JUDGE OF CHARACTER
The companion has a sense for people and has a
strong reaction to anyone it regards as a threat. When
your companion meets an NPC, you may spend
1 Luck point to let the companion make a PER + Observation test, opposed by the NPC’s CHA +
Survival, immediately to judge whether that NPC is a
danger to the companion’s owner.
There’s no Observation skill. Does anyone know what was meant, or how else to resolve it?
I’d use PER+Survival just like PER+Survival is normaly used to detect ambushes, traps and other threats. From the wording of the talent it seems to cover things like immediate betrayl and other surprise attack by ‘friendlies/neutrals’
For a more social declination (spotting lies, cons and the like), PER9+Speech VS the liar’s CHA+Speech would be more suitable tests, but I’m dubiou sabout the talent applying in those cases
To clarify a bit, the first case would be noticing hands drifting discretely toward weapons, guys moving around where they have a good angle and the like. The other would be purely social clues ‘that guy’s bamobozling mee and I suspect he’s gonna shaft me sooner or later even if not right now’.
Since your trying to read body language Per + Speech sounds like the right choice. Per + Survival is good for tracking, revealing possible ambush points, and or finding land mines but not reading people.
Guess I be waiting for a second or third printing for the settlement expansion too. As much as I like the ideas in this system I can’t help but feel it could have been implemented better. Even if there wasn’t any major need for errata like there is now, the things missing (like vehicles; even just a bicycle) or important mistakes like the one you bring up really get to me.
It is also a shame not every NPC uses SPECIAL, but some get Body and Mind instead. This just makes things needlessly confusing, either use one or the other for all NPCs. That or list the Specal stats used under Body and Mind so you don’t have to keep referring back to page 336. I can look past using a wealth number rather than an set caps amount, because it can be other currencies. That makes sense, but takes time to remember; body and mind are just kind of a pain for me.
Two other obvious issues that come to mind are the Vault Dweller NPC special abilities and Keen Senses. A Vault Dweller due to upbringing has an extra tagged skill; in the stat block it is listed as Educated. Sure a simple mistake since that’s what Survivors get. The problem is Vault Dweller is listed as also having Gifted for +1 to two Special stats. Did a NPC Survivor and NPC Vault Dweller get mixed up or something? That is a huge mistake.
Keen Senses just begs for an explanation. Keen Senses allows X creature to detect creatures or objects characters normally can not, and reduce Per test difficulty by one by 1. Sure it’s up to the GM, but I would still like a simple example of something characters normally would never be able to find. Are we talking water, someone’s bunker, or a mirelurks deep underground? The traces of a distant fire miles away via smell? Wild Wasteland event triggers? I thought this was flavor text at first, but it doesn’t seem so since it is paired with a reduction in Per test difficulty.
In my opinion both could be used to reach the same conclusion but from two different sets of clues (with possibly different diff adjustement).
Per+Survival would be the physical preparation, like repositioning to cover the angles, discretely opening a holster and the like.
PER+Speech would be the social/mental bit - spotting lies, feeling the psyching up for surprise attack and the like
I can see that. I can also see asking for a second check Int + X afterward if they succeed the first check. Something to see if your character can determine exactly what they are looking at. Unless it’s very obvious and or in the open most NPC equipment is going to be under clothing and in packs. Int + Small Guns to determine what the gun in the holster is; pass GM says it is very likely to be X gun, and fail means you know it is a small gun and if it is likely one handed (or two handed). Int + Energy Weapons for laser weapons and the like, Int + Big Guns for miniguns and other similar weapons. Is that a baseball or a baseball grenade? Int + Explosives. Is that the shape of a box in that pack, a first aid kit, or an ammo box? Int + barter.
I’d never ask for a second check. Tell them the basic information they need to act on and use AP for Obtain Information (page 18). Multiple rolls for the same basic thing just serves to give the PCs more AP, generate more complications and slows down the game with needless dice rolling.
Finding out all the things you list as example is exactly what Obtain Information is for.