Now, a recent post by ravingdork made me realise that there are ways to defend oneself from teleportation & scrying & all those other things that are so bothersome when wizards want to kill you.
So I'm wondering what other types of high level magical DEFENSES there exists that could be useful for someone.
In ye olden days, not so much RAW there used to be a variety of non-spell defense methods.
Having ivy on the outside of your fortress used to cause trouble with some spells like etherealness (since the ivy was a living creature and presented a barrier).)
Also gorgon's blood in mortar used to prevent teleportation and scrying for 'reasons.'
Veil and hallucinatory terrain are useful magical spells when you keep in mind that most scrying relies on the caster's unaided visual abilities (crystal balls not withstanding). Very few people want to risk the 'blind teleport' even at 90%.
Placing your citadel on another plane is also a useful trick, as it mucks up scrying /and/ makes assailing the place difficult as teleport doesn't work interdimensionally (I don't think).
Teleportation can also be messed with by having multiple rooms of your base that look identical and spending equal time in them. This is a 'DM jerk move' on par with hiding symbols of death behind fake doors though so keep that in mind.
From the evil DM's bag of tricks, just having a simple maze structure can also mess with the party pretty seriously. A winding maze made of five foot wide corridors means the party either ends up split, or perhaps arrives in an illegal configuration causing one of those lovely magical 'fnord' moments in the RAW (we were legally touching when we zotted out, but arrive in a 5 foot cube...or on the other side of walls?).
Also, there's the good old "Areas of strong physical or magical energy may make teleportation more hazardous or even impossible" meaning the villain's volcano lair suddenly makes sense.
Just a few ideas.
|The 8th Dwarf|
In the old days you could put lead in the mortar between your brickwork creating a magical Faraday Cage, preventing spying and teleporting.
Shadowrun has a much better defined list of what can and can't counter magic... Getting around the magical defences of a corporate site is a fun part of the adventure.
Well, there's always Greater Create Demiplane. You can add a Planar Portal (not sure whether adding multiple ones is Kosher; if so, this could make the strategy even more viable) and the Dead Magic trait to get a stronghold where you can't be scryed, where people can't teleport or plane shift (I assume in or out, although don't recall at the moment whether travel into the demiplane is affected... I assume it is), and where casters - even if they come in after you - will have their innate advantages seriously hindered. What are the risks here?
Something big, mean and non-magical comes in after you. There are a variety of things a sufficiently determined caster might send in after you. This assumes (a) plenty of time to prepare, (b) foreknowledge of the nature of your demiplane, and (c) sufficient funds, skills and spells to amass enough of whatever works without magic to threaten you.
Since another casting of Create Demiplane can impose an arbitrary physical structure, you might as well make yourself an adamantine fortress with a variety of non-magical defenses. I could also see using the Shape trait being useful.
Pretty flexible and, while it's not fool-proof from attack against a caster committed to your destruction, you're definitely forcing the fight to happen on your terms... and there's very little chance of it happening without your having some way to find out in advance.
A non magical method I have considered is to use moveable mesh in most areas not in constant use thus leaving on empty areas for the well know teleport/passwall/ect to use to sneak into the fortress. I imagine that te tactic was previously used soo often that it features prominently in multiple popular songs and plays.....
If you're the GM, I suggest the following:
First and foremost, show the existence and prevalence of the countermeasures BEFORE the pcs get access to the spells. Otherwise they're likely to feel that you're metagaming against them. You can have higher level npcs or governmental types discuss the matters with them in appropriate contexts (how are we going to keep Black Bart's minions from finding him now that we've finally imprisoned him, etc).
I suggest including a number of non or low magic defenses against teleport/divination/scrying in your game. The most recommended one is to have it blocked by sufficient earth and stone---like a magical fallout shelter, different materials have different amounts required for the effect. This also gives an organic, in-game explanation for why there are so many dungeons. You can also make certain areas (rich in certain magical ores), more effective in this regard.
I also suggest the one spell level metarule---which is to say that a prepared defense with access to spells one level or less than the offensive side can block the use of teleport/divination/scry. This is already implemented at the very high end (mind blank at level 8), but you should implement it in your game with weaker versions going down to much lower levels.
Ask yourself this, say you're a BBEG with fairly reliable access to contact other plane/commune/divination/etc. What are you going to do as Standard Operating Procedure? How can it be defended against? If the answers to those questions aren't to your liking from a balance or aesthetic point of view, I suggest creating new spells or house rules to generate the answers you prefer. And, per rule number one, do it and advertise it BEFORE anyone becomes too heavily invested in said capabilities.
Divination/Scrying is a lot like Electronic Intelligence (ELINT) in the real world. Think of a caster with access to level 9 spells in that regard as a lot like the NSA. ELINT has serious limitations. I'd suggest reading some of the fictional and real accounts/stories to give you a better handle on how to GM it. Rogues SHOULD be the masters of the other side of the intelligence coin (human intelligence-HUMINT). I suggest using house rules as necessary to ensure that they dominate that arena just as thoroughly as clerics and mages dominate the virtual ELINT one.
Just have cooperative spells that cover large areas and resist scry and fry. Depending on the strenth of the opponent's magical defenses would determing the caster level check needed to bypass the defenses with raw magical power. There could also be wardkeys that could be stolen or seduced by rogues. In my campaign, casual scry and fry is not an option. But magical defenses can be bypassed by obtaining wardkeys, high caster level checks, and so on. I just do not believe that allowing unfettered teleport and scrying to everywhere at all times.
Beating magical defenses should be part of the adventure. You just hav to determine the weaknesses beforehand and stick with them.
Also, areas of magical instability such as the Mana Wastes have already been stated to block teleportation. The Wardens of the Newborn Forge module already states the PCs cannot teleport into the Mana Wastes.
(Had time between calls to spellcheck this time)