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Old 09-30-2020, 05:06 AM   #1
2097
 
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Default Skill cost table

One of the most frustrating parts about GURPS growing up was the skill cost table that made building characters a chore. I see now, 25 years later, that it's 1, 2, 4, 8, 12, 16, 20, 24 etc etc for E skills and that A, H and VH skills just start at -1, -2 and -3 respectively. That would've been good to know. It's obvious in hindsight, but I was struggling with making characters back then.

I kinda wish the skills would've been labeled DX -1, IQ -3 etc instead of "Physical, average" or "Mental, very hard". That would've made them even easier to buy without referencing a table. On the other hand, their current labeling makes the skill lists easier to port over to other skill-based games.
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Old 09-30-2020, 05:22 AM   #2
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Default Re: Skill cost table

Oh, I see, this ""uniformity" wasn't the case in 3e.
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Old 09-30-2020, 05:33 AM   #3
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Default Re: Skill cost table

Note that if you were using 3e (which you mostly likely were 25 years ago, because 4e wasn't out yet), it was more complex, because physical skills went 1/2, 1, 2, 4, 8 and mental skills went 1/2, 1, 2 or (for VH skills) 1/2, 1, 2, 4.

It was much cheaper to make a well-rounded academic than a well-rounded outdoorsman.

And then there was Eidetic Memory...
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Old 09-30-2020, 10:32 AM   #4
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Default Re: Skill cost table

The distinction for Mental and Physical is gone in 4e. 3e was even worse in that it had a special progression for Mental/Very Hard that capped at 4 points per level.

So, it has much improved compared to 3e in terms of simplicity.
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Old 09-30-2020, 12:01 PM   #5
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Default Re: Skill cost table

The only difference in the uniformity of the 3e tables was that physical skills capped at 8 rather than 4. 4e eliminates the half-point level on the bottom end. Both versions just double the point cost each level until the cap, and set the value of an Average skill at stat level equal to 2.
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Old 09-30-2020, 12:21 PM   #6
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Default Re: Skill cost table

Thank you Anaraxes. Yeah, I was really struggling back then because I didn't see the pattern. Every skill, I had to look it up.
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Old 09-30-2020, 06:12 PM   #7
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Default Re: Skill cost table

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anaraxes View Post
The only difference in the uniformity of the 3e tables was that physical skills capped at 8 rather than 4. 4e eliminates the half-point level on the bottom end. Both versions just double the point cost each level until the cap, and set the value of an Average skill at stat level equal to 2.
No, mental skills capped at 2/level, except M/VH skills, which capped at 4/level. Thus high levels of mental easy to hard skills were ludicrously cheap compared to physical skills.
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Old 09-30-2020, 06:28 PM   #8
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Default Re: Skill cost table

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2097 View Post
Thank you Anaraxes. Yeah, I was really struggling back then because I didn't see the pattern. Every skill, I had to look it up.
Even though there is a pattern now I still have to look up where things fall on the Skill Cost Table.
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Old 09-30-2020, 07:21 PM   #9
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Default Re: Skill cost table

It probably isn't much help, but the mnemonic I use for this works kind of backward:

Skill costs are 1, 2, 4, 8, etc.
Skill difficulties are E, A, H, VH.

So I think of easy skills as costing 1, average as costing 2, hard as costing 4, very hard as costing 8. That's what it costs to get the skill at = Attribute, and then I just add a -1 per step below that if you don't pay enough, or +1 per step above that if you pay more than you need.

It's the same thing as the normal system, I just find it easier than trying to remember the full table or the penalties at a specific point value.

Basically, if you look at the table, I've memorized just the Attribute+0 line and work backward from there, I guess.
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Old 10-01-2020, 04:25 AM   #10
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Default Re: Skill cost table

There are probably several ways to remember this, depending on how your brain works.

For me:
For an Average skill, it costs 4 points for each +1 (starting at [Stat]). Easy skills get +1, Hard -1, VH -2.
The tricky bit: Subtract 1 or 2 for lower skill levels (i.e. for 2 or 1 points).

I like that the difficulty modifiers make perfect sense with this description.

Also, it bugs me when (house)rules call to change the difficulty of a skill. Just give it a modifier!
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