5E Homebrew Spell Review!

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Maze Arcane (working name)
Level 4 Abjuration

Casting Time: Action
Duration: 10 minutes (concentration)
Components: S,M
Target: Self


You place a silver torc on the ground at your feet as you complete the incantation. The torc floats inches above the ground, and spins clockwise until the aperture is pointed north. As the torc splits into 4 parts, it grows into ethereal circles surrounding you, and each circle's opening faces a different compass point, creating a deceptively simple circular maze in the air.

For the duration of the spell, you and your allies are protected by an ethereal maze of arcane energy. The maze is a 10-foot-radius, 20-foot-tall cylinder, centered on a space you choose within range, and creates the following effects while the spell is active. You designate any number of creatures, types of creatures, or an identifier or pass-phrase a creature can speak, which determines who is protected by the maze.

You and such designated creatures gain 2d6+3 temporary hit points if they are within the maze when the spell is cast, or the first time they enter the maze during the spell's duration.

While the spell is active, you can use the following actions. Each time you do, the maze re-calibrates itself, each circle spinning in place, it's aperture facing a different cardinal direction, though no two openings ever face the same direction.

  • You can use your reaction, when any creature or object within the maze is the target of a spell or magical ability that requires an attack roll or saving throw, to try to trap the mind of interlopers in the maze. The triggering creature, as well as any creature who targets a creature or object within the maze with a spell or magical ability before the start of your next turn, must succeed on a Wisdom saving throw or be blinded. A blinded creature makes an additional save at the end of their turns, ending the effect on a success.
  • You can use your reaction, when any creature within the maze takes acid, cold, fire, thunder, lightning, or force damage, to grant all creatures within the maze resistance to that damage type until the end of the current turn. Then, all designated creatures within the maze gain 1d6+3 temporary hit points.
  • You can use your action to target all creatures within 60ft of you that are blinded by the maze. Each target must succeed on a Wisdom saving throw. If they fail, they become incapacitated. They continue to make wisdom saving throws at the end of their turns, ending all conditions from this spell on a success.
At higher levels. When you cast this spell at 5th level or higher, the temporary hit point values increase by 1d6+1, and the radius and height of the maze increase by 5 ft, for each spell level above 4th.



Edit: updoot.

Have fun!
 
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doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Design notes!

The idea here is to create a more active circle spell, that protects those within it while providing danger to those not protected by it, and to bring to fruition a representation of certain magical theories that have been at play in my campaigns regarding symbolic mazelike structures.

The math is in line with the stronger spells of 3rd level, but not the strongest spells.

my only balance concern is stun, to be honest.
 

Perun

Mushroom
My gut-feeling is that it's too much stuff packed into a single spell.

First, you say "The maze is an area of 15ft, centered on you". 15-ft what? Since you're using torc as the focus, I'd say 15-ft radius, but a clarification would be welcome. A 15-ft. radius would affect the caster at the centre and 48 5-ft squares around him, i.e. 7×7 5-ft squares, unless I'm misremembering the rules. Or were you thinking a 15 ft diameter effect, which is in effect a 5ft-radius, affecting 3×3 5ft-squares?

You've got:
  • a theoretically unlimited number of creatures that can be affected by the spell;
  • +1 AC to everyone protected by the maze;
  • an average of 13.5 temp hp (6-21) to everyone protected by the maze;
  • the caster can replicate absorb elements cast as a 2nd level spell, boosted so it affects anyone in the maze (so, your 3rd level spell allows you to cast a 2nd-level single-target spell at will that can actually affect multiple targets). Additionally, your verison includes force damage, not included in absorb elements
  • you can proceed to give everyone an average of 10 temp hp/round (5-15);
  • it's mobile (presumably, since it's centered on the caster).
This is not even counting the stun effect and the action tied to it.

Which classes would have access to this spell?

I'd say that even if you removed the stun effect, the spell is very powerful, too powerful for a 3rd-level spell, even if it affects the 5-ft radius around the caster. Compare this to spirit guardians, storm sphere (a 4th-level spell) or motivational speech (a 3rd-level spell from Acquisitions Incorporated)

My suggestion:

Maze Arcane (working name)
Level 3 Abjuration

Casting Time: Action
Duration: 10 minutes (concentration)
Components: S, M (a silver torc worth at least 100gp)
Target: Self

You place a silver torc on the ground at your feet, with the open aperture pointing north. As the torc splits into 4 parts, it grows into ethereal circles surrounding you inches above the ground, and each circle's opening faces a different compass point. For the duration of the spell, you and your allies are protected by an ethereal maze of arcane energy. The maze extends in a 5-ft radius centered on you, and creates the following effects while the spell is active. You can designate up to two creatures (beside yourself) that are protected by the maze.

You and creatures you designate within the maze gain a +1 bonus to AC, and 2d6+2 temporary hit points when the spell is cast.

As a bonus action, you can cause the creature within the maze to think it lost its way in the maze. The creature must succeed on an Intelligence saving throw, or be incapacitated until the end of your next turn.

Additionally, you can make a creature incapacitated by this spell move away from you, as it believes it's navigating the maze. This immediately ends the incapacitated effect on the creature. The creature uses all its movement to move away from you in a random direction. To determine the direction, roll a d8 and assign a direction to each die face. The creature cannot take an action or reaction this turn.

At higher levels. When you cast this spell at 4th level or higher, the temporary hit point values increase by 1d6+1 and your AC bonus and temporary hit points can affect an additional creature for each spell level above 3rd.
When you cast this spell at 5th level or higher, the radius of the spell increases by 5 ft. and you can attempt to incapacitate an additional creature for each two spell levels above 3rd.

EDIT: Upped the spell a bit, after a further thought (incapacitate as a bonus action with wondering off as an alternative effect, can attempt to incapacitate additional creature at higher levels).
 
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doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I’m not convinced by the balance arguments for a spell level that contains some of the game’s best spells, but here is an update, taking some of the feedback here but mostly my co-dm’s feedback over the course of the day.

4th level spell. Mostly so that is isn’t sharing a spell level with the thematically similar magic circle and glyph of warding. We also made it fixed rather than mobile (for now), cleaned up the language, decreased the damage elements, and beefed up the scaling benefits. I’m...not certain it should be concentration, but I also think they put concentration on too many spells, so I’ll probably leave it unless we start removing it from phb spells.


You place a silver torc on the ground at your feet. As you complete the spell the torc spins in place, eventually stopping with the open aperture pointing north. The torc then splits into 4 parts, and grows into ethereal circles surrounding you inches above the ground, each circle's aperture facing a different compass point, creating a deceptively simple circular maze in the air.

For the duration of the spell, you and your allies are protected by an ethereal maze of arcane energy. The maze is a 10-foot-radius, 20-foot-tall cylinder centered on a point you choose within range, and creates the following effects while the spell is active. You designate any number of creatures, types of creatures, or an identifier or pass-phrase a creature can speak, which determines who is protected by the maze.

You and such designated creatures gain a +1 bonus to AC, and 3d6+3 temporary hit points if they are within the maze when the spell is cast, or the first time they enter the maze during the spell's duration.

Any time a creature not designated by you begins their turn inside the maze, or targets a creature inside the maze with a magical ability, the attacker must succeed on an intelligence saving throw or be stunned until the end of their next turn.

While the spell is active, you can use one of the following actions.

  • When any creature within the maze takes acid, cold, fire, thunder, lightning, or force damage, you can use a reaction to grant designated creatures in the maze resistance to that damage type until the end of their next turn, and 1d6 extra damage of the same type as a bonus on their next damage roll.
  • You can use a bonus action to grant all creatures within the maze gain 2d6+3 temporary hit points.
  • You can use your action to cause all creatures stunned by the maze within 60ft that you can see to believe they are imperiled within the maze. Each target must succeed on an intelligence saving throw. If they fail, on their next turn they must take the Dash Action and move their full speed in a random direction. If they move at least 10 ft and further movement is blocked by another creature, or an object or solid surface, they and the creature or object they run into take damage equal to 1d6 for every 10 ft that they move before the impact (maximum 3d6).
At higher levels. When you cast this spell at 5th level or higher, the temporary hit point values increase by 1d6+1, and the radius increases by 5 ft, for each spell level above 3rd.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Abjuration being the meta-spell school, I considered simply allowing you to cast absorb elements with boosted effects as a reaction when any creature in the maze takes damage. This would somewhat thematically/mechanically tie the spell to glyph of warding, but it’s also more complex, and makes it even more a “Wizards only” spell in spite of being available to warlocks, AT/EK, and possibly Paladin, due to no one having as much freedom to burn spell slots as the wizard does.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
I wouldn't put all of this into a spell. It's just too many effects, all glomed together under a single concentration, which is not a 5e way of doing things. As a single spell it has a bunch better action economy to cast, and does the work of multiple casters each using their concentration slot to do part of this but with only a single caster.

Sorry, I don't think this spell falls in the 5e paradigm.
 

TwoSix

The hero you deserve
Yea, gotta agree that there's too much going on here. Making the spell's effects a maze for the player to navigate is a little too on the nose.

The zone effect (+1 AC, temp hp to all allies in the zone, an Int save stun on melee attackers and magical attackers) is probably worth at least a 3rd level spell slot with concentration on its own. That's a broad category of people that can get stunned. It also has a weird weakness (no effect on physical ranged attackers) that doesn't seem in line with the thematics. An Int-save stun implies some sort of mental overwhelming, which affects people who swing an axe into the maze or fire a spell at the maze, but not those who throw a knife or fire an arrow?

The action economy replacement is also probably worth a spell on its own, it's limited in its effect to the radius, but it's still a free absorb elements that's targetable, plus a free Aid+ that's a BA, and a free AoE Command+damage rider. Limited to people who fail the save, of course, but still, that's a major effect against a broad swath of encounter types. The obvious hard counter to a spell like this that requires grouping is AoE blasting, but the absorb elements + Aid means that the party can endure AoE damage for a lot longer than you would expect. (Imagine this plus a paladin in the group!) The only other hard counter is groups with lots of physical ranged attacks, but the amount of times that's viable is extremely campaign dependent.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Well, thanks for the feedback, but I’m gonna go forward with the revised version I posted.

IMO, you’re all being dazzled by the number of bullet points, rather than just looking at how much damage/effect and “healing” it adds to an encounter/day.

At worst, it is more complex than other spells of its level, which I’m perfectly comfortable with.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
IMO, you’re all being dazzled by the number of bullet points, rather than just looking at how much damage/effect and “healing” it adds to an encounter/day.

At worst, it is more complex than other spells of its level, which I’m perfectly comfortable with.
Would many of those bullet points we're "dazzled by" be their own spell that requires Concentration? Yes.

Can one caster normally Concentrate on multiple things at once? No.

I think that's why most everyone has commented on the number of things - because that's an important part of the Concentration balancing. Not just ignoring it but handwaving those comments away with "dazzled by" when multiple people give the same feedback feels like you aren't getting that point.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Would many of those bullet points we're "dazzled by" be their own spell that requires Concentration? Yes.

Can one caster normally Concentrate on multiple things at once? No.

I think that's why most everyone has commented on the number of things - because that's an important part of the Concentration balancing. Not just ignoring it but handwaving those comments away with "dazzled by" when multiple people give the same feedback feels like you aren't getting that point.
Here's the thing.

The simple fact that it's multiple "things" is meaningless unless what the caster is doing in total during a given turn, round, encounter, or day, is out of line.

At worst, this spell puts more balls in the air at a time than is normal for it's spell level. Which I'm fine with. It isn't better than the strong spells of 4th level.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Would many of those bullet points we're "dazzled by" be their own spell that requires Concentration? Yes.

Can one caster normally Concentrate on multiple things at once? No.

I think that's why most everyone has commented on the number of things - because that's an important part of the Concentration balancing. Not just ignoring it but handwaving those comments away with "dazzled by" when multiple people give the same feedback feels like you aren't getting that point.
How do you feel about Investiture spells?
Each gives a movement buff, a defensive buff, and an action.
Again, this spell simply does the same sort of thing, at a somewhat earlier level. It certainly isn't strong enough to be a 6th level spell, however, and even 5th would require better numbers somewhere. I could drop things out of it and make it a 3rd level spell, but I'd rather not.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
How do you feel about Investiture spells?
I feel that they are significantly weaker than your spell. They do not affect a selection of others, only have a single action, they don't go against a weak save. None of them are round after round of potential stuns on multiple foes, with two different triggers. Withotu taking any of your action economy. None of them grant tHPs to several allies and then allow you to refresh them to all of them as a bonus action. None allow you to mass-apply defensive buffs to everyone around.

Actually, thank you for pointing those out. This is absolutely more powerful than then, so 6th is too low.

Challenge - find a selection of spells that together does close to what your spell does. Start with the highest level and add levels for adding in additional effect, 1 level for an effect where the spell is below max and doesn't require Concentration, 2 otherwise. See what level you end up.
 

Dausuul

Legend
The stun effect alone is too powerful for 4th level. Maybe--maybe--it would be okay if a successful save made you immune and the spell didn't do anything else. Even then, I'd be wary, since it can easily stunlock any low-Int foe that enters.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
@doctorbadwolf , if you asked for a spell review, I have to assume that it's because you actually wanted this forum of people to do a, you know, spell review. When there is a majority saying it should be a much higher level, that's good feedback for you.

You asked for peer review of the spell. You got peer review. It showed distinct trends the spell is a higher level. Why would you throw away that valuable feedback that you asked for?

Don't be the scientist who gets angry when others can't replicate their experiement and calls everyone "Fools!" and plots world domination. Or at least, only do that in game. Instead take the feedback you requested to heart.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
😂 wow y’all are wild.

First of all, I’ve mentioned the update multiple times. The refresh on THP is an action.

Second, look at the numbers. It is less average damage/healing per round than call lightning, even if we assume the reaction happens every round, which it won’t. The actions also won’t, as they’ll want to cast other spells.

The stun save I will change to wisdom, to match most illusion spells that force a save.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Also the THP refresh is all creatures, not designated creatures.

Literally the only valid argument i can see for 4th level being too low is the combo of occasional, situational resistance and occasional, situational stun.

The fact that it does the same thing a lower level spell does just...so what?
 

Dausuul

Legend
All melee enemies AND all damage-dealing spellcasters is "occasional, situational?"

Have it your way, it's your game. But if a player in my campaign put this spell in front of me, I would not even try to work with them on it. When the initial proposal is so far out of whack, trying to bring it into balance is an exercise in futility--and, to be honest, your responses here perfectly demonstrate why. I'm not going to get sucked into endless arguments about each individual tree when the forest is on fire.

At most, I would ask the player to pick 1-2 key elements of the spell, and then I would design a spell from scratch around those elements and present it to the player as a "take it or leave it" proposition.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
@doctorbadwolf , if you asked for a spell review, I have to assume that it's because you actually wanted this forum of people to do a, you know, spell review. When there is a majority saying it should be a much higher level, that's good feedback for you.

You asked for peer review of the spell. You got peer review. It showed distinct trends the spell is a higher level. Why would you throw away that valuable feedback that you asked for?

Don't be the scientist who gets angry when others can't replicate their experiement and calls everyone "Fools!" and plots world domination. Or at least, only do that in game. Instead take the feedback you requested to heart.
This seems pretty hyperbolic.
And I'm not throwing away the feedback, I'm just not gonna pretend that feedback I'm inclined to scoff at is good.

However, my co-dm and I went over the spell again, and came up with the following version. Some of the changes came about after our discussion of the feedback here.

version 4, again this is a level 4 spell.

You place a silver torc on the ground at your feet as you complete the incantation. The torc floats inches above the ground, and spins clockwise until the aperture is pointed north. As the torc splits into 4 parts, it grows into ethereal circles surrounding you, and each circle's opening faces a different compass point, creating a deceptively simple circular maze in the air.

For the duration of the spell, you and your allies are protected by an ethereal maze of arcane energy. The maze is a 10-foot-radius, 20-foot-tall cylinder, centered on you, and creates the following effects while the spell is active. You designate any number of creatures, types of creatures, or an identifier or pass-phrase a creature can speak, which determines who is protected by the maze.

You and such designated creatures gain a +1 bonus to AC, and 3d6+3 temporary hit points if they are within the maze when the spell is cast, or the first time they enter the maze during the spell's duration.

Any time a creature not designated by you begins their turn inside the maze, or targets a creature inside the maze with a magical ability, the attacker must succeed on a Wisdom saving throw or be stunned until the end of their next turn.

While the spell is active, you can use one of the following actions.

  • You can use your reaction, when any creature within the maze takes acid, cold, fire, thunder, lightning, or force damage, to grant all creatures within the maze resistance to that damage type until the end of the current turn. Then, all designated creatures within the maze gain 2d6+3 temporary hit points.
  • You can target all creatures within 60ft of you that are stunned by the maze. Each target must succeed on a Wisdom saving throw. If they fail, on their next turn they must take the Dash Action and move their full speed in a random direction. If they move at least 10 ft and further movement is blocked by another creature, or an object or solid surface, they and the creature or object they run into take damage equal to 1d6 for every 10 ft that they move before the impact (maximum 3d6). If a creature succeeds on this save, they are no longer stunned.
At higher levels. When you cast this spell at 5th level or higher, the temporary hit point values increase by 1d6+1, and the radius and height of the maze increase by 5 ft, for each spell level above 4th.

So, dealing any damage requires two failed saves, and two actions, and increases the chance that they'll save out of the stun early. The reaction now only mitigates damage. I might add back in a clause that a designated creature also gains that THP when it starts it's turn within the maze, since THP don't stack, but if I do, I might ditch the +1 AC.

About the only drop in power i'd consider at this point is limiting the number of creatures targeted by the movement attack, perhaps even making it a much greater range, but only 1 creature.

I'd also consider a version with slightly higher numbers, where you have to choose between a version that stuns creatures and a version that gives beefy THP and damage mitigation.

I considered a "meta-abjuration" version of the spell that would be essentially a more limited but more active variant of glyph of warding, where you get bonuses when casting other abjurations while this spell is active, but I'd rather make that at a level where I can really go ape with it.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
All melee enemies AND all damage-dealing spellcasters is "occasional, situational?"

Have it your way, it's your game. But if a player in my campaign put this spell in front of me, I would not even try to work with them on it. When the initial proposal is so far out of whack, trying to bring it into balance is an exercise in futility--and, to be honest, your responses here perfectly demonstrate why. I'm not going to get sucked into endless arguments about each individual tree when the forest is on fire.

At most, I would ask the player to pick 1-2 key elements of the spell, and then I would design a spell from scratch around those elements and present it to the player as a "take it or leave it" proposition.
Of course it’s occasional and situational. They have to use a spell or magical ability that targets a specific creature or object in the maze to even be targeted by the stun, and they have to put Elemental/magical damage into the area of the maze for the maze caster to be able to use a reaction to grant resistance.
Those won’t happen every round. 🤷‍♂️
Sometimes they’re gonna Counterspell or Shield instead, and sometimes the enemy isn’t going to use spells that will trigger any of it.

I have literally never seen a single Druid who casts call lightning in round 1 use their action every round to call lightning, even if they keep concentration through the whole fight. Why would this be any different?
 

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