Author Topic: Power Words  (Read 349 times)

Samwise

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Power Words
« on: June 23, 2017, 11:06:44 AM »
Has anyone given any particular thought to abusing the Power Word spells from Races of the Dragon?
In particular, abusing them as the DM, because they aren't as great for players, but have some gratuitously abusive potential for monsters or traps to leave PCs wandering the dungeon wondering why they can't do anything.

SorO_Lost

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Re: Power Words
« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2017, 02:55:26 PM »
Actually they are great for players too. PW:Pain deals 5~17d6 damage (avg 38.5/casting) at the first level and you can cast it and just run away too. Nauseate can also be handy, you get it at lv11 and it works against lv10s just fine and your familiar can probably bring a CR12 in range too.

The biggest thing with the Power Word spells is they are not your opening move, they are finishers. Could you deal 100 damage off a higher level Slot? Sure, with Metamagics. But not everyone wants to be the blaster and while area CC is great you always have to build your party's tactics and even items (like a spellguard ring) for them. But using a Ready to smack someone with PW:Nauseate to remove them from combat for the next 1d4+1 rounds because you let the beatstick feel important, that can be priceless.

But of course like everything else. Most of the options suck, I wouldn't ever suggest PW:Kill. 9th level Slots have better uses. I think beside the two I've mentioned so far Blind is the only other great one.
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Samwise

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Re: Power Words
« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2017, 10:42:22 PM »
Yep. If you can cast it, then slam the door shut and wait a bit, PW: Pain is great at softening bad guys up.
Thing is, say you tag empower on it. Now it does 4d4 x .5 = 10.5 rounds average, 3.5 x .5 = 5.75 damage average, which is just over 60 damage average, or a straight up kill on anything it does max damage to.

If you want to be really savage, tag Fell Drain onto PW: Pain. Or, for those egregiously cruel type, Fell Animate. In fact, add Echoing Spell to that and just "convert" whole villages with one day's spell slots.

And that's before metamagic reduction abuse for those two. I'd wonder if someone could figure out a way to make Dracolexi abusive with that, as 3 levels gets you PW: Pain as a 0-level spell at the cost of a casting level.

Or, if you want to finish solo, a bit of empowered PW: Pain followed by a PW: Disable followed by ordinary harsh language, and you can take out the boss before the rest of the party hacks through the grunts.

PW: Nauseate is great, but also look at 1st level PW: Fatigue. Auto-fatigue if you get past SR, then auto-exhausted if already fatigued. And hey, how about a little PW: Weaken right after that? Yeah, -6 Str from exhausted, -2 Str from PW: Weaken, and Str dump-stated wizards are laying on the floor helpless. Even the BDF will be looking a tad queasy, or use PW: Maladroit for archers or finesse fighters or roguish types.

PW: Deafen is pretty much "stay at medium range or take a 20% spell failure rate" for arcane casters up to 10th level, and even divine casters had best be careful.

If your party is full of flankers, PW: Distract at just the right time should kill pretty near anything without SR up to a decent level.

The thing is, if you want to go the full Evil DM, remember that for a mere 100 gp your kobolds can get a 1st level spell as a spell-like ability 1/day with the Draconic Rite of Passage. Between PW: Pain and PW: Fatigue the players will go through PCs on a continuing basis.

For all of them, I think one of the better elements is that by the text, the target does not have to hear the power word spoken. So aside from outright RAW abuse like Silent Power Words, how about just slap some sovereign glue on your whisper gnome, have the BDF fastball special him onto the enemy caster, the gnome invokes his silence, and you "talk" the caster to death as he tries to escape in silence.

I agree though, the higher level ones are less than spectacular. It is those low-level ones that are full of juicy abuse potential.

So is this worth some additional discussion?
Are there other ridiculous combos that haven't occurred to me to make Power Words killers up to 6th level PW: Nauseate?

Nytemare3701

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Re: Power Words
« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2017, 11:41:59 PM »
Fell PW: Pain is definitely an all-star in an attrition fight, which most traditional unoptimized parties seem to expect out of combat. It's a powerful effect that makes the entire party happy without stealing anyone's thunder.

Vladeshi

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Re: Power Words
« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2017, 11:49:34 PM »
Does anyone know how temporary hit points interact with the hit point checks on the Power Word spells?
Would they be added to the hit point total or just disregarded?
The following explanation was omitted due to time constraints, character limits on posts, and the DC 30 spellcraft checks to understand portions of it.

PlzBreakMyCampaign

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Re: Power Words
« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2017, 04:30:58 PM »
The temporary HP rules are way more vague than they need to be. In general just pretend they actually add to your real HP current and total. Then imagine a timer for them to go away from your total HP only. This is why the vigor power is a good heal.
Sigh. Not again. :(

Nifft

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Re: Power Words
« Reply #6 on: June 28, 2017, 01:09:11 AM »
Yep. If you can cast it, then slam the door shut and wait a bit, PW: Pain is great at softening bad guys up.
Thing is, say you tag empower on it. Now it does 4d4 x .5 = 10.5 rounds average, 3.5 x .5 = 5.75 damage average, which is just over 60 damage average, or a straight up kill on anything it does max damage to.
Minor correction: due to rounding, the expected per-round damage from Empowered PW:Pain is 5.0, not 5.75.


SorO_Lost

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Re: Power Words
« Reply #7 on: June 28, 2017, 08:02:12 PM »
PW:Pain's big brother is Creeping Cold. 2nd level and deals a cumulative +1d6 per round.

Base duration is three rounds, or 6d6, but Extended deals up 21d6. Since it's not a PW it ignores current HP but it does offer a single save for half. The Greater version, 4th, level, has a duration that extends clear up to six rounds which means for a 5th level Slot you can Extend it for 78d6 damage (273 dmg). Go for broke and use the Magical Location for a 1/day triple duration Transmutation and Extend for twenty four rounds or 300d6 (1,050 dmg) but that's pretty unnecessary.
I'm working on the rest, it'll be up soon.

Where is Bunkos?
In the One Stop Shop along with Class Boosters (including epics & teamwork) & ACFs.