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Old 10-25-2018, 08:34 AM   #103
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Montréal, Québec
Default Re: Pyramid #3/120: Alternate GURPS V

On whether "split social stuff into three or four scores and leave supernatural stuff to specific games" or "split supernatural stuff into three or four scores and leave social stuff as one attribute" is better, I can see both sides.

I believe "social" is a subset of "mental" and not its own entire realm, even if it is distinct from the more cerebral side of things. In addition, so few abilities and rules pertain to social interactions that I'd be hesitant to propose more than one social attribute without adding a lot more such mechanics. For the most part, then, I'm happy enough leaving social stuff under my Presence attribute – and resisting it under Willpower – and calling it a day. That seems to be about the right depth of detail for the GURPS approach to social interactions. By contrast, supernatural abilities are involved and fill entire books, so having four scores to control them is hardly excessive.

Moving further into supernatural abilities, I'm not a huge fan of switches that let specific characters use the (physical, mental, and/or social) attributes that govern mundane abilities to control supernatural ones as well. Fiction is too full of weak, clumsy kung fu disciples who find an alternate path through their chi, and apprentice wizards who are more powerful than their masters, just less wise. My feeling is that if you don't like seeing those scores on character sheets in campaigns without the supernatural, you simply rule that they're frozen at 10 and nobody can raise or lower them, and then omit them from the sheet as irrelevant . . . sort of how nobody in such a campaign can buy Magery and write it on a character sheet now. If the supernatural shows up later, people can grow "sensitized" or not as they wish, and you can put the scores back on the sheet. I believe this is a preferable approach for a generic, universal game.

So in the balance, I think "four physical, four mental (one of them social), and four supernatural" is a better basis for generic gaming than is "four physical, four mental, four social, and supernatural stuff is setting-specific advantages."

As for the names . . . who really cares? I tend to choose these with a thesaurus in hand, and were I actually publishing a rules set, I'd make sure I picked 12 names that didn't start with the same letter so there would be no chance of making mistakes at a glance (like my poorly chosen AG, AL, and AW).
Strength (ST): Physical strength.
Agility (AG): Balance, flexibility, quickness.
Manual Dexterity (MD): Fine manipulation.
Health (HT): Fitness, physical resistance.
Presence (PR): Social intelligence.
Keenness (KN): Awareness of the real-world environment.
Intellect (IN): Academic aptitude.
Willpower (WL): Fearlessness, mental resistance, resolve.
Essence (ES): Raw supernatural power.
Receptiveness (RE): Awareness of the supernatural environment.
Gift (GF): Control of supernatural ability.
Discipline (DS): Resistance to supernatural influence.
Other stuff you'd need to track would be:
Size (SIZ): The scaling factor for ST, HP, and perhaps MOV.
Reflexes (REF): Dodge, combat sequence, etc. (AG + KN)/4.
Movement (MOV): How fast you walk, run, swim, fly, etc. (AG + HT)/4.
That stuff could use three letters to avoid too much confusion. Various resource points would inevitably start duplicating letters, but you could reserve "P" for "Points" for that, which gamers seem to look for.
Hit Points: (ST + HT)/2.
Fatigue Points: (HT + WL)/2.
Sanity Points: WL.
Power Points: (ES + DS)/2.

Finally, I tend to agree that elegance has its virtues. Doug's idea of top-level scores is a good one. It would be interesting if all 12 of the above attributes cost 10 points/level but started at a base equal to, say, Body (BOD), Mind (MIN), and Spirit (SPI), which would replace my Physical, Mental, and Supernatural – and receive three-letter abbreviations to distinguish them. These three would cost 40 points/level and be a quick way to create jocks, brains, and freaks without fiddling too much.
Sean "Dr. Kromm" Punch <>
GURPS Line Editor, Steve Jackson Games
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