Following from Kosmike Katastrophe
Polar Ray is an insult to god and man. It's not a long legacy, it was introduced in 3.5 and before that it was merely one of several options for the much lower level Otiluke's Freezing Sphere. And of course, in Pathfinder, that would have to be called Freezing Sphere for copyright reasons, but that is neither here nor there.
The point however, is that in the conversion from AD&D to 3e D&D, the amount of hit points and energy resistance that creatures have has increased literally exponentially. And damage output from Evocations has not kept up in the slightest. And while we could plausibly attempt to push the envelope and pump up damage output to match, that would only be an arms race that no one would win.
Evocations in 3rd edition rules are primarily spells which serve to devastate low level opposition or to slowly but surely chip away at the defenses of opponents that pose reasonable threats. These are sometimes valid tactics, but they are not valid tactics to use one's highest level spells to accomplish. It takes a lot of magic missiles to bring down a Shadow, meaning that there is frankly no way that any Wizard is going to have enough spell slots to dedicate to doing that to make it a viable way to eventually beat such an opponent.
So here's the solution: reduce the spell level of these underperforming evocation spells. Since they scale in damage to your level, nothing actually bad happens if you get these spells early. Even a dozen or more levels early is perfectly fine because the damage scales to something level appropriate at low level. A polar ray cast by a 1st level character does just 1d6 of damage - half the damage that the same character could achieve by purchasing a vial of alchemist frost and throwing it at a target (same to-hit roll as well at any kind of close range).
So here's what the Evocation list should look like:
* Burning Hands
* Dancing Lights
* Magic Missile
* Shocking Grasp
Evocation 1st Level Spells
* Floating Disk
* Gust of Wind
* Lightning Bolt
* Polar Ray
Evocation 2nd Level Spells
* Chain Lightning
* Cone of Cold
* Continual Flame
* Flaming Sphere (this spell badly needs to be better than it is, but that's another subject)
* Scorching Ray
Evocation 3rd Level Spells
* Delayed Blast Fireball
* Ice Storm
* Tiny Hut
* Wall of Fire
* Wind Wall
Evocation 4th Level Spells
* Fire Shield
* Interposing Hand
* Resilient Sphere
* Wall of Ice
Evocation 5th Level Spells
* Forceful Hand
* Freezing Sphere
* Mage Sword
* Wall of Force
Evocation 6th Level Spells
* Grasping Hand
* Shout, Greater
Evocation 7th Level Spells
* Clenched Fist
* Force Cage
* Prismatic Spray
Evocation 8th Level Spells
* Crushing Hand
* Meteor Swarm
* Telekinetic Sphere
Evocation 9th Level Spells
* 9th level Spells must be written for this discipline. Seriously, timestop? Shapechange? Wail of the Banshee? Astral Projection? Shades? Weird? Most disciplines have two game defining, god-fighting spells to choose from at 9th level. Evocation hasn't been given anything remotely decent for their top tier, so new, mountain leveling spells must be written for Evokers to have.
There. It's pretty much completely backwards compatible, but nonetheless puts Evokers in at being able to do something legitimately valuable - Killing Fools.
And no, having unlimited magic missiles or shocking grasps is not ungamebalanced at 1st level, or any level. Magic Missile tops out in damage at level 9, when it does 17.5 damage against any opponent who doesn't have concealment, cover, or spell resistance. But at level 9, a Rogue is literally inflicting 17.5 points of sneak attack damage with every single attack. And that's not total damage for the round, that's just the extra damage from a sneak attack. He still gets to do his weapon damage, and make his other attacks for that round. Shocking Grasp is very likely to hit, and it does a d8+1 damage. A Longsword in the hands of a Fighter is also very likely to hit and does a d8+4. While the shocking grasp is quite likely to have a better chance of hitting an orc warrior than the longsword is, it is also much more likely to do insufficient damage to drop the orc. Indeed, the Orc Warrior out of the SRD is more likely to drop in one attack from the 1st level Fighter than he from the 1st level Wizard - even factoring in the discrepancy in hit chances.
And no, casting fireballs at 1st level isn't unbalanced either. At 1st level it only does a d6 of fire damage, it's barely worth doing against many opponents. It certainly isn't putting color spray out of a job.
Heed the contract and obey me, tyrant of flame! Come, flame of purification, the burning greatsword!
|Level: ||Sor/Wiz 6|
|Components: ||V, S|
|Casting Time: ||1 full-round action|
|Range: ||Long (400 ft. + 40 ft./level)|
|Area: ||150ft-radius emanation|
|Duration: ||1 round|
|Saving throw: ||Fortitude half (object)|
|Spell Resistance: ||Yes|
Flow out, the fire and sulfur burning Sodom, turn the sinners into the dust of death! Burning Sky!
You create an intense firestorm which provides concealment as a fog cloud within the area of effect. In addition, any creature who enters the radius (or is within the radius at the time of casting) takes 1d6 points of damage per caster level (half fire and half desiccation). A successful Fortitude save halves this damage. A creature or object destroyed by this spell is entirely disintegrated, preventing any form of resurrection which requires part of the corpse.
Seems to me the spell could inflict a signficantly higher rate of damage per CL, thats what Fire spells are best for in Negima after all.
The elemental associations as I understand them:
Fire - Greatest destructive power. It deals with barriers by overwhelming them with too much damage to negate, with evasion by covering a larger area than they can move out of. Probably better area and damage formulas, but doesn't do much else.
Wind - Capturing aspect, its good at diverting other effects and generally bypassing stuff. Defensively it reduces accuracy rather than damage, offensively it contains sleep and capture magics.
Ice - Versatile, but weaker at straight damage for the same difficulty. It can harm by temperature, bypass magical defenses by attacking the environment(ice attacks have been demonstrated to bypass magic cancel by freezing the air instantaneously), bypass anti-energy barriers by forming solid projectiles, or physical barriers by forming projectiles AFTER the barrier. It also has some aspect of Effect Over Time, continuing to advance and freeze stuff after release.
Lightning - Paralysing, enervating, fast and penetrating are the attributes. If its alive, electrical attacks can numb or disable them entirely, its likely one of the fastest(and thus most accurate) basic element, with some speciality in breaking barriers by concentrating force on a point.
Shadow - Apparently its stuff from another dimension. Seems fairly versatile because of that.
Darkness - Basically the Yin element, it doesn't actually blast, but absorbs away some attribute. The basis of Magic Erebea(since you absorb a force to strengthen yourself). Not sure how it turns out.
Light - Basically the Yang element, it goes by raw power and repels. Probably very similar to fire, except with more focus.
So going by the known attributes. Endless White Nine Heavens would be to use Ice's attributes to bypass resistances, Ice's persistence, Lightning's speed and spread. So I'm thinking a spell that would perform the following:
-On release, it conjures a field effect similar to Black Tentacles, which then homes after the designated targets while the duration lasts.
-Each created lightning 'vine' acts like a summoned creature, traveling a great distance to pursue its target or simply quest for a target. The area traversed is affected by a freeze effect(see below), possibly from an aura of the 'vine'. The vine itself is made of lightning and thus incorporeal and able to attack other immaterial beings.
-The area freeze is an environmental effect that converts terrain into impassable, solid, frozen terrain. Creatures caught in the area must save or become immobilized(which makes them vulnerable to being full attacked by the vine). It is of course Difficult terrain(which quickly becomes solid ice walls) and also thorny.
-When a 'vine' reaches its target, it will perform a number of touch attacks on the target. If it hits, the target is then subject to a will or fort save magical(SR applicable) Stasis effect, and is also frozen and unable to move as per the aura. Damage is unknown, but not really relevant.
-If the target is still within the range of the vine, the vine will constantly attack and attempt to freeze and commit the target to stasis. This may be preceded by a dispel component(derived from Lightning's penetration)
-All but the stasis effect are instantaneous, the stasis is constantly reapplied.
Possible defenses include dispersing all conjured 'vines' via magic cancellation(noting the ludicrous caster level and large number of vines generated, you want to disperse them all before they reach you and trap you with the aura), being literally impossible to hit or outrunning the vines before they catch up.
EDIT: Hmm...looks awfully like Magma Kraken from Exalted.