This question has already been asked in general form here, but was closed as too broad: "How to deal with broken combos?". I’m going to make an effort to make the scenario I’m asking about more specific to keep my question open.
The spell sickening radiance (XGtE, p. 164), cast just before a wall of force (through a readied action or something similar) can trap and kill many solo Big Bad Evil Guys (BBEGs), with just two casters. This combo is particularly lethal because of the levels of exhaustion the spell gives, but could work even with other persistent damage spells. Sickening radiance is a spell that creates a persistent area of effect for 10 minutes that deals radiant damage and gives exhaustion on failed saves.
The combo works like this: wall of force (WoF) caster readies their action, with the trigger "cast WoF on the BBEG when my friend casts sickening radiance (SR)". SR caster’s turn comes, and they cast SR, centered on the BBEG. WoF gets cast on the BBEG as a sphere, trapping the BBEG within the wall of force for 10 minutes while they get exhausted to death.
What actions can I, as a DM, take to make a fight with a BBEG not as trivial, while still rewarding the two spellcasters’ ingenuity?
I classify "rewarding the two spellcasters’ ingenuity" as at least forcing the BBEG to spend a limited resource to deal with the problem. So a BBEG having disintegrate is one option for what I can do, but giving the BBEG a teleport as an action (or legendary action) is not.
The Sickening Radiance spell says:
When a creature moves into the spell’s area for the first time on a turn or starts its turn there, that creature must succeed on a Constitution saving throw or take 4d10 radiant damage, and it suffers one level of exhaustion and emits a dim, greenish light in a 5-foot radius.
The grammar and punctuation here makes me wonder: do the level of exhaustion and greenish light happen regardless of the result of the saving throw, just like how some spells still deal half damage when you succeed on the save?
I suspect they do. Otherwise it should have been written "…must succeed on a Constitution saving throw or take 4d10 radiant damage, suffer one level of exhaustion, and emit a dim, greenish light…"
I just picked up the spell Sickening Radiance and had a chance to try it out last session. The wording has caused some confusion and a disagreement between myself and my DM. The spell states:
When a creature moves into the spell’s area for the first time on a turn or starts its turn there, that creature must succeed on a Constitution saving throw or take 4d10 radiant damage […]
We were fighting multiple vampires. I cast Sickening Radiance on the enemy group. DM immediately rules that due to the language of the spell, they are not affected by it, since they “haven’t started their turn in it” and they “didn’t move into it”. Okay, fair enough. They’ll start their turn there, so I’m not concerned.
They start their turn within it and are dealt the damage. They then, logically, move out of the spell, but stand five feet out of it. Their turn ends, and my turn begins. I cast Eldritch Blast twice along with the Invocation Repelling Blast to push two of them 10 feet, which shoves them into the spell’s effect area. The DM moves onto the next person; I gently remind him that they need to make Constitution saves for Sickening Radiance.
He refuses, stating that the language of Sickening Radiance uses “moves”, not “pushed”, and therefore is only triggered by the target using their movement, not just any movement into it. I obviously disagree, and argue that it just says “moves into”, which they did, as a result of my Eldritch Blast.
Obviously DM fiat and all that, so if he says it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. But I’m still curious about a rules based answer to this, as it seems like a very strict (and likely incorrect) reading.
The spell sickening radiance states:
Dim, greenish light spreads within a 30-foot-radius sphere centered on a point you choose within range.
Wall of force states:
An invisible wall of force springs into existence at a point you choose within range.
Nothing can physically pass through the wall.
As the wall is “invisible”, that means it is permeable to light. So the light of sickening radiance – and thus the effect of the spell – should be allowed to pass through. But the wall also stops anything from physically passing through it; would that apply to the photons of the sickening radiance (if, indeed, “light” in D&D terms is made of photons)? If not, why can the visible spectrum of light pass but the damaging, magic light of “sickening radiance” not?
This question already has an answer here:
- Can a Sorcerer protect their friend from Web by using Careful Spell? 8 answers
One of my players is playing a Sorcerer who knows the sickening radiance spell (XGtE, p. 164):
When a creature moves into the spell’s area for the first time on a turn or starts its turn there, that creature must succeed on a Constitution saving throw or take 4d10 radiant damage, and it suffers one level of exhaustion and emits a dim, greenish light in a 5-foot radius. This light makes it impossible for the creature to benefit from being invisible. The light and any levels of exhaustion caused by this spell go away when the spell ends.
(This spell has a 10-minute duration and is a concentration spell.)
He has also chosen the Careful Spell metamagic option:
When you cast a spell that forces other creatures to make a saving throw, you can protect some of those creatures from the spell’s full force. To do so, you spend 1 sorcery point and choose a number of those creatures up to your Charisma modifier (minimum of one creature). A chosen creature automatically succeeds on its saving throw against the spell.
Sickening radiance forces creatures in the area to make a saving throw each round that it starts their turn in the area of effect.
If the Sorcerer wants their teammates to succeed on the saving throw against sickening radiance each round, do they have to spend a sorcery point each round? Or do the player characters get to pass the check automatically after the initial sorcery point is spent, since it was cast as a Careful Spell?