Monday, February 16, 2015

Pathfinder Musings: Wizardly Revisions

Last Wednesday, I took another look at the Rogue class for Pathfinder, discussed its shortcomings, and presented a few house rules that I've implemented with the sole purpose of making the class better in my games. Today, I thought I'd do the same for another class. However, this time we'll be looking at one from the opposite side of the power spectrum: the Wizard.

The Wizard is one of the most powerful classes in Pathfinder, mostly due to its rather flexible access to magic and certain changes that were made during the upgrade from 3.5 D&D. Recently, I've been toying around with a few ideas to reign in the class' power a little. These suggestions will probably be sound utterly insane to the majority of players who enjoy Pathfinder, but sometimes drastic decisions must be made. Just keep in mind these are merely ideas and I haven't actually implemented them as of yet.

I'll start with the less drastic change, which deals with school specialization. This change would force Wizards to select one of the eight schools of magic to specialize in at 1st level, ultimately eliminating the "Universalist" option. I personally like this change because it furthers the idea of the Wizard being the specialist caster, focusing on a specific subject above all else.

Also, this change would force Wizards to have prohibited schools now, instead of having an easy way to ignore that rule, limiting the spells they can easily cast.

The next suggestion is probably the one that will piss some players off. This rule would strip the Wizard of the ability to automatically learn spells as they gain new levels. Instead, they would have to learn spells by copying them from other sources into their spell books, using the rules presented in the Core Rulebook for doing so. This change would cause the Wizard to not have as many spells and would allow the GM to control which spells they can and can't learn since they will most likely gain new spells from defeating enemies and obtaining loot. I also like how it makes the Wizard and the Sorcerer different in a mechanical sense as well, and gives a reason for why Wizards are generally depicted as paranoid in most campaign worlds (other wizards keep trying to steal their spells!)

The first change would be incredibly easy to implement because it would only require me banning Wizard players from selecting the Universalist option at 1st level. The second change would have to be something I made to almost all prepared casters, possibly implementing a "spell book" concept for Clerics and Druids. Not doing so might catapult those two classes into the vacant slot on top of the power pyramid the Wizard used to occupy.

I also have another idea for dealing with the power of magic, based on an idea presented in 4e, which would probably be utilized along side these rules (or instead of them), but that's a topic for another time. Anyway, these are merely ideas I've been tossing around in my noggin. Do you have any ideas for limiting the power of the Wizard? What are they? I'd love to hear about them in the comments below.