Weekly Dump: Chat Dump, Vol. 4.

Matthew 92 views on the site yesterday
Shawn Yeah, shit seems to be taking off. People are even reading the chat dumps. They are obviously sad, sad people.

Shawn Blade Barrier is clearly Evoc.
Matthew You’ve said that before
Shawn It’s not a ‘barrier from blades’, it’s a ‘barrier OF blades’. The blades are clearly an expression of magical force, like Bigby’s Hand.
Matthew oh right, that’s different from ‘Blade Ward’ which is abjuration. those are two different spells.
Shawn Shit, sorry, Blade Ward. I missed it. Stand by. Okay, Blade Ward. Hmm… It reads like Transmutation. Like it’s making your skin thicker and tougher.
Matthew Yeah, okay. I can see that. The only reason I hesitate against the Transmut argument on blade ward is that it is SPECIFICALLY against weapon attacks. Someone stabs you, take half damage. Fall and land on a sword? Shit outta luck.
Shawn So now magic knows intent? Fuck you. That is the stupidest thing ever. If you were my DM, I would punch you in the balls. “He swings at you and does 4 damage.” “No, I have Blade Ward up. Half Damage.” “Okay, he pushes you on to his buddy’s sword. Full damage, asshole.”
Matthew lol, totally valid. A trap is not a “weapon attack” because that buddy didn’t make the attack.
Shawn I was just trying to scare him by waving my sword *near* him. That’s not an attack, it’s a threat. But he takes full damage because I crit failed and stumbled and stapped him through the vitals?
Matthew haha. More importantly, it would not help you if you fell into a spike pit
Shawn So, Blade Ward wouldn’t have helped when Sir Clodumbo cut off his own dick? That’s bullshit. I quit.
Matthew It’s a shitty cantrip. Arguably, one of the worst.
Shawn I don’t have a problem with the effect, it’s a fine cantrip. I just have a problem with you saying that this ‘shitty’ cantrip knows and interprets intent.
Matthew I’m not saying that, the game is.
Shawn You are, though. You’re saying it only defends against ‘attacks’. So, if I fall onto a sword, it doesn’t help me because I wasn’t attacked.
Matthew Correct, that’s how the rules work it
Shawn And I’m saying that, by logical extension, if I’m just waving my sword near you with the intent of scaring you, and you step into my sword, you take full damage. Or if I’m PRACTICING with my sword and I overextend my swing at the practice dummy and hit you.
Matthew Yeah, that’s a wonky loophole that you’d be exploiting if your DM sucked at his job
Shawn You’re a wonky loophole.
Matthew But there are plenty of sources of physical damage that aren’t weapon attacks
Shawn So, it comes down to intent.
Matthew Yeah, I guess. Which would be more of a divination.
Shawn How about if I throw a porcupine at you? A porcupine isn’t a ‘weapon’. Look, just make everyone’s life easier and more sensible and PUT THE GODDAMN SPELL IN TRANSMUTATION.
Matthew That makes even less sense. How did I harden my skin against JUST weapon attacks!?
Shawn You don’t. You say: It hardens the skin, like a shitty Barkskin, which it clearly is.
Matthew You extend your hand and trace a sigil of warding in the air. Until the end of your next turn, you have resistance against bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage dealt by weapon attacks.
Shawn I read the description. I know, it says ‘weapon attacks’. I say it’s clearly a stupidly written description and that we should move it and (*) an updated description. Otherwise: What is the mechanic of the spell?
Matthew As you pointed out, it’s about intent. Maybe it’s a very light divination? Like a “spidey-sense”
Shawn I could support that. Isn’t there a Div that does something almost identical? Gives you help with defensive checks. It doesn’t make sense if this is exactly the same. In that case it should be in a different school, using a different mechanic.
Matthew Called “Foresight,” it does a bunch of shit and is a level 9 spell. As far as this is concerned, it just grants disadvantage to those that attack you. But I could see Blade Ward going under the telepathy side of Div too, being able to read the intents of those around you enough to allow for a little insight to incoming attack. But having a low level version of a much bigger spell in the same school is fine.
Shawn I’m not hung up on the form.
Matthew Right, so it either stays in Abj or goes to Div
Shawn Div works for me.

Shawn Abj is going to lose a shit-ton of spells… So, ‘Aid’. That is not Abjuration. More like (again) Transmut. It gives hit points. It also ‘fills them with resolve’, which seems to have no appreciable or useful effect. It seems like being filled with resolve would give bonuses on checks against Wis or something.
Matthew I have Aid under Vitae. Are you working off my updated list?
Shawn It’s listed as Abjuration in the book. You have to mention that you’re moving it and why.
Matthew Ugh, I’m not mentioning every specific spell
Shawn Yes, you are too mentioning every specific spell.
Matthew No, go fuck yourself
Shawn These explanations need to concentrate on two areas: Spells are are being pulled into a school, and spells that are being kicked out. In both cases, you need to write a clear justification that talks about the underlying mechanics of the spell and how it does or does not fit with the school in question.
Matthew That’s too time consuming, and, frankly, the whole idea of this is that it should be fairly obvious
Shawn If it was fairly obvious we wouldn’t be doing this. We need to be clear and convincing.
Matthew Alright, but this push is going to be late tomorrow, then. Do you think I should write an explanation for every spell, including the ones that stayed?
Shawn I think if they stay they can generally just stay. It’s the changes that we have to explain.

Shawn Fucking Abj is a shitty school. Arcane Lock we already know is moving. You skewered that one quite effectively. Armor of Agathys is Evoc. What about Antilife Shell? I could see that as Vitae or Enchantment.
Matthew I left antilife shell in. Figuring that if lifeforce is a magic that can be manipulated (Vitae), then you could set up a filter to neutralize it.
Shawn Wait, what?
Matthew Yeah, antilife shell is basically “Protection from Living Creatures”
Shawn I’m not sure about ALS. Does it read to you like a ‘force field’? Or does it read more like invisible fence?
Matthew A shimmering barrier extends out from you in a 10-foot radius and moves with you, remaining centered on you and hedging out creatures other than Undead and constructs. The barrier lasts for the Duration. The barrier prevents an affected creature from passing or reaching through. An affected creature can cast Spells or make attacks with ranged or reach Weapons through the barrier. If you move so that an affect creature is forced to pass through the barrier, the spell ends.
Shawn Yeah, so WTF is “…hedging out…” supposed to mean? Does it kind of *push* them, or they just don’t *want* to cross the barrier? In either case, I’m not sure Abjuration is the right school.
Matthew No, I gather it physically disallows them. Nah, the fact that it distinguishes between undead and living is the definition of a filtering mechanism.
Shawn Hmm… So, magical force is Evoc. Things that affect Life are Vitae.
Matthew It’s a barrier which acts on a type of magic, in this case the “magic of lifeforce”
Shawn Yeah, so, that’s the thing… The filtering mechanics are Abjuration. Part of that connective magic.
Matthew I mean, if Protection from energy is abj, so is this, same mechanic.
Shawn Lose the ‘protection’ concept for abjuration. Abjuration – what is left of it when we’re done – affects magic only. Right?
Matthew You may have lost me…
Shawn Abjuration is magic that affects magic. Not magic that affects life, etc.
Matthew I think we need to phonecall about this
Shawn Yes, I expect we should.

Shawn So, I’d like to point out a few additional spells that could be added to each school. The point is to reinforce working with the mechanics, as opposed working from the effects, as well as to demonstrate how to conceptually create new spells. So, would we add ‘Possible Spells’ to the bottom of each spell break down, or save it until the end?
Matthew Like a ” Ok, so what can I do with this?” piece
Shawn Yes, that would be lovely, but I kind of like the idea that we already have them immersed in thinking about the school.
Matthew Well, if that’s a kind of thing you want to do, let’s get it brainstormed. My time is short today.
Shawn So: Here’s the school and how it works. Here’s the spell list. Here’s what we added. Here’s what we dropped. Here’s a couple of made-up spells that could be in this school. Like that.
Matthew Yeah, I like the idea
Matthew Let’s come up with two for each school. Or, actually, one for each form
Shawn Yeah.

Shawn So, let’s think about this. Here’s Nullification – Spells in this form nullify magical energies. These spells can dispel existing magical effects or prevent them from being cast at all. Is there a way to take away a spellcaster’s magic? Or to interrupt a spell being cast?
Matthew The only way I know is “Spell Thief” which is an arcane trickster thing (rogue), but it doesn’t really take it away, it just nullifies the casting like a counterspell.
Matthew So, like “Spell Drain – As a reaction, prevent the casting of one spell as Counterspell. You gain a spell slot equal to that spell’s level minus 1 (minimum 1) that must be used within 10 minutes.”
Matthew Counterspell You attempt to interrupt a creature in the process of Casting a Spell. If the creature is Casting a Spell of 3rd level or lower, its spell fails and has no effect. If it is Casting a Spell of 4th level or higher, make an ability check using your spellcasting ability. The DC equals 10 + the spell’s level. On a success, the creature’s spell fails and has no effect. At Higher Levels: When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 4th level or higher, the interrupted spell has no effect if its level is less than or equal to the level of the spell slot you used.

Shawn For Connective, I suggest ‘Grant’, which give the caster the ability to allow a willing creature to cast one spell.
Matthew Oh, yeah, that’s good. Fuck, that’s great. Like a level 1 spell that takes your spell slot and gives it to another caster
Shawn You can only grant a spell you know. Yeah, that’s what I was thinking about Grant. Do we want to require that it be slotted at the same level as the granted spell?
Matthew So you lose the spell slot, and a level 1 spell (consequences, motherfucker!), but your healer just got a 2nd level slot. You can only grant a spell slot you have available. It’s about resource management, not the actual flavor of the spells cast.
Shawn Wait… I want to be able to grant a non-caster a spell I know and burn the slot (L1 & L?) when I do it. You want to be able to grant a caster a slot and burn the slots (L1 & L?) when you do it.
Matthew Oh fuck beans, that’d be a completely different spell
Shawn No, just a variation.
Matthew Yeah, which is a super cool and useful trick
Shawn Yeah, ain’t it?
Matthew Ok, that can be the same spell as far as I’m concerned
Shawn Agreed.
Matthew Ok, I’ll write it up in game-ey terms
Shawn Are the two options balanced? The ability to grant a non-caster is arguably more powerful.
Matthew I disagree because you’re granting a non-caster a very specific spell. Think of spells as resources shared by the whole party. I put this caveat in before the spells: These are just ideas we had, so they aren’t rigorously playtested.
Shawn Yeah.
Matthew start thinking of a nullifier
Shawn Dammit, I just came up with Grant.
Matthew Yeah, so you’re on a roll!

Shawn Crikey. 1d6 for a 9mm? That seems high. What’s the damage for a dagger?
Matthew does it? Dagger is 1d4
Shawn Why should a pistol do more damage than a dagger? Especially considering that a ‘dagger’ in D&D terms is like a combat knife on steroids.
Matthew I’m not arguing for or against 1d6, that’s just what’s in there. Bear in mind that the DMG recommends a pistol do 2d6, so I was halving that (2d6!?)
Shawn 2d6? WTF? Way to unbalance your mechanic, WotC!
Matthew a 9mm pistol does as much damage as an effectively swung battleaxe!? Or being stabbed through by a goddamned LANCE.
Shawn Follow my thinking here and see if it makes sense…
Matthew Yup. With you so far.
Shawn We’re positing that a 9mm bullet – which is the size of an almond – driven by the amount of explosive in a firecracker can do, at most, the amount of damage done by a heavy 8-inch stabbing blade driven by the strength of the average person. I think that’s more than fair.
Matthew Ok, should I dial down all the damage in step?
Shawn Probably. Definitely the 9mm damage.

Matthew sorry, working on the background for our streaming
Shawn Speaking of which, the camera got here yesterday. I don’t exactly have a studio, though. Nor a quiet spot. Maybe I’ll set it up in the garage. The half-dismantled car in the background should be an interesting conversation piece.
Matthew Oh yeah, that’s a GREAT idea, actually
Matthew You have an okay connection out there?
Shawn No, but I might be able to rejigger an old router into and extender.

Shawn I’m oddly concerned we’re under powering machine guns.
Matthew That is odd.
Shawn Let me talk this through… For a given round, a machine gun will fire 30 rounds and affect a 10ft cube. On failing the save, a creature in that cube will take 1d? damage, based on the size of the round. So, Submachine gun: 1d4; Light; Machine gun: 1d6; Medium Machine gun: 1d8. So, even if my machine gun is effective, the damage I do to an individual in the space is relatively low on a per-round basis. Of course, the trade-off is that I’m doing AOE. The counter-trade being that I’m expending prodigious amounts of ammo.
Matthew yes. would you like a remote chance to hit a target more than once using suppressive?
Shawn I think that will be awkward.
Matthew I agree
Shawn I’m not sure it’s necessary, either. Let’s leave it and remember that we need to playtest it hard. I think that it will work out, and we don’t want a lot of automatic fire anyway.

Matthew did you see Nick’s comment on FB?
Shawn No. Stand by. Good comment. I like his thing about throwing a box of baking soda onto a gelatinous cube.
Matthew haha awesome

Shawn For your heavy rifle, use a Barrett. That’s the one everyone knows. It can fire more than a mile, but it has integrated optics out the ass.
Matthew FUCK you’re old. Everyone knows the AWM because of Counterstrike. trust me on that.
Shawn Is it a real weapon?
Matthew yes, as it happens
Shawn Actually not as heavy of a weapon as the Barrett.
Matthew Is the Barrett that .50 cal mother fucker?
Shawn Yes. 12.75mm round with a heavy cartridge = 2d12 damage.
Matthew yeah, that’ll be under the “big guns” article
Shawn The AWM will be a 2d8 round. It’s a 7.62 round with a magnum cartridge.