Bulls, Cats, Bears, Foxes, Owls, and Eagles

Who should D&D Next handle Bull's Strength, Cat's Grace, Bear's Endurance, Fox's Cunning, Owl's Wisdom, and Eagle's Splendor?





As spells that replace the taget's ability score? The target's Strength is now 18

As spells that grant an increase the taget's ability score?  The spell grants a+4 bonus to Strength.

As spells that grant a bonus or advantage to the taget's ability checks? The spell grants a+4 bonus to Strength checks.

As feats that do something related to the ability? Benefit: You have advatage on Strength Checks to make or resist grapple and knock down check. Also 5 feet to the length of any long jump and 2 feet to the height of any high jump.

As Fighter maneuvers? When you wit with an attack with a melee or thrown weapon, you may spend one expertise dice. Roll it and add twice that number to your damage.

Something else?



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I think a combo might be nice. "Your Strength is now 16. If your Strength was already 16 or higher you have advantage in Strength checks and saving throws."

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Duration: 1 minute.
Requires: Concentration.
Effect: Target can add skill die to all ability checks (but not saving throws or attacks) using that ability. (No effect if the target already trained in skills related to they ability).
Assuming that they remain spells (I think that it's fine for there to be feats that make you generally more athletic or whatever, but they can have different names), I think that mechanics need to follow from what the intended function of the spell is. The score-replacement version makes them quite useful for situations where everybody needs to succeed on some check, since they make the worst people for the job somewhat decent, but makes them quite poor as general buff spells, especially for combat, because generally if Str matters a lot to someone in combat or as the guy who makes the str checks, that guy's going to already have high Str, and will be getting +1 or +0 out of the spell. That also makes them maximally useful in parties where everybody is pretty terrible at something (or the only guy who's decent for some reason can't make the check, like it's a check to free him from a chest that he's locked inside of or whatever.)

Ultimately, I think that the effect should be based on "What's best for the spell ecosystem?" rather than "Let's just pick effects that sound nice and let Pelor sort it out." I feel that the "Set Score to X" version is more unique; we already have some spells that boost things that people are already good at, usually by boosting a more derived attribute. Unless we specifically don't want such things to exist, the "Set Score to X" setup would give the spells a more unique role.

EDIT: Also, spells that boost stats, unlike spells that boost something like attack rolls, feel like the affect the character on a more personal level, and I think there are more interesting stories to tell with "Dumb guy gets to be a genius for a day" or "Weak guy gets to be MIGHTY for a day" than "Weak guy gets to be average for a day" or "Strong guy gets to be somewhat more strong for a day."
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I like ability replacement. Id like higher replacement with higher spell slot. Target maybe a score of 30 with a 9th level spell. Start maybe at 16 for 1st level.
Honestly, my big issue with ability score replacement is that I just can't figure out how to justify it thematically. If ability score bonuses are really so much of a balance concern, then I'd rather that they leave these kinds of spells out entirely than that try to shoehorn them in with such nonsensical fluff implications.

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I hate micro-bonus tracking. That is the only reason I like advantage because it means keeping track of less +Xs. Ability replacement still suffers the +X bonus problem. 5e is becoming more and more like 3e with bonuses everywhere that were impossible to keep track of.

So much for faster combat...
What Lawolf said.
I say ditch'em.

 
The only time these might be appropriate is for self-buffs for caster/melee classes like clerics and rangers and swordmages and such. Even then a more flavorful option would probably be better.
What do you think about maneuvers like the 4e ranger's Fox's Cunning?

Bull's: Damage + knockdown + Push added to an attack
Fox's: Movement and AC added while attacking
Bear's: Resitance when hit
Fox's: Move and Damage added to an opportunity attack
Owl's: AC and Accuracy until next turn while attacking
Eagle: Advantage and damage to nearby allies and sef

Orzel, Halfelven son of Zel, Mystic Ranger, Bane to Dragons, Death to Undeath, Killer of Abyssals, King of the Wilds. Constitution Based Class for Next!

I voted for bonus to checks, as it is an overall raw power increase for attributes, but since it is a tempoary boost it would not grant any accuracy or damage bonus. If a wizard want to specialize in transmutation, then additional effects may be added, and at the point, it may add a simple +1 to accuracy or damage.

For martial maneuvers, it is more about emulating the animals in question, so a bear style can emulate resistance or knockback, where an avian style may be a skirmisher with the ability to make ranged strikes without a penalty (keen eye sight). You just have to make a distinction between ranger versus monk animal styles. So a monk may be focused on strikes and evasion, while the ranger is focused on terrain and adapting.
I can give a list of drawbacks to compensate the bonuses.

Bull's Strength: if your foe has a cape, you have disadvantage. If he wears an immodest ridiculous tight shiny suit, you can only hit him on a critical hit.

Cat's Grace: You make a saving throw every round to keep interest on what you are currently doing. If you fail, you can run up to your speed without taking attacks of opportunities, you can run up to twice your speed if there's a tiny animal in sight when you fail the saving throw.

Bear's Endurance: During winter, casting this spell forces you to ignore tiring activities and search for a isolated and calm place to sleep. If you foe possess honey, you will try to take it, ignoring any attack against you, giving advantage to any creature attacking you until you take the honey.

Fox's Cunning: Nobody trusts you, everyone takes the chance to kill you on sight. You are considered like a big lovely rat.

Owl's Wisdom: Your eyes can't move, you have to turn your head in the direction you want to see. foes that are not in front of you have advantage against you.

Eagle: You are an endangered species. All greedy people able to use a weapon want to be the first to kill you.

If you think my english is bad, just wait until you see my spanish and my italian. Defiling languages is an art.

The drawback of cat's grace is that you consider all creatures as hostile enemies and must make opportunity attacks against them with infinite reactions and advantage. This can only be ignored with a successful DC10 Int check if there is shinies, food, or lights nearby or if the creature granted you a positive effect in the past minute.

Orzel, Halfelven son of Zel, Mystic Ranger, Bane to Dragons, Death to Undeath, Killer of Abyssals, King of the Wilds. Constitution Based Class for Next!

Bull's Strength, Cat's Grace, Bear's Endurance, Fox's Cunning, Owl's Wisdom and Eagle's Splendor should be spells that offer advantage on checks and saves made with the appropriate ability score for the duration of one minute.

Anything else is needlessly complicated. 

Danny

Bull's Strength, Cat's Grace, Bear's Endurance, Fox's Cunning, Owl's Wisdom and Eagle's Splendor should be spells that offer advantage on checks and saves made with the appropriate ability score for the duration of one minute.

Anything else is needlessly complicated. 

I like more flavorful bonuses mentioned instead of a simple "advantage on ability X skill checks and saves", but both could work fine. If they were made into feats as well, I could seeing you being able to activate as swift spell for one round, with short rest to recharge.

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I say ditch'em.

 



I agree, this is one of those areas where spellcaster's are treading on other classes toes. 

My mind is a deal-breaker.

I hate micro-bonus tracking. That is the only reason I like advantage because it means keeping track of less +Xs. Ability replacement still suffers the +X bonus problem. 5e is becoming more and more like 3e with bonuses everywhere that were impossible to keep track of.

So much for faster combat...

I'm not sure what buff/support spells existed before 3rd, but the moment you have characters giving support (the entire role of a cleric if/when he's not being a box of bandaids), all support spells/abilities are going to end up falling into +/- hit/defense or damage. WotC has tried to throw Adv/Disadv around in a festive manner to try to stop that from happening, but what we've gotten is just tons of things granting those, and even now it feels too much.

Certainly some people would be more than happy for everyone to play with just the base numbers written on their character sheet and the cleric is just there to heal everyone, but plenty of people like to support others (even out of combat, helping an ally will result in + modifiers). Certainly my group gravitated towards leaders and the buffing abilities of other classes in 4e (save one person who likes giant numbers, but that worked out since it gave us the ideal target to buff lol).

And while I will totally say please toss in any ideas for support abilities that don't boil down to +/- on rolls/defense, I'm not sure if keeping track of a bunch of non-numerical attributes would be any easier to manage (I actually think it could end up being harder).

As for how these spells should work, I will admit I'm torn. There is certainly a more visceral feel when you manage to pump your weak party member to super strong with Bull's Strength; but I also remember how lame aspects of 3rd Ed's Divine Power felt when my cleric with a str of 16-18 would cast it, since "having str 18" wasn't that big a deal, or even useless - and it was disasterous when he would have a str of >18 (less of an issue in DDN, but still possible).

Perhaps a compromise would be "gain strength 18 OR advantage on strength based checks/rolls." That feels pretty cool, I just don't know if that's too clunky.
I'd leave it out of attack, damage or AC and give a bonus to attribute-related checks and saving throws instead.
Bonus dice to all checks. Easier to remember. Kind of like the skill rules. U get buffed, u get a extra d6, or d8, or whatever. Quick and easy.
I suggest that the designers get these spells correct the the first time and just include them in the PHB.

These spells are part of D&D.   You can omit them from the core all you want, but some supplement or module will re-introduce them.       


I'd leave it out of attack, damage or AC and give a bonus to attribute-related checks and saving throws instead.


How can you justify leaving it off of AC but not saving throws?  Saving throws are a defensive stat - the only difference between them and AC is who does the rolling.
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I suggest that the designers get these spells correct the the first time and just include them in the PHB.

These spells are part of D&D.   You can omit them from the core all you want, but some supplement or module will re-introduce them.       



A part of D&D? They were in one edition of D&D (aside from original Strength spell from older editions).  

I hate these spells, but if they must be included, they should be sharply limited. A bonus to a single feat of strength, dexterity, etc., sounds about right. 
I'd leave it out of attack, damage or AC and give a bonus to attribute-related checks and saving throws instead.


How can you justify leaving it off of AC but not saving throws?  Saving throws are a defensive stat - the only difference between them and AC is who does the rolling.

Its less common, most attacks are against AC and spells and traps are much rarer in comparison. Cat's Grace boosting DEX would increase both attack, damage AC, checks and saving throws while restricting only to checks and saves reduce its potency.  

Honestly, my big issue with ability score replacement is that I just can't figure out how to justify it thematically. If ability score bonuses are really so much of a balance concern, then I'd rather that they leave these kinds of spells out entirely than that try to shoehorn them in with such nonsensical fluff implications.



   Bull's strength gives you the "strength of a bull" or whatever other animal/entity the spell gives you the strength of.

  Already have the strength of an X?  You don't need it.
 
  Just like casting Comprehend Languages on someone who already speaks the particular language you want is meaningless.  Or how Remove Fear is useless to cast on characters who are already immune to fear.  And Water Breathing is of little use to creatures that can already breath underwater. 
The core problem wouldn't be with Cat's Grace, though, it would be that Dex is just simply overpowered.

These spells will amplify and accentuate those differences if they're boosts to scores.  It's only a problem if the scores themselves are imbalanced (which they are).  We can nerf the spells to avoid the amplification, or we can fix the scores.  I'd vote for the latter.
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Replacement would be good, except if you need to recalculate things.

So i suggest advantage on checks.

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F-111 Interdictor Long (200+ squares) distance ally teleporter. With some warlord stuff. Broken in a plot way, not a power way.

Thought Switch Higher level build that grants upto 14 attacks on turn 1. If your allies play along, it's broken.

Elven Critters Crit op with crit generation. 5 of these will end anything. Broken.

King Fisher Optimized net user.  Moderate.

Boominator Fun catch-22 booming blade build with either strong or completely broken damage depending on your reading.

Very Distracting Warlock Lot's of dazing and major penalties to hit. Overpowered.

Pocket Protector Pixie Stealth Knight. Maximizing the defender's aura by being in an ally's/enemy's square.

Yakuza NinjIntimiAdin: Perma-stealth Striker that offers a little protection for ally's, and can intimidate bloodied enemies. Very Strong.

Chargeburgler with cheese Ranged attacks at the end of a charge along with perma-stealth. Solid, could be overpowered if tweaked.

Void Defender Defends giving a penalty to hit anyone but him, then removing himself from play. Can get somewhat broken in epic.

Scry and Die Attacking from around corners, while staying hidden. Moderate to broken, depending on the situation.

Skimisher Fly in, attack, and fly away. Also prevents enemies from coming close. Moderate to Broken depending on the enemy, but shouldn't make the game un-fun, as the rest of your team is at risk, and you have enough weaknesses.

Indestructible Simply won't die, even if you sleep though combat.  One of THE most abusive character in 4e.

Sir Robin (Bravely Charge Away) He automatically slows and pushes an enemy (5 squares), while charging away. Hard to rate it's power level, since it's terrain dependent.

Death's Gatekeeper A fun twist on a healic, making your party "unkillable". Overpowered to Broken, but shouldn't actually make the game un-fun, just TPK proof.

Death's Gatekeeper mk2, (Stealth Edition) Make your party "unkillable", and you hidden, while doing solid damage. Stronger then the above, but also easier for a DM to shut down. Broken, until your DM get's enough of it.

Domination and Death Dominate everything then kill them quickly. Only works @ 30, but is broken multiple ways.

Battlemind Mc Prone-Daze Protecting your allies by keeping enemies away. Quite powerful.

The Retaliator Getting hit deals more damage to the enemy then you receive yourself, and you can take plenty of hits. Heavy item dependency, Broken.

Dead Kobold Transit Teleports 98 squares a turn, and can bring someone along for the ride. Not fully built, so i can't judge the power.

Psilent Guardian Protect your allies, while being invisible. Overpowered, possibly broken.

Rune of Vengance Do lot's of damage while boosting your teams. Strong to slightly overpowered.

Charedent BarrageA charging ardent. Fine in a normal team, overpowered if there are 2 together, and easily broken in teams of 5.

Super Knight A tough, sticky, high damage knight. Strong.

Super Duper Knight Basically the same as super knight with items, making it far more broken.

Mora, the unkillable avenger Solid damage, while being neigh indestuctable. Overpowered, but not broken.

Swordburst Maximus At-Will Close Burst 3 that slide and prones. Protects allies with off actions. Strong, possibly over powered with the right party.

I'd rather the spell just treat the target as trained in all related skills. It doesn't push a trained PC outside the system bounds, it doesn't break combat, and it is easier to remember than having to track a new ability score.
I say ditch'em.

 



I agree, this is one of those areas where spellcaster's are treading on other classes toes. 




Entirely to easy for that to happen.
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I am pro replacement.

Bull's Strength2nd level transmutation
Casting time: 1 action
Effect (Concentration) Touch one creature. For the next minute, that creature's Strength is 16.
At Higher Levels: When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 3rd or higher, the creature's Strength become 1 higher than 16 for each level above 2nd.

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I don't think they're essential to D&D.  If we absolutely have to have them, I'd want them kept simple.  I'd also want magically imparted ability to be less reliable and effective than natural aptitude or carefully honed ability.  Let a character under the effects of the spell add 1d6 to all checks made with the affected ability score for the duration of the spell.  Let them have no interaction with combat apart from ability checks made in combat, so that the spells aren't reduced to hit+DMG or saving throw buffs (which, players might complain, would then feel mandatory).

There's already a precedent for a flat 1d6 bonus in the rogue class features, and it would make the spells useful even for a talented, trained individual. 
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I just think boosting checks and saves would work better with Bounded Accuracy that if attacks and spellcastings can be boosted by those spells. Also spells are difficult enought to save against without having magic boosting their spellcasting attribute even higher IMO.
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Make your polls multi-choice.  Vastly more accurate.

Simple example:
101 voters, 5 choices.
Choices A through D each have 25 people who love them, but each of those people HATES the other three choices from A through D.  (I.e., 25 people love A, and hate B, C, D.)
Everybody likes E, almost as much as their main choice.

Almost final results:
A: 25
B: 25
C: 25
D: 25
E: 0

So the best choice by any rational measure (E, that everybody can agree on) gets zero votes, and the 101th voter decides the election.

In multichoice voting the tally would be:
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B: 25
C: 25
D: 25
E: 100

E would win by a landslide, regardless of what the last voter does.

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Bull's strength gives you the "strength of a bull" or whatever other animal/entity the spell gives you the strength of.
Already have the strength of an X? You don't need it.

That's not making sense, no, I'm not buying that.

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Bull's strength gives you the "strength of a bull" or whatever other animal/entity the spell gives you the strength of.
Already have the strength of an X? You don't need it.

That's not making sense, no, I'm not buying that.


  I used other examples.  Did they not make sense either? Water Breathing doesn't make you breath water BETTER.  Comprehend Languages doesn't enhance your comprehension of languages you already know.  Fear Ward can't make you more immune to fear when you already are.

  A spell that makes you really strong makes you really strong... unless you're already really strong, in which case the spell is superfluous.  It should be cast on someone who is physically weak.

....ignore all of this if you were only making a joke. Tongue Out
 I used other examples.

The problem with your other examples is that, for the most part, they're binary rather than on a scale. You can either breath water or not breath water, and that can't really be improved once you can because there's nothing beyond that. You can either understand a language or not understand a language, and that can't really be improved once you can because there's nothing beyoind that (at least not in a way very relevant to D&D). Ability scores, though, are on a scale, and it's a limitless one because it's simply numerical. It's not whether you're strong or not strong but how strong you are; the former question makes no sense because it tries to take a relative question and make it objective. No matter what an ability score is, though, it could always be better, so a spell that gives targets a very specific Strength, making those weaker stronger and those stronger weaker, either doesn't make any sense or would be a spell much more complex that one that simply makes all targets stronger.

Why, yes, as a matter of fact I am the Unfailing Arbiter of All That Is Good Design (Even More So Than The Actual Developers) TM Speaking of things that were badly designed, please check out this thread for my Minotaur fix. What have the critics said, you ask? "If any of my players ask to play a Minotaur, I'm definitely offering this as an alternative to the official version." - EmpactWB "If I ever feel like playing a Minotaur I'll know where to look!" - Undrave "WoTC if you are reading this - please take this guy's advice." - Ferol_Debtor_of_Torm "Really full of win. A minotaur that is actually attractive for more than just melee classes." - Cpt_Micha Also, check out my recent GENASI variant! If you've ever wished that your Fire Genasi could actually set stuff on fire, your Water Genasi could actually swim, or your Wind Genasi could at least glide, then look no further. Finally, check out my OPTIONS FOR EVERYONE article, an effort to give unique support to the races that WotC keeps forgetting about. Includes new racial feature options for the Changeling, Deva, Githzerai, Gnoll, Gnome, Goliath, Half-Orc, Kalashtar, Minotaur, Shadar-Kai, Thri-Kreen, Warforged and more!
 I used other examples.

The problem with your other examples is that, for the most part, they're binary rather than on a scale. You can either breath water or not breath water, and that can't really be improved once you can. You can either understand a language or not understand a language, and that can't really be improved once you can (at least not in any way relevant to D&D). Ability scores, though, are on a scale. It's not whether you're strong or not strong but how strong you are; the former question makes no sense because it tries to take a relative question and make it objective. No matter what an ability score is, though, it could always be better, so a spell that gives targets a very specific Strength, making those weaker stronger and those stronger weaker, either doesn't make any sense or would be a spell much more complex that one that simply makes all targets stronger.



What if these "spells" were arcane skill tricks. Give them a 1 minute duration and a require a short rest to recharge, but for the duration you use your Arcana skill in place of (relevant skill).
@Alex

that is why I prefer replacement and concentration. The default spell just makes someone with no talent have some talent. Truly buffing the already talented would require a stronger spell and DDN already has a spell leveling system.

It also nerfs self buffing spell DCs. Concentration means you can't steck any other spells. And using higher spell slots eats one of your few high level slots. This ensures diminishing returns.

Would you burn an 8th level slot to get a 22 in your casting stat?

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What if these "spells" were arcane skill tricks. Give them a 1 minute duration and a require a short rest to recharge, but for the duration you use your Arcana skill in place of (relevant skill).

I like the concept, but it's too good. Perhaps instead of 6 different "spells", just have a single one that allows you to use your magic attack bonus instead of a ability bonus (pick one) for a minute, and make it a level 2 spell. Call it "Animal Affinity" or some such, and only allow one such spell to be active on a target at a time.

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 I used other examples.

The problem with your other examples is that, for the most part, they're binary rather than on a scale. You can either breath water or not breath water, and that can't really be improved once you can. You can either understand a language or not understand a language, and that can't really be improved once you can (at least not in any way relevant to D&D). Ability scores, though, are on a scale. It's not whether you're strong or not strong but how strong you are; the former question makes no sense because it tries to take a relative question and make it objective. No matter what an ability score is, though, it could always be better, so a spell that gives targets a very specific Strength, making those weaker stronger and those stronger weaker, either doesn't make any sense or would be a spell much more complex that one that simply makes all targets stronger.



What if these "spells" were arcane skill tricks. Give them a 1 minute duration and a require a short rest to recharge, but for the duration you use your Arcana skill in place of (relevant skill).


So that the wizard can use one stat and one trained skill to obviate the attributes and training of everyone else in the group, so long as he's got time to catch his breath before he's called upon to show someone else up at their job?  I don't like the sound of that at all.

If we're going to include these things in the edition at all, I'd prefer that they cost a spell slot, and have the flexibility to either be used on someone who's good at something to make them really amazing at something or to be used on someone who's not good at something to make them good at it.  If you need one member of the party to accomplish something really difficult, you throw it on the guy who's the best at whatever it is to start with; if you need everyone to pass muster at one task, you use it to shore up the weak link.
"When Friday comes, we'll all call rats fish." D&D Outsider
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