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Old 07-26-2014, 06:50 PM   #1
Otaku
 
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Default [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#3): Absolute Timing; Chronolocation

Last Week: 3D Spatial Sense; Absolute Direction
Next Week: Acute Senses

Absolute Timing and Chronolocation are found on page 35 of the Basic Set and... simply put I find them confusing. ^^' As such, I fear I risk editorializing this post and beg anyone who believes they really "get" these Advantages to weigh in.

The short description isn't bad: the character has "an accurate mental clock". It is marked as a Mental Advantage and considered mundane, though the second sentence of the description makes sure to designate both levels as "somewhat cinematic".

For 2 CP, Absolute Timing imbues the character with the capacity to track time on par with "the best personal timepieces widely available in your culture (but never better than a few seconds). You not only know what time it is but can track elapsed time with similar accuracy. Things like time zone or sleep won't interfere with this ability, and you get the bonus of a built-in "alarm clock" to help you wake up when you want to! Absolute Timing isn't Absolute in the Cosmic Enhancement sense, however as being knocked unconscious, hypnotized, etc. can keep Absolute Timing from functioning properly and time travel is specified as throwing it out of whack until you adjust to the "new" time.

The bigger 5 point version, known as Chronolocation, addresses that last bit; it is Absolute Timing that works perfectly well with time travel, "in an absolute sense". You can tell you've traveled X days back in time, for example, though Daylight Savings Time, calendar reform, etc. can still throw you off and if you travel back far enough so can things like leap years; apparently you just get the raw amount of days and not larger units.

In a TL8 setting, the "never better than a few seconds" makes the value of this a bit questionable: being internal versus external was part of our discussion from last week's thread on Absolute Direction/3D Spatial Sense, and not having to even glance at part of your HUD can be a life saver, but buying a good cell phone/tablet/similarly portable computer means you spend cash and not CP and get everything this Advantage provides and more. Then again... two points is "just" two points. If technology can record one's chronological position, then Chronolocation also seems a bit pricey.

Still, my main concern is that the whole thing just seems... oddly defined. Why should personal timepieces matter? It seems purely an external thing to make sure the Advantage "scales", but being only two points I am hard pressed (useful though it can be) to worry about such a thing; it would have to be a very silly setting for a character to be crowned king (or some similar benefit) because he was able to track time to within a few seconds but the best the village could do for official time tracking is the sundial. Plus, without something that can track minutes or seconds effectively, it isn't like you can easily "prove" your accuracy.

One of the issues I raised over on the previous thread lead to me wanting to compile a list of Skills that should logically benefit from Absolute Timing/Chronolocation. I failed to complete the list, in part because it isn't the kind of thing to regularly grant a hard and fast bonus to skill. At the same time, any skill where having a clock handy should receive a similar bonus from Absolute Timing. Cooking strikes me as something that should usually benefit from Absolute Timing; having a "built in" oven timer and all, even if one has access to real ones, is just useful.

Like Absolute Direction, I kind of wonder if this shouldn't start out as a Perk Level benefit of some sort and then go into the more "advanced" options. Many posters explained how I was undervaluing Absolute Direction, so I am hesitant to call it overpriced. I also would prefer it "doing less" because if we tone it down, it becomes something I believe real people have; indeed it seems like it's more the "all or nothing" nature of GURPS game terms that makes it "cinematic": some people I know are good at setting "mental alarm clocks" by which they wake up and some aren't. Some are only a few seconds off at keeping track of time, even when occupied by something else, etc.

Chronolocation does seem odd in that (per Absolute Timing), Time Zones don't bother it but Daylight Savings and Leap Year do; perhaps I am just not grasping the difference?
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Last edited by Otaku; 01-29-2017 at 05:42 PM. Reason: Major typo that somehow was missed all this time...
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Old 07-26-2014, 07:11 PM   #2
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Absolute Timing/Chronolocation

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Originally Posted by Otaku View Post
You can tell you've traveled X days back in time, for example, though Daylight Savings Time, calendar reform, etc. can still throw you off and if you travel back far enough so can things like leap years; apparently you just get the raw amount of days and not larger units.
The Advantage knows about time, not about calendars.
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Originally Posted by Otaku View Post
Still, my main concern is that the whole thing just seems... oddly defined. Why should personal timepieces matter? It seems purely an external thing to make sure the Advantage "scales", but being only two points I am hard pressed (useful though it can be) to worry about such a thing; it would have to be a very silly setting for a character to be crowned king (or some similar benefit) because he was able to track time to within a few seconds but the best the village could do for official time tracking is the sundial. Plus, without something that can track minutes or seconds effectively, it isn't like you can easily "prove" your accuracy.
Hmm. I wonder if it's actually to prevent cheesing astronomical navigation. A perfect timepiece that functions on shipboard is worth quite a lot in TL4.

Defining an advantage's effects so strongly dependent on your personal cultural context strikes me as bad and wrong, though.
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Old 07-26-2014, 09:30 PM   #3
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Absolute Timing/Chronolocation

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Originally Posted by Ulzgoroth View Post
The Advantage knows about time, not about calendars.
And?

I may not enjoy being lectured, but I also know I am a lot better off having people on the board explain to me how I am wrong, than to continue being wrong (...well, at least when I am wrong, which is more often than I care to admit). So go ahead and elaborate, though first, let me make sure we are talking about the same area.

It occurred to me; am I reading too much into the wording in the book example, which gives a five figure answer in days instead of in years, decades, etc.? I was focusing on the unit, not the calendar date.

Daylights saving versus time zones also seems a bit... wonky. I get why a character with either Absolute Timing or Chronolocation doesn't automatically apply Daylight Savings; its an "invention" to try and make better use of natural lighting when it is available (or something like that :P). Time Zones... are kind of the same thing. Especially in a world where travel and commerce are likely to take you far enough to transcend time zones, its a convenience to help keep things from getting a bit... weird. If anything, if anything, it would make more sense if you had to adjust as you traveled between time zones; you know how many hours it has been since whatever reference point you're keeping, but you probably should have to check in to know that while it was 8 AM where you started and has now been four hours, due to the local time zone difference its only 11 AM.

Or am I missing the point again; freedom from worrying about such things is why the Advantage "is"... in which case we come full circle about the little details it doesn't cover.
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Last edited by Otaku; 07-26-2014 at 09:33 PM.
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Old 07-26-2014, 09:39 PM   #4
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Absolute Timing/Chronolocation

Just as daylight time savings is an invention so are calendars.
The way I understand it you knw the ACTUAL time not how it is measured.
So if you travel back 100 years you know that. However you may not know the correct date unless you take into account the actual calendar.

Just as with time zones you may know you went back 4 hours but if you traveled and did not take into account a time zone shift you would be off when comparing against local time.
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Old 07-26-2014, 10:04 PM   #5
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Absolute Timing/Chronolocation

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Originally Posted by Refplace View Post
Just as daylight time savings is an invention so are calendars.
The way I understand it you knw the ACTUAL time not how it is measured.
So if you travel back 100 years you know that. However you may not know the correct date unless you take into account the actual calendar.
So I was reading too much into the exact wording of the example text: my bad!

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Originally Posted by Refplace View Post
Just as with time zones you may know you went back 4 hours but if you traveled and did not take into account a time zone shift you would be off when comparing against local time.
This one on the other hand contradicts RAW:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Basic Set p.35
Neither changes of time zone nor sleep interferes with this ability...
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Old 07-26-2014, 10:07 PM   #6
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Absolute Timing/Chronolocation

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Originally Posted by Otaku View Post
So I was reading too much into the exact wording of the example text: my bad!



This one on the other hand contradicts RAW:
Assuming you know about and adjust for the time zone change.
At least I have always used it this way. The advantage is not foold by local changes (so it being dark an hour early wont trick you) but it does not automatically adjust or know about them. Most of the time its a minor issue but going back in time and being a few days off )not adjusting for leap years) could be a big deal in some cases.
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Old 07-26-2014, 10:13 PM   #7
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Absolute Timing/Chronolocation

Odd idea. Day length and even year length vary over geological time periods. Is that 65 million years as we define them now, 65 million revolutions around the sun, or even 365.25 times 65 million rotations of earth on its axis?
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Old 07-26-2014, 10:16 PM   #8
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Absolute Timing/Chronolocation

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Originally Posted by Otaku View Post
It is marked as a Mental Disadvantage and considered mundane, though the second sentence of the description makes sure to designate both levels as "somewhat cinematic"
It's an advantage and mundane is contrasted with exotic. Something can be mundane in GURPS terms and still be cinematic.
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Old 07-26-2014, 11:23 PM   #9
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Absolute Timing/Chronolocation

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It's an advantage and mundane is contrasted with exotic. Something can be mundane in GURPS terms and still be cinematic.
I didn't mean to imply otherwise; cinematic versus non-cinematic ("realistic") is an ongoing thread right now (...I couldn't keep up >.>) and very much matters for understanding an Advantage. There is a difference between Mundane and "non-cinematic" versus Mundane-but-cinematic. Separating out "fantastic" elements (Exotic or Supernatural) from "tone" or "how the world world" like harshly realistic, realistic, lightly cinematic, cinematic, "four-color", and silly makes modeling settings much easier.
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Old 07-27-2014, 09:45 AM   #10
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Absolute Timing/Chronolocation

To be honest, 'cinematic and mundane' looks like an oxymoron to me :|

Were your questions about AbTim answered?
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