I'm in a 9th level high-powered gestalt game in a Tippyverse setting with a fairly permissive DM that allows for highly optimized shenanigans. Game rules are PF as a base with 3.5 content to supplement.

I've just gained access to Temporal Acceleration, and intend to combo it with the Riven Hourglass Eternity martial feat to extend the time stop for as long as I want. Recovering maneuvers to keep activating it will not interfere with my action economy.

I need to find effective ways to set things up so that when the Temporal Acceleration ends, many powerful creatures quickly die or, much more importantly, a highly advanced beholder ship is disabled/destroyed along with said beholder (the ship is considered attended by the beholder or else I'd just carve the magitech engine out of it). The complication comes from a strict ruling against even indirect targetting of creatures, going so far as to prevent obstructing substances from entering the same 5-ft cubes as a creature. This means Black Lotus Extract is right out even if it didn't have a 1 minute onset. Dispersing opium clouds has been ruled to only affect them 1 dose per round. Setting up heavy objects to crush humanoids of typical size might still work. Black Powder kegs have been considered, but are more expensive than I'd prefer. I have access to Energy Wall, which is quite spammable for delayed AoE DoT damage as long as there's enough space for more walls, but relying on an uncertain pp reserve when the opportunity arrives is less than desirable.

Almost any item can be bought in the setting, and the use of Psychic Reformation during downtime with 3.5 cost-reducing feats allows us to craft almost any magic item at .28125× market value.

What cost-effective items and combos can get the job done with a minimal margin of error?

Edit: It is not a bog standard beholder and will probably have lots of magic and magitech on it, which might foil certain suggestions with energy resistance/immunity or other defenses.

  • \$\begingroup\$ You just want it gone? \$\endgroup\$
    – fectin
    Commented Feb 25, 2023 at 4:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ @fectin A method to simply delete the ship might be good to keep in my backpocket in case we have to deal with a fleet of them later. However, for the first few we down, we want to maximize the amount of salvage that can be brought home for R&D. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 25, 2023 at 8:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ Consider swiping ideas from here. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 25, 2023 at 16:59

2 Answers 2


This Sounds Like a Job for Book Bombs

1) Get a blank book, like a spellbook. Don't get fancy, just go for a simple, mundane book.

2) Fill every page with explosive runes. Assume that's 100 pages, like a spellbook. Having a really high caster level when you cast them helps a lot, though isn't required. You're likely preparing this book ahead of time during downtime, so use whatever shenanigans seem workable. You're going to be trying to cast Dispel Magic with a low caster level later; ideally you want at least 10 CL difference between the explosive runes and the dispel. That means you'll need at least CL11 when casting these. Ioun stone + death knell should cover you.

3) Get the book near the thing you want gone. Within 10 feet is mandatory, but you ideally want it "close enough to read."

4) Cast Dispel magic, targeting the book. You progressively make caster-level checks against 11 + [explosive runes' CL], until you succeed. That means if the difference between them is >9, you will never succeed. If the difference is 9, you will only succeed on a 20, so will fail 95% of the time. Try for something stupid, like a CL 1 wand of dispel magic. Failing that, carry 8 holy/unholy arrows for the negative levels and cast with a -8 to CL.

5) Profit. On a failed dispel, explosive runes go off. If you can get the CL gap wide enough, that is 600d6 damage, potentially no-save.

This is likely enough to kill even a non-standard beholder. If not, repeat with a second book.

@willowontu found a key snag: you need someone else to cast the dispel. Or you need someone else to cast all the explosive runeses. Pathfinder has a subtle change from "you may automatically succeed" to "you automatically succeed" on dispelling spells you cast yourself.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Cheese beautiful cheese... \$\endgroup\$
    – Trish
    Commented Feb 25, 2023 at 15:30
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Note, they need to get someone else to fill the book with explosive runes as dispel magic explicitly states "You automatically succeed on your dispel check against any spell that you cast yourself." \$\endgroup\$
    – willuwontu
    Commented Feb 25, 2023 at 18:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ok, this works rather perfectly for killing the beholder and heavily damaging the ship. Dispel Magic is on my list, so a wand at the minimum CL of 5 won't need any UMD. That's a range of 150 ft, equal to the usual beholder anti-magic cone. Placing multiple bomb books on different sides of it, and flying out to the range limit, should ensure I always have one book to target that's not in the cone. Once that problem is gone, I just have to Dimensional Anchor the ship and disable the teleporter core, which has been established to have a 1 round charge-up time and might auto-activate. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 25, 2023 at 20:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ @willuwontu Oh wow, I missed that change from 3.5 (where auto-success was optional). Good catch. \$\endgroup\$
    – fectin
    Commented Feb 25, 2023 at 23:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ShawnPatton it's arguably not even something that targets the beholder. The book is not attended, and you're targeting the book. \$\endgroup\$
    – fectin
    Commented Feb 25, 2023 at 23:32

This probably doesn't stand up to the book bomb, but I want to at least mention "what if you somehow get access to the Conjuration (Creation) Arcane School's school powers and just spamcreate metal that explodes (e.g. sodium) while you're in timestop?" It's not touching him, but boy, once you let time move again, I'm pretty sure it goes boom really well. And it's just metal, nothing too complex to create with creation abilities!

For bonus points make it cesium or francium so that now the Beholder's been irradiated.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Sodium doesn't explode, it just reacts very agressively with water, creating sodiumhydroxide. You can dump a block of Sodium into water somewhat safely, no explosions included. If you want to set the enemy on fire, create white phosphor instead, that catches fire in air and gets very sticky, but burns out quite fast. Also... D&D does not know of sodium or phosphor or any other chemical. As far as the GM does not want it to be there, it does not exist. D&D is neither a physics simulator nor a chemistry box \$\endgroup\$
    – Trish
    Commented May 22, 2023 at 9:13
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Trish “sodium doesn’t explode” - When I was in 10th grade I had to vacuum the school soccer field because I blew up a large glass beaker with sodium and water. It absolutely can explode. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 22, 2023 at 10:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ Sodium doesn’t explode? What’s this then?. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 22, 2023 at 10:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ThomasMarkov Hydrogen generated by sodium catching fire from the exothermic reaction of the sodium with water. That's not the sodium exploding but hydrogen and air reacting explosively. \$\endgroup\$
    – Trish
    Commented May 22, 2023 at 10:32
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @ThomasMarkov once you have a sodium/water reaction running, it is very unlikely that you still have a vacuum in the chamber. \$\endgroup\$
    – fectin
    Commented May 22, 2023 at 11:44

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