D&D 5E Changing Spell Elemental Damage

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Sunseeker

Guest
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.

Yup, a lot of DMs and a lot of players don't really consider this.
 

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Psikerlord#

Explorer
So I was imagining a draconic sorcerer with a black dragon heritage (green for RP, black for all the mechanical gamey bits) however there aren't too many acid spells available to sorcerers, to my knowledge only 3 if you include Chromatic Orb and Elemental Evil pdf, not to mention that the best blast spells are fire. Would it be overpowered to retool scorching ray to deal acid damage instead of fire? What about Firebolt and Fireball? I'm a forever player so I don't quite have the system mastery of some DM's, hence why I'm curious if this character concept could be pulled off without being gimped. Thank you to all who help me figure this out!
I think you could change the damage type to any other with no significant balance issues. Sure, occasionally a monster will have fire resistance instead of acid resistance... but really, does it matter that much? I dont think so.

Alternatively, how about a feat that lets you change the damage type of spells at will (or by performing a 10 min ritual, or per short rest, or per long rest, whatever your balance preference).
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
Like I said before, it really depends on the adventure writer or DM.

If you do a standard WOTC FR setting at mid level, you hit fire resistance a lot and acid resistance rarely because all the outsiders and low lever magic items. So redoing fire spells as acid is a major boost.

If the DM uses higher than normal acid resistance or doesn't use that many devils, demons, and yugoloths, the its fine.
 

Scorpio616

First Post
Sure, fire is very stereotypical "magic". Which makes its prevalence understandable, as well as its immunity. It's not perfect, but it's one reason I custom-build monsters more than I grab stats from the book.
Yeah, MM energy resistances are pretty much main reason why to be cautious with changing up spell energy types. Keeping the opposition's resistances varied is a great way to reward diversification and keep those studying the MM on their toes.
 

TwoSix

Uncomfortably diegetic
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.
Agreed. Fireball and Scorching Ray are the core blasting spells, there's really no point to playing a dragon sorcerer who gains +Cha to element spells without those two. (Except for concept, of course, your character has a special backstory, sure sure, I totally get it.)

But outside of wanting to fire to keep its thematic blasting niche (which I can see as a valid aesthetic choice), the balance concerns of doing an element swap are pretty trivial. The sorcerer goes from being fully effective 85-90% of the time to being fully effective 95% of the time, which will of course raise their average damage slightly. But it's always safer to raise average damage by raising the damage floor (the floor being facing element-immune monsters) than by raising the damage ceiling.

Fire sorcerers already have the highest damage ceiling (by virtue of +Cha to the best blasting spells) and the lowest damage floor (because there are so many fire-resistant enemies). Allowing acidballs or caustic rays just makes acid sorcerers into fire sorcerers with a slightly higher floor. For one campaign, and to help out a player who's both mechanically and conceptually focused (my favorite kind of player!), I can't see any real danger to balance at all.
 

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