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Old 11-25-2014, 11:42 AM   #1
Otaku
 
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Default [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#20): Chameleon, Silence

Last Week: Catfall, Super Jump
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Chameleon [5/level] (p. B41, p. P43) is a Physical, Exotic trait that allows you to change your surface pattern to blend into your surroundings. Mechanically it provides a +1 bonus to Stealth per level, or +2 if motionless. These bonuses assume nothing like clothing is being worn over the surface affected by Chameleon: the bonus is otherwise reduced to +1 while motionless and nothing at all while moving. The RAW does mention that the GM may allow the bonus in clothing to be retained if the clothing itself is appropriately camouflaged for the situation. The default is that Chameleon is operating with respect to normal human vision, however you can instead have it apply other visual or scanning senses instead of regular sight for no change in cost: for example you may possess Chameleon relative to Infravision or Radar.

Silence [5/level] (p. B85, p. P76) is very similar to Chameleon, but there are several key differences. You get the same +1/level to your Stealth roll or +2 when moving, though this of course only applies when you would be detected through hearing: if you're seen, you're still seen. One of the important differences is that according to RAW, Silence not only functions while wearing clothing, but it even specifically states it works while wearing armor. You are also not duplicating ambient background noise but simply move and breathe silently.

Modifiers
Basic Set p.41 lists one Enhancement and one Modifier for Chameleon. Extended (+20%) allows Chameleon to function on multiple visual or scanning senses, and can be taken more than once; so Chameleon that works against regular vision and Infravision is worth +20% per level, as would one that worked against Radar and Infravision. Chameleon that applied to regular vision, Infravision and Radar would be worth +40%. For Limitations, the Basic Set specifies that for Chameleon "Always On" is worth -10%. In game this gives a -1 reaction penalty as the flickering effect should be considered irritating. While not always relevant, it also means your ability is somewhat obvious; hiding that you possess Chameleon would require hiding (in general), keeping totally covered or coming up with a plausible lie (good luck with that last one).

Powers gives two more Enhancements: Controllable (+20%) and Dynamic (+40%). The former allows you to use your ability not just for camouflage, but for signalling or distracting others, and of course could be used to make yourself aesthetically pleasing or even provide a mild disguise. Dynamic (+40%) allows you to get the full +2/level bonus even while moving. Glamour (varies) from Powers p. 111 allows your Chameleon to work by directly altering the senses of others instead of actually altering yourself. There are also some generic Enhancements that are most valuable, like Can Carry Objects (variable) so that you can affect what you are carrying (including what you are wearing). Dynamic can also be applied to Silence.

1) Have you used either Chameleon or Silence before? Seen (or failed to see) others using it? How did you think it worked?

2) Do you think these traits are priced correctly? Do you think it is possible to merge them into one single trait, and if so would it be worth the effort?

3) Any interesting stories involving the use of either of these traits?

4) Anything you wish to say about these threads in general?

5) Anything else remotely relevant?
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Last edited by Otaku; 11-29-2014 at 09:02 PM.
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Old 11-25-2014, 01:55 PM   #2
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#20): Chameleon, Silence

They're not particularly worth it as-written. At some point, I asked about whether it would be good to rule that they provide a flat penalty to Vision and Hearing, respectively, instead of improving Stealth, and Kromm okayed it.
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Old 11-25-2014, 05:17 PM   #3
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#20): Chameleon, Silence

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Originally Posted by Otaku View Post
1) Have you used either Chameleon or Silence before? Seen (or failed to see) others using it? How did you think it worked?

2) Do you think these traits are priced correctly? Do you think it is possible to merge them into one single trait, and if so would it be worth the effort?
I've got good use out of Silence plus Stealth with Invisibility. Silence makes coping with creaky staircases and the like more plausible, which is arguably worth the 1 point cost over a level of Stealth, for a specialist sneaker.

Obscure (Sound) with Stealthy (+100%) looks like a good Alternative Ability to Silence. It does different things which are sometimes more useful.
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Old 11-25-2014, 06:19 PM   #4
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#20): Chameleon, Silence

I use Silence on halflings, talking mice, and other appropriately sneaky little buggers. I have made chameleonic kobolds before as well, for use as NPC fodder rather than playable characters.
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Old 11-25-2014, 06:24 PM   #5
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#20): Chameleon, Silence

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Originally Posted by Kenneth Latrans View Post
I use Silence on halflings, talking mice, and other appropriately sneaky little buggers. I have made chameleonic kobolds before as well, for use as NPC fodder rather than playable characters.
Small creatures should be quieter. It's not like spiders and insects crawling over crackling leaf litter sound like a human doing so.
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Old 11-25-2014, 08:45 PM   #6
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#20): Chameleon, Silence

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Small creatures should be quieter. It's not like spiders and insects crawling over crackling leaf litter sound like a human doing so.
Isn't that more a function of mass though? I mean I am really asking, but I know some noisy little things, like some of my cats and my nephews. ;)

Otherwise I almost wonder if Size Modifier should play a factor then...
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Old 11-25-2014, 09:29 PM   #7
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#20): Chameleon, Silence

Cats and children are making voluntary noise if not fully intentionally.
SM is main way to categorize mass in gurps.

There are a few advantages to being small (low mass) that aren't included in negative SM.
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Old 11-26-2014, 07:40 AM   #8
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#20): Chameleon, Silence

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Cats and children are making voluntary noise if not fully intentionally.
I was making a joke.

A really obvious joke. I added a semicolon/end-parenthesis pairing, a.k.a. a "winking smiley" in case the context clues weren't there.* Still, I will take advantage of this because I was misapplying Silence in this situation: I was thinking of people walking over noisy things, like stepping on crunchy gravel or the like, where someone light enough won't disturb the terrain enough to make noise (though even then there are exceptions - mice can be surprisingly noisy).

Exactly how much noise are people supposed to make while moving and breathing? Taking a moment to really consider things, is Silence just supposed to reflect the natural noise your body makes with itself? Humans moving aren't really that noisy; breathing either. I mean, if you use absolutely no technique sure, but for example a basic part of training for singing is how to breathe without making the usual amount of noise. I don't know how good of hearing you would need to still detect the sound that is made, but five points for a +1/2 based on that and your body not striking itself, having creaky joints, etc. really does seem rather steep. @_@

*Edit: Well, at least I thought it was obvious.
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Last edited by Otaku; 11-26-2014 at 07:21 PM.
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Old 11-26-2014, 08:39 AM   #9
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#20): Chameleon, Silence

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Exactly how much noise are people supposed to make while moving and breathing?
Apparently Stealth+0 vs. Hearing +0 for a normal walk at 1 yard for moving at about 1yps, Stealth+0 vs. Hearing at -2 or worse at 1 yard for moving real slow/breathing.
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