Casters & Interrupts

I just recently returned to playing D&D and want to contribute to the next release.

In our last D&D Encounters session we were skirting a house surrounded by enemies and were discovered and combat ensued. However, the enemies didn't notice myself and when it came time to roll initiative I topped the list. 


It was obvious there was a spell caster in the enemy group.  So, being a Ranger, I asked if I could forego my first attack to wait until the spell caster appeared to cast an incantation before loosing my arrow in order to interrupt him.  The DM said there wasn't a mechanic for that in the game other than if you're standing next to the caster, but that it might be a reasonable suggestion which could lead to perhaps a more complete rule about deferring attacks in order to attack at the same time as a caster is casting in order to attempt to interrupt the cast.

It would definitely give more flexibility against mages who seem to have a great deal of control on the outcomes of our most recent encounters.  It would have definitely potentially saved us from a devestatingly effective wall of fire which he cast on most of our group.

Thanks for your time and consideration on this feature.

Glimmers  
only way to get an atk of oppertunity is if something moves out of your reach prety mutch unless you level 9 with the right skills. shooting a bow or spell next to something or running around a target no longer does
Within the current rules, a PC can grapple and hold a spellcaster. If successful, the spellcaster will need to break the hold in order to cast a spell. At this point, that's how PCs can interrupt spellcasters.

A Brave Knight of WTF - "Wielder of the Sword of Balance"

 

Rhenny's Blog:  http://community.wizards.com/user/1497701/blog

 

 

I think if I were DMing and the PC specifically said they were holding their action for it I would at least give him some kind of chance for an interrupt, how easy or difficult would depend on the damage dealt and the importance of the caster.
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I think if I were DMing and the PC specifically said they were holding their action for it I would at least give him some kind of chance for an interrupt, how easy or difficult would depend on the damage dealt and the importance of the caster.

Sounds good to me.

A Brave Knight of WTF - "Wielder of the Sword of Balance"

 

Rhenny's Blog:  http://community.wizards.com/user/1497701/blog

 

 

I think if I were DMing and the PC specifically said they were holding their action for it I would at least give him some kind of chance for an interrupt, how easy or difficult would depend on the damage dealt and the importance of the caster.

Sounds good to me.


I think some people just get too hung up on what's RAW.

EDIT:  Not directing that comment at Rhenny, just an observation about some DMs that I am addressing to him to hear his take on it.
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Jul 19, 2013 -- 9:42PM, Rhenny wrote:

Jul 19, 2013 -- 8:56PM, Garimeth wrote:

I think if I were DMing and the PC specifically said they were holding their action for it I would at least give him some kind of chance for an interrupt, how easy or difficult would depend on the damage dealt and the importance of the caster.


Sounds good to me.



I think some people just get too hung up on what's RAW.

EDIT:  Not directing that comment at Rhenny, just an observation about some DMs that I am addressing to him to hear his take on it.


I agree. I'm very much in favor of "DM is the arbiter and he or she is in charge." Rule 0 is really important.

That being said, even I (who have been DMing for over 25 years), at times, feel pressured to follow the rules more than I should. Sometimes it depends on the people I DM for. When players need me to explain every action or they question why something works the way it does, I feel much more bound and shackled by the rules. In general, I love DMing for players who don't think so much about the rules. Players who immerse themselves into their characters, think like their characters, and trust that I (their DM) am working to make their experience as interesting as possible.

If I had to give one bit of advice to any player it would be "Trust the DM." Basically, if a player puts absolute trust in a DM, the rewards can be incredible. If a player trusts the DM and the player doesn't have a blast playing the game, he can always try to find a new DM.

A Brave Knight of WTF - "Wielder of the Sword of Balance"

 

Rhenny's Blog:  http://community.wizards.com/user/1497701/blog

 

 

Sorry...last response kind of veered off topic.


Quick addition to last post:


I think many people on these boards are paying more attention the RAW now mostly because they are evaluating and playtesting.  They want to see how the rules work as written to actually test them and if possible give more constructive feedback to WotC.      

A Brave Knight of WTF - "Wielder of the Sword of Balance"

 

Rhenny's Blog:  http://community.wizards.com/user/1497701/blog

 

 

Good point, I think for a rule it would be good to either have a Con check of some kind, or maybe a Int/Wis check.  The real question would be how to set the DC.
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Good point, I think for a rule it would be good to either have a Con check of some kind, or maybe a Int/Wis check.  The real question would be how to set the DC.

If the damage was just a scratch (less than 6 hp) maybe just a DC 10. If the damage was greater maybe a DC 15. To tell the truth, I'd probably just roll and then decide if the roll seems good enough to work. Sometimes when I roll dice and roll a 1,2,3,4,5 (low numbers) it doesn't matter what I set the DC at...I know it is a failure.

A Brave Knight of WTF - "Wielder of the Sword of Balance"

 

Rhenny's Blog:  http://community.wizards.com/user/1497701/blog

 

 

Yeah, but if there were to be a hard written rule (like to apply to players) there would need to be a mechanic (again going with the critiquing the RAW thing) ....

    If    you    
take    damage    while    you    are    casting    a    spell    that    
requires    more    than    a    single    action    or    reaction,    
you    must    succeed    on    a    Constitution    saving    throw    
to    continue    casting    the    spell.    The    DC    equals    half    
the    damage    you    just    took.    If    you    take    damage    
from    multiple    sources,    such    as    from    an    arrow    
and    a    dragon’s    breath,    you    make    a    saving    throw    
against    each    source    of    damage    separately.    If    you    
fail    the    save,    the    spell    fails,    but    it    is    not    expended.    
If    you    want    to    cast    the    spell    again,    you    must    start    
over.

Sorry for the formatting...I would just make this apply I guess.  But you would need to prevent people from just holding all their turns til the caster goes.
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Yeah, but if there were to be a hard written rule (like to apply to players) there would need to be a mechanic (again going with the critiquing the RAW thing) ....

    If    you    
take    damage    while    you    are    casting    a    spell    that    
requires    more    than    a    single    action    or    reaction,    
you    must    succeed    on    a    Constitution    saving    throw    
to    continue    casting    the    spell.    The    DC    equals    half    
the    damage    you    just    took.    If    you    take    damage    
from    multiple    sources,    such    as    from    an    arrow    
and    a    dragon’s    breath,    you    make    a    saving    throw    
against    each    source    of    damage    separately.    If    you    
fail    the    save,    the    spell    fails,    but    it    is    not    expended.    
If    you    want    to    cast    the    spell    again,    you    must    start    
over.

Sorry for the formatting...I would just make this apply I guess.  But you would need to prevent people from just holding all their turns til the caster goes.

Yup. I think that's why they don't have the rule. The caster would be a target dummy if everyone could wait to disrupt his or her spell.

A Brave Knight of WTF - "Wielder of the Sword of Balance"

 

Rhenny's Blog:  http://community.wizards.com/user/1497701/blog

 

 

Yeah, but if there were to be a hard written rule (like to apply to players) there would need to be a mechanic (again going with the critiquing the RAW thing) ....

    If    you    
take    damage    while    you    are    casting    a    spell    that    
requires    more    than    a    single    action    or    reaction,    
you    must    succeed    on    a    Constitution    saving    throw    
to    continue    casting    the    spell.    The    DC    equals    half    
the    damage    you    just    took.    If    you    take    damage    
from    multiple    sources,    such    as    from    an    arrow    
and    a    dragon’s    breath,    you    make    a    saving    throw    
against    each    source    of    damage    separately.    If    you    
fail    the    save,    the    spell    fails,    but    it    is    not    expended.    
If    you    want    to    cast    the    spell    again,    you    must    start    
over.

Sorry for the formatting...I would just make this apply I guess.  But you would need to prevent people from just holding all their turns til the caster goes.



I think this is a great solution, to use the break "concentration" rule for interrupting spell casters.  And I'm not concerned about casters becoming pin cushins.  Who ever is the greatest threat should be the target mobs go after.  If everyone waits until last to go, that's a huge win for the other group to have free wheel to do what ever they want.  In addition, everyone seems to dislike the way cantrips are so over powered, perhaps this is a way level the playing field a bit. 
Cantrips are definitely not overpowered, they just give the wizard something to do other than throw a net or shoot a crossbow if he runs out of good spells.
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I don't think there is an interupt unless you get stunned, grappled, or do some other form of incapacitation.  And I agree with this.  Take your scenario, you shoot and do damage and the mage looses his spell and has to wait till next round... not really fair to the mage (or any caster).   You got your damage, and they got jack crap.  However, you still have the potention to end spells that require concentration (and this I agree with as well). 

Then should this apply to other attacks as well.... I ready my bow and take aim at the archer on the wall. When he pulls the bow back I'll shoot him to distract his shot?

KyriakosS wrote:

I don't think there is an interupt unless you get stunned, grappled, or do some other form of incapacitation.  And I agree with this.  Take your scenario, you shoot and do damage and the mage looses his spell and has to wait till next round... not really fair to the mage (or any caster).   You got your damage, and they got jack crap.  However, you still have the potention to end spells that require concentration (and this I agree with as well). 

 

It is not at all clear to me that, by RAW, a caster who is grappled or even restrained is incapable of casting a spell.  In the former case, the caster's speed is simply reduced to 0.  In the latter case, the caster is still capable of making attacks with disadvantage, which suggests that he or she would still be able to cast.  By RAW at least, it seems that the only way to stop someone from casting a spell is to impose the "Unconscious", "Paralyzed", "Stunned", or "Dead" conditions upon him or her.  Two other alternatives would be to bind the caster's arms or to impose a silence effect upon the caster.  I am not saying that I agree with this, I am simply pointing out that this is how things stand within the current playtest packet.  If you disagree, please provide a citation.

Leugren wrote:

 

KyriakosS wrote:

I don't think there is an interupt unless you get stunned, grappled, or do some other form of incapacitation.  And I agree with this.  Take your scenario, you shoot and do damage and the mage looses his spell and has to wait till next round... not really fair to the mage (or any caster).   You got your damage, and they got jack crap.  However, you still have the potention to end spells that require concentration (and this I agree with as well). 

 

 

It is not at all clear to me that, by RAW, a caster who is grappled or even restrained is incapable of casting a spell.  In the former case, the caster's speed is simply reduced to 0.  In the latter case, the caster is still capable of making attacks with disadvantage, which suggests that he or she would still be able to cast.  By RAW at least, it seems that the only way to stop someone from casting a spell is to impose the "Unconscious", "Paralyzed", "Stunned", or "Dead" conditions upon him or her.  Two other alternatives would be to bind the caster's arms or ro impose a silence effect upon the caster.  I am not saying that I agree with this, I am simply pointing out that this is how things stand within the current playtest packet.  If you disagree, please provide a citation.

 

Your correct.  My point was the attempt to interupt was one sided and an unfair expectation of the OP.  I was using my experience from older editions which "pluged" this inequity with feat(s).

This should work.

As it stands, a level 1 mage can inflict 3d6 damage on 5 people. If they KNOW it takes his voice and movement of hands to cause the death fire that is Burning Hands, why wouldn't they try to make him stutter, cringe, flinch, scream, or stop moving altogether? They know it won't work if they do it before or after; before, he'll just cast it after you do damage, after, his spell is already cast. Derp. Attacking him during his casting is the only logical explanation. Hell, a DM could flip a coin to see if the caster casts the spell in time before the interrupt.

 

Interrupting spells as they're cast is essential to defeating spellcasters. If they don't want to get interrupted, they have meat shields for that. And if they don't, then they should be smarter than to stand out in the open.

 

Plus, the OP's situation basically puts him at an advantage-- the caster doesn't know he's there. It should come as surprising that an arrow flew from a seemingly clear spot.

Praise the Sun.

 

The OP's contribution is valid but unfortunately seems to have generated a lot of helpful but irrelevant suggestions for how to play while not playing the DDN rules.

 

The point is that in DDN a caster can no more be interrupted in spell-casting than a ranger who intends to shoot a bow can be interrupted in loosing an arrow. If you restrain either, they can't use their hands so can't cast/shoot. There's a few more rules and guidelines around it, but the days of "ready action, inflict damage as caster casts, forcing high-DC concentration check" are gone.

Warlord476 wrote:

The OP's contribution is valid but unfortunately seems to have generated a lot of helpful but irrelevant suggestions for how to play while not playing the DDN rules.

 

The point is that in DDN a caster can no more be interrupted in spell-casting than a ranger who intends to shoot a bow can be interrupted in loosing an arrow. If you restrain either, they can't use their hands so can't cast/shoot. There's a few more rules and guidelines around it, but the days of "ready action, inflict damage as caster casts, forcing high-DC concentration check" are gone.

 

Well said.  I think my response was more to dissuade any back step into what I considered a broken mechanic, spell interrupts, which is the suggestion of the OP.

Warlord476 wrote:

The OP's contribution is valid but unfortunately seems to have generated a lot of helpful but irrelevant suggestions for how to play while not playing the DDN rules.

 

The point is that in DDN a caster can no more be interrupted in spell-casting than a ranger who intends to shoot a bow can be interrupted in loosing an arrow. If you restrain either, they can't use their hands so can't cast/shoot. There's a few more rules and guidelines around it, but the days of "ready action, inflict damage as caster casts, forcing high-DC concentration check" are gone.

 

But casters are supposed to be squishy. Otherwise, who WOULDN'T play a mage? "Oh, look at me, nothing you do matters because you all de."

Praise the Sun.

 

Thunderspear wrote:

But casters are supposed to be squishy. Otherwise, who WOULDN'T play a mage? "Oh, look at me, nothing you do matters because you all de."

 

Squishy = low HP and AC... both of which the mage has.  It has nothing to do with the old concentration checks.  Also, currently the fighter is doing the most damage... not the mage.  I don't even think the mage comes in second actually.

My suggestion for this and for future options which may arise for you and your players is ask them the following.  "Would they be OK with you using the same action against them?"   If they answer "yes" then it is something you may consider including regardless of Rules as Written.  However, I suspect they wouldn't enjoy it nearly as much if the tables were turned.  It isn't fun having your action taken away without a manner of counteracting it.  As a general guideline, I don't allow actions to run one sided.  If a character can do something, then so can their enemies.  

 

Now, on the flip side, there are so many monsters in D&D that have restraining abilities (grappling, paralysis, flesh to stone etc..) that I may be willing to allow it.  If I were to allow it I'd probably due it along these lines - attack with disadvantage to hit the caster in his hand or to fire an arrow into his spell component pouch which would require a round to remove.  Thus, it is a risk vs. reward choice.

Pelinor wrote:

My suggestion for this and for future options which may arise for you and your players is ask them the following.  "Would they be OK with you using the same action against them?"   If they answer "yes" then it is something you may consider including regardless of Rules as Written.  However, I suspect they wouldn't enjoy it nearly as much if the tables were turned.  It isn't fun having your action taken away without a manner of counteracting it.  As a general guideline, I don't allow actions to run one sided.  If a character can do something, then so can their enemies.  

 

Now, on the flip side, there are so many monsters in D&D that have restraining abilities (grappling, paralysis, flesh to stone etc..) that I may be willing to allow it.  If I were to allow it I'd probably due it along these lines - attack with disadvantage to hit the caster in his hand or to fire an arrow into his spell component pouch which would require a round to remove.  Thus, it is a risk vs. reward choice.

 

+1... As a DM, anything I allow the players to do si fair game to be used against them. Personally I think spell casting should have a chance to be disrupted. Many people complain about how powerful spell casters were in 1-2e, but ignore how easy it was to have your spell ruined AND lost. I'm not advocating a return to rules as harsh as those, but there should definietly be some sort of chance to interrupt a spell. As others have mentioned, if you are faithfully playtesting you need to use the rules as written, but simply using the rules as a vehicle for a campaign leaves them open to any mods you wish.

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quindia wrote:

 

+1... As a DM, anything I allow the players to do si fair game to be used against them. Personally I think spell casting should have a chance to be disrupted. Many people complain about how powerful spell casters were in 1-2e, but ignore how easy it was to have your spell ruined AND lost. I'm not advocating a return to rules as harsh as those, but there should definietly be some sort of chance to interrupt a spell. As others have mentioned, if you are faithfully playtesting you need to use the rules as written, but simply using the rules as a vehicle for a campaign leaves them open to any mods you wish.

 

Fair enough.  If I were to play in a game like you suggest, I would be playing the ranged weapon specialist.  Only sacrificing my initiative to the speed of the enemy caster sounds like a great deal to reduce his damage, and yet do full damage myself.

 

Cheers.

We used to play a 2E game where that if you lost initiative and took  damage then you lost your action that round.  Initiative was very important.

How I've done it for Next is if you're hit while casting a spell (be it from an AoO or a Held attack) you have to roll Casting Attribute+Proficiency vs DC 15 (or DC 20 on a crit). If you succeed you can cast it, if not, you lose the action but not the spell. So far it's been relatively quick and easy, and it's not really all that hard on Casters, since you keep the spell, just not the action. 

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Rhenny wrote:
 

 

Jul 19, 2013 -- 9:42PM, Rhenny wrote:

 

Jul 19, 2013 -- 8:56PM, Garimeth wrote:

I think if I were DMing and the PC specifically said they were holding their action for it I would at least give him some kind of chance for an interrupt, how easy or difficult would depend on the damage dealt and the importance of the caster.


Sounds good to me.



I think some people just get too hung up on what's RAW.

EDIT:  Not directing that comment at Rhenny, just an observation about some DMs that I am addressing to him to hear his take on it.


I agree. I'm very much in favor of "DM is the arbiter and he or she is in charge." Rule 0 is really important.

That being said, even I (who have been DMing for over 25 years), at times, feel pressured to follow the rules more than I should. Sometimes it depends on the people I DM for. When players need me to explain every action or they question why something works the way it does, I feel much more bound and shackled by the rules. In general, I love DMing for players who don't think so much about the rules. Players who immerse themselves into their characters, think like their characters, and trust that I (their DM) am working to make their experience as interesting as possible.

If I had to give one bit of advice to any player it would be "Trust the DM." Basically, if a player puts absolute trust in a DM, the rewards can be incredible. If a player trusts the DM and the player doesn't have a blast playing the game, he can always try to find a new DM.

I agree in general, but for a playtest I think it's more important to follow the rules as the goal is to find what works and what doesn't, within the rules as written.

 

arnwolf666 wrote:

We used to play a 2E game where that if you lost initiative and took  damage then you lost your action that round.  Initiative was very important.

I think that this was the biggest reason that casters were less powerful in 2E than they were in 3E. One of the  interesting things it allowed is for a thief to have weapons that were inferiour in damage, but very fast, like daggers, to improve their chances of interrupting a mage. It allowed non-casters some defence against casters. It was a bit of a convoluted mechanic though.

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