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-   -   Gameplay balance issues?; Talents in place of skills (http://forums.sjgames.com/showthread.php?t=168133)

kirbwarrior 04-04-2020 12:47 AM

Gameplay balance issues?; Talents in place of skills
 
Skills are (basically) 4pts per level, and with Average skills that translates exactly to +1/lvl
Talents as of PU3 can be Skills per level in cost
DX and IQ are 20pts per level each
DX! + IQ + HT! comes out to (15+20+2) 37pts per level
I added Omnitalent for 40pts per level to cover all skills based on the above, and x10 cost for "all in the group" seems pretty common in GURPS
It is cheaper to buy up DX than it is to buy up 6 DX skills and significantly cheaper to buy up the relevant Talent

There's definitely some oddities in all that. I was thinking that if one skill is 4pts per level, and all skills is 40pts per level, then maybe skills might make more sense to treat like AAs and have some sort of staggered cost. There are plenty of complicated ways to do it, but likely the simplest is just making every skill after the first cost 1/lvl, paying 4pts for the highest.

There are definitely complications; Difficulty modifies where Attribute+0 is, buying up from default becomes even worse of a plan, and techniques are already this cheap.
For difficulty, just treat it like AAs again and care about total point cost, not relative modifier. 32pts in a skill means any skill with less base value is 1/4 price.
Buying up from defaults was already a trap. I already use a house rule that doing this uses the costs from Techniques, and leaving it here would work easily enough.
Techniques in that house rule become a flat 1pt (similar to but not the same as a perk). Seems about fine for this.

I don't know if this is perfect. But after seeing how often players would rather buy up attributes before even considering having six high skills (skill 14+), I was thinking about expanding Talents into the place of skills. It's absolutely breaking the regular concept of Talents (one major rule being it can't be 'skills I want') but from a mechanical perspective it seems sound.

This is all just theoretical, and I think would absolutely change how skills are even looked at. On the flipside, it does make having staggered amounts of skills without requiring attributes being at nonconceptual levels. And since Power talents can already use regular talents, converting multiple skills into the talent-like pricing means that having powers use skills can let them stagger some, too.

What does the hivemind think? Would this unbalance anything? Would it substantially change how to look at character creation? Would starting point totals be different to make up for it? Is there already a thread about this that escaped me in my search? Have you done anything like this?

To bring it back from mechanical to flavor, I like the idea of asking players to give an explanation to their new 'talents' if they come up, having fun explaining why they bought this specific group of 11 skills to +7.

namada 04-04-2020 03:19 AM

Re: Gameplay balance issues?; Talents in place of skills
 
Yep, skills are odd in 4E, being still mostly locked into the old, simulationist 3E skill system, while 4E mostly took a giant-step towards HERO system, aka - simulation, what's that? - yeah, weird combo.

So, if you allow unlimited Talents, and unlimited Attribute-buying, skills are generally pointless, beyond spending the one point. So, rather than all that, why not just put limits on things?

Donny Brook 04-04-2020 10:34 AM

Re: Gameplay balance issues?; Talents in place of skills
 
I have to admit, I was not able to understand what you are proposing.

kirbwarrior 04-04-2020 01:28 PM

Re: Gameplay balance issues?; Talents in place of skills
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Donny Brook (Post 2317425)
I have to admit, I was not able to understand what you are proposing.

Ah, my apologies. The new proposal is that you figure out skills costs as usual, then for every skill other than the most expensive, divide price by 4, effectively making every skill after the first cost 1 pt per level. This change makes skill costs line up close to Talents and would likely replace them (The side benefits could likely still be bought).

Instead of making IQ looks much better at five skills, it directly compares at 17 skills. And only once you have 37 skills is it better to increase all (non ST) attributes or get Omnitalent.

bocephus 04-04-2020 08:34 PM

Re: Gameplay balance issues?; Talents in place of skills
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by kirbwarrior (Post 2317444)
Ah, my apologies. The new proposal is that you figure out skills costs as usual, then for every skill other than the most expensive, divide price by 4, effectively making every skill after the first cost 1 pt per level. This change makes skill costs line up close to Talents and would likely replace them (The side benefits could likely still be bought).

Instead of making IQ looks much better at five skills, it directly compares at 17 skills. And only once you have 37 skills is it better to increase all (non ST) attributes or get Omnitalent.

I think I see what your going for, but Im having a lot of trouble following the math and the why its desirable (from the perspective of GURPS "basic" anyway).

It looks like your trying to sort of create a "leveling" type aspect? Sort of once you earn X number of points all your skills go up one? Is that sort of what your going for?

kirbwarrior 04-04-2020 10:08 PM

Re: Gameplay balance issues?; Talents in place of skills
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by bocephus (Post 2317487)
I think I see what your going for, but Im having a lot of trouble following the math and the why its desirable (from the perspective of GURPS "basic" anyway).

It looks like your trying to sort of create a "leveling" type aspect? Sort of once you earn X number of points all your skills go up one? Is that sort of what your going for?

Sort of? I think another way of putting it is this would make all skills 1pt per level except your best skill, which is still 4pts per level.

AlexanderHowl 04-05-2020 12:37 AM

Re: Gameplay balance issues?; Talents in place of skills
 
Wildcard Skills are functionally equivalent to what you are suggesting (though they also give other benefits like maximized techniques and bonus points every session). In general though, I feel that the solution is to make skills better, not cheap (or to make attributes, secondary characteristics, and advantages more expensive).

In my games, I have characters reduce their skill penalties by one per every 4 CP invested in the relevant skill and its associated techniques (or every 12 CP in the relevant Wildcard skill), halved, rounded down, in the case of defensive penalties. For example, a DX 10 character with Karate (H) DX+10 [44]-20 reduces skill penalties by 11 and defensive penalties by 5, meaning that they can Deceptive DWA (Punch) two people in the skull with an effective skill of 16 and parry three times per turn without any penalty.

kirbwarrior 04-05-2020 02:42 AM

Re: Gameplay balance issues?; Talents in place of skills
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl (Post 2317505)
In my games, I have characters reduce their skill penalties by one per every 4 CP invested in the relevant skill and its associated techniques (or every 12 CP in the relevant Wildcard skill), halved, rounded down, in the case of defensive penalties. For example, a DX 10 character with Karate (H) DX+10 [44]-20 reduces skill penalties by 11 and defensive penalties by 5, meaning that they can Deceptive DWA (Punch) two people in the skull with an effective skill of 16 and parry three times per turn without any penalty.

My problem with that is I feel a single skill bought up really high is already good enough (your benefits make Johnny One Skill far, FAR better). If a character wants Stealth 25 and it's within the parameters of the campaign, I have no issue with it and it will be good enough for them. And on the flipside, DX 18 or high levels of Omnitalent work great and make fantastic jack of all trades. My main issue is the middle with character concepts that aren't as broad as an attribute but don't fit in well with Wildcard or Talent but still want plenty of skills without becoming a jack of all trades. What this would basically do is 'players make talents to what skills they have' with an allowance for varied skill levels.

Aside from that, I do really like Wildcard skills with all the bells and whistles. If I had a clue on how to actually make them well (I'm still not completely confident with Talents and those are entirely quantifiable) then I could do something similar with them.

Alden Loveshade 04-06-2020 07:04 PM

Re: Gameplay balance issues?; Talents in place of skills
 
Talents are intended to give a discount. Personally, I think that Talents are generally well-balanced in relation to other aspects of characters. They're actually one of the changes from Third to Fourth Edition that I like best.

Skills reflect training and experience, while Talents express, well, natural talent.

This is realistic. The members of the Beatles were bright, but not super geniuses. They hadn't lived long enough to earn enough points to play, sing, and compose some of the greatest music of the 20th century. But they had the Talent.

kirbwarrior 04-06-2020 07:28 PM

Re: Gameplay balance issues?; Talents in place of skills
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Alden Loveshade (Post 2317705)
Talents are intended to give a discount. Personally, I think that Talents are generally well-balanced in relation to other aspects of characters. They're actually one of the changes from Third to Fourth Edition that I like best.

I totally agree, it was part of what made me think of this change for skills.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Alden Loveshade (Post 2317705)
Skills reflect training and experience, while Talents express, well, natural talent.

Skills can reflect training and experience, but they can also be flavored as natural talent in one narrow area (effectively including a single skill talent). Talent can also be the reverse, a broader form of getting better, just as getting DX or IQ can be from training and not just inborn.


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