D&D 5E Color Spray spell

Yardiff

Adventurer
Anyone else think this spell is a bit underwhelming?







Edit: I misread the amount of hps of creatures its effected (6d10 when I thought 6d6) but the 1 round duration is pretty bad.
 
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Undrhil

Explorer
This spell is very nice from level 1 to 3, then it becomes less useful. Sleep is the same way, except it retains some use at higher levels because you can use it to knock out a bunch of baddies who have been softened up a bit.
 


Color Spray used to be one of the best spells in AD&D 2nd edition, but in 5E it is one of the worst. Give me Tasha's (Uncontrollable) Hideous Laughter instead any day.
 

jaelis

Oh this is where the title goes?
I can never quite make up my mind about color spray. On the one hand, it's a first level spell that can pretty much disable (on average) a 33 hp creature for a full round with no save. That's a pretty tough opponent at low levels, and you can do (or avoid) a lot of damage in a round. And no save is no save. = no legendary save, no magic resistance etc.

On the other hand, blinded isn't that good, the target can still attack with disadvantage. And the way it targets low hp creatures first is pretty non-optimal. I'd usually rather blind the BBEG for a round than all his minions. And the scaling (in terms of usefulness) is pretty weak.
 

Gadget

Adventurer
There are a lot of sub-optimal spells. Not just a little niche, or non-combat related, but just plain sub-optimal. Witch Bolt comes to mind as being sub-optimal; Crown of Madness, Ray of Enfeeblement, Phantasmal Killer, Jump, Mordenkainen’s Sword, & Weird all seem sub-optimal or overly niche at the very least.
 

jaelis

Oh this is where the title goes?
There are a lot of sub-optimal spells. Not just a little niche, or non-combat related, but just plain sub-optimal. Witch Bolt comes to mind as being sub-optimal; Crown of Madness, Ray of Enfeeblement, Phantasmal Killer, Jump, Mordenkainen’s Sword, & Weird all seem sub-optimal or overly niche at the very least.

Don't know if I'd put jump on that list. It can pretty easily let the fighter clear 50 ft horizontal, and probably any character 30 ft. That gets you over many sorts of obstacles. And the fighter can jump 20 ft up, reaching probably 30 ft. It's not flying, but it's not nothing.

Certainly niche, isn't going to come up every day. But I wouldn't call it sub-optimal.

The others you mention, I'd tend to agree. Though if you play that PK and weird shut down movement due to the fright, or you let the caster direct their movement, that helps. (Plus the errata helps.)
 

Gadget

Adventurer
Don't know if I'd put jump on that list. It can pretty easily let the fighter clear 50 ft horizontal, and probably any character 30 ft. That gets you over many sorts of obstacles. And the fighter can jump 20 ft up, reaching probably 30 ft. It's not flying, but it's not nothing.

Certainly niche, isn't going to come up every day. But I wouldn't call it sub-optimal.

Upon reviewing the jumping rules, I see that you are correct. I thought the spell should make you basically the Bionic Man (sound effects optional) with regard to jumping, and it does. But only because the base rules for jumping practically do so already.

The others you mention, I'd tend to agree. Though if you play that PK and weird shut down movement due to the fright, or you let the caster direct their movement, that helps. (Plus the errata helps.)

The problem with is that just makes these spells a poor man's Fear spell (poor in the sense that it is single target for PK and a higher cost spell slots for both PK & Weird) with the added benefit of directional control. The errata merely insures that a target that fails its first Save stays frightened for most of a round rather than potentially immediately saving again for almost no effect. An improvement, to be sure, but not something that brings the spells up to par. Now if the target that failed the initial save became frightened and took damage immediately, followed by a save at the end of each of turn to end the effect or take more damage, that might be worth something (I would probably still increase the are of Weird by quite a bit though).
 
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CapnZapp

Legend
Don't know if I'd put jump on that list. It can pretty easily let the fighter clear 50 ft horizontal, and probably any character 30 ft. That gets you over many sorts of obstacles.
If the spell gave you a "Jump Speed" of 50 ft or even 30 ft, that would sure be something.

Alas, it doesn't - it "triples your jump speed" but doesn't actually extend your allowed movement for the round.

This means that fighter can only "clear 50 ft horizontal" if he sacrifices his action plus his movement for the round, including the 10 ft running start required. But it gets worse...
* If he starts the round 15 ft away from the obstacle (a fifty foot wide chasm, say) he simply won't reach across. The rules doesn't go so far as to say he's stuck midair at the end of his turn; I would probably give him a Dex check to catch on to the far side since he came so close.
* If he starts 5 ft away, he simply won't reach across (since he needs a 10 ft running start)

This means you will almost never reach your full potential (3 x Strength feet). You will almost always have to settle for jumps that are significantly shorter than your maximum for round structure reasons.

* If he's a Finesse fighter (with a great Dex) he won't reach across.

The spell blows and blows hard, mostly because it involves the sucky movement rules for jumping. If it gave you a "Jump Speed" the spell would have been much easier and faster to use, and much better overall. (Especially for the low-Strength spellcaster - why sweet Bejezus would a spellcaster devise a spell he or she could not use her or himself...?!)

But also because it (im most cases) requires a round of set-up (positioning yourself at the precise spot where you will make the jump). Not to speak of the horrendous action cost - the wizard's Cast Spell action AND the fighter's Dash action.

And the fighter can jump 20 ft up, reaching probably 30 ft. It's not flying, but it's not nothing.
It's certainly not something either.

In fact, it's extremely and boringly mundane - and for no good reason. Would it have broken the game to simply say "you can jump 30 ft in any direction" (regardless of Strength or quirky movement rules)? No. Would the spell have been overpowered if it said "the creature you touch instantly jumps 30 ft in any direction of its choosing"? No.

But both these cases would have been more colorful, more action-laden, less complex, faster and more fun.
 
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