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Old 09-29-2004, 11:41 AM   #8
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Montréal, Québec
Default Re: Real world people and charactors

I'd use these guidelines:


* Most people have ST, DX, IQ, HT, Will, and Per at 10; a Basic Speed of 5.00; and a Basic Move of 5.

* If an ordinary Joe is stronger, more agile, smarter, healthier, stronger-willed, or more perceptive than average, odds are good that he has an 11 instead of a 10. If his edge is so great that his friends talk about it, he might rate a 13. People in the middle are at 12.

* If an ordinary Joe reacts more quickly than average, he probably has Basic Speed 5.25. If he runs more quickly, he might rate Basic Move 6.

* I would seriously think about rating greater apparent competency using skills, not attributes. A really good hunter probably has all of Guns, Stealth, and Tracking at Attribute+1 or perhaps +2, and that sets him above his pals with only one or two of those skills at Attribute level. He almost certainly doesn't have DX 12 and Per 12!

* If an ordinary Joe is weaker, clumsier, duller, less healthy, weaker-willed, or less perceptive than average, he likely has a 9 instead of a 10. If his lack is so great that his friends talk about it behind his back, he might rate a 7. People in the middle are at 8. Likewise, if he reacts less quickly than average, he might have Basic Speed 4.75. If he can't keep up on the run, he probably has Basic Move 4.

* Don't mistake Incompetence at a skill for low attributes! Every workplace has some poor guy who -- let's face it -- sucks. My money is on him having Incompetence at a needed skill, not DX 7 or IQ 8.


* Play physical and mental advantages by ear, but note that those that come in levels rarely go past one level for ordinary folks. In general, few ordinary humans have a non-social advantage worth 15 points or more, and most would be lucky to have one worth 5 points. Plenty of people have good-sized lists of 1- and 2-point advantages, though -- an hour less sleep here, slightly better hearing there, etc.

* Play mental disadvantages by ear, too. Those that come in levels rarely go past one level. Those with self-control numbers will mostly be at 15 if the flaw is a "tendency," or 12 if the flaw annoys or worries others. Save 9 for people who need help to live a productive life, and 6 for felons and committed lunatics. Mental disads rarely go past -5 points for productive folks, -10 for absolute eccentrics. Everything else is quirks.

* Social advantages and disadvantages, and physical disadvantages, are big exceptions. They are what they are. Someone really is President, and has Administrative Rank 8. Some poor souls really are Dead Broke. And plenty of people have bad eyesight or are overweight -- and unfortunately, lots of folks are deaf, have MS, etc.


* Most people have their skills at Attribute+0 level. Their job skills, dedicated hobbies, etc. will be at Attribute+2. Few ordinary citizens will go past that level without intensive, military-style training or a lifetime dedication to study. I'd hazard to say most workers hit Attribute+2 and stop learning their job skills thanks to a lack of challenges.

* That said, most people will have Attribute-2 to Attribute level at many odd skills, picked up over their lifespan. You'd be surprised how many people know Morse code, can ride a bike, can shoot a gun, etc. at least well enough to be better than default.

* The "exceptions" who seem very skilled are usually operating at +4 to +5 for routine situations. If you have a good idea of someone's skill -- say, you can measure it on a shooting range or through a classroom test -- subtract 4 or 5 from that score to get their actual "adventure-useful" level.

* Don't mistake "I did this once" for "I have this skill." Doing something once is only a step above seeing someone else do it on TV. At best, it justifies having a default roll. People have defaults because they grew up seeing others do something, watched mass media, and maybe had a hands-on experience once on that trip to Mexico. Less-fortunate souls just don't get a default. Take me: I've shot a couple of times, so I have a Guns default, but I didn't spend the 200 hours on the range needed to justify having Guns skill. I've taken two classical history courses, so I have a History default in that area, but I didn't spend anything like 200 hours on it to justify the skill.
Sean "Dr. Kromm" Punch <>
GURPS Line Editor, Steve Jackson Games
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