Spell for anti detect magic

20 posts / 0 new
Last post
Does anyone know if one exists or do I need to make one up? I'm not looking to screw my players over by just having an aura of dispell magic, I just don't want them to be able to detect magic in traps for one session.
Have the entire temple/cave/ruins radiate strong magic, leaving any magic detection useless.
Assuming you're playing 3.5, you could try Nondetection.  Also, don't forget that Detect Magic, as per its description, "can penetrate barriers, but 1 foot of stone, 1 inch of common metal, a thin sheet of lead, or 3 feet of wood or dirt blocks it." 

And finally, you are the one crafting the encounter(s).  So if divination-resistant traps is what you want to include, the simplest and most expedient answer would be to do exactly that.
Thinking about creating a race for 4e? Make things a lil' easier on yourself by reading my Race Mechanic Creation Guide first.
I agree with Fireclave.  In addition, being able to detect a magical trap is one thing, being able to disarm it/not set it off/get around it, is something very different.

So what if the party sees the sigil of X on the door in front of them? They cannot open the door without setting off the sigil off, they cannot dispel the sigil as it is too high level, the only option is for the rogue to disable it and even then the DC is not easy.  Just one example.

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/19.jpg)

RedSiegfried wrote:
The cool thing is, you don't even NEED a reason to say yes.  Just stop looking for a reason to say no.
Does anyone know if one exists or do I need to make one up? I'm not looking to screw my players over by just having an aura of dispell magic, I just don't want them to be able to detect magic in traps for one session.

I'm curious about why you don't want them to be able to detect traps. I assume they want to be able to.

I'm also curious why the traps seem to involve magic.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

Non detection seems like it will do the trick, and to reply to centauri, This adventure I'm going to run is a big plot point in my story and I want it to be

a little suspensful and keep them on their toes, it gets a little dry and boring when they just go around detecting evil and magic at will, I won't be

able to suprise them if they can just go "Better watch out for that it's got magic in it" I want them to have to actually think about what they are doing  

instead of just casting to make it easy. This is my first time running a full campaign, in the past we played until level 3-4 but one person moved, and

two others didn't get along so it didn't work. I want my players to have fun, that being said I won't have non detection on all of the traps just one or

two that I really wanna suprise them with.
This is purely for DM purposes?  Then that's just how it works.  You don't need to design a spell for it ... one exists, and someone used it here.
Non detection seems like it will do the trick
...
I want my players to have fun, that being said I won't have non detection on all of the traps just one or

two that I really wanna suprise them with.


Just to clarify, Nondetection doesn't make an object immune to Detect Magic.  Just resistant.  The PCs could still succeed the caster level check and notice the traps you're trying to hide.  So if the enjoyment of the encounter absolutely hinges on the trap not being detected, Nondetection may not be the most ideal option.

The only way to make something completely immune to magical detection is DM fiat.  Though you could set the CL of the trap so sky-high that the PCs would never have a chance of defeating the nondetection effect, that's effectively the same thing as employing DM fiat.
Thinking about creating a race for 4e? Make things a lil' easier on yourself by reading my Race Mechanic Creation Guide first.
Non detection seems like it will do the trick, and to reply to centauri, This adventure I'm going to run is a big plot point in my story and I want it to be

a little suspensful and keep them on their toes, it gets a little dry and boring when they just go around detecting evil and magic at will,

If they wanted it suspenseful, it seems like they wouldn't use those spells.

 I won't be

able to suprise them if they can just go "Better watch out for that it's got magic in it" I want them to have to actually think about what they are doing  

instead of just casting to make it easy.

Do they want to be surprised? Are you sure they wouldn't rather it be easy?

And it is still possible to surprise players even if everything is visible to them. Plenty of traps work even when they're seen, and in fact that's how they function as a deterrent.

And instead of messing with spells, can I ask again why you don't just use non-magical traps?

(Sorry, it's just that I've seen "I really want to surprise my players" wind up in some bad places. Good luck to you.)

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

Non detection seems like it will do the trick, and to reply to centauri, This adventure I'm going to run is a big plot point in my story and I want it to be

a little suspensful and keep them on their toes, it gets a little dry and boring when they just go around detecting evil and magic at will,

If they wanted it suspenseful, it seems like they wouldn't use those spells.

 I won't be

able to suprise them if they can just go "Better watch out for that it's got magic in it" I want them to have to actually think about what they are doing  

instead of just casting to make it easy.

Do they want to be surprised? Are you sure they wouldn't rather it be easy?

And it is still possible to surprise players even if everything is visible to them. Plenty of traps work even when they're seen, and in fact that's how they function as a deterrent.

And instead of messing with spells, can I ask again why you don't just use non-magical traps?

(Sorry, it's just that I've seen "I really want to surprise my players" wind up in some bad places. Good luck to you.)

There are several spells at your disposal in 3.5

Nondetection, will protect the item from being detecited as easily. the trapsmwill resist detection,

Misdirection, can be used tie cause something detected to read as if it is something else such as making a magic trap appearing as a harmless object. 

 Also a targeted dispell magic can temporarily dampen a magic Item for 1d4 rounds, whgood can be used creatively to temporarily disable a trap. Say thentered to pass through a corridor, the first trap cast dispell magic on the players and after making their saves, they encounter no more traps, later they need to go down the same corridor, but they know there were no traps when they were there last, and not knowing that the traps were oly temporarily disabled by the dispel magic blast, they walk right through them and set them off
If they wanted it suspenseful, it seems like they wouldn't use those spells.

It is likely not that simple. Most players play a character and they feel that that character would not want to be surprised. The characters would use the tools they have available, and they are not going to play dumber for one session in an attempt to get hurt and/or surprised. At the same time though, players do like to be surprised. After all, there is a reason why thrillers and mysteries are so popular or why people like good plot twists. Players also like to be challenged, needing to think on how to deal with a problem with the tools they have preferably in unexpected and unintended ways. Now, whether hiding magical traps behind non-detection auras is a good way to achieve this is a whole other discussion.

Mind you, there are other good reasons why traps should not be detectable with a simple detect magic. Traps are designed to remain hidden. My players never expect a trap to be detectable with a simple cantrip regardless of whether it is magical or not. It defeats there purpose of a trap when it can be detected with a wave of the hand (or in 4e: simply being trained in Arcana). Furthermore, in 3e having a spellcaster hog the spotlight for the rogue with a simple cantrip can also be a bad idea.

As for the OP, his questions have been answered and I am sure he is aware of the dangers of suddenly hiding magical traps where this has not been done before or traps in general (I personally have never been a fan of traps of any kind) ;)
It is likely not that simple. Most players play a character and they feel that that character would not want to be surprised. The characters would use the tools they have available, and they are not going to play dumber for one session in an attempt to get hurt and/or surprised. At the same time though, players do like to be surprised. After all, there is a reason why thrillers and mysteries are so popular or why people like good plot twists. Players also like to be challenged, needing to think on how to deal with a problem with the tools they have preferably in unexpected and unintended ways.


Well put.

Traps are tricky. Wink If they're arbitrary and undetectable, they can seem like an unfair tax. Traps need to make sense within the context of the encounter. Who constructed these traps and why? Why is it worth the party's risk to go through them? Even traps undetectable by certain means need some clues to their existence and functioning. Players like cool puzzles which challenge their deductive skills and give them interesting choices. My basic approach is this: add some clue to the trap's past functioning (blood, bones, slice marks on the wall, high water marks), which can be detected by the observant and patient. Then add some clue to the trap's construction (the ceiling a perforated metal plate, there are drains in the floor, iron gargoyles are set in the wall every 6'). The party will apply their skill checks and their deduction to figure out how the trap is triggered and what's going to happen. 

Then the fun begins. If you really want to mess with them, give them a simple trap (one spot in the wall has a long horizontal seam out of which a blade sweeps). Then give them a visually-similar setup that works entirely different (the seam is actually hinge, the wall flips over and smashes into the apparently "safe area"). Paranoia sets in!

As for general detecting, you could certainly just declare that these traps are mechanical, not magical. I did a trap-themed one-off a few months back where none of the traps could be detected magically. Players had their rogue check, but they also had to intuit from room clues what was going to happen.

Random Idea: Maybe there's a wraith in the dungeon that really really hates Detect Magic and every time it's cast, the wraith sweeps through the wall and takes a chunk out of a random party member. This turns the spell into a risky resource and an interesting decision for the party--Should we cast it here? This room looks nasty, but if the Cleric get hits again he's in trouble. Late in the dungeon, the wraith appears and the party can choose to purposefully trigger an obvious trap in order for a chance to kill it. Another interesting choice.

Random Idea #2: The first trap apparently causes no damage, but it casts a harmless dweomor on all party members. Casting Detect Magic reveals this. Every party member is glowing with such intense magic that the spell is useless unless the caster is separated from the party, a clear risk. Or the dweomor gives each player either a positive or negative charm. The right mix of players cancels out the interference. Now they have to send the two extra "positive" guys out of the room before they cast, another risk.
It is likely not that simple. Most players play a character and they feel that that character would not want to be surprised. The characters would use the tools they have available, and they are not going to play dumber for one session in an attempt to get hurt and/or surprised. At the same time though, players do like to be surprised. After all, there is a reason why thrillers and mysteries are so popular or why people like good plot twists. Players also like to be challenged, needing to think on how to deal with a problem with the tools they have preferably in unexpected and unintended ways. Now, whether hiding magical traps behind non-detection auras is a good way to achieve this is a whole other discussion.



Like Centauri, I find these things at odds too. "I want to be surprised and challenged, but I've taken every spell possible to ensure that never happens." Less a problem in 4e, I suppose, but 4e has its own version of this weird tension. One thing I noticed is that when I made sure failure was always interesting, players stopped doing this, so I don't have this issue anymore.

No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Don't Prep the Plot | Structure First, Story Last | The Art of Pacing (Series) | Improvisation Guide | Prep Tips | Spoilers Don't Spoil Anything | No Myth Roleplaying
Players: 11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer | You Are Not Your Character
Hilarious D&D Actual Play Podcast: Crit Juice!
Check Out My D&D Next Playtest Campaign: The Next World

Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith

If they wanted it suspenseful, it seems like they wouldn't use those spells.

It is likely not that simple. Most players play a character and they feel that that character would not want to be surprised.

I agree. Nor does the player, really. Surprise means that control has been lost, and things have gone bad in an open-ended way. The characters might already be dead.

But say they learn that Detect Magic or whatever other method is suddenly unreliable. They already seem to think that Spot is unreliable, or they wouldn't be relying on Detect Magic. So, say they walk boldly into a room they've scanned, and hit a trap. They might think this is cool, but my money would be on the first things out of their mouth being a clarification that they had scanned the room, followed by a retcon involving Spot checks, followed by clarification about who is actually "in the room" when the trap goes off. Yes, I'm a tad cynical about this subject, but not for nothing.

The characters would use the tools they have available, and they are not going to play dumber for one session in an attempt to get hurt and/or surprised.

And when they get past that room, then what? As you say, the characters would not want to be surprised and now they're in the middle of a minefield with a questionable mine detector. Assuming they don't abandon the adventure and go back the way they came ("Wait, how do we know that way is still safe?") I'd expect them to resort to other ways of minimizing their personal risk: Spot with Aid Another, checking every square, sending in summoned creatures, avoiding anything that doesn't positively indicate its danger. I agree that the players are not going to play dumber. But if you take away their easy, quick smart option (which I don't think was intended to be used this way, and which I don't find particularly smart) they're not just going to let themselves be surprised, because that would be dumb. Does them going to tedious effort not to be surprised make the game suspenseful? Maybe. They're certainly "on their toes." But I have trouble imagining that this will make the game less dull or boring for the DM, because "dull and boring for the DM" mean the players are minimizing the possibility of "fun and exciting" things happening to their characters, which the game as traditionally played, strongly encourages.

At the same time though, players do like to be surprised. After all, there is a reason why thrillers and mysteries are so popular or why people like good plot twists.

But that's not the player. And the common nerd reaction to a character having something bad happen to them, or being put in a bad position, is to point out the mistakes the character made - such as not using the device that was established last season as being able to prevent bad positions like the one they're in. So, players make absolutely sure they make no mistakes, that they use all their resources, so when they find themselves in a bad position, they can tell themselves that it wasn't their fault. Some will even decide that because they made no mistakes, and acted logically, that for the DM to put them in a bad position is unfair. Hence the desire of the OP to find an existing spell that blocks Detect Magic. If it exists, then the DM didn't make Detect Magic unreliable, didn't "screw" the players; the players just didn't realize it was unreliable. They made the mistake, and so they can't complain about the consequences.

Players also like to be challenged, needing to think on how to deal with a problem with the tools they have preferably in unexpected and unintended ways.

Do they? I think they do in the abstract, but in my experience, players accept challenging circumstances grudgingly, and only after a DM has repeatedly told them that, no, such-and-such plausible-resource-that-the-DM-didn't-consider-but-which-would-short-circuit-the-challenge is not present. I feel that it's more like players want to be smart and circumvent a challenge, rather than deal with it in a straightforward way.

Mind you, there are other good reasons why traps should not be detectable with a simple detect magic. Traps are designed to remain hidden.

Are they? I'd agree that's true for snares, meant to capture someone alive. But if a trap is designed to deter, then it must be visible, or at least known about. I guess that lends plausibility to the idea of leaving clues for the players, though again I don't see why that would increase the tension rather than put the players into paranoid turtle mode.

My players never expect a trap to be detectable with a simple cantrip regardless of whether it is magical or not. It defeats there purpose of a trap when it can be detected with a wave of the hand (or in 4e: simply being trained in Arcana). Furthermore, in 3e having a spellcaster hog the spotlight for the rogue with a simple cantrip can also be a bad idea.

Right. There's not a chance that the designers intended Detect Magic to be used this way, any more than they expected Light to be used as a poorman's Blind.

4e deals with this (and with Light, and other popular cantrip abuses, such as making a needle gun out of Mage Hand) pretty well. Find Traps is a ritual that costs a healing surge, greatly limiting its utility. Hand of Fate could make short work of traps, I guess. "Where's the nearest trap?" plus "What's the safest route through it?" or "Where do we have to hit it with a hammer to deactivate it?" and you have another question left over for "Where's the next closest trap on the path in front of us?"

As for the OP, his questions have been answered and I am sure he is aware of the dangers of suddenly hiding magical traps where this has not been done before or traps in general (I personally have never been a fan of traps of any kind) ;)

Well, I hope he's aware, and I wish him luck. I'll say what I've said elsewhere: I'm a big fan of 4e's approach of incorporating traps with combat or making them part of a skill challenge (which also should be incorporated with combat, or other skill challenges). "Gotcha" just doesn't work as well as DMs think it should.

Edit: I meant to mention the other significant thing about "Find Traps": it's not automatic, but only allows an Insight check vs the traps' lowest detection DCs.

It's also worth mentioning that while some traps list Arcana a means of detecting them (is there "Passive Arcana"?) not all do, though I wouldn't want to block a player who thought Arcana should apply more generally. Also noteworthy is the number of 4e traps that say, under Perception, "No check is required."

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

Like Centauri, I find these things at odds too. "I want to be surprised and challenged, but I've taken every spell possible to ensure that never happens." Less a problem in 4e, I suppose, but 4e has its own version of this weird tension. One thing I noticed is that when I made sure failure was always interesting, players stopped doing this, so I don't have this issue anymore.

I would agree with you if it was some kind of high level spell, but it is a cantrip and one of the few worth memorizing.

As for Centauri, considering how much fun I have seen many groups have with debating a problem and how to circumvent it I doubt that you are right that players don't like to suprised or dealing with problems. Of course, I am a tactician at heart (in addition to being a storyteller) and I play with tacticians, so problem solving is part of what we like in this game. Of course, they don't want those suprises to kill their characters or ruin hours of planning, nor do they want to be blocked by the DM for a long time before finally guessing the correct sollution. As with everything it is all about moderation, fairness and making sure the players remain engaged and having fun. Traps are risky in this regard, and I absolutely agree with you that the 4e trap mechanics are better for me and my players than how it worked in 3e.

As for nerds not buying into the plot twist, is that because they don't like them or because those twists make no sense? And isn't them talking about it and bragging about how they would solve it/saw it comming long before it happened* also confirming that the nerd does like to solve the puzzle? After all, if they wouldn't, they would just shrug and let it happen instead bragging/feeling good that did see it/could have prevented it.

* Although you could debate whether or not it still is a plot twist in this case. It certainly was not a suprise.
Like Centauri, I find these things at odds too. "I want to be surprised and challenged, but I've taken every spell possible to ensure that never happens." Less a problem in 4e, I suppose, but 4e has its own version of this weird tension. One thing I noticed is that when I made sure failure was always interesting, players stopped doing this, so I don't have this issue anymore.

I would agree with you if it was some kind of high level spell, but it is a cantrip and one of the few worth memorizing.

And there's almost no chance that the designers intended it to be used this way. All the trap designers have to do is cover the trap with lead. It would probably be a common practice.

As for Centauri, considering how much fun I have seen many groups have with debating a problem and how to circumvent it I doubt that you are right that players don't like to suprised or dealing with problems.

Then why do players look for shortcuts that prevent surprise and problems from arising?

Of course, I am a tactician at heart (in addition to being a storyteller) and I play with tacticians, so problem solving is part of what we like in this game. Of course, they don't want those suprises to kill their characters or ruin hours of planning, nor do they want to be blocked by the DM for a long time before finally guessing the correct sollution.

Right. And if they trust that the DM isn't going to kill their characters, or block them or otherwise make the game boring, they're going to be more willing to allow problems to arise and try to solve them. Other players don't have that trust, for one reason or another, and see no reason why they should put themselves in a position where that trust is required.

As for nerds not buying into the plot twist, is that because they don't like them or because those twists make no sense?

They don't like them because they make no sense. Take "The Lord of the Rings." People have gone over that and over that and there's no good reason why the Eagles couldn't or wouldn't have flown the Fellowship directly to Mount Doom. It makes no sense, and it makes Gandalf look like a moron rather than a wise wizard, for not even raising the idea. It makes him look like he's "playing dumb."

If the Lord of the Rings was a D&D game, there's no reason why the players wouldn't just get the eagles to fly them to Mount Doom, or at least fly them as much as possible, instead of dealing with climbing mountains or going through the Mines of Moria. Why shouldn't they? It's a tactical solution, and there's no cost involved that's more expensive than the freedom of the world.

The answer, of course, is that The Lord of the Rings is more interesting if that solution isn't available. It's more surprising for the reader and involves interesting choices and problem solving by the characters. Except in the case of gross oversight by authors, that's the reason for every plot hole: to make the story cooler. Authors, of course, can come up with any excuse they want for taking away or disabling a cool ability, including just ignoring it (zat' guns in Stargate SG-1 used to be able to disintegrate targets, but the writers realized that was a bad, bad idea and never mentioned it again) and aren't accused of "screwing" the characters, because their job is to make the story interesting.

In D&D, it's mainly down to the players to decide the level of use they want to get out of abilities, and the game encourages their creativity and tactics. If something works, there's no reason not to use it as much as possible, and there aren't many grounds for the DM to unilaterally disallow it, at least not without expecting some grumbling.

And isn't them talking about it and bragging about how they would solve it/saw it comming long before it happened* also confirming that the nerd does like to solve the puzzle? After all, if they wouldn't, they would just shrug and let it happen instead bragging/feeling good that did see it/could have prevented it.

* Although you could debate whether or not it still is a plot twist in this case. It certainly was not a suprise.

The issue is solving the puzzle to the detriment of the interesting situation. The characters in the story still do solve to puzzle in a cool and interesting way, but the nerd is still hung up on the fact of them having to solve it at all, instead of dealing with it trivially using some minor ability it has been established they have. It's been said that Superman's greated power is to make kids yell at their TV set "Your eyes shoot lasers, you moron!"

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

As for Centauri, considering how much fun I have seen many groups have with debating a problem and how to circumvent it I doubt that you are right that players don't like to suprised or dealing with problems.

Then why do players look for shortcuts that prevent surprise and problems from arising?

Because finding short cuts is part and parcel of problem solving. I don't know about most players, but I do know that for me as a tactician part of the fun is finding the short cuts and using it. Although the painfully obvious stuff like detect magic for magic traps or the ones that twist the rules of the game or the story beyond recognition are not particular fun for me. The first because it is too easy and I expect any normal person having blocked it (as you agree with) and the second not only because it is too easy but also because it feels like cheating. Tacticians don't use short cuts because they don't like to be challenged. They use short cuts, because they derive a lot of their fun from actually finding those short cuts and seeing them work. Blocking can be a serious game breaker for me, but at the same time, please don't try to make things easier. Problem solving is one big reason for me to play this game even though I seem to be avoiding problems all the time ;)
Because finding short cuts is part and parcel of problem solving. I don't know about most players, but I do know that for me as a tactician part of the fun is finding the short cuts and using it. Although the painfully obvious stuff like detect magic for magic traps or the ones that twist the rules of the game or the story beyond recognition are not particular fun for me. The first because it is too easy and I expect any normal person having blocked it (as you agree with) and the second not only because it is too easy but also because it feels like cheating.

And that's basically my point. You find it boring, and you therefore feel like it's cheating. You're not stupid for not using it, others are stupid for cheating. You have taken a measure of control over where to set the difficulty of the game, and you have justified your reasons for that setting.

Others find getting hit by traps boring, and therefore they feel like their short-cut is not cheating and is all but advocated by the rules. Even the original poster seems to agree with them, otherwise he or she would simply state that what they want to do is not kosher. They're not stupid for using it, because it's what their characters would do, or it's what the designers intended, or whatever justification they use. Those who intentionally don't use it would probably seem somewhat foolish in their eyes. They have taken a measure of control over what kind of difficulties they want to face in the game, and they have no doubt justified their reasons for doing so.

For the DM to suddenly and unilaterally deprive them of that control would not, I think, go over well. Some players might be excited at the new challenge. Some players might be relieved, having been unable to justify not using the short-cut. Others will shrug and go to some back-up option that is perhaps less "short" but "cuts" just as well. Others will feel they've been unfairly blocked and react accordingly. The DM here is looking for a "fair" block, to prevent the third possibility. But that doesn't mean the first possibility is going to be the only one.

Tacticians don't use short cuts because they don't like to be challenged. They use short cuts, because they derive a lot of their fun from actually finding those short cuts and seeing them work. Blocking can be a serious game breaker for me, but at the same time, please don't try to make things easier. Problem solving is one big reason for me to play this game even though I seem to be avoiding problems all the time ;)

These players aren't tacticians. They don't want to solve the puzzles, they just want to avoid them (or maybe they want to solve them, but can't justify the risk in-character). The DM wants to force them to be tacticians, apparently assuming that they'll enjoy it. Unless the DM has talked to them about it, that's a risky assumption.

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy

These players aren't tacticians. They don't want to solve the puzzles, they just want to avoid them (or maybe they want to solve them, but can't justify the risk in-character). The DM wants to force them to be tacticians, apparently assuming that they'll enjoy it. Unless the DM has talked to them about it, that's a risky assumption.

We have no idea to know what kind of players they are. I was offering alternate points of view to some of your and Iserith's points in this particular discussion about how when players seem to desperately try to avoid a challenge does not automatically mean that they don't like the challenge. It is a good idea for the OP to double check with his players what kind of style of gaming they prefer and adjust his style at least somewhat to it. After all, his original answer had been answered quite early on ;)

We have no idea to know what kind of players they are. I was offering alternate points of view to some of your and Iserith's points in this particular discussion about how when players seem to desperately try to avoid a challenge does not automatically mean that they don't like the challenge.

Ok. That hasn't been my experience. I think we agree that DMs should be careful about forcing players to face certain challenges, even if they do it "legally."

[N]o difference is less easily overcome than the difference of opinion about semi-abstract questions. - L. Tolstoy