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Old 12-17-2013, 11:18 AM   #1
vicky_molokh
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Default [SE] Nuances & lines between One-Use 1/5, Informal -50%, normal and Tenure [5] traits

Greetings, all!

By now, an assortment of books provides a spectrum of 'permanence' or 'stickiness' for social (and other) traits. There's the One Use Ever traits at 1/5 cost; there's the Informal -50% modifier that makes losing the trait simpler; then there's the normal, unmodified trait; and finally, for cases where the trait in question is linked to a specific job, there's Tenure to keep a hold of it with a better 'grip'.

However, I wonder about some nuances of those adjustments, and where the lines are drawn between them. Let's say the social trait in question is Legal Immunity.

For a One Use Ever trait, does that mean that the trait kicks in as soon as the PC commits (and is caught in) an act that is normally illegal, but covered by the Legal Immunity? Or does it mean that the PC may opt to get out of jail free when seems appropriate once?

Informal, -50%: just how likely it is that the trait would be revoked? Obviously a Legal Immunity that is revoked at the first ethically dubious act is useless, OTOH it's not clear how far it can be pushed? Tenure is an even more curious case here, since Tenure basically is a form of immunity to sudden revocation of a certain privilege (a job).

Normal trait: how hard is it to lose a normal social trait by default in the course of a campaign? E.g. G'Kar lost his Legal Immunity when Narn was conquered by the Centauri; that's essentially a loss of 20 points through no fault of G'Kar's.

Tenure + position that provides Rank / Immunity / etc.: my GM okayed this idea of 'cementing' a trait like that when I presented it, and I would 99% likely okay this combination in my campaigns too, unless there's something we overlooked. Did we?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 12-17-2013, 12:33 PM   #2
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Default Re: [SE] Nuances & lines between One-Use 1/5, Informal -50%, normal and Tenure [5] tr

One-use-ever Legal Immunity is a classic "get out of jail free" card. Use it whenever you like - a savvy player would only spend it when he's actually been caught at something.

Informal Legal Immunity is like... hehe. it's like what Neil Caffery has on White Collar (which I would say is separate from his FBI patron) - he's got his buddy agent Burke who gives a flimsy sort of official imprimatur to Neil's activities, but a constant theme of the show is how far Neil can push that immunity before someone less forgiving than Burke finds out and throws the proverbial book at him. By rights, Neil shouldn't have Legal Immunity at all - he's just a CI, not to mention an ex-con who's definitely at the top of several "likely suspects" lists - but he's covered by his friendly relationship with people who do have certain rights, and make sure his illegal activities never result in prosecution (or, at least, only result in the threat of prosecution, when the plot demands it). That'd be a reasonable example of Legal Immunity (Informal).

Legal Immunity + Tenure is for judge-for-life type folks who will never be targeted by law enforcement, either because there's no oversight at the character's level, or whatever else. Corrupt sheriffs of frontier towns who control a gang of vicious 'deputies' might have Legal Immunity + Tenure - there's no one to fire them, even if they abuse their power. They might have to deal with assassination attempts, but Tenure doesn't cover that.

I'd say that an "Informal" trait can be revoked (or be threatened with revocation) as a plot point whenever the GM feels like it - that limitation is licence for the GM to target the trait. Normal traits shouldn't be targeted except for a really good plot point - the crux or resolution of a whole campaign, maybe. Tenured traits should only be targeted if the player brings them into play him/herself: like Sig Gear, if you sell it, it's gone for good.
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Old 12-17-2013, 11:43 PM   #3
Peter Knutsen
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Default Re: [SE] Nuances & lines between One-Use 1/5, Informal -50%, normal and Tenure [5] tr

Quote:
Originally Posted by vicky_molokh View Post
For a One Use Ever trait, does that mean that the trait kicks in as soon as the PC commits (and is caught in) an act that is normally illegal, but covered by the Legal Immunity? Or does it mean that the PC may opt to get out of jail free when seems appropriate once?

Informal, -50%: just how likely it is that the trait would be revoked? Obviously a Legal Immunity that is revoked at the first ethically dubious act is useless, OTOH it's not clear how far it can be pushed? Tenure is an even more curious case here, since Tenure basically is a form of immunity to sudden revocation of a certain privilege (a job).
One way to answer that is to add more detail. Instead of having one Limitation, have four:

-40% Informal, Active Use. The character gets to decide whether to invoke the trait, when a situation comes up. If he doesn't, the trait has no effect but is retained for later use.

-50% Informal, Automatic Use, Reasonable. The trait is automatically used if a serious case comes up, but is not used in a minor case, e.g. if a character with Legal Immunity commits a minor crime. The trait has no effect, and is retained. The character can always choose to invoke the trait in a minor case, if he wants to, in which case it is lost.

-60% Informal, Atomatic Use, Not so Reasonable. If a minor case comes up, there's s 1/6 chance the trait is used, otherwise it has no effect. It is always used in a major case. Like above, the charater can always choose to invoke te trait.

-70% Informal, Automatic Use, UnReasonable. The trait is always spent the first time it comes up, even if it is a minor case.
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Old 12-17-2013, 11:54 PM   #4
Peter Knutsen
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Default Re: [SE] Nuances & lines between One-Use 1/5, Informal -50%, normal and Tenure [5] tr

Quote:
Originally Posted by vicky_molokh View Post
Normal trait: how hard is it to lose a normal social trait by default in the course of a campaign? E.g. G'Kar lost his Legal Immunity when Narn was conquered by the Centauri; that's essentially a loss of 20 points through no fault of G'Kar's.
Well, that's why I discern between intrinsic advantages and social advantages, in Sagatafl. Your character's social and material circumstances can change a lot more easily than his physical or intellectual capabilities. He might lose an arm, getting the One Arm disadvantage, but that'd require a lot of effort (and risk) from his enemies, compared if they just launch a massive smear campaign against him to have his Legal Immunity revoked.

Therefore social traits use a currency that is in effect cheaper, being easy to "pump up" during character creation, relative to the genetic advantage currency (the skill/experience currency is also easy to "pump up").

That can't be done in GURPS, which has a single currency with no tradition for non-linear exchange into sub-currencies, so the least bad approximation you can do is to say that social advantages (and to some extent also disadvantages) ought to generally be significantly cheaper than non-social advantages. That can work, but is likely to cause problems because as long as the character has them, social advantages are usually quite powerful. Also, GURPS' social subsystem appears to be hardwired to a ratio of 5 CP per +1 Reaction Roll bonus. I think that's a bogus thing to do, and simply don't have social advantages affect "Impression Rolls" in Sagatafl, at least never directly.
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Old 12-17-2013, 11:57 PM   #5
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Default Re: [SE] Nuances & lines between One-Use 1/5, Informal -50%, normal and Tenure [5] tr

I would say that Genisis breakdown and examples work well for me.
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