Gaseous Form


Homebrew and House Rules

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32

This came up recently in a Legacy of Fire game. One of the NPCs had it listed in her stat block, and I expected to use it for her escape. A Sylph PC also used Windy Escape, which I have the same problem with.

Gaseous Form original:
School transmutation; Level alchemist 3, bard 3, magus 3, sorcerer/wizard 3; Domain air 3

CASTING
Casting Time 1 standard action
Components S, M/DF (a bit of gauze and a wisp of smoke)

EFFECT
Range touch
Target willing corporeal creature touched
Duration 2 min./level (D)
Saving Throw none; Spell Resistance no

DESCRIPTION
The subject and all its gear become insubstantial, misty, and translucent. Its material armor (including natural armor) becomes worthless, though its size, Dexterity, deflection bonuses, and armor bonuses from force effects still apply. The subject gains DR 10/magic and becomes immune to poison, sneak attacks, and critical hits. It can't attack or cast spells with verbal, somatic, material, or focus components while in gaseous form. This does not rule out the use of certain spells that the subject may have prepared using the feats Silent Spell, Still Spell, and Eschew Materials. The subject also loses supernatural abilities while in gaseous form. If it has a touch spell ready to use, that spell is discharged harmlessly when the gaseous form spell takes effect.

A gaseous creature can't run, but it can fly at a speed of 10 feet and automatically succeeds on all Fly skill checks. It can pass through small holes or narrow openings, even mere cracks, with all it was wearing or holding in its hands, as long as the spell persists. The creature is subject to the effects of wind, and it can't enter water or other liquid. It also can't manipulate objects or activate items, even those carried along with its gaseous form. Continuously active items remain active, though in some cases their effects may be moot.

This spell, used in combat, is not an escape. It is effectively a suicide. DR 10/magic from a 3rd level spell might as well be no DR at all. I have little problem with the rest of the spell, but that single factor makes the spell pretty worthless on an NPC stat block.

I recall it being way more relevant in D&D. I was sure this was a Pathfinder change, but looking back, I see it was that way in 3rd edition D&D as well. I hadn't seen the spell come up since I changed over to 3e 15 years ago, so I never noticed the change. In an effort to make the spell relevant without making it unfair, I have house-ruled the first paragraph to say:

The subject and all its gear become insubstantial, misty, and translucent. Its material armor (including natural armor) becomes worthless, though its size, Dexterity, deflection bonuses, and armor bonuses from force effects still apply. The subject becomes immune to weapon damage (i.e., bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing damage, regardless of source, so wind blades will not work, for example), and is immune to acid, cold, and sonic damage. The subject is immune to poison, sneak attacks, and critical hits. It can't attack or cast spells with verbal, somatic, material, or focus components while in gaseous form. This does not rule out the use of certain spells that the subject may have prepared using the feats Silent Spell, Still Spell, and Eschew Materials. The subject also loses supernatural abilities while in gaseous form. If it has a touch spell ready to use, that spell is discharged harmlessly when the gaseous form spell takes effect.

For the Windy Escape spell, which seems to emulate Gaseous Form, I simplify.

Windy Escape original:

You respond to an attack by briefly becoming vaporous and insubstantial, allowing the attack to pass harmlessly through you. You gain DR 10/magic against this attack and are immune to any poison, sneak attacks, or critical hit effect from that attack.

This becomes:
You respond to an attack by briefly becoming vaporous and insubstantial, allowing the attack to pass harmlessly through you. You are immune to any bludgeoning, piercing, or slashing damage; cold, acid, or sonic damage; poison, sneak attacks, or critical hit effect from that attack.

Does that seem acceptable? Or does it suddenly swing the other way from being useless to too powerful for the level?

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

If you're using gaseous form to tank attacks, you're doing it wrong. You can fly and fit through tiny cracks so they can't attack you at all.

RPG Superstar 2013 Top 32

Cyrad wrote:
If you're using gaseous form to tank attacks, you're doing it wrong. You can fly and fit through tiny cracks so they can't attack you at all.

The problem wasn't that she was tanking attacks, it was that the NPC expected to be able to escape. But becoming gaseous effectively removed her ability to cross the room.

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

I believe she did not use the spell to its potential. It's best to use gaseous form to ensure an escape rather than simply run away. Other spells are already good for that, like haste or fly. It's not a get-out-of-jail-free card. And I don't think it should be. I think it's great the spell requires a little bit of planning and creativity to utilize properly.


maybe DR/10 plus total concealment (50%)?

RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16

rainzax wrote:
maybe DR/10 plus total concealment (50%)?

That's too powerful for a 3rd level spell to have all that. Besides, there's already a 3rd level spell that gives 50% miss chance and there's a 4th level spell that gives DR 10/adamantine up to a maximum amount of damage absorbed.


It's basically Passwall and nothing else. There really isn't a creative use for it as an escape, and any such uses just wind up looking like DM fiat allowing a recurring villain to escape. You need to set up the terrain in advance for your villain to use gaseous form, which is the definition of lame. If you are going to ensure whatever is necessary for your villain to escape then you don't need any creative use of anything.

The real unfortunate part of the spell is for vampires who explicitly are stated to use it for an escape. Even though it's 20' movement for them it's still bad.


true but those spells have no other drawbacks.

is not being able to attack, move faster than 10 feet horizontally, and only cast spells without components justify the advantages Gaseous Form could (not does - this is homebrew) confer?

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