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View Full Version : [3.5][Peach] I hate counterspell



Neek
2009-01-15, 03:58 AM
I hate counterspelling in 3.5. It's such an ill-designed concept that functions better as an NPC tactic (as the DM can design his spell list around his player's, but a player's can't unless they have access to the enemies' spell list). Plus, with the plethora of spells available in splat books and homebrew, it seems like an unlikely tactic that player characters will ever use it. While the option of Dispel Magic and the Improved Counterspell feat make counterspelling more lucrative, simply undoing their spell is less effective than casting it yourself, especially if it's a very productive spell.

Here is how the system works currently:
Ready an action for counterspell.
When caster A starts casting, caster B makes a Spellcraft check (DC 15 + Spell Level) to identify the spell. If you pass, go to the next step.
If Caster B has the spell memorized or Dispel Magic, and casts it immediately. End of resolution; there are two exceptions to this: Improved Counterspell lets you use a spell that is one spell level higher of the same school. As well, opposed spells (Inflict Light Wounds and Cure Light Wounds are opposed; but is Inflict Light and Inflict Moderate opposed? Is Light and Darkness opposed? Less Fire Orb and Lesser Ice Orb?) We also have the pitfall of metamagic feats, not that they have an effect on spell level for the purpose of counterspell, but a Still Silent Eschewed spell would have no physical manifestation. Same with Deceptive Spell, how does that effect Counterspelling?

There are some problems with this set up, as well. There is no range limit on counterspelling. As long as you can see the spell being cast, you can counterspell it. This seems ridiculous. How does "altering it slightly to create a counterspell effect" work in terms of range?

I haven't glossed over the FAQ on how any fixes or errata changes, so I'm not sure if this fix overlaps any changes, or are superceded (and makes counterspelling more efficient).

Counterspells

A counterspell is a spell cast to negate the effect of another being casted. Counterspells are spells that have a counterspell descriptor (see below), Dispel Magic, or a spell that is altered at time of casting to become a counterspell.

How counterspells work

To use a counterspell, you must select an opponent as the target of the counterspell. You do this by choosing the ready action. In doing so, you elect to wait to complete your action until your opponent tries to cast a spell. (You may still move your speed, since ready is a standard action.)

If the target of your counterspell tries to cast a spell, make a Spellcraft check (DC 15 + the spellís level). This check is a free action. If the check succeeds, you correctly identify the opponentís spell and can attempt to counter it. The counterspell is cast as a free action at the time of the target's casting, regardless of the casting time of the original spell. If the check fails, you canít do either of these things. This check is not necessary if Dispel Magic is being used as the counterspell.

Counterspell is governed by line of effect. Cover increases the DC of the Spellcraft check by 4 (such as with AC), while total cover makes it impossible to counterspell. If the target of the counterspell has concealment, you must succeed at a concealment miss chance, even if the target has total concealment.

Consider the range of a counterspell as one step higher than the spell being a cast. A spell with personal or touch range is counterspelled at close range (25' + 5'/2 caster levels); a spell with short range is counterspelled at medium range; a spell with medium range is counterspelled at long range; a long range spell is counterspelled at the same range.

Counterspelling Metamagic Spells
Metamagic feats are not taken into account when determining whether a spell can be countered. As long as you can identify the spell being cast, you can cast the counterspell. A spell that lacks verbal, somatic, material, or focus components (such as a Silent Still Eschewed spell) can still be identified through the initial manifestations.

Counterspell Spells

A counterspell spell is a spell that is used to make counterspell. These include spells or spell-like abilities with the descriptor [Counterspell] (such as Lesser Fire Counterspell, Dispel Magic, et al.), the spell being cast itself, or a spell with lends itself to counterspelling (such as daylight to darkness). A spell that is part of a series (such as Inflict or Summon Monster) can be used to counterspell a spell that is equal or lower-level; that is, Inflict Moderate Wounds may be used to counterspell Cure Light Wounds.

New Class Features
These class features are added in addition to existing class features. Unless otherwise noted, classes retain their normal class features.

Sorcerer

Spontaneous Countermagic (Sp) [Counterspell]
At sixth level, a sorcerer can expend a spell slot to counter a spell being cast as an immediate action. The spell slot slot must be one level higher than the spell being cast, otherwise, is counterspelled as normal.

Wizard

Improved Spellcraft (Ex)
At 3rd level, a wizard receives a +2 expertise bonus on Spellcraft checks to identify a spell being cast. This increases by +1 for every four caster levels (+3 at 7th, +4 at 11th, to a maximum of +5 at 15th). If a spellcaster is a specialist wizard, this expertise bonus does not apply to spells of his banned schools.

Overcome Counterspell (Sp)
At 12th level, a wizard may attempt to overpower a counterspell attempt. When casting a spell that is subject to a counterspell, the wizard makes an opposed caster check against the caster of the counterspell.

If the wizard or the caster of the counterspell succeeds by less than five, the two are locked. Once the lock is set, no further checks are required (such as a spellcraft check,concealment miss chance, or dispel check). Either may, as an immediate action, release the attempt (if the caster of the counterspell releases, the spell is cast as normal; if the wizard releases, the spell being cast is counterspelled). The two can continue to hold the counterspell indefinitely, until one of them succeeds or breaks the lock. Maintaining the lock is considered a standard action that provokes an attack of opportunity, and may be subject to Concentration checks (if either the wizard or the caster of the counterspell fail the Concentration check, they lose maintaining the lock). The lock is also lost if either move out of range of the counterspell.

If the caster of the counterspell succeeds by greater than five, then the counterspell succeeds. If the wizard succeeds by greater than five, then the spell is cast on the desired target.

If the wizard succeeds, and requires a melee touch attack and the target has moved, the caster may still make a move action to enter range as though the spell has just been cast. If the spell requires a ranged touch attack and the target has since moved out of range, the spell fails. Spells that effect an area are cast on their desired area.

A wizard can use this ability a number of times per day equal to the wizard's Intelligence modifier, gaining one additional use at 15th, another at 18th, and another at 20th, for a maximum of 3 + Intelligence modifier times per day.

New Feats

Disrupt Metamagic
You can strip a spell of its metamagic components.
Prerequisites: Ability to cast a spell with the [Counterspell] descriptor, Spellcraft 4 ranks.
Benefits: You can target the metamagic effect of a spell instead of targeting the spell with counterspell spells (such as Least Disrupt Magic, etc.) You are required to make a Spellcraft check (DC 15 + spell slot level modifier of the metamagic feat, minimum 1) as a free action before casting Disrupt Magic to identify the metamagic feat. Treat the metamagic feat as a spell equal to its spell slot modifier (minimum 1) for the purpose of Disrupt Spell level effectiveness (i.e., Silent Spell can be counterspelled with Least Disrupt Magic). You are not required to roll a dispel check to counterspell a metamagic feat.

If the spell has more than one metamagic feat applied, add the combined spell slot level modifiers together for the purpose of the Spellcraft check to identify the spell. Treat this as the total spell level of all the metamagic feats, though you may choose to target only one metamagic feat.

Feats or class abilities that reduce the metamagic level cost (such as Arcane Thesis or Metamagic School Focus) are not taken into account for determing the effective spell level of metamagic feats.
Normal: You can normally counterspell the spell being cast, without regards to metamagic feats applied.
Special: You cannot target spells modified by Heightened Spell.

Improved Counterspell
You are more adept at counterspelling than your fellow caster.
Prerequesites: Knowledge (Arcana) 4 ranks.
Benefit: Your ability to counterspell is awesome. Any spell that has [Counterspell] in its descriptor can effect spells of one level higher, and you receive a +2 bonus on dispel checks. Spells that you cast that contain the [Counterspell] descriptor cannot effect spell levels higher than what you can cast (that is, a 2nd level wizard with Improved Counterspell cannot use Least Counterspell to counterspell a 2nd level spell, as she can only cast 1st level spells. At third level, however, she can.)
Special: This feat supplants Improved Counterspell as printed.

Spontaneous School Counterspell
Requirements: Spell Focus (chosen school) or specialist wizard in chosen school.
Benefit: You may ready a counterspell as normal, however you may use a spell of the chosen school one level higher than the spell being cast as the counterspell.
Normal: You may normally use the same spell spell being cast, or any spell with the [Counterspell] descriptor.
Special: You can take this feat multiple times, applying it to a different school of magic.

Turn Spell
You are capable of turning a counterspell against the target, so much that you can control it.
Prerequisites: Ability to cast any spell with [Counterspell] in its descriptor, Improved Counterspell, ability to cast 5th level spells.
Benefits: If you succeed at counterspelling a spell and is of the same type you are capable of casting (arcane or divine), you can immediately make a caster level check (d20 + caster level, maximum +10) against DC 15 + spell level. If you succeed at this check, the range of the spell is considered the same as the spell cast, centered on the target of the counterspell, and you're able to bestow the effects on a target of your choosing. This is considered a move action that provokes an attack of opportunity.
Normal: You normally just dispel the effect, jesus.
Special: You can take this feat two times. Once for arcane, once for divine, if you qualify for both.

New Spells

Disrupt Spell
Abjuration [Counterspell]
Level: Cleric 5, Sorcerer/Wizard 5

The same as Lesser Disrupt Spell, however effects spells of 5th level or lower.

Disrupt Spell, Greater
Abjuration [Counterspell]
[b]Level:[/b Cleric 7, Sorcerer/Wizard 7

the same as Lesser Disrupt Spell, however effects spells of 7th level of lower.

Disrupt Spell, Lesser
Abjuration [Counterspell]
Level: Cleric 3, Sorcerer/Wizard 3

The same as Least Disrupt Spell, however effects spells of 3rd level or lower, and the caster level check is d20 + caster level, maximum +10).

Disrupt Spell, Least
Abjuration [Counterspell]
Level: Cleric 1, Sorcerer/Wizard 1
Components: V, S, DF
Casting Time: Immediate action
Range: Short (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 caster levels)
Target: One caster
Duration: Instantaneous
Saving Throw: None
Spell Resistance: No

You can attempt to counterspell being cast of first level or lower. You must be able to see the caster, as per counterspell. If the caster has cover or concealment, you must be able to make a touch attack, with appropriate modifiers (+4 AC if cover; beat concealment miss chance, if either is appropriate). When cast, you make a special caster level check (d20 + caster level, maximum +5), the DC of which is 11 + spell level). If you succeed, you counterspell the spell being cast.

Elemental Counterspell, Greater
Abjuration [Counterspell]
Level: Sorcerer/Wizard 6
Functions exactly as Lesser Elemental Counterspell, however effects spells of the appropriate descriptor of up to 6th level. If the spell has been modified by the Energy Admixture metamagic feat, you counterspell ONLY the portion of the spell that matches the descriptor of the Greater Counterspell (i.e., Energy Admixture'd [Acid] Lesser Fire Orb counterspelled with Greater Elemental Counterspell (Acid) only negates the acid damage, not the fire damage.

Elemental Counterspell, Lesser
Evocation [Counterspell]
Level: Sorcerer/Wizard 2
Components: V, S
Casting Time: Immediate Action
Range: Medium (100 ft. + 10 ft./caster level)
Target: One caster
Duration: Instantaneous
Saving Throw: None
Spell Resistance: No

When you prepare this spell (or cast this spell if you cast spontaneously), pick an element: Acid, Cold, Earth, Electricity, Fire, Sonic, or Water. When a spell caster attempts to cast a spell with the elemental subtype that this spell was prepared (or cast) with, you may counter it by casting this spell. You do not need to ready your action, but you still must be able to identify the spell being cast. This effects spells with the appropriate subtype of 2nd level or lower. This applies against spells that contain the Energy Substitution metamagic feat, provided that the element substituted matches.

lesser_minion
2009-01-18, 02:36 PM
I can see what you are doing here, and mostly I think it is a reasonable response to the issue of counterspelling and defending against magic.

There are a couple of issues I've seen though:

I think you may have too many restrictions on the Disrupt Spell series. Limiting the level of spell that can be affected and the bonus to the check means that these spells are too weak to be useful. A restriction on spell level on its own should balance the spells and prevent a weak spell from negating much more effective spells. I don't think they become unbalanced when buffed a little - maybe even by making them automatically successful (like the spells they counter).

Although I can think of a few situations where forcing a caster to cast a spell without its metamagic benefits can work better than neutralising the spell entirely, I think this feat is so situational that not many people will take it (as a spell, it would effectively be 'minor utility' even though it is clearly combat-orientated). It feels more like it should either be a filler class feature or a special application of Spellcraft.

I think it would probably be easier to declare the effect automatic on a successful Spellcraft check - this makes the option much more useful in game play, as it is slightly less likely to fail. I don't think treating spells with inherent fast-casting as being subject to Quicken Spell for purposes of this effect is overpowered or thematically inappropriate - it just provides an even greater situational buff to the spell.

EDIT - I think Spontaneous School Counterspell should provide a small bonus to the spellcraft check for spells coming from your chosen school of magic - after all, the check can be seen as determining whether or not you realise that a given spell in your repertoire is suitable to neutralise the enemy spell. This is easier to see when you are a specialist in a whole school of magic!

Neek
2009-01-21, 01:06 AM
I think you may have too many restrictions on the Disrupt Spell series. Limiting the level of spell that can be affected and the bonus to the check means that these spells are too weak to be useful. A restriction on spell level on its own should balance the spells and prevent a weak spell from negating much more effective spells. I don't think they become unbalanced when buffed a little - maybe even by making them automatically successful (like the spells they counter).

Disrupt Spell is balanced against Dispel Magic, which requires such a dispel check. Considering this spell is cast as an immediate action and is therefore reactionary. It is more powerful even as a first level spell than Dispel Magic is at 3rd, which requires a ready action, for the fact that it can be cast without any readying. You just have to declare, "Oh, he's casting a spell. I cast my Disrupt." You might want to make a Spellcraft to determine the level of spell, and then cast the immediate Disrupt.


Although I can think of a few situations where forcing a caster to cast a spell without its metamagic benefits can work better than neutralising the spell entirely, I think this feat is so situational that not many people will take it (as a spell, it would effectively be 'minor utility' even though it is clearly combat-orientated). It feels more like it should either be a filler class feature or a special application of Spellcraft.

Disrupt Metamagic is easier to counterspell than the spell itself. As such, it would be too overpowered with some price. It's way too situational, I'll grant you, but so are plenty of other feat choices out there. I don't expect this to be taken as PCs as much as NPCs will possess it, or a metamagic rod of Disrupt Metamagic.


I think it would probably be easier to declare the effect automatic on a successful Spellcraft check - this makes the option much more useful in game play, as it is slightly less likely to fail. I don't think treating spells with inherent fast-casting as being subject to Quicken Spell for purposes of this effect is overpowered or thematically inappropriate - it just provides an even greater situational buff to the spell.

If you're talking about Disrupt Metamagic, then this I can agree with. You're more than likely going to pass most dispel checks against a first level spell as much as you are going to disrupt a one spell level slot adjustment.

Though, I'm confused. What do you mean by "I don't think treating spells with inherent fast-casting as being subject to Quicken Spell for purposes of this effect is overpowered or thematically inappropriate"? Do you mean like a Quickened Dispel Magic?


EDIT - I think Spontaneous School Counterspell should provide a small bonus to the spellcraft check for spells coming from your chosen school of magic - after all, the check can be seen as determining whether or not you realise that a given spell in your repertoire is suitable to neutralise the enemy spell. This is easier to see when you are a specialist in a whole school of magic!

There is a pitfall with the way you think it works, and the way I made it will help clarify: You don't counterspell with a spell of the same school, because well... you just readied an action for nothing, because he could cast anything. That's a waste of a standard action that could have been used for anything, really.

Rather than having an idea of what he is casting, you simply counterspell with a spell from a school that you have Spell Focus or specialized in. This more makes you for-armed in lieu of for-warned, especially in the case of a Focused Specialist.