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Old 07-28-2021, 02:57 PM   #21
MaryAnn
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Default Re: Limiting skill points

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Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
There's not a way to really quantify this in GURPS. First off, GURPS IQ could represent anything from a (using some computer terminology) better processor to a higher-capacity hard drive... or could even represent a more efficient operating system and/or a hard drive with a lot of stuff on it. Similarly, different people may well be using different compression algorithms and indexing systems, which could wildly influence how much raw data they can store - and how much raw data corresponds to each point in a skill could vary wildly depending on skill, the training method, etc (that is, what the "program" does - [1] in Biology likely takes up more space than [1] in Lance - and how well "programmed" it was).
That's why I started this thread to see if we can come with one.
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Old 07-28-2021, 03:14 PM   #22
Flyndaran
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Default Re: Limiting skill points

Points aren't real and neither are skills themselves in Gurps terms. They're approximations heavily distorted for gaming purposes.
We all know this with how expanded combat skill are compared to the sciences.

There's also the issue of savants that just naturally learn a single subject not just skill at far greater rates than others. Mozart couldn't be written up with any such rules without eventually just saying, "screw it", and giving him high music skills as a toddler.

I think the only way to realistically limit skill points is the straightforward if vague, eyeball it for setting and character.
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Old 07-28-2021, 03:28 PM   #23
MaryAnn
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Default Re: Limiting skill points

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Originally Posted by Flyndaran View Post
Points aren't real and neither are skills themselves in Gurps terms. They're approximations heavily distorted for gaming purposes.
We all know this with how expanded combat skill are compared to the sciences.

There's also the issue of savants that just naturally learn a single subject not just skill at far greater rates than others. Mozart couldn't be written up with any such rules without eventually just saying, "screw it", and giving him high music skills as a toddler.

I think the only way to realistically limit skill points is the straightforward if vague, eyeball it for setting and character.
I see. Since no one else has gotten a proposal, here's what I came up with:

1. Use Will as a control attribute.
2. Use the advantages of Eidetic Memory and Photographic Memory as possible substitutes (Eidetic Memory = Will-(15) and Photographic Memory = Will-(20), for learning purposes).
3. Reference the value to the speed / range table from Basic Set.

As a result: A character with Photographic Memory can gain up to one hundred (100) different abilities, while one with "only" Eidetic Memory can maintain up to (15). The attribute of Will can reach up to 16, considering each point out of 10 the value of one standard deviation. In this way, the character who can maintain the most abilities (without having a Photographic Memory) will be able to obtain up to twenty different abilities with Will-(16).
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Old 07-28-2021, 03:38 PM   #24
MaryAnn
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Default Re: Limiting skill points

I am also applying a personal rule that no character can buy the ability beyond five (5) points above the attribute value (the techniques can be improved further). This results in an average character having two skills that they are good at, which can reach the value of 15 (IQ + 5, 10 being the average IQ).

I think I can extrapolate information from some books and, for example, assess that one skill of average difficulty equals two of easy, and that hard and very hard skills equate to two and four of average difficulty, respectively.
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Old 07-28-2021, 06:06 PM   #25
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Default Re: Limiting skill points

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Note that this is an alternate rule specifically designed to avoid you problem you point to of job experience giving you insanely high skills.
This. It's already covered in case "GM says so" isn't enough to control it.

Having lots of time doesn't mean you suddenly learn a lot of skills. You have social things to do, relaxation, retention, etc. etc.
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Old 07-28-2021, 06:06 PM   #26
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Default Re: Limiting skill points

How are they getting 800 hours a month? With 24-hour days, 800/24=33.33 days, which is more than a month. Also, they probably sleep some, so the number would be even lower. Where did they find a teacher doing intensive training all day every day? How are they paying for this training, food, shelter, clothes, etc?
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Old 07-28-2021, 06:15 PM   #27
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Default Re: Limiting skill points

I just wanted to suggest you ask yourself exactly why you want to do this for your game. What exactly is the "broken" mechanism you are trying to fix? Are you simply trying to make characters more "realistic"? Do you really need that change?

As others have mentions, character points and skills and skill levels are game mechanics. They are not something that's actually quantifiable or measurable in real life. You aren't even supposed to roll for most skill uses except in "adventure" situations, so even then the probabilities can't be compared to ordinary life of situations - Driving 8 vs Driving 18 are absolutely identical in day-to-day driving... but it makes a huge difference in high-speed chases. So are the changes you want to make really going to achieve "realism?" Will it really make a difference?

Regardless of your reason for wanting this, there's nothing wrong with what you want in of itself. I've certainly limited skills in some of my games for the purpose of "fitting the setting", which sometimes included the label "realistic". But these are decisions about "what type of game do I (and my players) want." Just want to recommend that you are doing this for that reason, rather than trying to make the rules "more realistic."

Anyway, you have raised two solutions: a) limit the total number of points in skills; and b) limit skill level to certain level above attributes. Both are valid methods to adjust the feel of the campaign setting, so conceptually, there are no issues with your approach.

For what it's worth, I also use roughly "attribute +5" as my "realistic" limit (and roughly attribute +10 for cinematic, and no limits for superheroic). But that limit is as arguable as my definition of "realistic." It's neither right nor wrong. It's just the limit I happened to settle upon.

But one thing I've learned with my experience in tweaking the feels of my campaign settings is that if you limit how many points your players can spend on something, then where else will those points go instead? If they can only have 100 points in skills, and can't get skills above attribute +5, then what you will start seeing when they reach those limits is an increase in the number of talents (and bonuses from multiple talents are cumulative) and an increase in attribute levels. So their effective skills will still go up above what you see as your "realistic" cap. You will therefore have to limit those as well. And those changes can then cascade into other required changes. Again FYI, I myself impose limits for attribute as well as skills - both in terms of maximum levels and maximum number of points in all attributes - based on the specifics of the campaign I want), ranging from (80 points in attributes, max 14 in any one attribute) for the most "gritty" games to no limits for superheroic.

While I have put a maximum number of points in attribute limits, I have never used a maximum number of points in skills. I guess I personally never saw the point, as it's the most likely place players will spend earned points, and I want to encourage that rather than make them start grabbing a random collection of advantages. If you do want to take the limiting points in skills route, I think your best approach is to make an arbitrary decision and apply it to everyone equally instead of having a formula based on the character's stats. Points are a game mechanism/construct whose sole purpose is to make character creation and progression "fair;" that is, all players have an equal currency they can all apply the same way if they want to. If one player has limits that another does not, then you've gotten rid of the fairness behind them. You may as well ignore points and just have players make the characters they want with no point limits and then have the GM decide if it works for his game (and yes, I've done that too.. but it only worked when I had the right players for those types of games).

The other issue is that as players earn more points, they'll start buying your Photographic Memory (or whatever trait influences the cap) once they reach their skill cap. "I can't put more points into skills because I don't have Photographic Memory.. ok, I'll buy Photographic Memory"). I would personally find a party composed of a group of people all with Photographic Memory to be just as unrealistic.

Also, how does the fairness work between a warrior (who only really needs 4 of 5 different warrior skills to be a good warrior) and a mage (who needs dozens if not hundreds of spell skills to be a good mage)? Will your limits be affecting all character concepts equally? The players who wants a character with a lot of skills has to get certain traits he may not want to build his character, but the player who is investing all of his points into advantages is good to go?

Although I recommend against the total point cap in skills, for what it's worth, my "realistic" templates tend to have 45 points in skills, with 24 of them going to three "primary" skills, 12 to four "secondary skills" and the remaining 9 to "background skills". I therefore think 45 points, or maybe 50 is a good arbitrary "realistic" level. I think the best way to "enforce" your limit is with a strict skill degradation if you don't practice or maintain your skill. As someone else suggest, perhaps every 1 point in a skill require 1 hour of practice/on the job to maintain each week (throwing a random number here as an example: I didn't do any real math to see if that's a good number or not). At one point, maintaining your skills becomes your full-time job, and that sets up their actual point limit.

Anyway, I hope this gave you items to consider as you seek your solution to your problem
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Old 07-29-2021, 02:04 AM   #28
johndallman
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Default Re: Limiting skill points

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Originally Posted by Extrarius View Post
How are they getting 800 hours a month? With 24-hour days, 800/24=33.33 days, which is more than a month. Also, they probably sleep some, so the number would be even lower. Where did they find a teacher doing intensive training all day every day? How are they paying for this training, food, shelter, clothes, etc?
Intensive training is from p. B293. An hour of it counts as two hours of normal training. Doing intensive training continuously for months or years at a time is not really plausible for human beings.
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Old 07-29-2021, 07:50 AM   #29
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Default Re: Limiting skill points

I don't see the insistence on having f(x) = x*y^z for skill points.

Isn't it easier to just look at the setting theme and character concepts and give the players general instructions.

eg. "We're doing realistic horror fairly average Joes and Janes fighting werewolves so keep skill levels 'ordinary'. Probably less than a dozen skills and not-too-remarkable levels".

Or

"We're aiming for something Sherlock Holmes and Indiana Jones-like, so go nuts with crazy-high skills, including Wildcard skills".

If a player makes something that sticks out it is easy enough to just tell them that their 'not-so-average Joe with 30 different skills including Krav Maga' isn't a good character concept for the 'ordinary-people-horror campaign' even if they somehow fit it in the point-budget.
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Old 07-29-2021, 07:57 AM   #30
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Default Re: Limiting skill points

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Originally Posted by RedMattis View Post
If a player makes something that sticks out it is easy enough to just tell them that their 'not-so-average Joe with 30 different skills including Krav Maga' isn't a good character concept for the 'ordinary-people-horror campaign' even if they somehow fit it in the point-budget.
I pretty much agree with this.

I do provide guidelines to players for broad classes of abilities that are appropriate, or not. But I don't try to provide a comprehensive set of rules that will ensure that any character that is rules legal will also be guaranteed to be appropriate to a given campaign. The effort would be exhausting, the complex rules might drive away players, and on the other hand that sort of thing could challenge power gamers to come up with clever ways of being rules legal and still bestriding the game world like colossi.

Instead, first, I get all the players together to discuss character concepts, so that they come up with ideas that fit together; and second, I have the players submit character drafts to me for review and approval. I check that the arithmetic is right, I check that the designs are rules legal, I check that they fit the campaign theme, I suggest things that ought to go with the character concept, and I suggest ideas that might make the character more fun, if I think of any. Characters require GM approval before they can be played.
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