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Old 10-24-2019, 09:47 AM   #1
johndallman
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
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Default [Basic] Disadvantage of the Week: Overconfidence

Overconfidence [-5*] is a mundane mental disadvantage, with a self-control roll. You feel youíre far more capable than is actually the case, and confidently attempt challenges that are at or beyond the limits of what you can do. This disadvantage appeared at GURPS 1e, and hasnít changed much.

The way you express your overconfidence is up to you. You can be loudly boastful, or understated, but you must role-play it in your actions, and the GM is entitled to ask for self-control rolls if they feel youíre being too cautious. If you fail, you assume you can handle the situation, and go ahead. Some degree of scaling to the challenge is reasonable, since this isnít On the Edge: that disadvantage is more about turn-to-turn tactics, while Overconfidence is more about what plans you make and fights you start. If your plans are huge, you have Megalomania, possibly as well as Overconfidence. You get +2 reactions from naive or young people, who tend to believe youíre as capable as you act, and -2 from experienced people with a better idea of whatís possible. Itís incompatible with Low Self-Image.

Overconfidence is a very common trait for heroes of many genres, especially low-tech warriors, and shows up as an option on lots of published character templates. Itís also an effect of being Maniac-Depressive, and a side-effect of some drugs, including psychiatric medications. Madness Dossier naturally has drugs to cause it, some of them with additional combat value. SEALs in Vietnam regards Overconfidence as an acceptable disadvantage for SEALs, inheriting that from Special Ops for 3e, and itís part of the racial psychology design system in Template Toolkit 2: Races.

This disadvantage is a bad combination with Impulsiveness, and very bad when mixed with nuclear power, low-tech artillery, or explosives at any TL. A good way to survive it is to be fairly tough, and have a player who isnít overconfident, and can deploy Luck when needed.

My uses of Overconfidence on PCs have mainly come when I feel a character needs to be overconfident to have taken up adventuring in the first place. Iíve played in campaigns where there was a recognisable party faction who were Overconfident, and another who werenít. The latter tended to do a lot of picking up the pieces afterwards, and occasionally had to remind the GM that they were the semi-sensible group.

How often has Overconfidence got PCs into trouble in your games?

Last edited by johndallman; 10-24-2019 at 09:51 AM. Reason: Markup
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Old 10-24-2019, 10:48 AM   #2
martinl
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Disadvantage of the Week: Overconfidence

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Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
My uses of Overconfidence on PCs have mainly come when I feel a character needs to be overconfident to have taken up adventuring in the first place.
Ditto. Many many adventures are properly handled by running away and or calling in the authorities. Overconfident PCs are much more willing to try to handle it all themselves.

There's an old GURPS joke that Overconfidence, Impulsive, and On the Edge, taken together are the equivalent of Traveler's infamous "Your PC died in character creation."
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Old 10-24-2019, 11:41 AM   #3
Anders
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Disadvantage of the Week: Overconfidence

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Originally Posted by martinl View Post
Ditto. Many many adventures are properly handled by running away and or calling in the authorities. Overconfident PCs are much more willing to try to handle it all themselves.

There's an old GURPS joke that Overconfidence, Impulsive, and On the Edge, taken together are the equivalent of Traveler's infamous "Your PC died in character creation."
Cursed and Weirdness Magnet is another good combination.
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Old 10-24-2019, 12:10 PM   #4
WingedKagouti
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Disadvantage of the Week: Overconfidence

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Cursed and Weirdness Magnet is another good combination.
Cursed alone is bad, but Weirdness Magnet specifies that the weird stuff that happens to you due to the disadvantage is non-lethal.
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Old 10-24-2019, 02:38 PM   #5
ericthered
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Default Re: [Basic] Disadvantage of the Week: Overconfidence

I see a fair amount of overconfidence on character sheets. I can't say that its ever had much effect on the game. I'm not really sure how to enforce it either: I've heard some really harsh interpretations that turn it into a death sentence and rob players of agency at the worst moments, and I'd like to avoid that.

When it does show up in a character personality, its as likely to be an organic aspect as something on a character sheet.

I never stick this on a character I intend to play as a PC. My style is too cautious. I might stick it on an NPC, but likely only as an afterthought.
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Old 10-24-2019, 02:50 PM   #6
Imbicatus
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Disadvantage of the Week: Overconfidence

I take Overconfidence on pretty much every character I play because I tend to play heroic types that donít run away from a challenge, so why not get points for it? Sometimes that means getting into more trouble than the characters can handle, and sometimes that means they get a heroic death while the rest of of the party runs away.

One time in particular in a modern game this was particularly disastrous when there was a bomb on a timer with 25 minutes and I opted to disarm it myself instead of calling in the bomb squad and I rolled a 17 on my demolitions skill...

But itís not an automatic death sentence like berserk and itís how I usually play my characters anyway.
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Old 10-24-2019, 03:18 PM   #7
WingedKagouti
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Disadvantage of the Week: Overconfidence

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Originally Posted by ericthered View Post
I see a fair amount of overconfidence on character sheets. I can't say that its ever had much effect on the game. I'm not really sure how to enforce it either: I've heard some really harsh interpretations that turn it into a death sentence and rob players of agency at the worst moments, and I'd like to avoid that.
RAW, Overconfidence should always make a player attempt to take on more difficult tasks than they know their character is capable of handling.

The natural "player inquisitiveness" that makes PCs not call in the army/cops/whatever, does not have to come from Overconfidence, there are many PCs for whom a special situation is entirely within reasonable estimates for their capabilities.

For someone with Explosives (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) of 15+ it is likely reasonable to expect successfully disarming a bomb within a time limit, unless there are special scenario considerations that would impose a penalty beyond the one from the time limit. On the other hand, for someone with Explosives (EOD) of 10-12 it would definitely take some degree of Overconfidence to tackle a random bomb with a time limit.

For a combat scenario there are several considerations. A major one being the campaign style (Realistic/Cinematic/Whatever). Then there's the campaign genre, along with what type of and how many opponents. A generic Fantasy warrior with good armor & weapon and 15+ weapon skill should usually not be considered Overconfident in taking on a group of 3-4 "cannon fodder" creatures (giant rats, wolves, kobolds, or whatever else). Taking on an ogre or giant in single combat may be a different situation, depending on the campaign style and PC equipment/skills/stats. But trying to take on 3+ opponents, that are known to be skilled and well equipped, without backup is a definite sign of Overconfidence.

Staying behind to hold off a large group of pursuers may not be Overconfidence, it could be a deliberate self sacrifice to (hopefully) protect people that are important to the character. Overconfidence could easily make the character expect to survive the situation, but someone lacking Overconfidence could still try to take a rear guard position even if they don't expect to survive.
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Old 10-24-2019, 03:28 PM   #8
David Johnston2
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Disadvantage of the Week: Overconfidence

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Originally Posted by WingedKagouti View Post
Cursed alone is bad, but Weirdness Magnet specifies that the weird stuff that happens to you due to the disadvantage is non-lethal.
Cursed would change that since it lets the GM do anything it wants to the character. Weirdness Magnet would just change the flavour of the terrible things that happen.
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Old 10-24-2019, 04:04 PM   #9
WingedKagouti
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Disadvantage of the Week: Overconfidence

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Cursed would change that since it lets the GM do anything it wants to the character. Weirdness Magnet would just change the flavour of the terrible things that happen.
This isn't the proper thread for this discussion, but Cursed does not say exactly that. Cursed does not make other disadvantages do something they do not do naturally. While it lets the GM mess with the character, if another trait does something, Cursed does not automatically change the nature of what happens (beyond ensuring it isn't "good" for the character).

Cursed + Weirdness Magnet is no worse for a character than Cursed alone. If you consider Cursed + Weirdness Magnet a death sentence, Cursed alone is also a death sentence.
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Old 10-24-2019, 07:04 PM   #10
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Default Re: [Basic] Disadvantage of the Week: Overconfidence

I tend to put Overconfidence on my character sheets to remind me to take risks and be 'heroic'. Back in 3e when it was worth 10 points (which now means you have a control roll of 6-, which is pretty painful), it was a no-brainer, because back then I tended to play that way be default, so for me it was nearly free points.

As a GM, I've put it on a number of NPC sheets for friendly NPCs because the players tend to be over-cautious, and this gives a voice to the bolder options (which with luck the Impulsive PCs might pick up and run with before the cautious PCs/players slow everything down again).
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