May 18, 2012

5E Friday

-Balancing Wizards in D&D. I can't say I am happy with some of the thoughts in this article.

"We think that making cantrips a bit more powerful..." - The whole concept behind the cantrip is that they are not powerful. As soon as you make them powerful they are no longer cantrips, but rather regular spells. Down the road will we see "less-than-cantrip" spells that are less powerful than the new up-powered cantrips?
Sounds like they are making cantrips 1st level spells and at-wills, while leaving the old 1st level spells non-at-wills. Seems a round-a-about way of handling the issue. Why not leave cantrips weak and select 1st level spells as at-wills?

"We're thinking that wizard spells scale only if they are prepared with higher-level slots." - This, in effect, reduces how many spells a wizard wants to know (which is a desired goal as mentioned in the article) but also negates past history. Spells like the iconic magic missile, fireball and lightning bolt are all scalable and have been for decades. If we ignore any "stuck-in-the-past" ideas, I still don't like the idea. By not allowing spells to be scalable you are making low level spells useless and undesirable. If they are already planning on reducing the numbers of spells/uses this would be a double-punch of reduction.

"The current proposal is that a wizard who takes damage has a chance to miscast his or her next spell. A wizard can always instead choose to do something else or use a cantrip without risk of failure." - So, not only does the soft and squishy wizard take damage that he can ill-afford but now he is further penalized by not being able to do his job effectively...cast spells. Another double-whammy of pain. Can't say I like the concept. I would prefer such a "spellcasting-is-dangerous" methodology to be an add-on where the risks involved are balanced with the rewards. Seems like one of the designers likes the concept of spellcasting-is-dangerous as used in other systems but they haven't thought it through completely. This is not something that has been in any core D&D and thus it also does not feel like D&D.

The article goes on with more of the same.
The focus of the article seemed to be all about how to rein in the power of the wizard. Less spells, no scaling, misfiring of spells, making scrolls useless, remove/diminish buff spells. Personally, I would like to see them keep wizards on par with where they are now and have been in the past, but with balance. With 4E, instead of reducing wizard power they simply elevated everyone else up to the power level of wizards. It looks like in 5E they want to lower wizards down to everyone else. Not sure I like that.
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