Like Presence and Stealth, Perception is a bundle that encompasses a number of skills. While all of the skills in this bundle are Open skills, available to be developed by all characters equally, certain trades make a practice of emphasizing certain aspects of them during the character’s apprenticeship to make their trainees more successful.
The Sentry aspect enables the character to sharpen his perceptive skills, making him better able to concentrate upon and pick out niggling details – raising his general level of perceptiveness and indicating he is always on his guard. This can alert the character when someone is following him, cause him to heed small sounds or odd ones which he might otherwise let pass without note, to sense unseen presences, to hear noises at distances or through doors or other such barriers, to notice the little details that indicate that things are out of place or missing in a room, or to pick up any other such small detail that would otherwise go unnoticed by those without the skill. It indicates a level of awareness of surroundings that will make the character aware of sounds that are out of place, or the lack of sounds that ought to be present, and similarly, people or things that should be present that are, or that are present and probably should not be, as a Sentry always on alert.
The Sentry aspect is defensive in nature, always in effect, making the character more aware of his surroundings at all times, so it is a passive and purely sensory skill the character will have no idea when he is successful with tit unless there is something to be sensed and he does so. Like the defense aspect of a weapon skill, the character’s Perception AV actually provides the DV against which others can try their Stealth skills.
All Perception checks is made by the GM for the character as necessary, the GM informing the player of the results when the character is successful. SP’s is tracked by the GM for the character once play has commenced, though the player will roll the D100 for his character’s progress checks in the skill and record increases in Perception SL.
The difficulty with which the Perception skill is used is increased for every creature and/or being above the character’s [(AWA + SL) ÷ 4] accompanying him at the time of any given test of this skill. Wearing any sort of head covering, especially and in particular helms and other such armor for the head, will impair the effectiveness of the character’s skill, reducing the AV by (armor DF) for each side of the head covered (front, right side, left side, back, top). The extent of impairment due to clothing such as hats, cauls, wimples, veils, and the like is up to the GM’s discretion.
The att. mod. for the use of this skill is based upon the character’s AWA score.
The Searcher/Questor aspect of Perception enables the character to, through a careful methodical approach and the application of subtle physical perceptive skills, explore all possible hiding places in a given area, uncovering all hidden objects including any hidden or secret compartments, panels or doors, or concealed portals that may be present. For the character who has the Trapper skill, it will also be added to his AV to find traps.
The GM should consider three different ways in applying this skill. Which he uses should depend on how the player typifies or characterizes the effort.
IF the player’s words are not descriptive enough of the effort, the GM should press him to be more precise as to intent and method.
The first is a cursory look around when the character is just scouting through a location to find what might have been simply stashed out of direct line of sight, looking in only the most obvious places, especially when he has been informed roughly where he should be looking, what sorts of landmarks should guide him. For this, only a bonus based on the Searcher SL should be allowed and the check conducted as any other AWA check.
The second is a deeper and more methodical effort to find out any secrets lying hidden, slower but more effective, for use when time is not necessarily pressing but the character does have other concerns which limit him. For this search, the simple SL alone should be allowed as AV.
The last is the most thorough and painstaking ransacking of the area in question, one square foot at a time, one object or piece of furniture at a time, leaving no stone unturned – tossing the place, but methodically and only in such a way as not to hinder his own efforts.
For this depth of effort only should the full SL plus att. mod. be allowed as AV.
IF the character has the Trapper skill, or is a Smith-Artificer or Mechanician, this skill will allow him to find hidden or concealed traps, which he can then examine further to try to determine their specific natures.
Use of this skill assumes a painstaking search of practically every square inch of space within the area covered by the search – the back and underside of every piece of furniture in a room, underside of any drawer, inside and backside of any drawers or boxes, inside the lid to any chest or box, checking for false bottoms, up under the bottom of any footed piece of furniture, and so on and so forth. In many cases, through this skill the character may be able to find things that he might otherwise overlook due to the lack of perception in passing.
IF the character also has the Tracker Skill, his SL in Searcher is added in making any and all checks either to discover or to continue to follow his quarry’s trail, or in reading the marks in ground and foliage to discern the nature of events having transpired in a given area or such things as the presence of a campsite that has been struck and even Concealed.
Each check made to determine the results of a Search is assumed to encompass the exploration of an area of roughly [(AWA ÷ 4) + SL] feet in radius. The larger and more heavily furnished or ornamented the area searched, the higher the DV and the longer the search will take to complete.
The time required to Search any given area (in size, as described above) is equal to the DV for the Search check, divided by 10 and read in minutes. This is regardless of whether there is anything there to find or not – the effort must be made.
IF Searching for a thing hidden by a person whom the character has had the chance to successfully evaluate in all three areas (mettle, disposition, state of mind) through the use of Savvy, the character may spend some time ‘in the shoes’ of that person (ie. “where would I put it if I were him?”) to deduce the general area of its location, which will provide a bonus to his AV based on his Savvy SL.
IF Searching for something hidden by a person whom the character has evaluated with the Savvy skill and also has had roughly (subject’s CHM) months of previous personal experience and interaction, the character’s entire Savvy SL is added as a bonus to the Search AV.
The time required to exercise this skill is equal to the DV divided by 10 and read in minutes for quick, basically visual searches, or read as is in minutes for in-depth searches.
The att. mod. for the use of this skill is based upon the character’s AWA.
Related to Savvy as a perceptive skill, which allows the character to discern behavior that is at odds with the words people say, uncovering lies, but also those whose mannerisms and body-language do not match the role they are trying to portray, uncovering those in disguise, allowing the character to spot the thugs a powerful man retains for security who are unobtrusively stationed in a crowd around him, spotting the attendees at the theater who obviously are not there to enjoy the show, or those in the crowded hall where the best in music is being performed who have no taste for it at all.
Savvy is a very subtle skill of interpersonal perceptivity that will enable the character to deduce the presence of secrets unspoken. The Savvy skill can be used to assess a person’s body language and posture and patterns of movement to determine one’s social class, family station, and/or whether his mode of dress agrees with his standing (does he dress poorer or more richly than his standing would normally allow), pierce false airs and affected manners or mannerisms (Foreign Culture and/or foreign Language skills), and other similar bits of personal information.
Savvy may also be used to gauge a person’s current state of mind, general disposition, as well as his general mettle or quality of personality. The character must spend a certain amount of time observing the subject and then engage him in conversation for approximately [(target’s HRT) – (character’s CHM att. mod.)] in Actions according to the character’s RoA under the rules for tactical play, before he may attempt to determine the target’s state of mind (placid, irritated, worried, or agitated), then general disposition (a kind listener, abrasive and abrupt, shy of others, casually abusive), and then general mettle (a weak-willed victim, a crawling flunky, a strong-willed leader, a bluff and bull-headed bully, etc). Minimum time to engage any target in conversation before each check to assess character is one (1) minute.
The character may initiate a skill check in order to size up a subject, as long as the above time requirement is fulfilled, and a series of (three) successful checks will give the player a brief sketch of each of these facets of the subject’s personality by the GM, as well as whether the subject is acting normal for the type of person he is, based upon the reactions of those the subject knows, when they interact.
The character must engage the subject in a conversation for long enough to make a skill check for each of these, depending upon which he is most interested in. One check will not reveal all three areas of information.
This is the foil providing an AV for piercing the Masquer and Game Face skills, as well as providing the DV against which the Player and Silver Tongue skills is tested. When dealing with any subject, after he has evaluated them in at least one of the areas above (mettle, disposition, state of mind), the character may attempt to determine its veracity of the response to any query. The character will only be aware of his success if, through a successful check, the subject reveals something unbeknownst. The character will not know if the subject is lying by omission, reversal (stating that which is isn’t, or stating that which isn’t is), or is making some outright fabrication, his statement will merely strike the character as having a certain false ring.
The character may exercise this skill no more than (1 per 4 SL’s) times on a single individual in any given encounter before the subject begins to ‘feel the heat’ and get the feeling they are being closely examined and interrogated.
The difficulty with which the character is able to read those of other races and those of cultures that are severely different is greater than normal, depending upon the degree of difference (GM’s discretion, see also the note about pumathars at the end of the Silver Tongue description). The player will please note that HalfElfs with background exposure to both their parent races is able to ply their skill equally well upon elfs as well as humans. Those with Beastmastery specializing in felines is able to reduce the pumathar race bonus to the DV for reading them with Savvy by (1 per 4 SL’s). Warrior characters will receive benefits to their weapon AV’s based on this skill when in combat against other humanoids, as described in the Weapon skill description, later in this Chapter (pg 102).
The att. mod. for the use of this skill is based upon the character’s AWA score.
The DV for Savvy checks is equal to the subject’s HRT att. mod. + any SL’s he may have with Game Face, Player, and/or Silver Tongue. Bumbles will indicate that the information is not readily apparent if within the safe margin, while rolls greater than that will allow the GM to exaggerate, or even give down right disinformation.
The DV for the use of the Searcher aspect of this skill depend upon the ability of the person that hid the item sought or put it away. The base DV to find an object that has been left out for common use in a stack or pile, among others of its kind, or in a convenient niche, up on a shelf, or put away in some more obvious place like a cupboard, cabinet, chest, closet, or drawer is equal to the CRD att. mod. of the character who put it away. If the character does not find what he is looking for when it has only been casually put away in this manner, it is due to his own carelessness. The GM should not impose any maximum on the number of searches the character may make according to SL when attempting to find items put by in this casual way.
IF an object has actually been professionally hidden or disguised, put away through the use of the Conceal skill in a place where it will not be found or made to appear as other than it is so that it cannot be found out by a casual, basically visual search, the DV is equal to (A WA ÷ 2) of the character who hid it, or the DV provided by their Conceal skill, whichever number is higher.
In the case of disguised or concealed portals, the DV is equal to the AV of the Engineer who constructed it, including the Masquer or Conceal skills used, as noted in the descriptions of the Conceal skill.
The character may use a careful, basically visual search that leaves no traces, or make an actual physical search, even tossing the location entirely, using any Conceal skills to cover the fact afterwards.
The casual search takes only 1/4th the normal time to complete, but will only be sufficient to reveal the locations of items that have been left out for common use or put away in more obvious places like cupboards, cabinets, chests, and closets. Only 1/4th the character’s SL plus his att. mod. is used as the AV for this sort of Search.
To find professionally hidden or concealed portals, false-fronted compartments, and items stashed in odd places chosen to thwart even a thorough searcher, the full time requirement must be completed, for the character must conduct a meticulous and painstaking search, using his full AV.