How should Modify Spell be made less overpowered?

Parmandur

Book-Friend
It should be notes that from the playtest introduction(s) that the requested feedback should be on the desirability of the mechanic not on balance issues. I think that in principle the modify spell is a good addition to the game as is the whole modify and create spell sequence. That it will be adjusted for balance is very likely.
Exactly: I think it's fine as is, but theybahould definitely get something like this in there.
 

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For quite awhile, I've had the opinion that losing concentration when being damaged is a mechanic that should apply to NPCS, not PCs. The other effects are fairly narrow.

My biggest issue is then (a) that only Wizards can eliminate damage ending concentration when I would rather it be a divine ability, and (b) that only Wizards can spend money to improve class abilities (i.e., Craft Spell). Thematically that makes sense. But it's a lot.

My initial response was that it should not be a ritual, but that was before being reminded that rituals can't be upcast. It's specifically not allowed. I'm now of the opinion that Modify Spell is basically fine. Maybe it should have a different cast time but I don't think it's a huge deal.

Edit: There's one element that I forgot to add. The primary spellcasters, especially Wizard, are extremely difficult to evaluate because spells need significant fixes. Polymorph and summon spells need to be fixed. Templates are the correct approach, but the examples given so far have been so laughably underpowered it makes you wonder if they have read the Monster Manual at all. Spells over level 6 need a widespread overhaul, too, as they're the primary reason the game still falls apart at those levels. Reaction spells dominate play at all levels, too. Did you know that in the entire game there are only nine spells you can cast as a reaction? Why are they such a fixture if they're such a short list? So I don't really know how to say if the new Wizard is balanced. But I like the flavor it has!
 
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For quite awhile, I've had the opinion that losing concentration when being damaged is a mechanic that should apply to NPCS, not PCs. The other effects are fairly narrow.
I definitely agree with that about concentration, as I don't think having no damage save on Wall of Fire makes it unbreakable. Many monsters that use all their melee attacks on one Wizard are probably going to be quite close to bringing down that Wizard in a round or 2.
 

tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
A good chunk of the modify spell options are options a sorcerer has with metamagic starting at level two . That's not overpowered, it's boring.
I'd suggest a level corrected adaptation of the ELH spell seeds & factors to make it interesting.
 


Leatherhead

Possibly a Idiot.
I don't like the direction of Modify Spell -> Create Spell. I absolutely love the idea of creating your own signature spell, but creating your own spell shouldn't be boiled down to copying Mordenkainen's homework and changing a few words. Instead regulate that entire mechanic into building your own spell À la carte with some provided tables. Which basically means I am in the "Delete It" camp.


That being said, I feel the need to address this specifically.

Fixing Modify Spell is easy. Get rid of it. Spell modification is the sorcerer's signature ability.

No. Metamagic (which is on-the-fly single-use modifications to a spell as it is being cast) is the Sorcerer signature ability. The concept of modifying spells in general was never Sorcerer exclusive. For instance, the Warlock has invocations that heavily modify spells as part of their class identity. In fact, I would wager that WoTC realized this, and just decided to make modifying spells the key feature of Mage classes like how Expertise is the shared feature of Experts.
 
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Chaosmancer

Legend
I go back and forth on this a lot, but the more I look at it and the more I think about it, the more I'm convinced it is probably not super broken. But dang is it close.

The first thing is that the ritual version is only 1 change to 1 spell, and that change goes away if you do it again. That seems okay, even the very powerful option to not have concentration break is probably okay if it is a single spell.

Though, there is an issue that it is only a ritual, and can be redone many times.

Stacking multiple changes can be done quicker, but it does take at minimum a 5th level slot. Which means the earliest is can be done is 9th level, and it would be their only 5th level slot to do something like make an impossible to break, enemy only Hypnotic Pattern. Which may very well be worth it since they can cast that 4 times a day (three 3rd level slots, then arcane recovery). I think the idea was "but you need to plan what is useful" and forgot that so many things are useful generally, and those are the ones which will get the powerful modifcations.

We also have to look out for stacking with Subclass abilities. It is much easier to do a friendly-fire, distant Fireball as an evoker, because you have friendly-fire baked in. Which means keeping an eye out on future subclasses.


Maybe a good limit for the new spells is that you can only cast them once or twice per day? That just prevents spam. Then again, the real bogeymen for me are Memorize spell (give me an hour to just redo my entire kit, no big deal) and Create Spell which while expensive starts allowing you to customize every single spell you have to be more powerful. That starts at 9th level, and it can get out of control quickly, as it basically laughs in the face of balance. Especially since you can use Scribe spell to move spells from spellbook to spellbook and a group of wizards can trivially start getting massively powerful easily.
 



GrakSteel

Villager
I go back and forth on this a lot, but the more I look at it and the more I think about it, the more I'm convinced it is probably not super broken. But dang is it close.

The first thing is that the ritual version is only 1 change to 1 spell, and that change goes away if you do it again. That seems okay, even the very powerful option to not have concentration break is probably okay if it is a single spell.

Though, there is an issue that it is only a ritual, and can be redone many times.

Stacking multiple changes can be done quicker, but it does take at minimum a 5th level slot. Which means the earliest is can be done is 9th level, and it would be their only 5th level slot to do something like make an impossible to break, enemy only Hypnotic Pattern. Which may very well be worth it since they can cast that 4 times a day (three 3rd level slots, then arcane recovery). I think the idea was "but you need to plan what is useful" and forgot that so many things are useful generally, and those are the ones which will get the powerful modifcations.

We also have to look out for stacking with Subclass abilities. It is much easier to do a friendly-fire, distant Fireball as an evoker, because you have friendly-fire baked in. Which means keeping an eye out on future subclasses.


Maybe a good limit for the new spells is that you can only cast them once or twice per day? That just prevents spam. Then again, the real bogeymen for me are Memorize spell (give me an hour to just redo my entire kit, no big deal) and Create Spell which while expensive starts allowing you to customize every single spell you have to be more powerful. That starts at 9th level, and it can get out of control quickly, as it basically laughs in the face of balance. Especially since you can use Scribe spell to move spells from spellbook to spellbook and a group of wizards can trivially start getting massively powerful easily.
Memorise Spell swap only lasts until you cast it again, so ritually casting repeatedly still only ends up with one swap from your chosen loadout.
 

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