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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Dwarf in the Playground

    Join Date
    Oct 2015

    Default New Spell: Unseen Interpreter (I need help getting the spell description right.)

    I am trying to come up with a new spell for a potential character. The character would be a Bard (archaeologist) with Variant Multi-Classing Oracle (deaf curse). The idea of the spell is to summon a non-combat magical being that speaks two languages (at least one of which is known by the caster) and can communicate what the caster says and communicate to the caster what is said in the other language. For example, a deaf caster could cast the spell to create an interpreter that knows Sign and Common. The summoned interpreter could then communicate in Common whatever the caster Signs, and whatever the interpreter hears, it could convey in Sign to the caster.

    I am thinking this spell could be based off of unseen servant and maybe an optional focus component could be used to help with how the unseen interpreter could know a language the caster does not without being a divination spell. So far, this is what I got:

    Spoiler: Unseen Interpreter
    Unseen Interpreter
    School conjuration (creation); bard 1, magus 1, sorcerer/wizard 1, summoner/unchained summoner 1, witch 1
    Casting Time 1 standard action
    Components V, S, F (traveler's dictionary; see text)
    Range close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)
    Effect one invisible, mindless shapeless interpreter
    Duration 1 hour/level
    An unseen interpreter is an invisible, mindless, shapeless force that interprets one language into another language at your command. An unseen interpreter knows any languages you know. In addition, you can use a traveler's dictionary (see Books, Paper, and Writing Supplies) as a focus component for this spell. If you do, the unseen interpreter knows the language contained in the second section of the dictionary, provided you know the language in the first section, or vice versa.

    While the unseen interpreter is adjacent to you, it will interpret anything you communicate into any other language it knows and interpret anything it hears (with a Perception DC of 10 or less) in a language it knows into a language you can understand. It can only interpret between two languages at a time. If more than one speaker attempts to communicate within the interpreter's range of hearing, you can direct it to interpret a specific creature or it will interpret the loudest creature. If one of the languages it is interpreting uses nonverbal communication, such as hand signs or facial ques, the unseen interpreter manifests translucent approximations to facilitate communication. It can speak only in a normal talking voice, making it unable to shout or communicate effectively over distances greater than 30 feet. The unseen interpreter's interpreting, while useful, is also not as accurate or smooth as normal communication due to its emotionless, monotone voice. Any social skill checks used through the interpreter take a -4 penalty.

    This interpreter cannot fly, climb, or even swim (though it can walk on water). Its base speed is 15 feet. The interpreter cannot attack in any way; it is never allowed an attack roll. It cannot be killed, but it dissipates if it takes 6 points of damage from area attacks. (It gets no saves against attacks.) If you attempt to send it beyond the spell's range (measured from your current position), the interpreter ceases to exist.

    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Troll in the Playground

    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Elemental Plane of Purple

    Default Re: New Spell: Unseen Interpreter (I need help getting the spell description right.)

    Edited this post recently because I had more ideas.

    This should be a higher level spell since the duration is hour/level and it adds to what a normal unseen servant can do. I'd make this a 2nd level spell at least.

    Comprehend languages and tongues both have a shorter duration. So this leads me to think this should have a shorter duration since you are basically adding a tongues spell to the your unseen servant. The tongues would run out before the unseen servant did. This is something to consider when designing new spells.

    Giving an unseen servant the ability to translate also opens the door for abuse. Letting your unseen servant spy on people and then translate their conversations isn't heroic. Of course, neither is being a murder hobo, but depending on the character concept this could be a problem. I'm not sure how this fits in.

    Here are other things your deaf character should note:

    1. Being deaf doesn't necessarily make you mute. If you could talk before you went deaf, you can still talk. This is of course character concept and I don't know what yours is.

    2. Lip reading is a decent skill. See zone of silence: a successful DC 20 Linguistics check to read lips can still reveal what's said within the zone, and that's for someone who doesn't have any training in lip reading. A deaf character could have Linguistics (Lip Reading Common and Sign Language) for example. Note: the deaf character has to be able to see a person's lips to use this skill so anything that affects line of sight would have to be taken into account.

    3. Writing things down. Having a paper and writing implement drags out conversations but as long a both parties can read a common language, this a perfectly fine way to communicate. Works well for urban settings rather than dungeons where lighting can be spotty and where characters aren't necessarily adjacent to one another.

    4. You could just hire a translator for 1 gp per day, which is certainly cheaper than a traveler's dictionary costing 50 gp at least in the short run.

    Last edited by Debihuman; 2016-06-06 at 05:17 PM.
    P.E.A.C.H. Please Evaluate And Critique Honestly. Being nicer and kinder doesn't hurt either. Note I generally only critique 3.5 and Pathfinder material.
    Please, please, please when using non-core material, cite to the books. There are too many books to wade through to find the one with the feat, special ability or spell you use.
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  3. - Top - End - #3

    Default Re: New Spell: Unseen Interpreter (I need help getting the spell description right.)

    The spell looks mostly ok.

    Except for the hour a level duration. So a high level person gets the spell all day, but a low level one will need to cast it several times a day? That will eat up a lot of slots.... It might work better as ''x conversations per level''.

    I don't think ''unseen servant'' is the way to go. An ''unseen, mindless, shapeless force'' is translating? And more so it is somehow ''becoming visible'' to do gestures? Feels odd...

    For better flavor, how about make the interpreter an animal or an outsider. I think a non-combative outsider sage/scholar type would work great. If you stick with the ''monotone'' translation, some type of construct/outsider works great, like a mordron. You could even do a good bit of lore of ''god X created this creature for this spell''.

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