Countering Rest Spells (Tiny Hut, Rope Trick, et al)

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
Instead of continuing to hi-jack the other top-hated spells thread, I thought I'd start a thread on spells that allow you to rest. The poster child for this is the Tiny Hut, but there's also Rope Trick and Magnificent Mansion.

Personally, I've never found these too troubling because they're immobile (MM is pretty good, but it's a high level spell) and in no way invisible. Yes, it's handy. It stops random wild animals and scavengers. But set it up in hostile territory in my campaign and you'll probably regret it.

So let's look specifically at (Leomund's) Tiny Hut. The hut is a 10 ft hemisphere. Nothing indicates it has a floor. Spells can't be cast out of or in to the sphere and the caster can't leave the sphere.

So what's the dragon/hobgoblin army/big bad supposed to do when the parties stomps in and uses all their high level spells and then sets up camp? Well I have a few options.

Time
I think this is the biggest factor which plays into the enemies hands and is addressed in more detail for several options. The enemy has up to 8 hours knowing exactly where the invaders are located. That's a lot of time to come up with countermeasures or to make plans.

From below
The easiest is to just find someway to dig underneath. A floor won't stop incorporeal undead or any of the burrowing monsters. Depending on the situation, if the group isn't on the lowest level, the enemy could just collapse the ceiling of the room below.

If the hut is not on hard ground, there's always simply tunneling. See also portable cover.

Portable Cover
So the party is snug in their little hut. The enemy takes half an hour to cobble together some sort of cover. Could be just about anything from an old door or table to some logs hastily strapped together. I once built a functional (well, sort of functional) raft in an hour or so in boy scouts.

Once the enemy has portable cover they can approach the hut without worry. Sure the party can sally forth, but they will be at least 1 man down and not rested. Win for the bad guys.

Since they can get adjacent to the hut, they can now digging underneath, start burying it (at least partially), piling heavy/flammable stuff on top for when the duration expires or any number of other fun shenanigans.

Block off Escape
Okay, so the group is in a good sized room hiding out. The enemy blocks all exits and starves the group out unless they can magically escape.

Run Away
People come to steal your stuff? Run away and take the goodies with you. Buh-bye!

Reinforcements/Ambushes/Traps
Given 8 hours, how many troops can the enemy ready to attack the moment the spell expires? Every cooperative in the dungeon should be getting ready. What would have been multiple encounters now becomes one multiple encounter.

Preplanned Counters
This one is kind of a catch-all. I assume the bad guys know about spells. Genius level enemies can (sort of) cheat. Assume they thought about this scenario and there are all sorts of nasty things they could have prepared. Some quick thoughts in addition to the above
  • Paint it: have mooks throw jars of paint at the hut until the party can no longer see out. Then do other prep.
  • Poison gas: set up poison gas canisters. When the duration expires, flood the area with toxic fumes
  • Cage: Have a cage or heavy net that will fit over the hut.
  • Flood the Room: Sure they'll be safe in the hut, for a while. Bonus points for flooding the room with acid, flammable liquids or blocking exits.
  • Put something hazardous on top: have someone go in invisible and place a whole slew of flammables (or poison or acid) on top of the hut.
  • Prep hazardous terrain: Surround the hut with caltrops and ball bearings. Thousands of them if need be. Have a scout ready for when the spell expires and start peppering the group with ranged attacks from behind cover.
[edit to add]
Time Pressure
Unlike video games, especially older ones, the world is not static. In addition to everything above, events keep happening no matter what the party does. Came to rescue the princess? Too bad, she was sacrificed last night. Sorry you missed the show, your ticket is not refundable. If the party can spend the time to create a hut and rest, it's likely they could have just gone to a safer location and done the same anyway.

Others?
I'm sure I've only scratched the surface. What else can you think of that the enemy could do with 8 hours of prep?

EDIT: fixed typo
 
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ChaosOS

Explorer
Dispel Magic deserves a mention given that it comes online (3rd level magic) the same time as Tiny Hut. By the time the party transitions into tier 2 enemies should start reliably having access to magic - even if they don't have their own Fireballs it's not unreasonable to staple on the occasional caster who has access to higher tier utility magic that wont' come up in combat but helps answer "weird" situations.
 

Nebulous

Hero
Burying the hut under a mudslide would be a pretty nasty way to trap the party. Assuming they don't have escape magic for everyone, that would bring a lot of weight down on their heads. Dried mud or wet mud. Of course getting all that mud there in the first place would be nigh impossible except under the most perfect conditions. I think that's going to be the hardest part of any scenario - the right monsters with the access to the right gadgets. It would be very difficult to plan for on the spot, but if I was a DM and found the party was abusing the spell, I would deliberately put them in a situation where the anti-hut implements were already waiting in the eaves. Yeah, that's unfair, but it's also a pretty wonky spell.
 

Iry

Adventurer
Yeah. It's not really a threat when the enemies can bury you inside, hit you with gas attacks, set up their own cover and prepare ambushes, re-arm their traps, dig underneath, smoke you out with fire, etc.

I mean, you want to make the spell choice worthwhile and only counter the tactic when it makes sense to be countered, but there are many ways around those spells. Rope Trick and Mansion are a little more complicated since some enemies might mistakenly think you have left, since the entrance is invisible, but tiny hut is extremely vulnerable to shenanigans.
 

ChaosOS

Explorer
Some of it is setting dependent, but as much as people cite Tiny Hut as a problem for "being so low level", that should generally mean enemies are aware it's something that exists and can plan for. Works double if the party have been using it repeatedly!
 

Nebulous

Hero
Yeah. It's not really a threat when the enemies can bury you inside, hit you with gas attacks, set up their own cover and prepare ambushes, re-arm their traps, dig underneath, smoke you out with fire, etc.
To play devil's advocate, i think most low level not so smart monsters, finding that the boring hut is impenetrable, are going to leave after a while and not set up a coordinated assault.
 

Iry

Adventurer
To play devil's advocate, i think most low level not so smart monsters, finding that the boring hut is impenetrable, are going to leave after a while and not set up a coordinated assault.
Oh definitely. Sometimes the party might finish their rest and discover the enemies are gone. The cultists ritual is done, the goblins gathered up a warband and left for the town, etc. Depends on the motives and intelligence level of the enemies as always.
 

Nebulous

Hero
I changed the hut to have 100 hp and have an AC equal to the spell save of the caster. Although I haven't seen this in action yet
How about 20 hit points/level of the caster? I do like the idea of it being tough but not invincible. There's too many instances where the hut can be used as a forcefield to strategically block an area, not just to rest safely.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
How about 20 hit points/level of the caster? I do like the idea of it being tough but not invincible. There's too many instances where the hut can be used as a forcefield to strategically block an area, not just to rest safely.
Or allow it to be cast at a higher level to increase the HP.

But I'm not sure it makes that much difference. If the monsters are lower level, the party will pepper them with ranged attacks at higher levels the monsters probably have better options.
 

tetrasodium

Adventurer
Instead of continuing to hi-jack the other top-hated spells thread, I thought I'd start a thread on spells that allow you to rest. The poster child for this is the Tiny Hut, but there's also Rope Trick and Magnificent Mansion.

Personally, I've never found these too troubling because they're immobile (MM is pretty good, but it's a high level spell) and in no way invisible. Yes, it's handy. It stops random wild animals and scavengers. But set it up in hostile territory in my campaign and you'll probably regret it.

So let's look specifically at (Leomund's) Tiny Hut. The hut is a 10 ft hemisphere. Nothing indicates it has a floor. Spells can't be cast out of or in to the sphere and the caster can't leave the sphere.

So what's the dragon/hobgoblin army/big bad supposed to do when the parties stomps in and uses all their high level spells and then sets up camp? Well I have a few options.

Time
I think this is the biggest factor which plays into the enemies hands and is addressed in more detail for several options. The enemy has up to 8 hours knowing exactly where the invaders are located. That's a lot of time to come up with countermeasures or to make plans.

From below
The easiest is to just find someway to dig underneath. A floor won't stop incorporeal undead or any of the burrowing monsters. Depending on the situation, if the group isn't on the lowest level, the enemy could just collapse the ceiling of the room below.

If the hut is not on hard ground, there's always simply tunneling. See also portable cover.

Portable Cover
So the party is snug in their little hut. The enemy takes half an hour to cobble together some sort of cover. Could be just about anything from an old door or table to some logs hastily strapped together. I once built a functional (well, sort of functional) raft in an hour or so in boy scouts.

Once the enemy has portable cover they can approach the hut without worry. Sure the party can sally forth, but they will be at least 1 man down and not rested. Win for the bad guys.

Since they can get adjacent to the hut, they can now digging underneath, start burying it (at least partially), piling heavy/flammable stuff on top for when the duration expires or any number of other fun shenanigans.

Block off Escape
Okay, so the group is in a good sized room hiding out. The enemy blocks all exits and starves the group out unless they can magically escape.

Run Away
People come to steal your stuff? Run away and take the goodies with you. Buh-bye!

Reinforcements/Ambushes/Traps
Given 8 hours, how many troops can the enemy ready to attack the moment the spell expires? Every cooperative in the dungeon should be getting ready. What would have been multiple encounters now becomes one multiple encounter.

Preplanned Counters
This one is kind of a catch-all. I assume the bad guys know about spells. Genius level enemies can (sort of) cheat. Assume they thought about this scenario and there are all sorts of nasty things they could have prepared. Some quick thoughts in addition to the above
  • Paint it: have mooks throw jars of paint at the hut until the party can no longer see out. Then do other prep.
  • Poison gas: set up poison gas canisters. When the duration expires, flood the area with toxic fumes
  • Cage: Have a cage or heavy net that will fit over the hut.
  • Flood the Room: Sure they'll be safe in the hut, for a while. Bonus points for flooding the room with acid, flammable liquids or blocking exits.
  • Put something hazardous on top: have someone go in invisible and place a whole slew of flammables (or poison or acid) on top of the hut.
  • Prep hazardous terrain: Surround the hut with caltrops and ball bearings. Thousands of them if need be. Have a scout ready for when the spell expires and start peppering the group with ranged attacks from behind cover.
Others?
I'm sure I've only scratched the surface. What else can you think of that the enemy could do with 8 hours of prep?

EDIT: fixed typo
I'll give you credit for the paint idea trying to negate the party can see out since that is what nullifies most of the "just do...." solutions but not be seen, except for the fact that it ignores how tiny hut works and makes no consideration for the fact that it's a munchkin enabler spell being abused by munchkins.

"Creatures and objects within the dome when you cast this spell can move through it freely" OK Bob, swing ing your shield out through that paint and scrape it off so we can see.... Shield too small? What about this bedroll.

There is also the horrible flaw of reasonableness where you are suggesting painting a ten foot wide dome high enough for a bunch of pcs to stand in without the pcs noticing. Are you painting it with wish? Even tinestop won't give you enough time
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
I'll give you credit for the paint idea trying to negate the party can see out since that is what nullifies most of the "just do...." solutions but not be seen, except for the fact that it ignores how tiny hut works and makes no consideration for the fact that it's a munchkin enabler spell being abused by munchkins.

"Creatures and objects within the dome when you cast this spell can move through it freely" OK Bob, swing ing your shield out through that paint and scrape it off so we can see.... Shield too small? What about this bedroll.

There is also the horrible flaw of reasonableness where you are suggesting painting a ten foot wide dome high enough for a bunch of pcs to stand in without the pcs noticing. Are you painting it with wish? Even tinestop won't give you enough time
Meh. one option doesn't pass your "test". Of course if someone does that, there could also be someone there to grab it and drag the person out unless they drop it. Oh, and I was assuming the paint was being thrown.

But seriously? That's your best shot? I gave several options, others have pointed out simply casting dispel magic. I dunno. Since it's a genius pre-planning I'd make the paint poisonous. Or just not use one of the options that I just made up off the top of my head.

If you can't handle something as simple as this then just ban it. I think there are several ways of dealing with tiny hut, it just takes a little creativity and thinking about what a logical response would be.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
FWIW Jeremy Crawford has ruled in Sage Advice that the tiny hut does have a floor. Personally I’m not a fan of that ruling, but some will undoubtedly play it that way.
If he has (I haven't seen it) it's not in the official compendium. He's said that some of his tweets were made after a long night in a bar and shouldn't necessarily be considered "official" by any means. I do seem to recall Mercer make that statement, but he's never been the official go-to guy.

In any case, it's just one of the many ways to overcome the spell.
 

Nebulous

Hero
Has anybody had opponents use the spell to see what the PCs come up with? Player characters are endlessly creative at overcoming foolproof defenses. It might stroke their egos a bit when the monsters start emulating their best ideas.
That's what i've been thinking all along. The best way to test a spell is to use their own tricks against them. That usually unveils any weaknesses or loopholes. I personally have only seen PCs use it, not enemies.
 

ad_hoc

Hero
The most natural and common method is the one that prevents resting in the first place.

Natural time pressure in the adventure.

Most adventures, once started, have time pressure involved.

You touched on a couple examples such as an enemy just leaving with their treasure but they're going to be too numerous to list out.

I counter that if the party is not under any time pressure in their adventure that it shouldn't even be played out. Just assume that the party carefully does the thing over the course of a year or two and then get on to an adventure with some tension and excitement in it.
 

Oofta

Title? I don't need no stinkin' title.
The most natural and common method is the one that prevents resting in the first place.

Natural time pressure in the adventure.

Most adventures, once started, have time pressure involved.

You touched on a couple examples such as an enemy just leaving with their treasure but they're going to be too numerous to list out.

I counter that if the party is not under any time pressure in their adventure that it shouldn't even be played out. Just assume that the party carefully does the thing over the course of a year or two and then get on to an adventure with some tension and excitement in it.
Good point, I've added it to the list. Personally, this is one of the reasons I use the alternate rules for longer rest times. It just feels different to rest overnight for a short rest or several days for a long one.
 

Nebulous

Hero
Good point, I've added it to the list. Personally, this is one of the reasons I use the alternate rules for longer rest times. It just feels different to rest overnight for a short rest or several days for a long one.
I might need to start implementing this. Especially when they are far from any kind of safe zone or easy resting area. I've never messed with the rest rules, it's always been 1 hour short, 8 hours long and you get back your slots and stuff.
 

ChaosOS

Explorer
I think there's room for adventures with relatively light time pressure - lost temples of ancient magic and artifacts - but even those will generally have intelligent inhabitants. In my Eberron west marches group another party lost a character this week to Sulatar Drow who dumped a bunch of flaming alchemical stuff on top of the dome then dispelled the dome, followed by a flurry of bow attacks.

However, as others have noted there's plenty of unintelligent foes who would be defeated by the dome. And that's fine! It's a meaningful enough cost of a prepared slot to be safe from wandering animals at night.
 

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