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taltamir
2009-09-20, 07:25 PM
Lets make a comprehensive list of exactly how epic casting is broken.
Examples:
1. create a demiplane where you are immune to attack, even from gods.
2,3,4. use origin of species, permanent summon, or permanent transform to create a legion of followers... preferably with their own casting abilities which will then be used to mitigate your future spells (giving arbitrarily high mitigation factors).
5. Make all your epic spells DC0, making them cost 0gp, 0xp, and 1 day to research.
6. Permanently fortify yourself with an arbitrarily high bonus to AC of various kinds, SR, all saves, HP, and all 6 primary attributes. using your legion of followers contributing spells slots.

More are welcome. lets tear this book a new.

Masaioh
2009-09-20, 07:33 PM
Most or all of this is subject to DM ruling. Especially the demiplane blocking off gods and the hordes of casters mitigating your spells.

Yuki Akuma
2009-09-20, 07:39 PM
"The DM can fix it" is not avalid argument against anything in D&D being broken. Yes, the DM can houserule things however he likes. Does this have any relevance on the actual rules as we discuss them in a non-game scenario?

No.

quick_comment
2009-09-20, 07:39 PM
It is trivial to get infinite mitigitation. This lets you do anything that your GM will put a number on.

Wizard: Hey, GM was is the ad-hoc DC for a kill to instantly snuff out the life of all the gods and give me their divine ranks?

DM: *Laughs*. Ten billion

Wizard: Ok, thats only 600 million duplicates or so. Takes me about 20 years or so to get enough clones. I win?

Masaioh
2009-09-20, 07:43 PM
"The DM can fix it" is not avalid argument against anything in D&D being broken. Yes, the DM can houserule things however he likes. Does this have any relevance on the actual rules as we discuss them in a non-game scenario?

No.

What other scenarios are there? What is the point in discussing a theory if there is so little likelihood of it playing out in reality?

taltamir
2009-09-20, 07:43 PM
The rules are so broken that the DM has to rewrite them from scratch.
If the DM starts placing restrictions, he is just crippling the casters who are forced to use a stupid and nonfunctional system.
Besides which, he is playing by houserules...

The question wasn't "help me break the current game I am playing". It was list the ways in which the RAW is broken. And unlike punpun, doesn't require the DM to allow a bunch of NON CORE insane abilities. This is as core as you get, it is the Epic Handbook.

The clone idea is interesting... which seeds does it use? cloning yourself sounds better than creating your own archons.

Yuki Akuma
2009-09-20, 07:44 PM
"Discussing the rules-as-written on a forum where it is customary to ignore house rules because that just gets in the way of discussion" sounds like a good non-game scenario to me.

Just throwing that out there.

The point of discussing theory is because some people find it enjoyable! I know, it's shocking to discover people actually have different interests than you, isn't it?

We are aware that none of this would be allowed in any sensible game not based around horrible rules abuse. We get it. There's no need to point it out to us. Sometimes we just want to bend the rules as far as they'll go just to see what shape they're in when we let go.

Masaioh
2009-09-20, 07:58 PM
"Discussing the rules-as-written on a forum where it is customary to ignore house rules because that just gets in the way of discussion" sounds like a good non-game scenario to me.

Just throwing that out there.

The point of discussing theory is because some people find it enjoyable! I know, it's shocking to discover people actually have different interests than you, isn't it?

We are aware that none of this would be allowed in any sensible game not based around horrible rules abuse. We get it. There's no need to point it out to us. Sometimes we just want to bend the rules as far as they'll go just to see what shape they're in when we let go.

[facepalm] I still would rather work on a character build or mechanic that would see use in a game.

It seems whenever I enter a thread I derail it into a flame war because I am used to playing DnD so differently.

If we want to bend the rules, why stick to core? We're looking for loopholes that weren't meant to be found in the first place, right? Non-core, or even third-party books are still meant to be used in the same game. When I work with game mechanics, I prefer to use the really obscure books or even homebrew I find on the internet, but I still try to playtest the results if possible.

taltamir
2009-09-20, 08:01 PM
[facepalm] I still would rather work on a character build or mechanic that would see use in a game.

It seems whenever I enter a thread I derail it into a flame war because I am used to playing DnD so differently.

Um, NO. We are here in a thread titled "Comprehensive list of how epic casting is broken"
Also read the first post.

You are not "playing it differently"... not a SINGLE ONE OF US will play with those stupid retarded rules. you just decided for an arbitrary reason to come into a discussion about how a particular RAW mechanic is broken and insist that it doesn't matter since any DM will house rule it anyways, which is obvious and totally irrelevant.


If we want to bend the rules, why stick to core? We're looking for loopholes that weren't meant to be found in the first place, right? Non-core, or even third-party books are still meant to be used in the same game. When I work with game mechanics, I prefer to use the really obscure books or even homebrew I find on the internet, but I still try to playtest the results if possible.
We are NOT bending the rules, they wrote the rules so badly that no bending is NEEDED, the rules AS WRITTEN are utterly stupid and are completely broken, thats the point. Bending NOT REQUIRED.

Yuki Akuma
2009-09-20, 08:01 PM
Why does what you prefer have any bearing on this thread? It isn't relevant to the discussion at all. If you don't want to contribute, could you please let everyone else who does want to contribute do so in peace?

Zeta Kai
2009-09-20, 08:04 PM
It is trivial to get infinite mitigitation. This lets you do anything that your GM will put a number on.

Wizard: Hey, GM was is the ad-hoc DC for a kill to instantly snuff out the life of all the gods and give me their divine ranks?

DM: *Laughs*. Ten billion

Wizard: Ok, thats only 600 million duplicates or so. Takes me about 20 years or so to get enough clones. I win?

DM: *Laughs*. That means I have 20 years to try & kill you. Don't bother working on the clones; you're already dead. I win.

Milskidasith
2009-09-20, 08:06 PM
[facepalm]
It seems whenever I enter a thread I derail it into a flame war because I am used to playing DnD so differently.

It devolves into a flame war because you misunderstand what the topic is about and tell us all the obvious fact that the DM can fix things, and then when it is pointed out that your post isn't really relevant to the discussion, you make another post about how you get similar responses to other posts you make.

Basically, he problem is that you seem to consistently make posts that say "The DM can fix it" or "it wouldn't happen in a real game so it doesn't matter" in topics that are, quite obviously, pure theory, and you act indignant when it is pointed out everybody knows what you are saying so your posts are basically irrelevant.

taltamir
2009-09-20, 08:07 PM
DM: *Laughs*. That means I have 20 years to try & kill you. Don't bother working on the clones; you're already dead. I win.

assuming you inform everyone of your intent to cast such a spell instead of just making clones for 20 years and THEN doing that...
If you decide hoarding clones for an arbitrarily long time is a sign of wrongdoing and thus must be punishable by killing, than... by that logic any epic casting is insta gibbed by the DM.

Not to mention that by the RAW you are practically immune to anything in your own demiplane.

Yuki Akuma
2009-09-20, 08:09 PM
DM: *Laughs*. That means I have 20 years to try & kill you. Don't bother working on the clones; you're already dead. I win.

How do you kill an epic wizard? Honestly? Other than by DM fiat, because that's simply arbitrary and unfair.

With very little preparation, an epic spellcaster can become immune to basically anything for absolutely no cost to himself.

Lysander
2009-09-20, 08:09 PM
Here's how it's broken:

You can raise an unlimited number of tropical islands, quickly cornering the tourism business.

Masaioh
2009-09-20, 08:13 PM
I admit that I misunderstood the topic. I'm not used to 'pure theory' in a game where there is such a thing as 'rule zero' and everyone is pretty much expected to make their own interpretation of the rules and wording for the sake of practicality.

One of my personal favorites when it comes to abusing mitigation is to make backlash damage on a permanent, but dismissible, shapeshift spell that turns the caster into a creature with fast healing or even regeneration, such as a hydra or devil. The backlash damage occurs every round for the rest of the spells duration, but who cares?

EDIT: The island post above me made me laugh.

taltamir
2009-09-20, 08:43 PM
those sound like rule bending to me.
This isn't ENTIRELY pure theory... because they are so INTEGRAL to the rules. Either the DM micromanages every single minute aspect of epic casting per the RAW. Or he uses rule 0 to toss the whole mess out and get some sensible rules instead.

Gralamin
2009-09-20, 08:57 PM
How do you kill an epic wizard? Honestly? Other than by DM fiat, because that's simply arbitrary and unfair.

With very little preparation, an epic spellcaster can become immune to basically anything for absolutely no cost to himself.

I'd use:
Vecna knows your trying to kill him. He kills you, since he's been an epic mage for a lot longer.

Masaioh
2009-09-20, 09:02 PM
Who is Vecna? Greyhawk NPC?

@taltamir: Exactly. My group goes back and forth between those two methods depending on how minute of a detail they are changing. I find it a challenge to homebrew something so complex and in-depth, and it is rewarding when I can make something like that playable.

Sir_Elderberry
2009-09-20, 09:07 PM
Who is Vecna? Greyhawk NPC?

Greyhawk god of magic, secrets, and lies.

quick_comment
2009-09-20, 09:15 PM
Actually, the 20 years is way, way too long. Once you have a spell that creates enough duplicates to let you cast a permanent duplicate spell, you start getting exponential, not linear growth, because your shadow-duplicates can research their own duplication spells.

taltamir
2009-09-20, 09:18 PM
I'd use:
Vecna knows your trying to kill him. He kills you, since he's been an epic mage for a lot longer.

how does he know that and how does he enter your demiplane to kill you?

besides... first epic spell you cast should be on yourself... "i would be unable to desire to perform any act which is not currently within my powers to perform".

Aka, you will only be able to want to kill him when you already have the power to.

quick_comment
2009-09-20, 09:19 PM
how does he know that and how does he enter your demiplane to kill you?

As god of secrets, he knows all secrets. The solution is to tell your plan your cohort, so its not a secret anymore.

seedjar
2009-09-20, 09:30 PM
As god of secrets, he knows all secrets. The solution is to tell your plan your cohort, so its not a secret anymore.

LOL.
Here's a slightly off-topic question; if epic casting weren't kind of broken, would it be able to do the things we would want (expect?) it to do? The whole "D&D magic is broken" idea reminds me a lot of Gödel's incompleteness theorem. If it weren't broken, it wouldn't be D&D. *warm fuzzy feeling*
I think #1 on that list should be: You can construct any spell you can imagine. It doesn't especially matter what the epic casting rules require to use said arbitrary spell, because chances are, if your first homemade spell is somehow inaccessible, you can come up with a second one to bring it within your sphere of ability.
~Joe

quick_comment
2009-09-20, 09:35 PM
Its a design choice. Do you want epic characters to be as small gods? Then epic needs to be breakable. Do you want your epic characters to be "merely" the sort of people who can fight off a whole army? Then epic needs to be very unbreakable.

taltamir
2009-10-29, 06:36 PM
LOL.
Here's a slightly off-topic question; if epic casting weren't kind of broken, would it be able to do the things we would want (expect?) it to do? The whole "D&D magic is broken" idea reminds me a lot of Gödel's incompleteness theorem. If it weren't broken, it wouldn't be D&D. *warm fuzzy feeling*
I think #1 on that list should be: You can construct any spell you can imagine. It doesn't especially matter what the epic casting rules require to use said arbitrary spell, because chances are, if your first homemade spell is somehow inaccessible, you can come up with a second one to bring it within your sphere of ability.
~Joe

You can design any spell you can imagine ANYWAYS... the epic rules do not actually contribute anything because there are only two dozen or so seeds with very specific actions. So to make any spell from the epic rules you need hand waving and ad hoc rulings. thus making the whole system pointless, as the seed stacking rules and cost decreasing rules actually make it far far worse then just making up a spell and picking a "level" for it based on what you think it should do (aka, non epic spell design).

Even the EXAMPLE spells given all have:
1. Ad hoc DC adjustments
2. Ad hoc price changes (example, force XP or Gold costs for certain spells)

arguskos
2009-10-29, 06:45 PM
And this thread is comprehensive proof of why I hate the epic rules. :smallsigh:

As for how to break it, I have little to nothing to contribute, since why bother? It's been explained already. The epic rules are a mockery of game design, on par with the worst RPG games made. :smallannoyed:

Myou
2009-10-29, 06:55 PM
And this thread is comprehensive proof of why I hate the epic rules. :smallsigh:

As for how to break it, I have little to nothing to contribute, since why bother? It's been explained already. The epic rules are a mockery of game design, on par with the worst RPG games made. :smallannoyed:

You've clearly never read F.A.T.A.L. :smallannoyed:

Gwyn chan 'r Gwyll
2009-10-29, 07:10 PM
He said RPG game. That, my friend, is a lovecraftian abomination. There is a little touch of a difference.

Call of Cthulhu, btw, is not a lovecraftian abomination, ironically enough.

arguskos
2009-10-29, 07:11 PM
You've clearly never read F.A.T.A.L. :smallannoyed:
Yes, actually, I have. I even sat down and tried to take it seriously. I was physically incapable of doing so. :smalltongue:

Brendan
2009-10-29, 07:19 PM
Wait... how is it that Origion of the Species is broken? one day and you have a CR 9 or so minion. Leadership would do more, or an extended summon. Anything. What can you do to manipulate it? teach the monster class levels, have an expendible test subject for spells? what?
Secondly, you can, with one spell, both get rid of an enemy and have an infiltrating ally/slave who should be about as strong as the rest of your enemies.

taltamir
2009-10-29, 07:21 PM
He said RPG game. That, my friend, is a lovecraftian abomination. There is a little touch of a difference.

Call of Cthulhu, btw, is not a lovecraftian abomination, ironically enough.

point about it not being a game. you can role play a rapist under any system, fatal makes it the explicit purpose of the game to role play a rapist. The idea is that it will make it easier to find a group "hi how about we play fatal" was probably meant to be easier to suggest then "hi how about we play a party of rapists in DnD".
There is really no "game" aspect, the game rules make no sense and have apparently never been play tested, ever. They just don't work. But after one short session of fatal (where you slowly broach the subject) you have found yourself a group of rapists to play "rape DnD" with.

taltamir
2009-10-29, 07:23 PM
Wait... how is it that Origion of the Species is broken? one day and you have a CR 9 or so minion. Leadership would do more, or an extended summon. Anything. What can you do to manipulate it? teach the monster class levels, have an expendible test subject for spells? what?
Secondly, you can, with one spell, both get rid of an enemy and have an infiltrating ally/slave who should be about as strong as the rest of your enemies.

0. Not exactly related to your question, but as written it is not even legal, it has ad hoc adjustments in it. (all the example epic spells do)
1. it is completely uncastable without mitigation.
2. when you apply mitigation, there is no reason not to mitigate it to 0 DC like anything else... so you can create your own army of solars at no cost.

Myou
2009-10-29, 07:25 PM
Yes, actually, I have. I even sat down and tried to take it seriously. I was physically incapable of doing so. :smalltongue:

I think we can agree that FATAL is infinitely worse than the epic level rules then.

I mean, really, they're unbalanced as hell, but they feel positively inviting after a few pages of FATAL.

Nerd-o-rama
2009-10-29, 07:29 PM
0. Everyone ignores the fact that the rules say all epic spells are subject completely to individual DM approval.

taltamir
2009-10-29, 07:33 PM
0. Everyone ignores the fact that the rules say all epic spells are subject completely to individual DM approval.

no, I explicitly stated that the epic rules basically make MORE work and result in more broken spells than the DM just individually hand waving and crafting each and every spell (and making those level 10, 11, etc spells). The thing is supposed to be a "system" but it is not a system at all, just a method of making more work and more broken.

Oh, and the epic spells also are completely unrelated to your level... as written the costs in XP and gp to develop a spell of your max DC are OBSCENE... Going up in level means your max DC only goes up by 1. But that also increases those obscene costs... So every epic caster always casts only DC0 spells... which means a level 21 wizard is exactly the same as a level 60 wizard... or cleric, or sorcerer, or anything... any level 21 epic caster is identical (or stupid). They all cast ONLY spells mitigated to DC0 to create an unstopable army and ascend to godhood. (ice assassin to clone a divinity 21 god... make it make you a divnity 21 god)

root9125
2009-10-29, 07:50 PM
WotC thought that "epic" meant "godhood". That's it, in summary. Others of us want playable games at this point, and there, like many other places *cough*no Fighter errata*cough*, we disagree.

So, they AREN'T broken, if your purpose is godhood, as expected.

Brendan
2009-10-29, 07:52 PM
The origin spell needs dozens of additional casters, and gives 50d6 backlash damage. This is enough to kill a wizard of around 30th level, easy. How is this, even if it can be mitigated down to 0, an efficient way to gain some cannon fodder? just mass charm monster and you are better off. you have to practically raise the monster from childhood with Origin! how is this broken? Oh, and it is 100 days, 11 minutes.

Sstoopidtallkid
2009-10-29, 07:54 PM
The origin spell needs dozens of additional casters, and gives 50d6 backlash damage. This is enough to kill a wizard of around 30th level, easy. How is this, even if it can be mitigated down to 0, an efficient way to gain some cannon fodder? just mass charm monster and you are better off. you have to practically raise the monster from childhood with Origin! how is this broken? Oh, and it is 100 days, 11 minutes.Because you can get a monster with 300 Divine Ranks using that seed. And have it have to obey you. And then True Mind Switch with it to turn yourself into something with t300 Divine Ranks. And do this with a DC of 0 and no cost to craft.

taltamir
2009-10-29, 08:01 PM
WotC thought that "epic" meant "godhood". That's it, in summary. Others of us want playable games at this point, and there, like many other places *cough*no Fighter errata*cough*, we disagree.

So, they AREN'T broken, if your purpose is godhood, as expected.

the book specifically suggests DMs allow their characters to become gods (literally) and just have extra planer adventures with things that can endanger gods.
Problem is, gods are not as powerful by RAW as an epic caster (unless they are epic)


The origin spell needs dozens of additional casters, and gives 50d6 backlash damage. This is enough to kill a wizard of around 30th level, easy. How is this, even if it can be mitigated down to 0, an efficient way to gain some cannon fodder? just mass charm monster and you are better off. you have to practically raise the monster from childhood with Origin! how is this broken? Oh, and it is 100 days, 11 minutes.

No, that is the spell example to create a SPECIFIC creature. Use the rules laid out for that spell to make a custom creature (one that doesn't suck) and instead of adding 50d6 backlash, add some more support casters or days of casting...
AS for support casters mitigations, you can summon them (some summoned creatures cast a sorcerer).

Finally, you can load yourself with temp HP AND use fortify to give yourself permanent (and arbitrarily high) con bonus to deal with it.

Lycanthromancer
2009-10-29, 08:06 PM
The origin spell needs dozens of additional casters, and gives 50d6 backlash damage. This is enough to kill a wizard of around 30th level, easy. How is this, even if it can be mitigated down to 0, an efficient way to gain some cannon fodder? just mass charm monster and you are better off. you have to practically raise the monster from childhood with Origin! how is this broken? Oh, and it is 100 days, 11 minutes.

I could design a spell with 400 billion d6 backlash damage, and use it with impunity. A mere 5th level spell can make it essentially inert.

Lesser planar binding to call a nightmare, which has astral projection at will. Die due to anything that doesn't suck out my soul or explicitly cut my silver cord (which is pretty much only astral dreadnoughts, and silver swords)? Not after level 9, I won't.

root9125
2009-10-29, 08:08 PM
Ly: I'm impressed, I've never seen anyone mention that with regards to Spellcraft DC mitigation.

Glimbur
2009-10-29, 08:11 PM
Ly: I'm impressed, I've never seen anyone mention that with regards to Spellcraft DC mitigation.

The drawback is that it's not really practical to use nd6 backlash to mitigate your permanent buff spells, because the you you're casting on dies... unless you Astral Project and go back to your body and make them Touch range spells, I suppose.

taltamir
2009-10-29, 08:14 PM
I could design a spell with 400 billion d6 backlash damage, and use it with impunity. A mere 5th level spell can make it essentially inert.

Lesser planar binding to call a nightmare, which has astral projection at will. Die due to anything that doesn't suck out my soul or explicitly cut my silver cord (which is pretty much only astral dreadnoughts, and silver swords)? Not after level 9, I won't.

oh wow, i haven't even considered it...
and isn't there a spell that brings you back to life with no ill effects using a low level slot, but has the requirement of being used on your corpse within 1 turn of your death?

This makes backlash a lot better at mitigation (And yet another method to give you infinite mitigation)

Foryn Gilnith
2009-10-29, 08:42 PM
Backlash explicitly states that you lose a level even if revived by a method that would otherwise leave you alone.

taltamir
2009-10-29, 08:50 PM
Backlash explicitly states that you lose a level even if revived by a method that would otherwise leave you alone.

i guess we will stick to the other mitigation forms then...

The Glyphstone
2009-10-29, 09:00 PM
Origin of Species, as written in the ELH, would kill not just a 30th level wizard, but an infinitely leveled one, because it has a Permanent duration, and Permanent spells deal their backlash damage every round...

taltamir
2009-10-29, 09:02 PM
Origin of Species, as written in the ELH, would kill not just a 30th level wizard, but an infinitely leveled one, because it has a Permanent duration, and Permanent spells deal their backlash damage every round...

Point, you would expect them to not make such a mistake considering they wrote the book... but it is in line with the quality of the rest of the work.

It would be 50d6 damage per round, for ever.

AstralFire
2009-10-29, 09:03 PM
It is spellcasting.
It is spellcasting only better.


endofsnark

Lycanthromancer
2009-10-29, 11:51 PM
Backlash explicitly states that you lose a level even if revived by a method that would otherwise leave you alone.

That definitely applies to revivify and other forms of resurrection, but with astral projection you don't actually die. You just go back to inhabiting your body.


Point, you would expect them to not make such a mistake considering they wrote the book... but it is in line with the quality of the rest of the work.

It would be 50d6 damage per round, for ever.

Just make it Instantaneous. Then just add a few thousand points to the DC, then mitigate them.

Tyndmyr
2009-10-30, 12:09 AM
Its a design choice. Do you want epic characters to be as small gods? Then epic needs to be breakable. Do you want your epic characters to be "merely" the sort of people who can fight off a whole army? Then epic needs to be very unbreakable.

No, no...it's breakable if you become an infinitely powerful god without crawling your way up through the divine ranks as was intended.

IMO, the game should not suddenly end at 20 because you instantly ascend to lord of the universe...the gods should not go easily or willingly.

I dislike the fact that epic spells ignore Spell level. I mean, we spent the last twenty levels doing things that have a rather well defined system. It may not be perfect, but it's at least well used, and has a solid foundation. Suddenly switching to casting off of skills makes no sense unless you feel that the Truenamer = Epic.

There needs to be a spell progression in epic as well. Even if no actual spells exist for level 10+ slots, you have metamagic to fill the gap, and you suddenly have a framework for designing spells. One that applies astonishingly well to non-epic spells if you so choose.

It's much easier to give a list of seeds/modifiers that adjust spells up/down x levels(mostly up, of course) and adjust the effects accordingly, because you can use the existing collection of spells to get you much more detailed starting points. And suddenly, mitigation isn't even relevant.

The idea of becoming a god, and adventuring in a setting of dieties is fine. I think that could make a lovely capstone to a game. However, there needs to be a wee bit more thought put into exactly how that works instead of a rather ridiculous game of rocket tag.

Nerd-o-rama
2009-10-30, 10:47 AM
no, I explicitly stated that the epic rules basically make MORE work and result in more broken spells than the DM just individually hand waving and crafting each and every spell (and making those level 10, 11, etc spells). The thing is supposed to be a "system" but it is not a system at all, just a method of making more work and more broken.

Oh, I never said it was a good system. I wouldn't play Epic 3.5 D&D if you paid me. Just saying that that's something everyone tends to ignore.

Starbuck_II
2009-10-30, 11:05 AM
point about it not being a game. you can role play a rapist under any system, fatal makes it the explicit purpose of the game to role play a rapist. The idea is that it will make it easier to find a group "hi how about we play fatal" was probably meant to be easier to suggest then "hi how about we play a party of rapists in DnD".
There is really no "game" aspect, the game rules make no sense and have apparently never been play tested, ever. They just don't work. But after one short session of fatal (where you slowly broach the subject) you have found yourself a group of rapists to play "rape DnD" with.

Well, I do have to admit you are "required" to calculate anal circumfrance so it seems not just rape D&D, but Anal rape D&D.

Ozymandias9
2009-10-30, 11:06 AM
"The DM can fix it" is not avalid argument against anything in D&D being broken. Yes, the DM can houserule things however he likes. Does this have any relevance on the actual rules as we discuss them in a non-game scenario?

No.

The difference would seem to be that the Epic Magic rules seem to presume heavy DM adjudication if we assume the authors weren't very strung out when the wrote them.

Myou
2009-10-30, 11:17 AM
Well, I do have to admit you are "required" to calculate anal circumfrance so it seems not just rape D&D, but Anal rape D&D.

Pfffft, there are rules for druids raping a bear. It's medicinal.

GoC
2009-10-30, 12:24 PM
IIRC epic leadership allows you to mitigate down a spell that increases charisma to 0 (and thus take 0 rounds to research). This increases you DCs arbitrarily. Technically the only time taken would be gathering your followers and getting them organized.
Without epic leadership... it's harder.

Nerd-o-rama
2009-10-30, 12:47 PM
"The DM can fix it" is not avalid argument against anything in D&D being broken. Yes, the DM can houserule things however he likes. Does this have any relevance on the actual rules as we discuss them in a non-game scenario?

No.This isn't houseruling, though. It's the rules as written explicitly stating that DM adjudication is needed for epic spellcasting.


http://www.d20srd.org/srd/epic/developingEpicSpells.htm

Development Is an Art

Many times developing a completely new epic spell requires some guesswork and rule stretching. As with making and pricing magic items, a sort of balancing act is required. Often the description of a seed will need to be stretched for a particular spell. If necessary, assess an “ad hoc” Spellcraft DC adjustment for any effect that cannot be extrapolated from the seeds and factors presented here—the example spells use ad hoc factors frequently. In all cases, the GM determines the actual Spellcraft DC of the new spell

Approval

This is the final step, and it’s critically important. The epic spell development work and reasoning must be shown to the GM and receive his or her approval. If the GM doesn’t approve, then the epic spell cannot be developed. However, the GM should explain why the epic spell wasn’t approved and possibly offer suggestions on how to create an epic spell that will be acceptable.

Tohron
2009-10-30, 12:49 PM
The drawback is that it's not really practical to use nd6 backlash to mitigate your permanent buff spells, because the you you're casting on dies... unless you Astral Project and go back to your body and make them Touch range spells, I suppose.

You can always use Delay Death + Heal to survive the damage and then reset your health to 50%.

Glimbur
2009-10-30, 01:28 PM
You can always use Delay Death + Heal to survive the damage and then reset your health to 50%.

Heal (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/heal.htm) only heals up to 150 HP. You might need a lot of them. Still not a bad idea though.

tyckspoon
2009-10-30, 01:37 PM
Heal (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/heal.htm) only heals up to 150 HP. You might need a lot of them. Still not a bad idea though.

And then you'll die anyway, because you're still taking nd6 backlash every round for the rest of your life/until you dismiss the spell. Permanent spell with significant backlash is just a staggeringly bad idea. Low backlash can be doable if you really need to squeeze out that last couple points of mitigation- just give yourself persistent Fast Healing or renewing temp HP- but I'd rather burn a couple hundred XP.

Myou
2009-10-30, 01:42 PM
Heal (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/heal.htm) only heals up to 150 HP. You might need a lot of them. Still not a bad idea though.

I think he means the Heal seed.

Douglas
2009-10-30, 01:50 PM
Heal (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/heal.htm) only heals up to 150 HP. You might need a lot of them. Still not a bad idea though.
That's why you use Stone Body + Transmute Mud to Rock instead.

lesser_minion
2009-10-30, 02:35 PM
This is as core as you get, it is the Epic Handbook.


The Epic Level Handbook is barely even current, let alone Core. Core consists of:

Player's Handbook I Dungeon Master's Guide I Monster Manual I No other sources



This isn't houseruling, though. It's the rules as written explicitly stating that DM adjudication is needed for epic spellcasting.

This is theoretical optimisation. For our purposes, it's assumed that the DM will let us have anything that fits the guidelines.

I'd agree with you otherwise - nothing here would be in rules as played or rules as playable.

Tyndmyr
2009-10-30, 02:39 PM
The very fact that as is, epic casting cannot and will not be used without heavy DM intervention is merely justification for just how broken it is.

Yeah, any sort of meta-system with regards to creation is likely going to be subject to DM overview at some point...but the fact that the designers attempted to push work off on the DM isn't really an excuse for doing a shoddy job.

taltamir
2009-10-30, 02:52 PM
This isn't houseruling, though. It's the rules as written explicitly stating that DM adjudication is needed for epic spellcasting.

which means that the rules as written themselves admit to being broken and require the DM to fix it. Not even pretending to be workable without being fixed.

hamishspence
2009-10-30, 03:28 PM
The Epic Level Handbook is barely even current, let alone Core. Core consists of:

Player's Handbook I Dungeon Master's Guide I Monster Manual I No other sources





I thought that, for some people, it consisted of:

SRD.

Tohron
2009-10-30, 03:54 PM
Heal (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/heal.htm) only heals up to 150 HP. You might need a lot of them. Still not a bad idea though.

Guess I meant the epic seed (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/epic/seeds/heal.htm), I was just remember there being a pre-epic spell that set your hitpoints to 50%.

Zeful
2009-10-30, 04:03 PM
This is as core as you get, it is the Epic Handbook.

Misconception. In 3.5 Core is the PHb, DMG, and MM1, where Prestige Classes and Epic Advancements were variants. The Epic Handbook, like much of the material in the XPH is OGL, which means it's pretty much Open Source. The Epic Handbook is no more core than the Tome of Battle or Pun-pun is.

Ozymandias9
2009-10-30, 08:33 PM
Yeah, any sort of meta-system with regards to creation is likely going to be subject to DM overview at some point...but the fact that the designers attempted to push work off on the DM isn't really an excuse for doing a shoddy job.

I would argue that decision making should default to the DM as heavily as possible. It's what makes tables different and unique while still having us all play the same game.
-
Or
-
It's not shoddy work, it's merely a different game design aesthetic.

Douglas
2009-10-30, 08:45 PM
There's nothing wrong with delegating something relatively minor to the DM with vague guidelines. I have no problem at all with what WotC did for researching new non-epic spells.

Writing up a detailed comprehensive set of rules for a major part of the game and then saying it's up to the DM to keep it balanced in spite of the extreme brokenness of their detailed comprehensive rules is bad. This is what they did with epic spell design. If it's a case of unexpected synergy from many disparate sources, that's easily forgivable. If the brokenness all comes from a single section of one book in isolation, it's shoddy work.

Tyndmyr
2009-10-30, 08:46 PM
I would argue that decision making should default to the DM as heavily as possible. It's what makes tables different and unique while still having us all play the same game.
-
Or
-
It's not shoddy work, it's merely a different game design aesthetic.

If we're going to have the DM make up the rules anyway, why bother spending $35 on a book?

Starbuck_II
2009-10-30, 08:49 PM
The Epic Level Handbook is barely even current, let alone Core. Core consists of:

Player's Handbook I Dungeon Master's Guide I Monster Manual I No other sources




Complete Psionic calls Expanded Psionic Handbook as Core. This is the only book that calls another Core besides the main three. So that means XPH might be Core.

Ozymandias9
2009-10-30, 08:58 PM
If we're going to have the DM make up the rules anyway, why bother spending $35 on a book?

For the mechanical implementation and basic building blocks? It's absurd for all rules to be made up, especially the basic ones, but actively soliciting DM judgement calls is something I consider good, not bad.

Anyhow, more generally, the epic casting rules break when you decide to break them. The bulk of the system is structured in guided design terms, not in game engine terms: that makes judgement more difficult to divorce from their use. Saying that epic casting is broken is like saying that original race design is broken. Both are given a formal presentation, with recommended guidelines, and neither function well if you treat them merely as part of the game engine.


Edit: Re Zeful & Starbuck's conversation (see post immediately below):

I think there's been a couple of places where it's referred to as "core psionic rules" and the like by WotC people, but that is different than actual core.

Zeful
2009-10-30, 09:18 PM
Complete Psionic calls Expanded Psionic Handbook as Core. This is the only book that calls another Core besides the main three. So that means XPH might be Core.

It's a misplaced comma. The XPH is not, and never has been, core material.

Tyndmyr
2009-10-30, 09:33 PM
For the mechanical implementation and basic building blocks? It's absurd for all rules to be made up, especially the basic ones, but actively soliciting DM judgement calls is something I consider good, not bad.

Anyhow, more generally, the epic casting rules break when you decide to break them.

No, they're broken when you try to use them. If you go into them honestly trying to play within the spirit of the rules, and design a spell, you quickly realize that anything you can hope to cast without mitigation is utter crap compared to standard non epic spells.

There is *no* good way to use the rules as it stands. It's not like with item creation guidelines, where the guidelines work great for 95% of possibilities, and you just need to watch for a coupla broken things like Gloves of True Strike. There is no way to make functional epic spells without deliberately munchkining it up. And, once you go down that path, there is no logical stopping point, and it ends up being entirely on the DM to enforce arbitrary limits since the original system has none.

When it's an arbitrary "think up a spell idea, DM says yay or nay"...hell, you can do that without the rules. The rules contribute nothing torward it.

lesser_minion
2009-10-30, 10:06 PM
Complete Psionic calls Expanded Psionic Handbook as Core. This is the only book that calls another Core besides the main three. So that means XPH might be Core.

My understanding is that Complete Psionic is essentially a nonentity. You can't take its word for that.

Akal Saris
2009-10-30, 10:32 PM
Actually, how feasible is it to play an epic-level spellcaster (let's say a cleric, since that gets you Miracle and the XP cost probably gets to be a non-factor at some point) who doesn't cast epic spells, but instead uses epic slots for metamagic and whatnot? Epic feats would go into stuff like Bonus Domain and Permanent Emanation or something.

I guess what I'm trying to get at is this: is a cleric 25 as broken as a cleric from 1-20 if he doesn't even try to create his own epic spell seeds, or will most epic-level monsters just blow him away?

taltamir
2009-10-30, 10:35 PM
i think it would be very feasible... At lest up to a point. You can pile on metamgic feats to make some interesting spells... and it is kinda epic because you are taking a normal spell and modifying it, again and again, to make it better. You understand the basic principles of magic to the point where you can make a maximized enlarged quickened shaped twinned spell.

Tyndmyr
2009-10-30, 10:41 PM
It makes sense...but the problem is, epic slots don't exist. You cease gaining new spell slots once you're epic.

It's a very commonly suggested homebrew solution, I've said it myself often enough, but that's not the direction the epic handbook chose.

Now, CL keeps increasing, and yes...your familiar increases(why would you honestly care about that dead weight anyhow). So no, you don't gain much from taking Epic Wizard levels. If you're not polishing off a PrC for some nifty abilities, you're much better served by picking up another base class.

After all, you get feats, skills and hit die regardless. CL can be boosted(rather decently by feats if you're not maxing your caster levels). Why not get an entirely new set of abilities?

taltamir
2009-10-30, 10:46 PM
well, by definition he is not working off of the basic rules... he suggested replacing epic casting with spell level 10 + slots...

I think it can be easily done. To keep things simple... level x 2 - 1 = max spell level slot you have.
So yes, that means at caster level 19 you get spell level 10, at CL 21 SL 11 and so on.

Tyndmyr
2009-10-30, 10:49 PM
Oh yeah, that works out fine. It's pretty easy to calculate out what slots you would get when by just extending the current chart.

Im just annoyed that such a basic and obvious system was ignored by the designers in favor of suddenly, randomly, making skill based casting.

Akal Saris
2009-10-30, 10:56 PM
Alright, good to know. I don't expect to ever have a party reach this level, but I'll propose a system similar to that if the situation ever comes up.

Edit: Oh, I actually wasn't initially talking about making/adapting a new system - I'm not very familiar with the actual epic spell-casting rules, and assumed incorrectly that they were cast using spellcraft, etc from a "10th level slot" that could also be filled with an extended shapechange.

taltamir
2009-10-30, 10:59 PM
Oh yeah, that works out fine. It's pretty easy to calculate out what slots you would get when by just extending the current chart.

Im just annoyed that such a basic and obvious system was ignored by the designers in favor of suddenly, randomly, making skill based casting.

FAILING at making skill based casting... WOTC tried to make skill based casting with the truenamer and failed miserably making it unusable.. And they tried it with the epic, failing miserably by making it completely unuseable (like the truenamer) unless you apply mitigation, at which point it is unstoppable and an instant win (and only a moron will use spells with a DC above 0)...
Actually it is ONLY a skill based casting if you do not have mitigation, which is core to the system... every caster will be buying it down to DC0 to avoid the extreme GP and XP and development time costs.

Tyndmyr
2009-10-30, 11:11 PM
Alright, good to know. I don't expect to ever have a party reach this level, but I'll propose a system similar to that if the situation ever comes up.

Edit: Oh, I actually wasn't initially talking about making/adapting a new system - I'm not very familiar with the actual epic spell-casting rules, and assumed incorrectly that they were cast using spellcraft, etc from a "10th level slot" that could also be filled with an extended shapechange.

Sadly, no.

Epic spells you can cast per day are determined by the ranks you have in a knowledge skill, divided by 10. A knowledge skill that has 24 ranks as a prerequisite for getting Epic Spellcasting. They're not an actual slot, and apparently do not require preparation or anything of that nature. So, you'll always get at least two epic spells a day, and this can't be used for *anything* else.

However, level 10+ slots do exist...sort of. You can get them via feats(Improved Spell Capacity). Once you do so, you can get bonus feats at those levels too. It's a wierd, wierd system.

Jayngfet
2009-10-30, 11:11 PM
Any infinite loop has a cutoff of 40 times it can be used. And you can only cast the same epic spell 4 times per year.

Ozymandias9
2009-10-30, 11:19 PM
There is *no* good way to use the rules as it stands. It's not like with item creation guidelines, where the guidelines work great for 95% of possibilities, and you just need to watch for a coupla broken things like Gloves of True Strike. There is no way to make functional epic spells without deliberately munchkining it up. And, once you go down that path, there is no logical stopping point, and it ends up being entirely on the DM to enforce arbitrary limits since the original system has none.

A lack of a logically dictated stopping point is not a lack of a reasonable stopping point. You can reign yourself in as well as relying on the DM. As it says in the book "development is an art." Yes, its easy to mechanically exploit, but it's also open ended and unrestrictive (not something I personally like, but to each his own).

You needn't "munchkin" it up if you can accomplish mitigating factors through roleplay and story. Is there, for example, a default conclave of wizards like in Dragonlance? Then can approach mitigating factors through ordinary diplomacy therein. Are you creating a permanent area spell? Then crib from the Mythral notes in LEoF: Use a capstone, give your life, cut corners and make it corruptible, and have the city in question pay for additional casters. There's plenty of ways to do this without breaking the system and munchkining it up.

Moreover, not every spell need be in the 100s of DC. You don't need Vengeful Gaze level damage the second you hit 21.

That doesn't mean you can make a reasonable spell using the system. For example, if you drop the huge range off of Ioulaum's Longevity (LEoF,p.43) you drop the DC to 8. You could swap out the age category for a temporary ability or hit point boost, raise the damage and/or increase the range in a more marginal manner and have quite a nice spell for low 20's level range spellcraft.
A DC of 34, in particular, lets you deal 24d6 damage to all creatures in 60 feet (fort half, targetable at a range of 12000 ft), gets rid of the backlash (or alternately 1/4 of the XP burn), and gets you one fortify effect stacking per creature killed. Even without any boosters to spellcraft and an Int of only 18, that will only need a roll of 7 to work at level 21 (presuming maxed spellcraft). That's the same damage as a meteor swarm (a good measure of 9th level damage output), with a really nice kicker.

Now, if you think that the scaling of some of the seeds are off, you're probably right. Stuff like the armor seed are a bit under-optimized because their focus is less valuable in optimized play than the designers intended. But that's a matter of scaling that's no different that the desperate values of, say, blasting and save or die in 1-9 spells. That's a flaw in balancing the system, rather than a flaw in basis.
The book explains how seeds are made: make new ones that you find more balanced. You're still working within the system presented.

taltamir
2009-10-30, 11:31 PM
Sadly, no.

Epic spells you can cast per day are determined by the ranks you have in a knowledge skill, divided by 10. A knowledge skill that has 24 ranks as a prerequisite for getting Epic Spellcasting. They're not an actual slot, and apparently do not require preparation or anything of that nature. So, you'll always get at least two epic spells a day, and this can't be used for *anything* else.

However, level 10+ slots do exist...sort of. You can get them via feats(Improved Spell Capacity). Once you do so, you can get bonus feats at those levels too. It's a wierd, wierd system.

I think he was replying to this:


well, by definition he is not working off of the basic rules... he suggested replacing epic casting with spell level 10 + slots...

I think it can be easily done. To keep things simple... level x 2 - 1 = max spell level slot you have.
So yes, that means at caster level 19 you get spell level 10, at CL 21 SL 11 and so on.

So obviously 10+ spell slots do exit because he used DM fiat to create them..

And actually, by the epic handbook itself, you CAN get 10+ spell level slots... you take a feat, and it gives you one higher spell slot progression.
So take it once and your max spell slot is SL10 (they tell you to extend the chart without specificing the exact logic or methology of doing so... yes it is that sloppy). Take it again and you have SL11, and so on.

And by the same book, things that depend on spell level consider epic spells to be level 10 spells... so if you take the feat twice you can highten a spell to 11th level, making it higher level then epic level spells. :)
Yea, they really didn't think things through.

Tyndmyr
2009-10-30, 11:50 PM
Ozy, any spell worth casting using epic level rules *will* be in the hundreds of DCs.

Lets make something basic. Something that trivially replicates other spells...blasting.

So, that gives us Energy, 19 DC, one of the cheapest seeds.

We're going to use Energy as the base seed, because it gives us a good range without having to pay for it, and access to damage easily. Reflex save for half is standard, it has a 1min cast time, and does 10d6 damage. Obviously, that isn't worth casting, so lets get some bonuses on there.

So, we have 300ft range, 20ft radius blast, 1 min cast, 10d6 dmg. Now, we need to drop it to a one action casting time, since 1min is not practical for any purposes. That's +20. We're at DC39 for a fireball with less range at the moment, so it's still very, very subpar. In order to match fireballs range, we add +2 DC to double it. We still need damage. Unfortunately, each additional die costs +2, and each increase in damage die size costs +10.

Since boosting damage die twice gives us an average damage increase of 20, and adding an equivalent DC amount of d6s gives us 35, we'll go with D6s.

We're now at DC61 for a 20d6 fireball. Yay...we've created Delayed Blast Fireball, but without the ability to delay blasts. A weaker version of a level 7 spell. DC61 is already a pretty hefty DC, and if you add much more to it, it's going to climb in cost very quickly, and this is one of the most useful spells for the price available.

Nope, definitely unusable for anything that would qualify as epic.

Ozymandias9
2009-10-31, 01:01 AM
Let's say you're at level 24. You have 27 spellcraft, +3 from skill focus, +10 from epic skill focus, and +10 from int (18 +5{inherent} +5{leveling} +5{item or buff}). That puts you up to a spellcraft modifier of 50.

Now let's take your DC 61 spell and do some straightforward mitigation (incidentally, if you are ok with fort instead of reflex, using the destroy seed will get you better range, the same damage, and will disintegrate victims it kills for the same DC). 10d6 backlash, 1k XP. That takes it down to 41. We can now toss on an additional +10 spellcraft worth of damage and succeed on anything but a 1 roll. Burn 2k XP and we're up to 30d6.

But instead, let's burn 1400 XP (instead of 1k initially presented) and instead of the extra damage, add the afflict seed. Or if you take the example given earlier for fortify effect stacking on death caused by another seed, you can burn 1700XP and do that.

Mitigation isn't a bad thing. You just need not to go crazy and try to break the system.

Now don't get me wrong, the damage seeds (energy, destroy, etc.) are problematic: their scaling is essentially linear from a lower level spell (energy is keyed to fireball IIRC), and the damage growth between Fireball, DBF, and MSwarm doesn't use the same progression. But that's a problem with the seed, not the spellcraft mechanic of the system.

If a systemic problem is indicated here, it's that the seed basis is selected at the lowest level representative spell, rather than the best balanced representative spell. Arranging variant seeds around that idea is a good improvement. Luckily, they tell you how the mechanical system works, and thus how to construct seeds you find better balanced: basing an energy seed off of DBF damage rather than fireball gets you {20d6 @27 DC base} rather than {10d6 @ 19 DC base+10d6 @ +20DC= 20d6 @ 39DC}. You're still using same basic skill-to-cast system.

Sstoopidtallkid
2009-10-31, 01:19 AM
Let's say you're at level 24. You have 27 spellcraft, +3 from skill focus, +10 from epic skill focus, and +10 from int (18+5{inherent}+5{leveling}+5{item or buff}. That puts you up to a spellcraft modifier of 50.

Now let's take your DC 61 spell and do some straightforward mitigation (incidentally, if you are ok with fort instead of reflex, using the destroy seed will get you better range, the same damage, and will disintegrate victims it kills for the same DC). 10d6 backlash, 1k XP. That takes it down to 41. We can now toss on an additional +10 spellcraft worth of damage and succeed on anything but a 1 roll. Burn 2k XP and we're up to 30d6.

But instead, let's burn an additional 400 XP and instead of the extra damage, add the afflict seed. Or if you take the example given earlier for fortify effect stacking on death caused by another seed, you can burn 700XP and do that.But then you're burning XP on a blasting spell. That strikes me as slightly ridiculous.

Lets look at another seed. Say, Summon. Now, the duration is a bit weaker than SM, but not enough to care about. Same with the range. The cast time is terrible, so add 20. The type is decent enough, though the +10 to grab the animals Druids have up to this point gotten free is insulting. SM 9 can get you a CR 12 outsider, though, so that'll be our baseline. We need to add 10 CR, so DC 54.

This spell is on the same level as a 9th level spell. It can summon a wider variety of monsters, but can't summon multiples, doesn't get certain beneficial feats, and has weaker duration and range. And it requires a skill check to use and 500,000 GP, 20,000 XP, and 100 days to develop. Who would do that?

Navigator
2009-10-31, 02:09 AM
Just in case someone doesn't know about it, there is a very handy tool available for creating epic spells here (http://www.andargor.com/), which may help the discussion.

In any case, when we talk about how "broken" Epic Spellcasting is, are we primarily talking about mitigating the DC through additional casters? It would seem to me that, without additional caster shenanigans, Epic Spellcasting isn't all that bad.

For example, a Wizard I play likes to trap stuff in forcecages, then dominate them and shove them into a gem with shadowy confinement for later. However, a lot of stuff in epic will have a solid will save, making my dominate monster unreliable.

Using Seed: Compel (Unreasonable Request), with 4x Duration, +20 to save, 30d6 backlash, 10 minute casting time, and hopefully being able to convince the party's assassin to give me a 4th-level slot and the party's cleric to give me a 5th-level slot when I need to cast it, I turn out with a trivially low DC of 11, a gp cost of 99,000, xp cost of 3960, and 2 development days.

That's not really that bad, is it?

Sstoopidtallkid
2009-10-31, 02:15 AM
Just in case someone doesn't know about it, there is a very handy tool available for creating epic spells here (http://www.andargor.com/), which may help the discussion.

In any case, when we talk about how "broken" Epic Spellcasting is, are we primarily talking about mitigating the DC through additional casters? It would seem to me that, without additional caster shenanigans, Epic Spellcasting isn't all that bad.

For example, a Wizard I play likes to trap stuff in forcecages, then dominate them and shove them into a gem with shadowy confinement for later. However, a lot of stuff in epic will have a solid will save, making my dominate monster unreliable.

Using Seed: Compel (Unreasonable Request), with 4x Duration, +20 to save, 30d6 backlash, 10 minute casting time, and hopefully being able to convince the party's assassin to give me a 4th-level slot and the party's cleric to give me a 5th-level slot when I need to cast it, I turn out with a trivially low DC of 11, a gp cost of 99,000, xp cost of 3960, and 2 development days.

That's not really that bad, is it?That requires you trap the monster, have 2 other casters on hand, and take 30d6. Those situations are rare in normal games, let alone Epic, in my experience.

tyckspoon
2009-10-31, 02:23 AM
that[/i] bad, is it?

The part where unavoidable recurring backlash damage kills you is kinda bad, yes. And this is the kind of spell where the system as written almost works- stuff where you can afford to take your time casting it, maybe invest some XP. Try developing a combat-usable spell, either offensive or buffing, that you can develop and cast without expending magnitudes more resources than the effect is worth (for bonus points, make one that does something you can't more easily do with a non-epic spell + a Quickened spell.)

taltamir
2009-10-31, 04:46 AM
Let's say you're at level 24. You have 27 spellcraft, +3 from skill focus, +10 from epic skill focus, and +10 from int (18 +5{inherent} +5{leveling} +5{item or buff}). That puts you up to a spellcraft modifier of 50.

Now let's take your DC 61 spell and do some straightforward mitigation (incidentally, if you are ok with fort instead of reflex, using the destroy seed will get you better range, the same damage, and will disintegrate victims it kills for the same DC). 10d6 backlash, 1k XP. That takes it down to 41. We can now toss on an additional +10 spellcraft worth of damage and succeed on anything but a 1 roll. Burn 2k XP and we're up to 30d6.

But instead, let's burn 1400 XP (instead of 1k initially presented) and instead of the extra damage, add the afflict seed. Or if you take the example given earlier for fortify effect stacking on death caused by another seed, you can burn 1700XP and do that.

Mitigation isn't a bad thing. You just need not to go crazy and try to break the system.

Now don't get me wrong, the damage seeds (energy, destroy, etc.) are problematic: their scaling is essentially linear from a lower level spell (energy is keyed to fireball IIRC), and the damage growth between Fireball, DBF, and MSwarm doesn't use the same progression. But that's a problem with the seed, not the spellcraft mechanic of the system.

If a systemic problem is indicated here, it's that the seed basis is selected at the lowest level representative spell, rather than the best balanced representative spell. Arranging variant seeds around that idea is a good improvement. Luckily, they tell you how the mechanical system works, and thus how to construct seeds you find better balanced: basing an energy seed off of DBF damage rather than fireball gets you {20d6 @27 DC base} rather than {10d6 @ 19 DC base+10d6 @ +20DC= 20d6 @ 39DC}. You're still using same basic skill-to-cast system.

1. you just took a DC61 crappier fireball, and gave it backlash and XP cost making it even crappier. If you want to burn XP on an attack spell you use WISH, not a crappy epic spell.
2. The cost of development of such a spell are ridiculous
3. You suggestion that the blasty types are not as good as non blasty is incorrect, they all suck and most suck a lot more than this example.

taltamir
2009-10-31, 04:49 AM
Just in case someone doesn't know about it, there is a very handy tool available for creating epic spells here (http://www.andargor.com/), which may help the discussion.

In any case, when we talk about how "broken" Epic Spellcasting is, are we primarily talking about mitigating the DC through additional casters? It would seem to me that, without additional caster shenanigans, Epic Spellcasting isn't all that bad.

For example, a Wizard I play likes to trap stuff in forcecages, then dominate them and shove them into a gem with shadowy confinement for later. However, a lot of stuff in epic will have a solid will save, making my dominate monster unreliable.

Using Seed: Compel (Unreasonable Request), with 4x Duration, +20 to save, 30d6 backlash, 10 minute casting time, and hopefully being able to convince the party's assassin to give me a 4th-level slot and the party's cleric to give me a 5th-level slot when I need to cast it, I turn out with a trivially low DC of 11, a gp cost of 99,000, xp cost of 3960, and 2 development days.

That's not really that bad, is it?

no we are NOT talking about just mitigating via other casters. there are multiple ways to mitigate it down to practically nothing.
the spells themselves are completely uncastable without mitigation.
And you should really only need a few spells anyways (to become a pun pun equivalent). If you ban mitigation schemes, then you are rendering the spells useless.

Tyndmyr
2009-10-31, 09:37 AM
Just in case someone doesn't know about it, there is a very handy tool available for creating epic spells here (http://www.andargor.com/), which may help the discussion.

In any case, when we talk about how "broken" Epic Spellcasting is, are we primarily talking about mitigating the DC through additional casters? It would seem to me that, without additional caster shenanigans, Epic Spellcasting isn't all that bad.

For example, a Wizard I play likes to trap stuff in forcecages, then dominate them and shove them into a gem with shadowy confinement for later. However, a lot of stuff in epic will have a solid will save, making my dominate monster unreliable.

Using Seed: Compel (Unreasonable Request), with 4x Duration, +20 to save, 30d6 backlash, 10 minute casting time, and hopefully being able to convince the party's assassin to give me a 4th-level slot and the party's cleric to give me a 5th-level slot when I need to cast it, I turn out with a trivially low DC of 11, a gp cost of 99,000, xp cost of 3960, and 2 development days.

That's not really that bad, is it?

Your example of how Epic Spellcasting "isn't so bad" without other casters requires extra casters.

Plus, 30d6 backlash is non trivial, and the ten minute casting time frankly sucks.

Ozymandias9
2009-10-31, 11:22 AM
But then you're burning XP on a blasting spell. That strikes me as slightly ridiculous.

Lets look at another seed. Say, Summon. Now, the duration is a bit weaker than SM, but not enough to care about. Same with the range. The cast time is terrible, so add 20. The type is decent enough, though the +10 to grab the animals Druids have up to this point gotten free is insulting. SM 9 can get you a CR 12 outsider, though, so that'll be our baseline. We need to add 10 CR, so DC 54.

This spell is on the same level as a 9th level spell. It can summon a wider variety of monsters, but can't summon multiples, doesn't get certain beneficial feats, and has weaker duration and range. And it requires a skill check to use and 500,000 GP, 20,000 XP, and 100 days to develop. Who would do that?

Someone who isn't trying to exactly replicate SM9? 54 DC is, like I pointed out earlier, not that hard at say, level 24. You should be hitting 50 without rolling at that point. Do some mitigation, and you can increase the CR further than SM 9 allows. Or do some heftier mitigation and buff it with fortify or armor on the way in.

Also, if you object to the fact that it isn't good at replicating SNAlly, make a new seed based on a spell from that line. The base DC of the seed would be the max spellcraft of a sorcerer at the minimum level they could cast a spell of the level the seed is based on.

tyckspoon
2009-10-31, 12:05 PM
Someone who isn't trying to exactly replicate SM9? 54 DC is, like I pointed out earlier, not that hard at say, level 24. You should be hitting 50 without rolling at that point. Do some mitigation, and you can increase the CR further than SM 9 allows. Or do some heftier mitigation and buff it with fortify or armor on the way in.


Making the Spellcraft check to cast isn't really the problem. That's a fairly trivial challenge, especially if the DC is anywhere close to your unbuffed Take 10 value. The problem is designing a spell that's worth paying for. DC 50 costs 450,000 GP and 18,000 XP. What you can do with DC 50 that's worth spending almost half a million GP and most of a level? What can you do with it that you couldn't achieve faster and easier by casting Wish three times or Gate 18 times?

grautry
2009-10-31, 12:33 PM
See, here's the problem with epic spellcasting - it's spellcasting, only better(someone said it already in this thread).

So, for a moment, think of an entirely and totally balanced Epic Spellcasting system. What would that actually mean? A good Epic Spellcasting system would be worth using over normal spellcasting and would not be breakable beyond it's "inherent brokenness".

And that's the crux of the issue: such a system would be inherently overpowered, because non-epic spellcasters are broken. If you're expanding the abilities of spellcasters into epic then you're by definition making a broken system, since such spells need to be more powerful than 9th level spells - you'd have spells more powerful than Wish, Gate, Time Stop, Shapechange...

So, creating an *actually balanced* Epic Spellcasting system would also need to include nerfs and fixes to non-epic spellcasting. If you don't, you'll end up with a system:
A) That is overpowered, because it's better than standard casting. This *can* be fine, if you accept that every single player needs to be a caster of some kind if he doesn't want to be a dead weight.
B) One that isn't and therefore isn't worth using.

taltamir
2009-10-31, 01:35 PM
See, here's the problem with epic spellcasting - it's spellcasting, only better(someone said it already in this thread).

So, for a moment, think of an entirely and totally balanced Epic Spellcasting system. What would that actually mean? A good Epic Spellcasting system would be worth using over normal spellcasting and would not be breakable beyond it's "inherent brokenness".

And that's the crux of the issue: such a system would be inherently overpowered, because non-epic spellcasters are broken. If you're expanding the abilities of spellcasters into epic then you're by definition making a broken system, since such spells need to be more powerful than 9th level spells - you'd have spells more powerful than Wish, Gate, Time Stop, Shapechange...

So, creating an *actually balanced* Epic Spellcasting system would also need to include nerfs and fixes to non-epic spellcasting. If you don't, you'll end up with a system:
A) That is overpowered, because it's better than standard casting. This *can* be fine, if you accept that every single player needs to be a caster of some kind if he doesn't want to be a dead weight.
B) One that isn't and therefore isn't worth using.

you can have different values of "broken". it can be more powerful than casting level 9 spells without being completely ruining.
EX: if you just give extra slots and use metamagic. It is better then normal casting, because it is the same spells, only with metamagic. (aka, quickened gate, twinned time stop, etc). Fight tough enough monsters and you can continue playing.

Ozymandias9
2009-10-31, 09:49 PM
What can you do with it that you couldn't achieve faster and easier by casting Wish three times or Gate 18 times?

For starters, you can have your wish not twisted if you're not using an explicitly granted goal. And you can do it every day. And eventually you can use it to easily outscale the earlier spells. If you really want wish because you're averse to spending XP on other spells, make a wish seed: your basis should be limited wish for a base dc of 27. The gap between the capacity of wish and limited wish should be a 5 DC boost. Using both of those and adding the 20 for 1 action casting, you're still at 52. There, you have wish, based on the epic spell system, with the XP cost moved up front. And you get a different slot to burn for it.

Really, it shouldn't outclass the 9th level spells by a huge margin, if at all, in the low 20s: you don't stop casting third level spells the second that you get fourth level spells (or even fifth).

But if you want to make a more optimal seed for the lower 20s, it's certainly possible. Since the conversation's been focusing on blasting, let's look there. Using Meteor Swarm as a basis for a seed would give us a base DC of 37 for 6d6 damage 4 times. Add the 20 to make it faster, and you're still only at 57-- still very castable. It's at least as good as your base spell. What's more, you could decide to crank up the damage output by taking some mitigating factors. That is, you could make something more powerful than the base level nine spell and have it available in the early 20 if you're willing to pay the piper.

Now, I'm not saying that Improved Spell Capacity isn't a more optimal choice in the low 20s, but sub-optimal isn't broken (that would be sub-operational). Still, you can use the system as presented to make spells with significantly oomph in the early epic levels if you are willing to take the sacrifices for the kind of mitigation that you can use with a straight face.

Douglas
2009-10-31, 10:40 PM
you don't stop casting third level spells the second that you get fourth level spells (or even fifth).
You also don't spend multiple levels' worth of money and almost a level's worth of xp just to get a single fourth level spell known.

How difficult it is to cast is not the main problem. The cost to develop each spell in the first place is the real kicker.

Ozymandias9
2009-10-31, 10:54 PM
You also don't spend multiple levels' worth of money and almost a level's worth of xp just to get a single fourth level spell known.

How difficult it is to cast is not the main problem. The cost to develop each spell in the first place is the real kicker.

So find a freaking stone tablet already. If you had to develop all your own spells as you leveled that would be expensive too. Ways around it are provided, in both cases.

Tyndmyr
2009-10-31, 11:01 PM
But if you want to make a more optimal seed for the lower 20s, it's certainly possible. Since the conversation's been focusing on blasting, let's look there. Using Meteor Swarm as a basis for a seed would give us a base DC of 37 for 6d6 damage 4 times. Add the 20 to make it faster, and you're still only at 57-- still very castable. It's at least as good as your base spell. What's more, you could decide to crank up the damage output by taking some mitigating factors. That is, you could make something more powerful than the base level nine spell and have it available in the early 20 if you're willing to pay the piper.

Huh? How so.

Base DC 19 for Energy seed, +30 to add 3 extra targets, +4 to boost the range to be comparable, +20 for standard action casting time, +4 to boost area 100% to match meteor storm.

That clocks in at DC 77.

Now, it gets 10d6 damage per target, in comparison with the 6d6 of meteor storm, but keep in mind that the central projectile of each meteor adds an additional 2d6 damage with no save. Thus, it's going to do pretty comparable damage. I don't see how you've only got a DC of 57 unless you're making a strictly inferior version of meteor storm.

NoldorForce
2009-10-31, 11:05 PM
So find a freaking stone tablet already. If you had to develop all your own spells as you leveled that would be expensive too. Ways around it are provided, in both cases.But someone else has to make the stone tablet. At double the cost.

With few epic spellcasters out there already (except in FR :smallsigh:), there will be even fewer who'd actually bother to do this rather than just writing down the appropriate notes. ("Start with Heal, and reduce casting time to three seconds.") To be sure, there is one way to not pay the XP cost. It involves burning a Rod of Excellent Magic, hardly cheap at 650K GP.

Ozymandias9
2009-10-31, 11:11 PM
Huh? How so.

Base DC 19 for Energy seed, +30 to add 3 extra targets, +4 to boost the range to be comparable, +20 for standard action casting time, +4 to boost area 100% to match meteor storm.

That clocks in at DC 77.

Now, it gets 10d6 damage per target, in comparison with the 6d6 of meteor storm, but keep in mind that the central projectile of each meteor adds an additional 2d6 damage with no save. Thus, it's going to do pretty comparable damage. I don't see how you've only got a DC of 57 unless you're making a strictly inferior version of meteor storm.

I said to use it as the basis for a seed, not to recreate it with the energy seed. Take the base spell. Now take the max spellcraft ranks available to a sorcerer of the minimum level to cast a spell of that level. Now add 10. Congratulations, you've made a seed. The seeds presented are based on the lowest level "truly representative spell." For Energy, that is arbitrarily decided to be fireball (rather than say, burning hands), thus the 10d6 base. But you can make a seed based on burning hands, or DBF, or Meteor Swarm. Or Hideous laughter. Or, heck, Ray of Frost.

Tyndmyr
2009-10-31, 11:13 PM
Are you proposing this as a more workable, alternative system?

Ozymandias9
2009-10-31, 11:16 PM
Are you proposing this as a more workable, alternative system?

No, I'm proposing that the system includes how to make a seed. It's there in the book. It's in one of those nifty little Boxes that WotC deems not to be part of OGC/SRD and that a lot of people skip over. They don't title the aside as such, but it's there.

Tyndmyr
2009-10-31, 11:20 PM
It's a "behind the curtain" bit about how they chose their base spells. It includes nothing saying that players can opt to create their own seeds.

Also, even if you handwaved that...that's only the price for the base seed. If you started with a weaker yet spell, you'd only affect the base seed. It would do relatively little to the end price of the spell since most of that is derived from additional factors required to make it usable.

Douglas
2009-10-31, 11:21 PM
So find a freaking stone tablet already. If you had to develop all your own spells as you leveled that would be expensive too. Ways around it are provided, in both cases.
Ok, so instead of you spending gold on it, the DM replaces some of your loot with the tablet. Either way it's still coming out of your Wealth By Level.

Unless you're saying find it free of charge in addition to standard wealth, in which case you are advocating that the issue of cost should be solved by the DM throwing WBL guidelines out the window.

"Getting around the cost" of developing non-epic spells is a matter of a) getting them completely free by explicit RAW from class features or b) copying them at easily affordable prices from the numerous people who already have them. The only option for epic spells other than developing it yourself is to get it at the exact same ludicrously high price from a source you probably had to spend considerable resources just to find in the first place.

Quite simply there is no possible way to get around an epic spell's development price that would not utterly break WBL on its own even when used for other things.

Ozymandias9
2009-10-31, 11:22 PM
It's a "behind the curtain" bit about how they chose their base spells. It includes nothing saying that players can opt to create their own seeds.

Nor did it say that they can't: you have the mechanical system presented. You're quibbling over permission?

P.S.~ Reread the 3.0 DMG some time. There's a lot of "Behind the Scenes," like the fact that you can be more or less generous with XP than published adventures.

Tyndmyr
2009-10-31, 11:25 PM
Nor did it say that they can't: you have the mechanical system presented. You're quibbling over permission?

It's a permissive ruleset. If the rules do not give you permission to do something, you do not have the ability to do something.

Hey, the class description of Fighter doesn't say that I CANT cast epic spells at level 1. Lets nuke the world!

Tyndmyr
2009-10-31, 11:27 PM
On a side note...lets say you used burning hands as the original seed because you enjoy ignoring the rules as given.

Woohoo, you've cut the base energy seed from 19 down to 14! Your energy spell now costs 5 less!

Except...damage, range, etc is based on the maximum for that seed. So, your damage is now 5d4, and you have a range of 15ft. Woohoo epic casting!

Ozymandias9
2009-10-31, 11:31 PM
It's a permissive ruleset. If the rules do not give you permission to do something, you do not have the ability to do something.

Hey, the class description of Fighter doesn't say that I CANT cast epic spells at level 1. Lets nuke the world!

No, but the epic spell rules do. Moreover, you needn't let the PCs control that aspect. The Behind the Curtain Sections in 3.0 are always almost targeted at the DM. It's no different than creating a race or class for a setting: limited home brew, certainly. Alternate system, no: you're using the system presented to you-- it was presented for a reason, even if they assume that you're not approaching it through the game engine. They didn't give you this information (or the "logic" behind bonus stacking or an approach to creating ACF's, etc.) because they never wanted you to consider it.

Tyndmyr
2009-10-31, 11:34 PM
The epic spell rules let you create a spell from the given seeds. There is no mention anywhere of making spells not based on existing seeds, or of creating new seeds.

When you start home brewing things of that significance, you're not really using their system any more. Also, as already pointed out, even using different "lowest spells" would not fix the epic system, because the massive cost is mainly from other factors. You would need to do extensive further homebrewing, ensuring you're no longer using the same system at all.

Ozymandias9
2009-10-31, 11:40 PM
You would need to do extensive further homebrewing, ensuring you're no longer using the same system at all.

Then we have very different definitions of both "extensive [...] homebrew" and "same system". This is the same manner in which they presented giving a paladin detect magic instead of detect evil. It's homebrew certainly, and it's certainly an alternate feature. But would you really say that that, or deviating from wealth by level or XP per encounter isn't the same system?

We're still using skill vs. DC casting, we're still using features and mitigating features. We're still using seeds created by the same method. We're still using the same entry feat and skill requirements. To say that creating a new seed exits the system would mean that, for example, using the Epic Casting rules to create a Mythral in FR before the publishing of LEoF would exit the system.

Tyndmyr
2009-10-31, 11:45 PM
Well, lets see...you changed the way seeds work, by making your own. You are entirely ignoring WBL.

And yet you still have unusably high DCs because generating your own seeds decreases the power of the spell much faster than it decreases the costs. The problem is actually worse now.

That is, unless you're entirely ignoring the system they used to create their seeds as well.

And, even if you do that, the factor system is the main culprit in making usable spells.

That's every single aspect of the system. If you house rule every single aspect heavily...it's not the same system anymore.

Ozymandias9
2009-11-01, 12:00 AM
Well, lets see...you changed the way seeds work, by making your own.
I didn't suggest changing any existing seeds, merely adding to them. It's a 3.0 book, and 3.0 presumes a lot more homebrew than 3.5. For example, they suggested you make a custom PRC every time (hyperbole) you want a memorable set of NPCs.


You are entirely ignoring WBL.
How? Methods around it are provided, though limited. I never said it wasn't costly or the cost didn't make it sub-optimal. But it is still functional, and you can still get the spell itself to outperform a non-epic spell, even in combat situations. You just might have to sacrifice for it.


And yet you still have unusably high DCs because generating your own seeds decreases the power of the spell much faster than it decreases the costs. The problem is actually worse now.
What do you consider "unusably high"? You can get a cast off on anything but a natural 1 for a 51DC at level 24 with no mitigation, with conservative Int values*. With buffs, age category progression, a +Int race, and/or a higher item bonus, you can get even further up. And if you can take 10, that's 60 instead.

And I've never suggested that you not mitigate: I've merely suggested that the system has no designed protections against people trying to break it through mitigation. It presumes the good will of the players and DM.


That is, unless you're entirely ignoring the system they used to create their seeds as well.
You'll have to tell me what this comment is based on is based on. I've never suggested anything but 10+maxed SCraft of min Sorc.


*Maxed Spellcraft, Skill Focus, Epic skill focus, {22 base int, +5 inherent bonus, +5 item}. If you have an epic int item, or a buff, or a progressed age category, or a +int race or template etc, it gets higher.



P.S.~ Re burning hands: I wasn't suggesting it as a good seed base-- merely pointing out that it's a lower level energy evocation than what they based energy on- that is, that the idea of "lowest level representative spell" is a bit flexible.

DragoonWraith
2009-11-01, 12:13 AM
Some things are set to auto-exploit.
For instance, epic spellcasting.

Sstoopidtallkid
2009-11-01, 12:18 AM
How? Methods around it are provided, though limited. I never said it wasn't costly or the cost didn't make it sub-optimal. But it is still functional, and you can still get it to outperform a non-epic spell through heavy sacrifice, even in combat situations.The heavy sacrifice is the issue. Yes, you can make a spell that deals twice the damage of meteor storm, or turns all of your party back to max health. Except doing requires you either spend massive XP or take massive damage. Neither of those is a good option, especially in a combat situation. Just because the spells positive effects are better than a non-epic spell doesn't mean you can afford to ignore the negative ones.
What do you consider "unusably high"? You can get a cast off on anything but a natural 1 for a 51DC at level 24 with no mitigation, with conservative Int values (at least from a CharOp perspective: 18 base, fully pumped with level, +5 inherent, +5 item). With buffs, age category progression, a +Int race, and/or a higher item bonus, you can get even further up. And if you can take 10, that's 60 instead.We don't care about the check to cast! That you should always make, simply because skill checks are easy. What we care about is the cost of crafting it, which is based off of that DC. 50 Spellcraft is a lot more intimidating when you realize that's 450K GP and 18K XP. That is far more than I want to spend on anything, especially when you realize that that's for a spell that's basically identical to a non-epic version. And Stone Tablets don't help, because you have to find them, which means they come out of your WBL and aren't customized. That same DC 50 spell takes 540,000 out of your WBL, which is most of what you have at 21.
And I've never suggested that you not mitigate: I've merely suggested that the system has no designed protections against people trying to break it through mitigation. It presumes the good will of the players and DM.Except the only useful spells are ones that take mitigation past what's intended. In-combat spells can't be usefully mitigated, so we have to go to non-combat ones. You can use backlash+some sort of infinite heal trick, but that's limited by your max HP. XP or expensive components are poor for spells you'll cast repeatedly, so you'll want to do permanent or, ideally, instantaneous ones. And since you'll only cast it once, you'll want to get every caster available to contribute spell slots(since hiring or summoning them is cheaper than putting up with the higher DC). And boost the duration to make it easier. Suddenly, you've broken the system.

Tyndmyr
2009-11-01, 12:19 AM
How? Methods around it are provided, though limited. I never said it wasn't costly or the cost didn't make it sub-optimal. But it is still functional, and you can still get it to outperform a non-epic spell through heavy sacrifice, even in combat situations.

Well, that meteor storm equivalent would run 693,000 gold. That's pretty significant, even at epic level. It's almost the entire WBL of a level 20 character.


What do you consider "unusably high"? You can get a cast off on anything but a natural 1 for a 51DC at level 24 with no mitigation, with conservative Int values (at least from a CharOp perspective: 18 base, fully pumped with level, +5 inherent, +5 item). With buffs, age category progression, a +Int race, and/or a higher item bonus, you can get even further up. And if you can take 10, that's 60 instead.

When can you ever take 10 on a spellcraft check to cast a spell? It's not something you can retry ten times to get it right. Remember, the only spell we got with a DC in the 50's was a fireball clone. That's pretty worthless at epic levels.

As for your spellcraft, at level 24, we can presume 27 ranks. Fully boosted int with age progression gets you an additional 15. That's still only 42. Buffs are enhancement, and thus, do not stack with your item bonus. Sure, you can get specific skill boosting items and get a +2 synergy from knowledge(arcana), but that still leaves you in the 50s for a decently optimized character, which we've already established is too low to even replicate 9th level spells, which reliably ended up in the high 70s or higher.


And I've never suggested that you not mitigate: I've merely suggested that the system has no designed protections against people trying to break it through mitigation. It presumes the good will of the players and DM.

I don't even presume that the players and the DM will agree on what constitutes good will or proper use of mitigation.


You'll have to tell me what this comment is based on is based on. I've never suggested anything but 10+maxed SCraft of min Sorc.

It specifically says to use the lowest representative spell for a seed. I can see arguing for a lower base spell, but arguing for a higher goes against even their design philosophy.

Unfortunately, using a lower seed provides very little DC lowering, but it drastically lowers the effect of the seed, since seed effects are based on damage caps, and range(not including level adjustments), etc. Thus, doing this would actually make the problem worse.

Ozymandias9
2009-11-01, 12:31 AM
We don't care about the check to cast!

It was a specific response to a specific (and quoted) criticism.


You can use backlash+some sort of infinite heal trick, but that's limited by your max HP. XP or expensive components are poor for spells you'll cast repeatedly, so you'll want to do permanent or, ideally, instantaneous ones. And since you'll only cast it once, you'll want to get every caster available to contribute spell slots(since hiring or summoning them is cheaper than putting up with the higher DC). And boost the duration to make it easier. Suddenly, you've broken the system.

That doesn't really strike me as any more broken than normal summoning and hiring: if you limit it to the constraints of the setting, it doesn't break. It's only if you make the assumption that there are limitless high level casters looking for fee-based employment or limitless Solars floating around that no-one minds you mind raping that this truly breaks.

And if you're looking at out of combat spells, you can look at why you're looking at that spell. If it's a function of the setting or story, then setting or story elements can be used to offset some of the monetary development cost. For example, it would be odd if a single caster were expected to bear the entire monetary cost of raising a mythral in FR. That's no more of an infringement on WBL than a king covering part of the cost for a non-epic spell researched specifically at their prompting.


Well, that meteor storm equivalent would run 693,000 gold. That's pretty significant, even at epic level. It's almost the entire WBL of a level 20 character.
Yeah, and as such it's dang poor optimization of wealth by level in the low 20s. But it still functions: it does what it says on the tin. The cookies in the tin just happen to be a taste you have to acquire by working through a chunk of epic levels (much like gin).


When can you ever take 10 on a spellcraft check to cast a spell? It's not something you can retry ten times to get it right.

Page 73: "[...A] caster can take 10 when casting epic spells, but she can't take 20. When routinely casting epic spells, most casters take 10 on their spellcraft check."


As for your spellcraft, at level 24, we can presume 27 ranks. Fully boosted int with age progression gets you an additional 15. That's still only 42.

And Skill Focus Spellcraft (+3), and Epic Skill Focus Spellcraft(+10). And I know the stacking rules: I probably should have delineated my and/or on additional int bonuses more. The given value assumed a +5 item. Though that is the biggest you're likely to see pre-epic, bigger values are available in epic levels both in the form of items and buffs. I was actually being more conservative than you on Int: I was only assuming it contributed +10.


I don't even presume that the players and the DM will agree on what constitutes good will or proper use of mitigation.

Nor do I, but I presume that people won't play with others that they regard as munchkins. If you regularly play in epic levels, it will self-sort. And an easy self measure is whether or not you think what you're doing is improper: a lot of people tend to do things to epic spellcasting that they themselves don't believe to be kosher.


It specifically says to use the lowest representative spell for a seed. I can see arguing for a lower base spell, but arguing for a higher goes against even their design philosophy.

The question there is what constitutes "representative". It's clearly not merely the presence of energy of the given types, as that would point to a different spell. Choosing Ice Storm, a higher level spell than fireball, would actually decrease damage.



[email protected]: It's late and I have an early meeting tomorrow. But this is a fun discussion: will you be on tomorrow night?

taltamir
2009-11-01, 02:43 AM
those DC 50+ epic spells you are suggesting are certainly CASTABLE (as in, you can make the DC check)...
but are they worth nearly 20k XP and 500K gp to research?

Tyndmyr
2009-11-01, 08:56 AM
Oh, Im on today. =)

Thing of it is, spending a huge portion of your WBL(we seem to be assuming level 24, since earlier levels are likely to not have the free gold to pull it off.), and blowing a total of three feats(Skill Focus Spellcraft, Epic Skill Focus Spellcraft, Epic Spellcasting)....including both your epic feats to this point just to replicate an existing 9th level spell is pretty weak.

You would have been far better off just spending one epic feat on a 10th level spell slot, which then gives you access to bonus 10th level spell slots. Look, now you can cast meteor twice more per day, just like the epic route. Or, you could cast something else. Plus you've got a free level for metamagic. You have two more feats and a giant pile of gold left over.

What you get isn't even vaguely worth the effort put into casting it.

hamishspence
2009-11-01, 09:05 AM
I saw Elven High Magic as "epic spellcasting in the game world"


Which generally means mitigation, and lots of it.

A common mitigating factor "You die- and cannot be resurrected"

This seems to suggest that large scale effects, like creating the Moonblades, or the Dracorage Mythal, or similar big effects, are supposed to kill the casters.

Even when it doesn't kill them, it is often described as "draining life" from the hundreds of people participation- the Killing Storm spell that left the High Moor where an elven kingdom used to be.

In Faerun- there is no Tippy wizard.

Or at least, there is no such thing as easy epic magic.

AstralFire
2009-11-01, 09:09 AM
Well, yes. That's because Munchkin Rules Lawyer Wizards are really really boring, possibly moreso than Commoner 20.

That doesn't make the epic spellcasting mechanic any less messed up. The whole thing was designed poorly.

hamishspence
2009-11-01, 09:13 AM
yes.

Personally- I would have preferred one that didn't have days of research- you know enough about magic to make up your own spell on the fly- but, without backup- it can't be expected to be significantly more powerful than a 9th level spell.

And that backup needs to be mortal. No gated celestials by the thousand backing you up- or creatures of your own creation duplicating themselves ad infinitum.

the Urban Arcana Incantation system was like Epic- but with a few nerfs.

No DCs below 30
No short durations (all take at least an hour to cast)
No infinite casters (for an example, 101+ backup people reduced the DC by -10. And this was as much mitigation from multiple casters, as you could get)
Max XP-burn: 1000 XP
There wasn't a maximum backlash damage listed, but it did not multiply when done to the assistants- "Backlash damage done to all casters" only decreased the DC by 1.

It was, however, geared to a low-magic world (compared to D&D).

Navigator
2009-11-01, 10:21 AM
Using Seed: Compel (Unreasonable Request), with 4x Duration, +20 to save, 30d6 backlash, 10 minute casting time, and hopefully being able to convince the party's assassin to give me a 4th-level slot and the party's cleric to give me a 5th-level slot when I need to cast it, I turn out with a trivially low DC of 11, a gp cost of 99,000, xp cost of 3960, and 2 development days.
It doesn't matter, but this is a spell that a character I play would actually find sort of useful. It's a post-combat routine that I would only perform if I had the party's cleric standing next to me. I did not intend this to be an "I win" spell, or a combat spell.


no we are NOT talking about just mitigating via other casters. there are multiple ways to mitigate it down to practically nothing.
Can we explore these methods? Other than additional casters, nothing seems obvious to me. I know it seems silly, but if we can identify the most common ways of breaking Epic Spellcasting, it may allow players to formulate house rules, or even reconstruct the feat so that it's usable. Maybe even without causing the DM's hair to combust into flames.

Personally, I see this end as the only productive thing that can come out of a discussion like this.


....including both your epic feats to this point just to replicate an existing 9th level spell is pretty weak.
But the thing is, there's no point in crafting an epic spell that already exists as a 9th-level spell.

Here's another attempt I'll make at showing that Epic Spellcasting can be useful without summoning 100 solars and creating a timeless demi-plane.

Seed: Armor (+20 natural armor)

Duration: x5 (results in a 5 day duration)
Mitigation: 10 minute casting
Mitigation: 20d6 backlash
Mitigation: Decrease range to personal

DC: 14
Cost: 126,000 gp, 5040 xp, 3 days development time.

Would I actually research this on a character? Maybe. An amulet of natural armor +5 runs 50,000g and takes up a magic item slot. For less than three times the cost, you get four times the bonus, a freed item slot, and it cannot be dispelled. The drawback of 20d6 once every 5 days during prep time is trivial (unless you have less than 171 hp).

Also, an amulet of natural armor +10 costs 2,000,000g.

Emperor Tippy
2009-11-01, 10:23 AM
Epic magic is a big can of worms. It can be made to work if both the players and DM understand what it is really about but it isn't that simple.

The problem with mitigation is that if it exists, you honestly have no reason not to mitigate down as low as you possibly can (and lots of reasons to do so). Rounding up a few hundred level 1 casters isn't that difficult and with that you have just found a way to mitigate away over 200 points. For a spell that you are going to cast once or twice a year, its no real problem.

I mean take the Ward seed. For a ward against piercing, slashing, and bludgeoning damage (all weapons) that stops the first 50 points of damage per round has a pre mitigation DC of 550.

Increase the casting time to 10 minutes: -18 (532 now)
Have 76 other casters contribute a 4th level spell slot: -532 (0 now).

And think about this, most any wizard over 9th level (with 5th level or higher spell slots) can cast teleport. So what is too stop the epic wizards from hosting a once a year mages convention is some neutral location where the admittance fee is helping too mitigate away their epic spells and in exchange those epic wizards let you copy 1 spell of the same level (or potentially higher) from their spell book. As an added benefit, you also have an easy way to trade and make contact with other magic users around the world and with security guaranteed by epic wizards, your saftey is rarely an issue.

Emperor Tippy
2009-11-01, 10:24 AM
Here's another attempt I'll make at showing that Epic Spellcasting can be useful without summoning 100 solars and creating a timeless demi-plane.

Seed: Armor (+20 natural armor)

Duration: x5 (results in a 5 day duration)
Mitigation: 10 minute casting
Mitigation: 20d6 backlash
Mitigation: Decrease range to personal

DC: 14
Cost: 126,000 gp, 5040 xp, 3 days development time.

Would I actually research this on a character? Maybe. An amulet of natural armor +5 runs 50,000g and takes up a magic item slot. For less than three times the cost, you get four times the bonus, a freed item slot, and it cannot be dispelled. The drawback of 20d6 once every 5 days during prep time is trivial (unless you have less than 171 hp).

Also, an amulet of natural armor +10 costs 2,000,000g.

You take 20d6 damage every round for 5 days. You are better off just burning 2,000 XP.

Starbuck_II
2009-11-01, 10:26 AM
But the thing is, there's no point in crafting an epic spell that already exists as a 9th-level spell.

Sorcerors have limited spell known, but not spell seed known.



Here's another attempt I'll make at showing that Epic Spellcasting can be useful without summoning 100 solars and creating a timeless demi-plane.

Seed: Armor (+20 natural armor)

Duration: x5 (results in a 5 day duration)
Mitigation: 10 minute casting
Mitigation: 20d6 backlash
Mitigation: Decrease range to personal

DC: 14
Cost: 126,000 gp, 5040 xp, 3 days development time.

Would I actually research this on a character? Maybe. An amulet of natural armor +5 runs 50,000g and takes up a magic item slot. For less than three times the cost, you get four times, a freed item slot, and it cannot be dispelled. The drawback of 20d6 once every 5 days during prep time is trivial (unless you have less than 171 hp).

Also, an amulet of natural armor +10 costs 2,000,000g.

I quote: For spells with durations longer than instantaneous, the backlash damage is per round.
Backlash is per round
That is 20d6 per rd per day x5 = 86,400 /6 =14, 400 d6 (average 50, 400 damage) x5= 252, 000 damage.
I doubt that spell was useful.

Mugen Nightgale
2009-11-01, 10:43 AM
Yes they are broken.
But IMHO I think Epic levels were made for experienced players that have the well being of the game play as their priority. Not for crazy childish power gaming maniacs.

Starbuck_II
2009-11-01, 10:45 AM
You know, this spell isn't bad if we are planning suicide... even if we revived somehow spell still active 4 days later.

Navigator
2009-11-01, 10:54 AM
Sorcerors have limited spell known, but not spell seed known.
This is a good point, and I am sympathetic to it. However, if a Sorceror takes Epic Spellcasting just to get access to more 9th-level spells, he's not getting what he should out of the feat. He'd be better off taking the feat to cast epic spells. This is only my opinion though.

I suspect the reason replicating 9th-level spells with Epic Spellcasting isn't practical is the factors are linear, which seems awkward to me. Though, this does mean that you get a better bang for your buck by making more powerful spells. On the other hand, replicating 9th-level spells is probably the worst way to use Epic Spellcasting if for no reason other than it being a linear system.


I quote: For spells with durations longer than instantaneous, the backlash damage is per round.
Backlash is per round
That is 20d6 per rd per day x5 = 86,400 /6 =14, 400 d6 (average 50, 400 damage) x5= 252, 000 damage.
I doubt that spell was useful.
I guess it really wasn't useful. Up until now, I never realized backlash was constant throughout the duration despite having read it a couple times in this very thread.

If one removed the backlash, decreased the duration to x3 (for 3 day duration), the cost comes out 270,000g, 10800 xp, and 8 days of development. This reduces the spell's practicality significantly, but when compared to an amulet of natural armor +10, it's worth consideration.

EDIT: har har @ suicide

AstralFire
2009-11-01, 12:34 PM
Yes they are broken.
But IMHO I think Epic levels were made for experienced players that have the well being of the game play as their priority. Not for crazy childish power gaming maniacs.

-bzzt-


"Wellbeing of the gameplay" is a high priority for all non-theoretical tabletop roleplay, period. Most GitPers respect it.
Epic simply does not -function- for any type of player remotely interested in balance or mechanics without extensive houseruling. Using suggested play for epic, you are at once capable of making characters that are supposed to be good but can be trampled by things half their level or CR, and of course munchkins.

Tyndmyr
2009-11-01, 12:49 PM
But the thing is, there's no point in crafting an epic spell that already exists as a 9th-level spell.

Exactly my point. It doesn't need to be ridiculously powerful, but stuff beyond that already available via level 9 spells should be reasonably achievable.


Here's another attempt I'll make at showing that Epic Spellcasting can be useful without summoning 100 solars and creating a timeless demi-plane.

Seed: Armor (+20 natural armor)

Duration: x5 (results in a 5 day duration)
Mitigation: 10 minute casting
Mitigation: 20d6 backlash
Mitigation: Decrease range to personal

DC: 14
Cost: 126,000 gp, 5040 xp, 3 days development time.

Would I actually research this on a character? Maybe. An amulet of natural armor +5 runs 50,000g and takes up a magic item slot. For less than three times the cost, you get four times the bonus, a freed item slot, and it cannot be dispelled. The drawback of 20d6 once every 5 days during prep time is trivial (unless you have less than 171 hp).

Also, an amulet of natural armor +10 costs 2,000,000g.

You do realize that backlash on spells with a duration happens every round, right, and cannot be prevented or mitigated by any means? Thus...you will take an average of 70 damage every single round you have this buff up.

Given that the entire point of armor is to prevent damage, this spell seems wildly useless.

Edit: aw, this is what I get for not reading the whole thread before replying. Tippy beat me to it.

taltamir
2009-11-01, 02:21 PM
Exactly my point. It doesn't need to be ridiculously powerful, but stuff beyond that already available via level 9 spells should be reasonably achievable.



You do realize that backlash on spells with a duration happens every round, right, and cannot be prevented or mitigated by any means? Thus...you will take an average of 70 damage every single round you have this buff up.

Given that the entire point of armor is to prevent damage, this spell seems wildly useless.

Edit: aw, this is what I get for not reading the whole thread before replying. Tippy beat me to it.

this makes it the ultimate buff (EDIT: I meant attack)... cast it on your enemies to give them 20d6 damage per round for 5 days :)

Tyndmyr
2009-11-01, 02:27 PM
Well, it's range: Personal, so it doesn't even work for that. =)

Also, the backlash invariably goes on the caster, not whoever has the buff, so even if you use shenanigans to get a personal spell on someone else, you still take the damage.

Ozymandias9
2009-11-01, 05:11 PM
Well, it's range: Personal, so it doesn't even work for that. =)

Also, the backlash invariably goes on the caster, not whoever has the buff, so even if you use shenanigans to get a personal spell on someone else, you still take the damage.

Actually, they've published spells with contributing casters paying backlash and XP too, but not (to my knowledge) target.

Starbuck_II
2009-11-01, 05:14 PM
You do realize that backlash on spells with a duration happens every round, right, and cannot be prevented or mitigated by any means? Thus...you will take an average of 70 damage every single round you have this buff up.

Given that the entire point of armor is to prevent damage, this spell seems wildly useless.

Edit: aw, this is what I get for not reading the whole thread before replying. Tippy beat me to it.

Actually, you can use Temporary hps to lessen actual damage taken, but no one can afford to prevent that much with temporary hps.

Ozymandias9
2009-11-01, 05:37 PM
Oh, Im on today. =)

Thing of it is, spending a huge portion of your WBL(we seem to be assuming level 24, since earlier levels are likely to not have the free gold to pull it off.), and blowing a total of three feats(Skill Focus Spellcraft, Epic Skill Focus Spellcraft, Epic Spellcasting)....including both your epic feats to this point just to replicate an existing 9th level spell is pretty weak.

You would have been far better off just spending one epic feat on a 10th level spell slot, which then gives you access to bonus 10th level spell slots. Look, now you can cast meteor twice more per day, just like the epic route. Or, you could cast something else. Plus you've got a free level for metamagic. You have two more feats and a giant pile of gold left over.

What you get isn't even vaguely worth the effort put into casting it.

I certainly agree that it's sub-optimal, particularly with regards to WBL cost. Expanded spell capacity is almost always better (for combat anyways) untill you can reach about +100 to spellcraft check. But it can still be made functional and useful.

That 9th level equivalent can then have mitigation shoved on top of it. It would make an optimizer die a little inside when you cast it, but you could shove up to 20,000 XP burn and some backlash and you would be dealing some pretty significant damage (perhaps up to another 15 dice worth). More than you could get with the same use of Improved Spell Capacity in a single cast. You probably wouldn't cast it often (perhaps only on boss encounters), but it would be a pretty fantastic nova tool. Another option would be to burn that XP/backlash on quickening it-- something that would ordinarily require 3 epic feats without a metamagic reducer (this wouldn't actually cost all 20k XP unless you also pumped the damage).

No, these aren't as big of a boost as Imp Spell Capacity, which is a far more optimal choice at the levels most epic campaigns seem to reach. If, however, you play above the low 30s, it really takes off. And it's still functional below that if you want to get it off the ground earlier.

P.S.-- The 24 assumption is because you really shouldn't be looking at epic casting without Epic Skill Focus: Spellcraft. Though the non-druid epic progression gives you another feat at 23-- so if you're not using any epic prestige classes or druid, you could feasibly hit it a level earlier.

Sstoopidtallkid
2009-11-01, 08:50 PM
I certainly agree that it's sub-optimal, particularly with regards to WBL cost. Expanded spell capacity is almost always better (for combat anyways) untill you can reach about +100 to spellcraft check. But it can still be made functional and useful.So, once you can afford to spend a million GP on a spell, and something like 40,000 XP, it's all good. That makes me feel real confident in the system.
That 9th level equivalent can then have mitigation shoved on top of it. It would make an optimizer die a little inside when you cast it, but you could shove up to 20,000 XP burn and some backlash and you would be dealing some pretty significant damage (perhaps up to another 15 dice worth). More than you could get with the same use of Improved Spell Capacity in a single cast. You probably wouldn't cast it often (perhaps only on boss encounters), but it would be a pretty fantastic nova tool. Except then you're burning even more on a spell that is basically no more than a metamagic'd 9th level.
Another option would be to burn that XP/backlash on quickening it-- something that would ordinarily require 3 epic feats without a metamagic reducer (this wouldn't actually cost all 20k XP unless you also pumped the damage).Unless you spend that money instead on a metamagic rod and get it for a tenth of the cost and no XP burn.

Ozymandias9
2009-11-01, 11:19 PM
So, once you can afford to spend a million GP on a spell, and something like 40,000 XP, it's all good. That makes me feel real confident in the system. Except then you're burning even more on a spell that is basically no more than a metamagic'd 9th level. Unless you spend that money instead on a metamagic rod and get it for a tenth of the cost and no XP burn.

I don't disagree with any of your points. I also don't think that they make it broken, but merely sub-optimal: there are better uses of the resources. That doesn't mean that epic spells can't be useful, merely that they're not the most useful option. You can accomplish things beyond the scope of relevant 9th level spells through the epic spell system: that's the goal for it.

Yes, there are better ways to reach that goal. But the system in question can still reach it. Thus sub-optimal, but not inherently broken.

AstralFire
2009-11-01, 11:24 PM
Ozy, your point would be better served if the route to access Epic Spells didn't go straight through one of the better options to 'non-OP epic spells' - 9th level casting.

If it went to like, Fighters, sure.

taltamir
2009-11-01, 11:41 PM
I don't disagree with any of your points. I also don't think that they make it broken, but merely sub-optimal: there are better uses of the resources. That doesn't mean that epic spells can't be useful, merely that they're not the most useful option. You can accomplish things beyond the scope of relevant 9th level spells through the epic spell system: that's the goal for it.

Yes, there are better ways to reach that goal. But the system in question can still reach it. Thus sub-optimal, but not inherently broken.

They are not merely sub-optimal. They are so pathetically sub-optimal that they are unusable...

And it is only not broken if you completely ignore mitigation, which lets you abuse the system by mitigating everything to DC0. Nobody ever, EVER said that an unmitigated epic spell at 1 million GP and 40,000XP was "broken". The broken of the system comes from getting those same spells and more for free; and if you don't get them free they are "sub-optimal" to the point of being utterly useless.

Ozymandias9
2009-11-02, 09:17 AM
Ozy, your point would be better served if the route to access Epic Spells didn't go straight through one of the better options to 'non-OP epic spells' - 9th level casting.
Yes, the contrast in power balance is extreme. But if the only issue were that there is a more lucrative alternative, then I would have a hard time calling it broken.


They are not merely sub-optimal. They are so pathetically sub-optimal that they are unusable...
I could see using a 20k XP dump in combat once a campaign or so (though I like mechanical sacrifice: it can be used as a stepping stool for certain roleplaying directions). Are you really so attached to that level that you could never see losing it for some extra oomph?

Pretend for the moment that Imp Spell Capacity isn't there. Would you find it usable then? What about a table without metamagic reducers? Again, if it's something that you don't use because there are better routes to the goal, I really don't see that as broken.


And it is only not broken if you completely ignore mitigation, which lets you abuse the system by mitigating everything to DC0. Nobody ever, EVER said that an unmitigated epic spell at 1 million GP and 40,000XP was "broken". The broken of the system comes from getting those same spells and more for free; and if you don't get them free they are "sub-optimal" to the point of being utterly useless.

Then we're back to the earlier point: it's broken if you choose to break it. You don't have to abuse the mitigation system merely because they didn't protect itself therefrom. Though there will be disagreement on how much is appropriate, there will exist a point between 0 mitigation and total mitigation that is "unbroken."

Tyndmyr
2009-11-02, 09:40 AM
I certainly agree that it's sub-optimal, particularly with regards to WBL cost. Expanded spell capacity is almost always better (for combat anyways) untill you can reach about +100 to spellcraft check. But it can still be made functional and useful.

That 9th level equivalent can then have mitigation shoved on top of it. It would make an optimizer die a little inside when you cast it, but you could shove up to 20,000 XP burn and some backlash and you would be dealing some pretty significant damage (perhaps up to another 15 dice worth). More than you could get with the same use of Improved Spell Capacity in a single cast. You probably wouldn't cast it often (perhaps only on boss encounters), but it would be a pretty fantastic nova tool. Another option would be to burn that XP/backlash on quickening it-- something that would ordinarily require 3 epic feats without a metamagic reducer (this wouldn't actually cost all 20k XP unless you also pumped the damage).

No, these aren't as big of a boost as Imp Spell Capacity, which is a far more optimal choice at the levels most epic campaigns seem to reach. If, however, you play above the low 30s, it really takes off. And it's still functional below that if you want to get it off the ground earlier.

P.S.-- The 24 assumption is because you really shouldn't be looking at epic casting without Epic Skill Focus: Spellcraft. Though the non-druid epic progression gives you another feat at 23-- so if you're not using any epic prestige classes or druid, you could feasibly hit it a level earlier.

So, you burned three feats, two of which were epic, around a million gold, and a decent amount of development time in order to make a bit stronger meteor storm? Note that we're still comparing to a vanilla meteor storm, not a metamagiced/whatever meteorstorm a wizard 24 will undoubtably have. And, it's going to burn twenty THOUSAND xp per cast? Hopefully the BBEG doesn't have evasion. Or is able to counter. Or have a contingent ability to avoid the damage, or is immune to that energy type. The point is, at epic levels, you should expect your opponents to be sufficiently prepared that there is definitely no guarantee of your spell impacting if it allows a save. Now, allowing a save isn't always bad, you just need to weigh it.

Using such a spell is not just sub-optimal, it's more costly than some seriously hardcore item creation, the results of which should hopefully be somewhat less fleeting. That sort of xp burn will make you lag well behind your party if you bother to use it. XP burn isn't just something optimizers avoid...I've seen players of all skill levels look askance at spells that burn xp. In my experience, Optimizers are actually more likely to use them.

Note that you can't even cast it unless you happen to have 20k XP on hand without deleveling, which, even for epic, is pretty significant. Adding backlash limits the times you can cast it to times when you have that much xp AND have the health to survive the backlash. This makes it extremely situational in addition to being very costly.

Yes, by tacking on sufficient item optimization for it(more money wasted, yay) and adding a ridiculous amount of levels, it will eventually provide more than level 9 spells. So, once you've cleared the low 30's, it becomes useful? That's hardly reasonable. If someone simply chucked feats at improved spell capacity, they now have a ludicrous number of slots. Incidentally, epic spells remain static as 10th level spells, while you have no cap on the level of slots you can get by improving spell capacity.

Kaiyanwang
2009-11-02, 09:46 AM
Speaking from my experience, Epic Spellcasting is a beautiful, beautiful idea horribly developed.

I think that people here explained the fail of the math very well.

Nevertheless, I guess that the designer expected the users to work a lot with their DM, placing "ad hoc" adjustment by RAW and similar things. Maybe they assumed that players reached a sort of "maturity" when the campaign reaches Epic. This does not justify the lacking in math, of course. :smalltongue:

If the DM assumes reasonable backlash or XP spell components (DMG), you can use Epic Spellcasting in two way (at leat we did so).

- In combat superior effect: a full healing of an 1000 HP raging barbarian, super buffs, standard action mass ress, and so on.

- rituals. And not the UA incantations, but something able to summon an actual size comet, or allowing a bunch of druidic circles to animate the whole region. But you need a LOT of casters.

To blast, you have to be creative. The sorcerer used a many round form of blasting mixing Energy and Life (lightining dragon of sort).
Nevertheless, they managed to do this because of 6 casters, 3 were healers.

Prepare an action and heal the buddy that took the big backlash.

So, in conclusion, since the DM can say that "that spell does not work that way", and this is acceptable in such a free system like epic spellcasting, I'd say is broken, but mainly becuse seed scaling is poor developed.

Sliver
2009-11-02, 09:53 AM
I could see using a 20k XP dump in combat once a campaign or so (though I like mechanical sacrifice: it can be used as a stepping stool for certain roleplaying directions). Are you really so attached to that level that you could never see losing it for some extra oomph

You can pay enough XP for a spell to lose a level? I am not sure, but I know you can't really do it for items so...

Unless you are making more XP then you are spending, you will fall behind the rest of the party.. And it will make the sacrifice meaningless if you just do it as a finisher every time.. It is a minor setback anyway, not a true sacrifice..

hamishspence
2009-11-02, 09:53 AM
So, in conclusion, since the DM can say that "that spell does not work that way", and this is acceptable in such a free system like epic spellcasting, I'd say is broken, but mainly becuse seed scaling is poor developed.

Yup.

I do think that firm caps on mitigation, while not fixing it completely, would have avoided some of the bigger problems (mitigating down to 0 DC, for example)

On ritual incantation (D20 Modern Urban Arcana, and Unearthed Arcana) those two did put in some controlling factors.

But (especially the D20 modern version) they were geared for less high-powered settings)

And they don't allow for situations where the epic spell needs to be cast fast.

On the bright side, no XP and gold costs to research the D20 modern ones, either.

Xenogears
2009-11-02, 10:12 AM
Meh I think the best way to fix epic casting is to just scrap it. The wizard gets a bonus epic feat every 3 levels; replace those with improved spell capacity and the wizard/sorcerer can just use their regular feats to get the other good epic feats. If you want to then encourage the players to design 10+ lvl spells and just try to balance them against the rest of the party/the game.

Kaiyanwang
2009-11-02, 10:26 AM
See, ES can improve your campaign. In many ways:

- Can be really great to built stupendous magical places

- Can be a plot hook or a plot-changer

- Can be an explanation for things in the plot, even/exspecially if only in the hand of a powerful NPC (but the DM must SWEAR to regulate "DMPC syndrome" and similar things)

- Can be just useful for the party. Just Uberbuff your Epic fighter buddy, have him wield his artifacts and take down the xixecal.

vegetalss4
2009-11-02, 10:51 AM
now if we are talking theoretical optimizing with epic spell casting,
the most broken thing i have found is using the additional participant mitigating factor (as this is the only one without limit) on a very weak base spell. you are never ever going to cast this spell, however the dc will go so far into negative, that you end up having more levels in your casting class, than the combined hit dice of the rest of the world, and more than enough money to build a galaxy completely out of Rings of universal energy immunity (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/epic/magicItems/rings.htm#universalEnergyImmunity).
however if any Dm allows you to do this, you still lose, as one of the other players probably are making Pun-Pun

Optimystik
2009-11-02, 11:49 AM
I read the arguments (and the hilarious epic spells developed) in this thread, and have to say I come down on Tyndmyr and Sstoopid's side here. The system is unworkable as-is. Or rather, it is workable, but any number of spells pre-epic can do its job with sufficient metamagic and a lot less headache.

I love the flavor, I really do... but playtesting dropped the ball, big time.

I agree with hamish's fix (mitigation caps, no artificial/summoned contributors) making epic casting involving a city or nation possible without allowing chain-gating of solars.

Since the Epic mathematicians are in this thread, would someone mind statting out Familicide (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0639.html) and Cloister (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0484.html) from the comic for me? Keeping in mind that Cloister could have allowed a long casting time, but Familicide was at most a standard action.

taltamir
2009-11-02, 01:27 PM
what makes those spells better than a DM just saying. "ok I want a spell that does X... I think spell level 12 is appropriate"? nothing, since every spell already takes DM fiat and Ad Hoc adjustments to cost, combined with a stupid and bad system. DM having to painstakingly design each spell also means there are a few of them... so for most "stronger spells" you will be using metamagic + extra spell capacity.

Akal Saris
2009-11-02, 09:11 PM
Here's my take on Familicide, using my recent research on the ELH:

FAMILICIDE
Necromancy [Death], [Mind-Affecting]
Spellcraft DC: 381
Components: V, S
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range: See text
Target: One undead creature
Duration: Instantaneous
Saving Throw: Will negates, Fortitude partial or half (see text)
Spell Resistance: Yes
Behind the math used: 25 (Slay seed) + 19 (Reveal seed) = 44 + 20 (standard action cast) + specialist school (-5) + range from 12,000 feet to worldwide: +20 (ad-hoc, based on doubling range = +2), cast any spell through the sensor (+6), +additional targets (all family members: +8/family member (ad-hoc, based on additional target for the slay seed = +8) = +496 (based on 62 dragons & eggs shown in the comic), burn 20,000 experience per casting (-200)

Created by Haera Bloodsoak the Destroyer, a necromancer who casually ended lives with but a thought, the Familicide spell was developed by her to destroy anyone who ever slighted her, and then destroy that person's family to the next two generations. Familicide is a spell that drains incredible resources from a caster, but the results are pure evil. The spell targets a single undead creature.

If the creature fails a will save, all of its living family members are revealed to the caster. Lead sheeting or magical protection (such as mind blank, antimagic field, or the like) blocks the spell for that target, and you sense that the target was so blocked. For the purposes of this spell, a living family member is defined as a living creature which is either directly related to the target creature or one step further removed by blood ties to that creature. Each unblocked family member is then targeted by a powerful effect similar to that of Slay Living. Each creature makes its save separately. The spell kills a creature of up to 80HD. If it succeeds a Fortitude save, the creature instead takes 3d6+20 damage.

Experience cost: 20,000 experience.
Note: this spell is second only to Vengeful Gaze of God in terms of difficulty, but it is much, much cooler and evil. Take Haera's word for it.

AstralFire
2009-11-02, 09:25 PM
If Haera could make that check without mitigation, I'd be scared as **** about what Xykon could do. (I know she wasn't in V when he took on Xykon, but I doubt there'd be a 300+ DC difference between her and Jephthon or w/e his name was.)

Volkov
2009-11-02, 09:33 PM
If Haera could make that check without mitigation, I'd be scared as **** about what Xykon could do. (I know she wasn't in V when he took on Xykon, but I doubt there'd be a 300+ DC difference between her and Jephthon or w/e his name was.)

Xykon wouldn't need the Snarl. He wouldn't need an army. He could probably blow up the gods for fun if he wanted too.

Glimbur
2009-11-02, 09:34 PM
P.S.-- The 24 assumption is because you really shouldn't be looking at epic casting without Epic Skill Focus: Spellcraft. Though the non-druid epic progression gives you another feat at 23-- so if you're not using any epic prestige classes or druid, you could feasibly hit it a level earlier.

You may start taking levels in Epic Wizard, for example, after you have 20 levels in Wizard. Wizard 5/PrC A 10/ PrC B 5 has to take 15 more levels of regular wizard before starting Epic Wizard. This may affect some of your math, as many spellcasters choose PrC's over more levels in their base class.

taltamir
2009-11-02, 09:46 PM
1. the DC is insane, so would the costs to develop that spell
2. You have grossly under valued DC of the spell.
3. It still leaves a 381 DC check that she had to make, without ANY items... so her level must be in the 370+ range (actually, since V is the one who failed the concentration check when casting time stop and getting hit by the trap, that means HE is doing the checks... so that means it has to be a DC he can make... mitigate it to about DC20)
4. How many levels did V lose from those 20k XP?
5. So many ad hoc... could have just pulled a spell that does that out of my arse and do a better job than the epic hand book. (and with multiple ad hoc rulings that is exactly what you are doing)

bottom line... terrible spell. order of the stick obviously DOES NOT not the epic handbook spell.

Akal Saris
2009-11-02, 10:15 PM
1. the DC is insane, so would the costs to develop that spell
2. You have grossly under valued DC of the spell.
3. It still leaves a 381 DC check that she had to make, without ANY items... so her level must be in the 370+ range
4. How many levels did V lose from those 20k XP?
5. So many ad hoc... could have just pulled a spell that does that out of my arse and do a better job than the epic hand book. (and with multiple ad hoc rulings that is exactly what you are doing)

bottom line... terrible spell. order of the stick obviously DOES NOT not the epic handbook spell.

1. Fully agreed - no sane caster (such as a PC) would ever waste the resources to develop the spell. And I seriously doubt Rich thought of Haera as a 200th+ level caster.
2. You follow the rules and try to replicate it better then. This spell is probably roughly on par with Vengeful Gaze of God, considering that it sets you back a level each time you cast it, grants two saves to prevent its effects, and can be blocked by living in a lead house or Mind Blank (or a separate plane). Like Vengeful Gaze, it completely slaughters low-levels, but has no real effect on anything you'll be fighting at epic level.
3. Agreed, she's almost certainly at least 300th level.
4. None, since that wasn't part of the contract. Think of it as a granted SLA. Or hey, maybe V lost a level. What do I know?
5. Hey, there's only 2 ad-hoc rulings there - hardly "so many." I don't fault WoTC for not including a DC increase for a worldwide effect, and that's the only major ad-hoc judgment, since the other was relatively clear-cut, but I labeled it as ad-hoc to be safe.

I don't think Rich so much as glanced at the ELH when he came up with the spell - he probably thought: what's something V could do that's poetic justice and incredibly evil? Which is really the right approach to a story in my view - it would have been much less interesting and evil if V's big epic spell only killed 2 of the dragon's closest children, for example, and required her to cast it along with ten mid-level apprentices and took 14 days. Which is probably what a DC 50 version of the spell would look like.

Obviously you can just pull a spell out of your arse and mimic the effects from the comic better than the example I made, but that's exactly what Rich did to make the spell in the first place, so what exactly does that prove? I was trying to stat out something that isn't based on stats, like trying to give D&D stats to Superman or something. Cut me some slack here :P

The ELH fails to duplicate this effect for a reasonably leveled epic caster (levels 20-40, for example), but really, the spell out of the comic is completely out of line with any spell effect in D&D, far and above what Wish can do. I don't think even a god in any of the published settings could manage this sort of power. So it's not really the ELH's fault that it can't pull off anything resembling what we see in the comic until it's so powerful that it hardly matters.

(Edited to add a bit more)

taltamir
2009-11-02, 11:27 PM
if your caster is that insane you do not reach level 300... also.. you seriously think her to be level 300?
The ad hoc additions were way too low.
The various methods of evading it... well if they existed then it wouldn't have eradicated her family, it would have just made him many many powerful enemies who lost family members to him and survived. And she presumably used the spell before and he knows about its results.

Sstoopidtallkid
2009-11-03, 01:41 AM
if your caster is that insane you do not reach level 300... also.. you seriously think her to be level 300?No, and he points that out. That's one of the many issues with Epic spells, the cool stuff is unusable.
The ad hoc additions were way too low.The distance one gave you 1/10th of the Equator, which is pretty large. The actual equator would be DC 26-28 instead of 20. Anywhere in the world is within that range, assuming the D&D world isn't smaller than ours(which many settings are).

The other one is just applying the "additional target" modifier several times, which seems reasonable.

Starbuck_II
2009-11-03, 10:21 AM
+496 (based on 62 dragons & eggs shown in the comic), burn 20,000 experience per casting (-200)


Someone needs to go back to recheck this math... 496-200 is more than likely 296.
I'm pretty sure it isn't 396.
So not as hard as you posted, but still very hard.

We don't know that V and the other splices didn't sacrifice spell slots: there was 4 casters there.
So, hypothetically , they each gave up 4th level spells: that would be 20 or more spells: lowering DC by -7 each= 140 mitigation.

DC is now 159.
Haera is easily level 50. You can craft many permanent + spellcraft spells to get last points.

Akal Saris
2009-11-03, 05:55 PM
taltamir:
I actually expect a large number of epic spellcasters to be insane. Look at Halastar from FR - he's paranoid and insane as can be. Even the sane ones probably work on such a different level of understanding (Hmm, do I want to raise another island today, or finally get around to calculating the income taxes for my personal demiplane? Oh, who am I kidding - I don't pay taxes!) that they might appear to be insane to most of the world.

I don't think Haera is supposed to be 300th level in the story, but that's what it would take to pull off that kind of effect without more mitigations - if Starbuck's theory that the others might have contributed spell slots is valid (and given that the other personalities were cheering Haera on, it's possible from a rules point, though again I'm sure Rich wasn't thinking of that), then that could lower it another 38-51 points or so.

Also, I suspect that the spell did make V quite a few enemies. The spouses of 1/4 of the black dragons in the world, as well as all of their minions and powerful allies. And yes, it's even possible that some of the family members evaded the spell somehow, and V just doesn't realize it yet. You're absolutely nuts if you don't think that V's actions will come back to bite her in the ass sometime down the road.

Sstoopidtallkid:
Yep, basically.

Starbuck II:
The end DC I came up with after adding everything together was 381 (it's near the top of the spell description), but of course it's all theoretical. Sstoopidtallkid points out that another +10 DC for the range wouldn't be out of hand, for example, and neither would be the idea that the spell leeched slots from V and the other 2 souls.

Optimystik:
Dost thou see what madness thine question hath wrought?