Nobiran Wonderworker

Hello again. This time, I wanted to talk a little bit about the Nobiran Wonderworker.

First off, I want to communicate that I think I understand the intention behind this class. As rare, anointed masters of mystical power, these guys and gals are intended to be members of a rare, elite class that is intentionally more powerful than basic mages and clerics. I don’t believe that perfect balance is always the most important thing, especially in games like ACKS which adhere to an old school aesthetic. I am not interested in making wonderworkers into a “balanced” class. They should remain elite.

That being said, there is a problem whereby the wonderworker flat-out duplicates and then adds to the functionality of mages and clerics (Well, priestess might be a better comparison than cleric, as the divine clothie-type, but the point stands).

I understand that the “balancing” mechanism for the wonderworker class is meant to be somewhat slower leveling, two lost levels at the end of progression as well as difficult-to-meet stat requirements. However, consider playing from 1st level as a mage in a party that also includes a wonderworker PC. It would probably be unpleasant to spend most of your adventuring career with another character than can flat out do everything that you can do as well as having full divine spellcasting and a bevy of special abilities. It is true that the wonderworker levels somewhat more slowly than the mage, but this just means that for part of each level, the mage is one level ahead. For the bulk of the time they are both the same level, though, and the wonderworker is doing everything the mage does and a whole lot more besides.

I believe that the wonderworker should remain elite and, overall, more powerful than a mage or priestess. But I also think it is harmful to the game to have one class that totally duplicates the abilities of another for most of the leveling process, as well as adding a bevy of additional functionality. What is the solution?

Proposed Fix: Give the wonderworker 2/3 progression in both arcane and divine spellcasting, but change nothing else. Keep the stat requirements and all of the special abilities. As a 2/3 progression spellcaster, the wonderworker maintains the majority of the spellcasting ability of two different classes, while adding a bunch of cool special abilities. Players will still jump at the chance to play a nobiran wonderworker on those rare occasions that the dice provide the necessary stats. However, a basic mage, cleric or priestess PC will at least have a slight edge on the wonderworker when it comes to their particular branch of magic. The Wonderworker remains better than the other casters overall, but other spellcasting classes at least have a little room to shine in their home domains.

Again, thanks for indulging this feedback.

Dionysos, thanks for your feedback. I am not surprised that some people feel uncomfortable with the Wonderworker in their campaign. I encourage anyone who dislikes it to house-rule it as they see fit. Since we've given the complete Class Creation rules to you, it's easy to tinker to find a class that will fit into your campaign.

To explain why I'm not going to change the official class, it's because the Wonderworker is *supposed* to be a mage + cleric in the way that an elf spellblade is mage + fighter. The comparison is the same. A 1st level mage in a party with a 1st level elf spellsword will find the elf can do everything he can do, and then some, and this is true all the way to level 10. Same with the wonderworker and the mage.

However, what's also true is that because ACKS tightly limits the number of spells a mage can learn, it's very unlikely that the Nobiran wonderworker and the mage will have the same spells. The mage will always be able to cast spells the Wonderworker can't, and vice versa. Also, since the mage only has to worry about raising his INT, while the Wonderworker has 11 minimums in all stats and 2 prime requisites, the average mage will have a higher INT, meaning a larger repertoire of mage spells. This is already true when comparing mage v. spellsword, and it becomes even more noticeable in comparing wonderworker v. mage.

For example, a player who rolls S11, I 15, W 12, D 10, C 8, Ch 11 will likely play a mage and modify his stats to be S9, I18, W10, D 10, C8, Ch 9. A player who rolls S11, I 12, W 14, D 12, C 11, Ch 13 might choose tplay a wonderworker because, OMG, he got all 11s and up! He can modify his stats to S 11, I 13, W 14, D 12, C11, Ch 11. His INT is not great, and he can't trade down most of his stats to raise it. So the mage will have a repertoire of 4 (1+3) spells, the wonderworker a repertoire of 2 (1+1) spells.

In any event, such balancing is fairly subtle, and I can see how a player might feel aggrieved. If you have players who tend to want constant inter-class balance, you should modify or remove the wonderworker.



Thanks for thoroughly explaining your thinking on the class. I am new to ACKS, so I had skipped over the bit about lowering stats in favor of prime requisites. Seeing the all-stats-at-11+ requirement as not only cost of entry but also a “floor” for tinkering with casting stats definitely makes me look more favorably on the class. I still think I am more comfortable with the wonderworker as a 2/3 caster, but I can now see how the wonderworker might still allow other casters some room to shine as written. Thanks for the response.