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ArtificialElf
2017-04-16, 11:27 AM
OK, so this is my first post and I should probably say I have a habit of rambling and overusing commas. So please let me know how I did, and if there's anything horribly wrong with my post :smalltongue:. Anyway, on to the thing...

MINOR CONJURATION
In my opinion, the 2nd level Wizard School of Conjuration ability Minor Conjuration has some big problems. I've seen posts on forums like this discussing conjuring a book you glanced at once, a key you saw part of in a guards hand, or even your own spellbook. I've even seen someone post about conjuring a chunk of the sun! Not to mention conjuring expensive material components for resurrection rituals and the like. But at the same time, you can't conjure a bag of ball bearings, a set of simple tools, or a quill and paper. Finally, what happens when you conjure and use a shield - or if you are caught in an AoE with said shield, is a complete mystery.

For these reasons and more, I feel that Minor Conjuration could do with a more clear-cut set of rules, that explain the magic behind the ability, prevent possible rules abuse, and let players be more creative with what I feel is 'the ultimate ribbon feature' - as well as preventing needlessly complex work arounds, such as conjuring a set of thieves tools which are all connected by a string so as to argue they are a single object.

COLOUR CODING
BLACK indicates existing rules.
GREEN indicates existing rule clarification/interpretation.
BLUE indicates changes to the rules.
RED indicates rules I've scrapped.

THE RULES -(I won't actually copy out Minor Conjuration as it's not in the SRD so I'm not sure if I can.)
1. Minor conjuration uses your action.
2. You can conjure one or more objects.
This is one of those rules that can be gotten around with creative thinking (see first paragraph), and just limits player on overall balanced uses - I'll go over examples later.
Anyway, I feel that with the changes I've made, this shouldn't be open to abuse.
3. Objects are conjured in your hand or on the ground in an unoccupied space you can see within 10 feet.
4. All objects conjured must fit (and be conjured) within a 3 foot cube and weigh no more than 10 pounds (in total).
5. Conjurations must take the forms of nonmagical objects you can clearly picture in your mind.
This has always been my interpretation of 'object you have seen', as it is (in my opinion) far better. I'll go over examples later, but this means you must be able to clearly picture all elements of the object in your mind (ie. writing in a book - no conjuring unread books now...), and also allows the creativity of inventing new objects - for example a thin steel pole with handles at each end to lift the bar on a barred door. I'm looking at you, Vox Machina.
6. Conjurations are visibly magical, as they all emit dim light for 5 feet.
This level of light is dimmer than a candle, so while perhaps less noticeable (passive perception/check DC 10-15?) in broad daylight, the light is otherwise instantly noticable. As for whether a conjured weapon is magical (for damage res. purposes), I'd rule yes because the object is formed of magic, and this should be fine in most campaigns, though you're free to rule otherwise.
7. Conjurations disappear after 1 hour or when you use this feature again.
8. Conjurations disappear when they take (or deal - see errata) damage.
This has always been a debated rule. Is a tiny scratch considered damage, or does this mean 1HP of damage? And is using a shield, or parrying with a weapon, enough?
Frankly, I think this is unnecessary given the allowance for multiple objects - as the rule simply prevented breaking an object into multiple. As far as the dealing damage errata rule goes,
I think this was just a simple solution to the issue of conjuring chemical weapons or the like, and is unnecessary as well due to changes. (And hey, Warlocks can conjure magical weapons and gain proficiency in them - no fair!) So all in all, this means a conjuration made to mimic steel will (with certain altered properties below) just act exactly as the normal steel would - making it easy for a DM to rule how objects such as a shield work.

THE BIG CHANGE
The objects you conjure are formed from raw magic, with certain fixed and optional properties and can include solids and liquids. This means you cannot use conjurations as the material components for spells, or as a spellbook. All conjurations have the following properties:

1. They are completely inert/unreactive (so no explosives, and they don't burn/ignite).
2. They are the same temperature as the surroundings (no, you can't make a lump of sun).
3. They are nonconductive - so no fancy computer stuff...
4. They are nontoxic and otherwise harmless materials - no poisons/acids, ect. and liquid formed cannot affect traits such as the vampires 'Harmed by Running Water'.

However, you can decide the following properties:

1. The texture of the substance - coarse, smooth, ect. to make it feel like the real thing.
2. The flexibility of solids.
3. The elasticity of solids.
4. The strength and density of substances- which are proportional up to the strength and density of steel.
5. The viscosity of liquids.
6. The optical properties of solids and liquids (ie. colour, refractive index, opacity ect.).

EXAMPLES
As a general rule of thumb, if you could, with the necessary tools and proficiency to use them, create an object, then you can with Minor Conjuration, if it follows the other rules.

In the case of a key, you must be able to completely picture the key and all grooves/features. With locksmith training, you could use an action to identify the specific groves of a key you can understand, thereby letting you conjure a replica. Alternatively, the keen mind feat would let you use an action closely examining the key to build a mental picture of the key - also letting you form a replica despite not necessarily understanding the key, as you can clearly picture the individual grooves/features. Otherwise, simply looking at a key gives you no power to conjure it - think about it like this; if you look at a key, could you then go away with the necessary tools and replicate it without the key to hand? No. Because you arenít a locksmith who knows what to identify, or someone with a photographic memory to keep a detailed enough image of the key to mind.
A clock is far more complex than a key however, and as such may prove a greater challenge to replicate. If you are an expert, you could form a clock - knowing exactly what goes where and how it works. Once again, the keen mind feat may also be used, but examining each element of a clock closely enough requires a large amount of time, and for the clock to be dismantled to have the clear visual picture needed to replicate the clock. Additionally, the feat may not allow for new/different clocks to be made more easily without an understanding of the clock.
The shield example is what actually made me change the rules on objects taking damage. Because even with the standard rules, it is unclear how a shield would work.
With these rules it's simple; for the purpose of blocking with a shield, it will work exactly the same as an ordinary shield. Note that the shield won't work the same in every scenario, ie.
conducting lightning.

Right then. Thanks if you've read this far (sorry there's a lot, I get carried away), please let me know what you think, and try your best to find examples of ways these rules could be abused or run into issues, along with asking any questions you may have.

Knaight
2017-04-16, 11:19 PM
THE BIG CHANGE
The objects you conjure are formed from raw magic, with certain fixed and optional properties and can include solids and liquids. This means you cannot use conjurations as the material components for spells, or as a spellbook. All conjurations have the following properties:

1. They are completely inert/unreactive (so no explosives, and they don't burn/ignite).
2. They are the same temperature as the surroundings (no, you can't make a lump of sun).
3. They are nonconductive - so no fancy computer stuff...
4. They are nontoxic and otherwise harmless materials - no poisons/acids, ect. and liquid formed cannot affect traits such as the vampires 'Harmed by Running Water'.

However, you can decide the following properties:

1. The texture of the substance - coarse, smooth, ect. to make it feel like the real thing.
2. The flexibility of solids.
3. The elasticity of solids.
4. The strength and density of substances- which are proportional up to the strength and density of steel.
5. The viscosity of liquids.
6. The optical properties of solids and liquids (ie. colour, refractive index, opacity ect.).

So you can't get the majority of metals (nonconductive prevents far more than fancy computer stuff), but viscosity and optical properties are explicitly mentioned and then left unbounded.

ArtificialElf
2017-04-17, 04:23 AM
So you can't get the majority of metals (nonconductive prevents far more than fancy computer stuff), but viscosity and optical properties are explicitly mentioned and then left unbounded.

Ah, see that's probably something I should have gotten across more clearly. When you use this, whatever you make is just raw magic mimicking some of the properties of say, steel (thus why no spell foci). You could make a sword or something that felt like steel, had the strength and density of steel, and looked exactly like steel (same optical properties) thereby working like a steel sword in combat, but it is still nonconductive, inert, and has all the other required properties. This even means you can create *new* materials within the guidelines, you could make something neon green for all it matters :smalltongue:.

Here's another example: say you wanted to make black powder, you could make it look and feel exactly like black powder, but if you tried to ignite it it would just heat up, being unable to explode or even burn. Or if you somehow had a lump of highly reactive metal (say cesium), you could make a 'material' that's just as soft, and feels and looks like the real thing, except it wouldn't violently explode in water (or conduct electricity, ect.). So you're effectively shaping raw magic with those limitations, not somehow creating existing materials out of thin air. Sorry for any confusion, the rules make sense in my head but not necessarily how I've written them.

Grey Watcher
2017-04-17, 07:06 AM
Ah, see that's probably something I should have gotten across more clearly. When you use this, whatever you make is just raw magic mimicking some of the properties of say, steel (thus why no spell foci). You could make a sword or something that felt like steel, had the strength and density of steel, and looked exactly like steel (same optical properties) thereby working like a steel sword in combat, but it is still nonconductive, inert, and has all the other required properties. This even means you can create *new* materials within the guidelines, you could make something neon green for all it matters :smalltongue:.

Here's another example: say you wanted to make black powder, you could make it look and feel exactly like black powder, but if you tried to ignite it it would just heat up, being unable to explode or even burn. Or if you somehow had a lump of highly reactive metal (say cesium), you could make a 'material' that's just as soft, and feels and looks like the real thing, except it wouldn't violently explode in water (or conduct electricity, ect.). So you're effectively shaping raw magic with those limitations, not somehow creating existing materials out of thin air. Sorry for any confusion, the rules make sense in my head but not necessarily how I've written them.

I think that, rather than arbitrarily saying the conjured material is non-conductive or whatever, your rule about needing to be able to mentally picture the thing(s) to be conjured clearly and in detail should be more than enough to prevent "I conjure an iPad!" Either the character needs an existing computer to work off of (that they've had enough time to memorize) or they need to be such staggering geniuses that they can go from medieval/renaissance technology all the way into 20th century electronics and computing. At best, I'd say, "You have to pass a series of Intelligence checks, the lowest of which is at least DC 35." Plus you have to program the thing. Could your reconstruct an operating system in an hour?

Besides, the real power of a computer is in the ridiculously complicated logic gates which you can theoretically do with gears and steam and the like. (This didn't happen in the real world because the space, material, and power requirements for anything beyond the simplest addition and subtraction problems would be absurd.

I'd make a similar argument about reactivity: yeah, you're not going to get the magically augmented oomph of alchemists fire, but a handful of chemicals to make water explode? If your player understands the chemistry enough to specify what substance and that knowledge can be rationalized for the character, I say give it to them for being clever.

Foe gunpowder in particular, you can't just think of "it was a somewhat coarse powder, black in color." Unless you understand that it was this much phosphorous and that much whatever else, your liable to conjure pulverized charcoal or onyx.

Plus, who wants a computer or a black powder magazine will vanish in an hour?

ArtificialElf
2017-04-17, 09:57 AM
I think that, rather than arbitrarily saying the conjured material is non-conductive or whatever, your rule about needing to be able to mentally picture the thing(s) to be conjured clearly and in detail should be more than enough to prevent "I conjure an iPad!" Either the character needs an existing computer to work off of (that they've had enough time to memorize) or they need to be such staggering geniuses that they can go from medieval/renaissance technology all the way into 20th century electronics and computing. At best, I'd say, "You have to pass a series of Intelligence checks, the lowest of which is at least DC 35." Plus you have to program the thing. Could your reconstruct an operating system in an hour?

Besides, the real power of a computer is in the ridiculously complicated logic gates which you can theoretically do with gears and steam and the like. (This didn't happen in the real world because the space, material, and power requirements for anything beyond the simplest addition and subtraction problems would be absurd.

I'd make a similar argument about reactivity: yeah, you're not going to get the magically augmented oomph of alchemists fire, but a handful of chemicals to make water explode? If your player understands the chemistry enough to specify what substance and that knowledge can be rationalized for the character, I say give it to them for being clever.

Foe gunpowder in particular, you can't just think of "it was a somewhat coarse powder, black in color." Unless you understand that it was this much phosphorous and that much whatever else, your liable to conjure pulverized charcoal or onyx.

Plus, who wants a computer or a black powder magazine will vanish in an hour?

Firstly, thanks for the response :smallsmile:.In regards to the computer thing, that wasn't so much the original reason for the conductivity ruling, I was just worried about magitech implications, and (more importantly) it made sense given my idea of the object being just raw magic with certain changeable properties. In fact, I've found the link to the original Minor Conjuration abuse discussion (Minor Conjuration use and abuse - on these forums (can't link yet)) and the final comment of the first page is really what these rules are about:


If I was DMing I would't allow anyone to make anything Alchemical, no poisons, no potions, no foods, no spell components etc. The description says it takes the form of an object, not you summon that object.

I picture this like having Green Lanterns Ring but only the diet coke version. The obviously magical and glowing line really sells this for me. I didn't actually make a Diamond that can be used for Revivify, I only have this green glowing creation that looks like a diamond.

Applications I would allow this for, making a 1 handed weapon or a shield, making tools IE hammer, saw, wrench, axe, shovel, oar, crowbar making mundane items, hooks, pullys, wheels, chests, chairs, shelves, or some more creative options like manacles, spyglass, saddle, pots and pans when cooking on the road.

My real issue with the alchemical uses of the ability though is where to draw the line. If you allow 10 pounds of black powder (about the mass of a cat - according to Google) you're getting a big boom, sure. But what happens with crazy-strong acids. Or radioactive substances - which are just elements so no understanding to be done. And as far as understanding, to what level do you need to understand a chemical? Steel involves a careful molecular balance of iron, carbon, and occasionally other elements :smalleek:. And here we are, back to discussing scenarios that are dificult to call and even harder for a DM to justify.

So I guess the real use of these (admittedly wordy) rules is to make the ability what I think it is meant to be - the ultimate ribbon feature (doesn't really add numerical power (ie. damage), but creative fluff) - along with making the ability easy to use and justify without slowing down the game. You always have the right tool to hand, a bag of caltrops, or some glowy gold coins - in other words, plenty of creative options; not every poison, acid, and explosive you can imagine :smallwink:.

Grey Watcher
2017-04-17, 05:23 PM
Firstly, thanks for the response :smallsmile:.In regards to the computer thing, that wasn't so much the original reason for the conductivity ruling, I was just worried about magitech implications, and (more importantly) it made sense given my idea of the object being just raw magic with certain changeable properties. In fact, I've found the link to the original Minor Conjuration abuse discussion (Minor Conjuration use and abuse - on these forums (can't link yet)) and the final comment of the first page is really what these rules are about:



My real issue with the alchemical uses of the ability though is where to draw the line. If you allow 10 pounds of black powder (about the mass of a cat - according to Google) you're getting a big boom, sure. But what happens with crazy-strong acids. Or radioactive substances - which are just elements so no understanding to be done. And as far as understanding, to what level do you need to understand a chemical? Steel involves a careful molecular balance of iron, carbon, and occasionally other elements :smalleek:. And here we are, back to discussing scenarios that are dificult to call and even harder for a DM to justify.

So I guess the real use of these (admittedly wordy) rules is to make the ability what I think it is meant to be - the ultimate ribbon feature (doesn't really add numerical power (ie. damage), but creative fluff) - along with making the ability easy to use and justify without slowing down the game. You always have the right tool to hand, a bag of caltrops, or some glowy gold coins - in other words, plenty of creative options; not every poison, acid, and explosive you can imagine :smallwink:.

I think, to me, what keeps reading as odd is that it's rather arbitrary what properties the conjured stuff has and doesn't have, which I would find very frustrating as a player, telling me I can conjure a copper wire that will conduct heat like real copper but won't conduct electricity.

I actually think your concerns might be better addressed by just dropping substance properties altogether: stuff produced by Minor Conjuration is made of plastic, conjured from the demi-elemental Plane of Plastic. You can determine the size, shape, density, color, and surface texture, but all other properties are fixed. This way, the player knows ftom the outset that anything they make only looks like steel or copper.

EDIT: Plus, this would allow you to drop the Obviously Magical Glow. Sure, you can try to make counterfeit coins, but the shopkeeper gets a perception check to notice that they make the wrong noise or bounce weirdly when dropped in the... whatever he has instead of a cash register. :smallbiggrin:

Knaight
2017-04-17, 07:05 PM
Firstly, thanks for the response :smallsmile:.In regards to the computer thing, that wasn't so much the original reason for the conductivity ruling, I was just worried about magitech implications, and (more importantly) it made sense given my idea of the object being just raw magic with certain changeable properties. In fact, I've found the link to the original Minor Conjuration abuse discussion (Minor Conjuration use and abuse - on these forums (can't link yet)) and the final comment of the first page is really what these rules are about:

The magitech implications are blocked fully if you just prevent players from making stuff the players no about that the characters would have no way of understanding - they can't make a computer because their society is centuries away from discovering them.