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I am making my cleric (5th level character) persistent spell list and I would like to make Cloud of Knives persistent. And as tremendously good as it sounds in terms of combat (will have a few buffs to increase damage rolls which would benefit this spell a lot), my concerns lie in social aspects.

I mean, there is a cloud of knives constantly flying around me, that would certainly make a lot of people wary of my character and even hostile or suspicious, like guards for instance. Not to mention sleeping and eating while this spell active and stuff like "tripping and being cut by my own dagger", you know, the stuff a DM can come up with.

The partial solution I came up with is using either the Invisible spell feat or Lesser Metamagic Rod of Invisible Spell (would help with a few other persistent spells). This should prevent NPC from freaking out about daggers (except for cases where an NPC can accidentally impale themselves upon them in small room or close to me etc.) and it would benefit me in combat greatly, since enemies will have to figure out what's hitting them, before trying some stuff like Dispel Magic etc.

But concerns with the DM messing with tripping and cutting myself with invisible spell grows even bigger now, so are mundane things like sleeping, eating and interacting with other characters at close range.

I kind of have possible solution to this - permanent detect magic, but it seems like that would not work out, since I have to concentrate to actually detect magic and I'm not detecting it all the time. And judging by the Cloud of Knives spell description, I don't have control over how the daggers fly whatsoever (though they just kind of float in air, which does not imply, that they are flying around me, maybe just hanging in air) except for attacking with them and rotating them to direction where I look.

So are there any means, that I've missed that would make RP with these daggers a bit easier?

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2 Answers

up vote 9 down vote accepted

Spells only do what they say they do, and although the DM's free to play up the practicalities of weird long-term spell effects, unless the description of the spell cloud of knives says it can hurt you in the ways you describe, it should't be able to. There's no mention of a cloud of knives stabbing the caster if he trips, stabbing the caster's friends while they play cards, stabbing the caster's girlfriend while they're intimate, stabbing the caster's food while he's eating, or anything. That just doesn't happen. It's magic, but it's a codified, consistent, reliable, almost scientific magic with a set range of effects and results. The DM can still mess with you, but that's house rules territory, and he should be crystal clear about what those house rules are, not force you to figure out how to make it go. (Unless, of course, your character really is the first cleric who has ever had this idea in that campaign universe's history.)

If you're allowed to fluff the spell in such a way, have all the daggers point down, hover by your knee, follow you by floating flat parallel to your shoes, or whatever to emphasize they're out of your way. It's D&D, after all--everyone's armed anyway, so what difference does it make if you're armed with a greatsword or a cloud of knives?

As an aside, being constantly surrounded by blades from a D&D 3.5 standpoint isn't that big of a deal because there's already a precedent for a similar effect with ioun stones (DMG 260-1). The stones don't--according to the description--prevent folks from sleeping (although stones can be more easily stolen when the bearer sleeps), acquiring nourishment, or interacting with others.

But there's really nothing you can do to if the DM is determined to punish you for the persistent cloud of knives, but having things circling a PC's head and being rewarded for it instead has been present since 1st edition Dungeons & Dragons.

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thanks for your answer, but there are a few moments, like The knives float in the air around your upper body, pointing in the direction you look. from spell description, so only upper body, which means close to the eyes which means danger, especially when daggers are invisible etc. The concern is not that daggers begin to stab by themselves, but things, like pushing character and impaling on a flying dagger. Also, there may be key quest NPC in areas, where weapons are not allowed and cancelling 48 hour spell just to get in is kind if silly. Aside from this though - valid point –  Shf Feb 8 at 10:12
@Shf The best you can do, if the DM's adding effects that make the cloud dangerous for the user, is argue for effects that make the it less dangerous. It's the caster's spell, after all, and he controls it. No one would cast it if it poked out the caster's eyes, for example. –  Hey I Can Chan Feb 8 at 10:38
Not adding new effects, but rather situations, when characters(me or other) are pushed to the area filled with dozens of sharp daggers, small rooms or tunnels, and invisible cloud adds a special flavour to this –  Shf Feb 8 at 10:55
Another thing the knives don't do is automatically harm someone grappling with you. Based on RAW there's no precedent whatsoever for the spell to harm anyone unless you tell it to with the listed attack. It's house rule territory. –  Tridus Feb 8 at 11:19
Any kind of situation where 'concealed weapons' might be a problem would be a no-go for you. (an audience with royalty or the like). If someone suddenly realizes you have half a dozen invisible daggers pointing at them they are going to freak and may yell things like 'ASSASSIN!' –  TysoThePirate Feb 8 at 14:23
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Have a quiet discussion outside of game with your DM to see if he is ok with this course of action.

This is a question of the social contract. Is your DM going to penalize you for this via passive-aggressive rulings, or will he support your choices?

Either way, this isn't a question for the rules. This is a question for a quiet conversation outside of game where you, politely, go "I'd like to have my character have a persistent cloud of knives, do you have a problem with this?"

If he says no, great! You've got your persistent cloud of knives and the spell does what it says on the tin. If he says no, and then starts playing shenanigans, then simply nod, accept the consequences during game, and after the game is over, ask him if you could retcon your character due to the earlier miscommunication.

Fundamentally, this is a negotiation between what your DM expects of your character and what you want to get out of him. If you can defuse passive-aggressive bullshit during game with quiet talks outside of game, do so. If you can't, you should probably figure out if you're having fun during the game.

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