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Old 07-19-2017, 09:34 PM   #12
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Default Re: [House Rules] Technique System Overhaul

Originally Posted by dfinlay View Post
Problems these rules set out to solve:
  1. Having more than one technique in a skill is almost always suboptimal. Having more than three always is.
  2. Many techniques feel either under- or over-priced due to being near the resolution limit of GURPS points.
  3. I felt that overall, skills needed a buff relative to advantages, attributes and talents.
  4. Characters with more techniques tend to be more interesting and they help to make two characters with the same skill distinct, but often they aren't worth taking except in a few cases of really powerful ones.
  5. From a realism, a narrative and a gameplay perspective, masters of some skill (very high skill level) should have a distinct style with a bunch of specialties and/or signature moves, but a lot of the time, mastery is achieved just by pumping a whole bunch of points into a skill and calling it a day.
Interesting take on a solution. I agree that there's something dissatisfying in the techniques system, in that there are so many nifty techniques attached to a skill, yet buying up 3 (sometimes even 2) feels wasteful, and buying up 4 is meaningless. I like that you're taking a shot at improving things (and especially appreciate that you start by clearly laying out the problems to be solved).

I have an observation to toss in. But first, a look at those problems (I've numbered them above):

1. This is the crux, and is the problem that interests me.
2. Certainly, some techniques may be over- or under-priced, though that's a problem with the definitions/scope of the individual techniques in question, not a problem with the techniques system itself. For GMs who don't want to muck with technique pricing, the solution is simply to adjust the effects of troublesome techniques so those better fit the cost.
3. Can't say I share that impression, though I suspect you could offer some good examples to support the idea. Will skip for now, though.
4. Agreed. It'd be nice to see detailed fighters dip deeper into unique sets of technique specializations; as you note, the cost system works against that.
5. True but I'll commend GURPS for letting you design a master by custom-designing an array of special moves and techniques and all that, OR by just slapping on a really high skill and keeping things simple. Two valid ways to do things. Definitely a feature, not a bug!

All right. My observation on the pricing issue (problem #1):

I think most of us agree that GURPS' technique pricing is problem where breadth is concerned - i.e., buying up 2 or 3 or (don't do it!) 4 or more techniques. This just doesn't play nicely with the 4-point/level cost for the whole skill.

However, IMO, GURPS' technique pricing is not a problem where depth is concerned i.e., buying any single technique up and up. I pay 1 point for a +1 on some subset of the skill (say, Feint), another 1 point for another +1, and so on, up to the cap. To me, this meshes nicely with the 4-point/level cost of the skill itself, and feels and plays just fine.

The point: I like the gist of your TP system as a fix, but to me there's a flaw in it (and in other suggestions that lower the cost of techniques all-around): The fix doesn't distinguish between the cost of technique depth (which is not a problem) and the cost of technique breadth (which is a problem).

In other words: If the TP system (or similar suggestion) gives me a handful of "technique points" for free (or at a super-cheap price), and I spend them to buy +1 on each of a handful of techniques, that feels like a nice step toward addressing the cost problem. But if I instead spend them to buy a big +X on one technique (say, Feint), it seems to me I'm getting away with something, netting a big unneeded discount on an effect that was priced fairly to begin with.

How to improve this wee little dilemma? I think that....

Well, before yammering about a fix for the above, let me stop and ask: Does my objection to the TP system even make sense? Or am I missing something completely?
T. Bone
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