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Cidolfas
2010-10-15, 11:42 PM
OK, so evocation as a school kind of sucks. A guide to Wizards: Playing a GOD (http://brilliantgameologists.com/boards/index.php?PHPSESSID=mare4is24f6kl0jp45p2k0u7q7&topic=394.5;wap2) recommends it as the first school to consider dropping as a specialist wizard. It's important to bring that up because I'm only really talking about the wizard's options here, since the cleric has access to miracle and the holy word/blasphemy array of spells. But as far as the wizard and sorcerer go, Evocation tends to leave much to be desired. Sure, it's got some useful spells (forcecage, scorching ray, the various wall spells, and implosion come to mind, just to name a few), but even these are definitely not irreplaceable.

After that, it epically fails in most situations where it could plausibly be used. It's damage-dealing spells are basically pretty terrible considering the other spells a wizard has at his disposal; the fact that the terribly underwhelming fireball, lightning bolt, and meteor swarm are among the most well-known evocation spells is demonstrative of its weakness. And let's not even get into the particular abysmal polar ray, which is so underperforming as an 8th level spell that I am forced to mention it here despite every fiber of my being wanting to deny its very existence.

To be fair, these spells do serve a useful purpose: they allow the wizard to play down to the level of other characters that he could normally wreck without a thought with strong spells like grease and glitterdust or, at higher levels, finger of death and wail of the banshee. This allows the wizard to be so flexible in how its played that it doesn't really justify any nerfing as a class from my point of view.

So I know that not everyone will need to use what's posted here, and that's fine. If fireball works for you as written, go ahead and play your evoker however it pleases you.

But for the people who don't want to play the wizard who shoots fireballs from his eyes and bolts of lightning from his rear, evocation should be redone. It needs to be brought up to the level where its damage is actually suitably powerful and its spells not grossly underpowered and, as a result, underused.

That's what this thread is for. Whether it's posting your thoughts about Evocation or anything else that I've said, or maybe even posting a revised evocation spell that is more up to the wizard's standard, feel free to add it here.

Zaydos
2010-10-15, 11:46 PM
Well my ideas would be: remove shadow evocation (or at least make it clear that shadow evocation can't copy an effective contingency spell), and make the Orb spells Evocation. You just cut out a major chunk of Conjuration based blasting, made Evocation actually have the best blasting spells again, and made it so that one of its spells that are necessary can't be gained from a different school (this assumes you don't allow Craft Contingent Spell on the last point).

Cidolfas
2010-10-16, 12:01 AM
First up is the line of spells formerly known as Bigby's spells. These basically all stack upon one another, which makes for a majorly kickass 9th level spell. It does need to compete with wish and wail of the banshee, after all.

Interposing Hand
Evocation [Force]
Level: Sorc/Wiz 1
Components: V, S. F
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range: Close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)
Target: One creature
Duration: 1 round/level
Saving Throw: None
Spell Resistance: No

You create a translucent hand made of pure force that appears in the same space as the creature it is designated to protect. The hand automatically expands to take up the same amount of space as the target creature, moves with the creature to stay in its space, and grants all the benefits of cover to the creature whose space it occupies. As in immediate action, you may command the hand to grant the person the hand is protecting total cover from a single attack or effect at a time; the attack and required actions are wasted. The hand cannot be destroyed by damage and is immune to most magical effects, but can de dispelled or instantly destroyed by a disintegrate effect.

Each turn, you may command the hand to move to protect another individual (within range) of your choice as a swift action. If the creature the hand is protecting leaves the effective range, the hand immediately and automatically returns to protecting you.

Focus: A soft glove.

Forceful Hand
Evocation [Force]
Level: Sorc/Wiz 3
Components: V, S. F
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range: Close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)
Target: One creature
Duration: 1 round/level
Saving Throw: None
Spell Resistance: No

This spell functions as interposing hand, except it gains the ability to also batter enemies. As an swift action, you may direct this hand to move to a single target within Close range and make a single melee attack. Each turn thereafter, the hand continues to automatically follow the opponent (hovering in their space) and attacking them automatically at the beginning of your turn until it has been commanded otherwise or the target is dead. If the latter case occurs, the hand automatically returns either to the you or to the person it was last protecting depending on your whim.

The protective effects of the spell so long as the hand continues to attack in this manner. The hand has a Strength score of 24, and rolls for a melee attack with a total attack bonus equal the your caster level + your Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma modifier (for a wizard, cleric, or sorcerer, respectively) + its Strength modifier (in this case, +6). On a successful attack, the creature struck takes 3d6+9 points of damage. The hand threatens a critical hit on a natural 20 and deals double damage on a confirmed critical. Because the hand is made of force, it can attack incorporeal and ethereal creatures normally without a miss chance. So long as it has located the target before any such conditions applied, it also attacks regardless of concealment or invisibility.

In addition, the hand may also attack while protecting a creature. As an immediate action, you make take an immediate action to command the hand to attack anyone within the reach or space of the creature that it is protecting. Attacking in this way does not inhibit the handís ability to protect its target.

Focus: A sturdy glove made of leather or heavy cloth.

Grasping Hand
Evocation [Force]
Level: Sorc/Wiz 5
Components: V, S. F
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range: Close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)
Target: One creature
Duration: 1 round/level
Saving Throw: None
Spell Resistance: No

This spell functions as forceful hand, except the hand now has a Strength score of 30 and deals 4d6+15 points of damage on a successful attack. In addition, the hand may now initiate a grapple as a free action whenever it successfully hits with its attack. When grappling, the hand automatically expands to a size appropriate for the creature it is grappling, negating all size bonuses to grapple checks. The hand may even grapple immaterial or incorporeal creatures, who use their Charisma modifier instead of their Strength modifier to determine their grapple bonus.

Once it has established the grapple, the hand squeezes on its target, treating it as if pinned and automatically dealing its normal melee attack damage for every round it maintains the hold. Once it has grappled an opponent, the hand can also move at a rate of 30 feet per round while still maintaining its grip. Commanding the hand to move is a swift action.

Focus: A leather glove.

Clenched Fist
Evocation [Force]
Level: Sorc/Wiz 7, Strength 7
Components: V, S. F
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range: Close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)
Target: One creature
Duration: 1 round/level
Saving Throw: None; see text
Spell Resistance: No

This spell functions as grasping hand, except the hand now has a Strength score of 36 and deals 5d6+19 points of damage. This hand also has a devastating new ability: as a swift action, you can command it to clench into a fist and barrel into a single target within range making an attack roll as if it makes a charge attack (using its normal attack bonus +2) and dealing an additional 1d6 damage per caster level. The hand cannot initiate a grapple when attacking in this manner, but an opponent struck by this attack is automatically knocked a back a number of squares equal to the handís Strength modifier and must make a Fortitude save or be stunned for 1 round.

If the target of the handís attack is knocked into another creature, that creature must make a Strength check equal to the handís attack roll or be knocked prone. If the second creature succeeds on the Strength check or the target of the handís attack hits a solid surface, it takes 1d6 points of damage for each 5 feet it had left to fly. For each consecutive creature that attempts to slow the momentum of the other(s), reduce the DC of the Strength check by 5. This movement does not provoke attacks of opportunity.

Arcane Focus: A leather glove.

Crushing Hand
Evocation [Force]
Level: Sorc/Wiz 9, Strength 9
Components: V, S. F
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range: Close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)
Target: One creature
Duration: 1 round/level
Saving Throw: None; see text
Spell Resistance: No

This spell functions as clenched fist, except the hand now has a Strength score of 42 and deals 6d6+24 points of damage on a successful attack. Once this hand has established a grapple, the grappled creature must make a Fortitude save or be pulverized by the handís vice-like grip, killing it instantly. This is not a death effect and affects even creatures immune to critical hits. Even if the creature succeeds on its saving throw, it still takes damage from the hand normally.

Arcane Material Component: An egg, which you crush in your hands when casting the spell.

Arcane Focus: A snakeskin glove.

Cidolfas
2010-10-16, 12:09 AM
Well my ideas would be: remove shadow evocation (or at least make it clear that shadow evocation can't copy an effective contingency spell), and make the Orb spells Evocation. You just cut out a major chunk of Conjuration based blasting, made Evocation actually have the best blasting spells again, and made it so that one of its spells that are necessary can't be gained from a different school (this assumes you don't allow Craft Contingent Spell on the last point).

In my opinion, that's fair for the levels 3 or 4 where the traditional blast numbers can still work. Once you start getting to the damage caps and and save-or-dies, the flaws of blasting (and thus evocation) become much more pronounced and thus the need for something better comes in.

I agree about shadow evocation, though. If anything, the fact that they put in that kind of proviso for evocation seems indicate to me that Wizards knew it was the weakest school.

Realms of Chaos
2010-10-16, 10:06 AM
In my opinion, that's fair for the levels 3 or 4 where the traditional blast numbers can still work. Once you start getting to the damage caps and and save-or-dies, the flaws of blasting (and thus evocation) become much more pronounced and thus the need for something better comes in.

I agree about shadow evocation, though. If anything, the fact that they put in that kind of proviso for evocation seems indicate to me that Wizards knew it was the weakest school.

In that case, simply remove all damage caps and only add half of your relevant ability modifier to spell save DCs, thus making Saving Throw reliant spells riskier and touch attack reliant spells more valuable while keeping fireballs, orbs, magic missiles, and so forth relevant through all levels while also shutting off the uber-debuff/save-or-die wizard (while still relevant, the act of pelting a creature with enough spells that it eventually rolls a natural 1 would actually take a decent chunk of your spells per day).

Cidolfas
2010-10-16, 10:59 AM
In that case, simply remove all damage caps and only add half of your relevant ability modifier to spell save DCs, thus making Saving Throw reliant spells riskier and touch attack reliant spells more valuable while keeping fireballs, orbs, magic missiles, and so forth relevant through all levels while also shutting off the uber-debuff/save-or-die wizard (while still relevant, the act of pelting a creature with enough spells that it eventually rolls a natural 1 would actually take a decent chunk of your spells per day).

I don't really see how lowering the saves DC's for half damage helps anything. Even if the damage caps were removed, that still only means the fireball is the same as delayed blast fireball. Neither are particular powerful when compared to what a Wizard can do with an equivalent level spell from another school. I personally wouldn't want to make area effects riskier due to lowered saves without at least a direct damage boost at all levels of the game, which they could probably benefit from even if the DC's stayed the same. If anything, I think the high occurrence of characters with evasion at early levels means the saves should be higher to avoid a complete waste of both actions and spell slots. No other school is as easily circumvented by evasion as Evocation, so I feel like propogating the currently existing system wouldn't really help matters. If giving monsters evasion is beyond the imagination of a particular DM, fine, but it's probably not a very difficult proposition for most especially if evocation spells were made uncapped in damage.

EDIT: Just to clarify, I mentioned previously that blasting spells can work, but usually only on the basis that they don't offer saves that are subject to evasion (a la the orb spells) since fireball and the like. An additional possibility that could be a substitute for higher damage would be bonus effects in addition to damage. A fireball, for example, could make people catch fire in addition to the instant fire damage, or it could deafen people caught within the blast. The reason for these is that once characters get effects like save-or-dies or save-or-sucks (glitterdust, etc.) the incentive for them to personally try and do damage goes way down.

Zaydos
2010-10-16, 11:08 AM
I don't really see how lowering the saves DC's for half damage helps anything. Even if the damage caps were removed, that still only means the fireball is the same as delayed blast fireball. Neither are particular powerful when compared to what a Wizard can do with an equivalent level spell from another school. I personally wouldn't want to make area effects riskier due to lowered saves without at least a direct damage boost at all levels of the game, which they could probably benefit from even if the DC's stayed the same. If anything, I think the high occurrence of characters with evasion at early levels means the saves should be higher to avoid a complete waste of both actions and spell slots. No other school is as easily circumvented by evasion as Evocation, so I feel like propogating the currently existing system wouldn't really help matters.

Because you're also reducing the save DC of all the save-or-X spells. You make Finger of Death have a DC of 17 + 1/2 Int and it has a DC of 22 at Lv 20 which means about a 1 in 20 or 1 in 10 chance of working. Reflex saves also tend to be the lowest, and monsters very rarely have evasion to worry about. Combined with moving the orbs to evocation this means that evocation would be the only reliable offensive school. You'd also probably have to ban metamagic reducers since those can already get the orbs to deal 600+ no save just die damage.

Cidolfas
2010-10-16, 11:17 AM
Ah, OK, so we would basically making the wizard worse in general, since for that to be an effective fix most other variables in the game would likely stay the same. Why does it need to be a nerf, though? What's wrong with raising the level of a certain school up to the inherently awesome level of the others? The wizard already has the ability to play down to other levels without much issue; it shouldn't be punished for its ability to be better than them because WotC didn't know that it could kick major ass because of the ability to choose the most awesome spells available to it.

PirateMonk
2010-10-16, 01:41 PM
Given how poorly defined evocation is, wouldn't it be easier to just get rid of it and fold the spells into other schools? It might cause some problems to only have seven, but it would make more sense.

peacenlove
2010-10-16, 02:29 PM
Well my ideas would be: remove shadow evocation (or at least make it clear that shadow evocation can't copy an effective contingency spell), and make the Orb spells Evocation. You just cut out a major chunk of Conjuration based blasting, made Evocation actually have the best blasting spells again, and made it so that one of its spells that are necessary can't be gained from a different school (this assumes you don't allow Craft Contingent Spell on the last point).

This plus add some form of debuff to some evocation spells (for example fireball dazzles targets, cone of cold slows them and chain lighting pushes back its targets). Debuffs from evocation spells should last no more than 1 round, so as not to overshadow other schools.

Cogidubnus
2010-10-16, 02:41 PM
I'd argue evocation doesn't need fixing. It's supposed to be the main resort of casters - other, more effective tactics, weren't planned as their primary weapons. So all that bring evocation up to their level does is make the party bruiser feel totally useless, as now the wizard does EVERYTHING better than him.

Cidolfas
2010-10-16, 02:58 PM
I'd argue evocation doesn't need fixing. It's supposed to be the main resort of casters - other, more effective tactics, weren't planned as their primary weapons. So all that bring evocation up to their level does is make the party bruiser feel totally useless, as now the wizard does EVERYTHING better than him.

But whether it's dealing damage or not, the wizard already basically does every conceivable thing better than most of the SRD classes. The only difference is how he does it. There really isn't anything fixing evocation could do to reduce the fighter's already pitiable role in a high-level game. As I addressed above, evocation in its current form can work for a player whose wizard is not supposed to play to its full potential. But I think in high-level games, all of a wizard's options should be equal, and the Evocation school definitely does not measure up.

As for why more effective tactics would not be intented to be primary, that pretty much shows a grave mistake on the part of the game designers. Despite what I've already mentioned about playing down to other players' levels, it seems pretty dumb to give someone access to such vastly superior options and not expect them to use them as often as possible.

Ziegander
2010-10-16, 05:03 PM
I'd argue evocation doesn't need fixing. It's supposed to be the main resort of casters - other, more effective tactics, weren't planned as their primary weapons. So all that bring evocation up to their level does is make the party bruiser feel totally useless, as now the wizard does EVERYTHING better than him.

At 5th level a Focused Evoker can, 4/day throw a 5d6 fireball off at 200 yards away which hits everything in a 20ft radius. The average damage is 17.5 (if they save it goes down to 8.75). A 5th level Fighter can, every turn, of every combat fire off two arrows from his bow dealing 1d8+3 damage per arrow (average 7.5) from 120ft away, if those arrows hit. So, the Wizard is already dealing more damage than the Fighter could dream of, from a much farther distance, and to more creatures at a time. And the spell is considered to be one of the Wizard's worst spells on his entire spell list (lower level spells are often much more effective).

It's not really a matter of bringing Evocation up making the party bruiser feel totally useless, but rather a matter of the party bruiser being totally useless in an adventure that's designed to challenge the Wizard.

Tvtyrant
2010-10-16, 05:06 PM
I would fix evocation by giving it disintegrate, which by all rights should be an evocation spell anyway (its channeling pure destructive energy, why isn't it part of the school which channels energy?). Give it the orb spells as well and evocation is now balanced through low and mid ranges (relatively, its still weaker then Transmutation or conjuration, but it far from sucks.)

Finally switch out meteor swarm for meteor storm, which would be a spell that you cast the first round and then sustain as a standard action for five rounds. The first round creates 10 3d6 flaming spheres which fall from the sky on whatever tiles you want, the second round maintains those can casts fire storm, the third and fourth round just maintains the spheres but allows you to direct up to 5 of them during your turn, and the fifth round the flaming spheres explode as 8d6 blasts all over the place.

Realms of Chaos
2010-10-16, 07:29 PM
Ah, OK, so we would basically making the wizard worse in general, since for that to be an effective fix most other variables in the game would likely stay the same. Why does it need to be a nerf, though? What's wrong with raising the level of a certain school up to the inherently awesome level of the others? The wizard already has the ability to play down to other levels without much issue; it shouldn't be punished for its ability to be better than them because WotC didn't know that it could kick major ass because of the ability to choose the most awesome spells available to it.

It needs a nerf... because it's tier 1? :smallconfused:

I mean, seriously, we on the boards seem to consider tier 3 to be the "average" power level so it seems more logical to pull the caster down rather than pump it up, especially when you end with the same end effect either way.

Also, I was trying to suggest these changes as being uniform to all spellcasters, thus giving people a reason to play binders and others with supernatural abilities (higher DCs). In addition, I believe that I've heard there was a time in 1st or 2nd edition when it was similarly difficult for creatures to fail a saving throws. If this is so, I have precedence on my side. :smallwink:

Off-Topic Pseudo-Philosophical Rant
I don't mean to offend anybody but I've never understood this type of argument in homebrew. I can (just barely) understand arguements of "WotC made an Error = We get to be broken. Yay!" It's right there in the rule text so you have some degree of entitlement to it. On the other hand, if the only argument for using broken material is that it's in the rules, that would logically mean that you can only preserve that entitlement so long as you stay within the rules. The moment that you admit any error in the system, however, you've lost the ability to refute other claims of errors on the grounds of RAW.

To shorten this, saying "this thing in the rules is incorrect" invalidates any argument of "this other thing is correct because it is in the rules" which, honestly, seems to be the only argument in favor of using Tier 1-2 stuff in the first place.

This rant is not directed at anyone in this thread (or anybody else) but it has always bugged me and I've always felt some need to write it down... somewhere

On a more serious note, one suggestion that I might make is increasing the damage die for evocations spells by 3 steps (but no more than one step per spell level, max d12s). As such, magic missile deals 1d6+1 damage per missile (or 1d8+1 if heightened to 2nd level, or 1d10+1 if heightened to 3rd) while fireballs deal 1d12 damage/level. Giving these damaging spells the damage needed to just kill foes directly would probably do what you are looking for.

SPoD
2010-10-16, 08:16 PM
If I understand, the argument here is that one part of the wizard class isn't more powerful than anything any other class can manage, and therefore that one part is a design flaw? As in, you believe the design intent of the wizard is to be better than anything, all of the time, and anything that doesn't live up to that standard is a problem that needs to be addressed, stat?

Huh.

I do not think I can help you in your goals.

Cidolfas
2010-10-16, 10:02 PM
If I understand, the argument here is that one part of the wizard class isn't more powerful than anything any other class can manage, and therefore that one part is a design flaw? As in, you believe the design intent of the wizard is to be better than anything, all of the time, and anything that doesn't live up to that standard is a problem that needs to be addressed, stat?

Huh.

I do not think I can help you in your goals.

I mean that it's a design flaw that something already clearly better than anything else in the game has an option that is so godawful in comparison to its other abilities. Giving some option that is clearly inferior is a pointless waste of time and effort, since no one in their right mind should ever take a straight-up downgrade. Even though I acknowledged that evocation spells could make the wizard less powerful, I do not necessarily condone this practice. In fact, I think the very concept is foolish, hence why I am proposing to make evocation more powerful since it does not serve a genuine purpose in a higher-level party.

I am a big proponent of Tome material, so it's most assuredly affecting how I view dealing with classes. But bringing down wizards is basically a way to assure TPK's at high levels. Most high-level monsters have spell-like abilities that can already wipe out a party with relative ease. Making the party weaker either makes no sense or also necessitates making monsters weaker. That's a lot of work for what I feel is a senseless goal, since game balance can more easily be achieved by giving classes upgrades than by giving EVERYTHING that's not Tier 3 or lower a downgrade.

Realms of Chaos
2010-10-16, 10:11 PM
In case you did not see my previous post, I intended for the DC decrease to be applied across the board. This includes the Save DCs of monster SLAs. Please explain how a TPK will occur if the enemy's save-or-dies are made easier to resist as well. :smallconfused:

There may be a couple supernatural TPK abilities out there but I could probably count the monsters that have them on my fingers and toes and, honestly, we could halve the ability modifier bonus to those as well.

Edit: Also, are you really trying to say that re-making every single class class in existance as tier 3+ is easier than making 1 (just 1) tweak to magic? :smallconfused:
Even if most of them have been remade in the tome series, it STILL seems easier to make a single change rather than to refer to several additional sources in order to use the full cast of core classes.

Edit edit: If it's your personal belief that the game should be tier 3+ and that the game is more fun that way, that's fine. That doesn't mean that my technique is "more complex" or "less balanced", however, unless you can provide some additional support for that claim. :smallconfused:

Cidolfas
2010-10-16, 10:33 PM
I saw, but some enemies don't rely on saves to kill things. Most high-CR alignment-oriented creatures (outsiders, usually) have holy word/blasphemy/dictum/word of chaos to kill anything with less HD than they have caster level without a save. Dazing the party for an entire round is basically as good as a save-or-die, since it frees up any other creatures they may have to hose them in the next round. That's the most well-known example, but not the only one.

Reducing saves doesn't fix everything; it only affects spells that require saves. At the same time, there are spells that don't depend on saves but can kill or render a party or opponent harmless just as effectively as a save-or-die (see grease at level 1, for example). Because of that, it generally falls into the same situation as stated above: fixing one part of the system vs. fixing the entire system to accomodate weakness.

Realms of Chaos
2010-10-16, 10:59 PM
Wait. What? :smallconfused:

You might want to reread some of you Monster Manual entries because I'm not seeing that... at all.

The Solar and Titan, both CR 20+ creatures, cast their dictum/holy word spell at caster level 20. If you're level 20, that just means a bit of deafness. Even if you're at level 19, being slowed/blinded can both be undone via magic fairly easy.

If you're a DM who throws CR (character level + 4) monsters at foes, I'd see a problem. Then again, keep in mind that the DMG specifically states that:

...By contrast, an encounter of even one or two levels higher than the party level might tax the PCs to their limit...

With all of the save-or-die stuff that spellcasting has been getting, we've laughed at this line ever since the beginning but The fact remains that an 18th level group was intended to most likely die facing off against a CR 20 creature like a balor. By all indications, this was intentional.

Edit: Looking through the entire monster manual, I now must concede that there are something like 10 potentially troubling monsters/templates in the monster manual, 2 of which (4 if you count crazy half-fiend/half-celestial creatures) are potentially dangerous to players of their own level (Hezrous seriously paralyze all good opponents of their CR for 1d10 minutes 3/day. Wow. That's about as bad as a balor who calls another balor so one can use blasphemy each round for an hour).

I'm still not buying your entire angle of a few broken spells meaning that all magic is destined to be broken and can only ever be broken. There are only 5 spells like that in the PHB (the four mentioned + forcecage, which is ironically an evocation spell). Take away those 5 spells and you're pretty much golden.

Let's look over some other popular spells just to make sure...
Grease: short duration and lowering the save DC makes it very unlikely anyone will actually fall over (though it may stop them in their tracks), not to mention that this doesn't cause a TPK by itself.
Power Word Pain: only at low levels and only targets one creature.
Color Spray: save-or-die
Sleep (and variations): save-or-die
Bestow Curse (and greater version): require touch attack
Web: save-or-die
Resilient Sphere: save-or-die
Wall spells: could work but very situational (only if you manage to corner them them in and cast two walls in the same turn to keep them from escaping.) :smallconfused:

bloodtide
2010-10-16, 11:03 PM
I'm not sure what you see 'wrong' with Evocation. The school has spells that direct energy.

Sure, in Core the school is only a handful of simple damage spells.(But the PH is big enough, not like they could have made a 3,000 page book). This is why most books added more spells.

The environment books(Sandstorm, Stormwrack and Frostburn) add a bunch of environmental spells. And many have all sorts of effects(Parboil does normal damage and intelligence damage, for example.)

Dragon Magic has some nice multi spells (Lord of the sky lets you fly, shoots a couple lightning bolts and do a lightning blast).

Cidolfas
2010-10-16, 11:31 PM
Wait. What? :smallconfused:

You might want to reread some of you Monster Manual entries because I'm not seeing that... at all.

The Solar and Titan, both CR 20+ creatures, cast their dictum/holy word spell at caster level 20. If you're level 20, that just means a bit of deafness. Even if you're at level 19, being slowed/blinded can both be undone via magic fairly easy.

The better example would be the balor or pit fiend, which both cast blasphemy (which, unlike holy word, does daze for one round if HD is equal to caster level) at will. I find it much more likely that the typical high-level party would fight those. And if they're fighting a solar (which has slaying arrows with every attack), the spells are the least of their problems.


I'm not sure what you see 'wrong' with Evocation. The school has spells that direct energy.

Sure, in Core the school is only a handful of simple damage spells.(But the PH is big enough, not like they could have made a 3,000 page book). This is why most books added more spells.

The environment books(Sandstorm, Stormwrack and Frostburn) add a bunch of environmental spells. And many have all sorts of effects(Parboil does normal damage and intelligence damage, for example.)

Dragon Magic has some nice multi spells (Lord of the sky lets you fly, shoots a couple lightning bolts and do a lightning blast).

Until you can genuinely assure me that those are equally valid options compared to what a wizard can cast from other schools at the same level, my original point (which is that Evocation is inferior) still stands. Even in the hundred or so pages of the Player's Handbook, the precedent was clearly set that Evocation isn't as good; I haven't seen anything from any other sourcebooks to convince me otherwise.

Havvy
2010-10-16, 11:45 PM
This entire argument over whether or not evocation *should* be weaker or that you should work on a different balance point is useless. d20 can be played in multiple ways, and the OP is asking that it be played at the tier 1/Wizard level. Since the evocation school has been said not to be at that level, the OP suggested a line of spells to fix this. As such, he has given a few assumptions, which while you may argue in general, arguing in this specific case does not help. So please, if you *want* to be constructive in this thread, discuss the spells based on those assumptions. If you feel these assumptions are wrong, start another thread.

Aran Banks
2010-10-16, 11:52 PM
I like this. Instead of finding and nerfing all the insane spells or manipulations of spells that a wizard can pull off (I don't like nerfing girallon's blessing. It's fantastic where it is), bringing evocations up a notch is a good idea.

So we write up some strong evocation spells (like your Bigby stuff), putting it on tier with stuff like lesser planar binding, glitterdust, and lahm's finger darts...

There's a list of evocation spells readjusted so they're more level appropriate. Fireball is level 1, meteor swarm or whatever it's called is level 8, etc.

bloodtide
2010-10-17, 12:00 AM
I guess I'm asking what do you want Evocation to do? What do you see 'wrong'?

Evocation projects energy, that is what the school does.

Do you want more spell options? More feats? More class features?

Complete Arcane has some nice metamagic feats for Evokers, like Explosive Spell.

What do you see that is so great about other schools? (Say our wizard is deep in the Abyss fighting a massive abyssal dragon, what spectacular Divination or Enchantment effect could he use to slay the dragon(Legend lore? Sympathy?))

Realms of Chaos
2010-10-17, 12:24 AM
Think for a moment about what you're saying in regards to Balors and Pit Fiends. You seem to be claiming that the only way to beat them at all is to do so on turn one...

Considering that celerity, sign, nerveskitter, and even crafted contingent spells came years after the monster manual (thus meaning that the caster probably isn't going first), that would imply that the creators intended for you to have a contingency linked to a death spell (let's say phantasmal killer, more or less the only death spell weak enough to become contingent) that would activate when you saw the beasty, somehow bypass its spell resistance, and kill it. Also, this is entirely dependant on the balor having not noticed you even a single turn ahead of time because that would allow it to summon another balor and kill you anyways using quickened telekinesis and blaspheme every round. What? :smallconfused:

All 4 of those spells, along with forcecage, simply have to go. There is no way to have a balanced game where these spells exist and are used... by anybody. Seriously... just not possible.

Havvy... is a very wise person. :smallredface:
All right, I think that I've abandoned all of my personal beliefs and am no on board the Tier-1 Evocation train. :smallbiggrin:

Perhaps a spell like this is necessary.

Energy Eruption
Evocation
Level: Wizard 3
Components: V, S
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range: Medium (100 ft. + 10 ft./level)
Area: 10-ft-radius spread
Duration: Instantaneous
Saving Throw: None
Spell Resistance: No

The air in the desired area suddenly burst with energy. The energy emerges all at once, giving no opportunity to escape.

All creatures and objects within the radius of this spell take 1d8 damage/2 caster levels (maximum 10d8) of the energy type of your choice (chosen as you cast the spell).

If evocation is historically the "damaging" school, it makes sense that not damaging foes shouldn't really be an option for them. Furthermore, it may be worthwhile to copy psionics a bit and have "choose-your-own-energy" attacks rather than specific elemental spells.

Cidolfas
2010-10-17, 12:32 AM
I guess I'm asking what do you want Evocation to do? What do you see 'wrong'?

Evocation projects energy, that is what the school does.

Do you want more spell options? More feats? More class features?

Complete Arcane has some nice metamagic feats for Evokers, like Explosive Spell.

What do you see that is so great about other schools? (Say our wizard is deep in the Abyss fighting a massive abyssal dragon, what spectacular Divination or Enchantment effect could he use to slay the dragon(Legend lore? Sympathy?))

While I concur that manipulating energy is part of what Evocation does, it's not the limit of its ability. According to the SRD, "Evocation spells manipulate energy or tap an unseen source of power to produce a desired end. In effect, they create something out of nothing." So sure, energy effects fall under it, but they aren't its only effects by any means. Almost every single force effect that immediately comes to my mind is Evocation, for example.

As for what is better about other schools, they basically have effects that are much tougher to overcome than Evocation. Most evocation spells deal damage, and the easy way to mitigate the effects of damage is (obviously) to have hp, which most creatures at high CR's have plenty of. Even if they don't, they compensate by having some way to reduce energy damage and the like (even a dretch, one of the weakest of demons, has fire resistance 10 at CR 2, which basically allows it to completely shrug off most fire effects available at that level. Same with acid and cold resistance, all default for any demon. Compare that with spells that force status effects, which can effectively ruin a creature's combat ability for the whole fight (such as color spray at level 1).

An Enchantment spell that could solve your proposed encounter is mindrape (Book of Vile Darkness 99), which allows you to alter the target's alignment and allegiances at your whim all on one Will save. One spell, and it's now your best friend. If you want to talk Core-only, hold monster freezes the target, after which a coup de grace kills it with ease. Not much more effort.

You might have me at Divination, but I think we all know that Divination is the least combat applicable school (even Wizards recognizes this, which is why a specialist diviner only has one prohibited school instead of the norm of two). If you wished, however, you could use greater scrying to scout your whole day ahead of time and prepare spells accordingly. Whenever you feel like it, you can then teleport in and cast your death spells as you please. It's called "scry-and-die" for a reason.

Zombie Nixon
2010-10-17, 12:43 AM
One way to fix it would be to make every force spell an evocation spell, no exceptions.

Realms of Chaos
2010-10-17, 12:43 AM
So it isn't missed, I think that I tripped over an epiphany. I am now 100% on team evocation. Perhaps a spell like this is necessary.

Energy Eruption
Evocation
Level: Wizard 3
Components: V, S
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range: Medium (100 ft. + 10 ft./level)
Area: 10-ft-radius spread
Duration: Instantaneous
Saving Throw: None
Spell Resistance: No

The air in the desired area suddenly burst with energy. The energy emerges all at once, giving no opportunity to escape.

All creatures and objects within the radius of this spell take 1d8 damage/2 caster levels (maximum 10d8) of the energy type of your choice (chosen as you cast the spell).

If evocation is historically the "damaging" school, it makes sense that not damaging foes shouldn't really be an option for them. Furthermore, it may be worthwhile to copy psionics a bit and have "choose-your-own-energy" attacks rather than specific elemental spells.

Ashtagon
2010-10-17, 12:43 AM
If evocation is in effect the school that wizards choose when they want to play down to the level of other classes, then surely that would mean that evocation is the one school that is actually properly balanced?

Cidolfas
2010-10-17, 12:53 AM
If evocation is in effect the school that wizards choose when they want to play down to the level of other classes, then surely that would mean that evocation is the one school that is actually properly balanced?

Only if your game is supposed to be balanced to Tier 3 and not to something higher. As Havvy said, this thread basically assumes that you're going all-out Tier 1, in which case it is weak. He summed up what I should have said from the very start.

Ziegander
2010-10-17, 01:36 AM
Even still, at what level can a Focused Specialist Evoker Wizard be considered Tier 3? Ever?

Will such a character ever compete with a Crusader or Warblade for sheer damage output, versatility, and survivability in 20 levels of gameplay?

Are there levels that it doesn't compete? I assume that there are several such levels, and that because of this Evocation is still sadly unbalanced. Sure, Forcecage is crazy-good, but it can't be used until 13+. Evocation still needs to be powered up if only to actually play on the same level as Tier 3 characters, not just Tier 1.

Cidolfas
2010-10-17, 09:09 AM
Magic Missile
Evocation [Force]
Level: Sorc/Wiz 1
Components: V, S
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range: Medium (100 feet + 10 ft./level)
Target: Up to one creature per caster level
Duration: Instantaneous
Saving Throw: No
Spell Resistance: Yes

The caster unleashes a magical projectile made of pure force. This missile deals 1d4+1 damage and strikes without fail. The caster creates a number of missiles equal to their caster level, any of which can be directed at anyone within range of the spell so long as the caster can target them normally.

[Note: This may be tricky given how the damage is essentially guaranteed, and also how easily magic missile can be metamagicked as a level 1 spell. An alternative solution may be to keep it's normal progression (one missile every two levels) and remove the cap of five missiles at level 9.]

Cone of Cold
Evocation [Cold]
Level: Sorc/Wiz 5, Water 6
Components: V, S
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range: 60 ft.
Target: Cone-shaped emanation
Duration: Instantaneous; see text
Saving Throw: Reflex half
Spell Resistance: Yes

You unleash a cone of frigid air that instantly freezes any normal body of water caught within (only out the extent of the spellís area) and creates a layer of ice over the entire affected space, hindering movement in the same fashion as a grease spell. Any victim of the cone submerged in water is frozen into the newly formed ice and held immobilized. These creatures are able to take no actions except attempt to free themselves, which is a full round action. A DC 25 Strength check frees the trapped creature. This ice lasts one round per level.

Creatures caught within the cone take 1d8 points of cold damage per caster level; elemental creatures made of water take maximum damage and are also treated as slowed for 1 round. A successful Reflex saves halves the damage but does not negate the grease effect.

Arcane Material Component: A very small crystal or glass cone.

[Note: This is more demonstrative of a spell that would gain additional effects as well as a (lesser) damage boost. Cone of cold already does some damage, yeah, but with a removed damage cap and d8 damage dice it will do enough to not totally suck. The most important thing added here is the grease effect, which actually makes this spell useful even if you don't deal any damage at all. Plus, it totally owns water creatures.]

bloodtide
2010-10-17, 12:37 PM
In Ye Old days of 2E, we had the Color of Magic. If there was a spell you liked of another school, you need only tweak the spell to make it one of your chosen school.

Force Hold
Level: Sor/Wiz 3
School: Evocation
Components: V, S, M
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range: Medium (100 ft. + 10 ft./level)
Target: One humanoid creature
Duration: 1 round/level (D); see text
Saving Throw: Fort negates; see text
Spell Resistance: Yes


This spell covers the subject in a form fitting envelope of solid force and freezes them in place. It is aware and breathes normally but cannot take any actions, even speech. Each round on its turn, the subject may attempt a new saving throw to end the effect. (This is a full-round action that does not provoke attacks of opportunity.)

A winged creature who is effected cannot flap its wings and falls. A swimmer canít swim and may drown.

The force around a trapped victim does not offer any protection from attacks, and will if fact part momentarily to allow an attack through and effect the trapped victim.

Material Component-A small, leather glove.

Realms of Chaos
2010-10-17, 01:24 PM
Hmm... I have a hypothesis to share with the class.
If we're trying to up evocation up to tier 1-2 (which I'm okay with now), that probably means that we're making evocation for a tier 1-2 campaign. As such, a wizard using evocations to deal damage is going to be playing off against against the immense damage output of uberchargers.

As such, we have 4 primary ways to push the evocation school forwards:
1. Add in additional effects and flexibility so that evokers are not entirely reliant upon damage (as seen in cone of cold above).
2. Pump up the damage and remove limits (also seen in the spells above).
3. Auto-damage. Seriously, if uberchargers are dealing 200+ damage a round with attacks, having the wizard deal 25-50 damage per spell without saving throws, attack rolls, or SR sounds somewhat fair. Such attacks should probably be elemental, however, so that a prepared party has some way to deal with an army of casters casting the same spell over and over again.
4. Push what evocation is capable of. Make more contingencies, forcecages, and evoke magics.

Is there any particular angle that you think us homebrewers should be taking, Cidolfas?

Ziegander
2010-10-17, 01:34 PM
Well, also, keep in mind that 3.5 Forcecage is a Tier 1 spell, for sure, but in my opinion Cidolfas' Cone of Cold is just a solid Tier 3 spell. The same appears to be true of his Bigby's Hand spells.

In order to bring Evocation back into Tier 1 it needs stupid shenanigans on par with Forcecage, Planeshift, Celerity, and Genesis. It needs outrageously powerful effects that your foes can't do a damn thing to stop.

Magikeeper
2010-10-17, 02:09 PM
Have you read Treantmonk's guide to evocation? Same person who wrote the GOD guide. If you ignore the damage crap it isn't a bad school at most levels. It does lack high-level options*, but overall the issue isn't power - the main reason to drop evocation is due to school overlap. Good evocation spells already exist! Losing evocation hurts less because other schools mimic almost everything it does. Unless you turn evocation into the next conjuration (which might be your intent), that isn't going to change.

The easiest way to bring evocation in line with the other spells is to actually give it a niche - by taking spells like the orb line and putting them in evocation. Really, taking stuff from conjuration and transmutation would suffice.

++power wonít change anything Ė Iíd still ban evocation but my shadowcraft mage would be happier.

*Note that Treantmonk missed the 9th level frostburn Iceberg spell. No-save and buried alive.

Benly
2010-10-17, 09:11 PM
The easiest way to bring evocation in line with the other spells is to actually give it a niche - by taking spells like the orb line and putting them in evocation Really, taking stuff from conjuration and transmutation would suffice.

I pretty much agree with this one: if evocation's Thing is going to be direct damage, other schools shouldn't have direct damage that even begins to compete with it. Orbs become Evocation, Icelance becomes Evocation, Disintegrate, blah blah. If you ban Enchantment, you don't get to mind-control; if you ban Conjuration, you don't get to summon; if you ban Evocation, you don't get to blast. Straightforward.

Also, Shivering Touch should be Evocation - it's cold, not negative energy. No good reason for it to be necromancy.

Aran Banks
2010-10-17, 10:02 PM
Cone of Cold freezes all water...

And the human body is 70% water...

So would Cone of Cold be an auto-kill? That'd be cool.

Ashtagon
2010-10-18, 01:16 AM
Only if your game is supposed to be balanced to Tier 3 and not to something higher. As Havvy said, this thread basically assumes that you're going all-out Tier 1, in which case it is weak. He summed up what I should have said from the very start.

If you are playing all-out tier 1, that gives you just three classes to play with. That kind of class selection seems a little limited to me. But ymmv I guess.

Cidolfas
2010-10-18, 08:58 AM
If you are playing all-out tier 1, that gives you just three classes to play with. That kind of class selection seems a little limited to me. But ymmv I guess.

Perhaps, but redoing all the spells seems to me to set the precedent that homebrew is allowed. If that's the case, there are many examples of Tier one homebrew classes that cas serve as effective replacements for the other core classes. The Tome series is certainly one such example, but not the only one.

bloodtide
2010-10-18, 01:45 PM
Maybe what Evocation needs are more spells based on the Core school effects.

For example:

First, Delayed spells. Core only has delayed fireball...why not more delayed spells?

Second, Contingency. This lets a spell go off as 'programed'. How about one for skills, feats and class abilities? That could be very useful, to have a 'maximized spell' feat on contingency, for example.

Third, light and darkness descriptor spells.

Fourth, self attacking force weapons.

Fifth, Chain type spells.

Sixth, sonic spells.

And while not Core:

Seventh, I'd add 'Positive' energy spells to evocation.

Eighth, Spells that add 'magical energy' to the caster. A spell that added 'spell levels' to be used to fuel metamagic feats, for example.

Realms of Chaos
2010-10-18, 02:19 PM
Unfortunately, delayed spells and chained spells can be accomplished via metamagic feats (see complete arcane) and contingency is beaten pretty darn badly by crafted contingent spells (again, complete arcane), which you can possess up to 1/level of and which can hold higher-level effects.

Ziegander
2010-10-18, 02:35 PM
Really, all that shows though is that throughout the development of 3.5 the writers and editors were content to beat the **** out of Evocation and taking anything it had that might have even been marginally useful and giving those things either to other spell schools (Conjuration, Necromancy, and Transmutation), or to all casters in general via metamagic.

If you take all that stuff that they stole from Evocation it becomes a much hardier school without really nerfing the other schools much at all.

Cidolfas
2010-10-18, 04:48 PM
Really, all that shows though is that throughout the development of 3.5 the writers and editors were content to beat the **** out of Evocation and taking anything it had that might have even been marginally useful and giving those things either to other spell schools (Conjuration, Necromancy, and Transmutation), or to all casters in general via metamagic.

If you take all that stuff that they stole from Evocation it becomes a much hardier school without really nerfing the other schools much at all.

For some spell levels, I agree that this could be a presentable option, but I believe that the higher spell levels are particularly maligned once dealing damage becomes inferior to status effects and save-or-dies. Polar ray and meteor swarm are pretty effective examples of this, since the alternative spells at levels 8 and 9 include the likes of symbol of death, temporal stasis, and irresistible dance or wail of the banshee and wish, respectively. This probably doesn't matter a lot for too many games since 15th-14th level is quite high level for many campaigns, but the precedent is set (although the disparity not as large) at around 3rd and 4th levels when phantasmal killer can trump most evocation effects that exist (and probably even the orbs if they were included).

While that fix can work for some campaigns, I think the fundamental problem still remains, and substituting spells from other schools only works for so many levels.

bloodtide
2010-10-18, 05:11 PM
Evocation got hit with a big nerf going from 2E to 3E.

See, back in the day, wizards had incredibly high powered spells..with no limits. And there was no back drop in the rules(things like creature type).

And when you talked about a powerful wizard..you were talking about Evocation spells.

Try some of these old school Evocations:
*Alamanther's return-see a spell cast and you can cast it too
*Tempestcone-area around you absorbs magic and fires magic missles
*Blackstaff-tons and tons of effects
*Sash of spells-an 8 spell sash that can hold any spells of any level, and let loose as a quickened action
*Eye of power-floats around and you can cast spells through it
*Spell Trigger-4 spells take effect on in one round like super contingency, oh and they are maximized for free

Tvtyrant
2010-10-18, 05:34 PM
Speaking of ray like spells, I just realized that having an eyeball familiar would allow you to shoot an enemy with Otto's dance as a ray. Crazy.

GhostwheelZ
2010-10-18, 08:11 PM
Idea for Delayed spells:
On top of damage, they actually delay your target (http://dungeons.wikia.com/wiki/SRD:Time_Hop) :smallbiggrin:

Alternatively, have them actually be delayed. As in, you cast them, and with a thought you can release them, perhaps up to 4 or 5 delayed spells at a time. So when a condition occurs (a though, an enemy, whatever), the spell goes off, allowing you to break the action economy in true wizard-level style.

Benly
2010-10-18, 08:27 PM
For some spell levels, I agree that this could be a presentable option, but I believe that the higher spell levels are particularly maligned once dealing damage becomes inferior to status effects and save-or-dies. Polar ray and meteor swarm are pretty effective examples of this, since the alternative spells at levels 8 and 9 include the likes of symbol of death, temporal stasis, and irresistible dance or wail of the banshee and wish, respectively. This probably doesn't matter a lot for too many games since 15th-14th level is quite high level for many campaigns, but the precedent is set (although the disparity not as large) at around 3rd and 4th levels when phantasmal killer can trump most evocation effects that exist (and probably even the orbs if they were included).

While that fix can work for some campaigns, I think the fundamental problem still remains, and substituting spells from other schools only works for so many levels.

As I see it, if evocation is (as seems to have been initially intended) the only school worth mentioning for blasting, people will still probably ban it but at least there will have been a reason not to. As it stands, you lose out on undead if you ban necromancy, you lose out on mind control if you ban enchantment, but you don't lose out on much of anything if you ban evocation because other schools blast just as well. At least this way, you would actually be losing something for banning evoc even if it's something high-end players often don't mind losing.

(By comparison, plenty of people don't mind banning necromancy very much - but when your character bans necromancy, you know there are certain things you just won't have the option of doing, and you've presumably come to terms with that.)

Dante & Vergil
2010-10-18, 10:57 PM
Evocation got hit with a big nerf going from 2E to 3E.

See, back in the day, wizards had incredibly high powered spells..with no limits. And there was no back drop in the rules(things like creature type).

And when you talked about a powerful wizard..you were talking about Evocation spells.

Try some of these old school Evocations:
*Alamanther's return-see a spell cast and you can cast it too
*Tempestcone-area around you absorbs magic and fires magic missles
*Blackstaff-tons and tons of effects
*Sash of spells-an 8 spell sash that can hold any spells of any level, and let loose as a quickened action
*Eye of power-floats around and you can cast spells through it
*Spell Trigger-4 spells take effect on in one round like super contingency, oh and they are maximized for free

I'm going to second these.

Ashtagon
2010-10-19, 01:06 AM
One of the biggest 2e -> 3e changes to nerf evocation was the way spell saves changed.

back in 2e, the caster's level and the spell's level had no effect on the saving throw. Fireball cast by a 5th level wizard had the same target number to save as finger of death by a 20th level caster (caster level still affected spell resistance rolls). In 3e terminology, it was as if the save DC was a flat DC 15, regardless of spell level.

Because 3e made spell level affect the save DC, higher-0level spells suddenly became more powerful, by virtue of having a harder save DC than before.

Oddly enough, the main low level evocation spells have no save, while all the mid/high level evocation spells do. In theory, this change to saves combined with this factoid would make evocation more powerful than before. And it did. But other schools of spells have a preponderance of suck-or-die/suck spells, whereas evocation mostly has hp-blasting spells. Save-or-die/suck combined with harder save DCs than before is what makes for a fight-ender.

Quick fix? My houserule has a save DC 15 for all spells, unmodified by spell level.

Realms of Chaos
2010-10-19, 08:39 AM
Actually, we already discussed the possibility of lowering (though not standardizing, I admit) spell DCs on the previous page. The problem, then, is that spells like blasphemy and forcecage, which require no saving throw, become even more noticeably broken.

While you could argue that these spells simply need removal (I would), Cidolfas has made it clear that he intends for evocation to become tier 1. This apparently isn't a thread intended to argue whether we should pump up evocation OR lower everything else. Instead, it is quite clear that Cidolfas is looking for help (if he's even looking for help at all, considering that he's pretty much only responded to critics so far :smallconfused:) empowering evocation.

That said, Cidolfas could reduce confusion a bit in the thread by changing the title to something like "Making Evocation Tier 1" so that his intention is clear.

Dingle
2010-10-19, 12:11 PM
moving the fogs into it would really bump up the power

Cidolfas
2010-10-19, 03:33 PM
While you could argue that these spells simply need removal (I would), Cidolfas has made it clear that he intends for evocation to become tier 1. This apparently isn't a thread intended to argue whether we should pump up evocation OR lower everything else. Instead, it is quite clear that Cidolfas is looking for help (if he's even looking for help at all, considering that he's pretty much only responded to critics so far :smallconfused:) empowering evocation.

That said, Cidolfas could reduce confusion a bit in the thread by changing the title to something like "Making Evocation Tier 1" so that his intention is clear.

To be fair, I didn't explicity say that I wished for Evocation to be improved to Tier 1 (even though I probably should have instead of beating around the bush with my own sycophantic rant on the original post). I do think that Tier 1 would be best (since that's the general scope of the powerful wizard spells), but not necessary. As someone previously said (I can't find the post right now) the hand spells posted are around Tier 3. I would hope that some of them (primarily Crushing Hand) are higher, but Tier 3 is not a terrible thing in and of itself.

The problem is that evocation is normally grossly below Tier 3 (meteor swarm, fireball, lightning bolt, and all of the other spells we have already labelled as insufficient would all be Tier 4 or lower in my opinion), hindered by a pure emphasis on damage and then not enough damage to justify the emphasis. The same can be said of just about all of the other core classes, including every melee class WotC has ever produced short of the Tome of Battle. When the disparity is that vast, lowering the Wizard to Tier 3 doesn't accomplish much since all of those other classes would also have to be raised to Tier 3 in order to have a truly balanced game. So the way I see it, the easiest way to fix everything is raise it to the highest level, where people don't have to optimize via feats to not stink.

As I said before, Evocation is basically in the same boat. So while I may come across as a crazy Tier 1 fanatic, I don't have too many objections to anyone who wants to raise it to Tier 3, even though RoC is exactly right in the determination that I do wish to optimally raise it to Tier 1. I still do not particularly feel, however, that the best fix for Evocation is to simply take spells already put into other schools into Evocation, for the reasons I've already detailed previously.

RoC, I apologize for not responding to those more in favor of this proposition, but I thought it prudent to respond to detractors because we had a good debate going about the merits of upgrading Evocation. I really think the Energy Eruption idea (particularly taking the mechanic from psionics to make the element variable) is a valuable addition that definitely has a place; my only concern would have been the cap at 20th level, but since most campaigns don't get that far anyway I have no real objection.

Benly
2010-10-19, 07:01 PM
I still do not particularly feel, however, that the best fix for Evocation is to simply take spells already put into other schools into Evocation, for the reasons I've already detailed previously.


It's not "the best fix" on its own, but I think it's necessary to either take Evocation's toys away from the other schools or come up with a solid gimmick for Evocation other than blasting. Generally speaking, you don't get top-quality illusions from non-Illusion schools and you don't get top-quality mind control from non-Enchantment schools, but they felt free to give Evocation's only concrete gimmick to every other school.

Alternately, you could make Evocation's blasts sufficiently fantastic that the existing blasts in other schools don't compete, in which case much the same goal is achieved. If you take this route, they're going to have to be impressive enough that Orbs, Icelance, Maw of Chaos, and so on are simply not an acceptable substitute, and that'll be pretty beefy.

bloodtide
2010-10-19, 07:17 PM
Would Metamagic make a good solid gimmick for Evocation?

Spells with built in metamagic, so the caster would not need to spend spell slots.

Plus spells that granted the caster metamagic feats.

Plus spell that grant the caster spell power, such as caster level and spell levels.

And Contingency. Not just for spells, but also for skills, feats, and abilities.

This would all be unique to Evocation.

Cidolfas
2010-10-20, 12:15 PM
Metamagic would probably work, but wouldn't improving the spell's described effect be just as effective and less complex? Adding in free metamagic seems to me like something that would arise from a specialist evoker class or substitution levels, not the spells themselves.

A redesigned contingency could be very interesting, however. Something more like the original spell trigger that could really turn an encounter on its head without necessarily ending it before it begins. Tier 1 does admittedly walk a fine line in that regard, but it could still work.

bloodtide
2010-10-20, 01:39 PM
Improving a spells effect is a bit more complex then just adding a metamagic bump. Also additional effects have saves and such to limit their effectiveness. A delay or chain spell always works, as it is cast. The specialist evoker class or substitution levels are a nice idea, but we want everyone to use them. After all Delayed Fireball and Chain Lightning are for everyone. I think all arcane casters would like a Chain Magic Missile.

I'm trying to figure out how a contingency feat spell would work.....

And spell trigger is a good idea.

bloodtide
2010-10-20, 02:50 PM
Well, for a fix:First lets define low/mid/high as 1-3/4-6/7-9th spell levels.

Low level spells deal 1d6/level, and improve from single-target at 1st to area at 3rd.

Mid level spells either deal 2d6/level or add secondary effects (and are still 1d6/level). The nature of secondary effects improves with spell level, but all areas are probably equal at this point.

High level spells deal 2d6/level and receive a secondary effect. (9th level spells dealing 3d6/level is probably also acceptable). Again, the nature of the secondary effect gets better with increasing spell level.

And Effects:

--Fire

* Reflex save or catch on fire
* Will save or be blinded for 1d4 rounds
* Fort save or be somethinged
--Electricity
o Reflex save or be knocked prone
o Fort save or be stunned for 1d4 rounds
o Will save or be confused
--Cold
# Fort save or be slowed
# Will save or confused
# Reflex save or be stuck in place for an amount of time

Fail
2010-10-20, 03:54 PM
Argh. Why are there wholly useless spells put by more than one person?

I don't care who you are
Have charged, will take blast to the face.
Level whatever, evocation [fire]
Immediate action, 100-foot cone/line
2d8 fire/level, pushes target(s) to end of area (Ref halves damage)

I don't care where you are
Painfully pretty, shiny snowfall.
Level whatever, evocation [cold]
Touch, 1 min/level
Target gains blindsight out to 5 feet per 2 caster levels, other creatures within that have to make Fort saves to avoid being made helpless for 2 rounds.

I don't care where you wanna go
Magnetic storm may scramble people.
Level whatever, evocation [electricity]
10-mile radius, permanent (D)
Creatures that attempt teleportation or planar travel to or from the area must make a Will save before departing or after arriving, or die. A target killed before leaving fails to do so.

Nerf as desired. Or just ignore. Or even neither.

Cidolfas
2010-10-20, 08:07 PM
I think we all know this one is normally a pretty gross misuse of a level 8 spell.

Polar Ray
Evocation [Cold]
Level: Sorc/Wiz 8
Components: V, S, F
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range: Close (25 ft. + 2 ft./2 levels)
Effect: Ray
Duration: Instantaneous; see text
Saving Throw: Fortitude partial
Spell Resistance: Yes

On a successful ranged touch attack, this spell forces the target to make a Fortitude save or instantly be frozen solid, staying alive but treated as helpless for 1 round per caster level. Whether this save is successful or not, the target takes 2d6 points of cold damage per caster level. If the ray misses or targets a solid surface, everything within a 10 foot radius of the square struck is frozen and acts as if under a grease effect. A volume of water struck up to 10 feet per caster level is frozen solid by this spell, and anyone within this frozen water must make a Fortitude save or be frozen.

If this spell is used with the Energy Substitution feat, it loses all effects except for the damage dealt.

Focus: A small, white ceramic cone or prism.

[Note: The addition of grease again isn't really necessary, but it's sort of establishing a theme with Cold spells so I decided to run with it for now. It can easily be removed if undesirable.]

Amiel
2010-10-21, 02:53 AM
I think a lot of the conjuration spells, especially those manipulating energies, can be moved over to the evocation school.

absolmorph
2010-10-21, 04:46 AM
I'm gonna put together a list of the Conjuration spells from the SRD that seem like they'd fit into Evocation (following the blaster/energy manipulation theme)

Acid Arrow (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/acidArrow.htm)
Acid Fog (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/acidFog.htm)
Acid Splash (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/acidSplash.htm)
Cloudkill (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/cloudkill.htm)
Incendiary Cloud (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/incendiaryCloud.htm)
Solid Fog (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/solidFog.htm)
Stinking Cloud (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/stinkingCloud.htm)

I'm not so sure about Solid Fog and Stinking Cloud, though.

Cidolfas
2010-10-21, 12:23 PM
This is my tentative redefinition of Evocation:

"Evocation concerns itself with ignoring the laws of physics, manipulating energy and creating various impossible things through magic. Such things include force effects, destructive elemental spells, and other things that similarly involve blowing stuff up. As such, many evocation effects (particularly elemental spells) are instantaneous, relying on a single manifestation of power instead of a lasting effect."

This obviously doesn't cover everything (the hand spells and forcecage are good examples or duration effects) but I think the theme associated with Evocation is normally a single, instant effect (fireball, lightning bolt, meteor swarm, etc.) as opposed to Conjuration, which makes more lasting effects like the cloud spells. The language doesn't deal in absolutes, however, so some wiggle room is present with this definition, which I think more accurately captures the overall theme of evoking than the normal one does.

EDIT: The problem I still sort of don't like is that it mentions "creating" but given how magic works I don't really think there's a much better way to phrase it. I figured some overlap with Conjuration was inevitable, though, hence the emphasis on the distinction between lasting and instantaneous effects. I think it's also important to note that it should be the original effect that's instantaneous, not necessarily any of its byproducts, so the idea of status ailments from Evocation is still workable.

bloodtide
2010-10-21, 01:40 PM
Evocation creates things out of nothing. Conjuration is more of just summoning things from other places. Then, however, conjuration throws in the monkey wrench that it creates things out of nothing too. Bad overlap.

So Conjuration can create matter, but not energy, except sometimes when it does.

Evocation can not create matter, and nothing else.

I've always thought Evocation needed more energy effects. They get only elemental Fire, why not Earth, Air and Water? Evocation should be creating too.

If a create wind, it's evocation...but if you create a hail of stone, it's conjuration? If you create a fireball it's evocation, but a ball of water is conjuration.

Maybe all the Conjuration(Creation) spells should just be moved over to Evocation?

jiriku
2010-10-21, 03:02 PM
My homebrew fix:

I went through the PHB and spell compendium and looked at every spell in both books. I found about 30 spells that are obviously evocation effects, but are incorrectly assigned to Conjuration or Transmutation (orb spells, I'm looking at you).

So I reassigned them to Evocation. I also made them all allow spell resistance, which most of the former Conjuration spells did not.

Bam! Instantly, Evocation now offers more options, Conjuration and Transmutation (the overpowered schools) offer less, and the borderline-OP spells took a modest nerf. Importantly, almost all of the best direct-damage options are now evocations, so anyone who bans Evocation is losing access to that direct-damage capability. Damage may not be as sexy as BC, but it's still a necessary function, and a wizard who can't do it effectively lacks a significant ability, which is the kind of hindrance that a specialist should be taking when he bans a school.

Edit: Don't forget that if you find an effect that seems to firmly straddle the boundary between Conjuration and Evocation, you can declare it a dual-school spell. Banning either school costs you access to the spell.

Zen Monkey
2010-10-21, 03:34 PM
Evocation could be re-fluffed to Elemental, keeping things like Fireball and Lightning Bolt but also Wall of Stone/Iron and Gust of Wind, etc.

wayfare
2010-10-21, 03:36 PM
I would like to see a few evocation spells that had nifty side effects. Such as:

1) A fireball that summons a fire-elemental for a short period of time.
2) A lightning attack that stunns the opponent.
3) A super-amped up gust of wind like spell that deals moderate damage over a truly huge area.
4) A force attack with a nasty repulsion effect attached.
5) Evocation effects that persist multiple rounds on a failed save
6) Evocation effects that can overwhelm Abjurations
7) An evocation spell that just doesn't care about SR. Like the Flare spell from the old final fantasy games, this spell should just ignore resistances.

wayfare
2010-10-21, 09:37 PM
This is my tentative redefinition of Evocation:

"Evocation concerns itself with ignoring the laws of physics, manipulating energy and creating various impossible things through magic. Such things include force effects, destructive elemental spells, and other things that similarly involve blowing stuff up. As such, many evocation effects (particularly elemental spells) are instantaneous, relying on a single manifestation of power instead of a lasting effect."

This obviously doesn't cover everything (the hand spells and forcecage are good examples or duration effects) but I think the theme associated with Evocation is normally a single, instant effect (fireball, lightning bolt, meteor swarm, etc.) as opposed to Conjuration, which makes more lasting effects like the cloud spells. The language doesn't deal in absolutes, however, so some wiggle room is present with this definition, which I think more accurately captures the overall theme of evoking than the normal one does.

EDIT: The problem I still sort of don't like is that it mentions "creating" but given how magic works I don't really think there's a much better way to phrase it. I figured some overlap with Conjuration was inevitable, though, hence the emphasis on the distinction between lasting and instantaneous effects. I think it's also important to note that it should be the original effect that's instantaneous, not necessarily any of its byproducts, so the idea of status ailments from Evocation is still workable.

If you are worried about "creating" being linked with Conjuration, why not replace it with "manipulating and amplifying existing forces to generate supernatural effects."

Seen in this light, Evocation is distinct from Conjuration because it uses existing energy -- an Evocation spell could amplify the heat generated by a living body to cause it to burst into flame. An evocation spell granting flight could do so by manipulating gravity.

absolmorph
2010-10-21, 10:06 PM
If you are worried about "creating" being linked with Conjuration, why not replace it with "manipulating and amplifying existing forces to generate supernatural effects."

Seen in this light, Evocation is distinct from Conjuration because it uses existing energy -- an Evocation spell could amplify the heat generated by a living body to cause it to burst into flame. An evocation spell granting flight could do so by manipulating gravity.
Why manipulate gravity when you can just manipulate drag? Increase the drag resisting so that you go up rather than down or maintain altitude.

Ziegander
2010-10-22, 02:45 AM
Alright, I'm going to attempt to go through all of the Evocation spells in the 3.5 PHB, and rewrite the ones that aren't powerful enough, so that they're actually worth casting. I'm obviously not going to do it all at once, but I want to start putting this stuff out there.

Premise: Damage dealing spells need to be way more awesome than they are. If a 1st level Warblade can deal 3d6+6 damage to a single target as a standard action at-will a 1st level Wizard needs to be able to do MUCH, MUCH, MUCH more than 1d4+1 damage to a single target as a DAILY standard action.

BURNING HANDS
Evocation [Fire]
Level: Wiz/Sorc 1
Components: V, S, M
Casting Time: Swift action
Range: Personal
Target: You
Duration: Concentration +1 round/level
Saving Throw: Reflex halves
Spell Resistance: Yes
For the duration of the spell, as an attack action, you can spew a gale of embers from your hands at your foes in a 15ft cone originating from your square. Creatures in the cone are dealt 2d4 fire damage +1/caster level (Reflex half).

MAGIC MISSILE
Evocation [Force]
Level: Wiz/Sorc 1
Components: V, S
Casting Time: Standard action
Range: Line of sight
Target: Up to three creatures
Duration: Instantaneous
Saving Throw: None
Spell Resistance: No
You fire three bolts of force, and one additional bolt at every two caster levels beyond 1st (maximum 10 bolts), divided as you choose between any eligible targets within range, each dealing 1d4+1 force damage. These bolts strike unerringly even against targets with cover, concealment, or other miss chances (except for total cover or concealment). Inanimate objects are not damaged by this spell.

SHOCKING GRASP
Evocation [Electricity]
Level: Wiz/Sorc 1
Components: S
Casting Time: Standard or Immediate action
Range: Touch
Target: One creature
Duration: Instantaneous (see text)
Saving Throw: None
Spell Resistance: Yes
As part of casting this spell make a melee touch attack against the target. If your attack hits the target is dealt 3d6 electricity damage and Staggered for 1 round/two caster levels after 1st (max 5 rounds). You may cast this spell as an immediate action, but only in response to the target missing you with a melee attack.

ENERGY SPHERE
Evocation [Cold, Electricity, Fire]
Level: Wiz/Sorc 2
Components: V, S, M
Casting Time: Standard action
Range: Close (25ft, +5ft/2 levels)
Duration: Concentration +1 round
Saving Throw: None
Spell Resistance: No
You call into being a 10ft diameter sphere of raw elemental power, choosing upon completing the spell whether you wish for it to be comprised of Cold, Electricity, or Fire. As a move action you may direct the sphere to move a number of feet equal to 25ft +5ft/two caster levels. Any creature in a square where the sphere rests or passes through is dealt 3d6 damage of the chosen elemental type +1/caster level.

GUST OF WIND
Evocation [Air]
Level: Wiz/Sorc 2
Components: V, S
Casting Time: Standard action
Area: Medium Line (100ft +10ft/caster level x 5ft)
Duration: Concentration +1 round
Saving Throw: Fortitude negates
Spell Resistance: No
This spell creates a severe blast of wind throughout the area (approximately 100mph) that originates from you and buffets and batters all creatures in the area. Medium-sized or smaller are knocked prone and blown back 1d6x10 feet and dealt 1d6 nonlethal damage per 10ft traveled this way (double the distance blown back against flying creatures). Tiny creatures get no saving throw against this spell. Small or Medium creatures that succeed their saves are still knocked prone. Large creatures who fail their saves are knocked prone, and if they succeed are unable to move forward against the force of the wind, or if flying are blown back 1d6x5 feet (but dealt no damage). Huge creatures who fail their saves are effected as Large creatures who succeeded their saves, but if they succeed are unaffected. Creatures larger than Huge are unaffected by this spell. Concentration of this spell requires a full round action.
Regardless, within the area conventional ranged attacks are impossible, and even weapons such as siege weapons or spells take a -4 penalty. All creatures of any size take a -4 penalty to Balance, Concentration, and Spot checks, and a -8 penalty to Listen checks.
Gust of Wind automatically extinguishes such small fires as candles or torches, but even something as large as a campfire. In addition to the effects noted, this spell can be expected to produce any effects any sudden blast of wind would be expected to, such as kicking up a sting of sand/debris, fanning a large fire, or overturning a boat.

SCORCHING RAY
Evocation [Fire]
Level: Wiz/Sorc 2
Components: V, S
Casting Time: Standard Action
Range: Medium (100ft +10ft/level)
Target: Up to one creature per ray
Duration: Instantaneous
Saving Throw: Fortitude partial
Spell Resistance: Yes
You fire a number of superheated rays at your targets equal 1 +1 additional ray per three caster levels after 3rd (max 4 rays). These rays require a ranged touch attack to hit and deal 4d6 fire damage +1/caster level as well as 1d3 Constitution damage. A successful Fortitude save negates the Constitution damage, but not the fire damage. If this spell doesn't deal fire damage to a creature it is immune to the Constitution damage as well.

(I'm still not really sure Scorching Ray is worth casting at the level it's available. Compared to Martial Adepts, they can use Mountain Hammer, Punishing Stance, and a Greatsword to deal 5d6+6 damage, ignoring hardness and DR, and they can do this every other round. But, I don't want to push this too much because with metamagic it becomes insta-gib.)

FIREBALL
Evocation [Fire]
Level: Wiz/Sorc 3
Components: V, S, M
Casting Time: Standard action
Range: Medium (100ft +10ft/level)
Area: 20ft radius burst
Duration: Instantaneous (see text)
Saving Throw: Reflex partial
Spell Resistance: See text
You throw a great ball of fire out to a distance comparable to an experienced longbow archer's arrow, and upon impact the ball detonates engulfing the area in searing flames. This spell deals 1d10 fire damage per caster level to everything in the area (Reflex halves) and ignites all flammable materials in the area. Creatures that succeed on their saves avoid being lit on fire, but may still take damage from nearby flames. The flames persist for a number of rounds equal to your caster level, or until they are put out (a single 5ft square takes a full round to extinguish without water and will reignite after 1 round if another square adjacent to it is still on fire). While on fire a creature or object takes 1d6 fire damage/five caster levels per round. Burning squares deal 1d6 damage/five caster levels to objects or creatures that end their turns there. Spell Resistance can protect a creature or object from the Instantaneous effects of this spell, but any nearby lingering fires will burn them as normal.

LIGHTNING BOLT
Evocation [Electricity]
Level: Wiz/Sorc 3
Components: V, S
Casting Time: Standard action
Range: Long (400ft +40ft/level)
Target: One creature
Duration: Instantaneous
Saving Throw: Fort partial
Spell Resistance: Yes
Casting the spell causes the sky to darken and black clouds to roll in overhead. Upon completion you command a single, terrible peal of lightning to strike down a foe and then the clouds retreat. The target is dealt 1d10+1 Electricity damage per caster level, is knocked prone, and becomes deafened, paralyzed, and staggered for 1 round/two caster levels (creatures immune to paralysis are still deafened and staggered). A successful save negates the paralysis and prone effects and reduces the duration of the deafened and staggered conditions to 1 round, but does not reduce the damage dealt. Creatures within 15ft of the target must also succeed on Fort saves are be deafened and staggered for 1 round.

More to come...

absolmorph
2010-10-22, 03:38 AM
I think 5d4+5 might be a tad high for starting damage. That's going to automatically KO most casters.

Benly
2010-10-22, 09:42 AM
I think 5d4+5 might be a tad high for starting damage. That's going to automatically KO most casters.

It's a little high for guaranteed starting damage, anyway. A fighter or barbarian with good strength and a good two-handed weapon can get similar damage, but he'll be rolling to-hit on it. Maybe start Magic Missile at two missiles instead of five.

Cidolfas
2010-10-22, 10:50 AM
I normally consider 2.5 damage per ECL to be around Tier 3 when unoptimized, so I concur that 5d4+5 is rather high for first level. I think that the primary beef with magic missile comes at later levels when the normal version stops gaining power. 1d4+1 per caster level is probably appropriate in my mind, especially given the metamagic options available to a 1st level spell.

Normally, I would have no issue with much higher damage, but the ability to essentially break the random number generator by having automatic damage should be limited in any game. Even most Tier 1 spells (save-or-dies and save-or-sucks, mostly) still abide by the RNG by offering a saving throw. Offensive spells that do not are exceptionally rare and usually are limited to a certain scope (blasphemy being limited to non-evil foes, etc.). Even with those feeble attempts to make them balanced, they still fall on the upper range of even Tier 1. So the justification for magic missile being weaker than other damaging spells is there, since the damage is essentially without fail.

Ziegander
2010-10-22, 11:10 AM
Okay, but still, a 1st level Focused Specialist Evoker has, what, 5 1st level spells per day?

That means if they prepare Magic Missile five times they can, probably, kill five creatures per day.

It's still a daily ability that needs to be worth actually being limited to being a daily ability.

2.5 damage per level is Tier 3? I've got to be misunderstanding you, because 2.5 damage per level is pathetically bad. I might agree with that statement if the source of damage is free, unlimited, and at-will, but for daily spell slots the damage needs to be much higher.

Anyway, I meant to edit Magic Missile before I went to bed last night, but I was ganked by server maintenance. It is currently three missiles at 1d4+1 damage (which is 3.5 on average, and 10.5 if you direct them all at one target).

Benly
2010-10-22, 01:34 PM
Okay, but still, a 1st level Focused Specialist Evoker has, what, 5 1st level spells per day?

That means if they prepare Magic Missile five times they can, probably, kill five creatures per day.

It's still a daily ability that needs to be worth actually being limited to being a daily ability.

The thing is that Magic Missile isn't just a "do some damage" - it has no save or attack roll. Even if it was a touch attack I would be okay with it doing more damage, but it is automatic damage against which, at its level, there is functionally no defense. That gives it its niche. In light of that, Magic Missile sort of should be the least damaging first-level spell, in my opinion.

(If you want to emphasize its reliability, you could give it SR None - there's not much good reason for Orb of Force to have that when MM doesn't. Of course, then it becomes a vehicle for nasty metamagics at higher levels.)

Ziegander
2010-10-22, 01:55 PM
The thing is that Magic Missile isn't just a "do some damage" - it has no save or attack roll.

Magic Missile does something other than damage? I guess I missed that.


Even if it was a touch attack I would be okay with it doing more damage, but it is automatic damage against which, at its level, there is functionally no defense. That gives it its niche. In light of that, Magic Missile sort of should be the least damaging first-level spell, in my opinion.

It shouldn't be compared to "damaging first-level spells." It needs to be compared to damaging first-level effects. A Warblade, middle of the road Tier 3, unoptimized has Str 18 and hits an AC of 15 55% of the time. His attacks deal 3d6+6 damage (Greatsword, Punishing Stance, Str x1.5) every round. That means his average damage, every round of every combat all day is roughly 9. Thus I find it a bit impossible to swallow that it's overpowered for the Wizard to be capable of dealing 10.5 damage in a maximum of 5 rounds per day even if it does ignore miss chances.

Benly
2010-10-22, 02:02 PM
Magic Missile does something other than damage? I guess I missed that.



It shouldn't be compared to "damaging first-level spells." It needs to be compared to damaging first-level effects. A Warblade, middle of the road Tier 3, unoptimized has Str 18 and hits an AC of 15 55% of the time. His attacks deal 3d6+6 damage (Greatsword, Punishing Stance, Str x1.5) every round. That means his average damage, every round of every combat all day is roughly 9. Thus I find it a bit impossible to swallow that it's overpowered for the Wizard to be capable of dealing 10.5 damage in a maximum of 5 rounds per day even if it does ignore miss chances.


Personally, I'm totally fine with having rather more damaging effects - just not ones that autohit with no save. Add more damaging touch attack spells if you like (the Lesser Orbs are an obvious place to start).

That said, I was mainly talking about your original 5d4+5 proposal, in response to which I suggested two. Your three-missile version is pretty much okay by me.

Cidolfas
2010-10-22, 04:38 PM
"Unoptimized" being the key word. That's not an issue for Tier 1 classes because Tier 1 is essentially pre-optimized (i.e. a wizard doesn't normally depend on taking specific feats to be effective in combat, he just casts his spells and takes feats by desire rather than necessity). Ideally, a Tier 3 class should deal more than 2.5 damage per round per ECL, but given the miss chances associated with non-casters it tends to fall around that category.

That aside, starting with five missiles seems rather arbitrary given that the number doesn't scale with level. Two missiles per level would be a more effective and even more powerful formula that still maintains the premise of equality at all levels.

absolmorph
2010-10-22, 05:02 PM
Magic Missile does something other than damage? I guess I missed that.



It shouldn't be compared to "damaging first-level spells." It needs to be compared to damaging first-level effects. A Warblade, middle of the road Tier 3, unoptimized has Str 18 and hits an AC of 15 55% of the time. His attacks deal 3d6+6 damage (Greatsword, Punishing Stance, Str x1.5) every round. That means his average damage, every round of every combat all day is roughly 9. Thus I find it a bit impossible to swallow that it's overpowered for the Wizard to be capable of dealing 10.5 damage in a maximum of 5 rounds per day even if it does ignore miss chances.
That warblade is hitting from right in front of the enemy. They also have a penalty to AC. Meaning their 10+Con HP will be very easy to reduce.
Magic Missile, as you've written it, can hit an enemy 100 feet away on average (assuming nothing is added to Spot), never misses and cannot be reduced.
In the time it would take a human to move, as fast as possible, from 100 feet to melee, the wizard would get two spells off. Assuming they're both magic missile spells, that's 6d4+6 as it's currently written. That's a minimum of 12 damage, average of 21 damage and max of 30 damage. At first level, a warblade can, at most, have 15 hit points (Dwarf, base Con 18). A barbarian can have 19 while raging.
Now, how is that inferior to the warblade with Punishing Stance, aside from it being limited?

ScionoftheVoid
2010-10-22, 05:49 PM
Meteor
Evocation [Fire, Earth]
Level: Wiz/Sorc 7
Components: V, S
Casting Time: Standard action
Range: Long (400ft+40ft/level)
Area: 40ft radius spread
Duration: Instantaneous
Saving Throw: Reflex halves; see text
Spell Resistance: No
Flames and destruction fall from the sky, incinerating the red mist that is left of your foes.
Creatures and unattended objects within the spell's area take 1d6 fire damage per caster level, creatures and unattended objects in the 20ft radius spread of the spell's area take 1d8 bludgeoning damage per caster level and are knocked prone unless they are of at least Huge size, in which case they may remain standing if they succeed a Strength check with a DC of twice this spell's caster level. Anything this spell deals fire damage to continues to burn for one hour per level at a rate of 1d6 fire damage per round (Reflex negates for one round), this burning can only be stopped by total immersion in water or by being targetted by a spell with the [Water] descriptor whose caster suceeds a caster level check with a DC of the caster level of this spell. Line of effect for this spell may be drawn from anywhere in the spell's range.

Meteor Swarm
Evocation [Fire, Earth]
Level: Wiz/Sorc 9
Components: V, S
Casting Time: Full-round action
Range: 1 mile/caster level
Area: 40ft radius spread
Duration: 1 round/2 levels
Saving Throw: Reflex halves; see text
Spell Resistance: No
You begin the ritual necessary to cast the spell, close your eyes, and see fire.
As Meteor, except as follows. You may create one Meteor per round as a free action during the duration of this spell. You need not have line of sight to an area you effect with this spell, but you must be able to either visualise the location (if an appropriate location is not within the spell's range that turn's Meteor is wasted without effect) or specify a location relative to you (for example, one mile north and three to the west, or ten miles straight ahead and two to the left. Locations outside of the spell's range waste that turn's Meteor without effect).

Are those appropriate to the power level you're thinking of?

Ziegander
2010-10-22, 07:10 PM
That warblade is hitting from right in front of the enemy. They also have a penalty to AC. Meaning their 10+Con HP will be very easy to reduce.
Magic Missile, as you've written it, can hit an enemy 100 feet away on average (assuming nothing is added to Spot), never misses and cannot be reduced.
In the time it would take a human to move, as fast as possible, from 100 feet to melee, the wizard would get two spells off. Assuming they're both magic missile spells, that's 6d4+6 as it's currently written. That's a minimum of 12 damage, average of 21 damage and max of 30 damage. At first level, a warblade can, at most, have 15 hit points (Dwarf, base Con 18). A barbarian can have 19 while raging.
Now, how is that inferior to the warblade with Punishing Stance, aside from it being limited?

I think you're missing the point. It's not supposed to be inferior, because it is limited. It is in fact, supposed to be superior.

absolmorph
2010-10-23, 05:01 AM
I think you're missing the point. It's not supposed to be inferior, because it is limited. It is in fact, supposed to be superior.
And I was saying that it's fine as-is.
You don't need to buff the damage at first level. Things at that level are already really fragile.
Most of these spells are going to compare more accurately to a ranged build, so rather than looking at what a melee character can do in order to find a balance point, try looking at a guy with a bow. The guy with a bow will have a long range, too, unlike the guy with a sword.
Assuming a standard longbow, +5 to hit (18 Dex, +1 BAB; hits 15 AC 55%), that's about 2.75 average damage (5 average on a hit) from 100 feet away, each round.
Magic Missile deals 10.5 average damage (6-15) per casting at level 1. Each increase in level increases the average damage by 3.5, reaching 35 average damage (20-50) at level 15. I'd say that's pretty dang good, considering a barely optimized wizard can cast this several times per day (5 times at level 7, dealing 6d4+6) before dipping into higher level spell slots.
Focus on higher level spells, rather than bickering about what we should balance the spells against. Just make sure they're good at killing people.

ScionoftheVoid
2010-10-23, 10:36 AM
It wouldn't work as well with the boosted spells I had an idea to make the school's damage shoot up.

The components required by Evocation spells naturally lend themselves to being chained together, allowing you to cast two Evocation spells with a casting time of a standard action or less as a full-round action.

Possibly limit this by combined spell level somehow. For example, when a prepared spellcaster does this they use both spell slots and cannot combine two spells which have a combined spell level higher than half their ranks in Spellcraft. When a spontaneous spellcaster uses the option they may either pay as above or spend a spell slot of a level equal to the combined spell levels of the spells cast this way, ignoring the Spellcraft rank requirement.

Sure you burn spells faster than you breathe air but it packs a huge punch. Alternatively, use this and the more powerful spells. Or ignore it altogether, whatever.

Ziegander
2010-10-23, 11:51 AM
And I was saying that it's fine as-is.
You don't need to buff the damage at first level. Things at that level are already really fragile.
Most of these spells are going to compare more accurately to a ranged build, so rather than looking at what a melee character can do in order to find a balance point, try looking at a guy with a bow. The guy with a bow will have a long range, too, unlike the guy with a sword.
Assuming a standard longbow, +5 to hit (18 Dex, +1 BAB; hits 15 AC 55%), that's about 2.75 average damage (5 average on a hit) from 100 feet away, each round.
Magic Missile deals 10.5 average damage (6-15) per casting at level 1. Each increase in level increases the average damage by 3.5, reaching 35 average damage (20-50) at level 15. I'd say that's pretty dang good, considering a barely optimized wizard can cast this several times per day (5 times at level 7, dealing 6d4+6) before dipping into higher level spell slots.
Focus on higher level spells, rather than bickering about what we should balance the spells against. Just make sure they're good at killing people.

If Magic Missile were fine as written in the 3.5 PHB it would actually be cast at 1st level and people would feel good about casting it. But if it is cast you certainly aren't feeling good about it as a Wizard. When Grease totally changes the scope of an encounter and Color Spray outright demolishes it, 1d4+1 damage to a single enemy is just not competitive. This thread is about making the Evocation school actually competitive with the spells of other schools right?

EDIT: Also, please note that I'm not ONLY about upping the damage on the Evocation spells. I've just pretty much only ran into damage dealing spells. But I do feel like I made Gust of Wind worth casting, which is nice, and has almost nothing to do with increasing damage. Tenser's Floating Disk isn't worth a 1st level spell slot, I know this, but I can't think of anything to change about it, so maybe the best fix there is to make it a cantrip. Continual Flame is also definitely NOT worth a 2nd level spell slot, not even really a 1st level spell slot. Shatter is already pretty darn good for what it does, it's fairly situational though. Perhaps making it a 1st level spell would help.