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  1. - Top - End - #61
    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: Power Word spells and balance points

    Quote Originally Posted by Dark.Revenant View Post
    A 16th level Cleric with 12-13 Con (not unreasonable if you're a healer/blaster type) will have 99 HP.
    And Death Ward, and Aid.
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  2. - Top - End - #62
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    Segev's Avatar

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    Default Re: Power Word spells and balance points

    This doesn't necessarily say much about power word: kill by itself, but one of the nastier traps in the Tomb of Annihilation is
    Spoiler
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    in Kubazan's tomb. Trigger it, and certain PCs turn into frogs, as if polymorphed, no save, just as a trio of wraiths appear and start to attack. Wraiths have an attack that, if it reduces you to 0 hp, forces you to make a Constitution save or die. While you're a frog with 1 Constitution and so few hp that any hit will drop you to 0 hp. In my run of it, only the Barbarian fell victim to this, and thus all of her hp, her features protecting her from bad saves, and her high constitution, were worthless.

  3. - Top - End - #63
    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: Power Word spells and balance points

    Quote Originally Posted by MaxWilson View Post
    And Death Ward, and Aid.
    The Death Ward Spell, I do not believe, is an effective defense against PWK.
    Death Ward protects you from dropping to zero Hit Points from damage.

    PWK is not doing damage....you just die, if you meet the criteria.

    An upcast Aid spell helps of course.

    PWK is a nasty spell.

    Placing A Regenerate spell on a cleric, usually means that barring outright death from Massive Damage or Crits when unconscious, the Cleric is going to pop back up. PWK shuts Regenerate down.
    Last edited by Thunderous Mojo; 2020-10-21 at 11:22 AM.

  4. - Top - End - #64
    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: Power Word spells and balance points

    Quote Originally Posted by Thunderous Mojo View Post
    The Death Ward Spell, I do not believe, is an effective defense against PWK.
    Death Ward protects you from dropping to zero Hit Points from damage.

    PWK is not doing damage....you just die, if you meet the criteria.

    An upcast Aid spell helps of course.

    PWK is a nasty spell.

    Placing A Regenerate spell on a cleric, usually means that barring outright death from Massive Damage or Crits when unconscious, the Cleric is going to pop back up. PWK shuts Regenerate down.
    Death Ward directly counters PWK and other death magic. Emphasis mine:

    Death Ward
    You touch a creature and grant it a measure of Protection from death. The first time the target would drop to 0 Hit Points as a result of taking damage, the target instead drops to 1 hit point, and the spell ends. If the spell is still in effect when the target is subjected to an effect that would kill it instantaneously without dealing damage, that effect is instead negated against the target, and the spell ends.
    Last edited by MaxWilson; 2020-10-21 at 11:50 AM.

  5. - Top - End - #65
    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: Power Word spells and balance points

    Excellent! I remembered paragraph one, and not paragraph two of Death Ward.

    Sorry, away from books.

    Power Word Kill has not aged well. In 1e, the spell only took 1 Segement to cast which is approximately a Bonus Action in 5e terms. PWK took the least amount of time to cast.

    There also was no Death Ward spell.

  6. - Top - End - #66
    Colossus in the Playground
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    Default Re: Power Word spells and balance points

    Quote Originally Posted by Thunderous Mojo View Post
    Excellent! I remembered paragraph one, and not paragraph two of Death Ward.

    Sorry, away from books.

    Power Word Kill has not aged well. In 1e, the spell only took 1 Segement to cast which is approximately a Bonus Action in 5e terms. PWK took the least amount of time to cast.

    There also was no Death Ward spell.
    Also massive HP bloat since then.
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  7. - Top - End - #67
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    Segev's Avatar

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    Default Re: Power Word spells and balance points

    What if knowing or having prepared a Power Word automatically gave you knowledge of when creatures in range were at few enough hp to be affected?

  8. - Top - End - #68
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    RangerGuy

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    Default Re: Power Word spells and balance points

    I'd like to leap into this discussion to mention that I've had PWK cast on me as a PC, by the DM, and my ally counterspelled it with a clutch check. It was a cool moment at the table.

    And if that counterspell had failed, it would have been a garbage moment for me. 5e has completely done away with practically every other Save or Die effect -- so why leave a single, impossible-to-resist insta-kill effect in the spellbook? It doesn't belong in any NPC's repertoire, except for use against other NPCs to scare the party. I don't want instakill of PCs in the games I play or run, but maybe other people want different playstyles.

    Quote Originally Posted by Segev View Post
    What if knowing or having prepared a Power Word automatically gave you knowledge of when creatures in range were at few enough hp to be affected?
    That's a nice moment for the Battlemaster Fighter to shine with Know Thy Enemy! Otherwise, I don't think it's a good idea because it removes what is arguably the fun part for me as a player: "I have an ace up my sleeve, but is now the right moment to play it? Do I wait for better odds after some more damage, but potentially miss my shot?"

  9. - Top - End - #69
    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: Power Word spells and balance points

    Quote Originally Posted by Thunderous Mojo View Post
    Excellent! I remembered paragraph one, and not paragraph two of Death Ward.

    Sorry, away from books.

    Power Word Kill has not aged well. In 1e, the spell only took 1 Segement to cast which is approximately a Bonus Action in 5e terms. PWK took the least amount of time to cast.

    There also was no Death Ward spell.
    Yes, 5E's adaptation of the Power Word spells is not ideal. They don't feel power word-y. I tend to believe PWK should have been a reaction, which you can take at any time in response to any stimulus. To me that is a reasonably-good way to give the same feel of ultra-quick casting time.

    It also goes without saying that AD&D does not have quick and easy resurrection like 5E does. In 5E, PWK may work perfectly and kill you, and yet potentially you're still back in action six seconds later thanks to Revivify. In AD&D there's a good chance PWK renders you perma-dead, and even if it doesn't it still costs you a permanent point of Constitution, not to mention all of your spells memorized and your ability to fight for several days (maybe a week? AFB). It's a serious liability.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldariel View Post
    Also massive HP bloat since then.
    Yeah, by a factor of 1.5x to 6x I believe, depending on whether you're measuring monsters or high-level wizards or low-level fighters.

    Quote Originally Posted by Segev View Post
    What if knowing or having prepared a Power Word automatically gave you knowledge of when creatures in range were at few enough hp to be affected?
    It's an interesting idea but I think that mechanic shouldn't be a one-off. In games derived from (A)D&D, having a given spell memorized shouldn't do anything unless you cast the spell, unless you mod the system so that ALL spells have passive effects when memorized. Which some people have done, I guess.
    Last edited by MaxWilson; 2020-10-21 at 03:27 PM.
    Purple text = personal judgment which I don't expect you necessarily to share. YMMV.

    Everything on the Internet is opinion but purple text is my way of highlighting that I am not interested in persuading you to share mine.

    This is the Most Important Video You've Never Seen About 5E Design. 5E designers Mike Mearls and Rodney Thompson tell you how game design was done, how classes were balanced against each other, etc.

  10. - Top - End - #70
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    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: Power Word spells and balance points

    Quote Originally Posted by Ionathus View Post
    That's a nice moment for the Battlemaster Fighter to shine with Know Thy Enemy! Otherwise, I don't think it's a good idea because it removes what is arguably the fun part for me as a player: "I have an ace up my sleeve, but is now the right moment to play it? Do I wait for better odds after some more damage, but potentially miss my shot?"
    I don't think Know Thy Enemy would actually be of any help in this situation...You need to spend a full minute observing/interacting with a creature outside of combat to use it.

  11. - Top - End - #71
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    DwarfBarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: Power Word spells and balance points

    Quote Originally Posted by Segev View Post
    What if knowing or having prepared a Power Word automatically gave you knowledge of when creatures in range were at few enough hp to be affected?
    In my case, we were fighting a deity with a high INT. The DM (fairly, I think) could tell I was a valid target. And yes, as someone mentioned, at L16 I had 99 HP. And I was hurt.

    A few people commented on my battle and death...
    I can't remember the Death Ward situation. I wonder if I didn't realize it would counter PWK. Or didn't have it up? First time I'd ever played a character over L12. BBEG was killing everyone who went below zero, as of about halfway through the combat. And BBEG was the boss of the final battle, and the only enemy in the room, and the DM knew its abilities far better than I, so he would not have handed control over to me.

    Also, we spent four rounds not being able to relieve him of his final hit point, during which time he killed three of us. The last guy standing took him out and escaped.

  12. - Top - End - #72
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    BlackDragon

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    Default Re: Power Word spells and balance points

    Quote Originally Posted by Tanarii View Post
    Yes but a level 17 PC is supposed to eat an Archmage for dinner. (They're a bit big for breakfast.)

    (I forget how crazy the high level CR system is sometimes. A single Archmage is Hard for a party of 4 10s. A pair is Hard for a party of 4 18s. It works pretty well in Tier 1 and Tier 2, but whenever I look at the two endgame Tiers I see why people complain.)

    --------

    The important thing here is PW:K is a primary a DM spell. All high level spells are. DMs are using them on BBEGs when the party just got access to level 6 spells! For PCs, they're endgame spells, either never seen because the campaign ends first, or only used a little before the campaign is over. They need to be balanced appropriately for that.
    Let's not forget that archmages needn't be played as the main force of attack, they could easily be working under a lich in order to become one, a dragon as an ally, or a fiend as their slave.

    In such cases, instantly and unambiguously removing a combatant may prove beyond useful considering the effects it has with action economy. It makes it doubly better since now there won't be a caster to counterspell your or your allies spells when facing the big honcho.

  13. - Top - End - #73
    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Re: Power Word spells and balance points

    Quote Originally Posted by Ionathus View Post
    It doesn't belong in any NPC's repertoire, except for use against other NPCs to scare the party. I don't want instakill of PCs in the games I play or run, but maybe other people want different playstyles.
    If I was going up against a dark cabal of Wizards, like Death Eaters or the Arcane Brotherhood, and found out that the cabal held the secrets to a Death Curse...(Cough, Power Word: Kill)....I would find it flavorful to fall to the ravages of the forbidden knowledge.

    Death is easy to cure. Resurrection cures disease and poison. You can drink yourself to death, and be fresh as a daisy after the spell.
    A 9th level Bestow Curse, that follows you past death.

    Quote Originally Posted by MaxWilson View Post
    In AD&D there's a good chance PWK renders you perma-dead,
    Just adding the clause that a death caused by PWK is only reversible by a Wish spell makes an interesting change. I might houserule that change.

    Death Spell was always strictly better then PWK in AD&D, sometimes too good.

    Death Spell, Disjunction, and the Summon Monster series are the spells I miss most.

  14. - Top - End - #74
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    zinycor's Avatar

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    Default Re: Power Word spells and balance points

    Quote Originally Posted by LordCdrMilitant View Post
    It's a great PC killer, which is pretty much the wrong way to use it because a GM shouldn't be aiming to ID their PC's,
    I disagree on this, at the level where players are facing monsters with 9th level spells, death is more of a condition the party will probably be ready to handle.

    Now, a very effective condition of course.
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