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Midas
OK, spinning off from the "Magic outpacing mundane" thread (specifically the problem about mundanes slipping an astral tail that they may not be aware of), I began to wonder how distinctive mundane auras would be to the astral pursuer, particularly in a crowded public place where they are criss-crossing through a crowd of other mundanes many perhaps with similar auras.

Specifically, I am trying to fathom what bonuses/penalties would apply to the pursuer's perception test if the mundane were to try and slip a potential astral tail using Shadowing or Infiltration.

1) How distinguishable is the aura of one mundane from another, particularly in a crowded area such as a mall or subway station? Would all the auras not sort of blur into each other and all this glowing pulsing moving mass hurt the astral sight of the pursuer? How many people in the crowd might have a similar aura to the mundane target that might confuse the pursuer?
2) Would you give the astral pursuer any bonuses or penalties for pursuing the unique and much brighter aura of an awakened character, or (providing enough hits on the initial Assensing test) the distinctive darkened aura of a low essence character?
3) How malleable is a mundane aura? Could the target sniff some novacoke or think murderous thoughts about some one they hate as a method of changing their aura and thereby reduce a potential astral pursuer's DP?

Irion
QUOTE
1) How distinguishable is the aura of one mundane from another, particularly in a crowded area such as a mall or subway station? Would all the auras not sort of blur into each other and all this glowing pulsing moving mass hurt the astral sight of the pursuer? How many people in the crowd might have a similar aura to the mundane target that might confuse the pursuer?

A crowded area inflicts a -2 modifier, (which is further modified by the amount of Background illumination and count present sterile to jungle void to storm).
QUOTE
2) Would you give the astral pursuer any bonuses or penalties for pursuing the unique and much brighter aura of an awakened character, or (providing enough hits on the initial Assensing test) the distinctive darkened aura of a low essence character?

To recognize auras you need 2 hits.
(So I guess thats the thing the mage must get)
QUOTE
3) How malleable is a mundane aura? Could the target sniff some novacoke or think murderous thoughts about some one they hate as a method of changing their aura and thereby reduce a potential astral pursuer's DP?

Only if the mage is getting one hit or less.
NiL_FisK_Urd
I would assign the following modifiers:

SR4A, p.136
+3 Perceiver is actively looking/listening for it
-2 Interfering sight/odor/sound
+2 Object/sound stands out in some way (for awakened targets)
SM, p.114
-2 Aura Noise: Crowded (packed with living creatures)
+1 Background Illumination: Barren (city streets) +1

Net: 0 or +2 for an awakened target, when no wars are present. Threshold would be 1 + the hits on an infiltration or shadowing test. (normally 2 or the hits on the test, but i think it is stupid that microdrones and other small things are more visible when they are infiltrating)

Edit: We use the perception table for astral perception thresholds, and the assensing table only for aura reading and assensing of astral signatures
Irion
@NiL_FisK_Urd
I think the interfering sight/sound und etc. is already coverd with Background illumination and Aura Noise... (Or what else would this be?)

The +2 is not for awakened in general, only if they are astrally active. (since you need a test to get to know this fact)

As a matter of fact, I would not handle shaking a tail like this.
You mentioned the microdrones, which would be bad for infiltrating...

It is also silly, because sneaking up to somebody in plain sight would also only give you +2 modifier to be seen.

The point is: You should not call for an "normal" infiltration test if you can't see the guy following you. And size should factor in, if you are using infiltration or palming.

If you just use perception against infiltration it is as easy to shake a microdrone you do not even see as it is to shake a troll, who is more than obvious following you. This should not be the case.
I would suggest to roll perception Vs Palming and factor in the size. (If you can't percive the target you get 0 hits)
If the palmer stays hidden, the nethits should be used to modifier the test to shake him.
(Probably even giving you a higher threshold)
NiL_FisK_Urd
QUOTE (Irion @ Jan 25 2012, 09:33 AM) *
@NiL_FisK_Urd
I think the interfering sight/sound und etc. is already coverd with Background illumination and Aura Noise... (Or what else would this be?)


QUOTE (SM p.114)
These factors inflict modifiers on Assensing and Astral Combat Tests, as noted on the Astral Visibility table. Note that while these modifiers replace some physical world perception modifiers (such as the light level), other physical world modifiers still apply. If the perceiver is distracted, he will suffer a 2 dice pool modifier whether he is viewing physical space or astral space, for instance.


QUOTE (Irion @ Jan 25 2012, 09:33 AM) *
The +2 is not for awakened in general, only if they are astrally active. (since you need a test to get to know this fact)

Well, than you get this bonus only when they escape with unmasked spells, or are dual natured.
QUOTE (Irion @ Jan 25 2012, 09:33 AM) *
As a matter of fact, I would not handle shaking a tail like this.
You mentioned the microdrones, which would be bad for infiltrating...

Yeah, this is plain stupid - the threshold to detect an infiltrating microdrone should be 4 + its hits on an infiltration test
QUOTE (Irion @ Jan 25 2012, 09:33 AM) *
It is also silly, because sneaking up to somebody in plain sight would also only give you +2 modifier to be seen.

I don't understand what you mean
QUOTE (Irion @ Jan 25 2012, 09:33 AM) *
The point is: You should not call for an "normal" infiltration test if you can't see the guy following you. And size should factor in, if you are using infiltration or palming.

If a player states that he wants to exfiltrate from a mission through a crowd to shake eventual astral/drone/etc tails, he should make an infiltration or shadowing test to loose the tails - if the player just walks home without taking any precautions, he deserves what he gets.
QUOTE (Irion @ Jan 25 2012, 09:33 AM) *
If you just use perception against infiltration it is as easy to shake a microdrone you do not even see as it is to shake a troll, who is more than obvious following you. This should not be the case.
I would suggest to roll perception Vs Palming and factor in the size. (If you can't percive the target you get 0 hits)
If the palmer stays hidden, the nethits should be used to modifier the test to shake him.
(Probably even giving you a higher threshold)

??? what has palming (which is for hiding things in your palm) to do with shaking a tail? Also, i was not talking about noticing that someone is tailing you, but of precautions if someone is tailing you (whom you cannot see or have failed to see).
Irion
@NiL_FisK_Urd
QUOTE
I don't understand what you mean

The point is, tests on an even basis are uncommon.
One side always has the advantage.
For example you try to sneak by a guard. It is much easyer for the guard to notice you, than it is to sneak around him without beeing noticed.

QUOTE
what has palming (which is for hiding things in your palm) to do with shaking a tail?

Sorry, I meant shadowing.
The point is, it can't be that it does not matter who is tailing you and how far away this guy is. An invisible guy breathing down your neck is harder to throw of your track, than a big troll trying to get through the crowd or even a dwarf who can be lost by just taking a sprinting action and run into a crowed.
NiL_FisK_Urd
Invisible guy down your neck: +2 for object standing out
Guy farther away from you: -2 Object/sound not in immediate vicinity

So the guy down your neck would not loose you, but is easier to notice (except an astral tail without astral perception), whereas the guy farther away is harder to notice but easier to shake (because he also gets the penalty from being away)
Ascalaphus
It makes sense that sneaking past someone you're not aware of is harder, but this isn't handled by penalizing the sneaker.

There's a good reason for this: the sneaker rolls ONCE for stealth against ALL observers. If ONE observer has special properties (helping/hindering), those modifiers are applied ONLY to that observer's roll.

This is a good thing: otherwise you'll often get flukes where you happen to sneak past all the good observers and get spotted by the lamest, blindest enemy because you got unlucky rolling against him, and stuff like that. Under the current system, weak observers get no undeserved lucky breaks compared to strong observers.

For example: you're invisible, sneaking past two people, one has Ultrasound. The guy with Ultrasound takes only a -3, while the guy without it takes a -6 to detect you. But you make only one stealth roll, so you don't roll well against Ultrasound guy only to screw up your roll against ordinary guy.

If you were to apply Unseen Observer modifiers to the sneaker instead of the observer, you'd get weird effect: because someone unseen is watching you, it's suddenly harder to sneak past the people who you can see, even if none of those people work together.

---

So, while I don't think there's a RAW bonus for Observing While Unnoticed, it's not strange to want to houserule in such a bonus. But the bonus should be applied to the observer, not as a penalty to the sneaker.
Midas
OK, thanks for all the replies so far. Nil_Fisk's list of modifiers seems to give a mundane an even chance to lose an astral tail in a crowded mall, which works for me. So, if he were to be cautious and actively try to shake a tail 3 times on a convoluted journey home he should have a good chance of not coming out the shower to the sound of a SWAT team splintering his door.

It also makes sense that it doesn't matter if the target is aware of the tail or not - he is actively using his Shadowing skill to go through shops, duck around corners and double back in order to make it difficult for potential pursuers to keep up with him. Thanks for all the info!
Irion
QUOTE
It also makes sense that it doesn't matter if the target is aware of the tail or not - he is actively using his Shadowing skill to go through shops, duck around corners and double back in order to make it difficult for potential pursuers to keep up with him. Thanks for all the info!

No, it doesn't make sense. If I want to shake somebody I see and who is limited to physical movement it is much harder than to shake somebody I can't see.

It is quite easy to shake the dwarf or the troll, but an fast moving human you did not even spot? Much more difficult.
I absolutly dislike it if you build up rules just to work in one specific situation.
Just use those rules for mundane on mundane and "you just broke shadowing".

The point is, to follow somebody is not a perception test. Perception doesn't do shit if you can't keep up.

If you are followed by a microdrone you do not see, it should be hard to shake it. If you are followed by a troll who can barly get through the crowed or a dwarf who can't see you as soon you enter a crowed, it should be easy. (If I let this drone just roll his 1-2 Points of sensors against all those modifiers and your infiltration check... )
Congratulation, you made it impossible to tail anybody, if you have not a maxed perception.

Astral tailing is the one with the fewest limitation, if you use a mechanik for "loosing a tail" in which even the astral tailing will loose, you should give it a thought what it will do to any other form of tailing.
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