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Old 04-26-2022, 09:10 PM   #1
Mr Dalton
 
Join Date: Jan 2021
Default Magical Skill Idea: Going Dim

I don't even visit these forums for months and now suddenly starting new threads.
I don't know if this is already a skill somewhere, but this idea hit me out of nowhere and thought maybe others might like it.
The term comes from the Stephen King books, which is a magical skill for being unnoticed. It's not true invisibility, it's just being super unobtrusive. Flagg referred to the skill as "Going Dim." Terry Pratchett had a similar idea with Granny Weatherwax, though I don't remember what he called it right off the top of my head. And the trope is kind of established in other fantasy media.
But anyway, the skill is a very hard Will skill and you have to have Magery at least up to level three to take it.
While using the skill, people will ignore you and not remember you were there afterward. It's not the same as invisibility because they do see you and will go out of their way to walk around you if you're in their path, but they won't remember doing so. You're just another face in the crowd, even when there isn't a crowd to be a face in.

There are some strict limitations, though. The only action you're allowed to take while using this skill is to move at normal speed. Speaking, using any other skill, or even just running, or moving in a way that isn't normal will break the effect. Additionally, if anyone is actively searching for you (or just actively searching for anything), they can potentially spot you.
This would be an opposed roll of their perception vs your dimming skill. If they have other perception based skills that apply, like Observation, those skills can be used in place of perception alone.

You cannot use this skill while being observed; however, someone just looking away for a second is all the opening you need to activate the skill.

This skill would be how spellcasters just seem to suddenly appear in the room without any visible signs of magic. They were always there, you just didn't notice them until they wanted you to notice them.
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Old 04-26-2022, 09:24 PM   #2
oneofmanynameless
 
Join Date: May 2012
Default Re: Magical Skill Idea: Going Dim

Seems almost like just normal stealth mechanically speaking, except for being able to bypass peoples ability to get a bonus for spotting things "in plain sight."
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Old 04-26-2022, 09:52 PM   #3
Mr Dalton
 
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Default Re: Magical Skill Idea: Going Dim

It's a little like normal stealth, except I think that even someone who isn't actively looking for you might notice you. I'd have to check.
Plus, you can still do things while in stealth, I think. You could draw a weapon, for example, without giving yourself away, but this would break the dimming effect because you're doing something that's not unobtrusive; a person drawing a weapon isn't something you would ever ignore.
The idea is that it's supposed to be more limited than stealth in some ways, but you have the advantage that you don't need cover or some way to stay out of sight. And it would fool senses not normally fooled by stealth, such as smell. A wolf, for example, would still smell you while you were using this skill but it would ignore you unless you did something that made it feel threatened.
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Old 04-26-2022, 11:51 PM   #4
johndallman
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Default Re: Magical Skill Idea: Going Dim

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Dalton View Post
I don't know if this is already a skill somewhere, but this idea hit me out of nowhere and thought maybe others might like it.
Look at Invisibility Art (p. B202). You might have to change it a bit, but the basic idea is the same.
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Old 04-27-2022, 02:25 AM   #5
Christopher R. Rice
 
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Default Re: Magical Skill Idea: Going Dim

The Shrouding skill from p. 20 of Pyramid #3/97: Strange Powers was influenced by King
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Old 04-27-2022, 10:00 AM   #6
Rolando
 
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Default Re: Magical Skill Idea: Going Dim

The spell Avoid (mental college) is exactly that but area effect, I can see a regular version of it with little effort.
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Old 04-27-2022, 12:39 PM   #7
Mr Dalton
 
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Default Re: Magical Skill Idea: Going Dim

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Originally Posted by Rolando View Post
The spell Avoid (mental college) is exactly that but area effect, I can see a regular version of it with little effort.
I was aware there was a spell that duplicated the effects, but I like the idea that magic powers are often more than just spells. Sometimes, getting very skilled at magic in general gives you access to things that are magical in effect without being spells.
This idea is really less about the effect and more about the way changing how it operates changes how you look at magic. It's obviously not something the game needs, but depending on how you want to approach magic and want your players to think of it, it's definitely an option.

Last edited by Mr Dalton; 04-27-2022 at 01:56 PM.
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Old 04-27-2022, 06:39 PM   #8
Plane
 
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Default Re: Magical Skill Idea: Going Dim

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Originally Posted by Mr Dalton View Post
people will ignore you and not remember you were there afterward.
It's not the same as invisibility because they do see you and will go out of their way to walk around you if you're in their path, but they won't remember doing so.
I thought about B72's Obscure but that would only prevent seeing you, wouldn't induce walk-arounds.

It sounds like Powers 94's Illusion ability would be appropriate here. Effectively what you are doing is making it so that you generate the illusion of something that someone needs to walk around, but which is unimportant to remember.

The main issue is specifying what the illusion is, since it sounds like it automatically tailors to a target. What is unimportant to one person could be important to another.

For that reason I think Mental+100% from P95 is appropriate since each use generates 1 illusion per target, so you'd have separate illusions per target.

You'd probably need Reflexive +40% so that this happens even to people you don't know are observing you. Since there's no conscious input into Reflexive, it seems reasonable that you would give general guidelines ahead of time of how your ability reacts, like "create illusion of an elephant any time someone looks at me".

Something like "create illusion of something unimportant to that person" might be more complex though. First your ability requires a way of figuring that out. It might need to be paired with some other ability like Telereceive?

If Telereceive only existed to influence how Illusion automatically worked (but didn't actually tell you what illusion you were projecting) that'd probably be worth a decent discount, like maybe the -10% for "Unconscious Only" without needing to take Uncontrollable?

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Originally Posted by Mr Dalton View Post
There are some strict limitations, though.
The only action you're allowed to take while using this skill is to move at normal speed.
Speaking, using any other skill, or even just running, or moving in a way that isn't normal will break the effect.
That just sounds like REquires Concentrate -10% and Temporary Disadvantage: Mute -30%

Pairing Requires Concentrate w/ Reflexive is pretty weird, so that might be a situation where you only apply that -10% discount to the +40% to turn it into +36% (Limited Enhancements), not sure.

In that case you only get the Reflexive benefit (defenses against those you are unaware of) when actively concentrating.

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Originally Posted by Mr Dalton View Post
if anyone is actively searching for you (or just actively searching for anything), they can potentially spot you.
Illusion (Mental) is an IQ v Will contest, if there's special circumstances that make them more likely to win that Quick Contest I could see a couple takes.

You could give it levels of the Reliable enhancement, but limit it so it's only reliable against people who are unengaged (no bonus against 'active searchers')

You could give it levels of 'Hard to Use' as an either/or limitation, where it's only hard to use against active searchers, the penalty wouldn't apply to passive observers so the limitation would give a lower discount.

The trouble I think we'd have here is how to distinguish between an 'active searcher' and a 'passive observer' though.

I would assume the latter is "free action perception" while perhaps the former is something like "taking a concentrate maneuver dedicated to purely paying attention to folks" ?

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Originally Posted by Mr Dalton View Post
You cannot use this skill while being observed; however, someone just looking away for a second is all the opening you need to activate the skill.
Horror 20's "Accessibility, Only if unobserved, -20%" for Warp might be something to float over to Illusion.

In this case it's "I can only create illusions in the minds of people who are not looking at me".

Basically what you are doing (reflexively, as a defense when people begin to look at you, IE would be making a perception roll to notice you) in that moment before their roll succeeds, are then projecting the illusion into their mind where a success prevents them from seeing you (instead they see the illusion of the unimportant thing they need to walk around to avoid stepping through your hex)

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Originally Posted by Mr Dalton View Post
This skill would be how spellcasters just seem to suddenly appear in the room without any visible signs of magic. They were always there, you just didn't notice them until they wanted you to notice them.
If you had to step around them you should have a memory of stepping around SOMETHING though, at least briefly.

If you don't want them to retain a long-term memory like "I remember walking around a table" (for why they avoided you) then you'd need to rewrite their memory to replace it with something like "I remember walking straight across the room". Horror 24's "False Memories" suggests that could be done via Affliction (Delusion)

This seems like the "Trivial Memory" quirk disadvantage (so only a +1% to Affliction) as whether you walked around a table or straight across a room is usually not that important.

I don't know how long you'd need to afflict a False Memory for though. At some point you naturally forget trivial memories anyway.

I don't know how GURPS approaches "do you remember walking around an object in the room you visited yesterday" type things.
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Old 04-27-2022, 06:56 PM   #9
oneofmanynameless
 
Join Date: May 2012
Default Re: Magical Skill Idea: Going Dim

Quote:
Originally Posted by Christopher R. Rice View Post
The Shrouding skill from p. 20 of Pyramid #3/97: Strange Powers was influenced by King
And seems to be a very well written iteration of exactly what OP is looking for too! Plus, that's a really cool article. I've been vaguely toying with trying to come up with a system like that for a game I'm planning and I think I'm going to have to dig into that article. Thanks!
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Old 04-27-2022, 07:05 PM   #10
Christopher R. Rice
 
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Default Re: Magical Skill Idea: Going Dim

Quote:
Originally Posted by oneofmanynameless View Post
And seems to be a very well written iteration of exactly what OP is looking for too! Plus, that's a really cool article. I've been vaguely toying with trying to come up with a system like that for a game I'm planning and I think I'm going to have to dig into that article. Thanks!
^_^ Welcome. It came from one of my campaigns and I decided it needed sharing.
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