Perception DC to See the Sun


Pathfinder First Edition General Discussion

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Kazaan wrote:

gain, "fine detail" is a floating point that is highly subjective; it would add several pages to the rulebook, pages that can easily be substituted with a modicum of common sense, to procedurally define what constitutes "fine detail" and what doesn't. But I'll give some cliff-notes here. Hearing the sound of battle as a perception check isn't an absolute case. You don't need to make a DC check to hear the sound of battle when you're in battle; the sound is all around you and impossible to miss. That isn't a "DC 0 check", it's a "DC -- check". This is analogous to the difference between a caster who can cast 0 spells at a given level vs -- spells at a given level. But if you're in a noisy countryside tavern, enjoying a drink, a fight going on up the road would be a fine detail. At a certain point, there's a threshold between you being close enough, and the ambient noise being low enough, that the sound of battle transitions from being "fine detail" to "obvious", but getting it down to the exact square is not significantly important. The GM can just decide circumstantially which category it falls into.

Seeing a visible person standing right in front of you is obvious, not fine detail. But noticing them in a crowd is a fine detail and the crowd would impart unfavorable conditions (or terrible, if crowded enough) upon the check. Noticing them a good distance away would be a fine detail, but, again, at a certain distance threshold and also a certain environmental threshold, it can shift between being "obvious" and "fine detail". Even the rules for perception state that all the base DCs and modifiers given are "guidelines". But that doesn't change the fact that seeing something obvious requires no perception check. Now, if you really wanted to hammer out how close you need to get, on a clear, normal light day, before the guy standing in the road goes from being a DC 0 + modifiers check to "obvious", I'd say that depends on the character, but base it on the spot where a take-10 perception check on their part would exactly equal the DC (with distance modifiers. So, if 10 + perception bonus for that character is 18, that accounts for a DC 0 check + 18 worth of distance modifiers (we're assuming that distance is the only confounding factor) which means that this character needs a perception check to notice the guy standing in the road out past 180 feet, but closer than that, it becomes obvious, rather than fine detail. This, of course, presumes that they are attentive while walking; if they are reading a book or talking on their cell phone, you might presume a lower DC or even that they could not succeed if they are completely oblivious to their surroundings.

I said it before and I'll say it again, the rule book should not try to "define" the threshold between "obvious" and "fine detail" because there are so many subjective factors, it would do nothing but add tedium to the game. Use your common sense to decide when the moon in the sky is an obvious sight and when it's obscured, by various factors, to the point where it would take a perception check to notice whether or not it's visible or where it might be hiding. I already gave examples of considerations.

The problem with that approach is that as soon as minimal distance for most of these things comes into play, not-obvious turns into impossible.

That battle going on up the road? That DC starts at -10, so assuming I've got a 10 perception, it's obvious 300' away (ie, Take 10 notices it.) 110' farther away, I can't make the check. Take 20 won't find it.
That's a very unintuitive result.
Because the penalty on perception for distance is linear, it's always that far from "Notices nearly automatically" to "Can't perceive at all".
We can fiddle around with where it changes from "obvious" to "fine detail", but whereever we set that a couple hundred feet from the first place you have to roll, you can't see it at all. Regardless of situation or circumstance.
The perception rules as written don't work over distances much longer than the usual encounter distances, because they're not designed to.


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Kazaan wrote:
Again, "fine detail" is a floating point that is highly subjective;

And also largely ignored by the actual rule examples, unfortunately.

Quote:
But I'll give some cliff-notes here. Hearing the sound of battle as a perception check isn't an absolute case. You don't need to make a DC check to hear the sound of battle when you're in battle; the sound is all around you and impossible to miss. That isn't a "DC 0 check", it's a "DC -- check".

Again, not supported by the rules.

And even in your example, the rules break down.

Quote:
Now, if you really wanted to hammer out how close you need to get, on a clear, normal light day, before the guy standing in the road goes from being a DC 0 + modifiers check to "obvious", I'd say that depends on the character, but base it on the spot where a take-10 perception check on their part would exactly equal the DC (with distance modifiers. So, if 10 + perception bonus for that character is 18, that accounts for a DC 0 check + 18 worth of distance modifiers (we're assuming that distance is the only confounding factor) which means that this character needs a perception check to notice the guy standing in the road out past 180 feet, but closer than that, it becomes obvious, rather than fine detail.

All right, we'll work with this. A baseball fan, sitting in the stands behind center field, has a Wisdom of 10 (+0 modifier) and no ranks in Perception, because (like most of us) he's an ordinary, low-level commoner. This means that at 100 feet, an ordinary-sized human standing on the field is now "a fine detail" by your own reckoning, and it takes a DC 10 check to see him, which can be automatically made.

Ten feet further away, it becomes a DC 11 check, and half the time, the baseball fan can't see him at all. Since the outfield is at least 150' deep, this means that when the center fielder is playing up close, the average fan can see him less than half the time.

The center field wall is (as per TL) at least 290 feet from home plate; second base is 127 feet -- call it 130 feet -- from home plate. The average fan would need to make a DC 16 perception check to see the second baseman; seeing him only 20% of the time.

And, of course, the batter is at least 290 feet away, so the fan needs to make an impossible DC 29 check.

Quote:
I already gave examples of considerations.

Well, you tried, anyway. The problem is, first, that your examples are unsupported by the rules, and, second, that your reworking still doesn't actually work. If I can't watch a baseball game from just above the center field wall in the Pathfinderverse -- let alone from the cheap nosebleed seats -- there's something wrong with the way Pathfinder handles rules. The second baseman is indeed a "fine detail"; there's a lot going on that I would want to see, and if I'm not watching closely, I could easily miss an awesome double play or something. That's realistic.

But what's unrealistic is that things move too quickly from "roll is required" to "roll is impossible." If there's something you need to make a roll to see (like the center fielder make a great catch), then anything similar that's two hundred feet further away is simply impossible.


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Rulebook, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

For the record, the human eye can (theoretically) resolve a 5' object at 20,000 feet. It'll basically be a dot at that range. It's pretty linear, so resolving a pair of legs at the bottom could be done at around 10,000 feet, and (useful for the purposes of this thread) be able to tell with certainty that there are 2 adjacent creatures (assuming that there are). This is raw physics, and says nothing about contrast, atmospheric interference, or quality of eyesight. Those factors are all going to bring the number down. A good enough estimation would be 5,000 feet to be able to say "I can see a medium creature". Now, that would be "if you're looking for it", and it would be tough and take time, so if we use take 20, we're looking at a -1 penalty per 500 feet (I'm assuming that the generic observer just takes 10). This is useful, since we can note that this is "coarse detail" and is for objects 50 times as large as "fine detail" (-1 per 10 feet) which we can then estimate at around 1 inch. An eye, say, to differentiate an elf from a human. So, identifying the foot-high number on the back of a sportsman's jersey would be a -1 per 120 feet penalty, which should be doable anywhere in a stadium.

The -1 per 10 feet penalty applies when noticing a creature you were not previously aware of, using all of your senses, and allows you collect fine detail. But for simple "seeing a humanoid at a distance less than 5,000 feet with clear line of sight", you'd need to change the numbers quite a bit.


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thejeff wrote:

The problem with that approach is that as soon as minimal distance for most of these things comes into play, not-obvious turns into impossible.

That battle going on up the road? That DC starts at -10, so assuming I've got a 10 perception, it's obvious 300' away (ie, Take 10 notices it.) 110' farther away, I can't make the check. Take 20 won't find it.
That's a very unintuitive result.

And there's a similar, but less discussed, issue at the other end. I can distinguish the Jack of Spades from the Jack of Clubs fairly easily at one foot. I can make out the individual letters on a newspaper at a similar range. Let's assume that my target number for those tasks is a 2 (if you make the target number any lower, then things just get worse).

This means that my target number for those things at 80 feet is a ten. That's right, I can read the newspaper -- not just the headlines, mind you, but the articles -- that is lying folded up on my neighbor's lawn across the street. I can even take ten on that task, so I can do it automatically. If I am willing to take 20, I can read a newspaper 180 feet away. If the second baseman were to pull a lucky playing card out of his pocket, I could tell you which card it was from my seat at the center field wall.


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Orfamay Quest wrote:
Leandro Garvel wrote:
Orfamay Quest, the idea of a logarithmic penalty for distance is excellent! I may just have to steal that for my games, so ta :)

You're welcome, although I hasten to point out that Loren mentioned it first. If you're going to use it, I'd recommend raising the penalty (-2 per increment) as a -1 per increment probably goes too far in the other direction, and people on Montparnasse could not only see you as an individual person standing on the Eiffel Tower, but they could see whether or not you had your shirt properly tucked in.

One way to scale it is that a distance penalty of -20 goes from "can't miss seeing it" to "almost can't see it at all." A penalty of -10 goes from "50/50" to "almost can't see it at all."

A person with "normal" vision can see objects approximately one-tenth the size a person at the edge of "legally blind" can, which we can roughly approximate as "can't actually see." So the difference between 10 and 100 feet, for example, should be roughly a -10 penalty. The -2 penalty per increment captures that nicely.

I like this solution as that squares more reasonably with distances. However, its still not clear what passing a perception check gives you. To use the baseball example: When can you read the name on a jersey? Is this just a case of beating the DC by 4 (small size hide modifier)? Or is there some threshold where "can see a thing" becomes "can see something."

On the other hand, the new rule does not really work for sound. Since sound falls off with the square of the distance, its weird that a creature with +0 perception can comfortably have a conversation at 100ft.

Pathfinder really needs a mechanic for "notice that a stimulus exists" and "notice details about said stimulus."


Kazaan wrote:
Again, "fine detail" is a floating point that is highly subjective; it would add several pages to the rulebook, pages that can easily be substituted with a modicum of common sense, to procedurally define what constitutes "fine detail" and what doesn't.

I tend to agree.

Kazaan wrote:
But I'll give some cliff-notes here. Hearing the sound of battle as a perception check isn't an absolute case. You don't need to make a DC check to hear the sound of battle when you're in battle; the sound is all around you and impossible to miss. That isn't a "DC 0 check", it's a "DC -- check". This is analogous to the difference between a caster who can cast 0 spells at a given level vs -- spells at a given level. But if you're in a noisy countryside tavern, enjoying a drink, a fight going on up the road would be a fine detail. At a certain point, there's a threshold between you being close enough, and the ambient noise being low enough, that the sound of battle transitions from being "fine detail" to "obvious", but getting it down to the exact square is not significantly important. The GM can just decide circumstantially which category it falls into.

The problem is that you have just left the rules. You are now applying house rules. Common sense, yes, but you are no longer following the rules, because we have rules for covering that exact thing.

If the rules weren't meant to cover the thing, they wouldn't exist.

You are hinging your argument on the word "fine detail" which, while used in the text, is liberally blended with "very obvious thing" at the same time - the latter of which has several examples given in-text as the "Detail" that you can notice with a given DC.

Kazaan wrote:
Seeing a visible person standing right in front of you is obvious, not fine detail. But noticing them in a crowd is a fine detail and the crowd would impart unfavorable conditions (or terrible, if crowded enough) upon the check. Noticing them a good distance away would be a fine detail, but, again, at a certain distance threshold and also a certain environmental threshold, it can shift between being "obvious" and "fine detail". Even the rules for perception state that all the base DCs and modifiers given are "guidelines". But that doesn't change the fact that seeing something obvious requires no perception check.

Please cite the source of your last sentence.

Otherwise, you're making House Rules - which is fine, but it's an important thing to clarify.

Point in fact, however, while the description says "fine detail" the actual mechanics do not agree. Noticing a stealthing person isn't noticing "fine detail" - it's noticing a person using stealth.

If "notice fine detail" is, in fact, a mechanical element, than "hear the sound of battle" is just as relevant, mechanically - that means that, unless I make a DC -15 Perception check (which, really, is an automatic-success for anyone without something really weird going on), I can't actually "hear the sound of battle" - it doesn't matter about anything else.

Note that the "Detail" is "hear the sound of battle" - not "hear something within the sound of battle".

Beyond that, having a Perception DC for that thing is useful - it allows you to run "How far away can I be before I noticed the sound of a battle over there?" - which, according to the rules, means if a battle is 150 feet away, it's just as obvious as a visible person. If it's 300 feet away, I'd need a DC 15 Perception check to notice.

This is the actual example given. The "Guideline" as you point out - i.e. the general rule, principle, or piece of advice.

Ignoring this part of the text means that literally any part of the text can be ignored with equal validity, and is thus grounds for really weird things.

Kazaan wrote:
Now, if you really wanted to hammer out how close you need to get, on a clear, normal light day, before the guy standing in the road goes from being a DC 0 + modifiers check to "obvious", I'd say that depends on the character, but base it on the spot where a take-10 perception check on their part would exactly equal the DC (with distance modifiers. So, if 10 + perception bonus for that character is 18, that accounts for a DC 0 check + 18 worth of distance modifiers (we're assuming that distance is the only confounding factor) which means that this character needs a perception check to notice the guy standing in the road out past 180 feet, but closer than that, it becomes obvious, rather than fine detail. This, of course, presumes that they are attentive while walking; if they are reading a book or talking on their cell phone, you might presume a lower DC or even that they could not succeed if they are completely oblivious to their surroundings.

But your own argument undermines your previous argument of "fine detail" - the guy standing there isn't a "fine detail" of anything. It's actually really obvious.

Kazaan wrote:
I said it before and I'll say it again, the rule book should not try to "define" the threshold between "obvious" and "fine detail" because there are so many subjective factors, it would do nothing but add tedium to the game. Use your common sense to decide when the moon in the sky is an obvious sight and when it's obscured, by various factors, to the point where it would take a perception check to notice whether or not it's visible or where it might be hiding. I already gave examples of considerations.

So did I. The difference is that I'm actually giving examples from the text, and you're actively leaving the rules, removing them from the gameplay itself.

This is the point: the rules are actually pretty awesome, and model a reality for themselves fairly well; but they also come with problems from over-adherence in certain regards, and, further, some of them can (and probably should) be tweaked or altered for a more comprehensible and consistent setting.

The rules are there to facilitate gameplay, and (secondarily) to model a world. Just be aware of what you're modeling and how when trying to do so from a strict game-rule perspective.

(And also the problems with trying to use specific words within the text when, comparing them to the rest of the rules in which said words appear, those words disagree with most uses of their own concept. Also English.)

EDIT: Man, was I ninja'd. Kids'll do that... :D


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Chemlak wrote:
For the record, the human eye can (theoretically) resolve a 5' object at 20,000 feet. It'll basically be a dot at that range. It's pretty linear, so resolving a pair of legs at the bottom could be done at around 10,000 feet, and (useful for the purposes of this thread) be able to tell with certainty that there are 2 adjacent creatures (assuming that there are). This is raw physics, and says nothing about contrast, atmospheric interference, or quality of eyesight. Those factors are all going to bring the number down. A good enough estimation would be 5,000 feet to be able to say "I can see a medium creature". Now, that would be "if you're looking for it", and it would be tough and take time, so if we use take 20, we're looking at a -1 penalty per 500 feet (I'm assuming that the generic observer just takes 10).

No, we're not. One of the major issues with this (and with the Pathfinder rules) is that resolution is NOT linear, but logarithmic.

If the human eye can resolve a 5' object at 20,000 feet, it can resolve a 2.5' object at 10,000 feet, and a 1.25' object at 5,000 feet. This follows immediately from the various properties of similar triangles; every light-sensitive dot covers a particular specific angle within the cone of vision.

The practical difference between a building one mile away and a similar building one and and a quarter miles away is almost none; those buildings would be nearly the same size (technically, the more distant one would be 80% of the size of the closer one, optically speaking, not enough to matter much). And, of course, the -1 per 500 foot rule would be ridiculous when applied to small, close objects -- anything I can see clearly in my hand I would be able to see equally clearly at the far end of a football field (about 350 feet away).


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Knight Magenta wrote:
I like this solution as that squares more reasonably with distances. However, its still not clear what passing a perception check gives you. To use the baseball example: When can you read the name on a jersey? Is this just a case of beating the DC by 4 (small size hide modifier)? Or is there some threshold where "can see a thing" becomes "can see something."

Well, we are so far into house rule territory at this point that I probably should have brought a picnic lunch, or at least a canteen. There's no way I can offer a RAW answer to that question, as I'm sure you understand.

I would rule it as "the name on the jersey is a Small object" (except around here, I think they would be Tiny), so you need to see a Small object, e.g. the DC goes up by four. If your Perception is better than mine, you will see more details on a similar die roll, but that's to be expected if your vision is better than mine.


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Yes, logarithmic perception modifiers makes the most sense.

totally ninja'd idea:
-1 per 10 feet is an obvious simplification. I think a more 'realistic' factor would be -2 at 5 feet, -2 for every doubling. So:

0 feet: +0
5 feet: -2
10 ft: -4
20 ft: -6
40 ft: -8
80 ft: -10
160 ft: -12 [Penalty lower than current system, here and below]
320 ft: -14
640 ft: -16
Sun ft: -82

Any system with linear skills will have flaws, since vision is more of a multiplier effect. Turning it logarithmic (like the above) makes a bit more sense. With this, someone with a modifier 2 higher sees the same at twice the distance.


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-4 per 4 feet of size
+1 per 10 feet of distance

surface area of the sun 6,088,000,000,000 in square km
one square km = 1.08 (rounding) square feet

sun = 6,575,040,000,000 square feet

+1,643,760,000,000 perception modifier for sun

Now distance from earth = 92,960,000 miles * 5280 feet = 490,828,800,000 feet from earth

divide by 10 for perception modifier = - 49,082,880,000

The sun has a +1,152,937,120,000 circumstance bonus to see it due to it's size.

Works within the rules.


Ckorik wrote:
-4 per 4 feet of size

Sorry, I'm probably blind. Where is this? That is a very interesting thing I've not seen previously as a RAW argument. (I'm also on my phone, so I'm not as easily able to look up links at present.)


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Tacticslion wrote:
Ckorik wrote:
-4 per 4 feet of size
Sorry, I'm probably blind. Where is this? That is a very interesting thing I've not seen previously as a RAW argument. (I'm also on my phone, so I'm not as easily able to look up links at present.)

http://paizo.com/pathfinderRPG/prd/monsters/monsterAdvancement.html

Every 4 feet a creature gains in size it has a -4 to stealth - This is essentially the rule that covers how something is easier to see when it's really big - I just applied it to the sun as if it were a creature.

*edit* linkified it - sorry you did say on your phone - my bad

Silver Crusade RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

So, again, I'm not gonna tell anyone to knock it off with the math stuff if you enjoy making the calculations. But...

I feel like the game system's granularity of DC does some weird stuff in blurring the line between simulation and simulationist game. For instance, all the examples that people are providing are about mapping Pathfinder rules onto real, physical world objects and scenarios. But they're supposed to be game rules. When it comes to these Perception DC's, personally I think the most important question isn't "Can I model my ability to see a lighthouse?" Rather, I think the more important thing is "Is it interesting for a character to have a chance to fail or display their skill in this moment? If so, how hard is it, given the chance mechanic in this game?"

And again, to be clear, I think most people get that. I think the questions about how to model Perception checks in real life, either in a way to account for them or to show how they fail, can be interesting, but again I'd like to steer the discussion in a different direction.

Namely:
Is there something about the Pathfinder rules that invites the criticism of its ability to model the real world, even though they're supposed to be game rules?
Does the game suffer or benefit from that criticism? (Does this depend on the type of player?)
Do you think a realistic (or at least more realistic) physical modeling of real world simulation would improve this or another RPG for you? (Personally, I'm inclined to say no, and to lighten the rules text on it and relegate that function to the narrative.)


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Ckorik wrote:
Tacticslion wrote:
Ckorik wrote:
-4 per 4 feet of size
Sorry, I'm probably blind. Where is this? That is a very interesting thing I've not seen previously as a RAW argument. (I'm also on my phone, so I'm not as easily able to look up links at present.)

http://paizo.com/pathfinderRPG/prd/monsters/monsterAdvancement.html

Every 4 feet a creature gains in size it has a -4 to stealth - This is essentially the rule that covers how something is easier to see when it's really big - I just applied it to the sun as if it were a creature.

*edit* linkified it - sorry you did say on your phone - my bad

Near as I can tell, that isn't in that page. The only references to stealth and size points to "Table: Size Bonuses and Penalties", which just covers the usual size categories and says nothing about extrapolating beyond them.

Nor are those size categories separated by 4'. Gargantuan is 32'-64' and Colossal is 64' plus, but their modifiers are -12 and -16 respectively.

The natural extrapolation from that table would be -4 for every doubling in size, not for every 4'.

Even if they were, those are height or length measurements, not area, so it would be appropriate to use the radius of the sun, not its surface area. That's a minor point though.


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mechaPoet wrote:

So, again, I'm not gonna tell anyone to knock it off with the math stuff if you enjoy making the calculations. But...

I feel like the game system's granularity of DC does some weird stuff in blurring the line between simulation and simulationist game. For instance, all the examples that people are providing are about mapping Pathfinder rules onto real, physical world objects and scenarios. But they're supposed to be game rules. When it comes to these Perception DC's, personally I think the most important question isn't "Can I model my ability to see a lighthouse?" Rather, I think the more important thing is "Is it interesting for a character to have a chance to fail or display their skill in this moment? If so, how hard is it, given the chance mechanic in this game?"[/b]

And again, to be clear, I think most people get that. I think the questions about how to model Perception checks in real life, either in a way to account for them or to show how they fail, can be interesting, but again I'd like to steer the discussion in a different direction.

Namely:
Is there something about the Pathfinder rules that invites the criticism of its ability to model the real world, even though they're supposed to be game rules?
Does the game suffer or benefit from that criticism? (Does this depend on the type of player?)
Do you think a realistic (or at least more realistic) physical modeling of real world simulation would improve this or another RPG for you? (Personally, I'm inclined to say no, and to lighten the rules text on it and relegate that function to the narrative.)

Not in my case - it was just a silly exercise to see if the math would indeed work - I think it does. I'm sick today so this was a minor diversion from feeling miserable in general... :P


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Orfamay Quest wrote:
Long baseball analogy

Even if someone wanted to argue that all the players were still close enough to be "obvious," what about the ball?

In the Pathfinderverse, nobody has any idea where the ball is, including most of the players.


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thejeff wrote:

Near as I can tell, that isn't in that page. The only references to stealth and size points to "Table: Size Bonuses and Penalties", which just covers the usual size categories and says nothing about extrapolating beyond them.

Nor are those size categories separated by 4'. Gargantuan is 32'-64' and Colossal is 64' plus, but their modifiers are -12 and -16 respectively.

The natural extrapolation from that table would be -4 for every doubling in size, not for every 4'.

Even if they were, those are height or length measurements, not area, so it would be appropriate to use the radius of the sun, not its surface area. That's a minor point though.

Sure - but the size of the sun is given in square feet - which implies (but I'm too lazy to do the math) that it's actual size is double what I listed in feet. To be sure I took some shortcuts but just because the rules stop at a given size doesn't mean we can't extrapolate. My point was due to the size of the sun (1.3 million earths can fit in the sun) anything we use perception for to determine the modifier must take this into account.

Trying to say the distance factors but the size doesn't seems silly - then again the entire thread is a bit tongue in cheek anyway :)


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mechaPoet wrote:

So, again, I'm not gonna tell anyone to knock it off with the math stuff if you enjoy making the calculations. But...

I feel like the game system's granularity of DC does some weird stuff in blurring the line between simulation and simulationist game. For instance, all the examples that people are providing are about mapping Pathfinder rules onto real, physical world objects and scenarios. But they're supposed to be game rules. When it comes to these Perception DC's, personally I think the most important question isn't "Can I model my ability to see a lighthouse?" Rather, I think the more important thing is "Is it interesting for a character to have a chance to fail or display their skill in this moment? If so, how hard is it, given the chance mechanic in this game?"[/b]

And again, to be clear, I think most people get that. I think the questions about how to model Perception checks in real life, either in a way to account for them or to show how they fail, can be interesting, but again I'd like to steer the discussion in a different direction.

Namely:
Is there something about the Pathfinder rules that invites the criticism of its ability to model the real world, even though they're supposed to be game rules?
Does the game suffer or benefit from that criticism? (Does this depend on the type of player?)
Do you think a realistic (or at least more realistic) physical modeling of real world simulation would improve this or another RPG for you? (Personally, I'm inclined to say no, and to lighten the rules text on it and relegate that function to the narrative.)

Honestly, getting away from the absurd examples like the sun and attempting to apply the basic perception mechanic to any kind of distance perception in the game leads directly into this kind of weirdness.

Whatever kind of thing you're trying to detect at a great distance and whatever you use to modify the base DC, the -1/10' mechanic leads to a very narrow range between "Thing is completely obvious (Take 1 succeeds)" and "Thing can't be detected (Take 20 fails)". A 200' distance, in fact.
That's fine in a typical dungeon setting where things just aren't that far apart, but fails completely for things you should be able to see for miles, because there's this narrow window between "Can't see" and "Can't miss".


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mechaPoet wrote:


Is there something about the Pathfinder rules that invites the criticism of its ability to model the real world, even though they're supposed to be game rules?

Yes. Characters are strongly limited in their ability to perceive objects at what would be considered moderate distances in the real world.

Quote:


Does the game suffer or benefit from that criticism? (Does this depend on the type of player?)

I believe the game suffers from that criticism. It limits, for example, the ability of skirmishers. You can't spot something "a long way off" and have a reasonable chance of responding to it with anything more complex than "we scream and charge" (such as the ability to attack a keep from two directions at once, or to prepare an ambush for a caravan spotted a mile away.)

I'm a firm believer that anything that significantly and unnecessarily restricts player options is generally not a good thing, and I don't think that depends upon the player type. If you don't want to take an option, it's still a good thing to have it available.

Quote:


Do you think a realistic (or at least more realistic) physical modeling of real world simulation would improve this or another RPG for you?

Yes, especially since the fix would be trivial.


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Ckorik wrote:
thejeff wrote:

Near as I can tell, that isn't in that page. The only references to stealth and size points to "Table: Size Bonuses and Penalties", which just covers the usual size categories and says nothing about extrapolating beyond them.

Nor are those size categories separated by 4'. Gargantuan is 32'-64' and Colossal is 64' plus, but their modifiers are -12 and -16 respectively.

The natural extrapolation from that table would be -4 for every doubling in size, not for every 4'.

Even if they were, those are height or length measurements, not area, so it would be appropriate to use the radius of the sun, not its surface area. That's a minor point though.

Sure - but the size of the sun is given in square feet - which implies (but I'm too lazy to do the math) that it's actual size is double what I listed in feet. To be sure I took some shortcuts but just because the rules stop at a given size doesn't mean we can't extrapolate. My point was due to the size of the sun (1.3 million earths can fit in the sun) anything we use perception for to determine the modifier must take this into account.

Trying to say the distance factors but the size doesn't seems silly - then again the entire thread is a bit tongue in cheek anyway :)

It is a bit reductio absurdem, though I think there are valid issues there.

That said, the diameter of the sun would be closer to the square root of the surface area or, since I can just look it up: 865,373.7 mi. I'm not at all sure what you meant by "actual size", but there's nothing reasonable that would be double the surface area.

The real problem though is that extrapolating from the given penalties leads to -4 for every doubling of size, not for for every 4'. That leads to something in the neighborhood of -120 to the Sun's Stealth.


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Ckorik wrote:


Sure - but the size of the sun is given in square feet - which implies (but I'm too lazy to do the math) that it's actual size is double what I listed in feet. To be sure I took some shortcuts but just because the rules stop at a given size doesn't mean we can't extrapolate. My point was due to the size of the sun (1.3 million earths can fit in the sun) anything we use perception for to determine the modifier must take this into account.

Trying to say the distance factors but the size doesn't seems silly - then again the entire thread is a bit tongue in cheek anyway :)

But that's not what people are saying.

The size definitely factors in, but not in proportion to area. At best, it's in proportion to height or length. If you redo the calculations based on the sun's radius, you'll see that the distance effects dominate the size effects.

The sun's radius is roughly 440 M-for-million feet, so call it 100 million squares. If you assume (following the table) that each additional square of radius subtracts 4 to the difficulty of seeing, you'll see that the DC to see the Sun is about negative 100 million.

The sun, however, is about 500 B-for-billion feet away, for a total penalty to see of fifty billion.

And the billions, in this case, win.


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thejeff wrote:

It is a bit reductio absurdem, though I think there are valid issues there.

That said, the diameter of the sun would be closer to the square root of the surface area or, since I can just look it up: 865,373.7 mi. I'm not at all sure what you meant by "actual size", but there's nothing reasonable that would be double the surface area.

The real problem though is that extrapolating from the given penalties leads to -4 for every doubling of size, not for for every 4'. That leads to something in the neighborhood of -120 to the Sun's Stealth.

Yeah I started at diameter - but creatures are not given penalties due to the part we can see - so I figured the surface area was a better measurement, which is what I used.

For those curious if we just calculate it based on the sun being a circle - there is no chance to see the sun at all. Surface area though gives us enough of a bonus that you could reasonable apply many factors into the equation and still come out as 'can see by default' - although if you were really willing to dig into the larger math perhaps that may not be true, I was unwilling. I think in general (especially using the -1 per 10 feet example) is just to use a simple +1 per 'x feet' of size.

To use a baseball example - I have very little depth perception in real life - I also can't follow a baseball well at all. This is why I played football (and a lineman at that) - easier to deal with. I wouldn't take it for granted that anyone can see a baseball being thrown - because it's not really that much a given as those of you who can see it think it is - as an aside it makes 3d movies and such unwatchable for me - so yeah.


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Orfamay Quest wrote:
Ckorik wrote:


Sure - but the size of the sun is given in square feet - which implies (but I'm too lazy to do the math) that it's actual size is double what I listed in feet. To be sure I took some shortcuts but just because the rules stop at a given size doesn't mean we can't extrapolate. My point was due to the size of the sun (1.3 million earths can fit in the sun) anything we use perception for to determine the modifier must take this into account.

Trying to say the distance factors but the size doesn't seems silly - then again the entire thread is a bit tongue in cheek anyway :)

But that's not what people are saying.

The size definitely factors in, but not in proportion to area. At best, it's in proportion to height or length. If you redo the calculations based on the sun's radius, you'll see that the distance effects dominate the size effects.

The sun's radius is roughly 440 M-for-million feet, so call it 100 million squares. If you assume (following the table) that each additional square of radius subtracts 4 to the difficulty of seeing, you'll see that the DC to see the Sun is about negative 100 million.

The sun, however, is about 500 B-for-billion feet away, for a total penalty to see of fifty billion.

And the billions, in this case, win.

And that's with a bad extrapolation from the table. You don't get a -4 for every square of a creature's size, but for every doubling of that size.

Still, I agree that arguing about the sun is largely pointless. It's easy enough to handwave it as "obvious". Light source or not a fine detail or something.

How far away can I spot a flying colossal dragon? That's more likely to effectively come up in game.


EDIT: Weeeeeeeeellllllllllll ninja'd. This was (as I hope is obvious) a response to mechaPoet. I will add, however, that the reason for bringing things up and using math is so that there is a basis for showing the idea of the failure of rules does, in fact, exist in the first place. It's a method of defending the premise, as it were, rather than showing why everything sucks.

The problem with the questions is that it presupposes that the criticism comes from a vacuum (i.e. that it is made for it's own sake).

While that can happen (and can be valid), it's rare (in my experience) that such things are mentioned on their own.

That said, in an attempt to engage the direction you're aiming for...

mechaPoet wrote:
Is there something about the Pathfinder rules that invites the criticism of its ability to model the real world, even though they're supposed to be game rules?

Yes.

The game never claims to model a reality perfectly, but much of the attraction (for many) to a system as granular as PF comes from the fact that the granularity matters - in other words, that granularity is important to the story, because it's the method by which a character interacts with the world at large.

If you refute the connection to the game world's reality, for many that openly invites the question, "Why not use a different system?"

Pathfinder is a fun system, and it's complexity and granularity can do a lot of things - and it's been shown time and again that it can functionally model (to limited extents) a reality when taken in its own rules.

To take a real-world example, Newtonian Physics is great, and gives us a fairly accurate model of reality - and it's kind of simple.

Relativity models reality even better, and is (in some ways) even more simple... but if we're talking about things near to the size of how we normally do stuff, Newtonian Physics is often easier to handle.

The problems arise when you start to apply Newtonian physics to really big or really small things - it starts to break down.

Instead, it's important to realize the limits of what a system can and cannot do, and use the process of discourse and thought to create something that works best for your particular interests and table.

mechaPoet wrote:
Does the game suffer or benefit from that criticism? (Does this depend on the type of player?)

All three.

The game suffers when that criticism pokes holes in a given player's ability to enjoy the game.

The game benefits when a table, community, or individual finds a failed new enlightenment within a recognition of the failure of the internally consistent model of reality that the Pathfinder system entails and then uses that to either reevaluate how they use the rules, or alter the RAW to function better for their own gaming experience.

In a broader sense, this is, in general, a reason for discussion boards, like Paizo, in the first place - to be exposed to the ideas and concepts from others (whether they be developers of the games you play, or fellows who agree or disagree with her).

mechaPoet wrote:
Do you think a realistic (or at least more realistic) physical modeling of real world simulation would improve this or another RPG for you? (Personally, I'm inclined to say no, and to lighten the rules text on it and relegate that function to the narrative.)

Again, the answer is both, "Yes and no."

It's not that modelling physics is important (though it can be), but rather that it's important to have a self-consistent world for many players, as that strengthens the narrative of the story itself.


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I don't know the math vs. not the math. Here's my thing on why 'noticing the sun' matters, and why I think in the rules a gelatinous cube falls prone.

Scenario

A traveler on a grassy plain, sunny day. A half-orc rogue, using a potion of fly, a pair of greater sniper's goggles, and a longbow, wants to sneak attack the traveler. How to do so with the tools at hand?

You can't use Stealth, because there's no cover. You can't really surprise the traveler, because let's say he's wary of strangers. The rogue does not have a source of invisibility.

Sub-scenario 1

The traveler looks up at the sun and is instantly blinded. The sun is very hard to miss. The rogue knows this, and flies between the traveler and the sun, and so is always invisible to the traveler. Sure, the rogue's shadow passes across the traveler's eyes, but the traveler is still blind if the rogue is far enough away. Thus, the rogue is a death machine.

Sub-scenario 2

The traveler looks up at the sun and fails to notice it, because of goofy rules involving distance and Perception. Because the traveler cannot see the sun, the only source of light, the traveler is thus sightless. The half-orc gets to within 60 ft. of the traveler and sneak attacks at will.

Either the sun isn't obvious and is therefore not there to protect the traveler, or the sun would blind you if you looked at it (which then provides a source of invisibility for the rogue). Except that 'blinding yourself by looking at the sun' is not listed as a hazard anywhere in the Pathfinder rules.

QED: A gelatinous cube falls prone.

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Orfamay Quest wrote:
Quote:


Do you think a realistic (or at least more realistic) physical modeling of real world simulation would improve this or another RPG for you?
Yes, especially since the fix would be trivial.

Would it be trivial? I have a hard time imagining a rules system that would attempt to more accurately model the physical world in terms of light, distance, and perception (lower case) that wouldn't involve a lot of advanced math, either on the part of the player or the designer. Or do you think it could be done by just adjusting the numbers in Pathfinder's current system, for instance? I'm not disagreeing with you, for the record, I'm just interested in why you think it would be so easy, when that's the opposite of my gut reaction.


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thejeff wrote:


The real problem though is that extrapolating from the given penalties leads to -4 for every doubling of size, not for for every 4'. That leads to something in the neighborhood of -120 to the Sun's Stealth.

Even if you say that every 4' of radius, the sun is still invisible by Pathfinder rules. Remember that the Sun as seen from earth is actually quite small -- it's comparable to to a quarter held at arms' length. The problem is that the linear distance penalty is too harsh, and it shows up more notably the longer the distance.

By itself, this would be an interesting stupidity, like the fact that the 'dead' condition doesn't prevent you from taking actions. But it has in-game consequences.

For example, a heavy catapult has a range increment of 200 ft, so it can actually hit things at ten range increments or 2000 feet. There's a some penalties involved, but they're not onerous, especially if you're just throwing incendiaries at a wooden roof. Hitting with the catapult is fairly easy with a skilled crew.

Hitting the catapult itself is more problematic. As the defender, can you even see the catapult as it's being set up?

By RAW, no. Let's set it up at half its effective range (1000 feet). A heavy catapult is a Gargantuan object, so it has a DC of about -12 to see it -- that is, you need to make a perception check of DC -12 to see an uncamouflaged catapult within ten feet of you.

At 1000 feet, your vision penalty is -100, meaning you need to make a DC 88 Perception roll to see the crew setting up a Gargantuan siege engine a fifth of a mile away -- otherwise, the first you'll know that there's a siege engine out there is when the rocks, cows, and barrels of oil start raining down on the inside of your keep.

Things, of course, would be even worse if I have someone actually camouflage the infernal device.

Effectively, this codifies and enforces an unnecessary video game trope, the idea of artillery at arm's length, and that you can't really have encounters at a greater range than you can run or fire an arrow.


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mechaPoet wrote:
Orfamay Quest wrote:
Quote:


Do you think a realistic (or at least more realistic) physical modeling of real world simulation would improve this or another RPG for you?
Yes, especially since the fix would be trivial.

Would it be trivial? I have a hard time imagining a rules system that would attempt to more accurately model the physical world in terms of light, distance, and perception (lower case) that wouldn't involve a lot of advanced math, either on the part of the player or the designer. Or do you think it could be done by just adjusting the numbers in Pathfinder's current system, for instance? I'm not disagreeing with you, for the record, I'm just interested in why you think it would be so easy, when that's the opposite of my gut reaction.

I think it's easy because it's been done already on this thread. Take a -2 penalty if the object is ten or more feet away, and an additional -2 for every successive doubling of the distance. If that's too much math for you, anything tens of feet away is a -5, anything hundreds of feet away is a -10, anything thousands of feet away (miles) is a -15, and so on.


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Orfamay Quest wrote:
thejeff wrote:


The real problem though is that extrapolating from the given penalties leads to -4 for every doubling of size, not for for every 4'. That leads to something in the neighborhood of -120 to the Sun's Stealth.

Even if you say that every 4' of radius, the sun is still invisible by Pathfinder rules. Remember that the Sun as seen from earth is actually quite small -- it's comparable to ta quarter held at arms' length. The problem is that the linear distance penalty is too harsh, and it shows up more notably the longer the distance.

By itself, this would be an interesting stupidity, like the fact that the 'dead' condition doesn't prevent you from taking actions. But it has in-game consequences.

For example, a heavy catapult has a range increment of 200 ft, so it can actually hit things at ten range increments or 2000 feet. There's a some penalties involved, but they're not onerous, especially if you're just throwing incendiaries at a wooden roof. Hitting with the catapult is fairly easy with a skilled crew.

But, as the defender, can even see the catapult as it's being set up?

By RAW, no. Let's set it up at half its effective range (1000 feet). A heavy catapult is a Gargantuan object, so it has a DC of about -12 to see it -- that is, you need to make a perception check of DC -12 to see an uncamouflaged catapult within ten feet of you.

At 1000 feet, your vision penalty is -100, meaning you need to make a DC 88 Perception roll to see the crew setting up a Gargantuan siege engine a fifth of a mile away -- otherwise, the first you'll know that there's a siege engine out there is when the rocks, cows, and barrels of oil start raining down on the inside of your keep.

Things, of course, would be even worse if I have someone actually camouflage the infernal device.

It's actually worse than that conceptually.

The guy manning the catapult is likely to be able to target and hit things he can't even see.
He needs a DC 100 check to see the guy on the wall, but only has a -10 penalty to hit him.


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thejeff wrote:

It's actually worse than that conceptually.

The guy manning the catapult is likely to be able to target and hit things he can't even see.

<Shrug> Indirect fire, using artillery spotters. In the real world, we've been able to do that for hundreds if not thousands of years. He's really only aiming at a location, the same way modern artillery units aim at particular grid coordinates. There's a guy closer to the actual action who is noticing where stuff hits and telling you "longer" "shorter" "more to the left" "yup, right there!"


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thejeff wrote:
Orfamay Quest wrote:
thejeff wrote:


The real problem though is that extrapolating from the given penalties leads to -4 for every doubling of size, not for for every 4'. That leads to something in the neighborhood of -120 to the Sun's Stealth.

Even if you say that every 4' of radius, the sun is still invisible by Pathfinder rules. Remember that the Sun as seen from earth is actually quite small -- it's comparable to ta quarter held at arms' length. The problem is that the linear distance penalty is too harsh, and it shows up more notably the longer the distance.

By itself, this would be an interesting stupidity, like the fact that the 'dead' condition doesn't prevent you from taking actions. But it has in-game consequences.

For example, a heavy catapult has a range increment of 200 ft, so it can actually hit things at ten range increments or 2000 feet. There's a some penalties involved, but they're not onerous, especially if you're just throwing incendiaries at a wooden roof. Hitting with the catapult is fairly easy with a skilled crew.

But, as the defender, can even see the catapult as it's being set up?

By RAW, no. Let's set it up at half its effective range (1000 feet). A heavy catapult is a Gargantuan object, so it has a DC of about -12 to see it -- that is, you need to make a perception check of DC -12 to see an uncamouflaged catapult within ten feet of you.

At 1000 feet, your vision penalty is -100, meaning you need to make a DC 88 Perception roll to see the crew setting up a Gargantuan siege engine a fifth of a mile away -- otherwise, the first you'll know that there's a siege engine out there is when the rocks, cows, and barrels of oil start raining down on the inside of your keep.

Things, of course, would be even worse if I have someone actually camouflage the infernal device.

It's actually worse than that conceptually.

The guy manning the catapult is likely to be able to target and hit things he can't even see.
He needs...

Isn't that very much like what happened in real life? The guys with a trebuchet (max range in real life around 900 feet) pretty much could pelt a castle all day without fear of retaliation, except by other trebuchets firing back, which required spotters and adjustments to set range and such.


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Orfamay Quest wrote:
thejeff wrote:

It's actually worse than that conceptually.

The guy manning the catapult is likely to be able to target and hit things he can't even see.
<Shrug> Indirect fire, using artillery spotters. In the real world, we've been able to do that for hundreds if not thousands of years. He's really only aiming at a location, the same way modern artillery units aim at particular grid coordinates. There's a guy closer to the actual action who is noticing where stuff hits and telling you "longer" "shorter" "more to the left" "yup, right there!"

Sure, but you don't need him.

Even with a longbow: Range increment 110' (for a composite). -2 penalty to hit for every range increment. -11 Perception penalty.

You can easily hit someone 500' away, but you're at a -50 to see him. Unless we decide that anyone 500' away is obvious and doesn't need a Perception check.


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Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

Ultimately, the fix is even more trivial when you realize that you shouldn't be making someone roll to spot a siege engine being assembled out in the open. That's not really a fine detail nor a situation in which the outcome should be in question and subject to a roll. Save that sort of thing for when you're asking for genuine fine details like trying to spot whose livery the crew or crew leader is wearing.

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Let me turn the question around again, by once more emphasizing the game narrative impact of these rules.

Below I've listed the sort of Perception/Sense Motive combo move from the game Dungeon World. When you roll the dice in that game, you can get a success, partial success, or failure, and I've removed the specific numbers to focus on the concept. How would people feel about rules like this, which are focused on giving narrative information instead of determining the numerical penalty to see something far away? (Also, a note: only the players roll dice in DW - there aren't opposed rolls)

Dungeon World "Discern Realities" Move wrote:

When you closely study a situation or person, roll+Wis. ✴On a major success, ask the GM 3 questions from the list below. ✴On a partial success, ask 1.

...

What happened here recently?
What is about to happen?
What should I be on the lookout for?
What here is useful or valuable to me?
Who’s really in control here?
What here is not what it appears to be?


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Ckorik wrote:
Isn't that very much like what happened in real life? The guys with a trebuchet (max range in real life around 900 feet) pretty much could pelt a castle all day without fear of retaliation, except by other trebuchets firing back, which required spotters and adjustments to set range and such.

Not really.

Yes, trebuchets were typically set up out of the range of hand-held weapons. You couldn't throw a rock off a castle wall and hit a trebuchet. But that's a function of weapon range, not visibility. Everyone in the castle knew exactly where the trebuchet was, and one of the standard things (if you didn't have counter-battery fire available) would be to send a raiding party out to sneak past the lines and destroy the trebuchets.

Classic hero stuff, great for anyone running a castle defense scenario, and it actually showed up in at least one published AP.

.... but at least everyone knew where the damned thing was. It wasn't a scouting mission. "Sir Loin, we know that there's a -- " <crash, loud screaming> "--an enemy siege engine out there, because rocks keep falling on our heads. We know it's somewhere within two thousand feet of the castle, because that's the maximum range. But for some reason --" <crash, loud explosion, screaming> "-- as I said for some reason, no one in this universe can see the side of a building at more than about three hundred feet. So what we need from you, Sir Loin, is --" <crash, ominous silence> "-- is to go out through the sally port and figure out where the enemy battery is. Can you do that?"


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Bill Dunn wrote:
Ultimately, the fix is even more trivial when you realize that you shouldn't be making someone roll to spot a siege engine being assembled out in the open. That's not really a fine detail nor a situation in which the outcome should be in question and subject to a roll. Save that sort of thing for when you're asking for genuine fine details like trying to spot whose livery the crew or crew leader is wearing.

How about the longbowman?

Or the dragon in flight?


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Bill Dunn wrote:
Ultimately, the fix is even more trivial when you realize that you shouldn't be making someone roll to spot a siege engine being assembled out in the open.

... except that people assembled siege engines at night, when it was dark, or behind bushes, where they had camouflage. People weren't stupid.

The whole point of the Perception mechanism is to determine how well you can see something. I don't want you to see something, so I use an appropriate skill. You want to see something, so you use Perception. Then we both roll, and you subtract approximately 100 points from whatever you roll, and so the answer is automatically "no" and you don't see anything.

The problem isn't with the idea of fixed target numbers (roll a 16 to see the siege engine), or with the idea of opposed rolls (beat my Survival roll to see through the camouflage). The problem is just with the absurd penalties (beat my Survival roll after subtracting your telephone number, area code and all, from the number you rolled). Fixing the penalty system would fix 90% of the issues.


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He was immune to retaliation due to range reasons, not because they could not see him.

The logarithmic scale is great. The only other rule I would like to see is modifiers to size beyond colossal. For example, the pcs are in the middle of a desert and want to find a settlement. The nearest hamlet is 40 miles away. The PCs use a levitate spell to be able to see over the horizon. What is the perception DC to notice the hamlet?


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mechaPoet wrote:

Let me turn the question around again, by once more emphasizing the game narrative impact of these rules.

Below I've listed the sort of Perception/Sense Motive combo move from the game Dungeon World. When you roll the dice in that game, you can get a success, partial success, or failure, and I've removed the specific numbers to focus on the concept. How would people feel about rules like this, which are focused on giving narrative information instead of determining the numerical penalty to see something far away?

I'd be against. Pathfinder is a simulationist game, not a narrativist game, and for the most part it accurately reflects the idea that some things are harder than other things, that some people are more skilled than other people, that you as a player get to pick what your character is skilled at, and that highly skilled people can succeed at harder tasks than unskilled people.

So, focusing on the "what is about to happen?" question only, what is about to happen is that you are going to get ambushed by a fireball-throwing wizard, but the likelihood of success at an ambush depends both upon my skill at setting up an ambush, and also upon the external circumstances outside of our joint control. One of the things that is in my control is the range at which I ambush you, and I know (in the real world) that I'd be much harder to spot (and therefore both safer and more effective) if I were further away. (There's no reason for me to sneak up to within thirty feet of you if I'm going to use a fireball with a range measured in hundreds of yards.)

How would Dungeon World reflect the fact that some things are objectively more difficult to discern than other things?


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Has anyone brought up these items yet?

So you get a +6 to the check, and it's only a -19633152 penalty.


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hiiamtom wrote:

Has anyone brought up these items yet?

So you get a +6 to the check, and it's only a -19633152 penalty.

Not really, since those don't affect the basic math. Now I need only roll a 30 instead of a 65 to see the batter from the nosebleed seats.....

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Orfamay Quest wrote:
mechaPoet wrote:

Let me turn the question around again, by once more emphasizing the game narrative impact of these rules.

Below I've listed the sort of Perception/Sense Motive combo move from the game Dungeon World. When you roll the dice in that game, you can get a success, partial success, or failure, and I've removed the specific numbers to focus on the concept. How would people feel about rules like this, which are focused on giving narrative information instead of determining the numerical penalty to see something far away?

I'd be against. Pathfinder is a simulationist game, not a narrativist game, and for the most part it accurately reflects the idea that some things are harder than other things, that some people are more skilled than other people, that you as a player get to pick what your character is skilled at, and that highly skilled people can succeed at harder tasks than unskilled people.

So, focusing on the "what is about to happen?" question only, what is about to happen is that you are going to get ambushed by a fireball-throwing wizard, but the likelihood of success at an ambush depends both upon my skill at setting up an ambush, and also upon the external circumstances outside of our joint control. One of the things that is in my control is the range at which I ambush you, and I know (in the real world) that I'd be much harder to spot (and therefore both safer and more effective) if I were further away. (There's no reason for me to sneak up to within thirty feet of you if I'm going to use a fireball with a range measured in hundreds of yards.)

How would Dungeon World reflect the fact that some things are objectively more difficult to discern than other things?

Difficulty depends on the fiction, rather than numbers. Or rather, it functions on a principle of starting with the fiction to determine if game rules adjudication is needed for something, does it's rules thing, and then brings that results back down and applies it to the fiction. There are character stats as well as items and abilities that modify your roll.

For instance: how hard is it to spot an ambush? Well, if it's easy, no need to roll. But let's say they're hidden well enough that it's not obvious. If a player/character suspects something is up and starts looking around, they trigger the Discern Realities move. They ask a question or three (or, if they fail the roll, something bad happens), and the GM answers honestly. You could vary the difficulty by the detail of information provided. Maybe you see someone's weapon peeking out behind a corner, and it's pretty obvious. Or maybe you only get subtle hints, and it's harder to guess precisely what's going to happen.

And for instances where things are a certain level of difficult, rolls can't help. Are you being stalked by a white tiger in a blizzard? There's no big penalty to your roll to spot it - it's just too difficult, in the fiction, to see it.


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mechaPoet wrote:
Orfamay Quest wrote:


How would Dungeon World reflect the fact that some things are objectively more difficult to discern than other things?
Difficulty depends on the fiction, rather than numbers.

Which is to say, Dungeon World is a narrativist instead of simulationist game. Since I generally prefer simulationist games, this confirms my "I'd be agin" answer, but I'll go a little further down the rabbit hole....

Quote:


For instance: how hard is it to spot an ambush? Well, if it's easy, no need to roll. But let's say they're hidden well enough that it's not obvious. If a player/character suspects something is up and starts looking around, they trigger the Discern Realities move. They ask a question or three (or, if they fail the roll, something bad happens), and the GM answers honestly. You could vary the difficulty by the detail of information provided. Maybe you see someone's weapon peeking out behind a corner, and it's pretty obvious. Or maybe you only get subtle hints, and it's harder to guess precisely what's going to happen.

And for instances where things are a certain level of difficult, rolls can't help. Are you being stalked by a white tiger in a blizzard? There's no big penalty to your roll to spot it - it's just too difficult, in the fiction, to see it.

There are basically three things I object to in this approach, and they are all basically related to one of my hot button issues, that of player autonomy.

The first is that "if it's easy, no need to roll," but there's no actual rubric for what qualifies as "easy." Pathfinder provides one, both through the actual numbers, and also through the take 10 system. This basically turns into "well, you'll roll if I as the Game Master want you to roll." Similarly, if things are "impossible,..." well, there's a fine line between unlikely and impossible, and that's what things like natural 20s (or natural 1s) are for. I find that when Game Masters say that something is "impossible," they're often saying "I don't want you to take this approach to solving the problem," and they're not actually doing any sort of realistic probability assessment.

The second is that this approach doesn't actually allow for any sort of reasonable and consistent world. Just how skilled an archer is Lord Haversmith, my Robin Hood expy? Well, in Pathfinder, he's got a particular set of numbers to which I add a d20, which gives me a range of <this> to <that>, and so I can hit this kind of creature under these conditions exactly X% of the time.

In a more narrativist system, he's as good as the plot needs him to be, which means that he's as good as the GM wants him to be, irrespective of my own wishes as the player. If for some reason you insist that Baron Bleachbreath has to escape at the end of act I because you have a really cool scene planned for act III, well, it's just "impossible" to hit. That's not a realistic world.

The effect, then, (and the third thing) is that you have a game where everything explicitly runs at the whim of the game master. You don't know what the effects of your choices at character creation or in-game are going to be, and the entire table-top experience often degenerates into playing "Mother, may I" with the game master telling you what you are and are not allowed to do to get to the next station on the railroad narrative.

So, no, I'd be strongly against this approach. There's a reason I play Pathfinder; the reason is basically because Pathfinder is not the game you just described.

Silver Crusade RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32

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Much of your evaluation seems to be based on the interpretation of game rules that you don't actually know. The problems you list sound a lot more like problems with GMs who don't want to cede game-narrative power to their players. A game where the GM says "Rocks fall, everyone dies because that's what happens when rocks fall on people" and a game of Pathfinder where the GM says "Rocks fall, everyone dies because it does 100d6 damage" differ in system, but neither is any less "at the whim of the game master."

Perhaps I've oversimplified or not explained well. In any case, I think your assessment is inaccurate. It may not be to your taste, but I've provided the SRD link below if anyone wants to check it out.

Dungeon World SRD


To further add to the fun...

All sight is light that is reflected back at our eyes - and so you get these perception modifiers to these things - however light that is generated isn't reflected - it's actually emitting photons that travel to our retinas. Thus when viewing a candle (aprox max distance 1.26 miles before it's undetectable according to recent studies) it's not because it has a great perception modifier - it's because enough photons make it *to* us that allow us to see it.

The sun honestly isn't visible to the naked eye - I've seen pictures of the sun made by NASA - I can't see that even if I use a filter to protect my sight and look directly at the sun.

I do see the light. Which is actually traveling *at* me and so has a 0 perception modifier to see it - as the only light that I ever actually see arrived directly in my eyes at the time of seeing it (assuming looking directly at the sun). Of course any serious simulation that wants to take itself to a level of detail to work it out would *need* to account for the fact that photons from light sources are traveling directly into our eyes. I mean to say it's not like we can see a galaxy that's 1.5 billion light years away - but we can see the light that it emitted 1.5 billion years ago and thus 'see' it.

Also note - you can see a 747 in the air 5 miles up - however it's larger than the biggest creature in the game. Try seeing people on the ground from that high up with the naked eye. At night however you can pick out light sources (from say a car) - again because it's actually generating photons that meet us rather than relying on our eyes alone.


Funnily enough, the whole "each doubling of distance increases the DC by +X" works fine when you are dealing with light sources against a mostly dark backdrop. All you have to do is assign a base DC to the light source (whether it be a candle or a galaxy), and the distance modifiers will give you a fairly good approximate of reality. If you added a system of subtracting the DC of the background's lighting, then you could even take into account things like the stars being invisible during the day, or a creature using the sun to conceal it's presence by putting the sun behind it as it goes for the target. It would need a few extra rules to handle corner cases, but the system would be able to cover most of the things that come up in play pretty well.

I suddenly feel like we should try to come up with this system in the Homebrew forum, because it sounds so much more awesome than the current Pathfinder perception system.


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Orfamay Quest wrote:
hiiamtom wrote:

Has anyone brought up these items yet?

So you get a +6 to the check, and it's only a -19633152 penalty.

Not really, since those don't affect the basic math. Now I need only roll a 30 instead of a 65 to see the batter from the nosebleed seats.....

Actually if you read the description, it wasn't a straight +6 modifier. It also divided the DC by it's magnification. The table for magnification was much further away from the item's description than it should be, but here is the available telescopes:

Telescope (x10 magnification/+2)
Telescope (x50 magnification/+4)
Telescope (x250 magnification/+6)

So the +6 telescope, divides the DC by 250. Even with a DC of 65 (which I am assuming is 650'?) and just using the 10x telescope, that's a DC 6 or 7 (depending on whether the penalty should round up or down) and a +2 on Perception check - so in reality, you'd a roll of 4 or better (as long as you don't have a negative on your Perception skill).

The 50x make the DC so low that you'd need no skill ranks in Perception and a Wisdom score of 3 or lower to even fail - and that'd require a Nat 1 plus rounding the DC up (65 / 50 = 1.3 = DC 2 - +4 modifier = DC -2 vs Nat 1 - 4 Wis Mod = -3 perception).

The 250x mag can't even fail that DC 65 unless you had a Wisdom score below 0 which means you would be incapable of rational thought and unconscious, in which case it wouldn't matter.


You know, there's actually a flat earther who posts to YouTube, who, if I understood his bizarre ramblings correctly, believes that it is dark at night because the sun moves so far away it cannot be seen and cannot sufficiently illuminate the Earth.


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B.O.B.Johnson wrote:
Orfamay Quest wrote:
hiiamtom wrote:

Has anyone brought up these items yet?

So you get a +6 to the check, and it's only a -19633152 penalty.

Not really, since those don't affect the basic math. Now I need only roll a 30 instead of a 65 to see the batter from the nosebleed seats.....

Actually if you read the description, it wasn't a straight +6 modifier. It also divided the DC by it's magnification. The table for magnification was much further away from the item's description than it should be, but here is the available telescopes:

Telescope (x10 magnification/+2)
Telescope (x50 magnification/+4)
Telescope (x250 magnification/+6)

So the +6 telescope, divides the DC by 250. Even with a DC of 65 (which I am assuming is 650'?) and just using the 10x telescope, that's a DC 6 or 7 (depending on whether the penalty should round up or down) and a +2 on Perception check - so in reality, you'd a roll of 4 or better (as long as you don't have a negative on your Perception skill).

The 50x make the DC so low that you'd need no skill ranks in Perception and a Wisdom score of 3 or lower to even fail - and that'd require a Nat 1 plus rounding the DC up (65 / 50 = 1.3 = DC 2 - +4 modifier = DC -2 vs Nat 1 - 4 Wis Mod = -3 perception).

The 250x mag can't even fail that DC 65 unless you had a Wisdom score below 0 which means you would be incapable of rational thought and unconscious, in which case it wouldn't matter.

It also means you spent 8000 gold and used an interstellar telescope to pass a perception check.


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Ckorik wrote:

-4 per 4 feet of size

+1 per 10 feet of distance

surface area of the sun 6,088,000,000,000 in square km
one square km = 1.08 (rounding) square feet

sun = 6,575,040,000,000 square feet

+1,643,760,000,000 perception modifier for sun

Now distance from earth = 92,960,000 miles * 5280 feet = 490,828,800,000 feet from earth

divide by 10 for perception modifier = - 49,082,880,000

The sun has a +1,152,937,120,000 circumstance bonus to see it due to it's size.

Works within the rules.

And during Night time... is there a modifier ? :-))

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