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I'm looking for some advice and opinions, thanks. Say a Shadowdancer (SD) player has a shadow companion. Say the SD arranges for a friend to cast a baleful polymorph on him to become a diminutive bat, permanently (and makes his Will save so he keeps his mind).

Can the bat SD use his companion for total concealment by staying INSIDE it? Completely within the shadow, with no part exposed? Assuming he can make the right Fly skill check to hover. Bats in the real world can have wingspans as short as ten inches, if that matters. Note that in bat form the SD has 20 ft of blindsense and his companion can tell him via their completely private language what there is to see.

Say the bat SD has the Flyby Attack feat. He wants to fly out, attack a target, and then fly back into the total concealment of his buddy.

Is this legal? Does his target lose his dex bonus to attacks? Does the SD gain all the advantages of total concealment?

Total Concealment: If you have line of effect to a target but not line of sight, he is considered to have total concealment from you. You can't attack an opponent that has total concealment, though you can attack into a square that you think he occupies. A successful attack into a square occupied by an enemy with total concealment has a 50% miss chance (instead of the normal 20% miss chance for an opponent with concealment). You can't execute an attack of opportunity against an opponent with total concealment, even if you know what square or squares the opponent occupies.

If someone does attack into the square, is the attack resolved against the shadow companion or the SD?

[Note that this question does not include any reference to Hide In Plain Sight at all! Ha!]

This is the recruitment thread for an off-site play-by-post Core Pathfinder campaign called The Wold, located at WoldianGames.com.

The Wold is a long-running Dungeons and Dragons campaign world that emphasizes play by post gaming and a commitment to write one game turn every weekday. We are a community of about 60 gamers in eight long-running games, and we are looking for new members to start a new game or join an existing one.

What do you need to know about the Wold?

• We are here to stay! The campaign dates back to 1985, and we have online archives back to 1996. You can expect to start a character and play through 20 levels over the course of a 10-year career.

• We are free! There’s no cost to join and no test to pass. Check out some of the links below, and if you like us, you are in. As our founder, Jerry says, “There is no tryout or application. My experience is that those players who stay are the ones who would have passed any application or tryout anyway. So I let the players weed themselves out or remain to become a permanent player.”

• We offer a very rich gaming experience! We have our own homegrown gods, nations, races, and peoples; we have custom classes, spells, feats, items, and more — all detailed in our own wiki. We play by the Pathfinder Core with our homebrew options, so no gunslingers or psions or oracles or such. Core plus House only!

• We focus on heroic themes! All our player characters are Good. Feel free to create a troubled and conflicted character, so long as you are interested in redemption, nobility, and overcoming obstacles to become a true hero.

• We are a friendly community of people from all over the world, from all walks of life, and of all ages! The gaming groups that stick together over time are the ones in which players become friends, and we encourage that.

We are currently starting a first level game that has openings now and that will begin May 1. Here is some info: "In an archipelago not many years removed from open warfare, the three homebrew PC taur races -- minotaur, liontaur, and centaur -- are figuring our how to set aside their ancient animosities. On Liontaur Isle a band of young adventurers has found the perfect place to set forth on the path to fame and fortune. Join that band in a first level Pathfinder game with seven other heroes, posting every weekday as your adventure begins.

Check out the following links to get started:

Woldian Games

The Woldipedia

For more information, please feel free to e-mail me and site owner Jerry:



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Yuletide Bloodline

A merry spirit has blessed you and your family with the deep magic of good will to all and peace between enemies. You are inspired to grant gifts and bring joy to others -- on the darkest days, and all the year round.

Class Skill: Sense Motive.

Bonus Spells: restful sleep (3rd), calm emotions (5th), good hope (7th), scrying (9th), oath of peace (11th), legend lore (13th), mass fly (15th), euphoric tranquility (17th), wish (19th).

Bonus Feats: Bodyguard, Combat Expertise, Craft Wondrous Item, Exotic Weapon Proficiency (Whip), In Harm's Way, Magical Aptitude, Merciful Spell, Swift Aid.

Bloodline Arcana: Whenever you cast a harmless or merciful spell on a living creature, you gain temporary hit points equal to the spell's level. These stack with other temporary hit points and last until used or until the next time you ready your daily spell slots.

Bloodline Powers: The blood of certain northern elves runs through your ancestry, inspiring a jolly family tradition of peace, good will, and giving to others.

Change of Heart (Sp): At 1st level, when you touch an evil, unconscious and helpless creature for one minute, you can change his or her alignment to good (it remains lawful, neutral, or chaotic). The target's attitude toward you becomes (or remains) hostile.

Naughty or Nice? (Sp): At 3rd level, you can detect evil, as the spell. You can, as a move action, focus on a single individual that is within 60 feet or that you are scrying and determine if he or she is naughty (evil) or nice (not evil), learning the strength of the creature's aura as if having studied it for three rounds. While focusing on one individual, you learn only about that individual.

Caroling (Ex): At 9th level, you may use Perform (Song) instead of Diplomacy to change the initial attitudes of nonplayer characters. Also, as a standard action that does not provoke attacks of opportunity, you can make a Perform (Song) check vs DC10 to give a +2 bonus to AC, saving throws, and effective level of those using bardic performance; this +2 aid another bonus lasts for one round per sorcerer level.

Wish List (Su): At 15th level, focusing your Naughty or Nice? power on a creature also reveals 1d3 things that would make the target most happy -- these are usually objects (sometimes expensive, sometimes not) but could include events or actions. If you fulfill a creature's desire from this list, by giving a gift or arranging for an action or event, his or her attitude toward you changes by one level.

Peace on Earth (Sp): At 20th level, once per day you can cast a form of calm emotions that affects all creatures, allies and foes, within line of sight. Those in contact with the ground gain no benefit from spell resistance, immunity, or saving throw; those in the air are affected as if by a 9th level spell for determining the saving throw and effectiveness. This power lasts for one hour and does not require concentration.

Source and links: Cayzle's Wemic Site

I have a couple questions about the Shadowdancer's shadow companion ...

1) Feats/Ranks Tweaks? As shadows, following the general rules for undead, shadow companions start with two feats, per Core: Dodge and Skill Focus Perception. They start with 6 skill ranks, two per hit die (at default Int 6) for three hit dice. Looks to me like the default rank allocation is 1 rank in Perception, 3 in Stealth, and 2 in Fly.

Can the shadowdancer change these allocations for his or her shadow companion? Can you start your companion with different choices? Can you use the retraining rules in Ultimate Combat?

If you pick Weapon Focus, can you use it for a bonus to hit with Strength Drain Attacks? Can you use Improved Natural Attack to boost your Str drain from 1d6 to 1d8?

I think Flyby Attack becomes almost inevitable, because being able to fly out of an floor/wall/object, take a standard action, and then fly back into the floor is so powerful. Any objections or challenges with that?

Since the shadow has the shadowdancer's BAB, can the shadow use that high BAB to qualify for feats? With a +6 BAB, Vital Strike becomes mega sweet, since you can Flyby Attack / Vital Strike in the same round. For 2d6 Str Drain, right?

2) Strength Drain - what is it? If it is a natural attack, can a Magic Fang spell give it an enhancement bonus to attacks and damage? (50% fail rate to cast the spell, of course) Can the shadow make a full attack with a ghost touch weapon and with the Str drain at -5? If it is an "armed" unarmed attack, like an Improved Unarmed Attack, can the shadow take Two Weapon Fighting to attack twice in a round (at a -2 penalty)?

3) Weapons? When a shadow uses a ghost touch weapon, is the attack still incorporeal? Does it bypass armor as usual? What if it is a ghost touch reach weapon? What if it is a ghost touch thrown weapon? Can a conductive ghost touch melee weapon conduct the shadow's strength drain? If so, does a vital strike with a conductive weapon double the damage of both the weapon and the drain?

Maybe you want to equip your flyby attack / vital strike pal with a conductive ghost touch longspear so as to strike with reach and avoid those AoOs he provokes as he flies by?!

Say you are in combat against a foe using sunder attacks. Can you use a Wood Shape spell to repair hit point damage to your greatclub or wooden shield? Can you use the raw material of your broken shield to make a completely new one? What happens if the item is magical to start with?

Core Rules said wrote:
Wood shape enables you to form one existing piece of wood into any shape that suits your purpose. While it is possible to make crude coffers, doors, and so forth, fine detail isn't possible. There is a 30% chance that any shape that includes moving parts simply doesn't work.

[Note that Mending and Make Whole are useless in combat due to the long casting times. Anyone have any ideas on how to restore hit points to objects while battle is taking place?]

I'm looking for players to create level 12 Pathfinder characters using my free splat book prestige classes. All players are racing to collect victory points. No direct PvP, but whoever gets the most points is the winner. It's a play by post game with a combat round each weekday, over about 60 combat rounds.

For more info see here

Thanks and ALL ARE WELCOME! No try-outs or application; just be enthusiastic and willing to post daily (not weekends).


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I see that a common trend these days is to convert prestige classes into archetypes, or to rely on archetypes instead of PrCs. But I think this neglects a real strength of the PrC: A well-designed prestige class is available to many classes, but an archetype is intended only for one.

So if you want your idea to be freely available to a wider range of players, give your creation a variety of entry points, through a variety of base classes ... via a prestige class.

(And although I know that multi-classing is not fashionable these days, this old-school grognard still loves the clever multiclass build. Without being too powerful!)

Speaking of balanced PrCs, I just released today my new prestige class PDF book for the Pathfinder RPG. It has 12 prestige classes as well as a chapter on playing liontaurs as a race in Pathfinder. It has NOT been playtested, however, so I'm not only looking to give it away for free, but I'm also looking for playtesters to give it a whirl.

The final version of the book (release planned for mid-August) will also be free, but playtesters will get a warm thank you and shout out in the credits, so you got that going for ya ... and I'm hoping some people will want to give it some play time and criticism. I'm dedicated to the proposition that prestige classes can be fun and attractive without power inflation!

I'm running a couple playtest games myself via play-by-post, so I'd welcome volunteers for that too.

The book is Cayzle's Little Splat Book Of Prestige & Class. Please click to check out this free 80-page, 30,000-word PDF.

Contact me here or via email at cayzle@cayzle.com.

I like hero points. I've been using a version of Pathfinder's Hero Point Rules for 10-plus years now, and the system adds a lot to the game. But the very idea of a hero point system hints at an underlying theme that has been neglected in Dungeons and Dragons. In a game where all characters are heroic, how does a true hero stand out?

I'd love some feedback on this new PrC I've made -- especially balancing powers vs requirements. Thanks!

The Adventuring Hero

There are many kinds of heroes in the multiverse, but they all have one thing in common: they achieve great things in remarkable ways, and they are admirable and noble, by one measure or another. True heroes regularly step beyond the run-of-the-mill to achieve amazing successes that other adventurers do not match.

Role: Any character can be heroic, although spellcasters tend to make unlikely heroes. Heroes take chances, act as leaders, put others first, and act as exemplars of heroic qualities and extraordinary deeds. Their friends and comrades learn that they can rely on a hero when hope seems lost.

Alignment: Heroes can be lawful or chaotic, but they are seldom neutral and never evil. Dark heroes may be sharp-tongued or even cruel, but they step up to take remarkable risks -- and they do so to save others. Noble heroes are paragons of altruism, seeing their heroic deeds as "just doing my job."

Hit die: d10


Alignment: Any neutral or good.
Feat: Hero's Fortune.
Trait: one of the following -- Courageous, Natural-Born Leader, Starchild, Flame of the Dawnflower, Divine Warrior.
BAB +5.
Special: Your game master must allow the use of hero points, and you may not be an Antihero. Also see below, as extra requirements vary with Archetype.

Table: The Adventuring Hero

Lvl...Att....Fort...Refx...Will...Class Abilities
.1....+1......+1.....+1.....+1.....Archetype, Hero Bonus Feat
.3....+3......+2.....+2.....+2.....Heroic Aura
.4....+4......+2.....+2.....+2.....Hero Bonus Feat
.5....+5......+3.....+3.....+3.....Save a Friend
.6....+6......+3.....+3.....+3.....Greater Archetype
.7....+7......+4.....+4.....+4.....Hero Bonus Feat
.8....+8......+4.....+4.....+4.....Victory In Defeat
10....+10.....+5.....+5.....+5.....Always a Hero
Class Features

Class Skills: Acrobatics (Dex), Climb (Str), Diplomacy (Cha), Heal (Wis), Perception (Wis), Ride (Dex), Sense Motive (Wis), Survival (Wis), and Swim (Str)

Skill Points per level: 4 + Int modifier

Weapon & Armor Proficiencies: All simple and martial weapons. No new armor proficiencies are gained.

Ex-Heroes: A hero who ceases to meet the requirements for the prestige class loses all class abilities until the requrements are met again.

Class Abilities

Archetype What kind of hero are you? Pick one of these archetypes for which you qualify from the list below. Once you make your choice, you cannot change it. You must meet extra requirements for each archtype. You gain an archtype benefit at level 1 and a greater archetype benefit at level 6.

-- Action Hero Requires: Athletic feat. Benefit: "Action Surge" (Su) -- Every time you use a hero point, you add your hero level as a morale bonus to your strength and you are hasted. The effect lasts for 1 round per hero level. Greater Benefit: "More Action" (Su) -- When you use a hero point to gain an extra action, you gain a full round action or two move actions or a move action and a standard action, rather than just a single move or standard action.

-- Everyday Hero Requires: Good alignment. Benefit: "Heroic Burst" (Su) -- Every time you use a hero point, you are affected as by a Heroism spell for one round per hero level. Greater Benefit: "Continuing Heroism" (Su) -- The duration of your heroic burst extends to 10 minutes per level.

-- Jukebox Hero Requires: Perform 5 ranks. Benefit: "Inspire Courage" (Su) -- If you have the bardic performance ability (or gain it later), your hero levels stack with levels in other classes that grant the ability. If not, you gain Perform as a class skill and also bardic performance as a bard equal to your hero level, but you can only Inspire Courage. Greater Benefit: "Inspire Greatness" (Su) -- If you have the bardic performance ability from another class (or gain it later), you gain Extra Performance as a bonus feat. If not, you may now also Inspire Greatness as well as Inspire Courage.

-- Super Hero Requires: You may not wear armor or use hero points while using the Disguise skill. Benefit: "Leap Tall Buildings" (Su) -- You gain a +30 enhancement bonus on all Acrobatics checks. Greater Benefit: "Look! Up in the Air" (Sp) -- You may cast Overland Flight as a spell-like ability once per day, using your hero level as your caster level.

-- Unlikely Hero Requires: Your strength, dexterity, and constitution modifiers added together cannot exceed +2 (temporary bonuses do not affect this requirement). Benefit: "Lucky Hero" -- You gain Luck of Heroes as a bonus feat. If you already have it (or gain it later), then you gain a bonus equal to your hero level on rolls to avoid expending hero points. Greater Benefit: "Amazing Luck" -- You may use your Luck of the Heroes feat every time you use hero points on yourself, not just to reroll a die roll or to grant yourself a bonus, and even to regain one of the two points you use to cheat death.

-- Unsung Hero Requires: You do not receive rewards or recognition for your deeds; your total wealth cannot exceed three-quarters of the average of the other members of your party. Benefit: "Guile Hero" (Ex) -- You gain a bonus equal to your hero level on dexterity- and charisma-based skills except Fly, Handle Animal, Intimidate, and Perform; all those skills are class skills for you. You can earn hero points for doing heroic good deeds anonymously. Greater Benefit: "Anonymous Samaritan" (Su) -- You gain the Hide In Plain Sight ability of a shadowdancer.

-- War Hero Requires: Five ranks in Profession (Soldier). Benefit: "Fearless Under Fire" (Ex) -- You gain a morale bonus equal to your hero level on saves vs fear. Greater Benefit: "Resolute" (Ex) -- You are immune to fear effects. You gain a morale bonus equal to your hero level minus 5 on saves vs the nauseated and sickened conditions.

-- Working-Class Hero Requires: At least one level of commoner, taken at first level. Benefit: "Hard Life" (Ex) -- You gain Endurance, Die Hard, and Skill Focus as bonus feats. You gain a bonus equal to twice your commoner level(s) on all saving throws and all Craft and Profession checks. You can earn hero points by generously helping the poor and those who labor for their bread, and by standing up to those who oppress them. Greater Benefit: "Source of Inspiration" (Ex and Sp) -- If you do not have the Leadership feat, you gain it. If you have it (or gain it later), then you gain a bonus to your Leadership score equal to your Hero and Commoner levels. Your followers are always fanatically loyal to you. You cast Heroes' Feast once per day as a spell-like ability.

Hero bonus feats At levels 1, 4, and 7, you may pick one from the following list, even if you do not otherwise qualify for the feat: Alertness, Blood of Heroes, Heroic Defiance, Heroic Recovery, Improved Initiative, Leadership, Luck of Heroes, Toughness.

Sidekick You may designate an NPC or even a willing fellow PC as your sidekick. The sidekick gains the Hero's Fortune feat. If you pick a familiar, animal companion, eidolon, or similar creature, it gains a new hero point each time you level. Cohorts and other NPCs gain a hero point each time they level. You may change your sidekick (or pick a new one if the current one dies) after a 24-hour waiting period; you may have only one at a time.

Heroic Aura You radiate an aura that daunts your enemies. Within 5 feet per hero level, enemies attacking you or your allies suffer a -1 morale penalty on attacks, AC, and saving throws. Activated as a swift action, your heroic aura can be used once per day; this ability lasts until combat ends, at which point all of the penalties immediately end.

Save a Friend Your ability to spend hero points to help friends grows. You can spend a hero point for any function, not just to bestow a bonus; that is, you can use your hero points to let a friend act out of turn, gain an extra action, even cheat death, and so on. When you grant a friend a bonus, the amount of the bonus is not halved. If you have the Luck of Heroes feat, you can use it to possibly regain hero points you spend to help your Sidekick.

Victory In Defeat When you use a hero point on a reroll, if the roll fails, you do not lose the hero point spent.

Superheroism You may spend as many hero points in a round as you choose, not just one.

Always a Hero On any day that you would otherwise have no hero points, you start the day with one. This ability also applies to your Sidekick. Also, you cheat death at a cost of just one hero point.

The Horizon Walker Terrain Mastery power offers this:

Terrain Mastery: At 2nd level, a horizon walker selects a favored terrain to master. When within this terrain the horizon walker may, as a move action, grant a +2 bonus on Climb, Stealth, Perception and Survival checks made by all allies within 30 feet who can see and hear him. The character masters one additional terrain at 4th, 6th, and 8th levels.

It is interesting that a Favored Terrain gives you bonuses on initiative checks and Knowledge (geography), Perception, Stealth, and Survival checks. But not Climb.

So I wondered, does Terrain Mastery also give you, the Horizon Walker, a +2 on Climb checks? Usually any benefit that helps allies also helps you, the initiator, right?

Then I wondered, Terrain Mastery actually gives unnamed bonuses to these things. Would Terrain Mastery also give a +2 to the HW's own Perception, Stealth, and Survival, stacking with his or her existing Favored Terrain bonuses? All unnamed bonuses stack, right?

The bonus is only for allies who can see and hear you. So if you are deaf or blind, you cannot grant the bonus to yourself? But you can still grant it to your friends who can see and hear you? Kind of a rare case, until you are trying to Climb away from the witch who just deafened you.

And how long does this +2 unnamed Terrain Mastery bonus last? You spend a move action to gain it, and it lasts until when?


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So what about D&D Next? Will Hasbro learn from history and put out the next version under an OGL? Or will the corporate types that gave us D&D4 again work to keep the game under lock and key, closed to third party developers? Well, there's no definitive answer yet, but as I shake my handy Magic 8 Ball, well, "Outlook not so good."

Just yesterday, May 29, 2014, we got a blog post on the OGL issue from Mike Mearls, lead developer for D&D Next. Titled "Gazing into the Crystal Ball," Mearls basically says that the issue has not been decided yet, please give him and Hasbro time to get things right, and we'll have an answer next year. But if you read the blog post carefully, there are a number of things that just strike a sour sour note. Read between the lines with me …

First off, the entire thing reads like it went through three layers of lawyers. It's not quite up to NSA levels of obfuscation and misdirection, but the tone is just … off. Discouraging, in my opinion.

Mearls says, "we want to empower D&D fans to create their own material and make their mark on the many, exciting worlds of D&D." That sounds great, but look at what he does NOT say! He does not say he wants to empower third party companies to produce product materials. It's all about the fans, not about being as open as an actual OGL would be.

Meals continues, "we want to ensure that the quality of anything D&D fans create is as high as possible." What does THAT mean?! How can Hasbro "ensure" that "anything" D&D fans create is high quality? Under D&D3 and the OGL, there was no quality compliance mechanism -- and a lot of crap product was produced! But we were free to make crap. This "ensuring" that "fans" produce high quality material sounds vaguely Orwellian and strikingly NOT OGL compliant!

Here's my personal prediction, more detailed than a Magic 8 Ball. Hasbro will announce a registration or subscription service for D&D "fans" -- and allow widespread "publication" of fan-created works only within that walled garden. No third party products at all. And that's going to be just sad.

To be fair, Mearls is asking for some time, so we'll see. I hope I am wrong.

For a deeper look at the background on this topic, check out my blog post on the subject.

1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.

Staves use the owner's feats and ability score to set DCs.

Core PF Rules wrote:
Using Staves: Staves use the wielder's ability score and relevant feats to set the DC for saves against their spells. Unlike with other sorts of magic items, the wielder can use his caster level when activating the power of a staff if it's higher than the caster level of the staff.

What about other things that boost spell DCs? Like the +1 on illusion DCs that gnomes have? Like the +2 on compulsion DCs that fey bloodline sorcerers have?

The Light cantrip has this restriction:

"You can only have one light spell active at any one time. If you cast this spell while another casting is still in effect, the previous casting is dispelled. If you make this spell permanent (through permanency or a similar effect), it does not count against this limit."

Does this limit apply if you are a multi-classed caster casting Light as a cleric and then as a wizard, for example?

The core rules for Gnome Magic says, "Gnomes add +1 to the DC of any saving throws against illusion spells that they cast." Would you grant this bonus to a gnome shadowdancer's Shadow Illusion, Shadow Call, and Shadow Power spell-like abilities?

1 person marked this as FAQ candidate.

A monster grapples a druid. The druid is wildshaped into air elemental form. On his turn, the grappled air elemental druid changes into a whirlwind.

http://paizo.com/pathfinderRPG/prd/monsters/universalMonsterRules.html#_whi rlwind

What happens? Does a whirlwind automatically escape a grapple? With what kind of action? Can you maintain a grapple on a whirlwind? What size is it?

The Instant Armor spell creates "a suit of armor made from opaque force." As a DM, how would you handle an attempt to sunder it?

You cannot sunder mage armor or even attack an unseen servant with weapons. You can batter down a wall of force with weapons, if you can get past the Hardness 30. Note that Instant Armor "acts in all ways as armor typical of its type (armor bonus, maximum Dexterity bonus, arcane spell failure chance, and so on)."

Advice most welcome!

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If you cast Mage Hand on a 1 lb non-magical saucer, you can float it around, right? What if there is a 1 lb teacup on the saucer? Can you still move the saucer around, with the teacup? What if a 2 lb kitten is on the saucer? What if the kitten is wearing a magic item?

Say you're an average female halfling, which by Core RAW means you are 2 ft 11 in tall and you weigh 30 lbs. You cast Reduce Person on yourself, so that you are now 1 ft 5.5 in tall and you weigh 3 lb 10 oz (Tiny size). If you sit on the saucer, can you Mage Hand it around, in essence riding your flying saucer as if it were a flying carpet with a move of 15 and requiring concetration?

Could you cast Unseen Servant and have your Servant carry you around? How high off the ground can it lift you?

What if, while you are reduced, you use Disguise Self to make yourself appear one foot shorter? Now you appear to be 5.5 inches tall -- Diminutive size, or maybe even Fine. Can you accrue any of the modifiers for being Diminutive or Fine? A Tiny creature has a +8 on Stealth checks, and a Diminutive one has a +12 … would you grant a bonus to Stealth to the 5.5-inch-seeming reduced halfling? How about if you are also floating around with a Mage Hand? That's gotta be pretty quiet.

Say you make or buy a Mithril or Darkwood box with airholes on all sides that weighs 10 lbs. Say you are a reduced female halfling weighing 3 lb 10 oz. Your Unseen Servant can carry 20 lbs. Can you hop in the box, gaining the benefit of improved cover, and let your Servant carry you around? While you cast spells and fire teensy crossbow bolts from inside through the airholes? Since you have improved cover in your box, you are immune to AoOs and can make Stealth checks in there, right? You can even snipe from in there, right?

Thanks in advance for the comments!

A creature with an AM Field walks up to a Rope Trick or Mage's Magnificent Mansion that has creatures hiding in it. What happens?

Thanks in advance for the advice!

The magic item creation rules detail higher prices for items that are activated via "Command word" or that are "Use-activated or continuous."

Also, there are items that are listed as "on command" and "at will."

Cape of the Mountebank is given as the example of a "command word" activated item, and in the item description, the text says, "On command, this bright red and gold cape allows the wearer to use the magic of the dimension door spell once per day." So clearly "Command word" and "on command" are synonymous.

But there are two wondrous items in Core Raw that are not described as "on command," but instead as "at will" -- Hand of the Mage and Helm of Telepathy. (Leave aside the Obsidian Steed because it is the steed that can use powers at will, not the item owner ... it is more like an intelligent item.)

The question is, does an "at will" item require a command word to activate? Is it activated mentally? Or is it always on and continuous? If you are bound and gagged, or paralyzed, or baleful polymorphed, can you use your Hand of the Mage?

I have a question about this rule:

"Spontaneous Casting: An urban druid can channel stored spell energy into domain spells that she has not prepared ahead of time. She can “lose” a prepared spell in order to cast any domain spell of the same level or lower. This ability replaces the ability to spontaneously cast summon nature's ally spells."

An urban druid has only one domain. The vast majority of the time, the druid will prepare each of the domain spells to which she has access. A 5th level Urban Druid with the Knowledge Domain will prep comprehend languages, detect thoughts, and speak with dead.

The question is, she can "channel stored spell energy into domain spells that she has not prepared ahead of time." But she HAS prepared comprehend languages, detect thoughts, and speak with dead. So what "domain spells that she has not prepared ahead of time" can she cast spontaneously?

The rules say, "any domain spell of the same level or lower." Chosen from what domains?