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Old 05-06-2017, 07:14 PM   #1
Otaku
 
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Default [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#41): Doesn't Eat or Drink Plus Other Digestive Traits

Previous Week: Discriminatory Senses, Sensitive Touch
Next Week: Doesn't Sleep, Less Sleep

The intent of this thread is to discuss the selected Advantages in their entirety. Postings are meant to be weekly, but (as with this one), sometimes delays happen.

The discusion begins with how the traits were written in [Basic]. I only copy and past entries from GURPS Lite because it is available as a free download; I will paraphrase entries from [Basic] simply because it is at the heart of the discussion so I cannot leave it out entirely, plus it can sometimes help to hear the same thing said in a different way. I'll mention other supplements that cover the topic but will not go into exacting detail because they are not an actual part of [Basic], and are usually covered in something that is for sale. ;) I would also like to include links to other useful sources (threads, blogs, etc.), and if it seems worth it, the rules for the traits from past editions.

Sharing thoughts and experiences on the matter means people will be free to praise, criticize, or merely report on the traits being discussed. I'll avoid sharing my own thoughts and try to minimize my bias. Except where it is necessary, such as when I don't really understand the trait all that well myself. Thanks to the index of topics johndallman created as is maintaining, it is much easier to keep track of what we've covered and where also lessening the need for me to try to cram every remotely related trait together or keep them all separate (whichever might make them easier to find). Another benefit is today's situation: we have three traits (Doesn't Eat or Drink, Reduced Consumption, and Universal Digestion) that were too long to list out in the thread title.

Basic
We'll begin with Doesn't Eat or Drink (p. B50), a Physical, Exotic Advantage that costs 10 CP. If a character has it, that character does not derive sustenance in the usual manner, which means you don't need any sort of fuel (including food or water). Whatever you run on, either it is something you can easily access, or you may need to consider taking another trait in addition to or instead of Doesn't Eat or Drink until you get something workable for a gaming situation that at least approximates the intended level of performance. For example, the Machine Meta-Trait (p. B263) or Dependency (p. B130).

If your character still needs to eat but can make do with less than the typical amount, Reduced Consumption (p. B80) may be the answer. It is a Physical Advantage that costs 2 CP per level. Characters with this trait require less food and water than is typical to survive. The first level reduces a character's needs to two-thirds normal. A second level reduces the needs to one-third. At the third level, a character now only needs one meal per week or about %5 of the usual fuel requirements. Finally, at the four level, a character only needs to drink, eat, and/or refuel once per month, or about 1% of normal. There is likely no fifth level because, at this point, a character could just afford Doesn't Eat or Drink. This trait is only Exotic at the highest levels; the text mentions that in a cinematic campaign one, possibly two levels may be permitted for ascetics.

Reduced Consumption has three specialized Limitations, "Cast Iron Stomach", "Food Only" and "Drink Only". Though not explicitly stated, based on how they work, at least the last two are mutually exclusive. Cast Iron Stomach causes the quality of needed food to change, instead of the quantity, which reduces the cost of how much it takes to sustain you, including (if relevant) the demands on life support. So you eat as often, but one level means it costs only two-thirds as much as normal, two levels one-third, etc. You get a +1 HT bonus per level to resist foodborne diseases or poisons not tailored expressly for you, but you also receive a -3 reaction penalty because, after all, you're eating and/or drinking stuff that at least risks making other people sick: dishwater, moldy food, sour milk, and so on. Food Only and Drink Only are much simpler; the benefits of Reduced Consumption only apply to the named aspect, so the character only needs less Food or less Drink.

Our last trait for this week is Universal Digestion (p. B95), and it is like an extreme form of Cast Iron Stomach. This is not a leveled trait, however, and simply costs 5 CP; with it, a character can digest any animal or plant protein, however, it does not confer any special protection against poison or an improved ability to bite and chew things. You can gain these through taking other traits, like Resistant to Poison. The text doesn't mention disease, so possibly you can safely digest any of these as well? What the text does mention is that this allows you the capacity (though possibly quite unpleasant) of disposing of any organic materials.

Other Supplements

GURPS Powers provides at least general support for all three of these Advantages, such as where they may be more or less appropriate than a different trait, what powers they suit, and (sometimes) an ability built using the Advantage in question. This book often contains a follow-up entry for Advantages found in Basic, but there isn't one for Doesn't Eat or Drink or for Reduced Consumption. Universal Digestion does get a new Enhancement, "Matter-Eater", that I was quite happy to see, as I think it helps Universal Digestion live up to its name.

I did not find it in the other supplements I have available, save GURPS Update. This isn't a surprise, and feel free to let me know of other places any of these three traits appear, or if I did miss a mention somewhere else. As for GURPS Update, it brings up all three, because of the Third Edition versions of these traits, which brings us too...

Third Edition

Doesn't Eat or Drink (p. CI153) didn't change for Fourth Edition; the wording is a bit different, but the effects are the same. Reduced Consumption doesn't exist in the form we know it, but there are two closely related traits. [b]Decreased Life Support[b] (p.C1 52) seems incomplete. It's located in the Racial/Super Advantages, and its entry states that it costs 10 CP and reduces how much air, food, water, etc. a character needs "...in life support situations." It doesn't explain the details. At all. If someone has access to a more detailed version of it (GURPS Aliens?), feel free to chime in and explain.

Cast-Iron Stomach is not an Enhancement in Third Edition, but its own trait. According to p. CI51, it is is a Racial or Super advantage. Your food costs are 75% of normal, as you may eat foods normally not fit for human consumption (as mentioned above). You get a +4 bonus to resist diseases or drugs not tailored to you, which I assume only applies to those you'd consume, but it doesn't expressly state that. It does expressly state the -3 reaction penalty applies when people watch you eat. Universal Digestion (p. CI69) costs 15 CP, but works as its Fourth Edition update; the entry is simply worded a little differently, lacking the mention of using this ability to eliminate organic evidence.

Useful Links

As always, feel free to suggestion additions to this section. :)
Discussion Starters

This is a generic list of questions if you need them; if you already know what you want to say, feel free to just chime in.
  • Have you ever taken any of these traits for one of your PCs or NPCs? How'd it go?
  • Is there anything these trait do really well?
  • Is there anything you think these traits should do different, whether it means adding, subtracting, or just changing aspects of it?
  • Any thoughts on how the 4e version of these traits compares to them in earlier editions?
  • Feedback about BAotW threads in general, such as how I structure them?
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Last edited by Otaku; 06-06-2017 at 12:02 PM.
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Old 05-07-2017, 03:20 AM   #2
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#41): Doesn't Eat or Drink Plus Other Digestive Tr

There's a character in my Infinite Cabal campaign who has Doesn't Eat or Drink, because he isn't actually alive. He has Dependency (Mana) instead; as a pair of Cabalists who got interested in him asked: (echo effect) "Did you know you're a masterwork of higher necromancy?"

The Dependency works in a satisfactory manner; he doesn't die immediately in zero-mana areas, but slowly takes damage. He can eat and drink, but prefers not to, since he needs to get the stuff out again before it starts to rot. Since he's SM+1 and obviously formidable, but also very diplomatic, this rarely causes problems.
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Old 05-07-2017, 01:42 PM   #3
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#41): Doesn't Eat or Drink Plus Other Digestive Tr

When I do the egotistic stat oneself up exercise, I put one level of Cast Iron Stomach on. Yes, people do make faces when I ate certain rank things.

At one nasty buffet, 5 of 6 people got nasty food poisoning. I got gas.

FYI: different molds have different tastes. The whiter the blander and fluffier. Wet and black is just too bitter to accidentally ingest. Pale green/white mold on rice though has an unusually pungent smell.

Also for some unknown reason I cannot smell rotten milk so have on occasion drank some. It's bitter, but rarely horrifically so and has never made me sick. I know it was full on rotten from how family members were unable to enter the room.
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Old 05-07-2017, 01:53 PM   #4
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#41): Doesn't Eat or Drink Plus Other Digestive Tr

Just recently I've been playing with robot characters of different TLs and design parameters. That obviously involves lots of variation on "Digestive" traits.

Doesn't Eat/Drink for RTG radioactive Pu 238 powered PCs is one way to go.

Restricted Diet: Batteries/Electricity is the common canon robot trait.

One I'm making now is powered by genetically modified microbial fermentation produced ethanol. So carbs to alcohol to electricity. I'm not sure how to stat that one out, exactly.
Especially as when powered by ethanol he needs to breathe, but when hooked up to a battery he doesn't.
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Old 05-07-2017, 06:30 PM   #5
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#41): Doesn't Eat or Drink Plus Other Digestive Tr

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flyndaran View Post
Especially as when powered by ethanol he needs to breathe, but when hooked up to a battery he doesn't.
Switchable Doesn't Eat or Drink?
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Old 05-07-2017, 06:34 PM   #6
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#41): Doesn't Eat or Drink Plus Other Digestive Tr

Alternate Ability?
  • Doesn't Eat or Drink
  • Doesn't Breathe (Temporary Disadvantage: Restricted Diet)?
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Old 05-08-2017, 12:16 AM   #7
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#41): Doesn't Eat or Drink Plus Other Digestive Tr

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flyndaran View Post
FYI: different molds have different tastes. The whiter the blander and fluffier.
I once ate half a white pizza covered in white mold. I didn't notice till the last slice.

Quote:
Also for some unknown reason I cannot smell rotten milk so have on occasion drank some.
All milk smells like it's gone off to me. I only notice if it's mixed with something else, like in cereal or coffee.
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