Spreading the Disease

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.

Contagion

School:  Necromancy

Level:  Cleric 3, Druid 3, Favored Soul 3, Sorcerer/Wizard 4

Spell Point Cost:  8

Components:  Somatic, Verbal

Metamagic:  Enlarge, Quicken

Range:  Standard

Target:  Foe

Duration:  Permanent

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.

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