Why are wizards considered overpowered?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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wraithstrike wrote:
Hugo Rune wrote:

Wizards are only overpowered if the conditions are right. If the GM runs level appropriate, rather than party customised, encounters then the wizard will find they have a fewer number of appropriate spells per day. Vary the number of encounters per day then the wizard will be less sure whether they can afford to cast the useful spell or to save it for when it is really needed. Vary the types of encounter and the wizard will be less sure of what spells are needed.

A wizard with no useful spells is a liability to the group and being a liability is the antithesis of being overpowered. Mitigating this by loading up with self preservation spells is still a hinderance to the group as the party is effectively a man down, even if the wizard survivies.

By level appropriate do you mean "the GM is ignoring CR and doing whatever is needed to match the party"? I ask because an optimized party can shred encounters that are at the "appropriate" CR level.

If a wizard has no useful spells I'm going to doubt the skill of the player unless its a lower level party. As I've said before the perfect spell isn't needed, but he shouldn't be stuck doing nothing on a consistent basis.<----actual gameplay, not theorycraft.

As for self preservation spells unless the GM magically makes the time speed up he can stay buffed up long enough to clear dungeons. He should't have to keep casting them, but admittedly this is down to playstyle also, and so is how much a party rest. If the party tries to sleep in enemy HQ they should expect to be disturbed, but outside of that taking breaks at their choice is possible. Most parties wont want to go forward when the casters(divine or arcane) or out of(or low on) spells anyway.

Hi Wraithstrike. By level appropriate, I mean CR level, with overall encounter levels per day adjusted for the group's competency. As we have discussed before (and largely agreed I believe) the word optimised can cover many things. If it means specialised then a highly specialised group can easily overcome some level appropriate encounters and be TPKed by others. If it is a well balanced but stronger than average group played well then it is probable that the group will be successful - I don't see that as an issue.

I expect thew wizard to have some useful spells, but not every spell to be useful and certainly not every spell to be optimal. The God Wizard theory seems to assume that the wizard always has the optimal spell selection for every encounter. The previously mentioned encounter variety and number will reduce this. To answer another point, yes some of the slack can be taken up with scrolls, wands etc; if circumstances allow. Having a time pressure and a lack of branches of Ye Olde Magick Shoppe in the local area can curtail this option and even if it doesn't - spending wealth on such items means that the wealth can't be spent on other things.

The last point, as you have stated is down to playstyle. Not just how often the party rests but how much the GM lets them rest. If the party is camping in the wild, they should expect the 8 hour uninterrupted sleep to be a luxury. The coach inn might have a rowdy group disturbing sleep (a real dick move if used more than once or twice). There is plenty that can be done to fill a day beyond the standard 4 encounters and if the party antagonise the BBEG they should expect to be pursued - making rest more difficult.


Mykull wrote:

First Edition Level Progression

This includes all classes from 1E (andreww omitted the Illusionist, Assassin, and Monk [which actually makes his case stronger]).

My counterpoint to this (as an aside, this is ludicrous in a great way that we're discussing FIRST EDITION) is that while the Magic-User does speed up in the mid-level game, the slow-going low-levels, coupled with its squishiness (d4 HD, +2 CON cap) and few spells (no bonus INT spells, no cantrips, no scrolls) made for many dead wizards at low levels.

Also, when XP becomes linear for all classes at high levels, the Magic-User has the largest requirement, even, finally, outstripping the Paladin in XP needs.

Finally, I posit that the leveling of the XP playing field is but one reason why the Wizard is considered overpowered (see previous posts for other reasons).

Some people call me mad and even try to burn me alive every time I say that the xp progression was a balance factor and it would be interesting to see it implemented again.

Also I'd like to point out my good sir, that I've enjoyed reading all your posts in this never ending controversial issue about "wizards".


Wizards do not need foreknowledge to be in magic jar bodies or be invisible while summoning monsters or to cast haste or to have near unlimited amounts of money and magical items.


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Athaleon wrote:
High level spells like Teleport, Plane Shift, Gate, . . . These spells fundamentally change the nature of campaigns. The fact that a GM has to take steps to rein in casters is proof in itself that casters are overpowered—something in need of reining in.

In my world, because demons and devils teleport at will, research of such spells was considered diabolism/infernalism. Tree Stride and a monk's Leap of a 1000 Steps still existed. But wizards didn't have teleport until a PC (Zim) researched them. Incidentally, they're called Zim's Door and Zimportation because Zim invented the spells.

Zim also went on to become the Terramancer (the wizard/ambassador for the Elemental Plane of Earth), joining the Cryomancer, Hydromancer, Electromancer, and Necromancer of the globe. Now that each of the four elemental planes are represented, they can choose a new Neomancer to balance out the Necromancer.

Zim runs the Bluecrater Academy in Cauldron, one of half a dozen magic schools that teach the arcane arts. A graduating wizard's "diploma" is their arcane mark, a spell that a renegade wizard who teaches an unsanctioned apprentice cannot give (arcane mark is only obtainable through the graduating ceremony).

These schools exist because, while there are tens of thousands of people on the globe with the raw intellect to cast Wish, there are precious few who also have the wisdom to not cast it. Can you imagine a globe where there are thousands of wizards casting contradictory wishes on a daily basis? It would rip the very fabric of reality to shreds, casting the globe into the Abyss.

These schools are rare, hard to reach, and difficult to pass to weed out all those who lack the wisdom and humility to wield their magic responsibly.

Now, is the fact that I have taken steps to rein in casters proof in itself that casters are overpowered? Or has the globe reacted in a natural way to limit the proliferation of dangerous power (like the U.S. tries to limit the increase in the number of nuclear states [yes, which is also self-serving, but also altruistic {but, please, I'm not trying to start a political debate, I'm just using it as an example}]).

William Werminster wrote:
Also I'd like to point out my good sir, that I've enjoyed reading all your posts in this never ending controversial issue about "wizards".

[snark]You mean, of course, Magic-Users, don't you?[/snark]


The Thing From Another World wrote:
In your play test you essentially put a creature that was immune to all the spells that the Wizard player choose. Then before designing the encounter made sure to read what spells the Wizard player was going to use. Both Limp Lash and Color Spray are useless against Undead. Hardly a unbiased test of how to kill a Wizard. I can do the same to a Wizard when given the spell list beforehand. While also not telling the player ahead of time that I plan to use a creature that be sheer coincidence just happens to be immune to all his spells. If I planned every single encounter that way I would no longer have any players. Most players don't mind if you target their weaknesses every now and then. Building encounters on purpose to make one or more players characters useless at the table on a constant basis. Is not going to have players remain at the table for too long. To win and get ahead the DM comes across as cheating. No one wants to play with a DM that cheats.

Uhm no. In my play test I used an adventure that I ran for my players two weeks before the challenge. I didn't plan a SINGLE encounter for the Wizard. I didn't even know there would be a Wizard challenge when I built it.

Just like an AP the player was told the exact same information my players had.

And THAT is why the "God Wizard" is a myth. This person CHOSE spells that, without ANY shenanigans on my side, just wasn't useful.

What information did the players have?

Lemme see if I can pull it up still... (Thank you Roll20 for not deleting anything I have ever written.)

-----

"You learned from the townspeople that an ancient temple to the fallen Dragon King resided atop the mountain. The locals fear to go near it, citing that the stench of death permeates it, they call it the mountain of death."

-----

What am I supposed to do to make it "fair" for the wizard? Give him a detailed breakdown of every encounter? There were more than just undead there, the Wizard player quit before finishing the whole adventure.

*****

The combat encounters the players faced were as follows:

1. 6 Undead Goblins (using a template called a Mountain Goblin, from my homebrew, doesn't do much, lower dex for higher con)

2. 4 Flaming Skulls

3. 3 human Clerics. (3 CR lower than the party) - What made this one dangerous was that if the Flaming skulls had not been encountered, already, they could call them to make the encounter harder. My players went through the skulls first.

4. 4 Skeleton Warriors and 1 Dark (very alive) Cleric (the cleric was CR equal to APL +1)

5. 1 Undead Drake

Note: There were other encounters that were possible, but these were the ones my players faced. I didn't assume the Wizard went in alone and the test was on pure hypothetical actions. A "What would be your plan to deal with this" situation.

*****

The non-combat encounters the players faced were:

1. A dangerous ledge moving up the mountain.

2. A locked door to the temple.

3. A trapped treasure box.

*****

The biggest cabosh was that the players had only 1 day. If the players rested after they set out then the Dark Priest would have taken the Drake and the item it was guarding and left. They would have failed.

*****
-----

This is typical of sessions that I run. 4-5 encounters per session, 2-3 non-combat encounters, usually a time limit preventing the "15 minute adventuring day".

I only plan for my players if there is a reason for the enemy to know about the players, which happens as they gain fame if they make their presence known. In this case they had not yet so I did not plan the adventure with *anything* in mind.

The Wizard player didn't plan perfectly to handle what he faced. Thus he quit because his point was defeated.


HWalsh wrote:
This is typical of sessions that I run. 4-5 encounters per session, 2-3 non-combat encounters, usually a time limit preventing the "15 minute adventuring day".

What happens when the players decide they'll deal with the situation if it becomes a problem for them, and go off to do something that their characters are interested in? Creating a time limit for the Thief-PC to take over a thieves guild isn't so easy.


Bluenose wrote:
HWalsh wrote:
This is typical of sessions that I run. 4-5 encounters per session, 2-3 non-combat encounters, usually a time limit preventing the "15 minute adventuring day".
What happens when the players decide they'll deal with the situation if it becomes a problem for them, and go off to do something that their characters are interested in? Creating a time limit for the Thief-PC to take over a thieves guild isn't so easy.

Really? Take over the thieves guild before their rival can accumulate enough blackmail on their support structure or do enough murders to take the PC's place. Literally 3 seconds of thought.


The real problem with time limit adventures is overusing them. Some players get tired of being on a clock and will rebel by going off script.


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After reading through this whole thread, the takeway really seems to be that yes, Wizards are ridiculous, but an unprepared player or a GM contriving specific scenarios can both make them look underwhelming.

I'm not sure that really ends up being a good defense for the class, but it is what it is I guess.

HWalsh wrote:
And THAT is why the "God Wizard" is a myth

Not sure that's really the takeaway here. You've shown that an unprepared Wizard can fail, but you can really make the same argument about any class in the game.

"I saw a wizard do badly once" isn't a very compelling argument, much less the hard proof of anything you seem to think it is.


The world hardest dungeon is consistently won by casters.

One encounter after another. No 15 minute work days. And no, contrary to expectations here, a good wizard doesn't run out of spells.


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I always dread posting threads like these, but hey - I might just help someone save some time!

A few years back forum Guru and all-round cool guy Jiggy wrote a fantastic breakdown of the Martial-Caster disparity arguments in a thread somewhat provocatively called Dispelling Myths: The Caster-Martial Disparity. Don't let the name throw you off, it's a handy tool that breaks down the common arguments for showing people that are new to the game or don't really understand what the argument is all about. The post currently has 122 favorites, a number that seems to rise a bit every time it's linked on the boards. :)

Jiggy's currently working on designing his own system! Interested? You can learn more here.

If you would like to learn even more about the topic another user, Kobold Cleaver, has taken it upon himself to organize the many, (many, many) different threads discussing the martial-caster disparity and the supremacy of spellcasters, and sorts them into creative threads that primarily want to change the rules to improve balance, and discussion threads that are primarily debates - or in some cases, arguments. You can find the google document listing all the threads here.

Finally I'd like to encourage everyone to stay polite, be respectful and try to keep an open mind. Every game is different, what is true for you may be patently untrue for someone else, or vice versa :)


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I think the real problem lies with flexibility. Many posts ago I mentioned that spell casters (wizards in particular) are "loophole specialists".

At the game table there are 4-6 players and 1 GM with a plan. Usually the GM is the most broadly knowledgeable of the game system mechanics. So at the table is one brain with a plan and 4-6 brains with various agendas and SOPs.
So power struggles and other dynamics can arise. One tries to have a cooperative rather than a competitive atmosphere, or a friendly competition.
The GM has to handle various curveballs to keep the game somewhat on track according to his plan or the scenario as written(lol). Without a doubt spellcasters create the most changes to environment and tactics and sometimes cause strategic changes. Of course there are other GMs that just roll with the punches and make it up on the fly. I think the best plan is to have a plan and a flexible outlook, villians and such can charge as they observe the situations change.
GMs should not try to railroad things too much or fall in love with their plot. Players have chaos on their side and sometimes it works for them. Characters >should< play to survive. It's a different strategy than playing to win.

Alas, as GMs love their plans and martials are jealous of high level shenanigans, this thread will never end.


Perfect Tommy wrote:

The world hardest dungeon is consistently won by casters.

One encounter after another. No 15 minute work days. And no, contrary to expectations here, a good wizard doesn't run out of spells.

Could you clarify that, please? Are you talking one caster soloing a dungeon? Are you talking a party of 4 casters is better than a party of 4 martials? Are you saying that in a mixed party, the caster does most of the work?


AHAH!!!

I got it, it isn't wizards or even casters that are overpowered! It's magic, something casters just happen to be good at and wizards are probably the most versatile casters.

Quote:
High level spells like Teleport, Plane Shift, Gate, . . . These spells fundamentally change the nature of campaigns.

I'll note that the above spells are useable by anyone with either the appropriate skill or magic items (there's that word again} as are pretty much every other spell mentioned as 'campaign busting'. Nothing prevents any class or character from acquiring these abilities either. They are not the sole providence of spellcasters.

Strip away or weaken most magic and magic items you are no longer playing what most I think would call a high fantasy campaign. Certainly not the high fantasy of campaign worlds such as the Forgotten Realms or Greyhawk. Wizards and spellcasters are "overpowered" largely because the campaign worlds are by their very nature highly influenced by magic and that's what they do. They are not specialist of martial prowess but magical prowess. Each DM and campaign searches for the balance that they find the most enjoyable between martial and magical arts and influence.


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Kayerloth wrote:
I got it, it isn't wizards or even casters that are overpowered! It's magic, something casters just happen to be good at and wizards are probably the most versatile casters.

"It's not wizards, it's the core defining feature of what a wizard is!" is a statement that doesn't make a lot of sense.

Did you think people were complaining about their five bonus feats being OP?

Quote:
Strip away or weaken most magic and magic items you are no longer playing what most I think would call a high fantasy campaign. Certainly not the high fantasy of campaign worlds such as the Forgotten Realms or Greyhawk. Wizards and spellcasters are "overpowered" largely because the campaign worlds are by their very nature highly influenced by magic and that's what they do.

I'm not sure that's actually true.

Settings like FR, Greyhawk and Golarion are certainly fairly high fantasy, but they're still largely defined by the mundane with some magic, not the other way around. Farmers farm. Merchant caravans travel overland. Armies march. Cities have guards. We don't see widespread use of create or purify food or elaborate teleportation networks or magical automata. Even the most powerful spellcasters in the setting often rely on methods that are ultimately fairly mundane in spite of what capabilities they ought to have.

The fact is that in order to preserve the setting that best fits the stories the designers want to tell, the influence of magic (especially high level magic) is ignored more than embraced.

In that respect your premise is entirely reversed. Forget gunslingers or vigilantes or psychics, high level spellcasters are as anathema to the integrity of the game world as you can get.


Kayerloth wrote:
Strip away or weaken most magic and magic items you are no longer playing what most I think would call a high fantasy campaign.

I feel like a bunch of the other post-3.5e D20 games serve as effective counterexamples to this. Like 13th Age, for example, is absurdly high fantasy at times (we've been through 12 apocalypses, and all the magic items and dungeons are sentient!), and yet the only magic that "magic classes" get is combat magic and all non-combat magic is available to anyone* who spends a single feat to get it. This effectively resolves the C/MD I feel. 4e might have felt like a complex board game at times, but Magic was brought in line with everything else, and you're still in a decidedly "high fantasy" setting.


PossibleCabbage wrote:
Kayerloth wrote:
Strip away or weaken most magic and magic items you are no longer playing what most I think would call a high fantasy campaign.
I feel like a bunch of the other post-3.5e D20 games serve as effective counterexamples to this. Like 13th Age, for example, is absurdly high fantasy at times (we've been through 12 apocalypses, and all the magic items and dungeons are sentient!), and yet the only magic that "magic classes" get is combat magic and all non-combat magic is available to anyone* who spends a single feat to get it. This effectively resolves the C/MD I feel. 4e might have felt like a complex board game at times, but Magic was brought in line with everything else, and you're still in a decidedly "high fantasy" setting.

Interesting, unfortunately I am not familiar with 13th Age or even 4e. Definitely points to the flaw in that part of my post. Basically sounds like they uncoupled the player(the inhabitants?) ability to use the magic inherent in the world (at least in 13th age) so it can remain highly magical/high fantasy. Places like the Realms, Oerth or Eberron the players (and the inhabitants) can directly interact with the magic resulting in the op issue some feel exist.

@swoosh

Really can't agree that magic is not a integral part of at least the Realms, Oerth, Eberron and similar worlds. You've got the Weave, the Sea of Dust/Rain of Fire, Mythals, Wild and Dead magic regions to name a tiny fraction of the influence magic has. The Realms is riddled with portals while Eberron has the Warforged and numerous examples of 'tech' magic. Could they be moreso. Certainly, it's a long long sliding scale between absent magic and so common everyone is a caster. Think it's safe to say those campaign worlds are much closer to magic rich end than not. And magic is not anathema but integral to the stories of those worlds.


Mykull wrote:
Now, is the fact that I have taken steps to rein in casters proof in itself that casters are overpowered?

Yes it is. I could scarcely explain high-level magic's power and influence better myself, than by analogy with nuclear weapons.

Quote:
Or has the globe reacted in a natural way to limit the proliferation of dangerous power

Like I said: High-level magic is the stuff that whole settings are written around. Saying "I haven't limited spellcasters, the setting which I have written has" is just kicking the can down the road. You're telling me magic is so powerful and dangerous that it is very closely regulated, and only those who have proven "the wisdom and humility to wield their magic responsibly" are allowed to become wizards, and for good reason—but casters are not overpowered?


I wonder how much could be fixed just by nerfing (most often level-bumping) specific spells and decompressing the upper spell levels. (Either of these alone, but especially the combination, would mean pushing a fair number spells beyond 9th level.) More specifically, narrative-bypassing spells, including both easy travel spells (such as Fly and Teleport), resource starvation relief spells (such as Create Water) would get level-bumped, and spells that are now an absolute hard-counter to large classes of things would no longer be thus.

As an example of the latter, Antimagic Field currently absolutely nullifies almost all magic, and hard-counters almost all Incorporeal and Summoned creatures -- with the proposed fix, Antimagic field would only hard-counter magic (including Summons) cast at a lower or equal caster level AND lower or equal spell level (applying Heighten Spell to it to boost its spell level would be legitimate), whereas opposing magic with a higher caster level OR higher spell level might get through with a caster level check, and opposing magic with both higher would fly right through; Incorporeal creatures would have a caster-level-equivalent (default their Hit Dice) and spell level equivalent (default half their Hit Dice) for the same purpose. So if you pull off the Antimagic Field Imbue Arrow cheese against an enemy party of your level that has an important spellcaster, you've gotten a major advantage over them, but if you try to do this to Geb, unless you're VERY high level, you're just going to honk him off and probably get made into Undead servants or food in very short order.


Kayerloth wrote:
Really can't agree that magic is not a integral part of at least the Realms, Oerth, Eberron and similar worlds.

Maybe, but that wasn't what was being said either.


One thing this thread hasn't yet discussed is what do we mean by "overpowered"?

For me, a PC is overpowered if he is so powerful, relative to his fellow PCs or the challenges presented by the GM, that it adversely affects people's enjoyment of the game. E.g. the other players start to feel useless or the GM feels frustrated because he struggles to challenge the powerful character while remaining fair to the rest of the group.

So as long as everybody is having fun it's doesn't matter if some characters or classes are more powerful than others.

Playing PF I've only yet known one PC who was considered overpowered, and he was a ranger with an archery build who around 10th level became so much more effective in combat than the rest of the group that they began complaining to the GM, and so he imposed one or two changes on the ranger's build to correct the power imbalance.


Firstly, true wizards, not dabblers or charlatans, are portrayed as powerful beings in movies, books, computer games etc. The term wizard will usually conjure up an image of a powerful magic user rather than a talentless hack. Saying that a person is a wizard at some task, like riding a motorcycle, implies extraordinary skill or supernatural competence. Not that they are merely a competent rider.

Secondly, Pathfinder wizards have huge potential having access to the most varied and powerful spell list in the game.

Add those two together and you get the third advantage wizards enjoy: GM bias in favour of wizards. What I mean is, when the rules are not clear GMs tend to rule in favour of the wizard. An example is the shrink item hat trick, used to help a wizard escape from an antimagic field, which goes something like this:

1. The wizard gets a protective metal dome, for example a large church bell.
2. They cast shrink item on it, use the cloth-like option and make it into a hat.
3. When entering an antimagic field the shrink item spell is suppressed, the dome pops out, granting total cover blocking line of effect.
4. the wizard teleports away.

Most GMs would allow a trick like this to work at least once, but in doing so it begs the question: if it is so easy to break line of effect, then why can't mundane fighters build lightweight portable walls that block line of effect and therefore protect them from spells?


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Boomerang Nebula wrote:

Firstly, true wizards, not dabblers or charlatans, are portrayed as powerful beings in movies, books, computer games etc. The term wizard will usually conjure up an image of a powerful magic user rather than a talentless hack. Saying that a person is a wizard at some task, like riding a motorcycle, implies extraordinary skill or supernatural competence. Not that they are merely a competent rider.

Secondly, Pathfinder wizards have huge potential having access to the most varied and powerful spell list in the game.

Add those two together and you get the third advantage wizards enjoy: GM bias in favour of wizards. What I mean is, when the rules are not clear GMs tend to rule in favour of the wizard. An example is the shrink item hat trick, used to help a wizard escape from an antimagic field, which goes something like this:

1. The wizard gets a protective metal dome, for example a large church bell.
2. They cast shrink item on it, use the cloth-like option and make it into a hat.
3. When entering an antimagic field the shrink item spell is suppressed, the dome pops out, granting total cover blocking line of effect.
4. the wizard teleports away.

Most GMs would allow a trick like this to work at least once, but in doing so it begs the question: if it is so easy to break line of effect, then why can't mundane fighters build lightweight portable walls that block line of effect and therefore protect them from spells?

I'm not sure I'd allow that to work.

Here's why:

So the object returns to it's normal size.

As it grows, even rapidly, we have a few issues:

1. Is your head completely level when it grows back?

2. Is the ground completely level?

3. Is your neck able to support the metal dome as it grows back until it reaches a large enough size to touch the ground on it's own? Did you tilt your head before it did thus making it fall at an angle? Did the weight make you fall down?

There are so many things that can prevent this from working right that while it MAY work, it is by far not guaranteed.


Boomerang Nebula wrote:
Most GMs would allow a trick like this to work at least once, but in doing so it begs the question: if it is so easy to break line of effect, then why can't mundane fighters build lightweight portable walls that block line of effect and therefore protect them from spells?

They... can?


Isn’t that literally a tower shield, or am I thinking of an old version?


Athaleon wrote:
Yes it is . . . You're telling me magic is so powerful and dangerous that it is very closely regulated, and only those who have proven "the wisdom and humility to wield their magic responsibly" are allowed to become wizards, and for good reason—but casters are not overpowered?

So, if the globe reacts to the abilities of a class it is overpowered? Some cities require peace-ties on weapons. Some cities are even more stringent and require all weapons to be turned in to the City Watch upon entry (to be returned when they leave).

You're telling me weapons are so powerful and dangerous that they are very closely regulated, and only those who have proven "the wisdom and humility to wield their weapon responsibly" (by say, joining the Watch) are allowed to wield weapons, and for good reason -- but martials are not overpowered?

I don't think anyone would argue that peace-ties mean that martials are overpowered. Then why does any sort of regulation on arcane magic mean that wizards are?


An issue that I don't think has been fully addressed is that a lot of people have limited knowledge of game design and so fall into the trap of trying to balance classes against each other rather than looking at what a party can accomplish by working together which is a far more useful metric of a class's usefulness...


Boomerang Nebula wrote:

Firstly, true wizards, not dabblers or charlatans, are portrayed as powerful beings in movies, books, computer games etc. The term wizard will usually conjure up an image of a powerful magic user rather than a talentless hack. Saying that a person is a wizard at some task, like riding a motorcycle, implies extraordinary skill or supernatural competence. Not that they are merely a competent rider.

Secondly, Pathfinder wizards have huge potential having access to the most varied and powerful spell list in the game.

Add those two together and you get the third advantage wizards enjoy: GM bias in favour of wizards. What I mean is, when the rules are not clear GMs tend to rule in favour of the wizard. An example is the shrink item hat trick, used to help a wizard escape from an antimagic field, which goes something like this:

1. The wizard gets a protective metal dome, for example a large church bell.
2. They cast shrink item on it, use the cloth-like option and make it into a hat.
3. When entering an antimagic field the shrink item spell is suppressed, the dome pops out, granting total cover blocking line of effect.
4. the wizard teleports away.

Most GMs would allow a trick like this to work at least once, but in doing so it begs the question: if it is so easy to break line of effect, then why can't mundane fighters build lightweight portable walls that block line of effect and therefore protect them from spells?

This plan won't work, because the Wizard is still in an Anti-Magic Field, and now can't cast any spells (such as teleport) while trapped underneath a church bell. Not even Contingencies and such would work because they are likewise surpressed. Unless the Wizard can move out of the affected area while underneath the church bell, they can't teleport.

Heaven forbid there are naturally incorporeal creatures that can just move into the church bell and have their way with a completely defenseless Wizard...


Trinam wrote:
Isn’t that literally a tower shield, or am I thinking of an old version?

Tower Shields only grant one 5 foot line's worth of total cover, and doesn't block line of effect on spells and other targeted abilities.

Tower Shields wrote:
As a standard action, however, you can use a tower shield to grant you total cover until the beginning of your next turn. When using a tower shield in this way, you must choose one edge of your space. That edge is treated as a solid wall for attacks targeting you only. You gain total cover for attacks that pass through this edge and no cover for attacks that do not pass through this edge (see cover). The shield does not, however, provide cover against targeted spells; a spellcaster can cast a spell on you by targeting the shield you are holding. You cannot bash with a tower shield, nor can you use your shield hand for anything else.

Even if you can magically deploy 6 tower shields at once (nevermind requiring 6 standard actions to do so), you're still susceptible to targeted effects, which makes 90% of the reason you'd use this ability, pointless. So really, the Tower Shield's ability to provide total cover is good for arrows, and that's about it.

@ Avoron: No they can't. Not without the help of magic, which is Wizard territory. In other words, the Caster Martial Disparity shows itself once again because Wizards are once again doing stuff sooner and better than any non-magical entity can.


Crayon wrote:
An issue that I don't think has been fully addressed is that a lot of people have limited knowledge of game design and so fall into the trap of trying to balance classes against each other rather than looking at what a party can accomplish by working together which is a far more useful metric of a class's usefulness...

You're still running into the issue of "Fighter only fights, Rogue is Mr. Expendable, Cleric is mostly a healbot, and the Wizard does everything else" assumption that is the Caster/Martial Disparity.


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Boomerang Nebula wrote:

Firstly, true wizards, not dabblers or charlatans, are portrayed as powerful beings in movies, books, computer games etc. The term wizard will usually conjure up an image of a powerful magic user rather than a talentless hack. Saying that a person is a wizard at some task, like riding a motorcycle, implies extraordinary skill or supernatural competence. Not that they are merely a competent rider.

Secondly, Pathfinder wizards have huge potential having access to the most varied and powerful spell list in the game.

Add those two together and you get the third advantage wizards enjoy: GM bias in favour of wizards. What I mean is, when the rules are not clear GMs tend to rule in favour of the wizard. An example is the shrink item hat trick, used to help a wizard escape from an antimagic field, which goes something like this:

1. The wizard gets a protective metal dome, for example a large church bell.
2. They cast shrink item on it, use the cloth-like option and make it into a hat.
3. When entering an antimagic field the shrink item spell is suppressed, the dome pops out, granting total cover blocking line of effect.
4. the wizard teleports away.

Most GMs would allow a trick like this to work at least once, but in doing so it begs the question: if it is so easy to break line of effect, then why can't mundane fighters build lightweight portable walls that block line of effect and therefore protect them from spells?

This plan won't work, because the Wizard is still in an Anti-Magic Field...
As they said (the bolded part), the whole point is to provide total cover which subsequently provides immunity to Antimagic Field. Antimagic Field is an emanation.
Quote:

A burst spell affects whatever it catches in its area, including creatures that you can't see. It can't affect creatures with total cover from its point of origin (in other words, its effects don't extend around corners). The default shape for a burst effect is a sphere, but some burst spells are specifically described as cone-shaped. A burst's area defines how far from the point of origin the spell's effect extends.

An emanation spell functions like a burst spell, except that the effect continues to radiate from the point of origin for the duration of the spell. Most emanations are cones or spheres.

Bolding mine. If you have total cover from an Antimagic Field then it doesn't affect you. And yes, fighters can do this exact same thing with a tower shield. The reason most don't is that you need special feats to do it as something less than a standard (so you have to set up ahead of time and hope the wizard doesn't just throw the spell to your side) and because of how few spells it works on (as you said, targeted spell ignore it, but even the ever popular Fireball is a spread, not a burst, so it goes around the shield to hit anyway unless you're on the very edge).

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

It's an unfortunate oversight that there isn't a clause to have area effects that go through solid barriers.


The Tower Shield still doesn't work because it only counts as a solid wall for attacks targeting you. It doesn't count as a solid wall for any other purpose, such as emanation effects, which don't target you (and instead target the caster in this case), which means Anti-Magic Field still applies to that character. So no, Caster/Martial disparity still exists even on that front.

The bell trick might work since they are encased in a solid object more-or-less, but as others have said the logic of physics doesn't exactly make it a sound strategy approachable from all tables. (If I were the GM, I'd rule that the caster would actually be crushed underneath the giant bell and be pinned until the bell is moved from its position, but that's just my opinion, and not RAW.)


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
@ Avoron: No they can't. Not without the help of magic, which is Wizard territory. In other words, the Caster Martial Disparity shows itself once again because Wizards are once again doing stuff sooner and better than any non-magical entity can.

Sure they can. A five foot by five foot by one inch panel of pine would be as thick as a simple wooden door, and would take up, what, like two cubic feet of wood? It would weigh about sixty pounds plus the base supports, which is easily within the carrying capacity of plenty of mundane fighters. All you'd need to do is set it down next to you to entirely block line of effect through that side of your square.

And of course wizards can do it better. That's my point. Casters don't shine because GMs are letting them get away with sketchy rules interpretations that martials don't get to use. They shine because even when martials are using the exact same rules, a caster can accomplish their goals far more efficiently.


Honestly most players and GMs don't understand the magic rules or how to rule lawyer it effectively. It is a complex system that takes some expertise. There are a lot of spell interactions and the rules can be obscure and buried in other rulings. Paizo has simplified many things but people still rage on about RAW and RAI, not that I want to drag up old issues. I just want to enforce and demonstrate that it is complicated. GM interpretation and taste is needed to make it work. It is also why GMs need experience with other systems to gain perspective.
That complexity, level of detail, and planning is why most players avoid playing wizards. They want an easier game and I totally understand that. It also creates a bit of a mystique as it's an expert system.


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Why do people argue that wizards need to have “perfect” spells to succeed, and ignore the existence of “good enough” spells?

Liberty's Edge

Mykull wrote:
Michael Talley 759 wrote:
I've yet to see anyone create an Abjurationist adventurer outside of an NPC.

Glad to meet you! I've been playing an Abjurer, Zilv shalee of House Medri, in a Drow campaign. He's 11th level now. Zilv buffs. Zilv cleanses. Zilv counters. Zilv has yet to do a single point of damage.

The secret of his success is his tagline, "No one fears the abjurer."

Glad to meet you :-3 and that is pretty impressive I must add in a Drow Society


I don't find Wizards over powered in general but they can be if you allow higher than normal stats and greater wealth. In those situation they can shore up weakness. Wizards are typically glass cannons. Higher stats means better saves, better hit points while keeping the 20 INT off the start. That leads to being over powered. Give the same stats to fighter and they are better but nothing like what the Wizard gets.


Ventnor wrote:
Why do people argue that wizards need to have “perfect” spells to succeed, and ignore the existence of “good enough” spells?

Perhaps because we are talking about the wizard and not the sorcerer. It's what separates the two. The sorcerer will always have "good enough" spells, but with forewarning the wizard can have the "perfect" spells.


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"I could always just summon the angels."


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Moonclanger wrote:
Ventnor wrote:
Why do people argue that wizards need to have “perfect” spells to succeed, and ignore the existence of “good enough” spells?

Perhaps because we are talking about the wizard and not the sorcerer. It's what separates the two. The sorcerer will always have "good enough" spells, but with forewarning the wizard can have the "perfect" spells.

But if a wizard doesn’t have enough forewarning, instead of preparing perfect spells for a situation he’s not sure will arise a wizard can prepare spells that are good enough for a lot of different situations.

No one ever seems to realize that in these debates.


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voska66 wrote:
I don't find Wizards over powered in general but they can be if you allow higher than normal stats and greater wealth. In those situation they can shore up weakness. Wizards are typically glass cannons. Higher stats means better saves, better hit points while keeping the 20 INT off the start. That leads to being over powered. Give the same stats to fighter and they are better but nothing like what the Wizard gets.

My experience has been pretty much the exact opposite. No one is going to say no to more stats or more money, but giving a wizard another point of AC or a few extra hit points ultimately isn't really going to change all that much and while I'll totally buy more scrolls and magic items only a fraction of that gold feels really necessary.

Whereas my martials tend to be the ones interested in a wider selection of magical equipment and with stats being more spread out in general more points makes it a lot easier to take a high primary without tanking everything else.


Ventnor wrote:
Moonclanger wrote:
Ventnor wrote:
Why do people argue that wizards need to have “perfect” spells to succeed, and ignore the existence of “good enough” spells?

Perhaps because we are talking about the wizard and not the sorcerer. It's what separates the two. The sorcerer will always have "good enough" spells, but with forewarning the wizard can have the "perfect" spells.

But if a wizard doesn’t have enough forewarning, instead of preparing perfect spells for a situation he’s not sure will arise a wizard can prepare spells that are good enough for a lot of different situations.

No one ever seems to realize that in these debates.

I'm sorry. I don't know what point you're making. I was simply proposing a possible answer to your question.


Meh, they shouldn't have inflated their hp tbqh.


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Kayerloth wrote:

AHAH!!!

I got it, it isn't wizards or even casters that are overpowered! It's magic, something casters just happen to be good at and wizards are probably the most versatile casters.

Quote:
High level spells like Teleport, Plane Shift, Gate, . . . These spells fundamentally change the nature of campaigns.

I'll note that the above spells are useable by anyone with either the appropriate skill or magic items (there's that word again} as are pretty much every other spell mentioned as 'campaign busting'. Nothing prevents any class or character from acquiring these abilities either. They are not the sole providence of spellcasters.

Strip away or weaken most magic and magic items you are no longer playing what most I think would call a high fantasy campaign. Certainly not the high fantasy of campaign worlds such as the Forgotten Realms or Greyhawk. Wizards and spellcasters are "overpowered" largely because the campaign worlds are by their very nature highly influenced by magic and that's what they do. They are not specialist of martial prowess but magical prowess. Each DM and campaign searches for the balance that they find the most enjoyable between martial and magical arts and influence.

Partially yes.

Wizards are "OP", but so are druids and clerics. Wizards are probably the most egregious, though clerics are a close second.

The most unifying feature of these classes is "magic", but it's not just the presence of "magic" that makes them powerful, its how that magic is defined.

Here's a trick: name a thing wizardly magic can't do.

If you think of something, I guarantee you someone in this thread will know of a sourcebook that breaks that "rule". If there isn't one already, there's either a kickstarter for that book right now, or there will be soon (slight sarcasm there, though not that much).

Basically, if you can think it up, there's a spell for it. Be like a fighter? Spell for that. Do Rogue things? Spells for that too. No bard? No problem, there's a spell for that. Need cleric spells? Well, you might need to multi/prestige class for that, but then you get ALL THE SPELLS.

One of the things that D&D style games have often lacked is clearly defined limits of what magic can't do. The game doesn't need to define all of magics capabilities and limitations, but just hedge out some areas and leave those to other classes.

The problem isn't that wizards are powerful. The issue is that for any problem, you can design a wizard who is great at solving it. You can't necessarily do that with every class (cleric and druid, and a couple others get close). And you're right, it's not the class that is necessarily the problem, the problem is how magic is imagined and designed.


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
Crayon wrote:
An issue that I don't think has been fully addressed is that a lot of people have limited knowledge of game design and so fall into the trap of trying to balance classes against each other rather than looking at what a party can accomplish by working together which is a far more useful metric of a class's usefulness...
You're still running into the issue of "Fighter only fights, Rogue is Mr. Expendable, Cleric is mostly a healbot, and the Wizard does everything else" assumption that is the Caster/Martial Disparity.

???


Moonclanger wrote:

One thing this thread hasn't yet discussed is what do we mean by "overpowered"?

For me, a PC is overpowered if he is so powerful, relative to his fellow PCs or the challenges presented by the GM, that it adversely affects people's enjoyment of the game. E.g. the other players start to feel useless or the GM feels frustrated because he struggles to challenge the powerful character while remaining fair to the rest of the group.

So as long as everybody is having fun it's doesn't matter if some characters or classes are more powerful than others.

Playing PF I've only yet known one PC who was considered overpowered, and he was a ranger with an archery build who around 10th level became so much more effective in combat than the rest of the group that they began complaining to the GM, and so he imposed one or two changes on the ranger's build to correct the power imbalance.

sounds like the others were claiming bad wrong fun on a player that just had an effective build, the better call would be to have that one player help the other players improve their own characters and make them more effective then to swing a nerf bat around at the ranger


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Lady-J wrote:
Moonclanger wrote:

One thing this thread hasn't yet discussed is what do we mean by "overpowered"?

For me, a PC is overpowered if he is so powerful, relative to his fellow PCs or the challenges presented by the GM, that it adversely affects people's enjoyment of the game. E.g. the other players start to feel useless or the GM feels frustrated because he struggles to challenge the powerful character while remaining fair to the rest of the group.

So as long as everybody is having fun it's doesn't matter if some characters or classes are more powerful than others.

Playing PF I've only yet known one PC who was considered overpowered, and he was a ranger with an archery build who around 10th level became so much more effective in combat than the rest of the group that they began complaining to the GM, and so he imposed one or two changes on the ranger's build to correct the power imbalance.

sounds like the others were claiming bad wrong fun on a player that just had an effective build, the better call would be to have that one player help the other players improve their own characters and make them more effective then to swing a nerf bat around at the ranger

If you're the odd man out at a table you get changed or find another table, facts of life.


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Ryan Freire wrote:
Lady-J wrote:
Moonclanger wrote:

One thing this thread hasn't yet discussed is what do we mean by "overpowered"?

For me, a PC is overpowered if he is so powerful, relative to his fellow PCs or the challenges presented by the GM, that it adversely affects people's enjoyment of the game. E.g. the other players start to feel useless or the GM feels frustrated because he struggles to challenge the powerful character while remaining fair to the rest of the group.

So as long as everybody is having fun it's doesn't matter if some characters or classes are more powerful than others.

Playing PF I've only yet known one PC who was considered overpowered, and he was a ranger with an archery build who around 10th level became so much more effective in combat than the rest of the group that they began complaining to the GM, and so he imposed one or two changes on the ranger's build to correct the power imbalance.

sounds like the others were claiming bad wrong fun on a player that just had an effective build, the better call would be to have that one player help the other players improve their own characters and make them more effective then to swing a nerf bat around at the ranger
If you're the odd man out at a table you get changed or find another table, facts of life.

archery is one of the rangers main schick and it still takes them quite a bit of effort to even be good at that if the ranger is "too good" the rest of the party need to step up their game not fair to punish the ranger just cuz the rest of the party is bad at making characters

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