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5E Wand of Paralysis in 5e DMG

Faenor

Explorer
Is there any errata on the sand of paralysis in the 5eDMG? Roll to hit. Repeat the save at the end of each turn. There seems to be a sentence missing. What kind of save? Is there a save on the first round? I.e., save when hit?
 

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Faenor

Explorer
Thank you! But that doesn't quite acknowledge what seems to be a missing sentence. Do they get a save when hit? Is it casting and therefore concentration? There's no spell equivalent, so that's not obvious. The item seems very unbalancing, the way it takes a monster's turn at the very least with just a to hit, and gives auto crits at just the cost of one caster's turn. I mean, give it to the cleric who would just be doing sacred flames for a couple of d8s and now you've got your paladin critting smites.
 

slaughterj

First Post
That item has numerous issues. It should have just been a hold person / hold monster spell with charges, so the target could use legendary saves on it, as well as the issues you noted.
 

Do they get a save when hit?
No. Effects either rely on an attack roll hitting or a saving throw failing, not both.

Is it casting and therefore concentration?
No, it's not concentration.
The item seems very unbalancing, the way it takes a monster's turn at the very least with just a to hit, and gives auto crits at just the cost of one caster's turn.
The balancing factors are that the wand requires attunement and has limited charges, plus that it requires an attack roll rather than a saving throw which means you are more likely to fail to paralyze your target for even that single round if the target is a potent threat.

I mean, give it to the cleric who would just be doing sacred flames for a couple of d8s and now you've got your paladin critting smites.
You have to keep perspective, because you are no longer talking about the power of the item itself when you look at scenarios that not only require the item but also a specific party composition.
 

That item has numerous issues. It should have just been a hold person / hold monster spell with charges, so the target could use legendary saves on it, as well as the issues you noted.
The wand of binding already does that, and "so target can use legendary saves" is probably part of the exact reason why the wand of paralysis uses an attack roll instead - as that enables a different avenue of potential effect (and really, it's not too likely to paralyze anything that has legendary saves because they typically have high AC as well).
 

Saeviomagy

Adventurer
The wand of binding already does that, and "so target can use legendary saves" is probably part of the exact reason why the wand of paralysis uses an attack roll instead - as that enables a different avenue of potential effect (and really, it's not too likely to paralyze anything that has legendary saves because they typically have high AC as well).
You can manipulate your own attack rolls much easier than you can manipulate enemy saves, so the idea that it's harder to hit than to have the target pass their save is somewhat flawed.
 

You can manipulate your own attack rolls much easier than you can manipulate enemy saves, so the idea that it's harder to hit than to have the target pass their save is somewhat flawed.
No more flawed than the idea that each individual game mechanic is balanced assuming a perfect confluence of synergystic elements.
 

Dausuul

Legend
No more flawed than the idea that each individual game mechanic is balanced assuming a perfect confluence of synergystic elements.
Hyperbole much? Sheesh.

5E combat works off a straightforward principle: Attack rolls should be primarily about dealing damage, with perhaps minor status effects attached. Any major status effect should allow a saving throw or have a hit point threshold. The whole system is built around this. This is why it's relatively easy to get advantage on attacks but very, very hard to impose disadvantage on a save; it's why legendary monsters get Legendary Resistance but not Legendary Dodge.

Almost everything in the game obeys this principle. The wand of paralysis violates it, and that's a problem, especially where legendary creatures are concerned. With a whole party unloading its deadliest attacks with advantage and auto-crit, one round of paralysis is practically a death sentence.
 
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Hyperbole much? Sheesh.
It wasn't even that much hyperbole. You're being more hyperbolic about my hyperbole than my hyperbole actually was.
5E combat works off a straightforward principle: Attack rolls should be primarily about dealing damage, with perhaps minor status effects attached. Any major status effect should allow a saving throw or have a hit point threshold. The whole system is built around this. This is why it's relatively easy to get advantage on attacks but very, very hard to impose disadvantage on a save; it's why legendary monsters get Legendary Resistance but not Legendary Dodge.

Almost everything in the game obeys this principle. The wand of paralysis violates it, and that's a problem, especially where legendary creatures are concerned. With a whole party unloading its deadliest attacks with advantage and auto-crit, one round of paralysis is practically a death sentence.
I think you are overstating a coincidence, as there isn't actually anything in the book that I've seen lay out this principle that you say is there. The spell creation section of the DMG, for example, doesn't say it's inappropriate to have a non-damage effect tied to an attack roll - and the game has more than one example of things which, according to your stated principle, should be attack rolls but are actually saving throws. Even the classic area damage spells fall into what you say attack rolls should primarily be about.

As for getting legendary resistance but not legendary dodge, that's not completely accurate - most monsters with legendary saves have high AC, and a high enough AC has a similar effect to legendary saves... especially when it comes to damaging effects because large hit point totals and damage resistances also come into play.
 

Dausuul

Legend
The spell creation section of the DMG, for example, doesn't say it's inappropriate to have a non-damage effect tied to an attack roll - and the game has more than one example of things which, according to your stated principle, should be attack rolls but are actually saving throws. Even the classic area damage spells fall into what you say attack rolls should primarily be about.
I said attack rolls should be primarily about dealing damage, and major status effects should grant a save. Nothing in there says you can't have saving throws against damage.

How many effects are there that impose a major status effect with neither a save nor a hit point threshold? Offhand, the only one that comes to mind is contagion - which has also been widely criticized for the exact same reason.

As for getting legendary resistance but not legendary dodge, that's not completely accurate - most monsters with legendary saves have high AC, and a high enough AC has a similar effect to legendary saves.
A 9th-level PC can hit Demogorgon on 13+ using just a regular attack roll. And there are lots of ways to pile bonuses on attacks. A d8 from Bardic Inspiration, a d4 from bless, and advantage from one of the myriad ways to get advantage, and that same 9th-level PC is hitting the Prince of Demons better than nine times out of ten.

Legendary Resistance provides a safeguard against bonus-stacking shenanigans. It's much harder to penalize enemy saving throws than it is to boost your own attacks, but even if you find a way to do it, Demogorgon gets three chances a day to say, "Nope. Try again." Attack rolls don't normally require such a safeguard because even if you hit with every attack, you still have to chew through hundreds and hundreds of hit points. Effects that paralyze on a hit with no save are a major loophole.
 

[MENTION=58197]Dausuul[/MENTION], I've already said I disagree with your assessment, making it in more detail doesn't actually provide me with new information that my persuade me - especially not when you are making the assumption that attack rolls are balanced assuming that the base-standard value is set at the level of the highest bonus a character can possibly get (which is what you do when saying 9th-level means hitting AC 22 on a 13+), and you include all the ways that a PC might have their attack roll boosted while completely ignoring that the NPC/Monster might also have allies providing them boosts or removing those boosts from the PC in question.
 


Saeviomagy

Adventurer
[MENTION=58197]Dausuul[/MENTION], I've already said I disagree with your assessment, making it in more detail doesn't actually provide me with new information that my persuade me - especially not when you are making the assumption that attack rolls are balanced assuming that the base-standard value is set at the level of the highest bonus a character can possibly get (which is what you do when saying 9th-level means hitting AC 22 on a 13+)
Of course "highest bonus a character can possibly get" just happens to be "a number that is fairly common among spellcasters". But let's just gloss over that and make it sound rare.
, and you include all the ways that a PC might have their attack roll boosted while completely ignoring that the NPC/Monster might also have allies providing them boosts or removing those boosts from the PC in question.
So now it takes the big bad guy AND his army of goons (with ideal initiatives and spell/ability loadouts) to overcome something which would be barely a threat if it targeted a save.
 

slaughterj

First Post
You can manipulate your own attack rolls much easier than you can manipulate enemy saves, so the idea that it's harder to hit than to have the target pass their save is somewhat flawed.
And that was my point about there being an issue with the wand of paralysis being based on an attack roll rather than saving throw.
 

Of course "highest bonus a character can possibly get" just happens to be "a number that is fairly common among spellcasters". But let's just gloss over that and make it sound rare.
Yes, let's, because your claim of it being fairly common is not actually universally true no matter how common it is in your own personal experience of the game. Other people out here playing the game can, and do, take feats and/or use ability score increases to shore up weaknesses before making their strengths stronger.

So now it takes the big bad guy AND his army of goons (with ideal initiatives and spell/ability loadouts) to overcome something which would be barely a threat if it targeted a save.
No, you are being hyperbolic - what I said is that it is unfair to consider the party as having ideal initiatives and spell/ability loadouts when considering the effectiveness of a wand unless you are also considering the same of the enemy forces and thus getting a full look at the possibilities rather than just what happens when the party has all the advantages and their enemies don't have any.
 



Saeviomagy

Adventurer
Yes, let's, because your claim of it being fairly common is not actually universally true no matter how common it is in your own personal experience of the game. Other people out here playing the game can, and do, take feats and/or use ability score increases to shore up weaknesses before making their strengths stronger.
I would fully expect that in a significant proportion of parties worldwide there is at least one spellcaster who maxes their casting stat. It's far from your incredulous "that's never going to happen so the item isn't a problem" stance.
No, you are being hyperbolic - what I said is that it is unfair to consider the party as having ideal initiatives and spell/ability loadouts when considering the effectiveness of a wand unless you are also considering the same of the enemy forces and thus getting a full look at the possibilities rather than just what happens when the party has all the advantages and their enemies don't have any.
The problem party will have the ideal loadouts because most characters are flexible enough to facilitate that. We're talking about an extremely powerful reusable item. It might be fine in the hands of people who leave it's use up to pure chance: but I think it's silly to assume that when you're talking about the potential power of an item.
 
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It's far from your incredulous "that's never going to happen so the item isn't a problem" stance.
You know what's funny? If I ctrl + f the word 'never' on this thread, it only shows up in the part of your post I've quoted here.

If you can't even accurately restate my stance, I really don't see how we can have a meaningful conversation about it.

Here's some help regarding what I actually said: assuming a singular build-strategy or a singular party composition is never going to get an accurate sense of what is or isn't balanced well enough to work for the game.

You assuming that a character with this wand is going to have a maxed-out casting ability score by 9th level doesn't mesh with the game, which actually doesn't assume you have maxed-out an ability score at 20th level.

The problem party will have the ideal loadouts because most characters are flexible enough to facilitate that.
...but items aren't, and shouldn't be, balanced assuming the party configuration that can be a problem party in the first place. There are plenty of parties that can't, or simply won't, be the problem party you describe.

We're talking about an extremely powerful reusable item.
That is actually fairly limited in how many uses you can get out of it, and takes up an attunement slot for exactly the reason that it is extremely powerful.

It might be fine in the hands of people who leave it's use up to pure chance: but I think it's silly to assume that when you're talking about the potential power of an item.
As I think it is silly to assume a party of players doing everything they can to squeeze every drop of power out of this one item as the point at which the item should be working as intended, since such a party isn't guaranteed (or even likely) to be present so the item would appear to be under-performing in any party not completely optimized for it's usage.
 

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