Steve Jackson Games - Site Navigation
Home General Info Follow Us Search Illuminator Store Forums What's New Other Games Ogre GURPS Munchkin Our Games: Home

Go Back   Steve Jackson Games Forums > Roleplaying > GURPS

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 06-11-2017, 07:17 PM   #1
binn05
 
binn05's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Location: Bahia, Brazil
Default Alien Race that communicates via pheromones - how to stat it?

I'm building an alien race (let's call it alpha, as a placeholder name) that communicates via pheromones within its members and use a device to communicate with other races.
Without the device, Alphas are completely mute when talking to other races.

I stated them like:
  1. Discriminatory Smell [15]
So they can smell each other pheromones and communicate.
But I keep looking at it and thinking that something is missing.

  1. Cannot Speak (mitigator -60%) (-25*0,4) [-10]
And this to represent Alphas inability to talk with other species.

So, anyone can give me a hand here?
binn05 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-11-2017, 07:24 PM   #2
ericbsmith
 
ericbsmith's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Binghamton, NY, USA. Near the river Styx in the 5th Circle.
Default Re: Alien Race that communicates via pheromones - how to stat it?

This is essentially no different than a race that can only see with Infravision or that can only hear and communicate with Ultrasonic Speech. Canonically, having an alternate sense is a 0 point feature if it's their only form of that kind of sense.

If they have Discriminatory Smell on top of being able to smell each other's pheromones then it's an advantage. If the only form of "special" smelling they have is to smell each others pheromones then it's not an advantage.

Under no circumstances is Mute appropriate if they can communicate normally amongst themselves, any more than it would be appropriate to give a race with Ultrasonic Speech Mute and Deaf.

Now, realistically communicating via pheromones would have some serious drawbacks, not the least of which is a slow communication rate and limited physical range (though the ability to layer speech over time could have some advantages). That would probably be worth points similar to having a speech impediment such as Stuttering. Of course, realistically no race could communicate complex thoughts via pheromones, it's just not an effective way of communicating at all.
__________________
Eric B. Smith GURPS Data File Coordinator
GURPSLand
The future keeps telling us what the past was about. You make the past mean different things by what you do with the time that comes after.

Last edited by ericbsmith; 06-11-2017 at 07:30 PM.
ericbsmith is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-11-2017, 07:24 PM   #3
Refplace
 
Refplace's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Yukon, OK
Default Re: Alien Race that communicates via pheromones - how to stat it?

What your missing there is a method to speak. Discriminatory Smell is more akin to the ability to hear.

For that I would go with telecommunication.
EDIT: Just checked several books and could not find this in 4E. I have thought about this a few times but never gotten around to writing a race up with it.
I would go with 10 points, its fairly short range but you could leave messages as if writing.
__________________
Looking for group in my area
My GURPS official contributions
My GURPS fan contribution and blog:
REFPLace GURPS Landing Page
My List of GURPS You Tube videos (plus a few other useful items)
My GURPS Wiki entries

Last edited by Refplace; 06-11-2017 at 07:41 PM.
Refplace is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-11-2017, 07:28 PM   #4
Refplace
 
Refplace's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Yukon, OK
Default Re: Alien Race that communicates via pheromones - how to stat it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ericbsmith View Post

Under no circumstances is Mute appropriate if they can communicate normally amongst themselves, any more than it would be appropriate to give a race with Ultrasonic Speech Mute and Deaf.
If they are not the main or reference race (to borrow a term from GURPS Social Engineering) I would disagree on the "under no Circumstances" part.
Also if you had them but telecommunication I would allow Mute since voice has a lot of advantages.
__________________
Looking for group in my area
My GURPS official contributions
My GURPS fan contribution and blog:
REFPLace GURPS Landing Page
My List of GURPS You Tube videos (plus a few other useful items)
My GURPS Wiki entries
Refplace is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-12-2017, 02:42 AM   #5
vicky_molokh
GURPS FAQ Keeper
 
vicky_molokh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Kyv, Ukraine
Default Re: Alien Race that communicates via pheromones - how to stat it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ericbsmith View Post
Under no circumstances is Mute appropriate if they can communicate normally amongst themselves, any more than it would be appropriate to give a race with Ultrasonic Speech Mute and Deaf.
No circumstances?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Space 221
Cannot Speak
see p. B125
Aliens with different mouth struc-
tures may be unable to pronounce
human languages, effectively giving
them the Cannot Speak disadvantage.
Others may actually be mute, unable to
produce sounds. In any society above
TL7, this can be mitigated by a com-
puter speech synthesizer, at a -60% cost
reduction. See Mitigator, p. B112.
__________________
Vicky 'Molokh', GURPS FAQ and uFAQ Keeper
The Eye of Eclipse Phase. A Discord server focusing on Roleplaying, Sci-Fi, Transhumanism, and discussion of other assorted topics, from tech to boardgames, from politics to philosophy.
vicky_molokh is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-12-2017, 06:06 AM   #6
jason taylor
 
jason taylor's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Portland, Oregon
Default Re: Alien Race that communicates via pheromones - how to stat it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ericbsmith View Post
This is essentially no different than a race that can only see with Infravision or that can only hear and communicate with Ultrasonic Speech. Canonically, having an alternate sense is a 0 point feature if it's their only form of that kind of sense.

If they have Discriminatory Smell on top of being able to smell each other's pheromones then it's an advantage. If the only form of "special" smelling they have is to smell each others pheromones then it's not an advantage.

Under no circumstances is Mute appropriate if they can communicate normally amongst themselves, any more than it would be appropriate to give a race with Ultrasonic Speech Mute and Deaf.

Now, realistically communicating via pheromones would have some serious drawbacks, not the least of which is a slow communication rate and limited physical range (though the ability to layer speech over time could have some advantages). That would probably be worth points similar to having a speech impediment such as Stuttering. Of course, realistically no race could communicate complex thoughts via pheromones, it's just not an effective way of communicating at all.
The same can be said of speech and sight which can be enhanced by technological upgrades. "Writing" is certainly possible by perfuming an object meant to carry such marks.

Also communicating by smell is not necessarily the only mode of communication.
__________________
"The navy could probably win a war without coffee but would prefer not to try"-Samuel Eliot Morrison
jason taylor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-12-2017, 08:14 AM   #7
ericthered
Hero of Democracy
 
ericthered's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: far from the ocean
Default Re: Alien Race that communicates via pheromones - how to stat it?

Yep, telecommunication sounds right. I wish we'd get some sort of pyramid article giving actual guidelines for telecommunication that's not one of the basic types given. It doesn't come up much, but when it does, you really want it.

I don't know if 5 or 10 is the right amount for this telecommunication. Its not secure, and its quite close range. It does stick around, which is worth something. I lean towards 5 rather than 10. Still if you ever need to modify it, it gets sticky: cross-world pheromone communication is quite cheap with this build.

I don't think simply adding to mute to a creature who can pheromone but not speak in any case where the campaign isn't very human-centric. Though I suppose the voice synthesizer is reasonably appropriate. Ultra tech does funny things to trait values.
__________________
Worlds Beyond Earth -- my blog
ericthered is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-12-2017, 09:16 AM   #8
Refplace
 
Refplace's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Yukon, OK
Default Re: Alien Race that communicates via pheromones - how to stat it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ericthered View Post
Yep, telecommunication sounds right. I wish we'd get some sort of pyramid article giving actual guidelines for telecommunication that's not one of the basic types given. It doesn't come up much, but when it does, you really want it.

I don't know if 5 or 10 is the right amount for this telecommunication. Its not secure, and its quite close range. It does stick around, which is worth something. I lean towards 5 rather than 10. Still if you ever need to modify it, it gets sticky: cross-world pheromone communication is quite cheap with this build.
Yeah its a tough call. 5 seems fair but on the other hand you could leave messages on trees without needing writing materials.
Kind of like ant trails. They can degrade of course but a lot of what would mess with smell would ruin paper.
I would like to see an article like you describe, I have created a few new Telecommunication advantages for my fantasy settings. Dreamspeaking being the most broadly useful one.
__________________
Looking for group in my area
My GURPS official contributions
My GURPS fan contribution and blog:
REFPLace GURPS Landing Page
My List of GURPS You Tube videos (plus a few other useful items)
My GURPS Wiki entries
Refplace is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-12-2017, 09:44 AM   #9
Bruno
 
Bruno's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Canada
Default Re: Alien Race that communicates via pheromones - how to stat it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Refplace View Post
They can degrade of course but a lot of what would mess with smell would ruin paper.
Paper is hardly the only way to leave lasting messages. Arranging rocks and sticks, scratching or carving into surfaces, paint, embossing, embroidery...
__________________
All about Size Modifier; Unified Hit Location Table
A Wiki for my F2F Group
A GURPS blog
Bruno is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-12-2017, 10:04 AM   #10
Anders
 
Anders's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
Default Re: Alien Race that communicates via pheromones - how to stat it?

5 points. Compare to radio which has a 10-mile radius and is worth 10 points.
__________________
"Well, here at last, dear friends, on the shores of the Sea comes the end of our fellowship in Middle-earth. Go in peace! I will not say: do not weep; for not all tears are an evil."
Anders is online now   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
advantage design, alien species, limitations, mute, pheromones

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Fnords are Off
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 04:36 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.