Author Topic: Listen checks to hear whispers  (Read 351 times)

Telkar

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Listen checks to hear whispers
« on: March 25, 2020, 11:30:37 PM »
This is a suggestion to let you use the listen skill to overhear people's whispering, as per PnP, although the DCs might need to be adjusted. I think it'd be nice to give listen some love with spot having recently become more useful.

The 3.5 PnP version is here for reference: https://www.dandwiki.com/wiki/SRD:Listen_Skill

I'm not sure how best it would be to implement feasibly, but first thoughts are:

Given that someone your character is aware of whispers:
- The character rolls a listen check to know there was a whisper, seeing "[whisper]" from the whisperer or somesuch if it was passed.
- If the DC is passed by a lot (10 in PnP), you see what was whispered.
- The DC would be based on distance from the whisperer, weather/environment and whether the whisperer is in line of sight.

I'd make the DCs go all the way towards 80 and maybe more for the toughest ones. For someone far enough away to be close to not being able to listen to normal talk from the whisperer, the DC could be close to impossible. That way, people could still be reasonably certain that they won't be overheard if they're a certain distance away from other people.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2020, 11:44:01 PM by Telkar »

Khornite

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Re: Listen checks to hear whispers
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2020, 12:53:54 AM »
Call me a pessimist, but I think this suggestion will just result in more people seeking out secluded spaces and locking themselves in rooms, further spreading people apart and driving people away from meeting places.
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Telkar

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Re: Listen checks to hear whispers
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2020, 10:15:31 AM »
That's one incentive, to make sure you don't spill secrets.

Another is to go to more populous places to make new connections and meet people.

This implementation wouldn't kill the incentive to go to the public places. There's much to benefit from that still. But for serious secret sharing, people would be likely to go elsewhere yes, or exchange written information. Secluding yourself would take away the benefit of the public space, so there's that tradeoff to consider.

One effect of this might be that people in public places are going to be more likely to want to communicate with strangers as opposed to being mostly interested in communicating within their whisper group.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2020, 10:21:58 AM by Telkar »

Iridni Ren

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Re: Listen checks to hear whispers
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2020, 11:02:03 AM »
This would be a good balance to how Spot has been elevated with the addition of Disguise. Whether it should happen, however, I think depends on the difficulty in implementing it and how much overhead checking for it would take.

Quote
Given that someone your character is aware of whispers:
- The character rolls a listen check to know there was a whisper, seeing "[whisper]" from the whisperer or somesuch if it was passed.
- If the DC is passed by a lot (10 in PnP), you see what was whispered.
- The DC would be based on distance from the whisperer, weather/environment and whether the whisperer is in line of sight.

Also, only if the listening PC understands the language spoken, should the DC occur. Another factor in overhearing a whisper could be the number of audible conversations going on (which demonstrates how complex programming it could be).

When my PC whispers, I almost always assume people can tell she's whispering. Unless I forget or it's a situation in which I'm whispering only so as not to distract from the "main" RP occurring (such as being in an audience), I typically emote some indication.

It seems a bit cheesy to not do so if you are being observed while whispering.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2020, 11:03:45 AM by Iridni Ren »

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SardineTheAncestor

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Re: Listen checks to hear whispers
« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2020, 11:38:04 AM »
I like this suggestion, but I am cautious for the same reasons Khornite said.

Related to one of your points: I've seen servers (on other games) automate emotes like *mutters something* when people whisper. Wouldn't mind it here, but it really would spam the chat up. It worked well in an environment where there were some emotes which only appeared over the player's head, and not in the chat, so you had to be looking at someone to see it. I don't think that's possible here, but if it was, I would be ecstatic if we could get that added. It still offers the opportunity to type your own emotes about how/what you're whispering about, it doesn't spam the chat, but it means people don't need to emote it if they don't want to, meanwhile nobody is left guessing.
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Kaninchen

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Re: Listen checks to hear whispers
« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2020, 02:52:19 PM »
I am inclined to say this sort of change would really help stealthers deal in espionage more than most. If I wish to spy on someone while stealth-ed, with this in place, I would have the option to invest points into Listen, which would allow me to hear the conversation from further away. Considering distance effects the DC on spot/listen checks to Hide/MS, I think that gives even more power to stealthy types.

I am also unsure on what the opposed DC would be for the people you are trying to overhear.  Have any thoughts on that?

ZSRunner

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Re: Listen checks to hear whispers
« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2020, 03:21:10 PM »
Seems to me that this would require a lot of work on the developer side for little in game benefit.  Listen already has greater utility than spot because it allows you to detect invisible characters without the use of spells. 

FinalHeaven

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Re: Listen checks to hear whispers
« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2020, 03:30:00 PM »
Seems to me that this would require a lot of work on the developer side for little in game benefit.  Listen already has greater utility than spot because it allows you to detect invisible characters without the use of spells.

To be clear, it allows you as the player to visually see them.  If your character did not actually succeed a Spot roll, and the person attacks you, you still suffer all the negative drawbacks of being attacked from Stealth/Invisibility.

Unless Beamdog changed this for EE, which I don't believe they did.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2020, 03:35:46 PM by FinalHeaven »


Marcus Weyland

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Re: Listen checks to hear whispers
« Reply #8 on: March 26, 2020, 03:41:14 PM »
Listen already has greater utility than spot because it allows you to detect invisible characters without the use of spells.

This is only partly true. Listen only reveals invisible characters that are within melee range. Anomalously, one still requires See Invisibility to hear invisible, stealthing targets at any greater range than arm's length. When they're within that short range, though, even a blind/deaf character can "hear" them, and one can in fact "hear" ethereal creatures who come too close, which is likely not supposed to be the case.

Telkar

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Re: Listen checks to hear whispers
« Reply #9 on: March 26, 2020, 04:34:23 PM »
I am also unsure on what the opposed DC would be for the people you are trying to overhear.  Have any thoughts on that?

You mean like being good at whispering very discreetly? I don't. At most I think one would be able to modify the DC by distancing themselves or something else.

Also, only if the listening PC understands the language spoken, should the DC occur.

I think there should be a chance to hear what someone is saying even if the language is not understood, since that's how the language system is built. The same rules about that would apply as normal. For example, you should hear a name you recognize in the conversation.

It'd be nice if a dev weighed in on the technical feasibility of something like this, like if it's doable or absolutely not. Don't want to waste too much breath here if it's clear it's going nowhere.

ZSRunner

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Re: Listen checks to hear whispers
« Reply #10 on: March 26, 2020, 05:17:29 PM »
Listen already has greater utility than spot because it allows you to detect invisible characters without the use of spells.

This is only partly true. Listen only reveals invisible characters that are within melee range. Anomalously, one still requires See Invisibility to hear invisible, stealthing targets at any greater range than arm's length. When they're within that short range, though, even a blind/deaf character can "hear" them, and one can in fact "hear" ethereal creatures who come too close, which is likely not supposed to be the case.

Interesting, I didn't know that.

Relapse

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Re: Listen checks to hear whispers
« Reply #11 on: March 26, 2020, 06:00:37 PM »
I think there is a time where this could be used to great effect but it should be in cooperative RP and DM events.

Call me a pessimist, but I think this suggestion will just result in more people seeking out secluded spaces and locking themselves in rooms, further spreading people apart and driving people away from meeting places.

I agree with this, PCs will always have a need to be secretive or have their private moments but i'm not, and this is very much my opinion, a fan of anything that encourages a pervasive day to day spy culture. It's as invasive IG as it would be in RL and the consequences for getting caught are practically non existent in 99% of the time.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2020, 06:03:32 PM by Relapse »

MAB77

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Re: Listen checks to hear whispers
« Reply #12 on: March 26, 2020, 07:11:44 PM »
Making so that a listen roll must beat a DC to overhear whispers is just another mechanical layer on top of those already governing sneaking. It adds very little roleplay wise and penalizes classes with few skill points to spare to begin with. Just imagine too the awkward situation of trying to have a whispered conversation with a friend that keeps failing half its rolls. What we have is simple, but efficient. Someone whispers, you have to get close to overhear him. There are already multiple ways to protect oneself from pesky sneakers, even to hold discussions silently (hint: papers). My humble opinion is that there is really no need to over-complicating things.
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Telkar

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Re: Listen checks to hear whispers
« Reply #13 on: March 26, 2020, 07:49:32 PM »
I imagined it such that whispering would function in the same way it does now, except when people are out of the radius where they would hear the whisper. That's when one would need a check to hear the whisper.

Revenant

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Re: Listen checks to hear whispers
« Reply #14 on: March 27, 2020, 05:26:01 PM »
I am opposed to this for a number of reasons, but most strongly on the simple principle that whispers are the only thing that keep busy events, particularly those in the styles common to Port (performances, balls, lectures), even mildly coherent.
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Khornite

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Re: Listen checks to hear whispers
« Reply #15 on: March 27, 2020, 05:46:40 PM »
I am opposed to this for a number of reasons, but most strongly on the simple principle that whispers are the only thing that keep busy events, particularly those in the styles common to Port (performances, balls, lectures), even mildly coherent.

This as well. A lot of the times when I am using whispers, it's to use the changed text color to point out my conversation from the 12 other people around me.
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BraveSirRobin

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Re: Listen checks to hear whispers
« Reply #16 on: Today at 02:55:38 AM »
I am opposed to this for a number of reasons, but most strongly on the simple principle that whispers are the only thing that keep busy events, particularly those in the styles common to Port (performances, balls, lectures), even mildly coherent.

This as well. A lot of the times when I am using whispers, it's to use the changed text color to point out my conversation from the 12 other people around me.
I am opposed to this for a number of reasons, but most strongly on the simple principle that whispers are the only thing that keep busy events, particularly those in the styles common to Port (performances, balls, lectures), even mildly coherent.


If I'm understanding the suggestion, it is for characters with an exceptionally high Listen skill to be able to hear whispered conversations from ranges farther away than usual, extending the bubble. If you're at a giant public event and you don't want to hear what everyone's saying, then equip gear that dampens your listening abilities and/or don't wear a bunch of stacked listen gear to detect stealthers. One of the aspects people with high listen seem to never really roleplay is the fact said person's hearing will be very acute and sensitive, and someone whose listen skill is capable of radar-detecting a dedicated stealth build should also have frustration with overflow.

If you wanted to make it more interesting and add another layer of immersion on top of that, you could implement a toggle command (i.e., @toggle whisperrange) and then force you to roll Concentration checks to be able to block out all of the extra noise that you'd otherwise be hearing due your acute hearing. I'm not sure what the Concentration DC would be as opposed to what your Listen could pick up, but it's friendly solution to the problem that permits the potential to 'shut off' all of the noise you don't want to hear whilst still wearing your +55 Listen worth of gear to the masquerade ball, adding a negative to the positive. If you don't have a very good Concentration skill, you could just remove your rings/gear/etc, and equip yourself some Stealth gear, which most of it has a negative attribute to Listen to balance Stealth Detectors.

Personally, I've advocated for this in the past, myself, but I was told that the technology/scripting to make it work either didn't exist or was too cumbersome to implement at the time. I'm not going to go on a rant on Spot vs. Listen balancing; The server's gear pool makes Listen a more attractive choice in almost any situation because it's relatively easy to max out your Listen on a budget and with scrolls that push you to +20 Listen whenever you want vs. half-leveled True Seeing potions/scrolls that net you just under a +10 to your Spot, then added to the fact that most Spot equipment is so rare it's almost as expensive as the high-end stealth gear vs dirt cheap and common +5 Listen rings.

I think both of the detect skills should have some sort of quirky drawback, and while Spot might be an entirely different conversation all together in that regard, this thread is about Listen.
« Last Edit: Today at 02:57:19 AM by BraveSirRobin »