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 > GURPS

Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 02-21-2021, 01:13 PM   #1
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Default Pricing a Choice of Skill Enhancement

I have a character in my campaign that wants to be able to shoot lighting, either through her hands or her bow. It's the same damage, effect, etc. The only difference is that when she uses her bow, she can use her Bow skill for the attack roll instead of her Innate Attack skill.

My thoughts:

With an Innate Attack advantage, I view replacing the Innate Attack skill with another skill as a simple design switch/feature when the ability is first created. So, if you want to use the Bow skill instead of Innate Attack costs nothing; you build it that way and you can only use it that way (you can't switch back to Innate Attack later; it's always the Bow skill). Of course, if you actually need a bow, which would be the case here, I ruled it was an Accessibility, Requires Bow, -10%.

So, by the RAW, that's all I really need. I can just make two Innate Attack traits, one with the Accessibility and make them Alternative Abilities to one another.

But that seems complicated and more expensive than really needed. What is desired is not really an alternate ability with two different effects, but rather one ability with an two ways to aim it. So I was wondering if it could done more simply by creating a new enhancement named something like Choice of Skill, +5%. It could be applied to any skill roll aspect of a trait, such as an activation roll or a hit roll.

So here comes the discussion part: Why 5%? A few factors come to my mind.
- It is clearly a benefit, as the player gets to make a choice to use whichever skill is better at that given opportunity, so it's an enhancement rather than a feature.
- Despite the choice, one skill will likely be the one used the vast majority of times as it's unlikely that some sort of general skill penalty will apply to one but not the other. It's possible, but not likely, so the value of the enhancement shouldn't be too high, thus falling at the 5% value.
- If Requires a Skill Roll is a -10% limitation, I don't think having a choice of skills should eliminate that limitation, so combining with Choice of Skill gives a final modifier of -5% for a "requires a skill roll, choice of two skills).
So, based on that, does +5% sound like a reasonable price? Does anyone see anything that would be wrong with that?

Any other ways you can think of for building what is desired?

(Or course, with this specific example my player wants, I'd apply the Limitations Applying to Enhancement rules to add Accessibility, Requires Bow, -10% to the Choice of Skill +5%, turning it into a (+4.5%, rounding to) 5%.)
Kallatari is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-21-2021, 01:39 PM   #2
Join Date: Oct 2007
Default Re: Pricing a Choice of Skill Enhancement

I'm fairly certain I saw an official Perk for this somewhere, but in any case it's similar enough to Acrobatic Kicks (from Power Ups 2 and Martial Arts).
WingedKagouti is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-22-2021, 01:59 AM   #3
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Luxembourg
Default Re: Pricing a Choice of Skill Enhancement

"Use bow skill if you have a bow in hand, innate attack skill if not, otherwise it is exactly the same attack" : I would said it is a perk.

However, you wouldn't get any price reduction for "Accessibility, Requires Bow" in that case, since you don't actually require one.

Last edited by Celjabba; 02-22-2021 at 05:17 AM.
Celjabba is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-22-2021, 02:39 AM   #4
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA
Default Re: Pricing a Choice of Skill Enhancement

It's a bit like the Weapon Adaptation perk (PU2 p.8), and a bit like Skill Adaptation (p.17), but not quite either. Still, an Adaptation perk that lets you use your Bow skill in place of Innate Attack certainly sounds like the same ballpark.
transmetahuman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-22-2021, 03:19 AM   #5
Join Date: Nov 2015
Default Re: Pricing a Choice of Skill Enhancement

I'd just charge the ability at full points and be done with it, use bow skills when using a bow, and innate attack when not.

You could go into more details and say the "require bow" as an either/or limitation is worth 0 points, that a perk is needed to switch skill with the ability, but the fact that you're not allowed to choose which one you use is a quirk.
Aldric is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-22-2021, 03:56 AM   #6
Join Date: Apr 2019
Default Re: Pricing a Choice of Skill Enhancement

The OP says that the innate attack does the "same damage, effect, etc." with the Bow. But, just to be clear, if there's an arrow riding along with that lightning and doing an additional Thrust+3 impaling damage - with the bow's range - that's different, and would be a heavily modified innate attack, not just a perk.

The range (for full damage) of a typical innate attack is 10 yards. The range (for full damage) of a composite bow in the hands of a ST 10 character is 200 yards. If you're saying that the character shoots lightning out of an empty bow up to 10 yards/100 for half damage - or whatever the modified innate attack range is - then that's legitimately just a perk, I think: call it a Skill Adaptation.
JulianLW is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-22-2021, 05:15 AM   #7
Join Date: Sep 2007
Default Re: Pricing a Choice of Skill Enhancement

I agree with those that post that it's a minor difference, and you could call it a Perk or even handwave it away.

If you wanted to be RAW-precise and calculate it out, it would be an Either-Or Limitation. Requires Skill Roll is normally -10%, but that's already factored in to Innate Attack. Using Bow skill instead would also be RSR. So it's an Either/Or of two 10% Limitations, which would be a -1% Limitation. But since there's already that -10% built into IA, you'd want a +9% Enhancement to mostly cancel it out and leave the -1% for the Either/Or.

But I can't say I'm usually happy with the way Either/Or works out. It's a bonus to have the additional flexibility. In this case, there's the cost of two skills to keep up to equal levels. (Otherwise, you'd just use the better skill all the time, possibly neglecting the other one.) It's not really the same as the usual application of Either/Or for two non-overlapping situations, so that you've almost always got an escape clause from either Limitiation. So it's not really worth that much. But then, even the official Either/Or text in PU8 says GMs are likely to want to adjust the result of the (impeccable) arithmetic.

So, +5% is certainly justifiable. Or just a Skill Adaptation Perk.

Or just a freebie. It's not like you can't easily just take a hand off your bow (a free action) and point a finger to fire a lightning bolt in the middle of combat (your Attack Maneuver). If you're not in the middle of aiming or reloading, anyway :)
Anaraxes is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-22-2021, 12:02 PM   #8
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Default Re: Pricing a Choice of Skill Enhancement

I can't believe I didn't think of the adaptation Perk. Thanks everyone for pointing that out. It's definitely what I'll do for this character.

That said, I'm still curious about pricing it as an enhancement. In some of my campaigns (but not this particular one), I limit the number of perks a character can have, viewing them as a means of making characters unique. So a way to build it with an enhancement as a back-up is also nice to have for those who don't want to waste a Perk on it. So I don't mind continuing that part of the discussion if anyone has any other thoughts on it. I saw one agreement that +5% was good enough. Any other thoughts?

To answer some of the other questions/comments, for this particular ability the Bow is merely a special effect, and does not influence range, accuracy, 1/2D, or anything like that (although the character did built the Innate Attack with traits that match what she could do with the bow). It does not use an arrow, and therefore is neither follow-up nor linked damage. It really boils down to the fact that the character has a much better Bow skill, likes the special effect of drawing the bow and having a lightning bolt appear in it, etc., and will use that method whenever possible, but wants the back-up of being able to shoot lightning without the bow (should they be captured and disarmed, in a place where you can't bring weapons, etc.), but as a lesser skill by choice of not putting more points into the Innate Attack skill, not because it's automatically at a lesser skill. As I agreed above, the suggested Perk approach is perfect here as it really is just a unique character feature, but the builder in me wants to see how else I might do it for other situations.
Kallatari is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-22-2021, 01:22 PM   #9
Join Date: Jun 2013
Default Re: Pricing a Choice of Skill Enhancement

Were I the player, my inclination would be to have the ability perform better when I have a bow. So, let's say that with a bow and arrow the character deals 2d imp at Range 200/1000, and typically has Acc 3. I'd probably have the unarmed version be half damage, half range, and Acc 2*. This gets slightly complicated to build, but is easy to play. The easiest build is Alternate Abilities:

Innate Attack 2d burn (Increased Range x10 +30%; Increased 1/2D x2 +5%; Surge +10%; Requires Bow -10%) [13.5]
Innate Attack 1d burn (Increased Range x5 +20%; Increased 1/2D x2 +5%; Surge +10%; Inaccurate 1 -5%; Alternate Ability x1/5) [1.3]
-> Total [14.8], round up to [15]; if you instead round up each price first, total cost is [16]

An alternative build would use Either/Or Limitations and Limited Enhancements, and allow for a "Double Damage" Enhancement worth x2 to total end cost:

Innate Attack 1d burn (Increased Range x5 +20%; Increased 1/2D x2 +5%; Increased Range x2 (Requires Bow -10%) +9%; Surge +10%; Inaccurate 1 OR Requires Bow -0.5%; Double Damage (Requires Bow -10%) x1.8) [12.915], round up to [13].

In either case, the fact the better attack calls for a different skill can easily be called a Feature.

*The munchkin in me dislikes dropping to Acc 2, given it doesn't actually give any discount with either build (it's [-0.05] in each build). Indeed, there's a bit of a temptation to have Acc above 3 for the Bow version, thanks to the low cost ([+0.5] per +1 Acc in the first build, [+0.4] per +1 Acc in the second build). But, for the sake of flavor, I'd be willing to leave things as they are.
GURPS Overhaul

Last edited by Varyon; 02-22-2021 at 01:36 PM.
Varyon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-22-2021, 02:43 PM   #10
Join Date: Jun 2005
Default Re: Pricing a Choice of Skill Enhancement

Looking at GURPS Powers, I see that, in the first place, having an ability require a skill roll rather than an attribute roll is considered to be a feature rather than an enhancement or limitation. It gives the benefit that you can raise the ability far above the attribute+Talent, but the drawback that you start out at (attribute-6) to use the ability; those are felt to balance.

Looking at GURPS Basic Set, I see that a ranged attack requires a skill roll vs. Innate Attack, which defaults to DX-4. That seems to be the baseline here; it's a special case, different from the normal ability whose baseline is an attribute roll.

Now, for attributes, an ability that is resisted by a different attribute than usual is a +20% modifier. An ability that is USED with a different attribute than usual is also a +20% modifier. An ability that can be targeted to be resisted by either the normal attribute or a different attribute has a +20% modifier for each, or a total of +40%. It isn't explicitly stated, but it seems logical that if you can use either the standard attribute or a different attribute, that would be a total of +40%.

Since skills and attributes are generally interchangeable, it seems fair to say that an ability that can be used with either of two different skills, each of which defaults to attribute-N, is also +40%.

So that's what I would use.
Bill Stoddard

A human being should know how to live fast, die young, and leave a beautiful corpse. Specialization is for insects.
whswhs is offline   Reply With Quote

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 10:02 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.