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Is it possible to turn Tenser's Floating Disk into a chariot in AD&D 1st edition?

There are several problems that I'm not sure can be solved:

  • How would the harness be attached to the disk?
  • Can a mount pull the disk at a higher movement rate than the disk can move by default, without causing the spell to break?
  • How difficult is it to pull the disk – how much weight does it count as?

It seems that a naive interpretation has the disk weight at nearly nothing, especially since it can move rather quickly, and I can think of some rope/knot patterns that would hold even the most slippery of disks – meaning a mount could move at maximum speed while pulling the disk.

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From a 4e PoV, I've considered quite a few ways to effectively enbiggen the platform. I don't suppose you could ask similar questions for other editions? :) –  Brian Ballsun-Stanton Feb 16 '11 at 7:38

5 Answers 5

up vote 7 down vote accepted

No speed limit is given except when it moves by direction of the caster (6" rate). It would seem unnecessary to secure it since it remains 6' from the caster... but you could certainly envelop it with a net or similar rope arrangement. Move the caster at high speed, and the magic will keep the disc nearby.

It doesn't seem to be possible to cut holes in the magical disc, so attaching a handle or wagon-tongue is an unexplained situation. Think of it as unbreakable as a wall of force, I'd guess.

Note that if the caster is on horseback, the caster should position the disc to one side (6' away of course), lest it impact the horse's rear hooves; it maintains a height of 3' above ground. (Watch out for potholes and other terrain issues; it will bob around, matching the contour, and aprupt changes may affect its load.)

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It can't be all that slippery, or things would slide off it all the time, and one would think there would have to be some kind of reflection of that in the rules for it. So tension-based attachment mechanisms like clamps or vises should work reasonably well.

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No, it can't be used as a chariot.

The Disk is described as a "circular plane of null-gravity" (PHB, p. 68). It operates not by being a physical barrier upon which things are heaped and held up by a physical surface, but rather it prevents things that are in contact with its plane from falling. Think of it as a movable circular area that grants levitation to things touching it from above, and less as a physical disk. Being an "bare" effect that lacks an accompanying physical object, there's nothing there that you could hope to manipulate with ropes, and so therefore it cannot be pulled.

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Um, which PHB? Because the versions of the spell description I can find online describe it as a "circular plane of force", not a "circular plane of null-gravity". –  chaos Feb 16 '11 at 6:25
    
@chaos Ah, judging by this question on meta, it might have been unclear that this is a question about the AD&D version of Tenser's Floating Disk, since that was only mentioned in the tags. I'm using the AD&D 1e PHB, copyright 1978. –  SevenSidedDie Feb 16 '11 at 6:48
    
Hm. I thought the "circular plane of force" agreed with my recollection of the 1E PHB (unfortunately the only one of my 1E books that has survived is my Monster Manual), but I guess not. I can see why they'd have changed it; the effect you're describing would have no friction or inertia to impart to the stuff placed on it, so when it moved, it would just slide out from under what it's supposed to be carrying. –  chaos Feb 16 '11 at 6:54
    
@chaos I was surprised, myself. "Null-gravity" is more science-y than I remember it being, but at least it does give a sensible basis for inferring what it can and can't do in the world. –  SevenSidedDie Feb 16 '11 at 7:02
    
I don't see anything that would prevent you from sitting on the disc, holding some ropes, and being pulled by a horse. –  Modern Hacker Feb 16 '11 at 16:19

It may be usable as a component of a chariot.

Looking at @Seven's answer, a null-grav plate would be incredibly helpful if included as part of a chariot's construction. From a simple point of view, you could replace one or more wheels or axles with floating disks, providing a levitation effect for transit over rough terrain. If the disk is linked to the caster via a specific distance, have the caster sit in the "cart" so created. While this may not be the fastest on-road travel, there are quite a few "hovercraft" opportunities that a construction like this would support. The rough principle is a braced construction that expands the effective area of the disk(s) by using it/them for support.

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But how do you tether the "plate" to the chariot? I think the word disk is misleading, it seems the correct way to think about it more like an electro-magnetic field which creates a disk like area rather than as a physical object. –  Jon Hopkins Feb 21 '11 at 13:16
    
You don't need to tether at all. If it's a zone of "we'll ignore physics" and is providing the quite literal impulse to the cart, the cart moves with the zone. To propel the zone by moving the cart, and assuming the zone moves with the caster, then the caster must merely be seated in the cart. –  Brian Ballsun-Stanton Feb 22 '11 at 1:11

I think if the player comes up with a creative way to effectively do it...and since the caster I feel should be able to make slight changes to the spell as they are casting it, I feel the caster should be allowed to do it.

Course I play more freeform styled games where slight bending of the rules is expected!

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This is what AD&D spellcasting is all about. –  migo Apr 10 '11 at 19:44

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