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Old 04-15-2020, 09:04 AM   #1
Michael Cule
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Default What's the cost of a Universal Translator as an advantage?

I've had cause from time to time to give people the ability to understand anything they can hear.

Now when this is a setting based effect (as it is in STAR TREK or, to a lesser extent, DR WHO) this isn't a problem. Everybody gets it and the effect is free.

But when its something some people have and other people don't I need a Character Point cost.

So what is it worth?

(I can do discounts for being Gadget based or dependent on Mana or whatever Handwavium applies myself. What's the basic cost?)

Why aren't I giving it to everyone or at least all PCs when it exists in the game universe? Well, in this particular case because the technology that makes it possible also allows something very horrible to exist... And if they can figure out that it might make them vulnerable to the horrid thing it might make for a story.
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Old 04-15-2020, 09:22 AM   #2
WingedKagouti
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Default Re: What's the cost of a Universal Translator as an advantage?

Supers lists Omnilingual (40 points) for Accented level in all (non-secret) Earth languages and Xeno-Omnilingual (80 points) for Accented level in all (non-secret) languages regardless of planet/planes of existence/whatever as potential Unusual Backgrounds.
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Old 04-15-2020, 09:36 AM   #3
Michael Cule
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Default Re: What's the cost of a Universal Translator as an advantage?

Ah thank you!

Omnilingual seems to be the sort of thing I'm looking for. Or at least it has a good (if arbitrary) base cost. The explanation (Superserendipity but only for Languages) doesn't fit the effect of carrying a Star Trek Communicator or hanging around the TARDIS but I can fiddle with that.

The Telepathy based Universal Translator on p148 of POWERS seems a little restricted for what I'm looking for, since it requires telepathic contact in the first place. It's not the effortless thing I see in the sources I'm trying to imitate.

Though I'm not at all sure I like the idea of discriminating between own species and all species like that.
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Last edited by Michael Cule; 04-15-2020 at 09:40 AM.
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Old 04-15-2020, 09:59 AM   #4
Stormcrow
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Ronkonkoma, NY
Default Re: What's the cost of a Universal Translator as an advantage?

If the universal translator is a device that someone can buy and have implanted, then it's just an Accessory perk.

If it's a futuristic device that other people don't typically have access to, then it's an Accessory with an accompanying Unusual Background (the cost of which depends on how much it gets you: if the only thing you get is the universal translator, then I'd guess about 10 points).

It really depends on the setting.
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Old 04-15-2020, 12:10 PM   #5
Imbicatus
 
Join Date: Sep 2016
Default Re: What's the cost of a Universal Translator as an advantage?

If itís technology that is in the game then itís equipment bought with cash and a possible unusual background or high TL advantage. If itís not something that can be bought anywhere, then make it as the omnilingual advantage with gadget limitations.
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Old 04-15-2020, 12:19 PM   #6
Flyndaran
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Forest Grove, Beaverton, Oregon
Default Re: What's the cost of a Universal Translator as an advantage?

I have one minor issue with Omnilingual. It only allows one to understand two languages at once. So it wouldn't allow what I saw George Takei do many years ago. He held conversations with three people simultaneously in English, Spanish, and Japanese.
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Old 04-15-2020, 12:27 PM   #7
Crystalline_Entity
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: England
Default Re: What's the cost of a Universal Translator as an advantage?

I'd maybe use Slotted Cosmic Modular Ability (6 points; Languages Only, -50%) [19]. If you want to be able to speak multiple languages at once, keep on adding more 6-point slots to the modular ability. A second slot works out slightly less expensive than Omnilingual at just [37].

Other sorts of modular ability might suit better, e.g. Telepathic Learning, Computer Brain, depending on what the in-character justification is, and what limitations are applied.

Edit: Plus, this includes speaking and listening, reading and writing. If you're just after spoken comprehension, reduce the modular ability slot size.
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Old 04-15-2020, 01:25 PM   #8
AlexanderHowl
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Default Re: What's the cost of a Universal Translator as an advantage?

Slotted Cosmic Powers is 7 CP per slot and 5 CP per CP (Psionic Powers, p. 15). Another option is Telepathic Borrowing, which is 5 CP per slot and 4 CP per CP (Psionic Powers, p. 16), though someone within a mile needs to know the language. Here are two options:

Universal Translator A (37 CP): Modular Abilities 4/4 (Slotted Cosmic Powers; Trait-Limited, Languages Only, -50%) [27] plus Language Talent [10]. Notes: Allows the practitioner to translate between any three different languages (including their native language) without difficulty (C3PO from Star Wars is a good example of this capability).

Universal Translator B (31 CP): Modular Abilities 4/4 (Telepathic Borrowing; Trait-Limited, Languages Only, -50%) [21] plus Language Talent [10]. Notes: Allows the practitioner to translate between any three different languages (including their native language) as long as there are people who speak the languages within one mile of the practitioner (this would be a stereotypical telepathic translator power).
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Old 04-15-2020, 02:20 PM   #9
Stormcrow
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Ronkonkoma, NY
Default Re: What's the cost of a Universal Translator as an advantage?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flyndaran View Post
I have one minor issue with Omnilingual. It only allows one to understand two languages at once.
Does it? I don't see that in the description.

Omnilingual is a highly cinematic Unusual Background that means you just happen to know every language you come across on an adventure. You don't actually know every language, and you can't truthfully say that you do. And you only know them at Accented.
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Old 04-15-2020, 02:36 PM   #10
Dalillama
 
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Default Re: What's the cost of a Universal Translator as an advantage?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Cule View Post
Ah thank you!

Omnilingual seems to be the sort of thing I'm looking for. Or at least it has a good (if arbitrary) base cost. The explanation (Superserendipity but only for Languages) doesn't fit the effect of carrying a Star Trek Communicator or hanging around the TARDIS but I can fiddle with that.
.
First rule of GURPS: flavourtext is a special effect, you pay points for what you get. 40/80 points is the price of "Knows all languages that appear in the campaign". How and why you know them all is a special effect; it doesn't matter if it's being widely traveled+serendipity, being a protocol droid programmed with over three million modes of communication, being slightly telepathic, being a god, or whatever, 40 points gets you all the languages on a planet, 80 gets you all the languages in a galaxy.



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