Rational to the challenge: Like NPCs, cool, clever uses for NPC spells exist simply for player entertainment and storytelling. These spells should be implemented only when they offer players an interesting challenge.
The rope trick is challenging, and there are solutions to tackle it. The questions really are A. Is it a challenge interesting enough to be worth it? and B. Does the party have access to tools to address this challenge?
Nature / challenge review: 1. There is an active alarm system, and 2. as soon as it is activated, magicians fly into the clouds (using fly spells) and 3. flee to extra-planetary space using the rope trick, where they presumably rest (refreshing fly spells if the rope trick caster is high enough to cover the time they need to rest). The spell expires at some point (after the caster level hours) and casts all content (unless they leave before it expires), leading to a brief shower of wizards raining down from the sky, or feathers falling. if they have spells ready. Then they return from where they fell to that place with the air elemental, I suppose. If they are high enough at this point, they are well rested and could repeat the process if the party triggers the alarm again. – If the launchers who open the rope tricks do not have 8 or more, then they must resort to alternative ways to access the flight if they have not rested before attacking again. But they could still use alternative means to flee if they have them. Those could be unlimited (flight-giving artifacts, perhaps brooms? – with the same effect of CL <7) or limited.
Solution 0: Wait for them
If they are limited but large in number, they could probably be used in a boring replay until they are sold out. That would be a siege scenario: you ask players if you keep repeating it and fast-forward until they decide to look for an alternate solution or all wizards' charges or uses of all means of flight are exhausted (at that point they haven't rested properly instead, they sleep a lot for a few hours straight, while our players take turns setting off the alarms and they're fine.) Also consider long before this point, wizards might get mad anyway and try to attack, rather than bother with your important order all the time.
Note: The rope trick has components: corn powder and a twisted parchment bow. How much of that do you think they have as a group? Where do they get more from? If players mess with access to components, they could do the siege tactic even if they rest (but not if they have infinite alternate access to the flight).
Solution 1: Avoid or remove the alarm in some way.
You didn't explain how the air elemental works as an alarm, but it could surely be fooled somehow. It has Listen +2, Spot +3, and 60 feet of dark vision, but stealth would probably work fine. – Or just sneak up and kill the … blower. It has 9 hp. And even if the magicians still run away this time, getting a new relative takes time.
Solution 2: deal with wizards before they run away
* *to.* Prevent them from flying. I guess solution 0 did it slowly, but what about a silence spell? Dispel a magic spell? Other anti-magic sources? Stop your spell casting with an arrow to your forehead or just the way you like. Make them need to perform concentration checks by distracting them with poisonous gas traps you prepared while hiding.
yes. use solution 1: invisibility (plus a little hand to get the artifact) or hurt them. They are magicians, not clerics, so harm them as best you can. Even if they can rest, they are likely to have a low build, so they heal slowly enough not to recover much before returning.
C. Catch them. Hide (with an alarm) at their location waiting for them to return, and then close the doors after they enter, or alter the environment so that they are trapped inside even if they fly. Make sure that if you collapse the entrance you have means to leave.
re. fly and while you keep hurting them, basically 2b extension.
Solution 3: don't let the leak stop you
to. If you can fly immediately during their escape, follow them into their holes as they flee. If you didn't have the spell before, how about buying a flight parchment?
yes. If you can't fly, but you have access to a spell that goes beyond airplanes, find it from the ground. Then let the shells speak. Build a kind of rocket and launch it just below the hole. It's like shooting from the side of a barn, but from much farther … a sniper rocket. While it is difficult to build, if they are successful and one would kill all wizards, the corpses would fall from the sky after the spell expires … very well.
C. Or find worldly means to fly and follow them later. Use detection magic to find the entrance, as the entrance is invisible to the naked eye but still magical. It can be nice if it takes hours, because you can't look through the hole entrance, so you won't know what's going on inside. Of course, if you rushed right after them, you know what's going on: they just arrived. But if you are late, everyone could be aiming their magic at the entrance, as they can look out the entrance window (if they are not sleeping). – If you wait a bit and assume that you are actually sleeping thinking that you do not have access to the flight or that you would find the entrance), you could sneak in and stab them all while they sleep. – muahahaha.
re. wait outside Since your observation hole is at the entrance, if you find it and have a long-term flight source (like an undead dragon? – or a hot air balloon) park right above the hole and wait until they come out or start falling.
Solution 4: GM prevents NPCs from doing it, ideal if they don't have the tools or if the challenge seems boring
to. Magicians are also people. Even if this works mechanically, they will get bored or impatient. Maybe I'll have one of them say, "You know what to do, guys." and another says "Really? We are powerful! Why do we keep running from these losers? Let's just deal with them!" – Unless everyone is elven or immortal, they may not want to delay their plans for weeks to play hide and seek with the party.
yes. The situation changes. They plan to use the artifact for something (which is deep in a dungeon, so they can't fly away). Of course, if players don't have the means to track them, that will also be frustrating, but at least it won't be boring.
C. Think of your own reason.
Solution 5: Do not worry
to. Let the players figure it out.
yes. Break the fourth wall. If you actually limited their use and complained to them when they used the rope trick, instead of finding a way to avoid it, the situation is unfair. He decides to ban all the spell and creates a silly explanation in the game.
For example: let them converse with a strange but powerful God. Their avatar (crazy form) says to them, "You know what, this is getting boring. I've been interested in you for a while because you know … you are funny. But these things … really wizards running away like that are cheating, No? "- and if they agree with him (instead of being baffled by what he is talking about and how he knows his situation), he says" Would you agree that this world would be a better place without the rope trick ? " – And if the party magician (and all the other magicians nearby, if any) suddenly feel pain. "It will only hurt for a moment," says the joker character and runs. If the wizard ever uses that spell again, you'll notice that it works a little differently now. Summons a string as before but at the top is a small note. If he comes up to read it, it looks a bit like the kind of legal document you get when you cancel your service because of something someone did (without claiming or denying it was you). "This free service is temporarily unavailable, please report the error to the aircraft administrator (and in fine print). The premium membership expired 2 millennia, 4 centuries and 3 decades ago, so we moved on to the free version kindly provided by" Too infinity and beyond Inc. "as per the terms and conditions of use, which the administrator of the aircraft read and agreed to. Inappropriate and abusive conduct arising from his plane of existence, including intrusion and loitering, has been reported to violate the fair use clause of the terms and conditions of the service IV.9.c. paragraph 2. Until the new notice is closed To upgrade to premium membership, contact us at our office, during business hours. Sincerely , 2I & B Inc. "