Chain Lightning

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Chain lightning.png Chain Lightning
Level 8
School1 Air
School2 Conjuration
Source(s)
Casting noise 8
Spell noise 25
This spell releases a massive electrical discharge that arcs from target to target until it grounds out.

“The trouble ain't that there is too many fools,
but that the lightning ain't distributed right.”
-traditionally attributed to Samuel Clemens

Chain Lightning is a devastating but unpredictable level 8 Conjurations/Air Magic spell which unleashes a massive surge of electricity, leaping from target to target with perfect accuracy and searing everything it touches. There is no way to actually aim the spell - when cast, the surge simply comes into being, blasting the nearest target and wreaking havoc among nearby units until its power is spent and it grounds out. Any unit, including you and your allies, is treated as a valid target, even if the target is invisible, and the spell is capable of zipping around corners or going beyond your line of sight, but where the spell goes exactly is determined by the RNG.

Increasing your spellpower improves both damage dealt per jump and number of jumps before grounding out. The random nature of the spell can thwart even the most skillful casters, however. The spell has difficulty reaching distant targets, occasionally grounding out before it reaches a single foe. Its max range is fairly variable, ranging from 6-8 per jump, making it much more reliable to use it against nearby foes.

Also, the spell has a tendency to deal damage to the caster, though much less than it inflicts on enemies. With rElec, this damage is almost negligible, rarely reaching beyond single digits. With decent AC, it's even less of a concern. Casters with low AC and no electricity resistance may take significantly more (15-20 is not unreasonable), and should be mindful of the risk.

Mechanics

The damage on each discharge is 5d(5+Power_left*2/15). On the first discharge, Power_left simply equals the spellpower for this spell. After each discharge, this amount is decreased by 7+1d13. When Power_left reaches 0, the spell grounds out. If the discharge hits a target beyond your line of sight, Power_left is halved after subtracting the standard 7+1d13.

Strategy

  • As an area-of-effect spell for taking out multiple small threats, Chain Lightning works well enough, hitting several nearby targets for decent damage regardless of how they're spaced. Its real strength, however, lies in casting it against a single nearby foe; the surge will leap back and forth between you and your opponent for massive damage. At moderate spell power, Chain Lightning can take out powerful uniques in 2-3 castings. At maxed out spell power, it becomes one of the most potent damage sources in the game (so long as the target isn't electricity resistant).
  • Wielding a staff of air provides a significant boost to both damage per jump and number of jumps, and grants you resistance to the self-damage; definitely consider wielding one if you can find it.
  • Remember that plants, fungi, and bushes are all valid targets for Chain Lightning, and that they'll take their share of the damage, reducing the spell's effectiveness. When possible, lure your intended target away from any such harmless creatures.
  • Followers of Beogh, Yredelemnul, or any other character that makes heavy use of allies should use extreme caution before casting Chain Lightning. You are almost guaranteed to injure or kill your allies in the process.

History

Chain Lightning was added in 0.1, replacing Orb of Electrocution.