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Old 11-25-2019, 06:37 AM   #1
InexplicableVic
 
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Default Hearing Rolls in Dungeons

I see that DFRPG has simplified things a bit from GURPS in terms of descriptions of hearing rolls and what can be heard at various distances, even though it appears that the general mechanics are largely the same (see Exploits, p. 9). However, I had questions about how that works with: (a) underground reverberations, and (b) interposing barriers, like doors. It's possible I didn't look hard enough, but I was wondering about the following:

1. Does DFRPG assume that these rolls are the same above ground and underground? I know that GURPS Underground Adventures gave variations on modifiers depending upon the size of the underground tunnels, etc. That's quite a bit of number crunching. Perhaps some other abstraction, e.g., if the cave/dungeon is otherwise really quiet, one receives a bonus to hear, etc., but I wasn't clear if the rules are the same above and below ground, or indoors and outdoors. Maybe that's just abstracted away, and the rolls are the same everywhere for purposes of the game.

2. What would people suggest for interposing doors (or is there an actual rule for this)? Example, combat is going on in Room 1, which has a closed door to a 10' wide tunnel, and that goes 7 yards or so to another door, behind which are orcs (assume the distance between the battle and the orcs is exactly 8 yards). What penalty, if any, would one impose for the heavy, dungeon-style doors in between? I know that a Spy's Horn (Adventurers, p. 113) allows one to listen at a door at a penalty equal to the door's (DR+HP)/5. I'm assuming the benefits of a Spy's Horn is that it cuts the normal penalties in half or so, but that's not clear. If that is the case, then if a heavy wooden door (DR 3, HP 33, 36/5 = 7) gives a -7 to a hearing roll using a Spy's Horn, is it safe to assume that the penalties are at least doubled per door, e.g., -14 for one interposing door, -28 for a second? Even average wooden doors, with DR 2, HP 29, give a -6 with a Spy's Horn, leading to -12, -24 for listening beyond them.
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Old 11-25-2019, 07:49 AM   #2
Dalin
 
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Default Re: Hearing Rolls in Dungeons

I don't know anything about official rules on this, but I usually play this pretty fast and loose. With open passages, I would use the range rules as specified on Exploits, p. 9. Doors would add a penalty that I would adjust unscientifically with consideration for the following variables: dungeon architecture and decor, door size/style/tightness, other ambient sounds, and the dramatic needs of the moment.

Note, however, that the Spy's Horn seems to be primarily about listening in on conversations. There's a big difference between being able to make out the words of a conversation and just being able to hear general sounds through a door. So, for example, I think you could more easily hear "people talking and laughing" without being able to actually make out the topic of conversation. Using your numbers, even with the +4 for the din of combat, you'd have a -8 to hear through a single door without a Spy's Horn. That seems too steep. I might have a single door mask sound in the -2 to -4 range. (Usually, in my DFRPG games, a single door isn't enough to reliably mask the sounds of a battle unless the listeners are inattentive or distracted by other sounds. A second door makes it much more likely that the melee will go undetected.)
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Old 11-25-2019, 09:18 AM   #3
InexplicableVic
 
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Default Re: Hearing Rolls in Dungeons

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dalin View Post
I don't know anything about official rules on this, but I usually play this pretty fast and loose. With open passages, I would use the range rules as specified on Exploits, p. 9. Doors would add a penalty that I would adjust unscientifically with consideration for the following variables: dungeon architecture and decor, door size/style/tightness, other ambient sounds, and the dramatic needs of the moment.

...

I might have a single door mask sound in the -2 to -4 range. (Usually, in my DFRPG games, a single door isn't enough to reliably mask the sounds of a battle unless the listeners are inattentive or distracted by other sounds. A second door makes it much more likely that the melee will go undetected.)
Thanks, Dalin, that's a pretty helpful guide. I can see where there are heavy doors in dungeons that often require some force to open because they might swell shut or so, would be at least -4 per door, whereas fairly light doors that have a good amount of clearance between the door and the floor/ceiling (or both), might only be a -1 or -2.

I'm curious as to what the "official" rules or designers had in mind as well, but your rule seems pretty good.

Last edited by InexplicableVic; 11-25-2019 at 09:29 AM.
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Old 11-25-2019, 01:53 PM   #4
Black Leviathan
 
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Default Re: Hearing Rolls in Dungeons

I'd say that sound carries much better underground because there are so many hard surfaces to reflect it. But it's much less intelligible due to the echo.
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Old 11-25-2019, 08:01 PM   #5
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Default Re: Hearing Rolls in Dungeons

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Originally Posted by Black Leviathan View Post
I'd say that sound carries much better underground because there are so many hard surfaces to reflect it. But it's much less intelligible due to the echo.

Well, that's basically what Bill Stoddard determined with GURPS Underground Adventures. But that's for another forum.
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