Wednesday, June 21, 2006

03.3 Divine Magic

Short post.

Since Clerics have a longer list of spells to choose from than wizards, their options are wider and their spells should be "weaker." Adding in all the other abilities of clerics, it shouldn't be a surprise that they are a powerful class in and of themselves. In fact, if you gave clerics the attack progression of wizards, it wouldn't make them useless, in my opinion.

But that's not the point of this post.

On average, clerics have about 20 spells to choose from at each level (although at 9th level, they have only 11 options). The most spells of a given level that a wizard can "know" is 9... and this is when they reach mastery levels. At 1st level, a cleric knows 25 1st-level and 12 0-level spells!

That means, everytime a 3rd party company introduces a new cleric spell, clerics just get more powerful. More options are added. More spells that clerics may choose at each level. More. More.

It's insane how powerful a cleric can become with just four new books from Green Ronin, Mystic Eye, Paradigm, and Bob's House of Books. And if one of those is the pocket grimoire, clerics are now the most powerful class in the game... perhaps 50% more powerful than a rogue or wizard.

That's just insane.

And that doesn't include feats that allow the cleric to trade out unless turn undead attempts.

Am I painting a vivid enough picture for everyone? Do I need to continue selling this theory?

Because I'd like to move on to the solution, which is really pretty simple.

If a player wants to add a new divine spell to his list of "known" spells, the DM must select a comparable spell to be removed. Just getting rid of magic stone to add barrels of blood is NOT an option in terms of balancing the spell selection. DMs need to look at the effect and see what spell is most similar to it. If the new spell causes the target to incur a penalty to attack rolls, bane or doom should be removed from the list.

And so on.

I think that's about all I need to say on the subject. Next, I tackle conjuration magic.

Speak of which, clerics should not be summoning monsters, either.

Those spells need to go.

That is all.


Ancient Gamer said...

Close to how I handled it.

I actually have all Clerics know the base spells in the book from their training.

Otherwise, only rare priest, old texts, or forgoten holy sites hold the exact ritual needed to request the appropriate intervention from the gods.

Now instead of looking at the priests as gaining power each time a supliment comes out, I look at it as a new series of quests to start.

Jason said...

There's something to remember though. Firstly, the cleric is still only casting one spell per round. Just because he has a bazillion to choose from doesn't change that. Secondly, many, many cleric spells are extremely specific use. Water walking leaps to mind here.

Wizard spells, OTOH are far more versatile. Show me a single cleric spell that can let me fly, breathe water, get natural attacks and major skill bonuses? As a second level spell. Alter self can do all that and more.

I think it's something of a fallacy to say that wizard spells are limited just because of numbers. Sure, the wizzie knows less spells. I won't dispute that. But, so many wizard spells have so many uses that cleric spells just don't.

Ancient Gamer said...


Do you mean spells like Cat's Grace or Bull's Strength?

Keep in mind that Alter Self may give some bonuses to your stats/skills, but it will also probably hit you in a couple places too.

It also falls under that 'self' catagory, where the bonuses from a Cleric could be put on others.

Finally, why do I need natural weapons/armor when I'm wielding a magic flail, mace (which most clerics are by level 5) and sporting some full plate and shield?

In the end a spell is only as versitile as the player. Like evil clerics using remove fear during torture to make it last longer.

Or shatter, it's a lock pick, trap disarmer, sheild remover, take's wheels off carts charging you, removes structural supports to cause a cave in from a distance, and means never having to clean windows.

jim pinto said...

Clerics KNOW a lot of spells, have a great attack BAB, and great saves. The more spells they can draw from, the more powerful they are.


More options means more power. One spell per round or not.

The person who owns a helicopter, plane, boat, range rover, dirt bike, and car has more options for travelling than someone who owns a motorcycle. Even if he can only drive ONE at a time.

jim pinto said...

Shatter is amazingly powerful.


But I think its manageable by DMs by giving certain items saves, etc.

As an aside: I'm not a fan of the buff spells... Bull's Strength, etc.

But I'm not going to go into that right now. More spell colleges coming.