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Fellow Keepers,

As we say, you live you learn! I have been GM-ing CoC games for a while now (my game of choice, as I presume is the case for most people here :)), and was thinking the other day about our beloved Spot Hidden skill in a Call of Cthulhu game. I'll cut to the chase and will ask my question first:

Do we have any relevant skills in Call of Cthulhu 7th edition (or any other edition for that matter) which would be used for observing or noticing something in the distance? We have the Listen to hear and notice things based on sound, however, do we have anything similar for sight? Now I know that we all (or most of us) tend to ask for Spot Hidden rolls in such cases, but, strictly speaking, Spot Hidden is used to notice/see something at quite short distances (e.g. trying to find that missing note in a drawer, or in a messy room, etc). It appeared to me the other day that there was no apparent skill for seeing something in a distance (e.g. try to see what's moving out there a few hundred metres away in the dark woods, etc).

Other RPG games often have skills for these eventualities called Observation or Notice. Do we have anything similar in CoC 7th? Do you also use Spot Hidden? 

Thank you!

Edited by Strategiser
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7 hours ago, Strategiser said:

Spot Hidden is used to notice/see something at quite short distances

That's not indicated by the skill. One would still use this skill to Spot something at long distances.

(similarly, 'Listen' could be used at short distances)

Edited by mvincent
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Quoted from the 7th Ed Rulebook: "skill allows the user to spot a secret door or compartment, notice a hidden intruder, nd an inconspicuous clue, recognize a repainted automobile, become aware of ambushers, notice a bulging pocket, or anything similar. is is an important skill in the armory of an investigator". The only example there that could I suppose also be construed for longer-range observations is "become aware of ambushers", with all of the other examples hinting at closers eventualities in terms of the distances involved. At any rate, I have also always been using Spot Hidden for both close and long-range encounters (as I suppose we all have) but thought I'd check with you all as well.

Could be the name "Spot Hidden" that is the CoC heritage but perhaps a little misleading at times :) 

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2 hours ago, Strategiser said:

 all of the other examples hinting at closers eventualities in terms of the distances involved.

The sample scenario "Amidst the Ancient Trees" (Keepers Handbook) contains several long distance uses of Spot Hidden. Example: on Day 2, Spot Hidden is used to catch the glint of light off a rifle scope on a ridge.

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21 hours ago, Strategiser said:

You're right, thanks. Looks like we have been applying the skill correctly after all (i.e. both for short and long distances). 

Yeah, having it being broad rather than minute instances is a good thing and very flexible - trying to cover small situations leads to horrific results in my opinion (note fist/punch, headbutt, kick insanity of earlier editions compared to Fighting(Brawl) - I least I use it very broadly)... Too much specialization, in my view, is too limiting and leads to less options for the investigators - thank you for minimum skill percentages, Chaosium! :)


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  • 2 weeks later...

I had a similar question but regarding feeling. if someone is searching in a blind spot with there hands, would it still be spot hidden? i don't see a better fit, but that would be interpreting spot hidden as "observation" or "notice detail". Is this correct? 

if so, i guess this would be also for scents as well?

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Hi! I have something kinda related... Any good interpretation of smell?  Spot Hidden doesn't really hit it - but I guess it can, unsatisfactorily. ;)

I do use POW for "you sense something weird" or "you sense something behind you" at times, if that's not too obvious, but I do like that one in the tool kit to make things a bit more creepy and add some paranormal intuition.


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On 18/12/2016 at 2:41 AM, morganhua said:

I think Listen and Spot Hidden are legacy and outdated.  I would have combined both of those skills into a generic "Notice" skill instead, just like Fighting (Brawl) now encompasses punch, kick, headbutt, etc.

In my games, I use "Spot Hidden" for all noticing skills.

In resvising the game, Paul and I made the decsion to try and keep certain skill names the same as they were kind of 'core' names for Call of Cthulhu - like Spot Hidden, Fast Talk, Library Use etc. - rather than Detect, Bluff, Research etc. 

Spot Hidden is meant to be a broad detect skill - so smell can be included - but, smells are likely to be smelt with or without a roll - so hinting at smells and allowing the PCs to try and figure out what the smell is, is part of the fun - as they get closer to the smell, it probably grows stronger and its source becomes apparent (no need for a roll). Each situation varies but that's how I tend to play it.

Edited by Mike M
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