Steve Jackson Games Forums

Steve Jackson Games Forums (http://forums.sjgames.com/index.php)
-   GURPS (http://forums.sjgames.com/forumdisplay.php?f=13)
-   -   How "Serious" are Disadvantages? (http://forums.sjgames.com/showthread.php?t=171072)

DevoutGuardsman 11-09-2020 11:56 AM

How "Serious" are Disadvantages?
 
Was having a discussion with another GURPS GM as to the relative severity of Disadvantages. My argument was that Impulsive, Overconfident, Gluttonous, Short Attention Span etc aren't exactly "extreme" in the sense that they are vast outliers from the general population and are liable, and even quite likely, to turn up in a random sample from the general human population, with Self-Control adjusting the relative severity of the condition. For example, Impulsiveness at 15 or less might be a fairly regular Disadvantage that crops up in the human condition, and roleplay-wise, would resemble an occasional ducking out of a debate to go and do what you wanted anyway.

His argument is that having these Disadvantages at all would indicate a constant compulsion and is thus a psychological extreme, regardless of Self-Control or roleplaying capacity.

I'm curious: do Disadvantages function like constant compulsions or are they viable as occasionally acting in a specific way? Or is it up to roleplay.

Ulzgoroth 11-09-2020 12:14 PM

Re: How "Serious" are Disadvantages?
 
Well, "constant compulsion" isn't far wrong, but I question what makes that a "psychological extreme".

I'd generally be okay with giving more or less 'normal' people such disadvantages with easy Self Control numbers...but that's because there's a certain rules passage I generally ignore:
"You never have to try a self-control
roll you can always give in willingly,
and it is good roleplaying to do so.
However, there will be times when you
really need to resist your urges, and
that is what the roll is for. Be aware
that if you attempt self-control rolls
too often, the GM may penalize you
for bad roleplaying by awarding you
fewer earned points." (Characters p121)

According to that, no matter how easy self-control is it's inappropriate to even attempt it except in rare and critical cases. Which means that while the Disadvantage might not ruin you as an adventurer because you can overcome it when you really need to, it would dominate the rest of your life.

I think that's dumb, and would allow/use self-control rolls any time the character has any reason to keep their impulses on a leash. But that's a house rule really.

Stormcrow 11-09-2020 12:15 PM

Re: How "Serious" are Disadvantages?
 
Mental disadvantages are meant to inform your roleplaying choices and impact your tactical choices. You get character points for deliberately choosing to hinder your character by acting according to your disadvantage, and you must make self-control rolls whenever the GM says there's a chance that you'll be compelled to act according to your disadvantage.

In general, mental disadvantages are not constant compulsion. If you have a Bad Temper, you're not compelled to blow up at every person who causes you any stress, but you'll get character points if you do it at an inopportune time that makes the adventure more interesting, and if you seem to be ignoring stressful situations, the GM might call on you to make a self-control roll. You don't need to attack the cashier if your burger is a minute late.

You're also free to interpret the disadvantage within the bounds of its description. A teacher with a Bad Temper might scream with clean language at a student causing them stress, while a soldier with a Bad Temper might get into a fist fight with a comrade causing them stress or open fire on an enemy causing them stress. Most mental disadvantages don't cause you to act like a psychopath.

AlexanderHowl 11-09-2020 12:22 PM

Re: How "Serious" are Disadvantages?
 
The seriousness of most disadvantages come from their point value. For example, Phobia (Enclosed Spaces; 6-) is worth -30 CP because the character will likely be useless in enclosed spaces and, if subjected to them, may actually go completely insane. In general, the question is more of what the character/player can live with rather than anything else.

For example, a character with Allure 4, Appearance (Handsome), and Voice can probably live with Lecherousness (12-) and Xenophila (12-) because their amorous attempts are usually seen as complements (or seen as charming foibles). A character with a normal reaction bonus will face sexual harassment lawsuits with the same disadvantages while a character with a negative reaction bonus might get shot for approaching the wrong person.

Anders 11-09-2020 12:28 PM

Re: How "Serious" are Disadvantages?
 
A person with Lecherousness is, on the other hand, very vulnerable to people trying to seduce them. This can be exploited in all sorts of ways.

ericthered 11-09-2020 12:28 PM

Re: How "Serious" are Disadvantages?
 
I think that by RAW, things are pretty extreme, but in practice, at least among the random people on the internet I've played with (and I've played with quite a few), the disadvantages are rather muted. They are usually present, but we're not perfect actors, and there is some pressure to take disadvantages to fill out your sheet, but not to play them perfectly and punishingly. And as a GM, I already have a lot to do to make the game work without doing unfun things like telling you you're playing your character wrong.

Sometimes it will become apparent that someone is blatantly not playing their disad, but if that's not the case, most groups will let it slide.

CarrionPeacock 11-09-2020 12:49 PM

Re: How "Serious" are Disadvantages?
 
The disadvantage themselves are very serious, they're very compulsive and in several past discussions the prevailing opinion was that ordinary people might only have quirks instead of actual mental/physical disadvantages.
However the books themselves doesn't seem to agree with itself as every official template fills the character with -50 or so points worth of disadvantages.

SimonAce 11-09-2020 12:49 PM

Re: How "Serious" are Disadvantages?
 
I don't much like the disadvantage rules myself. To be honest they are kind of crufty in some ways.

Because of that I often just give the points instead and let people take play what they like which was a standard option in the 3rd Edition Compendiums IIRC

Disadvantages are reasonable and quite playable if you manage them in game a bit.

Generally limiting extreme reactions is the best way, a PI with Lecherousness and Quirk Redheads! doesn't necessarily have to run across the street or mess with mobsters girl but he certainly can be distracted for a few second or suffer hefty penalties to social manipulation (say detect lies) when a Redheaded Femme Fatal come into this office

The general rule being "if you can't roleplay it, don't take it." and the unofficial one is "don't take ones that don't fit the game or annoy other player's"

Cinematic examples abound and include some strong reaction.

Indiana Jones and his Phobia "Snakes" , the modern forms of Batman with Cannot Kill Pacifism

These are on all the time but rarely require self control rolls occasionally. For that matter Dr. Maura Isles from the TV Police Procedural Rizzoli and isles has Truthfulness and literally undergoes phobia roles if she tries to lie, Its played for laughs but it works.

Thamior 11-09-2020 01:16 PM

Re: How "Serious" are Disadvantages?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ulzgoroth (Post 2352911)
Well, "constant compulsion" isn't far wrong, but I question what makes that a "psychological extreme".

I'd generally be okay with giving more or less 'normal' people such disadvantages with easy Self Control numbers...but that's because there's a certain rules passage I generally ignore:
"You never have to try a self-control
roll you can always give in willingly,
and it is good roleplaying to do so.
However, there will be times when you
really need to resist your urges, and
that is what the roll is for. Be aware
that if you attempt self-control rolls
too often, the GM may penalize you
for bad roleplaying by awarding you
fewer earned points." (Characters p121)

According to that, no matter how easy self-control is it's inappropriate to even attempt it except in rare and critical cases. Which means that while the Disadvantage might not ruin you as an adventurer because you can overcome it when you really need to, it would dominate the rest of your life.

I think that's dumb, and would allow/use self-control rolls any time the character has any reason to keep their impulses on a leash. But that's a house rule really.

"Never have too", "Too often", "May penalize". I'm reading it like it's kind of at GM's discretion. And that GM can take into account the severity of disadvantage, how often is too often, etc. This passage is there to facilitate roleplaying. And good roleplaying is awarded with bonus points in GURPS.

Otaku 11-09-2020 01:39 PM

Re: How "Serious" are Disadvantages?
 
Many Mental Disadvantages do not affect you constantly - you may attempt to control your urges. (p.B120)
versus
You never have to try a self-control roll - you can always give in willingly and it is good roleplaying to do so. However, there will be times when you really need to resist your urges, and that is what the roll is for. Be aware that if you attempt self-control rolls too often, the GM may penalize you for bad roleplaying by awarding you fewer earned points. (p.B121)
It is good that your Self-Control number doesn't automatically correlate to a specific outlook about your Disadvantage. It only describes your target number should you choose to resist... and some people struggle with a vice but rarely succeed in resisting, while others can easily resist even though they normally see no issues with indulging (and thus don't). What is not good is that, after all these years, I'm still not sure how to properly model someone trying to overcome a Mental Disadvantage.

Should the character who embraces their Gluttony (12) get the same points back as a character who is trying to overcome it? What about the character in between; not wallowing in their gluttony but not seeing anything [i]too[/i wrong with it, either? How about roleplay penalties and bonuses: is it as simple as "I promise I'll eventually buy that off, or at least, buy it down?" and now my character goes from being docked points to maybe earning an extra one for constantly rolling against my SC to avoid partaking?

mr beer 11-09-2020 02:22 PM

Re: How "Serious" are Disadvantages?
 
I've started limiting Disadvantages to ~-25 points and encouraging players to one or two defining Disadvantages. That seems to be easier to roleplay and stretches my credulity a lot less. At -50 points, characters often have a cluster of co-morbid illnesses that should disbar them from society.

Dalin 11-09-2020 02:53 PM

Re: How "Serious" are Disadvantages?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by ericthered (Post 2352916)
I think that by RAW, things are pretty extreme, but in practice, at least among the random people on the internet I've played with (and I've played with quite a few), the disadvantages are rather muted. They are usually present, but we're not perfect actors, and there is some pressure to take disadvantages to fill out your sheet, but not to play them perfectly and punishingly. And as a GM, I already have a lot to do to make the game work without doing unfun things like telling you you're playing your character wrong.

This matches my experience, too, over many years at different GURPS tables. Players (including GMs) need to have leeway to set the right tone for whatever world and genre they are playing in. Some games are cartoony with extreme characters who behave in ways that don't make sense by real-world standards. That can be great fun. If I'm playing in a more realistic game, however, I expect that the gluttonous character won't jump up on the banquet table or steal the Queen's pudding out of her hand. Pocket some royal pastries for later? Absolutely.

This is a good topic for groups to discuss at session zero. When I've seen this go awry has been when folks have different expectations at the table.

Dalin 11-09-2020 03:21 PM

Re: How "Serious" are Disadvantages?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ulzgoroth (Post 2352911)
I'd generally be okay with giving more or less 'normal' people such disadvantages with easy Self Control numbers...but that's because there's a certain rules passage I generally ignore:
"You never have to try a self-control
roll you can always give in willingly,
and it is good roleplaying to do so." (Characters p121)

I've never interpreted this quite so strictly. Most people I play with typically don't bother with self-control rolls unless there is a compelling reason (often the compelling reason is other PCs telling you not to do something). If I choose Impulsiveness for my character, it means that I want to play an impulsive character. I'll reserve the SC rolls for times when being impulsive might put me or my companions at undue risk. (Or, from a meta-perspective, if I fear that being impulsive will make the game less fun for my fellow players.)

Quote:

Originally Posted by Otaku (Post 2352935)
Should the character who embraces their Gluttony (12) get the same points back as a character who is trying to overcome it? What about the character in between; not wallowing in their gluttony but not seeing anything [i]too[/i wrong with it, either?

Any of these interpretations seem fine to me. Regardless, I could see plenty of times when a player might choose not to roll. If I'm playing a gluttonous character, of whatever sort, I want that to come out in my characterizations. So if I'm trying to overcome my gluttony, I might find a good opportunity in a scene to fail my roll on purpose, grabbing a donut and saying, "Donuts! My nemesis. I know I'll regret this later..." And then I'd find lots of opportunities to mention my latest fad diet (while packing a forbidden item in my bag, "just in case"). I'd save the die roll for times when the issue might have a true cost: loss of face, disruption of negotiations, dangerous food, etc.

Ulzgoroth 11-09-2020 03:25 PM

Re: How "Serious" are Disadvantages?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Thamior (Post 2352924)
"Never have too", "Too often", "May penalize". I'm reading it like it's kind of at GM's discretion. And that GM can take into account the severity of disadvantage, how often is too often, etc. This passage is there to facilitate roleplaying. And good roleplaying is awarded with bonus points in GURPS.

I don't have much faith in 'GM's discretion', I think.

But that aside, I would question what in that passage is supposed to facilitate roleplaying. It indicates that one kind of roleplaying (not attempting self-control) is good, and another kind (attempting self-control often) is potentially bad. I don't see how that would make roleplaying easier. (And I don't agree with its expressed preference either.)

Ulzgoroth 11-09-2020 03:37 PM

Re: How "Serious" are Disadvantages?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Dalin (Post 2352953)
I've never interpreted this quite so strictly. Most people I play with typically don't bother with self-control rolls unless there is a compelling reason (often the compelling reason is other PCs telling you not to do something). If I choose Impulsiveness for my character, it means that I want to play an impulsive character. I'll reserve the SC rolls for times when being impulsive might put me or my companions at undue risk. (Or, from a meta-perspective, if I fear that being impulsive will make the game less fun for my fellow players.)

That seems like you're explaining why you don't see that as being constraining, rather than how you don't interpret it strictly?

(Impulsiveness also may be one of the more attractive options. Consider Greed - the text of which ends with the statement that "it is almost a foregone conclusion that you will eventually do something illegal." And that's in reference to the large bonuses to resist illegal opportunities that apply if a character is also Honest! If you don't exercise self-control over Greed at all, you'll do literally anything for a buck. Or there's Indecisiveness, Confused, or Chronic Depression all of which effectively paralyze you.)

gmillerd 11-09-2020 04:28 PM

Re: How "Serious" are Disadvantages?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by DevoutGuardsman (Post 2352908)
I'm curious: do Disadvantages function like constant compulsions or are they viable as occasionally acting in a specific way? Or is it up to roleplay.

You are citing some traits that are low points, -5 and -10. They are not extreme, but if you were to have these people as employees or reports; it would be something of a concern quarterly no doubt likely to avoid following procedures causing problems ... alebit not "extreme".

You cite Impulsive as -15, it reads as -10, but if you boost it to -15, that would be nearing "extreme". And of course that personality issue likely isn't the only flaw that character has. God forbid in find a synergy elsewhere in the character or in another character.

Maths

In the end, just do the maths. B120 has the "self control for mental disadvantages", so for that 15 point Impulsiveness (base is -10, you +50%'ed it) which means it went from a 12 target to a 9 target to resist. Rolling a 9 or less ... yikes ... loose cannon.

This is a character that needs supervision and monitoring (I often think Impulsive is a social disadvantage as 'compulsive idiot' to the other party members). If they at all gullible or passionate about something, fox news could have them looking for the basement at a pizza place or a late night tv infomercial could have them penniless.

Compare

GURPS traits are largely balanced (albeit in a vacuum from each other at times and sometimes a strong combat focus). But if you look at other -10 or -15 point traits, you are in a world of traits that run people's lives from time to time.

If you have a 10pt trait as a IRL person, that is a defining characteristic. People would know you as "that impulsive guy" surely.

Where if at -5 points less so and at -15 points they might think "yeah, that guy that quit work and joined the marines without telling his wife". Likely you are going to lose your job as a Cop and as a Criminal -- so bad.

AlexanderHowl 11-09-2020 04:37 PM

Re: How "Serious" are Disadvantages?
 
High self-control numbers, even in the worst disadvantages, are playable. Lower self-control numbers are problematic unless they are mitigated. For example, someone with Impulsive (6-; Mitigator, Daily medicine, -60%) [-8] and Lecherousness (6-; Mitigator, Daily medicine, -60%) [-12] would be fine as long as they received their medication, but they would become a nightmare to deal with when they missed their doses.

Dalin 11-09-2020 05:02 PM

Re: How "Serious" are Disadvantages?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ulzgoroth (Post 2352960)
That seems like you're explaining why you don't see that as being constraining, rather than how you don't interpret it strictly?

Yeah, maybe I strayed off-point. I guess I don't find it particularly constraining and I read the rule more as a suggestion than a hard-and-fast regulation. I have not yet played at a table where the GM enforced the idea that you shouldn't make self-control rolls "except in rare and critical cases." But maybe this is just semantics. I figure "adventurers" get into "rare and critical" situations pretty much every session. Ultimately, for most non-supernatural disadvantages, I always fall back on the question, "Does this seem to be modeling something believable?" If a narrow interpretation of RAW leads to (IMHO, of course) silly or cartoonish results, then I interpret them more loosely.

For example, I've heard people on these forums interpret Honesty so narrowly that it seems unplayable. I feel like I know many honest people in real life who are obnoxiously law-abiding but aren't obsessed with memorizing every minor regulation on the books of every town they enter. I still find that my looser interpretation provides plenty of great role-playing opportunities and challenges. Having an Honest character in the group is regularly a pain in the butt. It just doesn't routinely paralyze the party or require them to sedate the honest character and toss them in the trunk. (Unless we're playing an over-the-top genre, of course!)

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ulzgoroth (Post 2352960)
(Impulsiveness also may be one of the more attractive options. . . . If you don't exercise self-control over Greed at all, you'll do literally anything for a buck. Or there's Indecisiveness, Confused, or Chronic Depression all of which effectively paralyze you.)

If I were playing a Greedy character, I would generally roleplay their greed as a significant personality trait: always asking for a reward, paying attention to new job opportunities, get-rich-quick schemes, etc. Again, I would only roll if it seemed like a big deal, which I would usually gauge by what the rest of the party wanted to do. I don't like using disads as excuses to hog the spotlight. If I were adventuring in Hellsgate or somewhere with lots of dangerous temptations, I might roll versus self-control all the time. In Hobbiton, not so much.

Similarly, with something like Indecisive, I try to inject lots of moments when I would be dithering over silly things (stuck at the store deciding between brands of milk, painfully slow ordering a drink at a bar, etc.) I would reserve the rolls for when the party is depending on me to make a decision quickly.

Ulzgoroth 11-09-2020 05:40 PM

Re: How "Serious" are Disadvantages?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Dalin (Post 2352974)
Yeah, maybe I strayed off-point. I guess I don't find it particularly constraining and I read the rule more as a suggestion than a hard-and-fast regulation. I have not yet played at a table where the GM enforced the idea that you shouldn't make self-control rolls "except in rare and critical cases." But maybe this is just semantics. I figure "adventurers" get into "rare and critical" situations pretty much every session. Ultimately, for most non-supernatural disadvantages, I always fall back on the question, "Does this seem to be modeling something believable?" If a narrow interpretation of RAW leads to (IMHO, of course) silly or cartoonish results, then I interpret them more loosely.

While I consider cartoonish results usually undesirable, I do think we've gotten fairly frequent editorial opinions that that's what we're supposed to see from above-quirk-level Disadvantages.

I would agree that adventurers have a lot of exceptional situations during gaming sessions that would provide opportunities to exercise self control while probably not getting penalized. But your PC also has those Disadvantages during off-screen time and slice-of-life scenes.
Quote:

Originally Posted by Dalin (Post 2352974)
If I were playing a Greedy character, I would generally roleplay their greed as a significant personality trait: always asking for a reward, paying attention to new job opportunities, get-rich-quick schemes, etc. Again, I would only roll if it seemed like a big deal, which I would usually gauge by what the rest of the party wanted to do. I don't like using disads as excuses to hog the spotlight. If I were adventuring in Hellsgate or somewhere with lots of dangerous temptations, I might roll versus self-control all the time. In Hobbiton, not so much.

Similarly, with something like Indecisive, I try to inject lots of moments when I would be dithering over silly things (stuck at the store deciding between brands of milk, painfully slow ordering a drink at a bar, etc.) I would reserve the rolls for when the party is depending on me to make a decision quickly.

This is a thing I see a lot and don't really understand: many self-control Disadvantages say that you must do a thing whenever a condition applies (whenever you risk physical danger, whenever riches are 'offered', "whenever you have more than the briefest contact with an appealing member of the sex you find attractive"). And many people seem to automatically tone those down to "once in a while when there's a particularly obtrusive trigger".

This creates a really big divergence on perception of how 'heavy' the Disadvantages are.

Stormcrow 11-09-2020 07:14 PM

Re: How "Serious" are Disadvantages?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ulzgoroth (Post 2352976)
This is a thing I see a lot and don't really understand: many self-control Disadvantages say that you must do a thing whenever a condition applies (whenever you risk physical danger, whenever riches are 'offered', "whenever you have more than the briefest contact with an appealing member of the sex you find attractive"). And many people seem to automatically tone those down to "once in a while when there's a particularly obtrusive trigger".

I believe it reflects the idea that GURPS rules are for adventures, not everyday life. Unless you're playing Adventures in Grocery Shopping, you're not going to play out a food-shopping trip, so situations like being unable to decide between products, hitting on all the customers and employees, and believing every bit of marketing aren't going to be played out, and so won't affect you.

So mental disadvantages are a significant part of a character's personality, but they don't interfere with the character's entire life. Their frequency and strength are appropriate for just the adventuring part of your life, not all of it.

AlexanderHowl 11-09-2020 07:28 PM

Re: How "Serious" are Disadvantages?
 
I disagree. I have seen men hitting on cashiers, waitresses, etc. plenty of times in real life, and I have known people who would qualify for Lecherousness (6-) and Xenophilia (6-) because they had very large appetites and very broad tastes. In their case, the only thing that mattered to them was having sex, with as many different people as possible, and they were attractive and charming enough that they could get away with it.

Stormcrow 11-09-2020 10:29 PM

Re: How "Serious" are Disadvantages?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl (Post 2352993)
I disagree. I have seen men hitting on cashiers, waitresses, etc. plenty of times in real life,

But were those men on an adventure when you saw them?

What happens in daily life stays in daily life as far as GURPS goes. You don't have to play out every moment of a character's life. If your character spends a week not on an adventure, you don't have to make rolls to see if he gets a date, blows up at his boss, pushes every unknown button, or acquires a new mental quirk because he fails his fright check upon seeing a spider. You say, "A week passes."

I'll say the usual mantra: GURPS is not a life simulator. It's a system for playing out adventures. Mental disadvantages are not supposed to represent life-crippling hindrances (unless they specifically say they do). They represent your behavior in an adventuring context. Outside of that context, they may operate differently, and the rules won't tell you that. You may not find as many triggers for your Bad Temper outside of an adventure. You may not see so many unknown buttons to trigger your Curiosity outside of an adventure. Your flirtation due to your Lecherousness may or may not be successful, but the results are irrelevant to the adventure, so they are ignored. And so on.

AlexanderHowl 11-09-2020 10:40 PM

Re: How "Serious" are Disadvantages?
 
No, I really do not see it like that. Disadvantages should apply to every aspect of a character's life. Physical disadvantages like Blindness, Deafness, Mute, etc. do not just go away when a character is not on an adventure, so neither should mental or social disadvantages.

For example, a heterosexual male character with Lecherousness is going to probably make a pass at any available attractive woman that he encounters. If he possesses a sufficiently high Sex Appeal or Reaction Bonus, he might succeed often enough to avoid difficulties, but he will always try if there are no particular reasons to resist the urge. What adventures provide are reasons to attempt to resist the urge, not circumstances where the urge occurs.

transmetahuman 11-10-2020 12:46 AM

Re: How "Serious" are Disadvantages?
 
I see the official Disadvantage descriptions as often depicting truly insane or unplayable characters. They really are worded that way, regardless of self-control roll level. Honesty as worded won't let the PC even be in a party where someone else commits a crime (they'd be an accessory) - I've seen a lot of Lawful Paladins thrown out of groups in that other game...

I've thought about a few ways to fix it:

• the GM applies modifiers liberally to the base self control number, based on intensity of the triggering stimulus (your Greed SC roll gets a big bonus for the impulse to steal your nephew's piggy bank; your Lechery roll takes a penalty for Helen of Troy), the danger of indulging, and/or the annoyance it'll cause the other players and benefit of detriment to the flow of the game. That's a lot more work for the GM though.

• steal from FATE and similar games for certain mental disads - you don't get CP up front, but if you choose for your character to indulge, and it seriously inconveniences the character, you're awarded a watered-down Impulse Buys point that can only be used for a set list of weaker effects. Eventually you might end up getting the equivalent of more points than the Disad would have given you, though, with no upper limit.

• go through the most problematically worded "in every situation X, you do Y stupid thing" Disad and come up with a more realistic and playable thresholds for them, then charge half price for the Disad (after adjusting for SC). Again, more work for the GM.

Has anyone tried one of these, or modified the rules in some similar way?

AlexanderHowl 11-10-2020 06:04 AM

Re: How "Serious" are Disadvantages?
 
Honesty is a perfectly good disadvantage for police and/or superhero games. As for other genres, it depends on the local laws of the setting. In some settings, dueling would be legal, so killing someone during a duel may be permissible. In other settings, stealing from 'monsters' would be legal, so traditional dungeon crawling would be allowed.

If a player is not comfortable with the consequences of a disadvantage, they should not take it unless they are planning on buying them off. For example, a character in a contemporary setting could take Bad Sight (Mitigator, Corrective Lenses, -60%) [-10] and buy it off after a few sessions by getting LASIK. In the case of mental disadvantages, life changes, maturation, or therapy can all justify buying them off. In real life, many people have temporary manifestations of mental disadvantages because of adverse circumstances and, when those circumstances change, their behaviors may also change (though some people require help).

For example, depression effects many people who suffer a stillbirth but, with assistance and understanding, it will fade in most of them after a couple of years. A character who suffered a recent stillbirth (or other recent tragic event) could justify practically any mental disadvantage as a potentially temporary deviation of their normal behavior which will fade over time as the sharp edge of grief dulls. Such an event would be best represented by taking the disadvantage during character creation and gradually buying it off over time by purchasing limitations until they pay off the entire cost of the disadvantage.

Ulzgoroth 11-10-2020 01:06 PM

Re: How "Serious" are Disadvantages?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Stormcrow (Post 2352988)
I believe it reflects the idea that GURPS rules are for adventures, not everyday life. Unless you're playing Adventures in Grocery Shopping, you're not going to play out a food-shopping trip, so situations like being unable to decide between products, hitting on all the customers and employees, and believing every bit of marketing aren't going to be played out, and so won't affect you.

So mental disadvantages are a significant part of a character's personality, but they don't interfere with the character's entire life. Their frequency and strength are appropriate for just the adventuring part of your life, not all of it.

How is that an explanation for not triggering Disadvantages every time the events at the table meet the specified condition?

mr beer 11-10-2020 04:56 PM

Re: How "Serious" are Disadvantages?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Stormcrow (Post 2353003)
I'll say the usual mantra: GURPS is not a life simulator. It's a system for playing out adventures. Mental disadvantages are not supposed to represent life-crippling hindrances (unless they specifically say they do). They represent your behavior in an adventuring context. Outside of that context, they may operate differently, and the rules won't tell you that. You may not find as many triggers for your Bad Temper outside of an adventure. You may not see so many unknown buttons to trigger your Curiosity outside of an adventure. Your flirtation due to your Lecherousness may or may not be successful, but the results are irrelevant to the adventure, so they are ignored. And so on.

Any scene that occurs at the table is within what I would consider "adventuring context" for purposes of applying a Disadvantage.

Stormcrow 11-10-2020 05:52 PM

Re: How "Serious" are Disadvantages?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ulzgoroth (Post 2353084)
How is that an explanation for not triggering Disadvantages every time the events at the table meet the specified condition?

It's not, and I never suggested such a thing. I said that mental disadvantages' frequency and severity are tuned to their use on adventures, not their appearance in non-adventuring life. You still have the disadvantage in everyday life, but it won't necessarily be triggered in the psychopathic way that people are reading into them.


Quote:

Originally Posted by mr beer (Post 2353131)
Any scene that occurs at the table is within what I would consider "adventuring context" for purposes of applying a Disadvantage.

Your every trip to the supermarket is not played at the table. If the GM says "a week passes," then you haven't played all those potential social interactions, and your mental disadvantages have no mechanical effect on the game or your character whatsoever during that week. (One exception: a job roll might possibly be affected by a disadvantage.)

If the GM played out every social interaction you had for that non-adventuring week, then you'd basically be unable to function in normal life with many of these disadvantages, as you make passes, blow up at people, peek into every off-limits area, or run away screaming many times a day. And that's just not what mental disadvantages are supposed to represent.

mr beer 11-10-2020 06:23 PM

Re: How "Serious" are Disadvantages?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Stormcrow (Post 2353138)
Your every trip to the supermarket is not played at the table. If the GM says "a week passes," then you haven't played all those potential social interactions

Yep agree. I wasn't sure what you meant by 'non adventuring', well 'a week passes' is non-adventuring. If we play out a trip to the supermarket, which we can safely assume we won't do every time the party needs bread and milk*, then that's all part of the adventure and Disadvantages apply.

* Unless maybe we're playing GURPS: The Shoppening or something.

AlexanderHowl 11-10-2020 06:39 PM

Re: How "Serious" are Disadvantages?
 
Blindness does not just go away when the characters are not adventuring, so why should any other disadvantage? Mental disadvantages determine a lot of the personality of a character and that will apply even 'off camera'.

Anthony 11-10-2020 06:51 PM

Re: How "Serious" are Disadvantages?
 
As written, many disadvantages are pathological and shouldn't be had in more than quirk form by sane people (they don't just define your priorities, they cause you to do things that are clearly bad for you), but it's not clear how extreme they're really meant to be.

Stormcrow 11-10-2020 07:02 PM

Re: How "Serious" are Disadvantages?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by mr beer (Post 2353141)
* Unless maybe we're playing GURPS: The Shoppening or something.

I suggested "Adventures in Grocery Shopping" upthread.

Ulzgoroth 11-10-2020 07:28 PM

Re: How "Serious" are Disadvantages?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Stormcrow (Post 2353138)
It's not, and I never suggested such a thing. I said that mental disadvantages' frequency and severity are tuned to their use on adventures, not their appearance in non-adventuring life. You still have the disadvantage in everyday life, but it won't necessarily be triggered in the psychopathic way that people are reading into them.

I think if you look at your post you can see why I think you did. Perhaps the paragraph you quoted wasn't the paragraph you meant to be replying to?

Fudging what counts as a trigger and Disadvantages applying as written in off-camera time aren't entirely unrelated perhaps, but they're very much separable. Many disadvantages are extremely serious if you take them strictly as written, but much less so if, as stated in the post I replied to, you: "only roll if it seemed like a big deal, which I would usually gauge by what the rest of the party wanted to do. I don't like using disads as excuses to hog the spotlight."

Stormcrow 11-10-2020 10:24 PM

Re: How "Serious" are Disadvantages?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ulzgoroth (Post 2353152)
Many disadvantages are extremely serious if you take them strictly as written

The ones that are in question here are the ones that would be extremely serious if one assumes that they apply at all moments of a character's life. If, on the other hand, they only apply as written when the character is actually being played, and are merely flavor text when the character is not actually being played, then characters with Bad Temper or Lecherousness or Impulsiveness don't live their lives with serious pathological problems. Their disadvantages just show up as part of the plot of their adventure story, disproportionately to their effects on the character's non-adventuring life.

I find it amazing that so many people here just assume that the disadvantages chapter is filled with ways to give your character conditions that would send them straight to therapy, rather than unfortunate behaviors that trip them up on adventures. Sure, a FEW of them are for unstable characters, but those are marked as probably unsuitable for PCs because they're so outrageous. And yes, really low self-control rolls on a lot of them could become debilitating. The rest just give you a personality characteristic easily recognizable by all, but not pathological.

Ulzgoroth 11-10-2020 10:36 PM

Re: How "Serious" are Disadvantages?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Stormcrow (Post 2353172)
The ones that are in question here are the ones that would be extremely serious if one assumes that they apply at all moments of a character's life. If, on the other hand, they only apply as written when the character is actually being played, and are merely flavor text when the character is not actually being played, then characters with Bad Temper or Lecherousness or Impulsiveness don't live their lives with serious pathological problems. Their disadvantages just show up as part of the plot of their adventure story, disproportionately to their effects on the character's non-adventuring life.

I find it amazing that so many people here just assume that the disadvantages chapter is filled with ways to give your character conditions that would send them straight to therapy, rather than unfortunate behaviors that trip them up on adventures. Sure, a FEW of them are for unstable characters, but those are marked as probably unsuitable for PCs because they're so outrageous. And yes, really low self-control rolls on a lot of them could become debilitating. The rest just give you a personality characteristic easily recognizable by all, but not pathological.

...all of which is expressly ignoring the entire post you're quoting from.

AlexanderHowl 11-10-2020 11:51 PM

Re: How "Serious" are Disadvantages?
 
Disadvantages apply all of the time, it is just that adventures give character circumstances during which it may be critical for someone to resist their demons. If mental disadvantages did not apply all of the time, then they would be improperly priced compared to physical and social disadvantages. When it comes to the effects 'off screen', I generally consider 15- to be socially acceptable, 12- to be socially tolerable, 9- to lead to misdemeanor level crimes, and 6- to lead to felony level crimes.

For example, let us look at Bad Temper. At 15-, the character is probably known for having a bit of a temper. At 12-, they likely get into arguments quite easily. At 9-, they will likely end up in jail several times in their life for getting into fights. At 6-, they will likely end up in prison a couple times for aggravated assault.

Otaku 11-11-2020 12:00 AM

Re: How "Serious" are Disadvantages?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl (Post 2353004)
No, I really do not see it like that. Disadvantages should apply to every aspect of a character's life. Physical disadvantages like Blindness, Deafness, Mute, etc. do not just go away when a character is not on an adventure, so neither should mental or social disadvantages.

Quote:

Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl (Post 2353143)
Blindness does not just go away when the characters are not adventuring, so why should any other disadvantage? Mental disadvantages determine a lot of the personality of a character and that will apply even 'off camera'.

People adjust their lives based on their real-world conditions. So, while they do not "go away", the difficulties they face at home ought not to be the same they face while out and about, and those shouldn't compare to what they face while adventuring... unless the adventures all take place in their home and/or home area.

I know I certainly have had to adjust how I live, especially as I've aged.

David Johnston2 11-11-2020 12:54 AM

Re: How "Serious" are Disadvantages?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl (Post 2353143)
Blindness does not just go away when the characters are not adventuring, .

However the problems associated with Blindness diminish greatly if you are in your own home where you know where everything is, you know the ways to get where you are going by heart and you have the support of people you know with nobody trying to kill you. Similarly Bad Temper is less of an issue if you are not in a stressful environment which forces you to make more self-control rolls and the consequences for failing them are less dire.

Dalin 11-11-2020 09:40 AM

Re: How "Serious" are Disadvantages?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Ulzgoroth (Post 2352976)
This is a thing I see a lot and don't really understand: many self-control Disadvantages say that you must do a thing whenever a condition applies (whenever you risk physical danger, whenever riches are 'offered', "whenever you have more than the briefest contact with an appealing member of the sex you find attractive"). And many people seem to automatically tone those down to "once in a while when there's a particularly obtrusive trigger".

This creates a really big divergence on perception of how 'heavy' the Disadvantages are.

I guess most of the people I've GURPSed with over the years don't spend much time carefully parsing RAW. I love the GURPS disadvantage system because I find that it helps people build well-rounded characters that feel believable. I interpret the text more or less strictly depending on the genre and the inclinations of my players. I like it that there are mechanics to fall back on when a player thinks that their character might resist their baser urges. I don't really care if we sometimes forget about it. I don't think that there needs to be a "baseline" or something so that all GURPS characters in different campaigns are disadvantaged equitably. Some games are harsh and strict. Some are loose and cinematic. Some are cartoony. Whatever works for the group.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ulzgoroth (Post 2353152)
Fudging what counts as a trigger and Disadvantages applying as written in off-camera time aren't entirely unrelated perhaps, but they're very much separable. Many disadvantages are extremely serious if you take them strictly as written, but much less so if, as stated in the post I replied to, you: "only roll if it seemed like a big deal, which I would usually gauge by what the rest of the party wanted to do. I don't like using disads as excuses to hog the spotlight."

Note that in that quote I was talking about voluntarily succumbing to disadvantages most of the time rather than rolling. I usually reserve the rolls for important situations. The rest of the time, I just act greedy because that's the type of character I chose to play.

Otaku 11-11-2020 12:22 PM

Re: How "Serious" are Disadvantages?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Dalin (Post 2353213)
Note that in that quote I was talking about voluntarily succumbing to disadvantages most of the time rather than rolling. I usually reserve the rolls for important situations. The rest of the time, I just act greedy because that's the type of character I chose to play.

So... what if that isn't the kind of "Greedy" character I want to play? I'm not sure I was understood earlier. If I was, please pardon me for repeating myself, as it just means I'm the one who wasn't understanding. XP

It just seems like there is a spectrum of ways to handle a disadvantage, and RAW makes it clear that is is not a function of the Self Control number. That number matters, but the same number can apply to
  • The character who revels in their Disadvantage, possibly even considering it a virtue.
  • The character who doesn't think their Disadvantage is a good thing, but thinks it is normal.
  • The charcater who thinks it is maybe a little bit wrong, if not morally, then just because of the practical drawbacks that accompany it.
  • The character who acknowledges it isn't a good thing, but isn't interested in changing.
  • The character who is convinced it is a bad thing, and is making a token effort to change.
  • The character who is convinced it is a bad thing, and is making an effort to change.
  • The character who is convinced it is a bad thing, and is making a serious and/or desperate effort to change.

I don't know if all seven are a good fit for every Disadvantage, but I've seem them all both in real life and in fiction for quite a few. If some of them aren't prohibited, then at the very least, it feels like I'm penalized if I run a character with those last two approaches for sure... even though those are sort of the default "heroic" approach to the Disadvantages not seen as virtuous.

Again, if anyone is wondering about Self Control numbers, while they affect the situation, they aren't the primary determinant. You can have any SC and still apply any of the above approaches, whether you're actually exerting a decent amount of self-control with SC 15, have little control with SC 6, or are somewhere in between. I don't thinkwe need a lot of complicated rules to handle it, either. Again, drawing from both in real life and fiction, the benefits do come with additional problems. Namely, the more you're trying to change, the more it defines your character (good roleplaying) and the more likely your character will be negatively affected when they fail (game mechanics).

The negatives might be external (Reaction penalty because "I thought you were trying to change!") or internal (anger, despair, etc. as you deal with the failure). Even an otherwise well-balanced, emotionally healthy individual who can accept and move beyond that failure will need the time and opportunity to work through it. For characters that are supposed to be improving, so a subset of the last two approaches from my list, they should also be paying down their Disadvantages, even if slowly.

So... am I making anymore sense? Or is this just me missing the forest for the trees again?

Ulzgoroth 11-11-2020 12:41 PM

Re: How "Serious" are Disadvantages?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Dalin (Post 2353213)
Note that in that quote I was talking about voluntarily succumbing to disadvantages most of the time rather than rolling. I usually reserve the rolls for important situations. The rest of the time, I just act greedy because that's the type of character I chose to play.

Ah, very much my mistake there!

But from the examples you gave, it does sound like you're describing occasions to succumb that are characterizing but mostly harmless, and glossing over a lot more cases. Making sure to look for a reward or to check out a get-rich-quick scheme, as opposed to stealing Bilbo's sliverware when Greedy in Hobbiton. Also, with Indecisive, by RAW you dither until you make the self-control roll. If you don't roll, you'd dither forever or until the choice is removed by outside action. Voluntarily failing all Indecision rolls while buying milk would leave you stalled there for hours until you're thrown out of the store!

EDIT: Which in turn is why I think autofailing self-control constantly shouldn't be presented as the norm. Most people who see Bilbo's silver probably are wealthy enough that stealing it is only a weak temptation for the Greedy...but it's not no temptation. Voluntarily failing when it'll be a cute character bit is all well and good, but there's opportunities to fail with fallout everywhere.

Anthony 11-11-2020 01:11 PM

Re: How "Serious" are Disadvantages?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Otaku (Post 2353239)
So... am I making anymore sense? Or is this just me missing the forest for the trees again?

The issue is really "when are you required to make self-control rolls?" If you have to make self-control rolls at absolutely any time you want to resist a disadvantage, it tends to be pathological even at high self-control numbers, and is also obnoxious to run unless you choose to simply not attempt resistance most of the time. If you only have to make self-control numbers in extreme situations it's less weird.

Dalin 11-11-2020 02:26 PM

Re: How "Serious" are Disadvantages?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Otaku (Post 2353239)
So... what if that isn't the kind of "Greedy" character I want to play?

I completely agree that there are many ways of interpreting and roleplaying any given disadvantage. This doesn't really affect, as a player, how often I might roll to resist. Since I am not my character, I regularly make decisions about how to present the character to the rest of the group. If there are some minor greed-inducing situations in a shopping scene in town, I might voluntarily succumb just to breathe life into the character. I could characterize that as "reveling" in it or thinking it's "normal" or genuinely "making an effort" to overcome it but failing and feeling guilty.

Also, note, that I'm not suggesting that anybody else should play this way. This is just the way that I usually do it and it has seemed quite common in the groups I have played with over the years.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ulzgoroth (Post 2353243)
But from the examples you gave, it does sound like you're describing occasions to succumb that are characterizing but mostly harmless, and glossing over a lot more cases.

True. As a player, I would leave it to the GM to manage the consequences of my voluntary failures. If she thinks I'm going to easy on myself, she can provide more scenes where the disadvantage takes center stage. I'm not typically going to go out of my way to create massive problems for my character or the group, though I certainly expect to fail my SC rolls at some deliciously inopportune moments.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ulzgoroth (Post 2353243)
Also, with Indecisive, by RAW you dither until you make the self-control roll. If you don't roll, you'd dither forever or until the choice is removed by outside action. Voluntarily failing all Indecision rolls while buying milk would leave you stalled there for hours until you're thrown out of the store!

Yeah, the RAW there is a bit silly, I think. But, ultimately, I suppose my position isn't so very far from yours. I'm fine not presenting failing as "the norm," but I would hope it is ok for players to voluntarily present those aspects of their characters if they want to.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ulzgoroth (Post 2353243)
Voluntarily failing when it'll be a cute character bit is all well and good, but there's opportunities to fail with fallout everywhere.

Yes. I've seen a couple of tables where the GM basically doesn't need to do any prep because all the characters are such trigger-happy weirdos that they just bumble around getting themselves into trouble. This can be hilarious and fun but isn't always the sort of game I personally want to play.

I have always interpreted disads a bit more loosely because typical templates (in DF, certainly) present characters with a hefty load of disads. It's never been my impression that we're not supposed to be able to spend a night in town without risking arrest over any of a dozen psychotic (or anti-social) behaviors.

Again, though, I think this is a matter of taste, really. Whatever works for each table is fine by me!

Ulzgoroth 11-11-2020 02:39 PM

Re: How "Serious" are Disadvantages?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Dalin (Post 2353269)
Yes. I've seen a couple of tables where the GM basically doesn't need to do any prep because all the characters are such trigger-happy weirdos that they just bumble around getting themselves into trouble. This can be hilarious and fun but isn't always the sort of game I personally want to play.

I have always interpreted disads a bit more loosely because typical templates (in DF, certainly) present characters with a hefty load of disads. It's never been my impression that we're not supposed to be able to spend a night in town without risking arrest over any of a dozen psychotic (or anti-social) behaviors.

Again, though, I think this is a matter of taste, really. Whatever works for each table is fine by me!

I think we agree on most everything except that I'd rather have the rigorous rules and then only use those Disadvantages if you really mean it. (Which among other things does significantly narrow and maybe skew the set of Disadvantages I think of as playable. I kind of think Slave Mentality is more viable for a PC than Greedy. Which certainly seems to put me out of step with GURPS authors...)

AlexanderHowl 11-11-2020 04:34 PM

Re: How "Serious" are Disadvantages?
 
I have never met a player who is willing to have their character hijacked by everyone capable of communicating. Not to be crass, but imagine that the character in question is attractive to humans and you can definitely see the issues involved with Slave Mentality pretty quickly. They would be unable to resist any attempt at Sex Appeal and would be unable to decide to leave the presence of their seducer unless they succeeded on an IQ-8 roll. By definition, that results in an unplayable character unless the games involves some very interesting situations.

Even in less questionable circumstances, a character with Slave Mentality can be ordered around by anyone. They could be ordered to play in traffic or to jump off a cliff and could only disobey by succeeding on a Will-6 roll. They could be ordered to commit felonies and would not be able to defy those orders unless they succeeded on a Will-6 roll.

Ulzgoroth 11-11-2020 05:50 PM

Re: How "Serious" are Disadvantages?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by AlexanderHowl (Post 2353298)
I have never met a player who is willing to have their character hijacked by everyone capable of communicating. Not to be crass, but imagine that the character in question is attractive to humans and you can definitely see the issues involved with Slave Mentality pretty quickly. They would be unable to resist any attempt at Sex Appeal and would be unable to decide to leave the presence of their seducer unless they succeeded on an IQ-8 roll. By definition, that results in an unplayable character unless the games involves some very interesting situations.

Even in less questionable circumstances, a character with Slave Mentality can be ordered around by anyone. They could be ordered to play in traffic or to jump off a cliff and could only disobey by succeeding on a Will-6 roll. They could be ordered to commit felonies and would not be able to defy those orders unless they succeeded on a Will-6 roll.

Approximately true...and still more feasible to manage than having to save or do literally anything to grab some cash, as far as I'm concerned.

Greed means that if you see a way to steal the crown jewels and fail self-control, you have to do it. Or if somebody offers to pay you to kill someone. You don't get any limits unless you manage to set up a conflict of compulsions. (Though this doesn't make you a remotely safe pawn for anybody with a bag of silver, since ripping off a 'client' is also a valid way to resolve the compulsion to get the money.) In particular, you will want to bypass the rest of the party if they'd stop you because what you are doing is dumb and/or evil.

dcarson 11-11-2020 06:13 PM

Re: How "Serious" are Disadvantages?
 
I'm also happy if a PC is always trying to make self control rolls, recovering alcoholic or such as long as they they have that mean problems for them. Won't meet a contact at a bar, avoids social occasions with a open bar, won't drink with the touchy important person.

AlexanderHowl 11-11-2020 06:37 PM

Re: How "Serious" are Disadvantages?
 
Greed is supposed to be a major disadvantage. Greed (6-) is the same value as Hemophilia, which can literally kill you, so it is understandable that it would lead to bad things. Anyway, Greed is easily moderated by Honesty and Wealth, so a character with Wealth (Wealthy), Greed (12-), and Honesty (12-) is probably not going to do anything illegal unless there are tens of millions of dollars on the table, though they may do shady things for less money.

Alden Loveshade 11-11-2020 11:06 PM

Re: How "Serious" are Disadvantages?
 
There can also be a point modifier for the society. I would give less points for Lecherousness in a late 1960s California hippie commune than I would for a Puritan society in 17th century New England.

Most if not all standard GURPS templates give dwarves Greed; in a campaign set in a dwarven underground community, I might give it less points or, depending on the campaign, even no points. In a dwarven society where you're the only one without Greed, being "Greedless" might be looked at with suspicion.

RyanW 11-11-2020 11:28 PM

Re: How "Serious" are Disadvantages?
 
A lot of what has been said here is why I have strongly considered rewriting the disadvantage system to make "personality" sort of disadvantages far more dynamic. Such characterization aspects get you no CP at character creation (though genuine psychological handicaps would, as do physical and social disadvantages), but playing to them is how you get the "good roleplaying" rewards. And without strict bookkeeping on them, you can be a lot more free to make them fit your character or change them as your character grows.

ericthered 11-12-2020 11:11 AM

Re: How "Serious" are Disadvantages?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by RyanW (Post 2353343)
A lot of what has been said here is why I have strongly considered rewriting the disadvantage system to make "personality" sort of disadvantages far more dynamic. Such characterization aspects get you no CP at character creation (though genuine psychological handicaps would, as do physical and social disadvantages), but playing to them is how you get the "good roleplaying" rewards. And without strict bookkeeping on them, you can be a lot more free to make them fit your character or change them as your character grows.


That would mess around with the point accrual rate in gurps though, something I'm really glad is under the control of the GM rather than game mechanics.


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 07:25 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.