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D&D General Martial/Caster balance and the Grease spell

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
Just for
It looks like you're correct. I had read the PHB rules--"If you're able to make multiple attacks with the Attack action, this attack replaces one of them," emphasis mine--as meaning you could use exactly one attack to shove, no matter how many attacks you might have. Assuming you allow Crawford tweets as official commentary on the rules, he has clarified that it is any number of attacks. But you still have to make multiple attempts at it--and you get at best four chances (for an extremely high-level fighter!) if you have four things adjacent to you. That's definitely not going to be any easier than getting four things in a 10-foot square!

I generally wouldn't expect grease to hit more than 1-2 enemies unless i'm in very tight corridors. A level 5 fighter can match that...

Then my argument is that you are, rather plainly, making apples-to-orangutans comparisons, when you could be doing apples-to-pears instead.
How so? What is inherently wrong with my comparison? I'm comparing a fighter that shoves prone to a grease spell that prones. That's about as close as is feasibly possible to compare.

You said "on hits." This is not "on hits." This is "if you hit with every attack." Of course things look far rosier for the martials if every attack is a guaranteed hit!
Obviously you multiple by the accuracy and add in the effect of crits. But given that our accuracies should be roughly similar it's fairly safe to ignore to hit for such comparisons as the results will still be directionally aligned with the actual DPR numbers.

My math has, repeatedly, shown otherwise, so I'm curious how you reach this point.
11.5 vs 12 (or 13.33 if you insist on the GWF style). Add in feats and it's a huge difference but you stated no feats.

I literally already did that, at least for Second Wind/"burst of vitality," and found it pretty clearly wanting in this "holy balls this is so overpowered it should never have been printed" territory.
As another example: A Level 5 fighter with 2nd wind can heal 1d10+5 and do 4d6+10 damage with a single action. That's like casting a Scorching Ray and a Cure Wounds spell on a single turn.

Again: put your math where your mouth is. Show me these writeups that are so blatantly overpowered that no one in their right mind would have printed them. I've already tried my hand at it, and found it seriously wanting. Action Surge is the only one that might--might--fall into that range. You described the entire Fighter class as being built out of this stuff. I'm honestly kind of excited to see you make these writeups, because I would love to be proven wrong, and am very ready to give you the benefit of the doubt on this. I would LOVE to feel like Fighters are powerful badasses that don't get regularly outclassed by magic. That's what I want, and you are proposing to give it to me. Why would that upset me?
I'm showing you now. Why do you keep on acting like I am not?
 

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Honestly the Idea that the Fighter is underpowered doesn't really stack up.

You can criticise the Fighter for being one note and dull but it's hugely effective at doing one thing (damage) that pretty much always needs to be done.

Out of combat they're lacking, and in the face of a DM who's really playing hardball and playing monsters and enemy spellcasters to the best of their tactical ability they don't have all that much flexibility to respond to circumstances, but in general combat balance isn't really an issue for them.

Edit: I think the OP has hit on an issue, but I'm not sure it's a balance one in the way described. The issue is more that it ends up being one of the reasons for the overly many encounters a day that causes long rest issues (and that can cause balance issues).

It also makes low level utility magic become very cheap for out of combat use. (But few players really understand the potential of this).
 
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Is it a problem for martials? Maybe? Depends on how selfish your party plays. An effect that can knock a creature down can end up doing up to 20d6 damage outright then an extra amount of damage from the martial getting their piece. Even then, by high level, the martial usually finds some way to either put reasonable damage in their ranged attacks or have the ability to fly via magic items anyways.
Yeah, both of those options--depending on the charity of your fellow players, and "put reasonable damage into [your] ranged attacks or have the ability to fly via magic items--are unacceptable solutions to me.

Depending on the charity of the other players is bad.* That's exactly what led to the "every man for himself" tactics of 3e, because yes, you COULD buff/aid/support your friend who could then potentially do things....or you could just try to do things yourself. It's why in-combat healing is almost always trash, unless you can do it while you do other things (hence why healing word, despite being a piddly 1d4+casting mod, is often the favored choice over cure wounds--because you can use the former in combat).

And forcing the Fighter to either continue to divide up resources amongst more and more separate focuses while allowing spellcasters to remain hyperfocused, OR to spend even more of their resources just to keep up while the casters can sit on their piles of gold and do whatever-the-heck-they-like because they don't need equipment to do well, is just...bad.

*Note that there is a VAST difference between "depending on the charity of other players" and "teamwork." Teamwork means each person is contributing their best and thus performing better than they could have individually. Depending on the charity of other players means someone is intentionally under-performing so that you can be permitted to perform at all. The former is force-multiplying. The latter is asking another player to give up their contributions so that you can be allowed to contribute. The former is good, productive game design. The latter is hot garbage.

I generally wouldn't expect grease to hit more than 1-2 enemies unless i'm in very tight corridors. A level 5 fighter can match that...
In the moment you cast it, sure. But what does grease do that shove doesn't? It lasts 10 rounds.

How so? What is inherently wrong with my comparison? I'm comparing a fighter that shoves prone to a grease spell that prones. That's about as close as is feasibly possible to compare.
Grease lasts 10 rounds for 1 action. Can a Fighter attempt to prone any enemy that walks by them without an action for 9 rounds after shoving once?

Obviously you multiple by the accuracy and add in the effect of crits. But given that our accuracies should be roughly similar it's fairly safe to ignore to hit for such comparisons as the results will still be directionally aligned with the actual DPR numbers.
My experience and math numbers say otherwise. Especially since you have multiple saves you can potentially target. What choices does a Fighter have besides shoving (which can be opposed by either Strength (Athletics) or Dexterity (Acrobatics)) or hitting AC?

11.5 vs 12 (or 13.33 if you insist on the GWF style). Add in feats and it's a huge difference but you stated no feats.
Yes, I would insist (why wouldn't I?), and yes, I would call nearly 2 average damage per hit not "almost identical," seeing as how that's only just shy of the difference between a dagger (1d4, 2.5 damage per hit) and a longsword/rapier (1d8, 4.5 damage per hit). Especially since the only way you're getting that 11.5 is with Dueling style (best one-handed weapon damage is 1d8 = 4.5 average, so with +5 modifier that's 9.5, Duelling bumps it up to 11.5.) Nearly 2 average damage is...very nearly what makes Duelling worthwhile!

As another example: A Level 5 fighter with 2nd wind can heal 1d10+5 and do 4d6+10 damage with a single action. That's like casting a Scorching Ray and a Cure Wounds spell on a single turn.
Which is why I made burst of vitality a reaction spell. You can cast a reaction spell in the same turn as you cast other spells. The only limit on spellcasting in terms of actions is that you cannot cast a regular spell in the same round that you cast a bonus-action spell. You can totally cast a reaction spell and a regular spell in the same round--so you could cast burst of vitality and scorching ray, presuming the trigger condition for burst of vitality were met. (Normally--that is, for a spell of its overall concept--I'd expect the trigger to be that you take damage, but if you want to be maximally generous, the trigger could be "having less than your maximum HP," so it could be used at almost any time.)

And, again, this "4d6+10" is only if you actually do hit with both of your attacks. The spellcaster throwing scorching ray is getting three attacks, at range, that each do 2d6 on a hit. If we assume the same target, and a reasonable chance to hit (65% is pretty normal), that's 2*.65*(13.33) = 17.329 average damage for the Fighter, vs. 3*.65*7 = 13.65, a difference of about three points of damage--meaningful, but not blowing things out of the water holy-crapballs-awesome. (And, notably, if this were a sword-and-board Fighter, their damage would be only about 1.3 points higher on average. Further, note that the spellcaster benefits more from crits, both because they make more attack rolls, and because they have no static damage that would fail to be enhanced by the crit. If you then consider a caster focused on damage-dealing, such as an Evoker or Dragon Sorcerer, the difference disappears, though I admit that some of these features take time to come online--10th level for Evoker, 6th level for Sorcerer.)

So...yeah. I don't see how the Fighter is insanely powerful, if the spellcaster is actually beholden to the same limits the Fighter is, e.g., can only action surge once a day (twice a day at very high level), can only Second Wind/burst of vitality once per short rest, etc. I don't see this "wow, now that you've presented this as a spell, it's so overweeningly powerful that I cannot in good conscience say that the Fighter doesn't have caster-comparable tools to work with."

I'm showing you now. Why do you keep on acting like I am not?
Because...I mean, I skipped some of the thread, so perhaps I missed it. But I didn't see any writeups for Indomitable, Second Wind (had to write that one myself, so I'd prefer to see your version), Extra Attack, Fighting Styles (though they would be rather odd spells to say the least), or various maneuvers, since Champion brings nothing exciting and Banneret is...probably not worth the effort. (This is sort of my point. You only have four things to write up: Second Wind, Fighting Style, Action Surge, and Indomitable, unless you dig into the subclasses. I already covered one of those things--and found it wanting, making very clear my reasoning and the mathematical comparisons behind it.)
 

You can criticise the Fighter for being one note and dull but it's hugely effective at doing one thing (damage) that pretty much always needs to be done.
See my previous post. The Evoker or Dragon Sorc can be doing 21.5 damage on a hit with a cantrip, their bare-minimum damage contribution, at the exact level when a Fighter is getting to do 3*(13.33) = 40 damage if they make all three hits of an attack (which is unlikely). Is that more damage? Certainly. It's close to double, in fact, if we assume everyone always hits. Having crunched the numbers for other classes (like Paladin), the Fighter pretty much keeps up with the pack. It's not "hugely effective." It's merely solid.

And then every other thing that "pretty much always needs to be done"...the Fighter brings essentially nothing.* It is shameful to have a game that explicitly tells you, "There are three super-important things you do in this game: X, Y, and Z," and to then turn around and say, "And this one specific class, this class that is iconic and often given to new players and beloved by many? Yeah, that class is going to have nothing it brings to the table for Y and Z. You just have to figure out how to contribute on your own, which everyone can do anyway."

*And just to forestall a frustrating argument: No, I do not consider Action Surge to be meaningful outside of combat. I've heard a dozen arguments for it, and not one of them has proved convincing. It's very unlikely I haven't heard some variation of an argument you might use. If you want to argue it, be my guest, but I warn you that it is almost surely wasted effort.
 

FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
In the moment you cast it, sure. But what does grease do that shove doesn't? It lasts 10 rounds.
Sure, and how many of those rounds to you expect creatures to not actively avoid it? Unless the terrain is very cramped grease is easy to avoid for everything but the enemies you cast it on.

Grease lasts 10 rounds for 1 action. Can a Fighter attempt to prone any enemy that walks by them without an action for 9 rounds after shoving once?
'Without an action' isn't how you should be comparing these things. Fighters don't use a whole action to prone something. They use a single attack. And they can do that 100 rounds in a row while still attacking with the remainder of their attacks.

My experience and math numbers say otherwise. Especially since you have multiple saves you can potentially target. What choices does a Fighter have besides shoving (which can be opposed by either Strength (Athletics) or Dexterity (Acrobatics)) or hitting AC?
I'm not exactly sure how that point is related to what a Fighter's Action as a spell would look like. It's almost like you are conflating this point with Fighters are inferior (and at high levels I would agree). But that's due primarily to a lack of versatility (with certain strong effects unavailable to them) and not due to their abilities not making strong spells if stated out as such.

And, again, this "4d6+10" is only if you actually do hit with both of your attacks. The spellcaster throwing scorching ray is getting three attacks, at range, that each do 2d6 on a hit. If we assume the same target, and a reasonable chance to hit (65% is pretty normal), that's 2*.65*(13.33) = 17.329 average damage for the Fighter, vs. 3*.65*7 = 13.65, a difference of about three points of damage--meaningful, but not blowing things out of the water holy-crapballs-awesome. (And, notably, if this were a sword-and-board Fighter, their damage would be only about 1.3 points higher on average. Further, note that the spellcaster benefits more from crits, both because they make more attack rolls, and because they have no static damage that would fail to be enhanced by the crit. If you then consider a caster focused on damage-dealing, such as an Evoker or Dragon Sorcerer, the difference disappears, though I admit that some of these features take time to come online--10th level for Evoker, 6th level for Sorcerer.)
So what you are saying is that the Fighter at will hits a little harder than a level 2 spell? That's impressive to me! If we were to stat out the Fighters at will attack at level 5 it would essentially be a 2nd level spell! Think about that. I mean really let that sink in!

So...yeah. I don't see how the Fighter is insanely powerful, if the spellcaster is actually beholden to the same limits the Fighter is, e.g., can only action surge once a day (twice a day at very high level), can only Second Wind/burst of vitality once per short rest, etc. I don't see this "wow, now that you've presented this as a spell, it's so overweeningly powerful that I cannot in good conscience say that the Fighter doesn't have caster-comparable tools to work with."
I don't think your understanding the argument. It's not about what a single effect does. It's about what the whole Fighter's turn does. What level of spell is that (as spells generally require your only action to do whatever it is they are going to do).

Because...I mean, I skipped some of the thread, so perhaps I missed it. But I didn't see any writeups for Indomitable, Second Wind (had to write that one myself, so I'd prefer to see your version), Extra Attack, Fighting Styles (though they would be rather odd spells to say the least), or various maneuvers, since Champion brings nothing exciting and Banneret is...probably not worth the effort. (This is sort of my point. You only have four things to write up: Second Wind, Fighting Style, Action Surge, and Indomitable, unless you dig into the subclasses. I already covered one of those things--and found it wanting, making very clear my reasoning and the mathematical comparisons behind it.)
I keep telling you what '2nd wind' looks like. It's an ability that does 4d6+10 damage on a hit and heals yourself for 1d10+5 (assuming you are 5th level). That's a pretty awesome spell for a caster. It'd be like a very strong level 2 spell - but not quite a level 3 spell.

Your trying to make specific abilities into spells and that's never what I meant. I meant the things the Fighter can do on his turn. Make those effects into spells. There's plenty that the fighter does on his turn that if turned into a spell would be very powerful and i've named off numerous examples that you flat out reject already. Until you stop rejecting the examples provided I don't see this conversation going anywhere.
 
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FrogReaver

As long as i get to be the frog
Honestly the Idea that the Fighter is underpowered doesn't really stack up.

You can criticise the Fighter for being one note and dull but it's hugely effective at doing one thing (damage) that pretty much always needs to be done.

Out of combat they're lacking, and in the face of a DM who's really playing hardball and playing monsters and enemy spellcasters to the best of their tactical ability they don't have all that much flexibility to respond to circumstances, but in general combat balance isn't really an issue for them.
Yep. Fighters get a hammer to solve all their problems. Wizards get a toolbox and can often pick the perfect tool for the job. That's what tends to make Wizards so powerful. A subclass like the battlemaster gets a small toolbox but it only has a few very basic tools in it.

Edit: I think the OP has hit on an issue, but I'm not sure it's a balance one in the way described. The issue is more that it ends up being one of the reasons for the overly many encounters a day that causes long rest issues (and that can cause balance issues).

It also makes low level utility magic become very cheap for out of combat use. (But few players really understand the potential of this).
Relatively speaking, grease decreases in power as you level. Yes it can always cause prone the same at any level. Yes there's still times in cramped spaces with slower moving enemies that it can be really strong. But enemies are more likely to have ranged abilities, other types of movement, while the spell itself also becomes worse and worse in the action economy by virtue of much better spells existing.
 

Sure, and how many of those rounds to you expect creatures to not actively avoid it? Unless the terrain is very cramped grease is easy to avoid for everything but the enemies you cast it on.
...that is literally the fundamental benefit of the spell. Area denial. As I specifically said earlier.

'Without an action' isn't how you should be comparing these things. Fighters don't use a whole action to prone something. They use a single attack. And they can do that 100 rounds in a row while still attacking with the remainder of their attacks.
But they have to take some kind of action to do it. The grease spell just...works. It doesn't need anyone attending to it. It doesn't need the Wizard to spend one of his fire bolt dice. It just happens.

I'm not exactly sure how that point is related to what a Fighter's Action as a spell would look like. It's almost like you are conflating this point with Fighters are inferior (and at high levels I would agree). But that's due primarily to a lack of versatility (with certain strong effects unavailable to them) and not due to their abilities not making strong spells if stated out as such.
I wasn't--and as far as I could tell, you weren't--talking about that. You were talking about comparing damage outputs, and treating both the casters and the Fighter as having identical accuracy. This is not true, because casters have a choice: they can attack AC, or they can target any save for which they have an appropriate spell. Most saving throw bonuses are significantly lower than AC bonuses. This is recognized by the rules themselves; it's precisely the reason why big bad nasty creatures have Legendary Resistance, because if they didn't, they'd get squished by stuff based on saving throws (usually debuffs/conditions, because these tend to be much more powerful than merely inflicting damage, but that's a separate issue). Pretending that spellcasters definitely always have the same accuracy values is false, and will lead to mistaken analysis, because most of the time, a reasonably-prepared caster has at least one option that target's a monsters bad save, whereas (just as I said) the Fighter has no choice but to target AC (or Athletics/Acrobatics, for Shove, or, if a Battle Master, a Strength or occasionally Wisdom saving throw).

Think about that. I mean really let that sink in!
I have.

The fact that you think I haven't is very frustrating.

I don't think your understanding the argument. It's not about what a single effect does. It's about what the whole Fighter's turn does. What level of spell is that (as spells generally require your only action to do whatever it is they are going to do).
Then I dispute the argument as fundamentally in error. A caster can do most of those things, if we make the Fighter's mechanics into a spell. And then the next round, if it suits them, they can do something much better than the Fighter. Or they can do something about half as good, safely at range.

I keep telling you what '2nd wind' looks like. It's an ability that does 4d6+10 damage on a hit and heals yourself for 1d10+5 (assuming you are 5th level). That's a pretty awesome spell for a caster. It'd be like a very strong level 2 spell - but not quite a level 3 spell.
And how many times per day do you get that "2nd wind" effect? How many spell slots are we talking about?

Even if I granted this (which I don't, I still think you're pretty heavily over-weighting things and ignoring maintenance-action costs), even if I gave you that it was legit actually the equivalent of a 3rd-level spell (which I emphatically do not), you're talking about three-ish 3rd-level spells per day at 5th level (depending on number of short rests). You know how many 3rd-level spells a Wizard has at 5th level? Two (potentially three, via Arcane Recovery--every other spellcaster has two). A mere one level later, and all casters have three such spell slots. So the Wizard is already matching a clearly favorably-viewed version of the Fighter's special powers, even without considering cantrips, rituals (if applicable), and 1st and 2nd level spells. With some 20ish spells a day, and several of those spells being dramatically more powerful than anything in the Fighter's arsenal, I'm not seeing the power you talk about. I'm seeing a Fighter that gets some reasonably good stuff early on, which mostly scales poorly (a very common problem with Fighters across editions), and which the Wizard can reasonably match at level 6.

Plus...don't forget the Wizard's class features. Spell Mastery at 18th level literally DOES let you cast a (chosen, but changeable) 2nd level spell at-will. So even that is something the Wizard eventually gets for free, albeit at quite high level (but still two levels before the Fighter gets a third extra attack!)

Your trying to make specific abilities into spells and that's never what I meant.
Then you shouldn't have said...
I really think if we created wizard spells of some of what the fighter could do at will that those things would get called OP. It's almost like if you list something out as a spell, that makes it 10x stronger than if you list it out as something a martial can do. There's an instant difference in perception around such effects regardless of how strong they really are.

You were very specific about turning these things into actual spells, back then. That specifically rendering these effects as spells would create an "instant difference in perception." I've done the described task, and did not see the described result. Now you're saying you meant some other task. That's very frustrating to me. (Particularly since the actually-powerful things, like Second Wind and Action Surge, are not at-will.)

Being able to replace one attack with an attempt to knock a single target prone is not a powerful effect. If that were an at-will spell, it would be pretty bad. Sapping sting, as mentioned earlier, attempts to knock prone and do damage, just as the Fighter's shove already can. It's, admittedly, relatively light damage (d4 per tier), but...it already fits the bill, there's already a spell that does very nearly what you're talking about, and nobody's freaking out about it. Attempting to do 5 damage (2d4, take half damage on a save) and simultaneously knock prone is certainly less than doing 13.33 damage and separately attempting to knock prone, but not a vast gulf. I would not be looking in shock and confusion if sapping sting was based on d8s instead of d4s (frankly, I actually think d4 is a little weak, but since I appreciate spells that are weaker than non-spell options, don't take that as a complaint).

Doing 13.33 damage with a single melee attack instead of (about) 6 damage with a single ranged cantrip attack is, likewise, not a huge deal. Is it better? Yes, certainly. But don't forget that the Warlock can do 1d10+5 damage per hit at-will by spending something innate to their class (exactly like choosing a maneuver or a fighting style). Some people dislike that spellcasters (mostly Bard and Sorcerer) can dip for eldritch blast + Agonizing Blast, but you aren't hearing people throwing a fit because there's a cantrip that can deal 10.5 damage per hit at range and throw an opponent back 10 feet per hit, or slow each hit target by 10 feet (non-stacking), or the like. It may not be absolutely perfectly 100% identical to doing 13.33 damage on a melee hit and being able to trade doing that damage for knocking the target prone, but it's NOT worlds apart from what the Fighter does, and there isn't, and has never been, a chorus of voices complaining that eldritch blast is ridiculously OP plz nerf.

The Shove action, presented as a spell, is weak. Plain and simple. The Shove action, presented as a rider on top of a cantrip you can already cast at the cost of reduced damage, would be...situational, even as a ranged attack. It certainly wouldn't be seen as horrendously overpowered--nor "10x stronger" than what the Fighter does.

I meant the things the Fighter can do on his turn. Make those effects into spells. There's plenty that the fighter does on his turn that if turned into a spell would be very powerful and i've named off numerous examples that you flat out reject already. Until you stop rejecting the examples provided I don't see this conversation going anywhere.
Again, I have yet to see a single thing that does so. People have often bellyached--we literally had a thread about it just recently!--at how cantrips make Wizards do comparable damage to Fighters and that that's dumb because Fighters should be unparalleled AWESOME at fighting.

You're arguing I've missed something. This is entirely possible, I'm human and make plenty of mistakes. Given this, would you be willing to point back to the specific posts where you did so, so I can re-read them and try to find what I missed?
 
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Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
I've played all of the classes except artificer for prolonged periods covering at least through level 13, and usually above 17. THEY'RE ALL FUN. THEY'RE ALL (at least) EFFECTIVE. These threads are all ridiculous once you get a chance to play a diverse sample of 5E classes. You'll see this is usually just a bunch of people saying "the grass is greener" about something else, or people that have DMs that build/rule to favor certain situations, or people that just don't know the rules. Usually, but not always.

100% agreed. I can't say I have played all the 5e classes (in fact, I'm a bit weak in the caster department, strange...). But I've had fun and effective characters that were rangers, barbarians, monks, rogues and fighters (basically most of the martials). Heck I had a session Wednesday where my fighter, a psi warrior, basically saved the party from a TPK.
 


Your closing line makes it personal. Don’t make it personal.
It wasn't personal at all.

My point was 'white room theory crafting isn't in any way shape or form how the game works in actual play, but if you prefer the results of white room number crunching over the results of actual gameplay as a more accurate representation of how the game plays, and that works you you, good for you.'

Unsure how that's a personal attack?
 


NotAYakk

Legend
Except that that's not what action surge does. Action surge lets you take another standard action--and you can only use it once a day (twice at very high level). That's 5th-level spell or above. And yes, I'd say action surge could be argued to match a 5th-level spell, since it is one of the more powerful combat abilities in the game, and some spellcasters do actually dip Fighter just so they can get it (actually, you'd usually start Fighter for the Con save proficiency and heavy armor, then flip to whatever caster class you actually want to play--Bard is a strong choice here since it gets very minimal benefits from its max-level features).
It is per rest, not per day.

Action surge refreshes on short and long rests.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
It wasn't personal at all.

My point was 'white room theory crafting isn't in any way shape or form how the game works in actual play, but if you prefer the results of white room number crunching over the results of actual gameplay as a more accurate representation of how the game plays, and that works you you, good for you.'

Unsure how that's a personal attack?
#1) “Don‘t discuss moderation in thread” is a long standing rule on ENWorld. I could ding you for that. I’m not.

#2) You made it personal by using possessives- “your”- and following that with “if it works for you” and your dismissive coda. Find a better way to express the sentiment next time, or don‘t express the sentiment,
 

#1) “Don‘t discuss moderation in thread” is a long standing rule on ENWorld. I could ding you for that. I’m not.

#2) You made it personal by using possessives- “your”- and following that with “if it works for you” and your dismissive coda. Find a better way to express the sentiment next time, or don‘t express the sentiment,

OK, chill man. Noted.

We can discuss it via PM
 

Shadowedeyes

Explorer
If it had no concentration and it lasted for 8 hours I think it would be a good 5th level spell. Usually there are not a lot of saves in one day that you fail, but when you do fail it is usually bad.
We will have to agree to disagree on that. I don't think I'd use one of my more powerful slots for such an effect, especially when I could use it for something like Hold Monster, Wall of Force, Telekinesis or even Cone of Cold. Maybe, at really high levels, I might be willing to drop a 5th level slot for this hypothetical spell. I certainly wouldn't be upcasting it though.
 

Dessert Nomad

Adventurer
...that is literally the fundamental benefit of the spell. Area denial. As I specifically said earlier.
I'm staying out of the big back and forth, but I will point out that grease isn't meaningful area denial unless you make the terrain extremely constrained in a weird way specifically to fit the spell. The vast majority of creatures can just jump over a grease effect without needing a roll as long as they can get a 10' move before they get to where it is, and most of the 'slow, lumbering' creatures talked about earlier don't even need the 10' move. If a creature is standing in grease to fight, it doesn't meaningfully affect the creature (if it fails the save, the creature just falls prone then uses half of the movement it wasn't going to use anyway to stand up). It's not really area denial, it's more area 'have to make a declaration of action that automatically succeeds' which is more of a mild annoyance to everyone at the table than a significant combat action.

The amount of back and forth over a spell that can be casually ignored by most creatures unless the DM specifically sets really narrow parameters to the battlefield (prevent jumping, prevent moving 10' before the grease spot, have so much blocking terrain you can't jump to the far side but somehow need to move over it) is a bit excessive. I wouldn't even call it 'white room' analysis, because a 'white room' is usually a featureless, open area. This is a 'very specific shade of blue room' analysis, because you have to make such a specific battlefield to get the result.
 

Shadowedeyes

Explorer
If you are standing in the Grease you make the save to fall down when you end your turn, so you won't be able to stand up until your next turn. You can potentially get up when you enter the area of Grease and fall.
 

Dessert Nomad

Adventurer
If you are standing in the Grease you make the save to fall down when you end your turn, so you won't be able to stand up until your next turn. You can potentially get up when you enter the area of Grease and fall.
You're right, I was misremembering it, so it's slightly better than I thought. Still is going to be easy to get around without a contrived battlefield setup, but not as ineffective on someone standing in it.
 

ECMO3

Adventurer
(Also, again, my experience with 5e vastly differs from others'. As a player, I have found saves to be extremely binary--either they're trivial, or nearly unpassable. Often the latter. It's part of what makes combat, especially in the earliest levels, incredibly frustrating and demoralizing. I'm reminded of the "ghoul surprise" boondoggle back during the playtest.)
I don't know what Ghouls surprise you are talking about but most CR1 monsters have saves around 10 or 11 and those give you a rougly 50-50 chance at saving with a 10 in the stat. Imp poision - 10, Quasit poision/scare - 10, wyrmling brass dragon breath - 11, ghoul paralyzation -10 .....

Also with proficiency being +2 at low levels, I don't know how a save can go "tivial" to "impossible" the math just does not support that at low levels.


I would, personally, say that that means you're just seeing how niche the spell's effect is. As I very clearly said in a different part of the post you quoted, grease is not a good spell overall. But it's much better than shoving. Much as, for example, sleep is a LOVELY spell...at 1st level, and rapidly declines into "not worth the ink it's written with" territory by 5th level or so.
A sleep spell cast by a 5th level wizard using a 3rd level slot can on average put down a creature with 40.5 hp with no saving throw. By comparison a fireball cast against the same foe using the same 3rd level slot will do an average of 28 points of damage on a failed save or 14 on a passed save.

That is not to say sleep is as good as fireball, but it is hardly useless at higher levels.


It looks like you're correct. I had read the PHB rules--"If you're able to make multiple attacks with the Attack action, this attack replaces one of them," emphasis mine--as meaning you could use exactly one attack to shove, no matter how many attacks you might have. Assuming you allow Crawford tweets as official commentary on the rules, he has clarified that it is any number of attacks. But you still have to make multiple attempts at it--and you get at best four chances (for an extremely high-level fighter!) if you have four things adjacent to you. That's definitely not going to be any easier than getting four things in a 10-foot square!
In the vast majority of cases it will be substantially better for several reasons.

1. It is rare there are four enemies in a 10x10 space.

2. If there are four enemies it is even rarer still that you can get to all of them with a melee attacker after they have been greased, meaning this hurts you.

3. you can use the shove on the same turn you make the attacks, meaning initiative order is meaningless, you can shove and then attack the creature you shoved as opposed to a caster who casts grease and then has the enemy stand up before he gets attacked by anyone.

4. Shove works on enemies who are flying, levitating or climbing. Grease only works on those who are standing.

My math has, repeatedly, shown otherwise, so I'm curious how you reach this point.
And actual play will show that there almost never are 4 enemies aligned so as to all be knocked prone by grease and that even if there are you can't take advantage of it.
 

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