Proposed skill: Locate Self - and awkward game mechanic.

From: Lorne D. Booker (
Date: Tue 06 May 1997 - 17:50:13 EEST

A Proposed Game Mechanic

Owen Jones is right, I think. There ought to be a game mechanic for
determining if a character knows where he is. There is World Lore but,
there should another skill. I've dreamed up something I call Locate Self.

 It will most likely be flawed. If it is not flawed then it will
definitely need work. Let me know what you think.

Feel free to rework it or trash it.

- -------------------------------------------------

Locate Self

Locate Self is an extension of an individuals sense of direction. It
implies an ability to remember where everything else is and to postulate
position accordingly.

Remember that this location is always relative to something. I am at the
top of the hill. The mountains is there so I am here. In order to use the
Locate Self skill the individual must first find a point of reference.
 This means that s/he must be able to make out something intelligable about
his/her surroundings. This is done by using a Scan roll to identify items
of interest and a combined (area) sense and local knowledge skill to make
use of them.

Once this has been done the character may then attempt to locate himself.
 This is done by making a Locate Self roll. If this roll is successful the
individual has an idea of where s/he is.

To sum up if someone is lost they would require three rolls.
  1. a Scan roll
  2. area sense (city, forest, underwater etc.) or similar construct +
local knowledge roll.
  3. Locate Self

Examples of these skills employed.

A young Lunar - Kralor - travelling on the road to Pavis to open a new
business takes a short walk from his caravan in order to relieve himself in
private. He sees an interesting and tasty looking creature and follows it
for a very short way. Suddenly he does not know where he is. He makes an
effort to get a sense off direction. He scans his surrounding for a
landmark. His Scan skill is 35%. He sees nothing to give him a sense of
direction. His forest sense is a base 05% and his local knowledge is none
existent. He continues to scan his surroundings but even when he sees
things they mean nothing to him. His Locate Self skill is reasonably high
- - he has been to many new cities - but, he doesn't get the chance to use
it. The brush is quite thick. He cannot see the road. He is lost.

The caravan guide discovers that he is missing. He dispatches several
people to look for the young lunar trader.

The first is his assistant Jondhi. Jondhi is a city boy but, he has some
knowledge of the area. He searches for quite a while before loosing his
sense of direction. His forest sense is low (10 percent) but he knows the
area somewhat (+30) for a directional bonus of fifteen. He has a Scan
skill of 45 to which he uses successfully. He is standing on a slope. He
applies his local knowledge bonus (+30) to his Forest Sense (10) and rolls
37. He makes his roll. He has been on this road before and he remembers
that it takes a long turn around a large hill. He makes a successful
Locate Self roll and reasons that he is on the side of the hill facing the
road. He walks downhill until he reaches the road. He follow the road to
the caravan and declares his search to be unsuccessful.

Jajar the hunter decides he would like to stretch his legs as well. He
sets off into the bush and circles the camp on the upslope side in search
of tracks. All the while he keeps track of where he is. His Forest Sense
is a high 70% and his Scan is a similarly high 65%. His local knowledge is
negligible. He has no problem finding items that give him a sense of where
he is. After a time he finds some tracks and follows them to the young
Lunar. He has been able to keep track of where he is all the time he is in
the brush. He makes another Locate Self roll and is able to make a good
guess at where the Caravan is. He leads the young Lunar to the road in
sight of the camp.

Later, when he reaches Pavis, Jajar is walking around the city. He has no
local knowledge and no city sense. He tries to keep track of where he is
going but, all the buildings look the same to him. There is a lot of
excitement and pretty girls to distract the eye. Soon he has lost his way.
 He uses his Scan skill and quickly finds a lot of things of interest but,
his City Sense is low (05%) and his local knowledge is limited (+20). He
rolls 35% (under City Sense + local Knowledge roll). He spots many
landmarks but, they mean nothing to him.

Meanwhile Kralor is walking around the city. He finds Jajar looking
baffled and asks him if he is Okay. Jajar says that he cannot remember
where his inn is. Kralar has a city sense of 60% and a reasonable map
(local knowledge +30). His Scan skill is still low (35%) but, Jajar finds
many landmarks to ask him about. Kralor uses those to get his sense of
direction. He makes his rolls easily. His Locate Self skill is high - as
mentioned earlier - and he is able to tell Jajar where he is.

- -------------------------------------------------------------

The use of directional stones eliminates the need to make a skill roll. It
gives the character an immediate knowledge of where he is in relation to a
distant object. This is good.
- -------------------------------------------------------------

I don't know how reasonable this all sounds. I think the introduction of
two new skills (area sense and locate self) is pretty ridiculous. I don't
have a better idea though. Maybe someone else does. If you do please

share it. I'd hate to think that someone would adopt something flawed or
unworkable (this suggestion) into their game for lack of a better idea.

What do you think.

Lorne D. Booker

"(paraphrased) I've never been lost. I've been powerful confused for
about five weeks but I've never been lost." Daniel Boone


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