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View Full Version : Broken Spells, or Broken Players?



JackMage666
2007-04-27, 10:38 AM
So, there are a number of threads out there talking about having to nerf some spells, or eliminate them from the game entirely, in order to keep them from being abused. Some are even suggesting removing iconic fantasy spells like Teleport because they can be used to escape combat. The Polymorph spells, as well, are under scrutiny, considering they allow a caster to become whatever they wat (with a certain limit).

Am I the only one who thinks removing these spells would overall hurt the effects of the game? I understand that there are certain loopholes that can be exploited with many spells, but I don't think that's enough to warrant banning them. Sure, the loopholes exist, but any sensible player wouldn't try to exploit them, considering the DM can cancel all effects at will.
Now, if this were a computer game, where the DM would be a coldly calculating machine that follows all rules to the T can can't punish player for exploiting loopholes, I'd agree to the fixes. But, with a flesh and blood DM able to adapt and fix situations where PCs have overstepped their bounds, you'd think that the players would be cautious about trying. In other words, if they want to fight dirty, so can you - And you have alot more tricks than they do.

For example, if you have a player who teleports away from any combat that migh even be reasonably difficult, they'll eventually have a mishap, leading them into another difficult combat. If the players try the mass Explosive Runes/Dispel Magic trick on a dagger, then throw it at the enemy, dealing massive damage, then make that enemy a decoying, meaning the player jsut lsot valuable time casting the spell. Polymorphing into creatures too powerful? Chances are, they lose spellcasting ability (considerign they don't really know the dexterity of the form, and how to manipulate the flow of magic), or other penalties occur (can't Polymorph into a large creature in the narrow hallway, for instance). If they use the Rogue into Hydra sneak attack trick, then the hydra's heads can't hit with precision, as it's a totally new form of attack for the rogue, and he's not sure how to strike correctly (and, I'd imagine it'd be disorientating).

These are instances that a DM can deter a overambitious player breaking loopholes to break the game. Either way, I don't think spells should be removed because they might, in the wrong hands, cause powergaming problems, because, as said, the DM can fix anything, because he is the true god of the game. And, a player who didn't reckognize that fact is in trouble indeed.

Morty
2007-04-27, 10:41 AM
I don't think anyone suggests to remove Teleport. But as it is, Teleport spell in D&D is written poorly and it allows traveling at great distances with one standard action and little or no chance of failure.

AtomicKitKat
2007-04-27, 10:42 AM
Celerity line of spells are definitely abusive. I don't remember if they're Swift or Immediate, but they should definitely fall under the former, so that they cannot be used during another character's turn. If they're the latter, then they definitely need the caveat "You cannot use this spell if you are flat-footed or surprised.", to prevent Wizards from always going first(Let's face it, once Mr Wizard has had his turn, the combat is usually over).

Edit: Anything that lets you move over hundreds of miles(100 per caster level!) in an instance should be requiring lots of fancy crap. Like an hour of preparation, drawing a magic circle, etc. Not 3 second trans-continental warping. Bumping the big 3 teleport spells(Teleport, Greater Teleport, Teleportation Circle) up to 10 minutes, 30 minutes, and 1 hour, respectively, would not be unreasonable, to my mind.

Douglas
2007-04-27, 10:50 AM
Celerity line of spells are definitely abusive. I don't remember if they're Swift or Immediate, but they should definitely fall under the former, so that they cannot be used during another character's turn. If they're the latter, then they definitely need the caveat "You cannot use this spell if you are flat-footed or surprised."
They do. It's not stated in the spell description itself, but immediate actions in general cannot be taken while flat-footed.

Raum
2007-04-27, 11:08 AM
So, there are a number of threads out there talking about having to nerf some spells, or eliminate them from the game entirely, in order to keep them from being abused. Some are even suggesting removing iconic fantasy spells like Teleport because they can be used to escape combat. The Polymorph spells, as well, are under scrutiny, considering they allow a caster to become whatever they wat (with a certain limit).
<snip>
These are instances that a DM can deter a overambitious player breaking loopholes to break the game. Either way, I don't think spells should be removed because they might, in the wrong hands, cause powergaming problems, because, as said, the DM can fix anything, because he is the true god of the game. And, a player who didn't reckognize that fact is in trouble indeed.Some spells are simply and completely overpowered. Shivering Touch is a perfect example. Celerity is another. Spells like those simply never should have been created. As for the iconic spells such as the teleport and polymorph lines, they really need to take longer to cast. Reducing casting times to one round or less (most to a standard action) is probably the single worst change from 2nd edition to 3rd edition. It vastly increases the utility and power of spells while making interruption far more difficult.

As for DMs nerfing spells, I think that is what many of the threads you deride are attempting to do. Work out the best way to change them in advance. Changing them on the fly is generally a bad idea. The player should know the effects from a spell hes studied for weeks or even months. Arbitrary decisions on the fly easily lead to inconsistent rulings.

Counterspin
2007-04-27, 12:08 PM
The rules exist to provide an even playing field amongst the players. To the extent the rules can be abused, they are broken. They should be fixed. You can't make them perfect, but you could certainly do a lot better.

Indon
2007-04-27, 12:08 PM
Well, the problem isn't neccessarily in having powerful spells; a Wizard should have one or two big guns in their arsenal for the really tough stuff. The problem is having as many powerful spells as the player can afford because they have a pile of sourcebooks and a DM who doesn't say, "No, you don't find a scroll of that spell for sale in the market."

Dausuul
2007-04-27, 12:31 PM
So, there are a number of threads out there talking about having to nerf some spells, or eliminate them from the game entirely, in order to keep them from being abused. Some are even suggesting removing iconic fantasy spells like Teleport because they can be used to escape combat. The Polymorph spells, as well, are under scrutiny, considering they allow a caster to become whatever they wat (with a certain limit).

The problem with teleport has nothing to do with escaping combat--if that were all it did, I'd have no problem with it. The problem is its utility outside of combat for bypassing huge chunks of plot.

Also, why on earth do you consider teleport an "iconic fantasy spell?" The ability to teleport regularly is far from being a staple of fantasy, for the obvious reason that fantasy tends to revolve around epic quests and teleport completely negates epic questing. When it does show up, it's usually hedged about with limitations that make it a last-ditch method of transport. Maybe if you put an XP cost on it, I'm thinking 1,000 for teleport and 5,000 for greater teleport... or just 10 XP per mile teleported.

Polymorph, now, that I'll concede as an iconic fantasy spell. IMO the best solution to polymorph is to make a list of what it can turn you into, rather than just giving you free rein to pick anything you like.