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    Canonfire :: View topic - Material Components from Spell Effects...Double Dipping?
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    Material Components from Spell Effects...Double Dipping?
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    GreySage

    Joined: Sep 09, 2009
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    Mon Jul 16, 2012 4:12 pm  
    Material Components from Spell Effects...Double Dipping?

    Ladies and Gents,

    Here's a good one for you that has come up in my campaigns, even in today's game!

    Is it possible to cast a spell that creates an effect which the wizard can subsequently use as a material component for an upcoming spell?

    Here's an example to clarify:

    A mage needs a wing feather from a bird in order to cast a Fly spell. Can this mage then use an Alter Self or Polymorph Self spell on him/herself to sprout feathery wings (or turn into an eagle or other flying avian), then harvest those wing feathers for a subsequent Fly spell (or two, three, etc)?

    Another example: A mage needs animal hair to cast a Strength spell. Can this mage use a summoned Mount, groom it for its hair, that will ultimately be used for either another summoned Mount OR even a Strength spell?

    I can think of more examples, but I think you get the gist...

    I will hold off giving my 'take' on this for the time being, as I want 'untainted' opinions AND rationale for that stance.

    Just another day in the Life of Lanthorn the Inquirer
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Mon Jul 16, 2012 4:37 pm  

    Off the top of my head, if I did not want have the PCs to have the particular component (from those means), I'd have the component vanish when the spell effect ended...and/or in the case of polymorph/shapechange, it would revert to the equivalent part for the current form (and then vanish when the spell effect ended).

    EDIT 1--if the caster uses a pieces-part for a spell component prior to the expiration of the spell (ie casts a spell that consumes said part), I would allow it.
    Black Hand of Oblivion

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    Mon Jul 16, 2012 6:58 pm  

    I would say no. Components must actually be what they are. Laws of magic and all. Similarly, a minor/major creation spell couldn't be used to create spell component bits either. Components must be permanent to be permanently used up by the magic.

    Ultimately it depends on how rigid you, as the DM, want magic to be.
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    Tue Jul 17, 2012 2:06 am  

    My thoughts on material components and spell foci is that the reason they are needed at all is to tap into a latent sort of alchemy, a seed of magic held in all things that is unique to everything based on what it is. That innate spark supplied by the magic that exists throughout the world, and shaped by the object or creature or even place into something that can be tapped by a spellcaster to create magic similar in design.

    Based off that, something that isnt truly what it appears to be, or something that hasnt had the time to grow that spark, cant be used as a material component to help shape your magic.

    Thats how I've ruled on materia magica, but that's also in keeping with some of the ground rules of my campaign, so mileage may vary )
    Master Greytalker

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    Tue Jul 17, 2012 9:31 am  

    Yes, that must work. Remember the Shapechangers? If components had to be permanent natural things, then polymorphing kidnapped victims into elves and such wouldn't work. Also, I recall a 1E "Sage Advice" stating that an illusionist's rainbow could be used as the material component of the cleric's rainbow flagon spell.
    GreySage

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    Tue Jul 17, 2012 10:09 am  

    I enjoy reading everyone's suggestions about this quandary. Cebrion, I was leaning towards your explanation, if for no other reason than I could see where double, triple, etc. dipping could occur. Nevertheless, I gotta admit the idea was very clever and I applaud the solution to the problem of needed a component for a subsequent spell.
    However, DMPrata, you bring up another excellent point about the use of Polymorph by the Shapechangers. The only rationale that I can use (to counter Ceb's viewpoint/ruling) is that the Other variant, quite unlike its Self counterpart, is a permanent effect, wherein the bodies of the deceased are truly altered into the new form.
    The suggestion about Conjure Spell Component by JHSII is good, but if the mage does NOT have a copy of that spell, as was the case of this particular wizard, then desperate times call for desperate (and crafty) measures.
    I was thinking that perhaps one of two solutions could be offered:
    1) The component can only be used within the duration of the spell used to create the part. For example, if one uses Polymorph Self (non-permanent effect), then you have til the duration lapses to use whatever it is that you require...
    2) Parts removed from the 'host' body revert to their initial state.

    still vexed,

    Lanthorn Confused
    GreySage

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    Tue Jul 17, 2012 12:43 pm  

    First, I think this issue is unlikely to arrise very often. Second, if a spellcaster is willing to use up one spell to enable him/herself to cast another spell, it seems even more costly than if they equipped themselves with sufficient material components in the first place. Third, it is a crafty solution to a problem that a mage may find him/herself in at the worst possible moment.

    Is it really a serious abuse of the rules to allow such a thing to work? (Note: I do like the idea that parts harvested from a magically altered or created being or item revert/disappear if not used before the duration of the original spell has ended.)

    SirXaris
    GreySage

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    Wed Jul 18, 2012 12:31 pm  

    SirXaris wrote:


    Is it really a serious abuse of the rules to allow such a thing to work? (Note: I do like the idea that parts harvested from a magically altered or created being or item revert/disappear if not used before the duration of the original spell has ended.)

    SirXaris


    Duly noted advice and constructive criticism, Xaris. I think that should be the lens through which I will likely peer. I guess, in the grand scheme, if a wizard's in a pinch, it is a creative solution and doesn't overly unbalance the game. Furthermore, in limiting the use to the duration of the initial spell used to harvest the 'makeshift' physical component, it necessitates urgency on part of the mage before they disappear, wither away, whatever...

    -Lanthorn
    GreySage

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    Wed Jul 18, 2012 12:39 pm  

    Lanthorn wrote:
    Furthermore, in limiting the use to the duration of the initial spell used to harvest the 'makeshift' physical component, it necessitates urgency on part of the mage before they disappear, wither away, whatever...


    Right. You wouldn't want to allow a PC wizard to use a transformation spell costing 25 gp worth of components to change pieces of driftwood into 250 gp worth of diamond dust to be stuffed into his pockets and used weeks later at his convenience. However, if it was a one-time ocurrance, which forced the diamond dust to be used within a few rounds or minutes, it's no game-balance destroyer.

    SirXaris
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Wed Jul 18, 2012 7:38 pm  

    Lanthorn,

    This is how I would rule it.

    As far as using a spell to change into an eagle fine. While in eagle form a feather can be taken, once the wizard transforms back the feather turns to hair from which is was changed from.

    In regards to the mount spell while the mount is present is hair is present when the mount leaves the hair also disperses.

    Using JHSII example 500gp worth of rubies that you paid 400 gp for is still 500 gp of rubies.

    Later

    Argon
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    Thu Jul 19, 2012 1:15 pm  

    Well, I'm in the school of thought that it shouldn't be allowed.
    As said above ... the nature of magic, and whatnot. A "real" item would be required, and the magic wouldn't work if it weren't a "true" item.

    In Pathfinder, and if memory serves in 3.x D&D, there is specific rules about such.
    Pathfinder Core Rulebook wrote:
    Attempting to use any created object as a material component causes the spell to fail.

    So, I go with that basic premise. If it's not a "real" item, and was created by whatever other means (polymorph, Minor Creation, etc.) then, due to the inherent way that magic works and interacts with reality, the spell doesn't work ... the way the caster intended.

    In a home game, I would be tempted to not just make the spell fail, but to modify it in some way. For example, in Lawerence Watt-Evans' book The Misenchanted Sword an incorrect spell component is used, and causes a Spell of True Ownership to not function properly. The wizard who cast it mistakenly used a bronze ring rather than a gold one, so the spell had enormously dangerous reprocussions. I can't even begin to imagine what using a "fake" component might do! Other than make a lot of wonderful storyline for the DM to create!!
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    Last edited by Icarus on Fri Jul 20, 2012 10:38 am; edited 1 time in total
    Master Greytalker

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    Fri Jul 20, 2012 10:49 am  
    Effects of conjured spell components

    JHSII wrote:
    ... The PHB itself says:
    Substitute materials might be allowed. This is up to your Dungeon Master.
    It should be noted that such substitution could affect spell range, duration,
    area of effect, effect, etc. ...

    Now that's exactly what I am talking about (for a home game)!! There's no telling what could happen. I almost want to say that I would look into the effects (and/or tables) of Wild Magic to see the ups and downs of something being added in as a substitute component.
    I might even look to the Rod of Wonder for inspiration!!

    Of course ... a storyteller might just decide that it works without a hitch as far as the PC can tell. Maybe it seems to work properly, but, there's a snag coming up later that is the result of the casting.
    Maybe the feathers' loss leaves tiny wounds on the PC after they return to their "natural" form. ... Perhaps the fly spell works, but is limited in speed or altitude, or the caster must remain over solid ground because the spell requires something to "push up" against. Maybe there's diminishing returns of the Strength spell, becoming less and less potent, kind of like photocopying a photocopy. Or maybe the hair harvested fromt he mount pisses off an other-worldly groomer who was going to use the creature in it's home plane as a show-animal, and they come looking for the culprit.

    Anyway, just my $.02.
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    Last edited by Icarus on Sat Jul 21, 2012 6:33 am; edited 1 time in total
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    Sat Jul 21, 2012 3:37 am  

    JHSII wrote:
    As for me, I solved the problem with this spell:

    Conjure Spell Component


    There was a Conjure Spell Components spell in the 2e Tome of Magic.

    Unfortunately for this discussion, it avoided the issue by making it a teleportation effect that brought existing components to the caster if they were within 1 mile/level.
    Attempting to conjure part of an animal had a chance of bringing the entire animal, in a bad mood.
    Master Greytalker

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    Sat Jul 21, 2012 6:48 am  

    Armitage wrote:
    There was a Conjure Spell Components spell in the 2e Tome of Magic.
    Unfortunately for this discussion, it avoided the issue by making it a teleportation effect that brought existing components to the caster if they were within 1 mile/level.
    I don't know ... I don't think that's unfortunate, at all. In fact, I think that sort of answers (in an indirect way) our question - at least for those playing in second edition. [Though let's not let this devolve into a discussion of how the DM is allowed to change the rules if they want. We all know that, we're just looking at an academic question here.)
    I just pulled out my Tome of Magic, and there it is, under "first level spells". Basically, what I am thinking is that this spell wouldn't even exist if using magical components as described above worked like normal components. So, this spell was made for a reason, to fit a niche that was obviously lacking a difinitive answer. I'm certain that we aren't the first players to ever posit this question ... and at least as far back as 21 years ago, they made an attempt at answering it. (As has JHSII, above.)

    So ... summary of my two cents: if there's a spell that teleports spell components to the caster, it at least implies that summoned ones aren't quite the same. And certainly, polymorphed ones, or those subjected to Alteration, wouldn't work the same, either.

    Thanks, Armitage, for making me dig out a little used hardback and doing a little follow up ...
    ... and thanks you, Lanthorn, for such an interesting question.
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    Master Greytalker

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    Sat Jul 21, 2012 7:14 am  
    Spell components

    Interestingly, also in the Tome of Magic there is another (higher level) spell for retrieving spell components:
    Khazid's Procurement.
    It essentially allows a caster to make a tiny gate through which he can reach to pick up a component from wherever it is. Which, again, goes to support the theory that if a Summoned, or Altered, component was adequate, there wouldn't be spells like this for retrieving them.
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    GreySage

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    Sat Jul 21, 2012 1:58 pm  
    Re: Spell components

    Icarus wrote:
    Interestingly, also in the Tome of Magic there is another (higher level) spell for retrieving spell components:
    Khazid's Procurement.
    It essentially allows a caster to make a tiny gate through which he can reach to pick up a component from wherever it is. Which, again, goes to support the theory that if a Summoned, or Altered, component was adequate, there wouldn't be spells like this for retrieving them.


    Then again, perhaps that's the best idea any wizards in Greyhawk have had to date and made public knowledge. It is also possible that any wizard having developed a better spell (ie. one that would actually conjure needed spell components), hasn't told anyone else about it and JHSII's PC may decide to research such a possibility him or herself. Wink

    SirXaris
    GreySage

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    Tue Jul 24, 2012 12:21 am  

    <... and thanks you, Lanthorn, for such an interesting question.>

    You are quite welcome! I think I am getting some notoriety for my many quizzical queries. More to come, for sure! Happy

    -Lanthorn
    Black Hand of Oblivion

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    Tue Jul 24, 2012 2:04 am  

    JHSII wrote:
    The PHB itself says:
    Substitute materials might be allowed. This is up to your Dungeon Master.
    It should be noted that such substitution could affect spell range, duration,
    area of effect, effect, etc.

    I take this to mean that the caster uses a similar type of substance rather than what is in effect a fake version of the substance. For mean is this: or example, a wizard needs to cast a web spell, but he has no bit of spider web at hand. However, it just so happens that he has a small silkworm cocoon instead, so he tries it out and hopes that it is similar enough to get an acceptable effect.
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    GreySage

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    Tue Jul 24, 2012 8:45 am  

    That was my take as well, Ceb. I dimly recollect reading (in a Dragon Magazine issue? maybe even a special edition even) about using 'special' variations of what we would think of as mundane material components, that, when used, actually enhance the spell effect.

    For instance, using Ceb's example about a Web spell, a wizard uses the threads from a giant spider instead of its smaller, normal counterpart! Memory serving, this article noted that perhaps the DM would allow the spell range, duration, effect, etc. to amplify, say, 10-25%, depending on the component used.

    I have allowed my players to harvest 'special' components and to experiment (perhaps to their glee, perhaps to their surprise or dismay). On many occasions, one of my players' mages has used feathers from fantastic creatures he's battled (or bought from various mage guilds at greater cost) to enhance his character's Fly spell.

    -Lanthorn
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