Wednesday, 13 April 2022

K is for Keen Senses

Under the wire! 2330hrs!

Keen Senses is a talent in WFRP providing a bonus to what many games mechanically, and generically, call Perception "tests."

In D&D through most editions manage such rolls as influenced by the character's "Wisdom" attribute. Perception in WFRP is a basic skill influenced by the character's "Intelligence" (there is no corollary to D&D's "Wisdom").

In play, as a regular Game Master, one can find that "Perception" rolls are extremely common to resolve the friction in the story telling. Did you see the scratches in the floor revealing the secret door? Did you see the ambush ahead? Did you feel your purse being lifted? It can be somewhat tiresome.

There are a number of Game Master "best practices" that were developed first in small press RPGs that have since become almost ubiquitous across many RPGs.

The Rule of Cool

This rule is simple enough is a roll even necessary? Speaking personally, I find makes RPGs less a game where dice and character talents resolve story friction in unexpected ways, and leans harder into "We're all just playing pretend." While the "pretend" part is always present, I don't want the game to just be forgotten for might be "cool" in the moment. I like The Rule of Three. I also find this to be so forceful, that I might as well be asking my players to read a novel I've drafted. There is no agency in the game.

The Rule of Three

Here a story element important to the advancement of the character's or a resolution of a particular plot element must eventually be provided. The Rule of Three states that players should have three opportunities when appropriate. The key to open the chest will be found, but the challenges may be costly. Discovering that a thief picked your purse is not such case. The thief is gone. Drunk on your coin. The first volley of arrows reveals the ambush. There was no other chance to "perceive" the attack. 

But the key. First it may be in a bureau not searched. Then it may be on the belt of a captain of the guard. Finally, it may be given to the characters in exchange for coin by an enterprising character. But the key will be provided. This can also be forceful, but it allows for much more Player Agency at the table.

I tend to find myself leaning on Perception as a first resort. And I mix the other practices in. All to taste.

Posted by caffeinated at 11:52 PM in d10