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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Revised Contagion, plus other Baleful spells

    In light of recent events, I buffed contagion to bring it on par with bestow curse. The arcane version spell level was lowered too, as it's an archetypal "black magic" spell. This way a wicked witch can actually start a plague amongst a local population.

    Contagion
    Necromancy [Evil]
    Level: Clr 3, Destruction 3, Drd 3, Sor/Wiz 3
    Components: V, S, DF
    Casting Time: 1 standard action
    Range: Touch
    Target: Living creature touched
    Duration: Instantaneous
    Saving Throw: Fortitude negates
    Spell Resistance: Yes

    Your touch inflicts a dreadful plague.

    The subject contracts one of the diseases described below, or any other standard disease you choose (subject to DM approval).

    You may choose for the disease to strike immediately (no incubation period), or after 1 day (or the standard disease's normal incubation period). In either case the subject is infectious and can spread the disease as normal (other creatures it infects always have an incubation period). If you choose for the disease to have an incubation period, the subject may spread the disease unawares.

    If you select a standard disease, the save DC for that disease (for both the subject and any other creatures it infects) uses contagion's DC. A natural roll of 20 on any subsequent save against the disease is not treated as an automatic success.

    Madness Plague
    This disease is spread by contact. Infected creatures become delirious, taking 2d4 points of damage to their Charisma, Intelligence, and Wisdom scores with each failed save.

    The Withering
    This disease is spread by contact. Infected creatures waste away, taking 2d4 points of damage to their Constitution, Dexterity, and Strength scores with each failed save.

    Baleful Gaseous Form
    Transmutation [Evil]
    Level: Air 5, Sor/Wiz 5
    Components: V, S
    Casting Time: 1 standard action
    Range: Touch
    Target: Creature touched
    Duration: Permanent
    Saving Throw: Fortitude negates
    Spell Resistance: Yes

    Your foe's form blurs and disperses, becoming little more than a cloud of mist with a helpless face.

    This spell functions as gaseous form, except as noted above.

    Baleful gaseous form can be dispelled with dispel magic, remove curse, break enchantment, or any similar effect.

    Baleful Plane Shift
    Conjuration (Teleportation) [Evil]
    Level: Cleric 8, Evil 8, Sor/Wiz 8
    Components: V, S, DF
    Casting Time: 1 standard action
    Range: Close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)
    Target: One creature
    Duration: Instantaneous
    Saving Throw: Will negates
    Spell Resistance: Yes

    Your victim is engulfed by hellfire and vanishes without a trace.

    The subject is transported to a random location on a random evil-aligned plane. The target is entitled to a Will saving throw to negate the effect.

    Baleful Resurrection
    Necromancy [Evil]
    Level: Clr 3, Evil 3, Sor/Wiz 3
    Components: V, S, M, DF
    Casting Time: 1 minute
    Range: Touch
    Target: Dead creature touched
    Duration: Instantaneous
    Saving Throw: None
    Spell Resistance: Yes (harmless)

    Your client was willing to pay any price to have their loved one back...

    This spell functions as raise dead, except as noted above. Additionally, the spell must be cast with a particular drawback, chosen from the options listed below. The caster may devise alternate methods, subject to DM approval.

    At the DM's discretion, the drawback is determined randomly unless the caster chooses the sacrifice option.

    Corruption
    The subject is restored to life, but comes back "wrong".

    The subject's alignment becomes evil on the moral (good vs evil) axis and shifts one step towards chaotic on the ethical (chaos vs law) axis.

    The subject gains a level adjustment of +1 (in addition to any level adjustment it already possesses).

    This version of the spell has a duration of "Permanent". The effects described above cannot be overcome through any means while the spell is in effect. If the spell is dispelled, the creature instantly dies again.

    Nemesis
    The subject is restored to life, but brought something back with them...

    An [Evil] outsider or an [Extraplanar] undead creature with a CR at least equal to the subject's CR+1 develops a personal animosity to the subject and works directly or indirectly to harm them and their allies. The enmity of the creature can’t be ended until one of the parties has been slain.

    Sacrifice
    The subject is restored to life, at the cost of innocent life.

    As an additional material component for this version of the spell, the caster must slay a good-aligned creature (or multiple good-aligned creatures) of the same type as the subject. The creature(s) to be sacrificed must have a total CR at least equal to the subject's CR.

    Material Component
    A chip of bloodstone, a piece of ivory, and a lit candle.
    Last edited by rferries; 2020-04-24 at 07:35 AM.

  2. - Top - End - #2
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    nonsi's Avatar

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    Default Re: Revised Contagion, plus other Baleful spells

    Nice flavor in general and a nice addition.
    1. Contagion seems powerful. 3 * 2d4 per failed save is a lot.
    2. Baleful Gaseous Form doesn't specifically state the means to undo it.

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    Silva Stormrage's Avatar

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    Default Re: Revised Contagion, plus other Baleful spells

    I would agree nice concept, some long duration effects like this are kinda needed. However, I have some issues with implementation.

    Contagion's Withering and Maddening plague are too strong. Not only does maddening plague instantly kill a wide amount of base creatures with int 2 or less (Yes Mindfire has a chance to do that too but there are quite a lot of creatures with int 3-4 which this has a much much higher chance of knocking out) but this is outputting similar ability damage as shivering touch, which is an obscenely powerful spell. I would reduce it to 1d4 to all ability scores.

    Baleful Gaseous Form is kinda obnoxious from a player's perspective as once you are trapped that's it. There is no way to get immunity or undo the effect yourself. It's a save or lose that you can't really get immunity from. I would slap a fort save every hour or 24 hours to end the effect beyond getting a caster to dispel it.

    Baleful Planeshift is a similar issue. It's a will save or die that you can't possibly guard against. Planar Travel is actually a fairly hard ability to get reliably. When your ability basically instantly kills/removes 90% or move of character classes from the game with a single will save and no way of getting magical protection it's a bit much. It's worse than a save or die because at least then you can resurrect the slain PC. I would bump this spell's level to 8th or probably 9th.

    Baleful Resurrection: Why is this not a cleric spell as well? Seems right up their ally with necromancy. Secondly this spell is just too powerful. With no material component cost you can basically bring back any character or NPC. This would be beyond obnoxious on an evil antagonist as they can just spam this on their already chaotic evil minions and just get them back up for free. Sure Dispel would destroy this but most PC's don't prepare 5+ dispels for all their enemies and certainly not at ECL 5. I would recommend putting a 1000 GP material component cost and bumping the spell level to 4th for clerics and to 5th for sorcerers/wizards.
    Quote Originally Posted by Hazuki View Post
    ...Silva, you are a scary person.
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    Default Re: Revised Contagion, plus other Baleful spells

    Quote Originally Posted by Silva Stormrage View Post
    <SNIP, PART RELOCATED BELOW>Planar Travel is actually a fairly hard ability to get reliably. When your ability basically instantly kills/removes 90% or move of character classes from the game with a single will save and <SNIP> it's a bit much. It's worse than a save or die because at least then you can resurrect the slain PC. I would bump this spell's level to 8th or probably 9th.
    As far as I can see, Baleful Planeshift's only advantage over Plane Shift is that it has a range of Close, rather than Touch. While not trivial, most clerics are likely to prefer using a slot 2 levels lower, and greater versatility. Sorcerers need to get the most versatility out of their spells known. Even wizards might not prepare it that often and learning it would tend to be a lower priority.

    tl;dr The problems you are referring to are mostly present in vanilla D&D. That doesn't necessarily mean that they aren't problems!
    Quote Originally Posted by Silva Stormrage View Post
    Baleful Planeshift is a similar issue. It's a will save or die that you can't possibly guard against.
    There are a counters to Plane Shift. One of them even has a lower casting level than Plane Shift: Dimensional Anchor and Dimensional Lock.

    If you want it in continuous item form, I personally created that item. The price I was advised to give it is rather steep, but going to a certain number of times per day or other drawbacks could ameliorate that.
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    Default Re: Revised Contagion, plus other Baleful spells

    Quote Originally Posted by DracoDei View Post
    As far as I can see, Baleful Planeshift's only advantage over Plane Shift is that it has a range of Close, rather than Touch. While not trivial, most clerics are likely to prefer using a slot 2 levels lower, and greater versatility. Sorcerers need to get the most versatility out of their spells known. Even wizards might not prepare it that often and learning it would tend to be a lower priority.

    tl;dr The problems you are referring to are mostly present in vanilla D&D. That doesn't necessarily mean that they aren't problems!

    There are a counters to Plane Shift. One of them even has a lower casting level than Plane Shift: Dimensional Anchor and Dimensional Lock.

    If you want it in continuous item form, I personally created that item. The price I was advised to give it is rather steep, but going to a certain number of times per day or other drawbacks could ameliorate that.
    The touch attack really does add quite a lot of extra ways people can guard against standard plane shift. Wall of Blades, Shadow Cloak etc etc all work quite well. Also the simple concept of the cleric needs to get close to them.

    Dimensional Anchor and Dimensional Lock aren't realistic solutions to an enemy casting a spell at you in the middle of combat. At 13th level tactical teleportation is pretty important and you aren't going to walk into every fight with what amounts to a major debuff on yourself preventing yourself from teleporting. And you can't really use them in the middle of combat either without sacrificing your entire turn.

    I guess my main question is why Wizards and Sorcerers need another will save or lose at 7th level, this one being particularly dangerous and hard to counter and is strictly better as a combat option than a spell they already have at that level (Plane shift can obviously be used as mobility but it's not bad as you pointed out as a combat spell)
    Quote Originally Posted by Hazuki View Post
    ...Silva, you are a scary person.
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    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Revised Contagion, plus other Baleful spells

    Thanks for the comments everyone! Here was my rationale for the various cards:

    Contagion
    The official version is pretty lacklustre, given the existence of bestow curse. I tried to balance my revised version between two of the standard bestow curse options, namely the "-4 to all checks" (which is generally the equivalent of -8 to all ability scores) and the "-6 to one ability score" (which is specifically useful for disabling spellcasting and other SAD classes).

    This version gives an average of 5 damage to three ability scores; painful but in combat you're still generally better off using a curse (unless targeting a MAD spellcaster I suppose). The obvious roleplay advantage is that contagion is a persistent disease that can worsen over time (and infect other people!).

    WRT shivering touch, contagion still allows a save and does much less damage so I'm not too concerned in that respect.

    Baleful Gaseous Form
    I balanced it against baleful polymorph (in fact it's generally inferior given that there's no risk of the subject losing their mental faculties). Like all such spells it can be removed with dispel magic, break enchantment, etc. but I've edited it to make that explicit.

    Baleful Plane Shift
    I balanced it against both finger of death (simply targets Will instead of Fort, and no effect on a successful save) and the standard plane shift itself (but Close range instead of Touch, and no non-combat utility).

    Baleful Resurrection
    This was intended to be a evil-themed raise dead with corresponding drawbacks (think "the monkey's paw" and similar unpleasant resurrections in fantasy). Even if the PC might not care about the alignment effects, losing a level AND gaining a level adjustment is a pretty steep price to pay; I envisioned this being used more by sidequest villains (especially fiends and cults) than actual players. It could be a stopgap measure for PCs that reallly don't want to reroll a character, until raise dead is available and they can be killed and properly resurrected.

    Edited to make it a cleric (and Evil domain) spell too, thanks for the suggestion!

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    Default Re: Revised Contagion, plus other Baleful spells

    Quote Originally Posted by rferries View Post
    Thanks for the comments everyone! Here was my rationale for the various cards:

    Contagion
    The official version is pretty lacklustre, given the existence of bestow curse. I tried to balance my revised version between two of the standard bestow curse options, namely the "-4 to all checks" (which is generally the equivalent of -8 to all ability scores) and the "-6 to one ability score" (which is specifically useful for disabling spellcasting and other SAD classes).

    This version gives an average of 5 damage to three ability scores; painful but in combat you're still generally better off using a curse (unless targeting a MAD spellcaster I suppose). The obvious roleplay advantage is that contagion is a persistent disease that can worsen over time (and infect other people!).

    WRT shivering touch, contagion still allows a save and does much less damage so I'm not too concerned in that respect.

    Baleful Gaseous Form
    I balanced it against baleful polymorph (in fact it's generally inferior given that there's no risk of the subject losing their mental faculties). Like all such spells it can be removed with dispel magic, break enchantment, etc. but I've edited it to make that explicit.

    Baleful Plane Shift
    I balanced it against both finger of death (simply targets Will instead of Fort, and no effect on a successful save) and the standard plane shift itself (but Close range instead of Touch, and no non-combat utility).

    Baleful Resurrection
    This was intended to be a evil-themed raise dead with corresponding drawbacks (think "the monkey's paw" and similar unpleasant resurrections in fantasy). Even if the PC might not care about the alignment effects, losing a level AND gaining a level adjustment is a pretty steep price to pay; I envisioned this being used more by sidequest villains (especially fiends and cults) than actual players. It could be a stopgap measure for PCs that reallly don't want to reroll a character, until raise dead is available and they can be killed and properly resurrected.

    Edited to make it a cleric (and Evil domain) spell too, thanks for the suggestion!
    Contagion: Yes but Bestow Curse can't bring a creature to 0 int/wis/cha. If your contagion also couldn't instantly drop a large number of creatures I would say it's current iteration is quite balanced as you noted. Though don't compare it with shivering touch, that spell is infamous for being utterly broken

    Baleful Gaseous Form: Okay that's fair, it is pretty much on par with Baleful Polymorph.

    Baleful Plane Shift: Except it's way better than finger of death. Finger of Death is a [Death] effect which is a VERY common immunity enemy immunity (All Undead/Constructs) and is incredibly common to have either spell (Death Ward) or Item based immunity to the effect (Soulfire Armor). Plane shift has no similar immunities or counterplay possible beyond the saving throw. Furthermore, finger of death just kills the target. At the level Finger of Death is being thrown around most PC parties have ways of ressurecting their allies, but a plane shifted target causes the party to not only lose an ally but also all of that ally's gear. Many parties simply will have no way of actually tracking down a party member lost to the planes in any reasonable time frame.
    Quote Originally Posted by Hazuki View Post
    ...Silva, you are a scary person.
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    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Revised Contagion, plus other Baleful spells

    Quote Originally Posted by Silva Stormrage View Post
    Contagion: Yes but Bestow Curse can't bring a creature to 0 int/wis/cha. If your contagion also couldn't instantly drop a large number of creatures I would say it's current iteration is quite balanced as you noted.
    Meh, I quickly perused the SRD and there aren't many CR 5+ creatures that would reliably be felled that way (or at least none that you wouldn't prefer using bestow curse on instead).

    Though don't compare it with shivering touch, that spell is infamous for being utterly broken
    Yes, I mentioned it only because you did haha!

    Baleful Plane Shift: Except it's way better than finger of death. Finger of Death is a [Death] effect which is a VERY common immunity enemy immunity (All Undead/Constructs) and is incredibly common to have either spell (Death Ward) or Item based immunity to the effect (Soulfire Armor). Plane shift has no similar immunities or counterplay possible beyond the saving throw. Furthermore, finger of death just kills the target. At the level Finger of Death is being thrown around most PC parties have ways of ressurecting their allies, but a plane shifted target causes the party to not only lose an ally but also all of that ally's gear. Many parties simply will have no way of actually tracking down a party member lost to the planes in any reasonable time frame.
    This strikes me as a bit of a "meta" concern (I certainly wouldn't expect NPCs to use it on players, except maybe as a plot hook), and plane shift already exists and can be used as an attack spell so my version would already have precedent. However I've bumped it up to 8th level, now on par with irresistible dance or maze.

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    Default Re: Revised Contagion, plus other Baleful spells

    .
    I would change Baleful Resurrection in one of two ways:
    1. Raise its level to 4.
    2. Require a life for a life (which would explain why it's a terrible idea for wizards to try and bring people from the dead).

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    OldWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Revised Contagion, plus other Baleful spells

    Quote Originally Posted by nonsi View Post
    .
    I would change Baleful Resurrection in one of two ways:
    1. Raise its level to 4.
    2. Require a life for a life (which would explain why it's a terrible idea for wizards to try and bring people from the dead).
    Option 2 is great flavour! I've incorporated it.

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