Slice Reality saving throw


Rules Questions


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber
Quote:

SLICE REALITY

Starfinder Character Operations Manual p.141

Level Witchwarper 2
School evocation
Casting Time 1 standard action
Range medium (100 ft. + 10 ft./level)
Targets 1 creature + 1 creature/3 levels
Duration instantaneous
Saving Throw Fortitude half; Spell Resistance yes

You expose targets to churning entropy which turns parts of their body sickly and black. Each target takes 2d6 damage. A successful Fortitude save halves this damage.
You can focus on only one target rather than multiple. If you target only a single creature with this spell, the target is also staggered for a number of rounds equal to your caster level

Is it correct that a successful save does not affect the stagger inflicted when Slice Reality targets a single creature?


It seems likely, given the relatively low damage from the spell.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Even considering that this is a level 2 spell, and that's a minimum of 4 rounds staggered with no save (eventually up to 2 minutes)? I am less convinced.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

A successful save should definitely negate the staggered condition. Any other interpretation is way out of balance considering how crippling a long duration stagger is. Right now the way it reads is that the staggered condition happens regardless of save, so this is prime territory for an Errata (along with 25% of the other spells from COM).


RAW is that making the save does not negate the staggered condition for the single creature.

However, I have to agree with what's been said. Cellion is right about this being ripe for possible errata, as stagger can be a devastating condition regardless of level.

I'm imagining a witchwarper being given an extra standard action by an envoy's improved hurry, and then staggering more than one enemy per turn.


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Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

What's written isn't the question. Nothing is ambiguous, on this one.

This is a question of whether what was written is wrong, like Polar Vortex saying it was a 2nd level spell.

Because it would be better to have a usable spell, not one instantly banned from any game with a half-conscious GM.


The only way for us to know if what was written is wrong is for a dev/designer to tell us. I'll do my part and hit FAQ.


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It's kind of a shame if a save prevents the staggered, takes the spell from admittedly kinda broken to pretty much a waste of text.

A save should limit the duration of the stagger to one turn however.


Yeah, save not removing/reducing the staggered condition is too good. But if the same completely removes it then the spell isn't worth taking, with mediocre damage and a chance to stagger (if they fail). It should likely reduce the duration to one round if they save.


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Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

I think you guys are underestimating how good staggered is in Starfinder. Due to the loss of the free 5ft step, you can make melee focused enemies almost entirely helpless with a long duration stagger, and spellcasting focused enemies are even worse off.

Staggering for 1 round if they succeed on their save could allow you to stagger-lock melee and spellcaster bosses at high levels where 2nd level slots aren't too valuable.


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Staggered is really good, I think that's why some of us are saying that staggered should reduce to 1 round on a save.

You're not stagger locking someone unless you're continually casting the spell, which I guess you could but then you're trading your standard action for their move or standard action (remember the stagger only happens on single target version).

And it costs a spell slot to do so. I think this is okay.

And an important thing to remember, single enemy fights are just bad encounter design.

Even when Paizo publishes something that way I usually lower the boss a bit and add in some minions. Action economy is the most powerful tool in the game.


Ego Whip is already a 2nd level single target spell that provies a one round stagger effect even on a save, and it has better other effects than a little damage. It's also available to Witchwarpers. The only downside of EW is that it's mind affecting.

Sovereign Court

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Single enemy fights may be bad design, but realistically, writers are going to keep doing it.

If it takes 25% of the party's actions to completely ruin a boss' combat potential (stagger an operative boss for example), then yeah, that's worth paying that tax every round.

Dataphiles

Also, just because a combat may be easy doesn't mean it can't have story purpose. Also, environment fiddling can make single enemy fights more interesting. If you are not familiar with the SF environment perception rules, you should look it up.


Dr. Cupi I'm not sure what you mean by Starfinder environment perception rules, could you elaborate.

Ascalahpus, you have a point that it's absolutely worth it for the party to do, though it can be frustrating for GMs. Though as Cupi points out it could be that the "boss" fight is easy and fights a story purposes, but to get to them you had to go through a grueling fight with their toughest minions first, so it's okay to give an easy fight.

You can also litter the room with traps and hazards that make it difficult for the party to capitalize on their economy advantage.

I'm imagining something like the Star Wars episode one scene where Obiwan and Quigon fight Darth Maul. Exept perhaps larger. Imagine a large square room with force fields that come out of the floor and run to the ceiling along every edge of every grid in the room. Only they're not on all the time, they have a "random" pattern that it rotates through each turn, potentially cutting off line of effect between different party members and the boss.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

I believe Dr. Cupi is referring to the Stealth and Detection section under each of the biome writeups, starting on CRB page 396, which you would use if you want a Cat and Mouse kind of setup, where you have to FIND the boss who is slowly killing you all, instead of a toe to toe slugfest.

Sovereign Court

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I think the game should accommodate solo boss fights. It's a classic literary/cinematic trope. If the game mechanics don't let you write good boss fights, then the mechanics are bad.

Allowing a no-save spammable stagger is therefore bad.


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I mean, introduce an Incapacitation type mechanic from PF2 and you're pretty well on your way.

Basically, just say "Nah, higher level enemies are too resilient to your magic, they just don't receive X status condition".

That's about the only way to have solo boss fights, otherwise anything else will fall to these kinds of spells that reduce it's action economy to virtually nothing.

Ascalaphus wrote:

I think the game should accommodate solo boss fights. It's a classic literary/cinematic trope. If the game mechanics don't let you write good boss fights, then the mechanics are bad.

Allowing a no-save spammable stagger is therefore bad.

Besides, as someone else pointed out there is already another spell of the same level which already has a staggered effect for 1 round on a save.


Claxon wrote:


Ascalaphus wrote:


Allowing a no-save spammable stagger is therefore bad.
Besides, as someone else pointed out there is already another spell of the same level which already has a staggered effect for 1 round on a save.

Yeah, but it's in an AP backmatter, vs Slice Reality in a core rulebook.

And it's mind affecting, so the hilariously OP Mind of Three (also in an AP backmatter) shuts that down hard. As does Intellect Fortress for protecting allies.


Great points and analysis, all. FAQ clicked.

(And regarding Ego Whip vs. Slice Reality, one of these is SFS legal and one isn't, which does matter to a good subset of people, too)

Paizo Employee Starfinder Lead Designer

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Updated!


Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

Great! Thanks Joe.


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Shame to see that it was nerfed completely though. I'd have liked it to still be useable.


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NorthernDruid wrote:
Shame to see that it was nerfed completely though. I'd have liked it to still be useable.

Nerfed completely? It was overpowered as hell as written. What would you have changed it to?


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Well, if needing a target to fail a save for major effects means the spell is "unusable" I don't think you'll get a reasonable answer from that source.


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Garretmander wrote:
NorthernDruid wrote:
Shame to see that it was nerfed completely though. I'd have liked it to still be useable.
Nerfed completely? It was overpowered as hell as written. What would you have changed it to?

It was the most broken thing I've seen so far.

But there's a lot of ways to change it other than making it just another save-or-suck spell.

The most obvious is to reduce the staggered duration to 1 round instead of rounds per level.

If you want that behind a save it should affect all the targets that were damaged. instead of just the single target you focus on. Making it more of a crowd control-ish spell than a high-impact coinflip.

If you want to highlight the damage portion of the spell then it could do triple damage to a single target, or just 3d6 area/6d6 single target.

Those are the options I consider obvious if you want the spell to be usable beyond level 6-7 targets.

Personally, I don't ever use save-or-incapacitated combat spells if I can avoid it (not in any balanced system anyway), and I don't find debuffs locked behind saves much more attractive either.

But when we get new and flavourful spells, I hope for them to also do something new and flavourful. So I find it a shame when the end result is just more of the same.

P.S. if a target needs to save vs a 2nd level spell for it to have more than 1d6 damage worth of effect, then don't count on having any kind of decent chance to do more than 1d6 damage worth of effect with it.

more rant:

Generally speaking, a Witchwarper can use a 2nd level spell slot to cause 2d6(fort half) damage aoe in an area for rounds=to class level.

A spell that does 2d6 damage (fort half) once is an actual joke. Any enemy worth casting the single target version on succeeds more than half the time.

A spell that more than half the time is worse than an option that doesn't have an availability opportunity cost is not really very usable.

Though YMMV, I could see taking it and trading it out when you gain 3rd level spells. In bossfights, staggering on the 3rd turn can still be quite good depending on how the fight is going, just don't expect to land the stagger more than once per day, maybe 2 at level 6.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

If you're trying to use debilitating spells for bossfights, your party should be combining debuffs to help them land. This is a team game.


If your spell requires your team to build around it and succeed in their builds to be worthwhile, then it's kind of domineering the game though (this is a bit of a copout counterargument, the party should build to support eachother regardless, though asking for the other players to build towards reliable debuffs at chargen is still kind of out there to me).

But you're right, combining debuffs helps quite a lot,plus I forgot about spell focus/didn't think it made the cut so that makes a difference as well. (wouldn't you rather focus all of that on one of the 2nd level spells with a full shutdown on a failed save though)

Those reliable debuffs consists of mainly shaken and sickened though, unless it's actual specific class options or hybrid/magic items I haven't checked out. And those certainly don't come reliably online until 7th level, at which point you have access to Slow...

Speaking of Slow:

Looking at slow I think I've actually changed my mind.

Slice Reality is still somewhat broken. It's literally, a single target version of a 3rd level spell. I mean, that's not gamebreakingly op or anything, but it's still quite a bit more than what I expect from a 2nd level debuff, that it's just a 3rd level debuff you'd probably cast on a single target if it was a solo fight... restricted to one target.

So let me reiterate that on the "this is just more of the same" statement.

Could we just remove the useless damage from the spell and rename it "Slow, lesser"?

I'll admit implying it's useless as a spell is an exagerration, and I'm probably a bit too quick to dismiss those all-or-nothing save spells.

But I'll claim that the Witchwarper has much better spells to add to their spells known at 2nd level. And by the time this could make the cut I could just add slow instead.

In the end, I'm probably wrong to dismiss anything that does nothing more than 30% of the time (baseline), but I'm still disappointed they didn't make something more interesting, something more diverse to add to the Witchwarper's spell list than "and then it makes a save and if it fails they suffer massive penalties", 'cause we already have those spells aplenty.

(I really should try and play those kinds of spells sometime though, to get a better perspective)


Northern Druid wrote:
The most obvious is to reduce the staggered duration to 1 round instead of rounds per level.

Still doesn't help. At higher levels you can spam it against a colossus for a no save you're hosed ability.


You could add a HD limit.


kadance wrote:
You could add a HD limit.

It would be a CR limit, and even if it was CR = caster level, it would become a worthless spell for worthless mooks, where if it has a save, it can still land against a boss if you get lucky.


Sounds like my experience with Resilent Sphere. Took an average of 3 tries to land but effectively ended any boss fights, you just marked off ammo after it stuck.


BigNorseWolf wrote:
Northern Druid wrote:
The most obvious is to reduce the staggered duration to 1 round instead of rounds per level.
Still doesn't help. At higher levels you can spam it against a colossus for a no save you're hosed ability.

I disagree that being staggered is an auto-win against every enemy ever, not counting the ones with adds or Spells Resistance.

Besides, breaking the encounter by spamming a 2nd level spell is a trick that works once. And then the GM is sensible enough to include adds, Spell Resistance or immunity to stagger. Or enemies which just don't care all that much that they lose their move action. (If the GM doesn't do this kind of thing it's on you for breaking the game, not for the game to be breakable within certain parameters)

I've played through (most of) Rise of the Runelords with a slumber-witch, min-maxed to hell, their save was basically unbeatable, most enemies required a nat 20.

It was nowhere near as bad as nullifying every important fight ever, it didn't even dominate most fights.

Slumber is at will, no resource. Fire-and-forget.

You don't get [italics]that[/italics] many spell slots. Which you would have to keep spending each round.

Might still not be the most balanced thing ever, but personally I'd prefer it to another all-or-nothing spell. Plus as it is now it's just cheaper, earlier Slow. Which is kind of dull.


NorthernDruid wrote:

I disagree that being staggered is an auto-win against every enemy ever, not counting the ones with adds or Spells Resistance.

Its a good thing I'm not making that argument then.

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