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Old 05-14-2019, 08:52 AM   #1
hcobb
 
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Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Pacheco, California
Default Naturalist vs Alertness for search rolls

Does Alertness give a 3/IQ roll to spot slimes or not?

ITL 69 "For instance, a Naturalist gets a 3-die roll to see a slime or similar creature before it attacks. Other characters get a saving roll when the attack takes place, but no chance to see it beforehand; they just donít have the knowledge."

ITL 99 "A Naturalist may see a slime first, and anyone gets a saving roll of 3 dice against DX to dodge it as it falls."

ITL 121 "Normally, the only characters who have a chance to detect an ambush before it occurs are Naturalists (3 dice against IQ for any animal or plant ambush), and characters with the talent for Alertness (3 dice against IQ for any ambush at all). A Naturalist with Alertness rolls 2 dice against IQ for animal/plant attacks."

Also, how long does it take to do a search roll?

ITL 69 "A party suspecting a door or trap in one particular hex may look a second time. The extra search takes one minute (12 turns)."

ITL 70 "Walking: 1 [megahex] map hex per turn. At this speed, the party can map, and has a normal chance of spotting traps, etc"

ITL 70 "Make one search for a trap, hidden door, etc. Ė 6 turns."
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Old 05-14-2019, 10:54 AM   #2
randiv
 
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Default Re: Naturalist vs Alertness for search rolls

My reading is:

Party approaches an (ambushing) slime:

A character with NATURALIST or ALERTNESS gets a 3/IQ to spot the slime (or other animal). (A character with both talents gets a 2/IQ roll to spot.)

If the slime is not spotted, an attacked character gets a 3/DX roll to avoid the ambushing slime as it falls.
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Old 05-15-2019, 11:07 AM   #3
randiv
 
Join Date: May 2019
Default Re: Naturalist vs Alertness for search rolls

Quote:
Originally Posted by hcobb View Post
Also, how long does it take to do a search roll?
Here's how I would reconcile the three listed rules.

Detecting a hidden [whatever] -- TERMS below are mine, not ITL defined.
0) HURRIED/DISTRACTED - if moving quickly or attention occupied (e.g. under attack), no chance to detect hidden.
1) SPOT - passive chance to detect during normal walking. No extra time.
2) SEARCH - active quick pass over current location for anything unusual, 6T
3) EXAMINE - thorough search, possibly after coming up empty on #2. 12T (This may require having a specific search-target in mind?)

Based on the rules referenced, it seems to me there might be up to three search rolls in a particular hex/location: each of the above in turn.

Should there be any benefit (beyond an extra roll) for more thorough searching? I'd leave it to GM disgression.

Would multiple EXAMINATIONS be allowed? For instance, searching for 10 minutes at a particular spot? 10 rolls? Or is there a cut off? Again, GM disgression, I would think. (Perhaps having trouble find a party that loiters too long.)
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Old 05-15-2019, 02:26 PM   #4
Sinanju
 
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Default Re: Naturalist vs Alertness for search rolls

Quote:
Originally Posted by randiv View Post
Here's how I would reconcile the three listed rules.

Detecting a hidden [whatever] -- TERMS below are mine, not ITL defined.
0) HURRIED/DISTRACTED - if moving quickly or attention occupied (e.g. under attack), no chance to detect hidden.
1) SPOT - passive chance to detect during normal walking. No extra time.
2) SEARCH - active quick pass over current location for anything unusual, 6T
3) EXAMINE - thorough search, possibly after coming up empty on #2. 12T (This may require having a specific search-target in mind?)

Based on the rules referenced, it seems to me there might be up to three search rolls in a particular hex/location: each of the above in turn.

Should there be any benefit (beyond an extra roll) for more thorough searching? I'd leave it to GM disgression.

Would multiple EXAMINATIONS be allowed? For instance, searching for 10 minutes at a particular spot? 10 rolls? Or is there a cut off? Again, GM disgression, I would think. (Perhaps having trouble find a party that loiters too long.)
This is the point at which I would stop worrying about the rules and start thinking about FUN. Is it more interesting if the players find what they're looking for, or not? If there's nothing there to find, I'd tell them as much. "You've searched thoroughly and there's nothing there." Move along.

If there *is* something to find, and failing to find it means they wander off without ever exploring the cool little minidungeon I designed behind that secret door...well, they're gonna find it.

Plus, as a general rule, I like to have one--at most, two--rolls to accomplish something. Endlessly rerolling until you succeed is not much fun for anyone. It also minimizes the advantages of those talents that give you bonuses to succed (or fewer dice vs IQ/DX), sooner or later everyone will make the roll if you just keep trying.

Either you find the hidden door, or you don't. Either you spot the ambush or you don't.
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Old 05-17-2019, 09:38 AM   #5
Skarg
 
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Default Re: Naturalist vs Alertness for search rolls

I think ITL 69 does seem to contradict ITL 121 and leave it up to the GM to interpret whether a figure with Alertness but not Naturalist detects an ambushing slime as an ambush.

ITL 69 makes the point that such a figure would not know they are seeing a slime, so they may see it, but not know that it's something to think of as an ambush.

So my version of GM discretion would tend to say that such a person will only detect such a slime ambush if:

* They have seen such enough before to recognize it as a slime.

* A naturalist has described it well enough that when they see it, they figure it out. (I'd probably roll another IQ roll or two to determine those details).

* The particular slime in question happens to be doing a bad job of being inconspicuous, in which case an alert uninformed person might just be told they see something particular about the ceiling.
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Old 05-17-2019, 09:46 AM   #6
Skarg
 
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Default Re: Naturalist vs Alertness for search rolls

How long a search roll takes depends on what the figures are doing.

The first line on ITL 69 is "To determine whether something is seen, the GM rolls
once against the IQ of each character that passes."

So as long as the figures are just walking and are paying attention to their surroundings and their route naturally has them face in a direction long and close enough with enough light, they each get a roll without any particular amount of time spent.

One might read the 6 turns versus 12 turns for a second search as being that after the roll for just being in a place and not being distracted, a 6-turn search lets you search to get another roll, and if that fails to find everything, a second search of 12 turns gets a third roll.

And then one might make that the limit on re-rolls (or one might allow, or pretend to allow several rerolls, but make them harder and harder rolls each time).
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Old 05-17-2019, 10:05 AM   #7
Skarg
 
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Default Re: Naturalist vs Alertness for search rolls

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sinanju View Post
This is the point at which I would stop worrying about the rules and start thinking about FUN. Is it more interesting if the players find what they're looking for, or not? If there's nothing there to find, I'd tell them as much. "You've searched thoroughly and there's nothing there." Move along.

If there *is* something to find, and failing to find it means they wander off without ever exploring the cool little minidungeon I designed behind that secret door...well, they're gonna find it.
Different players have different ideas of what is fun, though. As a counterpoint, some players want to play a game about situations that behave logically, and don't want or expect the GM to fudge/force particular outcomes.

Fudging can obscure both from the players and from the GM himself what the game situation is and what the game part of it is. Though sometimes rolling and getting a result that will result in an outcome you don't want to play out, can indicate that maybe your table is bad or you ought to have designed the situation differently.

Rather than roll at all, the GM can define the situation (or the scope of the game) as including certain situations, which can either just be logical (the thing to discover is so easy to find there is no roll), or described as a fluke but out of scope of the game to roll about (the king just happens to choose you to send on a mission).

But on the other hand, there is a magic that in my experience many players really love (and that even new RPG players can appreciate) in setting up a detailed situation and then playing it out logically, and letting whatever happens, happen. It lets players interact with the world for what it is, rather than expecting a pre-planned story to be what they're supposed to do. And at least with the players I've been lucky enough to have, it tends to inspire a lot of curiosity to explore and think of their own things to go do and try proactively, rather than waiting for the GM to tell them what happens next.

Not to say this is what you were suggesting but I think it ought to be mentioned that when a GM fudges rolls, forces outcomes, and/or provides many very convenient clues and adventure paths, the players instead tend to just wait for those to be handed to them, and experiences the game passively to one degree or another.
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Old 05-17-2019, 10:57 AM   #8
larsdangly
 
Join Date: Dec 2017
Default Re: Naturalist vs Alertness for search rolls

This is a realm of rules where I think any GM has to use a mix of formal application of RAW and judgement calls. Here's my approach:

- When a clearly articulated power associated with a talent triggers a roll, I do it as specified. For example, a naturalist always gets a 3d IQ roll to spot an impending slime ambush, where 'impending' is a bit of a judgement call (often I'll have it trigger as the person enters a hallway, room, etc. where a slime is lurking).

- When a more vague power is specified (e.g., the bonus provided by Alertness), I'll make a game-time decision as to whether or not it applies. In the case of a slime ambush, I give a person with Alertness a 3d roll because that is exactly what it says. If it were some other thing to be noticed I would knock off 1 die. My reasoning is that this should not mean I knock 1 die off the Naturalist's ambush spotting roll because that particular situation (spotting an ambush) is specifically called out as a 3d roll for both talents. The reasoning here is similar to not giving people with Two Weapons talent some sort of special added advantage when attacking with a main-gauche. Whether you have the talent or not, an off handed main-gauche attack is -4 DX.

- My default IQ roll to notice things that aren't assigned specific 'hiding' difficulty levels is 5d for something crazy hard to notice, 4d most of the time 3d for obscured but directly findable things, and 2d for stuff that is right in front of your eyes. Alertness always knocks 1d off this.
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Old 05-17-2019, 11:15 AM   #9
Sinanju
 
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Default Re: Naturalist vs Alertness for search rolls

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skarg View Post
Different players have different ideas of what is fun, though. As a counterpoint, some players want to play a game about situations that behave logically, and don't want or expect the GM to fudge/force particular outcomes.

Fudging can obscure both from the players and from the GM himself what the game situation is and what the game part of it is. Though sometimes rolling and getting a result that will result in an outcome you don't want to play out, can indicate that maybe your table is bad or you ought to have designed the situation differently.

Rather than roll at all, the GM can define the situation (or the scope of the game) as including certain situations, which can either just be logical (the thing to discover is so easy to find there is no roll), or described as a fluke but out of scope of the game to roll about (the king just happens to choose you to send on a mission).

But on the other hand, there is a magic that in my experience many players really love (and that even new RPG players can appreciate) in setting up a detailed situation and then playing it out logically, and letting whatever happens, happen. It lets players interact with the world for what it is, rather than expecting a pre-planned story to be what they're supposed to do. And at least with the players I've been lucky enough to have, it tends to inspire a lot of curiosity to explore and think of their own things to go do and try proactively, rather than waiting for the GM to tell them what happens next.

Not to say this is what you were suggesting but I think it ought to be mentioned that when a GM fudges rolls, forces outcomes, and/or provides many very convenient clues and adventure paths, the players instead tend to just wait for those to be handed to them, and experiences the game passively to one degree or another.
I understand what you're saying. My point is two-fold: first, I've seen (and played in) too many games where the game grinds to a halt while every character tries repeatedly to roll to do/spot something. Maybe they have reason to think they're missing something, maybe not. But endless die rolling to finally achieve some goal is just boring.

If a casual perception roll or two fails, and the players have reason to think there's a secret door (for instance) that they're missing, and they decide to search the area thoroughly, I'm not going to make them keep rolling--they'll find it. But repeated attempts until the law of averages gives you a successful die roll is unnecessary (and boring).

Second, I'm more interested in giving the players meaningful choices. Yes, they can painstakingly search every square inch of the labyrinth as they travel--but they're going to move at a snail's pace. That means more supplies (lamp oil, food) consumed. More chance of being discovered and attacked by the labyrinth's denizens, and so forth. If that's their choice, so be it.

If that's *not* their choice, then they don't get to make endless spot checks one after another. One, maybe two rolls, presumably by the PCs most likely to spot whatever it is, and that's it. They may miss a secret door or get ambushed by a slime they'd have spotted if they'd taken more care--but that's the price of choosing to move at a faster pace.

They can't have it both ways. They have to make a choice, and the choice has consequences.
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Old 05-17-2019, 11:41 AM   #10
larsdangly
 
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Default Re: Naturalist vs Alertness for search rolls

I suspect most groups will prefer a bit of looseness in the application of these rules, particularly the handling of the 'clock' and the determination of difficulty levels of rolls. However, for the narrower situation of a labyrinth delve (or similar tactical-scale situation) that is being played out literally turn by turn on the table top, the GM should prepare set difficulty levels for spottable things (much as you would for hidden traps), and should specify to the table the number of turns required for non-default spot checks (by default I would assume 6 turns/30 seconds, as that is what is spelled out in ITL).
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