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Old 09-21-2017, 09:39 AM   #5
Kromm
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Montréal, Québec
Default Re: How much do you enjoy the character upgrade minigame?

I enjoy it. I rarely get to be a player these days, but back when I was playing more often, this was fun for me.

Learn this new spell or that one? Improve combat skill by a level or a favorite technique by several levels? Save up for more DX or IQ and boost everything, or get really good at one thing? Think about the ST needed for that bigger gun, or the social traits I'd need for the other gun that's just as deadly without being big, but also expensive and restricted? I discovered that actual play didn't always line up with "optimization."

For instance, more DX is just about always the best buy from an optimization perspective, but the 20 points for +1 to DX could raise Guns (Rifle) by five levels, and in actual play, if I'm relying on shooting first to survive, +5 to hit is better than +1 to hit bundled with +0.25 to Basic Speed and +1 with a ton of stuff like Dancing, Driving, Stealth, and Sleight of Hand that I use either less often or a lot but mostly not in pure survival situations. If my shtick is "guy with a rifle," +5 to hit means ~7 times effective range, or headshots all the time, or shooting just as effectively at full Move as I used to when standing still, or hitting with two bullets more when I fire bursts. It's huge!

Or for another example, if I'm always using the Dehydrate spell in combat, +5 to go from skill 15 to skill 20 means another 1d-1 of injury at 0 FP cost and casting in half time and adding five yards to my effective range. Sure, +1 to all my IQ-based everything would be great, but . . . I'll contribute more and better in fights right now if I crank up that one spell.

Yet if the GM is the cunning type, I'll rethink. More DX and more IQ will let me succeed a little bit more often when faced with a variety of challenges.

And then there's what the other players expect. If they're always dragging me into battles no matter what the GM does, well, I might go back to sharpening my one deadly trick. Or I might think about the leftfield solution of blowing the 20 points on +2 to HT!

Math like that is fascinating to me. I'm not big on minigames, but this is one minigame I enjoy. By contrast, I find minigames like domain management, vehicle design, invention, and enchantment terribly boring. I'm just too character-centered a thinker to care about money and land and gear. For the most part, I think in terms of "What could my alter-ego do if completely bereft of everything but what he can carry and suddenly tossed into a situation for which he's unprepared?" This probably has something to do with the fact that's practically my personal definition of "adventure," of course.
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Sean "Dr. Kromm" Punch <kromm@sjgames.com>
GURPS Line Editor, Steve Jackson Games
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