>Bear in mind that Echolocation is a sense that evolved to allow a nocturnal
>flying insectivore to distinguish between a moth and a leaf while
>performing rapid aerial maneuvers. It's a lot more sensitive
and discriminating than just the blip on a radar screen that you see in the
movies. If you want a much better visual representation, rent the movie
Bats can target insects the size of gnats and objects as thin as a human
hair. They can determine not only the size, shape and texture of objects
around them, but the velocity and direction in which
they're moving -- well enough to intercept. They can distinguish between
different species of insect, prey species vs. non-prey species. They can
chase and catch their targets through tree canopies.
When I'm hosting a sci-fi or fantasy game where the character is using
echolocation, radar, or other such senses, one of the ways in which I
describe objects to the characters is using the analogy of a monochrome grey
statue--you get a three-dimensional image of the object including textures
and surface details, but no color whatsoever.
>An Observation Roll wouldn't be inappropriate in such a case, though it
>might just slow things down.
Personally, I might Observation rolls with Echolocation to pick up some
things that sight CAN'T. Someone wearing armor concealed under his tunic?
That's gonna give a very different PING.
Exactly, Professor Athelind. The type of echo received from an object would
depend upon its hardness and density, as soft or porous objects would tend
to absorb sound while hard or dense objects tend to reflect it more easily;
think of the echoes from the concrete wall of a parking garage versus those
of a wooden wall covered with heavy curtains, and you get the idea.
Characters with Echolocation might even be able to determine the type of
metal an object is made from with a difficult Obervation roll, as brass
would have different reflective properties than steel, for example. An
Observation roll might also be used to tell wool from cotton or oak from
pine wood, although the latter roll would be VERY difficult.
>On the other claw, if you want to read a scroll in the dark, you're still
>gonna have to light a candle.
Quite true. Pigments upon a scroll would not create enough of a change in
the paper or parchment to affect its reflective qualities in regard to
Echolocation, so the scroll would appear blank to anyone using Echolocation.
On the other paw, raised letters such as those inlaid in metal on a
leather-bound book or engravings on a sword would be visible to
Echolocation, although once again the Observation roll would be difficult.
Better to light a single candle than curse the darkness...
Your Obedient Servant,
On a morning from a Bogart movie
In a country where they turn back time
You go strolling through the crowd like Peter Lorre
Contemplating a crime
She comes out of the sun in a silk dress running
Like a watercolour in the rain
Don't bother asking for explanations
She'll just tell you that she came
In the year of the cat
--Al Stewart, "Year of the Cat"
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