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Old 01-10-2017, 09:36 PM   #1
Otaku
 
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Default [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#27): Common Sense, Intuition

Last Time: Combat Reflexes; Enhanced Defences; Enhanced Time Sense
Related:[Basic] Advantages By Category (Hiatus discussion)
Next Week: Compartmentalized Mind

Though long overdue, it is at last time to resume our [Basic] Advantage of the Week discussion. While I am less prepared than I wanted to be, I at least have planned out an approach. In order to keep things running more smoothly than last time, I am thinking it might be good to work with others; anyone interested can PM me. This week we look at “Common Sense” (p. B43) and “Intuition” (p. B61).

Basic Set

Common Sense is a Mundane, Mental Trait that costs 10 CP. It is designed to assist a player in running a thoughtful character, and functions in a passive manner, waiting for circumstances to trigger it. Should the player inform the GM that his or her character is going to say or do something stupid, the GM should secretly roll against the PC’s IQ. Success means the GM cautions the player, suggesting the player rethink the aforementioned speech or action. Failure means the GM allows things to proceed with no word of warning. Even on a success, it will be up to the player to determine a better course of action. The exact wording on p. B43 says “...start to do something the GM feels is STUPID…” so it would appear some level of retroactivity is applicable; if your character starts to do or say something stupid, the GM intervenes.

Intuition is also a Mundane, Mental trait but it costs 15 CP. This Advantage can help you play a character far cleverer than yourself, but unlike Common Sense this is not a passive ability. Instead, you may ask the GM to roll against your Intuition when confronted with some kind of choice. The GM rolls against your IQ in secret, with a bonus equal to the number of good choices and a penalty equal to the number of bad. Additional modifiers may apply according to the circumstances. The only time the GM will give you a false response is if he or she rolls a critical failure for the IQ check; a regular failure just means you get no information at all. A regular success means the GM guides you to a good choice, and a critical success means the GM tells you the actual best choice. You cannot use this ability more than once for the exact same decision, and write up warns a GM not to permit Intuition unless he or she is certain to keep it under control; it is meant to be an aid in decision-making, but not to do things like immediately solve the mystery around which a particular adventure is based.

Other Supplements

GURPS Powers includes more Modifiers for both Common Sense (p. P45) and Intuition (p. P56), as well as emphasizing that they are not the exact same thing. Common Sense helps you avoid incorrect choices that are blatantly stupid but doesn’t necessarily help you make a good or even the best choice, however, it can still prove worthwhile as it doesn’t require you actively choose to use it (unlike Intuition). GURPS Powers includes new modifiers for these traits, including one that turns Common Sense into something your character can consciously use, allowing it to work a bit more like Intuition. The two are still treated as separate things, and in fact there is an example in the Sample Abilities section that combines this enhanced version of Common Sense with Intuition, Oracle, and various other Enhancements to provide a means of your character thoroughly analyzing a situation, and the options (good or bad) available therein. GURPS Powers also includes sample Powers (and Power Modifiers) that could reasonably include Common Sense and/or Intuition, as opposed to the “wild” mundane version found in [Basic].

Common Sense and Intuition both show up in Powers-Ups 3: Talents as optional prerequisite Advantages for certain Talents, while Common Sense and how it can help with navigating social situations is covered in Social Engineering. If others wish to share what other supplements reference either or both traits, I will edit this section to include them.

Useful Links
These will be added as suggested. If it doesn't specify, it means it is to another part of the sjgames.com website.Now, on with the discussion!
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Last edited by Otaku; 01-28-2017 at 05:14 AM. Reason: Updates
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Old 01-11-2017, 01:47 AM   #2
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#26): Common Sense, Intuition

Powers: the Weird adds this rule for Intuition:
Quote:
Originally Posted by P:tW p.34 Gnosis
If you have too little information to define the alternatives, you can still roll, but at ‑5 to IQ or skill.
Which looks pretty abusive to me.
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Old 01-11-2017, 02:42 AM   #3
simply Nathan
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#26): Common Sense, Intuition

One of the party members in the only GURPS campaigns I played was a 100-point ninja with IQ 8, Impulsiveness, and...Common Sense, for some reason.

Our very merciful GM not only ignored the requirement to roll for this trait, but also extended it to other party members if this PC was present. "His common sense is telling you that's a bad idea".

The player was himself very good at ignoring the advice he was getting out of this trait.
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Old 01-11-2017, 04:10 AM   #4
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#27): Common Sense, Intuition

One of the PCs in my current campaign (still) has Intuition. In my experience, there's one important addition to the way it should be handled that may or may not be obvious to others. I realized I need it after some while.

Specifically, when making a choice, it is important for the GM what the PC considers a desirable/good outcome in the context of the choice. Because which of the two (or more) choices is the 'best' may depend very much on character priorities, and often those are not obvious to the GM.
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Old 01-11-2017, 06:23 AM   #5
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#27): Common Sense, Intuition

This thread have some nice comment on Intuition, including some Kromm ruling:
http://forums.sjgames.com/showthread.php?t=22019

I like the advantage, both as player and GM but

-you should be carefull with reliable. reliable +10 is only [+8] for intuition ...

-the GM need to strongly enforce the 'one intuition roll per question' and assess the penalty from the final goal.
(to avoid the cascading binary intuition munchkin)
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Old 01-11-2017, 09:45 AM   #6
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#27): Common Sense, Intuition

I don't like or use common sense. Not because its a bad mechanic, but because most of the time I find my players doing silly things its because I explained the situation wrong and they don't understand where they are.

I can be argued that I thus give it for free, but its a different play philosophy.
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Old 01-11-2017, 12:04 PM   #7
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#27): Common Sense, Intuition

Thanks for the Link, Celjabba. It made me realize that would be a good section to include in the initial post, so that is just what I did. ;)

ericthered reminded me I had some thoughts to share about intuition myself. I don't like putting them in the initial post because it can stifle discussion instead of promoting it. I wrote it up ahead of time though, and so if it seems a bit disconnected, or I didn't notice someone already answered, please let me know.

I like how these traits allow a player to assume a role that is at least somewhat unnatural, even counterintuitive to his or herself. However, I will risk seeming overly negative to share my concerns and even criticisms of the traits, because I believe they can be made better. Both traits seem a little redundant over how I am used to handling IQ in general; of course that can be written off as “house rules” and my own fault, but it was writing this that made me realize some of my past GMs (and myself) had gone above and beyond. When a PC is more levelheaded or clever than the actual player, I find it natural for the GM to roll against the character’s IQ to see if it avoids doing something stupid, much like I expect the GM to roll against Per to spot something. These circumstances are not identical as the player does not (usually) see the game world as the character does, but it is not entirely dissimilar either; the player may have agency to make decisions, but the character’s actual build determines not only what it is capable of doing, but what it is likely to do. To facilitate gameplay, I would also sometimes roll against IQ to just inform the player that his or her character just figured something out.

Common Sense and Intuition go beyond such things, but this house rule would make them less of a bargain. Actually, even without the house rule, Common Sense seems like it out to be in Perk territory. Unless a player is so clueless or intentionally disruptive as to need such assistance frequently each session, this seems quite in line with Perks. The text on p. B100 states “A Perk can provide a modest bonus (up to +2) to an attribute, skill, or reaction roll in relatively rare circumstances.” Please contemplate Common Sense as a Leveled Perk. Each level would provide a +1 (maybe a +2) bonus to rolls made so that your character does not do something blatantly stupid. What if a player is making the GM roll against Common Sense quite often? That seems like less of a rule issue and more of group dynamic issue. The player and GM may not be properly communicating, the player may be trolling the GM, the player may not be very bright, or some combination of these things… but dinging them an extra 15 CP so the GM can hold that player’s hand just doesn’t sit well with me.

With both Common Sense and Intuition, I also question having the default option be to roll against IQ. Yes, it means these traits are useful for ensuring your smart (high GURPS IQ) character behaves as such, but a trait that allows a character to avoid doing really stupid things or instinctively figure things out to do just that regardless of player or PC intelligence. One of the alternate 3e rules that became the norm for 4e was how certain Disadvantages have a Self Control Number. Instead of rolling against just straight IQ or Will to see whether a character succumbs to a Disadvantage, the roll is instead against the Self Control Number. This means a character can struggle more or less with such a trait instead of (for example) being equally Greedy, Lecherous, etc. It also means a character with a high IQ or Will can still struggle with such a Disadvantage instead of having an easy time resisting it.

It just seems like a good option for many mental traits; has it (or something like it) shown up as an official alternate rule anywhere?
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Old 01-11-2017, 12:33 PM   #8
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#27): Common Sense, Intuition

Im currently playing a PC with intuition and it just doesnt feel right ...

I feel like the premisse was good, but it should have been designed like Precognition, in which the default mode is passive advice the GM would hint you toward with a successful die roll, and a minoritary active use similar to the existing rules.

The act of arguing with people over what is a reasonable question, what I want out of my insight, and etc. is quite tiring. Unless im facing some kind of mystery door choice where the number is clear and finite, im getting huge penalties because the GM assumes there are dozens of ways to answer most questions.

A practical example, we were folling some badguys, and they ended up getting reinforcements that make us attacking them a non-option until the two groups separated. I wanted to use my intuition to help me figure out if building a makeshit boat and going downriver to try to intercept the desired bad guys group alone. We already knew they would split and that it was a possibility. But we didnt knew if they would get more reinforcements, if they would be vulnerable at some point and I wanted my intuition to give me info about that. In the end I was told my idea could work, which I suppose is what the advantage is supposed to do most of the time.

Im being able to use it to answer more yes/no questions, such as "is X lying about Y?" or "is Z really who he says he is?" "Is there something of value for me in N place?", "is X really dead/bad/true?", "Should I keep this?" etc.
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Old 01-11-2017, 01:15 PM   #9
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#27): Common Sense, Intuition

Quote:
Originally Posted by Otaku View Post
Common Sense and Intuition go beyond such things, but this house rule would make them less of a bargain. Actually, even without the house rule, Common Sense seems like it out to be in Perk territory. Unless a player is so clueless or intentionally disruptive as to need such assistance frequently each session, this seems quite in line with Perks. The text on p. B100 states “A Perk can provide a modest bonus (up to +2) to an attribute, skill, or reaction roll in relatively rare circumstances.” Please contemplate Common Sense as a Leveled Perk. Each level would provide a +1 (maybe a +2) bonus to rolls made so that your character does not do something blatantly stupid.
I'm really not seeing that, and the reason is that it gives a bonus to rolls that the player would be making anyway. But in GURPS as I run it, and in RPGs generally, there is no "roll to not be incredibly stupid." That would be equivalent to "roll to cross the street at the crosswalk with the signal and not fall down" or "roll to see the opossum in the silverware drawer you just opened." A nonabusive GM would just say "okay, you crossed the street" or "there's a live opossum in the drawer." And a nonabusive GM wouldn't ask a player to roll to see if their character tried to start a fist fight at the emperor's birthday ball; they just wouldn't assume the character did anything crazy and offensive unless the player insisted on it.
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Old 01-11-2017, 01:28 PM   #10
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#27): Common Sense, Intuition

Quote:
Originally Posted by Otaku View Post
With both Common Sense and Intuition, I also question having the default option be to roll against IQ. ... One of the alternate 3e rules that became the norm for 4e was how certain Disadvantages have a Self Control Number. Instead of rolling against just straight IQ or Will to see whether a character succumbs to a Disadvantage, the roll is instead against the Self Control Number. ...

It just seems like a good option for many mental traits; has it (or something like it) shown up as an official alternate rule anywhere?
I haven't seen it like that. The Frequency of Appearance numbers on B.36 might be usable: base cost if it works on 9-, but that would raise the effective price quite a bit. Alternatively, you could have the base advantage work all the time, but require it to be bought with the Unreliable limitation (B.116).
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