Every once in a while, when I’m bored, I’ll just randomly troll the DDO Wiki for no reason other than… because I’m bored. And I’m a nerd. So sue me.
I was browsing idly through a list of Cleric spells, refreshing my memory on the finer points of each, when I stumbled across the following. I had always previously dismissed it as taking far too long to do anything of real value.
Level: Cleric 3, Druid 3, Favored Soul 3, Sorcerer/Wizard 4
Spell Point Cost: 8
Components: Somatic, Verbal
Metamagic: Enlarge, Quicken
Saving Throw: Fortitude save negates
Spell Resistance: No
Infects a living target with the chosen disease, which strikes immediately and deals damage every minute to one or more attributes. A successful Fortitude save negates the damage. Affected creatures can only recover if they make two consecutive Fortitude saves.
At an initial glance, this seems largely useless. Stat damage on a single target that only strikes every minute? Sure, that can be debilitating to an unprepared player in the long run if struck, but against enemies that rarely last more than a few seconds, waiting a whole minute for another tick seems more than a bit excessive. All of the diseases, save one, deal base ability score damage, but not enough (maximum anywhere from 4 to 8 points per tick, depending on the disease) for the first immediate single-target tick to really make a big enough difference in the vast majority of low-level conflicts.
All of them, that is, except for the last disease. Here we have something special hidden within a spell I found otherwise mockable.
Slimy Doom: Infects a living enemy with Slimy Doom, which causes an enemy to turn into an infectious goo from the inside out and deals 6d6 acid damage every 6 seconds.
What we have here is, effectively, a hidden low-level DOT effect for very low SP cost. Add to that the victim must make two successful fortitude saves in a row to shake it off, and the duration of Slimy Doom can theoretically be “until the target croaks,” rather than the timer your standard DOT comes with. Contagion is a level 3 spell available to Cleric level 5 and Favored Soul level 6 – the same level Wizards and Sorcerers get access to Fireballs and Lightning Bolts. At that point, Slimy Doom is virulently more efficient from an SP-to-damage ratio, effectively firing off 6d6 acid damage to a target every six seconds theoretically indefinitely for only 8 SP, where the comparable fireball/lightning bolt costs 15.
As a low level Divine, that changes a great deal.