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Old 03-28-2011, 08:13 AM   #1
JCurwen3
 
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Default Leech (Steal Youth) Modifier Pricing, etc.

I understand entirely that Leech (p. P96) with Steal Youth is expensive. +300% sounds appropriate to me.

But read entirely, this is the pricing scheme:

"+300% if victims regain their youth when you die; +450% if truly permanent"

Maybe I'm missing something here, but it seems... off. According to the description, the +300% version is permanent and not normally reversible by means (like magic or powers or tech) that wouldn't also assist in reversing any aging (even from the +450% version). The only difference is that if you die, your victims get better. And somehow the difference in price is a whopping +150% for the special "privilege" of knowing your enemies won't be getting any younger when you kick the bucket!

Really almost without exception, GURPS prices of traits and modifiers according to their relative utility to their wielder, whether that wielder be a PC or NPC. But this one, at least to me, seems to be a pretty strong exception to that. 'Cause, you know, you don't generally get much benefit from the fact that your enemies continue to be screwed after you're dead.

So I tried to justify the +150% difference in value. I thought maybe often this advantage is part of a monstrous racial template (the powers and reputation of which is known and feared generally in the campaign world), and aged victims and their loved ones may know that killing you will restore them if it's the +300% version, but know they're boned either way if it's the +450% and thus have no incentive to risk coming after you (and maybe get aged some more) other than revenge. This doesn't seem worth +150% points, or even +50%. And my reasoning here relies heavily on the questionable assumptions that (1) Leech is almost always associated with a racial template for which knowledge of its powers and effects are relatively accessible to at least monster hunters and the like, and (2) that people aren't going to be ****** off enough to attempt revenge regardless of whether they get their lost youth back.

Then I thought, well, if you die (presumably killed by one of your foes) and then are somehow resurrected (perhaps by an ally or your own contingency plan, maybe you have an Extra Life), then you live again, continuing to benefit from the fact that your enemies (people you've drained) still are older and perhaps as a result less robust if you have the +450% version (and you are still younger), but come back without the youth to a world where your enemies are younger again at the +300% version. I see it, but it still doesn't seem worth an extra +150%. Maybe +50% extra, max.

That brings up another question: if you have Unkillable 2 or 3, and you are "killed", does that count as "dead" for the purposes of Leech (Steal Youth, +300%)? Is the status of such a person that they are temporarily really dead (which would make the advantage name more of a shorthand for "Permanently Unkillable"), or do they just seem dead, sort of like the "mostly dead" semi-humourous designation from the movie the The Princess Bride?

Then I thought about the benefit to the party as a whole if it had a member or member(s) with this ability. Even if their youth stealing leech party members die in battle, they'll still continue to have the upper hand on their opponents who remain older and possibly weaker if they were aged enough if the leeches had the +450% version. Okay, fine. Still doesn't seem worth the extra +150%.

So what's the story? Am I missing something? I get that many would consider this power to Steal Youth an NPC ability. If a player took it, I doubt they'd ever be willing to pay the extra +150%, and even if character points flowed like milk and honey in their campaign it still would seem to be somewhat of a jerk move ("I die knowing you still will be old! MWA HA MWA HA HA!!!"). Obviously NPCs have no conception of "point values" and a GM can and will readily give them as many CP as they need to fit their concept, or even handwave costs and allow absolutes like forms of invulnerability (as a GM I prefer to build NPCs with points with more-or-less RAW, but that's another issue and my own personal preference). But unless the GM allows the players to know or guess which Youth Stealing Leeches give back stolen youth when they die and which don't, players may soon discover why advantages like Unaging can be useful, and the GM may have some oldsters running around in the campaign (although I can see that making plot sense sometimes). Still not seeing the big value difference though.

Okay, sorry, another question (it came up from my last paragraph): how does Leech (Steal Youth) of either value affect a character with Extended Lifespan (Unaging characters are explicitly mentioned as immune, but Extended Lifespan isn't mentioned)? Extended Lifespan doubles the lifespan for each level. So does the Extended Lifespan character get affected less, or the Leech get less youth, or both? And what about a Leech with Extended Lifespan stealing youth from normals? Does he get more or less benefit from stealing because of his Extended Lifespan?

One more question, this time about Unaging characters with Leech (Steal Youth). Again, on p. P96 it states that "Unaging subjects are immune". Nothing about the Leech potentially being Unaging. I know that sounds like a strange combination, but hear me out. In Psionic Powers, on p. 18, the enhancement Halt Aging (which allows the Unaging character to "prevent others from aging, if they wish") and the Life Extension limitation (which requires IQ rolls to avoid aging and so the "Unaging" character can still age, albeit slowly and only on the years they fail their IQ rolls) are included for Unaging. A character might also have Accessibility or other limitations on their Unaging. It makes sense for a character with Unaging (Life Extension) to take Leech (Steal Youth). They wouldn't need to use it often to stay young, but over the centuries, or with bad enough IQ or just bad luck, a few stolen years here and there wouldn't hurt you. Although it isn't RAW, would it be appropriate to rule that characters who have had Halt Aging used on them by an Unaging character with that enhancement are Unaging for the purposes of Leech (Steal Youth)? And furthermore, that a character with Unaging (Life Extension), even though not RAW, can be affected by Leech (Steal Youth), but they get their Life Extension IQ roll to resist if they fail to defend themselves against it in the ways other characters might?

Okay, that's it. Have fun! I'm looking forward to seeing the rationale for the pricing difference between the +300% and the +450% versions of Steal Youth, but the other questions interest me as well (ideally semi-official or semi-canonical answers at least). Thanks!
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Old 03-28-2011, 08:26 AM   #2
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Default Re: Leech (Steal Youth) Modifier Pricing, etc.

Permanent (with a reasonably achievable condition for dispelling/curse breaking etc) is a cannonical enhancement worth +150%. The death of the character responsible counts as an reasonably achievable conditions.

Really Permanent is +300%.

See Basic Set page 105, Extended Duration, look at the * on the Permanent line.

The +300% version of Steal Youth includes the +150% version of Permanent (so technically being able to steal someones youth for probably 1 minute/MOS would be +150% on its own). The +450% version is just upgrading to Really Permanent.
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Old 03-28-2011, 08:35 AM   #3
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Default Re: Leech (Steal Youth) Modifier Pricing, etc.

Plus, if they will be returned to normal on your death, and they know this, your life is going to take a turn for the... interesting.
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Old 03-28-2011, 08:54 AM   #4
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Default Re: Leech (Steal Youth) Modifier Pricing, etc.

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Originally Posted by Bruno View Post
Permanent (with a reasonably achievable condition for dispelling/curse breaking etc) is a cannonical enhancement worth +150%. The death of the character responsible counts as an reasonably achievable conditions.

Really Permanent is +300%.

See Basic Set page 105, Extended Duration, look at the * on the Permanent line.

The +300% version of Steal Youth includes the +150% version of Permanent (so technically being able to steal someones youth for probably 1 minute/MOS would be +150% on its own). The +450% version is just upgrading to Really Permanent.
Okay, I can live with that - the math works out, thanks for the answer. But if that was the reasoning, to me it would have made more sense to list it with just that base +150% for temporary youth stealing, with an advisory about using the Extended Duration, Permanent modifiers. Because the way it's written it forces you into applying only that one "reasonable condition", that is, the death of the Leech (which may well be your PC). At the very least it should have allowed for other reasonable conditions. By all rights, depending on how common methods of resurrection and other life restoration are in the campaign world, being dead means it won't matter to the character, and for all intents and purposes to the dead character their youth stealing was permanent (they most likely won't be around to even know or notice that the youth was restored). I think if a player applied the +150% version of Extended Duration, Permanent to an Affliction that granted a beneficial advantage (or something else along those lines - you can do some wild things if you combine Afflictions with Modular Abilities), and then suggested that the "reasonable condition" for termination was their own death, even I would call it a point crock, look at the player, say "really?", and strongly "suggest" applying the +300% version of Permanent instead (which I have no problem with, even to the point of not requiring players to pay points for abilities gained this way, in a group of responsible and thoughtful players as is rules-legal). And I almost never call "point crock". Death has a nasty tendency to be permanent (or at least risk being permanent) in most serious campaigns. To me, if the benefit to the character using the ability that has Extended Duration, Permanent, +150% will always last at least until the character dies, guaranteed, then it's functionally equivalent to the character to Extended Duration, Permanent, +300%. But of course, anyone can feel to disagree with me on that. Anyway, thanks for your answer, it does make sense, it just leaves me feeling uneasy about the so-called "reasonable condition" built into it.
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Old 03-28-2011, 11:42 AM   #5
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Default Re: Leech (Steal Youth) Modifier Pricing, etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JCurwen3
Okay, I can live with that - the math works out, thanks for the answer. But if that was the reasoning, to me it would have made more sense to list it with just that base +150% for temporary youth stealing, with an advisory about using the Extended Duration, Permanent modifiers. Because the way it's written it forces you into applying only that one "reasonable condition", that is, the death of the Leech (which may well be your PC). At the very least it should have allowed for other reasonable conditions.
Steals Youth is a weird version of Leech, where a lot of the normal mechanics don't apply. You might think of it as another ability that just happens to resemble Leech. I have assumed that a base of Permanent is there because temporary aging doesn't mean much. I also have assumed that the death of the Leech is just one way to end the effect, not necessarily the only. Ultra-Tech gadgets like the Rejuv. Machine, spells like Youth, and similar techniques can offer hope to those affected by an age leech.
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Old 03-28-2011, 12:36 PM   #6
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Default Re: Leech (Steal Youth) Modifier Pricing, etc.

I find even the 'basic' level of Steal Youth to be of dubious cost per utility provided.
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Old 03-28-2011, 12:44 PM   #7
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Default Re: Leech (Steal Youth) Modifier Pricing, etc.

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Originally Posted by vicky_molokh View Post
I find even the 'basic' level of Steal Youth to be of dubious cost per utility provided.
I kind of see you point, it's not very useful in combat, and aging isn't often a consideration in many campaigns (although I guess in the ones in which it is, it might be worth the cost).

I could see a kind of creepy desperate character concept involving Short Lifespan (of 3 or it's max 4 levels) taking Leech with Steal Youth. The guy would need to "feed" regularly or else die pretty quickly of old age.

But then that raises one of my questions again - how should Leech (Steal Youth) interact with characters with either Extended Lifespan or Short Lifespan? It isn't clear to me.
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Old 03-28-2011, 12:37 PM   #8
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Default Re: Leech (Steal Youth) Modifier Pricing, etc.

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Originally Posted by Not another shrubbery View Post
Steals Youth is a weird version of Leech, where a lot of the normal mechanics don't apply. You might think of it as another ability that just happens to resemble Leech. I have assumed that a base of Permanent is there because temporary aging doesn't mean much. I also have assumed that the death of the Leech is just one way to end the effect, not necessarily the only. Ultra-Tech gadgets like the Rejuv. Machine, spells like Youth, and similar techniques can offer hope to those affected by an age leech.
It is, indeed, weird, it's like a whole different advantage that was sort of cobbled or kludged into Leech. I definitely would house-rule, especially after understanding the values as including the +150% and +300% versions of Extended Duration: Permanent, respectively, that the the +300% version of Steal Youth (includes the +150% Permanent) can have different "reasonable conditions" attached, instead of or in addition to the death of the Leech. Maybe separate out the Permanent and allow shorter "rejuvenation" times (for old characters that have Leech that might steal a temporary youthful burst for a few hours from a younger ally or slave or something). But certainly it's not RAW.

To your other point, I definitely assumed Ultra-Tech gadgets and magical spells would work. But those would work on a naturally aged person too. I would rule they would definitely work on people aged by Steal Youth +450% too, though. GURPS does make distinctions between individual wounds and where they come from, but not for what we can call "aging damage". And even if it did, that could present an additional bit of book-keeping ("this bit of aging can be restored through the usual tech or magical means, this bit for some reason can't"). Since there's nothing RAW, as far as I see, that prevents someone aged by the +450% version of Steal Youth to leverage any of the existing rejuvenation methods in the game (nor do I think there should be), it sort of has us falling back on the fact that, RAW, the only difference between the two versions is that youth is restored when the Leech dies (+300%) vs the lost youth is just like regular aging (+450%).

Let's also not forget there's nothing stopping a character with Leech (Steal Youth) from having their own youth stolen by another Leech with the +450% version. I certainly would balk at telling that Leech that he couldn't rejuvenate by stealing it back from the other guy or going on a youth stealing binge on other victims.
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Old 03-28-2011, 07:41 PM   #9
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Default Re: Leech (Steal Youth) Modifier Pricing, etc.

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Originally Posted by JCurwen3 View Post
Maybe I'm missing something here, but it seems... off. According to the description, the +300% version is permanent and not normally reversible by means (like magic or powers or tech) that wouldn't also assist in reversing any aging (even from the +450% version). The only difference is that if you die, your victims get better.

Really almost without exception, GURPS prices of traits and modifiers according to their relative utility to their wielder, whether that wielder be a PC or NPC. But this one, at least to me, seems to be a pretty strong exception to that. 'Cause, you know, you don't generally get much benefit from the fact that your enemies continue to be screwed after you're dead.
Sure you do. There's a direct, clear benefit to the PC in taking one over the other.

If you have Leech (Steal Life, +450%), your foes have no reason to try to hunt you down and kill you . . . well, except for revenge, obviously. They can kill you as dead as they want, but they're not getting their youth back, which means that if you get away, there's a strong incentive to just leave you be and focus on other means by which they can restore their youth (if any).

But if you have Leech (Steal Life, +300%), you have a huge target on your back. Every single person that you've ever affected is going to try to hunt you down and kill you to get their youth back. You've saved the points, but at the cost of having to run from anyone you leave alive . . .

This isn't just me speculating on intent, BTW. This came up in the playtest. Originally, the plan was to just make it a special effect whether the youth returned when you died -- until some of us pointed out that it actually makes a huge difference for the leecher!
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Old 03-28-2011, 09:19 PM   #10
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Default Re: Leech (Steal Youth) Modifier Pricing, etc.

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Originally Posted by Rev. Pee Kitty View Post
Sure you do. There's a direct, clear benefit to the PC in taking one over the other.

If you have Leech (Steal Life, +450%), your foes have no reason to try to hunt you down and kill you . . . well, except for revenge, obviously. They can kill you as dead as they want, but they're not getting their youth back, which means that if you get away, there's a strong incentive to just leave you be and focus on other means by which they can restore their youth (if any).

But if you have Leech (Steal Life, +300%), you have a huge target on your back. Every single person that you've ever affected is going to try to hunt you down and kill you to get their youth back. You've saved the points, but at the cost of having to run from anyone you leave alive . . .

This isn't just me speculating on intent, BTW. This came up in the playtest. Originally, the plan was to just make it a special effect whether the youth returned when you died -- until some of us pointed out that it actually makes a huge difference for the leecher!
Thanks for your reply. But if you read (I know, it was a rather long post, you're forgiven if you eye-rolled it after the first paragraph), I did anticipate that benefit (people know killing you won't restore you) as a justification for the whopping +150% difference in mod value.

And it doesn't cut it for me. First, people would have to be able to know your ability worked that way (whether killing you would help them at all, other than to feel vindicated). Unless it was part of a well-documented (in the campaign world) race's abilities (and even it is was, there are always more powerful exceptions in every race), how could anyone know that you dying would restore their youth (since you haven't died yet, being currently alive and all... barring resurrection methods). Second, it assumes revenge won't be a big enough incentive (have you met other humans?). Third, the way the ability works (slowly except at ridiculous costs - a month per second per level for 75 points for level 1 + 12 points/additional level), if you can make contact to steal their youth in any noticeable amount, they'll probably need to be prone or unconscious or something, and so you can probably age them to death instead of leaving an angry survivor. And fourth, it's another +150%!!! I could maybe get behind the idea of the benefit if it was only maybe +20% or something, but +150% is huge!

Are you saying you disagree with that?
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