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Instant Fortress - The most powerful "weapon" in pathfinder?


Rules Questions

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Quote:


The fortress springs up in just 1 round, with the door facing the device's owner. The door opens and closes instantly at his command. People and creatures nearby (except the owner) must be careful not to be caught by the fortress's sudden growth. Anyone so caught takes 10d10 points of damage (Reflex DC 19 half).

This item seems very poorly written to me. First it doesn't sound like there's a limit to the number of times you can use it in a day so I'm assuming it's unlimited. So you can pretty much do 10d10 damage every other round. That sure beats the hell out my +5 Holy Avenger.

I'm also totally not digging "people and creatures nearby" as a range description (and also as a type description). I want to know if I can drop this 10d10 damage tower on foes from 30 feet away or 100. If it's 100 feet I might be able to smite them with it twice before they even get to me. Also can I pop it up under a wall and do the damage to a wall?

Is there errata on this anywhere? I searched the message boards but didn't find anything. Just looked up the 3.5 version and the wording is exactly the same so I guess we could blame Wizards for writing it and then Paizo for not noticing that it sucked?


there is also no number of times you can use a loaf of bread in a day...

I'm sorry, but it's not written that you can transform the fortress back to anything, and the damage is not done from the door you can open and close on command.

So yeah, you got your 10d10 damage, once, and a fortress thereafter. Such fluff can easily be abused, sure, but I think you misread something.

Dark Archive

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Richard Leonhart wrote:

there is also no number of times you can use a loaf of bread in a day...

I'm sorry, but it's not written that you can transform the fortress back to anything, and the damage is not done from the door you can open and close on command.

So yeah, you got your 10d10 damage, once, and a fortress thereafter. Such fluff can easily be abused, sure, but I think you misread something.

Here is the whole text for the instant fortress:

Quote:

Instant Fortress

Aura strong conjuration; CL 13th

Slot —; Price 55,000 gp; Weight 1 lb.

Description

This metal cube is small, but when activated by speaking a command word it grows to form a tower 20 feet square and 30 feet high, with arrow slits on all sides and a crenellated battlement atop it. The metal walls extend 10 feet into the ground, rooting it to the spot and preventing it from being tipped over. The fortress has a small door that opens only at the command of the owner of the fortress—even knock spells can't open the door.

The adamantine walls of an instant fortress have 100 hit points and hardness 20. The fortress cannot be repaired except by a wish or a miracle, which restores 50 points of damage taken.

The fortress springs up in just 1 round, with the door facing the device's owner. The door opens and closes instantly at his command. People and creatures nearby (except the owner) must be careful not to be caught by the fortress's sudden growth. Anyone so caught takes 10d10 points of damage (Reflex DC 19 half).

The fortress is deactivated by speaking a command word (different from the one used to activate it). It cannot be deactivated unless it is empty.

Construction

Requirements Craft Wondrous Item, mage's magnificent mansion; Cost 27,500 gp

you can deactivate it with a command word, so it would return to original (assuming that it was empty).

But for Ragwaine. They only have to make a DC 19 reflex save for half?

Also, it is a standard action to use a command word. So the combat would go like this:

round 1: standard action to toss cube (attack action) to their square
round 2: standard action to activate fortress
round 3: standard action to deactivate fortress
round 4: hope that they do not ready an action to kick the cube back at you if you go to speak the activation again.


I see what you mean Happler but I think that just translates to:

If you assume they make the save (and I don't think DC 19 is all that low) it's 5d10 damage at the beginning of EVERY combat instead of every other round AND since it's a 20ft square it could hit 4 medium sized creatures (or people lol).


Ragwaine wrote:

I see what you mean Happler but I think that just translates to:

If you assume they make the save (and I don't think DC 19 is all that low) it's 5d10 damage at the beginning of EVERY combat instead of every other round AND since it's a 20ft square it could hit 4 medium sized creatures (or people lol).

...and send them flinging on every direction.


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Funny story about the instant fortress.

I have a friend of mine who loves the "meta-meta-game." That is, messing with the GM's head.

In an earlier organized play campaign, he would ask the GM before the session started whether the GM was familiar with Daern's Instant Fortress. My friend would open up the DMG and show the GM the description.

In combat, my friend would take an action to throw a metal cube in the midst of his enemies. The enemies would then, almost invariably, flee from the metal cube, expecting it to sprout into a Daern's Instant Fortress and crush them in the next round, when my friend's PC spoke the command word. But with the enemies out of the area, my friend would look frustrated and not speak any command word at all. After the battle he'd sigh and pick up his metal cube again.

The trick: it wasn't a Daern's Instant Fortress. It was just an ordinary metal cube. But GMs would fall for it over and over, imputing his "knowledge" to the enemies.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Cards, Maps Subscriber

That is hilarous...


lets add some hehe, so the rand is calculatable. its a 20 by 20 square one side (with the door centered on the (caster). so one swuare out 2suares left and two squares right and 4 squares forward, not large but doable. activating a magic tieam provoces and attack of oportunity. caster takes AoO and then the 4square by 4 square aread causes those in it a reflex save. if the reflex save fails they take 10d10 physical damage. I would not do this in a dungeon or underground lol. Was there not a spell back when that was two giant rocks claping togeather lol that did the same thing?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Modules Subscriber
Ragwaine wrote:
Quote:


The fortress springs up in just 1 round, with the door facing the device's owner. The door opens and closes instantly at his command. People and creatures nearby (except the owner) must be careful not to be caught by the fortress's sudden growth. Anyone so caught takes 10d10 points of damage (Reflex DC 19 half).
This item seems very poorly written to me. First it doesn't sound like there's a limit to the number of times you can use it in a day so I'm assuming it's unlimited. So you can pretty much do 10d10 damage every other round. That sure beats the hell out my +5 Holy Avenger.

Heh - I have a 12th level Wizard, a 12th level Paladin AND 12th level Barbarian who would laugh at being limited to 10d10 damage a round, and that's without toting around a +5 Holy Avenger. you do realize that's maybe 55 points of damage on average?

The best weapon in the game IMO is either Rage, Smite Evil or the Spell Perfection feat.


So, the DM's didn't realize he didn't actually own one of those items? Or did he own one, and was throwing a dummy cube?


10d10 is an average of 55 damage. On a save that's 27 damage. It's an easy save. By the time you can afford this, that's not a whole lot of damage.

As a GM I would probably put restrictions on this anyway. First and foremost I would probably restrict this to a once per day item.


Wiggz wrote:
Ragwaine wrote:
Quote:


The fortress springs up in just 1 round, with the door facing the device's owner. The door opens and closes instantly at his command. People and creatures nearby (except the owner) must be careful not to be caught by the fortress's sudden growth. Anyone so caught takes 10d10 points of damage (Reflex DC 19 half).
This item seems very poorly written to me. First it doesn't sound like there's a limit to the number of times you can use it in a day so I'm assuming it's unlimited. So you can pretty much do 10d10 damage every other round. That sure beats the hell out my +5 Holy Avenger.

Heh - I have a 12th level Wizard, a 12th level Paladin AND 12th level Barbarian who would laugh at being limited to 10d10 damage a round, and that's without toting around a +5 Holy Avenger. you do realize that's maybe 55 points of damage on average?

The best weapon in the game IMO is either Rage, Smite Evil or the Spell Perfection feat.

Between raging barbarian, dragon style monk, smiting paladin, mounted skirmister beast rider, spell perfection crossblooded sorcerer, beastmorph vivisectionist... Thats not even mentioning the many archery builds available.

The list goes on, 55 damage is just generally poor for average damage. Level 7 sorcerer can deal that easily to the sake area with a little optimisation and most people still say that blasting is sub optimal compared to melee.


Rocky Williams 530 wrote:
So, the DM's didn't realize he didn't actually own one of those items? Or did he own one, and was throwing a dummy cube?

Didn't realize that he didn't have one at all. In organized play, a DM is often unfamiliar with exactly what equipment a PC owns.


Round 1, you toss the cube into a square as a standard action.

On their turn your opponents look at the cube on the ground and shrug. One of them picks it up to examine it. The rest just keep attacking you.

Round 2, you utter the command word to expand the tower. The tower expands, dealing crushing damage to your opponents to your maniacal glee. Amazed by the sudden appearance of a huge tower in their midst, the remaining combatants continue the fight.

Round 3, you utter the command word to shrink the tower back down to a cube. (Another standard action). Presumably you're not close enough to pick it up, so you have to move over to it. Right into the midst of your opponents.

On their turn your opponents pick up the cube and utter the command word YOU just uttered a round earlier, crushing you with 55 points of damage.

Seems like a great combat device.


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WelbyBumpus wrote:
Rocky Williams 530 wrote:
So, the DM's didn't realize he didn't actually own one of those items? Or did he own one, and was throwing a dummy cube?
Didn't realize that he didn't have one at all. In organized play, a DM is often unfamiliar with exactly what equipment a PC owns.

Hahaha. Serves that GM right! I never metagame with my NPCs. :P

Metagaming does not included BBQing PCs over a river of lava; inflicting them with disease; pouring black lotus extract on them; using illusions to fool them; turning them into stone; turning stones into monsters; turning dead monsters into monsters; turning water into monsters; turning players into water; dispelling and shattering their magic items; attacking the party with multiple terrasques who were created in a lab; dropping them into rooms full of black pudding guarded by stone golems; having NPCs drown them in alchemist fire; spamming enervation until people begin to cry; ordering plague zombie bats to follow the party and infect any town they come across while avoiding combat with the party; having NPCs use potions and wands in maniacal ways; dropping a cloudkill on the party once or thrice; using cross breed dragons (stronger and immune to multiple elements); skeletal red dragons (immune to fire & cold and very strong); giants with reach weapons; stinking cloud traps in dungeons with undead; floor traps that hit everything on them with inflict spells when you stand on them (in dungeons with undead of course); use illusion spells to create total concealment; pit traps filled with swarms; tight spaces filled with small angry creatures; tight spaces filled with swarms; low-level minions spamming slow to negate the party's haste; sepia snake sigil, explosive runes, fire trap, spike growth, and stone spikes (enough said); mummy barbarians rage-cycling; incorporeal undead with rogue levels; incorporeal undead with sorcerer levels; large predators grappling and then fleeing the battle with their prey in tow (works good with stuff like wyverns and underwater predators who can out-fly or out-swim the party); use minor magic items like feather tokens, dust of disappearance, dust of tracelessness, elemental gems, elixers of hiding, necklaces of fireballs; adepts who spam sleep; adepts who like wands of lightning bolt; armies of simulacrum mages without fear of death; and a few hundred other things...


Adamantine Dragon wrote:

Round 1, you toss the cube into a square as a standard action.

On their turn your opponents look at the cube on the ground and shrug. One of them picks it up to examine it. The rest just keep attacking you.

Round 2, you utter the command word to expand the tower. The tower expands, dealing crushing damage to your opponents to your maniacal glee. Amazed by the sudden appearance of a huge tower in their midst, the remaining combatants continue the fight.

Round 3, you utter the command word to shrink the tower back down to a cube. (Another standard action). Presumably you're not close enough to pick it up, so you have to move over to it. Right into the midst of your opponents.

On their turn your opponents pick up the cube and utter the command word YOU just uttered a round earlier, crushing you with 55 points of damage.

Seems like a great combat device.

If someone picks it up before you activate it, doesn't it then make it THEIR magic fortress cube, and therefor negating your ability to use it as a weapon?


My question is...what happens to the poor schmuck who fails his Reflex save yet survives the 55 (average) points of damage and is presumably under the tower? There is nothing that says he is pinned or incapable of taking his full attack or standard + move actions. Does he just shrug off being stuck in the center 10 feet of a 20 x 20 x 30 foot tower and stand up and...what?

Presumably (DM call) if you make your save you have jumped clear of the area but were bruised and battered in the process. If you fail your save would it be a jerk DM move to say you're pinned and helpless until the tower reverts back to normal? It doesn't seem realistic to say otherwise, frankly, but there's no ruling to back that up with. Just curious.

Dark Archive

Dosgamer wrote:

My question is...what happens to the poor schmuck who fails his Reflex save yet survives the 55 (average) points of damage and is presumably under the tower? There is nothing that says he is pinned or incapable of taking his full attack or standard + move actions. Does he just shrug off being stuck in the center 10 feet of a 20 x 20 x 30 foot tower and stand up and...what?

Presumably (DM call) if you make your save you have jumped clear of the area but were bruised and battered in the process. If you fail your save would it be a jerk DM move to say you're pinned and helpless until the tower reverts back to normal? It doesn't seem realistic to say otherwise, frankly, but there's no ruling to back that up with. Just curious.

Nothing says that it has any floor other then what ever surface you drop it on. Maybe they take the damage as it grows on them, then they end up standing inside of it. This would then make it impossible to re-shrink without letting the poor guy out.


@Dosgamer - most magical effects like the tower growing push the individual to the nearest free square, so that's what I'd do as a GM.

@Rocky, LOL, right you are, you toss it, but can't activate it, someone picks it up, now its theirs...

That's just perfect!

The Exchange

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Ragwaine wrote:

I see what you mean Happler but I think that just translates to:

If you assume they make the save (and I don't think DC 19 is all that low) it's 5d10 damage at the beginning of EVERY combat instead of every other round AND since it's a 20ft square it could hit 4 medium sized creatures (or people lol).

20 feet square is 20 feet on a side, so 16 medium creatures.

someone can throw it and someone can ready to speak the command word. that's if you have to throw it. it could be read that is a 4x4 square with the front door always adjacent to you. it only says facing you.


See this is what gaming's all about. Interpretation. It's like when a DM thinks he's thought of everything and then the players completely ruin all his setup by doing something unexpected. Then all this back and forth gets people thinking. Awesome.

Do you have to say the command word loud enough for those around you to hear it? I don't see anything about that. Also command word items do NOT provoke attacks of opportunity. So many questions. Does it count as an attack? If not I can remain invisible while I do it?

This "weapon" doesn't take any charges. Yes you can use up a smite evil or a spell or limited special attack to do a bunch of damage but with this you don't have to. It's free.

I'm thinking at 10d10 it's more powerful than fireball cast at 10th level and it's not as likely to be "resisted" because it's not a damage type (like fire). It does d10's instead of d6's AND the DC is higher than fireball which is only 17 even if you have an 18 INT. So let's say that puts it at 5th level spell and - it's free!

Based on the wealth by level table you should be getting this item around 10th level (when a wizard only has 2 5th level spells) so having an extra 5th level spell at will that does damage leaves your slots open to be filled with more useful spells.

Then think about the pricing. Spell effect - command word - 5th level that's 5 x 9 x 1800 = 81000gp and that's ONLY for the damage dealing effect. In the very least it's severely under priced.

Thanks for the correction Chernobyl.

Adamantamine Dragon I agree with them being shunted to nearest open space but then picture a 20 x 20 room with a bunch of monsters in it. They've got no where to go. Do they get a save? They could be pinned against the walls or the ceiling.

This would get so old for me as a DM. Popping the tower 3 or 4 times in a session would make me very bitter. Bitter DM = Bad DM.


Nothing says that you can throw the cube and activate it in fact based on the possession requirement in order to control it the DM could easily say that once you throw it you no longer "own" the tower and therefore cannot control it.

Alternatively the issue with trolling the DM like this is that in the next combat a group of 4 level 20s with rings of teleport and greater invis, true strike, +5 weapons etc show up and instagib you in 1 round take the box and teleport away.

Dark Archive

gnomersy wrote:

Nothing says that you can throw the cube and activate it in fact based on the possession requirement in order to control it the DM could easily say that once you throw it you no longer "own" the tower and therefore cannot control it.

Alternatively the issue with trolling the DM like this is that in the next combat a group of 4 level 20s with rings of teleport and greater invis, true strike, +5 weapons etc show up and instagib you in 1 round take the box and teleport away.

I had not thought of that. Perhaps you normally have to carefully place it on the ground to make sure that the right side is up.


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gnomersy wrote:

Nothing says that you can throw the cube and activate it in fact based on the possession requirement in order to control it the DM could easily say that once you throw it you no longer "own" the tower and therefore cannot control it.

Alternatively the issue with trolling the DM like this is that in the next combat a group of 4 level 20s with rings of teleport and greater invis, true strike, +5 weapons etc show up and instagib you in 1 round take the box and teleport away.

That GM would be made of so much fail condensed into a single package that he created a fail-gravity that drew more fail to him like some sort of ever expanding black hole of fail.


Ashiel wrote:
gnomersy wrote:

Nothing says that you can throw the cube and activate it in fact based on the possession requirement in order to control it the DM could easily say that once you throw it you no longer "own" the tower and therefore cannot control it.

Alternatively the issue with trolling the DM like this is that in the next combat a group of 4 level 20s with rings of teleport and greater invis, true strike, +5 weapons etc show up and instagib you in 1 round take the box and teleport away.

That GM would be made of so much fail condensed into a single package that he created a fail-gravity that drew more fail to him like some sort of ever expanding black hole of fail.

Lol maybe so but on the other hand the player trying to make use of a nifty utility item as an unreasonably effective weapon thanks to questionable reading of the rules is also a fail singularity.

Star Voter 2014

gnomersy wrote:
Nothing says that you can throw the cube and activate it in fact based on the possession requirement in order to control it the DM could easily say that once you throw it you no longer "own" the tower and therefore cannot control it.

This is what I'd say - you have to hold it to activate it, and then a 20x20 tower appears next to you. That actually makes it more effective, since you could use it to push creatures away from you as a "melee range" attack.

The Exchange

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Ragwaine wrote:

Based on the wealth by level table you should be getting this item around 10th level (when a wizard only has 2 5th level spells) so having an extra 5th level spell at will that does damage leaves your slots open to be filled with more useful spells.

Then think about the pricing. Spell effect - command word - 5th level that's 5 x 9 x 1800 = 81000gp and that's ONLY for the damage dealing effect. In the very least it's severely under priced.

Thanks for the correction Chernobyl.

Adamantamine Dragon I agree with them being shunted to nearest open space but then picture a 20 x 20 room with a bunch of monsters in it. They've got no where to go. Do they get a save? They could be pinned against the walls or the ceiling.

This would get so old for me as a DM. Popping the tower 3 or 4 times in a session would make me very bitter. Bitter DM = Bad DM.

there's no way any 9th or 10th level character would ever get this item if they had average wealth. not spend any gold on magic until 9th level? no +1 weapons? no magic armor? no stat buffing items? no cloaks of resistance? you wouldn't survive to GET to 9th or 10th level.

probably the most expensive item I've had at 9th level might be a +2 equivalent weapon or +3 armor.

the 20x20 room would also need to accommodate the height. as a DM I could see this working a couple ways - if it can't open completely, it might not open at all, or maybe only open to the appropriate scale. so if the 20x20 room is only 10 feet high, the fortress would only become maybe 6.5 feet square, and the door would be 2 feet high, big enough for a halfling, maybe.


gnomersy wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
gnomersy wrote:

Nothing says that you can throw the cube and activate it in fact based on the possession requirement in order to control it the DM could easily say that once you throw it you no longer "own" the tower and therefore cannot control it.

Alternatively the issue with trolling the DM like this is that in the next combat a group of 4 level 20s with rings of teleport and greater invis, true strike, +5 weapons etc show up and instagib you in 1 round take the box and teleport away.

That GM would be made of so much fail condensed into a single package that he created a fail-gravity that drew more fail to him like some sort of ever expanding black hole of fail.
Lol maybe so but on the other hand the player trying to make use of a nifty utility item as an unreasonably effective weapon thanks to questionable reading of the rules is also a fail singularity.

Or maybe the DM should stop being a moron who's denying the fact that the player is being creative and instead think of other ways to counter this ingenious ploy. You know, have some originality instead of being a childish, vindictive little tyrant? :3

Liberty's Edge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Card Game, Companion, Modules, Pawns, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I had a player using it this way. It was never "I will do a lot of damage, ho, ho ho".
It was: "It will make a 20'x20' hole in pavement of this room and push against the ceiling. The room will collapse, I and the tower will take some damage but the enemy will be more hindered that me and my friends", "Placing the tower here will block the enemies approaching from that direction while we deal with those coming from this direction" and similar moves.

Note that it say: "The fortress springs up in just 1 round, with the door facing the device's owner. The door opens and closes instantly at his command. People and creatures nearby (except the owner) must be careful not to be caught by the fortress's sudden growth. Anyone so caught takes 10d10 points of damage (Reflex DC 19 half)." so it is not a sudden growth, but a gradual expansion in 6 seconds. To be damaged by it your targets need to be incapable to move away in that round.

It is a useful tool, but hardly a damage dealing weapon unless used against some peculiar opponent.


And any foe who survives/sees this and learns the command word now has a weapon against the thrower. One enemy in a later encounter is given the order to "ready" and action to shout the command word as soon as the thrower pulls it out... oops.

Anything a player can break a GM and his INT 30+ super wizard can break better.

But yes as worded it does come across a bit of an offensive weapon... then again how much would a word activated unlimited use Force Ball item cost?

RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

I can see knowledge of the command word getting passed around, and some rogue following him and shouting it out in the middle of a busy street.

Not only is he taking damage, he's now responsible for an uncontrolled magic item killing innocents.

The command words for these things are the type you want to remain SECRET. That means not using them as a weapon.

==Aelryinth

Liberty's Edge Star Voter 2013

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This is a perfect example of the "why we can't have nice things" problem.

The devs would like to focus on creating fun and interesting things for the game, but they are in a constant battle with ridiculous players who are looking for exploits.

It's a shame some people who generally fail within the confines of the rules of physics and life try to find exploits in imaginary worlds to overcome these shortcomings.

Fortunately, you can choose who you game with, meaning these people are often relegated to playing with their own kind, if they can find a game at all.

The rest become exclusively theory crafters, unable to find games and resigned to posting their "brilliance" on the boards.

It's sad really.


LOL Citerose... some truth to that, but maybe a bit harsh for this case.

As a GM if a player tried this exploit I would explain nicely that there are tons of exploits that could be used against the players and getting into an exploit escalation war is a bad idea for the players.

Restraining an obvious unintentional exploit is not destroying player creativity. It is usually an effort to maintain balance an maintain some semblance of verisimilitude. Reducing combat to parties hurling magical towers at each other reduces the game to a ridiculous charade, not heroic fantasy. As a GM I have both a responsibility to the group and a responsibility to myself to maintain my own sense of fun. If lobbing instant towers at each other doesn't satisfy my sense of drama or storytelling, then you can argue about playing "chunk the tower" with your next GM.


Diego Rossi wrote:
It is a useful tool, but hardly a damage dealing weapon unless used against some peculiar opponent.

Yet given a sufficiently long adventure, the party will encounter that peculiar oppponent. We had the instant fortress, used it as a weapon, and have the pictures to prove it.

Half of our 10th-level D&D 3.5 party was being pursued by a dragon inside a cave network while the other half was cut off by a cave-in. To delay the dragon, the bard pulled out our instant fortress and opened it in the tunnel, blocking it. The dragon destroyed the fortress to clear the blockage. Then, when the dragon almost caught up to them, the bard opened our second instant fortress in the dragon's face. The dragon took damage. It also heard the command word, and spoke it to collapse the fortress and pass.

Melee ensued. Toward the end, the bard was desperate and readied an action to activate a Bead of Force when the dragon next bit at him. It damaged both the dragon and the bard, but enclosed the Die-Hard bard in a safe place where he could heal himself. The barbarian and rogue lost the fight against the dragon, a round after we cleared the cave-in but before we could reach them.

The paladin of our party, buffed and flying, caught up to the heavily-damaged dragon. It ran and repeated the bard's trick on the collapsed fortress as it passed, sealing the tunnel behind it. The paladin power-attacked the fortress and destroyed it to catch the dragon.

The paladin player is an artist, and she drew pictures of the battle: Dragon's Den 1, Dragon's Den 2, and Dragon's Den 3. Unfortunately, none of those scenes include the fortresses, so I was lying about the pictures to prove it. I do mention the fortresses in the comments on the third scene.

The second fortress was easily destroyed because it was a one-room mini-fortress with fewer hit points than a full-size fortress. The first fortress had started damaged because months earlier we had used it against an army of orcs. We opened the fortress where it would cut the support cables of a suspension bridge that the orcs were crossing to attack us. Then we took cover inside the fortress as the orcs across the river shot arrows at us. The bard grew angry when they upgraded to catapulting stones at the fortress, and he shot back with his wand of fireballs. The paladin had to calm him down: Master Black 1, Master Black 2, and Master Black 3, and instead we left the fortress and collapsed it under the cover of Obscuring Mist.

After the bridge, the party reached a castle of vampires. We had destroyed only half of the high-level vampires in the castle when dusk arrived. We realized we had best hole up someplace safe. We opened the instant fortress on the grass outside the castle, said, "Nyah, nyah, private residence," to the vampires, and tried to sleep as they howled outside all night and tried to dominate anyone to open the door.

The Instant Fortress is an awesome weapon. We never cared about the cost, because our party had found both as loot.


I just wanted to point out that it's odd that people seem to suggest that the designers hadn't intended it to be a weapon, or consider that it might be used to crush people, and yet they included that activating it to crush people deals 10d10 damage with a Reflex save to avoid your doom. Very odd for an item that obviously wasn't intended to damage stuff.

/sarcasm


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Ashiel wrote:

I just wanted to point out that it's odd that people seem to suggest that the designers hadn't intended it to be a weapon, or consider that it might be used to crush people, and yet they included that activating it to crush people deals 10d10 damage with a Reflex save to avoid your doom. Very odd for an item that obviously wasn't intended to damage stuff.

/sarcasm

Yeah, because developers, being omnipotent and infallible, would never add some random damage to an otherwise utility item because they thought it was flavorful, and therefore they obviously meant for it to be used as a weapon.

/sarcasm


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

They are like the founding fathers, men so powerful and righteous that even Hercules cries in shame at their presence.


Ashiel wrote:

I just wanted to point out that it's odd that people seem to suggest that the designers hadn't intended it to be a weapon, or consider that it might be used to crush people, and yet they included that activating it to crush people deals 10d10 damage with a Reflex save to avoid your doom. Very odd for an item that obviously wasn't intended to damage stuff.

/sarcasm

They indicated people only had to be careful to avoid being crushed by the expanding fortress. Those who were not careful would then have to roll the Reflex save. It isn't a "fortressball" direct damage spell that expands instantaneously. The Fortress can damage people and objects, it just isn't quite as effective as some people interpret it.


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Virtually everything is a weapon in some form or another in D&D, be it an improvised weapon or something that has damage itself. Everything from gravity to decanters of endless water are used as weapons in D&D. You have a magic item that actually notes that it is capable of dealing damage, and a pretty fair amount at that (55 average damage), so yeah it's probably a good bet that someone is actually going to use that to their advantage; just like people use terrain or any other part of the "laws of the universe" to their advantage.

For the record, this is by no means new. In fact, this was such a common question that Wizard's customer service (that you call on the phone) had answers for it. Even suggestions on how to decide if you got out from under the thing or ended up pinned beneath it (their suggestion was if your base speed would allow you to move out of the way and they make their saving throw, place them at the edge of tower; otherwise pinned).

I dunno, maybe it's just the frustration I've felt with the boards lately, but it just astounds me that people see this and are already talking about house-ruling it away, or limiting the item to 1/day, or trying to figure out ways to spitefully screw their players over for being creative or just using the item like they want to use it.

Heck, this isn't even a matter of balance. The item is incredibly expensive and very niche to begin with. By the time you actually get it, the damage isn't very impressive, it doesn't bypass DR of any kind, and isn't easy to use since you'd have to constantly be turning it back into a cube, reclaiming it so you are the owner, and then speaking the command word again. Likewise, unless otherwise stated, activating a command word item requires more than just speaking the word, and according to the description of Command Word activation in the magic item section, only the holder can activate it.

Just...really...geez. Can't we look at this item and think of creative ways that we could incorporate this into our campaigns, surprise some players, build an encounter or two that might make a player with this feel a bit awesome, or something besides whining about this item and trying to nerf something that's not broken?

@OP: You have to have the item in your possession to activate it. Just being in earshot and speaking the word doesn't work (see command word in magic items), so using it as a ranged weapon is dicey to begin with. I don't think it works as written, but if your GM allows you to activate it and then hurl it, then it would have a range increment of 10 ft. like any other improvised thrown weapon, because that is what it would be.


Main reason I'm confused about this item is the addition of the damage element appears to be in direct conflict with the universal rules for Conjuration (regardless of sub-school).

PRD Magic section wrote:
A creature or object brought into being or transported to your location by a conjuration spell cannot appear inside another creature or object, nor can it appear floating in an empty space. It must arrive in an open location on a surface capable of supporting it.

Since it radiates "Strong Conjuration" and uses Magnificent Mansion as its construction element, it really shouldn't be able to be used in close confines or push enemies around at all, any more than you can drop a Feather Token of a Tree on someone for a several-ton fallen object attack for 400 GP each time (my party did that back in 3.5 once to kill an off-the-chart CR monster. DM was really anxious about the rest of the game until we found that rule.)

TLDR; Item seems to ignore its own rules, and Ashiel is right.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Some items are special cases, and their unique nature may ignore certain rules.


blackbloodtroll wrote:
Some items are special cases, and their unique nature may ignore certain rules.

Agreed, and not questioned. These are pretty much always custom-built and their exceptions made for the very purpose of the item to function, though. This just seems like an oversight in comparison...

Liberty's Edge Star Voter 2013

Ashiel wrote:


Just...really...geez. Can't we look at this item and think of creative ways that we could incorporate this into our campaigns, surprise some players, build an encounter or two that might make a player with this feel a bit awesome, or something besides whining about this item and trying to nerf something that's not broken?

We easily could, if not for people who look for every possible loophole in the game, regardless of how it may effect verisimilitude or game balance.

Liberty's Edge Star Voter 2013

Parka wrote:

Main reason I'm confused about this item is the addition of the damage element appears to be in direct conflict with the universal rules for Conjuration (regardless of sub-school).

PRD Magic section wrote:
A creature or object brought into being or transported to your location by a conjuration spell cannot appear inside another creature or object, nor can it appear floating in an empty space. It must arrive in an open location on a surface capable of supporting it.

Since it radiates "Strong Conjuration" and uses Magnificent Mansion as its construction element, it really shouldn't be able to be used in close confines or push enemies around at all, any more than you can drop a Feather Token of a Tree on someone for a several-ton fallen object attack for 400 GP each time (my party did that back in 3.5 once to kill an off-the-chart CR monster. DM was really anxious about the rest of the game until we found that rule.)

TLDR; Item seems to ignore its own rules, and Ashiel is right.

My guess is the conversation among the Devs went something like this.

Dev 1 "This item is awesome, I don't want to remove it from the game but some people are being obnoxious and using the item to crush high CR creatures or as a thrown weapon and claiming GMs are 'cruel' for not letting them use such obviously game breaking techniques."

Dev 2 "Maybe if we put a damage cap on it so that we can control how much damage such moves do. Maybe 10d6? That is only an average of about 35 damage, which seems about right since it's a sacrifice of a standard actions."

Dev 1 "Yeah, that seems fair. Most reasonable people will understand what we were trying to do."

Liberty's Edge

Let's say that the cube is thrown at the enemies, where it deals damage (10-100 points, savable for half), and is then shrunk to be used again. That cube is now much closer to the enemies (if they are not defeated), who now know both the activation and de-activation passwords. If moderately intelligent, there's little to stop them from taking it for themselves (or, if it's still active, running inside and baring the door, leaving the PCs the option of breaking in, possibly destroying this very expensive magical item, or of leaving the item in the hands of whomever they threw it at.

Or, the enemies could just toss it back, like an expanding hot potato. That could be fun too.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Cards, Maps Subscriber
WelbyBumpus wrote:

Funny story about the instant fortress.

I have a friend of mine who loves the "meta-meta-game." That is, messing with the GM's head.

In an earlier organized play campaign, he would ask the GM before the session started whether the GM was familiar with Daern's Instant Fortress. My friend would open up the DMG and show the GM the description.

In combat, my friend would take an action to throw a metal cube in the midst of his enemies. The enemies would then, almost invariably, flee from the metal cube, expecting it to sprout into a Daern's Instant Fortress and crush them in the next round, when my friend's PC spoke the command word. But with the enemies out of the area, my friend would look frustrated and not speak any command word at all. After the battle he'd sigh and pick up his metal cube again.

The trick: it wasn't a Daern's Instant Fortress. It was just an ordinary metal cube. But GMs would fall for it over and over, imputing his "knowledge" to the enemies.

Thanks for the good laugh Welly. I'm glad i wasn't drinking anything when i read this.

Daren's instant fortress is one of my favorite magical items. I am sure many people have thought of this before. One game i ran back in 02, my players were trying to track down a "ghost tower" that kept mysteriously appearing and disappearing at random places. there were also bandit attacks to deal with as well. This particular Daren's Instant Fortress belonged to an Oger Mage, who was the bandit chief.

Good times.


Oh come on. By the time you can afford this, there are a million better ways to deal damage.


Coriat wrote:
Oh come on. By the time you can afford this, there are a million better ways to deal damage.

"Better" = more effective for sure. Also being "less silly" is just a bonus.

I love the persistent defense of lobbing insta-towers at each other as a form of "player creativity" when the reality is that except in a very few corner cases, this would be a very poor tactical choice of conducting combat.

Star Voter 2014

ElyasRavenwood wrote:

Daren's instant fortress is one of my favorite magical items. I am sure many people have thought of this before. One game i ran back in 02, my players were trying to track down a "ghost tower" that kept mysteriously appearing and disappearing at random places. there were also bandit attacks to deal with as well. This particular Daren's Instant Fortress belonged to an Oger Mage, who was the bandit chief.

Good times.

I might just have to steal this idea...


So it sounds like we've determined that the cube can NOT be thrown because to be activated it must be in "possession". So it's not a ranged weapon but can still clobber creatures in front of the user and there's no attack of opportunity so no worries there.

There's still a lot of confusion to do with command words though. The command word to shrink it is different so enemies can't shrink it and then open it back up on you unless they know both words. I'm assuming that the original user can't shrink it unless he's standing next to it (which would count as "possession" since you can't really "hold" a tower unless you're a titan or something really big). BUT also nothing says I can't whisper the command words so no monster will ever hear them without specially powers of perception. So I think we can stop talking about it being used against the user.

Also seems like it needs rules about opening or not opening in spaces too small for it (that relational reference was hilarious by the way - it would be like the Spinal Tap Stone Henge).

The beauty of 3rd and future editions (imo) is that it categorized things. So sentences like "People and creatures nearby (except the owner) must be careful not to be caught by the fortress's sudden growth" should not exist post 2nd edition. "People and creatures" = bad. "Must be careful" = bad.

How about "Creatures within the area the tower fills when it is activated take 10d10 points of damage (Reflex DC 19 half) and are pushed into a randomly assigned space beside the tower. The tower cannot be activated in a space that is too small for it when fully expanded and may not fill an area already occupied by a structure with a hardness of 8 or more." ?

Some of you guys are REALLY funny. Loved the fail singularity.

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