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Old 01-09-2018, 07:40 PM   #11
Otaku
 
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Default Re: Making Techniques Worthwhile

I think I'm bordering on one of those massive miscommunications with you, sir_pudding. I will try and clarify where I can; if it doesn't work, or if you understood all of what I said and it is only I who am confused, my apologies.

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Originally Posted by sir_pudding View Post
Then characters are free to take unlimited numbers of perks.
I made that comment in response to you bringing up how investing more CP in techniques allows you to invest more in Style Perks. Thus, when the cap isn't in effect, or Style Perks aren't being used at all, this benefit of investing in Techniques doesn't apply. I don't know how often people do or do not use these rules, but Techniques are in [Basic] while these advanced rules are not; it seems at least plausible that Techniques see more use without those advanced rules than not.

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Originally Posted by sir_pudding View Post
Styles can also be used for non-combat systems of related skills. If you use the rule that you can't improve any techniques that aren't in a style you know, then that can apply to noncombat techniques too. Presumably that is why the Pyramid article on Influence techniques also included styles to go with them.
...and if you are just using [Basic], this still doesn't apply. If one isn't using the right supplemental books, it doesn't apply. I get it; there is at least a partial answer to the problems AlexanderHowl has with Techniques and their costs. I just wanted to make it clear that some of us (such as myself) can't make use of that solution. If I did so poorly or it was unneeded, my apologies.

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Originally Posted by sir_pudding View Post
I don't know about intent, but the end result is desirable. Changing the rules so that improving dozens of techniques is efficient would add complexity and clutter to character sheets and make making effective characters require even greater system mastery than it already does. None of that sounds appealing. I find that I want to have to guide players through the system less than I currently do, not more.
So far, no one has said they wanted "dozens of techniques" to be cost-efficient. Right now, anything more than three Average Techniques or one Hard Technique and an Average Technique for one Skill are where it stops being cost in-efficient to purchase Techniques for a single Skill. Not terrible, but then one needs to remember that Kicking is a Hard Technique, so if you're dealing with Brawling or Karate, that eats up a lot of your "slots" for Techniques. This just seems to create a binary choice; total generalist or total specialist, because anything in between isn't cost-efficient.

You know your players; I don't. What I can tell you from my own experience, back in 3e, it was a lot easier for us when we started including the Martial Arts Record Sheet (GURPS Martial Arts, Second Edition p.157) as part of one's character sheet, at least for characters focused on such fighting. Yes, yes, that is from a supplement, but Techniques weren't actually part of the Basic Set (Third Edition, Revised); you needed a supplement to know of them. This gave you room not only for Techniques you had studied, but even some of the ones you might like to use by Default, instead of having to look them up on the fly or memorize them.

I guess I'm saying... if your players are wanting a more detailed game, even if 4e has abandoned such a sheet, you might want to bring it back. Looks scarier, but makes things easier in the long run. Like creating a separate "Grimoire" sheet for a Mage, listing out his Spells and any relevant notes from them, instead of trying to cram them all into the "Skills" section. :)

I don't want to bury any points, so I'm going to risk double-posting, to break up the first third of what you said from the last two-thirds.
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Old 01-09-2018, 07:40 PM   #12
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Default Re: Making Techniques Worthwhile

Hate to quote myself, but it is needed for this next exchange to make sense. Here is what I said, with the text you chose to quote underlined:

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Originally Posted by Otaku View Post
As for being intended to reduce sheet clutter, I'm going to need something more to back that up. I recall Techniques, back in 3e when they were known as "Maneuvers" being about two things: preserving a sensible Skill level cap and giving those without special powers (be they magic, psi, etc.) a bag of tricks like a mage often had Spells. In other words, they were intended to flesh out the character and character sheet, not streamline things. Maybe that changed, or maybe I'm remembering wrong. Even if I am, what about the settings/styles of play where having multiple Techniques is supposed to be good role-playing and sensible in character builds? I guess the Style Perk rules cover some of that (as I only know of those rules), but I can see why people would prefer it worked out differently.
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Originally Posted by sir_pudding View Post
Technique costs haven't changed and skill costs only slightly, so one or two techniques per style was also more efficient in 3e. So yes, I think you are remembering wrong. I think that there is a tendency in GURPS character making to want to put points in anything you think the character can do, when relying on defaults in many cases is all of more efficient, cleaner design, and more realistic.
I'm no stranger to breaking a post down into smaller, bite-sized chunks to better hold a conversation, but I think you cut too much in this case. I brought up what I believed to be the 3e intentions for Techniques because I read your earlier assertion that Techniques were about reducing character sheet clutter as being universal, not just for your group.

While the rules for buying Skills aren't much different, the rules for buying Martial Arts Styles has dramatically changed. I know, because I made a fool of myself years ago arguing in a thread where I assumed things worked mostly the same between edition. ^^' The short version is that there were rules about how you spent points on a Style, with minimum investment requirements like at least 1 CP in Primary Skills and 0.5 CP in Techniques. We don't have Skills or Techniques that cost half a CP anymore. Advancing in your style required investing a certain amount in the appropriate Techniques and Skills. For example, Secondary and Optional Skills couldn't exceed Primary Skills, and needing to spend 2 CP on each of a Style's Techniques before you could improve any of your Primary Skills to above Skill 15.

So... it didn't really matter if it wasn't cost effective, you had to buy the Techniques to actually have the style. The pricing structure was only a little different, but it really mattered; Average Techniques cost 0.5 CP for Default+1, 1 CP for Default+2, 2 CP for Default+3, 4 for Default+4, and 2 more CP per further +1. Hard Techniques were 1 CP for Default+1, 2 for Default+2, and (again) 2 CP more per additional +1. Subtle, but significant; even if we aren't using the rigid rules for buying a Style, you have 3.5 CP to play around with for Default+1 level Techniques, which could buy up to seven Average Techniques, or three Hard and one Average. Getting Default+2 for 1 CP into an Average Technique means the specialization may remain cost effective, even with 4 CP invested into just two Techniques.

Yes, I am aware that Fourth Edition makes buying larger bonuses less expensive.


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Originally Posted by sir_pudding View Post
I can't actually think of any martial arts training that I have ever done that really emphasizes more than a few GURPS techniques, notably in Akido I drilled Breakfall, Hand Catch Parry, and Arm-Lock more than anything else, in what GURPS calls Assaulter, Failure Drills and Masked Shooting, MCMAP was mostly body hardening and really not focused on any specific techniques at all, in the I.33 Counterattack, and because my sword is well suited, Binding and Disarm and in the weird varient of kusarijitsu I am learning for this weird sport I do now just Behind the Back Strike is the only really identifiable technique (because Entangle is actually discouraged for safety reasons).
My response to this and to whswhs comment is the same:

Some of us are fond of fiction that are not realistic and where fighters, especially those of note, are going to have at least a few developed Techniques. I am not disputing what is realistic; just expressing my concern over how this change is so dramatic compared to Third Edition, and how it affects some character concepts. Throw in some of the other changes since then (like Deceptive Attack) and it might be great for realistic, even verisimilitudinous fighters, but what about the rest?
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Old 01-09-2018, 08:38 PM   #13
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Default Re: Making Techniques Worthwhile

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Originally Posted by Otaku View Post
My response to this and to whswhs comment is the same:

Some of us are fond of fiction that are not realistic and where fighters, especially those of note, are going to have at least a few developed Techniques. I am not disputing what is realistic; just expressing my concern over how this change is so dramatic compared to Third Edition, and how it affects some character concepts. Throw in some of the other changes since then (like Deceptive Attack) and it might be great for realistic, even verisimilitudinous fighters, but what about the rest?
It's not a question of realism for me, as I don't know enough about any martial art to have an informed opinion about what's "realistic" for it. I'm more concerned with the narrative style of works such as Water Margin, The Three Musketeers, or The Curse of Capistrano, or of wuxia films.

It seems to me that if you are building a combatant, you can efficiently take one Hard technique *for each main skill* in their style. So that might plausibly get you a character with two or three Hard techniques. On the other hand, if you're looking at a single skill, like say Smallsword, it would only be efficient to buy up one technique. But I have the impression that if you're imitating literary or cinematic source material, having one signature technique is pretty common. If you're good at multiple techniques you're probably good all around, and that's represented by buying up the skill.

I'd also note that in 4/e there is NO style that requires you to buy any technique to take the style perk, or call yourself a practitioner of the style.
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Old 01-09-2018, 11:18 PM   #14
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Default Re: Making Techniques Worthwhile

My house rule for making Techniques worthwhile is to treat them like perks: for one point, you get to use the Technique at its maximum instead of its minimum (or, if it doesn't have a maximum, you can use it at three levels above the base skill). I adapted this from the way the Style! Wildcard Skills handle Style Techniques.

The other approach I've been tempted to use is to bring back fractional points in particular, divide the cost of Techniques by five. The motivation behind this approach actually comes from Familiarities: it takes 25 as long to earn a skill point as it does to acquire a Familiarity. That means that if Techniques cost a fifth of a point per +1, they'd be sitting exactly between Skills and Familiarities.
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Old 01-10-2018, 12:02 AM   #15
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Default Re: Making Techniques Worthwhile

I'd think that realistically once you improve enough techniques you have literally increased your ability with the base Skill. Certainly enough for gaming purposes.
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Old 01-10-2018, 12:49 AM   #16
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Default Re: Making Techniques Worthwhile

Quote:
Originally Posted by Otaku View Post
I made that comment in response to you bringing up how investing more CP in techniques allows you to invest more in Style Perks. Thus, when the cap isn't in effect, or Style Perks aren't being used at all, this benefit of investing in Techniques doesn't apply. I don't know how often people do or do not use these rules, but Techniques are in [Basic] while these advanced rules are not; it seems at least plausible that Techniques see more use without those advanced rules than not.
In which case that particular thing doesn't apply. I was pointing out something that, while minor, is often overlooked in this discussion. It isn't really critical.
Quote:
...and if you are just using [Basic], this still doesn't apply. If one isn't using the right supplemental books, it doesn't apply. I get it; there is at least a partial answer to the problems AlexanderHowl has with Techniques and their costs. I just wanted to make it clear that some of us (such as myself) can't make use of that solution. If I did so poorly or it was unneeded, my apologies.
In which case you could, I suppose, at most take six techniques for Judo or Wrestling (Arm-Lock, Choke Hold, Disarming, Feint, Finger-Lock, and Ground Fighting) and less for any other skill from the limited selection available. I think there are two things to note about that:
a) There's no rule that says you have to make an optimized character. If wasting points does bother you, well then don't do this.
b) You've spent points on individually improving almost every aspect of grappling available in the Basic Set except the core tasks of grappling, takedowns and throws. What does this actually represent? You somehow trained very specifically in all of these Judo or Wrestling moves without learning how to do the core tasks better at the same time?
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So far, no one has said they wanted "dozens of techniques" to be cost-efficient.
I often see new players trying to put a point in every technique in a style, (or in 50+ skills) because they want points in everything they think their character might ever attempt. I would much rather see characters with a few high levels of skills and the willingness to accept default rolls every once in a while (and in exchange I promise to use positive TDMs on tasks that shouldn't be that difficult).
Quote:
Right now, anything more than three Average Techniques or one Hard Technique and an Average Technique for one Skill are where it stops being cost in-efficient to purchase Techniques for a single Skill. Not terrible, but then one needs to remember that Kicking is a Hard Technique, so if you're dealing with Brawling or Karate, that eats up a lot of your "slots" for Techniques. This just seems to create a binary choice; total generalist or total specialist, because anything in between isn't cost-efficient.
So you are a Muy Thai fighter, and you've trained up your Karate skill and really focused on Counterattack and Spinning Kick. That doesn't look like a specialist to me, that looks like a kickboxer. As trooper6 points out you can really take advantage of Spinning Kick Counterattacks, so maybe you take Trademark Move for that. You can still use, and have drilled extensively, in Knee Strikes and Push Kicks and all the rest.

If instead you ignored the advice to focus on only a couple of techniques and put points in
Counterattack (Karate); Elbow Strike; Jam; Kicking; Knee Strike; Leg Grapple (DX); Push Kick; Spinning Kick; Spinning Punch; Sweep (Karate); Targeted Attack (Karate Kick/Leg and Uppercut, at low levels do you really look more like a generalist than the guy who just has 12 points in Karate more than you? His defaults in many of these are going to as good, or nearly as good as yours, and he is much better at punching and parrying then you are. So which character is a better general kickboxer?

Note that Counterattack in particular is actually a waste of points in this case, because it is a technique that is mostly only worth it if you max it out.

Quote:
I guess I'm saying... if your players are wanting a more detailed game, even if 4e ha abandoned such a sheet, you might want to bring it back. Looks scarier, but makes things easier in the long run. Like creating a separate "Grimoire" sheet for a Mage, listing out his Spells and any relevant notes from them, instead of trying to cram them all into the "Skills" section. :)
I actually encourage stylists to list every technique in their styles, but only to improve one or two of them. It makes playing a stylist much easier to have the reminder there.

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Originally Posted by Otaku View Post
I brought up what I believed to be the 3e intentions for Techniques because I read your earlier assertion that Techniques were about reducing character sheet clutter as being universal, not just for your group.
I never said that was the intent, I don't know what the intent is. I am saying the result is preferable to a messy cluttered sheet with lots of 1 point traits or whatever.
Quote:
While the rules for buying Skills aren't much different, the rules for buying Martial Arts
So... it didn't really matter if it wasn't cost effective, you had to buy the Techniques to actually have the style.
Ah yes, it seems it was I who had forgotten.

Well I am glad that changed because it doesn't really make much sense. You can't logically train up all the parts of a thing individually without having actually just trained in the thing as a whole.
Quote:
Some of us are fond of fiction that are not realistic and where fighters, especially those of note, are going to have at least a few developed Techniques.
So to reiterate what I said earlier:
a) There's no rule that says you can't "waste" points if you want to (or feel you need to).
b) How can you tell the difference between a fictional fighter who has mastered many techniques of a style by mastering their style, and a fictional fighter who has mastered a style by mastering all its techniques? Or to put it a different way, can you give an example of the sort of fighter you are thinking of that would need to be represented in GURPS by putting points in a bunch of techniques of a skill rather than in the skill itself?

Last edited by sir_pudding; 01-10-2018 at 12:55 AM.
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Old 01-10-2018, 05:12 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl View Post
With rare exception, like Ground Fighting, it is often better to improve the base skill than it is to improve more than one underlying Technique, as the improvements increase all of the underlying Techniques and any defenses associated with the base skill. In order to make Techniques worthwhile, I propose the following changes. When feinting with a trained technique (or resisting a feint by a technique that you are trained in) you gain a +1 bonus per level in the technique to the quick contest (cumulative with any feint technique). What do you think?
I think you get that already (assuming the technique your fienting with is a valid attack the opponent could legitimately think is coming at them*). I'd probably penalise multiple feints of the same specific technique though, as cost of predictability.

either way it's not much of boost to as it only work with fients.

*this can get a bit complicated when people start feinting an "acrobatic AoA Long at 7 hex range" because in theory they could launch themselves 7 hexes, so I take a view at the time.


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Originally Posted by sir_pudding View Post
Not just fiction and drama, but reality too. If you train a body of techniques equally as part of of a normal training regimen, then it seems clear to me that you aren't improving any one technique above the others, and therefore it is better represented as an increase in skill. If you find that you have a technique that you are especially good at, or that you especially like to use, then points in the technique make sense, as it does if your training emphasizes a few more than others. "Training that specifically individually emphasizes all techniques equally more than others" isn't a logically coherent statement.
Yep, weather or not it happens at 3 or 4, at some point you are just a better fighter than a better "elbower, sweeper, kicker and spinning attacker".

If anything in the context of technique costs you can look at 4pts for improving every technique available to you as well as your basic strikes and defence is pretty damn cheap! So why bother to make techniques cheaper, since thay are going to have to be massively cheaper to compete with that!

Last edited by Tomsdad; 01-10-2018 at 06:41 AM.
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Old 01-10-2018, 10:06 AM   #18
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Default Re: Making Techniques Worthwhile

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Originally Posted by sir_pudding View Post
How can you tell the difference between a fictional fighter who has mastered many techniques of a style by mastering their style, and a fictional fighter who has mastered a style by mastering all its techniques? Or to put it a different way, can you give an example of the sort of fighter you are thinking of that would need to be represented in GURPS by putting points in a bunch of techniques of a skill rather than in the skill itself?
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Originally Posted by Tomsdad View Post
If anything in the context of technique costs you can look at 4pts for improving every technique available to you as well as your basic strikes and defence is pretty damn cheap! So why bother to make techniques cheaper, since thay are going to have to be massively cheaper to compete with that!
For the record, I am at least somewhat closer to accepting that this isn't a big issue (maybe even a non-issue). I am quoting the above to portions of posts, however, because there is a reason for wanting a player to invest in many Techniques and not pile all of those points directly into a Skill; how GURPS handles Skills. This ties into the advice from [Basic]; a character can have Karate-40... but both for preserving how Skills are intended to function and fleshing out the character, it makes more sense to take Karate at a still high level (say, 25), then take a few related Skills (like Judo) at good levels, and then invest in Techniques.

I'm just picking numbers half at random, half from what I remember seeing in the [Basic] example (don't have my books with me), but for those wondering why anyone would want to invest heavily in Techniques without just raising the underlying Skill instead - and that includes my own concerns - there we go.
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Old 01-10-2018, 10:07 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Flyndaran View Post
I'd think that realistically once you improve enough techniques you have literally increased your ability with the base Skill. Certainly enough for gaming purposes.
Or the opposite way - if you don't have any techniques, you're not "skill-ful". So a certain skill treshold X can only be crossed if you've got Y points in techniques. Picking X and Y can change the campaign style quite a bit. Do you have to diversify if you basically invented your own style (X = 20), or is it something everyone does after becoming moderately proficient (X = 12)?

What I don't like about a lot of the modifications is that they single out combat skills a bit, but who wants to make Techniques for all the skills? Although, if you constrain it to physical skills, you might get back to the 3E rules that mental skills are easier to increase... Or just treat most specialities as Techniques, so your Einstein-wannabe has Physics-12 and Astronomy +2, Quantum Physics+0 (raised from its lower default).

Another possibility I looked at was the way HERO did it: You've got your Skill Maxima, after which it's either impossible or just more expensive to raise your skills (HERO doubled costs).
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Old 01-10-2018, 10:15 AM   #20
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What I don't like about a lot of the modifications is that they single out combat skills a bit, but who wants to make Techniques for all the skills?
I had a go, for a while, but it got difficult, and not many people were interested.
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