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Tuttle
2009-09-05, 09:34 PM
In a PW for NWN2 I have been playing a group of people have been debating about Warlocks and detecting them. With their common association to demons and devils some characters have been treating them with paranoia but with the eldarich blasts having a completely unique animation you would be blind to not just know he is a warlock. I'm not sure this is true in PnP though... So, to ask the question

How hard is it to detect that a person is a warlock? Taking into the assumption of these different brackets of training:

None at all (Average NPC)
A few dribs and drabs (Maybe an adventurer that has spent a lot of time with a wizard?)
Low Level Spellcaster
Medium Level Spellcaster
High Level Spellcaster

lsfreak
2009-09-06, 12:06 AM
Depends on how common magic is.

Your every-day person and even those with some magical training probably can't tell the difference between any kinds of spellcasters, divine or arcane, with a handful of exceptions (Truenaming). Once they start getting a decent amount of training they'd be able to notice the major differences in the magical manifestations of Vancian magic versus, say, warlocks or binders, but they still wouldn't know the subtleties of how magic works to separate them all out, except for relying on non-magical clues (holy symbols, institutionalized and campaign-specific marks or symbols).

Once they reach about level 10, I'd say they can specifically single out warlocks as different than sorcerers, binders, and so on, but not necessarily be able to tell anything except "they're not like me." I view warlocks are rare enough that it's going to take some serious research to discover what a "warlock" is. On the other hand, I also don't exactly follow Knowledge check rules as they're written, and the planes tend to be out of reach (how seriously would you take a random guy in New York or London that he's got demon ancestry? yea...)

There's also the issue of fluff-related versus mechanics. If a warlock wants to make his eldritch blast look essentially like magic missile, sure, as long as he knows what magic missiles look like. Enervation or Scorching Ray? Sure. Smoke, or the colors of oil in water, or anything else that disguises its nature but can still be recognized as a magic something? Why not.

Gralamin
2009-09-06, 12:10 AM
I'm fairly sure that a DC 15 + (1/2 Warlock's Level) Spellcraft check would do it.

15 + spell level Identify a spell being cast. (You must see or hear the spellís verbal or somatic components.) No action required. No retry.
Unless Spellcraft cannot be used to determine what a spell-like ability is.

DragoonWraith
2009-09-06, 12:16 AM
The difficulty there is that SLA's don't have components to watch.

peacenlove
2009-09-06, 12:59 AM
The difficulty there is that SLA's don't have components to watch.

A warlock's SLA has somatic components though so thats only a - 5 penalty on spellcraft checks.

Lysander
2009-09-06, 12:56 PM
I'd say that a decent Knowledge Planes check would give you knowledge of warlocks and what their magic looks like since its extraplanar in origin. Knowledge Arcana or Religion checks could also do it, but with a greater DC. A spellcraft check might not tell you that a warlock is a warlock, but it would definitely reveal that they are using spell-like abilities instead of spells. If you know warlocks exist that alone might identify them through the process of elimination.

ShneekeyTheLost
2009-09-06, 01:43 PM
I'd say that a decent Knowledge Planes check would give you knowledge of warlocks and what their magic looks like since its extraplanar in origin. Knowledge Arcana or Religion checks could also do it, but with a greater DC. A spellcraft check might not tell you that a warlock is a warlock, but it would definitely reveal that they are using spell-like abilities instead of spells. If you know warlocks exist that alone might identify them through the process of elimination.

Of course,that same Knowledge (Planes) check would also tell you that they are not necessarily always associated with demons and devils, since they can also be associated with Fey and other beings, and can be non-evil, thus obviating the rationale for the prejudice.

Dragonmuncher
2009-09-06, 02:10 PM
So, the general consensus is that the common peasantry can't really tell the difference between most types of magic?

wadledo
2009-09-06, 02:13 PM
Yea, I think a good rule of thumb would be 15+effective spell level for when they do something like eldritch blast or other invocation, and then know: *blank* depending on the particular fluff associated with that particular warlock.
Planes: Devils/demons
Religion+Arcana : Possibly a circumstance bonus to spellcraft and other knowledge checks on a 15-20+ (this particular religion/magic looks for this sorts of stuff in a spellcaster because they're so paranoid about warlocks, and I know the stuff they look for)
Nature: Fey pacts.

kamikasei
2009-09-06, 02:22 PM
So, the general consensus is that the common peasantry can't really tell the difference between most types of magic?

Definitely. The most your average citizen could tell is what trappings of magic you're using - if you have a spellbook they'll peg you as a wizard, if you use a holy symbol they'll assume you're a priest, if you use neither their reaction may range from "generic mage" to "possessed heretic". It depends on setting to an extent, too.

There's also the difficulty that those with spell-like abilities get them from a whole range of sources, be it warlocks who vary between selling their souls, descending from fiends or fey, hanging out with eladrin or what, or factotums who simply handle their casting via SLAs, or binders whose pact-granted abilities manifest as (Su) abilities, or... well, you get the idea. It's a lot easier to identify someone as "not a normal arcane or divine caster" than to then identify exactly what they are.

DragoonWraith
2009-09-06, 04:57 PM
On the other hand, in a very high magic (and reasonably high education, I guess) setting, it's conceivable that even commoners would recognize various forms of magic. In The Elder Scrolls, for example, even a peasant farmer can manage a simple light or fire touch.