Poll: Is there Range to Target on Detect Evil in HM4?
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Is there Range to Target on Detect Evil (HM4) ?
#1
Feel free to justify any answer in a reply. The source to any answer has to be from within HackMaster 4.x (or 1st & 2nd edition AD&D (where HackMaster is based.) In other words, I can't take a 3rd, 4th, or higher or a Pathfinder answer. The spell from HackMaster is quoted below. A source from another chapter in Players Handbooks, GM's Guilde, other Specialty Guides or errata would be appreciated.

I recently got into a discussion with one of my Players in HackMaster about Detect Evil.

My claim is that while Evil is detected along the 10 foot wide path for 180' (or yards for Cleric), there is no "range to target". In other words the caster does not know whether the detected evil is 10 feet or 180 feet away. (We also talking about through walls and solid rock, there is no blockage.)

My Player's claim is yes it does, based on the word "discovers" in the third word of the spell explanation. He believes that act of "discovery" gives distance as well as direction.

I do not see interpret it that way.

Text of spell from PHB:

This spell discovers emanations of evil (or of good in the case of the reverse spell) from any creature, object, or area. Character alignment is not revealed under most circumstances: characters who are strongly aligned, do not stray from their faith and who are at least 9th level might radiate good or evil if they are intent upon appropriate actions. Powerful monsters, such as Ki-Rin, send for emanations of evil or good, even if polymorphed. Aligned undead radiate evil, for it is this power and negative force that enables them to continue existing. An evilly cursed object or unholy water radiates evil, but a hidden trap or an unintelligent viper does not. The degree of evil (faint, moderate, strong, overwhelming) can be noted.

Note that clerics have a more powerful version of this spell. The spell has a path of detection 10 feet wide and 60 yards long in the direction the magic user is facing. The magic-user must concentrate - stop, have quiet, and intently seek to detect the aura - for at least one round to receive a reading.
Tracy Johnson

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#2
I voted yes, mainly because that's the way I'd always run it, but the pinpointing of the source was always when the source was visible, i.e. you can pick the evil guy out in a crowd. But I also play that walls and solid rock most certainly can, and do, act as barriers to the spell, but they need to be impenetrable barriers; a door or window will let you know that evil resides in a house, but not exactly where in the house. If viewed as evil radiating outward, like light and heat from a candle radiates, you can see that the lights are on in a house but not know where the lamps are. So you can tell that evil is around the corner of the tunnel, but you're detecting the emanations from the tunnel, not through the wall.

As an aside, I also play that the light from Light and Continual Light spells, when cast on an area instead of an object, is blocked by impermeable objects. Within the AoE, there are no shadows if there is a path to all points in the area that can be reached by staying in the area. Let's see if I can make a diagram work in this forum:
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    ___ ___
   /   |xxx\
  |    |xxxx|
  |   o|xxxx|
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   \___|xxx/

       |
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    ___|___
   /   |   \
  |    |    |
  |   o|    |
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   \_______/
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Maybe. Looks ok in preview. In the first image we have a caster 'o' casting a 20' radius Light spell centered between two opening 41' apart. The other side of the wall is not lit by the spell. The second image has the caster less than 20' away from an opening, thus everything within the AoE is lit.

Now, if the spell were cast on an object, not an area, then all the expected rules apply.

Code:
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   /   |xxx\
  |    |xxxx|
  |   o|xxxx|
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   \_____xx/
       |
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Maybe I got it rite this time.

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#3
Unfortunately, our group has already determined that unlike Detect Magic, Detect Evil/Good is not blocked by one foot of stone nor one inch of metal.  It goes right through.  You can have 170 feet of solid rock and Detect Evil in a ten foot square chamber at the other end.

This is evidenced by the glaring omission of any blockage in the text of the Detect Evil spell versus the inclusion in the Detect Magic spell.

So the question is a matter of range.

In the below example, per the spell, Detection is in a 10 foot wide path (treat the parallel dashes as 10 feet apart).   Number 1 is detected, while 2 and 3 are not.  

Code:
______________
|            |                         3
|            |
|            |
| - - - - - -|- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
| O          |         1              4
| - - - - - -|- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
|            |                2
|            |
|____________|


If range is allowed, then 4 is also detected because otherwise 4 would be hiding behind the aura of 1. 

I'm thinking of Edwin Abbot's "Flatland" one dimensional creatures who lived in a straight line.  The King could only see his first consort on either side of him.

The above example precludes a slow turn.  If the spell caster turns, he would detect 2 and 3.  But my argument is neither would appear any closer nor farther than the other.  The below is a "point of view" of the spell caster.  ex.)

Code:
3  1  2



If you are correct, then the spell caster sees them as below.  The closer ones's aura seems stronger and range to target can be determined.  (Casting out 4, because display would be too complex.)

3  1  2


Discounting strength of Evil/Good for purpose of this example, all are equally Evil/Good.
Tracy Johnson

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#4
A little further thought and another reading of your post, I'm going to modify my answer somewhat and say that if the source is visible, the caster knows the source, but range is not determinable. As your player pointed out, the spell description does use the word "discovers," but what is discovered? An evil object? No. The spell caster discovers "emanations."


"Yep, that bracelet is emanating evil, as is that vial. Oh, and something on the other side of the door."

"How far away are they?"

"Well, the bracelet is on your wrist, the vial is on that table about ten feet away, and the other thing is somewhere on the other side of the door."

"Can't you tell how far on the other side of the door?"

"What? This is evil we're talking about here. It's not like it obeys the inverse-square law."

"What's the inverse-square law?"

"Exactly."
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#5
For that punch line. I am truly thankful.
Tracy Johnson

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#6
The word "emanations" gives the GM a lot of leeway to take environment and the character's ability to put puzzles together into account. Emanations implies a lack of ability to directly identify the source, however some process of elimination might make it clear (as in holding various objects in front of the detection).
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#7
I logged back on to the Kenzerco forums with the same question.

My last log on there was six years ago. Of course I had to reset my password.
Tracy Johnson

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#8
Ha. Perma-banned over ten years ago.
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#9
(12-14-2016, 11:56 PM)Oedipussy Rex Wrote: Ha. Perma-banned over ten years ago.

So what did you do?  Promote a competing product?
Tracy Johnson

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#10
Probably had an original thought.
"Save inches for the bathroom; we're using feet here." ~ Rob Kuntz (2014)

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