Author Topic: Most recent spell changes  (Read 2477 times)

Iridni Ren

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Most recent spell changes
« on: March 27, 2017, 09:34:40 AM »
I want to discuss one change, but anyone fire away with others:

Quote
Made the following spell changes based on Ravenloft PnP books:
...
-Searing Light: The Dread Realm gives certain advantages to undead creatures. In Ravenloft, undead creatures can make a Will save for half damage.

Can you cite the PnP book on which you based this change?

I've looked at Domains of Dread and can't find it in there among the listed changes, but I might be looking at the wrong edition. In fact, the only "searing light"-type spell I find altered is "searing orb," and it's actually enhanced:
Quote
Sol's Searing Orb: The light from this spell is considered to be the equivalent of daylight. Therefore, in addition to normal damage inflicted by this spell, it harms creatures affected by daylight as if they were standing outside on a bright summer day.

Second, Searing Light is supposed to do 1D8 per caster level against undead already but only does 1D6 in NWN. So it's weaker than it's supposed to be in PnP.

It requires a ranged touch attack, affects only one target, and spell resistance applies. As someone who actually uses it (most people who know how to play tell me I'm stupid to waste a well slot on it), I can tell you it hardly needed nerfing. I expended three uses (9 charges total) of a magic item with it recently for a grand total of 0 points of damage against a vampire. Iridni's innate casting of it tends to be more effective, but this is her niche.

A Will save? How does that make sense? I understand that the Will save might be so mindless undead are still susceptible to it, whereas more powerful undead (VAMPIRES!) are less likely to be, but the entire usefulness of the spell is...those creatures most susceptible to sunlight. The mechanic of implementing a Will save seems to be for a desired outcome rather than having any rational basis in realism.

As is, the best use I've found for the spell is to finish off fleeing enemies that I couldn't run down easily. I slot it because it seems dumb to be a Sun Domain cleric and not ever employ it.
« Last Edit: March 27, 2017, 09:38:52 AM by Iridni Ren »

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aprogressivist

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Re: Most recent spell changes
« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2017, 09:38:52 AM »
I want to discuss one change, but anyone fire away with others:

Quote
Made the following spell changes based on Ravenloft PnP books:
...
-Searing Light: The Dread Realm gives certain advantages to undead creatures. In Ravenloft, undead creatures can make a Will save for half damage.

Can you cite the PnP book on which you based this change?

I believe it's in the Ravenlot PHB. This post here references it: http://www.nwnravenloft.com/forum/index.php?topic=25046.msg304170#msg304170
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Iridni Ren

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Re: Most recent spell changes
« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2017, 09:44:45 AM »
Sigh.

Alright, thanks.

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Iridni Ren

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Re: Most recent spell changes
« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2017, 11:19:20 AM »
If the change is to bring the spell in line with PnP, shouldn't the damage also be increased against undead to 1D8 per level?

 :D

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Re: Most recent spell changes
« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2017, 12:59:05 PM »
Unfortunately, the the 1d8 only applies to certain specific undead and not all of them.

Quote
An undead creature takes 1d6 points of damage per caster level (maximum 10d6), and an undead creature particularly vulnerable to bright light takes 1d8 points of damage per caster level (maximum 10d8).
« Last Edit: March 27, 2017, 01:00:54 PM by Iluvatar »

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Re: Most recent spell changes
« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2017, 02:02:16 PM »
It's a vamp killer spell for sure
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Iridni Ren

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Re: Most recent spell changes
« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2017, 03:18:37 PM »
Compare it (3rd level spelll) to magic missile (1st level spell):

MM = no save at all

MM = no need to succeed at a touch attack

A 9th level MM = 5 x (1 to 4) + 5  damage

Avg = 17.5 damage

Searing light (as is) 9th level cleric 9 to 54 = 31.5 damage on average

But!!

The vampire's AC = 19 (just run-of-the-grave vampire). The 9th level cleric has an AB of only +6. But we'll be generous and say the touch attack succeeds 75 percent of the time because I don't know which parts of the vampire's AC will help against a TA.

Now we're down to about 24 points of expected average damage.

The DC of the spell is 3. The vampire's Will save is +7.  It's going to make the save more than half the time against most clerics but to make the math simple will say half.

So 24 on average half the time, 12 on average the other half = 36/2 = 18

Versus 17.5 for magic missile.

So it's 0.5 more effective now against its "favored enemy," even while being 3rd level versus 1st level for MM.


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Re: Most recent spell changes
« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2017, 05:05:47 PM »
Just a couple numbers to help out your calculations.  The touch AC of the nwn vanilla vampire should be 12 (10 base +2 from dex).  The AB of the ranged touch attack from the cleric is BAB (+6) plus any dex bonus you have as a cleric.

The DC for save is base 10 + spell level 3 + attribute modifier (at least +1 if you are casting 3rd level spells but more likely +3) + spell focus.  So you are most likely looking at a DC of 16 + spell focus. 

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Re: Most recent spell changes
« Reply #8 on: March 27, 2017, 05:23:46 PM »
Hey, just to clarify, DC = 10 + spell lvl + ability modifier + feats
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Re: Most recent spell changes
« Reply #9 on: March 27, 2017, 07:33:57 PM »
The DC of the spell is 3. The vampire's Will save is +7.  It's going to make the save more than half the time against most clerics but to make the math simple will say half.

My language could have been a touch clearer above. When I say the DC of the spell is 3, I mean as as 3rd level spell its DC modifier is 3.

So 10+3=13.

The vampire adds 7 to its will save, resulting in it needing only a 6 to save. Vanilla case, the vampire actually saves 75 percent of the time (any roll greater than 5).

Since we're talking about the spell not the cleric herself, then I think those other modifiers are kind of beside the point: all of her spells will be more powerful if she expends feats and points to boost her wisdom. Similarly, the wizard can enhance MM or have extra first level spells with a high intelligence. The vampire might have an even better Will modifier. I was trying to keep it simple.

(A device doesn't get any modifiers. I wonder which is listed as more valuable in the loot table: a helm with 16 charges of searing light or a wand with 50 charges of magic missile.)

Even if we give the cleric +3 for WIS and +2  for spell focus, that makes the roll the vampire needs increase from 6 to 11. It now saves 50 percent of the time (as in my hypothetical).



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Re: Most recent spell changes
« Reply #10 on: March 29, 2017, 01:46:43 PM »
The DC of the spell is 3. The vampire's Will save is +7.  It's going to make the save more than half the time against most clerics but to make the math simple will say half.

My language could have been a touch clearer above. When I say the DC of the spell is 3, I mean as as 3rd level spell its DC modifier is 3.

So 10+3=13.

The vampire adds 7 to its will save, resulting in it needing only a 6 to save. Vanilla case, the vampire actually saves 75 percent of the time (any roll greater than 5).

Since we're talking about the spell not the cleric herself, then I think those other modifiers are kind of beside the point: all of her spells will be more powerful if she expends feats and points to boost her wisdom. Similarly, the wizard can enhance MM or have extra first level spells with a high intelligence. The vampire might have an even better Will modifier. I was trying to keep it simple.

(A device doesn't get any modifiers. I wonder which is listed as more valuable in the loot table: a helm with 16 charges of searing light or a wand with 50 charges of magic missile.)

Even if we give the cleric +3 for WIS and +2  for spell focus, that makes the roll the vampire needs increase from 6 to 11. It now saves 50 percent of the time (as in my hypothetical).




 Realistically, any cleric or anyone who would consider using this spell would likely have at least 16 wisdom, unless they are playing a multiclass that doesn't plan on casting level 6 spells, in which case... They likely shouldn't be bothering with this spell. They would also have access to Owl's Wisdom, which can easily bring the wisdom modifier to +5, and possibly the Zen Archery, which would be a sizeable boost to their hit chance, not to mention the effects of divine favor and divine power. Even then, a 55% full damage chance for a level 3 spell with no investment is quite respectable, especially considering most undead have low will save throws. And if they don't perform as well as expected, the cleric can always use those spell slots for healing.

 As for comparing the spell to a wizard/sorcerer spell, do keep in mind that even though clerics might not get as strong offensive spells as they do, they get proficiency with simple weapons, armor and shield, they can cast spells in armor without any penalty or metamagic requirement, they have better BAB and HD progression than wizards/sorcerers do, and they know all spells available to them if they can cast a spell of that level at all, not to mention their spontaneous access to healing spells. The two classes are balanced around different features, and it is not fair to compare the two spells without looking at the rest of their class features or their spell lists.

Iridni Ren

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Re: Most recent spell changes
« Reply #11 on: March 29, 2017, 03:45:42 PM »
Realistically, any cleric or anyone who would consider using this spell would likely have at least 16 wisdom, unless they are playing a multiclass that doesn't plan on casting level 6 spells, in which case... They likely shouldn't be bothering with this spell. They would also have access to Owl's Wisdom, which can easily bring the wisdom modifier to +5, and possibly the Zen Archery, which would be a sizeable boost to their hit chance, not to mention the effects of divine favor and divine power. Even then, a 55% full damage chance for a level 3 spell with no investment is quite respectable, especially considering most undead have low will save throws. And if they don't perform as well as expected, the cleric can always use those spell slots for healing.

Vampires do not have low will saves.

All of the cleric enhancements do not change the relative value of the spell (as I already said). They muddy rather than clarify the issue because a rising tide raises all boats. We're talking about the power of a spell--not the spell caster. A higher level, greater wisdom, feat-enhanced cleric is just going to be more effective in general. A higher level, more intelligent, feat-enhanced wizard is going to be more effective too.

It is also pointless to say the cleric can use heal spells instead, and I think that should be so obvious as to not require mentioning. The cleric could forego a spell at all and swing her hammer. Does that somehow prove the spell has not been been rendered useless and ineffective? Quite the contrary.

Quote
As for comparing the spell to a wizard/sorcerer spell, do keep in mind that even though clerics might not get as strong offensive spells as they do, they get proficiency with simple weapons, armor and shield, they can cast spells in armor without any penalty or metamagic requirement, they have better BAB and HD progression than wizards/sorcerers do, and they know all spells available to them if they can cast a spell of that level at all, not to mention their spontaneous access to healing spells. The two classes are balanced around different features, and it is not fair to compare the two spells without looking at the rest of their class features or their spell lists.

Focus, please :)  No one is arguing which class should have superior spells. I'm talking about one 1st level wizard/sorcerer spell versus 1 3rd level cleric spell for the sake of making the comparison of likely damage easy to calculate. Why? To rebut the statement that...

Quote
It's a vamp killer spell for sure

No, not now--unless one considers magic missile a vampire killer for sure.

My point is a spell that is clearly intended to be a nemesis for undead (especially vampires) has been rendered about as effective as magic missile.

If this nerfing is in the name of being consistent with PnP, then it follows the damage should be upped to 1D8/level for vampires.

Simple enough.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2017, 03:54:52 PM by Iridni Ren »

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Re: Most recent spell changes
« Reply #12 on: March 29, 2017, 04:26:56 PM »
The versions are all starting to bleed together on my end, but was requiring both a touch attack and allowing a saving throw on a single spell even a thing back in 3rd ed?  I've been playing 5e for over a year now, and it could very well be that I'm thinking in 5e mode, where it's either one or the other, but I definitely can't remember any 3rd ed spells allowing the target both their unarmored defense and a save.
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Re: Most recent spell changes
« Reply #13 on: March 29, 2017, 05:32:51 PM »
Off the top of my head, Ghoul Touch and Vampiric Touch require both.
The versions are all starting to bleed together on my end, but was requiring both a touch attack and allowing a saving throw on a single spell even a thing back in 3rd ed?  I've been playing 5e for over a year now, and it could very well be that I'm thinking in 5e mode, where it's either one or the other, but I definitely can't remember any 3rd ed spells allowing the target both their unarmored defense and a save.

Edit: Keep in mind that this is Ravenloft. Spells that target undead are often weaker and spells that boost undead stronger. I'll also raise the damage against vampires to 1d8/level.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2017, 05:35:20 PM by EO »

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Re: Most recent spell changes
« Reply #14 on: March 29, 2017, 05:45:31 PM »
Just to finish clearing any confusion there might still be about Searing Light, here is a screenshot of the spell from the 3.5e Player handbook.



And here from Ravenloft Player Handbook.

« Last Edit: March 29, 2017, 05:47:19 PM by Iluvatar »

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Iridni Ren

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Re: Most recent spell changes
« Reply #15 on: March 29, 2017, 06:28:00 PM »
Quote
I'll also raise the damage against vampires to 1d8/level.

Thank you very much :)

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Re: Most recent spell changes
« Reply #16 on: March 29, 2017, 07:23:32 PM »
Realistically, any cleric or anyone who would consider using this spell would likely have at least 16 wisdom, unless they are playing a multiclass that doesn't plan on casting level 6 spells, in which case... They likely shouldn't be bothering with this spell. They would also have access to Owl's Wisdom, which can easily bring the wisdom modifier to +5, and possibly the Zen Archery, which would be a sizeable boost to their hit chance, not to mention the effects of divine favor and divine power. Even then, a 55% full damage chance for a level 3 spell with no investment is quite respectable, especially considering most undead have low will save throws. And if they don't perform as well as expected, the cleric can always use those spell slots for healing.

Vampires do not have low will saves.

All of the cleric enhancements do not change the relative value of the spell (as I already said). They muddy rather than clarify the issue because a rising tide raises all boats. We're talking about the power of a spell--not the spell caster. A higher level, greater wisdom, feat-enhanced cleric is just going to be more effective in general. A higher level, more intelligent, feat-enhanced wizard is going to be more effective too.

It is also pointless to say the cleric can use heal spells instead, and I think that should be so obvious as to not require mentioning. The cleric could forego a spell at all and swing her hammer. Does that somehow prove the spell has not been been rendered useless and ineffective? Quite the contrary.

Quote
As for comparing the spell to a wizard/sorcerer spell, do keep in mind that even though clerics might not get as strong offensive spells as they do, they get proficiency with simple weapons, armor and shield, they can cast spells in armor without any penalty or metamagic requirement, they have better BAB and HD progression than wizards/sorcerers do, and they know all spells available to them if they can cast a spell of that level at all, not to mention their spontaneous access to healing spells. The two classes are balanced around different features, and it is not fair to compare the two spells without looking at the rest of their class features or their spell lists.

Focus, please :)  No one is arguing which class should have superior spells. I'm talking about one 1st level wizard/sorcerer spell versus 1 3rd level cleric spell for the sake of making the comparison of likely damage easy to calculate. Why? To rebut the statement that...

Quote
It's a vamp killer spell for sure

No, not now--unless one considers magic missile a vampire killer for sure.

My point is a spell that is clearly intended to be a nemesis for undead (especially vampires) has been rendered about as effective as magic missile.

If this nerfing is in the name of being consistent with PnP, then it follows the damage should be upped to 1D8/level for vampires.

Simple enough.

 My point was actually that a cleric can actually forego spells and smash things with her hammer, and be very effective at it, unlike a wizard or sorcerer. When you are looking at a spell, class or mechanic in terms of balance, you can't isolate it and examine it in a bubble separated from everything else that works in conjunction with it.

 As for comparing a 1st and 3rd level spell, that is not exactly fair either. Divine favor is a level 1 spell but it is, in my opinion, one of the best spells in the game and likely does the most single target damage of all spells in a long fight given a competent enough user. Same goes for the Shield spell which is a level 1 spell, but sees use even in a party of high levels unless a +18 level cleric is present. Same goes for Haste as well. Unless you are comparing two similar spells from the same spell list and same spell level, or at least similar ones that can be used for a specific slot via metamagic, then comparing spells doesn't really make much sense. 

 To clarify, the reason I commented was because the comparison between Searing Light and Magic Missile made no sense to me, and no sense from a balance perspective. I see no problem with the spell dealing 1d8 damage to vampires, that is 11 damage on a fail and 6 damage on a save on average at level 10 which is not much, and I would personally spend my 3rd level spell slots on Prayer rather than Searing Light as I don't think it is a very good spell. As for ignoring stat and feat bonuses, I struggle to see how that makes things more confusing, especially since you are using a set value in your vampire example and it is directly relevant to the effectiveness of the spell in the scenario you gave. Any cleric using this spell has to have at least 13 wisdom, so that is a bonus of +1 minimum, and as I pointed out any cleric that is realistically planning on using offensive spells will have a wisdom modifier of at least +4, which makes the following statement wrong.


The DC of the spell is 3. The vampire's Will save is +7.  It's going to make the save more than half the time against most clerics but to make the math simple will say half.





Iridni Ren

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Re: Most recent spell changes
« Reply #17 on: March 29, 2017, 08:29:57 PM »
Quote
Any cleric using this spell has to have at least 13 wisdom, so that is a bonus of +1 minimum, and as I pointed out any cleric that is realistically planning on using offensive spells will have a wisdom modifier of at least +4, which makes the following statement wrong.

Nope--you're wrong and arguing in a circle :)

Iridni uses it, and she's not got an 18 Wisdom, I assure you.

Before the saving throw was implemented, the Wis modifier was irrelevant. So what you're saying is unless a cleric has at least a +4 modifier, then...she's not "realistically" going to use the spell now. Why? Because she can't make the DC for the save difficult enough.

And my point was to show that the save weakened the spell until it was not worth using.

Thanks for agreeing with me :)
« Last Edit: March 29, 2017, 08:33:13 PM by Iridni Ren »

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Re: Most recent spell changes
« Reply #18 on: March 29, 2017, 08:36:56 PM »
Keep it civil folks.

As I posted, I'll tweak it so it supports (as much as possible) vampires. As for the changes; yes, it's a nerf (there's no way around that) but as I mentioned, this is due to the nature of Ravenloft. In this same update, Animate Dead was greatly boosted for clerics, same for two other spells.

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Re: Most recent spell changes
« Reply #19 on: March 29, 2017, 11:36:45 PM »
As I posted, I'll tweak it so it supports (as much as possible) vampires. As for the changes; yes, it's a nerf (there's no way around that) but as I mentioned, this is due to the nature of Ravenloft. In this same update, Animate Dead was greatly boosted for clerics, same for two other spells.

I'm content with the tweak as at least it's consistent with the reasoning for nerfing the spell, and I can understand the nerf in the context of the setting. But for my PC the Animate Dead spell is one she'll never use, whereas Searing Light is integral to her character.

The two spell benefits Sun Domain clerics get are treating Searing Light and Sunbeam as one level lower spells than they normally are. The latter spell she can't cast until she's 13th level. Because clerics are nerfed a spell slot here means she'll get only one 7th level spell even then.

That's my self-interested reason for squawking. But I also think any time a "niche" spell becomes useless, then builds and ways of playing converge. Eventually, there's only one right way to build a cleric and one right set of spells to select. (Just as an example, Night of Reod said that an offensive-spell-minded cleric needs to have "at least" a Wis of 18. Forcing a cleric to have an 18 Wis by at least level 5 constrains her build possibilities.)

Thanks again for the small tweak. I'm not pleading my case further, but explaining why something that seems so small mattered to me.


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Re: Most recent spell changes
« Reply #20 on: March 30, 2017, 09:07:00 AM »
Quote
Any cleric using this spell has to have at least 13 wisdom, so that is a bonus of +1 minimum, and as I pointed out any cleric that is realistically planning on using offensive spells will have a wisdom modifier of at least +4, which makes the following statement wrong.

Nope--you're wrong and arguing in a circle :)

Iridni uses it, and she's not got an 18 Wisdom, I assure you.

Before the saving throw was implemented, the Wis modifier was irrelevant. So what you're saying is unless a cleric has at least a +4 modifier, then...she's not "realistically" going to use the spell now. Why? Because she can't make the DC for the save difficult enough.

And my point was to show that the save weakened the spell until it was not worth using.

Thanks for agreeing with me :)

 Alright, any cleric that plans on going full cleric and using level 9 spells at level 17, when they become available, will start with at least 15 wisdom and put their first four points from leveling into wisdom. Since 3th level spells become available at level 5, they would have a base wisdom of 16 by then. And since they would also have access to owl's wisdom spell, which is a bonus of at least +2 wisdom, the only reason a cleric planning to use DC spells wouldn't have 18 wisdom at least is if the player forgets or doesn't think to cast owl's wisdom, or if the player is playing a multiclass cleric in which case the player shouldn't expect to be as competent as a full cleric, let alone one focusing on making their spells stronger, when it comes to using spells.

 If you can't get your DCs high enough to make the spell worth using, then you are not realistically going to use the spell just as a fighter with 20 str won't realistically use slings in melee. If you think the spell is weak and think it should be buffed, that is fine, but please don't present faulty or insufficient numbers or data while making that argument. You can't balance spells in a vacuum ignoring stat and feat bonuses because then you risk a half-vistani DC cleric with 20 base starting wisdom abusing them, or risk late game enemies with at least +10 wisdom modifiers, and DC 32 Fire Storms alongside of other nasty spells including the 3rd level spell Slashing Darkness, which is the negative energy version of the spell we are discussing, potentially being stronger than intended, as simple examples.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2017, 09:17:12 AM by Night of Reod »

Iridni Ren

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Re: Most recent spell changes
« Reply #21 on: March 30, 2017, 09:23:06 AM »
Quote
If you can't get your DCs high enough to make the spell worth using, then you are not realistically going to use the spell

My point exactly.

ETA: Whether a spell is "worth using" depends on other factors besides DC. It is risk versus reward.

A spell that is devastating if it works can be worth trading the risk that it won't work at all. That's why tweaking the possible damage makes the spell slightly more viable, especially since it's half damage in the event of save.

The tweak means at 10th level the spell will do on the average 10 more points of damage on a failed save, 5 more points of damage if the vampire makes the save. It's not much, but it's something.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2017, 09:32:18 AM by Iridni Ren »

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Re: Most recent spell changes
« Reply #22 on: March 30, 2017, 02:02:09 PM »
My dawnbringer uses searing light as a go to and usually it's quite effective. I've hit everything from knights to mpc characters with it. I'd say on average it hits about 75% of the time, give or take. That being said in my opinion, searing light is well worth it. If it doesn't work a flame strike does nicely too.
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