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Old 12-30-2017, 07:12 PM   #1
Alonsua
 
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Default Realistic Point Gains

Hi there,

I need some help backing my design, or, putting it simply, regard or disregard it as realistic.

Letīs say I am creating a setting, so I want some truly iconic characters, and start by creating an NPC in a modern setting. So this character is born at 2,000 to a lineage of geniuses and athletes, and starts with:

(Strength-13; Dexterity-13; IQ-13; Health-12)
(which turns to be (Strength-4; Dexterity-5; IQ-7; Health-11) at age 0, and increases by the years)

Advantages
(Ambidexterity; Discriminatory Hearing; Discriminatory Smell; Photographic Memory; Language Talent; Intuitive Mathematician; Sensitive Touch; Single-Minded; Versatile)

By "Back to School" she puts 150 hours/month to Education and 165 hours/month to Self-Teaching (4 hours a day from monday to friday plus 12 hours a day on weekends). Having born to a wealthy family, she is supplied with nootropics (TL8) and elite quality education, so final modifiers are as follows:

Single-Minded +30%
Elite Education +40%
Accelerated Learning +50%
Talent (from -30% to +30%, average +0% until 15)
Will (from -30% to +30%, average +0% until 15)

gaining 460.35 points by her fifteen birthday. She proceeds then to invest most of those points into "Pharmacy (Synthetic)", "Bioengineering" and "Surgery", which is roleplayed by having her following advanced programs and studying medicine, and then she research into cutting-edge nootropics (TL9, granting Accelerated Learning +100%), amphetamines (Less Sleep 4), horizontal gene transfer (ST+2; DX+1; IQ+1; HT+1; Beautiful; Combat Reflexes; Double-Jointed; High Pain Threshold; Longevity; Resistant (Acceleration+3; Disease+8; Ingested Poison+3); Voice) and surgery&biomods (HT+1; Fit, Very; Rapid Healing, Very; Pitiable) and by 2024 she has collected 1252.5 points to split among social benefits like wealth, reputation and rank, and skills. She also has (ST-15; DX-14; IQ-14; HT-14) and all of the other advantages. The maximum in any attribute is 16 (one in over a billion people, so there are six persons in the world with a 16 in any attribute).

Is this acceptable?

Last edited by Alonsua; 12-30-2017 at 07:17 PM.
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Old 12-30-2017, 07:16 PM   #2
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Default Re: Realistic Point Gains

As a basic starting observation, 'points' and 'realistic' are concepts that belong in different spheres and should be brought in contact only with the most extreme caution. This does not appear to be anywhere close to extreme caution.
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Old 12-30-2017, 07:16 PM   #3
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Default Re: Realistic Point Gains

Realistically, getting addicted to meth and doing uncontrolled genetic modifications on yourself isn't likely to be a success story.
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Old 12-30-2017, 07:53 PM   #4
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Default Re: Realistic Point Gains

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Originally Posted by sir_pudding View Post
Realistically, getting addicted to meth and doing uncontrolled genetic modifications on yourself isn't likely to be a success story.
So she conducted the tests on cricetids, suids and hominids first, and then on voluntary and appropriate test subjects, and instead of amphetamines she developed some kind of safe and melatonin based drug, or something like that?

*The unsuccesful story chances seem pretty interesting though.

Last edited by Alonsua; 12-30-2017 at 08:00 PM.
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Old 12-30-2017, 07:56 PM   #5
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Default Re: Realistic Point Gains

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Originally Posted by Ulzgoroth View Post
As a basic starting observation, 'points' and 'realistic' are concepts that belong in different spheres and should be brought in contact only with the most extreme caution. This does not appear to be anywhere close to extreme caution.
I could not find better rules for learning (increasing points) than the "Time-Based Learning" on "Social Engineering, Back to School". Thought they were fine though.
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Old 12-30-2017, 08:15 PM   #6
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Someone with 16s across the board is not "realistic" in the usual sense. She's more like Clark Savage, Jr. than like any person you could actually meet or hear of.

I think you're not accounting for her starting out as a child. She'll initially have to buy off English (Broken/None), Innumerate, and Social Stigma (Uneducated), as well as an initially lower IQ that reflects lack of general education, before she can buy any of those advanced scientific skills. She also probably is not going to be putting all her study time into a small range of scientific skills from infancy on; very few people have that sharp a focus on one set of skills when they start out, especially on skills that are desired not for their intrinsic interest but for their usefulness in learning other skills. See p. 11 of Back to School.

You want her to do cutting edge research on things like nootropics. That sounds like the Inventing or Gadgeteering rules are being brought into play. The penalties for inventing such things are probably high, and the laboratory facilities are going to be insanely costly. Have you analyzed how difficult it will be for her to invent learning drugs?

If you're building her as a PC, she has whatever you can pay for with the character points the GM allows you. Arguments about "she could have spent this many hours a month on study" don't carry any weight. You get to start doing that kind of computation after she enters play, and if you then have her spend all her time obsessively trying to become a superwoman, she won't have any time for adventuring.
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Old 12-30-2017, 08:45 PM   #7
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Default Re: Realistic Point Gains

Quote:
Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
Someone with 16s across the board is not "realistic" in the usual sense. She's more like Clark Savage, Jr. than like any person you could actually meet or hear of.

I think you're not accounting for her starting out as a child. She'll initially have to buy off English (Broken/None), Innumerate, and Social Stigma (Uneducated), as well as an initially lower IQ that reflects lack of general education, before she can buy any of those advanced scientific skills. She also probably is not going to be putting all her study time into a small range of scientific skills from infancy on; very few people have that sharp a focus on one set of skills when they start out, especially on skills that are desired not for their intrinsic interest but for their usefulness in learning other skills. See p. 11 of Back to School.

You want her to do cutting edge research on things like nootropics. That sounds like the Inventing or Gadgeteering rules are being brought into play. The penalties for inventing such things are probably high, and the laboratory facilities are going to be insanely costly. Have you analyzed how difficult it will be for her to invent learning drugs?

If you're building her as a PC, she has whatever you can pay for with the character points the GM allows you. Arguments about "she could have spent this many hours a month on study" don't carry any weight. You get to start doing that kind of computation after she enters play, and if you then have her spend all her time obsessively trying to become a superwoman, she won't have any time for adventuring.
Yes, I calculated that buying those disadvantages off would cost 19 points, if she had to pay for her attributes, then that would cost her 406 points, but since that would make for average characters having to pay 319 points just to reach tens, I have not counted those*. Then, after throwing the dices and some failures, she would need certain amount of time for each invention, amounting to:

Amphetamines: Concept (112 hours) + Prototype (80 hours) + Fixes (80 hours)
Nootropics: Concept (8 hours) + Prototype (320 hours) + Fixes (160 hours)
Cancer Vaccine: Concept (808) + Prototype (8960) + Fixes (120)
Gengineering: Concept (192 hours) + Prototype (8320 hours) + Fixes (560 hours)
Genetic Surgery/Biomods: Concept (8 hours) + Prototype (640 hours) + Fixes (120 hours)
Transplants/Biomods: Concept (8 hours) + Prototype (640 hours) + Fixes (80 hours)
Bodysculpting: Concept (8 hours) + Prototype (320 hours)+ Fixes (80 hours)

for a total of 22084 hours. She gets an average of 2973 hours a year, for a total of 2712 days (Around seven years and six months, so this can be done at around twenty years old if she gets to start at 15). As for the money, not counting that she comes from a wealthy family, she also develops the vaccine for cancer with private funding, so she gets to be billonaire. Do the calculus and backstory look right at all?

*I have been thinking of charging 1/3 of the attributes cost to develop a character from infant to adulthood, since it comes that an average character following average education gets to gain around 100-120 points over 15 years "((150/200)/4)*42*15=118.125" and the development from infant to tens reach 319 points, so that would turn to 119 points ought to be paid at fifteen.

Last edited by Alonsua; 12-30-2017 at 08:50 PM.
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Old 12-30-2017, 09:06 PM   #8
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Default Re: Realistic Point Gains

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Yes, I calculated that buying those disadvantages off would cost 19 points, if she had to pay for her attributes, then that would cost her 406 points, but since that would make for average characters having to pay 319 points just to reach tens, I have not counted those*.
[...]
*I have been thinking of charging 1/3 of the attributes cost to develop a character from infant to adulthood, since it comes that an average character following average education gets to gain around 100-120 points over 15 years "((150/200)/4)*42*15=118.125" and the development from infant to tens reach 319 points, so that would turn to 119 points ought to be paid at fifteen.
The rules for points that correlate with time spent on learning are guidelines and real people can learn much slower or faster, not to mention that some things worth points in GURPS can be gained incredibly fast* and some people need to work extremely hard at gaining traits, possibly never managing to reach skilled amateur levels.

I'm fairly certain that the learning rules weren't meant to be used for every minute of a character's life, from birth onward, but if you do, I think you should certainly account for the fact that a lot of the time until adulthood is going to be spent on learning to be a functioning person, gaining around 10 in Attributes, accumulating normal defaults for someone of your culture and getting Cultural Familiarity and Native language.

Cultural Familiarity is actually a good example of a trait where the time to gain it correlates not at all with the learning rules. Despite costing only 1 character point, it can take years to develop and usually only by living in the culture. You absolutely cannot learn it in a couple of weeks of intensive training or even a semester of academic studies.

*Losing Reluctant Killer, gaining Combat Reflexes and adding points in combat skills could be the result of one gunfight which marked a person for life. And a higher Wealth level, Status and a multitude of Contacts can result from a single successful business trip as a young genius investor meets an angel investor who introduces him around, ending up with offers from several technology giants to buy out his company. Spending points gained through 'adventuring' is every bit as realistic as using a rule where every 200 hours sometimes equal a character point and quite a bit more realistic than believing that 1 character point always equals 200 hours of study.
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Old 12-30-2017, 09:22 PM   #9
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Default Re: Realistic Point Gains

Quote:
Originally Posted by Evadam View Post
Do the calculus and backstory look right at all?
Right for what exactly? If this is the backstory of a character designed for a 1000 point game and you just want to check to see if they are "plausible" compared to what somebody else might develop in play, then I suppose it's fine, though in fact there's no particular reason to bother doing that. If you have 1000 points, you have 1000 points, you don't need to explain where they come from, and your skills could be native talent and not study time anyway.

One fundamental issue is that all GURPS time requirement rules are unrealistic in the interest of adventuring drama. For example nobody in reality is going to prototype a new drug in *80 hours* - the synthetic chemistry might not even be physically possible that fast - or even 80 days. Nor will any real person will be able to study (or do anything else) 8 hours a day, 365 days a year. These rules are all structured for larger than life heroes to be able to finish some vital task in a reasonable period of time in play, not to attempt to simulate out of play backgrounds.
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Old 12-30-2017, 10:21 PM   #10
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Default Re: Realistic Point Gains

There are going to be very few realistic characters built on 1000 points unless they max out a couple of attributes (which will create characters that do not feel realistic, even if they are technically realistic). While exceptional people do exist, very few people are going to have 16's across the board (a character with 360 points in attributes is probably going to be a 1:1,000,000 type of person and will be a celebrated and well-known genius and athlete).

Concerning study times, they should probably be considered a workable average. Basic training and other intensive training regimes max out at 26 weeks because even exceptional human beings cannot devote more time than that before they crack. When you look at US colleges, 15 hours a week of classes (with 30 hours of week of self-study in the form of homework and readings) for thirty weeks tends to be considered an acceptable load to avoid overwhelming a student (which translates to 900 hours of study a year). With work and hobbies, a college study can probably gain a maximum of 6 character points per year (4.5 from study and 1.5 from work and hobbies). With four years of college, that is only an extra 24 character points, so massive gains in competency are unlikely unless you study for decades.
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