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Old 09-09-2018, 05:03 AM   #1
coronatiger
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Trondheim, Norway
Default Empathy with low IQ

When using Empathy, the GM rolls against your IQ (with -3 if you're only Sensitive) and tells you what "feeling" you have regarding someone. If the roll fails, he will lie.

Presumably, you bought the advantage because you want to act in some way based on the knowledge gained. If you have IQ 10 (13 with Sensitive) you will have a 50% chance of "getting it right", so when you choose a course of action, your choice wouldn't be any better than that of someone without Empathy who just flips a coin.

Example: The party is granted an audience with the king to receive praises for a job well done in service to the kingdom. During the quest, the players learned that someone in the court is secretly working with a foreign enemy. When the party arrives at the audience, the GM tells the player with Empathy that the queen is an impostor. Based on this information, the players may feel obliged to either spy on the queen or tell on her to the king. Spying on the queen may be dangerous and/or treasonous; simply telling on her could be dangerous as well - what if it was the king who was the impostor, and if not, accusing the queen may well put the players in jail!

I'm inclined to think that the players in the example would be better off NOT gaining the information, and that the player shouldn't have bought Empathy in the first place. What do you guys think? And what if the Empath's effective IQ was below 10? At what effective IQ level would you consider the trait to be reliable?

Now that I've written it up, I see that the example may not have been the best one. Any math geeks out there (no offense intended, I am one myself) may assume that there only was one Empathy roll for the entire audience, and that the result would be "the king is an impostor" or "the queen is an impostor". In any case, try to see beyond the bad example.
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Old 09-09-2018, 05:18 AM   #2
Andreas
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Default Re: Empathy with low IQ

Unless some other dissadvantage makes the situation worse, that shouldn't be the case. The character doesn't have to belive that their Empathy is reliable. The character and the player can just take it for what it is, a piece of information which has a high probability of being a lie. It might not be worth much, but it should be better than nothing.

For the example of the queen, that might mean ignoring the information, or perhap it being true is dangerous enough to motivate spying on her just in case.
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Old 09-09-2018, 05:43 AM   #3
NineDaysDead
 
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Join Date: Aug 2004
Default Re: Empathy with low IQ

Quote:
Originally Posted by coronatiger View Post
When using Empathy, the GM rolls against your IQ (with -3 if you're only Sensitive) and tells you what "feeling" you have regarding someone. If the roll fails, he will lie.

Presumably, you bought the advantage because you want to act in some way based on the knowledge gained. If you have IQ 10 (13 with Sensitive) you will have a 50% chance of "getting it right", so when you choose a course of action, your choice wouldn't be any better than that of someone without Empathy who just flips a coin.

Example: The party is granted an audience with the king to receive praises for a job well done in service to the kingdom. During the quest, the players learned that someone in the court is secretly working with a foreign enemy. When the party arrives at the audience, the GM tells the player with Empathy that the queen is an impostor. Based on this information, the players may feel obliged to either spy on the queen or tell on her to the king. Spying on the queen may be dangerous and/or treasonous; simply telling on her could be dangerous as well - what if it was the king who was the impostor, and if not, accusing the queen may well put the players in jail!

I'm inclined to think that the players in the example would be better off NOT gaining the information, and that the player shouldn't have bought Empathy in the first place. What do you guys think? And what if the Empath's effective IQ was below 10? At what effective IQ level would you consider the trait to be reliable?

Now that I've written it up, I see that the example may not have been the best one. Any math geeks out there (no offense intended, I am one myself) may assume that there only was one Empathy roll for the entire audience, and that the result would be "the king is an impostor" or "the queen is an impostor". In any case, try to see beyond the bad example.
Buy Reliable, +5%/level or Empathy: Sensitive (Cosmic: No Die Roll Required, +100%) [10], or resurrect and repurpose 3rd ed's Rule of 12.
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Old 09-09-2018, 05:49 AM   #4
Phil Masters
 
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Default Re: Empathy with low IQ

Frankly, the Empathy mechanics badly need fixing. As written, it would be a plausible tactic for a low-IQ character to take Sensitive and then act on the opposite of what it tells them.

Just having failed rolls mean "You're not sure, you don't get a read here", with only critical failures mean actively bad results, would be much better.
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Old 09-09-2018, 08:49 AM   #5
AlexanderHowl
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Default Re: Empathy with low IQ

Based on Per, +20% is also a valid build for a high Per/low IQ character (for example, most animals). A stereotypical savage might have IQ 6 [-80], Per 14 [40], and Will 14 [40], so such a character would likely have advantages like Empathy and Danger Sense with Based of Per, +20%. A mentally challenged character though, with low Per and low Will as well as low IQ, would be better off with Reliable +10, +50%, which would make them a classic idiot savant.
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Old 09-09-2018, 09:48 AM   #6
Not another shrubbery
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Default Re: Empathy with low IQ

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Masters View Post
Frankly, the Empathy mechanics badly need fixing. As written, it would be a plausible tactic for a low-IQ character to take Sensitive and then act on the opposite of what it tells them.

Just having failed rolls mean "You're not sure, you don't get a read here", with only critical failures mean actively bad results, would be much better.
Point. In fact, a base character could successfully use this tactic with Sensitive, and it would be perversely worthwhile at up to IQ12. NDD's suggestion of reusing the old Rule of 12 strikes me as a good idea but wouldn't fix shenanigans like this. Your idea of just redefining what a normal failure means for this trait looks like the more comprehensive fix. That should also mean that the GM actually misleading you ought to be the result of a critical failure, rather than a normal failure, which fits better with expected results on the degree of success axis.

Last edited by Not another shrubbery; 09-09-2018 at 12:17 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 09-09-2018, 11:20 AM   #7
Boge
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Default Re: Empathy with low IQ

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Masters View Post
Frankly, the Empathy mechanics badly need fixing. As written, it would be a plausible tactic for a low-IQ character to take Sensitive and then act on the opposite of what it tells them.

Just having failed rolls mean "You're not sure, you don't get a read here", with only critical failures mean actively bad results, would be much better.
But you want to play in character as much as possible. If your character felt a certain person was a traitor, what would he/she do in that situation? Act it out.
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Old 09-09-2018, 11:33 AM   #8
Andreas
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Default Re: Empathy with low IQ

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Originally Posted by Boge View Post
But you want to play in character as much as possible. If your character felt a certain person was a traitor, what would he/she do in that situation? Act it out.
Your character does not have to belive that the feeling the get about people is accurate. Doing so despite the (likely numerous) previous failures such a character would have experienced could very well be enough to qualify as a Delusion disadvantage.

Someone noticing a pattern about their feeling telling them the opposite of what is actually true is not implausible.
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Old 09-09-2018, 11:40 AM   #9
David Johnston2
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Default Re: Empathy with low IQ

Quote:
Originally Posted by coronatiger View Post
When using Empathy, the GM rolls against your IQ (with -3 if you're only Sensitive) and tells you what "feeling" you have regarding someone. If the roll fails, he will lie..
Yeah. I don't do that. If the roll fails you get nothing.
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Old 09-09-2018, 03:09 PM   #10
Pursuivant
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Default Re: Empathy with low IQ

It's entirely reasonable for low IQ characters to substitute Perception for IQ when using certain aspects of Empathy.

For example, an animal which is capable of "reading" human moods - either via keen smell or just keen observation of human behavior - should probably use Psychology (Human) skill with Per when performing tasks like determining how to (or whether to) approach a particular human for food, petting, etc.

Low IQ would still penalize the animal if it attempts to use Empathy in more sophisticated ways, such as determining why a particular human is behaving in a particular fashion.

E.g., "Food lady is angry. I shouldn't beg her for treats right now." vs. "Food lady is angry at me because I peed on her bed."
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