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Old 10-25-2019, 06:55 PM   #1
AlexanderHowl
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Default Magical Gadgets versus Magical Gear

One of the standard conversions of GURPS is that 25 energy points are equal to 1 CP for the purpose of purchasing magical gear as Signature Gear, meaning that magical items tend to be very expensive. However, many of the magical items in existence could be purchased as magical gadgets instead, often for much cheaper than their magical item equivalents. They also work better than standard magical items for many of the non-standard magical systems.

In my games, magical items do not exist, they are replaced with magical gadgets. For example, 'powerstones' are merely Energy Reserve (Magic; Can Be Stolen, Stealth or Trickery, -20%; Slow Recharge, One point per day, -60%) [0.6/level], meaning that a 100 point powerstone costs 60 CP, which is 20 CP less than the Signature Gear cost of a magical item equivalent. Enchant becomes the spell required to create magical gadgets while various enchantment spells allow the modification of existing magical gadgets.

So, which do you prefer, magical gadgets or magical items? If you prefer magical gadgets to magical items, why? What are the advantages that you have found with using magical gadgets over magical items?
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Old 10-25-2019, 09:03 PM   #2
David Johnston2
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Default Re: Magical Gadgets versus Magical Gear

Gadgets are too much work. I mean I might be able to figure out how to design a Self-Inking Quill, or a Soul Entrapment Camera (that creates photographs that you can use to cast spells on the victim at any range), or a Thieves Diary (erases all memories written down in it from the writer) or a Brass Head (solves mathematical problems and counts the number of people crossing a border with hostile intent and announces their number while rotating to point at where the invaders are coming from) but why would I want to? These magic items aren't part of a character. They are neither gadget nor signature gear.
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Old 10-25-2019, 09:25 PM   #3
Sorenant
 
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Default Re: Magical Gadgets versus Magical Gear

I like magical gear for things that can be used by anyone and performance doesn't change by changing hands. For example, if there's a magical cape that allows the wearer to fly at X yd/s, that's a gear. If you built it as gadget, velocity will be proportional with the wearer's Basic Speed.
Similarly, I prefer weapons to be gear rather than gadgets because: 1) It's easier. Giving AD(2) to a melee innate attack requires the awkward Modifying ST-Based Attacks and the balance of Natural Weapons is debatable. Making innate attacks with similar damage as a modern firearm is very costly. 2) If you find a better weapon, dropping a gadget will waste precious CPs while you can sell an old gear or give to another player.

Magical gadgets are for more personal things that has no gear counterpart. For example, if the character has a belt that allows him to transform into a stronger version of themselves, then I'd built that as Alternate Form with Gadget as such thing is not sold on stores and is part of the character's shtick.
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Old 10-25-2019, 10:23 PM   #4
AlexanderHowl
 
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Default Re: Magical Gadgets versus Magical Gear

Maybe its because GURPS was my first system (thirty years ago now), but I do not see gadgets as being more complex than gear. You can to erase memories? Easily done with Affliction (Amnesia) or Affliction (Delusion (False Memories)). The gadget ends up being around 35 CP.

Affliction (Will; Based on Will, +20%; Breakable, DR 5, SM-6, -25%; Can be Stolen, Trickery, Protected, -10%; Disadvantage, Amnesia (Total), +25%; Extended Duration, Permanent, Removed by Remove Curse, +150%; Magical, -10%; Malediction 1, +100%; No Signature, +20%; Takes Extra Time, 4x, -20%) [35]. With a successful Contest of Will after four seconds of concentration, you permanently destroy the memories if your victims, and they may only recover them if they convince a magician to cast Remove Curse on them.
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Old 10-26-2019, 12:37 AM   #5
David Johnston2
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Default Re: Magical Gadgets versus Magical Gear

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl View Post
Maybe its because GURPS was my first system (thirty years ago now), but I do not see gadgets as being more complex than gear. You can to erase memories? Easily done with Affliction (Amnesia) or Affliction (Delusion (False Memories)). The gadget ends up being around 35 CP.

Affliction (Will; Based on Will, +20%; Breakable, DR 5, SM-6, -25%; Can be Stolen, Trickery, Protected, -10%; Disadvantage, Amnesia (Total), +25%; Extended Duration, Permanent, Removed by Remove Curse, +150%; Magical, -10%; Malediction 1, +100%; No Signature, +20%; Takes Extra Time, 4x, -20%) [35]. With a successful Contest of Will after four seconds of concentration, you permanently destroy the memories if your victims, and they may only recover them if they convince a magician to cast Remove Curse on them.
That's not what it does. You write down an account of an experience in the book and this causes you to forget that experience but nothing else. You can't use it against an unwilling target by any means short of holding a knife to their throat to make them write the story in the book. It's used by people who either experienced trauma and want to cure the psychological effects, or by criminals who want to beat a truthsayer. And it was way quicker to just write that than to pick advantages and modifiers and add them up. And I'd still have to write just to explain what the stats mean in real terms.

Last edited by David Johnston2; 10-26-2019 at 12:54 AM.
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Old 10-26-2019, 01:47 AM   #6
Anthony
 
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Location: Berkeley, CA
Default Re: Magical Gadgets versus Magical Gear

The advantage of gadgets over gear is consistency in pricing; if character A has an innate magical ability, and character B has a magic ring that grants the same ability, they're going to pay a similar amount, though presumably B pays less for it being not as useful. By comparison, using gear, they may not even be using the same currency, and the price will only be similar by coincidence.

The drawback of gadgets is that the price may be nonsensical for the setting (this tends to be a problem with powers as well). My cell phone represents less than one character point of wealth, and replicating what it can do with gadgets will be a lot more than one point.

There isn't a terribly good solution for this. You can solve the gadgets drawback by adding setting-dependent pricing, but that's a huge hassle too.
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Old 10-26-2019, 07:47 PM   #7
Stormcrow
 
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Default Re: Magical Gadgets versus Magical Gear

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl View Post
For example, 'powerstones' are merely Energy Reserve (Magic; Can Be Stolen, Stealth or Trickery, -20%; Slow Recharge, One point per day, -60%) [0.6/level], meaning that a 100 point powerstone costs 60 CP, which is 20 CP less than the Signature Gear cost of a magical item equivalent.
Gadgets (traits with gadget limitations) are only available if the item is "not for sale at any price in the game world." If a powerstone has a cash cost, then you can't have one as a gadget. If it doesn't have a cash cost, then it could only be Signature Gear by building it as a character. There is no price break doing it one way over the other, because the properties of the game world only allow one method.
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Old 10-26-2019, 08:54 PM   #8
ericthered
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Default Re: Magical Gadgets versus Magical Gear

To be both fair and clear, the use of the gadget limitation is usually a symptom and early warning sign of the problem rather than the core manifestation.

I confess to having an extreme dislike of taking points away from players through play. This extends to impulse buys (though other mechanisms for spending "points" alleviates that), and the extra life trait. I generally won't accept the unique limitation on gadgets, and my misgivings about other gadget limitations are not entirely unrelated.
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Old 10-26-2019, 10:04 PM   #9
AlexanderHowl
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Default Re: Magical Gadgets versus Magical Gear

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stormcrow View Post
Gadgets (traits with gadget limitations) are only available if the item is "not for sale at any price in the game world." If a powerstone has a cash cost, then you can't have one as a gadget. If it doesn't have a cash cost, then it could only be Signature Gear by building it as a character. There is no price break doing it one way over the other, because the properties of the game world only allow one method.
Yes, I replace magical items with magical gadgets in my games, and they are usually not for sale. In general, magical gadgets cost less CP than the equivalent magical item as Signature Gear, though that is just an added bonus. I just loathe the mechanics behind magical items because they are needlessly complex and costly.

For example, a staff of Teleport costs 3,000 energy (7,000 with Power 4), with translates to 120 CP worth of Signature Gear (280 CP worth of Signature Gear with Power 4). Alternatively, you could just take Warp (Can Carry Objects, Heavy, +30%; Magical, -10%; Reliable, +10, +50%; Staff, Protected, -50%) [120], and you get better functionality. Since magical gadgets have better functionality than magical gear for the same CP, I ban magical gear and just have characters purchase magical gadgets.
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Old 10-26-2019, 10:39 PM   #10
David Johnston2
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Default Re: Magical Gadgets versus Magical Gear

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Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl View Post
Yes, I replace magical items with magical gadgets in my games, and they are usually not for sale. In general, magical gadgets cost less CP than the equivalent magical item as Signature Gear, though that is just an added bonus. I just loathe the mechanics behind magical items because they are needlessly complex and costly.

For example, a staff of Teleport costs 3,000 energy (7,000 with Power 4), with translates to 120 CP worth of Signature Gear (280 CP worth of Signature Gear with Power 4). Alternatively, you could just take Warp (Can Carry Objects, Heavy, +30%; Magical, -10%; Reliable, +10, +50%; Staff, Protected, -50%) [120], and you get better functionality. Since magical gadgets have better functionality than magical gear for the same CP, I ban magical gear and just have characters purchase magical gadgets.
Uh-hunh. Or you could just not make your characters get everything they own or find as Signature Gear. That's an option.
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