Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 Edition, a revision of D&D Third Edition, published in 2003.

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Why did the D&D devs design spontaneous casters to lose out on a spell level compared to prepared casters?

In D&D 3.x, spontaneous full casters (like the Sorcerer or Oracle) gain their higher level spells a level later than the equivalent prepared caster classes (like Wizard and Cleric). For example, ...