Author Topic: Travel Magic  (Read 3401 times)

Offline Samwise

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Travel Magic
« on: July 21, 2016, 03:04:46 PM »
Travel Magic

Or:

"You walk, I've got spell slots and wealth by level."

Travel Magic is that area of magic concerned with getting to the adventure while bypassing all of the annoying environmental hazards that DMs love to throw around to get you to waste combat resources, lost treasure, and otherwise fight the background rather than the BBEG. While a good amount of Travel Magic has direct combat applications, flying is always helpful, along with not having to use actions to recover equipment, such utility is not the focus of this handbook.

Spells versus Items

As with all magic, you can enhance your travel using either spell slots or magic items. The trade-off is simple:
Spells come back every day, but if the big fight happens at the wrong time you are out the power of those slots. While a 1st level slot for an endure elements is not that critical, losing a 7th level slot to have Mordenkainen's magnificent mansion ready for camping every night is much more significant.
Items requires WBL never being available for combat equipment. As noted above, there is some significant crossover, but Boots of Speed will do little to help you cross 100 miles of the Desert of Torment while Boots of the Unending Journey will get you to the fight nice and refreshed but do little unless you get hits by waves of exhaustion in the fight.

Budgeting between the two will depend a lot on the campaign and specific adventures. If you are going to be in the desert constantly, losing all of your 1st level slots to endure elements is going to become annoying, even at higher levels, so 2,500 gp for sandals of the shifting sands becomes an attractive investment.


Two Notes

This guide focuses on travel. As such, spells and items with durations less than 1 hour/level are not included. While great for combat they are not going to be much use getting you to the combat in the first place.

This guide will also focus on land and air travel. Sea travel is highly specialized, particularly expensive, and has an extensive subset of rules for combat. A few spells and items will be noted, but details will have to wait for an appendix.
Likewise planar travel involves significant additional rules and complications. A few options will be noted, but details will have to wait for another appendix.


Divination

Or,

"I'm not going to stop and ask a peasant for directions!"

The best travel enhancements are useless if you can't find the adventure location in the first place. If you don't want to bother maxing out Knowledge (geography) and Survival, you are going to need these spells sooner rather than later, particularly when "later" means losing yet another treasure laden mule and hireling to quicksand.

Spells
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Items
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Labor

Or;

"There are two kinds of people in this world; those with spells slots and those who dig. You dig."

Actually, nobody digs - that's what these spells are for. Running around camping out can be tiring, and sometimes burning a spell slot is the best way to get the job done.

Spells
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Items
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Shelter

Or,

"Welcome to the Hotel California."

While not getting rained on is the most direct aspect of shelter that comes to mind, the more critical function is providing a safe space to rest and memorize spells, so you can cast another shelter spell, so you can rest and memorize spells again, so . . .

Spells
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Items
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Containers

Or;

"Encumbrance? What's that?"

Magical containers are one of the more combat relevant areas of travel magic. A Heward's handy haversack is pretty much required for any successful adventurer.

Spells
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Items
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Food and Water

Or;

"Please sir, may I have some more?"

Starving on your way to the adventure is seriously uncool.
Starving on your way home is just plain wrong.
While the various magical containers will allow you to bring enough supplies to avoid such an unfortunate fate, there are a number of monsters that specialize in destroying or tainting supplies, so a renewable source may be useful. Besides, you may want that space in your bag of holding for more gold pieces.

Spells
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Items
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Comfort

Or;

"Are you happy to see me, or is it just cold?"

Starving on an adventure is bad.
Freezing is just silly.
A few simple spells or items can solve a ridiculously minor problem that DMs and environment sourcebook writers love to torment people with.

Spells
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Items
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Special Mention

Or;

"Spell 'miscellaneous'."

A few additional items for wandering about in the middle of nowhere.

Items
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Movement

Or;

"Are we there yet?"

This is the heart of Travel Magic. Once you've made sure you can find the place, have someone else to do the heavy lifting, can keep your gear save, won't get eaten in your sleep, won't starve, and won't freeze, you can finally get to actually getting somewhere. Hopefully you can survive what is waiting for you.

Spells
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Items
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« Last Edit: January 29, 2018, 11:37:25 PM by Samwise »

Offline phaedrusxy

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Re: Travel Magic
« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2016, 03:56:56 PM »
Phantom Steed is missing. It has a very high movement rate for a non-teleportation effect.
I don't pee messages into the snow often , but when I do , it's in Cyrillic with Fake Viagra.  Stay frosty my friends.

Offline eggynack

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Re: Travel Magic
« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2016, 05:24:13 PM »
Snowshoes actually makes you faster all the time and in all contexts. Really sweet spell, strictly better than longstrider. Also, for movement speed buffs, the heart of X spells from complete mage mostly have movement abilities included, and primal speed from dragon magic has a boost to all movement speeds included. Other spells of interest include find the path, which accomplishes that task very well, and feathers from masters of the wild, which turns the whole party into small or smaller birds for hours.

Offline Samwise

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Re: Travel Magic
« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2016, 10:48:41 PM »
Phantom Steed is missing. It has a very high movement rate for a non-teleportation effect.

How the bleep did I miss phantom steed?

Where is the emoji for kicking myself?

Snowshoes actually makes you faster all the time and in all contexts. Really sweet spell, strictly better than longstrider. Also, for movement speed buffs, the heart of X spells from complete mage mostly have movement abilities included, and primal speed from dragon magic has a boost to all movement speeds included. Other spells of interest include find the path, which accomplishes that task very well, and feathers from masters of the wild, which turns the whole party into small or smaller birds for hours.

Missed that on snowshoes, I'll add a note on it. I agree, that makes it better than longstrider, as the basic version is creature touched.
I'll add in the heart spells and primal touch.
Not sure how I forgot find the path, that's as bad as forgetting phantom steed.
I'll check feathers.

Thanks.

Offline geniussavant

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Re: Travel Magic
« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2016, 10:53:36 PM »
Does shadow walk count?
Smile beautiful. It's not as bad as you think.
I usually post from my phone. Please excuse any typos. I swear, they're the phone's fault.

Offline Samwise

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Re: Travel Magic
« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2016, 11:04:04 PM »
Shadow walk seems sort of 50/50:
It requires a connection to the Plane of Shadow.
And going on the Plane of Shadow may be more dangerous than the wilderness you were trying to bypass.

It does move you a lot faster though.

Should I add it in?

Offline Kethrian

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Re: Travel Magic
« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2016, 12:54:26 AM »
Another item to add would be the Winged Mask (MoF p. 168).
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Offline eggynack

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Re: Travel Magic
« Reply #7 on: July 22, 2016, 02:24:45 AM »
Missed that on snowshoes, I'll add a note on it. I agree, that makes it better than longstrider, as the basic version is creature touched.
I guess that's important too, but I meant more because snowshoes applies universally, rather than just to base land speed, and then you just happen to get snow travel bonuses. Also, no material component, which is rarely gonna be relevant, but it's kinda silly just how strictly better that spell is. It seems like they made a mistake, in not specifying that you have to be walking through snow to get the bonus, but if it's a mistake then it's one complete enough that the awesomeness of snowshoes is just part of the spell.

Edit: If I were not including shadow walk, it'd be more because it acts kinda teleportish than because it doesn't do its job.
« Last Edit: July 22, 2016, 02:27:15 AM by eggynack »

Offline phaedrusxy

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Re: Travel Magic
« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2016, 09:32:24 AM »
Shadow walk seems sort of 50/50:
It requires a connection to the Plane of Shadow.
And going on the Plane of Shadow may be more dangerous than the wilderness you were trying to bypass.

It does move you a lot faster though.

Should I add it in?
Yes.

Also, I've gotten great mileage out of a pair of Slippers of Spiderclimbing in one urban game I'm in. For the purposes of getting out of reach of those schlubs on the ground with their pointy sticks, it's 95% as good as flying in the right setting, but it's a LOT cheaper for an all-day effect.
I don't pee messages into the snow often , but when I do , it's in Cyrillic with Fake Viagra.  Stay frosty my friends.

Offline Samwise

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Re: Travel Magic
« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2016, 12:57:21 PM »
I wasn't thinking of shadow walk because it seems more extraplanar travel than "mundane" magical travel. (How's that for an oxymoron?)
If I put shadow walk in I would need a bunch of things like astral projection, etherealness, and various planar protections and survival spells.
Perhaps as an supplement?

For slippers of spider climbing, they are certainly fun (I had a player survive an old red dragon because of them one time), but they are only 10 minutes/day, and I was looking for long term travel options.

I will dig up winged mask and add it in.

And yeah, snowshoes versus longstrider looks like a major failure of editing. But . . . our gain!

Offline Endarire

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Re: Travel Magic
« Reply #10 on: September 19, 2016, 02:34:44 AM »
Seriously considering making this a handbook?

Also, it would greatly help if you (the OP) bolded the spell name and source and didn't bold the effect.  This way, people could more easily distinguish and skim the article.

Offline Samwise

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Re: Travel Magic
« Reply #11 on: September 20, 2016, 12:59:13 AM »
Names and sources bolded.
(Naturally I completely forgot to keep the sources for the items when I was writing this.)

What would it need to be handbook level?

I've got the naval and planar supplements for items ready, spells for that would take a bunch more digging and review.

Offline Endarire

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Re: Travel Magic
« Reply #12 on: September 20, 2016, 02:19:16 PM »
Thankee, Sammy!  That's a lot easier to read!

Offline eggynack

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Re: Travel Magic
« Reply #13 on: September 20, 2016, 06:06:27 PM »
What would it need to be handbook level?
Dunno specifically, cause I doubt there are official lines, but you can generally express handbook additions as combinations of breadth and depth.So, you have this set of simple sentence long entries from a defined list of sets. You could expand the entries, as an example of simple depth, or you could add new entries or sets, as examples of simple breadth, and then it just goes from there.

So, for an example from my own doings, you could add an entry on wild shape, one a sentence long. Wild shape has movement modes, after all. You could expand that to a paragraph, because it's complex. You could start creating subentries devoted to forms with great movement, and expand those, and now you have a whole section. You could add entries for form adding feats and abilities, then turn those entries into sections populated with form entries Then you up the scale of those entries.

And then you start covering polymorph.

That's about how it went for me, at least. You do as much or as little of that as you want until you're satisfied, and maybe you call that a handbook. Maybe you're satisfied by what you have now, and consider that a handbook.If you aren't and don't though, the above is what I'd do.

Offline Endarire

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Re: Travel Magic
« Reply #14 on: September 21, 2016, 01:24:28 AM »
Agreed with Eggynack.

Offline Kethrian

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Re: Travel Magic
« Reply #15 on: September 21, 2016, 02:30:45 AM »
Few more items for movement: Sandals of Harmonious Balance (CAd pg 135), Cupric Brooch (Dragon Magic pg 100), Iyaringu of the Earth Dragon (Dragon Magic pg 102), Kuribune of the River Dragon (Dragon Magic pg 102), Opalescent Amulet (Dragon Magic pg 102), Sterling Collar (Dragon Magic pg 103)
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Offline eggynack

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Re: Travel Magic
« Reply #16 on: September 21, 2016, 03:24:36 AM »
To give a bit of perspective on how deep you can go, now that I have access to my computer, the entry for snowshoes in my handbook runs 215 words, and things only become repetitive in the conclusion part near the end. The longstrider entry is shorter, at 92 words, but that's still many times larger than your entry. For a trip in the other direction, phantom stag has 290 words. Not to say that you should aim for that, because there's a ton of handbook styles out there, but there's a lot that can be said, even in places you wouldn't necessarily expect it. You can just about always go deeper. Right now I'm writing up an entry for evil weather from the book of vile darkness that's already 290 words before getting really into the impact of violet rain. And, despite that length, I could still make it longer by including really detailed entries, complete with ratings, for each of the five types of evil weather, and each entry would probably run somewhere in the average of all those other entry lengths, with a high end entry length for violet rain, and then something approximately entry sized to introduce evil rain as a general spell. I decided against it, because I felt that a lot of these weather majigs were pretty far on the low impact side, leaving a couple of potent ones that can fit in a paragraph alongside those shorter mentions, and then a segue into violet rain.

The whole thing is super long either way, but what's important is that it all fits into my personal notion of the topic. The idea underlying a handbook, then, is that this is all you'd want to know to deal with the topic in question. I think that a big paragraph about violet rain is something that people should know, but someone else might think that, "You get to produce some evil weather at what can be a high price. The effects are largely low-impact, but unique," is sufficient information, and they are right, in a sense. I think that, beyond whether you'd consider this a handbook by some crazy objective handbook metric, you should think about whether this is all that people should know about this form of travel, or travel in general. My version of the travel handbook might stretch on for a hundred pages, but that's not strictly better than a version that fits neatly on a few pages. Some really amazing works of fiction take up a small amount of space because it is compacted down to a perfected point. Handbooks can be the same way, catching your interest for a moment and leaving you with a bit of information. I guess my point is, if this is what you'd consider your travel based handbook, then go ahead.

Offline Samwise

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Re: Travel Magic
« Reply #17 on: September 21, 2016, 04:21:47 PM »
I've edited about half of it to contain more complete explanations of various spells and items.
I'll tackle the rest after a bit of a rest.

Offline Soft Insanity

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Re: Travel Magic
« Reply #18 on: September 23, 2016, 12:21:38 AM »
The first thing I looked for was "Lay of the Land".  It's the only spell I'm sure to cast in every game.
There's a few ways I've found to get artificer banned from games:
1. Natural Weapon Augmentation: Dislocator.  If I can find some ash, I can slap us out of this jail cell the DM is starting us in.  Feel free to add this as an extremely low level no-line of sight teleport.  Amazingly, not found in handbooks because nobody cares about infusions.  Games ended/booted from for this: 5.
2. Lay of the land.  Really, we're not lost.  I swear.  If you can't make a scroll of this, you'll just have to wait until level 2 and spell store it.  Running tally on games this has ended in the last few years: 3.  Mostly because we were supposed to be lost.
3. Of course Weapon Augmentation: Bane Weapon, but at level 3, it becomes Armor Augmentation: Bane Blind.  Bane Blind just ends encounters if you decide to scout, or are in a setting with a single type of enemy.  Sure it costs money in oil, but that's why you steal their loot as you pass through.  Haven't had a game end because of this alone, but I consider it bonkers strong.  So much so that I'm always afraid the DM will use it against me.

Offline Samwise

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Re: Travel Magic
« Reply #19 on: September 30, 2016, 01:54:36 PM »
I finished reformatting my stuff into (hopefully) more of a handbook form.
I tweaked a bunch of layout and division of items and added a few others (though not all the ones suggested).
I need to add a note about endure elements, which means scouring for similar spells, but I've been too life overwhelmed for that. (I'm even behind on my session planning :( )