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I've been seeing a lot of comments on how ground effects make the game "not feel like DnD", especially since the basic elemental cantrips in 5e have no area effects.
IMO, the game should absolutely deviate from the 5e rules as written, if doing so enhances the game by making combat more interesting. It is a lot more interesting for cantrips to be more than just different flavors of 60-90% chance to hit for 1dx damage. 5e started on the right track by adding additional effects to ray of frost and acid splash. In a tabletop game cantrip side effects might bog down the flow by creating a new area effect to track every round, but here it becomes a versatile tool that gives the wizard the consistent tactical control they should always have. Especially at low levels, it is nice to not need to rest the party for the wizard's sake after every moderately difficult encounter. The very niche spell in tabletop, Create Water, is here viable to bring to any combat.

Then there is the issue of barrels. I'm not saying I wouldn't like to see an adjustable barrel frequency setting. I will say that in a proper goblin horde camp I expect to see some sort of exploitable combat option that isn't innate to PC or monster stat blocks. If goblins have large barrels of flammable liquid, they will surely use them to set the ground on fire. I don't expect to see the same tactic employed by gnolls or druids or drow or githyanki. Don't get me wrong, it is upsetting when a goblin from an otherwise tough but balanced encounter tosses a bomb that is essentially a fireball, deals more damage than anything I've seen yet in the game (56 damage over 3 characters), and drops half of my party. However, it's not so bad when I can reload from my last save.

Ground effects give incentive to keep PCs and foes moving. Terrain can be exploited more readily and regularly. I'll grant that movement can be trying - like when your PC moves 6m to get to a space 2m away, triggering 2 OAs on the way. Still, I find a fight with worgs and bears and goblins goes from exciting to deadly when the room ignites, then to satisfying when some tactful dipping and frosting turns the tables.

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So, bad encounter design is ok because quicksave exists...? Seams legit. laugh

Honestly, since I'm starting to tire of this discussion: This game is supposed to be an adaption of D&D5e, and a follow up to a beloved D&D games series. It was marketed as such, and Larian made bank with the pull of the IP, but if they need to add to, or outright break the rules they claim to use as a framework for this game, to make it more interesting, before the basics of the 5e rules have even been solidly implemented, they are doing something wrong.

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You don't have to deviate from 5e rules to have surfaces. You definitely don't have to overpower cantrips to have surfaces.

Sleet Storm, Ice Storm, Wall of Fire create surfaces. Flaming Sphere creates a rolling flame, a moving surface that sets things on fire in its path. Stinking Cloud, Cloudkill... AoE with duration. Web is a surface you can't even use now because the fire spam is everywhere.

It's also about balance. Why would I cast Sleet Storm if I can do the same thing throwing a water bottle and shooting a cantrip at the puddle without using any spell slots?

I would really like the surfaces to come into play a little bit later in levels to keep combat interesting and fresh rather than just spam OP surface creation from level 1.

Last edited by 1varangian; 23/10/20 07:06 PM.
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I am OK that surface effect should exist but not for arrows & cantrips. Adding those strips away so many other later abilities or spells. Lets use Arcane Archer as an example. Why bother with that subclass when you can play any other type of fighter and just stock up on special arrows?


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Surfaces as a concept are fine. Cantrips leaving them behind and 99 million barrels beeing in such a small area is not though.

Feeling smart and awesome because you use these in your favour to win a fight loses its charm when you can do it in every bloody encounter.

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Originally Posted by Demoulius
Surfaces as a concept are fine. Cantrips leaving them behind and 99 million barrels beeing in such a small area is not though.

Feeling smart and awesome because you use these in your favour to win a fight loses its charm when you can do it in every bloody encounter.

Any cheese we can do to the enemy like plopping down barrels from our inventory and blowing them up, I want the enemy to be able to do to us. They should use their own barrels to their advantage.

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Originally Posted by 1varangian
Originally Posted by Demoulius
Surfaces as a concept are fine. Cantrips leaving them behind and 99 million barrels beeing in such a small area is not though.

Feeling smart and awesome because you use these in your favour to win a fight loses its charm when you can do it in every bloody encounter.

Any cheese we can do to the enemy like plopping down barrels from our inventory and blowing them up, I want the enemy to be able to do to us. They should use their own barrels to their advantage.

Please no. Please let them cut down on the massive amount of consumables that are thrown back and forth.

This is dnd. Not DOS.

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+1 keep the surface, but invest in rebalance

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Extra effects ans surfaces are cool.

Cantrips however, should be cantrips.

Automatically leaving areas causes way too much hazard and guaranteed damage or proning of the target. That's more powerful than a level 2 spell.

I think they could affect stuff if thrown at such stuff, like water or oil pools, but not do that and cause damage to the target.

I like the chill, acid, burning and other effects though, but the cantrips that cause them should deal less damage to balance things out.

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Originally Posted by Demoulius
Surfaces as a concept are fine. Cantrips leaving them behind and 99 million barrels beeing in such a small area is not though.

Feeling smart and awesome because you use these in your favour to win a fight loses its charm when you can do it in every bloody encounter.

Agreed. Also, as someone else added, elemental arrows are another thing that needs to reduced (if not eliminated).

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Originally Posted by 1varangian
You don't have to deviate from 5e rules to have surfaces. You definitely don't have to overpower cantrips to have surfaces.

Sleet Storm, Ice Storm, Wall of Fire create surfaces. Flaming Sphere creates a rolling flame, a moving surface that sets things on fire in its path. Stinking Cloud, Cloudkill... AoE with duration. Web is a surface you can't even use now because the fire spam is everywhere.

It's also about balance. Why would I cast Sleet Storm if I can do the same thing throwing a water bottle and shooting a cantrip at the puddle without using any spell slots?

I would really like the surfaces to come into play a little bit later in levels to keep combat interesting and fresh rather than just spam OP surface creation from level 1.



I agree with all of this - surfaces have a place, but it should not be everywhere and reserved to higher level spells.
And I also agree with removing or limiting the elemental arrows - at low levels they basically turn everyone into a wizard.
Barrels can make sense (a room full of black powder for story reasons, casks full of wine) but they should also explode properly, like a barrel of wine shouldn't explode like a barrel of gunpowder.

Also random vines on a ruin or in the woods shouldn't ensnare and cause damage, especially to adventures walking around in leather boots & armour. Having nasty grabby vines should be location specific and make sense within the context of the area.
(like in the purtid bog and not randomly outside the owl bear cave or growing on a very intact ruined temples stone entryway.)

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Originally Posted by jinkaroo
Barrels can make sense (a room full of black powder for story reasons, casks full of wine) but they should also explode properly, like a barrel of wine shouldn't explode like a barrel of gunpowder.

This gave me a flashback. I was trying to knock out a merchant instead of killing them so I could continue to trade with them (this was before I realized knocking out doesn't actually prevent future auto-hostility). I knocked them out successfully but they were still on fire, and I didn't have a water balloon/spell. I did have a pint of beer though, and I thought "hey, beer is mostly water. I'll throw this near them to put out the fire :)".......it did not work out as planned.

I get that beer is technically alcohol and alcohol is technically flammable, but pls.

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Originally Posted by mrfuji3
Originally Posted by jinkaroo
Barrels can make sense (a room full of black powder for story reasons, casks full of wine) but they should also explode properly, like a barrel of wine shouldn't explode like a barrel of gunpowder.

This gave me a flashback. I was trying to knock out a merchant instead of killing them so I could continue to trade with them (this was before I realized knocking out doesn't actually prevent future auto-hostility). I knocked them out successfully but they were still on fire, and I didn't have a water balloon/spell. I did have a pint of beer though, and I thought "hey, beer is mostly water. I'll throw this near them to put out the fire :)".......it did not work out as planned.

I get that beer is technically alcohol and alcohol is technically flammable, but pls.

lol xD

It does contain alcohol but in such low percentages that its basicly not flammable.

And +1 for removing those damn vines. They are so bloody annoying!

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I support the surface effects, and I hope they stick around. They make the game a lot more interesting than it otherwise would be.

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If they just make Barrels so they could not be picked up or moved, I would be OK with them. At the scale they are in game, they should weight like 500 pounds so not going to be flung around like we do or carried. For them to be 20 pounds, they should be 2.5 gallon / 10 liter minikegs that people use to do home brewing now.

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Originally Posted by 1varangian
You don't have to deviate from 5e rules to have surfaces. You definitely don't have to overpower cantrips to have surfaces.

Sleet Storm, Ice Storm, Wall of Fire create surfaces. Flaming Sphere creates a rolling flame, a moving surface that sets things on fire in its path. Stinking Cloud, Cloudkill... AoE with duration. Web is a surface you can't even use now because the fire spam is everywhere.

It's also about balance. Why would I cast Sleet Storm if I can do the same thing throwing a water bottle and shooting a cantrip at the puddle without using any spell slots?

I would really like the surfaces to come into play a little bit later in levels to keep combat interesting and fresh rather than just spam OP surface creation from level 1.

+1

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Another problem with deviating from 5e rules regarding Surfaces (as they are currently implemented):

Surface effects in 5e almost never cause guaranteed damage without having a significant cost or a significant drawback. In fact, 'guaranteed' damage is relatively rare in 5e without having a costly limited resource like a Spell Slot or Item Charge. They also often have several requirements like 'ending' your turn in it.

Why?

Because (in part) Concentration is a major part of the balance of 5e. The Concentration rule is the greatest limiting factor in controlling spellcasters from completely dominating combat at higher levels like they did in prior D&D editions. It's why a Wizard can't fly around while Invisible and Hasted (at least not without multiple party members working together or exceedingly rare magic items) tossing Fireballs while basically being immune to melee damage. It's a great mechanic for balancing spellcasting vs martial classes...

*HOWEVER* Concentration can be dropped by taking just 1 point of damage. This makes anything that causes guaranteed damage to be *very* powerful against spellcasters (including Gish melee types). This is why surface affects should never, ever cause guaranteed damage unless they do so by the rules of 5e (which as mentioned, were written with that balance in mind).

Surface affects also should *never* cause guaranteed status effects unless in the rules of 5e (Acid causing -2 AC is insanely stupid), but that's for different balance reasons.

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- There should be saving throws for EVERY surface/explosion effect, to at minima, halving damage/effect they do, and at maxima nullifying said effects.
If we can have a DEX save to divide a dragon's breath by 2, we can have it as well to avoid taking full damage into fire or explosions (also making 7th rogue level actually useful).

For example, allowing a DC 15 DEX against explosions, a DC 12 DEX for halving surface damage/effects, and a DC 10 CON to hold concentration could work at the very least. (numbers as examples :p).

- Grease should now be ignited by anything less than a fireball or an exploding gunpowder barrel. Currently the spell is very limited in that regard ; the first fire arrow or firebolt will ignite all the surface, wich is often counterproductive.

- Web is flamable by the 5th rules, so be it.

- AC reduction from acid should only occurs after a failed saving throw, especially for surface effects. Spells like Melf Acid Arrow could however automatically impose an AC malus for X turns on hit, but it will be single-target only.

- Barrels should be far tinier (5-10 liters max) to be 1. transportable and 2. to not create so big AoE on destruction.
Let the "big barrels" do more damage but only able to be moved (with enough STR), not picked up.


Last edited by FenrisC; 23/10/20 10:59 PM.

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