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View Full Version : Telekinesis: More than meets the eye?



Vhaidara
2007-09-03, 06:15 PM
Sorry for the pun.

Alright, we all know that telekinesis applies pressure to an area, usually the foe's entire body. However, what would stop you from targeting just a single artery to the brain, cutting off blood flow? You're still targeting the same thing, just a more finite part. This would turn basic telekinesis into a deadly ability equivalent to Finger of Death, only more reliable.

Opinions?

AKA_Bait
2007-09-03, 06:17 PM
That would be a called shot, I presume for a grapple, for which there are no 3.5 rules. Why no rules? It can break the game as you just demonstrated.

Yithian
2007-09-03, 06:18 PM
That is the same line of logic as using teleport to put a sword into a guy's heart or casting light on a person's eyeballs in order to blind him. The spells are just not meant to be used that way. I doubt that any reasonably sane DM would allow it.

Yithian

Vhaidara
2007-09-03, 06:21 PM
I do know people that do the first one, and I'll have to let my cousin in on the second. He made the suckiest nome diviner ever. 7th level, with one or two spells with a range that isn't short or touch.

Shhalahr Windrider
2007-09-03, 07:09 PM
Unless otherwise noted in a specific description, when a spell or other effect targets a creature, it targets the entire creature, not just part of the creature.

Vhaidara
2007-09-03, 07:14 PM
I'm not talking about magic-type telekinesis as psionic telekinesis.

MrNexx
2007-09-03, 07:17 PM
I used to have a line in my sig, by Lysander, which said "That spell was designed to create cupcakes for you to eat. You cannot summon them in your enemy's brain."

Vhaidara
2007-09-03, 07:19 PM
I'm just thinking out of the norm. Being creative.

AKA_Bait
2007-09-03, 07:22 PM
I used to have a line in my sig, by Lysander, which said "That spell was designed to create cupcakes for you to eat. You cannot summon them in your enemy's brain."

Aww but one of the staples of my gaming is "I cast magic missile... at their eye!"

TheGrimace
2007-09-03, 07:23 PM
oddly enough, these games do not take kindly to creative thinking.

in fact, if there is a brilliant use for a spell that isn't frowned upon, there is a description of that tactic right there in the spell description.

wall of stone anyone?

Vhaidara
2007-09-03, 07:25 PM
I know. That's one of the only things I really hate. That and the fact that your Average Joe level 1 commoner can jump 20 feet 5% of the time.

Demented
2007-09-03, 07:27 PM
Do you mean as a concept, not as an ability in an RPG?

If so, there's no reason you couldn't... Except for the same reason you can't hit someone in the jugular with a pair of scissors at 50 feet away.

Shhalahr Windrider
2007-09-03, 08:09 PM
I'm not talking about magic-type telekinesis as psionic telekinesis.
Then you will have to be more specific, as there is no psionic ability simply called telekinesis.

Telekinetic force? Nope, only affects objects.

Telekinetic maneuver? Nope, only lets you perform one of four specific combat maneuvers.

Telekinetic thrust? Nope. Hurls objects or creatures. Doesn't apply discrete, continued pressure.

And regardless of what you use, it still stands: If it targets a creature or object, it targets the whole thing. Not just bits and pieces.

Vhaidara
2007-09-03, 08:10 PM
Yes, but with thrust you could attack the jugular and smash it. they're pretty small, it can't take to much to break them.

Shhalahr Windrider
2007-09-03, 08:15 PM
Yes, but with thrust you could attack the jugular and smash it. they're pretty small, it can't take to much to break them.
No, you couldn't because it targets a creature, not "part of a creature".

Think of it this way: The power has no fine control it can't hit small areas. It's just one big coarse adjustment.

Mugen Nightgale
2007-09-03, 08:23 PM
And just ignore the monster/npc LP? You attack the jugular then what? The lvl 20 Epic Dark Lord gets killed by a lucky psionic character? Serious people its the same as "im gonna cast a stone wall in his pancreas." Have mercy will ya? I really like murdering stuff in creative ways but lets not forget the rules of the game.

Shhalahr Windrider
2007-09-03, 08:27 PM
oddly enough, these games do not take kindly to creative thinking.
There's creative, and then there's breaking the rules. Sometimes they overlap. Other times, they don't. Just find the times they don't.

UglyPanda
2007-09-03, 08:27 PM
...your Average Joe level 1 commoner can jump 20 feet 5% of the time.

They can't. Natural 20s and natural 1s have no effects on skill checks.


Unlike with attack rolls and saving throws, a natural roll of 20 on the d20 is not an automatic success, and a natural roll of 1 is not an automatic failure.

It's a common mistake/houserule, but by RAW, they don't.

Vhaidara
2007-09-03, 08:29 PM
No, because you jump horazontally a number of feet equal to your total roll. So a natural 20 with no modifier= 20 feet of distance if you have a running start.

UglyPanda
2007-09-03, 08:31 PM
Sorry, I thought you meant straight up.

Vhaidara
2007-09-03, 08:33 PM
No, that would be 5 feet.:smalltongue: But seriously, your average person has a 0% chance of that kind of jump.

Jack_Simth
2007-09-03, 08:39 PM
There's creative, and then there's breaking the rules. Sometimes they overlap. Other times, they don't. Just find the times they don't.
Well, if you're using a Telekinetic Thrust from a Ring, and you're a Rogue, and the total damage kills the target, you could call it cutting/smashing the jugular vein....

Of course, if you don't do enough damage to outright kill the target, you can't...

Shhalahr Windrider
2007-09-03, 08:43 PM
Well, if you're using a Telekinetic Thrust from a Ring, and you're a Rogue, and the total damage kills the target, you could call it cutting/smashing the jugular vein....
Sure. Go for it then. At that point it's pure flavor. But the thrust is still strong enough to hurl the entire body. :smallbiggrin:

Aximili
2007-09-03, 09:20 PM
No, that would be 5 feet.:smalltongue: But seriously, your average person has a 0% chance of that kind of jump.
Roll 3d6 for skills. It fixed it perfectly for my group.

SadisticFishing
2007-09-03, 09:24 PM
Roll 3d6 for skills. It fixed it perfectly for my group.

This makes so much sense it's scary. I've always found skill checks (and more noticeably ability checks, there's no way a character with 20 strength only has to roll 5 less than one with 10) weird.

MrNexx
2007-09-03, 09:29 PM
Roll 3d6 for skills. It fixed it perfectly for my group.

Another option; roll 2d10.

Machete
2007-09-03, 09:40 PM
Telekinetic Thrusting someone into a wall of thin, barbed spikes should be much more satisfying.

Now that is an item that is needed, a folding 10 ft by 10 ft wall of thin, barbed spikes to shove into a Bag of Holding.

Chronos
2007-09-03, 11:24 PM
Roll 3d6 for skills. It fixed it perfectly for my group.Why didn't I ever think of that? That really does seem like it would solve (or at least greatly alleviate) all of the problems with skill check rolls. Thanks!

Sulecrist
2007-09-03, 11:47 PM
Roll 3d6 for skills. It fixed it perfectly for my group.

This is brilliant. I wish I'd heard of this, I dunno, earlier than the end of 3.5.

I might carry it over, though.

Zincorium
2007-09-04, 01:32 AM
Primary reason that you can't target internal organs with almost any spell: line of effect.

Even the skin of the person grants complete concealment for the squishy bits themselves, and armor would pretty much be hard cover at that scale. If their jugular isn't exposed (which sounds like it would probably already be fatal) you can't cast things at it.

Artemician
2007-09-04, 01:36 AM
Well, I don't know.. but to me it's more a matter of precision.

To be more succint, it's the same reason you can't use Fireball to perform surgery. Telekinesis, it affects one object, but like a hand. A rather unsteady hand. You can use a hand to throw people around, or push them, but you can't physically rip out someone's neck with your bare hands.

It requires too much focus, just as a fireball requires too much focus for you to cauterize only a select area of the wound, and avoid hitting everything else.

Jack Mann
2007-09-04, 02:20 AM
You can't do this because it would be broken out of all proportion to the spell's level. It would be a one-hit kill against anything that had a recognizable anatomy. That makes for bad gameplay. It makes for bad storytelling. No-save insta-death just doesn't cut it. When the rules actually allow for this sort of nonsense, it has to be houseruled out. Actually breaking the rules when they make sense, when they keep the game working, that's insanity.

Randel
2007-09-04, 02:29 AM
I'm not sure about how other people see it, but I kind of always imagined telekinesis as a sort of gravity-bending action. For example, you could select one object, create a 'bubble' around it and then reverse the gravity inside the bubble to make the object fall upwards. Rotate the gravity and you can make it 'fall' to the side, randomize the gravity and it falls equally in all directions and just floats in the air. You can make large objects 'fall' around just as easily as small ones... but if that object is part of another, like is the case with their eye or heart then they might get slightly disoriented but their organs are so built into them that they simply can't fall out. Neither would trying to grab someones head and lift them off the ground to hang him, they might get slightly disoriented when their sense of balance gets messed up a little but that would be for the DM to decide and its more likely they would just rush you and try to kill you.

Of course, this assumes a wizard using gravity-based telekinesis can't generate more gravity than there normally is (like push them downwards to make them weight twice as much) they can only lift them a little to make them lighter... and if they were in a zero-gravity environment than gravity-telekinesis simply wouldn't work, or be really weak.

Anyway, not sure if that makes sense but it could provide an excuse why you can't target parts of objects.

averagejoe
2007-09-04, 02:47 AM
I know. That's one of the only things I really hate. That and the fact that your Average Joe level 1 commoner can jump 20 feet 5% of the time.

You know what, I'm sick and tired of people picking on me. :smallannoyed:

My first DM (who wasn't good in many, many ways) allowed this sort of thing. It basically makes create water better than disintigrate in many situations. Which is bad.

Aquillion
2007-09-04, 02:52 AM
This is also one of those cases where it sounds good for the players to start doing it... until you realize that that means the monsters are going to start doing it right back at them. Suddenly, turning every fight into 'roll initiative and win' doesn't sound so hot anymore, does it?

Vhaidara
2007-09-04, 05:49 AM
How does the Create Water one work? Our cleric has a habit of having saved the perfect spell for the occasion, even if once it was because the DM messed up and let her cast a 5th level spell at level5.

AslanCross
2007-09-04, 06:05 AM
Create Water just creates the appropriate volume of water in the space you designate. If it has a container it ends up in it, if it doesn't have a container it just splashes on the floor.

Vhaidara
2007-09-04, 06:07 AM
I know that, but Average Joe said something about it being more useful than Disintegrate in most cases. My cousin's gnome diviner needs all the tricks he can get. The guy gave up Evocation, which, at low levels, is one of the more useful schools. And he somehow has more HP than my dwarf rouge.

AslanCross
2007-09-04, 06:18 AM
Oh--maybe he means that under an unscrupulous DM, it can duplicate the effects of drowning with no saving throw at Lv 1. o_o

"I create water...IN YOUR LUNGS."

Vhaidara
2007-09-04, 06:20 AM
*Writes that down*

John_D
2007-09-04, 06:25 AM
The Create Water spell notes "conjuration spells canít create substances or objects within a creature", so that one's been shot down.

Machete
2007-09-04, 06:29 AM
Kind of like... I summon whales IN YOUR EYES!

John_D
2007-09-04, 06:40 AM
Would eyes count as an aquatic environment though? I'm told that rule was put in after cunning (and cruel) players summoned whales as very effective blockades in tunnels.

KillianHawkeye
2007-09-04, 07:42 AM
Roll 3d6 for skills. It fixed it perfectly for my group.

What exactly did this fix??? So now instead of having a range of 1 to 20 with an average roll of 10.5, you have a range of 3 to 18 with an average roll of 3 * 3.5 equals... lemme see... 10.5!!! So you get more rolls that are near the average. So what? That's what taking 10 is for (usuable in most situations). So you aren't going to roll a 1, but you aren't going to roll a 20 either. I don't get it. What was the problem, and how did this "fix" it?

Attilargh
2007-09-04, 07:49 AM
Does the term "bell curve" ring anything?

kjones
2007-09-04, 07:50 AM
What exactly did this fix??? So now instead of having a range of 1 to 20 with an average roll of 10.5, you have a range of 3 to 18 with an average roll of 3 * 3.5 equals... lemme see... 10.5!!! So you get more rolls that are near the average. So what? That's what taking 10 is for (usuable in most situations). So you aren't going to roll a 1, but you aren't going to roll a 20 either. I don't get it. What was the problem, and how did this "fix" it?

The important change is in the distribution of rolls, not in their range. Look up "normal distribution" to get a visual.

It's sort of unrealistic that an average person could jump 20ft (DC 20) on average the same number of times that they could jump 10 feet (DC 10). Shouldn't the former be a little less likely? With a straight d20 roll, they're equally probable, but with 3d6, there's a much greater chance of "average" rolls compared to either end of the spectrum.

Kurald Galain
2007-09-04, 09:23 AM
So you get more rolls that are near the average. So what?

Yes, that's precisely the point. It has been pointed out repeatedly that "taking 10" is a more realistic and practical mechanic than "rolling 1d20" is. Rolling 3d6 is a good step in the right direction.

Shhalahr Windrider
2007-09-04, 09:32 AM
Yes, that's precisely the point. It has been pointed out repeatedly that "taking 10" is a more realistic and practical mechanic than "rolling 1d20" is. Rolling 3d6 is a good step in the right direction.
Of course, the game mechanics assume commoners are taking 10 on pretty much every roll they make. Folks only roll the d20 when in tense situations, where the adrenaline is pumping overtime and making extraordinary things happen. And "Average Joe Commoner" just doesn't see that kind of situation often enough to be rolling the dice rather than taking 10. How often does "Average Joe Commoner" have to even jump a full 10 ft. anyway?

As a result, far fewer than 5% of the jumps "Average Joe Commoner" makes in his lifetime reach the 20 ft. mark. The ones that do reach that distance, if any do at all, will happen in already extraordinary circumstances.

Anxe
2007-09-04, 09:33 AM
Telekinesis, Robots in disguise!

Yeah telekinesis is too clumsy to stop an artery, although you should be able to use it to deal damage from above. That'd be sweet. The person would just be standing there and then it would feel like an invisible ton of bricks hit them.

MrNexx
2007-09-04, 09:35 AM
Does the term "bell curve" ring anything?

Ever since they took Gary's "Distribution of 3d6" out of the DMG, people's understanding of the probabilities of dice rolls have gone down the tubes.

Kurald Galain
2007-09-04, 09:58 AM
Of course, the game mechanics assume commoners are taking 10 on pretty much every roll they make.
The point is that the players are not.

Chronos
2007-09-04, 10:15 AM
To illustrate the problem with skill checks as they stand now: Suppose we have three characters. One is the wimpiest halfling ever (strength 1, modifier -5), one is a hulking strong half-orc (strength 20, modifier +5), and one is a perfectly average human (strength 10 or 11, no modifier). Now, let's consider some feat of strength that the human can accomplish half the time, when he's in a stressful situation (so DC 11; never mind here what exactly the task is). The halfling still has a 25% chance of accomplishing it, and the half-orc only has a 75% chance. Does it make sense that this super-wimpy halfling is still fully a third as likely to do something strong as the weightlifter half-orc?

For comparison, suppose that we were rolling 3d6 for skill checks instead of 1d20. The human still has a 50-50 shot at meeting the DC. The halfling still needs to roll a 16 or higher, but now, that's a lot harder. Before, he had 5 chances out of 20 (1 in 20 each of 16, 17, 18, 19, or 20), but now, he only has 10 chances out of 216 (6/216 to roll a 16, 3/216 to roll a 17, and 1/216 to roll a perfect 18). Similarly, the half-orc now has a 206/216 chance of success. This makes sense: For a task the average human has a fair chance at, the strong character hardly ever fails, and the weak character hardly ever succeeds.

Shhalahr Windrider
2007-09-04, 10:15 AM
The point is that the players are not.
The PCs by definition are not "Average Joe Commoner." (I believe that was the original complaint.) The players are facing extraordinary circumstances. They are meant to be heroes, capable of doing heroic and extraordinary deeds on a regular basis.

And also remember, the dice rolls are meant to represent a number of random factors that aren't entirely within the character's control. Maybe you got that 20 because you're making a jump while running from a dragon, whose wingbeats create a draft of air that pushes you away further as you jump. Likewise, a low roll can mean he tripped on a root. Things like that.


To illustrate the problem with skill checks as they stand now: Suppose we have three characters. One is the wimpiest halfling ever (strength 1, modifier -5), one is a hulking strong half-orc (strength 20, modifier +5), and one is a perfectly average human (strength 10 or 11, no modifier). Now, let's consider some feat of strength that the human can accomplish half the time, when he's in a stressful situation (so DC 11; never mind here what exactly the task is).
Actually, the human has a 50% chance of achieving the task any time, assuming no special modifiers. Taking 10 means he hits DC 10.


The halfling still has a 25% chance of accomplishing it, and the half-orc only has a 75% chance. Does it make sense that this super-wimpy halfling is still fully a third as likely to do something strong as the weightlifter half-orc?
In a stressful situation where the half-orc cannot apply his full focus on something he normally takes for granted while the halfling is used to mustering up the extra effort for this type of task? Sure.

Of course, maybe you're not giving the capabilities of a 1 Strength character due credit. It's still strong enough to be functional (if only barely), after all. There's a lot to how you calibrate your expectations in situations like this.

Ramza00
2007-09-04, 11:51 AM
Telekinesis is still a great spell.

Get 15 orc shotputs. Normally 2d6 damage. Cast a chained greater mighty wallop on them (as well as a chained shrink item to make them smaller). They now do 8d6 damage each.

Telekinetic thrust all 15 of them at a target. If they all hit they will do 120d6 damage.

All for a 5th lvl spell, a 6th lvl spell, and a 6th lvl spell. You can even apply skirmish or sneak attack damage to all these attacks.

Ramza00
2007-09-04, 11:53 AM
http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/adventuring/bellCurveRolls.htm

Nice variant rule in UA that people already mentioned.

tainsouvra
2007-09-04, 02:52 PM
Opinions? Short Version:
"Common sense and published rules both say it doesn't work that way in D&D."

Longer Version:
From a metagame perspective, it's horribly imbalanced and often relies on judgment calls that the average player/DM isn't qualified to make in the first place. For example, some players appear to believe that rupturing an artery leading to the brain will cause an instant and unavoidable death, when the reality is that it would take time for it to kill you and there are real-life methods that could save the victim's life (and, in D&D, magic multiplies that immeasurably). Most gamers just aren't qualified to be "creative" like this, because their ideas are wrong.

From an in-game perspective, let's go with one of the examples you gave...
telekinesis applies pressure to an area, usually the foe's entire body. However, what would stop you from targeting just a single artery to the brain, cutting off blood flow? You're still targeting the same thing, just a more finite part.Telekinesis provides a generalized telekinetic force to an area. There are limits to the speed, jerk, range, etc specifically because it's not an infinitely-customizable spell (or power, if it were one). Now, there is nothing that stops you from designing a Telekinesis-like spell that can be focused to the extent that your suggestion would require, but that sort of modification increases the spell's level. A spell that would allow you to apply lethal pressure to a specific vital point on an opponent would be a couple levels higher than a generalized force, putting it up from Telekinesis's level 5 to around level 7. As a strange coincidence, that's the same level as Finger of Death, which accomplishes pretty much the same thing. Game balance is funny like that, isn't it?
This would turn basic telekinesis into a deadly ability equivalent to Finger of Death, only more reliable. What on earth makes you think it would be more reliable? In reality, it would be much less likely to cause death, and in D&D a Fortitude Save would be appropriate.

Aximili
2007-09-04, 05:44 PM
What exactly did this fix??? So now instead of having a range of 1 to 20 with an average roll of 10.5, you have a range of 3 to 18 with an average roll of 3 * 3.5 equals... lemme see... 10.5!!! So you get more rolls that are near the average. So what? That's what taking 10 is for (usuable in most situations). So you aren't going to roll a 1, but you aren't going to roll a 20 either. I don't get it. What was the problem, and how did this "fix" it?
Well, you basically quoted not only the problems, but also the fixes.
First, reducing the range a little bit is good. Jumps ranging from 1 to 20 feet is way too much. Nobody (and I'm including both professionals and average joes in this) has such a large performance range.
Second, you get more rolls near the average without changing the actual average. That leads not only to much more realism, but also to more balance, since modifiers start to matter more.

Ever since they took Gary's "Distribution of 3d6" out of the DMG, people's understanding of the probabilities of dice rolls have gone down the tubes.
You guys think there's a chance that 3d6 will be core for certain rolls in 4e?:smallfrown:

Sulecrist, Chronos, SadisticFishing:
Always happy to guide lost souls, remember me in the afterlife.:smallwink:
Anyway, Unearthed Arcana (and the SRD) is full of nice variant rules. I only use a couple, but almost anyone can profit from at least one.

Chronos
2007-09-04, 08:17 PM
I'll be honest: I took a look at a few of the UA variant rules, decided that they were silly and not worth using, and decided against reading any further. It looks like I'll have to reconsider that.

Back on topic, I agree that if you want a telekinetic kill, the balanced way to do it is to create a new, higher-level spell.

Reel On, Love
2007-09-04, 08:34 PM
I'll be honest: I took a look at a few of the UA variant rules, decided that they were silly and not worth using, and decided against reading any further. It looks like I'll have to reconsider that.

Back on topic, I agree that if you want a telekinetic kill, the balanced way to do it is to create a new, higher-level spell.

And it might resemble this a little (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/psionic/powers/decerebrate.htm).

Vhaidara
2007-09-04, 08:42 PM
It isn't as much for a kill, as for a K.O.

Aximili
2007-09-04, 11:52 PM
It isn't as much for a kill, as for a K.O.
Still.:smallwink:

But anyways, how are you going to apply pressure to a single artery if you can't even see it?

UserClone
2007-09-05, 01:41 PM
I think that, other than the obvious Core Books, UA is the book I would have the absolute least compunction about buying again. It was completely worth every penny, for me at least.