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Zaq
2009-04-21, 02:19 PM
An unseen servant is an invisible, mindless, shapeless force that performs simple tasks at your command. It can run and fetch things, open unstuck doors, and hold chairs, as well as clean and mend. The servant can perform only one activity at a time, but it repeats the same activity over and over again if told to do so as long as you remain within range. It can open only normal doors, drawers, lids, and the like. It has an effective Strength score of 2 (so it can lift 20 pounds or drag 100 pounds). It can trigger traps and such, but it can exert only 20 pounds of force, which is not enough to activate certain pressure plates and other devices. It canít perform any task that requires a skill check with a DC higher than 10 or that requires a check using a skill that canít be used untrained. Its speed is 15 feet.

The servant cannot attack in any way; it is never allowed an attack roll. It cannot be killed, but it dissipates if it takes 6 points of damage from area attacks. (It gets no saves against attacks.) If you attempt to send it beyond the spellís range (measured from your current position), the servant ceases to exist.
Material Component

A piece of string and a bit of wood.

This is not, you will notice, an exhaustive list. So I wonder, what else can an unseen servant do? Which, if any, of these activities or commands are unreasonable for an unseen servant? Which would you allow if you phrased them differently, or perhaps limited them a bit? Why?

-Sort a jumble of swords and daggers into a pile of swords and a pile of daggers.

-Sort a pile of potions into red ones, blue ones, and ones that are neither.

-Load a crossbow, sitting at home.

-Load an unattended crossbow during a battle.

-Ready an action to load its master's crossbow on its master's turn.

-Retrieve a potion from an unattended bag of stuff.

-Retrieve a specific (and visually distinct) potion from an unattended bag of stuff.

-Retrieve a potion from a backpack or belt pouch being worn by its master (who allows this to happen).

-Retrieve a specific, visually distinct potion from a backpack or belt pouch being worn by its willing master.

-Smash an unattended glass bottle.

-Uncork and pour out an unattended glass bottle.

-Carry several different items (a selection of four or five wands, for example) next to its master, for the master to easily grab as needed. (Bonus question: in this example, what kind of action does the master take to grab the item? What if the master has Quick Draw? Does doing so provoke an AoO?)

-Use a key to open a nonmagical lock.

-Open a latched but unlocked and nonmagical chest.

-A contingent instruction with a very simple contingency, such as "Polish this armor until this door is opened, then start polishing this sword." or "Wash the dishes until they are done, then dry them."

-Scatter a bag of caltrops.

-Administer a potion to an unconscious person.

-"Pick up the dagger near my feet and put it into this bag."

-"Pick up the dagger near that (friendly) dwarf's feet and put it into this bag."

-"Pick up the dagger near that (hostile) elf's feet and put it into this bag."

-"Pick up any daggers you see on the ground and put them into this bag."

-"If there are any daggers at my feet, put them into this bag."

-Make a wall rubbing, if provided with charcoal and paper.

-Light a torch, if provided with flint and steel.

-Beat a steady, unchanging rhythm on a drum.

-Alphabetize a pile of books.

-Fold a jumbled pile of shirts.

-Fold a jumbled pile of mixed laundry.

-Search an area for recoverable or undamaged arrows.

-Search an area for recoverable or undamaged arrows in combat.

-Tie a simple knot.

-Load a pile of arrows into a pile of quivers, with the maximum number of arrows per quiver.

-Load a pile of arrows into a pile of quivers, with a specific number (less than the maximum) of arrows in each quiver.

-Follow its master on a winding and erratic route.

-Follow a person other than its master on a winding and erratic route.

-Follow a clearly marked trail (a continuous chalk line on a wall, for example) to its end.

-Follow a clearly marked trail to its end and then return the way it came.

-"Make a mark with this chalk every ten feet along this wall."

-"Make a mark with this chalk on every door along this wall."

-"Make a mark with this chalk next to every charcoal mark along this wall."

-"Fetch that (clearly visible and indicated) goblet over there and bring it here."

-"Go over to that (visible and indicated) shelf, get a goblet that looks like this (visible and indicated) one, and bring it here."

-"Search this messy and cluttered room for a goblet that looks like this one and bring it here."

-Gag a helpless prisoner's mouth, given a cloth or other gag.

-Gag a helpless prisoner's mouth on its own.

-"Mop this floor, properly re-wetting the mop with this bucket as needed."

-Hold a vampire at bay with a holy symbol.

-Copy a very simple pattern (a square vs. a triangle), given pen and ink.

I'm sure I'll think of others, but that'll get us started.

InaVegt
2009-04-21, 02:25 PM
As long as you realise that, by 9th level, you're better off with Dominate Person + a spare ring of invisibility.

Chronos
2009-04-21, 08:30 PM
-Smash an unattended glass bottle.I think this would require an attack roll, albeit a very easy one. But the USS can't ever make an attack roll at all.

All of the contingent ones (wait for me to fire a crossbow and then reload it, polish armor until the door is open, etc.) would fail on the "only one task at a time" limitation, though the spell doesn't say what kind of action is needed to give it new orders, so you might be able to order it to "delay action", and then when you fire the crossbow say "Reload this crossbow" as a free action.

And "search for usable arrows" (whether in a battle or not shouldn't matter) seems problematic: It can make the Search check (that's probably below the 10 DC limit), but you never told it to do anything with the arrows once it found them. And if you then order it to pick them up, being mindless, it doesn't remember where the arrows it found were.

Jack_Simth
2009-04-21, 08:51 PM
I think this would require an attack roll, albeit a very easy one. But the USS can't ever make an attack roll at all.

All of the contingent ones (wait for me to fire a crossbow and then reload it, polish armor until the door is open, etc.) would fail on the "only one task at a time" limitation, though the spell doesn't say what kind of action is needed to give it new orders, so you might be able to order it to "delay action", and then when you fire the crossbow say "Reload this crossbow" as a free action.

The spell doesn't specify, so it could go back to the default for redirecting a spell - a move action:

Some spells allow you to redirect the effect to new targets or areas after you cast the spell. Redirecting a spell is a move action that does not provoke attacks of opportunity.(Emphasis added)

Asbestos
2009-04-21, 09:43 PM
Even though D&D doesn't have rules for draw weights on crossbows... I think that 20lbs of force isn't enough to load anything.

Also, it could smash a bottle by dropping it or gently tossing it into the air, so I disagree with that requiring an attack roll.

ericgrau
2009-04-21, 10:02 PM
A lot of the action-saving applications would take move actions on the part of the wizard to retrieve the item handed to him, which defeat the purpose of those applications. After all, it's no better than pulling it from a backpack. That's a move action the provokes an AoO btw.

Otherwise, ya, you could do a lot. It's like having a servant. Sort of like a semi-minion, and I think 2e players will remember a million applications for those.

Darrin
2009-04-21, 11:21 PM
Even though D&D doesn't have rules for draw weights on crossbows... I think that 20lbs of force isn't enough to load anything.


Crossbows in D&D are specifically designed for low-strength unskilled/untrained characters to use without worrying about their strength penalty. A character with a strength of 2 can load a crossbow. Thus, an unseen servant could load a crossbow.

Now, whether it could do this while someone else is holding it... not sure about that. Probably a DM call.

They can also retrieve and fold nets (unskilled, so this takes at least 4 rounds).



Also, it could smash a bottle by dropping it or gently tossing it into the air, so I disagree with that requiring an attack roll.

You could order it to drop a flask (such as acid or alchemist's fire) in a particular square. This wouldn't require an attack roll. So long as the falling damage is enough to get past the flask's hardness/HP, it should shatter, and you'd get 5' splash damage. To determine which squares get splash damage, just roll 1d4 to determine which corner is the center of the burst.

Which is to say... not particularly impressive... until you tell it to drop a bag with 19 flasks (19.5 lbs), in which case 19 splash damage isn't too shabby.

There are a variety of other alchemical items that an unseen servant could drop or move around the battlefield: thunderstones, smokesticks, or tindertwigs (to light up lantern oil, webs, or incendiary slime). Flash pellets, too.

They can spread caltrops or clean them up (full round action, I think). They could also drop marbles (poor man's grease, A&EG p. 24, 2 sp per bag) or bags of flour (poor man's glitterdust, although it'll probably require a DM ruling).

They can perform any skill that doesn't require any training and has a DC of 10. Conveniently, "Aid Another" has a DC of 10, so they can give you a +2 on most untrained skills.

Yes, it generally takes a move action to direct an Unseen Servant, but the Unseen Servant gets the equivalent of a move and standard action every round. Anything you can tell it to do that saves you a standard action means you have more standard actions to cast spells or attack.

Baalthazaq
2009-04-22, 12:41 AM
I'd allow almost all of those.

I don't think "Do X until event Y" is two actions, it's still only one being performed.

I once tried to open a Mord's Magnificent Mansion while inside a colossal red dragon. I gave all the USSs a decanter of endless water (I had 10). Then told them all to turn them on before I left.

I cast forcecage inside the dragon to stop him from moving, and exited.

You now have a trapped dragon, with a hell of a lot of water pressure building up inside the mansion. (50 gallons per second).

Depending on the DM ruling, you can either: Leave the door open and wait for the water to bubble out and drown him, or wait for the pressure to become phenomenal, and for the door to burst open.

Either way, you have an auto win. (If you take issue that the "wait till I'm gone" is a second action, you can get them to turn on the decanters from the beginning and just outrun the water. It'll take quite a few rounds anyway to fill, which is why you make the mansion as small as possible). Still, it will be far less than 40 hours, at which point you have 936'000 cubic feet of water.