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Old 05-06-2020, 10:22 AM   #1
oneofmanynameless
 
Join Date: May 2012
Default Danger Sense Questions

Danger Sense says that if your perception check is successful you get enough warning to take action.

I've always assumed that this means that the amount of warning you get should scale to the threat that you're facing and how much time would be necessary to take meaningful action of some kind: if you're a soldier on petrol ready to encounter the enemy who is about to be ambushed you'd get maybe 1 or 2 seconds of warning, enough time to warn your friends and duck into cover or stealth, maybe ready your gun if it was unready; where as if you're a commander of a keep that is about to be attacked in the dead of night you might get a minute or two of actions, enough to raise the alarm and start rousing the keeps defenses.

But I've had GMs range from giving at most 1 second worth of action to treating this advantage as the dramatic irony advantage: you're warned of danger before the snipers shot hits you instead of when the snipers shot hits you, at best you get an active defense when you otherwise wouldn't have and at worst you just get to know you're being shot before rolling damage.

So how much warning is appropriate? How much action should someone get to take?
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Old 05-06-2020, 10:44 AM   #2
Stormcrow
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Ronkonkoma, NY
Default Re: Danger Sense Questions

Danger Sense should give you the opportunity to either avoid or mitigate the danger. An active defense is just a reaction, not an action of your own. It's not enough. The advantage is meant to give you a meaningful opportunity to do something about the danger, not to tell you when something inevitable is about to happen to you.

In an ambush situation, you'll have enough time to shout a warning and take up a defensive position but not to completely run away from the ambush. If you're about to trigger a trap, your Danger Sense will stop you just before you trigger it. If there's a meteor storm approaching your spaceship, you'll have just enough time to batten down the hatches or activate your force field but not enough time to avoid the storm — unless your space drive lets you travel instantaneously, in which case you can get away without a scratch. It all depends on what the situation is and how much time there will be between the last opportunity to do something about it and the actual event.
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Old 05-06-2020, 10:53 AM   #3
Not
 
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Default Re: Danger Sense Questions

What if the threat is slow-burning? "You get a bad feeling when the Vizier eyes your party..."
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Old 05-06-2020, 11:02 AM   #4
Anthony
 
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Default Re: Danger Sense Questions

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Originally Posted by Not View Post
What if the threat is slow-burning? "You get a bad feeling when the Vizier eyes your party..."
Danger sense applies to "ambush, impending disaster, or similar hazard", so generally not. Also, unless you critically succeed it doesn't give a warning about the source of danger, just that danger exists.
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Old 05-06-2020, 11:14 AM   #5
Ulzgoroth
 
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Default Re: Danger Sense Questions

If you make the roll successfully and the GM doesn't let you act at all, they're clearly not giving you the benefit of the Advantage as written.

Being able to dodge-and-drop a sniper bullet is taking action to mitigate the threat. Probably the most common use-case for Spider-Man's spider-sense is dodging an unseen attack.

While you have to get enough warning to take action, I don't think it follows that you should be guaranteed enough warning to outright counter the threat. Know about the ambush before it springs so you aren't surprised and can make the right moves, but not so early you never show up for it at all and instead sneak around and bushwhack the ambushers.

On the other hand, enough warning to prepare for and counter 'organization-scale' threats is probably sometimes the intended functioning. I think Danger Sense could use some scoping rules, really. Do you get warning only when there's a present danger to your own skin? Or do you get alerted when something critical to your goals is going to go sideways on the other side of town and if you run now you could stop it? Neither of those is an inappropriate trait, really, but Danger Sense isn't especially clear about which it is or how to differentiate them.
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Old 05-06-2020, 11:34 AM   #6
Kromm
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Default Re: Danger Sense Questions

I scale the warning time to the duration of the danger as an ongoing threat. This is not the duration of the harm, which is normally "until healed" – or "forever," if you die. Nor is it the conventional warning time for a person without Danger Sense, which is all too often either "highly variable," "unknowable," or "none."

I see game events that develop fast enough to qualify as unexpected dangers as having one of only a small number of durations: "seconds," "minutes," or "hours or more." I have Danger Sense give a warning of about 1/60 of that, minimum one second – i.e., one turn or second of warning for a danger that might span seconds, one second per minute a danger might believably endure, or one minute per hour a danger is likely to endure. I treat anything longer than hours (days, weeks, months, years, . . .) as hours; nobody gets more than a few minutes of warning.

Seconds. Individual-scale ambushes (lone snipers, backstabbing assassins, etc.), cars jumping the curb, and so on present danger that endures for just a second or ten, so I give one second (turn) of warning. That's more powerful than just allowing an active defense – it makes an All-Out Defense possible, and because talking is a free action on your turn, it effectively alerts the entire PC party unless the one with Danger Sense opts to be a jerk and not warn them.

Minutes. Small-unit ambushes, artillery barrages, bombing raids, and other threats intended to menace the city, ship, fortress, entrenched battalion, or whatever the PCs are associated with typically endure for a few minutes from the time when someone without Danger Sense might hear the shooting, shells, etc. until the crying and dying are over, and the medics are picking up the pieces. I give a few seconds' warning – say 5-10 seconds if I'm unsure – for that. That makes it possible to run to cover, put on a helmet, sound an alarm, and call in a warning.

Hours or more. Huge threats like invading armies or meteors from deep space have probably been massing or evident for a long time, and likely have very long-term effects. For instance, while the meteor "just" hits in an instant, it's going to leave a danger zone for many days to many years. I give a few minutes' warning – never more than 5-10 minutes – in this case. That makes it possible to warn High Command and mobilize a very hasty defense, or to drive like a maniac to get 10-20 miles from Ground Zero.

If you want to warn the King about an invasion coming in a few months, or let the faithful prepare in the year before the Dark One's coming, get Oracle. That's what it's for.
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Old 05-06-2020, 12:05 PM   #7
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Default Re: Danger Sense Questions

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Also, unless you critically succeed it doesn't give a warning about the source of danger, just that danger exists.
This is very important.

In my examples above, the responses are predicated on the heroes already having some idea of what the campaign is about and what dangers are likely to show up. In a WWII campaign, they might not know whether it's a sniper or a booby trap, an artillery barrage or a small-unit ambush, a naval landing or paratroopers, but they'll have a vague sense that something isn't right in a WWII-type way.

But I won't treat my players like idiots . . . if the PCs are in a secure rear area, Nazi ninjas won't jump from the closet. In a secure rear area, Danger Sense is going to warn about major enemy actions that could affect a secure rear area. If I hit the PCs with false alarm after false alarm ("No, wait, it was just Archer J. Maggott going postal with a knife," "No, wait, some random private fumbled while playing with a grenade," etc.), that breaks the spirit of the player-GM contract. It's a safe bet that the player took Danger Sense to be warned about dangers central to the campaign, not to always be in doubt because I've decided to be a jerk about random encounters unrelated to any adventure.

Of course, when the adventure is "Interesting Times on Leave" or whatever, I'll be fair and give warnings about those kinds of small-scale dangers. I just won't leave the player in the dark about the scope of the danger merely because the wording in the Basic Set suggests you need to roll 3-4 to get any clue at all.

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While you have to get enough warning to take action, I don't think it follows that you should be guaranteed enough warning to outright counter the threat.
I agree. Mitigate? Yes. Negate? No. That's how I came up with my timing.

A turn isn't enough time to spot a lone sniper, ready a rifle, aim, and shoot the sniper first – it isn't even enough time to get to cover, if the sniper is any good at all and watching a clear kill zone. But it is enough time to look in the right general direction and zigzag to make yourself a harder target (All-Out Defense) while shouting warnings.

Five to 10 seconds isn't enough time to spot and outflank a well-laid ambush, to do anything about enemy shells already en route, or to shoot down planes you can't even see. But it is enough time to get to serious cover, and to make the necessary Electronics Operation or Soldier rolls to raise an alarm so that allies are at least en route to heavy weapons in order to mount a response before they're entirely destroyed.

Five to 10 minutes isn't enough time to foil a tank blitz along an entire front, or to repurpose AAA or nukes to destroy a meteor. But it is enough time to get the hell out of Dodge, and to cut through the administrative red tape to start the ball rolling on a counterattack or rescue.

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On the other hand, enough warning to prepare for and counter 'organization-scale' threats is probably sometimes the intended functioning. I think Danger Sense could use some scoping rules, really. Do you get warning only when there's a present danger to your own skin? Or do you get alerted when something critical to your goals is going to go sideways on the other side of town and if you run now you could stop it? Neither of those is an inappropriate trait, really, but Danger Sense isn't especially clear about which it is or how to differentiate them.
I think the PC with Danger Sense needs to be in potential personal danger of some kind.

I also think the consequences of the danger have to be in some sense physical, rather than, say, betting on a rigged card game, being spotted at the video arcade when you're truant from school, or whatever. Losing money, face, or privileges isn't really "danger" in the usual sense.

This doesn't exclude organizational-scale threats, though . . . if your battalion is about to get bombarded or your city is in the path of a big rock from space, there's very real personal, physical danger even if it isn't specifically targeted on you.
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Old 05-06-2020, 12:19 PM   #8
Anthony
 
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Default Re: Danger Sense Questions

So, let's consider an extreme case: there's an asteroid large enough to cause devastation to a large region headed towards the Earth. When and how does danger sense trigger?
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Old 05-06-2020, 12:46 PM   #9
malloyd
 
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So, let's consider an extreme case: there's an asteroid large enough to cause devastation to a large region headed towards the Earth. When and how does danger sense trigger?
My take is if you are on Earth and have a method of being somewhere else in a few minutes, you get a few minutes of feeling the Earth is a bad place to be. If you are part of the International Asteroid Defense Force and could get to duty stations or spin up some sort of useful defense in a few minutes, you get that same few minutes warning, and know it is an asteroid or something similar (and not say a random mugger). If neither of those is true (or if nobody has Danger Sense) you probably don't get a warning at all because that asteroid *cannot happen in this campaign* - since it violates the implicit social contract that the GM won't arbitrarily kill your characters in a way you can't possibly do anything about.

No, that's not how Danger Sense is written up - but that writeup isn't worth the points it costs, so I ignore it. If all you get is "You feel danger, no you have no clue why, and by the time you could make a Per roll to try to spot it, it'll be too late" that's maybe a perk. Maybe. It's not a 15 point advantage.
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Old 05-06-2020, 01:10 PM   #10
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Default Re: Danger Sense Questions

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I scale the warning time to the duration of the danger as an ongoing threat. This is not the duration of the harm, which is normally "until healed" – or "forever," if you die. Nor is it the conventional warning time for a person without Danger Sense, which is all too often either "highly variable," "unknowable," or "none."
I would love to see this as part of a supplement. It could fit in an Action!, Power-Ups, or other book if the opportunity came up.
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