Electric Arc is overpowered


Advice

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Sovereign Court

To me, the key is to differentiate the damage vs 1 target and the damage vs 2 targets. My fix is that it does the listed damage vs 1 target, or if you attack 2 targets, reduce the damage to each by 1d4. So at 1st level, you can hit 2 targets for your ability mod dmg. Casting it as a level 2 cantrip it does 2d4 + ability mod vs 1 target or 1d4 + ability mod vs 2 targets, and adds another 1d4 each level. I think that is enough of a change that other cantrips are not as overshadowed, and if you can only hit 1 target you don't feel that it's a waste.


I get the feeling someone here still hasn’t grasped the fact that electric arc deals more damage than the other cantrips ON SINGLE TARGET...


Ediwir wrote:
I get the feeling someone here still hasn’t grasped the fact that electric arc deals more damage than the other cantrips ON SINGLE TARGET...

Yup, worked that one out myself, once it dawned on me about the half on save.

Sovereign Court

Ediwir wrote:
I get the feeling someone here still hasn’t grasped the fact that electric arc deals more damage than the other cantrips ON SINGLE TARGET...

Ahh, ok, I did forget about that. What about a rule that Basic save on a Cantrip is no damage on a success or crit success? Higher level spells basic saves work as stated in the book.


The whole idea of the 'basic save' terminology is that they all work the same, so that would just be making it not use a basic save anymore.

Just using the damage progression of Daze was the same idea I had for this, and seems like a perfectly reasonable solution to me.


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Most Cantrips do 1d4+attribute + 1 additional effect.

For many of them that additional effect is only triggered on a critical.

For electric arc, the additional effect is a free second attack against a different target within 30ft. That is an excellent rider, but it is not game breaking, nor does it make all other cantrips useless.

Electric Arc also has some built in liabilities that don't become obvious in theory crafting, as discussed ad nauseam above.

Daze is less than the typical cantrip damage, but also has better range and the strongest critical success rider, a very useful damage type, as well as doing half damage on a successful save, and being the only cantrip to target will.

Acid splash may look like less damage on paper but is AOE, and persistent damage on a crit, and is a pretty useful damage type, and can be targeted at objects.

But all of that is actually a little irrelevent to the discussion about whether electric arc needs to be changed.

Because the bottom line is that electric Arc is not overpowered compared to what other classes can do with 2 at-will actions. In fact it is barely passable as a use of 2 actions, as are most cantrips outside of the specific situation when they target an enemies weakness or manage a critical effect that is extremely useful against a particular enemy (so as often as about 1 in 20 times they are used).

Comparing electric arc only to other cantrips when deciding it is over powered is a mistake because cantrips generally are underpowered, except in specific situations where their damage type and effect are especially useful, AND electric arc is almost never going to be the cantrip that fits the situation (weakness, resistance penetrating, or needed effect) correctly.

Cantrips are designed to be situationally effective (never amazing) and generically sub par. Electric arc is the cantrip who's situational effectiveness is more common than many other cantrips: two or more enemies without particular weaknesses or resistances and that is why I think it is getting a lot of attention, but its just not that amazing compared to what other characters can do with those two actions.

Additionally, and a course of action I do not support, but if anyone felt the need to reduce its effectiveness and not complicate its usage, the obvious course of action is to reduce its range, starting with a 5ft reduction and if that still feels massively over powered to you, dial it back 5 more. This is the simplest way to dial it back without completely modifying its numbers and having to deal with how that scales over level.


Ediwir wrote:
I get the feeling someone here still hasn’t grasped the fact that electric arc deals more damage than the other cantrips ON SINGLE TARGET...

Please explain how it does more damage than chill touch...


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Honestly, the more I think about it, if I could only have one offensive cantrip it would probably be Ray of Frost on most characters. 30 feet is just not that long.

-30 feet is extremely close for a squishy wizard or sorcerer.
-You're inside your volley penalty range on a longbow. Though it can make a nice alternative to use instead of the bow.
-If you're a melee character who took a cantrip as a backup ranged option you want some actual range.

So it feels like the best choice for folks that want to be near the melee but not necessarily in it. Bards and rogues would love it if they got it natively. Druids with shields seem real good with it, as might some clerics.

Don't get me wrong, if I can take two offensive cantrips electric arc is definitely going to be the second. Personally I think extending the range of produce flame, divine lance, and acid splash to 60 might be a nice buff for them.


Captain Morgan wrote:

Honestly, the more I think about it, if I could only have one offensive cantrip it would probably be Ray of Frost on most characters. 30 feet is just not that long.

-30 feet is extremely close for a squishy wizard or sorcerer.
-You're inside your volley penalty range on a longbow. Though it can make a nice alternative to use instead of the bow.
-If you're a melee character who took a cantrip as a backup ranged option you want some actual range.

So it feels like the best choice for folks that want to be near the melee but not necessarily in it. Bards and rogues would love it if they got it natively. Druids with shields seem real good with it, as might some clerics.

Don't get me wrong, if I can take two offensive cantrips electric arc is definitely going to be the second. Personally I think extending the range of produce flame, divine lance, and acid splash to 60 might be a nice buff for them.

Same reasoning here, and that's why it's my main attack cantrip in the AoA I play in, but the party appreciates the Electric Arcs a lot more (our Rogue and Alchemist both have it and use it quite frequently).

So I picked up shield and electric arc. It'll do, at least until an errata comes out.

ps. Fair cop, chill touch deals the same damage on Fort than Electric Arc on Ref. On an average slightly more enemies tend to high Fort than high Ref, but that's not significant enough. The range helps.
Main idea being, if you're looking for pure damage, Electric Arc wins hands down (and Chill Touch in melee, fine) whether you're looking at single or multiple target, mostly because of the half damage on miss and lower scaling of saves vs AC. Even Telekinetic Projectile struggles to keep up.
And then it applies twice.
That's a bit more than a secondary effect. A secondary effect would make it the best at something. Being the best at something, times two, is clearly a mistake.


Unicore wrote:
That is an excellent rider, but it is not game breaking, nor does it make all other cantrips useless.

What does that have to do with whether it is ideally balanced? I can change most mehcanics in the game up or down and the game doesn't "break", but that doesn't mean the mechanics can't or shouldn't be accurately tuned. Obviously this is just one spell, but that doesn't mean it can't be better tuned. And it's not a rider, it doesn't depend on even mundane success on 1st target. If you changed it to depend on 1st hit (to actually be a "rider" effect), that would reduce it's power and people would be more likely to consider it balanced.

Quote:

But all of that is actually a little irrelevent to the discussion about whether electric arc needs to be changed.

Because the bottom line is that electric Arc is not overpowered compared to what other classes can do with 2 at-will actions.

This is bizarre stuff. Because Cantrips are "weak" compared to some un-named at-will abilities "other classes" can do, we can't care about internal balance of Cantrips? The entire purpose of categorizing abilities is to balance them against other abilities of their category, all the more so in case like spells/Cantrips where they are routinely swappable without special pre-reqs.

Quote:
Cantrips are designed to be situationally effective (never amazing) and generically sub par. Electric arc is the cantrip who's situational effectiveness is more common than many other cantrips: two or more enemies without particular weaknesses or resistances and that is why I think it is getting a lot of attention, but its just not that amazing compared to what other characters can do with those two actions.

Okay. Sure, the strengths and weaknesses of an ability play role in balancing it vs others of it's nominal category. An ability whose strengths are very often relevant thus can be expected to be weaker in other areas to compensate.

Whenever facing 2 enemies, you now don't have to decide between finishing off one and damaging the other, you can do both. And there isn't even any correlation between the attacks, such as requirement to hit, or 2nd target effect downgraded by 1 etc. You are the one who called it a "rider", so I think you can see why actually structuring it as a rider (maybe negated if 1st target CritSucceeds?) might just be appropriate. Personally, I think that is a more engaging ability because caster is motivated to 1st target the enemy who they believe has lower Save. Being both strong single target damage (given 1/2 damage on Fail) AND doing 2x total VS 2 targets isn't a balanced ability.

The arguments "it doesn't need to be perfectly balanced" is a straw man, nobody has said it needs to be, but that doesn't negate the possibility it could be BETTER balanced. Why such low standards? I don't get this, just because maybe you aren't INTERESTED in nuances of this, fine, we all can have better things to do. But why spend time insisting it doesn't need any rebalancing? Although to your credit you (Unicore) seem to have actually backed down on that, actually conceding a minor rebalance (using reduced range). A solution which I don't think is particularly apt (considering many cases it makes no difference, and there is other options that are very viable which still allow for basic "schtick" of spell), but at least that is a productive engagement and not "it is above any questioning" defense.


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My main objection to most of the suggestions I have seen here about reducing the power level of electric arc, are that they are needlessly complicated.

Needless, because the cantrip does not need to be dialed down for the sake of game balance between classes or even particularly between cantrips, as discussed above about what cantrips do. Yes some cantrips are worse than electric arc in many of the most common circumstances (produce flame for example is hard to justify outside of very particular weakness situations and for rogues that want to be able to have cantrip with a melee attack roll, which still gives it a very particular and useful niche.)

It is also adding a level of complexity to the usage of the spell if it becomes a matter of making two attack rolls, or involving changing the nature of how saving throws work to interact with the attack trait.

That is why I gave a very clean and simple suggestion for how I would go about changing if it had to be changed, to steer the discussion away from people house ruling frustrating complexity into a cantrip out of a fear that seems driven more by spreadsheets than actually play examples.

I am not arguing that balance is a bad thing, I am arguing that calculating balance purely by potential damage output and ignoring other factors is a mistake that will easily result in making one of a few good attack cantrips into a bad one.


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Damage equal to casting stat.
Heighten+2: increase damage by 1d6.

It’s not complicated, and keeps Electric Arc as the highest total damage cantrip (but no longer the highest single-target damage cantrip).

It’s likely the intended value as well, as it follows CRB guidelines/models.

I noticed the graph showing the change is unreadable to those who aren’t in the pathfinder discord. I’ll upload it to imgur once I’m home. Regardless, errata is next week.


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Ediwir wrote:
ps. Fair cop, chill touch deals the same damage on Fort than Electric Arc on Ref. On an average slightly more enemies tend to high Fort than high Ref, but that's not significant enough. The range helps.

Range means a LOT less when you're within a single move action of 2 different foes... The chances of not being at range at the start of your next round goes up a lot.

Ediwir wrote:
if you're looking for pure damage, Electric Arc wins hands down

Chill touch does the same with a rider and can make undead flee and as you have to maneuver into a position to be within 30' of 2 foes, the difference between melee and ranged is much less important than the 120' with ray of frost where you have more tactical options for position, cover and difficult terrain to make staying at range much more viable.

Ediwir wrote:

Damage equal to casting stat.

Heighten+2: increase damage by

This puts it significantly behind daze then: daze is double the range and stuns. Plus it targets will.


mrspaghetti wrote:
Everyone just remember that those with Master proficiency in light sabers can negate the effects of Electric Arc.

Huh?


Zapp wrote:
mrspaghetti wrote:
Everyone just remember that those with Master proficiency in light sabers can negate the effects of Electric Arc.
Huh?

"Unlimited power!"


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I think they just need to make the two targets a little more conditional. The damage on it's own against a single target is a bit meh due to the range, it's the two targets that makes it valuable.

"Both targets must be within 15 feet of each other" would suffice to balance it and also would add thematic enforcement (after all this is an electric arc, presumably to "bounce" they'd need to be close).

It's the 360* within 30ft that seems to be the issue to me, it basically guarantees you always get the extra 1d4+Stat as opposed to "when you're in the right position".


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Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Midnightoker wrote:

I think they just need to make the two targets a little more conditional. The damage on it's own against a single target is a bit meh due to the range, it's the two targets that makes it valuable.

"Both targets must be within 15 feet of each other" would suffice to balance it and also would add thematic enforcement (after all this is an electric arc, presumably to "bounce" they'd need to be close).

It's the 360* within 30ft that seems to be the issue to me, it basically guarantees you always get the extra 1d4+Stat as opposed to "when you're in the right position".

When I first read it, I somehow assumed there was a smaller required distance between the two targets. This nerf would be the one I would be the most okay with, since it's what makes sense and wouldn't hurt it too bad.

Shadow Lodge

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Over 100 posts and I still can't comprehend that people are taking this seriously. It has to be someone's idea of a cruel joke. I mean the caster's already curled up on the ground whimpering from the brutal beating they received and people are shouting kick em while their down! Yeesh.


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Pathfinder Maps, Pawns Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
BellyBeard wrote:
Zapp wrote:
mrspaghetti wrote:
Everyone just remember that those with Master proficiency in light sabers can negate the effects of Electric Arc.
Huh?
"Unlimited power!"

It continues to boggle my mind how many young people today have never been exposed to Star Wars.


gnoams wrote:
Over 100 posts and I still can't comprehend that people are taking this seriously. It has to be someone's idea of a cruel joke. I mean the caster's already curled up on the ground whimpering from the brutal beating they received and people are shouting kick em while their down! Yeesh.

A slight tweek to Electric Arc to put it on par with other Cantrips (a self-referential balance) is hardly going to affect Casters as a whole.

I also disagree with the premise that casters have been reduced to "curled up on the ground". They were busted at 1st level, color spray, sleep, and grease were OP.

The fact that a caster can't just show up and push the "cast same spell same way every combat" button is a good thing for me. The game is more engaging for casters, since they actually have to tactically plan besides "hmmmm I can hit 5 people if I pin point my Black Tentacles right here!" which was pretty much the extent of it previously.


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So is electic arc the strongest of the cantrips yes, is it out of synch with the other cantrips yes, is this a problem no, no one is going to feel invalidated by 1d4 + attribute damage x2 for 2 actions. It's OK for casters who are out their much diminished pool of resources to have options that aren't completely mediocre.

Sovereign Court

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To all the people who feel that Electric Arc is too strong compared to the other cantrips:

If the other cantrips were made stronger to match Electric Arc, would that actually be bad? How much stronger would they need to be to match?

Sovereign Court

Quandary wrote:
Unicore wrote:
That is an excellent rider, but it is not game breaking, nor does it make all other cantrips useless.

What does that have to do with whether it is ideally balanced? I can change most mehcanics in the game up or down and the game doesn't "break", but that doesn't mean the mechanics can't or shouldn't be accurately tuned. Obviously this is just one spell, but that doesn't mean it can't be better tuned. And it's not a rider, it doesn't depend on even mundane success on 1st target. If you changed it to depend on 1st hit (to actually be a "rider" effect), that would reduce it's power and people would be more likely to consider it balanced.

Quote:

But all of that is actually a little irrelevent to the discussion about whether electric arc needs to be changed.

Because the bottom line is that electric Arc is not overpowered compared to what other classes can do with 2 at-will actions.

This is bizarre stuff. Because Cantrips are "weak" compared to some un-named at-will abilities "other classes" can do, we can't care about internal balance of Cantrips? The entire purpose of categorizing abilities is to balance them against other abilities of their category, all the more so in case like spells/Cantrips where they are routinely swappable without special pre-reqs.

Quote:
Cantrips are designed to be situationally effective (never amazing) and generically sub par. Electric arc is the cantrip who's situational effectiveness is more common than many other cantrips: two or more enemies without particular weaknesses or resistances and that is why I think it is getting a lot of attention, but its just not that amazing compared to what other characters can do with those two actions.

Okay. Sure, the strengths and weaknesses of an ability play role in balancing it vs others of it's nominal category. An ability whose strengths are very often relevant thus can be expected to be weaker in other areas to compensate.

Whenever facing 2 enemies, you now don't have to decide between...

What would it look like as a rider? How about this:

Electric Arc
Target: 1 creature
Range: 30 feet
Saving throw: basic Reflex
the target must attempt a Reflex save:
Critical Success: the target takes no damage
Success: the target takes half damage
Failure: the target takes 1d4 + caster ability mod damage
Critical Failure: as Failure and another target within 30 feet also takes 1d4 + caster ability mod damage, no save. If there is no other viable target, it hits the caster.


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Samurai wrote:
Quandary wrote:
Unicore wrote:
That is an excellent rider, but it is not game breaking, nor does it make all other cantrips useless.

What does that have to do with whether it is ideally balanced? I can change most mehcanics in the game up or down and the game doesn't "break", but that doesn't mean the mechanics can't or shouldn't be accurately tuned. Obviously this is just one spell, but that doesn't mean it can't be better tuned. And it's not a rider, it doesn't depend on even mundane success on 1st target. If you changed it to depend on 1st hit (to actually be a "rider" effect), that would reduce it's power and people would be more likely to consider it balanced.

Quote:

But all of that is actually a little irrelevent to the discussion about whether electric arc needs to be changed.

Because the bottom line is that electric Arc is not overpowered compared to what other classes can do with 2 at-will actions.

This is bizarre stuff. Because Cantrips are "weak" compared to some un-named at-will abilities "other classes" can do, we can't care about internal balance of Cantrips? The entire purpose of categorizing abilities is to balance them against other abilities of their category, all the more so in case like spells/Cantrips where they are routinely swappable without special pre-reqs.

Quote:
Cantrips are designed to be situationally effective (never amazing) and generically sub par. Electric arc is the cantrip who's situational effectiveness is more common than many other cantrips: two or more enemies without particular weaknesses or resistances and that is why I think it is getting a lot of attention, but its just not that amazing compared to what other characters can do with those two actions.

Okay. Sure, the strengths and weaknesses of an ability play role in balancing it vs others of it's nominal category. An ability whose strengths are very often relevant thus can be expected to be weaker in other areas to compensate.

Whenever facing 2 enemies, you now don't

...

I critical failure affect that’s bad for the caster? Not sure that’s a good idea. Seems really unfun.


Alot of people are trying to say that Electric Arc is not bad when compared to a Barbarian using a Greatsword or whatever. But thats a very poor comparison. A better comparison is to ranged weapons with which it directly competes (and which the caster can still do since Arc is neither affected by or contributes to MAP).

So, compare a level 1 ranger who uses missile weapons, who doesnt have neato spellcasting, using his Hunted Prey, Hunted Shot, etc (possibly using a d6 shortbow due to volley on longbows and the lack of Point Blank - or even worse for the ranger, being a crossbow ace) vs a Wizard with spells and focus powers who can spam Electric Arc and possibly follow that up with a ranged weapon attack of his own at full MAP.

Theres no way the ranger can afford a composite bow at this level and he likely would not be able to benefit very much from it even if he could. So, no ability score bonus to damage for the martial.

Shoot, make the caster a Druid and give it a pet. Then only a human ranger with natural ambition can hope to compete.

If you remember that the ranger doesn't get half damage on a miss like or Electric Arc wielding Wizard, it gets even worse.

Dunno, seems to be encroaching on the ranger's spammable ranged damage mojo a bit too much compared to something balanced like say, Telekinetic Projectile (which is still super good compared to most ranged options at level 1).

Anywho, I'm just gonna have the second target have its save result upgraded one step. I think thats the easiest to adjudicate in play. That way, the second target only takes full damage when it rolls a crit fail (and never takes double). A regular failure is treated like a success (half damage). A success is a crit success (no damage).

The first target works per normal.

Still super good but not silly. Hopefully Paizo comes up with a better solution.


Data Lore wrote:
Dunno, seems to be encroaching on the ranger's spammable ranged damage mojo a bit too much

It does?

Bow = 60' range... that alone is a significant change from the arc which is 30' range to TWO targets. The ranger fire once, twice or three times, ect. The arc is locked into 2 actions to use while the ranger could Hunted Prey and precision shot [60' range for 1d6+1d8 damage for 2 actions] or fire hunted prey and Flurry for multiple attacks on a SINGLE target or just attack.

On top of that, they can hunt prey, hunter's edge, attack AND send in an animal companion for 3 attacks all on a single creature... IMO, the electric arc doesn't keep up on single or multiple creatures. It only gets WORSE once a composite bow kicks in. The only way it may look comparable is if you ignore the tactical implications of 30' range to 2 targets and the requirement to split your attacks.

Ranger single target damage: one attack [60' range, 1d6+1d8 and 1d6] or [60' range, 1d6] + 1 companion attack [move 50' + 1d8+2] or [60' range, 1d6 x3 & improved MAP] all with hunt prey included.

vs 30' 1d4+stat... call me unimpressed. The ability to focus on a single target is something you shouldn't ignore.

PS: A ranger CAN afford a composite shortbow: it's 14 gp, padded armor is 2sp, backpack 1sp, bedroll 1cp, Flint and Steel 5cp, 50' rope 5cp, waterskin 5cp, 50 arrows 5sp, 9cp - this requires you to subsist for food/water but that's not much different than a normal kit as you have a single day of water and that's it...


The druid gets electric arc and a pet too so its wash and effectively a separate issue.

The damage you are listing does not account for MAP or the fact that electric arc deal damage on whats effectively a miss.

Color me unimpressed by issues surrounding range at level 1. Fall of Plaguestone has its very first encounter be to blitz the party at close range on a trail. The second is a bar room brawl. I am setting up for Curse of the Crimson Throne. The first level is an assault on a crimelords hovel where range is an issue MAYBE in the final room. Maybe. Dunno, dont think white room range logic works in real play at level 1.

As to affording a composite shortbow, as I noted in my post, even if nabs one, it kinda doesnt matter. He will need high strength (MAD) and only half the bonus mnatters since its propulsive. So, yeah, kinda doesn't compare man.

No offense but, your argument does not hold water.


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

yeah if i'm being perfectly honest, i can't think of many fights where you have the joy of staying 35+ ft from the actions.


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Bandw2 wrote:
yeah if i'm being perfectly honest, i can't think of many fights where you have the joy of staying 35+ ft from the actions.

That's game dependent. If every encounter is 30' or less, then every encounter is melee and any range is meaningless... 60' gets you the option to move in and out and take cover ect where 30' it's much less of an option and it more likely for you to get into situations that are unfavorable like foes flanking you staying 35'+ is far different than staying unflanked.

Data Lore wrote:
No offense but, your argument does not hold water.

I took into account MAPs [I wasn't doing individual DPS attack measurements after all] and the damage on a miss is pretty much a wash with multiple attacks and/or higher damage. IMO, any argument that looks only at pure damage and ignores other factors like range and the ability to focus on a single target doesn't "hold water". Even taking a hunted shot [1d6+1 x2] vs [1d4+4, half on fail] IMO isn't stepping on the rangers toes before we add in the other factors. If you think a 1d2+2 on a fail makes the attack super uber powerful, i don't think we're ever going to have a meeting of the minds...


graystone wrote:
Bandw2 wrote:
yeah if i'm being perfectly honest, i can't think of many fights where you have the joy of staying 35+ ft from the actions.
That's game dependent. If every encounter is 30' or less, then every encounter is melee and any range is meaningless... 60' gets you the option to move in and out and take cover ect where 30' it's much less of an option and it more likely for you to get into situations that are unfavorable like foes flanking you staying 35'+ is far different than staying unflanked.

There is a difference between starting 60' away, and staying 60' away.

Getting an extra round to damage an enemy, even if it's low damage, is still good.

And rangers don't do 1d6+1+1d8.

...I should compare hunter's edge to flurry...


It steps on those toes when you figure in MAP (which, frankly, you didnt) and that Hunt Prey is an action.

1d2+2 matters since its literally half of what most L1 rangers get on a success and the wizard can do it to two targets at once. A wizard whiffing is infinately better than a ranger missing.

And the wizard can then fire off its own weapon at full MAP in the same turn as an electric arc, btw. Please add that in.

This all ignores that the caster gets the added utility of switching to different cantrips when advantageous and the level 1 rangers just gets to plink away being less effective than the blasty wizard is with his freakin cantrip (despite having spell slots, focus spells, etc).

Its busted man.

Bad design. The other cantrips are mostly fine but electric arc is garbage.


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Data Lore wrote:

The druid gets electric arc and a pet too so its wash and effectively a separate issue.

The damage you are listing does not account for MAP or the fact that electric arc deal damage on whats effectively a miss.

Color me unimpressed by issues surrounding range at level 1. Fall of Plaguestone has its very first encounter be to blitz the party at close range on a trail. The second is a bar room brawl. I am setting up for Curse of the Crimson Throne. The first level is an assault on a crimelords hovel where range is an issue MAYBE in the final room. Maybe. Dunno, dont think white room range logic works in real play at level 1.

As to affording a composite shortbow, as I noted in my post, even if nabs one, it kinda doesnt matter. He will need high strength (MAD) and only half the bonus mnatters since its propulsive. So, yeah, kinda doesn't compare man.

No offense but, your argument does not hold water.

Dude, easy on the spoilers


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Data Lore wrote:

It steps on those toes when you figure in MAP (which, frankly, you didnt) and that Hunt Prey is an action.

1d2+2 matters since its literally half of what most L1 rangers get on a success and the wizard can do it to two targets at once. A wizard whiffing is infinately better than a ranger missing.

And the wizard can then fire off its own weapon at full MAP in the same turn as an electric arc, btw. Please add that in.

This all ignores that the caster gets the added utility of switching to different cantrips when advantageous and the level 1 rangers just gets to plink away being less effective than the blasty wizard is with his freakin cantrip (despite having spell slots, focus spells, etc).

Its busted man.

Bad design. The other cantrips are mostly fine but electric arc is garbage.

With electric arc, you HAVE to target 2 enemies to do more damage than other cantrips. You can't direct two of them at one enemy. That means that you are far less likely to take one enemy out leaving yourself within 1 move of two enemies.

The ranger is focusing fire on one enemy, which is the vastly superior tactic than splitting your attacks between foes, AND can easily do so from a range where neither foe could be within 1 move of you.

Additionally, you are only looking at this comparison at level 1, which is rough for the ranger, especially because it precludes them from having a composite bow, or taking advantage of the multitude of feats that will make the ranger better with weapons, while casters don't get feats to be better with cantrips.

Cherry picking circumstances can make Electric arc look very good, but as many people have pointed out, Pathfinder 2 is tactically complex enough that assuming any specific combat tactics are going to be frequently repeatable is a mistake.

I agree that it is often a problem of pre-published adventures that the battlefields are tight, especially in the little maps that are included for the smaller build-up encounters, and I have always had to have a couple of larger battle maps ready for random encounters when I GM and would encourage other GMs to do so as well, because otherwise battles can start to feel repetitively claustrophobic.

But, this sense that electric arc is "garbage," as in it is massively overpowered is really strange to me. It seems predicated on calculating total damage against an ideal number of enemies in an ideal range, without acknowledging how vulnerable most casters are to being left within easy melee range of multiple enemies.

Does any one have actual play experience that backs up the idea that casters are using electric arc to dominate combats and make other characters feel irrelevant?

I for one do not.


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I do. Ran FoP. Every caster picked up Electric Arc and used it exclusively (even on single targets - still great for that). In the AoA campaign Im playing in its also very popular with the casters.

I think its funny people are making it seem like having two enemies 30 feet from the caster or less is somehow a special case. Its not. Thats lots and lots of engagements. In most campaigns Ive run, this is a very common engagement distance at all tiers of play.

If you run some idiosyncratic game where most encounters have enemies 60+ feet away, thats great for you but a great few dungeons rooms or even hallways are that large. Is it a thing on occaision? Sure, later on against the occaisional flying baddie or some sort of outdoor open battlefield engagement (not in a cluttered city), electric arc may not pass muster. Against the 90% of other encounters in twisty hallways and caverns, its more than fine.

This is all doubly true in the tier of play that I am specifically referencing. Long engagement distances are not typically a thing in low level play (which, coincidentally, is the level of play most folks partake in).

Anywho, broken spell. Folks can clearly do as they see fit. I will be nerfing. You can leave it as is if your table has everything engage and float around at 80 feet. If the caster gets instagibbed when he gets within 30 feet of every enemy in your game, then maybe electric arc isnt so bad. But, you know, that isnt the case in my game so I will be taking the nerf bat to this particular spell.

Sovereign Court

Midnightoker wrote:
A critical failure affect that’s bad for the caster? Not sure that’s a good idea. Seems really unfun.

You've never had a game where the PCs are hit by their own Wall of Fire or Fireball?

It would only be bad if there were no other targets to hit, just the caster and 1 enemy and nothing else within 30'(how often would that happen?). It gives a reason to use another spell or form of attack if you are worried that the target might crit fail and you'd have no one else to direct the rider bolt at. But you could even direct it at one of your party members if needed, "Friendly Fire!"

Or I could just say that if there is no other targets, the first target just takes double damage as he effetely gets hit twice. That might be the better way to do it, but if you want to concentrate damage on a single target rather than spread it around, you'll try to maneuver such that he is the only viable target.


Same. I’m the only main caster in my AoA group, the noncasters spam Electric Arc. It’s often better than their own bombs or attacks.

We now tend to call it “imagine my shock”.

As for me, I have 9 cantrips prepared so Arc is in there, but more often I lean into skill use and debuff spells as a good necromancer should. There’s enough damage around and the other cantrips don’t really compare.


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Data Lore wrote:
I do. Ran FoP. Every caster picked up Electric Arc and used it exclusively (even on single targets - still great for that). In the AoA campaign Im playing in its also very popular with the casters.

Really? Why do they do this? Ray of Frost, Produce Flame, Chill Touch, and Telekinetic Projectile all either deal more damage or deal the same amount of damage but have a secondary effect. They're all strictly better than Electric Arc when dealing with a single target, so saying that your players use it even then isn't really helping your case.

That's like saying "The Fighter's Swipe feat is so good, he even uses it when there's only one target."


I have only ran one combat so far where the PCs were up against only one enemy. Not saying it never happens, but at least in the APs/modules it seems very uncommon.


Salamileg

They are not all strictly better versus single targets. Electric arc does half damage on a miss. The others do 0 dmg on a miss. That alone is a benefit folks are casually skipping over.

Add on that electric arc hits up to two targets and does not add to MAP and there you go. The wizard could toss out an electric arc and shoot out a crossbow bolt every other round (gotta reload) thanks to arc not adding to MAP.


Data Lore wrote:

Salamileg

They are not all strictly better versus single targets. Electric arc does half damage on a miss. The others do 0 dmg on a miss. That alone is a benefit folks are casually skipping over.

Add on that electric arc hits up to two targets and does not add to MAP and there you go. The wizard could toss out an electric arc and shoot out a crossbow bolt every other round (gotta reload) thanks to arc not adding to MAP.

I admit I forgot about that, but Chill Touch also does half on a successful save.


But thats a melee cantrip. Electric arc can be used in melee or range. It hits two targets. It doesnt add to MAP (chill touch does add to MAP). Electric arc is much more flexible, more damaging and works far far better in actual play.


Data Lore wrote:
But thats a melee cantrip. Electric arc can be used in melee or range. It hits two targets. It doesnt add to MAP (chill touch does add to MAP). Electric arc is much more flexible, more damaging and works far far better in actual play.

Damn it, that's my 5e brain thinking! In that system Chill Touch is more like "skeleton bad touch from 120 feet away"


Chill touch also requires you to be right next to the target. The difference between 0 and 30 meter range is way bigger than the difference between 30 and 60.

I think the biggest problem with Electric Arc is just how many benefits you’re getting simply for sacrificing the critical hit rider most other cantrips have. Personally I’m partial to making the 2nd target exclusive to a critical hit, since I don’t want to be messing with multiple different dice types for a single spell.

Edit:Ninja’d


Salamileg wrote:
Data Lore wrote:
I do. Ran FoP. Every caster picked up Electric Arc and used it exclusively (even on single targets - still great for that). In the AoA campaign Im playing in its also very popular with the casters.
Really? Why do they do this? Ray of Frost, Produce Flame, Chill Touch, and Telekinetic Projectile all either deal more damage or deal the same amount of damage

Only Telekinetic Projectile deals more damage - and only slightly, and at some specific levels. You have to consider that saves scale differently than AC, and the half damage on save is a strong contributor. There’s graphs on page one.

You can use it for single target without feeling too bad, it’s still likely the best option.
The rider effects only proc on crits, which aren’t that frequent - having two enemies in range, much more frequent.


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Samurai wrote:
You've never had a game where the PCs are hit by their own Wall of Fire or Fireball?

Oh sure, but having that happen when an enemy critically fails a save is not only unrewarding (the success affect is quite literally better in that case) but anti fun.

Thematically it’s fine, just a bit punishing for being good at something.

I actually think if you just turned it into an optional choice of a rider. Then tactically you’d want to target the one with the lowest save first (I guess they’re more conductive) to transfer to the next target.

But I think the secondary target should treat their save as one step better than the first (which could also technically flex the cantrip to being able to target more than two in the case of successive critical failures)

It’s not a bad concept as a rider, but I don’t like negative affects to casters when they do good, regardless of the reasoning and that’s sorta what that CF is


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Having the arc go to a second target only when the initial target crit fails would be cool. It would be an easy fix too. But I wouldn't let it arc more than once.

It might still be too good at that point but it would be only marginally too good.


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At low levels weaknesses and resistances are also less common so it makes sense that low level characters are leaning on electric arc. And I can see how that would be skewing initial reactions to it.

The fact that it is a good cantrip is not something I am trying to argue against and if you are picking only one attack cantrip, especially with no knowledge of what is coming, it should be considered a good choice.

But is it brokenly better than other choices?

Some people clearly feel that the answer is yes, but those people also seem pretty adamant that range is a meaningless attribute and that being a caster hanging out within 1 movement of multiple enemies is never going to be a problem. Especially if monsters do not immediately start mobbing up on the person apparently spamming this over-powered combat strategy of electric arc + a crossbow shot. Where exactly does that fall on the highest DPR builds? Especially when that crossbow falls proficiency levels behind your spells and skill checks and starts eating up your wealth for something that has to be reloaded after firing.

So some people are arguing that non-casters are better using it than weapons:

As far as MC characters using it or picking it up through an ancestry feat, the alchemist and scoundrel rogue can have an 18 in a casting stat, but will be falling behind in proficiency without investing a lot of feats into an attack plan that uses 2 actions every round in order to make a low damage die attack against 2 separate enemies that will never gain the advantages of weapon runes .

And to say that the alchemist will be better with a cantrip than with bombs must be assuming a non-bomber alchemist who is not investing any feats into using the defining weapon of the class.

The rogue will also lose out on the ability to sneak attack with spells if they stick with electric arc so it is definitely sub par for the rogue.

Any other non-caster is not going to have an 18 attack attribute AND a lagging proficiency behind their weapons. This idea becomes a trap option for most martial by level 5.


Its not about the highest dpr builds or whatever. Its about looking at where the cantrip lies in the spectrum of other ranged cantrips and ranged martial options.

Concerning range, it is absolutely a super circumstantial attribute for me in the games I run or those that others have run that I have played in. At my table, I cut down a 24x24 battlemap to fit on a 21 inch lazy susan (for easy mini access for all around the table) and I still only end up using small portions of it.

Also, yes, your crossbow prof is lower but you fire it at no MAP penalty and firing it does not hinder your electric arc. It synergizes extremely well. If the player is an elf, they can even nab bow proficiency and not have to worry over reloading. If your worried over cost (LOL!), a sling works too.

Finally, the idea that somehow it wont be that bad after 5 or 6 levels of play is laughable since the first 7 or so levels of play is the shelf life of many actual campaigns.

Currently, its clearly the best tool in the toolbox (at least at early levels) and thats just not good for the game. Even if it only hit one target, it would give produce flame a run for its money. How people could argue that it hitting two is just fine in light of that is just beyond me.

Unicore, you seem to be willfully ignoring stuff. Seriously, I get liking the power of this cantrip. But its too much.

Anywho, I definately like the idea of it just arcs when the initial target crit fails (once only). I would then let it arc out 30 feet from that enemy to another creature you can see (thus potentially increasing its range since its more situational with that nerf). I can still see players picking it now but they wont be overshadowing ranged martials or those that go with other cantrips.


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I think making the arc a rider effect for a crit fail would create a nice symmetry between it and other cantrips. Even with this change I still believe the spell to be a teensy bit too strong but it would become an option in the toolbox rather than being the optimal cantrip in almost all common scenarios.


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Data Lore wrote:

Its not about the highest dpr builds or whatever. Its about looking at where the cantrip lies in the spectrum of other ranged cantrips and ranged martial options.

Concerning range, it is absolutely a super circumstantial attribute for me in the games I run or those that others have run that I have played in. At my table, I cut down a 24x24 battlemap to fit on a 21 inch lazy susan (for easy mini access for all around the table) and I still only end up using small portions of it.

Also, yes, your crossbow prof is lower but you fire it at no MAP penalty and firing it does not hinder your electric arc. It synergizes extremely well. If the player is an elf, they can even nab bow proficiency and not have to worry over reloading. If your worried over cost (LOL!), a sling works too.

Finally, the idea that somehow it wont be that bad after 5 or 6 levels of play is laughable since the first 7 or so levels of play is the shelf life of many actual campaigns.

Currently, its clearly the best tool in the toolbox (at least at early levels) and thats just not good for the game. Even if it only hit one target, it would give produce flame a run for its money. How people could argue that it hitting two is just fine in light of that is just beyond me.

Unicore, you seem to be willfully ignoring stuff. Seriously, I get liking the power of this cantrip. But its too much.

Anywho, I definately like the idea of it just arcs when the initial target crit fails (once only). I would then let it arc out 30 feet from that enemy to another creature you can see (thus increasing its range since its more situational with that nerf). I can still see players picking it now but they wont be overshadowing ranged martials or those that go with other cantrips.

Arguing that electric arc is better than a ranged martial is a shocking claim to me. I have played a 1st level fighter with a composite shortbow and having a +9 to attack and 1d6+3 damage that I can direct at the same target within 60ft instead of 30 was vastly superior to electric arc. Especially given that that fighter had a +9 reflex save while most casters will have to sink a lot of resources into have a 18 AC. And by 4th level you have double shot which is objectively better to what a caster can do with electric arc in every way.

I haven't played the ranger, but again, with the flurry has a +7/+4/+2 AND (This goes for martials with ranged weapons), the critical hits and crit specializations of bows are incredible, which you get three chances to make when you focus fire.

Now it is clear that we just have difference of opinions about the value of range, and that it is a very subjective measure to attempt to quantify so I will stop arguing that point except to say that your position on the value of range is no more objectively provable than mine.

But the point that most games don't go above level 7, so extended balance considerations are meaningless is an argument in bad faith. There are many spells that are valuable at low levels and become less valuable as you gain higher level spells. It is not broken for one cantrip to be a good character option for a couple of levels but for its value to depreciate a little over time.

If you want to make a house rule for electric arc for your own table that is fine, but then this is probably a thread that should be moved to house rules. Arguing that the cantrip itself is overpowered and in need of Eratta can not be based on looking at the cantrip at only 7 levels.

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