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Old 05-09-2021, 04:30 PM   #20
Christopher R. Rice
 
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Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Portsmouth, VA, USA
Default Re: [MH] Inhuman Templates: Yōkai

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sorenant View Post
Thanks for the clarification, I'll see if I can find Kromm's post about Parabolic Hearing.
It's not on the forums because it was a question I asked over email! Here's the exchange:

Quote:
> One of my players pointed out that mechanically these basically do the
> same thing when using the hearing chart. What am I missing?
> What's the difference between Acute Hearing and Parabolic Hearing
> mechanically speaking?

Parabolic Hearing has an effect that's *mentioned* but not *quantified* in the BASIC SET: "filter out background noise." The "Hearing" rules on p. B358 do note, "The GM may make this roll easier or harder, depending
on . . . surrounding noises," but that's extremely vague.

Fortunately, GURPS HIGH-TECH, p. 158 rates the penalty for this: -5 to -10. I wouldn't wipe out the *entire* background noise penalty for any level of Parabolic Hearing (that would front-load Parabolic Hearing 1 to a silly degree), but I'd ignore -2 per level of Parabolic Hearing.
Examples:

Acute Hearing 2 [4]: +2 to Hearing rolls, background noise as
usual. So without background noise, the roll would be Per+2, while
with moderate background noise (e.g., street sounds or a TV in the
room) inflicting -5, the roll would be Per-3.

Parabolic Hearing 1 [4]: *Effective* +1 to Hearing rolls,
background noise gives -2 less. So without background noise, the
roll would be Per+1, while with moderate background noise
inflicting -5, the roll would be Per-2.

Acute Hearing 6 [12]: +6 to Hearing rolls, background noise as
usual. So without background noise, the roll would be Per+6, while
with brutal background noise (e.g., rock concert or battlefield)
inflicting -10, the roll would be Per-4.

Parabolic Hearing 3 [12]: *Effective* +3 to Hearing rolls,
background noise gives -6 less. So without background noise, the
roll would be Per+3, while with brutal background noise inflicting
-10, the roll would be Per-1.

In effect, for the same points you can have +2N to all Hearing, or +N to Hearing in calm conditions but +3N to Hearing in noisy ones.

Which is better? Depends on what you want to do.

There's a reason why PIs use parabolic mics and not regular mics with amplifiers, and why WWII sound detectors used big parabolic horns, not standard mics with tube amps: You can ignore a lot of interference. Get Parabolic Hearing if you plan to spy on people at the opera or in the street, or hope to notice sneaky enemies on battlefields.

But if what you want to do is, say, open safes by ear or eavesdrop on whispered conversations in silent settings, Acute Hearing is better.
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