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Thread: Doors and magic

  1. #1
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    Is it just me or is there a problem with the Knock spell (as well as
    reduce/enlarge)
    in that it completely defeats the idea of castles and strongholds. After
    all a simply
    1st or 3rd level Magician even can open the doors of a big castle and
    then wait
    while the troops rush in. Considering that a castle is a big and major
    invenstment
    I simply can`t see anyone building them even in a low-magic world of
    Cerilia....
    I`m going to somehow limit Knock to small locks and not barred doors as
    well as
    making the spell touch and increasing casting time to a few rounds...
    That should
    at least make castles viable again. How I should deal with reduce I
    don`t know.
    Any ideas ?

    Cobos

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  2. #2
    Site Moderator geeman's Avatar
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    At 02:01 PM 8/26/2002 -0700, Sindre wrote:

    >Is it just me or is there a problem with the Knock spell (as well as
    >reduce/enlarge) in that it completely defeats the idea of castles and
    >strongholds. After all a simply 1st or 3rd level Magician even can open
    >the doors of a big castle and then wait while the troops rush in.
    >Considering that a castle is a big and major invenstment I simply can`t
    >see anyone building them even in a low-magic world of Cerilia....
    >I`m going to somehow limit Knock to small locks and not barred doors as
    >well as making the spell touch and increasing casting time to a few
    >rounds... That should at least make castles viable again. How I should
    >deal with reduce I don`t know.
    >Any ideas ?

    It says in the spell description that it doesn`t work on "barred gates or
    similar impediments (such as a portcullis)" so the major egress to a castle
    is still safe assuming the castle builder had the foresight to employ that
    kind of door. Given the existence of such magics, it would be sensible for
    all exterior castle doors to have some sort of barred gate on them. The
    size of the door is also limited by the caster level (10 sq. feet/level) so
    the 3rd level magician can only open a single, one-person door. Attackers
    charging into a defensive stronghold through a little entrance one or two
    at a time would probably soon fill up the entrance with their own bodies....

    This is kind of apropos of nothing (the opening doors stuff reminded me of
    it) but one of the things that occurred to me recently is that in 3e one
    can break bars, but we can no longer bend them.... There are a couple of
    ways to handle that sort of thing (a check with a particular DC seems the
    most apt) but in thinking about this and a few other issues I included more
    "saving throws" to experiment around with based on the other three ability
    scores; strength, intelligence and charisma. I`m calling them,
    respectively, power, knowledge and luck, and I`m fiddling around with
    applications for them. Power will be used to do things like bend bars,
    knowledge will cover checks not specifically covered by knowledge skill
    checks and luck... well, I haven`t really decided what I want to use luck
    for yet. While strength, intelligence or charisma checks might work for
    many of the same situations that one might apply these additional saves to,
    couldn`t one say the same thing of the dexterity-reflex,
    constitution-fortitude and wisdom-will relationship? There might certainly
    be situations in which one would still go with an ability score check, of
    course, but it seems like there should be some sort of progressive save for
    all six ability scores rather than just three.

    Gary

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  3. #3
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    Gary wrote:

    > At 02:01 PM 8/26/2002 -0700, Sindre wrote:
    >
    >> Is it just me or is there a problem with the Knock spell (as well as
    >> reduce/enlarge) in that it completely defeats the idea of castles and
    >> strongholds. After all a simply 1st or 3rd level Magician even can open
    >> the doors of a big castle and then wait while the troops rush in.
    >> Considering that a castle is a big and major invenstment I simply can`t
    >> see anyone building them even in a low-magic world of Cerilia....
    >> I`m going to somehow limit Knock to small locks and not barred doors as
    >> well as making the spell touch and increasing casting time to a few
    >> rounds... That should at least make castles viable again. How I should
    >> deal with reduce I don`t know.
    >> Any ideas ?
    >
    >
    > It says in the spell description that it doesn`t work on "barred gates or
    > similar impediments (such as a portcullis)" so the major egress to a
    > castle
    > is still safe assuming the castle builder had the foresight to employ
    > that
    > kind of door. Given the existence of such magics, it would be
    > sensible for
    > all exterior castle doors to have some sort of barred gate on them. The
    > size of the door is also limited by the caster level (10 sq.
    > feet/level) so
    > the 3rd level magician can only open a single, one-person door.
    > Attackers
    > charging into a defensive stronghold through a little entrance one or two
    > at a time would probably soon fill up the entrance with their own
    > bodies....
    >
    > This is kind of apropos of nothing (the opening doors stuff reminded
    > me of
    > it) but one of the things that occurred to me recently is that in 3e one
    > can break bars, but we can no longer bend them.... There are a couple of
    > ways to handle that sort of thing (a check with a particular DC seems the
    > most apt) but in thinking about this and a few other issues I included
    > more
    > "saving throws" to experiment around with based on the other three
    > ability
    > scores; strength, intelligence and charisma. I`m calling them,
    > respectively, power, knowledge and luck, and I`m fiddling around with
    > applications for them. Power will be used to do things like bend bars,
    > knowledge will cover checks not specifically covered by knowledge skill
    > checks and luck... well, I haven`t really decided what I want to use luck
    > for yet. While strength, intelligence or charisma checks might work for
    > many of the same situations that one might apply these additional
    > saves to,
    > couldn`t one say the same thing of the dexterity-reflex,
    > constitution-fortitude and wisdom-will relationship? There might
    > certainly
    > be situations in which one would still go with an ability score check, of
    > course, but it seems like there should be some sort of progressive
    > save for
    > all six ability scores rather than just three.
    >
    > Gary
    >
    I do like the 3 save system you have in 3rd ed and would simply if I
    have to do a strength check to bend bars. Set a DC and ask the character
    to roll d20 and add his strength bonus...
    I don`t have my 3rd ed books here so I couldn`t check the exact spelling
    on the Knock spell, but the point I had in mind was that strong houses
    more than castles should also not be opened by 1-3rd lvl magic. Take
    small stone mansion without windows on the first floor. Or at least not
    windows that can`t be barrred properly. Just the kind of house a local
    noble with a bit more money than subsidence who lives in danger zone
    would build. Examples include anyone living next to any humanoid realm
    where small 5-50 man raiding parties are rather frequent. In this kind
    of enviroment coming in one and one would give the attack higher
    casaulties, but the defender usually is not trained enough anyway to
    withstand it for long with an open door.

    And I can`t remember any limitations on the reduce spell that would make
    any door or similar resistant to it`s effect. And reducing any door by
    about 10% or more should make it pretty easy to push aside right ?

    Cobos

    PS: Sorry for the bad formatting in the original mail

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  4. #4
    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    Castles and strongholds should be counter-magiced. Remeber, you use a depth
    charge to stop a submarine, and anti-aircraft gun to stop a bomber. Defence
    is cheaper and more plentiful than offence. Gary mentioned how to use the
    spell description could be used by defenders. Something I have mentioned in
    regards to spells before is the combination of spells and skill rolls.
    Knock may not be 100% effective. Combined with the Open Locks skill, it may
    provide a +15 arcane bonus. It also only disables two kind of security
    features per casting. So, a lock, a bar, and a log laid up against the back
    requires two castings of knock. Also, if knock spells are a problem,
    someone was probabaly hired to cast an arcane lock (a permenant spell) some
    time ago. Arcane lock would add a +10 to the DC of the security.

    Doors should be observed by a watchman in a house of the security concious.
    The watch may be sleeping, but should be awakened by the bar falling off and
    the log tipping over. He has a round to act while the second knock spell is
    cast. Perhaps he just lifts the hood to a lantern and re-bars the door.
    Remember that real security is provided by people, not magic.

    The truely security concious, those living in genuine strongholds, don`t
    even use doors. They have drawbridges, portcullis, and even gatehouses, all
    of which are immune to knock.

    Reduce - can`t damage the thing being reduced. If a door is fixed at three
    places (the hinges) to a post, how can the door shrink without ripping out
    (damaging) the hinges? If the whole post and lentle is attacked to the
    house, it likewise cannot be reduced.

    Specific materials, or the presence of specific items may also possess their
    own spell resistance. Perhaps fennel adds a +10 to the DC of attempts to
    magical penerate a door. Or in cases were skill checks aren`t combined with
    spells, it withers and gives off a particular scent. Its now useless, but
    might allow the spellcaster and those on the inside to smell the consumed
    fennel and respond. Agate is known to provide safe sleep. Does it aid in
    the security of doors? Chrysolite, Malachite, and Sunstone are each reputed
    to ward off spells. Could they be installed on a door to prevent knock
    spells or other magic? Perhaps only yellow sunstone arranged above and
    below the door handle has such an effect.

    If Nesirie is the protector of families, homes, and doors, perhaps an icon
    or statue of Nesirie that can "see" the door has an adverse effect on
    attempts to enter.

    Kenneth Gauck
    kgauck@mchsi.com

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    Site Moderator geeman's Avatar
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    At 09:57 AM 8/26/2002 -0500, Kenneth Gauck wrote:

    >Castles and strongholds should be counter-magiced.

    There has been at least one Dragon article on this particular
    subject. Sorry, but I don`t remember which issue.... For the most part
    the one I remember focused on non-magical counters by adding a few
    "typical" things that one could do to prevent magic from penetrating into a
    castle. Lead is typically used as a counter to x-ray vision, and the
    article presumed that it could also counter teleportation and most other
    forms of magical intrusion, so lead would be incorporated into the cement
    for the castle walls.

    Given the relative cost of building a castle and their strategic importance
    it seems reasonable that the people doing the construction would have a few
    magic items here and there to counter the commonly available magics.

    Of course, D&D castles almost always use real world medieval castles as
    their basis. Even in a low magic setting like BR, however, the very nature
    of the magics involved would influence how castles are built. In many ways
    the existence of magic--and with it magical creatures--would fundamentally
    change the architecture. Flying monsters or soldiers with the ability to
    fly, for instance, is not very uncommon even in BR (especially if one uses
    battlespells.) The large, open courtyards that are a feature of real world
    castles would be a nice place for a unit of invaders to land and engage the
    garrison so they probably wouldn`t happen much. Castles would probably be
    completely enclosed and large portions would be underground. Tunnelling
    magics still exist, but they are generally slower and not as prevalent as
    flying in D&D, so it`s not hard to imagine the classical castle being sort
    of reversed with the equivalent of the central keep acting as the first
    line of defense protecting a system of underground fortified tunnels and
    other typical "dungeon" features that spread out underneath it.

    Also, besiegers can`t starve a garrison that has just a few priests
    available to create food & water and to heal the sick when disease
    inevitably takes its toll on a besieged castle. And unlike other kinds of
    magic, divine magic isn`t restricted in BR, so there`s not reason to think
    priests wouldn`t be available in most cases. A prolonged sieges probably
    wouldn`t happen in the same way the Rulebook suggests. (-1 castle
    level/turn.) A D&D castle would probably be more about *trying* to keep a
    single, high-level character out or at least warning the occupants that
    such a character had infiltrated because a 15th level character can be more
    dangerous than many 1st level warriors.

    Gary

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  6. #6
    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    A lot of spells identify lead, and other metals, as being harder to
    penetrate than stone, and of course wood. Passwall, for instance, only
    works through wood and stone.

    The Greeks used metal peices to join stone blocks, and the Romans used iron
    scrap in fill between walls. That alone would complicate spells. Taking
    the effort to expand this use of metal in construction would further create
    problems for spellcasting through or against walls.

    Kenneth Gauck
    kgauck@mchsi.com

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    On Mon, 2002-08-26 at 22:50, Gary wrote:

    At 02:01 PM 8/26/2002 -0700, Sindre wrote:

    >Is it just me or is there a problem with the Knock spell (as well as
    >reduce/enlarge) in that it completely defeats the idea of castles and
    >strongholds. After all a simply 1st or 3rd level Magician even can open
    >the doors of a big castle and then wait while the troops rush in.
    >Considering that a castle is a big and major invenstment I simply can`t
    >see anyone building them even in a low-magic world of Cerilia....
    >I`m going to somehow limit Knock to small locks and not barred doors as
    >well as making the spell touch and increasing casting time to a few
    >rounds... That should at least make castles viable again. How I should
    >deal with reduce I don`t know.
    >Any ideas ?


    Unless things have changed a lot - the spell doesn`t keep the door open.

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