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Old 07-13-2015, 02:58 PM   #1
Skarg
 
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Default Why does 4e give a flat cost for attribute increases?

In all editions of GURPS before 3e, the cost difference between attribute levels went up with the attribute, and increasing attributes after character creation cost double.

In 4e, it's just 10 for ST or HT and 20 for DX or IQ, no matter what.

Why?

I can see it's simpler this way, but what were the other reasons for this change?

I tend to prefer to actually have a steeper curve than 3e did. In particular, it provides a way to naturally and smoothly make really high attributes extremely difficult to attain, which both makes more normal characters more attractive and frequent, and reduces contact with extreme values which tend to be tricky to deal with, and mitigates the "it's cheaper for me to buy up the attribute than raise all my main skills, and also raises my IQ and defaults" issue, as in the recent thread about limiting super-high attribute levels: http://forums.sjgames.com/showthread.php?t=136098

It also seems to fit well with 4e's added talents which make sense to use for geniuses and such.
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Old 07-13-2015, 03:17 PM   #2
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Default Re: Why does 4e give a flat cost for attribute increases?

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Originally Posted by Skarg View Post
I can see it's simpler this way, but what were the other reasons for this change?
Simply put, it produced dirty dirty point crocks. The most glaring problem is non-humans - you could have two characters with a ST of 18, but one payed a lot less points for the privilege if he had a racial bonus of +4 and bought up his ST by 4, and the other was just buying from 10.
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Old 07-13-2015, 03:30 PM   #3
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Default Re: Why does 4e give a flat cost for attribute increases?

One reason is that in effect you have a rising curve/utility for most tasks.

One is that by standard modifiers getting more than -9 requires several extremely hard things to to happen at same time.

There are several rules limiting things overall also like the fright check cap, rule of 16, rule of 20 and so on.

But also the basic utility, take someone with 1 point in an IQ/easy skill having 50% probability in average task at IQ 10, raising by 12.5% for buying IQ 11, rising by further 11.57% for getting 12, then only raising by 9.72%,6.94%, 4.63%, 2.78% and then not raising at all.

Though I do agree that high attributes do make a game feel to not be realistic fairly quickly at far below any sorts of human maximums and a steep curve could help, but I never liked the 3rd ed version either in actual play though on paper it looked nice.
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Old 07-13-2015, 03:30 PM   #4
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Default Re: Why does 4e give a flat cost for attribute increases?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skarg View Post
I tend to prefer to actually have a steeper curve than 3e did. In particular, it provides a way to naturally and smoothly make really high attributes extremely difficult to attain, which both makes more normal characters more attractive and frequent, and reduces contact with extreme values which tend to be tricky to deal with, and mitigates the "it's cheaper for me to buy up the attribute than raise all my main skills, and also raises my IQ and defaults" issue,
Note that this actually happens anyway: You get less for your points with each increase of a stat.

GURPS has a bell-curve. A stat of 10 will roll successfully (assuming no modifiers) ~50% of the time. An increase of decrease of 1 point changes this by +/- 12.5 percentage points, which means you're getting about +/- 1 percentage point for 2 character points. From 11 or 9 to 12 or 8, you're getting a change of +/- 12 percentage points, then from 12 to 13 or 8 to 7, you get a change of about 9 percentage points, and so on until you get to the extreme end, where you're paying 20 points to fuss over half-percentage points.

A +1 increase to a stat might always cost the same (20 points), but what you get for your points drops off with each point.

To give it a scaling cost as well is double-dipping. Say that it costs 10 points to go from 10 to 11, then 20 points to go from 11 to 12, and 30 from 12 to 13, and so on. Going from 10 to 11 gives you a +12.5 percentage point increase for 10 points, which is 1.2 pp per cp. Now, 11 to 12 costs 20 points for +12 pp, or a little better than 1 pp per 2 cp. Then 12 to 13 is 30 points for +9 pp, which is about 1/3rd a pp for a cp, and so on, until you're spending 100 points to go from 19 to 20, for 0.5 pp, which is a joke. Going to 11 or 12 is a no brainer, but going any higher than that swiftly becomes a mistake and skill begins to trump all. You get a lot of characters with 11s and 12s, and few with any other trait (which is honestly what I saw in GURPS 3e).

The reverse creates an even worse situation, where you're getting more points for losing less competence. Consider that going from attribute 4 to attribute 3 would give you 100 points, but only reduce your chances of success by a fraction. So if you really don't care about a stat ("Ogg SMASH!") then you really, really benefit from flooring it as much as possible.

So you'd end up with very, very average characters occasionally differentiated by someone who is as astonishingly bad at something as possible. And, for your troubles, you also get a system that's less simple than the one in place.

No, I think I'll stick with flat attributes.
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Old 07-13-2015, 03:54 PM   #5
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Default Re: Why does 4e give a flat cost for attribute increases?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mailanka View Post
Note that this actually happens anyway: You get less for your points with each increase of a stat.
Only if the GM puts an artificial ceiling on task difficulty.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mailanka View Post
GURPS has a bell-curve. A stat of 10 will roll successfully (assuming no modifiers) ~50% of the time. An increase of decrease of 1 point changes this by +/- 12.5 percentage points, which means you're getting about +/- 1 percentage point for 2 character points.
This is a false way of measuring value -- there are times when value is linear in success probability, but an awful lot of times where it's not, it depends on how much of the value of skill comes from the increased chance of success, and how much comes from the risk of failure. Probably the most likely to be true measure of value is the ratio of success to failure (which tells you what sort of gambles are reasonable to take), which gives skill value roughly as follows (+1 multiple shows the ratio of this skill level to one level lower).
Code:
Skill     4    5    6    7    8    9    10   11   12   13   14   15   16
Chance    .019 .046 .092 .162 .259 .375 .5   .625 .740 .838 .908 .954 .981
S/F       .019 .049 .102 .193 .35  .6   1    1.67 2.86 5.17 9.8  20.6 53.0
+1 multiple    2.57 2.10 1.90 1.81 1.7  1.67 1.67 1.71 1.81 1.90 2.10 2.57
Notably, this implies that high skills are vastly more useful than moderate skills, and that, as a ratio, the endpoints matter more than the middle.
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Old 07-13-2015, 05:22 PM   #6
Skarg
 
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Default Re: Why does 4e give a flat cost for attribute increases?

The values are also different in defense rolls and contests of skill, as well as things that have high difficulty penalties, so things that are nearly impossible for people with typical-range attributes and skills may become possible or even easy for people who have levels higher than expected.

And of course the issues with raising all skills at once, or all defaults. The system works well with DX and IQ in the 8-13 range, but buying either above 13 seems very cost-effective to me in practice, in many ways. But, it's interesting to see what others think.
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Old 07-14-2015, 04:08 AM   #7
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Default Re: Why does 4e give a flat cost for attribute increases?

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Originally Posted by Skarg View Post
And of course the issues with raising all skills at once, or all defaults. The system works well with DX and IQ in the 8-13 range, but buying either above 13 seems very cost-effective to me in practice, in many ways. But, it's interesting to see what others think.
Most people don't go above 13 unless they're really focused on that attribute, and I find higher than 15 exceedingly rare. While it's true that this is a good way to raise many skills at once, not that many characters have that many skills. I find it far more common for characters to pick a few skills that they really like (say, Broadsword or Stealth) and jack them to unbelievable levels. That's much more common than IQ 20. For characters who have a group of related skills, talents become more common than high levels of attribute

I will note that IQ is a bit of a special case: Mental skills tend, in my experience, to be more common than physical skills (I run a lot of sci-fi and my fantasy games have a strong social/political component to them), and if you "buy back" Will and Perception, IQ becomes very cheap. I haven't seen the need yet, but if you find people are going crazy with IQ, consider the separate Will/Perception house rule that RPK has.
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Old 07-14-2015, 04:25 AM   #8
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Default Re: Why does 4e give a flat cost for attribute increases?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skarg View Post
And of course the issues with raising all skills at once, or all defaults. The system works well with DX and IQ in the 8-13 range, but buying either above 13 seems very cost-effective to me in practice, in many ways. But, it's interesting to see what others think.
That is not quite true. It only appears to be true if the GM never, ever floats skills to various attributes. The more the GM floats the skill like the book advises, the less abusive it becomes. Guns/DX level 20 [1] will not help much during an Immediate Action if my IQ is 9 (Guns/IQ). Nor will Erotic Art/DX 20 [1] help finding the right spot (Erotic Art/Per). Nor will Surgery/IQ 20 help much when you have to use brute force to split the ribcage during an operation (Surgery/ST). Nor will Skating/HT 20 [1] help when you're trying to skate over a narrow rail (Skating/DX).

Also, regarding defaults: remember that defaults do not provide special benefits that are associated with a skill, e.g. you don't get the +2 to Parry when wielding a staff using the Staff skill only known at default.
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Old 07-14-2015, 05:48 AM   #9
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Default Re: Why does 4e give a flat cost for attribute increases?

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Originally Posted by Bruno View Post
Simply put, it produced dirty dirty point crocks. The most glaring problem is non-humans - you could have two characters with a ST of 18, but one payed a lot less points for the privilege if he had a racial bonus of +4 and bought up his ST by 4, and the other was just buying from 10.
This could have been resolved by making it the final attribute value that determined the point cost, rather than counting the racial modifier, other templates, meta-traits, and after-creation upgrades separately. However, this would have meant that it would be impossible to provide a fixed price for any template that included a modifier for an attribute.
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