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    Default The Crystal Cannon-- a general magic fix [3.5, PEACH]

    Philosophy

    Everyone can agree that casters are significantly more powerful than other classes, for the simple reason that spellcasting is far more effective than anything that martial classes can do. These forums see a never-ending stream of ideas and nerfs to reduce the power of magic, of which this is only the latest example. There must be some reason I think my fix is more valid. My opinion, stated simply, is that it’s ok for spellcasters to have a strong offense.

    Before exploding, allow me to explain what I mean by that. Obviously I don’t mean keeping magic as it is. Examination of the specific rules will note a number of rules which do reduce the power of offensive spells and debuffs. But my opinion, based on my experience with the game, is that D&D is a team effort. It can be fun to have a guy on your team who can lay waste to cities, so long as he is not self-sufficient.

    And that is the key point of this “fix—” defensive magic. Full casters should, in my mind, be glass cannons, capable of wielding incredible mystic might, but requiring protection. The wizard should not, under any circumstances, be harder to injure than the fighter. If a player wants to toy with the fundamental forces of creation, he pays the price of being easily slaughtered in physical combat.

    The caster, then, becomes both a powerful asset and a liability. He can rain death on your foes, but needs his allies for protection. The game becomes more of a team effort, at higher levels. I do not want to include any rule which reduces the fun of playing a caster— I would much rather trust my players not to break a potentially powerful class than reduce their enjoyment of the game in the name of balance. (For an example of this, I would offer the case of magic in Exalted- extremely powerful, but takes two rounds to cast. Speaking as someone currently playing a caster, this is not fun in combat, since it leaves me with literally half as many actions as everyone else).

    Many of the specific spell nerfs are based around drawbacks rather than direct reductions in power. You can still polymorph into a choker… but you might wind up forgetting that you ever were a wizard. You can spam summon monster spells… but sooner or later, you’ll disturb something nasty. You can layer on defensive enchantments… but they might explode at a critical moment. And so on.

    This fix will not make mundane characters significantly more powerful, and it will not fix every broken spell or combo out there. I highly recommend that this fix be used alongside class-specific fixes— both ones that boost martial characters, and ones that reduce the power of casters.

    General Rules

    • All spells which directly target a creature or which deal energy damage have the property Spell Resistance: Yes.
    • Shield bonuses are added to touch AC.
    • The fatigued condition imposes a -2 penalty to caster level and a -1 penalty to spell save DCs. The exhausted condition imposes a -6 penalty to caster level, and a -3 penalty to spell save DCs. The caster level penalties cannot reduce a character's caster level below one-half its normal state.


    Polymorph/Alter Self Nerfs

    • Characters cannot continue to cast spells in their new form unless it is capable of speech and fine gestures (for example, a giant would be able to cast spells, but a dire lion would not).
    • Even if the new form can cast spells, the caster suffers a -2 penalty to caster level, due to his unfamiliarity with his new body and the difficulty of controlling magical energies in an unfamiliar body. (Reduce the penalty to -1 if the form is of the same type, and increase it to -4 if the form is drastically different, such as an elf who transforms into a dragon).
    • Changing your body and brain is an inherently risky business. Every [interval]* a character spends in a form with a type other than his own, he must make a Will save, with a DC equal to normal DC of a spell of this level, +1 for each [interval] they’ve spent in the form, +1 for each of these saves they’ve failed. As they start failing these saves, they begin forgetting their own identity. Each failed save causes the caster to lose 1d4 random spell slots or prepared spells. If the caster fails 5 saves, he becomes permanently convinced that he is a creature of the type they've shapeshifted into. They discard all memories of their past life (including feats, prepared spell slots, spells known, and more) that don't "fit" with their new form, and begin acting in a manner appropriate to the new creature, even if the spell ends. This condition can be cured by any spell capable of curing insanity. A caster who’s failed at least one of these saves must make an additional save to dismiss the spell.
    • It's especially difficult to maintain your mental balance in the heat of battle. Even if a spell's duration is more than one minute/level, when in combat, the subject must make a save every two rounds.
    • A druid's Wild Shape is subject to these limitations. A class without strong spellcasting, however, like the Wildshape Ranger or Beastman treats the interval of his Wild Shape as one step higher-- without prior access to such strong magic, they have to train much more intensely to make use of the ability, training which includes expertise in maintaining their mental balance.


    *[Interval] is based on the normal duration of the spell, and shown on the table below.

    {table=head]Spell Duration|[Interval]
    1 round/level|1 round
    1 minute/level|2 rounds
    10 minutes/level|1 minute
    1 hour/level|10 minutes
    1 day/level|1 hour[/table]

    Summoning Nerfs

    • The strain of binding and controlling a summoned creature imposes a cumulative -1 penalty to caster level for each creature currently summoned.
    • When casting a summoning spell, there is a 1% chance per spell level that the spell goes horribly awry and summons something else entirely. The exact nature of the mistake is left up to the DM, depending on the power of the spell and what the desired result was. Occasionally, this results in something insignificantly weak, such as a celestial chipmunk. Other times, your summon monster II delivers a hezrou. The new creature is not bound by any sort of magic, and may break the summon at any time it wishes and return to its home plane. It cannot be dismissed by dismissing the spell.
    • A creature summoned into a situation it doesn’t like may attempt to break the magical contract and escape the plane with a successful Will save (DC as normal for a spell of the summon’s level). Making this check is a swift action. A particularly upset summoned creature may remain on the plane for the remainder of the spell’s duration to attack the caster, who may not dismiss it.
    • The chance of a Conjuration [Calling] spell such as planar ally going horribly wrong is 5% per spell level. If the new target has too many hit die to be affected by the spell normally, it may burst through summoning circles and constraints with ease, typically with horrible consequences for the summoner.
    • Conjuration [Calling] spells do not have experience costs to cast; however, the creatures almost always demand that the summoner sacrifice part of his own life force as part of their payment for the services, typically to the quantity of 1/10th the gold piece cost (see the spell lesser planar ally for details.
    • DMs are encouraged to role-play the summoning and negotiation process, rather than allow it to happen automatically. Even when all conditions are met, sometimes summoned creatures are just too stubborn to be compelled.
    • Outsiders summoning other outsiders from their own plane, such as a demon's summon ability, are not subject to the restrictions noted above.


    Illusions
    All creatures get a Will save upon first seeing an illusion spell, or upon seeing it cast, regardless of whether or not they "interact" with it. Targets get a +2 bonus on their saves if the illusion is extremely unbelievable (such as a famous warrior-king walking into a goblin den).

    Divinations
    Dungeon Masters should never give clear answers to spells like divination. To use a specifically targeted divination like scrying or locate creature, the caster must have either an extremely strong personal connection to the target, or else must have a physical connection to them, such as a piece of hair, a fingernail, or a piece of the target's clothing.

    Teleport Nerf
    Creatures adjacent to a caster activating a teleportation spell would would not normally be included in the spell's effect may make a Reflex save (DC as normal for a teleportation spell of the level) to “hitch a ride” and be carried along by the magic, ending up adjacent to the caster. For every 20 feet a creature's movement speed exceeds 20ft per round, he may be an additional 5 feet away and still "hitch a ride." (Thus, a wizard could grab his friend's hand and cast teleport to move them both away, but the adjacent orc could make a reflex save to follow him. Alternately, a wizard could cast dimension hop, and his adjacent rogue ally could make a reflex save to follow him, even though the spell normally only affects one creature.)

    Metamagic
    • Feats and abilities which reduce the spell level adjustment of metamagic, such as Arcane Thesis, apply to the to total adjustment, not individually.
    • Unless a metamagic feat already has a +0 spell level adjustment, the adjustment cannot be reduced blow 0.
    • No single spell can have more metamagic feats applied to it than one-half its spell level. For example, an orb of force (a 4th level spell) could be maximized and empowered (2 feats), but not twinned, maximized, and empowered (3 feats).


    Spell Stacking
    For the purposes of these rules, an “ongoing spell” is defined as any spell which targets a specific creature and has a duration.

    • When casting an spell on a target affected by ongoing spells, there is a chance that the effort will backfire, dispelling all ongoing spells and inflicting damage equal to the number of ongoing spells currently affecting him squared. The chance of failure is equal to twice the number of ongoing spells times ten. Any spell which targets a creature can set off a backfire cascade, even if its duration is instantaneous. Instantaneous spells inflict their effect before rolling for failure chance.


    {table=head]Number of Ongoing Spells Currently in Effect|Chance of new spell triggering the backfire cascade|Damage inflicted on a failure
    0|0%|—
    1|20%|1d6
    2|40%|4d6
    3|60%|9d6
    4|80%|16d6
    5|100%|25d6[/table]

    Save-or-Dies
    Instant kill spells such as Slay Living are no longer auto-kills. Instead, the spell deals 1 damage per caster level, and roll 1d12 per caster level, with a Fortitude save for half "damage". If the "damage" rolled is more than the target's hit points, they die. If it is less, there is no effect from the spell. For example, a 10th level cleric casts slay living against a dragon with 74 hit points remaining. He rolls 10d12, and comes up with a result of 83. If the dragon succeeds on its Fortitude save, it takes 41 points of "damage" and is thus unaffected. If it fails its fortitude save, it dies. If, the next turn, it has 37 hit points remaining, and the cleric casts slay living again and rolls 79 "damage," the dragon is doomed-- a successful save reduces the "damage" to 39, which is still more than his current hit points.

    In addition, if a creature fails its save but still resists the effect due to high hit points, it is exhausted.

    (Credit to Seerow for the basic idea)

    Wall Spells
    Any creature who would be encircled by a wall-type spell at the time of its casting may make a special Reflex save to attempt to escape the area before the spell completely takes effect. The DC is as normal for a spell of the wall spell's level, +5 for every 5ft between its current square and the outside edge of the wall. It must have sufficient speed to escape the wall's area in a single move action. If it chooses to attempt this save, it may not take a move action on its next turn.

    Thoughts? Suggestions?
    Last edited by Grod_The_Giant; 2012-03-31 at 10:52 PM.
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    Default Re: The Crystal Cannon-- a general magic fix [3.5, PEACH]

    How does your adjustment to alter self/polymorph affect the Wild Shape class feature?

    You have not weakened the divination or illusion schools (two of the most unfair ones) in any significant way, other than reducing the number of self-targeted illusions a caster may safely have active at any time.

    Personally, I think that casters should lack "no-buttons", and instead have the spells that would need to be "no'd" nerfed as a result. So, invisibility would need to be nerfed, but see invisibility and true seeing would be removed. Illusions should allow a saving throw to disbelieve to anyone who views them, even without interacting with them.

    Do your changes to Summoning affect an outsider's ability to call allies? Because those seem more restrictive, and therefore, I really couldn't see a pit fiend attempting to call a bone devil and ending up with a celestial dire ape or something. Besides, they already have a chance to simply fail.

    You also need to fix conjuration (calling) abilities, such as gate and lesser planar ally. Dunno how, but those are really unfair. Maybe say that the creature you call charges you extra gp for each spell-like ability or other resource you ask it to expend for you?
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    Default Re: The Crystal Cannon-- a general magic fix [3.5, PEACH]

    I like a bunch of aspect of this, but I have a few suggestions.

    First, the spell-stacking thing. I agree that having too many spells on one target is a problem, but I feel like it's a bit...backwards the way you have it. A person is limited to a number of active spells equal to their Wisdom modifier, even if they're not the one controlling the spells, or have any knowledge of them at all.

    As a replacement, might I suggest copying some from WoD's Mage?
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    A caster may have a number of active spells equal to their spellcasting ability modifier. Instantaneous spells don't count towards that limit. Once the limit is reached, no other non-instant spells can be cast until at least one is dismissed.

    Alternatively, if you wanted to require casters to specialize in more than one ability score, you could (finally) distinguish between arcane and divine magic by changing the ability score necessary for how many spell you can have active for a time. You could say it's Constitution for arcane (the magical energies are derived from the arcane caster's body, and he can only have so much of his inner power acting at once), and Wisdom for divine (the caster's number of active spells is limited to his understanding of his deity). Yes, that doesn't really affect most divine classes, but it's a suggestion. Maybe you could use Charisma (the caster's spell limit is based on his ability to convince his deity to grant that many miracles at once).

    Additionally, having too much magic around you distorts other magical energies - any creature may have only a certain number of active effects on it (detrimental or beneficial) before all that power begins to interfere with spellcasting. For each additional magical effect acting on the creature, it's caster level for all spell andspell-like abilities decreases by 2. As normal, if your caster level isn't high enough to cast a spell, then you can't cast it.

    {table=head]Level|Number of Spells
    1-4|1
    5-8|2
    9-12|3
    13-16|4
    17-20|5[/table]

    Then you could have a metamagic feat, Relinquished Spell: +1 or 2 spell levels (not sure which), the spell does not count towards the caster's spell limit, but the caster cannot control the spell after being cast (can't dismiss it, or control the effect).


    I really like the teleport one; it makes it like teleportation is a near-instantaneous portal opening up that the affected creatures step through, but other creatures nearby can get through, too, if they're fast enough. Might I suggest making it any creature for whom the caster is within natural reach?

    I'm not sure about the others. Give me a little bit, and I'll come back and make some comments...
    Last edited by Absol197; 2012-02-28 at 03:40 PM.
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    Default Re: The Crystal Cannon-- a general magic fix [3.5, PEACH]

    One big problem: slow and the like now have the ability to wipe out an enemy's defensive buffs and deal damage, which leads to everyone underbuffing to prevent that exact situation. Even more hilarious is that things you'd typically only want to cast on allies, like bless, you suddenly choose to include the BBEG as your 'ally' for that spell and force a chance to overwrite one of their other spells and a chance for massive damage and auto-dispel of all their ongoing effects.

    This also has a greater impact on the lower-tier classes, just because they're more heavily reliant on the casters to buff them. A wizard limited to 1 buff is likely to be annoyed, a fighter limited to 1 buff is likely to be woefully underpowered.
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    Default Re: The Crystal Cannon-- a general magic fix [3.5, PEACH]

    The idea is overall a good one, and definitely more like the original vision of D&D. About the implementation, though:
    -Let some of the weaker (e.g. acid arrow) conjuration acid spells be SR: No. It makes sense, and won't be overpowered because it's relatively weak.
    -Shapechange is still overpowered, as you don't have to stay in a single form beyond the battle.
    -You seem to be confusing summoning for calling. For calling spells, your rules make a lot of sense. For summoning, I'd say no fix is needed except maybe restricting the list to the PHB one and limiting summons' use of spells and SLAs (as summons are far weaker than the summoner).
    -The backfire cascade can make debuffs incredibly powerful.
    -The teleport nerf makes the spell too weak and too selfish.

    And one more very important point: While "glass cannon" is a good idea in theory, it does require some way for the fighter (or equivalent) to prevent the enemy from just ignoring him and going for the wizard.
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    Default Re: The Crystal Cannon-- a general magic fix [3.5, PEACH]

    Quote Originally Posted by NeoSeraphi View Post
    How does your adjustment to alter self/polymorph affect the Wild Shape class feature?
    Um. Thematically/to be consistent, you probably should use the rules. But you could also make the case that the classes with access to this more specialized magic can better withstand its effects. It could go either way. From a balance persepctive, I'd say that if you're using the straight Druid, you should use the rules. Not so much if you're using the Shapeshift variant, or something like the Wildshape Ranger.

    You have not weakened the divination or illusion schools (two of the most unfair ones) in any significant way, other than reducing the number of self-targeted illusions a caster may safely have active at any time.
    Whoops. Illusion spells should offer a save to anyone who sees them cast, as there's a split-second of imperfect image as the magic forms, or something like that (not sure if that's already the case by RAW). I'm less worried about the school in general, since it rewards clever and outside-the-box thinking a lot more than just chucking around save-or-dies does.

    Divination... I'm not really sure about a comprehensive fix, other than to tell DMs to give cryptic answers to divinations and the like. Never really had anyone use it in a game, so I'm not entirely familiar with where it's broken.

    Personally, I think that casters should lack "no-buttons", and instead have the spells that would need to be "no'd" nerfed as a result. So, invisibility would need to be nerfed, but see invisibility and true seeing would be removed. Illusions should allow a saving throw to disbelieve to anyone who views them, even without interacting with them.
    True, but that starts to get into the more difficult spell-by-spell minutia.

    Do your changes to Summoning affect an outsider's ability to call allies? Because those seem more restrictive, and therefore, I really couldn't see a pit fiend attempting to call a bone devil and ending up with a celestial dire ape or something. Besides, they already have a chance to simply fail.
    Oh. No, they do not. I'll clarify, thanks.

    You also need to fix conjuration (calling) abilities, such as gate and lesser planar ally. Dunno how, but those are really unfair. Maybe say that the creature you call charges you extra gp for each spell-like ability or other resource you ask it to expend for you?
    Hmm. Aside from role-playing the exchange more and having DMs be picky about what a given outsider might or might not do... maybe add a truename component?

    Quote Originally Posted by Absol197 View Post
    First, the spell-stacking thing. I agree that having too many spells on one target is a problem, but I feel like it's a bit...backwards the way you have it. A person is limited to a number of active spells equal to their Wisdom modifier, even if they're not the one controlling the spells, or have any knowledge of them at all.
    ...yeah, looking back, the absolute limit is a bit weird and probably unnecessary, given the scaling failure chances.

    Additionally, having too much magic around you distorts other magical energies - any creature may have only a certain number of active effects on it (detrimental or beneficial) before all that power begins to interfere with spellcasting. For each additional magical effect acting on the creature, it's caster level for all spell andspell-like abilities decreases by 2. As normal, if your caster level isn't high enough to cast a spell, then you can't cast it.
    The magic-distorting-magic bit was the idea behind the failure chances.

    I really like the teleport one; it makes it like teleportation is a near-instantaneous portal opening up that the affected creatures step through, but other creatures nearby can get through, too, if they're fast enough. Might I suggest making it any creature for whom the caster is within natural reach?
    I thought about that, but I decided that it was more of a function of speed than reach.

    [QUOTE=lsfreak;12806905]One big problem: slow and the like now have the ability to wipe out an enemy's defensive buffs and deal damage, which leads to everyone underbuffing to prevent that exact situation. Even more hilarious is that things you'd typically only want to cast on allies, like bless, you suddenly choose to include the BBEG as your 'ally' for that spell and force a chance to overwrite one of their other spells and a chance for massive damage and auto-dispel of all their ongoing effects.[QUOTE]
    Gosh. Players not layering on buffs for fear of backfiring? Unconventional new tactics being rewarded? The horror!

    This also has a greater impact on the lower-tier classes, just because they're more heavily reliant on the casters to buff them. A wizard limited to 1 buff is likely to be annoyed, a fighter limited to 1 buff is likely to be woefully underpowered.
    This is true to an extent, but in my opinion, if a class needs such extensive support from another class to be functional, it's every bit as big a problem as overpowered casting, if not worse. You'll note that I recommend that this fix be used with class-by-class homebrew to bump up the playability of classes like the fighter and paladin.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yitzi View Post
    -Let some of the weaker (e.g. acid arrow) conjuration acid spells be SR: No. It makes sense, and won't be overpowered because it's relatively weak.
    I do see your point, but... simplicity. I really don't want to have to come up with any sort of spell-by-spell ruling. And besides... you're still conjuring magical acid that disappears at the end of the duration.

    -Shapechange is still overpowered, as you don't have to stay in a single form beyond the battle.
    Crap, you're right. I didn't realize it lasted so long. Umm...

    -You seem to be confusing summoning for calling. For calling spells, your rules make a lot of sense. For summoning, I'd say no fix is needed except maybe restricting the list to the PHB one and limiting summons' use of spells and SLAs (as summons are far weaker than the summoner).
    The two subschools are thematically identical-- the calling spells are simply more powerful, more specific versions of the Summon X spells. I see no reason to distinguish the two so much.

    (I will admit to some level of personal bias here, as I have a great dislike of summons, necromancy, or any sort of minion mastery that ends up with one player taking 5 times as long as everyone else to take his turn).

    -The backfire cascade can make debuffs incredibly powerful.
    Only against the few caster-types who are already buffed to the gills. The average monster won't have a single enchantment on him to begin with. And I would think that the potential for explosion would make stacking debuffs less effective, as you start running into very high chances of all your spells failing at once. The damage isn't that major compared with the number of turns wasted stacking spells (it takes 6 turns and a heck of a lot of luck to get to the max, and 25d6/6 turns is an average of 12.5 damage/turn). And finally, debuffing is probably the most party-friendly way for a caster to handle offense, so making it a more attractive

    -The teleport nerf makes the spell too weak and too selfish.
    Weak? There's still the full out-of-battle utility, not to mention the fact that you can still run away and cast your spell just fine. And I'm sorry, but I have no idea what you mean by calling it selfish.

    And one more very important point: While "glass cannon" is a good idea in theory, it does require some way for the fighter (or equivalent) to prevent the enemy from just ignoring him and going for the wizard.
    There are defensive trip builds, and offensive builds to get into the enemy's face and hold them there. And, you know, not every foe is smart enough to go right for scrawniest-looking guy in the group.
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    Default Re: The Crystal Cannon-- a general magic fix [3.5, PEACH]

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    ...yeah, looking back, the absolute limit is a bit weird and probably unnecessary, given the scaling failure chances.

    The magic-distorting-magic bit was the idea behind the failure chances.
    I'm still not a fan of the failure chance as the means to that end, though. Primarily because it doesn't take the mage's skill into account. At higher levels, a mage should be able to stack effects higher than a low-level mage can, because he has more training, and he knows how to balance all those effects together without them interfering, or for whatever reason. Plus, I'm a little iffy of having class features that can accidentally kill you.

    I tend to see a lot of magic acting on one creature as a bunch of people using the same radio frequency at once. If there's too much chatter, then any attempt you make to get a call out is going to be more difficult because of the noise. Not like a pile of volatile chemicals, and if you accidentally increase to critical mass, it goes boom.
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    Default Re: The Crystal Cannon-- a general magic fix [3.5, PEACH]

    Quote Originally Posted by Absol197 View Post
    I'm still not a fan of the failure chance as the means to that end, though. Primarily because it doesn't take the mage's skill into account. At higher levels, a mage should be able to stack effects higher than a low-level mage can, because he has more training, and he knows how to balance all those effects together without them interfering, or for whatever reason.
    Hmm... how about you can subtract your caster level from the failure chance?

    Plus, I'm a little iffy of having class features that can accidentally kill you.
    There's always the option of doing a rod-of-wonder type roll for unintended side effects.
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    Default Re: The Crystal Cannon-- a general magic fix [3.5, PEACH]

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    The two subschools are thematically identical
    False. Summoning brings a manifestation, calling brings the actual creature. Thematically they're totally different, to the point that it would not be absurd to move summoning (and healing) to Evocation.

    Only against the few caster-types who are already buffed to the gills.
    Now that I think of it, you're right, as the damage per spell on an implosion isn't enough to make it an effective damage mechanism.

    Weak? There's still the full out-of-battle utility
    How, if you risk leaving someone behind because they failed their reflex save? Although now I realize you probably meant that even an enemy can do so; that really should be clarified, though.

    There are defensive trip builds, and offensive builds to get into the enemy's face and hold them there.
    True. And by going this route, you force every martial character to go for one of those builds.

    And, you know, not every foe is smart enough to go right for scrawniest-looking guy in the group.
    True, but enough are to make it a problem.
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    Default Re: The Crystal Cannon-- a general magic fix [3.5, PEACH]

    Quote Originally Posted by Yitzi View Post
    False. Summoning brings a manifestation, calling brings the actual creature. Thematically they're totally different, to the point that it would not be absurd to move summoning (and healing) to Evocation.
    Can you find me an official source for this? Because at the moment it seems like a matter of personal interpretation.

    How, if you risk leaving someone behind because they failed their reflex save? Although now I realize you probably meant that even an enemy can do so; that really should be clarified, though.
    The save is for an enemy to manage to enter the area of the spell; friends can follow along as normal. In fact, there's a chance that a normally single-target spell like dimes

    True. And by going this route, you force every martial character to go for one of those builds.
    Caster's aren't that weak under the new rules; I'm just trying to prevent the kind of layered defenses that make them hardier than front-line melee fighters.
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    Default Re: The Crystal Cannon-- a general magic fix [3.5, PEACH]

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    Can you find me an official source for this? Because at the moment it seems like a matter of personal interpretation.
    The save is for an enemy to manage to enter the area of the spell; friends can follow along as normal.
    That makes more sense, but does need to be made explicit.

    Caster's aren't that weak under the new rules; I'm just trying to prevent the kind of layered defenses that make them hardier than front-line melee fighters.
    Still...if you have a defensive character (say a fighter, although there are plenty of options) who can't stop enemies via trips or the like, and an offensive character (say, a wizard under your fix), the defensive character will feel useless if the enemy chooses to go after the offensive character (and smart enemies will). This applies even if the offensive character is not really weak defensively, so long as the offense/defense ratio is substantially far apart for the different classes. Now, you could add some method that every defensive character can use to prevent that, but at higher levels it has to be more than just "be in the way" due to things like flying. Or you can make offensive and defensive builds possible for both casters and martial characters, and then just let the party take one approach or the other. I'm just saying it's not as simple as you might think.
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    Default Re: The Crystal Cannon-- a general magic fix [3.5, PEACH]

    Quote Originally Posted by Yitzi View Post
    That makes more sense, but does need to be made explicit.
    Ok, I'll edit it.

    Quote Originally Posted by SRD
    Conjuration
    Huh. I file that under "stupid" and "I disapprove." But I'll make another note.

    Still...if you have a defensive character (say a fighter, although there are plenty of options) who can't stop enemies via trips or the like, and an offensive character (say, a wizard under your fix), the defensive character will feel useless if the enemy chooses to go after the offensive character (and smart enemies will). This applies even if the offensive character is not really weak defensively, so long as the offense/defense ratio is substantially far apart for the different classes. Now, you could add some method that every defensive character can use to prevent that, but at higher levels it has to be more than just "be in the way" due to things like flying. Or you can make offensive and defensive builds possible for both casters and martial characters, and then just let the party take one approach or the other. I'm just saying it's not as simple as you might think.
    See my point about this fix being intended to be used alongside class fixes. My fighter fix has the ability to stop people from running by him. My paladin fix can throw himself in front of a foe. My barbarian fix can cripple foes, intimidate them, or just be aggressive enough to make himself a threat as well. Tome of Battle.

    (also, you know... battlefield control is still there, and is less nerfed than other areas, as it rewards clever playing rather than just clever spell selection)
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    Default Re: The Crystal Cannon-- a general magic fix [3.5, PEACH]

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    See my point about this fix being intended to be used alongside class fixes. My fighter fix has the ability to stop people from running by him. My paladin fix can throw himself in front of a foe. My barbarian fix can cripple foes, intimidate them, or just be aggressive enough to make himself a threat as well. Tome of Battle.
    Ah, ok, that makes sense. Consider adding a "taunt" mechanic for some classes as well.

    (also, you know... battlefield control is still there, and is less nerfed than other areas, as it rewards clever playing rather than just clever spell selection)
    True.
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    Default Re: The Crystal Cannon-- a general magic fix [3.5, PEACH]

    Updated with some simple metamagic nerfs, a bit more against battlefield control, and the save-or-die houserule I tend to use.

    Despite what I said earlier, I am working on a revision of a number of core spells-- reasonable nerfs of some of the most powerful spells (I'm looking at you, Glitterdust) and upgrades of some of the weakest (coughPolarRaycough). That'll be an entirely separate thread, but it's a thing I'm doing. So yeah. Cool.
    Last edited by Grod_The_Giant; 2012-03-07 at 10:13 PM.
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    Default Re: The Crystal Cannon-- a general magic fix [3.5, PEACH]

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    Updated with some simple metamagic nerfs, and the save-or-die houserule I tend to use.
    The main issue with that houserule is that it makes the spell even more all-or-nothing than it already is. You might want to consider looking at my Condition Levels houserule (part of the fix linked in my sig) for additional ideas on dealing with save-or-dies (as well as stuff like Glitterdust).

    and upgrades of some of the weakest (coughPolarRaycough).
    Yeah, Polar Ray is pretty pathetic. It almost looks like they over-nerfed a stronger spell.

    You might want to consider DEX damage for your boost to Polar Ray.
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    Default Re: The Crystal Cannon-- a general magic fix [3.5, PEACH]

    Quote Originally Posted by Yitzi View Post
    The main issue with that houserule is that it makes the spell even more all-or-nothing than it already is. You might want to consider looking at my Condition Levels houserule (part of the fix linked in my sig) for additional ideas on dealing with save-or-dies (as well as stuff like Glitterdust)
    I'm not sure how it's more all-or-nothing than before. You can kill something that's been weakened even on a failed save. (and not "5d6 away from death") weakened either.
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    Default Re: The Crystal Cannon-- a general magic fix [3.5, PEACH]

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    I'm not sure how it's more all-or-nothing than before. You can kill something that's been weakened even on a failed save. (and not "5d6 away from death") weakened either.
    Yes, other people can contribute before your spell, but not after. So it doesn't make the opponent useless, but it still is all-or-nothing in that it's either finishes him off or does nothing. It doesn't even do damage if the target has lots of HP like many save-or-die spells do on a failed save.

    So it fixes the "make martial useless" problem, but not the "make martial almost never get the finishing blow" problem. So I suppose it is somewhat of a help in that general area, but if I were doing it I'd prefer something with an intermediate effect.
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    Default Re: The Crystal Cannon-- a general magic fix [3.5, PEACH]

    How about if they do 1 damage/caster level as necrotic energy suffuses the target's body? The damage being applied before the rest of the spell's effects, and is not affected by the save?
    Last edited by Grod_The_Giant; 2012-03-09 at 05:50 PM.
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    Default Re: The Crystal Cannon-- a general magic fix [3.5, PEACH]

    Better, although I still prefer a nondamaging effect for if they fail the save but resist the full effect via hit points.
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    Default Re: The Crystal Cannon-- a general magic fix [3.5, PEACH]

    Quote Originally Posted by Yitzi View Post
    Better, although I still prefer a nondamaging effect for if they fail the save but resist the full effect via hit points.
    Yeah, Ok. Maybe fatigue or exhaustion. (which now affect your CL and save DCs)
    Last edited by Grod_The_Giant; 2012-03-17 at 12:35 PM.
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    Default Re: The Crystal Cannon-- a general magic fix [3.5, PEACH]

    I would have said some negative levels (as that fits the idea of a death effect better).
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    Default Re: The Crystal Cannon-- a general magic fix [3.5, PEACH]

    Quote Originally Posted by Yitzi View Post
    I would have said some negative levels (as that fits the idea of a death effect better).
    Maybe, but 1d4 unavoidable negative levels are apparently worth a 4th level spell, and 2d4 a 9th level.
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    Default Re: The Crystal Cannon-- a general magic fix [3.5, PEACH]

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    Maybe, but 1d4 unavoidable negative levels are apparently worth a 4th level spell, and 2d4 a 9th level.
    And therefore 1d4 avoidable negative levels (after all, if he actually makes the save then it still doesn't apply) is a perfectly decent secondary effect for a 5th level spell (which is where save-or-die spells start coming in.)
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