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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Titan in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Gender
    Male

    Default Protocol for Safe Research of Forbidden Knowledge

    The P-SRFK (draft name) is designed to allow the study of eldritch texts and evil artifacts while minimizing the chance of the researcher undergoing permanent corruption.

    Ingredients:
    • One or more thought bottles
    • Researcher with knowledge skills, wisdom, and mental fortitude to properly understand the subject, and specific protection against Mordenkainen's disjunction
    • Safeguard(s) with very high effective CL against dispelling and the ability to cast:
      • scrying, or some other means of remote observation
      • teleport, or some other means of quickly intervening, or else Craft Contingent Spell triggered by some long-range low-level spell
      • dispel ward
      • dominate person
      • protection from evil
    • An isolated study area, protected from intrusion, scrying, teleportation, and escape of persons or objects
    • An isolated observation area some distance from the study area, protected from general threats


    Procedure:
    The isolated study area is first warded with traps, guards, walls, spells, or other protective measures against most interference. In particular, either forbiddance or dimensional lock is necessary, along with screen. These should be cast using Selective Spell to allow the safeguard(s) to teleport or scry within.

    Before each shift, the researcher submits to dominate person cast on them by the safeguard, and is then protected by protection from evil without any commands issued. The safeguard then travels to their remote observation area, where they begin scrying on the researcher at work (the save should also be failed in such a case, although precautions must be taken to avoid allowing random scrying attempts to succeed, probably by saving against all attempts except at a specified time). During study, the researcher must be protected against attempts by the object of study to dispel or disjoin their protections; the suggested method is to cast/craft all protections at least CL 30 and any anti-dispel-specific CL boosts available, and add one or more contingent wings of cover/resilient sphere instances triggered to Mordenkainen's disjunction being cast to affect the researcher, in order to block line of effect.

    If the researcher is observed acting strangely or changing alignment, the safeguard must immediately travel to the location of research and cast dispel ward on the researcher, removing protection from evil and allowing the dominate person effect to resume. The researcher must then be instructed to store the day's research in the thought bottle, which also removes it from their mind; after this, protection from evil may be recast to suppress the domination once more. Appropriate precautions should then be taken based on previous remote observation before attempting to retrieve the results of the research.

    Optionally, Craft Contingent Spell may be used in conjunction with dispel ward to allow the safeguard to trigger domination remotely, perhaps with whispering wind, sending or some other method of signaling the contingency. It may also be found desirable to have the safeguard monitored to prevent abuse of their powers or a second-order corruption overtaking them. Additionally, for objects that are expected or known to have significant physical dangers, using a simulacrum for the researcher can be useful, at the cost of substantially lower skill checks. Preparing a stasis clone, Crafted Contingent revivify, or similar beforehand can prevent permanent death, especially in conjunction with various lasting protections like energy immunity, death ward, and so forth.

    Open questions: how to defend against unknown enemies using true seeing to bypass screen or wish to bypass forbiddance/dimensional lock; slow corruption that cannot be observed until more than a day after it has become irreversible.

    Thoughts? This was inspired by Libertad's review of Ptolus' history, and the thought that so often, the trope of good characters being corrupted by evil could be avoided by some sensible precautions.
    Last edited by TuggyNE; 2014-02-18 at 06:55 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Water_Bear View Post
    That's RAW for you; 100% Rules-Legal, 110% silly.
    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    "Common sense" and "RAW" are not exactly on speaking terms
    Projects: Homebrew, Gentlemen's Agreement, DMPCs, Forbidden Knowledge safety, and Top Ten Worst. Also, Quotes and RACSD are good.

    Anyone knows blue is for sarcas'ing in "Take 10 SAN damage from Dark Orchid" Use of gray may indicate nitpicking Green is sincerity

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Spamalot in the Playground
     
    Psyren's Avatar

    Join Date
    Oct 2010
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    Male

    Default Re: Protocol for Safe Research of Forbidden Knowledge (draft)

    One problem I foresee off the bat - do characters actually know their ability scores, particularly the mental ones? Would a researcher for example know that he has no Wis to speak of and thus a terrible will save? And would he know the DC of a harmful artifact's deleterious effect before it was too late?


    For the "intrustion-free study area" you will need Tippy's Planar Sieve trick - a Selective Forbiddance/Dimensional Lock keyed to the Safeguard so that he can enter the area but not any interlopers the artifact may call to that location. You also need to be careful that the artifact itself does not fool your scrying somehow, or dispel your wards.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    But really, the important lesson here is this: Rather than making assumptions that don't fit with the text and then complaining about the text being wrong, why not just choose different assumptions that DO fit with the text?
    Quote Originally Posted by gogogome View Post
    Cheers to Psyren the MVP "naysayer".
    Plague Doctor by Crimmy
    Ext. Sig (Handbooks/Creations)

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Orc in the Playground
    Join Date
    Dec 2013

    Default Re: Protocol for Safe Research of Forbidden Knowledge (draft)

    A character may not know their exact mental scores, but for this it isn't like they need to. You just need to know they are rather wise with good mental fortitude. It isn't like it is that hard to ballpark how wise someone is if you hang around them for a while, and if the would be researcher ever says "I bet you I could hit that balor in the eye with a spitwad from here, after all they are only immune to fire, electricity, and poison and a relatively weak touch AC.", you can safely assume they lack the and will saves for the job, even if their knowledge is up to par.

    The Planar Sieve is a good idea, and I personally feel that the entire P-SRFK is definitely worth implementing as soon as possible.
    Last edited by rmnimoc; 2014-01-06 at 11:17 PM.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

    Join Date
    Aug 2011

    Default Re: Protocol for Safe Research of Forbidden Knowledge (draft)

    Hmm, seems like you'd want the research done by something immune to mind-affecting effects. An intelligent construct would work.

    That or something disposable, like a Simulacrum.

    You want multiple checks so that they'd all have to be compromised as well. And probably multiple layers (e.g. groups that check the first layer checkers, etc).

    Also a Contigency for a Flesh to Stone would not be amiss. Or potentially one for something that will kill you with a backup Clone prepared.
    Last edited by Drachasor; 2014-01-07 at 01:16 AM.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Titan in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Protocol for Safe Research of Forbidden Knowledge (draft)

    Quote Originally Posted by Psyren View Post
    One problem I foresee off the bat - do characters actually know their ability scores, particularly the mental ones? Would a researcher for example know that he has no Wis to speak of and thus a terrible will save? And would he know the DC of a harmful artifact's deleterious effect before it was too late?
    They don't need to reliably pass any and every save, as long as they can pass a fair number of them (to avoid continually needing the safeguard to activate the protocol). So the exact Wis score and base Will save are not really relevant; they merely need to be "good", in a qualitative sense. And rough qualitative measurement of something like a Will save is fairly straightforward to accomplish, either by experiment, by written test (to measure Wis only), or by interviewing (again, mostly Wis).

    For the "intrustion-free study area" you will need Tippy's Planar Sieve trick - a Selective Forbiddance/Dimensional Lock keyed to the Safeguard so that he can enter the area but not any interlopers the artifact may call to that location. You also need to be careful that the artifact itself does not fool your scrying somehow, or dispel your wards.
    Good thoughts. I'll add them to the OP.

    Quote Originally Posted by rmnimoc View Post
    A character may not know their exact mental scores, but for this it isn't like they need to. You just need to know they are rather wise with good mental fortitude. It isn't like it is that hard to ballpark how wise someone is if you hang around them for a while, and if the would be researcher ever says "I bet you I could hit that balor in the eye with a spitwad from here, after all they are only immune to fire, electricity, and poison and a relatively weak touch AC.", you can safely assume they lack the and will saves for the job, even if their knowledge is up to par.
    More or less, yeah.

    The Planar Sieve is a good idea, and I personally feel that the entire P-SRFK is definitely worth implementing as soon as possible.
    Good to hear!

    Quote Originally Posted by Drachasor View Post
    Hmm, seems like you'd want the research done by something immune to mind-affecting effects. An intelligent construct would work.
    Possibly, although then your recourse in case they are controlled anyway (by some more sophisticated attack, analogous to Rod of Construct Control) is slim. It's also considerably harder to find a suitable candidate.

    Undead are obviously out, due to simply having far too many vulnerabilities.

    That or something disposable, like a Simulacrum.
    Or someone with stasis clone.

    You want multiple checks so that they'd all have to be compromised as well. And probably multiple layers (e.g. groups that check the first layer checkers, etc).
    Hmm, yes. That's going to need some more thought about how to structure it, though.

    Also a Contigency for a Flesh to Stone would not be amiss. Or potentially one for something that will kill you with a backup Clone prepared.
    Not sure if flesh to stone would be all that useful, really.
    Quote Originally Posted by Water_Bear View Post
    That's RAW for you; 100% Rules-Legal, 110% silly.
    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    "Common sense" and "RAW" are not exactly on speaking terms
    Projects: Homebrew, Gentlemen's Agreement, DMPCs, Forbidden Knowledge safety, and Top Ten Worst. Also, Quotes and RACSD are good.

    Anyone knows blue is for sarcas'ing in "Take 10 SAN damage from Dark Orchid" Use of gray may indicate nitpicking Green is sincerity

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