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Old 10-13-2020, 09:13 AM   #11
phiwum
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Default Re: How does anything stay locked?

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Originally Posted by hcobb View Post
If the wizards don't already have all the money then just wait a few months.
These thieving unstoppable wizards just push the problem back a step. Now you're positing that various groups of wizards will be extraordinarily wealthy. Fine. How do they hold onto their wealth, given that there are other wizards?

In any case, I'm not running a campaign dominated by unstoppable wizards with insatiable appetites. I'm trying to model a coherent and interesting world in which there is magic and swords side-by-side. If I have to make an unwarranted assumption that the vast majority of NPC wizards are just not dull examples of homo economicus struggling to win the social Darwinian game, I'll do that.

But I have to allow that some wizards are bound to be greedy and base and I have to take that into account when thinking about how to secure wealth. At least, I have to if I want to consider how a bank robbery might be both possible and preventable by PCs.

ETA: And, I might add, I don't want players to get the notion that they can pull off such a robbery!

Last edited by phiwum; 10-13-2020 at 09:18 AM.
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Old 10-13-2020, 10:08 AM   #12
Shadekeep
 
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Default Re: How does anything stay locked?

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Originally Posted by phiwum View Post
Correct me if I'm mistaken, but wards only alert the casting wizard who has to be nearby, right? That means that a wizard would need to be present alongside any guards. I picture wizards generally being proud and concerned with more worthy pursuits than an hourly wage at a Savings & Loan. That's the flavor I'm shooting for anyway.
Oops, yah, there is the range limitation. Though I suppose a bank could theoretically underwrite the lifestyle of a shut-in wizard who is happy living above (or below) the vault. ^_^

Incidentally, a Proxy is a useful way for a powerful wizard to guard their stash. I've used them in a few adventures to good effect.

Oh, and you could arrange a nasty "guard dog" trap on a vault or other cache by using Summoning Gems. Since they activate when smashed, a simple triphammer trap could call wolves or myrmidons (or worse) to the scene when the vault is breached.
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Old 10-13-2020, 10:20 AM   #13
larsdangly
 
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Default Re: How does anything stay locked?

I think it is obvious that a resourceful and determined wizard has a number of ways he or she can steal money or objects from the unprepared, whether it's bank vaults or something else. As for what this means to your campaign, I can think of three responses:

1) Go for it; PC's are basically grubby thieves most of the time anyway, so why not let them try to raid a bank instead of a crypt?

2) Sometimes the people who already own money and goodies are also resourceful and determined; plan ahead how such people and institutions might prepare a stiff deterrence. In the case of the 'knock' spell in particular, the solution seems obvious: have someone talented cast a powerful 'lock'.

3) Run a realistic (or at least plausible) campaign, where PC wizards don't waste their time robbing merchants and banks for the same reasons I (and most other people) don't waste my time stealing. It is true that there is no immediate barrier to me walking out in the street right now and taking someone's wallet at gunpoint. But the long term consequences make it a losing proposition. I earn more per hour than anyone is likely to be carrying in their pocket, there is some small but finite chance the person I try to rob will be capable and willing to fight for their wallet, and it is unlikely I could continue living in my home and working at my job once the law got wind of what I did. It's the sort of thing a stupid, desperate person would do.
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Old 10-13-2020, 10:42 AM   #14
phiwum
 
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Default Re: How does anything stay locked?

Ah, summoning gems! I was trying to think about simple magic traps that could be triggered. Blast Trap is an IQ 17 spell, a bit specialized for what I wanted, but summoning gems could totally work to make a mechanical trap with a magical effect. How to arm and disarm the trap without making it a key in a lock situation which could be easily Knocked? Perhaps a mechanical timer inside the vault, set each night to activate the trap for a number of hours. (A simple timeglass would do.)

Yes, that works reasonably well. Thanks!

Proxy doesn't work for my purposes, since it suffers from a similar problem as Ward. What self-respecting wizard capable of making a proxy would spend his evenings concentrating to detect intruders?

I'm starting to realize that the solution for my immediate problem is simple. The bank should be difficult but nowhere near impossible to rob. It's a small town bank and security measures should reflect that (as should the size of its holdings). I can go with a few traps and reasonably competent guards outside the vault.

Teleporting wizards, however, would remain an issue. I thought about random placement of barrels, thinking that it would make a hazard for a wizard teleporting blind, but the RAW says merely that "You cannot teleport into a solid object," not that you get annihilated when you do so.

Insubstantiality also makes casing the bank pretty easy to do.

And Open Tunnel seems to make expensive, thick steel vaults a cinch to get into.

But, I suppose, I should just accept that all life is dukkha and doubly so in Cidri. When it comes to stuff, the holding is not any easier than the taking. Perhaps the players will cotton to the idea of knocking over a bank, but let's see how long they hold onto their ill-gotten gains.

This capitulation at least makes my idea of the PCs thwarting a party of bank robbers reasonable. Best not to think too hard about broad economic implications.

Last edited by phiwum; 10-13-2020 at 10:47 AM.
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Old 10-13-2020, 10:52 AM   #15
phiwum
 
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Default Re: How does anything stay locked?

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Originally Posted by larsdangly View Post
I think it is obvious that a resourceful and determined wizard has a number of ways he or she can steal money or objects from the unprepared, whether it's bank vaults or something else. As for what this means to your campaign, I can think of three responses:

1) Go for it; PC's are basically grubby thieves most of the time anyway, so why not let them try to raid a bank instead of a crypt?

2) Sometimes the people who already own money and goodies are also resourceful and determined; plan ahead how such people and institutions might prepare a stiff deterrence. In the case of the 'knock' spell in particular, the solution seems obvious: have someone talented cast a powerful 'lock'.

3) Run a realistic (or at least plausible) campaign, where PC wizards don't waste their time robbing merchants and banks for the same reasons I (and most other people) don't waste my time stealing. It is true that there is no immediate barrier to me walking out in the street right now and taking someone's wallet at gunpoint. But the long term consequences make it a losing proposition. I earn more per hour than anyone is likely to be carrying in their pocket, there is some small but finite chance the person I try to rob will be capable and willing to fight for their wallet, and it is unlikely I could continue living in my home and working at my job once the law got wind of what I did. It's the sort of thing a stupid, desperate person would do.
I think you're right.

I guess, to be honest, I'm less concerned with PC abuse than what it means for banks to be vulnerable. But in the end, reasonably powerful wizards should have loftier goals than knocking off a bank. I just don't want a simple spell like Knock to have an oversized effect on basic economic security. I've given up on keeping even mildly powerful wizards completely out (Open Tunnel is IQ 13 and ST 10 to cast!). The only solution is try to throw a few bodies at them, some gas bombs, that sort of thing.
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Old 10-13-2020, 11:36 AM   #16
Skarg
 
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Default Re: How does anything stay locked?

I particularly agree with Lars on 3). That is, Knock and even Open Tunnel do not cause a big adjustment to how hard things are to protect compared to the real world, where burglary can also break into almost any house, and explosive demolition can get through safes and walls, and even an unloaded or fake pistol, or a piece of paper threatening violence, can be used to rob a bank.

Again, security can be provided by guards, a building that's not just one simply-locked door keeping thieves away from the money, and the desire for self-preservation of would-be thieves. If you're smart enough to figure out how to rob a bank, mostly you're smart enough to figure out that you're liable to get your life destroyed if you do.

For example, a bank, even with zero magical protection, might be:

* Located in a safe / wealthy / noble part of a city, which has various vigilant people and a guard force capable of shutting down a group of armed adventurers or brigands intent on chaos of any kind. It might be fairly close to a palace or guild halls, etc, so starting mayhem there may be additionally foolish.

* The bank building may be large and stately, with an entrance with multiple doors leading to a foyer, with multiple doors and halls beyond that, and finding out where the vault is may be itself a challenge.

* There will no doubt be some sort of guards, whose number and locations may be non-trivial to discover, and their first job will be to raise an alarm somehow on intrusion.

* There may be various alarm cords or alarm traps that ring bells that the local authorities will recognize as the "bank under attack" bells.

* The approach to the vault may involve multiple doors.

* The doors for the vault may not be susceptible to Knock anyway. Surely a mechanician can design a vault door that isn't a simple matter to unlock, but involves doing a few things with levers/buttons/etc that a Knock spell wouldn't help with, and/or that may react if someone tries to open them improperly. In fact, it seems to me you could design a door so that a Knock spell will open one lock, but there's a device that responds to that lock being opened, by dropping a bar that no Knock spell will help with, and/or lowering a few portcullises in various places and setting off an alarm, neatly trapping everyone nearby.
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Old 10-13-2020, 11:47 AM   #17
hcobb
 
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Default Re: How does anything stay locked?

The ease of bank robbery shows why Cidri is feudal instead of capitalist.

You're not robbing the bank because there are no banks.

Instead you're robbing a guild or noble.
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Old 10-13-2020, 01:43 PM   #18
phiwum
 
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Default Re: How does anything stay locked?

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Originally Posted by hcobb View Post
The ease of bank robbery shows why Cidri is feudal instead of capitalist.

You're not robbing the bank because there are no banks.

Instead you're robbing a guild or noble.
I'm trying to keep fairly close to the world described in RAW and there are banks in Cidri.

As well, I suppose, I could point out that there is nothing about feudalism that is inconsistent with banks and moneylending, far as I can reckon. A brief glance at the WP article on the history of banking shows that merchant banks were in Lombardy in the middle ages, which I presume was primarily feudal at the time.

But all of this is tangential to my interests. I have gotten good ideas in this thread and agree with the consensus that banks aren't impregnable to desperate folks willing to take the risk. Just make them risky to rob and the dangers afterwards commensurate with the offense and it will all take care of itself.
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Old 10-13-2020, 02:49 PM   #19
JimmyPlenty
 
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Default Re: How does anything stay locked?

Unlocking a door doesn't disarm a trap.

Perhaps banks would have multiple vaults to make it tougher to take it all in one go.
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Old 10-13-2020, 02:59 PM   #20
Anthony
 
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Default Re: How does anything stay locked?

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I am guessing that "ordinary" applies to all mechanical locks, no matter how difficult.
Unless you add a component that makes them no longer 'ordinary' (pick your magical substance of choice). Which presumably anyone bothering to build a 6d lock is going to do.
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