Hellfire ray....should it be pathfinder Legal?


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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Silver Crusade

Honestly I'm not entirely sure.

Despite it being evil(which only really works to the detriment of warpriests and clerics)

Anyone can tell you this thing is.....stupid.

Spoiler:

School evocation [evil]; Level arcanist 6, cleric/oracle 6, magus 6, sorcerer/wizard 6, warpriest 6, witch 6
Casting
Casting Time 1 standard action
Components V, S, F/DF (any unholy symbol or heretical tome)
Effect
Range close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)
Effect ray
Duration instantaneous
Saving Throw none (see text); Spell Resistance yes

A blast of hellfire blazes from your hands. You can fire one ray, plus one additional ray for every 4 caster levels beyond 11th (to a maximum of three rays at 19th level). Each ray requires a ranged touch attack to hit and deals 1d6 points of damage per caster level (maximum 15d6). Half the damage is fire damage, but the other half results directly from unholy power and is therefore not subject to being reduced by fire resistance. The rays can be fired at the same target or at different targets, but all rays must be fired simultaneously and aimed at targets within 30 feet of each other.

Any creature killed by this spell must attempt a Will saving throw; failure means the creature’s soul is damned to Hell as a burst of brimstone appears around its corpse. A nonevil spellcaster attempting to bring the creature back from the dead must attempt a caster level check (DC = 10 + the slain creature’s level) to succeed; failure means the spellcaster cannot try again for 1 day. Evil spellcasters can raise the slain character normally, without requiring a check. A raised character’s soul is no longer automatically consigned to Hell.

It's like scorching ray on steroids.


What level is it?
How long does it take to cast?
Does it require an expensive focus/material component?
Does it allow a saving throw?
Does it permit spell resistance?

Insufficient data to give informed answer.

I will say, however, that the second paragraph is essentially meaningless; 99% of the creatures killed by this will be NPCs/Monsters, and those very rarely get resurrected.

Silver Crusade

Zhayne wrote:

What level is it?

How long does it take to cast?
Does it require an expensive focus/material component?
Does it allow a saving throw?
Does it permit spell resistance?

Insufficient data to give informed answer.

I will say, however, that the second paragraph is essentially meaningless; 99% of the creatures killed by this will be NPCs/Monsters, and those very rarely get resurrected.

Edited, sorry about that.


Paizo Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Companion, Pathfinder Accessories Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Well, the spell is from Book of the Damned, an official Pathfinder RPG source, that meks it as "legal" as it gets. There is no "legal", everybody can do in their campaigns as they like. The spell is certainly intended more for villains than for PCs.

If you're talking about Pathfinder Societey Organized Play, however, you're in the wrong forum. But, yes, the spell is not allowed in PFS play, according to the Additional Resources page.


Honestly... I don't see what's so bad about it. It's hardly unprecedented to have higher level spells be upgrades of lower level spells, and it also gives Divine Casters a nice blasting spell... provided they can cast [Evil] spells and live with the consequences. Dealing [Caster Level]d6 damage is pretty typical for blasting spells, it only affects more than one target at levels beyond what PFS usually even goes to (I'm guessing that by "Pathfinder legal" you mean PFS legal)... yeah, don't see the big issue. Heck, half the damage is even the most frequently resisted/immune damage type in the game.


Hellfire Ray wrote:


Any creature killed by this spell must attempt a Will saving throw; failure means the creature’s soul is damned to Hell as a burst of brimstone appears around its corpse.

I'd wager that's the reason it's not allowed in PFS. They don't take kindly to evil fluff like that.

Power-wise... it's okay. It's useless until 15th level since Maximized Scorching Ray deals more damage with a lower-level spell slot. So it's only useful at level 15+ when you get that second ray. Even then, due to lacking the fire descriptor, it doesn't benefit from many normal means of increasing the damage of blasting spells so it's not that great. It only really comes into its own at level 19+

Silver Crusade

Shinigami02 wrote:
Honestly... I don't see what's so bad about it. It's hardly unprecedented to have higher level spells be upgrades of lower level spells, and it also gives Divine Casters a nice blasting spell... provided they can cast [Evil] spells and live with the consequences. Dealing [Caster Level]d6 damage is pretty typical for blasting spells, it only affects more than one target at levels beyond what PFS usually even goes to (I'm guessing that by "Pathfinder legal" you mean PFS legal)... yeah, don't see the big issue. Heck, half the damage is even the most frequently resisted/immune damage type in the game.

well assuming you can get it intensified/empowered/maximized somehow

I guess its just the thought of a 75d6 destroyer beam coming right for your face.

The Exchange

Are you asking if it should be PFS legal or if you should let your players use it? For PFS, I think it's a little too evil. For a home game just remember that what's good for the goose is good for the gander. If players use spells like this, so can bad guys...

The best core spell to compare it to is disintegrate, which is level 6 as well (though not normally castable by clerics). In the balance - especially at the higher levels - hellfire ray is slightly out of scale.

  • Range - advantage disintegrate (medium vs. close)
  • Saves - big advantage hellfire ray (no save vs. fort for 5d6)
  • Resistance/Immunity - advantage disintegrate (though the hellfire ray is always doing at least half damage)
  • Damage - advantage hellfire ray. It's mainly due to the lack of a save for hellfire ray.

It's going to vary a bit depending on the touch AC of what you are fighting, but by the time you hit CL15, the two spells are doing equal damage but hellfire ray has no save. Even at level 11, the lack of save probably gives it a slight advantage over disintegrate.


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So a hypothetical 12th level caster uses one of their precious 6th level spells to do 42 damage to one target, half of which has a good chance have resistance/immunity applied. I whole hearedly endorse my enemies preparing this spell every time.


No, divine casters shouldn't get access to blasting spells that rival the efficiency of arcane caster damage. They definitely shouldn't get it at the same level as the arcane caster.


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Leaving metamagic out of it, 45d6 is an average of 157.6 damage for a 6th level spell at 15th level. It's a decent blast. It's also a lot more evil than most [evil] spells--a non-evil sorcerer using this better have a damned good reason or he's likely to attract some unwanted attention, what with stealing souls from their rightful afterlives.

The Exchange

Dasrak wrote:
Hellfire Ray wrote:


Any creature killed by this spell must attempt a Will saving throw; failure means the creature’s soul is damned to Hell as a burst of brimstone appears around its corpse.
I'd wager that's the reason it's not allowed in PFS. They don't take kindly to evil fluff like that.

Yeah, I played a cleric of Asmodeus in PFS. Every time we came across an enemy spellcaster yelling "I will gladly die for my god!" I would cast malediction on it. "You sure you don't want to surrender? Looks like you're going to be dying for my god."

Then malediction got banned :(

That banning is why I think there's no chance of hellfire ray becoming PFS legal.


30d6 at level 15, not 45d6.


3 rays * 15d6 damage/ray...


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If a spell is evil, and it's pretty clear *why* it's evil (in this case- you can condemn innocent people to hell), then I'm certainly not inclined to allow it. I mean, unless it's a "let's be evil jerks" kind of game, but I'd probably prefer to run that sort of thing in a different system.


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blahpers wrote:
3 rays * 15d6 damage/ray...

3rd ray doesn't come in till 19th level, so at 15th it is 30d6, 45d6 at 19th. You referenced the performance at 15th level in your first post.


Oh damn, I missed the "beyond 11th" part. : /

*consigns own soul to the corner*


And then you take into account metamagic rods and s+*~ gets out of hand


I would bump it a level and call it a day. It makes it come online later than disintegrate and requires a greater metamagic rod to modify it.


blahpers wrote:
Leaving metamagic out of it, 45d6 is an average of 157.6 damage for a 6th level spell at 15th level. It's a decent blast. It's also a lot more evil than most [evil] spells--a non-evil sorcerer using this better have a damned good reason or he's likely to attract some unwanted attention, what with stealing souls from their rightful afterlives.

It's not like they wouldn't be trying to murderbucket you if you didn't make it harder for them to bring recurrent antagonists back from the dead, though.


It's kinda poorly designed, in that it's meh at 11th-14th level and suddenly twice as good (ie, OK but unspectacular) at 15th. And as 15th level evil clerics are meant to be scary, I'd let it go as is.


Mudfoot wrote:
It's kinda poorly designed, in that it's meh at 11th-14th level and suddenly twice as good (ie, OK but unspectacular) at 15th. And as 15th level evil clerics are meant to be scary, I'd let it go as is.

15d6 and a soul trap effect is well above the curve from 11-14th level


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Except it isn't 15d6 at level 11-14.


level/d6 and a soul trap effect with a potential crit is still well above the curve at those levels

Edit: its even further above the curve for a divine caster


Bead of Karma sounds delicious with this spell. Mmm.


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Ryan Freire wrote:


15d6 and a soul trap effect is well above the curve from 11-14th level

No, it really isn't.

15d6 (avg 52.5) is poor damage for single-target at this level-range. The baseline comparison is maximized Scorching Ray (72 damage), which is only a 5th level spell. The "soul trap" effect isn't very significant, and is less effective as an anti-resurrection measure than just destroying the body or turning it into an undead creature.


Scorching ray is subject to full fire resistance, a simple resist elements cast at level makes maximized scorching ray scorching ray do 12 damage. Hellfire ray does over double that vs the same defensive. and infinitely more against fire immunity.

The fact that your GM doesn't use resurrection for antagonists of merit speaks to the campaigns you play in.

Edit: and its FAR more damage than a ranged/multitarget divine spell should do.


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Ryan Freire wrote:


Edit: and its FAR more damage than a ranged/multitarget divine spell should do.

Well, it's not just a divine spell. It is also on the Magus, Witch and Wizard/Sorcerer lists.

I do not have any problem with this spell. Although, I would certainly consider playing up the consequences of its use, given the Evil descriptor, if that suited the campaign or seemed out of step with the character. This, I feel, could limit divine use quite dramatically, if that is your concern.


Tsukiyo wrote:
Ryan Freire wrote:


Edit: and its FAR more damage than a ranged/multitarget divine spell should do.

Well, it's not just a divine spell. It is also on the Magus, Witch and Wizard/Sorcerer lists.

I do not have any problem with this spell. Although, I would certainly consider playing up the consequences of its use, given the Evil descriptor, if that suited the campaign or seemed out of step with the character. This, I feel, could limit divine use quite dramatically, if that is your concern.

Its also on the cleric list and the warpriest list. Its approval necessitates it being available to clerics and warpriests. The fact that it's not that bad compared to other spells on lists for arcane casters is irrelevant to its dual existence on divine caster lists. Its as role breaking and problematic as infernal healing being on a wizard list.

You cant be bent out of shape about a caster martial disparity and then go about handing them tools that enable them to work outside their intended baliwick willy nilly.


Ryan Freire wrote:


You cant be bent out of shape about a caster martial disparity

Just for the record, I'm not at all bothered about the oft-cited caster/martial disparity. It has never been an issue in any of my games.

I like playing casters, my friends like playing martials. We help each other and everyone is happy.


Tsukiyo wrote:
Ryan Freire wrote:


You cant be bent out of shape about a caster martial disparity

Just for the record, I'm not at all bothered about the oft-cited caster/martial disparity. It has never been an issue in any of my games.

I like playing casters, my friends like playing martials. We help each other and everyone is happy.

To be frank neither am I, but its prevalent enough on the boards that you have to acknowledge it DOES bother a lot of people, and role bending via spell access is simply funneling more power to already quite powerful classes.


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Ryan Freire wrote:
Tsukiyo wrote:
Ryan Freire wrote:


You cant be bent out of shape about a caster martial disparity

Just for the record, I'm not at all bothered about the oft-cited caster/martial disparity. It has never been an issue in any of my games.

I like playing casters, my friends like playing martials. We help each other and everyone is happy.

To be frank neither am I, but its prevalent enough on the boards that you have to acknowledge it DOES bother a lot of people, and role bending via spell access is simply funneling more power to already quite powerful classes.

You definitely do not have to bring it up in order to derail your own conversation onto an ultimately unrelated tangent, that was simply a choice you made.


Ryan Freire wrote:
Scorching ray is subject to full fire resistance, a simple resist elements cast at level makes maximized scorching ray scorching ray do 12 damage.

Anyone using blasts has options for energy resistance.

Ryan Freire wrote:
The fact that your GM doesn't use resurrection for antagonists of merit speaks to the campaigns you play in.

Don't strawman me. I never said anything like that (I am the GM of my group, btw). What I said is that Hellfire Ray is bad as an anti-resurrection measure.

The biggest problem is that evil spellcasters ignore this effect entirely and can resurrect the target without penalty. In the majority of campaigns this renders this effect 100% useless because most antagonists are evil. Even if they aren't evil, the spell has multiple points of failure. The effect only works if it's a killing blow, and even then it allows a save, and even then it allows a caster level check, and even then it allows retries. Compared that with the option of plane shifting the corpse the plane of elemental fire. No save, body is utterly obliterated, nothing short of true resurrection brings him back (and true resurrection isn't something that gets thrown around easily)

Ryan Freire wrote:
Edit: and its FAR more damage than a ranged/multitarget divine spell should do.

While it's true this isn't a type of spell that Clerics normally get, and thus it does have a niche for them that it doesn't for the arcane casters, that still doesn't change the fact that it's not particularly good.


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Ryan Freire wrote:

Scorching ray is subject to full fire resistance, a simple resist elements cast at level makes maximized scorching ray scorching ray do 12 damage. Hellfire ray does over double that vs the same defensive. and infinitely more against fire immunity.

The fact that your GM doesn't use resurrection for antagonists of merit speaks to the campaigns you play in.

Edit: and its FAR more damage than a ranged/multitarget divine spell should do.

It's also Sixth freaking level. If it were second level, you'd have an argument. So, instead of comparing it to Scorch, compare it to other sixth level spells.

I don't care about the 'divine niche' thing. I think role protection should take place at the table level, not the game level.

I don't use resurrection for protagonists either. Dead is dead, and there's no afterlife, and no 'hell' to be condemned to.


Maximized scorching ray is 5th level.

And you can think role protection should happen at the table level but the designers don't as you could tell if you looked at the spell research guidelines

But I mean y'all are right, a divine 6th level spell that has a higher damage cap than the pinnacle evocation blasting spell is A-OK!


Ryan Freire wrote:

Maximized scorching ray is 5th level.

And you can think role protection should happen at the table level but the designers don't as you could tell if you looked at the spell research guidelines

But I mean y'all are right, a divine 6th level spell that has a higher damage cap than the pinnacle evocation blasting spell is A-OK!

But it doesn't beat the pinnacle evocation spell, at worst, since it's available to all the level 9 arcane, the magus and the warlock vigilante it is the pinnacle evocation spell but only against single targets. Yeah, if a 19th level Arcanist hits you with all 3 rays, intensified and empowered, it'll sting a little and probably put down most unbuffed level 9 arcane casters but that's par for the high level course.


Meteor swarm deals 32d6 damage. Its the bar for a 9th level blasting spell.

This 6th level spell caps at 45d6 damage, so it does nearly 50% more damage than the bar for a 9th level, plus can be metamagiced up.


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Ryan Freire wrote:

Meteor swarm deals 32d6 damage. Its the bar for a 9th level blasting spell.

This 6th level spell caps at 45d6 damage, so it does nearly 50% more damage than the bar for a 9th level, plus can be metamagiced up.

To a single target, with 3 ranged touch attacks required. It's better than Disintegrate, but the area effect spells are still better for their purpose.


Grailknight wrote:
Ryan Freire wrote:

Meteor swarm deals 32d6 damage. Its the bar for a 9th level blasting spell.

This 6th level spell caps at 45d6 damage, so it does nearly 50% more damage than the bar for a 9th level, plus can be metamagiced up.

To a single target, with 3 ranged touch attacks required. It's better than Disintegrate, but the area effect spells are still better for their purpose.

Meteor Swarm only does 32d6 to a single target too, It only does 24d6 as an AOE. It outperforms a spell 3 levels higher by nearly 50%


Ryan Freire wrote:
Grailknight wrote:
Ryan Freire wrote:

Meteor swarm deals 32d6 damage. Its the bar for a 9th level blasting spell.

This 6th level spell caps at 45d6 damage, so it does nearly 50% more damage than the bar for a 9th level, plus can be metamagiced up.

To a single target, with 3 ranged touch attacks required. It's better than Disintegrate, but the area effect spells are still better for their purpose.
Meteor Swarm only does 32d6 to a single target too, It only does 24d6 as an AOE. It outperforms a spell 3 levels higher by nearly 50%

And what does Hellfire Ray do as an AOE? Apples and oranges here. Note that Disintegrate outperforms Meteor Swarm as a single target also and that hasn't been a problem for the life of Pathfinder


Not really. People just REAAAAAAALLY want access to a spell designed far beyond the standard power curve.

Grand Lodge

How many touch attacks does that Meteor Swarm damage require? That should answer your question as to why it's ok.


Jurassic Pratt wrote:
How many touch attacks does that Meteor Swarm damage require? That should answer your question as to why it's ok.

1 more touch attack than hellfire ray. To do less damage.

Edit: Also allows a reflex save at -4 if all of them hit vs 24 of those 32d6

Double Edit: Also has a higher cap than disintegrate, an equal level spell, denied to divine casters save 1X a day if you have the destruction domain that also requires a touch attack, and allows a save that rather than half damage reduces all the damage to 5d6.

Triple Edit: Lets just beat this horse to death. Polar ray, dice cap 25d6, requires you to come up with +5 caster level to get those last 5d6, Requires a touch attack, no save. 8th level. Hellfire ray has a damage die cap more than double that of a spell 2 levels higher than it, while also having baked in resistance bypass.

*quake voice* QUAD EDIT: Transmute blood to acid, takes 4 rounds of concentration to do half the potential damage of hellfire ray, is 3 levels higher, and allows a save for half each round.


Ryan Freire wrote:
Jurassic Pratt wrote:
How many touch attacks does that Meteor Swarm damage require? That should answer your question as to why it's ok.

1 more touch attack than hellfire ray. To do less damage.

Edit: Also allows a reflex save at -4 if all of them hit vs 24 of those 32d6

Double Edit: Also has a higher cap than disintegrate, an equal level spell, denied to divine casters save 1X a day if you have the destruction domain that also requires a touch attack, and allows a save that rather than half damage reduces all the damage to 5d6.

Triple Edit: Lets just beat this horse to death. Polar ray, dice cap 25d6, requires you to come up with +5 caster level to get those last 5d6, Requires a touch attack, no save. 8th level. Hellfire ray has a damage die cap more than double that of a spell 2 levels higher than it, while also having baked in resistance bypass.

*quake voice* QUAD EDIT: Transmute blood to acid, takes 4 rounds of concentration to do half the potential damage of hellfire ray, is 3 levels higher, and allows a save for half each round.

Hey, I acknowledge it as the pinnacle of single target but it still doesn't outclass the AOE's.


Grailknight wrote:
Ryan Freire wrote:
Jurassic Pratt wrote:
How many touch attacks does that Meteor Swarm damage require? That should answer your question as to why it's ok.

1 more touch attack than hellfire ray. To do less damage.

Edit: Also allows a reflex save at -4 if all of them hit vs 24 of those 32d6

Double Edit: Also has a higher cap than disintegrate, an equal level spell, denied to divine casters save 1X a day if you have the destruction domain that also requires a touch attack, and allows a save that rather than half damage reduces all the damage to 5d6.

Triple Edit: Lets just beat this horse to death. Polar ray, dice cap 25d6, requires you to come up with +5 caster level to get those last 5d6, Requires a touch attack, no save. 8th level. Hellfire ray has a damage die cap more than double that of a spell 2 levels higher than it, while also having baked in resistance bypass.

*quake voice* QUAD EDIT: Transmute blood to acid, takes 4 rounds of concentration to do half the potential damage of hellfire ray, is 3 levels higher, and allows a save for half each round.

Hey, I acknowledge it as the pinnacle of single target but it still doesn't outclass the AOE's.

Intensified Empowered, nothing quite like 90d6+180 from a crossblooded sorceror


Ryan Freire wrote:
Grailknight wrote:
Ryan Freire wrote:
Jurassic Pratt wrote:
How many touch attacks does that Meteor Swarm damage require? That should answer your question as to why it's ok.

1 more touch attack than hellfire ray. To do less damage.

Edit: Also allows a reflex save at -4 if all of them hit vs 24 of those 32d6

Double Edit: Also has a higher cap than disintegrate, an equal level spell, denied to divine casters save 1X a day if you have the destruction domain that also requires a touch attack, and allows a save that rather than half damage reduces all the damage to 5d6.

Triple Edit: Lets just beat this horse to death. Polar ray, dice cap 25d6, requires you to come up with +5 caster level to get those last 5d6, Requires a touch attack, no save. 8th level. Hellfire ray has a damage die cap more than double that of a spell 2 levels higher than it, while also having baked in resistance bypass.

*quake voice* QUAD EDIT: Transmute blood to acid, takes 4 rounds of concentration to do half the potential damage of hellfire ray, is 3 levels higher, and allows a save for half each round.

Hey, I acknowledge it as the pinnacle of single target but it still doesn't outclass the AOE's.
Intensified Empowered, nothing quite like 90d6+180 from a crossblooded sorceror

60d6+180 actually but that"s high level play in a nutshell. Most 20th level martials can beat that.


Intensified: Each ray has a cap of 20d6
Empowered +10d6 per ray

Each ray is 30d6
3 rays at 30d6 is 90d6 +2 damage per die is 90d6 +180

Edit: And before anyone goes "what the f%&+ is that +2 per die" its the crossblooded sorceror standard of blasting.


This spell is way way worse than chains of light right?


Ryan Freire wrote:

Intensified: Each ray has a cap of 20d6

Empowered +10d6 per ray

Each ray is 30d6
3 rays at 30d6 is 90d6 +2 damage per die is 90d6 +180

Edit: And before anyone goes "what the f*%! is that +2 per die" its the crossblooded sorceror standard of blasting.

Empowered doesn't add dice, it adds 50% to the total rolled so the actual result would be (60d6+120)x1.5. Same effect in this case on average but it matters on other spells for the interaction with intensified,

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