Author Topic: min-maxing your party's meta-awareness?  (Read 327 times)

Offline nijineko

  • DnD Handbook Writer
  • ****
  • Posts: 2330
  • two strange quarks short of a graviton....
    • View Profile
    • TwinSeraphim
min-maxing your party's meta-awareness?
« on: May 19, 2020, 04:39:22 PM »
I'm looking for resources/lists/handbooks/etc of must have's or ideal-to-have effects which will increase a given party's awareness of and information about the environment and circumstances around them. Failing pre-existing resources, please suggest some!

So this is more focused on in-game awareness in general, and not focused on teaching characters game meta-concepts such as HP or points of damage.

In other words, think more of what would a savvy and cutting edge fantasy Navy Seals, Army Rangers, or Super Agents have to have on tap in order to be the best.

Some things that come to mind off the top of my head (and which will serve as examples to clarify what I am meaning:
  • Touchsight - for perfect 360° sensory, extendable past 60', ignores darkness and invisibility, and works underwater too!
  • Prying Eyes & greater version - for superior scouting
  • Mindlink - for perfect silent communication in real time, without word limits
  • Fantastic Machine & greater version - for instant gadgets do to anything that can be described in 25 words or less... door crasher? check! quickie mech suit? check! need a tunnel? check! impromptu interrogation device? double check!!
  • Bottle of Air - breath anywhere
  • Status effect - track the status of all the party members
  • Zone of Alertness - share awareness of danger, prevent flat-footedness, and gain bonus to sensory checks
  • Predict Weather - good for preparation and spotting anyone who is messing with the weather
  • Know Direction and Location - good for generally landing on target and pseudo internal compass
  • Find the Path spell - for finding the way to what you are looking for
  • Lay of the Land spell - for knowing the surroundings exactly
  • Locate Object - for finding what you are looking for
  • Destiny's Trail - for seeing what happened at a certain time and location
  • ...etc.?

Offline Skyrock

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 814
    • View Profile
Re: min-maxing your party's meta-awareness?
« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2020, 04:48:38 PM »
Path of the Exalted - This exalted spell doesn't do much and is somewhat DM dependent, but it practically falls into your lap if you are a good-aligned prepared spellcaster. No reason not to use and lose it during downtime when you need to re-find the plot rails.

Offline Endarire

  • DnD Handbook Writer
  • ****
  • Posts: 1621
  • Smile! Jesus loves you!
    • View Profile
    • Greg Campbell's Portfolio
Re: min-maxing your party's meta-awareness?
« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2020, 12:45:23 AM »
Hindsight and foresight spells.

Offline nijineko

  • DnD Handbook Writer
  • ****
  • Posts: 2330
  • two strange quarks short of a graviton....
    • View Profile
    • TwinSeraphim
Re: min-maxing your party's meta-awareness?
« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2020, 07:06:58 PM »
what about go-to attack and defense stuff?

Offline Captnq

  • DnD Handbook Writer
  • ****
  • Posts: 1602
  • Haters gonna hate. Dragons gonna drag.
    • View Profile
    • Ask the Captain
Re: min-maxing your party's meta-awareness?
« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2020, 07:06:17 AM »
Have you looked into teamwork benefits?

I've been thinking about getting back into working on the EVD. My wife's health has... stabilized. I sort of need to work on something that is actually fun and not be so depressed all the time. This topic peeks my interest. I always like working on how to min/max the "small end" of things.


DOOR PROCEDURES
- DUNGEON MASTER’S GUIDE 2 (3.5)
Your team is accomplished at identifying and eliminating traps and other threats at doors.
Training: By studying common door traps, practicing listening techniques, and remaining alert for tiny clues that precede a triggered trap, you gradually develop a routine that enables your team to examine a door with minimum risk to the team.
Task Leader Prerequisite: Listen 8 ranks, Search 8 ranks.
Team Member Prerequisite: Listen 1 rank or Search 1 rank.
Benefit: When listening at or searching a door or similar portal, the task leader gains a +1 circumstance bonus on his Listen and Search checks for each team member within 10 feet of the door. If the task leader chooses to take 20 on a Listen or Search check made at a door, he can do so in half the normal time (as if he had made ten attempts, rather than twenty).
Tips: The door procedures teamwork benefit is a good way to quickly adjudicate each door you approach in a dungeon. You can quickly make the rolls and get on with the encounter on the other side. Be ready to make these rolls when you find a closed door in the dungeon. Then make the Listen check or the Search check, and either deal with the trap you find or get ready to open the door. Keep in mind that you might be able to take 10 or take 20 on these checks.
Editor: If you are a bunch of dungeon crawling fools, and can convince your DM to allow you to aid another on the leader’s listen check, every group of adventurers should take this. Roll high enough, and the DM might give to all sorts of useful info.


Think about it: Team of four. You have three aiding another. +6 then each extra counts as +3. So 1 minute to take 20 and get a +9 to your check.


or

- PLAYER’S HANDBOOK 2 (3.5)
You and your teammates reduce your susceptibility to sleep by learning the ways of the elves.
Training: Your team members learn the secrets of elf trance and can slip into a trance state by establishing a physical link with the task leader. This trance state allows each member to gain the benefit of sleep by cleansing her mind and entering a deep meditative state.
Task Leader Prerequisite: Elf blood (elf or half-elf).
Team Member Prerequisite: Concentration 1 rank.
Benefit: When team members join hands, the task leader can create a trance link that allows each of them, regardless of race, to meditate in the same manner as elves do. Every team member gains the benefit of 8 hours of sleep after just 4 hours of meditation.
Tips: Let all the spellcasters in the group rest while the warriors stay on guard. If the group’s elf trances with half the team at a time, your party can get by with two well-manned guard watches per night rather than several shorter shifts.
Editor: The ability to recharge and relearn all spells in just four hours? Almost broken.


I don't know if it's official, but I have "trancing" have no penalties to hearing people, unlike if you are sleeping.


SCOUTING
- HEROES OF BATTLE (3.5)
Your team is alert for the slightest disturbance in your environment. While one of you watches straight ahead, another scans to the side, while a third pauses for a moment to listen intently. By finding your enemies before they find you, your team can dictate the terms of an engagement—or perhaps avoid it entirely.
Training: Trainees divide their environment into arcs, with one soldier looking straight ahead, another checking to the left, a third watching the right, a fourth the sky, a fifth behind him, and so on. The soldiers concentrate their senses on those arcs, doing their best to block out distractions elsewhere. Eventually, each member of the team instinctively knows which arc he is responsible for and which arcs his comrades are covering, and he can switch arcs subconsciously when his comrades stop scanning for a moment.
Task Leader Prerequisite: Listen 8 ranks, Spot 8 ranks.
Team Member Prerequisite: Listen 1 rank and Spot 1 rank; or Alertness.
Benefit: The team as a whole can make a free Spot check and a free Listen check at the end of each round, regardless of whether any members of the team have already made such checks that round. Use the lowest check modifier of any member of the team present, with a +1 bonus for every team member beyond the first. In the middle of a combat when actions are precious, this teamwork benefit gives the members detailed information about their immediate environment that they otherwise wouldn’t have.
Tips: If your team has this benefit, have your team’s Spot and Listen modifiers figured out in advance. It’s a good idea to designate one character to make the Spot and Listen checks at the end of each round; making it a specific character’s responsibility means the group is less likely to forget it.
Editor: Combine with Awareness and you’ll have a good chance of spotting those teams using infiltration.


Like door proceedures, but all the time. bck when I was still DMing, the players all did Aid Another to all Spot and listen checks (at the end, they all could just "take one" and hit the (DC 10). So again, a +9 and the guy with the highest spot and listen takes the roll.

Sure made it simpler on me then rolling 4 or 5 times each spot and listen check. Much more random, but the players were much more likely to get those impossible to detect super stealth monsters. Better to miss a few low level encounters then to have no chance to hit that all important Uber-Assassin.


SEARCH TEAM
- DUNGEONSCAPE (3.5)
Your team is skilled at finding secret doors and traps much faster than normal.
Training: By assigning members to look for specific clues, your team has developed a routine to find secret doors and traps quickly by alerting the task leader to any anomalies.
Task Leader Prerequisite: Search 5 ranks, trap sense +1.
Team Member Prerequisite: Search 1 rank.
Benefit: As a full-round action, the task leader can apply his Search check result to every square searched by a member of the team (excluding the task leader).
Tips: For this benefit to be effective, the task leader should have a high number of ranks in the Search skill. Team members can use the aid another action to increase the task leader’s check.
Editor: If you love checking every square inch of a dungeon, and the group uses aid another on the team leader, suddenly your search result goes through the roof.



BTW, it got rather insane when the one time a player made the "Familiar Squad" and he had 4 familiars to all add to the aid another. I think in the end, I forget how, but they had some like "Always take 20 on 4 skills" set up and basically was at an auto 129 to spot and 99 to listen. Something insane. They really stacked those bonuses. I forget the specifics.
If you have questions about 3.5 D&D, you might want to look at the:
Encyclopedia Vinculum Draconis

Currently: Podcasting

Offline nijineko

  • DnD Handbook Writer
  • ****
  • Posts: 2330
  • two strange quarks short of a graviton....
    • View Profile
    • TwinSeraphim
Re: min-maxing your party's meta-awareness?
« Reply #5 on: July 19, 2020, 11:33:45 PM »
That sounds awesome!

While it's not quite the same, it reminds me of the Zone of Alertness paired with the skill trick Clarity of Vision allows the entire party to be aware of a spotted invisible foe.