Problematic Spell List

Back in the day, there was a "Problematic Spells" thread that highlighted spells that might present problems for a DM. I thought it might be useful to set up something like that for Next. If you think of anything to add (either problems or fixes) post and I'll include it.

I used these categories for problems:
severe - They really need to fix this
moderate - Likely to cause some problems if they don't fix this
mild - It would be nice if they fixed this

I also broke them down by type:

Mechanics: something wrong or confusing about how the spell works
Overpowered: too strong
Underpowered: too weak
Needs hp limit: should have a hp limit on targets (which should typically scale with spell level)
Scaling? : could add scaling with level
Ritual abuse: spell is too useful to cast as a ritual with no cost
Problem combo: has issues when combined with another spell
Redundant: Basically duplicates another spell
World impact: has weird consequences for the campaign world
Format: Spell isn't formatted right/school isn't consistent

This discussion is relative to the overall magic system of the current (June Aug 2013) packet, so overpowered/underpowered is relative to other spells, not a comment on the overall balance of the magic system.

A-F

Air Walk: Redundant
What’s the point of this compared to fly?

Animal Friendship: Needs hp limit
1st level characters shouldn’t be able to charm a T Rex

Animal Messenger: Mechanics
How far can a squirrel or a bird travel in 8 hours?

Animate Dead: Underpowered
Dedicating a level 3 slot to get a low level minion is probably not so efficient.

Antimagic Zone: Mechanics
There will probably always be some spells and effects whose interaction with AMZ is unclear. For instance: if I am using meld into stone and a wizard with AMZ approaches, am I stuck in the stone or expelled from it? What does it do to a skeleton created by animate dead? What about a regular skeleton monster? What about a golem? If I'm in a rope trick that enters an AMZ, the portal to my space closes... what happens when my spell ends?

Arcane Eye: Mechanics
Is there any way for a creature to detect the sensor? For instance, using detect magic or true seeing, or more mundane means? Can the sensor be attacked or trapped in a box?

Arcane Gate: Mechanics
Can you cast this in a space smaller than 10 ft diameter? (Also, shouldn't one gate be blue and the other orange?)

Astral Projection: Overpowered, Mechanics
- This basically makes the whole party immortal. They can stow their bodies in a secure stronghold, cast astral project and go to another plane, then teleport circle back to the world and have adventures. If they die, they just wake up back in their stronghold and do it again. This seems like a bit much, even for a level 9 spell.
- It also needs to explain how this works with your equipment. It produces a copy of your equipment when you cast it. Does the copy still remain if your astral body returns to the world via a portal or spell? If so, then now you have two copies of all your items. And what about items you acquire while the spell is active, do they return to your body when it ends?

Awaken: Overpowered
Charm effect is too strong, you can create an overpowered ally

Banishment: Needs hit point limit
It shouldn’t be that easy to get rid of Orcus

Barkskin: Scaling?
Could scale number of targets with level

Beacon of Hope: World Impact
Am I the only one who can't stop reading this as Bacon of Hope?

Call Lighting: Overpowered
Damage too high and scales too fast. 3d8 + 1d8/level would be better.

Cause Fear: Needs hp limit

Charm Person: Needs hp limit
1st level characters shouldn’t be able to charm the BBEG

Chill Touch: Underpowered
Weak rider compared to other cantrips. (How often does a monster heal?)

Circle of Death: Underpowered
Nothing about the spell warrants such an expensive material component. The area of effect is also inconveniently large, given that it doesn't exclude allies.

Cloudkill: Overpowered, mechanics.
Damage too high, 6d6 would be better. The cloud moves away from you... does that mean away from the point where you cast it, or away from your current location?

Command: Mechanics
What happens if the target doesn't understand the command?

Create Food and Water: Underpowered
Weak for its level; compare to goodberry. (See also create water)

Create or Destroy Water: Mechanics
This suggests that a humanoid requires 2 gallons of water per day, while the DM notes use a more reasonable value of 1 gallon per day. (At that rate, characters will go through two full waterskins each day.)

Creeping Doom: Mechanics
Should specify whether you can move the swarm as an action or as part of your action.

Detect Poison and Disease: Ritual abuse/World impact
Too useful to kings and nobles to cast as ritual without cost... no more poisoners at court!

Disguise Self: Scaling?
Could scale duration, maybe +2 hours per level

Disintegrate: Mechanics
It is weird that the spell cannot target a magic item, but it can disintegrate a magic item if it disintegrates the item's bearer. Also, t
he spell references Wall of Force, which we don't have yet.

Divine Favor: Overpowered
Limit to 1 attack/turn; also 1d6 would be more balanced.

Dominate Beast: Needs hit point limit
Also, dominate person fails if you give an obviously self destructive order. It seems like this should apply here as well.

Dominate Monster: Needs hit point limit
Also, dominate person fails if you give an obviously self destructive order. It seems like this should apply here as well.

Dominate Person: Needs hp limit

Faerie Fire: Mechanics
Do attackers end up with advantage against an invisible creature targeted by this spell or not? Also, it is not clear whether creatures in the area of effect at the time of casting will glow for the duration, regardless of where they move, or whether any creatures that enter the area during the duration will start to glow, and then stop when they move out (ie, does it target creatures or create a zone?)

Feeblemind: Overpowered
It doesn't seem reasonable that such an already powerful effect can only be removed by a spell two levels higher.

Finger of Death: Overpowered
Damage is high, given the autokill and zombie effects

Flame Blade: Mechanics
Do you need a free hand to use this spell?

Flaming Sphere: Underpowered
Damage too low, 3d6 would be better

Flesh to Stone: Mechanics
it is not clear what kind of bodies are and are not made of flesh. (A treant? A black pudding? A purple worm? A giant spider?) Also, why does the target die if it permanently turns to stone?

Fly: Scaling?
Could scale number of targets with level. (Also, a handful of sparkly dust would make for a better material component.)

Freedom of Movement: Mechanics
Does this spell help you move through effects that slow you down but aren't difficult terrain, like Plant Growth or a Wall of Thorns? Also, the wording regarding being under water could be interpreted to mean that you can't drown, though I doubt that is the intent.


G to M

Grease: Mechanics
Can the grease burn?

Greater Dispel Magic: Underpowered
Doesn’t do any better than Dispel Magic against spells level 5 and higher.

Gust of Wind: Mechanics
In real life, a 30 mph wind would not normally knock people down. Also, what happens if you cast this under water?

Harm: Mechanics
If only creatures with hp less than or equal to the number you rolled were automatically affected, then there would be no need to specify that the damage cannot drop their hp below one.

Haste: Overpowered
Extra attack gives too much damage.

Heat Metal: Mechanics
Seems like you should be able to drop an item in your hands and avoid the damage. Also, it is not clear whether you can target an object like a necklace or bracelet and get the same effect.

Hold Monster: Needs hp limit

Hold Person: Needs hp limit
Low level characters shouldn’t be able to paralyze the BBEG

Hunter’s Mark: Overpowered
Limit to 1 attack/turn

Identify: Ritual abuse
Too useful to cast as ritual with no cost

Insect Plague: Underpowered
Damage too low, 4d8 would be better.

Invisibility: Mechanics
You can cast a spell on yourself that affects other creatures. For instance, Telekinesis. Other spells, like Mage Hand, don't target yourself but seem like they should be allowed. The language in Mass Invisibility is clearer: you can't cast spells that affect other creatures.

Lesser Restoration: Underpowered
Many low-level creatures can reduce your hit point maximum (wight, wraith, mummy...). Currently it takes greater restoration, a level 7 spell, to restore this. The mechanic would probably be more satisfactory if lesser restoration was able restore a limited number of points to your hp max.

Levitate: Mechanics
The description suggests that it should be hard to fight while levitating, since you can’t move. Either a mechanical impact should be given, or it should explicitly say that there is no effect. Also, it seems like this would be better as a concentration effect.

Lightning Bolt: Format
Range should be self (to be consistent with similar spells), since the bolt starts at your location

Magic Weapon: Overpowered
Too strong in a low/no magic item campaign

Mass Cure Wounds: Format
School should be evocation

Mass Heal: Format
School should be evocation

Mass Suggestion: Needs hit point limit

Maze: Underpowered
Weak compared to plane shift (at level 7) and trap the soul, although it's quite effective against low-Int creatures.

Meld Into Stone: Mechanics
You can cast spells on yourself that affect other creatures, which seems contrary to the intent. Perhaps better to say you can cast spells that affect only yourself.

Melf’s Acid Arrow: Mechanics
It’s not clear if you get half the secondary damage when you miss

Minor Illusion: Mechanics, Overpowered?
It would seem that if you cast an illusion that doesn't seem out of place, that there would be no reason for creatures to examine it. For instance if you cast an illusory wall a few feet in front of a real wall, you could hide behind it with no realistic chance of detection. This might be overpowered for a cantrip. Also, there are so many creative ways to use illusions that many questions are possible. Can you make an illusion of light? An illusion of a one-way mirror? An illusion of a light that only you can see? Some guidance in the rules about how to adjudicate illusions would be useful.

Moonbeam: Overpowered
Damage is too high, 3d6 would be better

Mordenkainen’s Sword: Underpowered, format
Make it swift. Focus listed as requirement


N to S

Otto’s Irresistible Dance: Underpowered
Compare to hold monster, dominate monster

Phantasmal Force: The illusion effect is so open-ended that it might be hard to adjudicate. Could you use it to blind and deafen the target by creating an illusion of no light or sound? Could you make the target's ally look like a monster so he attacks it?

Planar Ally: Mechanics
If I learn my enemy's true name, I can teleport him without save or error into a prepared trap. This doesn't seem to follow the intent of the spell.

Polymorph: Mechanics, Overpowered?
The spell should be clearer about what abilities of your normal form are lost and kept. Also, is the target treated as a beast for the purpose of other effects like Dominate Beast? Finally, the rust monster, basilisk, and cockatrice are currently labeled as beasts. If creatures with extraordinary abilities are beasts, then polymorph is overpowered.

Power Word Stun: Underpowered
Weak compared to hold monster or dominate monster

Protection from Energy: Scaling
Could scale number of targets with level

Protection from Evil: Scaling
Could scale number of targets with level

Protection from Poison: Scaling
Could scale number of targets with level

Purify Food and Drink: Ritual abuse/World impact
Too useful to kings and nobles to cast as ritual without cost.

Ray of Enfeeblement: Mechanics
Most monsters don't say what ability they use for attacks.

Read Magic: Underpowered
Too situational to waste a cantrip slot on.

Resurrection: mechanics
The spell restores missing body parts: how much of the corpse is needed for the spell to work?

Scorching Ray: Overpowered
Damage scales too fast, and becomes overpowered at high levels. Add one ray every two levels?

Scrying: Mechanics, Problem combo
Is there any way for a creature to detect the sensor? For instance, using detect magic or true seeing, or more mundane means? Can the sensor be attacked?
Also: allows ‘scry and die’ combo where you scry on a target to see where they are, study the surroundings, and then teleport there with little chance of error.

Shield of Faith: Scaling?
Could scale number of targets with level

Silence: Mechanics, Overpowered?
Are creatures in the area of effect subject to thunder damage? Also, this is a powerful anti-caster spell with no real remedy beyond moving out of the area of effect.

Sleep: Overpowered
Too strong vs single creatures (compare magic missle)

Spare the Dying: Overpowered
Very powerful compared to other cantrips

Spider Climb: Mechanics
Is combat is affected while climbing? If you knock a climbing creature prone, what happens?

Spiritual Weapon: Underpowered
Damage scaling is too slow. Make it +1d8 every other level?

Stoneskin: Format
Material component listed as requirement

Storm of Vengence: Underpowered
Total damage is respectable, but spread out over too many rounds to be very effective.

Sunburst: Overpowered
Damage too high in combination with blinding effect and specials vs undead etc. 9d6 would be better.


T to Z

Teleport: Mechanics, Problem combo
- If you roll a mishap when teleporting to a location seen casually, viewed once, or with a description, then you have to keep rolling 81-100 and automatically getting more mishaps until you die.
- Allows ‘scry and die’ where you scry on a target to see where they are, study the surroundings, and then teleport there with little chance of error.

Telekinesis: Mechanics
Can you attack with a weapon you are holding via this spell?

Thunderwave: Format
Range should be 'self' since the cube originates from you.

Trap the Soul: Underpowered, Format
Focus component listed as requirement. Also, the gem cost is too high... it is a good spell for its level, but not that good (compare it to Dominate Monster).

True Seeing: Overpowered
This negates any illusion, no matter how strong. (And many monsters get it.)

Wall of Fire: Overpowered..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />- Damage too high. 4d6 would be better.

Web: Mechanics
The timing for how the web burns is confusing. Does the fire spread at the end of every turn, or only at the end of your turn? It is hard to decypher.

Wind Walk: Mechanics
An affected creature can assume the cloud form at will: does this take an action? (It probably should.)

Wish: Overpowered
- Specific problem with item creation. As written, wizard can take a few months off and produce a stash of a hundred rare magic items. Or 2.5 million gp.


Suggested Fixes

Most of the ritual abuse problems could be fixed by imposing an appropriate cost to cast the spell as a ritual. Either a component or focus cost might be used. Alternatively, you could limit the numbers of spells per day that can be cast as a ritual.

Antimagic Zone: A general approach would be to say that a magical creature or effect not otherwise discussed is treated like dispel magic was cast on it when it enters the zone, with a successful dispel check if any. If the creature or effect leaves the zone, the magic resumes functioning as normal. So most monsters would be unaffected, and most spells aren't too hard to figure out.

Animate Dead: Drop the requirement that you need to keep casting the spell to maintain control, and instead say that you lose control of previously animated undead if you cast the spell again.

Astral Projection: First, say that the spell ends immediately if you ever find yourself back on the plane where your body is; also don't let it be cast again if you are already in a projected body. But that doesn't entirely fix it, because you could have your stronghold on another plane. So also specify that any items you acquire are dropped (on the distant plane) when the spell ends. That limits the spell considerably by making it hard to bring treasure back with you. (And it's not real likely the treasure would still be there when you came back.) I think that is enough, it means players wouldn't want to use the spell all the time, and they pay a price in treasure when they do.

Awaken: Put a HD cap on the type of creature you can awaken.

Chill Touch: Give a static damage bonus (like +2 hp) which the target creature recovers at the start of its next turn OR the target has disadvantage on Str and Dex checks for one round OR if you reduce a target to 0 hp with this spell, it dies immediately regardless of any special abilities it has OR if the target has 8 hp or less it dies, otherwise it takes 1d8 damage.

Command: Say it targets a creature that can hear and understand you OR a target that cannot understand your command does nothing on its turn.

Finger of Death: Make it save (none) OR omit the autokill and zombie effects.

Feeblemind: Allow it to be ended by Remove Curse

Flesh to Stone: Let it target any living creature, and don't make the target die.

Greater Dispel Magic: Make the DC to dispel higher level effects 8 + level. OR make Dispel Magic scale: for each level you increase it, the DC drops by one and the level of spell automatically dispelled increases by one.

Haste: Shorten the duration OR remove the extra attack but instead grant an extra reaction

Magic Weapon: Perhaps just a note that in a low/no magic item campaign, your DM may disallow this spell or increase it's level.

Maze: Have the target remain trapped for 1d4 more rounds after it succeeds on the Int check.

Otto's Irresistable Dance: Remove initial save (it is supposed to be irresistable, after all!)

Polymorph: "The target gains the abilities and limitations of the new form and loses the abilities and limitations of its original form (including those granted by race, class, background, and feats), with the following exceptions: The target retains its current hit points and its Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma ability scores. The target retains its personality and self awareness, and understands languagues known in its orginal form. The target retains its original creature type but gains the (Shapechanger) subtype."

Read Magic: Make it a class ability, a ritual spell, or fold it into Detect Magic

Silence: Say creatures in the area have resistance to thunder damage, and in general allow silent casting with a successful check of some kind (probably your magic abilility).

Sleep: Add a save to negate falling asleep, but make it so all targets in the area lose their reaction for one round 'cause they're drowsy OR have a hp cap for a single creature to be affected, maybe half the total hp put to sleep.

Storm of Vengeance: In the third round, lightning bolts strike as many creatures in the area as you choose.

Teleport: If you get a mishap, reroll until you get a result other than 'On Target.' Also, specify that you need to study/see/view a location in person to get the benefit, otherwise the location is just 'described.'

True Seeing: Work more like dispel magic, with a check needed to penetrate high level effects.

Wish: Items created by the spell disappear after 24 hours OR add Con/XP/other cost for casting.
Arcane lock: Maybe instead make it so the break DC doesn't go up.

Darkvision: I agree, but I think the problem could also be fixed by shortening the duration. That way, it would run out in the dungeon and you'd have to hole up while the caster cast the ritual over and over again, for an hour.

Lightning bolt: The range is listed as how far you can shoot the line from yourself.

Sleep: Needs a saving throw.

Wish: I agree that there is a problem,but I don't agree with your solution. Wish is the most powerful spell in the game, and it should be able to create perminate items. I think a better solution would be to lower CON by one or have an XP cost when wish is used to create an item (it has enough combat penalties already for me to be completely fine with those uses).

Everything where you say "needs HP limit" I agree on. I also think that DCs need to be easier to make across the board. "So my save DC is 15 at first level, d.eal with that +2 wisdom modifier"
The Oberoni fallacy only applies to broken rules, not rules you don't like. If a rule you don't like can be easily ignored, it should exist in the game for those who will enjoy it.
Actually, I should separate out proposed solutions from the summary of the problem, at least for complicated ones. Usually there's lots of proposed solutions. I'll try to add any that are proposed.

For sleep, a save would be good but makes it a bit weak I think. A nice solution might be to have a save, but that everyone in the area of effect can't make reactions for one round.

For lightning bolt, the format should be consistent with spells like burning hands, cone of cold, etc.
Sleep: Needs a saving throw.



Absolutely not. Sleep does "damage", but if that "damage" isn't enough to reduce a creature to 0, the spell does absolutely nothing. It's worse than a spell that just deals actual damage, since actual hp damage does something even if it isn't enough to KO a creature. And on top of that, a creature can easily be awoken from sleep. The same is not true of someone reduced to 0 by actual hp damage.
Sleep: Needs a saving throw.



Absolutely not. Sleep does "damage", but if that "damage" isn't enough to reduce a creature to 0, the spell does absolutely nothing. It's worse than a spell that just deals actual damage, since actual hp damage does something even if it isn't enough to KO a creature. And on top of that, a creature can easily be awoken from sleep. The same is not true of someone reduced to 0 by actual hp damage.



Yes, sleep does unblockable damage, and lots of damage for a first level spell(4d8) vs magic missle's(3d4+3). 
The Oberoni fallacy only applies to broken rules, not rules you don't like. If a rule you don't like can be easily ignored, it should exist in the game for those who will enjoy it.
Basically I loathe HP limits and here is why:
It reduces the usefulness of spells disproportionally mor for PCs compered to NPCs, because NPCs are generally of higher lvl compared to PCs.

Generally the save system needs to be adapted.
Need to hit the sweet spot here, between suck (when you have only one spell of that lvl it sucks if every time your spell gets saved against)
and OP when the BBEG has no chance to save whatsoever.


Comments on A-F


Air Walk
:
Point is to give choices which are effectively doing the same thing providing a totally different feeling.

Animal Friendship
Needs to be character Lvl dependant or Spell lvl dependant.

Banishment
Legendary creatures (Orcus I am looking at you) will get autosaves and the field of usefulness of that spell is quite limiteded as is (banish one single outsider) and you only get  one lvl 6 spell. Further downgrading via HP limit will only nerf this spell into uselessnes.

Call Lighting: Basically agree but change from 3d8->4d8 and limit to 3 rounds.

Charm Person
Needs to be character Lvl dependant or Spell lvl dependant.

Cloudkill:
make the damage based on heat to meke it different enough. I do not know if I would reduce the Dmge amount though, because at lvl 9 I assume there are allready plenty of opportunities to counter/reduce the effects (wind, dmge reduction to certain types of dmge etc).

Create Food and Water
Make it a Lvl 2 Spell.

Divine Favor:
Agree with first part but leave it at 1d8

Dominate Monster
Dominate Person
:

Narrow down usefullness via wording, not via HP limit

Earthquake
Autokill does not exist, reflex save avoids fissures.
Also, fissures only effective against small and medium creatures which will be only smaller part of what you encounter at that levels.
However I would accept calling for a fort save against falling into fissures and a second save (reflex) to save from staying inside.

Faerie Fire
Object or creature has no benefit from being invisible, so
Do attackers get advantage against an invisible creature targeted by this spell? YES
However, wording could be a little clearer.
I would like this spell to be a cantrip again,
with the addition that once a creature does save it can not be effected by the spell for 24 hours again.

Finger of Death
Damage is totally ok (7th lvl spell, single target) but leave out the zombie part.
If you want to keep the latter I agree on your proposal.

___________________________________________________________

A little bit of good will is a big step towards making this planet a better place

Regarding sleep:
The problem is that if you are facing a creature or group of creatures with total hp less than the max for the spell, then sleep is just as good as damage: they are all dead. But if you don't put all your enemies to sleep, then it is much less effective. It is tricky to balance, but I think it is too strong now. Maybe you could put a cap on the highest hp creature that could be effected as well, like 10 hp (out of the 20 total).
Thanks, I tried to add most of your suggestions, make sure I got it right.

Basically I loathe HP limits and here is why:
It reduces the usefulness of spells disproportionally mor for PCs compered to NPCs, because NPCs are generally of higher lvl compared to PCs.


I don't really understand your point here. But in any case, there's no reason that NPCs need to follow exactly the same rules as PCs. For instance, if you want to give a monster a Charm Person spell, then you could just specify the hp limit for the monster's spell.

If you're worried that putting a low hp limit on Charm Person will make the spell useless for higher level characters, you can handle that a few ways. I think the easiest is to make the spell scale with level, so that the max hp goes up as you bump the level. Or you could key the max hp to the caster's hp in some way.


Animal Friendship
Needs to be character Lvl dependant or Spell lvl dependant.


I'm not sure what you mean by that.


Cloudkill:
make the damage based on heat to meke it different enough. I do not know if I would reduce the Dmge amount though, because at lvl 9 I assume there are allready plenty of opportunities to counter/reduce the effects (wind, dmge reduction to certain types of dmge etc).


Regarding the damage, it is high compared to other spells at that level. It does the same damage as 6th level versions of burning hands, cone of cold, fireball, flame strike, ice storm, lightning bolt, and sound burst, but of course cloudkill sticks around a lot longer. I think you have to reduce the damage because of that.


Divine Favor:
Agree with first part but leave it at 1d8


I was comparing to Hunter's Mark and Spiritual Weapon.


Dominate Monster
Dominate Person
:

Narrow down usefullness via wording, not via HP limit


Can you give an example?


Earthquake
Autokill does not exist, reflex save avoids fissures.
Also, fissures only effective against small and medium creatures which will be only smaller part of what you encounter at that levels.
However I would accept calling for a fort save against falling into fissures and a second save (reflex) to save from staying inside.


Yes, overall it's not an autokill, I'll fix. I hesitate to say it is overpowered for the reasons you point out. Nonetheless it is (currently) a save or die large-area effect, compared to other level 8 spells that are generally single-target save or die.

You could also make the fissures shallower, so that creatures trapped in them have a chance to dig out. I think it would still be a very effective spell.


Faerie Fire
Object or creature has no benefit from being invisible, so
Do attackers get advantage against an invisible creature targeted by this spell? YES
However, wording could be a little clearer.


You don't get any benefit from being invisible, so definitely attackers don't have disadvantage against you like they normally would. But you only get advantage against targets you can see, and it's not really clear if you can see an invisible target. If you can, then why say you get no benefit from being invisible instead of just saying your are visible? Anyway, as you agree, it could be clarified.


Finger of Death
Damage is totally ok (7th lvl spell, single target) but leave out the zombie part.
If you want to keep the latter I agree on your proposal.


The damage is higher than destruction or 7th-level blight, plus is has the autokill and zombie effects, which I rather like, myself.

When talking about NPCs I was not only thinking "Monsters" but also e.g. "Enemy Casters".
And while I agree, that it is not absolutly neccessary to treat NPCs the same way as PCs I would like to treat both sides "as alike as possible"
especially for "Non Monster" enemies.

Animal Friendship
Example:
Can only befriend an animal of ECL=CL-3
Can stop an attack of an animal of ECL=CL+3, will save, if attacked advantage on save

Cloudkill:
Maybe you are right, however you can not disperse the other spells you mention with e.g. gust of wind.

Dominate Monster
One or more of the following would reduce the power:
Duration: Concentration, up to one hour.
The target gets another save after 30min, 45min, 55min
The target gets another save, if one of the actions you command it to do are against its nature or hostile against its allies/friends.
The target has advantage on such saves (also on saves if you or your allies do anything harmful to it).

Earthquake
Don't forget the drawback of friendly fire.
You and your allies are not immune to the effects and you and your allies ARE MEDIUM OR SMALLER CREATURES!
The large area is an advantage over the other spells but also a big disadvantage on how to place it without you or your allies being affected.


___________________________________________________________

A little bit of good will is a big step towards making this planet a better place

Well, we don't really have ECLs and such any more, but I get your point. They could put them back in I suppose, or keying it off the caster's hp would do something similar.

But the bigger question is, should a high-level character be able to use a level 1 spell to charm the BBEG? Personally, I'd say no, a level 1 spell represents only a small fraction of a high-level caster's power and should therefore have only a small effect on a high-level opponent. That's why I like the idea of scaling these's spells effectiveness with level. In your language, you might say you can cast the spell at level X and affect a creature with ECL 2X+1.

Of course, the level 1 version can still be useful for charming a guard or whatever. And don't forget that you don't have to prep the spell in a particular level; you can prep Charm Person and cast it at whatever level you need.
Keying it of the casters HP is even better, as you do not have to implement additional things like ECL.
However, I would rather key it of the caster's hit dice because HP are influenced by con modifier/con score or what have you.

But the bigger question is, should a high-level character be able to use a level 1 spell to charm the BBEG?
No, he should not be able to use a first Lvl spell doing that.
Scaling such spells is absolutely appropriate. However, how do you know which lvl an enemy has.
Because you should know on which lvl to use the spell, otherwise it will become pure guesswork.

___________________________________________________________

A little bit of good will is a big step towards making this planet a better place


Scaling such spells is absolutely appropriate. However, how do you know which lvl an enemy has.
Because you should know on which lvl to use the spell, otherwise it will become pure guesswork.


Yep. No one said being a wizard was easy!

Though you could think about a rule that if you try to cast a spell and all of the targets are above the hp limit, then you don't lose the slot.
Yes, sleep does unblockable damage, and lots of damage for a first level spell(4d8) vs magic missle's(3d4+3). 



For some reason I had thought that the damage of sleep was divided among the targets. It is, but it goes from one creature to another until it runs out. Considering that, I do agree that it should have a saving throw.
I took another pass and added some more spells. (Also found a link to chonjurer's 3.5 spell list.)

Blade Barrier: No problem.

it will deal 6d10 (or half) to you, since the wall is 5 feet thick, you have to step into it to attack. Unless you are using a reach weapon, in which case the person you are trying to hit gets +5 to AC (3/4 cover).


Cloudkill: Overpowered, redundant, mechanics.
Damage too high, 6d6 would be better. But also very redundant with Stinking Cloud. Finally, the cloud moves away from you... does that mean away from the point where you cast it, or away from your current location?


It says "moves 10 feet away from you at the start of each of your turns". Presumably you can herd the cloud a little by moving left or right.


Command: No problem
What happens if the target doesn't understand the command?


It says "unless the target doesn't understand it". Quite simply, they don't do anything.


Darkvision: No problem.
Way too useful to cast as ritual with no cost


Meh. I like it. Maybe change the duration like someone said.


Detect Magic: No problem
How does this interact with magically invisible creatures? Presumably you would sense the presence of such a creature. Can you pinpoint it's location? Does it still retain the benefit of being invisible to you? It would also seem to be very effective against illusions. It seems in general that there should be ways to disguise magical effects from this spell.


The spell says you can "see a faint aura", presumably around an invisible creature or illusion. You could cast an illusion to make a wall seem normal, and when the players find it, they think it's a secret door and don't bother checking for traps...whoops.


Flesh to Stone: Mechanics
it is not clear what kind of bodies are and are not made of flesh. (A treant? A black pudding? A purple worm? A giant spider?) Also, why does the target die if it permanently turns to stone?


Well, it says living, so this doesn't work on undead. Flesh, to me, means a meat-like substance. So purple worm and giant spider, yes; treant and pudding, no.


Not sure about the permadeath.



Blade Barrier: No problem.
it will deal 6d10 (or half) to you, since the wall is 5 feet thick, you have to step into it to attack. Unless you are using a reach weapon, in which case the person you are trying to hit gets +5 to AC (3/4 cover).


The point is that you don't take damage unless you "pass through the wall." I think you can make a very good case that if you step into the wall area and then out again on the same side, you have not passed through it.

I think most of your other comments are mostly difference of opinion on whether something is clear or not. I'm trying to look for things that could be misconstrued... but if you think I'm really just not reading something right, let me know why.

For darkvision though, you understand that as it stands, a level 3 scholarly wizard can and should cast this on every party member every day, at zero cost in gold, spell slots, or anything else (except for an extra hour of time over breakfast)? If this is what they intend, then why not just make it a first level spell and dispense with the rules for light sources?

Blade Barrier: No problem.
it will deal 6d10 (or half) to you, since the wall is 5 feet thick, you have to step into it to attack. Unless you are using a reach weapon, in which case the person you are trying to hit gets +5 to AC (3/4 cover).


The point is that you don't take damage unless you "pass through the wall." I think you can make a very good case that if you step into the wall area and then out again on the same side, you have not passed through it.

I think most of your other comments are mostly difference of opinion on whether something is clear or not. I'm trying to look for things that could be misconstrued... but if you think I'm really just not reading something right, let me know why.

For darkvision though, you understand that as it stands, a level 3 scholarly wizard can and should cast this on every party member every day, at zero cost in gold, spell slots, or anything else (except for an extra hour of time over breakfast)? If this is what they intend, then why not just make it a first level spell and dispense with the rules for light sources?



I think a DM should smack-down a rules-lawyering druid who thinks they can step into a 5-foot swath of blades without getting hit. It also says "each creature within its area". 

Light sources are hard to keep track of. A spell that means I don't need a ruler to determine what players can and cannot see sounds good to me. And sometimes time is of the essence. An hour spent casting this means that a party could have an additional encounter before they reach their destination, or their contact could give up on them and leave, etc.

I think a DM should smack-down a rules-lawyering druid who thinks they can step into a 5-foot swath of blades without getting hit. It also says "each creature within its area".


The text is
The wall deals 6d10 slashing damage to each creature within its area. It deals this damage when it appears, when a creature passes through the wall (but no more than once per turn), and whenever a creature ends its turn inside the wall. 


It is pretty clear about when the damage is dealt. I guess you can call that rules-lawyering if you want, but I think it would be better if they just fix it while they have the chance.

I think a DM should smack-down a rules-lawyering druid who thinks they can step into a 5-foot swath of blades without getting hit. It also says "each creature within its area".


The text is
The wall deals 6d10 slashing damage to each creature within its area. It deals this damage when it appears, when a creature passes through the wall (but no more than once per turn), and whenever a creature ends its turn inside the wall. 


It is pretty clear about when the damage is dealt. I guess you can call that rules-lawyering if you want, but I think it would be better if they just fix it while they have the chance.


The rules lawyering going on seems to revolve around the idea that stepping into a wall does include passing through some part of the wall to get there - that having only passed partially through is not a form a passing through.

ATTENTION:  If while reading my post you find yourself thinking "Either this guy is being sarcastic, or he is an idiot," do please assume that I am an idiot. It makes reading your replies more entertaining. If, however, you find yourself hoping that I am not being even remotely serious then you are very likely correct as I find irreverence and being ridiculous to be relaxing.

Hmm. I guess they should say "whenever a creature touches the wall, no more than once per turn". 
How about: "The wall deals 6d10 slashing damage to each creature within its area when it appears. It also deals this damage when a creature enters the wall or ends its turn inside the wall, but no more than once per turn per creature. Any time a creature would take damage from the wall, it can make a Dexterity saving throw to take half damage instead."
So, this business with scry+teleport. Does it seem like it solves the problem if you can't use magical sensing to get very familiar with a location? The idea being that you can spy on your target with scrying, but teleporting to him would still be quite risky.
I looked over most of this thread, and I don't know if this has been said yet, however it is a concept that I remember reading about from the developers.

The hp limit on spells is a great tool, and perhaps it can be scaled if the spell is used in a higher slot.  This creates strategic in-game tension and interesting combat choices.  The idea isn't to make a spell an effective one-shot, or to nerf the spell so that players simply cannot use it on a higher/lower level creature.  There are a lot of fun flavorful elements in D&D Next.

An hp limit basically means that even a higher level creature "might" be affected by the spell, however, you need to play out some clever combat to get that hp down to a managable level.  This may not be an effective application to all of the arguments above, but I really, really like the direction of the hp limits because of this reason.

Also... using "Level" as a way of determining effectiveness against a target is kinda mundane and pulls out of the experience of the game.  A lot of D&D Next seems to encourage the sense of staying fun and flavorfully in the game as much as possible.  "Level" doesn't really translate into any in-game, world-centric thing that a DM can describe.  Characters who are roleplaying, don't generally ask the centaur warriors, "What level are you guys? I need to know if my spell will work on you."  But hp is a sizeable thing a DM can describe: "They look pretty tough, so you're not sure how effective that spell will be."

I think these points are very important things to consider in the conversation you guys are having about spells.

Thanks.
I definitely agree that hp limits should scale with spell level. I think it might also be good if a spell generally had a lesser but still useful effect on creatures above the hp limit. Animal Friendship, for instance, might prevent a high hp creature from attacking you for one round.
Very nice list.

Star Wars Saga Edition is by far the best RPG that Wizards of the Coast has ever published.

 

I once asked the question (in D&D 3.5) "Does a Druid4/Wizard3/ArcaneHierophant1 have Wildshape?". Jesse Decker and Andy Collins: Yes and the text is clear and can't be interpreted differently. Rich Redman and Ed Stark: No and the text is clear and can't be interpreted differently. Skip Williams: Lol, it's worded ambiguously and entirely not how I intended it. (Cust. Serv. Reference# 050815-000323)

I thought Teleportation Circle / Teleport were only capable of traveling throughout the same plane, and Astral Projection can only be used between planes. However I reread them and there is no such restriction.

Even weirder, it appears you can cast Astral Projection several times in succession, maybe ending up back on a plane you started.
Yes, astral projection is pretty much munchkin fodder as it stands, it seems like there are all kinds of ways to abuse it. But I do like the concept of the spell.
Does anyone else think the damage-dealing cantrips are a little bit OP for at-will use?  Each spellcasting class has at least one 1d8 damage cantrip, and that's fine, but shouldn't these all require to-hit rolls, and have equivalent ranges?  Chill Touch requires an attack roll to deliver it at touch range.  Shocking grasp doesn't need an attack roll, with a range of 5 ft (basically touch), and it causes a status effect?  Shilleleigh has a range of 10ft, why?  Sacred Flame has a range of 25 ft, no attack roll, and ignores cover!  Ray of Frost goes all the way to 50 feet and also causes a status effect.  At least in the latest packet update, they removed Lance of Faith that had 100ft range and no attack roll, and made Ray of Frost, Chill Touch, and Shilleileigh require attack rolls, but it still isn't enough.
    They should all require an attack roll, for one thing.  It's ok to give casters a way to consisitently attack effectively with their primary ability score.  I get why they did that, but I'm not sure about allowing these spells to mimic the "Deadly Strike" of the other classes.  Since casters have higher level spells which deal significantly more damage already (and clerics already get deadly strike on their weapon attacks), I feel like the level scaling cantrips may be too much.  The cantrips which have a longer range should deal less damage.  50 ft (ray of frost) also seems too far.  Make eternal flame and ray of frost 1d6/25ft range.  Chill touch, shocking grasp, shillelegh are all melee/touch attacks 1d8 dmg.  Fire seeds is ok as it is, because the balance for being able to have two targets is less damage.  


 
For the wizard spells, I really think the main problem is that chill touch is weak. Ray of frost is a bit better than a crossbow shot unless the wizard has really high Dex. I think that is as it should be. Shocking grasp has a quite nice status effect for a melee cantrip (since the wizard can escape without drawing an OA), is more effective as a save spell, and is is especially effective against armored opponents. So I'd say those benefits balance the use of RoF at range. But chill touch really lags. I can't see anyone taking it over shocking grasp for anything but flavor.

Sacred flame I think could be judged on a different scale, since it's unique to clerics and ought to be competetive with a cleric's stronger martial options.

Shilleileigh seems OK to me, again it's unique to druids. But I think the 10 ft range is an unneeded complication. I would rather bump the damage to 1d10 and keep a 5 ft range.
For the wizard spells, I really think the main problem is that chill touch is weak. Ray of frost is a bit better than a crossbow shot unless the wizard has really high Dex. I think that is as it should be. Shocking grasp has a quite nice status effect for a melee cantrip (since the wizard can escape without drawing an OA), is more effective as a save spell, and is is especially effective against armored opponents. So I'd say those benefits balance the use of RoF at range. But chill touch really lags. I can't see anyone taking it over shocking grasp for anything but flavor.

Sacred flame I think could be judged on a different scale, since it's unique to clerics and ought to be competetive with a cleric's stronger martial options.

Shilleileigh seems OK to me, again it's unique to druids. But I think the 10 ft range is an unneeded complication. I would rather bump the damage to 1d10 and keep a 5 ft range.



See, that's exactly the problem for me.  Ray of Frost is better than a crossbow bolt.  It shouldn't be.  A wizard's at-will powers should not be better than the combat options for fighters.  The cantrips also should not be better or equal to level 1 spells.  They need something they can use to plink at enemies when they are out of "real" spells, and actually be able to hit because they are using their primary attribute and spellcasting bonus.  They can still contribute to the combat, but it shouldn't do as much damage as someone could with a sword or axe or crossbow.  If Shocking grasp is going to bypass armor and do a status effect, it needs to be 1d4 instead of 1d8.  Or change it back to a level 1 spell.  Since a cleric has martial options, they shouldn't need a damage dealing cantrip at all, let alone one that doesn't even need an attack roll.  For flavor, I'm ok with it as long as it isn't as good as their weapon options.  As is, why would a cleric use anything besides sacred flame?  It's damage scales up faster than their weapons, they don't need to roll to hit, it has range, and it even bypasses cover.  They will never need to carry a mace again *lol*. 
For the wizard spells, I really think the main problem is that chill touch is weak. Ray of frost is a bit better than a crossbow shot unless the wizard has really high Dex. I think that is as it should be. Shocking grasp has a quite nice status effect for a melee cantrip (since the wizard can escape without drawing an OA), is more effective as a save spell, and is is especially effective against armored opponents. So I'd say those benefits balance the use of RoF at range. But chill touch really lags. I can't see anyone taking it over shocking grasp for anything but flavor.

Sacred flame I think could be judged on a different scale, since it's unique to clerics and ought to be competetive with a cleric's stronger martial options.

Shilleileigh seems OK to me, again it's unique to druids. But I think the 10 ft range is an unneeded complication. I would rather bump the damage to 1d10 and keep a 5 ft range.



See, that's exactly the problem for me.  Ray of Frost is better than a crossbow bolt.  It shouldn't be.  A wizard's at-will powers should not be better than the combat options for fighters.  The cantrips also should not be better or equal to level 1 spells.  They need something they can use to plink at enemies when they are out of "real" spells, and actually be able to hit because they are using their primary attribute and spellcasting bonus.  They can still contribute to the combat, but it shouldn't do as much damage as someone could with a sword or axe or crossbow.  If Shocking grasp is going to bypass armor and do a status effect, it needs to be 1d4 instead of 1d8.  Or change it back to a level 1 spell.  Since a cleric has martial options, they shouldn't need a damage dealing cantrip at all, let alone one that doesn't even need an attack roll.  For flavor, I'm ok with it as long as it isn't as good as their weapon options.  As is, why would a cleric use anything besides sacred flame?  It's damage scales up faster than their weapons, they don't need to roll to hit, it has range, and it even bypasses cover.  They will never need to carry a mace again *lol*. 

1)  a crossbow bolt from a fighter ois better than ray of frost from a wizard: Xd10+dex vs Xd8

2) clerics on average can do more damage with melee attacks then sacred flam at high levels (and low levels) 3d12+5 averages slightly higher than 5d8, and 1d12+3 is better than 1d8.  Though sacred flame is more accurate. 

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See, that's exactly the problem for me.  Ray of Frost is better than a crossbow bolt.  It shouldn't be.  A wizard's at-will powers should not be better than the combat options for fighters.  The cantrips also should not be better or equal to level 1 spells.  They need something they can use to plink at enemies when they are out of "real" spells, and actually be able to hit because they are using their primary attribute and spellcasting bonus.  They can still contribute to the combat, but it shouldn't do as much damage as someone could with a sword or axe or crossbow.  If Shocking grasp is going to bypass armor and do a status effect, it needs to be 1d4 instead of 1d8.  Or change it back to a level 1 spell.  Since a cleric has martial options, they shouldn't need a damage dealing cantrip at all, let alone one that doesn't even need an attack roll.  For flavor, I'm ok with it as long as it isn't as good as their weapon options.  As is, why would a cleric use anything besides sacred flame?  It's damage scales up faster than their weapons, they don't need to roll to hit, it has range, and it even bypasses cover.  They will never need to carry a mace again *lol*. 




Clerics definately need an at-will damage cantrip. Usually when I play a cleric he wears light armor and ensues weapons to smite his god's foes with divine power. Cantrips are not better than fighter's ranged options. Longbow deals d8+Dex at 150ft, heavy crossbow deals 1d10+dex at 100ft, while the ray of frost has 1/2 to 1/3 the range and for less damage. Now what they should do is scale cantrips down to three dice over 20 levels for at least the cleric and probably across the board as well so they don't overshadow first level spells as much but even then, while ray of frost may deal more on a single target basis, burning hands and thunderwave can put out more damage AoE. Attack roll vs Save shouldn't matter once they get around to fixing monster saves.
See, that's exactly the problem for me.  Ray of Frost is better than a crossbow bolt. 


I meant that ray of frost is better than a crossbow in the hands of a wizard. As noted already, a fighter, ranger, or rogue with a crossbow should expect to do considerably more damage than ray of frost. A greatsword or even a longsword will comfortably outdamage shocking grasp (and without the downside of needing to be a wizard in melee.)

But at any rate, my list is really trying to balance spells among themselves. The question of how magic and martial should be balanced is above my pay grade
I still think it's too much damage for a cantrip.  Smile  Also, what cleric is doing d12 damage in melee?  Only a cleric of reaper god or war god or possibly storm bringer.  Just because a minority of clerics can use a great axe doesn't mean they should have a cantrip that powerful.  In fact just the opposite, they of all clerics don't need such a cantrip.  If they want to leave the cantrips as they are, I would like to see some other limiting factor.  Maybe give cantrips a recharge, like some monster powers.  You can use another cantrip on a recharge of 5-6 on any round after the first use.  Outside of combat, you can cast a cantrip once every minute, no need to roll for recharge. 
I still think it's too much damage for a cantrip.  Smile  Also, what cleric is doing d12 damage in melee?  Only a cleric of reaper god or war god or possibly storm bringer.  Just because a minority of clerics can use a great axe doesn't mean they should have a cantrip that powerful.  In fact just the opposite, they of all clerics don't need such a cantrip.  If they want to leave the cantrips as they are, I would like to see some other limiting factor.  Maybe give cantrips a recharge, like some monster powers.  You can use another cantrip on a recharge of 5-6 on any round after the first use.  Outside of combat, you can cast a cantrip once every minute, no need to roll for recharge. 

protector, reaper, stormcaller, and warbringer all get d12 weapons
trickster gets the katana and heavy crossbow (d10 finesse) 
and the other three are primarily casters, not warriors. 

"Trying to run gritty gothic horror with 4e is like trying to cut down a tree with a hammer, likewise trying to run heroic fantasy with 1e is like trying to hammer a nail with a chainsaw."

 
 

 This is what i get when i hit the Quote button:  http://community.wizards.com/%23

 

  

See, that's exactly the problem for me.  Ray of Frost is better than a crossbow bolt. 


I meant that ray of frost is better than a crossbow in the hands of a wizard. As noted already, a fighter, ranger, or rogue with a crossbow should expect to do considerably more damage than ray of frost. A greatsword or even a longsword will comfortably outdamage shocking grasp (and without the downside of needing to be a wizard in melee.)

But at any rate, my list is really trying to balance spells among themselves. The question of how magic and martial should be balanced is above my pay grade

of course the wizard does more damage with a cantrip than with a crossbow, he never trained to use a crossbow effectively.  It would be ridiculous for the wizard to be better with a tool he doesn't understand than the one he has trained his whole life with.

"Trying to run gritty gothic horror with 4e is like trying to cut down a tree with a hammer, likewise trying to run heroic fantasy with 1e is like trying to hammer a nail with a chainsaw."

 
 

 This is what i get when i hit the Quote button:  http://community.wizards.com/%23

 

  

Updated for the 8/2 packet. They fixed some things, not others. (See community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/758...)
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