I didn't notice a thread dedicated to this, so I thought I'd make one. There have been numerous concerns regarding the balance of some of the spells. Overall, I think there aren't THAT many concerns, but it seems worthwhile to compose a list. One that can be modified as further Playtests come out.
I'll adjust the first couple posts as needed to people raising concerns and proposing possible fixes for consideration. Please try to be constructive. Also, remember that we don't know what 9th level Characters will look like, so when considering how balanced a spell is at a later level, only compare it to another spell, not what you guess a Fighter or Rogue might be doing at that level (obviously, the first 3 levels are fair game).
Please remember this is only about spells. I think there's a place for some discussion of general spell mechanics (though it might be better to refer to a thread on particular matters like HP thresholds). I don't think it is the place to talk about more general balance concerns such as "too many dex saves" and such. Those merit their own thread and seperate consideration by the Devs, imho. However, I think this is a place to talk about a spell doing something that is completely impossible to anyone else (or seems really hard) and concerns in that regard. A fine line, perhaps.
One last thing. These are not necessarily concerns I have. These are concerns people have mentioned in threads I have been in. I even disagree with some of them. However, they seem to have enough merit to warrent some thought on the matter, so I include them.
Rogues and other stealthy characters have no way of detecting or dealing with an alarmed area. This can effectively shut down one of the main things they are good at within area without even giving them a fighting chance.
A Perception check is not unreasonable for noticing an area is warded. Disable Traps should be useful against magical traps made from spells for either disarming or discovering the password -- it might be nice if it was possible to disable the trap AND alert the caster it was disabled if a simple mechanic can handle that (perhaps with a passive check of some sort).Concern:
Does this ward a fixed area or does it follow the caster around? Presumably the former, but the wording is unclear.
Clarify the area, possibly by adding a short range, such as 10', such as "An area centered on a point you designate within 10'."Concern:
What's the range of the warning if you leave the area and general vacinity? Can you travel 100 miles and still be warned?
Give a range?
It does too little damage. 4d6+Intmod averages out to 17 damage, or 8.5 on a miss. Assuming a 60% hit rate, that's an average of 13.6 damage. The Fighter does 2d6+8 at level 3, which is an average of 15 damage or 9 with a 60% hit rate. Both the Fighter and the Wizard can hit a secondary target. The Fighter's has to be closer, but he does full damage if he hits -- avg. 9+.6*9= 14.4 damage since he has to hit with the first attack. The Wizard can be up to 4 squares away, but he only does 2d6 damage (avg. 4.2).
In other words, that's 17.8 damage average vs. 14.4, one using a 2nd level spell, the other guy just attacking with a cleave potential. Not so great for a 2nd level spell.
Hold Person, in contrast, can lock down a guy with 40 hit points, which compares quite favorably to the Fighter's damage when he uses his daily two-action ability.Possible Fix:
Increase secondary damage to 4d6+int with half damage on a miss. That increases the average damage to 27.2, which is less than Hold which just locks a guy down and better than the Fighter's double attack (18). This makes more sense since a Wizard will do less damage round per round than a Fighter. It also has to spread the damage out, whereas a Fighter can focus it on one guy, making a higher damage amount make more sense.
+MagicMod damage to melee attacks of self and allies is weak. It further doesn't allow you to cast spells again. At a 60% hit rate, this is an average of 3.6 damage per round if two people melee (Cleric and Fighter. That means it will take 5 rounds to equal the weak Arc Lightning above, during which time the Cleric can cast no spells. Granted, I'm not assuming cleaves, but that only adds an additional 1.08 damage, assumung a possible cleave EVERY round. So yeah...that sucks. Did I mention you can't cast during this time?Possible Fix:
At least have the +MagicMod damage apply to all attacks that require an attack roll. That will let it work with most attacks short of Magic Missile. Even if we assume 5 attacks per round affected by this, it would still take 3 rounds to equal Arc Lightning. Which is a LONG time in combat.
Consider having the duration be 1 minute or until the caster stops singing, whichever is longer. Or remove the singing requirement entirely.
This spell applies the Charm condition -- The Creature cannot attack the charmer with harmful abilities or magical effects. Also the Charmer has the advantage on any check to interact socially with the creature.
Getting the advantage is really nice (about a +5 on your roll at around if your in the middle on your chance of success). It's perhaps unclear how non-casters might gain the advantage without using magic.
Well, this is one of those things I don't think is a problem, so I don't have many ideas here. The spell might mention that charming someone in front of others is...frowned upon. Perhaps the advantage/disadvantage section might give some social examples (more examples is good in any case). I'm open to improvements on this entry if anyone has them.Concern:
It lasts an hour and can be used in combat. This means it can be used on the Big Bad and he'll have to stop attacking you if he fails his save, even if you kill his friends and minions. Though, this doesn't stop him from attacking your allies per se, however you do get the advantage when convincing him to do so.
The spell ends if you or one of your allies attacks him or one of his allies. If the target knows and hates you, is in combat with you, or is planning on killing you within the next few rounds, then it automatically fails. (That is, you might turn a generic enemy into a temporary friend, but not a hated rival or someone you are already attacking or about to be attacked by). Might need some tweaking.
Any time something occurs to (or is forced upon) the Charmed creature, that is detrimental (even by association - such as to its allies) to the Charmed creature, a saving throw should be provided or the spell should end (at the DM's discretion) or the spell effect should automatically end.
Compared to Charm Person, this is really lame. It lasts just one round (charm lasts an hour), and Charm can almost guarantee basically the same sort of behavior (except perhaps groveling, but that's not critical to most people).
Adjusting Charm should make this worthwhile as a combat spell.Concern
: "Grovel" is strictly superior to "Halt."
Give more mechanical rigor to the "typical commands." And their limits.Concern:
Telling enemies to kill themselves, jump off a cliff, drink a poison, etc.
The spell could use some guidelines as to the extent of allowable effects.
Allow any command, but give the advantage on saves against commands that would be reasonably expected to inflict self-injury.
Consider the following lines... Command will not compel the target to take any action that will cause it physical injury. Command will not compel the target to take any action it knows will cause it injury on its turn. Command will not compel the target to take any action it knows will cause it self-inflicted injury.
: If you run into a language barrier, do we really want to wait a day to prepare this spell?
It should be available as a ritual. Imho, preparing the spell means you expect to need it in a time-critical situation. 15-minutes to an hour casting time is sufficient here.
Starting some mysterious magical rite in front of a bunch of strangers isn't likely to get them to not attack you if they were so inclined, so I think it addresses concerns about there being no point in preparing CL. It's just that a lot of the time, this doesn't matter. And remember, there's still a point of knowing languages, if you overhear the enemy, CL doesn't help as you aren't TOUCHING them.Concern:
Does the requirement of touch make it too weak?Concern:
What does the touch requirement mean? Can you understand a language if you have a piece of a creature that spoke or speaks it. A letter? Do you need the right sensory organs to understand the language? (e.g. could you understand a creature you normally couldn't even hear or one that communicated via infared signals?) If a creature or writing has multiple languages on it, could you understan them all at once or only when it was spoken? Similarly, do you just understand the creature/item touched or others speaking that language as well?Fix:
Clarification would be helpful.
Seems strange to have as a spell at all in the sense that it is largely written like the ritual version of a spell.
In the sense that it seems like this sort of thing is perfect as just a ritual...yet it doesn't have a ritual form.
Have this effect be the ritual form of Light.
Have this effect be the ritual form of Continual Light and possibly rename the spell. Give it some combat versatility beyond countering darkness effects (such as temporary blindness).
Ray of FrostConcern:
Ogres and other creatures largely defined by melee attacks can be shut down repeatedly with this ability.
Add a hit point threshold that increases with level (like magic missile gets better with level).
Have it do some damage and merely reduce, but not eliminate, movement, if so it may need scaling (see Shocking Grasp).
It has no scaling, whereas Magic Missile (MM) does. It is also a melee attack, traditionally dangerous for wizards, yet one MM averages 3.5 damage, and this just averages 7.5 (with a 16-17 in a caster stat). At 3rd level they are basically equal in damage (7 vs. 7.5), and MM automatically hits. At 6th and 9th level, MM is just plain better in many ways. MM seems fine, since the wizard has that as a bedrock of his combat capability, so it should improve.
Give it some sort of scaling. Possibly an additional d8 at 3rd, 6th, and 9th (sounds like a lot, but a d8 just averages 1 more damage than MM, so it still isn't that great given this is a melee spell). Of course, the Devs shall have to balance any such scaling with how other classes deal damage, but judging from the Playtest this isn't a problem at 3rd level and quite possibly wouldn't be at 6th or 9th.
This spell is plain broken. You can cast it on an enemy wizard, and IF he has an 18 Intelligence, he has a 50% of getting a spell off each round. The effect lasts for 1 minute, no save to resist being the target and follows him wherever he goes. If the target uses Charisma or Wisdom for casting, their spellcasting is pretty much ruined for 10 rounds. That's a long time. It works on anyone at any level. Extremely powerful caster nullification.
Consider giving it a HP threshold mechanic like Hold Person and Sleep with regards to how it stops casting. HP Threshold Concern:
Wizards get kicked in the nethers here. Perhaps HP thresholds need to be reconsidered a bit for cases like this?
Also, if the target is affected requires a save using the Casting Ability, DC determined by the Casting Ability of the person that cast Silence (rather than a fixed DC 15 Int check).
Don't allow the spell to target people.
All normal actions and speaking should still completely silenced within the area, of course (no matter the HP or whatever), only CASTING spells is treated differently...."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true">
There's no duration on its effects.
Sleeping has a duration of 10 minutes or an hour or 8 hours. Something like that (point is, you wake up and don't sleep forever). Slow has a duration of 1 minute.Concern:
Automatic Slow until Hit too powerful
Add a save if it is deemed that this is a problem.
General Spell MechanicsHP Threshold Thread
-- Discussing how one might modify or mess around with HP thresholds. A lot of people suggests levels of debilitating conditions. For instance, you might not be immediately petrified but suffer a lesser effect until hit multiple times. I suggest in this thread a modification of SAGA's condition track to handle this.HP Threshold Concern:
This seems to penalize Wizards and Rogues a lot more than Fighters and Clerics. Is this intended? If so, why? If not, is there a way to fix this?
Hmm, I don't think there's a thread discussing the merits of trying to avoid making a wizard prepare utility spells verses having them available as rituals. Not in this forum anyhow -- there's probably something somewhere in the 4E forums.
Balance Goals? It seems that the Wizard is intended to be balanced compared to the Fighter by doing less damage most of the time, and making up the difference with spells. Is this the intention? Could we get some comments on balance goals and philosophies? (I haven't seen any).