• NOW LIVE! -- One-Page Adventures for D&D 5th Edition on Kickstarter! A booklet of colourful one-page adventures for D&D 5th Edition ranging from levels 1-9 and designed for a single session of play.
log in or register to remove this ad

 

My rant on Energy Substitution.

Bonedagger

First Post
Energy Substtution was a bad idea from the beginning.

It makes the game (more :D) unbalanced.


Example (Sonic vs. Fire.. Yes, I know. Have been discussed a lot):

If Sonic was that easy to come by everybody would be using it. Most supernatural creatures are immune to the more mudane elements but not sonic. After a little planetraveling most would know this. They would then share their experience with the next generation... Why even keep those fireball scrolls around.


(I'm also assuming that a sorc. can chose this feat. And then what about all those with resistances. If they have just one energy vulnerbility their resistances becomes more or less useless when facing a sorc.)

-

The spell Shout does IMO give a good example on how much damage (And sideeffects) a sonic attack should do for a 4th level spell.

BTW. Who got the idea that fire damage should equal sonic damage. Didn't anybody get the idea that some thing are just less damaging than others? (See Shout) Another reason why nobody uses sonic (fire)balls in the core rules.

LOL. "Oh no. All elements are equally damaging to everything."...


Energy Substitution seems like a munchkins idea to try and gain easy power.
 
Last edited:

log in or register to remove this ad

smetzger

Explorer
One thing. Microwaves are sonic energy and are pretty deadly IRL. When I think of a SonicBall spell I think of a burst of microwave energy that 'cooks' creatures.
 

Darklone

Registered User
Energy substitution is splatbook content and therefore banned from my games.

I do like the sonic spells elsewhere, shatter and shout are good examples, but IMHO the only way to balance that Energy sub feat (sonics... did anyone take something else?) is to rule that silence stops it completely.

Which has been discussed in the rules forum to the death.
 


Enkhidu

Explorer
Psion said:


Not. Microwaves are electromagnetic energy. Sonics are vibrational kinetic energy.

Yup, he's right.

Y'know, I always viewed sonics as literally "shaking things apart," when I describe what happens in the middle of a sonic effect.
 

Uller

Adventurer
I encountered my first PC using energy substitution the last game I DMed.

It didn't seem overly unbalanced. For a Sorcerer, it turns a 1 action (fire based) fireball into a full round (sonic) fireball. That's a big cost, IMO. For wizards, the cost is less of course, but it still costs a feat. If it bothers you so much, just make it use up a higher level spell slot (maybe 1 or 2 levels). Or just ban it.

IMG, all splat book stuff is subject to DM review before it can be used and even if I allow it in one game, I may ban it later (consistancy be damned...if something is screwing up the balance in my game, I'm gonna ban it).
 


Taluron

Registered User
"... Energy sub feat (sonics... did anyone take something else?) ..."

Well, my cold-themed wizard took substitution Cold and my electric-themed wizard took sub Electricity. I don't have any with substritution sonic since I've yet to make a character that specializes in that area. If I every give my bard any sorc or wiz level I may but until then...
 

Uller

Adventurer
Another thing you can do is increase or decrease damage dice based on energy type. Rank the energy types from most to least effective:

Fire
Electricity
Cold
Acid
Sonic.

When you switch energy types, if it is lower on the scale, you reduce the damage die type as per the weapons of varying size chart. So d6 goes to d4. You never increase the die type (that would be munchkin). Maybe Acid damage is divided over several rounds and sonic adds a chance to deafen and stun the target (Fort save to avoid).

So a fireball in any other form would only do d4 damage per level (max 10d4). An Acid Fireball would divide it's damage over 1 round per 3 levels of the caster (3d4 per round). A Sonic Fireball would stun targets for 1 round and deafen them for 1 minute per level of the caster(fort save negates) or something like that...
 


novyet

First Post
Our party's sorcerer took Energy Substitution (Acid), and our Enchantress took Energy Substitution (Electricity). I was thinking of making a wizard taking Energy Substitution (Sonic) and eventually going for that Master of the Secret Sound Class. On the whole, we have had people at a couple times be using energy substitution (Sonic) and it didn't seem all that bad. Because the other wizards would switch spells to use a type a creature may be weak against, wheras nothing is really vulnerable to sonic attacks.

Of course I'd need more experience with it, to truly jusge for myself, but both myself and my group don't have any issues with it. YMMV.

:)
 

Fenes 2

First Post
For themed wizards or sorcerers it is, imho, not needed - my fire sorceress just learned fire variants of the various energy spells (Cone of Fire instead of Cone of Cold, Fire Chains replace Chain Lightning). It is really only needed if you want to be able to use Fireball, Cone of Cold and Chain Lighting as sonic variants as soon as you encounter a resistant creature.
As for the cost: A full round action casting time (unlike a full round casting time like summon monster has) is not much of a cost for a sorcerer, compared to the flexibility it allows him or her.
 

Ilen

First Post
Energy Subsitution is nice for element themed spell casters, I suppose if it was banned all you have to do is talk to the DM and get an okay to take Coldball instead of Fireball next level, but then when you go to face that frost Wyrm you can't switch back (If Sorc).

In the OP I see reasoning to ban or otherwise limit the Energy Subsitution (Sonic) but is a Freezing Hands more unbalanced then Burning Hands? And is Ray of Acid going to stand the game on it's head?
 

Kibo

First Post
Enkhidu said:
Y'know, I always viewed sonics as literally "shaking things apart," when I describe what happens in the middle of a sonic effect. [/B]

Fireball in a sence was probably always a little bit "sonic" for most people. If you (or your DM) described a huge blast throwing you against the wall, and the heat cooking you, leaving a crumpled smoking wreak, that's a combination. The blast was sonic, the heat, fire.

Many munitions use the blast wave, or overpressure to kill. The nice thing about that is, it propigates nicely through caves, or reinforced corridors killing in a way little bits of shrapnel just can't. It goes around corners, alone or in pairs.

A good way to really see this on reality tv like MaxX where they show stuff blowing up. Every now and then you'll see an episode where a rocket fuel plant goes up, and you can watch the blast wave travel across a huge distance and hit the guy with the camera. Or all that cool Trinity and Beyond footage from America's atomic and hydrogen bomb programs.

More blast, less heat, more heat, less blast. That's all cool. Stylistcally speaking of course.
 

Psion

Adventurer
Fenes 2 said:
As for the cost: A full round action casting time (unlike a full round casting time like summon monster has) is not much of a cost for a sorcerer, compared to the flexibility it allows him or her.

Can you BE serious? As recently as last night I saw how important caster positioning can be in combat with area attack spells. Keeping a sorcerer from taking a move equivalent amidst a party of meleeing characters is a serious consideration.
 

Bonedagger

First Post
Piratecat said:
It's caused no problems in my game. *shrug* I think it's fine.

Well . Balance is ultimately maintained by the DM.

I have no doubt that a DM can adjust the encounters to match the partys specific powers.


I don't like the idea behind it. E.g. That sonic, Acid and Fire only are different at first glance. Fire, sonic and acid should be different in more ways than their category.

And based on that it does IMO sqrew up the idea of resistances.

Why then not just call it "blue fire", black fire" and "red fire" instead of fire, sonic and acid.
 
Last edited:

hong

WotC's bitch
Psion said:

Can you BE serious? As recently as last night I saw how important caster positioning can be in combat with area attack spells. Keeping a sorcerer from taking a move equivalent amidst a party of meleeing characters is a serious consideration.

Lots of things can be serious sometimes. Not so many things are serious all the time. IME, a full-action casting time is not serious all the time. It's not even serious sometimes. It's serious when specific circumstances cause the lack of being able to move to come into play, but you could say that about anything.

All things considered, slowed-down metamagic isn't a particularly major disadvantage. Sorcs still get much more oomph out of metamagic than wizards, because they can choose dynamically, based on the situation, when to apply these feats. If you're a wiz, you need to prepare stilled, silent, substituted etc. spells ahead of time. If you guess wrong about what you're going to fight, then you've wasted a bunch of high-level spell slots. If you're a sorc, you just use whatever's best for the situation.

Now if it was a full-round casting time, THAT would be a major negative. But it isn't.
 

Darklone

Registered User
Problem is: a hasted sorcerer can't cast two metamagicked spells per round, a hasted wizard can.

I agree to abovementioned themes of spells... In that Diablo D&D book the best thing IMHO was the difference in damage and secondary effects of cold, lightning and fire spells...

Energy substitution is boring.
 

smetzger

Explorer
Psion said:


Not. Microwaves are electromagnetic energy. Sonics are vibrational kinetic energy.

Microwaves are also high frequency sound waves, just way outside of anythings hearing range (other than a microwave receiver). I cannot find anything saying that Sonic is vibrational kinetic energy.
 

BiggusGeekus

That's Latin for "cool"
From the SRD:
* Countersong: A bard with 3 or more ranks in Perform can counter magical effects that depend on sound (but not spells that simply have verbal components). As with inspire courage, a bard may sing, play, or recite a countersong while taking other mundane actions, but not magical actions. Each round of the countersong, the bard makes a Perform check. Any creature within 30 feet of the bard (including the bard) who is affected by a sonic or language-dependent magical attack may use the bard's Perform check result in place of his saving throw if, after rolling the saving throw, the Perform check result proves to be better. The bard may keep up the countersong for 10 rounds. Countersong is a supernatural ability.

I would have thought the presence of a bard in an opposing party would cut down on the number of sonics? And what about the effect of a silence spell?

But in general I agree with the rant. I don't know what it is about Energy Subsitution. But I don't so much mind when it relates to fire, cold, or lightning. But when people start talking about acid or sonic it bugs me for some reason.
 

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top