Wizard / Sorcerer spells are flawed


Combat & Magic


since we're trying to make a better system here, i have some suggestions that will keep wizard's power in check:

watching 3.5 progress, i've noticed splat book makers getting lazier and lazier and making more and more and more spells with every book. now they have no sr spells and all other sorts of garbage which undermine a high level fighter's usefulness.

The idea that a spell is a touch spell is not enough of an excuse to make it a no-save spell. E.g. i am a moderately high level fighter, all a wizard has to do is hit my touch ac (which if i'm a good fighter is probably 1/3 or 1/2 of my normal ac) with a ray of enfeeblement and i am mostly incapacitated for the combat. Even worse, maximize it and empower it (easy if you have the appropriate cheesy rods) and you instantly can do 16 points of strength and i, the fighter, don't even get a say in it.

my point is: no save touch spells are stupid, they're pretty much an auto success and the other gets no say. I propose that if you deem it a no-sr spell, you have to hit my full AC, be it ray of enfeeblement or orb of acid, if you just want to hit my touch ac, give me a save of some sort, but bypassing saves and only having to hit a touch AC disadvantages high level fighters whose touch ac rarely changes as their saves and full ac goes up.


nidhogg08 wrote:


my point is: no save touch spells are stupid, they're pretty much an auto success and the other gets no say. I propose that if you deem it a no-sr spell, you have to hit my full AC, be it ray of enfeeblement or orb of acid, if you just want to hit my touch ac, give me a save of some sort, but bypassing saves and only having to hit a touch AC disadvantages high level fighters whose touch ac rarely changes as their saves and full ac goes up.

Ah, well that *is* one of the advantages of being a monk over a fighter then, isn't it?

As far as Ray of Enfeeblement goes, I agree... ray of enfeeblement is probably on the top ten most broken spells in CORE. But as far as touch spells in general... well, some of them *do* allow you a save, disintigrate comes to mind, although for the most part, you are correct in saying they do not. Should touch/ranged touch spells in general allow a save? mm... perhaps. Honestly, ray of enfeeblement aside, there aren't too many spells that I think this is a problem with. Possibly Enervation, but with that spell there are other ways to defend yourself (death ward), so I think it's ok.

Sovereign Court RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32, 2010 Top 8

Non-core, Ray deflection is your best friend. Makes Beholders beach balls.

Core, what saves RoE is that it's a penalty, not damamge. Doesn't stack with itself and doesn't double on a crit. It's nasty, to be certain.

In some ways, Pathfinder weakens RoE even more, since the greater hit points at 1st level allows more low level guys on the scene, and it only affects one target.

Is it a nasty spell? Yes. Is it a 'must take' first level spell, I don't think so.

If rays were 'Roll to hit, save as well' I think they'd be turned into sub optimal choices.


I agree with both sides. I think that Ray of Enfeeblement is broken but I can see how it would be suboptimal if a save was made in addition to range touch to avoid the effect. I think adding a save for 1/2 effect would be a good compromise.


sciencephile wrote:
I agree with both sides. I think that Ray of Enfeeblement is broken but I can see how it would be suboptimal if a save was made in addition to range touch to avoid the effect. I think adding a save for 1/2 effect would be a good compromise.

Couldn't agree with you more sciencephile. save for 1/2.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
nidhogg08 wrote:
...The idea that a spell is a touch spell is not enough of an excuse to make it a no-save spell. E.g. i am a moderately high level fighter, all a wizard has to do is hit my touch ac (which if i'm a good fighter is probably 1/3 or 1/2 of my normal ac) with a ray of enfeeblement and i am mostly incapacitated for the combat...

I assume your talking about the fact that one can crumble under the weight of his gear after losing to mutch strenght. That issue has been adressed in Alpha 3:

***
P.148:

Some spells and abilities cause you to take an ability
penalty for a limited amount of time. While in effect, these
penalties function just like ability damage, but they cannot
cause you to fall unconscious or die. In effect, penalties
cannot decrease your ability score to less than one.

Strength: Damage to your Strength score causes you to
take penalties on Strength-based skill checks, melee attack
rolls, and weapon damage rolls (if they rely on Strength).
The penalty also applies to your combat maneuver bonus.
***

So no effect on encumberence. Sure, if you pile up all the Meta on the spell you may still end up imposing a -7 penalty (I only got 14 with maximize and empower, witch you still have to roll for) but you put a lot of effort (or resources) in that spell with a 6th level slot.

EDIT: Also note the maximum reduction to one on penalty effects.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Thats always been there. Penalties cannot kill a person, it says so in the DMG.

As annoying as the no-saves are, they are almost always on spells that require touch attacks. Thats their shortcomings because with a wizard BAB progression at 20th level they've just met the 10 base to AC, so unless you have a dex penalty even a lvl 20 wizard can never gaurantee a hit.

Its the same idea as shocking grasp. They're not aiming for a weak spot, they just need to point at you for the magical effect to target you. Mechanically this is the one thing that keeps wizards with attack spells in the game.

So a wizard zaps you for a strength penalty. Even if your DM takes encumbrance into account (I know I do, makes roleplaying the fight more interesting. My group at least) you still have 2.5 times as much health as the wizard, and you might have to rely on your friends a bit. The wizard relies on his friends every day to keep the monsters away. Good balance IMO.

Ranged attacks are never gauranteed, and touch AC goes up at almost the same rate as the wizards BAB (due to deflection bonuses, stat increases, and ect.) Thats why the no-save balances it.

Shadow Lodge

sciencephile wrote:
I agree with both sides. I think that Ray of Enfeeblement is broken but I can see how it would be suboptimal if a save was made in addition to range touch to avoid the effect. I think adding a save for 1/2 effect would be a good compromise.

I'm not a big fan of a spell that involves both an attack roll and a save. Either just lower the effect of touch spells or change them to reflex saving throws. Personally I'm a fan of the later idea because saving throws increase with level while Touch AC is fairly flat.

So all spells would either be reflex, fort, will or attack normal AC.

-- Dennis

Scarab Sages

... and yet another post about totally buggering the Wizard. What's with you wizard-haters, anyway? :)

I have played a wizard exactly one time since the onset of third edition, and that's right now. I have never liked memorizing spells, and as such I have played a couple of sorcerers, but never a wizard until we started in on Rise of the Runelords. I am not the most powerful, scary creature on the map when combat comes along - and I have focussed on evocation and necromancy spells, with a kind of penchant for rays. I didn't do this for the ultimate power that some people apparently believe these spells provide... it was just for a "theme" if you will.

I find it odd that these "suggestions" are always how the fighter is somehow suffering because the wizard isn't yet totally nerfed and rendered nearly useless. I don't understand why people want fighters to be the ultimate damage-output, physically and magically invulnerable things on the field... they're meat shields that dish out damage head-on. That's their role... they aren't some kind of uber-class that should be immune to everything and be unstoppable on offense.

Wizard/Sorcerer spells are NOT flawed. Not all of them, anyway. The conjuration spells that mimic evocation spells are stupid, and my group has basically outlawed them - you cannot compensate for all the splat books and addon books by so crippling the core rules because of a few instances and still make it workable. Touch-based ray spells... well, someone else pointed out how these are just fine above. If you're the fighter, and you're whining because you have a crappy touch armour class... well welcome to having a weak spot. The wizard has several of those. If you don't want to get hit by rays then work on your touch armour class.

Blah. Sorry for the rant, but I'm getting mighty annoyed by people constantly trying to suck the life and ability out of the wizard - and not because they think the wizard is too powerful in some absolute way... just that it can in very limited instances and very limited quantities on occasion do more damage than the fighter and occasionally hit the fighter with a spell that he doesn't get a save against. That's the wizard's job.

Shadow Lodge

hmarcbower wrote:
Wizard/Sorcerer spells are NOT flawed. Not all of them, anyway.

QFT... now the problem is figuring which ones are :)

Personally, I think the SRD is mostly Ok. There are exceptions, what they are is open to debate. The big problem with touch AC and no-save spells comes mostly from splat books so it's not really a Paizo thing to fix.

-- Dennis

Sovereign Court

hmarcbower wrote:

... and yet another post about totally buggering the Wizard. What's with you wizard-haters, anyway? :)

I have played a wizard exactly one time since the onset of third edition, and that's right now. I have never liked memorizing spells, and as such I have played a couple of sorcerers, but never a wizard until we started in on Rise of the Runelords. I am not the most powerful, scary creature on the map when combat comes along - and I have focussed on evocation and necromancy spells, with a kind of penchant for rays. I didn't do this for the ultimate power that some people apparently believe these spells provide... it was just for a "theme" if you will.

I find it odd that these "suggestions" are always how the fighter is somehow suffering because the wizard isn't yet totally nerfed and rendered nearly useless. I don't understand why people want fighters to be the ultimate damage-output, physically and magically invulnerable things on the field... they're meat shields that dish out damage head-on. That's their role... they aren't some kind of uber-class that should be immune to everything and be unstoppable on offense.

Wizard/Sorcerer spells are NOT flawed. Not all of them, anyway. The conjuration spells that mimic evocation spells are stupid, and my group has basically outlawed them - you cannot compensate for all the splat books and addon books by so crippling the core rules because of a few instances and still make it workable. Touch-based ray spells... well, someone else pointed out how these are just fine above. If you're the fighter, and you're whining because you have a crappy touch armour class... well welcome to having a weak spot. The wizard has several of those. If you don't want to get hit by rays then work on your touch armour class.

Blah. Sorry for the rant, but I'm getting mighty annoyed by people constantly trying to suck the life and ability out of the wizard - and not because they think the wizard is too powerful in some absolute way... just that it can in very limited...

Wow, okay clearly you've never dealt with a player who doesn't care about hogging the spotlight, wait until you have a player who is always running with greater invisibility, and using Otto's irresistable dance. Wait till a DM does it to the player and see how the player reacts. Spells that don't allow for a save and based on making a touch attack (which I don't know about you, but I only see a miss on one of those rolls 1 in maybe eight times) are pretty much fun killers.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

We have had some trouble with Ray of Enfeeblement but a lot more trouble with Enervate. If more than one PC can cast this (which has been the case several parties in a row) single foes who are not immune to it are toast: this has been particularly clear with dragons. It *does* stack, and devastates both combat and spellcasting ability, especially with metamagic. In practice I don't see the casters miss; the touch AC of single powerful bad guys in the modules tends to be very low.

We had a gentleman's agreement not to take it in the most recent game. I tend to regard "must take, must use" dominant spells as probably broken, because I dislike seeing the same tactic used in every single BBG battle.

Being a no-save touch attack rather than a saved spell seems balanced at fairly low levels, but increasingly tilted, in our hands, toward the no-saves at high levels, where saves tend to be very good. Against our PC party at the end of RotRL, for example, saved attacks were next to useless, whereas the only reason they weren't painfully vulnerable to Enervation was that there were too many of them. Any single PC could have been romped by it.

Mary


lastknightleft wrote:


Wow, okay clearly you've never dealt with a player who doesn't care about hogging the spotlight, wait until you have a player who is always running with greater invisibility, and using Otto's irresistable dance.

Wait until the player's face contorts in horror, when he realises

he just tickled a VAMPIRE LORD... :-)

BTW, Irresistible Dance has a verbal component.
You need to silence it to pull that stunt.
That's a 4th level slot plus a 9th level slot
to disable /one/ target for 1d4+1 rounds.
Against single targets it's a valuable (but not broken) tactic,
whereas a group of enemies will probably shield the dancer.
The cunning Wiz is still invisible but caught among his enemies...

lastknightleft wrote:


Wait till a DM does it to the player and see how the player reacts. Spells that don't allow for a save and based on making a touch attack (which I don't know about you, but I only see a miss on one of those rolls 1 in maybe eight times) are pretty much fun killers.

Know thy enemy. High level PCs should know better

then being surprised by such obvious tricks IMHO.

LL


I agree that you can't make a reflex save for half damage when the caster has allready made a successfull attack roll. But in any other situation, why no save?


At the risk of being classified as a "wizard hater", maybe the simple solution would be to make ray of enfeeblement more of an "anti-bull's strength" spell.

Perhaps it would subtract a straight 4 points of strength just the way that bull's strength gives a straight 4 points of strength. This would also pave the way for similar spells to deal with other stats (such as anti-dexterity, con, int, etc.).

This concept would make it similiar to the shrink person/enlarge person or haste/slow concept. It would give a way to counter, a way to be effective (lowering the strength of a creature), yet not being so overly powerful as to be a game breaker.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

On average that's essentially what its doing already. The only thing that makes it 'better' than bull's strength is the scalable penalty. It can get as high as -11, but that's not that bad since by then there are plenty of dispel magics and other buffs out there.

What makes bull's strength better is the longer duration. Ray of Enfeeblement only lasts the full encounter is somehow the enemy just refuses to die, or there's a lot of them. I consider 10 rounds to be something of a standard encounter, and anything less just didn't require that much thought.

Touch but no save spells are the defiantly powerful, but none of them hand an encounter totally over. Ray of Enervation could be considered a big problem, but with the short range and a d4 at a time you are either an entire group of spellcasters to get a quick kill or somehow the wizard isn't being threatened enough. Close range is practically always within charging distance, hence the huge risk involved.

Again, the touch attack is a huge gamble especially on the high level spells since there's more to lose. Deflection bonuses and dex. Amen.

Scarab Sages

Maybe we should make DR work like SR and see how the fighters like that. If you can't roll over a creature's DR (which would have to be raised for most monsters to be appropriate in scale to SR) to penetrate then your attack does nothing - no matter how much damage it would have done otherwise. Oh, and there are creatures out there that are totally immune to any physical damage (ie. golems who automatically ignore anything that normally has to penetrate SR).

Being sarcastic? Yah, a little :) But I think it also illustrates the point that wizards already have it pretty tough when it comes to their limited, very valuable assets that can be outright negated or diminished into insignificance by an awful lot of opponents already.

Something that a previous poster pointed out is that these spells are good - against a SINGLE target. Over the many, many years the folks in my group have been playing it's always painfully obvious that if the party can centre-fire the BBEG that he's going down (unless he's been specifically crafted to be immune to everything the party can do... which is especially unfun for all involved).

Anyway, that's my two cents (or I guess I'm up to about a dime now ;)

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