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  1. - Top - End - #121
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    Default Re: How to not suck as a Sorcerer?

    Of course Phantasmal Force cannot inflict status conditions beyond what the spell says it can. It can't make an illusion other than a bridge by RAW, and all other illusory phenomenon are up to the DM to allow or not (as with all illusion spells).

    But if the illusion blocks line of sight, or is too noisy to drown out other sounds, then the targets are effectively blind or deaf, even if they don't have the status condition (the same way you can't see someone standing behind a wall even if you're not blind or they're not invisible, or can't hear someone talking in a concert).
    Last edited by LeonBH; 2018-01-02 at 04:46 AM.

  2. - Top - End - #122
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    Default Re: How to not suck as a Sorcerer?

    Quote Originally Posted by LeonBH View Post
    Of course Phantasmal Force cannot inflict status conditions beyond what the spell says it can. It can't make an illusion other than a bridge by RAW, and all other illusory phenomenon are up to the DM to allow or not (as with all illusion spells).

    But if the illusion blocks line of sight, or is too noisy to drown out other sounds, then the targets are effectively blind or deaf, even if they don't have the status condition (the same way you can't see someone standing behind a wall even if you're not blind or they're not invisible, or can't hear someone talking in a concert).
    the suggestion was using it to restrain a person or keep them from speaking.

    and no, there is a rather large difference between deafness and being surrounded by things that make loud noises (for one thing, you can just walk away from the things making loud noises, and for another, you could still hear other noises even in a loud environment, it would just be harder).

    likewise, there is a rather large difference between blindness and something being in the way. you can, much like with the loud noises, simply move away. you can potentially see around it, or in all directions except for the one where the object is.

    and in any event, it certainly cannot do what was suggested when i said it couldn't do those things. it could still have uses; you could make a phantasmal force image of a solid wall around your own party, and that one enemy would not be able to see them until it makes a successful int check for example (though it would know more or less where they are unless they use an action to hide). but it isn't going to leave anyone hogtied and gagged and helpless.

  3. - Top - End - #123
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    Quote Originally Posted by SharkForce View Post
    the suggestion was using it to restrain a person or keep them from speaking.

    and no, there is a rather large difference between deafness and being surrounded by things that make loud noises (for one thing, you can just walk away from the things making loud noises, and for another, you could still hear other noises even in a loud environment, it would just be harder).

    likewise, there is a rather large difference between blindness and something being in the way. you can, much like with the loud noises, simply move away. you can potentially see around it, or in all directions except for the one where the object is.

    and in any event, it certainly cannot do what was suggested when i said it couldn't do those things. it could still have uses; you could make a phantasmal force image of a solid wall around your own party, and that one enemy would not be able to see them until it makes a successful int check for example (though it would know more or less where they are unless they use an action to hide). but it isn't going to leave anyone hogtied and gagged and helpless.
    Phantasmal Force is supposed to be "no larger than a 10-foot cube": do you mean that all party should fit inside the cube, or do you consider that you could "flatten" the total volume to allow thinner shapes but in "larger" dimensions (not sure if I'm clear on that question)? If the latter, would it be RAW or houserule (imo it would be houserule but re-reading it's not crystal in the spell description)?
    Last edited by Citan; 2018-01-02 at 05:44 AM.

  4. - Top - End - #124
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    Default Re: How to not suck as a Sorcerer?

    The target can walk away from a loud sound or wall, unless Phantasmal Force makes it a mobile dome of ever-banging gongs centered on the target, or an opaque boiling gelatinous substance stuck around the target's entire head, in which case it is impossible to leave the area since it moves with them.

    And no, it cannot actually bind or gag anyone. It can leave them entirely helpless though by robbing them of their senses.

    Quote Originally Posted by Citan View Post
    Phantasmal Force is supposed to be "no larger than a 10-foot cube": do you mean that all party should fit inside the cube, or do you consider that you could "flatten" the total volume to allow thinner shapes but in "larger" dimensions (not sure if I'm clear on that question)? If the latter, would it be RAW or houserule (imo it would be houserule but re-reading it's not crystal in the spell description)?
    PHB 204: "You select a cube's point of origin, which lies anywhere on a face of the cubic effect. The cube's size is expressed as the length of each side"

    Which means a 10ft cube is a cube with 10ft on each side. You can't flatten it to keep the same volume.
    Last edited by LeonBH; 2018-01-02 at 05:52 AM.

  5. - Top - End - #125
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    Quote Originally Posted by Citan View Post
    Yes, sorry, it's definitely a trap, FOR OP.
    He took Shadow for the Hound, he wants to be a debuffer.
    - Armor is not a problem in his experience, so there goes the armor proficiency.
    - Shield can also be learned on next level of Sorcerer, or with Magic Initiate: Sorcerer at worst. Plus confer OP experience, not much a problem surviving so far.
    - Eldricht Blast is basically the same as any other cantrip until you get level 5, or pick Agonizing Blast (which means another level in dip). It's only the best ranged cantrip option (aka worth dipping just for it) only after level 11. Otherwise, just Magic Initiate or Spell Sniper is largely enough.

    Dipping is the worst idea there is for someone that wants to play with great debuffs and hound imposing disadvantage.
    Especially two levels dip: instead of getting Slow / Hypnotic Pattern at level 5 (6,500 XP) and Shadow Hound at 6 (14000 XP), he would get them at respectively 23000 and 34000 XP.
    How many more sessions of play does that represent? I'll let each one here make his own calculation based on self experience. ;)
    Quoting myself here:

    Quote Originally Posted by Raif View Post
    I would advise taking it at later levels though, definitely after level 5. You want level 5 ASAP as it is indeed a huge boost.
    Since I missed that he was a shadow I would definitely edit my stance and say level 6, not level 5.

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    Default Re: How to not suck as a Sorcerer?

    Regarding Phantasmal Force, could I make an enemy think they were trapped inside a cupboard* with teeth? And it's biting them.

    And, if so, does that mean they're effectively blind to everything outside the illusionary cupboard? Or can they still see past it somehow? Or am I just not allowed to put them inside it in the first place?


    *Don't ask 'why a cupboard' - my character is a bit weird.
    “Plot” is what the DM does to amuse himself when the players aren’t talking.
    Quote Originally Posted by NNescio View Post
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    Default Re: How to not suck as a Sorcerer?

    Putting them in a cupboard with teeth isn't banned since it's a visual phenomenon. And they will effectively be blind to everything outside the cupboard since it will block line of sight. Effectively, everything is behind total cover for them.

    But as soon as they move (which is still legal, Phantasmal Force does not set their movement speed to 0), if the illusory cupboard does not move with them, they will step outside the illusion and they won't be blind anymore. They could rationalize it as the cupboard crumbling to dust or something like that.

    Even if they think they're trapped, they aren't banned from interacting with the walls of the cupboard (the first thing you would do upon finding you're boxed in is bang on the walls, isn't it?) and as soon as they interact with the walls, they'll find that there are no walls to touch and no surface to bang on. They could rationalize that as the walls breaking off so easily, like it was made of paper. And that would let them step outside the area of Phantasmal Force, assuming it doesn't move with them.
    Last edited by LeonBH; 2018-01-02 at 06:09 AM.

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    Default Re: How to not suck as a Sorcerer?

    Quote Originally Posted by LeonBH View Post
    Putting them in a cupboard with teeth isn't banned since it's a visual phenomenon. And they will effectively be blind to everything outside the cupboard since it will block line of sight. Effectively, everything is behind total cover for them.

    But as soon as they move (which is still legal, Phantasmal Force does not set their movement speed to 0), if the illusory cupboard does not move with them, they will step outside the illusion and they won't be blind anymore. They could rationalize it as the cupboard crumbling to dust or something like that.

    Even if they think they're trapped, they aren't banned from interacting with the walls of the cupboard (the first thing you would do upon finding you're boxed in is bang on the walls, isn't it?) and as soon as they interact with the walls, they'll find that there are no walls to touch and no surface to bang on. They could rationalize that as the walls breaking off so easily, like it was made of paper. And that would let them step outside the area of Phantasmal Force, assuming it doesn't move with them.
    I have to be honest - this spell still seems garbage to me.
    “Plot” is what the DM does to amuse himself when the players aren’t talking.
    Quote Originally Posted by NNescio View Post
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    Default Re: How to not suck as a Sorcerer?

    Being honest right back, Phantasmal Force is the strongest 2nd level spell there is. If you can't use it to its fullest extent, that speaks to a lack of imagination.

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    Default Re: How to not suck as a Sorcerer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Cliché View Post
    I have to be honest - this spell still seems garbage to me.
    Phantasmal Force does include the sensation of touch. That’s what distinguishes it from the Illusion/Image spells. The latter are visible to everyone, but are purely visual, like a hologram, whereas the former includes all senses, but can be perceived only by the target. At least, that’s how I read the spell description, which states:

    “The phantasm includes sound, temperature, and other stimuli, also evident only to the creature.“ I note the description also states that if the target falls into a chasm, despite an illusory bridge created by PF, he rationalizes that by thinking he slipped off the bridge, i.e. he believes he physically interacted with the bridge. This is the reverse of the Illusion/Image spells, which state that interaction with the illusion reveals it to be an illusion. So I would not agree that the target could simply step outside the cupboard and instantly realize it’s an illusion the way that he would if it were a cupboard created by Silent Image. I will say, more generally, that the illusion spells in general are subject to such wide variations of interpretation among DMs, they can be anything from very powerful to totally useless. That’s why I generally don’t bother using illusion spells at all unless I’ve had a discussion with the DM in advance about how he handles them.

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    Default Re: How to not suck as a Sorcerer?

    Quote Originally Posted by LeonBH View Post
    Being honest right back, Phantasmal Force is the strongest 2nd level spell there is. If you can't use it to its fullest extent, that speaks to a lack of imagination.
    I'm so glad to see that 'LOL, L2P, SCRUB.' comments exist in D&D forums. I'd hate to think that I'd be able to make a post without the response being a healthy dose of condescension.

    Quote Originally Posted by Strangways View Post
    Phantasmal Force does include the sensation of touch. That’s what distinguishes it from the Illusion/Image spells. The latter are visible to everyone, but are purely visual, like a hologram, whereas the former includes all senses, but can be perceived only by the target. At least, that’s how I read the spell description, which states:

    “The phantasm includes sound, temperature, and other stimuli, also evident only to the creature.“ I note the description also states that if the target falls into a chasm, despite an illusory bridge created by PF, he rationalizes that by thinking he slipped off the bridge, i.e. he believes he physically interacted with the bridge. This is the reverse of the Illusion/Image spells, which state that interaction with the illusion reveals it to be an illusion. So I would not agree that the target could simply step outside the cupboard and instantly realize it’s an illusion the way that he would if it were a cupboard created by Silent Image. I will say, more generally, that the illusion spells in general are subject to such wide variations of interpretation among DMs, they can be anything from very powerful to totally useless. That’s why I generally don’t bother using illusion spells at all unless I’ve had a discussion with the DM in advance about how he handles them.
    But even if he doesn't realise it's an illusion, surely the fact that he can just sweep it aside regardless completely de-fangs the spell?
    “Plot” is what the DM does to amuse himself when the players aren’t talking.
    Quote Originally Posted by NNescio View Post
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Cliché View Post
    I'm so glad to see that 'LOL, L2P, SCRUB.' comments exist in D&D forums. I'd hate to think that I'd be able to make a post without the response being a healthy dose of condescension.



    But even if he doesn't realise it's an illusion, surely the fact that he can just sweep it aside regardless completely de-fangs the spell?
    That's the thing about the spells and DM/game fiat, if in real life you see a fire, you're not going to put your hand in it. It's fire, you know better.

    Same thing in game, if you use phantasmal force by logic it should react to the fire/chasm/spikes as if they were real. You wouldn't touch venomous spikes in real life, so why should the target of the spell.

    However this is all dependent on the DM/game following logical rules.

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    Default Re: How to not suck as a Sorcerer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Strangways View Post
    This is the reverse of the Illusion/Image spells, which state that interaction with the illusion reveals it to be an illusion. So I would not agree that the target could simply step outside the cupboard and instantly realize it’s an illusion the way that he would if it were a cupboard created by Silent Image.
    They wouldn't realize the illusion is an illusion. They would just be walking away from it.

    Take the example of the bridge. They can believe it to be real, but they will still fall off it if they tried to cross. Similarly, if someone was trapped in an illusory cabinet and the floor gave way (due to a trap door, for example), they would still fall through the floor of the cabinet, because it's not a real floor.

    And just like the cabinet's floor, the cabinet's walls are not real walls. They would perceive themselves interacting with the walls if they touched it, but the walls cannot stop their movement because they aren't real.

    Quote Originally Posted by Strangways View Post
    I will say, more generally, that the illusion spells in general are subject to such wide variations of interpretation among DMs, they can be anything from very powerful to totally useless. That’s why I generally don’t bother using illusion spells at all unless I’ve had a discussion with the DM in advance about how he handles them.
    This is good advice. But it's also possible to use illusion spells cleverly without having to consult with the DM, as long as you can convince the DM that your illusion makes sense.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Cliché View Post
    I'm so glad to see that 'LOL, L2P, SCRUB.' comments exist in D&D forums. I'd hate to think that I'd be able to make a post without the response being a healthy dose of condescension.
    You made an honest comment that the spell was garbage without further stating why (were you just expecting people to agree and end the conversation?). I suppose I could have just ignored you, but I chose instead to honestly tell you that you weren't thinking imaginatively enough.
    Last edited by LeonBH; 2018-01-02 at 07:05 AM.

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    Default Re: How to not suck as a Sorcerer?

    Quote Originally Posted by SharkForce View Post
    well, here's chris perkins (not the official rules guy):

    https://www.sageadvice.eu/2016/10/30...tatus-effects/

    and here's jeremy crawford (is the official rules guy):

    https://www.sageadvice.eu/2017/05/30...omment-page-1/

    (note that the second part of crawford's tweet amounts to permission for a DM to run their own game. no kidding).
    These two answers are pretty contradictory. CP says "no" JC says "DM dependent".

    If the phantasm is 'Thorny vines that rise up out of the floor and grab you' and the text says; "While a target is affected by the spell, the target treats the phantasm as if it were real. The target rationalizes any illogical outcomes from interacting with the phantasm." It's really hard to see how the restrained condition wouldn't apply here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ProseBeforeHos View Post
    These two answers are pretty contradictory. CP says "no" JC says "DM dependent".

    If the phantasm is 'Thorny vines that rise up out of the floor and grab you' and the text says; "While a target is affected by the spell, the target treats the phantasm as if it were real. The target rationalizes any illogical outcomes from interacting with the phantasm." It's really hard to see how the restrained condition wouldn't apply here.
    Except that, going by what LeonBH said, the target could just move his arms freely and rationalise it as the vines breaking effortlessly.
    “Plot” is what the DM does to amuse himself when the players aren’t talking.
    Quote Originally Posted by NNescio View Post
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    Default Re: How to not suck as a Sorcerer?

    Quote Originally Posted by ProseBeforeHos View Post
    These two answers are pretty contradictory. CP says "no" JC says "DM dependent".

    If the phantasm is 'Thorny vines that rise up out of the floor and grab you' and the text says; "While a target is affected by the spell, the target treats the phantasm as if it were real. The target rationalizes any illogical outcomes from interacting with the phantasm." It's really hard to see how the restrained condition wouldn't apply here.
    Perkins says No
    JC says No, but you're the DM; do what you want.

    Edit
    In MY OPINION Phantasmal Force is...

    UNRELIABLE

    It might be a GOD TIER spell, that dominates because the DM massively plays along, and the enemies are incredibly 'vulnerable' to a certain illusion you might craft. Sunshines and Rainbows and all that is good.
    OR
    It's trash, because you can't think of something clever without it basically being ignorable... or even if you do, the enemies were too stoic for it, or didn't care about what you did, or the DM didn't play along... or you know they succeeded the Save, since that's also an option...

    So maybe like a dozen ways to fail, and maybe 1 golden situation where it's OP. (When the DM REALLY plays along with it... repeatedly... and never gets annoyed from it...)

    Because of that... I don't think it's a good spell.

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    Default Re: How to not suck as a Sorcerer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Citan View Post
    Yeah, I totally agree with that.
    But you know, you can learn another metamagic at 10th level. THAT is when it's useful.
    That or if you want to specialize on twinning a particular debuff such as Haste or Polymorph because you have two people in your party who like it.

    Otherwise, it's usually too costly for its worth until level 7-8, especially for archetypes that have other uses for Sorcery points like Shadow (Darkness with automatic vision through it) and Wild Magic (Bend Luck).

    And I was speaking here in the context of OP: he wants to debuff, so Twin is a trap. Not only is it much better to ensure one creature is effectively affected by a spell (Heightened), but several of Sorcerer spells allow multitarget when upcast like Hold Person or Blindness, so you can do without it.

    Confer above and under, learn to read within context, and learn politeness while you are at it, you will grow yourself. :)
    At his current level Twin is basically the most efficient metamagic available. It doubles the power of a first level spell for 1 sorcery point. That effectively doubles the power of all of his first level spells. If he is feeling that his resources do too little when expended, it is exactly what he needs.

    Heighten, for comparison, is three times as expensive, and he'll be getting his own version of heighten in the form of the shadow doggy. I'd also maintain that Twin is generally better than heighten for low-level spells even if you don't want to buff, since it can be applied to attack spells as well as save spells, and has the bonus that if two people fail their saves, you get two people immobilized.

    Hold person etc. are great for sorcerers in general because they scale well, but at his current level they synergize with Twin. At later levels they won't, but that's fine because, as you pointed out, he'll have other synergies.

    Also, how I was being impolite? Is 'idiot' a bad word now?

    Quote Originally Posted by Citan View Post
    don't get warlock
    As regards his current problem, you're totally right. Multiclassing with Warlock after five is viable, but 'after five' is not his problem.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Cliché View Post
    I have to be honest - this spell still seems garbage to me.
    Quote Originally Posted by LeonBH View Post
    Being honest right back, Phantasmal Force is the strongest 2nd level spell there is. If you can't use it to its fullest extent, that speaks to a lack of imagination.
    That's a little unfair, Leon. It's also heavily DM-dependent.

    PF is not a spell that you should take without figuring out how you DM will rule it. Ask him straight up, "How does this spell work?" and write down what he says.

    There's nothing in the text (as with major image) that allows you to move or alter the illusion. But does the illusory item appear to act as expected? Can the illusion move with the thing you target? If I put a steel box on top of the creature's head, and he walks, does the box move with him or just sit, floating in the air? The text is unclear. My 'steel sphere filled with acid' idea requires this acknowledgement from the DM to work.

    I allow the illusion to track with the target in my games, since the thing only exists in the target's head to begin with, and because I like spells that use creativity.

    By the absolute most dickish reading of RAW, you can still do the following nasty tricks:
    1. Make him halllucinate that a famous wizard has teleported in and is powering up a massive spell that will kill everyone. (remember, he will rationalize his inability to hurt the wizard, as well as the wizard's presence)
    2. put him in an iron maiden covered in razor-sharp blades. The blades will hurt him, so unless he's a psycho it doesn't make sense for him to try and bang on the walls. He won't take damage if he doesn't bang on the walls, though.
    3. Make him think that a door is open when it is in fact closed, make an illusory bridge, etc.

    In short, if your DM is restrictive about this sort of thing, it's situational, but not really garbage. In that situation Suggestion is better.
    Last edited by strangebloke; 2018-01-02 at 09:50 AM.

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    Default Re: How to not suck as a Sorcerer?

    I don't want to get too entrenched in this discussion, even though I love sorcerors, but I would like to make one comment:

    You already know you need to swap spells around. Pick the spells that will be the most mechanically effective and THEN fluff them to fit your themes/roleplaying. I've yet to meet a DM who wouldn't count Enhance Ability as you unleashing a bunch of gremlins to help your party members as they fight. The same goes for Earth Tremor. Instead of just shaking the earth, have it open a mini door to the Underworld with otherworldly lichens and sub zero temperatures causing the actual effects of the spell.

    The effects of the spells will remain the same but the spells will feel more in line with how you view your character. I've even found that most DM's are willing to tweak damage types to fit in with a character type, as long as you don't take the piss and try to metagame too much.


    EvilAnagram's guide is an excellent one. The only one I find better is TheUser's guide to Sorcerors. It focuses almost exclusively on spells and metamagic. You might disagree with some of his rankings... but he's quite open about the probabilities of each metamagic and how they interact with spells available at that level and later on.

    He starts off by talking about choosing what type of sorceror you're going to be, because you only have so many metamagic. He lists them as:
    Blasters (self evident what they do)
    Supports or Controllers (again self evident. These become your party's best friend)
    Sociopaths are the most interesting heading he provides. These use magic to manipulate NPC's (or players) to get information and sculpt events in their favour.
    I personally find that this last class of sorceror is the most overlooked and the most powerful. The OP has already eschewed going down this route by NOT selecting Subtle Metamagic. This is also the thing I would try and get your DM to change as it is arguably the strongest and cheapest metamagic out there. Drop quicken, keep Twin and get Subtle.

    Because of your metamagic limitations, you should only focus on one of these headings... Though really it's closer to 1.5. I've played plenty of Sociopaths who were pretty good blasters. Or Supporters who were also pretty good Sociopaths.

    Just remember, whatever you choose, you will be better at it than any other full caster in the game because of your access to Metamagic. All of your metamagics should be chosen around your Sorceror Subtype. All spells should be chosen around your subtype with an eye to also being tolerably good in one of the other Subtypes.


    Just remember that because something is hard/difficult doesn't mean that it is bad. Once you understand the complicated inner workings of the Sorceror class, I've found they make the rest of the other classes boring.
    Last edited by GorogIrongut; 2018-01-02 at 09:48 AM.

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    Default Re: How to not suck as a Sorcerer?

    Quote Originally Posted by strangebloke View Post
    At his current level Twin is basically the most efficient metamagic available. It doubles the power of a first level spell for 1 sorcery point. That effectively doubles the power of all of his first level spells. If he is feeling that his resources do too little when expended, it is exactly what he needs.
    Twin is ... Tricky

    Now, for any Single Target Buffs. That tends to be pretty clear.
    For a few insanely powerful buffs (Haste), I honestly feels it has an effect of even greater than double (altho yea yea it's technically double)

    For Damage Spells... It's where it gets blurry

    Yes, if you Twin a single target nuke to hit 2 Targets. You have doubled the effect of your Single Target Nuke...
    but if you had an AoE/Multi Target Nuke already that did slightly less that you could have used instead then... you didn't really double your potential effectiveness...

    Chromatic Orb deals 3d8 Single Target
    Burning Hands deal 3d6 AoE

    If you Twin Chromatic Orb to hit 2 people, and Burning Hands was already hitting 2 people. You have increased your effectiveness by about 20-30%, not double.
    It gets worse if Burning Hands would have been able to hit 3 people, since then your effectiveness would even be reduced...
    (Inherently Fallacy, Assuming Burning Hands could hit 2 when Chromatic Orb has better Range and Targetting)

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    Default Re: How to not suck as a Sorcerer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Talamare View Post
    (Inherently Fallacy, Assuming Burning Hands could hit 2 when Chromatic Orb has better Range and Targetting)
    You raise some good points; I shouldn't have said 'double effectiveness.' My point was that at this level it can be very cheap and effective.

    EDIT:
    Quote Originally Posted by GorogIrongut View Post
    You already know you need to swap spells around. Pick the spells that will be the most mechanically effective and THEN fluff them to fit your themes/roleplaying.
    This is very good advice.

    That said, Buffing is also a playstyle that I would generally argue 'feels' off-theme for a vampirey sort of sorcerer.
    Last edited by strangebloke; 2018-01-02 at 10:08 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by strangebloke View Post
    That's a little unfair, Leon. It's also heavily DM-dependent.

    PF is not a spell that you should take without figuring out how you DM will rule it. Ask him straight up, "How does this spell work?" and write down what he says.

    There's nothing in the text (as with major image) that allows you to move or alter the illusion. But does the illusory item appear to act as expected? Can the illusion move with the thing you target? If I put a steel box on top of the creature's head, and he walks, does the box move with him or just sit, floating in the air? The text is unclear. My 'steel sphere filled with acid' idea requires this acknowledgement from the DM to work.
    I acknowledge that the spell's power varies according to the DM, but there are uses of Phantasmal Force that are valid for nearly all DMs. I'd say all DMs, but I can't guarantee you a 100% chance of anything, so "nearly all" will have to do.

    What Phantasmal Force does is similar to a real time Inception. As Cobb says in that film, the most powerful thing you can implant in someone's head is a thought. If you can alter someone's perception of reality and know 100% of the time that they will believe their perception is real, that is straight up mind control. Everything we do is in response to stimuli/information we get from the environment, and for someone else to be able to control that stimuli/information is almost equivalent to them controlling us.

    You just need to know how to work the spell so that it's most relevant to your situation, and sometimes that involves more than just casting the spell. Knowing your target's fears, desires, or goals might help. Timing might be key. There's a lot of potential in this avenue of the spell.

    In combat, yes, the DM can just straight up start rolling Intelligence checks against your DC regardless of the illusion you're presenting them with, regardless of how convincing it ought to be. Of course, they'd be wasting their action to do this, so it's a net win for your party.

    But worse, they might just have the monsters ignore the spell entirely. But even those DMs will have a specific application of Phantasmal Force that they will find hard to ignore. For example, if you conjure an image of a twin of yourself, the RAW says the target must believe they are seeing a true version of you, and they won't be able to tell which one is real without wasting their actions (or the DM metagaming - but in that case, your problems are bigger than illusion spells). Or you can make a twin copy of your tank, fighter, or cleric, and protect them instead of you.

    My point is, you can use Phantasmal Force to force the target to make an action you want them to make because you can make them believe that something unbelievable has happened. And to an imaginative mind, that has unbounded potential.

    Quote Originally Posted by strangebloke View Post
    I allow the illusion to track with the target in my games, since the thing only exists in the target's head to begin with, and because I like spells that use creativity.

    By the absolute most dickish reading of RAW, you can still do the following nasty tricks:
    1. Make him halllucinate that a famous wizard has teleported in and is powering up a massive spell that will kill everyone. (remember, he will rationalize his inability to hurt the wizard, as well as the wizard's presence)
    2. put him in an iron maiden covered in razor-sharp blades. The blades will hurt him, so unless he's a psycho it doesn't make sense for him to try and bang on the walls. He won't take damage if he doesn't bang on the walls, though.
    3. Make him think that a door is open when it is in fact closed, make an illusory bridge, etc.

    In short, if your DM is restrictive about this sort of thing, it's situational, but not really garbage. In that situation Suggestion is better.
    I think (1) still needs an Intimidation check if the goal is to induce surrender. (2) is a clever variation of the cupboard "trap". (3) is standard fare for illusion spells.
    Last edited by LeonBH; 2018-01-02 at 10:43 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LeonBH View Post
    Of course Phantasmal Force cannot inflict status conditions beyond what the spell says it can. It can't make an illusion other than a bridge by RAW, and all other illusory phenomenon are up to the DM to allow or not (as with all illusion spells).

    But if the illusion blocks line of sight, or is too noisy to drown out other sounds, then the targets are effectively blind or deaf, even if they don't have the status condition (the same way you can't see someone standing behind a wall even if you're not blind or they're not invisible, or can't hear someone talking in a concert).
    What if you form an illusion of mithril chains covered in flesh-piercing spikes that wrap up/bind the victim? If they fail the check, would they believe they are restrained and act as such while taking the 1d6 damage? Also, would the 'restrained' condition apply to them in this state?
    Last edited by samcifer; 2018-01-02 at 11:13 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeonBH View Post
    I acknowledge that the spell's power varies according to the DM, but there are uses of Phantasmal Force that are valid for nearly all DMs. I'd say all DMs, but I can't guarantee you a 100% chance of anything, so "nearly all" will have to do.

    I think (1) still needs an Intimidation check if the goal is to induce surrender. (2) is a clever variation of the cupboard "trap". (3) is standard fare for illusion spells.
    Unlike an 'inception' though, it has definite limitations. Ten foot area, can't alter it, can't make it move, etc. So it is limited.

    And if the guy just wastes his turn using investigation, you might have been better off with hold person or suggestion, if those were available.

    I like your mirage tank though. Very fun idea. You could easily create three illusory copies within a ten foot radius, so long your DM let's you stretch the definition of 'object'

    (1) was more intended to make him waste his turn attacking the illusion, possibly putting the illusion in place of an enemy. Or to make him flee because elminster just showed up.
    (3) is basic, yeah, but it has the bonus of being selective. The minions rush through while the boss is just sitting there confused.

    Anyway, I think we've digressed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by samcifer View Post
    What if you form an illusion of mithril chains covered in flesh-piercing spikes that wrap up/bind the victim? If they fail the check, would they believe they are restrained and act as such while taking the 1d6 damage?
    No.

    Rather, if they spend an action to free themselves, they are free, since the chains don't actually restrain them.

    The most generous interpretation would allow the spikes to regrapple the enemy every round.

    According to JC, DMs shouldn't require a check to free themselves at all.

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    Quote Originally Posted by strangebloke View Post
    No.

    Rather, if they spend an action to free themselves, they are free, since the chains don't actually restrain them.

    The most generous interpretation would allow the spikes to regrapple the enemy every round.

    According to JC, DMs shouldn't require a check to free themselves at all.
    So all it can do is confine them to a small area of movement and nothing else? So much for taking that spell, then. Guess I'd be better off sticking with Chromatic Orb.
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    Quote Originally Posted by strangebloke View Post
    No.

    Rather, if they spend an action to free themselves, they are free, since the chains don't actually restrain them.
    According to what was said before, they wouldn't even need to spend an action. All they need to do is move their arms and they'll be free - since they can just rationalise it as the chains breaking easily or crumbling to dust.
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    Quote Originally Posted by NNescio View Post
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    Quote Originally Posted by samcifer View Post
    What if you form an illusion of mithril chains covered in flesh-piercing spikes that wrap up/bind the victim? If they fail the check, would they believe they are restrained and act as such while taking the 1d6 damage?
    They have to believe they're bound by mithril chains covered in flesh-piercing spikes. They might act accordingly if they fail the check, but there is nothing to stop them from moving away from their spot and physically waving their arms around.

    If they do move around, they could rationalize that the mithril chains, which they still believe to be real, have loosened up and have stopped restraining them. That is also in accordance with the spell description.

    Quote Originally Posted by strangebloke View Post
    Unlike an 'inception' though, it has definite limitations. Ten foot area, can't alter it, can't make it move, etc. So it is limited.

    And if the guy just wastes his turn using investigation, you might have been better off with hold person or suggestion, if those were available.

    I like your mirage tank though. Very fun idea. You could easily create three illusory copies within a ten foot radius, so long your DM let's you stretch the definition of 'object'

    (1) was more intended to make him waste his turn attacking the illusion, possibly putting the illusion in place of an enemy. Or to make him flee because elminster just showed up.
    (3) is basic, yeah, but it has the bonus of being selective. The minions rush through while the boss is just sitting there confused.

    Anyway, I think we've digressed.
    You don't have to create a world to implant a thought. Innocently, you can score free drinks by making the bartender believe you're with the King (who is in disguise in a cloak, and wants the bartender to keep it a secret). Malevolently, you can make a known foe believe you've kidnapped his wife/child/mother and only his compliance to your will can save them.

    Note that when the spell ends, as long as they never made the save or passed the check, they don't realize they were under an illusion. So the bartender will continue to think you're with the King, and the known foe will continue to think you have his wife/child/mother in your custody.

    Also note that with just the above two examples, there are a great number of variations of that theme already. Using someone with a position of power over your target could take many forms. Bartender/boss. Worker/boss. Guard/king. Daughter/mother. Son/Father. Etc. And using someone the target emotionally cares about as leverage could take many forms as well.

    You just need to know the right buttons to push and you can implant a perpetual suggestion in his mind, without using the Suggestion, Dominate X, or Charm X line of spells.

    Once again, the point is to implant a thought that will force them to do something you want them to do. That is Dominate Monster, minus the concentration and duration restriction (if you implant a thought deftly enough, they will continue to believe that thought after the spell ends, because you would implant a thought whose nature is like that), minus the action requirement, and with a minor damage effect.

    But it's a style of use of Phantasmal Force that requires a lot of imagination, observation, and engagement with the campaign. It's not something you can pull every encounter, sure, but it's something that will let you manually steer the plot in unexpected directions, changing the course of the game.

    And we did digress. But hopefully, I've demonstrated at least a sliver of the potential of PF in any given campaign.
    Last edited by LeonBH; 2018-01-02 at 11:34 AM.

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    I think you just need to heavily favor spells with attack rolls, and keep darkness up on yourself as much as possible. Chill Touch isn't the most exciting cantrip, but chill touch with advantage every round is probably going to hit. Twinned Chromatic Orbs with advantage are probably fun. (And probably eats all your spell points, but meh.)

    That is, you have a very reliable (if resource expensive) source of advantage to attack, use it like it's going out of style. ^^

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    Then what's the point of Phantasmal Force then? If it can't do more than make illusions that do weak damage, it sounds rather useless as a combat spell.
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    Quote Originally Posted by samcifer View Post
    Then what's the point of Phantasmal Force then? If it can't do more than make illusions that do weak damage, it sounds rather useless as a combat spell.
    Phantasmal Force was originally a spell used to scare enemies away. What it used to do was summon an illusory army, and presumably the opposing side will flee. That's why it's called a phantasmal (ie, illusory) force (ie, army).

    You can still do that with Phantasmal Force. But since the spell has changed a lot, you can use it for other things now, too. You can't restrain, but you can block line of sight, drown out sounds, instill confusion, manipulate targets into doing your will, protect your allies, and of course, scare your enemies into surrender/retreat.

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