Sidebar: Reimagining the Cube of Force

Cube of force, in my opinion, is one of the most broken magic items in the game. A ten foot cube that remains in effect for up to 10 rounds on one charge, that can completely nullify the most powerful attacks of any monster, and yet has little to no effect on the attacks of the possessor, or her companions. Who thought this sounded balanced? Now put this item in the hands of a character with a wand of teleportation, and you have an opponent that’s incredibly versatile, yet virtually unstoppable.

Just imagine two rogues with one of these things against something like the tarrasque.

  • Round 1: One rogue activates the cube, hedging out all living matter. The other casts invisibility on herself off of a wand.
  • Round 2: The second rogue taps her ally with the wand of invisibility, and her partner casts teleport off of a wand so that they’re within melee range of the tarrasque.
  • Round 3: Both rogues make full round attacks. Since the rogues were invisible, they also deal sneak attack damage. Enraged, the tarrasque makes a full attack against them. Since all of its weapons are natural attacks none of them deal any damage to the rogues. That’s okay, though. Maybe it can take off some of the cube’s charges. Alas, only its bite attack can hope to deal the 30 points of damage needed to knock off one of the cube’s 34 remaining charges, and this round it only deals 26 points of damage. Bummer.

Now just imagine a party performing similar routines against things like constructs, wizards, elementals, etc. Even the most well prepared NPC with a horn of blasting, say, or six disintegrate spells loaded can’t hope to reduce the cube’s charges to 0. And even if, by some miracle, they are able to do so, they still have to wait several rounds for the cube’s effects to drop before they can deal any real damage.

That’s why I feel like a revamp of this magic item was needed. I feel like anything that makes its possessor this powerful, and its opponents that ineffectual is too broken to be allowed in game. I therefore reduced the cube’s duration from minutes to rounds, and made it possible for an opponent to use a full round attack to potentially knock off charges. I also made it impossible for the possessor to use spells of the teleportation subschool without ending the cube’s effects. I think these revisions make the item a little less uber, yet still maintain a great deal of its utility.

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