7
\$\begingroup\$

This question proposes that by RAW a simulacrum can attune independently from its creator.

In Adventurers League, a simulacrum cannot attune to items independently from its creator, see this question.

Whether simulacrum can attune independently by RAW could be a subject of debate, but that's not what this question is about.

My question is:

How does allowing or disallowing simulacra to attune to magic items separately from their creators affect game play?

Good answers will be factually and/or rules-based, and will ideally provide insight from campaigns you have played in, either as GM or player, where simulacra been allowed/disallowed to attune to magic items separately from their creators.

To provide some context, the party is a mix of 14th level characters. There is only one character able to cast simulacrum, although all the characters are pretty strong. Magic items are somewhat plentiful. All characters have all attunement slots full, and some items go unused for lack of an attunement slot. We tend toward resource-intensive situations so extra attunement slots will definitely make the wizard and simulacrum more powerful, and make the party more powerful.

Answers should probably depend less on the specifics of this particular campaign and more toward facts, rules, and insights based on campaigns you've played in.

\$\endgroup\$
7
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ I think this is a better question framing. It asks a question that can be answered objectively and allows for an answer to contextualize those facts within at-table experience. The difference between this and your previous iteration is that a “ruling and story” answer is not a valid response anymore. I’ve got an answer that I’ll write up if this is open tomorrow morning. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 1 at 0:31
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ How easy are magic items to acquire in your game? I imagine what the players can lay their hands on is important to this question as the default is effectively no magic items \$\endgroup\$
    – SeriousBri
    Feb 1 at 8:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ @GroodytheHobgoblin Please do not write answers in comments. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 1 at 12:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ I was part way through an answer when another question occurred to me: how do you handle people wanting to have familiars and other followers attune items? I pretty much veto that kind of thing, but I don't think that is RAW. \$\endgroup\$
    – SeriousBri
    Feb 1 at 14:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Jack Simulacrum with a wand of web or a wand of paralysis provides significant debuff potential ... that's something I've seen in play. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 1 at 15:14

3 Answers 3

6
\$\begingroup\$

Simulacrum is too broken for it to really matter

What matters in D&D is the action economy, and Simulacrum gives a player essentially double the economy they had before.

It isn't so bad at 14th level, because it is still limited by cost and time, but once you hit level 17 and gain access to Wish the player can effectively make another one every day, which more than doubles their effectiveness (since they will likely play less conservatively with spell slots), doubles the time they take at the table, and puts other players into the shade even more than they probably already were given how powerful wizards are.

Adding a few additional baubles, magical or otherwise, makes little overall impact once you take into account the sheer power of Simulacrum in the first place.

Even if you are considering a player giving a simulacrum a wand, that is assuming they duplicated a wizard, which until Wish probably isn't the best use of it anyway. The best use if to capture (or convince) and replicate a powerful NPC and they are already powerful enough without additional items.

Not allowing attunement is a sticking plaster on a broken leg. If you are going to let your wizard run with Simulacrum shenanigans, then you might as well just lean into it. In fact letting them use items might have another benefit depending on your economy, it means they can't sell those items and finance more castings of the spell!

\$\endgroup\$
5
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Interesting. The wizard in question already has a simu, but it hasn't come into play yet. We (GM and players) are basically trying to figure out how to un-break it. For instance, a house rule (like the AL rule) that the simu casting wish costs the creator, simus creating simus either counts as the creator creating the simu, or otherwise causes some other retribution. And sure, wish makes casting simu easy, but there is an opportunity cost. Point being, answer appreciated, but we're actually trying to limit the spell enough so that questions of attunement do actually matter. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jack
    Feb 1 at 17:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ And also, if your opinion is backed up by actual experience in your game, your answer would be improved by citing it. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jack
    Feb 1 at 17:42
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I'm planning to use Simulacrum only once for a showdown with an Archmage, and then leave it back to babysit our keep and copy spells for me. Mainly to not frustrate our GM and the other players. Indeed, the strongest use would likely be to make a copy of our broken and dominant party archer, where spell slots don't matter. (The time to copy spells ... my wizard has a hard time to find the time to do this as there is constant adventuring). \$\endgroup\$ Feb 1 at 22:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ While my answer is coming from experience I am not too sure what citations would improve it, this is basically just the voice of my experience rather than something learned from a single anecdote. As for opportunity cost of wish, you can use it to cast any spell safely - one spell. Or you summon a simulacrum and get 17 spells or however many spell slots a high level caster has. There is little better to cast with wish so it is a very low opportunity cost and you still don't have to cast it every day. If you are looking to un-break it, magic items isn't the place to look. \$\endgroup\$
    – SeriousBri
    Feb 1 at 22:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think Groody has excellent advice, my simulacrum basically ended up as a glorified scribe and creator of plot hooks. Awesome in my head canon, but kept out of combat. \$\endgroup\$
    – SeriousBri
    Feb 1 at 22:16
2
\$\begingroup\$

The issue is not whether or not you allow the simulacrum to attune to items independently, rather, it is which items you allow the simulacrum to make use of.

Generally speaking, the difference will be small. The simulacrum's increase in power will be trivially equal to the increase in power those items would provide to the original caster, since the simulacrum and the caster share game statistics.

However, the spell puts some restrictions on the simulacrum's abilities, and certain magic items may or may not interact with those restrictions, depending on the DM's ruling. So it is not so much if you allow the simulacrum to attune to items independently, rather, it is which items you allow the simulacrum to make use of. Here are the relevant restrictions from the spell description:

The simulacrum lacks the ability to learn or become more powerful, so it never increases its level or other abilities, nor can it regain expended spell slots.

If the simulacrum is damaged, you can repair it in an alchemical laboratory, using rare herbs and minerals worth 100 gp per hit point it regains.

I won't provide an exhaustive list of magic items that might interfere with these restrictions, but I will give a few motivating examples. Consider the Pearl of Power:

While this pearl is on your person, you can use an action to speak its command word and regain one expended spell slot. If the expended slot was of 4th level or higher, the new slot is 3rd level.

While it is to me clear enough that the Pearl of Power would not work to restore spent spell slots to a simulacrum, there is room for a DM to rule otherwise (through a somewhat ill conceived reference to specific-beats-general). Should the DM rule that the Pearl of Power works, this is a significant buff to the simulacrum.

The other consideration is items that provide magical healing. This is discussed in detail in this Q&A: Can the creature created by a Simulacrum spell be affected by healing magic?. In my opinion, Rubiksmoose makes the most compelling case when he writes:

Allowing other forms of healing means that the alchemical process would be useless

This statement must preclude other forms of regaining hit points otherwise it is meaningless. Even though it does not say so explicitly, the above method is clearly meant to be the only way for a simulacrum to regain hit points.

It does not say that potions or healing magic or rest doesn't work for example, but if they were possible then the expensive complicated process for healing would be meaningless and there would be no point in including it. Sleep especially makes this meaningless because it is free and available to every creature/class and allows for healing completely. Why would anybody ever pay 100gp per hit point if they could sleep or use any of the myriad of other methods for regaining hit points available? This logic also applies to traits or features that let you heal.

To me, it is abundantly obvious that the alchemical process outline in the spell description is the only way to heal a simulacrum. However, wax eagle outlines an argument to the contrary. For example, consider the Ring of Regeneration:

While wearing this ring, you regain 1d6 hit points every 10 minutes, provided that you have at least 1 hit point.

If the DM allows this ring to work on the Simulacrum, then the expensive healing process typically required is entirely bypassed.

So you should discuss with your DM before hand about how to rule on items that interact with the restrictions contained in the spell description. If you allow those restrictions to be bypassed, then you make an already strong spell significantly stronger.

\$\endgroup\$
8
  • \$\begingroup\$ The RAI argument works for healing, but I don't think you can argue it's RAW - DM has final say, of course. \$\endgroup\$
    – order
    Feb 1 at 14:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ @order Yeah, if you want to be that strict about RAW, other sources of healing work, but it really does make that part of the spell description entirely meaningless. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 1 at 14:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the answer. If your opinion is backed up by actual experience in your game, your answer would be improved by citing it. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jack
    Feb 1 at 17:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Jack Which part specifically do you want me to elaborate on? Most of the answer here is factual observations, with the only "opinions" being that I called the spell "strong" and that allowing certain features to work makes the spell "significantly stronger". \$\endgroup\$ Feb 1 at 17:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ Just if you've actually played in a game where simulacrum was or was not limited, that would be useful. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jack
    Feb 1 at 17:52
0
\$\begingroup\$

This will depend on the items you have available

In general I think the effect will be a slight increase in party power.

For example, in our campaign, we have left-over Gauntlets of Ogre Power, and I have a Spider Staff that is great to give party members Spider Climb to scout along ceilings and walls that is hogging my concentration. If we can equip the simulacrum with them, we gain about 20 lbs additional carry capacity, and my concentration is freed up for other spells like Polymorph or Wall of Force without risking a painful drop from the ceiling. Both of which are nice, but not overtly powerful.

However, if we had an extra Wand of Polymorph, this would add the ability to potentially blank one dangrous foe per fight, even after the simulacrum has used up its spell slots.

At the extreme end, imagine having an unused Staff of the Magi, Helm of Teleportation, and Ring of Telekinesis for an added average 7 levels of spells, unlimited supply of telekinesis and two party teleports a day. Equipping the simularcrum thus would be a considerable increase in firepower, without any special consent from the GM.

Typically, the items you have access to at a given level are determined by the amount of treasure you find, so at level 14, you are extremely unlikely to have game changing legendary items.

On the balance, if your equipment is level-appropriate, you will only get a mild increase in power, compared to what you can do -- and compared to the huge amount of power that having the simulacrum adds in the first place.

\$\endgroup\$

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .