Monday, June 25, 2012

Next Thoughts: Spells

I've done an initial read-through of the playtest docs. I think I like what I see, so far. There are some things I am uneasy about, but I'll save that for another post, after I've had time to reread and reconsider.

For now, I want to talk about spells, two in particular.

Next casts cantrips as at-will spells. I'm ok with that, in concept, because I think magic-users should be able to use magic in a fairly organic way and not only in the burn-your-balls-to-cinders way. One of the cantrips, though, is Magic Missile. It is relatively unchanged from any previous version, doing d4+1 damage, at a range of 100'. I don't like it being auto-hit and at-will. The damage may not seem like much, but d4+1 adds up, and the caster gets an extra missile every three levels. So, at 6th level, the caster is automatically inflicting d4+1 on up to three separate targets, or all on a single target. No to-hit roll, no saving throw. If the spell is going to remain a cantrip, I would say require a to-hit roll, otherwise make it a level one spell and require it to be prepared. In that case, maybe add the caster's magic bonus to the damage.

The other spell is Sleep. Maybe they had a good reason to castrate the venerable Sleep spell, I don't know. Good reason or not, castrate it they did. They reduced the range, as well as limiting the effects to a 20' radius sphere. As if that weren't enough, rather than effecting a number of creatures based on HD, it now will not affect any creature with more than 10 HP. The most grievous change of all, though: now targets are allowed a saving throw. I think this weak-ass version of Sleep is more suited to being a cantrip than Magic Missile.

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