View Full Version : Researched Evocation [PEACH]

2006-08-19, 12:55 AM
(Edit: Preliminary version below at http://www.giantitp.com/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.pl?board=homebrew;action=display;num=11559653 67;start=7#7 )

I'm looking into researching an original 3rd-level area damage evocation, and I'd like some balancing help and suggestions for the mechanics. Many of the details are still up in the air, but if you happen to like some of the possibilities more than others and have a good idea of how to balance it or how it might work best in such-and-such way, I'd like to hear them. :)
The spell would conceptually evoke what's basically shrapnel made of force, and would use a strong wind to make it sweep an area and damage everything inside. A wind-based damage spell, if you will, that goes a step beyond making bajillions of small paper cuts with razor winds or dealing "wind-elemental damage".

I'm working with the following parameters:
(1) It should have Short or Medium Range (or any type of fixed range that doesn't go beyond some 100 ft. or so; it simply shouldn't have a very long effective reach).

(2) I'm undecided as to whether it should deal force damage or simple, physical damage. The first option gives it a superior damage type, for which it would have to deal rather less damage than a fireball. The second option would ignore SR but take into account DR instead.
Either way, it definitely shouldn't do sonic damage, since that's basically vibration.

(3) If the spell deals physical damage, it makes sense that heavily armored creatures would suffer less damage from it, and it's an interesting gimmick. The only spell I know of that takes AC into account for damage purposes is wall of thorns, so I don't have much of a base for comparison.
Rather than substract total AC from damage directly, I was thinking of making damage scale depending on how much shield/armor/natural armor/deflection AC the creature has. One alternative is to rest the combined bonuses from those 4 AC types from damage dealt. Another is to define AC ranges for damage; e.g., assuming the spell would do the usual 1d6/caster level, creatures which have 0-10 AC from their shield/armor/natural armor/deflection bonuses would suffer full damage. Creatures with 11-20 AC of this type, for instance, might suffer only 1d4/caster level.
It's an interesting trade-off, but I'm not very clear on how to balance median damage output with median AC to leave this balanced with fireball. I'm also sure it's not the cleverest or best way to model a benefit for the victims for having AC; I'm looking into other alternatives.
(Edit: It just came to mind that the most straightforward way to do this might be to give the victim a boost to his saving throw.)

(4) Thematically, I guess the spell could either be a cone, a wide beam, or circular area. I haven't settled definitely in an area type either, although I consider circular areas better because you don't have to worry about your tanks being in between you and the nasties.
I've thought of giving it two casting modes, one with a cone/beam and one with a circular area, although I'm not sure how expensive this versatility would be. The simplest option is most likely to simply give it a circular area (something like a 20-ft. radius) and be done with it.

(5) It should have an accessible magical component or focus; the idea isn't to make a one-shot wonder.

(6) I've thought of the spell as an instant, damage-dealing evocation so far, but it could also work a la Blade Barrier and affect an area for a few rounds. Whether it's instant or of short duration, though, it should have a Reflex Half save.

(7) Although there would be a pretty strong wind to make the shrapnel slice into the flesh of the opposition, the idea of the spell isn't to make a gust of wind with a little added damage on top, so it shouldn't do stuff like push people back. Versatility in a spell isn't cheap, and this is meant to be a relatively reliable area damage dealer.

Those are all the constraints that come to mind, though I'd be happy to define the thing better if you still need more specific stuff. Thanks in advance to anyone who's interested in giving me a hand!

2006-08-19, 01:41 AM
Hmmm, well, alot of the sell is just how you describe it, mechinics could work like this:
Sor/Wiz 3
1 action
medium range
10' radius burst
ref save half
SR: no
Deals 1d8/level (max 10) to unarmored creatures without natural armor
creatures with 1-5 points of natural armor, or wearing light armor take 1d6's
creatures with 6-10 points of natural armor, or wearing medium armor, or those with 1-5 NA and light armor take 1d4's
creatures wearing heavy armor, having more than 11 points of NA, or any combo greater than the above take 1d3's, the minimum for the spell.
Visual: conjures sharp pieces of shrapnel and flings them through the air, DR is also effective against the spell.

Now, this version is very weak against anything with armor, but it's just one idea.

2006-08-19, 01:47 AM
It has to be an evocation, I'm afraid. :)

2006-08-19, 02:04 AM
Okay, then change the type. Big deal. As long as its not an enchantment or abjuration, or something else ridiculous.

2006-08-19, 02:20 AM
Evocation would just evoke magic winds and force, IMO, not shrapnel. It would allow SR, but bypass DR as if it were a magic weapon (or maybe as a spell).
I got the impression you wanted the shrapnel effect more than the evocation, but if it has to be evocation, well then yea, just change it. As a rule conjuration ignores SR but deals a little less damage, so you'd probly want to up the power a bit.

2006-08-19, 02:45 AM
Actually, it's just a bit more elaborate than that.

The idea is that, when a spell affects you, it can do things in one of two ways:

1) It can apply magic onto you directly, causing an effect
2) It can create an effect that lingers, and by when the effect gets to you, it is no longer magical.

In the case of 1), SR applies- after all, there's a spell affecting the SR-protected creature, therefore there's a spell to resist. For 2), however, the spell is gone- no spell to resist there, hence no SR. An example would be summoning an anvil on top of an enemy- once the anvil is summoned, the magic goes away, or if it doesn't, what's actually propelling the anvil and dealing damage is gravity, not a spell, so there's no spell to resist either way.

Hence, 1-> SR, whereas 2-> ŽSR.

On the other hand. Assume the spell does not deal an energy-type damage (which is quite reasonable to assume, especially for type-2 spells. Creating energy but not affecting someone with it directly is hard). Instead, this spell deals physical damage.

In the case of 1-type spells, even if the spell deals physical damage, DR does not apply. Why? Because it's a magical attack- the damage is dealt by a magical effect, hence DR cannot apply to it (an example of this might be Ice Storm, which deals physical damage, yet this damage is not subject to DR, since it's a spell dealing it.) On the other hand, 2-type spells dealing physical damage have no such excuse- if it's not a spell dealing the damage, it's not a magical attack, but rather a physical attack, and your damage reduction applies against physical attacks.

So, as a general guideline, if a spell applies SR, it doesn't apply DR, and vice-versa. Exceptions might exist (can't think of any right now), but that's the reasoning behind it. :)

Later-edition conjuration spells tend to be type-2, even when dealing energy damage (acid, most of the time), so people get the impression that Conjuration -> no SR, but that's not exactly how it works.

And, either way, as the DM for Edelritter's campaign, I'd like to point out that the DM is quite strict about magic "fluff", and is a 2nd edition lover.

An example of my strictness would be the fact that no Contingency-like spell exists in the game world. Why? Because nobody's found elephants yet. :P

2006-08-19, 04:54 AM
#1 Nice job expanding the idea.
#2 FWIW, I should have wrote "general idea" or something.
#3 Whereas I newely prefer the "close enough? good enough" approach. OTOH, this is a spell idea that could definitly have some serious fluff/crunch differences, that's why I went and wrote that all out. I actually think the OP's idea of armor giving a bonus on the save is better than mine.
On a completely unrelated note: woah, people keep responding to my posts, it's crazy.....

2006-08-21, 08:24 PM
This is what I have so far. Comments? :)

Shining Wind
Evocation [Force]
Level: Wizard 3
Components: V, S, M, F
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 50 ft. + 5 ft./level
Area: See text
Duration: Instant
Saving Throw: Reflex Half
Spell Resistance: No

The air shimmers, the light distorted as it passes through thousands of small, jagged slivers of transparent force that hover ominously around you. A final command word makes a violent gale sweep them into a shining wind that shreds everything in its path.

Creatures and objects in the path of shining wind suffer 1d6 points of damage per caster level (up to 10d6). This damage is physical in nature (slashing), and is subject to a creature's DR. Armor affords some protection from shining wind; creatures with light armor (or the equivalent amount of protection from natural armor, at the DM's discretion) receive a +1 armor bonus to their Reflex save, medium armor (or its natural armor equivalent) nets a +2 armor bonus, heavy armor (or its natural armor equivalent) gives a +3 armor bonus, a light shield gives a +1 shield bonus, a heavy shield gives a +2 shield bonus, a tower shield gives a +3 shield bonus, and any enhancement or deflection bonuses to AC grant half their magnitude, rounded down and to a minimum of 1, to the Reflex save. A brigand wearing medium armor and a heavy shield, for instance, would have a total bonus of +4 to his save.
The spell may be cast in one of two ways; either as a wide beam originating from the caster (identical to lightning bolt's wide beam casting mode), or as a large ring that may be centered anywhere within the spell's range. The ring has an outer radius of 20 ft. from the central point, an inner radius of 5 ft. from the central point, and a height of 10 ft.; everything caught within the inner and the outer radius is affected.

Material Component: Bits of crushed glass.
Arcane Focus: A wind rune inscribed in the caster's own body.