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Hawk7915
2010-04-14, 05:26 PM
And if there's a full caster in the party who took Epic Spellcasting at level 21, well. The PCs win. End of story.

Saw this in another thread. I understand how, in terms of theoretical optimization, this is true. You chain-gate solars or use backlash (or both!) to get the spellcraft DC low enough to cast a spell that remakes existence/kills all gods/turns you into pun-pun, and win the game forever.

I was just curious, how many people actually do this in game.As in, their DM lets the game go to 21, and the epic spellcaster...

1) Has the 225,000 gold pieces laying around to do even a fairly low DC spell (and let's face it, all of them are low dc with your chain-gate army, right?)
2) Has the time (days) to do it without the major plot (Asmodeus at the gates) ruining everything.
3) Has managed to clear the major hurdle. . .


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

Runestar
2010-04-14, 05:44 PM
Most people try to reduce the epic spell's final DC to 0 (or as close to it as possible) through the use of mitigating factors, so developing a new spell costs 4500gp each. This is why said system tends to favour long-casting time, long duration buffs rather than in-combat attack spells.

Even extending its casting time to 10 minutes is sufficient to reduce the DC by 18. This is a luxury combat spells can never enjoy.

For example, take epic mage armour (dc46). Increasing its casting time to 10 minutes lowers the DC to 28. Get a cleric to donate a slot to decrease it even further. Extend to duration to a few days so you only need to recast it 2-3 times a week (letting you stagger your buffs and keep more up than your epic slots would otherwise allow).

And this is just what "balanced" epic spellcasting is supposed to look like. :smalltongue:

Aron Times
2010-04-14, 05:44 PM
Epic spellcasting is problematic in that it is either awesome or useless. It is extremely difficult to craft a balanced epic spell. Either the DM is too lax and the spell becomes overpowered, or he's too strict and the spell becomes useless.

It has a similar problem to the wizard's spellbook. Basically, the wizard is tier 1 only if the DM doesn't target his spellbook. Regularly targeting his spellbook drops his tier so much that he becomes useless. There is no middle ground.

Touchy
2010-04-14, 05:46 PM
Epic spellcasting is problematic in that it is either awesome or useless. It is extremely difficult to craft a balanced epic spell. Either the DM is too lax and the spell becomes overpowered, or he's too strict and the spell becomes useless.

It has a similar problem to the wizard's spellbook. Basically, the wizard is tier 1 only if the DM doesn't target his spellbook. Regularly targeting his spellbook drops his tier so much that he becomes useless. There is no middle ground.

Spell mastery. That atleast raises him a tier above useless.

Runestar
2010-04-14, 05:48 PM
Spell mastery. That atleast raises him a tier above useless.

Or eidetic spellcaster variant from dragon. Does away with the need for a spellbook altogether. :smallcool:

Myou
2010-04-14, 05:53 PM
The problem isn't infinite power from broken spells, you can be all powerful from level 1, the problem is that used without infinite loops and other rule abouse epic spells don't work.

Look at the example spells in the epic level handbook - they're worthless, and have ridiculous DCs too. None of the ones you could actually hope to cast are anywhere near the power of ninth level spells - and ninth level spells don't require hundreds of thousands of xp and millions of gp. Or require custom +100 spellcraft items just to be able to cast your own spells.

tyckspoon
2010-04-14, 06:11 PM
If you're going to be abusing Ritual casting bonuses (which is what the chain-gate army of spellcasting monsters is for) then your DCs are 0, which solves your time and money problems; it costs nothing and only takes 1 day because that's the lowest possible time.

If you're not going to do that, the important thing is to pick the efficient seeds to work with. This means you are *not* going to be making an Epic offensive spell except for perhaps an Epic Dispel; the Spellcraft modifiers needed to make them at all practical to cast are absurd. You will be making Epic buffs- the Fortify and Armor seeds are quite handy. Here's what you can do with just what you might expect a new 21st-level party to have available:

Ritual casters: 1 9th level (your party caster arcane/divine counterpart)
4 4th level (Summon Monster IX for Couatls)
-45 mitigation available without any other effects, like XP burn or backlash damage.

Seed: Armor
Base cost: 14 (current DC: -34)
Range: Area, 20 ft radius(we want this to be a party buff, so make it an Area spell from its original Touch. Touch=>Target=>Area is +14. Current DC:-20).
Duration: 1 week (Duration +100% applied 6 times. +12 DC. Current DC: -8.)

Effect: +15 Natural Armor for a week to the entire party. (+11 bonus over base value. +22 DC. End DC: 14.) Costs 126,000 GP, 3 days to develop, and 5040 XP, which is a relatively trivial cost by Epic standards. Done with no resources outside of what the party can recover by simply resting for a day. That's the kind of thing you should be looking at as practical Epic magic.

Runestar
2010-04-14, 06:57 PM
The problem isn't infinite power from broken spells, you can be all powerful from level 1, the problem is that used without infinite loops and other rule abouse epic spells don't work.

I beg to differ. Though I concede the instances of epic spells actually being balanced for their cost are few and far in between.

For example, I could use the fortify seed to research an epic spell which grants +16 enhancement bonus to a stat for 1 day at DC29. That is possibly one of the more reasonable uses for said spell. :smalleek:

Optimystik
2010-04-14, 07:45 PM
I beg to differ. Though I concede the instances of epic spells actually being balanced for their cost are few and far in between.

For example, I could use the fortify seed to research an epic spell which grants +16 enhancement bonus to a stat for 1 day at DC29. That is possibly one of the more reasonable uses for said spell. :smalleek:

What mitigation are you using? My reading of the Fortify seed is that it grants +1 enhancement at DC 17, and +6 DC for every additional +1 bonus. You would only get +3 at DC 29.

Starbuck_II
2010-04-14, 07:49 PM
What mitigation are you using? My reading of the Fortify seed is that it grants +1 enhancement at DC 17, and +6 DC for every additional +1 bonus. You would only get +3 at DC 29.
I think this bears repeating:
Ritual casters: 1 9th level (your party caster arcane/divine counterpart)
4 4th level (Summon Monster IX for Couatls)
-45 mitigation available without any other effects, like XP burn or backlash damage.

tyckspoon
2010-04-14, 07:53 PM
What mitigation are you using? My reading of the Fortify seed is that it grants +1 enhancement at DC 17, and +6 DC for every additional +1 bonus. You would only get +3 at DC 29.

It's only +2/point for Enhancement bonuses. The +6 scaling is for exotic bonus types, and also carries a higher base Spellcraft cost. It's one of those bad options that's not really worth using unless you can cheese it into a free permanent spell (in which case you now have +5 Sacred/Insight/Luck/Competence/whatever to all of your stats.)

Runestar
2010-04-14, 07:54 PM
What mitigation are you using? My reading of the Fortify seed is that it grants +1 enhancement at DC 17, and +6 DC for every additional +1 bonus. You would only get +3 at DC 29.

+6 is for non-enhancement bonus. It is just +2DC for every +1 exhancement bonus. +30dc for an extra +15, for 47. -18 to increase casting time to 10 minutes decreases the DC to 29. Of course, if you can get a caster to donate a 8th and 7th lv slot, it becomes 0 DC.

Most common is for a spellcasting to nab +16 enhancement bonus to int or cha, but choosing con and having the spell affect the entire party is also very viable with the ritual caster option. :smallsmile:

SilverStar
2010-04-15, 08:30 AM
Saw this in another thread. I understand how, in terms of theoretical optimization, this is true. You chain-gate solars or use backlash (or both!) to get the spellcraft DC low enough to cast a spell that remakes existence/kills all gods/turns you into pun-pun, and win the game forever.

I was just curious, how many people actually do this in game.As in, their DM lets the game go to 21, and the epic spellcaster...

1) Has the 225,000 gold pieces laying around to do even a fairly low DC spell (and let's face it, all of them are low dc with your chain-gate army, right?)
2) Has the time (days) to do it without the major plot (Asmodeus at the gates) ruining everything.
3) Has managed to clear the major hurdle. . .

My group only allows ritual casting to reduce Spellcraft check DCs to single digits (we have a minimum of 1) for spells that really don't affect anything, such as wards for various strongholds, the spell that made the city float, etc etc etc.

Any other usage of pure Cheddar is disallowed.

Note that the time constraints are easily gotten around, because of a demiplane with a weird time trait... but you still gotta PAY for it. :smallbiggrin:

Kaiyanwang
2010-04-15, 08:51 AM
I allowed it in my epic campaign and worked quite well. Players had power components for XP though, if they had to cast a combat super spell (megabuff to one stat, mass resurrection on 5 party members and so on).

Otherwise, they used it for rituals (rise a castle in the air, call a comet on a enemy main city).

Of course, I managed to help them dropping specific XP power components, but the spell were checked by myself (DM) before being allowed (as everything) andeverything worked fine.

Actually, I think that this damn game works fine if people are nice and don't try to ruin the fun of other people using loopholes.

SilverStar
2010-04-15, 08:55 AM
Actually, I think that this damn game works fine if people are nice and don't try to ruin the fun of other people using loopholes.

This.

Powerful is good.

Broken into a billion pieces? Not so much.

You can keep the game going into very high levels if you just keep that in mind.

eepop
2010-04-15, 01:07 PM
We only ever had one person actually take Epic Spellcasting. She was a Lawful (neutral tending evil) cleric who created a new creature and created a super army of them for herself.

EdroGrimshell
2010-04-15, 03:19 PM
What about recreating the system, make it more appealing to take without letting it get out of hand.

arguskos
2010-04-15, 03:21 PM
What about recreating the system, make it more appealing to take without letting it get out of hand.
I've played with the idea, but found that it's crazily hard to do successfully and still let player's have the freedom that Epic Spellcasting advertises. I've never seen a replacement system that even halfway worked, much less was really good. Not saying it can't be done, but I think it's more work than I care to deal with.

Haven
2010-04-15, 03:24 PM
DM approval? Plot? What are you talking about, those things have no place in any discussion of D&D on the internet ever.

Runestar
2010-04-15, 04:28 PM
What about recreating the system, make it more appealing to take without letting it get out of hand.

You will realise that it is nigh impossible to balance a skill-check based system. Epic spellcasting and truenaming being 2 opposite ends of the spectrum. :smallbiggrin:

Divide by Zero
2010-04-15, 04:49 PM
If you are planning on casting a particular spell no more than 3 times (especially permanent spells you'll only use once - transform seed and similar), it is strictly better to use as much XP mitigation as possible, until you get to either DC 0 or 20,000 XP (after using the other mitigations, like time and spell slots, first of course). Each 100 XP burned decreases the DC by 1, which decreases the research cost by 9,000 gp and 360 XP. So not only do you save money, but you save XP until the fourth casting.

Personally, I usually just use it for buffs, the easiest being Fortify for stat bonuses. 11-minute casting time, at least one other 9th level spell if you have a standard party, and if you can afford a Rod of Excellent Magic, add in a 2,000 XP cost (which also makes the above math even more one-sided), for -57 DC right off the bat.

The Tygre
2010-04-15, 05:39 PM
Wait a second, wait a second... Are you talking about Epic... anything, in game? Actually restraining yourself and being practical for the story's sake? Adhering to storytelling elements and -flavor-?

...

Who are you?! Who sent you?! I told DiceFreaks I left! I don't know where the Darkwinds' hearts are!

PhoenixRivers
2010-04-16, 12:35 AM
Or you can use a thought bottle to offset XP costs from epic spells.

Divide by Zero
2010-04-16, 12:53 AM
Or you can use a thought bottle to offset XP costs from epic spells.

Any DM who allows that deserves to have their campaign broken.

Zeful
2010-04-16, 01:23 AM
Any DM who allows that deserves to have their campaign broken.

That can be said of a lot of things in 3.5.

Munchkin-Masher
2010-04-16, 01:34 AM
DM approval? Plot? What are you talking about, those things have no place in any discussion of D&D on the internet ever.

http://media.comicvine.com/uploads/2/27874/600107-oh_you_super.jpg

PhoenixRivers
2010-04-16, 01:44 AM
I've used thought bottles like batteries before. 5% of any experience you earn accumulates in the bottle as long as you have it on you. The thought bottle can offset losses up to whatever it has stored (losing it in the process). Multiples don't function.

SilverStar
2010-04-16, 06:51 AM
I've used thought bottles like batteries before. 5% of any experience you earn accumulates in the bottle as long as you have it on you. The thought bottle can offset losses up to whatever it has stored (losing it in the process). Multiples don't function.

That's not so terrible an idea.

PhoenixRivers
2010-04-16, 07:32 AM
That's not so terrible an idea.

Yeah, you don't pay the "storage" cost, in that case. It's just a battery that can be expended to cover losses, whether they be from crafting, level loss, spellcasting, or what have you. So you earn 20,000xp, 1000xp gets stored. Say you're a strapping young 8th level character now, and get level drained.

You go from 28,000 xp to 24,500, and burn 1000 xp out of the bottle to get to 25,500.

Obviously, you can make stronger versions (though I recommend against making it more than 10%, just because it's abusable as a craft reserve, ESPECIALLY with Artificers).

Optimystik
2010-04-16, 07:48 AM
http://media.comicvine.com/uploads/2/27874/600107-oh_you_super.jpg

http://knowyourmeme.com/i/2458/original/o_u.jpg?1242688302

Runestar
2010-04-16, 09:26 PM
Here is a list of cheaper epic spells whose effects I feel are still fairly balanced for lower epic gameplay. Perhaps they could serve as guidelines regarding what is deemed acceptable?

http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/18832902/Epic_spell_compendium_1:_Discount_Epic_Emporium

Doc Roc
2010-04-16, 09:33 PM
Ye olde summary: (http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2008/5/26/)

Pretty much how I feel about the entire epic system, and in fact seed casting in general. I know i'm supposed to be helpful, but I think you'll be happier if you either stay away, or use a completely different implementation.

arguskos
2010-04-16, 10:01 PM
Ye olde summary: (http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2008/5/26/)

Pretty much how I feel about the entire epic system, and in fact seed casting in general. I know i'm supposed to be helpful, but I think you'll be happier if you either stay away, or use a completely different implementation.
That is the absolute best use of that comic I've ever seen. :smallamused:

Have a plate of cookies and a milktini:
http://i170.photobucket.com/albums/u250/bloodydoves/cookies_and_milk_martini_compressed.jpg