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Old 01-10-2010, 05:49 PM   #771
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Default Re: Resolved,There is no point to statting up anything that is not a PC

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Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
Here you are arguing that it's not necessary to do complete NPC character sheets, and yet when I describe using a generic character sheet to define the typical combat abilities of members of various groups of combatants you object because they aren't individualized enough. What's up with that, huh?
I refer to the fact that the 'completely statted out character' actually has less definition than the 'improvised on the spot by intuition and feel for what is plausible, consistent and logical' character.

Using the character creation system is no guarantee of anything, but it is something that takes a long time for many GMs and has contributed to many of them being intimidated by the preparation required for GURPS games.

So I advise people to avoid it unless they specifically enjoy doing it and instead trust in their own good sense.

Of course, not everyone will have good sense. I concede that, but maintain that the character creation system will prove insufficient to the task of allowing them to overcome this disability.
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Old 01-10-2010, 06:03 PM   #772
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Default Re: Resolved,There is no point to statting up anything that is not a PC

Regarding the all-able bodied world: If ST, DX, IQ, and HT are independent random variables each with standard distributions and medians of 10, and with the majority of the population having values falling in the intervals [8,12] respectively (p.B14) , the standard deviation would be about +/- 3. This would mean that a value of 9 in any one of ST, DX, IQ, or HT will divide the population into 37% with 9 or less, and 63% with more.

This means that even generously rounding up all fractions you have at most 67% of the population with a score of 10 or better in any one score, and if you include only people with at least 10 in all four stats, you're left with 67% of 67% of 67% of 67%, or a bit less than 16% of the original population.

This also means that 13% of the original population will have a score of 10 in a given stat. To have an average score of 10 over all four attributes without any scores of 9 or less requires all for to be 10, and of the original population, 13% of 13% of 13% of 13% or about 0.03 percent will qualify.

It was inaccurate of me to say that everyone was above average; only 99.8% of Stephan's NPCs are above average.
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Old 01-10-2010, 06:05 PM   #773
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Default Re: Resolved,There is no point to statting up anything that is not a PC

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Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
I'm using this to write up NPCs whose function is to take part in combat, or to support combat forces. They are the equivalent of the nameless Greek and Trojan soldiers in Homer, or the crowd of common soldiers in Zorro or The Three Musketeers, or the cops or security guards who show up in TV series. They're what dramaturgists classically call "spear carriers." It's not for nothing that one of my examples was orcs. Those character sheets aren't intended to be complete portraits of individuals with distinctive lives and motives; they're statistical averages.
Aren't these sorts of faceless antagonists exactly what the simplified stat blocks are for?
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Old 01-10-2010, 06:13 PM   #774
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Default Re: Resolved,There is no point to statting up anything that is not a PC

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Originally Posted by jeff_wilson View Post
If ST, DX, IQ, and HT are independent random variables each with standard distributions and medians of 10, and with the majority of the population having values falling in the intervals [8,12] respectively (p.B14) , the standard deviation would be about +/- 3.
I think that considering them independent is optimistic in the extreme. They are probably inter-related in some complex way.
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Old 01-10-2010, 06:19 PM   #775
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Default Re: Resolved,There is no point to statting up anything that is not a PC

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Originally Posted by jeff_wilson View Post
Regarding the all-able bodied world: If ST, DX, IQ, and HT are independent random variables each with standard distributions and medians of 10, and with the majority of the population having values falling in the intervals [8,12] respectively (p.B14) , the standard deviation would be about +/- 3. This would mean that a value of 9 in any one of ST, DX, IQ, or HT will divide the population into 37% with 9 or less, and 63% with more.

This means that even generously rounding up all fractions you have at most 67% of the population with a score of 10 or better in any one score, and if you include only people with at least 10 in all four stats, you're left with 67% of 67% of 67% of 67%, or a bit less than 16% of the original population.

This also means that 13% of the original population will have a score of 10 in a given stat. To have an average score of 10 over all four attributes without any scores of 9 or less requires all for to be 10, and of the original population, 13% of 13% of 13% of 13% or about 0.03 percent will qualify.

It was inaccurate of me to say that everyone was above average; only 99.8% of Stephan's NPCs are above average.
What percentage of people fit into the 8-12 range depends on the GM's worldview and how much he ascribes to stat normalization. Personally, I think 8-12 should cover at least 68% of people (that is, standard deviation should be at most 2). That's going to give a much tighter distribution than you are imposing on another GM's setting. I also have difficulty figuring out where you get 99.8% from. With 10 being the median this means, by definition, that at most 50% of NPCs would be above average in any given stat. Now, the proportions might get a bit off when you consider all 4, but I don't know where you are pulling 99.8% from.

Note also that the PCs are (generally) extraordinary individuals. NPCs of note are likely to be similarly above average.
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Old 01-10-2010, 07:02 PM   #776
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Default Re: Resolved,There is no point to statting up anything that is not a PC

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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
I refer to the fact that the 'completely statted out character' actually has less definition than the 'improvised on the spot by intuition and feel for what is plausible, consistent and logical' character.

Using the character creation system is no guarantee of anything, but it is something that takes a long time for many GMs and has contributed to many of them being intimidated by the preparation required for GURPS games.
Doing a character sheet for a generic combatant takes me maybe 15 minutes.

And as for improvising on the spot, that's for a different purpose entirely. The generic character sheet is there for a combatant. The ad hoc improv character is there for conversation and minor transactions. Different aspects are important in the two cases.

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Old 01-10-2010, 07:07 PM   #777
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Default Re: Resolved,There is no point to statting up anything that is not a PC

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Doing a character sheet for a generic combatant takes me maybe 15 minutes.

And as for improvising on the spot, that's for a different purpose entirely. The generic character sheet is there for a combatant. The ad hoc improv character is there for conversation and minor transactions. Different aspects are important in the two cases.

Bill Stoddard
It is for precisely this reason that I find it unhelpful to use the character creation system designed for PCs to create NPCs.

It may be possible to design a system which acts as a sort of checklist for NPCs and walks novice GMs through their mechanical capabilities as well as their personalities, place in the campaign world and narrative purpose. That system, however, would not necessarily be anything similar to the PC creation system.

In my opinion, the differences are too great for that system to be of much use for NPCs and for novice GMs, there is a real risk that they will be deceived by those differences into doing things that are harmful to their enjoyment and/or the consistency and plausibility of their campaign worlds.
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Old 01-10-2010, 07:20 PM   #778
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Default Re: Resolved,There is no point to statting up anything that is not a PC

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Originally Posted by sir_pudding View Post
I'd be interested to see how you'd answer the following (hypothetical) questions:
  1. My campaign world was created by Omnius, god of everything. How do I build his ability to create the universe?
  2. GURPS is too hard to GM! It takes too long to make all the NPCs and monsters as characters. Is there a faster way?
  3. My group's 4 250 point PCs was just slaughtered by 3 50 point guys. What are we doing wrong?
  • I think this could be possible using a combination of Warp, World Jumping, Shrinking, and the psychic battlefield rules from Supers, but I haven't had the extended time necessary to work out all of the details.
  • Use already made characters as NPCs and Monsters, possibly with a suitable makeover. There are zillions of them at various places on the net Link-link-link. There are also several character maker programs and random character generators that do some or all of the scutwork for you. Link-link-link.
  • You guys were probably taken by surprise and otherwise fought on terms where they engaged your weaknesses with their strongest offenses. There's more to it than simple point totals, but if you know enough about the enemy to know their point totals, you probably have a good start on enough knowledge to beat them. Please tell us about this in more detail.
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Originally Posted by sir_pudding View Post
Why can't you do this with a creature style stat block?
I've been trying to think of a way to do this, actually, as checking this sort of thing is a royal pain during playtests. If you have some ideas, I'd like to hear them
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Old 01-10-2010, 07:36 PM   #779
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Default Re: Resolved,There is no point to statting up anything that is not a PC

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Originally Posted by jeff_wilson View Post
Regarding the all-able bodied world: If ST, DX, IQ, and HT are independent random variables each with standard distributions and medians of 10, and with the majority of the population having values falling in the intervals [8,12] respectively (p.B14) , the standard deviation would be about +/- 3. This would mean that a value of 9 in any one of ST, DX, IQ, or HT will divide the population into 37% with 9 or less, and 63% with more.

This means that even generously rounding up all fractions you have at most 67% of the population with a score of 10 or better in any one score, and if you include only people with at least 10 in all four stats, you're left with 67% of 67% of 67% of 67%, or a bit less than 16% of the original population.

This also means that 13% of the original population will have a score of 10 in a given stat. To have an average score of 10 over all four attributes without any scores of 9 or less requires all for to be 10, and of the original population, 13% of 13% of 13% of 13% or about 0.03 percent will qualify.

It was inaccurate of me to say that everyone was above average; only 99.8% of Stephan's NPCs are above average.
In GURPS ST, IQ, DX, HT are not independent random variable. In GURPS 10 is Average, and everyone gets it for free. Having 10 in all for stats doesn't make you above average, it makes you average. Please review B14, under How to select basic Attributes. And under Basic Attributes.

B14: "A score of 10 in any attribute is free, and represents the human average."

B14: "8 or 9: Below Average. Such scores are limiting, but within the human norm. The GM may forbid attributes below 8 to active adventurers.
10: Average. Most humans [not your 0.03%] get by just fine with a score of 10!
11 or 12: Above average. These scores are superior, but within the human norm."

The stats are aren't random like in D&D. There are set at 10 by default.
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Old 01-10-2010, 07:44 PM   #780
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Default Re: Resolved,There is no point to statting up anything that is not a PC

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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
It is for precisely this reason that I find it unhelpful to use the character creation system designed for PCs to create NPCs.

It may be possible to design a system which acts as a sort of checklist for NPCs and walks novice GMs through their mechanical capabilities as well as their personalities, place in the campaign world and narrative purpose. That system, however, would not necessarily be anything similar to the PC creation system.
I find the PC creation system perfectly usable to create some NPCs: The ones who will be a major presence as rounded personalities, whose interaction with the PCs cannot be reduced to one or two traits that can be known in advance, but whose capabilities are finite, so that they can enter into contests with the PCs. NPCs who are going to be continuing or recurring presences fit this criterion more often than one-episode NPCs.

If you don't find it helpful, there is no need for you to use it. I'm not a one-true-wayist. And I don't see that it does any harm for new GMs to learn that there are people who approach the matter as you do. But I also don't think it does them any harm to learn that there are people who approach the matter as I do. None of us in an authority whom they have to satisfy with the validity of their approach. And for you to suggest that I ought to keep quiet about my deviant, heretical, unacceptable approach lest it lead the innocent into error strikes me as one-true-wayist in its own right. I prefer the Millian position that the proper response to error is free discussion and criticism, rather than censorship.

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