Action: None • Range: Personal • Duration: Permanent • Cost: 1 point per rank
Under the Hood: Normal Senses
Senses are broken down into sense types, used as descriptors for sensory effects. Here are the traits of normal human senses, for use when modifying them with the options from Senses:
Normal vision is ranged (with a –1/10 feet modifier), acute (able to distinguish fine details) and accurate (able to pinpoint the locations of things).
Normal hearing is ranged (with a –1/10 feet modifier), acute (able to pick up details like differences in tone), and radius (able to pick up on sounds coming from any direction). Normal hearing is not accurate.
Normal human olfactory senses, which lump together smell and taste for descriptor purposes, are fairly limited. Ordinary human olfactory senses are neither acute nor accurate. The sense of smell is a radius sense, however, able to pick up on scents coming from any direction. Its “range” is quite limited, however, effectively only close, except for especially strong scents.
The normal sense of touch is, by definition, close range. It is accurate (in that you know the location of anything you can touch) and radius (in that you can feel things from any surface of your body).
The “sixth sense” or mental sense type is fairly crude in normal humans, limited essentially to interactions with the Insight skill and awareness of mental effects used directly on you. Thus it is close range and has none of the Sense qualities.
Under the Hood: Precognition & Postcognition
Precognition and Postcognition can be problematic abilities, since they provide players with considerable information. Keep in mind precognitive and postcognitive information is often cryptic or unclear, and changes in circumstances may lead to changes in visions of the future. If players use either too often, feel free to have their visions become less and less clear as the timelines become tangled by so much constant surveillance and intervention.
Generally, Precognition is best treated as a plot device for the GM to provide information to the player as suits the adventure, similar to a free use of the inspiration ability of victory points. In fact, GMs looking to limit Precognition and Postcognition may wish to require extra effort or victory points to use them, or require the Uncontrolled modifier.
One or more of your senses are improved, or you have additional sensory abilities beyond the normal five senses. Allocate ranks in Senses to the following effects. Some options require more than one rank, noted in their descriptions. So if you have Senses 5, for example, you can have darkvision (2 ranks), direction sense (1 rank), distance sense (1 rank), and ultra-hearing (1 rank), or any other combination adding up to 5 ranks.
Like all sensory effects, Senses uses the sense types as descriptors.
An accurate sense can pinpoint something’s exact location. You can use an accurate sense to target something in combat. Visual and tactile senses are normally accurate for humans. Cost is 2 ranks for one sense, 4 for an entire sense type.
You can sense fine details about anything you can detect with a particular sense, allowing you to distinguish between and identify different subjects. Visual and auditory senses are normally acute for humans. Cost is 1 rank for one sense, 2 for an entire sense type.
Beyond even acute, you can perceive specific details about anything you can detect with an analytical sense, such as chemical composition, exact dimensions or mass, frequency of sounds and energy wavelengths, and so forth. You can only apply this effect to an acute sense. normal senses are not analytical. Cost is 1 rank for one sense, 2 for an entire sense type.
You can sense the use of effects of a particular descriptor with a successful Perception check (DC 10, with –1 to your check per 10 feet range). Examples include Cosmic Awareness, Divine Awareness, Magical Awareness, Mental Awareness, and so forth. You can apply other Sense effects to your Awareness to modify it. Choose the sense type for your Awareness; it is often a mental sense, but doesn’t have to be. Awareness counts as an “exotic sense” for noticing effects with the first rank of the Subtle modifier (see Subtle under Extras for details).
You have a link with a particular individual, chosen when you acquire this option, who must also have this ability. The two of you can communicate over any distance like a use of the Communication effect. Choose a sense type as a communication medium when you select this option; mental is common for psychic or empathic links. If you apply the Dimensional modifier to your Communication Link, it extends to other dimensions as well (see Dimensional under Power Modifiers for details).
A sense type with this trait ignores the Concealment effect of a particular descriptor; you sense the subject of the effect normally, as if the Concealment wasn’t even there. So if you have vision that Counters Invisibility, for example, then invisible beings are visible to you. For 5 ranks, the sense type ignores all Concealment effects, regardless of descriptor. Concealed subjects seem slightly “off” to you, enough to know they are concealed to others. This trait does not affect concealment provided by opaque objects, for that, see Penetrates Concealment.
A sense type with this trait ignores the Illusion effect; you automatically succeed on your resistance check against the illusion if it affects your sense type, realizing that it isn’t real.
When you would normally be surprised in combat, make a Perception check (DC 10): One degree of success means you’re not surprised, but can’t act during the surprise round (so you don’t suffer any conditions of being surprised), while two or more degrees of success means you are not surprised and may act during the surprise round (if any). Failure means you are surprised (although, if you have Uncanny Dodge, you are not vulnerable). The GM may raise the DC of the Danger Sense check in some circumstances. Choose a sense type for your Danger Sense. Sensory effects targeting that sense also affect your Danger Sense ability and may “blind” it.
You can see in complete darkness as if it were normal daylight; darkness provides no concealment to your vision. This is essentially the same as Counters Concealment (Darkness).
You can sense a particular item or effect by touch with a Perception check. Detect has no range and only indicates the presence or absence of something (being neither acute nor accurate). Choose what sense type your Detect falls under (often mental). For 2 ranks you can detect things at range (with the normal –1 per 10 feet modifier to your Perception check).
You always know what direction north lies in and can retrace your steps through any place you’ve been.
You can accurately and automatically judge distances.
You have a sense that operates at greater than normal range. Your range with the sense—the distance used to determine penalties to your Perception check—is increased by a factor of 10. Each additional time you apply this option, your range increases by an additional factor of 10, so 1 rank means you have a –1 to Perception checks per 100 feet, 2 ranks makes it –1 per 1,000 feet, and so on. An extended sense may be limited by conditions like the horizon and physical barriers between you and the subject, unless it also Penetrates Concealment.
You can see in the infrared portion of the spectrum, allowing you to see heat patterns. Darkness does not provide concealment for objects differing in temperature from their surroundings. If you have the Track effect, you can track warm creatures by the faint heat trails they leave behind. The Gamemaster is the final judge on how long the trail remains visible.
You ignore circumstance penalties to visual Perception checks for poor lighting, so long as it is not completely dark.
You can view extremely small things. You can make perception checks to see tiny things nearby. Cost is 1 rank for dust-sized objects, 2 ranks for cellular-sized, 3 ranks for DNA and complex molecules, 4 ranks for atomic-sized. The GM may require an Expertise skill check to understand and interpret what you see.
A sense with this trait is unaffected by concealment from obstacles (rather than Concealment effects). So vision that Penetrates Concealment sees right through opaque objects, for example, and hearing that Penetrates Concealment is unaffected by sound-proofing or intervening materials, and so forth.
Your senses extend into the past, allowing you to perceive events that took place previously. You can make Perception checks to pick up on past information in an area or from a subject. The Gamemaster sets the DC for these checks based on how obscure and distant in the past the information is, from DC 15 (for a vague vision that may or may not be accurate) to DC 30 (for near complete knowledge of a particular past event as if you were actually present). Your normal (present-day) senses don’t work while you’re using Postcognition; your awareness is focused on the past. Your postcognitive visions last for as long as you concentrate. Postcognition does not apply to sensory effects like Mind Reading or any other ability requiring interaction. Postcognition may be Limited to past events connected to your own “past lives” or ancestors, reducing cost to 2 ranks.
Your senses extend into the future, allowing you to perceive events that may happen. Your precognitive visions represent possible futures. If circumstances change, then the vision may not come to pass. When you use this ability, the Gamemaster chooses what information to impart. Your visions may be obscure and cryptic, open to interpretation. The Gamemaster may require appropriate Perception skill checks for you to pick up on particularly detailed information, with a DC ranging from 15 to 30 or more. The GM can also activate your Precognition to impart specific information to you as an adventure hook or plot device. Your normal (present-day) senses don’t work while you’re using Precognition; your awareness is focused on the future. Your precognitive visions last as long as you concentrate. Precognition does not apply to sensory effects like Mind Reading or any other ability requiring interaction.
You can “hear” radio frequencies including AM, FM, television, cellular, police bands, and so forth. This allows you to pick up on Radio Communication (see the Communication effect). This is the base sense of the radio sense type. It’s ranged, radius, and acute by default.
You can make Perception checks with a radius sense for any point around you. Subjects behind you cannot use Stealth to hide from you without some other concealment. Auditory, olfactory, and tactile senses are normally radius for humans. Cost is 1 rank for use with one sense, 2 ranks for one sense type.
You can use a sense that normally has no range (taste or touch in humans) to make Perception checks at range, with the normal –1 per 10 feet modifier. This can be enhanced with the Extended Sense effect.
You can read or take in information from a sense faster than normal: each rank increases your perception speed by a factor of 10 (x10, x100, etc.) with a single sense, double cost for an entire sense type. You can use rapid vision to speed-read, pick up on rapid flickering between frames of a film, watch video replays in fast-forward speeds, and such, rapid hearing to listen to time-compressed audio “blips,” and so forth.
You always know what time it is and can time events as if you had an accurate stopwatch.
You can follow trails and track using a particular sense. Basic DC to follow a trail is 10, modified by circumstances, as the GM sees fit. You move at your speed rank –1 while tracking. For 2 ranks, you can move at full normal speed while tracking
You can hear very high and low frequency sounds, like dog whistles or ultrasonic signals, including those used by some remote controls.
You can see ultraviolet light, allowing you to see normally at night by the light of the stars or other UV light sources.
Affects Others: You can grant the benefits of one or more Senses to another character. Apply Affects Others only to the ranks of the chosen sense(s). +0 or +1 cost per rank.
Area: The Area modifier only applies to Senses that affect Others, and only to extend their benefits to everyone in an area. Apply the Selective modifier for the ability to choose who in the area does and does not benefit from the Senses. To affect the area of a sense itself, use the Extended and Radius traits of the Senses effect. +1 cost per rank.
Dimensional: This modifier allows you to extend your senses into other dimensions. It’s assumed to apply to all your senses, allowing you to sense your proximate location in the other dimension(s). For a more extended range, use Remote Sensing with this modifier. +1 point per rank.
Innate: Senses, particularly those of aliens or constructs like robots, may be Innate, although this does not prevent sensory effects like Concealment or Dazzle from disabling them. Flat +1 point.
Ranged: Likewise, the Ranged extra only applies to Senses that Affect Others, extending the distance at which you can grant their benefits. To extend the range of a sense itself, use the Extended, Radius, and Ranged options of the Senses effect. +1 or +2 cost per rank.
Limited: Some Senses may be Limited to only sensing certain things or only under certain circumstances. As usual, the sense must lose about half its utility to qualify for this flaw, less than that is more likely a particular descriptor associated with the sense and may constitute a complication at the GM’s discretion when it comes up in play. –1 cost per rank.
Noticeable: Senses with this flaw are particularly noticeable in some way: your eyes may glow, for example, or you may emit a noticeable sound, vibration, energy, or the like for use as a sensor. Flat –1 point.
Unreliable: Some Senses may be unreliable; the GM makes checks for reliability when the sense is used. Two variations of this flaw may apply: in the first, the Senses effect is unreliable, when it doesn’t work, the character perceives nothing with that sense. In the second, the character’s perceptions are unreliable, the sense appears to work, but the character gets the wrong information. For this reason, the GM should make all reliability checks for Senses in secret, just informing the player of what the character does (or does not) notice. –1 cost per rank.