Epic Spell Conversions, Part IV – Eidolon, Enslave, Hellball, Hellstorm, Kinetic Control, (Energy) Hammer, and Momento Mori

   To continue with Alzrius’s request, here are a few more epic spells converted to Eclipse high-level spells – along with a few new spells, either as components or as derived effects.

   Eidolon:

   Eidolon creates a 21’th level duplicate of the caster (run by the player) at the cost of the caster taking on one negative level. The duplicate has no special equipment, but can be given one additional level for each negative level the caster takes on – although the casters current effective level must always be at least equal to that of the Eidolon. The eidolon is considered fresh and rested when created. If the eidolon is killed prior to the expiration of the spell’s duration, the character immediately regains the lost levels. Normally, the eidolon does not last long enough to threaten the character with permanent level drain.

   OK: that’s Grandiose Summoning at level eleven (to summon a specific CR 20 creature) +3 levels of the Amplify Metamagic (creating the creature desired rather than summoning it), plus a Transfer Levels* secondary effect at level nine, raising the base spell effect to level fifteen. Going from minutes to hours (anything less than a full day, to avoid possible level loss due to the negative levels) is +2 levels of Persistent. Of course, we also get -1 Spell Level for taking a full minute to cast (ten times the normal casting time), -3 Spell Levels for spending 2500 XP to cast it (both from the Compact Metamagic), and no special credit for only +2 (effective) levels of built-in Metamagic. That gives us a basic spell level of thirteen, and no credit for built-in Metamagic because we’ve cancelled all of that out.

   *Surprising Mastery, from The Practical Enchanter. Grant Very Complex Mental Feat (Blessing) (level four base), +3 levels for prerequisites (Blessing requires special permission from the GM), +2 levels for extended duration -2 Levels for only working once on a particular conjured creature and not being able to drop it at will, +2 levels for Medium Range = Level Nine.

   Ergo, we have:

   Eidolon, Conjuration [Creation], Level: 13, Components: V, S, XP, Casting Time: One Minute, Target: One Living Creature, Range: Medium, Effect: One duplicate of the caster, Duration: One hour per level up to a maximum of 23 Hours (D), Saving Throw: None, and Spell Resistance: No.

   Eidolon creates a copy of the caster as he or she was at 20’th level. The copy shares the caster’s soul, and so is run by the player, but only gets a 2000 GP allowance for mundane equipment. When the spell is cast, the caster may opt to accept up to (Caster Level – 20)/2 (rounded down) Negative Levels. Each negative level so accepted adds +1 level to the copy. The copy is considered fresh and rested when created. If the copy is killed or dispelled prior to the expiration of the spell’s duration, the character immediately regains the lost levels

   Personally, I’d go for Ka Effigy, at level Fifteen; it comes with equipment and without inflicting so many negative levels.

   Enslave:

   The effects of Enslave (and more) are covered by The Attentive Slave (Level Thirteen), Disciples of Power (Level Sixteen), or Mindworm (Level Sixteen), depending on just how much power you want to be able to transmit through your new servant.

   Hellball:

   Hellball covers a 40′ radius and does 40d6 damage – ten dice each of four different energy types.

   OK, that would be Fireball, with Multiple (Spamming, +6 spell levels for four activations), Area (Hammer, +2 spell levels for double radius), and Elemental Manipulation (+1 spell level to allow the energy types to be chosen at the time of casting). At +9 levels of built-in metamagic, the spell qualifies for a -2 Spell Level price break (20%) – and a total level of ten. Technically it would still call for four saving throws rather than one, but lumping them together has no effect on the average and is quicker and easier to check.

   All right, that’s not bad – but it’s not really all that impressive as epic-level effects go. At those levels there are plenty of ways for fighters to do as much or more damage, with no save, to small areas – and they can usually keep right on doing it all day.

   Personally, I’d prefer to liven things up a bit by throwing in another two blasts (+2 Levels of Multiple), boosting the damage of each blast to 15d6 (Amplify, +2 Spell Levels) and increasing the Elemental Manipulation to +3 spell levels to throw in some Infliction effects. Thus the spellcaster would get six fifteen die 40′ radius blasts and could choose their elemental effects at the time of casting. Each blast will have secondary effects as well, determined by it’s element. Lets have Acid Blind and Sicken, Cold Entangle and Fatigue, Electricity Confuse and Knock Down, Fire Blind, Blow Away, and Dazzle, Force Stun, and Sonic Deafen and Confuse. To reduce the costs a bit, I’ll throw in some of the Compact Metamagic, for -1 spell level for spending 200 XP to cast the thing and -1 spell level for 10d6 Backlash Damage. Still, at a total of fourteen levels of built-in metamagic our “Hellstorm” spell now qualifies for a three-level price break and a total level of fourteen. It also allows the caster to spread the fun around a bit more, since there’s no reason that all the blasts have to be targeted on the same location.

   Now THAT will impress people.

   Ergo, we have…

   Hellball: Evocation [Various], Level 10 Arcane, Level 12 Divine (since it starts with an Arcane spell), Components: V, S, Casting Time: One Standard Action, Range: Long, Area: four 40-ft Radius Spreads, Range: Long, Duration: Instantaneous, Saving Throw: Reflex Half and negates special effects, and Spell Resistance: Yes.

   Hellball throws four small spheres of elemental energy, each of which blossoms into a 40′ radius globe on reaching their targets or when they impact an intervening barrier. Each sphere inflicts 10d6 points of damage of a type chosen by the caster at the time of casting. Creatures affected by more than one sphere make only one saving throw and unattended objects take damage appropriately.

   Hellstorm: Evocation [Various], Level 14 Arcane, Level 16 Divine (since it starts with an Arcane spell), Components: V, S, XP, Casting Time: One Standard Action, Area: six 40-ft Radius Spreads, Range: Long, Duration: Instantaneous, Saving Throw: Reflex Half and negates special effects, and Spell Resistance: Yes.

   Hellstorm throws six small spheres of elemental energy, each of which blossoms into a 40′ radius globe on reaching their targets or when they impact an intervening barrier. Each sphere inflicts 15d6 points of damage of a type chosen by the caster at the time of casting and has secondary effects (Acid: Blind and Sicken, Cold: Entangle and Fatigue, Electricity: Confuse and Knock Down, Fire: Blind, Blow Away, and Dazzle, Force: Stun, and Sonic: Deafen and Confuse) on all those within the area of effect. A successful reflex save halves the damage and negates the special effects, but each sphere which affects a creature requires a separate saving throw. Unattended objects take damage appropriately. Unfortunately, casting a Hellstorm costs 200 XP and inflicts 10d6 backlash damage on the caster.

   There. Now that spell will properly demonstrate the power of an epic-level spellcaster to that miserable army of low-level types – or to whoever-it-is that you’re attempting to impress.

   Kinetic Control:

   Kinetic Control reduces the damage from incoming physical attacks by twenty points each, and stores that damage – allowing the caster to release it through a touch attack. Unfortunately, if the caster builds up a store of more than 150 points of damage, it will end the spell and inflict itself upon him or her. The effect does last for twelve hours otherwise though.

   That’s actually a bit tricky. Building the damage-reducing effect is simple, and building a high-powered reusable touch attack with a long duration is expensive but simple, but slapping in that upper limit that ends the spell is trickier – and a bit odd. This is an epic level spell with a Spellcraft DC of 100. Why take the trouble to build in that kind of a limitation when you’re researching it?

   Ergo, I won’t bother. That means that we want a pair of effects:

   Flesh Ward (from The Practical Enchanter), at Level 9 for DR 10/-, +1 level to increase the duration to one hour per caster level (a standard option in the spell template) and +6 levels of Amplify for double effect (DR 20/-) and to remove the absorption limit. With +6 levels of built-in Metamagic, the effect qualifies for a -1 spell level modifier, resulting in a net level of fifteen.

   Next up, we’ll want a reusable touch-based attack.

   We’ll start with (Energy) Hammer.

   (Energy) Hammer (Each variant – including “Kinetic”, which inflicts simple physical bludgeoning damage – is a separate spell). Conjuration [Various], Level: 3 [Druid, Sorcerer, Wizard], Components: V, S, Casting Time: One Standard Action, Range: 0 Feet, Effect: Damaging Touch Attack, Duration: One Minute Per Level, Saving Throw: None, Spell Resistance: No.

   (Energy) Hammer surrounds the caster’s hands with an aura of damaging energy, allowing him or her to make touch attacks which inflict 1d4 points of damage per caster level to a maximum of 10d4. The user is considered armed while this spell is in effect. Sadly, the user’s strength modifier does not apply to the damage dealt. An opposing Energy Hammer spell will, however, protect the user’s hands – if only his or her hands – from opposing energy types.

   A sixth level version [Greater (Energy) Hammer] can cause up to 20d4 damage and can be turned on and off during it’s ten-minute-per-caster-level duration. That’s a reliable fifty points, and Amplify (at +4 Spell Levels) will double that and +2 levels of Persistent will get the duration up to one hour per caster level. +6 levels of built-in Metamagic is worth a -1 spell level credit, resulting in a net spell level of eleven. I could throw in an ad hoc modifier to cover the “must absorb kinetic energy to attack with” bit, and boost the damage again to match that 150-point maximum, but I tend to prefer more reliable spells and simpler mechanics – and a repeatable one-hundred point kinetic energy touch attack should be plenty, and it’s quite reasonable to simply take it as one hundred points rather than rolling 40d4 to come up with a result that will probably only be a few points different.

   A sixteenth level spell with an eleventh level secondary effect would be a seventeenth level spell – and that’s all we need. If we throw in the gratuitous overload limitation that ends the spell and limits the amount of damage done, it would lower the level back down to sixteen, but it would be a silly thing to do.

   Ergo, Kinetic Control: Abjuration, Conjuration, Level 17, Components: V, S, Casting Time: One Standard Action, Range: Personal / Touch, Target: Creature Touched, Duration: One Hour Per Caster Level, Saving Throw: None, and Spell Resistance: No.

   Kinetic Control allows the caster to rechannel incoming kinetic energy, whether derived from blows, from the movement of the air, or from the rotation of the planet. This provides him or her with DR 20 versus any physical attack, whether ranged or melee, and the ability to make touch attacks which inflict 100 points of kinetic (bludgeoning) damage to the creature touched.

   Momento Mori:

   “As a free action that counts as a quickened spell, the character wills the target dead without a word or gesture. The character’s thought snuffs out the life force of a living creature of 160 or fewer HD, killing it instantly. The subject is entitled to a Fortitude saving throw (DC 30 + relevant ability modifier) to have a chance of surviving the attack. If the save is successful, the target instead takes 3d6+20 points of damage.”

   OK. That’s essentially Finger of Death (Spell Level Seven) (which, notably, has no upper limits) with Long Range (Extension, +2 Spell Levels), Quickened (either +4 or +6 spell levels, depending on which of the Easy options the game master feels is required. I’ll go with the +6 so as to be as generic as possible), and a +15 to the DC of the save (+5 levels of the Lacing Metamagical Theorem). That’s +13 levels of Metamagic, which is reduced to +10 levels for being built into the spell formula – resulting in a net spell level of seventeen and a save DC of (32 + the caster’s relevant attribute modifier). A successful save will generally result in 3d6+25 points of damage with this version, but the difference is trivial.

   Ergo, Momento Mori: Necromancy [Death], Level: 17 Arcane, 18 Divine, Components: None, Casting Time: One swift action, Range: Long, Target: One Living Creature, Duration: Instantaneous, Saving Throw: Fortitude Partial (see text), Spell Resistance: Yes.

   As a free action that counts as a quickened spell, the character wills the target dead without a word or gesture. The character’s thought snuffs out the life force of a living target, killing it instantly. The target is entitled to a Fortitude saving throw (DC 32 +the caster’s relevant attribute modifier), a success reduces the effect to 3d6+25 points of damage.

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2 Responses

  1. Looking at the inherent spamming effect for hellball and hellstorm, I was curious about the effectiveness of spamming (even when built into the spell effect) versus the cost in spell levels for building lower-level spells into higher-level spells as per Lerandor’s rule.

    What I mean is that, if you build a spell onto itself several times, it seems to have a spell level much lower than if you made it a spamming spell.

    For example, let’s say I wanted to create a spell called “four-fold fireball.” This is basically just a fireball spell in every way, save that when you cast it it creates four fireballs, each of which can be aimed separately or together, etc.

    According to Lerandor’s Rule, two spells of a given level are equal to a spell of the next-higher level. Hence, a two-fold fireball is a level four spell. Two of those, together, are a level five spell – ergo, that’s the level of four-fold fireball.

    However, if I go by the spamming metamagic theorem, I get different results. The example given for spamming in Eclipse (p. 59) points out that using the spamming increases the spell level by (+2 plus the number of times the spell activates). Hence, four-fold fireball would be +6 metamagic levels. Even taking a -20% for building it into the spell effect, that’s a +5 increase, making four-fold fireball a level eight spell…vastly different from what I’d get with Lerandor’s Rule.

    Which is the more correct way of calculating the spell’s level?

    • You could indeed make a “Fourfold Fireball” at leel five – but the “four” fireballs wouldn’t really be independent spells, whereas a “Spammed” effect does indeed create multiple, fully-independent, spells. Thus the damage from each “fireball” from the Fourfold Fireball wouldn’t stack (just as multiple similar effects don’t stack otherwise) and the targeting wouldn’t really be seperate. That approach would basically wind up creating an expanded fireball with an option to shape the area by arranging four overlapping circles. That would still be handy though.

      If you want truly seperate targeting and stacking damage rather than an expanded (and somewhat shapeable) area, it needs to work like Scorching Ray – and subdivide it’s damage. As a fifth level spell it would cap at fifteen dice. That version of a “Fourfold Fireball” would basically be a “Baby Meteor Swarm”. It would throw – say – four 2d6 Fireballs (3d6 at caster level 12+), that might each do 1d6 extra damage to a target that they hit directly (four ranged touch attacks). Alternatively, it might just forget the individual attacks and have each baby fireball do 3d6+2 damage. Either version would be pretty good against swarms of weak opponents though.

      Lerandor’s Rule does cover combining effects – but it’s various examples are for single targets and a single spell effect which could be dispelled or absorbed all at once. Splitting a single spell with multiple effects up again into genuinely seperate, and seperately-targeted, spells complicates matters again at least as much as combining those effects in the first place (since it throws in splitting up AND seperate targeting). That would make each duplication step +2 levels or a bit more – resulting in a spell level of seven or eight, which pretty much matches the built-in spamming result. Ultimately, of course, Lerandor’s Rule is a rule-of-thumb developed by characters in the game – which is why it was originally presented as a quote section in The Practical Enchanter. It does hold as a general rule – at least in my games – but it’s not a natural law and may be subject to exceptions.

      Personally, I assume that the damage caps are because the damage scale is non-linear. Otherwise it’s hard to figure out why a first level spell can do five dice of damage, but a ninth level spell can’t do more than twenty-five dice (And then we have Disintegrate, which breaks those rules. Sigh…).

      Ultimately, of course, it comes down to “the game rules are a vastly simplified representation of a system of magic that is presumably just as complex as real-world physics and engineering”. Ergo ruling on any high-order effect is going to require a few game master judgement calls – particularly where logic clashes with the less-than-ideal fact that most of the spells were created with no particular underlying system at all. I’ve tried to reverse-engineer rules systems from the existing SRD spells that are as consistent as possible, but I must admit that there are limits. Hopefully it’s good enough to let the player’s feel that setting has natural laws instead of game rules though.

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