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For a homebrew pathfinder campaign, I wanted to get your opinion if the changes to the Seamantle spell, turning it into a Treemantle (wood element) spell are balanced.
Is the below balanced with regards to the 8th level spell Seamantle? (It would only be available to druids and those of the Wood School of magic.)
Duration 1 minute/level
You sheathe yourself within a leafy pine tree up to 30 feet high that fills your space and which bends as if violently blown by the win. You can see, hear, and breathe normally within the Treemantle, but attacks against you are treated as if you were behind a wall of thick branches equivalent to several inches of wood. You gain improved cover (+8 cover bonus to AC, +4 bonus on Reflex saves) against foes that do not have freedom of movement effects. 30 points of fire damage (absorbed by Treemantle) will reduce this improved cover to normal cover until the end of your next turn. The cover granted by the Treemantle does not enable you to prevent attacks of opportunity or make ANY Stealth checks. Magical attacks against you are unaffected unless they require attack rolls.
The Treemantle blocks line of effect for any electricity or sonic spell or supernatural electricity or sonic effect, but enemies can attempt to use electricity or sonic spells within the Treemantle; this requires a caster level check (DC 20 + spell level), and if successful the electricity or sonic is halved. Treemantle redirects all spells or spell like abilities with mind affecting effects that target you into the mindless wood, this includes beneficial effects like morale bonuses.
The Treemantle allows you to make a slam attack with a large branch, inflicting damage appropriate for your size. This slam attack has a reach of 30 feet. In addition, being inside Treemantle provides you oxygen and protects against harmful gases and vapors as if under the spell "Life Bubble".
As you are sheathed within a living tree, neither you nor the mantle can be grappled as the pine needles surrounding you bend and deflect all attempts at grappling.
1) I think that replacing the fire dispelling ability with the protection from targeted mind affecting affects (including beneficial ones) is a close trade off, although not "perfectly" balanced.
2) I think that gaining protecting from two less common elements (electricity/sonic) while giving limited reduced protection from fire is a fair trade off. The inability to use ANY stealth is a part of the balance.
Hmmmm, good point.
I went with electricity since wood is an insulator and wood deadens sound. Acid can burn through foliage, so plant life generally has no special resistances to acid.
I figured it would be like a lighting strike against any tree. While it might normally damage or kill the tree, the magic nature of this spell would allow the tree to recover quickly from that, but not from fire.
A living tree might have enough water in it to bear the worst of fire damage. It would still take it, but no worse than other damage. The plasma in lighting is more likely to kill or irreparably damage a living tree.
Acid is an odd resistance, but that is more in line with the abstract elemental nature than any real life experience.
Can you move while sheathed in a tree?
As for moving, the answer is yes, as the tree is not putting down roots, and is similar to the way the water element surrounds you in Seamantle.
A pine tree tends to be more fire resistant than other trees, and has a very sticky sap. The 30 fire damage (most likely magical) is enough to burn away much but not all. Trees in nature are often built to withstand the fires that clear out the forest and help the certain types of seedlings that rely upon forest fires. In the end, I've concluded that it doesn't "imbalance" the spell, although you do have a good point.
Isn't electricity associated with air in PF? I mean, metal isn't really heavily featured as an element in PF (save for with those weird wizard schools). Kineticists treat metals as part of the earth element and, like, lightning elementals have the air subtype, et cetera. I definitely think acid would be a weird thing to protect against, since most strong acids eats through wood like nobody's business. I think electricity and sonic seem like the perfect options, and I think they're balanced compared to seamantle only protecting against fire, since fire effects tend to be more prevalent than either electricity or sonic ones.
EDIT: Oh, I missed the spell was supposed to be associated with the "wood element". If so then I guess this might be used in a context where the elements are the wu xing, rather than the Classical elements, in which case my comment might not matter much.