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5E Counterspell what do people think?

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
I think its targeting a flavor of duelling mages and allows casters to defend allies in uniquely casterish way which is all very cool. I wish it existed in some earlier editions where it didnt some ways.

What I am gathering out of this thread so far.

I think it looks like a lot of classes and subclasses already have access to it which is like the original magic ability of the Wizard/Sorcerer/seer etc from Chainmail.

You could end up with more characters having it on their known spells in a way that might be a lower choice cost, if its functionality were collapsed into dispel magic for instance if the same ability could be cast in a reaction to stop a spell as it was cast or as a full action against an ongoing effect (at double the range).

I think having a snapback like I suggested is not necessary in terms of power particularly, I don't mind the power so much when a level 3 spell might stop a much higher level spell it might however make the caster feel better for the case where the caster over invested which I still like.

I like the idea of making it an opposed roll because it would feel more dynamic.
I also like having the casters of the counterspell and the original spell up the anti-by advancing more slots to oppose the countering but this might make it too complicated.

I thought I read someone suggested counter spell causing the target spell to go off centered somewhere other than the target the original caster intended. I cannot find who suggested that. It looks like a very intriguing vivid result too.


 
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Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
It sounds like the main problem isn't the spell, but the kind of complicated simplification of rolling every-off-turn-everything and some on-turn stuff, all into the harried Reaction.
Hmm what if number of possible reactions advanced by tier or something... kind of like all the multi attacking.
 

Maxperson

Orcus on an on Day
When things come from a long standing edition warring place, it's hard to approach them.

I mean, not playing, DMing, or even actually taking the time to read and understand something, before the bashing, is just terrible.
I don't recall seeing any edition warring going on here.
 

Stalker0

Adventurer
The best advice I can offer on counterspell, before banning it, really focus on the range restriction. It comes up more often than you think...for example I would have enemy mages move back just to get enough distance from the party mage to cast without getting counterspelled.

Now that may not be enough for some people, it is still an incredibly power effect, and I do not blame dms who just don’t want to deal with it. But I would at least give this a try before coming to your final conclusion, as it does weaken the spell.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
I don't recall seeing any edition warring going on here.
I agree. You've got known supporters and advocates of at least three different editions (1e-4e-5e) - maybe four if anyone here's a 3e supporter - all discussing ways and means of dealing with a particular spell as applied to 5e.

Seems uncommonly unified, from where I sit. :)
 

Gadget

Explorer
I think it was indeed a function of Dispel magic in games after Chainmail.

I think its targeting a flavor of duelling mages... not a problem.

I also think its letting a mage defend their allies in a uniquely wizardly way.


It does make it a gambling game.
Fair enough. I get the dueling mages motif. Yet some games seem to say it creates a problem.

I would also say that casting a Wall of Force, Protection from Evil and Good, Protection from Energy, Fog Cloud, Scatter, feather fall or any of dozens of other spells in a thoughtful and clever way is amble opportunity for a mage to defend their allies in a 'uniquely wizardly way.' Moreover, it allows for things to play out in more exciting and imaginative way. Think of a Dumbledore vs Voldemort duel where all that happened is two old men staring at each other and making a few quick gestures every now and again with nothing happening versus the duel we got. Much more exciting.

I realize that you can't always have the right spell or opportunity to protect your party available, but the game does provide the means to reverse most such set backs inflicted, even death.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Fair enough. I get the dueling mages motif. Yet some games seem to say it creates a problem.
Some definitely seem to have issues with it. That cannot be denied.
I would also say that casting a Wall of Force, Protection from Evil and Good, Protection from Energy, Fog Cloud, Scatter, feather fall or any of dozens of other spells in a thoughtful and clever way is amble opportunity for a mage to defend their allies in a 'uniquely wizardly way.' Moreover, it allows for things to play out in more exciting and imaginative way.
some of that is really really situational but you did notice that ...

Think of a Dumbledore vs Voldemort duel where all that happened is two old men staring at each other and making a few quick gestures every now and again with nothing happening versus the duel we got. Much more exciting.
Yeah some of the improvements being presented are intended to change that where an overwhelmed spell might be turned back on its caster in some fashion. (centered on him or simply someplace inconvenient ... or damage of a type associated with it delivered back)

I am a bit ginky with the idea of it stopping a significantly higher level slot (what are the odds anyone good with math?)
 

WaterRabbit

Villager
@WaterRabbit



Your assumptions are your own, yes.

There are 4 classes that can cast counterpell. Wizards, warlocks, sorcerers and bards. A full 1/3 of all classes. It's not at all rare to have two of those in a group.
So, here is how I know that you are engaged in either a white room discussion or you have a very uncommon encounter design environment -- either way these are edge cases.

So, while bards can cast counterspell, it is not on their list of allowed spells. So they have to acquire it through Magical Secrets (10th level, 14th level, 18th level) or Lore Bard through Additional Magical Secrets (more likely). However, for a Bard to choose this spell, opportunities to cast this must be very common or they wouldn't bother (this is even more true for a Sorcerer/Warlock) as the are still limited in the total number of spells they can know. As counterspell is very situational, the encounter design for your game makes this a worthwhile spell to take. It also assumes that the NPC spellcasters aren't smart enough to know how to keep from being counterspelled.

Wizards and Oath of Redemption Paladins (at 9th level) are much more likely to have this spell on hand.

So again, either your campaign is out at the margins of play, or you are just theorycrafting to nerf as spell that already has an opportunity cost and is trivially countered by opponents that know they can be countered.

For example, at the levels you are talking about for counterspelling to really be a thing for all of the different classes you are carrying in your theoretical party, Greater Invisibility (while a concentration spell) completely shuts down Counterspell. So your theoretical party now has to have cast See Invisibility within the last hour or spend an action during combat to cast it so they can then Counterspell.

A cantrip Minor Illusion can accomplish the same thing for a time -- create an illusionary wall for example. The caster knows it is an illusion and therefore can see through it. Otherwise, it requires an action or physical examination to gain the same benefit.

All it takes is to prevent your opponent from seeing you while you can still see them and counterspell become worthless. So unless all of your encounters take place in an arena without cover, it is literally trivial to prevent counterspell.

It seems to me that there is a lack of imagination going on in your games if counterspell is such a problem. Especially since the ways to counter it should be methods casters take anyway since archers are way more dangerous to casters than counterspell.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Especially since the ways to counter it should be methods casters take anyway since archers are way more dangerous to casters than counterspell.
Oh this reminds me in Chainmail... "Wizards are themselves impervious to normal missile fire"

The earliest incarnation of the shield spell presumably ;)
 

WaterRabbit

Villager
Oh this reminds me in Chainmail... "Wizards are themselves impervious to normal missile fire"

The earliest incarnation of the shield spell presumably ;)
Protection from Normal Arrows I would imagine. I played a few mass D&D combats and that spell is a must for wizards -- otherwise they get gunned down in seconds.
 

Gadget

Explorer
I would just like to point out that Bards are awesome at Counterspell, even though it is not on their list. They almost never have to spend a slot higher the third, as it is an ability check with a max DC of 19 (for a ninth level spell) to counter. Add in a Bard's expertise (not to mention things like Glibness at high levels), and they can be pretty much assured of pulling off a Counterspell anytime it applies. With a third level slot. Only Abjuration Wizards with their 10th level feature compete here.
 

DM Dave1

Explorer
I would just like to point out that Bards are awesome at Counterspell, even though it is not on their list. They almost never have to spend a slot higher the third, as it is an ability check with a max DC of 19 (for a ninth level spell) to counter. Add in a Bard's expertise (not to mention things like Glibness at high levels), and they can be pretty much assured of pulling off a Counterspell anytime it applies. With a third level slot. Only Abjuration Wizards with their 10th level feature compete here.
Expertise in Charisma? Am I missing something?

Glibness and CHA of 20, though, [BORAT VOICE]it's a verry niice[/BORAT VOICE]
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
Protection from Normal Arrows I would imagine. I played a few mass D&D combats and that spell is a must for wizards -- otherwise they get gunned down in seconds.
That's it!!

I even had a "pyromancer" who flavored it as burning up the arrows as they struck in 1e days.
 

WaterRabbit

Villager
I would just like to point out that Bards are awesome at Counterspell, even though it is not on their list. They almost never have to spend a slot higher the third, as it is an ability check with a max DC of 19 (for a ninth level spell) to counter. Add in a Bard's expertise (not to mention things like Glibness at high levels), and they can be pretty much assured of pulling off a Counterspell anytime it applies. With a third level slot. Only Abjuration Wizards with their 10th level feature compete here.
Awesome at a spell that has little use is still of little use. Divine casters are more susceptible to counterspell than arcane. However, it is usually the PCs that are on the offense in most games. If the PCs are going into a lair they are better served by Dispel Magic and Detect Magic than Counterspell.

So if PCs are able to routinely use counterspell, then the DM is not playing smart spellcasting opponents -- which is fine if your group likes push over/simple encounters. However, intelligent spellcasters in their lairs will only be seen by PCs when they have either run out of spells, they are dead, or through clever play and tactics they get the drop on the spellcaster. In all of these cases, counterspell is of no help.

Take a wizard for example. A wizard can cas Alarm on a choke point in his lair. As a ritual, this doesn't cost any resources but time. In fact there isn't a restriction on how many Alarm spells could be cast other than the casting time and duration.

So if the PCs aren't using Detect Magic and then Dispel Magic to find in place spells, the Alarm goes off alerting the wizard. The wizard then retreats to his sanctum, which is hidden, barred, locked, and Arcane Locked. Knock can only remove one at a time. The sanctum has peepholes and such so the wizard can see out. From that point forward, the wizard has total cover and cannot be seen, yet has total visibility to the rest of the room. Is he doing this because of counterspell? No. This is a setup that prevents the wizard from being attacked at all. By the time the PCs can get to him, he has exhausted his spells and is working on escape.

Even better at high levels since he can just have a gem in a chandelier inside the room of interest and use Magic Jar to possess intruders and using their own against themselves.

My point here is that NPCs, played intelligently, have little concern over counterspell as they have to take countermeasures already against ranged and melee attacks. So again encounter design determines if this spell is useful or not.

So a Bard. Unless the campaign is full of opportunities to counterspell, why would a bard use up a know spell slot on this? It is a spell at best they will cast infrequently. Since this is one of their Magical Secrets, of all of the spells 5th level and below, they are going to take counterspell? Really? Or a Lore Bard with Additional Magical Secrets of all of the 3rd level spells they could take this would be their choice? Really? Out of the 30 possible spells (8 of which can be non-bard) this is the one spell that is the must have?

The Sorcerer. A sorcerer knows 15 spells max, so it seems even less likely for them to learn this spell. The case is the same for the Warlock.

So, counterspell is really only a choice for two spell casters: wizard and redemption paladins (which they get at 9th). So a party that has more than one member that can cast counterspell is an outlier. Even if the party was composed of a wizard, warlock, sorcerer, bard, arcane trickster, and eldritch knight, it would be unusual for all of them to have counterspell unless the opportunities to cast it were so frequent that other 3rd level spells paled in comparison.

Which leads us back to encounter design and frequency of spellcasting encounters. Which then leads back to why nerf a 3rd level spell that isn't used that frequently to begin with because it is situationally dependent?
 

Gadget

Explorer
[MENTION=2445]WaterRabbit[/MENTION] Yes, I think it is fair to say that a well prepared wizard in their lair is quite a tough nut to crack. Between all the preparation you outline, not to mention the versatility of things like Glyph spells prepared ahead of time, it can be quite an ordeal to get to them. That said, I've never seen this done. Not once. I've seen message board posts describing such as possible, and maybe one or two precautions in play, but never this 'D&D taken to the logical extreme.' I've seen some min/maxing, & power gaming on the player side, sure. But at the end of the day, there's usually some adventure, a villain who may or may not monologue a bit, and a big set piece battle. I freely admit that I do not have the breadth and depth of experience that others here may have, but I don't think I'm all that much of an outlier.

Which leads us back to encounter design and frequency of spellcasting encounters. Which then leads back to why nerf a 3rd level spell that isn't used that frequently to begin with because it is situationally dependent?
I think the point is that in some games, it is not and infrequently used spell, your sermon on encounter design notwithstanding. For me personally, it adds a mini-game to the game that I, personally, don't find all that engaging. I don't want to nerf it so much as question the need to even have it at all.
 

WaterRabbit

Villager
[MENTION=2445]WaterRabbit[/MENTION] Yes, I think it is fair to say that a well prepared wizard in their lair is quite a tough nut to crack. Between all the preparation you outline, not to mention the versatility of things like Glyph spells prepared ahead of time, it can be quite an ordeal to get to them. That said, I've never seen this done. Not once. I've seen message board posts describing such as possible, and maybe one or two precautions in play, but never this 'D&D taken to the logical extreme.' I've seen some min/maxing, & power gaming on the player side, sure. But at the end of the day, there's usually some adventure, a villain who may or may not monologue a bit, and a big set piece battle. I freely admit that I do not have the breadth and depth of experience that others here may have, but I don't think I'm all that much of an outlier.



I think the point is that in some games, it is not and infrequently used spell, your sermon on encounter design notwithstanding. For me personally, it adds a mini-game to the game that I, personally, don't find all that engaging. I don't want to nerf it so much as question the need to even have it at all.
My point was that spellcasters, particularly wizards, do not want reciprocal line of sight as that generally gets them killed. There are many ways to achieve this both in and out of their lair. I can see that if someone doesn't want to run wizards as intelligent heroes or villains then then it would be natural for PCs to gravitate toward this spell if there were large numbers of encounters with spellcasters.

If you think what I have outlined is "logical extreme", well this is just the tip of the iceberg of dirty tricks in the wizard's bag -- even with how badly wizards were nerfed compared to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd editions.

However, it seems you have created your own solution, don't allow the spell at your table. But to have a spellcaster heavy group that have all committed to taking this spell and have the opportunity to regularly use it to the point where it become a mini-game of concern? Yes, that is an outlier.
 

Maxperson

Orcus on an on Day
Awesome at a spell that has little use is still of little use. Divine casters are more susceptible to counterspell than arcane. However, it is usually the PCs that are on the offense in most games. If the PCs are going into a lair they are better served by Dispel Magic and Detect Magic than Counterspell.

So if PCs are able to routinely use counterspell, then the DM is not playing smart spellcasting opponents -- which is fine if your group likes push over/simple encounters. However, intelligent spellcasters in their lairs will only be seen by PCs when they have either run out of spells, they are dead, or through clever play and tactics they get the drop on the spellcaster. In all of these cases, counterspell is of no help.

Take a wizard for example. A wizard can cas Alarm on a choke point in his lair. As a ritual, this doesn't cost any resources but time. In fact there isn't a restriction on how many Alarm spells could be cast other than the casting time and duration.

So if the PCs aren't using Detect Magic and then Dispel Magic to find in place spells, the Alarm goes off alerting the wizard. The wizard then retreats to his sanctum, which is hidden, barred, locked, and Arcane Locked. Knock can only remove one at a time. The sanctum has peepholes and such so the wizard can see out. From that point forward, the wizard has total cover and cannot be seen, yet has total visibility to the rest of the room. Is he doing this because of counterspell? No. This is a setup that prevents the wizard from being attacked at all. By the time the PCs can get to him, he has exhausted his spells and is working on escape.
Exhausted his spells on what? He can see out, but the door is still in the way so he has no line of effect to anyone. From the PHB, "To target something, you must have a clear path to it,so it can’t be behind total cover." Now, the following sentence does say can't see and blocked, but the prior indicates that blocked is enough, so the DM will have to rule on the contradiction. There's a very good chance that the wizard just trapped himself and twiddles his thumbs. At least if you have a fair DM.

There are also other spells besides knock that will get the party through that door or block vision so that that the wizard definitely cannot cast spells and his escape is out to the party.

For someone who made such bad assumptions about my ability to design an encounter, yours isn't very good. I would have thought you'd be an expert at encounter design, what with the way you were throwing rocks in a glass house.
 

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