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  1. #1
    Community Member Kinryu's Avatar
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    Default Spell penetration / DC

    So, I'm pretty new to being an arcane caster. Let's just make that clear. Anyway, I'm playing with a caster level 7 pale master wizard and I come across my first beholder (VON 2) as an arcane. Although I didn't know what particular spells worked well against them, I thought I heard that Phantasmal Killer was effective. So I made certain to have that spell ready. My wizard is an elf and I do have the first two tiers (I think I got two, not just one) of the Elven Arcanum enhancements. I don't recall if I had any other equipment or items on that increased my spell pen or DC. So, when I went to cast the PK spell a couple times, the beholder saved the spell each time thus causing nothing to happen.

    This is the part that always confuses me and I just can't seem to get my head around it. In this particular example, what would be needed to make the PK spell more effective? Increasing spell pen or DC? I find it really difficult to grasp the two.

    Explain to me how these two work and how they are effective.

    Thanks for your help.

  2. #2
    Community Member kurai_123's Avatar
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    Spell Pen is used to bypass a mobs Spell Resistance, which is like an AC for spells. Not all mobs have it though. mostly Drow, Devils, and Demons i think. Basically, you have to overcome the SR for the spell to even hit them.

    Then Spell DC determines how hard it is for a mob to actually resist your spell though. When you cast a spell the mob has to make a save vs the spell. The higher your DC the more likely the mob will be not able to save vs your spell.

    There are feats you can take to increase Spell Pen and spell DCs. there are class and racial enhancements for spell pen. There are also items that increase spell pen and spell DCs. Some of the archmage and pale master enhancements and abilities also raise your spell DC for certain kinds of spells.

  3. #3
    Community Member Kinryu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kurai_123 View Post
    Spell Pen is used to bypass a mobs Spell Resistance, which is like an AC for spells. Not all mobs have it though. mostly Drow, Devils, and Demons i think. Basically, you have to overcome the SR for the spell to even hit them.

    Then Spell DC determines how hard it is for a mob to actually resist your spell though. When you cast a spell the mob has to make a save vs the spell. The higher your DC the more likely the mob will be not able to save vs your spell.

    There are feats you can take to increase Spell Pen and spell DCs. there are class and racial enhancements for spell pen. There are also items that increase spell pen and spell DCs. Some of the archmage and pale master enhancements and abilities also raise your spell DC for certain kinds of spells.
    So it seems to me, if I'm reading this correctly, that the DC has a bit more importance than the actual spell penetration. And that it was the lack of DC that I had that caused the beholder to save on my spell.

    Correct?

  4. #4

    Default to clarify...

    Your DC of the spell, is how effective it is. Meaning higher numbers being harder to resist (save against). When they save against something the blue hex pops above their heads and it states they saved.
    To get the spell to land more effectivly, increase DC by aquiring more focus in the school of spell. Feats, items, and the like.

    As for Spell Pen, I know that it increases the ability to bypass Spell resistance, though not entirely sure on how it's calculated. When you just see the blue fizzle effect after casting such a spell as PK, your spell was resisted.


    Curious inquiry... Anyone clarify how spell pen vs. Spell res is calc'd?

  5. #5
    Community Member Kinryu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xionswift_Darkheart View Post
    Your DC of the spell, is how effective it is. Meaning higher numbers being harder to resist (save against). When they save against something the blue hex pops above their heads and it states they saved.
    To get the spell to land more effectivly, increase DC by aquiring more focus in the school of spell. Feats, items, and the like.

    As for Spell Pen, I know that it increases the ability to bypass Spell resistance, though not entirely sure on how it's calculated. When you just see the blue fizzle effect after casting such a spell as PK, your spell was resisted.


    Curious inquiry... Anyone clarify how spell pen vs. Spell res is calc'd?
    Aaahhh, ok. That actually made sense (the blue hexagon and the blue "fizzle" ). Seeing as I had the blue hexagon in this case, it looks like it was my DC that was lacking.

    Oh just give me a sword to swing...it seems so much simpler. lol

  6. #6
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    A passed save (failed DC) shows a blue octagon over the target's head.

    A passed spell resistance check (failed Spell Pen) shows a blue shimmer around the target.

    The need for high DCs is more common than the need for high Spell Pen. Every monster, regardless of what it is, gets a chance to save against your DC, while only some monsters have Spell Resistance. That said, a failed DC usually still gives some benefit (partial damage, minor effect, etc.), while a failed Spell Pen check negates the entire spell completely.

    Beholders (normal ones. Can't speak for any special named, undead, or otherwise modified ones) don't have any Spell Resistance, so what you encountered was a failed DC. Phantasmal Killer has 2 chances for the opponent to save, a Will to negate the effect entirely and a Fortitude to take partial damage instead of instantly dying. Beholders tend to have poor Fortitude saves, but not poor Will saves, which is where you likely encountered your problems. I'd recommend using a different spell (like Frost Lance) that doesn't have a Will save to completely negate it.

    As a side note, Phantasmal Killer is an Illusion spell, not a Necromancy spell like most instant-kill spells, thus your Spell Focus: Necromancy and other such Necromancy-specific effects don't apply to it.

  7. #7
    Community Member ToKu's Avatar
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    First question... was the beholder facing you? If he was then you were in his anti-magic cone and not casting anything at all. Just getting the most obvious question out of the way.

    That said, you were level 7 in a level 9 quest if you played it on normal. PK has 2 saves which a creater who is 2+ levels higher then you has very good odds of beating at least the instant death. In order to die he has to fail both checks.

    IMO pk is not worth the effort of trying to buff up at your level to be useful, you will get FoD which is much easier to land before you will make PK reliable.

    You will start encountering spell resistance around your level, especially in the form of drow. If you have the slot and can fit in spell pen enhancements / feats and items by all means do so, but I would make it secondary to buffing your DC's and damage and most importantly, hitpoints.
    Last edited by ToKu; 10-03-2011 at 01:33 AM.
    D.W.A.T - Thelanis
    Dilim - 13 Archmage TR1 ~ Pugna - 10 Pale Master ~ Vorstellung - 20 Cleric

    Kobold - The other white meat.

  8. #8
    Community Member Tolath's Avatar
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    ok you sure that you was not around anti-magic field of beholder and thats why nothing happend?

    if you didnt saw the save and as we know beholders have no magic resistance(normal ones) so probably just their center eye watching you

    considering you are lvl 7 and also you use pk that is not a good spell as it used double save fort and will and usually mobs have 1 of this 2 as weak save.so i dont think you have any problem with your dc or spell pen etc.you will be more than fine with this elf feats for the moment.

    and few explanations about dc an spell pen:
    ok dc is the roll(1d20) the enemy needs to save agains your spell to that roll he adds his save one of(fort-reflex-will)

    ok dc number is 10+int mod+spell lvl(if you use heighten the spell lvl become the higher spell lvl you can cast)+ other bonuses

    spell pen now is the number you add to bypass the spell resistance of the enemy
    the roll is 1d20+spell pen vs spell resistance of target
    spell penetration increases 1 per caster lvl of your char + other bonuses like items-feats or enchantments.

    so lets say that you at lvl 7 you have 7 spell penetration base+feats if you got any+enchanemts

    and your dc is 10+4(because pk is 4th lvl spell)+int mod+other feats or items if you have with spell focus on illusion spells.

    thats all

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tolath View Post
    ^snip

    spell pen now is the number you add to bypass the spell resistance of the enemy
    the roll is 1d20+spell pen vs spell resistance of target
    spell penetration increases 1 per caster lvl of your char + other bonuses like items-feats or enchantments.

    ^snip

    thats all
    Thanks Tolath, was unsure the Pen vs. Resist was a roll, or based off cha lv+items+pen only.

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