Storm Pillar, oh how I loath thee

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For reference, you can find Storm Pillar in Arcane Power p101. It conjures a pillar that occupies 1 square and lasts until the end of your next turn. Enemies that move adjacent to it take 1d6 + int lightning damage.

My wizard player loves this at will and uses it to great effect. Unfortunately he can be quite the tactical genius and even its conventional use can be very frustrating to me. It wasn't long before he proposed putting it just above a monsters head (in the square 5' up). This would essentially immobilize a monster or automatically cause damage, all without an attack roll.

I turned down this idea saying for it to be a pillar it has to be on the ground, and citing balance concerns. He countered by asking what would happen if he were fighting in the air and I told him I'd think about it.

What's your take? Do you have experience with the spell as a player or DM?

No experience directly yet, that's soon to change as my wife just rolled a wizard for our new campaign and this is one of the spells she took. I personally would say the spell can't be cast in the air like that because it's a pillar. A pillar by definition is on the ground. Just my take.  

The answer to the aerial question, btw, is, "Well, do you WANT to fight in the air, and risk taking deadly falling damage?  No?  Then it isn't a problem."

In any case, even depending on the level, 1d6 isn't a lot of damage.   It basically spells death for any minions that are moving towards the bright, shiny pillar conjured out of thin air.

I don't like the logic for having the power immobilize a monster, though, especially if it isn't specified as a hit effect.  Keep in mind, though, that if he tries to use it in the air, it won't do him any good.  If the pillar is conjured next to a creature, they don't take damage.  If they move away from the pillar, they don't take damage.  If they move towards the pillar, they'll get a boo-boo and nothing more.

For reference, you can find Storm Pillar in Arcane Power p101. It conjures a pillar that occupies 1 square and lasts until the end of your next turn. Enemies that move adjacent to it take 1d6 + int lightning damage.

My wizard player loves this at will and uses it to great effect. Unfortunately he can be quite the tactical genius and even its conventional use can be very frustrating to me. It wasn't long before he proposed putting it just above a monsters head (in the square 5' up). This would essentially immobilize a monster or automatically cause damage, all without an attack roll.

I turned down this idea saying for it to be a pillar it has to be on the ground, and citing balance concerns. He countered by asking what would happen if he were fighting in the air and I told him I'd think about it.

What's your take? Do you have experience with the spell as a player or DM?




I can see your frustration :-(

If a player asked me if he could summon it in the air i would allow it. Then like a real stone pillar have it fall to the floor and shatter into sparkly arcane matter before dispursing into the air harmlessly.

I appreciate this might come across as a little harsh however it sounds to me like the player is just trying to twist the rules rather than using them in the spirit in which they are written. Dont misunderstand me i would first try and persuade him such an act was not likely to work but if he/she continue then it would be the route i would take.

For those of you with kids please check out the D&D Parents Group. http://community.wizards.com/dndparents

Seriously guys, conjurations can be cast and float in mid-air. "The conjuration does not need to be supported by a solid surface, so it can float in the air." (PHB2 page 220). If you rule otherwise, you basically are making the wizard suffer extensively whenever a 3d fight occurs. If a dragon is flying around 5 squares up, and the wizard's Bigby's icy grasp suddenly falls the ground when after conjuring it mid-air, then the wizard's conjurations are basically ineffective against flying creatures due to your ruling. Or what happens if there is a hole 10 feet above the ground which a constant swarm of crazy bees are flying out of. Conjuring a storm pillar next to this area is a very smart idea and but if you don't allow it, the wizard has to resort to other spells just because his DM thinks its overpowered, which it isn't AT all, especially if he's just using it as a movement deterrent spell.

Be glad that your wizard is only using it as a control spell, rather than an overpowered circle of destruction that it is fully capable of doing. For example, if any other party member readied an action on a monster's turn that involved forced movement, mostly in particular when the monster is slid in squares adjacent to the pillar, the wizard can potentially do a exorbitant amount of damage with this spell.

A more specific one would be the cleric's level 3 spell called command which slides 3+ Cha mod. If the cleric slid the monster 6 squares back and forth, thats 6d6+(int mod *6) damage. Not cool at all, especially considering it was an at-will power with no attack roll required.

If you look at the most recent update to storm pillar and read the explanation of the change, it seems the intent of storm pillar is to be a punishing control spell and it is also apparent that they don't want forced movement to trigger the damage (which they failed to address in the actual rule change). Its designed to punish monsters for running next to the pillar. Which means if the pillar is above or near a monster, it has a choice, it can either take the damage and move up to attack a PC, or it can stand still, losing its turn or be forced to resort to a non-melee attack or have to ready an action to charge in hopes of the pillar disappearing eventually. Another benefit of the pillar is that it occupies a square, which means it can help seal off a small gap such as a doorway, damaging anyone who moves through it.

Basically in a nutshell, as long as your player is just using the spell to prevent movement, then you're fine. Once he starts using it to do 10d6 damage per round, then you have an issue and you should address it. My best advice is, make the wording of the spell's damage to only occur with "Willing" movement of the creature rather than any movement, as this solves any game-breaking damage issues that can occur as a result.
Is the wording that the damage triggers if you move adjacent to the pillar? Because I would interpret that if you start next to the pillar you can move around it without triggering it. I know, it is a bit of a broad reading of "moving adjacent" but that is how most zones work and it also fits the intent of the spell: to block a certain path, not to immobilize opponents.
Personally, I'd let him cast it in the air.  I like the idea of encouraging creative thinking, and it absolutely opens everyone up to the concept of 3D combat.

That being said, I have also interpreted "Moves Adjacent" as "Willingly Moves Adjacent".  I seem to recall at the very least there was some CSR ruling to this effect.  In other words "Moves into" or "Moves Adjacent" is different from "Enters".  "Enters" would trigger on forced movement (though for balance purposes I might limit the number of times forced movement could trigger the damage on one action).

So in the case of the OP's wizard, I would let it be cast directly above the monster and if the monster chose to move, I would let the wizard deal his damage.  If the monster were forced to move, I would not allow the damage.  To me, this is a very good, but non-game breaking, use of the power.  Controllers are supposed to be about either a) putting the enemy in a bad position or b) forcing them to make tough decisions.

At the end of the day 1d6 + Int is not much damage except for minions.  Often times, Scorching Burst (even with the attack roll required) will deal as much, if not more, damage than Storm Pillar when you rule Storm Pillar as above.  Nobody I know of is complaining that SB is overpowered.  Laughing
when i DM, my rules interpretation (almost any interpretation of this power is more like a house rule with how poorly worded and how whacked out the strength of the power is) is this:

1)triggers on forced movement.

2)triggers once per creature turn....players could slide the target in and out of the pillar area, but it only triggers once....like an OA

3)triggers when an enemy moves from one square adjacent to another square adjacent.

hasn't yet been summoned in the air, but it has been summoned in a place that traps a monster adjacent to a wall so that any move will trigger the damage.

these 3 rules make it strong when the WHOLE PARTY utilizes forced movement AND the monsters are dumb enough to hang around the pillars, but it also encourages good teamwork, which is a desirable goal.

at the end of the day, it IS powerful, dealing damage virtually every round, but it often ends up as only 1d6+int to one monster, when area powers would do that to multiple monsters and single target powers are doing more.  Added to that, the monster can avoid taking the damage....it can always choose NOT to move, making the wizard do NO damage, but effectively immobilizing a target......an at will that does no damage, and says "if the target moves, they take 1d6+int? not so great....the lack of attack roll brings it almost in line with other at-wills, and the versatility of the power and the POTENTIAL to hit multiple targets makes it a pretty standard at-will.

simply make sure your fights include 1 of 3 things: 8 minions or more (the wizard is now choosing between a pseudo-lockdown, and multi-target blasting), encounters where every monster has a ranged attack....soldiers like the human guard are amazing for this...while immobilization hurts any soldier, a soldier that can mark at reach and has a decent ranged attack will be reduced in effectiveness if it chooses to avoid damage, not neutered....and finally, low ceiling encounters....just like one out of every 8-10 encounters in an area with only a seven foot ceiling (aka. one square tall, but with enough room so the tall guys aren't whacking their heads).

finally, most any monster that isn't bloodied should be taking the damage if the choice is "take damage or do nothing".....monsters that are bloodied, but think they could survive it should be retreating (parties tend to waste actions to chase these guys down).  Minions should avoid it...choosing to do nothing rather than just up and die - but you should also space them out (even over multiple rounds, as well as map area), to avoid him taking out a whole monster's worth of minions with one power....there are many autodamage effects that makes this power not too intimidating to encounter design with minions (warlock magic rod that damages upon being cursed, the thunder barbarian powers, cleave for a fighter, etc.).

TLDR; let him use the power in that way, but try and design the fights and be smart with the monsters so he can't control the entire fight with one power....let the monsters take the damage.
Is the wording that the damage triggers if you move adjacent to the pillar? Because I would interpret that if you start next to the pillar you can move around it without triggering it. I know, it is a bit of a broad reading of "moving adjacent" but that is how most zones work and it also fits the intent of the spell: to block a certain path, not to immobilize opponents.



"Whenever a creature, an object or an effect leaves a square to enter another, it is moving, whether that move is done willingly or is forced. This means shifting, teleporting and being pushed are all moves for example." Quoted from phb 3 p222 under move.

The raw interpretation is any time, not once. If there was a clause that said the damage only occurred 1/round then it also might not be a problem. However, storm pillar is not a zone. Which is cool sometimes, since you could put it 1 square away from a doorway, and people who move through will take at least 2d6 damage, with some really dumb monsters taking 3d6. This is generally fine for the most part. While I will admit, if storm pillar were a zone, a lot of the problems inherent to a large amount of damage would potentially go away since moving someone in and out of a zone costs more movement than just moving them around a single square with a slide or the dominated condition.


I'd rule that since it's a storm pillar and not a storm sphere, it doesn't effect squares that are beneath or above it.  That it lances it's energy out on a 3x3 plane rather than in a 3x3x3 cube.
I'd like to remind everyone that it is not 1d6 damage. It is 1d6 + int + feat + implement + leader bonuses + etc.

If I allowed him to put it above the monster's head and made the monsters move because "it's not a lot of damage", he would be bypassing his attack roll completely. He would never use it conventionally unless the PCs only fight in rooms with 5' roofs.

Storm Pillar is not designed to be an auto lock down or auto damage power. Resent errata gives credence to this point because of the sweeping changes to save-end penalties. It is designed to make monsters move around it, or block hallways.

Saric,
Seriously guys, conjurations can be cast and float in mid-air. "The conjuration does not need to be supported by a solid surface, so it can float in the air." (PHB2 page 220).



Nobody suggested changing all conjurations.

Be glad that your wizard is only using it as a control spell, rather than an overpowered circle of destruction that it is fully capable of doing. For example, if any other party member readied an action on a monster's turn that involved forced movement, mostly in particular when the monster is slid in squares adjacent to the pillar, the wizard can potentially do a exorbitant amount of damage with this spell.



No this would not work. The ready action becomes their own turn. He is not capable of doing this because I am not an idiot.

Please don't derail the thread with strawman arguements.
Is the wording that the damage triggers if you move adjacent to the pillar? Because I would interpret that if you start next to the pillar you can move around it without triggering it. I know, it is a bit of a broad reading of "moving adjacent" but that is how most zones work and it also fits the intent of the spell: to block a certain path, not to immobilize opponents.



"Whenever a creature, an object or an effect leaves a square to enter another, it is moving, whether that move is done willingly or is forced. This means shifting, teleporting and being pushed are all moves for example." Quoted from phb 3 p222 under move.

The raw interpretation is any time, not once. If there was a clause that said the damage only occurred 1/round then it also might not be a problem. However, storm pillar is not a zone. Which is cool sometimes, since you could put it 1 square away from a doorway, and people who move through will take at least 2d6 damage, with some really dumb monsters taking 3d6. This is generally fine for the most part. While I will admit, if storm pillar were a zone, a lot of the problems inherent to a large amount of damage would potentially go away since moving someone in and out of a zone costs more movement than just moving them around a single square with a slide or the dominated condition.



Compendium:
Forced Movement:
Not a Move: Forced movement doesn’t count against a target’s ability to move on its turn. A target’s speed is irrelevant to the distance you move it.

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/20.jpg)

I'd rule that since it's a storm pillar and not a storm sphere, it doesn't effect squares that are beneath or above it.  That it lances it's energy out on a 3x3 plane rather than in a 3x3x3 cube.



I think this is the best solution. Thank you.
I thought Madfox11 was on to something, but I would agree with Saric.  It all sounds legit.

The Update limited the power's abuse and a PC casting Storm Pillar and another PC readying an action, both of which can be negated by a throwing axe or just not moving for a round, sounds more like a bad party tactic than abusable cheese.

I had a player use Storm Pillar a lot less creatively, and most monster just went around it.  It's cool that it only effects enemies.  Let them spam away, let them take feats to boost the damage, let them have fun.  There are much more frustrating powers they have yet to come across.

I'd like to remind everyone that it is not 1d6 damage. It is 1d6 + int + feat + implement + leader bonuses + etc.

 

I am well aware of that, and 1d6+mods is not that big of a deal, as magic missile would do more damage. 10d6+mods = a big deal. 2d6-3d6+mods is a step up, but not game-breaking.


 



If I allowed him to put it above the monster's head and made the monsters move because "it's not a lot of damage", he would be bypassing his attack roll completely. He would never use it conventionally unless the PCs only fight in rooms with 5' roofs.



It isn't a lot of damage, and storm pillar has no attack roll at all. And if he's wasting his action putting it above one monster, when he could potentially be using it to better effect to dissuade a group of monsters from moving around the pillar, let him do so.


 



Storm Pillar is not designed to be an auto lock down or auto damage power. Resent errata gives credence to this point because of the sweeping changes to save-end penalties. It is designed to make monsters move around it, or block hallways.



If it wasn't designed as an auto-damage power, why would it not have an attack roll? Your conclusion based on the errata and the save-end penalties has absolutely nothing to do with storm pillar's control aspects as they are different things entirely. 


 


Storm pillar punishes movement when you move next to it. So if the enemy wants to take damage, thats its choice. And if a group of minions or monsters see the first two guys to run past the pillar get electrified, I'm sure if they have any reasonable intelligence they will probably not move next to the pillar. Which means, the wizard did his job. He changed what the monsters were going to do, either stopping them in their tracks or funneling them in a direction that he wanted them to go, possibly towards a defender or other hazardous location. This is what controllers are supposed to do, and Storm Pillar easily helps accomplish this goal very well. And storm pillar is not an auto-lockdown. Its only a lockdown if you make the monster in question so scared that it is unwilling to move at all. In which case, it's great since the wizard is "controlling" this enemy by preventing it from doing what it wants to do.


 


 


Nobody suggested changing all conjurations.


And when did I suggest changing all conjurations?


 



No this would not work. The ready action becomes their own turn. He is not capable of doing this because I am not an idiot.


 


Please don't derail the thread with strawman arguements.



 


Sorry, but you are equivocably wrong regarding that. Read the following pages of the phb.


PHB 291
Immediate Reaction: A readied action is an immediate reaction. It takes place after your enemy completes the action that triggers it. 



Quoted from Page 269 under the Actions on Other Turns section


Most of your actions take place on your turn. But you can take free actions on anyone’s turn, and an event or another combatant’s actions might provide an opportunity for you to take an immediate action or an opportunity action on someone else’s turn. 


 


Immediate Actions: You can take one immediate action per round, either an immediate interrupt or an immediate reaction. An immediate action must be triggered by an event or an action on another combatant’s turn. 

It is blatantly clear that a readied action never occurs on the player who readied the action turn, rather on the turn of the triggered event or action. Which in this case, could be on the enemy's turn, thus triggering the damage as a result of forced movement, as evidenced by the phb3 quote I gave earlier in which it defines moving to includes forced movement.


 


 This is a fact of the game's raw as of now. If you don't like it, change it. You don't have to give me an attitude since that is what the rules say regarding the rules in question. Furthermore, I even suggested a way to prevent such crazy damage.. See post #5 of this thread.


 "Basically in a nutshell, as long as your player is just using the spell to prevent movement, then you're fine. Once he starts using it to do 10d6 damage per round, then you have an issue and you should address it. My best advice is, make the wording of the spell's damage to only occur with "Willing" movement of the creature rather than any movement, as this solves any game-breaking damage issues that can occur as a result."




And for the record, the following is an example of a strawman argument: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_man 


Choosing to say storm pillar doesn't damage people when in the air as a 3x3 cube because it isn't a sphere? That makes no sense, as it would make it absolutely pointless to cast it that way at all as a flying creature could fly above or below the sphere and not take any damage at all. If that is the case, you should apply the same logic to any conjuration, zone and area/close attack cast in the third dimension that isn't a "sphere". 


 


@ Alyri


I do not believe the compendium hasn't been updated with the PHB3 rules. As such, the PHB3 > compendium as of this moment. 



 


I am well aware of that, and 1d6+mods is not that big of a deal, as magic missile would do more damage.



 


Only if it hits. MM will hit most monsters about half the time because of the randomness of d20s. If I move monsters after he puts a SP above them as you and others suggest, he hits 100% of the time. Alternately he can immobilize an enemy 100% of the time. This is broken.


 


If it wasn't designed as an auto-damage power, why would it not have an attack roll?



My problem is not with SP's auto damage alone. It is the lose-lose of either being immobilized or damaged without an attack roll.

Your conclusion based on the errata and the save-end penalties has absolutely nothing to do with storm pillar's control aspects as they are different things entirely.



My example of errata shows the intent of the game developers. They are clearly against the idea of locking down monsters and causing damage without a chance of failure.

 


Storm pillar punishes movement when you move next to it. So if the enemy wants to take damage, thats its choice. And if a group of minions or monsters see the first two guys to run past the pillar get electrified, I'm sure if they have any reasonable intelligence they will probably not move next to the pillar. Which means, the wizard did his job. He changed what the monsters were going to do, either stopping them in their tracks or funneling them in a direction that he wanted them to go, possibly towards a defender or other hazardous location. This is what controllers are supposed to do, and Storm Pillar easily helps accomplish this goal very well.


 


THIS is a strawman arguement! I am not complaining about SP's conventional use. You are either willingly baiting me and other posters with this nonsense, or you are too stupid to realize the irrelevance of your above paragraph. I do not believe you are stupid.


 


And when did I suggest changing all conjurations?



Here: "Seriously guys, conjurations can be cast and float in mid-air. "The conjuration does not need to be supported by a solid surface, so it can float in the air." (PHB2 page 220). If you rule otherwise, you basically are making the wizard suffer extensively whenever a 3d fight occurs. If a dragon is flying around 5 squares up, and the wizard's Bigby's icy grasp suddenly falls the ground when after conjuring it mid-air, then the wizard's conjurations are basically ineffective against flying creatures due to your ruling."

Here (in the same post no less): "If that is the case, you should apply the same logic to any conjuration, zone and area/close attack cast in the third dimension that isn't a "sphere". "

 


Sorry, but you are equivocably wrong regarding that. Read the following pages of the phb.

PHB 291....

It is blatantly clear that a readied action never occurs on the player who readied the action turn, rather on the turn of the triggered event or action. Which in this case, could be on the enemy's turn, thus triggering the damage as a result of forced movement, as evidenced by the phb3 quote I gave earlier in which it defines moving to includes forced movement.


 


 This is a fact of the game's raw as of now. If you don't like it, change it. You don't have to give me an attitude since that is what the rules say regarding the rules in question.



 


The intent footnote of the errata overrules this.


 


Furthermore, I even suggested a way to prevent such crazy damage.. See post #5 of this thread.

 "Basically in a nutshell, as long as your player is just using the spell to prevent movement, then you're fine. Once he starts using it to do 10d6 damage per round, then you have an issue and you should address it. My best advice is, make the wording of the spell's damage to only occur with "Willing" movement of the creature rather than any movement, as this solves any game-breaking damage issues that can occur as a result."




 


Your wording is more clear than the errata's, but this is not the issue I'm having.


 



And for the record, the following is an example of a strawman argument: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_man 



Wiki: "A straw man argument is an informal fallacy based on misrepresentation of an opponent's position."

My position is not arguing against the conventional use of SP or any issue of forced movement. Your insistence that they are the same thing as my issue is misrepresenting my position.

Butting in: I think Saric is technically correct about the timing issue.

BUT, I believe the rules laywering needed for that approach undermines the (at least to me) obvious intent of the original power and STATED intent of the errata. I also think they should have stated explicitly that the damage from the power was not triggered by forced movement... which would remove all of the argument in one fel swoop.

so the easiest way to end the problem would be to add the word "willingly" as in...

"Each enemy that WILLINGLY moves into a square adjacent to the pillar on its turn takes...."


LOL... something went wrong with the text formatting.  EDIT: FIXED


Preferences... Not where they should be. Asking someone if they're Trolling you is in violation of section 3 of the Code of Conduct.


@ Alyri


I do not believe the compendium hasn't been updated with the PHB3 rules. As such, the PHB3 > compendium as of this moment. 



 



Well that's a big change to the rules.
It makes sense on one hand and makes no sense on another.

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/20.jpg)

Here is the text of Storm Pillar, including the latest Errata:

Storm Pillar
Wizard Attack 1
A crackling column of lightning appears amid your enemies, lashing out at any who move near it.
At-Will * Arcane, Conjuration, Implement, Lightning
Standard Action  Ranged 10
Effect: You conjure a pillar of crackling energy in an unoccupied square within range. The pillar occupies 1 square and lasts until the end of your next turn. Each enemy that moves into a square adjacent to the pillar on its turn takes 1d6 + your Intelligence modifier lightning damage.



Certain parts bolded for emphasis.

Forced movement does not work, unless you can do a forced movement into the pillar during the creature's turn.

The creature has to move into an adjacent square to take damage. Not out of, so again, casting it next to a monster isn't going to do much.

The problem comes when you cast it in a 3d space. WotC, in their "infinite wisdom," never, ever seemed to consider 3d battle grids except in cases where creatures can fly, and not even then, really. So the whole "Pillar above a monster's head" trick is technically legal.

My suggestion? Unless they are minions, they can probably afford to eat the damage. Use Skirmishers with ranged powers, Controllers, and Artillery to compensate. Or creatures with lightning resistance.

When the Cat's a Stray, the Mice will Pray 

Thanks for the Errata, I've been pondering a similar problem with Storm Pillar because it's damage is so high when combined with a Stormsoul Genasi Wizard (wielding a Staff of Ruin) with the Elemental Empowerment feat.


The combination of Storm Pillar + Thunderwave does A LOT more damage than all my encounters or even dailies (although they have great effects) do, which is rather frustrating for our Barbarian.


But even with the new wording you could still use readied actions to push / pull / slide / teleport the enemy into a few squares of the pillar putting out MASSIVE damage. Luckily this is a lot more difficult now.

Rejoice in the power of your swing in battle, the sound of your weapon smiting a worthy foe, and the challenge of the fray. - Haela Brightaxe

 


Only if it hits. MM will hit most monsters about half the time because of the randomness of d20s. If I move monsters after he puts a SP above them as you and others suggest, he hits 100% of the time. Alternately he can immobilize an enemy 100% of the time. This is broken.



If you really feel that way, why don't you say the same thing about wall of fire which is also a conjuration? You could technically entrap a single creature next to a wall with said spell. It requires no attack roll and deals damage every round, dealing even more damage when the creature tries to move through the conjured area. Also if you have such an issue with non-attack roll powers, would you also have a problem with the attack spells "Arcane Bolt, Arcane Arrows and Arcane Volley" from dragon 381? All of them do not require an attack roll and automatically do damage 100% of the time. 

 



My problem is not with SP's auto damage alone. It is the lose-lose of either being immobilized or damaged without an attack roll.


Are you going to also imply that a fighter's Unyielding Avalanche is broken since it allows a fighter to deal damage and slow targets every round for free without an attack roll? Seriously, it isn't that big of a deal. 



My example of errata shows the intent of the game developers. They are clearly against the idea of locking down monsters and causing damage without a chance of failure.


The reason save penalty durations were changed was because people were stacking save penalties to great effect and locking down a monster for an entire fight with a single application of a power, not multiple castings like storm pillar is. For example, if a wizard cast sleep, and managed to scrounge up a -11 penalty to saving throws, a normal monster could never save against the unconcious effect at all. 


(Quoted by Saric)  Storm pillar punishes movement when you move next to it. So if the enemy wants to take damage, thats its choice. And if a group of minions or monsters see the first two guys to run past the pillar get electrified, I'm sure if they have any reasonable intelligence they will probably not move next to the pillar. Which means, the wizard did his job. He changed what the monsters were going to do, either stopping them in their tracks or funneling them in a direction that he wanted them to go, possibly towards a defender or other hazardous location. This is what controllers are supposed to do, and Storm Pillar easily helps accomplish this goal very well.




THIS is a strawman arguement! I am not complaining about SP's conventional use. You are either willingly baiting me and other posters with this nonsense, or you are too stupid to realize the irrelevance of your above paragraph. I do not believe you are stupid.



???. That paragraph that I wrote from that quote is not an argument at all, rather an explanation of how storm pillar works or is supposed to work. And If anything you are the one trying to bait me by inferring that I am "stupid", what's up with that? 


"And when did I suggest changing all conjurations?"

Here: "Seriously guys, conjurations can be cast and float in mid-air. "The conjuration does not need to be supported by a solid surface, so it can float in the air." (PHB2 page 220). If you rule otherwise, you basically are making the wizard suffer extensively whenever a 3d fight occurs. If a dragon is flying around 5 squares up, and the wizard's Bigby's icy grasp suddenly falls the ground when after conjuring it mid-air, then the wizard's conjurations are basically ineffective against flying creatures due to your ruling."

Here (in the same post no less): "If that is the case, you should apply the same logic to any conjuration, zone and area/close attack cast in the third dimension that isn't a "sphere". "


Err, you're wrong once again. I did not say those two things "in the same post no less." I said the first thing in post #5. The second paragraph was in post #15. These are obviously different posts. 

Where you got the even slightest inclination that I suggested changing all conjurations  is beyond me. But I can clearly show that this wasn't the case  for two reasons. #1) The rules as written and as I clearly showed, do allow conjurations to be cast in mid-air as they have the ability to float without a solid surface. As a DM, you have the option of disallowing it or ruling otherwise, but as I pointed out in post#5, I told you the implications of doing so. If you failed to glean that from what I wrote then it is your loss. #2) That section you quoted from post #15 was to prove a point, so I deliberately made a strawman argument as you had accused me of making a strawman argument earlier as evidenced in your response in post #11. And even so, the argument holds water. Why would you want to impair only storm pillar and not other conjurations? That doesn't sound fair or balanced to me.


The intent footnote of the errata overrules this.


The intent wishes to bar forced movement from triggering the damage, but the wording does not do so, which Is why I pointed it out to you. 




Your wording is more clear than the errata's, but this is not the issue I'm having.



It can become an issue due to the reasons I pointed out. And the reason I pointed it out is because you said this in the first post: "What's your take? Do you have experience with the spell as a player or DM?" And since I have had experience with this spell in my campaigns I (in good faith) decided to give you a fix or solution if that problem ever did pop up in your games.

Wiki: "A straw man argument is an informal fallacy based on misrepresentation of an opponent's position."

My position is not arguing against the conventional use of SP or any issue of forced movement. Your insistence that they are the same thing as my issue is misrepresenting my position.


I think you seriously are misconstruing and being overly defensive for no apparent reason.  First of all, you seem to have a problem with auto damage powers. There are quite a few of them in 4th edition, but I'm telling you that they are not "broken" unless they can be used in such a way that they make a fight trivial. And Storm pillar does not make a fight trivial at all unless there is only a 1 square doorway and the pillar is on the other side of it Or if storm pillar is used in conjunction with forced movement as I have proven CAN happen with the examples shown earlier in my posts in this thread.  

Is it really that big a deal that a wizard can deal 1d6+ mod damage to a single enemy by conjuring the pillar above the enemy's square? Unless the wizard is playing in a solo campaign and is facing off against a single monster, this shouldn't be a big problem at all. This is because the wizard has more powerful spells at his disposal, be it encounters or dailys. So if the wizard is spending all his turns casting storm pillars in an attempt to control one monster when he could be using other spells that are probably way more effective at controlling multiple or single targets, then thats his choice.
It is not the movement part I would be arguing about. It was the adjacent part. The monster after all is already adjacent. Still, the wording of the power talks about squares as opposed to the pillar as a whole, so by the RAW that would not work. Mind you, by that wording a monster moving past a pillar actually gets hit multiple times. It probably is not a bad house rule though, to treat the storm pillar as generating a burst 1 zone and to trigger the damage when an enemy moves into the zone.

Note: I am very leery when players start to take ready actions to get around the 'only on its turn' such as with the storm pillar or to avoid certain immediate reactions and interrupts. If players start doing that, storm pillar is the least of my worries. When a player does that I politely inform them, that by RAW it works, that I am no big fan of rules twisting (the ready action has not been designed to avoid immediate actions) and I then ask whether or not they really want to get into a pissing contest with the DM. Mind you, that is assuming I even have to ask, because more often than not other players at the table say something before I can even open my mouth.

Thanks for the Errata, I've been pondering a similar problem with Storm Pillar because it's damage is so high when combined with a Stormsoul Genasi Wizard (wielding a Staff of Ruin) with the Elemental Empowerment feat.


The combination of Storm Pillar + Thunderwave does A LOT more damage than all my encounters or even dailies (although they have great effects) do, which is rather frustrating for our Barbarian.


But even with the new wording you could still use readied actions to push / pull / slide / teleport the enemy into a few squares of the pillar putting out MASSIVE damage. Luckily this is a lot more difficult now.




Funny enough, I had the exact same problem. A stormsoul genasi wizard with a staff of ruin (in off-hand) using dual implement spellcaster and the elemental empowerment feat. It became worse when a monk joined the party and started just using "strike the avalanche" to basically demolish a single monster in conjunction with flurry of blows. As they both are slide effects, it was extremely unbalancing. When the update came out, I noticed the flaw of readied actions, and as a house-rule stated that forced movement shouldn't trigger the damage.

However, another loophole exists which I found out later in play, which is any type of domination power, or powers like the wizard encounter power called confusion. Since the movement with confusion or domination is on the monster's turn, you can move the monster from square to square next to the storm pillar triggering lots of damage. This can become worse especially if you could manage to get more than one storm pillar cast, such as with time stop or action point or with the quickened spellcasting feat from arcane power. This is why I am strongly suggesting that the damage should trigger only on "willing" movement.
Actually, I think the main intent of the recent update was to limit the effect of certain "Save Ends" conditions which when applied, essentially equated to an "I win" button.  Stunlockers were the main "offenders" here.  Essentially one roll equaled "Target Dies and can pretend to Save against this effect, but Saving will be impossible". 

Storm Pillar, by contrast, simply surrounds the target with hindering terrain.  The target is not immobilized, but is rather encouraged to not move (when placed above it) or to take a different path (when used "conventionally").  1d6 + mods is certainly a deterrent, but its not an immobilizer.  Requiring the movement to occur on the target's turn (with the new update) also limits the abusive potential, essentially requiring the entire party to ready actions to trigger off something the target does in order to go off.  It also does not do anything to the rest of the monsters in the combat, so if the party all decide to ready a forced movement power for when the target does some sort of action (and they have to state what that action is) the rest of the monsters can beat up on the party while they sit around waiting for the target to do something. 

Adding all this together, I really don't see this as being overpowered.  Its certainly a good power, but not an overpowered one.  If your party truly is trying to abuse this one power, you can always houserule it to "moves willingly" which will avoid the forced movement problem.  If the monster really does need to move though, 1d6 + mods won't be much of a deterrent.
I'd like to remind everyone that it is not 1d6 damage. It is 1d6 + int + feat + implement + leader bonuses + etc.



I was under the impression that it didn't benefit from feat + implement and so on because it wasn't an attack.

I'd like to remind everyone that it is not 1d6 damage. It is 1d6 + int + feat + implement + leader bonuses + etc.



I was under the impression that it didn't benefit from feat + implement and so on because it wasn't an attack.




Implement is listed as a keyword in the power so it must. Raging Storm (feat for lightning, PHB p200) makes no mention of it requiring an attack, but it does require a damage roll.

I was under the impression that it didn't benefit from feat + implement and so on because it wasn't an attack.




Along these lines... I was reading the entry for "promise of storm" the stormsoul genasi racial power.   I don't think it should apply to Storm pillar because there is no attack, the damage roll is cause by an effect.

Preferences... Not where they should be. Asking someone if they're Trolling you is in violation of section 3 of the Code of Conduct.


I am well aware of that, and 1d6+mods is not that big of a deal, as magic missile would do more damage.



 


Only if it hits. MM will hit most monsters about half the time because of the randomness of d20s. If I move monsters after he puts a SP above them as you and others suggest, he hits 100% of the time. Alternately he can immobilize an enemy 100% of the time. This is broken.




No it isn't.  1d6+mods is very little damage.  Also, what is this about immobilizing an enemy?  Last I checked, it could not immobilize, unless you mean making movement for monsters less desirable, to which I already addressed.
What exactly is the problem you have with this power?

Is it the fact that he is presenting you with a lose-lose situation or the amount of auto-damage the monster would take if he moves?

If it is the fact that he is preventing you with a lose-lose situation on melee only monsters and this annoys you, then there is quite a problem. This is what a controller is supposed to do. If you don't like it then a controller who is played as a real controller instead of as a carpet bombing striker is going to send you up the wall time and time again.

If the amount of auto-damage is too high for you in the level range you are currently playing in, have a talk with player and come to a compromise, especially if the party is not abusing forced movement in conjunction with this power. Remember that if your monster does not move but does a ranged attack, then the wizard just used up his standard action for little gain.

I view this as a very good "soft" control move by the player in question. He is presenting you with a nice problem in which you can choose to either take the damage and have the monster move somewhere (remember that this only works if the monster has to move. Simply seed more monsters with ranged attacks) or he can stand still and do something else. To take this away from the controller would be to slowly shove him into the carpet bomber striker role so many people actually use controllers for instead of as actual controllers (who almost always annoy DMs, at least the DMs I played under).

In a strict interpretation of the rules it is 1d6+bla bla PER square.


In a strict interpretation of the rules it is 1d6+bla bla PER square.




True, which is why it can be abused if the party has enough forced movement powers and the ready their actions, etc., etc.

That being said, the OP has not presented this as the situation, rather he is just complaining that the SP is being cast directly above the monster, in which case when the monster moves, it likely is only going to move into 1 adjacent square.  Even if the party readies forced movement powers to go off on the target's turn though, there are plenty of ways around that too.

when i DM, my rules interpretation (almost any interpretation of this power is more like a house rule with how poorly worded and how whacked out the strength of the power is) is this:

1)triggers on forced movement.

2)triggers once per creature turn....players could slide the target in and out of the pillar area, but it only triggers once....like an OA

3)triggers when an enemy moves from one square adjacent to another square adjacent.

hasn't yet been summoned in the air, but it has been summoned in a place that traps a monster adjacent to a wall so that any move will trigger the damage.

these 3 rules make it strong when the WHOLE PARTY utilizes forced movement AND the monsters are dumb enough to hang around the pillars, but it also encourages good teamwork, which is a desirable goal.

at the end of the day, it IS powerful, dealing damage virtually every round, but it often ends up as only 1d6+int to one monster, when area powers would do that to multiple monsters and single target powers are doing more.  Added to that, the monster can avoid taking the damage....it can always choose NOT to move, making the wizard do NO damage, but effectively immobilizing a target......an at will that does no damage, and says "if the target moves, they take 1d6+int? not so great....the lack of attack roll brings it almost in line with other at-wills, and the versatility of the power and the POTENTIAL to hit multiple targets makes it a pretty standard at-will.

simply make sure your fights include 1 of 3 things: 8 minions or more (the wizard is now choosing between a pseudo-lockdown, and multi-target blasting), encounters where every monster has a ranged attack....soldiers like the human guard are amazing for this...while immobilization hurts any soldier, a soldier that can mark at reach and has a decent ranged attack will be reduced in effectiveness if it chooses to avoid damage, not neutered....and finally, low ceiling encounters....just like one out of every 8-10 encounters in an area with only a seven foot ceiling (aka. one square tall, but with enough room so the tall guys aren't whacking their heads).

finally, most any monster that isn't bloodied should be taking the damage if the choice is "take damage or do nothing".....monsters that are bloodied, but think they could survive it should be retreating (parties tend to waste actions to chase these guys down).  Minions should avoid it...choosing to do nothing rather than just up and die - but you should also space them out (even over multiple rounds, as well as map area), to avoid him taking out a whole monster's worth of minions with one power....there are many autodamage effects that makes this power not too intimidating to encounter design with minions (warlock magic rod that damages upon being cursed, the thunder barbarian powers, cleave for a fighter, etc.).

TLDR; let him use the power in that way, but try and design the fights and be smart with the monsters so he can't control the entire fight with one power....let the monsters take the damage.

Here's one way to nerf it.


Just make it that it can only make an "opportunity attack". You only get one OA per creature per round. Also forced movement does not provoke an OA.


 


So now it would operate perhaps as Wotc "Intended". Hard to tell the wording on this power is so bad.

[My problem is not with SP's auto damage alone. It is the lose-lose of either being immobilized or damaged without an attack roll.

Assuming 4-5h level, You're letting ~12 damage (1d6+4+2+2, assuming a +2 staff of ruin) immobilize a monster with ~80hp?  At 1st level, you're letting ~9 damage immobilize monsters with 30hp?

You don't take damage for leaving a square of the pillar, just entering it.  So if it's overhead, you'll only take damage once.  It's just 9 damage, run through it and hit someone.

"Nice assumptions. Completely wrong assumptions, but by jove if being incorrect stopped people from making idiotic statements, we wouldn't have modern internet subculture." Kerrus
Practical gameplay runs by neither RAW or RAI, but rather "A Compromise Between The Gist Of The Rule As I Recall Getting The Impression Of It That One Time I Read It And What Jerry Says He Remembers, Whatever, We'll Look It Up Later If Any Of Us Still Give A Damn." Erachima

Dood, it says right in the power "On its turn".  It also says "unoccupied square".  Both of your concerns are moo.  Like a cow's opinion.
Perhaps all wizard at wills should just automatically cause damage, since at wills only cause a little damage. Screw attack rolls, they're sooo 3.5

Yes, controllers should be able to immobalize monsters....if they HIT.
Perhaps all wizard at wills should just automatically cause damage, since at wills only cause a little damage. Screw attack rolls, they're sooo 3.5

Yes, controllers should be able to immobalize monsters....if the power SAYS IMMOBILIZE.



Fixed.
Perhaps all wizard at wills should just automatically cause damage, since at wills only cause a little damage. Screw attack rolls, they're sooo 3.5

Yes, controllers should be able to immobalize monsters....if the power SAYS IMMOBILIZE.



Fixed.



What's the difference between a monster who has the immoblize status condition, and a monster who doesn't want to move because it will take damage automatically?

The two issues are not separate vacuum cases. It's EITHER automatic damage OR immoblized, EITHER without an attack roll. But here at the wizards forum we don't like attack rolls. He's a controller so he should always succeed at controlling

Let me ask this:  how do you feel about the pillar when, say, it's placed in front of a 1 square door, blocking the enemies approach?  Isn't that also effectively negating the opposing force?  Doesn't that screw your encounter just as badly?  Hell, try this:  Storm Pillar at the door, Stinking Cloud in the room.  Wait x rounds, loot bodies, repeat as needed.  Other party members simply stand at the door and pick off the enemies.  Wouldn't that piss you off just as badly? 

Dragonsblood, I get your frustration, I really do.  It irks me no end when our party's wizard elects to mess with a carefully crafted encounter with a well placed conjuration.  Drives me insane!  But, I gotta be upfront...it's what they're paid to do.  Controllers DO control.  Let them.
Perhaps all wizard at wills should just automatically cause damage, since at wills only cause a little damage. Screw attack rolls, they're sooo 3.5

Yes, controllers should be able to immobalize monsters....if the power SAYS IMMOBILIZE.



Fixed.



What's the difference between a monster who has the immoblize status condition, and a monster who doesn't want to move because it will take damage automatically?



Not wanting to move =/= can't move.

The two issues are not separate vacuum cases. It's EITHER automatic damage OR immoblized, EITHER without an attack roll. But here at the wizards forum we don't like attack rolls.



1) I doubt an unoccupied square has defenses, thus an attack roll is pointless.
2) The power is hardly what I'd consider broken.
a)1d6+mods is still rather minuscule damage, not to mention the duration of the power's effect.
b)Most of your gripes come from having in-door encounters.  "He can cast the spell in the doorway, making sure that monsters won't want to come through!"  Remember that you're the one who is in control of the monsters, so because you don't want the monsters to get hit (which...come on, its DnD...monsters die all the time), you allow monsters to not go through the AoE.

Let me ask this:  how do you feel about the pillar when, say, it's placed in front of a 1 square door, blocking the enemies approach?  Isn't that also effectively negating the opposing force?  Doesn't that screw your encounter just as badly?  Hell, try this:  Storm Pillar at the door, Stinking Cloud in the room.  Wait x rounds, loot bodies, repeat as needed.  Other party members simply stand at the door and pick off the enemies.  Wouldn't that piss you off just as badly? 



Not at all actually. I'd design the encounter with these abilities in mind, and Stinking Cloud is a daily so it's self restricting and it's meant to be very powerful. Like I've said multiple times, I have no problem with SP's conventional use.

However I am convinced that the developers did not design SP with 3 dimentions in mind and my player wants to exploit its poor design (to no fault of his own).

Most of your gripes come from having in-door encounters.  "He can cast the spell in the doorway, making sure that monsters won't want to come through!"  Remember that you're the one who is in control of the monsters, so because you don't want the monsters to get hit (which...come on, its DnD...monsters die all the time), you allow monsters to not go through the AoE.



You misunderstand my position. My only problem is when SP is cast above a monster's head.

I don't deny that it can be frustrating to me, but I welcome it's use in blocking doors or making monsters move around it and make other targets (IE the defender) easier to reach.
if the power was "spend a standard action, target: one creature, effect: if the creature moves, it takes 1d6+intelligence lightning damage" it'd be a mediocre to bad power.

a standard action power to immobilize ONLY (no damage) or do damage ONLY with no attack roll is decent.  What makes this no longer really an issue is the fact that the MONSTER picks what to do.  In this case, the monster becomes, in effect, a controller, with the ability to "ruin the best laid plans of the players" similar to what controllers do to the DM.  When the monster can choose which of two effects are going to happen to it, it can ALWAYS pick the lesser of the two evils. 



also, you want to avoid this player casting above monster's heads? determined to do so at all costs?  fine.  make the ground slope at a 45 degree angle in every fight.  that way, if it is above their head, the monster can walk down the slope in any direction and take no damage.  Don't be surprised when your player walks out because you can't handle an autodamage effect that the monster can choose to avoid.
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