D&D 5E Lightning Bolt should be better.

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
The bounce was super dangerous too. If the caster was directly facing a wall head on like C---x---x-> |you could predict it easy, but it could also do C\/\/\/\/\/along the walls of a narrow hallway or do god knows what if it hit a complex bit of geometry like a curve or jaggy wall. Also unlike fireball's cubic square feet lightningbolt's bounce was easy enough to calculate that it got invoked
Oh, I know. I've seen all kinds of crazy lightning-bolt stunts. A few of them even worked. :)

Never mind that I make them roll to aim these things, meaning all their fancy geometric planning can go whoosh out the window on a bad aiming roll.
 

log in or register to remove this ad


NuMystic ~

Explorer
For a while in 3e or 3.5 or something, you could run Lightning Bolt down the border between two squares, functionally making it 10' wide. That made it a lot better.
This is still the case in 5e.

Choose an intersection of squares or hexes as the point of origin of an area of effect, then follow its rules as normal. If an area of effect is circular and covers at least half a square, it affects that square. - DMG p. 251

The AoE section of XGE gives examples showing this applies to straight line AoE spells as well.

Provided your character casts at the intersecting point between squares, a 5’ wide bolt will cover half of the squares on either side and hit any targets in both squares on either side.

Actually applying the RAW this way is all the buff this spell needs, if you’re someone that believed it even needed one to begin with.
 

Yaarel

Mind Mage
The lightning bolt spell should be better.

Maybe a minor stunning or shocking effect. Or increased damage again metal armour. Not sure what, but lightning is too damned cool to be stuck with a little used spell.
The problem is, the 5e Fireball spell enjoys plot protection, and is more powerful than a spell should be for a slot-3 spell.

The goal was too make the wellknown spell a little extra spectacular. But the result is it becomes the defacto benchmark that all spells at all slots compare too, whose powerfulness is measured relative too it. In other words, Fireball tends to cause power creep.

It would have been better if the Fireball spell had effects that are comparable to other slot-3 spells, or instead became a slot-4 spell.

The situation is what it is.

Arguably, Lightning Bolt is also a wellknown spell, and probably deserves the same plot protection that Fireball does.

Flavorwise, that Lightning Bolt causes the Stunned condition, or at least denies a reaction until the creatures next turn, is awesome.
 

ECMO3

Hero
The lightning bolt spell should be better.

Maybe a minor stunning or shocking effect. Or increased damage again metal armour. Not sure what, but lightning is too damned cool to be stuck with a little used spell.

I use lightning bolt quite a bit.

I don't use it as much as control or buff spells, but I use it a lot more than fireball, which I rarely even have prepared.

Overall I think Lightning bolt is the best 3rd level blasting spell. It does not cover as much AOE as fireball, but it is a lot easier to use without friendly fire, especially if you are fighting a single BBEG.
 

ECMO3

Hero
Being a line just makes it impractical (and that goes for other line effects too). It's a red-letter day when you can hit three opponents with a line effect, where radius effects can affect multiple targets much, much easier.

Sure if you have a lightning bolt prepared you can use it to pump 8d6 damage into a large single enemy with not too many problems. But by the time you're 5th-8th level, large single enemies won't be too frightened by that, and the archer ranger with hunter's mark and colossus slayer will be doing almost as much every round, at a longer range and not limited by spell slots.
IME being a line makes it far, far easier to use. With fireball, if you are in a dungeon and the caster does not win initiative outright, you are often not going to be able to hit any enemies without also damaging friendlies. Also even when you have the room to use it, you often can't get the enemy you want to get (that giant with 15hps who you want to down).

If you are playing an evoker this is not an issue and in that case fireball is superioer, but then you are also giving up a lot because you are playing a weaker wizard subclass and not focusing on the best spells.
 
Last edited:

ECMO3

Hero
Having to be on the front line and only getting targets in a line are significant downsides compared to being able to cast from behind front line tanks and affecting a group in a burst.
Usually I use lightning bolt from range. The bolt is 100 feet long, so as long as you are within 100 feet of the target, and can move so there are not allies in a direct line between you and the targets it is pretty usable.

In a hallway or something like that it can be difficult.
 

Lazvon

Explorer
I think for a 3rd level spell dealing 8d6 average 28 damage to a 20’ radius is much too powerful. After nearly TPKing (5) 4th level characters yesterday, I might house rule using 3rd level slot is 6d6, and 2d6 each slot after that… dunno, need to think about the path of that, but adding average 7 damage seems about right for each slot.
 


Weiley31

Legend
The lightning bolt spell should be better.

Maybe a minor stunning or shocking effect. Or increased damage again metal armour. Not sure what, but lightning is too damned cool to be stuck with a little used spell.


Oh, that's neat: The Sunlight Spear Miracle actually has rules for the whole classic "Casting Lighting at an enemy group standing in water" effect with the rule breakdown.

Basically, if the Sunlight Spear Miracle is cast at water, everything standing in said water or within 10 feet of water must make a Dexterity Save Throw. If they fail, they take damage, but half on success.
In this case: Sunlight Spear does, by default, 15D6 of damage to the main target when used normally. For the electrifying water portion, everything suffers 12D6 of lighting damage. So, it's a simple D6 reduction of 3D6s from the 15D6 pool: 15-3=12D6.

So, for anybody wanting to replicate that videogame cliche/trope of Lighting+Water=BAD, just follow a similar structure for your regular 5E games and adjust accordingly with your Lightning spells.
^This. I like the idea how Dark Souls does it with this spell.
 


I think for a 3rd level spell dealing 8d6 average 28 damage to a 20’ radius is much too powerful. After nearly TPKing (5) 4th level characters yesterday, I might house rule using 3rd level slot is 6d6, and 2d6 each slot after that… dunno, need to think about the path of that, but adding average 7 damage seems about right for each slot.

It's worth noting that spells are balanced with PC use in mind rather than monster use against PCs. It's because there's a significant amount in difference in how PCs and monsters are built. This is why spell damage should be tweaked when a monster uses it, to fit in line with the guidelines in the DMG for designing monsters.
 

Lazvon

Explorer
It's worth noting that spells are balanced with PC use in mind rather than monster use against PCs. It's because there's a significant amount in difference in how PCs and monsters are built. This is why spell damage should be tweaked when a monster uses it, to fit in line with the guidelines in the DMG for designing monsters.
Thanks. Will see if I can find that.
 

Mannahnin

Scion of Murgen (He/Him)
I think for a 3rd level spell dealing 8d6 average 28 damage to a 20’ radius is much too powerful. After nearly TPKing (5) 4th level characters yesterday, I might house rule using 3rd level slot is 6d6, and 2d6 each slot after that… dunno, need to think about the path of that, but adding average 7 damage seems about right for each slot.

It's worth noting that spells are balanced with PC use in mind rather than monster use against PCs. It's because there's a significant amount in difference in how PCs and monsters are built. This is why spell damage should be tweaked when a monster uses it, to fit in line with the guidelines in the DMG for designing monsters.
This is a fair point. In a recent adventure I played in, IIRC we had our party of 7th level PCs get ambushed by several Flameskulls, and we took a LOT of damage. It was a rough one.
 

Garthanos

Arcadian Knight
I think for a 3rd level spell dealing 8d6 average 28 damage to a 20’ radius is much too powerful. After nearly TPKing (5) 4th level characters yesterday, I might house rule using 3rd level slot is 6d6, and 2d6 each slot after that… dunno, need to think about the path of that, but adding average 7 damage seems about right for each slot.
A5e made the standard fireball a 6d6 (with a variant 8d6)
 

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top