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Detect Invisible via ground vibrations


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I have a villain who can detect vibrations on the ground, using it to 'see' as easily as people use eyes to see. Invisibility (depending on special effects) would be useless because unless you're standing still, the villain could find them and attack. How would you build this? I guess this is like Toph from Avatar: Last Airbender.

Edited by Tech
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It could be done several ways.  One way would be to use spatial awareness, but you would need to add ranged to it.  You could also build it as a detect with appropriate modifiers.  Besides being a targeting sense what does the sense do?  

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Have you tried searching for something like "tremorsense"?  Others may have taken a shot at this.

 

There's a modifier in 5E that helps:


        <MODIFIER XMLID="ONLYONSURFACE" DISPLAY="Only When In Contact With The Ground" 
            BASECOST="-.25" EXCLUSIVE="Yes">
            <ADDER XMLID="NATURALONLY" DISPLAY="natural earth, stone, and soil only" 
                BASECOST="-.25"/>
            <SOURCE>UNTIL Superpowers Database</SOURCE>
            <DEFINITION>(UNTIL Superpowers Database, page 68)</DEFINITION>
        </MODIFIER>
 

The adder comes into play because many surfaces transmit vibrations VERY badly, like a good carpet laid atop foam carpet padding.  There's also vibration-isolating foam...rather heavy stuff.  Used to be fairly popular with audiophiles who dropped big bucks on high end turntables and cartridges.  

 

The starting point is pretty simple:
Tremorsense:  Detect Vibrations A Single Thing (Touch Group), Increased Arc Of Perception (360 Degrees), Range, Targeting

 

which is 23 points before limiting it to vibrations transmitted through the ground.

Note that to apply a limitation to it, you have to go this route.  If I'm buying TK, then I'll often add Range, 360 degrees, and Telescopic to whatever level you like, to Normal Touch.  But you can't readily apply the limitation for the nature of what you're sensing.

 

 

 

 

 

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If I'm buying TK, then I'll often add Range, 360 degrees, and Telescopic to whatever level you like, to Normal Touch.  But you can't readily apply the limitation for the nature of what you're sensing.

 

Yeah that's what I was thinking, a bunch of sense modifiers on touch could pull it off, its already discriminatory

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1 minute ago, Christopher R Taylor said:

 

Yeah that's what I was thinking, a bunch of sense modifiers on touch could pull it off, its already discriminatory

 

Yeah, but it feels a lot more awkward to me, to then apply the ground-vibration limits.  

 

Maybe not.  I suppose, technically, you can put the limitation on 3 things:  Range, any Telescopic you buy, and Targeting.  I add the 360 because 

a)  for the TK, it feels like it *should* be there, as the nature of the 360 for Normal Touch is...kinda odd to me.

b)  360 is only for normal touch, NOT for the entire group, and even if these are being built nominally as extensions to normal touch, they feel sufficiently separate.  That's my personal sensibilities, tho.

 


 

 

 

 

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Like anything in the Hero System this can be built multiple ways.  How you build it will have some effect on how it operates.  

 

One big disadvantage of building it using touch as the base is that it can be affected by powers affecting the touch sense group.   Darkness or Flash vs touch is actually cheaper than vs sight.  If you build it from the ground up using a detect it can be considered a unusual sense.  Since you cannot purchase sense-affecting powers that target the unusual sense group it makes it more difficult to counter those sense.  In order to affect an unusual sense you need to specifically target that sense.  So, if your tremor sense is an unusual sense it will only be countered by darkness or flash to tremor sense.  If it is based on touch any darkness or flash vs touch will stop it.  
 

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They are rare but I have seen them.  One mentalist had a flash vs all sense groups.  He was able to cut off all your senses.  At 5 points per sense group it is fairly cheap to add to a power.  For 60 points I can have a 7d6 flash that affects sense groups except of course unusual.  A 1M darkness to all sense groups would only be 30 points, or 60 for a 7M radius.  

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6 hours ago, Rails said:

As a concrete example, Hero System Bestiary (5th Ed. Book) uses this as a vibration sense for some of the giant insects:
 

"Sense Vibrations:  Detect Physical Vibrations 13- (Touch Group), Discriminatory, Analyze, Range, Targeting" for 38 points.

 

Looks like they price in 360 degree arc, plus, presumably, several levels...insects not exactly being mental giants.

 

5 hours ago, LoneWolf said:

One big disadvantage of building it using touch as the base is that it can be affected by powers affecting the touch sense group.   Darkness or Flash vs touch is actually cheaper than vs sight.  If you build it from the ground up using a detect it can be considered a unusual sense.  Since you cannot purchase sense-affecting powers that target the unusual sense group it makes it more difficult to counter those sense.  

 

Yeah, you *might* see something targeting touch, but it's rare, as you note.  It smacks of gaming the system, tho, to do it here.  To be sure, it's quibbling.  You'd need to add Sense, but that's all of 2 points.  It only stops unusual counters, tho.  Still, I'd probably disallow it...in part because I *want* some of those to work.  I'm much happier defining a detect, or spatial, as being part of the unusual group rather than the sight or hearing groups...because now, you have to pay for the built-in aspects.  

 

 

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If I remember the GM ruled that being flashed to touch also interfered with your sense of direction.  Specifically being able to tell up from down.   The reason is that touch allows you to feel the pull of gravity.  It would also hamper your ability to feel temperature and a couple of other things.  It would also make it harder to tell is someone restrained you.  

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I'm not sure how many GMs would rule similarly, at least WRT a Flash (Touch) only, altho SFX would be significant.  For example...serious dental work.  Novocain induces numbness...which is Suppress Touch Group, rather than Flash, but essentially the only difference is duration.  You're feeling *nothing*...or at least bloody darn close to nothing.  (it's been a bad 6 months for me, in that regard.)  

 

A full, multi-sense Flash?  Yeah, I can see it.  I like doing that as a quasi-mental power too...it's an attack against either Mental or Power Def, not Flash Def per se, because it interferes with the auditory and/or visual cortices directly.  If you're nailing touch as well, much less all 5...yeah, I could see treating that as complete sensory deprivation.  Nasty power...it really isn't that expensive to build, compared to something like a mental illusion to reach that level of effect...and there's no ongoing EGO rolls to break out......

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On 6/8/2024 at 9:14 AM, LoneWolf said:

It could be done several ways.  One way would be to use spatial awareness, but you would need to add ranged to it.  You could also build it as a detect with appropriate modifiers.  Besides being a targeting sense what does the sense do?  

Iirc many a moon ago when I asked how to convert Grimlocks into Hero stats, I believe this was given as an answer. And well it worked fine for Termorsense. At least the very little that I used it.

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