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Old 08-21-2014, 11:33 AM   #31
Otaku
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Allies and Ally Group

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Originally Posted by Ulzgoroth View Post
A Contact Group seems to basically be a Wildcard Skill Contact, with the group versus individual element having no mechanical significance.
Thanks; that was an oversight on my part. It is embarrassing, but brings up a good point for me to address when we do hit Contact Group/Contacts in their due week; why are these separate Advantages instead of a simple modifier to Contacts (Uses Wildcard Skill).

So to amend my earlier statement, merging Allies with Patron may we can eventually combine Ally Group in there as well, or it may require Ally Group is expanded to handle "Patron Group" as a separate Advantage or at least separate-but-related Advantage. The fact that Patrons can be one individual or an entire group is one of the distinctions between Ally and Patron, but if its worth differentiating for Allies, perhaps it is worth doing so for Patron as well.

I also wanted to address something; you may have noticed I'm not posting a model for what I've been discussing. Simply put I feel I am too raw as a 4e player/GM to make a serious attempt. The best I can probably do on my own are very vague guidelines (such as suggesting a Modifier without knowing an appropriate percentage value)... and that might also be the worst approach for me to take. Given some of the discussion I've witnessed on the board, I am still holding out hope someone has even some house rules (even if they didn't ultimately work) to share.
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Old 08-21-2014, 02:50 PM   #32
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Allies and Ally Group

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Originally Posted by Otaku View Post
Thanks; that was an oversight on my part. It is embarrassing, but brings up a good point for me to address when we do hit Contact Group/Contacts in their due week; why are these separate Advantages instead of a simple modifier to Contacts (Uses Wildcard Skill).
It could just be historical reasons. I don't actually know that Contact Group predates 4e, but I would guess that it does.
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Old 08-21-2014, 02:55 PM   #33
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Allies and Ally Group

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Originally Posted by Otaku View Post
I also wanted to address something; you may have noticed I'm not posting a model for what I've been discussing. Simply put I feel I am too raw as a 4e player/GM to make a serious attempt. The best I can probably do on my own are very vague guidelines (such as suggesting a Modifier without knowing an appropriate percentage value)... and that might also be the worst approach for me to take. Given some of the discussion I've witnessed on the board, I am still holding out hope someone has even some house rules (even if they didn't ultimately work) to share.
I'm not really sure why this is necessary. Sure, they could be combined, and that's more elegant, but it also works as is. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Also having a lot of house rules is problematic, at least for me, since that's just more stuff that you have to document and remember as being in effect. I try to keep my house rules to a minimum for that reason.
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Old 08-21-2014, 03:22 PM   #34
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Allies and Ally Group

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Originally Posted by Ulzgoroth View Post
It could just be historical reasons. I don't actually know that Contact Group predates 4e, but I would guess that it does.
Could be, though I'm not seeing Contact Group in Compendium I or GURPS Update.

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Originally Posted by sir_pudding View Post
I'm not really sure why this is necessary. Sure, they could be combined, and that's more elegant, but it also works as is. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Also having a lot of house rules is problematic, at least for me, since that's just more stuff that you have to document and remember as being in effect. I try to keep my house rules to a minimum for that reason.
What do you mean by "necessary"?

Not trying to play word games but after writing and deleting a somewhat lengthy response, I want to be sure before I even try to answer this question. The short answer is "No, like all of GURPS, this is not necessary."
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Old 08-21-2014, 04:11 PM   #35
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Allies and Ally Group

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What do you mean by "necessary"?
I mean does it fix a problem that needs to be fixed? What does unifying Ally Patron and Contact do that actually makes the game more fun (or realistic or whatever your goal is). Yes it is more elegant, but I don't see elegance of rules as the sole reason to make a house rule. Remember that house rules are often hard to remember in actual play and difficult to troubleshoot for unexpected rules interactions. I have only a few that I use in every campaign, and I'm not seeing what this does that is as useful.

Yes it is simplifies the rules, by turning three traits into one, but it also adds a lot of complexity elsewhere:
  • You'll need to communicate it to players as otherwise they'll assume the RAW.
  • You and players will have to consistently remember the house rule and how it differs from the RAW.
  • You won't be able to use any published material that uses Ally, Patron or Contact (which is quite a lot of stuff!) as-is without conversion to your house rule.

Which, for me, anyway is more than enough reason to not do it. The last in particular is very frustrating to implement when you just want to use some published resources in your game.

Is there any reason to do this other than for more elegant mechanics?
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Old 08-21-2014, 05:32 PM   #36
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Allies and Ally Group

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I mean does it fix a problem that needs to be fixed?
Assuming
  1. it can done properly
  2. the criticisms of others are valid

then the answer would be "Yes". I'm not an expert in pretty much anything, but I've been obsessing with games my whole life. Even then I realize that shouldn't carry much weight but my repeated first hand experience is that ignoring problems because you can is a myth: you can never ignore problems in perpetuity. If there is a more pressing issue to address, go ahead and prioritize, but when you ignore the little things long enough, the eventually stop being so little.

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What does unifying Ally Patron and Contact do that actually makes the game more fun (or realistic or whatever your goal is).
Again, assuming it can be done and done well, it should both improve the ability to both more accurately price and model said relationships and clear up some of the current misunderstanding around them which would among other things be more "fun" and "fair" to all parties involved.

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Yes it is more elegant, but I don't see elegance of rules as the sole reason to make a house rule.
  1. I asked if anyone had examples of their own tweaks, and if need be was willing to sketch something out myself.
  2. By asking even for failed tweaks, I can better ascertain how to fix things... or if a fix is worth pursuing.
  3. House rules are where all the rules originally started, unless was Man-To-Man a shameless knock off of another product. In the unlikely event this discussion led to a good, cohesive alternate rule, I would hope someone would write it up for a future Pyramid article.
  4. Why would making the rules more generic and universal while improving role-playing and gaming not be an excellent sole reason for doing anything with GURPS? O_o

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Originally Posted by sir_pudding View Post
Remember that house rules are often hard to remember in actual play and difficult to troubleshoot for unexpected rules interactions.
This seems to be a somewhat specious argument; if all that happens is people that enjoy designing alternate rules do so but find out they are completely impractical in execution, that really is part of this game. It is possible that no one will ever feel like using what is suggested, and that's okay as well; at least I thought that was allowed by the board rules. Otherwise everything you said is true of at least some aspect of the actual rules, let alone most official alternate rules and unofficial house rules, making me question the relevance.

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Originally Posted by sir_pudding View Post
I have only a few that I use in every campaign, and I'm not seeing what this does that is as useful.
Probably because these rules don't yet exist. XD

I don't see what makes your house rules so useful... because I don't know what ones you're using. ;)

If I knew, I would still need to sit in on several of your games that involved using those rules, and even then that might not yet be enough to demonstrate their value to me. I'm neither you nor one of your players. It may not seem like a big deal to you, but I've read at least one good thread in the last six months (give or take) exploring issues with the price of Contacts and how not only does it seem too pricey for what you get, you are probably better off just having an Ally designed to fulfill a similar function.

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Originally Posted by sir_pudding View Post
Yes it is simplifies the rules, by turning three traits into one, but it also adds a lot of complexity elsewhere:
  • You'll need to communicate it to players as otherwise they'll assume the RAW.
  • You and players will have to consistently remember the house rule and how it differs from the RAW.
  • You won't be able to use any published material that uses Ally, Patron or Contact (which is quite a lot of stuff!) as-is without conversion to your house rule.
This goes without saying. No, I mean it; it is a bit insulting that you felt the need to point out the obvious, especially when that's true when you use RAW as well; a good player (and GM) knows you need to verify even RAW because GURPS is all about customization (or the option to use none at all). Not much point to being "generic" and "universal" otherwise.

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Originally Posted by sir_pudding View Post
Which, for me, anyway is more than enough reason to not do it. The last in particular is very frustrating to implement when you just want to use some published resources in your game.
Great... then you can ignore this part of the conversation if it causes you so much distress. Or you can keep participating; that's good as well! Just please remember that those who decide to participate either agree these rules should be streamlined, or don't but just enjoy trying to help someone out who does.

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Originally Posted by sir_pudding View Post
Is there any reason to do this other than for more elegant mechanics?
Multiple. I won't repeat them as I gave them earlier in this post. Obviously you couldn't have read them before I posted them, but most I considered self-evident hence why I didn't mention them sooner. I must confess some confusion as to why this bothers you so much, especially for GURPS... where players are encouraged to adjust the rules as is necessary (but warned of the potential consequences).

TL;DR: Did I kick your puppy and not realize it? Improving game mechanics is its own reward, assuming you actually do improve them. If you've got no problem with RAW as is, good for you. I've read other discussions on the board about some concerns with Allies, Patrons and Contacts that I found compelling, and I thought this was a decent place to bring it up. If this is not, please consider PMing me about it or if the offense is as great as you make it seem, go ahead and report my posts; I won't take it personally! :)
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Last edited by Otaku; 08-21-2014 at 05:36 PM.
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Old 08-21-2014, 06:26 PM   #37
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Allies and Ally Group

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Originally Posted by Otaku View Post
I'm not an expert in pretty much anything, but I've been obsessing with games my whole life. Even then I realize that shouldn't carry much weight but my repeated first hand experience is that ignoring problems because you can is a myth: you can never ignore problems in perpetuity. If there is a more pressing issue to address, go ahead and prioritize, but when you ignore the little things long enough, the eventually stop being so little.
I'm really being dense here, honest. I don't see these problems that unifying these traits solves. Can you explain what they are?

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I don't see what makes your house rules so useful... because I don't know what ones you're using. ;)
They aren't secrets. I document them (I hope) very clearly. Phoenix Imperative p. 11 and Blight Years p. 15 (although really I ought to add Weapon Breakage and Unarmed Attacks there too).

Quote:
It may not seem like a big deal to you, but I've read at least one good thread in the last six months (give or take) exploring issues with the price of Contacts and how not only does it seem too pricey for what you get, you are probably better off just having an Ally designed to fulfill a similar function.
No, I agree Contact needs a fix. I don't see how unifying it with Allies fixes it any better than just fixing it does, though.
Quote:
This goes without saying. No, I mean it; it is a bit insulting that you felt the need to point out the obvious,
I'm sorry. I don't mean to be insulting. I thought it was obvious when I asked why it was necessary and it apparently wasn't so I tried to explain what I meant. What is obvious to you is not always obvious to me, and vice versa.
Quote:
Great... then you can ignore this part of the conversation if it causes you so much distress. Or you can keep participating; that's good as well! Just please remember that those who decide to participate either agree these rules should be streamlined, or don't but just enjoy trying to help someone out who does.
It doesn't cause me distress. You asked if anybody has any house rules that do this or for help creating them. I asked why these rules are necessary, which seems like the best place to start when making house rules. I'd like to help but I can't if I don't understand the goals.
Quote:
Obviously you couldn't have read them before I posted them, but most I considered self-evident hence why I didn't mention them sooner.
I don't understand or see them. I'm sorry.
Quote:
I must confess some confusion as to why this bothers you so much, especially for GURPS... where players are encouraged to adjust the rules as is necessary (but warned of the potential consequences).
It doesn't bother me. You asked for house rules. I asked what are these house rules intended to do. You asked me what I meant by that. Here we are now.

Last edited by sir_pudding; 08-21-2014 at 06:30 PM.
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Old 08-21-2014, 10:44 PM   #38
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Allies and Ally Group

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I'm really being dense here, honest. I don't see these problems that unifying these traits solves. Can you explain what they are?
I don't know if explaining again will really help. Part of me wants to say "Just sit back and try to follow along." because as I try to explain this, my post just becomes longer and more rambling. Because to me this is indeed so obvious, and one reason leads to another leads to another. I've attempted to explain why in previous posts, especially the my last one; if it was still unclear, explaining this properly may very well be beyond me. Indeed in some ways my last attempt backfired. Still, I will try.

To help demonstrate our difficulty in general communication, an example: my comments about the house rules you used and what it would require for me to properly validate or invalidate your decision to use them were meant to demonstrate how I believe you have rushed to judgment on this matter. The emoticons I used were supposed to help with that, but (and this too is a serious statement) it now seems painfully clear that was a foolish idea, and I should have just come out and said it. I apologize if it seems like I am not giving you enough credit as you are far more knowledgeable, experienced and skilled with this GURPS (and probably RPGs in general) than I am, but I am truly at a loss for why you do not see sufficient need for such a thing.

GURPS is the Generic Universal Role-Playing System; moving it towards being a more generic and universal while still keeping it a fun and functional role-playing system seems to always be a worthwhile goal, and that is the purpose of the proposed change. GURPS 3e had a lot of alternate rules that became the standard RAW in 4e. 4e took many more setting specific traits and made them more generic. It helped balance CP prices better, in part by dealing with overlap.

So as long as it doesn't somehow make the game worse, it seems logical to always strive for a more generic, universal rule. As GURPS is not life or death, if one is interested in addressing an issue, even an issue that isn't considered a major one, that is to be encouraged. If they fail, so be it. If they succeed, a present day minor problem that could become major in the future has been headed off. If something is overpriced by a point, it could the CP that would have gone to something else that hindsight will show would later prove vital. When several somethings are ever so slightly overpriced, it can really add up in the end. Of course the quality of a character build is also an issue, as are many other things; all said elements being equal, small overcharging can really add up when it happens over and over again throughout a character sheet.

So do ruling headaches. Houserules have a lot of issues, but you know what tends to be worse? Improvised GM calls during a session, when something comes up and since it wasn't addressed ahead of time, either the GM and/or players have to take time to look it up (and hope the answer makes sense) or give a judgment based on the knowledge at hand... and when it happens time and again, keep it all consistent.

So bringing that all together to bear directly on the the the case of Allies, Contacts and Patrons, in game terms there are distinctions drawn between the three that are game contrivances... and this is what leads into the various reasons that may very well double the length of this post. Bits and pieces of each Advantage should apply to the others or else were mistakes to exist in the first place. If we get one facet priced fairly, then it is worth seeing if a more accurate representation, price, etc. can be found by modifying that facet.

If it fails, no great loss; some more time and effort engaged in design activity that I assume those who participate enjoy. If it succeeds, those that wish to employ this option enjoy better fidelity; if they have few books there's very little to worry about in terms of adapting, and if they have a lot of books remember the entire point was fixing a minor problem... you would only be pursuing an alternate rule because you think the core rules are wrong or at least ill suited to your purposes.
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Old 08-21-2014, 11:23 PM   #39
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Allies and Ally Group

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No, I agree Contact needs a fix. I don't see how unifying it with Allies fixes it any better than just fixing it does, though.
I'm of the opinion that making Contacts a sub-type of Allies could significantly clarify their 'favor' functionality, by defining what the Contact is actually capable of.
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Old 08-22-2014, 12:03 AM   #40
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Allies and Ally Group

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I'm of the opinion that making Contacts a sub-type of Allies could significantly clarify their 'favor' functionality, by defining what the Contact is actually capable of.
I'm of the opinion that designing a whole character for each contact would make them a pain for the GM.
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