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Lets say that wyrm is right and it is hard to become wizard and takes years to accomplish.
Lets take 2 small countries of 1 million folks each. Neither one has much magical infrastructure at this point. If 1 invests 10 percent into magical colleges and training wizard core is there anything 2 can do that does not involve magic with the same coin? I think the answer is no and since that is the case that means that while peasants can not easily afford magical training, countries can.
A plane with several gates back to the material plane can connect every important site it the world easily. The cost of two permanent castings is quite low compared to the trade value of the new road.
An animated object can be given a fly speed the str carry many thousands of tons. Can also be done with undead or trained dinos.
Traps allow the spamming of spells (the should require ammo) to point where a raise dead and remove disease trap be in every town.
Fabricate allows mass production.
Levitate allows floating platforms for defense.
Remember that an RPG is not a computer game. Since rules must go through GM with a human brain first we do not need a rule to say that if your PC falls into water that you are now wet.
dead creatures not getting to act falls into that category.
As a GM I would not allow it to be fixed to an item. It has to be tied to a location. I may allow you to tie to a location that moves. A portal to a ship or flying castle or chicken hut could work in my games. The downside would be that the portal is destroyed if the ship/castle/chicken hut is destroyed.
In a world where flight is available (even the spell) will look different because walls will not be a valid defense of towns. Bunkers would need to be used. Maybe that is why we have dungeons.
Some house rules that help.
At will abilities are changed to 5 times a day on all things everywhere.
Traps that copy spells need a wand, scroll, staff, or x times a day item to power them.
Fabricate has no material component but instead targets the materials.
CL for magic item creation is your base CL and is a hard prereq.
If PCs are not interested in running a kingdom or exploiting infinite wealth loopholes then use the RAW. If they are then a trade/economic system will be needed.
A lyre of building or staff with fabricate in it are still crazy powerful but they are cost more and take longer to pay for themselves.
I tend to agree with Ael. I think he takes things to far with his arguments but his points are good.
The main reason to address this issue is the PCs. Lets say a party reaches 11th level and has liberated a small country from tyrant and decides to run the country themselves.
This is the situation that breaks immersion for folks like Ael and I.
Food security and national defense will be primary responsibilities.
As rulers we need to know what is going on across the country. Many outsiders have greater teleport at will. 20 or 30 such creatures with a fly speed can easily watch over vast swaths of the country side. Any attack on your villages and towns will be spotted and things like armies and big creatures will be spotted early. They can they teleport to the PCs who then teleport to the problem and deal with it.
Lantern and hound Archons serve this purpose wonderfully. They can be gained through planar ally, planar binding, plane shift+dominate monster(or simply asking) or simulacrim.
That is pretty good start on national security.
A simulacrim, bound, or allied bronze dragon (juvenile) will feed 168K civilians, more if they work more then 8 hours a day. Traps of create food and water cost 16500 GP and can feed 400K civilians. Logistics will reduce that that still....
At this point a lot of labor has been freed up simply by PC action. A wizard could start wizards college. If even 1 in 50 folks obtain wiz 1 there is enough magic to change everything.
The PCs then ask why other LG countries did not do this. They ask tyrants do not do some of it at least. They may want the people servile but they also want prosperous.
I do not think that tech as we know would happen in world with magic in it.
On the other hand it very hard to come up with a reason that large empires like Cheliax do not have have things like and air force or teleport networks or other magitech thing.
A lyre of building costs 13K to buy. In an hour is does 600 man/days of labor. Assuming it is only unskilled labor that is still 60 GP of work. If this allows a craft or profession check that increases to 600 GP in that single hour. Even at worst it will pay for itself in 50 months. At even untrained crafting levels it only takes 5 months to pay for itself. This can be reduced even more if the perform checks can be made to play longer.
A coldwarp key can make 9 cubic feet of processed metal a day. Lets call that about 400 GP a day in ingots. This means it takes less then 4 months to pay for this item purely by harvesting metal. If you go for equipping troops with full plate it can be done even faster.
With just this we have fairly good resource harvesting an building.
First off I was making a very over the top point using the trap rules.
A staff is slower but pays for itself in few months. The point is that is possible to make almost anything out of plain nothing. Since this is a one time cost this means that magic can replace all resource gathering and manufacturing processes.
In my games I rule that it does not work that way. Fabricate targets materials instead of using them as a component. Traps need source for the spells they cast like a wand, scroll, or staff. Also the lyre of building is a one time use item at the same cost. My PCs still buy them routinely.
So lets say that magic prevents tech from developing. How do you prevent magic from simply replacing tech?
For a stupidly low price I can have 14400 of something a day.
A fabricate trap only costs 2250 GP to make. On top of that I need to invest 33.3 times the value of the what ever I want. I will choose magic item crafting materials as my finished good. If I invest 3333 extra gp I only need trigger the trap 50 times to have all the material I need to craft for a full day.
A village of 500 with have little trouble affording that.
So we have now established that village (or 3rd level party) can access enough wealth craft items forever.
The highest spellcraft check I can see for an item would be about a 40.
Since you can take 10 we only need a modifier of 30 to make any item we can imagine.
A 5th wizard can have craft wondrous item, skill focus, Magical Aptitude, extra traits (Theoretical Magician) and 5 ranks in a class skill.
We are at +16. Start with 15 int. Headband of int +6, tome +5 and skill item gets us to a +29. Humans have extra feat and some races might be able to get a racial bonus to bump us over 30.
That crafter might be a bit over specific but losing 10 points still allows creation on most items.
This means a 5th level wizard and village can make any item given enough time.
3rd level adepts can make many low level items.
I must have missed those.
I was not sure if you can pass control by ordering it to follow directions of others.
I like the spinning gear idea.
A large animated object can be made strong enough to drag or even lift colossal things. That wold mean that a 5th level caster and enough money can make bomber.
I think tanks and planes are quite viable with this as long as control can be transferred or is unnecessary due to constant motion.
I would let the PC control the NPC allies if they join the fight. Otherwise alot the game is the players watching yo fight yourself.
For fun, have something down the Ks quickly then grab them and run. This works well if some get grabbed and others do not.
If I animate a wagon and order it to allow itself to be driven does that work?
Basically is there a method of transferring control that can be passed on even with out the makers presence or knowledge.
I want be able to animate a wagon then sell it to someone else. I also want that guy to be able to pass it on to others and so on down the line.
I was thinking of building in a piloting mechanism and commanding the construct to follow the piloting rig.
I would say they fight on your side until the end of the fight. My PCs have used this to make and keep allies.
Have the guy with high intimidate look menacing. "Tell me what I want to know before I let Bruno do what her wants to do"
"Take me to your leader, he can decide what to do with me."
So what you are saying is that high level play does not work if you just jump in to it. I can see that.
It is possible that I have just never seen good high level play. Can you give examples or a link to PbP? I know I have hard time with high level play but I want the game to be good through all levels. Since I have started talking about my fun levels have move from 8 to 12. Once Idea of how those levels work in a fun way set i could farther and still enjoy things.
I should have been more clear. They did go to Renchurch first to rescue the count. They simply skipped the witchgate stuff. Once they were there the buffed up, landed on the roof of the cathedral and cut a hole. Fun fight followed. They fell victim to the suffocation haunt but only 2 of the 5 needed to breath anyway. The cultist that fire the ghoul gun were chump change due to death ward and got captured. They interrogated the cultist and found out that the count was down below. The druid became an invisible earth elemental and scouted the whole basement. He hollowed out chamber near the end and then used a portable hole to taxi the party to it. PCs buff, break wall and attack. They skipped all the witchgate stuff, the outbuildings at Renchurch, and everything underground except the last two encounters. The worm that walks joined the last fight. Every PC had immunity to fear after the suffocation haunt so the tyrant's whispers never got used since I was saving it.
The above run through of book 5 was quite a bit of fun but much of the material went unused. The gallowspire got itself skipped totally. The PCs used divination to find out that they needed to go to the top. They were not stupid enough to fly though the undead cloud. Instead they used ectoplasmic fireballs to clear a patt, dim door to get to the top, and undeath ward to keep the cloud from converging on them. I did have few stronger undead try and get through but fail saves prevent that. Once at the top, cleric and druid used 4 earthquake spells in 2 rounds to make a hole. They even made very difficult spellcraft and knowledge engineering rolls to guide the collapse the way they wanted. The BBEG and dragon showed. The cav charged the lich and destroyed it in one go. The dragon got in a set of actions and two of the PCs did fall but the cav was not one of them. The bard dim doored the cav to position with a charge lane and the cav ended the dragon.
The fight itself was not bad but they skipped all of book 6 except the end.
I think that part my issue with high level play is that I like using published material. At low levels I rarely need to change a thing. At high levels (9+) I have to redo most everything since it is unlikely that my PCs are going to actually go room by room and deal with things.
Often I rewrite the BBEG to be an actually challenge then have every other critter swarm over them in waves. I would say I use APL +6 or 7 in my late game fights in order to challenge my PCs, though rarely in single foe more then a level or two higher then the PCs.
carrion crown ending:
My PCs skipped all the witchgate stuff with windwalk and life bubble. The also skipped most of the book 6 by using several protections from undead, dim door to travel up the tower, and a few earth quacks to break in. Once they got their the the BBEG got 1 action in witch he kill the caviler witch promptly got got brought back. Then he charged and one shotted the BBEG.
Lets assume that the PCs find a clue that the dragon did not die, say an old journal in his former lair or he tripped an alarm when he peeked back at the area.
If mindblank is not use then divination should work to find him with all that much trouble. Getting to his plane could be tough since forks are not going to be common.
If this kind of thing is a single encounter in the high level world then how would you expand it to an adventure?
Outsiders make great henchmen but how do you explain their getting here. I suppose DM fiat works and can be explained by a god supporting the BBEG. If they do that though then why do the good gods not send angels to help the PCs?
I really like the idea of the early level object lesson on letting the BBEG have the time he needs.
In your games do you keep the pressure up form level 5 onward? This can lead to the PCs gaining 10 levels in a month. It does limit item availability and crafting time nicely and might even explain why the BBEG did not see them coming. On they other hand how do you justify a swordsman who had trouble with a troll three weeks ago being able to down a storm giant with a single swing today.
If you let months or years go by with no active threats what do you let them do with their downtime?
Lets take an example. A few centuries ago dragon dominated the region of the world. Then one day he just disappeared and has not been seen since. People have moved in and built a thriving kingdom in the area and even re purposed the dragons old lair. The dragon did not die, instead he moved to his new lair in demi-plane of his own making. He then lost track of time perfecting it and finding rare treasures through the multiverse. Now he looks back at his old domain and hates what he sees. The PCs are the kingdom's greatest heros and the stand for everything he despises.
How would you run the return of the great dragon to his old stomping grounds?
I have run Carrion Crown and Skull and Shackles. I found books 5 and 6 in both APs did not really address what a high level PC can do. Carrion Crown was better but still not great.
Thanks for the response by the way.
I agree totally with not using 1 v many fights. Those are never fun.
So if the PCs are going in fully buffed and in all likely hood they only need to fight this one fight today how much do you amp of the bad guys to prevent anti-climax with a few well placed SoDs?
By now the PCs can likely cast vision. Repeated castings will should let you learn alot. Using commune repeatedly should let you identify and locate just about anything. I know you can prevent with mind blank but that simply turns of their powers. If you do that then they might as well not have them.
As to the economy I can see that they would simply want more wealth to have more items to be better at their job. On a different note a good PC may see setting up a post scarcity economy as good for many folks. I understand the point of the game is to kill monsters but the world often does not make sense if the magic is not a major part of the world's economy.
If you keep high level NPCs rare then where do you find enough challenge your PCs. How do you account for their magnified impact on the world?
Rep management is great idea. Can you give an example of how you did that in a game you ran? For some reason I have not actually read RotRL. I should do that.
I would love to play a high level game that does not go stale quickly as the PCs find a way into the room more often then not win before the other side goes. In the adventures I have read I have had to modify the BBEGs capabilities significantly in order to close up some easily cover vulnerabilities.
I realize that things need to change when PCs get to higher levels. At low levels things like walls and door can channel a party through a dungeon crawl. At higher levels they have so many different ways to find out what is going on and just skipping over to it.
For this discussion lets assume that the table has reasonable rules that prevent snow con wish machines, nested fast time planes, abusive trap rules, and huge armies of bound outsiders.
What makes a good story at 13th level and above? How do you present a new BBEGs arrival on the scene? If he is not new why has he not moved against the PCs already?
Part of making a boss fight interesting is softening the PCs up by having them wade through your minions. How do you do that at higher levels?
If you play in a standard setting what do you do when the PCs want to use their new powers to completely change how the economy works? How do you explain that this has not been done before? At these levels they can introduce teleport trade routes, build and airforce, set a near instant communication between villages, provide water for millions, feed a nation with ease, and make an invading army of low level warriors pointless. I am say that those abilities are bad, just how do you deal with them in game.
One of the main reasons I ask this is I have not seen a published adventure that truely addresses what high level PCs and BBEGs can do. Is there one out there?
At high levels I would tend to think that many dragons would be reckless and bold in the field. They do not bring their items with them and they have get out of death cards. If they die this is minor set back.
Lairs on the other hand are much more terrifying since a loss here means losing treasure and maybe life.
@Anyzr: Your wizard starts with only 880,000 (more with feats) in gear. No custom items. No spells up unless the are permanent. You have to do any all prep in the arena itself.
The arena is 100 feet to side and the walls are made of force. Going into an extra dimensional space counts as leave the arena. There is no surprise round.
This favors the martials about as much as can think of. A well made archer may be able to take down 2 or 3 foes if gets an action but I do see a way for him defend himself if is targeted. If a caster can buy the time he needs then he defend himself or simply attack while unseen.
What can a wizard do in this situation that other can not?
I still think a full caster will come out on top.
I am not sure if echtoplasmic spells let you get back to the material or if ghost touch weapons can hit ethereal beings but time stop+etherealness+mindblank+invisibility should get 20 min to prep.
I think that the summoner is the only non full caster that can get you with resorting to UMD.
How big is the arena? Smaller favors martials.
Can we wish in a dragon? Can I use Polymorph any object to make said creatures?
As long going into the ground does not count as leave the arena then I change shape and earth glide 100 feet down. Make a hallow and buff there.
An MMM is an even better place to buff from since I can the astral project out it and back into the arena.
In a case of still wanting minions I cast heightened mount alter summoned monster. At this point the casting last long enough for the azata to change out spells. I am sure I can find a use 10 to 15 13th level clerics. Not that the wizard is the only one who can do this.
It is simply a case of full casting trumping all else. At this point the caster can set multiple get out of dead cards. While the martial folks can not. Caster can also get around it with things like flesh to stone or trap the soul.
In a battle like this it is about the ability to not be targeted. Just about any 20th level character can wipe out a body with a single action. If you go first and use your action to do so then who ever goes next can get you. You need to have build that makes it difficult to target you in the first place.
Mindblank+invisibility+spellbane I purge should let you act. Greater invis for when you attack. Certain Eatherness is even better.
While the deamon body is very powerful it is hardly need for this build. It just helps to be in a differnt
Mindblank will always be up. Cast timestop when you go first. If the areana has stone in change into an earth elemental and move inside of it. Cast MMM inside the rock and enter it.
If that does not work just hide in rock and buff yourself there.
What stops him from polymorphing any object into the body he wants and taking it over that way? With a small statue of the thing the body lasts for an hour.
He can wish in a planatar or other powerful body and take it that way.
The part that takes the longest is transferring the gear to the new body.
Also realize that Anzyr is argue the extreme case so that rules can be changed to make more sense. As it is he can actually build the body in the arena in short order.
If he can not make a new body he use wish to cast greater planar bind and make allies to fight for him that way. Use Dim lock and just forget the circle. Win the check and order them to kill everything in the arena that is not the caster or his ally.
My problem with gentleman's agreement is why NPC's do not do it to each other. If it can be done and it is not difficult to do at least someone would do it to get ahead. It makes the world hard to believe.
I am looking to flesh out they ideas I already have and for new ideas.
I could use builds and write ups for the primary NPCs, tribal descriptions. chieftains, kings, interesting places, what is outside the city, and map.
Further refinement of my ideas would also be great. I have no idea who the wizard on the island is or witch cults are active in the city.
Lastly I need a systems for gaining followers at low levels, wandering monsters, and a way to reward goblin behavior. I am thinking of using hero points that can earned by acting like a goblin. This is done to encourage the players to write and sing songs, engage in arson, and make poor but gobliny decisions.
Also witch books develop goblins the most?