Spell-Death Touch - question

Bregales

Mongoose
My Scholar player asked me a question, and I'm at work so I can't look the spell up in the book, therefore I wanted to post this question to see if anyone has an answer:

"I have a spell question from Conan. One of the spells (death touch) has a range of touch, a duration of 1 rnd/level, and can affect 1 person/level.

"The problem I'm having is in how long the spell is stored once cast (some of this is from memory as I don't have the books here).

"In the combat section it talks about touch spells being stored until contact is made, or another spell is cast. However in the sorcery section, it same the same thing but qualifies it with "most spells". However it is explicit that once a person it touched, the spell dissipates that turn (so all touches must be made that turn).

"My questions are:

"1. What is the duration for? The spell effect is instant (fort save vs. death). Does this determine how long it is stored for, and if so this counters what is said about touch spells?

"2. To touch multiple enemies in a round, I'd need to make multiple touch attacks, so I can only do that with a base melee attack of +6/+1 (2 touch attacks in a full round), which makes the 1 person/level pretty pointless, unless I'm sacrificing a bunch of willing people. Is this a correct interpretation."

--And resulting questions brought about these questions from our group:
"If we take the duration in Death Touch as accurate, one someone is touch, the spell lasts for 1 round/level. Would they need to make a fort save each round? I'd imagine not, as the effect is instantaneous (in the spell description)... but this spell seems to be an exception. If the spell lasts for N rounds and allows you to touch N targets (where N is the caster's level), I'd say 1 target per round would do the trick. I normally follow the SRD but, for this spell, think the SRD doesn't apply."

"Unlike other touch spells (ghoul touch, cure spells, fly, etc.) this spell's duration seems to be from the time of casting, not from the time when the target is touched (ghoul touch last 1d6+2 rounds after the target is hit, cure spells are instantaneous, and fly lasts 1minute/level).

"If the spell is an exception, shouldn't it say so in the description (there are only a half dozen touch spells, only a few spells that are only touch)? My assumption is that the duration is a mistake, not the SRD (especially as the information is repeated in multiple locations regarding all touches being in the same round). It's basically the "Slay Living" spell, but it can have multiple targets. Slay Living has a duration of instantaneous, and it a touch attack."

--I realize this is a big post, anyone have any answer(s)? :oops:
 

Bregales

Mongoose
Bregales said:
"1. What is the duration for? The spell effect is instant (fort save vs. death). Does this determine how long it is stored for, and if so this counters what is said about touch spells?

"2. To touch multiple enemies in a round, I'd need to make multiple touch attacks, so I can only do that with a base melee attack of +6/+1 (2 touch attacks in a full round), which makes the 1 person/level pretty pointless, unless I'm sacrificing a bunch of willing people. Is this a correct interpretation."

--And resulting questions brought about these questions from our group:
"If we take the duration in Death Touch as accurate, one someone is touch, the spell lasts for 1 round/level. Would they need to make a fort save each round? I'd imagine not, as the effect is instantaneous (in the spell description)... but this spell seems to be an exception. If the spell lasts for N rounds and allows you to touch N targets (where N is the caster's level), I'd say 1 target per round would do the trick. I normally follow the SRD but, for this spell, think the SRD doesn't apply."

"Unlike other touch spells (ghoul touch, cure spells, fly, etc.) this spell's duration seems to be from the time of casting, not from the time when the target is touched (ghoul touch last 1d6+2 rounds after the target is hit, cure spells are instantaneous, and fly lasts 1minute/level).
1. Cast the spell, Concentration to hold it until your FIRST touch attempt (as per usual w/ touch attacks). Once you first make a touch attack, the Spell's Duration is affected (meaning you can make one additional touch attack for each remaining round, duration based on scholar level. So a 5th level sorcerer can make 5 attempts, each attempt must be made each round. So if you try the first round then don't an attempt for 2rounds for example, you only have 2 rounds of potential attacks left in this example. This fits the Target description of "1 or more creatures touched, up to a maximum of 1 creature/scholar level" with duration of 1 round/scholar level.

2. see above, you're pretty much expected to attack one person each round, which is why you get the duration you do.

I think that does it. That makes it one of the most powerful spells in the personal combat arena. :twisted:
 

Voltumna

Mongoose
Bregales said:
1. Cast the spell, Concentration to hold it until your FIRST touch attempt (as per usual w/ touch attacks). Once you first make a touch attack, the Spell's Duration is affected (meaning you can make one additional touch attack for each remaining round, duration based on scholar level. So a 5th level sorcerer can make 5 attempts, each attempt must be made each round. So if you try the first round then don't an attempt for 2rounds for example, you only have 2 rounds of potential attacks left in this example. This fits the Target description of "1 or more creatures touched, up to a maximum of 1 creature/scholar level" with duration of 1 round/scholar level.

2. see above, you're pretty much expected to attack one person each round, which is why you get the duration you do.

I think that does it. That makes it one of the most powerful spells in the personal combat arena. :twisted:

1. You don't need to concentrate on the spell until you make your first touch attack. It just lingers until you do your touch attacks for the duration of the spell. Spells that require concentration specificaly say so.

2. You can attempt as many touch attacks per round as your base attack bonus permits, on as many targets as your scholar level. So if you are a 10th level scholar the spell would last for as long as 10 rounds, and you can potentially attack 10 different targets. Your base attack bonus also allows you 2 attacks per round, so you could use all your 10 touch attempts in 5 rounds.

Indeed, pretty nasty given you deliver your touch attacks. Even if your target makes his save, he is at a disadvantage for one round and you can try to dispatch him again if you still have attacks to make.
 

slaughterj

Mongoose
Why would the duration not start immediately? I.e., a 5th level sorceror casts the spell, which takes 1 standard action, so presumably the duration would start with the next round (i.e., because that's when the first attack can be made) and lasts for 5 rounds or until 5 targets have been touched (probably the same).
 

Bregales

Mongoose
slaughterj said:
Why would the duration not start immediately? I.e., a 5th level sorceror casts the spell, which takes 1 standard action, so presumably the duration would start with the next round (i.e., because that's when the first attack can be made) and lasts for 5 rounds or until 5 targets have been touched (probably the same).
You know, I think Voltumna corrected me without chastising me.:oops: I just got home after a 12 hour day, but based on correspondences with my Scholar player I looked up the spell. It has a prerequisite of Magic Attack Bonus +5 - and even though I can't find it actually saying so anywhere in the AE book, it appears that the BASE is required, not the modified (CHA+) bonus.

Feats such as Crushing Grip have BAB prerequisites, plus ability plus other feat(s) or skill(s), and I just quickly looked up the Prestige Class of Lord of the Black Circle (SoS, pg 102), which has a prerequisite MAB+7, 5 sorcery styles, and tough spells before one can qualify for that, so I think it's just the straight MAB. Didn't come up in our emails today, but I guess that's it. Voltumna's example is with a 10th level Scholar, which just happens to be where a Scholar first gets a +5 MAB! So I guess that's the case. :twisted:
 
I am of the opinion that the spell as written was too powerful- a 10th level sorcerer having the capacity to kill 10 creatures with the expenditure of 2 PP each? I rewrote it for my system, but lowered the Magic Attack bonus requirement to allow acces to it at around 7th level. I also created a lesser version of the spell called Dessicating Touch that does a straight damage to the target for lower level mecromancers to have some firepower rather saying to oncoming opponents- 'just wait until I am 10th level!' 8)

For those who want to see it for themselves Desiccating Touch is already posted on 'Raven's Rules of Sorcery v 1.1' and my version of Death Touch will likely be posted come Tuesday.

Raven
 

Bregales

Mongoose
Raven Blackwell said:
I am of the opinion that the spell as written was too powerful- a 10th level sorcerer having the capacity to kill 10 creatures with the expenditure of 2 PP each? I rewrote it for my system, but lowered the Magic Attack bonus requirement to allow acces to it at around 7th level. I also created a lesser version of the spell called Dessicating Touch that does a straight damage to the target for lower level mecromancers to have some firepower rather saying to oncoming opponents- 'just wait until I am 10th level!' 8)

For those who want to see it for themselves Desiccating Touch is already posted on 'Raven's Rules of Sorcery v 1.1' and my version of Death Touch will likely be posted come Tuesday.

Raven
Thanks very much Raven. I'm kinda of that opinion myself, it is strong, but on the other hand, in my Scholar's first use of sorcery, he used defensive blast on 20 turanian soldiers (the player group were enslaved, being taken to Zamboula) and he wiped out all but the captain, who only had 5 hp left, so he approached him and slit his throat! So even a 2nd or 3rd level sorcerer can be much more of a menace than in other gaming systems. :twisted:

I'm telling him to check out your spells now Raven, so much appreciate the posts.
 
Bregales said:
Thanks very much Raven. I'm kinda of that opinion myself, it is strong, but on the other hand, in my Scholar's first use of sorcery, he used defensive blast on 20 turanian soldiers (the player group were enslaved, being taken to Zamboula) and he wiped out all but the captain, who only had 5 hp left, so he approached him and slit his throat! So even a 2nd or 3rd level sorcerer can be much more of a menace than in other gaming systems. :twisted:

My primary complaint with the Mongoose Conan sorcery system is that is consists of cantrips, World Threatening Spells (tm) and one uber-blast. 'Raven's Rules' spreads out the balance a bit, making Defensive Blast a sort of last desperate ploy for a dying sorcerer to do one last thing, weaking Death Touch and other uber spells and creating spells of intermediate power to give a sorcerer a wider palate to alter reality with. My version of DB, 'Final Strike' will be posted Tuesday with the new Death Touch and about a dozen new spells. I'll try to do a weekly post- it will be more likely though that it will be bi-weekly during the [North Hemisphere] summer though.

Just my contribution to the evolution of the game

Raven
 

Turim

Mongoose
Death Touch is a confusing spell. You can make one touch attack the same round you cast the spell, unless you have Adept (Necromancy), in which case I guess you can make as many touch attacks as your BAB allows with a full attack action. In the case of Adept (Necromancy), I don't know if you get the "free" attack allowed by touch spells in addition to the ones your BAB allows. In subsequent rounds I believe you can make as many touch attacks as your BAB allows with a full attack action. I also believe only touches that hit count against the one creature/level limit. I still have these questions for Mongoose:

PP Cost: Is this paid upon a touch that hits, or is it paid before a touch attempt? And if in the latter case the touch attempt misses, do you have to pay 2 PP again for your next attempt?

Duration: Does the one round/level duration start running immediately after casting the spell, or can the charge be held as normal, with the duration starting only after a touch that hits or even a touch attempt?
 

Bregales

Mongoose
Turim said:
Death Touch is a confusing spell. You can make one touch attack the same round you cast the spell, unless you have Adept (Necromancy), in which case I guess you can make as many touch attacks as your BAB allows with a full attack action. In the case of Adept (Necromancy), I don't know if you get the "free" attack allowed by touch spells in addition to the ones your BAB allows. In subsequent rounds I believe you can make as many touch attacks as your BAB allows with a full attack action. I also believe only touches that hit count against the one creature/level limit.
Interesting, I didn't notice the Adept situation, thanks. By the way, my Scholar player referred to me that Attacks of Opportunity are in effect with such Touch attacks, in my ruling they are subtracted from the total allowed #Touches (1/Scholar level).
Turim said:
I still have these questions for Mongoose:

PP Cost: Is this paid upon a touch that hits, or is it paid before a touch attempt? And if in the latter case the touch attempt misses, do you have to pay 2 PP again for your next attempt?
I believe it is like casting a spell in other OGL games (in DnD, once you TRY the spell the PP is expended, whether you succeed in a hit or not. NOTE, however, that in OGL terms, "If the attack misses, you are still holding the charge." - I never knew that before, it was always lost in our DnD group!:eek: (This quote comes from the DnD Player's Handbook v3.5, page 142). Tricky, to be sure. I'd hazard to say that the first 2 PP are spent when the spell is cast, but additional PP are only expended on successive Touch hits after the first Touch attack hits a target. :!:
Turim said:
Duration: Does the one round/level duration start running immediately after casting the spell, or can the charge be held as normal, with the duration starting only after a touch that hits or even a touch attempt?
After casting, a charge remains inert, waiting to be activated (activated starts on your first touch ATTACK - NOTE AE pg 159: Holding the Charge: "If you do not discharge the spell in the round when you cast the spell, you can hold the discharge of the spell (hold the charge) indefinitely." NOTE also, however, that if the Sorcerer touches ANYTHING while a charge is in effect, even accidentally (or anything touches sorcerer, even accidentally), the effect goes off. So if you're lounging around with an inert charge, you'd best dismiss it! :twisted:

Therefore, I'd guess that the round effect for Death Touch begins on the first SUCCESSFUL touch attack of this spell.
 
This is why when I rewrote the spell for my own use, I made it a single attack on a single target. A lot easier for me and my players to use. When I make my post for 'Raven's Rules' Tuesday I'll post my variations on Death Touch [chilling touch, desiccating touch and my version of death touch] here too if no one minds.

Raven, making an offering
 

Bregales

Mongoose
Raven Blackwell said:
This is why when I rewrote the spell for my own use, I made it a single attack on a single target. A lot easier for me and my players to use. When I make my post for 'Raven's Rules' Tuesday I'll post my variations on Death Touch [chilling touch, desiccating touch and my version of death touch] here too if no one minds.

Raven, making an offering
Sounds good, thanks Raven.
 
Here’s the revised Death Touch and its younger brothers I created for ‘Raven’s Rules’. The idea was to make an obvious path of slow progress from a Basic Spell to death touch and beyond- Gaze of Death [a ranged version of death touch] and the revised old favourite Draw Forth the Heart will be posted later.

Note that my reference to 'the Death and Destruction Sphere' means the school of necromancy in the published Conan system.

Yes this version of death touch itself is weaker than the published version, but I felt that the spell was too strong and confusing to use as is. Combined with the Opportunistic Sacrifice Feat though it can help a character recoup, if not profit from, their Power Point ‘investment’ when the target dies.

Chilling Touch [Basic Spell of the Death and Destruction Sphere]
Power Point Cost: 1
Casting Time: One standard action
Range: Touch
Target: One living being
Duration: Instant
Saving Throw: Fortitude
Prerequisites: Three ranks Knowledge (arcana)
Magic Attack Roll: Sets target’s Fortitude save DC

This simple spell allows the sorcerer to gather a small fraction of the energies they have access to and give another living being a small taste of the forces of Death itself. The sorcerer must first make a successful attack roll upon their target. If struck the target must make a Fortitude save against the caster’s magical attack bonus. If failed, the target receives one point of Primal damage [i.e. discounts all non-magical DR] and must then make a Terror check equal to 10 + ½ the caster’s level rounded down. If this check is failed as well, the target receives a –1 non-cumulative morale penalty to all attack rolls, skill checks and saving throws for 1 round/caster’s levels of Scholar.

Note that this spell has no effect on Constructs, Undead or Outsiders or any other unliving targets.

Desiccating Touch [Advanced Spell of the Death and Destruction Sphere]
Power Point Cost: 2
Casting Time: One standard action
Range: Touch
Target: One living creature
Duration: Instant
Saving Throw: Fortitude
Perquisites: Chilling Touch, four ranks of Heal and Knowledge (arcana), Magic Attack bonus +2
Magic Success Roll: Set’s target’s Fortitude DC

This spell causes unnatural withering and decay in a living creature. The caster must first make a successful melee touch attack against their target. If successful, they make a magical attack roll, resisted by the target’s Fortitude save. If the caster is successful, the caster inflicts 5d6 points of Primal damage [i.e. ignores armor] on their target as its living tissues rot and decay from the caster’s power. Otherwise, the target resists the spell’s effects but is stunned [-2 for all attack rolls, saving throws and skill checks] for one round.

Note that this spell has no effect on Constructs, Undead, Outsiders or any other unliving target.

Death Touch [Advanced Spell of the Death and Destruction Sphere]
Power Point Cost: 4
Casting Time: One standard action
Range: Touch
Target: One living creature
Duration: Instant
Saving Throw: Fortitude, partial
Perquisites: Desiccating Touch, eight ranks of Knowledge (arcana), eight ranks of Heal, Base Attack Bonus of +2 or higher, Magic Attack Bonus of +4 or higher
Magic Success DC: Sets Fortitude save DC

A spell designed for the ultimate in touch attacks, Death Touch is designed to slay a living opponent by flooding him or her with the raw power of Death itself, The caster must make a successful touch attack against their target. If successful, the caster makes a Magic Success roll opposed the target’s Fortitude save. If the caster equals or beats the target’s save, the target dies instantly, usually shriveling into a blackened corpse or bearing the black imprint of the caster’s hand. If the target saves the raw force of the spell causes them to take 5d6 points of damage and be stunned [e.g. suffer –2 to all attack rolls, saving throws and skill checks] for one round for each level of Scholar the caster possesses as the target’s body attempts to recover from the horrifying experience.

Note that this spell has no effect on Outsiders, Undead, Constructs or any other unliving target.
 

Voltumna

Mongoose
I was just perusing through this thread, and a question came to my mind. I don't have the book at hand, so here it is:

What is the DV a touch attack has to beat to be delivered? I think I remember it is not the normal DV of a character.
 

slaughterj

Mongoose
Bregales said:
slaughterj said:
Why would the duration not start immediately? I.e., a 5th level sorceror casts the spell, which takes 1 standard action, so presumably the duration would start with the next round (i.e., because that's when the first attack can be made) and lasts for 5 rounds or until 5 targets have been touched (probably the same).
You know, I think Voltumna corrected me without chastising me.:oops: I just got home after a 12 hour day, but based on correspondences with my Scholar player I looked up the spell. It has a prerequisite of Magic Attack Bonus +5 - and even though I can't find it actually saying so anywhere in the AE book, it appears that the BASE is required, not the modified (CHA+) bonus.

Feats such as Crushing Grip have BAB prerequisites, plus ability plus other feat(s) or skill(s), and I just quickly looked up the Prestige Class of Lord of the Black Circle (SoS, pg 102), which has a prerequisite MAB+7, 5 sorcery styles, and tough spells before one can qualify for that, so I think it's just the straight MAB. Didn't come up in our emails today, but I guess that's it. Voltumna's example is with a 10th level Scholar, which just happens to be where a Scholar first gets a +5 MAB! So I guess that's the case. :twisted:

I'm just now seeing this. I don't see how I chastised you, if that is what you are saying. Separately, regardless when the spell can be obtained, 5th level, 10th level, or whatever, the point still stands (I never understood why people bother saying "well, you won't have Ice Storm at 5th level, because it's a 4th level spell, etc." when the point being made still stands, e.g., you are doing xdx damage per level). And the point is - why would the duration not start immediately?
 

Bregales

Mongoose
slaughterj said:
I'm just now seeing this. I don't see how I chastised you, if that is what you are saying. Separately, regardless when the spell can be obtained, 5th level, 10th level, or whatever, the point still stands (I never understood why people bother saying "well, you won't have Ice Storm at 5th level, because it's a 4th level spell, etc." when the point being made still stands, e.g., you are doing xdx damage per level). And the point is - why would the duration not start immediately?
I just read this and was confused too, so I looked it back up, and I'm guessing I was going to respond to Voltumna's post, but scrolled too far down and replied to your post! (based on what I wrote, it was quite a while ago). Sorry about that. Like I wrote, I had just done a 12 hour day-on Thursdays I work a full day then travel across town to do a couple hours of stage combat (sword fighting), so I must've been really beat. Sorry for the confusion. :oops:

I'm at work now (of course) so don't have the book handy, but in the AE, the sorcery chapter says that some spells can be cast as per action time, but duration begins on first touch. Therefore, you could cast this spell and (if you don't fall into the same trap Midas did in Greek mythology) you could have the spell at hand (pun, I guess, meaning it's ready to be used) until you make your first touch attack. Then the duration in the spell description is triggered, regardless of whether the first touch successfully hits or not. This is how such spells are described both in the OGL and Conan main book description. I just don't have access to them at work.

Again, sorry for the confusion regarding that stupid sentence about chastisement :p and hope this helps.
 
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