View Full Version : Oculans [Creature] [Construction edits]

Magnor Criol
2007-12-16, 05:14 PM
-E- Edits to the CR and to the Spell-Like Abilities.
-E2- Numbers chosen for the construction section, though they're still very open to discussion.

Okay, here goes. These creatures are something of my flagship; the idea had been fermenting in my head for a very long time, and the most recent incarnation of Vorpal Tribble's monster competition, Built of Faith (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=65151), spurred me into action, finally writing it up.
BEWARE, this is a long creature. Just so you know what you're getting into.
I'd appreciate comments and critiques on any section of these guys. However, three special areas are the focus of my concerns:
Creation. I have no idea what to set for the various costs and times associated with their creation.
Length. Any time you find a place where I could pare down the text and still have a clear, mechanically sound entry, speak up.
The Sensor ability. I'm a little concerned about the clarity and mechanical stability of the ability, so if you could give that special notice when you go over the entry, I'd appreciate it.


Tiny Construct
Hit Dice: 1d10 (5 hp)
Initiative: +4
Speed: 25 ft. (Good) (5 squares)
Armor Class: 16 (+4 Dex, +2 size), touch 16, flat-footed 12
Base Attack/Grapple: +0 / -11
Attack: Zap Ray +6 ranged touch (1d3 Elec)
Full Attack: Zap Ray +6 ranged touch (1d3 Elec)
Space/Reach: 2-1/2 ft./0 ft..
Special Attacks: Zap ray, Dazzler, Study Target
Special Qualities: Hollow, Bound Will, Construct traits, Eye Hand, Flight, Light, Reasoned Analysis, Detection, Sensor, Studious, Spell-Like Abilities
Saves: Fort +0, Ref +4, Will +7
Abilities: Str 4 (-3), Dex 18 (+4), Con -, Int 19 (+4), Wis 16 (+3), Cha 10 (+0)
Skills: Hide +8, Listen +7, Move Silently +8, Search +8, Spellcraft +5, Spot +7, Knowledge (Arcana) +5, Knowledge (History) +5, Knowledge (Nature) +5, Knowledge (Religion) +5, Knowledge (The Planes) +5 (See below)
Feats: Hover (http://realmshelps.dandello.net/cgi-bin/feats.pl?Hover), Flyby Attack (http://realmshelps.dandello.net/cgi-bin/feats.pl?Flyby_Attack) (B)
Environment: Any
Organization: Solitary or pairs
Challenge Rating: 3
Treasure: None or Half standard in books, magical texts, scrolls, etc.
Alignment: Usually any Lawful or Neutral
Advancement: 3 – 4 HD (Tiny)
Level Adjustment: -

In front of you floats a small metal ball about two feet across. Purple, with gold scrollwork tracing across its surface, the most striking feature about this ball is a large, circular, blue lens in its center which strongly reminds you of an eyeball. Though a construct, this creature is clearly intelligent, as it seems to be interested in everything around it. You can feel its intense gaze focusing on you, as if it were trying to learn everything about you it could just by looking at you.

Oculans are small, ball-shaped intelligent constructs resembling floating metal eyeballs. They are highly intelligent constructs designed by Boccob to aid his scholarly supplicants in research and, to a lesser degree, defense. Besides those constructed by mortals, Oculans can be found wandering the Clockwork Nirvana of Mechanus, and are drawn to any large nexus of knowledge on any plane. They make excellent spies and even more excellent research assistants. Though they are very poor combatants, they are highly helpful in surveillance.
All oculans are incredibly curious, and delight in learning new things. They regard any new experience as a valuable chance for information. They will often hover over someone's shoulder as they perform a task, hoping to learn about what they're doing, or float for hours in a library, reading every book they can access from cover to cover.

Being small, weak, and easily destroyed, oculans avoid combat at all costs. If absolutely forced to fight, an oculan calculates and employs intelligent tactical maneuvers, making sure to maximize the benefit of its Study Target ability. It will use every opportunity it has to create an opening for it to flee.


Zap Ray (Sp): An oculan's normal attack is a small beam of electricity it shoots from the center of its 'eye'. This ability functions exactly like the spell Ray of Frost except that the damage is electric-based, not cold-based. Its effective caster level is ½ its master's arcane caster level (minimum 1).
If the opponent is in metal armor, made of metal, etc. the oculan gains a +3 bonus on attack rolls.

Dazzler (Sp): Once per day, an oculan can emit a cone of glittering colors to distract its foes. This ability functions exactly like the spell Color Spray, except for the effects, which are as follows (based on the target's hit die):
2 HD or less: The creature is stunned for 1d4 rounds, then dazzled for 1d4 rounds.
3 or 4 HD: The creature is stunned for one round, then dazzled for 1d4 rounds.
5 or more HD: The creature is dazzled for 1 round.

Study Target (Ex): An oculan who has had ample time to study a specific, declared target knows just what to say and how to say it to have the maximum effect; it adds its Intelligence modifier to all Charisma-based skill checks made to interact with the target. Further, If the oculan is performing an action that forces the target to make a Concentration check, the DC of this check is increased by 1. If in combat against the target, it gains a +1 insight bonus to its AC against attacks from the target, knowing its typical attack styles and combat behaviors.
Creatures with an Intelligence of 3 or higher require (1d6 + the target's Intelligence modifier) weeks of observation to gain the benefit. Creatures with an Intelligence of 2 or less take only 1d2 weeks of study. The oculan must continuously study the target during this time. If the target becomes aware that it is being observed, the benefit cannot be gained, as the target will act differently once it knows it's being watched (even if it doesn't intend to). The oculan doesn't automatically know that the target is aware of it, though a sudden and dramatic change in behavior may alert it.
The benefit can be applied to groups as well as individuals, if the group stays together for a majority of the time (as with a group of PCs). If attempting to study a group, use the highest Intelligence score in the group to determine the weeks of study needed, plus one extra week per member of the group. The oculan receives the benefit for each member of the group.
The DM can state that a portion of the benefit is not gained in certain circumstances; for example, the oculan might not gain the insight bonus to AC if it never got to see the target in combat.

Hollow (Ex): An oculan's hollow frame means that it takes extra damage from crushing attacks. It takes an extra 50% damage from bludgeoning attacks. All bludgeoning attacks receive +4 on a roll to confirm a critical hit. Piercing attacks receive +2 on a roll to confirm a critical.

Bound Will: At creation, an oculan is bound to its master's will. It has free will to do as it wishes so long as in doing so it does not conflict with its master's orders. When an oculan's master ceases to exist, the oculan becomes bound directly to Boccob's will.

Construct Traits: Oculans do not gain immunity to all mind-affecting effects (charms, compulsions, phantasms, patterns, and morale effects). Otherwise, they possess all construct traits as normal.

Eye Hand (Su): The oculan can use a version of the spell Mage Hand at will. The range is a 5-foot-radius sphere centered on the oculan. It can manipulate only three objects in this sphere at once. It cannot move objects fast enough to perform any combat actions; the oculan itself can only move at a speed of ten feet (two squares) per turn while it uses this ability. The "hand" is dexterous enough to manipulate small objects such as opening doors (but not picking locks), turning pages, opening small jars, etc. Using Eye Hand is a free action and has no limit to its duration.

Flight (Ex): An oculan's body is naturally buoyant. This buoyancy allows it to hover above the ground, at a speed of 25 feet, with good maneuverability. Its default hovering height is about 5 feet in the air; it can adjust this height by 5 feet per round, subject to normal movement restrictions, up to a maximum of 15 feet above the ground. If it moves or is moved over an edge that puts its height at more than 15 feet above the ground, it begins to fall. This buoyancy also grants it a permanent feather fall effect with personal range.
If the oculan is rendered Unconscious (see Sensor, below) it loses the effects of this ability and drops immediately to the ground, sustaining any applicable falling damage.

Reasoned Analysis (Ex): An oculan can adds its Intelligence modifier to Will saves. It also uses its Intelligence modifier in place of its Constitution modifier when making Concentration checks.

Detection (Sp): Three times per day, an oculan can activate a detection field. This field extends to a range of a 60 ft. circle centering on the oculan, and otherwise functions exactly like the spells Detect Chaos/Evil/Good/Law, Detect Magic, Detect Thoughts and Detect Animals or Plants simultaneously. As a free action, the oculan declares a specific aura it is focusing on (such as Evil or Magic). Until it declares a specific focus, each aura is treated as if it had only been active one round, revealing merely the presence or absence of all valid targets. When a focus is declared, the other aura types fade and no longer give the oculan information until it unfocuses; the focused aura behaves as its corresponding spell, giving more detailed information in subsequent rounds.

Sensor (Ex): Oculans possess sophisticated sensory abilities. The oculan gains a +4 racial bonus to Listen, Search, and Spot checks (reflected in the statistics block). In addition, it has a number of 'sense modes' to better observe and analyze the world around it, described below.
Each sense mode (not including Normal Senses) allows the oculan to focus itself on one sense, gaining special abilities - and penalties. It takes one full round to switch and reorient to a different sense mode, during which the oculan is treated as Dazed.
Normal Senses: An oculan sees, hears, and smells like an average humanoid. While in this state, it does not gain any special benefits or penalties (besides the racial bonuses listed above). Effects such as Blinding and Deafening function as normal. If an oculan is Blinded while in Normal Senses mode, it cannot switch to Thermal Vision until the effect wears off. If it is Deafened while in Acute Hearing mode, it still suffers the Deafened effects if it switches to Normal Senses.
Thermal Vision: The oculan can 'see' heat patterns, allowing it to detect invisible creatures or objects that emit heat. Thermal Vision can be overwhelmed and disabled by sources of extreme heat or cold (such as a Fireball or Cone of Cold spell); an ordinary, nonmagical flame (even a large one) is not enough to do it, though activating Thermal Vision in the middle of a volcano or in subzero temperatures would.
Heightened Scent: The oculan concentrates on information gleaned by scent. It is treated as Blinded and Deafened with two exceptions: It automatically fails Search checks (except those based solely on scent), and it does not automatically fail Spot checks to find living creatures (that produce a smell). Scent-based attacks and effects (such as stinking cloud or incense-heavy air) overwhelm and disable it.
Acute Hearing: The oculan tunes itself to its sense of hearing. Deafening effects or intensely loud noises (such as certain arcane spells) can overwhelm and disable it. While in Acute Hearing mode, the oculan gains the benefit of the Keen-Eared Scout (http://realmshelps.dandello.net/cgi-bin/feats.pl?Keen-Eared_Scout) and Hear the Unseen (http://realmshelps.dandello.net/cgi-bin/feats.pl?Hear_The_Unseen) feats.

Table: The Oculan's sense modes

Disabled By

Normal Vision|None|Normal vulnerabilities|None (Blindness and Deafness act as normal)
Thermal Vision|Blindsight ability (Thermal); immune to hearing-based effects (though not Sonic damage)|Treated as Deafened, cannot see normally, cannot sense things that produce no heat|Extreme heat, extreme cold
Heightened Scent|Scent ability; immune to hearing-based penalties (though not Sonic damage); immune to sight-based effects|Treated as Deafened and cannot see normally, cannot sense things that produce no smell|Intense smells
Acute Hearing|Blindsight ability Hearing), Keen-Eared Scout (http://realmshelps.dandello.net/cgi-bin/feats.pl?Keen-Eared_Scout), Hear the Unseen (http://realmshelps.dandello.net/cgi-bin/feats.pl?Hear_The_Unseen); immune to sight-based effects|Cannot see normally, cannot sense things that are completely silent|Deafness (loud noises, deafening effects)
An oculan suffers additional penalties if a sense mode it is in is disabled. It is Dazed for one round, during which it cannot switch senses. Any lasting effects from whatever disabled the sense mode remain until their duration ends, though the oculan does not suffer the penalties if it is not in an appropriate sense mode. If it switches back to an affected sense before the duration of the effect expires, the effect is still active, and it suffers the normal penalties.
If all three of its special sense modes (not including Normal Senses) are disabled, the oculan is treated as Unconscious (and therefore Helpless) until all effects that disabled its senses have expired or are dispelled. It is then Shaken for four more rounds, after which it returns to normal.

Studious (Ex): During its creation, an oculan's master can specify areas of knowledge or languages she wants it to be particularly familiar with. Provided there are appropriate materials available for it to study, the oculan can study this material for 3 days per separate Knowledge skill or extra language requested. Upon completion of its studies, the oculan gains 2 ranks in each area of knowledge requested or gains the languages it studied, plus an additional 1d2 skill points for every five days of study to put in whatever knowledge skill or language it desires.
The study can be resumed where it was left off if it is interrupted, but the skill points will not take effect until the full time has been completed. The oculan feels a divine compelling towards finishing its studies, and it suffers a -3 penalty to all skill checks, attack and damage rolls, and an additional -2 penalty to its Intelligence and Wisdom scores that cannot be healed or regained by any means other than completing the studies.
If the research materials are simply not available upon creation, the oculan will not feel the overwhelming urge to do the research until it has the opportunity to do so, storing the requests until that time comes. It has not reached its full potential, however, and it suffers a -1 penalty to its Intelligence and Wisdom. At its first opportunity to do so (for example, when its creator gets more research material, or the oculan gets to visit the library of a large city), it will recall the studies, become overwhelmed and begin to suffer the standard penalties listed above until it is allowed to complete its research.
Further, any time the oculan is exposed to any large collection of knowledge (library, large museum, etc.) it becomes overwhelmed and begin to suffer the standard penalties listed above until it is allowed to visit the repository of knowledge and satiate its appetite. These visits are unfocused and cannot be used towards gaining more skill points (see below).
The oculan can repeat this studious period at any time in its existence if it desires, but the divine assistance that motivated the oculan when it was completing its initial studies no longer assist it, and the study takes considerably longer. If the materials are available and if the oculan can study uninterrupted for 10d6 days + 1 additional day for each rank in the skill it is researching, it gains 1d4 skill points in that area of knowledge. If it wants to learn a new language, it needs only 5d6 uninterrupted days of study. If these studies are interrupted, they cannot be resumed; they must be started from scratch.

Spell-Like Abilities: An oculan has both divine- and arcane-based spell-like abilities. For the caster level, use the caster level of the corresponding caster involved in its creation (see below).
At will – Arcane Mark (as master's)
3/day –Arcane Sight, Fog Cloud
2/day – Analyze Dweomer
1/day – Locate Creature

At will – Read Magic, Light
5/day – Comprehend Languages
3/day – Faerie Fire, Entropic Shield, Detect Secret Doors, Locate Object, Status
1/day – True Seeing


Creation of an oculan is a very complicated process. They are unusual among constructs in that they require at least two casters to animate it. One caster must be a divine caster who has either the Knowledge or Magic domain and worships Boccob. The second caster must be an arcane caster who shows a proficiency in divination magic, with Greater Spell Focus (Divination) or Divination as a specialist school, and must be a follower of Boccob.
The oculan's body requires one seamless, hollow metal sphere with a circular hole in one end. The sphere can be adorned in any way the desired; usually, purple and gold (Boccob's colors of choice) are featured.
A handful apiece of Dust of Appearance, Disappearance, and Tracelessness must be placed inside the sphere. In addition, the finely ground brains of five separate, specific creatures– a darkmantle, a gold dragon wyrmling, a copper dragon wyrmling, a white dragon wyrmling, and a green dragon wyrmling – must be placed in the hollow. The darkmantle's brain represents the oculan's heightened senses; the brains of the dragons represent the creators' commitments to Boccob's emphasis on neutrality: by slaying a wyrmling of each extreme alignment, a little bit of the balance is preserved.
Once the powdery mixture is in the hollow of the oculan, a special lens must be fixed into the hole. The lens is actually a Crystal Ball constructed not in ball form, but in a slightly concave lens shape. The lens can be of any color.
The cost of the metal ball and the lens are included in the cost.
The casters involved in the animation can create the oculan themselves, or they can hire someone to craft the body for them.
The master of the oculan does not need to be a participant in the animation ceremony, but he or she must be present through the whole ceremony, and must be a follower of Boccob.
An oculan can be a homunculus, if the oculan's master is one of the casters involved in the animation ceremony. The normal materials, costs, and times involved in creating a homunculus are replaced by those involved in creating an oculan. One pint of the creator's blood must be mixed in with the powders that go into the hollow in the center of the oculan. A homonculus oculan can freely and willingly travel more than 1500 feet from its master, but it cannot convey to him or her everything it sees and hears if it is outside that range.

Divine caster requirements: CL 12th; Craft Construct, Detect Chaos/Evil/Good/Law, Locate Object, True Seeing, Geas/Quest, caster must be at least 12th level

Arcane caster requirements: CL 12th; Craft Construct, Feather Fall, Arcane Sight, Telekinesis, Analyze Dweomer, caster must be at least 12th level

Price 50,000 GP; Cost 25000 gp + 2000 XP



Knowledge (Religion) or Knowledge (Arcana):

11 | This is an oculan, an intelligent construct with great powers of observation and knowledge. They are creations of Boccob, god of knowledge and magic. This result reveals all construct traits (but not the slight differences to the construct traits that oculans possess.)
16 | Oculans have a large number of senses at their disposal, including sight, hearing, and scent, as well as magical detection abilities. Almost nothing escapes their notice. They are very curious about life and love to learn new things. This result reveals the differences between the normal construct traits and those possessed by an oculan.
21 | Oculans possess little in the way of actual combat ability, but they will use their intellect and abilities to maximum advantage in a fight. They will almost always disappear to run away or to summon help at the first chance they get. This result reveals the Hollow quality.


Variations and Options

If you are playing a game involving psionics, change the oculan's skill selection slightly; remove Knowledge (History) and instead give it Knowledge (Psionics) +5.
Instead of studying books to learn knowledge or a language, an oculan may find itself wanting to learn firsthand how something is made or done, and it hove over a craftsman's or tradseman's shoulder to observe. Consider allowing oculans, with special conditions, to gain ranks in certain Profession skills using the Studious ability, and a willing craftsman or tradesman as the study material. Study time would increase, and checks that need physical interaction beyond what the oculan can handle would be inaccessible.
Boccob is a natural deity for oculans to originate from, given his portfolio of scholarly pursuits and detached observation. This also makes oculans available to those with access to core rulebooks only. However, if you have access to Races of Destiny, the illumians and their Library Goddess Aulasha would be excellent alternative sources; oculans would love the illumians' focus on words, illumians would love the observation abilities that oculans possess, and the illumians' holy library would have been nirvana for any oculan. For a more evil alternative, the evil god of the mind flayers, Ilsensine, is a viable candidate - both it and the oculans display a great thirst for new knowledge.
If the oculan's master has the Improved Familiar feat, an oculan can be its master's familiar. An oculan familiar grants its master +1 caster level when casting Divination spells if the oculan is within 5 feet of its master.
If an oculan is going to be a persistent part of your campaign, consider giving them the ability to level up. They would gain less experience from combat (some sort of percentage penalty to XP gained in combat) and instead gain more experience when they learn things (XP gain when studying something). For this, the Studious ability could gain another facet - they could learn to gain XP, which would not be able to count as learning for skill points (though the required amount of random study it is compelled to do when near a knowledge bank would count for it.) Any feats it would gain would likely be based on knowledge, languages, or senses, and it would likely put any skill points into knowledge areas.
The possibility exists for "Greater Oculans", with more HD and a few more abilities. True seeing, spell-like abilities from the divination and illusion schools, and abilities that improve on the Knowledge skill synergies would all be appropriate abilities. These Greater Oculans could require three spellcasters, with one of them needing some focus in an illusion-centered area (Greater Spell Focus: Illusion, Illusion specialized school, Trickery domain).


2007-12-16, 05:56 PM
CR 6 is way too high. CR 1 or 2 is about right.
You should also let it cast spells as a wizard of level equal to it's number of hitdice.

Magnor Criol
2007-12-16, 11:02 PM
CR 6 is way too high. CR 1 or 2 is about right.

Vorpal Tribble's CR determination method:

#1. Divide creature's average HP by 4.5 to 6.5.
4.5 for 5 HD or lower, 5 for 6-10 HD, 5.5 for 11-15 HD, 6 for 16-20 HD., 6.5 for 20-25 HD.
#2. Add 1 for each five points above 10 its AC is, subtracting 1 for every 5 below.
#3. Add 1 for each special attack (+2 to +5 or more if its got a decent number of spells in its spell-like abilities).
#4. Add 1 for each quality unless you deem it worthy of more. Add 1 for each resistance and 10 points of DR it has, and 2 for each immunity. Subtract 1 for each vulnerability.
#5. Add 1 for every two bonus feats it has.
#6. Divide total by 3. This should be its rough CR.
1. 5 / 4.5 = 1.11
2. 1.11 + 1 = 2.11
3. 2.11 + 3 = 5.11
4. 5.11 + 12 [9 special abilities, +3 for 12 noncombat Spell-Like Abils.] - 1 [Hollow quality] = 16.11
5. 16.11 + 1 = 17.11
6. 17.11 / 3 = 5.70
Rounds up to 6.

Fax_Celestis' CR method doesn't apply here because that would put the CR at 0 to 2/3, which isn't right by either of our reckonings.

I could accept as low as CR 5 or maaaybe 4 with a good argument, but I don't think 1 or 2 is right. The oculan has almost zilch combat ability, but since it has to be connected to something much more powerful than it (a wizard or cleric strong enough to create an oculan, or someone rich enough to pay for it) and it has strong powers of stealth and perception, I don't think that it would be a suitable encounter for a party of level 1 or 2 adventurers. The most ranks in Spot or Search that a level 2 adventurer could have would be 5, and the oculan can beat that with its bonus alone, so it could hide from them far beyond their ability to sense it. It could sense them far beyond their ability to hide from it by the same token. If the PCs did manage to engage it in combat, it'd just run from them using its illusions to hamper their pursuit and flight to escape to places they can't get to easily.

You should also let it cast spells as a wizard of level equal to it's number of hitdice.

That would mean that the oculan's caster level would be 1. And since this is a creation of a god of magic, it should be higher than that, ne? Plus, it's much more flavorful for it to depend on the casters involved in its creation, and a method I think Boccob would employ - rewarding his more studious, and thus more powerful, devotees by making their creations more powerful.

2007-12-17, 09:16 AM
Any CR determination method gives you a place to start when coming up with the CR.

At 5 Hps and little ability to actually fight this guy just doesn't deserve more than a CR 1-2. Any higher than that and it dies the first time anyone else gets to take an action.

I'd probably tag this as a CR 1 critter. Sure it's got lots of abilities but very few of them are actually useful in combat.

Would you expect a 5th or 6th level party to expend 20% of the party's resouces fighting this guy?

Magnor Criol
2007-12-18, 10:41 PM
A level 5 full-BAB-progression class has, well, +5 BAB. That means, assuming they don't have any additional bonuses to hit (which is a rather poor assumption, but let's run with it for the moment) that they have to roll a 12 or better - thus, they'll hit 3/5 of the time. With the inevitable magic items and buffs, that'll be more like a 10 or less, so 50% or slightly greater chance to hit.

Classes with Search, Spot and Listen as class skills can only have up to +8; half that for classes without those as class skills. An oculan's Hide and Move Silently bonus is +8. So they cancel each other out, thus meaning they only have about a 50% chance to spot it. Again, that's ignoring bonuses, which'll make it a little bit better chance for the PCs.

Eh. 50% to see it and 50% to hit it isn't bad, especially when you only need to hit it once. I see your point.

Thinking on it, I guess a lot of my reasons for CR 5 were based also on the oculan's potential for danger based on its connections to other things, but that's not right. That's like saying a homonculus for a level 20 caster should have a high CR because of the master it's connected to.

I still feel like CR 1 is too low, though. It's well beyond a level 1 party's ability to detect or hit, and even if Zap Ray's 1d3 isn't much damage, it adds up if the PCs can't respond in kind.

-E- Edits made to the CR. I also added in a few more spell-like abilities. They're combat-oriented, but they still are limited to ones that help the oculan escape or dodge better.

2007-12-18, 11:53 PM
That looks balanced to me.

Good work.

2007-12-20, 08:09 PM
This entry could benefit from some tighter editing. I'd take a stab at it but I tend to be pretty brutal. For example, I would tighten up some of your paragraphs like so:

Boccob created these highly-intelligenct constructs, which resemble floating metal eyebals, to aid in his supplicants' scholarly research and defense. Oculans also wander the Clockwork Nirvana of Mechanus. Any large nexus of knowledge on any plane may draw their attention.

Oculans make excellent spies and research assistants due to their excellent surveillance techniques, insatiable curiosity, and innate delight when expanding their knowledge about a topic. For example, an oculan will study a subject by hovering over his shoulder as he performs a task. Alternatively, one may float for hours in a library, reading every book possible from cover to cover.

Study Target (Ex): An oculan who has had ample time to study a specific, declared target gains an insight bonus*. It adds its Intelligence modifier to all Charisma-based skill checks made to interact with the target. Further, If the oculan is performing an action that forces the target to make a Concentration check, the DC of this check is increased by 1. If in combat against the target, it gains a +1 insight bonus to its AC against attacks from the target, knowing its typical attack styles and combat behaviors.

*You refer to an insight bonus later on so naming it here makes more sense.

Also, the following paragraph was a little harder to decipher. I would make the following changes:

First, the amount of time an oculan has to study its subject should be reduced. Taking weeks is just too long in an adventure. I'd reduce it to 1d12 days at most and 1d12 hours at minimum. Being able to size up the competition shouldn't be that complicated.

Secondly, you make the mechanics a bit unweildy. This is a simple opposed check between the Target's Spot skill + Wis bonus against the oculan's Hide skill and Dex bonus.

In the event that the oculan is studying a party, then the check is against the member with the highest Spot skill (and uses his Wis bonus if any) and there is an additional +2 bonus for each additional member of the party. If no member of the party has a Spot skill, then there +2 for every member of the party.

Last of all, you fail to mention how often such checks should be made.


Magnor Criol
2007-12-21, 12:36 AM
This entry could benefit from some tighter editing. I'd take a stab at it but I tend to be pretty brutal.

By all means, be brutal. I'm usually fairly thorough myself, but it's a bit harder when you're looking at your own work. Plus, I've seriously been staring at this for so long that any further scrutiny by me is rather pointless; I know what I want it to say, and I'll interpret it that way whether it really makes sense like that or not. So please, I'd love someone who could comb through and tell me if it's clear, where I could cut it down, and if it's mechanically workable.

First, the amount of time an oculan has to study its subject should be reduced. Taking weeks is just too long in an adventure. I'd reduce it to 1d12 days at most and 1d12 hours at minimum. Being able to size up the competition shouldn't be that complicated.

If the oculans were really meant to be a player character, I'd agree. But they're really more intended as an NPC caster's assistant. They'd stalk the PCs for a while, then report findings to their master, who would then be well-informed about the PCs whenever they finally meet them. The long timeframe should give the party ample time to spot their pursuing observer.

Plus, we're talking about watching people long enough to be able to predict their actions and know their buttons. It takes a while of knowing people to really be able to predict them.

I do see your point that it's a bit heavy on the length; but I can't find a way to get shorter wtihout allowing it too short. For instance, using days instead of weeks could have the oculan watching someone for only a few days, and that seems implausible that even an oculan could predict an intelligent human's actions in just a few days. I think it should take at least a few weeks.

Perhaps using multiple dice to make the check. That'd set a minimum, and I could lower the die size to compensate. I'll look into that.

Secondly, you make the mechanics a bit unweildy. This is a simple opposed check between the Target's Spot skill + Wis bonus against the oculan's Hide skill and Dex bonus.

In the event that the oculan is studying a party, then the check is against the member with the highest Spot skill (and uses his Wis bonus if any) and there is an additional +2 bonus for each additional member of the party. If no member of the party has a Spot skill, then there +2 for every member of the party.

Last of all, you fail to mention how often such checks should be made.


I'm not sure what you're referring to here; I don't make any reference to checks made to spot the oculan. I think you misread something (probably you were starting to skim because I wrote to much...)

I'll update the stats with some of those ideas tomorrow; I'm pretty tired right now, and I'll think clearer later. Thanks for the comments! And really, feel free to be as brutal as you feel like on this sucker. That's what'll make it better!