How to prevent spellcasters from... well, spellcasting?


Advice

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Haven't read the whole thing and I apologise for that, but has anyone suggested a subtle drug (spellcasters have poor fort saves, after all) slipped to them while at a tavern and, while they're unconscious, strap on a device like a shock collar - uses a nonlethal version of shocking grasp to administer a painful electrical shock whenever they try to cast a spell - and then have the BBEG be the only one with the command word/paired device necessary to remove it?

It's how I'd do it. Granted, I'm stealing the spellcasting-triggered-shock-collar idea from an episode of Slayers, but who cares as long as it does the job, right?


Hey!!!! I started something :P
What's the prize?


working methods of stopping casters that are fairly affordable

*binding and gagging them

*stealing spellbooks and component pouches

*stealing thier magical gear, this hampers anyone, unless thier magical gear is something along the lines of enchanted markings of some kind. whether tattoos or scars.

*removing thier line of sight by blindfolding or blackbagging them

*preventing them from getting a full 8 consecutive hours of rest

*grappling and pinning them

*a reach weapon wielding martial with step up, disruptive, and maybe the step up and strike feat. your typical mid level prison guard

*kidnapping familiars and binding/gagging/blackbagging them in cages, this is the witch equivalent to stealing spellbooks

*archers with readied actions to fire nonlethal blunt tipped arrows.


Ashiel wrote:
Alitan wrote:
No, unconscious targets aren't considered willing. You're pulling stuff out of thin air.
PRD-Magic, Targets wrote:
Unconscious creatures are automatically considered willing, but a character who is conscious but immobile or helpless (such as one who is bound, cowering, grappling, paralyzed, pinned, or stunned) is not automatically willing.
An unconscious character is always considered a willing target for a spell.

.."if the spell is restricted to willing targets." should be the rest of that statement.

Quote:

Target or Targets

Some spells have a target or targets. You cast these spells on creatures or objects, as defined by the spell itself. You must be able to see or touch the target, and you must specifically choose that target. You do not have to select your target until you finish casting the spell.

If the target of a spell is yourself (the Target line of the spell description includes “You”), you do not receive a saving throw, and spell resistance does not apply. The saving throw and spell resistance lines are omitted from such spells.

Some spells restrict you to willing targets only. Declaring yourself as a willing target is something that can be done at any time (even if you're flat-footed or it isn't your turn). Unconscious creatures are automatically considered willing, but a character who is conscious but immobile or helpless (such as one who is bound, cowering, grappling, paralyzed, pinned, or stunned) is not automatically willing.

Some spells allow you to redirect the effect to new targets or areas after you cast the spell. Redirecting a spell is a move action that does not provoke attacks of opportunity.

That applies to spells that are restricted to willing targets only. Any other spell you get your save throw regardless of if you are conscious or not.

Liberty's Edge

So to sum up, there are lots of ways to do it.

Some of us are advocating trying to find the most simple solution to the problem, some of us like to create complicated solutions so people will think we are very clever.

I personally suggest keeping it simple.

Shadow Lodge

Nail them to a wall. With lots and lots of nails.
Alternatively, if the person doing the imprisonment isn't evil or psychotic, you could just shackle them to a wall in such a way, off the ground for example, that it prevents them from getting a good nights sleep, kinda ruins the whole spell recovery thing.


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Easiest way to prevent the spellcasters trying to escape is slapping the 'Manacles of Cooperation' on them.
It's a mearly 2000gp and completely subdues them.

"These tight iron cuffs can fit over the wrists of any Large or smaller humanoid. When placed on a helpless humanoid, they make the captive more docile and compliant. The prisoner never attempts to escape of its own volition and agrees to any reasonable request unless it makes a DC 11 Will saving throw."

Ok the saving throw is low, but that only effects the 'reasonable request' aspect of it, the never attempts to escape aspect doesn't get a save.
And even if i'm wrong, once you've captured them just have the person who captured them feed them 'Striped Toadstools' for a mear 180gp per toadstool, you can deal between 4-12 wisdom damage and 4 int damage (thus ruining their will save and allowing the manacles to work). You could also take into concideration that you need either Int/Wis/Cha of a certain level just to cast spells in the first place, so just by draining those abilities soon they wont even have the ability to cast.
You'll need a fair few of them to keep them subdued, but it is cheap and simple. The spellcaster might figure out his food is poisoned, and refuse to eat, but after a few days of no food, they'll be too fatigued/exhausted to cast anyway, you just have to remain extra vigilent for those first few days until they're too dumb or too hungry to cast.


Ravingdork wrote:
Serisan wrote:

Sample Bestow Curse options for imprisonment:

"You cannot concentrate when...
...alone."
...near others."
...in the dark."
...near strangers."
...within this place."

All of these are limited in scope, but destroy a caster.

"The sight of your friends fills you with great calm." -Prevents Rage on Barbarians

"Without (x), you are powerless." - All sorts of havoc here.

I much prefer to use Bestow Curse to give someone amnesia.

THE FOLLOWING IS CROSS-POSTED FROM THE SORCERER PRISON THREAD:

Per the Sanity and Madness rules, bestow curse can afflict someone with a single type of insanity, such as amnesia. Do you know what amnesia does to a person? Not only does it inflict a –4 penalty on Will saving throws and all skill checks, it also causes the amnesiac to lose all class abilities, feats, and skill ranks for as long as his amnesia lasts (along with the traditional loss of memory of identity, skills, and past history).

Once you've got all you need out of a prisoner through interrogation, I can't think of a more effective way of stripping someone of their power.

You could cast it twice to give someone permanent achluophobia (fear of the dark) and ahotophobia (fear of light) in order to make them perpetually frightened. For good measure, strike them down with agoraphobia too. Then they will CHOOSE not to leave their safe little prison.

This is definitely true. Amnesia is much, much better than any of the options I listed. The ones I put together, however, allow for players to escape and show a flawed plan on the part of the BBEG.

It all comes down to your actual goal.


ShadowFighter88 wrote:

Haven't read the whole thing and I apologise for that, but has anyone suggested a subtle drug (spellcasters have poor fort saves, after all) slipped to them while at a tavern and, while they're unconscious, strap on a device like a shock collar - uses a nonlethal version of shocking grasp to administer a painful electrical shock whenever they try to cast a spell - and then have the BBEG be the only one with the command word/paired device necessary to remove it?

It's how I'd do it. Granted, I'm stealing the spellcasting-triggered-shock-collar idea from an episode of Slayers, but who cares as long as it does the job, right?

A resetting trap would work. Not all that expensive, so when they sold it after escaping it would just be treasure.


Abraham spalding wrote:
That applies to spells that are restricted to willing targets only. Any other spell you get your save throw regardless of if you are conscious or not.

Yeah, I got that. But Ravingdork was making a distinction between willing as a target for the spell and willingly failing your saving throw. If there is a distinction, then that means while unconscious you need make your saving throws against spells (willing or not) because you cannot willingly fail your saving throw since you are unconscious. Thus, by Ravingdork's logic (and your own), if a cleric with a 13 Wisdom approaches a downed ally at -9 HP and tries to cast stabilize the ally is considered a willing target for the spell but since that is different from willingly failing a saving throw, he must roll the saving throw to negate the stabilize. So the guy rolls an 11 -- hoping the whole time that he fails it -- but he took Iron Will, and rolls an 11 exactly. The spell is negated, and he dies on his turn.

The reason being that harmless spells still allow saving throws, merely that it is assumed that you will forgo your saving throw because it's harmless. If you are unconscious you are either making saves or you aren't, because you can't consciously choose.


Ashiel wrote:
Abraham spalding wrote:
That applies to spells that are restricted to willing targets only. Any other spell you get your save throw regardless of if you are conscious or not.

Yeah, I got that. But Ravingdork was making a distinction between willing as a target for the spell and willingly failing your saving throw. If there is a distinction, then that means while unconscious you need make your saving throws against spells (willing or not) because you cannot willingly fail your saving throw since you are unconscious. Thus, by Ravingdork's logic (and your own), if a cleric with a 13 Wisdom approaches a downed ally at -9 HP and tries to cast stabilize the ally is considered a willing target for the spell but since that is different from willingly failing a saving throw, he must roll the saving throw to negate the stabilize. So the guy rolls an 11 -- hoping the whole time that he fails it -- but he took Iron Will, and rolls an 11 exactly. The spell is negated, and he dies on his turn.

The reason being that harmless spells still allow saving throws, merely that it is assumed that you will forgo your saving throw because it's harmless. If you are unconscious you are either making saves or you aren't, because you can't consciously choose.

That isn't correct. You can have the harmless save throw type confused with the willing target requirement.

Quote:

(harmless)

The spell is usually beneficial, not harmful, but a targeted creature can attempt a saving throw if it desires.

That's in a completely different section and states you must choose to make the save throw.

In the same area we see the following:

Quote:

Voluntarily Giving up a Saving Throw

A creature can voluntarily forgo a saving throw and willingly accept a spell's result. Even a character with a special resistance to magic can suppress this quality.

Also spells that require a willing target specifically state you fail the save throw is an exception to the normal rule of allowing you to decide if you voluntarily fail or not, and again has no bearing on (harmless) save throws or voluntarily giving up a save throw.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

This has long been off the original topic, but I'd like to chime in on my thoughts on making saving throws while unconscious.

This is the sort of thing that should be decided on with a case-by-case basis. For instance, if I fireball an unconscious PC, it makes no sense for them to try to dodge out of the way for half damage with a Ref save. They're unconscious. On the other hand, if I inject them with a dose of poison, I think they should still get a Fort save to overcome the effects of the poison.

So in general, I'd rule that unconscious characters don't get Ref saves, but get Fort saves.

Will saves, on the other hand, are problematic. They encompass things from healing spells (cure light wounds) that you really don't want to be trying to save against, to spells like Nightmare that make no sense to say that they allow a save if no save is allowed when unconscious. The rule of thumb that I go by is that I allow a Will save for all spells that typically allow one except those with the (harmless) descriptor (when it is actually harmless, anyways). There is nothing in the rules to support that, but I think it's the most logical way to run things.

As a thought, what would you rule happens when a wizard casts Phantasmal Killer at a sleeping/unconscious target?

One last thing: Ciretose, you made a comment earlier about the rules NOT being the same for players/monsters in Pathfinder, as opposed to 4E. I feel I should point out that it's the opposite case. You build monsters entirely differently from players in 4E. The main reason you can't play as monster races in 4E is that the system simply doesn't support the idea at all. All the scaling is different, they get powers based on tier rather than level... You apply monster stuff to monsters, and PC levels to PCs. In Pathfinder you can build monsters like you build the PCs. The DM DOES in fact have to follow the same rules on both sides in PF.


I disagree Castarr4 -- allow the unconscious PC to make his reflex save. Now he's unconscious which is to say helpless and his Dex is treated as a 0 meaning he's got a -5 penalty on the save, but he still gets it. After all save throws aren't all about dodging, they are also about luck, he may have gotten lucky and the fireball exploded in such a way as a rock blocked him or some such.

As for Phantasmal Killer -- it is a phantasm, which is to say it only exists in the mind... an unconscious person still has a mind and still gets a save throw. By definition if you are unconscious you are still alive and therefore still meet the targeting requirements given by the spell.

However I do agree that the rules apply equally for PCs as they do monsters or NPC characters -- if the PCs hit a sleeping monster with a phantasmal killer he would still get his save throw, just as if he was hit with a fireball.

The likelihood of a creature that is unconscious making that save throw is small (and please note that evasion doesn't work when you are helpless aka unconscious) but even so there is still that chance.

Definition of a save throw:

Quote:
When a creature is the subject of a dangerous spell or effect, it often receives a saving throw to mitigate the damage or result. Saving throws are passive, meaning that a character does not need to take an action to make a saving throw—they are made automatically. There are three types of saving throws: Fortitude (used to resist poisons, diseases, and other bodily ailments), Reflex (used to avoid effects that target an entire area, such as fireball), and Will (used to resist mental attacks and spells).


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Hm... Good point Abraham. The biggest problem would be evasion, but that doesn't work when helpless (which is caused by unconsciousness). I suppose I should allow Ref saves too then. Otherwise having partial cover against the fireball doesn't actually help any.


Abraham spalding wrote:
Also spells that require a willing target specifically state you fail the save throw is an exception to the normal rule of allowing you to decide if you voluntarily fail or not, and again has no bearing on (harmless) save throws or voluntarily giving up a save throw.

That's fine and good, but I was talking about how if they are completely unrelated then an unconscious character can't decide if they wish to willingly fail a save or not because they are unconscious. Thus if they would make a save vs fireball, then they would make a save vs the party cleric trying to plane shift them to safety, and so forth.

EDIT: Also Castarr4, you would still get your fortitude save vs a poison. My stance was that since it says you're a willing target for spells that require willing targets, then you should be willing to forgo your save against them. Last I checked, you can't willingly fail a save vs poison (but I could be wrong), so I think that's a non-issue.

EDIT 2: In essence, I'm saying there is no difference between being unconscious and being affected by plane shift or by baleful polymorph. In essence, your defenses are all down. You cannot choose to fail or check, so you default to one or the other. I assume that you default to willingly failing since you are automatically considered to be a willing target for spells anyway (specifically noted to be why self-target spells have spell resistance and saving throw lines omitted). Thus if a big bad knocked you unconscious he could be all like finish him and turn you to stone and take you to Jabbar the Hun to collect his bounty; or your cleric friend could plane shift you to safety.


Um... there is a huge difference between plane shift and baleful polymorph:

Quote:


Plane Shift

School conjuration (teleportation); Level cleric/oracle 5, sorcerer/wizard 7, summoner 5, witch 7; Domain freedom 5; Bloodline aberrant 7
CASTING

Casting Time 1 standard action
Components V, S, F (a forked metal rod attuned to the plane of travel)
EFFECT

Range touch
Target creature touched, or up to eight willing creatures joining hands
Duration instantaneous
Saving Throw Will negates; Spell Resistance yes

Quote:

Baleful Polymorph

School transmutation (polymorph); Level druid 5, magus 5, sorcerer/wizard 5, summoner 4, witch 5
CASTING

Casting Time 1 standard action
Components V, S
EFFECT

Range close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)
Target one creature
Duration permanent
Saving Throw: Fortitude negates, Will partial, see text; Spell Resistance: yes

The huge difference is that plane shift targets willing targets so it automatically bypasses the save throw where as baleful polymorph doesn't target willing targets.

The willing target part only applies to spells like teleport or plane shift that state they apply to willing targets.

You are not a willing target for all spells when unconscious -- only spells that target willing creatures.

You don't get to apply rules for one thing to a completely separate thing.


Super glue ;)

...sorry I couldn't resist =D

possibly drugging them with something that makes them too dopey to have a clear thought and be able to cast would work. I know if Ii take Nyquil I'D be too wonky to caste a spell. Just a thought.


Abraham spalding wrote:

Um... there is a huge difference between plane shift and baleful polymorph:

Quote:


Plane Shift

School conjuration (teleportation); Level cleric/oracle 5, sorcerer/wizard 7, summoner 5, witch 7; Domain freedom 5; Bloodline aberrant 7
CASTING

Casting Time 1 standard action
Components V, S, F (a forked metal rod attuned to the plane of travel)
EFFECT

Range touch
Target creature touched, or up to eight willing creatures joining hands
Duration instantaneous
Saving Throw Will negates; Spell Resistance yes

Quote:

Baleful Polymorph

School transmutation (polymorph); Level druid 5, magus 5, sorcerer/wizard 5, summoner 4, witch 5
CASTING

Casting Time 1 standard action
Components V, S
EFFECT

Range close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)
Target one creature
Duration permanent
Saving Throw: Fortitude negates, Will partial, see text; Spell Resistance: yes

The huge difference is that plane shift targets willing targets so it automatically bypasses the save throw where as baleful polymorph doesn't target willing targets.

The willing target part only applies to spells like teleport or plane shift that state they apply to willing targets.

You are not a willing target for all spells when unconscious -- only spells that target willing creatures.

You don't get to apply rules for one thing to a completely separate thing.

Can you quote the part where it says willing creatures don't have to make saving throws against the spell? 'Cause I didn't see it. Only that some spells require willing targets. Nothing says that willing creatures are exempt from the saving throw. Only the assumption that they will willingly fail their save.

I might be wrong. Feel free to show me.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

A few quotes from the srd/prd:

Voluntarily Giving up a Saving Throw:

A creature can voluntarily forgo a saving throw and willingly accept a spell's result. Even a character with a special resistance to magic can suppress this quality.

(harmless):

The spell is usually beneficial, not harmful, but a targeted creature can attempt a saving throw if it desires.

Excerpt from Targets:
Some spells restrict you to willing targets only. Declaring yourself as a willing target is something that can be done at any time (even if you're flat-footed or it isn't your turn). Unconscious creatures are automatically considered willing, but a character who is conscious but immobile or helpless (such as one who is bound, cowering, grappling, paralyzed, pinned, or stunned) is not automatically willing.

The clause that says that an unconscious creature always counts as willing seems to refer to fulfilling the "willing creature" requirement in the target line of some spells, such as plane shift.

I think the intent is that even an unconscious character gets to decide if they want to make a saving throw against a spell. Any spell. Being willing for the purposes of targeting willing creatures doesn't preclude the possibility of making a saving throw against a spell.

That's my conclusion based on the above quoted lines. I've been known to be wrong before though.


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Ashiel wrote:

Can you quote the part where it says willing creatures don't have to make saving throws against the spell? 'Cause I didn't see it. Only that some spells require willing targets. Nothing says that willing creatures are exempt from the saving throw. Only the assumption that they will willingly fail their save.

I might be wrong. Feel free to show me.

That's what you are going with? They don't have to be exempt because they can voluntarily fail the save.

And before you go, "But they are unconscious how can they decide?"

I would like to point out that even when you are dead you still get to decide with spells like resurrection so obviously your state of consciousness or lack there of isn't a huge obstacle to deciding if to accept spells or not.


Pathfinder Adventure, Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

My last GM came up with a magic slave collar. It forced a concentration roll for spell casting and gave -20 to all concentration checks.

It was technically possible to cast while wearing it but very tough.


Abraham spalding wrote:
Ashiel wrote:

Can you quote the part where it says willing creatures don't have to make saving throws against the spell? 'Cause I didn't see it. Only that some spells require willing targets. Nothing says that willing creatures are exempt from the saving throw. Only the assumption that they will willingly fail their save.

I might be wrong. Feel free to show me.

That's what you are going with? They don't have to be exempt because they can voluntarily fail the save.

And before you go, "But they are unconscious how can they decide?"

I would like to point out that even when you are dead you still get to decide with spells like resurrection so obviously your state of consciousness or lack there of isn't a huge obstacle to deciding if to accept spells or not.

Because the spell says you do. The spell in question specifically says that the person gets to decide. In essence, it would seem that their immortal soul gets to decide if they wanna go back. I'm not exactly buying that the unconscious not-decision-making incoherent meat-sack on the floor is going to know to auto-fail his saving throw because a friend is trying to save him. Which was my point. If we go with this "you get saves vs targeted spells while unconscious" such because "you're considered willing (but not really)" that is basically what's happening here.

I suppose it is for each group to decide, but I think my players would be kind of pissed if they cast stabilize only to have the victim keep making their Will saves because they can't choose to fail it, or the cleric not being able to plane-shift a "willing" target to a safety location (like the ethereal or astral plane) to get them out of danger without risking the dude saving and being left on the plane.

To me, willing means willing. If I'm considered a willing target for spells, it's not much of a stretch to assume that includes failing saving throws willingly. Otherwise...things get weird.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

No, because the clause about willing targets isn't talking about saving throws. If I'm conscious, I can declare myself a willing target and therefore eligible for a plane shift to be cast on me, but still elect to make my saving throw. They're two different things.


Hey what about fighting the pc's in a "dead magic"zone? essentially a permanent anti-magic field tied to a specific location?


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Abraham and Ashiel, should we make a separate thread for the unconscious saving throw discussion? I think we've all stated our positions at this point and we just disagree with each other... doesn't really need another thread, and we're just derailing this one.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber
Conundrum wrote:
Hey what about fighting the pc's in a "dead magic"zone? essentially a permanent anti-magic field tied to a specific location?

Like the Mana Wastes in Golarion. Technically, magic kinda works there, but intermittently, or can mess up... I'm sure if they got dragged to Alkenstar they'd have plenty of rather unique anti-mage stuff there.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Here's the major plot hole in your idea. Since the slavers don't want the casters casting, it's assumed that they have no particular use for them.

In that scenario, why would they go to all the trouble of trying to keep them alive but helpless instead of just killing them?

Also keep in mind that this is a fairly moot point when you're dealing with very low level casters who don't have the godlike abilities of mid and later levels.


Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Ashiel, would it make any difference to you if I tracked down a v3.5 game developer quote or similar official (but dated) source specifically stating that Abraham's view is correct? Or would that have absolutely no impact on your view for Pathfinder despite the fact that, that particular section of the rules has not changed?


Ravingdork wrote:
Ashiel, would it make any difference to you if I tracked down a v3.5 game developer quote or similar official (but dated) source specifically stating that Abraham's view is correct? Or would that have absolutely no impact on your view for Pathfinder despite the fact that, that particular section of the rules has not changed?

Actually, I was already done debating it. I had conceded that it doesn't specifically say so, but then pointed out an oddity that technically being a "willing" target to a spell doesn't make you're willingly going to fail your saving throw (which is normally assumed for harmless spells and spells with willing targets, but they still haves saves and you fail them at your option). Which means that if someone is unconscious they might begin saving against spells they really don't want to save against (such as being at -11 out of -12 HP and saving vs stabilize or saving against plane shift when your party cleric is trying to escape with your unconscious body).


I didn't read the entire thread, so sorry if I'm repeating.

We have used in the past:
"Slavers Manacles"
If someone is wearing the manacles and tries to cast a spell They inflict very painful (but non lethal) shocks the whole time the spell is being cast. So while the casters is atempting the spell they are taking 2* (caster level of spell) nonlethal damage and have to make a concentration check in order to cast the spell. Master work version is 3*CL. Exceptional version is 4*CL. I don't remember what the cost we used for these.

Combined with a gag, blindfold, and wooden gloves it makes spell casting very difficult if not quite impossible.

Liberty's Edge

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At Castarr4 – I was making reference to how in 4e the monsters have completely different rules than the players, sorry if I was unclear.

What I am saying is this. One of the best aspects of the 3.5/Pathfinder system is the presumption that both sides of the table are working from the same rulebook. That what you are up against is subject to the same rules the players are subject to.

However, playing by the same rules doesn’t mean that the player is entitled to go off book into things that are described as estimates and guidelines.

The Devs wanted to have many options available to the GM, so that the GM could create as many scenarios as possible. Having something be very unlikely to happen, doesn’t mean it wouldn’t happen given the size of a world and the amount of time passing. So things the GM create can, occasionally do exceptional things.

You don’t want this to happen to often, as it becomes deus machina railroading. But artifact type items are a perfect example of toys the GM can make beyond what is available to the player.

However some GMs are more permissive than others, and some games don’t care as much about verisimilitude. And so some games become as absurd as the theorycraft sections of the board, with verisimilitude thrown out the window in favor of who can be the most clever at bending the rules.

And that is fine if everyone is having fun. It is, in fact, a wonderful way to do mental acrobatics with the system. Some really amusing and interesting posts are in the threads based on “what if” munchkining.

But when people from these permissive games full of entitled players start to complain about the game being broken…well, that is like wondering why your car doesn’t run when you pull sugar in the gas tank. When you modify the game, you are responsible for the outcomes.

In this instance, the GM is trying to achieve a simple and presumably common outcome. Imprisoning a caster. Many solutions have been proposed, including just having the bad guy have a way to do it, to the exact limitations he wishes.

He wants to be careful specifically because he knows whatever he does, he must allow the players to do.

He is the GM, so he can simply say “In this world ‘X’ prevents casters from casting spells when they are captured and restrained with it. The rules for escaping ‘X’ are ‘Y’.”

But this has to be established up front, which is in a sense what the rulebook does for the entire game. It is the agreed upon rules we all defer to when playing the game, unless otherwise stated.
I have seen GM’s come up with any number of methods to restrain the captured caster in various games I’ve played. They players went along with the presumption that if they were told someone couldn’t cast, they couldn’t cast. Much in the same way if the GM said “There is a goblin” we presumed there was a goblin.

This doesn’t become an issue unless the players feel entitled to not just a level playing field with the GM (which they should get IMHO) but equal control over the world (which they don’t get). The GM makes the world. If the GM says the sky is purple, the sky is purple. If you can’t deal with that, and you can’t come to a resolution during a polite discussion out of the game, you can find a new GM or run your own game.

I used to be a horribly entitled player. I would argue rules left and right at the table. Then I started to GM and I realized how my doing that was ruining the fun for others at the table and driving the GM crazy. What I thought was being clever was annoying attention seeking behavior in a team game.

If the GM wants to say “For some reason you are unable to cast spells unless you are able to do ‘x’ to escape” that is as valid as the GM saying “You are in a tavern” or “Roll initiative.”

Both sides should exist in a world where there are rules that both sides have to be governed by. But the GM makes those rules. If you are worried your GM is going to cheat you, you probably need a new GM.

If you can’t tell your players “You are unable to cast spells for ‘x’ reason”, you probably need new players.


ciretose wrote:
If you can’t tell your players “You are unable to cast spells for ‘x’ reason”, you probably need new players.

A smarter GM also works.


+1 Ciretose.
I'm currently writing the whole scenario, and it has a lot of factions involved,so i cannot simply say who is going to capture the PC and why, or why he doesn't kill them outright.
Of course if i simply kill the casters that would be wasting the time of the players.....i'ld hate a GM for doing that to my PC,the hell,it already happened to me to have a PC slammed from one slaver to another against his will and without the GM giving the opportunity to RP it.

edit: I also said from the start,it is still a hypotesis.
My PCs wanted the "all slaves of the same master from the start" introduction because they got to start all togheter and the players didn't have to struggle to come up with good backgrounds.
Of course they escaped during lvl 1 sessions,but in doing so they made someone else move against them obviously.
At this point i have to ponder several subplots,as they are still in the city ruled by the accomplices of their former master (now dead).
As for now i'm thinking at various possibilities for the outcome, and being enslaved again is one,but who is going to try to take them has other interests in the guy that imprisoned them in the beginning,so this is the reason he doesn't want to kill the casters.

Grand Lodge

Ashiel wrote:
ciretose wrote:
If you can’t tell your players “You are unable to cast spells for ‘x’ reason”, you probably need new players.
A smarter GM also works.

Or talk out a way that you can say it to your players.


TriOmegaZero wrote:
Ashiel wrote:
ciretose wrote:
If you can’t tell your players “You are unable to cast spells for ‘x’ reason”, you probably need new players.
A smarter GM also works.
Or talk out a way that you can say it to your players.

Hmm? Talk out a way to say it to your players? Er, I'm not sure what you mean old buddy. Could you, um, rephrase your statement or expand on it a bit? ^.^"

I meant that a good GM won't need to just tell their players "you can't cast spells". There will be a reason, and it will be a good reason. This thread is proof that there are so many ways to prevent people from casting spells with only a minor amount of thought involved that resorting to GM fiat and telling people they can't play their character as they intended simply because you say so is weak-sauce.

"You can't do this."
"Why?"
"Because I said so."

^ Is a pretty good indicator you need a smarter GM.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

"Because I said so" is a non-reason. Ciretose was saying that if the DM provides an in-game reason for you to not be able to cast, then a player should go along with it.

I agree to a point. I certainly think the DM can do that, but I would get frustrated if he did it:

  • often
  • for extended periods
  • for OOC reasons

    I think you took Ciretose's comment too far out of context, Ashiel.

    Edit: Ashiel, I do agree with your stance on the PCs having the ability to learn whatever techniques or use whatever equipment the BBEG is using to quell their magic. It might take a skill/time/feat/resource/prestige-class investment to do it, but it should be available as an option if they really want to.

    That said, the DM can make it really really difficult, like a prestige class that requires an evil alignment in a good campaign, or a bard masterpiece that requires 10 ranks in perform(mime).

  • Liberty's Edge

    TriOmegaZero wrote:
    Ashiel wrote:
    ciretose wrote:
    If you can’t tell your players “You are unable to cast spells for ‘x’ reason”, you probably need new players.
    A smarter GM also works.
    Or talk out a way that you can say it to your players.

    If your players trust you, they trust you. If you are getting into rules lawyering at the table, either the players don't trust you or they want to GM from the other side of the table.

    Both are problems with very different solutions.

    Liberty's Edge

    Ashiel wrote:
    ciretose wrote:
    If you can’t tell your players “You are unable to cast spells for ‘x’ reason”, you probably need new players.
    A smarter GM also works.

    Do you mean the smarter GM that allows players to "stealthily" throw glowing rocks throw down hallways when players are trying be sneaky, or the smarter GM whole allows mid level casters to summon unlimited wishes for themselves?

    Post history has shown that we have very, very different definitions of the word "smarter".

    There should always be a reason players can and can not do something. The world must conform to rules that apply across the spectrum. In this instance the DM should have a defined reason the players can't cast.

    And the players may or may not know what that reason is at the time they are told they can not cast, much the same way they may or may not know why that fireball just hit them at the time they are told "Make a reflex save".

    But there should be reasons, the players should have an opportunity to learn the rules that caused it to happen (although they aren't entitled to that knowledge if they don't do things needed) and they may or may not be able to replicate everything they see others do, even if it fits into the logic of the game.

    But the GM is, almost by definition, the person who defines what the rules of the world are. And at minimum they are the person who interprets what the rules are, which is in and of itself a reason for players to defer to the fact that they are at times going to be ignorant about what is going on (If you have a "smart" GM who isn't painfully predictable and trite...)

    Some of us when reading the rules try not to alway bend the rules in the players favor at each juncture, or ignoring rules that put "cruel" limits on what a player can and can't do while at the same expanding what other rules allow to the point of absurdity.

    Some of us will let the players throw the stealth glow rocks down the hallway, shake our heads, and roll perception checks to see if they just agroed the whole place.

    Some pat their players on the head and call them clever, open the guidelines to make whatever they can imagine, then and argue with the Devs about what you can and cannot create while at the same time claiming it is impossible to find advanced weapons at high levels if you don't make them yourself in order to win arguments on messageboards.

    YMMV.

    Each GM is going to set guidelines and rules, and I believe good GM's try to adjudicate these rules based on the table they are at. Newbie tables I am much more lax at than hardcore tables. Some players police themselves, some try to "win" the table and make sure everyone knows how clever they are.

    Either way, if you are arguing with your GM in this specific scenario when they say "For some reason you don't understand, you are not currently able to cast spells" you are an overly entitled player and something has gone wrong at your table.

    Because that is a common trope.


    ciretose wrote:
    TriOmegaZero wrote:
    Ashiel wrote:
    ciretose wrote:
    If you can’t tell your players “You are unable to cast spells for ‘x’ reason”, you probably need new players.
    A smarter GM also works.
    Or talk out a way that you can say it to your players.

    If your players trust you, they trust you. If you are getting into rules lawyering at the table, either the players don't trust you or they want to GM from the other side of the table.

    Both are problems with very different solutions.

    Third option. They want to play in a consistent world where everybody plays by the same rules and aren't subject to the whims of the zerg overlord-GM. My players trust me to the point that if any of their characters die in a game they won't bat an eyelash. But if I told them they couldn't do something just because (that includes inventing some applied phlebonium reason), I'd expect to lose that trust really fast. I know I would.

    GMs aren't that special. Anyone can GM. The difference between good GMs and bad GMs comes in how you handle things; and as far as I'm concerned, using phlebotinum where better options exist merely to flex your GM pex is a good red flag for the latter. Or at least a sign that the GM is lacking in both intelligence and creativity.

    In fact, the idea that that one person had about making shock collars was pretty cute. Doesn't require twisting up the standards or consistency of the game for personal whims, and achieves much the same effect. The collar would simply be a resetting magical trap (maybe even an Intelligent item) that watched characters for magic and then blasted the snot out of them when they did something funny.

    There's an idea! Intelligent shackles. If the party begins to concoct some sort of plan for escape, or gets up to some funny business, shocking grasp until order is restored.

    Liberty's Edge

    If you players demand to know why everything is occurring in the game at the moment it is occurring, your players don't trust you.

    A large part of many, if not most, adventures is figuring out why 'X' is happening.

    Because, presumably, the players don't know.

    If my GM said "For some reason you can't cast spells" I would go through all my knowledge roles, make my perception checks, etc...(with my GM rolling behind the screen generally) and if the answer was "You don't know" I would have to go with it.

    If I later found out I was injected with "X" that inhibits my ability to cast spells for "x" amount of time if injected while I was unconscious, I would accept that in this world, such a thing exists.

    If you wouldn't, you don't trust your GM.


    ciretose wrote:
    Each GM is going to set guidelines and rules, and I believe good GM's try to adjudicate these rules based on the table they are at. Newbie tables I am much more lax at than hardcore tables. Some players police themselves, some try to "win" the table and make sure everyone knows how clever they are.

    Your thinly veiled (and inaccurate) personal attacks aside, I've seen plenty of these sorts of players before as well. I've done a lot of online GMing via OpenRPG. In doing so, I've seen everything from people who've never played an RPG before, to people who try to swear by tiers like they were some sort of holy doctrine, to people who are always trying to play some sort of theorycraft build.

    I treat all with the same respect, and I've humbled a few of the arrogant ones as well (it seems to be somewhat demoralizing when your "uber" character is dismantled by some CR 1/4 kobolds without landing a hit). I've been invited to GM sessions for groups that are self-described power gamers, where each of them spend half their time fussing over whose character is more broken than the next, and ran games that were fine for both "normal" characters and their own (ironically, most of them thought these games were insanely hard, and some of their PCs got killed because the enemies weren't all that dumb).

    Unlike the GM that invited me to GM his group, I didn't throw lots of Deus Ex nonsense on the NPCs. I didn't fudge their rolls for sake of some "narrative". I didn't pass out artifacts that only they could use (which the GM even suggested I do so the big bad "lasts more than 1 round"). I just played it strait (incidentally the battle lasted 20+ rounds). I used my noggin' a little bit and thought of a couple of themes, a few ideas, and asked myself a few questions. "If I was X, what would I do?", "Where would I be in this dungeon if I was X?", "Does this dungeon make sense? Should I add more bathrooms? The orcs will need to poop, right?".

    I'm far more leery of "GM entitlement" than player entitlement though. It's a blight on the hobby. It gives GMs a bad name. It's the source of gaming horror stories. It breeds contempt. I'd rather wash the hobby of it.


    ciretose wrote:

    If you players demand to know why everything is occurring in the game at the moment it is occurring, your players don't trust you.

    A large part of many, if not most, adventures is figuring out why 'X' is happening.

    Because, presumably, the players don't know.

    If my GM said "For some reason you can't cast spells" I would go through all my knowledge roles, make my perception checks, etc...(with my GM rolling behind the screen generally) and if the answer was "You don't know" I would have to go with it.

    If I later found out I was injected with "X" that inhibits my ability to cast spells for "x" amount of time if injected while I was unconscious, I would accept that in this world, such a thing exists.

    If you wouldn't, you don't trust your GM.

    My players wouldn't suspect me because they do trust me.

    They do trust me, because I don't do b#+$%+## like that.


    Ashiel wrote:


    My players wouldn't suspect me because they do trust me.
    They do trust me, because I don't do b$+~@+~& like that.

    Neither do i; i never said i'm going to make fun of my PCs stripping them of everything they earned just because, being the DM, i can.

    Nor that i usually do that,quite the contrary.
    I simply like to include many options in my plots ("we must go from A to B,but there is C in the middle and he knows we know something he wants, and C is enemy with D.So if we go to D first" and then they discover that D is working for E and....etc etc)
    Surely one of the above has interest in interrogating/torturing the PCs, but this doesn't necessarily mean that in every session will be someone that wants to.
    But as i said earlier,it is something that can happen during adventuring, and when it does i need to be prepared.


    Gandal wrote:
    Ashiel wrote:


    My players wouldn't suspect me because they do trust me.
    They do trust me, because I don't do b$+~@+~& like that.

    Neither do i; i never said i'm going to make fun of my PCs stripping them of everything they earned just because, being the DM, i can.

    Nor that i usually do that,quite the contrary.
    I simply like to include many options in my plots ("we must go from A to B,but there is C in the middle and he knows we know something he wants, and C is enemy with D.So if we go to D first" and then they discover that D is working for E and....etc etc)
    Surely one of the above has interest in interrogating/torturing the PCs, but this doesn't necessarily mean that in every session will be someone that wants to.
    But as i said earlier,it is something that can happen during adventuring, and when it does i need to be prepared.

    Please understand Gandal, I'm not talking about you specifically. Or anyone specifically. This side-argument was born concerning things like making up non-existent NPC-only spell-stealing poisons, or breaking consistency of the world to make anti-magic collars that only work for the NPC and making them wildly underpriced. Then artifacts were mentioned, and it has been all downhill. Such things are so dirty, inconsistent, or just downright crazy when there are so many more consistent and reasonable alternatives that it's mind boggling.

    Then it was suggested that the interest of fairness and actual brain-activity on the part of the GM was in some way pandering to the players in a player-entitlement sort of way. Then Ciretose dropped a few thinly veiled mis-contexted references to some of my posts as per his usual attempts to bait me into some sort of stupid argument in someone's thread (if not yours, maybe mine, whose thread is pretty irrelevant); and I've been trying to remain calm and simply discuss it civilly.

    Personally, I have no reason to fault you or your GMing. In fact, I believe that the very fact you made a thread like this to examine your options and get some ideas of ways you could reasonably do this is a testament to the quality of your GMing. A willingness to listen, gain new ideas, try new things. Not just "I'm the GM so the NPC has some nonsensical artifact made of applied phlebotium".

    I tip my hat to you sir, and please think I speak no ill towards you.


    No need to be this polite Miss/Mister ?
    I didn't take an offence by a discussion about how to best DM a game (but since English isn't my mother lang maybe i didn't explain myself at my best).
    I apologize if i gave this impression,i admit it is a bit dazing (failed save) for me all of this arguing when i simply asked how to enhance the fun of my party.

    But rest assured of one thing....i'm sick of seeing videogames/books/RPGs sessions during which the PCs are captured and 5 minutes later they escape;why the hell they have been captured in the beginning then?
    Example

    Dragon Age Origins:
    Have you seen /played this game? When you have to free Anora from the dungeon of Arle Owe but it is you that end up prisoner and naked in fort drakon? Why bothering putting the PC in there when he/she can escape without having been touched whenever he/she wants?


    Gandal wrote:

    I'm pretty sure this has already been discussed,but i don't find what i really need.

    Soon i could need a home rule to prevent a couple of spellcasters from casting their spells,a magus and a sorcerer.
    It is still hypothetical,but i'm pondering the possibility of having my party captured/enslaved soon or in upcoming quests,but now the problems i'm having is how to do it.
    I know a GM must be extra careful when handling such situations,and the real concern isn't to arrange for a cool escape,but how to keep the spellcasters imprisoned for awhile.
    When a player asked me, i told him "of course there are ways of keeping you from casting your spells...or else when a BBEG captures the PCs,and it happens sometimes,the only other possible choice to be sure you won't cast the spells you still have memorized is outright killing you"
    When and if it will happen however i'll need to know what such ways are;
    a sorcerer (draconic bloodline if this is important)is a pain in this regard,since she already has Eschew materials and if he takes Still spells and Silence spells....i don't want to think at that;for the magus it should be enough to strip her (female elf) of spellbook/components bags,but she will still have memorized slots, and can still take the aforementioned feats.
    I thought of maybe some necklace that casts a personal anti-magic field and is person-specific,so it wouldn't work on other spellcasters,but maybe i'm overacting with designing such an item? Isn't it too powerful?

    I know a Beholder is copyrighted by D&D but I'm sure you could convert one over to Pathfinder. Depending on what level your party is ofc you dont want an unavoidable TPK.


    Many are suggesting a magic item that would cost out at 1000's of gps. Why would any one pay that? Serfs or slaves or bums from the street are cheap, and you don;t have to worry about their spellcasting. For that matter a bunch of undead work very cheaply.

    This is one reason why the mediaval world didn't do prisons. Folks were either fined, lashed, had a appendage cut off or executed.

    So, for reasons of forced labor- there are certainly cheaper better options. And, come on you have to be VERY Genre blind to not know the Adventurers are going to be a problem.

    For reasons of judicial punishment, there are the ways I listed. Or several spells, like Geas.

    Sometimes it seems like bad DM's want to inflict this upon their players as the bad DM feels like he has lost control, and this is the only way he can think of to get control back. It doesn't work.

    This works great to set up a party on their first adventure, like Skull & Shackles, however.

    Liberty's Edge

    Ashiel wrote:
    ciretose wrote:

    If you players demand to know why everything is occurring in the game at the moment it is occurring, your players don't trust you.

    A large part of many, if not most, adventures is figuring out why 'X' is happening.

    Because, presumably, the players don't know.

    If my GM said "For some reason you can't cast spells" I would go through all my knowledge roles, make my perception checks, etc...(with my GM rolling behind the screen generally) and if the answer was "You don't know" I would have to go with it.

    If I later found out I was injected with "X" that inhibits my ability to cast spells for "x" amount of time if injected while I was unconscious, I would accept that in this world, such a thing exists.

    If you wouldn't, you don't trust your GM.

    My players wouldn't suspect me because they do trust me.

    They do trust me, because I don't do b%**@@&$ like that.

    According to your post history, you do lots and lots of stuff like that.

    You bend the rules constantly to fit the narrative you want to have in the game. You write tons and tons of examples of how you bend the rules to fit narratives you want. Your expansion of what diplomacy covers in your game alone would be half a page of links.

    You are just being dishonest here.


    Ashiel wrote:

    ...telling people they can't play their character as they intended simply because you say so is weak-sauce.

    "You can't do this."
    "Why?"
    "Because I said so."

    ^ Is a pretty good indicator you need a smarter GM.

    I personally would never say "Because I said so." However, I'm very likely to say "You don't know why, but something appears to be interfering with your ability to use magic."


    Back to the OP.

    Another option to hold casters I've seen several times before.

    Many homebrew worlds as well as the the old Forgotten Realms had 'dead magic zones.' Areas where magic just didn't work. Those locations would be ideal places to put up a prison designed to hold magic users or people influential enough to be rescued by magic users.

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