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The typical known means to defend against Hide from Dragons are focused around dragons inside his lair, like using non-dragon minions, traps, magical alarms, dispelling screens and what-not, but that's all only valid for a static environment.

How could he deal with this spell when going outside his lair alone to hunt? Specially if he knows there might be pesky adventurers trying to ambush him? And then do it efficiently (that is, wasting the least amount of resources, while hunting for extended periods of time)?.

I'd also like to see a solution (if possible) that allows him to retain his flavor, for example, he could trivially beat the spell by simply polymorphing into something non-dragon, but he doesn't want to lower himself by transforming into a lesser creature, he has that way of thinking and a lot of pride, so he wouldn't use any method that could be seen as diminishing.

For reference, Hide from Dragons, SC p.114:

Abjuration
Level: Assassin 4, bard 5, sorcerer/wizard 7
Components: S, M
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Range: Touch
Targets: One creature touched/2 levels
Duration: 10 minutes/level (D)
Saving Throw: Will negates (harmless)
Spell Resistance: Yes (harmless)

Silently you make the motions and the dragon’s scale smolders in your hand. The rising smoke wraps around you and sinks into your skin.

Dragons cannot see, hear, or smell the warded creatures, even with blindsense. They act as though the warded creatures are not there. Warded creatures could stand before the hungriest of red dragons and not be molested or even noticed. If a warded character touches or attacks a dragon or the dragon’s hoard, even with a spell, the spell ends for all recipients.

Material Component: A dragon scale.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ You may also be interested in this question. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 5, 2020 at 13:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan FYI the dragon is an advanced elite dread linnorm (CR well above 20) that's been hunting travelers of Yggdrasil for millennia, there are legends about him and he's older than some gods. I'm trying to discourage direct confrontation with him, but the party seems to have fun trying to kill him, even after 2 unsuccessful frontal assaults to his lair that nearly resulted in TPK. Now they want to ambush him outside his lair, and they're planning something like hide from dragons -> antimagic field -> forcecage -> lots of arrows. But the dragon knows (spies, divinations, etc). \$\endgroup\$
    – Yopi Lapi
    Dec 5, 2020 at 15:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ O, my God. What levels are the PCs? Anyway, CR well above 20 likely calls for a new question—I had no idea of that when I composed my answer. (Consider posing separately something like What resources should this creature have available? then describing this monster in detail!) I'm sorry now that my answer aims so low. The dragon you're describing should have a horde so vast that hide from dragons is inconsequential—someone tries that every few hundred years, and the dragon has an answer… maybe even a custom item that just tells the hide from dragons spell Nope! \$\endgroup\$ Dec 5, 2020 at 15:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan The PCs reached 20th-level recently. Despite his power, linnorms are not true dragons and are less obsessed with hoarding treasure (in game terms, they got standard treasure, not triple), so the hoard might not be as big as you think. Also he does not have epic magic, he just has CL 20. Anyways, when making the question I was trying to separate it from the specifics of my game so that it would be more widely useful to other people, so your answer is pretty good as is. I might go with your suggestion later and add more detail, or make a different more specific question. \$\endgroup\$
    – Yopi Lapi
    Dec 5, 2020 at 15:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ Well, having level 20 PCs changes things a lot, too! :-) Just as an aside, the site really likes questions to be specific as possible, so a question that asked just how your unique epic linnorm can defend against hide from dragons would've been totally legit and even preferred. (Good answers to it will likely would have gone beyond the question's initial mandate anyway therefore helping likeminded folks, too. Thank you, though, for thinking of others when composing your question!) \$\endgroup\$ Dec 5, 2020 at 15:53

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A dragon that's a suitable foe for a group of typical PCs that have ready access to the 7th-level Sor/Wiz spell hide from dragons [abjur] (Spell Compendium 114) is Challenge Rating (CR) 13 (i.e. 13 is also the minimum typical wizard level needed to cast the hide from dragons spell). While CR is by any account an imperfect measure, a starting point remains necessary, and in this regard a young adult red dragon (Monster Manual 75–7) makes a suitable example.

A young adult red dragon has triple standard treasure for its CR 13. This is a lot of treasure. (Go ahead—try it yourself. Ten tries gave me anywhere from 15,000 to 85,000 gp.) The young adult red dragon has 19 Hit Dice therefore 7 feats.

Getting tremorsense

Were this DM deeply concerned about limiting the efficacy of the hide from dragons spell for the least resources, the feat Technomagic Implant (Dragon #351 93) and the tremorsense disk (4,000 gp; 0 lbs.) is my pick.1 For one feat, the dragon's feet magic item slot, and a few grand in gp, the dragon gets tremorsense 20 ft., a sense that isn't explicitly or implicitly neutralized by the hide from dragons spell. This is—I guess—a decent investment for limited immunity to the hide from dragons spell: The dragon lands to hunt, detects everything touching the ground in a 20-ft. radius, and flies off if its tremorsense detects creatures it can't see. (Drachenflagrion, the sample young adult red dragon from the Draconomicon (256) has among his feats the feat Cleave (Player's Handbook 92), which would be the first to go in this DM's campaigns.)2

Getting blindsight

Alternatively, getting blindsight (that's also not explicitly impaired via the hide from dragons spell but may be implicitly impaired if it relies on the dragon's hearing, sight, or smell) is easier but I suspect will still be viewed as more resource intensive:

  • 1 feat: The feat Favored in Guild (Church of Shar (City of Splendors: Waterdeep 45–6)) (Complete Psionic 151) grants, in this case, the favored one the ability to take a standard action to gain for 1 min. blindsight 30 ft. The favored one can do this 1/day per level hence HD hence 19 times for a young adult red dragon. That's plenty if the dragon activates it before swooping in and killing something, but the dragon must worship Shar and be a well-respected and vital part of her local church. This seems out of character for the dragon in question. An argument can also be made that this blindsight is based on the creature's sight.
  • 2 feats: To get blindsight 20 ft. for 5 rounds 2/day takes the feats Devil's Favor then Devil's Sight (Fiendish Codex 2 81 and 83, respectively), but this also mandates a pact with a devil, which also seems out of character for the dragon in question. In addition, an even stronger argument can be made here that this blindsight is based on the creature's sight.
  • 3 feats: The feats Shape Soulmeld (shadow mantle (Magic of Incarnum 85)) (40) then Open Lesser Chakra (shoulders) (ibid.) and an appropriate incarnum feat that offers 1 or more points of essentia like the feat Bonus Essentia (35) allows the meldshaper to invest in the mantle essentia to so that the meldshaper can take a swift action to activate or deactivate both a 0-ft.-radius (+5 ft. per invested essentia) of magical darkness that also renders inoperable blindsense and that's centered on the meldshaper and blindsight 0 ft. (+5 ft. per invested essentia) for the medlshaper.
  • 4 feats: The feat Combat Awareness (Player's Handbook 2 86–7) has serious prerequisites and yields, in this case, a comparatively pitiful blindsight 5 ft., but the effect is constant effect.

The DM would typically view 3 feats as too many, but, the magical darkness effect offered by the shadow mantle soulmeld provides the dragon with further protection from the surprise attacks that the hidden dragon hunters will launch, which is a good thing—not, in this player's opinion, three feats' worth of good thing, but worth the GM's consideration in this case nonetheless. (Drachenflagrion, for instance, could probably lose the feats Cleave, Improved Snatch (Dr 71), and Snatch (MM 304), and only he and the occasional pony would notice.)3

Using only magic items

Most magic items that grant special senses are too expensive or limited in their scope—you can check in the section Special Senses here to confirm. The boots of tremorsense (Magic Item Compendium 79) (5,000 gp; 1 lb.) may be an exception—the dragon can simply activate them before landing. Again, though, this dragon sounds as if it may view donning footwear as undignified.

enter image description here Just imagine this dinosaur red and with wings, okay?

…Or just don't worry about the hide from dragons spell

The hide from dragons spell has a duration of only 10 min. per level but also lasts only until "a warded character touches or attacks a dragon or the dragon’s hoard" whereupon "the spell ends for all recipients." In other words, the dragon hunters will only have a few hours each day of undetectable dragon hunting. (The hide from dragons spell is, after all, like the spells limited wish and simulacrum, a 7th-level spell, not to be tossed around lightly!) If the dragon gets sloppy by not changing its hunting grounds and hunting times in the face of dragon hunters, the advantage of the hide from dragons spell is that the hunters—if they're lucky and the dragon doesn't recognize telltale signs of their ambush—will act in the surprise round (and, obviously, the dragon won't), and the first attack a hunter launches at dragon ends the hide from dragons spell for everyone.

Now, this DM is the first to admit that the surprise round is incredibly important in D&D 3.5, especially since a level 13 wizard's hide from dragons spell means up to six attacks in that surprise round, if not more. However, a dragon should be able to take a surprise round's worth of attacks from such a group then either flee or engage, as is its wont. (If the dragon can't survive the surprise round and the first round's worth of attacks from the dragon hunters then I suspect the dragon hunters are extremely well prepared, the dragon is ill-prepared, or both!)

Still, the dragon should be smart beforehand, employing the 2nd-level Sor/Wiz spells blur [illus] (PH 206) and scintillating scales [abjur] (SpC 181) or even finding a way to employ the 4th-level Sor/Wiz spell ray deflection [abjur] (SpC 166) to ward off touch attacks and ranged touch attacks (q.v. here). For a young adult red dragon, playing smart shouldn't be a problem: Its Intelligence score is 14. Further, almost any dragon should try to marshal such resources whether or not it expects dragon hunters; they're just good sense for a dragon.

Finally, if the dragon's primary reason for leaving its lair is food, this need is obviated by, for example, a simple ring of sustenance (Dungeon Master's Guide 233) (2,500 gp; 0 lbs.). Then the dragon hunters'll have to come to the dragon's lair or wait for the dragon to leave for a reason other than sustenance.4


1 Until another answer comes up with something better, obviously.
2 Having monsters take the feat Cleave has always struck this reader as the definition of overkill.
3 Of course, with his current feats Drachenflagrion need never land to hunt. Take that, dragon hunters.
4 While the dragon in question may be too proud, this GM would urge the dragon to acquire minions. Even frightened local commoners make a better spy network than the zero minions this dragon has now!

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    \$\begingroup\$ Interestingly, unlike Hide from Undead and Hide from Animals, Hide from Dragons doesn‘t mention blindsight or tremorsense. - Must be some kind of dragon privilege again … :) \$\endgroup\$ Dec 5, 2020 at 15:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ After accepting blindsight as a valid way to beat Hide from Dragons and doing some research I found that the Blindsight spell can be made permanent according to Savage Species p.60, even if the spell was later reprinted in the Spell Compendium that should still be valid as it is not something that was changed in the description of the spell, unless I'm missing something I think that would be a great option. \$\endgroup\$
    – Yopi Lapi
    Dec 12, 2020 at 14:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ @YopiLapi It is a great solution if A) the DM agrees that the Permanency list from SS still stands despite there not being one in the SpC — I could see that going either way —, and B) the epic linnorm can do all the casting itself: there's no way such a creature would trust another to perform such a task ("Now fail this save…" "Yeah. No."). You may also be interested in this answer. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 12, 2020 at 14:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ I agree with A, but B would be trivially solved with magic items: a potion of blindsight followed by a scroll of permanency, no need to know the spells or trust anyone. \$\endgroup\$
    – Yopi Lapi
    Dec 12, 2020 at 14:59
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Scouts

Non-dragon minions -- they're not just for lairs! Persuade, charm, or intimidate other beings into checking the area where you will hunt before you do so.

What sort of minions will be suitable will vary wildly by the dragon's abilities, magic items, and habitat, but the three important features are

  • the minions move quickly enough to cover the area in a feasible amount of time
  • the minions are at least intelligent enough to recognize humans; the dragon may have to deduce adventurers from inability to see them
  • the minions do not frighten off the game the dragon is hunting (or warn the party the dragon is on to them). Stealth is one option; another is apparent innocuousness, as a flock of sparrows could fly over either the party or the flock of sheep without attention. This is doubly important in that if adventurers figure out what the dragon's doing, they will hide themselves from minions as well.
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  • \$\begingroup\$ As per the question: "How could he deal with this spell when going outside his lair alone to hunt?" (emphasis mine). I totally agree, though, that this beast really should have some backup! \$\endgroup\$ Dec 5, 2020 at 15:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ The minions went first, before the dragon, and cleared out so he's alone. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mary
    Dec 5, 2020 at 15:09
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Well, it seems that even if the warded character is the only glowing thing in a dark room, they can't be noticed? Nor can they notice the impression a warded person makes in sand or something?

Unnoticed unless touched by the dragon or their hoard...

But, changing the battlefield so they all have the same disadvantages would work... Like magically darkening the area so everyone can't see everyone else. Unless the hunter can see through that. Which might be rare? And if they're that prepared, perhaps they should win...

That "Can't touch hoard" bit might be worth using... Is there any limit to what's in a hoard? If you make the leaves of a forest, part of a hoard. Well, when the hunter touches a leaf, dragon notices.

Otherwise, toss the horde around the area, trying to inadvertently hit any hunters in the area?

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