View Full Version : Terrible Pun: Bard/Wizard/Sorcerror Spell

2009-09-11, 09:09 AM
Last Edit: Sept. 11, 12:52 PM

Terrible Pun

Evocation [Mind-Affecting][Language-Dependent][Sonic]
Level: Brd 3, Sor/Wiz 3
Components: V
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range: Close range [25 ft + 5 ft/2 caster levels]
Area: Radius-Burst, spherical, centered on self
Duration: Instantaneous
Saving Throw: Will Negates/partial
Spell Resistance: No

You speak a pun so terrible that any creature within the area suffers from the pain of hearing said pun. All other creatures within the area takes a 1d4 intelligence penalty that lasts for 1 hour per caster level. In addition, creatures in the radius take 1d4 points of sonic damage per caster level, up to a maximum of 5d4. A successful save negates the intelligence damage and halves the sonic damage.

Creatures with an intelligence score of 6 or lower are not affected by this spell. Creatures that cannot hear are unaffected by this spell.

Frog Dragon
2009-09-11, 09:12 AM
OP. You have an area spell that deals ability damage in addition to normal damage at level 2. A ray of enfeeblement is considered a good spell and it is considerably weaker that thin.

Also: It should probably be enchantment. Making this evocation makes no sense.

2009-09-11, 09:14 AM
Howza bout a will save, to avoid having to stop whatever they're doing and just glare angrily at the caster for round?

2009-09-11, 09:22 AM
Will Negates? Actually, that does make sense...and I suppose I could make this a Bardic level 3 spell. I just figured they'd have an easier time making puns than Wizards and Sorcerrors. :smalltongue:

2009-09-11, 09:33 AM
Ray of enfeeblement (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/rayOfEnfeeblement.htm) is a 1st level spell. Of course it will be weaker than terrible pun.

Since terrible pun is limited to affecting creatures of Int of 6 and higher, no animals can be harmed by this spell. PETA approves it.

However, you neglect to mention whether deaf creatures are affected. More importantly, this spell is more powerful than sound burst (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/soundBurst.htm), so it probably be a level higher. Terrible pun is both mind affecting and sonic.


2009-09-11, 09:39 AM
Also: It should probably be enchantment. Making this evocation makes no sense.

Evocation > Enchantment

1.Enchantment spells(at least the SRD ones) almost all have durations(every one I checked did). This spell doesn't.

2.Enchantment is not the only mind-affecting school, but it is(again, SRD) a school without any direct damage spells.

3.This spell is reminiscent of shout, which is already Evocation.

4.It also reminds me of this spell. (http://www.giantitp.com/articles/STcFi6l45eoAbaxiYPn.html)

If anything, the mind-affecting part needs to go, based on #4, but I like it as Evocation, although placing it in Divination and adjusting it to be more in line with the terrible secret spell wouldn't be bad either.

2009-09-11, 09:42 AM
I concur bards should get it at a lower spell level.

Enchantment sounds best, as you are magnifying the power of bad humor in their minds to the point where it makes their ears bleed or something.

2009-09-11, 09:46 AM
I like the idea of it being a Bardic spell more than anything, puns are right up their alley. It also makes sense to me that the radius be dependent on your ranks in perform.

2009-09-11, 09:47 AM
This actually needs the [language-dependent] and [sonic] descriptors. Lack of humour doesn't translate well.

I guess evocation could make sense if you are manipulating the raw essence of bad humour, but I'd suggest sticking with Enchantment.

Also, this spell should allow spell resistance - the magic is clearly affecting its victims directly.

2009-09-11, 10:13 AM
The spell is, at its essence, based on the idea of "Shout". Heck, originally it was going to have the [Sonic] Descriptor, but the actual damaging force behind the spell is the brain-crushing stupidity of it, not the force of the words.

[language-dependent] I agree with, and I think, since everyone seems to have a problem with the int damage being too powerful *save Debi*, I'll bring that down to a 1d4 instead. But in turn, I'm also taking it back to Bard 2.

And I think Evocation is probably a better school. Even if it is mind-affecting, the crux of the spell is a force that damages the opponent's mind.

2009-09-11, 10:27 AM
A temporary penalty to intelligence - similar to Ray of Enfeeblement - would probably be an improvement on actual int damage.

2009-09-11, 10:32 AM
...But it already reads "temporary damage". Isn't that the same thing?

2009-09-11, 10:56 AM
Whooops, you edited your spell before I finished writing. In any case this was my thought:

I think requiring terrible pun to be language-dependent is a very good idea. It's already limited to creatures of Int 6 or more so requiring that the opponent be able to hear the pun and understand it makes sense. Of course, this limits which creatures can be attacked by the pun. However, those that are affected take a lot of damage.

However, it should be a a 3rd level bard spell. It fits well between sound burst and shout. It's more useful than sculpt sound which is 3rd level. Of course, you could limit this spell to bards only if you wanted.


2009-09-11, 11:03 AM
I can see why it should be a 3rd level spell for a Bard, but to keep it reasonably useful, I think I'll have to keep it at 3 across the board.

The Neoclassic
2009-09-11, 11:09 AM
A successful save negates the intelligence damage and halves the damage.

You probably want this to be "halves the sonic damage."

Anyway, I like the idea. Quite amusing. I think the difficulty for picking the school here arises from the different effects. Evocation fits perfectly- for the sonic damage aspect. However, the Intelligence damage would be far better suited to enchantment. For example, we see that feeblemind (which lowers a creature's Int and Cha scores each to 1) is enchantment. So, I'm rather torn, not really convinced that evocation is a "better" option here. So is the trouble of spells with interesting effects! :smallwink:

2009-09-11, 11:12 AM
Well since sculpt sound at 3rd level is limted to bards only, I was thinking that this spell would make an good alternative to that. In my [not-so humble] opinion, there simply needs to be more bard-only spells.

Just my take on it.


2009-09-11, 11:14 AM
...But it already reads "temporary damage". Isn't that the same thing?

Not really. A temporary penalty to a stat would stipulate that it cannot cause the stat to drop below 1, and have a stated duration.

Ability damage is specifically the stuff that recovers at the rate of one point per day.

I think that if the pun really needs brain bleach badly enough to justify intelligence damage, it would probably justify a higher-level spell simply from the fluff power level.

2009-09-11, 11:20 AM
Good point. Alright, I'll make it a duration effect.

I do find the idea of "More Bard-only spells" interesting...what do the rest of you think? Should it just be a Bard 3 spell?

2009-09-11, 11:26 AM
One more thing: I'd change the range to Close [25 ft. + 5 ft./2 caster levels].
and the Area should be 10-ft radius spread. You don't want to accidently be caught in your own spell!


2009-09-11, 11:33 AM
Ah, but the idea of the radius spell is that everyone who can hear you will be affected. I wouldn't want it to extend TOO far, but it has to be able to affect someone who's right next to you, or even in your own square.

2009-09-11, 11:45 AM
Okay, then keep it at Close range [25 ft + 5 ft/2 caster levels] which is standard and make the radius 20 ft. However, you still don't want to be affected by your own spell. I'm sure there is a way around this, but I'm not sure what it is.


2009-09-11, 11:47 AM
I think I have a solution. :3

Edit: Yeah...that should work...

2009-09-11, 12:09 PM
If you change "creatures" to "opponents" you'll keep your party safe too.


2009-09-11, 12:14 PM
Nah, it keeps the spell within 3rd level to have it affect your allies. That way, in order to use it properly, you at least have to get out of the range at which you might hurt your own party casters.

2009-09-11, 03:15 PM
Area seems to be written oddly. "Radius-burst burst" doesn't make any sense to me. Shout and greater shout have cone-shaped bursts.
Spells like web and silence have a clearly-defined radius (10 ft, 20 ft respectively)). . Burst makes more sense since the effect isn't something that lingers. I recommend changing to a "sphere-shaped burst."

From the SRD:

A burst spell affects whatever it catches in its area, even including creatures that you canít see. It canít affect creatures with total cover from its point of origin (in other words, its effects donít extend around corners). The default shape for a burst effect is a sphere, but some burst spells are specifically described as cone-shaped. A burstís area defines how far from the point of origin the spellís effect extends.


2009-09-11, 05:29 PM
I did mean sphere-shaped burst. I have no idea where I got "radius-burst burst."

And I think that should work, but I think I should also make a stipulation in the spell rules that total cover doesn't protect you. (After all, hiding behind a tower shield never stopped the Terrible Pun-Pun, so why should it stop this spell?)

...DC 17. :smallbiggrin:

2009-09-12, 03:50 PM
Couple of things:

1) Is it Int Damage, or simply an Int Penalty? If it is a penalty, I'd say this is no more powerful than Ray of Enfeeblement. If it is Int Damage, then it becomes more powerful than Shivering Touch. For balance sake, let us call this a penalty.

2) Bards don't get 3rd level spells until 7th level at the earliest. Do you really expect a Wizard or Sorcerer to get this spell before a Bard? Come on, bad puns are like your first week in Bard Camp. Make this a Bard1 spell.

3) Why sonic damage? I might give a Will save/negates to avoid smacking one's self after hearing the pun for said damage, but I don't see how there is any concussive force from the pun itself.

4) Range should be 30' burst, centered on self. After all, anyone who hears the pun will feel the effects, ally or not. Perhaps an ability to use Ventriloquism as something like a Spectral Hand (being able to redirect the center of the spell), but that's getting complicated.

2009-09-12, 08:29 PM
The spell is intended to center on self, but I couldn't find any other spell that would specify an origin point like that. Hopefully I did the notation properly.

As for the Sonic damage, it's what brings it up to a 3/3/3 spell for all the casters, and the reason for it causing the pain is that it just...hurts...so...much! It's literally causing the victim's brain to snap in half *Mostly figuratively*.