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Old 09-06-2014, 09:37 AM   #1
Otaku
 
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Default [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#9): Ambidexterity

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Ambidexterity (p.B39) is one of those Advantages where the name is spot on: for 5 CP your character is equally proficient using his right or left hand (surprisingly, no rules handy for if you have more than that). This might seem like a Perk level Advantage except the penalty for offhand Skill use is -4. Said penalty is interesting because it is the starting point for the the Off-Hand Weapon Training Technique, which takes 5 points to train a single weapon Skill to the point that you can attack with the offhand at no penalty.

In real life, people can learn to be ambidextrous, and to varying degrees of efficiency; the number I've heard tossed around for those people naturally able to use either hand equally well is about 1 in 100, but tracking down a suitable source for that "fact" is proving trickier than I'd hoped, so take that with a grain of salt. Especially when dealing with older relatives, I've heard stories of how the left-hand dominant kids were forced to learn how to use their right hand in school, and even without the imposition it apparently is a common thing: some devices are just trickier/more expensive to make without favoring a single hand, and since most of the population is right-handed, the left-handed have to adapt or pay more.

Anyway, that little tangent was brought up because Ambidexterity is one of those Advantages that I assumed could be "learned", but it isn't part of the list on p.B294. I think my gaming group from 15-20 years ago, using 3e, allowed it as a house rule, but at the same time I don't think anyone ever bothered; Ambidexterity was priced at 10 CP under 3e rules, plus if you only really needed it for a single weapon, in 3e Off-Hand Weapon Training was 6 CP: one point more than in 4e, but four points less than 3e Ambidexterity.

So...
  1. How often do you take Ambidexterity for characters you run?
  2. Does it seem useful (especially if you have taken it)?
  3. What about other players you know, NPCs, etc.: is it rarely seen or a frequent choice, and does it seem like it is worth it?
  4. Does it seem under-, over- or correctly priced to you?
  5. What circumstances might justify tweaking the price?

Based on my limited personal experience, for many characters the off-hand penalty comes up so rarely that it would practically seem like Perk territory. For anyone with a combat emphasis (let alone focus), it can be quite the CP saver, however if you've only got one or two Melee skills where it would matter, one might be better off sinking starting CP into another Advantage only available at character creation, and just learning Off-Handed Weapon Training (even if in the long run you're overpaying).
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Last edited by Otaku; 11-03-2014 at 05:40 AM.
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Old 09-06-2014, 10:07 AM   #2
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Ambidexterity

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Originally Posted by Otaku View Post
This might seem like a Perk level Advantage except the penalty for offhand Skill use is -4. Said penalty is interesting because it is the starting point for the the Off-Hand Weapon Training Technique, which takes 5 points to train a single weapon Skill to the point that you can attack with the offhand at no penalty.
Yes ... this is a bug that was fixed in Martial Arts, on p50, because 5 points is totally overpriced for a technique for one weapon when actual Ambidexterity is the same price.

Off-Hand Weapon Training is now a perk that eliminates the penalty entirely for a single skill. Anyone dedicated enough to buy five of these is allowed to trade them in for Ambidexterity, making it a learnable advantage.
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Old 09-06-2014, 10:23 AM   #3
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Ambidexterity

If someone finds their right hand offensive and cuts it off, would you require them to buy full Ambidexterity to lose the -4 penalty to everything or would you do it some other way.
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Old 09-06-2014, 01:00 PM   #4
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Ambidexterity

[5] feels right for the advantage. Any time I wanted to make a character who uses both hands, I buy it without question. Mind, it's almost always more efficient to just get the perk, but I like ambidextrous characters. The only reason I don't think it is too cheap is because no one takes it unless they want it, and it's cheap enough to never question.

One thing I would change is, you should have dominant hands equal to half of what you have, rounded up, e.g. a four-armed person has two dominant arms, either their 'right' or 'left'. I don't know where, but Kromm pointed out you aren't dominant with any Extra Arms unless you get Ambidexterity. Which I only accept because once a race has six+ arms, they probably are ambidextrous, or took Extra Flexible on their arms (which 'includes' Ambidexterity).

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If someone finds their right hand offensive and cuts it off, would you require them to buy full Ambidexterity to lose the -4 penalty to everything or would you do it some other way.
Depends on realism level and player want. In a cinematic campaign, I'd make the -4 a familiarity penalty and let them 'exchange' their dominant hand (in case it would ever come back). This would even naturally happen over time in realistic campaigns. They may also buy it if they want the benefits right now, and then they keep the full trait if their hand comes back.
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Old 09-06-2014, 02:53 PM   #5
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Ambidexterity

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If someone finds their right hand offensive and cuts it off, would you require them to buy full Ambidexterity to lose the -4 penalty to everything or would you do it some other way.
Handedness is a zero point feature, so I doubt any GM would have a problem with allowing the character to switch, with at most a training montage.

I couldn't being far far too left handed. I would have to suffer one arm and greatly reduced manual dexterity.
Ham handed might work rather well I think for effects.
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Old 09-06-2014, 02:58 PM   #6
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Ambidexterity

Does anybody know whether amputation actually results in opposite-handedness over time in humans, as with the fiddler crab?
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Old 09-06-2014, 03:10 PM   #7
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Ambidexterity

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Does anybody know whether amputation actually results in opposite-handedness over time in humans, as with the fiddler crab?
I think that's too subjective to pertain to Gurps objective numbers.
In reality, handedness is more about preference than untrained coordination or strength, despite that being the common assumption.
Whether, and how long after removal, preference changes is probably just as much an issue of personal interpretation than clinical test results.
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Old 09-06-2014, 03:15 PM   #8
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Ambidexterity

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Does anybody know whether amputation actually results in opposite-handedness over time in humans, as with the fiddler crab?
That varies from person to person, really.
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Old 09-06-2014, 03:30 PM   #9
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Ambidexterity

I find that some players seem to be obsessed with this advantage and take in on all characters. Myself, I don't see it as especially useful at all, compared to Off-Hand Weapon Training for whatever it is you are actually planning on using off-handed.
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Old 09-06-2014, 03:40 PM   #10
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Ambidexterity

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Does anybody know whether amputation actually results in opposite-handedness over time in humans, as with the fiddler crab?
I worked for some months with a fellow who had lost the use of his right arm in a shooting accident at the age of sixteen. At fifty-six his writing with his left hand was still very much what you'd expect of someone writing with his off hand.
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