Why have unlimited cantrips / orisons?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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I don't think the idea behind unlimited cantrips/orisons is bad per se, but there are individual spells that are open to abuse. I do think a few of them can be too powerful when used over and over again, such as create water, mending and acid splash.

I do like the idea that wizard school/sorcerer bloodline powers should be unlimited though. They might even work as beefed up cantrips, limited to said school or bloodline.

Liberty's Edge

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Reading some of these comments, I think some DM's could use a gentle reminder that the end of the day they wear the Viking Hat and are allowed to say "No." And if the player says "Why not?" you respond "Because you are boring me to tears and making the game no fun for me with your uncreative, abusive, rules lawyering nonsense."

I've never had a problem with players spamming cantrips, but if one of my players decided to solve a problem using something really cheesy and abusive of the rules, I'd just say "No, stop being cheesy." I find that telling a player that their plan abuses the rules and goes against the spirit of the game generally goes a long way.

And if not... you could just house rule that after hours of repeating the same spell over and over, the PC in question has sprained his tongue making him unable to cast anything for 24 hours. That'll teach him.

Or if they're being particularly obnoxious, say their wizard has developed a repetitive stress injury from repeating the same somantic gestures over and over, and now has a 5% arcane spell failure chance on all spells, unless they spend a week icing down their wrist.

----

I also don't get the filling chambers with water with create water thing. What purpose does that serve? You're never going to fill anything fast enough to drown anyone (someone will eventually wonder where all the water is coming from and come investigate), and if you're using it to float someone out of a pit, they're going to spend a lot of time treading water, which means a lot of opportunities to get exhausted and drown.

Dark Archive

Here is a refresher on one of the cantrips/orisons in question

Create Water:
Create Water
School conjuration (creation) [water]; Level cleric 0, druid 0, paladin 1
Casting Time 1 standard action (1 round)
Components V, S
Range close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)
Effect up to 2 gallons of water/level
Duration instantaneous
Saving Throw none; Spell Resistance no
This spell generates wholesome, drinkable water, just like clean rain water. Water can be created in an area as small as will actually contain the liquid, or in an area three times as large—possibly creating a downpour or filling many small receptacles. This water disappears after 1 day if not consumed.
Note: Conjuration spells can't create substances or objects within a creature. Water weighs about 8 pounds per gallon. One cubic foot of water contains roughly 8 gallons and weighs about 60 pounds.

This isn't just 2 gallons, this is 2 gallons per round (six seconds). So 1 minute of continuous casting yields 20 gallons, 10 minutes 200 gallons, 1 hour 1,200 gallons, 4 hours 4,800 gallons, and 8 hours (just for sunshadow) is 9,600 gallons - all at 1st level. Multiply level to the numbers listed (x2 for 2nd, x3 for 3rd, etc) for added idiocy.

No need for water rights, no need to worry about water for agriculture, droughts, scarcity, etc.
Water created in contained areas will fill up and destroy lighter structures, create stress weights, flush out vermin and other nasties in smaller caverns and dungeons + extra creative stupid stuff.

Mending is just beyond insane as a cantrip

Mending:
Mending
School transmutation; Level bard 0, cleric 0, druid 0, sorcerer/wizard 0
Casting Time 10 minutes
Components V, S
Range 10 ft.
Target one object of up to 1 lb./level
Duration instantaneous
Saving Throw: Will negates (harmless, object); Spell Resistance: yes (harmless, object)
This spell repairs damaged objects, restoring 1d4 hit points to the object. If the object has the broken condition, this condition is removed if the object is restored to at least half its original hit points. All of the pieces of an object must be present for this spell to function. Magic items can be repaired by this spell, but you must have a caster level equal to or higher than that of the object. Magic items that are destroyed (at 0 hit points or less) can be repaired with this spell, but this spell does not restore their magic abilities. This spell does not affect creatures (including constructs). This spell has no effect on objects that have been warped or otherwise transmuted, but it can still repair damage done to such items.

So spam repairs every 10 minutes with the bonus of repairing magic items! Who needs to go to a smith, at least for the small stuff: 1lbs/level, unlimited use.

This cantrip becomes very powerful very quickly (many decent items and weapons in the 2-3 lb range).

He are some cool 1 lbs items that can be repaired: Superior Lock-150gp, Spyglass-1,000 gp, Masterwork Tool-50gp.

I don't mind being able to repair minor things but:
A) Should be tied to complexity of item,
B) Should be tied to cost of item/materials.

But what the hell do I know, I'm currently playing in a game where my level 1 Fighter/Mage gets to cast 1 crappy spell per day and I am pretty happy (just to play) so YMMV.


Bear in mind that if you're routinely spamming a cantrip for more than an hour without a really, really good reason, it will impact how others view you. The village may see you as a god with your create water, but they are also likely to see you, and quite possibly as a consequence, your party members, as intimidating and unapproachable. At best, having a normal conversation with anyone is going to be a challenge because anyone willing to do that much spamming of a single cantrip is going to be viewed as definitely not normal. In addition, checks vs exhaustion and sheer boredom are perfectly legitimate tools for the DM to use if someone is trying to abuse them too much. In short, they can be powerful if used under the right circumstances, but just spamming them randomly or too often is likely just to earn you a reputation of being borderline insane, the community's puppet that can be ordered around, and/or just plain not normal, all of which have ramifications.

Dark Archive

That's all great, and I am all about that kind of DM discretion (which makes me a "Dick DM" in these parts).

The problem is there are no rules to support what you are saying. None. I agree from a "common sense" perspective (and would be very draconian about abuse) but this is an ability that is unchallenged and as it stands by the rules, unregulated. No rules listed besides the basic needs for rest, food and the such. No level of exertion is assigned.
There are no rules for spamming magical abilities and fatigue, and if these abilities are available to 1st level characters why would anyone anywhere be surprised by their use?

Again, I wish there were rules for exceptional magic/black magic/burn the witch - the default rule set and campaign offerings say otherwise.

I just think its a bad setup, again I don't run the default superhero game but that just means I did some major tweaking of the rules on my part.
If anyone wanted to spam spells there is nothing in the current rules to stop them. Nothing.


Well, I think the only Orison that can be abused is Create Water... But since it's an Orison and thus tied to the will of a NPC (ie the player's god) than I also think it can be easily managed by a DM ;)

Mending is no big deal, when you can make tons of money by making magic object why are you going to earn some change by mending object all day ?

And you have to remember that Wizard and Sorcerer are rare, and usually they have better things to do with their magic than earning small money with petty spell... Like learning how to become a greater wizard/Sorcerer to earn big money with magic object... :p

Oh and for the flying wizard and sorcerer with acid spell a flying archer with a +1 longbow is deadlier, fly is not a personnal spell.... :)


Doomdspair` wrote:

My group personally finds this to be one of the greatest improvements to play ever. It really helps make mages feel like magic users at low levels.

Love your storytelling there Galbraithe. It makes me want to play in that setting/scenario.

As an alternate to the great story hook idea, if you are seriously bothered by the endless water creation, just take a page from DnD in there original desert setting and say "Create Water doesnt work here". A super simple fix for your desert campaigns.

The created water only lasts 24 hours unless it is imbibed. So the warlord would only be able to use the max that chained clerics could make in a day. Still useful, but no flooding dungeons or such nonsense.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder PF Special Edition, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Auxmaulous wrote:


The problem is there are no rules to support what you are saying. None.

Yes there is... it's called Rule Zero, the rule of GM discretion. And that's the only rule you need to keep a game under control.

Using Rules Zero is not a copout, it's been a fundamental part of the game from the days of Chainmail.

If a player really insisted on being asinine with the Create Water spell, it's not a problem. All one has to do is to take a page from Starlord with the story of what happened when the second Starlord decided to create a whole cometeary asteroid from water using his element gun. (that's when he found out that the Element Gun didn't create water... but took it from somewhere else.


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Probably cheaper for a farmer to drill a well than pay a caster to cast create water everyday.

Water isn't free in our world...why would every orison caster be doing it for free in PF?

I think this problem boils down to "OMG if you are a laydown sally GM, your players can totally abuse a sort of useful but ultimately boring and not-at-all powerful aspect of the game!!!"

I'd probably slap a fatigue penalty on a spellcaster who cast 20 create waters in a row.

Hey if the wizard really wants to open that tailor shoppe. Have fun roleplaying that. I hear the experience rewards are never ending :)

Scarab Sages

If they try using the unlimited water orison trick I'd warn them that they are beginning to stress their magical abilities..... and then

SPELL BLIGHT THE F OUT OF THEM!

=) It's something that can be removed (with effort) and their are rules. It makes sense that manipulating the magicks too many times would have this effect. Pick whichever you like or just make up you're own. I like this idea (hope everyone else does too).

Scarab Sages

chrids wrote:


Water isn't free in our world...why would every orison caster be doing it for free in PF?

Why for the good of society of course!!!! can paladins cast create water lol =D


Anyone who has played a Magic User in 1ed you will know why unlimited orisons is a good idea...


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Auxmaulous wrote:

Here is a refresher on one of the cantrips/orisons in question

** spoiler omitted **

and 8 hours (just for sunshadow) is 9,600 gallons - all at 1st level.

No need for water rights, no need to worry about water for agriculture, droughts, scarcity, etc.
Water created in contained areas will fill up and destroy lighter structures, create stress weights, flush out vermin and other nasties in smaller caverns and dungeons + extra creative stupid stuff.

9600 gallons (36000 litres) isn't enough for any amount agriculture. It's 36 cubic metres, a 4*3*3 meter pool. Not to mention it goes away after a day, which could be a problem for many plants which needs not only water to absorb but soft, muddy earth too.

Yes, you could keep your vegetable garden going, but not much more than that.

And unlimited water isn't excactly impossible without it. A Decanter of Endless Water costs 9000 gp (which a community should be able to afford as a long-term investment) and produces water at a speed 15 times higher. And I doubt even that would keep a hamlet going as their only water source.


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Auxmaulous wrote:
The problem is there are no rules to support what you are saying. None. I agree from a "common sense" perspective (and would be very draconian about abuse) but this is an ability that is unchallenged and as it stands by the rules, unregulated. No rules listed besides the basic needs for rest, food and the such. No level of exertion is assigned.

There's no rules about people needing any specific amount of sleep or food :S Where'd you gotten that from? The only thing mentioning it is in the bestiary where it's stated that humanoids need to eat and sleep. No mention of how much and how often. Heck, just sleep a few times as a baby (if babies exist? I haven't seen any rules support for it) and eat something once and you're fine to go for the rest of your life.

Scarab Sages

stringburka wrote:


There's no rules about people needing any specific amount of sleep or food :S Where'd you gotten that from? The only thing mentioning it is in the bestiary where it's stated that humanoids need to eat and sleep. No mention of how much and how often. Heck, just sleep a few times as a baby (if babies exist? I haven't seen any rules support for it) and eat something once and you're fine to go for the rest of your life.

This

Scarab Sages

Gailbraithe wrote:

Also, think about the churches of desert communities. If even the acolytes and adepts can supply the people of town with endless water, always filling their jugs with a prayer to their god -- oh man, think of how fanatical the followers will be! The blessing of water could be the holy sacrament that is the key to that church's temporal power and justify a good aligned theocracy. Concrete, physical evidence of that God's love and concern for his flock.

Plus, visualize it. A massive door at the side of the temple, flanked by gargantuan idols and this incredible long line of peasants and the poor lined up with their empty jugs, sweltering in the sun. And standing on pedestals along the path are clerics preaching the gospel of the faith. Slowly but inexorably the line moves forward, each of the faithful waiting for his chance to hear the benediction of his god, hold up his jug, and receive proof of the eternal power that watches over him.

That's freaking awesome.

Plus, who cares if the god in question is Lawful Evil and seems to demand that a lot of "sinners" and "heretics" die? He makes water in the desert.

RING RING!! DUNE phone!!

Frank Herbert is calling you.

The Exchange

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I'm not sure how Create Water can be used to flood places: flooding most places takes a lot of water in a very short time. Unless you happen to adventure in a lot of water-tight dungeons, Create Water is not going to help you flood the place. Even if you're in a well, the water level is level for a reason - adding a little water won't do much to make that level rise (try it - see how much water you need to pour down a functioning drain before you get the level to significantly rise ;) ).

Players in my PBP Legacy of Fire game did some great stuff with their cantrips and orisons ('cos I was all mean and started 'em off sans actual spells due to plot reasons...) - including using Mending to repair scavenged stuff into usable gear, Prestidigitation to clean scavenged stuff... and a bath... and Create Water to fill said bath.

As for Mending or other zero-level spells breaking game world economics - those things cost caster level x5 gold pieces per casting at market value (Core book page 159): what sort of normal person is going to pay that price for any everyday mundane thing? 'For 5 gold I can cast Create Water and give you 2 gallons of water which vanish after a day', 'yeah - for 2 gold I can buy a spade and dig my own well: jog on, mate!'

Cantrips and orisons basically do two things - they allow the casters to be casters, all the time, even for fluff effects; and they allow PCs to skip boring bits which would otherwise cause the game to grind to a halt (like having to trudge back to the local blacksmith every time a bad guy used Sunder on your stuff...).

Dark Archive

stringburka wrote:
There's no rules about people needing any specific amount of sleep or food :S Where'd you gotten that from? The only thing mentioning it is in the bestiary where it's stated that humanoids need to eat and sleep. No mention of how much and how often.

Try reading the rulebook before you start flinging -

pg 444

pg 444 Core rulebook wrote:

Starvation and Thirst

Characters might find themselves without food or water and with no means to obtain them. In normal climates, Medium characters need at least a gallon of fluids and about a pound of decent food per day to avoid starvation. (Small characters need half as much.) In very hot climates, characters need two or three times as much water to avoid dehydration.

At a gallon a day, we'll say 3 gallons a day (arid environment) our level 1 clown caster can supply water (1,200/3 =400) to a small village of 400 people with 1 hour of work.

As far as sleep requirements, yes I couldn't find anything in the game stating that a character must sleep X amount of hours a day - that just means it's a poorly written game (or that this was just an omission from 3.5). In any case to regain spells, heal lethal or non-lethal damage, and to eliminate the fatigue condition you need to rest - for 8 hours. Sleeping in med or heavy armor causes fatigue and the assumption would be that you would need 8 hours for every 24, but again - YOU GOT ME!

stringburka wrote:
Heck, just sleep a few times as a baby (if babies exist? I haven't seen any rules support for it) and eat something once and you're fine to go for the rest of your life.

This comment right here is the capstone of the brilliance of the last 12 posts! Thank you for that!

You guys are great; it's such an inspiration to come here and get logical, balanced and sound gaming guidance.

The Exchange

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Auxmaulous wrote:
You guys are great; it's such an inspiration to come here and get logical, balanced and sound gaming guidance.

You thought you'd get logical, balanced, and sound advice... on the internet?! :)

Dark Archive

ProfPotts wrote:
Auxmaulous wrote:
You guys are great; it's such an inspiration to come here and get logical, balanced and sound gaming guidance.
You thought you'd get logical, balanced, and sound advice... on the internet?! :)

Too much to ask for, eh?

Maybe just too much for on these boards and with these posters I suppose.


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Auxmaulous wrote:
ProfPotts wrote:
Auxmaulous wrote:
You guys are great; it's such an inspiration to come here and get logical, balanced and sound gaming guidance.
You thought you'd get logical, balanced, and sound advice... on the internet?! :)

Too much to ask for, eh?

Maybe just too much for on these boards and with these posters I suppose.

No, I think it's a bit much to ask of internet forums in general. It isn't that you won't get logical, balanced, and sound guidance, it just that you will get everyone else's opinion at the same time, and you have to figure out which is the right one to listen to on that given topic at that given time.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Pathfinder Accessories, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

You can't go wrong deciding that mine is always the right one to listen to. :)


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TriOmegaZero wrote:
You can't go wrong deciding that mine is always the right one to listen to. :)

Except when I asked for directions in Alberquerque. You really dropped the ball on that one.


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Using irrigation data I found online, it seems you need about 2,400 gallons of water a day per acre over a 180-day growing season to grow wheat.

Working sixteen hour days every single day without any days off, our first-level caster can output 19,200 gallons a day, which allows him to irrigate a whole eight acres. Based on numbers I've seen about medieval agricultural productivity, you can feed about one person per acre of grain per year. So, unlimited casting of create water translates into the ability to water enough grain to feed 8 people.

There's a lot of slop in those numbers, I'll grant. But it doesn't look to me like create water is going to make the deserts bloom very effectively.


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see wrote:

Using irrigation data I found online, it seems you need about 2,400 gallons of water a day per acre over a 180-day growing season to grow wheat.

Working sixteen hour days every single day without any days off, our first-level caster can output 19,200 gallons a day, which allows him to irrigate a whole eight acres. Based on numbers I've seen about medieval agricultural productivity, you can feed about one person per acre of grain per year. So, unlimited casting of create water translates into the ability to water enough grain to feed 8 people.

There's a lot of slop in those numbers, I'll grant. But it doesn't look to me like create water is going to make the deserts bloom very effectively.

Out of curiosity, what irrigation method was used for these calculations? Some are more water use efficient than others (such as drip irrigation).

Also, some crops take more water than others, which makes things even more difficult.


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Lathiira wrote:
Out of curiosity, what irrigation method was used for these calculations? Some are more water use efficient than others (such as drip irrigation).

Used 100% efficient irrigation, instead of using any of the effectiveness ranges provided, to maximize the amount of land covered.

Water needed was assumed to be equal to the average cumulative water-use by evapotranspiration for hard red spring wheat to reach Haun stage 16. (So it was assuming no natural water, and no need to keep extra water in the soil beyond replacing losses to evapotranpiration.)

180 days instead of a shorter growing season was used to keep the amount of water needed daily to meet the average cumulative water use low, thus maximizing area covered.

Acres-to-support-a-person was the smallest of the various medieval numbers I saw suggested, to maximize the number fed by the land.

The only things I could think of that could reduce the water the caster needs to produce is the availability of non-magic water, or medieval wheats using less water than the variety I found data for. By definition, a desert area gets less rain a year than would cover half the inches-of-water requirement given for the modern wheat. Since all the other slops were picked to maximize land covered and people per acre supported, I figured I wasn't going to be underestimating the effectiveness of create water by much, and was more likely overestimating it.


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see wrote:
Working sixteen hour days every single day without any days off, our first-level caster can output 19,200 gallons a day, which allows him to irrigate a whole eight acres.

I being a bit obtuse intentionally:

16 hour days? That's pretty intense without any bathroom breaks, meal time, or even time for our water creating slave to walk away from the irrigation system and go to bed, let alone time to continue worship of the gracious deity granting the ability being so taxed each day.

To be less obtuse: The math as to how much water a Cleric can make over any period of time being used as proof that there is something wrong with the unlimited Orison system or the Create Water Orison is pretty much terrible - game elements should be judged based on how they might actually see use in a campaign, not theoretical situations in which all factors that would point out the ridiculousness of the claims being made are ignored.

Create Water doesn't cause a problem in the majority of games because there are frequently other things for the Cleric to be doing, like actually adventuring - walking, talking, smashing goblins in the face with a blunt instrument, translating old runes, and generally being a more interesting addition to the scene playing out in the campaign than a seemingly endless water fountain would be.

I personally love the unlimited 0 level spells - now someone will always be able to detect magic, every caster will always be ready to read magic, and I can stop having to worry about whether my players will end up forgetting to by torches or oil and run out mid light-less dungeon because now someone can cast light all day, every day... and the casters get to feel like they actually have magical powers.


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Lobolusk wrote:

my wizard and a sorc managed to take down the party bbeg with fly and acid splash, it beats spell resistance, and the monster was busy eating the paladin and the fighter, and in the end it was too much to roll for like 700 rounds but there was nothing I could do except swat the air like some sort of innefectual godzilla. has acid rained down upon my already grotesque face!!!

You could have found a cave or somewhere else that they couldn't float out of reach. Range on Acid Splash is pretty short, so they have to come within missile range to do it. If they stay high and just let it rain down, it will be ineffective because it is too dispersed. The bottom line is that a good GM will prevent players from exploiting rules in an unintended way.

Personally, I love the 0-level spells being unlimited, because it lets players use minor magic for role-playing purposes and not feel that they are wasting something that might be useful later. My hard-drinking druid uses a tiny flame cantrip to light his cigars. My fastidious drag-queen wizard can use a mage hand to poke through the pockets of his victims, since touching them would be "so terribly revolting. Oh please, darling, I'll just stay over here."

Liberty's Edge

Martin Kauffman 530 wrote:
To me, the use of unlimited cantrips/orisons makes no sense, and tends to make classes like the rogue less useful (you dont need a specialist to open a lock when your spellcaster can simply and repeatedly acid it open).

We house rule it. Our GM allows the number of known orisons plus 2x your level plus your ability modifer as the limit to cast per day. So if you know four (4) orisons and have a +3 modifier and you are 1st level you can cast orisons 9 times a day.

4 (orisons known) +2 (twice your level) + 3 (ability modfier) = 9


It is debatable whether unlimited cantrips can be abused or not. What isn't debatable to me is that some players would waste a lot of time and annoy a lot of GMs trying to abuse them.

So I immediately houseruled a limit of 15 cantrips/orisons per day. that is enough so that none of my plyaers have ever not had one available when they needed/wanted it, which is I think the design intent, but has completely eliminated the possibility of abuse, so they don't even waste time trying to think of ways to abuse it.

Why 15? It's just a numbe I picked arbitrarily that seemed like enough for any reasonable adventuring day. Works for us.


Martin Kauffman 530 wrote:
To me, the use of unlimited cantrips/orisons makes no sense, and tends to make classes like the rogue less useful (you dont need a specialist to open a lock when your spellcaster can simply and repeatedly acid it open).

Except people notice acid burned lock where as the rogue open it and locks it again no one the wiser.

Still I agree, unlimited uses seem too much to me. I think a lot of uses is fine but unlimited is too much. I house rule you can cast as many cantrips or orisons as you casting stat. So if you have Int of 20 as wizard you can cast 20 cantrips a day. Normally I never see more than handful of cantrips cast in a day but every so often you get some situation where players do cantrips/orisons every round for 8 hours. Like filling a desert oasis with water using create water.

Dark Archive

thenobledrake wrote:
Create Water doesn't cause a problem in the majority of games because there are frequently other things for the Cleric to be doing, like actually adventuring - walking, talking, smashing goblins in the face with a blunt instrument, translating old runes, and generally being a more interesting addition to the scene playing out in the campaign than a seemingly endless water fountain would be.

Unlimited "create/repair anything" at level 1 is incredibly bad design.

Obviously I am in the minority on this one, but it breaks immersion on so many levels it isn't tolerable (for me) and makes me question the veracity of DMs and the degree of subjective fiat (vs houserule) used to amend the problems that most people offer here as a solution in their home games.

And that has been the response - fiat the stupidity away, punish the caster, don’t let him do it, etc. No, just don't allow unlimited creation of water by game design, it's idiotic plain and simple. Being able to make water 4-5 times a day (and in decent amounts) should be enough to satisfy the need and necessity to make some water, and also the need to "always be able to do something" without breaking the world due to laziness.

My players in my home game would not abuse it because they like immersion and they see this as bad design. The issue is not even a balance point for us (filling up swimming pools in the desert, etc). The issue is that unlimited creation/repair/restore orisons just add to the historic magic stupidity of D&D 3.5 AKA Wish Economy, just on a smaller level - with no thought or consideration (as magic has been poorly treated with every edition of the game) to consequence.

Once you allow create/repair/restore things on an unlimited level you need to re-examine how those abilities impact of the game world.


Gailbraithe wrote:
keeper0 wrote:
On the other hand, your first level mage is not standing around doing nothing after casting a magic missile.

So much this. I never played wizards in Basic, 1E or 2E, because they were so damn BORING at low-levels, and most campaigns I played in didn't last long enough to get interesting. Even in 3.5 I found them tedious to play.

A first level wizard who's blown his load is pretty much useless. You cast your one spell and spend the rest of the session saying "I miss the kobold with my sling." In 3.5 they could still have something to do as long as they had a crossbow, but playing a crossbowman who can't hit the broad side of a barn or survive a single round of hand to hand combat really doesn't leave you feeling like The Wizard. More like The Chump

Yeah In one game we had, three characters were locked in a dungeon with no way out. I was playing an eventual spell warp sniper at the time (3.5) but I had to spend all of my spell slots getting us out (cause I didn't have knock)

After that, that was it. I was pretty much out of spells, but our brave fighter guy just wanted to keep pushing through more and more. So pretty much it ended with me following the fighter and being pretty useless. In fact I kept hitting the fighter by rolling poorly with my sling.

The Exchange

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Whilst there's really no good reason why spellcasters charge the outrageous prices listed in the books to cast spells, the basic assumption of the game is that they do... and, as previously stated, the cost of getting even cantrips cast on your behalf is way, way, higher than any mundane costs to get the same result. Unlimited cantrips and orisons only break the game economics if you decide to ignore the game economics built into the rules in the first place - and if you do that, then you're happily into house rule territory anyway, and probably do need to make further, knock-on, adjustments to help keep things internally logical.

Spellcasting Vs economics is a slippery slope to step onto in the first place, especially if you come at it from a gamer, rather than an immersed character point of view.

That is to say, from a gamer point of view the vast majority of spells are, essentially, 'free energy' - they cost you nothing but the time it takes for a good night's sleep. There's no real, mechanical, reason to not offer the things for free to all and sundry. With a few levels of Cleric under your belt you can eliminate disease, hunger, and poverty in general... In fact, just train up anyone in the world with a Wisdom of 10 or more into a Cleric and presto - what social promlems?

From an immersive character point of view, the world doesn't work like that. Those with PC class levels are meant to be rare, unique, destined, whatever... the stuff of legends, not the stuff of mundane industry. The game says that anyone with a Wisdom of 10+ can learn to cast divine spells, but within the game world it just isn't so. Characters with PC class levels just don't sit about using their vast powers for the purposes of mundane business... at least, the NPCs generally don't. Which means, if anyone's pulling this 'economics ruining' stuff in your game, it's generally going to be PCs because the players are metagaming their modern theories and knowledge of how the system works, instead of roleplaying as if their characters were part of the setting.

So, if your divine casters 'retire' to spam create water orisons all day, every day, then feel free to have their deity remove the powers of their Cleric levels and bestow them on someone who might actually do something interesting instead... ;)

All, as always, IMHO.


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Gunny's proposed cantrip/orison limits do come down hard on some that I think are supposed to be used several times a day. Several of them are handy for hand waving the unheroic unpleasantness normally involved in long distance travel without modern technology. Orisons are practically what makes the adept NPC class worth having. It's hard to justify anyone hiring a low level adept for their level 1 spells.

Detect poison: If you can't cast it at least 4 times a day per party member there's not much point. (3 meals and a waterskin unless the water comes from the orison) Actually, better check the feed and water for any mounts as well. It's not paranoid if someone's really out to get you and dysentery and food spoilage are out to get everyone.

Breeze: +2 on saves against hot conditions for an hour is something you need to cast every hour during the day in hot environments.

Light: at level 1 you're casting this every 10 minutes while in dark places. At level 2 you should still be casting it every 10 minutes because you really don't want the lights to go out because you're distracted with combat when it's time to renew it. If it doesn't provide enough endurance to do without torches there's not much point in the spell existing.

Create Water: 4 medium PCs with 4 large mounts in hot conditions consume at least 36 gallons. That's 18 level 1 castings. The limit Gunny proposed is less than half that at level 1. Using more realistic water consumption for large creatures than doubling medium creature water intake more castings are needed. There's also water for sanitation if nobody has prestidigitation. NPC caravans are more likely to hire a novice adept than a novice adept and a novice wizard.

Purify Food and Drink: same as Detect Poison, but for divine casters. Since it actually fixes the problem instead of just detecting it expect anyone transporting food that might spoil to have an adept spamming this at it. That includes many of the foods that would prevent scurvy as well as luxury foods.


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Quote:


This isn't just 2 gallons, this is 2 gallons per round (six seconds). So 1 minute of continuous casting yields 20 gallons, 10 minutes 200 gallons, 1 hour 1,200 gallons, 4 hours 4,800 gallons, and 8 hours (just for sunshadow) is 9,600 gallons - all at 1st level. Multiply level to the numbers listed (x2 for 2nd, x3 for 3rd, etc) for added idiocy.

No need for water rights, no need to worry about water for agriculture, droughts, scarcity, etc.
Water created in contained areas will fill up and destroy lighter structures, create stress weights, flush out vermin and other nasties in smaller caverns and dungeons + extra creative stupid stuff.

To put things into perspective, the average garden hose puts out between 5 and 15 gallons of water a minute. So, we have turned our caster into a walking garden hose. Congrats?

Swimming pools tend to run between 10,000 and 20,000 gallons. So, the best a level 1 caster can probably do is start a pool party, if he works at it all day.


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ProfPotts wrote:

Whilst there's really no good reason why spellcasters charge the outrageous prices listed in the books to cast spells, the basic assumption of the game is that they do... and, as previously stated, the cost of getting even cantrips cast on your behalf is way, way, higher than any mundane costs to get the same result. Unlimited cantrips and orisons only break the game economics if you decide to ignore the game economics built into the rules in the first place - and if you do that, then you're happily into house rule territory anyway, and probably do need to make further, knock-on, adjustments to help keep things internally logical.

I think this is what it boils down to: if you ignore the actual rules (like create water only lasts 1 day, the cost of casting spells, etc.), the spirit of the game and world, AND rule 0, then...I was going to say ruin the game, but that's not even the case. Then your players can do some mildly unbalancing and ultimately boring stunts. Bad design? Hardly. IMO.


I personally like the idea of low level magic being relatively common with high level magic being rarer, so the unlimited cantrips works fine to me.

If a 1st or 2nd level adedpt is really willing to spend all day, every day casting create water for their god to fill a swimming area with water that disappears after 24 hrs, than that god would probably make a good plot hook. The thing to remember with the loss of water dependency in the desert is that create water doesn't really shake the dependency completely for most of the people living there, it just shifts it to other places. Instead of controlling key places, the challenge shifts to controlling key people, and the key places are still there being fought over as a backup, just not quite as violently. For adventurers or caravans passing through, it can remove a lot of risk, but such services typically come with a price. High demand with limited supply of casters means high prices. And your campaign can still have challenges to the PCs; create water doesn't make it any easier to find food.


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A bigger one is Purify Food and Drink. If you are in a desert that's bordering on an ocean, you can create unlimited fresh water from ocean water that doesn't go away in 24 hours. Each casting get's you 8 gallons of fresh water. This means you can build a reservoir, and actually fill it. Probably a capped series of tanks. All you have to worry about is evaporation.

Of course, you can also 'recycle' human and animal liquid waste with this spell. Another way of keeping liquids in a closed environment. If all the humans urinate in storage containers, the adept can come along and purify it once a day and give that family back whatever they managed to store for the day.


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thenobledrake wrote:
To be less obtuse: The math as to how much water a Cleric can make over any period of time being used as proof that there is something wrong with the unlimited Orison system or the Create Water Orison is pretty much terrible

You seem to have misunderstood me. My math was presented to show there's nothing wrong with the unlimited orison system; it was intended as a reductio ad absurdum. Yes, it's ridiculous to have a spellcaster working a whole 16-hour day doing exactly nothing else of any kind except casting create water . . . but even if you assume such a ridiculous thing, you still can't make the deserts bloom with the spell.

mdt wrote:
A bigger one is Purify Food and Drink. If you are in a desert that's bordering on an ocean, you can create unlimited fresh water from ocean water that doesn't go away in 24 hours. Each casting get's you 8 gallons of fresh water.

Which means you can irrigate a whole 32 acres (0.05 square miles) per caster level with the water, if the caster is working those ridiculous sixteen-hour days.

Cantrips/orisons can make travel through hostile terrain (deserts, oceans) easier and safer than it was in most of human history. They don't remotely make it possible to make the deserts bloom.


Auxmaulous wrote:


Unlimited "create/repair anything" at level 1 is incredibly bad design.
Obviously I am in the minority on this one, but it breaks immersion on so many levels it isn't tolerable (for me) and makes me question the veracity of DMs and the degree of subjective fiat (vs houserule) used to amend the problems that most people offer here as a solution in their home games.

And that has been the response - fiat the stupidity away, punish the caster, don’t let him do it, etc. No, just don't allow unlimited creation of water by game design, it's idiotic plain and simple. Being able to make water 4-5 times a day (and in decent amounts) should be enough to satisfy the need and necessity to make some water, and also the need to "always be able to do something" without breaking the world due to laziness.

My players in my home game would not abuse it because they like immersion and they see this as bad design. The issue is not even a balance point for us (filling up swimming pools in the desert, etc). The issue is that unlimited creation/repair/restore orisons just add to the historic magic stupidity of D&D 3.5 AKA Wish Economy, just on a smaller level - with no thought or consideration (as magic has been poorly treated with every edition of the game) to consequence.

Once you allow create/repair/restore things on an unlimited level you need to re-examine how those abilities impact of the game world.

I (and any number of other people) argued against unlimited cantrips / orisons during the beta. I've house ruled it for my own game. I was generous about it, imo, at 4 times + caster bonus per cantrip / orison per day. Given the tendency of casters to raise their primary stat as they go up levels the number goes up over time. Plenty to do, but not unlimited, and no one cantrip in abusable numbers.


see wrote:


You seem to have misunderstood me. My math was presented to show there's nothing wrong with the unlimited orison system; it was intended as a reductio ad absurdum. Yes, it's ridiculous to have a spellcaster working a whole 16-hour day doing exactly nothing else of any kind except casting create water . . . but even if you assume such a ridiculous thing, you still can't make the deserts bloom with the spell.

Ah... so I have. Carry on then.

I will just sit here and continue to be amazed that there are GMs out there that have players that abuse and exploit the rules and keep letting them show up for session after session instead of saying "Stop doing that, you are frustrating me and boring us all to tears."

No RPG rules set has ever, or will ever, be perfectly un-abusable - so when it comes down to player choice to abuse or not (i.e. any spell that isn't a problem unless cast dozens of times in succession) the game rule doesn't need changed, the player abusing it does.


R_Chance wrote:


I (and any number of other people) argued against unlimited cantrips / orisons during the beta. I've house ruled it for my own game. I was generous about it, imo, at 4 times + caster bonus per cantrip / orison per day. Given the tendency of casters to raise their primary stat as they go up levels the number goes up over time. Plenty to do, but not unlimited, and no one cantrip in abusable numbers.

Your house rule creates a situation in which cantrips/orisons are effectively unlimited, but players have to make tally marks just in case and erase them each day...

You could just as easily use the cantrips/orisons as unlimited and then step in to stop the abuse that you seem to be convinced absolutely will happen if you don't put a limit (though you have chosen one that is functional not a limit at all) whenever a player starts to do it.

End results are the same, but the later saves you at least one line on any house-rule document you might type up.

Owner - House of Books and Games LLC

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thenobledrake wrote:
No RPG rules set has ever, or will ever, be perfectly un-abusable - so when it comes down to player choice to abuse or not (i.e. any spell that isn't a problem unless cast dozens of times in succession) the game rule doesn't need changed, the player abusing it does.

+1

I have to admit, my players are good about it; I don't step in very often.

The last time I did was when the druid started turning into a gibbering orb in every combat. Not an unreasonable thing to do, if you can, but it started having side effects - now, every place she assumes the form of an uber-powerful Far Realms creature, it leaves behind a scar - the kind of scar that is counterproductive if you're trying to diminish the connection between the Far Realms and the material plane.

Certainly doesn't nerf the druid's power, but it's not an unreasonable side effect, either.

(edit: I guess my point is that if the rules are being abused, something has to be done ... but it can be done in a reasonable way)

Dark Archive

As usual many posters here miss the point - I don't really give a damn if a player wants to spam water, it's stupid, breaks immersion etc - but it isn't a problem at my table. I don't have that issue with my game but from a design perspective I wouldn’t saddle those issues on a new DM. Are they overpowered, yes. Is an issue at my table, no.

What I do care about, and again the point is lost here - is a world where 1st level casters can create unlimited water, repair items, and purify spoiled/contaminated/poisoned food and water. That does create an immersion issue - if the ability exists with such ease, what kind of world does it create (impact to business, changes on communities), and do I want that world? That was the point of addressing the unlimited creation/repair/restore issue with orisons.

Players may or may not abuse them - that goes to the munchkin/maturity level of players and what they want out of their game - I think everyone gets that. I don't think that they should be default powers due to the potential for exploitation - most here disagree. The issue is that these unlimited abilities are not restricted to PCs and what kind of super-fantasy changes does that place upon every game world (since this default core unless housewritten out).

Anyway, i'm done.


Maybe boxed text with advice, an optional rule or rule-of-thumb would have been good in such instances, but that does not seem to be the trend in these instances, after all the game is ripe for such dickering & tomfoolery by players and DMs if that is what they are set on doing.

Liberty's Edge

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Auxmaulous wrote:

Here is a refresher on one of the cantrips/orisons in question

** spoiler omitted **

This isn't just 2 gallons, this is 2 gallons per round (six seconds). So 1 minute of continuous casting yields 20 gallons, 10 minutes 200 gallons, 1 hour 1,200 gallons, 4 hours 4,800 gallons, and 8 hours (just for sunshadow) is 9,600 gallons - all at 1st level. Multiply level to the numbers listed (x2 for 2nd, x3 for 3rd, etc) for added idiocy.

No need for water rights, no need to worry about water for agriculture, droughts, scarcity, etc.
Water created in contained areas will fill up and destroy lighter structures, create stress weights, flush out vermin and other nasties in smaller caverns and dungeons + extra creative stupid stuff.

Mending is just beyond insane as a cantrip

** spoiler omitted **...

Well, that's an interesting point, but here's a counterpoint. Let's take this the other way: RAW, it takes 8 gallons to fill a cubic foot of space, so in order to fill a single 5' cube, it would take 1000 gallons of water (5x5x5, times 8 to find the gallons). In other words, it would take a first level character an hour to mostly cover the average human. Wow, impressive.

Or, let's reverse that - a 20th level character spamming this for 24 hours (the absolute maximum you could get from this, mind) would generate 2 (base) * 20 (level) * 10(rounds in a minute) * 60 (minutes in an hour) * 24 (hours in a day) = 576000 gallons of water, which fills a 72000 cubic foot area, or a 576 Cube area (5x5x5 cubes). Assuming a 10' high dungeon/cave ceiling on average, and 10' wide average halls, that would fill... a whole 144 squares into the cave completely. Or, to put that another way (still using the average of 10' high ceilings), could fill a total of 8 30x30 rooms.
Over 24 hours, with absolutely no breaks, at which point the water starts disappearing and you're just maintaining what's already there. And that is the most ridiculous situation I can think of for it. Not exactly game-breaking material.

As for Mending, I don't see it taking the place of good, old-fashioned crafting. Sure, it's faster and always fixing the thing perfectly, but for most mundane stuff (you know, the stuff that 90% of the population would need to get repaired) it's complete overkill - it's like getting second skin for a 2 centimeter papercut! (to continue the analogy, it's like going to the doctor for something a bandaid can fix).
Magius out.


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Auxmaulous wrote:
That does create an immersion issue - if the ability exists with such ease, what kind of world does it create (impact to business, changes on communities), and do I want that world?

Well, yes, that would be the issue. But on actual examination the answer to the question is, "Even exploiting unlimited use cantrips to absolutely ridiculous lengths, the world that results is not appreciably different from a world where cantrips have a limited number of castings per day, so what's the immersion issue?"


thenobledrake wrote:
R_Chance wrote:


I (and any number of other people) argued against unlimited cantrips / orisons during the beta. I've house ruled it for my own game. I was generous about it, imo, at 4 times + caster bonus per cantrip / orison per day. Given the tendency of casters to raise their primary stat as they go up levels the number goes up over time. Plenty to do, but not unlimited, and no one cantrip in abusable numbers.

Your house rule creates a situation in which cantrips/orisons are effectively unlimited, but players have to make tally marks just in case and erase them each day...

You could just as easily use the cantrips/orisons as unlimited and then step in to stop the abuse that you seem to be convinced absolutely will happen if you don't put a limit (though you have chosen one that is functional not a limit at all) whenever a player starts to do it.

End results are the same, but the later saves you at least one line on any house-rule document you might type up.

Actually I have chosen a limit that stops PCs from putting tailors out of business (for example), that lets them make use of any given cantrip a limited amount of times (typically 6-8 times / day at low level) and leaves them with "something to do". There is a considerable difference between doing something 6 times in a dungeon, for example Detect Magic, and getting to spam it an unlimited number of times. Stepping in to "stop abuse" whenever you feel like it is something that any number of people might find arbitrary and annoying in and of itself. I run my game, but I don't feel the need to hop in and put an end to abuses that can be effectively limited before they occur. This allows the players to make a choice with knowledge of the consequences and their resources without changing those resources on the fly.

As for house rules documents, having played for 35 years, one line isn't going to make a huge difference :)

Dark Archive

see wrote:
Auxmaulous wrote:
That does create an immersion issue - if the ability exists with such ease, what kind of world does it create (impact to business, changes on communities), and do I want that world?
Well, yes, that would be the issue. But on actual examination the answer to the question is, "Even exploiting unlimited use cantrips to absolutely ridiculous lengths, the world that results is not appreciably different from a world where cantrips have a limited number of castings per day, so what's the immersion issue?"

Well upon revision I have made mending and purify food & drink 1st level spells (those and a few others). They can be selected as needed but it makes for not worrying about cantrips/orisons - even if the rest come out at round 8 (4 Plus stat bonus) uses a day.

The second point to that is with limited uses (4 + 4 for stat mod) a day the 1st level cleric is only making 16 gallons of water max. Enough for 16 people, less if you count for mounts or arid environments. That to me, is a balanced level of power.
Pulling 16 gallons is not a big deal - again, that would be using all daily orisons and I don't think it would be enough to disrupt immersion. 16 gallons using all 8 uses vs. 9,600 on an 8 hour day don't even come close to how much they challenge immersion. 16 gallons a day would allow small groups/village with multiple casters a better chance of surviving in hostile areas but with limited resources I believe the impact would be easily manageable and not change the world too much (less so than cure disease,raise dead, et al).

Again, I think what people here are failing to see is the impact on day-to-day life. Making swimming pools is one kind of stupidity but even a 1st level caster can create 1,200 gallons in an hour - that is enough for daily water needs for 400 people in an arid environment. Normal water reqs in a standard environment being a gallon a day, he could provide enough drinking water for 1,200 people at 1st level with 10 minutes of work. That is one guy changing a tremendous amount with what should be a minor throw-away power.

I think I have made my case and I am going to drop it at this point - people like their power, damn all other considerations. This is just another reminder of how far I have moved away from this game and the mindset that goes with playing it, not really a big deal. Good gaming to all those involved.

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