5E Homebrew Spell Review!

the Jester

Legend
Dude. In my judgment, the stun-every-round alone is too good. This is way overpowered, even your fourth version. Especially with a halfway decent save DC against a creature with a crappy Wisdom save. Everything else is just icing on the cake. No offense, but yikes.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
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.
My working definition of "occasional and situational" would be that it wouldn't happen all rounds, or even the majority of rounds.

Yet when I look at this, at the best I could say is that it will happen multiple times per round, but perhaps not every enemy action per round. Though for some enemies, especially beasts, undead, and the like, I don't really see even that.

Please, with five attackers going after targets in the aura that they need to either enter to melee (it's quite large) or use magic, tell me how many times per round you expect the stun to trigger.

Because a number I get and the definition of "occasionally and situational" do not match in the slightest.

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?
This sort of seems you are saying the spell can do this, but because a different spell with different situational needs wasn't used in that way, we shouldn't actually evaluate the spell as if it has that ability.

I ask that you forward this post to your DM. Since you "scoff" (your word) at what we say, there shouldn't be any concern your DM will see merit in what we are saying. But at least be honest with your DM and let them know there are concerns and let your DM see those concerns unfiltered by your scoffing.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
My working definition of "occasional and situational" would be that it wouldn't happen all rounds, or even the majority of rounds.

Yet when I look at this, at the best I could say is that it will happen multiple times per round, but perhaps not every enemy action per round. Though for some enemies, especially beasts, undead, and the like, I don't really see even that.

Please, with five attackers going after targets in the aura that they need to either enter to melee (it's quite large) or use magic, tell me how many times per round you expect the stun to trigger.

Because a number I get and the definition of "occasionally and situational" do not match in the slightest.



This sort of seems you are saying the spell can do this, but because a different spell with different situational needs wasn't used in that way, we shouldn't actually evaluate the spell as if it has that ability.

I ask that you forward this post to your DM. Since you "scoff" (your word) at what we say, there shouldn't be any concern your DM will see merit in what we are saying. But at least be honest with your DM and let them know there are concerns and let your DM see those concerns unfiltered by your scoffing.
Yeah, I am the DM, and this is more likely a spell for my co-DM's wizard PC in a game I run.

Enemy wizards will only get pinged when they try to target a specific target. A fireball won't cause them to have to save, for instance (and if the caster uses the reaction it also protects any enemies within the maze). The cylinder is also pretty small. There absolutely will be PCs outside of it. By the time 4th level spells are in play, a 10ft radius circle on the map that isn't safe to enter shouldn't break anyone's encounters.

Someone noted variable availability of archers as an issue, but I reject that entirely. Give your goblins shortbows. You've already got fly by this level, enemies should already not be limited to spell or melee, with no mundane range.

Now, we have, again, taken the feedback here into account, and started over from the narrative elements and found that blindness is actually a better fit than stun, and that we can get a scarier effect using blindness and a "the target makes a new save at the end of it's turn" instead of a "until end of next turn" effect duration.

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 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 trapped by the maze. Trapped creatures are blinded, seeing only the corridors of the maze. They can still hear, but sounds are distorted as if coming from around a corner. At the end of its turns, the target can make another Wisdom saving throw. On a success, the effects end on the target.


While the spell is active, you can use 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 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.


That's probably the last alpha draft. Next is playtesting. We found when discussing it that blindness where you see only the maze is thematically scarier, but allows movement and actions, and even incapacitated allows movement and bonus actions (which spellcasters may have plenty of), but still should scare enemies who fail their saves, and it still feels almost just as much like their mind is being trapped in the maze.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Well if that spell were in my game - i'd make a bladesinger wizard and it would be the only spell I would ever use.
You'd run out of spells pretty quick, after waiting most of the "sweet spot" levels of a campaign to even get the spell, and quickly start wasting higher level slots on a lower level spell.
 

Esker

Hero
Do you think that Circle of Power is a reasonable set of effects for a 5th level spell? I think that's a good comparison point for balance, here. Both spells make it harder to affect creatures inside with magic; and both have a damage resistance component.

Circle of Power has the following advantages:
  • It's a bigger area
  • It gives better damage reduction to creatures inside, which doesn't use a reaction
  • It's mobile

This spell has the following advantages:
  • Lower level
  • An AC bonus
  • Temp HP, which refresh whenever anybody takes elemental or force damage
  • The resistance feature applies to all damage of the designated types, not just from spells that involve saves
  • A significantly greater disincentive to target creatures inside with spells; blindness and subject to a future incapacitated effect is definitely worse than just giving advantage on saves. Even the blindness on its own is worse.

I think if you made it 5th level, removed the "use an action to incapacitate" bit, and made the temp HP one time only, you'd have a spell that was roughly comparable to the other (quite good, in most people's opinion) 5th level circle of protection vs magic.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Do you think that Circle of Power is a reasonable set of effects for a 5th level spell? I think that's a good comparison point for balance, here. Both spells make it harder to affect creatures inside with magic; and both have a damage resistance component.

Circle of Power has the following advantages:
  • It's a bigger area
  • It gives better damage reduction to creatures inside, which doesn't use a reaction
  • It's mobile

This spell has the following advantages:
  • Lower level
  • An AC bonus
  • Temp HP, which refresh whenever anybody takes elemental or force damage
  • The resistance feature applies to all damage of the designated types, not just from spells that involve saves
  • A significantly greater disincentive to target creatures inside with spells; blindness and subject to a future incapacitated effect is definitely worse than just giving advantage on saves. Even the blindness on its own is worse.

I think if you made it 5th level, removed the "use an action to incapacitate" bit, and made the temp HP one time only, you'd have a spell that was roughly comparable to the other (quite good, in most people's opinion) 5th level circle of protection vs magic.
Honestly circle of power reads as kinda weak for 5th level, imo.
 

Esker

Hero
Honestly circle of power reads as kinda weak for 5th level, imo.
Really?? If I'm facing enemies whose threats are primarily magical, I would reach for either Wall of Force (if divide and conquer seemed like the move and/or if the magical threats were mostly non-damage based) or Circle of Power (potentially a better use of a slot than WoF vs damage-based magic). Maybe Animate Objects if they didn't resist non-magical damage and I just wanted to brute force it. But WoF and AA are probably the two best 5th level spells in the game; I certainly wouldn't put CoP on their level overall, but only because it's somewhat more situational (though useful in a very common situation at the level where you are able to use it).
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Really?? If I'm facing enemies whose threats are primarily magical, I would reach for either Wall of Force (if divide and conquer seemed like the move and/or if the magical threats were mostly non-damage based) or Circle of Power (potentially a better use of a slot than WoF vs damage-based magic). Maybe Animate Objects if they didn't resist non-magical damage and I just wanted to brute force it. But WoF and AA are probably the two best 5th level spells in the game; I certainly wouldn't put CoP on their level overall, but only because it's somewhat more situational (though useful in a very common situation at the level where you are able to use it).
Sure, it's good. More powerful than the spell I've built. I just think it's on the weaker half of 5th level spells, if you discount any actual trap options.

But 5th is also, IMO, one of the weirdest spell levels in terms of comparing spells for balance. It's a weird level.

But anyway, Arcane Maze (the op spell) seems to be within 4th levels power band, at this point. I still don't take "it does too many things" seriously as a criticism. It isn't inherently more powerful to heal 5 and damage 5 than to heal or damage 10.
 

Galandris

Adventurer
How would anyone react to a spell whose casting time is 2 rounds with regard to power balance? I am getting the argument regarding action economy of the spell, but what if, instead of removing capabilities or upping the spell level, the balance came from spending several turn (2, 3...X) to cast the spell ? 1 minute is too long for a combat spell, but what about something in-between? I don't think there are spells with casting time between "one action" and "one minute"...
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
@doctorbadwolf can you link the most updated version?
Considering the nature of your last couple comments? Nah Im good.
How would anyone react to a spell whose casting time is 2 rounds with regard to power balance? I am getting the argument regarding action economy of the spell, but what if, instead of removing capabilities or upping the spell level, the balance came from spending several turn (2, 3...X) to cast the spell ? 1 minute is too long for a combat spell, but what about something in-between? I don't think there are spells with casting time between "one action" and "one minute"...
Yeah I do think there was room for spells like that, but...I’m not sure how to feel about adding spells like that when the system otherwise lacks them. 1 Minute casting time delineates that it isn’t a spell you use during combat, but either before or entirely outside of combat. 2+ rounds is...hard.It isn’t as powerful as using both rounds to cast 2 spells of half the power, but how great is the disparity? A spell level? A few dice worth of extra effect? Idk.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
But anyway, Arcane Maze (the op spell) seems to be within 4th levels power band, at this point. I still don't take "it does too many things" seriously as a criticism. It isn't inherently more powerful to heal 5 and damage 5 than to heal or damage 10.
But it IS often more powerful to heal or damage 10 than to heal 5 and damage 5 separately.

Let's look at the whole picture. Let's look at Action Economy, and at Concentration as a resource

Action economy
Compare these spells (the second I'm making up, riffing on Green Flame Blade).

True Strike: Spend you action casting so your first melee attack next round gets advantage.
"True Blade": Make a melee attack with advantage.

Both give you advantage on the melee strike. One though combines the actions. Otherwise it's a single slot, etc.

Result: It is more powerful to combine multiple things into one spell so you are only spending one action casting.

Concentration
Concentration spells often are more powerful because they require concentration. Compare Blindness/Deafness to Hold Person. Both 2nd level, 1 minute, save at end of every round. But one will cause advantage/disadvantage, while the other will stop all actions, give advantage, and give auto crits. The ONLY difference between them is Concentration.

Result: Combining two spell effects that both require Concentration to be balance, yet only "paying" Concentration once, is a big increase in power.

As you can see, there can be great power boost in doing many things in one spell.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
But it IS often more powerful to heal or damage 10 than to heal 5 and damage 5 separately.

Let's look at the whole picture. Let's look at Action Economy, and at Concentration as a resource

Action economy
Compare these spells (the second I'm making up, riffing on Green Flame Blade).

True Strike: Spend you action casting so your first melee attack next round gets advantage.
"True Blade": Make a melee attack with advantage.

Both give you advantage on the melee strike. One though combines the actions. Otherwise it's a single slot, etc.

Result: It is more powerful to combine multiple things into one spell so you are only spending one action casting.

Concentration
Concentration spells often are more powerful because they require concentration. Compare Blindness/Deafness to Hold Person. Both 2nd level, 1 minute, save at end of every round. But one will cause advantage/disadvantage, while the other will stop all actions, give advantage, and give auto crits. The ONLY difference between them is Concentration.

Result: Combining two spell effects that both require Concentration to be balance, yet only "paying" Concentration once, is a big increase in power.

As you can see, there can be great power boost in doing many things in one spell.
Sure, it can be. It isn't inherently so.
IMO, this isn't a case where it is.
 

Quartz

Adventurer
IMO, this isn't a case where it is.
I disagree. You're combining Alarm, Aid, Protection from Energy, and - to some extent - Blindness and Power Word Stun with no HP limit. And those last two repeat. And you're dropping the Concentration requirement. This is far too powerful for a 5th level spell and should be an 8th level spell at least. You are getting 5 effects for the price of one.
 

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