Is Shadow Blade = Pass W/O Trace?

Todd Roybark

Explorer
If both spells are considered ‘excellent’ for their areas, then the context is largely irrelevant.

If a Druid PC wanted to swap out Pass w/o Trace for Shadow Blade on their class spell list, and you found the swap to be balanced, then the swap would also be balanced for a cleric of trickery with the Dragonmark of Shadow (Pass w/o Trace is on both the Divine Domain and Dragonmark spell list).
 

NotAYakk

Adventurer
No, balance is contextual. And options are power.

They are both excelent spells, but having the option to swap one for the other is a significant power upgrade. Anyone taking the swap would do so because one is more useful to them than the other.

Shadowblade in some characters hands is a fun quirky spell, in others a build defining combat spell.

Pass Without Trace is a party utility exploration spell. The second character with it gains little utility. If you neglect or solve exploration otger ways, you don't care about it.

Many wizards would swap SB for PWT and win big. Many other builds would go the other way and win big.
 
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Todd Roybark

Explorer
Many wizards would swap SB for PWT and win big. Many ither builds would go the other way and win big.
Which reads as balanced to me.

A druid with SB might be better at melee, but might regret the loss of utility of Pw/oT.
A wizard trades one excellent situational spell for another.
Even in the case of a cleric of trickery with the Dragonmark of Shadow asking to replace the Pw/oT granted by the Dragonmark with Shadow Blade, is a character built off this chassis with both spells too powerful?
I would argue allowing a cleric of trickery to have Shadow Blade on their spell list, just helps the subclass to feel more cleric/assassin like without having to resort to multiclassing.
What is worse the 15th level Shadow Dragonmarked Cleric of Trickery being able to cast a Pw/oT, and then spending their Concentration on a 8th level Shadow Blade (5d8 dmg) to Elven crit fish away, or the same character casting Earthquake because the Cleric 8th level spell list is kinda sparse....

A gloomstalker casting Shadow Blade instead of Pw/oT is no scarier than what Eldritch Knight, or Arcane Trickster subclasses can already do. High Elf Samurai/Bladesinger is a trope practically 😜
 

pukunui

Adventurer
What is worse the 15th level Shadow Dragonmarked Cleric of Trickery being able to cast a Pw/oT, and then spending their Concentration on a 8th level Shadow Blade (5d8 dmg) to Elven crit fish away
This won’t work because pass without trace also requires concentration.

Even if it didn’t, this exploit still wouldn’t work because the “veil of shadows” produced by the spell doesn’t count as dim light or darkness.
 

Saelorn

Adventurer
A druid with SB might be better at melee, but might regret the loss of utility of Pw/oT.
If the druid would regret the loss more than they would appreciate the gain, then they wouldn't make the trade in the first place.

Adding more options can only possibly raise the power level of a character; never reduce it. The possible impact of allowing this option is either negligible, or someone will be more powerful. The best-case scenario is that it doesn't wreck the balance too badly.
 

Todd Roybark

Explorer
Puk.... the phrase "spend their concentration" was my attempt to w/ brevity show both spells require Concentration.

I guess it did not come through.
 

Adamant

Explorer
Puk.... the phrase "spend their concentration" was my attempt to w/ brevity show both spells require Concentration.

I guess it did not come through.
That's likely because of the minor typo that changes the whole meaning of the sentence. Then instead of them.

Not trying to be strict on grammar, just thought you should know what caused the misunderstanding.
 

Todd Roybark

Explorer
Adding more options can only possibly raise the power level of a character; never reduce it. The possible impact of allowing this option is either negligible, or someone will be more powerful. The best-case scenario is that it doesn't wreck the balance too badly.
So how does that answer the question? Is this a fair swap?

Multiclassing, moreover, is premised off the idea that more options are not inherently more powerful in a bounded system. A 3/3/3 Bard/Warlock/Paladin is not inherently a better caster than a 9th lvl Bard. Subclass interaction is the culprit for 'overpowered' combos
 

Saelorn

Adventurer
So how does that answer the question? Is this a fair swap?
This not a fair swap, because fair swaps don't exist. Every option increases the power level of the game, either by a little or by a lot.
Multiclassing, moreover, is premised off the idea that more options are not inherently more powerful in a bounded system. A 3/3/3 Bard/Warlock/Paladin is not inherently a better caster than a 9th lvl Bard. Subclass interaction is the culprit for 'overpowered' combos
Multi-classing, which is an optional rule, inherently raises the power level of the game. For any given character concept, multi-classing either makes the character stronger or it makes the character weaker. And we can't expect any rational actor to choose the option that makes them weaker.
 

NotAYakk

Adventurer
The existence of an underpowered option does not mean that more options don't generate more power. Because options you don't choose don't make you weaker.

More options, unless they are all really bad, means you can sift through those options to find ones that make your build stronger.

The more powerful the thing being swapped around, the bigger the impact; being able to choose the height or weight of your PC is an option, but the impact is small.

Swapping one strong spell for another has a large impact. Even if they are both awesome things, the ability to pick one of X awesome things is stronger than having any one picked for you.

Both PWOT and Shadowblade are awesome spells. Which is better is going to be very build, party and situation dependent; but very often, it will be build and party.

Shadowblade isn't all that strong on most wizards, because most wizards really don't want to enter melee. Shadowblade is quite strong on someone with many attacks and the ability to survive in melee.

PWOT is quite strong if you are the only person in your party with it, and you and/or your party chooses to stealth, and exploration pillar is important at your table, and your DM runs stealth as useful. If any of those aren't true, it isn't nearly as strong.

Getting Shadowblade on a high-tap-count melee-capable character with high level spell slots is tricky, and that is one of the reasons why it isn't ridiculously strong. You can still build characters around it (EK 7/Sorcerer 13 isn't bad; a 16d8+2*stat one-two combo, psychic and thunder or fire).

The real question you should be asking is:
1. Is the player in question likely to charop that character outside of the rest of the group's bounds?
2. Can the DM deal with any charop resulting?
3. Will it make the game more fun?

You aren't publishing a supplement, you are DMing a PC.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
I don't think it's a fair swap. Spell lists usually have focuses. Both of those spells are quite good within their focuses. Swapping either way means that the respective spell list will go with nothing comparable to a really outstanding spell of a type they normally wouldn't get.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
This not a fair swap, because fair swaps don't exist. Every option increases the power level of the game, either by a little or by a lot.

Multi-classing, which is an optional rule, inherently raises the power level of the game. For any given character concept, multi-classing either makes the character stronger or it makes the character weaker. And we can't expect any rational actor to choose the option that makes them weaker.
This is a great example of theory that doesn’t match reality.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
So how does that answer the question? Is this a fair swap?

Multiclassing, moreover, is premised off the idea that more options are not inherently more powerful in a bounded system. A 3/3/3 Bard/Warlock/Paladin is not inherently a better caster than a 9th lvl Bard. Subclass interaction is the culprit for 'overpowered' combos
According to Mike Mearls several years ago, there is nothing wrong with wholesale swaps of spell lists, in most cases.
In most games, the switch won’t change the power level outside of theory.
 

Todd Roybark

Explorer
Blue, spells and characters have more categories of identity than just Exploration tier or Combat tiers. I've seen plenty of non melee Shadow sorcs take the spell based off the Shadow theme alone w/o regard to Exploration or Combat tiers.

If your answer is "depends on CharOp"..than anti -Mu, 'cause the problem is bigger than your answer 😁
 

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