Encyclopaedia Arcanum: FedoraFerret's Guide to Spells


Advice

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Re: Glyphs, generally "touching" (the wording of the spell) doesn't include being touched by (when speaking about mechanics).
Yet even if you disagree, there's no need to touch your target anyway since you can set a trigger instead.

Also, I wouldn't count weapons with hidden niches as "containers" because nobody would ever call them that (except spies speaking in code I guess).
Yet, again, there's no need for the Glyphed items to be weapons (since you don't need to target the enemy).

If you really want to be abusive you buy lots of little boxes and stash them in a satchel. Weight the satchel so it's good for throwing and in a tough combat toss those Glyphs, loaded w/ AoEs, anywhere near the target(s), as long as you phrased your trigger well (and in such a way as to be safe while you're near it.)
All done in one round. By any PC.

Just really, really hope your enemy hadn't been scrying on you or divining to learn how to trigger your Glyphs prematurely.

Unfortunately, the spell gives no details on what sorts of triggers are feasible, a.k.a. what the Glyph can discern. Alignments? Allegiances?

I think this portable usage does break the system, and would advise against it. It's already sweet enough for bases & ambushes.


Glyph of Warding is best put on a Pandora Box. Opens it, and it will blow in your face.
Whatever you do, there will always be ways to abuse it if you allow the container to be moved.


Unicore wrote:
Aratorin wrote:
Unicore wrote:

I actually think the

You don't need conceal spell or silent spell if you have Ventriloquism in effect before casting Ghost Sound, as it would allow you to reposition the sound of the Verbal component.
That is true, but I think a lot of players think they can get away with just having ghost sound memorized and use it to cause a distraction without using any feat or spell support, but its range is only 30ft so anyone that is going to potentially want to look...

Personally I think that the cantrip has been made useless if you have to have this sort of preparation for it. Therefore as a GM I would be looking for a way to enable it. I want the players to do this sort of thing.

But yes as its written they need Silent Spell or Conceal Spellcasting which is broken. These are medium level Wizard feats and a major character build investment for the sort of ability a Rogue can replicate by tossing a stone at level one.

So players respond by simply not taking Ghost Sound. This cantrip needs to be errated to remove the verbal component.

It makes sense that an illusionist should go down this route if he wants the enemy to not know he is casting a spell. But even for him it is not necessarily required.


SuperBidi wrote:
FedoraFerret wrote:
SuperBidi: The glyph trick still requires two actions, unless you've already got it in your hand walking into combat, and it only targets one creature. I don't personally have a problem with being able to use a spell to make single-target spell grenades with a cap of your casting modifier during downtime.

Single target spell grenade? You lack imagination :)

Let's take a Sorcerer with Glyph of Warding as his signature spell. Everyday, before resting, he creates the maximum amount of Glyphs that he puts on weapons with hollow hilts (or whatever system making them "containers").
He then hands the weapons to the Quick Draw Flurry Ranger with a Doubling Ring who will have lots of fun generating Cones of Cold 5 times per day when he hits (which can happen up to 5 times per round if he's hasted), humiliating the Dragon Barbarian in the process and making the Spell Storing Rune completely irrelevant.

And then you consider that most parties have 2 casters...
I'm pretty sure that after trivializing a few "Severe" encounters you will forbid such combos. And the only way is to put back the Glyph of Warding where it should be: On static objects.

I'm not convinced that that activation mechanism is allowed by the rules, or is practical or safe, but there is no way I'd let that cone of cold not hit the wielder of the weapon as well. It might even trigger when he drew the weapon. So go ahead.

There are only a handful of ways in the game to get immunity to damage.

Putting it back on static objects is a good way of the GM saying no to this use of the spell, just do it up front so the players know.


By a conservative reading of the rules, the Lock spell doesn't supply a complex lock, meaning it is trivially opened by anyone that has a minute or three (just keep trying until you roll a nat 20, assuming adding 20 to your Thievery score doesn't still mean a crit fail). In which case you should probably forget about this spell and simply purchase a non-magical lock instead.

Not sure if that merits a lower rating, but possibly it merits a mention.


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Zapp wrote:

By a conservative reading of the rules, the Lock spell doesn't supply a complex lock, meaning it is trivially opened by anyone that has a minute or three (just keep trying until you roll a nat 20, assuming adding 20 to your Thievery score doesn't still mean a crit fail). In which case you should probably forget about this spell and simply purchase a non-magical lock instead.

Not sure if that merits a lower rating, but possibly it merits a mention.

It uses the existing lock. If that lock is complex, it stays complex.


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Aratorin wrote:
Zapp wrote:

By a conservative reading of the rules, the Lock spell doesn't supply a complex lock, meaning it is trivially opened by anyone that has a minute or three (just keep trying until you roll a nat 20, assuming adding 20 to your Thievery score doesn't still mean a crit fail). In which case you should probably forget about this spell and simply purchase a non-magical lock instead.

Not sure if that merits a lower rating, but possibly it merits a mention.

It uses the existing lock. If that lock is complex, it stays complex.

Yeah, I think the point is that it lets you create a shabbyy lock where there is none, but reinforce an existing lock significantly (upping the DC by +4). It seems like it would be a common spell for homebody wizards who want to add a little extra umph to the best locks they can otherwise buy.


Aratorin wrote:


It uses the existing lock. If that lock is complex, it stays complex.

Thanks.

Still, if you're used to similar spells in other editions of D&D/PF the limited effectiveness of this spell will likely surprise you. And so my question (or not even that, "minor pointer" is more like it) remains: if the current rating might be for a spell that creates a lock no commoner can bypass rather than the spell actually on paper.


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Volume 5 is volume live!

...

I'm so sorry.

Anyway AoN updated a few days ago with Gods and Magic. On Wednesday, April 1st (which will be after Volume 9 releases, containing 9th and 10th level spells) I'll be doing a big update for all existing guides, including this one.


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I will disagree with the blasting of Shadow Blast, the damage is really low, 1d8 per spell level basically, to compare the spell will do 22.5 average damage while a cantrip of the same lvl is 17.5 and free, so hitting neutral is a really bad use of spell slots and the weakness targeting will usually come from the cold or fire energy, and both energy types have better spells for that damage (not on the occult list but the person that picked Occult probably don't really care for blasting anyway).

Versatile? Yes. Blast? Not really.


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FedoraFerret wrote:

Volume 5 is volume live!

Link should be:

https://fedoraferret.wordpress.com/2020/03/16/encyclopaedia-arcanum-vol-5/


Kyrone wrote:
I will disagree with the [rating] of Shadow Blast

I must say you might be on to something.

Being able to avoid resistances/immunities is good, of course, and so is being able to target weaknesses.

But do you always know which exact energy type is best each time you use this spell? As opposed to often picking the "wrong" energy type a few hours earlier, when you prepare today's spells? I believe the rating depends on it, which feels a tad optimistic.

Meanwhile, that the spell basically never targets a weak save is a huge penalty the rating does not seem to take into account.

In summary: if you (nearly) always get added damage from Vulnerability and never encounter any resistance, that might justify a four-star rating despite the middling damage. But it still doesn't explain the inability to target a weak save (except against monsters with only Fortitude as a good save).

I would probably give it three stars until further notice.


This is not actually about a typical spell, but I noticed domain spell (draconic barrage), and I wanted a second opinion that i am reading this spell description right. No one seems to be mentioning this (although Nethys only put it up recently).

It heightens with both damage, as well as the number of beams you can shoot out. Am I reading this wrong, or can that add up to 100d6+(Statx10) damage?

It has draw backs (random element, MAP, actions to shoot), but this feels like the crazy interpretation of flaming sphere we saw earlier. Certainly a potential boon to would be blaster clerics.


lemeres wrote:

This is not actually about a typical spell, but I noticed domain spell (draconic barrage), and I wanted a second opinion that i am reading this spell description right. No one seems to be mentioning this (although Nethys only put it up recently).

It heightens with both damage, as well as the number of beams you can shoot out. Am I reading this wrong, or can that add up to 100d6+(Statx10) damage?

It has draw backs (random element, MAP, actions to shoot), but this feels like the crazy interpretation of flaming sphere we saw earlier. Certainly a potential boon to would be blaster clerics.

Yes, but you have to spend 2 actions to cast it, and then 1 action per dragon to fire them. It's my favorite spell, but it's not a 2 action 100d6+60, so it's not nearly broken.

I love the concept of a Scarface type character going "Say hello to my little friends!" and then firing off this dragon gatling gun.


Aratorin wrote:

Yes, but you have to spend 2 actions to cast it, and then 1 action per dragon to fire them. It's my favorite spell, but it's not a 2 action 100d6+60, so it's not nearly broken.

I love the concept of a Scarface type character going "Say hello to my little friends!" and then firing off this dragon gatling gun.

Oh yes, I realize it has a cost. Still... that spell seems like an entire battle plan in and of itself. You cast it, and then you cast regular spells for the rest of the fight while pelting everyone with dragons. Well, that, or stride twice to run away from enemies and still pelt them with dragons in the same turn.


It's a pretty good domain power, yeah. Massive range, the damage makes shortbows look like chumps. It's borderline useless early game but late game it can become a really dependable source of damage in a big fight, particularly if you don't typically specialize in SAR spells so you're not dealing with MAP on that third action. I'm covering domain powers in April's cloistered cleric guide and it's probably getting a 3* blast rating (since it does require a lot of actions to get the full use out of it.)

Re: Shadow Blast, y'all have a point. The problem with my own system is that it can be hard for me to detach the versatility rating from the others, but it does only really warrant a 3* as a blast. I'll get that on the 1st when I update everything.


lemeres wrote:

This is not actually about a typical spell, but I noticed domain spell (draconic barrage), and I wanted a second opinion that i am reading this spell description right. No one seems to be mentioning this (although Nethys only put it up recently).

It heightens with both damage, as well as the number of beams you can shoot out. Am I reading this wrong, or can that add up to 100d6+(Statx10) damage?

It has draw backs (random element, MAP, actions to shoot), but this feels like the crazy interpretation of flaming sphere we saw earlier. Certainly a potential boon to would be blaster clerics.

From your description, it sure came across as a good spell.

But each dragon is one-time use only - even if heightened to 9th level that's only nine 9d6 attacks. And they still require nine actions. If you want to cast a spell each round, that's one attack per round.

Now: how often does a fight last nine whole rounds?

Realistically, if you got off four dragons, slightly less at lower levels, slightly more at higher; that'd be a good day.

In other words, I believe an accurate damage assessment at various levels would be:
5th level: 3 times 3d6 assuming a 45% hit rate = 15 damage
11th level: 4 times 6d6 assuming a 50% hit rate = 44 damage
17th level: 5 times 9d6 assuming a 55% hit rate = 91 damage

In itself, this is not impressive, and only worthwhile at high level. But for a buff to your 3rd and last action, it has its uses. (Does your GM rule the strike from Haste can be used?!)

I still think lots of Wizards would choose to have their third action available for other uses, though. Not to mention Wizards preferring to cast something else with their high-level slot...


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Zapp, first off it's cleric and champion only, second off it's a focus spell so it auto-heightens.

Second off, you would be surprised at how long combats have been lasting in most of the PFS scenarios and the Age of Ashes combats I've run/played in. You're right, 9 rounds is unrealistic, but 4-5 is about average in my experience so far. It's basically "here's a domain power you can use to set up a solid third action ranged attack." Agreed that it's only worthwhile at high level, but I wouldn't call it unimpressive given that it's also a renewable resource used.


Draconic Barrage is excellent for Divine casters, though once you start comparing it to other Focus Spells (i.e. Sorcerer Bloodlines) you see it falls behind. So its best mechanic might be the early entry for a later payoff or that it can be your pseudo-Cantrip for Divine Casters (w/ the one-action/attack later benefit for the two-action gives-you-nothing casting). Plus the deities are quite limited. For pure offense Focus Spell usage I'd go a different route.

Yet I love the flavor (and a bit of the randomness too) enough that I'm toying with other Divine proficient classes using MCD to nab it up. So there's that. If you're going to go dragon, go as dragon as you can!


Castilliano wrote:
Plus the deities are quite limited.

Limited, but that doesn't mean that there aren't fun ones. I've look at Sobek from the Osirian/Egyptian gods. Wikipedia has a story quote about this god... and it can be summarized as the story of the "God of taking Your Girl".

It seems like one of the most morally flexible gods out there. The only edicts are "kill those demons you were probably going to kill anyway" and "don't go around murdering the GM's nonevil NPCs". Otherwise, steal and seduce whatever you feel like.


FedoraFerret wrote:
Second off, you would be surprised at how long combats have been lasting in most of the PFS scenarios and the Age of Ashes combats I've run/played in. You're right, 9 rounds is unrealistic, but 4-5 is about average in my experience so far.

But I did use 4 and 5 rounds for my calculations, didn't I? (You sound as if you disagree with me, when it seems you're actually saying the same thing)

Castilliano wrote:
So its best mechanic might be the early entry for a later payoff

?


It's good though it has a high opportunity cost in term of action to initiate it.

By the time you are high enough level to have enough use of it, you also have a lot of interesting spell options competing for your actions.

The advanced domain focus spell is quite good as well though imo, making wyrmkin a very good domain.

The only God with good alignment is a bit bland though (generic metallic dragon God), but the neutral options (or even some evil) are really good, look at Nalinivati for exemple!


Zapp wrote:
FedoraFerret wrote:
Second off, you would be surprised at how long combats have been lasting in most of the PFS scenarios and the Age of Ashes combats I've run/played in. You're right, 9 rounds is unrealistic, but 4-5 is about average in my experience so far.
But I did use 4 and 5 rounds for my calculations, didn't I? (You sound as if you disagree with me, when it seems you're actually saying the same thing)

I'm not so much disagreeing with your thought process as your conclusion, that it's not that great in and of itself. The way you phrased it also suggested that you thought 4-5 rounds was a relatively high, based on the "it's a good day" comment.


FedoraFerret wrote:
I'm not so much disagreeing with your thought process as your conclusion, that it's not that great in and of itself.

If you end up giving it a three-star Blast rating and no more than three other stars, meaning you rate it as something average* we are in agreement, your phrases notwithstanding.

*) after all, you only pick "average" when "great" isn't on the menu


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Very specific thing to note on, but: In your rating of Enthrall you mention it's not going to be useful against "that many Perception rolls" if you are distracting a crowd.

As a point of order, if you are sneaking past a crowd there is only one roll - your Stealth against their passive Perception, meaning the -2 is actually going to be very useful since the DC is effectively just whoever has the highest passive Perception and fascinated is giving a -2 to that.

You would be in trouble if a crowd was actively looking for you, since they would then all be making Perception checks, but an enthralled crowd is probably not actively looking for anyone. :)


Eagerly awaiting your next volume release!


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So a funny thing happens when you're quarantined for two weeks and you don't have anything scheduled for 4 days: you lose track of time really fast. So I missed last week's updates, but that's fine because we've gotten to the point where the levels are short AF and they can easily be combined.

Anyway here's volume 6, consisting of 6th and 7th level. On Sunday we'll have volume 7, which will be 8th, 9th and 10th level, and next Wednesday will be the Gods and Magic updates to all existing guides. I'll be taking April off to build up a backlog of content and then we'll be back in March with a guide to the cloistered cleric.


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FedoraFerret wrote:

So a funny thing happens when you're quarantined for two weeks and you don't have anything scheduled for 4 days: you lose track of time really fast. So I missed last week's updates, but that's fine because we've gotten to the point where the levels are short AF and they can easily be combined.

Anyway here's volume 6, consisting of 6th and 7th level. On Sunday we'll have volume 7, which will be 8th, 9th and 10th level, and next Wednesday will be the Gods and Magic updates to all existing guides. I'll be taking April off to build up a backlog of content and then we'll be back in March with a guide to the cloistered cleric.

As per usual phenomal work! Just one thing, True Target affects all party members first attack.


That is unfortunately not my reading of the spell. It says the first attack roll made against the target during the spell's duration, not each creature's first attack roll against the target.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

The confusion on True Target comes because the short description of the spell says it works on multiple attacks, while the full writeup does not.

Jury is still out on what RAI is, but you are certainly correct that RAW is single attack.


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https://paizo.com/threads/rzs42q1g?True-Target-spell#1

Yes RAW your right, however it was cleared up by the Man, the Myth, the Legend himself.


Atalius wrote:

https://paizo.com/threads/rzs42q1g?True-Target-spell#1

Yes RAW your right, however it was cleared up by the Man, the Myth, the Legend himself.

Well, until it enters official errata that post is just an obscure footnote.

(It would still help clarify the issue if the guide said it was aware of the difference between RAW and RAI, of course)


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At long last, the thrilling conclusion. With volume 8, we have all 10 levels of spells. I also edited True Target with a note about RAI.


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Just my observations as always.

Maze It's actually amazing specially against higher level single bosses, they can only try the check once per turn and need 2 of them or a crit success, a lvl 15 Wizard with max int will have DC 36 in Arcane spells, a lvl 18 Ancient Blue Dragon will have +31 Perception, that means that they need a 15 to get a crit success and get out of the maze in the same turn that it was casted, meaning that the party have a 70% chance to get a dragon-free round that can be used as a breather for heals or to setup buffs and go to more favorable position and when the creature comes back it have only 2 actions in that turn. Simply an amazing boss spell.

Spiritual Pandemic The spell is a double edged sword, powerful debuff but if you used you are most likely a divine or Occult Spellcaster and will have to roll against your own spell DC to no be cursed by your own spell later if you want to cast more spells on it. The way around it right now is basically be an Arcane or Primal Sorcerer with Crossblooded Evolution and that spell.

Cataclysm It's actually 18d10, one of the effects only affect flying creatures and another only affect creatures on the ground.


FedoraFerret wrote:
At long last, the thrilling conclusion. With volume 8, we have all 10 levels of spells.

Hmm. Not a single five-star rating since Shadow Blast.

Is Shadow Blast the best "high"-level spell in the game? I doubt it.

Maybe your ratings get stingier as you go up in level? I could get behind that - sacrificing an eight-level slot is a bigger cost than a fifth-level slot (any way you look at it) and if you get the same usage out of it (relative to your level), that's still more expensive, and so maybe worth slightly less stars?

Cheers


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To Mr. FedoraFerret. I would like to thank you for the Guide. While there are one or two spells I disagree (Maze’s Versatility for example, as there is nothing preventing you from using it on yourself or a friend in danger as a way to save them/ give the person time to heal/buff, though this does mean a Mazed foe can do the same.), there are many spells you have made me see in a new light (the multiclass lying Rogue in my group is going to have a new toy in Zealous Conviction because of you, when he gets to that level.) I have found your insights interesting, and the guide something to note when thinking of spell selection. Thank you for the effort placed into it and the insights you have given.


Very well done, looking forward to the Gods and Magic addition. One thing, you forgot Nature Incarnate?


G&M has some fun spells for sure. Mostly on the lower half of levels, but that's fine - that's what people get to play with most.

Shattering Gem is amusing.


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Atalius wrote:
Very well done, looking forward to the Gods and Magic addition. One thing, you forgot Nature Incarnate?

If you look at the first entry of OP's blog, he states that he isn't going to cover battle form or summoning spells because they're so much more complicated than the other spells and require a guide all their own.

I'll give you a very basic rundown of Nature Incarnate though.

FREAKING BOSS!!!

This has been a dissertation by Vali Nepjarson.


Vali Nepjarson wrote:
Atalius wrote:
Very well done, looking forward to the Gods and Magic addition. One thing, you forgot Nature Incarnate?

If you look at the first entry of OP's blog, he states that he isn't going to cover battle form or summoning spells because they're so much more complicated than the other spells and require a guide all their own.

I'll give you a very basic rundown of Nature Incarnate though.

FREAKING BOSS!!!

This has been a dissertation by Vali Nepjarson.

Sweet


Fedora eagerly awaiting your God's and Magic update my friend


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Sorry for the delay, life is difficult. Gods and Magic patch notes are here, they'll point you to everything that was added or changed.


You sir do amazing work. Just a note, Mask of Terror is also on the Occult list I'm sure you know that though, sometimes things get deleted accidentally.


Do you plan to add in the spells added via Adventure Paths? Sudden Bolt and Rime Slick and all the others? Some of them are really very good, although since they are uncommon and the Adventure Paths give specific means of gaining them, GMs might not allow them at all, so I could see why they wouldn't be the highest priority.


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This is an awesome work. Thanks for setting a baseline to compare to; it is highly appreciated.

Just commenting in case it hasn't come up, but Volume 3 and Volume 5 lack the traditions that can cast the spells in the description.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

Would you mind if I added a link to your Encyclopedia to my Wizard guide?

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