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In the adventure "Storm King's Thunder," the players have the opportunity to raid the castle of a cloud giant lady, Countess Sansuri. She is a powerful wizard who has researched a custom version of the simulacrum spell that is capable of creating multiple copies with a single casting (her spellbook is on page 197).

The way it's presented leads me to believe that player-controlled wizards are supposed to be able to copy the modified simulacrum spell into their own spellbooks and cast it if they so choose; however, it never says how many duplicates it can create. The base spell says that you can only create one copy, and that "If you cast this spell again, any currently active duplicates you created with this spell are instantly destroyed." Should I take that to mean that the upper limit on the number of duplicates createable using Sansuri's Simulacrum is the number of aarakocra simulacra inside Lyn Armaal?

18 if my count is right - four in Area 1, two in Area 11, six in Area 26, and six in Area 29

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    \$\begingroup\$ Can I suggest you hide some of your statements in "spoiler" blocks? >! is the string you want to start a line with in order to create a spoiler block. I'd do it, but I'm currently playing SKT and don't really want to read any more than I'd seen when I stopped reading your question =) \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Nov 27 '16 at 17:32
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One per casting

Sansuri's Simulacrum is described on page 197. The key differences are:

  • "allows her to create multiple duplicates of the same creature"
  • "requires powdered diamond worth 5,000 gp as an additional material component."
  • " ...to cast the spell, must be sprinkled over the duplicate and is consumed", emphasis mine

So nothing in this spell says she can create multiple copies with a single casting, just that she can create multiple copies of the same creature. How I read this is that Sansuri's Simulacrum works the same as normal Simulacrum except that the line, "If you cast this spell again, any currently active duplicates you created with this spell are instantly destroyed.", is appended with "...unless all duplicates are of the same creature."

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Parsing note: it explicitly reads "her" in the spell text, presumably referring to Sansuri, instead of "the caster", or "you" as in the PHB spell texts. Is this an intentional wording to prevent PCs from doing as the querent describes and transcribing and using the spell? \$\endgroup\$ – Shalvenay Nov 27 '16 at 19:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Shalvenay I don't think so. If they didn't intend for PCs to transcribe the spell there was no need to describe it or place it in the treasure. \$\endgroup\$ – Ceribia Nov 27 '16 at 19:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ True -- I suppose they worded it that way for ease of reading by the DM... \$\endgroup\$ – Shalvenay Nov 27 '16 at 19:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Shalvenay I think using those 3rd person pronouns is just standard language when talking about monsters - "His greataxe does 2d12 extra damage on a hit", "She is a 15th level spellcaster," ect. \$\endgroup\$ – chif-ii Nov 27 '16 at 23:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ @chif-ii -- understood \$\endgroup\$ – Shalvenay Nov 27 '16 at 23:31
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Sansuri's Spell Modding Simulacrum Mayhem -- or infinite simulacra, 1/cast (Warning: May be game or world breaking. Consult DM and/or your favorite deity of magic before casting.)

The text of the base simulacrum spell in D&D 5e reads as follows (italics mine):

You shape an illusory duplicate of one beast or humanoid that is within range for the entire casting time of the spell. The duplicate is a creature, partially real and formed from ice or snow, and it can take actions and otherwise be affected as a normal creature. It appears to be the same as the original, but it has half the creature's hit point maximum and is formed without any equipment. Otherwise, the illusion uses all the statistics of the creature it duplicates.

The simulacrum is friendly to you and creatures you designate. It obeys your spoken commands, moving and acting in accordance with your wishes and acting on your turn in combat. 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. The simulacrum lasts until it drops to 0 hit points, at which point it reverts to snow and melts instantly.

If you cast this spell again, any currently active duplicates you created with this spell are instantly destroyed.

The italicized line was introduced intentionally over prior editions (the text of the spell in D&D 3.5e lacks any equivalent to the last paragraph expressly forbidding multiple simulacra, but is otherwise functionally identical) -- it is intended as a designer constraint on the power of this spell. The simplest way for the spell to be modified to lift this limitation would be to remove it altogether, rendering it equivalent to the behavior of previous editions, which allowed multiple simulacra to be active simultaneously. (Note to 3.5e geeks -- I am sweeping XP costs under the rug here as insignificant intentionally to avoid clouding the argument.)

Note also that simulacrum lacks any text describing what it does when cast out of a higher level slot. This means that the only way to accomplish the modification would be to lift this restriction in the spell text -- any numerically-based easing of the restriction would have to be keyed off of the spell slot level, and there simply aren't enough spell slot levels left in the game to accommodate the 18 aarakocra simulacra that Sansuri spammed Lyn Armaal with (even a square-law progression of simulacra/casting, with the restriction otherwise in place, would leave Sansuri with only half the simulacra she needs).

Note, of course, that lifting this restriction from the spell text doesn't mean that Sansuri's modified spell can create multiple simulacra/cast -- that would require much more drastic alterations to the spell text.

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