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WorthingSon
2008-01-09, 09:54 AM
So I am making an item for my current campaign. I am going to be giving the baddies a custom magic item, think of it like a reverse thunderstone. When it impacts, it casts Darkness and Silence. What I am trying to figure out is how to design it so my party won't exploit them when they find them on their fallen foes.

Does anyone see any ways that they might use it that would be unbalancing? or have any suggesttions on ways to modify it?


Nightstone: You can throw this stone as a ranged attack with
a range increment of 20 feet. When it strikes a hard surface (or is
struck hard), it creates an area of silence (as the Silence spell) and darkness (as the Darkness spell), centered on itself.
Since you donít need to hit a specific target, you can simply aim at
a particular 5-foot square. Treat the target square as AC 5; if you miss,
see Throw Splash Weapon, page 158, to determine where the
thunderstone lands.

Xefas
2008-01-09, 10:58 AM
Any magic item can be made with a special requirement that reduces it's cost.

For instance, if only people with a rank in Perform (Nightstone Throwing) can use a Nightstone, its cost is reduced by 10%. This also has the bonus of giving you an excuse for them to not work for your players. Unless, of course, they find a way to successfully identify the item, and then they all want to spend a skill point on it.

Another consideration would be requiring someone to be Chaotic Evil (or something that the baddies are and the PCs aren't) to use them, reducing the cost by 30% in the process.

Finally, the most drastic and effective way would be to require someone to have levels in Commoner to use the stones. Then, give ALL your baddies a bonus level of Commoner. This won't have any other effect than adding a very small amount of hit points. Then, if your players REALLY want to use them, they'd have to ID them AND waste a level on Commoner. Reduces cost by 30%...

WorthingSon
2008-01-09, 11:34 AM
That might work, but I was less worried about them using them for their intended use, and more worried about them using them in ways I didn't expect.

I have no problem with my PC's picking them up and using them a few times, but I don't want one of them to think up some devious plan to screw a BBEG later using them. Basically, does anyone see any exploits to using Darkness and Silence together?

Prometheus
2008-01-10, 01:23 PM
I don't know what levels your PCs are, but chances are they are able to replicate the strategy with or without the unflashbang. It won't do anything to change their capabilities. The enemies could simply trigger all their stones shortly before death anyway.

As for putting the thought in their head, their enemies should be prepared. If you have guard towers that light a beacon to send a signal, instead they should send a signal when a light goes out for example. The enemies should have self buffing potions or that take advantage of the weapons being used against them. They should be aware that a blob of darkness means their forces have encountered combat. They should take Blindfight or have Scent or Tremorsense.

The biggest game breaking danger would stem from a PC spell that grants the ability to see in magical darkness (Spell Compendium has a couple I believe) or see in another capacity, again Scent and Tremorsense.

Bisected8
2008-01-10, 01:34 PM
How large is the area the stone covers when its triggered?

Danu
2008-01-10, 03:40 PM
Remember that regardless of what kind of restrictions you put on the unflashbang, a character with Use Magic Device might be able to use it with a good enough skill check, especially if they're aware of what the item is capable of.

I have two ideas on how to limit the item's use for your players:

1) Have the device automatically trigger whenever touched by a creature not of the creator's type. For example, if the original owners are goblinoids, make the item trigger whenever it impacts or is touched by a non-goblinoid. Just make sure it's a type or subtype that the characters do not possess and would have no reason to emulate.

2) All of the enemies wear a special insignia that fades when they die. Any unflashbangs currently on the enemy when it dies is automatically alerted and, after a set period of time, activates... in the reverse fashion. Lighting the party up and screaming like a banshee.

Necromas
2008-01-10, 05:46 PM
I like the idea of them going off as flashbangs when the owner dies, prevents the PCs from using em, and works as a warning signal so other enemies know something is up.

Rigon
2008-01-10, 07:12 PM
hmm.
i say it's an amulet.
a silver amulet with one black pearl.
the amulet has a permanent deathwatch over the wearer, if the wearer dies, the amulet casts area of "close your eyes and shut up" using the black pearl as a material component and teleports itself to a beacon item which must be specified at the creation of the amulet. after this activation the amulet hold information about its original wearer and the place which he/she died (maybe a still look-around image). this information can be extracted by a successful use magic device check or spellcraft check whichever you prefer. after the extraction the amulet is a normal non-magical amulet without the pearl and can be used again for the creation of such an "Amulet of Grim Mourning Silence" if a black pearl is added again.

Brawls
2008-01-11, 06:04 PM
hmm.
i say it's an amulet.
a silver amulet with one black pearl.
the amulet has a permanent deathwatch over the wearer, if the wearer dies, the amulet casts area of "close your eyes and shut up" using the black pearl as a material component and teleports itself to a beacon item which must be specified at the creation of the amulet. after this activation the amulet hold information about its original wearer and the place which he/she died (maybe a still look-around image). this information can be extracted by a successful use magic device check or spellcraft check whichever you prefer. after the extraction the amulet is a normal non-magical amulet without the pearl and can be used again for the creation of such an "Amulet of Grim Mourning Silence" if a black pearl is added again.

Or similarly, upon death of the owner, the amulet uses Sending to inform the remaining forces of the wearer's death. Then the BBEG's diviners can scry the party because they are already attuned to the amulet.

In response to the revised question. If you do not want the PCs to abuse the device set some restrictions on it to begin with. For example, define the area and duration of the effect. I would say 20' radius and lasts 3 rounds. That way, your soldiers can use it against PC casters by reserving an attack with the stone to disrupt spell casting, but it won't totaly unbalance their use later in the game. You might also give it a reflex save or something.

Brawls

Reptilius
2008-01-11, 06:38 PM
Have some devils scattered around. The Silence will still be an advantage, but I think that devils can see in magical darkness. This would work in both stealth (make lots of shadows and move in absolute silence) and combat (shroud an enemy in shadows and cut off their spells) situations. This could also be a tactical challenge to overcome, especially if they become dependent on the unflashbangs.

TheLogman
2008-01-11, 08:10 PM
The unflashbang is a little unweildy of a name, may I suggest Darkhush, Blackquiet, Starstone, Moonstone, or Nightstone?

Nebo_
2008-01-11, 08:23 PM
Designing them in such a way that the PCs can't use them is just lame. Just don't give them many.

JaronK
2008-01-11, 08:46 PM
There's not much you can do with these that you couldn't also do by just casting silence on a rock and throwing it. That said, it'll be awesome for stealth types to throw these at guards and take them out, and it also shuts down all spellcasting that needs verbal components.

JaronK