5E Ways to tackle etherealness

robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
One trope it might be useful for your players to learn is that magic shouldn't be used for trivial purposes.

So the sandstorm should pose minimal threat if the PCs take conventional precautions. But if they go ethereal they encounter all sorts of ghosts and monsters.
It's a bit late for that :) And I'm not sure that they will use Etherealness, just trying to avoid having my plans go up in smoke right from the get-go and turn the session into a bit of a let down. We don't have too many to go and they just used Etherealness to great effect a couple of sessions ago but overuse would become tiresome. (Can't believe it doesn't have some kind of material cost...)
 
Could you bait them into coming out of etherealness? Maybe there is a damsel in distress within the sandstorm just outside of the temple. This would also encourage them to take shelter in the temple, which sounds like the actual problem here: Getting them into that darn temple!
 

Blackrat

He Who Lurks Beyond The Veil
Ether Dragon. They don’t like it when corporeals invade their home. This one has sensed a lot of invasions lately and has begun to investigate...
 

robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
Could you bait them into coming out of etherealness? Maybe there is a damsel in distress within the sandstorm just outside of the temple. This would also encourage them to take shelter in the temple, which sounds like the actual problem here: Getting them into that darn temple!
Yeah - the trouble with Etherealness is how limited the sight is (60ft if memory serves) - so unless they're right by they won't notice. But, yeah, there is danger and reward in the temple naturally.
 

robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
Ether Dragon. They don’t like it when corporeals invade their home. This one has sensed a lot of invasions lately and has begun to investigate...
That's cool. A gargantuan Ethereal Dragon cruising by is causing turbulence that is churning up the storm in the real world. And of course it's hungry...
 

uzirath

Adventurer
That's cool. A gargantuan Ethereal Dragon cruising by is causing turbulence that is churning up the storm in the real world. And of course it's hungry...
Millenia from now the imperial meteorologists will make a shocking discovery: all inclement weather on the prime is caused by events in the border ethereal...
 

Nebulous

Hero
I think your problem encapsulates my issues with high level play; the DM has to be several steps ahead to make sure the PCs don't thwart the whole adventure by breaking the laws of physics and reality. I guess it makes my head hurt :)
 

NotAYakk

Adventurer
The sandstorm isn:t the point. The temple is.

Reframe it as a way to get them into the temple.

Again, these are demigods. "You need to get out of the weather" is ridiculous as a problem. "There is a meteor storm pummeling the planet" is closer.
 
Thanks for the ideas folks, the party is already on an adventure to retrieve a mcguffin so I’m not interested in starting a whole new threat, just trying to throw some obstacles in their path so that the journey is memorable and challenging. The storm is not intended to be the entire adventuring day but a reason to seek shelter in an ancient temple that provides its own set of challenges.

I like the multi-planar storm and perhaps that’s a hook for some follow on adventure? But the players are at level 20, so I’m looking to wrap things up with this final adventure :)
Its hard to have both a memorable scene and a single path progression at the same time.

The storm herding the players into your plot could use some bait. Local rumors speak of lost temple of X speak of unimaginable treasurer...... random swarms of undead seem to originate from the lost city of.....

A locked door(storm) in a single option hallway (must go to Temple) has not choice therefore it's probably better of as a few lines of set dressing.
 

robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
Its hard to have both a memorable scene and a single path progression at the same time.

The storm herding the players into your plot could use some bait. Local rumors speak of lost temple of X speak of unimaginable treasurer...... random swarms of undead seem to originate from the lost city of.....

A locked door(storm) in a single option hallway (must go to Temple) has not choice therefore it's probably better of as a few lines of set dressing.
I’m not going to insist they visit the temple, they can certainly try to make it through the storm, but the temple will be offered as a possible sanctuary. But if they do chose to go through the storm I want it to leave an impression :)
 

NotAYakk

Adventurer
They are level 20. What world shattering problem are they working on? Can we connect that to the temple or the storm?

If you want them in the temple, follow the 3 clue rule (well, 3 hooks). Poor weather can be one of those 3.

Do they have truesight? Or detect magic? That can provide a hook. Knowledge checks? Another hook.
 
They are level 20. What world shattering problem are they working on? Can we connect that to the temple or the storm?

If you want them in the temple, follow the 3 clue rule (well, 3 hooks). Poor weather can be one of those 3.

Do they have truesight? Or detect magic? That can provide a hook. Knowledge checks? Another hook.
Never heard of the three hook rule. I like it. I do think a lot of DM spoil it by burying the lead because they want to preserve mystery for some reason.
 

robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
They are level 20. What world shattering problem are they working on? Can we connect that to the temple or the storm?

If you want them in the temple, follow the 3 clue rule (well, 3 hooks). Poor weather can be one of those 3.

Do they have truesight? Or detect magic? That can provide a hook. Knowledge checks? Another hook.
I rebooted the campaign when the world shattering story they were on was kind of boring us all to tears (an OotA reboot that was more fun on paper than in reality). We're now on a much more personal mission where a former member of the party is being held by a super-powerful NPC on pain of eternal torment unless the party fixes the problem inadvertently caused by the PC. They're exploring a new world (to them) and having fun once more with their adventure.
 

uzirath

Adventurer
Maybe the temple itself has a multiplanar footprint—its physical form exists simultaneously on the prime and the ethereal (and maybe even some other, more exotic planes that tie into your cosmology). This has the advantage of letting them find it in either realm and removes the possibility of using the ethereal as a way of scouting or teleporting around the temple. This wouldn't seem out of place in a high-level adventure. It shouldn't phase your players...
 

NotAYakk

Adventurer
So there is a problem they are solving that is important to a god-scale NPC.

Also, characters have their.own motivations.

Some hook ideas beyond the bad weather:
1. Temptation of Power. The storm is coming from the temple; that is a lot of magic. Maybe they can steal it?
2. Outsmarting the BBEG. The temple has symbols related to their foe on it. Maybe they can learn something that can get them to outmaneuver their foe?
3. That's funny? There is something anamolous about the temple. It floats? It has a mirror copy above it? There is no storm next to it? Aren't you .. curious?
4. Connection to their quest (not suberting it).
5. Connection to a past event. Did they kill some ancient evil at level 10? This is marked with her sigil.
 
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robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
Well the joke's on me. They used Leomund's Tiny Hut instead - my god that thing is overpowered! :)

I did have a flock of Roc's hassle them on the carpet as the storm approached (they were trying to get the Hut ritual done before the Roc's attacked, unfortunately for them one of the Roc's managed to snatch one of the party before the ritual was completed, throwing that plan into disarray). Thrills and spills ensued but they managed to deter the Rocs and get back on the carpet before the storm struck so they rode it out in the Hut. The storm however uncovered an ancient buried Ziggurat that just had to be explored (their choice of course - but this group loves exploration). They went in the next morning and began exploring, and then the cleric decided to break out Etherealness, but this time I was prepared and a creepy voice entered their minds as they transitioned to the Ethereal plane. We ended the session at that point with the players quite excited about what's going to happen next.

Fun times.
 

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