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RFC: Sunburst


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In the current SR implementation, Sunburst rolls two saves, a save vs. breath for half damage and a save vs. spells to avoid blindness. This is either a bug, and only a save vs. breath should be rolled, or it is not a bug and the documentation should reflect it (which it currently does not).

Arguments could go either way, but I tend to favor the first option. Spells requiring two types of saves are very rare (actually, off the top of my head, I cannot remember any). The difference in functional behavior is only seen when the victim fails the save vs. breath and receives full damage, but makes the save vs. spell and is not blinded. This is bound to not happen that many times; and if it does not have a big functional impact, choosing the simplest solution makes sense. It also has the benefit of nerfing a tiny bit what is a powerful single-target damaging spell (arguably even OP, but let us leave that discussion for later). But this is hardly dispositive, so if you have a good argument for the alternate solution speak up.

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I'm in favor of the same save approach, which is what is supported by the description anyways. Especially because Sunscorch is already way overpowerful with its current damage/blindness properties in SR.

Edited by Bartimaeus
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They should probably be merged. And if so, I think it should probably be a save vs. Death... kind of weird to think that the catlike reflexes involved in a typical Breath save would let you avoid... light.  Rather, I think the question is, how sunburned do you get when hit by the spell?

(Also, I think the damage should be nerfed. But that's another question.)

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I really don't see it as being fundamentally different from any other vs. breath saving throw. The wording isn't clear to me what exactly it's supposed to be, but whether you're hit by a beam of fire or hit by a scorching ray of light, you're quick enough to feel (or see?) the heat and move before it gets a prolonged/direct hit on you.

Edited by Bartimaeus
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Executive decision: since, of the expressed opinions, we have 1-1, using my executive power and going for the option of only one save type. Implementation will be added to the divine level 1 fixes PR (note to self: do not git squash this one).

As far as rebalancing the spell, I will revisit it latter, but for now my idea is that it is the blindness effect that needs toning down, not the damage. Damage is comparable to Magic Missile, but the latter has faster casting, can eat mirror images, magic damage type which is generally better, etc. Since the blindness duration is 1 round already, the only wiggle room there is is to give a bonus to the save, so my proposal is to make the save at +2.

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SRR's version of the spell for comparison: "When this spell is cast, a brilliant ray of scorching heat slants down from the sky and strikes a creature chosen by the caster. The target struck by the ray is blinded for 1 round and suffers 1D6 + 1/level fire damage, up to a maximum of 1D6 + 10 at 10th level. The target may make a save vs. breath to avoid being blinded and receive only half damage. Undead creatures and other monsters vulnerable to bright light suffer double damage and double length blindness. Magic resistance does not affect this spell."

Key changes: not subject to magic resistance (I like spells that target the undead to generally not be, since a number of key undead creatures are quite magic resistant), damage is nerfed but not subject to a saving throw (with no saving throw penalty, this probably averages out to *better* damage at higher levels when enemies are consistently making their saving throws - SRR's average damage is 13.5, SR's is 10.5 when the saving throw is made or 21 when it isn't). I am hella biased about my own re-designs, of course, :p.

You said you were making an executive decision on the saving throw, but the contention between SD and I was not on whether it should be one saving throw type (we agreed that it should be), but what saving throw type. Which did you choose?

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In my redesign I actually use a save vs. Spells! :laugh:

My version de-emphasizes the damage (1D3 per 2 levels, max 5D3 - but similarly no save) and emphasizes the blindness (3 rounds). Because there are plenty of low-level damage spells, but not many blinding spells (since SR replaced Blindness). 

I don’t love the idea of bypassing MR... i reserve that for spells of 7th-level or higher. (Hold Undead is an exception, but that spell only affects undead...)

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2 hours ago, Bartimaeus said:

You said you were making an executive decision on the saving throw, but the contention between SD and I was not on whether it should be one saving throw type (we agreed that it should be), but what saving throw type. Which did you choose?

Sorry, save vs. breath. Taking the interpretation that blindness is a side-effect of the fire damage.

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10 minutes ago, subtledoctor said:

My version de-emphasizes the damage (1D3 per 2 levels, max 5D3 - but similarly no save) and emphasizes the blindness (3 rounds). Because there are plenty of low-level damage spells, but not many blinding spells (since SR replaced Blindness). 

 

Actually like this idea. Sticking it in my notes and will revisit later.

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3 hours ago, subtledoctor said:

don’t love the idea of bypassing MR... i reserve that for spells of 7th-level or higher. (Hold Undead is an exception, but that spell only affects undead...)

I'm not sure if I've added a number of spells where MR doesn't apply now, or just actually noted it in their descriptions where SR doesn't. Ignoring Divination and anti-magic spells, SRR also notes Glitterdust, Contagion, Greater Malison, Teleport Field, Banishment, attack spells (e.g. Cause Wounds), insect spells, counter shield spells (e.g. Fire Shield), False Dawn, Dolorous Decay, Bolt of Glory, Sunray, Halt Undead, Control Undead, and some other higher level spells all not be subject to MR. So let's check normal SR real quick...

Glitterdust: Bypasses MR, but doesn't mention it.
Contagion: Doesn't bypass MR (...does this spell do anything in SR? It casts four instances of SPPR311D but SPPR311D doesn't exist in the spell_rev directory... install-time oddities).
Greater Malison: TBD.
Teleport Field: Bypasses MR, but doesn't mention it.
Banishment: Does and mentions it.
Attack spells: Does and mentions it (for the most part?).
Counter shield spells: Does and mentions it (with the exception of Aura of Flaming Death).
Insects: Does and mentions it.
Dolorous Decay: Bypasses MR, but doesn't mention it.
Bolt of Glory: Does and mentions it (...although it writes "effects" instead of "affects").
Sunray: Doesn't bypass MR.
False Dawn: Doesn't bypass MR.
Halt Undead: Doesn't bypass MR.
Control Undead: Doesn't bypass MR.

Guess it's a mix of both. Anyways, I don't have any such misgivings about spells needing to be a certain level to be magic resistance bypass-able or not, more to do with individual spells and where it's appropriate for me, so I suppose it's a bit moot.

Edited by Bartimaeus
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IMHO there should be a good reason why a spell should bypass MR. Your justification about undead is a good one for Hold/Control Undead, since those spells only affect undead. But that does not hold for Sunscorch/False Dawn/Sunray. Those spells are quite useful against the living. If you were to say Sunscorch does zero damage to the living, and only has a chance to blind, I could get with it bypassing MR.

Or you could adopt a rule that all spells involving radiant energy bypass MR... but why? It’s a real slippery slope, which we discussed a bit in regard to Melf’s Meteors. What damage is purely magical, and thus blocked by MR, and what is a “real” element doing simple nonmagical damage? Why do Minute Meteors bypass MR (surely they are not “real”) while the acid from a Vitriolic Sphere is blocked?

I hate the MR mechanic, but as long as it’s there it should make sense. Keep it simple, I say. All magic is subject to MR unless specifically designed to bypass it for good reasons. I get insect spells (they are like summons, and summons can thwack targets with MR), and I get Bolt of Glory (designed to damage extraplanar peeps who often have MR). Ditto Banishment. I think Malison fits because it is sort of a “meta” spell designed to make the target more vulnerable to subsequent spells. (That’s why I think it should lower MR... by a bit, not nearly as much as Lower Resistance.)

I cannot fathom why Teleport Field should bypass MR, I think that should change unless someone can justify it. Same goes for Dolorous Decay. (Unless that’s just because it’s high-level?) Likewise for Fire Shield. Cause Wounds...  I suppose because they use melee attacks, and melee effects generally bypass MR? Good enough for me...

Edited by subtledoctor
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For these fire spells, it's specifically to do with them targeting the undead. What is different about the fire damage from a Sunray or False Dawn or Sunscorch compared to a Fireball, Scorcher, Fireburst, et cetera? It's some kind of divine or "holy" fire or something that's different from your normal fire damage, and to me, that crap should work against what it is specifically designed against, and it's really annoying when it doesn't. A Sunray is 10D6 fire damage to non-undead...at 7th spellcasting level. False Dawn is 1D6 per round and you have to stay in range of your enemies the entire time (and its AoE is only 20' around the caster)...at 6th spellcasting level. A Fireball is a 3rd spellcasting level spell for literally the same amount of damage and you can cast from range, a Fireburst is 5th level and does 15D6 damage: yeah, I think I'm going to just go ahead and make sure these cleric spells actually work given the intense disparity there. It all just kind of makes sense to me. That's my explanation for why "holy" fire should be exempt from MR, anyways.

Teleport Field I don't have an explanation for, especially since Sphere of Chaos is *not* exempt from MR and is the most closely related kind of spell, I think. Probably just because it's kind of a lousy spell and you might as well give it to it, I don't know. Dolorous Decay I actually liked bypassing MR so much that I made Contagion the same way - a sort of natural, soft affliction/disable you can put on certain types of magic resistant monsters. The "natural" part of it is a nonsensical explanation, but at the very least, it functionally makes them a little more versatile.

Also, in SRR, I already allow Lower Resistance to be an AoE effect via a settings.ini tweak because single target Lower Resistance is kind of dumb. Probably going to make that the standard at some point, since there's not really much of a downside to it as far as I can think - I would think the majority of the time, people are using Lower Resistance to target a Big Bad like Firkraag or something, make it so his MR isn't making spellcasting against him impossible, so making it an AoE really just opens up options against e.g. drow.

Edited by Bartimaeus
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