Detection Proficiencies

Detection proficiencies may be used at any time. To use a detection proficiency, a character must concentrate and inspect their environs for one melee round. On a successful check, the character senses the presence and location of the phenomena being search for, so long as it exists within 10 feet of his current position. Multiple checks may be required if searching a larger area.

Like all proficiencies, Detection Proficiencies are checked by rolling 1d20. If the character rolls his adjusted ability score or less, he is successful, otherwise he fails. A roll of 20 always fails.

Detection Proficiencies Slots Ability Modifier Prerequisites
Awareness 2 Intuition 0
Danger Sense 2 Intuition +1
Dark Sense 2 Intuition -2
Detect Illusions 2 Reason -2
Detect Magic 2 Intuition -2
Detect New Construction 1 Intuition +4
Detect Noise 1 Intuition +0
Detect Pits and Deadfalls 1 Intuition +0
Detect Secret Doors 1 Intuition -2
Detect Shifting Walls 1 Intuition +2
Detect Signing 1 Reason +1
Detect Sloping Passage 1 Intuition +4
Determine Depth Underground 1 Intuition +0
Direction Sense 1 Intuition +1
Distance Sense 1 Intuition +0
Find Traps 1 Reason -2
Illthid Sense 1 Intuition -4
Planar Sense 2 Intuition -1
Portal Feel 2 Intuition -3
Psionic Detection 1 Intuition -2
Sound Analysis 1 Reason 0 Detect Noise.
Time Sense 1 Intuition 0
Weather Sense 1 Intuition -1

Awareness: Characters with the awareness proficiency are light sleepers, always alert to danger and attuned to their immediate surroundings. They gain two key advantages:

First, if they’re roused from slumber (during an attack at night, for example), they can react immediately, as if they had been awake. Provided a weapon is close at hand (a dagger placed beneath the pillow, for instance), they can even attack during the round in which they awaken. No proficiency check is required. This ability does not affect magical slumber, however, such as that created by a Sleep spell or related magicks.

Second, characters with the awareness proficiency can detect and ward off the effects of a thief’s backstabbing ability. If a thief is backstabbing a target with the Awareness ability, and the target is not otherwise involved in combat, then the target is granted a proficiency check. If the check fails, the backstabbing occurs normally. If the check succeeds the target can wheel and attack the backstabbing rogue immediately, gaining a free attack against the would-be backstabber, and causing the rogue to lose all backstabbing bonuses and damage multipliers.

Danger Sense: This proficiency provides a character with a sixth sense which warns of impending danger. On a successful check, the character avoids a trap at the last second or realizes that opponents wait to ambush him due to a sudden warning tingle that cannot be ignored.

Characters who make successful checks spot traps before blundering into them and receive initiative against hidden opponents. This proficiency does not work against opponents who are out in the open and making no attempt to hide their actions. Failure indicates that the character senses nothing out of the ordinary and play continues normally.

Dark Sense: The character has an uncanny ability, if moving at half speed or less, to sense objects or empty space in complete darkness. The requires total concentration, and so is useless in combat. Using this ability, the character could navigate through a dark room, avoiding collisions with furniture and stopping before stepping into a gaping pit.

The DM should require a roll whenever the character comes close to something that could be sensed. Success means that the character is aware that his path is either blocked by an object or that there is no solid ground at his feat. Failures are obvious because of the result collision or plunge.

Detect Illusions: A character with this proficiency can detect subtle clues that what they are sensing might not be real. As with other detection proficiencies, detection is not automatic, and the character must spend a round concentrating on the area of effect to discover its illusionary qualities. If the illusion is detected, the character perceives the illusion as a translucent image, seeing through it as though it were a light mist. Invisibility and other nonvisible effects cannot be discerned.

Knowing that something is an illusion is not necessarily a fail-safe defense against illusionary magic, such as in the case of a simulacrum.

Detect Magic: A character with this proficiency can feel subtle magical emanations within the area. With a successful check, they can determine the intensity of the magic—dim, faint, moderate, strong, and overwhelming. This proficiency reveals only the presence of magic, not what specific creatures, areas, or items might be the source of said magics—though triangulation may be possible with multiple checks.

This ability can be blocked by the same things that prevent detect magic spells from operating.

Detect New Construction: This proficiency can determine the approximate age of any structure. A successful check can tell whether a structure (including a mine passage, a house, castle, bridge, statue, etc.) was made hours, days, weeks, months, years, decades, centuries, or millenia ago. It cannot discern precise age more accurately than this rough order of magnitude, but can provide comparison between objects within the area searched. Thus if two adjacent mine shafts where carved one-hundred years and two-hundred years ago, respectively, the character could tell which was the older.

Detect Pits and Deadfalls: This proficiency allows the detection of simple traps and snares with no moving parts. This includes naturally occurring hazards such as sinkholes and possible avalanches.

Detect Secret Doors: Secret doors (those constructed so as to be hard to notice) and concealed doors (those hidden from sight by screens, curtains, or the like) are difficult to hide from a character with this proficiency.

Detect Shifting Walls: This rare proficiency is the purview of expert investigators and professional tomb-raiders. It allows the detection of walls and rooms that were specifically engineered to move — such from simple sliding wooden wall panels, to complicated machines that would cause a room to pitch, yaw, or rotate.

Detect Signing: This proficiency allows a character to realize when characters from other organizations are communicating using a secret language or signs (such as the Druidic language, Drow Sign-language, or Thieves’ Cant). The character who makes a Detect Signing roll recognizes seemingly meaningless symbols as writing and ordinary speech as having special meaning, although she will not know the specific content of the communication.

If a character makes her Detect Signing roll by 5 or better, she will be able to comprehend the general gist of the secret communication being attempted.

Detect Sloping Passage: Though most commonly used by miners to determine when a passage may be sloping subtly, this proficiency is also very useful to carpenters and engineers for detecting whether a floor, table, or other surface is properly level. A successful check determines both the grade of the slope (to within a ½% margin of error) and the direction of the slope relative to the character’s position (i.e. up and to the left).

Determine Depth Underground: With this proficiency a character is able to determine, from the pressure around him, how much rock is above his head. Though most often used to tell how deep one has gone into a mine or the underdark, it could also be used to estimate the height of mountains by burrowing into the base. On a successful check, the character can estimate his depth to within a few meters.

Detect Noise: The ability of a character with this proficiency to hear tiny sounds (behind heavy doors, down long hallways, etc.) is much better than the ordinary person’s. As with other detection proficiencies, listening is not automatic; the character must stand still and concentrate on what he’s hearing for one round. He must have silence in his immediate surroundings and must remove his helmet or hat. Sounds filtering through doors or other barriers are unclear at best.

Direction Sense: A character with this proficiency has an innate sense of direction. By concentrating, the character can try to determine the direction the party is headed. If the check fails but is less than 20, the character errs by 90 degrees. If a 20 is rolled, the direction chosen is exactly opposite the true heading.

Furthermore, when traveling in the wilderness, a character with direction sense has the chance of becoming lost reduced by 5%.

Distance Sense: This proficiency enables a character to estimate the total distance he’s traveled in any given day, part of a day, or a number of consecutive days equal to his level.

Additionally, with a successful check, the character can accurately (to within a few feet) estimate the distance to a visible landmark or target. Making this proficiency incredibly useful for archers, riflemen, and snipers.

Find Traps: A character with this proficiency is trained to find mechanical traps and alarms. These include poisoned needles, spring blades, deadly gases, crushing walls, warning bells, and anything else that a skilled mechanist might devise. This skill is not effective for finding deadfall ceilings, pits, or other large, non-mechanical traps. Unlike with other detection proficiencies, in order to find a trap, the character must be able to touch and inspect the trapped object directly.

If the character finds a trap, he knows its general principle but not its exact nature or the mechanism. This proficiency grants no special ability to disarm or bypass the trap, but does inform the character of how to deliberately trigger the trap (which may allow it to be bypassed if there is no automatic reset mechanism).

Illithid Sense: Illithid sense gives the character a chance to integrate subtle clues, spoor, “tunnel vibrations,” and even psychic emanations, that indicate the presence of illithids and related creatures within the area. Unlike other detection proficiencies, this highly specialized training allows a character to sense the presence of illithids within a range of 200 feet. If successful, the character becomes aware of nearby illithid activity, but not the exact distance or the direction.

Planar Sense: Similar to the skill of weather sense, this proficiency allows a character to predict the imminent conditions on any plane. Random changes in air breathability, gravity, ground stability, temperature chance, and so on can be predicted up to an hour before they occur.

In addition, since standard compass directions, as most natives of the material plane know them, don’t exist on many planes, this proficiency allows another method of judging direction. Planar Sense enables the character to utilize landmarks and other benchmarks to keep from getting lost. While the character may not know which direction is north, he does know how to get back to a city, mountain, portal, or other landmark.

Portal Feel: Sometimes a planewalker needs to know what’s on the other side of a portal before he steps through. This proficiency also allows a character a chance to determine the portal’s exit point. This proficiency is used in two ways.

First, a successful check grants a general feel for safety. By intuition and observation, the character determines whether a given portal leads into a setting or situation of direct and immediate harm. Obviously, this is open to DM interpretation.

A second successful check at a -2 penalty divines the location of the other end of a gate or portal. The planewalker may not learn the exact site or position, but at the very least the character will learn the destination plane. This proficiency does not tell the character about any gate keys required to open the portal.

Psionic Detection: With this proficiency, a character uses his latent psionic ability to detect the expenditure of psionic strength points (PSPs) around him. When employing this proficiency, a character must clear his mind and concentrate, taking at least one full round to prepare. A successful check allows the character to detect the expenditure of any PSPs within the affected area, regardless of intervening material objects. A character can maintain use of the proficiency for successive rounds, but during that time he cannot move or perform any other action. The proficiency check, however, must succeed on the round the PSPs are expended or the character detects nothing.

Psionic detection proficiency can only inform a character that PSPs were expended, nothing more. The detector cannot determine the number of PSPs, their source, the powers or devotions drawn upon, or the purpose of the expenditure (e.g., to initialize a power or to maintain one). This proficiency is not cumulative with other detection techniques.

Sound Analysis: This proficiency allows a character to gauge the size of underground areas by generating noise and analyzing the echoes that return. Using this skill, he can calculate distances up to one mile, and determine sound direction.

To use sound analysis, the character must work in absolute silence. The sound created must have a sharp, staccato quality. A howl or wail is ineffective, but a clicking sound, or loud “hey” works well.

The character must make a proficiency check. If the check is successful, he has correctly analyzed the size of the area in question to within plus or minus 25% of its height, width, and length. If the check fails, the echo has become garbled in its reverberations. No further attempts by the PC to analyze that area will succeed, though others with the proficiency may try.

A proficiency check of 5 or less means the character has learned not only the size of the analyzed area, but other details as well: the number of branching side passages, whether there is a straight or wandering corridor, and whether or not water exists.

Time Sense: This character is always able to give a reasonably close approximation of the time and has a chance (on a successful proficiency check) of being able to tell how much time has elapsed during a specified interval (such as the time that has passed since he fell asleep).

This proficiency is based on an internal biological clock, not observation of the natural world, and so functions even when the character is underground, or completely enclosed. If the character is on another plane where time operates differently then his home plane, this proficiency does not function until he returns to his home plane or spends at least one week adjusting to the new flow of time.

Weather Sense: This proficiency enables the character to make intelligent guesses about upcoming weather conditions. A successful proficiency check means the character has correctly guessed the general weather conditions in the next six hours. A failed check means the character read the signs wrong and forecast the weather incorrectly.

A proficiency check can be made once every six hours. However, for every six hours of observation, the character gains a +1 bonus to his ability score (as he watches the weather change, the character gets a better sense of what is coming). This modifier is cumulative, although sleep or other activity that occupies the attention of the character for a long period negates any accumulated bonus.

Sometimes impending weather conditions are so obvious that no proficiency check is required. It is difficult not to notice the tornado funnel tearing across the plain or the mass of dark clouds on the horizon obviously headed the character’s way. In these cases, the player should be able to deduce what is about to happen to his character anyway.

Detection Proficiencies

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