My online group got to try out the Ice spell. As a 2nd level spell, it’s easily twice as interesting as its 1st level counterparts, Fire and Lightning. Now I believe that the caster was using a spell implement to cast the spell, which meant that Ice required three actions. For those three actions, he got to deal d8 ice damage and penalize the target’s movement by 4. Is it worth three actions for this?
Well, first, the caster gets to deal full damage at range. Second, he limits the movement of an opponent to the extent that the GM penalizes it, or gains an advantage in opposing that opponent’s movement contests. So the opponent could have a harder time chasing or fleeing. Also, that movement penalty lasts until the caster’s next turn (or until he defends with willpower), and can be maintained. So a busy opponent might suffer the penalty for the whole conflict.
Now a low level character can’t chase his slowed opponent after using three actions, because he’d be out of actions. But his friends sure could!
Next topic: minimum casting difficulty.