Thursday, March 17, 2016

Danger Sense: Think more Intuitively

So Christopher Rice and Douglas Cole both posted about Danger Sense. They point out that it's passive, easily forgotten about, or becomes stifling for the GM to work around (which is the same reason Mind Reading is banned in all of my games).

But I'm not a big fan of a danger sense point system similar to luck, serendipity, and all of the other metagamey stuff you can by to help plot protect your characters.

No, I think you need to think more intuitively.

As in, Intuition.

Intuition allows a player to make an educated guess/hunch on a topic that doesn't build off of existing knowledge. The GM makes a secret IQ roll with a modifier equal to the number of "good" choices minus the number of "bad" choices. For example, if the PC is wondering which car in a parking lot full of seven cars is the one stashed with drugs, it would be a -6 to the check (1 right car, 6 wrong choices, 7 total).

Danger Sense can be much the same, where players have to actively decide to use the ability. Sure, this weakens the ability to an extent as a means of protecting a character played by a players who might not be very cautious, but Danger Sense also doesn't inherit penalties to perception rolls like Intuition does with IQ rolls. A character with high perception will reliably be able to tell that something is just... off. Any other character wouldn't even have the option of trying such a thing without having a relevant skill, much like characters can't attempt intuition without the advantage itself.

Now, for limiting Danger Sense, I have two main suggestions:

  • Only allow one Danger Sense roll per situation/scene. An entire combat is likely a scene, sweeping a warehouse is likely a scene, a meeting is probably all a single scene. Now if a gunship helicopter suddenly arrives during any of those scenarios, that might warrant being able to check again to see if the character gets a sense that maybe they should get the hell out of dodge.
  • Limit perception for use with Danger Sense to ~14. Characters can have higher perception, but for Danger Sense checks, anything 15 and above fails. (Although I'd be tempted to limit to 12, which is a 74.1% chance of success, where 14 is a 90.7% chance of success.) Alternatively, you could assess penalties and bonuses on situation, but that's probably up to personal preference.

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