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Old 06-10-2012, 07:17 PM   #1
Not another shrubbery
 
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Default Attribute N/A, Useful concept or not?

In the [Psionic Powers] Do inanimate targets resist Malediction with HT or Will? thread, sp replied to one of my posts:
Quote:
Originally Posted by sir_pudding View Post
Attribute: N/A is absolutely a house rule (and personally one that I don't like at all), by RAW it doesn't exist.
Just to try and keep the thread focused:
  1. I think most of us already know the ruling Kromm made.
  2. We know the N/A concept for Attributes is non-canonical.
  3. From 2, it follows that the use of that concept is a house-rule.
There's no need to repeat the above items here, except for those who may not be aware of them. For those readers, feel free to point them to appropriate references in the books or here in the forums.

Regarding the title topic:
I personally find the idea of a 'N/A' level for attributes useful as an explanation for why Based On X attacks, where X is an Attribute that the target does not have a positive level of, cannot effect that target <for my purposes>. Allowing a +20% Enhancement to allow nearly guaranteed success against targets lacking the particular Att <at a positive level> strikes me as cheesy, so my ruling seems like a return to a better place, where the attacker needs to choose the targeted Att with care if he wants it to have broad effectiveness against a variety of target-types.
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Old 06-10-2012, 08:14 PM   #2
ericthered
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Default Re: Attribute N/A, Useful concept or not?

I think in some cases it is absolutely justified:

the DX of a rock. Or an ocean. Or even an AI that can't move by itself. Arguably, these are DX 0. but I just don't see the point of a -200 disadvantage for not being able to move. In almost all cases the lack of movement is summed up in sessile and No Fine manipulators.
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Old 06-10-2012, 08:41 PM   #3
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Default Re: Attribute N/A, Useful concept or not?

I'd say 'Attribute N/A' isn't a useful concept; or at least I'd find no use for it. I reward player cunning and player knowledge. Why would I want to penalize them for doing something smart like building a power like that and targeting things that are weak against it? I build powers like that. Why should I penalize my players for following my example?
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Old 06-10-2012, 08:45 PM   #4
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Default Re: Attribute N/A, Useful concept or not?

The real problem is that (Based on different attribute) is miscosted, because of the existence of an extremely broad category of targets that lack particular attributes. If you eliminate that enhancement, the existence of Will 0 targets isn't a problem because the abilities that default to targeting Will are all mind-affecting and therefore useless against objects (likewise, targeting DX for objects incapable of movement is problematic). Stat N/A is a convenient way of marking something as being an invalid target for (based on a different attribute). I might say something like:

'Based on a different attribute':
  • A power that targets Per cannot affect targets which lack senses.
  • A power that targets DX cannot affect targets which are incapable of physical actions.
  • A power that targets Will cannot affect targets which lack volition.
  • A power that targets IQ cannot affect targets which lack thinking ability.
  • A power that targets ST instead targets HP for targets which are incapable of physical actions.
  • This does not apply to the (resisted by X) limitation.
  • The Cosmic enhancement may be applied to bypass these restrictions.

Last edited by Anthony; 06-10-2012 at 08:51 PM.
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Old 06-10-2012, 08:47 PM   #5
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Default Re: Attribute N/A, Useful concept or not?

I think the concept is useful but not uniformly applicable.
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Old 06-10-2012, 09:00 PM   #6
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Default Re: Attribute N/A, Useful concept or not?

"Attribute: N/A" may not be RAW, but obviously an example of "Secondary Characteristic: N/A" exists: FP.

Someone with Will 0 could still buy up Will-based skills or even attempt a Will roll (with some bonuses from something) for Extra Effort, etc. -- some-"one" with Will N/A simply could not. That's an important distinction and potentially worth representing, possibly even for attributes.
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Old 06-10-2012, 11:22 PM   #7
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Default Re: Attribute N/A, Useful concept or not?

Quote:
Originally Posted by munin View Post
"Attribute: N/A" may not be RAW, but obviously an example of "Secondary Characteristic: N/A" exists: FP.

Someone with Will 0 could still buy up Will-based skills or even attempt a Will roll (with some bonuses from something) for Extra Effort, etc. --
Well no, they couldn't. Something with Will 0 doesn't do anything beyond tropisms, because it's a something, not a someone.
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Old 06-10-2012, 11:33 PM   #8
Not another shrubbery
 
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Default Re: Attribute N/A, Useful concept or not?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony View Post
The real problem is that (Based on different attribute) is miscosted, because of the existence of an extremely broad category of targets that lack particular attributes. If you eliminate that enhancement, the existence of Will 0 targets isn't a problem because the abilities that default to targeting Will are all mind-affecting and therefore useless against objects (likewise, targeting DX for objects incapable of movement is problematic). Stat N/A is a convenient way of marking something as being an invalid target for (based on a different attribute). I might say something like:

'Based on a different attribute':
  • A power that targets Per cannot affect targets which lack senses.
  • A power that targets DX cannot affect targets which are incapable of physical actions.
  • A power that targets Will cannot affect targets which lack volition.
  • A power that targets IQ cannot affect targets which lack thinking ability.
  • A power that targets ST instead targets HP for targets which are incapable of physical actions.
  • This does not apply to the (resisted by X) limitation.
  • The Cosmic enhancement may be applied to bypass these restrictions.
You touch on a couple of interesting points. Getting rid of the Based on (Different Attribute) enhancer does solve a lot of problems. I don't know that the loss of freedom would be worth eliminating it (not that that was what you were advocating). Maybe, going back to my first post in that parent thread, we could just attach prohibitive clauses to the modifier, similar to the ones you use in your bullet points.

The bullet points themselves remind me of another idea I had brought up, about the game definition of lacking a characteristic. When Kromm said that certain attacks cannot affect targets without a mind, I wondered "What is a mind in game terms?". Is it something other than just having a zero in relevant Attributes like IQ, Will, and Per?
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Old 06-11-2012, 12:59 AM   #9
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Default Re: Attribute N/A, Useful concept or not?

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Johnston2 View Post
... Something with Will 0 doesn't do anything beyond tropisms, because it's a something, not a someone.
An IQ 10, Will 0 sapient being is perfectly possible, both by GURPS rules and by "can I imagine it and thus it should be representable?". Consider a sapient computer program with no willpower. Also, certain effects could reduce anyone's Will to 0 temporarily without removing their sapience (like a super truth serum).

The real point is that it's perfectly legal to have a character with attributes or secondary characteristics of zero (well, maybe not HP) who can still attempt things based on those scores, but someone with n/a can't, and that's a difference worth being able to represent. With DX 0 you can still attempt routine tasks (at +10) like grabbing a doorknob, but with DX n/a you can't.
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Old 06-11-2012, 01:13 AM   #10
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Default Re: Attribute N/A, Useful concept or not?

Quote:
Originally Posted by munin View Post
The real point is that it's perfectly legal to have a character with attributes or secondary characteristics of zero (well, maybe not HP) who can still attempt things based on those scores, but someone with n/a can't, and that's a difference worth being able to represent. With DX 0 you can still attempt routine tasks (at +10) like grabbing a doorknob, but with DX n/a you can't.
I think that's the best argument I've heard to use Attribute N/A. My main question then would be, is this equivalent in point value to Attribute 0, or is it simply the result of other disadvantages (like Sessile + No Manipulators resulting in DX N/A)? The one existing example of a Secondary Attribute N/A (No FP, from the Machine Metatrait) is considered a 0-point feature, not a disadvantage. I could see ST N/A as a feature of a Ghostly or Insubstantial Metatrait, indicating the character can have no physical effect on anything around him - can't be pushed around, but can't push either, etc. It would differ from ST 0, which is a disadvantage that means the character can be shoved around with minimal effort, and must buy up HP from 0. With ST N/A, HP might remain at the default level (10) or it might be a meaningless trait (N/A).

Attribute N/A could also be used for characters who only possess a certain attribute by Possessing a body, such as some Ghosts or AIs. This avoids letting them take ST as a dump stat, for instance.
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