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Check my PaO Revision

 
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Josh_Kablack
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 24, 2005 12:22 am    Post subject: Check my PaO Revision Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

This is part of my ongoing quest for Polymorphing I can live with.

I'm largely happy with what I have done to the earlier level spells, but this one was hard to write, so I'd like some proofreading and balance input.

Malefic Metamorphosis is my rewrite of Baleful Polymorph, and functions rather like the object-to-creature use of PaO, other than that, everything here should be familiar to you.

Quote:

Polymorph Any Object
Transmutation (Polymorph)
Level: Sor/Wiz 7
Components: V, S, M, (and possibly XP, see text)
Casting Time: 1 Round
Range: Close (25 ft +5 ft/2levels)
Target: One creature or object of Gargantuan or smaller size.
Duration: Variable, see text
Saving Throw: Variable, see text
Spell Resistance: Yes.

You change one object or creature into another object or creature.

Used to change one creature into another creaute,

Polymorph any object can duplicate the effects of either malefic metamorphosis or polymorph other, save that polymorph any object can also affect non-living creatures (such as constructs and undead) and creatures normally immune to polymorphing (such as plants) with those effects.

Used to change an object into a creature,

You change the object into an animal of Challenge Rating 1 or lower. The objectís type changes to animal, and it gains the augmented subtype. While transformed, the subject loses any subtypes it may have, save for augmented, shapechanger, chaotic, evil, good and lawful, all of which are retained. This change of type may render certain ongoing spell effects irrelevant, if a continous spell would not affect a creature of the targetís new type, its effects are surpressed while the target is transformed but the duration of the surpressed spell still expires normally.

The subject gains the hit dice, hit points, size, speed, natural armor bonus, attack forms, space, reach, special attacks, special qualities, physical ability scores, and extraordinary abilities of the new form. The subject also gains the mental abilty scores and mindset of the assumed form.

You can freely designate the new formís cosmetic physical qualities (such as hair color, skin color, gender) so long as they fall within the normal range for the new formís species. If you use this spell to disguise the subject as a particular animal, you get a +10 circumstance bonus on your Disguise tjeck (and the casting time of the spell replaces the usual time needed to create a Disguise)

This effect lasts for 1 day per caster level or until dispelled. A magic or attended objects gets a Fortitude save to negate this effect.

This effect can be ended in a number of ways. Break Enchantment, Dispel Magic, Remove Curse, Limited Wish, Miracle, Wish and similar effects all dispel the polymorph. Furthermore, any other [polymorph] effect on the subject (including Alter Self, Wildshape, Alternate Form, or even a second Polymorph any Object) can be used to dispel the effect and restore the subject to its original form.

If the transmuted object is slain while in the creature form, it automatically reverts to its normal form (now broken) and the effect of polymorph any object ends with the subjectís death.

Used to change one object into another object:

Polymorph any object can duplicate the effects of Fabricate, Make Whole, Stone Shape, Wood Shape, Warp Wood, or Major Creation. At the DMís option, polymorph any object may duplicate similar tranmutational spells or have other effects in line with the power level of those spells.

Used to change a creature into an object:

Polymorph any object can be used to change a living creature into an object. The subject gets a Fortitude save to resist this effect. If the save is failed, the subject is changed into an object of your choosing. You may choose to transform the subject into any object within one size category of the subjectís intial size and composed of vegetable matter, stone, crystal and/or base metals (but not precious metals, gems or rare metals). This change may render certain ongoing spell effects irrelevant, if a continous spell would not affect a creature of the targetís new type, its effects are surpressed while the target is transformed but the duration of the surpressed spell still expires normally.

This polymorph takes one full round to take effect, so that a shapechanger or spellcaster may be able to negate the spell via one of the means below before being rendered completely inert.

While in the transmuted form, the subject is mindless and inert. If the subject sufferes damage or breakage while in the assumed form, the subject has similar damage and breakage when it reverts to its normal form. If the transmuted form is destroyed, the subject dies and the spell ends.

You may choose to transform the subject for 1 day per caster level, or you may choose to transform the subject permanently. If you chose to transform the subject permanently, you must spend 500 XP and set a condition by which the spell may be broken. When the condition is met, the subject reverts to his or her true form. You cannot set a condition that is the same as any of the other means of ending the spell.

This effect can be ended in a number of ways. Break Enchantment, Dispel Magic, Remove Curse, Limited Wish, Miracle, Wish and similar effects all dispel the polymorph. Furthermore, any other [polymorph] effect on the subject (including Alter Self, Wildshape, Alternate Form, or even a second Polymorph any Object) can be used to dispel the effect and restore the subject to its original form. Additionally, breaking the object ends the spell, although that also kills the subject.

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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 24, 2005 1:17 am    Post subject: Re: Check my PaO Revision Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

The basic function of this spell is a complete mystery to me, because you've simply handwaved most of it as "works like XX" where XX is either some entirely new spell name or the name of a spell that is horribly broken and beyond help in D&D proper but which you assure me is now fine in a write up I can't see. So all I'm going to do is nitpick:

Josh wrote:
The objectís type changes to animal, and it gains the augmented subtype.


Oh hell no. Seriously. It's an object. It doesn't have a creature type. Even if it's an apple tree, it's not type "plant" - it's just an object. So it gains the animal type. And it sure as fvck can't get the augmented subtype, because it doesn't have a type to begin with.

Josh wrote:
This change may render certain ongoing spell effects irrelevant, if a continous spell would not affect a creature of the targetís new type, its effects are surpressed while the target is transformed but the duration of the surpressed spell still expires normally.


Worst idea ever. First of all, it's now an object, and doesn't have a new type. Secondly, this means that you can get recursive loops where the Polymorph effect can moot itself because it wouldn't affect the new thingy now that the spell that would no longer affect it in the form that it was when you cast the polymorph on it (on account of being an effect that is non-duplicatable such as Animal Growth) is suppressed becase neither of the two forms it was in before or after the polymorph could support the casting of that spell. Fvck that! That sentence is way too fvcking long to have to repeat in game to explain why the brass circle explodes like in The Magic Goes Away.

Josh wrote:
If you chose to transform the subject permanently, you must spend 500 XP and set a condition by which the spell may be broken.


That's dumb. XP costs suck my asshole at the best of times, but 500 of them just for the dubious priviledge of not killing some asshole who failed a fort save against a 7th level and then got to spend an entire round taking his CR 13+ revenge on me? Puh-lease.

Although while we're at it, there's only one way to "damage" an object, and that is to in some fashion "break" it. So if you turn someone into a little straw doll, and tear an arm off, your write-up is contradictory as to whether this means that that fool is going to be in need of a regeneration when and if he finally gets turned back or he immediately turns back as a bloody mess.

Your write-up says both things, that's not good.

-Frank
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Josh_Kablack
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 24, 2005 1:27 am    Post subject: Re: Check my PaO Revision Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

FrankTrollman wrote:
The basic function of this spell is a complete mystery to me, because you've simply handwaved most of it as "works like XX" where XX is either some entirely new spell name or the name of a spell that is horribly broken and beyond help in D&D proper but which you assure me is now fine in a write up I can't see. So all I'm going to do is nitpick:


Yeah, I know, and that's fine. I just needed an editor who isn't going cross-eyed at the moment. Eventually, the larger polymorph-chain setup will get posted after some cleaning. Right now I just wanted the blatent cut n'paste errors and other stupidities highlighted for me.

Thanks.

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User3
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 24, 2005 3:00 am    Post subject: Re: Check my PaO Revision Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I'd be tempted to add a mechanic where something can only be under the effects of one Polymorph effect at a time, and are immune to further Polymorph effects, and can't change into yourself (to gain the above mentioned immunity). You could even make the Shapechanging subtype count as being already under a Polymorph effect.

I'd also give the spell a CR cap, like "you can only turn a creature into something equal or lower its own CR." It won't fix all yout problems, but it will fix a load of them.

The section on not making rare metals and stuff is kind if silly. Silk, spices, and other rare items are quite salable, as is a Size G pile of stone turned into a Size G pile of iron. A better cap on free swag is a completely story effect like "things turned into objects return to normal at the touch of onyx." The merchants can all have a little trade custom where they touch valuable goods with an onyx medallion or something.
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RandomCasualty
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 24, 2005 5:17 am    Post subject: Re: Check my PaO Revision Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I agree wtih K where I think transmuted objects need some kind of general way of discerning them from the real thing, and some kind of flaws.

I think it's a potential problem that can't be fixed by limiting the kinds of things you can make with the spell because you can always generate lesser objects like big blocks of steel and so on.

I'd like to see a [transmuted] tag that you can attach to any object, which could well apply to fabricated or polymorphed goods.

Also, I have a question about why you'd have the XP cost to permanently make someone a statue. It seems rather odd to me, as a save or die spell is pretty acceptable at level 8 anyway. Also, why the rule about shattering the object breaking the spell? I always found the quest to reassemble the peices of the petrified wizard to be a nice plot hook.

Otherwise looks really nice, though the biggest portion, the one creature into creature one isn't present so I really can't get a total overall picture of how good the spell is.

But nonetheless it is nice to see a full text version of a PaO revision. Good work.
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Josh_Kablack
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 24, 2005 5:48 am    Post subject: Re: Check my PaO Revision Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Just a quick half-asleep note here.

The thinking behind the Creature to Object stuff is that:

* As an attack it's like Flesh to Stone but you can change the target far more radically.
* But since Flesh to Stone is only one level lower, and PaO has significantly more versatility in other areas, this single use needs to be in some ways worse than FtS. Hence the XP component on the perm version and the many available counters.
* In terms of making useful items, the types were based on the list Major Creation

Based on your responses, that whole section is going to change in the next rewrite.
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Murtak
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 24, 2005 9:23 am    Post subject: Re: Check my PaO Revision Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Josh_Kablack wrote:
This change of type may render certain ongoing spell effects irrelevant, if a continous spell would not affect a creature of the targetís new type, its effects are surpressed while the target is transformed but the duration of the surpressed spell still expires normally.

If I were you I would reword this and make this a general houserule for all spells. Also it probably works better if the spell is not merely surpressed but dispelled. You will probably need some rewording on spells like awaken but on the whole I would wager it is less work then sticking a paragraph like the one above into every size altering, type altering or type dependant spell.

Off the top of my head such a houserule would make the following things work differently (that is, after a little rewording to allow certain type altering spells to work at all):
- things like wildshape -> nature's favor -> unwildshape
- no more polymorph going on and off every nanosecond because it keeps surpressing itself.
- no more grow -> righteous might or similar tricks

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Murtak
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 24, 2005 9:34 am    Post subject: Re: Check my PaO Revision Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Josh_Kablack wrote:
Just a quick half-asleep note here.

The thinking behind the Creature to Object stuff is that:

* As an attack it's like Flesh to Stone but you can change the target far more radically.
* But since Flesh to Stone is only one level lower, and PaO has significantly more versatility in other areas, this single use needs to be in some ways worse than FtS.

Why?

It is not like turning your enemy into a statue isn't going to take care of that enemy already. Now for an extra spell level you get some versatility and the ability to get a more impressive stone to flesh.

The latter is very rarely going to be better then stone to flesh, so the question is whether the versatility is worth a spell level. Given that the duplicated spells are a couple of levels lower then PaO I'm inclined to say the extra spell level does the job just fine.

Or to put it another way - a pearl of power 7th (flesh to stone) costs 49K. A pearl for PaO costs 64K. A pearl for FtS and polymorph other costs 49+16 = 67K. So PaO better have 3 or more useful options to even be considered worth memorizing.

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The_Hanged_Man
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 24, 2005 7:53 pm    Post subject: Re: Check my PaO Revision Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I was going to say that this version of PAO seems kinda bland. It seems to be a very limited, if higher level, version of Rary's Mnemonic Enhancer, in that it lets you blow an 8th level slot to get the choice of casting one of a small number of lower-level spells. I generally don't see that as a good tradeoff, since once you get 8th level spells, a 4th level spell is generally pretty weak. You could just memorize Polymorph, Baleful Polymorph, and Flesh to Stone, and still have an 8th level slot open.

Then I started thinking about other 8th level spells and decided all 8th level spells are kinda bland. They do either broken things (Planar Binding) or kinda lame things (Iron Body) or just OK things (Power Word Stun). So maybe this fits in pretty well.
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RandomCasualty
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 26, 2005 3:50 pm    Post subject: Re: Check my PaO Revision Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Well Josh's version will no doubt seem more bland, because the old version was totally nuts and has to be toned down.

The fact that it seems more bland is an indicator to me that it's getting close to balanced.
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Murtak
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 26, 2005 4:44 pm    Post subject: Re: Check my PaO Revision Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

It does not seem bland because it is not as powerful as the old PoA. Rather it seems like you are not getting much of an improvement for the higher spell level.

Being able to cast a 4th, 5th or 6th (worse than flesh to stone) level spell is not all that impressive for an 8th level spell. A choice of any of 3 7th level spells or something similar would make the spell a lot more attractive - say flesh to stone (or to whatever) and added benefits to the polymorph duplicates to make them equivalent to 7th level spells. Basically if an 8th level spell slot is supposed to be twice as powerful as a 6th level spell slot (pearls of power) or twice as powerful as a 7th level spell slot (CR system) then it better be capable of duplicating 7th level spells.

Consider the hypothetical spell "offense of choice". 4th level, when casting you choose between fireball, slow and stinking cloud. That is a decent spell, right? Now imagine a 200 exp cost on it - would you still use it? Or what if it let you cast blindness, scorching ray or ghoul touch instead? Basically casting spells one level below the spell slot you expend is fine if you get a decent list of 3+ spells. 2 spell levels lower better let you cast from close to your entire list to be a good spell.

Or, if you consider the exp cost to not make the actual effect worse then compare it to limited wish. 500 exp nets you any lower level spell on your list, not one taken from an extremely limited list. Without the exp cost the spell would look a lot better then it does right now.

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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 26, 2005 8:55 pm    Post subject: Re: Check my PaO Revision Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

It's actually a 7th level spell now, check the spell level line. But yeah, if you accept that the spells it duplicates are good at 4th or 5th level, it really seems like a 6th level spell. The Stone to Flesh use of the spell is so nerftastic as to be meaningless. In fact, all of the offensive uses are kind of a joke in that they don't take effect until an entire round after the spell has gone off (and are dispelable if it comes to that).

Basically, you are talking a spell that can either be a 4th level buff spell, or it can act as a Passwall (by transforming a gargantuan impediment into a goat), or it can act as a summon nature's ally I. Um... yeah. The only big ticket items here are Major Creation and Fabricate and the real versions have a couple of major advantages (MC doesn't need inputs, Fabricate is instantaneous).

If we assume for the moment that the buff spell version is somehow being fixed so that it is actually available as a 4th level spell... then maybe you could dump this spell all the way down to 5th. Because all of the extra uses are kind of stupid.

-Frank
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RandomCasualty
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 27, 2005 4:32 am    Post subject: Re: Check my PaO Revision Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Well, you do pay for versatility. A spell that just does X is going to be a lower level than a spell that does X, Y, Z. Highly versatile spells should seem underpowered, because they do so much for a single high level slot.

I agree that the XP cost on the stone to flesh is a bit extreme though, but having the ability to potentially remove walls, cast a save or die, cast a buff, or execute a few other spells like major creation is pretty impressive and probably worth an 8th level slot.
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Josh_Kablack
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2005 6:10 pm    Post subject: Re: Check my PaO Revision Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Okay, I'm moving forward on this again, and now I'm wondering just how powerful a creature the object -> creature use should be able to give you.

The version here limits it to a CR 1 animal, which is just not worthwhile for a 7th level spell, even with the versatility of PaO

My current thoughts are to pick one of these:

  • any animal of CR up 1/2 caster level
  • anything you could get with Summon Monster/Summon Nature's Ally V or maybe VI
  • any animal up to 12 HD (the 6th level Planar Binding gets you 12 hit dice outsiders)
    [/list]
    but none of them quite make me happy.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2005 6:41 pm    Post subject: Re: Check my PaO Revision Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

I lke the idea of making it equivalent to a summon monster of some kind.
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FrankTrollman
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2005 7:45 pm    Post subject: Re: Check my PaO Revision Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

Josh wrote:
any animal of CR up 1/2 caster level


This one has built-in problems before it starts. At 14th level (when sorcerers get the spell), they are looking at the ability to turn into a monster that's 7 CR less than themselves. At 20th level, they are looking at turning into something 10 CR less than themselves.

So if things were fair, the character would have gained the ability to urn into something which is one more level out of date every other level - he's falling behind the power curve and you might as well just offer people only non-combat forms because that's essentially what they are getting anyway.

But things are not fair. First of all, the CRs on Dire Animals are bat shit insane. A 16th level the character could turn into a Dire Tiger - which is actually a pretty good approximation of the melee output of a 16th level character, especially after you jack yourself up on combat buffs.

And it gets worse. The Word can actually transform himself into a CR 64+ animal, and while I can't think of any off the top of my head, I'm pretty sure that I don't want 20th level characters doing that.

That's the harsh realities:

  • Diminishing returns does not fit into an exponential level/power expectation.
  • The CRs of animals are too high when played as animals but too low when played as humans.
  • The correlation between caster level and character level is nonexistant.

    -Frank
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    Murtak
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    PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2005 8:08 pm    Post subject: Re: Check my PaO Revision Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    Josh_Kablack wrote:
    any animal of CR up 1/2 caster level

    Frank summed up the problems with this quite well.

    Josh_Kablack wrote:
    anything you could get with Summon Monster/Summon Nature's Ally V or maybe VI

    Well, the usefulness of this one depends rather heavily on what you allow the summon spells to do. Templates come to mind especially. If you consider these spells useful and balanced I guess this approach works. And definitely summon monster VI. Summon spells are already pretty versatile, the little bit PaO is adding is not worth 2 levels.

    Josh_Kablack wrote:
    any animal up to 12 HD (the 6th level Planar Binding gets you 12 hit dice outsiders)

    I like this one best - not necessarily the HD cap, but the concept. Comparing it to Planar Binding has 2 problems:
    - planar binding has no correlation to the outsiders power
    - outsider HD are better then animal HD. way better

    Any reason for not simply basing it off CR instead of HD? Or even ECL, but I guess that is not practical for animals.

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    PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2005 8:23 pm    Post subject: Re: Check my PaO Revision Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    I actually think you need a little diminishing returns for monster CRs that you summon, otherwise you end up with inflation which is bad.

    At some point you have to say "the best monster summon spell any wizard can cast can create a monster of CR - X."

    And you have to stick to that paradigm. This means actually that lower level summons have to get worse. This can be done with just a fixed list as the summon monster spells do, or it can be done by diminishing returns.

    But diminishing returns are definitely necessary if you expect to have spell levels. If you want spell level 9 to have an effect better than 8 then spell level 8s spells can't keep scaling up, otherwise spell level 9 becomes broken. If you have spell levels, then part of your paradigm must be that low level spells become obsolete.
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    Josh_Kablack
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    PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2005 7:31 am    Post subject: Re: Check my PaO Revision Reply with quote Add User to Ignore List

    1. Thanks again for the feedback.

    2. I'm going with the 12HD animal, although that still leaves me concerned about Paragon and similar templates, so I may put in a CR cap

    3. Almost got the whole damn chain done now. Almost, dammit. :sigh:
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