Saturday, July 20, 2013

Stop Your Endless Bitching About Magic-Users Being More Powerful Than Every Other Class...

...because they're fucking supposed to be!

First, look at the source material.  Appendix N.  Read those books.  See where the game came from?



Second, you were warned:

OD&D:  "Top level magic-users are perhaps the most powerful characters in the game, but it is a long hard road to the top, and to begin with they are weak, so survival is often the question, unless fighters protect the low level magical types until they have worked up."

Holmes:  "Thus the magic-user starts out as an extremely weak character, but if he survives and rises in experience, he becomes increasingly powerful."

B/X:  "Though they are weak at first, magic-users can eventually become very powerful."

Basic (Mentzer):  "Magic-users start as the weakest characters, but can become the most powerful!"

Rules Cyclopedia:   "Magic-users start as the weakest characters, but can eventually become the most powerful."

AD&D 1e:  "Thus, while magic-users are not strong in combat with weapons, they are possibly the most fearsome of all character classes when high levels of ability are finally attained.  Survival to that point can be a problem, however, as low-level magic-users are quite weak."

AD&D 2e:  "Spells are the tools, weapons, and armor of the wizard.  He is weak in a toe-to-toe fight, but when prepared he can strike down his foes at a distance, vanish in an instant, become a wholly different creature, or even invade the mind of an enemy and take control of his thoughts and actions.  No secrets are safe from a wizard and no fortress is secure.  His quest for knowledge and power often leads him into realms where mortals were never meant to go."  (and they said this after gimping the shit out of a lot of MU spells!)

And then we get to 3.x and later editions, where all must be in balance and harmony, and god forbid any class/race/feat combination does more damage per round than any other.  The only thing I can think of that changed these expectations which were clearly laid out in earlier editions are shitty TSR and WOTC novels which broke with the swords and sorcery traditions, and MMO's.  Hello Everquest!

Also, I suspect that even in earlier editions, if there was grumbling and discontent, go back and ask yourself-- did you impose scribing costs?  Spell book loss chances from theft of fireball type stuff?  Chance to learn spells rules per intelligence?  Max number of spells known per intelligence?  Massive magical research costs?  Costs for traveling spellbooks?  Time away from adventuring for the wizards as he did these things while the other pc's leveled up?  Have the enemies target the magic-users as a smart tactical move?  All these things were a means of balancing out the classes by slowing down the power escalation.  Plus, the amount of xp needed to level up did the same thing.  I suspect if you did all this stuff talked about in the rules, the number of wizards in the campaigns would be far fewer and they would be far less powerful.

Shit, even when Flailsnails games started, I lost like three MU's right out of the gate.  I eventually made up Sir the Fist as a triple class F/C/MU just so the MU in him would have a higher chance of survivability.

Magic-Users are meant to be gods.  Just look at Raistlin.  Deal with it, pussies.

7 comments:

redmold said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
imredave said...

Amen, Preach Brother Joe Preach.

Jeremy said...

Actually, 3rd edition is where spell casters are the most powerful, and when the whining about them really started. A lot of the drawbacks of spells were reduced (like Teleport, for instance, no longer kills you if you miss)

4e is the "balanced" one. not 3e (or Pathfinder)

Anonymous said...

Hell yeah!

Wait-... 2e gimped MU spells?! Which ones?!

James Young said...

It's when character survival to high levels is assumed that it becomes an issue.
If you let MUs die, then having a high level wizard is rightly a thing to be proud of.

AntiGrog said...

Wow, what a shitty opinion you got Joe. I thought the books of Appendix N had the sorcerers and wizards killed off by Conan and the rest of the barbarians and warriors. So what, the rest of your post is "I deserve to be better then the rest of the players in our table just because I wrote 'wizard' on my charsheet?"

Lame-O.

Anonymous said...

A: Casters were much more limited before 3rd by things such as casting times, which made other party members still important.

B: In 3rd edition and later, players are assumed to be on their way to the top. for anything 2nd edition and earlier safety is not guarenteed.

C: Non casters have an artificial "realism cap" that they are hemmed in by. Where casters making matter and energy out of nothing is given a free pass, a fighter or barbarian or rogue doing unrealistic things get super hated on, despite that after level 6, that is really the only way to go. The little they can't attack what a fighter or barb can do past lvl 6, they give to everyone so the casters can be unrealistically mundane as well as bend reality.

D: If casters were only on par with fighters in combat or on par with rogues out of combat, they would still be the most powerful class because they can do it all. However, even these caps are deemed unacceptable, and thus the wizard far surpasses both in both categories.

E: Basic line assumed you wouldn't get to pick your attribute array, and thus being lucky to be a caster was as much luck as anything else.

F: Prior to 3rd, adventurers were expected to retire sometime between lvl 9-12, only to use their resources for world shattering events, where every class had different resources above and beyond their own character. Now, only the casters do.