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Old 08-26-2021, 04:18 PM   #1
Plane
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Default non-supernatural mega-scientist Precognition ? ie Velma Dinkley

B77 defines this as a supernatural mental advantage, but I'm wondering if we added enough limitations if it might be feasible to include this as a type of non-supernatural one just available to very intelligent/observant/imaginative folk.

In this case it wouldn't be able to predict entirely surprising things (ie an alien spacecraft you weren't aware of crashes to earth at that exact moment) but instead reveals what will happen so long as you are 100% aware of all contributing factors to that thing which will happen.

I was wondering about this when I saw what Velma did in the latest Scooby-Doo film (The Sword and the Scoob)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q9mLmwB1Xnc
In this case it's clearly "seems like magic" level type of predictions because Velma isn't just predicting the reactions of inanimate objects, but also that of people/animals, knowing exactly how they will flinch to trigger the next stage of events:
1) knows man will duck to avoid flag rope, causing his hat to come off
2) knows momentum of falling flag flapping will thrust hat into air
3) knows the hat will fall on the goat's head to spook it
4) knows man will chase after goat, and accidentally hit an archer
5) knows archer will release arrow at perfect angle so it will hit the suit of armor the polisher is polishing
6) knows polisher will turn and glare at archers, knocking his elbow into suit of armor
7) knows suit will fall at angle to domino entire row of suits
8) knows there will be chicken eating snacks next to last suit of armor (albeit she could engineer that by putting feed there)
9) knows spooked chicken will lay egg with such force/direction it will propel thirty feet into the air and land exactly on wood chopper's head
10) knows spooked chopper in surprise will pull axe out of trunk so forcefully he loses grip on it and throws it behind him
11) knows axe has enough force in the proper direction to chop through a pillar in the courtyard
12) knows that the falling pillar will fall exactly on the Black Knight's head
Stuff like this has happened before in the SDverse (though more often I think with Fred's traps) but this is the most dramatic one I can remember seeing.

It really does make her seem like a legit wizard (and we can't really rule that out when you see the ending) even if she doesn't acknowledge it (perhaps is unaware) but I suppose it's possible within the realms of ultraphysics to predict/engineer these kinds of circumstances...

I just wouldn't know how to stat someone capable of this in GURPS terms, wouldn't know what kind of technique(s) to roll for this kind of thing. Precognition in GURPs terms seems more reactive than proactive.

In theory since you can alter the future based on a precog decide on a course, see what happens if that course is followed, and then alter your intended course repeatedly until seeing the future that you desire... but that seems like it would be a very difficult thing to do.

B66 talks about 10 minutes concentration / 2 FP / IQ-8 for intentional uses... the amount of corrections you'd need would require reducing that to 0 FP, probably just 1 second of concentration per use (if it was a free action you could probably still only do it once per second, right?) and Reliable/Talent to offset the penalty (unless you just happen to have IQ 24 or something massive which makes the penalty moot)

That's all just to see the amended future though: what kind of skill rolls would you make for knowing what microadjustments you ought to make to move towards a desired outcome?

Powers 68 talks about how precogs should be "somewhat vague" and never gives "hard facts" except on a critical success, so it might be that something like this isn't really doable unless you're spending Bonus Character Points to upgrade to a series of critical passes?

This also definitely seems like it has the "Directed" enhancement for intentional uses (introduced on Powers 68) because otherwise just brute-forcing precog checks once-per-second would give you a bunch of random info unrelated to your desired prediction (like "directive: show what happens to the black knight")

Velma vs. BK scenario (aka "Physics!") seems like a complex working of how you might combine a pseudo-precog advantage with skills like Strategy / Tactics / Traps and others I'm not thinking of...

Maybe at high enough skill levels (it feels like you'd need to be at least 40+ to pull off something with this kind of precision using components like 2 animals and 2 humans... including stuff like Animal Handling?) certain abilities function like a limited precog? As in you can so accurately model behaviors of humans/animals that you can use them like you would a spring or cog in a machine?

To model "can they pull this off" via dice, I'm wondering if it would make sense to treat this as something akin to a "Super-Invention" like how Supers 74 lets you design "One Use Only" gadgets, or Supers 112 talks about One-Use Powers.

In this case it's not so much actually designing "a sci-fi gun that does 10d crushing" or something like that though, but the result instead is compiled from mundane things/creatures and appears to just be a collection of mundane things: it just so happens you can make it so a nearby pole falls on your enemy, but in a very delayed and distracting fashion that entrances the viewer that they just don't see it coming...

Last edited by Plane; 08-26-2021 at 04:22 PM.
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Old 08-26-2021, 06:42 PM   #2
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Default Re: non-supernatural mega-scientist Precognition ? ie Velma Dinkley

That doesn't really sound like precognition at all. It sounds like a Rube Goldberg Device-flavored environmental control power.
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Old 08-26-2021, 07:18 PM   #3
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Default Re: non-supernatural mega-scientist Precognition ? ie Velma Dinkley

Or just a Critical Success and a really creative GM.
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Old 08-26-2021, 11:06 PM   #4
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Default Re: non-supernatural mega-scientist Precognition ? ie Velma Dinkley

I would give her luck (active, wishing) and serendipity at the suitable levels. And for this version of Velma, I would include the delusion "it is science, not luck/magic" and subject the power to a physics or an applied math roll.

On a side note, I think that version of Velma behaves differently from the classic Velma.
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Old 08-27-2021, 12:34 AM   #5
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Default Re: non-supernatural mega-scientist Precognition ? ie Velma Dinkley

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hide View Post
On a side note, I think that version of Velma behaves differently from the classic Velma.
There's actually a scene in the film when they purportedly travel back in time which shows clips from all the previous shows/movies implying they all happened prior to this, meaning this Velma has more skills/experience than the previous.
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Old 08-27-2021, 09:42 AM   #6
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Default Re: non-supernatural mega-scientist Precognition ? ie Velma Dinkley

I think you might represent that as Precognition and/or Danger Sense with some version of the Hypersensory modifer. GURPS Powers has a basic writeup of it; a more detailed one can be found in GURPS Powers: Enhanced Senses.
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Old 08-27-2021, 01:31 PM   #7
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Default Re: non-supernatural mega-scientist Precognition ? ie Velma Dinkley

Speaking to your initial question, the Supernatural indicator is just an indicator and we see examples like Oracle (Digital) where a change to the base ability make it entirely different. Digital (Oracle) is entirely reasonable as a nonsupernatural power - depending on available data and how its usded.

I would add the Hypersensory limitation as Bill suggests to Precognition and possibly lead her down the ultimate detective path with Serendipity, Precognition, Psychometry, Oracle (Digital) all with suitable modifiers - probably as a suite of alternative abilities and switching represents taking her time to think it through.
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Old 08-27-2021, 02:16 PM   #8
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Default Re: non-supernatural mega-scientist Precognition ? ie Velma Dinkley

as it kinda relates to the scientists, does anyone recall if there are any rules for how stuff like getting knocked around might cause glasses to fall off?

Glasses work like a mitigator on poor sight disadvantage, or one might perceive them as a "Counteradvantage" (Not Poor Sight) with Gadget Limitations, but even though gadget limitations have some rules for losing equipment, it only seems to be when people intentionally try to snatch garments off you, not the garment falling off in the course of rapid acceleration/deceleration/knockback or when taking face/skull/eye/nose hits.
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Old 08-27-2021, 04:45 PM   #9
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Default Re: non-supernatural mega-scientist Precognition ? ie Velma Dinkley

Quote:
Originally Posted by Plane View Post
B77 defines this as a supernatural mental advantage, but I'm wondering if we added enough limitations if it might be feasible to include this as a type of non-supernatural one just available to very intelligent/observant/imaginative folk.
The example you link is ridiculous - it is a gag, not an attempt to model reality.

When plausibility flies out of the window like this, a GURPS GM is totally within their rights to say "it's the same advantage except not supernatural" and move on. Those categories are about the kind of simulation you are running, not the CP value of the ability.
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