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Old 06-06-2017, 06:08 PM   #1
Otaku
 
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Default [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#44): Double-Jointed, Flexibility

Previous Week: Dominance, Infectious Attack, Slave Mentality
Next Week: Duplication

If you need help finding something we've already discussed, johndallman is maintaining an index of which traits we've discussed.

Basic
Both of today's traits are found in GURPS Lite, so I'm comfortable using a direct quote:

Quote:
Originally Posted by GURPS Lite, p.9
Flexibility
5 or 15 points

Your body is unusually flexible. This advantage comes in two levels:

Flexibility: You get +3 on Climbing rolls; on Escape rolls to get free of ropes, handcuffs, and similar restraints. You may ignore up to -3 in penalties for working in close quarters (including many Explosives and Mechanic rolls). 5 points.

Double-Jointed: As above, but more so. You cannot stretch or squeeze yourself abnormally, but any part of your body may bend any way. You get +5 on Climbing, Escape rolls, and on attempts to break free. You may ignore up to -5 in penalties for close quarters. 15 points.
The entries for Double-Jointed and Flexibility on p. B56 don't add anything dramatic, but they do bring a little something. First, we have the trait classification system used in [Basic]; it is a Mundane, Physical Trait. Next, each entry expands upon the benefits provided. GURPS Lite doesn't mention the Erotic Art Skill, so no surprise it was left out of the list of things that received the +3 or +5 bonus. It also isn't clear in the Lite entry but is in [Basic] that these bonuses apply to breaking free in close combat, and not just from restraints in general.

Other Supplements


In GURPS Powers, Flexibility and Double-Jointed don't get their own updated entries, but like most traits, they are still referenced and used. You'll get some ideas for what traits to combine with them, what not to mistake for them, etc. The only other supplement I have that mentions them is GURPS Update, so if you've got something else, let me know! Otherwise, it is time to move onto the next section.

Past Editions

Double-Jointed used to be Flexibility and Flexibility used to be Double-Jointed. The Advantage Conversion Table on p.4-6 of GURPS Update shows this in simplified form, with an asterisk that is supposed to indicate a description below that explains, but I never found one. GURPS Basic Set Third Edition features Double-Jointed on p. 20. The text is a less detailed version of the entry for Flexibility given in GURPS Lite, and it still costs 5 CP.

As for Third Edition Flexibility, it appears to have been introduced in (Third Edition compatible) GURPS Supers on page 40. I can read it on page 56 of Compendium I, where it is listed in the Racial and Super Advantages Chapter. Again, it is just a less detailed version of the entry for Fourth Edition Double-Jointed, though its text does remind us we cannot take it alongside Third Edition Double Jointed and that it is included in Third Edition Stretching. It is still priced at 15 CP.

There is an additional, related trait in Third Edition called "Extra Flexibility". It found on GURPS Supers (for Third Edition) page 75, and on Compendium I page 55, meaning it is also a Racial and/or Super Advantage by default. This trait was designed to reflect arms that are extra flexible when compared to normal human limbs. The text emphasizes your arms being able to work together so long as they can reach each other, regardless of the character's position. This was priced at 5 CP for a single limb (an elephant's trunk is given as an example) or 10 for entire creatures. GURPS Update explains that this has now become an Enhancement you may take when purchasing Extra Arms, or you may pay 5 CP per limb if you want to modify any of your default arms (p. B53).

I am curious as to why the names were changed and why the more extreme version of the trait seems to have been downgraded to "mundane". Edit: Already answered; please see the discussion below. :)

Useful Links

As always, feel free to suggestion additions to this section. :)
Discussion Starters

This is (usually) a generic list of questions for those who feel they need them. Already know what you want to say? Go ahead and skip these. ;)
  • Have you ever taken any of these traits for one of your PCs or NPCs? How did it work out?
  • Is there anything these traits do really well?
  • Is there anything you think these traits should do different, whether it means adding, subtracting, or just changing aspects of it?
  • Any thoughts on how the 4e version of these traits compares to them in earlier editions?
  • Feedback about BAotW threads in general, such as how I structure them?
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Last edited by Otaku; 07-13-2017 at 01:31 PM. Reason: Added Extra Flexibility
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Old 06-06-2017, 06:59 PM   #2
simply Nathan
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#42): Double-Jointed, Flexibility

Quote:
Originally Posted by Otaku View Post
I am curious as to why the names were changed and why the more extreme version of the trait seems to have been downgraded to "mundane".
The name change is pretty easy - being fully double-jointed is a real thing that makes you quite flexible, but it seems reasonable to be more flexible than an average person without being full-on double-jointed.

And, once they had that decision, it was easier to declare the high level version to be double-jointed, rather than having "realistic" double-jointed be +3 and invent a +1 or +2 version for less extreme flexibility (like a perk named "Limber" or something) as that would require making a new name for the highest level.

Plainly, "Flexible" doesn't sound as extreme as "Double-Jointed" does. It'd be like calling Unfazeable "Bravery" while leaving "Fearlessness" as the +1 to resist fear.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Otaku View Post
I[*]Is there anything these traits do really well?
Build dungeon thieves! +3 to two great skills, nearly the core of the template, for 5 points or the slightly less great deal of +5 to both for 15. Erotic Art skill bonus is basically irrelevant but I guess if your games swing that way it's nothing to shake a stick at.
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Old 06-06-2017, 07:41 PM   #3
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#42): Double-Jointed, Flexibility

I have sometimes wanted to buy Flexibility or Double-Jointed for a rubber-jointed grappler type like Eddie Bravo who ties both themselves and their opponents in knots, but it's never offered enough for grapplers to make it worthwhile, when +3 to escape from pins only is competing with +1.25 to the whole Judo skill, and +5 to escape from pins is competing with +3.75 to the whole Judo skill. Maybe if it offered some kind of defensive benefit against joint locks?

EDIT: And checking my copy of Martial Arts, they actually do- it's not just to escape from pins, it's rolls to escape any joint-locking technique. Whoops. That makes the first level potentially worth it, at least.

Last edited by Toptomcat; 06-06-2017 at 08:00 PM.
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Old 06-06-2017, 10:12 PM   #4
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#42): Double-Jointed, Flexibility

Quote:
Originally Posted by simply Nathan View Post
The name change is pretty easy - being fully double-jointed is a real thing that makes you quite flexible, but it seems reasonable to be more flexible than an average person without being full-on double-jointed.

And, once they had that decision, it was easier to declare the high level version to be double-jointed, rather than having "realistic" double-jointed be +3 and invent a +1 or +2 version for less extreme flexibility (like a perk named "Limber" or something) as that would require making a new name for the highest level.

Plainly, "Flexible" doesn't sound as extreme as "Double-Jointed" does. It'd be like calling Unfazeable "Bravery" while leaving "Fearlessness" as the +1 to resist fear.
Interesting. I'd make almost the exact same argument in favor of going the 3e route, with the added bonus of avoiding some confused 3e players. I wonder if it is just the difference of local language usage and or experience. A lot of folks are at least a little double-jointed (myself included), but only those that really work at it will be referred to as "flexible". In fact, because of my personal life experiences, if a weaker version of this series of traits were added, I'd favor that being called "Double-Jointed", and a new term created for one of the two more advanced versions.
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Old 06-07-2017, 12:20 AM   #5
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#42): Double-Jointed, Flexibility

Quote:
Originally Posted by Otaku View Post
Interesting. I'd make almost the exact same argument in favor of going the 3e route, with the added bonus of avoiding some confused 3e players. I wonder if it is just the difference of local language usage and or experience. A lot of folks are at least a little double-jointed (myself included), but only those that really work at it will be referred to as "flexible". In fact, because of my personal life experiences, if a weaker version of this series of traits were added, I'd favor that being called "Double-Jointed", and a new term created for one of the two more advanced versions.
Double-jointed, in my experience, brings connotations of circus contortionists who can bend their elbows, knees, and the like almost completely backwards. While "flexible" would be an adjective I'd more likely use on someone who was generally good at squeezing out of tight spaces or climbing and the like, but not to that extreme.
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Old 06-07-2017, 01:15 AM   #6
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#42): Double-Jointed, Flexibility

I've only ever heard double jointed used to refer to hyper mobility, not slightly more flexible than average.
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Old 06-07-2017, 09:39 AM   #7
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#42): Double-Jointed, Flexibility

I am making a change to the "Previous Editions" section because there was a related trait I really ought to have included: Extra Flexibility. This trait is also found on GURPS Supers (for Third Edition) page 75, and on Compendium I page 55, meaning it is a Racial and/or Super Advantage by default. This trait was designed to reflect arms that are extra flexible when compared to normal human limbs. The text emphasizes them being able to work together so long as they can reach each other, regardless of the character's position.

This was priced at 5 CP for a single limb (an elephant's trunk is given as an example) or 10 for entire creatures. GURPS Update explains that this has now become an Enhancement you may take when purchasing Extra Arms, or you may pay 5 CP per limb if you want to modify any of your default arms (p. B53).
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Old 06-07-2017, 09:57 AM   #8
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#42): Double-Jointed, Flexibility

Quote:
Originally Posted by simply Nathan View Post
Double-jointed, in my experience, brings connotations of circus contortionists who can bend their elbows, knees, and the like almost completely backwards. While "flexible" would be an adjective I'd more likely use on someone who was generally good at squeezing out of tight spaces or climbing and the like, but not to that extreme.
I just wish to be clear: are you merely sharing your experiences to explain why the names were swapped in 4e or trying to argue that this means the 4e naming scheme is "right" while the 3e naming scheme is "wrong"?

Either is fine, I just can't tell for sure. Re-reading my own previous post, I probably shouldn't have continued on from my initial point: local language usage of the terms where I lived reflected the Third Edition relationship, and since I do not doubt you, that means I now realize it can vary from place to place. I may even be part of a scant minority. ^^'

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flyndaran View Post
I've only ever heard double jointed used to refer to hyper mobility, not slightly more flexible than average.
A quick side point: "hypermobility" would have been an excellent replacement term for both these traits. Just have it be a leveled trait. :)

Okay, so I too have not heard double-jointed used to refer to someone slightly more flexible than average. My point was that if we are going to use "double-jointed" to refer to one of the two GURPS traits involving increased flexibility, I'd use it as the lesser of the two because I associate it with stupid human tricks.

If I were designing a GURPS trait based on it, it would be a zero-point feature because it will rarely be useful other than maybe getting a laugh, and could just as easily disgust the viewer. I had some ideas for a Perk with it, but that requires getting into some of the discussions you'll find in the links section, and have run out of time for making this comment.

Oh, and as a general point; contortionists (both real world and in GURPS) don't have to be double-jointed (or have Double-Jointed). I'd recommend having those traits if you were scratch building your character (or considering careers/hobbies in the real world), but they are not required. Even in GURPS: if you suddenly had to pose as a contortionist, you'd have to sink a lot of points into the correct Skills, but it could be done.
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Old 06-07-2017, 07:56 PM   #9
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#42): Double-Jointed, Flexibility

I've heard that most contortionists lacking joint disorders causing hyper mobility are either lower body benders or upper body benders.
Being both is very rare.

I agree that hyper mobility is a nice term that explains without including all the baggage of double jointed and vagueness of flexibility.
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Old 06-07-2017, 11:14 PM   #10
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#42): Double-Jointed, Flexibility

Super relevant:

B390 you can not normally parry attacks from the side with a weapon on the opposite side..

B391 you can not normally block attacks from the rear...

Double-jointed is an exception to these. So is having Extra-Flexible with your parrying/blocking arm.

Neither advantage appears to enable opposite-side blocks though... I would probably house rule to allow that if you had BOTH though. Or just 1 and Extra-long arms, relative to your torso.

I recall in the film Troy that Brad Pitt as Achilles had a shield held behind him during the duel with Hector and blocked an attack that way so I guess that means he was double-jointed?
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