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View Full Version : Balanced 1st-level Spell? [3.5]



Burley
2011-10-24, 09:59 PM
Aight, with my spontaneous revival to the boards, I've been tossing around a custom spell.

Probing Arrow
Conjuration (Creation)
Components: V, S
Casting time: 1 standard
Range: Medium
Effect: Arrow of fluxuating energy
Duration: Instantanious
Saving Throw: None
Spell Resistance: No

You fire a bolt of undulating energy, to probe for an enemy's weakness.
The bolt requires a ranged touch attack, and deals one point each of fire, cold, acid, electric, force and sonic damage.

I've wondered if dealing set 6 damage was a bit boring. Anyway, is this okay for 1st level? Too strong for 0-level, too weak for 2nd?

Thanks for the input.

Kymme
2011-10-24, 10:05 PM
That seems like it would be good for a 1st level spell
Nice work!:smallwink:

Amechra
2011-10-24, 10:10 PM
MAKE IT EVOCATION!

Evocation deals with the creation of magical forces (forces in the sense of heat and light and such), while Conjuration makes more solid things.

At least, that's what I believe the division should be.

After all, giving MORE damaging spells to Conjuration means evocation starts crying: they already took the Orb spells, don't add to the pain.

However, this is nicely on line with a 1st level spell; you could make it scale a la Arcane Bolt, however.

Foxwarrior
2011-10-24, 10:10 PM
It should really be Evocation, and have Spell Resistance: Yes so you can find one more defense.

6 damage at level 1 is more than a character can do with a normal spell, but since it's not really more than a crossbow (and doesn't have the variability necessary to occasionally one-shot hp 7-10 enemies), it doesn't matter much. Once you get past caster level 1, the damage is not a significant factor in this spell's value, and so the balance has to be considered from the standpoint of the actual usefulness of this knowledge.

As an investigative spell, I doubt that people would want to prepare it in their highest-level slot, so in order for an evoker to find it worthwhile at level 5, it should be no higher than a level 1 spell. If it was not your intent for such research to be so low-level, then increasing the spell's level to 2 is a perfectly reasonable course of action.

Anderlith
2011-10-24, 10:15 PM
One damage per 2 or 3 caster levels would help it build up as you level. & add some ignoring of SR, this would make the spell a level two spell though.

Ozymandias
2011-10-24, 10:24 PM
Compared to Color Spray or Sleep? Quite weak.

Compared to Magic Missile? Deals 2.5 more damage on average (assuming no resistances), but requires a hit roll. It's ranged touch, but at the levels where 6 damage means anything at all you are looking at +2 (maybe) against touch ACs that are around 10-12, so that's a non-trivial chance of missing. Also, it doesn't scale at all, while magic missile does. Ignores SR, but most creatures with SR, again, don't care about 6 damage.

Compared to Lesser Orb of X? Deals 1.5 more damage on average, hits multiple resistances which makes it harder to lock out, but it doesn't scale at all (again) while lesser orbs do fairly well.

At low levels, a wizard can't afford to spend his slots doing small amounts of damage, even relatively guaranteed damage - crossbows or alchemist's fire or whatever are more efficient, usually. At medium levels or higher, 6 damage doesn't mean much of anything.

Not trying to be mean: it's a good idea. It's just that 1st level spells need to be either really good (sleep, color spray) to live through the early game, or useful utility (too many to list) for when you can afford to burn them. Scaling would help make it comparable to the orb spells, against which it directly competes.

Mangles
2011-10-24, 10:40 PM
This spell really doesn't tell you anything. If your DM tells you that you deal 5 damage you still don't know which energy type the creature is resistant too. Also any DM i've had haven't told me the exact values of any damage that I've done if the creature has had resistances or damage reduction.

Yitzi
2011-10-24, 10:55 PM
It's too powerful at CL 1, and too weak at CL 3 or higher.

And it should definitely be evocation, allowing SR. The style screams "evocation", and there is no such thing as a conjuration spell that makes sense and does force, electric, or sonic damage. (Fire and Cold are possible, but rare.)

jiriku
2011-10-25, 12:24 AM
+4 to the votes for converting to Evocation and allowing spell resistance. Oddly, I think allowing spell resistance makes the spell MORE useful, since learning if an opponent has spell resistance, and what you need to roll to beat that resistance, is possibly the most important bit of intel you need to gather.

I'd suggest that at higher levels, it needs to either affect multiple targets (perhaps 1/4 levels) or automatically offer you the ability to cast it as a swift action (perhaps at CL 9th). Alternately, it might deal 2 damage per energy type per 5 caster levels, and automatically report to you the damage dealt. If you throw 2 cold at something and it takes 3 damage, you know it has cold vulnerability.

Also, the spelling you want is "fluctuating".

Burley
2011-10-25, 02:14 AM
Heh, thanks for the spelling tip. It's late.

So, the point of the spell is to probe for information. I should probably add in something about the caster knowing the effectiveness of each type.

Question: since the purpose of the spell is information gathering, could it be classified as divination? Then, it could be a fun spell for an Unseen Seer.

Veklim
2011-10-25, 05:45 AM
It could potentially be a divination, for sure, but honestly you should drop the damage if you wish to do so. Make it a simple info gathering spell. If you want it to do damage then it should certainly be evocation, that's what the school is there for.
With regards to scaling, I like the idea of 1 additional target/2 caster levels, this scales it quickly but only serves to give intel on multiple targets, the damage is still nominal that way and doesn't justify a level increase.

Thus ends mine two-peneth.

Andion Isurand
2011-10-25, 06:31 AM
The spell as written, would make an inexpensive sneak attack wand for a rogue to UMD and bypass all resistance. Not that its that bad a thing...

========================================

Here's a little something.

Prismatic Mote Volley
Evocation [Light]
Components: V, S
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range: Medium (100ft + 10 ft/level)
Targets: Up to six creatures, no two of which can be more than 30 ft. apart
Duration: Instantaneous
Saving Throw: None
Spell Resistance: Yes

Three motes of magical energy dart forth from your fingertip and strike their target(s), each dealing 1 point of damage: cold, electricity and fire damage, respectively speaking.

Each mote strikes unerringly, even if the target is in melee combat or has less than total cover or total concealment. Specific parts of a creature canít be singled out. Inanimate objects are not damaged by the spell.

For every caster level beyond the 1st, you gain an additional moteófour at 2nd level, five at 3rd, and the maximum of six motes at 4th level or higher. When you shoot multiple motes, you can have them strike a single creature or several creatures. A single mote can strike only one creature. You must designate targets before you check for spell resistance.

The fourth, fifth and sixth mote each deal 1 point of damage: acid, sonic and force damage, respectively speaking.

For 1 round, each creature struck for damage by a mote is affected as though by faerie fire with one or more colors that correspond to the mote(s) that harmed it: blue for cold, yellow for electricity, red for fire, orange for acid, green for sonic and purple for force.

Ashtagon
2011-10-25, 07:36 AM
I think PHB2 included rules for a spell belonging to two schools at once, in which case this would be a divination/evocation spell, and the caster should automatically know which damage type, if any, failed to do damage.

Yitzi
2011-10-25, 09:40 AM
The spell as written, would make an inexpensive sneak attack wand for a rogue to UMD and bypass all resistance.

Good point.


Not that its that bad a thing...

I'm not so sure about that; 6 sneak attacks at once can be nasty (especially if the rogue has Crippling Strike.)


Prismatic Mote Volley
Evocation [Light]
Components: V, S
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range: Medium (100ft + 10 ft/level)
Targets: Up to six creatures, no two of which can be more than 30 ft. apart
Duration: Instantaneous
Saving Throw: None
Spell Resistance: Yes

Three motes of magical energy dart forth from your fingertip and strike their target(s), each dealing 1 point of cold, electricity and fire damage respectively speaking.

Each mote strikes unerringly, even if the target is in melee combat or has less than total cover or total concealment. Specific parts of a creature canít be singled out. Inanimate objects are not damaged by the spell.

For every caster level beyond the 1st, you gain an additional moteófour at 3rd level, five at 4th, and the maximum of six motes at 5th level or higher. When you shoot multiple motes, you can have them strike a single creature or several creatures. A single mote can strike only one creature. You must designate targets before you check for spell resistance.

The fourth, fifth and sixth mote deal 1 point of acid, sonic and force damage respectively speaking.

For 1 round, each creature struck for damage by a mote is affected as though by faerie fire with one or more colors that correspond to the mote(s) that harmed it: blue for cold, yellow for electricity, red for fire, orange for acid, green for sonic and purple for force.

I'd say this is too powerful, simply because of the multiple targeting. 2+1/level damage to each of 6 creatures with no miss chance at that range is just too much for a level 1 spell at lower CLs. I'd say make it affect 1 creature/level instead.

Andion Isurand
2011-10-25, 03:30 PM
I'm not so sure about that; 6 sneak attacks at once can be nasty (especially if the rogue has Crippling Strike.)

As written atm, the spell itself produces only one single missile, ergo 1 sneak attack.



I'd say this is too powerful, simply because of the multiple targeting. 2+1/level damage to each of 6 creatures with no miss chance at that range is just too much for a level 1 spell at lower CLs. I'd say make it affect 1 creature/level instead.

It's actually 1 damage for each mote, so if your targeting 6 creatures, its 1 damage each. And the spell only produces 3 motes at first level. The text just says up to 6 creatures, similar to the wording of magic missile. Hopefully the wording is a little better now.

Yitzi
2011-10-25, 05:06 PM
As written atm, the spell itself produces only one single missile, ergo 1 sneak attack.

Point. Of course, that makes it not so great for a sneak attack wand; after all, you can use a cantrip for half the price.


It's actually 1 damage for each mote, so if your targeting 6 creatures, its 1 damage each. And the spell only produces 3 motes at first level. The text just says up to 6 creatures, similar to the wording of magic missile. Hopefully the wording is a little better now.

Ah; I thought it was that many against each target. Yeah, this way makes more sense.

Cieyrin
2011-10-26, 08:47 AM
I think PHB2 included rules for a spell belonging to two schools at once, in which case this would be a divination/evocation spell, and the caster should automatically know which damage type, if any, failed to do damage.

+1 to this. Alternatively, Andion's version does it reasonably well while keeping it Evocation, as Faerie Fire is an Evocation.

ChumpLump
2011-10-28, 04:25 PM
A mild addition I might toss in with Andion Isurand's version of the spell (which would be a fantastic quickened little gem at later levels) might be to have a noticeably feint glow for energy damages that were negated by resistance rather than by immunity. But that may be asking too much out of a L.1 spell.