What if Arcane Tricksters were 1/2 casters instead of 1/3 casters?
By - SilverTabby
That would be totally overpowered for those classes. Arcane Tricksters and Eldritch Knights have full martial kits in addition to their spells, while Rangers and Paladins tend to have less substantial kits.
I can see the argument on Eldritch Knight being overpowered because *Action Surge* allows them to cast a spell in the same turn as a full attack action.
However, Arcane Trickster would need to take a full turn off of stabbing to cast a full action spell. That seems like a much more reasonable trade-off in power.
The issue is you're thinking of spells as things an AT might do instead of doing their Rogue things, when the best spells for an AT are ones that enhance their Rogue things. Spells like Haste, Shadow Blade, Shield, etc. can all be cast without slowing down Sneak Attack damage output, and giving them 1/2 caster progression means they could cast these spells much more frequently than they should be able to.
Arcane trickster is already the most popular rogue subclass by a substantial margin for a couple of reasons. 1) it is one of the only rogue subclasses that adds damage through things like booming blade, haste, and shadow blade 2) spellcasting is more versatile than what other subclasses get and 3) it grows much faster than other subclasses despite being a 1/3rd caster (rogues don't get their second subclass feature until level 9). I don't think changing arcane trickster from a 1/3rd to a 1/2 caster would really overpower it compared to other classes in the game as rogues are pretty low on the martial power scale, but it would be problematic to make the best subclass even better.
> I don't think changing arcane trickster from a 1/3rd to a 1/2 caster would really overpower it compared to other classes in the game as rogues are pretty low on the martial power scale, but it would be problematic to make the best subclass even better.
I think this was my fundamental oversight. I was comparing the Arcane Trickster to the Ranger and Paladin, not the other rogue subclasses.
Except when you consider shadow blade + sneak attack. Having a faster progression of slots means a much better shadow blade damage making every other rogue be a bad pick by comparision. Youd have to add more to the other subclasses or the only rogue worth picking would be the arcane trickster as they have way more versatility while being way ahead in damage. The top 2 damage rogue subclasses are arcane trickster and then swashbuckler (assuming both get booming blade as its easy to get from magic initiate or a race for swash) but the AT has a harder time fighting alone (familiars help but shouldnt be relied on as they will get killed very often if they participate in combat). The AT has better versatility due to spell casting and more damage with shadow blade.
I don't think it's "silly", a Wizard is a specialist caster, it's natural that they have a better progression at spells.
I wouldn't change it in my table, it would be unfair with other caster classes.
The one time I played an Arcane Trickster, it never felt like casting a spell in combat was a good idea because of how far behind on spell progression the class was.
Arcane Trickster gets access to 3rd level spells including *Hypnotic Patern* at level 13, while the Wizard is getting 7th level spells including *Simmulacrum*.
I'm wondering how game-breaking would it actually be to give AT *Hypnotic Patern* at 9th level, when the wizard has already had it for nearly half the campaign.
It wasn't a "good idea" but the class is still functional because it has other options, a Wizard doesn't, it depends on their spells solely.
What's the point of being a wizard if another class can do everything it does plus melee fighting?
The thing is, you're still a rogue. Fundamentally, you're a rogue with some magic tricks to help you with your rogue things. You're not meant to stand next to the wizard and cast impactful spells, you're meant to still be a rogue but with shadow blade/haste/etc. This feels like you just want to play something that the Arcane Trickster isn't supposed to be.
The fundamental question in my mind is "is *Haste* a 14th level feature, or a 10th level one?"
The question should be "Is Haate a 14th level feature *for a Rogue*".
Because yes. Yes it is.
Because that's not what Arcane Trickster is meant to do. They are the Rogue with a few magical tricks to help with the stabbing not the Rogue that does magic instead of stabbing. If you want to play a sneaky skill monkey caster, you go Bard.
Then they would be far too powerful.
They have such slow spell progression because they have full martial progression.
Honestly, they would basically become artificer, with sneak attacks.
Seems too overlapping.
They are both high skill characters with Int as a casting stat and thieves' tools proficiency, specializing outside of combat as explorers using their class features to move through and interact with the environment. Neither uses their spells overmuch in combat, preferring to use most of them as aids in exploration and bypassing hazards.
Giving them half caster would make Artificer feel underpowered and redundant to me.
The artificer comparison is actually very striking now that you mention it. Shows I've been behind the screen too long: I haven't played one yet
Arcane Trickster might just be the most powerful rogue subclass already, so no.
There's definitely an argument to be made that the base rogue class needs some love to keep up in combat with other martials, but buffing it's strongest subclass exclusively isn't the way to do it.
Crazy idea: what if Arcane Trickster was the rogue base class, and they got another subclass ontop of it? ~~Including one option to upgrade them to a half caster~~
No. There's certain pillars of DnD that you don't mess with because otherwise you start losing what makes it DnD. One of those is that you need a mundane Thief style class.
Like I said before, your problem is you picked the wrong class. If you want a sneaky caster you should go Bard, not Rogue.
They would be stronger.
I don't think this is necessary. The slow progression can feel bad in a white room, but it should be remembered that this is on top of the Rogue kit, which is already fantastic. AT is easily the best Rogue subclass, and it doesn't need to be any better. Also yeah it is going to feel bad if you take Fireball at 13th level, but I'll tell you a secret: EKs shouldn't be learning fireball at all, it's not a good spell for them.
A better way of addressing this problem imo is through magic items. Make the items you give the AT more magical than you might normally, with a greater focus on casting spells.
While I'd certainly like my eldritch knight have have access to higher level spells sooner (currently waiting for 7th level for access to 2nd-level spells), I still have access to all of the fighter abilities and the arcane trickster in the party still has access to all of the abilities for the rogue. I think that's the main reason why they don't have access to half-casting, because then the class would be overloaded with spells in addition to class abilities.
It might actually make rogue playable. Current AT can't even cast Web till level 7 and rogue is a deadweight base class so it would actually be sort of interesting.
Putting spells with saves on 1/3 casters insn't a bright idea in the first place. You want stuff that helps you perform your martial skills, if you want to cast stuff with direct damage or CC, pick another class.
Level 8. Web isn't a illusion nor enchantment spell
I think it should be the other way around. Full casters should be half casters. That plus the 1/3 casters still get all their class features. I think increasing the caster level of 1/3 or 1/2 casters is a bad idea.