View Full Version : Immunity to Disintegration

10-27-2009, 11:18 AM
Long story short, the group of PCs for an epic game I"m running are now fighting one of the main bosses of the entire game - a rank 1 demigoddess.

After a failed first attack against her, the lawful good goddess, who only wishes to test their group mettle, showed them mercy and allowed them to prepare for their battle again in the hopes that they will improve their co-ordination and team effort (they attempted to defeat her through brute force, as the party always seems to do).

One of the players attempted to create an epic spell using the destroy seed to annihilate her in one standard action and I told him (based on his excessive knowledge of all things religious) that she is immune to disintegration and ergo immune to the damage caused by the destroy seed and all similar spells (such as disintegrate and black blade of disaster.)

He argued that the spell only disintegrates you when you reach 0 hit points and the spell simply damages you otherwise. She should be immune to damage caused by disintegrate or the destroy seed. I told him that both spells cause you damage through disintegration but apparently those powers have two effects: pure damage and then disintegration when your hit points reach zero.

So... am I right? Am I wrong? What do y'all think?

10-27-2009, 01:10 PM
I'm not sure what the technical answer to this would be, but it seems like there might be an interesting story that could blossom out of this. Let's say that you allow this spell to work, and let’s say that this demigoddess fails whatever save is needed. Wouldn’t it be interesting if she was utterly destroyed in what was supposed to have simply been a training exercise with these guys? What then would the repercussions be? The other gods might not be happy if they find out. There might also be some really ticked off followers. And perhaps the party might feel a tinny bit of remorse for using such potent (epic) and deadly magic in a friendly duel? This could initiate a whole new adventure arch where the characters have to 1) try to avoid the other god’s wrath, 2) find a way to restore the goddess. I wouldn’t let restoring her be a simple matter of finding the right epic seeds either. It could involve a trip to the Astral Plane to try to find her remains. There might also be an unfriendly demigod who doesn’t want her restored that actively works against the party and perhaps even directly confronts them at the climax of the adventure.

So, regardless of what the technical answer might be, the story possibility of what might happen if these guys accidently destroy a friendly demigoddess could be interesting to say the least.

10-27-2009, 02:47 PM
1) If the terrasque can be immune to spells, why can't a demigoddess?

2) You're begging for rules arguments when you run a game above 20th level. So institute the rule: the DM is always right.

10-28-2009, 07:12 AM
Farcaster is right in that allowing the destruction of the demigoddess allows for story possibilities. Another angle that can come from this is having the character that actually destroys her now have to handle whatever responsibilities that she would handle, i.e. take on the mantle of her godhood.

Now I know PCs would see that as a great thing, but gods have responsibilities as well as powers. Remember the line from Spiderman, with "with great power comes great responsibility!"

While the movie Bruce Almighty was a comedy, if you take a step back from it and see how responsible Bruce has to become because of his godhood, you can do similar things with the player(s), and if you take the path where the gods get their power from their worshipers, if the PCs aren't doing things that help their worshipers and begin to loose worshipers, then they become not so powerful, perhaps even to the point where they become weaker than they were before they gained the mantle of godhood.

Also throw in whatever kinds of problems that they'll have dealing with the other gods and they might not like what they've received. You might even set them on the path of restoring the goddess through their decision, not wanting to deal with all their new found responsibility without having to openly shove them in that direction.

10-28-2009, 08:29 AM
I do agree with farcaster and skunkape about the story possibilities, but the demigoddess isn't the type that would allow for much of that. I should explain the situation both in-campaign and out in more detail. (though this is a long, long explaination).

The current campaign is a forgotten realms campaign that has been going on for a number of years. The PCs have discovered that a group of ten individuals - good aligned individuals - have essentially been planning the end of the world since they gathered together about a century before the time of troubles.

So far, the PCs have defeated nine of the ten and have yet to face the most powerful of this group - who is perhaps the most powerful non-divine being in all of Toril's entire cosmology. The reason these otherwise goodly individuals are going to commit genocide against an entire plane of existance is as-of-yet unknown, as that information has been locked away by an ancient power that failed to defeat Lord Ao, the god that created the forgotten realms cosmos. All the PCs know is that these individuals see no other way and that they are choosing the lesser (and only other option) of two horrible evils that they have inherited from this ancient power.

The PCs, in order to find this individual, have trounced through a mega-dungeon that is essentially an mini epic hack and slash campaign (so they can be quickly leveled up) before coming to face the final guardian - the last of the ten individual's wife and true (rank 1) demigoddess.
She is not a part of any pantheon in the forgotten realms - she is actually an interloper from another cosmology that does not actually rely on worship in order to gain her diefic power. Her position in the mega-dungeon assures that she is essentially invisible to all of the other powers in the forgotten realms - including Lord Ao (and thus the rules of her divinity haven't been altered by the powers that be in order to participate in this cosmology.)

In order to let the PCs progress to the leader's demi-plane, the PCs must face this goddess in lethal no-holds-barred combat in order for her to judge them worthy of passing into her husband's demi-plane. Technically, the goddess is contractually obligated with her husband to do things this way, but she agreed because she genuinely believes he is doing the right thing. (The contract basically allows for her to grant interlopers passage under a set of conditions and doesn't allow her to reveal certain things.)

Another reality is that the leader (and any of the other nine former members) does not really enjoy what he has to do. He knows what he's doing is the right thing, but he feels that there is no way out or any better option. He knows he really should be much sterner in his own defensive measures, but he subconciously wants to die in order to absolve himself of his horrible responsibility, even if it means a worse result than carrying out this huge huge genocide, so he intentionally left holes in his defense, such as his wife's contract, which has the added benefit of increasing her own chances of survival. (Not that he wouldn't revive her immediately if he found out she had died, assuming some other power didn't prevent her from being permanently destroyed.)

Now, the players initially confronted her with the usual confidence, dread, and excitement you'd expect from a group of hardy and powerful PCs. They presented an unco-ordinated attack that basically was an attempt to overpower her. It was a bold attempt that against many enemies would have been highly effective, but ultimately, a demigoddess with full clerical casting ability (caster level 40 - I statted her out as a 40 HD outsider with full clerical ability with many bonus feats and several powerful weapons) was perfectly able to fend off their brute-force attack with only moderate difficulty.

Most of the PCs were disaffected but were able to fall back (the demi-goddess is quite merciful) and recover. One PC wanted to use this opportunity to find another powerful opponent to sure up resources (he picked a powerful dragon he wanted to locate). The other two were fairly silent on the issue but they seemed confident about another confrontation and were discussing options.
One player, however, seemed more disaffected than most and started working on a ritual epic spell that used the destruction seed to do silly amounts of damage - even on a failed save - with a silly high saving throw DC.
I okay'd the spell itself, but I told him that the destroy seed (which I see as the disintegrate spell as an epic seed) would not damage her, as she is immune to disintegration. He argued that the spell had two effects - damage and disintegrate. I argued that the damage is because of disintegration and ergo would be unable to affect the goddess by any measure.

Recently, however, in our email-discussion on this topic, he brought up this point, to which I will quote him:

Where was common sense when Wish spell-like abilities became akin to deific power with zero cost? Did logic tell you that infinite healing, combined with immunity to every effect ever, made for a fun encounter?

This common sense seems to be remarkably one-sided at times. Perhaps you should apply some logic to the question of why your players feel the need to go to these extremes.

I replied:

The limitations of what wish can and wish cannot do is spelled out and I've amended what wish can do in my houserules. The ONLY TIME i've used wish in any manner you might describe as 'ridiculous' is when I had a solar use it to cast an epic spell at ONE of you that none of you had a chance of succeeding against that would have resulted in immediate death at the time.

You were epic level at the time. You can immediately recover an ally in one of two fashions - delay death (which you've used before to save allied party members - including Drizzt) or resurrection that you can manage in a standard action (such as using a scroll of true rez or the revenance spell - both of which you've used).

So yeah, I didn't use logic and you would have had to use a 4th level spell on your turn or a 5th level spell as an immediate action to recover from this gross inconvenience and that threat would have been over because I let one of the exceptionally few creatures in D&D with wish as a spell-like ability to not get throttled with the titanic costs of using wish to cast a grossly underpowered epic spell to the effect of a powered-up power word kill (which, as you recall, kills you with no save).
Oh, and one of those times i've essentially let slide a major benefit to the party was allowing you to counterspell that effect when you really shouldn't have.

I'm sorry if my 'common sense' seems one-sided at times, but that's only because you remember the things that annoy you much better than all the shit I've given you that works. More importantly, I'm sorry for giving you guys an encounter with a powerful opponent worth every inch of her challenge rating (7 levels above the party) with an immunity to the first and only attempt you tried to kill her with in an uncoordinated attack whose brute-force tactics failed and you realized that the first epic spell you attempted to develop to insta-kill her wouldn't work because the seed you attempted to use was one of her god-given immunities as opposed to any number of other methods you could have attempted to use against her both in combat and in terms of new epic spells you could develop to have a better fighting chance against her.
It just seems like you (and one or two others I could mention) give up too easily or when I try to throw an enemy at you that can't be killed with big damage modifiers or the flashiest spells you can cast. Frankly, because the battles in which I've been a part of all seem the most fun and satisfying to me when I (as a player) actually have to stratigize a win against an intelligent opponent.
Yes, this enemy you're fighting now will require tactics.
I figured that this would be an excellent enemy to represent the second-strongest and generally most capable beings that you'll ever face in the game, which still has some ways go to yet before you do face the most powerful and capable individual in the game (by then you'll be much more powerful than you are now.)

I know what the capabilities of the dawnbreakers are and this enemy shouldn't be impossible to beat, but it should also be a challenge. A real challenge that requires a lot of effort, stratagy, and a good amount of luck for all of you to beat.

And that's where things are right now.
We're all good friends and niether I nor he are going to go up in arms over this minor issue so there's no real danger to this disagreement aside from being annoyed at one another. We've been friends since my 2nd year of high school (i'm 25 right now).

So, I've already made my ruling, but I just want to hear imput from others concerning both the issue with disintegrate and perhaps now the situation in general. Thank you.

10-28-2009, 01:57 PM
I hear some frustration in your player's words. My guess is that it's coming from his perception that the rules are no longer neutral: they work in your favor but not in his.

If this is true, you'd better work harder to let your players use the rules in their favor.

If the player is just whining, show him the rule that says he's wrong. But don't do it during a game.

10-28-2009, 05:03 PM
I hear some frustration in your player's words. My guess is that it's coming from his perception that the rules are no longer neutral: they work in your favor but not in his.

If this is true, you'd better work harder to let your players use the rules in their favor.

If the player is just whining, show him the rule that says he's wrong. But don't do it during a game.

I would say that he's whining. I've added many houserules over the years and most of them are power-ups. Wish, for example, allows for lower-level spells to be cast at no cost (8th level wiz/sorc spells, 6th level non-wizard and prohibited school spells, and 4th level non-wizard prohibited school spells) and even higher level spells at 1000xp/level above the stated limits and epic spells. So wish could be used to cast an 11th level wiz/sorc spell at a 2000xp cost (such as a persistent 6th level spell, not a true 11th level spell).
The ones that weren't power-ups were, as I've been told, quite reasonable. For example, I've altered the abjurant champion's requirements thusly:
Base Attack Bonus: +4
Feats: Combat Casting, Spell Focus (Abjuration)
Spellcasting: Ability to cast arcane spells of 1st level or higher
Must be able to cast abjuration spells
Special: Must be proficient with all martial weapons
In addition, the Abjurant Champion does not grant the
"+1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class" at its first level.

I've also disallowed the spell 'wraithstrike' to be persisted. This hasn't come up in-game, however, other than the spell's standard use.

He once attempted to convince me that dispel spells allowed a will save to its targets to save their spells. No matter what I told him, he wouldn't concede the arguement so much as he quit attempting to convince me otherwise. I told him that it only said "Will Save (Objects)" was because targetted items get the will save in order to not become disenchanted.

During the combat, he buffed himself and the party with his usual contingent of buff spells (he's the party cleric) and attempted to simply smash her with his mace of ruin. He failed (her AC was too high and her DR is sizable, but his mace can bypass her DR). He gave up when he couldn't hit her and she managed to turn him into stone with her melee attacks before the PCs surrendered. He attempted nothing other than direct melee combat to harm her and when that failed, he gave up.

When the other PCs fought her, they were surprised at how capable she was but that didn't seem to deter them as much as it did with him and considering his options, I don't understand why he keeps resorting to the same methods to beat every opponent. He's at least as smart as I am and I don't understand why he abhors using his character's full abilities and the same abilities for most enemies.