Technique Powers (3.5e Variant Rule)
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Some specific types of classes and creatures, very generally referred to as technicians, have special abilities over elements or can call upon their own life's powers to perform incredible feats called techniques. Unlike magic, these things cannot be learned by just anyone and are usually inherited through a specific species or bloodline or are taught through rigorous training from birth. Unlike manifesting powers, these abilities aren't psionic but rather come from a combination of some inner energies that flow through a creature. Some call it chi, others chakra, still other names being mana or energy. But whatever you name it, it needs a way to be kept track of in the world of DnD and this is represented by technique points. Not to be confused with power points, technique points are a representation of a creature's inner powers.
Much like power points, technicians have a certain number of technique points to use as defined by the class of the technician (see the table below this paragraph for common technique point advancements). Each technique a technician uses requires a casting time (usually consisting of a somatic component only) and a certain number of technique points as defined in the technique.
Note to Class Designers: Choose the technique point scaling that best fits the theme of your class. If you're making a class that heavily relies on their techniques to keep them out of combat, lean towards the best growth for technique points. If your class focuses more on weapon combat then their technique point growth should lean more towards the worst growth.
How To Determine Bonus Technique Points
Your key ability score grants you additional technique points equal to your key ability modifier × your technician level ×1/2. Table: Ability Modifiers and Bonus Technique Points shows these calculations for class levels 1st through 20th and key ability scores from 10 to 41.
|Bonus Technique Points (by Class Level)|
Technicians must be careful of how much of their technique points they use. At first a technician is unable to access all of its inner ability and thus unable to harm themselves. After attaining 2nd level in any technician class though, a technician can access the entirety of its abilities and, if it so chooses, can overextend itself if things get rough. This means going into negative technique points in order to use techniques. Each negative technique point deals 2 damage to the technician. These negative technique points last until countered out with normal technique points.
Falling Unconscious and Death
A technician can be knocked out from the damage of taking negative technique points however a character who reaches a number of negative technique points equal to their combined level in technician classes has used up their entire life force and died. In either case the technician is able to finish the technique they took the negative technique points for. Below are a few example scenarios to help understand this concept.
A 6th level technician has 10 life and takes 5 negative technique points. The damage thus knocks him out; but before falling he finishes the technique that he overextended for. But if that same technician had only 8 life the technician can only take 4 negative technique points before falling unconscious.
If a 5th level technician with 25 technique points uses 28 technique points, thus taking 3 negative technique points and 6 damage, then later rests and regains 25 technique points, he or she ends up with a total of 22 technique points. If that same technician then forgets this and uses 27 technique points he or she has overextended 5, which is equal to its technician level, and thus dies.
To use a technique, you must concentrate. If something threatens to interrupt your concentration while you’re performing a technique, you must succeed on a Concentration check or lose the technique points without performing the technique. The more distracting the interruption and the higher the level of the technique that you are trying to manifest, the higher the DC. (Higher-level techniques require more mental and/or physical effort.)
Getting hurt or being affected by hostile psionics, spells, or techniques while trying to perform a technique can break your concentration and ruin a technique. If you take damage while trying to perform a technique, you must make a Concentration check (DC 10 + points of damage taken + the level of the technique you’re using). The interrupting event strikes during formation of the energy needed if it occurs between when you start and when you complete using a technique (for a technique with a casting time of 1 round or longer) or if it comes in response to your using a technique (such as an attack of opportunity provoked by the use of a technique or a contingent attack from a readied action).
If you are taking continuous damage half the damage is considered to take place while you are using a technique. You must make a Concentration check (DC 10 + 1/2 the damage that the continuous source last dealt + the level of the technique you’re using).
If the last damage dealt was the last damage that the effect could deal then the damage is over, and it does not distract you.
Repeated damage does not count as continuous damage.
If you are affected by a technique while attempting to use a technique of your own, you must make a Concentration check or lose the technique you are performing. If the technique affecting you deals damage, the Concentration DC is 10 + points of damage + the level of the technique you’re using. If the technique interferes with you or distracts you in some other way, the Concentration DC is the technique’s save DC + the level of the technique you’re using. For a technique with no saving throw, it’s the DC that the technique’s saving throw would have if a save were allowed.
Grappling or Pinned
If you are riding on a moving mount, taking a bouncy ride in a wagon, on a small boat in rough water, belowdecks in a storm-tossed ship, or simply being jostled in a similar fashion, you must make a Concentration check (DC 10 + the level of the technique you’re using) or lose the technique.
If you are on a galloping horse, taking a very rough ride in a wagon, on a small boat in rapids or in a storm, on deck in a storm-tossed ship, or being tossed roughly about in a similar fashion, you must make a Concentration check (DC 15 + the level of the technique you’re using) or lose the technique.
If you are in a high wind carrying blinding rain or sleet, the DC is 5 + the level of the technique you’re using. If you are in wind-driven hail, dust, or debris, the DC is 10 + the level of the technique you’re using. In either case, you lose the technique if you fail the Concentration check. If the weather is caused by a technique, use the rules in the Techniques subsection above.
Using Techniques on the Defensive
If you want to perform a technique without provoking attacks of opportunity, you need to dodge and weave. You must make a Concentration check (DC 15 + the level of the technique you’re using) to succeed. You lose the technique points without a successful use of the technique if you fail.
If you want to use a technique while entangled in a net or while affected by a technique with similar effects you must make a DC 15 Concentration check to perform the technique. You lose the technique if you fail.
Each technique's effect often depends on the technician level of the caster, that being the number of levels in the technician class the character has taken. Many techniques improve as a technician levels and learns new ways to use old tricks. Adding on these extra benefits usually requires the use of more technique points but is also completely optional.
In the event that a class feature or other special ability provides an adjustment to your technician level, this adjustment applies not only to all effects based on technician level (such as range, duration, and augmentation potential) but also to your technician level check to overcome a target's resistances.
If you try to use a technique in conditions where the characteristics of the technique(range, area, and so on) cannot be made to conform, the technique works as close to the full effect as possible. If the target is out of range then the technique fires as close as possible, possibly injuring allies or unintended enemies.
The Technique's Result
Once you know which creatures (or objects or areas) are affected, and whether those creatures have made successful saving throws (if any were allowed), you can apply whatever results a technique entails.
Special Technique Effects
Certain special features apply to all techniques.
Some techniques refer to attacking. All offensive combat actions, even those that don’t damage opponents, such as disarm and bull rush, are considered attacks. All techniques that opponents can resist with saving throws, that deal damage, or that otherwise harm or hamper subjects are considered attacks. Techniques that don't harm anyone are not considered attacks.
Many techniques give creatures bonuses to ability scores, Armor Class, attacks, and other attributes. Each bonus has a type that indicates how the technique grants the bonus. The important aspect of bonus types is that two bonuses of the same type sometimes don’t stack. The same principle applies to some penalties. In either case, use the better bonus or the worse penalty.
Bringing Back the Dead
Very, very few techniques exist that can raise the dead. What few techniques that do exist describe their own workings.
The passage from life to death and back again is a wrenching journey for a being’s soul. Consequently, any creature brought back to life usually loses one level of experience. The character’s new experience point total is midway between the minimum needed for his or her new (reduced) level and the minimum needed for the next one. If the character was 1st level at the time of death, he or she loses 2 points of Constitution instead of losing a level. This level loss or Constitution loss cannot be repaired by any mortal means, even the spells wish or miracle. A revived character can regain a lost level by earning XP through further adventuring. A revived character who was 1st level at the time of death can regain lost points of Constitution by improving his or her Constitution score when he or she attains a level that allows an ability score increase.
Enemies can take steps to make it more difficult for a character to be returned from the dead. Unfortunately for the enemy, they must know what different techniques the technician can use to revive as each works differently.
Revivification Against One’s Will
Usually a soul cannot be returned to life if it does not wish to be. A soul knows the name, alignment, and patron deity (if any) of the character attempting to revive it and may refuse to return on that basis. Some very powerful techniques, though, may be able to forcefully return a creature to life. These are usually considered very evil techniques though.
Combining Technique and Magical Effects
The default rule for the interaction of techniques and magic is simple: Techniques interact with spells and spells interact with Techniques in the same way a spell or normal spell-like ability interacts with another spell or spell-like ability. This is known as technique–magic transparency.
Though not explicitly called out in the spell descriptions or magic item descriptions, spells, spell-like abilities, and magic items that could potentially affect techniques do affect techniques.
When the rule about technique–magic transparency is in effect, it has the following ramifications. Spell resistance is effective against techniques, using the same mechanics. Likewise, technique resistance is effective against spells, using the same mechanics as spell resistance. If a creature has one kind of resistance, it is assumed to have the other. (The effects have similar ends despite having been brought about by different means.)
Unlike usual, all spells that dispel magic have limited effect against techniques of the same level. The dispel check is instead 10 + technician's level squared. This is because techniques are a natural ability based not on learned use of magic but on life energy converted into power and thus much more difficult to dispel. Instead, most techniques can be countered through other techniques or an equal or greater opposite, such as fire countered by water.
The spell detect magic detects techniques, their number, and their strength and location within 3 rounds (though a Knowledge(Techniques) check is necessary to identify characteristics of the technique's aura). Dead magic areas are also dead technique areas.
Some techniques can interfere with others. Each technique will usually have a section describing what situations may cause various effects.
Techniques that provide bonuses or penalties on attack rolls, damage rolls, saving throws, and other attributes usually do not stack with themselves. More generally, two bonuses of the same type don’t stack even if they come from different techniques, or one from a techniques and one from a spell. You use whichever bonus gives you the better result.
Different Bonus Types
The bonuses or penalties from two different techniques, or a techniques and a spell, stack if the effects are of different types. A bonus that isn’t named (just a “+2 bonus” rather than a “+2 insight bonus”) stacks with any bonus.
Same Effect More than Once in Different Strength
In cases when two or more similar or identical effects are operating in the same area or on the same target, but at different strengths, only the best one applies. If one technique or spell is dispelled or its duration runs out, the other technique or spell remains in effect (assuming its duration has not yet expired).
Same Effect with Differing Results
The same technique or spell can sometimes produce varying effects if applied to the same recipient more than once. The last effect in a series trumps the others. None of the previous spells or techniques are actually removed or dispelled, but their effects become irrelevant while the final spell or technique in the series lasts.
One Effect Makes Another Irrelevant
Sometimes, a technique can render another technique irrelevant.
Multiple Mental Control Effects: Sometimes techniques or magical effects that establish mental control render one another irrelevant. Mental controls that don’t remove the recipient’s ability to act usually do not interfere with one another, though one may modify another. If a creature is under the control of two or more creatures, it tends to obey each to the best of its ability, and to the extent of the control each effect allows. If the controlled creature receives conflicting orders simultaneously, the competing controllers must make opposed Charisma checks to determine which one the creature obeys.
Techniques and Spells with Opposite Effects
Techniques and spells with opposite effects apply normally, with all bonuses, penalties, or changes accruing in the order that they apply. Some techniques and spells negate or counter each other. This is a special effect that is noted in a technique's or spell’s description. In the case of techniques, it is very common for one technique to negate or otherwise affect another.
Two or more magical or technique effects with instantaneous durations work cumulatively when they affect the same object, place, or creature.