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Old 08-03-2017, 01:27 PM   #21
sir_pudding
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Default Re: Seeking build advice: Modern conspiracy character creation

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Originally Posted by DataPacRat View Post
I have an urge to dispute your points - the reaction penalty might make for some entertaining conflicts with the Claim to Hospitality, it removes the possibility of hiding in the wilderness at night unless he forces himself to stay awake - but I'm not sure we could get anything productive out of it.
All of these sound like the GM needs to make a pretty significant effort to have it matter, and it will get old fast if overused; which sounds like a quirk to me.
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a Very Fine Textbook costing $900
Those DF textbook costs don't actually make any sense for the contemporary world.
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(or equivalent ebooks)
The weight of a few MeV isn't going to be an issue. I don't anticipate you buying a donkey, hiring a porter, or investing in faerie books.
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and a couple of hours of study, 2 points in IQ/H gives 14-, with another +2 on the roll for having the book opened for consulting during the roll. Given modern digital texts and online references, that seems... reasonably reasonable, to me. (Though I'm not an expert on GURPS skill levels.)
It is saying that by reviewing a book for a couple of hours (or less with Speed-Reading), you gain the equivalent of 400 hours of academic study and have the same level of knowledge as a professional expert in the field. It will result in things like after reviewing a surgical text, you can perform adequate surgery, especially when you stack bonuses from equipment.
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Old 08-03-2017, 02:16 PM   #22
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Default Re: Seeking build advice: Modern conspiracy character creation

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All of these sound like the GM needs to make a pretty significant effort to have it matter, and it will get old fast if overused; which sounds like a quirk to me.
Eh, comme ci, comme a. I think I'll see if I can convince the GM to let me get the extra points. Or maybe negotiate and end up with a more significant Limitation, more around -60%.

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Those DF textbook costs don't actually make any sense for the contemporary world. The weight of a few MeV isn't going to be an issue. I don't anticipate you buying a donkey, hiring a porter, or investing in faerie books.
Weight isn't going to be an issue; cost still is.

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It is saying that by reviewing a book for a couple of hours (or less with Speed-Reading), you gain the equivalent of 400 hours of academic study and have the same level of knowledge as a professional expert in the field. It will result in things like after reviewing a surgical text, you can perform adequate surgery, especially when you stack bonuses from equipment.
There's a certain market these days for "worst-case scenario" books; some skim all sorts of situations, some are full-fledged "where there is no doctor' medical manuals. Most medical textbooks are now available in e-versions. Knowing the study techniques to get the maximum possible value out of having such items available, and having enough background knowledge to be able to apply such value, seems moderately plausible to me - as does that it may have taken 9ish points of study-time to acquire such study-techniques, making said techniques rather uncommon among a planetary population that generally gets better results from studying particular skills.

I'm not sure either of us can persuade the other on the reasonableness of our views here; but whether this particular advantage counts as realistic or cinematic, do you have any thoughts on using it in-game, or Limitations or Enhancements that might help make it more closely reflect the character concept, or anything of the sort?
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Old 08-03-2017, 02:39 PM   #23
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Default Re: Seeking build advice: Modern conspiracy character creation

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Weight isn't going to be an issue; cost still is.
The costs of handwritten tomes intended for high value dungeon loot isn't sensible for contemporary books. You can get an annotated Map for free from Google, but in DF it costs a minimum of $100 (and getting the weight from a tenth of a pound to negligible makes it $1500).

Using the Very Fine modifier but ignoring the weight increase, as you did, seems to be especially dubious because the double weight it is a significant drawback for scholars.

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Most medical textbooks are now available in e-versions.
Web-MD or even Wikipedia are probably better than a psuedomedieval primer, and free.
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do you have any thoughts on using it in-game
Well, I have played scholars so I have some experience in using it. The main limitation is the incredible expense and weight of the books. A DF scholar often needs to leave part of his library in town and might want to buy a mule or hire a porter as soon as possible anyway. In a world of instant cheap information and public libraries, this is going to be a significantly more useful ability.

Which isn't to say "don't take it", but note that it is a superpower (if the Foundation does turn out to exist, I would suggest trying to make contact with the Serpent's Hand before the Foundation finds you; also Library Card!) and you might want to make it a significant focus of your character (it could be a lot like a gimmick ability on one of those extraordinary detective shows).

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Old 08-03-2017, 05:58 PM   #24
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Default Re: Seeking build advice: Modern conspiracy character creation

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The costs of handwritten tomes intended for high value dungeon loot isn't sensible for contemporary books. You can get an annotated Map for free from Google, but in DF it costs a minimum of $100 (and getting the weight from a tenth of a pound to negligible makes it $1500).

Using the Very Fine modifier but ignoring the weight increase, as you did, seems to be especially dubious because the double weight it is a significant drawback for scholars.
If I go by the current RAW build, based on the memorization Modular Ability plus extra time Limitation, the books wouldn't even enter into it. That said, I could grab the statistic from High-Tech that an average book is 10 megabytes, and multiply that by the weight modifier.

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Web-MD or even Wikipedia are probably better than a psuedomedieval primer, and free.
And a lot of college students save cash by downloading torrents of more in-depth texts, either from public repositories or private invite-only sites. It's getting to the point where there almost aren't any books you /can't/ get for free, if you're willing to ignore American copyright laws (such as by living in another jurisdiction).

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Well, I have played scholars so I have some experience in using it. The main limitation is the incredible expense and weight of the books. A DF scholar often needs to leave part of his library in town and might want to buy a mule or hire a porter as soon as possible anyway. In a world of instant cheap information and public libraries, this is going to be a significantly more useful ability.
Then I guess the ability I'll be using should be considered more "inspired by" the DF Scholar approach than an outright lifting of it.

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Which isn't to say "don't take it", but note that it is a superpower (if the Foundation does turn out to exist, I would suggest trying to make contact with the Serpent's Hand before the Foundation finds you; also Library Card!) and you might want to make it a significant focus of your character (it could be a lot like a gimmick ability on one of those extraordinary detective shows).
So instead of 'The Pretender' or 'The Listener', we'd have 'The Reader'? ... I could dig it. :)

While I have you on the line - can you think of any way to nudge this ability closer to the realism end of the spectrum than the cinematic? Extra dependencies on Eidetic Memory/Memory Palace, some kind of Unusual Background with flufftext about the pedagogy of study techniques, a cap on skill levels, a maintenance cost of spending a lot of time reading to continue to broaden the overall knowledge base, something else...?
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Old 08-03-2017, 06:11 PM   #25
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Default Re: Seeking build advice: Modern conspiracy character creation

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While I have you on the line - can you think of any way to nudge this ability closer to the realism end of the spectrum than the cinematic? Extra dependencies on Eidetic Memory/Memory Palace, some kind of Unusual Background with flufftext about the pedagogy of study techniques, a cap on skill levels, a maintenance cost of spending a lot of time reading to continue to broaden the overall knowledge base, something else...?
A perk that gives +2 to very specific skill roll if you have spent a couple of hours memorizing a book first?

There's nothing wrong with unrealistic abilities in a weird fiction game though. I wouldn't discourage it if it was my game. On the contrary, I would encourage you to invest more heavily in it and make it the focus of the character.The main problem with this character (besides a lack of adventuring usefulness as Fred noted) is it is pretty unfocused. I like seeing characters with clear archetypes and pretty clean builds, YMMV.
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Old 08-03-2017, 07:08 PM   #26
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Default Re: Seeking build advice: Modern conspiracy character creation

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A perk that gives +2 to very specific skill roll if you have spent a couple of hours memorizing a book first?
"+2 CP in Skill X, Limitation Takes Extra Time: 1 Hour (-50%): Total 1 point"? Workable, but it could get expensive quickly. Maybe Talents might work? Let's see, "Natural Scientist, 2 levels (20), Extra Time (-50%): 10 pts". It looks like there's around 14 individual skills there, so it's a point-savings. Hm, maybe go straight to IQ? "IQ, +2 points (40), -2 Will (-10), -2 Per (-10) (20), Extra Time (-50%): Total: 10 pts". ... Hunh. That's a very close match in effect to Modular Ability, 1 slot, 2 CP, Extra Time, which costs 9 points, but with enough differences in detail that I'm honestly not sure which is the better deal. Eg, Modular lets you stick points in skills without defaults, while IQ covers a few skills the lists in DF4 excluded. And things get even hazier when considering future advancement.

Any opinion?

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There's nothing wrong with unrealistic abilities in a weird fiction game though. I wouldn't discourage it if it was my game. On the contrary, I would encourage you to invest more heavily in it and make it the focus of the character.The main problem with this character (besides a lack of adventuring usefulness as Fred noted) is it is pretty unfocused. I like seeing characters with clear archetypes and pretty clean builds, YMMV.
Eh, it's been a while since I cracked open any of my GURPS books, so I'm still feeling my way back into the system. I've still got a couple of days to firm up a build.

Out of curiosity, if you were to start from scratch throwing together a modern "bookworm who can dig up any detail" kind of PC, where do you think you'd focus your attention?
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Old 08-03-2017, 07:18 PM   #27
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Default Re: Seeking build advice: Modern conspiracy character creation

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Out of curiosity, if you were to start from scratch throwing together a modern "bookworm who can dig up any detail" kind of PC, where do you think you'd focus your attention?
Well, that's basically just Research.

There might be a few other things you could add on (that give bonuses to Research) but the entire stated shtick translates to 'awesome at Research rolls'.
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Old 08-03-2017, 07:19 PM   #28
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Default Re: Seeking build advice: Modern conspiracy character creation

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"+2 CP in Skill X,
I meant a very specific skill roll. Like you could get a +2 to Physician in order to treat hyperthermia specifically because you boned up on it first.

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Any opinion?
Realism is boring and overrated.
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Out of curiosity, if you were to start from scratch throwing together a modern "bookworm who can dig up any detail" kind of PC, where do you think you'd focus your attention?
If exotic abilities are on the table, see what it takes to get Orcacle (Digital) in the setting, and otherwise make sure I had a pretty high Research skill.

I might take a look at some of the appropriate Action templates too.
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Old 08-03-2017, 07:36 PM   #29
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Default Re: Seeking build advice: Modern conspiracy character creation

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Well, that's basically just Research.

There might be a few other things you could add on (that give bonuses to Research) but the entire stated shtick translates to 'awesome at Research rolls'.
Would it improve matters if I added "... including pieces of data that Wikileaks would be happy to publish" to the concept?

(I seem to keep coming back to the Cyberpunk 2020 Netrunner archetype in my mind...)
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Old 08-03-2017, 07:56 PM   #30
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Default Re: Seeking build advice: Modern conspiracy character creation

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Would it improve matters if I added "... including pieces of data that Wikileaks would be happy to publish" to the concept?

(I seem to keep coming back to the Cyberpunk 2020 Netrunner archetype in my mind...)
Okay, that's a very different concept - and one that seems very incomplete. 'Bookworm' doesn't do anything to indicate how you access secured information.

Your 'netrunner' reference suggests you're thinking of computer intrusion. There are a number of rather different models for how that's done knocking around in GURPS, so the particular skills (and potentially Advantages, Techniques, and so on) you'd want for that may vary.
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