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Old 09-27-2012, 09:32 AM   #1
Yako
 
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Default Houserule Idea - always resist with critical success instead of Rule of 16

I have been actively GMing GURPS for a while and I have to say, I often find my players struggling with the Rule of 16.
And since I myself have a bit of mixed feelings on it, I have been thinking of how to maybe deal with it in a better way.

I understand that the intend of the rule is to not make Malediction type abilities, including spells waltz over people, however, what I find it really does is this: The rule of 16 makes Will / Health 16 a hard set value which, baring afflictions which are both malediction AND give a penalty to the resistance roll (I haven't seen any of those yet), gives you a better than 50% chance (since ties are in your favour) to resist any attack of this type flung at you.
I don't really like this hard set border.
With an average Joe opponent, Rule of sixteen means that if his opponent rolls a ten, he resists at 4 or lower, a critical success, so to say.
Given how rare crits are, this seems like a fair "doesn't always work" for average cases.
On the other hand however, the higher the opponents Wil or Health, the harder the rule hits you, making it quit akin to a wild swing to "maledict" anyone with 16 or higher Will / Health.
Is that really a good solution?

My idea would be to shake up this dynamic in the following way:
A critical success (including easier crits for highly skilled characters) always means you resist it.
First, what this does is even give a chance of success to really low Will / Health characters, after all 3 and 4 always are crits.
Secondly, In the average case, it protects Will / Health 10 characters as well as the rule of 16.
Thirdly, it does give some degree of insurmountable protection to the high Will / Health characters, after all, they can at best have around a 10% chance to crit.

For me, it quite resolves anything I dislike about the current situation, however, I would like to get some opinions on how far you think this might unbalance a game.
After all, a +10 reliable Malediction 3 allows you 90%+ odds to afflict anyone in your line of sight who doesn't have an immensly high resisting attribute.
On the other hand, you can have the same with the cosmic modifier in tow that lets you ignore the rule of 16 (and give you absolute odds) in the current rules, so, it seems to be a case of what modifiers to allow anyway.

SO, anyway, what are your views?
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Old 09-27-2012, 10:21 AM   #2
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Default Re: Houserule Idea - always resist with critical success instead of Rule of 16

I kind of like this. Not so much for balance reasons, but because the Rule of 16 is a pain to use. For instance, "Okay, I passed my roll by 8, but my skill is 20, so she resists at -4 due to Rule of 16, unless she has a higher than 16 Will, in which case she resists at -4 plus the amount her Will exceeds 16, up to a maximum of -7." It would be a lot easier to jsut say, "she resists at -7."
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Old 09-27-2012, 11:19 AM   #3
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Default Re: Houserule Idea - always resist with critical success instead of Rule of 16

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yako View Post
I have been actively GMing GURPS for a while and I have to say, I often find my players struggling with the Rule of 16.
And since I myself have a bit of mixed feelings on it, I have been thinking of how to maybe deal with it in a better way.

I understand that the intend of the rule is to not make Malediction type abilities, including spells waltz over people, however, what I find it really does is this: The rule of 16 makes Will / Health 16 a hard set value which, baring afflictions which are both malediction AND give a penalty to the resistance roll (I haven't seen any of those yet), gives you a better than 50% chance (since ties are in your favour) to resist any attack of this type flung at you.
I don't really like this hard set border.
With an average Joe opponent, Rule of sixteen means that if his opponent rolls a ten, he resists at 4 or lower, a critical success, so to say.
Given how rare crits are, this seems like a fair "doesn't always work" for average cases.
On the other hand however, the higher the opponents Wil or Health, the harder the rule hits you, making it quit akin to a wild swing to "maledict" anyone with 16 or higher Will / Health.
Is that really a good solution?

My idea would be to shake up this dynamic in the following way:
A critical success (including easier crits for highly skilled characters) always means you resist it.
First, what this does is even give a chance of success to really low Will / Health characters, after all 3 and 4 always are crits.
Secondly, In the average case, it protects Will / Health 10 characters as well as the rule of 16.
Thirdly, it does give some degree of insurmountable protection to the high Will / Health characters, after all, they can at best have around a 10% chance to crit.

For me, it quite resolves anything I dislike about the current situation, however, I would like to get some opinions on how far you think this might unbalance a game.
After all, a +10 reliable Malediction 3 allows you 90%+ odds to afflict anyone in your line of sight who doesn't have an immensly high resisting attribute.
On the other hand, you can have the same with the cosmic modifier in tow that lets you ignore the rule of 16 (and give you absolute odds) in the current rules, so, it seems to be a case of what modifiers to allow anyway.

SO, anyway, what are your views?
I would assume any critical success on a resistance roll is already a success, so I'm not sure what your change is, other than just throwing out the rule of 16 (which I don't recommend).

You also mention a +10 reliable Affliction, but Affliction is a Ranged Attack (even with Malediction) So unless you have a house-rule for this, you can't put Reliable on an Affliction anyway. Doing this might be contributing to your frustration!
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Old 09-27-2012, 12:00 PM   #4
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Default Re: Houserule Idea - always resist with critical success instead of Rule of 16

You could do this, but you'll start seeing characters really bump up their skills to overcome 90% of their opponents.

Example:
30 skill rolls a 10, beats his roll by 20.
Bad guy with a 16 WILL has to roll 6 or under to win, where before he'd only needed to roll a 10. He's gone from over 50% chance to under 10%.

I've played like games like this and they worked out okay (I just bought crazy defenses for my character. I was a high powered game anyway. I think my base WILL was 25, well over 30 for things like Mental Strength).

Also, if you are using better criticals, keep in mind this is going to put up the characters power criticals too! They are really going to beat up their opposition!
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Old 09-27-2012, 01:02 PM   #5
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Default Re: Houserule Idea - always resist with critical success instead of Rule of 16

I, too, am not the biggest fan of the 'rule of 16'. However I just look at the rule of 16 as a built in unusual background for 'is an epic level ...' since the perk 'rule of 16+n for skill/power x' exists, and the +50% cosmic: ignores the rule of 16 also exists.

So if your epic level mage with flesh to stone 25 can use the full force of that spell against opposition they just have 'flesh to stone -25' and 'perk: rule of 16+9, flesh to stone'; costing them an extra 9 points over 'just' having flesh to stone 25.
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Old 09-27-2012, 02:00 PM   #6
Yako
 
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Default Re: Houserule Idea - always resist with critical success instead of Rule of 16

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Originally Posted by the_matrix_walker View Post
I would assume any critical success on a resistance roll is already a success, so I'm not sure what your change is, other than just throwing out the rule of 16 (which I don't recommend).

You also mention a +10 reliable Affliction, but Affliction is a Ranged Attack (even with Malediction) So unless you have a house-rule for this, you can't put Reliable on an Affliction anyway. Doing this might be contributing to your frustration!
You may assume, but, I think ther eis no passage stating so, I even think it was explicitly said to be not so in a Third Edition source, but my memory is vague on that.

Since Malediction is however NOT a conventional ranged attack, behaving like a spell or akin to abilities like Mind Control (and since it explicitly forbids the alternative modifier Accurate), I think Reliable should be applicable.

@Starslayer: Admittedly, given that the magic system, especially when it comes to those kinds of spells is incredibly broken, I admit I have less qualms with that.
I still think it is a bad design choice to artificially set a fixed point where skill in a spell / talent and attribute + reliable in an advantage practically amount to nothing.

@Snaps: Well, exactly that is what I dislike about it.
Will and Health are cheap enough, so are abilities to be shielded against powers. If attacks continue the armsrace of Damage VS DR etc., why should Maledictions not do so?
Basically, it is not quite unlike a situation where at 6d damage, attacks could no longer do any more dices of damage unless they where facing 24+4x DR (where X is the number of dices over 6 your attack gives you).
I rather cap the allowed levels of reliable, Talent, etc. instead of making that arbitrary Rule of 16.
If skill 30 unbalances the challenge level and I don't want to give every enemy superhuman will, I just call it caps at 20.
After all, a fighter who can make -5 deceptive attacks to the skull every turn without breaking a sweat (meaning rather hard to block likely incapacitating hits on humanoid opponents) is also rather gamebreaking, as is someone with extreme DR or such.

I find it an overall rather bad gamebalance choice, but then again, I think the same about the entire Magic system...^^ ;
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Old 09-27-2012, 02:28 PM   #7
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Default Re: Houserule Idea - always resist with critical success instead of Rule of 16

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Originally Posted by the_matrix_walker View Post
I would assume any critical success on a resistance roll is already a success, so I'm not sure what your change is, other than just throwing out the rule of 16 (which I don't recommend).
A resistance roll is a kind of quick contest. Quick contests do not have critical success or critical failure, they purely compare margin of success. There's no note in how to resolve either a quick contest or a resistance roll that a critical trumps anything. It merely ensures that you succeed, which is a requirement to win a resistance roll (you must succeed) but the OTHER requirement is MOS.

Critical doesn't adjust MOS.
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Old 09-27-2012, 07:55 PM   #8
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Default Re: Houserule Idea - always resist with critical success instead of Rule of 16

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Originally Posted by Goober4473 View Post
I kind of like this. Not so much for balance reasons, but because the Rule of 16 is a pain to use. For instance, "Okay, I passed my roll by 8, but my skill is 20, so she resists at -4 due to Rule of 16, unless she has a higher than 16 Will, in which case she resists at -4 plus the amount her Will exceeds 16, up to a maximum of -7." It would be a lot easier to jsut say, "she resists at -7."
Either I don't understand what you are saying here, or I don't understand the rule of 16. AFAICT, the way it actually works is "Okay you made roll by 4, and she made her roll by 3 so you win" or whatever. It's just MoS versus MoS. The rule of 16 gets applied at the beginning.
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Old 09-27-2012, 08:08 PM   #9
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Default Re: Houserule Idea - always resist with critical success instead of Rule of 16

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Originally Posted by sir_pudding View Post
Either I don't understand what you are saying here, or I don't understand the rule of 16. AFAICT, the way it actually works is "Okay you made roll by 4, and she made her roll by 3 so you win" or whatever. It's just MoS versus MoS. The rule of 16 gets applied at the beginning.
Not so much PC vc NPC. You don't know if you are hitting the rule of 16 or not then.
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Old 09-27-2012, 08:09 PM   #10
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Default Re: Houserule Idea - always resist with critical success instead of Rule of 16

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Originally Posted by kirbwarrior View Post
Not so much PvC.You don't know if you are hitting the rule of 16 or not then.
Poly Vinyl Chloride doesn't get the rule of 16, it only applies to sapient targets. :)

Actually I have no idea what "PvC" means in this context.
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