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Old 12-30-2009, 04:54 AM   #1
jeff_wilson
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Default Resolved,There is no point to statting up anything that is not a PC

"There is no point to statting up anything that is not a PC" - I'm seeing this opinion (with which I do not agree) expressed more frequently than previous here, and I would like to see if users can post informed reasons for having it when there are several rules like the long-established Allies and Enemies that require the opposite behavior.
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Old 12-30-2009, 05:40 AM   #2
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Default Re: Resolved,There is no point to statting up anything that is not a PC

I think it could be more precisely expressed as "Don't produce stats any more detailed than you have to for a given situation."

A really basic combat mook might be nothing more than: HP 11, Move: 5 Broadsword-12 doing 1d+1 cut, Dodge 7, Parry 9.

A merchant might just be: Merchant-13

They don't need full stats, and they certainly don't need point costs.

Likewise, if you have a magical plot device that isn't specific to a PC, you don't need to come up with stats for it, it could even be something you can't express using the rules. It can just work.

An Ally obviously does need to be worked out to get a point cost but that's a different situation. Other NPCs will fall in between.
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Old 12-30-2009, 05:57 AM   #3
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Default Re: Resolved,There is no point to statting up anything that is not a PC

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hai-Etlik View Post
I think it could be more precisely expressed as "Don't produce stats any more detailed than you have to for a given situation."

A really basic combat mook might be nothing more than: HP 11, Move: 5 Broadsword-12 doing 1d+1 cut, Dodge 7, Parry 9.

A merchant might just be: Merchant-13

They don't need full stats, and they certainly don't need point costs.

Likewise, if you have a magical plot device that isn't specific to a PC, you don't need to come up with stats for it, it could even be something you can't express using the rules. It can just work.

An Ally obviously does need to be worked out to get a point cost but that's a different situation. Other NPCs will fall in between.

Basically, I feel the same way...

If I don't need a full stat block for a low level mook or a junk car which the pcs stumble across, I typically just jot down a few notes containing the information I need to have to be able to use that in game. If later on I need more concrete rules for how exactly the things work (or the players need to know) I expand my rough notes into more crunchy GURPS terms.

That being said, there's nothing wrong with doing more work if you want to do so. If you feel that having something more firmly defined is important, by all means, do so.

I like to world build, so, in that regard, I'm sure I stat out all sorts of things which will probably never actually come up in a lot of my games.
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Old 12-30-2009, 06:00 AM   #4
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Default Re: Resolved,There is no point to statting up anything that is not a PC

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hai-Etlik View Post
I think it could be more precisely expressed as "Don't produce stats any more detailed than you have to for a given situation."
That. A common mistake by many new to Gurps is that since the system can stat up everything up to and including your fridge, you actually should do that. This leads to lots of GM frustration, when people try to come up with appropriate limitation values for complex abilities.

Of course, any creature which will come up as an Ally or Enemy at character creation, or abilities which can be bought at character creation, potentially need a CP value. Some one-off demonic monster, which will be dispatched and forgotten by the next session, doesn't need a CP value.

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Originally Posted by Johnny Angel View Post
That being said, there's nothing wrong with doing more work if you want to do so. If you feel that having something more firmly defined is important, by all means, do so.
Certainly. Statting up stuff is a fun exercise in itself. It just doesn't have too much impact on the game :)
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Old 12-30-2009, 02:47 PM   #5
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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 zorg View Post
That. A common mistake by many new to Gurps is that since the system can stat up everything up to and including your fridge, you actually should do that.
The fridge is an ally of your PC, who is a sapient blueberry muffin, natch.

I'm firmly of the opinion that you should stat however much you want to. Some folks have a lot of fun generating detailed stats for a rusted out Lada that the PCs might never try to drive, others pull stats for almost everything out of a random orifice (roll on the random orifice table) on the fly. As long as it's fun for you, and not bothering your players, go for it.

I will note that the orifice based method requires much less prep work, but possibly more skill.
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Old 12-30-2009, 03:49 PM   #6
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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 martinl View Post
The fridge is an ally of your PC, who is a sapient blueberry muffin, natch.

I'm firmly of the opinion that you should stat however much you want to. Some folks have a lot of fun generating detailed stats for a rusted out Lada that the PCs might never try to drive, others pull stats for almost everything out of a random orifice (roll on the random orifice table) on the fly. As long as it's fun for you, and not bothering your players, go for it.

I will note that the orifice based method requires much less prep work, but possibly more skill.
It's worse than that...I've written an Inspiration Pad Pro program that does the pulling automagically for me. It will generate 1000 "quick and dirty" NPCs for me in about 20 seconds. :)

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Old 12-30-2009, 06:39 AM   #7
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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 Hai-Etlik View Post
I think it could be more precisely expressed as "Don't produce stats any more detailed than you have to for a given situation."
That's my take on it too. If I had time to stat up everything, I might be inclined to do so, but I don't. Also... by not stating everything, I feel like I have a bit more flexibility. I'm more inclined to wing it and be creative on the fly if I don't have full stats on something, and winging it in response to player action/reaction is a good thing in my book.
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Old 12-30-2009, 07:05 AM   #8
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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 Hai-Etlik View Post
I think it could be more precisely expressed as "Don't produce stats any more detailed than you have to for a given situation."
I tend to work this way but not by preference. I just don't have the time to work on both the background and the crunch in the detail I used to. One of them has to give. Since I'm much better at improvising rules and stats I spend less prep time on them. I still think it a good idea to stat everything. That's just not realistic though.
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Old 12-30-2009, 08:08 AM   #9
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Default Re: Resolved,There is no point to statting up anything that is not a PC

I am the 'game relevant' stat guy.

Points are meaningless to NPCs. A 50 point NPC (no ads/dissads etc) with all 50 points in Sword is more than a match for almost any PC of twice or even 5 times that point value.

It is not important that NPCs, great or small, have similar point values. It is only important that they follow the same rules.

To that end, I stat up NPCs to game balance, and I stat up powers so I can be sure they are consistent with GURPS game mechanics. ANYTHING else I apply is purely academic. In a horror game does it matter that Jason Vorhees is Dead Broke? Of course not, so something like that wouldnt even make on a stat sheet.

This is also why I have abandoned the notion of applying numeric skill level values when posting here and instead try to identify how to scale up and scale down creatures to suit parties of various strengths as i did in this zombie thread.

Stating up the Powers also serves other benefits.

Can I do that?
Sooner or later your PCs will see an NPC do something and they will covet that ability. Having the work done ahead of time and consistent to the system allows you the option of saying Yes and knowing what to charge them in CP for the power.

How can he do that?
Its an easy way to silence players who feel that the game might be unbalanced towards NPCs and assures them that the rules behind the screen are the same as the rules in front of the screen. It helps keep them from feeling overwhelmed by bad guys.

Show Me how that Works
This final one is kind of 'me' specific but I note it because it still has value. My daughter is away at college, and the rest of my players (including my son) are in their late teens and preparing for college. Using the individual ability builds is a great teaching exercise. It teaches them a little about how to GM and gives them a better idea of the Power-Advantage-Limitation and Attribute-Skill-Technique structures that are so fundamentally important to GURPS. In this way, if they are off at college and either Join or start a GURPS game, they can do so with a firm grasp of the mechanics.

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Last edited by Nymdok; 12-30-2009 at 08:47 AM.
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Old 12-30-2009, 08:46 AM   #10
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Default Re: Resolved,There is no point to statting up anything that is not a PC

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nymdok View Post
I am the 'game relevant' stat guy.

Points are meaningless to NPCs. A 50 point NPC (no ads/dissads etc) with all 50 points in Sword is more than a match for almost any PC of twice or even 5 times that point value.

It is not important that NPCs, great or small, have similar point values. It is only important that they follow the same rules.

To that end, I stat up NPCs to game balance, and I stat up powers so I can be sure they are consistent with GURPS game mechanics. ANYTHING else I apply is purely academic. In a horror game does it matter that Jason Vorhees is Dead Broke? Of course not, so something like that wouldnt even make on a stat sheet.

This is also why I have abandon the notion of applying numeric skill level values when posting here and instead try to identify how to scale up and scale down creatures to suit parties of various strengths as i did in this zombie thread.

Stating up the Powers also serves other benefits.

Can I do that?
Sooner or later your PCs will see an NPC do something and they will covet that ability. Having the work done ahead of time and consistent to the system allows you the option of saying Yes and knowing what to charge them in CP for the power.

How can he do that?
Its an easy way to silence players who feel that the game might be unbalanced towards NPCs and assures them that the rules behind the screen are the same as the rules in front of the screen. It helps keep them from feeling overwhelmed by bad guys.

Show Me how that Works
This final one is kind of 'me' specific but I note it because it still has value. My daughter is away at college, and the rest of my players (including my son) are in their late teens and preparing for college. Using the individual ability builds is a great teaching exercise. It teaches them a little about how to GM and gives them a better idea of the Power-Advantage-Limitation and Attribute-Skill-Technique structures that are so fundamentally important to GURPS. In this way, if they are off at college and either Join or start a GURPS game, they can do so with a firm grasp of the mechanics.

Nymdok
I tend to do something similar. Most powers, spells, etc., I usually work out in detail, for the reasons above, and also "so I know how it works" and "because I just enjoy it."

I've found that for most NPCs, you really don't need all that much information. I even wrote up a program using Inspiration Pad Pro, a freeware program I heartily recommend, that generates what I call "quick & dirty NPCs." It rolls four basic stats, a general reaction modifier, an occupation/profession (which implies the skills they are likely to have), overall skill levels, etc. (I don't even bother with advantages and disadvantages...I assume they are rolled into the reaction modifier, skill levels, etc.) About a dozen pieces of information overall. If I copy them over to Word and print them up, I can fit about a dozen of them on a page.

I can tweak a character to fit the story in a few seconds (raise or lower skill levels, etc.) if I have to. If I need more detail than this, I can flesh the character out more, but I'm finding that for most NPCs, the guys with whom the player characters will have a couple of interactions or a couple of fights, and who then goes offstage (or is killed) and doesn't show up again, I don't need much more than this.

What it boils down to is that for most NPCs, you can get away with...

* Who are they?
* What are their four basic stats?
* What do they do for a living?
* How good are they at what they do?
* How well or badly do people usually react to them? (due to status, appearance, etc.)
* Do they have any other skills, etc. worth mentioning?
* What are they doing/thinking/etc. when the player characters first meet them?
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