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Old 12-24-2014, 10:36 AM   #1
Otaku
 
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Default Default [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#24): Clairsentience

Last Week: Claim To Hopsitality
Next Week: Claws; Spines; Strikers; Teeth

Just to be upfront, there is a lot about Clairsentience [50] (p. B42) that I don't understand, to the point that even explaining it up front is going to include a lot of "I believe..." or "I don't know..." style statements, as opposed to saving them for my own follow up post or at least putting them off in their own little section. Clairsentience refers to the capacity to
Quote:
Originally Posted by GURPS Basic Set Characters p.42*
...displace all of your ranged senses (for humans: sight, hearing and smell) to a point outside of your body.
To use this ability, the character selects a point of view from within 10 yards (range can be doubled by spending 2 FP per minute) of the character as well as its facing and then must concentrate for a full minute, at the end of which an IQ roll is made. On a success, the character can use its ranged senses as if they were present at the viewpoint (one viewpoint - you don't get to split your senses up), though penalties for darkness are ignored (other light based penalties are not mentioned, nor anything for the other default senses). There is no limit on how long you can maintain your remote viewpoint. Failure by 1 means you still displace your senses, but the GM selects the viewpoint. A greater failure means nothing happens unless it is a critical failure, in which case the ability burns out for 1d hours.

You can select a viewpoint that you cannot actually see, but in that case you (the player) names the distance and the direction and the roll is at -5. This ability doesn't allow you to see through objects, but if you can place your viewpoint inside of something, you will be able to see inside of it even if it is completely dark inside. I am uncertain if this means seeing side an envelope in your hand is at -5 or not; you can see the envelope, but obviously its contents are not within your (regular, mundane) field of vision. I also found nothing in the text directly about Clairsentience for when your mundane senses are impaired or inhibited in some way. I know that you have to adjust the cost of the Blindness Disadvantage if you have another "sense" you can rely upon in a similar manner to sight, but exactly how the two interact is still unclear to me. Perhaps at character creation you choose whether your Clairsentience lacks the "sight" portion (in which case are all rolls at -5?) or if you just are missing your mundane sight but can still see remotely? If you are temporarily without a sense... not really sure how that is supposed to be handled.

While using Clairsentience your own body is insensate to your surroundings. I am again uncertain about specifics; if only your displaced ranged senses are supposed to be affected or all of them. This is relevant for whether someone can shake the character to get its attention or if the character could feel pain being inflicted on its own body while using Clairsentience. Returning your displaced senses or moving them elsewhere or changing their facing (the latter usually only relevant to vision) requires a second of concentration followed by an IQ roll. The special exception is a viewpoint inside of a moving object; no special concentration is required for your viewpoint to move along inside of that object... but I assume that once its outside of your range, it is outside of your range. I would assume something similar for if your body is moving but your remote viewpoint is not (the text makes no mention of this, either). For other range dependent abilities appropriate to remote usage (like many standard GURPS Magic Spells), you can cast them but calculate distance as if from your actual body, not your viewpoint.

GURPS Powers expands upon Clairsentience, but not entirely how I expected. Pages 44 and 45 cover. It mostly focuses on new Modifiers... which I'll cover in the appropriate section.

Basic Set Characters provides no Enhancements specific to Clairsentience, but does list some Limitations. Clairaudience (-30%), Clairosmia (-60%) and Clairvoyance (-10%) restrict your remote senses to one (hearing, smell or vision respectively). Visible (-10%) means your ability manifests in a significantly visible fashion, sabotaging attempts at subtle spying. Generic Modifiers suggested in the text are Increased Range or Reduced Range, as the ability in fiction and real world claims often can function around the entire planet or at far less than 10 yards. It also is often an ESP ability, qualifying for a -10% Limitation.

Powers gives us Aware (+50%), Projection (varies) and Second Nature (+70%). Aware means your mundane senses are still active, but you can still only pay attention to one set; tasks not using the prioritized sense are at -4 and shifting your viewpoint automatically makes that viewpoint the one with priority (unless you have Second Nature). In combat, you pick which set of senses to which you will give priority each turn. Projection is complicated and I can't do it justice without copy and pasting RAW (which seems like a "no no") or writing enough to justify a second entry. Second Nature is in many ways a special version of Reduced Time Rate available only for Clairsentience; it becomes a free action to activate your Clairsentience and you can shift views as easily (and quickly) as you could do so with mundane senses. The exception is if the viewpoint is out of sight; then it still uses the usual rules (-5 to your IQ roll after a minute's concentration and the usual penalties for failing the IQ roll). No new specific Limitations, though Powers as a whole qualifies and quantifies various Power Modifiers, useful for when you want this to be pure Super, a Chi based power, a divine endowment, magic, etc. and not just Psi.

So...

1) Do you understand Clairsentience better than I do? If so, feel free to clarify those areas where I have demonstrated that I don't.

2) How have you used or seen Clairsentience used in game?

3) Does Clairsentience seem appropriately priced?

4) Revealing my own bias, does it seem appropriately "generic"? I'll save details for later, and while I respect the work that went into turning what was originally complicated 3e Psionics rules into a generic 4e Advantage, it still seems very focused on psionics, specifically human psychics.

5) As always, any relevant comments that don't fit in with the previous questions, including addressing the nature of these threads and not the specific topic of the day.

*Due to quotes automatically being italicized with the default quotation commands, changed the italicized "ranged" to bold text, to retain the emphasis of the original.
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Last edited by Otaku; 10-19-2015 at 03:44 AM. Reason: Next Week still said Pending
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Old 12-25-2014, 01:36 AM   #2
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Default Re: Default [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#24): Clairsentience

I find it a very, very niche trait, so I haven't seen it in action. Its normal version is too slow for casual use, but tends to be effective for things like seeing into an impenetrable box or something.
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Old 12-25-2014, 09:25 AM   #3
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Default Re: Default [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#24): Clairsentience

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Originally Posted by vicky_molokh View Post
I find it a very, very niche trait, so I haven't seen it in action. Its normal version is too slow for casual use, but tends to be effective for things like seeing into an impenetrable box or something.
As I probably point out too often, all of my play experience is with 3e rules so really reading through it caused about as many questions as it answered. I'm not sure if you can make the kind of low power Clairvoyant that was useful (other uses ended up overlapping too much with Penetrating Vision). It is an Advantage that can be an adventure breaker if used well... but I miss the fun of psi spies subtlety reading an envelope while casually passing it along, still sealed as a low level trick.

I guess part of my concern ends up being the Reduced Range Rules; it doesn't leave much room for fine tuning, but I suppose for gaming purposes there isn't much less than Range 1.
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Old 12-25-2014, 09:37 AM   #4
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Default Re: Default [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#24): Clairsentience

Quote:
Originally Posted by Otaku View Post
As I probably point out too often, all of my play experience is with 3e rules so really reading through it caused about as many questions as it answered. I'm not sure if you can make the kind of low power Clairvoyant that was useful (other uses ended up overlapping too much with Penetrating Vision). It is an Advantage that can be an adventure breaker if used well... but I miss the fun of psi spies subtlety reading an envelope while casually passing it along, still sealed as a low level trick.

I guess part of my concern ends up being the Reduced Range Rules; it doesn't leave much room for fine tuning, but I suppose for gaming purposes there isn't much less than Range 1.
Penetrating Vision actually seems way more appropriate for low-key Psis reading envelopes and seeing through cover.
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Old 12-26-2014, 11:42 AM   #5
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Default Re: Default [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#24): Clairsentience

Lots to respond to here.

1) Is the advantage generic enough? Yes, because you can tweak it with modifiers 'til you get what you want. That said, you'll almost always have to. You mentioned some points where the rules seem vague, but that sort of thing just helps make the advantage adaptable to a specific campaign. Rule in whichever way works best for your setting.

2) How have I used it? Long answer here:

My present campaign features mutants, like X-Men, about 3-4k in the world so far. None of the PCs have the Clairsentience advantage, although there's one who has the ability through evocation (modeled as summoning nature spirit Allies, but "spirits" have no independent existence; they only show up when a mutant projects them).

That said, there are NPC mutants with ESP, and in thinking about what powers are of interest to governments and venture capital, I had to rate long-range Clairsentience high on the list. In asking, "Could the government know what the PCs are up to?" the answer was always yes until a certain mutant got killed.

Minor power combo: Link an Illusion power that echoes what you see. You should be able to get the cost down to just 5 points with limitations like Gadget: Crystal Ball. Here's why it's important: First, you can scry an area that's covered by a camera, prove your crystal ball shows the same thing the camera does. Second, you can aim a camera at the crystal ball to record what you see for the non-mutants to review.

Major power combo: Detect. In my campaign, it was Detect Mutant and Detect Power Use. The guy who could do that was a different guy, but once he got a fix, the clairsentient could get eyes on, see what the mutants found in other countries can actually do. These kids were very busy.

Best dramatic use: For this power and even moreso with Precognition, raise the moral dilemma, shall the PCs act on spectral evidence?

3) Is the price fair? Well, sort of. In the real world before telecom, it'd be priceless, but that's what Unusual Background is for. In any campaign where powers or even surveillance technology exists, 50 is too high for 10 yards, but it has to be high because modifying range is cheap. In my use, it's always part of a suite of Alternate Abilities, which removes the sting. Even if it's the most expensive, and it likely is, there'll be a close second. From a practical standpoint, you could cut it's base cost in half, but you'd save less than half of that in a typical use case.

What other ways do you get remote viewing at long range? The main one is Warp with Projection. Sure, Clairsentience has a a Projection option too, but range is better for Warp. The reason to use Clairsentience instead is that nobody can whack you with an ability that Affects Insubstantial while your friends are unaware and unable to help.

The other main way to get remote viewing is to look through someone's eyes with telepathy (say Mind-Reading with Sensory), either a random person on-scene, or maybe an Ally, wh might in turn be an invisible, insubstantial spirit. Again, cheaper than Clairsentience and maybe more versatile too, but it looks to me like Clairsentience with buku Increased Range and without Projection is the least risky way to get plot-busting info.

When it comes to modifiers, don't forget Time-Spanning, which bundles non-passive use of Psychometry and Precognition into Clairsentience.

Last edited by Gef; 12-26-2014 at 11:49 AM.
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