D&D 5E Silvery Barbs and Fey Touched

ECMO3

Hero
We're talking about casting Silvery Barbs, which requires your reaction. If you use it for SB, you can't use it for opportunity attacks (which impacts both potential damage and enemy willingness to disengage), uncanny dodge, and a plethora of other abilities. Using your reaction is not a non-issue.
Well guidance requires your action, which is even more valuable.
 

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For those curious, here is how a once per Silvery Barbs (negating a crit) would stack up against a permanent +1 AC (aka I took the feat to give me a fighting style).

Sake of argument, all attacks do the same amount of damage, and lets make a crit worth about 1.85 normal damage (as its not a true doubling) Lets also assume Silvery barbs turns a crit into a miss about 50% of the time, a regular hit 45% of the time, and a new crit 5% of the time.

This means silvery barbs effectively negates "1.3 attacks" worth of damage per day. To provide the same amount of protection, the character would need to be attacked by 26+ attacks in one day.


So there is a "ballpark" estimate of how effective the ability is as compared to regular AC boosts.
And it gets better the higher your AC is sitting at and it's sharable which makes it tempting for those wanting more party wide mitigation/ buffing. If all it did was work on attack rolls it's would be still be in the running for the top pick for fey touched.
 

Stalker0

Legend
Well guidance requires your action, which is even more valuable.
I'll just put this out there. If my choice was SB or guidance, and I was playing a skill focused person....its guidance all the way.

SB is good on checks, but guidance spam is insanely good (and I would know my players use this spell ALL....THE....TIME).

Obviously if you can get both than your just on fire.
 

Much of the disussion on silvery barbs has centered around the spell being or not being OP. And while I am firmly in the second camp, I do think this makes Fey Touched, which is arguably the best feat in the game even better.

Fey touched was already awesome, hands down the best casting feat with a great 2nd level spell and good 1st level options like Hex, Heroism and Bless. However you can't get shield, Shield of Faith or absorb elements which are probably the spells you want the most if you are a non-caster or don't have them on your spell list.

Silvery Barbs though is an enchantment, and it is available with Fey touched and offers the kind of defensive spell that the original feat is lacking.

I think this is a significant boost to the Fey Touched feat.

I still say Ritual Caster is the better spell feat then Feytouched
 


Lyxen

Great Old One
Please read my statement again and consider it. We have been discussing the spell overall - not just limiting it to whether non-casters have concentration abilities. That would be an odd limitation for an entire conversation about spellcasting. Silvery barbs not requiring concentration has plusses for otherwise non-spellcasters, but there is still a lot of benefit to a non-spellcaster not feeling limited on their other abilities when they use a concentration spell. It goes both ways.

Further, I said that non-spellcasters tend to be in combat where it can be broken. I did not say it was an abolsute tule. Non-casters have a stronger tendency to be in melee. There are exceptions, like the archer you mentioned, but if I said there was a party consisting of a rogue, a barbarian, a fighter and a wizard (who has this spell on their spell list) and I said that one was in the backrow while the others were in the front row .... reasonable people would pretty unifromally make the same assumption about which was the back row PC. We're talking about casting Silvery Barbs, which requires your reaction. If you use it for SB, you can't use it for opportunity attacks (which impacts both potential damage and enemy willingness to disengage), uncanny dodge, and a plethora of other abilities. Using your reaction is not a non-issue.

Just, please, please follow the conversation, even with the digressions, yes they can happen sometimes when people discuss, you know, and yes, you too can make mistakes. I was replying to someone pointing out that concentration was important to non-casters, and pointed out that it's not the case, and your reply was totally besides the point, saying that they have a greater chance of losing concentration (which there is no proof of) and totally ignoring, once more, the fact they don't need it anyway. And after that, as a digression, we were discussing guidance as an alternate possibility, and once more you come in speaking of reaction that has nothing to do with it. Please simply read the posts properly and the way the conversation goes, it will make your replies relevant, that's all.
 

Silvery Barbs can almost alwyays stop a critical hit, which is huge for a martial.
Critical hits are like buses, you wait ages for one, then three come along at once.
I think this is how you use it as a fighter or ranger, not against a normal attack (unless that attack is crippling like being swallowed or something).
Rangers aren't non-casters. They have spell slots, which they can use to cast Silvery Barbs multiple times, or something else when SB isn't needed.
I like Hex a lot better than HM and it is a really good pick up with FT with a ton of use both in and out of combat.
The main drawback of Hex is its components. You can cast Hunter's Mark with a sword in one hand and a shield in the other, you need Warcaster to do that with Hex.
 

Dausuul

Legend
Silvery barbs doesn't care who casts it. If the fighter takes a critical hit, anyone in the party could cast SB to avert it. They just have to be within 60 feet and able to use a reaction.

So the most logical person to take SB is the one who is most likely to be able to cast it and who has the lowest opportunity cost to a) learn and b) use it. Factors that would go into that decision:

#1: How much do you have to give up in order to learn and/or prepare SB?
#2: How often can you cast it per day?
#3: If it costs you a spell slot, how likely are you to want that slot for something else?
#4: How often do you want your reaction for something else?
#5: How often will you be unconscious?
#6: How often will you be out of range?

Points #1, #2, and #4 make it clear that a front-line warrior is the worst person to take SB. It costs them half of a feat, they can only cast it once per day, and they are constantly using their reactions for other things. A half-caster such as a paladin or melee ranger does a little better on #2, but #3 limits the benefit; with so few slots, the half-caster is usually going to ration them pretty tightly. Paladins especially want their spell slots for smiting.

Archers do significantly better. But by far the best choice for the party's "silvery barber" is a bard, sorcerer, or wizard*:

#1: You give up just a single spell known or prepared.
#2: You can cast it as many times as you have spell slots to throw at it.
#3: Once you reach the mid-levels, you can usually spare a 1st-level slot without trouble.
#4: Casters rarely use reactions compared to melee warriors. Now and then you counterspell an enemy caster, or use shield or War Caster if you find yourself in melee, but most of the time your reaction will go unused.
#5: Call this one a wash. The caster is less in harm's way than the front-line warrior, but they also tend to have lower hit points and AC.
#6: This is the one place where a caster is slightly worse than a front-liner; but lots of spells have a range of 60 feet or less, so you're likely to be within that range most of the time.

*In fact, wizard is the single best choice for the silvery barber, partly because "spell prepared" is a lower opportunity cost than "spell known," but mainly because the wizard is most likely to have a silvery beard.
 

ECMO3

Hero
Critical hits are like buses, you wait ages for one, then three come along at once.

I don't see this, but even if true, stopping one of them is a big deal.

Rangers aren't non-casters. They have spell slots, which they can use to cast Silvery Barbs multiple times, or something else when SB isn't needed.
Yes but the only reaction spell they get is absorb elements. On other casters I would see a problem with is it the right spell to cast. A Ranger does not really have that unless I guess he is hit with an elemental attack he might want to reroll instead. In that case I think you will be far better off with AE most if time.

Another thing I thought of those is a Rogue Arcane Trickster. Rogues have a lot of spells competing for their non-enchantment/non-illusion you want including find familiar, shield (levels 3-4), absorb elements, feather fall, while they have so many illusion, enchantment that are "meh". Sivery Barbs is nice because being an enchantment means you can trade it for something like sleep or tashas laughter.
 

ECMO3

Hero
Silvery barbs doesn't care who casts it. If the fighter takes a critical hit, anyone in the party could cast SB to avert it. They just have to be within 60 feet and able to use a reaction.

So the most logical person to take SB is the one who is most likely to be able to cast it and who has the lowest opportunity cost to a) learn and b) use it. Factors that would go into that decision:
Yes, but playing with a bunch of players this is usually not going to be an options. Also the 60' limit is a pretty big limit.


#1: How much do you have to give up in order to learn and/or prepare SB?

This is the main reason I am probably not getting it as a caster unless it is an AT, and only with an AT because their spell selection is already very limited so SB is really only competing with: Silent Image, Sleep, Disguise Self, Charm Person, Color Spray, Illusory Script and Tasha's hideous Laughter.

The AT gets 2 of these spells at 3rd level and another 1 at 4th. Most of these are pretty mediocre already at 3rd level and trading one of them for SB is not too painful.

With other casters though it is competing against a bunch of good 1st level spells and as you go up in level it becomes an even bigger issue because the cost to keep it known or prepared is a higher level spell. This is what makes the feat such a good option, you aren't giving up anything prepared.

If you look at it this way, I think #1 is a good reason to get it as a Feat or as an arcane trickster, but also a BIG negative to taking it as a spell known/prepared on anything else.

#2: How often can you cast it per day?

Not really an issue if you get it through a feat as any spell you get through a feat will be once a day or once a day plus any slots.

#3: If it costs you a spell slot, how likely are you to want that slot for something else?
This is probably not a big deal. If I am willing to burn a 1st level slot to use it then it is probably worth it and it is a choice I can make when the opportunity presents itself. The preparation cost is a far bigger concern IMO.


#4: How often do you want your reaction for something else?

I disagree with this. To start with it does not take away the ability to use another reaction, it just gives better options.

Noncasters who are not Rogues are probably using their reaction the least in games I play unless they have PAM. The only reaction most of them get is AOOs or ready action when the enemy is still far away. These happen far less than casters using reactions in most of the games I play (including AOOs for those casters) because casters have so many more casting options and many of their control options are timing/situation based and used off turn with ready action.

I would make the opposite argument on #4 - This will allow front liners to use their reaction which would otherwise be wasted and would be better for martials than casters.



#5: How often will you be unconscious?
Probably less if you have it.

#1: You give up just a single spell known or prepared.
But that is huge. Every caster runs out of spells known/prepared. Not every caster runs out of slots.

#3: Once you reach the mid-levels, you can usually spare a 1st-level slot without trouble.
Yes (with a full caster), but by mid level you probably can't spare the spell known or prepared. This is escpecially true if you are a wizard who is taking feats or dexterity ASIs.

This is why a feat is so attractive as an option - no prepared/known slot AND a slot-free casting.


#4: Casters rarely use reactions compared to melee warriors. Now and then you counterspell an enemy caster, or use shield or War Caster if you find yourself in melee, but most of the time your reaction will go unused.
I disagree with this, I think they use them more than melee warriors who are not Rogues, mostly because they have so many more reactions available and are using ready action a lot.


#5: Call this one a wash. The caster is less in harm's way than the front-line warrior, but they also tend to have lower hit points and AC.
I think Wizards generally do not go down as often, in large part because they usually have spells to prevent that. Shield combined with either armor or mage armor is going to usually make AC to be better than most (not all) martials and other spells like Absorb Elements and false life are going to close the hp gap. As a result they generally go down a lot less than others in most games.

This is part of the arguement against giving it to Wizards though. They have other reactions competing and one of them (shield) is going to directly compete any time they are targeted. Using it is a high opportunity cost and could result in the Wizard going down.

Also if you are looking at the "use it for another" arguement there is a high opportunity cost. The fighter gets bit for massive damage on a crit by the Dragon using a legendary action. If the fighter goes down maybe I use it now, if he does not go down though - do I use it now and give up the option of shield later (if the dragon gets to and attacks me), or the option of absorb elements if he breathes on me. I think the opportunity cost is far lower for the fighter, giving up that potential AOO.


#6: This is the one place where a caster is slightly worse than a front-liner; but lots of spells have a range of 60 feet or less, so you're likely to be within that range most of the time.

Probably most of the time, but if you are within 60 feet you are probably going to be getting hit or caught in AOEs a lot too and you have a lot more uses for your reaction.

*In fact, wizard is the single best choice for the silvery barber, partly because "spell prepared" is a lower opportunity cost than "spell known,"
I think it is a higher opportunity cost, especially at higher levels because the Wizzard spells are better. I think it is easier with other clasess because their alternatives are not as good and they are not getting as many new higher level spells per level. If you have a wizard you are generally going to want shield, mage armor and absorb elements. You are also generally going to want feather fall.

You are usually going to want these four your entire career (with the exception of MA if you have armor proficiency).

Add to that, there are a ton of other great 1st level spells you probably want too: PEG, Magic Missile, Cause Fear

Then as you go up in level you really want Rituals in your book so you have them: Identify, Comprehend Languages, Detect Magic ... which means unless you can buy/find scrolls you have a lot of competition just with what you get into your book at 1st and 2nd level.

Even if you get them in, as you go up in level it becomes really hard to keep these all prepared. Every time a wizard gets a level hee gets 2 more spells in his book. Keeping silvery barbs prrepared means 1 less higher level spell prepared every level except 4th and 8th where your ASI evens it. This makes it really difficult to fit SB in there, both in getting it into your book and in preparing it. For example - you make 5th level and you get Fireball and Counterspell but you can only prepare one of them unless you give something else up.

but mainly because the wizard is most likely to have a silvery beard.

:p
 
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but you can also use it, if you aren't a spellcaster, to help a spellcaster land that critical spell. It won't happen often - maybe once a day ;) - but it can be clutch.
The problem with this logic is that nearly anything CAN be clutch. Hunter's mark "can" be clutch--you do just enough extra damage to kill something that would've pasted a friend. Even weird obscure spells can be clutch in weird obscure situations. When the standard is met by every spell, it's not a very useful standard for separating spells from one another.

Is it useful? Yes. Being able to have a high chance of negating one critical hit a day is decent--not amazing, but decent. I don't think that specific benefit is unequivocally better than other spells you could get via Fey Touched. The advantage to an ally is similarly useful but not amazing, since you're very limited in how you can strategize around it, being unable to save it for a preferred roll. (E.g., even if you give it to your Wizard friend who's preparing to cast a clutch spell, said Wizard cannot choose to hold onto it when the enemy casts fireball at her before her turn comes up. She has to use the Advantage on the next roll, even if it isn't her preference to do so.)

Silvery barbs is a very good spell, an upper tier 1st-level option. That it can be acquired via Fey Touched surely does make FT better, particularly since it doesn't depend on your casting modifier (and thus it doesn't matter if you increased your preferred stat with FT or not). But is it enough to make FT unequivocally insanely amazing? Ehhh...not sure on that one. E.g., I still think a Dragon Sorcerer would favor Elemental Adept for their chosen element first, Lucky remains a ridiculously powerful feat for any character, and Warcaster remains vital to any spellcasting character who expects to make Concentration saves. As others have noted, the biggest benefits of silvery barbs are for characters who have plenty of extra 1st-level slots to burn, and that doesn't apply to non-casters, particularly since there may actually be times where a melee character would want to use fey step instead of silvery barbs, but you're only able to cast one of the two spells each day.
 

particularly since there may actually be times where a melee character would want to use fey step instead of silvery barbs, but you're only able to cast one of the two spells each day.
This is not actually correct. You can cast each of them once.
You can cast each of these spells without expending a spell slot. Once you cast either of these spells in this way, you can’t cast that spell in this way again until you finish a long rest.
You can still cast the other one.
 



Ah, pardon, I missed that bit and instead saw "Once you cast either of these spells in this way" and made the wrong connection. Thank you for the correction.
I had the same reading the first time I read those feats. Didn't catch it until I did a second pass. Poor editing choice.

I think in the end the inclusion of this spell on this feat doesn't weaken it and it wasn't exactly in a bad spot to begin with. A half feat that practically gives you two spell knowns and a free casting of each of those spells with one of those spells being a floating pick between two schools of magic that has a plethora of options now including silverly Barb. It's a straight buff to an opinion that didn't need it.

It's one more reason why a player might select this feat over another one.
 

ECMO3

Hero
I am very familiar with the poisson distribution. It does not say what you stated though; that critical hits come in bunches.
Also a poisson distribution evaluates the probability of a number of discrete events, but it is evaluated over a continuous measurable (most often time) with the events being modeled as impulses that can not overlap in the measurable space (in the example of time they are instantaneous).

So if you knew the average rate of critical hits in a given amoint of time (say 10 crits rolled on average in an hour of gameplay), then you can directly determine the chance of a specific number in a smaller time (say 3 hits in a minute of play). But you can't use it to evaluate the number of critical hits against a number of rolls because the number of rolls is not continuous - by that I mean you can't get three critical hits on one roll of the dice.
 

ECMO3

Hero
Is it useful? Yes. Being able to have a high chance of negating one critical hit a day is decent--not amazing, but decent. I don't think that specific benefit is unequivocally better than other spells you could get via Fey Touched.
I think it is, particularly at high level. Also it is an extremely high chance of negating a crit with a moderate chance (depending on the enemy) of turning it completely into a miss.


The advantage to an ally is similarly useful but not amazing, since you're very limited in how you can strategize around it, being unable to save it for a preferred roll.
In this respect it is no different than help or steady aim or other things that can give advantage, but it is more flexible.
 

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