Toppling Spell + multiple Magic Missiles on the same target


Rules Questions

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Quote:
If you want to treat using the feat as written as if that was GM fiat, I guess you can...

I can't use it as written, because it does not at any point refer to my situation or what to do in that situation. There's nothing to use.

Quote:
I provided a quote from the feat and you said "it's already grammatically invalid".

Only for multiple target spells, like magic missile. It's not grammatically invalid for single target spells like acid orb.

For multiple target spells (when I choose multiple targets, too), I have "targets". So as soon as it says "THE TARGET" (without having specified any one of my several targets for that definite article) it is grammatically invalid and thus nonsensical for my situation, and I have no way to objectively conclude anything clear from it.

Just the same as if it had said "Target: a wombat" and then in the text "The giraffe that you just targeted with this spell falls asleep." or something. Should you just blithely assume "Oh I guess it targets giraffes! UNAMBIGUOUS!" ? No, I think you should conclude "There is something very wrong here. I can't clearly draw any conclusion about what they meant to happen. The GM just has to pick something by fiat -- in this case, probably either that it targets wombats and wombats fall asleep OR that it targets giraffes and giraffes fall asleep"

Similarly here, "the grammar doesn't line up, I can't be sure. Obviously it was written with single target spells in mind, so the GM could decide either that they meant for this to apply to all targets (usually one) OR one target no matter what, both would be reasonable fiats and potentially even intended beyond the lack of clarity"


Crimeo wrote:
Quote:
If you want to treat using the feat as written as if that was GM fiat, I guess you can...

I can't use it as written, because it does not at any point refer to my situation or what to do in that situation. There's nothing to use.

Quote:
I provided a quote from the feat and you said "it's already grammatically invalid".

Only for multiple target spells, like magic missile. It's not grammatically invalid for single target spells like acid orb.

For multiple target spells (when I choose multiple targets, too), I have "targets". So as soon as it says "THE TARGET" (without having specified any one of my several targets for that definite article) it is grammatically invalid and thus nonsensical for my situation, and I have no way to objectively conclude anything clear from it.

Just the same as if it had said "Target: a wombat" and then in the text "The giraffe that you just targeted with this spell falls asleep." or something. Should you just blithely assume "Oh I guess it targets giraffes! UNAMBIGUOUS!" ? No, I think you should conclude "There is something very wrong here. I can't clearly draw any conclusion about what they meant to happen. The GM just has to pick something by fiat -- in this case, probably either that it targets wombats and wombats fall asleep OR that it targets giraffes and giraffes fall asleep"

Similarly here, "the grammar doesn't line up, I can't be sure. Obviously it was written with single target spells in mind, so the GM could decide either that they meant for this to apply to all targets (usually one) OR one target no matter what, both would be reasonable fiats and potentially even intended beyond the lack of clarity"

Crimeo, the target is the single person you have chosen to affect with a trip.

The fact that your spell might damage multiple targets isn't relevant.


Quote:
Crimeo, the target is the single person you have chosen to affect with a trip.

You're purely assuming that. I.e., you're using GM fiat to fill in ambiguous blanks, which is what I think you have to do, but this is not the only possible way to do it.


Crimeo wrote:
Quote:
Crimeo, the target is the single person you have chosen to affect with a trip.
You're purely assuming that. I.e., you're using GM fiat to fill in ambiguous blanks, which is what I think you have to do, but this is not the only possible way to do it.

*shrugs* Every application of rules is an assumption, so yes, I guess you are correct in that statement.

You are also correct that this isn't the only way to do it.

If you want to read it differently, then that is your right.

I personally believe that the text of the feat shows that you may apply the effect (a trip) to one target, for each time you cast the spell with that feat.


Quote:
*shrugs* Every application of rules is an assumption, so yes, I guess you are correct in that statement.

? Assumptions aren't always needed. If it had said "All targets..." or "The caster's choice of any one target..." or any of a wide variety of possible things, then no assumptions would have been needed.


Crimeo wrote:
Quote:
*shrugs* Every application of rules is an assumption, so yes, I guess you are correct in that statement.
? Assumptions aren't always needed. If it had said "All targets..." or "The caster's choice of any one target..." or any of a wide variety of possible things, then no assumptions would have been needed.

Agreed.

If the text mentioned multiple targets, there wouldn't be a debate about it.


Quote:
Agreed.

Ok cool. So we agree that in situations that aren't ambiguous, you can just follow RAW without issue or significant assumptions.

In the minority of cases like this one, though, i.e. any time the rules as written aren't sufficient to prevent you from needing to make major assumptions, then by definition, there is no clear RAW. So you can't follow RAW, and must go by GM fiat (another way of saying "choose your favorite of more than one possible major assumption")


Crimeo wrote:
Quote:
Agreed.

Ok cool. So we agree that in situations that aren't ambiguous, you can just follow RAW without issue or significant assumptions.

In the minority of cases like this one, though, i.e. any time the rules as written aren't sufficient to prevent you from needing to make major assumptions, then by definition, there is no clear RAW. So you can't follow RAW, and must go by GM fiat (another way of saying "choose your favorite of more than one possible major assumption")

Yup.


I said "at worst, it's GM fiat" like a dozen posts ago :( Y u do dis 2 me.

Shadow Lodge

The reasonable assumption I make every time I read a feat or class ability that may have an effect based on the target of the spell is to substitute the word 'target' in the descriptive text with whatever is printed in the target(s) space of the stat block at the beginning of the spell description. I do this because it is the natural thing to do when the feat uses the singular target but does not specify that it can only be applied to spells with one target. Because this is the easiest most natural assumption, I'm fairly certain it's the way every one would have it function if not for that blasted sneak attack FAQ working contrary to the natural assumption in the case of sneak.


Master of Shadows wrote:
The reasonable assumption I make every time I read a feat or class ability that may have an effect based on the target of the spell is to substitute the word 'target' in the descriptive text with whatever is printed in the target(s) space of the stat block at the beginning of the spell description. I do this because it is the natural thing to do when the feat uses the singular target but does not specify that it can only be applied to spells with one target. Because this is the easiest most natural assumption, I'm fairly certain it's the way every one would have it function if not for that blasted sneak attack FAQ working contrary to the natural assumption in the case of sneak.

Having never read the FAQ on sneak attack, I judge the metamagic feats as written... to me, it looks like you can affect one person with a trip attempt.

Spells like fireball existed before this feat was written, I don't think it was an oversight...

Grand Lodge

How’s this?

Putting aside sneak attack and other rules that may or may not be 100% applicable, let’s try looking at another similar force damage spell and how it responds:

Spiritual weapon is a spell that deals force damage, hence legit for Toppling Spell.
It must focus multiple attacks on a single TARGET.
It is not an instantaneous spell, nor are it’s effects ( it’s just like a dude hitting with a melee or ranged weapon ), so the application of TOPPLING SPELL remains active for the duration ( just like the EMPOWER SPELL effect last for the duration of a flaming sphere )

So… that means a TOPPLING spiritual weapon that lasts 5 rounds and can do 1 attack per round and gets 1 TRIP ATTEMPT each round ( providing that it hits and does damage ).

So…. when it is able to do 2 attacks a round, it is completely logical and reasonable that each attack also gets 1 TRIP ATTEMPT upon successfully dealing damage. Against a single target getting attacked twice and taking damage twice, 2 TRIP ATTEMPTS are made ( nothing new or unusual here, other classes and creatures do this all the time )

Now going back to Magic Missile…. the differences between it and Spiritual weapon are that MM is 1) instantaneous, and 2) no attack roll is needed.

So…. single target, 5 missiles ( assuming each one is able to damage ) = 5 TRIP ATTEMPTS. Consequently, that can be parsed as “ each missile gets a trip attempt if damage is successfully dealt”. That implies that every target is subject to a trip attack if damaged.

CAVEAT - This logic also implies that each missile is now subject to individual SR checks ( duh…. ), BUT which also now means that if one SR roll for any missile fails, THE ENTIRE SPELL FAILS because the effect of the spell happens all at once unlike a spell like Burning Arc.

NOTE - Spiritual weapon explicitly calls out SR rules regarding this, and ORDER OF OPERATIONS for Magic Missile backs this up.

EXAMPLE 1:

2 mooks, a Glabrezu, 2 dogs. Caster selects targets ( 1 each ) -> SR check for Glabrezu ->

BEATS SR=damage rolled for each, then trip attacks made if applicable.
FAILS SR= spell fizzles, bad guys pound squishy caster

EXAMPLE 2:

1 Glabrezu. Caster targets Glabrezu with all 5 missiles -> 5 SR checks for Glabrezu ->

BEATS ALL SR CHECKS= damage for each missile dealt, then trip attacks for each missile that damaged it
FAILS ANY SR CHECK= caster wishes he was dead, Glabrezu obliges

Of course, I’ve been playing since THAC0, so I could be completely full of poop.

Shadow Lodge

you're almost entirely correct, however SR specifically calls out that if you pass or fail against a given creature: A. That result applies only to that creature; B. The result stands for every time the creature encounters the spell.
So in your examples it works like this:
1. Targets selected, SR made for glabrezu, if pass all take damage trip for each, if fail, all others take damage, trips for them.
or
2. 5 missiles strike glabrezu, check SR, if first one fails, all fail, if first passes, all pass deal damage and trigger 5 trip attempts.

Grand Lodge

Crimeo wrote:
You're right, that is the important sentence. If somebody simplifies away the critical information for the issue, that can lead to the incorrect conclusion being made. Force vectors are composed of force and direction, and if you throw out literally half of the relevant info for the problem, then it shouldn't be surprising if you end up with the wrong answers.

Why are you being so rude? Assuming the missiles are coming from the same source they'll have the same trajectory so my oversimplified description is exactly right for this situation.


claudekennilol wrote:
Crimeo wrote:
You're right, that is the important sentence. If somebody simplifies away the critical information for the issue, that can lead to the incorrect conclusion being made. Force vectors are composed of force and direction, and if you throw out literally half of the relevant info for the problem, then it shouldn't be surprising if you end up with the wrong answers.
Why are you being so rude? Assuming the missiles are coming from the same source they'll have the same trajectory so my oversimplified description is exactly right for this situation.

Does anyone remember the opening scene from one of the old baldur's gate or waterdeep rpg games where the main bad guy faces off against your mentor? He casts a max level magic missile and it isn't a single missile hitting the target, it's a ton of tiny missiles that fan out and move around coming in and slamming into the target from different angles.

That is how I see magic missile working.

Sczarni

One trip attempt per target. There was a explanation or FAQ somewhere for this I think.

Shadow Lodge

Rogar Stonebow wrote:
claudekennilol wrote:
Crimeo wrote:
You're right, that is the important sentence. If somebody simplifies away the critical information for the issue, that can lead to the incorrect conclusion being made. Force vectors are composed of force and direction, and if you throw out literally half of the relevant info for the problem, then it shouldn't be surprising if you end up with the wrong answers.
Why are you being so rude? Assuming the missiles are coming from the same source they'll have the same trajectory so my oversimplified description is exactly right for this situation.

Does anyone remember the opening scene from one of the old baldur's gate or waterdeep rpg games where the main bad guy faces off against your mentor? He casts a max level magic missile and it isn't a single missile hitting the target, it's a ton of tiny missiles that fan out and move around coming in and slamming into the target from different angles.

That is how I see magic missile working.

that's just it, the approach vector of the magic missiles has been left up to the imagination of the casting player, and in all media forms to date we've seen it be either as described above, or as a stream of missiles that strike one after another in rapid fire succession. None of which is particularly relevant except to note that it lends credence and context to the multiple missiles = multiple trips approach. Albeit credence with no real substance having nothing to do with rules and every thing to do with artistic license.

Also, I find it interesting to note that if you check the comba logs for those games, you'll note that even though it would be easier and lighter on processes involved to code it as 5d4+5 regardless of the spell animation used, they still code it as rolling 1d4+1 five times resulting in five entries in the combat log.


Quote:
Benefit: The impact of your force spell is strong enough to knock the target prone. If the target takes damage, fails its saving throw, or is moved by your force spell, make [b]a[/] trip check against the target, using your caster level plus your casting ability score bonus (Wisdom for clerics, Intelligence for wizards, and so on). This does not provoke an attack of opportunity. If the check fails, the target cannot attempt to trip you or the force effect in response."

The impact of your magic missile is strong enough to knock the target prone. If the target takes damage by your magic missile spell, make a trip check against the target, using your caster level plus your casting ability score bonus (Wisdom for clerics, Intelligence for wizards, and so on). This does not provoke an attack of opportunity. If the check fails, the target cannot attempt to trip you or the force effect in response.

So if your magic missile spell has damaged a target make a trip attempt against that target. It says nothing about each time you do damage. It says if your spell has done damage. So at the end of your spell, anyone damage is targeted by the trip attempt. If you've only damaged one person then your spell did damage to them and you make one trip attempt.


Quote:
Why are you being so rude? Assuming the missiles are coming from the same source they'll have the same trajectory so my oversimplified description is exactly right for this situation.

Magic Missile text does not provide any information about the trajectories of the missiles, so we do not know anything about the trajectories of magic missiles. They could fly straight. They could fly in a mickey mouse head shape every single time. They could fly 5 feet, stop, start again at a 90 degree turn, then go straight.

Actually, going further than that, we don't even know that magic missiles hit with any pushing force at all They might just slice effortlessly into your body and then magically shred up your organs without pushing on your body with net force in ANY direction overall.

And then a toppling magic missile might do that, and then also cause a completely unrelated magical purple sparkling frog leg to come out of thin air and attempt to trip you. (That would still be part of your spell and would be impacting you, so should still satisfy the text "the impact of your force spell")

Who knows? Nobody knows. So we can't assume anything about the mechanics of it in this sort of rational way. Magic cannot follow any physics by assumption, because magic isn't real, so there are no physics of magic to work from reliably. You have to just do the outcome that it says, without any appeal to "realism" or how it happens, because there is no such thing for magic, unless the text explicitly describes something.

Although this video here is a pretty compelling depiction: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8oWAb5NVALw


Okay, couple things I need to point out here.

1. Take your real-world applications that you think you have for Magic Missile, and throw it out the window. None of this "PHYSICS WORKS THIS WAY" logic is going to change how the spell is ran by the rules, which is what we're trying to parse. If you want to argue if you should run said rule with the "PHYSICS WORKS THIS WAY" logic, then that's what the Advice forum is designed to fulfill

2. Each missile is parsed separately for damage. Each missile does 1D4+1 damage. Ergo, each missile does a separate amount of damage from one another, meaning that each missile would get its own trip attempt, by the rules. This is because the trip check occurs when one of the 3 following conditions are met:

A. If the target takes damage by your force spell.
B. If the target fails its saving throw from your force spell.
C. If the target is forcibly moved by your force spell.

Each missile is a part of the spell. This means that when each missile deals damage to its target (and the target then takes that damage), it allows the caster to make a trip check. Since there are 5 missiles, there are going to be 5 instances where the target takes Damage by your spell, meaning the target takes damage from your spell 5 times, which lastly translates into 5 trip checks. (You can Intensify it and make it 7 instead, but that's just overkill.)

There you have it, conclusive RAW proof as to how it works.

Now, whether that is RAI is a whole different matter.


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:

Each missile is parsed separately for damage. Each missile does 1D4+1 damage. Ergo, each missile does a separate amount of damage from one another, meaning that each missile would get its own trip attempt, by the rules. This is because the trip check occurs when one of the 3 following conditions are met:

A. If the target takes damage by your force spell.
B. If the target fails its saving throw from your force spell.
C. If the target is forcibly moved by your force spell.

Each missile is a part of the spell. This means that when each missile deals damage to its target (and the target then takes that damage), it allows the caster to make a trip check. Since there are 5 missiles, there are going to be 5 instances where the target takes Damage by your spell, meaning the target takes damage from your spell 5 times, which lastly translates into 5 trip checks. (You can Intensify it and make it 7 instead, but that's just overkill.)

There you have it, conclusive RAW proof as to how it works.

Now, whether that is RAI is a whole different matter.

Each missile is parsed separately for damage. Each missile does 1D4+1 damage. Ergo, each missile does a separate amount of damage from one another, but are all the same spell.

The trip check occurs when one of the 3 following conditions are met by the spell:

A. If the target took damage by your force spell.
B. If the target fails its saving throw from your force spell.
C. If the target is forcibly moved by your force spell.

Each missile is a part of the spell and any target that takes damage because of your spell is a target you get to try a trip attempt on. Each missile does a separate amount of damage from one another, but are all the same spell. And since the metamagic feat is based on if the spell did damage or not, NOT each time it does damage, you only get one trip attempt.

There you have it, conclusive RAW proof as to how it works.

Now, whether that is RAI is a whole different matter.

Shadow Lodge

Chess Pwn, how would you adjudicate toppling spell on a spiritual weapon?


You'd make a trip attempt the first time it hit an enemy. More trips means move it around.
Logic is
When you deal damage check to see if you've done damage before to this target, if you haven't you get a trip, if you have then you've already done damage with this spell and received the trip attempt and thus can't trigger it again.

Sczarni

There is very little proof that Toppling Magic Missile would allow 2 or more trip attempts on single target. The text of Toppling Spell only tells you that "if the target takes damage", then you apply trip. This is same misconception of believing that 5 magic missiles equal to 5 attacks. People so quickly assume this without checking the mechanical balance factor of the game.

If you check other topics about this, you will notice that people mostly agree that you get one trip attempt per target.

Adam


Making yourself 5 times better than the trip fighter for 1 feat is just nuts.

1 check. Its on a per creature basis.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

You will need to have support for such a claim.


BigNorseWolf wrote:

Making yourself 5 times better than the trip fighter for 1 feat is just nuts.

1 check. Its on a per creature basis.

Even if we go by a "per creature" basis, your argument still falls flat upon itself, because a Wizard can trip 5 (or 7, make it an Intensified Magic Missile) creatures from ridiculous ranges all at once, whereas the Trip Martial is limited to maybe 20 feet. Tack that on with the "I don't have to follow the Size limitation rules crap" that the Martial has to follow, and it turns out to be superior in every which way.

The only thing I have to say to that is this: Welcome to Caster/Martial disparity. You're just gonna have to suck up the factor that even a damn Wizard is a better Trip Build than a typical Martial, because that's just how the game is currently made.

Getting back on track and serious for a little bit, I can see how it can be one single trigger, since it's worded as "If," meaning it can be parsed as a Yes or No conformation.

However, "If" doesn't exclude the "Per" basis that the other interpretation can draw from, so either reading could be correct; especially if we subscribe to the Holding the Charge rules as an example in regards to "If" a touch attack to deliver the spell misses with the likes of Chill Touch.

The Exchange Owner - D20 Hobbies, Representative - D20 Hobbies

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:

target takes damage from your spell 5 times, which lastly translates into 5 trip checks.

There you have it, conclusive RAW proof as to how it works.

Excellent proof, and I'll grant you that is RAW.

This is also RAW:

Quote:
target takes from from the spell one time, the total of the 5 hits, and translates into 1 trip check.

Also conclusive RAW proof.

----

AKA Table Variance, no strict proof in the rules text, but hints from other FAQ.


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:


The only thing I have to say to that is this: Welcome to Caster/Martial disparity. You're just gonna have to suck up the factor that even a damn Wizard is a better Trip Build than a typical Martial, because that's just how the game is currently made.

One perfectly raw reading keeps it to a dull roar.

One perfectly raw reading cranks it up to 11.

Use the first one.

Argument upright, standing, and perfectly valid.

Shadow Lodge

Darksol the Painbringer wrote:
BigNorseWolf wrote:

Making yourself 5 times better than the trip fighter for 1 feat is just nuts.

1 check. Its on a per creature basis.

Even if we go by a "per creature" basis, your argument still falls flat upon itself, because a Wizard can trip 5 (or 7, make it an Intensified Magic Missile) creatures from ridiculous ranges all at once, whereas the Trip Martial is limited to maybe 20 feet. Tack that on with the "I don't have to follow the Size limitation rules crap" that the Martial has to follow, and it turns out to be superior in every which way.

The only thing I have to say to that is this: Welcome to Caster/Martial disparity. You're just gonna have to suck up the factor that even a damn Wizard is a better Trip Build than a typical Martial, because that's just how the game is currently made.

Getting back on track and serious for a little bit, I can see how it can be one single trigger, since it's worded as "If," meaning it can be parsed as a Yes or No conformation.

However, "If" doesn't exclude the "Per" basis that the other interpretation can draw from, so either reading could be correct; especially if we subscribe to the Holding the Charge rules as an example in regards to "If" a touch attack to deliver the spell misses with the likes of Chill Touch.

I have to say, that caster/martial disparity has been the norm since second edition maybe earlier. Wizards have always been able to say 'everything you can do, I can do better.' and they've said it about every aspect of the game except healing. This is nothing mew. And 5 trip attempts from a magic missile is not off the charts in this regard.

"BigNorseWolf= wrote:

One perfectly raw reading keeps it to a dull roar.

One perfectly raw reading cranks it up to 11.

Use the first one.

One reading is correct, and inline with every print edition of magic missile since the dawn of time, and follows the most natural reading of the rules in question, with no tricks, gimics, or oddball parsing. The other reading just doesn't meet any of those tests, and relies on referencing an FAQ that has nothing to do with the current question.

Hmm...


Quote:
One reading is correct, and inline with every print edition of magic missile since the dawn of time, and follows the most natural reading of the rules in question, with no tricks, gimics, or oddball parsing. The other reading just doesn't meet any of those tests, and relies on referencing an FAQ that has nothing to do with the current question.

Old printings don't matter for RAW.

And NEITHER option avoids oddball parsing. The text as written is oddball/invalid grammar with respect to magic missile no matter what. That's why it doesn't clearly apply one way or the other in the first place. There simply is no such thing as "the target" as a meaningful phrase when you have 5 targets and none of them have been specified in particular yet.

So the GM has to fill something or other in that isn't written. And can just as easily fill in either option. I wouldn't really call them two "readings" so much as "two different valid options for filling in a logical gap in RAW"

Neither relies on a FAQ.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Most Martial PCs who focus on Trip, do so with other things combined.

Also, the martial/caster disparity line has no relevance in deciding whether something is within RAW.

Sorry about that, but it's true.


Most Martials who focus on Trip aren't effective half the time either, since anything that is Huge or larger (which can be a big deal of creatures) can't even be tripped by them.

That being said, Intensified Toppling Magic Missile is more effective than any Trip-focused Martial, and requires half the investment, and works on all creatures, since it's not limited by creature size. Granted, it's an effective 5th level spell, it's actually tame compared to other 5th level Spells. Tripping 7 creatures that are all over the place with a single casting is more than whatever a Trip-focused Martial with Haste could ever hope to accomplish. Even without the Intensified metamagic, every single Trip build is still held (technically) inferior to an effective 4th level spell.

At any rate, I'm going to go ahead and bow out of this one, since this is about as solved as its going to get until a Dev decides to clarify it. (Which will probably never happen.)


Hmm. With one magic missile you have a x% chance to trip someone. Let's say 50% for simplicity. So in average you trip 0.5 creatures with this missile. With two missiles (and the ruling of multiple trip attempts) you are at 75% chance (50% to succeed on first, 0.5*0.5=25% on second), meaning in average you trip 0.75 creatures. With five you are at ~97% chance - sounds good, but in average you trip a bit less than 1 creature, so it's roughly twice the benefit of a single missile.

In comparison, five missiles distributed among five equal foes trip 2.5 creatures in average. There are situations where you still want multiple trip attempts on one creature (e.g. because it's especially dangerous or about to escape), so you still have to choose wisely.

My feeling is: Multiple trip attempts on one creature is roughly as powerful as attempting to trip multiple foes at once. Though if you allow the former, you give an already powerful tactic another strong application.


Hey, what gives? I was under the impression that this thread is about Evocation, not Necromancy...?

Also, since we're bringing it back up (a move that provokes, no less), I'm at a loss as to how the Wizard is even close to being better than a trip-focused martial. Static modifier is CL (caps at 15 w/ Intensify) + casting stat (maybe +9 or so). I guess we could throw on Improved Trip, Greater Trip, and Fury's Fall for good measure. Top end on this static mod is Low 30's at level 13. That's using almost every feat the Wizard gets to focus on tripping. My PFS Lore Warden (with a dip for Growth subdomain) is getting similar numbers at just over half the level. Also, Whirldwind Attack with a whip gives me a control area equal to Stone Call. It's pretty nasty.


galahad2112 wrote:

Hey, what gives? I was under the impression that this thread is about Evocation, not Necromancy...?

Also, since we're bringing it back up (a move that provokes, no less), I'm at a loss as to how the Wizard is even close to being better than a trip-focused martial. Static modifier is CL (caps at 15 w/ Intensify) + casting stat (maybe +9 or so). I guess we could throw on Improved Trip, Greater Trip, and Fury's Fall for good measure. Top end on this static mod is Low 30's at level 13. That's using almost every feat the Wizard gets to focus on tripping. My PFS Lore Warden (with a dip for Growth subdomain) is getting similar numbers at just over half the level. Also, Whirldwind Attack with a whip gives me a control area equal to Stone Call. It's pretty nasty.

A 20th level Wizard would have CL 20 when casting Magic Missile, not 15. It doesn't just magically lower unless you want it to, and even then, it must still be the minimum in order to cast the spell. And most casters will have more CL than what their class level is if they're optimized.

I believe what you mean is that the numerical benefits (outside of raw CL) cap at ~15, and even that is incorrect, as Magic Missile caps at 5 missiles at 9. 9+5=14, which equates to 7 missiles at 13. You'd have to be fighting effectively mindless (or really stupid/animalistic) creatures in order to hit 7 of them with a Whirlwind attack, whereas these Magic Missiles can affect any creature on almost any sort of distance, so long as they don't possess total concealment from the caster. You can also tack on Quicken, making it a 7th level spell (or just possess a Rod of it), and you'll be able to trip up to fourteen creatures across an unimaginable distance. The Magic Missiles also do damage with the trip attempt, and aren't limited by creature size, meaning any creature can theoretically be tripped by the Toppling spell, regardless of the Wizard's size. The only downside? Trumped by a Shield spell. That's perhaps the only thing wrong with Magic Missile in this scenario.

A 15 foot radius is impressive, but how many feats did you have to sink in order to do so? Let's see here, you need to spend feats for Whip Mastery stuff, which is approximately 3 feats, not including the Exotic Proficiency needed in order to use without suffering a -4 penalty to hit. You then need to sink feats like Combat Expertise, which requires 13 Intelligence (though Lore Warden gets a green card), and most Martials just outright dump Intelligence. You also will want the Improved and Greater Trip feats, and then you said you wanted Whirlwind Attack? That requires 4 separate feats (Dodge, Mobility, Spring Attack, Combat Expertise), plus Dexterity and Intelligence 13.

So by that math, I calculate you having to spend approximately eight or nine feats to do that. That's 80-90% of your Feats spent to do something that a single third level spell can do. Not to mention you'll want de facto feats like Power Attack and the like, correct? All of your feats are gone, just like that. Unless you're a Fighter, in which case, that's effectively all of your Bonus Feats. And you'll have to deal with sacrificing optimization for fulfilling pre-requisites for those feats. Lore Warden Fighter? I can see that pulling it off, but that's probably the only one that can really get away with it.

The Wizard? He has to spend 2, maybe 3 tops. And then he can spend the rest of his feats on Item Creation feats or something. Did I also mention that he could just get a Ring of Wizardry III and double the amount of times he could do this stuff in a day? Hell, he could pick Heighten Spell, just to raise it up to Level 4+, and make use of those Spell Slots with this tactic as well.

Face it, the fact that a Wizard of all things is an overall better Tripper than generic Martials, especially when he doesn't really have to try to do so, is just plain sad, and is yet another glaring facet of the Caster/Martial disparity.


Darksol the Painbringer wrote:


Even if we go by a "per creature" basis, your argument still falls flat upon itself, because a Wizard can trip 5 (or 7, make it an Intensified Magic Missile) creatures from ridiculous ranges all at once

All of the targets of a magic missile spell have to be within 15 feet of each other. In the rare event that there are that many foes bunched up, the Wizard is probably better off using an area spell.


whew wrote:
Darksol the Painbringer wrote:


Even if we go by a "per creature" basis, your argument still falls flat upon itself, because a Wizard can trip 5 (or 7, make it an Intensified Magic Missile) creatures from ridiculous ranges all at once
All of the targets of a magic missile spell have to be within 15 feet of each other. In the rare event that there are that many foes bunched up, the Wizard is probably better off using an area spell.

*puts on reading glasses and turns to the Magic Missile page*

...Well s!@#.

The fine print is real, and the dream is dead.

That being said, a Cleric with Spiritual Weapon/Spiritual Ally with the Toppling Metamagic would be pretty hilarious to watch. Tack on a Quicken Spell, and boom, you're summoning 2 Weapons/round that cannot be destroyed or attacked, each successful attack deals some decent damage (depending on weapon type), and comes with a free trip attempt.

**EDIT** Blade Barrier also counts, which is pretty cool, but per RAW, it behaves like Wall spells, in that it only deals damage if you pass the edge of the spell's circumference, and no damage on anything that's actually inside it.


@ Darksol

So this Wizard is spending his feats on what again? The baseline for a Toppling Magic Missile is just about the same as the Fighter's baseline (Full CL = Full BAB, High casting stat = High Melee stat). How is the Wizard boosting his CMB?

You seem to be right, though that the CL would still go up to 20. However, the # of missiles would cap at 5, as the damage dice can go up by 5 levels, but no other aspect of the spell is increased, so no additional missiles. At least, as I read it.

BTW, that Fighter has a 40 foot radius centered on a grid intersection. Sure, it's effectively Close range, but it can certainly hit more than 5 targets, no 2 of which may be more than 15 feet apart. Besides, if the enemy is that bunched up, and that far away, Stone Call is a MUCH better spell anyway. More damage, no SR, can't be blocked by Shield, creates difficult terrain, etc.

Also, you're bothering to worry about 1d4+1 damage by the time you're at CL 9+? Seriously? It's kind of a cool trick in PFS at Lv.1, where you can get Spell Spec. and Toppling Spell, so you can hit and trip 2 foes with one action, but it doesn't seem to scale all that well.

You seem worried that the Fighter is blowing all of his feats on being a trip monster; you're right, he is doing exactly that. However, there are plenty of nice weapon alternatives in the Flails weapon group. Not to mention the new Advanced Weapon Training that allows the Warpriest's Sacred Weapon damage. Oh, it's a Gargantuan creature? Cool, I'll just lay some smack down on him with my Power Attack while I trip all of his buddies. What's more, they'll all provoke on their way down (and back up), so there's that.

I find it interesting that you're bringing up the Ring of Wizardry. That item allow you to maintain your ability to do what the Fighter can do all day, every day.

I'm also intrigued that you're suggesting that a full caster stoop down to the level of martials in the first place. If a Wizard REALLY, REALLY wants to do something, I'm pretty sure that it'll happen. You're certainly not going to need to convince me of the martial/caster disparity....

Maybe I'm missing the point? Is it that you're saying that a Wizard who happens to invest in Toppling Spell and no additional specialization is better than, say, a Ranger who happens to similarly invest one feat in Improved Trip? If that's the case, then I 100% agree.

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16

The dice of damage of Magic Missile manifest as additional missiles. It's generally accepted that Intensifying Spell lets it create a whopping +2 additional dice of damage, which manifest as +2 missiles.

A Ring of Wizardry III is 70k. A level 15+ magic item.

Seriously, the best thing about this effect is that it works on enemies of any size. A Fighter with trip specced can likely trip smaller enemies more frequently and more successfully, but can't do beans against larger foes that this can.

And Prone enemies are always nice to pick on.

==Aelryinth


Aelryinth wrote:

The dice of damage of Magic Missile manifest as additional missiles. It's generally accepted that Intensifying Spell lets it create a whopping +2 additional dice of damage, which manifest as +2 missiles.

A Ring of Wizardry III is 70k. A level 15+ magic item.

Seriously, the best thing about this effect is that it works on enemies of any size. A Fighter with trip specced can likely trip smaller enemies more frequently and more successfully, but can't do beans against larger foes that this can.

And Prone enemies are always nice to pick on.

==Aelryinth

And thus the alternative becomes Clerics/Oracles with Spiritual Weapon/Spiritual Ally with the Toppling Metamagic (and perhaps Extend too). Probably go with Oracles, because more spells/day. The best part is he can get Blade Barrier too, which works with the Toppling Metamagic. Honestly, it'd be a pretty interesting (if not absolutely annoying) mid-level boss fight.


I can see the reasoning behind allowing the extra 2 missiles. It's whoop-dee-doo stuff. It's hardly game-breaking, and if you want to blow a metamagic feat/slot on it, I'll totally allow it...In my home game. However, the targeting line and the description seem to imply that it caps a 5 missiles. Not Damage dice. Unless I've missed an FAQ or Errata, or some other official word. Totally not a big deal, though finding 7 creatures, no two of which can be more than 15 ft. apart, might be a bit tricky.

I'll cop to the bit about no size limits, though. That part IS nice. Of course, most Gargantuan+ sized foes have pretty nasty CMDs...but a natural 20 always works, right?

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