Saturday Spell-Hell Freezes Over

“You’re sure about this, Malteus? An invasion of Hell?”

“They’re invading us, aren’t they? We need to strike back and fast. The King has gone to mount a defense at their portal. It won’t work, we must do something.”

“So just the ten of us against Hell?”

“We’ll be in and out, you just have to protect me for 20 second, then we’ll be clear.” With that he began to cast. The plan had been decided on, Arcus just liked to question. There was a sick sucking sound and everything turned every which way around them before Hell swelled up around them, its stench and heat assaulting their senses.

That wasn’t the only assault. Flying imps above them sounded the alarm and began to descend. Aerials followed, bows and other weapons at the ready. Devils nearby rushed toward them and the knights formed a circle around Malteus and the archers. Soon devils littered the ground around them, but the press was getting thicker.

“Cavalry, Malteus!” Arcus warned as the thundering of Nightmare hooves drew nearer. They’d soon be overwhelmed. Flying archers were closing despite their own archers and devils were charging from all around.

“Mon Ki Jai!” Malteus called. Cold tendrils snapped out from him, not harming his own men, but sweeping down all devils in their path, pushing out for over a quarter of a mile in all directions, cutting down most of the devils in that range before dissipating to little more than a cold snap beyond that. “And that’s it men. Let’s get out of here.”

Malteus began again to cast and they were soon returned to the mortal plane. 

With this spell I’m exploring the limits of AoE, which I’ve found I’ve needed to modify with a soft cap that makes AoE values after 31 more expensive, preventing 800 mile radius AoE spells and making even 1 mile radius AoE spells more difficult. This soft cap is in the form of a cumulative cost for additional AoE as with Petty Enchants, namely, an AoE of 31 takes 31 AoE points (chaos indirect grants 1, multiplied by a power multiplier, bonus DoP are applied at 0.5 each, also multiplied by a power multiplier), 32 AoE takes 33 AoE points, and so on, until 43.5 AoE takes 128 AoE points and deals no damage a mile away, and 1.5% damage half a mile away. This soft cap may make it plausible to revisit the enchant multiplier for AoE question from last week. But I will not do so in this post.

In this case I will consider a character built for large spells. Let’s look at his relevant stats.

Class: Magic-user; Level: 20; Strength: 6; Constitution 10; Dexterity: 19; Wisdom: 20; Intelligence: 28; Spell Casting: 20; Greater Casting: 8; Will: 2; Morale: 70; Load: 25 lbs; Weight: 135.5 lbs; Fatigue after Hellportal Spell: 5.2%; Spell Points: 3040.

This means he can cast a 16 radius and arc spell with only 0.36% chance of the spell failing. As promised last week, I made a toy spreadsheet for playing with this.

Left Hand:

Sar (Evil Radius): Chaos (Indirect)

Zo (Negativity Arc):

Zo (Negativity Arc): Chaos (Indirect)

Zo (Negativity Arc):

Zo (Negativity Arc): Chaos (Indirect)

Zo (Negativity Arc):

Zo (Negativity Arc): Chaos (Indirect)

Zo (Negativity Arc):

Zo (Negativity Arc): Chaos (Indirect)

Zo (Negativity Arc):

Zo (Negativity Arc): Chaos (Indirect)

Zo (Negativity Arc):

Zo (Negativity Arc): Chaos (Indirect)

Zo (Negativity Arc):

Zo (Negativity Arc): Chaos (Indirect)

Sar (Evil Radius):

saying “mon ki jai”

This spell is huge! Since Malteus employs a Greater Casting use, his power multiplier is 8x, and he has 38 bonus DoP, enough to double the whole 30 DoP spell. He therefore has an origin damage of 8*(28d6), with an average of  784 damage that is highly normalized (unlikely to be much more or less than this, 90% over 680, 90% under 872, 80% 688-864). Good thing the spell only affects evil; that’s enough damage to obliterate most anything that’s not an arch-devil or dragon (assuming no cold or magic resistance). More importantly, it has a 128 points of AoE for a 43.5 AoE value, dealing 95% damage 32 feet from the center, 90% damage at 64 feet, 50% damage at 434 feet, 25% at 868 feet (enough to kill most Abaddons and other greater devils at that distance), and 10% at 1442 feet, over a quarter mile, killing all imps and most lesser devils even at that range. The spell, therefore, freezes over 125 acres of Hell, leaving few survivors. The damage will be felt outside this area, and may kill many imps and a few lesser devils, but the damage diminishes quickly to 1.5% damage half a mile away.

This spell costs 1024 SP, a Greater Casting use, and 20 seconds for Malteus. It also brings his Fatigue by 13.9% to 19.1%. As a result of this additional fatigue, he has a 14.28% chance of failing his Hellportal spell for escaping hell. If he fails, he will have a higher chance of failing on the next at 32.22%, then 46.73%, 58.84%, 68.39%, 76.02%, 82.05%, 86.76%, 90.42%, 93.15%, 95.32%, 96.82%,97.9%, and so on, reaching the conclusion that he has a less than 0.3% chance of not managing to return. More pressingly, with Abaddons and some other devils able to close again within 30 second, he only has 5ish tries before they are hard pressed again. He has a less than 1% chance of failing all of these 5 attempts, so they will almost certainly escape, but Malteus will need to rest some time before returning for a second assault.

Would you be interested in casting massive spells like this? Could you do it more cheaply? Maybe with some levels in Arcane Magic and Elemental Magic? Maybe with a different spell format? Any other spell types you’d like to see? Tell us below and we may do it in a coming week.

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4 Responses to Saturday Spell-Hell Freezes Over

  1. Jesse says:

    a few ideas for making it a bit cheaper
    Several overlapping area of effect castings of Icestorm coupled with several cone of cold/ frost ray/ iceball. Maybe even contain it with a wall of ice to that it does more damage in a specific area and amplifies the effects of the other spells

    • jameseck says:

      Ooh, overlapping ice storms might be a good option. On the plus side, they wouldn’t come up against the soft AoE cap, but on the minus side, you’d need to use Wind (Indirect) fingers to get them into place. Also on the minus side, splitting the spell up means repeating the base cost per spell and a Greater Casting use each spell, whereas only one is used here. I’m not sure how much getting around the soft cap reduces the spell cost, but it might be a good route.

      • Jesse says:

        As a DM I would probably count the the base cost only once provided that the caster stood in the center of the effect (which brings up the point that s/he would have to be immune to ice magic, as they still have to move from that center point)

      • jameseck says:

        While I’m not going to do the math on it now, I think this idea could work. We use probably 30% of the spell’s SP pushing on that soft cap, and so it might be better to go with storm style spells. I think if the mage came in with 4 staffs, each with 4 ice storm charges with a decent range, you could do something cool there. Encharging nearly doubles the SP efficiency, using the On syllable instead of Mon again doubles the efficiency (while reducing the total power by half). Storms have an interesting effect. They add a finger of cost for the duration, which reduces efficiency, then cut power in half, reducing the efficiency, but then that power is repeated over a number of turns equal to the rolled, which most likely more than doubles the total damage output. It’s by no means simple math, but on average that’s another efficiency increase.

        On the other hand, that soft cap is there because AoE points are exponentially effective and get crazy beyond that point, so pushing the soft cap may not be very inefficient, so it’s hard to say if this would reduce the cost, but it’s certainly an option.

        We don’t need ice immunity because we’ve used the Sar radius to make the spell only affect evil.

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