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lawithro
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(1/13/03 3:01:52 pm)
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Using Poolidib Command spell: Drown!
How would you guys handle the use of a command spell to command someone to "Drown"? From my interpretation of the spell, it seems like it would cause the character to attempt to find the largest body of water they could, submerge their head in it, and inhale. In the case of area 91, it would likely result in death for the unfortunate PC (even before considering the Chuul).
Specifically, I would rule that the character would either leap into the water, or (if possible) find some way to climb/fly/crawl to the edge of the water so as to drown themselves. Upon doing so, they would essentially start following the drowning rules (www.opengamingfoundation....nment.rtf) They would drop to 0 hp, and fall unconscious. Next round, they'd be at -1, and then the next round they'd die.
Do you think that's too harsh? Do you think this is an inappropriate use of Command? Can you see a way a PC might be able to avoid this fate?

Thanks.

http://cs.unca.edu/~withrola/toee

CrossNightwalker
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(1/13/03 3:48:13 pm)
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Re: Using Poolidib Command spell: Drown!
Command can't force someone to commit suicide, can it? If not, I'd rule that the PC who fails his will save and is given that command simply loses his action for the round, and does absolutely nothing.

A safer command might be "Swim", which sends the PC for a nice dip...with the Chuul. 8)

-Cross

Kenmis
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(1/13/03 5:09:38 pm)
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SWIM!
Yes, you could tell the fighter in full plate to "swim" and not only would he guarnteed fail his swim check, there's the nasty chul to deal with too. That's much easier to justify in the rules.

LostSoul
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(1/13/03 6:17:21 pm)
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Re: SWIM!
I'd say that the PC should dunk his head in the water and have to make the first Con check (DC 10). Even that might be a little harsh...

Zenon
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(1/14/03 5:54:17 am)
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Re: SWIM!
That's way too much for a 1st level spell. Another thing you're missing is it only lasts one round (six seconds) no matter what the caster level.

A Command spell will make the target attempt to do what is said to the best of their ability.

Sorry, but if I were a player and you cast "Swim!" on me and I failed the save, I'd begin taking off my armor and gear (after all, I have to try to swim to "the best of my ability" which means no armor or gear minuses).

This is one of those spells which is way too open to abuse from players ("I cast Command - Defecate!"). IMHO, there should be a standard set of words/actions you can cause with Command. We mostly use the following:

"Flee!" - causes affected creature to move away at top speed for 1 round.
"Surrender!" - causes affected creature to drop weapon/shields in hands.
"Kneel!" - obvious effect, MEA to get up.

We try to stay away from ambiguous words like "Jump". Does that mean the character next to the pit must jump in, or does it mean the charcter tries to jump as high as he can in place? The same with "Swim". It doesn't affect your Int, and you know jumping into water with full gear/armor will drown you. The only way "Drown" might work is if the target was already in water, but that doesn't mean they will start sucking down water, just that they will submerge for a round (look up the meanings of drown, one is "to submerge").

I just have to point out that if you (as the DM) start using Command this way, fully expect your players to jump on the bandwagon and hit your NPC with this everytime, all the time, and expect the same types of results. Be careful how you rules this....

Edited by: Zenon at: 1/14/03 5:55:42 am
ZansForCans 
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(1/14/03 9:47:39 am)
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Re: SWIM!
I'm not sure I completely agree with you here. Those standard commands you use can all be very dangerous if not deadly if the target is in active melee with an ally of the caster. They would all allow AoO's and some would even deny things like Dex bonuses, shields, etc on top of that.

The thing that can make command powerful is circumstance. The thing that keeps it from being too powerful is the low DC and the fact that the right circumstances don't come up that often. Your "jump" next to a pit is a good example. As a DM, I'd rule that the target would only jump into the pit if they had been looking at it or actively considering jumping in/across immediately before the spell was cast. If they're just fighting next to it, then you're right--that's just too ambiguous.

As you say, it's only one round. So "swim" is only ever useful if the foe is standing right next to water. But the command isn't ambiguous, imho. "To the best of my ability" to me would mean jump in the water right now, not take off my gear, because that's not swimming. I think the intent is that you do the command to the best of your ability, not the command's action itself (if that makes sense). If that were the case, you might rule that a target would quaff their potion of expeditious retreat or cast said spell before fleeing. I think keeping the imperative nature of the command is important--it's a very strong suggestion to the target, one that can't be ignored easily.

I just had a great opportunity to use the spell last night in the obelisk chamber. A character was standing right next to the water on the floor and they had no idea that it was bad for them. Festrath cast command with the word "Drink!". Unfortunately, the character made his save ;)

Edit: AC->Dex bonuses



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Edited by: ZansForCans  at: 1/14/03 9:58:55 am
lawithro
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(1/14/03 10:18:21 am)
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Re: SWIM!
Eh, it didn't matter anyways. The dwarven barbarian made ALL of his saves (that's 2 commands to Drown, and 2 Hold Persons). The battle was still a whole lotta fun, and only ended when the wizard tried to lightning bolt the 2 Kuo-toa's in the water. I went with the 2E ruling that lightning bolt becomes like a fireball in water, which was really quite good for the party, as it managed to totally cook the Chuul (which in turn gave the aforementioned barbarian the opportunity to cut down the two fleeing Kuo-toa's.)
I wound up having Poolidib cast Rage on the Chuul--which was really quite effective. The Chuul did lots of damage before it went down.

http://cs.unca.edu/~withrola/toee

Xanthos Prince of Darkness
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(1/14/03 4:31:54 pm)
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Re: SWIM!
Should you be allowed to coup-de-gras a 'sleeping' person? It seems that they are helpless but doing that seems out of the bounds of a 1st level spell. Just get a sorcerer and a barbarian and you have instant kills all over the show.

Xanthos

Y'know it's very hard to talk quantum using a language designed to tell other monkeys where the ripe fruit is.

Abelard
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(1/14/03 4:50:02 pm)
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Re: SWIM!
"Should you be allowed to coup-de-gras a 'sleeping' person? It seems that they are helpless but doing that seems out of the bounds of a 1st level spell."

Yes - a sleeping person is definitely helpless.

As far as this and sleep being a 1st level spell, remember that many creatures are immune to sleep, through having more than 4 HD if not some other reason like being undead, and a coup de grace is not automatically successful. The sleeper will automatically wake up from the damage if he survives the attempt. It's trivially easy for any allies to waken their sleeping buddies, too.

madfox
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(1/15/03 1:25:53 am)
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Re: SWIM!
A coupe-de-grace is a full round action that draws AoO. Command downs somebody for 1 round, which is only enough to coupe-de-grace a creature in rare circumstances. In my experience both NPCs and PCs usually do not want to risk the AoO. In the end I have seen the spell command used only rarely. Remember, it is also language dependend. It is not usable that often.

Kenmis
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(1/15/03 2:32:53 am)
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"risking" AoO's
For a lot of PC's that's true. the Cleric in my campaign has figured out that Full Plate + Mobuility = rarely having to worry about AoO's.

He brazenly strides in and out of combat, healing the frontliners and all that good stuff.

Though, Slaazh the Troll on the fire bridge did tag him after he had healed the paladin, and got a crit, killing him outright. :) i guess he's not *quite* so brazen anymore. heh.

Siobharek 
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(1/15/03 2:54:50 am)
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Re: "risking" AoO's
Kenmis, do you give your PC the dodge bonus to AC from his Mobility feat against every AoO he draws? This is from the SRD:
Quote:
Mobility [General]

Prerequisites: Dex 13+, Dodge.

Benefit: The character gets a +4 dodge bonus to Armor Class against attacks of opportunity caused when the character moves out of or within a threatened area.


(Emphasis mine). That means that the cleric won't get his bonus to AoOs caused by e.g. casting cures, etc. Maybe I'm wrong, but I read your post as if your player's conned you into thinking that Mobility works against every AoO.

Siobharek
...it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

Kenmis
Here for a while
(1/15/03 3:18:58 am)
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Mobuility
I may be confusing "casting on the defensive" and Mobuility. I know he uses both to avoid AoO's, but i'll have to watch that more carefully from now on. Thanks for pointing that out.

Siobharek 
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(1/15/03 3:25:43 am)
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Re: Mobuility
No worries. If he's casting on the defensive (and maybe even has Combat Casting as a feat), he shouldn't have any problems. For instance, a lvl 5 cleric with Combat Casting and 13 Con would have a +13 modifier when casting on the defensive, which means that he could cast Cure Moderate Wounds with impunity in combat, needing only a 4+ on his d20.

But yeah, you might just want to check his AC next time he casts a spell ;)

Siobharek
...it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

Zagig
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(1/16/03 5:53:41 pm)
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Re: SWIM!
Just to get back to the command discussion for a second, I have to disagree somewhat with Zans. If someone casts command on a mage who has a teleport spell memorized, wouldn't the mage use that spell. It is fleeing. The reason I ask is because I had Dunrat cast command on a fey'ri, which has dimension door as a spell-like ability. The fey'ri dimension doored away, which was the best way to flee for him. It took him 6 rounds to get back to the fight. Was this breaking the spirit of the command spell?

Zag:rollin ig

Caedrel
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(1/16/03 7:41:36 pm)
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Re: SWIM!
No, I think that's fine, but mostly because the dimension door is a spell like ability and using it to "flee" would be a pretty easy connection for him to make.

For a mage to make the same connection with his teleport spell would (imho) depend on how often and readily he uses that spell to get out of trouble, as opposed to using it to get *into* trouble :) or fleeing by just running away.

I feel the same way about "swim" - if a fighter always takes off his armour to get in the water and swim, then that's what I think they'd start doing. I'd say "Dive" or "Splash" would lead more naturally to jumping into the water...

CrossNightwalker
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(1/16/03 9:14:22 pm)
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Re: SWIM!
Agreed. If I say "Sleep", does the fighter begin taking off his full plate in preparation for going to bed? No...he simply drops in a snoring puddle of PC. If the character is next to water, I'd say "Swim" is perfectly valid...the character moves to the water, wades in, and attempts to swim, gear and all. I'd say if I said "Climb", he looks for a wall, and starts to hoist himself up. It's fairly unequivocal..."Swim" and "Climb" are simple commands.

ZansForCans 
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(1/16/03 9:50:21 pm)
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Re: SWIM!
Just to reinforce these last comments and coming full circle to your objection Zagig, I think the most appropriate one-round response is probably the way to handle it. I wasn't thinking it all the way through when I wrote that comment above and your comments make things much more complete.

I agree that teleport, dimension door, or any one action/round casting or magic item use that gets you to do the action could and maybe even should be used (and the best one, at that!). But I wouldn't allow or require you to reach into your pack to get something or cast a spell that would make your response better/faster/etc. on the next round. Things like this not only get the (N)PC out of doing the actual command (and open up abuse to avoid it), but could also inadvertently allow the (N)PC to buff up as a side effect without much of a penalty to them (the expeditious retreat reaction I gave, for example).

In the extreme, perhaps a hardest thing to rule on as DM is the "should" part above. Do you force 9th-level PC mages to use teleport and your 11th-level clerics to use word of recall in the unlikely event that they fail their save against this "paltry" 1st level spell? I have a hard time not doing so since it's in the spirit of the spell description and a very rare circumstance, but it's pretty harsh!



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Zagig
Here for a while
(1/17/03 1:55:27 pm)
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Re: SWIM!
If you have a group of honest players, then they will use what comes to mind first. When Dunrat cast command on the fey'ri, I expected him to run away. When the fey'ri asked me about dimension door, I ruled that he would use it. Unless the player asks you about using teleport of word of recall, I wouldn't require it. However, once does set a precedent for future uses of the command spell.

To take this back to the "Swim" question, I would say that what would first come to the mind of the player. If he asks is he can take his armor off, then he starts to take his armor off. If he just jumps in, armor and all, then so be it. Let the player decide what action he takes. The spell doesn't make him stupid, just open to a command.

CrossNightwalker
Here for a while
(1/17/03 2:40:38 pm)
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Re: SWIM!
I guess that's where the discontinuity is. If I command the character to sleep (or die), does the character set about preparing for bed? What if he asks if he can take off his armor first, like he does every night? I think once you allow the player or NPC to decide what actions to take in order to fulfill the command, you pretty much remove the usefulness of the spell for most interesting commands (though I suppose "Sit" would be fairly safe...)

-Cross

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