View Full Version : [Class feature] Sense Lines: please help!

2007-07-11, 02:05 PM
Howdy board! I'm new to this homebrewing lark and would appreciate all the help you can give me. I'm working on the Keeper, a base class for a low magic campaign that I'll be running in a couple of months based on Catherine Fisher's Book of the Crow series (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Relic-Master-Book-Crow/dp/0099263939). The beginnings of the campaign website can be found here (http://www.freewebs.com/anararpg/) if anyone's interested in the world or the flavour. Right now I'm not looking for help with the whole class, but I've got a mechanic I could do with checking for balance.

Keepers are the only people in the world capable of using magic, and even that isn't powerful: they get some illusion spells and a progression of one status-affecting spell per spell level, but beyond that nothing usable in combat and certainly nothing damaging. In addition, most of their out of combat spells will be called rituals and have their casting times increased to several minutes just to make sure no one finds a silly loophole I've missed. They probably won't get all nine levels of spells, but they will be spontaneous casters with a lot of spells known (possibly the whole list, like the beguiler. The whole list that doesn't exist yet...).

They're d6HD (possibly d4), 4+int skills and a narrow skill list, poor BAB, good will save, poor fort and ref. Casting stat is wisdom. No armour proficiencies and a wizard's weapon proficiencies. Conceptually they're a bit like Jedi, though a little less 'guardian of the peace' and a little more 'guardian of nature'. They preserve the lore and law of the god-like Makers who, funnily enough, made the world. The ability I'm looking for your help on at the moment is sense lines.

Quick glossary: awen is the life force of people, plants and the world and effectively equates to magic. The third eye is the magic-controlling part of the mind. Relics are magic items, though they function more like pieces of technology with specific uses than +5 greatswords or any other statistic-boosting thinger.

Sense lines:

A keeper has the ability to extend intangible, invisible lines of energy from his third eye which can be imbued with various different effects; these are called sense lines. A keeper can create as many sense lines as he likes up to a maximum length of 15ft/level, but the more he has active the harder it is to maintain concentration upon them.

Beginning a sense line takes a full round action, after which it takes a minute to extend the sense line to the maximum length. Extending a sense line over a shorter distance takes proportionally less time. A sense line can be made in any configuration provided it originates from the keeper's head, so for example a single long sense line could be sent ahead to scout the area or wrapped around a camp in a spiral to act as an alarm system in case anyone approaches.

Certain environmental factors like bad weather conditions or difficult terrain can make it difficult to maintain concentration on sense lines. When a sense line is extended into a square where such conditions occur, the keeper must make a concentration check or be unable to advance that sense line further. He may abandon that sense line and attempt to make another, but failing five such checks in an hour causes him to become sickened for an hour from the last failed check. Equally, if an already extended sense line is triggered in such conditions, an appropriate concentration check is required to notice this, otherwise the trigger passes unnoticed and the sense line may be destroyed.

Sense line concentration checks
{table=head]Cause | DC

No movement: sluggish water, very light breeze, stationary people | 6

Slow movement: quick stream, gusty breeze or an average street | 12

Moderate movement: fast river, heavy wind, busy road or small combat | 17

Fast movement: river rapids, gale force winds, crowded market or big fight | 23

Ferocious movement: stormy sea, hurricane, pitched battle | 28

Moderate terrain: 2 squares of movement to traverse: steep slope, shallow bog* | 10

Difficult terrain: 4 squares of movement to traverse: deep bog, wide wall* | 15

Terrain requiring a DC 10 climb check to traverse | 20

Terrain requiring a DC 15 balance check to run or charge through | 20

Each additional sense line active | +2**

One or more keepers present of lower level than you | -2***

One or more keepers present of equal or higher level than you | -4***[/table]
* Natural obstructions, such as undergrowth, do not apply.
** Cumulative.
*** Not cumulative.

Each sense lines has three standard abilities that are automatically active. These are:

-reading terrain - you get an approximate awareness of the terrain along the length of the sense line. Takes a full round action.

-proximity of people - you are aware of any tiny or larger creatures present in the same square as your sense line. Free action. A keeper is entitled to a reactive concentration check to notice whenever a person comes into the same square as an extended sense line.

-detect awen sources - you are aware of awen sources stronger than that of a human (ie, a relic) in the same square as your sense line. Free action. A keeper is entitled to a reactive concentration check to notice whenever an awen source comes into the same square as an extended sense line.

A keeper can attempt to imbue a sense line with a single additional ability, but doing so increases the DC of the concentration check required. Below 5th level, he has access to the following abilities:

-read surface emotions - you can detect a person's current general mood. An unwilling target is entitled to a will save, DC equal to 10 + your wisdom modifier. Full round action, conc DC +2

-access awen in relics - you can draw power out of relics to augment your own ability. If the relic is attended, it is allowed a will save of DC equal to your keeper level + your wisdom modifier using its holder's save bonus. Full round action, conc DC +4. (Yeah, this is vague. I need to work out how relics work before I can do anything more specific with it. Possibly something like gaining limited spell slots at the expense of rendering a magic item useless.)

-communicate with plants - you can access the living essence in plants, talking to them as if they were creatures with int of 3d6. They are treated as having an attitude of indifferent or friendly. Takes at least a minute, conc DC +4.

At 6th level, he adds the following abilities:

-read surface thoughts - you can get a general impression of a person's current surface thoughts. An unwilling target is entitled to a will save, DC equal to 12 + your wisdom modifier. Full round action, conc DC +4

-detect sense lines - you sense the presence of other sense lines intersecting yours. If the keeper's sense lines are hidden, you make opposed checks of keeper level + wisdom modifer + d20. Free action, DC +2, or +4 if opposed. A keeper is entitled to a reactive concentration check to notice whenever an unhidden sense line crosses his extended sense line.

-hide sense lines - you can attempt to hide your sense lines from detection by other keepers.

-activate relics - you can learn the functions of and activate a relic. At least a minute, conc DC +4. (Again, I need more detail on relics before this becomes finalised. It'll probably be big bonuses to UMD checks.)

-project surface thoughts - you can project words or images into a person's mind. An unwilling target is entitled to a will save, DC equal to 12 + your wisdom modifier. Full round action, conc DC +4

-donate awen to relics - you can donate some of your power to a relic whose awen has been exhausted in an attempt to revive and use it. At least one minute, conc DC +4. (Yeah, more vagueness. Possibly giving up lots of spell slots to try and reactivate a useless item.)

-solidify sense lines - you can form sense lines into lines of solid energy that require a strength check DC 10 + your wisdom modifier to break, or an attack with a slashing weapon against AC 5 to remove their 2 HP. It takes a standard action to turn 5ft/keeper level of sense line solid, and you must spend a move action each round to make a concentration check or the sense lines cease to be solid.

Question: Is this over-powered, bearing in mind that the keeper will have access to spells as well? I rather suspect it is, and I'd appreciate the input of people who haven't read the books and aren't trying to represent them accurately. If it is, how can I fix it?

2007-07-12, 10:22 PM
Without seeing their Spell List and other such things, it's hard to say. Chances are, though, that anything based off something 'super cool' from a book is going to be slightly overpowered. Not sure.