The fate of Snowball


Pathfinder Second Edition General Discussion


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Snowball was, as many of you know, one of the best and most beloved spells in Pathfinder Second Edition. While I realize the reasons why are incredibly obvious to anyone who has been playing the game for a long time, it is probably not as apparent to anyone who is newer to the system. On first glance, many people would in fact draw the other conclusion. For that reason I have included a brief explanation of why Snowball has been such an integral pillar that you can of course skip if you already know all the reasons why.

Why Snowball is amazing:
First of all, the spell is terrible mechanically. The damage it deals is absolutely pitiful, to the point that it gets outmatched by cantrips. However, this is actually its greatest strength. Snowball is uniquely equipped, carrying the legacy of the "worst" damage spell in the game, to absolutely style on fools. A villain who gets bested by a Fireball at least goes down with dignity, but if your plans are foiled by a spell like Snowball? You have to hand in your villain card like there, your entire career is just over on the spot.

Furthermore, just like a real life snowball rolling down a hill, the legend of this spell has only grown stronger over time. This spell came out in the very first book, and it has been terrible ever since. Everyone knows how bad the spell is, and there is nobody left to be disappointed by that fact. Instead, people can fully appreciate its full potential like a finely aged wine.

In conclusion, something was always going to take the role of "worst damage spell". It's much better to have it be a spell with a beloved legacy like Snowball instead of some new disappointing junk.

With the remaster, the fate of Snowball remains uncertain. Will it be removed from Pathfinder Second Edition or worse yet, given a meagre buff in power level which pushes it into mediocrity? Not enough people are asking these questions.


Yes!


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Buffed to Fireball effectiveness would be an interesting take to remove a trap option.


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...or perhaps just add a "shame" debuff? Like, make the effects of styling on your target explicit?


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

It'd actually be kinda funny if Snowball had some heightened effect that made it actually really good.

Like, imagine if, heightened to 4th level, Snowball instead became like a rain of snowballs that automatically reduced the movement speed of enemies inside of the area and made it uneven ground or something?


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It should do more damage for each time it's been cast that fight, clearly.


Dubious Scholar wrote:
It should do more damage for each time it's been cast that fight, clearly.

Psychic damage, specifically.

Like, getting smacked with one snowball is bad, but two? *Three*?

Grand Lodge

I thought this was going to be about Lisa Simpson's cat!
Come to think about it, that would make it a better spell.


Wait, how have you been flavoring it?


Kobold Catgirl wrote:
Wait, how have you been flavoring it?

Some may call me a little boring, a basic b#@&! even, but if you ask me vanilla is the ultimate flavor for ice crea-I mean a spell like Snowball. Just like the humble salt, vanilla is severely underestimated and when its true potential is realized it rises far above more one-note and unsubtle Snowball flavorings.


Kobold Catgirl wrote:
Wait, how have you been flavoring it?

Chocolate cake, filled with "creme", coated in marshmallow, and rolled in pink coconut. It tastes like "disappointment."


Snowball has a pretty good end game damage when compared to other non-psychic cantrips due it's strong Heightened (2d4). It's a specially useful attack spell for Magus and Eldritch Archers after level 10 and due not depend from casting stats to do improve its damage.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
YuriP wrote:
Snowball has a pretty good end game damage when compared to other non-psychic cantrips due it's strong Heightened (2d4). It's a specially useful attack spell for Magus and Eldritch Archers after level 10 and due not depend from casting stats to do improve its damage.

I can't tell if you are doing a bit or if you actually think Snowball is a cantrip.


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Pathfinder Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Sadly I think wotc has copyrighted the word snowball. Sorry kids.


Captain Morgan wrote:
YuriP wrote:
Snowball has a pretty good end game damage when compared to other non-psychic cantrips due it's strong Heightened (2d4). It's a specially useful attack spell for Magus and Eldritch Archers after level 10 and due not depend from casting stats to do improve its damage.
I can't tell if you are doing a bit or if you actually think Snowball is a cantrip.

Sorry, it was my inattention.

In fact, this thing is so weak that I instinctively considered it a cantrip kkkk

But kidding aside, this thing is so bad that it's actually comparable to cantrips (it has the average damage of Imaginary Weapon)


What I find amusing about this discussion is that Snowball actually does slightly more damage than 2-action Harm and has a speed reduction effect on top of that. Its only downside in comparison is the spell attack roll.

Not sure if that means that Snowball isn't that bad, or if Harm is just even worse.


Harm is extremely versatile, with a one-action melee option, an area effect option, and the potential to provide major healing at range to any undead or mostly-undead allies.

Snowball's movement penalty is extremely situational, as is the utility of cold damage. It'd be nice if it were nonlethal, but it really fundamentally feels like a cantrip.


Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber
breithauptclan wrote:

What I find amusing about this discussion is that Snowball actually does slightly more damage than 2-action Harm and has a speed reduction effect on top of that. Its only downside in comparison is the spell attack roll.

Not sure if that means that Snowball isn't that bad, or if Harm is just even worse.

I think it's more that Heal/Harm used offensively is kind of in a weird place because of the 2 action effect's rider.

Like you can cast it for 1-action for a low-ish but action efficient source of MAPless damage, or you can cast it as a 3-action ability for AoE damage that also can heal people if you have the right party/enemy make up.

Or you can cast it as a two-action version.

Really should get like, half the healing bonus on the two action version or something.


In my opinion, the two-action version is equivalent to the one-action version if you're not adjacent to the target. You'd have to spend an action moving over to them, anyways.


Harm also has the niche of being able to cast it at one action 3 times in a round, which is really good nova damage at higher levels. It uses 3 slots, so its not broken, but 27d8 at 9th level is an insane amount of damage.


Harm also has a primary function of healing undead, in addition to being a semi-respectable 1A damage spell.

Anyway, getting back on track there are a few potential outcomes here. Some amusing, some horrifying, and some which would serve to proliferate the legendary status of Snowball.

1. Snowball does not get reprinted in the remaster. You could make a spin about it being too powerful to contain, but overall I would consider this quite unfortunate. It would of course still exist in the old books and could theoretically still be used, but an old and now also obsolete damage spell is bound to fade into obscurity.

2. Snowball gets reprinted in the remaster, and it's still an incredibly weak damage spell. Quite possibly the best possible outcome, as this would only serve to increase the legend.

3. Snowball gets reprinted in the remaster, and it's been buffed into bland mediocrity. Quite possibly the worst outcome I can imagine.

4. Snowball redemption. It's not just back, it's now a geniunely strong spell, and it's strong in a fun and thematic way. I sincerely believe outcome 2 is superior to this, but this would of course be fun to see and it's definitely one of the better outcomes.


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Snowball was an obnoxiously good spell on PF1 for years, and for reasons no longer applicable that made it sillier. Until its eventual errata-by-reprint, it was a conjuration spell with no spell resistance - meaning you were conjuring an actual no-longer-magic snowball and chucking it for damage on par with the best evocation of the same level could do.

With spell resistance gone, and now spell schools as well, all that remains is the fact that a ball of snow is the least threatening expression cold damage can take. It would make most sense as part of a line of nonlethal energy spells, alongside things like Static Shock for electricity, Candle Flame for fire, and Can of LaCroix for acid.


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Option 5: Snowball is made a nonlethal cantrip.

I think this is the best move, personally. It matches the implied flavor a lot better, it still allows you to style on enemies in a fashion, and it expands our roster of nonlethal cantrips to include one that isn't torture or, well, Daze.

"Snowball" sounds like the name of a cantrip to me.

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