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D&D General Wishing Away The Adventure

MarkB

Legend
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. 🤷‍♂️
The text that @EzekielRaiden quoted is also directly from the spell. It says that the spell creates a sensor within 10 feet of the target through which you can see and hear as if you were there.

It's a very big stretch to suggest that being able to see and hear as if you were within 10 feet of the target allows you to see nothing but the target itself.
 

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Oofta

Legend
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.


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.


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?


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")


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.

If it's important to the story to get to point B in a hurry I'll give them a way to get a teleportation circle sigil as part of that story. But there are multiple ways to nerf teleportation to a specific location, people just don't use them. I simply don't like teleportation thematically, it's boring. I also don't see how much of a difference it makes, exploration isn't about slogging through the wastes, it's about getting to those wastes and trying to find the specific location following clues and bread crumbs. If the travel itself is boring I'll just hand-wave it.

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?

I'm just relating what the plane shift spell says. If you target the City of Brass you may end up on the other side of the Sea of Fire is the explicit example they give.
 

Oofta

Legend
The text that @EzekielRaiden quoted is also directly from the spell. It says that the spell creates a sensor within 10 feet of the target through which you can see and hear as if you were there.

It's a very big stretch to suggest that being able to see and hear as if you were within 10 feet of the target allows you to see nothing but the target itself.
I'm hardly unique in my interpretation, it's pretty close to what Matt Mercer does in Critical Role for example. I'm not going to argue about it though, if you want the spell to do more than it says it does and then complain that the spell ruins all sorts of plots go right ahead.
 

MarkB

Legend
I'm hardly unique in my interpretation, it's pretty close to what Matt Mercer does in Critical Role for example. I'm not going to argue about it though, if you want the spell to do more than it says it does and then complain that the spell ruins all sorts of plots go right ahead.
Yeah, lots of people limit it precisely in order to avoid it ruining such things, but nothing in the spell description limits it that way.
 

Oofta

Legend
Yeah, lots of people limit it precisely in order to avoid it ruining such things, but nothing in the spell description limits it that way.
I think it only does what the text says it does. Same way I've seen other DMs run it.

I don't see a reason to make it more powerful. There's also multiple ways of stopping it if it's more fun for the group.
 


EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
I think it only does what the text says it does. Same way I've seen other DMs run it.

I don't see a reason to make it more powerful. There's also multiple ways of stopping it if it's more fun for the group.
I literally quoted the text where it says what happens when the target fails its save.

You quoted the first paragraph. There is much more to the spell than just that first paragraph.
 

Oofta

Legend
I literally quoted the text where it says what happens when the target fails its save.

You quoted the first paragraph. There is much more to the spell than just that first paragraph.
Saying where the censor is in context of what the target can see has no impact on what the spell does. Nothing in the second paragraph contradicts or expands on the clear limits of the spell.

That's how I rule it, that's how I've seen other DMs rule it including Matt Mercer on Critical Role.

I'm not arguing about this further. I simply think making it overly powerful and then complaining that it's overly powerful is a problem of your own making.
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
I'm all for cleverness from my players. I've probably already regaled you with the tale of the obsidian golem my players defeated by completely outsmarting me.

My issue is that I have seen--have at times personally done--the wishing away of interesting challenges with a spell or two. Murder mysteries eliminated with raise dead (thankfully, the spell Raise Dead in DW works differently, and is thus much more compatible with a murder mystery even when you roll a full success.) Exploration challenges obviated with a teleport, the classic "fly the Ring to Mordor on the Eagles" problem. I mean, 5e straight-up nerfed pretty much all charm-type spells specifically because they were a notorious short-circuit for social stuff.

Again, I don't mind using tools creatively. I just think that, because of D&D's wild-and-wooly early design choices getting ossified as the Eternal Doctrine of Now and Forever, we're saddled with several low-level spells that completely negate a few specific gameplay challenges that would be interesting to solve with more effortful tools/approaches, and a few high-level spells that outright do no-sale entire plotlines. Some simple divination magic + a teleport or two turns an epic struggle into an afternoon's work, and there's...really not much you can do about that other than to take those spells away, whether outright or via nerfing them into something more workable.

In effect, it's the kryptonite problem. In the absence of kryptonite, Superman is invincible. In its presence, Superman is even weaker than an ordinary human. But unlike Superman, who can be challenged in ways that are totally orthogonal to his powers, spells can do literally almost anything, and that all too often means negating entire plotlines by, for example:
  • Reading a target's mind
  • Scrying a location and teleporting (as noted)
  • Disintegrating a dangerous object immediately
  • Reviving the dead
  • Altering reality, even if under limits
  • Creating indefinitely-stable backup clone bodies of VIPs
  • Creating pocket planes to hide things in
  • Nullifying all mental manipulation (and scrying, to boot)
  • Traversing interplanar distances instantly
  • Calling in outsiders to aid
Creating situations that still permit these things to be useful, but which don't make them instant "I win" buttons for large swathes of meaningful conflict, becomes harder and harder. Death, containment, logistics, transportation, communication, surveillance, intrigue, and most other forms of meaningful challenge go out the window, often forcing things into either a DM/player arms race, or rather repetitious stuff that can only be solved with brute force.

It's not a bad thing for players to get some access to powerful tools that can be used in a lot of ways, some of them very creative. It is a problem when those powerful tools become commonplace and largely suck out any potential for meaningful conflict and stakes that aren't "slugging match." When nearly all information is available to them with just a couple spells, and nearly all locations are reachable in a couple more, and nearly all interactions with others can be forced into the shape the players desire them to be...what exactly is left? And they can do that in, at most, the span of 2-3 days. Less, if you have multiple spellcasters cooperating with one another, e.g. one each Bard, Cleric, and Wizard.

This is just one of several reasons why having a genuinely separate Rituals system is so useful. You can have these incredibly powerful tools, and even have those tools find their way into the players' hands--but those Rituals cost resources, some of which may be difficult or even impossible to replace. Being able to scry-and-fry on demand is a problem. Being able to do it once, with planning and preparation, both enables and invites creativity rather than lazy constant use.


As stated: Adversarial DMing is an unfortunate baked-in element of classic D&D design, and as a result, we live in its frustratingly long shadow.
Little to none of these issues are likely to be corrected by WotC, ever. Are you just looking to vent here? I ask because you mentioned Dungeon World, which I assume is better suited to your preferences and which it appears you are playing.
 

Reynard

Legend
Supporter
Saying where the censor is in context of what the target can see has no impact on what the spell does. Nothing in the second paragraph contradicts or expands on the clear limits of the spell.

That's how I rule it, that's how I've seen other DMs rule it including Matt Mercer on Critical Role.

I'm not arguing about this further. I simply think making it overly powerful and then complaining that it's overly powerful is a problem of your own making.
I agree. There is no contradiction.

You see and hear a specific target as if you were 10 feet away from that target. It is a camera with a mic focused on the subject, not a wizard eye you can move around at will.
 

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