I need to ban some spells


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Dark Archive

So I run a roll20 campaign that allows players to make max level characters and fight high teir monsters. Needless to say, the tarrasque is in a Gem owned by a wizard. I want this to be a fun experience for everyone, and that is NOT winning in 2 seconds. I'd like to know some spells and any other thing overpowered like Trap the Soul.


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Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

this is going to be a long list based on what exactly you want to ban a spell for.


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Any spell capable of disabling / killing someone will let you 'win' in one round. The list is long indeed.


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If Trap the Soul is problematic for you you may just want to ban PF at your table.


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Maybe we should make a list of spells that can't potentially be used to one round win encounters. I'll start by suggesting Crafter's Fortune.


Create Mr. Pitt wrote:
If Trap the Soul is problematic for you you may just want to ban PF at your table.

I imagine it involved some questionable scenario like, "Ok so I write 'Tarrasque' on the gem and now stand in front of it and wait for it to eat me and the gem... it does so now it 'accepted' the gem and as per the second way you can use Trap the Soul, it is auto trapped with no SR or save! Yay!"

Dark Archive

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You people are so helpful...


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Shasfowd wrote:
You people are so helpful...

To be fair there are hundreds of spells and many of them are incredibly powerful in the right situation, especially once you get to high level spells. No joke meant here: I'd say your best bet would be to disallow 9th level casting classes if you are concerned about spells as beyond 6th level spells is where it really escalates mostly.

Dark Archive

But the point of this is to let players be whatever they want, but I don't want it to take the excitment out of the gamee. What spells follow the following rules:
Not a mind-affecting or a death effect
Will immediatley pasify the target


Shasfowd wrote:
You people are so helpful...

The snark is strong with this one.

Anyways, as chaoseffect suggested, 9th level casters tend to be the game breakers. That being said, limiting spellcasters too far also hurts the martial characters. Barbarians and Slayers love their buff spells after all.

EDIT:

If that is the case, the best way to go about it is to go and look at each class list individually and pick out spells you think fit your description. I say this because... there are quite a few.


So are you looking exclusively for save-or-die type effects (including technically not death but close, like Flesh to Stone) that fit those parameters or are you including save-or-you-might-as-well-be-dead effects like Stinking Cloud?


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At level 2, even Glitterdust can pacify most enemies.

Dark Archive

chaoseffect wrote:
So are you looking exclusively for save-or-die type effects (including technically not death but close, like Flesh to Stone) that fit those parameters or are you including save-or-you-might-as-well-be-dead effects like Stinking Cloud?

Just save-or-die.


Are you limiting the spell list in any way right now, or is all Pathfinder open game?


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Shasfowd wrote:
chaoseffect wrote:
So are you looking exclusively for save-or-die type effects (including technically not death but close, like Flesh to Stone) that fit those parameters or are you including save-or-you-might-as-well-be-dead effects like Stinking Cloud?
Just save-or-die.

In that case off the top of my head:

Sepia Snake Sigil, Baleful Polymorph, Flesh to Stone, Plane Shift (used offensively), Wish -> Geas/Quest as standard action, Imprisonment.

Though it does not qualify in the current definition of specific save or die effects we are discussing, honorable mention goes to the Dazing Spell metamagic feat/rod.


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Let's see ... Hold monster = save or be helpless.
Blindness = have fun with that.
Baleful polymorph = save or you're a bunny.
Disintegrate = save or you're dust bunnies.
Enervation = lots of neg levels, and you're going down hard.

There's lots of ways to seriously mess someone up with just a couple failed saves.


I Think this is close to impossible at level 20. The game is bound to be rocket tag at that level.
If it is a vaccum like arcanist School savant(forsigth divination) casting greater suffocation, a One like zen archer shooting sticks or a ninja with a double barreld pistol, it Will all be over in a few rounds.
I suggest you look at the guide to guides and the guide to builds on these very forums and Ban most of the good offensive suggestions they give.


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Shasfowd wrote:

What spells follow the following rules:

Not a mind-affecting or a death effect
Will immediatley pasify the target
Save or die

From the Core Rulebook:

Imprisonment
Temporal Stasis
Polymorph Any Object
Trap the Soul
Prismatic Spray
Plane Shift
Flesh to Stone
Baleful Polymorph
Magic Jar

Limited Wish->Geas/Quest doesn't really count because Geas/Quest is a mind-affecting compulsion.
But keep in mind, there are other things not included in the above list like Maze, which is a no-save-you-are-out-of-combat-for-a-long-long-time spells.


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Shasfowd wrote:
So I run a roll20 campaign that allows players to make max level characters and fight high teir monsters.

For starters this should be in the advice forum

From experience, when players reach high levels it becomes much less about drawn out combat and much more about planning and role play. At level 20 if you don't kill whatever you're fighting in a few rounds it will have likely killed you. It's one of the reasons why captions don't go into high levels often. You either lose, win or run away very quickly.

Banning casting past 6th level is a good start but honestly the save or lose spells start early. Maybe stick with martials or give opponents very high saves or lots of immunities


If you allow non-core stuff like Player Companions, consider banning Chains of Light. It's only a 6th level spell, but is a real pain as a GM as it completely neutralises anything that has a bad Reflex save and is not immune to paralysis!

Dark Archive

Once you've gotten that high a level all bets are off, crap gets so nuts there is no chance of balancing the game. Banning a couple of spells will do nothing. Banning 9th level casters is a start...


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My suggestion is to start with another creature. The tarrasque is an over CR'd chump. But if you really want to use him, you would save youself a lot of grief (and time and effort) by beefing him up rather than banning dozens of spells (and items too if we're being honest) just to make a single encounter enjoyable. Here's the url of an old thread about t he tarrasque that may be worth reading.

http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2pgrc&page=1?I-found-a-way-to-defeat-the-Ta rrasque


If you are having trouble dealing with high level characters...

why not play at a lower level?

I would be willing to bet money that your players will not appreciate this banning spree. Furthermore, almost every single 7th level+ spell is going to cause you issues at 20th level.

Pathfinder just doesn't operate as a 'kill the monsters loot the dungeon' game at 20th level anymore. At that point any decent class is practically a god.

Dark Archive

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Are you planning to remove those spells from the opponents as well? Many high CR monsters have plenty of save or suck effects as spells and spell-likes.


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You should consider Mythender instead. You can download the pdf for free from the Paizo website.

Mythender

The feel of the game is like playing a 20th level game, on crack. It only concerns itself with the equivalent of high level abilities, so you don't have to keep track of as much stuff. Here's how I describe what this game feels like:

It's like the final fight from The Avengers. Since it's an RPG done in real-time, it lacks some of the polish, but the epic feeling and intensity is very much present.

There's also a short document about running Mythender in Golarion.


Shasfowd wrote:
chaoseffect wrote:
So are you looking exclusively for save-or-die type effects (including technically not death but close, like Flesh to Stone) that fit those parameters or are you including save-or-you-might-as-well-be-dead effects like Stinking Cloud?
Just save-or-die.

That is, literally, a list of dozens of spells. Save or Die starts at spell level 5 and never looks back. And, to pull out Anzyr's favorite point before he gets here: powerhouse mages aren't pulling out the big guns if they let you have a save.

Limited Wish -> Geas is cast in a single round, has no save, and means that instead of having its soul in a jar, the Tarrasque is now a minion. And doesn't use a 9th level spell.

A big enough booklet of Explosive Runes, paired with a minion to try to dispel them and intentionally fail, is 6D6 (average 21 damage)*number of Runes, which can rather easily get lethal and there's no save allowed for targets that are too close to the blast. This does require more prep time though, so if that's not available this strategy falls apart.

And all of that said, to be honest? If you ban the true save-or-dies but not the save-or-sucks, my money is that you get some enterprising cheeseball to come in with a blaster-caster kitted out with Spell Perfected Dazing Persistent Fireballs to turn the fight into a mop-up from the first turn anyway.


This seems more like an advice thread rather than a rules question. Flagged for a move.


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Shasfowd wrote:
So I run a roll20 campaign that allows players to make max level characters and fight high teir monsters. Needless to say, the tarrasque is in a Gem owned by a wizard. I want this to be a fun experience for everyone, and that is NOT winning in 2 seconds. I'd like to know some spells and any other thing overpowered like Trap the Soul.

Even if you get rid of save or die spells martials can kill things in one round. I have two characters in my game that can do over 300 point of damage in one round, and they are not even level 20 yet. They can basically solo almost anything CR 20 or less that is in the book.


Shasfowd wrote:
So I run a roll20 campaign that allows players to make max level characters and fight high teir monsters. Needless to say, the tarrasque is in a Gem owned by a wizard. I want this to be a fun experience for everyone, and that is NOT winning in 2 seconds. I'd like to know some spells and any other thing overpowered like Trap the Soul.

My question is: Did you check their wealth by level? Did they spend the 30,000gp on the gem for a 30HD monster?


Jodokai wrote:
My question is: Did you check their wealth by level? Did they spend the 30,000gp on the gem for a 30HD monster?

With the wealth expected of a 20th level character this should not be an issue.

With respect to the OP: if you want long combats you'll have to do more than ban save or dies. Magic Jar never kills anyone directly but ends single enemies instantly for example. Any spell which stuns or dazes can end an enemies participation in the combat. There are hundreds (no joke) of spells like this.

What might work is using multiple enemies which are not adjacent to one another. Or, enemies with a lot of immunities to effects which might disable them.


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Shasfowd wrote:

But the point of this is to let players be whatever they want, but I don't want it to take the excitment out of the gamee. What spells follow the following rules:

Not a mind-affecting or a death effect
Will immediatley pasify the target

Your goal is not compatible with your restrictions.


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If you want to avoid save or dies "ruining" the adventure you're going to need to

1) Make so many encounters per day they must keep running until they run low/out on spells.

2) Make them fight so many enemies that SoD doesn't matter. At 20th they should be fighting armies. Legions.

3) You can't use all monster types anymore. You need to use the high defense monsters (Outsiders, Aberrations, spell casters) or expect them to be save or died.

4) You need more magic related system mastery. All monsters have to use the wealth they have for good defensive magic. I like scrolls of spell turning and contingent greater dispels.


The only way to avoid the RPG-tag effect in Pathfinder is to talk to your players and agree not to use, or at least not specialize in "action denial" styles of play.

I would also suggest adding lots of monsters to encounters, as well as non-combat situations that affect the combat. For example, if it is a level 20 party vs a single dragon in a cave, the party is going to walk out with a pile of treasure and a dominated dragon to ride. If the situation is to save a small viking city built on a frozen lake from 2 dozen white dragons and a lich king attacking from above and below the ice, while saving as much of the city as possible, it is going to be much more interesting.

EDIT: Flagging for move to advice forum

Grand Lodge

I want the player to play what they want but I want to strip casters of thier spells.

Look most people who play casters typically start off weak and wait for thier power to come around. They typically have to sit and watch as the melee guys get all the glory for 10 levels before anyone realizes the wizard is a player at the table.

Your starting them at 20. Who wants to play a mundane class? Yeah save or dies suck but most high level encounters have great saves. Id just leave them alone...you may be suprised alot of things just dont work. But taking thier best spells sucks for thr player. Leaving them with a pile of useless spells is just gonna make the players annoyed with thd GM.

Grand Lodge

Banning certain spells isn't going to help this situation. Your characters are 20th level, they can and will utterly destroy anything you throw at them. If you want your encounters to take longer than two seconds, you better have a whole lot of powerful enemies ready to swarm in waves (or all at once, but balancing that so that either they die or the PC(s) die on round 2 is pretty hard)


The tricky thing is that powerful options don't come in just spells, especially for casting classes. You'd really have to vet all the class abilities as well.


Basically the spells have to do something unique for banning them to matter.

For example simulacrum is a unique spell which by itself creates a unique problem. Once you ban the spell you've solved the problem. It doesn't come back.

Animate dead also has a (nearly) unique problem. Banning it (and create undead) solve the problem.

Banning wail of the banshee doesn't have a unique effect it has a somewhat common effect of large AOE damage it just happens to be the best out of it.


avr wrote:
With the wealth expected of a 20th level character this should not be an issue.

I don't care what level you are, 30k is an issue. Especially when we're talking about a Wizard. I would also check out his spell book and made sure he had 9 1st level spells and no more than 4 of any other level unless he spent the money on the scroll and the cost to scribe it.

People always hand wave the cost of wizards and then complain about how powerful they are. They only get that way if you hand wave the cost for everything.

Grand Lodge

Jodokai

I'll second the spellbook cost. A good 30% or more goes into spellbooks. Tho good wizards pick up a crafting feat or two. So the cost of items comes down. I typically favor craft wonderous item and craft rod. Ill shell out the 20k on a staff of the master but beyond that im making a good chunk of items.

The whole save or die is kind of mute. How large is that fort save on the collosal t-rex of legend?


Jodokai wrote:
People always hand wave the cost of wizards and then complain about how powerful they are. They only get that way if you hand wave the cost for everything.

That isn't really the case. Wizards are insanely powerful even if they only get the spells they get from leveling up. And accessing and scribing spells really isn't that big an expense. Wizards also get scribe scroll free, and can select 4 more item creation feats as bonus feats. A single blessed book can store 1000 pages with NO material cost. And since the wizard has craft wondrous item, each book only costs 6,250. A 20th level wizard with a few crafting feats is going to have around 1,200,000gp worth of gear, so buying every spell in the core rulebook isn't really going to put a dent in his budget.

Grand Lodge

Quote:

AC 40, touch 5, flat-footed 37 (+3 Dex, +35 natural, –8 size)

hp 525 (30d10+360); regeneration 40
Fort +31, Ref +22, Will +12
DR 15/epic; Immune ability damage, ability drain, acid, bleed, disease, energy drain, fire, mind-affecting effects, paralysis, permanent wounds, petrification, poison, polymorph; SR 36

K first the spell resistance of 36 and Carapace (Su) the caster needs to break. Next you have his saves Fort +31, Ref +22, Will +12. Good luck with that Fort save....Ahh look a low will....ahh f+@$ now we get to his Immunities. Immune to mind affecting effect....thats a good portion of will saves. Ahh no ability drain or damage so no dex gimping this big boy.

I'm not seeing the OPs point in banning spell lists....this guy kind of already does ban a good portion of their spell list.


Fergie wrote:
Jodokai wrote:
People always hand wave the cost of wizards and then complain about how powerful they are. They only get that way if you hand wave the cost for everything.
That isn't really the case. Wizards are insanely powerful even if they only get the spells they get from leveling up. And accessing and scribing spells really isn't that big an expense. Wizards also get scribe scroll free, and can select 4 more item creation feats as bonus feats. A single blessed book can store 1000 pages with NO material cost. And since the wizard has craft wondrous item, each book only costs 6,250. A 20th level wizard with a few crafting feats is going to have around 1,200,000gp worth of gear, so buying every spell in the core rulebook isn't really going to put a dent in his budget.

How's he learning the spells? Are you giving it to him for free? Then that's a problem. An enemy Wizard's Spell book is just as much loot as a magic sword and should come out of a wizard's share. Or, if you're building at 20th level, it comes out of his WBL, meaning he needs to buy the scroll of that level, and he needs to buy the scroll.

As far as crafting, anyone can craft with Master Craftsman feat, so a fighter can have the same budget.


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Fruian Thistlefoot wrote:
Quote:

AC 40, touch 5, flat-footed 37 (+3 Dex, +35 natural, –8 size)

hp 525 (30d10+360); regeneration 40
Fort +31, Ref +22, Will +12
DR 15/epic; Immune ability damage, ability drain, acid, bleed, disease, energy drain, fire, mind-affecting effects, paralysis, permanent wounds, petrification, poison, polymorph; SR 36

K first the spell resistance of 36 and Carapace (Su) the caster needs to break. Next you have his saves Fort +31, Ref +22, Will +12. Good luck with that Fort save....Ahh look a low will....ahh f@+# now we get to his Immunities. Immune to mind affecting effect....thats a good portion of will saves. Ahh no ability drain or damage so no dex gimping this big boy.

I'm not seeing the OPs point in banning spell lists....this guy kind of already does ban a good portion of their spell list.

Part One

Part Two

Big T ain't all that, really. With the 'upgrades' he's received in Inner Sea Gods, he's a bit tougher, sort of.

But really the Tarrasque has never actually been the best measure of a CR.

And there are plenty - plenty - of spells that need GM adjucation or deserve consideration and caution.

Personally, I don't tend to ban stuff, but I can see why people would.

Grand Lodge

A good majority of those threads dont work. A good chunk is DM fiat.

Most the time its best just to see what the players do. Most the time he is unkillable unless adding mythic stuff.


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

instead of sending a single CR 20 enemy, send like 30 CR 15 enemies at them. that will last a bit longer.

maybe make the bbeg a non-combatant.


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Banning everything that isn't direct damage is a good start.

After that, try banning everything that isn't core monk, rogue, or fighter.

Scarab Sages

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Shasfowd wrote:
So I run a roll20 campaign that allows players to make max level characters and fight high teir monsters. Needless to say, the tarrasque is in a Gem owned by a wizard. I want this to be a fun experience for everyone, and that is NOT winning in 2 seconds. I'd like to know some spells and any other thing overpowered like Trap the Soul.

Any long duration spell that can be cast prior to the scenario without resource expenditure or that bypasses resource expenditure.

Any spell or spell combo that could be argued to grant the caster infinite resources (Time Stop + Fast time demi-plane).

If players want to expend spell slots + resources for a Planer Binding after entering the scenario, go for it.


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Fruian Thistlefoot wrote:
Quote:

AC 40, touch 5, flat-footed 37 (+3 Dex, +35 natural, –8 size)

hp 525 (30d10+360); regeneration 40
Fort +31, Ref +22, Will +12
DR 15/epic; Immune ability damage, ability drain, acid, bleed, disease, energy drain, fire, mind-affecting effects, paralysis, permanent wounds, petrification, poison, polymorph; SR 36

K first the spell resistance of 36 and Carapace (Su) the caster needs to break. Next you have his saves Fort +31, Ref +22, Will +12. Good luck with that Fort save....Ahh look a low will....ahh f++~ now we get to his Immunities. Immune to mind affecting effect....thats a good portion of will saves. Ahh no ability drain or damage so no dex gimping this big boy.

I'm not seeing the OPs point in banning spell lists....this guy kind of already does ban a good portion of their spell list.

And look... Trap the Soul can ignore SR, can ignore a save, and doesn't bother with the Carapace.

Even going the hard way with Trap the Soul, a Wizard kitted even remotely decently should be sitting on +4/+6 vs. SR (Otherworldy Kimono), +20 vs. SR (base 20 caster levels), +1 vs. SR (Orange Prism Ioun Stone; +1 CL), and possibly another +2/+4 vs. SR (Spell Penetration/Greater Spell Penetration). Another +2 for an Elf. If he really wants to, +5 for Piercing Spell.

So, minimum +25 with only two items, maximum +36... SR really isn't a big deal.

Will save of +12? That's a joke. Trap the Soul is an 8th level spell; figure the Wizard has an Int mod of 17 (high, but lower than what's possible). That's a DC35 save with zero investment.. Tarrasque pulls it off only on a natural 20.


Fruian Thistlefoot wrote:

A good majority of those threads dont work. A good chunk is DM fiat.

Most the time its best just to see what the players do. Most the time he is unkillable unless adding mythic stuff.

... not so much. Your assertion doesn't really make it so, any more than anything else in the game. Pretty sure you didn't read the entirety of both threads, based on the length of time between my linking and your comment (and the fact that, to the best of my knowledge, neither of your aliases posted in those threads)*. There's a lot of stuff there, much of it good on both sides of the argument, especially before dismissing it as "those threads don't work" as there's more than just a single thing on those threads. I'd recommend checking out the whole thing first.

The Tarrasque is, by definition, unkillable, unless it's been killed (according to it's regeneration). So... yeah, GM fiat.

Of course, it's also GM fiat that the game runs at all. The idea of GM fiat is one that is inherent to the game. Does the GM rule that a creature with opposing alignment subtypes responds reductively to magic, or inclusively to magic? (Doable via methods beyond those listed.) GM call. Still hard rules backing it up, though, which gives a pretty solid basis for comparison (hint: it kind of sucks to have multiple inherent alignments). How does one have any clue if a thunderstorm will kill the party or not? GM call. Does simulacrum work like it says it does, or does it require delicate or brutal alteration? GM call. How "always" are the "always-<alignment>" creatures? GM call. Big T is no different.

The fact that the GM has to make some amount of calls is irrelevant, however. The fact is, Big T isn't hard to defeat. If a GM is insistent that you can't "kill" him, than in defeat, he becomes nothing more than annoying. That's it. Not frightening. Not appropriate for his CR. Just annoying.

* It's quite possible you've perused them before. If so, I'd still recommend giving them another look. Interesting stuff.

EDIT: "characters" for "aliases" - ugh, I need sleep. Babies - they keep you up!


Shasfowd wrote:
You people are so helpful...

It is primarily a difference of philosophy. You say, "the players are winning too fast by being smart, help me take away their options so they cannot BE smart." I say, "let them be smart, and reward that intelligence with the wages of a conquering king, by painting a target on their backs and laughing as the world seeks to topple them from their tower."

Trap the Soul is pretty much the only trump spell left in the game. There are a few save-or-dies and mega-damage tricks but when you're up against an immortal, chances are Paizo did a pretty good job of making it full-on major-league immortal.

Here's the other side of that; it only works if you have prep-time. You have to get the gem, you have to get the name, you have to get the trigger bait (which really shouldn't be the caster, it can and will take his/her corpse with it into the prison). Drop the beast into combat with a city and they're looking at sacrificing a lotta folk while they scare up what they need. "You can't kill me, you can only hope to contain me" villains are a bread'n'butter fantasy trope, nothing wrong with ending the fight the way they did.

Buuuuut, this isn't about that, it's about ending a fight in (basically) one action. I can dig that, but that stuff just happens. If the Big Bad was a high-level wizard, and you'd dressed him out to the nines with magic and assistants and gear and the Barbarian One-shotted him with a super-lucky crit would you feel the same way? Of course you would, but you can't exactly ban Barbarians rolling crits. Any fudge you could create to stop the barbarian could be thrown down for other critters (it doesn't pick up the trigger object, it had 1 more hit die than base template suggested, the tricksy god of trickery that woke it up deliberately changed the spelling of the name, whatever). It's going to be just as unsatisfying to do that as to outlaw spells.

Moreover, if they throw you a curveball once, you're ready the second time. Sure you didn't see the lucky crit or the Trap the Soul or the pile of Exploding runes trick coming, but that stuff only works once, and it brings the noise in other formats. Because...

Along with the Secure Containment Protocol trope is "king of the hill" where the person to beat the big ol' monstrosity has everybody who ever wanted to be king coming at 'em. Not only that, but since the god of trickery decided to stick the full, unabridged story of how they won in the ear of every single bard in the land, everybody knows that the PCs have a magic monster-gem in their possession and every baddie in town has ideas how to use it. Some want to give it as a pet to their god of destruction, some want to use it to fuel their mighty war-titans or mega-constructs, some want to sell it to other interested parties, some want to devour it for strength, and one guy wants to use stone-shaping magic to hide his phylactery inside of it so that anyone trying to kill him has to, "unleash the fury."

A single boss is always one lucky attack away from dying, see this thread here. Gotta roll with it sometimes. Next time, don't give the PCs prep-time. I mean, they're currently one shattered gem away from having to do the fight over, without prep or buff time, let alone a replacement gem to do the same trick a second time (them things is expensive!)

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