Nonvancian Wizard Class Archetype

Homebrew and House Rules

Scarab Sages

I never liked playing prepared spellcasters, but for 2E I tried playing a wizard for five levels and found the need to prepare spells a specific number of times to be onerous. I switched to an imperial sorcerer in the middle of Level 5 and never looked back. I read the Flexible Caster archetype, but I thought losing a spell slot was too punitive at low levels.

I thought I would homebrew a wizard class archetype, the Nonvancian Wizard. My goal was to increase ease of play, at the cost of class features and spontaneous heightening compared to the Flexible Caster archetype.

I would love feedback, specifically if you think this is better or worse than a Flexible Spellcaster wizard and why. Is this an archetype you would like to play?

Nonvancian Wizard:
Nonvancian Spell Preparation (1st)

This class feature alters the Arcane Spellcasting, Drain Bonded Item, Arcane School, and Arcane Thesis class features.

Prerequisites: You must be a wizard.

Flexible Spellcaster Adjustments:
• You do not gain the Drain Bonded Item, Arcane School, or Arcane Thesis class features
• During your daily preparations, you prepare a spell collection rather than preparing spells into each spell slot individually. The number of spells in your spell collection each day equals the total number of spell slots you get each day from your class spells. Select these spells from your spellbook as normal.
• You can cast any of the spells in your collection by using a spell slot of an appropriate level. For instance, if you were level 1 and had feather fall and magic missile in your spell collection, you could cast feather fall twice that day, magic missile twice, or each spell once.

Heightening Spells
Once you gain 2nd-level spells, you can prepare any spell into your spell collection at any level you can cast. This increases the spell’s level, heightening it to match the spell slot.
For instance, if you were level 3, you could add snowball, magic missile, and shocking grasp to your spell collection as first-level spells and cast them as normal (see above). You could also add snowball and shocking grasp as second-level spells and cast the heightened version of snowball twice that day, the heightened version of shocking grasp twice, or each spell once.

TLDR: Nonvancian wizards can’t spontaneously heighten their spells the way Flexible Casters can.

Adjudicating Class Feats And Features
Some of your class feats or features might rely on the fact that you prepare spells in spell slots. While some class feats might no longer work or be necessary with the nonvancian wizard archetype, in many cases you can make a simple replacement and continue using the class feat. The following class feats simply require replacing “a spell you have prepared” or “a prepared spell” for “a spell in your collection” or “a spell slot.” For example, in Counterspell, you'd replace “a spell you have prepared” in the trigger for “a spell in your collection” and “expend a prepared spell” for “expend a spell slot.” Similarly, in arcane bond, you'd replace “cast one spell you prepared today and already cast” with “cast one spell in your collection you've already cast today.”

The Counterspell and Leyline Conduit feats in the Core Rulebook need these substitutions, as does Form Retention from the Advanced Player's Guide. Spell Mastery provides additional restricted spells; you can take it, but it doesn't add to your collection and works like normal prepared spells.

Disallowed Feats
The following feats from the Core Rulebook aren't available for a nonvancian wizard: Clever Counterspell, Infinite Possibilities, Reprepare Spell, and Spell Combination.

TLDR, for the Flexible Spellcaster wizard, what if your bonus schools spells were added to your spell collection for flexible spellcasting, but you gave up the school focus spell/universalist feat, Drain Bonded Item and your Arcane Thesis.

Too weak IMO.

In original Flexible SpellCasting the trade-off 1 spellslot per level + lvl 2 dedication feat without special limitation is way more viable.

  • Loose a Drain Bonded Item means that the wizard loose a top magic spellslot usage. And if the player is an universalist means loose 1 "spellslot" per spell level.
  • Loose Arcane Thesis means loose the best thing of wizard IMO. Spell Blending, Spell Substitution and Staff Nexus are fantastic subclasses options for a flexible wizard. The first increase the number of your top level spellslots compensation the loose of your top level spellslot a little, the second allow you to switch your collection on demand, making the wizard really versatile and the last increases the usage of low levels spells a lot, doesn't benefit from flexible casting but it's a very good option.
  • Loose Arcane School means loose not only your focus spells but also some extra spellslots.

    It's a very bad trade-off. Maybe you can remove just one of subclasses to create a nonvancian-wizard or turn it into a subclass, like turning flexible spellcasting as an arcane thesis. But not remove every thing in order to cast freely.

  • Scarab Sages

    So turn it into an Arcane Thesis and keep Drain Bonded Item & Arcane School?

    It seems to be that the Nonvancian Thesis would be the strongest one available, but YMMV.

    Maybe but remember that's flexible spellcasting is already cheap (trade-off 1 spellslot per level + lvl 2 dedication feat) and you are trying to turn it into a class feature.

    Class feature has more "power" than a feat due the lack of portability and less choice options. This becomes clear when 2nd CRB errata added turned the lvl 8 Powerful Alchemy into a lvl 5 class feat.

    So turn a lvl 2 dedication feat into a class feature need to have this in mind and keep the 3 spellslots per level is something similar to the arcane schools + drain bounded item adding the thesis will be too much. Also just remove the arcane schools + drain bounded and keeping the thesis in trade of flexible casting don't feels right. Flexible casting feel much more like a thesis in terms of lore than something able to remove the schools.

    The other point is that will make the Wizard uninteresting. Why pick a wizard that's basically a sorcerer with less spellslots and without focus spells? Having a collection that's can only be changed once per day isn't not enough competitive.

    If you still thing that turn flexible spellcasting into a thesis is too much for a thesis you can diminish the spell collection size to same size of the default flexible spellcasting class archetype but keeping the number of spellslots as normal.

    Here is an example of a nonvancian caster. I detest vancian casting.

    Either its pretty good. Its more like 5es casting in some regards. It also cexists, for the bard, druid, sorc and cleric alternative_casting_classes/

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