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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.
- The trait is useful for entrepreneurs, charlatans, athletes, tacticians, lawyers and criminals.
- The lowest of your character's Wits or Dexterity is used to determine his Defense trait, which is subtracted from incoming Brawl, Weaponry and throwing attacks.
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.
- Dice Pool: Wits + Composure or a relevant Skill in place of Composure (see the "Skill-Based Perception" sidebar)
- Action: Reflexive
- Suggested Equipment: Hopped-up on caffeine (+1) or amphetamines (+2)
- Possible Penalties: Dark (-3), obscuring weather (-1 to -3), subtle detail (-1), obscure detail (-3), distracting circumstances (-1 to -3)
- Dramatic Failure: Your character notices something strange or out of place, but it's not what has actually occurred, or he makes a dangerous assumption about the event. A picture hanging at an odd angle indicates that someone has moved it, but your character assumes that a door has been slammed, shifting the piece of art.
- Failure: Your character notices nothing amiss or out of place.
- Success: Your character recognizes that something has happened. If he wants to learn more, Investigation rolls are called for.
- Exceptional Success: Your character not only recognizes when something unusual or quick happens nearby, he sees it all happen and gets a good look. Or he notices a variety of things that are amiss in his surroundings, just by entering the room.
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.
- Dice Pool: Wits + Composure
- Action: Reflexive
- Suggested Equipment: Hopped-up on caffeine (+1), amphetamines (+2) or methamphetamines (+3)
- Possible Penalties: Dark (-3), obscuring weather (-1 to -3), distracting circumstances (-1 to -3), attacker at long range (-3), presumed safe environment (-1 to -2)
- Dramatic Failure: Your character is completely blindsided. The Storyteller may decree that she cannot act and loses her Defense for the first two turns of any fight that ensues.
- Failure: Your character notices nothing amiss and is caught off guard.
- Success: Initiative may be rolled normally and your character can attack or defend herself without hindrance.
- Exceptional Success: Your character spots trouble or simply senses imminent danger -- and can announce it to any companions. None of her companions is caught off guard (all of their Wits + Composure rolls are considered successful).Characteristics
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