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Old 08-13-2020, 09:56 AM   #1
Shostak
 
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Default Getting More from Disadvantages

Disadvantages, found in The Fantasy Trip Companion, present a way for characters to start with higher stats than they otherwise could. But, as is pointed out in a separate thread on the main forum, the benefit from taking a disadvantage is quickly lost.

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Originally Posted by larsdangly View Post
Basically, you take on a lifetime quirk or disadvantage in exchange for getting to start play with 33-36 attribute points. Which sounds really helpful, except if you had been patient and lucky you would have gotten to that attribute total within a few adventures anyway, so pretty quickly your non-disadvantaged friends have caught up with you ... but you are still blind or have a peg leg or are a fall-down drunk or whatever.
A house rule allowing characters to increase their stats as though their stat total was lower by the value of their disadvantage (e.g. a 36-point character with a 2-point disadvantage paying for increased stats as though they were only a 34-point character) would increase the useful lifespan of the disadvantage.
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Old 08-13-2020, 12:15 PM   #2
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Default Re: Getting More from Disadvantages

That's certainly true (and might even be consistent with the intent of those old articles; they aren't very clear on that point). But given the constraints on stat increases in Legacy Edition, this would make high-value disadvantages almost required for any PC. That might be kind of fun, but would distort the playing field quite a bit and I suspect people would quickly tire of it.

This is related to one of the things that turned me away from GURPS and back to TFT: the integrated 'economy' of stats, skills, advantages and disadvantages in GURPS basically force you to take maximum quirks and disadvantages, and steer you towards choosing a subset of disadvantages that let you harvest the points without suffering substantial consequences. I greatly prefer the way ITL has always worked, where you have a fixed economy of stat points, and then your choices of those constrain your economy of talents, spells, etc. I.e., you can't 'trade' talent choices off against stats (not directly anyway). If you could, the same kind of gamesmanship would take hold in TFT.

One suggestion I might make is that you could introduce an element of randomness by having people roll on a table of disadvantages (and perhaps a similar set of advantages) to give you some random chance of starting play with these various unusual qualities. You might even give some rare chance of a super power (also in the Companion) if that is the kind of campaign you want to run! Then you could compensate or penalize the PC's starting stat total and/or rise through experience so that the range of character abilities doesn't explode. Or not; anyone who has played old-school Gamma World knows that wildly variable PC power is fine.
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Old 08-13-2020, 12:17 PM   #3
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Default Re: Getting More from Disadvantages

I'd rather have disadvantages give extra starting memory points.
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Old 08-13-2020, 12:27 PM   #4
larsdangly
 
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Default Re: Getting More from Disadvantages

That's a pretty good idea! We should certainly feel empowered to tinker with some dusty 40 year old house rules from a zine.
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Old 08-13-2020, 01:46 PM   #5
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Default Re: Getting More from Disadvantages

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Originally Posted by hcobb View Post
I'd rather have disadvantages give extra starting memory points.
Or, you could let the disadvantage allow you to buy talents that have stat prerequites above yours (so you might get Master Physicker or 7-hex Fire at a lower IQ).

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Originally Posted by larsdangly View Post
... GURPS basically force you to take maximum quirks and disadvantages, and steer you towards choosing a subset of disadvantages that let you harvest the points without suffering substantial consequences.
If the GM (TFT or GURPS) isn't making your disadvantages have an impact on your character, they aren't doing their job. And yeah, then the disadvantages are just exploiting the system.

Quote:
Originally Posted by larsdangly View Post
One suggestion I might make is that you could introduce an element of randomness by having people roll on a table of disadvantages (and perhaps a similar set of advantages) to give you some random chance of starting play with these various unusual qualities.
If your group likes that kind of randomness, why not? But the lack of randomness is one of the major reasons I gravitated away from D&D and toward TFT.

Last edited by Shostak; 08-13-2020 at 04:59 PM.
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Old 08-13-2020, 02:48 PM   #6
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Default Re: Getting More from Disadvantages

Quote:
Basically, you take on a lifetime quirk or disadvantage in exchange for getting to start play with 33-36 attribute points. Which sounds really helpful, except if you had been patient and lucky you would have gotten to that attribute total within a few adventures anyway, so pretty quickly your non-disadvantaged friends have caught up with you ... but you are still blind or have a peg leg or are a fall-down drunk or whatever.
Wouldn't you still be ahead by the amount of the disadvantage? This would be even more apparent in later stages when the XP amounts for level increase heavily.
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Old 08-13-2020, 03:25 PM   #7
larsdangly
 
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Default Re: Getting More from Disadvantages

The point is that if your XP gains follow RAW (you pay based on your stat total at that moment) then a character with a disadvantage begins closer to the 40-stat-point 'wall' than a character without a disadvantage, and they effectively skip those first few points that are very cheap. The only way the disadvantaged character stays ahead of the pack is if you don't count their initial stat point bonus when you calculate XP requirements for advancement.

However you think this should work, one great thing about hcobb's suggestion is that it just takes the whole problem off the table. You get a flat pay-out, worth 500 xp per point of disadvantage, and that's the end of it. What I like about this is that packages disadvantages as sort of like 'anti-talents'. Which is not so different from their role in the game.

Last edited by larsdangly; 08-13-2020 at 03:35 PM.
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Old 08-14-2020, 09:58 AM   #8
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Default Re: Getting More from Disadvantages

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shostak View Post
except if you had been patient and lucky you would have gotten to that attribute total within a few adventures anyway,
if you had been patient and lucky.

The disadvantages make that "if" a certainty.

Short term advantage against long term max potential... seem legit for me.

That said, Hcobb suggestion is a nice alternative, I quite like it.
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Old 08-14-2020, 10:33 AM   #9
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Default Re: Getting More from Disadvantages

Yes, I've already inked it into my table's house rules document!
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Old 08-14-2020, 11:36 AM   #10
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Default Re: Getting More from Disadvantages

What I would like are advantages that you can only get by paying with disadvantages at start, at least for social status.

For example one character really wanted to start with a warhorse, and he mostly has one. (Along with a formidable adversary who is getting more ammo all the time.)
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