Another flaw of the 3.5 system is that, as a general rule, high-level (12+) casters far exceed the power of high-level fighters. The graph below illustrates the imbalance that broadly exists between classes. And as someone who really enjoys playing a support role within the party, you often spend all your character’s actions and money trying to fill the power gap between warriors and monsters/casters.

Warrior classes get tough fast and dominate the early game. In the high-level game, the caster is peerless.

It’s exciting to think about the possibilities and the opportunity we have to balance the power curve and yet maintain the distinction between character class and role within the party.

Let them eat magic…

The image of Marie Antoinette’s famous line is conjured to mind with the thought of a single 20th level wizard (or worse, warlock) looking out from his tower at 1,000 14th level fighters, amassed to unseat him. The difference is the wizard is justified in his smug indifference.

In a bid to illustrate how we can make things a bit more egalitarian, let’s consider just one spell, my favorite and yours: Fire Blast!

With different options for different roles, one Fireblast spell can yield a wide array of effects.
  • Note that effect attributes like Range, Target, Saving Throw, and Spell Resistance can be moved to the character rather than tied to the effect like a spell description.

We can distribute spells and spell-like effects across roles and classes to create more interesting play. And rather than having casters hoard all the magic powers, let’s just add features that make them better at magic. For example, while a fighter or archer may only be able to affect himself or his weapon, as a caster I can set my range, targets, saving throw (including DC) and spell resistance as class abilities, feat choices, or skill powers.

Hopefully this is sparking lots of questions and ideas for you! What is Aether? Where does it indicate if my fire damage is a cone? or a ray? Why is everything Somatic component only? So many articles…so little time!