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Old 10-30-2017, 05:10 PM   #1
Join Date: Feb 2016
Default Changing default for Innate Attack Skill

One of the big issues with making a combat capable mage is the required Innate Attack skills. What would everyone think about defaulting the Innate Attack Skill at (Spell-4) as well as DX-4, with Magery giving a bonus to Innate Attack Skill as well as to Spells? Would it be too imbalanced?
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Old 10-30-2017, 05:38 PM   #2
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Join Date: Mar 2013
Default Re: Changing default for Innate Attack Skill

You could do Skill Substitution as a Perk. I don't like making it the default because IMO there's a distinction between the world's best Ice Knife caster and the world's best Ice Knife thrower. Seems like it cuts straight to the IQ vs. DX divide at the core of the GURPS skill system.

Magery as a bonus looks like fun, depends on how many levels of Magery you allow in your game and whether ranged combat is a niche that needs protecting.

Doing both seems heavily unbalanced but w/e, YMMV.
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Old 10-30-2017, 05:57 PM   #3
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Default Re: Changing default for Innate Attack Skill

I would instead use the Psychic Guidance perk.
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Old 10-30-2017, 11:21 PM   #4
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Default Re: Changing default for Innate Attack Skill

I'm with sir_pudding on the Perk.

And I say no to adding Magery. Magery does enough already.
Feel free to steal, borrow, fold, spindle, mutilate any rule, advantage, etc I come up with it.
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Old 10-31-2017, 08:26 AM   #5
Join Date: Jun 2005
Default Re: Changing default for Innate Attack Skill

Really, you ought to have a distinction between the mage who's a really good spellcaster, and the mage who's really good at using spells in combat. GURPS Magic tends to underemphasize this by having a whole lot of spells with high combat utility, which encourages the creation of mages as supers. But the bookish wizard who normally casts spells at immobilized targets is a valid archetype. Applying Aim bonuses to spells would let that type of character have a reasonable chance of hitting, but more slowly.

In other words, the very thing that bothers you strikes me as one of the positive things about the basic magic system. . . .
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Old 10-31-2017, 08:55 AM   #6
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Default Re: Changing default for Innate Attack Skill

I've never seen it as a "big" thing. I've run GURPS for years, and whether the relevant skill was called Innate Attack, Magic Breath, Magic Jet, or Spell Throwing, it was Easy. Whether the skill progression was {1/2, 1, 2, 4, 8, +8} or {1, 2, 4, 8, +4}, it was centered on DX at 1 point, and it was the rare wizard who bothered to spend more than 2-4 points on it anyway.

Casters who wanted to be warrior-wizards generally started with good DX, like all warriors. Not as good as that of a dedicated warrior, but that's fair; when doing two things at once, you advance half as fast. Warrior-wizards were expected – fairly, I think – to spend the points to compete in combat. As is, they were privileged with Easy skills; archers had to learn a Hard skill prior to Fourth Edition, when Bow became Average, while melee fighters have always had to learn an Average skill for typical battlefield weapons. On the other hand, non-wizardly warriors didn't spend FP or have casting times.

It all seemed pretty balanced over the years.

So I wouldn't want to go too far in the direction of making the more physical kinds of spells easier to hit with. As others have pointed out, there's a perk for that, called Psychic Guidance. In effect, it's an Extra Option perk that flips a switch: "Knowledge of spells includes knowledge of hitting things with spells." The GM could always waive the perk and go with that as a campaign-wide assumption, but I think it better to associate some cost, at least a small one, with enhanced ability to hit – whether that's Psychic Guidance or the Innate Attack skill.
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Old 01-02-2018, 11:28 PM   #7
Join Date: Oct 2013
Default Re: Changing default for Innate Attack Skill

Originally Posted by sir_pudding View Post
I would instead use the Psychic Guidance perk.
I just saw Psychic Guidance on a PC for the first time, and (as I am playing in the same game) looked it up.

As I'm playing a combat mage type, and I like to have at least one spell at a really high level (so I can have one good attack spell, duh), my character has a flame jet spell at level 25 (IQ 16, Magery 6 (dungeon fantasy game) and 16 points dumped into Flame Jet... for a 3d6 attack I can use constantly without spending fatigue.

Pretty good, sure. "Hi there, I'm a living flamethrower, are you fireproof?" But I see that perk, and think... hey, if I did the same thing, except got Fireball instead of Flame Jet, I'd have a 25 attack skill with Fireball for the same points. LESS points, as I spent 4 points getting my old character's innate attack: Jet skill up to 15.

For this character, that's essentially 44 points worth of skill (what it would cost to get an innate attack Jet skill up to 25) for 1 pt.

That seems pretty broken to me.

Now, on the character I saw it, they're only giving their level 16 Stone Missile spell an effective attack skill of 16 for one point... which would cost that character only 8 points to buy as an innate attack of the same level. It's not nearly so bad. But if you DID focus very heavily on getting a single spell very powerful, it effectively (more than) doubles the points you spend.

I mean, OK, Missile Spells aren't the greatest... you can only attack once every two seconds at the very fastest, and doing tricks like making them armor piercing (yes, I cast Penetrating Spell on my Flame Jet... why wouldn't I?) takes even longer, which makes them a bit sub-optimal compared to a regular spell like, say, Flame Jet, so I can see a reason to give them a bit of a buff. But still, this perk does seem to be open to some abuse.

Last edited by Mirtai; 01-02-2018 at 11:37 PM.
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Old 01-03-2018, 04:42 AM   #8
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Cambridge, MA
Default Re: Changing default for Innate Attack Skill

In my house rules, Psychic Guidance has been modified: instead of replacing Innate Attack, it enhances it by allowing you to add Magery to IA skill. This way, DX and IA skill still matter, but wizards have some chance of keeping up with the archers. And most importantly it prevents one sky high missile spell skill from dominating. My players have been very happy with this change and find PG to be fun but not broken in its new form.
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Old 01-03-2018, 07:32 AM   #9
Join Date: Sep 2007
Default Re: Changing default for Innate Attack Skill

I've always enjoyed the fact that IA gives mages a reason to be interested in DX. They're already all too slanted to the build of point one in each spell and everything else in IQ. Effects that encourage them to be more rounded, and not to be just brains in a jar (8-8-16-8), are IMO desirable, rather than big problems.
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Old 01-04-2018, 07:02 PM   #10
Join Date: Feb 2016
Default Re: Changing default for Innate Attack Skill

That is one reason why I like making the control attribute of magic an average of DX, IQ, Per, and Will (DX for accuracy, IQ for understanding, Per for awareness, and Will for power). It makes for some very interesting magical characters because power comes from multiple paths (a character with DX 14, IQ 14, Per 14, and Will 14 is less effective than a character with DX 12, IQ 12, Per 20, and Will 20).
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