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View Full Version : D&D 5e/Next An Attempt at a 5e Lance of Faith



Goober4473
2016-07-05, 02:18 AM
I was talking with my roommate about wanting to make a lance of faith cantrip for 5th edition, and talking about how it's hard to do because small bonuses to attack rolls aren't what 5e is all about. But then he suggested adding damage instead of accuracy, and I thought that could work.

So my question is, is this damage fair? The secondary damage is likely to apply, since any hit will trigger it, and 2d4 is comparable to the 1d8 of sacred flame. It also uses an attack roll, which at least gives you another option, but doesn't ignore cover. Maybe increasing the range to 120 would be better than increasing damage?

Lance of Faith
Classes: Cleric
Evocation cantrip
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: 60 feet
Components: V, S
Duration: Instantaneous

You fire a beam of glowing light at a creature within range. Make a ranged spell attack against the target. On a hit, you deal 1d4 radiant damage, and the target is imbued with holy energy. The first time it is hit by an attack made by a creature other than you before the start of your next turn, it takes an additional 1d4 radiant damage from that attack.

This spellís damage, both the initial damage and the extra damage to the imbued target, increases by 1d4 when you reach 5th level (2d4), 11th level (3d4), and 17th level (4d4).

zeek0
2016-07-05, 03:19 AM
Looks balanced to me. But it will, on average, do less damage than a fire bolt. I would make the damage 1d4/1d6, or 1d6/1d4. The .5 of additional average damage reflects the cooperation needed to acquire it.

Final Hyena
2016-07-05, 05:37 AM
Looks balanced to me. But it will, on average, do less damage than a fire bolt. I would make the damage 1d4/1d6, or 1d6/1d4. The .5 of additional average damage reflects the cooperation needed to acquire it.
Clerics don't get firebolt.

This be Richard
2016-07-05, 11:37 AM
2d4 is noticeably better than 1d8, and I think attacks targeting AC are generally more likely to hit than those that allow a Dex save, though I'm not 100% sure. Point is, it seems like this is better than Sacred Flame in most situations. But between not ignoring cover and needing an ally to hit, I don't have any strong objections to it the way it is.

zeek0
2016-07-05, 11:39 AM
Clerics don't get firebolt.

Fact.

But let me try to convince you that, knowing that fact, I still made a good suggestion.

Page 284 of the DMG recommends that a cantrip, devoid of other effects (see: Fire Bolt), deal 1d10 damage.

Sacred Flame is built off of this model. Take 1d10 (avg: 5.5) as your starting point, and bump it down for a 1d8 (avg: 4.5) so that you can:

a) make it a contest of saving throws, which is often times a smidge easier, and
b) make it so there are no benefits of cover.



Now lets look at Lance of Faith. As written, it deals an average of 5 damage (which is less than 5.5). It also requires an ally to hit the affected creature, which may or may not happen - decreasing the average damage of the cantrip. Also, in order to gain this damage, an ally may need to change course from another option which they would have taken had all the damage been up front. Call this a potential energy cost, a qualitative penalty.

Let's be generous and say that an ally will hit the affected creature 80% of the time. That means that the average damage is now 4.5. So the damage is exactly equal to that of Sacred Flame, but gains none of the benefits.

Viewing that as a bad thing, let's take my suggestion and bump up the damage a bit.

1d6/1d4: After calculation, the average damage is 5.5.

1d4/1d6: After calculation, the average damage is 5.3.

Now the damage after calculation is exactly in line with the recommendation in the DMG, or a bit lower. Keep in mind that we are still under the qualitative potential energy cost.


Am I reasonable? If not, I'd love to talk about it. But bare facts without argument seems epistemelogically sloppy.

This be Richard
2016-07-05, 12:05 PM
I think the idea was that the fact that Clerics don't get Fire Bolt stands as an indication that they aren't meant to have 5.5/hit pure-damage cantrips. And that makes sense to me: Clerics aren't, by default, supposed to be as good at blasting as Wizards and Sorcerers.

I'd be wary of giving Clerics a cantrip that matches Fire Bolt for damage. 1d4*2 is about as close as I'd be comfortable going. One might consider adding an additional quality to balance for the slightly-inferior damage, but it'd need to be something extremely minor. 1d8 already gets weak bonus effects, and 2d4 would need to go even weaker.

zeek0
2016-07-05, 12:22 PM
I'd be wary of giving Clerics a cantrip that matches Fire Bolt for damage. 1d4*2 is about as close as I'd be comfortable going. One might consider adding an additional quality to balance for the slightly-inferior damage, but it'd need to be something extremely minor. 1d8 already gets weak bonus effects, and 2d4 would need to go even weaker.


Makes sense. +1/+.8 average damage is probably worth a bit more than the rider effects of Sacred Flame.

But assumming that my calculations were correct, this cantrip has the same average damage as Sacred Flame with none of the additional benefits. So, any additional benefits gained should be equal to the benefits of Sacred Flame, not weaker.

Final Hyena
2016-07-05, 12:27 PM
Page 284 of the DMG recommends that a cantrip, devoid of other effects (see: Fire Bolt), deal 1d10 damage.
That also suggests a multiple target damage of a 9th level spell of 14d6...... Meteor Swarm....


Sacred Flame is built off of this model. Take 1d10 (avg: 5.5) as your starting point, and bump it down for a 1d8 (avg: 4.5) so that you can:

a) make it a contest of saving throws, which is often times a smidge easier, and
b) make it so there are no benefits of cover.

Saving throws are better than attacks?
Also notice how Sacred Flame has half the range of Fire Bolt.
These are spells that don't appear on the same spell lists. They are meant for different classes. Which is why we don't compare all cantrips to EB.

zeek0
2016-07-05, 02:05 PM
Let's set the DMG aside then.

This spell still has the same average damage as Sacred Flame, with none of the other benefits.

Worse than that, it has a further detriment: an ally cannot choose to target an alternative or more convenient target. It's a cost, albeit small.

Perhaps this is an acceptable state of affairs. But I think that I like this cantrip because it mechanically encourages cooperation and tactical thinking. I wouldn't mind if it was slightly more powerful than sacred flame, and I don't think it deserves to be slightly less.

Also, I believe I was snarky/rude in my earlier post. Sorry.

Goober4473
2016-07-05, 03:51 PM
I like the elegance of 1d4/1d4, but I think it does end up being a little too weak without the ignoring cover, and as mathed above, the chance of not dealing the second d4 means the damage ends up being closer to 1d8.

I think I'll make it 1d4/1d6, so the higher damage die requires cooperation, which feels right.

Final Hyena
2016-07-05, 04:30 PM
d4 - 2.5
d6 - 3.5
when you consider a common 60% hit chance and extra attack (a very common feature) that d6 lands 84% of the time or you get;
2.5
(3.5*0.84=2.94)
A total of 5.44

how about a middle ground while avoiding extra rolling in another persons turn, make it a flat 3 damage giving you;
2.5
(3*0.84=2.52)
5.02

Goober4473
2016-07-05, 05:16 PM
d4 - 2.5
d6 - 3.5
when you consider a common 60% hit chance and extra attack (a very common feature) that d6 lands 84% of the time or you get;
2.5
(3.5*0.84=2.94)
A total of 5.44

how about a middle ground while avoiding extra rolling in another persons turn, make it a flat 3 damage giving you;
2.5
(3*0.84=2.52)
5.02

5.44 average is about the same as 1d10, and I think for a spell without rider effects that requires cooperation to deal its full damage, that's just right. It ends up being a little higher damage than sacred flame, but doesn't ignore cover. It'd likely become more of the "go to" for clerics, since cover doesn't come up all too often, but I like that, since it encourages teamwork.

Final Hyena
2016-07-05, 05:48 PM
It ends up being a little higher damage than sacred flame, but doesn't ignore cover. It'd likely become more of the "go to" for clerics, since cover doesn't come up all too often, but I like that, since it encourages teamwork.
You acknowledge that it is likely to be used more than sacred flame, maybe it is a smidgen too strong?
Attacking the same person is co-operative, but most people do that anyway. Focus firing is a common and effective tactic.

Goober4473
2016-07-05, 06:50 PM
You acknowledge that it is likely to be used more than sacred flame, maybe it is a smidgen too strong?
Attacking the same person is co-operative, but most people do that anyway. Focus firing is a common and effective tactic.

I just mean in an empty room with monster in the middle of it and all your friends with you, it's probably the better option. Against enemies with cover, high AC and low Dex, or when your friends aren't in position to back your attack up, sacred flame wins out.

Perhaps a lower range might help keep the differences more important?

zeek0
2016-07-06, 01:17 AM
I just mean in an empty room with monster in the middle of it and all your friends with you, it's probably the better option. Against enemies with cover, high AC and low Dex, or when your friends aren't in position to back your attack up, sacred flame wins out.

Perhaps a lower range might help keep the differences more important?

Final Hyena is right in many ways, that lance of faith is a stronger choice than sacred flame. We coudl meliorate it further.

I think that lowering the range to 30 feet might be a great adjustment. That way, sacred flame has an additional greater use - it's range.

Lance of faith can hold the thematic place of in-the-thick-of-it combat and cooperation. Sacred flame can be a cantrip with double the range, more useful against highly armored enemies, and a cool trick where it ignores cover.

zeek0
2016-07-06, 01:19 AM
I just mean in an empty room with monster in the middle of it and all your friends with you, it's probably the better option. Against enemies with cover, high AC and low Dex, or when your friends aren't in position to back your attack up, sacred flame wins out.

Perhaps a lower range might help keep the differences more important?

Final Hyena is right in many ways, that lance of faith is a stronger choice than sacred flame. We could meliorate it further.

I think that lowering the range to 30 feet might be a great adjustment. That way, sacred flame has an additional greater use - it's range.

Lance of faith can hold the thematic place of in-the-thick-of-it combat and cooperation. Sacred flame can be a cantrip with double the range, more useful against highly armored enemies, and a cool trick where it ignores cover.

Final Hyena
2016-07-06, 05:18 AM
If you were to look at fire bolt vs poison spray which ups the damage by 1 it reduces the range by a significant amount (120->10).

So maybe a range of 10 or 15 feet would do, or what about making it melee?

Goober4473
2016-07-06, 04:06 PM
If you were to look at fire bolt vs poison spray which ups the damage by 1 it reduces the range by a significant amount (120->10).

So maybe a range of 10 or 15 feet would do, or what about making it melee?

Reducing it to 10 or 15 feet might work, theming it off of a lance you thrust rather than an energy beam, but I'd be loath to make it touch range, since clerics already have melee options. Perhaps something like a 20 foot range would be acceptable?

zeek0
2016-07-07, 04:42 AM
There's not a large difference between 10/15 and 30 feet, tactically speaking. A standard creature can reach you and attack you with no troubles either way.

Final Hyena
2016-07-07, 05:09 AM
It makes getting into range harder. It also plays a part when reach comes into affect.
I believe that 10 feet and having to deal with cover is a reasonable offset to the value of increased damage.

zeek0
2016-07-07, 07:22 AM
I suppose it all depends on how we imagine the spell. Is it for melee castera? close-range casters? blasters?

If nothing else, the range could be reduced to 15ft. This would keep the squishy clerics out of melee reach range, while still penalizing the spell for the increased damage output.

tombowings
2016-07-08, 12:40 AM
30 foot range seems ideal. At a 15 foot range, why not just strike with a hammer anyway. No teamwork needed and it'll probably deal more damage (1d8+3-ish).

Final Hyena
2016-07-08, 01:24 AM
It's not a comparison against the hammer, but against sacred flame. With a range of 30 it is almost always superior to sacred flame.
Also cantrips scale better than weapons for clerics.

tombowings
2016-07-08, 04:07 AM
It's not a comparison against the hammer, but against sacred flame. With a range of 30 it is almost always superior to sacred flame.
Also cantrips scale better than weapons for clerics.

I think any close-range spell must be compared to both the mace and sacred flame, but yes cantrips to scale better than weapons, but it is still a consideration at low levels. If the range is too short, there is little purpose if a hammer swing would be significantly more effective.

Final Hyena
2016-07-08, 05:51 AM
It's either given a very short range and overshadowed by a cleric with good strength from level 1 to 4.
Or given a longer range and the best cleric cantrip from level 5+.

I think a big issue with the spell is that while it scales like other cantrips the chance of the additional damage triggering isn't accounted for. An easier way to fix that would be if the bonus damage only triggered when you hit the creature again with the cantrip.

zeek0
2016-07-08, 06:53 AM
It's either given a very short range and overshadowed by a cleric with good strength from level 1 to 4.
Or given a longer range and the best cleric cantrip from level 5+.

I think a big issue with the spell is that while it scales like other cantrips the chance of the additional damage triggering isn't accounted for. An easier way to fix that would be if the bonus damage only triggered when you hit the creature again with the cantrip.

Well in my previous calculations I did take that into account. I assigned an 80% probability that the additional damage would go off. But I don't think that 1d6/1d4 would be unwarranted, it only boosts the average damage by 0.2.

I also have a question: what would be wrong if this spell did overshadow sacred flame, and reduced it to a niche spell for longer range / high AC / dealing with cover?

Final Hyena
2016-07-08, 09:46 AM
Your friends getting extra attack increases the average dpr of the cantrip. That should be compensated for.
The difference between one attack and two attacks results in more than +0.2 damage.
3.5*0.6=2.1
3.5*0.84=2.94
and if you want to consider the difference between two people attacking without and then with extra attack
3.5*0.84=2.94
3.5*0.9744=3.4104

The same reason we don't make Iceball a 3rd level aoe dealing 9d6 damage (an increase of 12.5%), which is only a little better than fireball but relegates it to the niche use of fire vulnerable creatures and burning the environment.
Lance (at 5th level) doing an average of 10.88 damage is an increase of (20.8%) over the 9 of flame. And that's with only one friendly PC attacking that creature.