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Old 09-13-2014, 10:04 AM   #1
johndallman
 
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Default [Basic] Skill of the week: Body Sense

Body Sense is the athletic DX-based (for quick reflexes, it defaults to Acrobatics -3) ability to adjust to sudden changes of scene, such as teleportation. On a failure, you're disorientated for a turn; on a critical failure you fall, physically stunned. Now that I look at it, we're been playing this more harshly than RAW in my Infinite Cabal campaign. Almost all world-travel there is via Jumper with Tunnel, which means you have to walk through. That may make disorientation worse, but falling on a normal failure is a bit harsh.

Absolute Direction (either kind) gives +3 with this skill and Timesickness prevents you learning it. That last is a fairly bad idea if you're a magician, since a lot of the Movement college spells in Magic interact with Body Sense. Psionic Powers offers the Gyroscopic (+10%) enhancement to avoid the need for Body Sense rolls after Warp, Jumper, etc. Powers reminds us that appropriate Power Talents add to Body Sense, but doesn't add much new, but Supers has the Multiport technique for buying off the penalty to Body Sense for teleportation with Rapid Fire.

This doesn't seem to be a much-loved or used skill. Is it actually useful, or would it be better for disorientation to be an limitation or otherwise optional drawback of instant movement abilities?
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Old 09-13-2014, 10:36 AM   #2
vicky_molokh
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Body Sense

I never played a warper.
I had one or two warpers in my games. The one I do remember passed all such checks successfully.

The fact that this skill needs to be checked every teleport is somewhat non-obvious. That's slightly annoying. I Warp had a more attention-grabbing note about Body Sense.
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Old 09-13-2014, 11:19 AM   #3
starslayer
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Body Sense

This is one of those skills that is key to a very narrow subset of pcs with what are ultimately supernatural abilities. Much like thaumatology if your PC needs it your going to have it at a high level, if they don't need it you're probably not going to have it on your sheet (though without the requisite supernatural movement abilities where would they have even has the opportunity to learn it?)
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Old 09-13-2014, 11:41 AM   #4
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Body Sense

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Originally Posted by starslayer View Post
This is one of those skills that is key to a very narrow subset of pcs with what are ultimately supernatural abilities. Much like thaumatology if your PC needs it your going to have it at a high level, if they don't need it you're probably not going to have it on your sheet (though without the requisite supernatural movement abilities where would they have even has the opportunity to learn it?)
My Infinite Cabal campaign seems to be quite unusual in this respect. There's a lot of world-hopping, and three of the five PCs have Jumper with the Tunnel enhancement, but limited uses per day, and a variety of other enhancements and limitations. Usually the whole party goes through the same tunnel. So they all need Body Sense, even though one of them has no abilities at all that can require him to use it, and another can only create the need by casting very expensive spells.

If they all used Jumper individually, looking for lost people would be a major time-sink, but this way they at least stay together.
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Old 09-13-2014, 02:45 PM   #5
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Body Sense

I agree its a narrow subset of people who will take it.
On the other hand I ran a Supers game once with an attack (Now it would use Affliction) that disoriented and stunned people and I let a PC resist with Body Sense.
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Old 09-13-2014, 09:10 PM   #6
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Body Sense

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Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
This doesn't seem to be a much-loved or used skill. Is it actually useful, or would it be better for disorientation to be an limitation or otherwise optional drawback of instant movement abilities?
Body Sense tends to be a "spoiler"; you make a character that is exactly as potent as you intend and then... remember you forgot Body Sense. Okay, obviously this might apply to very few people (or just me), but that is how it seems to work.

As a warning... I'm probably going to reveal my well known ignorance about the finer points of this game, not just rules that everyone else knows (and which I either don't have available or embarrassingly have managed to overlook every time I read the Basic Set) or that fail to grasp the intricacies of game balance (or not-so-intricacies that I should realize right away are flawed).

Okay... deep breath!

The difficulty for Body Sense seems to high; it is a narrow scope skill dealing with what would normally be an "exotic" thing for which humans have no natural knowledge or instinct... or maybe we do and just don't know it yet. I mean, look at firearms. Imagine explaining to a learned but pre-gunpowder culture that it was actually fairly easy to use a controlled explosion to launch a projectile at a distinct target. Perhaps it will turn out to be a fairly easy thing; it may be quite like the regular Jumping Skill.

Body Sense also strikes me as one of those Skills that doesn't fit too well with any one Attribute. I can't come up with a good reason for it to be ST based (nor do I think that appropriate), but DX isn't even the most compelling to me. HT for sensing your own body and having it cope with the rigors of instantaneous movement, Perception for reorienting yourself quickly to your new location (or time period), Will to more or less force your way through it (yes, that is a bit weak or at least Cinematic), or IQ to really work out where you are now versus where you were and any adjustments you need to be making. DX makes sense if you're just worried about not falling over. Even if it officially remained based on a specific attribute, either allowing it to default from the ones that are appropriate (like how Stealth has an IQ default you can even learn it from) or just stated that while it is officially a DX based skill, with GM permission a player can base it off of [insert allowed alternate Attributes/Secondary Traits].

Third possible option (which might be used with or separately from all the others)... just make it a Technique with generous (and multiple) Defaults. Certain other exotic Skills might be the source of a Default (perhaps a Default that is at a substantial bonus over a flat out Attribute based roll). Body Control might be appropriate; while it is about controlling your involuntary body functions, it seems like it would involve knowing your own body quite well and being able to sense (and manipulate) what you need to in order to adjust more quickly. The Attribute based Defaults should be far more generous than what we see now.

Fourth (and probably a lot easier for all parties involved)... yes, make it a Limitation that you need to make a Body Sense roll. Those that want to go through the extra book keeping for balance or flavor or that need the point break will do so, those that don't need to worry about it for any of those reasons can then skip Body Sense.
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Old 09-13-2014, 10:34 PM   #7
David Johnston2
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Body Sense

The reason why Body Sense is a DX skill is because of the kind of character who will have it. It's for all those teleporters who rapidly bamf from place to place, attacking as they go. Since they're all going to have decent DX, why not cut them a break with their primary approach to attack? Of course the really interesting thing about Body Sense is that most people do not in fact have it, and that gives teleporters like Marvels Kurt Wagner an effective way to mess with opponents they could never actually hurt. Body Sense actually makes Warp more powerful as long as you have the cargo capacity to carry a person.
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Old 09-14-2014, 09:09 AM   #8
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Body Sense

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Originally Posted by David Johnston2 View Post
The reason why Body Sense is a DX skill is because of the kind of character who will have it.
That only fits one kind of teleporter, and it may not even be the most commonly seen in GURPS. Of course, YMMV, or rather my mileage may be the one that is significantly different from the effective norm. As I've made abundantly clear, I've to several years of GURPS experience, but it was with 3e; even though 4e came out 10 years ago, I can't remember if I've even managed to game an actual session since then. I've made a few attempts at teaching some friends the game, but that's it.

So... back in 3e, most teleporters were mages or psions or ultra-tech users. Some might double as "supers", but most were not. Even with the aspects of 3e that were bargains compared to their (often more balanced) 4e prices, few players had the points to get significantly high DX scores along with sufficient IQ and either levels of Magery or the relevant psionic powers. For technology types, eventually it strains disbelief that people who might be using a teleporter to go to work every day haven't naturally built up at least one point into the skill over the years.

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Johnston2 View Post
It's for all those teleporters who rapidly bamf from place to place, attacking as they go. Since they're all going to have decent DX, why not cut them a break with their primary approach to attack? Of course the really interesting thing about Body Sense is that most people do not in fact have it, and that gives teleporters like Marvels Kurt Wagner an effective way to mess with opponents they could never actually hurt. Body Sense actually makes Warp more powerful as long as you have the cargo capacity to carry a person.
So it is a free, Linked Affliction because of Kurt Wagner?* ;) I do get that GURPS is indeed meant to game out both worlds of your own design as well as established fictional settings, but setting Nightcrawler up to be the rule seems a bit dodgy. Yes indeed, his method of teleporting is disconcerting... but is it because that is the "default" state of such things or is it because that is just how his works?

Even if I accept everything you've said, and that it is somehow good to make a Skill based off a particular Attribute to make it easier for a certain kind of user to afford it, it doesn't really negate what I am saying. Make it DX/Easy (defaults to DX-4). In societies were its commonplace, the circumstantial bonuses help offset that penalty, so "average" folk adjust pretty quick (but are still in trouble without the skill in combat or similarly high pressure situations). For anyone without a good DX score but access to this Ability, at least it ends up being 3 points cheaper to raise it by 1. Of course I would still prefer adding at least one more default; if we are just concerned about doing a "solid" for people likely to need the skill, adding in an IQ based default to pull the same trick as with Stealth means most characters are going to have at least one solid starting point for it.

*Or if the cost is already factored in/negligible, a "mandatory purchase"/effect you've got to work to get rid of if you didn't want it.
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Old 09-14-2014, 09:22 AM   #9
spacemonkey
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Body Sense

You can negate the need for a body sense roll when you warp with a 10% enhancement. P. 18 Psionic Powers. I don't think I'd make a teleporter without it.

On the same page it says by default warpers retain velocity, but can match a new velocity with a -5 body sense roll.
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Old 09-14-2014, 09:50 AM   #10
ericthered
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Body Sense

I've seen it in play on two characters. The first is a psion whose main role is as telepath, but also possesses world hopping capabilities (they were free in the campaign). Its only moderately useful, but it helps make me be bold enough to try world hopping tricks (out of the battle one way, back in another).

The other character I've seen it on is an NPC villian I'm running who has it at a high enough level the only time he'll mess up is a critical failure. Its a very nasty skill to have in the bag if you're a rapid teleporter. He'd have taken out the party by now if they weren't either hiding at long range or possessing super reflexes that let them dodge attacks that materialize near their back. (its a 1,000 point budget with restrictions).

Its worth pointing out though that thing that really makes warp useful is having enough reliable or skill to warp when ever you want. If you don't have that body sense is merely a precaution, not a weapon.

The ability to use it to pull off stunts like changing your velocity or landing on top of someone is awesome though. It sounds like a great skill to tie it to (depending on setting metaphysics).
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