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D&D 3E
Spell Idea 
3rd-Dec-2009 11:11 am
First off, has this been done before? If someone knows, reply and it will save some work.

Second off, if this hasn't been done before, what do you think of this spell? I need a spell level for it if it sounds okay. Really, I'm picturing that it could be almost any spell level and it would make sense.

Stigmatic Ray
Level: Clr ?
Components: V, S
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range: Close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)
Effect: Ray of negative energy
Duration: Instantaneous
Saving Throw: None
Spell Resistance: Yes

Cackling with vengeful mirth, you point at the victim of your rage as wounds appear on your body. A ray of shadowy energy shoots from your fingertips to strike your target, who sprouts wounds identical to your own.

When you cast this spell, pay any amount of hit points. No effect can reduce or negate the loss of the expended hit points. On a successful ranged touch attack, the target takes an amount of damage equal to the amount of hit points that you spent.
3rd-Dec-2009 04:22 pm (UTC)
Might be worth adding "these wounds can be healed only through non-magical means."

Otherwise, you cast it, drink a healing potion, and...for the low low cost of a healing potion and a spell slot, you can dish un-saveable damage.
3rd-Dec-2009 04:35 pm (UTC)
Hmm, interesting angle, there. If I did do that, what spell level would you suggest? It's a pretty hefty penalty, so I'm thinking the level 2-4 range would be fitting for it if it had that penalty. It'd make it a once-every-week or so spell, since you'd have to heal it up.
3rd-Dec-2009 04:43 pm (UTC)
not sure. you could also just have it heal at half-rate by magical means--make it still a compromise, but more recoverable.
3rd-Dec-2009 05:00 pm (UTC)
Keeping track of what damage you took from a single spell and what from other sources would be a pain IMO.

Magic Missile does "unsavable damage". So if you deal like 5 damage (what you'd get back from a CLW charge), you're basically casting a 3rd level magic missile. With an effective material component cost of 15gp. I'd be okay with that.

Even at higher levels, that trick basically gives the spell a couple hundred GP material component cost (as well as the standard action to use the wand), in order to deal Cause Wounds-level damage (the reverse of the cure spell used). That sounds like a fine trade-off to me. You might even look for the ranged Cause Wounds spells to see about how much damage you should be doing. Normally 1 for 1 HP exchange isn't worth it to the player.

You can also have them get a Fort/Will save, and then only if you affect them pay the HP cost to deal X dice/damage. Then you can just adjust the exchange ratio until you get something that is fair for whatever level you want.

See also the Blood Mage PrC iirc for stuff about spending HP to deal damage.
3rd-Dec-2009 05:04 pm (UTC)
The other correct thing to do would be to put a level-based cap on the damage you can take/deal. So maybe you can only take/deal 2xCL or 4xCL or something. That will stave off some major abuses with instant healing (baring CL shenanigans). Keeps it from doing more damage than other spells--it just can do that damage automatically--for a price.
3rd-Dec-2009 07:36 pm (UTC)
It does need a caster level cap on the damage, and probably a maximum too. There's no existing first level spell that can do 100 damage at any caster level, which this one conceivably could.

I also think the 1:1 trade-off makes it too weak. I'd say that it should do two points of damage for each point that you take. I don't think you need a save, since you are requiring a touch attack.

I'd make it an odd-level spell (or series of spells) that does a maximum damage to you of 2*caster level. The maximum damage to the target would depend on the spell level.

1: 20
3: 40
5: 60
7: 80
9: 100

The damage caps are higher than the average of the recommended damage cap (e.g., 5d6 for a 1st level spell), but that's balanced by the fact that you're also taking damage.

3rd-Dec-2009 05:21 pm (UTC)
Keeping track of what damage you took from a single spell and what from other sources would be a pain IMO.

It already is, with Clay Golems. I think the FAQ has a (lame) workaround for that though.
11th-Dec-2009 12:07 am (UTC)
Too, the vast majority of touch-attack spells are "unsavable." So since this spell requires a RTA, I don't mind that there's no save.

That said, though, it's not harder than keeping track of cursed (hexblades have a spell for that, I think?) weapon damage: which is to say, somewhat annoying, but hardly impossible.
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