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DM's: How Do You Deal with Rope Trick?

RJSmalls

First Post
Since you cats have offered a ton of advice on my other spell-o'-the-day question (Improved Invisibility), I'd like to extend my begging to include another spell that gives me DM headaches.

Yep, it's that innocuous lookin' 2nd level Sor/Wiz spell: Rope Trick.

Leomund, eat your heart out. This 2nd level little bit of arcane tom-foolery allows the PC's to climb into an impregnable, damn-near undetectable, extra-dimensional space.

DM's - ever build a sprawling dungeon/cavern complex with multiple levels? Sure you have. Cackled evilly and scared your wife and children away as you realized the PC's would feel hunted the entire time they remained within your Edifice of Evil (TM)? I bet. And you didn't put a time limit on completion of the quest because, well, the Ancient Golden Globe of Garl has been sitting in mud for 3,000 years; what's another couple days gonna do.

And what do your PC's do? They become Rope Trickin' fiends.

Let me elaborate:

1) Fight.
2) Rope Trick.
3) Fight.
4) Rope Trick.
5) Really tough fight.
6) Rope Trick. Sorc pops head outside his own planar buble. Casts a New Rope Trick.

Yep, with an Extend Spell or two, a medium-level Sorc can basically Rope Trick the party for the rest of an elf's life. If you've got a priest to Create Food/Water, you're set. Bored - sure. But safe.

So...again, I appeal to the masses of DM's out there. Do you see the spell used frequently in your own campaigns? I hate having my PC's always at full strength going into every gosh darned encounter. Sure, I can have them harried and chased in some adventures, and I can have an element of 'beat the clock' in others, but the majority of the time they'll be able to safely reach full health/spells with a little 2nd level spell. It just doesn't sit well with me.

Damn Rope Trick! Damn it I say!

Sorry. Anyway, even those intelligent bad dudes who may know all about the powers of Trickin' da Rope still have to see the PC's climb into a spot in thin air. Or at least have to chase them into an empty room, check for Invisible folks (if they can; see my other post on these boards), and then decide that maybe the miscreants are playing cards in their own portable hole.

Do you see this used all the time? Should I worry about it? Or should I just bump EL's with this in mind? What did you do?

Again, I'd rather not debate the power of the spell, or compare it to higher level Leomund's spells. I'm mainly just probing you cats with much more experience than I to determine if this is just common in 3E games and, if so, does it warrant DM attention?

Vielen Danken,
RJ
 

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Drakmar

Explorer
well... I as the Dm.. I would make it possible to find the entrance with Detect Magic.

Better yet.. start having things like Phase Spiders attack them.. and other Extraplanar Scavengers.. things that are attracted to this bubble that keeps popping up. Otherwise.. Just start adding time limits. With Consiquences.. you don't save the maiden.. the villages refuse to have anything to do with you. that kind of thing.
 

Sir Whiskers

First Post
In the campaigns I've GM'd and played in, it's very common. In fact, as a GM, I encourage it. I want the players to be smart, and this spell gives them a chance to go all out, then break off and rest - not all the time, but often. When we ran through RttToEE, this spell probably saved us from TPK's more times than I can count (it's a loooong way back to town in that module).

That said, opponents can also use the spell. In addition, if the opposition suspects the pc's are hiding in a particular location, I can think of several nasty surprises they can setup just out of eyesight of the party (remember, they can only look straight down through a small opening). The first time they pile out of the rope trick to stumble across several glyphs should be priceless.
 


Victim

First Post
I'm pretty sure the FAQ says that Rope trick is safe with other extradimensional spaces.

Our group used this alot, but not after every fight. We'd generally either Rope Trick or TP out of the dungeon when A) we were beat up and low on healing, or B) our 10 min/level buffs wore off - which usually wasn't important, because everything except taking 20 on searches goes by quickly.

Enemies with Detect Magic or Arcane Sight can spot the opening, and then Dispel rope trick, dumping the napping party on to the ground.

Rope Trick is also useful as a defense against Scry/Teleport attacks.
 

Sir Whiskers

First Post
Spikey, there was a thread a few weeks ago that indicated that using bags of holding in a rope trick is okay - it's apparently part of the errata.

Also interesting, IIRC rope trick holds 8 creatures of the size of the caster - 8 colossal red dragons, anyone?
 

dren

First Post
Rope Trick Advice

RJSmalls , here a few things you could try.

1. Ethereal filchers that can lighten their loads while sleeping.

2. The spellcaster gets susceptible to an ethereal disease and has to make a will saving throw or starts to fade, as his spirit is slowly slipping into the ethereal from over-use of the spell.

3. It gets harder and harder to cast the spell, (the body is developing an immunity) and it requires an expensive or rare spell component in order to access the spell.

Regardless of what you do, make sure you give the players warning of the "potential" dangers. An older wizard may start to see the advance signals and gives them a heads-up. Make sure you give them a warning and don't do it too heavy handedly.

Hope that helps.
 

Latency

First Post
The group I DM I used the rules for air that the portable hole uses. No where in the spell description does it say that it will support life for the duration of the spell.
 

dave_o

Explorer
I believe the text for Rope Trick says "putting extradimentional spaces into other extradimentional spaces is hazardous".

Ooo. Hazardous. :D
 

hong

WotC's bitch
RJSmalls said:
Leomund, eat your heart out. This 2nd level little bit of arcane tom-foolery allows the PC's to climb into an impregnable, damn-near undetectable, extra-dimensional space.

DM's - ever build a sprawling dungeon/cavern complex with multiple levels?

Nope.

Cackled evilly and scared your wife and children away as you realized the PC's would feel hunted the entire time they remained within your Edifice of Evil (TM)?

Nope.

And you didn't put a time limit on completion of the quest because, well, the Ancient Golden Globe of Garl has been sitting in mud for 3,000 years; what's another couple days gonna do.

Well, you were stupid, weren't you?

If it bothers you that much, ban the spell. That's what I did; although in my case, being attacked at night is also a long and hallowed Ultima tradition. Although now the party knight is so paranoid about being caught out of his armour, he put the calling enchantment on it from DotF (teleports it on to him in 1 round).

Mind you, this is the same player who, in another campaign, bought a mithral chain shirt specifically to wear at night, when he wouldn't have his usual N buffups as N approaches infinity. We called them his mithral pyjamas. :)
 
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Sejs

First Post
It's not a far stretch to have Dimensional Anchor block people from crossing into or out of a rope trick spell. It's -basically- bodily extradimentional travel as is. Load up a Hallow or Unhallow on your dungeon, toss Dimensional Anchor as it's warding spell. Bam. No rope trick.




But really, be honest. The reason ya don't like Rope Trick because it takes away the DM's Screwing With PCs At Night options, isn't it? Speaking as a PC.. we hate middle of the night fights. We're not prepared for the most part, there's bugger all for visibility, and tend to be low on spells which all adds up to people getting really hurt. And then you get fatigue penalties the next day. Rope Trick seems a pretty logical extension, really. Were I a wizard I would make a point of developing a spell that gives me a secure, hidden, weather-and-ambush proof place to sleep no matter where I went. As for the above suggestions of etherial filchers stealing the PCs goodies as punishment for useing Rope Trick too much.. or etherial diseases making you fade.. or etherial predators or undead taking notice of you Rope Tricking all the time.. or etherial stock brokers messing with your portfolio because they don't like how you invested in Rope Trick futures.. nuh uh. Rope Trick isn't etherial. Sorry.
 

Melan

Explorer
My players did this all the time... Until the cleric was caught in one while the high level Skeleton King below waited until the duration ran out. :D
 


The_lone_gunman

First Post
Well if your dungeons are living creations and not just room after room of random monsters, I would definately have the beasties be much more prepared when the players come out of that rope trick. They might be more inclined to continue on once the enemy has fortified their locations with palisades, laid traps galore, and gotten replacement beasts brought in.

You could also have the main bad guy scry on them while they are fighting his minions, then watch them enter the rope trick. Then he simply brings a bunch of minions in, surround the spot, casts see inv, then a targeted dispel magic on the rope trick, which would have one of two effects: 1) drops the PC's onto the hard rock floor of the dungeon in their skivy's, surrounded by enemy. 2) dropped randomly into the astral plane.

For your third suprise you could just have the monsters keep coming, just keep pushing more stuff at the players so they have not time to stop and cast their rope trick. An elaborate alarm system in the dungeon would accomplish this, something that draws all the denziens to the parties point.

There are tons of options that you can come up with so as not to just screw your players by banning the spell.


TLG
 

Zappo

Explorer
Deeeeeee-spell!! Detect magic can spot the location where the rope trick has been cast, and then the villains just have to cast dispel to cause the PCs to fall out. Or, they can sit nearby, out of the area that tht PCs can view from within the space, and ready actions to attack as soon as something comes out. You mentioned that the sorcerer occasionally comes out to re-cast rope trick; have him being grappled by one of the enemies. The rest of the party can only climb out one person per round, so the sorc will have an interesting time before he can be rescued...
 

The Grey Dwarf

First Post
Just a question:
Do they have to use it because every fight leaves them borderline dead and without spells?

In this case, you can't really blame them. Your dungeon might need some adjustments, not the spell. ;)

On the other hand if they use it only to enter every fight at maximum power, well ... see the previous posts. :D
 

krunchyfrogg

Explorer
As a player, I love rope trick too. I've never abused it that way, and I never knew about the extra dimensional space errata.

Thanks for bringing it up before me, spikey! ;)
 

Carnifex

First Post
Take a trick out of Piratecat's book, a very nasty one from his SH indeed ;) When the party is happily ensconced in their rope-trick refuge, the enemy do the following:

1)Locate where the party rope tricked, through detect magics or other divinations, if they don't already know.

2)Build a bonfire under the spot where the party leave the demiplane.

3)Dispel the rope trick, ejecting the party straight into a bonfire. (As to whether you can dispel it is a bit dubious in the core rules, but if you'er the DM - Rule Zero it!)

Alternatively, the bad guys can just locate the little entrance and start lobbing firebombs up into the interior of the demiplane.
 

Zappo

Explorer
Edit: Wow, this is in incredibly bad taste. Please keep that type of material elsewhere, thanks.-- Dinkeldog
 
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Deadguy

First Post
As others have pointed out, the biggest single weakness of the Rope Trick is that you don't get to see what's going on around you! PKitty's bonfire is an example of one way that might be exploited. But there are oodles of things that, if the PCs knew about it at the time, they could've dealt with it, but because they didn't see it they couldn't act. And if they take to putting a guard outside the dimensional pocket then they defeat the hidden element of the spell and become vulnerable again. And don't less the Wizzer or Sorc abuse his familiar by commanding it to stay outside; if it's too dangerous for the Boss, it's sure too dangerous for a little toad or rat!

It's a spell that's too low a level for what it offers, sure (a legacy thing, I would guess), but it isn't the end of the world, if you make being aware at night, or after fights, an advantage.
 

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