D&D General Wishing Away The Adventure

Oofta

Legend
It still allows completely bypassing most travel, making actually cool things like magical mounts and flying ships undesirable. And waiting one day to get your spells back is nothing, as you definitely skipped way longer travel time already. BTW, plane shift is effectively more reliable teleport if even if you were not actually wanting to go to another plane. You just need to cast it twice to get reliably to any location on your home plane.

I simply say that the teleport spell is highly unreliable - even sometimes in cases where you know the target. In addition, if you take an object from a location it has to be something iconic and unique to that area, it can't just be a rock from the side of the road. Sigils for teleportation circles do exist, but they're typically a tightly guarded secret for a good reason; you don't automatically learn any sigils it will be dependent on what you would logically know. I also let the PCs cast it as a ritual because it's pretty rarely useful.

But I agree with the whole travel from A to B can be part of the fun. Why have a flying ship if you can just pop from one location to the next? I also have pathways that allow fast travel similar to The Ways from the Wheel of Time books. I also limit plane shift, but that's more for thematic reasons because I base my cosmology on Norse myths. Why have a guardian of the Asgard bridge if anyone can just planeshift wherever they want? So you have to find a portal or a weak spot between the worlds for the Feywild or Shadowfell. I also think I mentioned on above that Plane Shift doesn't let you go to a specific location, it sends you do a general location. Depending on where you're going that could be quite hazardous.
 

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Mort

Legend
Supporter
I really am not fan of this sort of magical countermeasures game. It requires any high level treat to have access to counter magic, and as GM can just decide that they do, this basically results GM making up excuses why you cant use your powers. I much rather just remove the problematic spells, so that whatever spells the players get to choose they actually can use.

It's just a recognition that the game changes at high level. If regular joes kidnap the PCs friend, they get what they get. If people prepared for the PCs do that - it's a bit of a different story.

But yes you generally have 2 options when dealing with high level play. Ban any offending spells, or roll with them and accept the PCs might obviate/bypass a larger % of challenges than they did before. Generally, I choose to embrace the PCs bypassing stuff - makes them really see they have advanced - and forces me to think about challenges differently.
 

Oofta

Legend
But again, only if you know where you are going. If you don't those magical mounts, flying ships etc. - still very useful.

And even if you do know where you are going, it drains a fairly high level resource. a PC will get 1 7th level spell, using it to get somewhere, means you don't have it WHEN you get there.

Assuming PCs aren't completely allowed to control the pace of play (something essential in ANY high level game IMO) that's a big enough cost to consider not teleporting in, unless you HAVE to for some reason.

It also doesn't eliminate exploration if you only have a general idea. I also have no idea what scrying people are doing that gives them enough details to bypass all exploration. For example, Scrying simply "You can see and hear a particular creature you choose that is on the same plane of existence as you." Doesn't tell you where they are, doesn't let you eavesdrop into other parts of the conversation, doesn't allow you to see much of anything other than the target. To target a location you have to have seen it already.

But most divination is pretty limited in scope, even contacting extraplanar beings doesn't help a lot since the answers are going to be cryptic if the being even knows. Even gods are not omnipotent in my campaign, if they were Baldur would still be alive. Assuming you don't just go insane, of course.
 

Oofta

Legend
Or, classic thing: Rescue plot.

Cast scrying. You instantly know exactly where the victim is, as the target of scrying can intentionally fail the save. You can then spend ten minutes carefully examining the area, followed by casting teleport. You are by definition "very familiar" with the location, having just spent ten minutes memorizing details about it directly with your own senses: "a place you have carefully studied."

It also works if it's a big bad you've already met/fought and have some kind of physical connection to (e.g., a statue, portrait, or drawing of them, or even better a possession of theirs) or especially if you have an actual sympathetic link like a lock of hair or one of their nail clippings (though that is, naturally, harder to get.) It even explicitly mentions the use of scrying in order to teleport somewhere in the spell text of teleport (by way of saying that, if you had viewed an illusion, it could interfere with your efforts.)

So...yeah. Tracking down a lost ally? Completely obviated by two spells. Three, I guess, if you want to then escape the same way.


Scrying and other divination magic is quite good at getting you to know where you're going quickly.

I was already presuming high-level characters. That was the point of the thread; high-level characters break open the math of the game. All you need is two casters that can cast teleport, one of whom can also cast scrying. Bard, Sorcerer, or Wizard can all cast either one, as can Arcana Clerics. Wizard is naturally best (as it is at most spellcasting things), but the other options are also valid.


Scrying: "You can see and hear a particular creature you choose that is on the same plane of existence as you." That's it. Doesn't say you know where they are or see their surroundings. You don't even hear who the person is talking to. Assuming of course they aren't just sitting there washing dishes or whatever it is they do in their downtime.
 

Oofta

Legend
Presumably the kidnappers know they're messing with high level individuals (and if not, what happens next, well happens next).

There are ways to foil scrying - cast non-detection on the area you're kidnap victim is in - for example. Standard, no - but when dealing with an archmage? yeah, probably.

Private Sanctum can be made permanent and stops scrying in addition to teleportation.
 

EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
Which is why I said not allowing the party to always dictate the pace of play is essential. They teleport, rest and then bust in on the BBEG who has had 8 extra HOURS to prepare or, more likely, has moved.

The key is to make sure the PCs see teleport as a convenience not as a game buster.
Well if they hadn't teleported, the bad guy probably would have had weeks prepare instead of mere hours. 🤷
Yeah I feel like you aren't really listening to Crimson Longinus here, Mort. It can take days, even weeks to travel the distance that teleport can cover in but a single action. Even if you throw in 20 minutes to cast and fully exploit scrying and then eight hours' bed rest to be in full fighting shape, there's...just really no way that overland travel isn't going to take longer to achieve the same end.

It's just a recognition that the game changes at high level. If regular joes kidnap the PCs friend, they get what they get. If people prepared for the PCs do that - it's a bit of a different story.

But yes you generally have 2 options when dealing with high level play. Ban any offending spells, or roll with them and accept the PCs might obviate/bypass a larger % of challenges than they did before. Generally, I choose to embrace the PCs bypassing stuff - makes them really see they have advanced - and forces me to think about challenges differently.
The problem is, with the highest three levels of spells, the percent of challenges they obviate/bypass becomes exceedingly large. As in, almost everything has some spell it can be obviated by. Yes, it's true that not every caster will have them, but a diverse party with at least two distinct full spellcasters is likely to have most of them, and three almost certainly will, once they're high enough level.

I'm not saying that it's bad that DMs should need to plan. I'm saying that the excessive degree to which most things that would qualify as interesting stakes become obviated is...well, a problem. A pretty big one,a ctually.

I simply say that the teleport spell is highly unreliable - even sometimes in cases where you know the target. In addition, if you take an object from a location it has to be something iconic and unique to that area, it can't just be a rock from the side of the road.
In other words, you actively nerf the spell so that it merely has a chance to obviate things--which is what I already said. You make the tool crappy, so there's never really any desire to use it, which is just soft-banning it. E.g., your requirement that the object be "iconic" is simply a straight-up nerf to the text of the spell, which explicitly says that "a chunk of marble from a lich's tomb" is a perfectly valid "associated object." It isn't the only not-very-emblematic thing either, as it also mentions bedclothes and library books, neither of which is guaranteed to be so precisely identifiable with a specific place. How is this not an admission that teleportation, as it stands in the rules, is a problem that needs to be curtailed?

Sigils for teleportation circles do exist, but they're typically a tightly guarded secret for a good reason; you don't automatically learn any sigils it will be dependent on what you would logically know. I also let the PCs cast it as a ritual because it's pretty rarely useful.
Note that we are speaking of teleport, rather than teleportation circle. The former is a 7th-level spell that does not require such sigils (though using them skips the "roll to see how close you got" part, same as having an "associated object")

But I agree with the whole travel from A to B can be part of the fun. Why have a flying ship if you can just pop from one location to the next? I also have pathways that allow fast travel similar to The Ways from the Wheel of Time books. I also limit plane shift, but that's more for thematic reasons because I base my cosmology on Norse myths. Why have a guardian of the Asgard bridge if anyone can just planeshift wherever they want? So you have to find a portal or a weak spot between the worlds for the Feywild or Shadowfell.
All of which are cool, flavorful, reasonable choices...that are nerfs to these spells so they won't be so broken. You are taking one of the two paths I already outlined. Either you take away the toys to some degree (nerfing, banning, narrowing, etc.), or you get into an arms race over them.

I also think I mentioned on above that Plane Shift doesn't let you go to a specific location, it sends you do a general location. Depending on where you're going that could be quite hazardous.
Which sounds like straight-up adversarial DMing. "Oh, you used that spell that explicitly does something that would mess up this stuff? Well guess what now you're dropped in a lake of fire next to the City of Brass!" I doubt you would actually do something that petty, but that's merely an extreme demonstration of the logic going on here. The players used a tool that was inappropriate, so they must be punished by having to face some kind of danger. Why not alter the tool so it isn't inappropriate? Why have all these ad-hoc, post-facto nerfs and patches and punishments when you could just....have it actually be part of playing the game that these things are difficult and need time and preparation, rather than a fire-and-forget spell slot?
 

EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
Scrying: "You can see and hear a particular creature you choose that is on the same plane of existence as you." That's it. Doesn't say you know where they are or see their surroundings. You don't even hear who the person is talking to. Assuming of course they aren't just sitting there washing dishes or whatever it is they do in their downtime.
It does a hell of a lot more than that, if you read down where it describes the actual effects of a failed save:

"On a failed save, the spell creates an invisible sensor within 10 feet of the target. You can see and hear through the sensor as if you were there. The sensor moves with the target, remaining within 10 feet of it for the duration. A creature that can see invisible objects sees the sensor as a luminous orb about the size of your fist."

Given "you can see and hear through the sensor as if you were there," I'm pretty sure you can become quite familiar with the area during the 10 minutes the sensor is active.
 

Mort

Legend
Supporter
Yeah I feel like you aren't really listening to Crimson Longinus here, Mort. It can take days, even weeks to travel the distance that teleport can cover in but a single action. Even if you throw in 20 minutes to cast and fully exploit scrying and then eight hours' bed rest to be in full fighting shape, there's...just really no way that overland travel isn't going to take longer to achieve the same end.
All that really does is eliminate the travel time, two weeks, 6 seconds, the adventure isn't really changed - the PCs arrive at the destination.

If the adventure was supposed to be the journey? Presumably, the PCs have spent the prior levels traveling the old fashioned way (or a bit better as level went up) and experiencing the journey (which, yes, can be fun) multiple times. Nothing wrong with allowing a short cut now that they're at a level they can.




The problem is, with the highest three levels of spells, the percent of challenges they obviate/bypass becomes exceedingly large. As in, almost everything has some spell it can be obviated by. Yes, it's true that not every caster will have them, but a diverse party with at least two distinct full spellcasters is likely to have most of them, and three almost certainly will, once they're high enough level.

I'm not saying that it's bad that DMs should need to plan. I'm saying that the excessive degree to which most things that would qualify as interesting stakes become obviated is...well, a problem. A pretty big one,a ctually.

Maybe it's my players, but I just haven't had things ruined for me by scry, or teleport or the like. I HAVE had a situation or two where I EXPECTED the group to teleport to the destination but they decided to use slower means and I had to come up with a whole travel adventure I never expected to (I suppose I could have just said, nothing eventful happens, you're there - but that seems less fun).
 

Oofta

Legend
It does a hell of a lot more than that, if you read down where it describes the actual effects of a failed save:

"On a failed save, the spell creates an invisible sensor within 10 feet of the target. You can see and hear through the sensor as if you were there. The sensor moves with the target, remaining within 10 feet of it for the duration. A creature that can see invisible objects sees the sensor as a luminous orb about the size of your fist."

Given "you can see and hear through the sensor as if you were there," I'm pretty sure you can become quite familiar with the area during the 10 minutes the sensor is active.
I quoted directly from the spell. If there's text I'm missing please let me know, until then you can see and hear the target creature. Says nothing about seeing their surroundings or knowing where they are. Again, the full text of scrying as far as what you can observe: "You can see and hear a particular creature you choose that is on the same plane of existence as you."

There's nothing about seeing the area around the target. Feel free to rule it differently, I do what the spell says. A lot of issues go away with magic spells if you actually run them as written. 🤷‍♂️
 

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