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View Full Version : Dispel Magic, and why no players really use it



EspyLacopa
01-21-2008, 10:43 AM
I got to thinking. . .why is it that hardly anyone uses Dispel Magic? So, I delved into how it works, and realized something:

Dispel Magic, as it is in the game now, is **** for players and massively powerful for Monsters. Why? Let's look at how it actually works.

Let's say you have two spellcasting creatures, one is the Player, the other is the Monster. Both have a number of buffs active, cast by themselves, and know all 3 of the main dispel magics: Lesser Dispel Magic, Dispel Magic, and Greater Dispel Magic. Both have 14 caster levels. This is important.

Player casts Lesser Dispel on the Monster. The Player must now make a caster level check against each ongoing buff that the Monster has. However, since the Player is casting Lesser Dispel, the level bonus is capped at +5. The DC that must be made is equal to 11 + Spellcasting Level (14 in this case). That makes for a 1d20+5 roll VS a DC of 25. Notice that this means that Lesser Dispel is worthless in this case: a mere 5% chance for each buff to be dispelled.

Dispel Magic is a bit better, since its max caster level bonus is +10. Greater Dispel Magic is of course, the best, with a max caster level bonus of +20, and as such you'd get the full +14 bonus, which gives a 50% chance of debuffing each spell effect.

Now, at this point, the system works fine. People could actually use this to reasonable effect. Where it goes screw-eyed is when you enter Hard or Elite difficulty. In those, it's more than likely to encounter monsters with a Caster Level of 20. Suddenly, the chance of any dispel that you cast of working becomes rather worthless in the eyes of most players: 20% chance for each buff! And that's with Greater Dispel Magic. The lower versions won't even have any chance. Ever get hit by a nasty debuff that you try and dispel on Elite difficulty? Good luck. . .you'll need it.

Conversely, the Monsters can cast dispel magic spells with wild abandon. . .d20+20 vs our DC max of 25? Child's play for them to dispel. In all likelyhood it'll only get worse as quests get higher in level.

How to fix it? I'm not sure.

MysticTheurge
01-21-2008, 10:47 AM
There's a bigger problem than the one you touch on and it has to do with time/duration.

PCs have buffs that last for (in the new mod) up to 32 minutes. And they'll be alive for all of that.

Monsters have buffs that last for maybe 32 seconds, because at that point they'll be dead. For the most part, it's just not worth the SPs to dispel buffs on monsters that are going to die so quickly anyway.

But meanwhile, one caster who hits a PC with dispel is going to remove about half of their buffs, which affects the PC for the rest of the remaining duration, usually meaning they're going to have to waste SPs rebuffing.

Taojeff
01-21-2008, 10:51 AM
We are not even touching on why dispel magic does not work for AOE effects.

EinarMal
01-21-2008, 11:08 AM
There's a bigger problem than the one you touch on and it has to do with time/duration.

PCs have buffs that last for (in the new mod) up to 32 minutes. And they'll be alive for all of that.

Monsters have buffs that last for maybe 32 seconds, because at that point they'll be dead. For the most part, it's just not worth the SPs to dispel buffs on monsters that are going to die so quickly anyway.

But meanwhile, one caster who hits a PC with dispel is going to remove about half of their buffs, which affects the PC for the rest of the remaining duration, usually meaning they're going to have to waste SPs rebuffing.

Yeah I think dispel (from mobs) is one of those things that do not translate well from turn based 4 encounters per day to real time and many encounters.

One the one hand mobflation requires buffs in order to complete the quests and on the other dispel becomes more common.

Personally dispel magic is annoying, and doesn't add to make the game more "fun" when you have to re-buff (if you even can) and spend all that time to get to the next encounter. Like you say it is not an issue in PnP where dispel just hurts you that encounter, but you still can re-buff during the other 3 encounters (and you need them a lot less).

Mad_Bombardier
01-21-2008, 11:13 AM
You don't use Dispel Magic above L10 because it caps out. It's the same reason why L14 Clerics don't cast CLW. Use Break Enchantment or Greater Dispel Magic instead. We really do have quite a lot of options.

Dispel Magic (Brd/Clr/Pal/Sorc/Wiz 3): d20+CL (max +10) vs. 11+ CL. Single target.
Break Enchantment (Brd/Pal 4, Clr/Sorc/Wiz 5): d20+CL (max +15) vs. 11+CL. Area Effect.
Greater Dispel Magic (Brd 5, Clr/Sorc/Wiz 6): d20+CL (max +20) vs. 11+CL. Single target.
Lesser Globe of Invulnerability (Sorc/Wiz 4): no roll, suppresses all spells <L3. Area Effect.
Globe of Invulnerability (Sorc/Wiz 6): no roll, suppresses all spells <L4. Area Effect.

But, you are correct about higher caster levels on Hard and Elite. Caster levels *seem* to skyrocket, making Dispelling ineffective. Try using Globes instead. They can't stop everything, but can prevent low level spells.

We are not even touching on why dispel magic does not work for AOE effects.Dispel Magic as an area effect removes only 1 spell per target. I'm guessing they chose not to implement this targetting option because it's relatively weak. Break Enchantment is a true area dispel. It even removes friendly AoE spells such as Wall of Fire, Otto's Sphere, and Blade Barriers.

MysticTheurge
01-21-2008, 11:18 AM
Dispel Magic as an area effect removes only 1 spell per target. I'm guessing they chose not to implement this targetting option because it's relatively weak. Break Enchantment is a true area dispel. It even removes friendly AoE spells such as Wall of Fire, Otto's Sphere, and Blade Barriers.

And technically, that's not how it should work.


This spell frees victims from enchantments, transmutations, and curses. Break enchantment can reverse even an instantaneous effect. For each such effect, you make a caster level check (1d20 + caster level, maximum +15) against a DC of 11 + caster level of the effect. Success means that the creature is free of the spell, curse, or effect. For a cursed magic item, the DC is 25.

If the spell is one that cannot be dispelled by dispel magic, break enchantment works only if that spell is 5th level or lower.

If the effect comes from some permanent magic item break enchantment does not remove the curse from the item, but it does frees the victim from the item’s effects.

Neither Wall of Fire nor Blade Barrier are "Enchantments, transmutations or curses." Plus the language of the spell makes a pretty strong case for it only affecting "negative spells." That is, it doesn't remove "buffs."

Plus the target line clearly states "Up to one creature per level, all within 30 ft. of each other." This means it should be able to remove the dancing effect from creatures who are caught in a sphere of dancing but it shouldn't remove the sphere itself.

AoE dispel and greater dispel are the spells that should do what BE does now.

EspyLacopa
01-21-2008, 11:25 AM
I had a thought as to what could be done as a way to make Dispel style spells more useful without any nerfs.

Add Spellcraft as a skill. It'd be a class skill for Clerics, Sorcerers, Wizards, and Bards.
Add a stance given to any character capable of casting spells titled "Counterspell"
During this stance, the character is incapable of casting spells
If the character has a monster targetted, and the monster casts a spell, it causes a Spellcraft check on the character. If the player succeeds, the spell can be Countered so long as the player either has the spell being cast by the monster, or an equal or higher level Dispel style magic.This would be highly interesting, no?