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Old 05-06-2021, 02:30 PM   #1
johndallman
 
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Default [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Metabolism Control

Metabolism Control [5/level] is an exotic physical advantage. You have conscious control over your metabolism (and must be biological, rather than a machine), which has several useful effects, including the ability to hibernate or estivate. This advantage was added in GURPS Aliens for 3e.

Each level of this advantage gives you +1 to any HT rolls that can benefit from control over your metabolism. Examples include bleeding rolls and rolls to recover from diseases and poisons, but not to initially resist them. The GM rules on unclear cases.

You can also enter a trance, during which you appear to be dead. Anyone who isn’t familiar with your species needs to win a contest of Diagnosis against your HT+Metabolism Control to realise you are still alive. In this state, you need 10% less oxygen (or appropriate gas for your species) per level of this advantage (and hence don’t breathe at all with 10 or more levels), and double the length or time you can go without food or drink. You have no awareness of your surroundings in this trance, but wake up automatically if injured. You can also set a mental alarm clock to wake you up after a specified period.

There’s a special limitation, Hibernator (-60%), which only gives the trance ability, and no HT bonus. You will automatically go into the trance when exposed to certain conditions, such as prolonged cold: work out the details with the GM. You can also go into it voluntarily. You need to make a Will‑4 roll to accomplish this, but you can re-roll every hour. You can set an alarm clock if you do this, but it is not precise, and a formula for variations is in the advantage description. If you want to avoid going into a trance when you would naturally, you can resist with a Will roll, but there’s no indication of how often you need to roll. Every day would seem plausible.

The Basic Set doesn’t give any of the hibernating animals it lists this disadvantage, although GURPS Anamalia does. Banestorm dragons have this advantage, at levels increasing with age, but DF ones, in a less rationalised world, lack it. Bio-Tech provides the Mastery, +40% enhancement, which makes the HT bonus apply to all HT rolls, while Furries uses the basic advantage for Frog Princes and Princesses. Horror has hibernating vampires, and Magic: Plant Spells shows us how to adopt a tree’s pace of life. This advantage helps resist choking in Technical Grappling, and Powers makes it a way to feign various physical conditions, including death.

I’ve never seen this advantage in use, as player or GM, but I think that’s a limitation of what I’ve played, rather than it being pointless. How has it played in your games?
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Old 05-06-2021, 04:15 PM   #2
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Metabolism Control

I really like the idea of the advantage, but I think its cost / benefit is not that good.

With Metabolism Control 10 you can hold your breath indefinitely, you can ignore food and drink while you are under its use, and can feing death. For 50 points.

With the same 50 points, you can buy Doesn't Breathe [20] and Doesn't Eat or Drink [10] and you still have 20 points left to spend on other things. It doesn't seem to be worth 5 points per level. Maybe 3.
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Old 05-07-2021, 06:56 AM   #3
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Metabolism Control

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Originally Posted by Arcanjo7Sagi View Post
I really like the idea of the advantage, but I think its cost / benefit is not that good.

With Metabolism Control 10 you can hold your breath indefinitely, you can ignore food and drink while you are under its use, and can feing death. For 50 points.

With the same 50 points, you can buy Doesn't Breathe [20] and Doesn't Eat or Drink [10] and you still have 20 points left to spend on other things. It doesn't seem to be worth 5 points per level. Maybe 3.
To be clear, most of the value of Metabolism Control is in the HT roll bonuses.
I've never used it myself. As with you, I like the idea but the way it manifests as written just doesn't appeal to me. Maybe I'll take a look at it and try to come up with something.
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Old 05-07-2021, 07:03 AM   #4
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Metabolism Control

I had completely forgotten this advantage existed. I can see cases I might use it, but it does seem rather inefficient.
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Old 05-07-2021, 07:23 AM   #5
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Metabolism Control

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Originally Posted by Not another shrubbery View Post
To be clear, most of the value of Metabolism Control is in the HT roll bonuses.
I've never used it myself. As with you, I like the idea but the way it manifests as written just doesn't appeal to me. Maybe I'll take a look at it and try to come up with something.
You only get HT bonuses to all rolls with the Maestry, a +40% modifier, what makes cost 7 points level. The basic 5 per level is a situational bonus.
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Old 05-07-2021, 12:46 PM   #6
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Metabolism Control

Things that add to some sorts of HT roll, from a quick hunt:

Fit [5 or 15]: everything except skills
Hard to Kill [2/]: to not die
Hard to Subdue [2/]: to remain conscious
High Pain Threshold [10 for +3]: to avoid knock-down and stun, and other effects
Metabolism Control [5/]: bleeding and recovery from disease and poison (plus limited hibernation)
Nictitating Membrange [1/]: eye damage (plus eye DR)
Rapid Healing [5 for +5]: to heal naturally
Resistant [variable]: against specific things

The only one that's more expensive for a +1 is going from Fit to Very Fit, and that's a lot more generally applicable. (And gives other benefits)

I'd much rather call this ability "Hibernation [2/level]" and make the HT roll benefits a separate thing, or just buy up HT.

Something worth noting for the advantage as written: it's great for beating a polygraph.
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Old 05-07-2021, 01:03 PM   #7
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Metabolism Control

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Originally Posted by RogerBW View Post
I'd much rather call this ability "Hibernation [2/level]" and make the HT roll benefits a separate thing, or just buy up HT.
Agreed, although buying up HT rolls is an interesting subject in its own right:
  • Power-Ups 9: Alternate Attributes breaks down HT as +0.25 Speed [5], 1 FP [3], plus +1 to HT rolls and +1 to 13 HT-based skills. It then estimates +1 to HT rolls as 3 or 4 points, to give Hard to Kill and Hard to Subdue some meaning in their lives.
  • Another way is +0.25 Speed [5], 1 FP [3] and Hard to Kill 1 [2], making other HT rolls and the base of HT skills "free."
There's scope for a lot of opinions here.

One might also regard Hibernation as a racial characteristic that isn't hugely important and charge [5], with an enhancement that let you use 10% less air and double your time without food or water for +20%. I think it costs as much as it does because it came from Aliens, and thus space-going settings, where life support resources could be important.

Last edited by johndallman; 05-07-2021 at 01:08 PM. Reason: Add an idea.
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Old 05-07-2021, 07:03 PM   #8
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Metabolism Control

It won't be something worth much, maybe 1/level at most, but straight HT has one other thing that no one part of it brings - there are a fair number of effects (mostly drugs) that last for 'X - HT' minutes or turns or whatever. Only actual HT affects these at all.
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Old 05-08-2021, 02:04 AM   #9
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Metabolism Control

I once tried to come up with a power which enabled the user to gain or lose weight (mass) by burning/storing fat, which it felt like Metabolism Control should include, but the actual mechanical benefits of the advantage don't seem to live up to the name in this case :(
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Old 05-08-2021, 02:47 AM   #10
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Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Metabolism Control

It is an eternal problem of GURPS that things "should" be worth different amounts based on their utility in different settings. Unusual Background is the main tool we have for this.

In my entirely imaginary new edition of GURPS, everything that adds to attributes sometimes would be a variant of the same advantage: increased attribute, with a accessibility limitation based on how common the situation is, and a bunch of worked examples. Yes, points can be a bit of a blunt instrument for this when you get down into the fine detail, but that may mean that a mere +1 isn't significant enough to be worth recording and you might as well buy a +3 (i.e. like Resistant).
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