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So, our 3.5 party is about to make a quick dive to the next story location, and just before that, our Bard remembers that he don't want to get his lute wet since it would damage the instrument. Then, the wizard, who carries around several books, including the Spellbook, remembers that books and water do not mix well, and for in-character reason neither of them wants to just let it be and use "Prestidigitation" dry their stuff afterwards. The location is on a fey territory (so, no hunting), with no shops and stuff around, and there is one hour max 'till the dive. The party is on 4-5 HD and is pretty low on magic items for its level (no fancy Bags of Holding and stuff)

Since I don't know what others have in their inventories/spell lists, I'll describe only what the wizard has what can help:

Alter Self (wizard's type is humanoid of normal size, his familiar's is tiny and, of course, a magical beast. The world is kind of a generic dnd world and I'm not sure I'll be able to get anything that is out of MMs and other official books)
Familiar Pocket (I'm not sure if it allows the familiar to get holded items into the pocket, and how much of them)
Mage Armor (but afaik, it does not get spellcaster and his belongings water-proofed)

The wizard also has several candles (which can be melted to wax-coat something, but there are no large hard containers to use it at, and a wax-coating on a usual bag would crack pretty quickly)

How can I get the lute (6 lb), the spellbook (6 lb), several books and a lot of papers (10-20 lb) safe through the waterous hazards which shall befall on the party? The solution shall not damage the items more than the water does (like, getting 'em covered in something nasty), nor shall it come from something not-strictly-allowed by the official sources (RAW)

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up vote 9 down vote accepted

Do you have access to new spells? If so have the wizard pick up Hoard Gullet out of Dragon Magic. Turns yourself into a bag of holding.

If you're trying to make the Alter Self thing work ask your DM about the final paragraph of Alter Self. Depending on his ruling you may be able to strap your stuff to your legs and then Alter Self into a Merfolk which has a fish tail instead of legs and absorb the equipment into your form, plonking them out when you shift back to your base form at the end of the duration.

Keep in mind that Alter Self has a really short duration for any sort of long-term stuff.

When the change occurs, your equipment, if any, either remains worn or held by the new form (if it is capable of wearing or holding the item), or melds into the new form and becomes nonfunctional. When you revert to your true form, any objects previously melded into the new form reappear in the same location on your body they previously occupied and are once again functional. Any new items you wore in the assumed form and can’t wear in your normal form fall off and land at your feet; any that you could wear in either form or carry in a body part common to both forms at the time of reversion are still held in the same way. Any part of the body or piece of equipment that is separated from the whole reverts to its true form.

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That's... Actually a nice idea. There are no new spells available, but the pants plan sounds really good. I think i really like it 8) – Baka-Mastermind Dec 11 '13 at 21:13

Waxed cotton, is thick cotton cloth impregnated with paraffin wax. Plain candle wax may be too hard, but boiling it with another oil like lamp oil would result in something that is flexible and waterproof.

In case you have tar or pitch available, you can make oilskin, which is sailcloth sealed with tar. The torches you have with you probably have some of that on it, and you could remove it by scraping it off. You can also make a tar-like substance by heating something sugary that you have with you.

If you happen to have linseed oil, you can make oilcloth, which is close-woven cotton cloth or linen, but takes more than an hour. Linseed oil is a drying oil, meaning it can polymerize into a solid form.

Your GM may allow you to prestidigitate a thin waterproof covering over several books tied together. It'll only last an hour, but that's all it needs to do.

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You really don't need magic to do this. Here are two ideas for you.

If a wooden keg will hold beer in, then it stands to reason that it would keep water out. At least for a short time. So, get a keg and put what you want to keep dry in it. Seal the keg and take it with you.

If that doesn't work for you then get a large water skin. Cut it open and put what you want in it. Use a Mending spell to repair the cut and cap the water skin for an air tight container.

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Could a mending spell be used to combine multiple waterskins into a larger one? (I have no idea, but if so I imagine that could be useful!) – doppelgreener Dec 12 '13 at 22:37
@JonathanHobbs If you want to be RAW, I'd say no, because it creates a new item rather than repairing an existing item which is what the Mending spell is "for". But if I wasn't so concerned with RAW, and I'm not, I would allow it as a GM. – Leezard Dec 13 '13 at 1:24

If any of the party members are clad in proper adventuring gear, there should be a fairly waterproof cloak available. Use it to fashion a roll-top bag.

If you need to water-tight any seams, squeeze the olives or the peanuts the annoying barbarian is always munching on for oil :)

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I want to +1 for the first paragraph, but the second seems like more of an obscure in-joke than a useful answer. – SevenSidedDie Dec 16 '13 at 18:54
The second paragraph was meant as an appeal to creativity in the procurement of oil. I thought a teaspoon of wit might nudge creativity along. No harm done, I trust? – thomax Dec 17 '13 at 10:28

Isn't there a mundane item called waterproofing in Song and Silence? I seem to remember it was put in there to allow bards to protect their instruments from water.

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Unfortunately Song and Silence is a rulebook for D&D 3.0, not 3.5, so it doesn't really help here. – Miniman Apr 25 at 4:18
@Miniman, really? I would think that a mundane item from 3.0 should be pretty easy (and worthwhile) to translate to 3.5. – Roflo Apr 25 at 15:44

There is no way to use Alter Self to solve your problem.

In the SRD Monster Manual there is no creature that can hold items safely and dry in a pouch.. In your particular campaign world there might be.

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The statement that there is no way to use alter self to solve this problem is inaccurate, as indicated by your very next sentence. Alter self is not limited to just SRD monsters unless the whole game world is. Even with that, @MrTumnus’s clever idea works with several SRD creatures. – KRyan Dec 12 '13 at 0:38
Unfortunately, that was not my original statement, but a later edit that has changed the meaning of the answer. Originally I stated that there was no creature in the SRD which had pouches as asked in the original, pre-edit question. I don't think the idea presented works 'RAW' but that's a different question – Dave Dec 12 '13 at 8:27
The original answer did not answer the original question well. On the other hand, the final statement there is absolutely worth expounding upon. @Dave, Feel free to revert any edits you disagree with, especially in light of a changing question. – Brian Ballsun-Stanton Dec 12 '13 at 9:20
@Dave The problem is, the answer wasn’t grounded in a specific environment. The statement was simply that there is “no way” without caveat or qualification. The following paragraph seems to attempt to justify that statement by referring to the SRD, but the initial statement was much bigger than just the SRD. In other words, you did not seem to say “alter self cannot help, assuming SRD-only monsters,” you said “alter self cannot help, because SRD-only monsters do not have that ability.” – KRyan Dec 12 '13 at 10:13
(but then I may just be tired and pedantic; actually, I am tired and pedantic. how much that is influencing my judgment, I am not sure, because I am tired, and, well, pedantic.) – KRyan Dec 12 '13 at 10:14

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