Three years in the past my character and the rest of the party were level 1. At that time, our selfs from 30 years in the future traveled through time and possessed us for two years. We don't remember anything from that period and the plot began one year ago. The spell to go back in time is a continuous spell that is broken when the caster dies or is about to die. My self is responsible of that spell through a dragonmark alteration (travel through time instead of teleporting through space). The first thing that we realized when we got back to our senses is that we were about to be executed, so we assume my self from the future confronted with unavoidable death decided to release the spell.

In 2 weeks, my character and the rest of the party (we are 12th level now) are taking the very same trip through time to the same point in the past three years ago (for several reasons I can explain if you ask). Our goal is to alter the past and survive three years until the moment the spell is cast, at which point I will be able to release the spell. Once again, only our spirits will travel and will possess our past selfs. As a consequence, we'll arrive at the destination with the gear of our past selfs. Only intelligent items that already existed back in that time can take the travel too. The DM's said that this is because the items we'd bring with us haven't yet been created and would cease to exist during the course of the trip. As for non intelligent items, they can't benefit from the spell. (Our characters' research shows this to be true. The DM's not just messing with us.)

In anticipation of this, my swashbuckling-type PC has liquidated all his gear except the clothes on his back and ended up with 100,000 gp. I need to spend this money in such a way that whatever I spend it on will endure the trip intact, and I'd prefer to spend this money on stuff that will improve my character's ability to survive and thrive during our time travel adventure (because if I die or is about to die, it will break the spell).

The 5th-level Sor/Wiz spell permanency [univ] (PH 259-60) can provide limited benefits, but my character's not a caster with only a few ranks in the skill Use Magic Device, so effects that might be extremely valuable are unavailable. (Thus, for example, while my character can get a permanent resistance effect, he can't get a permanent darkvision effect.)

Spellcasting and services can be purchased at the normal rates (PH 129), but spells and effects like gate [conj] (PH 234), lesser planar ally [conj] (PH 261), lesser planar binding [conj] (PH 261-2), and wish [univ] (PH 302-3) are unavailable.

In the present, taking no more than 2 weeks, what can my character do, get done, or buy for 100,000 gp that will improve his ability to survive when he arrives--naked and gearless--in the past?

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Do you see how your question is better now? "Going to inhabit my past life" is a lot different from "appearing naked like the Terminator in dinosaur times" for example. Maybe we can skip the week of wrangling and you can just include your problem in the question next time. \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Commented Oct 14, 2014 at 12:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ I don't even understand why such detailed context info is even needed. If I say I need to improve myself by spending gold and without buying gears, why do I have to give the exact reason why I am in such situation? Couldn't you just answer the question as is? Anyway I am glad we finally reached a point were the question is answerable. Also I should mention that English is not my native language, and it's not always so easy to explain things ;) \$\endgroup\$
    – Epeedefeu
    Commented Oct 14, 2014 at 12:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ If you still don't understand why wasting people's time is bad, come on back to the meta question and we'll discuss. \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Commented Oct 14, 2014 at 13:18

3 Answers 3


Restating my assumptions:

  • You need to send your spirit back in time to possess your earlier self to avoid execution.
  • You have two sidereal weeks to prepare for this.
  • You have no consequences in the present for your actions.
  • You are in a very large city with access to real spellcasters.
  • This is the climax of your game, barring that: "Our goal is to alter the past and survive three years until the moment the spell is cast, at which point I will be able to release the spell. "
  • You'd quite prefer to win.

Let's start with solving for the trivial case:

Our goal is to alter the past and survive three years until the moment the spell is cast, at which point I will be able to release the spell.

We'll call this iteration 0.

You want to survive for three years. Taking that literally, the specification is for three sidereal years, not three years subjective time. You'll want to, this iteration, learn the precise tuning forks required for two demiplanes. Demiplane 1 has the flowing time attribute, and is preferably a nice garden or something. This demiplane has a very very high time ratio, let us say 1 second to 1 hour. (With that ratio, you'll want to spend 7.30484397 hours there for three sidereal years to pass.)

Demiplane 2 has the same flowing time attribute, but in reverse to whatever extreme ratio is allowed.

Hire a caster and manifester to do the following things (I am presuming your party can't do them.):

  • Manifest Hypercognition (three times) on top of the being's Knowledge (Planes) to find you your two tuning forks. 3600 gp. Call it 400 gp tip (for use of high knowledge skill plus whatever buffs they want to throw in.). 3000 gp. The third cast is to find a nest of Silthilar.

  • Make sure the caster who can craft wondrous items knows plane shift, craft contingent spell, last breath, and distilled joy. Bring extra casters if necessary.

  • Plane shift into your low-ratio demiplane (the one that gives you plenty of time). Either have the above spells enchanted into whatever spirit-stuff (I suggest calling them "spirit tattoos") will be sent-back, but fluff it however. Or have as many crafted contingent spells layered into your soul as you can afford. Given that magical effects carry backwards through time, the soul can be affected by magic. If necessary, plan elaborate scry & teleport robberies to pay the caster. You'll have plenty of time, no consequences, and whatever money you can acquire from a world that won't exist.

  • During this time, conduct interplanar negotiations with the nest of Silthilar. Offer for them to transport whatever research they want back in time for three years in exchange for free grafts on the other end.

  • Propose to your DM to just use Continuum time travel rules for this, as they're far more nuanced and coherent. Sigh when he/she refuses.

  • Spend the rest of the time engaged in whatever extra soul-enchantments are allowed by the remainder of your resources.

Iteration 1:

Go back in time 3 years. Let the first crafted contingent spell take effect and immediately port you into demiplane 1, with the high time ratio. Enjoy a nice book for 8 hours. Let the wibbly time spell elapse.

Swap over to demiplane 2. Spend as much time as necessary (reincarnating via last breath) to figure out how you did the time travel alteration in the first place. Cheese out knowledge checks as required. Then improve the time travel alteration to be an inherent property of your dragonmark. Get whatever other contingent spells/wonderous-soul-item thingies enchanted into your soul. Go back in time 3 years.

Iteration 2.

Win. you'll have detailed knowledge and research for the next three years of game time. You're in a time-loops scenario. Against any "leveller" (person who's boringly travelling level in time), you will win. When you encounter an unexpected threat, abort universe and iterate again.

Preserved as generic time travel advise:

The lack of items created yet poses a problem, as that criterion applies to your bodies as well. Still, given that something is moving through time (or, you're getting reassembled through information transmitted backwards.)

First, investigate how the Timeless trait interacts with your specific time travel rules. You might just be able to stick your stuff on an appropriate demiplane, remember its specific tuning-fork frequency, and retrieve on the other end.

Second, if stuff, but only your body stuff is moving, then you can get custom enchanted magic items which are slotless, embedded into your flesh. Which custom magic items is left as a negotiation with your DM, but there are an awful lot of first level spells that are absolutely awesome to be enchanted into magical items.

If only contiguous self-organic stuff is moving, look into grafts. While grueseome, get as many of these as your DM will allow. Some of the more risky routes can certainly be attempted within two weeks and can trivially consume all available resources. For a buckle-swasher, absolutely go attempt to contact the Silthilar, promise them to take all of their research back in time in exchange for free grafts, and take as many as they'll perform. If they require money, 100k won't even approach being enough. Still, the money is enough to find them. Otherwise, buy as many fiendish grafts as you can, and just make sure your cleric has lesser restoration prepared.

If only information is being transmitted back, perhaps you may want to start exploring grafting on Continuum to your game. In this instance, invest in crafted contingent spells up to the limit that your DM allows such that you can fake being prepared for your first dungeon crawl. Spend the rest on legend lore and other historical magics so you know what recently-dug grave to knock over to get a reasonable facsimile of your stuff back.

If only information is being transmitted back and your DM isn't being nice about finding a lair via legend lore and contingent spells aren't allowed... Go back further and spend an arbitrary amount of time with liquid pain + restoration powering your caster's recreation of magical items via torture. It'll take a while, but by definition you have as much time as you need. Consider instead ambrosia or any of the other techniques in this answer. Since you're going forearmed with knowledge, you can skip much of the initial bootstrapping, choose somewhere where you wont be bothered for a significant duration of time, up to and including specially found demi-planes for this purpose. Given that you have significant awareness of the past, finding a community that can support your intentions should be trivial.

If your DM isn't okay with self-bootstrapping via strategic information transfer leading to effective immortality, ask him/her what you're allowed to do, and do that. Given timetravel, there exist two possible time machines: the initial prototype and the best possible version. Given information transferring timetravel, there is nothing preventing you from heading back in time, porting to the appropriate location, ensuring you have enough resources for eternal life, spending as many years as it takes on perfecting the time travel ritual, and then heading back again to do things correctly.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ That is the kind of answer I was expecting, thank you so much :) \$\endgroup\$
    – Epeedefeu
    Commented Oct 14, 2014 at 9:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ My goal is not to avoid execution, since the execution was not done (or else my character would have died back then). My first goal is to escape a curse that will kill me in the current present, the second one is to erase what my future self has done in the past, because if I don't, when my time will reach the future he departed from, my spirit will die and be replaced by his. So there are a lot of consequences in the present for my actions, so much that I am guaranteed that the moment I cast the spell, I will not be able to come back in that present, due to my actions in the past \$\endgroup\$
    – Epeedefeu
    Commented Oct 14, 2014 at 10:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ If you are confident not making spoilers in your answer you should take a look at the campaign, I believe it should be among the official plots for eberron \$\endgroup\$
    – Epeedefeu
    Commented Oct 14, 2014 at 10:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ Then I hope some aspect of my answer was of utility to you, since we're now in house-rule territory and we can't answer it without detailed knowledge of your campaign. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 14, 2014 at 10:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ sigh - this is the kind of shenanigans that I'd like to avoid in RPGs (and love in board games). But I thoroughly appreciate the cleverness of the shenanigans, so +1. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jonas
    Commented Oct 14, 2014 at 12:41

in one word - information.

You can wish for (or perhaps simply learn) more about the past place/time you are travelling to: contacts, important information about future events, some soon-to-be invented tech... Knowing who will win a race is a good quick money; knowing some juicy gossip is a way to make friends, or blackmail someone; knowing who will be the consort of the next king is invaluable, as is the time, symptoms and cure of the next plague...

  • 7
    \$\begingroup\$ Just be careful about this: you want things that can be cashed in quickly, happen as soon after your arrival as will allow you a chance to cash in, and that are as distantly causally removed from your own arrival and actions as possible, lest you bet on the king marrying Princess Amy, but your sudden arrival distracts and delays a messenger, leading to a big diplomatic misunderstanding, and the insulted king snubs Amy for princess Betty, whose country didn't insult him, costing you not only the payoff, but also your wager. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 7, 2014 at 17:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ Also, be careful that information about the past can be wrong - maybe records got falsified for political reasons, maybe the legendary giant who terrorized the valley was just a few fingers taller than everybody else, and maybe the site of a massive magical duel was simply an invention to attract tourists. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jonas
    Commented Oct 14, 2014 at 8:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ Just to add - as a DM I would love you to go this route. The information itself, but also the possible complications - both your messing up the timeline and wrong information - would provide so many beautiful adventure hooks that I might not even need to start using the scenario I was preparing. \$\endgroup\$
    – Jonas
    Commented Oct 14, 2014 at 8:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ Jonas, that sounds like an excellent answer in its own right. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Oct 14, 2014 at 8:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ Our time setting is already a very big mess and I don't understand already all the implications: Our selfs from the future possessed us to alter their past, and we are the result of that alteration, but when they get back to their time they will clame their bodies and we will disappear. As a consequence (and since we are under a curse that will make us die in two weeks) we are traveling back through time to the very same moment they did to modify past in a different way and try survive long enough to the current time to get rid of that curse and make our future The actual future. You see? \$\endgroup\$
    – Epeedefeu
    Commented Oct 14, 2014 at 9:02

I strongly agree with the previous offers, information could be invaluable, as a mean of regaining gold quickly but also as an edge to complete your mission.

Yet if as me you are more concerned by the numbers and crunches , I would like to extend on another alternative to the grafts... Tomes. It won't get you really far but you could probably locate one +2 tome in the two weeks times you have and still have time to read it. It won't give you an overwhelming adavantage but a +2 stat is always nice to get and it should remain with you except DM ruling otherwise.

This will even leave you far more than necessary money to buy the services of wizards and bards to gather information. Heck! with 45000gp left you can probably get a full college of bards digging the archives for you and still get wizards teleporting over the country to locate old books as well as priest asking their gods for advices on the next lottery numbers to recover your loss!

Another idea, a bit more silly, is that instead of asking for information on the events to happen, you could pay adventurers to locate ages old caches of equipments and have them map the caches for you, traps and all (for researches purpose *cough* *cough*)and when back in time you go there and loot the caches to recover from your loss. It would also work with deposit of rare ore or precious stones. Some may even be as accessible and cheap as a night spent in a miner Inn and a few rounds of cheap ale.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I like the idea of locating equipment in the past so you can get it when you go back - very Chrono Trigger. \$\endgroup\$
    – Miniman
    Commented Oct 14, 2014 at 2:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ ssshhhh don't give up my sources! :p \$\endgroup\$
    – Harmelyo
    Commented Oct 14, 2014 at 2:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ Since we are going to alter the past and don't plan to go back to our current present, one of us even suggested that we borrow a large amount of gold to banks or to underground mafia, but the DM opposed us that we don't it requires planification and we don't have the time. \$\endgroup\$
    – Epeedefeu
    Commented Oct 14, 2014 at 9:10

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