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Scrying is the magical ability when one use senses to experience events a distance away.

Magical Sensor Many Divination spells of the scrying subschool create a magical sensor that sends the caster information. The sensor has the sensory acuity of the caster and acts as if a separate, independent organ. Any intelligent creature can notice an active magical sensor. The sensor can be dispelled.

Limits Scrying can not penetrate lead. Several magic spells, antimagic field, mind blank, nondetection and wardmist can block scrying. Magic items, such as weirdstones can block scrying.

NotesEdit

Scrying is an interesting spell. It provides the magical ability to see and hear a person of your choice, at any distance and possibly even across planes of existence. In an adventuring situation, the utility is obvious (though very dependent on the goodwill of the DM). What might be involved in a campaigning sense?

First off, scrying and its cousins can provide a very effective tool for would-be spies - if used with discretion, that is. Being able to see and hear your target at any time can be very powerful, but the spell effect can be fooled. Darkness or invisibility can reduce the amount of information available to a scrying mage, and detect scrying alerts the target to your attempt. Once the target knows of your presence, any number of countermeasures can be taken, such as attacking the spell sensor, attempting to dispel it, blocking its line of sight through magical or mundane means, or simply refusing to divulge any secrets until the spell effect expires. Worse yet, a cunning enemy might take advantage of the scrying sensor, using lies or illusions to delude his antagonist. For all these reasons, scrying works best as one tool among many, rather than as a be-all, end-all of spy work.

There's another possible use for scrying, though - targeting the spell on your friends. Using the spell in this way neatly sidesteps all the problems involved in attempting to scry on an enemy, and the potential rewards are possibly even more valuable. For this use of the spell, the intent is not to uncover secrets but instead simply to facilitate rapid, long-distance communication - which allows for much stronger planning, prediction and coordination than one would normally expect in a medieval setting. Consider the value potential in being able to instantly learn the trade situation on the other side of the continent, talk directly with the minister of a frontier province, or coordinate the movements of a detached division of your army in real time. Proper use of scrying makes all of these feasible.

There are limitations, of course. The most obvious one is time management. Scrying allows its subject a saving throw, and while the saving throw can be voluntarily failed it's not generally a good idea to tell your compatriots to open themselves wide to absolutely every attempt to be scried upon. In short, some kind of authentication is needed. The simplest way to manage this is to set a time in which 'friendly' scrying will occur; subjects relax their defenses at this time, and this time only. It might be possible in this instance for someone who knows the schedule to listen in on your communications, but other scrying attempts will be blocked.

The other major limitation on scrying as communication channel is the level of information flow. Scrying is one way only - the caster can both see and hear the subject, but the subject gets no details about the caster's actions. The message spell can be used to overcome this boundary somewhat, allowing speech communication back and forth, but isn't guaranteed to work. Consecutive castings of message can improve the odds of success. In the event that message isn't available, some one-way communication may still be feasible, either by having the subject recite a message out loud or by having written messages and diagrams laid out where the caster can view them.

The final obstacle in using scrying for improved communications is the level of power required to cast the spell. As a 4th-level effect, scrying is reasonably rare - casters able to use it will likely only be found in cities of 5,000 people or more and rare even there. This makes it an effective tool for kings, military officers and the wealthy, but certainly not available to the common man. A messaging service based on scrying also doesn't come cheap - 280 gp minimum for just the initial link, and up to an additional 140 gp for a Message link (35 gp per casting, multiple castings will probably be needed).

Even so, though, it should be entirely feasible to use voluntary scrying as the basis for a very fast and wide-ranging communications network, linking together the key locations within a kingdom, continent, or world. Doing so successfully has wide-ranging implications on how a campaign setting works.



When using the scrying spell, a crystal ball, or similar effect, the following rules apply:

Scrying Location: You can choose to scry on a particular location instead of a creature. Doing so requires a Spellcraft check (DC 20), using the same modifiers for the DC that apply to the Will save (see scrying spell). If the check is successful, you can observe an area within a radius of 10 feet per caster level. While scrying on a location your scrying sensor cannot be moved.

Spotting the Sensor: With detect magic or similar effects active, a scrying sensor can be spotted with a successful Spot check (DC 25) or Spellcraft check (DC 20).

Counterspelling the Sensor: Spellcasters who are aware of a scrying sensor can attempt to counterspell the scrying (even though they are unable to see the caster).

Learn Scryer: If you determine that you’re being scried upon, you can learn the identity of the scryer with a Spellcraft check (DC 30). If successful, you learn the name, race, and location of the scryer. The scryer may make an opposed Spellcraft check or cancel the scrying as a reaction to prevent you from learning the information.

Break Scrying: If you determine that you’re being scried, you can make a Spellcraft check (DC 30) to attempt to break the scrying. On a successful check, the scrying ends and the scryer may not target you with a Divination (Scrying) spell or similar effect for at least 24 hours. The scryer may make an opposed Spellcraft check as a reaction to prevent you from breaking the scrying in this way.

Return Scrying: If you determine that you’re being scried upon, you can look back through the sensor at the scryer with a successful Spellcraft check (DC 40). This allows you to spy on the scryer as if you had cast a scrying spell upon that person. The scryer may make an opposed Spellcraft check or cancel the scrying as a reaction to prevent you from looking back through the sensor.

Alternatively, you can cast scrying or use a similar effect to target the character currently scrying on you. The character scrying on you can cancel the scrying as a reaction to your spell, but if they do not they suffer a -20 penalty on their Will save to resist the attempt.

Hiding from Scrying: In addition to spells tailored to defeat scrying, there are a few other tricks that can help you keep others from knowing what you’re doing:

Saving Throw Bonus Circumstance of Subject

+8 Standing within 20 feet of a large energy or heat source, such as a pool of lava, energy well, etc.

+5 Holding a source of magical power of at least lesser artifact strength.

+5 Polymorph or shape change in effect.

+2 Disguise self or alter self in effect.

+2 Standing within 20 feet of a large amount (at least 100 lbs.) of lead or mithril.

+1 Using the Disguise skill with a check result higher than DC 25.


Circumstance of Scrier

+5 Standing within 20 feet of a large energy or heat source, such as a pool of lava, energy well, etc.

+2 per failed attempt



• Scrying Location: You can choose to scry on a particular location instead of a creature. Doing so requires a DC 20 Spellcraft check, using the same modifiers for the DC that applies to the Will save (see scrying spell). If the check is successful, you can observe an area within a radius of 10ft per CL. While scrying on a location your scrying sensor cannot be moved.

• Spotting the Sensor: With detect magic or similar effects active, a scrying sensor can be spotted with a successful Spellcraft check (DC 20).
• Counterspelling the Sensor: Spellcasters who are aware of a scrying sensor can attempt to counterspell the scrying (even though they are unable to see the caster).
• Learn Scryer: If you determine that you’re being scried upon, you can learn the identity of the scryer with a Spellcraft check (DC 30). If successful, you learn the name, race, and location of the scryer. The scryer may make an opposed Spellcraft check or cancel the scrying as a reaction to prevent you from learning the information.
• Break Scrying: If you determine that you’re being scried, you can make a Spellcraft check (DC 30) to attempt to break the scrying. On a successful check, the scrying ends and the scryer may not target you with a Divination (Scrying) spell or similar effect for at least 24 hours. The scryer may make an opposed Spellcraft check as a reaction to prevent you from breaking the scrying in this way.
• Return Scrying: If you determine that you’re being scried upon, you can look back through the sensor at the scryer with a successful Spellcraft check (DC 40). This allows you to spy on the scryer as if you had cast a scrying spell upon that person. The scryer may make an opposed Spellcraft check or cancel the scrying as a reaction to prevent you from looking back through the sensor. Alternatively, you can cast scrying or use a similar effect to target the character currently scrying on you. The character scrying on you can cancel the scrying as a reaction to your spell, but if they do not they suffer a -20 penalty on their Will save to resist the attempt.

Previous attempt to scry the same subject failed.

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