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

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 05-15-2014, 01:42 AM   #1
Yako
 
Yako's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Germany
Default Another idea for the old skill VS Attribute conundrum

Since I had been rereading the recent ALternate GURPS pyramid articles, I had been looking at the defaults based on halved attributes and such quite a bit and also at the buckets of points.

The bottom line seems to be: Even the GURPS staff does not really like the high attributes VS high skill thing.

WIth GURPS having really a lot of skills, by definition, there always WILL be point where one point of attribute X gets you more than one points in Y skills each.
Other mostly linear cost systems do have similar issues admittedly though.
For example, the newest World of Darkness iteration has skill cost only half as much as attributes (But both are limited for most character to 5 dots and there are 9 attributes VS 24 skills with no universal corellation between skill and attribute).

I did not like the buckets of points approach to skill VS attribute balance much (it basically just restricts player show to spend points with unfavourable exchange rates for some extra flexibility) and the half attribute concept, while being nice, does change a lot overall (It basically makes the "skill portion" of attributes cost double) and creates a quite different approach to Attibute roll VS skill roll which I worry about a bit.

So, I wanted to present one little idea that tries to address the issue but tries to stay more in the current frame of cost and balance.

My idea is, for every skill that is based on a certain attribute, if you have a skill you invested more points into, half the cost of buying that skill.
As an example, if you have Acrobatics at DX +2 [12] then buying Boadsword DX+2 would only be 4 instead of 8 points.

If usually buying more than four DX or IQ skills past the point where it is 4 points per level is inefficient, this would shift that point to eight skills (4+2+2+2+2+2+2+2=18).
If further levels of broad competence are needed, one could divide costs by four when having 3 higher skills.
This would give (4+2+2+1+1+1+1+1+1+1+1+1+1+1=19) for 14 skills.

Basically, this would be similar to getting advantages cheap through alternative abilities and it may make the untalented but skilled character much more viable.

It is some extra book keeping, but a simple asterisk or such in the skill cost box could be enough to indicate if it is a "half price skill" (with two for a quarter price skill) which would then render it quite more manageable.

The only caveat I might include include is that ritual path magic and similar skill based systems should either use their own category (DX, IQ, HT, magic system a, psionic skills, etc.) or not benefit from it at all.

What are your takes on this idea?
Yako is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-15-2014, 04:46 AM   #2
The Benj
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Platform Zero, Sydney, Australia
Default Re: Another idea for the old skill VS Attribute conundrum

Sounds rather inelegant. Cleaner to just halve the cost of all Skills.
The Benj is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-15-2014, 08:55 AM   #3
Yako
 
Yako's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Germany
Default Re: Another idea for the old skill VS Attribute conundrum

Halving skill costs would just make it too cheap though.
The goal is to make broad competence without high attributes a bit more feasible, not to make specialization cheaper.

Basically, the idea is that you just pay the price for specialization once and then get exceedingly cheaper skills.

The purpose is to make it more appealing to have many skills at a good level instead of the current model where talents or attributes are the way to go.
Conversely, wildcardskills should likely be less expensive in this system (as 12 points would already give you 5 / 7 skills raised once the cost reaches 4 per level instead of three as it currently stands).

I would likely change it to making wildcardskills not always be considered VH skills to compensate (based on highest / average difficulty instead)
Yako is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-15-2014, 09:03 AM   #4
Varyon
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Default Re: Another idea for the old skill VS Attribute conundrum

This is somewhat reminiscent of an idea I had after reading the By Default article. That article addressed the problem that the concept of the character who is extremely skilled through training and effort (skill points) rather than from natural aptitude (high DX/IQ) is extremely point inefficient... by making the character who is extremely skilled from natural aptitude (high DX/IQ) extremely point inefficient.

My own idea is rather simplistic and probably wouldn't be terribly difficult to put into practice - a character who reaches the point where it would be more efficient to purchase a trait than increase skills can instead opt to purchase a "virtual talent" (with no reaction bonus or decrease in training times) that costs as much as the trait (and doesn't apply to Disadvantage limits, like DX! and IQ!) and increases all skills based on it. This functions exactly like investing skill points, and in terms of fluff represents training rather than natural aptitude. The benefit over increasing the trait is that the character has a higher relative skill level (useful when you need to float to another attribute), the disadvantage is that it doesn't apply to rolls against that trait, and isn't useful when a different skill gets floated to that attribute. The trait also doesn't improve defaults at all - although once you've invested points in the skill, you get the benefit (so your face-man isn't automatically a skilled medic, but is if he's at least a Dabbler in the skill). Call the trait Training (Attribute) and you're good to go. If using this option with templates (such as in Dungeon Fantasy), allow players to use it to modify said templates' attributes (so a Knight with DX 10 and Training (DX) 4 [60] would be a legitimate option, although you'll probably have to buy BS up to 6.00 [5] to keep with the template).
Note I've never tried to playtest this, and it was just something in the back of my mind before I started writing, so it could be problematic. I don't really see how, however - at least not when compared to the way things work already.

I think your idea may do something similar, but as The Benj notes, it is rather inelegant - which also makes it difficult to determine exactly what sort of effect it would have.

The other problem the article addressed was that of characters with extremely high attributes getting overly-generous defaults. I'd personally be willing to use half-stat for defaults, but have no problem whatsoever with going back to the normal progression once the character has invested points in a skill - my own (admittedly limited) experience with people with high DX and IQ is that they're often able to get to professional level (or very near it) very quickly.
Varyon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-15-2014, 09:18 AM   #5
Mathulhu
 
Join Date: May 2009
Default Re: Another idea for the old skill VS Attribute conundrum

I have been thinking about a different approach to deal with the disparity between attributes and skills. All the methods I see deal with point costs, instead I am looking at the mechanics of skills and I think I have found a better way.

There are rules to decrease the difficulty of a skill by specialising in a smaller area, physics iq/h becomes physics (nuclear) iq/a. The same mechanics can be used going the other way, fast talk iq/a, disguise iq/a and acting iq/a become deception iq/h.

So now a character who is broadly skilled in one area can make a broader skill almost a wildcard skill to represent their aptitude without having to buy up iq so much they tread on the toes of the true generalist.
__________________
Maxwell Kensington "Snotkins" Von Smacksalot III
Mathulhu is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-15-2014, 09:50 AM   #6
Yako
 
Yako's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Germany
Default Re: Another idea for the old skill VS Attribute conundrum

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mathulhu View Post
I have been thinking about a different approach to deal with the disparity between attributes and skills. All the methods I see deal with point costs, instead I am looking at the mechanics of skills and I think I have found a better way.

There are rules to decrease the difficulty of a skill by specialising in a smaller area, physics iq/h becomes physics (nuclear) iq/a. The same mechanics can be used going the other way, fast talk iq/a, disguise iq/a and acting iq/a become deception iq/h.

So now a character who is broadly skilled in one area can make a broader skill almost a wildcard skill to represent their aptitude without having to buy up iq so much they tread on the toes of the true generalist.
That one is nice, I had pondered something similar, especially for cases like Survival (which is always specfic unlike other skills, say, naturalist, who are not).

This might demand quite some overhauling of the whole skill system, which, however, I think would be good, the system really is the one area that is most in need of a good revision.
Yako is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-15-2014, 09:57 AM   #7
Steven Marsh
 
Steven Marsh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Default Re: Another idea for the old skill VS Attribute conundrum

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yako View Post
The bottom line seems to be: Even the GURPS staff does not really like the high attributes VS high skill thing.
I'm not sure that's really a solid takeaway... :-)

Rather, we (and certainly I, when selecting those articles) recognize that different players and groups are trying to accomplish different things. It's the same way how some groups want combat to be deadlier, and others want it to be more cinematically survivable; the fact we provide rules allowing for both possibilities doesn't mean we favor any particular style of play, from a design/support standpoint.
__________________
Steven Marsh
Steve Jackson Games
smarsh@sjgames.com
Steven Marsh is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 05-15-2014, 10:14 AM   #8
GodBeastX
 
GodBeastX's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Behind You
Default Re: Another idea for the old skill VS Attribute conundrum

I'm on the opposite fence. I actually like attributes going up instead of 20 skills. At what point does your brain just get better or you just become more refined? if you got 20 points in skills, that's 4000 hours of training... shouldn't your dexterity improve by then?

To me people shouldn't have endless amounts of skills, they should have attributes.
GodBeastX is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-15-2014, 10:22 AM   #9
The Benj
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Platform Zero, Sydney, Australia
Default Re: Another idea for the old skill VS Attribute conundrum

I'm usually pretty happy for a character to trade in skill points for attribute points for the sake of tidiness, but I make sure to remind them of the way skills can work with different attributes.
Trimming the skill list also helps keep the ratio under control.
The Benj is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-15-2014, 11:41 AM   #10
Kromm
GURPS Line Editor
 
Kromm's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Montréal, Québec
Default Re: Another idea for the old skill VS Attribute conundrum

Quote:
Originally Posted by GodBeastX View Post

I'm on the opposite fence. I actually like attributes going up instead of 20 skills. At what point does your brain just get better or you just become more refined? if you got 20 points in skills, that's 4000 hours of training... shouldn't your dexterity improve by then?

To me people shouldn't have endless amounts of skills, they should have attributes.
I somewhat agree. The playtesters and writers had quite the argument when GURPS Special Ops was in the development . . . One side would say, "Giving these guys crazy-high DX and IQ isn't how it works. They train at specific tasks." Then the other faction would say, "They train constantly at things that rely on judgment and reflexes. Those are best seen as general goals complemented with some specific trained applications." Nobody won, but I was in the second group.

That said, there might be merit in a system that divorces skills from attributes more. If all skills for everybody were priced a little cheaper than they are now (say, 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, . . .) but based on 10 + Talent, and high DX, IQ, or HT gave a small bonus to specific tasks for skills (say, ±1 per two full levels different from 10), things would be less attribute-dependent. That isn't necessarily a good system, just an example of something you could do to change the balance a little. You could just as easily go with skills that cost 1 point per +1 to a base of 10, but once the level exceeds the controlling attribute, the price of each +1 doubles: 2 points to go from DX to DX+1, 4 points to go from DX+1 to DX+2, 8 points to go from DX+2 to DX+3, 16 points to go from DX+3 to DX+4. There are lots of possibilities, most of them bad but some of them worth exploring.
__________________
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
Reply

Tags
alternate gurps, attribute, attributes, house rule, skill cost, skills

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 05:15 PM.


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