Floating Disk Shenanigans

…or how to get a cease and desist letter from Tenser.

For the first time in well over a decade, I had a character cast (Tenser’s) Floating Disk in a D&D game. I’m always happy to use utility spells, and the quirkier the better. In this particular case, my character could fly and wanted to “ferry” party members across a heavily-trapped section of hallway. It worked surprisingly well.

Since the Disk lasts an hour and the “Dwarf Chariot” visual was highly amusing, we kept it running. This came in handy when the aforementioned dwarf needed to get into melee with some distant enemies quickly. You see, Floating Disk doesn’t have an explicit speed. It merely keeps within 20′ of the caster unless you suddenly exceed 100′ distance (teleport, extreme speed, etc) or pits/elevation changes (10′ or more). So, the “Dwarf Chariot” was towed behind my character on his Broom of Flying at a massive 50′ movement rate!

Revisiting this idea days later, I thought about what other ways this often-neglected spell could be used. I tried to figure out a way to cast it through a Familiar or other creature, so the caster wouldn’t be on the hook to serve as an magical Uber driver, but nothing game to mind. However, something cooler did spring to mind.

The magic of the Disk is pretty unintelligent but it is remarkably reliable and predictable, not requiring concentration or even actions to control/influence. This in itself removes a lot of limitations to creative use. So what would happen if the caster consistently remained more than 20′ ahead of the Disk but no more than 100′? According the spell’s description, it would dutifully increase its speed to remain within 20′ of the caster.

Mounting an 25′ armature on the disk that ends in a harness or chair (using clamps, lashing, mount gear, sovereign glue, whatever “floats” your boat), should result in the Disk pushing the caster forward ceaseless for the duration of the spell, but since it can never reach the caster, how fast will it accelerate in its attempts to fulfill the directives of the spell’s magic?

Well, the frumpy answer is “the base movement rate of the caster”. Ignoring that this has a lot of potential problems as well, its also not a very logical deduction. I have a different interpretation based on the spell’s description: “If you move more than 100′ from the disk, the spell ends.” Based on this, I believe the Disk would accelerate to 100′ movement rate and then level out, because going any faster would violate its 100′ range limitation under normal circumstances.

Obviously, this is of extremely limited application, because a caster dangling off the ground at the end of a stick has little or no control over direction or deceleration, until they impacted with some solid object (which I would probably treat as falling damage). An interesting exercise, but what can we do with this? And then it struck me. What you have here is a very primitive version of a “rocket sled” like those used in propulsion research in real life.

Take 2… Instead of dangling off a stick, the caster is seated in chair/cart with wheels like those found on a train or mine cart, placed on rails. These would guide the forward moment along the curves and bends typically found in those application. You now have a self-propelled miniature train! Your caster can now tour his compound, theme park or stronghold in true style. 🙂

Utilized on a track in a large loop, you could harness a surprising amount of force to run a mill or other primitive engine.

Probably still a good idea to incorporate some sort of hand-brake though.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply