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I found this "The Dropout" wizard subclass on Dungeon Master's Guild, and at first glance, it seems overpowered, as it gives abilities no other subclasses do. Note: this is a pay-what-you-want product.

Here is a summary:

2nd level:

  • Scrappy Scholar:
    • This is like the "X Savant" features that the PHB subclasses get, but for all schools
  • Partially Educated:
    • You learn 2 spells from your choice of the Bard, Cleric, Druid, Sorcerer, or Wizard spell lists, which can be cantrips.
    • You can copy spells from the previously listed spell lists into your spellbook, and when you do, they count as wizard spells for you.

6th level:

  • Class Audit:
    • You get your choice of Potent Cantrip (From Evoker), Extra Attack (one of your attacks can be a cantrip) (From Bladesinger), or Benign Transportation (From Conjurer).

10th level:

  • Alternative Education:
    • As Partially Educated, but with Warlock, Ranger, or Paladin.

14th level:

  • Ability Score Improvement:
    • This is a normal ASI.

This seems OP because by 10th level, this wizard will have access to every spell. This means that they would potentially treading on the toes of other spellcasters. Also, I'm aware that this character would be able to pick cure wounds as their at-will spell at 18th level. However, this was already possible with Mark of Healing from E:RftLW, so I don't think this is a significant problem with this subclass.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Are you saying that the 14th level feature is an ASI? Per the Wizards Table, wizards get ASIs at 4th, 8th, 12th, 16, and 19th. At 14th level, they should get a subclass featute; for instance, abjuration and conjuration wizards get Spell Resistance and Durable Summons, respectively. Are you saying the Dropout gets an extra ASI at 14th, as a sublcass feature? \$\endgroup\$
    – Jack
    Mar 22 at 18:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, I am. This functions identically to a normal ASI. \$\endgroup\$
    – User 23415
    Mar 22 at 19:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ Not relevant enough to the main question to be an answer, but I would object to this class on the grounds of breaking the setting. Not only is it strange that a dropout is at least as well educated as a typical wizard, it rubs me the wrong way that an arcane spellcaster is able to wield powers normally reserved for clerics and druids. The idea of a wizard using arcane power to channel the wrath of the gods the way a paladin does breaks the idea that these abilities actually mean something in universe. Flavor is a lot of what separates different types of casters - this subclass muddies that. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 6 at 16:28

2 Answers 2

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Not particularly balanced, no.

2nd level features:

  • Scrappy Scholar is strictly better than anyone else's "Savant" feature
  • Partially educated is like getting a Bard's magical secrets at level 2 (instead of 6 or 10), and it doesn't even say it needs to be a level you can cast. So you could take a 3rd level cleric spell (I'm looking at you spirit guardians), and just wait till you have the spell slots to cast it. Then it gets even more nuts if you can find spell books or scrolls to augment this feature. This is likely also better than anything else any other wizard gets.

6th level features:

  • Class audit is just "Pick the best out of 3" which is objectively stronger than any of the 3 on their own. As you get the choice. The only argument against this is that another school offers something better. So this is at least above average.

10th level features:

  • Alternative Educated: Let's not pretend that this isn't just magical secrets #2. What this is looking like is someone really liked playing a Bard-Wizard multiclass and said, what if I got everything without multiclassing?

14th level features:

  • ASI (or feat if you're playing like that, which I think most do), are we doing fighter impressions now? ASI is on par or better than anything given to other wizards at this level.

The point is that if it's objectively better than all the other wizards, it's probably not balanced. That's not to say that you couldn't play it in a balanced way, say by making sub-optimal spell choices, but it would seem silly for most wizards to chose any other subclass. Also, if a dropout ends up doing better than most of the ones who stayed in school, what kind of message does that send to the children?

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This needs to be controlled by the DM, and is not well designed

I don't think this is outright overpowered for a simple reason: most of these features (if I understand your description right) allow you to copy spells from other classes lists — but to copy a spell, you first need an original to copy, and giving access to such originals would be entirely controlled by the DM. As nearly all of these other classes do not use spellbooks, the most likely form to happen upon such written-down spells is as spell scrolls, and it is entirely up to the DM if they make scrolls available to purchase or let you find them.

That said, this class is highly dubious, because it undermines a core idea of the game, which is that each class has unique strengths, so they will play different, and the different spell lists for casters are an important element for that.

The level 2 feature allows you to pick cure wounds. The core idea for wizards is that they do not get healing spells. DMG, p. 283

Make sure the spell fits with the identity of the class. Wizards and sorcerers don't typically have access to healing spells, for example, and adding a healing spell to the wizard class list would step on the cleric's turf.

It also allows you to pick eldritch blast, wich is the warlock's signature spell. There are other ways to get those, via feats, but feats are dear at least in the first two ASIs, as you want to max out your spellcasting ability.

I think it's not a good design, because to reign it in, you are essentially forcing the DM to be stingy on finding sources, and if they are, the class or the experience sucks. If they don't you lose all semblance of clear class distinction.

There may also be a risk of this being overpowered if they do not. More options is always more powerful, even if the individual choices are balanced (which also makes the level 6 feature a bit too strong), and there easily could be exploitable spell interactions if you get access to every spell in the game as the caster — not even a bard can do that.

In fact, a bard has a very similar feature that lets them pick a couple spells from any spell list at certain levels, which is strong but not broken. My impression is that a player who is interested in that could just play a bard, without creating any issues.

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