Call Lightning - underpowered spell ?

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Lurker
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Call Lightning - underpowered spell ?

Post by Lurker »

Ok been doing some more reading, and noticed something I've missed before
Call Lightning, as written, it only calls down a lightning bolt once every 10 minutes … That is only 1 bolt that does 5+d10 damage every 60 combat rounds.

Yes, that is great damage potential ( unless you get rolls like me on roll 20 or map tools) per bolt. But isn't the 10 min wait between bolts a bit excessive ?

I can't think of the last combat that we were in that lasted 10 whole minutes.

Plus, you don't get your first lightning bolt until 10 minutes have lapsed and only if there is a source of lightning in the area … So this further limits the spell.

Of course a clever caster can use control weather to create a storm in the area as the source for the lightning, and can plan ahead so that the full 10 minute wait is not in the heat of combat. However, isn't this still severely limited or underpowered for a 3rd level spell ?

If so, have any of you house ruled it in any way to improve it, make it more useful, or less limited ?
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DMSamuel
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Re: Call Lightning - underpowered spell ?

Post by DMSamuel »

So I have two comments about this...

1) I believe the spell is basically a port over from 1e AD&D and it reads very close to it... both take 10 minutes to cast, both produce 1 bolt every 10 min, both are level 3 druid spells...

2) There are a couple lightning based wizard spells that are meant to do damage to creatures in combat, as evidenced by their casting time of 1 turn: lightning bolt (level 3 wizard), chain lightning (level 6 wizard spell) - note that these are both wizard spells. I think that is by design.

I think the wizard spells are meant to cause damage in combat, but the druid's call lightning is meant to damage structures or natural barriers, and so are not tied to a quick combat round in terms of time.

For the two reasons above, I have not bothered to houserule the call lightning spell.

Note that there IS a 9th level druid spell dealing with storms and possibly lightning that has a CT of 2 and has effects that damage creatures in combat...
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Re: Call Lightning - underpowered spell ?

Post by Grandpa »

It is 1D10/level in a 10 FOOT RADIUS. (in a 20 foot circle!) up to 450 feet away. Minimum 5D10 damage per bolt with 5 bolts. So minimum 25D10 damage in 10' radius The caster can cast this then cast other spells and do any other actions while this spell is in effect and call lightning every 10 minutes. You DON'T need a lightning storm to cast this. Just stormy weather. A rain will suffice or windy rain cloudy weather.

Damn powerful for a 3rd level spell.

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Re: Call Lightning - underpowered spell ?

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DMSamuel wrote:
Thu Nov 12, 2020 7:49 pm
So I have two comments about this...

....

I think the wizard spells are meant to cause damage in combat, but the druid's call lightning is meant to damage structures or natural barriers, and so are not tied to a quick combat round in terms of time.

...
Note that there IS a 9th level druid spell dealing with storms and possibly lightning that has a CT of 2 and has effects that damage creatures in combat...
That at least makes sense on it being a long slow spell, however outside of a siege how often would you need to us that spell?
Grandpa wrote:
Sat Nov 14, 2020 4:56 pm
It is 1D10/level in a 10 FOOT RADIUS. (in a 20 foot circle!) up to 450 feet away. Minimum 5D10 damage per bolt with 5 bolts. So minimum 25D10 damage in 10' radius The caster can cast this then cast other spells and do any other actions while this spell is in effect and call lightning every 10 minutes. You DON'T need a lightning storm to cast this. Just stormy weather. A rain will suffice or windy rain cloudy weather.

Damn powerful for a 3rd level spell.



It is a powerful spell, only if it last for the duration. Like I said in the original post, how often does the average encounter last 10 + minutes ?

It is potentially powerful, but only IF it is in a situation that lasts nearly an hour. A siege, a mass combat, or razing an area. In the normal practical situation that average adventures are in you will only get 1 lighting bolt off and then the combat will be over before the next 10 minutes comes up. Plus, it takes 10 minutes to cast, so unless you are planning ahead and ready for the fight, it will not even be completely cast before the combat is over.

Compare it to fire ball - 1 turn to cast, less damage (1d6/lvl) in a 40 ft diameter area - it does more damage (1d10/lvl) in a smaller area, and takes forever (in combat terms) to cast.

Plus, and I just noticed this, Call lightning and pyrotechnics are the only 2 combat spells that the Druid has on the 3rd level spell list ...

I know Druids aren't supposed to be combat tanks dealing out massive amount of damage every round, but their first big power dealing spell (3rd level when wizards get fireball, lightning bolt, hold person, & stinking cloud) & it takes 10 min to cast, and only usable once every 10 min, it seems to hamstring it to severely.
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Re: Call Lightning - underpowered spell ?

Post by Grandpa »

Lurker wrote:
Sun Nov 15, 2020 1:55 am


I know Druids aren't supposed to be combat tanks dealing out massive amount of damage every round, but their first big power dealing spell (3rd level when wizards get fireball, lightning bolt, hold person, & stinking cloud) & it takes 10 min to cast, and only usable once every 10 min, it seems to hamstring it to severely.
Yes, if your DM is running mostly hack & slash it is best to use Wizards & fighter types almost exclusively. Drop all other classes except maybe a healer that does mostly that. But, that type of game gets boring fast..

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Re: Call Lightning - underpowered spell ?

Post by Captain_K »

The druid destroys the Orc village in one night... with no pointing to the townfolks... or vise versa....
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Re: Call Lightning - underpowered spell ?

Post by Grandpa »

Captain_K wrote:
Thu Nov 19, 2020 2:11 am
The druid destroys the Orc village in one night... with no pointing to the townfolks... or vise versa....
Nice!

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Re: Call Lightning - underpowered spell ?

Post by Captain_K »

I think that is its power is that a hidden druid can over hours rain lightening down... as if nature was against some force, building, or area.
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Re: Call Lightning - underpowered spell ?

Post by Grandpa »

Yes, agreed. Not as quick as a wizard but with the patience of nature, more deadly

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Re: Call Lightning - underpowered spell ?

Post by Captain_K »

Assuming a druid and a mage of the same level (let us assume level 10)... in an evening the druid can cast 10 10d10 bolts in 20 diameter vertical cylinders. A 10th level druid could cast this spell 3 times in a row taking 33 minutes of casting time and 100 min per spell for a total of 300 d10 damage (taking 333 min to do the work = 5.55 hours). A Wizard on the other hand gets 10d6 damage, takes 18 seconds to cast her three bolts for a total of 30d6. Yes its horizontal, yet it can affect more creatures, but it can also bounce back. If time is on your side, then this spell is at least 10x more "powerful" if its all about damage it can do. Making the wizard spell seem like premature electrocution... sorry could not resist that pun.

Let your math do the talking...and do not piss off a druid and go to sleep.
Wow, Another Natural One! You guys are a sink hole for luck. Stay away from my dice.

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