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D&D 5E Removing Concentration From Smite Spells, Including Spells like Ensnaring Strike?

Remove Concentration from Smite Spells?

  • Yes. Bonus Action when you hit.

    Votes: 10 27.0%
  • Yes, but not as described (explain below)

    Votes: 6 16.2%
  • No. Stop it.

    Votes: 15 40.5%
  • Nah, do it this way instead (explain below)

    Votes: 4 10.8%
  • Lemon pepper chicken with yellow curry

    Votes: 2 5.4%
  • Ranger Spells but not Paladin Smite Spells

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    37
Divine Smite doesn't need help, but how often do paladins use these smite spells instead of just Divine Smiting?


My paladin has used Wrathful Smite with some success a few times, but it's pretty situational and it's rarely the best option. If you have preparation time, then Bless, Protection from Evil, or Shield of Faith are much better uses of your Concentration slot. If you don't, then it has its uses in debuffing enemies (like giants) too powerful in melee to go toe-to-toe with, and who have enough hit points that the difference between 1d6 (Wrathful Smite) and 2d8 (Divine Smite) isn't going to make a major immediate difference. Even so, Command ('flee' or 'hold') is usually a better option because you can use it at range, it doesn't eat your Concentration, and if it works, then it may provoke an attack of opportunity as your target flees, as well as actually stopping your target attacking rather than just giving them disadvantage when they attack you (the 'can't move closer to the source of fear' element of the frightened condition isn't much help when you have to be in melee to use Wrathful Smite in the first place!) Wrathful Smite's longer duration is a plus, but again, that's concentration-dependent, so it's not something you can rely on and it comes at a not-insignificant opportunity cost. If you're alone or have limited allies in support, however, Wrathful Smite can be great because unlike Command, you can actually attack as normal while it's active.
 

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6ENow!

The Game Is Over
Thundering Smite is the only one that saw any repeated use due to the Shove effect was sometimes worth the damage loss. Since it only cost 1 prepared spell, it was often kept for such situations.
Oh, yeah, that is another issue. You have to use a prepared slot for each of the "fancy-smanchy" smites you want. That is another reason why they aren't worth taking IMO.
 


Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
The smite spells are just really weird. Having to set them up is super unintuitive and makes them awkward to use, and leaves the player open to simply forgetting to use it until it’s too late. Paladins don’t generally have a ton to do with their bonus action (except Vengeance Paladins, who do get Hunter’s Mark), so that isn’t too bad. But taking up your concentration puts them in competition with Bless. In contrast, Divine Smite doesn’t require concentration, and you decide whether or not to use it when you hit, which makes it a better use of your Paladin spell slots in most situations. You’d only really use the smite spells instead of divine smite is if you’re trying to exploit a damage vulnerability or get around a damage resistance/immunity to radiant, which is extremely rare.

EDIT: Oh, and you have to prepare the damn things! God, what awful spells...

I think the best way to fix the smite spells would be to change their casting time to a reaction, which you can use when you hit a creature with a melee weapon attack. That way they still come at a slight opportunity cost compared to Divine Smite, but not nearly as much of one. It also saves you from having to remember to set the smite spell up before the attack.
 


Xeviat

Adventurer
Supporter
In my games I like to restrict Smite to 1/turn, so these Smite spells get more mileage.

I would fully support all smite spells, and the base smite action, be bonus action used after a hit. We already have other bonus action trigger effects in the game (Great Weapon Mastery has a bonus action attack that is triggered on reducing a target to 0 HP or scoring a crit). The paladin's smite would, in effect, become a 1st level spell that they all know.

The game has a rule to limit the amount of spell slots you use on your turn (when you cast a spell as a bonus action, you can't cast a levelled spell as an action), so it seems weird that you can burn through multiple spell slots a round with a smite spell and a bunch of smites on hits.

Removing concentration from the smites and unifying them all as a bonus action trigger would lessen the paladin's nova.
 

Removing concentration from the smites and unifying them all as a bonus action trigger would lessen the paladin's nova.

What does that mean for those smite spells that apply a duration effect though? If the frightened effect from Wrathful Smite (for instance) lasts the full duration of the spell without consuming a concentration slot or risking disruption from a failed concentration check, it's a pretty big power boost. There's not many persistent debuffs in the game that don't require concentration.
 

We've thought about adding this as a house-rule. It is nice to see it seems to work well for you.

It removes the temptation for Paladins to nova (rendering them sub par Fighters for the rest of the Adventuring day) which also helps with balancing encounters.

A Paladin could still drop a 3rd level slot on a Smite and another on a smite Spell (say Searing smite) and instead of 8d8 extra damage, it becomes 4d8+3d6+rider effect (which is still pretty darn impressive).

I've found that as a consequence the 'smite' spells (and their riders) get a lot more use in game play.
 

Removing concentration from the smites and unifying them all as a bonus action trigger would lessen the paladin's nova.

It would have the exact opposite effect.

A Paladin could dump a smite (and a smite spell) on a hit, greatly increasing the paladins nova.

At 5th level a Paladin could Smite (twice) for an extra 6d8 radiant and easily apply a 1st level slot for an extra 2d6 damage and knockback with a 1st level slot.

Removing concentration also encourages an active Hunters Mark or Divine Favour for an extra 2d6/ 2d4 damage as well. God help you when Holy Weapon comes online at higher levels.

'Bonus action on a hit' would encourage nova strikes and burning spell slots, not discourage it.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Some in my group have played around with them, and in general the riders are seldom worthwhile. Thundering Smite is the only one that saw any repeated use due to the Shove effect was sometimes worth the damage loss. Since it only cost 1 prepared spell, it was often kept for such situations. Everything else is pretty meh, except for Banishing Smite, which we didn't get high enough level to try out. Losing out on only 1d8 for a chance to blind seems worth it, assuming you can hold concentration.

IMO Divine Smite is what shouldn't have been in the game. Without it, the smite spells are right where they should be.
Man I just don't understand why folks are valuing ~1d8 damage so highly. From experience, frightened, blinded, even ongoing damage sometimes (though that one is too easy for the target to get out of early), are well worth doing 1d6 or 2d8 or 2d6 instead of 2d8 damage.
I mean, Branding Smite deals a meaningless shortage of damage, effectively the same damage, as Divine Smite, and the target sheds light and can't become invisible. IDK about you, but I face and use creatures that use invisibility often enough that it's worth it. I also can't imagine how a creature could ever become or stay hidden, while under the effect, since they're shedding bright light, I at least give them disadvantage if they try, as does every DM I know, and in a dark enviroment, a PC with darkvision might have advantage to hit them, since they're a beacon in the darkness.
My paladin has used Wrathful Smite with some success a few times, but it's pretty situational and it's rarely the best option. If you have preparation time, then Bless, Protection from Evil, or Shield of Faith are much better uses of your Concentration slot. If you don't, then it has its uses in debuffing enemies (like giants) too powerful in melee to go toe-to-toe with, and who have enough hit points that the difference between 1d6 (Wrathful Smite) and 2d8 (Divine Smite) isn't going to make a major immediate difference. Even so, Command ('flee' or 'hold') is usually a better option because you can use it at range, it doesn't eat your Concentration, and if it works, then it may provoke an attack of opportunity as your target flees, as well as actually stopping your target attacking rather than just giving them disadvantage when they attack you (the 'can't move closer to the source of fear' element of the frightened condition isn't much help when you have to be in melee to use Wrathful Smite in the first place!) Wrathful Smite's longer duration is a plus, but again, that's concentration-dependent, so it's not something you can rely on and it comes at a not-insignificant opportunity cost. If you're alone or have limited allies in support, however, Wrathful Smite can be great because unlike Command, you can actually attack as normal while it's active.
I've seen frightening enemies put to very effective use, over the years. You also have stuff like blinding smite, and the ranger's really good smite spells like hail of thorns and even ensnaring strike.
Is there any need to be stacking even more damage and even more incentive to nova onto the Paladin class?

In my games I like to restrict Smite to 1/turn, so these Smite spells get more mileage.
How would this do that? You'd, I guess, be able to run Divine Favor and also use the smite spells, as a paladin, but that's it. And hey, cool, that spell will get used sometimes!

Now, Rangers, on the other hand, would get some mileage out of this in terms of damage stacking, since they could run hunters mark and still use spells like hail of thorns and, eventually, lightning arrow.

I could see a vengeance paladin with magic initiate for booming blade running HM, hitting with wrathful smite on a booming blade attack, and then back up in a direction where the enemy can either stay put and do next to nothing or go after another character and get the BB damage while operating with disadvantage, but that's a pretty situational combo, and one that character can already do most of, anyway.
 

Xeviat

Adventurer
Supporter
It would have the exact opposite effect.

A Paladin could dump a smite (and a smite spell) on a hit, greatly increasing the paladins nova.

At 5th level a Paladin could Smite (twice) for an extra 6d8 radiant and easily apply a 1st level slot for an extra 2d6 damage and knockback with a 1st level slot.

Removing concentration also encourages an active Hunters Mark or Divine Favour for an extra 2d6/ 2d4 damage as well. God help you when Holy Weapon comes online at higher levels.

'Bonus action on a hit' would encourage nova strikes and burning spell slots, not discourage it.
But if Smite and smite spells both cost a bonus action, you couldn't do both.
 

Xeviat

Adventurer
Supporter
What does that mean for those smite spells that apply a duration effect though? If the frightened effect from Wrathful Smite (for instance) lasts the full duration of the spell without consuming a concentration slot or risking disruption from a failed concentration check, it's a pretty big power boost. There's not many persistent debuffs in the game that don't require concentration.
The ones with a duration would need concentration, yeah.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
What does that mean for those smite spells that apply a duration effect though? If the frightened effect from Wrathful Smite (for instance) lasts the full duration of the spell without consuming a concentration slot or risking disruption from a failed concentration check, it's a pretty big power boost. There's not many persistent debuffs in the game that don't require concentration.
The spell already lets them save. That's good enough for me. IMO it was a design mistake to make these spells both give saves every round and be concentration.

That said, I'm fine with those spells still having concentration, while being cast as a bonus action when you hit. Although I'd add a clause that you can choose not to concentrate on the spell when you cast it, in which case you don't lose concentration on anything else, and the debuff only lasts until the end of their next turn. Or they have advantage on the saves.

Perhaps, "The target has advantage on saving throws against the continuing effects of this spell, unless you choose to COncentrate on this spell. If you do, the target makes saving throws as normal, and the spell follows the rules for Concentration as normal."
 


How would this do that? You'd, I guess, be able to run Divine Favor and also use the smite spells, as a paladin, but that's it. And hey, cool, that spell will get used sometimes!

Not just divine favour, but also Holy Weapon, Hunters Mark (Veng), Bless, Elemental weapon and Spirit guardians to name a few.

The Paladin is a top tier damage dealer as is. Letting it stack Smite spells on top of any of those spells AND on top of Divine Smite is a bad idea for mine.
 



Xeviat

Adventurer
Supporter
Not just divine favour, but also Holy Weapon, Hunters Mark (Veng), Bless, Elemental weapon and Spirit guardians to name a few.

The Paladin is a top tier damage dealer as is. Letting it stack Smite spells on top of any of those spells AND on top of Divine Smite is a bad idea for mine.
But a paladin can already stack those spells and divine smite! A few of us are suggesting making this change to the smite spells and then going in and adding a nerf to base divine smite. If someone wants to spend a lot of time charging up spells like that, so be it?

A paladin can already Divine Favor+Smite, or Bless+Smite, or Hunters Mark+Smite ...
 

But if Smite and smite spells both cost a bonus action, you couldn't do both.

You would never see those Smite spells in use if there was a competing action economy for both aside from in extremely niche cases, and even when those cases arose, few paladins would have those Smite spells prepared.

Limit Divine Smite to 1/ turn and those Smite spells now have a nova function, and see a lot more use. Paladin damage slightly drops, but they get the rider effects of those Smite spells as a benefit.
 


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