Talk:Magic Missile, Improved (3.5e Spell)

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Balance[edit]

WAY OVER POWERED!!!! Let's make some comparisons at the 10th level. Regular magic missle (1st level spell) would be putting out a wopping 5d4+5, which is a formidable force in and of its self. I do agree that since it is an IMPROVED version, and is a higher spell level, it should be more powerful but 10d6+10!?!?!?! Let's make another comparison, this one on par with it's level; Lightning Bolt. They are both 2nd level spells, but Lightning Bolt wouldn't even compare! Magic missle always hits, lightning bolt demands a reflex throw. magic missle can hit mutiple targets in seperate directions, lighting bolt hits one MAYBE two in a good arch. Magic missle PROPOSES to do 10d6+10 damage, where as Lighting Bolt does only 10d6. I think the numbers speak for themself. This spell is completely lopsided —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 207.145.199.234 (talkcontribs) . Please sign your posts!

Calm down, have a tea, stop the screaming please.
So, if this spell is to be compared to anything, it's Scorching Ray. Scorching Ray does 4d6 at 3rd, 8d6 at 7th and 12d6 at 11th level. This means about the same damage at 3rd level, but a steady increase for the IMM and higher maximum damage (10d6+10 ~= 13d6). So yes, the Improved Magic Missile is too good, considering its benefits:
  • force damage is better than fire, there are fewer enemies resistant to it and it hits incorporeal and ethereal enemies
  • auto-hit vs. ranged touch attack
So after all, you're right. Either the number of missiles is reduced or the die. --Mkill 13:24, 7 July 2007 (MDT)
How about I make the following changes
  • Have each missile deal only 1d6 damage instead of 1d6+1.
  • The spellcaster gains a new missile at every 2 or 3 caster levels instead of every caster level.
  • Possibly reduce the spell's range down from medimum to close
Will these changes help or will Improved Magic Missile still be overpowered?
Oh, and to whomever wrote the first comment above: Lightning Bolt is a 3rd level spell. --Pirate-Sorcerer
I'd suggest gaining a new missile at every 2 caster levels and increasing the spell level by one or two. It might be a good idea to decrease the maximum number of missiles, too. That way the spell still functions like magic missile, with a few increased numbers. If I were you, I wouldn't take away any capabilities that regular magic missile has, namely the range and the +X damage. It's your spell though, just my two cents. --Daniel Draco 09:18, 8 July 2007 (MDT)
Thanks for the suggestions, though I still want Improved Magic Missile to be a 2nd level spell, and have the maximum number of missiles still be 10. Now, if I were to 1) remove the +1 damage per damage die & 2) have it so new missiles are gained at every 2 (or maybe 3) caster levels. Will these changes balance Improved Magic Missile, or will other changes be needed?--Pirate-Sorcerer
Balancing this spell is actually not that complicated. Actually, I bet Improved Magic Missile is the oldest homebrew spell in existence. You doubt? Look at this, a newsgroup message from 1984 (yes, 23 years ago!) (a few more new mage spells)
The one thing you have to understand about Magic Missile is, that its main purpose is not so much dealing damage. Other spells are better at that. The main use is to delay an action to disturb a spellcaster. The second main use is a last resort. If you face an enemy that has tons of different resistances, high AC and saves, cover and who knows what defenses, the one spell that reliably deals damage is Magic Missile. (It can be defeated by SR, a brooch of shielding and a Shield spell, though).
MM does 1d4+1 (3.5 average damage) points of damage, and you gain extra missiles at levels 3/5/7/9. For an improved spell, you could raise the damage die, the rate of gaining missiles and the maximum number of missiles.
The bar for second level spell damage is scorching ray, see above, with 4d6 (14) at 3rd, 8d6 (28) at 7th and 12d6 (42) at 11th level. But as I already wrote IMM damage needs to be lower because it is harder to defend against. I'm not so much into increasing the number of missiles, because rolling tons of d4 and adding them is annoying. I prefer keeping the number of missiles but raising the die. So, that's either 1d6+1 (4.5), 1d8+1 (5.5) or 1d10+1 (6.5).
So, a 1d6+1 missile does 64.3% of the Scorching Ray, 1d8+1 does 78.6%, 1d10+1 does 92.9%, at least at levels 3-4, 7-8 and 11-12 (in between the Missile is better because it increases every 2 levels, the Ray only every 4).
Keeping with the "low but reliable damage" theme, I'd go for only 1d6+1 damage every 2 levels, but allow the spell to increase damage up to a high level, setting the maximum number of missiles at 10 at 19th level, at which point it would have 45 average damage, finally beat the Scorching Ray.
The other option is giving it slightly better damage with 1d8+1 (or 1d6+2, the d6 is more of a "wizard die") but cutting it off earlier, with 7 missiles at level 13. --Mkill 10:33, 9 July 2007 (MDT)
I'll go with the first option (1 missile that deals 1d6+1 damage at every 2 levels). If you or anyone else has any other balance issues, please point them out in detail and possibly make some suggestions on how to fix them.--Pirate-Sorcerer
I think the final result of 1d6+1/2 caster levels is decent enough. Keep it like that. -- Mythos 12:47, 3 July 2009 (MDT)
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