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View Full Version : Endure Elements "trap" question (3.5).



Tempest Fennac
2008-09-17, 01:51 AM
A while back, there was a discussion about what a really high magic D&D setting would be like, and someone mentioned using traps which activated Create Food and Water and Endure Elements spells when they were triggered. How much would it cost to make a "trap" which casts Endure Elements, and would it only work on people who were near to it? (I'm not to sure about how traps like that would work.)

Emperor Tippy
2008-09-17, 02:09 AM
500 GP, 40 XP and once you are hit by the "trap" you are effected by Endure Elements for 24 hours.

The trap just casts the spell on you, the effects of the spell are the same as if you had cast it yourself or had someone else cast it on you.

Tempest Fennac
2008-09-17, 02:12 AM
Thanks for telling me. How much would the Create Food and Water "trap" be, and would an Unseen Servant "trap" cost as much as the EE trap?

Emperor Tippy
2008-09-17, 02:16 AM
500 GP x Spell Level x Caster Level

http://www.d20srd.org/srd/traps.htm#magicDeviceTrapCost

Tempest Fennac
2008-09-17, 02:19 AM
Thanks for clarifying how it works. I'm surprised that a lot of towns don't have those sorts of "traps" set up considering how useful they are.

Emperor Tippy
2008-09-17, 02:43 AM
Thanks for clarifying how it works. I'm surprised that a lot of towns don't have those sorts of "traps" set up considering how useful they are.

Let's go with a town of 100 people (30 kids, 20 retirees, 30 menial workers, 20 skilled workers). Assuming we go with the 30 menials making 1 SP per day (high) and the 20 skilled workers making 3 SP per day (high) and all 50 workers work 350 days per year then the towns total income per year is 3,150. That means that your endure elements trap would cost about 15.87% of the towns GDP.

And if you go with a world that actually makes sense by the RAW then towns are incredibly rare and the big cities do make massive use of traps.

Tempest Fennac
2008-09-17, 02:47 AM
That is a good point (I was thinking of richer leaders paying for them due to how they would save a lot of space which would otherwise be needed for food, and the EE and US traps would be useful as well, meaning that people would be able to spend time producing other items for trade, and famine wouldn't be an issue).

Emperor Tippy
2008-09-17, 03:28 AM
Yes, but it is a capital investment. And a massive one. In comparison to the US a 15% outlay would be something that cost the US 2 trillion dollars.

Jack_Simth
2008-09-17, 06:31 AM
Yes, but it is a capital investment. And a massive one. In comparison to the US a 15% outlay would be something that cost the US 2 trillion dollars.
Yes, but tell me - how much would it cost to completely replace all the roads in the US?

Now, granted, the roads are something that can be done over a period of time - and were - but it's still a fairly absurd figure.

Even a small town of a hundred people is still likely to have, say, a Chruch - and they very often cost $100k+ to build, even if the land's free - and with half the population not working (as in your figures) that's around 2k each. Assuming a Menial Worker gets $10/hour, 40 hours/week, 50 weeks/year, that's $20,000 in a year - 10% of his gross yearly income covers his share.

So while your town of 100 probably won't have such a thing, a town of 200 likely will have a trap of a 1st level spell somewhere. Create Food and Water, though, is a bit higher level, and is less likely. Goodberry, on the other hand...

Hal
2008-09-17, 08:07 AM
In one of my games, a wealthy port town didn't just have everburning torches strewn around town. They lit their streets . . . literally. The pavement stones had light spells cast on them, activating after sunset.

I don't care if it isn't RAW, I like the imagery.

Tempest Fennac
2008-09-17, 09:26 AM
That sounds pretty, Hal (I tend to prefer places at night). How much did that cost ingame? Also, don't forget that, eventually, not needing huge amounts of farm labourers and land would pay off.

JackMage666
2008-09-17, 09:30 AM
That sounds pretty, Hal (I tend to prefer places at night). How much did that cost ingame? Also, don't forget that, eventually, not needing huge amounts of farm labourers and land would pay off.

0 Gp. As in, Rule 0.

You silly economics majors. This is D&D, the only things that need a price is what the PCs get.

Tempest Fennac
2008-09-17, 09:35 AM
For your information, I'm an alternative medicine student.:smalltongue: Being serious, wouldn't it make more sense to try to use real life economics for this sort of thing?

kjones
2008-09-17, 10:18 AM
The problem is that when you try to do so, things break. Think: What would the "fabricate" spell do to an economy? Or teleportation circles? Most people don't like the full-blown implications of such a world, so we ignore them. A world where peasants don't have to work for their food is a very different one, and not one I would set a game in without extensive thought (more than I'm willing to do).

Tempest Fennac
2008-09-17, 10:27 AM
That is a good point. I just thought that seemed more realistic ina high magic world where rich Good aligned people would possibly be quite common (admittedly, evil people could do things like that if it helped them as well).

DeathQuaker
2008-09-17, 10:46 AM
Didn't you know? Anytime you try to build a trap not for the purpose of delaying/destroying meddlesome adventurers, the Tarrasque appears out of nowhere and bites your head off.

Or, if you're unlucky, it chooses you to be its next mate.

:smallbiggrin:

Person_Man
2008-09-17, 10:57 AM
Yes, but it is a capital investment. And a massive one. In comparison to the US a 15% outlay would be something that cost the US 2 trillion dollars.

The GDP for the US, the richest country in the world, is around $13 trillion. The annual spending for the US Federal government is just under $3 trillion. Total spending for all state and local governments is another $100 billion or so. So the government basically spends around 25% of national wealth every year. So paying for everyone to have an Create Food and Water machines for everyone would end hunger, but take up the same amount of money as the annual expenditures for defense, Social Security, and Medicare combined. A much better idea would be just to sell them, and supplement them with soup kitchens for free to the poor.

Of course if magic did exist, it would completely screw with all economic laws. Which is why they don't bother with going into the details. D&D is a combat and roleplaying game, not a financial management simulator.

Hal
2008-09-17, 11:18 AM
0 Gp. As in, Rule 0.

You silly economics majors. This is D&D, the only things that need a price is what the PCs get.

Quoted for truth. I just assumed that it was a rich port town with lots of wealthy merchants and city leaders. The result was that the large number of wealthy elite in the town decided to make it a nice place to live. The players didn't argue. You can let wealthy NPCs exploit things like this (to a degree)

And as far as things in this theme go, I like the idea of magic that the NPCs would actually use, rather than all the combat/adventure themed stuff the players have access to. The Gleaner (http://www.giantitp.com/articles/gk7uKJeF296jRcx1NJw.html) magic I found interesting. In my previous games, I've had magic items strewn about that purified water or kept drinks cold. Sure, the players can't do much with that in combat, but it fleshes out the world and, if nothing else, can be used as a bargaining chip or a trade item.

Tormsskull
2008-09-17, 11:25 AM
The problem is that when you try to do so, things break.

Exactly. Anything that can be done permanently with magic is going to have huge implications for a gameworld.

Tempest Fennac
2008-09-17, 12:20 PM
In regards to the "traps", couldn't a whole town use 1 trap for the benefit? It wouldn't be necessary to buy one for everyone.

Lochar
2008-09-17, 12:28 PM
In regards to the "traps", couldn't a whole town use 1 trap for the benefit? It wouldn't be necessary to buy one for everyone.

That's the whole point. For the price of 500gp, a single item can protect a town of fairly decent size from the elements all day long.

Tempest Fennac
2008-09-17, 12:31 PM
I know (that's why I thought it would be a good idea).

Epinephrine
2008-09-17, 12:42 PM
Exactly. Anything that can be done permanently with magic is going to have huge implications for a gameworld.

One easy fix is to assume that things break? Remove the "permantly" - it can be a miniscule chance of failure, such that it doesn't affect most situations, but sufficient to prevents economic issues.

It's not out of the question - the books don't talk about the fact that all sorts of regular things wear out. If you buy a wagon, you're going to have to fix it/replace wheels/etc. eventually. Bowstrings will wear out. Why not spells and magic items too? Normally they're pretty much permanent, but start cranking out 1000 meals a day and the magic wears out.

Tormsskull
2008-09-17, 12:47 PM
One easy fix is to assume that things break? Remove the "permantly" - it can be a miniscule chance of failure, such that it doesn't affect most situations, but sufficient to prevents economic issues.

The easiest fix is to not allow permanent things to be created by spells. Or to assume the spell is transporting the thing you are 'creating' from somewhere else in the world, but that can have strange implications as well.

Tempest Fennac
2008-09-17, 12:49 PM
That's a good point about magic items wearing out (it's strange that the rules only cover that as far as Wands and Staffs go).

Jack_Simth
2008-09-17, 04:14 PM
The problem is that when you try to do so, things break. Think: What would the "fabricate" spell do to an economy? Or teleportation circles? Most people don't like the full-blown implications of such a world, so we ignore them. A world where peasants don't have to work for their food is a very different one, and not one I would set a game in without extensive thought (more than I'm willing to do).
Part of this depends on how high a level spells you're willing to let be in common use for crafting (1st level spells only? 3rd? 5th?), and how much work those in power will go to in order to ease the lives of those not in power. For a real-life example, ancient Greece had working steam engines long before the industrial revolution ever happened - but they didn't use them for anything beyond opening the doors to the bathhouses, as they had slaves for all the other stuff - as far as they were concerned, it was just a curiosity - something for entertainment, when it came down to it. If those with the ability to Fabricate stuff don't bother because it's a waste of their hard-earned power, and they can have the peasants (or serfs, or slaves, or peon's, or whatever term you use for those masses of 1st level Experts, Commoners, and other 1st level classes that can't immediately do much) take care of it for even less work?

Oh - and you don't use Continual Flame, or even Light to cover the streets of a city - you use Lesser Planar Binding and a lantern archon - as a Latern Archon is relatively easy to control, and has Continual Flame as an at-will spell-like ability - no expensive components at all, no thousands of castings, no GP investment, just a handful of spells cast once to order a thing that isn't harmed by the doing to cover the entire city.

skeeter_dan
2008-09-17, 04:25 PM
The issue is that traps are not meant to be triggered very often. By definition, they're something you avoid setting off. This means, in terms of the game world, that a trap can have a permanent magical effect on it without breaking verisimilitude, because it's not being used very often. A "trap" that will be used by potentially hundreds of townspeople every day during the winter breaks verisimilitude.

Mark Hall
2008-09-17, 08:25 PM
Let's make a device that does the same thing.

Wondrous Item, Command Word Activated, Endure Elements, 1st level caster, No Charges, no Space Restriction. 3600gp, 144XP.

A trap which casts it, auto-reset? 500gp, 40xp.

Making the item as a trap is seven times cheaper in GP, and four times cheaper in XP.

Trap mechanics are borked.

Emperor Tippy
2008-09-17, 08:39 PM
Let's make a device that does the same thing.

Wondrous Item, Command Word Activated, Endure Elements, 1st level caster, No Charges, no Space Restriction. 3600gp, 144XP.

A trap which casts it, auto-reset? 500gp, 40xp.

Making the item as a trap is seven times cheaper in GP, and four times cheaper in XP.

Trap mechanics are borked.

Actually they use the exact same mechanic as wondrous architecture (magical items that you can't move without destroying them).

Jack_Simth
2008-09-17, 08:40 PM
Let's make a device that does the same thing.

Wondrous Item, Command Word Activated, Endure Elements, 1st level caster, No Charges, no Space Restriction. 3600gp, 144XP.

A trap which casts it, auto-reset? 500gp, 40xp.

Making the item as a trap is seven times cheaper in GP, and four times cheaper in XP.

Trap mechanics are borked.
If we make it a slotted command-word widget, then it's a flat 1,800 gp to purchase, 900 gp, 72 xp to craft - and you just need someone to go around and "bless" everyone with protection from the elements every day.

The trap is only slightly less expensive (400 gp, 32 xp) compared to that - and the trap has a mixed curse in that it's not movable - everyone must go to it, it's position is known, if it's left unguarded a rogue can get rid of it fairly readily, and so on. As a mobile item, it can be taken to those who need it, it's attended by it's wearer (and so uses the wearer's hit points and saves, and so is a bit harder to destroy) - and it's more valuable when mobile, as you can much more readily sell it.

wadledo
2008-09-17, 08:49 PM
Oh - and you don't use Continual Flame, or even Light to cover the streets of a city - you use Lesser Planar Binding and a lantern archon - as a Latern Archon is relatively easy to control, and has Continual Flame as an at-will spell-like ability - no expensive components at all, no thousands of castings, no GP investment, just a handful of spells cast once to order a thing that isn't harmed by the doing to cover the entire city.

Good point.
.......
*yoink*

Mark Hall
2008-09-17, 09:02 PM
If we make it a slotted command-word widget, then it's a flat 1,800 gp to purchase, 900 gp, 72 xp to craft - and you just need someone to go around and "bless" everyone with protection from the elements every day.

You're right.

Hal
2008-09-17, 09:15 PM
While I understand the desire to formally determine how to best finagle this for the rules, I'm not sure I'd ever worry about it unless I was allowing my players to (help) build a city.

Eldritch_Ent
2008-09-17, 09:18 PM
Of course, it doesn't help that I once had a Kobold Trapsmith who could build traps at NO cost except time. (And even then he did it at around 1/5th the usual time.)

The exact numbers were-
-50% off time, XP, and gold from being a Kobold Master Trapsmith (Feat from Races of the Dragon)
-25% Gold and XP costs from those two eberron feats
-20% time, XP and gold costs from Arcane Geometry (From that one book about building Mage's Towers. Forgot the name.)- it reduces the costs of all buildings, magical and not, which includes traps because they're architecture.
-10% from Arcane Artisan (Forgot which book it's from, maybe a feat collection book.), which is a flat 10% reduction to ALL items made.


So -105% total from gold and XP costs, and -80% to Time needed to make a trap. (Which can be eliminated with Fabricate!)- Of course I never actually trapped anything except my spellbook, but it was still fun to have. I actually wish someone had tried to steal it, just to see what happened when, like, 20,000 traps went off at once...

Hal
2008-09-17, 09:26 PM
Of course I never actually trapped anything except my spellbook, but it was still fun to have. I actually wish someone had tried to steal it, just to see what happened when, like, 20,000 traps went off at once...

That is awful. Your GM should have put you guys in a siege situation at least once, just so you could go wild with a skill you spent so many feats on.

Mark Hall
2008-09-17, 09:34 PM
So -105% total from gold and XP costs, and -80% to Time needed to make a trap. (Which can be eliminated with Fabricate!)- Of course I never actually trapped anything except my spellbook, but it was still fun to have. I actually wish someone had tried to steal it, just to see what happened when, like, 20,000 traps went off at once...

Reminds me of my kobold diabolist in Palladium Fantasy; in order to discourage people from digging in an area, he trapped every single page of a book... and had them all trigger-linked, so the first trap set off the second trap set off the third trap set off the first trap... opening that book caused about 20 different wards to go off, all of them Area Affect.

Tempest Fennac
2008-09-18, 01:14 AM
I never knew steam engines were used to open doors (I know the ancient Greeks knew about them, but I thought the main reason they didn't industrialise was because of the inventor not adding a wheel to the engine, or somthing like that). To be fair, my idea is dependant on rich people beoing Good aligned.

MeklorIlavator
2008-09-18, 01:27 AM
I never knew steam engines were used to open doors (I know the ancient Greeks knew about them, but I thought the main reason they didn't industrialise was because of the inventor not adding a wheel to the engine, or somthing like that).

I think the problem was that earlier models were inefficient(and wikipedia seems to agree). I mean, having something and having that something be useful are two very different things. We have Fusion Power. Its just so inefficient and difficult(not to mention dangerous) that we can't use it for anything.

Tempest Fennac
2008-09-18, 01:37 AM
I know what you mean. Admittedly, the steam engine could have been developed earlier (scientists are currently working on improving Fusion power, right?).