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Old 03-08-2017, 09:57 PM   #1
Otaku
 
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Default [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#35): Detect

Last Week: Destiny
Next Week: Digital Mind

Quite late, but here we go!

Basic
Today we look at Detect (p. B48), an Exotic trait which can be either mental or physical, depending upon the specifics. As the name implies, Detect allows you to detect a condition or substance, even one shielded from the basic human sense of hearing, smell, taste, touch, and vision. The base cost varies depending on the rarity of that which you detect. Something "Rare" like gold costs 5 CP, something "Occasional" like precious metals costs 10, something Common like metal costs 20, while something Very Common like all minerals costs 30. Besides detecting, Detect also allows you to analyze what it is you detect, or justify purchasing a related traits: the text gives the example of Detect (Magnetic Fields) used to explain having Absolute Direction.

To use the detection part of Detect requires one second of concentration, after which a Sense roll is made (secretly, by the GM) to determine what you can detect. Range modifiers from the Size and Speed/Range table apply. On a failure, the GM will tell you that you sense nothing, while on a successful roll means the GM informs you of the direction to the nearest significant source of the substance or condition, as well as an idea of the quantity. If the GM permits, you may by a version of the Acute Senses trait for your version of Detect, costing 2 CP for each +1 bonus. This effectively will increase your range, as it can cancel out some of the distance penalty.

The unmodified version of Detect also includes the capacity to analyze the substance or condition you can detect. Make an IQ roll to do so; the GM provides more detailed information the better you roll, with a critical success providing the best information. The example from the text uses Detect (Metal): a regular success tells whether you are sensing gold or iron, with a critical success detailing the form and precise purity for gold.

There are two Special Enhancements and one Special Limitation listed on p. B48 for Detect. "Precise" is worth +100% and causes you to learn the distance to whatever you detect if the initial Sense roll was a success. "Signal Detection" is worth 0%, and meant for Detect when it works on some sort of active transmissions such as laser, radar, or radio. Instead of using the range penalties, you simply must be within twice the signals own range. In the case of directional signals, you also must be in its path. "Vague" is worth -50% and mutually exclusive with Precise; Vague Detection informs you of the absence or presence of the condition or substance. A critical success will net you the direction and quantity (instead of a regular success), and you cannot analyze what you detect.

Other Supplements

Besides the usual suggestions for when it can be appropriate for a power or focus to include Detect, it provides some useful ways of classifying different forms of Detection (p. P47), plus a new specific Enhancement, in addition to some more general ones which may apply to it and other traits. You'll find some sample powers that include Detect, as well as worked examples of abilities built using Detect, and rules for how Detect can interact with other traits, including working in conjunction with certain skills. Detect is very briefly mentioned for some of the alternate rules with Talents in Power-Ups 3: Talents. To my surprise, Detect pops up twice in Social Engineering, with some specialized trait/Detect and skill/Detect interactions.

Useful Links

Please suggest useful links for me to review and post; as you can tell by the fact this thread is being started with the week that is more than half over, I am running very short on time for this.

Discussion Starters

Have you ever taken Detect for one of your PCs, or (if the GM) an NPC? Worked with another character that had it? This is the kind of trait you may have encountered as the Gadget another character was using. In all these cases, how well did it work? Did it seem like a bargain, a bad buy, or pretty fair? Any sticky ruling situations?
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Last edited by Otaku; 03-15-2017 at 11:01 PM.
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Old 03-09-2017, 12:51 AM   #2
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#35): Detect

Detect is used a LOT in making sorcery spells and many additional powers for other spell-like systems(divine favor, Chinese elemental powers, psions).

The hardest part for me has been pricing what base cost to give for different detects. The actual detect mechanics seem to work fairly well, specially when used with range modifiers.
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Old 03-09-2017, 01:49 AM   #3
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#35): Detect

In the occult investigative game, I've got very good use out of this Detect build. It's a bit complicated, but effective:

Detect (Magic, Occasional), Magical, -10%; Low Magical Signature (-10) +25% [12]
plus
Detect (Magic, Occasional), Magical, -10%; Low Magical Signature (-10) +25%; Long-Range, +50%; Only in Unpopulated Areas, -50%; Alternative Ability *1/5 [3]

Low Magical Signature is based on Low Psychic Signature from Psionic Powers, and gives -2 to rolls to detect the effect per +5% cost; paying for -10 to detection makes it undetectable.

Only in Unpopulated Areas is based on the idea that people create a little magical "fuzz", so you can't do long-range magic detection if there are lots of people around.
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Old 03-09-2017, 08:08 AM   #4
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#35): Detect

Used in Sorcery spells only
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Old 03-09-2017, 09:13 AM   #5
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#35): Detect

Detect is one of the most workhorse advantages, and I'm fond of using it.

reflexive is necessary for a sense that is always on, and I find that somewhere around half of all detect builds I use are reflexive.

Lost in Dreams has detect as one of its campaign advantages, and as one of the most distinct campaign advantages.
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Old 03-09-2017, 05:35 PM   #6
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#35): Detect

It's worth mentioning that Detect gives you a chance to see all the relevant things (based on PER checks), not the single closest relevant thing like that old D&D spell did. IE, it works like all your normal senses do - you don't see the single closest thing to your face, you don't hear that one single thing nearest you, etc.
That's a point of confusion that comes up on the forum regularly.
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Old 03-09-2017, 06:27 PM   #7
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#35): Detect

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruno View Post
It's worth mentioning that Detect gives you a chance to see all the relevant things (based on PER checks), not the single closest relevant thing like that old D&D spell did. IE, it works like all your normal senses do - you don't see the single closest thing to your face, you don't hear that one single thing nearest you, etc.
That's a point of confusion that comes up on the forum regularly.
The wording of Detect explicitly says that you locate the nearest, which is where that interpretation comes from.
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Old 03-09-2017, 06:56 PM   #8
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#35): Detect

Quote:
Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
The wording of Detect explicitly says that you locate the nearest, which is where that interpretation comes from.
It's one of Kromm's houserules, let me pull a quote out of my magic hat:
http://forums.sjgames.com/showpost.p...5&postcount=20

"That is correct. Honestly, would you pay 30 points for Detect (All Life) so that you can confirm that you have skin bacteria? Even with an "exclude known sources" clause, a jerk GM could have you detecting a mosquito on your helmet, a worm 10 cm from your boot, etc. I think the interpretation I gave is a lot fairer to players."
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Old 03-09-2017, 07:06 PM   #9
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#35): Detect

Quote:
Originally Posted by Expy View Post
It's one of Kromm's houserules, let me pull a quote out of my magic hat
Well, I agree that the rule as stated is not very useful and provides a handy way to make an ability worthless.

My own assumption was twofold:

If you just have Detect, you get a single point: "Yes, there's metal somewhere around here" or "Yes, there's metal and there it is." You can of course exclude metal you know about, and it's fair for the GM to assume you do that, without making you say, "Except my armor, and my sword, and the coins in my wallet, and the nails in my boots. . . ." every single time, which would be the GM being a jerk. You could also assume that what it goes for is mass above a certain limit, so that Detect Life doesn't get you bugs.

If you have Detect with Sense, it operates continuously, and your attention can shift around the way your other senses do.
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Old 03-09-2017, 09:44 PM   #10
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#35): Detect

I always did wonder about how to make that work. Detect at basic level probably would only get you the nearest source, but I never could quite figure out how to get a 'radar screen' type effect.

Walking through a crowd having Detect, Photographic Memory, and Intelligence Analysis really annoys the hidden supernatural types.
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