I was knocking back a few beers the other day with an old pal, discussing the adventures I've been putting my players (my sons and a few of their friends) through lately. I explained how the magic-user messing with this new found metal cube triggered Daern's Instant Fortress late one night in the back room of the tavern the party had been staying in...
Woosh instant chaos, several patrons injured and sadly one dead (actually he was an ornery drunk who had harassed the mage several times before so it wasn't too sad). So there it was, the young wizard's tower now stood in the middle of this small Yeomanry town. Trouble was after the town was compensated, the poor mage wanted to move it. I explained that there was no way to close it up again - that is just where it is (and still is).
My old pal laughed and said he'd never played it that way before. That got me thinking. I checked my DMGs and havent found any reference to closing it up again. It is afterall an "instant" fortress not a "portable" one, and players don't instantly gain knowledge of what or how to use stange items.
So the question - how have others used this magical device in their games?
"The door will always be facing the owner of the device when it becomes a fortress, and it will open and close instantly at his command."
I have always considered 'it' in the above description of the item to be referring to the fortress inclusively, not the door exclusively. This is partly because of the existence of the comma before the 'and'. That denotes a separate thought from the first part of the sentence. So, I have always considered the Daern's Instant Fortress to be a re-usable magic item.
Wasn't sure about this query, but came upon an entry (quite by happenstance, yesterday!) in "The Temple of Elemental Evil" that makes me side with SirXaris, that it IS a re-usable magic item.
Hedrack, the 9th lvl priest of Iuz, has such an item. Check out page 102, if you have it:
"...and the latter is a Daern's Instant Fortress, used on the infrequent occasions when invaders have posed severe threats. Hedrack's favorite tactic with this device is to block the exit with it, at any convenient place in the corridors, though he will erect it in the Temple itself if necessary."
Where ever Daern's Instant Fortress is spoken of -- in the various materials -- it is always spoken of in such a way.
I've never even considered the thought that it wasn't re-usable. Wizard's in my game set it up for a safe night's sleep and close it up the next day. I've never heard of it having a limited number of uses either.
Incidentally, how much damage did the tower, itself, sustain in its growth within another building?
I now recall an old adventure that was supposed to be a super-death-trap, much like The Tomb of Horrors wherein the PCs enter a room with a very high ceiling, out of sight. High on a ledge was a simple imp with a Daern's Instant Fortress. The Imp would drop the magical cube into the room once a number of PCs had entered and command it to expand. Once all the PCs had been flattened, the imp would recover the item to be re-used when another party entered the room.
I can't, for the life of me, remember the name of the adventure or even enough to find it via google. But, it is another bit of evidence that other, old skool, authors interpreted the 'Fortress as being reusable.
Well thanks for the replies. It seems only Vestcoat and I give it a single use, but I have enjoyed seeing the possibilities a multi-used fortress could provide. It just seems too powerful for use that way in my campaigns, so I will continue to use it as an instant (and time and gold saving means of constructing a) fortress. I think the magic-user would side with most of you though - hahaha! By the way, Mystic, I don't believe the fortress took any damage (probably should have though now that you mention it). I'll let the young mage know that when next we meet - that ought to cheer him up.
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