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Thread: D&D Balance

  1. #1
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    D&D Balance

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    I was thinking today about how unbalanced D&D is.

    At 1st level, a Fighter vs Wizard - we all know what's going to happen.

    But at 18th level. I totally believe the Wizard will win just because of raw power.

    Any ideas on this?

  2. #2
    Ed Zachary Guest
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    You're exactly right on those results Moritz, but a low level balanced group needs the spell support from that peon wizard. Like Mount, Message or Comprehend Languages. Cast at the right moment a cantrip like Daze can be deadly to a fourth level fighter.

    Same with the high level groups, some monsters can't be taken out by spells alone, they need to be pummeled by cold steel.

    Wizards start getting more powerful at higher levels, and that happens at around ninth level.

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    Well, I don't know that the outcome could quite be called predetermined for a 1st level fighter versus a wizard. If the wizard is able to start the combat with some range, he has a good chance of killing the fighter with a well placed spell or two and some ranged fire. If the wizard doesn't have the opportunity to put any distance between himself and the fighter before the combat though, he's probably toast. And really, the same thing applies at higher levels in my experience. Even a high level wizard who is in combat toe-to-toe with a fighter type is going to probably loose unless he makes some good damage rolls or the fighter fails a crucial save early in the fight.
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  4. #4
    Ed Zachary Guest
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    Quote Originally Posted by Farcaster View Post
    Well, I don't know that the outcome could quite be called predetermined for a 1st level fighter versus a wizard. If the wizard is able to start the combat with some range, he has a good chance of killing the fighter with a well placed spell or two and some ranged fire.
    The first level Wizard would have to roll well on three Magic Missile spells. Since the range is only 110 feet, the Fighter may be able to close on him in one round. I don't see how the Wizard would stand a chance. Plus the fighter may be able to kill the Wizard with one arrow from alot further away than any spell.

    Quote Originally Posted by Farcaster View Post
    If the wizard doesn't have the opportunity to put any distance between himself and the fighter before the combat though, he's probably toast.
    He's definitely toast, unless the Fighter keeps fumbling. Can you cite a scenario where the Wizard could beat the Fighter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Farcaster View Post
    And really, the same thing applies at higher levels in my experience. Even a high level wizard who is in combat toe-to-toe with a fighter type is going to probably loose unless he makes some good damage rolls or the fighter fails a crucial save early in the fight.
    Unless the high level Fighter has items that cast potent arcane spells on himself, then he's toast. The Wizard can stay out of range, protected from arrows, and just toast the Fighter.

  5. #5
    Ed Zachary Guest
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    I posted this elsewhere, it highlights the five major points of survivability for high level characters.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Zachary View Post
    Anyway, once a character achieved high level status, they had accumulated a long list of rivals and enemies. A foolish player could see his character die in seconds if he was careless. Having an interesting character was alway number one, but there were five areas of importance for viable longlevity:
    * Speed & Mobility (to run away, or catch an opponent)
    * Evasion (if your opponent can't find you, you're safe)
    * Detection (you can't oppose what you don't know is there)
    * Destruction (if you can't effect your opponents, why bother them)
    * Resistance (even in the best laid out plans, you will be attacked at some point)
    The Wizard has the advantage in the first three, the last two are even.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Zachary View Post
    He's definitely toast, unless the Fighter keeps fumbling. Can you cite a scenario where the Wizard could beat the Fighter?
    If the playing field is completely flat, you're probably right. But, if the wizard can get a jump on the Fighter and set himself up right, he could be in an elevated position, preferably with some cover/concealment. He could also start the fight from 160 or more feet away using a light crossbow and try to get a hit in on his warrior opponent in the first round, and hopefully have enough time for a magic missile or two in the next two rounds before the fighter could get to him.

    Unless the high level Fighter has items that cast potent arcane spells on himself, then he's toast. The Wizard can stay out of range, protected from arrows, and just toast the Fighter.
    Agreed, as I said, if the wizard is able to stay out of range, he'll probably win. But, if the fighter gets the jump on him, it's very likely he's going down. I've seen the dwarven fighter in my group output enough damage in a single round using power-attack to take out any wizard of his level - sometimes even twice over and even if that wizard had stoneskin running.
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    Farcasters got it right. In close the fighters always got the advantage. At mid range give it to the wizard. Extreme range depends on the fighters build a range fighters a little better off at the 100' plus ranges than a wizard. Also with high level characters you have to factor in magic items. An amulet of spell resistance and boots of speed could make the wizards life difficult. Or worse yet something that casts antimagic field. Given the right conditions none of the players handbook classes is really at an advantage over another class at any level. Except for maybe the bard who isn't much use without allies.
    Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.

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    The question is moot. I get this all the time in my online gaming world "Class X is unbalanced" and it only matters when player classes are fighting each other. D&D is designed for the classes to work together as a party. The encounters are tuned with the idea that the four core roles are going to be represented and working as one.

    Class balance really can't exist in any game, without eliminating the unique value each class brings. "Classless" systems were inspired by the drive to create balance, but even that is an illusion as some builds are greater than others, and people end up either taking the 'better' build or taking the one that they find interesting but admitting that it's not as optimal.

    All of this feeds into the min-maxers fetish of making the best possible character ever, even though they know it's really not going to happen.

    Now, when you turn the game on it's head and let players fight with each other, class balance becomes an issue - but then it's still not attainable in a game designed for team play instead of conflict. Which is why I don't bother with discussions of balance at my table.
    --
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  9. #9
    Ed Zachary Guest
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    Quote Originally Posted by shilar View Post
    Farcasters got it right. In close the fighters always got the advantage. At mid range give it to the wizard. Extreme range depends on the fighters build a range fighters a little better off at the 100' plus ranges than a wizard.
    How at any range will a first level Wizard beat a first level fighter? Unless you control the dice or cripple the Fighter.

    Even at close range if the high level Fighter doesn't know the high level Wizard is there, how can the Fighter win? Have you ever played a high level Wizard?

    Quote Originally Posted by shilar View Post
    Also with high level characters you have to factor in magic items. An amulet of spell resistance and boots of speed could make the wizards life difficult. Or worse yet something that casts antimagic field. Given the right conditions none of the players handbook classes is really at an advantage over another class at any level. Except for maybe the bard who isn't much use without allies.
    Without some sort of Gem of Seeing, the Fighter is dead in the water.

    Without some sort of flying, the Fighter is dead in the water.

    No matter who close or high level.
    Last edited by Ed Zachary; 08-16-2007 at 04:53 AM.

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    Depends what kind of fighter though. An appropriately equipped high level archer type fighter can destroy a wizard. Also, it's kind of tacky, but you can always turn your gem of seeing into lenses of seeing for some extra gold. Then mr. fighter can always see mr. wizard. The other way to deal with a wizard is to grapple him, most wizards will end up dead. Flying up to confront a wizard using potions or items is suicide, a smart wizard will dispel that quickly, try a dimension door or teleport item to get to the space five feet above the flying wizard and fall on him (then ride him to the ground screaming something appropriate since you are well over his encumbrance).

  11. #11
    Vimachipal Guest
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    Quote Originally Posted by starfalconkd View Post
    Depends what kind of fighter though. An appropriately equipped high level archer type fighter can destroy a wizard.
    As someone who plays wizards, higher level wizards use spells like Protection from Arrows. That is only a 2nd level spell, there are "Greater" house versions of that spell that offer a bit more protection. The archer must first find the wizard before he can shoot at her.

    Quote Originally Posted by starfalconkd View Post
    Also, it's kind of tacky, but you can always turn your gem of seeing into lenses of seeing for some extra gold. Then mr. fighter can always see mr. wizard.
    True Seeing only has a range of 120 feet, twice that with metamagic enlarge. Most of my spell arsenal has a range well over that. I doubt mr. fighter gets close enough to ever see me.

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    On a flat open surface the high level wizard would have the advantage. But with a little terrain the fighter can manuver in close without being detected. Most spells require some knowledge of where the target is to be effective. Also protection from arrows only gives you damage protection 10/magic, that means a +1 bow defeats its protection automatically. It is not a very effective spell at high levels. As for finding the wizard most spells make a lot of noise. If you ready an action to start his casting you can nail him. You shake the wizard once and he's yours.
    Oh and for the low level fight sleep is a first level spell. Cast it and coup de grace.
    Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.

  13. #13
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    Of course they cannot balance all of D&D, because there are too many variations, possibilities, and hundreds of billions of feat, weapon, armor, and magic item combinations to account for every possible outcome.

    However, there have been enough rabid Wizards and Fighters out there ready to complain the moment they detect something that is obviously unbalancing.

    So, I say that the Wizard and Fighter are equal in every way that matters.

    I might also add that because the Sorcerer is my favorite PHB core class, it is more equal than any of the other classes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vimachipal View Post
    As someone who plays wizards, higher level wizards use spells like Protection from Arrows. That is only a 2nd level spell, there are "Greater" house versions of that spell that offer a bit more protection. The archer must first find the wizard before he can shoot at her.
    True Seeing only has a range of 120 feet, twice that with metamagic enlarge. Most of my spell arsenal has a range well over that. I doubt mr. fighter gets close enough to ever see me.
    This is why I said equipped. Most spells, including fireball, show the direction which they came from. An archer with the seeking property does not need to see you to hit you as his bow ignores all miss chance from cover/ concealment. He only has to attack the right space and hit your AC. An archer fighter will likely have a decent spot check and the feat quick reconnoiter allows the check as a free action. Or worse, he may have the feat hear the unseen which allows him to know where you are by sound, all that chanting is quite noisy. Continuing, said archer will probably be carrying a magic quiver loaded with arrows of various metal types and as long as his bow is +1 all his arrows are magic. Protection from arrows only gives dr 10/magic.
    As to home brewed spells with better protection, I try not to allow new spells to go too far beyond what established ones can do. Wizards are dangerous enough without me adding to their arsenal. I allow my pcs to create spells, even improve on existing ideas (one pc created better versions of false life). But protection from arrows already has a better version, it's called stoneskin. I'm not a fan of allowing wizards to cast spells that give them ridiculous dr, if they could do that why play anything else.
    Finally, this whole thing is moot because it's scenario based. If the fighter and wizard run into each other in a five foot wide by ten foot high corridor we all know what's going to happen. The short version is, the winner depends on the scenario.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Moritz View Post
    I was thinking today about how unbalanced D&D is.

    At 1st level, a Fighter vs Wizard - we all know what's going to happen.

    But at 18th level. I totally believe the Wizard will win just because of raw power.

    Any ideas on this?
    Isn't this question now moot? With 4th edition, the real power now lies in the hands of gnomish bards!

    Quote Originally Posted by grimwell
    The question is moot. I get this all the time in my online gaming world "Class X is unbalanced" and it only matters when player classes are fighting each other. D&D is designed for the classes to work together as a party. The encounters are tuned with the idea that the four core roles are going to be represented and working as one.

    Class balance really can't exist in any game, without eliminating the unique value each class brings. "Classless" systems were inspired by the drive to create balance, but even that is an illusion as some builds are greater than others, and people end up either taking the 'better' build or taking the one that they find interesting but admitting that it's not as optimal.
    Well said. The way things should be.

    Quote Originally Posted by starfalconkd
    Finally, this whole thing is moot because it's scenario based. If the fighter and wizard run into each other in a five foot wide by ten foot high corridor we all know what's going to happen. The short version is, the winner depends on the scenario.
    They run battle royals at the local game shop. They give you rules for character creation, and everyone fights until there is only one standing. In most high level scenarios, a spellcaster wins. There are numerous scenarios where fighter types are best and even some where rogue types are best.

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