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Wednesday, August 11th, 2010
5:33p - Are Ranged Touch Attacks OP?
Right now my roommate is DMing a 3.5 Forgotten Realms campaign. After a rather interesting fight where a party of six PCs and a couple of NPC retainers defeated a 15th level wizard, a CR 14 monster, and a CR 14 vampire (the latter in two rounds), the DM had a meltdown about how ranged touch attacks are way overpowered against creatures with natural armor. He blamed the spellcasters (a wizard and a cleric) for beating the snot out of the vampire and the other monster (some kind of a unique plant creature from a module) because ranged touch attacks bypass natural armor- in the case of the plant critter, its AC went from 24 to 10 due to this. None of the characters are min-maxed, the magical items/gear is modest at best, and the party is actually well-balanced between fighty types and spellcasters.

Some of the players at least argued that a) comparatively few ranged touch spells exist, b) spellcasters don't have calldown, so they have to gamble that their prepped spells will even be used in any adventure, c) three of the players are very smart, experienced, and clever and thus know how to use their shit, and d) the module he is trying to integrate into the larger campaign is really too low-level for the party, and he should be substituting tougher monsters to challenge us more.

Personally, I think that the problem lies with the DM: he's not used to having monsters as main opponents (his usual Forgotten Realms involves the PCs fighting the Zhentarim), and he is very lenient with what prestige classes, feats, and spells he allows- his philosophy is if it's in a WotC book, it's fair game. I think all of these factors are more to blame than ranged touch attacks.

What do those of you who have played 3.0/3.5 think? Are ranged touch attacks overpowered?

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