D&D 5E Skywrite: a weapon of mass communication/coordination


log in or register to remove this ad

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
”Drink Coca Cola” like messages will certainly be the more common usage!
More to the point, if it gets used for advertising the sky above any major town would soon be chock full of cloud-writing, with the cluods getting in each other's way and blocking their messages; meanwhile true sunshine in the town below would be rare indeed... :)
 

greg kaye

Explorer
..., if it gets used for advertising the sky above any major town would soon be chock full of cloud-writing, ...
From a worldbuilding perspective, are there other things that might occupy the downtime concentration of those (hopefully few) artificers, bards, druids and wizards that progress to third-level and beyond and that know/can prepare Skywrite?
 


greg kaye

Explorer
”Drink Coca Cola” like messages will certainly be the more common usage!
So a potentially less leveled artisan could spend a day to paint a sign on the side of a building that would last for years.
A caster well progressed in spelling could spend 10 minutes to produce some cloud-like writing that would last for the hour in which concentration was maintained.
Once the novelty of Skywrite has worn off, I'm not convinced of its enduring appeal or practicality.
... It basically turns the sky into a completely unmoderated twitter feed, one that you can't escape by turning your device off.
Overuse could result in resentment going sky-high.
... the sky above any major town would soon be chock full of cloud-writing, with the cluods getting in each other's way and blocking their messages; meanwhile true sunshine in the town below would be rare indeed...
"Clucking Coca-Cola messing up my sky and darkening my day. Make mine a Dr. Pepper!"
 

pukunui

Legend
It's basically the magical equivalent of an airplane towing a sign flying past beachgoers. It doesn't need to be a permanent thing, but if it gets some hot people at the beach to purchase a cold beverage, then it's done its job. In a world of magitech like Eberron, using skywrite for advertising makes sense. Perhaps less so in a world like Faerûn.
 

jgsugden

Legend
Picture yourself in a fantasy world looking up into the sky and seeing a simple message created using this spell. Do you have your mental picture of it? Was it 50 or so characters long? How big were the letters?

Just to toss it out there - third level druids can basically ritual spam 6 of these spells giving them 60 words. A circle of a dozen druids might be able to maintain 720 words all day long .... and each word could be very long - 30 to 40 characters, or longer if you permit a name to be a word. Lets say 12 druids generate 2250 characters in the sky ... constantly ... every day ... Think about the mental picture you had of that spell and now picture instead of 50 characters there were 45 times as many letters overlapping in the sky... An what if that 12 druids were 100 druids for ~375 times as much sky blocked out....

That could be used to block out all that direct sunlight over farm lands ... to give undead freedom to walk in the daylight without being hit by the rays of the sun ... etc....

This is one of those spells that - if a DM allows it to function as many of us visualize it being cast in isolation - could be a weapon of mass destruction if abused.

(I've been thinking about this since Critical Role Campaign 2 when we heard about the dark skies in Wildemount ... and people asked how you could do it with existing spells).
 


greg kaye

Explorer
Precisely! That's how insanely powerful this spell is. In fact, I can't think of a spell that would more actively provoke the development of jurisdiction regulation of magic.
I also can't think of a spell that could be of more use within a jurisdiction with regulation against magic than Skywrite.
... Messages like "[X monarch/ruler of the forgotten realms] is a [naughty word]" ...
could abound.

Meanwhile, there's also the considerable issue of:
Sure, these are spells that could certainly leave targets feeling more than disenchanted:
Charm Person, at 1st level, has a range of just 30 ft, a duration of just an hour, an effect of just giving the charmer advantage on ability checks with social interaction (the kind of thing that could be done with two proficient persuaders acting together) and the potentially bitter result that "the creature knows it was charmed by you".
Dominate Person, at 5th level, has a better range of 60 ft, a worse duration of just a minute, an effect that: "While the target is charmed, ... you can ... issue commands to the creature ..., which it does its best to obey", and a result of potentially leaving the creature, after attempting your choice of simple action/s, of wondering wtf. This is especially limited under the Jeremy Crawford consideration that "No rule lets you opt to fail a save" especially "assuming you aren't ... dominated". This would mean that you can't force a failed save against Modify Memory (which, if a force was possible, would have needed to cast separately as Dominate spells require concentration).
Geas, also at 5th level, also has a range of 60 ft, a long duration of 30 days but an effect of "forcing [the target] to carry out some service or refrain from some action or course of activity". This could be awesome but, according to spellcasting/combining magical effects, "The effects of the same spell cast multiple times don't combine". You can't both force a target to do something and force them not to take other related actions.
There are also the spells suggestion and mass suggestion, but this is why members of the bodyguard and inner circle of the government/monarch all study philosophy as part of their downtime.

Despite a clear and present danger from charms, I'm not sure whether a first response would be to regulate against magic or to encourage magic so as to develop protection against charms.
 

Despite a clear and present danger from charms, I'm not sure whether a first response would be to regulate against magic or to encourage magic so as to develop protection against charms.
there's absolutely 0 reason a state couldn't opt to do both - heavily regulate (if not outright outlaw) the usage of charms while simultaneously providing funding to research into protecting against said charms.
 

Voidrunner's Codex

Remove ads

Top