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Keinnicht
2010-12-24, 05:55 PM
Now, how on earth do you get around Explosive Runes? I was trying to figure this out the other day, as I was having the bad guys stick parchment with Explosive Runes on it to the doors of important areas. I wasn't trying to be a jerk, it just seemed like a reasonable protective measure.

Then the playing started, and this trap seems far nastier. Boom, boom, boom, boom. After some debate, I ruled the characters could specifically look at such a "sign" without reading it (Because, if you're literate, you generally automatically read any words you see.)

Is this a fair ruling? Should I just stop doing it altogether? I'm wondering if I'm crossing the line between "bad guy with reasonable defenses" and "DM being an *******."

Claudius Maximus
2010-12-24, 05:57 PM
It's only a 10-foot explosion. If they can spot the runes from more than 10 feet away (which seems reasonable if they expect to find them on doors) they can cast Detect Magic or something to determine its explosivity, at which point they can get a paintbrush and avert their gaze while painting over it, thus disabling it.

I'm sure there are other methods.

JaronK
2010-12-24, 05:58 PM
You can read the runes from 15 feet away.

JaronK

woodenbandman
2010-12-24, 06:03 PM
Yeah explosive runes is basically in the game so that the DM can be a ****.

Curmudgeon
2010-12-24, 07:39 PM
The issue is how far away the Runes are legible. If you make them small the character will need a reasonable Spot check to read them from more than 10' away (say DC = # of feet from the Runes). Or any Rogue can avoid such magic traps with a successful Search check.

Illithid Savant
2010-12-24, 09:18 PM
So let me get this straight. You put in a cheap trap not once, but multiple times, and you're wondering what kind of houserule to use so that the players don't die? Why not just not use explosive runes?

tyckspoon
2010-12-24, 09:48 PM
This sounds like one of the many many things that can be solved by the Summon Elemental reserve feat. Have your 100% expendable minion go up and read it for you.

Alternatively, they are just standard magic traps. And your Rogue doesn't even need to Search for them, you already know the bloody thing is there. Roll a Disable Device, beat the DC, move on. Or roll a Disable Device, fail the check, set off the runes, Evasion your way past taking any damage, move on.

Shadowleaf
2010-12-24, 09:58 PM
So let me get this straight. You put in a cheap trap not once, but multiple times, and you're wondering what kind of houserule to use so that the players don't die? Why not just not use explosive runes?Because sometimes in-game justification is more important than out of game annoyance. If your character was able to put Explosive Runes everywhere, then why wouldn't he want to do it?

Keinnicht
2010-12-24, 11:15 PM
So let me get this straight. You put in a cheap trap not once, but multiple times, and you're wondering what kind of houserule to use so that the players don't die? Why not just not use explosive runes?

I wasn't asking for house rules. I was asking if my players were being uncreative, or if this was basically a "you're screwed" trap.

Gavinfoxx
2010-12-24, 11:37 PM
Uh, Disable Device with Trapfinding?

Claudius Maximus
2010-12-25, 12:15 AM
I still think what I said is possible, even by RAW. They might not actually find the trap in a search check sense, but they should probably be able to guess there's an Explosive Runes trap wherever they see a sheet of parchment nailed to a door. So Detect Magic from a safe distance to confirm (and that's even optional) and then "disable" it by painting or folding or otherwise rendering the runes impossible to see.

Shadowleaf
2010-12-25, 12:22 AM
I still think what I said is possible, even by RAW. They might not actually find the trap in a search check sense, but they should probably be able to guess there's an Explosive Runes trap wherever they see a sheet of parchment nailed to a door. So Detect Magic from a safe distance to confirm (and that's even optional) and then "disable" it by painting or folding or otherwise rendering the runes impossible to see.Yep. This pretty much covers it. You could also just open the door without reading the runes - just look at your feet and find the doornob.

Salanmander
2010-12-25, 01:10 AM
I play a game called capture the flag with stuff that features "glyphs" that can do nasty things to anyone who sees them (defined as "you can see it if it is in your line of sight and you can tell what glyph it is", basically). Common ways to get around these are

1) look the other way (works in D&D)
2) take off your glasses, or put on your friend's glasses (works in D&D if you have a high-tech setting, or some other way of blurring vision. cast darkness?)
3) use Goombah's Belt of Humiliating Protection (D&D analogue would be casting some sort of magical protective spell)
4) look down, use a dispel wand, which is touch range and has no negative effects when you dispel a glyph (similar in D&D, but you want to dispel magic from range)

FelixG
2010-12-25, 01:28 AM
I wasn't asking for house rules. I was asking if my players were being uncreative, or if this was basically a "you're screwed" trap.

Your players are just uncreative.

Fizban
2010-12-25, 07:03 AM
It's only a 10-foot explosion. If they can spot the runes from more than 10 feet away (which seems reasonable if they expect to find them on doors) they can cast Detect Magic or something to determine its explosivity, at which point they can get a paintbrush and avert their gaze while painting over it, thus disabling it.

I'm sure there are other methods.

While this is probably the best answer, there is a slight problem with it:

The runes detonate when read, dealing 6d6 points of force damage. Anyone next to the runes (close enough to read them) takes the full damage with no saving throw; any other creature within 10 feet of the runes is entitled to a Reflex save for half damage.
By definition, if you can read the runes, you take damage. RAI may have been a 10' radius explosion, but RAW says that if you can write it across the moon's surface then you just became the next BBEG :smallcool:

For other methods of avoidance, there's just not reading them. Reading may be habitual for those who can do it, but writing is likely not as ubiquitous as is in the modern world. At the very worst you could consider it a gaze attack, allowing people to avert their eyes for a 50% avoidance chance, or use a mirror. Alternatively, close your eyes before walking up close enough that the runes are out of your line of sight before picking the lock. You said they were written on paper stuck to the door, and your players didn't think of just blasting it to bits/off the door? Finally, it's a 1st level spell and a DC 15 dispel check to erase the runes, even if your rogue can't disarm them (which he can, because spell traps have ridiculously low DCs to disarm). I'm gonna have to lay this one on your party. Used as written it can be a nuisance, but the way you used the runes, they should have been much easier to pass than normal.

Tangent: while we're talking about Explosive Rune bombs, I've got a character idea I've been brewing. It's pretty simple: buy a Spellblade that makes you immune to Explosive Runes, then write runes all over your clothing, equipment, fill up books, and so on. In combat, you simply walk up and start reading runes. Everyone within 10' takes 6d6*your reading speed of damage. while the spellblade protects you and your equipment (including the stuff the runes were written on!).

Anxe
2010-12-25, 11:27 AM
Why don't the players start taking the Runes down? Then when they get to the BBEG's throne room they can thrown the stack of papers in his face and run for it.

Lans
2010-12-25, 12:15 PM
Barbarian or totemist with maxed out spellcraft?

Thespianus
2010-12-25, 01:33 PM
Barbarian
+1

Made me LOL. I've been wondering if there's a way to exploit the illiteracy of Barbarians: This is at least one way. :)

mootoall
2010-12-25, 01:49 PM
+1

Made me LOL. I've been wondering if there's a way to exploit the illiteracy of Barbarians: This is at least one way. :)

I was going to suggest trapkiller as well, but then I remembered that doesn't work with magical traps ...

Forged Fury
2010-12-25, 02:11 PM
Why don't the players start taking the Runes down? Then when they get to the BBEG's throne room they can thrown the stack of papers in his face and run for it.It seems like this would be a perfect time for the Wu Jen's Servant Horde spell. Once you've been exposed to the trap once, pull down the remaining ones without reading them and then have your horde of unseen servants hold them in front of the faces of future opponents.

boomwolf
2010-12-25, 02:50 PM
Explosive runes is a nice trap spell, and used well most DM's CAN make it an unbeatable defense method for a dungeon. (written as a huge rune right around corners, etc... also it game me an idea on another way to screw true sight, use illusions to cover explosive runes...)

HOWEVER, most players SHOULD understand the trick early on and make preparations for that spell, at least after they got hit once or twice. so unless you are REALLY cheap about it, they should be able to beat it.

2xMachina
2010-12-26, 11:25 AM
Hmm, I think it'll be balanced if no save affects 5' and ref save affects 10'

You can tell there are runes there (try Spot vs Fine size Hide), but you can't read it until you get to 5'.

This makes it more of a use for trapping books.

Talon Sky
2010-12-26, 01:02 PM
By definition, if you can read the runes, you take damage. RAI may have been a 10' radius explosion, but RAW says that if you can write it across the moon's surface then you just became the next BBEG :smallcool:


I....am doing this in my next campaign.

Keinnicht
2010-12-26, 03:08 PM
I....am doing this in my next campaign.

The RAW actually says you can't do that, unless the moon suddenly weighs less than ten pounds.

mootoall
2010-12-26, 04:29 PM
The RAW actually says you can't do that, unless the moon suddenly weighs less than ten pounds.

I dunno, the moon's not actually on the planet, and if its own gravity is weak enough to make it weight only ten pounds ...

Dvil
2010-12-26, 04:49 PM
I dunno, the moon's not actually on the planet, and if its own gravity is weak enough to make it weight only ten pounds ...

However, given that the moon's probably moving quite fast, and that the gravitational force (ie weight) required to keep it in a circular orbit is (mv^2)/r, that's quite a massive force. Unless the moon's incredibly not-dense (the exact word for this escapes me) and a large distance from the planet, of course.

ericgrau
2010-12-26, 07:02 PM
Simple you say there's writing on the wall and wait for the PCs to say that they read it, or start saying "Would you like to go over there and read it?" for every piece of text they find.

Btw I think spot gets used about 10 times as often as it should. By RAW it's primarily for noticing hiding creatures and sometimes for creatures that are unintentionally hard to see. It doesn't give you telescope/microscope eyes without magical aid. Ok there's text in plain sight. PC rolls a spot check. DM says you don't need to roll to notice it, it's in plain sight. PC says what does it say. DM says you need to get closer so you can read it. There, see, you don't need to roll dice every time a PC turns his head.

Fable Wright
2010-12-26, 07:10 PM
The RAW actually says you can't do that, unless the moon suddenly weighs less than ten pounds.

Well, you're only writing it on an incredibly thin layer of dust on the moon. As the moon has no wind, and things weigh less on the moon, you probably could do it...

ericgrau
2010-12-26, 07:11 PM
Random meteor #4,748,339,027.

2xMachina
2010-12-26, 11:28 PM
Simple you say there's writing on the wall and wait for the PCs to say that they read it, or start saying "Would you like to go over there and read it?" for every piece of text they find.

Btw I think spot gets used about 10 times as often as it should. By RAW it's primarily for noticing hiding creatures and sometimes for creatures that are unintentionally hard to see. It doesn't give you telescope/microscope eyes without magical aid. Ok there's text in plain sight. PC rolls a spot check. DM says you don't need to roll to notice it, it's in plain sight. PC says what does it say. DM says you need to get closer so you can read it. There, see, you don't need to roll dice every time a PC turns his head.

I don't know. Reading normal size text from more than 10' away can be difficult. You can see squiggles on paper from 30' away, but can't read it.


Typically, your Spot check is opposed by the Hide check of the creature trying not to be seen. Sometimes a creature isnít intentionally hiding but is still difficult to see, so a successful Spot check is necessary to notice it.

Just take 10? If you have enough spot ranks, you can read from further, and it doesn't blow up in their face

The text would be diminutive, so Hide is 10+16 -5(dex-)= 21
while your Spot is 10+Wis+Spot-1.

RagnaroksChosen
2010-12-27, 08:32 AM
Uh, Disable Device with Trapfinding?

I would argue that the search check involved with finding the said runes would set them off...


On a side note there are ways around that as stated in this thread. However just a raw i roll up to this door and search it for traps would set it off.

Curmudgeon
2010-12-27, 10:58 AM
I would argue that the search check involved with finding the said runes would set them off...
That's not the way things actually work.
Restriction: While anyone can use Search to find a trap whose DC is 20 or lower, only a rogue can use Search to locate traps with higher DCs. I think it would be worth noting that locating the trap made it go boom, don't you think? There's no mention of that in the rules.
Trapfinding

Rogues (and only rogues) can use the Search skill to locate traps when the task has a Difficulty Class higher than 20.

Finding a nonmagical trap has a DC of at least 20, or higher if it is well hidden. Finding a magic trap has a DC of 25 + the level of the spell used to create it.

Rogues (and only rogues) can use the Disable Device skill to disarm magic traps. A magic trap generally has a DC of 25 + the level of the spell used to create it.

A rogue who beats a trapís DC by 10 or more with a Disable Device check can study a trap, figure out how it works, and bypass it (with her party) without disarming it. Rogues get to find the traps with Search, study them, and disarm them with Disable Device. Obviously that can't happen if the Search sets off the trap, so your argument is at odds with the rules.

kestrel404
2010-12-27, 11:16 AM
Now, how on earth do you get around Explosive Runes? I was trying to figure this out the other day, as I was having the bad guys stick parchment with Explosive Runes on it to the doors of important areas. I wasn't trying to be a jerk, it just seemed like a reasonable protective measure.

Then the playing started, and this trap seems far nastier. Boom, boom, boom, boom. After some debate, I ruled the characters could specifically look at such a "sign" without reading it (Because, if you're literate, you generally automatically read any words you see.)

Is this a fair ruling? Should I just stop doing it altogether? I'm wondering if I'm crossing the line between "bad guy with reasonable defenses" and "DM being an *******."

If you want a non-houserule version of this, treat the explosive runes as a gaze attack (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/specialAbilities.htm#gazeAttacks), and have anyone who doesn't want to read something attempt to avert their gaze (50% chance, incurs certain penalties).

ericgrau
2010-12-27, 11:25 AM
I don't know. Reading normal size text from more than 10' away can be difficult. You can see squiggles on paper from 30' away, but can't read it.
If you want to go by strict RAW then the text is an object not a creature, and the spell says you are within 5 feet when you're close enough to read it. If you want to go by more fluff then spot doesn't grant telescope eyes, and only helps you notice the presence of objects. Things in plain sight, unobscured things, don't get a check because they don't need one or because the DC is 0. This is back to "stop rolling a spot check every time you open your eyes to look at things" a.k.a. "You aren't blind if you didn't put ranks - special extraordinary training - into spot." Most overused skill ever.

As I said this really doesn't need a roll, just wait for a PC to say "I read it." That's worked fine for written traps in campaigns I've been in and it's easy.

RagnaroksChosen
2010-12-27, 11:33 AM
That's not the way things actually work. I think it would be worth noting that locating the trap made it go boom, don't you think? There's no mention of that in the rules. Rogues get to find the traps with Search, study them, and disarm them with Disable Device. Obviously that can't happen if the Search sets off the trap, so your argument is at odds with the rules.

No I would argue that searching for runes especially ones hidden amongst other text would set it off seeing as you have to read them. If the Explosive runes are like on the side of a door or if the rogue is aware there could be explosive runes on the door maybe.
Maybe it's my lack of imagination but I can't picture how a rogue could search for the runes without reading them.

Plus by RAW it doesn't say they don't set off the trap by searching for it. It just says they can find it. I wouldn't be surprised if there where other types of traps that could be set off by searching for them. Ya i guess its a **** GM move but I think it adds to the use and functionality of the spell.

RAI I totally see where you are coming from.

Curmudgeon
2010-12-27, 12:30 PM
Maybe it's my lack of imagination but I can't picture how a rogue could search for the runes without reading them.
Well, it's a an exercise of a skill so awesome it defeats magic, so I can see how that's difficult to picture. :smallsmile:

ericgrau
2010-12-27, 12:34 PM
Ya you can't normally find magic traps with the search skill you need the trapfinding class feature. I could see the rogue pick up some trace of magic before risking activation by reading the words. Heck the words themselves are just words, and finding them wouldn't find the trap even if it didn't detonate. He's looking for something else.

What's more amusing is that explosive runes are subject to disable device. It's right in the spell description.

RagnaroksChosen
2010-12-27, 12:36 PM
Well, it's a an exercise of a skill so awesome it defeats magic, so I can see how that's difficult to picture. :smallsmile:

True true...

I know im my games if some one has detect magic cast and finds the "magic trap" before the rogue there search check lets them not blow up magic runes...

Necroticplague
2010-12-27, 02:13 PM
How about a rogue with the illiteracy trait? It can use trapfinding, but it can't read, so it doesn't set off the runes.Plus, you can use the +1 from illiteracy to make you better at disable device.

grimbold
2010-12-29, 01:32 PM
its a rather high cr trap
yes its dangerous but theyre adventurers they just have to deal

2xMachina
2010-12-29, 02:21 PM
If you want to go by strict RAW then the text is an object not a creature, and the spell says you are within 5 feet when you're close enough to read it. If you want to go by more fluff then spot doesn't grant telescope eyes, and only helps you notice the presence of objects. Things in plain sight, unobscured things, don't get a check because they don't need one or because the DC is 0. This is back to "stop rolling a spot check every time you open your eyes to look at things" a.k.a. "You aren't blind if you didn't put ranks - special extraordinary training - into spot." Most overused skill ever.

As I said this really doesn't need a roll, just wait for a PC to say "I read it." That's worked fine for written traps in campaigns I've been in and it's easy.

Yes, 5' away is close enough to read it. But the thing is, what's happening is it goes boom, and hurt the PC's when they see the damn paper. Surely one could spot the paper from much further than read the text.

As for Spot Some people might have a 20/10 eyesight. They can read things from further away. (Normal needs 5 feet. You just need 10' away) But the boom is only 10' radius, so you're fine if you've that eyesight.

Just take 10 to spot things. So, no rolling unless they want to.

What I'm proposing is: You see the paper with squiggles from further away. But you can't read it from that far away. You need to go closer, which in that case, booms in your face.

Or you could try making out the words from further away. In that case, it booms further away. (This part is more uncertain, but Part 1 should be true.)

Kansaschaser
2010-12-29, 03:11 PM
If you have detected that there is an Explosive Rune nearby, there are two spells that I like to use.

Dispel Magic. You cast it at a distance. If it works, the rune is gone. If it fails, the rune explodes. As long as you are more than 10 feet away, you take no damage.

Force Ward. Force effects don't work within 10 feet of you. You could walk right up to each door that had an explosive rune on it and just stare at the rune. Failed save or not, you still take zero damage. It's also a nice spell to have to defeat things like magic missile and mage armor.

Tyndmyr
2010-12-29, 03:26 PM
Because sometimes in-game justification is more important than out of game annoyance. If your character was able to put Explosive Runes everywhere, then why wouldn't he want to do it?

This is best solved in game with a significant material component for explosive ruins.

Otherwise, I tend to blow all appropriate slots on downtime days in casting explosive runes on interesting things. Like each card in a deck of them. There are many fun things to be done with such a deck, all of which make DMs unhappy, and are responsible for decreasing NPC literacy rates in campaigns everywhere.

The best way to solve the explosive runes problem is the most fun way, and the way that best handles almost all problems. Disposable minions. Hire a henchman today.