Perception

I'm thinking of the game design and play implications of the Perception skill (sometimes an attribute or ability) commonly found in RPGs.

The existence of a score character Perception ability in a game suggests that the designer wanted it to be important. Less indirectly, such a game is set in a world where there are things unseen: secrets, spies, hidden doors, traps, stalkers, invisible creatures...

Ostensibly, the designer does not want them to be found all the time, and thus leaves finding these wondrous things up to chance. The cleric walks right past the secret door that leads to the treasure room, never to find it. Oh well!

I wonder if this idea is totally wrongheaded. What if characters just automatically find things? Does that spoil the game?
  • You find the secret door to the treasure room! But you still need to get out of the dungeon alive.
  • You spot a giant pit trap in front of you. But you still must jump over it.
  • You spot a poison needle trap on that locked chest. But you still must unlock it and avoid getting pricked.
  • You notice someone tailing you. But you still must decide if letting them know you're onto them is a good idea, and possibly shake them or confront them.
I'm sure some sim-purists will say that just succeeding at noticing everything ruins the fun for them. I suspect that's a minority view though.

When you're creating a setting with all this hidden stuff, don't you really just want the characters to find it? How much prep gets wasted because someone fails their Spot check? Is it more dramatic to fall into a pit you didn't know was there, or to fall into a pit you saw and were trying to leap over?
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Comments

  • edited December 2018
    I think of what 2097 calls auto investigation in Gumshoe.
    And slightly off topic (but who knows), Rêve's author, genius author *Denis Gerfaud made a notorious grab and run with the Perception stat : each sense has its stat (that's 5 stats looking at strength and agility and their likes right in the eyes) and you are invited to use them to feel the taste of food, listen to music, etc. Story themes (snails, mushroom, cider, pastry, etc.), art / crafting system, and morale economy make this a big part of the game. I wouldn't play Rêve without a cooked meal.
  • I hear you, Adam.

    With most "Perception" challenges, there is almost always some other issue which would be far more interesting (and more gameable) to resolve.

    (In player vs. player interactions, however, things can get more complicated... but that's a whole other question for designers.)
  • I feel like the existence of "randomized perception" plays a big part in the emergent quality of play-to-find-out play.

    Not-noticing doesn't have to mean wasted prep; if you fail to detect the person tailing you, that can have consequences down the line. Whether you see the pit trap or not, you'll still find it eventually: but the way you find it, the consequences, and how you ultimately deal with it, all change.
  • I've also been watching a bit of Critical Role lately, as I've mentioned in the other thread (about that), and that reminds me of another thing:

    In a lot of trad games (D&D, in this case), you are expected to roll Perception (or Insight, or Knowledge whatever) to discern some (often quite important) detail or bit of information.

    For example, I played in a D&D game where the party was spending a few days in a keep, in preparation for a War Against Great Evil. We were instructed to all make Perception checks to see if we could notice that there was something wrong/off/strange about the garrison of the keep. Were the soldiers sleeping there being affected by some curse?

    This kind of "group Perception check" ritual is hilarious to me; it takes just a modicum of arithmetic to realize that it's basically pointless. (Assuming that the average character has a 50% chance of success - and it's normally higher! - a group like that on Critical Role has far less than a 1% chance of failing that test.)

    And yet it persists.

    Things I wonder about with Perception checks and such:

    1. As @yukamichi writes, above, sometimes there ARE moments where knowing whether someone sees something or not is interesting. However, they are rare, not always easy to identify, and often really tricky to make "gameable" (e.g. the conundrum of having to roll to notice something makes it impossible not to realize that you missed something, and such).

    How can we play or design towards that?

    (The addition of "passive perception" to modern D&D, for example, is a step in a positive direction. That helps resolve some of these issues.)

    2. Were I designing a game of this sort right now, I would look towards having Perception checks and mechanical effects rather than a binary pass/fail.

    For instance, perhaps we always narrate me noticing the assassin lurking behind me, but the outcome of the roll determines *how soon*, and whether that leaves me at an advantage or a disadvantage.

    -"There is a noise behind you... you whirl to see that you've been followed! Roll Perception."
    -"Oh, good! I scored 3 successes."
    -"You hear him coming long before he gets close to you. You automatically win initiative against him and you have a +3 for whatever way you choose to react...:
  • Group skill checks are a codified thing in 5e. If more than half the group succeeds, the overall check succeeds. If DMs are playing it as "if anyone succeeds..." then they're not playing RAW.

    The former averages out PC skills to some extent (remember that you don't have to have proficiency in a skill to roll it). The latter basically is just instant success.

    Anyone want to run the combinatorics math on the RAW method?
  • (I don't want to get on a tangent, but how this might or might not be handled in D&D5 still makes it a relevant issue to many/most games who use personal Perception checks! Do you use group checks in your D&D games for this kind of thing?)

    (I've yet to see a D&D group handle Perception that way, in any case. The wording of the rules strongly suggests the authors of the game didn't intend that, either: "Group checks don't come up very often, and they're most useful when all the characters succeed or fail as a group." [emphasis mine]. Perception checks are, arguably, never something where the characters "succeed or fail as a group". In practice, it's a roll which gives us an excuse to say who notices something first, instead, which isn't terribly useful or inspiring.)
  • What if something like a perception check is unknowingly most useful as a improv-enabling-delay for the GM.

    Interesting question player, please manipulate a physical object and then do some mental arithmetic whilst I think of a good answer.

    I wonder how many rules have a physical place in the conversation, as pacing or turn taking method, that gives them popularity beyond any thematic or mechanical use. Initiative is likely another example.
  • If I'm correct, original 'perception' checks were used to allow automatic discovery. If the DM rolled a 1, you automatically found the trap door, and she narrated the new room that way.

    Otherwise you had to use your player skills. Maybe the GM gave you some hint for free, maybe not.

    Then came the Thief. Then came the general ability/skill etc.

    ***

    Group perception checks are basically for spicing up gameplay, right?
  • Yes, good observations. Perception checks, like Initiative checks, can serve as a ritual, too.
  • Group perception checks - I play in a Pathfinder group where the DM often calls for this kind of seemingly pointless perception check, where he wants to introduce some new thing to the scene and knows that someone in the group will inevitably succeed on the roll to spot it.

    For a long time I thought this was pretty strange procedure, and wondered why he was doing it. Why not just narrate the appearance of the new thing? But eventually I noticed he was using it in a different way than I thought. He isn't calling to see if anyone in the group notices the new thing, but to see which characters notice it, or which character notices it first.

    For example, if there is a satyr watching the party from the bushes, then he might call for everyone to make a perception check. Perhaps we go around the table and roll 19, 38, 27, 24 (it's Pathfinder, so big numbers). The the DM addresses the guy who rolled 38 and says, "Orchadia, you notice a pair of eyes watching from the bushes. What do you do?" The player who is playing Orchadia gets to take the lead in the new scene (and probably decide the direction for the whole party's interaction with the Satyr) because of the high perception roll.

    So, in this usage, it acts like Initiative not just in a ritualistic sense, but in the sense that it is a roll to see who gets to take action. This isn't a formal rule by any means, but just a result of the fact that the DM addresses the narration to only the player with the high perception roll.
  • Yeah, I've seen that a lot, too. It makes some more sense when there is a significant decision to be made, which can be made by a single character, but those situations (in my experience) are fairly rare (the players will typically want to share the information and deliberate).

    The idea of using that to shift spotlight is interesting; that has some potential.
  • In some groups, perception rolls are used to establish who is flat-footed or surprised at the start of unexpected combat--that is, as a second layer of complexity on any initiative rules (or in lieu of them).

    This can have the sim-beneficial result of alert, scout-types having a moment to shine (spotlighting) as well as potentially providing substantial mechanical advantage (e.g. in games where a fast *sleep* spell or alpha strike missile or whatever can massively swing the battle).
  • Note that in 5E, you can essentially just invest enough character resources to eventually make this sort of thing a non-issue: high Wisdom, find a way to get double-Proficiency in Perception, and take the Alert feat, and you're looking at a Passive Perception of perhaps 25 by mid-level. It's an interesting example of that sort of "reverse flagging" that is sometimes discussed, where someone takes a high Sword skill because they want fights to be over quickly.

    I have seen this phenomenon in play, and it's not disruptive at all, and indeed heightens the drama in general, as Adam suggests in his post.

    Now, let's talk about Insight, the lie-detecting equivalent of Perception. There things get really thorny, because it's easier to imagine a situation where not knowing someone is lying to you is dramatically interesting. But then if you made the roll, you know there's something to be Insightful about, which then means the player if not the character has a sense of what's up. There are various ways around it, but I've played enough Dogs to generally just let players know when an NPC is lying.
  • edited December 2018
    @hot_circle Knowledge and perception stats as a means of creating narrative material is not "commonly found in RPG". It is very specific to the story, creative kind (eg : On mighty thews). It took me some time to notice most people mean D&D when they say TTRPG :P
  • Perception as a skill is the most wrongheaded thing D&D ever did. I'm hacking 5e and considering getting rid of a few skills - except Perception. I'm not considering getting rid of it, I know I'm getting rid of it. It's like the 5e "survivalist" (or w/e it's called) background's ability to get as much food as a party needs at all times. It's not actually an ability that impacts play so much as it's an ability that turns off parts of play.

    You get rid of Perception and you go one of two ways: 1) let the PCs notice everything, as you've said, Adam, or 2) force the PCs to describe what they are doing and looking at and have them find what they find.
  • I remember when I was a teenager game mastering trad games. I always had the characters Perception based skills written down so I could roll for them in secret. Then I realized I could roll for them in advance because I knew what kind of situations they would get into, and then just hand over the information or prepare for what would happen if everyone failed their skill roll.

    It got a little weird sometimes, where I told X players about something, and then the rest had to pretend to not see it (I even tried notes). I then took this a step further, by just having their Perception values and give out information to the players based on their scores, and assume that everyone said whatever they found. If they didn't then the player had to specifically say that.
  • Adam_Dray said:

    Group skill checks are a codified thing in 5e. If more than half the group succeeds, the overall check succeeds. If DMs are playing it as "if anyone succeeds..." then they're not playing RAW.

    There were something that stroke me as weird, but I couldn't put my finger on it. For Sneak, this could make sense (the successful ones are guiding the unsuccessful ones) but not for Perception.

    So if I played a character that was an all-seeing god, I would still fail to spot everything if the others are playing blind moles. Level of Sense Making: 0.
  • Yeah, I don't handle Perception or Insight as a group check in 5E, but I do have the character with the best skill roll. That feels the most fair to me and my players.
  • @Adam_Dray, this is a question I have wrestled with more times than I can count.
    What if characters just automatically find things? Does that spoil the game?
    That certainly depends on the game everyone's playing. If you're playing a game with a separation between GM knowledge and PC knowledge and that distinction contributes to challenge-oriented gameplay, then it does spoil the game. Playing toward more story-based sensibilities, where the game is about crafting an interesting narrative, then no, it does not.

    The issue, more broadly, is the function of Perception. What does Perception do, exactly? It's a skill, not a saving throw, so it implies that it is proactive rather than reactive. Except it's usually rolled to defend oneself against would-be ambushers or avoid stumbling into traps. D&D likewise lacks a way to use it in a more narrative fashion; there is no option to roll Perception to do things that would propel or change the game world. In Fate, for example, you might roll your Notice to create an Aspect on a scene, but there's no option (save for the GM's whim) for a player to say, "I roll Perception to notice a weak spot in his armor."
    Hans_c-o said:

    Perception as a skill is the most wrongheaded thing D&D ever did. I'm hacking 5e and considering getting rid of a few skills - except Perception. I'm not considering getting rid of it, I know I'm getting rid of it. It's like the 5e "survivalist" (or w/e it's called) background's ability to get as much food as a party needs at all times. It's not actually an ability that impacts play so much as it's an ability that turns off parts of play.

    Hear, hear.
  • When I ran d&d 3.5 I introduced a house rule to have only one character roll perception, and add a modified if other ones are helping. Otherwise, the odds of success greatly increase if many players make the same roll, plus slowing down the game unnecessarily.
  • Having the most alert character roll is a good approach/hack.

    I just watched a scene from Critical Role where the party is trying to get a statue out of their way so they can move into a space. First, the strongest characters player roles. He misses! Then the second strongest rolls. She misses too! Next, three characters attempt it together. I'm not sure if it's considered a group check or not. But, in any case, they miss as well. Finally. One of the least likely to succeed characters rolls, and they succeed. The statue is moved!

    ( I do wonder what would have happened of they all failed…)
  • Here is something I think about a lot when it comes to perception:

    What is the role of the perception check in noticing things?

    There are different ways to apply the roll: for instance, as a "gate" or as a "saving throw".

    These are quite different in practice, and choosing the right one can solve some gameplay issues.

    Let me explain what I mean:

    In the first view, it's a gate or limiter. We use it to gauge what the player knows.

    Example:

    "There is a red skull in the room. Any player rolling a 20 or better will learn about the skull. Otherwise, it remains a secret."

    You must have a character with good Perception, in other words, to discover certain information in the game.

    The second approach is treating it like a saving throw:

    You, the player, can learn just about anything about the world by interacting with it. However, we recognize that your character is smart, too, and if YOU missed something, we can roll Perception to see if YOUR CHARACTER missed it, too.

    Example:

    "There is a red skull in the room, hidden under a cloth wrapping. Any player looking at the cloth wrapping finds the skull. However, characters rolling a 20 or better also figure this out automatically."

    Being clear and being intelligent about which to use can solve some Perception conundrums in play.
  • Best case, I'd say the Perception roll determines between "the next thing will be much easier for the PCs than it could have been" and "the next thing will be much harder for the PCs than it could have been", and the whole group is excited to see that roll result, even if only the GM knows exactly what the stakes were.

    If you GM this way, be very clear about distinguishing those Perception rolls from Perception rolls which simply randomize for the GM when they should deliver which trivia.

    Personally, I'm not big into Perception checks, because I don't generally get too excited about random inputs into my GMing, and I also prefer that "easy vs hard" be determined by things other than skill scores and luck. But that's just me. I certainly see how others enjoy this.

    In the framing Adam offered, though, where it's a world of cool secrets begging to be discovered, then yeah, failing to do that because of a bad roll seems dumb.
  • And if you don't have a world of cool secrets, why is Perception important?
  • edited December 2018
    The Perception roll is valuable for the reasons I just mentioned. Randomized developments in play, some with high stakes, some for color, to be anticipated and appreciated accordingly.

    The Perception stat is important because sometimes it sways the outcome of a consequential Perception roll.

    In-fiction, Perception is... uh... important because... folks who are perceptive find the better path in the dungeon more often, I guess.

    But you could certainly sub in Luck for Perception and all of the above would still be true. Depends on which sort of competence fantasy more floats your boat, I guess...
  • I don't know. If the things they are discovering aren't cool secrets, who cares? "Some with high stakes" means cool secrets, doesn't it? Are uncool secrets "to be anticipated and appreciated accordingly"? Why?

    I think there's some Actor-stance value to information-hiding but it takes more work. FREX: The GM doesn't tell the player that the guy is the villain, and then passes notes to other players who made their Perception checks. (Saying "Bob and Vinesh recognize him as the villain, but Ji-Woo does not" forces Ji-Woo's player from Actor stance to Author stance, so you pass a note instead.)

  • edited December 2018
    I think the purpose I'm pointing out is basically an additional vector for high-gamble challenge-based play. Like, y'know, if your Sneak and To Hit rolls aren't enough stat-modified uncertainty, here's some Luck or Perception too!

    I'm not sure whether the hidden door to the easier dungeon path counts as a "cool secret" or not. To me it's more a useful resource.

    If the GM's intent was not to randomize player odds of success in finding useful resources, but rather to provide an aesthetically striking revelation, then yeah, of course, don't gate that behind a Perception roll. :)
  • edited December 2018
    A resource the players usually have no choice when they use it, and what for.
  • edited December 2018
    I actually have a perfect example of this, from actual play. This is a moment from Critical Role. The party is interacting with an old lady behind bars, and are slightly suspicious about her.

    One of the characters approaches to unlock the door (although she's pretending), and the old lady walks over to give her a hand. A Perception check is called for. Note the reactions of all the players! It's a signal that Something Is Not What it Seems.



    The link takes you to the right spot; watch for just over a minute.

    What can we take away from this?

    I can start with a few:

    * It's certainly a total loss of agency, for the players (and, to a lesser extent, perhaps the GM). There are no decisions being made here, as DeReel points out, above.

    * The ritual of the Perception roll heightens suspense, and then allows the GM to deliver a reveal. However, in some ways the die roll makes the reveal feel slightly more "earned", perhaps, than if the GM simply said so outright. Does it obfuscate the process here somewhat? (After all, it was the GM who had the old lady step forward to handle the lock - clearly this was a setup, in other words, to deliver the reveal, which in no way has to do with the players' decisions or actions - but perhaps the roll makes it *feel* like it "just happened", and the players got lucky.)

    I have no idea what would have happened if the roll had failed; I'll cross-post this in the Critical Role thread to see if anyone has some insights on that over there.


    Edit: if the time stamp isn't working for you, link points to the video at 3:32:40.
  • Hans_c-o said:

    You get rid of Perception and you go one of two ways: 1) let the PCs notice everything, as you've said, Adam, or 2) force the PCs to describe what they are doing and looking at and have them find what they find.

    (emphasis mine)

    I also think that, to some extent, the "mechanicalization of descriptive exploration" can be a beneficial crutch for people who want something that resembles the sort of play where exploration-challenge is important, but don't want the vagary that can come with it. It's "fair" in a way that having to play the "What is the GM thinking?" guessing game often feels not to be. It allows access to a similar experience for people who may not have/don't want to develop the skills that that sort of play can often hinge heavily on. To some people it may retain the "immersive magic" in a way that having to system-master an optimized, every-five-feet dungeon exploration protocol might not be.
  • I agree that the role of the Perception Check is underexamined, but it's more than just a delaying tactic or a ritual. Even the "group perception" check where someone is almost always guaranteed to succeed positions the characters differently when:

    * responding to threats; you made the perception check so you may act in the surprise round
    * receiving facts about a competitive situation; you made the perception check so you get an advantage over your fellow players you can exploit
    * fun; you made the perception check so you get an additional experience that's just yours, a little gambling burst of pleasure, like winning $5 on a slot machine so you'll invest $5000 in the evening
    * thematic appropriateness; you made the perception/knowledge/investigation check in this Lovecraftian horror game, so the forbidden knowledge the other characters avoid in their ignorance worms its way into your mind where it will never leave
    * character focus; your character expresses their interests by what they examine closely and the perception check is a low-friction way of getting those interests more front and center in the game

    (Of course, in streaming, it's different, and the horror and misery of this realization should be palpable. That GM is asking a player to do a thing not for the GM, the player, the mechanics, or the fiction, but for "the streaming audience", slavering, hulking, numbering in the millions - billions yet unborn - all desperate to be sold Dungeons and Dragons, white supremacy, and Chryslers, yet needing to be massaged with a well-timed Perception check so they will agree to return, agree to click another button, agree to watch another ad, agree to back another Patreon, agree to follow on another social media platform? This is what I got into RPGs to avoid, to flee. But I have not run far enough, nor fast enough, and I should have known the money would always be faster...)
  • @JDCorley You hear the echo of millions of clicks somewhere behind you.

    Roll perception.
  • You're so jaded, Jason, that the Chinese made statues of you.

    But your points about positioning are good. In my experience--post-1990, anyway--competition between players is rare and character focus is handled in better ways. The surprise round stuff is the only one that resonates with me. And sure, a Lovecraftesque game, but I never play those.
  • This thread, recent personal experiences and reflecting on past experiences kept me thinking. I rely a lot on the perception roll to determine when and how much hidden data I reveal to the players. When and how much become decisive to define how good is an opportunity (finding the hidden door that leads to the boss room in the first room or after they defeated the boss), if resources like time/light get wasted or not, how dangerous can a situation become (they perceive assassin coming closer vs. they find out when they feel the cold of a knife on their neck) etc.

    The mechanic works in a way. Calling for a perception roll signals players that something is going on. But having Perception be an stat ruins things either if the stat is too high or if it's too low. I'd like to keep all the things I stated on the previous paragraph if possible, minus the stat/roll. Here's an approach:

    Players get a brief list of things their character may be focusing on at any given time. The list can be class-related or just be generic. When the GM calls for perception, a player can focus on two things from that list and maybe a general direction. If it's a group perception, then it's three things and two general directions. The list would be something like:

    -Checking for movement
    -Checking for anything resembling a distinct shape (humanoid, beast, object, trap, you name it)
    -Listening
    -Navigating the place (make sure you don't get lost, keep track of obstacles and escape routes)
    -Checking for important details (misterious engravings, drawings, marks, tracks, etc.)
    -Checking for odors.

    The GM may decide on the spot or in prep what of those things will reveal the hidden information, which reveal a distraction and which reveal nothing strange according to the nature of the challenge. Nice side effect: the GM can ask the players what are they checking for in the same way as asking them their marching order without spoiling too much the existence of hidden info. Players are free to change their focus any time, but only counts before the hidden data is revealed. I'm wondering if something similar could be done with Empathy.
  • edited December 2018
    @2097 should see this. It's simple, widely useful and very intuitive. Something of a rock scissors paper "+ meaningful" mechanic I can slap on top of any system.
    Being a large group is a problem IRL for most of these cases, so I can keep the focus to 2.
    Hearing has no directions of course and orientation is not a sense, but you can make it one if you like. I'dd replace it with any Wise. IRL Wises enable us to perceive the absence of things that we know should be there (typically, animals or plants in their biome).
  • I need to catch up on this thread to contribute more thoughtfully, but just in case nobody else mentioned it, I wanted to throw in this link to Chris McDowall's blog: http://www.bastionland.com/2018/09/the-ici-doctrine-information-choice.html

    Long story short: Into the Odd eschews perception rolls in favor of just giving players information. Since I started running Into the Odd, I have a hard time imagining going back.
  • Do you think having Perception checks as a thing discourage players from engaging with the environment?
  • JasonT said:

    I need to catch up on this thread to contribute more thoughtfully, but just in case nobody else mentioned it, I wanted to throw in this link to Chris McDowall's blog: http://www.bastionland.com/2018/09/the-ici-doctrine-information-choice.html

    Long story short: Into the Odd eschews perception rolls in favor of just giving players information. Since I started running Into the Odd, I have a hard time imagining going back.

    Yeah, we talked above about how one of the strengths of getting rid of Perception is just that now you can give players information.

    Thanks for the link though!
  • Judd said:

    Do you think having Perception checks as a thing discourage players from engaging with the environment?

    Never had such problem whenever I used Perception checks, but I did notice that failing perception checks too often quickly becomes frustrating, as the only answer the player gets from engaging the enviroment in different ways is just a "no, you don't see anything strange". The player knows there's something there because the GM won't usually call for Perception rolls for nothing, but there's no way to find out since the rolls were too low.

    Perception rolls do have other uses as signals from both the GM and the players, but if the result of such rolls are going to be just "yes, here's some new data" and "no, there isn't", instead of something interesting happening when there's no data, then it's kind of a boring dice roll.
  • I'd think using the PC-looks-around well would be getting more specifics from the player.

    "I'm looking around."

    "What exactly are you doing?"

    "I'm looking at the floor, seeing if the rat-shit that we've been seeing in the other rooms is here or if it is cleaned up because this is where the kobolds were camping when they came through."
  • I'm surprised no one has commented on my distinction between "gate" vs "saving throw" Perception rolls.

    It's a pretty important point, I think, in terms of technique.

    For instance, using the "saving throw" approach in situations where the fiction is vague enough that we can't determine whether the character might pick up on something the player isn't aware of could be an important part of certain playstyles, and helpful to the group.

    I also liked the "roll to determine how many details you learn" used in Storming the Wizard's Tower. That has some potential, as well.
  • edited April 13
    If you're after tactical situations and surprise, the fiction shouldn't be vague. If the system sells tactics and doesn't equip the players with the correct tools, it's not doing it's job.

    If I'd go the "saving throw" route, I'd rather make it like in the hero system, where you can only attack and defend with that many senses. It becomes a mini-game of three card Monte, rather than a roll. But Judd's take is more interesting : playing the mini game in the situation, rather than at character creation. I have made a mini-game for this in the thread "Immersion vs Identification".
  • @DeReel: of course the fiction "shouldn't" be vague. That's the point of the "saving throw" approach, though - it's something to fall back on when you've failed in making things concrete, or a lifeline for the player who has screwed up.

    Can you describe what this "mini-game of three card Monte" would look like?
  • I've just learned that Vincent Baker's "Seclusium" book has an appendix with two pages of "Perception Tests", which are D&D-specific "read a situation/person" moves. The one for wizards feeling out arcane energies is particularly nice.
  • I think you're familiar with Champions. Remember how you can have a flash or invisibility or an opaque entangle. You could use it against that many senses. Or even for normal powers, you had to make them "visible" to some senses. The game for the playerwho wants to be "perceptive" is then to enhance a few senses. The question was less by how much (perception is cheap for a superhero) and rather what senses you could "cover". IR vision and sonar could be like 2 points cheap. Total spatial awareness that won the monte game most of the time was worth 30 points. I use the monte game analogy, because you have to guess where the opponent had put their attacks and defense. Basically, I could say that the sense costs came with a whole strategy about them.
  • Thanks, DeReel! I've never played Champions but the "guess which strategies your opponent has access to" makes sense to me. Should I invest in sonar or echolocation, in case my enemy can create smoke, blocking vision? Stuff like that. Cool.
  • edited January 4
    In order to make Perception an “active” skill, I’ve folded into it the ability to overhear noises without drawing attention to oneself. Pressing one’s ear to the dungeon door gives muffled sound, but quietly opening the door gives a much clearer view of what’s going on. This requires a Perception roll, which both determines the quality of information obtained and the likelihood of being noticed while eavesdropping. Most GMs likely would require a Stealth roll to do this quietly, but I don’t see the purpose except for making it more likely that the PCs will be noticed and thus engage the combat engine. Seems rather unfair to make Stealth (and by extension, Dexterity) even more necessary for survival, too.

    Regarding the AW-LotFP moves, I like them a bit, but I don’t think they mesh well with the system as-is. There’s a reason that you read a charged situation and not “size a situation up” (and a 6- is much worse in that regard than “gawping,” however much I enjoy that phrasing).

    Aside: I think a DW hack that specifically focused on dungeon delving rather than more generic adventuring would be worth exploring and not so much reinventing the wheel as inventing snow tires, if that at all makes sense.
  • edited April 13
    I am in total agreement with Katana here : if it's going to be tactical, or any form of compelling play, "perceiving" as got to be a meaningful choice. To see or not to be seen. To hear and not to see or to see and not to hear. To talk or to hear. All meaningful choices. And if they don't happen only at character creation, better so.
    Btw, gawping is really a hard move in pop culture. It's the reaction counter shot to a delayed horror shot.
  • I like that! Smart.
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