Dissonance doesn't kill

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Dissonance doesn't kill

Post by Lasombra on Fri Oct 10, 2014 7:09 pm

Sometimes, enemies don't get killed on a failed save, but instead take a big chunk of damage, which seems to be a percentage of HP(as they always end up at "badly wounded" as far as I've seen).

A side-effect to the random buff system?

Please have it do 9999 as disintegrate does instead of basing it on enemy's HP. It's a wonderful spell, I'd hate to need to switch to other options.


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Re: Dissonance doesn't kill

Post by daveyeisley on Sun Oct 12, 2014 9:01 am

This was previously addressed by The Amethyst Dragon giving dissonance a damage bonus on top of the creaturees maximum hitpoints.

Dissonance and Disintegrate are not and should not be analogous, it is lower level, and automatically hits. Creatures with resistance or immunities to its damage type should have some chance to survive it.
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Re: Dissonance doesn't kill

Post by Lasombra on Sun Oct 12, 2014 2:57 pm

In that case, I need to rant about it a bit:

By this logic, we could apply resistance to dev-crits, other insta-kill spells(nerfing poor defaults even further) and coup the grace. They're all forms of damage you can resist, but use a fort save instead, to signify it's on "another level"; and so does dissonance, inflicting damage on a successful save - which is subject to resistance due to being very small. But it's massive when you fail the save; having 30 DR against a 1K chunk of damage is like trying to protect yourself with a bulletproof vest against a tank bullet. It's bulletproof, right? Razz

"Using magical soundwaves, the caster creates a deadly vibration within the target. If the target succeeds at a Fortitude save, it suffers 5d6 points of sonic damage. If it fails, it is broken apart by the vibrations and killed."
Since it specifically says broken apart and killed, and not "hit with barely enough to kill under normal circumstances", I'd assume it's enough of an overkill to consider 30 DR insignificant. You can do 1200 damage, but 630 on a different mob is out of reach? That's insane precision, man, and you don't even save a spell use for conserving energy. Wink

daveyeisley wrote:Dissonance and Disintegrate are not and should not be analogous, it is lower level, and automatically hits. Creatures with resistance or immunities to its damage type should have some chance to survive it.
Disintegrate has a few advantages over it: higher DC, kills trolls, destroys force barrier and does magical damage on a failed check(theoretically also the object insta-kill, but I don't remember dissonance damage ever not being enough).

If you compare it to another level 7 spell - Finger of Death - it really is quite nice even considering the check.


All that said, I do agree it was generally better than disintegrate, but I don't think it's a good way to go about nerfing it.
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Re: Dissonance doesn't kill

Post by daveyeisley on Sun Oct 12, 2014 4:31 pm

Make dissonance 7th level, and add a touch attack to it. Otherwise your logic above is simply amusing.
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Re: Dissonance doesn't kill

Post by Lasombra on Sun Oct 12, 2014 4:55 pm

Higher level - why not? Slightly infulences spell selections, but nothing major in my eyes. The DC is higher, so there's compensation for that already. Touch attack does hurt, but like I said, I'm not arguing for it to be better than disintegrate, just to change the approach of balancing it.

You've only looked at disintegrate/dissonance comparison so far. What is your response to FoD?
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Re: Dissonance doesn't kill

Post by MannyJabrielle on Sun Oct 12, 2014 6:35 pm

Why should it be a touch attack?  It's not a ray or a touch.  I would be highly against it being a touch attack roll for "just becasue".  There's no reason for it.

Nor do I honestly see any reason to cause players to have to relevel their sorcerer PCs by changing the spell level and screwing up the character's spell book.

The Amethyst Dragon also mentioned that he should have been upping the damage so creatures with -/5 sonic resistance didn't avoid death despite failing the save.  When I first posted about this, the targets were typically taken down to near death.... so if they're not only going down to wounded, the 'fix' The Amethyst Dragon said he was putting in seems to have been applied backwards, letting the target survive with even more heath despite failing the save rather than boosting the damage done to compensate for random buff sonic resistances.

And quite frankly, I *STILL* think that the spell should do what it's description states:  Kills target that fails it's save.

I think this idea that insta-kill spells under 7th level should fail to do what their description says is just inane.  And it's obviously not applied consistently either as there are four other insta-kill spells 6th level or lower which do NOT have this "feature" of not killing a target that fail's it's save.  And two of those are AoE insta-kills at that, one of which is a colossal sized AoE.

I am still for dissonance doing what it's spell description says.  It's really that simple.  Spell description says X.  it should do X.  THis "well it's a lower spell level than disintergrate so the description says X but it really doesn't do X" is just..... silly.  It's basically saying "the spell is bugged, but we're going to pretend it's not by applying this completely arbitrary rules about what spells can do, BUT we're not going to apply it to any other spell, just this one".

If you *really really really* want to nerf the spell, do it logically and consistently..... don't have it work on incorporeal creatures (shadows/specters/air elementals/ghost/ect).  They don't have bodies to vibrate apart.  But other wise, the spell description says X, the spell should do X.

There's no reason it should remained bugged, and no ad hoc explanations of why it *should* be bugged are logical or rational.
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Re: Dissonance doesn't kill

Post by RustyDios on Sun Oct 12, 2014 7:02 pm

Well, you could look at a solution from the other side Smile.... change the spell description to match what the spell does... "On a failed save the target is shaken so much that a large percentage of it's health vibrates away as all the extremities of it's body are shaken loose, and in some cases the percentage of health loss will be less then the possible 30HP from a made save leaving the creature merely badly wounded" .... 


Personally though, if the description currently says it should kill on a failed save, then I'm all up for it actually killing. Even more so if it is as simple as "Failed save = 9999 direct damage". That really shouldn't be hard to script.

EDIT: Okay.. I was curious to what the spell description actually states.. so I went and looked it up... I pulled this from the Scroll entry that auto-populates from the .tlk when you create a scroll in the toolset... I'm wondering if the scroll description and the spell description differ, or if my .tlk is somehow outdated... (because I can't find this exact wording quoted from above;

"Using magical soundwaves, the caster creates a deadly vibration within the target. If the target succeeds at a Fortitude save, it suffers 5d6 points of sonic damage. If it fails, it is broken apart by the vibrations and killed."

Although ,
A moment later, the target falls into thousands of pieces as the vibrations reach their peak and shatter the target.
Seems mighty like it should be insta-kill... ....

Anyway, here is the description... next to the one for Disintegrate as well, as it seems to be the go-to compare spell:
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Re: Dissonance doesn't kill

Post by MannyJabrielle on Sun Oct 12, 2014 8:06 pm

Or how about comparing to another insta-kill single target spell:

Slay Living
Necromancy
Level: Cleric 5, Druid 5
Components: Verbal, Somatic
Range: Touch
Target: Single
Duration: Instantaneous
Additional Counter Spells: Death Ward
Save: Fortitude negates
Spell Resistance: Yes


The target must make a Fortitude save or die. Even if the saving throw is successful, the target takes 3d6 points of negative energy damage, +1 point per caster level.


Lower level than dissonance, kills the target.  Drawbacks are fails against death magic immune, however they still take damage on a successful save.  Range is touch rather than short.  Seems quite reasonable for a lower level spell

But.... no "well it's lower level than distintigrate so it doesn't actually kill despite description" shenanigans.

Other insta-kills.... phantasmal killer, lower level even than slay living (4th), it's drawbacks are double-save.

Circle of Death.... AoE insta-kill.  It's drawback is a HD cap, but that doesn't negate the fact that it's an AoE insta-kill that actually insta-kills.

Word of faith... HD cap on the insta-kill aspect, but that insta-kill doesn't have a save factor at all, it's automatic, being undead doesn't save the target, and for targets over the HD limit, there are significant effects.

Cloudkill, 5th level, insta-kill, either on a failed save, or automatic depending on the target's HD.

Dismissal, 4th level.... save or be dismissed (killed/removed from being a combat threat, effectively the same thing mechanics wise), drawback, only targets summons/familiars/companions

Banishment, 6th level, same as dismissal, but also can nuke outsiders.  Not sure if 'outsider' includes elementals or not, nor if the spell has been properly tweaked to work vs demons/celestials... it and banishment are completely broken in Aenea ATM.

Undeath to death, 6th level colossal AoE, slays up to 20d4 HD worth of targets.  Drawback, targets undeads only.  Reasonable given it's the largest sized AoE and it's capable of nuking targets up to 80hd (dracolich's aren't anywhere near that, and I have nuked 3 of them in a single cast before).

Distintigrate.... ranged touch AoE, 7th, does damage on successful save, can work on any target, NPC or placeable, nukes walls of force, nukes trolls.

Finger of death. 7th.  Nukes everything except targets with death magic immunity on a failed save.  Advantage over disintigrate... no touch attack roll.

None of the above spells has the bug of "even when target fails saves (when applicable) it doesn't actually die".

Not *one* of them, and most of the above examples are lower level than disintegrate.
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Re: Dissonance doesn't kill

Post by Lasombra on Sun Oct 12, 2014 8:23 pm

MannyJabrielle wrote:Why should it be a touch attack?
Dunno about dave, but I was speaking only hypothetically about balance. My vote is still against nerfing it.

RustyDios wrote:Seems mighty like it should be insta-kill...
And that's what it did, up until some point. Noone complained and AFAIK more people were using disintegrate anyway, so I don't see the point of this nerf. It's ridiculously out of place for what it's supposed to be - an insta-kill, not a "do a huge chunk of damage", because it does damage on a successful save anyway.

27 fort save mobs not getting dropped by a 47 DC dissonance make it feel pretty damn underwhelming, especially since it was nice for being so reliable. Now you can't even predict what will get affected because of random buffs. Phantasmal Killer might very well work more consistently for me even in epic areas.
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Re: Dissonance doesn't kill

Post by MannyJabrielle on Mon Oct 13, 2014 2:30 am

The random buffs, particularly the elemental resistances, appear far more often on lower level creatures relative to the caster too....  The first time I *really* noticed the bug with dissonance, my evoker focused sorc was level 24 or such.... zapped a cave goblin with dissonance, and it survived.... it's only hope of making the save would have been to roll a 20, but it didn't roll the 20.  Such a low level creature so easily bypassing my PC's ability like that was simply immersion breaking.  When I really took notice of the issue against on-level creatures, it moved from being immersion breaking annoyance to gameplay eroding bug.

And let's be absolutely honest too..... the random buff thing is actually pretty new...maybe been around a year? year and a half?  Dissonance has been in the game for several years, at least 6.  It did not have this "sometimes targets  fail their save but still live" issue until the random buffs got put in.

Disnitigrate had the *exact* same bug a while back.... it was doing the target's HP in acid damage, which is a far more common resistance than sonic resistance was.  This got resisted and caused a failed save target to survive rather than die.  Bug got complained about, spell got fixed.

Absolutely no reason why dissonance shouldn't be fixed too.

Arguments that dissonance is a lower level spell fail rigor as do arguments saying it cannot be compared to other 6th level and lower insta-kill spells.
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Re: Dissonance doesn't kill

Post by RustyDios on Mon Oct 13, 2014 9:57 am

A slightly off topic note: Why isn't Dissonance on the Bard spell list ?... for something that sends magical sound waves to break a target apart just seems like it should be a bard spell too... I'm thinking opera singers vs. glass .... plus I don't think Bards have any insta-kill spells, at least this one fits thematically...

And even more slightly off topic... the website description has a typo, the spell school is listed as Evocaton ...
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Re: Dissonance doesn't kill

Post by MannyJabrielle on Mon Oct 13, 2014 12:38 pm

I can kind of see it fitting.... but not quite, only for the sake that bards *are* casters, but they're not quite full-bore, lock and load platforms of arcane mass destruction like sorcerers.  Offensive-wise the most powerful bard spell is ice storm, and that tends to be the oddball (along with soundburst).  Their other spells are more along the lines of disablers/buffs/utility spells, with their offense coming from songs and their melee/archery capability.
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Re: Dissonance doesn't kill

Post by Lasombra on Mon Oct 13, 2014 1:43 pm

MannyJabrielle wrote:It did not have this "sometimes targets  fail their save but still live" issue until the random buffs got put in.
Exactly.
If things need balancing at all, this could be achieved differently, like increasing the perks of other insta-kill spells further(higher damage on save, maybe a very short-term non-cumulative -1 to saves from FoD etc.) or the proposed exclusion of incorporeals.

Dissonance not being able to affect trolls can be a big deal already, since when you get it, it's about time many casters would hit Icereach; and cinder trolls can be a pain even to a highish-level mage without a caustic staff.

If we nerf dissonance, let's also nerf ice storm, fire arrow and magic missile for being so clearly superior to other damagers of their levels(if only!). And GMS, for being unsoakable and doing similar damage to same-level telemus @L40 - while being AoE and not involving a touch attack; it's also almost on par with firebrand damage-wise, without needing a save or being subject to fire resistance. And do I even need to mention what IGMS was? It was something that needed a nerf and the nerf happened as soon as Aenea happened. Dissonance isn't even remotely close to that level, it's just a very good spell.

RustyDios wrote:And even more slightly off topic... the website description has a typo, the spell school is listed as Evocaton ...
It's correct.


Last edited by Lasombra on Mon Oct 13, 2014 4:22 pm; edited 3 times in total
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Re: Dissonance doesn't kill

Post by RustyDios on Mon Oct 13, 2014 1:48 pm

Yeah okay.. it just seems like the natural upgrade to soundburst...
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Re: Dissonance doesn't kill

Post by MannyJabrielle on Mon Oct 13, 2014 5:14 pm

Lasombra wrote:
And even more slightly off topic... the website description has a typo, the spell school is listed as Evocaton ...
It's correct.
Is evocaton as good a school as evocation? Wink
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Re: Dissonance doesn't kill

Post by Lasombra on Mon Oct 13, 2014 7:24 pm

I blame my blindness on lack of racial SR. Laughing
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Re: Dissonance doesn't kill

Post by daveyeisley on Fri Oct 17, 2014 8:01 pm

Not denying the troll situation at all - but it seems like a troll burst into lots of little pieces could still regenerate. There should be a longer delay realistically, but them getting up moments later seems a reasonable abstraction.

I think the spell description needs to be adjusted to advise the player that because the spell relies on sound to do its work, targets who are resistant or partially immune may not suffer the full effect (ie. Death).

That said, I also agree that it seems strange that targets who fail a save, even with random resistances, temp hitpoints, or even immunities would still only go down to badly wounded.

For example, lets take a target with 900 max hps. The spell should do 1k damage on a failed save (max hps +100 dmg).

For that target to take only 600-700 dmg on a failed save, you are looking at 300-400/- resistance, or 30-40% resistance.... or some combination thereof. Seems a bit much since I don't recall black dragons having native sonic immunity (or resistance).
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Re: Dissonance doesn't kill

Post by Lasombra on Fri Oct 17, 2014 10:14 pm

daveyeisley wrote:Not denying the troll situation at all - but it seems like a troll burst into lots of little pieces could still regenerate. There should be a longer delay realistically, but them getting up moments later seems a reasonable abstraction.
This part of the spell is in line with the description - trolls aren't supposed to be killed by it. What I was saying is that it already has an important weakness by design.

daveyeisley wrote:For that target to take only 600-700 dmg on a failed save, you are looking at 300-400/- resistance, or 30-40% resistance.... or some combination thereof. Seems a bit much since I don't recall black dragons having native sonic immunity (or resistance).
Shadow dragons only have some physical DR by default, so it was just random buffs.
Which means some tiny beetles, with a carapace even a goblin could effortlessly break with a fingertip, can resist a spell with enough firepower to rip dervishes into pieces. Rolling Eyes
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Re: Dissonance doesn't kill

Post by daveyeisley on Sat Oct 18, 2014 9:44 am

Actually, come to think of it.... that fight took place undewater, didn't it?

Water muffling sound is something I believe The Amethyst Dragon added.
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Re: Dissonance doesn't kill

Post by Ramana Jala on Sat Oct 18, 2014 12:14 pm

RustyDios wrote:A slightly off topic note: Why isn't Dissonance on the Bard spell list ?... for something that sends magical sound waves to break a target apart just seems like it should be a bard spell too... I'm thinking opera singers vs. glass .... plus I don't think Bards have any insta-kill spells, at least this one fits thematically...

I've wondered about this also.  As far as I'm concerned, Bards should have an affinity for all Sonic descriptor spells, but others from Evocation don't really make that much sense for a Bard.
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Re: Dissonance doesn't kill

Post by Lasombra on Sat Oct 18, 2014 1:44 pm

Dissonance requires a lot more raw arcane power than soundburst, something a bard isn't focused on. Soundburst seems like a reflection of their affinity for music more than the arcane.

And mechanically speaking... bards get ice storm as a level 6 spell, which is their max. They're also mostly warrior-types with buffs and enchantment magic. There would be nothing stopping a bard from solving many problematic encounters with a dissonance... which is not thematic at all.

As far as I know, the most damaging bard spell in pnp is Greater Shout(10d6 sonic to most creatures with some effects). On par with ~4th level spells from wiz/sorc spellbook. Bioware probably included the superior ice storm in a bard's list to take its' place.

daveyeisley wrote:Actually, come to think of it.... that fight took place undewater, didn't it?
No, underdark.
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Re: Dissonance doesn't kill

Post by MannyJabrielle on Sat Oct 18, 2014 2:21 pm

The environmental effects on spells as far as I recall was minor things such as decrease to PCs/NPC electrical immunity while underwater/in rain, increase to fire immunity in water/rain.  These aren't actually in-game though, I think that it was just an idea The Amethyst Dragon tossed out as something that may be coming, just never got put in.

Or if it did, it does not actually function.
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Re: Dissonance doesn't kill

Post by Lasombra on Sat Oct 18, 2014 2:32 pm

Electric spells increasing their radius to super-colossal underwater would be pretty damn cool.
"What? You said it was a party, so I had you do a little electro-dance."
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Lasombra
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