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Old 05-18-2019, 07:31 PM   #1
AlexanderHowl
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Default The Utility of High Combat Skills

So, I was wondering about people's experiences with high combat skills (20+) and whether anyone thought that they were worth the high investment? For example, what is the utility of having a DX 14 character having Spear-24 in a TL3 fantasy campaign or a DX 14 character having Guns (Pistol)-24 in a TL5 steampunk campaign? Is it worthwhile to bring a combat skill to DX+10 if you have a combat character and have the points?
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Old 05-18-2019, 07:38 PM   #2
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Default Re: The Utility of High Combat Skills

(Saying as a collector, not a player...)

There's the rule of 16, IIRC, which says that any skill higher than 16 is treated as 16.

So those high skill levels are mostly just used to offset penalties until the effective skill is back down to 16.

I think I've read that the general consensus was that those excess points would be better spent in making a more well-rounded combat skill set...?
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Old 05-18-2019, 07:52 PM   #3
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Default Re: The Utility of High Combat Skills

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Originally Posted by Pragmatic View Post
There's the rule of 16, IIRC, which says that any skill higher than 16 is treated as 16.
That's only for quick contests to resist supernatural attacks.

I've found high levels of combat skills to be worthwhile in games where combat is important, and I've found my characters lacking those skills to be fatal fairly often, though that has a lot to do with GMs having enemies with high combat skills appear against my characters with low combat skills, or the GM putting me in inclement conditions where what skill I do have is negated. Low light conditions being the huge killer. I've had characters with skill levels of 11 or 12 get absolutely destroyed by low light conditions. Low light conditions are generally fatal for non-Musashi characters in my experience, at least using the RAW lighting penalties.
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Old 05-18-2019, 07:55 PM   #4
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Default Re: The Utility of High Combat Skills

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Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl View Post
So, I was wondering about people's experiences with high combat skills (20+) and whether anyone thought that they were worth the high investment?
Depends how much combat occurs in the game. Raising skill tends to be one of the most cost effective ways of increasing fighting power.
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Old 05-18-2019, 07:58 PM   #5
David Johnston2
 
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Default Re: The Utility of High Combat Skills

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pragmatic View Post
(Saying as a collector, not a player...)

There's the rule of 16, IIRC, which says that any skill higher than 16 is treated as 16.
?
The rule of 16 isn't relevant. But it is true that you don't get much joy out of combat skills in excess of 20 if there are no modifiers on your roll. But the good news is, you can always do things that will add modifiers to your roll and will make your attacks far more effective.
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Old 05-18-2019, 08:01 PM   #6
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Default Re: The Utility of High Combat Skills

The rule of 16 only applies to resisted abilities, and limits the attacking score in the quick contest to the higher of 16 or the defender's score.

Skill 24 on a melee weapon is terrifiyingly effective in gurps. Against tough foes you can hit chinks 90% of the time and eyes 75%. You can stick a -5 penalty to defenses on foes who everyone else struggles to hit. Against mooks you can (with the right options turned on) attack twice in a turn, and more if you have weapon master. And you have parry 16 (you have combat reflexes, right?), which lets you not instantly get hit by other folks with skill 24.

Supporting your weapon with ST to do damage and weapon master to is important, and I usually see players grab those before going past skill 20. I've had a couple of players who got melee skill levels in that range: two of the three times it happened we were playing monster hunters. The Warriors utterly wasted anything in the books that wasn't a dedicated boss monster, and showed up a few of those as well. These were 500 point characters, but the skill was the flashiest and most overwhelming part of the build.
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Old 05-18-2019, 09:00 PM   #7
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Default Re: The Utility of High Combat Skills

High combat skill level has always been useful for hitting vital targets, or small foes (and for hitting distant targets in the case of ranged attack skills). With added benefits like great Feint and Parry.

But high skill levels really came into their own in 4e, with options for doing more stuff with extra skill levels. So fighters in 4e can not only hit small or distant targets, but also quickly bypass defenses or make multiple attacks. Or with high enough skill, bypass defenses to strike multiple foes in small vital targets. While still maintaining decent multiple parries.

Buying many combat skills at high levels becomes really expensive (compared to the cost of DX). But having one combat skill at super-high level is amazingly effective. As it should be!
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Old 05-18-2019, 09:08 PM   #8
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Default Re: The Utility of High Combat Skills

Personally, I like to combine high skill levels with Ambidexterity, High Pain Threshold, and Night Vision 5.
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Old 05-18-2019, 10:30 PM   #9
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Default Re: The Utility of High Combat Skills

Quote:
Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl View Post
Personally, I like to combine high skill levels with Ambidexterity, High Pain Threshold, and Night Vision 5.
Normally points are in infinite supply to the player, you likely should have spoke to that in your OP. This response seems to indicate that there are an incredible amount of points to be spent.

Yes, in a game where hundreds of points will be spent in combat related attributes and skills alone ... it is incredibly effective.

With that said, spending more than half your points on combat traits is likely poor design and over three quarters or more is flawed; unless your character and the game are warriors with no other purpose in a specialized setting.

The character you are designing is legendary in its gun raw ability. Perhaps never seen on earth. And with speced gear (though I cannot imagine affording wealth, allies, or patron) that could rise even higher.

My experience with people that build incredibly lopsided characters is that they are unhappy. They are unhappy their only tool is a hammer and frustrated that they were so overkill with it. Until their character is retooled they are looking for anything that their DX provide for them in default.

In Aliens the "just grunts" Pvt Hudson and Pvt. Vasquez could fabricate, repair, weld, operate a variety of devices, read schematics, medic skills, work with explosives, and all their space marine specific training. If all they could do is shoot at some level exceeding Legolas, they would have been very little use to the team. As the game is rigged against them, its survival against overwhelming foes on a timeline.
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Old 05-18-2019, 10:49 PM   #10
AlexanderHowl
 
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Default Re: The Utility of High Combat Skills

My games tend to begin at 200-400 CP, so high attributes and skills are par for the course. A 300 CP character can easily start with ST 12, DX 14, IQ 12, HT 14, Ambidexterity, Combat Reflexes, High Pain Threshold, Night Vision 5, Very Fit, and 40 CP in a combat skill (total cost is 270 CP). Of that, only 40 CP is combat exclusive, as every other trait is useful in multiple contexts.
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