Monday, July 9, 2007

Woodelf’s 3.5 SRD

— Matt Harris @ 6:13 pm

I did a version of the SRD formatted for printing, but it is not nearly as well done as the version by woodelf found at the Impossible Dream. This version is incredibly well formatted with nice sidebars and flavor text. It is divided into 5 files which come out to slightly over 800 pages.

The only downside is that my favorite PDF Reader, Foxit Reader, doesn’t render it right. It does render just fine in the free Acrobat Reader, though.

June 26, 2009 Update: Foxit Reader does render it correctly now.

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Spell Comparison: Distracting Ray vs. Magic Missile

— Matt Harris @ 4:50 pm

I purchased the D&D Spell Compendium and the D&D Magic Item Compendium a couple of months ago. One of the things that struck me is how underpowered a lot of spells and magic items are when compared to already existing alternatives.

One example: the spell Distracting Ray (Spell Compendium page 69) seems seriously underpowered to me. The purpose of Distracting Ray is to disrupt an opposing spellcaster’s concentration. I compared it to an existing spell, Magic Missile, and in every way I could think of Magic Missile is a better spell to use to disrupt a spellcaster’s concentration.

Item Compared Distracting Ray Magic Missile
Spell Level: 2 1
Range: Close Medium
To Hit: Ranged Touch Attack Automatic
Damage: None Caster Level 1 averages 3 hp damage
Caster Level 3 averages 7 hp damage
Caster Level 5 averages 10 hp damage
Caster Level 7 averages 14 hp damage
Caster Level 9 averages 17 hp damage
Effect: Target must make Concentration check or lose spell
DC 17 + Spell Level
Target takes damage
Target must make Concentration check or lose spell
Concentration DC 10 + Damage Taken

Assuming that the caster is third level (the minimum to cast Disrupting Ray), Magic Missile is a better choice to disrupt enemy spellcasters. Magic Missile always hits, which means it always requires the Concentration check. Magic Missile also has much better range, will do damage and the average concentration DC will be almost as good as Distracting Ray. As Magic Missile caster level goes up, the average Concentration DC goes up as well, which is doesn’t for Distracting Ray. Lastly, Magic Missile only uses a first level spell slot .

The only time I can think Distracting Ray would be better is if the target had a Shield spell in effect or wore a Brooch of Shielding. It also might be useful if you want to disrupt a spell without damaging the target, which is something I have never seen – I seem to play with a rather bloodthirsty group.

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