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In a campaign I recently misread the wording in the Vortex Warp spell, and was fighting a mounted knight. I used the spell to whip the horse out from under him and have it appear 90ft in the air above him.

Mechanically this was 9d6 damage to both the horse (when it landed) and the rider (when it landed on his now prone form).

I then realised that the spell only allows you to teleport creatures onto a surface, so it got me thinking what level the spell would be if it could teleport creatures anywhere, such as in the air.

My thinking:

  • 2nd level: This is the original spell, so it has to be higher
  • 3rd level: Adding a bit of damage to a 2nd level spell should bump it up a level, and a well placed fireball will do a lot more damage so why would it be higher?
  • 4th level: 9d6 damage is about on par with blight (which really highlights how poor blight is). Also as it becomes a single target version of scatter (with less range) it needs to be less than level 6 and I think 2 levels less makes sense
  • 5th level: Blight is single target and this new spell has battlefield control elements and can potentially hurt 2 targets

The new spell:

Name goes here

x-Level Conjuration

Casting Time: 1 action

Range: 90 feet

Components: V, S

Duration: Instantaneous

You magically twist space around another creature you can see within range. The target must succeed on a Constitution saving throw (the target can choose to fail), or the target is teleported to an unoccupied space of your choice that you can see within range (this can be on the ground or in the air).

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1 Answer 1

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This should be a level 6 spell

9d6 is an expected 31.5 damage, Blight's 8d8 is slightly higher at 36 expected damage, but probably still the best comparator for single target damage. So level 4 is our baseline.

The qeustion is how valuable the utility of teleporting around friends and foes alike is on top of the damage. I think it is quite valuable:

  • Allows you to get your fighters right next to their casters in the back
  • Allows you to teleport yourself out of danger
  • Allows you to teleport them not only 90 feet up, but also above a deep chasm, doing potentially 20d6 damage (70 points), or into a pool of lava for 18d10 (99 points). Granted, such environmental features are not always available.
  • Allows you to potentially knock down two creatures (by dropping one on the other). Note that according to the optional rules in Tasha's, the fall damage is divided evently between them, not fully applied to both.
  • If you are above the target (e.g. you are flying), you can target somone 90 feet below you and send them up 90 feet above, letting them drop 180 feet for 18d6 (63 points) of damage. This is not that hard a situation to engineer, so I would think one should rather use a level appropriate to this damage, than to 90 feet. Because someone with an Aarakocra is going to pick this. This amount of damage would put it closer to level 6 (like Disintegrate, 75 points expected on a failed save).

Scatter at level 6 can affect up to five creatures, but it cannot do any of the damage shenanigans, as the target space needs to be on the ground or on the floor (not even a liquid).

I would at least put this at level 5, but I'd more likely stack both its original levels on top of the baseline level 4 damage, and put it at level 6, similar in potential damage to Disintegrate, and similar in other great utility.

One maybe even could argue that is should be level 7, if one thinks the utility aspects here are more valuable than those of disintegrate, but they are very different in nature and thus hard to compare, and this needs special circumstances which Disintegrate does not, so I think it would be too high at 7.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Throw some lava or a 1,000 foot drop in and teleporting people against their will becomes unbelievably powerful. \$\endgroup\$
    – Dale M
    Jul 3 at 13:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ Curious how this compares with things like telekinesis which is level 5, allows it to be done to multiple opponents round after round and has a better chance of success? That still allows the lava and cliff shenanigans, and is lower level. I have in about 5 years of playing D&D ever yet encountered a lava pool or a high cliff when not fighting flying or fire immune creatures so not sure balancing around the environment is the right idea. Plus your first 2 bullet points about good things can be accomplished by the 2nd level original spell. \$\endgroup\$
    – SeriousBri
    Jul 4 at 8:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ Telekinesis can only move a creature up to 30 feet per round and it takes your action to do so and it costs concentration. Thats a lot of downsides. The typical fight is four rounds, you can move one creature 120 feet in that time (also the max as range is only 60ft,) doing nothing else. You cannot use fly (concentration) so nonflying races can only do 60 ft instead of 180 with this. Here you do much more in one single round. This is vastly superior for combat than telekinesis, as are the teleporting your team options. Hope this helps. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 4 at 10:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ It is rare that you have anything dangerous terrain wise more than 30ft away. The DM who puts it there usually does so to be a danger to the players, so they want it to be close. In most practical applications in a 4 round combat I would think Telekinesis would be either dunking 4 people in lava, or holding one in the lava so they can't escape and take extra damage. Yes it is concentration, but that seems a benefit rather than a restriction (especially when it comes to high level spellcasting). And does how powerful a spell might be in combination with another count to the spell value? \$\endgroup\$
    – SeriousBri
    Jul 4 at 15:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SeriousBri I‘d recommend you formulate an answer if you have come to a different conclusion, this will give you much more space for making the case, and avoids the issue of us getting into comment discussion. Concentration in my book is a big negative. Ongoing effects are good, burning concentration on them isn‘t. I agree that chasm/lava is often to support opponents, and also very situational. It is not a big factor to my conclusion of level as 4 for added damage like Blight plus 2 for utility like the original, plus potential boost from higher damage from flight. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 4 at 15:31

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