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Cleave Health

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Post by daveyeisley Tue Apr 19, 2011 3:51 pm

So we have this spell with a neat concept.

The more hitpoints the target has, the more damage the spell can inflict.... percentage-based damage.

Before it was changed, the spell was nasty. Fail the save, and owwwwie!

Make the save and still half as much owwwwie!

Now, if the target makes the save it takes only one fifth of the normal damage. That really isnt much of an owie at all. As a result, savvy casters are no longer using the spell. It has become too sub-par.

Thinking strategically.... why was the spell attractive before, and not now?

Well, the 50% damage on a failed save is the same.... so that can't be it.

It has to be the difference between 10% and 25% damage on a successful save. Basically, this means an increase of 2.5 times the number of casts to achieve the same result as before (because the damage goes down with each successive cast, it actually takes more than 2.5 times the casts, but that gets a little too complicated for our purposes here).

If you used to have to hit an enemy with the spell 5 times to get it pretty badly hurt, now you would basically need to hit it 12 times or more to get that result. 12 casts = not worth it.

Now, one has to ask, but what if the target fails one of the saves and takes the 50%?

Well, that would be wonderful, sure... but when selecting what spells to use, a savvy caster goes by what spells will achieve reliable results. If we assume that the enemy in question will reliably fail the fort save.... then.... what in the world are we using this spell for, when we could be hitting it with the likes of Phantasmal Killer, or a higher level spell like Dissonance that doesnt require the touch attack or allow two saving throws?

So that brings us to the conclusion that the usefulness of the spell, what made it truly nasty, was in scenarios where one expected the enemy to make the save. One could still get in some good, solid damage on really tough enemies with the spell, even when other fort-save-based spells wouldn't get the job done because their effects are would be heavily reduced or nullifed by a successful save.

So, then... how can Cleave Health be less powerful overall than it was before, but still be an attractive spell?

I submit that the save should be dropped alltogether. The spell still allows for spell resistance, and requires a ranged touch attack, so there is plenty of defense against it. Instead of inflicting 50% of the target's current hitpoints, have the spell inflict the old 25% that it used to inflict on a successful save.

In such a way... the spell would still offer that same reliable damage as it used to, but would not be as powerful as the prior version.


Last edited by daveyeisley on Tue Apr 19, 2011 5:26 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : it's not a "Will save", it's a "Won't save")
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Post by The Amethyst Dragon Tue Apr 19, 2011 5:12 pm

Interesting idea. Other spellcasters have thoughts on this?

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Post by MannyJabrielle Tue Apr 19, 2011 5:47 pm

I like it.

I have this spell on Aurora. Since it was tweaked down, I just don't use it anymore, it's not even on her quickslots.

25% flat would rock. It would make the spell vicious, be relatively in line with the non-ragnor cleric harms damage wise, and the SR and touch attacks would still have to be made to have the spell do it's thing.

I'd say do eeeeeit!
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Post by Elhanan Tue Apr 19, 2011 6:14 pm

Not one I used a great deal, but would like to improve any spell to be of a comparative choice to those in the same spell lvl. I could see either changing the ST again, or making the spell fit to another lvl.
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Post by RustyDios Tue Apr 19, 2011 10:06 pm

I have this spell with Shouri, because it rocked.... provided you could get the touch attack in, and past the SR, (save or fail didn't matter, I only ever planned for the 25% damage) it was a *must have* spell for a partly necromancy based sorceress as a guaranteed damager when all else failed... It was a great spell to open those particularly nasty fights with.... now I'll admit it's been a while since I last took her out for a spin, and until reading this post I had no idea the spell had changed....

That being said, 90% of all my sorceress' (limited) spell selections have come from dave and MJ because between them they know an awful lot about spells and spellcasting for the less knowledgeable (like me)... And to be honest if it's a spell tweak suggestion from dave, I can see it as being thought about in great depth, usually beneficial without being overpowering or game breaking and generally something with real potential ... ...

Having not really played with the spell in its "nerfed" form, I don't think I should have an opinion... however I'm going to agree with dave in principle, because if anyone I know has an awesome understanding of the various spells it would be him and I feel happy in the knowledge that he knows exactly what he is talking about ..... ..... ....
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Post by blackdragon12121 Wed Apr 20, 2011 2:00 pm

I personally prefer it as it is. The saved damage could be upped from 10% to 15%. I still get a lot of mileage out of it.
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Post by MannyJabrielle Wed Apr 20, 2011 3:03 pm

Other points to consider.

Compare cleave health to another spell of the same spell level, telemus IV. Both are rays, both have SR.

At lower levels (such as when you first get the spell), cleave has a slight advantage, as you're likely not going to be running into very high fort save baddies. At 10 caster levels, telemus will only do 10d4 damage, so figure averaging around 20 damage or so. Cleave health we can assume will be hitting at full power, so a critter with 150 HP... 75 damage, 15 on a failed save.

At higher levels, Cleave *can* outdo telemus IV, but you're less and less likely to get failed saves as the baddies get better and better for saves... bank on 10%.... telemus caps at 15d4 damage, so average 30 damage... 60 if using a maximize staff. Cleave will only meet that average with it's reliable made save damage on critters with 300+ HP, 600+ HP critters if caster is using maximize.

That's all for the "first strike" on a full health target as well. Cleave's damage output drops in proportion to the target's current HP of course.



Other points to consider.

Telemus spells are far easier to avoid than cleave. Cleave health is blocked by at least 2 cleric spells and 1 wiz/sorc spell which all don't block telemus.

Telemus does magical damage. There is only 1 creature in aenea with any form of magical resistance/immunity. For every other creature/PC, magical resistance/immunity is a no-no. From my own gameplay experience, if I went up say, the calithian vampire elder, I'd rather he cast cleave than telemus spells... the telemus spells hurt.

You can get at least 1 item in game that offers negative resistance, and negative resistance and immunity is a viable option for voucher items (and DM upgrades as far as resistance goes).

Cleave health doesn't work on undead. telemus works on everything.

Point per point, there's no inherent advantage or reason to choose cleave health over even a similar spell of the same spell level other than banking on the hope that enemies will make bad rolls on their saves.
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Post by daveyeisley Thu Apr 21, 2011 7:41 am

blackdragon12121 wrote:I personally prefer it as it is. The saved damage could be upped from 10% to 15%. I still get a lot of mileage out of it.

Keeping in mind the situations where the spell has its best damage potential are against enemies with high constitution and hitpoints (meaning high fort saves), so you are much more likely to get a successful save (thereby heavily reducing that damage potential)?

I've checked my math a few times now, and I get better results with Telemus Arcanum, or Cleave Health with no save and 25% damage.

I must be missing something. Maybe you can help? What enemies are you using the spell on, and how much damage are you getting from it?
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