Tuesday, July 22, 2014

This is AD&D! or Comment on 5e sleep spell

I wouldn't add a scalable sleep spell to my campaign It sounds too exploitable in combat. Something that would be continually cast to bring down opponents and robbing the sense of hard won victory from the players. Instead of that giant staggering on with its last few HP, still a deadly threat, the encounter becomes a throat-slitting ending over and over again. Sleep is a nice little low level spell for the generally fragile and under powered mage and this change threatens to make it something used with every combat. It sounds like a sugar-teat which is fine for an infant but gets Game of Thrones disgusting once the kid is old enough to be cast out of Sparta to fight with wolves over his dinner.


  1. If the monster is down to it's last few hit points, does it matter who/what brings it down? If it's a player casting the spell, how does it take victory away from the players?

    Maybe I'm missing something, but what you're saying sounds like "when a monster is down to it's last few hit points, if you're playing a wizard, either hit it with magic missile or let the fighter take it down". From my experience, most players eventually get tired of doing the same thing over and over, and move on anyway. Am I missing something?

  2. Sleep is a generous no save spell as is; Limiting it to lower HD creatures keeps it from being abused, which the new incarnation of the spell does not. At lower levels the mage has so few 1st level spells available that the ability to use the spell is likewise limited. The mage also does not know how many creatures will be affected by the spell till it has been cast.

    Magic Missile, while scalable, also does a variable amount of damage and is not a guaranteed instant kill.

    The new sleep spell has no purpose at higher levels except to deliver the coup de grace to dangerous but targets with reduced hp. Comparing it to MM is an apples and oranges or that the only option for a mage then is to use MM or let the fighter kill it is just reductio ad absurdum.

    From my experience players will, like water, often choose the easiest course of action mistaking paper and ink rewards such as easily defeating monsters and gaining treasure when the real rewards of the game come from the fun of a sense of accomplishment and camaraderie. This spell at higher level play will make sense to be tactically used over and over again making players sick of the game with a badly designed exploitable rule rather than the rule itself.

  3. I like the idea of the scalable spell. My reason is the players would have some idea of how many hit points a giant might have left, but not the exact number. So it adds a bit of strategy and luck to the equation.

    I like it! Well, in theory Haven't tried it yet.