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20 point spell burn

Posted: Sun Aug 23, 2015 7:08 am
by Antony131073
Burning 20 points in spell burn became a point of discussion in our last session. It was queried if you still rolled a dice in addition to the 20 modifier. I ruled no as I thought the other benefit was no chance of failure. I did see the counter argument that you were more likely to get a much better result if you burned 19 instead as you got to add a dice roll as well.

Re: 20 point spell burn

Posted: Mon Aug 24, 2015 2:34 am
by finarvyn
I always allow for a chance of failure on a natural 1, so you could put in 200 points and not have any impact on the odds. You would, in effect, cap out at +19.

Re: 20 point spell burn

Posted: Mon Aug 24, 2015 3:24 am
by Antony131073
But there is a specific note in the rule book that if you spend 20 points in one go you get an automatic 20 for your roll. That's why I don't think you roll another dice

Re: 20 point spell burn

Posted: Mon Aug 24, 2015 8:33 am
by Gameogre
We wouldn't roll with a 20 point burn but my players know better than to try a 20 point burn unless literally they are all doomed without it. Because you better bet right after a 20 point spellburn..........other stuff is gonna come looking.

Re: 20 point spell burn

Posted: Mon Aug 24, 2015 12:36 pm
by DM Cojo
If you don't roll the spell check die, then you would not be able to get the higher spell check results like the 32+ options...or am I misunderstanding the question? Plus, a natural 1 is always a failure and corruption (I don't let them spend luck to avoid corruption). My players always roll the spellcheck, regardless of how much spellburn or luck they use.

Re: 20 point spell burn

Posted: Mon Aug 24, 2015 3:07 pm
by Gameogre
DM Cojo wrote:If you don't roll the spell check die, then you would not be able to get the higher spell check results like the 32+ options...or am I misunderstanding the question? Plus, a natural 1 is always a failure and corruption (I don't let them spend luck to avoid corruption). My players always roll the spellcheck, regardless of how much spellburn or luck they use.

No, I think you have it right. I had brain cells declaring a mutiny at the time. You always roll to see what the total score is.

Re: 20 point spell burn

Posted: Mon Aug 24, 2015 3:18 pm
by GnomeBoy
Gameogre wrote:
DM Cojo wrote:If you don't roll the spell check die, then you would not be able to get the higher spell check results like the 32+ options...or am I misunderstanding the question? Plus, a natural 1 is always a failure and corruption (I don't let them spend luck to avoid corruption). My players always roll the spellcheck, regardless of how much spellburn or luck they use.
No, I think you have it right. I had brain cells declaring a mutiny at the time. You always roll to see what the total score is.
The rule says treat the next roll as a natural 20. That'd be: 20 (spellburn) + 20 (roll) + your normal bonus + your level (because that's what happens when you roll a natural 20) = 42+ result

...And yet, I feel like this has come up before, and there's some other little wriggle in there, somehow... :?

And if you're a Thief performing 20 points of Spellburn, it might be the only way to reach those upper level results...

Re: 20 point spell burn

Posted: Tue Aug 25, 2015 12:32 pm
by austonwithano
I've always interpreted it to mean that if you burn 20 points, you don't roll. Nor do you get a +20 bonus for the points burned. It is listed as an "additional option for spellburn". In my opinion -- and this is how I've always ruled it -- if you burn 20 points for the automatic critical option, then you're next spell check is just 20 + CL + int mod. No roll, no 20 + 20, just a single nat 20 + the usual modifiers.
Antony131073 wrote:I did see the counter argument that you were more likely to get a much better result if you burned 19 instead as you got to add a dice roll as well.
Yes, statistically it's always better to burn a few less points and roll. But doing this will risk rolling a 1, whereas the automatic critical never fails. The 20 point burn is just an option to cast a spell without ANY chance of failure. It's much more common that players will burn 19, 15, or even 20+ points for a regular spell burn instead of the auto crit.

Re: 20 point spell burn

Posted: Tue Aug 25, 2015 3:24 pm
by DM Cojo
I just went back and re-read the rule. It says that "a wizard who sacrifices a full 20 points of ability scores in one fell swoop automatically treats his next spell check as a roll of natural 20." (page 107)

And the rule for a spell check of natural 20 states "A spell check result of a natural 20 is a critical success. The caster receives an additional bonus to his check, equal to his caster level. Compare to the casting table for that specific spell for the result." (page 106)

So if you burn 20 points, your roll would be:

[Spell check die roll] + CL + INT modifier (if any) + 20 (for spellburn) + CL (for critical success). You would still roll the spell check regardless. So the advantage of burning 20 instead of 19 is that you get to add your caster level in a second time. Which at level one may not be a big deal, but at higher levels it could be awesome. If you never rolled the spell check and just took the 20, you are not allowing the player to get to the higher spell results (without burning luck).

I don't see anywhere where this is said to be an additional rule for spellburn. It is just the rule. I guess I am just not understanding the logic of not making the spell check roll.

Re: 20 point spell burn

Posted: Wed Aug 26, 2015 10:16 am
by Rick
I read it the same way Antony & Auston do; you do not roll, your next spell check is an automatic natural 20. If you roll you're double dipping.

So, blow 20 points of physical stats for a spellcheck result of 20 + CL + Int Mod + CL again* for a guaranteed success without risk other than the substantial cost.

*per the rules for a natural 20 on a spellcheck

Re: 20 point spell burn

Posted: Wed Aug 26, 2015 12:44 pm
by DM Cojo
Ok, am I crazy? I have read the rule three times and I don't see where you guys are getting that you don't make a roll. It says if you spend 20 points in spellburn you treat your very next spell check as a natural 20. You treat it like a 20, not you assume it is a 20 and don't bother to roll it. And a natural 20 only means that you get to add your CL a second time.

It makes no sense to say that you assume a roll of 20 and then don't roll the spell check...because then you have no way to get to the higher results on the spell check table. Perhaps and example is in order...to help me understand what you guys are getting at here. For all of these examples, let's assume this is a level 1 wizard with an intelligence bonus of +1.

Example 1: No spellburn. You roll a magic missile spell check. You roll a natural 20. So you get your roll, plus CL, plus INT bonus, plus caster level again for the natural 20 roll. Final result: 23.

Example 2: Spellburn 10 points. You roll a magic missile spell check. You roll a natural 20. So you get your roll, plus CL, plus INT bonus, plus 10 points for spellburn, plus the CL again for the natural 20. Final result: 33.

Example 3 (how I deal with the rule in question): Spellburn 20 points. You roll a magic missile spell check. You roll a 13. So you get your roll, plus CL, plus INT bonus, plus 20 points for spellburn, plus your CL again because even though you rolled a 13, it is still treated as a natural 20 per the book. Final result: 36

Example 4 (how I understand that some of you are dealing with this rule in question): Spellburn 20 points. You don't bother to roll a spell check, and just assume it is a 20. So you get your 20 points of spellburn, plus CL, plus INT bonus, plus CL again (for having a natural 20). Final result: 23

In example 4, you have zero chance of reaching the top of the chart. You would be better off spending 19 or 21 in spellburn. So the only advantage to spending 20 would be you avoid the risk of rolling a 1 and auto failing (only a 5% chance of happening anyway). But why would there be such a specific exception to the spellburn rule? This makes no sense to me. If you spend 20 spellburn, you should not be nerfed because you don't get to roll. Essentially you are saying that the benefit of spellburning 20 is pretty much the same result as rolling a 20. But you crushed your character to do it. Sorry guys, but this makes no sense to me.

When I read page 107 again...it says "A wizard who sacrifices a full 20 points of ability scores in one fell swoop automatically treats his next spell check as a roll of natural 20." So it says "treats" not replaces his roll with a 20. I interpret this language that "treats" like a natural 20 means you get the additional CL bonus like when you roll a 20. It doesn't eliminate actually making a spell check roll. Treating it like a 20 isn't the same as replacing the roll with a 20.

If I am playing a wizard, and I am going to spellburn 20 points, then I better be able to get to the max result on the spell check table, otherwise what is the point? Also, based on how some of you are interpreting this rule...burning 21 points still has a risk of failure, when burning 20 does not? I still think that would be a very odd, one-off rule. If I am still missing something, please let me know.

Re: 20 point spell burn

Posted: Wed Aug 26, 2015 1:10 pm
by GnomeBoy
DM Cojo wrote:Example 4 (how I understand that some of you are dealing with this rule in question): Spellburn 20 points. You don't bother to roll a spell check, and just assume it is a 20. So you get your 20 points of spellburn, plus CL, plus INT bonus, plus CL again (for having a natural 20). Final result: 23
You're not adding in the 'treat the roll as a natural 20", i.e. whatever you roll, it's a 20.

So the total here is 43, not 23.

Alternately, the rule could mean "whatever you roll, treat that number as if it is a natural 20, i.e., add your Level in again". But then wouldn't the rule more simply say: "when you Spellburn 20 pts, add your Level into the results again"?

Re: 20 point spell burn

Posted: Wed Aug 26, 2015 1:25 pm
by DM Cojo
GnomeBoy wrote:
DM Cojo wrote:Example 4 (how I understand that some of you are dealing with this rule in question): Spellburn 20 points. You don't bother to roll a spell check, and just assume it is a 20. So you get your 20 points of spellburn, plus CL, plus INT bonus, plus CL again (for having a natural 20). Final result: 23
You're not adding in the 'treat the roll as a natural 20", i.e. whatever you roll, it's a 20.

So the total here is 43, not 23.

Alternately, the rule could mean "whatever you roll, treat that number as if it is a natural 20, i.e., add your Level in again". But then wouldn't the rule more simply say: "when you Spellburn 20 pts, add your Level into the results again"?
Well, I guess that is the question. I see what you are saying...so you assume the roll was a 20 AND add the 20 points of spellburn? That would make sense except what if you burn 21? Do you assume the roll is 21 and add spellburn of 21 on top of it? I guess I don't understand why a 20 gives the benefit of avoiding the natural 1 roll, but burning more than 20 still has the chance of failure?

Re: 20 point spell burn

Posted: Thu Aug 27, 2015 2:27 am
by GnomeBoy
DM Cojo wrote:
GnomeBoy wrote:
DM Cojo wrote:Example 4 (how I understand that some of you are dealing with this rule in question): Spellburn 20 points. You don't bother to roll a spell check, and just assume it is a 20. So you get your 20 points of spellburn, plus CL, plus INT bonus, plus CL again (for having a natural 20). Final result: 23
You're not adding in the 'treat the roll as a natural 20", i.e. whatever you roll, it's a 20.

So the total here is 43, not 23.

Alternately, the rule could mean "whatever you roll, treat that number as if it is a natural 20, i.e., add your Level in again". But then wouldn't the rule more simply say: "when you Spellburn 20 pts, add your Level into the results again"?
Well, I guess that is the question. I see what you are saying...so you assume the roll was a 20 AND add the 20 points of spellburn? That would make sense except what if you burn 21? Do you assume the roll is 21 and add spellburn of 21 on top of it? I guess I don't understand why a 20 gives the benefit of avoiding the natural 1 roll, but burning more than 20 still has the chance of failure?
Personally, I think the intention is that hitting the 'magic number' of a 20 gets you a certain amount of certainty. Hitting that number, you get the max result of any spell, automatically. "Only" burning 19 points, well, you might still roll a 1 or a 2 and have it all go horribly, horribly, (wonderfully) wrong — or maybe just 'average' (i.e., 22 + Level, or so).

Why you'd burn 21, I don't know (to make any potential save that little bit tougher for a major demon or demi-god or something?), but I'd treat it like burning 20, with a total result of 44.

Re: 20 point spell burn

Posted: Thu Aug 27, 2015 7:12 am
by Weisenwolf
The rule appears to me to be very simple: for 20 points of spell burn you get to assume your Spell check roll is a natural 20 and therefore a critical success.

This means you cannot fumble since it is established that you scored a critical success and as you scored a critical success you get to add your caster level a second time to the total. So your result is 20+(lvl x 2)+INT modifier.

This may seem insuffcient compared to burning 19 for a simple +19 to your roll but if things are desperate enough to spell burn to this magnitude that 5% chance of a fumble would presumably result in a disaster, TPK etc. so that natural 20 starts to look a bit better; it guarantees a good result. Also it's actually a +21 to +30 depending on you level. And you could still spell burn on top of that too; nothing in the rules reads as though you cannot.

I guess it depends who is casting which spell: a sixth level Wizard casting a spell whose max result is at 32+ is guaranteed a 32 with no chance of a fumble rather than spell burning 19 which gives 26-45 which could be worse, can't be any better and could be a fumble.

Also if you get a natural 20 and roll a D20 too you could get both a critical and a fumble at the same time which is just plain daft IMHO.

Re: 20 point spell burn

Posted: Thu Aug 27, 2015 7:25 am
by Weisenwolf
Looking through some of the replies above some folk appear to be tethering the general spell burn effect with the spell burn of 20 points for a specific result. These are essentially two entirely independent uses of spell burn. One has no effect on the other.

The 20 point spell burn is an additional possible use of spell burn but it doesn't also add points for 'normal' spell burn anymore than spell burning to regain spells (the third spell burn option) would also add spell burn to the effect of the recovered spell.

Re: 20 point spell burn

Posted: Fri Aug 28, 2015 7:50 am
by Stinky1EyedOgre
Weisenwolf wrote:Looking through some of the replies above some folk appear to be tethering the general spell burn effect with the spell burn of 20 points for a specific result. These are essentially two entirely independent uses of spell burn. One has no effect on the other.

The 20 point spell burn is an additional possible use of spell burn but it doesn't also add points for 'normal' spell burn anymore than spell burning to regain spells (the third spell burn option) would also add spell burn to the effect of the recovered spell.
I think that describes it well. I have never had someone try to burn so many points at once, but if I did I would give them the choice. Either they can skip the roll and treat it as a natural 20 die roll [20+2(CL)+(INT Bonus)], or they can take their chances and make the roll [(Die)+20+(CL)+(INT Bonus)]. I think most players will take the chance of spectacular failure in order to get off a legendary spell check.

The most I have had a player try to spellburn all at once was 16 points, and yes he did roll a 1.

Re: 20 point spell burn

Posted: Wed Sep 02, 2015 6:30 am
by Sundweller
Weisenwolf wrote:The rule appears to me to be very simple: for 20 points of spell burn you get to assume your Spell check roll is a natural 20 and therefore a critical success.

This means you cannot fumble since it is established that you scored a critical success and as you scored a critical success you get to add your caster level a second time to the total. So your result is 20+(lvl x 2)+INT modifier.

This may seem insuffcient compared to burning 19 for a simple +19 to your roll but if things are desperate enough to spell burn to this magnitude that 5% chance of a fumble would presumably result in a disaster, TPK etc. so that natural 20 starts to look a bit better; it guarantees a good result. Also it's actually a +21 to +30 depending on you level. And you could still spell burn on top of that too; nothing in the rules reads as though you cannot.

I guess it depends who is casting which spell: a sixth level Wizard casting a spell whose max result is at 32+ is guaranteed a 32 with no chance of a fumble rather than spell burning 19 which gives 26-45 which could be worse, can't be any better and could be a fumble.

Also if you get a natural 20 and roll a D20 too you could get both a critical and a fumble at the same time which is just plain daft IMHO.
I have always assumed it was this way as well. Would be nice to get an official ruling on this, because I can see the other way as well, although I do agree with this: "Also if you get a natural 20 and roll a D20 too you could get both a critical and a fumble at the same time which is just plain daft IMHO"