Upon reaching 3rd level, an Extractor is practiced enough at controlling the Dreamscape that he can begin to attempt his namesake: extraction. The Basics of Extraction
Extraction is the process of gaining hidden information from another creature's mind, without the target realizing that you're doing so, by means of a shared dream, a second layer beyond the base Dreamscape. Extraction is a specialized usage of the Lucid Dreaming skill (and complementary skills) and the dreamscape, and can only be performed while both Extractor and target are dreaming.
Performing an extraction requires five steps:
Designing the dreamscape
- Designing the dreamscape
- Initiating and maintaining the dreamscape
- Drawing the target into the shared dream
- Acquiring the information
- Obscuring the purpose of the dream
The first step to performing an extraction is designing the dreamscape in which it will take place. This can be a difficult task, as the target's subconscious projections will attempt to end the dream; to counteract this, the design must be a maze complex enough to allow the Extractor time to acquire the information. Designing mazes of such complexity requires significant effort.
To design a dreamscape, the Extractor rolls a Knowledge (Architecture and Engineering) check. The check result determines the maximum complexity of dreamscape he may design, as shown on the table below (along with the time investment, and the duration of the maze in subjective time). He may choose to design a dreamscape of less complexity, which requires less time and has a shorter duration.
Once a dreamscape has been designed, it remains available to the Extractor for a number of days equal to his class level, before the memory has eroded significantly enough to prevent its use. An Extractor may have only one dreamscape designed at a time, and each dreamscape may only be used once; after a particular dreamscape has been used for an extraction, he must design a new one.
Initiating and maintaining the dreamscape
|Kno:A&E||Complexity||Design Time||Duration||Dream Points|
|9 or less||0||30 minutes||Unsuccessful design||0|
|10-14||1||1 hour||10 minutes||1|
|15-19||2||3 hours||20 minutes||1|
|20-24||3||6 hours||30 minutes||4|
|25-29||4||12 hours||1 hour||4|
|30-34||5||1 day||6 hours||4|
|35-39||6||2 days||1 day||7|
|40-44||7||3 days||3 days||7|
|45-49||8||5 days||1 week||7|
|50 or more||9||1 week||2 weeks||10|
Once the dreamscape has been designed, it requires a DC 20 Lucid Dreaming check to initiate, just like changing an aspect of one's personal dreamscape. This check is made while awake, just before falling asleep; if the check is successful, upon falling asleep the Extractor appears in the dreamscape instead of a normal dream, and is immediately aware that he is dreaming. Initiating the dreamscape carries a cost in Dream Points just like any other manipulation of the dreamscape, dependent on the complexity of the design; the cost in Dream Points is shown on the table above.
Under normal conditions, maintaining the dreamscape once it has been initiated is trivial, and requires no special attention on the dreamer's part. However, if the dreamer takes damage, or is otherwise in a stressful situation, he must make a Concentration check (DC 10 + 3 times the complexity of the dreamscape) to maintain the dreamscape's integrity. Changing conditions outside the dreamscape (i.e., alterations to the surroundings of the Extractor's sleeping body) can also have similar effects on the dreamscape (such as changing the direction of gravity in the dreamscape as the orientation of the Extractor's body changes), and force the dreamer to concentrate on maintaining the integrity of the dreamscape just like other stressful situations. In any case, the Extractor does not make a Concentration check to maintain the dreamscape more than once per round unless he receives damage multiple times.
If the Extractor fails such a Concentration check, the dreamscape becomes unstable. The entire dreamscape suffers as if from an earthquake
spell, which lasts until the Extractor succeeds at a Concentration check (made once each round) at a DC 10 higher than the normal DC to maintain the dreamscape. After 5 consecutive rounds of instability, the entire dreamscape disintegrates and all participating dreamers wake up.
Dreamscapes designed for Extraction are more durable than normal dreamscapes, however. If the Extractor dies in a dreamscape he is maintaining, even though he disappears immediately, the dreamscape persists for 5 rounds, unstable, before collapsing.Drawing the target into the shared dream
Once the dreamscape has been initiated and is being maintained, the dreaming target must first be located, which requires a Lucid Dreaming check as normal. Once the target has been identified and located, it can be drawn into the prepared dreamscape with a second, opposed Lucid Dreaming check. This works as normal, except that the Extractor suffers a penalty to the second check based on the distance between his sleeping body and the target's, as shown in the table below.
Acquiring the information
|10 feet or less||No penalty|
|1001 feet or more||-12|
Actually coming into possession of the information is the most difficult part of an extraction.
First, the Extractor must find the information he is looking for. Locating the information requires a Gather Information check, opposed by the target's best Knowledge skill. The more knowledge the target has, the more easily it can confuse the trail that the Extractor is attempting to follow. This stage can be made easier or more difficult by whether or not the target knows that the information the Extractor is looking for is important. A usual Extractor trick is to build a vault or safe into the design of the dream; any secrets the target knows will automatically be stored there for safekeeping by the target's subconscious when it enters the dreamscape; this grants the Extractor a +2 bonus to his Gather Information check. However, if the target doesn't know that the information the Extractor wants is important, it won't store that information in the safe, and it's much more difficult to find, imposing a -5 penalty to the Extractor's Gather Information check instead.
If the Gather Information check is successful, the Extractor knows exactly where the information he is after is stored (assuming the target has the information in the first place); if it is unsuccessful, the Extractor may retry as often as he likes. However, each Gather Information check requires an amount of subjective time which is normal for the skill, which is why designing a maze of sufficient complexity (and therefore duration) is essential. If the length of time spent locating the information is longer than the duration of the dreamscape, the dream ends with the Extractor unsuccessful.
Once the information has been located, the Extractor must bypass the target's natural (and possibly trained) defenses to gain access to it. This requires an Open Lock check, opposed by the target's Will save; the target's bonus on Sense Motive checks also apply as a bonus to the Will save (except without double-counting the target's Wisdom modifier). This is more difficult if the target is attempting to guard the information, either consciously or subconsciously, in which case the target gains a +4 bonus to the Will save. If the target doesn't particularly care to guard the information, it suffers a -3 penalty to its Will save instead. If the Open Lock check is successful, the Extractor acquires the information and may leave the dreamscape whenever he wishes.
The Extractor has two other tools which may be used to aid either stage of this phase. By using Disguise and Forgery, he may attempt to mitigate the target's obfuscation and/or defenses if he chooses, to make the extraction easier. He may apply each skill check to only one stage, chosen when he attempts the check, though he may apply both skills to the same stage if he likes. Both skills are opposed by the target's Spot check, and the Extractor must make new skill checks each time he repeats the key check for the appropriate stage (e.g., if he is using Disguise in the first stage and fails the Gather Information check, he must make a new Disguise check to affect the next Gather Information check). For each successful skill check applied to the first stage, reduce the time required for the Gather Information check by one third; for each successful skill check applied to the second stage, the Extractor gains a +3 bonus to his Open Lock check.Obscuring the purpose of the dream
Certainly the simplest, and perhaps the most important of the phases of an extraction is the last one: convincing the target to believe, upon waking, that this was all just a dream, and nothing of true import actually occurred. This is a simple Bluff check, opposed by the target's Lucid Dreaming check. If the Extractor fails, the target realizes upon waking that he was the subject of an Extraction; otherwise, he will simply recall a particularly vivid and confusing dream.Supplemental Extraction RulesCollaborative extraction
More than one character can collaborate to perform an extraction. Each creature participating in the extraction must have at least 3 ranks in Lucid Dreaming. An Extractor must maintain the dreamscape and draw in the target, but any number of other creatures may contribute. Any other skill checks can be divided up among the other contributing creatures, who may also Aid Another for any check they do not directly contribute, if they wish.The Kick
An Extractor can leave a dreamscape prematurely by having an ally initiate a "kick" -- a sensation which automatically wakes the Extractor. Usual kicks are abrupt changes of gravity (the sensation of falling or of hitting water), or sharp jolts. The kick is usually agreed upon to occur when certain conditions are met in the next layer down, or when a certain amount of time has passed. If an ally initiates a kick, the Extractor automatically exits the dreamscape, which becomes unstable if the departed Extractor was maintaining it, as normal.Improved Extraction (Su):
When an Extractor achieves 8th level, he has gained significant experience at extraction. When obscuring the purpose of the dream, he may use his Subliminal Knowledge ability to improve his Bluff check; in addition, he reduces the time requirement to design a dreamscape of a given complexity by one category.