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Old 11-18-2017, 11:12 AM   #1
johndallman
 
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Default [Basic] Disadvantage of the week: Bad Smell and No Sense of Taste/Smell

Bad Smell and No Sense of Smell/Taste are both mundane physical disadvantages. Bad Smell first appeared in Blood Types for 3e as far as I can discover, and No Sense of Smell/Taste is from 1e.

Bad Smell [-10] means you smell really bad, in some specific way, giving -2 to reactions, following the usual [-5] for -1 to reactions pattern. You can mask your specific smell with vast quantities of perfume, or maybe http://blogs.sciencemag.org/pipeline/archives/2009/06/11/things_i_wont_work_with_thioacetone]powerful chemicals[/url], but you'll normally still get the -2 reactions from having such a strong smell. Of course, some creatures, such as flies, corpse beetles or really strange aliens may find your smell interesting, which is usually when the GM's smile starts to get bigger.

No Sense of Smell/Taste [-5] is a real, if rare, condition, and means you completely lack these senses. You miss out on some nice things, and can't detect some common hazards, but you aren't affected by smells, and are happy with low-quality food, although an investment in Reduced Consumption (Cast Iron Stomach) might be wise.

Bad Smell is very common on templates for corporeal undead and alchemists. No Sense of Taste/Smell ("NSoTS") is standard for golems and contemporary (or older) robots, and common for undead. Discworld gnolls and goblins have it on their templates, and it's an option for beggars, dark lords, and peasants. After the End has Odious Personal Habit (Smelly) [-5] as a lesser case of Bad Smell, and Bio-Tech has Taboo Traits that forbid both these disadvantages, biovehicles with Bad Smell, designer plagues that cause it, pheromone weapons that only affect those with a sense of smell, and nanotech zombies. DF demonologists and necromancers can have Bad Smell, and necromancers get the option of NSoTS, which might make the job easier for those not truly cut out for it.High-Tech makes it clear that gas masks, and all forms of "canned air" breathing apparatus give NSoTS, while I reckon pumped-air diving suits just move your sense of smell to the pump. Horror has plenty of monsters with Bad Smell, and inhuman things with NSoTS; Magic lets you become one via Body of Slime. Martial Arts has nose injuries and halitosis attack, Power-Ups 6 has quirk-level versions of these disadvantages and Enhanced Senses has super-senses and synaesthesia.

Psi-Tech has brains-in-a-jar, and Psionic Powers direct attacks on the senses. Reign of Steel robots tend to have NSoTS, or Discriminatory Smell; human-level smelling is clearly obsolete. Social Engineering points out that Bad Smell should not affect skill rolls, except for Sex Appeal, and Space that different species may have Bad Smell. Ultra-Tech has high-powered scent-marking weapons, which are redundant on most Zombies.

I've never used either of these disadvantages on a PC of my own. My Infinite Cabal campaign includes a character who is undead, and spent a lot of effort on getting a magical device made that would restore his senses of taste and smell. The people who built it asked some odd questions ("Did you know you're a master work of higher necromancy?") but were able to give him Acute Taste and Smell +4, while he wears it. He's since concluded that those senses were much of what he missed about being alive, and has bought off his desire to return to life. The prospect of losing some of his cool powers may have had something to do with it, too.

What entertainment have these disadvantages provided for you?
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Old 11-18-2017, 11:20 AM   #2
whswhs
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Disadvantage of the week: Bad Smell and No Sense of Taste/Smell

In my current fantasy campaign, the ghoul race in general have a distinctive musky smell. But one of the players decided that her character—a tanner, taxidermist, and necromancer—had out and out Bad Smell. This went along with player her character as a bit pushy and obnoxious.
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Old 11-18-2017, 11:53 AM   #3
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Default Re: [Basic] Disadvantage of the week: Bad Smell and No Sense of Taste/Smell

I've never used Bad Smell on a character (PC or NPC).

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Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
Bio-Tech has […] pheromone weapons that only affect those with a sense of smell
One of the first GURPS rules exploits I came across – and this would have been in the fairly early days, mid 1980s – was the vampire with anosmia who couldn't detect, and therefore couldn't be repelled by, garlic. (Whether it was actually valid by the rules in those days, I have no idea.)

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I reckon pumped-air diving suits just move your sense of smell to the pump
In my limited experience, the smell of the pump (whatever was used to lubricate the cylinders - you put the engine exhaust downwind of the air intake if you're not entirely stupid) generally predominates.
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Old 11-18-2017, 12:14 PM   #4
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Default Re: [Basic] Disadvantage of the week: Bad Smell and No Sense of Taste/Smell

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Originally Posted by RogerBW View Post
I've never used Bad Smell on a character (PC or NPC).



One of the first GURPS rules exploits I came across – and this would have been in the fairly early days, mid 1980s – was the vampire with anosmia who couldn't detect, and therefore couldn't be repelled by, garlic. (Whether it was actually valid by the rules in those days, I have no idea.)
What isn't valid is giving the vampire in question points for repelled by garlic if it isn't. When a given individual lacks a standard disad for their template they need to buy that as an advantage named something like "No Sense of Duty to Nature"
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Old 11-18-2017, 03:24 PM   #5
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Default Re: [Basic] Disadvantage of the week: Bad Smell and No Sense of Taste/Smell

I knew someone that pretty much had no sense of smell. He couldn't notice horrifically rotten food, but was morbidly obese. He could taste and made meals based only on that and texture. Very odd combination meals.
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Old 11-18-2017, 07:38 PM   #6
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Default Re: [Basic] Disadvantage of the week: Bad Smell and No Sense of Taste/Smell

I have quirk level anosmia. I definitely am not as sensitive to "normal" bitterness or sourness as I should be but I can taste it - many dangerously bitter things have the equivalent of a +4 or more to detect, so my penalty doesn't make it too hard... I'm not convinced I taste some other flavors correctly either. My spice blends border on inedible for other people.

Because of the insensitivity, I ate more than a few different poisonous plants as a kid (I had pika); I now definitely know what some of the alkaloid plant poisons tastes like, but I think that's a One Task Wonder perk for Perception-based-Poisons rolls to detect and roughly ID them ("poisonous plant") by taste. But with my usual Quirk Anosmia penalty, whatever that is.

I've played a character with notoriously Bad Smell. My infamous minotaur Mrugnak was originally a D&D character with abysmal CHA; I decided he had serious hygiene issues, and had only ever bathed by accident. He had swam slime, grease, dust, monster blood and gunk, food, mold, and general crud matted into his fur, to the point where people thought he was black-furred... but he was actually rowan. He was gross, and made it to GURPS with Bad Smell, OPH: Never washes, and Hamfisted (he wasn't good at keeping his food off himself either).

One night he was in the tavern after an adventure and was so tired he fell asleep snout-first in his stew. The sight of the dissolving oil-slick of filth floating on the stew while Mrugnak's snores blew snotty bubbles in it made the wizard snap, and Mrugnak got forcibly bathed, with magic.
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Old 11-18-2017, 08:02 PM   #7
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Default Re: [Basic] Disadvantage of the week: Bad Smell and No Sense of Taste/Smell

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I've played a character with notoriously Bad Smell. My infamous minotaur Mrugnak was originally a D&D character with abysmal CHA; I decided he had serious hygiene issues, and had only ever bathed by accident. He had swam slime, grease, dust, monster blood and gunk, food, mold, and general crud matted into his fur, to the point where people thought he was black-furred... but he was actually rowan. He was gross, and made it to GURPS with Bad Smell, OPH: Never washes, and Hamfisted (he wasn't good at keeping his food off himself either).
The ghoul character in Tapestry has the perk Musk, which gives her +1 to Sex Appeal when she's in the mood, but also Odious Personal Habit (Body odor) [-5]. So they balance out, at those particular times.
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Old 11-18-2017, 08:07 PM   #8
sir_pudding
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Default Re: [Basic] Disadvantage of the week: Bad Smell and No Sense of Taste/Smell

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Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
The ghoul character in Tapestry has the perk Musk, which gives her +1 to Sex Appeal when she's in the mood, but also Odious Personal Habit (Body odor) [-5]. So they balance out, at those particular times.
What's the difference between Odious Personal Habit and Bad Smell in this case? She has both?
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Old 11-18-2017, 08:15 PM   #9
Flyndaran
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Default Re: [Basic] Disadvantage of the week: Bad Smell and No Sense of Taste/Smell

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Originally Posted by Bruno View Post
I have quirk level anosmia. I definitely am not as sensitive to "normal" bitterness or sourness as I should be but I can taste it - many dangerously bitter things have the equivalent of a +4 or more to detect, so my penalty doesn't make it too hard... I'm not convinced I taste some other flavors correctly either. My spice blends border on inedible for other people.
...
Taste and smell are incredibly species and individual dependent.
Even when I could track my pets by scent alone, I could not smell milk rotten enough to be chunky. It has no detectable odor other than a very very faint sweaty odor to me. Good thing I didn't like milk.
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Old 11-18-2017, 08:43 PM   #10
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Default Re: [Basic] Disadvantage of the week: Bad Smell and No Sense of Taste/Smell

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Originally Posted by sir_pudding View Post
What's the difference between Odious Personal Habit and Bad Smell in this case? She has both?
Bad Smell is -2, which is really, really stinky. And it seems to be an inherent trait; the rules say it can't be removed. Her OPH is that she doesn't have the habit of bathing and her clothes get saturated with her odors; but it's only at -1, so not as extreme a reaction, and it could, in principle, be removed by the other PCs forcibly scrubbing her.
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