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Thread: Contingency

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    Default Contingency

    How exactly does it work?

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    Default Re: Contingency

    You have activated my trap card. That will be 599 US life points. In America.
    Last edited by Pharaoh's Fist; 2009-11-23 at 03:50 AM.

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    Default Re: Contingency

    Contingency.

    Did you have a more specific question than that?

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    Default Re: Contingency

    Quote Originally Posted by Pharaoh's Fist View Post
    You have activated my trap card. That will be 599 US life points. In America.
    Huh. That's actually...yeah.

    To put it in basic D&D terms (though not necessarily more apt), Contingency is cast along with another spell. You create specific conditions that the other spell is cast under, and when that specified event happens, the spell activates. For example, you could contingency feather fall under the condition that you fall more than 10 feet.

    For more detail, look here.

    EDIT: Ninjas.
    Last edited by Anonanimal; 2009-11-23 at 03:53 AM.

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    Default Re: Contingency

    You cast contingency, then you specify the conditions under which the contingency goes off, then you cast another spell into the contingency. When the conditions are met, the other spell is cast instanly. It's good for stuff such as setting up an Otiluke's Resilient Sphere to go off when you get attacked, that kind of thing.

    Or you could go with what Pharaoh said, that works too.
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    Default Re: Contingency

    Clever, I meant more along the lines of does it use the other spell as well as the contingency.

    For example I place the contingency that should a stupid dragon try and hit me and grapple me I would cast heart of water. Would it use the heart of water and the contingency or just the contingency. Also, it has a duration of days per level, what happens if I no longer have the contingent spell prepared (say I replaced my heart of water with a fireball). Then some stupid dragon attacks me and tries to grapple me. Would I still have the heart of water cast? Even though it is no longer prepared?

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    Default Re: Contingency

    Quote Originally Posted by Jade_Tarem View Post
    Or you could go with what Pharaoh said, that works too.
    I think it's hilarious to have Pharaoh saying it...
    Last edited by Aquillion; 2009-11-23 at 03:57 AM.

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    Default Re: Contingency

    Also can it be as general as if some big brute tries to whack me with his stick can I have the contingency that I would cast teleport to go back to my room at the inn?

    Edit: You guys are quick. Thanks.
    Last edited by Mtg_player_zach; 2009-11-23 at 03:58 AM.

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    Default Re: Contingency

    Quote Originally Posted by Mtg_player_zach View Post
    Clever, I meant more along the lines of does it use the other spell as well as the contingency.

    For example I place the contingency that should a stupid dragon try and hit me and grapple me I would cast heart of water. Would it use the heart of water and the contingency or just the contingency. Also, it has a duration of days per level, what happens if I no longer have the contingent spell prepared (say I replaced my heart of water with a fireball). Then some stupid dragon attacks me and tries to grapple me. Would I still have the heart of water cast? Even though it is no longer prepared?
    The spell is cast at the same time the contingency is cast. I... don't know about the resting to re-prepare thing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mtg_player_zach View Post
    Also can it be as general as if some big brute tries to whack me with his stick can I have the contingency that I would cast teleport to go back to my room at the inn?
    Actually, that's kind of specific, but yes, you can do that if you're a high enough level.
    Last edited by Jade_Tarem; 2009-11-23 at 03:56 AM.
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    Default Re: Contingency

    Quote Originally Posted by Mtg_player_zach View Post
    Clever, I meant more along the lines of does it use the other spell as well as the contingency.

    For example I place the contingency that should a stupid dragon try and hit me and grapple me I would cast heart of water. Would it use the heart of water and the contingency or just the contingency. Also, it has a duration of days per level, what happens if I no longer have the contingent spell prepared (say I replaced my heart of water with a fireball). Then some stupid dragon attacks me and tries to grapple me. Would I still have the heart of water cast? Even though it is no longer prepared?
    When you cast the initial Contingency (setting it up), you also have to cast the other spell, using it up -- sort of casting it into a 'box' for holding, you might say

    After that, it's "stored" in the Contingency until the Contingency's duration expires or it gets triggered -- you don't have to have a spell slot devoted to either, so no, you don't have to have it prepared.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mtg_player_zach View Post
    Also can it be as general as if some big brute tries to whack me with his stick can I have the contingency that I would cast teleport to go back to my room at the inn?
    Yes, but that would be a bad idea, because you'd get teleported back the first time any big brute tried to whack you, whether it was a serious threat or not... which would be a pain, when you actually think about it.

    However, more intelligently-worded contingencies (e.g. 'teleport me home if I am targeted by an attack that could potentially kill me in one hit') can indeed be as potentially game-breaking as what you're thinking of.
    Last edited by Aquillion; 2009-11-23 at 03:59 AM.

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    Default Re: Contingency

    "a spell that affects your person" sounds a little ambiguous. Can you use fireball, or are only 'personal' spells appropriate? I can imagine uses to suddenly dropping a fireball on yourself and completely ignoring the damage due to other abilities.

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    Default Re: Contingency

    Can a contingency spell be contingent on something I do. Like it being triggered by me casting a certain spell (say light for instance).

    I cast light(insert better instant spell here) and this triggers a (insert spell here).

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    Default Re: Contingency

    Quote Originally Posted by Mtg_player_zach View Post
    Clever, I meant more along the lines of does it use the other spell as well as the contingency.

    For example I place the contingency that should a stupid dragon try and hit me and grapple me I would cast heart of water. Would it use the heart of water and the contingency or just the contingency. Also, it has a duration of days per level, what happens if I no longer have the contingent spell prepared (say I replaced my heart of water with a fireball). Then some stupid dragon attacks me and tries to grapple me. Would I still have the heart of water cast? Even though it is no longer prepared?
    Here's how it works.

    You cast Contingency, and another spell.

    Let's say, I cast contingency, and Protection from evil. The trigger is: If I am controlled by anyone other than myself. These spells just sit there.

    Next day, I memorize a different spell in my Contingency slot (say, Disintigrate), and a different spell in my Protection from Evil slot (say, Magic Missile). Contingency is still sitting there, because it has a crazy long duration, and it's still holding onto that Protection from Evil. Now, later that day, I run into a vampire. It's quicker on the draw than I, and Dominates me, as it knows I'm a caster (darn thing was skulking behind the group, watching us for a couple nights, and chose to strike while I was using the can).

    My Contingency sees that my trigger condition is met, as I'm now under the control of the vampire. It instantly casts Protection from Evil on me, and I'm now protected from the vampire's Dominate.

    One five foot step and a Disintigrate later, and the vampire is a dustbuster's problem, for a while.

    EDIT: Yes, a contingency can be triggered by just about anything. I like, for example: True Strike. Trigger: Whenever I begin casting a spell that requires my personal aim.

    As soon as I begin casting, the trigger happens, and I get a big bonus to hit.

    EDIT2: The only restriction for the spell placed in it is that the spell must affect you. You can zap yourself with a chain lightning and arc it out to something else. You can drop a cloudkill or a solid fog on yourself. Heck, you can add Obscuring Mist to the list (affects your vision), provided you can see.

    There is an argument for being immune to the spell invalidating it. If you're immune, it can't affect you. So, Fire Resistance 30? You can cast Fireball into a contingency (it could, in theory affect you). Fire Immunity? You could not (as the spell cannot affect you).
    Last edited by PhoenixRivers; 2009-11-23 at 05:07 AM.

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    Default Re: Contingency

    I would check with my DM about valid triggers for contingency. Some might not like vague or omnisent triggers and rule that contingency is null and void at the time you thought it would activate.

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    Default Re: Contingency

    Quote Originally Posted by Tehnar View Post
    I would check with my DM about valid triggers for contingency. Some might not like vague or omnisent triggers and rule that contingency is null and void at the time you thought it would activate.
    If a DM is going to deviate from RAW on any specific issue, it really should be his responsibility to bring it up. An excellent time for this is when the player casts Contingency. If he's using an omniscient trigger, and the DM doesn't approve of those, that's when he should inform the player.

    Yeah, the DM's free to change what he wants, but he is obligated to inform players of changes that their characters would reasonably know about.

    RAW, only an overly convoluted trigger can cause failures. "Cast Invisibility when an invisible creature enters my line of sight" relies on Contingency omniscience, but it's pretty cut and dry.

    "Cast Fireball when a creature I perceive to be a foe enters within 20 feet of me, unless said foe is immune to fire, and unless I have no resistance to fire, in which case, the spell should be cast as soon as I am resistant to fire and a foe within 20 feet is not, or when 3 foes not immune to fire that are also worse at dodging than they are at resisting poisons that are equally challenging are within 20 feet, regardless of any resistances I may have" is convoluted. My generally, if the trigger set is complex enough for me to have to write it down or get a repeat to grasp it, it fails.

    The above example looks for any nonimmune foe when I am resistant, and casts...
    otherwise, it casts as soon as I am resistant, and a foe is completely nonresistant...
    otherwise, it goes off when there are 3 foes within that distance that are not immune and have a reflex save lower than their fort save.

    That's a convoluted bit of jargon.
    Last edited by PhoenixRivers; 2009-11-23 at 06:36 AM.

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    Default Re: Contingency

    Quote Originally Posted by Aquillion View Post
    (...)However, more intelligently-worded contingencies (e.g. 'teleport me home if I am targeted by an attack that could potentially kill me in one hit') can indeed be as potentially game-breaking as what you're thinking of.
    The only problem here is what does the DM consider by attack: Just the attempt, or the whole thing, as in, does dealing damage counts? Is it possible to set "being hit" and "before taking damage", or if it is considered a single event. A DM could state that any attack, even one that misses, could trigger it, since it's an attack that "could pottentially" kill you.
    Also, would be good to add "pottentially kill me, based on my current health/wounds", so you are not killed in 2 or 3 hits, since neither of the attacks will kill you in 1 hit.

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    Default Re: Contingency

    Quote Originally Posted by Roderick_BR View Post
    The only problem here is what does the DM consider by attack: Just the attempt, or the whole thing, as in, does dealing damage counts? Is it possible to set "being hit" and "before taking damage", or if it is considered a single event. A DM could state that any attack, even one that misses, could trigger it, since it's an attack that "could pottentially" kill you.
    Also, would be good to add "pottentially kill me, based on my current health/wounds", so you are not killed in 2 or 3 hits, since neither of the attacks will kill you in 1 hit.
    The typical definition of attack is included in D&D. Effects from hostile targets that include you in their area count for spell purposes, as do directly targeted spells from the same. In addition, anything that requires an attack roll.

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    Default Re: Contingency

    You could say "When I am accurately targetted by an attack that could kill me"

    which SHOULD go off without you taking the damage, and will only go off if the damage dice rolled (Or other effect) could cause your death. A DM could rule that max damage from that Disintigrate could kill you, and thus your TP activates- but at that point, you don't get hit by a Disintigrate and don't have to make the save. Which is good.

    Use it two of the three; Sparingly, Wisely, Reasonably.

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    Default Re: Contingency

    Quote Originally Posted by Acanous View Post
    You could say "When I am accurately targetted by an attack that could kill me"

    which SHOULD go off without you taking the damage, and will only go off if the damage dice rolled (Or other effect) could cause your death. A DM could rule that max damage from that Disintigrate could kill you, and thus your TP activates- but at that point, you don't get hit by a Disintigrate and don't have to make the save. Which is good.

    Use it two of the three; Sparingly, Wisely, Reasonably.
    Incorrect. If it's to the point where it's accurate, it's already hit. Contingencies trigger when the trigger happens. If it triggers when the attack is determined to hit, then even if you teleport... you're still hit.

    The other "attack which could kill me" issue that comes up is this.

    You have 86 hp. A character with a heavy pick (1d6) and a +6 strength modifier attacks you. He has the power attack feat, and a base attack bonus of +12.

    Were he to power attack for 12, roll a crit (5% chance), and get max damage, he would get the following:
    4d6 (24) + 24 (Str x 4) + 48 (power attack x 4) = 96, which would kill you.

    With a scythe (2d4), it's even lower. Str of +6 and a BAB of +5 would yield the following:

    (2d4 + 6) x4 + (10 -PA 2 for 1) x4 = 96 damage.

    Creatures with Power Attack can gum up that idea, and brutal throw can do worse.

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    Default Re: Contingency

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixRivers View Post
    If a DM is going to deviate from RAW on any specific issue, it really should be his responsibility to bring it up. An excellent time for this is when the player casts Contingency. If he's using an omniscient trigger, and the DM doesn't approve of those, that's when he should inform the player.

    Yeah, the DM's free to change what he wants, but he is obligated to inform players of changes that their characters would reasonably know about.

    RAW, only an overly convoluted trigger can cause failures. "Cast Invisibility when an invisible creature enters my line of sight" relies on Contingency omniscience, but it's pretty cut and dry.

    "Cast Fireball when a creature I perceive to be a foe enters within 20 feet of me, unless said foe is immune to fire, and unless I have no resistance to fire, in which case, the spell should be cast as soon as I am resistant to fire and a foe within 20 feet is not, or when 3 foes not immune to fire that are also worse at dodging than they are at resisting poisons that are equally challenging are within 20 feet, regardless of any resistances I may have" is convoluted. My generally, if the trigger set is complex enough for me to have to write it down or get a repeat to grasp it, it fails.

    The above example looks for any nonimmune foe when I am resistant, and casts...
    otherwise, it casts as soon as I am resistant, and a foe is completely nonresistant...
    otherwise, it goes off when there are 3 foes within that distance that are not immune and have a reflex save lower than their fort save.

    That's a convoluted bit of jargon.
    Yes, a DM should inform the players of any houserules, or rulings he might have before hand. I advise this to be done with spells especially because there are many cases where it is not clear what exactly is the spell supposed to do.

    I for one have a list of rulings I make about spells that I pass out with my houserules to the players.

    That being said, I would rule both of your examples of contingecy triggers to be void.

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    Default Re: Contingency

    Quote Originally Posted by Tehnar View Post
    Yes, a DM should inform the players of any houserules, or rulings he might have before hand. I advise this to be done with spells especially because there are many cases where it is not clear what exactly is the spell supposed to do.

    I for one have a list of rulings I make about spells that I pass out with my houserules to the players.

    That being said, I would rule both of your examples of contingecy triggers to be void.
    Well, if you rule that contingency isn't omniscient, that's reasonable. RAW, only the second has a case. Since I'm not in one of your games, I don't need to worry about the houserules you pass out... Especially since every DM's rulings are a bit different.

    I was merely touching on two seperate examples that required omniscience from contingency, with one triggering the convoluted clause, and the other not. It was a difference illustration.

    And pointing out that it's not the player's responsibility to ask the DM on every spell, and every issue. It's the DM's responsibility to inform the player of deviations from the standard. It was a counterpoint to suggesting that the player check with the DM for it. The player shouldn't have to.

    As for me? I go with "Contingency is omniscient". If a player states that a Teleport be cast on him whenever someone draws a weapon while in the Infirmary of Castle Blunderwoos? Then anytime someone draws a weapon in that castle's infirmary, the player gets teleported straight there. He doesn't need to know. Magic knows. I prefer to have a light hand when it comes to RAW deviation.

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    Default Re: Contingency

    When reviewing spells I found that the trigger for contingency was unclear. So I kept looking to see how other spells reacted to triggers, and I found the Magic Mouth triggers to be more specific. Thus I just noted to my players that if in doubt as to a valid trigger of a contingency spell look to the magic mouth spell.

    The reason I suggested the player check with the DM on such rulings is that DMs usually have a lot on their minds; and sometimes forget to mention such things. I have a list of such issues that came up in the past, but occasionally others come up; other DMs might not, relying on their memory alone. Then I appreciate the player coming forth with a question; this helps save time at the table and avoid unnecessary arguments and rule lawyering.
    Last edited by Tehnar; 2009-11-23 at 07:45 AM. Reason: spelling and grammar

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    Default Re: Contingency

    Quote Originally Posted by Tehnar View Post
    When reviewing spells I found that the trigger for contingency was unclear. So I kept looking to see how other spells reacted to triggers, and I found the Magic Mouth triggers to be more specific. Thus I just noted to my players that if in doubt as to a valid trigger of a contingency spell look to the magic mouth spell.

    The reason I suggested the player check with the DM on such rulings is that DMs usually have a lot on their minds; and sometimes forget to mention such things. I have a list of such issues that came up in the past, but occasionally others come up; other DMs might not, relying on their memory alone. Then I appreciate the player coming forth with a question; this helps save time at the table and avoid unnecessary arguments and rule lawyering.
    Hence, why I suggest a good time for the informing is when a player says "I cast a Contingency". Hard to forget to mention it when the player states a problematic trigger.

    Oddly, enough, I find the trigger to be quite clear. State a condition. When that condition happens, contingency triggers. Very simple, very direct, very clear. No limiting text. It's only unclear if you believe that it should be limited. Or rather, it only doesn't agree with a DM if he believes that. It's an acceptable houserule, but IMO, an unnecessary one. As I believe that the only time a deviation should be made is when it's necessary, I fail to see a point in doing so here.

    EDIT: And to be clear, I'm coming at this primarily from the perspective of a DM. I spend about 90% of my D&D time running the game, and about 10% as a PC.
    Last edited by PhoenixRivers; 2009-11-23 at 07:57 AM.

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    Default Re: Contingency

    I guess we have different views on what magic should be allowed to do and what it shouldn't.

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    Default Re: Contingency

    Quote Originally Posted by Tehnar View Post
    I guess we have different views on what magic should be allowed to do and what it shouldn't.
    Anyone have that list around of specific examples given as official legitimate contingency triggers? I'm pretty sure it was much, much broader than magic mouth.
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    Default Re: Contingency

    Quote Originally Posted by Tehnar View Post
    I guess we have different views on what magic should be allowed to do and what it shouldn't.
    It's not even that with me. It's about creating an environment at my table where players know what to expect. The list of house rules is very short, and the gentleman's agreements are understood. I have players who have learned that it's best when they use their personal judgement on what is really unbalanced... And they follow that.

    As such, as time passes, I find I need to rein my players in less. Why? Because they no longer look for ways to abuse Simulacrum. They don't try to get 10,000 damage chargers. They know my optimization fu is strong, and that if they use a trick, it's added to enemy repertoires.

    For me, I find it's easiest when I stick mostly to the constants. The special cases are just that. Special cases. Even if I think something's a bit over the top as far as what magic should do, if it doesn't significantly distort the balance of the game, I don't worry about it.

    If I started houseruling everything in D&D that I thought shouldn't work that way, I'd need to make extensive changes to everything from magic to ranged attacks to skill checks.

    Because nothing does what it should do. The issue is, does it damage the ability of players to have fun? If not, then it's not worth worrying about.

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    Default Re: Contingency

    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixRivers View Post
    Were he to power attack for 12, roll a crit (5% chance), and get max damage.
    The thing is that he didn't power attack for 12. That individual has the ability to kill you, yes. But that specific attack does not have the capacity to kill you; because that specific attack was not declared with a power attack for 12. The x4 critical range should be counted, because that particular attack has a 20/x4 crit range; but the PA shouldn't be.

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    Default Re: Contingency

    Quote Originally Posted by Foryn Gilnith View Post
    The thing is that he didn't power attack for 12. That individual has the ability to kill you, yes. But that specific attack does not have the capacity to kill you; because that specific attack was not declared with a power attack for 12. The x4 critical range should be counted, because that particular attack has a 20/x4 crit range; but the PA shouldn't be.
    Didn't he? Many enemies open up with the big hit on the things that look easy to hit, such as an unarmored foe.

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