My Adventurers League group is playing though Curse of Strahd and we will be fighting Strahd next session. I'm playing as a diviner with the Lucky feat, the spell Tasha's Hideous Laughter (which will be referred to as THL), and a bag of holding.

Now my plan is to give most of the party scrolls of THL so we can all cast that spell. Statistically, with several people casting that spell, and me basically giving him disadvantage, he will probably fail his save against the spell which will incapacitate him. Then one of the other PCs will stab him with a wooden stake. Next turn we put him in the bag of holding. Then all we need to do is infiltrate his castle and find his resting place, or stab the bag of holding (with mage hand or a ten foot pole) and banish him to the astral plane.

Could this work?

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up vote 40 down vote accepted

I see a couple of problems with this plan:

  1. The size of a bag of holding. While the bag has internal volume sufficient to hold Strahd, getting him inside may prove impossible.

    This bag has an interior space considerably larger than its outside dimensions, roughly 2 feet in diameter at the mouth and 4 feet deep.

  2. Strahd, like most "boss monsters" has legendary resistances. 5 Castings of Tasha's Hideous Laughter is unlikely to be enough to incapacitate him, even with portent dice.

    Legendary Resistance (3/Day): If Strahd fails a saving throw, he can choose to succeed instead.

  3. The feat lucky isn't going to apply here, as it only affects attacks against you and your attacks, not saves against your spells.

    Whenever you make an attack roll, an ability check, or a saving throw, you can spend one luck point to roll an additional d20 ... You can also spend one luck point when an attack roll is made against you.

  4. I wouldn't count on Strahd not having a way back from the Astral Plane. He's a powerful spellcaster, a vampire and has made many deals with the dark powers.
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    One more problem: you can only use a spell scroll if the spell is already on your spell list. It doesn't let non-casters cast spells. – V2Blast Nov 15 at 18:55
  • @V2Blast You can potentially get around that via skulduggery with glyph of warding if necessary. – Perkins Nov 15 at 21:41
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    For Point 4.: That could lead to a good story though. They think they banished him, are looting the castle, and all of a sudden all lights go out ... – Hobbamok Nov 16 at 8:37
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    Your other points are excellent, but point 1 questionable. You would not have much trouble getting a 2 foot diameter hoop over most people. Maybe some difficulty with a large person who was resisting, but certainly not "impossible". Or am I wrong and is Strahd particularly large? – Kevin Nov 16 at 13:58

According to page 24 in Curse of Strahd (using this related answer):

No spell - not even wish -- allows one to escape from Strahd's domain. Astral Projection, teleport, plane shift, and similar spells cast for the purpose of leaving Barovia simply fail...

A Bag of Holding may not be a spell, but reading a bit further...

Magic that summons creatures or objects from other planes functions normally in Barovia, as does magic that involves an extradimensional space. Any spells cast within such an extradimensional space (such as that created by Mordenkainen's Magnificent Mansion) are subject to the same restrictions as magic cast in Barovia.

As such, banishing him to the astral plane doesn't seem like an option.

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    This does yield an interesting question of what happens to the contents of a bag of holding if it's destroyed in Ravenloft... What if you stuff Strahd into the bag, stuff the bag into a deep hole in the ground, and then puncture it? Does the resulting nuclear explosion vaporize Strahd, his resting place, and half of Barovia? Does he simply end up in some random location? Does the GM flip the table and storm out of the room? – Perkins Nov 15 at 21:49
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    @Perkins I was about to post this link sageadvice.eu/2016/07/22/… and then I saw your username, and I don't know if you just coincedentally share a name with Christopher Perkins or you're actually him but... lol, I'll just leave the link. – tox123 Nov 17 at 5:02
  • @tox123 It's a coincidence. And that link is a subtly different question I think. – Perkins Nov 17 at 9:27
  • Is that a spoiler for the published adventure? (Second text block) – KorvinStarmast Nov 27 at 21:41

There are several problems

1.) Nothing Leaves Ravenloft

A central problem in Ravenloft is that it is all but impossible to leave that plane. Relevant text can be found here (Curse of Strahd, p. 24, bold added):

No spell - not even wish - allows one to escape from Strahd's domain. Astral projection, teleport, plane shift, and similar spells cast for the purpose of leaving Barovia simply fail, as do effects that banish a creature to another plane of existence. These restrictions apply to magic items and artifacts that have properties that transport or banish creatures to other planes.

As such, the bag of holding would not be able to transport a creature to another plane of existence.

2.) Heart Stabbing is not a given

If you could stab a creature in the heart whenever it was incapacitated automatically, then THL would be a save-or-die spell for most creatures. 5e doesn't have specific rules on "called shots", but there's some guidance given, with relevant text on hit points in the PHB p. 197:

When you drop below half your hit point maximum, you show signs of wear, such as cuts and bruises. An attack that reduces you to 0 hit points strikes you directly, leaving a bleeding injury or other trauma, or it simply knocks you unconscious.

In order to drive a wooden stake through Strahd's heart, you'd need to reduce him to zero hit points. Normally, this is done by attempting to stake the vampire when it is already at 0 hit points, which brings me to my next point.

3.) Timing Matters

Note the relevant text on staking a vampire (MM p. 297, bold added)

Stake to the Heart. If a piercing weapon made of wood is driven into the vampire's heart while the vampire is incapacitated in its resting place, the vampire is paralyzed until the stake is removed.

It's not enough to have the vampire in its resting place, incapacitated, with a stake through its heart that was driven there earlier: you must drive the stake through its heart "while the vampire is incapacitated in its resting place." Unless Strahd was somehow in his coffin when you (successfully) cast tasha's hideous laughter on him, these terms would not be satisfied by your strategy.

4.) Spell Scrolls only work for certain people

Although any person can read a generic "magical scroll" to attempt to decypher its meaning, a spell scroll is a specific magic item with its own rules. Specifically (DMG, p.200):

If the spell is on your class's spell list, you can use an action to read the scroll and cast its spell without having to provide any of the spell's components. Otherwise, the scroll is unintelligible.

Since tasha's hideous laughter is a first level spell, I'm assuming that any character in your party who has it on their class's spell list could cast it already without a scroll. But anyone who doesn't have that spell on their class list will be unable to use the spell scroll to cast it.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – mxyzplk Nov 17 at 23:10

Provided you could fit a creature or object inside your bag of holding, your best bet would be to toss in a Portable Hole (Into the bag of Holding).

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    An interesting idea, but the bag of holding does have specific rules for what happens if it (the physical bag) is punctured or torn. Specifically, the contents are scattered across the astral plane (DMG, p. 153-154). – Gandalfmeansme Nov 15 at 19:39

protected by Oblivious Sage Nov 28 at 15:35

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