Wednesday, August 22, 2012

D&D Next Spells - some problems

I'm not quite halfway through the Spells document of the updated play test, but already I'm seeing some potential problems, WotC.

The very first spell on the list, Aid.  A third level Cleric spell that gives three targets d8 damage reduction on the next hit they take within the next minute.  Seriously?  Third level?  The orignal Aid spell in AD&D Unearthed Arcana (unchanged for 2E) gave the benefits of Bless, as well as d8 temporary hit points.  Not damage reduction on a single hit, temporary hit points.  And it's only second level.*  Granted, it only affected one target, not three.  But still, this version sucks.  Even if the Cleric's player rolls well and gets an 8, by the wording of the spell if something dings you for only 1 point of damage, the other 7 points are then wasted.

Meanwhile, Crusader's Strike on page 5 is a first level spell that gives +2d6 damage to a weapon on its next attack, and even if you miss still does 1d6 damage.  Obviously this is a 4E power converted into a normal spell.

It looks to me like Mearls and Co. are continuing their nerf of the Cleric at least with regards to any spells with pedigree.  Anything that they developed for 4th and are carrying over is allowed to be overpowered.

It's just a first impression.  I really need to go through the document completely.  It would help if they'd organized the spells in the old fashioned way, divided by class and level.  Makes for easier comparison.

A little voice in the back of my head is wondering if they organized them this way on purpose to make it difficult to compare...

*Update - Just checked the 3.5 SRD.  In that edition, it was still second level, and gave the benefits of the AD&D version (Bless + 1d8 temp. hit points to one target) PLUS +1 hit point per level of the Cleric up to level 10.  3E made it better.  5E is making it demonstrably worse (maybe it was 4E, I'm not gonna waste time checking that one).


  1. I usually think it's best to play these things before commenting on how they work, but in reading these it does sound like there are problems. If I have one main worry about the new rules, it is that they really don't seem to be handling spells right. I am also worried about the infinite magic missiles thing.

  2. I would normally think to wait until I actually had a chance to see these spells in action, too. But just reading the descriptions, it's pretty obvious that if it a) came from 4E and/or b) does damage, it's gonna be pretty darn good. If it comes from an older edition and/or is a "save or die" type effect or buff, it's likely going to be weakened.

    It also looks like they failed to account for their return to semi-sane hit point levels with the spell damage. Inflict Light Wounds deals 3d8 damage. Melf's Acid Arrow deals 6d6 (or was it 6d8) over two rounds.