In a campaign I'm DMing, I like to give special treats to each character, often after a spectacular feat they managed to pull; as a result of this, the Warlord has a talking demonslayer sword, the Swordmage is able to use Arcana check to unlock some locks, etc. Weapons and "skill" powers of the like are easy enough to balance.
However, Argawaen the Rogue is giving me trouble. I initially wanted to give him a magical dagger, but he's already on a personal quest to get a very specific weapon to kill a very specific foe. And that's fine with me; if anything, his current weapon of choice is good enough to get by for now. And I can't really give him magical items either; the guy's already stuffed with magical items he's been stealing everywhere.
So, because of how stealthy he's been throughout the campaign I turned to my next choice: custom powers.
Which brings me to Shadow Skip. The ability to travel through shadows. With Shadow Step (Dragon Magazine #379) as a better starting point. I've talked to the player about it, and he likes the idea about as much as I do, but he also has the same concerns as I do. Basically it would be something like this:
Shadow Skip (temp.) -- Argawaen Power 11
You step into the shadows, only to reappear out of them, somewhere else.
At-Will ✦ Martial
Move Action -- Personal
Effect: You must start your move in a shadowed square. You can move your speed. You must end your movement on a shadowed square. You ignore obstacles on your movement, as long as you have a line of sight with the destination from the start. You are hidden during the movement. At the end of that movement, you can use a Stealth check. If you make the Stealth check, you remain hidden after your movement.
Problem is, it brings a couple questions.
- Is that balanced enough? (I want it to be better than normal powers, but not game-breaking)
- How to determine what is a valid "shadowed square"? Does "dimly lit area" do it?
- Party average level is around 10-11. I plan to "unlock" that power when Argawaen hits 11, the Paragon tier (might be happening next session).
- It's a high-magic heroic setting, with occasional over-the-top situations.
- Although most of the party has low-light vision (including Argawaen), they tend to avoid fighting at night. Besides, most of the adventure happens out in the open; caves and abandoned dungeons are rare, but they still go through one every now and then.
- I trust the player to use that power in the most creative ways possible, and I'm more than okay with it (e.g. I would accept it if they use a torch to cast a shadow of a pillar across the corridor and use it to get behind the enemy).