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Old 03-29-2022, 09:07 AM   #1
johndallman
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Cambridge, UK
Default [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Penetrating Vision

Penetrating Vision [10/level] is an exotic physical advantage. You can see through solid objects, up to 6 inches thick per level of this advantage. Penetrating Vision first appeared in GURPS Supers for 3e, supplying the classic “X-Ray Vision” and is about as realistic as Superman’s other powers.

Your other visual advantages, such as Night Vision or Ultravision, work in combination with Penetrating Vision, so that you can use them beyond the barrier(s) you penetrate. You can see the outlines of the barrier, well enough to tell where it is, but they don’t interfere with seeing what’s on the other side.

There are two mutually incompatible special limitations: Blockable, ‑10% to ‑30% means that there are substances you can’t see through, with higher discounts for more common ones. Specific, ‑40% to ‑80%, limits you to seeing through a specific category of material, from the common to the ridiculous. A fair variety of other limitations would also make sense, especially Gadget limitations.

Penetrating Vision is especially useful with Permeation, so that you can see where you’re going. Powers clarifies the effects: the limit is on the total thickness of barriers, which may be in any number of layers. Enhanced Senses provides a canonical X-Ray Vision power, and The Weird has N-Ray Vision. Social Engineering lets this advantage negate some penalties to Body Language and Sorcery: Sound Spells provides a variant for hearing. Steampunk 2 has a battery-powered gadget version, as “period superscience” and Transhuman Space: Changing Times gives it to bush robots, presumably because their ultra-fine “fingers” can penetrate many materials; Ultra-Tech does not clarify the point.

I’ve only seen one character with Penetrating Vision, a plant magician who has it for wood. This is remarkably useful for doors and small buildings, especially in combination with a powerful rifle.

What have you done with this advantage?
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Old 03-29-2022, 11:50 AM   #2
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Penetrating Vision

I have it on a Monster Hunter character who is a simper and investigator.
He used it once to shoot through a sheet rock wall at a foe on the other side. Other than that it has given him the +4 to Lockpicking, Diagnosis, Search, and sometimes Observation or Shadowing. Holding a newspaper in front of him or pretending to sleep on a bench with a hat covering his face.

Also you can use it to see through smoke, dust clouds, even fog so tossing a smoke bomb can give you an edge in combat.
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Old 03-29-2022, 05:33 PM   #3
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Penetrating Vision

One place I could see it being useful is if there are non-invisible spirits who use Insubstantiality+Possession then you should in theory be able to see their insubstantial body lurking inside their substantial hosts this way.

Though sometimes I wonder if that should only count as invisibility-cover if the host body is at least +1 SM bigger, like if you're an SM+1 giant spirit possessing a SM-1 body maybe your insubstantial body should remain a visible translucent encasement around your host?

Giant spirits who hide inside little bodies, I would think realistically ought to have something like Shrinking (Only While Using Possession -10%) to reflect squeezing down into tiny bodies to hide.

Aside from effective invisibility vs those lacking Penetrating Vision that's also going to give you cover DR against Affects Insubstantial attacks.
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Old 03-30-2022, 12:58 PM   #4
Vikingv
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Penetrating Vision

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Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
Penetrating Vision [10/level] is an exotic physical advantage. You can see through solid objects, up to 6 inches thick per level of this advantage. Penetrating Vision first appeared in GURPS Supers for 3e, supplying the classic “X-Ray Vision” and is about as realistic as Superman’s other powers.
I still have my original printing of this book (falling apart, but). This advantage does not appear in that book.
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Old 03-30-2022, 01:31 PM   #5
awesomenessofme1
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Penetrating Vision

I don't know how to price it, but it seems like this should definitely have a Super-Effort option. There are fictional examples who can see through miles, and that would get absurdly expensive if you had to use a linear pricing.
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Old 03-30-2022, 01:57 PM   #6
johndallman
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Penetrating Vision

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Originally Posted by Vikingv View Post
I still have my original printing of this book (falling apart, but). This advantage does not appear in that book.
My source was the Krommlist of traits in 3e. It is on p. 44 in the 4th and 5th printings of the second edition of GURPS Supers for GURPS 3e, which I have in PDF.
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Old 03-30-2022, 03:15 PM   #7
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Penetrating Vision

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Originally Posted by awesomenessofme1 View Post
I don't know how to price it, but it seems like this should definitely have a Super-Effort option. There are fictional examples who can see through miles, and that would get absurdly expensive if you had to use a linear pricing.
I use the Size, Speed, and Range table without requiring a Super Effort modifier. That first level is really valuable and useful, additional levels relatively speaking are less useful.
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Old 03-31-2022, 05:29 PM   #8
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Penetrating Vision

So, my current pricing for the trait is;

Lvl 0 lets you see through 1in for [5]. I've contemplated a perk version that lets you see through a much smaller amount, but I don't know how much that would need to be.
Lvl 1 lets you see through 6in for [10]
Each level costs [+5] and increases range by 2 on Speed/Range table starting at -5 or 1ft. I've let players take half a level for 3pts.
For [50] there is no range limit. To really take any advantage of that you'd need other traits like Telescopic Vision.

I find the first level of Penetrating Vision (six inches) to work great as a 10pt trait and frankly just pretended it wasn't leveled since 4th edition came out. I wanted to expand upon it and eventually realized that having a finite cost for infinite range seemed fair. And after playing around with it some, it seems on par with many other 50pt powers (it's a little good, I could move it up but not sure what to). Interpolating middle levels was both a desire to use SS/R table in more places and to make it actually worth spending, say, 35pts on.

As for actual usage, I see it enough on supers and less so on mages and such. I personally like it on any intelligence gathering character, and it's basically required to take it with Permeation.
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Old 04-02-2022, 12:25 PM   #9
Quantumboost
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Penetrating Vision

Using the Near-Field, C limitation from Powers: Enhanced Senses, Penetrating Vision can provide an effective Powers-based way to replicate the effects of Armor Without Faceplates from Ultra-Tech, using psi, magic, etc. Penetrating Vision (PM, -10%; Near-Field, C, -30%; Specific, Metal, -40%) comes to [2]. Using the Psychotronic/Metatronic Generator rules, this can represent such a visor enchanted to be transparent only to its wearer; being limited to only that specific object might even warrant costing it as a perk, whether as a Gadget or with money.

Similar things could be done with Penetrating Hearing [5/level] or Penetrating Smell [1/level], to be able to use other ranged senses even with your head encased in solid metal.
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