Electric Arc is overpowered


Advice

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Fair point. And as a clarification, no, it definitely isn't an overpowered action, it's an overpowered cantrip. It reduces variety in cantrip choice, but doesn't break gameplay (has some implications against class niche at the first couple levels because of reliability, but that's kind of it).

The daze-style fix was a hasty suggestion I put together, and it worked on most levels. It's just not perfect, as most hasty suggestions are. Reexamining things for that post showed it.

(also ew who drinks Pepsi?)


I am not that great with the math, but does produce flame not jump up quite a bit when paired with a rogue’s 4th level ability to add sneak attack? That + the lowered AC of flat footed, and an increased odds of getting a critical hit have to boost it considerably.

This build would likely necessitate an 18 CHA scoundrel build that MCs to sorcerer, but I think it is fair to compare the best case scenario for each cantrip to what electric arc is generally to a caster for the sake of looking at the ceiling of efficacy. It might be a good idea for pure casters to be able to out perform a rogue in at Will casting damage. I don’t think any other cantrip other than electric arc stands a chance, short of targeting a major weakness.

I will not return to restating past arguments, but it seems unlikely that the eratta preview on twitch came and went without them mentioning a major change in a base cantrip when they took the time to discuss how the bulk and cost of generic class kits was being adjusted to be mechanically correct. We will likely find out on Wednesday, but I for one am highly skeptical there will be a change at this time.


It’s possible it’ll be on the next lot of changes, they did mention they have a bunch of things they’re aware of that they haven’t settled on yet. I thought there was a good chance to see it soon, but redoing some math today when I redid my balance suggestion showed me it is not as simple as I thought, so uh. Perhaps.

As for starting to stack cross-class feats... it’s a bit of a different matter. I mean, on one hand, yes, some feats apply to some spells and not others. On the other, the more variables we add, the harder comparisons get, and baseline comparisons are usually more appropriate for baseline values. You’ll notice I tried to steer away from feats, crossclassing, and special cases - of course spending multiple feats on a strategy should make it more effective. That doesn’t mean the one you did not invest in is weaker, you just didn’t invest in it, and future feats might grant similar benefits anyways.

It’s an odd path.


Its interesting what happens when you include some of those bonus effects.

Acid Splash getting some splash damage (2 points)
Produce Flame getting elemental weakness/persistent damage (call it 7)
Ray of Frost getting elemental weakness (5)

The numbers I chose were fairly arbitrary, but Weakness 5 is on the low end (of non-zero weaknesses). 7 on produce flame was just to get the line not to stack on top of ray of frost. Acid Splash didn't take into account elemental resistance, providing a moderate boost from that 1 point of splash on 2 targets.


Quote:
not every problem has been addressed in this document. Some are a bit complicated, and the solution is going to take more time to fully test before releasing it to all of you. Just because you don’t see an answer here doesn’t mean that we aren’t aware of and considering the issue—we’re likely just trying to figure out the best way to handle it.

Welp, time to bring up the datasheet.

I'll have some prototype changes early next week. "Daze damage" isn't consistent enough.


Quote:
Just because you don’t see an answer here doesn’t mean that we aren’t aware of and considering the issue

It also doesn't mean that they are considering it.

I think some more spell errata are certain, but I'm not sure this cantrip will make the list at all.


Hmm, meditating on this a bit. Daze damage scaling is a bit meh since you have to wait too long between increases.

So, I think I figured I would just make it so electric arc hits 1 target with 2 actions and 2 targets if you use it as a 3 action version (with material components). This means the caster cant follow up the two target version with a weapon attack, cant move, cant apply metamagic (like reach spell) and would need a hand free (to get at that spell component pouch) when doing the two target version.

This leaves the damage but adds an opportunity cost. Not perfect but I'll try that, I think.


Unicore wrote:
I am not that great with the math, but does produce flame not jump up quite a bit when paired with a rogue’s 4th level ability to add sneak attack? That + the lowered AC of flat footed, and an increased odds of getting a critical hit have to boost it considerably.

Yes, sneak attack would adds a lot.

But monster AC scales faster than monster saves. To make up for item bonus to attack, that spells don't get. So the flat footed is +2 at lower level, but makes for the same accuracy at higher level. Though I guess flat footed is easier go gain at high level, so call it a wash.

Still at level 20, it should beat electric arc against single target.... by 27%.


Mellored wrote:
Unicore wrote:
I am not that great with the math, but does produce flame not jump up quite a bit when paired with a rogue’s 4th level ability to add sneak attack? That + the lowered AC of flat footed, and an increased odds of getting a critical hit have to boost it considerably.

Yes, sneak attack would adds a lot.

But monster AC scales faster than monster saves. To make up for item bonus to attack, that spells don't get. So the flat footed is +2 at lower level, but makes for the same accuracy at higher level. Though I guess flat footed is easier go gain at high level, so call it a wash.

Still at level 20, it should beat electric arc against single target.... by 27%.

Plus on a critical hit it is adding +1d4 persistent damage, per spell level, IN addition to doubling the sneak attack damage. Which makes it an incredibly deadly/action consuming spell when it crits.

I get that a lot of casters might find the spell lackluster, but it clearly has its niche where it can significantly out perform electric arc.

So far, Datalore's suggestion for changing electric arc is the best I have seen as far as a house rule goes, but I am still not convinced I see how leaving it as is is a problem for game balance. I would still much rather see more feats and other options developed to bring up the other cantrips to the same level, like what the rogue can do with produce flame.


EDIT: I will stick with the flexible solution. This is the spell card I made for my player:

https://i.imgur.com/gMqLbpd.jpg


Mellored wrote:


But monster AC scales faster than monster saves.

Does it? Just jumping around the Bestiary a bit:

Balor(20) has 45 AC and 39/35/34 saves. So only Will is behind AC scaling and only by one point.

Banshees(17) have 39 AC and 25/29/32 saves. So their Will is better than their AC, although their fort is lower.

Orc warriors are 18/8/7/4. Ref is a tiny bit lower and Will is noticeably lower.

Lich(12) is 31/17/21/23. Again will is higher, but Fort is noticeably lower.

Efreeti(9) is 28/18/17/20. All their stats are within a couple points of each other.

These are just a couple examples, but looking around the Bestiary a bit more and this seems pretty consistent.

It's more accurate to say that saves and AC scale at roughly the same rate but that generally speaking specific monsters have one (sometimes two, rarely zero) saves that are noticeably lower. Which save and how much lower dependent on the specific monster, of course.


Squiggit wrote:
Mellored wrote:


But monster AC scales faster than monster saves.
Does it? Just jumping around the Bestiary a bit:

From https://paizo.com/products/btq021ct?Gamemastery-Guide-Monster-and-Hazard-Cr eation

TABLE 2–5: ARMOR CLASS
1 19 16 15 13
...
21 49 46 45 43
= 30/30/30/30 point difference between 1 and 20.

TABLE 2–6: SAVING THROWS
1 +11 +10 +7 +4 +2
...
21 +41 +38 +35 +32 +28
= 30/28/28/28/26 point difference.

So over 20 levels, AC attack are 2 points behind spells later. Given you get +3 weapons, weapon attacks are actually 1 point ahead, but AC spells fall behind.

Which also means my martial vs caster calculations are a little off. I assume flat scaling for both.


Quote:
So over 20 levels, AC attack are 2 points behind spells later. Given you get +3 weapons, weapon attacks are actually 1 point ahead, but AC spells fall behind.

If and only if you're attacking weak save.

Looking at the numbers you provided for level 21, using 46 AC as the baseline the save-granting spell is -6/-3/+0/+3/+7 compared to the attack spell. That's pretty close to symmetrical.

Given that we're talking about very specific cantrips, the option to choose which save you target doesn't really factor in. So it's more like EA is better against enemies with low reflex, worse against enemies with high reflex and about the same (in terms of accuracy) against enemies with average reflex. Discounting, of course, EA's failure effect since that's kind of beyond the point of this comparison.


Squiggit wrote:
Quote:
So over 20 levels, AC attack are 2 points behind spells later. Given you get +3 weapons, weapon attacks are actually 1 point ahead, but AC spells fall behind.

If and only if you're attacking weak save.

Looking at the numbers you provided for level 21, using 46 AC as the baseline the save-granting spell is -6/-3/+0/+3/+7 compared to the attack spell. That's pretty close to symmetrical.

46 is the "high" AC. Moderate is 45. Saves have a extra "terrible" column for the low end, but it should rarely be used.

So -4/-1/+2.

Quote:
Given that we're talking about very specific cantrips, the option to choose which save you target doesn't really factor in. So it's more like EA is better against enemies with low reflex, worse against enemies with high reflex and about the same (in terms of accuracy) against enemies with average reflex. Discounting, of course, EA's failure effect since that's kind of beyond the point of this comparison.

It's more notable that ray of frost/produce flames, at high level, are -2 to hit compared to electric arc.

Seems like a hold over from when they had +item to spells, but remove it just for the saves, but made no extra adjustments for the spell targeting AC.

And yea, that's on average. And not including flat footed.


For what it's worth, I wouldn't want to use Electric Arc without a nice shield wall/offensive line in front of me, as that thirty-foot range looks troubling.


RicoTheBold wrote:
[My player's Bard] has electric arc (via elf ancestry feat) [which] seemed strong enough that I recommended the player take the option, even if it wouldn't scale as well due to staying at "trained" since it wasn't part of his main tradition

Although spellcasting proficiency normally is by Tradition, I believe Innate spell rules don't actually care about that, just saying if you have Expert+ spell proficiency you can use that for Innate spell, without mentioning any requirement about "same tradition".

Quote:
You’re always trained in spell attack rolls and spell DCs for your innate spells, even if you aren’t otherwise trained in spell attack rolls or spell DCs. If your proficiency in spell attack rolls or spell DCs is expert or better, apply that proficiency to your innate spells, too. You use your Charisma modifier as your spellcasting ability modifier for innate spells unless otherwise specified.

At least that seems straight forward to me, if there is controvery maybe it's worth asking Paizo whether that is intended or not? (probably more appropriate in different thread)


Not to be a Necromancer here and revive a dying thread, but I just had a thought and all the "I'd rather not be that close to enemies" replies kind of inspired it.

How about adding 30ft of range to each of the attack cantrips except EA?

This would be the simplest tweak and this would also
A) Make both Ray of Frost and Daze better at what they do, battlefield control.
B) Make Chill Touch even worth bothering with.
C) Move the Casters back with the Archers


Disagree. Touch spells should exist (if it's not convenient, use Reach Metamagic) and benefit from Flanking bonus.

The real problem with Chill Touch is it's Crit Effect VS Undead requires a 2nd Save (Will).
IMHO the same intent could be represented by only using one Save roll but using Will modifier to see if Fleeing applies.
Or really, it's just simpler to have entire effect for Undead to use Will Save instead of Fort.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

What if touch cantrips were only 1 action to make up the trade in being in melee range. It would still cost an action and a feat (Reach spell) to make them not close range.

Are we really all that worried about squishies being in melee range making multiple attacks? I mean there is already the downside of potentially provoking AoO so I can't see it would break the game.

Martial classes would still likely be using a lower attack bonus due to them using Wis, Int or Cha and likely only having trained proficiency unless they too want to invest a lot of feats.


Quandary wrote:
The real problem with Chill Touch is it's Crit Effect VS Undead requires a 2nd Save (Will).

I think straight will save might be the best idea for undead, because it's easy to justify a fail causing flatfooted.

Cyder wrote:
What if touch cantrips were only 1 action to make up the trade in being in melee range. It would still cost an action and a feat (Reach spell) to make them not close range.

You'd have to nerf their damage/etc, and I would make them Somatic (risking the AoO still)


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Parduss wrote:

Not to be a Necromancer here and revive a dying thread, but I just had a thought and all the "I'd rather not be that close to enemies" replies kind of inspired it.

How about adding 30ft of range to each of the attack cantrips except EA?

This would be the simplest tweak and this would also
A) Make both Ray of Frost and Daze better at what they do, battlefield control.
B) Make Chill Touch even worth bothering with.
C) Move the Casters back with the Archers

Can't you use the Reach Metamagic Feat on Cantrips? Looking but not finding any descriptions stating that you can't. If you can then that would put Chill Touch at a 30' Range.... And since it only states that it jumps from one target to another, you could rule that it can only affect those within 5' of the primary target then it randomly jumps to the closest target with in 5' which could be another player thus making the Caster think twice before using it while a party member is with in 5' of the primary target. After all, Acid Splash affects all with in 5' with its splash damage so why can't Electric Arc have a chance to affect a random creature within 5' of the primary target?


Krugus wrote:
Can't you use the Reach Metamagic Feat on Cantrips? Looking but not finding any descriptions stating that you can't. If you can then that would put Chill Touch at a 30' Range....

...and Electric Arc at 60'


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Draco18s wrote:
Krugus wrote:
Can't you use the Reach Metamagic Feat on Cantrips? Looking but not finding any descriptions stating that you can't. If you can then that would put Chill Touch at a 30' Range....
...and Electric Arc at 60'

Yep but also the bad guys get to use it vs the players as well Muhahaha!! :p


Well I went in a slightly modified version, tweaking ranges to certain increments.

I skipped the idea of messing with Chill Touch, for no real other reason than changing it from Touch to 30ft changes the spell way too much for my liking, and since I think the entire spell might need a rework, why bother tweaking it.

But I did settle on the idea of 30, 50, 80, (120, 500, Planetary.) being my standardized stuff.

Daze/Rof 80
AS/DU/DL/FW/PF/TF/TP 50
Everything else pretty much stayed the same.

The next part didn't really change with these tweaks, it just provided different tools to use.

Basically, the optimal ranges (from the enemy frontline) tend to be 5, 10 (Reach), 25 (Aggressive), 35 (Healer), 45 (Archer/Caster), 60 (Sniper)

85, 110 also exist, but the safety they provide is b+*%$*!# in comparison to the benefits of being able to target everyone of worth on the other team.

If you want to understand what I am talking about here, take 5ft (Melee Range) and keep adding 25ft (Standard Moves)

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