|Matthew Morris RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8|
The APG 1st level Break spell allows you to break an object at a distance.
This looks like an incredibly powerful debuff that will have the party running away if it is used against them. Two castings and two failed Fort saves and the most powerful magic item in the party could be destroyed or the wizards bonded item gone.
This seems like a spell for a low level group to take down a much higher level group if they get surprise. You could certainly nerf many characters with it.
This doesn't feel right. What am I missing?
You're missing two things:
1. The Make Whole spell can repair magic items now. Destroying the wizard's magic wubbie isn't as crippling as just destroying the wizard, or even knocking him out.
2. The Liavek strategy
Read the Liavek series. In it you will find wizards with bonded items. You will also find that if they have their bonded items destroyed on their unbirthday, they lose their ability to work magic forever. Consequently the wizards of Liavek are sensible and make a point of not letting people know what their bonded object is. You have a ring as your bonded object? Fine. Wear it. Wear nine other rings at the same time. Pimp yourself out with a magic staff, a magic dagger and a tiara too. Leave them guessing.
1. If the wizard's bonded item is destroyed, the wizard is essentially useless for that encounter, and to a lesser extent, the other party members are just as reliant on their gear. Your fighter isn't going to soak up damage very well without their armor, and breaking a party member's primary weapon can be crippling to them at low levels, when they have a primary weapon and maybe a ranged weapon to work with. A 1st level spell has effectively removed that character from the encounter entirely.
2. The Liavek strategy is much more effective for NPCs than it is for PCs. First of all, you're not going to have the wealth to throw around at low levels to deck yourself out in all sorts of gear, and secondly, the GM if s/he really wants to use the spell that way is more than capable of simply metagaming against the wizard and having the NPC make a "lucky guess."
Of course, assuming it's the Fighter making the save for his breastplate, I'd estimate +4 Fortitude at Level 1 vs. DC 15, which is a 45% chance of success, I think? That DC 15 is far more intimidating to the Wizard, but Fortitude is always intimidating to the Wizard.
I was hoping I had missed a rules reference. If the spell said "unattended" item I think it would be more balanced.
Spell text: "You can attempt to break or at least damage any one Medium
Make Whole for a magic item depends on finding a suitable high level wizard typically of more than double your level, and is nigh impossible beyond a 10th level item.
The wizards bonded item is masterwork so easily distinguished from close up unless you spend a fortune on duplicates.
GMs who have their NPCs use metagame knowledge are a problem even without this spell. NPCs who run around with Santa's "Naughty" list for all a characters past sins and weaknesses with annotations from the KGB? Yeah, a real problem.
As for wealth at low levels, a signet ring runs you 5 GP. Since nobles are supposed to have them, one assumes that these are made out of gold, and if you can get one gold ring for 5 GP, you should be able to get a bag of pretty nice costume jewelry for the same money. We're talking gilded bronze, paste jewels and rhinestones, but the nice stuff that requires someone to hold down and examine with a jewelers loupe in good lighting with a reasonable Appraise check, not something you get to do when you're in combat.
But GMs who abuse metagame knowledge? The only cure I know for that is simply leaving their games until they possibly get a clue.
Umbral Reaver wrote:
A bit naff for arcane duelists.
This is way OT. Sorry. Bear with me for a second...
Hey Umbral Reaver!:
That thing last night? With the thing? Someone used Break on the motherboard. Twice. :(
Back on topic: Sooo... is it just me, or do we already have a spell that does this, except a level higher and not nearly as good?
Still, for this spell to destroy any item, it has to succeed twice. I assume that once again, we're talking about a low-level issue since at higher levels, even a wizard could viably make a DC 15 fort save.
This being the case, the spell caster will need to spend at least two rounds (since I assume they haven't gotten their hands on a rod of quicken spell or some other nonsense) in order to POSSIBLY disable the wizard (or the fighter if you go for the weapon). Shatter, a single spell level higher, deals 1d6 per level (so 3d6 minimum) points of damage to the object with a fort save for half damage which still does something if the save is successful. Just as a raw comparison, Shatter is far more reliable for smaller objects like rings or necklace chains, since a good roll could mean you break the object even if they save. At only a single spell level more, a viable worry in a low level game, I'd be more worried about shatter than break unless you've got a bonded staff or weapon. Even then though, an average damage of nine is enough to bypass the hardness of most staves and a failed save could still instantly destroy let alone break both light and one handed blades.
Assuming the caster of break is working alone, it's really quite a pointless spell as generally the PCs will be working together to break your face in while your trying to disable one of them. Even with minions or at least a body guard, it's not much better. Keep in mind that it also takes up two precious spell slots at low level at minimum. Assuming either save passes, you've wasted your time (being a sorcerer mitigates this somewhat, but at that point it may be one of only two or three spells you actually know, four if you're lucky, and quite useless fighting against say, an animal companion or a monk). I know that it sucks to have objects break but shutting down a casters spells after two turns of doing nothing else (well, in the case of weapons a penalty on attack but in the case of rings and the like they don't impede at all at the broken category) just doesn't seem that viable of a strategy. Especially since at low levels, a crossbow can often serve just as well as a first level spell and you're honestly not much worse off then the party rogue or bard at shooting one assuming you have a decent dex as a caster (admittedly not all do).
I like it as an option for a PC. It seems like a fun spell. But I'm not convinced it's devastating unless I'm totally missing something. (Possible as my lack of sleep is getting worse of late)
Hmm, let's see... Shatter is a 2nd-level spell but specifically does not work on magic items (but it has an area attack against small nonmagical objects and can damage crystalline creatures as well).
Break is a 1st-level spell and it apparently (sorry, I am not able to check my PDF right now) works against magical items, but it only gives the broken condition (or destroys them if they already have the broken condition).
It seems a bit too much powerful for a 1st-level spell, but of course since I have no text in front of me I cannot speak of other variables as well (like Range; Shatter is range Close, so I hope that Break is Close, too). Now, if the text expressely says that it won't work on magic items then the spell would be fine (basically, it would be a 'Lesser Shatter').
Maybe it would need an errata, after all...
Just looking at Shatter
Unless this was changed to non-attended (I have an old version pdf) this would destroy my bonded object without problems - even if carried. Just magical objects are save.
School evocation [sonic]; Level bard 2, cleric 2, sorcerer/wizard 2
And here is Break for comparison
It is a medium or smaller object (instead of weight). This can be an advantage or not - shatter would work also for something large but not too heavy.
But as mentioned before - you need to cast it twice to destroy an object. So apart of magic items - it is a lot weaker as shatter - which seems right in regard to a 1st level vs 2nd level spell.
School transmutation; Level sorcerer/wizard 1
In regard to Break - overpowered:
So here is my wizard and his staff (bonded object) gets targetted.
Round 1: Bad Wizard casts the spell and incurs the Broken Condition
Round 2: (or round 1 if I act after the Bad Wizard) I just turn around - protecting my staff and hide it under my robe.
Yes - I'm out of this fight and rely on the rest of the group to take care of the encounter - but as long as the Bad Wizard can't see my bonded object, he can't cast at it.
With a ring I could just hide one hand in my robe. Not great as I'm now one handed - but prevents any further damage and I can mend it afterwards.
Keep in mind - you need to target an object twice to destroy it. As long as you can take it out of sight it is save.
Heck even at 7th level it becomes a non-issue, if you're dueling or paranoid.
Round 1 wizard casts break, I cast minor globe of invulnerability.
Round 2 I beat the heck out of the wizard.
Is it kind of scary at low levels? If I'm going for a wizard, in two rounds I can likely drop him with magic missile (2d4+2 7 HP on average) more reliably than dropping the bonded item. I'd be more worried about him casting sleep, or colour spray or something and disabling maybe half my party.
Matthew Morris wrote:
I think that we are missing the real issue.
(1st, sorry for my bad english)
That's one of those spells that, in the end, applies penalties to an enemy, instead of dealing damage. So let's take a look a that kind of spells.
A similar 1st level spell is Ray of Enfeeblement (Necromancy).
1) Transmutation had no low level spell able to damage o apply penalties to an enemy, transmutation has powerful spells that improve ability scores and such. "Break" gives that new ability to Transmutation specialist, that's wrong imo.
Ray of Enfeeblement requires a touch attack, Break doesn't.The damage from RoE last many rounds, the damage from Break will prolly last until the next day (I don't think wizards memorize Make Whole spells).
RoE is useful against most targets (except spellcasters that don't care much about having a low Stre score), broken is useless against many targets that don't wear equipment (beast, animals, dragons, etc..)
RoE deals half damage after a succesful saving throw, Broken does nothing after a succesful save.
RoE does about 5 Strength damage, it is -2 to attack, damage and CMB with weapons. Further spellcasting doesn't stack, at best the penalty is upgraded to -3.
Broken weapons suffer a -2 penalty to attack and damage (compare with RoE) AND their critical range becomes 20/x2. Armors loose half its AC value (-5 AC for a full plate), a bit more flexible than the RoE spell.
Further spellcasting of "Break" ruins the item, which is specially harmful if you are destroying armors. Many characters have secondary weapons, but can't carry spare armors.
IMHO: As written Break is better than other 1st level spells that deal that kind of damage, and an annoying spell too. Break would be ok if it wouldn't have the ability to destroy items that are already broken, but everything else seems rigth.
Most of the examples stating Break is over-powered mention targetting a Wizard's bonded item. It seems that in order for this to happen, the Wizard would have to be pretty careless with the item, otherwise, how would anyone know which item to target?
At low levels, aside from an obvious magic weapon, there would be very few obvious viable targets for the spell to be used effectively and, even then, there's a solid chance of the saving throw being successful.
At high levels, items on your person use your save, so the saving throw would succeed more often than not, making the spell a last ditch effort at best.
I could see this spell being an issue based on metagaming, but don't see an issue with it if used in-game.
what's funny is that I got the exact opposite conclusion that you did with your comparison. Given the two spells, I would much rather memorize RoE, I think break is perfectly fine as is.
Would you cast two RoE spells at a single target instead of casting two break spells at a single target?
For a single use I think everyone agrees that the broken condition is perfectly fine. The acummulated effects is the problem here. Nobody would cast a RoE spell against someone already damaged by one, unless you rolled a 1 in the Strength damage dice or you are a low level spellcaster (lasts 1 round/level).
Sucks to not have a good Fort Save or a backup item. Maybe the bonded item has another stroke against it?
Its an interesting spell because I don't know that I'd ever take it as a sorcerer. I'd certainly never prepare it twice as a wizard so Items seem the likely use.
A wand of Break might be likely but doubly expensive. You'd be paying for the wand and giving up the target, assuming you win the battle.
Its also 2 rounds of casting that could be doing something else. The realistic NPC would rather win a battle than die ruining a wizard's day.
I think Shatter is evocation because it creates a sonic force that does the damage.
I think break magically reaches out and transmutes an object into a broken condition.
It doesn't seem any worse than the Sunder maneuver or the Shatter spell. And frankly I don't see those two things come up very frequently.
Arbitrary school divisions.
Broken? No. At least two rounds casting save or suck is risky. Besides, it is a rare occasion that destroying one magic item will cause a TPK. Nerf a character for a while? Yeah, but that’s why it is always good to have a backup plan. ;)
Evil of a GM to use on a wizard’s bonded item at low levels? Probably, but it depends. If the bonded object gets destroyed, the wizard’s concentration check DC to cast is 20 + the spell’s level until he/she gets a new one. In the right situation this spell could break a PC, but if the GM wants to be evil… it’s hard to blame the spell for that.
2. The Liavek strategy is much more effective for NPCs than it is for PCs. First of all, you're not going to have the wealth to throw around at low levels to deck yourself out in all sorts of gear,
You see a wizard wearing 10 identical copper rings, half detect as magic half do not. You also see a copper headband which is not magical. As he casts his spell he points his glowing magic staff at you and a fireball streaks towards the party.
Which one of these items do you target? It could be any or it could be the amulet that you can't see under his tunic. All this would cost about 10sp for a bunch of cheap jewelry.
and secondly, the GM if s/he really wants to use the spell that way is more than capable of simply metagaming against the wizard and having the NPC make a "lucky guess."
Why would anyone choose to game with a GM who is a this much of a jerk? He could likewise have his NPCs and monsters always make a 'lucky guess' where the invisible guy is. Put pit traps only down the hallways where the rogue forgets to search. etc... Game rules can't fix a-hole.
Yeah I would because each ray has a partial effect even on a save and if my goal is to nerf whoever it is i'm fighting, I want them taking negatives to their damage they can deal me.
I would especially hit them with a second if I got a six on my first, because if they've already been significantly weakened a second good roll would mean they hit max encumbrance and have even more penalties stacked upon them.
Wait, a temporal effect from a spell doesn't stack with itself, specially not in the case of RoE. Instead the effect that does the most damage to Strength applies.That's why you don't usually use RoE two times over the same foe unless he wins the first save.
"Break" stacks with himself because the description of the spell says so and the effect is instantaneous.
And you can make an item permanently detect as magical cheaply by means of another simple spell: Magic Mouth. Just instruct the Magic Mouth on your ring to say "Wow, you don't see that everyday" when simultaneously Hell freezes over and pigs fly.
There, permanent detectable magic aura.
Also, learning the location of auras take 3 rounds of concentration with detect magic.
Round 1, cast detect magic, yes, there is magic present.
Not to mention another spell that arbitrarily changes the Saving Throw target (Shatter´s Will -> Break´s Fort, Telekinesis´ Will -> Enemy Hammer´s Fort) for no reason discernable in the fluff text. I guess at least the arbitrary school could somehow provide a justification for the Saving Throw shift.
I think I mentioned on the boards before how we all understand the Backwards Compatable thing, but I really really really wished that we could see MORE consistency or ´rationality´ in things like magic school designations and saving throws. Sadly, it is exactly the opposite. There´s definitely plenty of cool stuff in the APG, but it really seems like it´s gone down the road of WoTC´s 3.x material already.
You're talking about a PC failing 2 fort saves.. in most cases failing ONE would mean that they are permanently blind or deaf, nauseated for many rounds like half the rest of the party, are hopping around as a toad, just became a stone lawn ornament, or are DEAD Jim, DEAD!
So it doesn't seem so bad to me.
Yeah I am not seeing the issues here. Unless your GM is out to screw ya over this is a non issue. If your GM is out to screw ya over you have more things to worry about then a level 1 spell.
2nd time in about a two week period. I swear the end of the world is near.
Oh and the thread is over.
This bugged me also. Everyone was hollering about how 'broken' it was so I didn't get a chance to mention it. Doesn't make sense.
Spells being placed in thematically appropriate schools used to bother me, until a poster here pointed out that the same effects could be replicated in many different ways, and the school a spell is in just represents one way. Spell saves are a little more tightly tied to their fluff, but I could see the same argument be made for those as well.
I haven't got my APG yet however using the information provided in the previous posts I would like to point out the following.
1: Until the bonded item is enchanted by the owner it is not magical. It is only a MW item. Detect magic would be useless in finding it.
2:Shatter will work on the item until it is enchanted, it however is an evocation [Sonic] effect and would have to bypass hardness.
3:Break: a transformation effect gives the item the broken condition (assuming it takes the item to half HP)(Nothing above indicates the item takes damage just gains the damaged condition). Simply casting mending removes this condition.
This doesn't seem broken at all. Pardon the pun.
I have no problem with break.
Shatter is creating sounds or forces that have the capacity to break brittle items. Creation of the elements or forces is generally evocation.
Break is changing an item and making it broken. Changing items is generally transmutation.
Ok if "Break" is "Broken" then "Mending" is even worse.
You cast break. My item gains the broken condition. I use mending I restore HP to the item, since the item never lost HP (merely gained the condition) it is automatically "not broken"
I'll trade you your 1st level spell and standard action, for my 0th level spell and a standard action until you run out of spells, sure -- I'll consider that a fair trade.
Abraham spalding wrote:
Er, not quite.
I still don't think Break is broken, but you can't really counter it with Mending, at least not in combat.
I think all the spells mentioned here are fine except one thing.
Break is transmutation and fortitude because you're "polymorphing" the item into a broken one (regardless of HP, hardness).
Mending takes a long time to cast, but it's 0th level, don't expect flowers. You can freely repair all your broken stuff during down time.
Shatter is evocation because you're creating sound to break things, hence why it deals damage dice. My issue is why would it be a will save? It should be fort (object toughs it out) or refl (you dodge the effect), will makes no sense.
If Break worries you that much, develop a "quick mend" spell that restores an item in 1 rd, as a first level spell.
So, if the bonded item is an amulet, wear it under your shirt and robes instead of outside. If it is a ring, wear gloves. If you picks a weapon, or a staff, or a wand . . . well them's the breaks. Frankly, I have never seen anyone in my ground take bonded item--they all would rather have a familiar.
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