5E Simulacrum - How strict do you treat the "Can't Learn" clause? - Page 2
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  1. #11
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    Its real vulnerability is dispel magic, one hit and its poof.

    Its biggest power is its raw nova, a wizard or paladin that can just blow all of their spells in rapid session, just wrecking everything in site.

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stalker0 View Post
    Simulacrum has the clause "lacks the ability to learn or become more powerful, so it never increases its level or other Abilities, nor can it regain expended Spell Slots"

    I was curious how strict people are with that interpretation. I can see it range as loose as "just can't gain XP" to as strict as "anything outside of the shortest term memory it can't remember".

    How do you treat it?
    You ever see the movie Memento?

    Yeah, that. Good luck with the tattoos.

  3. #13
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    It can't level up and progress as a normal character. Yes, it has object permanence and remembers where the bathroom is.

  4. #14
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    Personally I treat it as a golem. It's an illusion, not a "real" creature and as such has little or nor motivation or personality of it's own. While it follows your commands, it will follow them literally. It's not completely unintelligent because that would be annoying, but it doesn't need to eat, sleep or defecate.

    It doesn't act on it's own initiative or have any motivation, much less the desire to converse with other individuals or read a book. It can remember simple things, but it's never going to really comprehend any deeper meaning although it could probably parrot what it heard if asked.

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oofta View Post
    Personally I treat it as a golem. It's an illusion, not a "real" creature and as such has little or nor motivation or personality of it's own. While it follows your commands, it will follow them literally. It's not completely unintelligent because that would be annoying, but it doesn't need to eat, sleep or defecate.

    It doesn't act on it's own initiative or have any motivation, much less the desire to converse with other individuals or read a book. It can remember simple things, but it's never going to really comprehend any deeper meaning although it could probably parrot what it heard if asked.
    Sure.

    While that answers the OPs question, it does not even attempt to address the real balance issue imposed by the spell.

    That is why I prefer a different approach to the OPs issue.

    To me it's both more interesting AND better balance if the Simulacrum is given independent will (much like an Awakened animal).

    Not only does this present an interesting role-play challenge - "what would you do if one day you realized you were created, and consisted of magical ice?"

    It also gives the DM all the power he or she needs to shut down abuse with "I won't do it".

    I definitely consider "let's cast this spell to create a disposable copy of myself that I can use as a pawn in dangerous situations, and/or save a truckload of spell slots" to be abuse here.

    I realize that's pretty much what the spell was intended to do, so I can't argue if you simply keep the spell as is.

    But in my game that's pretty much the only option if you want to avoid me banning the spell completely. Yes, it's that ill-thought-through and overpowered.

    Keeping the spell as-is basically negates every check and restriction on high-level spellcasters that 5E added. (Especially thinking of casting the spell through Wish here.)

    If y'all are fine with that, by all means keep it. I'm not.

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by CapnZapp View Post
    Sure.

    While that answers the OPs question, it does not even attempt to address the real balance issue imposed by the spell.

    That is why I prefer a different approach to the OPs issue.

    To me it's both more interesting AND better balance if the Simulacrum is given independent will (much like an Awakened animal).

    Not only does this present an interesting role-play challenge - "what would you do if one day you realized you were created, and consisted of magical ice?"

    It also gives the DM all the power he or she needs to shut down abuse with "I won't do it".

    I definitely consider "let's cast this spell to create a disposable copy of myself that I can use as a pawn in dangerous situations, and/or save a truckload of spell slots" to be abuse here.

    I realize that's pretty much what the spell was intended to do, so I can't argue if you simply keep the spell as is.

    But in my game that's pretty much the only option if you want to avoid me banning the spell completely. Yes, it's that ill-thought-through and overpowered.

    Keeping the spell as-is basically negates every check and restriction on high-level spellcasters that 5E added. (Especially thinking of casting the spell through Wish here.)

    If y'all are fine with that, by all means keep it. I'm not.
    I agree that the spell is probably overly-powerful, especially if it just becomes a disposable version of the PC. I considered just banning it or setting up some other limitation such as only used so many times per year, etc. I decided on the golem approach because they follow orders very literally, have no sense of self-preservation, and won't do anything on their own. Told to watch the back, they will watch the BBEG walk up behind the group to get into position because they were not told what to do if an enemy appeared. Complex instructions during combat are limited, typically to half a dozen words or less. It's a friendly robot that won't pass close inspection or interaction as a real person.

    That at least partly addresses the issue without completely nerfing or banning the spell which was my other option. As far as being overpowered, I guess that's in the eye of the beholder. I adjust difficulty level based on the capability of the group, including spells like this.
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  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by lowkey13 View Post
    You ever see the movie Memento?

    Yeah, that. Good luck with the tattoos.
    So you're saying remembering and learning are the same thing? I can remember that I had bacon and eggs for breakfast yesterday without learning how to cook them properly.

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oofta View Post
    I agree that the spell is probably overly-powerful, especially if it just becomes a disposable version of the PC. I considered just banning it or setting up some other limitation such as only used so many times per year, etc. I decided on the golem approach because they follow orders very literally, have no sense of self-preservation, and won't do anything on their own. Told to watch the back, they will watch the BBEG walk up behind the group to get into position because they were not told what to do if an enemy appeared. Complex instructions during combat are limited, typically to half a dozen words or less. It's a friendly robot that won't pass close inspection or interaction as a real person.

    That at least partly addresses the issue without completely nerfing or banning the spell which was my other option. As far as being overpowered, I guess that's in the eye of the beholder. I adjust difficulty level based on the capability of the group, including spells like this.
    Sure.

    I just happen to think making the simulacrum unreliably stupid isn't ultimately very interesting.

    But you're right that it does adress the issue. Guess I didn't read enough into your use of "it's a golem"

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by CapnZapp View Post
    Sure.

    I just happen to think making the simulacrum unreliably stupid isn't ultimately very interesting.

    But you're right that it does adress the issue. Guess I didn't read enough into your use of "it's a golem"
    Well, in all fairness I probably didn't expound on it too much in my initial post.

    Just to be clear - I'm not saying my way of handling it is "better". It was just the best way I could think of without house ruling. Or maybe it's just because I'm old enough to remember the instructions for the "wish" spell being basically "try to think of how to literally interpret the wish in order to **** your players."
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  10. #20
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    In my games, the simulacrum is:

    * Unable to gain any benefits (other than avoiding exhaustion) from a rest.
    * Is run by the DM, although it follows all the rules in the PHB for the spell.
    * Has no specific survival instincts - if an order would send it nto peril, it will go into peril, but if smart/wise it wll elect to take paths that are not dangerous over ones that are dangerous.
    * Does not form new long term memories. After a few minutes, it will have forgotten new information it has been provided. Thus, for the most part, it needs constant direction to address any new developments since it was created.

    That last bullt is mostly handwaived away outside of stealth/combat situations as new guidance can be provided and assumed to take place. However, if the PCs are separated from the simulacrum in a they dungeon they discovered after it was created, they may find that it tried to return home.

    One work around that PCs use is to have a spellcasting simulacrum create a familiar who then guides the simulacrum.

    In one powerful city I placed a powerful pact of the tome warlock who had a business of selling his likeness for simulacrum spells. For a fee you could copy him and his abilities that are tailored for unlimited use - and he also had a supplier lined up that would sell you magic items and ritual spells. There were about 20 of him running around the city serving about half of the powerful mages of the area.

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