Feedback and creation guidelines

This page will feature feedback on epic spells, which will naturally include guidelines on construction. (I fear this will not be especially organized)

General guidelines

1) Compare to existing spells
2) There is not meant to be a jump discontinuity at epic level spells. That is, a 10th level spell should be approximately as much better than a 9th level spell as 9th level spell is better than an 8th level spell, and so on.
3) All bonuses should be typed. introducing untyped bonuses leads quickly to crazy stacking.
4) Level cap: For ease of standardization for those spells which depend on level (such as damage spells) should cap at the following levels:
10 → 25
11 → 30
12 → 30
13 → 30
14 → 35
15 → 35
16 → 35

Without further ado, some proposed spells.

Super Big Explosion

"Super Big Explosion
School: Evocation(Fire) Sor/Wiz 10
Casting time: 1 Standard Action
Components: V,S,M,F (a piece of a star)
Range: Long (400ft + 40ft/CL)
Area: 1 mile/CL
Duration: Instantaneous
Saving Throw: Fort partial, or Ref negates (see text)
SR: yes

By compressing the matter in the area down to a single point, a massive explosion is generated. All creatures within the spells area take 2d6 points of non-elemental damage per caster level (max 80d6) and are permanently blind. A successful fortitude save halves this damage and reduces the blindness to 1 round/CL. All creatures with line of sight to the explosion must make a reflex save or be permanently blinded."

Let’s apply rule 1! Compare it to existing spells. Unfortunately, there isn’t a good 9th level damage spell (Meteor Swarm is awful.You don’t need to use it as a benchmark.) So let’s consider stormbolts. Let’s compare:
Level: 8 v. 10
Damage:
d8/level v. 2d6/level
This is a pretty significant increase. I would go with approximately +2 levels to increase the damage die size. (also note the level cap above)
Secondary effect:
Permanent blindness and one round of stun are about equally powerful at this level, given how easy blindness is to fix, and how many creatures don’t require sight. However, blinded on a passed save (especially a non-reflex save) is pretty powerful. let’s call it +1-2 levels.
Size:
30ft v. 1mile/level
1 mile/level is enormous. Nothing else comes close. Storm of Vengeance is 360ft, and only does 6d6 damage to the whole area. (An atomic bomb has blast radius of ~2 miles) A radius of ~30 miles shouldn’t be available until at least 15th level, and not for full damage. For “huge” we might go with 20ft/level (visualize a 500ft radius explosion), and call that +3 levels or 30ft.
Drawback:
The intended drawback is clearly that it unavoidably hits the caster and and his party. But with selective spell and fire immunity, this isn’t actually that hard to overcome. This amounts to about -1 level compared to stormbolts (which doesn’t hit the user and is small enough to aim a bit)
Total:
Reducing the radius to 20ft/level, this spell should still be approximately 5 levels higher than stormbolts.

Some suggested alternate versions at level 10:

"Super Big Explosion
School: Evocation(Fire) Sor/Wiz 10
Casting time: 1 Standard Action
Components: V,S,M,F (a piece of a star)
Range: medium (100ft + 10ft/CL)
Area: 20ft/CL Sphere
Duration: Instantaneous
Saving Throw: Fort partial, or Ref negates (see text)
SR: yes

By compressing the matter in the area down to a single point, a massive explosion is generated. All creatures within the spells area take 1d8 points of non-elemental damage per caster level (max 25d8) and are permanently blind. A successful fortitude save halves this damage and reduces the blindness to 1 round. All creatures with line of sight to the explosion must make a reflex save or be permanently blinded."

"Super Powerful Explosion
School: Evocation(Fire) Sor/Wiz 10
Casting time: 1 Standard Action
Components: V,S,M,F (a piece of a star)
Range: 40ft
Area: 40ft spread, centered on you
Duration: Instantaneous
Saving Throw: Fort partial, or Ref negates (see text)
SR: yes

By compressing the matter in the area down to a single point, a powerful explosion is generated. All creatures within the spells area take 2d6 points of non-elemental damage per caster level (max 50d6) and are permanently blind. A successful fortitude save halves this damage and reduces the blindness to 1 round/CL."

Super Big Explosion That Might Not Kill Us Too

"Super Big Explosion That Might Not Kill Us Too
School: Evocation(Fire) Sor/Wiz 11
Casting Time: 1 Standard Action
Components: V,S,M,F (a piece of a star)
Range: Long (400ft + 40ft/CL)
Area: 1 mile/CL
Duration: See Text
Saving Throw: Fort partial or ref negates (see text)
SR: yes

As super big explosion, except the caster may set a delay of up to 4 rounds between casting the spell and the detonation. Once selected this duration may not be changed."

Of course, everything above applies here as well. For the duration increase, we compare to delayed blast fireball, which is 4 levels higher than fireball. On the other hand, I’m not sure why that is. Part of the use of DBF is the higher level cap.
Balance wise, the combination with time stop makes for a lot of concentrated damage. (though the randomness of time stop does make it even more suicidal). On the whole, this should be 2 levels higher than the non-delayed version, and the level cap adjusted accordingly.

Swarm of Gnomes

"Swarm of Gnomes
School: Conjuration Sor/Wiz ??
Casting Time: 1 round
Components: V,S,M
Range: Close (25 ft + 5 ft/2CL)
Duration: 1 round/CL
Saving Throw: Maybe (see text)
SR: Maybe (see text)

This spell summons an army of 1500 diminutive gnomes of varying battle capability. The gnomes fight as directed to the best of their ability until destroyed 5 hp/CL or the spell ends. Unlike most swarms, the gnomes do not damage creatures friendly to the caster. Roll on the table below to determine the type of gnomes you summon.

01-10 Gnome Commoners
11-30 Gnome Warriors
31-50 Gnome Alchemists
51-70 Gnome Sorcerers
71-80 Gnome Paladins
81-99 Gnomes with Rods of Wonder
100 Gnomes with Teal’s Rod of Wonder

Gnome Commoners:

This swarm consists of an angry mob of gnome farmers, which hurl turnips, tomatoes, and other sundry produce at enemies in their space, dealing 2d6 points of damage to all creatures in their space and nauseating them unless they pass a DC 25 fortitude save.

Gnome Warriors:

A swam of angry gnome soldiers attempts to slay whatever hostile creatures are in its space, dealing 1d4 points of physical damage per caster level to all creatures in their space and nauseating them (DC 25 Fort negates)

Gnome Alchemists:

A horde of gnomish alchemists throw bombs at all creatures in their space, dealing 1d6 points of damage per caster level to each creature, divided evenly between fire, cold, electric, and acid damage, and nauseating them (DC 30 Fort negates)

Gnome Sorcerers:

A cadre of gnomish sorcerers cast magic missile at all creatures in their space, dealing 5d4 points of damage per caster level to each creature (SR applies)

Gnome Paladins:

An elite group of gnomish paladins on pegasi charge all creatures in their space, dealing 3d6 points of damage per caster level (5d6 points of damage per caster level ignoring DR vs. evil creatures) and nauseating them (DC 30 Fort negates)

Gnomes with Rods of Wonder:

A group of mad gnomes with rods of wonder targets all creatures in its square with rods of wonder. 1500 rod of wonder results are distributed evenly among all creatures in the square (SR applies), which also nauseates them (DC 50 Fort negates).

Gnomes with Teal’s Rod of Wonder:

As gnomes with rods of wonder but using Teal’s rod of wonder table instead. God help us all.

So, I love this spell. Sadly, now I have to be critical. I like random effects, so my inclination is to balance around the average case (note: not the median) what we have here is:
In all cases, 5HP/CL means they’ll be taken out by one decent area spell by a caster of similar level. Thus against a powerful foe, they can be approximately assumed to last one round, and consume an enemy spell. (Btw, how fast do they move? )
1/10 chance of doing effectively nothing.
2/10 chance of 1d4/CL damage to a small number (usually 1 or 2) of targets, no save, no SR, but DR This effect is somewhere around level 7
2/10 chance of 1d6/CL damage to a small number (usually 1 or 2) of targets, no save, no SR, but lots resistances apply (and stack). This effect is somewhere around level 6
2/10 chance of 5d4/CL damage to a small number (usually 1 or 2) of targets, no save, SR. At 25th level, that’s about 300 damage (compare: Destruction). This effect is somewhere around level 11
1/10 chance of 5d6/CL damage to a small number (usually 1 or 2) of targets, no save, no SR, no DR (because everything is evil). At 25th level, that’s about 440 damage. This effect is somewhere around level 13
Averaging those, we get a level of ~8. Add 2 for the effort to destroy them, and the spell so far is 10th level.

Gnomes with Rods of Wonder: roll 1500d100 and look up each result in a table is not actually an acceptable mechanic. Find a better one.

Gnomes with Teal’s Rod of Wonder: an epic level spell having a 1% chance of a minor cataclysm is perfectly fine. And roll on Teal’s rod of wonder table until there are no gnomes left is fine as a mechanic.

Gnomish Feast

"Gnomish Feast
Conjuration Sor/Wiz 10
Casting Time 10 min
Targets: 1 creature/CL
Components V, S
Duration: 1 day
Saving Throw none; SR no

An elaborate gnomish banquet appears, complete with ghostly gnomish servers. The feast takes 1 hour to consume. Every creature partaking of the feast receives the effects of the haste spell for the next 24 hours. In addition the targets receive a +20 bonus to CMD and a +20 bonus to CMB and acrobatics checks to avoid attacks of opportunity for the duration of the spell."

The obvious point of comparison is heroes’ feast, and 9th level buffs. Heroes’ feast is 6th level, gives d8+10 of temps, 1 morale to attack and will, +4 morale vs. poison, as well as neutralize poison and remove disease. Meanwhile, with a 9th level buff,
the closest thing is heroic invocation:
“They gain a +4 morale bonus on attack and damage rolls, gain 2d8
4 temporary hit points, and become immune to both fear and charm effects for the spell’s duration" for 10min/level

haste all day is pretty awesome, and +20 to anything is crazy, let alone something as important as CMD, all day long. (looking at it another way, you do not want your enemies to have a random +20 CMD all the time).
As noted at the top of the page, all bonuses should be typed. By analogy to Heroes feast, this should be morale.

This one’s harder to compare, but it’s definitely too high. I’d probably say a +5 morale bonus to CMD and {CMB and acrobatics checks} to avoid attacks of opportunity (or some trade-off between them), in addition to haste.

Truefire

not actually a spell, but it sort of fits here:

"Truefire (Metamagic, Epic)

Prerequisites: Must have accidentally killed self with a fire spell while immune to fire damage.

Instead of dealing damage of its normal damage type, the spell deals non-elemental damage instead. Fire spells prepared with this feat take up spell slots one higher than normal, other spells prepared with this feat take up spell slots two higher than normal."

For the sake of my sanity, “Morris” is added to the prerequisites line. Then it’s fine.

Feedback and creation guidelines

Asmodeus Ascendant DavidMeierfrankenfeld