D&D 5E Changing Spell Elemental Damage

Falling Icicle

Adventurer
Yes, it would be overpowered to change any fire spell to any other damage type. Fire spells and effects deal more damage because there are more creatures which resist fire. This is an important aspect of how they are balanced. You can also see this with magic weapons, where the flametongue deals +2d6 fire damage and the frostbrand only deals +1d6 cold damage. If you wanted to create an Acidbolt or Acidball, they would need to deal less damage in order to be balanced.

It is true that there are more creatures that are resistant/immune to fire than there are to cold, lightning, or acid. However, there are also far more creatures that are vulnerable to fire than to any other type of damage.

Also, fire spells don't always deal more damage than other spells. Lightning bolt deals the same amount of damage as fireball. Spells like chill touch, ray of frost and shocking grasp do a bit less damage than fire bolt, but they also have secondary effects to compensate (negating healing, slowing speed, denying reactions, etc). I don't think it has anything to do with their damage type being something other than fire.
 

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Also, fire spells don't always deal more damage than other spells. Lightning bolt deals the same amount of damage as fireball..
You would be hard pressed to ever deal more damage with a Lightning Bolt than you would with a Fireball; the shape of the spell is an importat factor there, such that 28 damage in a burst is significantly more damaging than 28 damage in a line.
 

S

Sunseeker

Guest
You would be hard pressed to ever deal more damage with a Lightning Bolt than you would with a Fireball; the shape of the spell is an importat factor there, such that 28 damage in a burst is significantly more damaging than 28 damage in a line.

But its also worth noting the side-effects of fireball vs. lightning bolt. One of these functions like a grenade, one of them does not. One of them would destroy the ancient library, the other would not. One of them is volumetric, one of them is not.
 

Falling Icicle

Adventurer
You would be hard pressed to ever deal more damage with a Lightning Bolt than you would with a Fireball; the shape of the spell is an importat factor there, such that 28 damage in a burst is significantly more damaging than 28 damage in a line.

A 20' radius is often going to hit more people than a 100' line, but not always. If your enemies are in a hallway or chasm, you're likely to hit more with lightning bolt than fireball. Also, lightning bolt is better for blasting bosses without hitting your friends. Evokers and Sorcerers with careful spell can ignore that problem, but for everyone else it's an important consideration.
 

Falling Icicle

Adventurer
I'd say go for it and make the changes, at least for the short-term. As others have said though, it would be more interesting to make the damage spells different in some way from the fire spells perhaps following the pattern set by Melf's acid arrow.

If you have access to previous editions then it may even be worth mining them for ideas and spell conversions, there was a 4th level spell called vitriolic sphere which could deal upto 12d4 and continuing damage each round for 2d4 less each round, only minor splash damage to those around the target though (1d4 for every 5 caster levels). Should be pretty easy to convert to 5e and would make a pretty sweet acid spell for a black dragon sorcerer.

Actually, the Vitriolic Sphere spell already exists in 5e. It's in the Elemental Evil Player's Companion. :) http://media.wizards.com/2015/downloads/dnd/EE_PlayersCompanion.pdf

Out of interest, does anyone know of a list available online showing which monsters are resistant/immune/vulnerable to different damage types?

I found this somewhere online a while ago. It doesn't list the monsters by name but it's a good comparison of the numbers. I'd give credit to whoever made it but unfortunately I don't remember where I found it.

Resistances and Immunities.png
 

But its also worth noting the side-effects of fireball vs. lightning bolt. One of these functions like a grenade, one of them does not. One of them would destroy the ancient library, the other would not. One of them is volumetric, one of them is not.

Yep. There are considerations other than pure damage and resistances/immunities here. In AD&D a cone of cold did less damage than a fireball but it was 2 levels higher. A fireball would destroy quite a bit of possible treasure while a cone of cold would not.
 

Dausuul

Legend
Non-fire sorcerers certainly get the short end of the stick in 5E. However, there are reasons not to simply change the damage type on fire spells. One is that acid resistance/immunity is a lot less common than fire resistance/immunity; another is that fire spells sometimes have to be used with caution, due to the risk of setting stuff on fire that you don't want set on fire (e.g., buildings). Both of those mean that acidball is substantially better than fireball. Finally, I think there should be substantive differences between elements. Acid should "feel" different from fire.

My suggestion would be to look at existing acid spells, then work with your DM to create some type of acid-based blasting spell that's comparable to fireball in power level but isn't a direct port. For example, you might have a 40-foot cone that deals 4d6 acid damage, Dexterity save for half. A creature that fails the save also takes 4d6 acid damage at the start of its next turn.

This spell deals less damage on average than fireball (a successful save results in 4d6/2 damage rather than 8d6/2), takes slightly more time to deal its full damage, and has a worse AoE (both smaller and shorter range). On the other hand, it deals acid damage, doesn't start fires, and the cone is sometimes more effective at bypassing your allies while still hitting enemies.

Edit: As usual, should have read the whole thread. Vitriolic sphere covers the territory nicely and is pretty similar to what I posted. Still, there's a substantial difference between a level 3 spell and a level 4 spell.
 


steeldragons

Steeliest of the dragons
Epic
How would you guys build a green draconic sorcerer? Poison damage totally gets the shaft.

True. But, again, the definition of the dragon (though we tend to boil it down as such) is not its breath weapon. ALL dragons have breath weapons. It is what they represent and what they do with them that make a Green dragon "green"...if that makes sense.

For a green draconic sorcerer, I'd be looking at, sure poison and gaseous stuff is great...but also, more importantly, manipulations, confusions, emotional control/alteration. Charms, dominations, probably some illusion. The sorcerer spell list is RIFE with possibilities for this. Less rife on the sorcerer list, and requiring some DM intervention/approval: vegatation/forest/woodsy stuff.

Cantrips: Poison Spray, Friends. Maybe ask the DM to let you have Druidcraft and/or Thorn Whip instead.
1st: Charm Person and Disguise Self immediately come to mind. Fog Cloud and Sleep would be good here as well. Ray of Sickness if you want to play up the "poisoning" of the target. Entangle is the obvious choice if the Druid list is on the table. Detect Poison/Disease could work.
2nd: Crown of Madness and/or Detect Thoughts are a must. Gusting Wind, Misty Step, See Invisibility, Phantasmal Force, Suggestion are all good. Lesser Restoration and/or Protection from Poison from the Druid list to lend the "control of poison" angle or Barkskin and Spike Growth for the vegetation/forest thing.
3rd: Fear, Gaseous Form, Stinking Cloud (possibly, if you want the "AOE damage spell", do like I said for the black dracorcerer, add a 4d6 of poison damage on top of the sickened condition), Hypnotic Pattern are all no-brainers here. Plant Growth and, maybe, I'd go with Conjure Animals too from the Druid list.
4th: Blight, Confusion, Dominate Beast, Greater Invisibility all strike me as imminently "Green Dragon". Druid list gets you Grasping Vine and access to Hallucinatory Terrain (Blight, Confusion, Dominate Beast are on the sorcerer list anyway).
5th: Cloudkill, obviously. Dominate Person. I don't really see anything from the Druid list I would take over these two...Tree Stride might make a nice 3rd option.

So, yeah, being a Green Dragon Sorcerer isn't necessarily about flinging poison damage around all of the time. Be sneaky. Be creative. Be manipulative. If they don't do what you want after all of that...poison 'em.
 

epithet

Explorer
Consider letting the green dragon sorcerer, starting at 6th level, create a quantity of poison that will add poison damage equal to his charisma modifier to any weapon attack. Let him create a few applications per day, each application on a weapon lasts a minute.
 

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