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I'm working with a player who has a homebrew wizard subclass and we were discussing the possibility of giving it a list of spells that was automatically learned and prepared for this class. We realized that this would be a lot like the domain spells from cleric subclasses. So, what would be the balance implications of letting a wizard subclass have more prepared spells, similar to the way in which cleric domains do?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Are you strictly interested in balance in terms of PC power, or wider gameplay effects? \$\endgroup\$ – Lovell Apr 26 at 11:43
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I want to point out quickly that having prepared spells is only one aspect of cleric domain spells. They also can grant access to spells that would otherwise be unavailable to the cleric.

The short version of the answer is:

It would make the subclass more powerful.

Additional prepared spells makes the Wizard more capable in handling a potential situation.

I think most consensus is that the Wizard class is a fairly strong class already. With the possible caveat of suffering more growing pains at low levels due to low hp.

The slightly longer version is:

The amount of power / utility it grants to the Wizard is directly related to what spells you are selecting to be always prepared. Giving them access to spells outside of their default spell list for example is a large increase in power. Giving the prepared spells which are almost always prepared anyways (shield, fireball and other must-haves) effectively just gives them extra prepared spells which gives them a strong bit of options. The lowest increase of power is if you grant them rarely prepared niche use spells. Having skywrite at your disposal at all times likely will not change the outcome of many scenarios.

You need to determine if this is a concern. The fact is, no matter how well intentioned, most tables have power differences between their party members. Finding some perfect balance is usually a much less important than engaging your players. If these extra spells makes a player feel better connected, and does not detract from other players enjoyment. Then its a good change. Is there a compelling lore / story / RP reason this subclass would grant a handful of spells always at the ready? If there is, you should probably include it.

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    \$\begingroup\$ The thing is that the limit on prepared spells is like the biggest limiter on a wizards spellcasting versatility. They already have the biggest spell list AND can learn potentially all of them. The only thing preventing a wizard from always having the perfect spell prepared is their known-spells limit (which is really not that low to begin with) \$\endgroup\$ – Hobbamok Apr 26 at 9:34
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Hobbamok The "knowing every spell" thing isn't as big of a deal, since Druids and Clerics automatically have access to their full list of class spells. \$\endgroup\$ – RevanantBacon Apr 26 at 12:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ @RevanantBacon It doesn't seem like a big deal, until you don't have it. Try playing a sorcerer for a while and you release how much of a big deal it is. Just because multiple classes have it does not mean that it is not a big deal. It like saying that spellcasting in general is not a big deal since so many classes have it. \$\endgroup\$ – Edwin Stoteler Apr 26 at 20:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ @EdwinStoteler I think you misread my comment. I didn't say "It's not a big deal" I said "It's not as big of a deal". Thanks for your consideration. \$\endgroup\$ – RevanantBacon Apr 26 at 20:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ @RevanantBacon I probably overemphasized that point, but given the wizards longest class spell list, expanding it into the few fields they don't have access to is imho still a decent buff (though in a party without a healer for example it could be ok). But I agree, its not as big of a point \$\endgroup\$ – Hobbamok Apr 27 at 8:46

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