Darksense

From: James Walter Frusetta (gerakkag@wam.umd.edu)
Date: Thu 17 Oct 1996 - 18:31:39 EEST


===
Colors, Textures, Densities & Darksense

After looking back in Trollpak, I discovered to my surprise that Trolls
_can_ see at least one color: red. In fact, they're limited to red, black,
shades of grey, and white. All the better to target Lunars, I suppose...
("Hey, those 'uns wearin' red." "Lunars! Kill 'em!")

With regards to the discussions about textures: I've always played
darksense at having a _limited_ ability to define density, as well: the
return signals are "different" for objects which are denser/less dense,
have hollow bits, etc. (eg, this is how they go about this business of
"sensing what's in others' stomachs," as noted in Trollpak). If objects
are particularly defuse and the troll concentrates, darksense can be
unconsciously "focused" to weed out the less dense objects (like water,
fog or the Glorantha equivalent of tissue paper). Speaking from
experience, it's like wearing glasses: _most_ of the time, I forget I wear
'em: I simply weed out the visual signs. ('Course, now that I've thought
about it, I can't _not_ notice them. Arrgh.).

Anyway, that raises the interesting point of having textures _over_
textures. A gravel-bed lake with still water "scans" differently when the
water is choppy, and "scans" differently from a sandy-bottom lake. The
_water_ may be the same color, but the combination of texture's isn't. The
combination of the two textures produces a "texture" unlike the original
two.

The ability to make some adjustments for density might also explain why Uz
seem a little less concerned with clothing, in some cases: if you pick up
a general sense of "what's under there" anyway, there's less reason to
wear clothing for modesty.

===
Trolls that go "ping":

Something I've argued with other GMs (uh, usually while playing an Uz PC)
is whether or not Darksense is "noticed" by other Uz. If this is a
subsonic "ping" like sonar, wouldn't the receivers on other Uz notice it?
This might be a good reason why Uzko have kept (and even refined on) Uzuz
eyes; it can be _dangerous_ to sense/scan other trolls. Ogling the local
Kyger Litor priestess with your eyes is safer than darksense, which she's
better able to detect. IMO, darkscan would be more obvious to other Uz
than darksense... darksense is a little more "passive" and doesn't involve
as much active use of emissions. (For some trollkin, eyes become a
survival feature: although your trollish masters will give you a boot to
the head for being "uppity" and "looking" at them with darksense, you can
visually look at them with impunity. Some values might even develop the
ability to detect other colors...)

To be fair, the arguement I've heard against it is that the initial "ping"
is at a different pitch, and that until it "reflects" Uz don't pick it up.

Any thoughts?

===
Glenn Micah Glazer writes:

> To me, one of the fun things about the Uz is that they challenge our
> definitions of what it means to be cultured or civilized.

A fairly humorous moment in a campaign occurred when a party of PCs were
introduced by local Uz to the Famous Uz Artist of Pavis. The PCs were
faced with a large block of stone, with some odd bits haphazardly chopped
out. After various (false) compliments, the party trooped off, with
characters making comments like "stupid trolls" (and the players, "ha ha,
modern art comes to Pavis.") It never occured to them that the weak-eyed
trolls wouldn't make _visual_ art: it was the combination of textures on
the surface of the object, various hollowed out portions, and the
introduction of denser materials inside that gave a remarkably pleasing
effect for Darksense. One of the players later caught on when he
accidentially touched a different "sculpture" by the same artist, and
noticed patterns of texture on otherwise featureless bits.

==========================================================================
James Frusetta gerakkag@wam.umd.edu
Department of History University of Maryland, College Park
==========================================================================

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