dnd 5e – What spells or other effects cause a creature to make a saving throw to avoid being knocked out?

I saw that a hydra has “advantage on saving throws against being… knocked unconscious” and was curious as to what spells or effects would cause such a thing to happen. The only effect that came to mind is the sleep spell, which operates on hit points rather than a saving throw. What else can knock a creature unconscious?

What is it about damage spells in pathfinder 2e that’s considered ‘weak’?

I’ve read repeatedly that casters in PF2e are mostly relegated to support roles, i.e. buffing allies, rather than dealing damage. I know that this was an effort on Paizo’s part to deal with the linear fighter/quadratic wizard problem.

But I don’t fully understand why damage spells are considered suboptimal. Is it because casters don’t get access to items that improve their to-hit chances on their spells, the way physical-damage-dealers do with e.g. +1/+2 weapons etc.? Or is there something else in the mechanics of casting damaging spells that I’ve missed, which is a problem?

If the former, would a suitable house-rule be to allow weapon potency runes to affect spells cast while ‘wielding’ the weapon? Or add equivalent runes to the effect of, “while wielding this weapon you gain a +X bonus to your spell attack bonus and spell DC”?

dnd 3.5e – What are the spells that have a target other than self (and a target entry) that deals damage?

I asked the question Does Ocular spell make every eligible damage spells have a critical chance since it becomes a ranged touch attack (ray)?
and I realized it was a bit hard to find spells that were eligible for Ocular spell that weren’t already touch spells or rays.

@Hey I Can Chan told me about Finger of Death (when the save is successful)

@Erik made me realize Chain lightning was indeed in my requirements.

Even though Magic missile would be worse using this tactic it is indeed valid.

What other spells meet those requirements?

Sidenote:

-*Spells that do damage,ability drain or level loss since only those can benefit from criticals.

-I’m not sure if Healing spells that hurts creatures like undeads would work because I think they normally don’t score a critical even on a natural 20. Correct me if I’m wrong. But would they if they were cast as a ray?

dnd 3.5e – Does Ocular spell make every eligible damage spells have a critical chance since it becomes a ranged touch attack (ray)?

So for some spells that do indeed have targets other than self (and also have a target entry) would Ocular spell make it now possible to score a critical?

Ocular spell states:

(…)When you release an ocular spell, its effect changes to a ray with a
range of up to 60 feet. If the spell previously would have affected
multiple creatures, it now affects only the creature struck by the
ray. You must succeed on a ranged touch attack to strike your target
with an ocular spell, and the target is still permitted any saving
throw allowed by the spell.(…)

Every spell that has a touch attack (melee/range) Do have a critical hit chance (20X2)

So if I was to cast a spell such as Ocular: Finger of death or Chain lightning
the damage on a successful critical would be doubled.

Correct?

dnd 5e – Do spells like burning hands specify specific non-material components?

In “Does Burning Hands really require touching thumbs?”, it has been established that burning hands does indeed require touching thumbs. A question that is danced around there is, “is the touching thumbs the somatic component?” This question also extends to spells like dissonant whispers (verbal component) and message (verbal/somatic component).

I’m inclined to think they are, but am unsure. This does have some weird implications if so, like “how loud does one dissonantly whisper?” and “can someone else hear my whispered message?” (I don’t need these answered here; I just include them because they are related, depending on the answer.)

dnd 5e – Can you identify telepathically received messages sent through spells like Sending as magical via Detect Magic?

An enemy casts Sending to communicate with a player from far away. In this example, the player character doesn’t know anything about the Sending spell and he might think he is just hearing voices or going crazy.

Another player casts Detect Magic to scan the area. Can this player detect the presence of the telepathic message inside the first players head via Detect Magic as an evocation spell.

dnd 5e – What are the consequences if wizards can cast unprepared spells from their spellbooks?

You’d be removing one of the most important limits on spellcasters.

Consider a few different spellcasting classes up through level 10 (after which the balancing mechanisms are similar but less straightforward):

  • Warlocks know about 1 spell per class level + 1, give or take (2-10 spells, and Patron spells are only added to the Warlock list, not necessarily known), and they can cast any of them 2x/short rest. They also get other stuff like Invocations and Pact benefits.
  • Clerics know all their class spells (16, 17, 25, 11, 16, for about 9 spells per class level depending on domain and sources), of which they can choose around level+4 to prepare, and cast (2, 3, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15) = about 1.5 per level. They also get other stuff like armor or even weapon proficiencies, depending on domain. Druids work similarly, with either kickass Shapeshifting or extra spells.
  • Bards know just about level + 3 spells, and can cast one about 1.5x per level, like a Cleric. They also get a variety of bonus features, depending on subclass.
  • Sorcerors know exactly level+1 spells, and can cast them with spell slots like a Cleric. They get Sorcery Points, to use for extra spell slots or metamagic shenanigans, and relatively minor bonuses from their subclass.
  • Wizards know at least (2*level)+4 spells, probably more depending on the game. They can prepare about level+4 of them, and get nifty but modest benefits from their subclass.

Overall, the pattern is basically: every spellcasting class is limited in the amount of spell slots they have. They’re also limited by either the spells they know, or the spells they can prepare. Technically, Wizards have both of these restrictions, but the number of spells they know is quite high, making the requirement to anticipate problems and prepare spells in advance the far more restrictive one on a daily basis.

And for all that, wizards don’t get extra features as powerful as those of the Cleric, Druid, Bard, or Warlock. Why? Because wizard spells are deliberately more powerful. Wizards are the ones who bet everything on their magic, and the payoff is that they’re overall better than other classes (except possibly the Sorceror) at doing damage, crowd control, defensive buffs, non-combat spells – basically everything except healing.

So if you let wizards cast from their spellbook, effectively removing the requirement to prepare spells, then you’d have an incredibly versatile caster who has the perfect spell for just about every occasion. Which could be a lot of fun, no doubt… but it’d probably make it a lot more difficult to spotlight the other players if the wizard can fix every problem on any given day. You’d have to really stress their spell slots before the other characters’ usefulness became apparent, even more so than is already the case.

pathfinder 1e – Does the cleric’s ability to spontaneously cast cure spells apply to the Breath of Life spell?

Unfortunately, the “spontaneous casting” class feature for clerics (which is the one that allows this trade) clearly states.

 A cure spell is any spell with “cure” in its name

So no, a “breath of life” is not allowed by the rules as written.
Obviously, nothing is stopping your GM from allowing it anyway, but the rules are against you

pathfinder 1e – Breath of Life and cure spells

Unfortunately, the “spontaneous casting” class feature for clerics (which is the one that allows this trade) clearly states.

 A cure spell is any spell with “cure” in its name

So no, a “breath of life” is not allowed by the rules as written.
Obviously, nothing is stopping your GM from allowing it anyway, but the rules are against you

dnd 5e – What is the appropiate use of ritual spells that provide little utility?

Well say I have the “detect magic” spell as a level 1. It is kind of a waste of a spellslot to just use it willy nilly.

However I could stand still every step and cast it as a ritual for 10 minutes.

This however seems really silly when dungeon crawling, to stop at each “point of interest” and start a ritual. If I tell my party to “just stop at each door to let me check if it’s enchanted” I feel really awkward to just make the game slower.

When is an appropriate time to tell the party “hey I’m going to waste everyone’s time just to check if there’s magic in the air”.

I’m wondering especially since I joined a new playgroup, and this time a group with people I didn’t know beforehand.