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Talk:Mystic Spellthief (3.5e Class)

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Balance Edit

How is being able to cast any spell off of the sorc/wiz spell list rogue-level? --Ghostwheel 04:58, August 2, 2010 (UTC)

While I mentioned to you before, for the benefit of any other commonets, my justification is the cost of course. The rogue with the ever-useful UMD also has access to various world-breaking powers via magical items he can UMD. Said items cost money, quite a bit if you want to use them for more than the occational useful utility spell. Since Magic Tap effectively lets you buy scrolls, it faces the same issue. Is it great for that one time you really need Stone to Flesh? It's wonderful! Is it great to have a daily preperation of Summon Rapemonster? Oh hell no. What it has boiled down to was quibbling on just how much gold is being given to consumables, and I profess that attempting to fuel your class abilities on a very long time and a lot of gold is not an effective means of going about it.
Though unlikely due to the aforementioned unfeasable nature of it, just as a logic experiment... it would require a 20th level spellthief 400 minutes, or 6.6 hours, to prepare all his spells and cost 52,550g to fill all it's slots, cantrip to 9th level spells, each day (not including bonus spells from high charisma). Yeah, while your arguement mostly hovered around ECL 10, I would still hold true that this idea does not hold water even (perhaps especially) at low levels. -- Eiji Hyrule 06:30, August 2, 2010 (UTC)
You're forgetting a few important things:
  1. In order to deal with the daily number of encounters, a character only needs 4-6 spells of various levels. So that's not 52.5k a day.
  2. Wealth is a river. D&D assumes that you're repaid for consumables. Also, you can get a lot more wealth with spells than the cost of a spell (flesh to salt on a cow, sell the salt for lots of mone. Fabricate. Wall of Iron, sell the iron. Etc).
  3. Another character with UMD has to go and buy the crap they want. This one just visits a magic-mart by meditating for 10 minutes at a time.
  4. At low levels, all you really need is a color spray or two to win D&D.
The spellthief can easily get that and more, easily blowing through very low-level encounters, and even more easily regaining enough wealth from encounters (at all levels) to power through whatever else he wants and more. --Ghostwheel 07:03, August 2, 2010 (UTC)
I did say it was a logic experiement, that was for fun. Seriously though, 4-6 spells of various level, each day, for the rest of just a single dungeon is still quite a few spells. The examples you give for gaining more wealth are all wizard-level abuses. As a DM I'd either have prepared a counter, or slap the crap out of people who'd try Sell The Mount Spell or Crafting shinanigans. I will give you that they have the advangage over the rogue in that they don't have to actually visit the magic mart for their spell, and that actually was the point. But then, we're back to quibbling over the price.
Out of curiosity, 1 spell each from 1-5, something totally reasonable probably, is 2375g. Do you spend that much gold on daily consumables? Remember, the primary benefit (and a good benefit) is providing that "boy I wish I prepared Knock" utility rather than actual spell preperation for a long term benefit. To that end, this ability fails. Even a single 5th level spell, which hosts several good game breakers, each day is over a thousand gold per day. And if you are not cheesing the system with Walls of Iron into gold and whatnot, well then that is actually pretty serious.
Incidentally if you are in a game where that stuff happens, then you have larger problems than access to needed utility as called for. -- Eiji Hyrule 07:40, August 2, 2010 (UTC)
Thank you for proving my point for me. Primarily wizard-level classes are able to use wizard-level shenanigans. Tome rules were created to deal with such shenanigans--if you want to see a balanced system with wizard-level wealth and spellcasting, check out Book of Gears. With BoG in place, this class is perfectly balanced against similar classes that can pull off such tricks as far as wealth goes, such as the wizard who'll be doing similar things. Just another reason that this is wizard-level, including the fact that it can do all the same planar binding stuff that wizards can do--things that are perfectly fine in a wizard-level game. There seems to be a pattern here. --Ghostwheel 08:09, August 2, 2010 (UTC)
Tap magic really just is: At level X you do not need to go to store to buy scrolls, also it expend a spell slot of the same level as the scroll you brought. I don't think this class is wizard-level, it not any better than a rogue with maxed UMD (especially since the rogue can get an epic feat at 10, this class cannot.) In the end, a nice little variant, really I don't see why the ability to buy scroll without going tto the store make this class wizard-level.--Leziad 08:29, August 2, 2010 (UTC)
That's the thing, that's a wizard-level tactic. A tactic that really, is done by anyone. A wizard who prepares Flesh to Salt. A rogue who uses a scroll of it, a MONK who UMDs it crossclass. Even a commoner. So the actual tactic of abusive moneymaking is not inherently tied to possessing spellcasting. Of course, being able to prepare and cast that spell for free is better than having to pay for it, but the spellthief has to pay for it. That places it's closest comparison to "anyone with UMD" rather than with the wizard who prepares such spells at his whim.
Note this arguement plays out with everything. Monks with planar binding. Monks with shapechange. Monks with Summon Rapeface. Not to mention, though this obviously goes into RAI vs RAW, those uses of the spell are pretty obviously abuses of said spell. Yes, you can do that, and you can also make a platinum demiplane or build a nuclear bomb out of a ring gate and an iron rod, but none of those things are really intended to work that way. Is there a way, an intended way mind you, to make vast amounts of cash that would negate money issues and won't get you smacked by a DM?
Well I suppose if you were evil, slaughtered a town of commoners, and sold all their mundane items that could work. I did once consider as a joke nuking a town whose "item value was 103,000g". Eh heh heh, nuking, mmmm....
Where was I again? Oh yes, that's just spell abuse against guilable DMs. The fact that it is not free puts them at rogue rather than wizard for comparison. -- Eiji Hyrule 08:34, August 2, 2010 (UTC)
Let us not forget the SGT use the appropriated Weath by ECL, so when balancing infinite money glitch should not be considered too much (unless the class has the exclusivity on it). --Leziad 08:42, August 2, 2010 (UTC)
This leaves us two possibilities; allow UMD for everyone, or for no-one. At level 10, you have more than enough wealth to buy a +5 UMD item, a +2 masterwork tool, and put in 6 ranks regardless of your class. That's a +13 to UMD without adding Charisma or other modifiers that people can stack. This means that any class with CWBL, even the commoner, is wizard-level if they can beat the SGT with CWBL and UMD alone.
Obviously this isn't going to work. But what if we gave every possible scroll and wand to people who have UMD? I'm pretty sure it's possible to show that one can overcome the SGT easily with the right scrolls and wands. And if the above is possible to show (that one can overcome the SGT using only UMD), it means that every class with UMD is wizard-level, including the Expert NPC class.
Well, that doesn't work either. This means that we need to go with the other way; just because you have UMD as a class skill doesn't mean that you get access to every scroll and wand out there. Items need to be limited, and classes need to rely on class abilities rather than items when going against the SGT. If abilities to create items are available as class features (Artificer) or can be created with feats (wizards who can cast spells, using Craft XYZ feats), then that class has access to extra equipment (and thus might be wizard-level). On the other hand, more mundane non-crafters need to use their class abilities. An allowance might be 3 sets of 3 potions as well as the Big Six (magic weapon, magic armor, resistance cloak, ability enhancer, ring of protection, amulet of natural armor) as appropriate for the character's level, but the primary focus of the SGT should be class features, rather than a single skill. One would certainly have wealth, but unless one could craft items using it (or use it in other ways, such as summoning a familiar) one wouldn't have access to all the miscellaneous equipment that everyone seems to assume that characters undergoing the SGT get. After all, the SGT is supposed to test a class, not a set of items, and while one can assume that one has the class in all games one is in (obviously), one cannot assume that one has those items, and thus it should not be assumed that one has any items not inherent to the class that one cannot create through the class.
tl;dr: Assuming that everyone has tons of equipment doesn't work when that equipment alone pwns the SGT, rather than the class abilities of a character. --Ghostwheel 09:03, August 2, 2010 (UTC)
The way I see it, this class is wizard level, maybe on the lower rung of the spectrum but still up there. The ability to access any sorcerer or wizard spell without making a visit to the store where you would pay a similar amount of coins for a magical item allows you to bypass the idea of preparation. As long as you have 10 minutes, you have access to any spell you want (especially if Tap Magic works in conjuction with the Divine Thief special ability), allowing you to act as a surrogate for any of the wizard-level full casting classes. On that thought, I would be concerned as to the ramifications of divine metamagic and steal spell. Say the spellthief were to take a persisted divine power spell and instantly wreak havoc even with his reduced sneak attack. These are possibilities that put the spellthief above and beyond the limitations of Use Magic Device. As such, I believe the class is firmly Wizard-level, since a Balance Point is supposed to reflect the class's full potential (which is why a Wizard is Wizard-level even though it can be played at Fighter level by using magic missile, lightning bolt, and fireball). Because of that stipulation, it is implausible to say that this class would not be doing wizard-level shenanigans; if it even has the capability to perform such feats, one should assume that they would be used. - TG Cid 14:16, August 2, 2010 (UTC)
Don't you understand? It's not in doubt that this guy could spend a few thousand gp and open up an infinite loop of money. The thing is just that this doesn't matter on any remote level. If a class is wizard-level because it can do something like that, then everyone is wizard-level because they can do something like that. The argument that 'they don't have to go to a store' is entirely moot in this case. If this guy wanted to Fabricate a wall of iron and sell the iron, yes, he could do so, by preparing the spell. If anyone else wanted a wand of Fabricate so they could do the exact same thing, they could do so. If the PC wanted to do this, then he'd go to the wand store, if they didn't carry the wand, they'd find the guy who makes the wand, and get him to make a special wand that had Fabricate. If a PC is going to do this, the only way you can stop them, is by having the spell not even exist in the first place, in which case, this class and the Rogue are both dead even once again, due to the fact that if you go to that extreme to prevent the existence of a wand of Fabricate, then you can also go to that extreme to prevent the spell from existing at all. The bare naked truth of the matter is that this class functions, in regard to these 'spells', in the exact same way that a Rogue functions in regards to their wands. In fact, this class winds up below Rogue in that respect, cause for their trouble, the Rogue gets 50 uses in a wand. This guy, for his trouble, gets 1 use in a spell slot. Seriously, just look at the two and compare them. → Rith (talk) 17:01, August 2, 2010 (UTC)
It sounds like you're not understanding, despite the fact that I explained above. I'll do so again, please read carefully this time.
UMD copies wizard spells. One can, using only UMD, beat (not pass) the SGT without too much of a problem. This means that anyone with access to UMD can beat the SGT. People with access to UMD are those with it as a class skill... or those who invest in it as a cross-class skill. That's part one of why it doesn't work--since it ignores class features and rests only on a single skill which anyone can easily have access to.
The second part is that specific items can bypass encounters. (Yes, this includes UMD-able wands.) For example, Dimension Stride Boots could bypass the hallway of runes. This shows a couple of problems with using items; they don't test a class's power to pass the SGT, and apart from character creation items are handed out by a DM (or bought in a magic-mart which is under DM perview--I mentioned character creation because DMs don't look as often at what players start with). Because of these two problems, when dealing with the SGT classes should use their own power granted by their own class abilities to beat encounters rather than jumping to items and using them to pass the SGT.
So who should have access to all items? Classes that can make them, of course. That means that the artificer has access to items, as do any builds which take feats and have the spells necessary to craft items. Access to items in these cases are inherent in the class, and not add-ons that might or might not actually lend themselves to a class's actual power depending on the game we're talking about--saying that every single XYZ has an ABC leads to an Oberonian fallacy, and thus is faulty.
Finally, talking specifically about this class.
Compare this to other classes--sure, any class can get UMD, but not every DM is going to hand out a wand of fabricate. On the other hand, every Mystic Spellthief of the right level can get it. Same with Planar Binding and other wizard-level tricks. Being able to get wizard-level tricks without outside help (like the wizard) usually makes a class wizard-level. Furthermore, the "wand store" isn't available in every campaign, and the DM can deny a character specific items (you don't find it/they don't have it for sale, etc). Your solution above works--but it's only a problem for wizard-level characters who have the ability to exploit spells without DM assistance in the form of items. No one else can do so without DM assistance--no rogue, without a wand of Fabricate or Planar Binding or Wall of Iron is going to be able to create items that he can UMD to cast those or cast those himself. That's what makes them rogue-level.
Please read this time. I addressed all the arguments made before (if requiring a little thinking to get to them) and have explained further for those who can't be bothered to take it a step further. --Ghostwheel 06:49, August 4, 2010 (UTC)

→Reverted indentation to one colon

Just a note on the same game test, we're working to find a way of making it a bit more equipment agnostic. Not there yet because there's not a solution that completely satisfies me (which is, fortunately or unfortunately, an important part), but getting there. Surgo 16:01, August 4, 2010 (UTC)
Also, on the subject of this class's balance point, I just read through it and find it to be firmly unquantifiable. I've never seen a class so completely dependent on the DM's whims. Surgo 16:03, August 4, 2010 (UTC)
Though I'll also note that this is wholly inappropriate for a game that actually allows the Planar Binding spell (like a Tome game), because when you hit 11 you get on the infinite gold/materials gravy train, and from there on out you're a super-wizard. So from levels 11-20 you're super broken, and from levels 1-10 you're the DM's bitch. Seems to me like this class could use some revision. Surgo 16:05, August 4, 2010 (UTC)

Balance Level ChangeEdit

Per policy, Ghost has opened a forum to get this balance level changed without author approval. I've already voted for Unquant over there, since I think this class is going to be all over the board in a game depending on what the DM allows in his world and what enemies he throws at you. Further discussion of the balance level can go in either place, but anyone besides Ghost or Eiji (who can't vote) who wants to vote it one way or the other should add their 2cp to the forum. The vote will close no earlier than Aug 20. - TarkisFlux 18:08, August 6, 2010 (UTC)

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