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Old 09-05-2019, 02:34 PM   #1
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Cambridge, UK
Default [Basic] Disadvantage of the Week: Nocturnal

Nocturnal [-20] is an exotic physical disadvantage. During daytime, you are paralysed and comatose. Obviously, this is far more drastic than the biological term “nocturnal” would imply. This disadvantage seems to have appeared in GURPS Blood Types for 3e, and is clearly appropriate for some kinds of vampires.

You become lethargic as soon as twilight commences each morning. Once the sun has actually risen, you can do nothing until the sun has set. You presumably recover your full capabilities gradually during evening twilight. There’s a special +100% modifier for this disadvantage, which means you’re permanently incapacitated if sunlight actually falls on you – turned to stone, or something similar. Reversing this needs something specific and powerful, such as a magical spell or ritual.

This disadvantage isn’t much used in GURPS supplements. Banestorm: Abydos and Thaumatology have a variant, “No-Mana Paralysis”, and Discworld has a version for its trolls, while Fantasy trolls have the permanent version. Several Horror creatures can have it, and Madness Dossier has drugs that can convince a human they have this disadvantage. The Mass Combat modifier of the same name is quite different: units with it take night-time penalties in the day. Space offers photosynthetic animals that need to stay still, or nearly so, during the day, but Zombies are usually fine in daylight.

If you take any version of this disadvantage, try to resist the temptation to have Vulnerability (Sunlight), unless the GM will also let you have the points for Terminally Ill. Night Vision will be very useful, and you probably want the version from Fantasy that’s free, in exchange for being penalised in daylight.

I’ve never played the kinds of settings under GURPS that would see this used by PCs. Has it inconvenienced or amused in your games?
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Old 09-05-2019, 03:24 PM   #2
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Default Re: [Basic] Disadvantage of the Week: Nocturnal

I've always thought the +100% version was a little lethal. Yes, its -40 points, but we're talking about virtual death if you ever get a little sun on you. For comparison, weakness to sunlight at the highest level is 1d6 per minute of sunlight, and cost [-60], a walk in the park compared to nocturnal. Perhaps that observation is what has kept me from using nocturnal more.

Its certainly an appropriate disadvantage for a great many monsters, and even things that have made pacts with the powers of darkness. It also feels a lot less robust than some of the rest of gurps. Imagine what we could have done with a framework for conditional incapacitation based on the weakness chart.
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disadvantage of the week, nocturnal

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