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Old 06-13-2017, 03:53 PM   #1
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Default Setting in-Campaign PC attributes & skills improvement curves

Hey there, how's it going?

I would like to know if there's some way to set a "learning curve" for the PCs when learning or improving a skills/attributes.

Basically, I think it should be more expensive paying for short-sword 15 than paying for short-sword 12; it should be more expensive as well, paying for ST 20, than paying for ST 10.

Any thoughts?

Since my group cannot run many RPG-nights, for this new campaign, I want to award them with more points. But also, I want to prevent them from scaling-up the difficulty "because they will improve fast".

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Old 06-18-2017, 10:38 AM   #2
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Default Re: Setting in-Campaign PC attributes & skills improvement curves

I have not used such things, but as an alternative: allow only use of limited number of points in a given thing.

I give out 1 point/hour of play so 8-9 for our typical session, but each skill can only get a point if it was used under stress and maximally one point/skill. Also only one attribute can be raised and one point towards one advantage.

The initial fast raise of 1-2-4 points helps the initial rush, but the slow attibute raise and the 4 points/skill limits things fairly nicely in my game.
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Old 06-19-2017, 12:24 AM   #3
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Default Re: Setting in-Campaign PC attributes & skills improvement curves

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Originally Posted by Hide View Post
Basically, I think it should be more expensive paying for short-sword 15 than paying for short-sword 12; it should be more expensive as well, paying for ST 20, than paying for ST 10.
I don't understand the question. It does cost more to buy Shortsword-15 than Shortsword-12, and cost more to buy ST 20 than ST 10 (which has no cost).

Do you mean a rising cost per level – i.e., higher cost to go from Shortsword-14 to Shortsword-15, than to go from Shortsword-11 to Shortsword-12?
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Old 08-10-2017, 12:06 PM   #4
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Default Re: Setting in-Campaign PC attributes & skills improvement curves

Hello,
Thanks for your reply!

Yes, I meant that the better you become, the less room for improvement (and therefore, the harder it gets to advance).

For example it should be harder to rise from sword 14 to sword 15.

What do you think?
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Old 08-10-2017, 01:17 PM   #5
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Default Re: Setting in-Campaign PC attributes & skills improvement curves

two points:

1: you're solidly in house rule territory here. but its simplicity itself to come up with a different pricing scheme: say 1,3,6,10,15 rather than 1,2,4,8,12. It won't be officially balanced, but nothing built that way will. Be aware of talents and attributes if you do this.

2: in many respects you do get diminishing returns, because the fat part of the bell curve is centered at 10, and going from 10 to 11 increases your odds by 12% while going from 14 to 15 increases the odds by about 2%. Not in all respects though.
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Old 08-10-2017, 02:02 PM   #6
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Default Re: Setting in-Campaign PC attributes & skills improvement curves

First, I would recommend taking what ericthered said in the post above to heart.

Second, the option of increasing he cost of especially high levels of attributes has some official support. Kromm himself says in Pyramid #3/83: Alternate GURPS IV, p. 16: "The GM may permit extraordinary people to buy one level over the usual limit if they take Unusual Background (Peak Attribute), which costs as much as a single level of that attribute…". What is considered a high level or what limit to set for attributes is up to you.

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Old 08-10-2017, 03:21 PM   #7
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Default Re: Setting in-Campaign PC attributes & skills improvement curves

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Second, the option of increasing he cost of especially high levels of attributes has some official support. Kromm himself says in Pyramid #3/83: Alternate GURPS IV, p. 16: "The GM may permit extraordinary people to buy one level over the usual limit if they take Unusual Background (Peak Attribute), which costs as much as a single level of that attribute…". What is considered a high level or what limit to set for attributes is up to you.
Which depending on how many skills they've got and how stupidly expensive raising those skills has become, can still be worth it.
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Old 08-10-2017, 06:44 PM   #8
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Default Re: Setting in-Campaign PC attributes & skills improvement curves

I have mixed feelings about the idea- the part of me seeking to create worlds where "best-of-the-best" level skills are correspondingly rare is all in favor; the part of me that wants players to get fair value for their character points is more conflicted.

For what it's worth, T-Bone posted an alternate pricing scheme a while back with exponentially increasing skill and attribute costs, and some interesting things this pricing scheme lets one do with defaults and styles:

http://www.gamesdiner.com/escargo
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Old 08-11-2017, 11:10 PM   #9
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Default Re: Setting in-Campaign PC attributes & skills improvement curves

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Originally Posted by ravenfish View Post
For what it's worth, T-Bone posted an alternate pricing scheme a while back with exponentially increasing skill and attribute costs, and some interesting things this pricing scheme lets one do with defaults and styles:
http://www.gamesdiner.com/escargo
10 years back! Thanks for the recall.

I think the system I play with in that article really does allow interesting things – namely, handling skills, techniques, required specializations, optional specializations, wildcard skills, and even combinations of skills in a style under a single mechanic. With the added benefits of more flexible skill levels and better handling of defaults.

That said, as I note in the article, it's experimental stuff and I don't use it. The reason isn't because of any problems in its mechanics or effects, but a deeper-level matter, the topic of this thread: I don't entirely agree that cost per level of skill should rise as the level increases.

That's because I think of character points as a rough measure of utility, and I'm divided on how utility changes with each added level of a trait. I can make a good argument that utility increases with each added level, and so cost per level should increase too. But I can also make a good argument that utility decreases with each added level, and so cost per level should as well.

You can read these (thankfully brief!) arguments here:
http://www.gamesdiner.com/game_desig...st_scale_stats

It's not just about skills; IMO, those arguments apply to per-level utility and cost of attributes, DR, levels of a power... for pretty much any leveled trait, I can see merit in both opposing arguments.

So in the end, I make the assumption that added utility per level is flat-ish, and I settle for the flat per-level costs that GURPS uses for most things (skills, too, once they reach 4 pts/level). It's a nice compromise between the two opposing arguments. And it's easy, especially where templates are concerned!

(Now, if only GURPS' flat per-level skill cost handled defaults more neatly...)

Going back to the original post, though, here's one more important thing to add: All the above is a discussion of utility, but utility isn't the only consideration! If you're one of the GMs who tracks time to learn a skill, you could have time follow a completely different track from utility and cost. Specifically, you could keep skill costs just as they are in GURPS, while making each added level increasingly "expensive" in terms of time. (The good ol' Size & Speed/Range Table might offer just what's needed there.)

Maybe that change alone would deliver what the OP wants, without making any changes to character costs?
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Old 08-12-2017, 08:06 AM   #10
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Default Re: Setting in-Campaign PC attributes & skills improvement curves

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Originally Posted by Hide View Post
For example it should be harder to rise from sword 14 to sword 15.
"Sword 14" means nothing about how much someone has learned.
Someone's default could be 11, while someone else's default is 4. Both are unskilled, and should benefit from basic learning.
I suppose if you're looking from a real world perspective, people who have natural grace and talent (default 11) should have an easier time improving skills than those who are dim or clumsy (default 2-3)
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