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    Default A Timestop question

    I am DMing a game which I hope will reach high levels 'eventually' (I give experience on a much slower basis of 'ok I think "that" was impressive you gain #### xp) If by chance they ever gain timestop I would like to know how much 'more' unbalancing would it be to allow more than just area of effect attacks to function during timestop? I have my way(perhaps an aging effect that could force a fortitude save vs death if they fail to cast it correctly).
    I already feel there is not much worse a wizard could be if he is dealing direct damage during a timestop and this may distract him from truly nasty timestop+forcecage+ delayed blast+cloudkill= unchallengeable types of wizards.

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    Default Re: A Timestop question

    just make sure they dont spam it and it will be fine, spells arnt broken, DM's are just to lax, but you dont seem to be one of those types
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    Default Re: A Timestop question

    I think some spells are broken, and Time Stop is one of them. The best way to deal with it is to disallow it, IMO. The real problem is that a character could cast one Time Stop, cast a few spells, then ready an action to cast another Time Stop when the first one ends. That can already be abused in so many ways it's not funny, so if you want to allow the spell to remain in the game, then I guess it doesn't matter much if you make it even more powerful. Just be aware that once a character casts Time Stop in your game, there's a pretty good chance the foe is going to wind up dead not long afterwards.

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    Default Re: A Timestop question

    The nicest thing making Timestop is even more broken is the Greater Rod of Maximize, which allows you to gain 5 rounds instead of 1+1d4...unless of course Celerity comes into it, in which case that's even more useful.

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    Default Re: A Timestop question

    Quote Originally Posted by greenknight View Post
    I think some spells are broken, and Time Stop is one of them. The best way to deal with it is to disallow it, IMO. The real problem is that a character could cast one Time Stop, cast a few spells, then ready an action to cast another Time Stop when the first one ends. That can already be abused in so many ways it's not funny, so if you want to allow the spell to remain in the game, then I guess it doesn't matter much if you make it even more powerful. Just be aware that once a character casts Time Stop in your game, there's a pretty good chance the foe is going to wind up dead not long afterwards.
    Unlikely in my world, as I said I am considering tacking on an aging or exhaustion effect to timestop a la 2nd ed. haste (simply to make it a spell of last resort, there are spells or rituals to reverse this of course but that would take time and rare materials). However even in the event that I do not do this I already have my players rolling spell failure checks, its a d20 roll with critical yielding a metamagic of the caster's choice and failures yielding some world warping badness dependent on the spell type (some results are living spells, planer rifts, spell cascades or technical defects)

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    Default Re: A Timestop question

    Time Stop isn't broken, it's a ****ing 9th level spell. Casters who can use 9th level spells are the same kind of people who would chew up and spit out Superman. And heck, even he turned out to be able to make time stop (and reverse).
    At the time they're able to cast 9th level spells, things like Time Stop should be already be in common use by their enemies, in addition to things like Celerity, Foresight, & Contingency. And any villain without at least two backup plans involving Stilled Silenced Greater Teleport and liberal usage of minions isn't well enough prepared to deal with near-epic level characters.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Talya
    Anyone casting a ninth level spell should not be just bending the fabric of reality, but chewing up the fabric of reality and spitting it out. It represents an expenditure of raw magical force that should be momentous, and should have similar shock value as the events following Grand Moff Tarkin's "You may fire when ready."

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    Default Re: A Timestop question

    Quote Originally Posted by Darkxarth View Post
    Time Stop isn't broken, it's a ****ing 9th level spell.
    QFT.


    Anyone casting a ninth level spell should not be just bending the fabric of reality, but chewing up the fabric of reality and spitting it out. It represents an expenditure of raw magical force that should be momentous, and should have similar shock value as the events following Grand Moff Tarkin's "You may fire when ready."
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    Default Re: A Timestop question

    Quote Originally Posted by Talya View Post
    Anyone casting a ninth level spell should not be just bending the fabric of reality, but chewing up the fabric of reality and spitting it out. It represents an expenditure of raw magical force that should be momentous, and should have similar shock value as the events following Grand Moff Tarkin's "You may fire when ready."
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    Quote Originally Posted by Talya
    Anyone casting a ninth level spell should not be just bending the fabric of reality, but chewing up the fabric of reality and spitting it out. It represents an expenditure of raw magical force that should be momentous, and should have similar shock value as the events following Grand Moff Tarkin's "You may fire when ready."

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    Default Re: A Timestop question

    Well, balance wise there's the issue that a wizard is neither as flamingly obvious and sluggish as the Death Star nor possessed of a giant weak spot that its one-trick superweapon doesn't do anything about...and even so people in setting viewed it as terrifyingly powerful.

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    Default Re: A Timestop question

    Balance-wise, the other issue is that anybody unfortunate enough not to get 9th-level spells is helpless. To continue the analogy, the high-level fighters and rogues are like fighter pilots and smugglers. Really good ones, not without their uses, but still.
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    Default Re: A Timestop question

    You can just houserule some of the spell's worst exploits:

    Forbid maximized timestop; just say that in game mechanics terms, the die roll made by a timestop is 'different' than others in some undefinable way, and the spell therefore isn't subject to maximization or other things that would influence the result.

    (I would consider taking this further, and making a house rule that no metamagic effects of any sort can be used on a spell if their combined 'normal' feat-based usage on that spell would raise its level above nine. I strongly suspect that metamagic effects were originally balanced with this limitation assumed... ninth level spells are good enough without being quickened or maximized.)

    Prevent chain timestops. After timestop a time stop spell ends, none can be cast again in the general area where the first one originated until the same number of rounds that time was stopped for have elapsed in real time.

    If you want to be clever, you might even say that the caster of a timestop doesn't know the result that was rolled, and therefore don't know how much time they have--it would still be very powerful, but this makes it much trickier to exploit.

    I would avoid relying on aging or 'flavor' limitations like that. Haste used to work that way, yes. They removed it for a reason--it's annoying as heck, but doesn't actually keep players from exploiting the spell in question. Sure, it's fine to say "oh, this makes it a last resort", but do you really want all your BBEG fights to come down to "Ok, last resort time! Boom, we win?" You're better off addressing the broken issues directly.
    Last edited by Aquillion; 2007-04-29 at 12:12 AM.

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    Default Re: A Timestop question

    Quote Originally Posted by Ulzgoroth View Post
    Well, balance wise there's the issue that a wizard is neither as flamingly obvious and sluggish as the Death Star nor possessed of a giant weak spot that its one-trick superweapon doesn't do anything about...and even so people in setting viewed it as terrifyingly powerful.
    Dragons that emanate antimagic fields?

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    Default Re: A Timestop question

    I would just like to point out that timestop is a ninth level spell, which means if you really want to blow your handful of ninth level spells on one encounter, you should be able to do it. Just keep in mind that 99% of the time, NPCs don't care about resource management- they are only going to be in one fight per day, the one in which the PCs will probably kill them. The (PC)wizard's spells are finite and must be managed carefully to avoid running out of your 'good' spells before you get to the 'boss' fight. The fighter, on the other hand, can usually do whatever it is he does very well, and as often as he wants.

    That being said, I tend to have a 'gentleman's agreement' with my PCs. If they start to whip out some of the 'nastier, more broken spells', then the villains start to whip them out as well. Spells like Evard's Black Tentacles and Timestop ARE on that list. Just keep in mind that 50% of the 'suggested' encounters per scenario are going to be the same level as the party. So by the time the party is casting ninth level spells, 1/2 the encounters are likely to be doing that as well.
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    Default Re: A Timestop question

    Quote Originally Posted by Ulzgoroth View Post
    Well, balance wise there's the issue that a wizard is neither as flamingly obvious and sluggish as the Death Star nor possessed of a giant weak spot that its one-trick superweapon doesn't do anything about...and even so people in setting viewed it as terrifyingly powerful.
    The Death Star isn't equal to a mage who can cast Time Stop, but the shock value of being able to cast 9th level and epic spells should be the same as someone watching the Death Star fire; they should wet themselves.

    Balance-wise, the other issue is that anybody unfortunate enough not to get 9th-level spells is helpless. To continue the analogy, the high-level fighters and rogues are like fighter pilots and smugglers. Really good ones, not without their uses, but still.
    Yes, yes. We all know that magicians are unbalanced against nonmagicians, and this is pretty much how it's always going to be. I mean really, is there anyway that a guy with a sword, no matter how physically powerful he and his sword are, can stop a guy that can stop time and cause flaming, exploding rocks to burst forth from his hands? Not a reliable one anyway. And at this point in a campaign, all the non-casters should be using items that give them spell-like abilities and other magical effects, and all the Villains should be casters, or have high-level casters as bodyguards.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Talya
    Anyone casting a ninth level spell should not be just bending the fabric of reality, but chewing up the fabric of reality and spitting it out. It represents an expenditure of raw magical force that should be momentous, and should have similar shock value as the events following Grand Moff Tarkin's "You may fire when ready."

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    Default Re: A Timestop question

    glad to see some sensible people here
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    Default Re: A Timestop question

    Personally, I think the question of whether or not spells like that are broken depend a great deal on the DM, but not for house rules. Rather, it depends on the DM to determine how intelligent and observant the enemies are.

    What if you saw the Death Star wiping out some of your goons a few hours travel away, and knew it couldn't fire again for at least another eight? The rules for random encounters, and for how often your party encounters bad guys in the dungeon-city-battlefield-boyscout jamboree aren't chiseled in granite.

    They can be changed. This means that any bad guy worth his salt sitting on a fortress of bad-guyery will have reserves. Committ some of your (DM's) forces to the battle. Wait for the wizard to use his win-no-matter-what suite of high level spells. Send in the reserves after that. Wizards and melee types are like rock-paper-scissors, except that each changes between the three depending on the time of day.

    Midmorning? Wizards are paper and fighter types are rock. Late afternoon? Well, things can start to change, eh?

    ------------------------

    Now, all that said, any spell or set of spells which permits a character to win every time, as some of the options discussed frequently around here do, well, I'm really not a fan of those. Sure, you can say, "Look, the guy who can fling black-hole volcanoes from his fingertipes is going to beat any fighter type, from Dudley Doright on up to Inigo Montoya." And you'd be right. There's even justification for it, because the character must have spent amazing amounts of time, focused amazing amounts of intellect, into probing the mysteries (heh, that's a laugh in the D&D world;)) of the arcane for years or decades or even centuries.

    But the player doesn't have to do that. The player just whips up a character sheet, puts down some spells, and bam, volcanic black hole avalanches.
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    Default Re: A Timestop question

    Quote Originally Posted by Rakeesh View Post
    Personally, I think the question of whether or not spells like that are broken depend a great deal on the DM, but not for house rules. Rather, it depends on the DM to determine how intelligent and observant the enemies are.
    I agree. A DM who plays with high-level characters should not be pitting them against stupid enemies.

    What if you saw the Death Star wiping out some of your goons a few hours travel away, and knew it couldn't fire again for at least another eight? The rules for random encounters, and for how often your party encounters bad guys in the dungeon-city-battlefield-boyscout jamboree aren't chiseled in granite.
    Other than the obvious fact that if you had goons a few hours away that were killed by the Death Star, you would be too, this is a good argument. I agree.

    Also, Boy Scout Jamboree? I don't even want to know.

    They can be changed. This means that any bad guy worth his salt sitting on a fortress of bad-guyery will have reserves. Committ some of your (DM's) forces to the battle. Wait for the wizard to use his win-no-matter-what suite of high level spells. Send in the reserves after that. Wizards and melee types are like rock-paper-scissors, except that each changes between the three depending on the time of day.
    That's the problem with blasting out your resources real quick, smart DMs.

    Now, all that said, any spell or set of spells which permits a character to win every time, as some of the options discussed frequently around here do, well, I'm really not a fan of those. Sure, you can say, "Look, the guy who can fling black-hole volcanoes from his fingertipes is going to beat any fighter type, from Dudley Doright on up to Inigo Montoya." And you'd be right.
    Yeah, as a DM you've got to make sure all the players are enjoying themselves, and that you're having fun too. It's usually not fun for the other players to stand around and watch as the mage idly destroys every encounter with a flick of his wrist, and it's probably not fun for the DM either.

    Every DM should have a discussion with his or her players before every campaign starts about the fact that D&D is a game, and that it's meant to be enjoyable for everyone. Now, like most games, when you're losing you don't have as much fun as when you're winning, but in D&D losing doesn't usually last for long.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Talya
    Anyone casting a ninth level spell should not be just bending the fabric of reality, but chewing up the fabric of reality and spitting it out. It represents an expenditure of raw magical force that should be momentous, and should have similar shock value as the events following Grand Moff Tarkin's "You may fire when ready."

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    Default Re: A Timestop question

    Quote Originally Posted by Darkxarth View Post
    The Death Star isn't equal to a mage who can cast Time Stop, but the shock value of being able to cast 9th level and epic spells should be the same as someone watching the Death Star fire; they should wet themselves.
    Yes, but a 17+ level mage can cast ninth-level spells just by waking up in the morning and deciding to do so. Within three seconds, you've fired the superweapon. For the Death Star, you have to get into range and charge up the laser, giving the heroes ample opportunity to hit the One Weak Point.

    The trouble with DnD is that spellcasting has no downside. Sure, you're not as physically powerful as the Fighter, but that hardly matters when you can just 'port back to safety at will (or, better yet, Plane Shift to safety--if you're a Good guy, you can expect to be quite safe on Mount Celestia or in Elysium or what have you).
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    Default Re: A Timestop question

    Quote Originally Posted by Jothki View Post
    Dragons that emanate antimagic fields?
    That is one fantastically sweet weak spot I admit, but not weak enough. Divinations might be able to give you warning (how do those interact with AMF anyway?), and if there's both Celerity and Delay Teleportation floating around you only have to run away (at worst) instead of dying.

    And if they aren't both floating around, those dragons aren't so much a vulnerability of wizards as the lords of the universe.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rakeesh View Post
    Personally, I think the question of whether or not spells like that are broken depend a great deal on the DM, but not for house rules. Rather, it depends on the DM to determine how intelligent and observant the enemies are.

    <snip>
    Quote Originally Posted by Darkxarth View Post
    I agree. A DM who plays with high-level characters should not be pitting them against stupid enemies.
    This I applaud as a general approach. The problem is that the no-really-I-just-autowin-anything-outside-AMF tricks being used by both sides will break the game even worse. They aren't powerful enough for the ubermages to autokill each other (except by way of 'I cast Celerity!' 'no, I do!' -> universe explodes), and doing things with a 5% chance of getting you killed has no percentage at that power level. It's possible to deplete your opponents' magic by sending goons, but they can fort up in their impregnable Rope Trick inside mansion inside forbiddence inside Private Sanctum inside obscure cave on another plane. Number 5 of 20, chosen at random. Anything incapable of celerity-timestop is dogfood any time either side wants it that way, though. The BBEG isn't going to let the PCs get a shot at him by attacking them, but anything they care about that isn't protected by Forbiddence and a bucket of other stuff, probably with AMFs included, is going to be casually annihilated as a negotiating ploy. The landscape starts looking like some kind of post-nuclear warzone, with islands of life forted to the gills with every defense spell imaginable... Unless of course massive divine intervention of some sort.

    Actually sounds like a potentially cool game, but only if you're prepared to go to that particular hell. I'm pretty sure it really is the only logical end for intelligent, resourceful beings with all that magic and without perfect harmony.

    Taking away the Celerity doesn't actually make it better I think, it just makes it suicide to step out of defenses if anyone can possibly detect you. Actually, it might be anyway thanks to the timestop then teleport approach.

    But the point of making the enemies smart is right on, no matter what you do with the super-spells. If they don't have an int penalty or a hopeless lack of coordination, there's no excuse for pitiful tactics.

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    Default Re: A Timestop question

    Quote Originally Posted by Mewtarthio View Post
    Yes, but a 17+ level mage can cast ninth-level spells just by waking up in the morning and deciding to do so. Within three seconds, you've fired the superweapon. For the Death Star, you have to get into range and charge up the laser, giving the heroes ample opportunity to hit the One Weak Point.
    Why are you trying to make the Death Star equal to a high-level mage? Or even trying to make the casting of a 9th level spell equal to a blast from the Death Star? A non-epic level mage should NOT be able to destroy an entire planet/plane. And the Death Star should not be able to fire its main cannon every few minutes, let alone every few seconds. The effects themselves aren't equal so much as the shock value.

    I underestimated the effect in my previous post, casting a 9th level spell should make common folk wet themselves, collapse to the ground weeping uncontrollably, pray to all their gods for a sweet afterlife, wet themselves again, and then faint. Just like anyone who's not a main character (Leia) or who deals with it on a regular basis (gunners) should probably wet themselves, burst into hot tears of pain for a few minutes, beg for forgiveness and spill any information they have, wet themselves again, and then collapse into unconsciousness if they watch the Death Star destroy a planet.

    The trouble with DnD is that spellcasting has no downside. Sure, you're not as physically powerful as the Fighter, but that hardly matters when you can just 'port back to safety at will (or, better yet, Plane Shift to safety--if you're a Good guy, you can expect to be quite safe on Mount Celestia or in Elysium or what have you).
    And yes, at high levels there is no downside to spellcasting. A lack of hit points and fighting prowess means nothing when you can snap your fingers and stop time (or whatever you want to do that day). Whereas without spellcasting abilities (or access to them) a high-level warrior is pretty royally screwed, for the above reason. No matter how hard he hits with that sword, it doesn't mean anything if you never actually get to swing it.
    Last edited by Darkxarth; 2007-04-29 at 02:20 AM.

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    Default Re: A Timestop question

    Quote Originally Posted by Darkxarth View Post
    A non-epic level mage should NOT be able to destroy an entire planet/plane.
    In less than a year, provided there are no other equivalent-level mages that don't share his thirst for destruction.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Belteshazzar View Post
    I am DMing a game which I hope will reach high levels 'eventually' (I give experience on a much slower basis of 'ok I think "that" was impressive you gain #### xp) If by chance they ever gain timestop I would like to know how much 'more' unbalancing would it be to allow more than just area of effect attacks to function during timestop? I have my way(perhaps an aging effect that could force a fortitude save vs death if they fail to cast it correctly).
    I already feel there is not much worse a wizard could be if he is dealing direct damage during a timestop and this may distract him from truly nasty timestop+forcecage+ delayed blast+cloudkill= unchallengeable types of wizards.
    The time stop spell is close to being a win button, close enough that I would argue for banning it. If you allow the wizard to affect other creatures while it's active, it becomes a total win button. Screw direct damage and forcecage cheese, I'm spamming enervation followed by finger of death. Putting aging effects and/or saves versus death on it just means it's a win button that will only be pushed against the BBEG... which means the great dramatic finale to any given storyline will consist of "the wizard cast time stop and the battle was over."

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    Default Re: A Timestop question

    Quote Originally Posted by Darkxarth View Post
    At the time they're able to cast 9th level spells, things like Time Stop should be already be in common use by their enemies, in addition to things like Celerity, Foresight, & Contingency. And any villain without at least two backup plans involving Stilled Silenced Greater Teleport and liberal usage of minions isn't well enough prepared to deal with near-epic level characters.
    The problem is, that's not really how it works out. Of the CR17 - CR20 monsters listed in the SRD, I can't find one that can cast Time Stop, and most can't manage a stilled, silenced Greater Teleport either. Of the Core character classes, only two are likely to be able to cast Time Stop from their spell list (Sorcerer and Wizard). Some Clerics might be able to do it as a Domain spell or power, and some other classes might achieve it through Use Magic Device and scrolls. But that's still not enough to say "common use", IMO, unless you're saying that the group of Level 17+ Sorcerers, Wizards and Clerics (with Time Stop) outnumber all members of the other classes who reach that level combined.

    So the reality of the situation is, unless you're going to regularly make your BBEG a full spellcaster (and preferably one which can cast Time Stop and similar spells), those kinds of spell just aren't going to be all that common - except from the PC spellcaster(s). And if you do that, you're pretty much admitting any character who can't cast these high level spells as a class ability is too weak for the level, which in turn indicates a serious balance issue.

    Why are you trying to make the Death Star equal to a high-level mage? Or even trying to make the casting of a 9th level spell equal to a blast from the Death Star? A non-epic level mage should NOT be able to destroy an entire planet/plane.
    A non-epic spellcaster probably could manage that, come to think of it. Gate allows the spellcaster to bring in Epic monsters, and there's probably something there which could destroy a planet, if it really set it's mind to it. At the very least, something which can completely depopulate a planet (assuming there are no other high level spellcasters around to stop it) should be possible.

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    Default Re: A Timestop question

    Quote Originally Posted by Darkxarth View Post
    A non-epic level mage should NOT be able to destroy an entire planet/plane.
    Am I the only one who remembers this, or in 3.0, wasn't there a tactic a psion could use to destroy an entire plane, just really, really slowly?

    I think it was something like manifesting Genesis on an existing plane. According to the current version it only destroys a tiny section of it, though... a radius of one foot per level. And it doesn't even really do that, since things can grow back. Oh well... I could've sworn that at one point it just kept expanding inexorably until it destroyed the entire plane you manifested it on. (Which, granted, would never actually end up happening on the prime material plane or anyplace anyone of any power actually cares about, but still. The point is they had an ability in the RAW whose sole purpose was to do exactly that. Not a very practical ability, I guess, but it would let you say things like "I could wipe out your entire plane of existence with a thought." Without having to make a bluff check.)
    Last edited by Aquillion; 2007-04-29 at 04:55 AM.

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    Default Re: A Timestop question

    Quote Originally Posted by Darkxarth View Post
    Why are you trying to make the Death Star equal to a high-level mage? Or even trying to make the casting of a 9th level spell equal to a blast from the Death Star? A non-epic level mage should NOT be able to destroy an entire planet/plane. And the Death Star should not be able to fire its main cannon every few minutes, let alone every few seconds. The effects themselves aren't equal so much as the shock value.
    That's exactly my point: When the Death Star fires its superlaser, it's incredibly shocking, but it rarely does so. A high-level Wizard fires his "superlaser" 1-4 times per day, plus scrolls and bonus slots, and he can do so on a whim. And yes, I do realize he can't do this trick every encounter, but all he needs to do is rest for eight hours to recharge fully, and Plane Shift makes that easy enough (either go to a plane where you'll be safe and anyone who wants to kill you won't be, or use time trait cheese to recharge all your spells and spawn a race of heirs within one round, Prime Material time).

    I underestimated the effect in my previous post, casting a 9th level spell should make common folk wet themselves, collapse to the ground weeping uncontrollably, pray to all their gods for a sweet afterlife, wet themselves again, and then faint. Just like anyone who's not a main character (Leia) or who deals with it on a regular basis (gunners) should probably wet themselves, burst into hot tears of pain for a few minutes, beg for forgiveness and spill any information they have, wet themselves again, and then collapse into unconsciousness if they watch the Death Star destroy a planet.
    Really? I'd be expecting more along the lines of stunned silence. Still, the impressiveness of the Death Star comes from the fact that there's only one of them (later, of course, the Empire rebuilds it, but that's understandably shocking... if you take the EU into consideration, there are scores more superweapons that can annihilate planets, but only one exists at a time for story purposes). If you've got two Death Stars owned by different sides, it's just a matter of engaging your hyperdrive to send yourself next to the other guy's Death Star and praying you can fire your superlaser first. If everybody has a Death Star, and you don't have the MAD of modern nuclear warfare (which, in DnD, you don't as far as ninth-level spells are concerned), then it's just a matter of Death Star vs Death Star vs Death Star, and the individual Death Stars just aren't as impressive. Remember, there's a reason heroes never build superweapons in fiction, and it's got little to do with morality: It's no fun to watch your heroes just blow up the bad guy and leave.

    Quote Originally Posted by greenknight View Post
    A non-epic spellcaster probably could manage that, come to think of it. Gate allows the spellcaster to bring in Epic monsters, and there's probably something there which could destroy a planet, if it really set it's mind to it. At the very least, something which can completely depopulate a planet (assuming there are no other high level spellcasters around to stop it) should be possible.
    Try an Abomination. The Atropal deals ten negative levels to everything within thirty feet and has a slew of undead and negative energy powers. Death Ward would probably be incredibly effective against it (you could try swapping out Quicken SLA(finger of death) for Quicken SLA(greater dispel), if you don't like that), but it could certainly make a mess of things ("Hmm, a populated area. I think I'll stroll through and turn everyone into spectres...")
    Quote Originally Posted by Winterwind View Post
    Mewtarthio, you have scared my brain into hiding, a trembling, broken shadow of a thing, cowering somewhere in the soothing darkness and singing nursery rhymes in the hope of obscuring the Lovecraftian facts you so boldly brought into daylight.

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    Default Re: A Timestop question

    Quote Originally Posted by greenknight View Post
    The problem is, that's not really how it works out. Of the CR17 - CR20 monsters listed in the SRD, I can't find one that can cast Time Stop, and most can't manage a stilled, silenced Greater Teleport either. Of the Core character classes, only two are likely to be able to cast Time Stop from their spell list (Sorcerer and Wizard). Some Clerics might be able to do it as a Domain spell or power, and some other classes might achieve it through Use Magic Device and scrolls. But that's still not enough to say "common use", IMO, unless you're saying that the group of Level 17+ Sorcerers, Wizards and Clerics (with Time Stop) outnumber all members of the other classes who reach that level combined.
    Things like Time Stop. Meaning 8th and 9th level spells, spell-like abilities, or powers.
    Monster: CR: Powers
    Balor: 20: Dominate Monster (9th) at will, Greater Teleport (7th) at will, continuous True Seeing, Summons several dozen Demons 1/day (equivalent to a 9th level spell)

    Pit Fiend: 20 : Mass Hold Monster (9th) at will, Greater Teleport (7th) at will, Meteor Swarm (9th) 1/day, Wish 1/year, Summon a couple Devils (equivalent of an 8th level spell)

    Formian Queen: 17: In addition to her hordes of underlings, spells as a 17th level Sorcerer, including Wall of Force, Black Tentacles, Teleport, Waves of Exhaustion, & Prismatic Wall. Also, Hold Monster, Dictum, Order's Wrath, and True Seeing at will.

    Marilith: 17: Aside from half a dozen arms using Magic Weapons, Greater Teleport (7th) at will, continuous True Seeing, Summons a couple dozen Demons 1/day.

    Nightcrawler: 18: Aside from being able to devour adventurers in one bite, Hold Monster 3/day, Finger of Death 1/day, Mass Hold Monster 1/day, Plane Shift 1/day, can summon a varying number of varying strength Undead.

    That's not even to talk about Damage Reduction, Spell Resistance, various immunities and energy resistances, and the fact that each of these creatures has an Inteligence high enough to know how to use their abilities.

    And I'm not even going to go into Dragons, each of which has its own set of ablilities and powers in addition to being a Dragon and having an Intelligence high enough to know how to defend itself from petty adventurers.

    Yes, Time Stop is a powerful spell, but most creatures at that level of power already have their own spells, spell-like abilities, extremely high SR or energy resistances, and obscene Intelligence scores.

    So the reality of the situation is, unless you're going to regularly make your BBEG a full spellcaster (and preferably one which can cast Time Stop and similar spells), those kinds of spell just aren't going to be all that common - except from the PC spellcaster(s). And if you do that, you're pretty much admitting any character who can't cast these high level spells as a class ability is too weak for the level, which in turn indicates a serious balance issue.
    Well, I suppose "common use" was a poor choice of words on my part. At least the appropriate level villains should be familiar with high level spells, if not have the ability t cast them themselves. And since there are so few monsters in the 17-20 CR range that don't have class levels, most of your villains are going to have to have class levels anyway.

    A non-epic spellcaster probably could manage that, come to think of it. Gate allows the spellcaster to bring in Epic monsters, and there's probably something there which could destroy a planet, if it really set it's mind to it. At the very least, something which can completely depopulate a planet (assuming there are no other high level spellcasters around to stop it) should be possible.
    Meh, I'm still sceptical that a non-Epic spellcaster could destroy a plane. Even given a year I still can't see it. Show me how they can do it and then I'll agree. (Yes, depopulating a non-infinite plane is possibility, but that's not the same as destroying it, is it?)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Talya
    Anyone casting a ninth level spell should not be just bending the fabric of reality, but chewing up the fabric of reality and spitting it out. It represents an expenditure of raw magical force that should be momentous, and should have similar shock value as the events following Grand Moff Tarkin's "You may fire when ready."

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    Default Re: A Timestop question

    Quote Originally Posted by Mewtarthio View Post
    That's exactly my point: When the Death Star fires its superlaser, it's incredibly shocking, but it rarely does so. A high-level Wizard fires his "superlaser" 1-4 times per day, plus scrolls and bonus slots, and he can do so on a whim. And yes, I do realize he can't do this trick every encounter, but all he needs to do is rest for eight hours to recharge fully, and Plane Shift makes that easy enough (either go to a plane where you'll be safe and anyone who wants to kill you won't be, or use time trait cheese to recharge all your spells and spawn a race of heirs within one round, Prime Material time).
    Fine, maybe they aren't equal in shock value, which just shows that 9th level spells are (barring Artifacts) the most powerful things you can have in a non-epic game, and that if the PCs are casting them they should be facing enemies who already know how to counter, or at least cope with, that level of power.

    Really? I'd be expecting more along the lines of stunned silence.
    I contemplated that, but I decided my explanation was much more enjoyable to read, and would be to watch, at least for a villain/deranged PC/deranged player.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Talya
    Anyone casting a ninth level spell should not be just bending the fabric of reality, but chewing up the fabric of reality and spitting it out. It represents an expenditure of raw magical force that should be momentous, and should have similar shock value as the events following Grand Moff Tarkin's "You may fire when ready."

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    Default Re: A Timestop question

    Actually, I'm thinking that I should ban all "I'm gonna mess with time" spells in the games I DM i.e. celerity, timestop, and a few other goodies. Basically, in my games magic can change almost anything, but time is a constant that can't be messed with.

    Also, I've said it before and I'll probably have to say it until this green text turns blue in the face: Never underestimate the power of Improved Counterspell.
    Last edited by Enzario; 2007-04-29 at 02:04 PM.
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    Default Re: A Timestop question

    Quote Originally Posted by Enzario View Post
    Actually, I'm thinking that I should ban all "I'm gonna mess with time" spells in the games I DM i.e. celerity, timestop, and a few other goodies. Basically, in my games magic can change almost anything, but time is a constant that can't be messed with.

    Also, I've said it before and I'll probably have to say it until this green text turns blue in the face: Never underestimate the power of Improved Counterspell.
    Wow, that's scary! The green text looks black until you mention otherwise, then it becomes extremely green!

    *ahem* Back on topic, how does one Counterspell Time Stop?
    Quote Originally Posted by Winterwind View Post
    Mewtarthio, you have scared my brain into hiding, a trembling, broken shadow of a thing, cowering somewhere in the soothing darkness and singing nursery rhymes in the hope of obscuring the Lovecraftian facts you so boldly brought into daylight.

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    Default Re: A Timestop question

    Quote Originally Posted by Mewtarthio View Post
    Wow, that's scary! The green text looks black until you mention otherwise, then it becomes extremely green!

    *ahem* Back on topic, how does one Counterspell Time Stop?
    Same way you counterspell anything else, I'd imagine. Time doesn't stop until the spell is complete. If you counter the spell while it's being cast, it never completes and time never stops.

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