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Seeing the Future


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#21 massey

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Posted 10 January 2017 - 09:04 PM

"Being a jerk" means enforcing the power as written. Clairsentience has a range in hexes. Usually I'd ignore that for dramatic purposes. But if someone insists on trying to use it when I haven't come up with anything, I'm not giving any freebies.

Someone from the late 90s using a power to view Sept 11, 2001 would normally (i.e., if I as GM were ready) see something related to the Sept 11th attacks. Even if they're in Nebraska or something. But someone who tries to use it when I'm not ready is going to find me less than helpful. "Well, the only thing in range is a cornfield. The corn appears to be growing very well this year..."

#22 TheDarkness

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Posted 10 January 2017 - 10:04 PM

I think that players need to understand that the power requires extra work and time, because it's affecting story. I would just say, "the vision comes, but as soon as you wake from your state of clairsentience, you cannot remember it's details," and then tell them the details the next session, saying the vision returns or some such thing.


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#23 kukuli

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Posted 11 January 2017 - 01:31 AM

I have no problem with clarvoyance, but I require these powers to be uncontrolled and vague.   The character gets to use it to find "clues" and I get to use it to move the plot along when they get stuck. The character also has a side effect that allows psychic forces to hi-jack her mind on occasion, which keeps her from over using the power.  She also has +4 to her CV to represent her ability to predict where her target will be at the time her attack lands.

 

The fun comes when I take her to the side, explain what she sees and she returns to the table and completly misinterprets what she saw.  The player does this on purpose. Her character is rather honesty challenged.


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#24 Christopher

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Posted 11 January 2017 - 09:46 AM

Another thing to consider, is, in a game with precognitive abilities, you will have their opposite.

 

If the master villain knows an enemy can see into the future, how will he or she respond? A powerful magical item at their keep to prevent scrying into it? Having their base located completely outside of the timeline?

I only ever watched the movies, but there is counter-technology like this in Dune:
https://en.wikipedia...amber.2FNo-ship



#25 Hugh Neilson

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Posted 11 January 2017 - 10:02 PM

"Being a jerk" means enforcing the power as written. Clairsentience has a range in hexes. Usually I'd ignore that for dramatic purposes. But if someone insists on trying to use it when I haven't come up with anything, I'm not giving any freebies.


So there is no consistency in how the rules will actually work for an ability the player invested points to acquire. I think the player has a reasonable expectation to have consistency in this regard. "You can only perceive the past or future in the range of your clairsentience" would be fine, consistently applied. So would "when you buy Precognition or Retrocognition, the range changes from distance in space to distance in time". But I don't consider "the way the power works changes based on my mood" unless this variability also means a limitation on the power.

Can the player also be a jerk? "I look 3 hours forward, 1 meter away from me - I should see 1/8 around the world since it's turned 1/8 in the last 3 hours." By judiciously choosing the time involved, and a little advance planning, I can get a lot of range out of my clairsentience. To me, that would be the player being a jerk.

In my view, the way the power will work needs to be agreed between the player and the GM, so the player can make an informed decision whether he thinks the points are well spent on this ability or not. If he paid for a power which is supposed to be reliable and usable at his discretion, he should have a reliable power that he can use at his discretion. If you are not prepared to allow that reliable power to be used at his discretion, set the limits and constraints up front (right up to "no reliable precognition/retrocognition in my game").

#26 steriaca

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Posted 11 January 2017 - 10:36 PM

You could also simply go on to described mundain events which would occur all around the player. Nothing says the power would be exciting to use.

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#27 TheDarkness

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Posted 13 January 2017 - 12:11 AM

You could also simply go on to described mundain events which would occur all around the player. Nothing says the power would be exciting to use.

This and the last few posts goes a bit to the crux of my original post, of how the power lacking a mechanic might be problematic at times.

 

And Steriaca, your post is actually not something I'm in contention with, just using it as an example of what could and should be a possible result of using that power, but that how one comes to that result may affect how fair it is. My main point being, lacking a mechanic for doing a vision, how likely is a fair result?

 

If I buy 8D6 energy blast, and I attack a baddie, and I roll all sixes, good for me. If I roll all 1s, so sad. If I roll all threes, then okay, I suppose. If I roll well, and the GM actually wanted the villain to last a little longer, well, he can't change my roll, he can decide that the villains stun is actually higher than he initially wrote down, or he can accept that the villain is down. But changing my awesome roll would be wrong.

 

BUT, say I buy 40 pts. of EB, but in this ruleset, my EB has a well defined range, and, if I hit, the GM decides how much it damages with no absolute limit on either end. I could do 0 damage, or 100. I have absolutely no way of knowing.

 

AND, I know the GM views the EB power as a way to further story.

 

It would be very hard, even for the most fair GM, to not find themselves often assigning the upper or lower end of damage on that energy blast, depending on which serves the story better, and assigning the middle to be fair when the power doesn't matter in the least, or at least adding up to an average in such cases.

 

That is what precognition without a mechanic will tend to be. It will tend to be very difficult for the GM to not look at content in terms of the story, except even the most accomplished GM doesn't know the future of the story, only likelihood. It will be almost impossible to make the expenditure on the player's part to have the power fair at all.

 

So, building on your post, let's say that the GM is trying to decide between two visions of the future, one that he views as the usuful vision, one he views as useless.

 

One shows the villain group making a plan.

 

One shows the villain group just doing boring daily stuff.

 

The fact is, the GM has no way to judge which is the useful one, and which is the useless one. None. And so, there will be a tendency to make the latter vision, if he sees it as useless, useless. A group of villains vacuuming, doing the dishes, dusting, all in the same place but saying absolutely nothing of use to each other, just grim house cleaning villains. Bereft of the kind of characterization and relations that the heroes would normally NEVER HAVE THE CHANCE OTHERWISE TO KNOW in exactly the only time they actually should get to know them.

 

Like the EB, it will be very difficult for even the fair GM not to give useful visions where it helps the stories, useless ones where it helps the story, and almost no mechanism to actually make middle range results. There will be less tendency to actually change the planned story in response to the vision, since the vision is designed around the GMs idea of the story that day.

 

It will be very difficult for the GM to actually make this, like other powers, something that has the instant capacity to change the GM's plans. After all, this is basically the power to create future relations between people and events that include, but should not be limited to, what the GM previously thought about what their story was, since that will all change every game, and so the power includes what could be.

 

Otherwise, it is, whether the GM wants it that way or not, player bought GM fiat with a range.

 

Which is harder to find information, the villain's social life, or the villain's plans? Which will lead me more immediately to the villain? These totally depend in each case, but the former is a semi-permanent set of habits, the latter is only useful for that one plan. If I look in on the villain's base at a certain time, hoping to find out something about them, and no one's home, I HAVE JUST FOUND OUT ABOUT THE MOST ADVANTAGEOUS THING I POSSIBLY COULD KNOW ABOUT THEM.

 

Without a mechanic, it would be incredibly unlikely to produce a vision that you can reliably say represented the point expenditure on the power. Impossible to do it consistently.



#28 kukuli

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Posted 21 January 2017 - 12:03 AM

My clairsentient Character tells me she is using precog in hope of seeing where they have taken a prisoner.  She touches something belonging to the prisoner.  I give her a series of images, some giving hints to where the prisoner  will be at some future point and some that give other information about the prisoner or the villians that have him.  I usually don't lock down the exact time, but rather have the vision come true at the time the Character arrives at the location.  Like if I was writing a script and want the good guys to arrive just in time. Some times the info is misleading. Like the time she saw a party member tied up in a dark room and the flash of a large knife.  They did rescue the PC, but since the badguy was knocked out by a punch, the knife turned out to be the Clairvoyant cutting him loose.  Keep it vague and loose and you  won't be railroading anyone.

 

 Clairvoyance is a sense, it doesn't give full answers, it allows the user to observe clues.  Preparing Clairvoyant clues is no harder than preparing visual clues.  It shouldn't be used to replace actual gameplay.


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#29 Christopher

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Posted 21 January 2017 - 06:43 AM

Some times the info is misleading. Like the time she saw a party member tied up in a dark room and the flash of a large knife.  They did rescue the PC, but since the badguy was knocked out by a punch, the knife turned out to be the Clairvoyant cutting him loose.  Keep it vague and loose and you  won't be railroading anyone.

With the uncertainty principle, you have even more Freedom:

If the PC was going to get knifed (bad rolls or player decisions), the Prediction was not precise enough. It did not show how to prevent that outcome.

If the PC was not going to get knifed (the players prevented it like in your case), the Prediction was precise enough. And as a result, the reality was no longer precise.

 

If you apply the uncertainty principle as campaign rule, it is impossible for player actions to truly break the narrative:

Predicted event did happen? The prediction was not precise enough to prevent it from happening, apparently.

Predicted event did not happen exactly the way it was predicted (like in your case who held the knife)? The prediction was precise enough to prevent it from happening, and as result the reality did no longer follow the prediction precisely.
Predicted event did not happen at all? (An ally freeing her using his powers rather then a knife?) Again, prediction was so precise reality got derailed.

 

It is a Win/Win/Win result for you as GM.