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Old 09-19-2014, 10:35 AM   #1
vicky_molokh
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Default Game mechanics of luck (lowercase) passively affecting a character?

Greetings, all!

Has anyone seen a convenient mechanic for a character having above- or below-average luck thus with a subtle but constant and passive effect on the life of said character? Specifically:

Why typical traits won't do:
Standard GURPS Luck provides one 'big' and metagame-active influence once per hour, in the form of a reroll that tends to turn a critical failure into a rather average-ish roll (on average). Standard Serendipity gives on 'big' lucky coincidence every session.

Sorts of traits that would do, but are too specific:
Gizmo and Doodad seem to provide a small-ish benefit, but they're still extremely specific and all-or-nothing.
Card Sharp (which helps guess enemy cards in cardgames) Loaded Dice (in games of pure chance) and Misfire Master (changing Malf) seem like the right spirit for how such luck should work, but once again, they're extremely specific to those narrow areas.

The sort of effects that seems to fit, but is not exactly a trait:
Path of Chance. The Path's manipulation of probability, increasing or decreasing the probability of an event occurring (depending on whether it is good or bad), or even increasing the near-zero probability of a grossly improbable event occurring to a level that would make it reasonably possible within the timeline (this, of course, requires at least three levels of above-average luck).

Other stuff that is thematically appropriate:
Modifying critical success/failure chances, modifying all 'pure chance' stuff like coin flips, roulette, quantum RNGs, loot tables, chances to meet a given NPC in a crowd etc.

Thoughts?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 09-19-2014, 10:54 AM   #2
Varyon
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Default Re: Game mechanics of luck (lowercase) passively affecting a character?

Destiny Points and Impulse Buys are appropriate. For a character with Destiny (Lucky), I'd say it would be appropriate to allow incidental but unimportant lucky things to happen fairly commonly to the character - he tends to get inside shelter before the rain starts up, gets a skilled and friendly taxi driver rather rapidly when hailing a cab, and so forth. When it actually matters to the story - the MacGuffin he's carrying is sensitive to moisture, he needs to get to the airport quickly to stop a terrorist plot, and so forth - he'll actually need to burn his Destiny points.
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Old 09-19-2014, 10:56 AM   #3
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Default Re: Game mechanics of luck (lowercase) passively affecting a character?

The one that I like is "roll four dice, choose the best three." The improvement in results is fairly modest, something like 1.5 points more favorable. Or less favorable, but I think that might require the dice to be rolled in the GM's view.

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Old 09-19-2014, 11:12 AM   #4
Varyon
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Default Re: Game mechanics of luck (lowercase) passively affecting a character?

Quote:
Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
The one that I like is "roll four dice, choose the best three." The improvement in results is fairly modest, something like 1.5 points more favorable. Or less favorable, but I think that might require the dice to be rolled in the GM's view.

Bill Stoddard
I like that. You end up with something like this. It's kind of hard to determine a fair price for this, however - it's comparable to a +/-1.5 or so to every roll ever. If it's an option for Impulse Buys, I'd say it might be fair to have every use of it, provided you have to declare the use before rolling, use up between 1/5 and 1/4 (0.2 and 0.25) of a Destiny Point or whatever (a Destiny Point is arguably worth around +/-5 to any one roll after the fact). If you have this as the only option for Destiny (Lucky), then that trait gives you an easy 1 "Luck Point" (good for turning 1 roll into "4d6, discard lowest/highest") per session for every [1] invested in it.
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Old 09-19-2014, 11:30 AM   #5
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Default Re: Game mechanics of luck (lowercase) passively affecting a character?

Serendipity is the best way to have luck as a not-controlling-rolls-mechanic.
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Old 09-19-2014, 12:17 PM   #6
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Default Re: Game mechanics of luck (lowercase) passively affecting a character?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
Destiny Points and Impulse Buys are appropriate. For a character with Destiny (Lucky), I'd say it would be appropriate to allow incidental but unimportant lucky things to happen fairly commonly to the character - he tends to get inside shelter before the rain starts up, gets a skilled and friendly taxi driver rather rapidly when hailing a cab, and so forth. When it actually matters to the story - the MacGuffin he's carrying is sensitive to moisture, he needs to get to the airport quickly to stop a terrorist plot, and so forth - he'll actually need to burn his Destiny points.
Quote:
Originally Posted by gilbertocarlos View Post
Serendipity is the best way to have luck as a not-controlling-rolls-mechanic.
Impulse Buys, Destiny Points and Serendipity are exactly the opposite of what I'm looking for:

Spent points and spent uses of Serendipity provide:
  • A finite regenerating resource to be managed by either the player or the GM.
  • Guaranteed events that
  • happen with a very specific 'maximum frequency' and
  • have no effect on the probability of criticals and
  • no effect on the probability of a multitude of bad or good events in a given session.

What I'm looking for is something that will:
  • Be completely passive, not being under the direct control of the player nor GM.
    For an example, see how Fit works: it provides an increase in survivability and endurance completely passively; nobody says 'oh, I need to activate Fit!' to become better at running long distances this session.
  • Will have a more subtle contribution to luck-related events, such as a persistent improvement of criticals by some margin (not necessary on a 1:1 basis!).
  • Will make improbable lucky events more probable, and probable unlucky events less probable, but by affecting their chances of occurring, as opposed to an all-or-nothing 'yes will happen' or the like.
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Old 09-19-2014, 12:20 PM   #7
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Default Re: Game mechanics of luck (lowercase) passively affecting a character?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
I like that. You end up with something like this. It's kind of hard to determine a fair price for this, however - it's comparable to a +/-1.5 or so to every roll ever. If it's an option for Impulse Buys, I'd say it might be fair to have every use of it, provided you have to declare the use before rolling, use up between 1/5 and 1/4 (0.2 and 0.25) of a Destiny Point or whatever (a Destiny Point is arguably worth around +/-5 to any one roll after the fact). If you have this as the only option for Destiny (Lucky), then that trait gives you an easy 1 "Luck Point" (good for turning 1 roll into "4d6, discard lowest/highest") per session for every [1] invested in it.
Buying up your DX, IQ, and HT by +1 would cost 50 points (you get Per and Will for free). This isn't quite that good, as it doesn't benefit your Basic Speed (5 points worth of each of DX and HT) or raise your FP (3 points worth of HT). That's something like a net 37 points of benefit. x1.5 is 55 points. I might just round it down to 50 points, or up to 60 (it also benefits your Dodge, which ought to count double).

Bill Stoddard
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Old 09-19-2014, 12:30 PM   #8
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Default Re: Game mechanics of luck (lowercase) passively affecting a character?

Talents increase effective skill but also provide a reaction bonus to people who can gauge masterful work. Perhaps something like a talent but also includes a negative reaction modifier for people who value skill (and positive for people who value luck)?
Alternatively, there's Visualization with sufficient levels of reduced time to make its effects constant (but you have to keep making IQ rolls and thinking about how to succeed). Add some enhancements to remove the roll and requirement for thought?
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Old 09-19-2014, 12:44 PM   #9
Varyon
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Default Re: Game mechanics of luck (lowercase) passively affecting a character?

Quote:
Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
Buying up your DX, IQ, and HT by +1 would cost 50 points (you get Per and Will for free). This isn't quite that good, as it doesn't benefit your Basic Speed (5 points worth of each of DX and HT) or raise your FP (3 points worth of HT). That's something like a net 37 points of benefit. x1.5 is 55 points. I might just round it down to 50 points, or up to 60 (it also benefits your Dodge, which ought to count double).

Bill Stoddard
That's probably about right, and sounds like it would get what OP is looking for. I'd call it [60] and have it also benefit "pure chance" bits - the character would get to choose which 3 of the 4d "count" when rolling on Critical Hit or Random Hit Location tables, coin flips and the like would take the closest probability of an event the character would benefit from on 3d and try to roll that or under normally - with this trait, that would be on 4d, taking the best 3. It would only apply to their own actions or actions taken by a third party (like the coin flip) - a +50% modifier might make it also apply to enemy actions taken against the character (but probably only to the enemy actions or the character's response - no rolling 4d on your Dodge after making your foe roll 4d on his attack, you have to choose one or the other, but at least this helps you against sneak attacks and the like).
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Old 09-19-2014, 12:52 PM   #10
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Default Re: Game mechanics of luck (lowercase) passively affecting a character?

What you want is something that changes criticals, unfornutely, criticals are already too biased in GURPS, since skills of 16+ are common, most rolls have 10% chance of success, only .5% chance of failure. Also, because combat criticals are very powerful, it would be very unbalanced indeed.

What you can have is a perk, allowing criticals on a 7, but making 16+ a critical failure.
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