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D&D (2024) What is the lowest damage Fireball could deal where you would still prep/use it?

What is the lowest damage Fireball could deal where you would still prep/use it?

  • 1d6 (avg 3.5)

    Votes: 3 3.7%
  • 2d6 (avg 7)

    Votes: 3 3.7%
  • 3d6 (avg 10.5)

    Votes: 2 2.5%
  • 4d6 (avg 14)

    Votes: 10 12.3%
  • 5d6 (avg 17.5)

    Votes: 15 18.5%
  • 6d6 (avg 21)

    Votes: 32 39.5%
  • 7d6 (avg 24.5)

    Votes: 3 3.7%
  • 8d6 (avg 28)

    Votes: 11 13.6%
  • More than 8d6 (i.e., I don't use it now)

    Votes: 1 1.2%
  • I wouldn't use Fireball no matter how much damage it did

    Votes: 1 1.2%

Dausuul

Legend
Fireball is notoriously the best mid-level damage spell in 5E. Suppose it were to have its damage output reduced in 1D&D. What is the hardest it could be nerfed where you would still prepare it and expect to cast it in combat (assuming you were playing a caster of appropriate class/level)?

Assume the spell is otherwise unchanged, and all other spells remain as-is; so, for instance, lightning bolt will continue to deal 8d6.
 

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tetrasodium

Legend
Supporter
Epic
It depends on a lot of things even beyond the spell itself. Class abilities & modifications that come from equipment are important ones as are any possible changes to monsters themselves. Even with nothing adding to it I've seen the 6d6 fireball in my levelup game get prepared & used quite a bit. As a spell 5e's fireball needs to have much more of its power shifted to class/archetype abilities that modify it & other relevant spells in 5.5/6e
 


Tales and Chronicles

Jewel of the North, formerly know as vincegetorix
My favorite would be way different, but in this case I'd go with something like this:

6d6 + prone, save for half.

Even better would be an improved Flaming Sphere you can detonate (thus ending the spell) as a bonus action on your turn to deal Xd6 + prone to every creature within 15 of the ball.
 

Clint_L

Legend
It's not really the damage that's out of line, it's that the AoE is so strong. Against one target, it's a mediocre spell. Against two, it's a good option. Against three or more, it's amazing. So I suggest that making the radius of the explosion significantly smaller might be a better way to nerf it.

Compare to lightning bolt, which no one complains about because it is much harder to get a huge pile of targets at once.
 

reelo

Hero
I suggest that making the radius of the explosion significantly smaller might be a better way to nerf it.

No. The best way to "nerf" it is to bring back all the balancing drawbacks it used to have when it was invented as a 3rd level spell: have it always fill 33k cubic feet, blowing back into hallways if applicable (casting it indoors should be very risky), have it ignite all flammable objects in the blast, and melt precious metals (coin and jewelry).
 
Last edited:

aco175

Legend
Lowest 5d6 since it is a burst. Lower than this I would boost lower level spells or take lightning bolt and target single monsters.
 

SakanaSensei

Adventurer
For context, my thinking non this is based entirely on my table, which tends to top out at three fights or so a day on a very busy day, meaning casters rarely if ever run out of spells. In that context, the attrition limit of spell slots matters significantly less, and I start looking at the balance between characters.

An average combat is going to have my barbarian swinging twice a round for 1d12 + 4 damage, twice, for an average of 21 if both hit. At 2d6 damage, a fireball needs to hit three targets to break even with the barbarian for the round, and that’s usually possible in fights I design, little mooks are fun.

With so much narrative control laying in the laps of casters (solving mysteries with speak with dead, granting the ability to fly, turning invisible, charming people, etc.), I’d prefer it if the people who only have fighting in their kit to be the best at fighting, and I don’t think it should be close. So I answered 2d6, because there’s going to be moments where you throw that fireball, hit 6-7 targets and still feel like a god compared to miss muscles swinging her axe, and then when the fights done you’ll still be able to send a message around the world to talk with someone important and the barb can never do that.
 

Amrûnril

Adventurer
At 6d6, I think it would still be a combat staple.

At 4d6, it would be more of a niche spell, but still useful against large numbers of weak enemies (In the most extreme versions of this scenario, reduced damage could actually be a benefit because of friendly fire considerations). Fire vulnerability could also create valuable use cases, as could the ability to ignite nearby objects/structures while also dealing damage.
 

Clint_L

Legend
So I answered 2d6, because there’s going to be moments where you throw that fireball, hit 6-7 targets and still feel like a god compared to miss muscles swinging her axe, and then when the fights done you’ll still be able to send a message around the world to talk with someone important and the barb can never do that.
I take your point, but I still can't imagine anyone taking it if it did 2d6 damage. That's just not realistic for a level 3 spell. That's Word of Radiance damage, a cantrip, albeit in a larger area. The average damage by the time you can cast the spell is 7hp, 3hp on a save. It sounds like you run games where there often are swarms of super weak foes but I seldom do. There's no point in including a spell that no one will take.
 

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