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The observer skill represents situational awareness: the ability of a dwarf to notice key details about their surroundings. For general patrol, this skill increases the chance to spot a stealth unit. The higher the skill the greater the range (up to 3 tiles max). The skill is particularly good to have for guards at your entrance or marksdwarves on your walls.
Testing reveals that even a highly skilled observer can only detect stealthed units up to 3 tiles away. That is, the detection area is a 7x7x7 cube centered on the observer, also requiring line-of-sight. An unskilled ambusher in stealth can walk near a grand master observer without being detected, as long as a distance of at least 4 tiles is maintained.
In combat, observer skill is used to note and anticipate the attacks of enemies. Skilled observers are less likely to be surprised by an opponent's charge, for instance, and less likely to receive a penalty for being attacked from the side.
Soldiers will gradually increase this skill while training. It is currently uncertain whether observing combat demonstrations improves observer skill directly, or if improvement is limited to sparring and combat. For targeted live training, fighting a group of weak or harmless enemies should increase the number of observer rolls as your trainee is surrounded.
In adventure mode, the observer skill may also influence the probability of receiving the message "You feel uneasy" instead of an ambush. It slowly increases during combat and by successfully spotting ambushes and traps.
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