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Shenanigans
2010-12-22, 12:04 PM
If I am planning on playing a mostly generalist conjurer who slightly focuses on ranged touches/rays...

http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=180641

...and plan on taking Arcane Thesis for Enervation and probably Orb of Fire, which metamagic feat would serve me better, Split Ray or Twin Spell? Being that I'll be playing a small, DEX-heavy character, I plan on using plenty of other Rays (Enfeeblement, Exhaustion, etc.) regularly but I'm guessing Twin Spell has plenty of other fun uses, it's just that nothing thrilling is really springing to mind.

Since I plan on taking Chain Spell, that would take care of most buffs I would want for the party, so I'm not overly concerned about that.

Thanks for any thoughts/ideas!

Urpriest
2010-12-22, 12:08 PM
Twin is more generally useful, but you already knew that. Be aware that Split Ray won't work on Orb of Fire.

Keld Denar
2010-12-22, 12:16 PM
Also, the wording on Split Ray isn't a true doubling. You get 1 extra ray. Most of the time you only get 1 ray anyway, so +1 ray is a doubling, but in the case of volley style rays (like Scorching Ray), adding another ray is only a 25% increase in damage.

That said, I like Split Ray better. Its more useful, as the +4 adjustment is really oppressive, even with reducers. I like it more with debuff rays than with damage rays. Being able to Ray of Clumsiness 2 targets is pretty potent. Also, Ray of Exhaustion is excellent since it basically removes the save. Even if they make BOTH saves, each ray makes them fatigued. If you get fatigued while you are already fatigued, you become exhausted, just the same as if he had failed either save. Thats pretty mean.

Shenanigans
2010-12-22, 12:19 PM
Twin is more generally useful, but you already knew that. Be aware that Split Ray won't work on Orb of Fire.
Yeah, if Split Ray worked on Orb of Fire I probably wouldn't have even posted this. :)

I'm torn about Twin; I'm trying to convince myself of its more general usefulness, but I'm not coming up with any "neat tricks" that seem to be worth the the extra spell level cost of Twin. Also, I'll be the party's only arcane offense, which s why I'm leaning towards the ray-casting focus.

Urpriest
2010-12-22, 12:31 PM
Yeah, if Split Ray worked on Orb of Fire I probably wouldn't have even posted this. :)

I'm torn about Twin; I'm trying to convince myself of its more general usefulness, but I'm not coming up with any "neat tricks" that seem to be worth the the extra spell level cost of Twin. Also, I'll be the party's only arcane offense, which s why I'm leaning towards the ray-casting focus.

Twin is good for things like Celerity...qualitative stuff, essentially. And as you've already mentioned the Orb series and friends can't be Split so you'd want to Twin them eventually. Split is probably more handy across a range of levels though.

Shenanigans
2010-12-22, 04:44 PM
I'm leaning towards Split Ray now; like UrPriest said, it's better across a range of levels, whereas Twin Spell isn't even usable until middle levels.

I didn't even notice until I reread it just now, that with Split Ray you can choose a different target for the additional ray. That could be useful with rays that have non-stacking effects.

Here's another quick question, if I put both Chain and Split Ray on Enervation, does that mean each of the Chain targets gets two rays also, or just the main one?

Grelna the Blue
2010-12-22, 05:21 PM
Um, it is certainly my strong impression from past reading that Cust Serv had consistently ruled that rays and orbs cannot be Chained, using the reasoning that they are Effect spells, not Target spells, and the Chain Spell can be applied only to "any spell that specifies a single target and has a range greater than touch". From the SRD (http://www.systemreferencedocuments.org/resources/systems/pennpaper/dnd35/soveliorsage/magicOverview.html):


AIMING A SPELL
You must make some choice about whom the spell is to affect or where the effect is to originate, depending on the type of spell. The next entry in a spell description defines the spellís target (or targets), its effect, or its area, as appropriate. [emphasis added]

Target or Targets: Some spells have a target or targets. You cast these spells on creatures or objects, as defined by the spell itself. You must be able to see or touch the target, and you must specifically choose that target. You do not have to select your target until you finish casting the spell.

If the target of a spell is yourself (the spell description has a line that reads Target: You), you do not receive a saving throw, and spell resistance does not apply. The Saving Throw and Spell Resistance lines are omitted from such spells.

Some spells restrict you to willing targets only. Declaring yourself as a willing target is something that can be done at any time (even if youíre flat-footed or it isnít your turn). Unconscious creatures are automatically considered willing, but a character who is conscious but immobile or helpless (such as one who is bound, cowering, grappling, paralyzed, pinned, or stunned) is not automatically willing.

Some spells allow you to redirect the effect to new targets or areas after you cast the spell. Redirecting a spell is a move action that does not provoke attacks of opportunity.

Effect: Some spells create or summon things rather than affecting things that are already present. You must designate the location where these things are to appear, either by seeing it or defining it. Range determines how far away an effect can appear, but if the effect is mobile it can move regardless of the spellís range.

Ray: Some effects are rays. You aim a ray as if using a ranged weapon, though typically you make a ranged touch attack rather than a normal ranged attack. As with a ranged weapon, you can fire into the dark or at an invisible creature and hope you hit something. You donít have to see the creature youíre trying to hit, as you do with a targeted spell. Intervening creatures and obstacles, however, can block your line of sight or provide cover for the creature youíre aiming at.

If a ray spell has a duration, itís the duration of the effect that the ray causes, not the length of time the ray itself persists.

If a ray spell deals damage, you can score a critical hit just as if it were a weapon. A ray spell threatens a critical hit on a natural roll of 20 and deals double damage on a successful critical hit.

Spread: Some effects, notably clouds and fogs, spread out from a point of origin, which must be a grid intersection. The effect can extend around corners and into areas that you canít see. Figure distance by actual distance traveled, taking into account turns the spell effect takes. When determining distance for spread effects, count around walls, not through them. As with movement, do not trace diagonals across corners. You must designate the point of origin for such an effect, but you need not have line of effect (see below) to all portions of the effect.

I have no dog in this fight, but just thought I'd mention it. And yes, I know that the text of many Ray and Orb spells specifies aiming at or hitting a target.

Godskook
2010-12-22, 05:30 PM
That said, I like Split Ray better. Its more useful, as the +4 adjustment is really oppressive, even with reducers. I like it more with debuff rays than with damage rays. Being able to Ray of Clumsiness 2 targets is pretty potent. Also, Ray of Exhaustion is excellent since it basically removes the save. Even if they make BOTH saves, each ray makes them fatigued. If you get fatigued while you are already fatigued, you become exhausted, just the same as if he had failed either save. Thats pretty mean.

That shouldn't work. Spells that cause status effects don't generally stack with themselves, *especially* if they cause the same status. AFB, or I'd look it up to be sure though.

*Casts Summon Curmudgeon*

Keld Denar
2010-12-22, 05:41 PM
Um...yea? Fear effects stack and fatigue effects stack. Its right there in the text. If you are fatigued, and you are subject to a fatigue attack, you are exhausted instead. Its an escalating condition. Its not like getting hit with two Rays of Enfeeblement, which don't stack, each one imposes a condition, and those conditions explicitly stack.

Stegyre
2010-12-22, 05:54 PM
Um...yea? Fear effects stack and fatigue effects stack. Its right there in the text. If you are fatigued, and you are subject to a fatigue attack, you are exhausted instead. Its an escalating condition. Its not like getting hit with two Rays of Enfeeblement, which don't stack, each one imposes a condition, and those conditions explicitly stack.
Actually, it strikes me as a pretty good question.

I seem to recall that some spells (or maybe it was a power) were quite explicit about not stacking an otherwise stackable fear or fatigue effect.

Certainly, if you ray'd someone who was already fatigued from some other source, the ray's fatigue effect would make them exhausted. But when their current fatigue is ray-induced, it sounds very much like same-effect-from-same-spell. :smallconfused:

Keld Denar
2010-12-22, 06:01 PM
Some things do stack though.

Take the spell Fear for example. Even on a sucessful save, there is a partial effect: Shaken for 1 round.

If 3 mages cast fear on you, and you made all 3 saves, you'd be Shaken 3 times. Since fear stacks, the first would leave you shaken, the second would frighten you, and the 3rd would panic you.

If, instead, there was a wizard who prepped a Twin Spell Fear, and you made both saves, you'd be Shaken > Frightened for 1 round.

Its the same thing, except there are only 2 degrees of fatigue and there are 3 of fear.

As I said, some things don't stack. A Split Ray of Enfeeblement would only apply the highest penalty, since they overlap. Fatigue and fear effects explicitly stack, and I don't see this as being an exception.

What you are insinuating is that something like a Split Enervation wouldn't apply 2d4 negative levels. Negative levels stack, even if they come from the same source, otherwise Wights and Specters wouldn't be nearly as terrifying.

Stegyre
2010-12-22, 06:45 PM
Some things do stack though.

Take the spell Fear for example. Even on a sucessful save, there is a partial effect: Shaken for 1 round.

If 3 mages cast fear on you, and you made all 3 saves, you'd be Shaken 3 times. Since fear stacks, the first would leave you shaken, the second would frighten you, and the 3rd would panic you.
I fear that you are assuming your conclusion: what says that Fear spells stack?

Fear effects stack, but that is another issue.

I'm open to being persuaded otherwise, but GK seems to be relying upon the RAW that "In cases when two or more identical spells are operating in the same area or on the same target, but at different strengths, only the best one applies." (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/magicOverview/castingSpells.htm#stackingEffects)

That's a pretty good argument, imo.

The express exception to stacking is for instaneous spells. (Obviously, that's why damage spells stack.) But Fear is not an instantaneous spell.

Keld Denar
2010-12-22, 06:58 PM
Fear effects are cumulative. A shaken character who is made shaken again becomes frightened, and a shaken character who is made frightened becomes panicked instead. A frightened character who is made shaken or frightened becomes panicked instead.

So the question is, which text trumps which? Making a save vs the Fear spell makes you shaken. If you were already shaken (such as from a prior save vs the Fear spell), you'd be a shaken character who is made shaken. The above rule states that they are cumulative. It doesn't state "unless the fear comes from the same effect". Most individual fear effects state whether or not they are cumulative. The fear spell does not carry that indication. Where or not that is because it should be implied, or because it is intentionally omitted is not clear.

Fatigued bears similar wording. If you are fatigued and do something that would make you fatigued (like, getting it with a Ray of Exhaustion), you become exhausted instead. Its explicitly cumulative. Whether or not this trumps the text you quoted or not is unclear though.

Stegyre
2010-12-22, 07:05 PM
So the question is, which text trumps which?
I wholeheartedly agree. It's what makes it a good question. :smallbiggrin:


Making a save vs the Fear spell makes you shaken. If you were already shaken (such as from a prior save vs the Fear spell), you'd be a shaken character who is made shaken.
Here's where I think the issue - or an issue - comes up: because of the no-stacking rule, does the shaken character become shaken a second time? One could argue that, because the target may only be under the effect of a single Fear spell at any one time, as soon as he is "shaken" by a second Fear spell, he ceases to be shaken by the earlier one, or if the earlier one was the stronger effect, he does not become shaken by the second one.

(I also agree that, barring a specific exception in the text for the Ray of Exhaustion, the exact same reasoning applies, whichever is the "correct" result.)

Godskook
2010-12-22, 08:11 PM
So the question is, which text trumps which?

That's easy. The spell one trumps the general status one in this case, cause the general status one is never invoked. You don't invoke the status rules until you actually become inflicted with the status, which happens as a result of applying the spell effect. Since only the best spell effect applies, you've only ever received the fatigue status once.

Keld Denar
2010-12-22, 08:35 PM
How can you be sure? I could say that the spell stacking rules are the general rule. If you get hit by 2 Enlarge Persons, they overlap, and the longest duration one persists. If I get hit by 2 Rays of Enfeeblement, the strongest penalty applies for its duration, then the second one, if it has duration left, applies.

However, some spells are exceptions to this. Some things stack because the rules explicitly state that they do. Negative levels stack. Fear effects stack. Fatigue effects stack. They do because the rules make exceptions for them. This is the specific case.

Enervations states that it is EXACTLY like having negative levels, except that they go away after the duration. By your reading, if you were hit by 2 Enervations, only the strongest would apply. But, Negative Levels EXPLICITLY STACK. Always, regardless of source. The negative levels you gain from Enervation are identical to the negative levels you gain from getting bad touched by a wight EXCEPT for their duration.

Ray of Exhaustion states that it is EXACTLY like behind fatigued/exhausted, EXCEPT that it goes away when the duration ends (instead of needing 8 hours of rest). So, if its EXACTLY like normal fatigue, then by the rules for fatigue, a fatigued character who becomes fatigued again becomes exhausted. The fatigue you get from Ray of Exhaustion is EXACTLY the same fatigue you get from ending a barbarian rage, or for running too long. The only difference is, it ends when the spell ends, rather than at the end of the encounter/after 8 hours rest.

So...like a curious college girl, the rules here go both ways. Am I right? I dunno. Are you right? Maybe. The one thing I'm convinced upon is that your reading isn't the only correct reading.

Godskook
2010-12-22, 08:46 PM
Can you find a better example than Enervation? Cause that one stacks by the rules I'm choosing to apply first(scroll down to section about "instantaneous spells"). If it had a non-instantaneous duration, I suspect that it wouldn't stack(but let's not debate a point about the rules that's not actually in the rules, please).

Keld Denar
2010-12-22, 09:07 PM
Enervation does have a duration though...

"Assuming the subject survives, it regains lost levels after a number of hours equal to your caster level (maximum 15 hours). Usually, negative levels have a chance of permanently draining the victimís levels, but the negative levels from enervation donít last long enough to do so."

I don't see how this is any different than the duration of Ray of Exhaustion, other than the fact that one has the duration in the Duration line, and one has the duration in the rules text. The only difference I can see is how each would respond to a Dispel Magic. If you cast Dispel Magic on a person affected by Ray of Exhaustion, it could be dispelled. If you cast Dispel Magic on a person affected by Enervation, it couldn't, because its Instantaneous. If you cast Restoration on a person affected by either, it would remove either effect, regardless of duration. It wouldn't end the actual Ray of Exhaustion spell though, since it doesn't say it would. It would still be ticking down, it just wouldn't have any effect since its effect has been negated.

The only other similar spell is one oft cited for its terrible wording, and thats Shivering Touch. It does damage, but it has a duration. Damage stacks, but after the duration is over, it could be assumed that the damage goes away. Again, the wording is kinda wonky since NORMALLY damage spells don't have durations (contrast with Ray of Stupidity). Its a bad example, but an example none-the-less.

Godskook
2010-12-22, 10:10 PM
Enervation does have a duration though...

Yeah:


Duration: Instantaneous (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/enervation.htm)

It has an effect that has a non-instantaneous duration, but the spell itself is quite clearly an instantaneous spell.

Gabe the Bard
2010-12-23, 02:52 AM
How about combining Split Ray with Ocular Spell (http://dnd.savannahsoft.eu/feat-2079-ocular-spell.html)? You could potentially fire off 4 rays in one round. They both cost +2 each, so with Arcane Thesis you could do this with Enervation as an 11th level wizard.

Alternatively, if you want to go the sorcerer route, you could get a level of Spellwarp Sniper and Split Ray everything, including that Orb of Fire.

Thespianus
2010-12-23, 02:59 AM
If you get fatigued while you are already fatigued, you become exhausted, just the same as if he had failed either save. Thats pretty mean. But only if the second Fatigue comes from a different source than the first, right?

The same spell cast twice won't make you "Fatigued + Fatigued = Exhausted", right?

EDIT: Sorry. Note to self: "Read whole thread before posting." :(

Thespianus
2010-12-23, 03:08 AM
Here's where I think the issue - or an issue - comes up: because of the no-stacking rule, does the shaken character become shaken a second time? One could argue that, because the target may only be under the effect of a single Fear spell at any one time, as soon as he is "shaken" by a second Fear spell, he ceases to be shaken by the earlier one, or if the earlier one was the stronger effect, he does not become shaken by the second one.
My interpretation of Fear-effects, which might be crazily wrong, is that they don't stack if they're from the same source:

So, a Barbarian uses Intimidate to scare someone, they become Shaken.
If the Barbarian uses Intimidate the next round at the same target, there's no change. (The same source: "Barbarian X uses Intimidate")

However, if someone else uses Intimidate at the same target, they go from Shaken to Frightened, OR if the Barbarian (somehow) casts the spell Fear, the status change. (Barbarian X casting a spell isn't the same source as Barbarian X using Intimidate)

Otherwise, an Intimidate-based build could scare off a whole bunch of people by using Intimidate three rounds in a row, making the opponents Panicked. It doesn't seem right.

The same should go with Fatigue->Exhausted, etc, IMHO.

Duke of URL
2010-12-23, 06:39 AM
The general rule is that non-instantaneous effects from the same source do not stack with themselves. The ray of exhaustion description does not specifically override this, so hitting someone with a twinned/split ray of exhaustion would only impose the worst of the two penalties, i.e., exhausted if the target fails either save, fatigued otherwise. Similarly, fear does not have specific text that overrides the general rule against stacking from the same source.

A spell like enervation has an instantaneous effect, and so multiple/successive uses would "stack" in the sense that they are different effects.

Shenanigans
2010-12-23, 10:07 AM
How about combining Split Ray with Ocular Spell (http://dnd.savannahsoft.eu/feat-2079-ocular-spell.html)? You could potentially fire off 4 rays in one round. They both cost +2 each, so with Arcane Thesis you could do this with Enervation as an 11th level wizard.

Alternatively, if you want to go the sorcerer route, you could get a level of Spellwarp Sniper and Split Ray everything, including that Orb of Fire.
I'm pretty well set on Wizard; if I were going to be a completely dedicated ray caster, I'd probably try Spellwarp Sniper.

Ocular Spell is something I hadn't considered really, and I might even be able to find a good story reason to fit it into the build. With Empower and/or Maximize added in, that would be quite the once per day super-debuff. Thanks for the idea!

As far as the Ray of Exhaustion sidetrack ;) goes, my hunch is that my DM would go with the fairly straightforward "The specific over the general" maxim. Since the spell description says that an already fatigued target becomes exhausted, even on a successful save, that's probably what he'll go with, despite the very cogent and well-reasoned arguments being presented here.

Here's a wrench. Assuming that the shaken condition stacks to frightened (from different sources, etc.) what happens to a character who is immune to the shaken condition who gets a couple of those effects stacked? Is each shaken ignored on its own, thus having no effect, or does the original one stay "on the books" and henceforth allow a stacking into frightened?

Godskook
2010-12-23, 10:22 AM
I'm pretty well set on Wizard; if I were going to be a completely dedicated ray caster, I'd probably try Spellwarp Sniper.

Spellwarp Sniper = "Never having to say that it isn't a ray spell"

Voice of Reason
2010-12-23, 10:26 AM
Here's a wrench. Assuming that the shaken condition stacks to frightened (from different sources, etc.) what happens to a character who is immune to the shaken condition who gets a couple of those effects stacked? Is each shaken ignored on its own, thus having no effect, or does the original one stay "on the books" and henceforth allow a stacking into frightened?

As this is 3.5 and not 4.0, where "save ends" effects dominate, I'm pretty sure that neither of the frightened conditions stay "on the books" (this does happen surprisingly often in 4.0 though; you can be immune to poison, but if you haven't saved against that ongoing poison 5, the status of taking ongoing damage may just allow those cursed vipers to deal extra damage). That said, if it is a spell with a duration greater than instantaneous that causes the fear, the spell will still be in effect, but the character will not suffer from the fatigued/shaken condition, either on the books or off it.

To clarify: compare Protection from Evil's immunity to Compulsion effects. Casting Protection from Evil makes the target immune to Compulsion effects, but if the Protection from Evil wears off before, say, the pre-existing Dominate Person, then they're still subject to the Dominate Person afterwards, because the spell was still going, the person in question was just immune to the effects.

Shenanigans
2010-12-23, 02:31 PM
As this is 3.5 and not 4.0, where "save ends" effects dominate, I'm pretty sure that neither of the frightened conditions stay "on the books" (this does happen surprisingly often in 4.0 though; you can be immune to poison, but if you haven't saved against that ongoing poison 5, the status of taking ongoing damage may just allow those cursed vipers to deal extra damage). That said, if it is a spell with a duration greater than instantaneous that causes the fear, the spell will still be in effect, but the character will not suffer from the fatigued/shaken condition, either on the books or off it.

To clarify: compare Protection from Evil's immunity to Compulsion effects. Casting Protection from Evil makes the target immune to Compulsion effects, but if the Protection from Evil wears off before, say, the pre-existing Dominate Person, then they're still subject to the Dominate Person afterwards, because the spell was still going, the person in question was just immune to the effects.
Thank you for the explanation; that makes a lot of sense and now that I think about it, most "immune to X" effects say "immune to the effects of X" which would cover more bases.