This is somewhat related to How can I send messages over long distances? However, that is for D&D 5e, and my question is for Pathfinder.

I have a story hook idea and could use some assistance fleshing out the logic required.

Scenario: An NPC is trapped in a crypt/dungeon. The PCs are in another area of the plane, exploring a dungeon/cave. When the PCs go through a tunnel they come out in the desert across the plane. Upon arriving, the PCs see an audio-visual cry for help. (Think Princess Leia's "Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi.") NOTE : They are now close enough to assist the NPC..

How can an NPC send a cry for help that is seen and heard? It could be be triggered when it senses nearby humanoids or is on a loop.

I'm not so much concerned with linking a cave to the desert. But if someone knows a reference to explain this, that would be additionally helpful.

  • \$\begingroup\$ You seem to be asking 2 very different questions in your post. I'd suggest editing your question to focus on one of those questions, and asking the other question separately. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Apr 13 '19 at 4:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ Thanks I've edited the question focus. \$\endgroup\$ – Acts7Seven Apr 13 '19 at 5:12

A trapped NPC can cast magic mouth on a rock, and then give it to a bird and then use speak with animals to ask the bird to carry it somewhere far away. (The NPC could even just cast magic mouth on the bird.) The magic mouth would wait until it met a group of adventurers and then speak a 25-word message. This does not give a visual message but I think it meets the rest of your criteria. Note that the NPC would need to have an unusual combination of spellcasting abilities to access both of these spells. A seventh-level bard could do it.

A trapped NPC with a great deal of free time can cast scrying a whole lot, scrying on birds and cats and rats. This spell grants a ten-foot radius of vision around the creature being watched, so in principle you could use this to become aware of other creatures and start scrying on them, and eventually you might find some adventurers. An NPC could attempt to cast message through the scrying spell to contact the adventurers.

A trapped NPC can cast divination to learn about adventurers who might be able to free them, and can then cast dream or sending to send them a message.

A trapped NPC can cast limited wish to do anything the DM feels is reasonable.

Or -- and this is the option I actually endorse -- you could make something up. NPCs are not required to follow the same rules as player characters. As the DM, you are allowed and encouraged to invent new abilities for them. You could narrate that someone has developed a custom spell during their time in prison. You could narrate that they've taken a custom feat which grants an unusual ability. You could narrate that they have an unusual bloodline, or a that they've crafted a custom magic item, or that they've invented a three-hour ritual that does the thing they want.

I've done this "make something up" thing many times and nobody has complained. In this case, I'd probably narrate that the trapped wizard has a rune on his forehead preventing him from teleporting, but that he's invented a spell that teleports a rock to a random location up to 500 miles away. So he's cast magic mouth on a whole bunch of rocks and teleported them across the continent, and they only trigger if they see a group of adventurers, and the player characters run into like five of them as they travel through the area.

(I might also narrate that the trapped wizard has a variant higher-level magic mouth spell that produces a visual component -- or I might decide that having a visual component to the message wasn't valuable enough to generate homebrew content for.)

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank your for also addressing ... how could someone perform this feat and yet not free themselves.!!!! \$\endgroup\$ – Acts7Seven Apr 14 '19 at 18:58

Magic Mouth is a spell that can do audio when it’s triggering circumstances happen.

Programmed Image is a spell that can do audio-visual plus feelies when it’s triggering circumstances happen.

Both spells are in the base rules.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I think programmed image is a dead end in this situation: it can only be cast on a location, so there's no way to use it to send a message far away. \$\endgroup\$ – Dan B Apr 13 '19 at 15:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ Points to Dale M for a nice alternative solution. I appreciate that you have addressed how to get the visual aspect as well as audio. As Dan B pointed out, it doesn't quite work here, but its certainly worth pointing out for similar situations where it is possible. Like a wizard place a trap in a dungeon. Ooooh I've actually got some great uses for this and had never heard of it before. \$\endgroup\$ – Acts7Seven Apr 15 '19 at 16:22

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