Game Altering (or Game Breaking?) Spells: Teleport


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j b 200 wrote:
I have no problem with Teleport. If the party wizard wants to put all his 5th level spells in Teleport so he can cast it 3 times to get the whole group out of trouble that's fine by me.

A group with only one character who can cast Teleport is a very vulnerable group. There are a lot of situations in Pathfinder where there's no other form of escape that's likely to get everyone away. If you're in the sort of campaign where you never meet an encounter you can't defeat, that's not a problem. Otherwise I'd recommend a Wizard and a Travel-domain Cleric.


The Sword wrote:
A standard party of four with a familiar or pet would require a CL 12 mage with the requirement 3 more for each additional. Yes the mage can try to return with a mighty 25% chance of going off each time for approx a 75% chance of failing at least once across the three trips.

It's more likely to be:

Round 1: Teleport the most injured party member to a Very Familiar location. (3% chance of failure, doesn't matter much if you end up off target)
Round 2: Teleport back - this is the risky bit; 25% failure chance, and any failure leaves your group stranded.
Round 3: Teleport the rest of the party away: again, a 3% chance of failure, and failures aren't likely to be lethal.


I'm in the 'teleport changes the game, but doesn't break it' camp.

Transport spells are generally 'useful'
Fly - combat and getting past obstacles;
Dimension Door - combat (surprise attacks, in particular), getting past obstacles, and escaping
Overland Flight - travelling longer distances, plus Fly's benefits
Teleport - travelling to known destinations, occasionally risked to get to somewhere unknown, and escaping.

All of these are 'game-changing', but as long as a GM is expecting that, they aren't a problem.
What I'd like to see is much more mundane means to block them and scrying magics. I ran a game where thick rock blocked both teleport-type spells and scrying spells. This explained why dungeons were preferable lairs for baddies, and how castles with thick walls could be defended. Increased verisimilitude, and the players were fine about it since it was made clear from the beginning. Other games didn't have that house rule and still worked out OK.

A party being able to escape when in over their heads, for instance when the dice rolling goes badly and they might suffer a TPK and possibly wreck the campaign, is in my opinion a good thing.

The next thing to consider is who will be casting Teleport a lot?

Many wizards will have one memorised, plus a scroll or two, or maybe an item (Helm of Teleportation) will be in the party.

A sorceror who takes it can cast it much more often - but has chosen this instead of something else. Which spell? An offensive spell is likely to be cast more often, so for many encounters they have weakened themselves.

When we played Rise of the Runelords, by the time we were high level we used teleport (and then greater teleport) to get to safety each night. We knew we were being hunted/scryed on by K so we slept at the High Temple of Sarenrae where we were known as good people and our paladin had explained what our mission was. At lower level, we managed to split the party when teleporting to and from the Fortress of SGs, nearly killing some of us when we met enemies intended to challenge the whole party...


Matthew Downie wrote:
The Sword wrote:
A standard party of four with a familiar or pet would require a CL 12 mage with the requirement 3 more for each additional. Yes the mage can try to return with a mighty 25% chance of going off each time for approx a 75% chance of failing at least once across the three trips.

It's more likely to be:

Round 1: Teleport the most injured party member to a Very Familiar location. (3% chance of failure, doesn't matter much if you end up off target)
Round 2: Teleport back - this is the risky bit; 25% failure chance, and any failure leaves your group stranded.
Round 3: Teleport the rest of the party away: again, a 3% chance of failure, and failures aren't likely to be lethal.

Unless of course, you're aiming for a port city and the misjump lands you miles in the ocean. Not neccessarily lethal but could be extremely problematic if your spellbook gets soaked.

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Matthew Downie wrote:
The Sword wrote:
A standard party of four with a familiar or pet would require a CL 12 mage with the requirement 3 more for each additional. Yes the mage can try to return with a mighty 25% chance of going off each time for approx a 75% chance of failing at least once across the three trips.

It's more likely to be:

Round 1: Teleport the most injured party member to a Very Familiar location. (3% chance of failure, doesn't matter much if you end up off target)
Round 2: Teleport back - this is the risky bit; 25% failure chance, and any failure leaves your group stranded.
Round 3: Teleport the rest of the party away: again, a 3% chance of failure, and failures aren't likely to be lethal.

Which leaves you roughly a 70% chance to make all three rolls. The same as needing to roll a 7+ on the d20 to hit or make a save. Pretty good odds but not where I'd want to be if saving the party depended on it.

Those would be some tense rolls - and I think that's a perfectly fine way for it to be.

And by the time you're trying this trick with greater teleport there's a decent chance the foes will have some way to chase you...


Anzyr wrote:
Tim Statler wrote:

The one thing I've noticed when people call a spell overpowered is that they usually are not enforcing the limitations.

I remember someone complaining how Detect Magic was overpowered. They were not enforcing the concentration limit and 3 round to get detail limit.

Almost certainly not true. I enforce all RAW restrictions of spells I think are overpowered and it turns out... they are still overpowered.

As we expand new threads for different spells it'll be great to hear those examples from your table. It'll put things in context of how you saw it affect your game, and other players and GMs can opine on how they would handle the same situation if it comes up in their game, offer ideas about interpreting the RAW that you may not have considered, or share ideas for house-rule additions if you're looking to change the way a spell affects your game in the future. At least that's the concept for this line of threads - teleport is just the first one that I tee'd up.


ryric wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:
The Sword wrote:
A standard party of four with a familiar or pet would require a CL 12 mage with the requirement 3 more for each additional. Yes the mage can try to return with a mighty 25% chance of going off each time for approx a 75% chance of failing at least once across the three trips.

It's more likely to be:

Round 1: Teleport the most injured party member to a Very Familiar location. (3% chance of failure, doesn't matter much if you end up off target)
Round 2: Teleport back - this is the risky bit; 25% failure chance, and any failure leaves your group stranded.
Round 3: Teleport the rest of the party away: again, a 3% chance of failure, and failures aren't likely to be lethal.

Which leaves you roughly a 70% chance to make all three rolls. The same as needing to roll a 7+ on the d20 to hit or make a save. Pretty good odds but not where I'd want to be if saving the party depended on it.

Those would be some tense rolls - and I think that's a perfectly fine way for it to be.

And by the time you're trying this trick with greater teleport there's a decent chance the foes will have some way to chase you...

I was thinking through this as well, hopefully you've rehearsed this bail-out plan so everyone knows to stay close enough together to hold hands and leave together or hopefully not KO'd in the 3 rounds it takes to move everyone.

Other possible PC concerns - What happens if you have room for 4 on the trip and one of the bad-guys grapples a PC (or if you have room for 5 and now he's with you on the other end)? Or you end up needing to be close enough that you provoke AOO when you cast it? Intelligent enemies with missile weapons seeing what's happening might delay action until they hear you start casting and attempt to disrupt you as well and now the party is split - maybe results in those left behind being taken prisoner and having to be rescued.
Not with intention of executing a TPK, but if you figured this was a battle they'd need to run from, how close can you make it and up the drama? I find its tough to make it really "near death" without fudging a dice roll here and there, but those kind of encounters can build the animosity between the PCs and bbeg in a similar way to letting the bbeg escape via teleport or other spells.

Agreed - tense rolls which = player investment = fun IMO.


ryric wrote:
Matthew Downie wrote:
The Sword wrote:
A standard party of four with a familiar or pet would require a CL 12 mage with the requirement 3 more for each additional. Yes the mage can try to return with a mighty 25% chance of going off each time for approx a 75% chance of failing at least once across the three trips.

It's more likely to be:

Round 1: Teleport the most injured party member to a Very Familiar location. (3% chance of failure, doesn't matter much if you end up off target)
Round 2: Teleport back - this is the risky bit; 25% failure chance, and any failure leaves your group stranded.
Round 3: Teleport the rest of the party away: again, a 3% chance of failure, and failures aren't likely to be lethal.

Which leaves you roughly a 70% chance to make all three rolls. The same as needing to roll a 7+ on the d20 to hit or make a save. Pretty good odds but not where I'd want to be if saving the party depended on it.

Those would be some tense rolls - and I think that's a perfectly fine way for it to be.

And by the time you're trying this trick with greater teleport there's a decent chance the foes will have some way to chase you...

There are a few assumptions built into the figures quoted that could bring success down from 70%. First a 'similar' location could quite possibly put you into a completely different city, so may well be an issue if time is a problem. Also of target can be up to 100% of the distance teleported - being off a 1000 miles or more could really cramp your style again if there are time limits.

Teleport limited in numbers seems to break rule X 'NEVER split the party' my group would probably rather walk than take that risk.

It seems to me a lot of the risk depends on how well the wizard knows the places they teleport to. If you allow wizards to automatically know the cities in the campaign world then fine. Otherwise they are relying on scrying and even that requires knowing someone in the city. Even then I don't think I would allow an inn room to count as a very familiar place, unless you had stayed there for a fair few weeks. Even familiar surroundings need to be visited several times.

If the GM is narrating the story and describing the journies rather than a pace by pace description, why wouldn't the party just walk and not take the risk. after all if you were told that when flying there was a 2% chance you would get splinched and die and a 22% chance you would end up wildly off target, would you not just drive rather than fly?


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My current nerf (not that it's come up yet) is:

1) Casting time is 1 minute; you can do it in 5 rounds for double failure chance.
2) All who teleport are Nauseated afterwards for 2d6 rounds, fort save reduces to Sickened 1d4 rounds.
3) If there's an obstacle in the way at your target (say a cart parked in the street you were aiming for), you'll land at a similar (not necessarily the closest) place.

The first makes bailing out of combat very hard; the second makes scry-&-fry very hard and discourages casual use; the third covers a gap in the rules and discourages landing in uncertain environments.


Simply put, magic gets progressively more powerful. As many have pointed out teleport has many downsides; but it's okay for spells to increase greatly in power. Some people would prefer wizards to basically only blast, doing weaker damage than martials, however for those who enjoy games of magic to be about magic teleport is almost canonical.

There are many ways to prevent it from breaking the game. If you're having a combat in a lair that is protected against teleport, it won't be easy to escape. If you do manage to do so your opponent will be better prepared for you next time. But really in the end it's just part of the progression of spell power and if you can't manage it as a GM you are honestly just doing a mediocre job of game management. Designing and managing encounters have to take into account this sort of spell.

I have yet to come across a spell I consider game breaking when accounting for its limits and when a PC receives it. There are spells that are powerful for its level (which is a different, but equally interesting thread concept), but teleport, wall of stone, SM V, hungry pit, dominate person, icy prison, etc. are all very strong, because level five spells ought to be strong.


Mudfoot wrote:

My current nerf (not that it's come up yet) is:

1) Casting time is 1 minute; you can do it in 5 rounds for double failure chance.
2) All who teleport are Nauseated afterwards for 2d6 rounds, fort save reduces to Sickened 1d4 rounds.
3) If there's an obstacle in the way at your target (say a cart parked in the street you were aiming for), you'll land at a similar (not necessarily the closest) place.

The first makes bailing out of combat very hard; the second makes scry-&-fry very hard and discourages casual use; the third covers a gap in the rules and discourages landing in uncertain environments.

I've seen a few mentions of "scry and fry", but so far it just sounds like theory as nobody has shared how it happened at their table (or how frequently its happened for this term to be coined). If any advice is going to help a GM when the situation arises at their table, it would be helpful to hear some actual game examples of how the PCs did it.

IE: What was the target (good/poor will saves?); did they actually have enough data to make the will save a no-fail in their favor; did they really have enough data to land right in melee/missile range of the target; with that kind of info on the target (presumable a BBEG) did the target not have any idea they were being hunted by someone and consider things like Detect Scry (24hr duration 4th level spell), or sleeping in a teleport-proof chamber with some appropriate level of body guards.

At the very least, I'd not let a good villain die without a great fight (or teleporting away on his own when ambushed) regardless of if all the scry saves, teleport % fails etc came out in their favor. Obviously the GM knows ahead of time what the PCs are about to attempt and has the whole bestiary available as body guards that wouldn't have been obvious in the scry. IE - in another room, animated statues, invisible, etc. so that if this is how I'm comfortable with the end of the antagonist, it will at least be a fight worthy of all the build up to this point in the campaign. The PCs are supposed to win except when its better for the story that they lose, and as long as death is also a possibility it keeps them invested in playing out their characters lives the way a hero would (at least one who doesn't want to die senselessly). I don't see a problem with a scenario of "scry and fry" that works out how I wanted; and if they're using it to murder-hobo some non-essential mobs its just likely to get word out about their technique of problem solving. (can they really sit in the tavern and not brag about how they just took down opponent X?) Which will then make the defense tools available to the BBEG a given, and could be just as fun when the wizard tries to scry (to set up the fry) and his eyes roll back in his head and the group hears the voice of the BBEG saying "I see you.....".

But again - just theory, it'd be interesting to hear about how its actually happened in game and how the GM played it out (what worked, what didn't, etc).

Obviously any of the concepts, tools, and methods mentioned are good if they're working at your table including your recommendations. They might be considered harsh, but if its what you need to do to keep it in check with your players these are options that I could live with as a player. But as a GM I'd probably try less restrictive methods, as I'd also need to account for how the party could escape encounters where that was my intention(without using teleport because this would make that really tough on them). I would also prevent me from some possible encounter/hooks where I'd want the wizard "caught alone" to be able to only escape alive by using teleport. Some tropes would be taken off the table, with the options you laid out, so I'd try to work it out with discussion out of game to keep options on the table for me as GM.

I appreciate that you proposed some actual mechanics tools though, and as I said I could live with these as a player. Every GM isn't in same circumstances and might have to work more solutions via mechanics than diplomacy so these are useful options for them to consider...which was the intent of this thread.


Create Mr. Pitt wrote:

Simply put, magic gets progressively more powerful. As many have pointed out teleport has many downsides; but it's okay for spells to increase greatly in power. Some people would prefer wizards to basically only blast, doing weaker damage than martials, however for those who enjoy games of magic to be about magic teleport is almost canonical.

There are many ways to prevent it from breaking the game. If you're having a combat in a lair that is protected against teleport, it won't be easy to escape. If you do manage to do so your opponent will be better prepared for you next time. But really in the end it's just part of the progression of spell power and if you can't manage it as a GM you are honestly just doing a mediocre job of game management. Designing and managing encounters have to take into account this sort of spell.

I have yet to come across a spell I consider game breaking when accounting for its limits and when a PC receives it. There are spells that are powerful for its level (which is a different, but equally interesting thread concept), but teleport, wall of stone, SM V, hungry pit, dominate person, icy prison, etc. are all very strong, because level five spells ought to be strong.

I agree lots of tools available and game changing is my first thought rather than game breaking. But if your table gets out of hand, I wouldn't say necessarily its a sign of mediocre GMing at least not intentional - experience of GM, their players, and the group composition (especially if you have a hard-core power gamer) can make one group more difficult than the next. As far as that goes, I can say I've been guilty of wrecking my own campaign as a new GM by handing out too much magic and turning the group into powergamers whether they wanted it or not - we all had fun, but it got old fast.

Every GM is going to have a "first time" a spell or feat is used in their game and no way to know all the possible things players will try. Probably the one truth of GMing is the more experience you have, the more things you'll see for the first time.
The usefulness of info in these threads as it branches to other spells will put newer GMs (or experienced ones who are running their first high-level game) in a better position to read what could happen before it does and have a wide range of options from out of game discussion to mechanical nerfing in their GM toolkit.


As a DM I can usually find a way to saddle the players with some overland or more often maritime travel if I want to. Passengers and or cargo in excess of what could be moved with Teleport can work well here. If the PCs were Teleporting away from fights a lot I might ask myself if the fights are too difficult.

When I'm usually disappointed by Teleport is as a player. Some of my PCs do crafting, and long journeys can provide some time to craft stuff. Other PCs like traveling in ships, wagons, etc for roleplaying reasons. Teleport can have a tendency to eliminate both of those elements of the game.


There are often decent reasons not to teleport anyhow. As pointed out by Devilkiller. And if there aren't decent reasons than why is the trip necessary anyway.

I agree sometimes it's on players, but I think after the first time abused a GM can learn to adjust where necessary. Most dungeons are impossible to teleport into. Within, depends on the dungeon itself (this is usually a houserule, but may be doable with the rules, but when I run my home game I don't care enough and my players don't complain because I use it where it would make sense).

As an escape spell I don't think it's overpowered at all for the points raised above. Even at high levels there are counters. I think this is a spell that starts and progresses perfectly nicely in an epic adventure.

It fits the power of it's level. That doesn't mean every spell does; it depends on it's level and whether it breaks or alters the game (I can probably live with gamebreaking at 8 or 9, but the opponents can do it too). For the purposes of this thread I think teleport is appropriately game altering for its level and can easily be controlled for in order to create scenarios appropriate to the level at which a caster receives the spell.

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Last time as a player I tried "scry and fry" our group arrived in the middle of a forcecage filled with cloudkill. Good times.

It's a fairly low Perception DC to notice a scrying sensor, at least at the levels where "scry and fry" starts to become a concern. And while your party is buffing, the bad guys can be preparing as well.


ryric wrote:

Last time as a player I tried "scry and fry" our group arrived in the middle of a forcecage filled with cloudkill. Good times.

It's a fairly low Perception DC to notice a scrying sensor, at least at the levels where "scry and fry" starts to become a concern. And while your party is buffing, the bad guys can be preparing as well.

Excellent. And you're correct. Scrying's highest perception DC is 25, and Greater Scrying's is 27.

This goes back to my long time position that anything the players think they're capable of doing, the bad guys are capable of doing as well, and have probably already thought of it and prepared for it. The player's need to keep this in mind when making their plans for cutesy actions like "scry and fry."

Too many players don't bother to consider that the opposition isn't merely sitting at a spawn point doing nothing until aggro'd by the party. They have thoughts, goals, desires, shortcomings, etc. of their own, as well as whatever level of "free will" that a GM is willing to give him/her.


Yyyyup. XD The better the world reacts to things, the less effective cheap tactics tend to be. That alone, I think, gets rid of most of the potential for abuse of certain spells.


Matthew Downie wrote:

I prefer with it when you can only teleport to places you've actually seen with your own eyes. That way, it doesn't remove travel entirely from the game, but does removed repeat journeys, which are boring.

There are certainly narrative ways around it. Jade Regent has the gimmick of, "you must take this item to Minkai, and it's magically warded against teleportation".

Watch out for the spell Wind Walk, though, which also stands to trivialise travel, and is unaffected by teleportation traps, etc.

As well as skipping travel, teleportation (including Dimension Door) can often be used as a scouting tool - see an enemy, immediately jump away, then prep for that specific encounter. This is effective, but not without risks, especially in a situation with time pressure.

I don't go quite so far. You can teleport to:

1) Any place you have actually been.

2) Any place for which you have access to a proper image (Hanging on the wall is fine, you don't need physical possession--wizard academies often have a room of these for member use.) This is not just a painting, but specially prepared by someone capable of teleporting to the location in question.

3) You can teleport a specified distance in X, Y & Z coordinates. This has no sense of the environment, it can easily go bad. However, rather than being lethal you're shunted to the nearest acceptable arrival location--suffering d6/5' in the process. This makes teleporting into an unknown fortification exceedingly dangerous but it's safe to port to a location *above* a nearby city and feather fall down. Going to a distant city? You better be pretty sure of your math--go too high and you'll be trying to breathe vacuum.


Saldiven wrote:
ryric wrote:

Last time as a player I tried "scry and fry" our group arrived in the middle of a forcecage filled with cloudkill. Good times.

It's a fairly low Perception DC to notice a scrying sensor, at least at the levels where "scry and fry" starts to become a concern. And while your party is buffing, the bad guys can be preparing as well.

Excellent. And you're correct. Scrying's highest perception DC is 25, and Greater Scrying's is 27.

This goes back to my long time position that anything the players think they're capable of doing, the bad guys are capable of doing as well, and have probably already thought of it and prepared for it. The player's need to keep this in mind when making their plans for cutesy actions like "scry and fry."

Too many players don't bother to consider that the opposition isn't merely sitting at a spawn point doing nothing until aggro'd by the party. They have thoughts, goals, desires, shortcomings, etc. of their own, as well as whatever level of "free will" that a GM is willing to give him/her.

I think that's a really valid point and some new players/GMs have more experience in MMO, MUDs (old school) than TTRPG. It can create some problems in how the players think and how the GM reacts if you're looking at the game through different lenses or even just different interpretations of what the mechanics described actually mean. If you enjoy playing TTRPG more like an MMO or Risk and its fun for you that's cool for your group, the same as someone else going full theatre of the mind where 5' steps don't matter. But its also why I feel specific examples are most useful to better understand someone's position on the issue when someone says the game is broken or that something is OP. Without context its impossible to have an objective or analytical discussion about it.

To me that "landing in forcecage and cloud kill" could be fun. You didn't expect it (I assume), makes the group work as a team and think quickly to overcome the challenge. As long as it doesn't turn into GM vs the players. The more I read about what some feel are OP builds or unbalanced mechanics the more it seems to result from specific circumstances, sometimes either GM vs players or 1 player vs the group+GM to see who "wins". If everyone at the table is enjoying that, it can work - just like some online games have a PvP element; but when one member of the gaming group doesn't see it that way or isn't having fun there will be debate about the solution.


@GM 1990: I agree that it should never become "GM vs Player." How NPCs react should be reasonable for their personality, motivations, and capabilities. The kind of preparations and defenses a 5th level Orc Barbarian will have in place will be different from those of a 15th lvl Lich Wizard. Something like "scry and fry" would probably be ludicrously effective against the Barbarian, but would potentially be suicide against the Lich (unless the party were much more powerful than the Lich, but still should be no cakewalk, and even then might not work at all. A thin layer of lead blocks Scrying attempts, so there's no reason any self-respecting Lich wouldn't have his entire lair lined in the stuff.).


I've always found Plane Shift to be more of a problem than Teleport TBH, it basically removes the range restriction (shift to another plane, then back...)

The biggest issue I have with spells like this is that you basically can't threaten the party with anything.

If they get scared... POP! Gone.

Booooooring.

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alexd1976 wrote:

I've always found Plane Shift to be more of a problem than Teleport TBH, it basically removes the range restriction (shift to another plane, then back...)

The biggest issue I have with spells like this is that you basically can't threaten the party with anything.

If they get scared... POP! Gone.

Booooooring.

Huh, we avoid plane shift like the plague...that huge inaccuracy of destination is (possibly literally) killer. The risk of appearing far out to sea or in space or deep underground is far too significant to risk most times. Note it does not say that you arrive 5-500 miles away on the ground - you can appear anywhere on the surface of the sphere of whatever radius you roll. Not a big deal on the plane of Air, a much bigger deal when returning home.


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alexd1976 wrote:

I've always found Plane Shift to be more of a problem than Teleport TBH, it basically removes the range restriction (shift to another plane, then back...)

The biggest issue I have with spells like this is that you basically can't threaten the party with anything.

If they get scared... POP! Gone.

Booooooring.

Plane Shift puts you off target between 5 and 500 miles, so not that great. That also means you are using 3 5th level spells. 2 plane shifts and then teleport to jump the last few hundred miles. Really 3 teleport will probably do the trick. Really, how often are you trying to teleport more than 2700 miles?


ryric wrote:
alexd1976 wrote:

I've always found Plane Shift to be more of a problem than Teleport TBH, it basically removes the range restriction (shift to another plane, then back...)

The biggest issue I have with spells like this is that you basically can't threaten the party with anything.

If they get scared... POP! Gone.

Booooooring.

Huh, we avoid plane shift like the plague...that huge inaccuracy of destination is (possibly literally) killer. The risk of appearing far out to sea or in space or deep underground is far too significant to risk most times. Note it does not say that you arrive 5-500 miles away on the ground - you can appear anywhere on the surface of the sphere of whatever radius you roll. Not a big deal on the plane of Air, a much bigger deal when returning home.

Mythic plane shift works a bit differently... my last campaign went up to level 20/mythic 10 :)

Before they got access to Mythic Plane Shift, they usually chose their destination as the center of a giant empty sphere under the surface of the planet designed for exactly that purpose.

Lastly, we never had them appear in solid rock, rules like are spelled out for stuff like Dimension Door, no such text exists in Plane Shift. If they were off target, they would simply be on the surface of the place they shifted to... maybe a few feet off the ground/water.


So is the argument that Teleport isn't broken as long as you don't let your players use it? I think that applies to pretty much every spell. :P


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No, the argument is that Teleport is only broken if you let the PCs get away with abusing it. XD And there are MANY ways of stopping them from doing so.


Alfred Bester's "The Stars My Destination" has some useful mundane anti-teleport techniques... such rooms located within mazes, perpetual darkness, useful if you rule that you have to know where you ARE as well as know where you're going to teleport.


GM 1990 wrote:
Do you think the teleport spell is breaking your game or abused by players at your table? How is it being used? Or if you have an idea of how to keep it in check discuss on this thread.

One of the things I noticed when my GM had us in her high level game is that we had 3-4 characters in the party with Teleport and Greater Teleport access and it tended to really 'shrink' the world down. The ability to Greater Teleport out of an adventure, get to town and teleport right back tended to break immersion for our group and the world became only cities and the 'dungeon' locations. We never traveled anywhere by ship or horse anymore and exploration just did not happen.

Part of it was that there was no reason NOT to use Teleport/Greater Teleport. No reason to save it for special use if you follow me.

One of the things I did with my house rules was to move all actually long distance teleports up two spell levels in power and to remove Greater Teleport completely, as well as remove a host of middling teleports. Additionally I added a reasonably expensive spell component to the casting of long distance ports (a 10000 GP 'warpstone').

The reasoning in game is that teleport is possible in the world but the longer the distance you go, the more power is required on a nearly geometric scale. So in combat re-positioning ports are still relatively available to the more pure casters but the long travel ports are very, very hard to use.

So far my players have reacted very positively to the changes but to be honest none are high enough level yet where any of the changes have impacted them. We will see how the feel once teleport and travel magic come into more active range.


GM Rednal wrote:
No, the argument is that Teleport is only broken if you let the PCs get away with abusing it. XD And there are MANY ways of stopping them from doing so.

How is using Teleport to get from one place to another abuse? It's pretty much the whole point of the spell...

On the more practical side, I thought 4E had a pretty clever way of handling the issue. You could only go to an established point, and only if you knew the "address" of that point in advance.


A house rule increasing the casting time from a standard action to a full round action (or longer) could possibly solve some of your problems in that it allows you to gloss over overland travel but makes teleporting in and out of combat more problematic for casters.


Greystaff wrote:
A house rule increasing the casting time from a standard action to a full round action (or longer) could possibly solve some of your problems in that it allows you to gloss over overland travel but makes teleporting in and out of combat more problematic for casters.

I don't see the need for this. Aside from the number of potential people you can carry with teleport, magical escape is a perfectly appropriate fifth level spell. It doesn't mean that parties are unbeatable. I play a teleportation subschool wizard who would rather die than teleport retreat because usually victory is much harder once you do that. But teleport as an emergency rescue, perfectly appropriate at fifth level.


To adjust or not adjust mechanics for each GM is going to come down to if they or the group think its creating a problem that can't be overcome by either dialogue about what that problem usage is and agreeing to a solution, or whether re-evaluating how the existing rules apply. (I think we'll see a lot of that same flavor on other spells)

I think the handful of actual examples from game play show situations that some of us wouldn't see as game breaking or at least would manage it at our table w/o changing the mechanics. Some of the theoretical uses described, while possible aren't worth messing with the mechanics just to preempt any issues IMO.

That being said I think a few of the offered mechanical/house-rule changes offered or that are actually being used don't kill the spell. They do however, limit the GM's ability to use it with NPCs which any GM should consider before implementing it on a player caster.


Like lots of folks have said already said, teleport doesn't break the game so much as change it. And really, a fundamental part of Pathfinder is characters leveling up and gaining new abilities that allow them to interact with the game world in new ways.

Part of a GM's job is to ensure that the challenges the party faces are appropriate to characters of their skills and abilities. Otherwise we end up with absurdities like GMs complaining that the level 10 fighter is "abusing" his high HP, BAB, and AC to easily slaughter all those CR 1/3 goblins the GM keeps tossing at the group.


Saldiven wrote:
Atarlost wrote:
Saldiven wrote:
I think random encounters are far more realistic than never running into anything anywhere except for designated adventure zones.

But you know what's really nice for that? When you don't have to choose between bogging the game down with pointless encounters or having the players walk through anomalously empty lands because they of their own accord choose to use teleport when traveling through low level areas.

Random encounters in relatively safe areas are a thing you have to use, not something you should want to keep using when provided with an excuse to stop.

Nice selective quote. Notice the next paragraph where I said:

"That being said, overuse of random encounters can interrupt the flow of the game, so I don't use them to a significant degree unless they're germane to the story line as a whole."

You're the person that stated:

"They're boring and past low level they destroy verisimilitude because the game setting assumes that merchants are traveling the same routes."

Verisimilitude is just a fancy way of saying realism, the word meaning the appearance of being real. I pointed out that a complete lack of random encounters is the exact opposite of verisimilitude. Doing away with random encounters in total is nothing more than an act of convenience and has nothing to do with realism. Also, every route the players travel is not also a major trade route. The PCs very often do travel to areas other than major locations of commerce, seeing as how so many adventures take place in the wilderness.

You're not reading very well.

Random encounters past low level means medium or high level random encounters. If medium and high level creatures wander civilization cannot exist. They therefore cannot be random encounters if you care about realism.

Teleport allows you to not run the low level random encounters that quickly become nothing but a time waster without having the party walk through unrealistically empty lands every time they go shopping.


ryric wrote:
alexd1976 wrote:

I've always found Plane Shift to be more of a problem than Teleport TBH, it basically removes the range restriction (shift to another plane, then back...)

The biggest issue I have with spells like this is that you basically can't threaten the party with anything.

If they get scared... POP! Gone.

Booooooring.

Huh, we avoid plane shift like the plague...that huge inaccuracy of destination is (possibly literally) killer. The risk of appearing far out to sea or in space or deep underground is far too significant to risk most times. Note it does not say that you arrive 5-500 miles away on the ground - you can appear anywhere on the surface of the sphere of whatever radius you roll. Not a big deal on the plane of Air, a much bigger deal when returning home.

Deep underground isn't too big a problem--you're guaranteed a reasonable spot to emerge. Landing out at sea, though...


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Atarlost wrote:
Saldiven wrote:
Atarlost wrote:
Saldiven wrote:
I think random encounters are far more realistic than never running into anything anywhere except for designated adventure zones.

But you know what's really nice for that? When you don't have to choose between bogging the game down with pointless encounters or having the players walk through anomalously empty lands because they of their own accord choose to use teleport when traveling through low level areas.

Random encounters in relatively safe areas are a thing you have to use, not something you should want to keep using when provided with an excuse to stop.

Nice selective quote. Notice the next paragraph where I said:

"That being said, overuse of random encounters can interrupt the flow of the game, so I don't use them to a significant degree unless they're germane to the story line as a whole."

You're the person that stated:

"They're boring and past low level they destroy verisimilitude because the game setting assumes that merchants are traveling the same routes."

Verisimilitude is just a fancy way of saying realism, the word meaning the appearance of being real. I pointed out that a complete lack of random encounters is the exact opposite of verisimilitude. Doing away with random encounters in total is nothing more than an act of convenience and has nothing to do with realism. Also, every route the players travel is not also a major trade route. The PCs very often do travel to areas other than major locations of commerce, seeing as how so many adventures take place in the wilderness.

You're not reading very well.

Random encounters past low level means medium or high level random encounters. If medium and high level creatures wander civilization cannot exist. They therefore cannot be random encounters if you care about realism.

Teleport allows you to not run the low level random encounters that quickly become nothing but a time waster without having the party walk through...

While random encounters are not technically a teleport issue, it has a linkage since in theory they happen mainly when you're not physically teleporting (although I believe random astral encounters could happen during teleport if the GM wants to use them.

If you choose to not use high level random tables for your game its not wrong, but you're limiting your creativity. Checking for random encounters doesn't have to mean you roll the %, roll perception for both sides and roll for initiative. High level could be NPC, could be creatures too and they can be around or even living in cities, not limited to some dragon lair in uncharted wilderness. They can provide ample opportunity to expand your game world if you give them a chance and think over how what you rolled could fit in "soon" and what it would mean on a larger scale, and they don't have to be combat.

Here's just 3 randoms of mid-to high CR I pulled from Beast1/2/3 as an example and a thought I had of how I could use it with an appropriate level group - did this on the fly took maybe 10mins per - I got lucky with inspiration this time:

CR10: Contract Devil. I looked over the special abilities and its "Infernal Contract" made me think of a merchant totally down on his luck and ready to lose his store, a non-pious man, but who decides it couldn't hurt to cry out to "anyone listening" for help. Its a shop owner the group is familiar with at this point in the game, and he's got a major gambling problem and owes way more than he can come up with. The group approaches the shop next time they're in town and surprisingly find the door locked in middle of the day, but they see/hear a flash from inside and smell brimstone. (maybe its as he arrives, maybe its as he leaves - your call). Bigger issue - the gambling ring, who's running it, what else is it connected too? Or it can just end with a brawl in his shop and the store owner being killed during the fight. Or maybe it leaves with him and the group gets their first "planar adventure" going after the shop owner on a rescue mission.

CR14: Worm that Walks. The essence of an evil spellcaster is infused into the worms that consume it after being buried and it comes to life as a living swarm of worms. Interesting. So....the party encounters a gnome driving a wagon that broke down. They stop to assist and notice the wagon is full of dirt..not unusual, but the gnome is -very- nervous almost trying to run them off. Any detect evil will radiate very strong from the wagon (and the gnome). The Worm that Walks is in the dirt being transported from his grave to their newly established base of operations by his gnome assistant. I personally would avoid this going to combat if possible - make it RPing encounter even if its obvious this gnome is probably up to no good, the party has no reason to just attack him. This would become an easter egg for later in the campaign around this evil revived. Maybe the group runs into the gnome a few times and thinks he's actually the antagonist before they end up confronting the Worm that Walks. Or if you don't want the long-con, the gnome gets to jittery based on the party's questions and he and his master attack right there in the road/city street/town square/etc.

CR19: Shoggoth. Nasty critter eons old and Huge. This one could be easy - its awoke during a recent large storm at sea and has come ashore to feed "leaving madness and destruction in its slime-caked wakes." Or...the PCs are giving a gift to the ruler, they order something really unique and special, but somewhere the boxes get switched instigated by an old and powerful nemesis returning to get revenge by hoping to kill them, the King or at least get them banished for being fools. This thing was shrunk, placed in a magical box keeping it contained, and when the king opens the PCs gift - insanity ensues as its released. So much run from that you could culminate their careers at 20th when you're done with the story arc.

No rule says you have to include random encounter at any level. But if you limit your game to just the encounters you put in the adventure on purpose or if you consider random encounters basically just a pile of XP between point A and B that would bog-down your story, you're potentially missing out on some fun in the story you're creating as a GM.

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Oh, I'd never have plane shift dump a party into solid rock - that's unfun. But think about how nasty Golarion (as an example) is at just a couple miles down, then think about the terrible dark things that must exist 250 miles down...their one spell could lead to several adventures of them surviving The Land of Quiescent Nightmares or some such.

Heck, I could weave an entire campaign arc out how their arrival woke some sort of Being and now It is aware of the existence of the surface world...


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Atarlost wrote:
Saldiven wrote:
Atarlost wrote:
Saldiven wrote:
I think random encounters are far more realistic than never running into anything anywhere except for designated adventure zones.

But you know what's really nice for that? When you don't have to choose between bogging the game down with pointless encounters or having the players walk through anomalously empty lands because they of their own accord choose to use teleport when traveling through low level areas.

Random encounters in relatively safe areas are a thing you have to use, not something you should want to keep using when provided with an excuse to stop.

Nice selective quote. Notice the next paragraph where I said:

"That being said, overuse of random encounters can interrupt the flow of the game, so I don't use them to a significant degree unless they're germane to the story line as a whole."

You're the person that stated:

"They're boring and past low level they destroy verisimilitude because the game setting assumes that merchants are traveling the same routes."

Verisimilitude is just a fancy way of saying realism, the word meaning the appearance of being real. I pointed out that a complete lack of random encounters is the exact opposite of verisimilitude. Doing away with random encounters in total is nothing more than an act of convenience and has nothing to do with realism. Also, every route the players travel is not also a major trade route. The PCs very often do travel to areas other than major locations of commerce, seeing as how so many adventures take place in the wilderness.

You're not reading very well.

Random encounters past low level means medium or high level random encounters. If medium and high level creatures wander civilization cannot exist. They therefore cannot be random encounters if you care about realism.

And you're posting silly arguments, which I have read, understood, and refuted.

1. What percentage of travel time by PCs is in civilized areas? Maybe 50%, depending on the campaign? In RotRL, for example, the vast majority of travel is through very unsettled lands; the only particularly settled area is the vicinity of Magnimar (even the settled area around Sandpoint is only a few miles in radius). Sure, a high level random encounter of an aggressive, monstrous type is unlikely in a more civilized area, but is much more likely in an unsettled area, which is where a significant amount of PC travel takes place. Additionally, if you plan in Golarion, very little of the world is actually highly civilized. Just look at the populations of the cities, the saturation of the settlements, and the distance between those settlements, and you will see that the VAST majority of Golarion is completely unsettled wilderness.

2. Not all random encounters are things that are aggressive and monstrous. Many can be opportunities for role playing, transfer of knowledge and information to the players, chances for plot advancement, and/or start points for optional side quests. It is perfectly appropriate for this type of encounter to occur in a civilized area.

Ergo: Random encounters are appropriate and pretty much anywhere, as long as the specific encounter is appropriately tailored to the location. Obviously, you wouldn't have a wandering encounter of a White Dragon outside the capital of Osirion. However, it's perfectly likely that you might run into a haughty, arrogant noble traveling with a large retinue of highly skilled bodyguards who demand the PCs yield the rode to his procession. An appropriate such encounter vastly improves the realism of the setting compared to the PCs never running into anything. The latter version is more like an MMO than it is a TTRPG.


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ryric wrote:

Oh, I'd never have plane shift dump a party into solid rock - that's unfun. But think about how nasty Golarion (as an example) is at just a couple miles down, then think about the terrible dark things that must exist 250 miles down...their one spell could lead to several adventures of them surviving The Land of Quiescent Nightmares or some such.

Heck, I could weave an entire campaign arc out how their arrival woke some sort of Being and now It is aware of the existence of the surface world...

Sounds like Orv to me!


ryric wrote:

Oh, I'd never have plane shift dump a party into solid rock - that's unfun. But think about how nasty Golarion (as an example) is at just a couple miles down, then think about the terrible dark things that must exist 250 miles down...their one spell could lead to several adventures of them surviving The Land of Quiescent Nightmares or some such.

Heck, I could weave an entire campaign arc out how their arrival woke some sort of Being and now It is aware of the existence of the surface world...

I think Plane Shift will need its own thread. don't let me forget :-)


The most abusive use of Teleport I see is combining fast travel with the Magic Marketplace.
The old "We'll just Teleport to Absalom! It has everything!"
It is easily negated by slightly more realism.
"Ok, so, have you been to Absalom personally? It's not mentioned in your backstory. Increased difficulty in travel"
"Ok, you teleport to a city you are totally unfamiliar with. Now track down the various resources you need."
"Ok. Yes, the City at the Center of the World has everything you need. Or rather, can come up with it. What you're looking for is still not readily available."
"Yes, I am telling you that no wizard in this town that is significantly high enough to cast Teleport has been to the city you want to go to. They live in Numeria."

I never seem to have problems with scry and fry.
Big bads usually have scry and/or teleport protections.

Overland travel still usually is mundane, as weight limits and creature limits make teleport less viable for moving larger parties or parties with pets (Unless they invest in portable holes, but that's even more gold resources dumped into solving a problem, so I have no issue with that).


Lord Twitchiopolis wrote:

The most abusive use of Teleport I see is combining fast travel with the Magic Marketplace.

The old "We'll just Teleport to Absalom! It has everything!"
It is easily negated by slightly more realism.
"Ok, so, have you been to Absalom personally? It's not mentioned in your backstory. Increased difficulty in travel"
"Ok, you teleport to a city you are totally unfamiliar with. Now track down the various resources you need."
"Ok. Yes, the City at the Center of the World has everything you need. Or rather, can come up with it. What you're looking for is still not readily available."
"Yes, I am telling you that no wizard in this town that is significantly high enough to cast Teleport has been to the city you want to go to. They live in Numeria."

I never seem to have problems with scry and fry.
Big bads usually have scry and/or teleport protections.

Overland travel still usually is mundane, as weight limits and creature limits make teleport less viable for moving larger parties or parties with pets (Unless they invest in portable holes, but that's even more gold resources dumped into solving a problem, so I have no issue with that).

Cast a few air bubbles and have a bag of holding or two and large parties are pretty easy to teleport around.


I hope the person getting into the sack is good at wriggling because the size of the bag means If spherical, the diameter of the bag is 16" in diameter. Have you ever tried squeezing through a space just over a foot wide? Possible with a substantial escape artist check heavily penalised for armour. If they are average sized.

Then there is the question of any sharp objects are going to rip the sack into the astral plane. Literally anything pointed or sharp.

Then there is the fact that the bag is just that, a bag, it's not a small room they can relax in comfort - they are in a sack. Two people in a sack? I hope they are very intimate with each other - as a party game Try it some time!

Then there is the fact that they must wait for the bag to be opened before the can get out. I would definitely send players in a bag of holding out of the room. It should feel uncomfortable and a bit frightening.

Sure they can use reduce person to get in, but that has an even smaller duration than air bubble.

random attacks at the other end of the teleport?

As the final solution for players abusing this to travel like a people trafficker. Have someone sleight of hand a folding up portable hole into their belongings. One way portal to the astral plane! : )


Drahliana Moonrunner wrote:
Unless of course, you're aiming for a port city and the misjump lands you miles in the ocean. Not neccessarily lethal but could be extremely problematic if your spellbook gets soaked.

I am so going to use this!


The Sword wrote:

I hope the person getting into the sack is good at wriggling because the size of the bag means If spherical, the diameter of the bag is 16" in diameter. Have you ever tried squeezing through a space just over a foot wide? Possible with a substantial escape artist check heavily penalised for armour. If they are average sized.

Then there is the question of any sharp objects are going to rip the sack into the astral plane. Literally anything pointed or sharp.

Then there is the fact that the bag is just that, a bag, it's not a small room they can relax in comfort - they are in a sack. Two people in a sack? I hope they are very intimate with each other - as a party game Try it some time!

Then there is the fact that they must wait for the bag to be opened before the can get out. I would definitely send players in a bag of holding out of the room. It should feel uncomfortable and a bit frightening.

Sure they can use reduce person to get in, but that has an even smaller duration than air bubble.

random attacks at the other end of the teleport?

As the final solution for players abusing this to travel like a people trafficker. Have someone sleight of hand a folding up portable hole into their belongings. One way portal to the astral plane! : )

Or random encounter in astral plane during the jump.

Kind of another example of an extreme what if - so possible GM options. Go extreme: on landing roll for initiative; one of the bad guys grabs one of the Bag o' Holding (yes...wizard you dropped them in order to prepare your next spell remember?); and runs away with 1/2 the party trapped inside. Or a more rational option - "ok - you figured out how to trivialize travel, good job, you win and it didn't even take you as long as my last group." Now, what I'd like is for the party to experience and explore the richness of my game world by land/sea travel, and you'll just have to trust me - its going to be fun...which is why we're here right?


The Sword wrote:

I hope the person getting into the sack is good at wriggling because the size of the bag means If spherical, the diameter of the bag is 16" in diameter. Have you ever tried squeezing through a space just over a foot wide? Possible with a substantial escape artist check heavily penalised for armour. If they are average sized.

Then there is the question of any sharp objects are going to rip the sack into the astral plane. Literally anything pointed or sharp.

Then there is the fact that the bag is just that, a bag, it's not a small room they can relax in comfort - they are in a sack. Two people in a sack? I hope they are very intimate with each other - as a party game Try it some time!

Then there is the fact that they must wait for the bag to be opened before the can get out. I would definitely send players in a bag of holding out of the room. It should feel uncomfortable and a bit frightening.

Sure they can use reduce person to get in, but that has an even smaller duration than air bubble.

random attacks at the other end of the teleport?

As the final solution for players abusing this to travel like a people trafficker. Have someone sleight of hand a folding up portable hole into their belongings. One way portal to the astral plane! : )

The point of the bag of holding is that it has no defined inside size. It holds a certain amount, but does not define how it fits. It holds anything that can fit through the opening. There is no crowding. The opening is a diameter of about 1'3.25". That is fine for a tiny creature, a squeeze for a small creature, and a DC30 escape artist check for a medium creature. Without armor, I would say a medium creature can get in by squeezing.

Scry-n-Fry example from my Skulls and Shackles game:
1) Spot a ship on the horizon about a day's sail away.
2) Pre buff with combat spells. Ninja is invisible.
3) Scry ship for a teleport fix.
4) Teleport.
5) ***
6) Profit.
Since the scry immediately preceded the teleport, even if the sensor had been spotted, there would only be one round to prepare vs. several rounds for us. We did this to capture that ship. We then RPed and got the independent unsanctioned captain to sail under our flag for a year in return for current plunder, a share in future plunder, and aid in an upcoming battle. In return, our flag protected him from others doing worse to him and his ship. He was unhappy, but had some hope.
[Actually, I think we just used a plain spyglass for the "scry", so no sensor. We just needed the immediate fit for the Teleport.]

For Teleport problems, I came across a trap in 2nd ed. Planescape. Location: Githyanki city in the Limbo. Trap: McGuffin hat warped the astral nearby. Effect: Astral travel became dangerous near any astral conduit, as they whipped about catching the unprepared and bringing them to the trap where guards waited 24/7. Using the astral near the trap caused you to land an amount off, and rotated about the trap's location. Basically, you could not tell where you would end up if you used any astral effects within a mile of the trap. Between snagging astral travelers, warping local astral travel, and guards, it was a difficult trap to destroy.

For storms causing astral problems, I say no. Unless it is a magical storm. You can tell since it will have unusual colored lightning, glowing portions of clouds within the storm, and so on. Effects might just affect magical travel, but could get so potent as to be wild magic.

/cevah


Cevah wrote:


Scry-n-Fry example from my Skulls and Shackles game:
1) Spot a ship on the horizon about a day's sail away.
2) Pre buff with combat spells. Ninja is invisible.
3) Scry ship for a teleport fix.
4) Teleport.
5) ***
6) Profit.
Since the scry immediately preceded the teleport, even if...

As a GM - I love that example, and don't see any issue. Sure...maybe I might have envisioned some kind of "chase" at sea. But lets be honest, (and I've run a few in game chases), they are great in movies...but not nearly as exciting in game. I wouldn't say never do them, but at best 4-6 rounds worth and it should be over or you're just going to lose the audience and the story doesn't gain enough to be worth it.

I guess if that's scry-fry...no issue in my game. I wouldn't have put the ship out there if I didn't want you to catch it...and sounds like the storyline evolved from it as well. Kind of like some discussed skipping a long "hand-waved" encounter free overland horse-ride to get between towns. If you have a reason, the rules give you plenty of in game options (or just tell them you have in game reasons for them to walk if you want).

Thanks for sharing, and especially for providing the context and how it worked out in game.


Ships do move, with a ship speed of 90ft, in the round it takes the wizard to switch from scry to teleport they are no longer teleporting to he deck of a ship but to open sea. Or instead of teleporting to the fore deck they are teleporting to the aft deck. At the very least the teleport spell should count as viewed once through the scry but you are well wishing your rights to say false destination if the surroundings have changed significantly.

Provided the ship is stationary and in calm seas you are ok. Why would any ship be stationary though, unless it is making repairs or damaged. Even if stationary if the water isn't calm it is moving both up and down, and pitching left to right. If the timing is off the. You are teleporting into the hold or 5-10 ft in the air.

For all these reasons I politely suggested the sorceress in. In my shackles game not take dimension door and teleport.


Oh it says in the ap that scry > teleport works, did you see that in the rules?


Okay, well it actually confirms that ships move and if you don't cast teleport immediately after scrying the spell fails. Your interpretation of immediate is up to you.

As I said, even if you count the locations as 'viewed once' by the scry spell then there is still a 25% chance of failure. I would image that the party disappearing just as their ship is about to get into combat would be a bad idea.

Incidentally as scry has to be cast on a creature how do you scry a ship when you don't know who any of the crew are? You need to have at least heard of the person you are scrying.

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