Steve Jackson Games Forums

Steve Jackson Games Forums (http://forums.sjgames.com/index.php)
-   GURPS (http://forums.sjgames.com/forumdisplay.php?f=13)
-   -   [RPM] Altered Traits (http://forums.sjgames.com/showthread.php?t=125464)

momothefiddler 05-02-2014 06:03 AM

[RPM] Altered Traits
 
I had thought that Altered Traits was basically "if the other categories don't cover it, build it as an advantage", but that's pretty definitely not the case. For instance, Intercom (T:RPM 45) is just the Sense+Duration+Range costs, and doesn't include Telecommunication for both, which would likely more than double the cost. Yet Mantle of Glory is a Greater Strengthen effect in addition to the 60 points for Terror.

In the Transmogrification thread, Ghostdancer said that Altered Traits is about whether control of the ability is part of casting or given to the subject:
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ghostdancer (Post 1755045)
Put another way, transforming a stone statue into a living breathing version of itself requires a Greater Transform Matter + Greater Transform Body + Greater Create Mind (and that's RAW), but requires no Altered Traits. You almost never use Altered Traits unless it's adding a ability that's under the control of the subject, not the caster. In this case, the subject cannot change shapes back and forth, therefore you don't need Altered Traits.

Later on, PK said that Altered Traits is about the baseline of what a thing is:
Quote:

Originally Posted by PK (Post 1755070)
Nope. The point of a Transform turning a person into, let's say, an animal is that it turns them into a baseline version of that animal. They get whatever the stats for that animal are. You'd only need to use Altered Traits if you wanted to add additional advantages, disadvantages, or attribute modifiers to that template (e.g., a "winged cheetah" would need another 30 points worth of Altered Traits, unless winged cheetahs were something that already existed in your game).

In addition, Transmogrification doesn't include Altered Traits to change you into something else, while Sylph Form does - presumably this indicates that there are no actual beings in the baseline RPM world with Body of Air? What's more, Haste includes Altered Traits even though the Speed can't be turned off by the subject and there exist "faster humans" to match up to. And there probably aren't any normal humans wandering around with DR6, couldn't I get the benefits of Ghost Shirt and more (admittedly with some drawbacks, but...) by turning into a demon or some other supernatural being with great DR and other advantages, paying for the upgrade from Control (5) to Transform (8) out of the 30 I don't have to pay for Altered Traits?

Basically, I don't understand what needs Altered Traits and what I can do (significantly more cheaply) just by effects.

Christopher R. Rice 05-02-2014 10:17 AM

Re: [RPM] Altered Traits
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by momothefiddler (Post 1757110)
Basically, I don't understand what needs Altered Traits and what I can do (significantly more cheaply) just by effects.

It can be tricky, but basically:
  • Does the spell put the effect under the control of the caster? Example: A caster can make someone fly with just a Greater Control Body effect. The flight is under his control. Alternatively, he can use the same effect and use Altered Traits, Flight now the subject can fly on his own as long as the Duration lasts.
  • Does the spell significantly enhance the subject's abilities? Example: A caster turns a human into a cat using Greater Transform Body which lasts for the Duration of the spell. The transformation is not under the subject's control. Alternatively, he can add Altered Traits, Alternate Form to all the subject to turn into a cat at will.
  • Does the spell by dint of it's spell effect already do what you need it to do? Example: a caster would not need Altered Traits, Slave Mentality or Reprogrammable to use a Greater Control Mind effect to enslave a target.

PK 05-02-2014 02:05 PM

Re: [RPM] Altered Traits
 
It's an art, not a science -- the "correct" answer will always be up to the GM. No exceptions.

I find this one question is key:

When I describe what this spell does, do I find myself referencing specific GURPS advantages and/or disadvantages that the subject gains?

In my opinion, Haste can only be meaningfully phrased as "The subject gains ATR 1" or some combination of words that effectively mean the same thing. So it has Altered Traits. But Intercom seems best described as "The subjects can hear each other's thoughts." So it doesn't. If you think it should, and you're the GM, then you're right and now it requires it.

momothefiddler 05-02-2014 04:06 PM

Re: [RPM] Altered Traits
 
Well, you're right that that's not a science. Distressingly so. It seems that if I was the GM, there'd be few, if any, spells that were just Effects, since there are few things that can't be built with the spell modifiers and advantages and I guess I tend to think in those terms more than not.

Also, I'm curious. Haste (T:RPM 44) uses the Altered Traits spell modifier to give the target +1.00 Basic Speed for 20 energy. Is that necessary to allow the subject to control the movement, as Ghostdancer pointed out, or could that spell also have used the Speed spell modifier to give the target a static B.S. of 10 for 4 energy?
Or perhaps that merely gives a Basic Move of 10 and you should also add a +2 to Dodge for another 4 energy?

Christopher R. Rice 05-02-2014 04:35 PM

Re: [RPM] Altered Traits
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by momothefiddler (Post 1757343)
Well, you're right that that's not a science. Distressingly so. It seems that if I was the GM, there'd be few, if any, spells that were just Effects, since there are few things that can't be built with the spell modifiers and advantages and I guess I tend to think in those terms more than not.

Try not to be too harsh. Any flexible system like RPM is going to be more art than science even though there is a clear framework - this is a feature, not a bug. Ask yourself when designing a spell "Is this paying for it twice?" and that will usually guide you to the answer.

Quote:

Originally Posted by momothefiddler (Post 1757343)
Also, I'm curious. Haste (T:RPM 44) uses the Altered Traits spell modifier to give the target +1.00 Basic Speed for 20 energy. Is that necessary to allow the subject to control the movement, as Ghostdancer pointed out,

That's a passive trait, so no.

Quote:

Originally Posted by momothefiddler (Post 1757343)
or could that spell also have used the Speed spell modifier to give the target a static B.S. of 10 for 4 energy?
Or perhaps that merely gives a Basic Move of 10 and you should also add a +2 to Dodge for another 4 energy?

Nope, you're boosting someone in a manner that doesn't require the caster to concentrate on it. Using the flying example above, you'd need to take Concentrate maneuvers for Greater Control Body to "TK" someone around, whereas if you gave Altered Traits, Flight you don't (and it's under there control).

momothefiddler 05-02-2014 04:39 PM

Re: [RPM] Altered Traits
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ghostdancer (Post 1757361)
Nope, you're boosting someone in a manner that doesn't require the caster to concentrate on it. Using the flying example above, you'd need to take Concentrate maneuvers for Greater Control Body to "TK" someone around, whereas if you gave Altered Traits, Flight you don't (and it's under there control).

Er, not sure I understood what you're saying there. Are you saying the Speed spell modifier can't be used to increase someone's Basic Move because it requires the direct control of the caster?
On that note, would it be possible for the caster to increase their own Basic Move that way?

Christopher R. Rice 05-02-2014 04:41 PM

Re: [RPM] Altered Traits
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by momothefiddler (Post 1757367)
Er, not sure I understood what you're saying there. Are you saying the Speed spell modifier can't be used to increase someone's Basic Move because it requires the direct control of the caster?
On that note, would it be possible for the caster to increase their own Basic Move that way?

No, the Speed spell modifier cannot be used in that manner. You could say "I want to TK them to me" and then you'd use both Speed and Range to determine how fast they get to you and how far away they can affect someone. But not "I want them to move faster" - that's a application of Altered Traits.

Christopher R. Rice 05-02-2014 04:42 PM

Re: [RPM] Altered Traits
 
Do keep in mind that if the GM wants it to work that way...awesome! Cool. That's how it works in his campaign and the book is wrong, but by RAW...no.

momothefiddler 05-02-2014 05:29 PM

Re: [RPM] Altered Traits
 
Mmm... alright.

I still don't particularly understand it, and I'm guessing I'll end up adding Altered Traits to more things than I have to (If you can't strengthen a body with just Strengthen Body, my instinct is to not let you sense a mind with just Sense Mind, and that instinct goes against RAW), but that's okay.

McAllister 05-02-2014 06:05 PM

Re: [RPM] Altered Traits
 
I feel roughly the same way as Momo (although I wouldn't call the system "distressing", personally). I'm leaning more toward Ghostdancer's words, because the beautiful thing about GURPS is that you can describe damn near anything in GURPS terms. "Acts twice as often" and "hears other peoples' thoughts" have Advantages, as do most things.

I guess my question is, regarding Ghostdancer's third bullet point, is what does Strengthen Body (for example) do? The only options I see are that it add bonus to physical activities, which uses the Bonuses and Penalties effect, or that it increases physical stats like Basic Move or ST, which uses Altered Traits. Heck, I think I'd even build Greater Control Mind as Mind Control, and throw modifiers on it to represent the limitations of the spell (maybe a flat -80% for one shot, similar to how Favor is a one-shot Contact for 20% of the price).

Mind you, this isn't a bad thing. Ritual Path Magic is so fantastically flexible that adding an Altered Trait cost to most rituals doesn't really make it less appealing to me.


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 03:25 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.