Caster Concerns: Concentration and Magic Resistance

Disclaimer: I understand this is just a play packet and that there are going to be imbalances while the designers play around with class abilities/spell choices. I merely raise this a topic of discussion in off chance that certain lesser mechanics are over looked.

First: Concentration. I like this mechanic. I have liked it since 3.x because it gives casters more flexibility and room for ingenuity on the battlefield. My concern is two things, each harmless in of themselves but when combined become worrisome. The first is the limiting concentration spells to 1 per caster and having spells end immediately at the casting of another concentration spell. Again, nothing wrong with the concept, it makes sense for casters to be able to only concentrate on one spell. That is the whole point of concentrating after all.

My worry is the sheer volume of 'buff' spells that require concentration. It makes it nearly impossible to buff multiple members of the party in any meaningful way and limits the concept of a 'support caster' class. One of the boons to playing a caster is not always throwing bolts of lightening or torrents of magic missiles but bolstering your allies to new heights. This problem can be solved in two ways really. A) review buff spells for the power they bring to a group and scale them accordingly with or without concentration or B) create ways (feats/subclasses) that casters can tailor their characters to be more support oriented, i.e., obtain the ability to maintain multiple concentrations (via familiar or what have you).

Second: Magic Resistance. First, I like the concept of trying to balance the classes via the bestiary. Spell Resistance has always been a (relatively) graceful way to balance the power of spellcasters in high level games. As above, you could tailor your caster to over come it if your campaign was heavy in monsters with spell resistance via feats, prestige classes, ect. while giving up other things. It allowed for options and design but didn't completely gimp the worth of casting because, referring to my earlier point, you could just buff your allies to beat them to hell and back.

I think this comes down to a concept of 'resources'. With most casters late game spell numbers being reduced to 1 per level after 5th, any 'failed' spell becomes not just a wasted turn where a fighter missed their attack but a wasted resource. Now there are already certain implementations being considered if you look at the spell book; example: Flesh to Stone where if they succeed their check you retain the spell (and assuming the spell slot along with it).

I don't think that there is anything wrong with Magic Resistance as a concept but only if it's acknowledge that it cannot simply be thrown in monster stat blocks in place of spell resistance because mechanically it doesn't translate. The way I see it, the implementation is a little wonky (as it should be considering this is a play packet) and that there needs to be some shoring up on the value of spells as a whole.

This isn't a judgement or criticism, again, merely hoping to raise a dialog on an issue that has been bugging me for a while.
I'm a huge fan of concentration as it presently stands, really enjoy that it is required mostly for buffs, and overall agree with its implementation.

Danny

I think the point is that it lets you have pretty strong individual buff/debuff effects without becoming unbalanced by stacking a lot of them. But it would probably be good to have more mass buff spells (that are appropriately balanced).
I think the point is that it lets you have pretty strong individual buff/debuff effects without becoming unbalanced by stacking a lot of them. But it would probably be good to have more mass buff spells (that are appropriately balanced).

Perhaps we'll see some of those when the bard makes his debut.

Seems to fit his schtick.

Danny

I like Concentration as is but if you want the buffing mini-game to be an option it's as easy as "Campaign Option:  No limit on Concentration spells."


IMO the buffing mini-game and the accounting involved should stay dead in the Core game.    
Concentration is good as is.  That said, you can always make an exception for a support caster class.  Like..

Support Caster:  You can concentrate on 2 spells at once.  But doing so prevents you from casting any other spells.

Or:
Mass Support:  You can target an extra creature when you cast a friendly spell that requires concentration.

Or:
Adaptive Support: As an action you can change the target of a concentration spell.
Reactive Support: Prerequisit Adaptive Support:  As a reaction, you can change the target of a concentration spell. 

Or something like that.

guides
List of no-action attacks.
Dynamic vs Static Bonuses
Phalanx tactics and builds
Crivens! A Pictsies Guide Good
Power
s to intentionally miss with
Mr. Cellophane: How to be unnoticed
Way's to fire around corners
Crits: what their really worth
Retroactive bonus vs Static bonus.
Runepriest handbook & discussion thread
Holy Symbols to hang around your neck
Ways to Gain or Downgrade Actions
List of bonuses to saving throws
The Ghost with the Most (revenant handbook)
my builds
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.

As for magic resist, it's good if used sparingly.

But there should also be creatures with extra high AC, or who take 1/2 damage from weapons.
Ghost for example. 

guides
List of no-action attacks.
Dynamic vs Static Bonuses
Phalanx tactics and builds
Crivens! A Pictsies Guide Good
Power
s to intentionally miss with
Mr. Cellophane: How to be unnoticed
Way's to fire around corners
Crits: what their really worth
Retroactive bonus vs Static bonus.
Runepriest handbook & discussion thread
Holy Symbols to hang around your neck
Ways to Gain or Downgrade Actions
List of bonuses to saving throws
The Ghost with the Most (revenant handbook)
my builds
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 hope that there will be one or two creatures who take 1/2 damage from magic sources. The game is already pretty focused on damage spells, it would be nice to encourage color spray vs magic missle, hold person vs acid arrow... just for the sake of variety. 


My worry is the sheer volume of 'buff' spells that require concentration. It makes it nearly impossible to buff multiple members of the party in any meaningful way and limits the concept of a 'support caster' class.



IMO, that's a good thing.
How about many buff concentration spells saying something along the lines of "you can expend a higher level spell slot to effect one extra creature per level above it's base level"

So 2nd level Barkskin can be cast on 2 people if you spend a 3rd level slot, 3 people with a 4th level slot etc.

Would that scale and allow a higher level support caster buff more than a single party member at a time? 
How about many buff concentration spells saying something along the lines of "you can expend a higher level spell slot to effect one extra creature per level above it's base level"

So 2nd level Barkskin can be cast on 2 people if you spend a 3rd level slot, 3 people with a 4th level slot etc.

Would that scale and allow a higher level support caster buff more than a single party member at a time? 



I heartily approve. That's brilliant. 
How about many buff concentration spells saying something along the lines of "you can expend a higher level spell slot to effect one extra creature per level above it's base level"

So 2nd level Barkskin can be cast on 2 people if you spend a 3rd level slot, 3 people with a 4th level slot etc.

Would that scale and allow a higher level support caster buff more than a single party member at a time?



I heartily approve. That's brilliant.

+2

Danny

Scaling buff spells work nicely.

+3

guides
List of no-action attacks.
Dynamic vs Static Bonuses
Phalanx tactics and builds
Crivens! A Pictsies Guide Good
Power
s to intentionally miss with
Mr. Cellophane: How to be unnoticed
Way's to fire around corners
Crits: what their really worth
Retroactive bonus vs Static bonus.
Runepriest handbook & discussion thread
Holy Symbols to hang around your neck
Ways to Gain or Downgrade Actions
List of bonuses to saving throws
The Ghost with the Most (revenant handbook)
my builds
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.

How about you can use your action to concentrate on more than one spell at a time.  Like what Mellored said in his post, a caster can concentrate on 2 spells at once, but cannot cast spells while doing so.  

For example, lets say that concentration upkeep happens at the start of your turn.  At the beginning of your turn, you choose to concentrate on one spell to keep it going.  Then you get your regular turn's worth of actions.  You can choose to use your action to keep one more concentration spell going.  There could be feats or class features that allow you to keep more than one concentration spell going at a time.  A good way to deliver that would be with a Tradition of Wizardry.  Traditionally, the Enchanter has been the main support Wizard, buffing the party.  A Tradition of Enchantment Wizard build may gain a class feature that allows them to concentrate on more than one spell at a time, or cast certain specific spells on more than one creature at a time. 
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