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Old 08-22-2019, 02:10 PM   #1
johndallman
 
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Default [Basic] Disadvantage of the Week: No Fine Manipulators

No Fine Manipulators [-30] and No Manipulators [-50] are exotic physical disadvantages. You have no manipulators better than paws or hooves, or for the higher-priced version, no limbs at all. These disadvantage first appeared, along with a lot of other traits for non-humans, in GURPS Uplift for 3e.

At [-30], you canít do anything for which a human would need to use hands. If you have a beak, tail, tongue, trunk, or anything else that is as useful as a hand, you donít have this disadvantage, although you might have Bad Grip, Ham-Fisted, One Arm, or One Hand. At [-50], you have no limbs at all. You can push objects around with your head and/or body, and you can move by bouncing, rolling, slithering, etc., although you might choose to buy down your Move. Either disadvantage allows you to buy ST or DX with a -40% limitation, ďNo Fine Manipulators.Ē You can also apply this discount to Arm DX, Arm ST, and Striking ST, but not to Lifting ST. No Fine Manipulators is mutually exclusive with Bad Grip, and I suspect it should also be exclusive with Extra Arms (Foot Manipulators), High Manual Dexterity and Ham-Fisted.

Most animals have No Fine Manipulators, and itís part of most of the non-human morphology meta-traits in Basic, while some elementals have No Manipulators. Goo, hostile plants, many robots, and many mythic creatures also have NFM or NM, although Bio-Tech can upgrade NFM to Bad Grip for most animals. Horror points out that animated objects usually have this disadvantage, and Magic has more elemental forms that share it. A lack of hands, or of limbs, isnít helpful with Martial Arts attacks, although it removes a few vulnerable hit locations; Technical Grappling adds details. Powers: The Weird can upgrade NFM to Ham-Fisted, or even eliminate it. Template Toolkit 2: Races has the most complete set of morphology meta-traits, and rules on manipulation without limbs; Ultra-Tech has upgrade options.

Either level of this disadvantage will have a huge cultural impact, because it precludes writing, limiting any race with it to an oral culture, and making technological development doubly difficult. Space mentions the possibility of intelligent races with no ability to use tools, but doesnít consider the lack of writing. Personally, I suspect that the ability to use tools increased the competitive value of intelligence, starting a snowball effect.

Not having played much GURPS with non-humanoid races, Iíve never seen these disadvantages used. Have they been significant in your games?
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Old 08-22-2019, 03:18 PM   #2
WingedKagouti
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Disadvantage of the Week: No Fine Manipulators

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Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
Either level of this disadvantage will have a huge cultural impact, because it precludes writing,
There's always the possibility of a limb with a hardened end (hoof, tail stinger, whatever) scratching marks into a soft material. The being will obviously need to immobilize the material somehow, but a simplistic written language (possibly using pictograms) could be constructed. Scratch marks in a tree or something similar.

I can only recall seeing it used with various Alternate Forms for characters that can take the shape of animals.
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Old 08-23-2019, 04:40 AM   #3
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Default Re: [Basic] Disadvantage of the Week: No Fine Manipulators

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Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
Not having played much GURPS with non-humanoid races, Iíve never seen these disadvantages used.
Technically speaking, any AI running on some kind of beige box static computer has No Manipulators. So I know that you've been in games where it was present.

I've put animal characters into a fair number of demo games, one way or another, and they tend to have No Fine Manipulators. When you're explicitly playing talking animals, the lack of hands is just part of the setup.
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Old 08-23-2019, 07:09 AM   #4
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Default Re: [Basic] Disadvantage of the Week: No Fine Manipulators

I've put no fine manipulators on a number of magical creatures and inanimate objects.

I've found that while the disadvantage itself is a nice source of points, the discount it enables is usually just as if not more important. characters with no fine manipulators tend to have concepts that need high ST and/or DX. Its enough that I often wince when I see characters that basically don't use tools but technically can, because they're paying 50 or more points for that privilege and not using it (see most dragon templates).

I think I've actually played with this most often as a trait on NPC's or as an alternate form: shape shifters often end up with this in one of their forms. My most memorable PC was a were-wolf who liked to pretend to be a dog. The ability to switch back and forth limited how much the limitation came up, but there were occasions where the "dog" was watched and wanted to do human stuff but couldn't.
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Old 08-23-2019, 07:40 AM   #5
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Default Re: [Basic] Disadvantage of the Week: No Fine Manipulators

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Its enough that I often wince when I see characters that basically don't use tools but technically can, because they're paying 50 or more points for that privilege and not using it (see most dragon templates).
Dragons never qualify for the -50 points version (No Manipulators) since they have legs and (for western dragons) wings. Having any limbs at all makes taking this level illegal.

Whether they should have the -30 points version (No Fine Manipulators) would be a settings choice depending on how the GM/author views their dragon's dexterity with paws/claws and/or mouth. While I'd usually lean towards giving it to them I can see arguments for not doing so, especially for smaller intelligent dragons.
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Old 08-23-2019, 08:08 AM   #6
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Default Re: [Basic] Disadvantage of the Week: No Fine Manipulators

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Originally Posted by WingedKagouti View Post
Dragons never qualify for the -50 points version (No Manipulators) since they have legs and (for western dragons) wings. Having any limbs at all makes taking this level illegal.

Whether they should have the -30 points version (No Fine Manipulators) would be a settings choice depending on how the GM/author views their dragon's dexterity with paws/claws and/or mouth. While I'd usually lean towards giving it to them I can see arguments for not doing so, especially for smaller intelligent dragons.
I'm including the missed -40% discount on ST and DX. For example, the Dragon template in characters pays 120 points for ST, but if it had NFM it would be paying 60 points. Because that dragon has "bad grip 3" instead of "no fine manipulators" its cost changes by 75 points, or about 1/4 of the templates total cost.

Which emphasizes my point that the attribute modifier is a huge part of no fine manipulators.
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Old 08-23-2019, 08:16 AM   #7
AlexanderHowl
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Disadvantage of the Week: No Fine Manipulators

There are arguments for and against. Eastern dragons have fine manipulators, some western dragons do not, and feather serpents and sea serpents definitely do not. Intelligent dragons without fine manipulators will likely find some use for human servants.

For example, in some of my games, dragons demand virgin women because a) they had useful hands (which could be quite useful in any number of ways) and b) they did not have children. Dragon wives, as they were called regardless of the sex of their patron, would also serve as intermediaries between their patrons and human communities, and they would manifest magical powers due to their exposure to their patrons. Their patrons would tolerate lesbian relationships but would not tolerate heterosexual relationships due to the aggravation of human children. Anyone who mistreated a dragon wife could expect annihilation by her patron, as dragons would interpret an attack on their wives as an attack of them.
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Old 08-23-2019, 08:58 AM   #8
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Default Re: [Basic] Disadvantage of the Week: No Fine Manipulators

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Originally Posted by ericthered View Post
I'm including the missed -40% discount on ST and DX. For example, the Dragon template in characters pays 120 points for ST, but if it had NFM it would be paying 60 points. Because that dragon has "bad grip 3" instead of "no fine manipulators" its cost changes by 75 points, or about 1/4 of the templates total cost.

Which emphasizes my point that the attribute modifier is a huge part of no fine manipulators.
Sounds like a good discussion about Bad and NFM and if one really qualifies for a reduction in ST (and HP) costs or if they both should?
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Old 08-23-2019, 09:07 AM   #9
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Default Re: [Basic] Disadvantage of the Week: No Fine Manipulators

The cost structure is a bit odd. You can take One Arm for -10 points, in effect selling back an arm. But you can't sell back the other arm for -20 points; that gives you No Fine Manipulators, which is -30 points. So you can't, for example, simply sell back both arms and then buy one Extra Arm for a base 10 points, with whatever modifiers apply. Instead you have a somewhat arcane calculation of the price of applying Extra Arm modifiers to the cost of the arms you naturally have.

And that means, for example, that if you are building an octopus, you need to note down both two arms with modifiers, having one point cost, and six Extra Arms, having another point cost. These are all identical arms! But they don't all look identical on the character sheet. So they take up extra space, and the writeup is complicated.
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Old 08-23-2019, 12:42 PM   #10
johndallman
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Disadvantage of the Week: No Fine Manipulators

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Originally Posted by Phil Masters View Post
Technically speaking, any AI running on some kind of beige box static computer has No Manipulators. So I know that you've been in games where it was present.
True, I forgot that. I suspect because those AIs mostly had access to shells with hands, or even better, humans they could ask to do things.
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