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Old 09-21-2017, 10:08 AM   #1
johndallman
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Cambridge, UK
Default How much do you enjoy the character upgrade minigame?

I'm finding that as I get more experienced at GURPS, and as I get to understand my characters better, the mini-game of deciding what to spend earned or training points on gets more and more fun.

There are many motivations to trade off: what the character wants, what the character needs, and what I think would be interesting, as well as the many-dimensional puzzles of getting different traits to operate in synergy, and trying to guess where the campaign is going.

Do you feel this way, or is this mini-game uninteresting compared to playing?
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Old 09-21-2017, 10:18 AM   #2
martinl
 
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Default Re: How much do you enjoy the character upgrade minigame?

In my group, CP awards are small (~2-3 per session) and campaigns are short (~10 sessions is average, 20 is unheard of).

I can't remember the last time I did anything other than improve or add a skill that was relevant in the last few sessions.
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Old 09-21-2017, 10:20 AM   #3
JMason
 
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Default Re: How much do you enjoy the character upgrade minigame?

I've never really thought of it as a "minigame", it's just spending points. More often than not I tend to play in games where there is relatively low point gain per session (around 3 to 5), and spend most points on improving skills that I already have or investing in a skill I've been using at default level.

This is pretty true of the players in the games I run also.
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Old 09-21-2017, 10:20 AM   #4
ericthered
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Default Re: How much do you enjoy the character upgrade minigame?

I like the character building mini-game. I don't like the character upgrade game. I'd rather have everything built right the first time, tell the story, make a few minor additions to the character, and then start over again. I find too many points starts to warp the character concept or make skill levels unmanageable.

I'm primarily a GM, so take the above in that context.
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Old 09-21-2017, 10:39 AM   #5
Kromm
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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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Old 09-21-2017, 10:54 AM   #6
A Ladder
 
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Default Re: How much do you enjoy the character upgrade minigame?

Apparently my group is weird...we give out 5 points per session at a minimum. It's more like 7-8 on average. Campaigns go based on how long I want them to. I've had ~40 session campaigns and 2 session ones. I guess we average more in the ~20 range.

But, I digress, I personally looooove the upgrade minigame. Like Kromm stated it's all about focusing on the immediate needs vs. long term goals. This last campaign I've gotten to be a player and man, choosing between adding new skills, upgrading the skills that I rolled poorly on last session, or upping my combat prowess, or saving up for a big ol' attribute boost or expensive advantage....whew! I get choice paralysis, but in a good way.

Of course, in one of the campaigns I was GMing I found out one of my players had just sat on unearned points till he had 67! He was just super content with his character. I found that baffling.
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Old 09-21-2017, 12:28 PM   #7
Gef
 
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Default Re: How much do you enjoy the character upgrade minigame?

Quote:
Originally Posted by A Ladder View Post
Apparently my group is weird...we give out 5 points per session at a minimum.
I don't think so. On these boards, I usually find myself in a minority recommending novice GMs start with low (100pt) starting characters and award experience generously thereafter.

That said, other structures work. I recently ran a supers game with the opposite setup, experience all but non-existent, yet the characters became more capable week to week as they figured out how to use their powers better (frex, by experimenting with stunts).

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Old 09-21-2017, 12:38 PM   #8
exalted
 
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Default Re: How much do you enjoy the character upgrade minigame?

Quote:
Originally Posted by A Ladder View Post
Apparently my group is weird...we give out 5 points per session at a minimum. It's more like 7-8 on average. Campaigns go based on how long I want them to. I've had ~40 session campaigns and 2 session ones. I guess we average more in the ~20 range.

But, I digress, I personally looooove the upgrade minigame. Like Kromm stated it's all about focusing on the immediate needs vs. long term goals. This last campaign I've gotten to be a player and man, choosing between adding new skills, upgrading the skills that I rolled poorly on last session, or upping my combat prowess, or saving up for a big ol' attribute boost or expensive advantage....whew! I get choice paralysis, but in a good way.
Can only agree my last campaign in a gurps like system ran 39 sessions with an average of above 10 points per session, the current one is at 32 and expected to go way beyond that as the characters are still finding their legs as "heroes" and i think the average so far have been at least 12 points per session. Love it when the heroes grow but of course my players are exalted demigods and their stuff is expensive compared to playing regular folks for whom a skill up is actually a big thingy. My usual question for my players at the start of each session is "Have you picked up anything game breaking with your xp.".
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Old 09-21-2017, 10:56 AM   #9
johndallman
 
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Default Re: How much do you enjoy the character upgrade minigame?

I'm usually playing (or running) games that award about 3 points a session, but are long-term. Irresponsible and Right has had over 100 sessions, as has Infinite Cabal. This just seems like the natural way to play an RPG to me.
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Old 09-21-2017, 11:11 AM   #10
MIB.6361
 
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Default Re: How much do you enjoy the character upgrade minigame?

If we're breaking it down I do enjoy the different aspects.

1: Making of the character. Figuring out how they fit into the world as well as the party. How will they contribute during combat, in social encounters, or in long term adventuring with the group?

2: Playing the character: The actual game

3: Improving the character: I sometimes have a plan or at least an idea of where I'd like to spend my next twenty or thirty points. Often where the adventure leads derails that a bit, and I adjust as needed. Pretty much what's been said on the subject already.
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