View Full Version : Help balancing spells. [3.5]

2012-07-20, 06:08 PM
I'm slowly working on a class in which the player can choose casting for 1 of the 4 classic elements: Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. The class (regardless of level) gets 3 spells at each level. Supposed to be an attack, a defense, and a utility/movement/debuff.
Problem is, I'm having trouble balancing the spells, both with each other, and with already existing spells.

Currently trying to work on the earth and air level 2 spells.
I'm currently using the Air one in playtest, so I'd rather change the earth spell to match it.

Lightning Blade: As the Wu Jen level 2 spell in complete arcane.
Wind Armor: Deflection bonus to armor, 1/ every 3 caster levels (2 at CL4, 3 at CL 7, etc). Doubled against nonmagical ranged attacks. Spell provides no bonus vs large projectiles like ballista bolts, catapults, and rocks thrown by giants. Abjuration[Air]. Range: Touch. 10 minutes/level

Spike stones (minor): Standard Action. As spike stones, but 1d4 damage
Earthen Grasp-
<Trans[earth], VSM(tiny clay hand), 1StdAct, Closerange, 2rnds/lvl, no save, SR applies> A Medium-sized arm of soil rises from the targeted hex of earth or sand. It attempts to Grapple any creature in its hex or one that is adjacent. If not directed by the caster, it attacks randomly. The arm has a Strength of 14 + 1 per three caster levels. The arm can make one Grapple attempt per round and does generate an Attack of Opportunity. If successful, it attempts to Pin the target, which does (1d6+Strength modifier) hp of lethal damage each round. The arm has AC 15, Hardness 4, and 3 hp per Caster level.

Granite Hide: Abjuration (earth). Verbal, Somatic. Standard Action. Creature touched gains 1 Natural Armor +1 / 2 Cl (2 at CL3, 3 at CL 5, etc). Max of +5
Creatures without natural armor such as humans, count as if having Natural Armor +0 Lasts 1 hour per level.

Deflection vs Natural AC bonuses.
10min vs 1 hour.
Doubled against nonmagic ranged. Standard bonus against magic ranged. And useless against big ranged. Vs Always effective.
Technically no cap vs capped at 5.
+1 per 3CL vs +1 per 2CL.

Gamer Girl
2012-07-20, 09:33 PM
Wind Armor is only one level less then wind wall, so it's not so bad...but the double AC for ranged attacks might be too much. And does it have a limit? Or can you get infinite AC?

Earthen Grasp is a lesser 'black tentacles' and it's not so bad either

Granite Hide look much more broken, natural armor for 1 hour a level? Why does this spell have a max AC, but Wind Armor does not?

There is no reason both 'armor' spells should not be mechanically the same, such as giving the same AC. And why does only Wind Armor get the bonus effect? Why not add a bonus effect for granite skin? Maybe non magical melee attack get double AC?

2012-07-21, 12:42 AM
There's a bunch of reasons that're all intertwined.
The class (and spells) were from an idea that a friend originally started. But he abandoned it about a year after the start of 3.5 (after some playtesting). I got a hold of it about 2 years later, and I've been working on it off and on since then.
A lot of the spells were originally homebrew or obscure 3rd party, and by the time it got to me, the descriptions were lost. So all I had was the name to go off of when designing spells. In this case, I think granite hide was one that my friend wrote down. Some time later I wrote Wind Armor, and only just noticed the discrepancy when I finally started an Air character for playtest.
I was thinking that at low levels, having +2 AC, or +4 vs nonmagic ranged wasn't a big deal. Then by the time you started seeing +5 compared +10, it wouldn't matter because you'd be seeing very few enemies that hit you with nonmagic arrows. At least, very few enemies that were an actual threat.

Yes, theoretically it can have an infinite AC, but the class and its casting are odd. Spells only go up to 6th level, so there's little desire to reach epic caster levels before you'd want to prestige out. You also get a very low number of spells per day of each level. The class is a bit of a gish in a can.

Granite hide, is an hour per level, but so is mage armor. And GH is a 2nd level spell, with a lower bonus at low levels, and only slightly higher bonus at high levels. *shrug* I don't mind changing the earth one to 10min/level.

You're right, the GH should probably get a bonus effect. Maybe the longer duration is enough to balance out the doubled effect of wind armor. Maybe not. It's why I'm asking for help.

Ok, think I answered all your questions, I feel like I'm starting to ramble. If you want clarification or explanation, don't hesitate to ask.