Ray and Touch Spells Get Saving Throws?


Round 2: Words of Power Discussion

Dark Archive

So only the 0-level spells and a couple other spells allow no saving throw when they're a ray or touch spell, unlike a lot of rays and touches.

Was this an oversight or included for balance? Pathfinder currently lacks a high number of these types of spells but this doesn't really add to that number if it allows you to fail twice and no one uses those options.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

Adding a Ray Target Word that specifically calls out thats its 1) a single target Ranged Touch and 2) you ignore any saving throw for half would do this, more or less, for damaging spells anyway.

I'd like to be able to Ray of Debuff as well, but I'm not sure you want to create a mechanic that allows you to bypass making saves entirely. Terror, for example, can give any creature regardless of HD relative to the caster the frightened condition. A level 7 wizard could Ray of Terror a CR 13 Storm Giant and only need to hit its trivial 10 Touch AC to cause it to flee in terror.

I suppose any effect that seems too powerful without some kind of save could simply not allow the Ray Target Word, but that could require a good bit of playtesting.

Dark Archive

You make some good points, Mantis. After I posted this last night I started wondering about the costs to game balance of a player choosing to have no saving throws on most of their spells.

I had thought to level limit that aspect of touch and ray spells to 3 or 4. Having touch and ray words to allow Paizo to control what gets that no save ability would work, too.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

Revisiting the idea of new Target Words... I'm wondering about the viability of class specific Target Words.

For example, I would have no problem with the Magus getting the Touch Target Word that limited the spell to melee touch attacks, but ignores the saving throw line. I mean, its shtick is pretty much being able to wade in to combat and put the magic and/or pointy bit of metal right where you need it.

Taking the idea slightly further, you could add other Target Words like Smite for Clerics and/or Paladins. It would act as the Single target word, but would then do something special when the target was an Undead/Evil Outsider. Say increase the damage die of the spell by a step, or convert half the energy damage to raw untyped damage.

I admit that my Smite concept kind of rolls a Meta word in to a Target Word, but I don't really like that a Meta word requires two other effect words. That pretty much makes Meta words unusable until 3rd or 4th level slots open up, but good Clerics especially really ought to be anathema to Undead from level 1 on.

Dark Archive

That's actually pretty cool. Brilliant even. I think Paladins, Inquisitors, Rangers, Magus', and Bards could use a little boost like that. A little treat for 3/4 and partial casters. A smite-y thing for Paladins and Inquisitors, a touch bonus for Magus'.

Maybe Rangers could have a special version of personal that affects himself and their animal companion. Hell if I know what Bards would get. A low cost Mass target word?

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

Nice, I like the Ranger idea!

Maybe the Bards get some sort of Mass-like effect that is centered on the caster and automatically affects all friendly targets instead of 1 per CL? It could be a bit tricky to price properly, but ought to spotlight the Bards ability to buff the whole party by a small amount at low levels...

Dark Archive

It might be over powered to allow the Ranger to buff him and his AniCom at the same time, but perhaps they could split effect words or something. Each of them getting a small bonus with one action without having to use the Mass word ought to be balanced.

Now if only we weren't the only people interested in this. :(

Liberty's Edge

YuenglingDragon wrote:

So only the 0-level spells and a couple other spells allow no saving throw when they're a ray or touch spell, unlike a lot of rays and touches.

Was this an oversight or included for balance? Pathfinder currently lacks a high number of these types of spells but this doesn't really add to that number if it allows you to fail twice and no one uses those options.

After remembering the orbs from Spell compendium, I have NO issue with this. The orbs were horribly unbalanced as they only required a touch attack.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

The orbs have other unbalancing issues besides having no save and hitting touch AC. They also bypass SR, which I don't think is something that we should let people do easily.

The other issue with the Orb spells was that they let people take Evocation as a prohibited school with limited drawbacks in the blasting department. If the elemental damage Effect Families remain more or less Evocation only (other than Acid, which has been Conjuration's trick since at least AD&D) then that is also less of an issue.

I don't see how scorching ray is fine as a Core spell, but we can't come up with a way for a word caster to duplicate the effect. Scorching ray even scales slightly more than 1d6/CL at some levels, and lets you not 'overblast' by splitting it up in to 4d6 damage chunks. Which, on the one hand, you can miss with, but on the other hand, you can also crit with...

Dark Archive

Evil Space Mantis wrote:

The orbs have other unbalancing issues besides having no save and hitting touch AC. They also bypass SR, which I don't think is something that we should let people do easily.

The other issue with the Orb spells was that they let people take Evocation as a prohibited school with limited drawbacks in the blasting department. If the elemental damage Effect Families remain more or less Evocation only (other than Acid, which has been Conjuration's trick since at least AD&D) then that is also less of an issue.

I don't see how scorching ray is fine as a Core spell, but we can't come up with a way for a word caster to duplicate the effect. Scorching ray even scales slightly more than 1d6/CL at some levels, and lets you not 'overblast' by splitting it up in to 4d6 damage chunks. Which, on the one hand, you can miss with, but on the other hand, you can also crit with...

That.

If we can have Magic Missile, which deals the same average damage as a spell dealing 1d6/per missile but doesn't even require a save or an attack roll, and scorching ray which is markedly better, its ridiculous that we can't have similar, higher level spells. There will probably even be some higher level spells that are touches or rays and allow no save in UM. Not allowing WoP to do the same thing is going to seriously decrease its value to the Magus, EK, and other concepts.


The orb spells aren't unbalanced at all. Even if they were, it wouldn't be for lack of a save -- the only damage spell that requires both a touch attack and a save is disintegrate, because it does obscene amounts of damage (rather than mild amounts, in the case of the orb spells). Allowing saves plus requiring attack rolls plus allowing spell resistance, on the other hand, is unbalanced -- on the "too weak" side. As a rule of thumb, standard spells bypass one of the three defenses, and can bypass two of the three. There are very, very few spells that require three separate defense checks (whether that be two saves and SR ala phantasmal killer or an attack roll, a save, and SR ala disintegrate).

Dark Archive

Harm also has attack, save, and SR but, like disintegrate, does crazy amounts of damage (though it leaves you alive at least).

It seems the rule of thumb has been that only the most powerful ray and touch spells have three defenses allowed. Though, that rule seems to have a level cap since Destruction (lvl 7) is nearly the same as Harm (it can actually kill and then disintegrate an enemy but does less on a passed save) but doesn't have an attack roll.

Since the damage spells we've seen so far are typically less or equally powerful compared to normal spells, I don't think that saves are appropriate.


YuenglingDragon wrote:
Harm also has attack, save, and SR but, like disintegrate, does crazy amounts of damage (though it leaves you alive at least).

Good point. I was only thinking of sorc/wiz spells.

Grand Lodge

The orb spells WERE unbalanced...not for what they did, but because they got stuck in the conjuration school. That and spells like vitrolic sphere made conjuration a must have school and evocation religated to even more uselessness.

Dark Archive

Man, I never really gave Harm enough consideration (I've never in life played a Cleric). Although it can't kill you, when Disintegrate and Harm first hit your lists at 11, Harm is doing over 30 more damage than an average Disintegrate. And if you miss with Harm it's at least held until your next round.

Damn. That's a good spell. That's the kind of thing that deserves 3 ways to fail. Not a bit of cold damage that staggers a fellow for a round.

Scarab Sages

1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.
Evil Space Mantis wrote:

Revisiting the idea of new Target Words... I'm wondering about the viability of class specific Target Words.

For example, I would have no problem with the Magus getting the Touch Target Word that limited the spell to melee touch attacks, but ignores the saving throw line. I mean, its shtick is pretty much being able to wade in to combat and put the magic and/or pointy bit of metal right where you need it.

That would certainly increase the viability of the class, without requiring the creation of dozens of new Touch spells, specifically for them.

Let there be two options:
A Touch Target Word (cost: zero or very cheap), for those Magi who take the Wordcasting route,
and/or a Metamagic feat (Shorten Spell?), with a modifier of +0, for those Magi who take the default Spellcasting route.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Evil Space Mantis wrote:

Adding a Ray Target Word that specifically calls out thats its 1) a single target Ranged Touch and 2) you ignore any saving throw for half would do this, more or less, for damaging spells anyway.

I'd like to be able to Ray of Debuff as well, but I'm not sure you want to create a mechanic that allows you to bypass making saves entirely. Terror, for example, can give any creature regardless of HD relative to the caster the frightened condition. A level 7 wizard could Ray of Terror a CR 13 Storm Giant and only need to hit its trivial 10 Touch AC to cause it to flee in terror.

I suppose any effect that seems too powerful without some kind of save could simply not allow the Ray Target Word, but that could require a good bit of playtesting.

The fix would be as simple as adding the proviso that "effects that cause damage (and just damage) give up their save when turned into a touch attack."

Dark Archive

Ravingdork wrote:
The fix would be as simple as adding the proviso that "effects that cause damage (and just damage) give up their save when turned into a touch attack."

It would probably need to specify the word groups for which this would work. Many of the Elemental groups do damage and have a status effect. At the least it would need to specify that the save would only be for the status effect, not the damage.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
YuenglingDragon wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
The fix would be as simple as adding the proviso that "effects that cause damage (and just damage) give up their save when turned into a touch attack."
It would probably need to specify the word groups for which this would work. Many of the Elemental groups do damage and have a status effect. At the least it would need to specify that the save would only be for the status effect, not the damage.

If it has a rider effect, I would exclude the power word altogether from the clause. Rider effects can be just as broken as non-rider status effects once you take away the save.


Ravingdork wrote:
YuenglingDragon wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
The fix would be as simple as adding the proviso that "effects that cause damage (and just damage) give up their save when turned into a touch attack."
It would probably need to specify the word groups for which this would work. Many of the Elemental groups do damage and have a status effect. At the least it would need to specify that the save would only be for the status effect, not the damage.
If it has a rider effect, I would exclude the power word altogether from the clause. Rider effects can be just as broken as non-rider status effects once you take away the save.

Or they could do what the guy you just quoted suggested and specify that the save still applies to the rider.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Zurai wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
YuenglingDragon wrote:
Ravingdork wrote:
The fix would be as simple as adding the proviso that "effects that cause damage (and just damage) give up their save when turned into a touch attack."
It would probably need to specify the word groups for which this would work. Many of the Elemental groups do damage and have a status effect. At the least it would need to specify that the save would only be for the status effect, not the damage.
If it has a rider effect, I would exclude the power word altogether from the clause. Rider effects can be just as broken as non-rider status effects once you take away the save.
Or they could do what the guy you just quoted suggested and specify that the save still applies to the rider.

Isn't the system complex enough?


1 person marked this as a favorite.

Isn't evocation already weak enough?

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 8

I think as long as we have clearly argued the point that the WoP system could use a target word that allows for no Reflex for half single target touch attacks, we will get more or less what we want from the designers.

We can probably leave the exact wording up to the people who get paid to come up with the exact wording. I'm just glad someone other than myself and YuenglingDragon started commenting on the thread :)

Dark Archive

Ravingdork wrote:
Isn't the system complex enough?

I don't think the system will become substantially more complex because of a change we made in this regard. You're talking about one additional target word available only to the Magus or one additional sentence in the Close Target Word.

However, if there are concerns about adding more to the WoP system, I approached the problem from the other end in the Magus Playtest Arcana Suggestion area but proposing 2-3 Arcana called Epistolary that would allow the Magus to do what we're talking about. This could even be simpler since you wouldn't necessarily need to allow a save for the rider conditions since the Magus was putting resources into the ability.

Scarab Sages

YuenglingDragon wrote:
I don't think the system will become substantially more complex because of a change we made in this regard. You're talking about one additional target word available only to the Magus or one additional sentence in the Close Target Word.

I agree, if it is to be an ablity for Magi only, it would be better as an Arcana, a class-only feat, or better yet, as a free class ability at some point in their standard progression.

This resolves one of the key issues with the class (few Touch spells), without pressuring them down the road of Wordcasting.

Dark Archive

Snorter wrote:
I agree, if it is to be an ablity for Magi only...

I'm not sure why it would have to be Magus only, though. As long as we're talking about spells which only have energy descriptors, higher level versions of Scorching Ray and Shocking Grasp (and WoP equivalents) should be available to everyone. I had an idea for a Sorceror/DD who specialized in Touch spells. Then I realized there were barely any to be had. Idea to toilet.

Snorter wrote:
This resolves one of the key issues with the class (few Touch spells), without pressuring them down the road of Wordcasting.

Theoretically, this should be resolved by the traditional spells in UM. If WoP doesn't make something available to Magi to deal with their typically low saves it'll never be used for that class.

Though, to be honest, if this thing doesn't turn into something a little less wonky barely anyone will use it anyway.

Scarab Sages

YuenglingDragon wrote:
I'm not sure why it would have to be Magus only, though.

I'm not suggesting it will be, just that some folks may want or expect it to be. Give the class something that's all their own.

Snorter wrote:
This resolves one of the key issues with the class (few Touch spells), without pressuring them down the road of Wordcasting.
YuenglingDragon wrote:
Theoretically, this should be resolved by the traditional spells in UM. If WoP doesn't make something available to Magi to deal with their typically low saves it'll never be used for that class.

Oh, I'm hoping for there to be far more Touch spells in the book, and it's certainly been hinted at, during the class playtest.

At the same time, it would be nice, IMO, if some of those new spells had restricted access, to Magus only, or that he got them at lower level than the other arcane casters (which may or may not be wholly or partly balanced by his delayed spell progression).
Isn't it about time the Wizard was forced to say "Ooh. That's new. I can't do that.", instead of it always being vice versa?

Dark Archive

Snorter wrote:
Isn't it about time the Wizard was forced to say "Ooh. That's new. I can't do that.", instead of it always being vice versa?

Maybe so. I'm generally in favor of more decent options than fewer. I'd definitely be in favor of the Magus getting some touch/ray spells earlier than they'd be available to other classes.


One thing that really worries me about the overabundance of saves that are required is that a words of power caster is nearly hands-down useless against anything with Evasion. We need the no-save rays/touch spells in some manner!

Dark Archive

Ganymede wrote:
One thing that really worries me about the overabundance of saves that are required is that a words of power caster is nearly hands-down useless against anything with Evasion. We need the no-save rays/touch spells in some manner!

Well, if you have a reasonable suspicion that your target has Evasion you can always switch the save with the meta word.


Just wanted to say that i think a magic spell should have a Saving Throw or an Attack Roll, but not both.

my 2 cents worth.


Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Oliver McShade wrote:

Just wanted to say that i think a magic spell should have a Saving Throw or an Attack Roll, but not both.

my 2 cents worth.

Bestow curse, ghoul touch, ray of enfeeblement...these spells and others like them would be too powerful if they DIDN'T have both.


Well then i want Melee weapon to have saving throws also.

Slashing = Fort save for 1/2 damage
Piercing = Reflex save for Negate (yes i said Negate).
Blunt = Will save to turn damage into Non-Lethal.

(ya in magic Fort negates and Reflex does 1/2, but does not make as much since when applied to melee weapons, so melee fort is 1/2 and melee reflex is Negate.)

What this sounds fair to me, and more Realistic.


Oliver McShade wrote:

Well then i want Melee weapon to have saving throws also.

Slashing = Fort save for 1/2 damage
Piercing = Reflex save for Negate (yes i said Negate).
Blunt = Will save to turn damage into Non-Lethal.

(ya in magic Fort negates and Reflex does 1/2, but does not make as much since when applied to melee weapons, so melee fort is 1/2 and melee reflex is Negate.)

What this sounds fair to me, and more Realistic.

Frankly, you can only make so ridiculous of an argument before it damages rather than reinforces your point. This argument is well past that line.


Warriors
Fort (good save)= Slashing weapon do full damage or half damage with save.
Refex (bad save) = Piercing weapon hit for full or miss with save.
Will (bad save) = Blunt weapons do full damage or non-lethal damage with save.

So warriors would be good with most up close combat, would still have trouble with being a pin cushion, and could still be knocked out by non-leathal damage at which point you slit there throat.

Rogues
Fort (bad save) vs Slashing
Refex (good save) vs Piercing
Will (bad save) vs blunt.

So Rogues would still have trouble with up close combat, but better able to avoid arrows and cross bow bolts from a distance. Still can be walluped up closs with blunt weapons.

etc.etc.etc

If you want more Realistic combat, it does make since.

I think it is more fair, if melee combat also gave saving throws, just like spells give saving throws.


I'll stand by my previous comment. What you're suggesting can only seem "more fair" if your sense of how the game balances is exactly opposite what is actually the case.

Sovereign Court

Oliver McShade wrote:


If you want more Realistic combat, it does make since.

If I want more realistic combat why would I play a game where single warriors can take on hundreds? I'd just play a different RPG...

Dark Archive

If you want to discuss having some bizarre save system for melee damage I welcome you to make a thread about it. If you have something to add to my point that rays and touch spells in WoP should have no save at least at lower levels, I encourage you to make them.

Silly threadjackers...


So... I didn't see a Touch word. Thoughts?

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