Posted by : David Guyll March 03, 2012
Personally I would like to see wizards being required to focus on a few schools of magic as opposed to potentially equally good at everything. This models real life in the sense that no one is good at everything, and I remember something like this being played out in The Name of the Wind, the Dresden Files novels and RPG, Mage: The Ascension, and more shit that I am not thinking of. With this model you can get the wizard that is really good at evocations, but not so much at illusions due to a lack of patience or artistic talent or whatever, or something who prefers using ice or fire magic. Note that specialists might only be good at one school and might know a thing or two from something else (or not, depends on what is available), and would get some other benefit like the mage from Essentials.
From these schools they would choose a few rotes, which are spells that are so simple and/or have been practiced so often that they have become almost reflexive. Encounter spells would go away entirely, and daily spells would be the sort of complex magic that they have to cast ahead of time and retained. Rituals would be the utility stuff that keeps spell prep from turning into guesswork, and I would allow the expenditure of healing surges or something to help power them, or charge surges anyway. Actually for the grognards that do not like how many of the spells are combat-focused (I guess ignoring rituals), why not turn daily spells into the number of rituals that a character can store at any given time? This way something like knock could be used as a ritual, but a wizard could also pre-cast and store it for an impromptu use.
I would also allow wizards to draw in will, mana, energy, or whatever, allowing them to charge up their at-will spells. This would take a turn, extra action, or cause some kind of stress (like psychic damage or whatnot, though burning healing surges from exhaustion is still a possibility), and potentially leave the wizard vulnerable to attack, adding a level of tactical complexity and drama to a wizard that decides to turn her magic missile from a single bolt into a salvo; enemies might decide to directly target her in order to disrupt the spell. Some spells could also require multiple actions or rounds to cast.
Finally I really dig implements, and would like to see them stick around. Instead of a specialization bonus like the wizard gets, or having them largely not matter at all, you might penalize a wizard for not using one when casting. I would like to see implements of special materials granting a benefit without demanding a feat. The spellbook would mostly be used for rituals instead of spell prep.
Ultimately depending on what martial classes can do, I see these changes giving a wizard a lower average baseline, some good spike opportunities, and flexibility on how to handle things. Ideally martial classes would have a more "middle-ground" approach, with scaling damage and exploits to give them some tricks up their sleeves.
Too-Long, Didn't Read Highlights
- Wizards pick from a handful of schools that they can cast. Feats could add in others.
- Wizards know a smattering of rotes (at-will) spells. These do minor things.
- Rotes can be charged up through time, penalty, and/or resource.
- Daily spells would still be in and be quite badass, but fewer in number (like, maybe 1 at 1st-level).
- Rituals are still in, but drain healing surges and/or require specific components.
- Implements are still in, and are more required.
- Wizards would be able to create new spells, more easily learn new spells, and potentially modify them.