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Old 02-13-2015, 04:15 PM   #141
whswhs
 
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Default Re: GURPS Powers: Enhanced Senses

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Originally Posted by Flyndaran View Post
That last bit is subsumed into the many eyes zero point feature. If having four eyes with all forms of vision doesn't give/cost points, then splitting your vision types among them shouldn't either. Right?
As long as we're talking about eyes, no. But a snake's pits don't count as eyes, neither commonsensically, nor in terms of the rules for Thermal Infravision. The tradeoff for not being able to resolve shapes such as text at all is not being vulnerable at all to attacks that disable the eyes.

It seems to me, but this is only personal opinion, that heated body sense like a snake's is subjectively more a form of touch than of vision, similar to feeling the heat of a fire on your face. But when I hold something in my hand, my brain certainly integrates the tactile data from my skin with the visual data from my eyes, but I don't experience myself as seeing the texture of my cat's fur or the solidity of a book or the wetness of water. I don't think it quite makes sense to think of the brain as being wired that way.

But on the other hand, if we treat Near Infrared Vision as having the same cost as Infravision, it may make sense to treat Realistic Hyperspectral Vision as having the same cost as Hyperspectral Vision. You lose the ability to see human beings in total darkness by their body heat, and you gain the ability to read without a penalty when you're relying on the part of "IR" that you can see; otherwise everything works just like Hyperspectral Vision. If you also want Thermal Infrared Vision, you pay a separate 10 points.
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Old 02-13-2015, 04:44 PM   #142
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Default Re: GURPS Powers: Enhanced Senses

Biologically, hearing is specialized touch. If the effects of a sense equate to vision, then for game purposes, I'll likely call the organs eyes. Albeit low rez. eyes with some form of limitation to Infravision.
Unless you think it shouldn't be as sensitive to overload as eyes. Would a hot flare not temporarily "blind" a vampire bat?

How different creatures integrate sensory information is rather philosophical. Heck with more known variants discovered for cone receptor genes subtly changing the exact shape of the color sensitivity curves, we humans almost certainly don't see color the same way as each other.
I mean the ones that don't equate to easily determined color blindness. But those that shift the optimum sensitivity by only 5 or 10 nanometers.

For example, humans blur smell and taste together even though that isn't required biologically. Mice have been discovered to blur smell and sound into a kind of "smound" sense.
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Old 02-14-2015, 09:56 AM   #143
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Default Re: GURPS Powers: Enhanced Senses

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Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
As long as we're talking about eyes, no. But a snake's pits don't count as eyes, neither commonsensically, nor in terms of the rules for Thermal Infravision. The tradeoff for not being able to resolve shapes such as text at all is not being vulnerable at all to attacks that disable the eyes.

It seems to me, but this is only personal opinion, that heated body sense like a snake's is subjectively more a form of touch than of vision, similar to feeling the heat of a fire on your face. But when I hold something in my hand, my brain certainly integrates the tactile data from my skin with the visual data from my eyes, but I don't experience myself as seeing the texture of my cat's fur or the solidity of a book or the wetness of water. I don't think it quite makes sense to think of the brain as being wired that way.

But on the other hand, if we treat Near Infrared Vision as having the same cost as Infravision, it may make sense to treat Realistic Hyperspectral Vision as having the same cost as Hyperspectral Vision. You lose the ability to see human beings in total darkness by their body heat, and you gain the ability to read without a penalty when you're relying on the part of "IR" that you can see; otherwise everything works just like Hyperspectral Vision. If you also want Thermal Infrared Vision, you pay a separate 10 points.
Well, I suppose a case could be made for Thermal IR Vision to be ranged heat-based touch, much like Vibration Sense (Air) is ranged motion/pressure-based touch. On the other hand, since humans are sight-oriented animals, I assume the brain of a bioroid with these senses (or sonar for that matter) would tend to interpret their input in terms of a quasi-visual map of the environment, unless specifically genegineered to do it differently or it lacks normal vision from birth.

No doubt the Enhanced Senses split of IR Vision in Near IR and Thermal IR, although useful and scientifically realistic, creates a rule dissonance with the old Basic Set: Characters version of Hyperspectral Vision if the advantage is to be used in a Bio-Tech context. Well, it's not like the game lacks other rules that would be in dire need of an official revision (just think of the bloated monstrosity 40-pts. Regrowth is, four times its actual value). However, I assume an updated, biologically-realistic version of HV may be easily built using ES abilities as building blocks:

Realistic Hyperspectral Vision (27 pts): Near Infrared Vision (Biological (Passive), -5%) [10] + Night Vision 6 (Biological (Passive), -5%) [6] + Ultravision (Biological (Passive), -5%) [10] + Tetrachromatism [1].

A couple pts more expensive than the old version, but it essentially gives the same benefits with a couple added perks. It grants + 4 to Vision rolls (a most welcome aligning of HV to the other Discriminatory senses) in outdoors or under fluorescent light, +2 otherwise, plus another + 1 to sense rolls when fine color discrimination is an issue. It removes up to -10 of darkness/obscurement penalties in outdoors or under flourescent lights, -8 otherwise, but you are still unable to see in total darkness.

Blindness in complete darkness is the main limitation of RHV in comparison with the old version. To remedy that, buy Thermal Sense, Sensory Hairs, and/or Hunting Sonar (Air) as well, as separate abilities that would not be liable to eye impairment.

By the way, I understand the ES book could not include every conceivable ability, but a blatant omission that does not save much space is Super-Balance for Biological (Passive) abilities. Various animal species, including cats, squirrels, and arboreal monkeys, definitely have it.

Last edited by Irioth; 02-14-2015 at 10:05 AM.
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Old 02-14-2015, 10:05 AM   #144
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Default Re: GURPS Powers: Enhanced Senses

BTW, what's up with the [0] version of Thermal IR? I mean, if you're blind in the normal spectrum, you're not reliant on eyes. What's the point of having it not based on having eyes?
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Old 02-14-2015, 10:38 AM   #145
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Default Re: GURPS Powers: Enhanced Senses

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Realistic Hyperspectral Vision (27 pts): Near Infrared Vision (Biological (Passive), -5%) [10] + Night Vision 6 (Biological (Passive), -5%) [6] + Ultravision (Biological (Passive), -5%) [10] + Tetrachromatism [1].

A couple pts more expensive than the old version, but it essentially gives the same benefits with a couple added perks. It grants + 4 to Vision rolls (a most welcome aligning of HV to the other Discriminatory senses) in outdoors or under fluorescent light, +2 otherwise, plus another + 1 to sense rolls when fine color discrimination is an issue. It removes up to -10 of darkness/obscurement penalties in outdoors or under flourescent lights, -8 otherwise, but you are still unable to see in total darkness.
In the first place, I don't think you need to include Tetrachromatism as a separate trait; I would view it as subsumed under NIR Vision and also under Ultravision. In fact having both might conceivably make you pentachromatic.

In the second place, it does not seem that RAW Hyperspectral Vision has a cost figured as including Night Vision 9. Infravision + Ultravision + Night Vision 9 would cost 29 points, but Hyperspectral Vision is only 25 points. I think that what you are getting is 10 points for Infravision, 10 points for Ultravision, and 5 points for (a) the near-perfect night vision that is a side effect of the two and (b) the extra +1 to visual resolution for having both infrared and ultraviolet color bands.

I would prefer not to have more than a +3 bonus to visual recognition; if RAW Hyperspectral Vision gives +3, I think "biologically realistic" Hyperspectral Vision should not be superior to it.
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Old 02-14-2015, 11:10 AM   #146
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Default Re: GURPS Powers: Enhanced Senses

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BTW, what's up with the [0] version of Thermal IR? I mean, if you're blind in the normal spectrum, you're not reliant on eyes. What's the point of having it not based on having eyes?
The natural way to represent NIR + vision is as having the same set of eyes, but adding an extra pigment that responds to longer wavelengths, and perhaps substituting a different lens material. (In fact there are people who are proposing to attempt this with their own eyesnot a project I'd consider signing up for!)

The natural way to represent NIR alone is as having eyes, but with pigments that respond to NIR wavelengths, and none that respond to visible wavelengths. Effectively you still have the same sense, just moved down the spectrum a bit.

But the natural way to represent Thermal Infrared + vision is as having normal eyes, plus a pair of pits like a rattlesnake's. The pits respond not to chemical bond changes but to heating of the tissues; they can't discriminate wavelengths (in fact there's evidence that pit vipers may be able to sense microwaves!); they can't use biological materials as lenses, and in fact they don't have lenses; and in any case they work at wavelengths that admit only much poorer resolution. Given these differences, it makes design sense to have two distinct sets of organs, and in fact the evolution of animals that sense thermal IR has converged to that design.

So if you lack normal vision, but have Thermal IR, it doesn't make sense to say you've just shifted your eyes down the spectrum a bit, or repurposed them. You have an entirely different set of organs.

By implication, if you have Thermal IR but no eyes, I'd call that Blindness + Thermal IR, and allow its treatment as a net limitation, because what you can do with it is so much more restricted.
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Old 02-14-2015, 11:15 AM   #147
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Default Re: GURPS Powers: Enhanced Senses

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By the way, I understand the ES book could not include every conceivable ability, but a blatant omission that does not save much space is Super-Balance for Biological (Passive) abilities. Various animal species, including cats, squirrels, and arboreal monkeys, definitely have it.
From the reading I did, it wasn't clear to me that that was the case; that is, that the human sense of balance is inferior to that of, say, cats as a sense. After all, human beings spend their entire lives balancing on two limbs! We take that for granted as obvious and trivial, in the same way that we take having high visual resolution for granted; but not many mammals can do it. So I didn't feel I could justify including it as "biologically realistic."

If you feel otherwise, of course, or if you have research information to show that a chimpanzee's or a cat's semicircular canals are better than a human's, it's pretty trivial to define the ability.
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Old 02-14-2015, 11:55 AM   #148
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Default Re: GURPS Powers: Enhanced Senses

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In the first place, I don't think you need to include Tetrachromatism as a separate trait; I would view it as subsumed under NIR Vision and also under Ultravision. In fact having both might conceivably make you pentachromatic.
It would seem the benefits of NIR and UV on one side and of Tetrachromatism on the other side may be separate and stackable if the former come from expanding the visible spectrum at its two extremes, while the latter provides finer color discrimination within the normal visible spectrum. Technically speaking, it would be one color channel for NIR, one color channel for UV, and one color channel between red and green (or between green and blue, or both).

You don't need to assume Tetrachromatism is always going to be geared up the way of birds, with the extra color channel at one end of the human visible spectrum. There are a few data that suggest a few individuals have a mutation for four functional cone types, providing increased color discrimination, with the extra cone falling between red and green. Amusingly, for genetic reasons these persons would most often be women, which would give a scientific basis to the stereotype women perceive colors men don't. It seems plausible that a esachromat (NIR + UV + red-extra-green) person would have even finer color discrimination than a pentachromat (NIR + UV) one.

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In the second place, it does not seem that RAW Hyperspectral Vision has a cost figured as including Night Vision 9. Infravision + Ultravision + Night Vision 9 would cost 29 points, but Hyperspectral Vision is only 25 points. I think that what you are getting is 10 points for Infravision, 10 points for Ultravision, and 5 points for (a) the near-perfect night vision that is a side effect of the two and (b) the extra +1 to visual resolution for having both infrared and ultraviolet color bands.

I would prefer not to have more than a +3 bonus to visual recognition; if RAW Hyperspectral Vision gives +3, I think "biologically realistic" Hyperspectral Vision should not be superior to it.
<Shrug> RAW is not perfect and we should not be forever shackled to it, the price of Regrowth stands as eloquent proof of that. For RAW Hyperspectral Vision to give +3 to relevant sense rolls when Discriminatory Hearing/Smell provide +4 always was a flaw in need of correction; moreover the new book's split of IR in Near IR and Thermal IR makes perfect sense and RAW HV should be revised in light of it. The sum of NIR and UV grants + 4 and there is no plusible reason why they should not stack since they come from different color channels at opposite ends of the normal visible spectrum.

Moreover, while we can agree eye-based HV cannot have Thermal IR and hence no heat-based vision in total darkness, RAW UV still allows near-perfect night vision for anything short of complete darkness and the new version should still do the same if at all feasible. The darkness benefits of combined NIR and UV only amount to -4 penalties in the best of circumstances. Hence to make up the difference, we may fold the 6-point version of Night Sight in the Realistic version of HV, which is biologically realistic (unlike the 9-point version, I never mentioned or meant to use it) and is stackable with the effects of NIR and UV since they come from different eye enhancements (additional color channels vs. adjustments to rods, pupil, size, and addition of tapetum lucidum). The combo would remove vision penalties for anything short of complete darkness (-6 for 6-pts Night Vision, -2 for NIR, -2 for UV).

It would cost 26 pts (10 for Infrared Sight + 6 for Night Sight lvl. 2 + 10 for Ultraviolet Sight) if you don't add the middle-spectrum version of Tetrachromatism (but it would be easily justifiable given the biological similarities with NIR and UV), 27 if you do. I would not insist too much on the latter, so the former may be the post-RAW default for the biological version of the ability. The extra point would pay up for the + 4 to Vision rolls (totally appropriate and called for to balance the benefits of improved-discrimination enhancements for different senses) while the vision benefits of NIR-based Realistic HV and of TIR-based RAW HV would balance out. Neat, biologically plausible, and close to the old version in benefits and cost.

Blindness in total darkness would remain the biologically-realistic main limitation of eye-based RHV. To remedy that, different, additional sense abilities may be bought such as Thermal Sense, Sensory Hairs, or Sonar. This would mimic the way many predatory animals have separate sense enhancements with complementary effects (e.g. vampire bats have good hearing, good smell, sonar, and heat pits, cats have good night vision, good hearing, good smell, and whiskers).

Last edited by Irioth; 02-14-2015 at 12:20 PM.
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Old 02-14-2015, 12:48 PM   #149
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Default Re: GURPS Powers: Enhanced Senses

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<Shrug> RAW is not perfect and we should not be forever shackled to it, the price of Regrowth stands as eloquent proof of that. For RAW Hyperspectral Vision to give +3 to relevant sense rolls when Discriminatory Hearing/Smell provide +4 always was a flaw in need of correction; moreover the new book's split of IR in Near IR and Thermal IR makes perfect sense and RAW HV should be revised in light of it. The sum of NIR and UV grants + 4 and there is no plusible reason why they should not stack since they come from different color channels at opposite ends of the normal visible spectrum.

Moreover, while we can agree eye-based HV cannot have Thermal IR and hence no heat-based vision in total darkness, RAW UV still allows near-perfect night vision for anything short of complete darkness and the new version should still do the same if at all feasible. The darkness benefits of combined NIR and UV only amount to -4 penalties in the best of circumstances. Hence to make up the difference, we may fold the 6-point version of Night Sight in the Realistic version of HV, which is biologically realistic (unlike the 9-point version, I never mentioned or meant to use it) and is stackable with the effects of NIR and UV since they come from different eye enhancements (additional color channels vs. adjustments to rods, pupil, size, and addition of tapetum lucidum). The combo would remove vision penalties for anything short of complete darkness (-6 for 6-pts Night Vision, -2 for NIR, -2 for UV).
* You can remove the vision penalties with just Night Vision 5, actually.

* I don't consider Hyperspectral Vision to be a proper equivalent to Discriminatory Hearing or Smell or Sensitive Touch. The equivalent of all of those is normal human vision, vision without Bad Sight (and conversely, vision with Bad Sight (Low Resolution) is the equivalent of normal hearing). Hyperspectral Vision as defined in GURPS is an extension of the frequency range, as if hearing were extended both to subsonics and to ultrasonics (or even extreme ultrasonics). One is a matter of the ability to differentiate between objects by noticing fine details; the other is an expansion of the physical range of identifiable stimuli, which has some similar benefits as a side effect. I'm actually more bothered by the lack of closer parallelism between Discriminatory and Analyzing, which seem to me to be the same basic kind of improvement, except that one is used as the name of primary sensory abilities and the other as an enhancement to sensory powers.

* It bothers me conceptually to say that Hyperspectral Vision extending from millimeter waves to vacuum UV gives +3, but biologically realistic Hyperspectral Vision extending only from NIR to near UV gives +4. On the other hand, if we limit the latter to +3, you're going to have a hard sell on getting people to take it if it's costlier than unrealistic Hyperspectral Vision!

* Underlying all of this, I think, is that part of the goal for any supplement of this type is to "save the appearances" as far as possible. That is, I can say, "Here's a biologically realistic version of Infravision, here's what it does, and here's what it costs," but I try to avoid either saying that the Basic Set RAW version is wrong or giving the realistic version radically different abilities (as would happen if I designed it de novo). I'm willing to change small details, as for example in GURPS Social Engineering I added one skill to the list of those impaired by Disturbing Voice, on the basis that it was helped by Voice; but I get increasingly hesitant to tell established GURPS players, "Hey, the Infravision you have on your character sheet was never valid and you should take this other version." Making established characters obsolete will make some players unhappy. Of course in your own campaign you're free to do exactly that and negotiate any complaints with your players!
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Old 02-14-2015, 01:12 PM   #150
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Default Re: GURPS Powers: Enhanced Senses

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From the reading I did, it wasn't clear to me that that was the case; that is, that the human sense of balance is inferior to that of, say, cats as a sense. After all, human beings spend their entire lives balancing on two limbs! We take that for granted as obvious and trivial, in the same way that we take having high visual resolution for granted; but not many mammals can do it. So I didn't feel I could justify including it as "biologically realistic."

If you feel otherwise, of course, or if you have research information to show that a chimpanzee's or a cat's semicircular canals are better than a human's, it's pretty trivial to define the ability.
In other words, you assume humans and cats/squirrels/monkeys have the same overall degree of sense of balance, but they specialize it for different tasks (bipedal locomotion vs. arboreal quadrupedal locomotion) and evolution already hit the optimization ceiling for sense of balance and genetic engineering cannot realistically improve on that. I'm not convinced on either point. Although human equilibrioception is indeed very good, the overall sense of balance of certain animals (e.g. cats) still seems superior. A few primates (e.g. gibbons) use bipedal walking as a secondary locomotion mode, yet their excellent brachiation suggests they have a better sense of balance than humans.
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