View Full Version : Flying, teleporting and other consequences of high level magic

2007-03-23, 09:11 AM
One of the things I noticed when I started playing Oblivion was that they had removed some of the ways of moving in the world that Morrowind such as the teleport spells, Divine and Almsivi Intervention and Mark/Recall and the Levitation effect. When I pondered on this, I wondered if this removal (compared to the numerous "we-don't-have-the-time/money-to-make-this) was actually made to make the game design easier. I can see how the ability to fly or teleport really can mess dungeons up in Oblivion.
"So, you made a shortcut form the "treasure-in-the-end" to the entrance? Well, thank you, I'll just levitate up there and take it instead of going the long, tedious and most likely enemy filled path you have planned for me."
"So, this was a trap, and despite me having the item I wanted from this place, I have to fight another enemiy to get the key? I'll just teleport to the closest chapel instead and walk for there."
There seem to be a conflict between giving the player powerful magics, and being able to construct complex dungeonss/quests as the player can just skip parts of it.

I guess by now you're wondering why I'm writing this in "d20 and General Gaming" instead of "Other Games"? Well, I want to ask the experienced DMs out there, how does this work for you in DnD? How does the adventures change as the PCs get access to higher levels of spells?

2007-03-23, 10:11 AM
Heh. My recent game, though not perhaps originally planned that way, slowly is approaching a level 1-20 game.

Oddly enough, the main thing preventing my players from teleporting around the map is because it was thematically appropriate to give them all vast numbers of followers which make it prohibitive for them to do so. (It's Eberron. They have airships.)

As spells get more and more powerful, though, it especially becomes necessary to have wide arrays of defenses on the enemy monsters. There are ways to encourage PCs to follow the plot - time limits, ancient ruins that defy passwall and teleport, followers, or simply encounters without dungeons - but the biggest problem is finding ways to keep people from, oh, one-shotting your Beholder with phantasmal killer. (Not hard!)

2007-03-23, 10:58 AM
Well, generally my parties in high-level campaigns is still all, "We run in and kill it," and they're just really flashy about it, so I haven't so much encountered this problem.

Things I would do if I ever _did_ encounter this problem?

-Make dungeons with magical travel paths. Say, part of the dungeon extends into the ethereal plane, and the party _must_ find a way of becoming ethereal to proceed.

-More three-dimensional dungeons. It takes no more than an eraser and five seconds to make a stairwell into a vertical shaft.

-Teleportation and Divination-locking BBEG rooms.

I'm sure there are other measures to spice up a dungeon when your players insist on solving everything through magic, but those are off the top of my head.

2007-03-23, 11:07 AM
Happened in one of my games once. We invaded a tower, killed some monsters. When we got to the last chamber, the druid used Shape Stone (or whatever it's called) to make a "bridge" from the door to the altar with the artifact, avoiding all trap triggers on the ground. When we picked the artifact, and the alarm called more monsters, we teleported back to town, with my staff of teleport.

Dairun Cates
2007-03-23, 11:07 AM
-Teleportation and Divination-locking BBEG rooms.

See. Maybe it's my Paranoia GM'ing experience, but then you're just giving them the room for them to lay the explosives, traps, and magical nukes on. If you really want to dissuade them. Teleport lock rooms at random. By the time the big enemy does come around, they won't see it coming.

2007-03-23, 12:57 PM
Well, they removed Levitation from Oblivion because that would have let you fly over the walls of the cities and find nothing inside because the interior is a separate zone triggered by walking through the gate! (Hence why there are no unwalled cities in Oblivion).

As for D&D, it's a LONG time since I DMed a game, but you just have to be very careful about your choices. I once played a shop-bought scenario designed for level 10+ characters, and was puzzled to find that they'd included stats for something like 50 individual HD 2 undead. Of course their poor little heads were going to explode if the party cleric said "boo" in their general direction, so I had to strip them all out and replace them with something a bit meatier...

2007-03-23, 01:14 PM
Kind of like in Fable where you're vs. a really tough monster that you have to fight. If it's too much, you can just use your guild seal to teleport to the nearest town. And you have that throughout the entire game.

2007-03-23, 02:08 PM
I think the players somehow deserve it. (of course, in a sane amount). They are in a high magic world, they have a wizard high enough to do thetrick. So let them teleport and avoid the terrible desert. Let them us a trick or two to get around traps. But, as mentioned above, there are ways to limit the use of such spells. A radnomd teleport destination can really teach eager groups to use their magic wise.

EDITET for no more food-avoiding mages. Even DnD knows no way to avoid the horror of a family meeting. OF DOOM!

2007-03-23, 03:41 PM
Anticipate teleportation also makes every use of teleportation risky if you play non-core.

2007-03-23, 03:55 PM
I have dmd for most of the past decade in a couple of games that have gone epic.

With the increased movement stuff (teleport, fly etc) i deal with it by providing a limiting resource or attatching an xp cost or a combination of both.

In the game I am currently running the party is 15th level and the wizard does not have the teleport spell but he has been researching it. His interest in it dropped considerably when he found out each teleport would cost him 5k in spell components and 150xp per casting. Definitely worth paying in a life or death situation but not enough to just be throwing around. I also made it a 6th level spell. I did the same for fly its 4th level in my game. Levitation i did not touch. As an alternative, there are a series of gates in my game that teleport the characters around. They are not as exact as teleport but they accomplish the same task and they provided more to the story than bam were there. Sometimes the gates dont always work as planned.....

2007-03-23, 03:57 PM
So let them teleport and avoid the terrible dessert.

Damn, I need to find a way to get teleport for the birthday parties of some of my relatives...

Sorry, I couldn't resist.

2007-03-23, 04:06 PM
The problem isn't about the flying and teleportation, but with the fact that they're so god-damn easy. Every idiot can fly if he buys some boots, he doesn't even have to be a wizard- and in wizard's case it gets even worse.
Same with teleportation. Sure, it's something wizards do in high-magic world, but it should be harder. Like, longer casting time, you have to know the place where you're going to teleport in, etc.

2007-03-23, 04:09 PM
What our DM did for us was to always have a chance of teleport failure, or a mishap in the teleportation. The failure chance would start out really low, like at 5%, and increase at a set pace until it capped at 50%. When it hit that, there was that looming iffy chance that something would go horribly wrong and the entire party would be totally messed up no matter what. That keeps the party wizard from just tossing about teleports on a whim, and that also limits it for critical usage. Of course, if you're just that messed up, you'd keep using it just to see what the failures would be like.....use your imagination...;)

Emperor Tippy
2007-03-23, 04:10 PM
Why are you trying to run dungeon crawls when high level spells are involved? D&D isn't meant to be about dungeons or hack'n'slash at those levels. It gets very RP focused. Improved movement like TP becomes what amounts to a plot device as you negotiate an agreement between 2 warring parties or the like.

I have yet to see a high level hack'n'slash that worked well and that had any form of magic other than a heal bot.

2007-03-23, 04:21 PM
Flying... maybe.

But teleport has never bothered me in the slightest. I am, in fact, quite cool with the caster and those in arms reach popping in and out of the place. If anything, I've never been fond of random encounters in between, as they just feel... well... random. It will pretty much never wreck the plot to have someone capable of teleportation magic.

Sure, you can teleport to the city you were at, hearing it is being attacked by a horde of somethings. *Shrug* I just plan on that being an option, and move on.