D&D 5E Spells That Still Need to be Fixed (September Packet)

Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
Animate Dead: I'd reduce the spell level to 1. Yes, I'm serious. The ability to create an ordinary, level 1 zombie or skeleton is hardly overpowered for a first level spell. For a third level spell, its pathetic.

I absolutely disagree. It's way too powerful for a first level spell, and if you think it's pathetic for a 3rd level spell, perhaps you should think about other interesting ways you can use it.

Also, instead of having the spell create more pets with each higher spell level (breaking the action economy and giving you a bunch of minions that suck),

They don't suck, which is part of what bounded accuracy is all about. Since ACs don't increase, they can still hit more powerful creatures. Swarms of low level creatures are still a real threat to higher level things, so creating more low level things at a higher level is quite useful.

I'd make it so the pet is more powerful with higher level slots, such as giving it a bonus to its attacks and hit points. Or perhaps it could create more powerful kinds of undead at higher levels, like the old create undead spells. The spell also shouldn't go out of its way to mention how "evil" and "badwrongfun" it is.

Undead are evil. We've discusses that topic at length. You disagree with the overwhelming majority of people and tradition of the game. So, it's a house rule for your game, which is fine. But quit claiming everyone else who wants undead to be evil to be overridden for your unusual conception of them. It's OK for you to be an outlier on this, just don't dictate your minority view on the majority and claim they're oppressing you. Nobody forces you to play the game or use this rule, and "undead as evil" is part of this game which you are free to discard, just as many people discard alignment in general.

What is the point of having this morality clause except to encourage overzealous DMs to ban or restrict players from using it?

That is the point, and it's not "overzealous" DMs. Alignment is part of the game. This is a game of good and evil. If you want to get rid of alignment for your game, do that. Plenty of people do. But accept it IS part of this game, and always has been part of this game.

There are many other spells with far more vile applications than this spell, and none of them go out of their way to say that they're oOoOoh evil! They removed the alignment restrictions from monks and paladins, it's time to remove them from the spells.

Get over it already.
 

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Falling Icicle

Adventurer
Undead are evil.

Not true. Some undead are evil, not all are. Even in the older, Gygaxian editions of the game, skeletons and zombies were neutral, not evil.

We've discusses that topic at length.

Here you go again with your "we've talked about this before, so how dare you not come over to my point of view already" nonsense.

You disagree with the overwhelming majority of people and tradition of the game.

The overwhelming majority? Oh really? If the "overwhelming majority" of people agreed with the game's traditions, then why was there such a huge backlash against putting alignment restrictions on the monk and paladin, which caused WotC to back down and remove them? Do you really think they would have done that if the overwhelming majority of people wanted them? Why, if alignment is so popular, did they change all of the spells like detect evil? The "overwhelming majority" of people DON'T want alignment mechanics in the game, and so far WotC has done a good job of listening.

Get over it already.

No, I'm going to post my opinions, and you're the one who's going to have to get over it. As I've told you before, if you hate me that much, put me on your ignore list.
 

Kobold Stew

Last Guy in the Airlock
Supporter
Your list of spells is for the most part very helpful. Thanks! My desired tweaks for spellcasting don’t involve spells, but the rules for casting generally.

Attack Cantrips.
1. It should be possible to cast a cantrip as an attack (or, rather, and attack action), and so benefit from the Fighter’s Extra Attack ability. (How to Play p. 17, Classes p. 24) At the moment, it’s a spell (and so a spell action). This may entail other effects to ensure balance, but for zero-level spells only (or perhaps for zero-level spells for which one makes an attack roll, thereby excluding e.g. Burning Hands), I would like to see them as an attack.

2. I’d also like “ray” spells (including attack cantrips) to require a Dex roll to hit rather than a spellcasting-ability roll. (I have lost this one, I know; but some need for investment in a second ability would be nice, and would make it a desaign choice, rather than one more ting to pull from one’s bag o’ tricks.)

Both of these are real changes to the rules, but (for me at least) they represent improvements.

Implements.
1. An implement should have to be wielded in order to gain a spellcasting bonus (and so should always take a hand); this is the case for mages, druids and bards (where the verb used is “hold”), but not clerics (who need only “display”, and can wear it around their neck or on a shield; Classes, p. 11). Not only is this asymmetric needlessly, but it again means the player doesn’t have to make a choice: a cleric can hold a weapon and a shield and still get the spellcaster bonus. (It also means the cleric can’t have his implement disarmed, the way another spellcaster can.).

2. Clarification is needed on bard instruments. Most instruments need two hands to play. As written it’s enough merely to hold a fiddle to get the bonus. Ugh – accept the story you are telling, I say. If an instrument needs two hands, then you can’t also be holding a shield (assuming proficiency) from a feat or something else). The same would be true if a mage chooses to wield a staff; two hands for the bonus.

3. More clarification is needed on bard instruments. Do bards specializing on oratory or dance get the bonus? Do they have to hold their dance shoes or copies of Cicero to get a bonus? Obviously not. All bards have three proficiencies, and there needs to be a list of things that “count”. I think anything entertainment-related should be fair game, but whatever it is, I think you need two free hands to get the bonus.

Each of these three is, I think, really a straightforward clarification on somewhat messy ideas in Implements right now. All of them would improve spellcasting.
 

Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
Not true. Some undead are evil, not all are. Even in the older, Gygaxian editions of the game, skeletons and zombies were neutral, not evil.



Here you go again with your "we've talked about this before, so how dare you not come over to my point of view already" nonsense.



The overwhelming majority? Oh really? If the "overwhelming majority" of people agreed with the game's traditions, then why was there such a huge backlash against putting alignment restrictions on the monk and paladin, which caused WotC to back down and remove them? Do you really think they would have done that if the overwhelming majority of people wanted them? Why, if alignment is so popular, did they change all of the spells like detect evil? The "overwhelming majority" of people DON'T want alignment mechanics in the game, and so far WotC has done a good job of listening.



No, I'm going to post my opinions, and you're the one who's going to have to get over it. As I've told you before, if you hate me that much, put me on your ignore list.

I don't hate you at all, I enjoy your posts, that's why I reply to them. If I made you feel like I was disregarding your opinion, then I apologize, that was not my intent at all, and I should have said it better.

I am not saying 'get over it' to taunt you or make you feel bad. I am saying the game is going to be stuck with this thing you don't like. So, you'll need to find some way to deal with it. Alignment is going to be part of this game, and undead (at least the ones we're talking about) are going to be evil in this game. Wouldn't be more productive to ask 'how can I make this work in my game'?
 

Falling Icicle

Adventurer
I don't hate you at all, I enjoy your posts, that's why I reply to them. If I made you feel like I was disregarding your opinion, then I apologize, that was not my intent at all, and I should have said it better.

Apology accepted.

I am not saying 'get over it' to taunt you or make you feel bad. I am saying the game is going to be stuck with this thing you don't like. So, you'll need to find some way to deal with it. Alignment is going to be part of this game, and undead (at least the ones we're talking about) are going to be evil in this game. Wouldn't be more productive to ask 'how can I make this work in my game'?

I see your point, but I don't agree that the game is going to be "stuck" with anything. The whole point of the playtest is to tell them what we like and what we don't. The developers already changed their minds on a lot of things based on feedback. Some of those changes I've liked, some I haven't. I don't expect to get 100% of what I want. Nobody will. But there's no harm in trying. ;)
 

Falling Icicle

Adventurer
Your list of spells is for the most part very helpful. Thanks!

You're welcome, and thank you. :)

My desired tweaks for spellcasting don’t involve spells, but the rules for casting generally.

Attack Cantrips.
1. It should be possible to cast a cantrip as an attack (or, rather, and attack action), and so benefit from the Fighter’s Extra Attack ability. (How to Play p. 17, Classes p. 24) At the moment, it’s a spell (and so a spell action). This may entail other effects to ensure balance, but for zero-level spells only (or perhaps for zero-level spells for which one makes an attack roll, thereby excluding e.g. Burning Hands), I would like to see them as an attack.

That's an interesting idea, but wouldn't that make fighter/mages better at cantrips than single class mages?

2. I’d also like “ray” spells (including attack cantrips) to require a Dex roll to hit rather than a spellcasting-ability roll. (I have lost this one, I know; but some need for investment in a second ability would be nice, and would make it a desaign choice, rather than one more ting to pull from one’s bag o’ tricks.)

I agree that spellcasters are a bit too single-ability dependent at the moment. The only problem I'm seeing with your suggestion is that there are no "touch attacks" anymore. A mage has to be able to hit the same AC as everyone else.

Both of these are real changes to the rules, but (for me at least) they represent improvements.

Implements.
1. An implement should have to be wielded in order to gain a spellcasting bonus (and so should always take a hand); this is the case for mages, druids and bards (where the verb used is “hold”), but not clerics (who need only “display”, and can wear it around their neck or on a shield; Classes, p. 11). Not only is this asymmetric needlessly, but it again means the player doesn’t have to make a choice: a cleric can hold a weapon and a shield and still get the spellcaster bonus. (It also means the cleric can’t have his implement disarmed, the way another spellcaster can.).

I believe the whole thing with clerics is intentional. They don't want to punish clerics for using a mace and a shield, which fits their archetype. I'd also say that clerics aren't getting off as easy as you might think. Their "implement" may not be as physically restricting as things like wands and orbs, but they are basically a bullseye, clearly identifying them to their enemies. By having to visibly display your holy symbol, you're announcing to the world that you're a cleric, and what god(s) you worship.

2. Clarification is needed on bard instruments. Most instruments need two hands to play. As written it’s enough merely to hold a fiddle to get the bonus. Ugh – accept the story you are telling, I say. If an instrument needs two hands, then you can’t also be holding a shield (assuming proficiency) from a feat or something else). The same would be true if a mage chooses to wield a staff; two hands for the bonus.

3. More clarification is needed on bard instruments. Do bards specializing on oratory or dance get the bonus? Do they have to hold their dance shoes or copies of Cicero to get a bonus? Obviously not. All bards have three proficiencies, and there needs to be a list of things that “count”. I think anything entertainment-related should be fair game, but whatever it is, I think you need two free hands to get the bonus.

I agree, more clarification is needed.
 

Kobold Stew

Last Guy in the Airlock
Supporter
That's an interesting idea, but wouldn't that make fighter/mages better at cantrips than single class mages?

No! Because the caster level won't go up! The straight caster gets a more powerful blast (and one that doesn't benefit from added damage from abilities).

I agree that spellcasters are a bit too single-ability dependent at the moment. The only problem I'm seeing with your suggestion is that there are no "touch attacks" anymore. A mage has to be able to hit the same AC as everyone else.

True. The equivalent of touch attacks are the Dex-save spells, which are reactive. I've argued this before, and it's not found wide support: I'd like to play a laser cleric who can shoot lasers.

I believe the whole thing with clerics is intentional. They don't want to punish clerics for using a mace and a shield, which fits their archetype. I'd also say that clerics aren't getting off as easy as you might think. Their "implement" may not be as physically restricting as things like wands and orbs, but they are basically a bullseye, clearly identifying them to their enemies. By having to visibly display your holy symbol, you're announcing to the world that you're a cleric, and what god(s) you worship.

Yes, that's the way it is now, but it's what I'm arguing against.

It's not a punishment to clerics: you can draw and stow weapons for free (How to Play, p. 18), so it's just a question of what's in your hand. I have no objections to painting an insignia on your shield, but if you want a +3 to +5 bonus to the DC of the spell, I think you ought to be a little more committed. Stow the mace and draw your Ankh -- exactly what you would expect of any other caster.

If you're a cleric, you have the bullseye anyways. I want you to need to do something extra in order to receive a bonus -- that it's a conditional bonus, and not an automatic one.
 

Dausuul

Legend
On the "undead are evil" thing, my complaint--going back to 1E, in fact--is the lack of any convincing explanation for why animate dead, of all the spells in the PHB, gets called out as Extra Super Evil. When we get any explanation, it's usually that it's disrespecting the dead, which is frankly preposterous--you get dinged for making a corpse get up and move, but you don't get dinged for creating the corpse in the first place?

Don't get me wrong, I'm in the "undead are evil" camp, but considering the number of spells in the PHB that involve doing horrific things to other creatures (dominate person, feeblemind, trap the soul, etc.), I don't think the designers get to just airily wave their hands and say "Animating the dead is not a good act, and only evil casters use this spell frequently." Why?

It's not a punishment to clerics: you can draw and stow weapons for free (How to Play, p. 18), so it's just a question of what's in your hand. I have no objections to painting an insignia on your shield, but if you want a +3 to +5 bonus to the DC of the spell, I think you ought to be a little more committed. Stow the mace and draw your Ankh -- exactly what you would expect of any other caster.

If you're a cleric, you have the bullseye anyways. I want you to need to do something extra in order to receive a bonus -- that it's a conditional bonus, and not an automatic one.

Ick, no. Weapon-shuffling is bad. It's a hassle to keep track of, so you can cast the spell at its expected DC. The proficiency bonus for implements isn't meant to be a conditional bonus any more than the proficiency bonus for weapons; it's meant to apply all the time, except in the rare case that you lose your gear.
 
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Kobold Stew

Last Guy in the Airlock
Supporter
Ick, no. Weapon-shuffling is bad. It's a hassle to keep track of, so you can cast the spell at its expected DC. The proficiency bonus for implements isn't meant to be a conditional bonus any more than the proficiency bonus for weapons; it's meant to apply all the time, except in the rare case that you lose your gear.

If that's the case, then get rid of the implements altogether: just give the bonus. It makes playing a spellcaster simpler, and there is no confusion.

The half-hearted middle way that exists now is just sloppy.
 

Dausuul

Legend
If that's the case, then get rid of the implements altogether: just give the bonus. It makes playing a spellcaster simpler, and there is no confusion.

The half-hearted middle way that exists now is just sloppy.

With that, I agree a hundred percent. The proficiency bonus is clunky in general, and implements feel tacked on.
 
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