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Old 02-06-2015, 11:46 AM   #1
Kromm
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Default GURPS Powers: Enhanced Senses

I can see the sounds
Hear all the sights and flavors
With my shining skin
— A sitar-toting superhero
It has been a while since we've seen a GURPS Powers supplement, hasn't it? Well, you'll be happy to hear the wait is over. This week's release is GURPS Powers: Enhanced Senses.

Enhanced Senses is your one-stop shop for superhuman sensory gifts, whether you're a cyborg, a master of the mental arts, or a garden-variety mutant. It offers dozens of prebuilt, playtested abilities you can use "as is," as part of the included power frameworks, or (with minor modification) with your power source of choice. This isn't just a big, boring list, though. Each ability comes with an explanation of how the constituent advantages and modifiers work together in play – and if the capability exists in real life (the animal kingdom is truly amazing!), an effort was made to ensure verisimilitude.

There's more here than a pile of worked examples, too. Notes on sensory feats – from enhancing skills to power stunts – offer practical uses for these and other gifts. New perks and modifiers, and variant advantages and disadvantages, let you customize your character further and invent abilities of your own. And even a campaign with entirely mundane characters will benefit from the clear categorization of senses in game terms, as well as the expanded and optional rules for arc of vision, hearing in tunnels, illumination and loudness levels, reading speed, seeing things "in plain sight," and more.

Whether you're looking for comic-book telescopic and X-ray vision, weirdness like typing blood by tasting it and synthesizing all your sensory input into a unified impression, or just a clearer picture of how ordinary human perceptions work, you'll find what you seek in Enhanced Senses!


Store Link: http://www.warehouse23.com/products/SJG37-0150
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Old 02-06-2015, 11:46 AM   #2
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(Note: This is PK, cloning Kromm's post because it's the easiest way to interject right at the top of the thread.)

I've moved a few topics into their own threads:

Illumination Levels (p. 13)

Stealth roll mechanics

Let's keep those two contained. Meanwhile, everything else about the book is on-topic here -- from general thoughts on the book to questions about its rules.
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Last edited by PK; 02-09-2015 at 05:34 PM.
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Old 02-06-2015, 12:50 PM   #3
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Default Re: GURPS Powers: Enhanced Senses

And it is mine!
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Old 02-06-2015, 01:05 PM   #4
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Default Re: GURPS Powers: Enhanced Senses

Does it include rules for putting a maximum range on a sense, such as Dark Vision or Detect?
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Old 02-06-2015, 01:14 PM   #5
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Default Re: GURPS Powers: Enhanced Senses

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Does it include rules for putting a maximum range on a sense, such as Dark Vision or Detect?
As opposed to having range modifiers? Is there any known biological sense that cuts off at a specified distance, rather than being limited by energy intensity, material concentration, and/or angular resolution?
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Old 02-06-2015, 01:29 PM   #6
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Default Re: GURPS Powers: Enhanced Senses

Cool book. Has lots and lots of neat stuff related to its title.
Of particular niceness are:
  • The fact that it listed all/almost all non-Basic sense advantages.
  • Ways to modify existing senses, e.g. enhancing Vision with Time-Spanning or Long-Range for those weird ESPers.
  • The new perks are neat. Okay, I'm actually talking primarily about the scent-related perk directly related to the above bulletpoint. Awesome for wolves, bloodhounds, Short Canadian Foul-Tempered Antihero etc. I wonder if some sharks qualify for two levels?
  • Some extra definition clarifications are neat.
  • Some extra rule clarifications are neat.
Things that I don't quite like:
  • Ultraviolet Sight is possibly an oversight: "Ultraviolet penetrates water to greater depths than visible light, halving Vision penalties underwater – but in total darkness (-10), you’re still blind!" will likely spark protests. In fact, I find it something of a flaw that while IR vision got two new variants of the trait, UV vision didn't get; this was a nice place to put in a more realistic variant of the trait.
  • The original Scanning Sense (Field Sense) didn't make it into the book, which would be okay on its own, but the closest analogue costs the same [10] while being inferior in almost every way.
  • The light/darkness modifiers seem off by one line: should a normal day really be -1?
  • The sound volume table and the lines about Stealth. If read literally, they produce odd results and break down in situation of high-Observation-vs-high-Stealth duels. I suppose it should be read as 'success by +0 provides a noise level this loud/quiet', 'critical success provides at least this level' etc. Otherwise the table not only breaks down at high point totals, but also becomes incompatible with the game mechanics of Stealth everywhere else in the books.
  • I'm not sure if the +5 to some skills attributed to ETS is balanced. In fact, that seems to run counter to what has been said about ETS before. (I suppose a +4 for Powers Boosting Skills is plausible.)
  • ETS or the quick-reading perk makes Speed-Reading essentially useless, it seems.
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Old 02-06-2015, 01:50 PM   #7
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Default Re: GURPS Powers: Enhanced Senses

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Originally Posted by vicky_molokh View Post
ETS or the quick-reading perk makes Speed-Reading essentially useless, it seems.
I don't see that. ETS converts words per minutes to words per turn, and then Speed-Reading is a further multiplier to that rate. Admittedly being able to out read the Flash doesn't much help if you then need to push a button when done, but it should at least help when the loosing bound documents become free in a strong breeze and they fly past you.
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Old 02-06-2015, 01:57 PM   #8
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Default Re: GURPS Powers: Enhanced Senses

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Originally Posted by Dinadon View Post
I don't see that. ETS converts words per minutes to words per turn, and then Speed-Reading is a further multiplier to that rate. Admittedly being able to out read the Flash doesn't much help if you then need to push a button when done, but it should at least help when the loosing bound documents become free in a strong breeze and they fly past you.
Okay. Make that 'the Perk is grossly cooler than the skill'. (Back in the day, 4e made a point of making psionics more expensive so that mundane detectives/negotiators/etc. would still remain competitive with them.)
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Old 02-06-2015, 03:05 PM   #9
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Default Re: GURPS Powers: Enhanced Senses

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[*]Ultraviolet Sight is possibly an oversight
It's hard to say "errata: the description of this ability is completely wrong".
Realistic UV Vision [0]
You can see near ultraviolet. Allows using UV lamps (note that, due to fluorescence, these are not particularly stealthy) and UV dyes; otherwise has few practical applications. On the minus side, effects of atmospheric haze are doubled, and you have a -1 to resist eye damage from sunlight, such as snowblindness. UV penetrates water poorly, and is generally useless more than a few inches underwater.
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Old 02-06-2015, 03:09 PM   #10
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Default Re: GURPS Powers: Enhanced Senses

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Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
As opposed to having range modifiers? Is there any known biological sense that cuts off at a specified distance, rather than being limited by energy intensity, material concentration, and/or angular resolution?
I can only think of contrived realistic examples. Is the book not good for supernatural abilities? I can think of lots of those that have discrete cutoffs, which GURPS doesn't handle well at all.
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