Dresden Files - The Archives
A measure of your passive awareness. A perception skill to notice things that you are not looking for.
Use Alertness to notice things that you do not expect, are not observing closely, and/or are not looking for at the moment. If you are actively and mobility searching for something like a detective, Investigation (page 133) is usually more appropriate. If you are posting a watch on an area or “keeping an eye out” eye for something/someone particular in an area, Alertness is the skill to use.
Use Alertness whenever a trap/ambush is sprung. Make an Alertness check against the Stealth of your attacker in order to see if you are surprised. If you fail this check, roll all your defenses as if they were Mediocre for the first exchange. If you succeed, you may defend normally at your full skill levels.
Use Alertness to determine initiative order in any physical conflict. To minimize the die rolling, your group can use the listed value for everyone’s Alertness to determine the order of everyone’s actions.
Corner of My Eye: When successfully rolling Alertness passively to pick up on details, gain an additional 2 shifts. This reflects the ability to pick up on more pieces of information, but it does not improve the depth of that information (which would take things into the realm of Investigation).
On My Toes: Gain +2 to Alertness when using it to determine initiative.
Paranoid? Probably.: Gain +2 to Alertness when rolling against surprise.