Thursday, November 13, 2014

Random Extra-Sensory Perception Table

Okay, so D&D has this whole set of spells that make you a chump if you memorize them. Spells like See Invisibility, Detect Thoughts, Locate Object, Tongues, or even Arcane Eye. Sure, additional information is nice, and given some notice a good divination spell will completely -or even problematically- solve a problem or plot point. That's great, but it isn't damage. Damage is always helpful. It's a pretty rare game where you'd rather have Tongues than Fireball. Unless the DM shoehorns in a situation that specifically requires that spell. And unlike spells like Major Illusion, there is very little room for the creative application of most divination spells. Even a lot of the theoretically interesting ones like Augury are still pretty useless due to ambiguity.

If you aren't using D&D next in favor of some previous edition, then everything I said applies except double. If you are a spellcaster of less than 7th level and you burn a spell slot on any sort of detection spell, you are wasting the rest of your party's time. In short, you are sub-optimal.

My solution is to have those and a few other divination spells impart a random, special bonu to their caster: a random, weird sort of perception that is not normally available to players. This does not solve the whole problem of you waiting around for an excuse to cast Detect Poison, but once you do at least there is a chance of something good or interesting happening.

Any time a character casts a divination spell that you have deemed sub-optimal, roll 1d12 on the following table:

Random Extra Sense Chart

Any resulting senses last until the end of the day or the next long rest, depending on your ruleset.

1. Sense Magic: You may detect the presence of enchantments, whether an item is magic or not, and whether a powerful magical item (rare or artifact) lies on the far side of a door. You may also detect enhancement spells and discern their particulars, though it's rare NPCs will use them. This extends out to 50 feet.

2. See Invisibility: You may perceive invisible creatures without difficulty. Any invisibility-related penalties do not apply to you. Uh, you can also see the ghastly incorporeal spirits that are always -ALWAYS- drifting about the ethereal plane wherever you are.

3. Smell Power: You may tell whether or not there is a rare magical item or artifact present in your dungeon or rough geographical area. Unless, you know, it's one of those artifacts that doesn't like being found. Or if the DM doesn't know -- he can't tell you what he doesn't know, after all. If the DM feels like he can't tell you without spoiling a plot point, he should let you reroll twice (ignoring further 3s..

4. Sense Wealth: You may tell from the far side of a closed door whether or not there is more than 200gp worth of treasure and/or valuable goods on the far side of a door. Most magic items do not qualify, this is for GP only.

5. Infravision: You may see in the dark out to long range (200 feet), no problem.

6. Detect Lies: You may unerringly detect a statement made with intent to deceive. You can even detect them in written form, so long as the writing isn't too old (more than a year) and it's an original copy. This is a great ability but don't get tedious or bothersome with it, please.

7. Omnivision: You cannot be flanked (if that's a thing). You can read writing at long range as though you were standing next to it. You may perceive the gist of any unencoded writing, regardless of language. You can unerringly follow an accurate map.

8. Divine Ear: You may hear your name being spoke, anywhere. Though you don't get exact words, you do receive the gist of the conversation along with the general context of discussion, and may discern the speaker's name or that of his compatriots. The DM should feel free to summarize and gloss over the details if you're a celebrity.

9. Retrocognition: Once per encounter but no more than once an hour, you may spend several minutes in direct physical contact with an object to get an idea of the most momentous thing to occur involving that object. Objects that players have been carrying for a while tend to have their histories muddled, and many objects have no impression left with them at all. Still, this could be handy.

10. Sense Life: You may detect the number of living creatures on the far side of a door. Numbers, that's it. And living things, only.

11. Demonic Vision: You may see in the dark out to long range (200 feet) and can spend a minute staring at a living creature to perceive which of the seven deadly sins most is their favorite.

12. Smell Danger: You have a +4 initiative bonus (if that's a thing), resistance against traps (half damage from them, including pits), and have a 3-in-6 chance of noticing that an item is cursed before equipping it (if that's a thing in your game).

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