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Ok, I have become confused by something. Its probably me just not seeing the wood for the trees, but help me out here?

Aura Reading is an Active Skill which cannot be defaulted to from Intelligence. Yet the rules say that if you have Aura Reading you may use it in place of intelligence for assensing. That's its main function, to be used to assense people. Obviously it also has its uses in Psychometry as well.

However, if it cannot be defaulted to from Intelligence, why can you use intelligence to assense people? If it cannot be defaulted to, then without it you shouldn't be able to assense at all, should you? Someone explain this to me in words of one syllable because I think I'm going mad! None of our characters have ever bought the skill specifically except under 2nd ed or for psychometry purposes and this worries me...
You use Intelligence to assense - call it astral Perception if you like.

You use Aura Reading as a complementary skill to the original Intelligence test - two successes on the Aura Reading test equal one additional success on the Intelligence / astral Perception test.

You can assense with only Intelligence. However, if you take Aura Reading to 4 or higher, and get the handy-dandy free Background Knowledge Skill of Aura Reading 1+, you can justify to the your GM how you know exactly what information assensing should give you. Not that I've ever done any cheesy metagaming . . .
I'm considering altering the way Aura Reading works in my next game. As it is, the skill does not work like any other canon skill.

I am going to rule that in order to assense something or someone, the character must use Aura Reading (the skill). If he doesn't have that skill, then he can default to Intelligence in the normal fashion, with all the associated penalties.
Ol' Scratch
That's exactly what I do, Fortune. Works just fine.
That way makes the most sense to me. It truly becomes a skill much like forensics is to a detective. Sure you can look for clues and details with a normal eye using only your intelligence, but you should be able to do even better with the skill.

Although it is not so in 3rd ed SR, Aura Reading would work best if it were normal skill target numbers for percieving in astral space with the skill, and attribute default for those without it.

Complimentary skills should only count for Background Skills. I'm sure somebody will argue this, but it makes the most sense to me.
off topic, but with regard active skills, I generally agree with you. Sometimes, however, if someone is say wanting to move fast but stealthily, I would let them roll stealth with athletics as a complementary, for example. That works pretty well.

but usually, yeah, they're the only ones which make sense.

Thanks for your perspectives on the assensing thing. I think i'll just keep it as an optional skill, with more value for people doing psychometry or as a complementary skill for assensing if you have it, even though its an Active Skill. That's how we've always played it, and its worked ok. The whole no defaulting thing makes me wonder if I'm missing something important but I don't think so. if you don't have the skill, you can't use the metamagic of psychometry and you won't be quite as good at assensing generally as people who do, but its no great loss unless you have psychometry!
The reason that there is no defaulting according to canon is that there is no need for it. The perception test is already an Intelligence test, with Aura Reading added if it's available. If it isn't known to the character, he could normally default to Intelligence, which would result in a character rolling Intelligence twice for the one test, which would just be screwy.
I don't have SotA with me at the moment. Can anyone clarify exactly how Psychometry works mechanics-wise? Is it an actual Aura Reading test? An Astral Perception (read Intelligence) test? A Magic test? What, if anything can be used as complimentary?

I'd like to assume that it's an Astral Perception test with Aura Reading as a Complimentary skill, but that would be too much to ask for.
Well, I do have the book handy, so here you go:

You have to be in contact with the object, so its not a standard assensing test. And I read it that you just use Aura Reading, not Intelligence - it specifically states that you roll your Aura Reading, and makes no mention of Intelligence or assenssing. Therefore in that instance if you were defaulting to intelligence, you'd be making the test at +4 - and if it pushes the TN# above 8 you can't default and make the test. I would say that since you do have to astrally perceive to do it, you can also add your Astal Pool equal to your initiate grade. Bearing in mind the target numbers involved for psychometry, I would say defaulting is going to make all but the objects with the strongest impressions would be all but impossible.

It also takes a lot longer than assensing. the base time is the target number of the test minus initiate grade in minutes, an exclusive action with a +4 modifier to perception tests. Willpower 6 test to break off. The flashbacks you get can take an unspecified amount of time longer than that. No mention is made of reducing base time with successes.

There's a bag of different modifiers which apply (e.g. -3 for impression of violent death, +1 for chaotic and noisy surroundings) and the 'success scale', if you like, goes up to 4, starting at 0 for nothing, 1 for superficial results and up to 4 for lengthy vision sequences, multiple senses, coherent visions etc etc. Target numbers start at 6 and go to 14. With a +2 for every ten years after that since the impressions were made. Nasty. Having been Cleansed puts that up by 6.

Then you roll Willpower vs 12 minus the modified psychometry target number. If no successes, take a light stun, no soak. Which seems a bit broken unless I've missed something - more powerful and easier to pick up the impressions are, the easier it is to resist afterwards? Que?

If you fail you have to wait 10-grade hours before attempting again (which incurs a further +2 TN).

In other words, it is most likely you are going to get only a couple of successes at best, depending on what it is. Some stuff is dead easy though - bonded foci, for example.

Dark father
I agree that the current structure of inteligence + aura reading as complimentar isn't great. I find it way too easy to get important info. A player wth 6 intelligence is statistically guaranteed to get 3 success with the base TN of 4 for ascening. And with 3 success, he can get imprtant information already. Add to that a Aura Reading of 4 and you can be sure to almost get all the informations possible to get.

My solution : making aura scans only with aura reading skill, and defaulting to intellience. I use the canon rules for aura reading, but I think my solution would be more interresting. For now, aura reading is a pretty useles skill since intelligence can bring good results.

Thanks spotlite. So it works that way proper Astral Perseption should work. I can't complain about that. smile.gif
QUOTE (Dark father)
A player wth 6 intelligence is statistically guaranteed to get 3 success with the base TN of 4 for ascening.

Dark father. Your statistics are very wrong.

With a base target number of 4 and 6 dice each dice has a 50% chance of failure. You have a hance of no successes witch can be expressed as .5^6=.125 or 12.5%. Your chace of getting 3 successes or better is slightly better than 65%.

QUOTE (Dark father)
A player wth 6 intelligence is statistically guaranteed to get 3 success with the base TN of 4 for ascening.

I think that's the real problem with his statement.
QUOTE (Edward)
nit: .5^6 is 8 times smaller than that.

Instead of "statistically guaranteed" I'm sure he meant "the average number of successes is statistically guaranteed". wink.gif
Actualy, the chances of rolling any one combination of successes is .5^6. This is only relevant for rolling all successes or all failures. The chances of rolling 3 successes are actualy 42 times that, 65.6%. Slightly higher than half and in no way guaranteed.

[Edit: I was off by 1]
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