Battlefield Perception

During combat, you may choose one enemy and make an Average (D1) Observation test as a Minor Action. If successful, you can determine how much of the target’s Stress remains, and how many Harms the target is suffering from. For one Momentum (Repeatable), you may choose one additional foe.

Does anyone else think this is kind of lame for a tier 3 Talent? Or am I missing something? Is there any reason to get this besides it being a requirement for Crippling Blow?

It is a tier 2 Talent (400 XP). And it IS very lame indeed!

I always considered this as an “empty” Talent to cause additional 400 XP expenditure before the PC gets the “real deal”, the 600 XP Talent “Crippling Blow”.
If you have a high focus in Observation, Crippling Blow makes for a very dangerous Talent.

But its requisite, the “Battlefield Perception” Talent is next to useless.

It assumes that Stress and Harm are somehow kept secret from the players, which is a weird notion in the first place, especially considering that Wounds will have immediate and obvious effect in making combat actions harder for the wounded. And Conan does not offer that much “game tactics” that gauging the current state of the Stress tracks is of much importance.

For me, this Talent is quite useless, similar to the Parry Talents “Stage Fighting” and “Crowd Pleaser” which cover very, very specific cases of, well, stage fighting.
I have run Conan campaigns since the first version of the core book were available for the backers. And never, ever did any one of the numerous players in my Conan games take one of those Parry Talents.

There are some Talents of “dubious usefulness” in the Conan Talent trees (as there are similiar in the MC3 or Infinity Talent trees). Some, I guess, are some remnants of things that might have been useful in a preceding version of some rules, but the rules that made them useful were changed, the Talents were not, it seems.

Ah. I was counting the entry level Talent as the first tier. Anyway, thanks, yeah, that is pretty much as I thought. As for Stage Fighting and Crowd Pleaser, they are appalling! I’m not sure Conan will ever get a rewrite, especially since the recent Wanderer fiasco, but the Talent trees could surely do with an overhaul too imo.

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In the games I GM I don’t tell the players how much stress the mobs have. I just give descriptions of them looking weak or a blow not seeming to affect them much. Wounds are obvious though. I could see this being useful in a boss fight when the enemy has 20 plus stress and the players are trying to figure out how to continue the attack. Knowing if the boss has 5 stress left or 15 could change their tactics.

With that said, I agree it’s not a talent that would be useful very often and is kind of underwhelming. Some other advantage should be tied to it. Maybe something to do with exploit.

Especially as a 400 XP Talent, it is very underwhelming. Even at 200 XP it would be one that is “nice to have” for completists at best.

I don’t tell my players the Stress track values at all, because it is not that important. Mobs, they see how quickly they get one Minion dropped, so they can do the “math” themselves. And Mobs are supposed to be cannonfodder anyway. Toughened and Nemesis opponents, all they need to know is to cause 5+ damage to generate a wound. The more interesting information is often how much armour soak the opponents actually have to gauge whether to spend on the Piercing Momentum spend.

As this Talent requires taking risk, by being a D1 Observation test which could fail or cause Complications, there needs to be something more for the PCs out of that risky (minor) action then less important meta-gaming information.
And spending Momentum to gain this type of less important information about another opponent seems like a waste of good Momentum better spent on other things.

The “original” version of this Talent, from Mutant Chronicles, was slightly more useful, as it allowed to determine the remaining Light Wounds in a certain location, making a called shot to that location more likely to cause a Serious or even Critical wound. But even in MC3 this Talent was hardly worth the XP cost.