Spells and Levels

Consider this a side-note to the Balancing thread. My goal here is to get a feel for what spells are considered "critical" to players by creating a theoretical situation.

Theoretical Situation: The rules are changed so that you may now memorize LOWER level spells in higher level slots. For example, you could memorize a Cure Wounds spell in your 3rd level slot if you wanted.

Question: Assume that you have a 4 column, what spells would you memorize in higher level slots either to get extra of that spell or because higher level choices aren't as good?

(Feel free to answer for a celestial column or an earth column and if simply providing a complete spell list works best for you, feel free)

-MS
 
Note: This is not scientific. Some people will answer based on power and others based on style.

Examples:
-Cure <Adjective> Wounds at every level except 9th, Life at 9th [Style]
-Flame Bolt from level 4 -> 7 [Style]
-At least 8 Spell Shields [Power... probably]

-MS
 
level 6, and level 7, I would happily overload on more Spell Shields. Then again I play pretty defensively oriented character concepts.

Same thing with level 3 and possibly even level 4 in regards to Magic Armors.
 
Dreamingfurther said:
level 6, and level 7, I would happily overload on more Spell Shields. Then again I play pretty defensively oriented character concepts.

Same thing with level 3 and possibly even level 4 in regards to Magic Armors.
That's actually a good example of why I'm not a fan of the concept. Intuitively, it sounds like a great idea, but I think there would be a lot of customizing columns in ways that completely screws up scaling.

It sounds like a small change, but it is likely that it would hugely affect game balance in not so positive ways.
 

RiddickDale

Squire
Moderator
Public Relations Committee
Speaking from a dedicated healer perspective...

The spell levels that have no healing would be the first places I'd look.

I know I would be comfortable taking more Cure Crits at 7th.

I can see myself in some situations where I might even be tempted to burn a life spell in favor of an extra Purify.

I dont think any of the low level healing spells are good enough to justify wasting a higher level slot on them. Although I could see the case being made for taking Poison Shields at 5th dependant on the game environment.
 

Robb G

Baron
agree with David for the most part. though i like shield's and disarms too... it's hard though, to find a level I don't have a "goto" spell for.
 

Tyson

Scholar
Gettysburg Staff
On my front-line support earth templar, I'd be sorely tempted to turn all my level 3's into Magic Armors.
Probably could not go wrong with turning 6's and 7's into more spell shields either.
 

Wraith

Newbie
9 x 4 column of 32 Cure Light Wounds, 4 Life Spells.

Just as effective as ever, since a CLW is as good at getting a downed fighter back up as anything else.
 

RiddickDale

Squire
Moderator
Public Relations Committee
Wraith said:
9 x 4 column of 32 Cure Light Wounds, 4 Life Spells.

Just as effective as ever, since a CLW is as good at getting a downed fighter back up as anything else.
Except they'll just fall down again .5 seconds later.

I guess that could be an ok build for a VERY niche character concept. But, I wouldn't take CLW guy on modules. Thats just asking to get people killed.
 

Wraith

Newbie
RiddickDale said:
Wraith said:
9 x 4 column of 32 Cure Light Wounds, 4 Life Spells.

Just as effective as ever, since a CLW is as good at getting a downed fighter back up as anything else.
Except they'll just fall down again .5 seconds later.

I guess that could be an ok build for a VERY niche character concept. But, I wouldn't take CLW guy on modules. Thats just asking to get people killed.
I've seen it used more effectively more often than I can really count. For lowbies, 1 body is as good as full body, armor is double or triple their body total anyway. For high-levels, most of what's going to be thrown at them is either 1-shot disables or enough damage that body points aren't really going to handle it anyway. That 1st level CLW that gets a fighter back up for even three seconds is at least 30 damage if you pick a higher level fighter, more if they've got PTD's left.

It's the flaw in an abstract body point system. 1 is as good as full, as far as being effective until you get hit. It's why low-level healing has massively greater utility than low-level evocation.
 

Draven

Count
Seattle Staff
Marshal
I don't see why 1 body would be better than 29 body, unless the creatures in question were swinging for a ridiculously high amount of damage. In either case, just because I -can- choose CLW, I don't see why I would.

If people were able to fill higher-slots with lower level spells, nobody would want to do a pyramid build (admittedly, I don't think a pyramid build is as good as a column build, but some people like the huge amounts of magic-armors they get from it). I know I'd fill my Earth Level 3s with Armor, CW, and possibly Repel. My level 7s would actually be filled with Crits and Poison Shields (based on the current campaign in Seattle, there's a ton of poison being chucked).
 

Toddo

Knight
HQ Staff
Marshal
Are the Fighters you're getting up with a CLW falling when they hit 0 or -1? In an active combat I'm usually whacking backpacked fighters for more damage before they can even open their eyes.
 

RiddickDale

Squire
Moderator
Public Relations Committee
Wraith said:
RiddickDale said:
Wraith said:
9 x 4 column of 32 Cure Light Wounds, 4 Life Spells.

Just as effective as ever, since a CLW is as good at getting a downed fighter back up as anything else.
Except they'll just fall down again .5 seconds later.

I guess that could be an ok build for a VERY niche character concept. But, I wouldn't take CLW guy on modules. Thats just asking to get people killed.
I've seen it used more effectively more often than I can really count. For lowbies, 1 body is as good as full body, armor is double or triple their body total anyway. For high-levels, most of what's going to be thrown at them is either 1-shot disables or enough damage that body points aren't really going to handle it anyway. That 1st level CLW that gets a fighter back up for even three seconds is at least 30 damage if you pick a higher level fighter, more if they've got PTD's left.

It's the flaw in an abstract body point system. 1 is as good as full, as far as being effective until you get hit. It's why low-level healing has massively greater utility than low-level evocation.
I have played a huge fighter who needs healing and thanks to a spirit forge I am now a dedicated healer that doles said healing out...

All of my experiences point to that being an invalid assessment of the value of body points. Believe it or not, there is more to the game that instant death effects. I have seen more than a few large fighters get pinged to death with steady damage (myself being one of them).

You may not need to heal a high level fighter to FULL to make them effective, but you certainly can't leave them at 1 so a lightning storm turns into an eviscerate.

Stephen
 

Darkcrescent

Knight
Chicago Staff
Marshal
RiddickDale said:
You may not need to heal a high level fighter to FULL to make them effective, but you certainly can't leave them at 1 so a lightning storm turns into an eviscerate.

Stephen
I think it depends on the situation. I played/am playing a near-full healer spec PC. I've seen cure lights work wonders with PCs that have shields and I've seen PCs take my CMWs and lose all 40 body in the same time they would have been dropped with 1 body CLW. People just need to pick their battles and assess the situation. If something is hitting someone for damage that doesn't go straight to body, I'll take their place while they repair their armor.

If it's a carrier like Chaos, then sure, that 40 body spell is going to be much better than a 2 body Cure light wounds when armor is negated.

but I'll stop before I go into a repair your armor rant.

Back on topic of spell levels, I'd definitely replace my 3rd level spells with Disarm or Magic Armor. I have found that a carefully placed "Destruction" for a level 7 does wonders against higher card creatures (if they hear it, don't have defenses against it). Also Shatter/Destroy, 3rd/7th respectively is ultilized a lot in SoMN, so I'm glad Plot makes you WANT to memorize those spells.

-Ryan
 
For healing, I'd take: CLW x4, MA x12, CSW x4, Spell Shield x8, Cure Crit x4, Purify x6, Life x2. Without grandstanding, being loaded up with only CLW is basically daring celestial casters to show you just how many wand charges they have. It's not like the proposed thought experiment rewards you in any way for taking lower level spells, and if nothing else "Cure Wounds" is a faster incant than "Cure Light Wounds".

For Celestial, I'd honestly probably not change anything from a standard 4 column except to take extra Spell Shields at 6th. Possibly I would take extra Magic Armors in the third slot, but I like Bind there pretty well. Most things worth throwing spells at are worth taking the arms away from, and both 3 seconds of no casting/fighting or getting a defensive called are good results from a third level spell.

As utility earth (how I actually like to play), I probably wouldn't change much either, except for (again) Spell Shields at 6th, because really nothing at 6th is anywhere near worth an extra spell shield.
 

Polare

Count
Alliance Rules
Moderator
Seattle Staff
As my battle-magic-oriented Celestial primary, here's what I'd do:

At high levels (25+), 3rd level spells are pretty worthless. Everything even remotely close to my APL will rip from a Bind; my wand charges do almost an Ice Bolt each, so there's no point in wasting spell slots on those; Shatters are worse than Disarms (at least Disarms work on rendered items, though tons of things have claws anyways); and Wall of Force is extremely situational. I'd drop pretty much every 3rd down to either another Disarm or another Magic Armor.

Similarly, 4th level spells are not so great for many of the same reasons. Shun or Awaken are good to have a few of, while Banish is a nice addition, but I'd probably still drop a couple of 4ths down to Magic Armors.

Finally, 8th circle kind of stinks unless you like Dragon's Breath. Sure, 40 points of damage *sounds* great, but when you figure that (again) anything near your APL won't be too impressed with 40 points of damage... or, alternatively, that 40 points of damage is only 3 or 4 Wand charges... No good Binding or Command spells at this level would cause me to drop a number of 8ths down to Sleeps, Charms, or Confines.

At the end of the day, this points to the issues with Evocation not scaling. It just isn't that useful at APL 25+ - virtually everything has 100+ body, and static damage just can't compete at those levels. I'd rather have 3 Sleeps than 3 Lightning Storms, since it's far more likely that the Sleeps will actually take something down. Same goes for Confines - in a team with lvl 25+ fighters, I will get *far far far* more damage in by Confining something so that my buddies can beat on it for 3 seconds while it rips free than by memorizing an Ice Storm.

I agree with Gary in that it would have a ton of unintended consequences. You'd see *lots* more defenses memorized by PCs (esp. Magic Armor and Spell Shields) in those "garbage" levels (like 3rd for C and 7th for E).
 
Actually, the goal of the thought experiment was to see what spells are either "too good" for their level or "too bad" for their level. Obviously, it isn't scientific, so take it all with a huge grain of salt.

Personally, I would love to see the rules changed to allow lower level spells to be memorized in higher level slots, BUT only if the spells really are balanced to their spell levels. If every 3rd level spell is mechanically better than every 2nd level spell or, given it isn't always possible to simply compare mechanical benefits, if every 3rd level spell is GENERALLY a better choice than every 2nd level spell (obviously specific situations can change things), then such a rule wouldn't provide a huge mechanical advantage, except in one situation: when you are firmly aware of the upcoming situation. And honestly, one of the advantages of Vancian casting (probably the only real advantage) is that you are supposed to have an edge when you have researched what spells you will need.

Other than that, assuming spells were well balanced to level, the main use of memorizing up would be for FLAVOR. And that would be awesome if spell casters could memorize for flavor (Ice Wizard, Bind-o-mancer, Enchanter, etc.).


As I said at the top, the results aren't scientific, but a few things stood out and I think are probably true.
-Magic Armor should probably be increased in level (especially considering that Cure Wounds only heals 5 damage and in most games MA will stop more damage than that)
-Spell Shield should probably be increased in level (maybe a Minor Spell Shield should be added that stops only lower level spells?)

Not enough responses for any other good conclusions (except maybe that Shatter should have some effect on claws...act as a Disarm maybe?).

-MS
 

phedre

Squire
Claws are 10 build? 8 build? For that much build, especially for a low level character, I think the claw skill should stay as is.
 

SkollWolfrun

Squire
Oregon Staff
mikestrauss said:
Not enough responses for any other good conclusions (except maybe that Shatter should have some effect on claws...act as a Disarm maybe?).

-MS
I could buy a 1 minute Stun Limb.
 
The thing about 'raising' the level of Magic Armor. Is that it really varies in quality with level. Like in the lower level games Cure Wounds is totally viable and Magic Armor is hardly useful since you won't see nearly as many slays, evicerates, things swinging 20+, and carriers that 'require' Magic Armor's...

Evocation, AND Healing for that matter are imho the two big things only that are left that don't scale well with the high levels. I think we are 'really' close to having a very sweet system that actually does scale from low to high levels very awesomely, with the exception of the fixed number spells.

My hope is that we could do something to 'simply' the name, add the numbers to the spells so the names don't require you to remember the numbers, and then because you are calling the numbers have some way for the number of the spell to 'scale' fairly reasonably as you get a wider and wider column. Ideally that would accomplish both a simplification and balance fix all in one sweet shot.
 
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