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Old 09-10-2018, 11:15 AM
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5E: A Rod of Absorption versus cantrips

Blog of Absorption?

From the Rod of Absorption SRD text:
"While holding this rod, you can use your reaction to absorb a spell that is targeting only you.... The absorbed spell's effect is canceled, and the spell's energy ó not the spell itself ó is stored in the rod. The energy has the same level as the spell when it was cast. The rod can absorb and store up to 50 levels of energy over the course of its existence. Once the rod absorbs 50 levels of energy, it can't absorb more. If you are targeted by a spell that the rod can't store, the rod has no effect on that spell."
Senario: You have the rod. A cleric targets you with Sacred Flame, a 0-level spell. What happens?

RAW 1: If the spell's energy is stored in the rod, then no energy (zero) is stored in the rod. If the rod has not stored any energy, then it can't store a 0-level spell. Ergo, the rod has no effect on cantrips. Do you agree?

RAW 2: If the spell's energy is stored in the rod, then no energy (zero) is stored in the rod. The rod can store the spell because a spell with no energy takes up no space/slots. Ergo, the rod can absorb an unlimited number of cantrips. Do you agree?

Some thoughts: This strikes me as an oversight. The game designers may have intended that once the rod is full--and for that reason cannot store more spells--the rod quits working. To be powerless over cantrips would be a very odd limitation for a magic item powerful enough to absorb 9th level spells. A "very rare" magic item that renders the target immune to all cantrips forever is almost as strange; it seems closer to "legendary". If they really intended the rod to be useless--or limitless--against cantrips, they might have added an unambiguous phrase like "the rod has no effect on cantrips" or "the rod absorbs cantrips without limit". Your thoughts?
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Old 09-10-2018, 12:25 PM
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My reading leans toward 2...

You can absorb an unlimited number of cantrips...but it absorbs the total 50 levels of spells (from other spells) it completely stops working - it cannot even absorb cantrips.

-me
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Old 09-10-2018, 01:10 PM
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Personally, I'd rule it that the rod can absorb unlimited cantrips while it still has space, but once it has absorbed enough higher level spells to be full, it cannot even hold a cantrip.
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Old 09-12-2018, 04:10 PM
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Can trips be cantrips?I think your interpretations reflect the intent of the game authors, which (for literature wonks) is the genetic reading of the rules. Otherwise, I think a strict RAW reading points to the second option. That is, if the text is regarded as autonomous, and not judged by reference to considerations beyond itself, then the rod can absorb cantrips even when it cannot store any more energy--since the storage cost for cantrips is nothing.

This post was actually a little experiment for a 5E tournament ruleset that I'm working on. I'm leaning toward taking an Ultimate Frisbee approach, where every player in the game is also a referee and rulings are reached by consensus.

Anyway, thanks everyone for your input.
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Old 09-12-2018, 10:39 PM
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The reason for the ruling that it does work when full is the following...

Quote:
Once the rod absorbs 50 levels of energy, it can't absorb more
This implies no more absorption regardless of level.

-me
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Old 09-12-2018, 11:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jj_wolven View Post
The reason for the ruling that it does work when full is the following...
Does work or doesn't work?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jj_wolven View Post
This implies no more absorption regardless of level.
-me
I agree that is probably the implicit intent of the game designers. I'm referring to the explicit meaning of the word 'more'. (50 + 0 = 50). Adding zero energy levels to 50 energy levels is adding nothing, it is not adding more energy levels.

I don't mean one ruling is right and the other is wrong, only that the ruling is a matter of interpretive literary approach. 'What did the writer mean and intend' versus 'what do the bare words mean, in and of themselves?' You can get a different answer, depending on how you look at it.

Anyway, it doesn't matter. Thanks again for the input. Cheers.
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Old 09-12-2018, 11:36 PM
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crap...does not.

Final decision on that would come down to the GM.

-me
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Old 09-15-2018, 05:13 PM
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My understanding would be that it's akin to a book of spells. Even the level 0 spells require 1 pages. So even a cantrip should require one "slot"
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Old 09-26-2018, 06:31 PM
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The fact that you are eating up your reaction for the round to counter a single cantrip of a particular type, makes me feel like it often would not even be worth doing due to the action economy cost. Plenty of reaction spells would be better off. Due to that, as a DM, I would have no issue letting the rod easy those spells even if it was full of charges.

You could argue that the last line means RAW, it never absorbs cantrips, because it can't store them.
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Old 09-26-2018, 09:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bhelogan View Post
The fact that you are eating up your reaction for the round to counter a single cantrip of a particular type, makes me feel like it often would not even be worth doing due to the action economy cost. Plenty of reaction spells would be better off. Due to that, as a DM, I would have no issue letting the rod easy those spells even if it was full of charges.
Same here, although I nearly always go with the more powerful or permissive interpretation as a DM, if the RAW rules are ambiguous.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bhelogan View Post
You could argue that the last line means RAW, it never absorbs cantrips, because it can't store them.
That was actually the first RAW option I gave in the OP. I ended up leaning toward the second RAW option, because this line...

"The absorbed spell's effect is canceled, and the spell's energy ó not the spell itself ó is stored in the rod..."

...taken together with this line...

"If you are targeted by a spell that the rod can't store, the rod has no effect on that spell."

...means the rod of absorption has no effect whatsoever on any spell, since it cannot store spells at all, only the energy (spell slot) used to cast the spell. Obviously, that can't be the intent of the game designers, even if the meaning of the bare words really does describe that result.

I think the game designers were after something more like this:

"The spell effect is canceled, and a spell slot of the level used to cast the spell--not the spell itself--is stored in the rod..."

and this:

"If you are targeted by a spell cast from a spell slot level that the rod can't store, the rod has no effect on that spell."

RAW, this would allow unlimited absorption of cantrips, which are spells that have effects but are not cast by using spell slots.

But really, it's all academic. This was a little experiment.

I'm putting together a set of house rules for a 5E player vs. player ladder tournament league, and I'm experimenting with different approaches for DMing individual combats. I'm likely using an Ultimate Frisbee SOTG self-officiating system where every player in a match is also a DM and rulings are reached by consensus. The tournament house rules will specify that, if players cannot agree in good faith upon the meaning or intent of the RAW 5e rules, they will use the more potent or permissive interpretation. Or something like that.

It's tough for everyone to agree on what the RAW rules mean, but I think it's much easier to agree on which reading makes a spell, item, or ability the most powerful or permissive.

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Old 08-02-2019, 05:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GallupsMirror View Post
[FIELDSET="Blog of Absorption?"]

"If you are targeted by a spell that the rod can't store, the rod has no effect on that spell."
I would tend to think that this means that the rod is totally ineffective on cantrips. You can't store the energy of the spell because there is no energy, and if you cannot store, you have no effect on the spell.

Previously they state "The spell's energy - not the spell itself - is stored in the rod". It's really clear that the act of absorbing energy is what nullifies the spell. It's like, if Mario throws a fireball at you, and you have a magic stick that absorbs heat, you can absorb all the heat from the fireball to render it ineffective, quenching the flame. If Mario throws a rock at you, and you use your magic stick that absorbs heat, it doesn't matter. It is a rock. It does not require heat to do it's job. Likewise the cantrips do not require any energy to do what they do, so trying to nullify them by removing their energy is ineffective.
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