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View Full Version : [3.5E] New Skill: Control Thoughts



Eldariel
2009-04-13, 09:31 PM
You know how skilled scoundrel-types often hide their true thoughts from a variety of magical scrutiny (from everything from a jedi to a witch) not through magic but by simply not thinking of what they don't want to reveal - keeping something trivial, but believable on the top of their mind and masking the truly relevant thoughts in some hidden locations until the scrying is over. The other common trick is stating technical truths that don't reveal the speaker's true knowledge of the subject in the face of a lie detection, be it magic or mechanical.

Now, the thing that caused me to start to think about creating such a skill was the fact that such an effect does already exist in D&D, or more precisely it's the Super Epic (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/epic/skills.htm#bluff) (DC 100) use of Bluff. However, due to the size of that DC, it's understandably not a part of even most epic Rogues' arsenal, especially as often when such an ability could be useful, you might be deprived of your magical gear and be unable to count on spellcasting support. So I feel having a separate skill allows setting some reasonable DCs for the actions, thus making them attainable even in standard non-epic games (which the vast majority of them are to my understanding). Basically, the idea is to give non-casters some tools to use against casters; I think D&D does magic just fine, but for some reason doesn't really include many anti-magic measures like you'd expect in a world such as Forgotten Realms. So without further ado:


Control Thoughts (Int) [I think "force of personality" suits a misguiding effort such as this the best, although it does make this feel like something of an active action]; Trained Only - class skill for Rogues, Bards & Monks

You have a certain mastery over your own thinking processes, allowing you to mask your thoughts, purposes, plans, ideas, alignment and other factors from magic to deceive spellcasters industriously working on figuring you out.

DC 15+CL: Fool an effect such as Detect Thoughts. Success means you are able to hide your thoughts from the spell, giving the caster no information on your mind, although the caster knows the spell failed to reveal something. Success by 5 or more means you may supply false information to the caster. This check can be made as a free action when your thoughts are subjected to a foolable effect.

DC 25: Display an alignment other than your own to effects attempting to discern it. A person using some effect that normally discerns your alignment is entitled to an opposed Sense Motive-check to figure out your true alignment. This check can be made as a free action when your thoughts are subjected to a foolable effect.

DC 35: By succeeding a DC 35 Control Thoughts-check as a Full-Round Action, you can induce a state of absence to your mind similar to the effects of the spell Mind Blank (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/mindBlank.htm). If you would be targeted by an effect that would be blocked by this, the caster may attempt a caster level check against the results of your the check you made when activating this ability to penetrate this protection. Success indicates that the spell works normally, failure means you're considered to be under the effects of Mind Blank for the purposes of this spell.
The process is strenuous and failing this check means you may not try to induce this state again for 24 hours.
This state lasts for 24 hours unless you choose to end it earlier than that.


Synergy: If you have 5 ranks in Bluff, you gain +2 to all Control Thoughts-checks.

Action: None or Full-Round; see text.

Retry: No, or in 24 hours; see text.


EDIT#1: Switched stat from Cha to Int, added Bard for classes.

afroakuma
2009-04-13, 09:50 PM
It's a very nice idea, but it feels like it should be Int-based for several reasons.

Still, it's given me an intriguing idea of my own...

Chronos
2009-04-13, 11:03 PM
You could also make a case for just adding this as another use of Autohypnosis, instead of making a new skill for it.

Harperfan7
2009-04-14, 04:34 PM
Hmm, I was thinking it should be Wis based. Strength of will, discipline, prudence, and all that. It seems more defensive than offensive, and charisma is pretty much offense only, while wisdom is defense for the most part.

I think bards should get it too.

Eldariel
2009-04-14, 05:06 PM
It's a very nice idea, but it feels like it should be Int-based for several reasons.

Still, it's given me an intriguing idea of my own...

I reasoned the stat by you effectively moving the thoughts inside your mind and manipulating the effect that's scrying you to miss whatever you want it to miss. It could really be reasoned to be any of the mental stats, so I went with what I perceive as the weakest of the lot - Charisma.


You could also make a case for just adding this as another use of Autohypnosis, instead of making a new skill for it.

This is true. However, I find Autohypnosis to be more of an involuntary ability than something you actively do (like, you train something but when the time comes to actually use your training, you do it involuntarily), and more relevantly, something to be used on your body (in spite of the "and the mindís own deepest capabilities"-part), while this ability is entirely about your own mind.

The other big problem with rolling them together is that Control Thoughts is really the kind of ability I find appropriate for a Rogue - on the other hand, I don't feel they have any business getting Autohypnosis. Keeping them separate makes life easier in this regard.


Hmm, I was thinking it should be Wis based. Strength of will, discipline, prudence, and all that. It seems more defensive than offensive, and charisma is pretty much offense only, while wisdom is defense for the most part.

I think bards should get it too.

Wisdom would sort of make sense, but I think it least makes sense out of the three mental scores - Wisdom is stuff you've derived out of experience, insight, etc. I don't feel it's that well poised for active uses such as controlling your own thoughts. Int makes more sense because it represents cunning and smarts, and hiding your own thoughts from those invading your mind takes both, while charisma represents strength and thus the ability to direct the intruders and dominate your own thoughts.

You bring up a good point about Bards - I avoided spellcasters because of their focus on working magic and thus lacking the energy to devote towards mundane mastery of their own thoughts, but Bard could make sense as the same type of scoundrel as Rogue. This does spring a problem though - as Bard is Charisma-based, he'd automatically be vastly superior in this compared to Rogues, Monks and whatever other characters acquire this ability, something I don't think is appropriate.


Now, switching it to Int would fix the Bard-problem - it's a secondary stat for Bards & Rogues. It would mean that Factotums would own this area, but meh, that tends to happen when talking about skills. For some reason, Wisdom-based characters feel like this should come more naturally to them (think Monk, for example, although I suppose they do care more about ruling their body and finding the mental control through that physical control - they should definitely have Autohypnosis in class), but Wisdom as a stat feels wrong for this because of what the ability represents and what Wisdom means.

I think I'm ultimately going to shift this to Int and give it to Bards - seems like the most sensible solution.


As a note, this is supposed to be a pretty "hard" field to excel in, hence the relatively high DCs and no really low level checks. That's why I try to avoid primary stat of the classes that have this in class - I'd rather not have people just take 1 rank and ride their insane stat to the checks.

Draken
2009-04-14, 05:23 PM
How long does the mind blank effect last? I am presuming 24 hours but you did not state it.

Eldariel
2009-04-14, 05:31 PM
How long does the mind blank effect last? I am presuming 24 hours but you did not state it.

Hm, good point, I suppose it should be given a duration. 24 hours sounds about right.