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Old 06-11-2012, 12:24 AM   #11
cmdicely
 
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Default Re: Attribute N/A, Useful concept or not?

I think its clear that there are traits that involve not being able to do all or some of the tasks associated with one or more attributes, but I think for the most part these are best addressed by named advantages with specific descriptions, most of which won't simply be prohibiting all of the tasks for one attribute and doing nothing else, so I'm not convinced that "Attribute N/A" is a particularly useful notation.
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Old 06-11-2012, 12:25 AM   #12
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Default Re: Attribute N/A, Useful concept or not?

An interesting point in the current GURPS rules is that lack of characteristics is not always "Attribute 0". Lack of load-bearing ability is represented by ST 0 and lack of intelligence by IQ 0, but lack of physical action is not DX 0. See pp. 118-120 of Thaumatology, which first introduced the rules for designing objects with no moving parts (as opposed to robots, vehicles, etc.) as PCs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thaumatology, p. 118
DX is mostly a matter of style. Weapons tend to be a little defter than the average human -- perhaps DX 11-13. Most other items can probably be left at DX 10.
Thaumatology gives object-characters No Manipulators and No Legs (Portable) disadvantages but leaves DX within a range centered on 10.
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Old 06-11-2012, 02:01 AM   #13
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Default Re: Attribute N/A, Useful concept or not?

My basic problem with it is that 0 attributes are serious disadvantages that come with a whole mess of baggage (ST 0 means you can't manipulate anything, IQ 0 forbids anything involving mentality or volition at all, and so on). They clearly aren't 0 point traits and equivalent to a score of 10.

Able has a sapient human ally with IQ 10 [0], Betsy has an non-sentient giant robot Ally with IQ N/A [0], and Charlie has a sentient but non-sapient giant wasp familiar with IQ 1 [-80].
  • Able can talk to his ally, and interact with it like any other person.
  • Charlie's ally can act on its own instinctively like an insect, or according to preprogrammed instructions.
  • Betsy's ally cannot act at all, and must be controlled in some fashion (CM: Controls, Possession, whatever) that itself costs more points.

Why does Betsy have to pay more points than either of the others for a less functional Ally?

Last edited by sir_pudding; 06-11-2012 at 02:22 AM.
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Old 06-11-2012, 02:12 AM   #14
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Default Re: Attribute N/A, Useful concept or not?

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Originally Posted by sir_pudding View Post
My basic problem with it is that 0 attributes are serious disadvantages that come with a whole mess of baggage (ST 0 means you can't manipulate anything, IQ 0 forbids anything involving mentality or volition at all, and so on). They clearly aren't 0 point traits and equivalent to a score of 10.

Able has an ally with IQ 10 [0], Betsy has an ally with IQ N/A [0], and Charlie has one with IQ 1 [-80].
  • Able can talk to his ally, and interact with it like a person.
  • Charlie's ally can act on it's own instictively like an insect, or according to preprogramed instructions.
  • Betsy's ally cannot act at all, and must be controlled in some fashion (CM: Controls, Possession, whatever) that itself costs more points.

Why does Betsy have to pay more points than either for a less functional Ally?
I'm actually not arguing for IQ N/A to replace IQ 0. There certainly could be traits where N/A wouldn't be appropriate. For instance, ST N/A and Will N/A could make sense, as those are traits that are commonly used in opposed rolls, while IQ N/A typically isn't. My main point is actually that, if you're including Attribute N/A (which I'm not yet convinced is a good idea), it should be distinct from Attribute 0.

Also, Attribute N/A probably wouldn't be a purchasable "level" the way Attribute 0 or 1 is, but rather a result of other traits (probably disadvantages) possessed by the character. So a computer AI that has no physical form, and thus has ST N/A, might get points back for that disadvantage, but not for selling down ST (which feels to me like a point crock). This is distinct from a bacteria with effectively ST 0, since it does have a physical form, and gets full points for how vulnerable it is (though its tiny SM makes it very difficult to find).

Last edited by vierasmarius; 06-11-2012 at 02:22 AM.
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Old 06-11-2012, 08:35 AM   #15
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Default Re: Attribute N/A, Useful concept or not?

Attribute N/A definitely feels like a metatrait to me. This approach would make it not exactly a houserule per e, and would definitely make the GMs assumptions about what it implies transparent.

One of the reasons why I'm not comfortable with saying things like "Well if you're Sessile (Portable) and have No Manipulators your DX score is irrelevant is that some GURPS rules do float around attributes, and a not insignificant number of "purely mental" abilities end up using DX to one extent or another (Telekinesis is particularly blatant but Innate Attack is DX based, whether they're eyeball lasers, pure beams of force from your forehead, or exploding playing cards).

This may not be relevant to a particular character, but it is relevant to the system as a whole. I prefer to work from the general case to the specific exceptions, rather than the other way around.

Sometimes One Thing, Sometimes Another suggests that they aren't synonymous; varying impact suggests that there should be varying point costs; the two combined suggests we need a separate module to cover the second idea. At which point a meta-trait seems simplest.
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Old 06-11-2012, 08:46 AM   #16
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Default Re: Attribute N/A, Useful concept or not?

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Originally Posted by munin View Post
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).
DJ's point still looks valid, though. A hypothetical IQ 10, Will 0 sapient still looks more like a 'thing' than a person to me.
Quote:
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.
That's true, as per FAQ 3.1.5. The way ST 0 and IQ 0 work, like qualitative nulls [although ST has that curious exception for your own body weight], makes me think that maybe DX should be treated similarly. That's what has me wondering if it's worth it to just chuck the 'N/A' tag, making zero level atts fill the role. That reduces nomenclature clutter, although there might be some negative repercussions WRT certain powers or builds that I'm overlooking.
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Old 06-11-2012, 08:49 AM   #17
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Default Re: Attribute N/A, Useful concept or not?

I'm really uncomfortable with the idea of Attributes as Nullable Types. I've had enough puzzling out the issues related to nullability of FP. It also reminds me of the silly issue with D&D Vampire Barbarians:

Vampires have a Constitution (think GURPS HT+maxHP) score of N/A or '-'. Barbarian abilities rely on Con. Thus, vampire barbarians base all those abilities on Charisma. Argh.
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Old 06-11-2012, 10:01 AM   #18
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Default Re: Attribute N/A, Useful concept or not?

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Originally Posted by vierasmarius View Post
I'm actually not arguing for IQ N/A to replace IQ 0. There certainly could be traits where N/A wouldn't be appropriate. For instance, ST N/A and Will N/A could make sense, as those are traits that are commonly used in opposed rolls, while IQ N/A typically isn't. My main point is actually that, if you're including Attribute N/A (which I'm not yet convinced is a good idea), it should be distinct from Attribute 0.

Also, Attribute N/A probably wouldn't be a purchasable "level" the way Attribute 0 or 1 is, but rather a result of other traits (probably disadvantages) possessed by the character. So a computer AI that has no physical form, and thus has ST N/A, might get points back for that disadvantage, but not for selling down ST (which feels to me like a point crock). This is distinct from a bacteria with effectively ST 0, since it does have a physical form, and gets full points for how vulnerable it is (though its tiny SM makes it very difficult to find).
That sounds convincing (I think it's unfortunate that the current GURPS doesn't adopt this). I support the view that "Attribute 0" and "Attribute N/A" are two distingushed states. Attributes measured with numerical values should simply be numbers against which we make success rolls and contests. Even negative attributes (except for ST, HP and FP) could be allowed.
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Old 06-11-2012, 10:20 AM   #19
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Default Re: Attribute N/A, Useful concept or not?

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Originally Posted by Not another shrubbery View Post
A hypothetical IQ 10, Will 0 sapient still looks more like a 'thing' than a person to me.
I don't think so. According to the definition on p. B16, Will 0 doesn't mean lack of volition -- it's just a measurement of "ability to withstand psychological stress (brainwashing, fear, hypnotism, interrogation, seduction, torture, etc.)" and "resistance to supernatural attacks (magic, psionics, etc.)". An IQ 10 human can sell down his Will for 5 points/Will and get Will 0 [-50] and 50 points (although reducing Will by more than 4 requires the GM's permission). He'll certainly have much trouble, e.g., withdrawing from Addiction and resisting Mind-Reading spell, but he's still a human with average intelligence, not a "thing".
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Old 06-11-2012, 03:24 PM   #20
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Default Re: Attribute N/A, Useful concept or not?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Not another shrubbery View Post
The way ST 0 and IQ 0 work, like qualitative nulls [although ST has that curious exception for your own body weight], makes me think that maybe DX should be treated similarly. That's what has me wondering if it's worth it to just chuck the 'N/A' tag, making zero level atts fill the role. That reduces nomenclature clutter, although there might be some negative repercussions WRT certain powers or builds that I'm overlooking.
I don't understand what you mean here. The only "N/A" in the RAW is the FP feature of Machine. I'm not sure how "chucking" something that doesn't even exist in the system can have negative repercussions.
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An IQ 10 human can sell down his Will for 5 points/Will and get Will 0 [-50] and 50 points (although reducing Will by more than 4 requires the GM's permission).
I think the limits on attributes are meant to be the limits of human variability. Non-humans or super-humans can violate them with GM's permission, but I don't think that "normals" can.
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