Discussion:Has anyone seen spell creation rules..?

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Has anyone seen spell creation rules...[edit]

Wesinator5 13:15, 28 January 2009 (MST)[edit]

... other than those listed in DMG3.5 p35?

(Apologies for those who have moved on to DnD4.0, and those who are piecing together Wizard's new release DnD4.325 coming soon.)

Background: I did a bit of surveying in the dark mines of 3.5 spelldom (actually, restricting myself to PHB and Spell Compendium). I went through all the different wizard spells that cause widespread damage in one form or another, trying to divine some sort of pattern in the damage dice used, the number of dice permitted, the maximum number of dice permitted, the area affected, etc. Other than roughly adhering to the tables on p36, there didn't seem to be one!

Here's a sample of what I found:

Spell Level Radius Range Damage Max Notes
Hail of stone 1 5' medium 1d4/lv 5d4  
Scatterspray 1 10' close 1d8 1d8  
Snowball swarm 2 10' medium 1d6/odd lv 5d6  
Fireball 3 20' long 1d6/lv 10d6  
Scintillating sphere 3 20' long 1d6/lv 10d6  
Ice storm 4 20' long 5d6 5d6 slow, -4 to Listen
Firebrand 5 5' × lv medium 1d6/lv 10d6  
Acid storm 6 20' medium 1d6/lv 15d6  
Horrid wilting 8 30' long 1d6/lv 20d6 1d8/lv (max 20d8) vs plants
Sunburst 8 80' long 6d6 6d6 blind; 1d6/lv (max 25d6) vs undead

My list has many more spell comparisons, divided into a range of categories - the above list is for illustrative purposes only. I am particularly interested in the progression of spell damage from level to level, and from individual targets to widespread.

In general, I feel the transition from cantrips to 1st level to 2nd level to 3rd level is an impressive increase in power. Thereafter, it's a bit "meh". I've even had players ask me to be allowed to use their 4th level spell slots to memorise 3rd level spells. I could ramble on at length at specific examples, drawn from the above list and elsewhere, of how this spell doesn't seem to match up against that spell. Rather, I'll pitch the issue in a different way:

Question 1a: What are your expectations of the average damage-dealing power of a spell at each level?

Question 1b: If there was a spell which had the same effects as a fireball at each of the other nine levels, what would its specific characteristcs be? (I've already had a stab at this)

Question 2a: Do the other details of a spell have a direct affect on your expectations of the damage-dealing power of a spell?

Question 2b: If there were variants of a fireball at Level 3 that differed in the following ways, how else would they change?

  • touch attack on one target
  • medium-range ranged touch attack on one target
  • medium-range ranged automatic hit on one target
  • a cone
  • a radial blast centered on the caster
  • a radial blast centered at long range
  • a blast that simply did damage
  • a blast that knocked people prone
  • a blast that ignited loose materials
  • a blast that blinded for a round, deafened for 1d4 rounds, set your eyebrows on fire, and scared your donkey

Any comments at all... please!

Wesinator5 02:45, 29 January 2009 (MST)[edit]

Here is an example of where this query is going.

(Expanded) Fireball
Evocation [Fire]
Level: Varies, see text
Components: V, S, M
Casting time: 1 standard action
Range: Varies, see text
Area: Varies, see text
Duration: Instantaneous
Saving Throw: Reflex half
Spell Resistance: Yes

Spell Level Range Area Damage Max
Fireball 0 Sor/Wiz 0 Close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels) 5 ft. radius spread 1 1
Fireball I Sor/Wiz 1 Close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels) 10 ft. radius spread 1d4/2 levels above 1st 4d4
Fireball II Sor/Wiz 2 Medium (100 ft. + 10 ft./level) 15 ft. radius spread 1d4/level 7d4
Fireball III Sor/Wiz 3 Long (400 ft. + 40 ft./level) 20 ft. radius spread 1d6/level 10d6
Fireball IV Sor/Wiz 4 Long (400 ft. + 40 ft./level) 25 ft. radius spread 1d6/level 12d6
Fireball V Sor/Wiz 5 Long (400 ft. + 40 ft./level) 30 ft. radius spread 1d8/level 14d8
Fireball VI Sor/Wiz 6 Long (400 ft. + 40 ft./level) 35 ft. radius spread 1d8/level 16d8
Fireball VII Sor/Wiz 7 Long (400 ft. + 40 ft./level) 40 ft. radius spread 1d10/level 18d10
Fireball VIII Sor/Wiz 8 Long (400 ft. + 40 ft./level) 45 ft. radius spread 1d10/level 20d10
Fireball IX Sor/Wiz 9 Long (400 ft. + 40 ft./level) 50 ft. radius spread 1d12/level 22d12

A fireball spell is an explosion of flame that detonates with a low roar and deals fire damage to every creature within the area. Unattended objects also take this damage. The explosion creates almost no pressure.

You point your finger and determine the range (distance and height) at which the fireball is to burst. A glowing, pea-sized bead streaks from the pointing digit and, unless it impacts upon a material body or solid barrier prior to attaining the prescribed range, blossoms into the fireball at that point. (An early impact results in an early detonation.) If you attempt to send the bead through a narrow passage, such as through an arrow slit, you must “hit” the opening with a ranged touch attack, or else the bead strikes the barrier and detonates prematurely.

The fireball sets fire to combustibles and damages objects in the area. It can melt metals with low melting points, such as lead, gold, copper, silver, and bronze. If the damage caused to an interposing barrier shatters or breaks through it, the fireball may continue beyond the barrier if the area permits; otherwise it stops at the barrier just as any other spell effect does.

Material Component: A tiny ball of bat guano and sulfur.

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