My Problem with Casters in Dungeons and Dragons

Whether it be Bards, Sorcerers, Warlocks, Wizards, Wild Mages, Astrologists or Sha'irs, there is something I just can't figure out with casters. Whenever I play them I become way to focused on dealing damage and not focused enough on a Caster's problem solving abilties, and so my Caster ends up being little more that a very powerful cannon. Which is boring.

So my problem with Casters is that I never really use them properly.

As a tabletop gamer in general I am immediately attracted to those high damage spells. You know, Fire Balls and Lightning Bolts at the lower levels, Death Touch and the like at the higher levels - the usual. And so I tend to load my Wizard up with all the different types of damage dealing spells I could get my hands on. And for a while it is great. Few opponents can stand against you at the lower levels and so I would fill all of my spell slots, and my whole spell book with damage dealers.

As a character you feel powerful, but when it comes to actually assisting the party, you really can't' do anything else other than make it explode, freeze, suffocate, etc. And you really need the caster to solve problems with more than just blind violence. However, no matter how hard I try, I keep going way too heavy on damage based spells -  and too light on those specialist "problem solving spells."

As I discussed a while ago in "how to build a balanced D&D party" one of the ways to think of a D&D party is by dividing them up into three roles: Warriors, Support and Specialists. Warriors are the main line damage dealers, Support are healers and those classes that buff others, and Specialists are problem solvers since they deal with the issues that no one else can.

There is of course some overlap, but I believe that Casters - for the most part - belong in the Specialist category. Their job is to provide solutions for those hard to solve problems. Sometimes that is using a fireball to kill a party of bandits, other times that is about giving the party the ability to climb walls like a spider.

So only focusing on damage means that I am really preforming perhaps a quarter of what my caster is really good at. And I don't even mean to do this anymore! Even when I actively try not to, I will come away with my prepared spells for the day only having two that have nothing to do with damage. I am always just worried I will run out of ammo I guess.

I am thinking maybe I should try and play a pacifist. I don't know, what do you think I should do?

Written by: Andrew Gregory

My Problem with Casters in Dungeons and Dragons My Problem with Casters in Dungeons and Dragons Reviewed by JADE Gaming on 5/24/2019 02:05:00 pm Rating: 5

1 comment:

  1. Ha, good observation—you can also restrict how spells are chosen: index the spell types (1=Abjuration, 2=Divination, N=Necromantic, etc.) and have magic users roll a die covering the type index (re-roll if roll falls outside indexed types). Have them do this twice (for two different spell types [or, possibly, the same one twice]). They can then choose any one spell from that type listing for the appropriate spell level. Then, the DM chooses a spell from the other type for them. So, magic users gain more spells and a better variety then is typical; otherwise, as you say above, you end up with magic fighters (almost) every time.