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Toppling Magic Missile Spell sucks!


Pathfinder RPG General Discussion

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Abraham spalding wrote:
Entangled wrote:

The character is ensnared. Being entangled impedes movement, but does not entirely prevent it unless the bonds are anchored to an immobile object or tethered by an opposing force. An entangled creature moves at half speed, cannot run or charge, and takes a –2 penalty on all attack rolls and a –4 penalty to Dexterity. An entangled character who attempts to cast a spell must make a concentration check (DC 15 + spell level) or lose the spell.

A -2 penalty on attacks, half speed movement inability to charge, -4 on Dexterity (meaning a -2 on reflex saves and AC) as well as forcing concentration checks doesn't seem like a bad deal to me.

And since Ice Storm create difficult terrain, every square of movement will cost 20 feet of movement for an entangled creature.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Well. It's done. My character was torn apart by a huge air elemental cyclone. He's dead. Game over.

NOT ONE SUCCESSFUL TRIP. IN. HIS. ENTIRE. CAREER. (That's OVER 50 magic missiles!)

SCREW YOU TOPPLING SPELL. YOU SUCK!

Most useless character ever.

Silver Crusade

Ravingdork wrote:

Well. It's done. My character was torn apart by a huge air elemental cyclone. He's dead. Game over.

NOT ONE SUCCESSFUL TRIP. IN. HIS. ENTIRE. CAREER. (That's OVER 50 magic missiles!)

SCREW YOU TOPPLING SPELL. YOU SUCK!

Most useless character ever.

That really surprises me. As I said earlier in the thread, my Deep Earth Sorcerer uses the same math when trying to trip people using the Tremor 1st level bloodline power, but I have to be within 30 feet instead of 100+ away. He succeeded 2 out of 7 times in his first adventure, and a few more times in other adventures since then. It seems to work maybe 30-40% of the time.


It would be possibly the case of RD's GM focusing on high CMD enemies or just RD having luck on the dice on par with mine (yesterday Earthdawn session... I haven't seen so many '1' on my d8 and d12 for ages, of course mainly on rolls that actually mattered) or combination of both.


Drejk wrote:
It would be possibly the case of RD's GM focusing on high CMD enemies or just RD having luck on the dice on par with mine (yesterday Earthdawn session... I haven't seen so many '1' on my d8 and d12 for ages, of course mainly on rolls that actually mattered) or combination of both.

It's not because of RD's GM, it's because of the AP they are playing in, Carrion Crown. It would seem that this AP is not very friendly to characters specialized in tripping.


Maerimydra wrote:
It's not because of RD's GM, it's because of the AP they are playing in, Carrion Crown. It would seem that this AP is not very friendly to characters specialized in tripping.

I've played through a fair portion of the first adventure in Carrion Crown, and so far we have encountered a number of creatures that would be fairly easy to trip. For instance, we fought some

Very mild spoiler:
human skeletons

and those don't have a very high CMD. But on the other hand, they're so weak that I suspect that Ravingdork didn't even bother tripping them; it'd just be wasting a spell.


PFS big bads are often clerics or ghouls so you should get some trips in

my ROTRL dwarf wizard seemed to get quite a lot of trips in

Star Voter 2013

StreamOfTheSky wrote:

Magic users are actually better at it than fighters. Just look at the things being added.

Fighters can add WF, GWF, magicn enacment form thee weapon, weapon training, gloves of dueling (a relatively cheap +2), not to mention the bonus if lore warden. So, I disagree.


I'm sorry Raving. I almost built that exact same character. When I saw his CMB to trip vs the average CMD of monsters as any given level though, I gave up the idea. It's unfortunate but current Pathfinder has very little in the way of incentive to play any wizard other than one of the "god" variations.


Nicos wrote:
StreamOfTheSky wrote:

Magic users are actually better at it than fighters. Just look at the things being added.

Fighters can add WF, GWF, magicn enacment form thee weapon, weapon training, gloves of dueling (a relatively cheap +2), not to mention the bonus if lore warden. So, I disagree.

You forgot flanking bonus! Fighters can get flanking bonus to their CMB, as well as Aid Another bonus. :)

Star Voter 2013

Maerimydra wrote:
Nicos wrote:
StreamOfTheSky wrote:

Magic users are actually better at it than fighters. Just look at the things being added.

Fighters can add WF, GWF, magicn enacment form thee weapon, weapon training, gloves of dueling (a relatively cheap +2), not to mention the bonus if lore warden. So, I disagree.

You forgot flanking bonus! Fighters can get flanking bonus to their CMB, as well as Aid Another bonus. :)

and Fury's Fall, improved trip and greater trip. I doubt the caster could add those

"Toppling Spell (Metamagic)
Your spells with the force descriptor knock the affected creatures prone.

Benefit: The impact of your force spell is strong enough to knock the target prone. If the target takes damage, fails its saving throw, or is moved by your force spell, make a trip check against the target, using your caster level plus your casting ability score bonus (Wisdom for clerics, Intelligence for wizards, and so on). This does not provoke an attack of opportunity. If the check fails, the target cannot attempt to trip you or the force effect in response.

A toppling spell only affects spells with the force descriptor."

It seems that it only let you add your castiting ability and the caster level to the roll. I certainly would not against it letting stack I. trip and G. Trip though.


I play w a guy in pfs a lot who has a magic missile focused wiard and he has used it vmany time and almost always succeeded, maybe his dice are just monet

Star Voter 2013

1 person marked this as a favorite.

Claude Monet? He dug up his bones and made dice out of them?


money :) but I will go w monet instead


Ravingdork wrote:
NOT ONE SUCCESSFUL TRIP. IN. HIS. ENTIRE. CAREER. (That's OVER 50 magic missiles!)

Over 50 rolls and you never got a 20? That sucks!


I just ran some analysis of the Pathfinder NPC database for NPCs of CR 3 through CR 6. Assuming a +5 casting attribute at level 3 and adding a +2 item at level 6, the chance of tripping an average enemy is just over 50%.

Since "NPC" and "Monster" are not equivalent, I ran through a sampling of monsters as well, and the math seems to be only slightly worse for "Monsters". My calculations aren't as good for monsters because there's no prepared database to use, but I'd put the chance at tripping an average monster of CR=Party Level to be just under 50%.

There are a few enemies in each category that are immune to tripping, but those are generally easy to spot (Oozes and flyers). Also, by applying trip-missiles with discretion, you could greatly improve upon the 50% estimate. Simply target bipedal creatures more often, and skip the trip attempts on spiders & crabs.

Ravingdork's experience seems to be an outlier in some way.


Dazing and Rime spell are way better, IMHO. Rime Spell is brutal for its spell adjustment. Dazing spell is just disgusting on the right builds.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Blueluck wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
NOT ONE SUCCESSFUL TRIP. IN. HIS. ENTIRE. CAREER. (That's OVER 50 magic missiles!)
Over 50 rolls and you never got a 20? That sucks!

Blueluck, did your calculations take into account things like creatures with Force immunity, shield, flight or invisibility? All of those things make one immune to either trip attempts or magic missiles.

More often than not, I didn't even bother rolling on account of it. At low levels, it's not that great. At middle levels, most things have invisibility, flight, or high CMD. At high levels the problems simply compound.

Unless you allow EACH magic missile to do a trip attempt, it's just not worth it.

Ashiel, Dazing Spell is only really worth it in conjunction with level reducers like Spell Perfection. Otherwise, the DC is -3 compared to what you could be casting. That's too low to be terribly effective more often than not.


only thing I have found useful for mage CC beside being able to fly
1. Cast black tentacles
2. Stinking Cloud
3. ???
4. Profit

Note: The melee guys in your party will hate you at first, just tell them to grab bows :P


Matthias wrote:


only thing I have found useful for mage CC beside being able to fly
1. Cast black tentacles
2. Stinking Cloud
3. ???
4. Profit

Note: The melee guys in your party will hate you at first, just tell them to grab bows :P

Another variant is animate dead + stinking cloud. Works wonders.


Ravingdork wrote:
Blueluck, did your calculations take into account things like creatures with Force immunity, shield, flight or invisibility? All of those things make one immune to either trip attempts or magic missiles.

I did take flight into account, but not the shield spell.

I've never even heard of a monster with "Force Immunity". Is that a thing? I was actually operating under the assumption that Magic Missile would hit more enemies than a typical weapon, since it has excellent range, hits insubstantial enemies, etc.

.

Ravingdork wrote:
Unless you allow EACH magic missile to do a trip attempt, it's just not worth it.

I'm still not sure that you shouldn't get one trip attempt per missile.

Let's say I'm playing an 11th level Sorcerer who knows Magic Missile and Scorching Ray. That's 3 rays at 4d6 damage each or 5 missiles at 1d4+1.

Scorching Ray vs. an enemy with Fire Resistance 10 with average damage rolls of 14 points per ray would get me:
14-10=4
14-10=4
14-10=4
--------
12 damage

If each ray is counted as a separate damage source, why wouldn't each missile be counted as a separate damage source as well?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I LIKE that logic!


It might be pretty good for knocking other casters on their butts, and thus making them easier for your melee to get to.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Modules Subscriber
Hubris wrote:


Edit: That's why I never post here... I get ninja'ed while I'm trying to make my point of view make sense. :D

It's your overweening arrogance. It offends the gods.

Silver Crusade

I played my Deep Earth Sorcerer again this morning. He used tremor to try and trip people 3 times, with 19 cha at level 3, so +7 bonus, and it worked twice.

Doing this with Magic Missile should be better, since you can do it from further away, and try it against multiple targets per casting, though using up a level 2 spell slot (or trait for Magical Lineage to keep it level 1) does make it cost more.

I just find it hard to believe you never succeeded. How many times did you really try the trip, rather than how many times you fired Magic Missiles?

Shadow Lodge

I know that feel.

I have a barb/bard in PFS, who, if given some time to get inspire courage and rage on, will curbstomp most melee opponents and she's not even built that well, but guess how many times I usually hit per scenario? With my magical cold iron lucerne hammer of doom?

Just 3. Only three freaking times. The dice hate me. But wait, when I dig up the character's bow every once in a while, suddenly every other hit is a critical threat. Same thing every time I'm forced to use a shield and some backup weapon, like a silver longsword("yeah! I hit for 6 damage!"). And combat maneuvers, which I have no feats for, oh boy do those work. Grappling trolls, dragging opponents, bullrushing people off buildings, etc. It baffles my mental faculties some.

Best wishes, hope your next character is luckier.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

For what is is worth I have had a lot of success with Toppling Magic Missle as a Sage Sorceror. Currently we are level 8 and I would say out of 20ish castings I have tripped at least one target 16 or more times. OF course our campaign is city based so a lot of humanoid targets or undead humanoids (there is a recurring necro problem). Brooch of shielding has been my bane on 2 castings but when it is not blcoked 90 percent of the item I get a target.

So if two trolls come (I target them both) and one of them will likley get tripped. Makes things much easier for our Melee's.


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Hey, does Spell Specialization help with a Toppling Magic Missile? I mean, at low levels, I know that it grants an extra missile, but since it boosts CL by 2, does that mean my trip attempts are at +2 as well?

Silver Crusade

Yes, Spell Specialization ups the caster level, and CL is part of the formula for Toppling, so it makes it more effective.


Cool, that's what I was hoping. Thanks!


Why were you still using Toppling at 6th? You should have moved on to daze by then (with that trait...).

I'm using the combo in my campaign. It did shine at lower levels, when we were fighting kobolds, bandits, and guardsmen (80% success?). I did take the Additional Traits with Secret of the Impossible Kingdom and Outlander (Lore Seeker) for an extra missile and +2 to the roll...


Blueluck wrote:

If each ray is counted as a separate damage source, why wouldn't each missile be counted as a separate damage source as well?

Because damage sources doesn't matter for toppling spell, just the fact that the spell deals damage. There's different language:

"The impact of your force spell is strong enough to knock the target prone.[b] If the target takes damage, fails its saving throw, or is moved by your force spell, make a trip check against the target[(b], using your caster level plus your casting ability score bonus"

Note that it doesn't say "whenever", but "if".

This is the language of scorching ray:
"You blast your enemies with a searing beam of fire. You may fire one ray, plus one additional ray for every four levels beyond 3rd (to a maximum of three rays at 11th level). Each ray requires a ranged touch attack to hit and deals 4d6 points of fire damage. The rays may be fired at the same or different targets, but all rays must be aimed at targets within 30 feet of each other and fired simultaneously."


Ravingdork wrote:

I've used traits like Magical Lineage and feats like Preferred Spell to be able to cast toppling magic missiles all day, every day from level one up, and...it totally sucks!

I've used it approximately 20 times in actual play and I have not been able to trip a SINGLE creature yet! Everything with an appropriate CR seems to have too many legs, happens to be flying, or otherwise has an unbeatable CMD! The 1d20+caster level+casting stat mod just doesn't keep up with the scaling of creatures' and characters' CMD values!

I can't believe I've wasted so many resources on a trap recommendation from these forums. Forums, YOU NEED TO DO BETTER!!!

EDIT: Sorry. Just needed a place to vent.

By this same thing, Black Tentacle does not age well. It's greate when you get it, specially against lowbie mobs of mooks, but then it really can't grapple anyone.

It's bassically a grapple attempt by a fighter with no grapple feat, skill, class feature or bonus. Plain and simple Character Level + 4, is not going to grapple anyone. The only saving feature is that it becomes difficult terrain. Against most monsters, an Enlarged Grease is better :(


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I've heard that black tentacles is positively terrific against humanoids, and absolutely terrible against many monsters. Do you think that true gustavio?


StreamOfTheSky wrote:
It's the same reason Tumble is suicide.

On a side note, could you explain this in more detail, please? >.>


Ravingdork wrote:
I've heard that black tentacles is positively terrific against humanoids, and absolutely terrible against many monsters. Do you think that true gustavio?

A good thing about Black Tentacles is that it's always useful against player characters. *evil GM grin*


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I wonder if there are threads about CMB and CMD, or any flaws (real or perceived) related to them.


Icyshadow wrote:
I wonder if there are threads about CMB and CMD, or any flaws (real or perceived) related to them.

That might be handy.

This topple spell idea sounds like it would be fun to try out, though after playing a tripping fighter with a glaive (+20 to trips at level 7) it would most likely feel very underwhelming :/


LazarX wrote:

You whole approach is the problem. You've based your strategy on being a one trick pony with a first level spell. That's fine for lowbie casters but it's not a long-term career option. What may be a great BBEG option at first level, becomes something that at best is for the mooks later on.

Spot on, if Toppling Magic Missile is all a mid-high level wizard has to rely on, then its the wizard that sucks.

Its a neat trick for a second level spell, being able to trip 5 mooks a round is nice, cheapo battlefield control, and lots of easy hits for the rest of the party.


Drejk wrote:
Swift action to deal 5d4+4 damage is nice icing on the cake if you happen to have nothing else to do with 4th level spells.

If you have nothing better to do with a 4th level spell slot than cast a quickened magic missile then you shouldn't be allowed to play a wizard.


Funky Badger wrote:
Drejk wrote:
Swift action to deal 5d4+4 damage is nice icing on the cake if you happen to have nothing else to do with 4th level spells.
If you have nothing better to do with a 4th level spell slot than cast a quickened magic missile then you shouldn't be allowed to play a wizard.

See, now I want to make a wizard that casts nothing but metamagic missiles in every spell slot. Although actually that might be kinda boring to play but it would be interesting to see how useful you can make your magic missiles.

Might have to look for the force missile mage and patherfinderise it.


I can confirm that toppling spell is awesome in PFS. I took it as my level 5 bonus feat because the rod didn't exist at the time.

Big/multilegged enemies are straight-up rare.


Lord Pendragon wrote:
StreamOfTheSky wrote:
It's the same reason Tumble is suicide.
On a side note, could you explain this in more detail, please? >.>

Tumbling was a skill in D&D 3.5 that allowed you to move through a threatened square without provoking attacks of opportunity. Tumbling was rolled into Acrobatics (along with things like Balance as well) for Pathfinder.

http://www.d20pfsrd.com/skills/acrobatics#move-through-threatened-area
In addition, you can move through a threatened square without provoking an attack of opportunity from an enemy by using Acrobatics. When moving in this way, you move at half speed. You can move at full speed by increasing the DC of the check by 10. You cannot use Acrobatics to move past foes if your speed is reduced due to carrying a medium or heavy load or wearing medium or heavy armor. If an ability allows you to move at full speed under such conditions, you can use Acrobatics to move past foes. You can use Acrobatics in this way while prone, but doing so requires a full-round action to move 5 feet, and the DC is increased by 5. If you attempt to move through an enemy’s space and fail the check, you lose the move action and provoke an attack of opportunity.

The DC to make such a check is the opponent's Combat Maneuver Defense. When you're going up against creatures with an incredibly high CMD, the DC to successfully Tumble becomes all the harder to hit and it's not such a good idea to chance it when you have to get a really good roll to do it. Plus, it can't be done with medium or heavy armor, which kinda sucks.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Maps, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Take Boat wrote:

I can confirm that toppling spell is awesome in PFS. I took it as my level 5 bonus feat because the rod didn't exist at the time.

Big/multilegged enemies are straight-up rare.

And I can confirm that, anywhere else, it's absolute garbage.


My PFS Starsoul sorcerer has gotten great mileage out of Toppling Spell.

He has Magical Lineage, a 23 CHA at 6th, is saving up for the next headband soon and at 8th will have a 26 CHA. At 5th, I took Dazing Spell, and my two "third level slots" are Dazing Magic Missile and Fireball.

Because I didn't know that Spell Specialization worked with Toppling Spell's CMB, I didn't build him to have a high enough INT to get Spell Specialization. I think that's the only trick I missed. He's running around with a +11 CMB, +12 if he uses a scroll of Eagle's Spendor.

PFS has a fair number of encounters with bipeds in every scenario. You don't get to Huge or Huge Quadruped opponents until 10th level...at which point he'll be rolling Dazing Flaming Sphere around the battlefield.

I don't succeed all the time, but I succeed more often than I fail. Because I also took Spontaneous Metafocus at 3rd level, it's the same as casting a normal Magic Missile, and I take the attitude that it's always worth it to throw it that way because, hey, I might roll a 20 on the CMB check.

I also maneuver one of the fighters around on Floating Disk so that my move action can be used to put them in position, give them higher ground and let them do a full attack...ideally against a Dazed or Prone opponent.

We pretty much shut down a scenario when he threw Dazing Magic Missile at the big boss that was going to run away - and the boss blew the Will Save.

At 7th, I'm taking Heighten Spell and Quicken Spell (bloodline) so that at 8th I can just fling quickened magic missiles and double my damage output, or heighten my Fireball or Dazing Magic Missile as needed.


AdAstraGames wrote:

My PFS Starsoul sorcerer has gotten great mileage out of Toppling Spell.

He has Magical Lineage, a 23 CHA at 6th, is saving up for the next headband soon and at 8th will have a 26 CHA. At 5th, I took Dazing Spell, and my two "third level slots" are Dazing Magic Missile and Fireball.

Because I didn't know that Spell Specialization worked with Toppling Spell's CMB, I didn't build him to have a high enough INT to get Spell Specialization. I think that's the only trick I missed. He's running around with a +11 CMB, +12 if he uses a scroll of Eagle's Spendor.

PFS has a fair number of encounters with bipeds in every scenario. You don't get to Huge or Huge Quadruped opponents until 10th level...at which point he'll be rolling Dazing Flaming Sphere around the battlefield.

I don't succeed all the time, but I succeed more often than I fail. Because I also took Spontaneous Metafocus at 3rd level, it's the same as casting a normal Magic Missile, and I take the attitude that it's always worth it to throw it that way because, hey, I might roll a 20 on the CMB check.

I also maneuver one of the fighters around on Floating Disk so that my move action can be used to put them in position, give them higher ground and let them do a full attack...ideally against a Dazed or Prone opponent.

We pretty much shut down a scenario when he threw Dazing Magic Missile at the big boss that was going to run away - and the boss blew the Will Save.

At 7th, I'm taking Heighten Spell and Quicken Spell (bloodline) so that at 8th I can just fling quickened magic missiles and double my damage output, or heighten my Fireball or Dazing Magic Missile as needed.

so let me get this straight... instead of just getting grease and targeting reflex for the prone condition, hindering terrain for charge prevention and a ranged disarm that would be better all around then a trip you spend a ton of resources to make a magic missle trip someone?

it seems silly to me. a +12 cmb isnt at all better then a dc 17-18 reflex save or prone/disarmed, when you need to take meta magic feats, use scrolls, and waste higher level slots for a trip effect.


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He's also got Grease, and uses it. Especially with Alchemical Grease to boost the DC.

The difference - and this has shown up in a fight - is that I can trip three people in three widely different locales within 160 feet of my position. With one Standard Action due to Spontaneous Metafocus.

Sometimes, it's also useful to NOT create difficult terrain for your teammates to navigate.


but now my question is, you spent a feat for toppling magic missle, and you said it occupies your 2 and 3rd level slots. why not cast Create Pit,Web,Hideous Laughter, spiked pit, and a few other spells? i mean persistant spell would be a better choice then toppeling spell.

im just trying to see how this feat is worth taking, as im looking at it they have much much better choices for similar effects.


Because Toppling Magic Missile is a 1st level spell. Dazing Magic Missile is a 3rd level spell, due to Magical Lineage. Because Spontaneous Metafocus is tied to Magic Missile, both are Standard Actions for this character.

In my experience, Toppling Magic Missile is working about 50-65% of the time against sensibly chosen opponents, who can be farther apart than 10 feet. I've done one arc where everything was underwater or flying, but that's something of an outlier.

Here's who I choose to go after - first, my character has a 10 DEX, so usually goes at the end of initiative order (and I've been known to hold my first turn action to specifically arrange this...)

1) If it's in heavy armor, it's a lower priority target for toppling magic missile.
2) If it's casting a spell, it's a primary target for toppling magic missile.
3) If my teammate is going to need to move through its threatened area, it's a primary target for a toppling magic missile.
4) If it's got a bow and medium armor, it's getting toppling magic missile.
5) If it's got a gun, or a bomb, it's a target for a grease spell. (Want to screw up an alchemist? Cast grease on his potion belt...)

And I've got plenty of other spells to go with it. It's one tool among many; it's one that I use reflexively because, again, it's a 1st level spell slot that can put guaranteed damage down and a useful condition.


Orc Boyz, which part of "I can trip three people in three widely different locales within 160 feet of my position" you don't understand? None of the spells you proposed above can do that. I'm not saying that Toppling Magic Missile are uber-cool, but it seems they can be useful in specific situations.

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