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Old 01-05-2018, 06:08 AM   #1
vicky_molokh
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Default [Enhanced Senses] What does Universal Smell ACTUALLY give, game-mechanically?

Greetings, all!

PES26 offers the Universal Smell perk, which allows using the sense of smell in both air and water. However, what is the actual tangible game-mechanical benefit of it? To elaborate: taste normally includes detection of chemicals in a liquid upon direct contact (e.g. lemony water in contact with the tongue allows detection of lemon juice in a liquid); smell is a (short-)ranged sense that largely allows doing the same things by vapours in the air. But what benefit is there to smelling a substance in water instead of tasting it in water?

Another way to look at it: dolphins have No Sense of Smell or Taste (Can Taste, -50%) [-2]. What do they actually lose compared to a hypothetical paradolphin template who has been granted a sense of smell (in water)?

Thanks in advance to all who answer!
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Old 01-05-2018, 06:30 AM   #2
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Default Re: [Enhanced Senses] What does Universal Smell ACTUALLY give, game-mechanically?

You can use Discriminatory smell in water, and therefore tracking ? (Discriminatory taste as written don't allow tracking ?)

By RAW, taste is contact, smell is range-based. Making taste range-based in water may perhaps make sense (no idea), but I don't think it is in the rules.
Important for anything that is dangerous upon contact.

Taste (for human) is limited to a few specific tastes, smell is much more broad-spectre.
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Old 01-05-2018, 08:22 AM   #3
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Default Re: [Enhanced Senses] What does Universal Smell ACTUALLY give, game-mechanically?

Smell includes a directional component that Taste does not. Snakes "taste" the air, but GURPS calls that Smell, not Taste because it works very like mammalian and avian smell.

Even in humans, we can taste things that are carried in the air, not just by touching them, but it's still quite different from Smell. It takes one heck of a strong signal to register at more than reach C for tasting, and we can't sniff it out the way we can with our noses.

Discriminatory Taste gives no sense of direction - like any signal detection device that gives magnitude but not direction, you can do a whole bunch of sampling in a grid and do math, or just play Hot-Or-Cold, to locate something, but that's really inefficient.

Sharks detecting blood a mile away and heading in the right direction is Discriminatory Smell (and the long-range smell perk), not Discriminatory Taste.
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Old 01-05-2018, 08:54 AM   #4
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Default Re: [Enhanced Senses] What does Universal Smell ACTUALLY give, game-mechanically?

Is the tracking part of smell only viable if the scent is continuously produced by the target? Because you can still only smell things that will touch your receptors in your nose, not something that is a mile away.
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Old 01-05-2018, 03:58 PM   #5
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Default Re: [Enhanced Senses] What does Universal Smell ACTUALLY give, game-mechanically?

The star nosed mole can smell underwater.
https://www.nature.com/news/2006/061...s061218-5.html for one of the first links I found.
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Old 01-05-2018, 04:01 PM   #6
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Default Re: [Enhanced Senses] What does Universal Smell ACTUALLY give, game-mechanically?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Azagthoth View Post
Is the tracking part of smell only viable if the scent is continuously produced by the target? Because you can still only smell things that will touch your receptors in your nose, not something that is a mile away.
In that case it could be like using a Geiger counter to find a radioactive source. Harder, but not impossible.
Scent is unique in that it has a time component as complex odors break down and disperse over distances. It does require more processing power, but it allows estimation of distance to source if you know local recent conditions like temperature, wind, etc.
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Old 01-05-2018, 04:02 PM   #7
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Default Re: [Enhanced Senses] What does Universal Smell ACTUALLY give, game-mechanically?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Azagthoth View Post
Is the tracking part of smell only viable if the scent is continuously produced by the target? Because you can still only smell things that will touch your receptors in your nose, not something that is a mile away.
Sure, though it may change effectiveness. With smell your tracking chemical residue given off. So if they stop giving it off then you wont sense them from that point until they start giving it off again.
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Old 01-05-2018, 04:11 PM   #8
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Default Re: [Enhanced Senses] What does Universal Smell ACTUALLY give, game-mechanically?

Scent isn't like bio-luminescence where it can be 100% on, then 100% off in a second or two. Odor fades over minutes or even longer.
Of course tracking could easily take hours.
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Old 01-05-2018, 04:49 PM   #9
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Default Re: [Enhanced Senses] What does Universal Smell ACTUALLY give, game-mechanically?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord Azagthoth View Post
Is the tracking part of smell only viable if the scent is continuously produced by the target?
The basic way tracking by scent works is that it detects lingering smells left behind. It's dependent on the target producing scents over the portion of the path you are attempting to follow. if something only intermittently produces scent, or only intermittently does so at a magnitude you can detect, tracking only works over that portion of its path where it produces the scent you can detect.
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Old 01-05-2018, 07:24 PM   #10
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Default Re: [Enhanced Senses] What does Universal Smell ACTUALLY give, game-mechanically?

Not entirely, as scent can be blown from other locations - this is why you want to be down-wind of game animals; also why if the wind shifts to put you up-wind of, say, an elephant, suddenly startling it with your revealed presence uncomfortably close, you want to hustle the heck out of there.
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