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Does the psionic power Touchsight grant line of sight, when you might otherwise not have line of sight?

The power description mentions line of effect, and has some other language commonly found in conjunction with line of sight, but does not seem to be clear as to whether it grants effective line of sight or not.

The d20 SRD version of the text of the power is provided below for convenience:

You generate a subtle telekinetic field of mental contact, allowing you to “feel” your surroundings even in total darkness or when your sight would otherwise be obscured by your physical environment. Your touchsight field emanates from you out to 60 feet. You ignore invisibility, darkness, and concealment, though you must have line of effect to a creature or an object to discern it. You do not need to make Spot or Listen checks to notice creatures; you can detect and pinpoint all creatures within 60 feet. In many circumstances, comparing your regular senses to what you learn with touchsight is enough to tell you the difference between visible, invisible, hiding, and concealed creatures.

Augment: For every 2 additional power points you spend, the radius of your touchsight field increases by 10 feet.

For example:

  • The power *Energy Retort*requires line of sight.
  • The feat Burrowing Power references powers that require line of sight.
  • A number of spells require line of sight. Tactical Teleportation (from the Complete Mage) is one such.
  • The Knight class feature Test of Mettle requires line of sight.
  • The Tome of Battle maneuver Shadow Jaunt requires line of sight.

Does the psionic power Touchsight grant line of sight, when you might otherwise not have line of sight, thus permitting use of the above examples, or any other abilities which require line of sight?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ To make it simple, am I getting it right, the question asks if Touchsight effectively is Blindsight or Blindsense? \$\endgroup\$ Oct 27, 2017 at 5:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @annoyingimp I suppose that is one way to look at it. The power calls out needing line of effect, but doesn't call out needing line of sight. On the other hand, it also doesn't call out that it positively or effectively grants line of sight, either. So I'm trying to clarify if using Touchsight is the same as having line of sight or not. \$\endgroup\$
    – nijineko
    Oct 27, 2017 at 16:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ Could you possibly clarify what part of your question isn't covered by answers present? Do you need LoS for something other than targetting or arguments aren't strong enough, maybe? \$\endgroup\$ Feb 26, 2018 at 5:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ @annoyingimp There are other effects or actions which can require line of sight based on the text for those items. The question was raised as to whether the sense of touch granted by Touchsight actually counted as line of sight, when only line of effect was explicitly called out. So it is more about whether a character that is under the effect of Touchsight can take actions or use effects which explicitly require line of sight or not. \$\endgroup\$
    – nijineko
    Feb 27, 2018 at 3:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ Then I should suggest you to add examples to the question, as a general answer will be: it depends on the effect. To say more, I'm not aware of significant amount of things which depend on LoS. May it be you are interested in something specific? \$\endgroup\$ Feb 27, 2018 at 6:48

2 Answers 2

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It probably does, at least effectively

As it states that Touchsight lets you ignore concealment, it seems the power locates exact position of the target, so it probably should be sufficient as a substitute for having line of sight for purposes of targetting.

It most likely acts as psionic equivalent of Blindsight spell: also 3rd level, matching durations.

Yes, it also says it lets you detect and pinpoint creatures, neither of which equels having line of sight (first being aware of a creature and second knowing squeres it occupies on the map). But I think that part is there as an explanation of why you shouldn't make Listen or Spot checks and supplements previous benefits not overrides them.

Conserning your examples

  1. Energy Retort. Power needs line of sight because manifester needs it to target something with a ranged attack. It is a targetting issue and a clear yes. Touchsight works.
  2. Burrowing Power. This does not work. And that's not because Touchsight's equivalent of line of sight isn't good enough. Its because touchsight can't give you its equivalent of line of sight to the point to wich you have no line of effect.
  3. Tactical Teleportation. This again is a targetting issue. I'm certain to a reasonable degree that you can 'see' walls, floor, and obstacles with Touchsight as well as you can 'see' creatures. So I see no problems with targetting a square (or grid intersection, if you please) with it.
  4. Test of Mettle. This is a simple targetted effect. If you may target someone with Magic Missle or Charm Person why not with a Test of Mettle?
  5. Shadow Jaunt. See #3.

When Touchsight != Line of Sight

I feel I should say why the power grants line of sight effectively. What I'm trying to say by this statement is that mechanically you act as if you had line of sight when the line of sight is the only thing that matters. You can't probably distinguish color with Touchsight, you aren't subject to Gaze Attacks through it, and so forth. If you need to actually see something for whatever reason Touchsight won't help you.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ @nijineko As you can see, all your examples are about targetting something with something else. This is why I asked for them. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 28, 2018 at 18:11
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Sort of...

but this only bypasses concealment; essentially, line of effect replaces line of sight. As annoying imp noted, this power is effectively blindsight (Monster Manual 306 and Dungeon Master's Guide 290).


Touchsight, from Expanded Psionics Handbook 138 says:

Your touchsight field emanates from you out to 60 feet. You [...] must have line of effect to a creature or an object to discern it.

Emanations radiate out from a point of origin, in this case, the origin is you. Player's Handbook 175 says:

A burst [...] can’t affect creatures with total cover from its point of origin (in other words, its effects don’t extend around corners).

[...] An emanation [effect] functions like a burst [effect], except that the effect continues to radiate from the point of origin for the duration of the [effect].

(emphases mine)

Line of effect (176) says:

A line of effect is a straight, unblocked path that indicates what a spell can affect. A line of effect is canceled by a solid barrier. It’s like line of sight for ranged weapons, except that it’s not blocked by fog, darkness, and other factors that limit normal sight.

[An...] emanation [effect] affects only an area, creatures, or objects to which it has line of effect from its [point of] origin. An otherwise solid barrier with a hole of at least 1 square foot through it does not block a spell’s line of effect. Such an opening means that the 5-foot length of wall containing the hole is no longer considered a barrier for purposes of a spell’s line of effect.

(emphases again mine)

So you can discern things that would otherwise be concealed but total cover still blocks this. I liken it to how I simplistically imagine radar works; it detects the first solid thing in every direction, then 'stops'.

Additionally, since the power thematically revolves around touch, gaseous (DMG 294) and incorporeal (295, Monster Manual III, 214-5) creatures and objects would, in this DM's opinion, not be discerned.


In regards to the examples, they are all either improved by touchsight's vision, or they improve touchsight:

  • The energy retort power is improved, since it requires line of sight, bypassing concealment is a bonus. (Expanded Psionics Handbook 103-4)
  • The Burrowing Power feat gives a power line of effect, if you succeed with the psicraft check. Enhanced by Burrowing Power, touchsight could bypass a wall or barrier, or a force effect. However, you'd need to be able to use Burrowing Power again on a second power in order to use touchsight as line of sight for targeted effects. (Expanded Psionics Handbook 43)
  • The Knight's Test of Mettle ability is improved, since it requires line of sight; bypassing concealment has value. (Player's Handbook II 26)
  • The Shadow Jaunt Maneuver is improved; bypassing concealment is an improvement, though you still can't teleport through walls. (Tome of Battle 79)
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  • \$\begingroup\$ Partial cover doesn't block line-of-sight, so it doesn't need to be on the list. \$\endgroup\$
    – Topquark
    Aug 28, 2017 at 0:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ As far as I can tell, none of the things you may ignore would normally block line of sight to begin with - in game terms. \$\endgroup\$
    – Weckar E.
    Sep 27, 2017 at 11:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ @WeckarE. The part about "when your sight would otherwise be obscured by your physical environment" could yield situations where line of sight might be obscured, but a "telekinetic sense of touch" might still provide an effect which is basically the same as line of sight for targeting and location purposes. \$\endgroup\$
    – nijineko
    Oct 27, 2017 at 16:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Chemus Updated the question with some specific examples. \$\endgroup\$
    – nijineko
    Feb 27, 2018 at 12:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ @nijineko Updated answer with more, and better, info, and analysis of examples. \$\endgroup\$
    – Chemus
    Feb 2 at 2:14

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