House Rules: Spells - Shivering Touch

Going over shivering touch and lesser shivering touch (Frostburn, p. 104), I was surprised to see how badly edited those two spells were, and am now forced to houserule them.

The problem is that the duration states "1 round/level", but the effect is nd6 Dex damage. Ability damage is instantaneous, just like hit point damage. The duration does not imply how long the caster can hold the charge, because, as per base rules, the charge of most touch attack spells can be held indefinitely until used or another spell is cast. The duration also doesn't mean that the target suffered Dex damage every round either, because that is not was it says in the spell's description.

I had several ways of ruling this, but the real clincher is in the description of lesser shivering touch:

Your successful melee touch attack delivers a bitter chill to the target, causing it to shiver uncontrollably for the duration of the spell.

Since the effect is temporary, it has to be a penalty. As you may know, penalties may not reduce ability score below 1 (source here). However, they still do stack (source here).

However, the description for shivering touch pulls out another problem:

On a successful melee touch attack, you instantly suck the heat from the target’s body, rendering it numb.

The description seems to apply as a damage, but again, the spell has a duration of "1 round/level". In keeping it consistent with its lesser version, it to will deal a penalty, not damage.

So, in summary:

The spells Shivering touch and lesser shivering touch now apply a penalty to Dexterity, not damage.

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