1. ## Chaos Bolt: Powerful?

I initially wrote this spell off as weak. But then I sat down and did the math on it.

Its average damage, considering it can ricochet infinitely, is around 14.2 with a 12.5% chance to trigger. A Sorcerer with 18 CHA who empowers it raises the chances to 33% for the first two ricochet chances, and the damage to ~21.4.

What has been your experience on using this spell?

2. ## Re: Chaos Bolt: Powerful?

It's pretty good if your DM is fine with you twinning it.

3. ## Re: Chaos Bolt: Powerful?

Shouldn't the chance be around 23% with a reroll

Besides, I only consider it doing higher damage if it bounces back to the original target.
Since otherwise it's basically an insanely unreliable aoe spell

Which only happens 1.5% of the time (rolling doubles twice)

Which brings its average damage to around 12.7
Which is obviously worse than Chromatic Orb (13.5), not to mention scales worse as well

Which isn't accounting for accuracy, since then Magic Missile beats both of them

and if we need aoe, then Burning Hands is better (10.5 * Targets),
Since it's reliable and affects a decently large area

Then we need to consider if it's ever even worth using
Because Cantrips

4. ## Re: Chaos Bolt: Powerful?

Talamare, your post was hard to follow because of the consecutive dependent clauses.

The chances for a regular bolt jumping is 12.5% (verified by Excel simulation, but also by just math), but given it can happen infinitely many times, its total summed average damage is ~14.2

That's pre-Empowered.

I see your point though. Have you used it?

5. ## Re: Chaos Bolt: Powerful?

A creature can be targeted only once.

6. ## Re: Chaos Bolt: Powerful?

Originally Posted by LeonBH
Talamare, your post was hard to follow because of the consecutive dependent clauses.

The chances for a regular bolt jumping is 12.5% (verified by Excel simulation, but also by just math), but given it can happen infinitely many times, its total summed average damage is ~14.2

That's pre-Empowered.

I see your point though. Have you used it?
12.5% is for the first bounce, making it a jank aoe spell
Target 1 takes 12.5 avg damage
Target 2 takes 1.5625 avg damage

The way I see it is that the damage Target 2 takes is borderline meaningless, it's not significant until it bounces back to the first target. Which happens 12.5% of the 12.5%
So 1.5625% of the time, our original target is taking 12.5 additional damage

Which brings us to our single target damage of around 12.7
Now, as you said this happens infinitely. Tho limits are still a thing. We probably won't ever pass an average of 13 single target damage.

and again, this math assumes 100% accuracy. Each time the spell jumps it needs a new accuracy roll.

Let's assume... 70%? Accuracy

12.5 * .7 = 8.75
8.75 * .125 * .7 = 0.77
0.77 * .125 * .7 = 0.07

Average single target damage of 8.82, average total aoe damage of 9.6 (maybe 9.7)

Burning Hands is about 7.875 per target, so 2 targets we get 15.75

Also nah, I don't plan on using something that feel like a cantrip

7. ## Re: Chaos Bolt: Powerful?

Yes, 12.5% is the chance it hits two targets. Both targets 1 and 2 take an average 12.5 damage, but the second target will take that only 12.5% of the time.

8. ## Re: Chaos Bolt: Powerful?

My DM has a rule where if you roll a 1, you hit an ally (if they’re in fron of you). In our level 1 campaign, we were fighting some scarecrows. I rolled a 1 and killed a fellow PC, but the bolt chained, critted on the new roll, and killed a scarecrow. I’d basically used my ally’s head as a lightning rod. Good times all around.

9. ## Re: Chaos Bolt: Powerful?

Originally Posted by TheArcaneCaster
My DM has a rule where if you roll a 1, you hit an ally (if they’re in fron of you). In our level 1 campaign, we were fighting some scarecrows. I rolled a 1 and killed a fellow PC, but the bolt chained, critted on the new roll, and killed a scarecrow. I’d basically used my ally’s head as a lightning rod. Good times all around.
Hilarious, incredible, and tragic. 5 stars to this story, hehe.

10. ## Re: Chaos Bolt: Powerful?

I almost managed to get excited about this spell when I considered that upcasting it would possibly raise the chances of it going to another enemy. If ANY two dice matching caused it to jump, then it would start to join the ranks of viability for an upcasted dmg spell, considering most low level targeted dmg spells tend to get pointless as cantrips scale at higher levels. Some of them can become viable again thanks to upcasting, e.g. Scorching Ray doesn't compete with twinned firebolt but is redeemed somewhat by being a good single-target dmg spell when up-cast.

Alas, I re-read the spell and only the original two d8s matter for that so no. Up-casting doesn't redeem this spell. It's a pure low-level flavor choice for wild mages IMO.

11. ## Re: Chaos Bolt: Powerful?

I think that rolling a crit (which doubles the d8's) does count all d8's rolled for the purposes of ricocheting. It also strikes me that the Wild Mage's 18th level ability adds a third d8 to the mix.

12. ## Re: Chaos Bolt: Powerful?

Originally Posted by LeonBH
I think that rolling a crit (which doubles the d8's) does count all d8's rolled for the purposes of ricocheting.
Okay, so 5% chance of an increased chance to jump. Doesn't redeem the spell IMO.

Originally Posted by LeonBH
It also strikes me that the Wild Mage's 18th level ability adds a third d8 to the mix.
Or they could cast a firebolt cantrip and do 4d10.

At no point does this spell become "powerful". I think there are ways you can sorta redeem the spell from being horrible up to mediocre if you really want the flavor of it.

13. ## Re: Chaos Bolt: Powerful?

Point taken and acknowledged. Have you used the spell? What was your experience with it?

14. ## Re: Chaos Bolt: Powerful?

So if you were to dip champion 3 and have advantage you have about a 19% chance to get what a decent chance to make it chain.

What about a using an Invoker’s ability to maximize it? It’d require MCing but would it work?

15. ## Re: Chaos Bolt: Powerful?

That sounds like an infinite exploit. I don't know if that should work because Overchannel doesn't say maximize the dice, just deal maximum damage. Though if it did, it maximizes all the damage, so you always trigger the ricochet...

The Champion archetype only gives a crit at 19 for weapon attacks, and Hexblade only expands the crit dice for one target. So those dont work.

16. ## Re: Chaos Bolt: Powerful?

Originally Posted by LeonBH
I think that rolling a crit (which doubles the d8's) does count all d8's rolled for the purposes of ricocheting. It also strikes me that the Wild Mage's 18th level ability adds a third d8 to the mix.
Only if you ignore Jeremy Crawford's twitter (which I do!)

Originally Posted by Jeremy Crawford
The chance for chaos bolt to jump to another target is not lessened by a critical hit. The spell's text says you look at "both d8s"—that's the two dice in the spell itself, not extra dice added from another rule. #DnD

He is better off ignored most of the time.

I'm in full agreement with Dalebert, as someone who really wanted this spell to be worthwhile, right now the best we can hope for is to make it go from terrible to mediocre. Empower is good step as you can re-roll each d8 one time, getting you three chances (original roll + re-roll the first d8 + re-roll the second d8) to generate a split or about a 33% chance. Given the lack-luster damage, it's still not worth it.

If your DM takes pity on you, he may let you twin it: twin + empower would get you to about 55% chance of a single split, but that's a lot of investment that would have been better spent on almost anything else.

17. ## Re: Chaos Bolt: Powerful?

On paper it looks weak as hell, and I have no doubt that in practice it would be the same. Never going to bother with it because there are better alternatives.

Random damage type is just useless, like saying your sword spew rainbows when you attack with it. I read it as 'a chance to deal the damage type that the creature is resistant to'. If i wanted to exploit a creature's vulnerabilities, I'd use Chromatic Orb, which is already available to Sorcerers. If i want higher upfront damage, low chance of resistance and a nice rider, I'd use Guiding Bolt.

All things considered, a complete garbage of a spell.

18. ## Re: Chaos Bolt: Powerful?

Honestly, if Chaos Bolt worked the way I'd assumed it did (i.e. you could twin it and crits let you check all the d8s for doubles) it'd be a fun spell, not overly strong, but a neat effect if you like randomness. That's how it ended up being played in all the games I saw it in at AnonyCon last weekend, and it was fine. Playing it strictly by the letter of the law it's just so much worse than Chromatic Orb I'm not clear why you'd take it.

19. ## Re: Chaos Bolt: Powerful?

If I wanted to make the spell better, I’d probably go Half-Elf Hexblade/Sorcerer multiclass, take Empower and Elven Accuracy, and farm crits + rerolls for bounces. With a 19-20 threat range on our preferred target, we get a ~27% chance of a crit, and ignoring Crawford’s ruling, with a ~59% chance to roll a double with 4d8. The second bolt will still have a 14% chance to crit for those juicy high-probability doubles, so you have an okay enough chance of getting a third bolt (your crit chance is actually higher than your non-crit doubles chance without Empower rerolls, making crit fishing generally always better for Chaos Bolt even before you factor in extra damage dice), so you will get along well enough. Also, you can go Coffeelock for unlimited lower-level slots to spam Chaos Bolt, and maintain Darkness for your tri-advantage.

But then, you’re becoming a Half-Elf tri-advantage Hexblade Coffeelock Sorcerer just to make Chaos Bolt more viable, so...

20. ## Re: Chaos Bolt: Powerful?

Originally Posted by LeonBH
Point taken and acknowledged. Have you used the spell? What was your experience with it?
Oh, heck no. I remember getting briefly excited and then realizing none of the things that could have made it cool actually worked upon thinking them through, things like upcasting it to increase chance of jumping. It's just not designed well.

21. ## Re: Chaos Bolt: Powerful?

Wile this posts derives from the original context, here is a bit of feedback:

A) As a group, we genually acknowlage the spell as well... unpredictable.

B) We also acknowlage that, if someone casts it, he expects something unpredictable to happen, so we desided on some variant rules.

C) Basically:

Natural 1: Roll on a spell mishap table.
Narural 20: Treat all rolls as maximised, and reroll as apropriate.

Now, when someone casts it, we wait for a 1 or 20 for a good laugh or epic moment.

22. ## Re: Chaos Bolt: Powerful?

A creature can be targeted only once.
I want to repost this because the spell description reads:

"A creature can be targeted once one per casting of this spell."

It's the last line of text on the basic effect description in the book, but that sentence is missing from the spell card to anyone reading it from that.

23. ## Re: Chaos Bolt: Powerful?

Just for S and giggles, I just rolled 2d8 100 times and got only 9 time where I got the same number on both dice, then at 102 rolls I got my 10th identical pair. not really the best odds of getting lots of secondary targets on this spell. Tha's only a 10% chance unless you use Empower to re-roll and there's better uses for your SP than that.

24. ## Re: Chaos Bolt: Powerful?

Originally Posted by samcifer
Just for S and giggles, I just rolled 2d8 100 times and got only 9 time where I got the same number on both dice, then at 102 rolls I got my 10th identical pair. not really the best odds of getting lots of secondary targets on this spell. Tha's only a 10% chance unless you use Empower to re-roll and there's better uses for your SP than that.

25. ## Re: Chaos Bolt: Powerful?

Originally Posted by Talamare

26. ## Re: Chaos Bolt: Powerful?

Originally Posted by samcifer
Just make a copy to it into your own Drive

27. ## Re: Chaos Bolt: Powerful?

Originally Posted by Talamare
Just make a copy to it into your own Drive
So 10 out of 100, the same odds I got.

28. ## Re: Chaos Bolt: Powerful?

It's fun. Who cares if it might be considered an unreliable AoE spell? It's not an AoE spell, it's a fun spell that does reasonable damage and its randomness is part of why it's fun!

If all you do is min/max and run stats, then the game is nothing but calculated resource attrition. If you are never sure of what's going to happen, then you have a chance for spontaneous fun!

29. ## Re: Chaos Bolt: Powerful?

Originally Posted by LordEntrails
It's fun. Who cares if it might be considered an unreliable AoE spell? It's not an AoE spell, it's a fun spell that does reasonable damage and its randomness is part of why it's fun!

If all you do is min/max and run stats, then the game is nothing but calculated resource attrition. If you are never sure of what's going to happen, then you have a chance for spontaneous fun!
It sounds ideal for a Chaos Sorc.

30. ## Re: Chaos Bolt: Powerful?

Originally Posted by samcifer
So 10 out of 100, the same odds I got.
Bounces around 9~15

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