Wednesday, March 17, 2010

RPG Ability: Scuttle-Eye

The party crept along the cold stone passage and paused outside the warped oak door. They listened for a few moments and could hear the sound of something moving about behind the door.

"Okay, here's what we're going to do," whispered the Paladin, and the group automatically got in a huddle around him. "Everyone else, back up a bit, but be ready to move." He nodded at the Thief. "Take a look inside and see what's in there."

The Thief crept padded silently up to the door and crouched down. Eight black nubs poked themselves out around the perimeter of her right eye. The nubs poked further outward until they became thin, hairy legs, which braced themselves against her face. Then her eye lifted itself off her face and scuttled down her neck, leaving a blank flesh-colored spot where it had been. It disappeared in her collar and reappeared at her jacket's cuff. She moved her hand down to the floor by the crack under the door and the eye scampered off her hand and crawled under the door.

"There's a group of hobgoblins lounging about," the Thief said, closing her left eye. "They've got their weapons piled up against the right-hand wall." She smiled. "They don't know we're coming!"

Scuttle-eye allows one of the character's eyes to literally walk off her face on eight spindly spider legs. When it does so, it leaves either a smooth spot on the character's face or a gaping eye socket, according to DM preference. The character controls where the eye walks and can see through the eye as though it were still attached to her face. The eye moves like a spider, able to crawl up walls and even move across ceilings.

It's small (naturally), so it takes a difficult Perception check to spot it. It makes a very soft skittering sound as it moves, so creatures with extra-sharp hearing may be able to detect it.

The eye functions normally out to about a hundred feet from its owner. When it starts to move beyond that, though, the image starts to fade, and the eye starts to take on more and more of a life of its own. Left to its own devices, the eye is cowardly but inquisitive, preferring to hide in shadows and under furniture and peep up at things. When the eye is 1,000 feet from its owner, the owner loses control entirely and can only watch what the eye is showing, though the image is hazy and dreamlike. At a mile (5,280 feet), the user loses contact with the eye entirely.

If contact is lost, moving back within range of the eye will not re-establish the contact. Instead, the eye must be found and somehow coaxed to once again resume its place on the owner's face. Gentle voices and no sudden movements are critical. Note that the eye is also prone to being lonely, and can feel rejected if the owner breaks the contact (whether it was voluntary or not). Making the eye feel wanted again will make it more likely to resume its role. Offering it a gentlemanly monocle is almost guaranteed to win back the eye's favor.

The eye is about as intelligent as a mouse, but it may never communicate and any attempts to read its thoughts will result in a confusing impression of shifting color and space, like looking into a kaleidoscope while dizzy.

The eye only has 1 hp, and though it has a high AC for its high Dex and small size, if it is hit, it is immediately destroyed. If the player receives a healing spell that would allow the re-growth of damaged body parts, or if the player has a natural regenerative ability, the eye may be re-grown and it once again has the ability to scuttle forth.

Mischievous DMs may want to experiment with the eye starting to gain more of a personality over time. Maybe it gets tired of always being sent into dangerous situations, so its owner has to coax it, threaten it, or fool it into spying on monsters. Another possibility would be that the eye starts to enjoy the adrenaline rush, and the owner has to constantly keep it from rushing off into danger!

Depending on how gruesome the DM wants to be, the eye could either be granted through a spell or potion (Vecna and Gruumsh make good candidates for patrons), or it may require the catching of the rare and elusive eye-spider, then scooping out the recipient's original eye and replacing it with the eye-spider in a ritual. Yeesh!


Kyle said...

"If contact is lost, moving back within range of the eye will not re-establish the contact."

If control is lost, but not contact (i.e. I am 1500 feet from the eye), will moving back under 1000 feet automatically re-establish control? Or will I still have to coax it?

Lord Admiral said...

Good question. :)

If you lost control but not contact, moving back under 1000 feet will re-establish control automatically.