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Old 01-24-2006, 07:09 AM   #1
DrTemp
 
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Default The reason for specific point costs in GURPS

So, what is the reason why trait A costs X CP's, while trait B costs Y CP's in GURPS?

Many people say that it is the "relative usefullness" of a trait that determines its price. But to me, that does not make sense.

In my opinion, it is the desired rarity of traits. One looks at any given trait and finds that, for example, Telekinesis 10 is about as expensive as ST 15. But certainly no one will claim that Telekinesis 10 is about as useful as ST15? This may be the case in one specific campaign world, but in most, it is not. It is a futile enterprise to determine "relative usefulness" over all possible settings for a "generic" system, since the usefulness depends on setting and plot, things which no game system, at least not a generic one, will know before. Additionally, there are traits like "Unusual Background", which specifically exist to make things that are rarer more expensive to reflect exactly that.

So I find it quite obvious that GURPS prices traits for desired rarity, not for "usefulness".
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Old 01-24-2006, 07:33 AM   #2
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Default Re: The reason for specific point costs in GURPS

Hm.

When I price things, I price them more on "how much will they break my game? How much trouble for the GM?"

Which is sort of like rarity. And sort of like making sure that if you have Trouble Ability X, you do not also have Trouble Ability Y without some serious drawbacks...

So it's partly usefulness, and partly desired rarity.

But that could be just me.
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Old 01-24-2006, 07:36 AM   #3
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Default Re: The reason for specific point costs in GURPS

Quote:
Originally Posted by DrTemp
So I find it quite obvious that GURPS prices traits for desired rarity, not for "usefulness".
3rd edition was supposedly a combination of utility and rarity. That's partially why attributes had a bellcurve.

4th is supposely utility pricing. After all, with a generic system X might not be rarer than Y for any given world.

As for your example ST 15 has a number of signficant benefits over TK 10. Encumberance, HP, and a much higher effective ST.
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Old 01-24-2006, 07:42 AM   #4
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Default Re: The reason for specific point costs in GURPS

when you are the gm, you can set your prices...but the point costs in the basic book sounds good to me...
and naloth is right. high ST is very good, because you have more HP, more damage...and more muscles!
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Old 01-24-2006, 07:48 AM   #5
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Default Re: The reason for specific point costs in GURPS

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shintis
when you are the gm, you can set your prices...but the point costs in the basic book sounds good to me...
and naloth is right. high ST is very good, because you have more HP, more damage...and more muscles!
which is the point of UB. if rarity is a sinifcan ebough factor in your world that it would more point, require a UB.
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Old 01-24-2006, 07:51 AM   #6
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Default Re: The reason for specific point costs in GURPS

Quote:
Originally Posted by naloth
[...]
4th is supposely utility pricing. After all, with a generic system X might not be rarer than Y for any given world.[...]
Rarity in the game world is not the reason for pricing I suggest. That's why I wrote "desired rarity". Desired by us gamers.
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Old 01-24-2006, 08:15 AM   #7
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Default Re: The reason for specific point costs in GURPS

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Originally Posted by DrTemp
So, what is the reason why trait A costs X CP's, while trait B costs Y CP's in GURPS?
At the level where such decisions are made in practice, it's primarily an issue of steering between two horns of a dilemma: If X costs N points, and Y gives you the same things as X, but not as many of them, and also costs N points, then no one will take Y, so you might as well not have it. On the other hand, if P costs N points, and Q gives you all the same things as P, or perhaps even more, but costs less, then everyone will take Q, to the detriment of diversity. That gives you a working standard of "too expensive" and "too cheap," based not on abstract criteria, but on consideration of how people will actually make decisions about character creation.

For example, in 3/e, buying up DX or IQ was a clear win over buying up lots and lots of skills. So you got huge numbers of characters with very high IQ, who then were equally brilliant at scientific research, high finance, military leadership, and making a good impression at social events. The point tradeoff was even worse for DX, where +1 to a high DX score cost 25 points and +1 to three high-end skills cost 24 points—for one more point you boosted ALL your other DX skills, a clear win. Now +1 to any DX score costs 20 points, and +1 to five high-end skills costs 20 points, a less extreme set of terms of trade; and you can also take a Talent for some DX skills, if you want to have a somewhat broader skill set. So character design choices reward diverse concepts a bit more, which is one of the metalevel goals of GURPS.
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Old 01-24-2006, 08:15 AM   #8
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Default Re: The reason for specific point costs in GURPS

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Originally Posted by DrTemp
Rarity in the game world is not the reason for pricing I suggest. That's why I wrote "desired rarity". Desired by us gamers.
I'm pretty sure abilities aren't priced on consensus.
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Old 01-24-2006, 09:30 AM   #9
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Default Re: The reason for specific point costs in GURPS

GURPS' traits are priced according to usefullness, not rarity (except a couple of bugs that I don't want to discuss here), and IMHO that's a great thing.
As a GM, you can set a trait's rarity without altering its point cost: simply say "PC cannot take this, and only 1% of the entire wordly population have it". Increasing or diminisching the price is useless, and probably dangerous: a 10d Impaling Attack deals always 10d impaling, regardless of his "rarity". Its usefulness is the same: why should it be worth more? If it costs more, noone will take it; if it costs less, everyone wil take it. If you want to keep it rare, say to your players: "Ony one of you can take it - decide it by yourselves" and amuse seeing them tearing each other apart for the privilege.
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Old 01-24-2006, 09:49 AM   #10
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Default Re: The reason for specific point costs in GURPS

First of all, I agree with the point you are making. Though, many here have already come to this realization. Offcourse utility varies with setting/campaign/GM/player/character. And rarity is utility to a point, because if you do something unexpected, or your powers aren't commonly countered, then you have more "umph" for your ability.

Having said that, I see nothing wrong with GURPS pricing things the way it does. I thas attempted to filter out some of the rarity factor from the point cost (for instance, Ambidexterity) and leave it at actual game value. Now, before you say "fnord!"... consider averages and majority. A commercial gaming system has to base it's standards and general rules on what is most common, or at least on what they can calculate as most common. In most games where there is a multiverse of worlds, Jumper is going to be worth a lot of points, unless all the other worlds are virtually useless, but that would be the exception. When you decide to do a system based on points, you need to use some reference. And SJGames does playtest, and self-relative point costs to determine this. "Self-relative" cause, most of the traits have more or less adequate cost relative to other traits in the system. GURPS is a wonderfull system, and one of the best attempts at putting rules in roleplaying that I have ever seen, but it's really just a base for your games. If you want to take the system "as is" and apply it to your game world, you have to understand that there will be certain occasions that the point value will be weird. Or positively upside down.

The issue that points are not equal to "real" value, and that rarity should or should not be included, etc... has been discussed over and over again. I really don't see what SJGames could do about it... I mean, how would you do a generic system with lists for point costs in infinite (or even several) settings/styles. The books are giant lists of traits and costs already!
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