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Old 10-19-2020, 03:43 AM   #31
bocephus
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Default Re: Stop Spending Earned Character Points

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alden Loveshade View Post
After every game session, your PC earns character points (hopefully). But what if you don't want them?

I was just in a discussion with a player who has a PC with over 50 unspent points. I've had characters with that many as well (one of my super PCs has over 100). While I'll build up some PCs as much as possible, with others I'll stop spending earned character points because they're already the way I want them.

Anybody else run into this? How do you deal with it?
No, I have never seen this. I mean not without having a purpose like wanting to buy off some big disadvantage or get a crazy advantage. It could have something to do with the style of game your playing. If its gritty realism in the modern world and you aren't intending for the chars to really evolve faster than something like 10CP a year.

I have NEVER played a game, that was long term, where there wasn't some kind of improvement that the char could use. A skill, an advantage, a better job, more income, a gadget, etc...

Which ties into this comment (and all the ones that came after it)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Donny Brook View Post
Things that don't substantially alter character concept: *but do change as a char evolves* emphasis Bo

Hobbies, some wealth, income, buy down disads, contacts, favors, narrow reputation, increase sideline skills, skills that reflect experience like teaching and leadership, advantages that reflect experience like indomitable and fearlessness,low levels of charisma, low levels of improved senses, impulse buys. * *I* extend this to include: small base stat changes in ST/HT/DX appropriate to the world/campaign. Allies, enemies, Will and other skills in the area of religion, politics, philosophy, and the world around you
AND

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alden Loveshade View Post
In real life, I'm not sure how much most people continue to improve, even in their primary skill. I saw a study of a number of famed musical composers based on what was considered their greatest work. Most achieved it after about 10 years of composition. The same is true of mathematicians and physicists. Most modern-day female gymnasts reach their peak by or before their early 20s.
What donny says (and I placed some emphasis) is pretty much exactly what Alden was missing in the Composers/Mathematicians/Physicists/Gymnast concept. All chars (unless your playing D&D) should/would develop skills and abilities that have NOTHING to do with their core specialty (Primary Skill Alden calls it, a concept that really doesnt belong in GURPS games IMO). Composers may well have taken up dance, car racing, competitive axe throwing, wine/food tasting, cooking... what ever. Your modern female gymnast might reach the peak of her gymnastic potential at 20ish but she doesnt cease to be just because she's not a competitive gymnast. She becomes a teacher, mother, politician, lawyer, doctor, farmer... Im nothing like I was 10 years ago, 20, 30, 40. I have acquired real skills that have nothing to do with my "Primary Skill", a concept that only makes sense inside of some game constrain I haven't understood yet.

All these things are places that "CP" would be invested as the character develops. I cant think of many examples of a person that just stops improving/changing as they go through life, and the few I can think of have what I would call so pretty hefty disadvantages to overcome. Low IQ chars have a hard time learning but they still learn (just slower than normal/high IQ). Low ST/HT char still accomplish physical tasks just slower or with more effort.

Even if you pretty much cap the Base stats at no more than 10% improvement allowed after char generation, there is a lot of skills and abilities that life will force them to rise up to or fail. Unless you are willfully unwilling to grow, in which case Id say that qualifies as a disadvantage or maybe a set of disadvantages. OR are you telling us that the game/world you're playing in doesnt give any motivation to take those branches and pick up new skills... well then thats not a problem of having nothing to spend CP on, its a limitation of your game that you dont see anything worthwhile to spend them on.
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Old 10-19-2020, 05:04 AM   #32
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Default Re: Stop Spending Earned Character Points

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alden Loveshade View Post
I go by character concept. If my conception is someone who can lift a car because he's more powerful than a locomotive, and who can leap tall buildings in a single bound, I don't necessarily want him flying into space and pushing around planets.
I mean, characters can and do improve even at their own detriment and cause concepts to subtly change. But also, even 100pts isn't a jump from "lifting cars" to "lifting planets".

Now, in the context of the question, I'll assume that one pc is not spending points while the others are. Honestly, most of the time it isn't "I don't want to spend cp" but "I don't know what to spend cp on" or "I don't want anything cheap". Those two are usually working things out with the GM. I had one player save up 100+ pts and eventually found Imbuements. We worked out a way for her sword to 'unlock' its hidden powers that were known about fifty sessions ago and she sank those points into a wildcard imbuement (the one where you pick one weapon and get all imbuements) which was I think 72pts into the skill and whatever the most expensive version of the Imbue advantage costs.

But lets assume that one player actually says "No, this is where this character is, no room for improvement". There's still room for improvement that doesn't change the concept but keeps up with narrative;
A) A key move going from a once-per-adventure super move to being at will. You aren't stronger but you are using what you can do more often
2) Removing costs in general. Getting rid of FP costs is nice, but even buying off ammo can be great in making a gunslinger get a QoL upgrade
C) Turn those allies into Allies! A huge thing I see in games is the continual building of relationships. Substitute Ally for Contact and Patron as needed.
D) Extra Life. Seriously, go buy it. Death is a grim feature of my games no matter how cinematic or 'cuddly' they are.
E) Impulse Buys. Or further, something like Luck, Super Luck, Serendipity, Destiny, etc. Serendipity is open-ended, even.
F) Shore up weaknesses. Not just disadvantages, but unless you are a hyper generalist you have weaknesses. A character who has 'topped out' in (say) combat utility might start changing to another niche without betraying the concept of who they are.
G) Improve the party. There's always upgrading the hideout or how you move random stuff from point A to point B or maybe someone else is facing a critical strike and only you have points open. Wealth helps the whole party, other social traits can help everyone get somewhere and with enough points if they have some questionable disadvantages. Meta-abilities aren't always flavored as being a part of your characters so slap some enhancements on them so you, the player, can play support (add No Signature as needed)
H) Retire the character. Maybe you just don't want to go over 450pts but you have a great idea for a 500pt character.

H was used to great effect with one player. He finally achieved all of his dreams; A dead emperor, the love of his life, and a planet that he could finally retire on (because it was safe from other dimensional travel). After twenty years (in game!) the character was finally just done dealing with non-euclidean witch-demons and there was no room the player wanted to improve in. So in between sessions, he came up with a new character concept that would work into a niche the party needed and the campaign continued.
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While I do not think that GURPS is perfect I do think that it is more balanced than what I am likely to create by GM fiat.
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Old 10-19-2020, 05:51 AM   #33
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Default Re: Stop Spending Earned Character Points

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Originally Posted by kirbwarrior View Post
H) Retire the character. Maybe you just don't want to go over 450pts but you have a great idea for a 500pt character.

H was used to great effect with one player. He finally achieved all of his dreams; there was no room the player wanted to improve in. So in between sessions, he came up with a new character concept that would work into a niche the party needed and the campaign continued.
I did totally overlook this one in my list, and it should have been there. Maybe your player is just done/bored/dissatisfied with the char and this is their way of trying to ask you to push them in a different direction? Maybe they like hanging out with the group and dont want to be left out.
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Old 10-19-2020, 12:12 PM   #34
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Default Re: Stop Spending Earned Character Points

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Originally Posted by DMGG View Post
Seems like this is something that can be outlined at the beginning of a campaign. It's really up to the theme of the game being played whether or not characters should be becoming ever stronger or remaining fairly static as far as power levels go. The GM doesn't even have to give out points at the end of every session if there's no expectation for the PCs to grow in power and ability. Alternatively, they could give points much more slowly to represent natural skill growth over longer time periods.
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Originally Posted by Refplace View Post
I limit progression so not too much increase in most things at one time.
Those are possible options. Years ago, we started a two-level campaign set in Tredroy on Yrth (now in GURPS Banestorm). We shared GM duties, and each had one PC who was Status 0 or less, and one who was Status 1 or higher. But when my lower Status PC ended up getting a promotion, I stopped playing him regularly. That wasn't what I wanted for that character.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Donny Brook View Post
Things that don't substantially alter characer concept:

Hobbies, some wealth, income, buy down disads, contacts, favors, narrow reputation, increase sideline skills, skills that reflect experience like teaching and leadership, advantages that reflect experience like indomitable and fearlessness,low levels of charisma, low levels of improved senses, impulse buys.
Some of these may well work. It depends on the character/campaign concept. For example, I'm GMing/playing a campaign (we switch GMs) where the PCs have been students, new assistant teachers, a recently released prisoner, a junior level priestess, etc. But as an experiment, we let one player try a wealthy PC--it unfortunately didn't fit well in that campaign.

There's also the issue of a long-running campaign. For example, one of my PCs has spent over 60 points on many of the above. I don't want to get rid of any Disadvantages, because I like them for that PC--they're part of the fun.

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Originally Posted by WingedKagouti View Post
I assume you're talking about having eliminated/reduced the Disadvantages and improved their Abilities, Stats and Skills as much as makes sense for the concept.
That's correct.
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Old 10-19-2020, 12:22 PM   #35
Alden Loveshade
 
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Default Re: Stop Spending Earned Character Points

It's interesting that a number of people say they have never run into the issue of players not wanting their PCs to keep getting more powerful. It actually goes back to the original days of roleplaying.

I once saw a video where some of the original Dungeons & Dragons people said that, when they had a PC get very powerful, they stopped playing it and started playing a new one. They didn't want their PCs to keep getting more powerful. They didn't see a point to that.

If anyone has a link to that video, please post it (if that doesn't violate forum rules).

Personally, I do have some PCs that I want to get more powerful indefinitely. But others I don't.
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Old 10-19-2020, 03:52 PM   #36
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Default Re: Stop Spending Earned Character Points

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Originally Posted by Alden Loveshade View Post
It's interesting that a number of people say they have never run into the issue of players not wanting their PCs to keep getting more powerful. It actually goes back to the original days of roleplaying. /snip

Personally, I do have some PCs that I want to get more powerful indefinitely. But others I don't.
I feel like I need some more detail at this point. What pt level did the chars start at, what CP are they now, and about how many game sessions did it take them to get there? if you have an approx number of CP per session thats what Im looking for, along with starting points.

Your making me really curious :)
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Old 10-19-2020, 04:11 PM   #37
Plane
 
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Default Re: Stop Spending Earned Character Points

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Originally Posted by dataweaver View Post
That would be where the “you must also spend character points to learn” optional rule from Social Engineering: Back to School comes into play: Learning on the Job is no longer automatic; is something that you explicitly have to choose to do, by choosing to spend points on learning — assuming you're allowed to.
Would that work both ways? IE if you now need to spend bonus CP (you don't earn non-bonus CP via time) to use traditional learning, does the traditional "I don't need to spend any time to justify spending my bonus CP to improve X" policy no longer exist, ie they're just merged into a single approach for improvement now?

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Originally Posted by dataweaver View Post
It's not self-teaching; it's self-study.
As in, you don't have a teacher;
Makes me wonder if Compartmentalized Mind or Duplicates could allow self-teaching...

Since after all basic teaching doesn't require teachers to be better than you, you could be taught be someone with same IQ or same effective skill, such as self.

For someone without compartmentalized mind, "doing two things at once" (studying and teacher) -2 penalty would naturally make it impossible, since that would lower your effective skill (and effective points in that skill) below your own.

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Originally Posted by dataweaver View Post
but you still have books and the like that you can read.
“Teaching” yourself without any materials to work with would likely be less like the Study systems and more like the Invention systems.
Would be interesting to look more into this "book" requirement.

Like for example a "Book of Fireball" written by a skill 15 mage to instruct new mages on how to improve their fireballs should probably not help a mage who already has skill 20 in fireball to Self-Study.

Dungeon Fantasy had some rules on how to learn spells from scrolls, and in that case I would think maybe that should be the ONLY way to learn spells from books (consider any "book of teaching fireball" to be a series of scrolls, perhaps limited so they can't be used to cast, only learned from) but that you could only use it to IMPROVE your fireball up to some number derived from the Power of the scroll.

Basically you apply the same limitations "Teaching" has to Self-Study, except instead of the real-time skill of the teacher at the time of your learning, what matters is:

1) the skill of the teacher at the time they wrote the book (both in the teaching skill and whatever skill they're writing the book to teach)

2) how much of that skill they were able to put down in writing (maybe apply a MoF penalty to "transcribed skill" based on a Writing roll?)

3) how much of the writer's intent was discerned by the reader

Firstly I think you would want to prevent someone from getting a "Time Spent" bonus to their effective skill when writing, so a basic -6 penalty should be there (you can get +6 for x60 time via one quirk) and assume all writers will use as much time as possible to negate as much of this penalty as they could.

You would want to make it impossible to self-study via a book/scroll of fireball that you made yourself, so it should at least be a -1 penalty on top of this.

Another issue (just for magic) is how critical successes on enchantment add 2d power, and how (via Ceremonial Magic rules) you can actually increase the Power of an enchanted item an unlimitd amount via pouring extra energy into it.

For that reason I'm not sure if using 'power' of a scroll is right...

Especially since Scrolls seem to ignore power in use (you don't even roll against it to cast the spell)

So maybe it should just be "skill-6" as suggested, and in this case (even though magic does not normally allow it) allow "time spent" bonuses on a scroll purely for negating that learning penalty.

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Originally Posted by dataweaver View Post
IB also has “spend one character point to get 25 points worth of magic”.
Do you mean pg 12's "Points for Energy" or am I missing something else in PU5 also using a 1:25 ratio?

Assuming it's PFE, it doesn't seem to specify magic only (but obviously FP can power MOST magic)

Situations where I'm curious if this option would be available:
a) T23 "can't use external energy" : if it's not possible to use paut/powerstones/sacrifices then should it be possible to trade CP for FP?

b) T25 "injurious magic" : if it's the bigger version (all energy must be HP not FP) then trading CP for FP wouldn't help
Injurious Magic wouldn't be that huge a limitation if you could also have ER (magic) and use that instead of your HP so I would assume that IM prevents you from fueling spells with an ER (you instead fuel it with a Vitality Reserve)

One thing I overlooked when seeing this before is:
temporary FP can normally power just one task; excess FP are lost.
This would for example make a device which did (for magic only) less useful than a 25-point Manastone since a Manastone can be split amongst various tasks. We can only compare these as the same when talking about 1 point of energy (ie a day's worth of Meditative Magic) to a 1-point manastone, since unless the GM allows you to spend partial energy (ie 0.1 energy to suspend a 1-point spell, 0.5 energy to counter a 1-point spell) a 1-energy manastone is a 1-use manastone.

This weirdly doesn't seem to apply to Powers for some reason (pg 13: you keep the FP around as an unrechargeable energy reserve and can split the 25 into 25 uses of 1 FP)

That seems like a very odd "free benefit" for "Points for Energy" Impulse Buys for characters who have powers. I don't see why this shouldn't apply to all things.

IE we could just ALWAYS allow it to buy an unrechargeable ER. It being an ER already limits it to uses of a single "source" so it's not like being able to split the pseudo-FP for just anything.
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Old 10-19-2020, 04:12 PM   #38
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Default Re: Stop Spending Earned Character Points

I have accumulated 100 unspent CP before . . . Not due to thinking 'I am done and never again want to get better' but a combination of 'messing with a character sheet is a pain and I need motivation' and 'of all the myriad choices to get better which one is most fabulous?'

Sometimes you want to take your time and see, the CP aren't going to get stale
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Old 10-19-2020, 04:13 PM   #39
Plane
 
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Default Re: Stop Spending Earned Character Points

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Originally Posted by dataweaver View Post
Per IB (and Basic Set, of I recall correctly), it's 20%.
Note also that you don't get it instantly; you get it in the near future, at the soonest point that the GM can reasonably work its acquisition into the narrative.
I'm not sure where to find 20%, B85 for SG is definitely 50%.
Trading Points for Money (B26/IB8) uses 10% SW and can be done during creation or "in play". P93 also uses this ratio for stabilizing matter you made via Create...
Create seems like basically a UB reflecting "when I use TPFM it instantly gives me what I want to purchase with my money, rather than just giving me generic money which I must then use to locate and purchase something"
It's kinda weird how TPFM doesn't appear as value on the character sheet like TG does. If I created a character and I spent 10 points on this to have double Starting Wealth yet my sheet value doesn't reflect this, I'm somehow going to look weaker than I actually am...
also would this mean the actual CP value of SG (lost only when you actually give the item away) is not the $ value of the item but actually just buying an "Unstealable Wealth" enhancement on half of some "0 point meta-trait" because "I have useful equipment" benefits (basically an Ally) has a "people want to rob me" drawback (basically an Enemy) that always balances out "I have $$$$ worth of equipment" as a 0-point feature?
Example: Non-Signature Gear which is a character worth 25% or less of your character points [0] = Ally [4] (always appears, minion+0%) where you must set FOA (B36) for an "Enemy" which matches this. This could be x4 (constantly) for a quirk-level enemy or 1/2 (6 or less) for an 8-point enemy.

This might not be people who would STEAL your gear (that's x1 "Hunter" : cause you lasting harm because they would remove your Ally damage, like cutting off your limb!) but they're going to be (B135) at least a Watcher (spreads gossip about your nice car) if not a Rival (writes "wash me" on your dirty windows).

Losing secrets ("I have an ally and it is a car") to even a Watcher can be dangerous, because that could compound into further enemies (car thief who hears about your car).

I guess "nobody knows about my ally" is a secret (B152) where in the case of a car (unless you're embarassed you bought a silly one) the "Effects of Revelation" include Enemy (people who want to steal cars) now that they know you have one.

In a way a "Public Enemy" is the Enemy of anyone who has something they want to steal if they are aware they have that thing (that ally).

Non-secret allies/cars somehow means that everybody RELEVANT (people who could find out secrets about you: you don't get -5 for having a bicycle that Hobbits in another dimension do not know about! Gaining Hobbit bicycle-thief enemies isn't a plausible outcome) knows about your ally/car/bike but nobody wants to take it from you.

I guess that makes sense if you live in a law-abiding community (everybody is Honest so nobody wants to rob you amongst those who know of your ally bike/car) or you are so powerful that anybody dishonest enough to steal vehicles is too terrified of repercussions from robbing you PERSONALLY that they refuse to be your enemy.

Wealth or equipment if viewed as advantages might perhaps be viewed as being a "Switchable Ally" (+10% you can put the ally away, protecting them from harm) but with two limitations: "Temporary Disadvantage: Enemy Group" and "Aftermath: Enemy Group"

Collectively I will call this "Temporary plus Aftermath Enemy Group" which is worth 1.5x the % discount as CP such an enemy would be worth.

Switching the ability on (exposing your Ally/Car) instantly gives you an enemy (people see your ally and respond negatively to it) plus even when you switch it off (put your car in the garage, etc) your enemy will persist for at least 10 minutes OR the duration you were using your ally for, if that was longer.

TPAEG cost will then be reduced via Either/Or disadvantages: which is H20's "Accessibility, Only if unobserved, -20%".

This basically means "switching on my ability does not give me enemies if I use am unobserved during the period it is switched on". IE nobody will want to gossip/prank/steal your car if you brought it out of the garage when nobody was watching.

Functional mitigators (ie "I can't switch my Car Ally off unless I bring it to my garage first, a fixed location") would probably be applied to the Switchable +10% enhancement, which could bring it down to a minimum cost of +2%.

Switchable Allies could actually be a net discount if you took "Accessibility: While Conscious" on your Allies (+2% for Switchable -80%, -5% = net -3%) but this basically means your Ally vanishes when you fall unconscious, so it doesn't really apply to non-magical equipment. There are downsides to this, like for example while you can protect your Switchable Magic Car, you can't SLEEP in that car.

The idea of a switchable ally (you avoid downfalls like losing the CP spent on the ally if the ally is killed) to me derives from being allowed to have Switchable Extra Arm. You can be deprived of your Extra Arm if your arm is "killed" (ie Permanently Crippled) and having Switchable removes that vulnerability when you switch it off.

Extra Arms 2 [20] is interestingly the value of a 5-point ally (worth 100% CP) who appears Constantly (x4). Probably with Minion+50% offset with Sympathetic Injury -50%

or actually maybe it's Minion 0% because if you get possessed your possessor can control your arms (like Slave Mentality) ?

Note however that your garage/house itself is probably an Ally you CAN'T switch off (an Ally is Always-On by default!) so people might want to do bad things to you (like burn your house down, or break into it and rob you) as a result. In this case enemies aren't limitatons, they're just straight disadvantages, UNLESS you live out of sight in an underground bunker (nobody knows about the house so they can't wish you ill for owning it) or in a utopia where nobody hates house-owners.

-- -


There's also issues like this when dealing w/ wealth levels and travel through different tech levels. If I buy 100% extra SW for 10 points that's 250 bucks at TL0 (stone age) but if I go forward in time to TL1 (bronze) 250 is only 50% of the 500 dollar starting wealth, so the value of my advantage (well, spent CP... I don't "keep" the advantage for some reason) drops from 10 points to 5 points.

Conversely if I spent only 1 point on 20% SW at TL6, (1000 dollars) and go back in time to TL3, it's like my purchase gives me 10 points worth of purchase back then.

Maybe since SW changes between eras we should instead have a fixed "CP to dollars" rate (conveniently this could be 1 cp = 25 dollars based on 10% of TL0 starting wealth) and if you want 10% SW in higher TL you would have to pay higher CP fees? EG if you want 10% of 500 at TL1, that would cost you 2 cp?
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Old 10-19-2020, 06:51 PM   #40
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Default Re: Stop Spending Earned Character Points

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Originally Posted by bocephus View Post
I did totally overlook this one in my list, and it should have been there. Maybe your player is just done/bored/dissatisfied with the char and this is their way of trying to ask you to push them in a different direction? Maybe they like hanging out with the group and dont want to be left out.
This has also happened. I remember one party not liking one PC's character, including the PC in question, so when it came around to everyone getting points, instead of spending 25pts on a trait they just made a new character.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alden Loveshade View Post
It's interesting that a number of people say they have never run into the issue of players not wanting their PCs to keep getting more powerful. It actually goes back to the original days of roleplaying.
Most of my long running campaigns are very specifically long running because the players want all of their PCs to continually get stronger, it's just how they are. So this is definitely rare for me.

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Originally Posted by Kalzazz View Post
I have accumulated 100 unspent CP before . . . Not due to thinking 'I am done and never again want to get better' but a combination of 'messing with a character sheet is a pain and I need motivation' and 'of all the myriad choices to get better which one is most fabulous?'

Sometimes you want to take your time and see, the CP aren't going to get stale
If anything, the points generally get better over time. There's a lot to be gained when you are sitting on 100pts and thinking "what combination of 100pts do I want?" instead of 20 different instances of "what combination of 5pts do I want?" especially in the context of a character built around vastly more points already; I find that supers generally spend points in larger amounts sporadically because you want to make sure those points actually means something.
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While I do not think that GURPS is perfect I do think that it is more balanced than what I am likely to create by GM fiat.
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