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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Pixie in the Playground

    Join Date
    Jan 2008

    Question [3.5e] Power Word: Shield (Spell Line)

    Okay, I'm soliciting opinions on a new (homebrew) line of 'healing' (okay, more protection) for clerics.
    The whole reason for this is that I find cleric healing very uninspiring in 3e; the SC at least gave us Heal Over Time spells from the vigor line, and a fun new (but weak) idea in the form of Close Wounds, but other than that, healing is mostly just reactively restoring hitpoints on someone standing next to you. Bye bye useful actions.
    Inspired by a certain souce that we all recognise and you aren't clever for pointing out and continuing where the lackluster-strength Close Wounds left off, I present a line of spells I'm looking for feedback on.

    Power Word: Shield
    Clr 2
    Action: Immediate
    Range: Close (25ft + 5ft/level)
    Target: 1 living
    Duration: 1 round
    You utter a single word of supreme power, calling on the targets soul to shield them from harm. A protective bubble of energy instantly envelops the recipient, shielding them from harm by absorbing up to [2d6 +1/2levels (max +10)] damage. This spell can be cast reactively, preventing a target from taking a degree of damage (and even saving it from death, if the target would otherwise have dropped below -10 hitpoints).
    While the shield holds, attacks such as injury poison and spellcasting disruption do not occur (although all actions provoke Attacks of Opportunity as normal).
    The spell only affects living targets, who have a soul present. After casting this spell, both the caster and recipient gain the Weakened Soul ailment, preventing them from both casting and recieving another Power Word: Shield spell until a swift action is taken to fortify the soul.

    - Immediate action.
    - Ranged.

    - Less potent than cure X wounds. (d6 vs d8 HD)
    - Inefficient scaling compared to cure X wounds. (literally half)

    - Targets and casters are limited to performing/recieving 1 PW:S spell per round.
    - Used for when mitigating damage quickly is a priority, at the expense of efficiency.
    - More interesting healing options than mindless reaction. Shield 1 target and heal another! Risk losing HP efficiency by potentially preventing an effect like poison/spell interruption!
    - 1 round duration = no 'spamming' the spell before battle; it requiures careful thought and placement to use without wasting. Using mindlessly = 0 hp saved, and you should have just cast a cure x wounds instead.
    - Something that's not just another fire-and-forget Cleric buff.

    (rest of the line:)

    Power Word: Shield, Minor
    Clr 0
    As Power Word: Shield, but [1d2] shield.

    Power Word: Shield, Lesser
    Clr 1
    As Power Word: Shield, but [1d6 + 1/2levels (max +8)] shield.

    Power Word: Shield, Greater
    Clr 3
    As Power Word: Shield, but [3d6 +1/2levels (max +15)] shield.

    Power Word: Shield, Major
    Clr 4
    As Power Word: Shield, but [4d6 +1/2levels (max +20)] shield.

    Power Word: Shield, Mass Lesser
    Clr 5
    Targets: One creature/level, no two of which can be more than 30 ft. apart
    As Power Word: Shield, Lesser but [1d6 +1/2levels (max +25)] shield.

    Thoughts? If you think it's a sensible idea, suitably balanced, please say so. I'm hoping the "whoah that's overpowered" and "whoah that needs buffed" posts will balance each other as usual, but it would be nice to see them both outnumbered by some "Yeah, that sounds fine".
    Last edited by Rattus; 2008-10-24 at 06:45 AM. Reason: Oops, forgot I already changed the duration 1min->1round

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Ettin in the Playground
    Tempest Fennac's Avatar

    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    West Midlands, UK.

    Default Re: [3.5e] Power Word: Shield (Spell Line)

    I'm not sure how balanced it is, but I like the idea (it's really not the sort of spell that you'd use constantly, so it is probably balanced reasonably well).
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  3. - Top - End - #3
    Titan in the Playground
    DracoDei's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2007
    Near Atlanta,GA USA

    Default Re: [3.5e] Power Word: Shield (Spell Line)

    Ok, I am seeing what might be the most key improvement between 2nd edition to 3.X missing from these. Namely spontanious casting, which greatly reduced the feel of "I am doomed to be nothing more than a walking bandaid dispenser" greatly by making it so that you didn't have to COMMIT to being that in order to keep the party effective. Allowing spontanious casting would of these might makes for too much versitility, but maybe not. Perhaps allow a cleric that channels positive energy to pick whether they spontaniously cast "Cure" or "Shield" spells?

    Other thoughts:
    Might want to do some sort of negative energy version that diverts the animating energy of an undead to protect it in a similar fashion, just for parity between positive and negative energy channelers.

    One disadvantage is that this can't stablize someone who is dying.

    "Power Word" is a descriptor that should be saved for rather high level spells. Use something else... "Life-force shield"?

    I have never heard of a cleric spamming multiple healing spells per round in combat.
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  4. - Top - End - #4
    Pixie in the Playground

    Join Date
    Jan 2008

    Default Re: [3.5e] Power Word: Shield (Spell Line)

    Cheers for the feedback.

    Tempest Fennac: Yeah, I'd only imagine memorising a few of these most of the time- once you've memorised one, you have the option of either spontaneously healing with it (full +hp potency) or casting it as-is. Filling ALL your spellslots with PW:S spells wouldn't help, as you're limited to 1 per round, so no broken SPAM SPAM NO DAMAGE TO PARTY EVER.

    DracoDei: I did wonder about spontaneous casting for this myself.. spontaneous healing AND spontaneous PW:S probably takes away some of the drawback (since you never have to memorise a PW:S spell, just decide whether you want to heal/shield with a regular spell), but I can see it working very well in combination with someone who can spontaneously inflict- it gives you back some of the protection aspect of the cleric role.

    In the end, I mostly decided like you did- choosing to spontaneously shield INSTEAD of cure/inflict would be a good choice.

    You're right, it can't stabilize the dying- but it can prevent the death of someone who was about to drop to -11hp from a hit, which cureXwounds can't. Fair trade, imo.

    I made the spell living-creatures-only, but that was thematic rather than balance- a "negative energy" version that only works on undead/constructs/(negative energy channelers?) would be a good parallel, I hadn't thought of that.

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