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    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Astral Projection

    I've seen it in a few posts always described as broken. I've read it many timen, and I've never considered it such. Why is it broken? Am I missing something?

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    GnomeWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Astral Projection

    Compared to other gems at 9th level Sor/Wiz, it's not insanely powerful. However, it does let you adventure from home, and the dangers are pretty easily mitigated with some preparation.

    Really, though, you can cheese into it early by Planar Binding a Nightmare to use it for you. That's when it gets absurd.

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    Default Re: Astral Projection

    By itself it's not -too- bad.

    Nevertheless, it's still the ability to adventure with no real chance of dying, having your most important equipment stolen or sundered, or ever being without an instant "out."

    Barring a silver sword, an astral dreadnaught, or a concentrated effort to find and destroy your real body (which is very heavily guarded and warded, if you're smart) you can't really lose on a personal level, only on the quest level.
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    Default Re: Astral Projection

    "To enter one, you leave the Astral Plane, forming a new physical body (and equipment) on the plane of existence you have chosen to enter."

    That is what makes Astral Projection broken. Buy one +5 Tome for each stat, give them to one party member, cast Astral Projection, have everyone in the part get +5 inherent bonuses to every stat.

    It's unlimited, free, consumable items. Without that it's inline with the other 9th level spells (powerful but not broken).
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    Default Re: Astral Projection

    Jesus.
    I would not allow that effect.
    You can just say that it creates duplicates of the equipment (not copying their magical properties) and the problem is solved.
    Last edited by OrlockDelesian; 2012-11-13 at 09:00 PM.

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    GnomeWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Astral Projection

    Quote Originally Posted by Emperor Tippy View Post
    "To enter one, you leave the Astral Plane, forming a new physical body (and equipment) on the plane of existence you have chosen to enter."

    That is what makes Astral Projection broken. Buy one +5 Tome for each stat, give them to one party member, cast Astral Projection, have everyone in the part get +5 inherent bonuses to every stat.

    It's unlimited, free, consumable items. Without that it's inline with the other 9th level spells (powerful but not broken).
    I overlooked that clause. Wow.

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    Default Re: Astral Projection

    Aside from being relatively easy to get a hold of at low levels through Lesser Planar Binding Nightmares, it really changes the entire paradigm of the game.

    Firstly, and most importantly, death becomes a complete non-issue. Someone stabs you to death? No problem, you just wake up right as rain in your real body. Someone uses dark magics to try to bind your soul or trap your Astral Body? You can dismiss the spell as a Free Action. They try to cut your Silver Cord? By RAW it's impossible, but even with sensible house-rules it's hard to do and the caster can interrupt by dismissing the spell.

    On top of that, it gets pretty screwy with the tricks you can pull using it. It makes copies, presumably permanent, of all of your and the rest of your party's gear and held items every time you cast it, so a fairly tame use would be to make thousands of Phylacteries or Artifacts. It lets you wander the Planes beating up monsters while simultaneously safe asleep in your fortified demi-plane, enabling a lot of Tier 1 shenanigans. Depending on what "suspended animation" means, casting it repeatedly could even be the key to practical immortality as only your replaceable Astral Bodies would age.

    I like Astral Projection as a tool for BBEGs, but in the hands of PCs it just becomes a nightmare (pun!). Even compared to other 9ths it really stands out, with only a few spells like Genesis Ice Assassin Mindrape and Wish having similar Power-to-Spell Slot ratios. If I were making 3.5 today, I would bring back 12th level spells just to kick those ones further up the line so no-one under level 30 could cast them.
    Last edited by Water_Bear; 2012-11-13 at 09:37 PM.

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    Default Re: Astral Projection

    Quote Originally Posted by Water_Bear View Post
    Firstly, and most importantly, death becomes a complete non-issue. Someone stabs you to death? No problem, you just wake up right as rain in your real body. Someone uses dark magics to try to bind your soul or trap your Astral Body? You can dismiss the spell as a Free Action. They try to cut your Silver Cord? By RAW it's impossible, but even with sensible house-rules it's hard to do and the caster can interrupt by dismissing the spell.
    Dismissing a spell is always a standard action unless otherwise noted.

    That said, a standard action is only a casting of Celerity away, which should just about always be possible thanks to Foresight.
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    Default Re: Astral Projection

    Quote Originally Posted by Water_Bear View Post
    They try to cut your Silver Cord? By RAW it's impossible...
    How so? IIRC, both Githyanki silver swords and astral dreadnoughts have rules in their blocks about how they go about cutting a silver cord.
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    Default Re: Astral Projection

    Quote Originally Posted by Alleran View Post
    How so? IIRC, both Githyanki silver swords and astral dreadnoughts have rules in their blocks about how they go about cutting a silver cord.
    This was my understanding as well.

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    Default Re: Astral Projection

    Yeah, save game tricks and consumable copying are what make AP powerful. Astral travel is pretty much just incidental.

    I remove the ability to copy consumables as a house rule when I DM, which makes it nice for creating a mini phylactery but not crazy broken. I also have made some changes to planar binding that prevent using LPB to nab it at-will by 9th level, so the save game shenanigans typically don't start happening until the higher levels.
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    Default Re: Astral Projection

    Quote Originally Posted by Kelb_Panthera View Post
    This was my understanding as well.

    What gives, Water Bear?
    Huh. I was almost 100% sure that there was no listed AC for Silver Cords, but MM1 proved me wrong; Owner's AC, 20hp, hardness 10. So yes, you can actually attack a Silver Cord. I will amend my earlier post.

    Still, since the Cord only exists on the Astral Plane and the caster can still duck out as a free action, so you'd need to settle it with one blow when they first cast the spell before they were aware of you or had left for another Plane. Not likely, but too awesome to discount.

    The weird thing though is Astral Projection isn't Dismissable exactly; it doesn't use that word or have the "D" in it's Spell Block. That's just the best word I can think of for it.

    The spell say that "The spell ends when you desire to end it..." which is what I'm talking about; it's ending the spell effect and it, like all thoughts, doesn't take an action. Still, it's one of those vague passages where I'm relying more on forum-lore than my own intuition.
    Last edited by Water_Bear; 2012-11-13 at 09:42 PM.

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    Default Re: Astral Projection

    Quote Originally Posted by Piggy Knowles View Post
    Yeah, save game tricks and consumable copying are what make AP powerful. Astral travel is pretty much just incidental.

    I remove the ability to copy consumables as a house rule when I DM, which makes it nice for creating a mini phylactery but not crazy broken. I also have made some changes to planar binding that prevent using LPB to nab it at-will by 9th level, so the save game shenanigans typically don't start happening until the higher levels.
    I've always (read; the one time it ever came up) ruled it that when the astral projection ends, anything created by it ceases to exist. I think I'll be adding a clause about consumables being expended when their copies are expended now as well.
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    Default Re: Astral Projection

    I would only define "worn" items as "equipment" myself. Where would you equip a tome?

    That still allows things like staves, rings of 3 wishes, etc., but does help cut down the abuse a little.
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    Default Re: Astral Projection

    Quote Originally Posted by Water_Bear View Post
    Still, since the Cord only exists on the Astral Plane and the caster can still duck out as a free action, so you'd need to settle it with one blow when they first cast the spell before they were aware of you or had left for another Plane. Not likely, but too awesome to discount.
    IIRC the Cord is only present within ... 10 feet? of the end points. You should have the area where your origin body is secured, which means the vulnerable area is the Astral plane for a radius of 10 feet around wherever you are projected to. So.. yeah. If your Cord is being attacked, it's because your DM is making a fairly unsubtle attempt to kill you instead of just asking you to lay off the Projecting.

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    Default Re: Astral Projection

    Quote Originally Posted by tyckspoon View Post
    You should have the area where your origin body is secured, which means the vulnerable area is the Astral plane for a radius of 10 feet around wherever you are projected to.
    It can still be seen after you've formed your new body if you can see incorporeal objects.

    "When a second body is formed on a different plane, the incorporeal silvery cord remains invisibly attached to the new body."

    I don't see any reference to "only the Astral Plane" there, but I'm only working with the SRD, since my books are elsewhere right now.
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    Default Re: Astral Projection

    Quote Originally Posted by Alleran View Post
    It can still be seen after you've formed your new body if you can see incorporeal objects.

    "When a second body is formed on a different plane, the incorporeal silvery cord remains invisibly attached to the new body."

    I don't see any reference to "only the Astral Plane" there, but I'm only working with the SRD, since my books are elsewhere right now.
    Being incorporeal doesn't mean it's ethereal. You can still see it just fine, you just need a see invisibility and a ghost touch silver-sword to hit it. That, however, is a rare and expensive magical weapon that can only be crafted by a githyanki. It's exceedingly unlikely that it'll ever actually be in any serious danger.

    You might be dispellable though. The projection is a spell-effect after all.

    Actually, the fact it is a spell effect should have it radiating a telling bit of magic that can let any wizard determine that it's a projection with a simple spellcraft check. (if astral projection's on the table, most good wizards will have a permanent arcane sight or at least detect magic up and running)
    Last edited by Kelb_Panthera; 2012-11-13 at 10:09 PM.
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    Default Re: Astral Projection

    Quote Originally Posted by Alleran View Post
    I don't see any reference to "only the Astral Plane" there, but I'm only working with the SRD, since my books are elsewhere right now.
    It's one of those times when, like most exploits in 3.5, the designers just didn't think it through. The description says that "While you are on the Astral Plane, your astral body is connected at all times to your physical body by a silvery cord."

    Did they mean "While you are Astral Projecting..." instead of "While you are on the Astral Plane..."?
    Did they forget what they had written a few lines earlier that you can take your astral body onto other planes?
    Did they think the Silver Cord was too powerful a weakness, and not want it to be too weak a spell?
    Were the entirety of the 3.5 Core books typed out over millions of years by a planet full of monkeys on typewritters on a bizarre alternate earth?

    We'll never know.

    -Edit-

    Quote Originally Posted by Kelb_Panthera View Post
    You might be dispellable though. The projection is a spell-effect after all.
    It explicitly says Dispel Magic works on it in the spell description, which is one of the few bright spots to an enemy using it.
    Last edited by Water_Bear; 2012-11-13 at 10:05 PM.

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    Default Re: Astral Projection

    The cord extends a mere 5 feet from either body (MotP 49.) In addition, you are "automatically aware if your silver cord is threatened." This is very broad - it doesn't say immediately threatened, or even threatened by something within 5 feet of you. For all you know, a Githyanki planning to jump you tomorrow, or from a mile away (however such things are determined in the Astral) might trigger the danger sense.
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    Default Re: Astral Projection

    Quote Originally Posted by Psyren View Post
    The cord extends a mere 5 feet from either body (MotP 49.) In addition, you are "automatically aware if your silver cord is threatened." This is very broad - it doesn't say immediately threatened, or even threatened by something within 5 feet of you. For all you know, a Githyanki planning to jump you tomorrow, or from a mile away (however such things are determined in the Astral) might trigger the danger sense.
    I could see that one meaning "threatened" in the sense of being inside an enemy's threatened area; something that you're not necessarily always aware of.
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    Default Re: Astral Projection

    Quote Originally Posted by Psyren View Post
    I would only define "worn" items as "equipment" myself. Where would you equip a tome?

    That still allows things like staves, rings of 3 wishes, etc., but does help cut down the abuse a little.
    SRD:
    The spell projects an astral copy of you and all you wear or carry onto the Astral Plane.
    Bold mine.


    By Raw there is a funny little thing that makes it impossible cut your silver cord.
    Simply put, you don't need to have one.
    "but how? it says so in the sell!" you say? And you are right! but it does not mention those you take with you. It only talks about THE silver cord and never even mentions the possibility that your companions have one as well. So by RAW only the original caster has a silver cord, not his fellow travelers.
    This is RAW, so it is by definition broken, and I am only pointing it out.

    To make it even more vague:
    If something happens to you during the journey, your companions are stranded wherever you left them.
    What the abyss those that even mean!?!?!


    caster: " oh no! I tripped over a stone/ need to go to the bathroom/ say a squirrel!"
    fellow travelers: " eehhh ok, so?"
    caster: "That's 'something' that happened to me! You are all stranded now! There is nothing I can do, sorry. "
    fellow travelers: " wtf. Really?! Because of 'something' like that we are stranded?!? This is ridiculous! You cannot leave us here on the astral plane!"
    caster: " What? Leave you here? Why would i do that? nobody says that you have to stay here. The astral plane i still connected to every other plane of existence. you can do what every you like!
    fellow traveler: " but you just said we are stranded?"
    caster: "YES! i am so sorry. "
    fellow travelers: " but we can still go home?
    caster: "oh, sure. why wouldn't you ?"
    fellow travelers: " ..."



    Edit add:
    Quote Originally Posted by Kelb_Panthera View Post
    I could see that one meaning "threatened" in the sense of being inside an enemy's threatened area; something that you're not necessarily always aware of.
    this is RAI not RAW.
    by RAW you would be aware of anything that threatens your silver cord.
    The plans of a Githyanki planning to jump you tomorrow sounds very theatening to me.
    but only as long as he is planing to cut your silver cord.
    Last edited by Wookie-ranger; 2012-11-13 at 10:36 PM.
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    Default Re: Astral Projection

    Basically, as others have said, it's powerful 'cuz you can dupe rares.
    This also applies to quest-centric McGuffins and moral-compass influencing choices. Imagine you've got the sacred dohickey that can either be given to Lord McNoble who is dying of old age, so he can secure political stability for Adventureland for the next 10 years, or you can give it to a poor, dying child who never had a chance at a better life.


    Well, now you can do both. No choosing between Law and Good there, or any number of other scenerios dependant on a one-use item. Further, you're immortal. You have other weaknesses now such as Dispel Magic, but come on. That's WAY better than "death".

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    Default Re: Astral Projection

    That's a bit much even for RAW nonsense.

    The "anything happens to you" clause almost certainly means the caster being killed or otherwise seperated from the group and no longer being able to direct the spell effect for them; specifically, not being able to make the spell end.

    "The wizard just got sucked into that one-way color pool and it closed behind him. Now what do we do? "
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    Default Re: Astral Projection

    Quote Originally Posted by Kelb_Panthera View Post
    That's a bit much even for RAW nonsense.

    The "anything happens to you" clause almost certainly means the caster being killed or otherwise seperated from the group and no longer being able to direct the spell effect for them; specifically, not being able to make the spell end.

    "The wizard just got sucked into that one-way color pool and it closed behind him. Now what do we do? "
    You are right, and this is the way i would interpret it as well.
    However, this is RAI, not RAW. By RAW "something" means nothing and everything at the same time.
    In another thread people argue about the DN getting the Lich template when it only says he 'becomes a Lich'. If THAT causes issues with people, think about the word 'something'


    Edit for Stupid.
    Last edited by Wookie-ranger; 2012-11-13 at 11:16 PM.
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    Default Re: Astral Projection

    Quote Originally Posted by Wookie-ranger View Post
    You are right, and this is the way i would interpret it as well.
    However, this is RAI, not RAW. By RAW "something" means nothing and everything at the same time.
    In another thread people argue about the DN getting the Lich template when it only says he 'becomes a Lich'. If THAT causes issues with people, think about the word 'something'



    btw: by your interpretation when the caster being killed or otherwise seperated from the group he cannot end the spell. Does that mean If i bind a nightmare, have it astral project us, then tell it to leave us behind (or kill it); do we now have astral projection forever (until our astral bodies are killed anyway)?
    I saw the DN thread. I'm honestly shocked it made it to three pages before it got locked. In any case, I never said my interpretation was RAW. I just thought it was likely the most reasonable interpretation.

    Also, yes, that's exactly what I would expect if your nightmare dumped you on the astral and left. Fortunately, ending the spell can be as simple as dropping a dispel or three on everyone a day later. Losing the ability to simply go "Um..... no. Ba-bye." seems more detrimental than anything, since you could maintain astral projection indefinitely anyway.
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    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Astral Projection

    Quote Originally Posted by Water_Bear View Post
    It's one of those times when, like most exploits in 3.5, the designers just didn't think it through. The description says that "While you are on the Astral Plane, your astral body is connected at all times to your physical body by a silvery cord."
    I think it's pretty clear. Your body (you) is asleep on the Astral Plane. So as long as your body is on the Astral Plane, your astral body has a silver cord. Most spells that create duplicates of you in some manner are fairly consistent when saying "you" vs. "your clone, simulacrum, astral body, etc."

    Quote Originally Posted by Psyren View Post
    The cord extends a mere 5 feet from either body (MotP 49.) In addition, you are "automatically aware if your silver cord is threatened." This is very broad - it doesn't say immediately threatened, or even threatened by something within 5 feet of you. For all you know, a Githyanki planning to jump you tomorrow, or from a mile away (however such things are determined in the Astral) might trigger the danger sense.
    If your body is asleep on the astral and someone is going to cut that cord, you know about it, despite you actually not having any way of telling. Threatened, of course, meaning someone has your chord within reach and wielding a weapon that actually threatens (so a non-proficient unarmed strike wouldn't be threatening).

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    Default Re: Astral Projection

    Your original body's not on the astral unless that's where you cast the spell.

    There's nothing in the spell description to suggest otherwise and the end of the cord at your body isn't actually described as being extant at all.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ThiagoMartell View Post
    Kelb, recently it looks like you're the Avatar of Reason in these forums, man.
    Quote Originally Posted by LTwerewolf View Post
    [...] bringing Kelb in on your side in a rules fight is like bringing Mike Tyson in on your side to fight a toddler. You can, but it's such massive overkill.
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    Orc in the Playground
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    Default Re: Astral Projection

    No. The duplication effect is not correct. Even if it doesn't exactly say that that's not how it works, we can easily assume that that's not what the writers meant. When you "lose" your items, they should disappear or otherwise become inert. It was my understanding that if you die, your entire form (including equipment) simply fades out, most likely through silvery clouds/mist.

    But really... there's no possible way that that weapon-duplication effect makes sense.

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    Default Re: Astral Projection

    Quote Originally Posted by karkus View Post
    No. The duplication effect is not correct. Even if it doesn't exactly say that that's not how it works, we can easily assume that that's not what the writers meant. When you "lose" your items, they should disappear or otherwise become inert. It was my understanding that if you die, your entire form (including equipment) simply fades out, most likely through silvery clouds/mist.

    But really... there's no possible way that that weapon-duplication effect makes sense.
    This is D&D, "making sense" was never a prerequisite for writing rules.

    What happens when a copied item leaves your possession or the spell ends is solely up to DM adjudication as the rules are silent. That however is irrelevant when discussing consumed and one time use items as you simply consume/use the item and then gain the benefit from it.
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    Default Re: Astral Projection

    Another thing about Astral Projection, along the same line as consumable item abuse - expensive spell components.

    If I'm using Astral Projection, and I cast Raise Dead and blow my 5k on diamond dust, I still have it when I return to my regular body. Nice way to avoid some of the drawbacks of essential spells. Of course, that's a fairly tame use of this. When you look at expensive material components that DON'T have a value in gp, such as the components for spells like Apocalypse from the Sky and Simulacrum/Ice Assassin, it moves from being yet another way to make WBL cry (which many wizards have been doing since level 9) and into much nastier territories.
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