Stonesounding

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Dwarves in the Opal Empire have an legacy connected to the world underground, as in most fantasy settings. They’re comfortable in dark places, though now they live in exile from their long stone halls in cities high in the mountains. This is a quick note about how they maneuver in the dark.

The standard rules do not include the notion of “infravision” for dwarves or other races, by default. In the Opal Empire, dwarves have access to a feat that grants them ability to “see” in the dark.

Adventurer Feat: Stonesounding

You must be a dwarf to take this feat.

Though it is an art that the race is losing to time and disuse, some dwarves know how to “see” a place through a kind of echolocation. A dwarf with this skill makes a sharp noise — typically by tapping her hammer on a stone wall but a pair of hard-soled boots on a marble floor will do the trick — and reads the sounds as they echo back to her. In this way, she can get a rough picture of her surroundings. “Stonesounding,” they call it, allows a dwarf to mentally map out walls, ceilings, floors, and major features of the room like statues and furniture. If there are people in the room, they show up to the dwarf as indistinct blobs. Large monsters (luckily, they are exceedingly rare) show up as large, indistinct blobs.

Certainly stonesounding has its limitations. One cannot get the texture of surfaces, see color, determine fine details, or read writing. One cannot see faces or even tell a dwarf from a human or elf. Nonetheless, a dwarf with this talent does not feel lost or frightened in a pitch black place.

The feat allows a dwarf to mentally map out the entire room’s basic shape as long as she can make some kind of sharp tapping or clicking noise every five seconds or so. This is limited to a distance of 40 feet for rooms with small ceilings (15 feet high or less) or out to 80 feet for rooms with higher ceilings. The sounds travels in a straight line out from the dwarf, so she cannot “see” behind any obstructions.

Champion Feat: Stonesounding Tricks

You must be a dwarf to take this feat.

Legends say the masters of the skill learn to sound around corners and perform other tricks. Indeed, an expert stonesounder can hear the presence of hollow places behind walls and under floors.

The feat allows a dwarf to “see” around obstructions, even corners. The distance the dwarf can see does not change (use a radius out from the dwarf, and don’t bother with measuring from corner to corner).

The feat also allows a dwarf to automatically discover fake walls and secret doors by tapping on the surface near the hidden place (within 10 feet of it).

Stonesounding

The Opal Empire AdamDray