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Is it possible to turn Tenser's Floating Disk into a chariot in AD&D 1st edition?

There are several problems that I'm not sure can be solved:

  • How would the harness be attached to the disk?
  • Can a mount pull the disk at a higher movement rate than the disk can move by default, without causing the spell to break?
  • How difficult is it to pull the disk – how much weight does it count as?

It seems that a naive interpretation has the disk weight at nearly nothing, especially since it can move rather quickly, and I can think of some rope/knot patterns that would hold even the most slippery of disks – meaning a mount could move at maximum speed while pulling the disk.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ From a 4e PoV, I've considered quite a few ways to effectively enbiggen the platform. I don't suppose you could ask similar questions for other editions? :) \$\endgroup\$ – Brian Ballsun-Stanton Feb 16 '11 at 7:38
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No speed limit is given except when it moves by direction of the caster (6" rate). It would seem unnecessary to secure it since it remains 6' from the caster... but you could certainly envelop it with a net or similar rope arrangement. Move the caster at high speed, and the magic will keep the disc nearby.

It doesn't seem to be possible to cut holes in the magical disc, so attaching a handle or wagon-tongue is an unexplained situation. Think of it as unbreakable as a wall of force, I'd guess.

Note that if the caster is on horseback, the caster should position the disc to one side (6' away of course), lest it impact the horse's rear hooves; it maintains a height of 3' above ground. (Watch out for potholes and other terrain issues; it will bob around, matching the contour, and aprupt changes may affect its load.)

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It may be usable as a component of a chariot.

Looking at @Seven's answer, a null-grav plate would be incredibly helpful if included as part of a chariot's construction. From a simple point of view, you could replace one or more wheels or axles with floating disks, providing a levitation effect for transit over rough terrain. If the disk is linked to the caster via a specific distance, have the caster sit in the "cart" so created. While this may not be the fastest on-road travel, there are quite a few "hovercraft" opportunities that a construction like this would support. The rough principle is a braced construction that expands the effective area of the disk(s) by using it/them for support.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ But how do you tether the "plate" to the chariot? I think the word disk is misleading, it seems the correct way to think about it more like an electro-magnetic field which creates a disk like area rather than as a physical object. \$\endgroup\$ – Jon Hopkins Feb 21 '11 at 13:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ You don't need to tether at all. If it's a zone of "we'll ignore physics" and is providing the quite literal impulse to the cart, the cart moves with the zone. To propel the zone by moving the cart, and assuming the zone moves with the caster, then the caster must merely be seated in the cart. \$\endgroup\$ – Brian Ballsun-Stanton Feb 22 '11 at 1:11
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It can't be all that slippery, or things would slide off it all the time, and one would think there would have to be some kind of reflection of that in the rules for it. So tension-based attachment mechanisms like clamps or vises should work reasonably well.

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I think if the player comes up with a creative way to effectively do it...and since the caster I feel should be able to make slight changes to the spell as they are casting it, I feel the caster should be allowed to do it.

Course I play more freeform styled games where slight bending of the rules is expected!

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  • \$\begingroup\$ This is what AD&D spellcasting is all about. \$\endgroup\$ – migo Apr 10 '11 at 19:44
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No, it can't be used as a chariot.

The Disk is described as a "circular plane of null-gravity" (PHB, p. 68). It operates not by being a physical barrier upon which things are heaped and held up by a physical surface, but rather it prevents things that are in contact with its plane from falling. Think of it as a movable circular area that grants levitation to things touching it from above, and less as a physical disk. Being an "bare" effect that lacks an accompanying physical object, there's nothing there that you could hope to manipulate with ropes, and so therefore it cannot be pulled.

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I personally believe nothing can be attached to a disk because it is indeed some sort of space with different physical properties. That is exactly why it's perfect for a 'floating' chariot.

All you need is somebody who can cut wood. Just make a round platform slightly larger then the disk. Make sure that the edges are thicker then the rest of the platform. Cast disk, put platform over the disk, attach harnas/ropes/whatever to the wooden platform, cast phantom steed and enjoy a custom chariot.

You can make this a whole lot better and stronger if you're willing to put some time and effort in it. As long as you're basically making some sort of platform/lid to put over a disk it works fine. It really is not that complicated.

For the people out there that want something awesome at lvl 5.

Get 4 players to each play a small creature with at least 2 who can cast disk.

10ft long 6ft wide At the front end make a box large enough for 2 mastiffs per player (mastiffs are legal mounts for small creatures). So with 4 players that means 8 mastiffs have to be able to fit in the box. You don't need any joints or whatever. Just 1 large box with the platform attached at the back end. Make sure that the platform at the end is high enough so that you can look over your 'engine' box. Put a repeater bolt thrower on it. Cast enough disks to reduce the effective weight of the construction+passengers to almost 0. For extra defense cast all defensive spells on it that you have.

You've just made a 20ish feet long medieval tank. Because it weighs nothing turning is a breeze. The engine is 'safe' in a box. Your whole party is standing at least 4 feet in the air on a platform with a repeater bolt thrower and you can run as fast as you can throw sausages in the engine.

When you hit lvl 6+ you can make some seriously awesome tanks this way. And for those wondering yes this was the beginning of a beautiful story :D

edit: tip: disk floats at 3 feet above the ground. Disk that have to much weight on them dispell. Make sure you to put your tank on some supports that are just a fraction above where the disks are hanging. When all disks are in place, throw some food to your mastiffs, they will pull the thing from their supports and make it land on the disks. You can go crazy here and make retractable supports or use simple blocks of stone. It's just something to think about when you're building a tank.

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