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View Full Version : What's the Point of Lightning Bolt?



Saph
2008-12-02, 07:45 PM
I'm in the middle of DMing Red Hand of Doom and half the arcane spellcasters in the module come with Lightning Bolt as one of their spells known. Using it has made me realise just how weak a spell it is in comparison to Fireball or Scintillating Sphere. Trying to hit more than two PCs with a line effect is SO difficult.

So why do so many WotC-built NPCs have it? Can anyone come up with some uses for the spell that can't be accomplished better by Scintillating Sphere?

- Saph

Enlong
2008-12-02, 07:46 PM
What's Scintillating Sphere?

Stupendous_Man
2008-12-02, 07:47 PM
So why do so many WotC-built NPCs have it?

Why does the feat Toughness exist?

John Campbell
2008-12-02, 07:47 PM
Sometimes not hitting everyone within 20' of your target is handy.

Eldariel
2008-12-02, 07:48 PM
WoTC doesn't know how to play their own game. Anyways, the effect area is much better in for example corridors, than that Burst. Also, it's a Core-spell unlike Scintillating Sphere; Fireball often just doesn't cut it due to Fire Resistance being so common.

Stupendous_Man
2008-12-02, 07:50 PM
WoTC doesn't know how to play their own game.

Case in point: 90% of Magic: The Gathering cards are crap.

Oslecamo
2008-12-02, 07:53 PM
Case in point: 90% of Magic: The Gathering cards are crap.

But they actually do it in purpose. Most of them at least

As for lighting bolt, sometimes you don't want to hit your own allies, and it's quite decent in closed long spaces like corridors.

Epinephrine
2008-12-02, 07:54 PM
Lightning Bolt has actually been pretty effective. It's much more surgical than Fireball, and as someone mentioned, it's great in hallways and such - you open the door at the end of a 50' long, 5' wide hallway, and there's a goblin shaman with a piece of fur and a glass rod in his hands? Whole party gets fried, with no nasty blast radius to get the goblin and his chums.

Its also much less destructive around flammable things.
Fireball+library = bad
Lighting Bolt + library = possibly ok, maybe a small stack of singed books.

zaei
2008-12-02, 08:02 PM
3e Lightning Bolt is boring. It was so much more interesting when you could bounce it off walls.

Enlong
2008-12-02, 08:03 PM
3e Lightning Bolt is boring. It was so much more interesting when you could bounce it off walls.

So that's what Red Mage meant when he said that 3.0 wizards had to be geometry experts.

Glimbur
2008-12-02, 08:04 PM
It was cooler when it bounced.

Kurtulmak
2008-12-02, 08:05 PM
I've heard that in 2nd Edition, it was much more powerful, because it bounced off walls. So, if you were good at geometry and angles, you could blast everything in the room seven times with a single spell.
And they removed that in 3rd Edition.
So yeah.


Edit: Also, ninja'd. Twice!

Khosan
2008-12-02, 08:05 PM
What's Scintillating Sphere?

I think it's basically a fireball, but with lightning instead of fire.

And yea, it used to be deadlier when you could use geometry to kill the crap out of anything.

Knaight
2008-12-02, 08:07 PM
No argument, although it doesn't really make sense why it should bounce. That and you either had to stick to well known angles(90, 60, 45, 30 probably) or you have to bust out the trig to bounce it, which doesn't take long once, but gets old.

Stupendous_Man
2008-12-02, 08:10 PM
No argument, although it doesn't really make sense why it should bounce.
So the part about a magically created bolt of electricity bouncing around that doesn't make sense to you is the part where it bounces?

Thurbane
2008-12-02, 08:12 PM
In "ye olde" editions, lightning bolt didn't start at your finger, it started at a set point, like fireball. Much more useful.

Enlong
2008-12-02, 08:13 PM
So the part about a magically created bolt of electricity bouncing around that doesn't make sense to you is the part where it bounces?

We all know that using magic to create a controlled bolt of lightning doesn't make sense. Using Magic doesn't make sense. What is odd is that the lightning bolt that isn't made out of hard rubber can bounce.

Starbuck_II
2008-12-02, 08:14 PM
So the part about a magically created bolt of electricity bouncing around that doesn't make sense to you is the part where it bounces?

I see what you did there. :smallbiggrin:

Thane of Fife
2008-12-02, 08:16 PM
In my 2e campaign, we didn't read the lightning bolt rules properly, and thought that the spell's range was how far the bolt stretched, rather than how far away it could be started.

This made it almost completely useless at high levels, as even one casting of it would deal about 40d6 damage to everything in the room. I can vividly recall the party bard accidentally shooting the party illusionist in the back with a lightning bolt.

I can also recall him stopping between two enemies, firing a lightning bolt through one, perpendicular to a wall, so it bounced through both enemies and himself about 10 times. I think he did something like 400 points of damage... to himself. Because both enemies were immune to lightning. It was unfortunate.


But yeah, it's a great spell for firing down corridors.

ericgrau
2008-12-02, 08:20 PM
I disagree with corridor comments, unless party is more than 40 feet apart in said corridor.


WoTC doesn't know how to play their own game. Anyways, the effect area is much better in for example corridors, than that Burst. Also, it's a Core-spell unlike Scintillating Sphere; Fireball often just doesn't cut it due to Fire Resistance being so common.

The 2nd half of this is the real reason. ALL fire spells in D&D tend to be better, do more damage, etc., because resistance is so common. If all you want is damage, you're supposed to pick fire spells. The other energy damage spells would be kinda redundant otherwise. I'm surprised that lightning bolt even does equal damage, so I don't really see a minor AoE problem as being all that bad. And if you had a lightning ball spell that was just like fireball, that would be dull. There's surprising little redundancy in the spell list (though there are many spells that are significant variations on others).

Usually I find complaints people have come from THEM not knowing how to play the game, or from non-core material, or etc. After reading way too many 3.5e rules and doing way too much number crunching, I've come to the conclusion that WotC was even crazier with their core rule-making than I am for checking their work. They were insanely careful at making things work right, even if most people don't bother reading all those tiny rules and run into "balance" problems b/c of it. Go ahead and dis 3.5e for it's style, blandness, for some classes having more options than others, w/e, but believe me, don't dis the balance. I dunno if they hired a mathematician or what, but I checked their numbers and they are crazy careful.

Then a bunch of people got fired or something, they started experimenting with splatbooks including some concepts to be used later for 4e, and all that went out the window.

Eldariel
2008-12-02, 08:21 PM
2e Bolt is a classic. It really made the spell interesting. 3e has bland blasting spells, main arguments against them (since the base effect is mediocre and that's all they'll ever give). If Fireball actually did have a shockwave that knocked people down (or set 'em on fire) and if Lightning Bolt was the rubberbolt we all knew and loved (or forced a save vs. being dazed or cardiac arrest), they'd be far more usable.

RTGoodman
2008-12-02, 08:26 PM
The SRD has this to say about Line spells:


A line-shaped spell shoots away from you in a line in the direction you designate. It starts from any corner of your square and extends to the limit of its range or until it strikes a barrier that blocks line of effect. A line-shaped spell affects all creatures in squares that the line passes through.

I always took it to mean that you could start it at one corner of your square and have it run right down the line between two columns of squares, effecting squares on BOTH sides of the line (essentially make the area of lightning bolt a 2 square by 120 square rectangle). Is that right?

If so, I guess that makes it a LITTLE better, since you can hit everything in a 10-foot-wide hallway, and also have a chance to hit a whole party with it elsewhere if they march in groups of two side-by-side (like they do in most games I've been in).

If not, well... I've been shocking more PCs that I should have been... :smallredface:

ericgrau
2008-12-02, 08:28 PM
2e Bolt is a classic. It really made the spell interesting. 3e has bland blasting spells, main arguments against them (since the base effect is mediocre and that's all they'll ever give). If Fireball actually did have a shockwave that knocked people down (or set 'em on fire) and if Lightning Bolt was the rubberbolt we all knew and loved (or forced a save vs. being dazed or cardiac arrest), they'd be far more usable.

Fun and little known fact: If you roll a 1 on a reflex save against a blasting spell, it affects a piece of your gear (normally they don't). And the fireball spell description does say it ignites flammables.


The SRD has this to say about Line spells:



I always took it to mean that you could start it at one corner of your square and have it run right down the line between two columns of squares, effecting squares on BOTH sides of the line (essentially make the area of lightning bolt a 2 square by 120 square rectangle). Is that right?

If so, I guess that makes it a LITTLE better, since you can hit everything in a 10-foot-wide hallway, and also have a chance to hit a whole party with it elsewhere if they march in groups of two side-by-side (like they do in most games I've been in).

If not, well... I've been shocking more PCs that I should have been... :smallredface:

Nah, I think the line has to pass through the squares not just touch their edge. But if you shot it diagonally you would hit 2 diagonal lines not just 1.


Yeah, I too have a conceptual problem with magic dealing enormous amounts of bodily harm, but having no ill effects immediately after.
They come and go in a flash. Ever try to start a fire with only a little lighter fluid, without letting it soak in first so it can keep burning? But also see comment on rolling 1 on reflex saves, and many spell descriptions do give effects for unattended objects, there are rules for damaging objects even if they aren't particularly flammable, etc.

Prometheus
2008-12-02, 08:29 PM
Yeah, I too have a conceptual problem with magic dealing enormous amounts of bodily harm, but having no ill effects immediately after.

Emperor Tippy
2008-12-02, 08:32 PM
I disagree with corridor comments, unless party is more than 40 feet apart in said corridor.



The 2nd half of this is the real reason. ALL fire spells in D&D tend to be better, do more damage, etc., because resistance is so common. If all you want is damage, you're supposed to pick fire spells. The other energy damage spells would be kinda redundant otherwise. I'm surprised that lightning bolt even does equal damage, so I don't really see a minor AoE problem as being all that bad. And if you had a lightning ball spell that was just like fireball, that would be dull. There's surprising little redundancy in the spell list (though there are many spells that are significant variations on others).

Usually I find complaints people have come from THEM not knowing how to play the game, or from non-core material, or etc. After reading way too many 3.5e rules and doing way too much number crunching, I've come to the conclusion that WotC was even crazier with their core rule-making than I am for checking their work. They were insanely careful at making things work right, even if most people don't bother reading all those tiny rules and run into "balance" problems b/c of it. Go ahead and dis 3.5e for it's style, blandness, for some classes having more options than others, w/e, but believe me, don't dis the balance. I dunno if they hired a mathematician or what, but I checked their numbers and they are crazy careful.

Then a bunch of people got fired or something, they started experimenting with splatbooks including some concepts to be used later for 4e, and all that went out the window.

...

The damage spells might be balanced in core. But there is a reason that a caster dealing damage is considered less than intelligent.

ericgrau
2008-12-02, 08:37 PM
B/c when people discovered battlefield control, it was a sudden revelation, before which blasting was the popular things to do. So it suddenly become "control vs. direct damage", and internet people exaggerated, said control was all powerful and direct damage was worthless (neither is true). Direct damage isn't that bad at all, just maybe a little worse. Take a look at V. Plus blasting all the time or relying on any blanket strategy all the time is suboptimal. You get rewarded for playing smart, and that's built into the control spells. i.e., you have to be smart to use them right and they may fail under the wrong circumstances, but they're intentionally stronger than direct-damage if you do some thinking and properly apply them. Blasting OTOH tends to at least do something all the time, takes less thinking, and is less likely to fall prey to one of the myriad of resistances or immunities that monsters have to thwart control. Vs. energy, where usually they have a little resistance at best, and rarely have immunity, and then only to a single type. Just take a close look at dragons or demons, for example, to see what I mean.

Stupendous_Man
2008-12-02, 08:44 PM
B/c when people discovered battlefield control, it was a sudden revelation, before which blasting was the popular things to do. So it suddenly become "control vs. direct damage", and internet people exaggerated, said control was all powerful and direct damage was worthless (neither is true). Direct damage isn't that bad at all, just maybe a little worse. Take a look at V.

Fistcuffs isn't that bad compared to gunfighting, just maybe a little worse. Take a look at Neo.

Collin152
2008-12-02, 08:55 PM
and rarely have immunity, and then only to a single type. Just take a close look at dragons or demons, for example, to see what I mean.

Yeah, no.
Liches are immune to both Electricity and Cold.

Astral Devas, from a 20 second search, are immune to both Acid and Cold.

Triaxx
2008-12-02, 09:00 PM
The point of lightning bolt? Taking out that pesky caster who threw up fireshield (red) just in time to avoid being flame-broiled by my fireball, without waiting for the fighter to carve a bloody swath through the enemy lines.

Or take out the caster that's Healing the huge creature every time it takes damage.

One of my favorite examples is in the Moathouse in Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil. We play with the map from the game, rather than the module map, since it's a less involved crawl. Near the secret exit, there's a corridor with a door. Unwisely, the enemies are standing in a line, in theory so they can reinforce each other with long spears. Unfortunately one CL 10 Lightning Bolt wipes them out almost completely almost every time.

Corvus
2008-12-02, 09:02 PM
Ah, the good old 2E lightning bolt which bounced around the room zapping everything. It was fun being a mage back then.

2E fireballs were fun too. They filled up a set volume (33 10' cubes from memory) and expanded to fill exactly that dimension. You couldn't just toss one into a small room as it would come back down the corridor and fry the party - who were none to impressed :)

Worira
2008-12-02, 09:10 PM
Case in point: 90% of Magic: The Gathering cards are crap.

Although Lightning Bolt is awesome in Magic.

jcsw
2008-12-02, 09:14 PM
Another one: somehow persuade your DM that an explosive metamagic'd lightning bolt pushes enemies to the other end of the line.

Enlong
2008-12-02, 09:23 PM
Another one: somehow persuade your DM that an explosive metamagic'd lightning bolt pushes enemies to the other end of the line.

Huh. I'd allow that without a second thought.

Someone needs to homebrew a Bouncing Lighting Bolt for 3.5, or a Bouncing Metamagic feat.

Shhalahr Windrider
2008-12-02, 09:28 PM
Nah, I think the line has to pass through the squares not just touch their edge. But if you shot it diagonally you would hit 2 diagonal lines not just 1.
No, RTG has it right. Pay attention to the way the illustration on page 176 of the PHB has the line affect all four squares adjacent to the intersection it passes through. You draw the line from intersection to intersection, not square to square. Therefore, when you draw from one intersection to another that lies on the same grid line, it affects a line exactly 10 ft. by 120 ft.

As you mention, a line that is 45 on the grid would be 10 ft. wide in either case. Since the grid is just an abstraction placed at a largely arbitrary angle, it would make no sense in the game world for it to behave any differently if aimed in another direction. In 3.5, a lightning bolt is always 10 ft. wide. Any angle that includes a section of "single" squares is the result of "rounding errors."

Starbuck_II
2008-12-02, 09:32 PM
Huh. I'd allow that without a second thought.

Someone needs to homebrew a Bouncing Lighting Bolt for 3.5, or a Bouncing Metamagic feat.

Probably +1 or +2.
I'd make it work like the Ricochet ability (that bounces stuff).

Flame of Anor
2008-12-02, 10:09 PM
I can also recall him stopping between two enemies, firing a lightning bolt through one, perpendicular to a wall, so it bounced through both enemies and himself about 10 times. I think he did something like 400 points of damage... to himself. Because both enemies were immune to lightning. It was unfortunate.

OMG...that is freaking HILARIOUS. :smallbiggrin::smallbiggrin::smallbiggrin:

UserClone
2008-12-02, 11:10 PM
One of my favorite examples is in the Moathouse in Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil. We play with the map from the game, rather than the module map, since it's a less involved crawl. Near the secret exit, there's a corridor with a door. Unwisely, the enemies are standing in a line, in theory so they can reinforce each other with long spears. Unfortunately one CL 10 Lightning Bolt wipes them out almost completely almost every time.
But the question then is, if you are already level 10, what the hell are you still doing at the moathouse?

RPGuru1331
2008-12-02, 11:16 PM
Throwing Lightning Bolts is cool.

Ozymandias
2008-12-02, 11:30 PM
Throwing Lightning Bolts is cool.

Word. Lightning is sexier and more elegant than fire.

Bouncing Lightning bolt would be really good at corridor clearing, especially dead ends - as roguelike fans will attest.

jcsw
2008-12-02, 11:48 PM
Probably +1 or +2.
I'd make it work like the Ricochet ability (that bounces stuff).

Either it would be unable to affect a creature twice, or it would need a higher adjustment. Metamagics which double spell effects tend to have +3(Maximize, almost a double) or +4(Twin)

Eldariel
2008-12-02, 11:49 PM
Fun and little known fact: If you roll a 1 on a reflex save against a blasting spell, it affects a piece of your gear (normally they don't). And the fireball spell description does say it ignites flammables.

It, among others, lacks the natural shockwave that should go with an explosion (failed save knocks you prone?) and doesn't have the chance of causing characters to catch fire. And yes, I know that fun little known fact - my Dervish lost two scimitars and some trinkets that way. I know it all too well.


As for direct damage vs. controlling, the main reason Wizards aren't suggested to take direct damage spells is:
1) They have very limited spellslots, so you need maximum impact from each. A well-placed control spell can do a lot more than a damage spell.
2) When you're using damage spells, you're directly stepping on the toes of the rest of your party, who pretty much only do damage. They're fully capable of doing it without you; rather stick to doing what they can't do.

It's not a matter of novelty or mood swings or any other number of things - it's simple party playing. In fact, that's what most practical optimization - making the party work as well as it can and maximizing everyone's enjoyment. That's the real goal of optimizers.

RTGoodman
2008-12-03, 12:00 AM
It, among others, lacks the natural shockwave that should go with an explosion (failed save knocks you prone?) and doesn't have the chance of causing characters to catch fire. And yes, I know that fun little known fact - my Dervish lost two scimitars and some trinkets that way. I know it all too well.

Actually, it DOES have a chance to catch characters on fire, I'd say:


The lightning bolt sets fire to combustibles and damages objects in its path. It can melt metals with a low melting point, such as lead, gold, copper, silver, or bronze.

I mean, if they're wearing normal clothes or have anything else combustible on them, then have it set fire. I mean, it's what, 1d6 fire damage per round or something?

Also, to make players EXTRA mad at you, insist that each lightning bolt that hits them destroys some of their hard-earned coin until they can get someone to, you know, re-melt it and turn it back into coins again... :smallbiggrin:

Eldariel
2008-12-03, 12:54 AM
Well, worn stuff is assumed to survive all attacks unless natural 1 is rolled on a save (10 on the table is "anything else"), so unless that's the case, rules don't see clothes catching fire.

RTGoodman
2008-12-03, 01:11 AM
Well, worn stuff is assumed to survive all attacks unless natural 1 is rolled on a save (10 on the table is "anything else"), so unless that's the case, rules don't see clothes catching fire.

Yeah, right, right - I was thinking rule was just for MAGIC items being damaged after a nat 1 on a save. Either way, I still want to be devious and melt my players' gold at some point. :smallamused:

mabriss lethe
2008-12-03, 01:58 AM
I can readily understand why pregenerated casters from a module might come equipped with a less destructive, more precise offensive spell. It makes the encounter more winnable for players who, most likely, are lower on the learning curve than a veteran player.

Reminds me of a really funny story. I recently played a binder in a one-shot campaign. I'd bound Focalor that day. . Anyway. We'd managed to get on the bad side of a local goblin tribe. We tried to run, before we got swarmed over, but they backed us into a corner and surrounded us. I had a stroke of genius when they got just outside of melee distance.

My character (who spoke goblin) spreads his arms wide, face beseeching the heavens like some sort of martyr.

"OH LORD! Forgive these, your wayward children. They know not what they do. I beg thee! Stay thy wrathful hand and..."*BLAM!Lightning falls from a clear sky and nukes the goblin chieftan."....Oh well. Never mind." (the DM gave me a really dirty look once he realized that since it's a supernatural ability, there was no outward sign to give away the fact that there wasn't a god listening, just my character pulling a fast one.)

Blood_Lord
2008-12-03, 02:15 AM
For those of you wanting 2e style fireballs and lightning bolts:

spoilered from Dungeonomicon (http://www.tgdmb.com/viewtopic.php?t=28547)
Seeker of the Lost Wizard Traditions
"The old ways are the best ways. Magic in the past was capable of things you can't even comprehend."

Empires have risen and fallen many times in history, and each time new magics are discovered and old magics are lost. The Seeker of the Lost Wizard Traditions is a user of magic who is convinced that the way magic was used in the past is better in some important fashion. Whether they are correct or not is something that the Mages of the Arcane Order would probably be willing to argue for days or weeks. But it is undeniable that much of the magic used by the Seeker are beyond the comprehension of those who have not taken the time to explore its ancient ways.

Previous generations have largely picked the surface clean of ancient magic power, and now those who wish to find the remnants of the ancient civilizations must journey deeper and deeper beneath the earth to find items that are protected from scrying.

Prerequisites:
Skills: Spellcraft 9 ranks; Knowledge (Dungeoneering) 9 ranks
Spellcasting: Must be able to prepare arcane spells of at least 2nd level.
Race: Human, Elf, or Gnome
Special: Must not be specialized in a school of magic other than Illusion.

Hit Die: d4
Class Skills: The Seeker of the Lost Wizard Traditions' class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Decipher Script (Int), Knowledge (all skills, taken individually) (Int), Profession (Wis), and Spellcraft (Int)).
Skills/Level: 2 + Intelligence Bonus
BAB: Medium (1/2), Saves: Fort: Poor; Reflex: Poor; Will: Good

Level, Benefit
1 Spell Reflection, Scroll Preparation, +1 Spellcasting Level
2 Uncapped Magic, +1 Spellcasting Level
3 Burst Conservancy, +1 Spellcasting Level
4 Harvest Magic, +1 Spellcasting Level
5 Expanse of the Sky, +1 Spellcasting Level
6 Temporary Portal, +1 Spellcasting Level
7 Unbreachable Stone Defense, +1 Spellcasting Level

All of the following are Class Features of the Seeker of the Lost Wizard Traditions class:
Weapon and Armor Proficiency: A Seeker of the Lost Wizard Traditions gains no proficiency with any weapons or armor. However, a Seeker of the Lost Wizard Traditions is considered proficient with any magic sword he holds.

Spellcasting: Every level, the Seeker of the Lost Wizard Traditions casts spells (including gaining any new spell slots and spell knowledge) as if he had also gained a level in a spellcasting class he had previous to gaining that level.

Spell Reflection (Su): A Seeker of the Lost Wizard Traditions may reflect spells with a line area of effect off of walls. The spell may either bounce off at an appropriate angle (angle of incidence equals angle of refraction) or straight back towards the caster at his whim. Creatures whose spaces are entered twice by a bouncing spell effect are affected twice.

Scroll Preparation: A Seeker of the Lost Wizard Traditions may prepare his daily spells from any magical writing that he has deciphered without harming himself or the magical writing. Many Seekers take magical scrolls and bind them together into book form because magical scrolls take up less room in a book than do normal pages of spell formulae.

Uncapped Magic: At 2nd level, spells cast by a Seeker of the Lost Wizard Traditions do not have maximum level-dependent effects.

Burst Conservancy (Su): At 3rd level, the spells cast by a Seeker of the Lost Wizard Traditions attempt to fill all available space. Every square that a spell with a burst area of effect is prevented from occupying because of a wall or similar obstruction is added to the other side of the effect's area. For example, a fireball takes up 44 squares when used without obstructions. When used in a long, 10' wide hallway by a Seeker of the Lost Wizard Traditions, the fireball would extend to be 110' long.

Harvest Magic (Ex): A 4th level Seeker of the Lost Wizard Traditions can cut pieces out of recently killed monsters that are useful in item creation. An Aberration, Dragon, Magical Beast, Ooze, or Outsider that has been successfully identified with the appropriate knowledge skill by the Seeker of the Lost Wizard Traditions and killed within the last hour can have one of its organs harvested by the Seeker in a 10 minute procedure that preserves some of the magical power of the creature. The magical portions of such a creature are worth 50 gp and 2 XP towards item creation per CR of the monster.

Expanse of the Sky (Su): At 5th level, a Seeker of the Lost Wizard Traditions may double the ranges and areas of his spell effects when he is outdoors. As long as the Seeker of the Lost Wizard Traditions has an open sky over his head, every 10' cube in a spell description is a 20' cube, every 30' cone is a 60' cone, and so on and so on. Essentially, all of his spells benefit from Widen and Enlarge Spell

Temporary Portal (Su): When a 6th level Seeker of the Lost Wizard Traditions casts a [Teleportation] spell that would normally change his own location, he can create a portal from the target location to a location adjacent to himself instead of moving himself. This portal can be seen through and line of effect for spells can be drawn through it. The Seeker of the Lost Wizard Traditions may dismiss the portal at any time as a free action, and it otherwise lasts 1 round per caster level of the Seeker.

Unbreachable Stone Defense (Su): When a 7th level Seeker of the Lost Wizard Traditions benefits from the spell stone skin, his damage reduction is increased to Unlimited/Adamantine. The hit point reserve of the stone skin is still only reduced by a maximum of 10 points per attack.


As a bonus joke, I'm pretty sure that most if not all of the abilities of the "Seeker of Lost Traditions" (hur hur hur) are references to 2e (or maybe earlier) rules.

Certainly Reflection/Burst Conservancy/Stone Defense are the 2e spells Lightning Bolt, Fireball, Stone Skin, respectively. And I can't remember about Preparation in old editions, but that was how it worked in Vance. Also, I think Crafting rules from 2e.

Anyone who can confirm crafting/prep, or give me an "Lost Tradition" for the other abilities gets a cookie.

(Dimension Door was a portal wasn't it? But not Teleport?)

Eloel
2008-12-03, 02:34 AM
So, "blasting casters are bad" means, warmage is the worst possible class? I wouldn't think so, seeing how our party's warmage tends to kill as much as the remainder of our party does. (3 orcs and 1 unknown monster, the warmage killed an orc and the monster)

Talic
2008-12-03, 02:36 AM
For those who say that direct damage is worthless, there's a 6 year old girl you should meet. Her name is Cindy. She can one shot a great wyrm red dragon with direct damage. Or a white. Or, well, pretty much any dragon that doesn't exist in the Epic Handbook or have a CR higher than 35.

I think she was designed as being pretty well uber at 15, but powerful at 11-13.

And yes, she has control spells too. But direct damage spells usually are harder to stop.

Sstoopidtallkid
2008-12-03, 02:46 AM
So, "blasting casters are bad" means, warmage is the worst possible class? I wouldn't think so, seeing how our party's warmage tends to kill as much as the remainder of our party does. (3 orcs and 1 unknown monster, the warmage killed an orc and the monster)Generally it's suboptimal. There's ways of making it great, the problem is that the same level of effort on other stuff would make you even better, and not step on the toes of the party. The standard comparison is Fireball compared to Haste at CL 5. Fireball deals 17.5 damage on a failed save, while Haste gives your Fighter twice as many attacks dealing at least 17.5 points each round as well as boosting the rest of the party in multiple areas, not mentioning Stinking Cloud which nerfs all enemies for 1d4+1 rounds if they fail their save. Which is more effective? Which is more fun for the rest of your party? That's why no one on here loves Evocation the way they do Conjuration or Transmutation. It's not impossible to make a good blaster, it's just easier to make a good control Wizard.

KKL
2008-12-03, 02:49 AM
warmage is the worst possible class?

Warmage != Complete Warrior Samurai

So no. They're not the worst possible class. They, however, aren't the best class.

Talic
2008-12-03, 02:51 AM
The key for direct damage is to focus on no save/no SR spells.

Boost ranged touch, and the Orb line is good. That way, your opponent's saves... don't matter. All that matters is touch AC and HP, and you've designed to punch through the touch AC like it was nothing... and there's not many creatures out there that can take 400 damage, or 22 negative levels... in one round... and live for long.

So this makes tham have an advantage over the Save or X line, as your opponent gets no D20 to resist. All the dice are in your hands.

Eloel
2008-12-03, 02:55 AM
A warmage still makes a better ranged fighter than possibly most non-magical class. It has a different flavor that most don't. Control mages mostly buff&nerf, which no fun at doing :)

RTGoodman
2008-12-03, 02:56 AM
I don't think there's ANYONE who says direct damage is "worthless" - the point, though, is that ANY class can deal damage, so why should someone with so many other options (like a Wizard) choose to do the same thing the others are supposed to be doing. You're making a sub-optimal choice AND stepping on others' toes at the same time. Blasting has its place (when you need to clear out a bunch of mooks fast, fireball is probably as good as anything else), but since as a Wizard you're the only one (probably) with the kind of versatility and control that you have, why not use it optimally?

Sstoopidtallkid
2008-12-03, 02:59 AM
A warmage still makes a better ranged fighter than possibly most non-magical class. But that same flavor gives you the Warlock which is TOTALLY AWESOME. And no, Clerics are the best at range, followed by Swift Hunters.
It has a different flavor that most don't. Control mages mostly buff&nerf, which no fun at doing :)But much more fun for the party. Compare "I kill them all" to "I make them sick." "I run up and CUT THEM IN HALF!" Read this (http://forums.gleemax.com/showthread.php?t=956548). It's a great team-wizard guide.

Thurbane
2008-12-03, 03:58 AM
B/c when people discovered battlefield control, it was a sudden revelation, before which blasting was the popular things to do. So it suddenly become "control vs. direct damage", and internet people exaggerated, said control was all powerful and direct damage was worthless (neither is true). Direct damage isn't that bad at all, just maybe a little worse. Take a look at V. Plus blasting all the time or relying on any blanket strategy all the time is suboptimal. You get rewarded for playing smart, and that's built into the control spells. i.e., you have to be smart to use them right and they may fail under the wrong circumstances, but they're intentionally stronger than direct-damage if you do some thinking and properly apply them. Blasting OTOH tends to at least do something all the time, takes less thinking, and is less likely to fall prey to one of the myriad of resistances or immunities that monsters have to thwart control. Vs. energy, where usually they have a little resistance at best, and rarely have immunity, and then only to a single type. Just take a close look at dragons or demons, for example, to see what I mean.
Seconded - direct damage is only "teh suxx0rz" if you are in a group of uber optmizers, or it's a DM vs players game and the DM is an uber optimizer.

Not to say battlefield control isn't more efficient - it unarguably is. But the inffectiveness of direct damage is almost invariably exaggerated to the Nth degree. The same argument holds true of most "usless" things, like Monks, Fighters etc etc.

Not to go all Grognard, but sometimes people just want to play a character based on a concept, not a walking stat block of destruction. :smallbiggrin:

Tsotha-lanti
2008-12-03, 04:28 AM
So why do so many WotC-built NPCs have it? Can anyone come up with some uses for the spell that can't be accomplished better by Scintillating Sphere?

Because their spells are picked randomly, pretty much.

It wasn't that terrible in AD&D, if your DM could actually be bothered to calculate how it bounced off walls, and you took the trouble to align it so you caught the same target(s) repeatedly with it. (It's just wonderful in the Gold Box games. Unless your magic-user is standing by a wall and gets hit with it...) And if your DM did that, then fireball was awful, since it filled a certain volume, rather than having a set diameter, and would inevitably blow you up... (Oddly, the Gold Box games didn't have fireball work that way.)


Sometimes not hitting everyone within 20' of your target is handy.

That's when you use scorching ray. Lightning bolt isn't going to hit more than two targets (unless you're fighting an army or other clump of dozens of enemies, in which case fireball is like 6 to 10 times as effective anyway), and you need to move a lot to even nail those two.

There's a host of better spells for targeting that 1-2 targets, and they're either lower level or have better effects.

John Campbell
2008-12-03, 04:34 AM
For those of you wanting 2e style fireballs and lightning bolts:

spoilered from Dungeonomicon (http://www.tgdmb.com/viewtopic.php?t=28547)
Seeker of the Lost Wizard Traditions
"The old ways are the best ways. Magic in the past was capable of things you can't even comprehend."
Oh, man, I so need to talk my DM into letting me do this with my next wizard. I miss my volume-filling fireballs.


Expanse of the Sky (Su): At 5th level, a Seeker of the Lost Wizard Traditions may double the ranges and areas of his spell effects when he is outdoors. As long as the Seeker of the Lost Wizard Traditions has an open sky over his head, every 10' cube in a spell description is a 20' cube, every 30' cone is a 60' cone, and so on and so on. Essentially, all of his spells benefit from Widen and Enlarge Spell

Technically, this ought to triple all the ranges and areas.

See, back in 1st Edition, most of the ranges and areas were measured in inches, tabletop wargaming-style. And, for some bizarre reason, the conversion to in-game distances varied depending on whether you were in a dungeon or in the wilderness. You got the same number either way, but indoors it was in feet, and outdoors it was in yards. So that thirty-foot radius volume-filling sphere of fire that a 1E fireball produced was a thirty-yard radius sphere if you cast it above ground.

Kaiyanwang
2008-12-03, 05:11 AM
Seconded - direct damage is only "teh suxx0rz" if you are in a group of uber optmizers, or it's a DM vs players game and the DM is an uber optimizer.

Not to say battlefield control isn't more efficient - it unarguably is. But the inffectiveness of direct damage is almost invariably exaggerated to the Nth degree. The same argument holds true of most "usless" things, like Monks, Fighters etc etc.

Not to go all Grognard, but sometimes people just want to play a character based on a concept, not a walking stat block of destruction. :smallbiggrin:

I feel better now. Thanks. *Hugs Thurbane*

Mystral
2008-12-03, 05:22 AM
It's quite nice for sieges, if you can get next to the wall, perferably invisible and with protection from arrows. I once cleared a whole battlement with a wand of lightning bolt.

ericgrau
2008-12-03, 05:57 AM
I feel better now. Thanks. *Hugs Thurbane*

It's a good feeling to remember you're not alone, especially when people on the internet try to squelch anyone who dare disagree with them (not so much in this thread, though). Thanks.


It, among others, lacks the natural shockwave that should go with an explosion (failed save knocks you prone?) and doesn't have the chance of causing characters to catch fire. And yes, I know that fun little known fact - my Dervish lost two scimitars and some trinkets that way. I know it all too well.

Per the spell description, fireball exerts little pressure. It is not explosive. More like a flaming plume I suppose. Fireball does ignite easily ignitable things if it hits them, and melts easily meltable metals. So I'd think some gear would catch fire or melt on a reflex of 1. But otherwise a flash of flame doesn't tend to ignite anything IRL (too short; see: starting a campfire), so I don't see why the spell should. Not that you couldn't houserule any number of effects for many spells.

I forget but I thought a roll of 1 only causes 1 piece of gear to be affected; there's even a priority listed. I'd have to check the rule again though.

Ethdred
2008-12-03, 05:59 AM
For NPCs it can be very useful given the tendency for parties' marching orders to be a straight line - so starting off the combat with a surprise LB from front or back is always a good way to endear yourself to your players :)

Nerd-o-rama
2008-12-03, 06:03 AM
Yeah, I too have a conceptual problem with magic dealing enormous amounts of bodily harm, but having no ill effects immediately after.Frankly, swords have the same problem in D&D if you aren't creative at imagining how HP damage works.

Oslecamo
2008-12-03, 06:18 AM
...

The damage spells might be balanced in core. But there is a reason that a caster dealing damage is considered less than intelligent.

I disagree. Some well used metamagic cheese and two blaster casters will pretty much fry anything in a single round.

Also, sometimes you don't have a choice, when your enemy is buffed with death ward, freedom of movement, mindblank, ect, ect, and all your save or dies bounce out of him harmlessly. There's no nonepic spells that grant elemental immunity however, so blasting always does some damage.

Unless you're facing a rogue.

Kaiyanwang
2008-12-03, 06:50 AM
I disagree. Some well used metamagic cheese and two blaster casters will pretty much fry anything in a single round.

Also, sometimes you don't have a choice, when your enemy is buffed with death ward, freedom of movement, mindblank, ect, ect, and all your save or dies bounce out of him harmlessly. There's no nonepic spells that grant elemental immunity however, so blasting always does some damage.

Unless you're facing a rogue.

You mean immunity to ALL five energies toghether...

Oslecamo
2008-12-03, 07:25 AM
You mean immunity to ALL five energies toghether...

Lots of monster have energy immunity to this or that, but humanoid NPCs will have a much harder time geting it.

For the monsters, that's why you have energy substituion

Tsotha-lanti
2008-12-03, 08:08 AM
Frankly, swords have the same problem in D&D if you aren't creative at imagining how HP damage works.

With the D&D hit point system, it doesn't help how creative you are. Your performance is entirely unimpaired by any kind of damage all the way up until 0 hit points.

But yeah, spells aren't any different from falling, weapons, and other sources of damage, in this respect.

Kaiyanwang
2008-12-03, 08:16 AM
Lots of monster have energy immunity to this or that, but humanoid NPCs will have a much harder time geting it.

For the monsters, that's why you have energy substituion

I was meaning the Energy Immunity spell (immunity to ONE enery type). In the ELH there are rings of Enenrgy Immunity, even all 5 toghether. And there are feats to obtain ONE. Anyway, this CONFIRM your point.. it's difficult to obtain.

And I'm fine with that - I agree with you, was only to clarify. :smallbiggrin:

Leon
2008-12-03, 08:55 AM
Case in point: 100% of Magic: The Gathering cards are crap.

Fixed it

That game is tragically saddening

kjones
2008-12-03, 09:01 AM
Does anyone think that it would be unreasonable or unbalanced to make lightning bolts bounce the way they used to? I remember playing that way in 2nd Edition (and in the Baldur's Gate games... dear Bog, how many times did I fry myself with a lightning bolt in that game?) and it always worked out pretty well.

While we're on the subject, what about making it so that fireballs fill a space again? That was cool.

Could these changes be reasonably implemented in 3rd edition?

Shhalahr Windrider
2008-12-03, 09:08 AM
Burst Conservancy (Su): At 3rd level, the spells cast by a Seeker of the Lost Wizard Traditions attempt to fill all available space. Every square that a spell with a burst area of effect is prevented from occupying because of a wall or similar obstruction is added to the other side of the effect's area. For example, a fireball takes up 44 squares when used without obstructions. When used in a long, 10' wide hallway by a Seeker of the Lost Wizard Traditions, the fireball would extend to be 110' long.
Funny. A fireball is a spread, not a burst. So it wouldn't be affected.

Triaxx
2008-12-03, 09:12 AM
But the question then is, if you are already level 10, what the hell are you still doing at the moathouse?

We were level 5, but the scroll was CL 10. We didn't think we'd need it later.

And for those of you nostalgic for 2e Lightning, here you are: I made one. (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=36990&highlight=Lightning+Bolt)

Emperor Tippy
2008-12-03, 10:29 AM
For those who say that direct damage is worthless, there's a 6 year old girl you should meet. Her name is Cindy. She can one shot a great wyrm red dragon with direct damage. Or a white. Or, well, pretty much any dragon that doesn't exist in the Epic Handbook or have a CR higher than 35.

I think she was designed as being pretty well uber at 15, but powerful at 11-13.

And yes, she has control spells too. But direct damage spells usually are harder to stop.

Yes, if you optimize anything too that extent it becomes very good. And yeah, she is one of the most powerful wizard builds. But direct damage in general play isn't that great.

LibraryOgre
2008-12-03, 10:58 AM
No argument, although it doesn't really make sense why it should bounce. That and you either had to stick to well known angles(90, 60, 45, 30 probably) or you have to bust out the trig to bounce it, which doesn't take long once, but gets old.

There were two basic schools of thought on Lightning Bolt in 2nd edition. This first is the direct reflection school... if you hit a wall, no matter the angle, it bounced back towards you (or directly along its own path).

The other was the geometry school: the angle of reflection was the opposite of the angle of incidence; if you hit the wall at 22* left, then it reflected at 22* right.

The spell also started at a range, so you blast pretty effectively by starting it X feet away, letting it reflect, and not having enough length to get back to you.

metagaia
2008-12-03, 06:45 PM
Does anyone think that it would be unreasonable or unbalanced to make lightning bolts bounce the way they used to? I remember playing that way in 2nd Edition (and in the Baldur's Gate games... dear Bog, how many times did I fry myself with a lightning bolt in that game?) and it always worked out pretty well.

While we're on the subject, what about making it so that fireballs fill a space again? That was cool.

Could these changes be reasonably implemented in 3rd edition?

Metamagic feats is probably the easiest way to do it, something like this for example:
Ricochet Spell [metamagic]
You can bounce ray and line spells off walls.
Benefit: You can fire a ray or line spell that will bounce as a direct reflection off any flat surface that is dealt damage less than it's total hitpoints a number of times equal to caster level up to the spell's maximum range. Ray spells discharge upon hitting a creature (including constructs and undead) while line spells may hit a number of targets (counted with multiplicity) equal to half your caster level. A ricocheted spell uses up a spell slot two level's higher than the spell's actual level.

Not saying it's perfect, but it's a definite starting point.

kjones
2008-12-03, 11:12 PM
Metamagic feats is probably the easiest way to do it, something like this for example:
Ricochet Spell [metamagic]
You can bounce ray and line spells off walls.
Benefit: You can fire a ray or line spell that will bounce as a direct reflection off any flat surface that is dealt damage less than it's total hitpoints a number of times equal to caster level up to the spell's maximum range. Ray spells discharge upon hitting a creature (including constructs and undead) while line spells may hit a number of targets (counted with multiplicity) equal to half your caster level. A ricocheted spell uses up a spell slot two level's higher than the spell's actual level.

Not saying it's perfect, but it's a definite starting point.

Sure, you could do it with metamagic. But what if you just did it with line spells? Is a lightning bolt that bounces really as powerful as an Empowered lightning bolt? Would it be unbalancing to just make all lightning bolts bounce and all fireballs fill their area?

(I envision bouncing rays to be very dangerous... imagine bouncing Enervation through somebody four or five times. Ouch.)

Thane of Fife
2008-12-03, 11:42 PM
Sure, you could do it with metamagic. But what if you just did it with line spells? Is a lightning bolt that bounces really as powerful as an Empowered lightning bolt? Would it be unbalancing to just make all lightning bolts bounce and all fireballs fill their area?

If you took the whole 2nd edition spell (able to start the spell a distance away from yourself), then yes, it's quite good. You could potentially bounce it through someone 24 times in a 5-foot wide hallway for 240d6 damage. If you could get immunity to lightning, then in a 10-ft hallway, even starting at yourself, you could get it to hit someone 12 times without too much effort. Now imagine Maximizing it on top of that. That's 360 damage on a passed Reflex save (barring Evasion and its ilk).And of course, you probably have to make a save each time you're hit.

LibraryOgre
2008-12-03, 11:46 PM
If you took the whole 2nd edition spell (able to start the spell a distance away from yourself), then yes, it's quite good. You could potentially bounce it through someone 24 times in a 5-foot wide hallway for 240d6 damage. If you could get immunity to lightning, then in a 10-ft hallway, even starting at yourself, you could get it to hit someone 12 times without too much effort. Now imagine Maximizing it on top of that. That's 360 damage on a passed Reflex save (barring Evasion and its ilk).And of course, you probably have to make a save each time you're hit.

Actually, you cannot do 240d6 by clever bouncing. You can, however, force 24 saves, and if any of them fail, then the full damage is applied.

Thane of Fife
2008-12-03, 11:50 PM
You would be correct. I should, perhaps, read spell descriptions more carefully. Indeed, I seem to recall having noted this many times, and having forgotten it every single one.

Oh well, it's led to some good times in my games.

xanaphia
2008-12-04, 01:13 AM
After reading way too many 3.5e rules and doing way too much number crunching, I've come to the conclusion that WotC was even crazier with their core rule-making than I am for checking their work. They were insanely careful at making things work right, even if most people don't bother reading all those tiny rules and run into "balance" problems b/c of it. Go ahead and dis 3.5e for it's style, blandness, for some classes having more options than others, w/e, but believe me, don't dis the balance. I dunno if they hired a mathematician or what, but I checked their numbers and they are crazy careful.

Then a bunch of people got fired or something, they started experimenting with splatbooks including some concepts to be used later for 4e, and all that went out the window.

Can you please explain that? What numbers are crazy careful?


Metamagic feats is probably the easiest way to do it, something like this for example:
Ricochet Spell [metamagic]
You can bounce ray and line spells off walls.
Benefit: You can fire a ray or line spell that will bounce as a direct reflection off any flat surface that is dealt damage less than it's total hitpoints a number of times equal to caster level up to the spell's maximum range. Ray spells discharge upon hitting a creature (including constructs and undead) while line spells may hit a number of targets (counted with multiplicity) equal to half your caster level. A ricocheted spell uses up a spell slot two level's higher than the spell's actual level.

Not saying it's perfect, but it's a definite starting point.

The first use that occurs to me for this feat with ray spells is bouncing it off walls to hit someone you can't see. But then you wouldn't be able to aim it, because you can't see them.

How can you use this feat with rays? Where would it give you an advantage?

Also, you could have fun having some fellow members of your party running around with mirrors and shooting at them.

Sstoopidtallkid
2008-12-04, 01:20 AM
Usually I find complaints people have come from THEM not knowing how to play the game, or from non-core material, or etc. After reading way too many 3.5e rules and doing way too much number crunching, I've come to the conclusion that WotC was even crazier with their core rule-making than I am for checking their work. They were insanely careful at making things work right, even if most people don't bother reading all those tiny rules and run into "balance" problems b/c of it. Go ahead and dis 3.5e for it's style, blandness, for some classes having more options than others, w/e, but believe me, don't dis the balance. I dunno if they hired a mathematician or what, but I checked their numbers and they are crazy careful.

Then a bunch of people got fired or something, they started experimenting with splatbooks including some concepts to be used later for 4e, and all that went out the window.Druid v. Monk. Both entirely core, one sucks and the other rocks. Heck, I'd put the Druid's Animal Companion on the same level as the Monk. Core is in no way balanced.

tyckspoon
2008-12-04, 01:24 AM
The first use that occurs to me for this feat with ray spells is bouncing it off walls to hit someone you can't see. But then you wouldn't be able to aim it, because you can't see them.

How can you use this feat with rays? Where would it give you an advantage?


You could.. uh.. bounce it off a series of suspiciously placed mirrors in order to bypass a barrier that blocks line of effect but not line of sight?

Yahzi
2008-12-04, 01:34 AM
Direct damage isn't that bad at all, just maybe a little worse.
One of the players in my game has two abilities: Entangle (as his domain spell) and a stupid Reserve Feat that lets him cast a 3d6 10x10 fireball every single turn for the rest of his life.

Guess which ability wrecks almost every encounter? Hint: it's not the lame-o wanna-be fireball. After your players have read their 10th scroll of Entangle, your encounter is grade-A fubared, and they're picking off your mobs one-by-one because they all have stupid crazy Reflex saves and 9 ranks of Escape Artist.

Ya, damage dealing is for chumps. Literally - that's what you hire fighters for. :smallbiggrin:

Lert, A.
2008-12-04, 01:50 AM
The first use that occurs to me for this feat with ray spells is bouncing it off walls to hit someone you can't see. But then you wouldn't be able to aim it, because you can't see them.

At least one member of my group would love to spot his attacks through clairvoyance, or through his familiar. I would let him do it too.

Maybe I will take the 2e route again soon.

Oslecamo
2008-12-04, 03:28 AM
Guess which ability wrecks almost every encounter? Hint: it's not the lame-o wanna-be fireball. After your players have read their 10th scroll of Entangle, your encounter is grade-A fubared, and they're picking off your mobs one-by-one because they all have stupid crazy Reflex saves and 9 ranks of Escape Artist.


So you never meet enemies with good reflex saves/flying/ranged attacks at 10th level?

I could just as well say that I throw endless hordes of small flying enemies with 3HP that attack togheter. In that case the reserve feat fireball will definetely be better than entangle.

Thurbane
2008-12-04, 03:49 AM
Actually, you cannot do 240d6 by clever bouncing. You can, however, force 24 saves, and if any of them fail, then the full damage is applied.
Yeah, that's how I remember it too...

metagaia
2008-12-04, 06:16 AM
The first use that occurs to me for this feat with ray spells is bouncing it off walls to hit someone you can't see. But then you wouldn't be able to aim it, because you can't see them.

How can you use this feat with rays? Where would it give you an advantage?

Also, you could have fun having some fellow members of your party running around with mirrors and shooting at them.

Well, your party members relay the location to you (for example, you want to try disintegrating a medusa without looking at her) of the enemy you want to hit. A DC 5 intelligance check (+2 for each ricochet needed after 1) gives you the angle to fire it at. The target gets a 50% miss chance(assuming no mirrors), so it's a long shot but might come in handy occasionally.

Tbh, I'd rather you say it was underpowered and useless than overpowered and game breaking :smallwink:

ericgrau
2008-12-04, 06:35 AM
Druid v. Monk. Both entirely core, one sucks and the other rocks. Heck, I'd put the Druid's Animal Companion on the same level as the Monk. Core is in no way balanced.

You would, but you'd be wrong. Like I said, problem usually lies with the player: either misconceptions or lack of understanding of the rules. When I crunch the numbers I find otherwise. Likewise in real games class differences tend to be less exaggerated than they are online, whether the players are good or not. Druids are just a fad, monks suffer from player ineptitude, animal companions are actually exceedingly weak compared to most any class. I have analyzed these to death, it is nothing more than internet opinion. Offline opinions differ, heck even switching to another internent forum you'll find some different opinions.

Gardakan
2008-12-04, 07:33 AM
when you're in a corridor... Lightning Bolt is very the best spell for doing joke..

RebelRogue
2008-12-04, 08:12 AM
Seconded - direct damage is only "teh suxx0rz" if you are in a group of uber optmizers, or it's a DM vs players game and the DM is an uber optimizer.

Not to say battlefield control isn't more efficient - it unarguably is. But the inffectiveness of direct damage is almost invariably exaggerated to the Nth degree. The same argument holds true of most "usless" things, like Monks, Fighters etc etc.

Not to go all Grognard, but sometimes people just want to play a character based on a concept, not a walking stat block of destruction. :smallbiggrin:
I wholeheartedly agree, save perhaps for the monk bit...

Sstoopidtallkid
2008-12-04, 08:39 AM
You would, but you'd be wrong. Like I said, problem usually lies with the player: either misconceptions or lack of understanding of the rules. When I crunch the numbers I find otherwise.I have as well, and I've found the opposite. Maybe if you posted your analysis...
Likewise in real games class differences tend to be less exaggerated than they are online, whether the players are good or not.This is true, but the disparity is there. Exaggeration doesn't mean it isn't, it just means people take things too far.
Druids are just a fad,It's a full-caster that can trade all of it's physical stats for others, gets several attacks, special abilities that are hard to get otherwise, and a second character that is nearly as effective as a PC.
monks suffer from player ineptitudeNo, they suffer from a lack of coherent design. Their abilities lack synergy, they seem designed to fill several roles while actually filling none, and they have few abilities that can reliably affect the enemy.
animal companions are actually exceedingly weak compared to most any class.They're on the same level as a Monk, just below the Fighter and just above the Warrior. I've checked, and it really is possible to build an Animal Companion with abilities similar to the Monk in combat at many levels.
I have analyzed these to death, it is nothing more than internet opinion. Offline opinions differ, heck even switching to another internet forum you'll find some different opinions.Yes, but some of the best rules-lawyers and optimizers out there are on this forum and Wizards and both are more-or-less in agreement about the effective methods of using a caster and where the Monk falls. You'll forgive me if I doubt your word that they're wrong without evidence.

Oslecamo
2008-12-04, 08:46 AM
They're on the same level as a Monk, just below the Fighter and just above the Warrior.

Just because you bothered to uber optimize the animal companion and probably didn't even bother to pick a decent combination of fighter's feats

If you take your time to carefully pick the fighter's feats, tactics, race and equipment, the animal companion will at best be a minor nuissance.

Remember the uber optimized fighter lockdown build? It would easily throw the uber optimized animal companion out of the way.

Kaiyanwang
2008-12-04, 08:53 AM
Monk and Fighters could be of course be designed FAR better without game imbalances and a lot of fun, but in my experience if someone cannot do something useful with them it's because the player is unable to play smart and/or the GM is not skilled or chellenges the players always in the same way (for me was this way when I was a N00B GM :smallwink:).

Shhalahr Windrider
2008-12-04, 09:02 AM
Guess which ability wrecks almost every encounter? Hint: it's not the lame-o wanna-be fireball. After your players have read their 10th scroll of Entangle, your encounter is grade-A fubared, and they're picking off your mobs one-by-one because they all have stupid crazy Reflex saves and 9 ranks of Escape Artist.
So you never meet enemies with good reflex saves/flying/ranged attacks at 10th level?
And "almost every encounter" occurs in an area that's got enough plants to use entangle?

And they occur in an area where the ridiculously huge area of effect doesn't get in the way?

Epinephrine
2008-12-04, 09:23 AM
And "almost every encounter" occurs in an area that's got enough plants to use entangle?

Yes? Well, it does in the campaign I've been playing. Gotta love swamps, too. Entangle+Control Water = dead enemies.

Also, the third level druid spell Vine Mine makes plants from nothing, so it's a really handy thing for a druid to pack. (It also provides heavy underbrush effectively, if you choose to have that function active, so you can slow the enemy down with it before trapping them with Entangle.)

Druids planning to go where there aren't plants should bring the plants with them.

Shhalahr Windrider
2008-12-04, 10:13 AM
Yes? Well, it does in the campaign I've been playing. Gotta love swamps, too. Entangle+Control Water = dead enemies.
Sounds like your DM needs a good excuse to get you out of the swamp. :smalltongue:


Also, the third level druid spell Vine Mine makes plants from nothing, so it's a really handy thing for a druid to pack. (It also provides heavy underbrush effectively, if you choose to have that function active, so you can slow the enemy down with it before trapping them with Entangle.)
I'm not familiar with that spell. Source?


Druids planning to go where there aren't plants should bring the plants with them.
Definitely a good idea when feasible.

Eldariel
2008-12-04, 10:40 AM
You would, but you'd be wrong. Like I said, problem usually lies with the player: either misconceptions or lack of understanding of the rules. When I crunch the numbers I find otherwise. Likewise in real games class differences tend to be less exaggerated than they are online, whether the players are good or not. Druids are just a fad, monks suffer from player ineptitude, animal companions are actually exceedingly weak compared to most any class. I have analyzed these to death, it is nothing more than internet opinion. Offline opinions differ, heck even switching to another internent forum you'll find some different opinions.

Do you think it's a random "opinion"? Don't you think the ideas actually came from facts? 'cause I can tell you that they did come from facts, and that they are true. Heck, even WoTCs admitted this when moving to 4e. If your number crunch reveals balance, then you're doing it wrong, plain and simple. The Monk is mechanically inferior and indeed, it would be impossible to make all classes mechanically equal; this has been discussed to death and one man's worth hardly carries any weight anymore since the numbers have been crunched (yes, and the Monk came out way, way behind). One thing often forgotten about the Animal Companion is that it's always modified by Druid's buff spells and any equipment (at the very least, a Barding) it's wearing. Since the Druid doesn't need much equipment to be awesome, he has plenty to spend on the AC. The Fighter in core-only environment is two, maybe four levels actually worth taking since then you run out of feats worth spending the levels for when you can gain greater returns from class features instead. Does this all really need to be explained again?

Last we discussed your simulations, you had e.g. assumed a solo Fighter (not a standard scenario - the Fighter's power is modified by the other party members even if they're not present; a PC Fighter has access to certain amount of buffs on a consistent basis due to other party members, and possibly cheaper equipment due to crafting) vs. a Fire Giant (a heavily over CRd foe) and used those numbers to come to conclusions; it doesn't take a genius to figure out that numbers based on two faulty baselines are going to come out wrong. How can you seriously claim that's the only oversight you've made?

DM Raven
2008-12-04, 08:27 PM
Lightning Bolt is an encounter power, fireball is daily. Even though it's two levels higher, most encounter powers aren't as good as daily powers.

Stupendous_Man
2008-12-04, 08:31 PM
You would, but you'd be wrong. Like I said, problem usually lies with the player: either misconceptions or lack of understanding of the rules. When I crunch the numbers I find otherwise.

Ken Lay said something remarkably similar when accused of accounting fraud.


Likewise in real games class differences tend to be less exaggerated than they are online, whether the players are good or not.

You know this due to your extensive research into the 'typical' DnD game. I am glad you took so much time to gather such statistics. May I see them? For, you understand, I am curious to know how you know that class differences are less exaggerated in real life games.

Innis Cabal
2008-12-04, 08:33 PM
3e Lightning Bolt is boring. It was so much more interesting when you could bounce it off walls.

Pretty much. I usually house rule it this way anyway.

Thurbane
2008-12-04, 08:40 PM
Do you think it's a random "opinion"?
I wouldn't go so far as to say random, but...

:smalltongue:

In all honestly, there is a certain amount of hysterical escalation that happens on any (internet) forum. Someone (or several people) espouses an opinion as fact often enough, others start to accept it as immutable. Throw in some homebrewed facts and figures, pretty soon it's graven in stone.

I've been on a few other D&D forums, and each has their own barrow to push in regards to what rocks and what sucks. I'm not saying that Monks, Fighters or direct damage is as good as other options - what I am saying is that their alleged uselessness is often vastly exaggerated.

Shhalahr Windrider
2008-12-04, 10:35 PM
Lightning Bolt is an encounter power, fireball is daily. Even though it's two levels higher, most encounter powers aren't as good as daily powers.
So far we've been talking mostly about 3e lightning bolt with the occasional comparison to 1e and 2e lightning bolt. Not sure if the 4e version really figures in here.

Stupendous_Man
2008-12-04, 10:41 PM
So far we've been talking mostly about 3e lightning bolt with the occasional comparison to 1e and 2e lightning bolt. Not sure if the 4e version really figures in here.

What is this fourth edition that you speak of? (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Discontinuity/DisContinuity)

Shhalahr Windrider
2008-12-04, 10:46 PM
What is this fourth edition that you speak of? (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Discontinuity/DisContinuity)
It's late where I'm from, and I don't do too well in December to begin with. Guess I'm just a bit off in the head.

elliott20
2008-12-04, 10:47 PM
Case in point: 90% of Magic: The Gathering cards are crap.

that's how you get them to buy more cards. if all the cards were good, people can stop after their third booster pack.

Fizban
2008-12-05, 12:49 AM
A bit late to the party, but the point on Lightning Bolt's retained 10' effective width has renewed my interest in the spell, especially with the implications for other "5' wide line" spells. I don't think it'd be too hard to hit more than 2 targets with a 10' wide bolt with careful positioning, especially indoors where people are usually in close proximity to each other. The official stance on lines I believe is that when drawing the line from your chosen corner, it must pass through two opposite sides of the square to be considered effecting it, which means that you can get a decent width by firing at odd angles, and using that logic while turning the grid makes perfect sense. Following that, I'd guess the official stance on spheres/circles would be that it must pass through both of the far sides to affect the square, though I haven't compared to their example areas.

One the related though non-lightning bolt specific topic of spell area targeting, anyone ever launched a fireball or fired a cone from above at a calculated height so as to reduce the effective area hit on the ground? (Cones affect a quarter circle on the ground, which translates into an eighth sphere in 3d, the far end of which is curved like a sphere, so you can use the same principle). I'd run the numbers myself on the spot, but I'm lazy, and I'd rather hear from someone who's done it in game.

Sstoopidtallkid
2008-12-05, 01:05 AM
You know this due to your extensive research into the 'typical' DnD game. I am glad you too so much time to gather such statistics. May I see them? For, you understand, I am curious to know how you know that class differences are less exaggerated in real life games.QFTMFT. text

xanaphia
2008-12-05, 03:03 AM
Those of you who think D&D is balanced, as soon as you can come up with a lv 8 fighter who will beat a level 5 druid who wild shapes into a black bear, you may have a point. Let's think: The druid is a level 5 full caster. Also, no matter what his physical stats are, in this form he has Str 19, Dex 13, Con 15, and speed 40ft. He can attack with 2 claws +6 (1d4+4) and a bite +1 (1d6+2). If he has Natural Spell, and who wouldn't, he can use contagion, wind wall, entangle, and all the other awesome druid spells. What can a level 8 fighter do?

Also, earlier I wasn't saying that Bounce Spell sucked, I was saying that it wasn't as good as it first looked. I'd take it any day, if only for the amusement value.

Stupendous_Man
2008-12-05, 03:07 AM
Hit it.

Seduction might be the fighter's only hope of survival.

KKL
2008-12-05, 03:31 AM
'evel 5 druid... If he has Natural Spell

lol no

Natural Spell has a 6th level requirement.

monty
2008-12-05, 03:39 AM
lol no

Natural Spell has a 6th level requirement.

Only because you don't normally get a feat at 5th. It's possible through, say, Chaos Shuffle.

KKL
2008-12-05, 04:00 AM
Only because you don't normally get a feat at 5th. It's possible through, say, Chaos Shuffle.

Hahaha Chaos Shuffling. You have a point though.

monty
2008-12-05, 04:19 AM
Hahaha Chaos Shuffling. You have a point though.

On the other hand, if you can get wildshape at a lower level (like the original Pun-Pun method IIRC), it's perfectly feasible to get it before 6th.

Oslecamo
2008-12-05, 05:41 AM
Those of you who think D&D is balanced, as soon as you can come up with a lv 8 fighter who will beat a level 5 druid who wild shapes into a black bear, you may have a point. Let's think: The druid is a level 5 full caster. Also, no matter what his physical stats are, in this form he has Str 19, Dex 13, Con 15, and speed 40ft. He can attack with 2 claws +6 (1d4+4) and a bite +1 (1d6+2). If he has Natural Spell, and who wouldn't, he can use contagion, wind wall, entangle, and all the other awesome druid spells. What can a level 8 fighter do?


The extra CON is irrelevant, since the druid doesn't gain extra HP from it.

It's AC will also be pathetic.

Also even if the druid got chaos shuffle, he still can't cast and attack in the same turn. It still also can't cast spells wich last all day long.

Plus his equipment will have melded inside his body.

The fighter will have got enough feats to make his uber charge build by then.

Get a chep mount so you can quickly get in range of the druid and avoid entanglement, one hit kill the druid with the uber charge, take the loot and handle animal the animal companion toget yourself a nifty minion. Easy as breakfast.

What? You tough the druid was the only one who could play around with animals? The fighter still has a skill list, despite what people say.:smalltongue:

Kaiyanwang
2008-12-05, 06:52 AM
The extra CON is irrelevant, since the druid doesn't gain extra HP from it.

The fighter will have got enough feats to make his uber charge build by then.



This. If human, he has mage slayer too.

Oslecamo
2008-12-05, 08:13 AM
This. If human, he has mage slayer too.

Yeah, and the druid can't claim he's invisible/rope tricking/displaced like those pesky wizards are always doing:smallbiggrin:

ken-do-nim
2008-12-05, 10:10 AM
Actually, you cannot do 240d6 by clever bouncing. You can, however, force 24 saves, and if any of them fail, then the full damage is applied.

I rule that once you make a save against a lightning bolt, you have successfully jumped out of the way and won't take any further damage from any more bounces. For instance, let's say a fighter is caught in 3 bounces. The lightning bolt damage is 50 points.

First pass: save failed, 50 points damage.
Second pass: save succeeded, 25 points damage for 75 total.
Third pass: not affected.

Glyde
2008-12-05, 10:44 AM
Bouncing lightning bolt was the best. I remember using it in Baldur's Gate II to finish off hard, triggered fights (Fight wasn't started till you talked to them.)

Sure, it killed the immersion, but casting lightning bolt in such a way that it hits them a dozen and a half times is hilarious.



Also, the save = save them all thing is flawed. If its not bouncing uniformly, wouldn't they have to try to discern where it's next going to bounce? And they'd have to think really damn fast to avoid it again entirely.

And Explosive Lightning Bolt is quite awesome. Leads to some interesting scenes.

Stupendous_Man
2008-12-05, 12:20 PM
You'll forgive me if I doubt your word that they're wrong without evidence.

Stoopidtallkid, you foolish fool! He has said that he *number crunched* and found evidence to support his theory! Why do you not accept his word at face value, hounding him with needless requests for evidence? Why, oh why, ye of little faith?

UserClone
2008-12-05, 12:27 PM
I think that he may have been referring to a numerical variation on Alpha-Bits cereal when he said that. *Mmmmm, marshmallows!*

BadJuJu
2008-12-05, 12:42 PM
But they actually do it in purpose. Most of them at least

As for lighting bolt, sometimes you don't want to hit your own allies, and it's quite decent in closed long spaces like corridors.

Bah, they should have evasion. Or get out of the way... Duh...

monty
2008-12-05, 02:55 PM
And Explosive Lightning Bolt is quite awesome. Leads to some interesting scenes.

Hmm...Explosive Bouncing Lightning Bolt? If the explosion knocked them back after every hit, you could hit it at an angle in a hallway and blast them all the way to the end.

Fax Celestis
2008-12-05, 03:00 PM
Does Explosive Spell cause a bull-rush? If so, dungeoncrasher would be hilarious.

PairO'Dice Lost
2008-12-05, 03:54 PM
Does Explosive Spell cause a bull-rush? If so, dungeoncrasher would be hilarious.

Sadly no; it just deals 1d6 damage per 10 feet moved, so an explosive lightning bolt filling up a 60-foot corridor would deal the spell damage plus 1d6-3d6 damage. No bull rush involved.

Hmm...

Idea!

The fact that it blasts an enemy to the nearest edge would make Dungeoncrasher handy. If there's a 60-foot lightning bolt and someone's standing less than 30 feet away, they're pushed towards you, more than 30 feet and they're pushed away, because that's the closest end. If the end of the corridor is closed, though...

Before combat: Make your Dungeoncrasher buddy immune/highly resistant to electricity somehow.
Round 1: Cast a wall spell behind an enemy within range of your explosive lightning bolt
Round 2: Your Dungeoncrasher buddy bull rushes them down to the end of the hall.
Round 3: Explosive lightning bolt knocks enemy right back to you, since there's nowhere to go with the wall there.
Round 4: Your Dungeoncrasher buddy, if he failed his save, is also back between you and the enemy (ask him to purposely fail his save).
Round 5: Goto 2.

Your enemy will die long before your Dungeoncrasher buddy is feeling the pain. :smallbiggrin:

Stupendous_Man
2008-12-05, 04:04 PM
Does Explosive Spell cause a bull-rush? If so, dungeoncrasher would be hilarious.

Melf's Unicorn Arrow deals bullrushes on top of damage...

monty
2008-12-05, 05:20 PM
Melf's Unicorn Arrow deals bullrushes on top of damage...

I love that spell.

"I kill things. With unicorns."

metagaia
2008-12-05, 05:33 PM
I love that spell.

"I kill things. With unicorns."

http://www.smbc-comics.com/comics/20061125.gif :smallbiggrin:

Fenix_of_Doom
2008-12-05, 05:51 PM
The extra CON is irrelevant, since the druid doesn't gain extra HP from it.


This explains a lot.

Wildshape functions as Alternate Form, and if you look that up in the SRD you will see this:


The creature gains the physical ability scores (Str, Dex, Con) of its new form. It retains the mental ability scores (Int, Wis, Cha) of its original form. Apply any changed physical ability score modifiers in all appropriate areas with one exception: the creature retains the hit points of its original form despite any change to its Constitution.

Which invalidates your whole number crunching.

Shhalahr Windrider
2008-12-05, 06:02 PM
http://www.smbc-comics.com/comics/20061125.gif :smallbiggrin:
I see your Saturday Morning Breakfast and raise you one Perry Bible Fellowship (http://pbfcomics.com/?cid=PBF103-Nice_Shirt.gif). :smallcool:

Oslecamo
2008-12-05, 08:26 PM
Which invalidates your whole number crunching.

Yep, druids still have to invest in CON, or die. To lighting bolt!:smallbiggrin: