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Saintheart
2010-05-28, 01:26 AM
Just wanting to take some soundings from folks on this. I've got a campaign in place in the Forgotten Realms, and I've a player who'd like to play a sorcerer (first timer in GITP PbP) and who would like to take Spellfire Wielder from Magic of Faerun for a first level feat. (Bear in mind the campaign we've got is a level 1 through 20 exercise.)

Initially I thought this was an underpowered feat, but then I took another look. Wielder basically acts like a Rod of Absorption. As a standard action, unleash 1d6 damage, half fire, half "raw magic" per spell energy level stored in your body. Heal 2 hitpoints per spell energy level expended if you like, too. Your fuel tank - which you can expend all in one hit if you wanted to - is your CON. Your CON, not your CON modifier if I'm reading it right.

So even with a moderately competent 10 or 12 in your CON stat block, this means you could be carrying around a single 10 or 12d6 blast of energy (Ranged or melee touch attack to use, Reflex DC 20 save) in your head. The only restriction seems to be that you have to ready yourself to absorb spells. I thought it was underpowered because it's not a "spontaneous conversion to energy" feat like clerics can do with cure spells.

Then I got to thinking: if, like some parties do, your clerics and/or sorcerers and/or bards could be convinced to empty out their unused spell slots at the end of an adventuring day, you could fill up that tank fairly quickly - a matter of days or less - by having the party target their unused ray or single-target spells on you, you readying to absorb the spell each time.

That's got to be fast enough to keep it in reserve as a giant-killing blast for the end of level. A first level character, carrying around a 10d6 energy blast in his or her head, unleashable at any time.

So, the query: am I missing something about the feat, or is it workable according to RAW like this? Is there some control mechanism here I'm missing? And if you were running a campaign for first level folks, would you disallow the feat, or put some form of restrictions on it?

tyckspoon
2010-05-28, 01:41 AM
It's pretty decent at low levels, if your party casters regularly have spare spell-levels to dump into you or if one of them happens to be a Warlock or Dragonfire Adept that can charge you on Eldritch Blasts/Incantations. It's really horrible at mid and high levels, when a spell slot is worth much, much more than 1d6 damage/spell level (unless, again, you have an invocation-user to be your personal generator, in which case you have a handy one-shot weapon to be reloaded. The double-failure-condition thing starts hurting pretty bad, tho, once you're dealing with things that have reasonable touch ACs and fair chances of actually making the Reflex save.) Even when it's useful, I don't think it's really broken in the larger scheme of things; a blast that you only get charged to full every 3-4 days means you used your first level feat on something you only use every 3-4 days instead of on something that helps you get through every fight.

Curmudgeon
2010-05-28, 01:47 AM
Yes, you're missing something about the feat.
Absorbing Spell Energy

A spellfire wielder can ready an action to absorb spells targeted at her as if she were a rod of absorption.
Ready

The ready action lets you prepare to take an action later, after your turn is over but before your next one has begun. Readying is a standard action. It does not provoke an attack of opportunity (though the action that you ready might do so). Readying an action means you can't use any standard or full-round actions. If an enemy spellcaster targets your allies, summons a monster to attack you, or blasts you with an area effect spell, you just stand there and take it with your readied action doing nothing.

Spellfire Wielders start with no reserves. They only get spellfire when they've readied an action and then had a spell targeted at them. If you've got another party spellcaster who has extra targeted spells to throw at you, then you can charge up and have something ready for later combat. That's pretty much the only scenario where being a Spellfire Wielder works.

A Spellfire Wielder is a one-trick pony. As a Spellfire Wielder Sorcerer you can spend what spellfire you've got at the start of combat; then you're pretty much impotent, standing around with your readied action, and unable to cast anything except swift action spells. Since that's stupid, you really don't use the feat as intended; you ignore it in combat and you're really just a Sorcerer who's one feat short of what other Sorcerers have.

Furnok
2010-05-28, 08:01 AM
By itself spellfire isnít too overpowered but if/when the character decides to take the spellfire prestige class thatís when it gets a little overpowered. The reason I say this because there was a guy in a group I played with that did everything he could to get his CON up as high as he could then he would hold 4 to 5 times his CON. At higher levels he was annoying, he would bother the spell casters to waste all of their spells on him and he would hold anywhere near 80-120 levels long story short whenever we encounter anything on the tougher side it was killed in one round.

Irreverent Fool
2010-05-28, 08:30 AM
Raven familiars with wands make it much more practical.

ForumFerret
2010-05-28, 09:08 AM
Doesn't Spellfire Wielder reference the Rod of Absorption in particular?

The Rod of Absorption no longer requires a ready action to absorb spells. To whit (from the SRD):

"Absorption requires no action on the part of the user if the rod is in hand at the time. "

The Spellfire Wielder basically has a built-in Rod of Absorption. Personally, I don't think it's at all unbalanced - it only absorbs targeted effects, so just give your generic magical enemies area of effect attacks as part of their repertoire and you're fine.

The PC may feel a bit overpowered at first level, but they're unlikely to maintain a full charge of spellfire unless there's a warlock or Dragonfire Adept around to keep them topped off. I'd make the character roll percentile at the first session to see how many charges he's coming into the game with and see how it goes from there.

ShadowsGrnEyes
2010-05-28, 09:30 AM
I have heard horror stories about spellfire wielders.

Most of those stories simply involves con optimized characters sort of breaking play before 6th level.

other stories involve reserve feats(not sure if this one actually works or if it was a dm ruling) on other party members making them effectively batteries and the prestigeclass making people into nukes.

if you can control it past 6th level or so its fine, before that or if they are allowed to much free reign on optimization it can become a pain.

Curmudgeon
2010-05-28, 09:40 AM
Doesn't Spellfire Wielder reference the Rod of Absorption in particular?

The Rod of Absorption no longer requires a ready action to absorb spells.
No, that's overridden by the particular specification of the feat.
Benefit: You can use spellfire to absorb spell energy, fire destructive blasts, or heal others, as described in the Spellfire section of the previous chapter. And that section says this:
Spellfire

Absorbing Spell Energy

A spellfire wielder can ready an action to absorb spells targeted at her as if she were a rod of absorption. So Spellfire Wielders must use the Ready action to absorb anything.

ForumFerret
2010-05-28, 10:15 AM
No, that's overridden by the particular specification of the feat. And that section says this: So Spellfire Wielders must use the Ready action to absorb anything.


Right, but Magic of Faerun is a 3.0 book was it not? It never got a 3.5 update that I'm aware of, and the Spellfire section specifically references the Rod of Absorption (in the next sentence). The Rod of Absorption was updated for 3.5 to require no action, so a reasonable case can be made for the 'absorbing is no action / immediate action' I think.

Without it being a free/immediate action, I'd say Spellfire was a net-loss unless you delved into the PrC's available to expand it's capacity and capabilities. Standing there with a readied action to absorb is probably actively detrimental to the party effectiveness.

AstralFire
2010-05-28, 10:35 AM
The PrCs just make it even more of a net loss.

Spellfire Wielder is the ultimate Truenamer of feats, that's all that needs to be said. It either breaks the game or it just doesn't work.

Curmudgeon
2010-05-28, 10:36 AM
Right, but Magic of Faerun is a 3.0 book was it not? It never got a 3.5 update ... so a reasonable case can be made for the 'absorbing is no action / immediate action' I think.
I wouldn't call that change reasonable, but then that's just my opinion. As usual, that falls under the standard rule from page 4 of the Dungeon Master's Guide:
This is an upgrade of the d20 System, not a new edition of the game. This revision is compatible with all existing products, and those products can be used with the revision with only minor adjustments.
So it's a matter of individual DM judgment whether such a change would be a minor adjustment.

Without it being a free/immediate action, I'd say Spellfire was a net-loss unless
No, it's not; it's just limited to situations where you've got one or more spellcasters in the party who can charge you up with whatever targeted spells they have left uncast at the end of the day.

After all, as a CON-based ability, the Spellfire Wielder feat is targeted primarily at sturdy combat types, not spellcasters. It just gives them something that lets them be a limited-use magic blaster as an option to go along with their normal martial abilities.

true_shinken
2010-05-28, 01:45 PM
After all, as a CON-based ability, the Spellfire Wielder feat is targeted primarily at sturdy combat types, not spellcasters. It just gives them something that lets them be a limited-use magic blaster as an option to go along with their normal martial abilities.

The main character in the Spellfire book was a Rogue (Thief, actually), though. Casters need high Con even more than combat types at low levels, though.

Curmudgeon
2010-05-28, 04:14 PM
The main character in the Spellfire book was a Rogue (Thief, actually), though. Casters need high Con even more than combat types at low levels, though.
The class that gets the most benefit from CON is the Barbarian, as that determines if they can rage long enough to last through an encounter. Other classes (spellcasters included) just need to avoid getting hit. :smallsmile: I like to play Rogues, and I often use CON as a dump stat because I play them smart. I've never read any Spellfire book, but I expect it's full of characters who are more colorful than effective. After all, barely surviving an encounter by pulling out some new trick at the last moment is quite dramatic. Who wants to read stories about adventurers who carefully scout the opposition, then vanquish them quickly; or sneak past powerful foes without incident?

hamishspence
2010-05-28, 04:17 PM
I've never read any Spellfire book, but I expect it's full of characters who are more colorful than effective.

As written, spellfire in the books was a lot more powerful than in the game. Especially when powered up with the Crown of Fire ability- the main character was one-hit killing beholders.

And in the first, it was her spellfire that fried a couple of very powerful dracoliches, and drove an archmage aand his black dragon steed into flight.

3.0 toned spellfire down a bit- and even in 2nd ed the game version wasn't quite as powerful as the book version.

true_shinken
2010-05-28, 04:21 PM
The class that gets the most benefit from CON is the Barbarian, as that determines if they can rage long enough to last through an encounter. Other classes (spellcasters included) just need to avoid getting hit. :smallsmile:
Everyone is always trying to avoid getting hit. Unless they are completly stupid.
I'd also think meldshapers benefit even more from Con than Barbarians.


I like to play Rogues, and I often use CON as a dump stat because I play them smart.
I'm sorry, but dumping Con does not look smart at all to me. The only I can think of a Rogue being really hard to hit is by using a lot of wands and being hidden all the time. None of them seem really interesting to me and both need high level and high wealth. Not for everyone, not for every game.


I've never read any Spellfire book, but I expect it's full of characters who are more colorful than effective.
No, not at all. Spellfire is a pretty gritty book. People are hit once and they die. It's also pretty old... Thieves got pretty low bonuses from Con and I believe Spellfire was not even tied to Con back then.

After all, barely surviving an encounter by pulling out some new trick at the last moment is quite dramatic. Who wants to read stories about adventurers who carefully scout the opposition, then vanquish them quickly; or sneak past powerful foes without incident?
Well, you'd be surprised, there are LOTS of stories like that. The Book of Eli, Bayonetta, Devil May Cry and Katanagatari are just a few I remembered from the top of my head.

Curmudgeon
2010-05-28, 04:58 PM
I'm sorry, but dumping Con does not look smart at all to me. The only I can think of a Rogue being really hard to hit is by using a lot of wands and being hidden all the time. None of them seem really interesting to me and both need high level and high wealth. Not for everyone, not for every game.
I didn't claim this approach is for everyone, but maximizing your ability to Hide doesn't require wands. A 1-level dip into Shadowdancer and effective use of skills is all that's required to be visually undetectable nearly 100% of the time. Even without Supernatural Hide in Plain Sight a smart Rogue can make effective use of cover/concealment much of the time in combat. Move between Cover lets the Rogue leave their hiding place, move, and get sneak attack against an opponent out in the open -- and there's no magic or even Supernatural ability necessary; just maximum Hide and Move Silently ranks.

As I said, if you play your Rogue smart you don't need to worry about CON. The extra skill points you get by beefing up your INT instead of CON can keep you from needing many hit points.

El Dorado
2010-05-28, 05:09 PM
You could always house-rule that the character's spellfire blast can't exceed his character level (1d6 at 1st level, 2d6 at 2nd, etc). The blasts would be stronger than a warlock's of comparable level but the spellfire wielder would eventually run out of juice.

true_shinken
2010-05-28, 05:35 PM
I didn't claim this approach is for everyone, but maximizing your ability to Hide doesn't require wands. A 1-level dip into Shadowdancer and effective use of skills is all that's required to be visually undetectable nearly 100% of the time.
...and that's only possible at level eight. How do you survive until then?

Even without Supernatural Hide in Plain Sight a smart Rogue can make effective use of cover/concealment much of the time in combat. Move between Cover lets the Rogue leave their hiding place, move, and get sneak attack against an opponent out in the open -- and there's no magic or even Supernatural ability necessary; just maximum Hide and Move Silently ranks.
Yes, if you have concealment and multiple places providing cover that might allow you to remain untargettable. It still does nothing to prevent you from area effects or auras. Creatures with tremorsense and blindsight will still be able to target you just as fine. If you roll poorly, anyone can see you.
Let's break this down:
1- You need areas that provide cover/concealment;
2- The aforementioned cover/concealmente must be between 1/2 your speed (let's assume 15feet - only 3 squares) of each other, or you have a -5 penalty;
3- Unless you bluffed (and wasted a standard action) to create a diversion, creatures still know your general direction and can try to locate you, attack blindly or just use area effects;
4- Since you need your move action to Hide, you can only attack once per round - your damage output is going to suck, so smart enemies could just ignore you and attack party members that actually pose a threat;
5- Tremorsense, blindsight or creatures with high racial bonuses to Spot/Listen can locate you easily.
This seems EXTREMELY hard to pull off. I believe you are A LOT better off just NOT dumping Con.

As I said, if you play your Rogue smart you don't need to worry about CON. The extra skill points you get by beefing up your INT instead of CON can keep you from needing many hit points.
Why would you beef Int instead of Con when you can beef Int instead of Strenght, Wisdom or Charisma?

mabriss lethe
2010-05-28, 06:18 PM
a spellthief is probably a more balanced version of what the spellfire wielder tries to accomplish (at least @ level 7, when the spellthief gains the ability to absorb spells on a successful save without wasting an action.)

one potential means of "self abuse" for the spellfire wielder (pun intended) is the spell Catsfeet in Complete Mage. It's a single target swift action spell (though only 1st level) a character with the ability to cast spells and wield spellfire could theoretically use it to charge themselves. I'm sure there are other, higher level spells that meet the criteria, but I haven't had a chance to parse through to find them.

Curmudgeon
2010-05-28, 08:43 PM
...and that's only possible at level eight. How do you survive until then?
You survive better than Wizards and Sorcerers with their d4 hit dice and complete lack of armor proficiency. :smallamused: Really, if they can survive, why can't Rogues? You just use what cover/concealment you can find, and concentrate on ranged weapons instead of melee. After all, you'll want to walk around with a ranged weapon ready to fire so that you can get sneak attack on both the surprise round and as a full attack in the first regular round of combat. To do otherwise is just not playing a Rogue intelligently.

Why would you beef Int instead of Con when you can beef Int instead of Strenght, Wisdom or Charisma? In most cases you'll dump Strength, too, and pick up Weapon Finesse if you need/want to get into melee. Wisdom is needed for both the bulk of saves against magic and for the all-important Spot and Listen skills, so that you'll never be surprised. Charisma is much too important to dump, because you need it for Bluff, Diplomacy, Gather Information, and Use Magic Device -- core skills that let you avoid trouble, or help you get out of it.

Every point you've raised seems to be focused on combat. A smart Rogue has much more important concerns, like making sure they stay at least 30% above the average wealth by level guidelines. :smallsmile:

true_shinken
2010-05-28, 10:50 PM
You survive better than Wizards and Sorcerers with their d4 hit dice and complete lack of armor proficiency. :smallamused: Really, if they can survive, why can't Rogues?
Because Wizards and Sorcerers get LOTS of defensive buffs. Even a first level Wizard with simply Mage Armor and Shield up has probably a better Armor Class than a Fighter. At higher levels it just gets silly - Displacement, Wings of Cover, Abjurant Jaunt... and don't get me started on Astral Projection.
Wizards and Sorcerers survive because they have spells. They are tier 1-2 full-casters, for crying out loud. Even an optimized rogue can't hold a candle to them.


You just use what cover/concealment you can find, and concentrate on ranged weapons instead of melee. After all, you'll want to walk around with a ranged weapon ready to fire so that you can get sneak attack on both the surprise round and as a full attack in the first regular round of combat. To do otherwise is just not playing a Rogue intelligently.
I disagree. The first round is the ONLY situation a ranged Rogue can use sneak attack on a full-attack. You want precision damage and being ranged? Be a Scout. Rogues are made to melee. A TWF Rogue with beefed up Con is pretty effective in and out of combat. An archer Rogue will be, most of the time, just plain useless.


In most cases you'll dump Strength, too, and pick up Weapon Finesse if you need/want to get into melee. Wisdom is needed for both the bulk of saves against magic and for the all-important Spot and Listen skills, so that you'll never be surprised. Charisma is much too important to dump, because you need it for Bluff, Diplomacy, Gather Information, and Use Magic Device -- core skills that let you avoid trouble, or help you get out of it.
If you really take Weapon Finesse, you should take Quick Draw, focus on throwing daggers (because they can also be used on melee and with TWF)... and THAT would be smart. Using a bow or the like just begs 'screw with me'.
Wisdom and Charisma are not that important, really. Your point for Will saves stands equally for Fortitude saves anyway. Skills are very easily boosted with magic. Hit points are a lot harder to acquire.
Also, a Rogue should if at all possible avoid the 'party-face' position. Classes like Sorcerer, Paladin and other Cha-based classes are a lot more suited to this role.
Of course, you can be a Rogue jumping from shadow to shadow, trying to do everything and all. You will only suck at combat. Suck very, very, very hard.


Every point you've raised seems to be focused on combat.
Well, of course I'm talking about combat. That's what Constitution is for! Not being efficient in combat also means you are not efficient out of combat, because being dead is totally inefficient.


A smart Rogue has much more important concerns, like making sure they stay at least 30% above the average wealth by level guidelines. :smallsmile:
Yeah, that's what smart Rogues do - they get their equipment sundered or disintegrated by the DM, teaching them not to mess with wealth by level. Very, very smart.

Anyway, I tire of this discussion. You have every right not to optimize your characters. Just don't go around saying building this kind of things is smart or not. It's just your way and general consensus seems to be a lot different.

Knaight
2010-05-29, 12:13 AM
I didn't claim this approach is for everyone, but maximizing your ability to Hide doesn't require wands. A 1-level dip into Shadowdancer and effective use of skills is all that's required to be visually undetectable nearly 100% of the time. Even without Supernatural Hide in Plain Sight a smart Rogue can make effective use of cover/concealment much of the time in combat. Move between Cover lets the Rogue leave their hiding place, move, and get sneak attack against an opponent out in the open -- and there's no magic or even Supernatural ability necessary; just maximum Hide and Move Silently ranks.

As I said, if you play your Rogue smart you don't need to worry about CON. The extra skill points you get by beefing up your INT instead of CON can keep you from needing many hit points.
Sounds like the enemy is playing pretty dumb to me. Sure, evasion helps against most general area tricks, but certainly not all, and something like locking and barring a building the rogue is in, then lighting it on fire is going to make that low con hurt as soon as smoke inhalation kicks in. A flat footed rogue has crap for AC, a good ambush could get a melee hit in, and low con means next to no poison resistance, if struck when vulnerable. Feigned civilians perhaps, maybe even feigned victims. And of course there is poisoning food and drink, con comes in handy there. Moving between cover is undone through a readied action, but the destruction of cover can also damage it.

Really, what this comes down to is you don't need con if you play far smarter than the GM plays the NPCs. A GM who prefers NPCs who should be ruthless and competent to actually be so renders it moot, though the less competent types really won't need con to deal with. As stated above, every point is focused on combat, but it is also focused on combat when your opponent is playing fair, playing nice, and you have a nice honorable system where everyone knows everyone's allegiance from the beginning and the two sides duke it out. And that isn't always the case.

Escheton
2010-05-29, 12:02 PM
and back on topic:

I had a sorcerer take the feat back when the sourcebook was just out.
Given he was a blastersorc and I as a dm tend not to go light on them and played smart bad guy clerics and such him standing readied in front of the sniping rogue worked well as I figured the bad guy would first target the idiot without armor standing in front of the nuisence.
Spells run out fast at low lvl, this way he could sorta regain spellpower through tactical positioning and such.
It worked well in combats when he gained and burned in the same combat.
But as soon as he figured out the blasts where'nt gamebreakers and 1 or 2 fighterhacks would have won the fight just as easy he started hoarding the power.
And releasing it in a pinch, and against bosstypes. Making it super effective.
Which is good, but a bit of a downer for the dm that planned for a long elaborate battle.
It's like having a higher lvl spell on hand he can't cast yet. It's about as broken as having the same char buy a higher lvl scroll in case of emergency.
Smart, with a potential backfire that makes the player not use it willy nilly.