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    Optimystik's Avatar

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    Default Spell/Power Questions

    I'll admit, some spells (and psi-powers) in the SRD have me scratching my head. I was wondering if anyone could shed some light on a few things for me in this thread. Maybe I should be asking some of these on the WotC boards, but I figure all the DMs and such that post here would have the same knowledge anyway... and I like it here in the playground better.

    Anyway, I was wondering:

    1) What happens if I cast a Stinking Cloud around someone trapped in a Resilient Sphere?

    2) What exactly happens in a tabletop game if someone manifests Hypercognition? And can Hypercognition help you operate Int items, like Amulet of the Planes?

    3) What's so evil about becoming a Lich? I'd understand if you had to sacrifice other creatures to make your phylactery, but it seems like all the exp comes from you. Is the evil designation arbitrary, or am I missing something?

    I have a few more but I can't remember them at the moment. Anyway, mind helping me out, Playgrounders?

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    Default Re: Spell/Power Questions

    At 3, it's the "Undead are ALWAYS EVIL(most of the time) because they're powered by negative energy which is EVIL(but not really) and they lust for human flesh(except when they don't)" thing WotC does. The authors can't agree, so we end up with a dozen inconsistencies. Heck, the most necro-focused class, which turns you into a Lich, doesn't need to be evil because necromancers may serve the cause of good, but can't be good because his powers are inherently the darkest magics. Do you see the problem? This is the Tome of Necromancy, which has a good chunk of discussion on the 2 views held by WotC and how they impact your game.
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    Default Re: Spell/Power Questions

    1. Otiluke's Resilient Sphere says: Nothing can pass through the sphere, inside or out. So Stinking Cloud can't pass it, too.

    2. Have no idea what are you talking about, so I'll skip this one.

    3. There are good liches, too. Baelnorns.
    Common sense is not so common.

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    You make sense in an annoying way.

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    Shhalahr Windrider's Avatar

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    Default Re: Spell/Power Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Optimystik View Post
    3) What's so evil about becoming a Lich? I'd understand if you had to sacrifice other creatures to make your phylactery, but it seems like all the exp comes from you. Is the evil designation arbitrary, or am I missing something?
    It's left unspecified. Suffice it say that the core concept of the lich is "Abhorrently Evil Undead Sorcerer." So although the process outlined in the game rules doesn't list any specific details, it can be assumed there are some evil things going on.

    And I don't follow what sacrificing innocent creatures has to do with the phylactery creation's XP cost. You don't hold off the usual bits of yourself that go into a magic item just because "innocent virgin" is one of the ingredients.

    I'm being called away right now, so I'll see about getting to questions 1 and 2 when I get back.
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    RedWizardGuy

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    Default Re: Spell/Power Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Optimystik View Post
    3) What's so evil about becoming a Lich? I'd understand if you had to sacrifice other creatures to make your phylactery, but it seems like all the exp comes from you. Is the evil designation arbitrary, or am I missing something?
    That's up to the DM. A DM who leaves all magic item creation as "you spend X gold on components and use Y XP to enchant the thing" sucks, frankly. You have to collect moonbeams, catch a wish in a bottle, or - in this case, perhaps - collect the skulls of twelve children, extracting them in a torturous ritual.

    Dark Sun's various liches (three types, I think) all have specific evil rituals that are necessary to create them. The kaisharga lich, for instance, is created by eating the black fruit of a tree watered with fresh humanoid blood or somesuch.

    It's not "becoming a lich is evil, that's it", but "becoming a lich is evil because... make up your own reasons!"

    Check out... er, one of the Dark Sun monster conversion PDF books over at athas.org - it's got pages-long details for the rituals for all three types of Athasian lich. Great ideas.

    And yes, there are - and have been for decades - good and neutral liches, like archliches (usually clerics of good deities) and baelnorns (usually good, elven liches; patriarchs and matriarchs who, instead of passing on to their reward, selflessly prolong their life at its twilight to remain in the world and protect their families and societies).

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    Default Re: Spell/Power Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Gorbash View Post
    1. Otiluke's Resilient Sphere says: Nothing can pass through the sphere, inside or out. So Stinking Cloud can't pass it, too.
    But it says the subject can breathe normally. I interpret "normally" to mean that the air supply isn't limited, like that in a Bag of Holding - which means air can pass through the field... so couldn't noxious gases do so as well?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gorbash View Post
    2. Have no idea what are you talking about, so I'll skip this one.
    This power: Hypercognition

    Quote Originally Posted by Gorbash View Post
    3. There are good liches, too. Baelnorns.
    I know about those, but the SRD says: "The process of becoming a lich is unspeakably evil and can be undertaken only by a willing character." Then I check the requirements and all you need is Craft Wondrous Item, some strips of paper and a box.
    Last edited by Optimystik; 2008-11-14 at 03:14 AM.

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    Default Re: Spell/Power Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Optimystik View Post
    But it says the subject can breathe normally. I interpret "normally" to mean that the air supply isn't limited, like that in a Bag of Holding - which means air can pass through the field... so couldn't noxious gases do so as well?
    There is your problem, you are applying real world physics to the world of DnD. If you want to know what the rules tell you are happening, you can't try to impose physics on those rules. You can either follow the rules of the game, or the rules of physics; often you will find it difficult to follow both at the same time.

    There are plenty of great examples, one involving creating a black hole by targeting a single atom with a mage hand spell... but let me analyze some of the physics problems with the resilient sphere...

    What happens when you cast the spell on a boat? does it stop dead in it's tracks relative to the surface of the earth? If so that would be a great way to rip a ship apart. However, since relativity tells us that all reference frames are equal, it would make sense that the sphere remains at rest relative to the velocity of the caster at the time of the casting...

    Now what we do is fly high into the sky, then after we're going good and fast we cast our resilient sphere. This sphere is now going to smash it's way right through the earth until it reaches the other side, at which point I highly recommend dispelling it before you head into open space...

    As you can see, the game rules can break down very quick if you try to arbitrarily apply logic and/or physics to the rules rather than simply following the RAW.

    Long story short: It says that nothing passes through, but you breath normally. That means that you are pretty much immune to everything, but you still have air to breath. How? A wizard did it...

    -Breaw
    Last edited by Breaw; 2008-11-14 at 03:32 AM.

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    Default Re: Spell/Power Questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Optimystik View Post
    "The process of becoming a lich is unspeakably evil"
    Well that explains why nobody knows.

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    Default Re: Spell/Power Questions

    Stinking Cloud/Resilient Sphere: So if we want to go that way, we can assume one of the unspoken effects of the sphere is that it generates oxygen or other breathable gases within the sphere. Or it only filters in beneficial gases. And so on. It's magic, and the spell just works as it does in the spell description. They aren't written to be subject to heavy analysis.

    Hypercognition: The description is very unclear. It looks like the power lets you simply ask the DM for information, and the DM decides what you could possibly deduce. So what hypercognition does will depend entirely on who's running the game. Poorly concieved power in that respect anyway.

    In any case, yeah, hypercognition should help you activate Int-based items if the activation process would benefit from the type of logical-lightning fast deductions described by the power. Once again, what items this affects would be up to the DM, but given the metaphysical nature of the way the deductions are made, I would encourage it to be applied very liberally. I'm not sure I can think of any Int checks I'd bar this power from working on off the top of my head.

    Quote Originally Posted by Optimystik View Post
    I know about those, but the SRD says: "The process of becoming a lich is unspeakably evil and can be undertaken only by a willing character." Then I check the requirements and all you need is Craft Wondrous Item, some strips of paper and a box.
    There's more to item creation than saying "I meet the prerequisites. poof! I've got a magic item!". You're spending the gold on various things, magic incense, eye of newt, that kind of thing. The exact ingredients and rituals are purposefully not described. Suffice it to say, there's some part of the ritual that is evil.

    In any case, I believe a Baelnorn is usually considered its own creature type. So while it's essentially a "good elven lich" it's not really a lich proper. (But I've never really seen the 3e info on baelnorns, so I could be mistaken.)
    The Future just ainít what it used to be.

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