Spells that are interestingly powerful

Last night we had a little awesome session that continued in the "against the giants" vein.  First encounter was a hill giant, 3 ogres and 10 orogs. I gave the hill giant and ogres chain mail armor and we went from there. (Party of five, all level 6)

First round, and the mage goes last but casts a maximized fireball (excludes the two party members inside it) and kills a wide swath of orogs and injures all the ogres. The battle progresses from there, and the PC's win, but without warning (or rest) the party is assaulted by 2 manicores, 2 more orogs and a cyclops, and they win the initative. Cy throws a javelin of lightning at the group, catching two of them. The mage (cause that's all I care about in this case) casts phantasmal force on him, and he - utterly believes it. And it lasts... 60 rounds, so long as her concentration holds. o.m.g.

okay, so the illusion is that there is a bronze dragon attacking him (for d6 psychic/rd), so he believes that. Save DC is only a... crap - a 17! Oh, and it's against his WIS (-2), so he only needs a 19 to save against it. Well, ok - I harshly rule that (since he gets two attacks) if one attack "hits" the dragon the other attack will trigger an automatic save, of which he makes none. Fortunately, this ultra-powerful spells is... wait... 2nd level! Ouch!
Wait a second. I was under the impression that Wizards are worthless because Fighters do more damage.
Actually, I'm thinking that this spell is a bit more powerful than the designers intended, but I could be wrong. After all, a cyclops is a level 7 bad guy, and while the PC's are *unlikely* to encounter one at 3rd level, frankly, the possibility of being able to cast phantasmal force and locking something like a freakin' cyclops down for ten minutes while he deals with whatever that PC imagined for him could be an incredibly fantastic moment for them - provided that they're outsmarting him and escaping like Ulysses.

Keep in mind that a mage is likely to have a high INT in general and that at first level he's probably going to have at least a +3 modifier. That means that a creature needs at least a DC14 check to bypass the effect... or as much as DC16... at 3rd level. Maybe they just got lucky with the monster, and looking over the beastiary that looks to be the case. By 12th level it is unlikely that the Wizard will not have an INT of 20... meaning that this spell will hit unless a DC18 is passed (+/- Wis). Seems hella powerful. 
If the wizard takes damage, he must make a Constitution check to keep concentrating, so it may not be over powered.   Alhough, the current rules make the DC very low (1/2 the damage he takes, separate save for each source of damage).   I think that DC will be increased in later versions.  It should probably be DC = full damage, or DC 10 + 1/2 damage.

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I think saves in general are an issue they will have to address in the next packet.  This was discussed on the general forum, but because HP and damage are being used to scale difficulty, it makes spells which result in non damage effects very very powerful.

Forget a cyclops, that 3rd level wizard could lock down monsters of much much higher level with a solid degree of certainty. 
Maybe. I took a look through the bestiary as I was typing up the last post, and there were surprisingly few monsters that would be as crippled as the Wis impaired cyclops. That being said, there are lots of creatures that have +3 or less bonus to their Wis score, which makes the DC more of a 55/45 chance for the level 3 wizard each round.

I don't necessarily have a problem with that, but players are as, or more, creative than the DM. What if the illusion was of being buried under a rockslide? If the sight, smell, and everything else tell you that you're buried... wouldn't that provoke some serious opportunity attacks, advantage, and coup de gras? For a second level spell?

Here's my idea, and tell me if this makes zero sense: limit the amount of creature level effected by such a spell in some manner. Maybe your level + your INT bonus? It would mean that the level 3 wizard with an 18 INT *could* still effect the cyclops... unless they made the cyclops a higher level. Would that mechanic even work?
Last night we had a little awesome session that continued in the "against the giants" vein.  First encounter was a hill giant, 3 ogres and 10 orogs. I gave the hill giant and ogres chain mail armor and we went from there. (Party of five, all level 6)

First round, and the mage goes last but casts a maximized fireball (excludes the two party members inside it) and kills a wide swath of orogs and injures all the ogres. The battle progresses from there, and the PC's win, but without warning (or rest) the party is assaulted by 2 manicores, 2 more orogs and a cyclops, and they win the initative. Cy throws a javelin of lightning at the group, catching two of them. The mage (cause that's all I care about in this case) casts phantasmal force on him, and he - utterly believes it. And it lasts... 60 rounds, so long as her concentration holds. o.m.g.

okay, so the illusion is that there is a bronze dragon attacking him (for d6 psychic/rd), so he believes that. Save DC is only a... crap - a 17! Oh, and it's against his WIS (-2), so he only needs a 19 to save against it. Well, ok - I harshly rule that (since he gets two attacks) if one attack "hits" the dragon the other attack will trigger an automatic save, of which he makes none. Fortunately, this ultra-powerful spells is... wait... 2nd level! Ouch!

Our campaign's joke is the Magic Missiles. They do 1d6+2 damage per missile fired... well for each level of magic you train it into, you get 2 more of them. If you take it all the way to the 9th level, that's 18d6+2 and it's guranteed to hit because it's the magic missile.

Needless to say, our mage took it.
If the wizard takes damage, he must make a Constitution check to keep concentrating, so it may not be over powered.   Alhough, the current rules make the DC very low (1/2 the damage he takes, separate save for each source of damage).   I think that DC will be increased in later versions.  It should probably be DC = full damage, or DC 10 + 1/2 damage.




That may sound like an easy check at low levels, but the Wizard's Constitution modifier cannot be more than +5 (except with magic items or buffs). At high levels, the Wizard could easily take 25 or more damage, which at max Con and a DC of the full damage would require a natural 20 to succeed. Also, a Wizard is not likely to have 20 Con. Their main use for it is the concentration check, since they don't count on having high HP anyway and tend to try and avoid hits rather than endure them. If they don't have insanely good rolls, a high Con probably isn't a high priority. If it is, they'll be lacking in other areas like Dex so easier to hit, meaning more chances to fail the Concentration check. A separate save for each source of damage just makes him more likely to fail, since it only takes one failure to end the spell.
Celric, what would you think of using a similar mechanic to Turn Undead?  I don't know if it is current now that it is Channel Positive Energy, but I liked the prior incaranation:

Roll 1d10 per level.  This is the amount of hit points of creatures that can be effected by the spell.  That's more designed for a multiple target spell, so I'm not sure it works exactly, but I thought it was a cool mechanic.

Is that really righta bout Magic Missiles?  18d6 at level 9?  First of all, my players would destroy the table by rolling 18 dice at once - they already make a huge mess when they are rolling three dice.
Our campaign's joke is the Magic Missiles. They do 1d6+2 damage per missile fired... well for each level of magic you train it into, you get 2 more of them. If you take it all the way to the 9th level, that's 18d6+2 and it's guranteed to hit because it's the magic missile.

Needless to say, our mage took it.



It's actually 1d4+2 per missile, for 18d4+36 damage total (81 average) if cast as a 9th slot spell.  

Of course only the highest level wizard will have a 9th slot and even then it's just a single slot per day, but it is interesting that magic missile actually has the highest single target average damage of any spell, by far.


Personally, I have my eye on stoneskin.  Seems really nice to cast on a fighter type before fighting a big nasty physical damage dealing thing. 
Roll 1d10 per level.  This is the amount of hit points of creatures that can be effected by the spell.  That's more designed for a multiple target spell, so I'm not sure it works exactly, but I thought it was a cool mechanic.


It's similar to how the sleep spell works. I kind of like the idea. I'm not sure if it weakens spells too much though (not only does the spellcaster have to beat a HP threshold, but also needs to either hit or have the opponent fail a save).  Maybe the HP threhold roll could be 5 x Level + Skill Die? Any creature having more HPs than indicated on the roll would be unaffected.
Yeah Phantasmal Force seems really overpowered, although I love using it on the players with NPCs.
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