Snowball Errata Status?


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Snowball errata status?

Snowball is one of those 1st level wizard spells that is used and abused. Did a Forum search on the spell and came across a post about a year ago that Snowball, if it was found unbalancing, might, that's might, get errata.

This was a post over a year ago and I was wondering what the status of Snowball errata is. They still looking about it for balance purposes or is Snowball going be left as is?

Actually, I'm just gripping. I'm expecting they have decided to leave it as is. Just have seen this spell demolish a number of encounters. Which I'd have little problem with, if it wasn't a 1st level spell.


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In other news, there's a spell called colorspray that can wipe out a whole horde of orcs.

More seriously, if I remember right they don't usually errata outside of the core content.


Gonna go with the answe: colorspray.


What's wrong with the spell? How does it get abused? It seems rather mundane and well within the confines of a 1st level spell.


The spell is good but how is it abused? Ranged damage plus staggering with a touch attack does not seam out of line for a first level spell.

I suppose you could get it up 15d6+30 with high enough caster level but by then that just throw away spell.


Bob_Loblaw wrote:
What's wrong with the spell? How does it get abused? It seems rather mundane and well within the confines of a 1st level spell.

Staggered is a pretty powerful effect, and ranged touch almost always hits. It also falls under conjuration instead of evocation.

Liberty's Edge

Yeah, Snowball does look OP for a level 1 spell.

For comparison, Ear-Piercing Screem from Ultimate Magic is a great level 1 spell because of its one round daze effect (assuming the save is missed), but it only does half the damage. Snowball's Stagger effect if not quite as good Daze, but it still can do a good job cutting down a target's actions...and its damage is better than any other level 1 ranged spell.

If you are the GM, I suggest banning it from your game, changing the damage from 1d6 to 1d4, or changing the damage from 1d6/level to 1d6/2 levels.

Shadow Lodge

Not really OP, just really powerful. I rate it at about the same level as Shocking Grasp or Frostbite. Yeah, it has a better status effect than the latter and the same damage as the former, but it comes without the flat damage of Frostbite that scales all the way to 20 nor does it come with the attack bonus[which at the levels where the spell is useful, is rather important for the 1/2 BAB usually low-Str caster] of Shocking Grasp. Its also in a splatbook, which limits availability and the odds of it getting errata'd.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Not a rules question.

The spell functions, as written, and there is no current dispute.

A "Rules as I wish they worked" statement, is not a question.


I really don't see how it's that overpowered.

By the time you get enough spell levels to amp up the damage and DC to not be completely useless for mid-level encounters it's already overshadowed by much more powerful spells.

As for early levels it only seems like it's overpowered. It's slightly more damage than other 1st level spells but it's also single target. You also need to spend 2 standard actions to use it. 1 to conjure it and the other to throw it. You then need to hit with it and i have no idea what the actual weapon's range increments are so you have a chance at missing. Then you have to hope they can't beat a level 1 spell's DC.

If we're talking best case scenario then Burning Hands can do 20 damage to 9 people at level 5 and they can only save for half damage.

If you want something comparable then Frigid Touch as a level 2 spell does 4d6 dmg and also staggers for 1 round. If it's a crit then it's a 1 min stagger. It's a touch spell and doesn't have a saving throw.


Overpowered -
You take the trait that lowers meta-magic feat cost by one. Then grab a rod of metamagic - Let's say Empowered.

10th level wizard casts this as a standard action and hit's the same round. Damage is 10D6 + 50% and no SR. All those other spells mentioned above that can also be abused suffer from having to make a SR check.
While the Staggered condition will probably get a save, you'll still be doing 15 to 90 (average around 45) points of damage. Plus you can Crit with this.

All at the cost of a level 1 spell slot.

While a average of 45 damage doesn't sound like a lot for 10th level. This is just the bare bones, simplified example I've shown. There's a number of feats and class abilities that can be added to up the damage and apply conditions.


Metamagic is always powerful though. 10th level also gives you access to dazing fireball. Reflex save or die in a burst. Among other great combos. Hard to measure metamagic by the value of what you can put it on.


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No save for Snowball and Fireball needs to make a SR check.

Fireball is also a 3rd level spell so you can't chain cast them like you can Snowball.

My biggest problem is you can chain cast Snowball 2 to 3 times per encounter. Can't do that with your Fireball example.


As I stated at the bottom of my first post. I'm just complaining here.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
Matt2VK wrote:
As I stated at the bottom of my first post. I'm just complaining here.

Could be done here.

Lantern Lodge

Snowball was debated heavily for PFS and after getting banned for like 2 days, it was made legal again, after it was decided that while it may be on the higher end of the power curve when compared to other spells, it is still not OP enough to justify banning it.

On the other hand, I don't see if being used often by the wizards/sorcerer players in my area. Colorspray pops up much more often.

Liberty's Edge

blackbloodtroll wrote:

Not a rules question.

The spell functions, as written, and there is no current dispute.

A "Rules as I wish they worked" statement, is not a question.

The original post was a question about the FAQ, which is part of the rules. He started the discussion in the right place.

If the discussion goes in a different direction, the mods can move it if they like.


RedDogMT wrote:
The original post was a question about the FAQ, which is part of the rules.

Correction: Would be part of the rules.

If there were a FAQ.

Which there is not.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber
RedDogMT wrote:
The original post was a question about the FAQ, which is part of the rules. He started the discussion in the right place.

No.

The OP makes no mention of a FAQ. None exists. He asks for an errata, and notes there is no confusion, but just wants to complain because he thinks it is too powerful.

This is no different than "Rogues are too weak! Where's the errata!?" as far as a "rule discussion" goes.

Grand Lodge

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MrSin wrote:
Bob_Loblaw wrote:
What's wrong with the spell? How does it get abused? It seems rather mundane and well within the confines of a 1st level spell.
Staggered is a pretty powerful effect, and ranged touch almost always hits. It also falls under conjuration instead of evocation.

Might want to recheck the rules on ranged touch attacks.

Unless the caster has spent two feats, they are likely taking a -4 for making a ranged attack on an opponent in melee.

Then, unless the do some positioning, they are probably taking another -4 for cover.

Then they are a 1/2 BAB class, and probably don't have much more than a 14 or so in Dex...

Yes, it can do nice damage, except...
It is maximum 5d6.
Yes, you can exceed that, but it requires metamagic, which usually affects the spell slot it uses.


It is one of the many spells that makes fighting a golem easy peasy.

It isn't the damage really, it is the combo of no sr and excellent status effect. It is obviously way better than some other spells I know of though, ha

Grand Lodge

CWheezy wrote:

It is one of the many spells that makes fighting a golem easy peasy.

It isn't the damage really, it is the combo of no sr and excellent status effect. It is obviously way better than some [url]http://www.d20pfsrd.com/magic/all-spells/d/damp-powder]other[/url] spells I know of though, ha

At a minimum, golems, as constructs, are immune to the status effect.

Given the phrasing of construct traits, I am not sure that they wouldn't be immune to the damage, as well.

Construct Traits (Ex) wrote:
Constructs are immune to death effects, disease, mind-affecting effects (charms, compulsions, phantasms, patterns, and morale effects), necromancy effects, paralysis, poison, sleep, stun, and any effect that requires a Fortitude save (unless the effect also works on objects, or is harmless).


They are very definitely not immune to the damage, the stagger maybe.

I guess an object can't be staggered? I dunno?

Liberty's Edge

kinevon wrote:


Given the phrasing of construct traits, I am not sure that they wouldn't be immune to the damage, as well.

Construct Traits (Ex) wrote:
Constructs are immune to death effects, disease, mind-affecting effects (charms, compulsions, phantasms, patterns, and morale effects), necromancy effects, paralysis, poison, sleep, stun, and any effect that requires a Fortitude save (unless the effect also works on objects, or is harmless).

The Fortitude save is only for the status effect, not the damage. The only thing that might occur is that some Golems have specific reactions to different energy types.


LOL...

So a wizard can cast 2-3 in an encounter and really pump it up with metamagic for 15d6?

Well you gotta hit first...

And a half-orc falchion wielder can out damage that in a round every round. Falchions are OP, BAN-HAMMER!


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jwtelesio wrote:


You also need to spend 2 standard actions to use it. 1 to conjure it and the other to throw it.

Eh, is this the case? I thought the throwing of it was part of the standard action to cast. I mayyyy have been doing this spell wrong, ah well at leasts my character is just starting out.


CathalFM wrote:
jwtelesio wrote:


You also need to spend 2 standard actions to use it. 1 to conjure it and the other to throw it.
Eh, is this the case? I thought the throwing of it was part of the standard action to cast. I mayyyy have been doing this spell wrong, ah well at leasts my character is just starting out.

No, it isnt the case. It is a decent spell but far from broken.


CathalFM wrote:
jwtelesio wrote:


You also need to spend 2 standard actions to use it. 1 to conjure it and the other to throw it.
Eh, is this the case? I thought the throwing of it was part of the standard action to cast. I mayyyy have been doing this spell wrong, ah well at leasts my character is just starting out.

Most likely It's not the case. Was confused by the wording since it doesn't explicitly state that you fire the snowball as part of the spell like how acid splash does.

Either way it's still not that great of a spell damage wise once you get level 2 spells and at level 1/2 you have things like Color Spray and Sleep which kind of stomp the 1d6/2d6 single target damage.


The only potential for abuse that I can see is that it's no save, no SR, and as an instantaneous Conjuration spell, it ignores AMF. Maybe cast Quickened True Strike followed by Persistent Dazing Rime Snowball? Still doesn't seem worth it.


So as a first level spell it's not really over powered. It's only over powered once you can start increasing the spell level by adding on metamagic, in which case it's not really a first level spell equivalent anymore.


kinevon wrote:
MrSin wrote:
Bob_Loblaw wrote:
What's wrong with the spell? How does it get abused? It seems rather mundane and well within the confines of a 1st level spell.
Staggered is a pretty powerful effect, and ranged touch almost always hits. It also falls under conjuration instead of evocation.

Might want to recheck the rules on ranged touch attacks.

Unless the caster has spent two feats, they are likely taking a -4 for making a ranged attack on an opponent in melee.

Then, unless the do some positioning, they are probably taking another -4 for cover.

Then they are a 1/2 BAB class, and probably don't have much more than a 14 or so in Dex...

Good thing that dragon only had a touch AC of 9.

Touch AC for monsters goes down on average while your attack only goes up. That's why touch is sometimes refered to as an easy hit, and later almost always hits. Your not using touch attacks on dex-based monks through several kinds of cover, your using them on monsters with bad touch AC and you can position yourself better than the guy who needs to full attack. Fort saves on the other hand scale against you when used against those monsters, and stagger is an effect you might really want to go off on a creature with a full attack of doom with several natural attacks.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

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Matt2VK wrote:

You take the trait [and presumably the feat to go with it]...

Then grab a rod of metamagic...

.....

All at the cost of a level 1 spell slot.


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Bob_Loblaw wrote:
So as a first level spell it's not really over powered. It's only over powered once you can start increasing the spell level by adding on metamagic, in which case it's not really a first level spell equivalent anymore.

Actually, I find that hte spel have several problems from the design standpoint.

1. It is basically utterly superior to the other 1d6/level 1st level damage spell, schoking grasp.

- It does the same damage but
- It is ranged, wich is better for everyone but magus.
- It bypass SR
- It have a rider effect

Totally agaisnt paizo guideleines for creating new spells.

2. It is a conjuration spell. Why a conjuration spell is better for blasting than the evocation spell?

3. The fluff is awful. Yes, this totally mundane ball of snow do 40 damage to the Iron golem and make it staggered ¬¬

========================

So, I think is an awful spell, but the worst thing if it create a precedent, will paizo create a 3rd level conjuration spell that is better for blast than fireball? whould that be good?


I'm trying to find why this is an issue.

It's a 1st level spell, caps at 5d6, requires an attack roll, deals a energy type that is fairly common resistance, and has a fort save for a rider (half action), close range. No SR (because conjuration).

As comparison, we have d4+1/2 levels force damage, no attack no save medium range, can be split to multiple targets. SR yes.

And 1d6/2 levels, no attack, fort save (no action) or half damage, close range. SR yes.

It's about equivalent.

The above comparison for 10d6 +50% requires a 4th level spell slot, and greater invis or black tentacles is the only thing to say to that.


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Well, it's strictly better than shocking grasp, witch is not exactly a weak spell.


Shocking Grasp is pretty weak unless you are a Magus. Snowball is really only good for killing golems and laughing at people who think their magic immunity matters. Otherwise it doesnt do really very much. The SR: No is a decent way of applying Daze to golems and high SR opponents but you really need to add in heighten to make it worthwhile and Acid Arrow is a better option anyway.


Dekalinder wrote:
Well, it's strictly better than shocking grasp, witch is not exactly a weak spell.

Shocking grasp isn't weak, but its not exactly powerful. Melee range attack with no riders. Great for a magus, but to be honest that's pretty meh. Its also subject to SR and save for half, snowball's no SR and no save for the damage and is ranged touch, which is why its choice for metamagic. Some spells are better for metamagic than others.

Edit: Ninjas!


OK - I'm complaining...but...I came across a post from about a year ago from a developer (don't ask where because I can't find it now) stating that the spell Snowball might get errata.

I did some more searching and that was all I could find from a official source. So I was wondering if anyone had heard, one way or the other, what the status of the possible errata would be.
I'm assuming since I couldn't find anything else official it's going to be left as is. But, paizo has surprised me before on some of the errata changes.

Now, the debate on if Snowball is overpowered or not is a matter of opinion and belongs in a different thread.


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Pathfinder Card Game Subscriber

It's unbalanced. There's a section in UM around designing spells that explicitly says that designing spell effects specifically to get around SR (the example the book gave is conjuring a volume of oil which then ignites and has the same effect as a fireball) is against the spirit of the game and should be avoided. Snowball being unaffected by SR falls in this category.

Grand Lodge RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32

MrSin wrote:
Its also subject to SR and save for half
Shocking grasp wrote:
Saving Throw none


Jiggy wrote:
MrSin wrote:
Its also subject to SR and save for half
Shocking grasp wrote:
Saving Throw none

Woops! Mixed that up with burning hands.


Matt2VK wrote:

OK - I'm complaining...but...I came across a post from about a year ago from a developer (don't ask where because I can't find it now) stating that the spell Snowball might get errata.

That woudl be highly unusual from paizo. If I recall correctly, in the first thread about snowball Mr Jacobs stated that they will take into consideration all the argument agasint it, but that probably means they will try to not print more conjuration spells like that, snowball will probably reamins as it is.


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I agree to it being unbalanced. Yes people scream colour spray, but colour spray is save or suck at lower levels and utterly useless once your enemies have more than 4 HD.

But when looking at low level damaging spells, we have to look at magic missile and shocking grasp.

The ranged option, magic missile, deals less damage due to the slower spell progression, no condition and spell resistance.

And shocking grasp, which i would compare it to, allows SR deals the same damage, no additional condition AND you have to go into melee.

I think if the spell was range touch, it might still be ok, because there is barely any caster who likes to go into melee. But range close makes it better than shocking grasp and the faster damage progression makes it better than magic missile. Yes i do need to hit, but seriously, touch AC is laughable.

I was quite stunned when a player pulled that spell out, and even more stunned it was PFS legal.
For me it exemplifies the problem with power creep. For anyone but a magus, there is no reason to use shocking grasp anymore. It doesn't provide more options, it just makes the exisiting options not as good. I think it is a horrible unbalanced spell.


Dave_Vader wrote:
It doesn't provide more options, it just makes the exisiting options not as good.

+1.


Meanwhile, classes that do not cast spells are still heavily underpowered in comparison.


The range and damage are also balanced against common immunities/resistances.

Magic Missle: Medium range -no attack -force damage-SR (works on incorporeal
Ear Piercing Scream: close range -save for half/no condition -sonic damage -SR (very little resist for this)
Snowball: close range -save for no condition -elemental damage -No SR (very common resists)
Shocking Grasp: touch range -bonus to hit most enemies-elemental damage -SR (minor resists).

All pretty much equal with the cap of 5 dice, some will be better/worse based on the class/abilities of the character.


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TGMaxMaxer wrote:

The range and damage are also balanced against common immunities/resistances.

Magic Missle: Medium range -no attack -force damage-SR (works on incorporeal
Ear Piercing Scream: close range -save for half/no condition -sonic damage -SR (very little resist for this)
Snowball: close range -save for no condition -elemental damage -No SR (very common resists)
Shocking Grasp: touch range -bonus to hit most enemies-elemental damage -SR (minor resists).

All pretty much equal with the cap of 5 dice, some will be better/worse based on the class/abilities of the character.

Where do you get that cold resistance is more common than electric? I myself have experienced more of the opposite playing a air elemental bloodline sorcerer.

Ear piercing scream gets a save for damage and has a lower damage progression and has SR. I think it shows more, that all these spells are more or less balanced against each other, whereas snowball takes the best out of the three of them.

It has range (MM/EPS), it has a d6/lvl damage progression (SG), it has no save for damage (SG/MM) and adds a condition (EPS). Additionally, no SR. Which really puts an already powerful spell over the top. What other spells that deal damage allow no SR? Your go to spells normally don't.

Which underlines my point from earlier. It gives you a combination of benefits from the other spells and then some, with what drawback exactly?
I mean for crying out loud, on levels 4-6 it is a better option than scorching ray, a level 2 spell. More damage on levels 5&6, plus status effect, plus no SR. How is a lvl 1 blasting spell beating a lvl 2 blasting spell in any way balanced?

This doesn't give you more options, as long as you have access to the required book, this is your only option. As a blasting sorcerer you HAVE to take this spell. Which in my opinion shows, that it is pretty horribly designed. Which is why an errata in any way (i would suggest spell progression to d6/2 lvl and SR), would keep game balance more intact...


Something else to think about is spell lists, EPS is on the Bard list who dont normally get direct damage spells. Does a magus get Snowball? I think there may be another factor of balance in which casters get which spell...


1) You can cast and throw a ranged touch spell as part of the spell action.

2) It's a ranged touch spell, it means -4 if there is any ally within 10 feet of your target, and he has +4 cover AC for each creature between you and your target. Its against touch AC, but you will hardly be hitting with anything over 50% chance.

3) There are first level class abilities than can be used multiple times a day that also deal 1d6 damage as ranged touch attack, so why snowball would be any more overpowered than these abilities? Its not any stronger than a magic missible.

4) The fact that it has no SR is probably a mistake and should get errata'ed (?).


shadowkras wrote:


2) It's a ranged touch spell, it means -4 if there is any ally within 10 feet of your target, and he has +4 cover AC for each creature between you and your target. Its against touch AC, but you will hardly be hitting with anything over 50% chance.

Not sure how a not be a melee touch spell can be argued to be a bad thing for anyone but magus.

shadowkras wrote:


2) There are first level class abilities than can be used multiple times a day that also deal 1d6 damage as ranged touch attack, so why snowball would be any more overpowered than these abilities? Its not any stronger than a magic missible

What class abilities are those? do they bypass SR? do they stagger after a failed save?

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