[RPG] the best way to prevent abuse of the gate spell

balancednd-3.5espells

The gate spell may be used for calling a extraplanar creature up to 39 HD for your service, e.g. Solar. That creature may be commanded to use wish spell for raising your attributes or for creating a magic item (that has gate spell itself).

Abuse of this spell by PCs and NPCs alike has game-wrecking potential.

What strategies can a group employ to limit or prevent abuse of the gate spell? I have heard of making lists of creatures that the spell cannot summon; if this is the best strategy, where can I find comprehensive lists of this kind?


For non-D&D players: The gate spell is a spell only accessible at the highest caster level, and casting it consumes experience points. There is also Summon Monster IX at the same caster level, which consumes no experience points, and has the same outcome other than the HD limit for the creature you summon is lower, and you can only summon from a list of specific monsters supplied with the spell.


I had formulated question too short and that gave birth to some misunderstandings about backgrounds of this case and my goal. I'm placing more information into the question to clear answers comments from discussions.

Most interesting: I'm a player not a DM. I play under DM whom are very easy to bargain about rules with. His most ultimate argument about this cast was "do what your want, but remember that NPC would do the same". So he effectively shifted responsibility to me and I began searching ways to repair that spell.

Second: I'm really know only a bit of game internals, including monsters and magic items. Our party had an agreement with DM not to browse information intended for master so I have no clue if more powerful (in ways of item creation, spell casting, wiping dungeons and so on) creatures than solar are available through the gate spell. I don't know if there are items that grants gate spell effect without EXP fee as well.

Challenging fights and well thought out character build are things that attracts me mostly in a tabletop RPG. Communication with buddies also means a lot for me, but it is irrelevant with rules. I've come to D&D from wargames and still have fun in "winning" RPG. Ridiculously powerful builds such as pun-pun are absolute winners but they gives no challenges for player and therefore are boring. I delight casual optimized builds such as Sublime Ur Lyrist

So leave spell as is is not an option because wrecked game is not interesting to play. Completely ban the spell or subparagraph from the spell is not the option because it steals power from player, some variety from game and gives work for adopting known casts list for classes that have fixed spell list.

I need to separate nicely powerful part of the spell from absurdly powerful part with maximum precision. This cut I named "best way" in the question header.

Knowledge of game data, monsters and items is essential for providing correct answer. If there was only solar who can be summoned with the gate spell and there were no items, SLA and other ways of XP free usage of the spell, I would just suggest to leavs spell as is: your wish still costs XP with a good discount but you gain bad fame in upper planes. But DM with his rich knowledge in game internals assured me that there are much nastier beings in the D&D universe with less than 39 HD and there are means that he would not reveal to me for casting the gate spell without XP loss. For now we just excluded all epic monsters from being commanded, although you may cast the gate spell to communicate with them. It is just ad-hoc solution and it doesn't work well, since it do nothing about second part of problem: magic items for casting gate spell.

Reverse rule about controlling twice HD of your caster level in case of summoning multiple creatures over than single, seems good, but Pit Fiend has only 18 HD base and ability to cast wish spells too. Now you may summon two of them for your service at once. And there are many other beings that I'm not heard of that may break this rule again. So as I sad knowledge of game data is essential to solve this problem. And I may not attain this knowledge without spoiling all game.

Each suggested amendment produce two new questions: what is the least powerful spell usage that was banned and what is the most powerful usage still allowed. When answers to this questions would perfectly match difference between 9 lvl spell power and epic spells than we may consider the answer is correct for original problem.

"Just restrict your action" is a bad choice also. I'd like to win in D&D and there should be strict rules for it. I should do my best inside this rules to achieve character goals and environment may push me back to its best too. And I enjoy game lawyering a lot both in inventing rules and in searching best available use scenarios and exploits. I've just found one and now need to fix it.

Best Answer

Houserule out the "Control" aspect from the spell.

The problem with the spell isn't so much that it calls in powerful monsters, in my experience. It's that it instantly gives you powerful but obedient slaves.

Calling in a Solar or similarly powerful creature isn't something I would like to cut from my D&D experience. What I would like to cut out is that any random Wizard with 9th-level spells can call in a Solar, tell it to make a sandwich, and it goes "yes master". There's no defense against this mind-control for the Solar, no saving throw, no action requirement, just control by the caster as soon as the creature is through the Gate. And that allows shenanigans, increasing the caster's ability scores being the least of which.

Now, if that control were removed, it would remain a powerful and supremely useful spell. You can still call in a Solar when your party is fighting a Balor, I'm sure the celestial would be thrilled to join the fight. You could call on it for advice. You could even ask it to increase your ability scores, which it might, could you convince it your being slightly more intelligent/strong/quick/whatever is a worthy use of its Wish ability. You just can't make it do things it ordinarily wouldn't do, by virtue of the Gate alone.

As a bonus, I'd say the spell now has far more narrative potential. "YOU DARE SUMMON ME, MORTAL?"

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