This question has seemed to come up quite a bit lately, both within the community and the GM Team. As such, it seems appropriate to clarify things for everyone so that there is no confusion.
First, let's define what, exactly, a Dead Magic area is. Dead Magic
Dead magic area is an area where there is no Al'Noth so you cannot cast anything. Also anything that requires activation by magic, or magic to maintain itself would not work, because there is no Al'Noth to support it.
So, the casting of spells, use of scrolls, activation of wands and other things that produce magical effects and any other sort of action that requires or calls upon the Al'Noth to activate, function or maintain simply do not work in dead magic, nor will they continue to work when entering such an area.
However, there are some things, items and spells, which, while magical in nature, are not affected by dead magic. For example, spells cast on weapons and armor prior to entering a dead magic area bring about physical changes and/or energize the objects such that they do not require the Al'Noth to sustain them but rather sustain themselves for as long as their energy holds out.
The same can be said for summons. A creature that is called to the caster will remain for a set amount of time. Entering an area of dead magic does not banish the creature.
Other examples are items such as jewelry and other worn items that enhance stats and skills as well as enhanced/enchanted weapons. Again, while magical in nature, their energy comes from within, not without. As such, the effects these kinds of items do not get removed when entering an area of dead magic.
Everything else should be considered to not function at all in dead magic areas. This includes supernatural abilities and feats that come as a result of class and/or subrace bonuses and which are linked to the Al'Noth in some way.
While this is not necessarily a comprehensive list, things such as Darkness, Divine Might, Divine Shield, Epic spells, Bless Weapon, Holy Sword, Deafening Clang, and Blade Thirst are examples of abilities that should not function in places of dead magic. To this list I also add the arrow-enhancing abilities of Arcane Archers and the weapon-enhancing abilities of Spellswords. They are very dependent on the Al'Noth and simply do not function at all without its presence.
One item-based example that I wish to point out is Ioun Stones. While possessing a power of their own to a degree, their energy to remain in the air around the user and impart their benefits comes from the Al'Noth. As such, Ioun Stones would not work within dead magic zones. Any such active stones would fall from the air upon entering.
I'm sure this will raise a few questions as well as a disagreement or two based on what can be observed in-game, so I will continue. Mechanics vs. RP
Bioware, whether by design or oversight, has left us some mechanics which are often difficult to work around. On the same token, they have also left us some rather nice things, which make other things possible. Among the most relevant to this topic is the spell hook system. This nifty little system gets called at the beginning spells and spell-like abilities and lets us have things like dead and wild magic. However, and this is more often true for our custom content, not all such things are properly "hooked" for dead and wild magic. This unfortunately may leave some instances where something may appear to work mechanically even though the RP of it all says otherwise.
There are a wide range of things we can adjust and easily manipulate, but there are also some things which are needlessly difficult. Of the things I've listed above (and which will also be listed below for ease of reference), some can be corrected easily enough, while others cannot.
Regardless of whether they are possible
to use in a dead magic situation (i.e. the mechanics permit it), in these cases, the RP limitations and denials shall take precedence. At the moment, we're aware of several abilities that should not function in dead magic but do. Whether these will be fixed and the timing thereof are not known at this time. It is currently a matter of available time and resources versus the benefit gained. So we ask for a bit of common sense in the decision as to whether or not something should
work or be used in dead magic. The Bottom Line:
Now that the GM Team's position on this matter has hopefully been explained, here's a list of things which are and are not permissible in dead magic areas. Note that this list may not be comprehensive and that we may add to it or change it as new cases are found or as our opinion shifts on the matter. - Allowed -
The following are permitted uses of magic and magical items, effects and abilities in relation to dead magic zones. These things are not considered exploitive and are in fact considered acceptable.
- Temporary weapon enhancements applied prior to entering a dead magic area. This may include, but is not limited to, spells such as Greater Magic Weapon and Flame Weapon and abilities such as a Spellsword's Imbue feats.
- Temporary armor enhancements applied prior to entering a dead magic area. This may include, but is not limited to, spells such as Magic Vestment.
- Items that enhance stats, skills and/or saving throws that are worn or equipped (clothing, jewelry, accessories) and that provide a "permanent" benefit to one's attributes and bonuses.
- Summons of any kind, provided the summoning is performed prior to entering the dead magic zone.
- Permanent weapon and armor enhancements, such as elemental enhancements, silver and titanium coatings and elemental resistances.
As mentioned above, the key here is that these things do not rely upon the Al'Noth to sustain or maintain them, having received all their energy from either the casting itself or the energies inherent in the application of the enhancement. - Not Allowed -
The following are not permitted uses of magic and magical items, effects and abilities in relation to dead magic zones. Even if mechanically
permitted to do so, the cases below are prohibited, and players should not knowingly engage in such practices.
- Ioun Stones. It does not matter whether or not these are activated prior to entering the dead magic zone or not, they are simply not permitted to be in use in dead magic...at all. They rely upon the Al'Noth to keep them circling around the character, and in its absence, they will fall to the ground. Bioware does not enforce this mechanically, but we will enforce it administratively.
- Active magical and supernatural abilities that would draw upon the Al'Noth in some way, whether divine, arcane or natural. They may possibly persist when moving into a dead magic zone, but should not be activated or used from within a dead magic zone. These may include, but are limited to:
- Racially-granted feats and abilities (i.e. Darkness)
- Class-based feats, abilities and powers (i.e. Divine Might, Divine Shield, Bless Weapon, Holy Sword, Deafening Clang, Blade Thirst). This also includes the abilities of Spellswords and Arcane Archers to imbue their weapons and/or ammo with special enhancements.
- Epic spells (i.e. Epic Warding, Epic Mage Armor, Hellball)
Again, it is possible that these things may be activated or used prior to entering a dead magic zone, but they should not be activated while within a dead magic zone.
[/INDENT]The basic gist here is that any ability or item that requires the Al'Noth to activate or maintain cannot be used within a dead magic zone.
The GM Team hopes that this clears up the various questions, for GMs and players alike, on the subject of dead magic and what should or should not be allowed. Especially in the "Not Allowed" list, there are probably a list of things that are not explicitly stated but which still fall into the category. Again, we ask that players apply common sense to these things and err on the side of caution, or at least ask about a particular case if it is unclear.