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blakwind
Here for a while
(5/1/03 12:10 pm)
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Blocking Dimensional Travel to the Outer Fane
I was recently pondering the issue of dimensional travel into the Outer Fane.

The Outer Fane is wide open to teleport, dimension door, ethereal jaunt, etc. at the start of the adventure. This is good. It rewards creative players for being innovative with new powers that they may pick up as they work their way through the CRM, gather information, and piece the clues together. However, if this becomes a known vulnerability that the characters actively and repeatedly exploit, then perhaps Hedrack would consider taking some defensive action in this area.

One option would be for Hedrack to cast unhallow with a dimensional anchor spell effect (PH p. 268 ). The area would be a 140-foot radius emanating from the touch point, and the spell effect would last for one year. He could either target specific areas that are known to be a problem, or blanket the entire Outer Fane with approximately seven or eight applications of the spell. The trigger condition of the spell effect could be non-evil creatures, or even non-worshippers of aspects of Tharizdun, so that the unhallow wouldn't interfere with the movement of "friendlies".

There are certainly drawbacks. Because the casting time of unhallow is one day, this tactic would demand a serious time commitment from a very busy man. During that day, the spell could be disrupted if Hedrack were to be interrupted. Also, since an area can receive only one unhallow effect at a time, Hedrack would need to first remove existing unhallows to protect those areas.

This could be a viable tactic if the characters take an extended sojourn away from the Outer Fane.

Does anyone have any thoughts on this, or suggestions for alternate tactics?

Siobharek 
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(5/1/03 12:24 pm)
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ezSupporter

Re: Blocking Dimensional Travel to the Outer Fane
Each casting will set him back 5000 gp. Quite a pretty penny. Other than that, he could make Naquent scribe scrolls with it. That way, he'd be free to do his thing and it would only take 1 round to cast the spell.

But the price is quite prohibitive, I think.

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

Andorax
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(5/1/03 12:49 pm)
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Re: Blocking Dimensional Travel to the Outer Fane
I don't think it's worth the bother. They're not anticipating such problems in the first place.


I think it's similar to scrying with the Outer Fane....it's not supposed to be the most secure place in the entire world...just difficult to get into without a serious expendature of power, power available only to parties of at least modestly high level who have a chance of survival there.

D-Door is an inefficient way to get in, and would take a single caster several castings (thus needing either several scrolls or else a higher-level PC). Heck, if they wanted to, a group of PCs could get straight to the door to the Inner Fane through the use of several Protection From Lightning and Fly spells.


I wouldn't worry about it, cost prohibitive or not.

"Whadda ya mean, Orcs get levels too?!?"

blakwind
Here for a while
(5/1/03 2:42 pm)
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Re: Blocking Dimensional Travel to the Outer Fane
Thanks for the replies!
Quote:
Each casting will set him back 5000 gp.
Good point, Siobharek. I should have included the material cost in the list of drawbacks.

Andorax wrote:
Quote:
They're not anticipating such problems in the first place.
I appologize if my post was unclear. I'm not suggesting that Hedrack would pre-emptively upgrade the fortifications of the Outer Fane. I'm not trying to punish PCs or make the adventure more difficult.

Hedrack may, however, respond to threats. In my campaign, the PCs are known to have made two brief teleport forays into the Outer Fane and bypassed the door guardians. Without getting into the campaign-specific details, Hedrack knows that they have the means to teleport back to either location, and suspects that they may try this again. Due to other developments, he also believes that the PCs are no longer able to gain familiarity with other areas of the Outer Fane.

The evil genius is too smart to fall for the same trick three times -- he'll take some sort of action to defend his domain. While brainstorming possible responses, I realized that unhallow with dimensional anchor was one possible defense. He could protect these two vulnerable areas, or with sufficient time and materials he could blanket the entire Outer Fane. Of course, he could instead respond by fortifying these weak points with guardian creatures, glyphs, traps, etc. He has plenty of tricks. This one was new to me, and I wanted to share it with others on the boards.

Quote:
D-Door is an inefficient way to get in, and would take a single caster several castings (thus needing either several scrolls or else a higher-level PC).
As an aside, the DD weight restriction is 50 lb/level. A tenth-level party will have access to bags of holding and various spells to reduce the weight of characters and objects (reduce, shrink item, polymorph, druidic wildshape, etc.). Transporting an average-sized party with a single DD is certainly possible if the group plans ahead. It requires additional resources, but it can be done.

DM Dan76
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(5/1/03 4:07 pm)
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Re: Blocking Dimensional Travel to the Outer Fane
I had also thought about protecting the outer fane from uninvited guests, but was unsure of exactly how.

My group will be venturing into the outer fane next session, and their tactics are well known to hedrack. They had once before teleported in and assassinated Victor (talk about irony, an assassin being assassinated).

Anyway, I think that your idea is alright, but is quite an investment for hedrack to undertake. I was thinking instead that Hedrack could cast the spell on a couple of select areas. His chambers are already secure because of the forbidance, so perhaps areas like the library and the great hall could be protected as well. Basically they would be the few safe havens that the outer fane residents could relax in and not be worried that they will have some uninvited guests popping up in their room.

That would at least save on the time involved and it would save on the money as well.

Caedrel
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(5/1/03 5:28 pm)
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Re: Blocking Dimensional Travel to the Outer Fane
Have the PCs teleported in to the same place? If so, then I suspect Hedrack would be likely to set some nasty traps or guardians there instead of stopping them getting in altogether...

BogonTheDestroyer
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(5/1/03 8:19 pm)
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Unhallow and alternative
Well.. unhallow is definitely amoung the more expensive approaches to this. It sounds like hedrack is familiar with the areas most likely to face further invasion. If so, a greater glyph of warding can be loaded up with a harmful spell of up to sixth level. I personally would allow something such as dimensonal anchor to be used (I guess it depends on how literally you take the term 'harmful'). The glyph covers 14 5ft squares. Not great, but it also only costs 400 gp per application so hedrack can scatter them about to get good coverage.

If you are not so concerned with keeping the PCs there, you could load the glyph with a greater command "leave". The PCs would either head for the nearest exit or teleport out the way they came in. This trick in particular can be quite nasty as it can cause th group to split up. The fighters may fail their save and head for the door(which could be trapped as well) or better yet, the wizard fails and teleports out alone. There is also the simple beauty of a blade barrier or 14d6 Flame strike :)

One of my favourite tricks with a glyph is to load it with a sonic effect (or just sonic damage). That way, it acts as a warning bell for the surrounding area.

I don't think it would be much of a stretch to allow a glyph with greater command to give off a booming "LEAVE!". It is after all a verbal, language dependent spell. And now the outer fane knows that someone has arrived.

Just a though.
BogonTheDestroyer

Siobharek 
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(5/1/03 11:43 pm)
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ezSupporter

Re: Unhallow and alternative
Strategic points Hedrack might consider for placing greater glyphs:

  • Small hall just NE of Chymon (the Fire Door)
  • Hallway between 7 and 9
  • Hallway between 14 and 15
  • Hallway between 17 and 18
  • Diagonally across 18
  • 20, on the floor just S of the double doors (in Deeper Darkness)
  • Hallway outside 28/29
  • 38 (the arrowhawks)
  • 44, closer to the drow and the devill than not.The party would be hard pressed to move freely around the Fanes without setting off these glyphs, I think. They might get in, but I'd say that within 15 - 30 minutes, they'd trigger one of the gl

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

Infiniti2000
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(5/2/03 5:57 am)
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ezSupporter
Re: Blocking Dimensional Travel to the Outer Fane
These are some great ideas. I hope this thread lives until my group has the power to reach the Outer Fane. :evil

"Other than that, he could make Naquent scribe scrolls with it. That way, he'd be free to do his thing and it would only take 1 round to cast the spell."

Reading a scroll of a spell takes just as long as it does to cast the spell itself. From the SRD Magic Items Overview:
Quote:
Activating a magic item is a standard action unless the item indicates otherwise. However, the casting time of a spell is the time required to activate the same power in an item, whether it’s a scroll, a wand, or a pair of boots, unless the item description specifically states otherwise.

Siobharek 
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(5/2/03 6:04 am)
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ezSupporter

Re: Blocking Dimensional Travel to the Outer Fane
D'oh! This is actually very improtant to me: Do you know if that differs from the wording in the DMG? The way I remember it, it says that it's a standard action to read a scroll, no matter the casting time of the spell. In fact, after I ended my last session, I had to revise a ruling to that effect. I'd really appreciate it if someone could set me straight :D

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

Infiniti2000
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(5/2/03 6:11 am)
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ezSupporter
Re: Blocking Dimensional Travel to the Outer Fane
I don't have the DMG in front [me - edit], but I'm sure it supports the same rule. This is not listed in the scroll section, you realize, but in the overview. Your mistake is common, however, so don't feel bad about it. Scrolls, etc, would be way more powerful if they reduced the casting time to a standard action. No one would cast spells normally anymore! Suddenly, the one drawback to casting blade barrier would be gone.

Edited by: Infiniti2000 at: 5/2/03 6:11:56 am
Siobharek 
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(5/2/03 6:13 am)
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ezSupporter

Re: Blocking Dimensional Travel to the Outer Fane
Thanks, man. I need to check this again, and then my players will suddenly have spent 99 rounds more in the Outer Fane. No biggie: They did it before Hedrack noticed them, but still...

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

ZansForCans 
Here for a while
(5/2/03 9:14 am)
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Re: Blocking Dimensional Travel to the Outer Fane
I think you're reading that backwards I2K. It's very poorly written, but what I believe it's saying is that the casting time of a spell (in a spell completion item) changes to be the activation time of the item, unless specified elsewhere. In the description of spell completion items, it specificly states that it's a standard action.

I'd counter your argument in that the reduction of casting time is one of the major benefits of a scroll. You have to spend at least a day to create it in the first place (blade barrier takes two, actually). Reading it otherwise makes scrolls far less useful, IMHO. Scrolls of identify become almost completely useless, for example.


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Siobharek 
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(5/2/03 9:34 am)
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ezSupporter

Re: Blocking Dimensional Travel to the Outer Fane
Gah! Two of the guys whose advice I really value disagree!

Let's look at the wording:
Quote:
Activating a magic item is a standard action unless the item indicates otherwise. However, the casting time of a spell is the time required to activate the same power in an item, whether its a scroll, a wand, or a pair of boots, unless the item description specifically states otherwise.
The "however" seems to indicate that it modifies or even contradicts a previous statement. And given that the first sentence sets a standard (activating an item is a SA), I'm inclined to think I2K's right. But I'm very open to any other arguments.

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

Infiniti2000
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(5/2/03 10:21 am)
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ezSupporter
Re: Blocking Dimensional Travel to the Outer Fane
The major benefit of scrolls is that you don't have to have the spell prepared or even learned. Even if that is not enough, you also do not suffer arcane spell failure chance (according to the FAQ anyway). Another is that the creation of the scroll is where you use the material components and/or focus.

A scroll of identify is therefore not useless because the party wizard does not need to keep that slot open or prepared in order to identify stuff. Also, if the party wizard is actually a sorcerer, now he can identify without having to use a precious slot on it. In any case, I'd suggest this question be asked in the rules forum

"...but what I believe it's saying is that the casting time of a spell (in a spell completion item) changes to be the activation time of the item..."

What it's saying is that the casting time of a spell is used to determine how long it takes to activate the item. Two more quotes from the scroll section loosely bears this out:

"Using a scroll is basically like casting a spell."
"Activate the Spell: Activating a scroll requires reading the spell from the scroll. The character must be able to see and read the writing on the scroll."

What you are arguing is that reading the scroll can take only 6 seconds, while casting it takes 8 hours. Granted, magic doesn't need to make sense, but I think in this case, it helps support my argument.

Note that the casting time of the spell is not imparted into the scroll. Let's assume you allow up to 7 spells on a scroll. A wizard could create a scroll with 7 first (through 7th) level identify spells on it in one day. It would be wrong to allow the wizard to then cast all of them in the same day (only standard actions after that). Doesn't this seem like a gaping loophole?

Siobharek 
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(5/2/03 10:38 am)
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ezSupporter

Re: Blocking Dimensional Travel to the Outer Fane
I'll try tossing it to the Rules Forum.

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

blakwind
Here for a while
(5/2/03 11:10 am)
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Re: Blocking Dimensional Travel to the Outer Fane
Quote:
I'll try tossing it to the Rules Forum.
I just sorted this issue out in my own campaign last week. The underlying rules arguement is the same one as my Varachan's Crystal Ball thread. At the end of that thread, I link to another thread on the WotC board where they debate the activation time of scrying items. After reviewing the rules and seeking a few opinions from others, I believe that Infiniti2000's interpretation of the rules is correct.

Edit -- I just checked Siobharek's post to the rules form, and already the first response disagrees with me. I'll enjoy watching the rules gurus duke this one out. :D

Another important advantage of a scroll is related to material components. The components are consumed at the creation of the scroll, so the caster activating an identify scroll, for example, doesn't need to carry around 100 gp pearls. [Edit -- just noticed that Infiniti already said that too *sigh*]

Now back to our regularly scheduled topic. Are there any more ideas for Hedrack to deal with dimensional travel into the outer fane? ;)

Edited by: blakwind at: 5/2/03 11:28:34 am
ZansForCans 
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(5/2/03 11:34 am)
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Re: Blocking Dimensional Travel to the Outer Fane
[moved to this thread in the Rules Forum]


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Edited by: ZansForCans  at: 5/2/03 11:43:29 am
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