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-   -   Help needed with leveled powers (http://forums.sjgames.com/showthread.php?t=86576)

Grunker 01-01-2012 07:15 PM

Help needed with leveled powers
 
Hi guys,

I'm in the process of updating my GURPS: The Witcher project. Mainly, I'm in process of creating "signs" - Witcher-specific powers. I understand the basics of making powers in GURPS, but there are a few things I'm not that familiar with. I'll come with an example of a sign later, but first, the basics:

1) The signs would only be available to witchers. Therefore, I've decided to make a "buy-in" advantage called Sign Aptitude which costs 15 points. All this does is allow you to buy powers. Is this too much? Should it be "free" to be allowed to buy powers even though the rules suggest only one Witcher per play group?

2) As the topic states, the powers need to be leveled. So, you start buying one version of a power (the level 1 version for all intents and purposes), then you buy level 2 and so on. Is there a way this is normally done (look below for how I tackled it)?

Okay, so the way I've done it is to calculate the base power's cost. That's the cost of the level 1 power. To buy the level 2 power, you only pay for the difference in cost between the points you already paid for the level 1 power and the total cost of the level 2 power. So if the base power cost 10 points, and the base cost of the level 2 power would be 20, you pay 10 points for the level 2 power (but must buy the level 1 version first).

In effect, you "upgrade" the power, but are still able to use earlier versions (see below).

Maybe it is more easily explained by an example:

---------------------------------------------------------------------
Aard
Aard is a powerful sign that unleashes crushing invisible energy to knock over enemies, push over debris or similar. The Witcher unleashes a mighty gust of wind that hammers against the target of the cone this sign produces, with a thundering boom. Aard utters a loud boom whenever it is used, making it painfully obvious where it originated.

Level 1:
Base Advantage: Innate Attack (Crushing) level 1
Enhancements: Double Knockback, Malediction (Will vs. HT to hit), Cone (2 meters)
Limitations: Costs FP to Use (1FP per use), No Wounding, Nuissance Effect (Obvious)
Point cost: 11 points
Level 2
Base Advantage: Innate Attack (Crushing) level 2
Enhancements: Double Knockback, Malediction (Will vs. HT to hit), Cone (2 meters)
Limitations: Costs FP to Use (2FP per use), No Wounding, Nuissance Effect (Obvious)
Point cost: 11 points
Level 3:
Base Advantage: Innate Attack (Crushing) level 3
Enhancements: Double Knockback, Malediction (Will vs. HT to hit), Cone (3 meters)
Limitations: Costs FP to Use (3FP per use), No Wounding, Nuissance Effect (Obvious)
Point cost: 12 points
Level 4:
Base Advantage: Innate Attack (Crushing) level 4
Enhancements: Double Knockback, Malediction (Will vs. HT to hit), Cone (3 meters)
Limitations: Costs FP to Use (4FP per use), No Wounding, Nuissance Effect (Obvious)
Point cost: 11 points
Level 5:
Base Advantage: Innate Attack (Crushing) level 5
Enhancements: Double Knockback, Malediction (Will vs. HT to hit), Cone (4 meters)
Limitations: Costs FP to Use (5FP per use), No Wounding, Nuissance Effect (Obvious)
Point cost: 12 points
---------------------------------------------------------------------

The idea is that it should be legal for the player to use any version of the power he has acquired (a player with Aard level 3 could choose to use the level 1 version to conserve FP, for example). This modularity off-sets the cost of the 15-point "buy-in" a bit as I see it.

Anyway, I would really appreciate some comments, not only on the stuff I asked about but also any other errors I might have made :)

Thanks in advance!

Refplace 01-01-2012 07:35 PM

Re: Help needed with leveled powers
 
A great book of worked examples of what your trying to achieve is GURPS Psionic Powers.
What you have works fine for a leveled advantage but what if you want a Sign for say Astral Projection or Warp?
Essentially what that book does is have you buy the lower levels with bigger limitations and the upper levels buy some of those off or add enhancements. Sometimes even adding a new power to be used together.

Another thing is that by RAW if you want to do less then full damage on an IA or use most abilities at less then full power you buy Variable effect. It is cheap too.

A UB cost of 15 or more is fine if your only allowing 1 PC per party. They have to pay an entry fee basically to get the powers no one else is allowed to buy.
It helps balance out the party.

vierasmarius 01-01-2012 07:36 PM

Re: Help needed with leveled powers
 
What you're looking for is the "Variable FP" modifier, in Powers (pg.101). You can already use the Variable enhancement to choose whatever level of attack you want. You then add the average FP cost (ie, for levels 1-5 costing 1 FP each, price it the same as 3 FP). This does mean that if you only purchase level 3 of the power, the Variable FP limitation is based on the average of 1-3, or 2 FP.

Fred Brackin 01-01-2012 07:46 PM

Re: Help needed with leveled powers
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Grunker (Post 1301025)
Hi guys,

I'm in the process of updating my GURPS: The Witcher project. Mainly, I'm in process of creating "signs" - Witcher-specific powers. I understand the basics of making powers in GURPS, but there are a few things I'm not that familiar with. I'll come with an example of a sign later, but first, the basics:

1) The signs would only be available to witchers. Therefore, I've decided to make a "buy-in" advantage called Sign Aptitude which costs 15 points. All this does is allow you to buy powers. Is this too much? Should it be "free" to be allowed to buy powers even though the rules suggest only one Witcher per play group?

2) As the topic states, the powers need to be leveled. So, you start buying one version of a power (the level 1 version for all intents and purposes), then you buy level 2 and so on. Is there a way this is normally done (look below for how I tackled it)?

1) In standard Gurps terminology, your "buy-in" is called an Unusual Background and the cost for those is entirely up to the GM with little offical guidance available..

What i can say about UBs is that prevalence among PCs (who are almost by deifntion Unusual) is not the most relevant factor. What's important most of the time is how Unusual the power will be in the world in general and the PC's enemies in particular.

If vitually no one else even knows about the Power, has made no preparations against it and has few defensive options even among probable opponents groups for the PCs then a high UB might be justified.

If magic is as common in the world as in the usual sort of dungeoncrawlling game with knowledge of, preparation for and availability of magic to enemy groups also as in such games then no UB at all is the norm.

2) The price associated with a levelled Power is for 1 level of that Power. If you have 1 level, pay 1x that price. 2 levels is 2x and going from 1 to 2 levels is another 1x after you paid 1x the cost for the 1st level .

Grunker 01-01-2012 07:46 PM

Re: Help needed with leveled powers
 
Thanks guys, I'll look into it. I have Psionic Powers on the shelf, I'll take a look.

If my way of doing it is essentially fine I might end up doing it based on how much time I have for the project. Otherwise I'll implement your solutions which look more streamlined (AKA they look like they do the same in a better way).

Quote:

A UB cost of 15 or more is fine if your only allowing 1 PC per party. They have to pay an entry fee basically to get the powers no one else is allowed to buy.
It helps balance out the party.
Yeah, that was the idea. Thanks.

Quote:

If magic is as common in the world as in the usual sort of dungeoncrawlling game with knowledge of, preparation for and availability of magic to enemy groups also as in such games ten no UB is normal at all.
See, this is my problem. Magic is, if not common, present. It's a low fantasy setting, but there's a sorcerer at every court. However, it's not something anyone except well-prepared enemies would take into consideration for fights in general.

Signs, however, are much rarer, though their effect is similar.

Quote:

2) The price associated with a levelled Power is for 1 level of that Power. If you have 1 level, pay 1x that price. 2 levels is 2x and going from1 to 2 levels is another 1x after you paid 1x the cost for the 1st level .
I'm not sure I understand this correctly.

Anaraxes 01-01-2012 08:21 PM

Re: Help needed with leveled powers
 
In my opinion, you should never charge a UB cost for simple rarity. Unusual Background is a catch-all Advantage designed to pay for advantages (lower case) that the character gets as a side effect of his other abilities, but for which there's no good way to charge.

Fred's already covered the usual examples where a UB is needed. Magic in the modern US, for instance, rates a UB, because no one has magical defenses, no one will understand what you're up to, and no one even believes in it. Exactly the same abilities in a fantasy game wouldn't rate a UB at all.

The old 1e text had a different sort of example. A character grew up in a sort of nomadic merchant caravan family, so he spoke several languages at Native. So there was a UB cost to cover the extra language ability. The bonus is extra language ability, not bought as ordinary skills; the UB covers that benefit.

So, the question is whether or not Witchers inherently have some such advantage. If people know about, recognize, and defend against the possibility of Witchers, then a UB isn't worth the points.

You should not chargie a UB just for setting rarity. Heroes, by definition, are already exceptional. The fact that, in the game world, only one in a thousand is a Witcher is irrelevant. Swordmasters and superninja are also presumably one in a thousand, but you're not charging them to bring their abilities to the party. Penalizing one type of character but not others when they don't have any special advantage is just unfair; imagine just giving them 15 CP less.

The point of the CP is for all the players to feel that they had an equal and fair chance to build their characters. Docking one player right from the start for no reason is going to chance resentment.

If there's a meta-game reason that there should only be one Witcher per party, then that's the sort of thing you hash out in the pre-game discussion about who's playing what sort of character. If your game has niches that need to be covered, and in particular not covered twice for problems with overlap, then you should have such a discussion, rather than let players create characters at random and then find out they don't make a team. Even applying a CP penalty doesn't guarantee you won't have two Witchers -- and if that's the goal, why adopt an method that doesn't even directly address the problem?

Grunker 01-01-2012 08:40 PM

Re: Help needed with leveled powers
 
In essence what you're asking me is whether there is any kind of significant gameplay-advantage that warrants a 15 point cost.

I guess the answer to that is no. I'm inclined to agree strongly with you upon consideration, I just hadn't thought enough about it, it seems.

Quote:

Even applying a CP penalty doesn't guarantee you won't have two Witchers -- and if that's the goal, why adopt an method that doesn't even directly address the problem?
It was less a case of this and more a case of "one player will have access to something the other players will never have access to".

LemmingLord 01-01-2012 08:45 PM

Re: Help needed with leveled powers
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Grunker (Post 1301025)
Aard
Aard is a powerful sign that unleashes crushing invisible energy to knock over enemies..

Now I don't like points. I think they are really a poor measure of anything. However, were I to recommend a point cost for this ability, I would use the points you suggested, but I would require at the very LEAST the 5pt unusual background cost; more depending on how many other 5d damage wielding forces one is likely to encounter and the people you encountare are prepared for...

In a world where in which the witches live has only very few people with 5d attacks (say elite, best of the best, strongest of the strong warriors wielding the very best weapons money can buy), this 5d innate attack becomes quite unbalancing... very few will look at the character and think "hey this guy might pull a huge blast out of 'is arse at any moment;" they will not be aware that innate attacks of this kind exist... good guys and bad guys will not be prepared to handle such an attack. In this kind of world, I would bump up the ub cost to 50 points. The character is essentially a superhero in a world with scant superheroes. If no one knows of the witches and no one is likely to have any counter measures prepared and where having such an ability will likely make you a unbalancing asset of kings, 50 points would be an appropriate unusual background cost.

If most everyone has encountered an attack like this or at least heard stories and is prepared to deal with them then 5pts seems more in line, and is quite a bargain given that for 55 points your strict fighter type is going to be doing quite less damage, especially "unarmed". In any case you've got a character who can do 5 die damage unarmed... And that is quite an ace up your sleeve..

I suppose in a world where most adventurers can break cinderblocks bare handed I would waive the UB.

Grunker 01-01-2012 08:48 PM

Re: Help needed with leveled powers
 
I'm not sure I understand your point entirely LemmingLord, but you do realize the power has No Wounding right?

Besides that, as I said I'm not entirely sure I understand you :)

Refplace 01-01-2012 08:57 PM

Re: Help needed with leveled powers
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Grunker (Post 1301054)
I'm not sure I understand your point entirely LemmingLord, but you do realize the power has No Wounding right?

Besides that, as I said I'm not entirely sure I understand you :)

I think what he meant was not so much just the written example but your saying your going to have other such powers. Some of those might be more or less dangerous. And note that with double KNB even with no wounding it does not mean it wounding to damage. At the least it could knock them back or down which can be a big factor in a fight. And knocking them into a wall probably will be fairly common as an option. Knocking them off a bridge or something a rare one but potentially very deadly. So with all of that it can be a powerful ability, especially if most are not prepared for it.


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