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Spells - Invisibility and Legacy

BryonD

Villager
So, we've talked about Invisibility and stealth.

Has anyone ever been really bugged by the invisible until an attack is made trope? It is such an established piece of D&D history, that it seems to not even bring about comment. People will debate on and on what constitutes an attack and what does not, but no one seems to question the rule in the first place.

There is probably some clever story I've never heard that explains exactly why it works this way. But I've always assumed it was because Gary and co wanted invisibility to be readily accessible (and that probably because Frodo had, so everyone else wanted it), so it needed to be low level. But it is just flat out too good at second level. So, throw in a one attack off switch and it is all good. But isn't that odd?

Is there a better way? Obviously, you could just ban Invisibility and rename Improved Invisibility as simple Invisibility.

But is there a better way to keep it second level?
 

booboo

Villager
id love to see spells moved to more appropriate levels. also if you move a spell you could have two spells greater/lesser so you could fill the vacant place.
 

BryonD

Villager
I am very on board to the idea of diminished and heightened versions of lots of spells.

If Invis becomes level 3 as is and a diminished level 2 spell takes the slot, then that is a straight nerf. And that is not my preference. Admittedly, any change could be called a nerf or a buff whether the designer thinks it is or not.

But my hope here is to find an alternate, quality version of invisibility that works at level 2 and also doesn't get quite so gamist in how it is balanced.

Then we pile a diminished and heightened version on top.
 

Wulf Ratbane

Villager
A 3rd level version of invis. that diminishes to the current (nerfed) version at 2nd level and heightens to the current Improved Invis.

Broadly speaking, is that on or off the table?
 

BryonD

Villager
A 3rd level version of invis. that diminishes to the current (nerfed) version at 2nd level and heightens to the current Improved Invis.

Broadly speaking, is that on or off the table?
100% on.
As long as a L2 basic Invis is still in play, it is all good.
And having the existing spell be a diminished form of a base spell 1/2 way between invis and improved invis make a lot of sense.
 

Wulf Ratbane

Villager
100% on.
As long as a L2 basic Invis is still in play, it is all good.
And having the existing spell be a diminished form of a base spell 1/2 way between invis and improved invis make a lot of sense.
You know, I'll have to check how AU/AE does the diminished versions. I don't know if you can actually cast the diminished version unless you can cast the normal version.

In other words, at 5th level caster, when you have access to the 3rd level Invis. spell, you can cast the diminished version with a level 2 slot.

Assuming that's how it works-- I'm not comfortable pushing off invisibility to 5th level.

To answer your original question, by the way-- yes, it's obviously about game balance.

If you'll permit me to just think out loud.... I wonder what would happen if the attacking weapon became visible, but not the attacker? The defender could then pinpoint the attacker's square (aiming at the weapon), but still suffer a 50% miss chance; or the attacker could drop his now-visible weapon and hustle off.
 

BryonD

Villager
You know, I'll have to check how AU/AE does the diminished versions. I don't know if you can actually cast the diminished version unless you can cast the normal version.

In other words, at 5th level caster, when you have access to the 3rd level Invis. spell, you can cast the diminished version with a level 2 slot.

Assuming that's how it works-- I'm not comfortable pushing off invisibility to 5th level.
Been a while for me as well. And this is a good point that didn't occur to me before. However, that doesn't mean you have to be a slave to it. Maybe a more flexible system can be developed. Not saying it can, just staying open minded for the short term.

To answer your original question, by the way-- yes, it's obviously about game balance.

If you'll permit me to just think out loud.... I wonder what would happen if the attacking weapon became visible, but not the attacker? The defender could then pinpoint the attacker's square (aiming at the weapon), but still suffer a 50% miss chance; or the attacker could drop his now-visible weapon and hustle off.
Yeah, though it still forces the question of "how did the spell know that the weapon attacked?", and "What if you cast fireball?" (obviously in the fireball case, it just works the same as now.)

One thing about invisibility is that it needs to have a decent duration. It is an odd bird in that the weak version has a much longer duration. L2 is the sneak version of the spell and L4 is really a very different combat version. (This would complicate the H/D relationship)

What if the L2 version only permitted 1 action per caster level. But moving at half speed (consistent with Stealth with no penalty) does not count as an action. Thus you can stand still or move slowly for hours on end, consistent with the intent of the spell, only even better as long as you are very limited in actions.

I'm free-wheeling so far......
It seems that not being able to climb without burning out the spell cuts against the intent.
But it does catch my desire to have the spell not know or care what your behavior is, it simply knows if you are doing *anything* beyond walking slowly. (Maybe climb is ok as long as you can take 10...)

It functions as a very poor man's improved invis. At CL4 it lasts for 2 rounds of full attacks, but it only gains 1 round every other level.
The half speed thing fits your desire to make the rogue preferable. The target is going to want to conserve actions, and moving at half speed fits with Sneak checks to remain quiet, which the rogue will be far superior at.

Probably numerous pros and cons that don't spring to mind.
 

GlassJaw

Explorer
You know, I'll have to check how AU/AE does the diminished versions. I don't know if you can actually cast the diminished version unless you can cast the normal version.
I don't remember either off the top of my head but essentially, aren't they the same as "lesser" and "greater" versions of spells?

Why not just give the lesser and greater "treatment" to more spells and increase the spell list accordingly?
 

Wulf Ratbane

Villager
I don't remember either off the top of my head but essentially, aren't they the same as "lesser" and "greater" versions of spells?

Why not just give the lesser and greater "treatment" to more spells and increase the spell list accordingly?
The mechanic is starkly different. Diminished and heightened versions of spells allow the caster to ready one spell but cast up to three different versions of it depending on his need, powering each with a different level spell slot.

It's very versatile and, hence, very powerful, and frankly I'm not sure that the Trailblazer casters need it!
 

Elephant

Villager
Yeah, though it still forces the question of "how did the spell know that the weapon attacked?", and "What if you cast fireball?" (obviously in the fireball case, it just works the same as now.)
It doesn't, any more than a thermos "knows" that it's keeping coffee hot rather than lemonade cold.

It makes you, your clothes, and your gear invisible. The blood of your target, OTOH, runs down the invisible blade, clearly pinpointing your location. As for the fireball? It looked like it appeared out of thin air. But now you have a great idea of where that pesky caster is...
 

Alzrius

The EN World kitten
As for the fireball? It looked like it appeared out of thin air. But now you have a great idea of where that pesky caster is...
Not really, considering that fireball has a range of long (400 ft. + 40 ft./level). Pinpointing someone's location several hundred feet away by trying to track the path of the unexpected, pea-sized bead that suddenly rushed at you and exploded doesn't seem like something easily done.

...especially if the caster took his move action after casting the spell. ;)
 
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Elephant

Villager
Not really, considering that fireball has a range of long (400 ft. + 40 ft./level). Pinpointing someone's location several hundred feet away by trying to track the path of the unexpected, pea-sized bead that suddenly rushed at you and exploded doesn't seem like something easily done.

...especially if the caster took his move action after casting the spell. ;)
Okay, yes, technically it could be hard to spot under those circumstances. But be honest: When was the last time you saw a D&D combat involve ranges of 500'?

The move action is a pickle though -- I'd expect that loophole to be exploited every action. Maybe there's a residual magical trace still visible for a few seconds? Enough to pinpoint the caster even if she moves, but not so much that it compromises the invisibility effect.

Then again, it's all academic; I'm not particularly bothered by this trope, so it's not like this is a house rule I need to refine :)
 

BryonD

Villager
It doesn't, any more than a thermos "knows" that it's keeping coffee hot rather than lemonade cold.

It makes you, your clothes, and your gear invisible. The blood of your target, OTOH, runs down the invisible blade, clearly pinpointing your location. As for the fireball? It looked like it appeared out of thin air. But now you have a great idea of where that pesky caster is...
You haven't answered the question, you have simply invented a different and incorrect alternative circumstance.

Your description substitutes "the spell stops being effective" in place of "the spell ends". When you attack, you don't become visible because the targets blood shows you or because somehow every possible observer gains a magic ability to pinpoint fireball origin points. You become visible because the spell ends. NOTHING is invisible anymore.

But even with that, your solution just shuffles the problem. What if you are in a necromancer's lair sneaking invisibly around. You need to know if a zombie is hiding in a vat of blood. So you poke your sword around in the vat. Why is this blood not giving you away?

A Thermos does not react to hot or cold. Invisible reacts to an attack.
 
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BryonD

Villager
Okay, yes, technically it could be hard to spot under those circumstances. But be honest: When was the last time you saw a D&D combat involve ranges of 500'?

The move action is a pickle though -- I'd expect that loophole to be exploited every action. Maybe there's a residual magical trace still visible for a few seconds? Enough to pinpoint the caster even if she moves, but not so much that it compromises the invisibility effect.

Then again, it's all academic; I'm not particularly bothered by this trope, so it's not like this is a house rule I need to refine :)
What if my wizard casts a fireball and then on the next turn an orc walks into the room. Why does the orc know where I am?

If I cast fireball with 2 minutes of invisibility left, why does everyone I meet in the next two minutes see me?

If you agree that 500 feet doesn't make sense, but don't accept that anything ever happens at that range, what would you do if suddenly it did happen at that range? What if a 15th level wizard throws a fireball 1,000 feet?'

Is 450 feet far enough? 400? What is your maximum permitted combat range?
 

Elephant

Villager
What if my wizard casts a fireball and then on the next turn an orc walks into the room. Why does the orc know where I am?
Who says he does? Customize this idea to suit -- if you don't like a longer-term reveal, don't use it. It's not like you're going to offend me with the way you run your game!

If I cast fireball with 2 minutes of invisibility left, why does everyone I meet in the next two minutes see me?
Who says they do?

If you agree that 500 feet doesn't make sense, but don't accept that anything ever happens at that range, what would you do if suddenly it did happen at that range? What if a 15th level wizard throws a fireball 1,000 feet?'

Is 450 feet far enough? 400? What is your maximum permitted combat range?
Okay, Abraham. I'll spare the city for as few as ten righteous men ;)

You haven't answered the question, you have simply invented a different and incorrect alternative circumstance.
Yeah...okay, know what? I was just tossing out an idea. I didn't ponder it for hours and cross-check it against every possible contingency. It was just a brainstorm. If you don't like it, don't use it. Like I said, it won't bother me. No need to keep beating me with "but...but...you didn't take x into account, or y."


Your description substitutes "the spell stops being effective" in place of "the spell ends".
So?

[strike]When you attack, you don't become visible because the targets blood shows you[/strike] or because somehow every possible observer gains a magic ability to pinpoint fireball origin points.
I never suggested giving observers magic abilities. Please don't put words in my mouth. It's quite rude.

You become visible because the spell ends. NOTHING is invisible anymore.
Based on the thread, that bothered you, so I tossed in an idea for you to play with. Don't like it? Don't use it.

But even with that, your solution just shuffles the problem. What if you are in a necromancer's lair sneaking invisibly around. You need to know if a zombie is hiding in a vat of blood. So you poke your sword around in the vat. Why is this blood not giving you away?
Obviously, it *would* give you away. The invisible man would need to know better than to sully his invisible sword with zombie vat blood...or ford a river...or drink a cup of coffee. It would be using commonsense rulings of "this would show" or "that wouldn't reasonably affect the invisibilty" instead of a hard-and-fast attack/no attack rule.

A Thermos does not react to hot or cold. Invisible reacts to an attack.
And you were looking for ideas to change that. Don't bitch me out for trying to play along.

Regardless, I'm not going to argue this anymore. Use my idea in some capacity, or don't -- I don't really care.
 

Wulf Ratbane

Villager
Guys, keep it friendly in here, please. Consider this forum my game table at my house and comport yourselves appropriately.

Also, pass the cheetos.
 

BryonD

Villager
Who says he does? Customize this idea to suit -- if you don't like a longer-term reveal, don't use it. It's not like you're going to offend me with the way you run your game!



Who says they do?
Just to clarify.... In both cases, the answer is "the rules", or "the SRD", take your pick.

Now, if your intent was to greatly buff the spell invisibility and allow the target to remain truly invisible then certainly the orc doesn't have to see you and people you meet soon after casting fireball don't see you. But the rules say they do.

And you were looking for ideas to change that. Don't bitch me out for trying to play along.

Regardless, I'm not going to argue this anymore. Use my idea in some capacity, or don't -- I don't really care.
I'm not. But I did assume that still working within the rules of the game was assumed. Sorry for not being more specific.
 

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