Steve Jackson Games - Site Navigation
Home General Info Follow Us Search Illuminator Store Forums What's New Other Games Ogre GURPS Munchkin Our Games: Home

Go Back   Steve Jackson Games Forums > Roleplaying > Roleplaying in General

Notices

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 03-06-2007, 06:01 AM   #31
JoelSammallahti
 
JoelSammallahti's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Default Re: Player Paranoia and Character Surprise: How to GM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Bob
With 200 CP to spend, you're not going to be needing to save 1 or 2 here or there. There are 16 skills as a minimum in Kromm's list. 4CP in each would be 64CP in all,
Thought experiment:

For 16 points, you get all those skills at the 1-point level. Compared to your suggestion, that saves you 48 points. Assuming you have two primary skills* from outside the list, each at 12+ points, you can drop those down two levels as well. That saves you another 16 points, for 64 points total.

Now, for 60 points, you could get +2 to DX, IQ, and HT, buying down Will, Per, and Basic Speed. All the skills you bought stay at the same level** and almost all of your defaults go up by two. Plus you just saved 4 points. A better deal, yes?

In GURPS, it's simply not reasonable to spend more than one point on nonessential skills. You should put the minimum investment in each of your backup and emergency skills, and spend the savings on attributes. This has been the case for twenty years, though the exact numbers have changed. check it out


*Obviously, most characters have 3+ primary skills, which makes it even more profitable to redirect points from backup skills to attributes.
**Unless you took Observation or Scrounging - but remember those 4 points you saved?
JoelSammallahti is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-06-2007, 06:24 AM   #32
The Colonel
 
The Colonel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Default Re: Player Paranoia and Character Surprise: How to GM

How about if the 'you're at the corner shop hung over' is an excuse for some red herring or positive outcome RP based stuff - say helping an NPC who's locked herself out of her car.
She may be a one episode extra, or she may be the spouse, girlfriend, daughter or indeed the persona of a significant NPC...
If every 'interrupt time' encounter features the Glasgow Triads leaping out from behind a post box your players are probably right to be paranoid.
The Colonel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-06-2007, 10:10 AM   #33
dscheidt
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Default Re: Player Paranoia and Character Surprise: How to GM

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoelSammallahti
Thought experiment:

For 16 points, you get all those skills at the 1-point level. Compared to your suggestion, that saves you 48 points. Assuming you have two primary skills* from outside the list, each at 12+ points, you can drop those down two levels as well. That saves you another 16 points, for 64 points total.

Now, for 60 points, you could get +2 to DX, IQ, and HT, buying down Will, Per, and Basic Speed. All the skills you bought stay at the same level** and almost all of your defaults go up by two. Plus you just saved 4 points. A better deal, yes?

In GURPS, it's simply not reasonable to spend more than one point on nonessential skills. You should put the minimum investment in each of your backup and emergency skills, and spend the savings on attributes. This has been the case for twenty years, though the exact numbers have changed. check it out


*Obviously, most characters have 3+ primary skills, which makes it even more profitable to redirect points from backup skills to attributes.
**Unless you took Observation or Scrounging - but remember those 4 points you saved?
PCs in my games end up with really long skill lists. A quarter or a third the points in skills is typical. For 150 points, that means 40 or 50 points in skills, that's typically 25 skills. For 200 points (which where I like to run games) that's around 60 points, going into 35 or so skills. Non-combat types end up with lots more skills, since there's not much point in high levels in most non-combat skills.
dscheidt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-06-2007, 10:24 AM   #34
Archangel Beth
In Nomine Line Editor
 
Archangel Beth's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Frozen Wastelands of NH
Default Re: Player Paranoia and Character Surprise: How to GM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kromm
QFT. I've had my players plan for their PCs to get captured naked so that they could get close to the bad guys to spy, assassinate, etc.
Mind, if the GM tries to railroad the PCs into being captured, the GM should expect that the PCs are going to scream, flail, and really gripe about this -- and probably come up with something that is entirely different and involves bioterrorism.

(That... was a pretty bad session; none of us were acting in character because we didn't really care about taking out the Bad Guy Base in question, but these Leet NPCs were shoving it on us (with promises of Nifty Tech), and neither we nor the GM had anything else that we could do instead. So instead of being captured and fighting our way out, we gave them a floating derelict ship that was contaminated with uber-viruses. And kept the Nifty Advanced Tech.)

If the PCs come up with the idea themselves, though, it's not bad at all.
__________________
--Beth
Shamelessly adding Superiors: Lilith and her fiction page to her .sig (the latter is not precisely gaming related)
Archangel Beth is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-06-2007, 10:51 AM   #35
Mark Skarr
Forum Pervert
(If you have to ask . . .)
 
Mark Skarr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Default Re: Player Paranoia and Character Surprise: How to GM

The only time my group has a problem like this is when the munchkin is present. If the PCs are searching every seat for a trap and trying to conceal full body armor on a trip to the grocery store then the characters should have paranoid, otherwise, it’s bad role-playing. I realize that those are just “bad” examples, but if you’re having that problem with your PCs then they need to explain why their characters are so incapable of trusting other human beings (or whatever species they are).
Our Hero game has the characters ambushed every time we take them out and we still don't act paranoid. Why? Because they don't get ambushed every time they go out, and we understand the difference. And, honestly, the characters don't necessarily know when the session has begun. Once it becomes obvious that someone is gunning for us, we begin to take reasonable precautions (activating powers before leaving, calling ahead to inform where we’re going that we’re coming, and, if we can, we’ll bring Jessica, the walking-talking disaster area). Sometimes, to mess with the GM (because it’s funny) we might do something off the wall like decide not to leave the club, but to send someone else to go get the movie projector (which was so blatant a ploy to get us out in the open, we couldn’t resist messing with him).
In my GURPS Supers Super San Diego game, I have reveled in watching the munchkin slowly drive himself insane as his expected ambushes never materialize. For two game-weeks the PCs were tracking down leads and getting information trying to determine who had originally kidnapped them. The munchkin wanted to go to the public library in full battle gear, the other PCs said he could go, but they wouldn’t be seen with him . . . ever again, if he did that.
A healthy amount of skepticism is fine, and, realistic for characters, but when they take every situation to the most improbable extreme, then there is a problem. So, in my opinion, if your players are acting too paranoid outside of possible logic, start asking them some pointed questions, all beginning with “If you’re so paranoid:”
“Where do you keep your money?”
“Where do you buy food?”
“Why do you have a security system?”
“Why do you trust the other PCs?”
Mark Skarr is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 03-06-2007, 11:15 AM   #36
Xplo
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Default Re: Player Paranoia and Character Surprise: How to GM

Quote:
Originally Posted by sir_pudding
Except my freakin' horse!
Would you rather your character had starved? ;p

Besides, I think I'd have run that one a little differently these days. Anyway, he got the sword back, didn't he?
Xplo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-06-2007, 11:58 AM   #37
ziresta
 
ziresta's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Augusta, GA
Default Re: Player Paranoia and Character Surprise: How to GM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kromm
Relying on defaults -- whatever the game system calls them -- is rarely fun. In GURPS, I hint that certain skills are necessary for adventurers, true action heroes or not, to keep the story flowing without annoying breaks caused by PCs being incompetent at tasks that adventure fiction commonly treats as "everyman" skills:
<snipped excellent lists>
Thank you! I've been trying to make something like this for months and keep leaving things off of it.
__________________
What? Were you expecting something witty to be here?
ziresta is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-06-2007, 12:08 PM   #38
dravenloft
 
dravenloft's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: As far from civilisation as one can be: A city.
Default Re: Player Paranoia and Character Surprise: How to GM

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoelSammallahti
Thought experiment:

For 16 points, you get all those skills at the 1-point level. Compared to your suggestion, that saves you 48 points. Assuming you have two primary skills* from outside the list, each at 12+ points, you can drop those down two levels as well. That saves you another 16 points, for 64 points total.

Now, for 60 points, you could get +2 to DX, IQ, and HT, buying down Will, Per, and Basic Speed. All the skills you bought stay at the same level** and almost all of your defaults go up by two. Plus you just saved 4 points. A better deal, yes?

In GURPS, it's simply not reasonable to spend more than one point on nonessential skills. You should put the minimum investment in each of your backup and emergency skills, and spend the savings on attributes. This has been the case for twenty years, though the exact numbers have changed. check it out


*Obviously, most characters have 3+ primary skills, which makes it even more profitable to redirect points from backup skills to attributes.
**Unless you took Observation or Scrounging - but remember those 4 points you saved?
How is it unreasonable? I guess if you play by numbers it might be. Some people play by character concept. In those cases what might be defined as primary skills for the game aren't necessarily going to be the character's strongest abilities though; it might be something else that defines that character. Or their highest skills might be some key primary, but I still spend a few points on a hobby, interest, something else that has nothing to do with the campaign. I find it a bargain to take a point or 8 from an "important" skill to round out my characters and make them feel more real.
__________________
"Too much sanity'll drive you nuts. Proven fact. When was the last time you met a sane person who wasn't cracked?"
--Dr. Serena Cole (roleplayed by yours truly)
dravenloft is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-06-2007, 12:16 PM   #39
Kromm
GURPS Line Editor
 
Kromm's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Montréal, Québec
Default Re: Player Paranoia and Character Surprise: How to GM

Quote:
Originally Posted by dscheidt

It is, however, often funny!
If you can laugh at your failures, then it's likely that you've already made it past the point where you see your GM as an adversary and insist on being on top of every situation. At that stage, you don't need a big list of skills or a powerful PC. You can revel in mediocrity. Note that I love to play fallible PCs who get captured, in over their head, etc. :) However, lots of players -- especially those coming from computer games and war games -- do not. :(

Quote:
Originally Posted by dscheidt

I don't have quite so many categories of combat skills as you do.
My list is complete so that nobody will complain, "But ANYBODY could hit an enemy with a stick!", or, "What do you MEAN, my attempt to grab him fails?" Things like "Why is it so hard to hit somebody on the head with a stick?" are practically FAQs . . . the answer being, "Well, the game assumes that you do so swiftly and return to a guard position, second after second." Few players seem to have the patience to take an Evaluate maneuver for three seconds to get +3, or the will to take the risk of an All-Out Attack for another +4. I see nearly all real-world combat as having this +7, with blows thrown more like every four seconds with little thought to defense than every second with much thought to defense. If your players also see things this way, you can omit melee skills in many cases.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dscheidt

I have Computer Operations at TL7+ and Area Knowledge, and Research in most settings. I'll also point out things like swimming.
Computer Operation would go on the list at TL8+, but I think that Research is a more specialized skill for the group "brain." Area Knowledge is nice in theory, but so few campaigns start out, stay, and/or end up in a given PC's stompin' grounds that, in practice, it isn't very useful. I'd hate to make every PC take Area Knowledge (Montréal) and then send them off to Cabul on their first adventure. Swimming was a deliberate omission -- I don't think it comes up often enough to matter, and usually, there's a boat.
__________________
Sean "Dr. Kromm" Punch <kromm@sjgames.com>
GURPS Line Editor, Steve Jackson Games
My LiveJournal [Just GURPS News][Just The Company]
Kromm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-06-2007, 12:26 PM   #40
Kromm
GURPS Line Editor
 
Kromm's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Montréal, Québec
Default Re: Player Paranoia and Character Surprise: How to GM

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoelSammallahti

It's a cool list, but I disagree about the unarmed combat skills.

But with hitting and grabbing, you get that 1-point level for free, since you can use DX at no penalty. And I'm not convinced it's a better idea to spend 4 points on Wrestling to get that +1 than to spend the points on whatever skill you're focusing on and get an equal +1.
Two issues here:

1. I didn't suggest "put 1 point into each of these skills" but "have these skills." For unarmed skills, I'd strongly recommend that the player spend enough to get the ST or damage bonus that the skill offers fighters with higher levels.

2. It isn't entirely true that DX is as good as skill. Sure, basic punches and grabs can use DX, but players usually want to do fancier stuff. You can't try, say, arm locks, choke holds, elbow strikes, judo throws, knee strikes, and lethal strikes without learning skills. These have no DX default. And many skills offer built-in bonuses at any level. For instance, Judo and Karate let you parry weapons effectively -- and give a superior retreat bonus -- allowing an unarmed fighter to take on a guy with a knife, like in the movies. The unskilled unarmed parry of DX/2+3, at -3 vs. a weapon, gives a DX 10 man a Parry of 5, or 6 if he retreats. The same guy with Karate at DX-2 for a point has an unarmed parry of (DX-2)/2+3, with no -3 vs. a weapon, for 7, or 10 if he retreats.
__________________
Sean "Dr. Kromm" Punch <kromm@sjgames.com>
GURPS Line Editor, Steve Jackson Games
My LiveJournal [Just GURPS News][Just The Company]
Kromm is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
essential skill, skills

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Fnords are Off
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 07:50 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.