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The city in which my current campaign is based has been recently divided along social lines. An in-universe counterpart of the Twilight series has become the basis of a werewolf vs vampire factional divide. Team Werewolf and Team Vampire have started antagonizing and insulting each other in (for now) light-hearted and harmless prank escalations. The party has thrown in with Team Werewolf. Recently they were the main engineers of a prank to publicly display extremely large holy symbols, intended to be a tongue-in-cheek joke at getting Team Vampire to cower away from public spaces.

However, an actual vampire has awakened from his rest and begins to learn about the city... and he is quite heavily invested in Team Vampire, for personal reasons. He takes this recent insult seriously, and needs to respond in kind.


Our Vampire intends to throw a gala during the next full moon and respond with their own prank and “moon” Team Werewolf (especially the party). He wishes to have as many humanoid-esque forms summoned as possible to perform the mooning together at a specific coordinated moment during the gala.

This is a level 10 vampire wizard. He has 23 Intelligence with a Headband of Intellect +4 for a total Intelligence score of 27. How many humanoid-esque forms can he summon, create, or conjure which have the appropriate lower ends for the act of mooning the party and Team werewolf?

  • The Vampire is wealthy, but wants to do this with magic to show off his prowess, and not by hiring people. There's banquet staff and entertainers being hired, but they are not participating.
  • He is however willing to spend his money on magical items that might help him.
  • The vampire has 12 days to prepare.
  • All participation in the mooning must be consenting and uncoerced. The Vampire will not be Dominating individuals to get them to participate, even if he might be capable of doing so.
  • There's 18 Team Vampire guests in attendance. Each of them will be participating willingly in the prank.
  • There's 15 Team Werewolf guests.
  • No limits on available material, so long as it was WotC approved at the time.
  • The gala is on a veranda about 80 feet wide and about 90 feet long. There will be a large, single banquet table for the meal.
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    \$\begingroup\$ I have asked about this over on meta: Asking about "mooning" \$\endgroup\$
    – Ben
    Aug 14, 2023 at 2:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ Since the topicality/appropriateness of the question has been raised on meta (thank you, @Ben), I've moved these comments to chat; please do not continue the discussion here. Comments requesting clarification are, of course, still welcome; further commentary on the suitability of this question for the site should be part of the meta discussion. \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60
    Aug 14, 2023 at 12:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ Don't signal your edits in text. Instead, revise your post to incorporate the details as though it's a final version. I've made an edit this time to show you an example of doing this. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 14, 2023 at 21:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ I voted to close - not on the grounds of the quality of the post, but its nature: Is this an actually specific answerable question using game mechanics? This is more of either idea generation or opinion that comes down to "Whatever the GM comes up with.. for whatever justification - rather than an actual awnser..." \$\endgroup\$ Aug 14, 2023 at 22:18
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    \$\begingroup\$ @PlayPatrice My impression is that the OP is interested in mechanical solutions that would be open to any 10th level wizard, so it's a straightforward optimization question. They are not asking for ideas of what cool effects they could fiat outside of the rules. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 15, 2023 at 4:50

3 Answers 3

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Maximum Capacity:

The first step is to figure out how many people can fit in a veranda 80 ft. by 90 ft. long. A tight crowd has a person for every 5 square feet (or 5 people per D&D square). However, the entire veranda can't get filled; there's a long banquet table. With the vampire, 18 additional members of "Team Vampire," and 15 members of "Team Werewolf" invited, the table has to seat 34. A table setting needs two feet of table space, so the entire party can sit at a table that's 32 ft. long, with one person on each end and 16 per side. Let's round that up to a 35-ft.-long table to fit onto a D&D grid better and make the math easier. The table will also be five ft. wide for similar reasons, which is a little deep for a banquet table but not wholly unreasonable; it leaves plenty of space for flower arrangements. I'm sure wolfsbane will feature prominently.

So the table itself takes up 5 ft. x 35 ft., but presumably no one will be sitting on the guests' laps while mooning them, so let's leave an additional 5 ft. clear around the table. That leaves us with a 15 ft. x 45 ft. section of the veranda reserved for the guests and table. 80 x 90 - 15 x 45 is 6,525 sq. ft. With a person per 5 sq. ft., that's a potential of 1,305 people we can cram onto this veranda to moon Team Werewolf.

Illusion

The easiest way to do this is with illusions. The level 3 spell major image can create a force of people filling out an area of four 10-ft. cubes plus one cube per caster level. At CL 10, that's fourteen such cubes. Assuming no one will be standing on each other's shoulders, we can disregard the vertical element and just say it's fourteen 10-ft. x 10-ft. squares per cast. We'd need 72 such squares to cover the veranda, less 8 or 9 because of the table area we're leaving clear. That means we need 5 castings (well, 4½) of major image at CL 10 to fill the veranda with an illusory crowd.

A CL 10 scroll of major image costs 750 gp, or takes an evening of the vampire wizard's time to create. He can create four such scrolls and then cast the fifth major image himself, or simply craft five scrolls. Each casting of major image requires concentration to move, so five separate spellcasters are required (if the vampire were level 11, he'd have access to programmed image and could do it all himself). If the vampire's minions are low enough level that they'll have trouble passing the caster level check to read a CL 10 scroll, a safer but more expensive option is to craft or buy a wand of major image and then pass it around. Exactly how much that costs will depend on the CL of the wand, and how high that needs to be will depend on the number of minions the vampire has who can activate an arcane wand.

More generally, a single casting of major image can create a force numbering (CL + 4) x 20 medium creatures. They won't be able to leave their squares, but can shuffle around and gesticulate and so forth.

Necromancy

A necromancer can control CL x 4 HD worth of undead using animate dead. There are plenty of ways to optimize this, but they involve taking feats or prestige classes, not the sort of thing one does within two weeks and for the sake of a prank. Additionally, skeletons probably lack the anatomy to moon people, so the 2 HD zombie will be the choice of minion here. That means our vampire wizard can only control 20 zombies. Even if all of Team Vampire were also level 10 spellcasters, that's only 380 zombies, which is well short of filling the veranda.

There are other ways to get an army of undead. One could try to convince a friendly Mohrg to lend you a hand, or a Pale Master or Yathrinshree; all of them can turn anything they kill into zombies under their control without limit, so if they aren't already rolling around the countryside with a zombie horde, our vampire would just need to spoon feed them 1,300 peasants. This, however, seems like it's not appreciably different than just hiring people; it's not really a display of the vampire's skill or power.

Ultimately, wizarding necromancy is more about energy drain and uttercold than it is raising minions; that's more clerical necromancy's purview.

Vampirism

A single vampire can control up to twice its HD in children and spawn. To be an actual vampire one has to be at least 5 HD, so within 1d4 days our level 10 vampire can control four other vampires. Each of them can, in turn, control two vampires. Every 1d4 days (the time it takes a new vampire to rise), the network of vampires owing allegiance to the level 10 vampire doubles.

Let's pretend the d4 is always statistically average; it always rolls a 2½.

  • Day 0: Create 4 level five vampires.
  • Day 2½: Those 4 vampires awaken and promptly create 8 more vampires (for a total of 12).
  • Day 5: Those 8 vampires create 16 more (for a total of 28).
  • Day 7½: Those 16 create 32 more (for a total of 60).
  • Day 10: The 32 vampires probably don't have time for another wave of spawn, but a few of the 64 new vampires will awaken in time for one of the weirdest introductions to their new bloodline.

In 12 days, the vampire can create 80 or so new vampires (all level 5, the minimum for a vampire). Presuming all 80 of those vampires were clerics, they could then animate dead enough zombies to fill the veranda.

Alternatively, given another week, the vampire's network of children, each controlling two other children, would exceed 1,000. In 23 days, it would on average exceed 2,000. Vampires are very much an existential threat in D&D, especially since they don't go hungry or anything so there's not much preventing them from just turning everyone into vampires.

Conjuration

This option doesn't really work. Summon monster spells don't summon more than 1d4 + 1 monsters at a time, and the long-term conjuration options are planar binding—which isn't much different than domination—or planar ally, which is a cleric spell. Conjuration in 3.5 is about having really high quality minions, not masses of mooks.

The Best Option

The best option here is probably just illusions. It's easy, it shows off the vampire's arcane ability (and, if the minions make an effort to hide that they're also casting the spell, makes him seem like he's much higher CL than he actually is), and doesn't require massacring the local peasantry.

If, however, you want to escalate the severity of the vampire threat, having the new vampire on the block promptly set about creating an army of spawn could certainly do that. Rumors of disappearances, maybe even some familiar faces among the people mooning Team Werewolf—it could be interesting, but would, I suspect, mark a definite shift in tone.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ To give whit to my bounty: Can this answer give an exacting number of the contributable personas that will be mooning the party? Or, given another case, can your answer be expanded to be considered to be exhaustive of the topic? n.b., Major Image only functions for Concentration + 3 rounds, so can this vampire truly cast enough and sustain enough to fit your provided best option? \$\endgroup\$
    – NFeutz
    Aug 26, 2023 at 23:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NFeutz I think you anyways can only create the illusion of 1 creature with Major Image. See here. I otherwise think this is a pretty good answer that shows a lot of system mastery. I went ahead and upgraded my deleted answer from 5e to 3.5 with exact counts, and undeleted it, if that helps. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 27, 2023 at 9:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ @NFeutz I do cover this in the answer: at CL 10, you need 5 castings of major image. Since the vampire is a wizard, he can create four scrolls (each takes an evening) and have four minions cast off the scrolls, while he casts the fifth major image. This will be enough to fill the veranda (major image scales off space filled, not people created). It fits 1,305 people in a tight crowd leaving room for the table, but you could as much as double the crowd if you wanted them to form a mosh pit. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 28, 2023 at 15:38
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Just with spells: 115 creatures

Assumptions: You include summoning and conjuration in the means to call helpers (which includes the power to command those creatures in many cases), I will assume these do not count as coercing the conjured creatures in the sense that he wants to avoid. You also say that the vampire wants to do this with magic, so I will exclude creating spawn, or using vampire abilities, and just focus on what he can do with his own spells, also excluding recruiting other spellcasters who could read scrolls (or cast their own spells). As a 10th level wizard with intelligence 27, he has 4+2/4+2/3+2/3+2/2+1 spells of level 1 to 5 each day. Summon Familiar unfortunately needs the Improved Familar feat to get an imp, which you did not state the vampire has, so we'll assume that will not help.

You put no resctricion on how many spells he may cast on the evening in question, so I assume the guest will humor him casting however many he wants, before the mooning. As you mention no school, the wizard is a generalist. For the possible maximum, we use super lucky rolls for spells that create variable outcomes.

To start, there is himself and his 18 team vampire guests, for 19. Lets look at spells that he could cast in the 12 days before the evening, as preparation:

Animate Dead: 20

He at most can have 40 HD or corpses animated, and he needs fresh Zombies, so there are still buttocks to moon with. Zombies have 2HD, so that makes 20 Zombies. With each casting he can create caster level x 2 or 20 HD worth, who will serve indefinitely, so two castings is all that's needed. Cost is 2 4th level slots, and 1,000 gp for onyx. A horde of pre-animated Zombies trotting in does not feel as if he was doing cool spellcasting, but we'll take it.

Planar Binding, Lesser: 36

For each casting of this 5th level spell, he also needs to cast a magic circle (third level), and if the creature can teleport or such a dimensional anchor (fourth level) might help, too. The duration is until the mooning service is performed. We'll assume that you succeed in all required checks to sweet-talk the creature into helping, or that you bribe it appropriately for it to be willing to do the deed. Azers can't teleport and have the appropriate physique. Succubi would need to be anchored, but make for a more optically pleasing show. As you can cast 3 5th level spells each day, you can gather a host of 36 outsiders over 12 days.

Then, on the evening of the show:

Mirror Image: 7

Of course, before he bows down himself, he will cast mirror image for increased effect. He gets d4 plus one image per caster level copies of himself that mimic his actions. The duration is up to 10 minutes, so he does this before the more time critical spells.

Silent Image: 1

This works for concentration rounds (you could use Major Image for plus 3 rounds, so you can have four running at any time, but you can only move the one that you concentrate on, so that does not help). This is limited to "the visual illusion of an object, creature, or force", i.e. if you do creatures, a single one. Casting other spells that do not require concentration afterwards should not disrupt this. Persistant Image could create illusionary creatures with a duration of 1 minute per caster level, without concentration, but at a rate of one creature per 5th level spell. As you only do have 3 such spells, it is better to use them all to summon creatures as we shall see.

Summon Monster: 32

The cheapest option that has a more-or-less humanoid body plan with buttocks is the monkey, but you need to be able to communicate to tell it to moon. Lemures (the devil, not the monkey) seem to lack the important body part, so the earliest reliable option is the Dretch, which can communicate telepathically with anyone speaking Abyssal in 100'. The vampire spends one level 3 slot on Tongues in advance, which is good for 100 minutes. With Summon Monster V (5th level) he'll get up to 5 each time, with Summon Monster IV, up to 3, and with Summon Monster III, 1. As the duration is 1 round/level, we can spend 3 rounds on our level 5 slots (15 dretches), then 5 on our 4th level slots (15 more dretches), and 2 on 3rd level slots (2 more dretches).

This gives him 19 + 20 + 36 + 7 + 1 + 32 creatures for mooning, or 115 in total.


P.S. How many creatures he can fit on the veranda? If every creature would need a 5x5 space, the veranda would have space for 288 creatures, and if you subtract a large banquet table with chairs of about 10 feet x 80 feet length, 256. More, if creatures can fly. So we don't get close to that limit.

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Let's start with the basics

Vampire Bob is a 10th level Wizard. So he has the following spells per day, before his intelligence modifier is applied:

  • 6 x 1st, 6 x 2nd, 6 x 3rd, 6 x 4th, 5 x 5th, 3 x 6th.

27 Intelligence means he gains the following bonus spells

  • 2 x 1st, 2 x 2nd, 2 x 3rd, 2 x 4th, 1 x 5th, 1 x x6th, 1 x 7th, 1 x 8th

The banned

He could spend the level 5 slots of the last day on Dominate Person, to get 5 people, but that would violate the prerequisites.

He could just go through town and use his Dominate (SU) from being a Vampire, but again, that would violate the prerequisites - and fill the venue.

Day 1

  • Two 4th level Spells are used for Animate Dead, creating 20 1HD Skeletons each, for 40 Skeletons that wait in the closet for Mooning.

Day 1-12

  • The four 6th Level slots are reserved for Permanent Image. Each one creates the equivalent of 56 squares filled with people that are mooning. That means this spell series creates 4 x 12 x 56 = 2688 squares full of fake people, stored 5 foot underground till they are all surfaced during the mooning.
  • He gains a 7th level slot, so he can create 12 Simulacra...

Day 3 - 12

  • Starting today, the 8 4th Level slots are used for Charm Monster or Lesser Geas, both of which have a duration of 10 days. As a result, 8 x 10 = 80 people are asked really nicely to join the Mooning.
  • Charm Monster, Mass is the perfect use for the single level 8 bonus spell slot. Each affects 20 commoners for 200 guests.

Day 12

  • Within the last 10 hours, 7 people are hit with Charm Person and asked really nicely to join the Mooning.
  • The last Level 1 spell is used to cast Silent Image right at the start of the mooning, creating 14 10-foot cubes full of fake people mooning. That's 140 feet times 10 feet of floorspace. Without having more than one per square that would be 56 more squares of fake people.
  • Likewise, 8 more are hit with Suggestion, asked to show up and join the mooning.
  • we spend the 6 5th spell level slots for the day to Major Creation 60 cubic feet of marble statues that moon the place. The average human is 62 liters - or 2.19 cubic feet. Let's say 2 for easier math, and that's 30 statues of human dimension.

Simulacrum shenanigans

The simulacra also can create more! They are level 5 casters with bonus spell slots for Int 23.

  • All simulacra deliver 40 Skeletons
  • Each simulacrum casts 7 charm person and 7 suggestion on Day 12.
  • Each Simulacrum casts Silent Image during the Mooning for another 56 squares of people. This place will feel illusionary cramped, with the air full of mooning flying imps through the ceiling...

Sum

  • 40 (520) Skeletons jump from the closet mooning.
  • at least 2744 (3416) illusionary, static people mooning. Possibly Quadruple that number for illusionary crowds that occupy those 2744 squares...
  • 295 (463) people that are charmed or suggested to come and moon them
  • at least 30 humanoid statues that moon the party all the time from all around.

That's, with some simulacrum shenanigans, something in the ballpark of 983 real beings that come to moon, and try to cramp onto the 288 squares of the veranda. And that is before you account for the walls with their 30 statues and... about 11 layers of illusions on every single square, which can create dense crowds of mooning people anyway. No, the guests that can be invited and charmed without the simulacrum are already 40 too many for the venue.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Do skeletons have the appropriate anatomy to be considered capable of mooning? Also, I don't know the nuances of enchantment spells in 3.5e, but Suggestion (Enchantment, subtype compulsion, countered by a Will save) seems to violate OP's terms that participation be "consenting and uncoerced". \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Aug 15, 2023 at 0:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ I would argue that all mental manipulation magic , including geas and charm person, clearly fails to meet the specifications given in the question. Animate dead is probably fine, since skeletons are mindless and created from inanimate corpses, but they don't really have buttocks, do they? \$\endgroup\$
    – Obie 2.0
    Aug 15, 2023 at 3:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ The answer also misses the fact that a caster only can get bonus spells if they would otherwise have a high enough level in an appropriate class to cast them. The vampire is a 10th level wizard, so they simply will not get any 7th level or 8th level spells before reaching the appropriate class level. The best bonus spell that they get is level 5, so simulacrum is out, invalidating most of the answer, I am afraid. \$\endgroup\$
    – Obie 2.0
    Aug 15, 2023 at 3:42
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    \$\begingroup\$ Level 5, not level 6, because a level 10 wizard actually gets only 5th-level spells (Player's Handbook, p. 55). They need to be level 11 to get a 6th-level slot. \$\endgroup\$
    – Obie 2.0
    Aug 15, 2023 at 3:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Prevarications "I see no reason why one couldn't just fill the venue with four or five castings of major image at CL 10" - Major Image: Duration: Concentration + 3 rounds \$\endgroup\$
    – Peregrin
    Aug 15, 2023 at 12:47

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