A lot of the recent article Dodge This was focused on Perception rolls, specifically and most often, Vision rolls.

In GURPS, if the thing you’re looking at is “in plain sight,” then you get a +10 bonus to Vision to see it.

Not in plain sight?

That’s a big bonus . . . sort of. +10 is basically “you can see it fifty times more easily than in a more obstructed field of view.”

Or, another way, you can see a man-sized target as clearly at 100 yards “in plain sight” as you can see at a six-foot distance in somewhat more challenging conditions. More or less “you can see someone at the other end of a football field as easily as you can at the tip of your spear.”

But what does “in plain sight mean?” Can you ever not be in plain sight?

I was thinking about this in two ways. The first was somewhat mechanical (shocked, shocked, I know you all are). Basically, if the line of sight from you to your target, and 10x farther than that is basically unobstructed, he’s in plain sight.

So if you’ve got a quarry 50 yards out, then (to first order), if there’s basically nothing in the way from you to 500 yards in the direction of your target, he’s in plain sight and you can claim that bonus.

Why? Well, I figure that there are two parts to it. One is a line from you to him, but the other is “what’s behind him that might obscure or confuse the viewer?” If the nearest terrain is 10x farther away than the object is, well, that’s probably OK.

That’s probably a sub-optimal solution, though. Math for no gain, etc.

What I’m thinking is the better solution is that when making a Vision roll, just roll vs Vision+10 in all circumstances. Objects are, by default, treated as being “in plain sight.”

Then you can just apply the usual penalties for range (which are darn steep, -10 at 100yds, and -18 at a mile), purposeful and natural camouflage, stealth, and lighting.

Abrams and T-72 (I think)

Note that the “can you see it at one mile” thing isn’t necessarily a bad joke. An M1A2 Abrams tank is about SM+4 or SM+5 (probably +5, since the T-72 is +4 in High-Tech). It can certainly kill you deader than hell at that range without trying that hard. For a normal guy on an open field, that’s Vision+10, +5 for size modifier, and -18 for range. Net of Vision-7, or about one chance in six of spotting it. Camouflage or poor light makes it even less likely. You’re dead before you know he’s even there.

Not that I’m saying it’s unrealistic. It’s probably about right.

But it seems to me that the “in plain sight” modifier is best handled by just giving it all the time.

8 thoughts on “In Plain Sight

    1. You would. I gain wisdom at the feet of the "don't frack around with special case complicated rules" master. 🙂

      Seriously, though, I have a hard time thinking of when you wouldn't just apply the +10 flat-out.

  1. Far as I can see, the +10 'plain sight' rule is just copying the +10 to vision rolls from GURPS Vehicles 3e, and for some reason they were allergic to saying "all vision rolls are at +10". To be honest, though, I'm sort of tempted to give vision an Acc score so you have to take an aim action to examine things clearly.

    1. Interesting, and that makes sense. Either Aim, or the equivalent of Concentrate, or even All-Out Attack (Determined/Ranged), so that you're limited in movement and other actions while you're studying.

      Some of the existing mechanics like Precision Aiming might apply here too, though I'm not overly fond of that one.

    2. Aim already applies to vision if you have telescopic vision, so for consistency I'd use that — given that aiming doubles the bonus for telescopic vision, applying that to normal vision means vision is +5 (+10 with Aim).

    3. Yeah, I also like that idea a lot. Maybe split the bonus in half; just add a +5 bonus for Per based vision rolls in general and another +5 if you take a ready action to actively try to spot something.

      Also, I like the clarifications and extras you got for vision rules on your site. Very informative, that and your dragon article made me LAWLZ in a good way heh.

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