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Thread: Precognitive Visions

  1. #1
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    Precognitive Visions

    Hello, all. I'm looking to build a mutant character who suffers from random and debilitating visions of the future. Essentially, she falls into a seizure any time she experiences one of these visions. The best writeup I can figure for it would be Senses: Precognition (Distracting, Tiring, Uncontrolled). The vision can strike without warning at the GMs discretion (Uncontrolled), leaving the character vulnerable while in the grips of a seizure (Distracting), and feeling weakened or groggy for a while after the episode ends (Tiring).

    Is there a better way to write this up, or is that about the best I'm going to get?

  2. #2
    MCRN Admiral FuzzyBoots's Avatar
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    Re: Precognitive Visions

    It works. Although, for something uncontrolled like that, especially since the GM basically gets to feed them whatever, I might even just go with a Feature and a Complication for the potential negative side effects.

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    Re: Precognitive Visions

    What kind of Feature did you have in mind?

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    Re: Precognitive Visions

    Precognition is kind of confusing. Do you only see things where you would be physically present? How far into the future can you see? And so forth?

    (I have similar questions for Dimensional. Are dimensions generally overlapping, or it is like Teleporting really far?)

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    Re: Precognitive Visions

    I know the main book more or less recommends Precognition be paired with the Uncontrolled flaw, subjecting it to the GMs whim. In that case, it's more there as a plot device, and strictly defining the specifics of where, when, and who you see aren't as important, in my opinion.

    For the character I have in mind, any visions she has are directly related to to her. They're viewed through her own eyes, implying that she's present at whatever event she is seeing. I'm not really sure how to reflect a power like this growing "stronger" per se, but in the beginning she'll maybe only be able to see a few hours to a few days into the future, and as she learns to control it better will be able to push it further ahead.

    Probably also worth noting that even though I am looking for rules accuracy as if I were to bring this to the game table, this concept isn't actually for a game. I'm trying to stat up some characters for a narrative and want to keep track of what they are and aren't capable of.

  6. #6
    MCRN Admiral FuzzyBoots's Avatar
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    Re: Precognitive Visions

    I think the key issue with Precognition (and Postcognition and, to some degree, most Sense powers) is that people forget that there are supposed to be limits. Just because you can choose to open your eyes doesn't mean you can see everything in front of you, let alone items behind obstacles, hidden from sight, lost in a sea of other impressions, etc.

    There should be a feeling of Skill checks, and maybe having to actually move around, to get the full information, which still might not be everything.
    Last edited by FuzzyBoots; 01-12-2019 at 01:14 PM.

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    Re: Precognitive Visions

    Quote Originally Posted by Kimera757 View Post
    Precognition is kind of confusing. Do you only see things where you would be physically present? How far into the future can you see? And so forth?
    You answer those questions when you build the power. It's only 4 PP so it should not be "too" powerful. (OTOH, it's the same cost as Movement: Only forward in time @4 PP. So by default it should not be limited too much without using Flaws.) The problem here is there aren't a lot of PP to put that many Limited flaws on it.

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    OPA Belta JDRook's Avatar
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    Re: Precognitive Visions

    Quote Originally Posted by Kimera757 View Post
    Precognition is kind of confusing. Do you only see things where you would be physically present? How far into the future can you see? And so forth
    While it's going to be up to the individual GM, since Precog can easily get in the way of a planned narrative, you could use a few existing numbers to put some limits on it.

    It's a Sense, therefore it technically uses Perception Checks, so the PreCog would need to roll to spot anything of use in their vision. Here's a chunk of the Perception Skill description from d20herosrd.com:

    Use this skill to notice and pick up on things. Discerning details—such as clearly hearing conversation or reading fine text—requires at least three degrees of success on the Perception check.

    The "Discerning Details" concept should not be ignored. It can be easy to see Baron Bal

    In general, you have a –1 circumstance penalty to Perception checks for every 10 feet between you and what you are trying to perceive. So hearing a noise from 50 feet away is a –5 modifier to your Perception check, for example.

    The GM usually makes Perception checks secretly so you don’t know whether there was nothing to notice or you simply failed to notice it.
    ...
    You can make Perception checks involving other sense types as well (see Powers for more on sense types). Noticing something obvious to a sense is DC 0. Less obvious things are DC 10 or so, hidden things DC 20 or more, and discerning details requires at least three degrees of success, as usual.

    You can make a Perception check every time you have the opportunity to notice something new. As a move action, you can attempt to notice something you failed (or believe you failed) to notice previously.
    Applying that to PreCog mostly works, especially if you replace the distance penalty with a penalty equal to time rank, so it's easier to see things that happen sooner than later. Mechanically, this makes events that occur within the hour easier to perceive (with less than a -10 penalty), while more distant events could only be picked up with high Perception rank, good die rolls, Hero Point usage and GM Fiat.

    Discerning details should not be ignored. It should be easy to spot Baron Blade setting up a bomb sometime in the next hour, but it might take 3 degrees of success to spot details that indicate precisely where and when.

    Again, all this assumes that the GM is prepared to deal with a PC with "futuresight" in a way that doesn't derail the game. Keeping it Uncontrolled and largely in the GM's hands makes it more of a plot device, or an easy way to drop clues to the PC group when they get stuck like a free use of Hero Point Inspiration.

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  9. #9
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    Re: Precognitive Visions

    That was fantastic advice, especially the part about time = distance rank.

    M&M has even reused rules before like that. For instance, the power that lets you freeze time to "teleport" (rather than actually teleport) uses the time rank rather than the distance rank (you can walk for the entire amount of time, if you do nothing else).

  10. #10
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    Re: Precognitive Visions

    Very informative @JDRook. Thank you for your interpretation on the power. That coincides nicely with Precognition's description as well, indicating that the GM may (and probably should) allow the precognitive player to roll Perception to pick up on key details.

    I do like the idea of Precognition being largely Uncontrolled and more useful at the GM's behest than at the player's. It makes for a useful plot device when the party gets stuck. It can add some tension during a critical scene if the Precognitive falls into a vision of the future while in the midst of combat. And I really love the idea of the difficulty of any precognitive perception checks being set or influenced by how far into the future they're glimpsing. That's a detail I'll be taking into consideration with this character.

    I think it's also pretty critical that a clever GM should try to incorporate such visions into the narrative they're aiming for, perhaps presenting a scene they've been envisioning while designing an adventure and how they would expect it to play out. It would almost be essential that the GM subtly guide the PCs towards that scene happening in present time, and allow the PCs an opportunity to alter the outcome of the vision, or to have gleaned some useful information from the vision that they otherwise wouldn't have.

    On another note, I'm wondering if there are any other abilities Precognition might bestow that maybe wouldn't be entirely in the GM's hands.

    Precognition I imagine would be for glimpsing visions further into the future (an hour into the future, at a baseline minimum). I'm wondering how someone might design a "Flash of Insight" power. Rather than a full-on Precognitive episode, the character receives a glimpse into the near-future regarding one very specific event, perhaps imparting a temporary skill bonus in response to that event when it actually occurs in the present time.

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