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The ability to think on one's feet, under pressure or duress, without letting them see you sweat. Wits also encompasses an eye for detail, the ability to absorb what's going on in the environment, and to react to events. It might mean recognizing that the temperature in a room slowly drops, that a landscape painting incorporates a disguised human face, or that a trap is about to be sprung. Wits involves the powers of perception and response. Your character may be oblivious, dumbfounded, quick-eyed or wary.



Skill-Based Perception

During the course of play, you will be called upon frequently to roll dice to see if your character notices something in her vicinity, or that some detail is unusual. The Storyteller can always ask you to roll Wits + Composure to see if your character is aware of her surroundings, but there are other options. Perhaps more indicative of your character's life experience and training is combining Wits + a relevant Skill to determine if your character spots something amiss. It could be Wits + Survival to realize that a predatory animal lurks nearby in the woods. Or it might be Wits + Academics to notice that the books on a shelf aren't arranged alphabetically, but by date of publication. Sure, Wits + Composure might accomplish the same result, but if your character has some capability with a Skill that's more reliable than her Composure alone, the Storyteller might allow you to roll Wits plus that Skill, instead.

As a general rule of thumb, the highest of Composure or the Skill is rolled along with Wits. While the stalked character in the example above might be a novice woodsman (Survival 1 ), he could still have decent Composure (say, 3). The latter of the two is rolled because the character's inherent senses and alertness compensate for his green status in the wilds.

Bear in mind that dots in some Skills or under some circumstances simply don't matter, and Wits + Composure always applies. For example, if a gun lies in the corner of a room, having the Firearms Skill doesn't help spot it. Anyone who gets a successful Wits + Composure can see it.

The Storyteller always has final say on whether a Skill can be combined with Wits to make a perception roll, or if Composure applies.

Sometimes subtle or instantaneous actions occur around your character, testing his powers of observation. A shape races by. Someone hides behind nearby bushes. Maybe your character recognizes these events. Maybe he goes oblivious to them. Alternatively, a single unusual phenomenon is in his presence, and he may (or may not) recognize it without trying. Maybe a piece of furniture is out of place in a room or a door is unlocked when it should be locked.

The Storyteller typically knows when something unusual or out of place occurs in your character's vicinity, and may call for a reflexive W its + Composure roll for your character to recognize it. Such observation almost always occurs without your character intentionally searching or looking (that's the province of Investigation). Perception rolls simply check to see if your character instinctually notices what's going on. In many cases, the Storyteller may make perception rolls for you, so that you remain as aware or unaware of what's going on as your character.

Roll Results

Reaction to Surprise

An ambush is about to be launched, a trap is about to be sprung or your character is about to run into her enemy. She may recognize the threat in time or walk right into it. Roll Wits + Composure for your character to determine if she's prepared for the worst. Even one success indicates that she is and you can roll Initiative for a fight as usual. If your Wits + Composure roll fails, your character is caught off guard and can do nothing for the first turn of combat except stand and gape or get hurt. Her Defense is not applied against incoming attacks in that first turn. For more information, see Surprise.

Roll Results

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