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Viskocity
2010-08-03, 05:05 PM
This spell gets a lot of hate from optimizers. To me, it seems like a relatively good spell with one huge flaw. It eliminates the use of a spellcaster's primary class feature; namely the ability to cast spells.

Therefore I ask you playgrounders, if not for this one clause, would Tenser's Transformation be balanced with other spells of its level, or any other? Clerics get all kinds of love from Divine Power many levels below the point where a wizard gets Transformation. Is there a reasonable justification for the power split, or is it just a case of WOTC overvaluing full BAB (and casting in armor. Oh the horror!) and doing there utmost to prevent wizards from becoming (somewhat subpar) fighters?

Snake-Aes
2010-08-03, 05:10 PM
It is a dire case of overvaluing casting in armor and full bab, as they themselves said when they mentioned the hexblade/duskblade comparison. As it is it can probably be a lvl 4 spell...or keep at 6 without losing spellcasting.

Ernir
2010-08-03, 06:03 PM
Eh, as a level 6th spell with an expensive material component... I might sometimes consider using it if there were no loss of spellcasting involved. The ability score bonuses being Enhancement bonuses are another problem.

But really, I consider Body of War from the Spell Compendium to be the successor to Tenser's Transformation.

Endarire
2010-08-03, 06:18 PM
I left the spell's effect as-is, but lowered it to a level 2 spell and nixed the expensive component.

cupkeyk
2010-08-03, 08:53 PM
There is nothing wrong with this spell. The wizard should not use it on himself, instead uses craft contingent spell, places it on a monk/rogue (any non full bab class with a trigger of "When I get into a fight" and now the ally has been buffed as a non-action.

Frosty
2010-08-03, 10:09 PM
I just cast that sort of spell on my Familiar instead.

Marnath
2010-08-03, 11:40 PM
I've never thought about whether or not loss of casting ability matters or not, because i always thought it was that one spell you save to the very bitter end as a last ditch method of self defense. You used all your fireballs, acid arrow's and whatnot, time to cast tenser's and draw the bastard sword you keep on your back for just this purpose. Ideally things should never get that desperate because if you're in a situation like that you should probably have run away 15 minutes ago.

Viskocity
2010-08-03, 11:44 PM
There is nothing wrong with this spell. The wizard should not use it on himself, instead uses craft contingent spell, places it on a monk/rogue (any non full bab class with a trigger of "When I get into a fight" and now the ally has been buffed as a non-action.

That seems like it would get incredibly expensive.

cupkeyk
2010-08-04, 12:51 AM
By the time you can cast Tenser's transformation, it isn't.

Marnath
2010-08-04, 01:01 AM
Isn't expensive, or isn't a decent last stand move? I don't know who you're talking to.

cupkeyk
2010-08-04, 02:20 AM
I meant that it isn't expensive but isn't a good last stand either. A wizard has terrible hit points and at level 11 shouldn't be running out of spells anymore. You should have wands and scrolls and contingent spells and other nasty tricks other than spells by now.

Marnath
2010-08-04, 02:29 AM
That depends on the campaign, A) are contingencies available B) how much access to disposable resources like wands do you have C) maybe it's a heroes of battle campaign where you don't neccessarily have time to rest for spells for days at a time? This is all very specific, but i did say that it should never come to that.

*edit I fully support moving it to a level 4ish spell slot.

Fizban
2010-08-04, 02:33 AM
I think it would be fine even at a lower level while retaining spellcasting. For a 6th level "I wanna hit things too" buff, I'd take nothing less than Lesser Dragonshape. You become a young red dragon, gaining 6 natural attacks, flight speed, natural armor and stat boosts, a decent breath weapon, temporary hp, and the spell is only a swift action. And while you generally replace your statblock with the monster's, it's still just a buff on you, so all your other buffs keep running. So you're actually a young red dragon with Mage Armor, Shield, Heart of Earth/Stoneskin, and any other fancy buff you want up.

Marnath
2010-08-04, 02:38 AM
I never said it was the best, i'm just trying to give examples of times it's usable. :smallfrown:

I like the flavor of it better than becoming a dragon.

Also, not everyone has access to every spell and feat ever written....

cupkeyk
2010-08-04, 02:43 AM
That depends on the campaign, A) are contingencies available B) how much access to disposable resources like wands do you have C) maybe it's a heroes of battle campaign where you don't neccessarily have time to rest for spells for days at a time? This is all very specific, but i did say that it should never come to that.

*edit I fully support moving it to a level 4ish spell slot.

If you are aware that it will be an extended battle then you should have those reservoir feats in CA or CM instead. Tenser's transformation places a mage in melee, somewhere they should never be.

Marnath
2010-08-04, 02:48 AM
If you are aware that it will be an extended battle then you should have those reservoir feats in CA or CM instead. Tenser's transformation places a mage in melee, somewhere they should never be.

Strictly speaking, there's probably not time to learn a whole new approach to magic right before a long battle. If you don't already know how you're probably not going to learn how(level up) before the battle. Also, see my above comment about not necessarily having every feat ever written.

I'ma go to bed now before i start snapping at people. >.>
I'll be back fresh tomorrow to converse logically again. :smallsmile:

cupkeyk
2010-08-04, 02:58 AM
But, then do you know who never runs out of spells? The fighter.

Long 8 hour battle? you should have cast Overland flight on yourself first thing in the morning. Buffed the fighter and the rogue, debuffed the baddies, put a zone down or two, nova your attack spells then hide. Which is what any respectable wizard does. Casting tenser's transformation on your last round and rushing into battle is not helping much, especially your survival.

Aotrs Commander
2010-08-04, 03:24 AM
Tenser's Transformation suffered too much from the edition switch. In AD&D, where it doubled your hit points, it was so worth it for a fighter/mage. I have fond memories of Baldur's Gate 2, and ripping Irenicus a new one with Stoneskin invulnerability and 350 hits points...(That's not small change in 3.5, let alone AD&D!)

3.x Tenser's? Not so much. It's not even as good as the much lower level Divine Power, which gives you a better Str bonus in any case. Any Tenser's other benefits are massively out-weighed by the loss of spellcasting.

Morph Bark
2010-08-04, 04:32 AM
If it'd allow you to keep your spellcasting, you'd prolly just stick to spellcasting spells with attack rolls. I'd moreso try something like... your caster level gets halved and as such the higher-level spells you got become uncastable.

Roderick_BR
2010-08-04, 11:31 AM
I've never thought about whether or not loss of casting ability matters or not, because i always thought it was that one spell you save to the very bitter end as a last ditch method of self defense. You used all your fireballs, acid arrow's and whatnot, time to cast tenser's and draw the bastard sword you keep on your back for just this purpose. Ideally things should never get that desperate because if you're in a situation like that you should probably have run away 15 minutes ago.

Agreed. You just save it for when you ran out of your other useful spells, and need to survive long enough to fight your way out.

If you allow the wizard to keep casting, you get the same problem that Divine Power get, of being too broke by making fighters/barbarians/paladins/rangers useless.

Human Paragon 3
2010-08-04, 11:43 AM
I cast it off a scroll as a feat rogue focused on UMD. You can still use UMD while under the effects of it, so you just get better! I built an interesting character based around this concept for Test of Spite and won a couple matchups with him. Basically he's a mounted charger loaded with wands. Tensor's Transformation brings up the BAB etc.

Snake-Aes
2010-08-04, 11:45 AM
I cast it off a scroll as a feat rogue focused on UMD. You can still use UMD while under the effects of it, so you just get better! I built an interesting character based around this concept for Test of Spite and won a couple matchups with him. Basically he's a mounted charger loaded with wands. Tensor's Transformation brings up the BAB etc.

What would you use UMD for, other than items that you can't use due to Tenser's restriction of Spell Trigger and Spell Completion items?

Human Paragon 3
2010-08-04, 12:00 PM
Got a rod of many wands and filled it with true strike, enervation and glitter dust to soften up opponents and boost my likelihood to hit a high AC opponent with a full power attack lance charge. I was a rogue with no natural spellcasting whatsoever.

Also had emergency scrolls.

This was Test of Spite, after all.

Foryn Gilnith
2010-08-04, 12:07 PM
Agreed. You just save it for when you ran out of your other useful spells, and need to survive long enough to fight your way out.

If you had another 6th-level spell (or another 4th-level spell, even), there's a good chance you wouldn't have run out of useful spells.

Or, alternatively, you'd have a better chance of escaping, since Transformation just strikes me as mediocre. Stat bonuses that might overlap with what you already have, a +4 damage increase compared to a club (and that's assuming you have martial weapons on hand), a bonus to AC far inferior to armor, and a boost to Fortitude saves; all for 1 round/level. Not very impressive.

Snake-Aes
2010-08-04, 12:08 PM
Got a rod of many wands and filled it with true strike, enervation and glitter dust to soften up opponents and boost my likelihood to hit a high AC opponent with a full power attack lance charge. I was a rogue with no natural spellcasting whatsoever.

Also had emergency scrolls.

This was Test of Spite, after all.


Wands use the spell trigger activation method, so casting a spell from a wand is usually a standard action that doesnít provoke attacks of opportunity. (If the spell being cast, however, has a longer casting time than 1 standard action, it takes that long to cast the spell from a wand.) To activate a wand, a character must hold it in hand (or whatever passes for a hand, for nonhumanoid creatures) and point it in the general direction of the target or area. A wand may be used while grappling or while swallowed whole. You can't use wands while Tensered.

Human Paragon 3
2010-08-04, 12:13 PM
Nothing in that quoted block suggests otherwise.



Tensor's Transformation

You lose your spellcasting ability, including your ability to use spell trigger or spell completion magic items, just as if the spells were no longer on your class list.

If a spell isn't on your list, you can use UMD to emulate it. It works by RAW.

Snake-Aes
2010-08-04, 12:17 PM
Nothing in that quoted block suggests otherwise.




If a spell isn't on your list, you can use UMD to emulate it. It works by RAW.

Your "By RAW" here really is sort of a dickish move. It says "You lose your spellcasting ability, including your ability to use spell trigger or spell completion magic items", and then adds "as if you had lost the spell list". It's not that you lose the spell list. You are blocked from using the spells in the first place. UMD has little value while tensered.

Human Paragon 3
2010-08-04, 12:23 PM
Sorry if you disagree, but the wording is very clear. "Just as if the spells were no longer on your class list." Not "similar to as if." If you cross classed UMD on a wizard (for cleric spells, for instance) you would be able to do the same thing. If a spell is not on your list, you can use UMD to emulate it. I'll let the name calling slide.

lesser_minion
2010-08-04, 12:25 PM
I'd consider nixing the spell altogether. I don't see it being especially useful unless you already have a horribly abusive build.

As for the whole "you lose your spellcasting ability", it seems pretty clear cut. It used to be explicitly "you emphatically refuse to cast spells by any means whatsoever", and I can't see any reason why 3.5 would change it other than to ease that restriction.

As I said, anyone using this spell has been buffed through the eyeballs already, at which point a free +10 to base attack bonus is potentially kind of nice. Or is a spell-to-power erudite and can continue casting as if nothing had ever happened.

Snake-Aes
2010-08-04, 12:36 PM
I'd consider nixing the spell altogether. I don't see it being especially useful unless you already have a horribly abusive build.

As for the whole "you lose your spellcasting ability", it seems pretty clear cut. It used to be explicitly "you emphatically refuse to cast spells by any means whatsoever", and I can't see any reason why 3.5 would change it other than to ease that restriction.

As I said, anyone using this spell has been buffed through the eyeballs already, at which point a free +10 to base attack bonus is potentially kind of nice. Or is a spell-to-power erudite and can continue casting as if nothing had ever happened.
It still is like that. (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/transformation.htm)
Here's the full quote:

You become a virtual fighting machineóstronger, tougher, faster, and more skilled in combat. Your mind-set changes so that you relish combat and you canít cast spells, even from magic items.

You gain a +4 enhancement bonus to Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution, a +4 natural armor bonus to AC, a +5 competence bonus on Fortitude saves, and proficiency with all simple and martial weapons. Your base attack bonus equals your character level (which may give you multiple attacks).

You lose your spellcasting ability, including your ability to use spell trigger or spell completion magic items, just as if the spells were no longer on your class list. Focusing on the bit in italics while skipping the bolded parts? Yeah, it's a stretch.

lesser_minion
2010-08-04, 12:38 PM
OK, misread that bit. Yeah, that's a clear-cut 'no' to using wands then.

Human Paragon 3
2010-08-04, 12:39 PM
The first part is flavor text, as far as I'm concerned, since it has no mechanical effect. Also, you are taking the bolded part out of context, not me.

Yes, you lose your ability to use spell completion items, but not without exception as you seem to suggest, but rather, you lose them just as if they did not appear on your list. If they didn't mean it to work that way, they should have just left that part off of the description or said "without exception."

The whole sentence, taken in context, says that you lose the ability to use spell completion trigger items just as if they did not appear on your list. If a spell does not appear on your list, you can use UMD to emulate it. This is not ambiguous.

lesser_minion
2010-08-04, 12:58 PM
The first part is flavor text, as far as I'm concerned, since it has no mechanical effect. Also, you are taking the bolded part out of context, not me.

That would be the part that is right at the start of the rules text of the spell.

The text at the end is redundant and doesn't achieve anything. Don't inflate its importance.

Human Paragon 3
2010-08-04, 01:09 PM
No, I was talking about the line about "relishing combat." That's the flavor part.

The other part Snake bolded is most certainly rules text, as is the rest, which is not redundant, but rather a clarification about how to apply the rule. Compare it to the text from the barbarian's rage ability:



While raging, a barbarian cannot use any Charisma-, Dexterity-, or Intelligence-based skills (except for Balance, Escape Artist, Intimidate, and Ride), the Concentration skill, or any abilities that require patience or concentration, nor can he cast spells or activate magic items that require a command word, a spell trigger (such as a wand), or spell completion (such as a scroll) to function. He can use any feat he has except Combat Expertise, item creation feats, and metamagic feats.


That lays out very specifically what you can and cannot do. You cannot cast a spell, you cannot activate a magic item that requires a command word, you cannot use a wand or a scroll and you cannot use the UMD skill.

The wording in Tensor's Transformation specifies none of this. Just that you can't cast spells or use spell trigger items, just as if the spell did not appear on your class list.

icefractal
2010-08-04, 01:11 PM
I think the spell is inherently doomed from a design perspective. Consider this - you cast the spell, now are you better or worse at fighting than the party warrior? If you're better, then congratulations - you just made melee types (more) obsolete. If you're worse, then why did you use a 6th level slot and lose your spellcasting to become a crappier version of another PC?

I mean yeah, Divine Power does that but Divine Power was a bad idea too, unless "Clerics are the best Fighters" was the intended result.

Snake-Aes
2010-08-04, 01:15 PM
I see it as the type of stuff that you compare in usefulness to, say, color spray. Against weak stuff it's a fun and amusing way to defeat them. Against strong stuff you have better to do. It's worth a scroll and the novelty.

Marnath
2010-08-04, 04:15 PM
You become a virtual fighting machineóstronger, tougher, faster, and more skilled in combat. Your mind-set changes so that you relish combat and you canít cast spells, even from magic items.
You gain a +4 enhancement bonus to Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution, a +4 natural armor bonus to AC, a +5 competence bonus on Fortitude saves, and proficiency with all simple and martial weapons. Your base attack bonus equals your character level (which may give you multiple attacks).

You lose your spellcasting ability, including your ability to use spell trigger or spell completion magic items, just as if the spells were no longer on your class list.

That's not fluff, it says you CAN'T do it, not that you don't like to. I think that's besides the point, if you still have a spell completion item, you should just use that and save the tenser's for later.