Telescopic Vision and Scopes

Telescopic Vision

As part of a discussion of some rules involving guns, aiming, and accuracy, +Christopher R. Rice brought my attention to the rules for Telescopic Vision (p. B92).

Holy Gawd, it is awesome.

Not only does each level cancel out range penalties for normal Vision rolls, but it has double effect if you take Aim. Not only that, but it adds to Acc like a scope – but doesn’t normally stack with scopes.

Unless, of course, you pay 8 points/level to modify it with Cosmic.

The interesting thing, to me, is that telescopic vision both cancels range penalties and gives a boost to Acc. It does so in a pretty big way, too, with each level effectively being a 2x magnification (multiplicative).

Telescopic Sights

Scopes, on the other hand, just give a bonus to Acc, and only after an Aim maneuver.

You also have to work for it. You have to Aim for as many seconds as the scope’s bonus (that’s something I forget, a lot). So if you have a tactical rifle set up, say a reflex sight with a 4x fixed-power optic on it, you get:

  • +1 to Guns from the reflex sight
  • +5 to skill if you Aim for one second
  • +1 after the 2nd second of Aim, and an additional +2 for the scope

So with two seconds of Aim, you rack up +9 in total bonuses. Not too shabby.

How They Stack Up

Granted, it’s supernatural/exotic, but Telescopic Vision is just awesome. If you can buy it for a shooter, you should. Even better with Cosmic (+50%), stacks with technolgical devices (and there’s really no reason they shouldn’t stack; the eye would magnifiy a magnified image, though magnifying a digital image would likely just pixelate).

Different Concepts

I always thought, though, that a scope should probably be more like Telescopic Vision.

It brings the image closer. How much? Well, it’s right there on the tin. A 10x scope brings something at 1,000 yards as seemingly close as if it were 100 yards away.

It might be interesting to look at alternate possibilities. One would be that it effectively increases the SM of your target. The other would be to reduce range penalties. I think increased SM is better, though, because while your target looks bigger, it really is still that far away.

I think that SM increase would not impact the actual MoA limit on maximum skill, too.

All of this gives me some ideas that I think I want to write up and maybe send over Pyramid way . . . so I’ll quit now on this.


One of the other things that is interesting, though, and worth more discussion, is the concept of better and worse sights on a rifle.

I mean, take a look at this:

Remington guarantees 0.5″ 3-shot groups on this one at 100 yards. That’s Acc 6.5 if you could do it that precisely. But . . . how does it ship?

Probably like this (though it’s not the same gun):

That rifle, too, is probably Acc 6 or higher out of the box. But how do you even point it? There are no sights to speak of, no bullet drop compensator, not even the cheesy worse-than-my-Glock emergency sights on the Bushmaster M17S. And those are BAD. Probably Acc 2.

But there you go – how do you distinguish between the rifle and the quality of the sighting system. Can any iron sights really give the kind of precision required to get a 2″ group at 400 yards?

Maybe, maybe. But still, it’d be way easier to do it with a 10x scope, neh?

And what if you put a stabilized 64x scope (notionally a +6 to Accuracy) on a handgun? Well, the target just got a lot bigger, but your gun is still just Acc 2. And yes, there are rules about the maximum boost to skill you can get . . . but should there be?

Parting Shot

Thinking about scopes, aiming, and accuracy for other purposes has given me some ideas to noodle on, which means there’s another article in the offing.

But what concepts to include? I’d want . . .

  • I’d like more resolution on what scope magnification gives a bonus
  • I’d like to differentiate between the quality of the weapon vs. the quality of the sight
  • It would be kinda fun to deal with field of view
  • It should unify Telescopic Vision and Telescopic Sights, so there’s only one rule
  • If I’m good, it’ll handle sighting-in and being out of alignment

I’ve already noodled a bit as I wrote this post on what to do about this, and I think there’s something to be said here. Now I just need to recruit enough help to make +Steven Marsh publish Pyramid #3/XX: Gunplay 2.

Pyramid #3/57 was pretty inspired for what issue was the Guns issue. 3/80 would work, but yeesh . . . .380 is not inspiring enough a caliber to make a good issue totem. 3/76 would be close at least to 7.62 . . .

All that aside, I really do think there’s likely a different – hopefully better – way of handling the magnification and precision issue. And now I’m off to find one.

9 thoughts on “Telescopic Vision and Scopes

  1. You're seeing value in Telescopic Vision that I'm not. For 5 pts you could get +2 Acute Vision (all the time and not just with an Aim) and the Accessory Perk for a telescopic sight and only pay for the sight once..

    I wouldn't allow the cosmic either on the grounds of "how does that work?". Perk:Rangefinder (for +3) would generally be a better deal anyway.

    Nah, Telescopic Vision isn't a great deal in my estimation.

    1. I'm not interested in this post in point efficiency, I'm looking at rules effects and consistency.

      But the Cosmic Telescopic Vision plus scopes is easy and fully justifiable. If you had a compound lens assembly that was in the scope that gave you stages of magnification, that wouldn't phase anyone. Having one set of those compound lenses be your actual eyes seems totally kosher for me.

      My surprise was that the Telescopic Vision advantage was two levels of Vision bonus, one level of Accuracy and one level of range penalty reduction for ranged attacks. That's far better than a mechanical scope, which is just the Acc bonus. This can be explained by field of view, I suspect.

    2. Presumably if you were using a telescopic sight as a telescope it would give the benefit for Vision rolls. The rules don't expressly say this, but they really only discuss sights as aiming aids, not as improvised telescopes.

  2. There's actually a quite good reason telescopic vision won't stack with scopes: you can't get better resolution than the resolution of the optics in the scope, which if diffraction-limited will be permit a maximum magnification of about half its frontal lens size in mm (you can get more, but the result is detectably blurred. This may still sometimes be useful). In addition, if the front lens of a scope is smaller than (size of extended pupil) x (magnification), the scope will have worse low-light performance than the human eye.

  3. Yea, I agree with D Raymond–the text of the advantage specifically says it doesn't stack (though I understand you are using Cosmic to ignore that part), but more to the point, I believe the rules for scopes and Telescopic Vision are already mostly unified. If you use a scope as a spotting system, then the rules on HT 47 would apply, as the scope (with a magnification listed) is just being used as a telescope. These are the same rules as for Telescopic Vision — -1 reduction in range penalty for a "scan" or -2 reduced range penalty if you "focus", both per doubling of magnification. Either way, each doubling converts to a +1 Acc scope.

    Anyway, you may have already realized that, but you do reference wanting to unify Telescopic Vision and scopes and I think that's probably already done…though perhaps not as explicitly as it should be!

  4. On the side note using the scope as a telescope to scan the area has another real pain. How much time will it take to scan e.g. 90 degrees sector in front of you with 64x scope and how many hexes can you see n yards away. Does anyone have quick rules for that anywhere?

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