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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Deepbluediver's Avatar

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    Default Buffs in 5th edition as fire-and-forget

    I tend to be wordy in my posts; if you want to skip the rambling intro, feel free. It just gets into where I'm coming from.

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    So about a year ago I started playing my first 5th edition game. Up until that point I'd been a solid 3.5-person (never had the chance to play 4th); that's where all of my experience playing and 'brewing was for. I'm liking 5th edition, I think it does a solid improvement on a lot of issues that 3.5 had, but inevitably I can't help comparing the two.

    One area in particular that there's significant differences is in the area of magical buffs. Now, I admit that in 3.5 you could have a large swing in power between a buffed and unbuffed party, and that tracking multiple buffs could be kind of a pain. To resolve this issue in 5th, WotC seems to have made nearly every buff-spell concentration-based, and added that rule that you can lose your concentration if you take damage.

    My first character was a Druid, and I like how the magic rules work for damaging spells like Call Lightning, Moonbeam, Flaming Sphere, etc. For most of those it feels like I'm doing something significant every round, and so I was perfectly willing to burn an ASI on the Warcaster feat to make sure I could keep concentration. But it also means that there's a lot of buffs (and some CC) that are going largely unused from my spell list.
    And now I've started a second game where I'm a...well actually I'm a multi-class mess but I've got both Paladin and Bard spellcasting, and I'm probably going to be in melee-range even more and I don't really want to spend my ASI's on Warcaster. So I find myself in a situation where I'm actively avoiding EVERYTHING with a concentration-based component, and I'm not sure that's what the designers intended.

    So that lead me to this idea for a new rule, which I'd really love some feedback on because I'm still desperately inexperienced when it come to balance with 5th edition.


    For Buffing spells (and possibly CC), what about giving them a tag like "Aura", removing the concentration-based component, and adding a rule that you can only have 1 "aura" active on you at a time? I'm talking about things like Stoneskin, Bless, Protection from Energy, etc.

    That way you can still only have 1 active at once, but casters don't waste their action concentrating and/or get a spell dispelled because they took damage.
    I'd be willing to work through the spell-list(s) and try to modify the benefit for any spell that people thought was OP with this new rule to tone it down, with the caveat that I'm not an expert in the 5th edition power-curve or encounter balance.
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    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Daemon

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    Default Re: Buffs in 5th edition as fire-and-forget

    The DMG cautions against homebrew that does any of 3 things:

    * raises the attunement limit
    * gives extra bonus actions/reactions (per turn)
    * allows concentration on more than one spell at a time.

    And for good reason. While there may be some spells whose need for concentration is debatable, in general, letting people have more than one of them up at the same time is a BAD IDEA.

    It causes significant inter-class issues--druids are built with most of their list being powerful, but requiring concentration. You've now given them another powerful spell simultaneously. Same (to a large degree) with clerics. Casters are already strong enough--this would make them even stronger. You could buff <person A> and <person B>, effectively doubling your power. Heck, you could buff the whole party (at the cost of lots of spell slots). And none of those would be risked by taking damage, freeing you up tremendously.

    I caution against any such change.
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    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: Buffs in 5th edition as fire-and-forget

    Let's do it!

    Rule Variant #1: Super Focus
    All creatures have advantage on concentration saving throws.

    Rule Variant #2: Auto-Focus
    All creatures automatically succeed on concentration checks

    Rule Variant #3: Short Auto-Focus
    All creatures automatically succeed on concentration checks. To compensate, all spells requiring concentration have their duration halved. 10 minutes become 5 minutes, 1 minute becomes 5 rounds etc.

    Rule Variant #4: Combat Focus
    When you cast a spell that requires your concentration you can instead cast it with a duration of 1d4 rounds. The spell still counts as using your concentration for casting other concentration spells.


    There's no need to change any spells, since this affects your enemies as well; balance is conserved

    Concentration isn't nearly as bad as you think, due to the base DC being so low. But I can see how you don't like it and how it disincentives picking many fun spells.

    Now, please let me know when the DM uses this rule change to screw you over by having his monsters auto succeed on concentrating on a spell. Note that players tend to do much more damage in a single swing, making concentration saving throws much higher for monsters than for players, meaning this change is likely to screw you over if you have a mean DM xD.

    I offer my players #4 as a part of my Houseruled Warcaster feat. This works perfectly since concentration is only really an issue in combat, which never lasts more than 30 seconds (5 rounds). I'm still in playtesting weather it should be 1d4, 1d6 or 1d4+1 rounds.
    Last edited by Bjarkmundur; 2019-08-20 at 03:52 AM.

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    Default Re: Buffs in 5th edition as fire-and-forget

    Remember that concentration means something different in 5e than it did in 3.5-- namely, it no longer takes an action.

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    Daemon

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    Default Re: Buffs in 5th edition as fire-and-forget

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    Remember that concentration means something different in 5e than it did in 3.5-- namely, it no longer takes an action.
    This is a major point I missed in the OP. Only a few spells require round-after-round actions, and most of those are either really strong damage/debuffs or are super weak. Most of the time, you put up a concentration spell (for the big fights) and then focus on blasts, prompt debuffs (non-concentration but only last one round) or cantrips.
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    Deepbluediver's Avatar

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    Default Re: Buffs in 5th edition as fire-and-forget

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    The DMG cautions against homebrew that does any of 3 things:

    * raises the attunement limit
    * gives extra bonus actions/reactions (per turn)
    * allows concentration on more than one spell at a time.

    And for good reason. While there may be some spells whose need for concentration is debatable, in general, letting people have more than one of them up at the same time is a BAD IDEA.

    It causes significant inter-class issues--druids are built with most of their list being powerful, but requiring concentration. You've now given them another powerful spell simultaneously. Same (to a large degree) with clerics. Casters are already strong enough--this would make them even stronger. You could buff <person A> and <person B>, effectively doubling your power. Heck, you could buff the whole party (at the cost of lots of spell slots). And none of those would be risked by taking damage, freeing you up tremendously.

    I caution against any such change.
    I'm not asking to be allowed to concentrate on both Call Lightning and Moonbeam in the same turn, either one of those spells would be fine. It's more like Barkskin or Protection from Energy that I'm not really sure are worth my concentration in combat. With spells like that going I'm basically reduced to getting into melee-range and making a lot of concentration saves, or standing way in the back and chucking my single damaging cantrip. I care less about being dominant, powerwise, and more that it just feels less fun, but I also want to actually use a bigger portion of my spell-list instead of just preparing the same dozen spells every single day.

    Part of that is probably because I'm a blaster-druid (circle of Twilight), but I struggle to see what kind of Druid would in fact use a lot of these Concentration-based buff spells. Moon Druids? They have to get into melee range even more often. Ditto for Spores I think. So maybe it would be the Dreams (Healer) or Shepherd (minion-master) Druids that use more of the buffs. I've not played either of those archetypes though so I don't know how they would feel; I welcome anyone else to offer their experience for contrast, especially with other classes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bjarkmundur View Post
    Let's do it!

    Rule Variant #1: Super Focus
    All creatures have advantage on concentration saving throws.

    Rule Variant #2: Auto-Focus
    All creatures automatically succeed on concentration checks

    Rule Variant #3: Short Auto-Focus
    All creatures automatically succeed on concentration checks. To compensate, all spells requiring concentration have their duration halved. 10 minutes become 5 minutes, 1 minute becomes 5 rounds etc.

    Rule Variant #4: Combat Focus
    When you cast a spell that requires your concentration you can instead cast it with a duration of 1d4 rounds. The spell still counts as using your concentration for casting other concentration spells.


    There's no need to change any spells, since this affects your enemies as well; balance is conserved

    Concentration isn't nearly as bad as you think, due to the base DC being so low. But I can see how you don't like it and how it disincentives picking many fun spells.

    Now, please let me know when the DM uses this rule change to screw you over by having his monsters auto succeed on concentrating on a spell. Note that players tend to do much more damage in a single swing, making concentration saving throws much higher for monsters than for players, meaning this change is likely to screw you over if you have a mean DM xD.

    I offer my players #4 as a part of my Houseruled Warcaster feat. This works perfectly since concentration is only really an issue in combat, which never lasts more than 30 seconds (5 rounds). I'm still in playtesting weather it should be 1d4, 1d6 or 1d4+1 rounds.
    You've definitely got some good idea's here- I don't know if I'd go this far for every concentration spell but it's a load of 'brew to consider. I'd probably be more inclined to go case-by-case and tweak spells with just one or two of your suggestions as necessary.

    For example, Flame Blade is pretty cool storywise, but it it's concentration-based and requires you to be within melee range to deal damage, so it's hard to avoid taking hits. That seems like a great candidate for giving the spell automatic advantage on maintaining concentration checks.

    As another example, I once used Protection from Energy prior to the party entering a dungeon, and picked Fire. Thanks to some lucky roles, wildshape, and spamming lots of Thunderwave and Cure Wounds I managed to keep it up for nearly the entire run. We never encountered a single enemy who dealt Fire damage. That was the last time I cast Protection from Energy, but I'd love the option to cast it quicker (bonus action) or as a fire-and-forget spell so that I could use it in combat after the fight starts and I've had the chance to see what colored blasts the enemy is slinging.

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    This is a major point I missed in the OP. Only a few spells require round-after-round actions, and most of those are either really strong damage/debuffs or are super weak. Most of the time, you put up a concentration spell (for the big fights) and then focus on blasts, prompt debuffs (non-concentration but only last one round) or cantrips.
    As I said earlier, I don't mind concentration for the damaging spells that let me do something active with them every round; that part is just fine IMO. Cantrips though feel like something I should fall back on when I'm out of spell-slots, and don't seem to save me a whole lot if I'm also supposed be buffing up the party.

    Also, Druids don't really get a lot of non-concentration based blasts (at least not at my level, maybe there's stuff higher up in the spell-list I haven't really focused on yet) especially ones that don't require you to get within shin-cracking distance of the enemy.

    It's this combination of the mechanics that is not entirely selling me- any one limitation on a spell (requiring touch-range, requiring concentration, losing concentration on damage, prohibiting other spells while using, etc) I would be fine with. It's when they are all taken together that I feel like it gets to be too much in some cases, and things might be improved a bit if we tone it down.
    Last edited by Deepbluediver; 2019-08-20 at 10:48 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rater202 View Post
    It's not called common because the sense is common, it's called common because it's about common things.
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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: Buffs in 5th edition as fire-and-forget

    Just making sure.

    You know you can cast Entangle (concentration) on turn 1, absorb elements off-turn (no concentration), healing word on turn 2 (no concentration) AND cast a cantrip on the same turn, and still have have Entangle up?

    Casting a spell only breaks concentration if itself takes up your concentration, and you maintain concentration as a no-action. The only limit to spellcasting in terms of the action economy is the "You can only cast one spell of 1st level or higher on your turn".

    An I'm also pretty sure the only buffs the druid has that lasts more than "a single room" in a dungeon have a duration of 1 hour (Barkskin, Enhance Ability, Flame Arrows, Pass without Trace, Protection for Energy and Stoneskin).

    So sure, you can probably add a component cost to have that 1-hour be concentration free. Like is said, this shouldn't be a much of a deal for the druid, but should be kinda pricey just to keep other more buffy classes in check. You don't want to accidentally make one class ridiculously strong because of your druid tweak.

    If you really like those 6 spells, you could use something like this.

    Spell Permanence
    As you prepare for combat you perform a rite to nature, using mystic markings and ancient symbols to make a spell permanent for its duration.
    When you cast a spell with only yourself as the target that has a duration of 1 hour or more you can spend 10 additional minutes casting the spell and a component cost according to that spell's level to have the spell not use your concentration, as per the table below.


    1st level spell - 25gp
    2nd level spell - 250gp
    3rd level spell - 500gp
    4th level spell - 2500gp
    Last edited by Bjarkmundur; 2019-08-21 at 03:15 AM.

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    The damage column shows total damage output on hit over an entire round, and is modified based on factors like recharge, AoE etc.

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