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Old 07-28-2022, 11:06 AM   #11
JulianLW
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Default Re: Seeking Ally-build flexibiity

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Originally Posted by David Johnston2 View Post
Hol' up. I'm a gonna stop you right there, and point out that a lot of the disadvantages an animal might be built with for being an animal are actually irrelevant to its value as an ally. For example Social Stigma Animal is actually an advantage when you are using a super-smart talking rodent as a spy or a diversion. It makes them more effective in those roles. A disadvantage that doesn't disadvantage the player character isn't one. Additionally any limitation point limit that applies to the player would normally apply to the players allies.

Additionally, it is true that there's an optional rule in Supers for players who want to play a ten thousand point character with a 250 point government agent for an ally, ie. Wonder Woman. But the minimum value for allies was set for a reason and that reason was just this kind of ally. The applications of a tiny ally with humanlike intelligence that nobody expects are hugely out of proportion to its supposed "point total"
Here's a relevant Krommpost on animal allies.

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Originally Posted by Kromm View Post
Animals being designed as characters do, for the purpose of point value, receive Wealth (Dead Broke) [-25]. Their point values as Allies need to reflect their full capabilities relative to non-animal Allies with the same points. If a 50-point human and 50-point tiger both cost the same as Allies, then they had better be using the same standards. The human has money, and can buy equipment that makes him more useful; the tiger does not. Ergo, the tiger's 50 points has to include the -25 for Dead Broke.

Animals don't qualify for Low TL or reduced literacy unless they have IQ 6+ and can use technological skills and languages to begin with; see the boxes on pp. B15, B23. This isn't a double standard, but a consequence of IQ 5 or less. In effect, below IQ 6, your TL is "n/a" and your language abilities are "n/a."

By default, Status is 0 for animals, just like anyone else. Strictly speaking, their Status is "n/a" as well . . . by human standards. They aren't in charge of anyone, but then again, they aren't serfs or street people. Wild animals are essentially free (Status 0), while domestic ones enjoy their master's Status by association (on average, also Status 0).

Finally, animals get either Social Stigma (Valuable Property) [-10] or Bestial [-10], depending on whether they're domestic or wild. In a few societies, they might get Social Regard instead. Plenty of animals are revered for religious reasons.
If you think human-intelligence-level rat is a secret advantage, you should probably handle that separately as an Unusual Background for the rat.

EDIT: Or give the rat Ally the Special Abilities +50% modifier.

Last edited by JulianLW; 07-28-2022 at 11:09 AM.
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Old 07-28-2022, 11:21 AM   #12
Varyon
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Default Re: Seeking Ally-build flexibiity

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Originally Posted by Donny Brook View Post
How should the value of the trait be reduced for an Ally the doesn't grow with the PC?
As noted, this is canonically +0%. A fair option would be to actually recalculate the cost of the Ally as the character improves. That doesn't really work for an Ally that's worth 5% or less (since at that level, its cost is [1]), so doesn't apply for your rat-buddy, but if you had a more powerful Ally - say, a rather exceptional dog that is [37] (25%) - you'd have room to work. Going with the dog, if it's always available (x4), that costs [4]. When you reach [250], if the dog is still only [37], it's now at 15% of your point total, for a cost of [2.4] - which rounds up to [3], meaning you get [1] back. This would have a more noticeable effect for an Ally who is closer in points to your character, or who has Enhancements that make the Ally worth more to start with.

An alternative option, and one that would work for your rat, would be to still have the Ally gain points, but if you don't think the Ally should improve (note at 5% of your value, the rat only gains [+1] per [+20] you yourself gain), have the Ally store up these points for use as Impulse Buys later. These should only be usable to benefit the Ally directly (avoiding a kick, not getting fried when chewing through electrical wires to shutdown OpFor's security, etc), and be under the control of the GM (like the Ally itself, although the player should probably be able to make suggestions), but will prevent the Ally from gaining in power (because all the gained points are being stored - and later used - for Impulse Buys) without requiring you to figure out some fair Limitation value or just waive the Ally gaining points for no benefit. You can do the same thing if the Ally is built on less than the maximum number of points allowed (for your rat, 5% of [150] is [7.5], rounded down to [7], so the rat is itself a [6] character with 1 Impulse Point in reserve).
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Old 07-28-2022, 11:48 AM   #13
Donny Brook
 
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Default Re: Seeking Ally-build flexibiity

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Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
As noted, this is canonically +0%.
Is there a reference for that by an chance?

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A fair option would be to actually recalculate the cost of the Ally as the character improves. That doesn't really work for an Ally that's worth 5% or less (since at that level, its cost is [1]), so doesn't apply for your rat-buddy, but if you had a more powerful Ally - say, a rather exceptional dog that is [37] (25%) - you'd have room to work. Going with the dog, if it's always available (x4), that costs [4]. When you reach [250], if the dog is still only [37], it's now at 15% of your point total, for a cost of [2.4] - which rounds up to [3], meaning you get [1] back. This would have a more noticeable effect for an Ally who is closer in points to your character, or who has Enhancements that make the Ally worth more to start with.

An alternative option, and one that would work for your rat, would be to still have the Ally gain points, but if you don't think the Ally should improve (note at 5% of your value, the rat only gains [+1] per [+20] you yourself gain), have the Ally store up these points for use as Impulse Buys later. These should only be usable to benefit the Ally directly (avoiding a kick, not getting fried when chewing through electrical wires to shutdown OpFor's security, etc), and be under the control of the GM (like the Ally itself, although the player should probably be able to make suggestions), but will prevent the Ally from gaining in power (because all the gained points are being stored - and later used - for Impulse Buys) without requiring you to figure out some fair Limitation value or just waive the Ally gaining points for no benefit. You can do the same thing if the Ally is built on less than the maximum number of points allowed (for your rat, 5% of [150] is [7.5], rounded down to [7], so the rat is itself a [6] character with 1 Impulse Point in reserve).
Very useful suggestions, thank you.

I just though also of an Enhancement that allows the ally's CP gains to accrue to the PC. Cosmic +100% maybe?

Of course it does help that the Ally will only be gaining 5% of the PCs gains instead of 25%.

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Old 07-28-2022, 12:15 PM   #14
Varyon
 
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Default Re: Seeking Ally-build flexibiity

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I just though also of an Enhancement that allows the ally's CP gains to accrue to the PC. Cosmic +100% maybe?
"Character Point Generator" Advantages are almost invariably a Bad Idea. In this case, consider an Ally built on 150% of the character's points, has basically pumped all his points into being unkillable (Unkillable 3 and related), and is available only on a roll of 6 or lower (for half cost). That's [5]. If you make the Enhancement +100%, that's [10]. If you give the PC's [4] per session, this PC is now gaining an additional [6] per session - after only two sessions, the Ally has more than paid for itself, and thereafter the PC simply gains power at 2.5x the rate of the other, in addition to sometimes having the assistance of someone unkillable.

The only fair way to implement a "points get transferred to PC" effect is with my first suggestion, above - leave the Ally's points static, and once the character has enough points that the Ally should have cost less, you can reduce the cost of the Ally Advantage. In the case of a character build on 150% of the PC's total and appearing on a roll of 6 or lower, the Ally costs [5]. Once the PC has enough points that the Ally is actually only worth 130%, this drops to [4], giving the PC one point back, to spend as the player sees fit (for a [150] PC and [225] Ally, this happens when the PC reaches [174]).
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Old 08-01-2022, 12:41 AM   #15
mburr0003
 
Join Date: Jun 2022
Default Re: Seeking Ally-build flexibiity

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Originally Posted by Donny Brook View Post
Foregoing future CP growth seems like a substantial loss, worth something, not 0%.
As Peter del'Orto has shown in his Felltower Campaign, it isn't. If you make it a setting switch that all Allies are built at Starting PC points.

If only one Ally has that limitation it does have implications... depending on your Players. Some will care, some won't.
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Old 08-01-2022, 04:11 AM   #16
dcarson
 
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Default Re: Seeking Ally-build flexibiity

One place that your percentage points might go for an Ally is Reputation (Ally of powerful PC). As John Wick proves failing to recognize that can have major campaign effects.
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Old 08-01-2022, 09:31 AM   #17
Varyon
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Default Re: Seeking Ally-build flexibiity

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One place that your percentage points might go for an Ally is Reputation (Ally of powerful PC).
I wouldn't charge an Ally for being associated with the PC. If the Ally is available, they're operating alongside the PC, so the PC can use their own Reputation directly. Even if the PC sends the Ally to represent his/her interests somewhere, any impact of the PC's Reputation on how the Ally is treated is a function of the PC, not of the Ally. If the Ally isn't available, he or she shouldn't be doing anything that impacts the story so the fact the Ally can leverage their relationship to the PC doesn't matter, and thus isn't worth any points. It could certainly be used by the GM as a plot hook or similar, of course. If the PC's Reputation gets the Ally into trouble while the Ally is off-camera, well, that's not (just) an Ally - that's a Dependent (and note you can have the same character be both Ally and Dependent).
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Old 08-02-2022, 07:57 AM   #18
Kallatari
 
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Default Re: Seeking Ally-build flexibiity

I’ve always used a house rule for Allies. In my rules, an Ally is worth 1 character point for every 10 character points or fraction thereof it is built with (with negative value Allies being worth a minimum of 1 point).

I had two reasons for using this rule.

First reason: I really didn’t like needing to track the changing value and/or changing stats of an Ally as the PC changes is character point total. If a PC’s character point total goes up in value, either the value of the Ally goes down (thus reducing the character point total, so negative feedback there… what if that then raises the value of the Ally?) and/or you need to improve the point total of the Ally. While the latter option seems easier, not all Allies can be improved. Intelligent sapient allies can improve, but what about animal allies, or zombies, or robots? They don’t always have reasonable means of increasing in value. Sure, you can get your robots upgrades… but there might be a $ value associated with that to make sense in-game, which the PC might not have. Long story short, while you can find a work-around logic, there are needless hassles involved depending on what exactly the Ally is.

Likewise, what if the PC’s point total goes down, from injury, curses, etc. Does the value of the Ally then go up? “Well, you lost your eyes, giving you Blindness [-50], so now your Ally is worth 100% of your total point value instead of just 50%, so it goes up in cost. You owe me points…”

Granted, all of this can be hand waived. Traits changed in play can, at the GM’s discretion based on campaign parameters, not cost the player anything. Points are only used for what PC deliberately purchase. But not everyone uses that rule.

Second reason: It made it difficult to make summoning/conjuring Ally-based abilities for powers. If I wanted to create a “summon 50-point wolf spell” for Sorcery, well the cost of that spell would depend on who is buying it. I didn’t view that as fair. In my opinion, a given ability of a power should be worth the same no matter who gets it. I have created various summon elementals, raised undead hordes, summon animal, summon angel, etc. spells/powers in my games, and I like them having a static value and costing the same for everyone.

Now someone in the thread mentioned the cost of Ally should be based on the starting point value of a PC, and not the current value of the PC. I hadn’t thought of that approach. That nicely solves my issue #1, and I think does work well for a given campaign.

It doesn’t solve my issue #2, however. Well, it does within a single campaign, but not within multiple campaigns. I wrote my summoning abilities as setting-neutral to be use in any campaign I want to play, whether high or low powered. Giving it a flat value of 1 point per 10 points of the Ally makes it work that way. Yeah, I fully admit that re-calculating the cost once per campaign is minimal work… but sometimes I can be really lazy. 😉

Anyway, I just find it weird that Ally is the only trait whose value is variable that is dependent on an outside variable (not including traits related to “starting cash”). I just don’t like that concept, and it doesn’t fit with anything else in GURPS.

Ultimately, that’s why I made my houserule of making it worth 1 point for every 10 point value of the Ally (minimum 1).

And I admit, even that's not perfect...what if the Ally becomes Blind? Does that then reduce his value by 5 points? Despite that, I still think my houserule is easier for the GM.
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Old 08-02-2022, 08:29 AM   #19
sir_pudding
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Default Re: Seeking Ally-build flexibiity

Note that nothing says you have to spend the Ally's earned points right away.
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Old 08-02-2022, 09:06 AM   #20
Varyon
 
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Default Re: Seeking Ally-build flexibiity

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Originally Posted by Kallatari View Post
Likewise, what if the PC’s point total goes down, from injury, curses, etc. Does the value of the Ally then go up? “Well, you lost your eyes, giving you Blindness [-50], so now your Ally is worth 100% of your total point value instead of just 50%, so it goes up in cost. You owe me points…”
Personally, I think traits gained through gameplay (rather than those purchased with accumulated points) should be treated as simply being worth [0] (as you suggested later in your post). A character who starts out blind has Blindness [-50], while a character who has his eyes gouged out in a fight has Blindness [0]. Meanwhile, a character who starts out with a magical tattoo that grants her a bonus to DX has something like DX+1 (Magical -10%) [18], while a character who is given one as a reward for rescuing an enchanter has DX+1 (Magical -10%) [0]. Doing this, you don't need to adjust the character's point level, and thus anything based on it - such as the point total of an Ally, Dependent, Enemy, or Patron - similarly doesn't get adjusted.

[0] traits are easier to get rid of or lose. The character with Blindness [-50] needs to find a way to restore his eyesight, and also has to pay off the value of the Disadvantage, while the character with Blindness [0] only needs to find a way to restore his eyesight. Similarly, the character with DX+1 (Magical -10%) [18] would have to mess up pretty badly for her to lose it, but the character with DX+1 (Magical -10%) [0] could basically lose the trait by GM fiat. It's the same as the difference between Wealth and earned cash in the game... or having a Gadget vs a magical weapon with the same effects.


All that said, simply setting the value of an Ally to be based on how many points the Ally has, rather than the relative value compared to that of the PC, makes a good deal of sense, and certainly has an advantage in exporting the Ally to other campaigns. I'm not certain how well it would work for the other traits that follow the same trend - that is, Dependent, Enemy, and Patron - however.
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