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Old 04-15-2020, 04:04 PM   #11
NineDaysDead
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Default Re: What's the cost of a Universal Translator as an advantage?

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Originally Posted by Dalillama View Post
First rule of GURPS: flavourtext is a special effect, you pay points for what you get. 40/80 points is the price of "Knows all languages that appear in the campaign". How and why you know them all is a special effect; it doesn't matter if it's being widely traveled+serendipity, being a protocol droid programmed with over three million modes of communication, being slightly telepathic, being a god, or whatever, 40 points gets you all the languages on a planet, 80 gets you all the languages in a galaxy.
All the languages at Accented, if you want Native, take Language Talent [10], it bumps them up one level.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Supers page 29
By itself, this Unusual Background gives an accented comprehension level for both the spoken and written language; if you also have Language Talent, raise that to the native comprehension level.
Also:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Supers page 29
In either case, if a language is not generally know to exist, or has not been deciphered, you donít know it. At the GMís option, a suitable Hidden Lore roll may show that you have learned such a language.
To overcome this take:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pyramid 54, page 29
Cosmic, Universal translator: Your Omnilingual doesnít represent ridiculous amounts of learned knowledge; itís an actual super-power that translates on the fly. Therefore, you understand any human language (for Omnilingual) or any language at all (for Xeno-Omnilingual) the moment you encounter it, even if thereís no possible way you could be familiar with it. +50%.
So All languages from all time/space/multiverses at native:

Language Talent [10]; Xeno-Omnilingual (Cosmic, Universal translator +50%) [120] =Total 130 points, and you might still need special technology (or the Mimicry advantage) to produce the correct sounds, or advantages like Subsonic Hearing [5] to hear the sounds etc.
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Old 04-15-2020, 04:05 PM   #12
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Default Re: What's the cost of a Universal Translator as an advantage?

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Originally Posted by Flyndaran View Post
I have one minor issue with Omnilingual. It only allows one to understand two languages at once. So it wouldn't allow what I saw George Takei do many years ago. He held conversations with three people simultaneously in English, Spanish, and Japanese.
Source please?
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Old 04-15-2020, 04:14 PM   #13
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Default Re: What's the cost of a Universal Translator as an advantage?

Telesend and Mind-Reading is another take on being able to be a 'universal translator'. And remember to add Speak with Animals (Sapient) and Speak with Plants (Sapient) if your device truly is universal.

*I don't recall the value of Sapient, but it allows you to talk with your subject as if they have your IQ for purposes of information. One example given is an ant could tell you it walked over something hard and unusual, but with Sapient it would know it was a nickel.
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While I do not think that GURPS is perfect I do think that it is more balanced than what I am likely to create by GM fiat.
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Old 04-15-2020, 07:14 PM   #14
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Default Re: What's the cost of a Universal Translator as an advantage?

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Originally Posted by Michael Cule View Post
I've had cause from time to time to give people the ability to understand anything they can hear.
Depends, do you actually want the PCs to take it or do you want it prohibitively expensive and soul-crushingly out of reach?

If the former, 30 points is about right*, if the later use Omnilingual and Xeno-Omnilingual out of GURPS Supers.


* Unless as noted it's a general consumer item easily purchasable as equipment, then a 1 point Accessory Perk is more appropriate.



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Originally Posted by Stormcrow View Post
Does it? I don't see that in the description.
Flynn is confusing Bill Stoddard's Supers build with the often quipped "Cosmic Modular" build that people like to throw in Bill's face.

In Bill's defense, his build is consistent with the (over)pricing of Languages. That doesn't make his build good (IMO), but it is consistently RAW.
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Old 04-15-2020, 10:07 PM   #15
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Default Re: What's the cost of a Universal Translator as an advantage?

Cost of a Universal Translator advantage is somewhat campaign dependent, based on how often the PCs are going to encounter people who don't speak their language and how big a deal that is.

The costs suggested for Universal Translator and similar in Supers are at the high end. Cost should be reduced for campaigns based more on combat and less on social interaction. It should also be reduced if there are technological devices, spells, or other powers which allow the equivalent of UT for a much lower point cost.

By contrast: Compare a power based on Telecommunication, like this:

Telecommunications (Telesend) (Enhancements: Broadcast, +50%; Cosmic (No success roll required), +50%; Universal, +50%. Limitations: Accessibility (Requires speech and/or hearing), -20%; Reduced Range (1/10), -30%) [60].

As previously mentioned, Modular Abilities works well for language skills you can "download" as necessary.

If you want to go with a House Rule option, another possibility is allowing Language Talent to be a leveled trait, with additional levels costing 15 points. That is, 25 points for LT 2 which allows you to instantly learn any language at Accented level by spending a point to learn it, and 40 for LT 3 which allows instant Native fluency. That might work better for characters who have to spend a bit of time listening to a foreign language before they can speak it.

In a "really weird aliens" setting, further Accessibility limitations might apply based on what percentage of the campaign's languages you can actually physically read, write, and speak without having to resort to technology. In settings where universal translation doesn't work that well, add Temporary Disadvantage (Disturbing Voice, Low Empathy, No Sense of Humor, Stuttering, etc.) to represent the translator's inherent limitations.

Last edited by Pursuivant; 04-15-2020 at 10:26 PM.
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Old 04-15-2020, 10:41 PM   #16
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Default Re: What's the cost of a Universal Translator as an advantage?

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Originally Posted by Pursuivant View Post
If you want to go with a House Rule option, another possibility is allowing Language Talent to be a leveled trait, with additional levels costing 15 points. That is, 25 points for LT 2 which allows you to instantly learn any language at Accented level by spending a point to learn it, and 40 for LT 3 which allows instant Native fluency. That might work better for characters who have to spend a bit of time listening to a foreign language before they can speak it.
My house rule is actually a slight change of the UB version; 20pts for Broken, 40pts for Accented, 50pts for Native. This applies to all languages regardless of how many there are. If some are supposed to be hidden, -5% Nuisance Effect. If 'half' are available (such as alien versus human or something) that's -20% from Accessibility. Otherwise, the idea is "I spend x10 and get all languages".

Note that you only need this extreme if there are 10+ languages. If there are only six languages in the setting, then Universal Translator is just 30pts.
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While I do not think that GURPS is perfect I do think that it is more balanced than what I am likely to create by GM fiat.
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Old 04-16-2020, 05:53 AM   #17
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Default Re: What's the cost of a Universal Translator as an advantage?

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Originally Posted by Pursuivant View Post
Cost of a Universal Translator advantage is somewhat campaign dependent, based on how often the PCs are going to encounter people who don't speak their language and how big a deal that is.
It also needs to be based on "How much does the GM want the Players to take the ability". Look at Combat Reflexes, ludicrously inexpensive because the game designers decided it was something "all warriors should be able to take" so it was priced "appropriately".*

That's partially why I based my cost at 30, I tend to run 250ish point games, 1/10 of the PC's starting value in a single ability is a pretty large sum when it's largest utility is based entirely on the GM wanting the Players to have it.

And it's partially based on Language talent being as cheap as it is. I just extrapolated that out, why only one level for 10 points? Why not 2 levels of comprehension for 20 points? And if we're going that far already... 3 levels for 30 is also fine (for my games, which tend to be more on the "High Cinema, High Action" side of the genres).



* Which is a whole 'nother argument about the 'genericness' of a system that has a presumed setting of TL 4 with 'combat is frequent' baked into it's pricing.



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Originally Posted by kirbwarrior View Post
My house rule is actually a slight change of the UB version; 20pts for Broken, 40pts for Accented, 50pts for Native.
I can see this pricing. 50 points is a significant chunk, but if languages are important and are gate-keeping plot knowledge or necessary interactions, then this price is still quite good.

I boil it down to "How much is this trait worth to the Players"? Is it as valuable as Weapon master (All Weapons)? Or Wealth (Filthy Rich)? If yes, then 50 points is a rock solid cost.

I've yet to have someone successfully argue that Xeno-Omnilingual was worth 90 points....


Quote:
This applies to all languages regardless of how many there are. If some are supposed to be hidden, -5% Nuisance Effect. If 'half' are available (such as alien versus human or something) that's -20% from Accessibility. Otherwise, the idea is "I spend x10 and get all languages".
My pricing presumes that there will still be some languages that the omnilinguist might not know, or might not know well.

Quote:
Note that you only need this extreme if there are 10+ languages. If there are only six languages in the setting, then Universal Translator is just 30pts.
That's another consideration. Lately I've been running DFRPG, where the implied setting presumes that languages are unimportant. I imported more social play and made languages important again, but still keep them inexpensive, 1 point buys Native fluency in a language. Some languages are harder and require 2 or more points (no more than 6 though), but that's me 'gatekeeping' those languages as 'plot languages'. So far no one has cared to take Omnilingual... but then I'm the only person I know who has ever put Language Talent on a character sheet, let alone Omnilingual (I've had a lot of linguist characters over the years).
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Old 04-16-2020, 06:14 AM   #18
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Default Re: What's the cost of a Universal Translator as an advantage?

You can find my stab at this question in Discworld (p. 32); the analysis of where I got the costs from is in my "Under the Bonnet" notes.
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Old 04-16-2020, 06:49 AM   #19
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Default Re: What's the cost of a Universal Translator as an advantage?

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Originally Posted by Pursuivant View Post
Cost of a Universal Translator advantage is somewhat campaign dependent, based on how often the PCs are going to encounter people who don't speak their language and how big a deal that is.

The costs suggested for Universal Translator and similar in Supers are at the high end. Cost should be reduced for campaigns based more on combat and less on social interaction. It should also be reduced if there are technological devices, spells, or other powers which allow the equivalent of UT for a much lower point cost.

By contrast: Compare a power based on Telecommunication, like this:

Telecommunications (Telesend) (Enhancements: Broadcast, +50%; Cosmic (No success roll required), +50%; Universal, +50%. Limitations: Accessibility (Requires speech and/or hearing), -20%; Reduced Range (1/10), -30%) [60].
You can't read or write with this build. Or understand recorded messages. Also Cosmic: No Dice Roll Required is +100%. So:

Telecommunications (Telesend) (Enhancements: Broadcast, +50%; Cosmic: No Dice Roll Required +100%; Universal, +50%. Limitations: Accessibility (Requires speech and/or hearing), -20%; Reduced Range (1/10), -30%) [75].

And I think you might need Cybernetic +50% to be able to communicate with machines so that would bring the cost up to 90 points.
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Old 04-16-2020, 09:25 AM   #20
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Default Re: What's the cost of a Universal Translator as an advantage?

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Source please?
Source for what? The advantage write up clearly gives only two languages at a time.
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