Too powerfull cantrips

Hi forums!

On our last session I was having two arcane spellcasters in party - wizard and sorccerer. I like idea of they at-will cantrips, but when "free spells" do damage like  second best wepon on 1st PC level AND do status like-effects it is too much. Damage for those spells of d10 it just too much. I propose maybe using you current skill dice on damage done by cantrips - this way spells will become slowly more efficent, but start low. And best thing it will have is d12 damage on level 17+ of PC. I think it's fair and more thatn enoguht for spells you got as "last resort" type of thing.


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You are aware that spells currently do not add any stat modifiers right? And that in the current packet weapon users start with two dice and their stat mod.

Cantrip damage is already relatively low at will.
Yes, I currently think that the damage cantrips need to be nerfed. d10 is the damage die of a two-handed martial melee weapon. They don't add their ability score modifier as a bonus for damage, but they have nice effects. Remember that at-will cantrips should be weak to balance their dailies, and I think that the at-will cantrips should never overshadow their others spells, they (at-will cantrips) should not be what it's best about a caster class (in most cases). Also, the current scaling mechanism is off to me. The at-will cantrips at level 16 are better than most damaging 1st and 2nd level spells. That should not happen. Also the Cleric's at-will cantrips should be balanced with the Cleric's weapon attacks, so each player can choose which one they will use. But I like it your method.
I'd encourage anyone concerned about cantrip damage to sit down and actually get some play time with the packet. A cantrip is nothing like a melee weapon attack; the melee weapon attack is crushingly more damaging. Beater classes do a lot of damage in this edition. There's definitely no basis at all for comparison between a fighter's weapon attack and a damaging cantrip.
Dwarves invented beer so they could toast to their axes. Dwarves invented axes to kill people and take their beer. Swanmay Syndrome: Despite the percentages given in the Monster Manual, in reality 100% of groups of swans contain a Swanmay, because otherwise the DM would not have put any swans in the game.
Thing is, the development team has already said that martial classes are dealing too much damage, and they will tone it down. But yes, the damage of at-will cantrips is comparable to the damage of weapon attacks. Both are actions that are usable all the time, but they do not need to be directly balanced (fighter's weapon attack =/= damage at-will cantrip) because the other things going on also matter.
Hi forums!

On our last session I was having two arcane spellcasters in party - wizard and sorccerer. I like idea of they at-will cantrips, but when "free spells" do damage like  second best wepon on 1st PC level AND do status like-effects it is too much. Damage for those spells of d10 it just too much. I propose maybe using you current skill dice on damage done by cantrips - this way spells will become slowly more efficent, but start low. And best thing it will have is d12 damage on level 17+ of PC. I think it's fair and more thatn enoguht for spells you got as "last resort" type of thing.


I think the idea off a growing damage die for spellcasters is an interesting one.  I personally don't like casters using magic blasts every round.  I'd rather have magic either augment weapon attacks or have weapon attacks by wizards be more effective.
All characters need more options each round.  I am tired of hearing Lance of Faith and Ray of Frost.  For some reason these are more tiresome than an archer or melee combatant using the same weapon every round.  I guess it feels normal for a warrior to use weapon strikes every attack.
I would like an option for wizards to use weapons with similar effectiveness to cantrips.
If the cantrips are outdoing other spells, then the other spells need to be improved. I've actually found more of a problem with a battle-oriented wizard doing much less damage than the martial classes. Let's compare the per-round damage different level 1 classes can do on an attack roll.

I'll give a range of situations and weapons, and assume a primary ability modifier of +4.
Final damage will be written like - min/average/max damage

Barbarian, greataxe: +5 to hit, range melee, 1d12+1d6+4 - 6/14/22 damage
Cleric, lance of faith: +5 to hit, range 50', 2d6 - 2/7/12 damage (radiant)
Fighter, heavy crossbow: +5 to hit, range 100'/400', 1d10+1d6+4 - 6/13/20 damage
Monk, flurry of blows for two attacks: each +5 to hit, range melee, 2d6+8 - 10/15/20 damage (each attack 5/7.5/10)
Rogue, longbow with sneak attack: +5 to hit, range  150'/600', 1d8+2(1d6)+4 - 7/15.5/24 damage (6/12/18 without sneak attack)
Wizard, ray of frost: +5 to hit, range 100', 1d10 - 1/5.5/10 damage (cold, plus 10' speed reduction)

At a glance, most martial characters (whether melee or ranged) will be doing more than double the damage of cantrips with a hit each round.

Plus, casters don't benefit from the bonus critical damage. They still maximise normal damage, but won't get the extra weapon damage. And there isn't an arcane form of the cleave feat, etc.

Pity the caster who seeks damage, for only despair lies before them. The bonus effects on a hit are nice, but will hardly be game-changing in most situations. Cantrips are a caster's default attack, to allow them to maintain their usefulness without draining a very limited supply of slot-casting. And while cantrips grow in power, a caster won't be able to attack multiple targets, or do all manner of other not-sheer-damage-to-an-enemy things that martial characters can, without using spell slots.

Just looking at the cantrip's damage die size isn't representative, because there's no caster damage dice and no bonuses. And, at high levels when cantrips are doing 4/22/40, that barbarian will be doing 27/52.5/73, which can keep going all day long.

Now, this might balance out with access to slot-based magic, but I also know a lot of people will be loathe to cast from there without a good reason, and will default to cantrips.

And, having seen all classes represented in ongoing play, I have no concerns about cantrips being too powerful (with the possible exception of cure minor wounds, but that's another story). 
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Thing is, the development team has already said that martial classes are dealing too much damage, and they will tone it down. But yes, the damage of at-will cantrips is comparable to the damage of weapon attacks. Both are actions that are usable all the time, but they do not need to be directly balanced (fighter's weapon attack =/= damage at-will cantrip) because the other things going on also matter.

They're comparable in the sense of "they can be compared", but if you actually do compare them, then you see that the fighter's weapon attack is several times more damaging. This isn't, like, the kind of thing where it's a great mystery how much damage different things actually do. They're just numbers, and some of the numbers are several times larger than the other numbers. If you're not really familiar with all the mechanics of Next, I can understand being misled by the fact that Ray of Frost and some weapons use the same base damage die, but (just as is in previous editions of D&D), the base damage die of an attack doesn't tell the whole story, and in the case of Next's fighty types, it tells an almost irrelevent part of the story. Even if longswords did zero damage, fighters would still be dramatically more lethal than cantrips.
Dwarves invented beer so they could toast to their axes. Dwarves invented axes to kill people and take their beer. Swanmay Syndrome: Despite the percentages given in the Monster Manual, in reality 100% of groups of swans contain a Swanmay, because otherwise the DM would not have put any swans in the game.
Well, if our 1st level casters can put themselves an 4th level Ogre, it's something not right. Ogre have 32 HP. Cantrips do d10 damage. It means that statsticlly they do 5 damage per round ( or slightly more, cause od permutations ). It meanse that a caster can put the Ogre to ethernall sleep in 6 rounds. That goes to 3 if there is another cantrips caster. To compere - 1st level fighter is doing statisticly about 10 damage per round. That means he kills beast in 3 rounds with the weapon he putted all his dedication of lifelong career. Cantrips for caster are just one of many of his tricks, and should be used as "last line of deffence" - we don't talk here about the highrt level spells can do. It should be realtive small damage.

Also, when our spellcaster using Ray of Frost excended Goblins HP three times (!!!) per damge rolls  / getting lucky 9s / couple of times on session I make:"WTF?! This ray frozes whole Goblins or almost kills Hobgoblins with one shot? Shouldn't it be the least of caster magics?"

And this is wh I thought about 1d6 of cantrips damage - staticly it gets 3, so it kills Goblins and a like, but isn't rediculous on three times exceding them. 
Personally, I'd like dart throwing and the like to be viable options for a wizard, somehow balanced against cantrips, without making a wizard almost useless after spell slots are depleted.  Maybe something like the Rogue Weapons feature from 4e?

 They're thematically overpowered. Early in the morning with sleep in their eyes a 1st level wizard can strike down the common man with a bounded attack roll. How is that weaker than a daily 1st or 2nd lvl spell? 


They rob the uniqueness from the vancian caster. That’s a distraction.

What you're saying now is that the rules should enforce your personal vision of the way you want magic to work. To you, magic is a rare and powerful thing, and having go-to spells that can be cast repeatedly spoils that. That's fine, but that doesn't mean the rules can't allow that.

Yes, the weapon-user may have put his life into training with a weapon. And the wizard may have put his life into training with spells. Cantrips do not have to be useless, they're just spells that the wizard has spent so much time, and are so core to the use of magic, that the wizard has a near-perfect understanding of them and thus can cast them without draining themself.

Yes, a wizard can ray of frost an ogre down in around 6 attacks. A monk can punch it to death in 2-3. Combat is lethal in this packet, be it fists or being gradually frozen.

If you're simply unhappy with the flavour in the system, it's a small thing to reflavour the combat cantrips as magically-empowered weapons, be they darts of ice the wizard flings out in great numbers from the palm of the hand, or a simple bow firing frost arrows.

This is a concern for a group, when agreeing on the setting (do we want casters to spend their lives struggling to master the most basic of spells, or do they spend years practising and achieve great power, or is magic a trivial thing that they use freely?), and not for the game rules. In terms of the game rules, the wizard is allowed to output damage reliably each round, and currently does it less effectively than any combat character.
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What you're saying now is that the rules should enforce your personal vision of the way you want magic to work. To you, magic is a rare and powerful thing, and having go-to spells that can be cast repeatedly spoils that. That's fine, but that doesn't mean the rules can't allow that.

Yes, the weapon-user may have put his life into training with a weapon. And the wizard may have put his life into training with spells. Cantrips do not have to be useless, they're just spells that the wizard has spent so much time, and are so core to the use of magic, that the wizard has a near-perfect understanding of them and thus can cast them without draining themself.

Yes, a wizard can ray of frost an ogre down in around 6 attacks. A monk can punch it to death in 2-3. Combat is lethal in this packet, be it fists or being gradually frozen.

If you're simply unhappy with the flavour in the system, it's a small thing to reflavour the combat cantrips as magically-empowered weapons, be they darts of ice the wizard flings out in great numbers from the palm of the hand, or a simple bow firing frost arrows.

This is a concern for a group, when agreeing on the setting (do we want casters to spend their lives struggling to master the most basic of spells, or do they spend years practising and achieve great power, or is magic a trivial thing that they use freely?), and not for the game rules. In terms of the game rules, the wizard is allowed to output damage reliably each round, and currently does it less effectively than any combat character.




I want the rules to support a vision. Personally I would rather they run with what a vancian caster is instead of running away from it in some gamey compromise. I envision the vancian caster as someone who struggles to cast magic on the fly else else every other spell would not be daily or slot. A deadly cantrip would come in feat path. The vancian caster would have a variety of other methods to contribute in combat. Rate of Fire allowed the low level wizard to contribute more with less magic in AD&D than 3e so its easy to conceive.


Conversely I envision a tradition that specializes in casting magic on the fly. I designed a wild mage that was 100% atwill. The balance was in their lack of control, timing and precision.

Personally, I'd like dart throwing and the like to be viable options for a wizard, somehow balanced against cantrips, without making a wizard almost useless after spell slots are depleted.  Maybe something like the Rogue Weapons feature from 4e?

It's simple to do. Just trade cantrips for for the ability to use wizard weapons with the clerics weapon attack, martial dice and martial bonus.

Lesp: Yes, the weapon attacks of the weapon users deal more damage, in theory there is nothing wrong with that. It's all that they have. Casters have the other spells. However the development team said they are gonna lowering the damage of several characters, including the martial ones, and also they mentioned a lot of changes. I'm personally waiting for the next package, but I don't want the cantrip overshadowing their other spells, that should be fixed.
Rory and Samthere: No, reflavoring the at-will cantrips it's not the same thing. Also, the designers have talked about the possibility of a no at-will cantrips module. But, maybe some action to maintain balance may be necessary. If the game is balanced with at-will cantrips, removing them can unbalance the game, but I believe that can be fixed.
Simply trade cantrips for a martial damage die at the same levels the cantrips would of.

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Lesp: Yes, the weapon attacks of the weapon users deal more damage, in theory there is nothing wrong with that. It's all that they have. Casters have the other spells. However the development team said they are gonna lowering the damage of several characters, including the martial ones, and also they mentioned a lot of changes. I'm personally waiting for the next package, but I don't want the cantrip overshadowing their other spells, that should be fixed.

That's fair. The damage math is basically in tatters in D&D Next to begin with, so it's hard to say how things will shake out. I agree that it's not appropriate for a cantrip to be as powerful damage-wise as a martial weapon attack, but we don't know that they'll go there (or stay there if they do.)

Dwarves invented beer so they could toast to their axes. Dwarves invented axes to kill people and take their beer. Swanmay Syndrome: Despite the percentages given in the Monster Manual, in reality 100% of groups of swans contain a Swanmay, because otherwise the DM would not have put any swans in the game.
Well, if our 1st level casters can put themselves an 4th level Ogre, it's something not right. Ogre have 32 HP. Cantrips do d10 damage. It means that statsticlly they do 5 damage per round ( or slightly more, cause od permutations ). It meanse that a caster can put the Ogre to ethernall sleep in 6 rounds. That goes to 3 if there is another cantrips caster. To compere - 1st level fighter is doing statisticly about 10 damage per round. That means he kills beast in 3 rounds with the weapon he putted all his dedication of lifelong career. Cantrips for caster are just one of many of his tricks, and should be used as "last line of deffence" - we don't talk here about the highrt level spells can do. It should be realtive small damage.

Also, when our spellcaster using Ray of Frost excended Goblins HP three times (!!!) per damge rolls  / getting lucky 9s / couple of times on session I make:"WTF?! This ray frozes whole Goblins or almost kills Hobgoblins with one shot? Shouldn't it be the least of caster magics?"

And this is wh I thought about 1d6 of cantrips damage - staticly it gets 3, so it kills Goblins and a like, but isn't rediculous on three times exceding them. 



To me the damage isen't the main issue the priest lance of fait does 2d6 ( 7 avarage) ray of front 1d10 .( 5.5 avarage)
But i do see a problem with ray of frost it being his long range 2x that of lance of fait combined with the slow effect.
this means there are many monsters that you can just kill by keeping your distance if they don't have a range attack.
so you don't even need 2 wizards in open terain a oger can never get to the wizard before taking enough damage to die.

So i think first thing that sould be done is that the range is brought down to 50 feet instead of 100.
So that is the mage misses the ogre coulf get up into his face.

 
 
Why did everyone ignore all of the nice math on the first page? You're wrong, people. Weapon attacks do more damage than cantrips by a longslide. Case closed. Confirmation bias, much. Judging by the fact that the OP cited the sorcerer, I'm inclined to believe they haven't been following packet updates anyways...
It's a shame that all wizard cantrips deal damage, thus forcing the OP to use them.

Oh wait, the majority of cantrips DON'T do damage? So he can just ban like two spells from his game and the problem is solved? Okay, then.
It's a shame that all wizard cantrips deal damage, thus forcing the OP to use them. Oh wait, the majority of cantrips DON'T do damage? So he can just ban like two spells from his game and the problem is solved? Okay, then.



Please stop with the "ban it" methodology of debate.  It has been stated by many posters, dozens of times, why this is not a well rounded view, nor is it constructive in making a game with balance or vision.
It's a shame that all wizard cantrips deal damage, thus forcing the OP to use them. Oh wait, the majority of cantrips DON'T do damage? So he can just ban like two spells from his game and the problem is solved? Okay, then.



Please stop with the "ban it" methodology of debate.  It has been stated by many posters, dozens of times, why this is not a well rounded view, nor is it constructive in making a game with balance or vision.



Well this is a game of modularity and spells have the potential to be seen as the most basic of modules... ie not including is now fundamentally on the table

We really cant exclude it, can we? 
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It would be my preference that the at-will cantrips were more status-effect centric. -- Lobbing Ray of Frost would merely impose slow, using Chill Touch would only deny the ability to heal for the round, Shocking Grasp would only deny reactions for the round, casting Cure Minor Wounds would merely stabilize a dying creature, etc.

I like the idea of weapon proficiencies actually meaning something, and I like the imagery of spellcasters manipulating battle with their little spells as opposed to pewpewing lazer-style.

Although, I recognize that this is a contentious opinion.  

Danny

It would be my preference that the at-will cantrips were more status-effect centric. -- Lobbing Ray of Frost would merely impose slow, using Chill Touch would only deny the ability to heal for the round, Shocking Grasp would only deny reactions for the round, casting Cure Minor Wounds would merely stabilize a dying creature, etc.

I like the idea of weapon proficiencies actually meaning something, and I like the imagery of spellcasters manipulating battle with their little spells as opposed to pewpewing lazer-style.

Although, I recognize that this is a contentious opinion.  


Well you could always use the staff like they do in dragon age but I guess that would still be like attack cantrips. I think that the solution to this would be dropping the damage ones down a dice catagory and perhaps reducing the range by 50%. 
IMO the OP has it backwards.

In the current iteration, cantrips are too weak, damage wise.

Martial damage is off the charts in comparison. Happily (I believe?) martial damage is getting toned down next packet. If it were to stay as it is, however, cantrips would need a boost, not a nerf.

Since martial dmg is getting nerfed, cantrips can probably stay as is, and be reasonably balanced.

I dont mind the idea of the current cantrips. I prefer at will minor magic to wizard shooting crossbows or throwing daggers, etc. I think more effect style cantrips would be good, and feats which boost your cantrip damage also desireable - for those mages who want to be "blasters".
IMO the OP has it backwards.

In the current iteration, cantrips are too weak, damage wise.



+1.
It is kind of weird that a simple spell, which requires so little effort that you can cast it endlessly without getting tired, ends up carrying greater force than a level 3 fireball that you can only cast a few times per day. It really feels like they need some sort of spell scaling to prevent cantrips from over-powering limited-use spells when cast by a wizard of the same level.

The metagame is not the game.

It would be my preference that the at-will cantrips were more status-effect centric. -- Lobbing Ray of Frost would merely impose slow, using Chill Touch would only deny the ability to heal for the round, Shocking Grasp would only deny reactions for the round, casting Cure Minor Wounds would merely stabilize a dying creature, etc.

I like the idea of weapon proficiencies actually meaning something, and I like the imagery of spellcasters manipulating battle with their little spells as opposed to pewpewing lazer-style.

Although, I recognize that this is a contentious opinion.

In principle I think I could dig this, but I think it's trading one extreme for the other. I'd much prefer the cantrips to continue to deal their current (inferior) damage and also add a short-term status effect.

I'm also torn about the prepared damage spells. I said elsewhere that they may be significantly better, but they don't really feel like they are. Maybe that's because the other spells available are just more interesting? HP damage just feels really stale in the playtest, generally.


IMO the OP has it backwards.

In the current iteration, cantrips are too weak, damage wise.

Martial damage is off the charts in comparison. Happily (I believe?) martial damage is getting toned down next packet. If it were to stay as it is, however, cantrips would need a boost, not a nerf.

Since martial dmg is getting nerfed, cantrips can probably stay as is, and be reasonably balanced.

I dont mind the idea of the current cantrips. I prefer at will minor magic to wizard shooting crossbows or throwing daggers, etc. I think more effect style cantrips would be good, and feats which boost your cantrip damage also desireable - for those mages who want to be "blasters".



The "problem" i have with the ray of frost at the moment is that the ray of frost does 1D10 compared to 2D6 from the lance of fait, a damage difrence of 1.5 on average.
To me just the range advantage of the ray of frost or the slowing efect would be worth that damage difrence but ray of frost has both.
so to be on par with the lance of fait either the damge of the ray of frost needs to go down, or it's range reduced to 50 feet.
 
I don't have a problem with magic being an effortful task, and I don't have a problem with the rules supporting that, but personally I'm not a fan of that mechanic being supported by a hard and precise limit of daily spells. If there was a system of slotless casting for penalties or channeling, or spellcasting points that gradually recharged, then the caster wouldn't be tied to the daily limit.

Again, I don't see that cantrips prevent the roleplaying of a caster's effort. Perhaps they can repeatedly draw on this, but it tires them afterwards. Unlike other spells, where they can't keep pushing themselves, they can roleplay that effort after the adrenaline stops. I just don't believe that the system should be built in such a way as to leave a character without options.

Yes, cantrips can outdamage the fireball, but the fireball provides both area and guaranteed damage. I think it's fitting in terms of flavour, too. As the wizard grows in magical power, they are able to apply this power to those spells which they fully understand, but the slot spells are known in a more structured way. Of course, if the disparity in damage is too great, then it's simply an oversight to be fixed.

The "problem" i have with the ray of frost at the moment is that the ray of frost does 1D10 compared to 2D6 from the lance of fait, a damage difrence of 1.5 on average.
To me just the range advantage of the ray of frost or the slowing efect would be worth that damage difrence but ray of frost has both.
so to be on par with the lance of fait either the damge of the ray of frost needs to go down, or it's range reduced to 50 feet. 



This could be an issue, but the cleric and wizard are classes with very different styles. Clerics can, while not as effectively as the martial classes, use weapon attacks with martial damage bonuses, and have various other different options, so it's not a choice of one or the other.
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I am very firmly on the "cantrips are too weak" side  - they are by no means too strong.

At least when put in the context of martial damage and current limits on Vancian spells.

They ought to be comparable to what a fighter does with their basic attack unenhanced by any martial dice.

Their purpose is to allow the wizard to contribute usefully when not casting their few, rare Vancian spells while at the same time leaving them weaker than the fighter when doing so.

The very fact that the  OP is comparing them to the fighter's base damage makes me suspect they aren't actually discussing how the cantrip actually affects play - but rather are just reading the spells and comparing them to how the game worked in the past.  Because a fighter almost never does base damage.

In a fighter's hand - a weapon doesn't do 1d10 damage (comparable to a cantrip).  It does 1d10 plus 1d6 (or more at higher levels) plus Strength modiifier.   The wizard's cantrip does 1d10 damage (up to L6) for an average of 5.5.  The fighter does more like 12 points at level 1 (and much more as they gain levels.


The fact that they happen to roll the same die as a fighter using a weapon isn't relevant because they do less than half of the damage of that fighter.

Cantrips compared to what a wizard could do in a different game (by the same name) in the past are indeed stronger; Cantrips as a class feature compared to what the other characters can do in the current edition are too weak.

In particular - in the context of the first half-dozen levels during which the wizard does not have enough spells to rely upon them.  A wizard with two, three or even four Vancian spells can't even expect to be able to cast one spell per encounter (unless your goal is to enforce the five minute work day).    "Traditionally" in this situation the wizard threw darts or used crossbows (depending on your editon).  The new approach is to actually make them magic users and to allow them an at-will magical ability they can use to contribute when not using their few, rare Vancian spells. 

As it happens - I think that they fall a bit short in this role (compared to current martial damage).  To be clear, I don't think they need more damage.  I am happy with the amount of damage that they do.  Rather, I think there should be more of them (more choices equals more interesting play) and I think that they should have meaningful status effect (Perhaps with a secondary save effect).  Slowing the target is not meaningful; immobilizing it is.  Or even preventing reactions by the target.  I'd even rather see a spell more like the old Ray of Frost (immobilization, no damage).  An acid spell might cause blindness (or clouded vision) - perhaps imposing disadvantage on ranged attacks; An electrical spell might cause the creature to drop what it is holding (a disarm).  A fire spell might do a small amount of ongoing damage as they creature is briefly ignited.  Etc,

Right now the weakness of the cantrips is that they aren't very interesting in how they affect play.  They just do damage (and a trivial reduction of movement) and, no matter how effective, damage isn't really interesting (especially since - because they are just cantrps - they will never be the 'big damage' effect   They will always just be that little bit of extra damage chipping away at the target).

But they are not too strong.  Not when looked at in the context of what the other characters can do.

Of course - when the new Fighter classes come out, this opinion may change.  But compared to what is in the game at present - no.

Carl

What we need is a comparison chart of what various status effects "cost" in reduced damage. Ray of frost does less damage because it has a slow effect, magic missile does less damage because it auto-hits, etc.

The same thing for maneuvers. How much less damage should a maneuver do if it does something like knock prone, push back, damage on miss, etc.

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What we need is a comparison chart of what various status effects "cost" in reduced damage. Ray of frost does less damage because it has a slow effect, magic missile does less damage because it auto-hits, etc.

The same thing for maneuvers. How much less damage should a maneuver do if it does something like knock prone, push back, damage on miss, etc.

ugh do we? This sounds like how Pratchett's Auditors would play D&D.

Even a chart like that wouldn't tell the whole story, because different classes are supposed to have different relative strengths at different things, so an effect might reasonably "cost" more for one class than for another. For example, Animate Dead in 3.5 is a 3rd-level spell for Clerics, but a 4th-level spell for Wizards. Unlike most spells the two classes share, Animate Dead effectively "costs" more for a wizard to cast it. Antimagic Field works in the reverse; Wizards get it as a 6th-level spell, but Clerics get it as an 8th-level spell. A class whose basic offensive combat action is less effective might have that property because the class has other benefits - which is basically the way the Wizard is now in the playtest. It's not that Ray of Frost's minor slowing effect is really worth doing less than half the damage another class would, it's that the Wizard is spending a huge portion of its power budget elsewhere, on other cantrips and on actual spells. (The Fighter is, too, in the form of armor proficiencies and the option to trade damage for various maneuvers, but not as much as the wizard.)
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Even a chart like that wouldn't tell the whole story, because different classes are supposed to have different relative strengths at different things, so an effect might reasonably "cost" more for one class than for another. For example, Animate Dead in 3.5 is a 3rd-level spell for Clerics, but a 4th-level spell for Wizards. Unlike most spells the two classes share, Animate Dead effectively "costs" more for a wizard to cast it. Antimagic Field works in the reverse; Wizards get it as a 6th-level spell, but Clerics get it as an 8th-level spell. A class whose basic offensive combat action is less effective might have that property because the class has other benefits - which is basically the way the Wizard is now in the playtest. It's not that Ray of Frost's minor slowing effect is really worth doing less than half the damage another class would, it's that the Wizard is spending a huge portion of its power budget elsewhere, on other cantrips and on actual spells. (The Fighter is, too, in the form of armor proficiencies and the option to trade damage for various maneuvers, but not as much as the wizard.)

This is one of the biggest gripes I have always had with D&D regarding spells and different spell levels based on class. An animate dead spell should be the same spell level for a necromancer mage as it is for a cleric with the death domain. Whether the source is arcane or divine, spells in a casters "primary" sphere should be the same. Now, if non-necromancer mages or death domain clerics get their non-primary spells bumped up a spell level, at least it would be fair (still think fiddling with spell levels is a bad design, especially with scaling spells).

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What we need is a comparison chart of what various status effects "cost" in reduced damage. Ray of frost does less damage because it has a slow effect, magic missile does less damage because it auto-hits, etc.

The same thing for maneuvers. How much less damage should a maneuver do if it does something like knock prone, push back, damage on miss, etc.



indeed but i would rate the ray of frost having to have lower damage for 2 reasons the frost effect 2nd beinf it´s range.
These 2 combined make for a realy nasty combination.

also note that magic missle does not scale with level while for some reason ray of frost does. 

Even a chart like that wouldn't tell the whole story, because different classes are supposed to have different relative strengths at different things, so an effect might reasonably "cost" more for one class than for another. For example, Animate Dead in 3.5 is a 3rd-level spell for Clerics, but a 4th-level spell for Wizards. Unlike most spells the two classes share, Animate Dead effectively "costs" more for a wizard to cast it. Antimagic Field works in the reverse; Wizards get it as a 6th-level spell, but Clerics get it as an 8th-level spell. A class whose basic offensive combat action is less effective might have that property because the class has other benefits - which is basically the way the Wizard is now in the playtest. It's not that Ray of Frost's minor slowing effect is really worth doing less than half the damage another class would, it's that the Wizard is spending a huge portion of its power budget elsewhere, on other cantrips and on actual spells. (The Fighter is, too, in the form of armor proficiencies and the option to trade damage for various maneuvers, but not as much as the wizard.)

This is one of the biggest gripes I have always had with D&D regarding spells and different spell levels based on class. An animate dead spell should be the same spell level for a necromancer mage as it is for a cleric with the death domain. Whether the source is arcane or divine, spells in a casters "primary" sphere should be the same. Now, if non-necromancer mages or death domain clerics get their non-primary spells bumped up a spell level, at least it would be fair (still think fiddling with spell levels is a bad design, especially with scaling spells).

Kinda depends on how people feel about divine vs arcane magic though doesn't it? The level difference for spells like animate dead reflect that divine magic is just better at dealing with the forces of life and death beyond any other consideration. Having an antimagic field be high level for divine casters shows that arcane magic is categorically better at manipulating magic as a force.

I don't see that as bad design. I see that as solid, concept-driven design that aims to reduce the amount of redundancy in the spell list by making similar effects all use the same spell and placing them differently based on the concepts behind each category.


If you think that divine magic is inherently better at dealing with the forces of life and death (as evidenced by spells like resurrection), then it makes perfect sense for arcane casters to get spells like that later. Same goes for antimagic field, or the druid's healing magic being higher level than the cleric's.

Also, as a tabletop RPG, it's near-impossible to assign status effects a damage worth like you say. The 10' of slow in ray of frost, most of the time, won't make all that much of a difference. If you're paying damage to slow a guy that's in melee with your party, you've wasted that.

If, however, that slow is timed just right and makes up the difference when fleeing, or when prevent a foe from escaping, it can happen in a big way.

As a comparison, how much damage are utility spells worth giving up? Most of the time, nothing. In the right situation, though, the right spell will be worth more than any amount of damage.

Now, at a particular table, or for a particular adventure, we could estimate these to some degree. If a lot of sneaking enemies are going to try to weave amongst the party, the reaction-prevention of shocking grasp is invaluable. Try to estimate this for the game system, though? I'll pass. 
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I think it's fitting in terms of flavour, too. As the wizard grows in magical power, they are able to apply this power to those spells which they fully understand, but the slot spells are known in a more structured way.

I might be getting stuck on the name, then. Traditionally, cantrips have been spells that were so incredibly weak that they didn't even take a level 1 spell slot to cast. If they are going to be a spell which is so well-understood that the caster can wring extra potency out of them, then the concept which best fits that mechanic is the Signature Spell.

The metagame is not the game.

I agree that cantrips are too weak, damage-wise, in addition to spells in general. However, I really like the direction spells are moving. I especially love the cantrips, including all of the damaging ones. Their on-hit effects aren't overshadowing what a melee can do. Take, for instance, a 16th level who's expended all his spells. Let us also assume he's got all 3 damaging cantrips. Would you really rather be him than a 16th level fighter?

At 16th level, as a Wizard, you are going to do an average of 22 damage with ray of frost, chill touch, or shocking grasp. This amount of damage isn't increased by ability scores, or even a magic weapon (such as a fighters +x sword obviously would). It's an average of 22 all day long.

The on hit effects you could apply are this damaged ranged and a slow the enemy by 10 feet until your next turn (situational), prevent them from gaining hit points until your next turn (situational), or prevent them from taking reactions until their next turn (situational, and lasts a shorter time than the other two effects generally). These abilities are all situational, but useful in the right situation.

Let's take a 16th level fighter with a 20 Str or Dex (depending on weapon) that does 1d10. That's 5.5 average damage, +5 from stats, +15 from martial damage bonus. That's 25.5 BEFORE the 6d6 martial damage dice come into effect. You could add an average of 21 more damage, or use your many maneuvers for a wide variety of powerful effects. Also, if you are using ranged attacks, your maximum distance can far outstrip the wizard's 100 feet with ray of frost.
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On our last session I was having two arcane spellcasters in party - wizard and sorccerer.



What packet are you using? With the possible exception of the friends and family beta, the sorcerer has been out for a loooooooooong time. Or am I missing a packet?
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