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Old 01-25-2014, 08:05 AM   #1
ArchonShiva
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Montréal, Québec
Default Alternate Abilities-like skills

Because a lot of rules systems encourage building one unstoppable signature move and spamming it all the time, I've been toying for years under various rules systems with making redundant abilities cheaper, to give a break to people who want to diversify.

In GURPS specifically, Alternate Abilities help this for advantages, but when it comes to skills, we face the further issue that raising attributes quickly becomes more cost-effective than raising even just a handful of skills.

Here's something I've been considering for GURPS4, thinking of something like Action or Dungeon Fantasy. You'll have some flashbacks of 3rd edition.

Combat skills are divided into three broad categories: Unarmed, Melee, Ranged. "Highest skill" here means whatever gets raised the most, not final skill level: Knife-15(DX/E) and Kusari-14(DX/H) means your "highest skill" is Kusari.

Your highest combat skill costs 1/2/4/8/16/24/32.
Your highest combat skill in a each other category costs the normal 1/2/4/8/12/16/20
All your other combat skills cost 1/2/4/6/8/10/12

Same thing with spells:
Your highest spell costs 1/2/4/8/16/24/32.
Your highest spell in a each other college costs the normal 1/2/4/8/12/16/20
All your other spells cost 1/2/4/6/8/10/12

Any must specialize skill with pays 1/2/4/6/8/10/12 after the first specialty.

What, if anything, am I breaking... and how badly?

Would it be much worse if the last cost went down to 1cp/level. I'm certainly considering it for more closely-related skills and spells.
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Old 01-29-2014, 08:19 PM   #2
The Benj
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Platform Zero, Sydney, Australia
Default Re: Alternate Abilities-like skills

Sounds overly complicated. I'd just use Wildcard skills.
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Old 01-30-2014, 11:46 AM   #3
ArchonShiva
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Montréal, Québec
Default Re: Alternate Abilities-like skills

The aim is very different.

Wildcard skills cover everything at the same skill level, for an expensive price compared to having a single skill.
Wildcard skills do very little to make buying up attributes less interesting - compared to an Average skill, a Wildcard costs a premium of at least 24 points.
Wildcard skills get prohibitively expensive at high relative levels.

My method (which isn't complicated to me) allows diversification on the cheap, but keeps skill level separate.
It offers no difference at low relative levels, but strongly rewards diversification at Attribute+3 or more.

Thanks for answering, though - my worry isn't so much about complexity (as skill cost modifiers go, it's one of my simpler mods) as it is about breaking the game.
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Old 01-30-2014, 12:14 PM   #4
Walrus
 
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Location: Chelyabinsk, Russia
Default Re: Alternate Abilities-like skills

What about just plain skill defaults?

Spamming uber-ability, if you don't like it will result in negative MA Reputation: always use <X> maneuver. So foes will likely know that you're one-trick pony.

But anyway, it's what real life shows. Some combinations and strikes are more useful than fancy and flashy ones. If you want to encourage that, try to toy some Compulsive Show move disadantage, Code of Honor, Vow. You can also encourage Action 2 rule of intentional invoking disadvantages.

And anyway, what's your actual intent? Do you want to encourage a lot of different moves? Give more useful options for the same points? Or what?
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Old 02-11-2014, 06:07 AM   #5
ArchonShiva
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Montréal, Québec
Default Re: Alternate Abilities-like skills

I want to make a fighter with Broadsword-22 and six other weapon skills at 21 more cost effective compared to a fighter with Broadsword-25.

At the same time, I want to make Johnny-one-spell less cost-effective and make raising numerous spells to higher levels more so.

Again, I welcome suggestions - there's always a really cool tool in the GURPS toolbox that one hasn't thought of - but my question is about whether this solution particularly risks breaking game balance or not.
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Old 02-11-2014, 08:18 AM   #6
GodBeastX
 
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Default Re: Alternate Abilities-like skills

I'm trying to find the problem in the first place. I think it's better to up an attribute than a skill if you want to cover a great deal of skills. It's pretty much why IQ and DX cost as much as they do.

One thing that helps people branch out is making sure to use other skills in your campaign. Players put points into whatever they feel will be useful. As an example, people in our games tend to buy observation now no matter what, because they realize Observation was being used a lot in the campaigns.

I don't really suscribe to forcing people to buy skills over attributes is basically what I'm saying. If you feel they shouldn't, I guess it's preference.
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Old 02-11-2014, 10:43 AM   #7
malloyd
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Default Re: Alternate Abilities-like skills

Quote:
Originally Posted by ArchonShiva View Post
What, if anything, am I breaking... and how badly?.
Basically no changes in point costs will "break" anything. At most they may make certain character builds much more effective than others built on the same number of points, but points and point balance only really matter between PCs when your players care about them. In this case, changing only the cost of skills you've put more than 4 points into, which usually isn't very many per character, and with skills already varying all over the place in terms of how useful an investment they are, I think the effect will be completely negligible.
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