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Old 06-28-2015, 12:13 PM   #1
Captain Joy
 
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Default Making Perception Checks Less Random

I don't like the excessive ranges in the margin of success you get in GURPS when you make a perception check using the usual 3d6-roll-under-target-value. I think from now on I'm going to have my players roll two Fate dice and add the result to 10. This will give results of: 8,9,9,10,10,10,11,11,12.

This way, having a +1 or +2 better perception than somebody else actually means something. Should I make Perception and Acute Senses more expensive because of this?

Any other unforeseen consequences I should be aware of?

I thought about a mechanic like rolling a d6 or d4 and adding the result to 10, but the two Fate dice give a nice distribution.

Last edited by Captain Joy; 06-29-2015 at 09:07 AM. Reason: punctuation, added link
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Old 06-28-2015, 12:24 PM   #2
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Default Re: Making Perception Checks Less Random

I just have passive perception equal to 10 for cases where someone is using stealth, etc. against them. Applies to PCs and NPCs alike. Fast, simple, done. While I've been doing that for awhile, there is a pyramid article, Turn it up to 11, that talks about the same idea and expands it quite a bit.
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Old 06-28-2015, 01:00 PM   #3
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Default Re: Making Perception Checks Less Random

I've posted before that borrowing the rules for take 10 and take 20 from The Other Game (tm) as Take 11 and Take 6 would work pretty well.

I definitely need to start digging in to the pyramid vaults, though. I know there's lots of good stuff there.
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Old 06-28-2015, 01:01 PM   #4
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Default Re: Making Perception Checks Less Random

Quote:
Originally Posted by corwyn View Post
I just have passive perception equal to 10 for cases where someone is using stealth, etc. against them. Applies to PCs and NPCs alike. Fast, simple, done. While I've been doing that for awhile, there is a pyramid article, Turn it up to 11, that talks about the same idea and expands it quite a bit.
Yup, I adopted the Pyramid article's tips as well.
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Old 06-28-2015, 01:45 PM   #5
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Default Re: Making Perception Checks Less Random

The thing about perception checks (and a lot of other checks, such as shooting people) is that a high degree of randomness makes sense as long as you assume that there are a whole bunch of unmentioned situational modifiers out there, and that much of the randomness of your roll isn't actually for variation in skill, it's for clarifying those unstated situational modifiers. As such, the more you nail down exactly the situation under which the roll occurs, the less random it should be.
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Old 06-28-2015, 02:35 PM   #6
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Default Re: Making Perception Checks Less Random

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Originally Posted by Anthony View Post
The thing about perception checks (and a lot of other checks, such as shooting people) is that a high degree of randomness makes sense as long as you assume that there are a whole bunch of unmentioned situational modifiers out there, and that much of the randomness of your roll isn't actually for variation in skill, it's for clarifying those unstated situational modifiers. As such, the more you nail down exactly the situation under which the roll occurs, the less random it should be.
Well said. If it were something like reading an eye chart at the a doctor's office, I'd probably go with "turn it up to 11". If it was to notice that the eye chart was covering a hole in the wall–creating subtle color/hue variations in the eye chart–I'd want to introduce some randomness.

Last edited by Captain Joy; 06-28-2015 at 05:42 PM. Reason: to align more with previous posts
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Old 06-28-2015, 06:49 PM   #7
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Default Re: Making Perception Checks Less Random

I have that problem with strength checks in most RPGs. You try to lift something, and either succeed, succeed spectacularly, fail, or fail spectacularly.

Real-world experience and observation says that actual chance only comes into it when the weight you're lifting is within about 10% of your max, or the object is awkward and causes leverage difficulties. The latter case could maybe be better handled by a "dexterity" check.
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Old 06-29-2015, 04:20 AM   #8
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Default Re: Making Perception Checks Less Random

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Originally Posted by Say, it isn't that bad! View Post
I have that problem with strength checks in most RPGs. You try to lift something, and either succeed, succeed spectacularly, fail, or fail spectacularly.

Real-world experience and observation says that actual chance only comes into it when the weight you're lifting is within about 10% of your max, or the object is awkward and causes leverage difficulties. The latter case could maybe be better handled by a "dexterity" check.
I agree about ST checks, in a controlled situation at least, you can either lift something or not, you're stronger than someone or not, you win the arm wrestle if you're the stronger guy. I guess you need to have the rolls to honour the gaminess of giving the weaker guy a chance to overcome the odds and create drama, though. And in a non-controlled situation like combat, there are enough variables that it's not only about raw strength.

Perception is a very different matter. A dice roll simulates reality's high range of variables there. Sometimes I stagger myself by missing the blindingly obvious thing in front of me. Another day I congratulate myself on having Legolas-levels of vision.
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Old 06-29-2015, 04:27 AM   #9
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Default Re: Making Perception Checks Less Random

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Originally Posted by Vynticator View Post
Perception is a very different matter.
Under controlled conditions, the difference between 'impossible' and 'automatic' is maybe a factor of 2 in size. The issue is that noticing things is hard and has an awful lot of possible distractions.
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Old 06-29-2015, 04:31 AM   #10
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Default Re: Making Perception Checks Less Random

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Under controlled conditions, the difference between 'impossible' and 'automatic' is maybe a factor of 2 in size. The issue is that noticing things is hard and has an awful lot of possible distractions.
I think you're agreeing with me, fundamentally? There aren't very many situations in which perception is truly controlled. By contrast, many applications of ST are pretty controlled.
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