Perception: A New Attribute for Palladium Characters

(Modified from the original version in Protoculture Addicts #3)
(Revised version by: Stanley Bundy, old version not credited in PA#3)

I came into this discussion a little late, but I did a modified Perception attribute (based off the one from Protoculture Addicts #3) that I posted to the list a year or so ago. Here is the latest version of this attribute. Note that this version is incompatible with the Nightbane RPG's Perception ability.

The original article brought up several interesting points concerning characters' awareness of their surroundings when outside a mecha, power armor, robot vehicle, etc. The Danger Sense ability isn't quite the Sixth Sense psionic ability, and for that reason is perfectly playable. However, the idea that a high Perception would give a bonus to strike is ludicrous. After all, Perception is supposed to be about awareness, not accuracy. Therefore, I propose instead a bonus for high Perception apply to initiative, not strike rolls, which is more in line with the Danger Sense sub-ability; low Perception results in initiative penalties. Unlike the Danger Sense, Initiative bonuses always apply, even in mecha or robot combat.

Danger Sense - What it does: Making a successful Danger Sense check allows the character to dodge, parry or roll with an attack that normally would have been a surprise attack (with no defense). Such a roll would be a straight dice roll, with the character's total initiative modifier added to the roll (normal P/D/R bonuses don't apply). Optionally, the character can opt to do a simultaneous return attack instead of avoiding the attack, but again, gets no bonuses other than what is normally his bonus to initiative rolls.

Negative Modifiers for low perception (scores of 1-5): this works the exact opposite way as checks for normal or high perception. The character must make the Danger Sense check or SUFFER the penalty. Therefore, a person with a 4 Perception has a -2 to initiative 96% of the time, but can avoid it by rolling 4 or less on the Danger Sense check. If the first check is made, a second check vs. the skill is allowed, which, if successful, will give the character the same effects as a normal danger sense check.

Perception Score 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45
Sense (%)
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 10 10 10 10 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 55 60 64 68 72 75 78 80 82 84 86 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98
Initiative Mod. -5 -4 -3 -2 -1 0 0 +1 +1 +1 +2 +2 +2 +3 +3 +3 +4 +4 +4 +5 +5 +5 +6 +6 +6 +7 +7 +7 +8 +8 +8 +9 +9 +9 +10 +10 +10

Dice Rolls For Perception - By Race:

How perception checks are rolled (variations):

Dice rolled

Type 1-20 21-30 31-45 * On a natural 20, roll the extra dice and add to 20.

Normal 1D20 1D20(+1D10)* |1D20(+3D8)*  
Difficult# 1D20 1D20 1D20(+1D6)* # Versus 1/2 the attribute score.
Miraculous Percentiles, vs. attribute score

Penalties: Perception checks automatically fail for some items that are noticible by a sense not possessed. On the other hand, a blind person would ALWAYS know that a visual-only illusion (PFRPG type, which is psi-based) was fake, as he would see it, despite being blind. This can ruin an illusionist's day. Having damaged or weak senses in the area(s) needed to best perceive something (near-sightedness or blurry vision, bad hearing, Robots and Borgs' sense of touch, a cold that affects the ability to taste and smell, etc.) can make the check be required at 1/2 the normal target number as determined above.

Determining Perception scores for existing types: If a race has a natural Initiative bonus, then the bonus comes from Perception, unless the bonus comes from high PP, skills or Sixth Sense.

Example: A demon has a +6 to initiative, and a P.P. under 30. Therefore, it either has Sixth Sense or a Perception over 30.

Combining Sixth Sense with Perception: Danger Sense only applies when Sixth Sense cannot pick up the threat (due to range, Mind Block, lack of ISP, etc.). Initiative bonuses are cumulative. Also note that a Danger Sense roll can be made during combat (at half normal chance) to notice a new danger's approach, unlike Sixth Sense, whose bonuses apply only in the first round. After Sixth Sense ends, Perception bonuses continue normally.

Combining Martial Arts Techniques with Perception: Zanshin gives the character an additional 3D6 to his or her Perception score at all times when dealing with items within the radius of the zanshin "circle," but the Zanshin Initiative bonuses only apply when the character is actually using his Martial Arts form. The Iai-Jutsu (fast-draw) technique is cumulative with all other initiative bonuses.

Combining Perception with Robot Vehicle/Mecha Use: Danger Sense only applies against threats that don't appear on the vehicle's sensors. In power armors (including Cyclones), there are no penalties to the Danger Sense roll, but the chance is halved in robot vehicles, Veritechs and Battloids/Destroids. Of course, if a vehicle loses its radar, Danger Sense may be the only warning of an attack from behind. In a way, this type of Danger Sense use is based in intuition, not senses. Initiative bonuses still apply in these war machines, in that the character can more easily take in the action on the battlefield, and adjust strategy accordingly.

Attribute-Perception.php -- Revised: January 27, 2021.