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Old 02-05-2018, 04:44 PM   #11
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#51): Extra Arms

I've used Extra Arms fairly often and even built a Third edition martial artist with what now might be foot manipulators,
Here is a race I recently converted from Third to Fourth for my primary fantasy setting.
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Old 02-06-2018, 07:03 AM   #12
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#51): Extra Arms

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Originally Posted by ericthered View Post
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One of the most expensive builds known to gurps is the tentacle build. You know, building an octopus with 8 arms. It costs a whopping 100 points to by 6 arms and then upgrade all 8 to extra flexible! But is that really what an octupus should buy? With gurps its important to buy the effects rather than the name. What does extra arm actually buy you?

Well, it gets you a 'hand' and a +2 to grappling. 'Hands' are measured comparative to human hands. So ask yourself, can an octopus use all eight arms as effectively as an human with eight arms? can it play two key boards at once while pulling organ stops, turning the page, drinking coffee, and waving hello? No. And its not just the effects of ham fisted. Its the fact that humans have fingers and opposable thumbs. To some aliens, we have 10 'arms' very short ones on the end of a stump. a LOT of multi-limbed aliens can't use one limb for each hand -- to do what a human does, they need to double up or use some other leverage trick.

Its worth noting extra flexible is often paired with short. Realistic hydrostatic limbs don't have the leverage that a human arm does. Take an elephant for example. Yes, the trunk is huge and fairly long, but so is the animal, and the trunk is used fairly close to the body, especially when its full strength is used. It doesn't have much swinging strength either. Octopi are the same way.

So the 100 points we spent for 6 extra arms (flexible) and 2 flexible arms don't describe an octopus. They describe a grappling demon with intricate control and digits on the tentacles and immense arm strength. Our actual octopus as two extra arms (flexible, short) and two flexible, short arms for a total of 20 points. And that's just one way to do it. A case can be made for a single arm. Remember, you get what you pay for...
I'm not sure all of the characterisations are fair. First, an elephant being unable to apply all of its strength to the trunk is already accounted for with the trunk having the Weak limitation.
Second, octopodes do seem to grapple way above their weight class, taking on sharks which are larger than themselves, and reportedly sometimes even tearing stuff out of humans' hands. And yes, octopodes, for all we know, can multitask their limbs the way you describe (IIRC they have 60% of their motor decentralised to enable such arm autonomy).

Extra Arms on their own seem to be a pretty decent deal; the problem is that applying Extra-Flexible to all of them hits diminishing returns very fast, but the total cost of the enhancement scales linearly with arm count. It's a situation where one part of the package has diminishing returns and another doesn't. Having Extra-Flexible cost [5] for one arm and [10] for all arms (like in 3e) would be fairer, IMHO; I'm not sure why the change was made.
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Old 02-06-2018, 07:07 AM   #13
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#51): Extra Arms

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Originally Posted by Anthony View Post
Extra arms is one of those advantages that really seems like it should have nonlinear cost. It might also work better if ST was split between your arms instead of being separate per arm (this would permit making any number of limbs quite cheap).
That seems to result in fiddly outcomes, such as doing less damage if you buy Extra Arms. This gets even fiddlier if you have Switchable Extra Arms (whether through Improvised Morph or just buying EAs with Switchable).
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Old 02-06-2018, 10:03 AM   #14
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#51): Extra Arms

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Originally Posted by vicky_molokh View Post
I'm not sure all of the characterisations are fair. First, an elephant being unable to apply all of its strength to the trunk is already accounted for with the trunk having the Weak limitation.
Second, octopodes do seem to grapple way above their weight class, taking on sharks which are larger than themselves, and reportedly sometimes even tearing stuff out of humans' hands. And yes, octopodes, for all we know, can multitask their limbs the way you describe (IIRC they have 60% of their motor decentralised to enable such arm autonomy).

Extra Arms on their own seem to be a pretty decent deal; the problem is that applying Extra-Flexible to all of them hits diminishing returns very fast, but the total cost of the enhancement scales linearly with arm count. It's a situation where one part of the package has diminishing returns and another doesn't. Having Extra-Flexible cost [5] for one arm and [10] for all arms (like in 3e) would be fairer, IMHO; I'm not sure why the change was made.
I suppose hydrostats act like they have EITHER weak or short. they can pick up a small object at reasonable distance, or they can manipulate a heavy object at a close distance.

I agree that octopodes grapple above their weight class. Just not at +12, which is what 6 extra arms gets you. Above I eyeballed it at +4. It should also be noted most of the time octopodes are up against poor grapplers.

Octopodes still can't do with one arm what you can do with one arm. They can grab and move things around, but they don't have fingers. there is some complexity to the grip of each tentacle, but nothing like what a hand has. If you made me choose between 8 vertebrate limbs and 8 tentacles, I'm going to choose the vertebrate structure for everything but prying open clams and retrieving objects from cracks.

I do agree that the eight limbs of an octopus are better at manipulating objects that my two arms and ten fingers. I just don't think they're as good as eight arms and eighty fingers.
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Old 02-06-2018, 10:46 AM   #15
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#51): Extra Arms

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Originally Posted by vicky_molokh View Post
That seems to result in fiddly outcomes, such as doing less damage if you buy Extra Arms.
You get full damage if you use half your arms, no matter how many arms you have.
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Old 02-06-2018, 10:49 AM   #16
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#51): Extra Arms

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Originally Posted by ericthered View Post
I suppose hydrostats act like they have EITHER weak or short. they can pick up a small object at reasonable distance, or they can manipulate a heavy object at a close distance.
Perhaps to some extent. Then again, fully-extended endoskeletal hands have a harder time lifting a weight than doing the same close to the body. Of course, between Weak (elephant) and Invertebrate (octopus), lifting weights is harder for a given ST.

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I agree that octopodes grapple above their weight class. Just not at +12, which is what 6 extra arms gets you. Above I eyeballed it at +4. It should also be noted most of the time octopodes are up against poor grapplers.
Hmm. I think it's something on which either of us can only eyeball and guess. I think more than a +4 is warranted, especially for the DX roll to land a meaningful grappling hit, especially against higher-SM targets. With the ST rolls, it's trickier because arms provide a linear bonus regardless of original ST (but doing it otherwise leads to needing a quadratic function to calculate the bonus based on available ST and number of free hands, which is exactly the sort of thing which gave GURPS its infamy for being overengineered).

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Octopodes still can't do with one arm what you can do with one arm. They can grab and move things around, but they don't have fingers. there is some complexity to the grip of each tentacle, but nothing like what a hand has. If you made me choose between 8 vertebrate limbs and 8 tentacles, I'm going to choose the vertebrate structure for everything but prying open clams and retrieving objects from cracks.
It seems to be a two-way street: I can't pass a ball all the way from the tip of a finger to the shoulder without letting go; I can't even do that with the whole arm; yet octopodes have been seen doing that with a single tentacle. Singular tentacles are probably worse for things like typing, but I'm not sure they'd be any worse for e.g. writing with a pen. Overall, many exceptions are likely to be below GURPS' resolution.
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Old 02-06-2018, 10:52 AM   #17
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#51): Extra Arms

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Originally Posted by Anthony View Post
You get full damage if you use half your arms, no matter how many arms you have.
That seems to defeat one of the more common usages for extra arms in combat:
"I want to pick up a shield, a bow and a torch without dropping my zweihander and without needing to recalculate DPS".
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Old 02-06-2018, 11:10 AM   #18
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#51): Extra Arms

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That seems to defeat one of the more common usages for extra arms in combat:
True, but it also eliminates an entire class of problems related to grappling and lifting.
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Old 02-06-2018, 11:32 AM   #19
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#51): Extra Arms

Extra Arms base cost is probably fine for the base cost.
Its when you start stacking modifiers like Extra-Flexible, Long and Short that I feel there is a problem.
Extra-Flexible +50%, or 5 points per arm. counters positioning issues.
Long +100%, or 10 points per arm. +1 per die for Swing damage and extra reach. Compare to Long on Extra Legs where it is not per leg but by an increasing number of them. Also compare to simply buying up ST which would apply to them all.
Extra Legs are 5, 10 and 15 points.

So how about taking a page from Extra Legs
Extra Arms cost 10 for 3; 20 for 4; 30 for 5 or 6; 40 for 7 or more. This takes into account the diminishing returns you get for a lot of extra arms.
Change the Grappling bonus to +2;+4; +6, +8 rather than +2 per arm.
And consider it a general and situational bonus for things like Climbing where the GM feels they would help.
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Old 02-06-2018, 04:12 PM   #20
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#51): Extra Arms

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Originally Posted by Refplace View Post
Extra Arms base cost is probably fine for the base cost.
Its when you start stacking modifiers like Extra-Flexible, Long and Short that I feel there is a problem.
Extra-Flexible +50%, or 5 points per arm. counters positioning issues.
Long +100%, or 10 points per arm. +1 per die for Swing damage and extra reach. Compare to Long on Extra Legs where it is not per leg but by an increasing number of them. Also compare to simply buying up ST which would apply to them all.
Extra Legs are 5, 10 and 15 points.

So how about taking a page from Extra Legs
Extra Arms cost 10 for 3; 20 for 4; 30 for 5 or 6; 40 for 7 or more. This takes into account the diminishing returns you get for a lot of extra arms.
Change the Grappling bonus to +2;+4; +6, +8 rather than +2 per arm.
And consider it a general and situational bonus for things like Climbing where the GM feels they would help.
Indeed, a large part of Long can be circumvented by taking Stretching . . . and just stretching your arms at the campaign start and keeping them that way. Sure, you don't get the damage bonus, but you do get reach. And at modest ST levels, you can get Striking ST for a decent damage bonus on all arms.

Though one thing to keep in mind about using the Extra Legs path: each Extra Arm allows using one Extra Attack without having to buy Multistrike, and unlike legs, arms can wield (force-multiplying) weapons.
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