Steve Jackson Games - Site Navigation
Home General Info Follow Us Search Illuminator Store Forums What's New Other Games Ogre GURPS Munchkin Our Games: Home

Go Back   Steve Jackson Games Forums > Roleplaying > Roleplaying in General

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 02-08-2018, 07:56 PM   #1
Johnny1A.2
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Default Surprising unbalance....

I've asked about this sort of thing before, but it's a subject that always interests me. For GMs, I'm curious, what is the most harmless-seeming, or silly-seeming, PC power, item, skill, background, whatever, that quickly turned your entire campaign or game world upside down?

Not superpowers out of scale with the game or too many levels of multimillionaire, but something that seemed totally innocuous until it blew up the game?
__________________
HMS Overflow-For conversations off topic here.
Johnny1A.2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-08-2018, 08:08 PM   #2
thorr-kan
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Default Re: Surprising unbalance....

My player's DnD 2ED Al-Qadim Priest of Kor (god of wisdom) with a mediocre Charisma who bought the Religion and Debate nonweapon proficiencies.

When he decides to evangelize, his dice get red hot and he get super-eloquent. He has inadvertently begun building a following for Kor among the dao of the elemental plane of earth.

It's freakin' *awesome.*
thorr-kan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-09-2018, 08:02 AM   #3
RyanW
 
RyanW's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Southeast NC
Default Re: Surprising unbalance....

Had a character in a recent one-shot who was well on his way to unionizing the entire Star Wars universe by the end of it.
__________________
RyanW
The goal of a mentor should be to run out of answers before the pupil runs out of questions
Check out my GURPS (et al) wiki, Sweetcandle. Latest addition: Avatar style bending in Fate Core
RyanW is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-09-2018, 02:40 PM   #4
mlangsdorf
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Austin, TX
Default Re: Surprising unbalance....

One of the PCs in my Fantasy game is a blacksmith Metal Control (Cosmetic), which she uses to make translucent, super-high DR visors for the PCs' armor.

It's not hugely unbalancing, but when everyone is cranking around in DR 12 armor except for their DR 5 eyeslits and then suddenly the PCs don't have eyeslits at all, it's a little weird. Especially since the PCs are supposed to be relative novices at magic and the Evil Magic Empire hasn't thought of this trick.
__________________
Read my GURPS blog: http://noschoolgrognard.blogspot.com
mlangsdorf is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-09-2018, 03:01 PM   #5
Kromm
GURPS Line Editor
 
Kromm's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Montréal, Québec
Default Re: Surprising unbalance....

Two campaigns ago (fantasy): The player of a legionary officer decided that actually being a good officer would be more interesting than the hackneyed RPG approach of "Rah! Me good at fight! Me general!" For the first couple of years of gaming, it was mostly color – and, this being GURPS, a point-soak. When the scope of the campaign grew more sweeping, though, and he started to lead troops in action, he turned easy victories into zero-casualty cakewalks, even matches into easy victories, meat-grinders into victories with acceptable losses, and even what should have been tragic last stands into hard-won victories. It fit the campaign's tenor for sure, but it definitely accelerated the endgame and changed the aftermath from "Good has prevailed, but at what cost?" to "A new golden age for the forces of Good!"

One campaign ago (espionage/technothriller): The player of a medic for a team of secret agents really went to town on the Housekeeping skill (more GURPS). Again, this was color at first: "She worked as a maid to make ends meet after fleeing Chechnya." But the player wanted to use the skill to "clean" after messy ops, and I allowed it. By the end of the campaign, I believe that was her highest skill and one of the highest skill levels on the squad. Even at considerable penalties, she would use it – in conjunction with her medical skills – to wipe traces of things like break-ins and assassinations so thoroughly that the group more often than not acted with impunity. This resulted in the campaign changing from a gritty post-Cold War spy drama to something more akin to a story about modern-day ninjas.

I should note that I pretty much invite this kind of thing. As the GM, it's part of my fun to be surprised occasionally. It's easy for me to surprise the players. It's much harder for them to surprise me, which is why I love it when they do!
__________________
Sean "Dr. Kromm" Punch <kromm@sjgames.com>
GURPS Line Editor, Steve Jackson Games
My LiveJournal [Just GURPS News][Just The Company]
Kromm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-09-2018, 08:40 PM   #6
Icelander
 
Icelander's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Iceland*
Default Re: Surprising unbalance....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kromm View Post
One campaign ago (espionage/technothriller): The player of a medic for a team of secret agents really went to town on the Housekeeping skill (more GURPS). Again, this was color at first: "She worked as a maid to make ends meet after fleeing Chechnya." But the player wanted to use the skill to "clean" after messy ops, and I allowed it. By the end of the campaign, I believe that was her highest skill and one of the highest skill levels on the squad. Even at considerable penalties, she would use it – in conjunction with her medical skills – to wipe traces of things like break-ins and assassinations so thoroughly that the group more often than not acted with impunity. This resulted in the campaign changing from a gritty post-Cold War spy drama to something more akin to a story about modern-day ninjas.
For... reasons, obviously unconnected to playing a character in a current technothriller game who has Housekeeping, what is a high enough skill level to be able to wipe traces fairly reliably and allow PCs to act with impunity?

I assume that it's a Quick Contest against the Forensics of the crime scene techs, if they are brought in, with them possibly receiving equipment and extra time bonuses, at least in wealthy nations with relatively low crime rates, where even suspected homicides may call for nultiple experts spending hours or even days going over crime scenes.

What skill does a detective use to notice whether someone is a crime scene or not (and thus whether to call in Forensics at all)? Criminology (floated to Per, maybe), Observation or Search? QC against Housekeeping, if that is used to remove traces.

What base time would we use for Housekeeping cleaning a car where someone was shot? (The Wolf was clearly absorbing hefty penalties for reduced time due to the Bonnie Situation, but his cinematically awesome skill made it okay)

What about wiping away traces of a burglary using Lockpicking and the Search of an office?

And which medical skills do you use/need for concealing evidence of crimes?
__________________
Za uspiekh nashevo beznadiozhnovo diela!
Icelander is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2018, 04:59 AM   #7
L.J.Steele
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Default Re: Surprising unbalance....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
I assume that it's a Quick Contest against the Forensics of the crime scene techs, if they are brought in, with them possibly receiving equipment and extra time bonuses, at least in wealthy nations with relatively low crime rates, where even suspected homicides may call for nultiple experts spending hours or even days going over crime scenes.

What skill does a detective use to notice whether someone is a crime scene or not (and thus whether to call in Forensics at all)? Criminology (floated to Per, maybe), Observation or Search? QC against Housekeeping, if that is used to remove traces.

What base time would we use for Housekeeping cleaning a car where someone was shot? (The Wolf was clearly absorbing hefty penalties for reduced time due to the Bonnie Situation, but his cinematically awesome skill made it okay)

What about wiping away traces of a burglary using Lockpicking and the Search of an office?

And which medical skills do you use/need for concealing evidence of crimes?
Depends much on how realistic your world is. For modern America, if you can make it look like an accident, suicide, or obvious robbery/drug crime, then the responding patrol officers may tromp all over the crime scene before anyone higher up notices something hinky. Autopsies is routine for an unexplained death. A detective will show up fairly soon and start taking control of the scene. The detective usually calls the crime scene techs and to some extent decides what tests get run by the lab. Everybody involved is usually overworked, underpaid, and grateful when there's an obvious suspect to build a case against. (OK, I'm over generalizing a tad, but it's been a work week to make one cynical.)

On the other extreme is the high profile incident where the problem is the brass and politicians who want to see the scene and contaminate the heck out of it in the process. (See the Sandy Hook State Police report discussions.)

Cleaning -- obvious stuff that a good spy team ought not be leaving behind anyway -- bullet casings, bullets, fingerprints (don't touch things w/o gloves), foot/shoe prints, your own team's bodily fluids (No! Don't lick the crime scene!), etc. The more subtle stuff -- the DNA that sloughs off normally, the carpet fiber you tracked in -- couple of choices -- either try to destroy the DNA with bleach or other chemicals, or drown both out with a sea of irrelevant info. (Now I'm picturing a mister of fluids collected say from a public bathroom.)

The problem of the now/near future is the data exhaust -- checking cell towers for what phones were in the area, small video cameras/recorders, asking Siri what she heard.
L.J.Steele is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-11-2018, 01:30 PM   #8
tanksoldier
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Default Re: Surprising unbalance....

Housekeeping in and of itself wouldn’t provide the knowledge of WHAT to clean and what evidence was left that needs to be removed. You’d be amazed where DNA can be found.

Until very recently I was a sheriffs deputy in a small, rural, understaffed and under funded sheriffs office.

When I got an unattended death call my two main responsibilities where to determine if unusual circumstances existed and to keep the scene intact for the coroner. If I thought there was something strange, it was my job to call for a detective... we only had three so usually that meant getting dispatch to contact the on call guy.

I have only the most rudimentary crime scene training. Unless there’s a gunshot wound or a knife sticking out there’s a lot I would miss. Most often I relied on the deputy coroner who responded for their opinion. If I didn’t see anything strange and they didn’t see anything strange no detective would be dispatched and the coroner would conduct their investigation and forward us their findings.

In a few cases their investigation pointed to possible suicide and in one case probable homicide that wasn’t obvious to me just from looking at the scene.

So, it would be possible to hide signs of foul play from a patrol unit.... but VERY hard to hide it from a coroner, and very hard to hide it from a better funded and manned department that had trained detectives and forensics personnel to send to every scene.... not just deaths but robberies, kidknappings, computer crimes. They might not know who did it, but they would know something happened.

...the point being, WHERE you commit your crime matters.
tanksoldier is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-11-2018, 01:37 PM   #9
Andrew Hackard
Munchkin Line Editor
 
Andrew Hackard's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Austin, TX
Default Re: Surprising unbalance....

I moved three posts that were delving deep into the GURPS weeds into a new thread in the GURPS forum. Please bear in mind that this is Roleplaying in General, and take more GURPS-specific discussions to that forum.

The other posts in this thread that talk about GURPS are doing so in the context of the original question, and that's fine. It's the difference between "this happened in a GURPS game" and "here's exactly how I did this in a GURPS game."
__________________
Andrew Hackard || Munchkin Line Editor, Steve Jackson Games

Twitter: @SJGames || Facebook: SJ Games and Munchkin || Medium: @SJGames
Instagram: @stevejacksongames || YouTube: Steve Jackson Games

New Munchkin player? Visit our Munchkin 101 forum!
Andrew Hackard is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-11-2018, 01:48 PM   #10
Icelander
 
Icelander's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Iceland*
Default Re: Surprising unbalance....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kromm View Post
One campaign ago (espionage/technothriller): The player of a medic for a team of secret agents really went to town on the Housekeeping skill (more GURPS). [...]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
For... reasons, obviously unconnected to playing a character in a current technothriller game who has Housekeeping, what is a high enough skill level to be able to wipe traces fairly reliably and allow PCs to act with impunity?
[...]
Quote:
Originally Posted by L.J.Steele View Post
Depends much on how realistic your world is.
[...]
Quote:
Originally Posted by tanksoldier View Post
Housekeeping in and of itself wouldn’t provide the knowledge of WHAT to clean and what evidence was left that needs to be removed.
[...]

...the point being, WHERE you commit your crime matters.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Hackard View Post
I moved three posts that were delving deep into the GURPS weeds into a new thread in the GURPS forum. Please bear in mind that this is Roleplaying in General, and take more GURPS-specific discussions to that forum.

The other posts in this thread that talk about GURPS are doing so in the context of the original question, and that's fine. It's the difference between "this happened in a GURPS game" and "here's exactly how I did this in a GURPS game."
That being said, the Housekeeping question is something that might be helpful to GURPS players to discuss, especially if Kromm can be prevailed upon to give us the low-down on how he did it in his campaign. But I don't want to clutter up a thread for something else with it, not to mention that more people interested in how to use Housekeeping to hide evidence are likely to see a thread in the GURPS forums.

So, if it's not too much trouble, could you copy Kromm's original post and move our responses to this sub-thread to the GURPS forums?
__________________
Za uspiekh nashevo beznadiozhnovo diela!
Icelander is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Fnords are Off
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 05:27 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.