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    Default What if spell save DCs scaled with CL instead of spell level?

    Design wise, it seems like a waste for certain effects to be arbitrarily weaker even if they would be more useful in a certain situation. Isn't it enough that spell level determines when they become available and how frequently you can cast them? (As well as intrinsic strength, HD and damage die caps, etc.)

    I certainly think that for martial maneuvers the save should be based on 1/2 IL. So how bad would it be if spell saves also used 1/2 CL in place of spell level?
    Last edited by Elves; 2019-09-18 at 11:50 AM.
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    Default Re: What if spell save DCs scaled with CL instead of spell level?

    This is one of the things I would have greatly appreciated.

    It would make pumping Save DCs really easy though. And +1 CL items would be much more valuable.

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    Default Re: What if spell save DCs scaled with CL instead of spell level?

    True about CL pumping. It could also be 1/2 character level, which would mean that even with a small dip in a caster class your spells will at least have level appropriate DCs, and lost caster levels from PRCs and such would be less horrible. Thoughts?
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    Default Re: What if spell save DCs scaled with CL instead of spell level?

    So essentially, all spells are Heightened to your highest available spell slot, while still occupying its regular spell slot. The change would have much more of an effect on lower-level spells than higher-level. Heighten Spell would be kind of superfluous (except to enable Killer Gnomes).

    At full CL to DC, this is way too powerful. Casters don't need any additional ways to break the game. Taking a beatable DC and making it into, "better roll a 20," does not help the game. At half CL to DC, it's much more reasonable, and fairly close to the current DCs for higher-level spells. For 9th-level spells, the adjustment to DC would range from +8 (when they get the spell at 17th) to +10 (at 20th), as opposed to a flat +9 currently. For 1st-level spells, it would range from +1 (when you get it) to +10 at 20th level, as opposed to staying at +1 forever.

    I do like the idea of basing it on half character level, rather than half class level. This would really help gishes and melee with a caster dip.

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    Default Re: What if spell save DCs scaled with CL instead of spell level?

    Agreed. Casters already have a broad advantage from about 3-20, there is no need to give them an extra plus 3-15 on DCs across levels.

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    Default Re: What if spell save DCs scaled with CL instead of spell level?

    1/2 caster or character level. Full CL was never on the table. See OP.

    ----

    Yes, by effectively providing a free heighten it does empower spellcasters, but not everything can be about martial-caster disparity -- sometimes underlying logic and clean UX are more important. Moreover, martials do benefit from this because lower level maneuver DCs also get raised, and because if using the 1/2 character level version then small caster dips in martial builds become more beneficial.
    Last edited by Elves; 2019-09-13 at 12:11 PM.
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    Default Re: What if spell save DCs scaled with CL instead of spell level?

    A reasonable interpretation of this house rule wouldn't make the game substantially worse, which places this at least in the top half of all house rules.

    Some comments:

    - With any house rule, including ones that simplify things, the trade-off is always that you're making people learn something new. So the question is whether sticking with the old mess is actually more burdensome than unlearning that habit for experienced players (or making new players learn from your house rules document and not the PHB).
    -Adding to DCs of lower level spells mostly makes things more convenient for casters, which by itself shouldn't break the game. If it did, then making things more annoying for casters should balance the game, and clearly it does not. That said, if you're giving nice things to the classes that don't need it, give some nice things to the classes that do need it as well.
    - If you make DC purely based on CL, then CL-pumping shenanigans get even crazier. But at the same time it doesn't feel right that someone dipping Cleric 1 for devotion feats has the same DCs as a full caster. A compromise would be to set DC based on half CL, but with a cap of half character level.
    - There are often higher level versions of spells which are (in part) as high level as they are because of the fact that they effectively heighten the lower level spell.
    - More than helping full casters, this substantially helps partial casters. Rangers and Paladins probably need the help, but do Bards? Again, you probably want to buff the mundanes regardless, but more so now.
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    Default Re: What if spell save DCs scaled with CL instead of spell level?

    Am I reading this wrong, that we're discussing ˝CL in place of spell level?
    Because then, wouldn't the difference be +1 at most?
    A 3rd level spell is 10+3+mod, but with ˝CL instead, it would still be 10+3+mod, wouldn't it?
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    Default Re: What if spell save DCs scaled with CL instead of spell level?

    Quote Originally Posted by PraxisVetli View Post
    Am I reading this wrong, that we're discussing ˝CL in place of spell level?
    Because then, wouldn't the difference be +1 at most?
    A 3rd level spell is 10+3+mod, but with ˝CL instead, it would still be 10+3+mod, wouldn't it?
    At the point you first get them, yes, and in the absence of doing anything else to boost CL (assuming you're using it for Caster Level, not Character Level. Character Level is of course rather difficult to optimize.) As you leveled up your lower-level spells would also gain DC - when you got access to level 4 spells, your level 3 spells would be 10+4+mod as well, your level 2 spells would be boosted to 10+4+mod, etc. It would be a move toward the 4E and 5E concepts of having a base level of competence baked into your character by virtue of their level.

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    Default Re: What if spell save DCs scaled with CL instead of spell level?

    Quote Originally Posted by Elves View Post
    Design wise, it seems like a waste for certain effects to be arbitrarily weaker even if they would be more useful in a certain situation. Isn't it enough that spell level determines when they become available and how frequently you can cast them? (As well as intrinsic strength, HD and damage die caps, etc.)

    I certainly think that for martial maneuvers the save should be based on 1/2 IL. So how bad would it be if spell saves also used 1/2 CL in place of spell level?
    Generally I think its a problem that DC do not scale somewhat with saves. Sure there are no save spells, but like a level 50 would have gotten +20 to save base save, but in the save stretch nothing to base save... Larloch cannot be the propper amount of epic wizard without DM fiat.
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    Default Re: What if spell save DCs scaled with CL instead of spell level?

    For a possibly interesting variant that risks making higher-level save-or-suck spells too weak, you could make it scale with CL but inversely with spell level. The notion being that more powerful spells are harder to cast, so lower-level ones you can do with much more skill, making it harder for people to resist them.

    The formula I'd suggest would be 9+CL+(casting stat mod)-(spell level). For most of your career, this would roughly put your highest-level spells at DC 11 or 12 plus casting stat mod.

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    Default Re: What if spell save DCs scaled with CL instead of spell level?

    Quote Originally Posted by Segev View Post
    For a possibly interesting variant that risks making higher-level save-or-suck spells too weak, you could make it scale with CL but inversely with spell level. The notion being that more powerful spells are harder to cast, so lower-level ones you can do with much more skill, making it harder for people to resist them.

    The formula I'd suggest would be 9+CL+(casting stat mod)-(spell level). For most of your career, this would roughly put your highest-level spells at DC 11 or 12 plus casting stat mod.
    It's an interesting fluff idea. I'm not sure whether it would serve a purpose in the game as-is, but in a game where you have more liberal casting limits than the Vancian system, something like this is probably cleaner than old favorites like having a chance of spells failing or blowing up in your face.
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    Default Re: What if spell save DCs scaled with CL instead of spell level?

    Quote Originally Posted by Segev View Post
    The formula I'd suggest would be 9+CL+(casting stat mod)-(spell level). For most of your career, this would roughly put your highest-level spells at DC 11 or 12 plus casting stat mod.
    I decided to do the math, and it actually puts you less far behind than you'd think.
    For 1st level spells you are initially worse until 3rd level after which you become significantly better; ending up at +17 over the normal rules at CL20.
    For your highest level spell at any given time you are 2 behind when you get it, and starting from 2 levels later you are doing equal or better than the vanilla caster.

    Overall, I'd take that deal.

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    Default Re: What if spell save DCs scaled with CL instead of spell level?

    So basically you want to turn the DC from the normal spell to the DC of a supernatural abilities (assuming caster level = hit dice for a full caster) it seems... too good basically not for the full caster (well there would be more crazy combo to boost the DC) but for the character that are not a full caster...example confront a duskblade and a wizard, the DC not considerating intelligence would be the same. And how can you say me that a fireball have the same DC of a dominate monster , given the very different level ? A class that can pump the DC to these level there is (if one use the author fix) and is the shadowcaster with the apprentice mysteries but i would avoid that, the casters are strong , and if you put that rule the enemy could easily fail a level 1 DC even when they are epic
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    Default Re: What if spell save DCs scaled with CL instead of spell level?

    Quote Originally Posted by Buufreak View Post
    Agreed. Casters already have a broad advantage from about 3-20, there is no need to give them an extra plus 3-15 on DCs across levels.
    Yeah, buffing casters for no real reason seems rather inconsidered.

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    Default Re: What if spell save DCs scaled with CL instead of spell level?

    Quote Originally Posted by pabelfly View Post
    Yeah, buffing casters for no real reason seems rather inconsidered.
    I think the martial vs caster balance issue, while a big part of the game, can sometimes overwhelm the discourse around it in a detrimental way. The standard for every decision can't be "how does this affect casters vs martials". The underlying system has to come first. As GoodbyeSoberDay mentioned above, also, it's easy to add something nice for the martials too if you use this change.


    Quote Originally Posted by Quentinas View Post
    it seems... too good basically not for the full caster (well there would be more crazy combo to boost the DC) but for the character that are not a full caster...example confront a duskblade and a wizard, the DC not considerating intelligence would be the same.
    And this has to be a balance benefit, no, given how overall maligned partial casters are?

    And how can you say me that a fireball have the same DC of a dominate monster , given the very different level ? [...] if you put that rule the enemy could easily fail a level 1 DC even when they are epic
    Currently, the idea in the system is that spells of different levels are intrinsically, arbitrarily different in power. This rule would change that so that they're different in power only as much as they're actually different in power (plus some arbitrary things like damage caps). That's more elegant, but some people will also say it's less elegant to the degree that all spells of a given level aren't really equal, which if you try to abandon arbitrariness and actually have a spell's level represent its value, becomes more bothersome. But I think that would be an overblown claim of inelegance. Spells of a given level are hardly equal but they're broadly similar and follow certain broad guidelines.
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    Default Re: What if spell save DCs scaled with CL instead of spell level?

    Quote Originally Posted by pabelfly View Post
    Yeah, buffing casters for no real reason seems rather inconsidered.
    This seems to be the big issue people have with the idea of doing so, but the buff to casters isn't really that big and, if anything, it makes martials able to utilize spells with saves. Also I'm sure this would apply to manoeuvres as well if it were implemented.
    All in all, it seems like a buff to gishes, a way to allow more versatility in multiclassing for martials (since they can now use spells that require a save to some degree without needing a huge casting stat), and a moderate power increase for actual casters at higher levels given that their lower level spells would be more powerful.

    Scaling it at 1/2 CL seems entirely reasonable because of this tbh. I think it would lower the gap rather than increase it. Suddenly a duskblade can make use of the ghoul touch on his list with some hope of it going through.

    It seems like a nice idea. If people are really concerned about caster power being increased too much, is there a way to put a penalty on casting low level spells at high levels without hurting them at low levels?

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    Default Re: What if spell save DCs scaled with CL instead of spell level?

    Quote Originally Posted by Elves View Post
    Spells of a given level are hardly equal but they're broadly similar and follow certain broad guidelines.
    Can you elaborate on this?

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    Default Re: What if spell save DCs scaled with CL instead of spell level?

    Caster Level seems abusable (looking at Ultimate Magus), I would prefer half Character Level...

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    Default Re: What if spell save DCs scaled with CL instead of spell level?

    Oh i have think with half caster level , but with full it would be too strong. With half caster level....the red mage how would work with that ? ANd note you cripple each prestige class that use a fast progression of spell (and could not be so bad) . I would not adopt that , because even if the gish character are not full caster they would have a bonus, if i think with the abjurant champion that would be bad, and i don't think that the full caster need a bonus to their spell, do you want your charm monster strong as dominate monster? Or a fireball with the same DC of an higher level spell? It would be too strange for me and the bard for example could not achieve high level spell with high DC by the sublime chord, his normal spell would be stronger without having these spell if we think only about the DC . For the full melee characters there would be no bonus , while for the other there would be .... It's only a way to put the caster of some type above the melee character at the end
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    Default Re: What if spell save DCs scaled with CL instead of spell level?

    Quote Originally Posted by Korwin View Post
    Caster Level seems abusable (looking at Ultimate Magus), I would prefer half Character Level...
    Was lazy writing before, meant Half Caster level seems abusabe (looking at Ultimate Magus).

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    Default Re: What if spell save DCs scaled with CL instead of spell level?

    Considering CL can be buffed a crazy amount and spell level has a cap pre-epic (baring some methodes of casting 20th level spells pre-epic such as circle magic) this would have almost every spell (yes even including those that allow a save:negate) be crazy powerfull.

    On the other hand considering how magic already is crazy powerfull not a lot would change... you just buff the casters even more.

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    Default Re: What if spell save DCs scaled with CL instead of spell level?

    I mean, are we talking about 10+Mod+1/2CL?

    It pumps up low-level spells dramatically, of course it would. But high level spells don't change at all (well, by +1 at level 20). And a good modifier will make up that difference most of the time anyway.

    Why not drop the 10? 1/2 CL+Mod+SL. It accounts for your training (1/2 CL) it accounts for your abilities (modifier) and it accounts for the innate power of the spell (SL). The result would actually be a nerf. You could probably even get away with just CL+Mod+SL, since you'd only see the real big effects at high level.

    If you're worried about caster-level pumping shenanigans, make it class level of the specific caster class for that spell.
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    Default Re: What if spell save DCs scaled with CL instead of spell level?

    Quote Originally Posted by False God View Post
    I mean, are we talking about 10+Mod+1/2CL?

    It pumps up low-level spells dramatically, of course it would. But high level spells don't change at all (well, by +1 at level 20). And a good modifier will make up that difference most of the time anyway.

    Why not drop the 10? 1/2 CL+Mod+SL. It accounts for your training (1/2 CL) it accounts for your abilities (modifier) and it accounts for the innate power of the spell (SL). The result would actually be a nerf. You could probably even get away with just CL+Mod+SL, since you'd only see the real big effects at high level.

    If you're worried about caster-level pumping shenanigans, make it class level of the specific caster class for that spell.
    That seems like it'd penalize low levels hard.
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    Default Re: What if spell save DCs scaled with CL instead of spell level?

    For balance, the best version of this rule is probably the 1/2 character level one. But personally, I prefer SoberDay's suggestion of 1/2 CL, max 1/2 character level, because I don't like flat numerical modifiers based on character level (as opposed to class level). Capabilities that scale with character level independently of class level are great IMO, but flat numerical bonuses based on character level reek of arbitrary scaling. The +1/2 level mod is possibly my least favorite part of 4e.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sepultra View Post
    Can you elaborate on this?
    Mostly rhetoric. There are consistent patterns for st/aoe damage, and there are guidelines for when certain capabilities come in, but it's largely eyeballed. The point's just that high level spells are generally more powerful than low level ones, so under this rule you're still vertically increasing your capabilities.
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    Default Re: What if spell save DCs scaled with CL instead of spell level?

    Quote Originally Posted by PraxisVetli View Post
    That seems like it'd penalize low levels hard.
    Maybe. It'd probably mean low-levels would favor defensive spells or offensive spells requiring attacks rather than saves, while high-levels would still favor save-based spells.

    But thats kinda the trick to playing a caster: if you make it through the low levels, you get awesome power. You're not the Barb/Fighter with awesome AC and HP right out the gate. You've gotta play it safe.

    While I agree that save DCs ought to account for CL, casters don't need any buffs.
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    Default Re: What if spell save DCs scaled with CL instead of spell level?

    I like 1/2 Character Level. I know some people didn't like that about 4E, and I didn't really like it applying to EVERYTHING, but for some things it's fine. It's already how some things work, so extending it to spells seems fine unless you're hyperbolic about 'nothing for casters!'.

    Having low level spells with a save be potentially useful later in the game, instead of just reserved for whatever feat lets you expend spell slots or a bunch of useless tripe that only gets used once in a blue moon, would be fine.

    Plus, I don't really get the issue people have with how this benefits partial casters. I mean... yeah, a Fighter 17, Wizard 3 is going to have a net +7 to his Fireball DC (or whatever other 3rd level spell you want to drop in there) but... so what? Is anybody seriously going to try and argue that this is going to wildly unbalance the game?

    Plus it'd mean all those Paladin, Ranger, and Bard spells with Save DCs are potentially useful instead of just more or less dropped in favor of flat buffs and utility. Paladins getting spells with saves is such a joke it kills me. :p

    So... 1/2 Character Level instead of Spell Level works for me. It's clean, simple, and while not thematically perfect, seems fine. It doesn't significantly raise the ceiling on casters, because that ceiling is already astronomical, but it does raise the floor for partial casters, even ones who are mostly martial. A+.

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