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Contra Offline OP
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Hi everyone!

In my short time here on the forums and since the release of the EA, it's become apparent to me that BG3's Burning and Burning Terrain are generating more than a bit of grief for players, both because they represent maybe the greatest point of divergence between BG3 Gameplay and the traditional D&D ruleset and because their utility tends to overshadow many other avenues in combat, especially in the early game. With this in mind, I'd like to start a more thorough conversation about surface effects--especially Fire surface effects--and Burning and how they ought best to fit together both for the content we know now in EA and as we move forward into higher level content.

Now, there obviously is no Burning status effect in D&D, and burning DoT is fairly rare in the standard game--fire spells don't cause burning and burning damage hardly ever persists beyond exposure to the source of the flame. My best guess is that the burning status as implemented in BG3 is based on Alchemist's Fire, based on its damage. Personally, I think that a lot of the issues surrounding flaming surface effect damage can be addressed simply by reducing the number of triggers for the burning status effect--reserving it for Alchemist's fire, Oil barrel explosions, and other effects which you might imagine engulfing a target in flames. Running through or dancing about on flaming grass need not be so damaging and shouldn't necessarily engulf you in flames, in my opinion, and of course fire spells need not come standard with 2d4 extra damage from burning DoT. Whether reducing the effects of flame surfaces to 1-2 fire damage per turn/x distance will render it useless later in game compared to other surface effects of course remains to be seen.

There's definitely more to say, and I'd like to review the various sources of flame terrain effects and burning, but in order to nurse my writer's block I'll open the thread first. I focus on Flames here because I have not heard a great deal of discussion about other surfaces, likely because they do not deal damage and therefor are largely ignored (excepting Caustic Brine, which seems anomalous and restricted for the most part to the nautiloid). If you've had other concerns about surface effects (excepting powder effects, which I think are a separate discussion) I do want to hear about them.

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Attacking with Ray of Frost now creates a Frost surface and can instantly knock targets prone. If there is any blood in the area - and there almost always is if you're using melee attacks - it freezes a wide area of blood, which can also inadvertently cause creatures near the one targeted to also fall. Or worse yet, the targeted creature can make their Dex save and your ally can fail.

Acid Splash now inflicts -2 AC and creates puddles which also inflict -2 AC and also last forever. -2 AC is a +10% chance to be hit. Not being hit, but merely standing in an acid puddle inflicts a creature with the -2 AC, because apparently all attacks are targeting the bottom of your boots.

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I feel like cantrips should only cause surfaces if the player targets the ground with them. That way there's an opportunity cost to using Ray of Frost to freeze a pool of blood and cause enemies to slip up.

Similarly Fire Bolt can be made a 1D8 again and still be able to be used to set oil and stuff on fire, but you don't randomly get an extra 1-2 damage because you set the floor under the person who got hit on fire too.

I really like the utility that surfaces offer. It feels very DnD to be able to cover the floor in grease before setting it on fire to burn a bunch of enemies, even if that isn't how those spells work in the rules as written. But getting the surface effect as a side effect of doing damage is a bit much. Making it a choice would go a long way to encouraging more tactical thought in how they are used.

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Contra Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Stabbey
Attacking with Ray of Frost now creates a Frost surface and can instantly knock targets prone. If there is any blood in the area - and there almost always is if you're using melee attacks - it freezes a wide area of blood, which can also inadvertently cause creatures near the one targeted to also fall. Or worse yet, the targeted creature can make their Dex save and your ally can fail.

Acid Splash now inflicts -2 AC and creates puddles which also inflict -2 AC and also last forever. -2 AC is a +10% chance to be hit. Not being hit, but merely standing in an acid puddle inflicts a creature with the -2 AC, because apparently all attacks are targeting the bottom of your boots.


I am familiar with the effects: they just don't seem to be causing as much of a stir as flame effects are. I see your point about the Acid, though.


Originally Posted by SaurianDruid

I really like the utility that surfaces offer. It feels very DnD to be able to cover the floor in grease before setting it on fire to burn a bunch of enemies, even if that isn't how those spells work in the rules as written. But getting the surface effect as a side effect of doing damage is a bit much. Making it a choice would go a long way to encouraging more tactical thought in how they are used.


I agree with this, and it's more fitting to Firebolt's rules text, which says that the spell can be used to ignite an unattended object if it's not directed at an enemy. It's base damage is 1d10, though (wildly)

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Not directly related, but I was thinking with the complaints of HP bloat and then the complaints of spells are too weak, yet there are complaints that spells do too much....

From what I can garner is that the AC was dropped to allow more hitting, but the HP was raised so it isn't easy mode.

Would it be reasonable to then have spells be stronger than they are in 5e to accommodate for the HP changes and permit cantrips to be stronger than you intended? Trying to look past the vacuum and see how it all connects.

Yet on the other hand you have reports of people saying missing is not fun and they can't hit anything......

How much of the combat complaints are just derived from people not understanding how to build a proper damaging party and not understanding chance to hit/ac/saving throw mechanics?

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Originally Posted by SaurianDruid
I feel like cantrips should only cause surfaces if the player targets the ground with them. That way there's an opportunity cost to using Ray of Frost to freeze a pool of blood and cause enemies to slip up.

Similarly Fire Bolt can be made a 1D8 again and still be able to be used to set oil and stuff on fire, but you don't randomly get an extra 1-2 damage because you set the floor under the person who got hit on fire too.

I really like the utility that surfaces offer. It feels very DnD to be able to cover the floor in grease before setting it on fire to burn a bunch of enemies, even if that isn't how those spells work in the rules as written. But getting the surface effect as a side effect of doing damage is a bit much. Making it a choice would go a long way to encouraging more tactical thought in how they are used.


+1

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Generally I agree but I must say - I’m kinda getting used to it as time goes by. I think post level 4 it may not be as big a deal ( unless damage starts scaling). Adds a bit of excitement to the combat if I had to offer a positive.

I think it should stay but be toned down a bit. There is some balance to this from a game design perspective - if they removed the surface effects completely the goblins would pose very little threat & the developers would be forced to compensate either in larger numbers or more hit point bloat??

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I think the surface/status effects are fine the way they are, but their application should be tweaked. It gives you some extra flexibility and imo the extra chaos and unpredictability it adds to combat is appealing to me, if sometimes frustrating.

I agree with above that the burning status shouldn't be applied by anything and everything that is on fire. I think that if you limit what will apply burning status the effect itself is fine.
The acid-effect is a little annoying from a logical perspective. Getting doused in acid and getting AC reduction is fine I think, but it just doesn't feel right to be made so vulnerable by simply stepping in the stuff. Similar to how being set on fire by everything just feels off.

In conclusion, I guess I agree with OP.

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Yesterday critically missed Firebolt created surface effect which hit two of my party members, one of them lost concentration on spell and both gets hit for 2d4 from burning, which is 4d4 in total. This is how a critical hit should look, not a critical miss!

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Although I think critical misses are just supposed to be misses...if you're critical miss did damage to your own party, wouldn't that make sense?
That said, it does sound like a bug. I've not had a critical miss do anything extra to me on a full playthrough.

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Originally Posted by FaultyValve
Although I think critical misses are just supposed to be misses...if you're critical miss did damage to your own party, wouldn't that make sense?
That said, it does sound like a bug. I've not had a critical miss do anything extra to me on a full playthrough.

Attack rolls are an abstraction for good vs bad outcome. They are not meant to be a simulation of projectile trajectories in a sense of it does not hit the original target but hit another target instead which is by accident even more disasterous. If my firebolt critically missed then it's totally ok to cause some friendly fire. If enemy firebolt critically missed me, then it should cause no harm to me while possibly harm the enemy. Vice versa for critital hits. In tabletop DnD, this is supervised by DM.
EDIT: In previous post i described situation when enemy firebolt critically missed me.

Last edited by Zahur; 01/11/20 01:51 PM.
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The surface stuff should be toned down IMO. I can live with it, I can say that it is their call as DM, etc. but I hope that it does not scale UP as we level up. I do enjoy the occasional trap with a few barrels to weaken my chosen targets, but it does get irritating that EVERY single goblin has AOE arrows and bombs.

It got to the point when the Minotaurs came, I kept waiting for "What kind of AOE crap are they going to throw?" I expected them to jump over us, pour alchemist fire down on us and land behind us with a aoe flame cone shooting out their butts.

As for the cantrips - I would prefer if they worked like the PHB, but with the extra surface stuff I understand why they scaled Firebolt back from D10 to d6. I would prefer D10 and no surface effects, but can set stuff off If I target it.

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Originally Posted by Contra
I am familiar with the effects: they just don't seem to be causing as much of a stir as flame effects are. I see your point about the Acid, though.


I can talk about fire too, but it's important not to forget about other surfaces.

I once fought High Priestess Gut (36 HP) in her quarters and could not seem to hit her. It was whiff after whiff after whiff. One of those misses was a Firebolt. It missed her and ended up doing 12 damage from the surface effect. That was 1/3 of a boss's health depleted from a complete miss. On an creature who does not Jump to get out of a firebolt's surface, it ends up doing an average of 13.5 damage (5-22) from what is supposed to be a 1d10 (1-10) spell.


Originally Posted by CMF
Would it be reasonable to then have spells be stronger than they are in 5e to accommodate for the HP changes and permit cantrips to be stronger than you intended?


No, absolutely not, because of the domino effect. The changes they made have caused issues, which have caused other balance issues, so they change more things to accommodate that, and then more changes on top of changes, all to try and fix the problem they caused, which was making completely unnecessary changes to the rules. Trying to stubbornly bulldoze ahead and ignore the cause of the problem is going to mean a ton of unnecessary balance headache work as they continue to pretend that their vision for the new rules is not a complete mess.


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Yet on the other hand you have reports of people saying missing is not fun and they can't hit anything......


Larian tried to fix the non-problem of "missing isn't fun", and they did not actually eliminate missing, but they did make hitting feel less fun because they didn't adjust the player's damage output to compensate for the increased enemy HP.

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I have to say it wasn't a great first time experience to accidentally get Lae'zel killed (while not in combat) because she got stuck in surface fire on the nautiloid and I for the life of me couldn't get her out.


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