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Thurbane
2010-10-28, 08:35 PM
So, what low-level spells do people consider to be the most broken/overpowered, up to and including 3rd level? I know Shivering Touch is a favorite, but what others lurk out there?

Aron Times
2010-10-28, 08:41 PM
Charm Person, Sleep, Color Spray, Power Word: Pain, Glitterdust, Silent Image, Minor Image, Major Image, Grease... That's what I can name off the top of my head

My level 3 sorcerer's entire level 1 spell repertoire contains broken spells: Grease, Sleep, and Power Word: Pain.

GoodbyeSoberDay
2010-10-28, 08:41 PM
If you happen to count as an outsider (or some other non-humanoid), Alter Self breaks.

Quietus
2010-10-28, 09:12 PM
Knock, for taking the Rogue's role.

Rope Trick for enabling the 15-minute adventuring day.

senrath
2010-10-28, 09:15 PM
If your only job as a Rogue was to pick locks, you were a very poor Rogue.

Foryn Gilnith
2010-10-28, 09:18 PM
If your only job as a Rogue was to pick locks, you were a very poor Rogue.

Hell, Shape Soulmeld (Dissolving Spittle) lets most anyone get through locks without too much fuss. Either that or an Adamantine Arrow.

Jack_Simth
2010-10-28, 09:24 PM
Knock, for taking the Rogue's role.

Rope Trick for enabling the 15-minute adventuring day.
Yes... but that doesn't do so until it's either Extended (3rd level spell, 10+ hour duration) or you're at least 9th (2nd level spell, 9+ hour duration - after all, you need a turn or two to climb in, and you'll want at least a little time to study your spells).

A spell is broken when it starts interfering with the fun of someone at the table (DM included). Most of the low-level save-or-lose spells can fit that description easily (Grease, Sleep, Color Spray, Glitterdust, Web, et cetera)... but it depends on the group.

faceroll
2010-10-28, 09:27 PM
There's one from Book of Exalted Deeds: +5 AC, -4 penalty on attacks for anyone attacking you in melee. 2nd or 3rd level spell, costs 1d3 str to cast. Usable on any touched good creature.

Especially heinous when used on an animal companion. Great for rangers and paladins.


Knock, for taking the Rogue's role.

Doesn't help with traps.


Rope Trick for enabling the 15-minute adventuring day.

Only by level 9, or with investment in a way to get it extended at level 5.

ArcanistSupreme
2010-10-28, 09:40 PM
There's one from Book of Exalted Deeds: +5 AC, -4 penalty on attacks for anyone attacking you in melee. 2nd or 3rd level spell, costs 1d3 str to cast. Usable on any touched good creature.

Especially heinous when used on an animal companion. Great for rangers and paladins.

Luminous armor is the name of this. It's ridiculous on druids too, especially once they get wildshape. Blinding spittle (SpC?) is pretty bonkers.

qcbtnsrm
2010-10-28, 09:44 PM
If you happen to count as an outsider (or some other non-humanoid), Alter Self breaks.

Even without that. A single spell that grants any one of the following at a time all at 10 min./level? It is already broken.
Fly 50' - from Avarial
Swim 60' - from Locathah
Burrow 20' - from Asabi
Run 60' (+ Run feat) - from Varag
+8 Natural Armor - from Crucian
2xclaw (1d4), 1xbite (1d4) (+ Multiattack feat) - from Tren
+15 to Hide - from Skulk
+2 to +8 to dozens of skills - from dozens of races.
Various feats - again from dozens of races.
Plus it is also great for disguises.

So you get Fly, Expeditious Retreat, a vastly superior Barkskin, and dozens of other spells for the cost of one? That's broken. And if you have a familiar, you can Alter it to other Magical Beasts via Share Spells. Now you can give your pet rat 60' fly. There is absolutely no reason any arcane caster, who can get it, should not have this known and if necessary prepped every morning.

faceroll
2010-10-28, 09:44 PM
Venomfire is nasty. What's that one spell from Races of the Dragon that you can cast immediately and interrupt someone's action? Wings of Cover?

Dusk Eclipse
2010-10-28, 09:47 PM
Summon Mirror Mephit (found in City of the spider queen IIRC) starting wish loops at level 3 (or 1 with precocious apprentice)

Godless_Paladin
2010-10-28, 09:50 PM
Knock, for taking the Rogue's role.

The Rogue's role? Pffft, Rogues could never open doors with Open Lock anyways, thanks to Arcane Lock, which is conspicuously not mentioned (nevermind that a cheap mundane lock has an open DC of 40, meaning you need a +20 to open it really slowly). Opening doors was always for the guy with the Knock wand (sometimes the Rogue) or enough damage to break the door down (such as anyone with an adamantine weapon or Power Attack).

Where did people ever get the idea that opening doors was the Rogue's role?
I think it's like people thinking that healing is the Cleric's role. Just another preconceived notion brought in from other systems.

Lev
2010-10-28, 09:55 PM
Magic Missile
Ridiculous damage, usually nothing can stop it.

Clairvoyance
No surprises.

Psyren
2010-10-28, 10:01 PM
Hell, Shape Soulmeld (Dissolving Spittle) lets most anyone get through locks without too much fuss. Either that or an Adamantine Arrow.

Also Baleful Utterance, and that one can handle many traps too.

Yahzi
2010-10-28, 10:05 PM
So, what low-level spells do people consider to be the most broken/overpowered,
Entangle.

If you only play in dungeons, you have no idea just how overpoweringly awesome Entangle is.

In outdoor encounters it dominates. Seriously, my players would rather have Entangle than Fireball.

Psyren
2010-10-28, 10:09 PM
Venomfire is nasty. What's that one spell from Races of the Dragon that you can cast immediately and interrupt someone's action? Wings of Cover?

WoC doesn't interrupt actions, it immediately blocks line of effect to you with wings made of force. That will cause a number of spells to fizzle/fail to effect you, however (including the mighty Disjunction.)

JaronK
2010-10-28, 10:40 PM
Summon Mirror Mephit (EtDP) has to be the single most broken spell at these levels. A 2nd level spell that gives you free Simacrulum is insane... just duplicate yourself once per second level spell slot. Sure, it's only a half level version of yourself, but as long as you tell the Mirror Mephit to instruct the new demi-you to follow your instructions before it disappears, you're good to go.

Other gems include Alter Self (even an humanoid can get +8 Natural AC via a Crucian, 10' Burrow Speed via an Earth Mephling, 10' perfect fly speed via an Air Mephling, etc), Glitterdust, Shrink Item, Wings of Cover, Venomfire, Grease, and Explosive Runes.

JaronK

Endarire
2010-10-29, 12:31 AM
Summon mirror mephit is near the back of Expedition to the Demonweb Pits. Getting a loyal simulacrum army for a buncha L2 slots is much.

Godless_Paladin
2010-10-29, 12:32 AM
Magic Missile
Ridiculous damage, usually nothing can stop it.

1d4+1 is ridiculous? And it's stopped by a level 1 spell.

Zertryx
2010-10-29, 12:54 AM
1d4+1 is ridiculous? And it's stopped by a level 1 spell.

Does that mean Shield is broken to? since it stops a Broken spell? XD

JaronK
2010-10-29, 01:16 AM
If Magic Missile is broken, Orc Barbarians must be the most broken thing ever. Give them a Glaive and a base 16 into Str and then watch them use Whirling Frenzy to Rage and they're doing 1d10+10 damage with a +6 to hit, which is almost certain to hit with both of your two attacks. And that's at level 1!

JaronK

Foryn Gilnith
2010-10-29, 01:18 AM
+6 to hit, which is almost certain to hit with both of your two attacks.

You've an odd definition of "almost certain", friend.

Susano-wo
2010-10-29, 01:23 AM
cheap mundane locks are DC 20. it takes 80gp to et a dc 40 mundane lock. Probably most of the locks in dungeons are going to be the DC 20 version, I bet.
Just because others usurp the rogues 'role,' does not mean that opening locks is not a big part of his standard niche.

@Joseph: charm person? really? you realize that it doesn't make them actually do anything, right? just makes them friendly toward you? And it breaks if you or your allies do something that threatens them?

Lev
2010-10-29, 01:23 AM
1d4+1 is ridiculous? And it's stopped by a level 1 spell.
Max-Twin-EasyMeta-Fell

Boci
2010-10-29, 01:27 AM
Max-Twin-EasyMeta-Fell

So 10 damage and 2 negative energy levels to 5 targets for a 7th level spell (assuming three easy metamagics and no access to shield). Try entangling fell draining evard's black tencacles as a 6th level spell. Throw in fell weaken and/or solid fog if you want to.

Godless_Paladin
2010-10-29, 01:46 AM
cheap mundane locks are DC 20. it takes 80gp to et a dc 40 mundane lock. And 80gp strikes you as expensive for a guy who keeps 8000gp swords in boxes scattered around his living space? And I suppose no door is ever Arcane Locked, or not opened by a keyhole to begin with?

As far as breaking and entering abilities go, Open Lock is, at best, very situational (hardly a defining niche power). Even Knock requires you to go through doors. Other breaking and entering abilities are not quite that picky.

Open Lock exists for one primary purpose: Getting through an amazing lock in an antimagic field quietly. And Knock doesn't obviate that.


Probably most of the locks in dungeons are going to be the DC 20 version, I bet.
Just because others usurp the rogues 'role,' does not mean that opening locks is not a big part of his standard niche. The fact that Open Lock was never a good ability for making pathways through dungeons to begin with (and indeed, that the Rogue himself has better breaking and entering abilities than Open Lock) actually does mean that it's not a big part of his standard niche.

Susano-wo
2010-10-29, 01:55 AM
I would agree that the DC's for open lock are stupid. However, when considering the price of locks consider two things.
The dungeon builder has to also contend with building the whole rest of the dungeon. He or she or it also might not be the one who put the sword there
Not all dungeon builders are spellcasters, or necessarily employ them.


(also, but the time you get to +3 swords we are talking reasonably high levels, at least 8th, where the rogue who is open locks focused will have at least +18(5dex,max ranks,MW tools). by 10th, he will be able to open it on a take 20)

But that's all irrelevant. Semantics aside, part of the rogues intended role is opening locks. Open lock and Arcane lock can take this away, if a wizard has has a mind to. Whether the game mechanics make it hard for him to do this in other ways is not really important to the question of if a spell is 'broken'

Godless_Paladin
2010-10-29, 02:01 AM
Ah, an argument about intent now. I suppose you have a source for this?

Also, opening mundane locks doesn't strike you as a pretty narrow utility in a world like D&D?

I mean really, there's no reason for the dragon to make his lair have a keyhole. This isn't an apartment complex, it's a world full of superpowered monsters. That means you can just keep little 'umies out with things like "heavy gates" because you're in the land of the giants. And it gets worse from there... just look at some superhero comics and their ideas for special access to lairs.

And yet you say this steals the "defining exclusive role" for the Rogue? What about the breaking and entering abilities that are better than Knock that people get, like just walking through walls? Or just making the wall disappear? Heck, a Fighter can just hit the lock and it'll fall into a bunch of little pieces.

Kaww
2010-10-29, 02:04 AM
My votes go to Alter self and Touch of idiocy.
An incredible buff and a battle ender for combats vs some elementals, most magical beasts and all animals. At the time when you get it you should be able to drop most opponents with a single touch attack...
If sleep didn't have a cap in HD it would be my first choice...

Susano-wo
2010-10-29, 02:09 AM
pppppaaaaaaaarrrrt ooooooooffffff:smallannoyed:

generally their niche is/has been being acrobatic, sneaking, back stabbing and opening locks/disabling traps. Not that I think you have to do that if you are a rogue, but that has typically been their 'role.'

Foryn Gilnith
2010-10-29, 02:21 AM
Ah, an argument about intent now. I suppose you have a source for this?
Most D&D books? Lockpicking isn't a good niche for rogues, the way healing isn't a good niche for clerics, but I'm a bit amazed that you can deny Wizards of the Coast intended those niches to exist.

Godless_Paladin
2010-10-29, 02:22 AM
but I'm a bit amazed that you can deny Wizards of the Coast intended those niches to exist.

Straw man argument much?

I never said that the Rogue wasn't intended to be able to Open Locks or that the Cleric wasn't intended to be able to heal. Indeed, a Cleric totally can heal, and the Rogue can totally bypass doors (and arcane locks, too).

I instead questioned the idea that having Open Lock as a class skill was the Rogue's defining role and that if anyone else could bypass a door by any method more efficient than Open Lock the game would break. Which would be like being opposed to the idea that the Cleric would break down in tears if someone else was capable of using the cure wand (the Rogue can, for example).

Is the Fighter broken because he can get through an amazing lock more easily than the Rogue?

Foryn Gilnith
2010-10-29, 02:27 AM
I'm just saying that the difference between our D&D experiences surprises me. I've always understood that Wizards of the Coast intended a lockpicking rogue, a healbot cleric, and a blaster wizard. I don't have a specific instance to point to; I'm just saying that's the dominant vibe I've gotten from my experience with D&D. Designer intent doesn't mean diddly-squat, given how the actual rules (and actual gameplay) head in an entirely different direction, but I'd never think to even question that lockpicking as a primarily/exclusively rogue skill was the designers' intent.


I instead questioned the idea that having Open Lock as a class skill was the Rogue's defining role and that if anyone else could bypass a door by any method more efficient than Open Lock the game would break.
That's fine, but IMO the designers felt that Open Lock was a defining role for the Rogue.

Godless_Paladin
2010-10-29, 02:31 AM
That's fine, but IMO the designers felt that Open Lock was a defining role for the Rogue.

If breaking and entering was intended to be the sole, exclusive, protected, hallowed domain of Rogues, I can't imagine that they would have made spells like Passwall. Seeing as the entire purpose of Passwall is to... pass walls. You know, like picking locks is.


I don't have a specific instance to point to

That's fine, but IMO the designers felt that Open Lock was a defining role for the Rogue.

I'm not going to get into an argument about designer intent. I just find it irksome when people assume that whatever they think was the designer's intent and then use the designer's intent as an argument.

If the designers were really thinking that only Rogues should ever, ever be able to get through doors, what do you imagine went through the writer's head when he was writing Knock? Or any of the other breaking and entering magic abilities?

I mean, look, I don't think the designers were perfect or anything (far from it), but I think they had enough presence of mind to realize that if they actually wanted role exclusivity for the Rogue class in terms of opening doors, they wouldn't have written spells like Knock or Passwall. I don't care how poor your opinion of the designers may be, you can't write the Knock spell and not intend for Wizards to be able to open locks.

JaronK
2010-10-29, 02:31 AM
You've an odd definition of "almost certain", friend.

AC for CR 1 things is often around 10-11. Hitting on a 4+ or so on a d20 roll is almost certain to me.

Oh, and I forgot Ray of Stupidity, otherwise known as "all animals are non threats."

JaronK

Amiel
2010-10-29, 02:34 AM
Bards have glibness; a thoroughly advantageous spell.
Bestow curse is pretty horrible, and undetectable alignment pretty much guarantees the uselessness of a detect alignment spell.
Summon nature's ally III essentially summons another 3rd level fighter (the summoned creature may be better at the fighter role than the fighter).

Foryn Gilnith
2010-10-29, 02:40 AM
If breaking and entering was intended to be the sole, exclusive, protected, hallowed domain of Rogues, I can't imagine that they would have made spells like Passwall.

I don't find the existence of Passwall more stupefying than the existence of Cure Moderate Wounds potions. Wizards of the Coast is not known for its success in meeting all of its design goals. I can believe that B&E was intended to be the protected and hallowed domain of rogues and that the existence of adamantine, Passwall, Knock, and similar things is just a colossal design fumble. Most early published adventures did't take the realities of the system into account; it's not unbelievable that WotC just didn't realize for a while what sort of game they had made.

Godless_Paladin
2010-10-29, 02:44 AM
I don't find the existence of Passwall more stupefying than the existence of Cure Moderate Wounds potions. And CMW potions are stupefying because...?


I can believe that B&E was intended to be the protected and hallowed domain of rogues and that the existence of adamantine, Passwall, Knock, and similar things is just a colossal design fumble.

That's pretty impressive cynicism there. So you're telling me that someone, thinking that no one should be able to bypass locks except Rogues, wrote a spell that is entirely about bypassing locks as something that is not a Rogue. Hmmm.

Anyways, I find discussions of intent meaningless anyways, especially when people are assuming the intent rather than actually pointing to something the designers said.

Boci
2010-10-29, 02:46 AM
That's pretty impressive cynicism there. So you're telling me that someone, thinking that no one should be able to bypass locks except Rogues, wrote a spell that is entirely about bypassing locks as something that is not a Rogue. Hmmm.

Knock could have been made as a back up for when there's no rogue in the party, with the logic that if they had one, why would the wizard prepare or even learn it, not realizing that it actually lead to "If the wizard can do it why do we need a rogue?" as often as not.

Godless_Paladin
2010-10-29, 02:48 AM
Knock could have been made as a back up for when there's no rogue in the party, with the logic that if they had one, why would the wizard prepare or even learn it, not realizing that it actually lead to "If the wizard can do it why do we need a rogue?" as often as not.

And therefore, not the sole sacred purview of Rogues.

Entire parties are supposed to break into dungeons. Doors have break DCs so that the Barbarian can rage and bash their way through. Wizards have Passwall so they can step through the castle wall. Rogues have open lock so they can open the door.

Everyone gets to play breaking and entering to varying degrees.

Foryn Gilnith
2010-10-29, 02:50 AM
And CMW potions are stupefying because...?
They're horrendously, painfully inefficient.


So you're telling me that someone, thinking that no one should be able to bypass locks except Rogues, wrote a spell that is entirely about bypassing locks as something that is not a Rogue. Hmmm.

Someone, holding the common belief that nobody should be able to bypass locks except rogues, but not consciously thinking about it, got to bringing over spells from 2e, one of which was Knock.

Godless_Paladin
2010-10-29, 02:53 AM
They're horrendously, painfully inefficient. True. But I don't see what that has to do with you arguing for intended, extremely narrow role protection.

Or how said intent matters either way. The fact is that Open Lock was never super-awesome for breaking and entering, and still wouldn't be all that amazing even if lock DCs were lower and Arcane Lock didn't exist because there are other kinds of obstacles to breaking and entering besides "there is a pretty normal door with a pretty normal lock."

What matters is that it is not the Rogue's defining role, and that pretty much everyone gets the option to participate in breaking and entering in some form. What also matters is that I like it this way: I don't believe in having any given player sit out of a given mini-game. On the other hand, I am in favor of everyone contributing to any given mini-game in different, complementary ways.

What also matters is that Open Lock kinda sucks as a skill, and Arcane Lock and Knock just emphasize that.

If you want to make Open Lock more meaningful, there's a few ways you can do this.

1) Arcane Locks don't stop you from making Open Lock checks, it just makes them harder (or possibly actually just creates a high quality magical lock with an open DC based on some kind of formula). This solution can be kind of weird depending on what your flavor text for arcane lock looks like (I mean, I think you can cast it on a door without a keyhole for the thief's tools).
2) You can open Arcane Locks with Disable Device because they're a magical trap. I mean heck, you can already jam locks with DD. Alternatively, roll Open Lock into Disable Device (either by skill consolidation or a skill trick).
3) Knock disables Arcane Lock (allowing anyone to proceed to attempt Open Lock on it) and provides a bonus to your next Open Lock check (or possibly makes one immediately). Would still be something Rogues want to carry around in a wand, while not obviating skill rank investments in Open Lock. (Well, I'd say they're not completely obviated anyways... If I was a dedicated B&Eer, I'd want to be able to get through a door without casting spells and without making noise. Just mostly obviated).

Foryn Gilnith
2010-10-29, 02:58 AM
True. But I don't see what that has to do with you arguing for intended, extremely narrow role protection.
I believe that early 3e designers could produce a system with practically no role protection on breaking and entering while having the intent to have narrow role protection. This would require the design process to be quite illogical; as proof of such ridiculousness, I point to poorly-conceived things like CMW potions.


Or how said intent matters either way.
It doesn't, really; I just wanted to say that the intent existed IMO. And then things snowballed.

Lev
2010-10-29, 04:16 AM
So 10 damage and 2 negative energy levels to 5 targets for a 7th level spell (assuming three easy metamagics and no access to shield). Try entangling fell draining evard's black tencacles as a 6th level spell. Throw in fell weaken and/or solid fog if you want to.
Well the idea is to only apply metamagic as you need it, the single spell can be used in a wide variety of spell slots, I totally agree there are better higher level spells, but the spell can be used as a multitool for applying damage or negative levels over large targets or maximizing single target damage.

It's not the best combo, but 50 force dmg nosave/round (single target) or total 10 neg levels (no save) is pretty decent for a 9th or 10th level character, especially if you're not a wizard.

Not to say you couldn't cast the spells you mentioned first.

Boci
2010-10-29, 04:36 AM
Well the idea is to only apply metamagic as you need it, the single spell can be used in a wide variety of spell slots, I totally agree there are better higher level spells, but the spell can be used as a multitool for applying damage or negative levels over large targets or maximizing single target damage.

So a first level spell that can remains useful at higher levels if you took such and such an option. Like greace, except for everything after level.


It's not the best combo, but 50 force dmg nosave/round (single target) or total 10 neg levels (no save) is pretty decent for a 9th or 10th level character, especially if you're not a wizard.

No, 13th level character, and thats assuming you can take easy metamagic three times, which not all DMs will allow. Plus I don't think you can apply all 10 negative levels to a single target. If you can then yes it is broken, but only because of that combo.


Not to say you couldn't cast the spells you mentioned first.

No, but it is a lower level spell than twinned maxed felldrain magic missil is. And it can't be rendered useless by a 1st level spell.

Psyx
2010-10-29, 04:51 AM
What no love for Ray of Clumsiness, yet?

I'm not very keen on the mighty wallop line, although I appreciate that this is not a popular line of thinking.

Cyclocone
2010-10-29, 05:39 AM
Kelpstrand
Acorn of Far Travel
Fly
Silent- and Minor Image

If Magic Missile with metamagic is in, then so is Locate City.

Tytalus
2010-10-29, 06:28 AM
Charm Person, Sleep, Color Spray, Power Word: Pain, Glitterdust, Silent Image, Minor Image, Major Image, Grease... That's what I can name off the top of my head

None of these are actually broken, except perhaps PWP, when used against a PC with no means of mitigating the damage.

In general, there seems to be a confusion about powerful, overpowered and broken. The latter means that the game no longer functions when the spell is used.

Tytalus
2010-10-29, 06:32 AM
AC for CR 1 things is often around 10-11. Hitting on a 4+ or so on a d20 roll is almost certain to me.

What.

Only a single CR1 monster (out of 44) in the MM1 even has an AC of less than 12. The average AC for MM1 critters or CR 1 is slightly above 15 (15.16, to be exact).

You mentioned that with an attack bonus of +6, it's "almost certain to hit with both of [the] two attacks". However, your chances to hit the average CR1 monster twice are only 30.25%, which is hardly "almost certain", but rather "less than a third of the time".

Even hitting at least once is not really certain (less than 80% chance).

The average damage of a full attack of said orc vs. an average CR1 creature is a nice 17.1 points(*), though, so it's pretty nasty. Of course, you need to get it off in the first place (rage first, get close, full attack - doable in one round with the right feat/ACF outside of core, but not nearly as easy as targeting someone with a magic missile).

---

(*) roughly comparable to a CL9 magic missile (17.5 damage), or an empowered magic missile CL5 (15.75 damage).

Jack_Simth
2010-10-29, 06:58 AM
Summon Mirror Mephit (EtDP) has to be the single most broken spell at these levels. A 2nd level spell that gives you free Simacrulum is insane... It Does Not Work That Way (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/magicOverview/spellDescriptions.htm#summoning):
When the spell that summoned a creature ends and the creature disappears, all the spells it has cast expire. A summoned creature cannot use any innate summoning abilities it may have, and it refuses to cast any spells that would cost it XP, or to use any spell-like abilities that would cost XP if they were spells. (Emphasis added)

ArcanistSupreme
2010-10-29, 07:01 AM
I believe that early 3e designers could produce a system with practically no role protection on breaking and entering while having the intent to have narrow role protection. This would require the design process to be quite illogical; as proof of such ridiculousness, I point to poorly-conceived things like CMW potions.

I would also point out that the Rogue is the only class with Open Lock as a class skill, which to me is a strong indicator of that being the intended role of the Rogue. The uselessness of the skill further backs up how clueless they were with what they were doing.

Also consider that while most players will notice that this is a unique Rogue skill, many players will either never see these other spells in play, or they won't realize that these other options are far more efficient at opening doors. I was one of those players, and even now that I understand the rules, it still seems like something that the Rogue should be able to do without wands.

Tytalus
2010-10-29, 07:25 AM
In the list of very powerful (perhaps overpowered) spells, I find Kelgoreís Grave Mist [PHB2] is worth mentioning. It's a 2nd-level spell with a large area no-save fatigue effect (compare to Waves of Fatigue, a very decent 5th-level debuff) and some cold damage over time (uncapped).

Even if the fatigue only lasts rounds (not entirely clear; the rules on fatigue would imply it lasts until extended rest), it's still quite nasty. If the fatigued condition doesn't end with the spell's duration, it's strictly better than WoF in many respects, and thus overpowered.

Lev
2010-10-29, 08:53 AM
In the list of very powerful (perhaps overpowered) spells, I find Kelgoreís Grave Mist [PHB2] is worth mentioning. It's a 2nd-level spell with a large area no-save fatigue effect (compare to Waves of Fatigue, a very decent 5th-level debuff) and some cold damage over time (uncapped).

Even if the fatigue only lasts rounds (not entirely clear; the rules on fatigue would imply it lasts until extended rest), it's still quite nasty. If the fatigued condition doesn't end with the spell's duration, it's strictly better than WoF in many respects, and thus overpowered.
Oooo, nasty find!

That works wonderfully in combination with the Cloundy Conjuration feat!
Thanks!

Tytalus
2010-10-29, 09:09 AM
That works wonderfully in combination with the Cloundy Conjuration feat!


Not so much; since the spell has no target, the feat's cloud can only be adjacent to you.

However, it's a killer with some means of battlefield control, e.g. grease, web, solid fog, black tentacles, etc. or a way to stack fatigue (simply casting the spell again should make everyone exhausted - with no save, of course).

jiriku
2010-10-29, 09:38 AM
For me, the "broken/overpowered" spells fall into two categories:


1. Spells that do too much for their level. Includes alter self, summon mirror mephit, power word: pain. Might conditionally include animate dead, glitterdust, knock and web.

2. Spells that scale too well, maintaining serious threat potential at higher gameplay levels where nearly all other spells of equivalent level have faded in usefulness to mere supporting tools or minor buffs. Includes shivering touch, touch of idiocy, and wings of cover. Might conditionally include mass resist energy, mass conviction, and grease.

@ OP: So, are you asking this on a theoretical basis, or are you building an E6 caster? :smallamused:

AllisterH
2010-10-29, 10:31 AM
The problem with Knock is that Knock is based on the old 2e rules with regard to spell acquisiton and spell availability.

Knock was fundamentallly ok in 1e/2e based on those rules, but the change in 3e, majorly screwed up those rules...

Frankly, many of the non-combat spells got screwed up in that manner...

(and yes, OL was originally designed EXPLICLTY as a rogue niche) Keep in mind that D&D is a legacy product and thieves were NOT originally part of the game..

Original game was only wizard, cleric and fighter...Wizards had the knock spell but as the story goes, the person playing the wizard in Gary's game didn't show up and they came across a locked door..(keep in mind this was back before STR had the bend bard/lift porticullis aspect).

So, they came up with the thief class as a way to get around this...It was a boon to the wizards in a way since it meant that the wizard who AT BEST only knew 3-4 slots even at 11th level, didn't have to waste a perfectly good slot on Knock.

It should also be noted that it was very, VERY rare to actually find a single class thief...in all my time playing D&D and being on r.g.f.d, I think I can count on one hand the number of people who asmit to playing a single class thief...the thief class was IME, the class most likely to be the henchmen....

jiriku
2010-10-29, 10:41 AM
Yup. In 1st edition D&D, only the thief had the Pick Locks class feature, and it was advertised as one of his premier skills, alongside Find/Remove Traps. Barbarians could attempt to bend bars/lift gates or push open stuck doors, but such activities generally had very low chances of success (especially if the door was locked and/or barred), whereas a high-level thief could pick locks reliably. The magic-user class had knock, but limited spells known and more limited spells per day, and making a "wand of knock" was a difficult task that would have required a high-level magic-user and probably a quest or two to gather the ingredients.

The original thief had STRONG role protection (only one or two other classes could attempt to use even a few thief skills, and they were always worse at it than an equal-level thief. This protection has gradually decayed with each successive edition.

thompur
2010-10-29, 10:51 AM
And in regards to KNOCK, if the party has a rogue, the wizard won't need to waste a precious spell slot. And even if she does, is she going to prepare it more than once? Most traditional dungeons have more than one door to get through. So, no, KNOCK isn't broken or overpowered.

As to ALTER SELF; how much less broken would it be if the duration was only one rd/level?

Zen Monkey
2010-10-29, 11:27 AM
In my experience, Open Lock isn't just justified by locked doors, but by treasure chests. A wizard has a finite number of 2nd level slots (especially at low levels) that can be put to better use, and taking a sledgehammer to a locked chest of potions is a good way to obliterate your treasure.

subject42
2010-10-29, 11:34 AM
Combust, from the SpC, is a pretty bad one. It's particularly flagrant if you find a way to extend the range of your touch spells and have the searing spell feat.

Susano-wo
2010-10-29, 04:56 PM
I instead questioned the idea that having Open Lock as a class skill was the Rogue's defining role and that if anyone else could bypass a door by any method more efficient than Open Lock the game would break.

That's a fine thing to question. I never made that arguement. I claimed [repeatedly] that it was part of the rogues traditional and intended role. Were it not so, they would not have designed thieves, and then rogues, with all these neat stealth/opening locks/disabling devices abilites.

I don't think the odd knock makes rogues irrelevant, or that even extended use of it, which is what cuts into the rogues specialty, makes them so. Its not that no one should be able to bypass locks but the rogue, its that knocks low level and easy access (especially in wand form) can really remove much of the rogue's dungeon utility (especially since opening locks from far away can make many traps irrelevant)

Hell, I'm not even that set on knock being broken in and of itself. I understand the reasoning, and can see it being truly broken, or perhaps just a possible annoyance if the wizard starts using it too much

I just think its pretty self evident from the skills the rogue gets and its previous iterations, where only the rogue got these, that its an intended part of its niche/role.



What matters is that it is not the Rogue's defining role, and that pretty much everyone gets the option to participate in breaking and entering in some form. What also matters is that I like it this way: I don't believe in having any given player sit out of a given mini-game. On the other hand, I am in favor of everyone contributing to any given mini-game in different, complementary ways.
[bolding mine]

Yeah, that does seem to be what this is about. I agree that one person playing a minigame is boring. And I can see a rogue constantly opening locks/checking for traps might get boring for the other players. doesn't affect what his niche actually is or isn't

Thurbane
2010-10-29, 05:10 PM
Bards have glibness; a thoroughly advantageous spell.
Bestow curse is pretty horrible, and undetectable alignment pretty much guarantees the uselessness of a detect alignment spell.
Summon nature's ally III essentially summons another 3rd level fighter (the summoned creature may be better at the fighter role than the fighter).

What no love for Ray of Clumsiness, yet?

I'm not very keen on the mighty wallop line, although I appreciate that this is not a popular line of thinking.

Kelpstrand
Acorn of Far Travel
Fly
Silent- and Minor Image

If Magic Missile with metamagic is in, then so is Locate City.

Combust, from the SpC, is a pretty bad one. It's particularly flagrant if you find a way to extend the range of your touch spells and have the searing spell feat.
Thanks for going back ontopic after what can only be described as an epic derailment.

Seriously, if the virtues of Open Lock vs. Knock need to be debated ad nauseum, wouldn't a new thread be better?

Dusk Eclipse
2010-10-29, 06:11 PM
Kelpstrand
Acorn of Far Travel
Fly
Silent- and Minor Image

If Magic Missile with metamagic is in, then so is Locate City.

OBJECTION!!!

Silent and Minor image aren't broken by any stretch of imagination, they only become gamebreaking if you abuse Shadowcraft mage IMO; also they are spells that reward creativity and out of the box thinking, I consider them great spells.

Logalmier
2010-10-29, 07:44 PM
OBJECTION!!!

Silent and Minor image aren't broken by any stretch of imagination, they only become gamebreaking if you abuse Shadowcraft mage IMO; also they are spells that reward creativity and out of the box thinking, I consider them great spells.

I second this. In my experience both DMs and PCs alike enjoy good illusions.

Emmerask
2010-10-29, 07:49 PM
My votes go to Alter self and Touch of idiocy.
An incredible buff and a battle ender for combats vs some elementals, most magical beasts and all animals. At the time when you get it you should be able to drop most opponents with a single touch attack...
If sleep didn't have a cap in HD it would be my first choice...

With a touch, you reduce the targetís mental faculties. Your successful melee touch attack applies a 1d6 penalty to the targetís Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma scores. This penalty canít reduce any of these scores below 1.

Its still a good spell but you need to follow up with something :smallsmile:

mostlyharmful
2010-10-29, 08:02 PM
With a touch, you reduce the targetís mental faculties. Your successful melee touch attack applies a 1d6 penalty to the targetís Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma scores. This penalty canít reduce any of these scores below 1.

Its still a good spell but you need to follow up with something :smallsmile:

not if they are palyed by a decent GM. tool use, spellcasting and tactical analysis are all higher oreder functions.

137ben
2010-10-29, 08:04 PM
Does that mean Shield is broken to? since it stops a Broken spell? XD

Magic missile is only powerful at high levels, at which point it isn't broken since there are far more broken spells:smallwink:

@log: agreed.

@above: Yes. On top of that, a pure spellcaster probably couldn't use it because they would have to be in melee (until higher levels when they could make a "melee" attack from a distance using serious cheese). I guess it could be more useful for a melee/spellcasting character, but in that case would have to be a higher level, at which point it wouldn't be so broken compared to what the pure wizard could do.

Thrawn183
2010-10-29, 08:13 PM
I'm going to have to bring up Blinding Spittle again. No save blindness, all you need is a ranged touch attack at a -4 penalty. Did I mention you're a druid that has 3/4 BAB and can wildshape for better dexterity? This spell actually gets way better at higher levels because touch AC's drop at higher CR's.

Heaven forbid you find a way to cast true strike as a druid.

Emmerask
2010-10-29, 08:15 PM
not if they are palyed by a decent GM. tool use, spellcasting and tactical analysis are all higher oreder functions.

Skeletons and Zombies both have intelligence 0
but both can follow very simple instructions and can use manufactured weapons
which suggests that intelligence in d&d works a bit different.
It follows that someone with intelligence 1 can do the same and more.

Still you will see very erratic behavior ranging from cowering on the floor or staring dumb into the air to raging around with whatever weapons it has, attacking everything in sight^^

I would always make sure not to have a potentially raging lunatic being behind my back :smallwink:

AllisterH
2010-10-29, 08:20 PM
In my experience, Open Lock isn't just justified by locked doors, but by treasure chests. A wizard has a finite number of 2nd level slots (especially at low levels) that can be put to better use, and taking a sledgehammer to a locked chest of potions is a good way to obliterate your treasure.

THIS too.

Personally...I consider the more "problematic" spells not necessarily the combat spells but the non-combat spells which tend to become issues with the wider campaign world with the cheap cost of making them as scrolls/wands...

For example..."Continual Flame".

Simple spell and one that didn't really change any campaign world given the rules of spell acquistion in 1e/2e(I distinctly remember a 2e campaign where the random roll for spells in a captured enemy spellbook had this spell and there was much moaning and complaining)

In 3e/PF though? Exactly why aren't most cities lit up by this spell? Indeed, until Eberron, most campaign worlds seemed to work under the old 1e/2e assumption of spells being rare...

I have similar issues with spells like Comprehend Languages et al...

Thrawn183
2010-10-29, 08:40 PM
On continual flame. Considering that you could just have the objects in questions be the equivalent of cannon balls or something (ie. last an incredibly long time) you wouldn't expect your "street lights" to ever wear out.

Having a city pay for one a day for one hundred years nets you 36,500 "street lights." Each "streeth lights provides bright illumination to 1256 square feet. That comes out to 45,844,000 square feet of bright illumination assuming no overlap. A square mile is 27,878,400 square feet. A single city ordering the production of one "street light" for one hundred years will result in 1.644 square miles of bright illumination.

Shouldn't D&D cities that have been around for any extended period of time be lit up like Manhattan?

Edit: As followers of Pelor: "work to aid the poor and the sick" I have no problem with the idea of seeing level 1 clerics use their profession checks to afford the material component and having a level 5 cleric just cast the spell once per day. One church of Pelor could do this easy. It even fits the whole light thing Pelor has going, unless I'm mistaken.

Ilmryn
2010-10-29, 09:07 PM
Why is Power Word: Pain considered so broken? It is a good spell, but 1d6/round isn't that powerful, especially when the team tank will be doing around 2d6+4/round assuming he hits, which he does more than half the time in an average encounter.

ArcanistSupreme
2010-10-29, 09:37 PM
Why is Power Word: Pain considered so broken? It is a good spell, but 1d6/round isn't that powerful, especially when the team tank will be doing around 2d6+4/round assuming he hits, which he does more than half the time in an average encounter.

What about when an NPC uses it on a PC at low levels? That sucks a lot, and all you can do is watch your character die.

Ramza00
2010-10-29, 10:29 PM
@Joseph: charm person? really? you realize that it doesn't make them actually do anything, right? just makes them friendly toward you? And it breaks if you or your allies do something that threatens them?

Charm Person+Hypnotism is where is it at. Charm Person makes them friendly, Hypnotism makes them fanatical (since two steps above friendly is fanatical.) Problem is you can only affect creatures with up to 8 hit dice with hypnotism if you maximize it, and a simple protection from X stops it. Fanatical means the target... "Will give life to serve you Fight to the death against overwhelming odds, throw self in front of onrushing dragon."

Ramza00
2010-10-29, 10:44 PM
Curse of the Putrid Husk (Bovd) 3rd level wizard/sorc spell

Targets the enemy with no attack roll, and they must make a will save, if they do not they are dazed and the following round they are unconscious for 10 mins.

Dazed creatures take no actions thus removing them from the battle while the daze lasts.

Unconscious creatures are helpless (thus coup de gracable), get huge penalties to ac and reflex, and are not attacking you. Being unconscious is pretty much the worse effect you can recieve that is not being dead.

So in sum Curse of the Putrid Husk is probably one of the earliest and one of the strongest SoL out there. It is almost a SoD. It is 3rd level spell and thus available as soon as level 5.

-----------------------------------

Oh it is also a great spell to chain. Throw on easy metamagic/practical metamagic and you can be chaining the whole enemy encounter. Which would you rather have at level 9 (this is assumming you get some form of metamagic reduction such as easy metamagic, practical metamagic, metamagic school, arcane thesis, etc)

Flesh to Ice
Save DC of 10+5+Int against one target.

or

Chained Curse of the Putrid Husk
Save DC of 10+3+Int against the main target
Save DC of 9+Int against the secondary targets.

At level 9 the Wizard should have an int of 22 or 24 if he started with 18 (18+2 levels+2 item if he bought it on an open market, +4 if he or an ally crafted it). Thus a save dc of 10+5+7=22 for Flesh to Ice and 10+3+7= for Curse of Putrid Husk (assuming you didn't invest into the spell focus feats if you should.) The average will save of a monster (in the original monster manual) with cr of 9 is 7(which means the monster is a serious challenge to your party all by himself, if he had allies it would be a higher encounter cr) the average fort save of a creater with cr of 9 is 11.

Thus the monster must roll a 11 on his fort save (22-11=11 or 50% chance of monster failing his saving throw) or higher to be safe against the flesh to ice or a save of 13 or higher for the chained curse of the putrid husk (20-7=13 or 60% chance of monster failing his saving throw).

Yahzi
2010-10-30, 03:41 AM
I consider the more "problematic" spells not necessarily the combat spells but the non-combat spells which tend to become issues with the wider campaign world
By all means, yes.

What about Zone of Truth? How does that affect a society? How do you have wrongful convictions or corrupt barons when the truth is easy to get? How do you have murder mysteries? (Seriously, I remember a Pathfinder module that had a murder mystery and a 5th level priest in the same town...wtf?)

Cure Minor Wounds automatically stops bleeding - presto! Childbirth goes from "most dangerous activity a woman usually does" to "almost always safe." Throw in Remove Disease and you have an infant mortality rate better than ours. How does this affect population?

Plant Growth - it does what modern fertilizer does. This allows a non-mechanized society to go from 75% agricultural to 50%. (of course most D&D worlds are already hopelessly unrealistic, with agricultural populations below 25%.)

Low-level spells like these radically change medieval culture. Admittedly D&D is not set in a true medieval setting, but neither are most modules set in the world that magic creates.

Aron Times
2010-10-30, 12:32 PM
By all means, yes.

What about Zone of Truth? How does that affect a society? How do you have wrongful convictions or corrupt barons when the truth is easy to get? How do you have murder mysteries? (Seriously, I remember a Pathfinder module that had a murder mystery and a 5th level priest in the same town...wtf?)

Cure Minor Wounds automatically stops bleeding - presto! Childbirth goes from "most dangerous activity a woman usually does" to "almost always safe." Throw in Remove Disease and you have an infant mortality rate better than ours. How does this affect population?

Plant Growth - it does what modern fertilizer does. This allows a non-mechanized society to go from 75% agricultural to 50%. (of course most D&D worlds are already hopelessly unrealistic, with agricultural populations below 25%.)

Low-level spells like these radically change medieval culture. Admittedly D&D is not set in a true medieval setting, but neither are most modules set in the world that magic creates.
A vote for why Eberron, especially the 4e version, makes so much more sense than other settings.

Ilmryn
2010-10-30, 01:01 PM
What about when an NPC uses it on a PC at low levels? That sucks a lot, and all you can do is watch your character die.

True, but it's not really worse than things like Color Spray.

Zaq
2010-10-30, 01:21 PM
Color Spray requires them to get close and allows a save. A difficult save at low levels, to be sure, but still a save . . . and then requires them to finish you off while your friends who weren't clumped next to you or who made their saves attack back. Color Spray is a very, very nasty spell, but it's far from guaranteed death.

PW:P, on the other hand, can easily be used from hiding, allows no save, and will kill you while the caster just runs and hides. Taking a minimum of 4d6 damage (and an average of 10d6) is pretty close to guaranteed death at low levels. Even a Dragonfire Adept with 20 CON won't have 51 HP until level 5 (assuming average HP per level), at which point the duration is lessened from 4d4 rounds to 2d4 rounds, but for most characters up to level 4 or 5, PW:P is just an inordinately large amount of damage that really can't be stopped.

Foryn Gilnith
2010-10-30, 03:48 PM
What about Zone of Truth? How does that affect a society?
Given that it's easy to save against and doesn't give the caster an indication when it's saved against (since it's an area effect spell), about as much as the polygraph machine affected our society, i.e. not unduly. Your point in general still stands, but this spell is almost always cited and I never understand why.