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Assume we have a Wizard who is at least level 13 and can reliably cast Sequester many times (either through acquired spell scrolls, or has acquired enough material components for it to be a non-issue), has a safe place (through the spell Demiplane) to be under the influence of Sequester for many centuries, and has access to the Manual of Bodily Health, Manual of Gainful Exercise, Manual of Quickness of Action, Tome of Clear Thought, Tome of Leadership and Influence, and Tome of Understanding.

Per the item descriptions in the DMG:

...your [STAT] score increases by 2, as does your maximum for that score. The manual then loses its magic, but regains it in a century.

Now, normally this would be a once-in-a-lifetime use, or maybe twice (due to the lifespan of the races), but if a wizard used Sequester on themself, many years can pass without growing older:

...[willing target creature] falls into a state of suspended animation. Time ceases to flow for it, and it doesn't grow older. You can set a condition for the spell to end [before the spell is dispelled by the caster].

So, assuming that time continues to flow for the magic items, but not for the sequestered wizard, can they study these books and take the necessary long rests, Sequester for a hundred years, “wake” from the Sequester, and then repeat an arbitrary-but-finite number of times for an arbitrarily high (but finite) improvement to their stats?

To end the cycle and escape the demiplane, the wizard would simply Plane Shift out:

...You can specify a target destination in general terms ... and you appear in or near that destination.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Related answer to a question that delved into Sequester. See also HG Wells, the novel "The Time Machine," and do you want to meet the Moorlocks 3200 years from now? \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Jun 5 '17 at 2:47
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    \$\begingroup\$ This question had more to do with the interaction of Sequester and the stat-increasing magic items. Demiplane was just used as an example of "a safe place", which a 13th level wizard could find a scroll for. \$\endgroup\$ – C. A. Jones Nov 21 '19 at 22:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ Got it, there is one of the answers that brings the level required up; but the scroll is not a sure thing. It takes a DC 18 arcana check. It can fail. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Nov 21 '19 at 22:40
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RAW allow it, but there are some setbacks.

Crawford also agrees (thanks to V2Blast for that).

Grier: If you find multiple books or are long lived, can you get this bonus multiple times?

Crawford: Yes.

While you have done an excellent work in tracing the requires rules and components to make all of this work, there are somethings you need to rethink.

3200 years is an immensely long time.

Consider that, every time the Wizard freezes himself in time in his dimension, the entire world ages a century. Civilizations rise and fall, continents change, plagues ravish, dragons destroy. Industrial revolutions rise, ice caps melt, Gods wage war upon each other. While your Wizard could ignore all of these, someone that didn't take a long time every century to follow up on all of these events would soon find themselves completely lost in the world, not knowing where to turn to anymore, and only imagining how the carriages without horses worked.

Learning all the books takes a long time every time, where food, water, safety, and above all sleep, are necessary.

The Wizard cannot just spend 300h studying books. By the 5th day, he'd die of exhaustion (seriously, by RAW, 5 levels of Exhaustion kills you!). He needs to rest everyday, to take care of his health, and would take a lot more time than the minimum you've allotted.

After a few centuries, the Wizard can barely describe a place to appear at.

Imagine he had a home to come back to. After a century, it's probably been taken over by some other resident. After another, maybe it's been abandoned. Another and it is now the home for devils and mindflayers. The nearest town has grown to a big empire. In another century, it has waged war and dwindled in size. In another, a plague has consumed anyone who was left there. As the world changes, the places the Wizard has to come back to all vanish. He can always come back with some general description, but he has no real place to come back, no place he can recognize. He stops knowing how the world behaves, he doesn't know what is dangerous anymore, and how to fight the new threats.

Does a sane man really want to throw everything away to become powerful?

Every story has a big villain. Some demon risen from Hell (Tarrasque), some alien from another planet (Megatron), some angel fallen from grace (Sauron). Your Wizard would become this villain. He attained immense power over the centuries but lost touch with the world. All he has is power and the strength to use it, but he isn't part of this world anymore. The new races who have emerged will barely recognize him. He cannot bond with anyone, as everyone is so dumb and boring compared to himself. He is, in all respects, a higher being. What does he want to do now? Control the world, for the greater good? Or destroy it?

How would the world see him?

A creature emerges out of thin air. Taller, stronger, grander than anything these primeval races have ever witnessed. The air around him fizzles with raw arcane powers. He speaks a forgotten language, no one comprehends it anymore. The crowd gathers in awe. A flash of flames appears, an exhibition of his skills, but most of the crowd looks scared, and starts moving away. This alien god looks angry at the lack of adoration by these puny creatures. In a swift gesture, all of them are incinerated. They will bow down to their new leader or perish. Accept this wicked salvation or be destroyed.

This is how villains are born.

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    \$\begingroup\$ The creatures looks angry at the lack of adoration by these puny creatures. In a swift gesture, all of them are incinerated. They will bow down to their new leader or perish. Accept this wicked salvation or be destroyed Or, he heads to Vegas and announces that "Elvis has just entered the building." \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Jun 5 '17 at 13:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ Where does 3200 years come from? Surely at most it's 1400 years of sequestering (assuming you start with a 2 in every stat) as the stat is raised by 2 each time, not 1. \$\endgroup\$ – illustro Nov 20 '19 at 11:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ (Since the maximum possible score in game currently is 30) \$\endgroup\$ – illustro Nov 20 '19 at 11:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ @illustro OP has originally referred to 32 cycles of studying and 3202 years of time spent. He has since edited his question, it seems \$\endgroup\$ – BlueMoon93 Nov 20 '19 at 11:53
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I'm going to take a logistical tack and explain why, even though technically rules-legal, it should not be possible for game reasons in most cases, at least for a PC.

Case 1, PC in a Standard Gaming Group (3-5 players)

This is an ultimate case of "split the party". One character is separated from the party by the gulf of millennia of time. The DM has the choice of whether to run the game for the wizard or for the rest of the party, and must perforce create an entirely new campaign for the future player to play in. This would not be fun for anyone.

Case 2, PC in a Solo Campaign.

Here there are no other players to worry about, but the DM must still create a brand new campaign. The player character however is now rootless, and anything they might have been motivated to accomplish is now either moot, or lost under centuries of time. Why would Ramses II, thrown through time, care about the rustlers who are plaguing the town of Red Rock in the American Old West? There's a cultural disconnect.

No reasonable DM would allow this, since it requires an incredible expenditure of work on their part, merely to satisfy a single player's sense of self-aggrandizement.

Case 3, NPC, starting now.

Assuming he starts his program of self-improvement in-game, the outcome should never be an issue. No campaign is likely to last the 3,000 years necessary for it to ever be an issue. In essence, all that has happened is that the campaign has lost a character. He might as well have died for all the impact he will have on any conceivable event.

Case 4, NPC who started 3,000 years ago.

Congratulation, you have the Big Bad of your campaign. (If you made him the Big Good there would hardly be any reason for the PCs to exist; hence Big Bad is by default). This is really the only scenario where this becomes anything more than a thought exercise. Take note, that even though he has incredible Ability scores, and is a high level caster, he is not omnipotent. A wizard still only has one action and a finite number of hit points. A sufficiently high level party should still be able to reduce him to rubble in most cases.

Note that I didn't bother including "PC who started 3,000 years ago", because that would be pure cheese.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ There's a novel, Marooned in Realtime by Vernor Vinge, that's worth reading for more on this kind of scenario. \$\endgroup\$ – John Dallman Nov 20 '19 at 15:52
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I would like to add that there is another way of approaching this besides using sequester: Be an elf druid level 18. Supposing you reach level 18 at ~100 years, which is very feasible I would say, you now have around 6000 years left to live. See PHB p. 67:

Timeless Body: Starting at 18th level, the primal magic that you wield causes you to age more slowly. For every 10 years that pass, your body ages only 1 year.

In those 6000 years you are perfectly awake and can interact with the world as you wish, you only need to be careful not to die for the first 4 centuries which it takes for you to reach Score 30 (if you start at 20).

Finally, I want to point out that 30 is the highest an ability score could get, see PHB p. 173:

The Ability Scores and Modifiers table notes the ability modifiers for the range of possible ability scores, from 1 to 30.

(The top answer here backs it up with Crawford tweets)

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Arguably, time spent in polymorphed form is time spent unaging as well, and very high-level Circle of the Moon druids have unlimited access to Wild Shape. \$\endgroup\$ – Ben Barden Jun 17 at 22:29
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Mechanically speaking, to have even a single casting of Demiplane the Wizard has to be level 15.

Now, if he is 15 or higher, doesn't he have any friends, family servants, allies or minions? They're all going to die while he's snoozing.

Doesn't the wizard own anything? His tower, his library, his STUFF, is all going away, cause there's nothing adventures like more than the abandoned tower of a power mad wizard who vanished years ago.

Was the wizard Good? If so then how does he justify abandoning the world and all the folk therein right in the midst of a campaign that was dangerous enough that he was able to accumulate ALL of the Tomes, Manuals, etc.?

Is the wizard entirely Independent AND Unknown? If not, then what happens to him and his pile of books when his allies come calling?

And, probably more important, what about other high level casters who come looking and find him asleep in his Demiplane? If it were me who found him, I'd take the books and sell them to Elves, a race with a long enough life to enjoy the benefit in a century or so. That wizard is going to up naked in an entirely empty Demiplane with no spellbook, no food, and nothing but a note that reads, "Thanks for the cool stuff! I'm sure you're upset but hey, I'm human, so either I've a hundred years of experience on you and will snuff you out if you show up to bug me about it OR I'm long since dead and gone after living a wastrel's dream life on the cash I made selling your goodies! Either way, Buh Bye!".

Could it be done? RAW says it's technically possible (at 15+, though not at 13 or 14).

Many of the world's other wizards who, "know the nature and contents of a demiplane created," (you can't assemble that many legendary books without drawing more than a wee bit of attention) eagerly await a chance to visit your demiplanar bedroom, so, they agree that it can and Should be done!

Yes, yes, just relax and go to sleep.

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If your question is: “Is it possible?”
Of course!
It’s just unfair to the DM.

I would play this character in Pathfinder/3.5e. As a DM for a character who did this, I would need some solo campaign time for this character. This character would awaken from a sequestered time for a purpose. Maybe some knowledge of a cataclysmic event on the horizon.

In order for this character to be an “equal” to the other players of this new campaign, it would be up to this player to recruit the next generation of heroes:

  1. An Elemental sorcerer who has little control over their powers.
  2. The child of the God of Strength and a mortal woman.
  3. A Cleric who easily flows healing magic.
  4. A Rogue who inherited a powerful ring of shadow.
  5. A Dwarf “cursed” by a stone-like molecular structure that doesn’t allow them to grow any hair.
  6. Any random nobodies, because the players wanted to play a character not on “the list”.
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    \$\begingroup\$ Do you have any practical experience with these suggestions? \$\endgroup\$ – Jason_c_o Jun 5 '18 at 16:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ Is what your saying "cos one guys more powerful everyone needs to be more powerful"? because that is most certainly not the case. Take a quick peek at Lord of the Rings and you quickly see that Gandalf and Aragorn are on a whole different level (I'd say literally a few levels higher) than most of the other people there. Also Frodo and Sam are well below most of the rest of the fellowship and would only be level 1 pc's getting mixed up with a group of level 5 adventurers and a couple of level 10 leaders... still an amazing story that would make a great game \$\endgroup\$ – rpgstar Dec 3 '18 at 22:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ ...if people use their extra power to develop the story not destroy it. \$\endgroup\$ – rpgstar Dec 3 '18 at 22:36

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