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The Void Disciple prestige class (Complete Divine) gains an ability called Sense Void as their primary class feature. This ability allows them to observe an "area, person, or thing" at a distance.

A previous GM ruled that if I used Sense Void to target a person or object, then I could sense that person or object, but not the things around it. For example, I could sense a genie's lamp, but I couldn't see the person that was carrying it.

Is my previous GM's interpretation correct? Can a Void Disciple using Sense Void not see anyone around the person or object they Sense?

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up vote 8 down vote accepted

Complete Divine is annoyingly silent on the issue. Your DM’s interpretation was a valid one, but not the only valid one. Personally, I think that would make the ability nigh useless, and I’d furthermore point out the similarities that the rules here have to various Scrying effects: if you use those for comparison, you should be able to observe the object or creature’s surroundings.

And honestly, if it cannot do that, the prestige class has no point. It’s losing 3 spellcasting levels – way more than it could ever justify – and you need to get something for that.

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I agree. If it worked like this, the only thing it would be good for is seeing if something/someone is broken/dead. –  Melon Nov 27 '12 at 3:22
    
Or for seeing what he's doing. Sleeping? Maybe it's time to TP in! –  Zachiel Dec 29 '12 at 18:30
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