10 first level spells and 4 spells for all other levels. Enough to be dangerous? Yup. Enough to know EVERYTHING. Nope. This also fixes one of the problems of good Wizard treasure. When the wizard's party defeats the BBEG and they all level up to 5 and among the horde is a damaged spellbook with a few cantrips and fireball in there, he is STOKED. This also opens up gold sinks and RP opportunities for the Wizard to seek out people to learn from.

2. Swiss Army Knife Spells. A lot of this will be mitigated in 1, because I don't see a Wizard taking SM 1-9 anymore.

Within those, follow the reading of the spell. "If you can communicate with the creature you can direct it" ok. That eliminates direct super control of most things for a while since they are all animals at first. You also better have the right language for the ones you who are smart enough. And require actual communication which the enemy is likely to be able to hear. You may also even have the GM control the creature. Pointing a bobcat at your foe shouldn't mean the bobcat runs around to set up the perfect flank with your rogue. It means the bobcat goes bobcat. Nothing in the spell says the caster gets total control.

Name some other problem spells. We can work this out.

3. Gm Issues. For this, the answer is a bit more up to you. I like to chalk it up to running the bad guys like they were the good guys (but without foreknowledge). Enemies should react dynamically to the situation. If the wizard tells his pit fiend to do something, they should react. Disrupt rest patterns once in a while.

I like number 1 a lot. I think it solves a lot of problems mechanically and in world. How much sense does it make for a wizard to sell his critical research for so little (the cost of scroll).

Number 2 really depends on the abuse of the player. If they get too kitchy with their summons, reign those in a bit.

Number 3 to me is just smart GMing. Your NPCs are just as smart as the heroes. Have them act that way.


Blackwaltzomega wrote:

Or the thief has one level in wizard(*), spends 0 GP, and will never be caught unless the shopkeeper is willing to hire a caster to divine into the past and discover who currently has his merchandise because there isn't any way someone's going to figure this caper out with a bloody perception check.

There are also some other points here I'm taking issue with.

1. The job can be done with a pair of Dimension Door Scrolls, which are easier to activate and come out to 1400 GP tops even if you're using the black market, as a rogue's [#] black market connections from said talent never increase the price of the item sought, only how big the settlement counts as for acquiring such things.

2. Going back to my one level in wizard, if you have even one level in a class that can theoretically cast Dimension door from its pell list and have 14 intelligence, you can use a scroll of dimension door automatically, success guaranteed.

3. No, there won't be any aura for this theoretical magical law enforcement to detect, because faint auras dissipate in a matter of seconds. Leaving behind a faint aura of conjuration gives the detect magic cops at most one minute after the criminal's exit before the crime scene is magically sterile. If they got there in time to detect the aura, they should have caught the thief red-handed. Even with a moderate aura you have 6 minutes, tops; once again, if you're that close to search for auras that soon after the crime you should be pursuing the fleeing criminal.

1400 gp for EACH, one to get in, one to get out. So, 2,800 gp, agreed? And is the thief a wizard as you suggest here (*) or a rogue as you suggest here [#]?

You stated teleport in your first robbery scenario. I illustrated the expensiveness of and dangerousness of teleport as per that scenario. Then you're all "Well, dimension door would be cheaper and wouldn't have as powerful an aura." You changed the conditions of your argument.

But, okay, dimension door. The caster has to visualize the location or just state a direction and distance. Most workshops I know have a viewable workspace and the Employees Only section. So the caster will just have to state a direction and distance. Boxes of supplies, shelves of equipment, tools, unfinished work can make for a very painful, possibly, but not likely, deadly, dimension door.

But, fine, let's say that he bribed an apprentice silversmith to give him a layout of the place. He dimension doors in (and he'll get out, with a minor aura that dissipates within seconds so the MTA can't track him that way). Even if he's a 1st level Wizard, he can't cast dimension door so he still has to buy 2 scrolls at 1,400 gp a piece (for a 2,800 gp outlay).

He'll need 28,000 silver coins to break even. 10% to the Thieves' Guild for their cut, more if he's not a member. Let's say 40,000 silver coins to make it worth the effort. At roughly 50 coins to a pound, that's about 800 pounds of silver our thief has to make off with.

Dimension Door wrote:
You can bring along objects as long as their weight doesn’t exceed your maximum load.
CRB Table 7-4: Carrying Capacity (p.171) wrote:
STR 25 Heavy Load 534 - 800 lbs

So, our thief has to have a minimum strength of 25 to be able to dimension door with enough silver to make this a successful capter.

Lemme guess, BAG OF HOLDING! Okay, a Type I has a weight limit of 250 pounds (so the thief still can't get the 800 pounds of silver), a Type II has a 500 lb limit (still not enough), but a Type III has a half-ton content weight limit! Except that a Type III Bag of Holding is going to cost our thief 7,400 gp (or 74,000 sp [or an additional 1,480 pounds of silver that he'll have to cart off]) bringing his total to 2,280 pounds (over a ton of silver, which, incidentally, exceeds the weight limit of his Type III Bag of Holding!)

It is not feasible.


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ryric wrote:

Shopkeepers in a world with magic would be wise to take into account common uses of it when dealing with security, yes. The same as a shopkeeper in the modern world has to take into account security versus technology like lockpick guns and computer hacking.

Having the entire world act in all ways as if it were medieval or renaissance Earth and blatantly ignoring the fact that magic is super common leads to all sorts of bad places, and drastically increases the power of casters.

I have to imagine that the solution to a lot of the "spellcasters could easily run amok, but don't" are ones that the people of Golarion have reached cultural solutions to. Like certainly a shopkeeper could put all sorts of wizard-foiling magical technology on all of the locks of their store, but it's probably easier for the merchants to get organized in a guild and impart upon the Magical establishment that for this society to be able to thrive, the Wizards have to be responsible for policing themselves or else we won't have any kind of economy.

Since Wizard magic is trained magic, you can get the various institutions that teach wizard magic to agree to this (since, I mean, Universities are going to need to buy things), and to take a role in making sure that their graduates don't just resort to stealing everything that's not nailed down. This can probably be as simple as "If your shop has been broken into magically, you can call the local Wizard school and they're contractually obligated to identify and track down who did it (and apprehend the culprit if it's one of theirs.)"

A lot of the world-breaking applications of rules are probably best served by "everybody has agreed that this is not a thing that is done, and as such has created some kind of system to police it."


Mykull wrote:
1400 gp for EACH, one to get in, one to get out. So, 2,800 gp, agreed? And is the thief a wizard as you suggest here (*) or a rogue as you suggest here [#]?

Multiclassing and dipping just don't exist in your setting? Rogues with levels in wizard and vice versa are extremely reasonable things to assume exist because of how useful magic is for everything a rogue wants to be doing.

Also, no, 1400. Period. A 4th-level scroll costs 700 GP. One to get in. One to get out. 1400 GP. No more, and no less.

Quote:
You stated teleport in your first robbery scenario. I illustrated the expensiveness of and dangerousness of teleport as per that scenario. Then you're all "Well, dimension door would be cheaper and wouldn't have as powerful an aura." You changed the conditions of your argument.

I did no such thing. Teleportation refers to every spell in the teleportation subschool. You chose, for reasons unclear to me, to assume I was specifically referring to the spell teleport despite that obviously being overkill for getting into a shop you can see.

Quote:
But, okay, dimension door. The caster has to visualize the location or just state a direction and distance. Most workshops I know have a viewable workspace and the Employees Only section. So the caster will just have to state a direction and distance. Boxes of supplies, shelves of equipment, tools, unfinished work can make for a very painful, possibly, but not likely, deadly, dimension door.

This shop doesn't have WINDOWS? Even a tiny one completely invalidates this point.

Quote:
But, fine, let's say that he bribed an apprentice silversmith to give him a layout of the place. He dimension doors in (and he'll get out, with a minor aura that dissipates within seconds so the MTA can't track him that way). Even if he's a 1st level Wizard, he can't cast dimension door so he still has to buy 2 scrolls at 1,400 gp a piece (for a 2,800 gp outlay).

1400 period for both, again. This isn't hard to look up. I did.

Quote:
He'll need 28,000 silver coins to break even. 10% to the Thieves' Guild for their cut, more if he's not a member. Let's say 40,000 silver coins to make it worth the effort. At roughly 50 coins to a pound, that's about 800 pounds of silver our thief has to make off with.

Making a ton of assumptions there about the thieves, what they know, how long the thief would be staying in town, what the thief intends to accomplish by breaking into a store, and so on.

You're also assuming this isn't a shop that has something like display windows where an apprentice wizard gone crooked could simply shift inside through said window, fill his pockets, and shift back out.

NONE of the shopkeep vs magical thievery arms race argument counters my argument that the spell list is so overpowered the entire setting has to revolve around it while mundanes can just sort of do their thing and nobody cares, which ties back to the thread's question of why the wizard is overpowered.

(It should also be mentioned that while mykull has made a pretty convincing argument that it wouldn't be particularly cost-effective for a rogue to rob stores in this way, and I will concede that, a wizard that CAN cast dimension door twice, so not even a particularly high-level one, can perform said robbery for free, making a profit no matter what he takes.)


Mykull wrote:
* 2,250 gp for a scroll of teleport. But since he's buying a powerful spell for a theft, he probably doesn't want the transaction registered, so he goes to the Black Market and pays significantly more (3,375 - 5,500). The DC to Use Magic Device on that scroll is 27 (assuming minimum caster level of 7). This is generic NPC thief, so he probably has a 16 DEX. +3 DEX and +3 Trained brings it down to 21. If he's eleventh level, that'll bring the DC down to 10. And he Takes 10 on it, presto, spell is cast. Except, of course, that one can't Take 10 on Use Magic Device. So even an average 11th level npc rogue who's just dropped 2,250 minimum is relying on a 50/50 die roll to not have flushed those jeeps down the chamber pot.

I'm probably missing something painfully obvious here, Mykull, but how is our theoretical thief using UMD on DEX instead of CHA?


dysartes wrote:
Mykull wrote:
* 2,250 gp for a scroll of teleport. But since he's buying a powerful spell for a theft, he probably doesn't want the transaction registered, so he goes to the Black Market and pays significantly more (3,375 - 5,500). The DC to Use Magic Device on that scroll is 27 (assuming minimum caster level of 7). This is generic NPC thief, so he probably has a 16 DEX. +3 DEX and +3 Trained brings it down to 21. If he's eleventh level, that'll bring the DC down to 10. And he Takes 10 on it, presto, spell is cast. Except, of course, that one can't Take 10 on Use Magic Device. So even an average 11th level npc rogue who's just dropped 2,250 minimum is relying on a 50/50 die roll to not have flushed those jeeps down the chamber pot.
I'm probably missing something painfully obvious here, Mykull, but how is our theoretical thief using UMD on DEX instead of CHA?

Only way that comes to mind is if this is a counterfeit mage rogue he's using, although given that an 11th level counterfeit mage with 16 dex and full training in UMD has +22 to Use Magic Device checks I'd assume that's not what he's talking about.


Blackwaltzomega wrote:
Xenocrat wrote:
Blackwaltzomega wrote:
3. No, there won't be any aura for this theoretical magical law enforcement to detect, because faint auras dissipate in a matter of seconds. Leaving behind a faint aura of conjuration gives the detect magic cops at most one minute after the criminal's exit before the crime scene is magically sterile. If they got there in time to detect the aura, they should have caught the thief red-handed
Greater Detect Magic sees residue from every spell cast in the last CL/days, and let’s you identify a magical signature to fingerprint the guilty caster. It’s meant for precisely this sort of problem.

Awesome! Now you just need to examine every magic user you don't personally know in the city while they're casting another spell until you find the guilty party!

"His/her magic looks like this" isn't super-helpful if you don't find the person that signature belongs to and observe them using magic again. You'd be better off just shelling out for the expensive divinations that let you just look back in time or locate a particular piece of the merchandise or crank-call God to give you the details of the robbery.

Which is kind of reinforcing my point that magic is overpowered, not countering it.

Yes, fingerprinting has never worked for solving crimes for very similar reasons.


Xenocrat wrote:
Blackwaltzomega wrote:
Xenocrat wrote:
Blackwaltzomega wrote:
3. No, there won't be any aura for this theoretical magical law enforcement to detect, because faint auras dissipate in a matter of seconds. Leaving behind a faint aura of conjuration gives the detect magic cops at most one minute after the criminal's exit before the crime scene is magically sterile. If they got there in time to detect the aura, they should have caught the thief red-handed
Greater Detect Magic sees residue from every spell cast in the last CL/days, and let’s you identify a magical signature to fingerprint the guilty caster. It’s meant for precisely this sort of problem.

Awesome! Now you just need to examine every magic user you don't personally know in the city while they're casting another spell until you find the guilty party!

"His/her magic looks like this" isn't super-helpful if you don't find the person that signature belongs to and observe them using magic again. You'd be better off just shelling out for the expensive divinations that let you just look back in time or locate a particular piece of the merchandise or crank-call God to give you the details of the robbery.

Which is kind of reinforcing my point that magic is overpowered, not countering it.

Yes, fingerprinting has never worked for solving crimes for very similar reasons.

It's not even kind of an equivalent argument and you know it.

Fingerprints are in a registry that you can then go look up. Unless you add mandatory magic-user registries that somehow has a permanent sample of each registree's magical aura there isn't a system your theoretical magic cop can go file through to try and find the culprit based on "their magic looks like this".

And even knowing what an individual's magic looks like doesn't tell you anything useful about that individual unless you later see that person casting again. So yeah, you have to start investigating every magic user you don't know personally until you find someone whose signature matches the one you identified.

Or, once again, you can just pay a caster to just look back in time or call up God to tell you who did it and skip the detective work entirely.

Silver Crusade

Xenocrat wrote:
Blackwaltzomega wrote:
Xenocrat wrote:
Blackwaltzomega wrote:
3. No, there won't be any aura for this theoretical magical law enforcement to detect, because faint auras dissipate in a matter of seconds. Leaving behind a faint aura of conjuration gives the detect magic cops at most one minute after the criminal's exit before the crime scene is magically sterile. If they got there in time to detect the aura, they should have caught the thief red-handed
Greater Detect Magic sees residue from every spell cast in the last CL/days, and let’s you identify a magical signature to fingerprint the guilty caster. It’s meant for precisely this sort of problem.

Awesome! Now you just need to examine every magic user you don't personally know in the city while they're casting another spell until you find the guilty party!

"His/her magic looks like this" isn't super-helpful if you don't find the person that signature belongs to and observe them using magic again. You'd be better off just shelling out for the expensive divinations that let you just look back in time or locate a particular piece of the merchandise or crank-call God to give you the details of the robbery.

Which is kind of reinforcing my point that magic is overpowered, not countering it.

Yes, fingerprinting has never worked for solving crimes for very similar reasons.

It works if you have a small pool of people to check them against or a database of such fingerprints to reference. Good luck finding a random person who has no recorded fingerprints in a city of thousands.


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Not everyone is fingerprinted, but this tangent is meaningless.

Rules are not physics. The economy in a D&D game is inherently irrational. It is not an object in the setting; it is a mechanic to facilitate gameplay. The economy has plot armor.

If you want to do a heist, there are obstacles in your way at some given CR. You overcome them like any other. You get XP and loot appropriate to those encounters. You stay within WBL.


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.

Don't be silly. You fly up to them then cast it. You can use a potion of fly . Brawler eventually wore celestial armor. Sure you both take falling damage but who cares. You have more HP and your punching up a brainy commoner. Also did the same with a verminous hunter with a mantis companion mount. Nothing like beating up a commoner grappled by a large mantis 60 feet in the air.


Blackwaltzomega wrote:
Also, no, 1400. Period. A 4th-level scroll costs 700 GP. One to get in. One to get out. 1400 GP. No more, and no less.

You are correct. I just looked at the Scroll Base Costs (by Scriber's Class) and doubled it because I thought that the base cost was how much it would cost the scriber to make it and then doubled it for selling it, but the bottom of the chart does have this note, "Prices assume that the scroll was made at the minimum caster level. The cost to create the scroll is half the base price." That's what confused me, so, yes, it would be 1400 gp for both dimension door scrolls.

Blackwaltzomega wrote:
I did no such thing. Teleportation refers to every spell in the teleportation subschool. You chose, for reasons unclear to me, to assume I was specifically referring to the spell teleport despite that obviously being overkill for getting into a shop you can see.

I did that because you said, ". . . teleported inside, took everything that wasn't nailed down and on fire, and teleported back out." If you had meant dimension door, I would have expected you to write, ". . . dimension doored inside, took everything that wasn't nailed down and on fire, and dimension doored back out." If you had meant plane shift, I would have expected you to write, ". . . plane shifted inside, took everything that wasn't nailed down and on fire, and plane shifted back out." If you had meant gate, I would have expected you to write, ". . . gated inside, took everything that wasn't nailed down and on fire, and gated back out." I thought that you meant what you typed and typed what you meant.

Blackwaltzomega wrote:
This shop doesn't have WINDOWS? Even a tiny one completely invalidates this point.

This shop doesn't have DRAPES? To close up shop at the end of the night? That blocks line of sight. Every jewelry store I see has those metal sidings that go into place when they close. But even if the thief gets to the showroom floor, that isn't back in the Employees Only section where is all the loot. That's another locked door to bypass.

Blackwaltzomega wrote:
Making a ton of assumptions there about the thieves, what they know, how long the thief would be staying in town, what the thief intends to accomplish by breaking into a store, and so on.

We have to, don't we? We're assuming the silversmith has enough valuable material to be worth robbing. That implies a large enough town to support the work of a silversmith that has enough valuable material to be worth robbing. That large town implies there's a Thieves' Guild. That Thieves' Guild is supposed to be keeping a handle on unsanctioned non-member thieves.

But if we're talking about a rogue thief, then, yes, anything is possible. I am assuming we're talking about a generic, run-of-the-mill thief and not some random outlier because a random outlier can foil anything. Which is why random outliers are not statistically significant and are discarded.

Blackwaltzomega wrote:
You're also assuming this isn't a shop that has something like display windows where an apprentice wizard gone crooked could simply shift inside through said window, fill his pockets, and shift back out.
Conjuration Specialist School Power wrote:
You must be able to see the space that you are moving into . . . You can move 5 feet for every two wizard levels you possess (minimum 5 feet).

Drapes foil the line of sight. Assuming, by apprentice, you mean a first level wizard (which is something I have to assume because you didn't specify), then he only has five feet to work with. And that is a mighty tiny margin within to work. And, yes, I'm assuming (AGAIN) that the silversmith has stone and not wooden walls because he's a silversmith.

Blackwaltzomega wrote:
NONE of the shopkeep vs magical thievery arms race argument counters my argument that the spell list is so overpowered the entire setting has to revolve around it while mundanes can just sort of do their thing and nobody cares, which ties back to the thread's question of why the wizard is overpowered.

Actually, the thread doesn't agree that the wizard is overpowered. The title of the thread is "Why are wizards considered overpowered?" I take that to mean that some people think that wizards are OP, not that they game mechanically actually are.

Blackwaltzomega wrote:
(It should also be mentioned that while mykull has made a pretty convincing argument that it wouldn't be particularly cost-effective for a rogue to rob stores in this way, and I will concede that, a wizard that CAN cast dimension door twice, so not even a particularly high-level one, can perform said robbery for free, making a profit no matter what he takes.)

That's entirely a matter of opinion. I think that assumes that the average person's level is 10 (even if they're just a level 10 Commoner) because that's half-way to twenty. But I think that most people are much lower-level than that. Most commoners reaching level 3, with a few getting to five. We always play the heroes of the realm that get to the godly power levels, which I think skews our perspective on this; we're the outliers that don't accurately reflect the rest of the world. Seventh level wizard then, is much higher than most of the realm will ever be.

But a high-level rogue can pick the locks FOR FREE!
And a high-level barbarian can smash the locks FOR FREE!
Neither make those classes OP. Why then does it make it so for the Wizard?

In the interest of accuracy:
1400 gp for Dimension Door scrolls is 14,000 sp or 280 pounds of silver. That would require a minimum STR of 18, which, for a human, is supposed to be Mr. Olympia body-builder type level of strength. More likely than the STR 25, but still very unlikely in a rogue, or a wizard, and especially in a rogue/wizard.

The Bag of Holding still won't help, though. The Type II has a 500 pound weight limit, but has a cost of 5,000 gp itself, which adds another 1,000 lbs of needed silver to be boosted to break even.


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Finger prints and window drapes?

This conversation took a turn for the suck. Honestly none of this matters. Get back on topic.


I feel one part of the discussion isn't being touched on; the player.

Not everyone picking up Wizard(or casters) will instantly go "Okay so how to break this game to the point I don't even need to play anymore". Some people will just want to fling fire, lightning, and acid because that's what they see in other fiction(Games and tv). Others might slide into a more supportive role. Still others, like myself, will have no idea what to do.

Wizard and casters might break the game, but it is dependent on just how smart the player behind them are. Or just dumb luck but I really can't count dumb like when Nat 20 exists across all classes.


Starfinder Charter Superscriber

I've read through 600+ posts and tried to keep an open-mind, but my answer to the original poster would still be "Yes."

Is it theoretically possible to run a campaign in a way specifically designed to address the problem? Maybe. But in the vast majority of adventures, situations, and encounters (both homebrew and published) the wizard will be over-powered.


Wizards are theoretically overpowered as all hell. Table variance will occur. I'm pretty sure everyone is on the same page with that bit.


MerlinCross wrote:

I feel one part of the discussion isn't being touched on; the player.

Not everyone picking up Wizard(or casters) will instantly go "Okay so how to break this game to the point I don't even need to play anymore". Some people will just want to fling fire, lightning, and acid because that's what they see in other fiction(Games and tv). Others might slide into a more supportive role. Still others, like myself, will have no idea what to do.

Wizard and casters might break the game, but it is dependent on just how smart the player behind them are. Or just dumb luck but I really can't count dumb like when Nat 20 exists across all classes.

The things that make the Wizard overwhelmingly powerful are not the player being malicious and abusing loopholes.

Say we're in a hallway. There are eight enemies. I cast Wall of Stone in the middle of the group, with half the enemies in front, and half behind. The wall delays the group behind for two rounds before they either break through or find a way around. I have consumed half the enemy's actions for two rounds with one action on my round.

That is the power of control. I use my actions to cost the enemy a larger portion of their actions to overcome the obstacle I put in their way, diminishing their ability to act.

And there are so many ways to cost enemies so many actions that it's not hard to consistently render opponents impotent. This is an act that makes perfect sense in-character, and simply resorting to blast spells in-character and disregarding knowledge of basic tactics if you have it is bending over backward and not playing the game because the game has become this delicate thing you have to treat like an egg.


Omnius wrote:
MerlinCross wrote:

I feel one part of the discussion isn't being touched on; the player.

Not everyone picking up Wizard(or casters) will instantly go "Okay so how to break this game to the point I don't even need to play anymore". Some people will just want to fling fire, lightning, and acid because that's what they see in other fiction(Games and tv). Others might slide into a more supportive role. Still others, like myself, will have no idea what to do.

Wizard and casters might break the game, but it is dependent on just how smart the player behind them are. Or just dumb luck but I really can't count dumb like when Nat 20 exists across all classes.

The things that make the Wizard overwhelmingly powerful are not the player being malicious and abusing loopholes.

Say we're in a hallway. There are eight enemies. I cast Wall of Stone in the middle of the group, with half the enemies in front, and half behind. The wall delays the group behind for two rounds before they either break through or find a way around. I have consumed half the enemy's actions for two rounds with one action on my round.

That is the power of control. I use my actions to cost the enemy a larger portion of their actions to overcome the obstacle I put in their way, diminishing their ability to act.

And there are so many ways to cost enemies so many actions that it's not hard to consistently render opponents impotent. This is an act that makes perfect sense in-character, and simply resorting to blast spells in-character and disregarding knowledge of basic tactics if you have it is bending over backward and not playing the game because the game has become this delicate thing you have to treat like an egg.

I agree this is a thing that can happen, and not just with Wizards but with casters in general. But this is also looking at it as "The perfect set up".

In your example, what if said Wizard just hit Level 9(And thus got their level 5 spell slots). There's a number of spells that could go in there that do they actually have Wall of Stone ready? And yes any number of spells could take their spot but again, what do you have?

And I'm not saying you have to bend backwards(at least all the time) but you expect me to believe that some random person getting into any tabletop will play a caster as the full fledged 'God' they are? Or someone that just wants to play a Fire Mage is going to threaten what in game besides anything with fire weakness?

It's easy to break the game with magic, I can agree to that. But not everyone is willing to break said game or their character is set up to break the game.

I could provide examples bu those are from my point of view and not mid tier spell list yet. So my view is probably not what the topic is looking for.


MerlinCross wrote:
Omnius wrote:
MerlinCross wrote:

I feel one part of the discussion isn't being touched on; the player.

Not everyone picking up Wizard(or casters) will instantly go "Okay so how to break this game to the point I don't even need to play anymore". Some people will just want to fling fire, lightning, and acid because that's what they see in other fiction(Games and tv). Others might slide into a more supportive role. Still others, like myself, will have no idea what to do.

Wizard and casters might break the game, but it is dependent on just how smart the player behind them are. Or just dumb luck but I really can't count dumb like when Nat 20 exists across all classes.

The things that make the Wizard overwhelmingly powerful are not the player being malicious and abusing loopholes.

Say we're in a hallway. There are eight enemies. I cast Wall of Stone in the middle of the group, with half the enemies in front, and half behind. The wall delays the group behind for two rounds before they either break through or find a way around. I have consumed half the enemy's actions for two rounds with one action on my round.

That is the power of control. I use my actions to cost the enemy a larger portion of their actions to overcome the obstacle I put in their way, diminishing their ability to act.

And there are so many ways to cost enemies so many actions that it's not hard to consistently render opponents impotent. This is an act that makes perfect sense in-character, and simply resorting to blast spells in-character and disregarding knowledge of basic tactics if you have it is bending over backward and not playing the game because the game has become this delicate thing you have to treat like an egg.

I agree this is a thing that can happen, and not just with Wizards but with casters in general. But this is also looking at it as "The perfect set up".

In your example, what if said Wizard just hit Level 9(And thus got their level 5 spell slots). There's a number of spells that...

Well, that sorta loops around to why the wizard is considered overpowered.

Generally speaking, it's taken for granted that a rogue will swindle, hornswoggle, exploit, and generally speaking do anything short of actually cheating to milk every advantage available to them in and out of combat, and this doesn't tend to have a huge impact on gameplay or the setting; it's things working as intended. The rogue is a class that will play suboptimally if you don't think like one and constantly work an angle and exploit advantages whenever they are available.

A lot of gameplay and setting details for Pathfinder often involve a series of gentlemen's agreements that magic will NOT behave in this manner because things will get silly or deadly very quickly if the people with magic acted like that. "This COULD be done but please don't" is much more the magic-user's refrain than the skill monkey's.


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MerlinCross wrote:

I agree this is a thing that can happen, and not just with Wizards but with casters in general. But this is also looking at it as "The perfect set up".

In your example, what if said Wizard just hit Level 9(And thus got their level 5 spell slots). There's a number of spells that could go in there that do they actually have Wall of Stone ready? And yes any number of spells could take their spot but again, what do you have?

And I'm not saying you have to bend backwards(at least all the time) but you expect me to believe that some random person getting into any tabletop will play a caster as the full fledged 'God' they are? Or someone that just wants to play a Fire Mage is going to threaten what in game besides anything with fire weakness?

It's easy to break the game with magic, I can agree to that. But not everyone is willing to break said game or their character is set up to break the game.

I could provide examples bu those are from my point of view and not mid tier spell list yet. So my view is probably not what the topic is looking for.

I've had people come to my games brand new and play the God wizard, blocking off or tying up enemies without prompting! Who look at the spells and say, "I could do less damage than a crossbow... or I could put everybody on their ass so they're not a threat. Imma put everybody on their ass." Who realize, "Hey, this is a good spell, but it's resisted by reflex. If I have another spell that's resisted by will, and another that's resisted by fortitude, I always have a good spell."

And they continued to make the logical choices, using their tools as tools, managing their resources and applying tools creatively. Not out of any intent to break the game, but out of rational decision making both in and out of character.

And that didn't have to be a Wall of Stone. It could just as easily be Grease, Web, a summon, Proprietary Name's Black Tentacles, or any number of things. Might not have Wall of Stone at the moment (though if I'm going down in a cave, I probably do), but there are a lot of flexible spells that can do that same job and are routinely a good idea to prepare.


Bloodrealm wrote:
Wizards are theoretically overpowered as all hell. Table variance will occur. I'm pretty sure everyone is on the same page with that bit.

My understanding is that part of the reason the thread has gone on for as long as it has is that some people are arguing that because table variance exists, wizards are not overpowered in either theory or principle and that if you don't run the game in a specific way to hamstring Wizards, or in some cases casters in general, you're playing the game wrong.

Omnius wrote:

I've had people come to my games brand new and play the God wizard, blocking off or tying up enemies without prompting! Who look at the spells and say, "I could do less damage than a crossbow... or I could put everybody on their ass so they're not a threat. Imma put everybody on their ass." Who realize, "Hey, this is a good spell, but it's resisted by reflex. If I have another spell that's resisted by will, and another that's resisted by fortitude, I always have a good spell."

And they continued to make the logical choices, using their tools as tools, managing their resources and applying tools creatively. Not out of any intent to break the game, but out of rational decision making both in and out of character.

And that didn't have to be a Wall of Stone. It could just as easily be Grease, Web, a summon, Proprietary Name's Black Tentacles, or any number of things. Might not have Wall of Stone at the moment (though if...

This highlights another issue that complicates talking about it.

One person's breaking the game is using Create Armament's Gold Chainmail loophole to generate wealth until they can't get any more diamonds or chaingating Solars. Another person's breaking the game is simply using the Web spell at all, ever, instead of always blasting. Still another person's breaking the game is specializing in debuffing.


Nope your still not getting it.


Coidzor wrote:
Bloodrealm wrote:
Wizards are theoretically overpowered as all hell. Table variance will occur. I'm pretty sure everyone is on the same page with that bit.
My understanding is that part of the reason the thread has gone on for as long as it has is that some people are arguing that because table variance exists, wizards are not overpowered in either theory or principle and that if you don't run the game in a specific way to hamstring Wizards, or in some cases casters in general, you're playing the game wrong.

For my part at least, that is not at all what I am saying. GMs can run games however they like.

But if it becomes a problem, there are reasonable tactics that a GM can use to bring balance to the game (as described above).

Most boil down to 2 simple concepts: Push for a longer adventuring day and if a wizard is the biggest threat, they will also be the biggest target.

Maybe it's the players I play with, my GMs and my outlook on the game but full casters rarely seem that overpowered in the games we run.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2011 Top 32

Bloodrealm wrote:
Wizards are theoretically overpowered as all hell. Table variance will occur. I'm pretty sure everyone is on the same page with that bit.

While I agree, this statement is trivially true. I could set up a campaign world that makes CRB rogues and monks the overpowered choices. It would vary drastically from expected standards of Pathfinder, but it would be doable.

Spoiler for example:

Spoiler:
The D&D setting Dark Sun comes pretty close - the whole place is a scorching desert so armor sucks. Metal is 100x as expensive so weapons suck and are made of crappy materials, while also being illegal in many locations. Non-psionic casters are lynch on site for 99% of the populace. The entire realm is ruled by jealous sorcerer kings who stamp down any competition, and have a ruthless special police force that do have spellcasting and will totally hunt down your PCs for the slightest infraction.

It's actually my favorite published setting.


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Coidzor wrote:

My understanding is that part of the reason the thread has gone on for as long as it has is that some people are arguing that because table variance exists, wizards are not overpowered in either theory or principle and that if you don't run the game in a specific way to hamstring Wizards, or in some cases casters in general, you're playing the game wrong.

You don't deal with wizards by hamstringing them. Doing so frustrates players and risks turning the game into a battle against the GM. It's better to design scenarios that require magical solutions. Don't stop the wizard from spellcasting; force him to cast spells.

So, for example, instead of thwarting teleportation with spells like Dimensional Lock, design a dungeon inhabited by fiends that has to be navigated by teleportation.

Or if you expect the wizard to divide two sets of enemies with a wall, design each set of enemies as a challenge in its own right. That way once the wall is up the party martials still have a fight on their hands.

Wizards change the way the game works at high levels. Don't fight it; roll with it.

Liberty's Edge

Moonclanger wrote:
Coidzor wrote:

My understanding is that part of the reason the thread has gone on for as long as it has is that some people are arguing that because table variance exists, wizards are not overpowered in either theory or principle and that if you don't run the game in a specific way to hamstring Wizards, or in some cases casters in general, you're playing the game wrong.

You don't deal with wizards by hamstringing them. Doing so frustrates players and risks turning the game into a battle against the GM. It's better to design scenarios that require magical solutions. Don't stop the wizard from spellcasting; force him to cast spells.

So, for example, instead of thwarting teleportation with spells like Dimensional Lock, design a dungeon inhabited by fiends that has to be navigated by teleportation.

Or if you expect the wizard to divide two sets of enemies with a wall, design each set of enemies as a challenge in its own right. That way once the wall is up the party martials still have a fight on their hands.

Wizards change the way the game works at high levels. Don't fight it; roll with it.

A couple of points :)

1: If you have to design the encounters - especially out of combat ones - to challenge wizards - because, as you say, they change the way the game works at higher levels - then you're acknowledging that they are more powerful than a rogue or a fighter. When was the last time one had to change the overall design of their campaign for what a fighter did? I'm sure it has happened, but it's extraordinarily rare.

2: If you design the dungeons and your campaign like that, you're essentially locking out all the martials. If the only way through a dungeon is by teleportation, then the rogue and fighter along for the journey aren't going to be doing anything. Especially annoying for the rogue - they're the skill monkey, and should be able to contribute out of combat. If they can't because the world needs to be designed around how wizards work, that's a pretty big problem in the system, in my opinion. I know for one I'd be annoyed if I had the expectation that my rogue was going to be the greatest lockpicker in the world, and I never needed to pick a lock past level 10 because the wizard cast Aram Zey's Focus, or Knock, or just dim-door'd past the issue, or one of any number of things that can make me useless.

Tl;dr: If you design you campaign so that you require magical solutions, you remove all the narrative power of those without magic - more than anything, this shows the fact that those that use magic (the wizard being the most egregious) are too powerful.


Arcaian wrote:

Tl;dr: If you design you campaign so that you require magical solutions, you remove all the narrative power of those without magic - more than anything, this shows the fact that those that use magic (the wizard being the most egregious) are too powerful.

I didn't say every problem should require a magical solution. And do bear in mind that the game is designed for a balanced party consisting of a fighter, a cleric, a rogue and a wizard, or a group of similar size with a similar skill set. So with half the members in a typical party being spellcasters it's not unreasonable for problems to require magical solutions.

While you could see the dominance of magic at high levels as evidence that spellcasters are overpowered, I tend to see it as being part of the game's flavour. When I want to run a game with different assumptions I use a different system.


Omnius wrote:
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.

It isn't silly.

If you *can* face the BBEG then you need to be ready to fight him. If you know you can beat the BBEG then, yes, you teleport to him and defeat him. If you don't know, then you go for an edge.

Player characters KNOW they gain experience as they adventure. In real life I knew I gained experience when I was doing martial arts and could see the improvement over time. There are tons of stories out there where some group who ISN'T prepared to battle a certain enemy have to do other things to get an edge, or even try to face him/her and are defeated.

Players assuming that they are always strong enough to win is worse metagaming.

If they *can* win, great, the game remains challenging (and yes, they do gain more experience if they are swinging above their weight class) but slow and steady, taking their time, learning, improving, etc are things characters ARE aware of. Always trying to rush things is NEVER a good idea and anyone who always does that is eventually going to go off before they are ready and will always pay for it.


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"I, the skilled warrior who has been aggressively training and fighting for over a decade, am not even close to ready to fight Steve the Necromancer, but I will be if I spend the next week on the road exhausting myself by smashing every face between here and there," sounds pretty metagamey to me.

There's no in-character reason to assume that the character who's been training and practicing for years suddenly goes through some sort of super soldier puberty where over the course of three months of adventuring, they go from rat smasher to demigod.


[strokes preposterous philosopher beard +2]
I agree that it sounds metagamey to us, but I think you have to put yourself in the shoes of someone living in a fantasy setting. In addition to dragons, outsiders, magical beasts, etc. being super real, and part of life, there are actual people around you going on magical adventures and coming back badass and decked out in ludicrously expensive magical gear. Or getting killed. But then they get raised, because that is a part of life as well. Their existence and life experiences would be vastly different then our own, but it would be normal to them.

I recommend checking out the Order of the Stick for a fantastic imagining of what it would be like to live in the universe created by the D&D rules.


Well, no in character reason other than that's how they got to a level where teleport became an option in the first place.

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