lifesense and sleeping


Rules Questions

Shadow Lodge

What would happen if a character with the oracle mystery lifesense had an enemy sneaking up on them while they were asleep?

Lifesense (Su): You notice and locate living creatures within 30 feet, just as if you possessed the blindsight ability. You must be at least 11th level to select this revelation.


The rules give nothing on this.

Personally I'd rule it as nothing happens, just like when a creature that has visual perception does not get to use that perception while it is asleep. Being asleep (and unconscious) means your brain has limited your sensory organs (at least in a manner such that you cannot consciously respond to them). I'd rule lifesense as a form of sensory input - a sixth sense as it were.


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I would probably rule that they automatically notice them, based on the following three points.

1. Being asleep gives a +10 to the DC of all Perception checks. No other penalties are mentioned.

2. Lifesense says it uses the rules from Blindsight "just as if you possessed the blindsight ability". So it's blindsight that only notices living creatures. Blindsight says "The creature usually does not need to make Perception checks to notice creatures within range of its blindsight ability." Being asleep just makes it harder; creatures with blindsight don't care how hard the DC is, as they automatically pass.

3. Blindsight says it is always on unless it says you have to activate it - specifically, "Unless noted otherwise, blindsight is continuous, and the creature need do nothing to use it. Some forms of blindsight, however, must be triggered as a free action. If so, this is noted in the creature's description." Lifesense has no such provision, although it does only apply to living creatures.

Therefore I'd say that they can automatically notice when something gets close.

I'd probably also rule that it's a discerning sense, in that you can recognize individuals with it, based on "maneuvers and fights as well as a sighted creature". It's supposed to be as good as being able to see. Maybe you recognize their heartbeat or aura or something.


Strangeness creeps in about what to tell the oracle's player and what kind of decisions they get to make. How well can they sleep if there's a friend patrolling the camp? Does he wake up every time the guard wanders past, or does he get to decide not to wake up? Does he know it's his friend before he decides whether or not to wake?

Shadow Lodge

But does it auto wake you up? Sometimes you hear things a little bit before they really wake you up.

IE: a mother may hear the baby crying because she has ears, but it may take a round or two to decern that it is crying in real life and not in some dream she is having.


As a DM i'd rule that any "supernatural" ability would require at least minimally conscious effort to produce. That said, I'd give them the option to notice an unfamiliar lifesense in the same way they would subconsciously hear a sound that isn't just background noise. It would basically amount to a hearing check without giving the enemy a stealth bonus.

On the other hand I'd just attack them with skeletons at night.

Shadow Lodge

lol. and what if the enemy was silenced? As a DM, it is a very odd encounter I am in... :-)

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