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Old 12-31-2017, 06:18 AM   #21
Sam Baughn
 
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Default Re: Realistic Point Gains

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Originally Posted by Evadam View Post
This is fine enough, to my system there are exactly 1 person with a 16 on anything (like IQ-16 or ST-16, but not both) in a sample of 1.013.594.634 people, sixteen in all stats among the board would take 1.055.497.508.229.160.000.000.000.000.000.000.000 (so while not impossible, never have such amount of human beings ever lived). As for her initial stats (13/13/13/12) I calculated them being possible on one person in 17.869.532.385 (experts estimate than there have been 107.602.707.791 humans to ever live since 50.000 BC).
One complication with that is realistically good health, high intelligence, strong will, physical fitness, high spatial awareness and precise motor skills tend to be correlated. So it's actually more likely that someone with one good attribute would have other ones.

On the other hand, I'm not sure if the levels of improvements offered by biotech will be nearly as good for generally superior people. Most treatments seem more likely to help people with poor performance in some area than those who are already really gifted. Someone three standard deviations above average in general intelligence seems unlikely to have many of the easiest to correct flaws in their brain. Stimulants are much more useful for people with naturally terrible concentration and weak will, which is why they are prescribed to people with ADHD, etc.
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Old 12-31-2017, 06:46 AM   #22
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Default Re: Realistic Point Gains

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Well, I want her to be like an important/main NPC, I am designing the setting based on the real world and trying to make her some kind of modern Leonardo Da Vinci/Hippocrates/Galen.
That's another thing. Most likely none of those guys were amazingly skilled in reality. Pretty good sure, but not hundreds of points of skills good. Maybe not even that - I suspect the main thing Hippocrates and Galen have going for them compared to equally or more skilled contemporary unknowns is Writing skill - or possibly an admiring acquaintance with Writing skill - and the contacts (or good luck) to have a bunch of copies made at some point before their manuscript was lost.

If you want to design a "realistic" famous person, don't put lots points into skills or attributes to make them the best who ever lived. Give them enough to put them in the upper few percent of their contemporaries in the same profession and sink the rest of the points into Reputation and other social advantages.
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Old 12-31-2017, 07:01 AM   #23
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there are exactly 1 person with a 16 on anything (like IQ-16 or ST-16, but not both) in a sample of 1.013.594.634 people, sixteen in all stats among the board would take 1.055.497.508.229.160.000.000.000.000.000.000.000
Probabilities among the general population are (in my opinion) irrelevant to character design for RPGs. Almost all RPGs are about heroes, unusual people by definition, to whom happen any number of unusual and interesting things that they deal with often in an unconventional manner. The routine daily life of ordinary people is not the focus of most RPGs; neither are their average stats.

Nor is their probability of occurrence. You don't get the hero for your story by choosing people from the general population at random until you happen to find one. You design them to be some particular interesting kind of hero you want to play. They're already known to be heroes, because that's the starting assumption. The a priori probability is irrelevant once you're already known to be a PC, much as no one stops in the middle of a hand of bridge, dropping their cards and gasping in amazement that they're engaged in an activity that only had a 1 in 635,013,559,600 chance of occurring.

Proportion of heroes might be noted by the GM as part of a world-building exercise, mostly just to have a general idea of the effect on the world of the truly unusual -- like Superman-scale supers, or true wizards (especially the sort without those pesky energy point limitations). A world where everyone is Superman probably doesn't have everyone working day jobs as reporters wearing glasses. You need an assumed mass of "ordinary" with which to contrast the "super" -- and usually, to give the players some familiarity and point of reference. It's possible to play in a world that's completely fantastical, with different and arbitrary (and possibly inconsistent) laws of physics. But it's hard to do that, so people usually maintain some contact with familiar reality in the background. Just not for their heroes!

But given all that, it doesn't really matter whether PC-scale heroes are one in a thousand or one in a million. The latter doesn't justify them having more build points than the former. Character points are an arbitrary choice in advance by the GM that sets the feel of the game. They're a meta-game construct, not something that evolves from exercise of the setting simulation.
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Old 12-31-2017, 07:03 AM   #24
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This is where Back to School applies mods based on advantages such as Single-Minded (+30%), Talents (X/(1-talent level/10), Education Quality, etc... isnt it? For the account if I introduce the houserule of charging 1/3 of the attributes cost while growing up, average adults start at 0 points when they age fifteen, would that work?
Normally you don't apply those guidelines retrospectively, to define how your character got to where they were at the start of play; you apply them prospectively, to determine how your character develops after play starts. At the start of play the character has as many points as the GM allows, and you don't have to define all the details of how the character got there.

Certainly you can have NPCs at any power level. There's not a problem with having them be more capable than the PCs; there are a lot more stories where the PCs have to deal with powerful Patrons and Enemies than where they bestride the world like colossi and no one can challenge them. But it really doesn't make a good story if you have them encounter someone who is so much better than they are that the PCs can neither help nor threaten them meaningfully. There's no reason for such a person even to pay attention to the PCs. I mean, to bring up Doc Savage again, it really wouldn't be that good a campaign to have the PCs be Renny, Johnny, Long Tom, Monk, and Ham, with Doc overshadowing them in everything.

So to me, the question is not "Can such a character exist?" but "What purpose does the character serve in the PCs' story?" Why do you want such a character to be present in the first place?
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Old 12-31-2017, 07:08 AM   #25
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Normally you don't apply those guidelines retrospectively, to define how your character got to where they were at the start of play; you apply them prospectively, to determine how your character develops after play starts.
Developing a backstory is fine. It often gives me a better sense of how to play the character going forward. But I think you're exactly right in that the backstory doesn't matter to calculating the starting point total.

GURPS predates the current trend for "lifepath" character creation systems, where the starting game mechanics are supposed to be the result of simulated (if abstractly) past experience of the character. Traveller did that, though the result was quasi-random rather than directed. It's also popular these days in narrative systems. But that's not the sort of thing the time-study or improving characters in play rules were meant to do. You have a free hand to create your past life path that leads to your starting character as you see fit.
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Old 12-31-2017, 09:13 AM   #26
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Developing a backstory is fine. It often gives me a better sense of how to play the character going forward. But I think you're exactly right in that the backstory doesn't matter to calculating the starting point total.
There's no problem with doing a backstory, either before you build the character, or after you've spent the points while you think about how the character got that way. But the backstory has no need to say, "When I was seventeen I spent this many points on this skill and this many on raising this stat." It's a story, not a character sheet. And in particular, it shouldn't be taken to justify a claim to have more points than you'd get otherwise.

And of course you can, if you choose, design NPCs without spending or budgeting points (though I don't usually do so if the NPC is significant). But if you are going to do that, there's even less place for coming up with a backstory that allows spending insane numbers of points.
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Old 12-31-2017, 09:24 AM   #27
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That's another thing. Most likely none of those guys were amazingly skilled in reality. Pretty good sure, but not hundreds of points of skills good. Maybe not even that - I suspect the main thing Hippocrates and Galen have going for them compared to equally or more skilled contemporary unknowns is Writing skill - or possibly an admiring acquaintance with Writing skill - and the contacts (or good luck) to have a bunch of copies made at some point before their manuscript was lost.

If you want to design a "realistic" famous person, don't put lots points into skills or attributes to make them the best who ever lived. Give them enough to put them in the upper few percent of their contemporaries in the same profession and sink the rest of the points into Reputation and other social advantages.
And perhaps Luck and/or Serendipity.
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Old 12-31-2017, 10:59 AM   #28
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Default Re: Realistic Point Gains

I have some skill learning house rules on my blog. They can be found here.

They're as realistic as I could possibly make them based on the data I could find on human learning.

I made the assumption that humans have a maximum realistic skill level of 20. Which might not be right. It might be fourteen, sixteen, or twenty-five. It's difficult to figure out what the maximum is.

The long and short of it is this: it takes a long time to get good at anything, and being good at one thing doesn't make you better at other things. You can practice the violence for a decade and master the violin, but doing so won't make you any better at chess, brain surgery, nuclear physics, computer programming, or anything other than playing musical instruments.

The GURPS attributes, which raise lots of skill at once, have no basic in reality. There's nothing you can do that will make you better at all of violin, chess, surgery, physics, computer programming, writing, etc. There's not even anything you can do that will improve any two of them. That's not how humans learn.
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Old 12-31-2017, 01:00 PM   #29
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Default Re: Realistic Point Gains

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How is this an iconic and awesome character for a whole setting, if according to Biotech an average physician got IQ-13?
It's not. It's a half-joking reply about something else. I was imagining if a player were proposing your paragon as a Player Character. Sorry for the off-topic joke aspect of that post.


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More importantly, how does the skills limit respect the learning rules introduced in Back to School?
It doesn't "respect" it, because it was written before it, and isn't in the same context or mindset.

The skills limit is just a suggested guideline for GMs to consider when for starting PCs or making NPCs. It's a rough milestone to see how exceptional the character you're statting is, compared to what's typical.

I think it is an interesting serious question though, how to reconcile such things. Though your example seems extreme and exaggerated, I always try to consider what the averages and limits are for NPCs and PCs, in starting points and in how quickly and how much abilities of all types can be increased.

It can be difficult too to scale things, particularly when GMs, campaigns, and source books can vary extremely in what levels and point totals they assign to things.


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How do you treat a player character trying to attend to college or get any kind of education?
By scaling the base levels and rates of learning & other improvement based on what the averages and limits are in the campaign's reference points. GURPS Myth and GURPS Special Ops and GURPS Supers have drastically different point levels assigned to things compared to most historical source books (such as GURPS Rome or GURPS Who's Who or GURPS WW2), for example.

I think it does make sense to do something like you are doing and try to define who the most highly-rated characters in the world are, what they're like and how they got there. Your example seems extremely extreme to me, but I usually stick to modest fantasy settings, where the most powerful and exceptionally capable human characters are probably more like 300-400 points at most (not considering status or wealth or allies or whatever).
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Old 12-31-2017, 01:28 PM   #30
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Default Re: Realistic Point Gains

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Can you elaborate?
If you gave yourself cancer via gene hacking it would be interesting to an oncologist, who might learn something about the causes of cancer, but it wouldn't be especially interesting in a typical roleplaying game.
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