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Old 06-02-2021, 04:21 AM   #21
maximara
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Default Re: Skill Advancement

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Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
It's also important to keep in mind that they track things a bit differently. Strength in DnD covers a mix of GURPS ST (aside from HP) as well as some of GURPS DX and HT (striking in melee combat, as well as a few skills IIRC), Dexterity covers a mix of GURPS DX (aside from striking in melee combat) and some HT (mainly its contribution to Basic Speed), Constitution covers GURPS HT and a touch of ST (HP), Wisdom roughly maps to both GURPS Per and Will (with a bit of IQ in the mix), Intelligence covers some of GURPS IQ (the intellectual bits) but also calls for more non-combat skills and languages, and Charisma covers some parts of GURPS IQ (the social skills) as well as Reaction Modifiers. As ericthered notes, generally speaking every +1 modifier for a DnD stat corresponds to a +1 to the stat itself in GURPS (DnD Str 11 is +0, so roughly GURPS ST 10; DnD Wis 17 is +3, so roughly GURPS Per 13 and Will 13).
As a long time GM of D&D (going back to AD&D1) and GURPS (1986) I would disagree with much of that especially for the real early versions where a sword did the same amount of damage if you swung or thrust it.

More over since D&D uses a d20 for hinting and many other dice for damage while GURPS uses a d6 a +1 in D&D does not equate to a +1 in GURPS

The D&D to GURPS sheet (which in print form goes a back to late 1980s). Because of the many variations it glosses over the differences and "cuts to the chase" and even then it is long.
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Old 06-02-2021, 04:33 AM   #22
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Default Re: Skill Advancement

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I have thought that if one of my next campaigns is GURPS, I might do a more drastic version of diminishing returns, with the cost per level of skill being 1, 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, and so on. That would make Talents a much more worthwhile investment.
I would think there is enough of an incentive to go for talents rather than high skill levels for the simple reason is +4 gets you +1 in one skill while a one skill talent will get you +1...for +1 in point cost.

Even the Large talents (13 or more related skills) at 15 points/level are far cheaper than what the same amount of points would do (as long as the skill somehow reflate to each other)
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Old 06-02-2021, 06:57 AM   #23
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Default Re: Skill Advancement

Thanks for the comments. I am not defending 3e as if it were perfect. I very much agree with the 4e concept that all templates including racial templates should be cost out exactly the same as if they were not templates. This was a good move. There are all kinds of good moves all over 4e so it's definitely not an edition attack.

Some other thoughts.
I'm suspicious of being able to improve stats after character creation on everything but ST and maybe to a lesser degree HT. I don't think people's IQ changes nor does their dexterity unless it goes down due to injury. Other than from natural aging.

So I could definitely see houseruling that way. I also agree that in many cases getting a skill beyond 20 is pretty worthless but it's not always the cast. Combat skills generally are useful at scale. You can reduce your opponents defense by 1 for every 2 you give up on the attack. Well if you are at 26 and your opponent is at 16, you can reduce him to 11 and you to 16. You've lost nothing and he has lost a lot.

So for me the primary way to improve after character creation is by skills though in some "magical/psionic/supers" situations maybe you could add an advantage. But it also seems to me that there has to be diminishing returns and an opportunity cost to pushing a skill to ever high numbers. It seems going from skill 24 to 25 would be like going from GM to world champion in chess. It's a monumental amount of training and dedication at those skill levels.

Because I need more experience with the game, I'm not changing anything the first few go arounds. This is more just indulging my desire to talk about game design and decisions made as an abstract exercise. Once I've played some I will revisit real house rules.

What about this as a house rule idea. For every level over 20 the cost rises by one more. So at 21 the cost is 5 and at 22 it is 6. At 30 it would be 10. At those levels of ability probably the only people pushing that far and that hard might be some wizards trying to make a spell do even more and those swordsman questing to be the best of all.
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Old 06-02-2021, 07:01 AM   #24
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Default Re: Skill Advancement

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The 3e template values were calculated assuming the stat mods were modifying a stat of 10. Once you bought a 13, then the racial +1 would take it to 14 -- normally a +15 point jump, but in the template, it only cost +10. So you saved 5 points.
The solution here seems pretty straightforward - apply the racial template first, then build your character off of that. You don't buy, say, DX 13 and then apply a +1 from the racial template - you start at DX 11 from the racial template and then buy up from there at normal cost for each level. That said, I think I prefer 4e's constant cost.

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As a long time GM of D&D (going back to AD&D1) and GURPS (1986) I would disagree with much of that especially for the real early versions where a sword did the same amount of damage if you swung or thrust it.

More over since D&D uses a d20 for hinting and many other dice for damage while GURPS uses a d6 a +1 in D&D does not equate to a +1 in GURPS
Let me preface this by noting my experience with D&D is pretty much exclusively 3.5e (and my GURPS experience is exclusively 4e), so I can't speak about other editions. The damage relationships are a bit different, but not terribly so. An average D&D weapon is probably 1d8, where +1 is +22.2% to average damage rather than the +28.6% it is for a d6... but then GURPS weapons typically have bonuses, which makes the +1 from +1 ST (assuming swing; thrust weapons are more like +1 per +2 to ST) have less of an impact. Of course, raw damage value is often more important in GURPS - while it's rare in DnD to encounter a foe who can no-sell a hit (damage reduction is usually fairly low, and most of the time if dealing with "level-appropriate" foes you'll have magic weapons that ignore it), the same is certainly not true of GURPS, at least in settings where armor is common. I'd say it's roughly a wash, maybe with each +1 meaning more in GURPS than D&D, but not markedly so. For success rolls, 3d6 isn't that far off from 1d20 (in fact, there are optional rules for D&D to use 3d6 instead of 1d20) - each +1 to 1d20 is +5%, and each +1 to 3d6 averages out to +6.25%.

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The D&D to GURPS sheet (which in print form goes a back to late 1980s). Because of the many variations it glosses over the differences and "cuts to the chase" and even then it is long.
Yeah, that's a pretty good article from skimming it.
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Old 06-02-2021, 07:07 AM   #25
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Default Re: Skill Advancement

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What causes them to go from 8 to 4 for the maximum cost in the skill advancement table? I admit I like the fact they went to just one table. Were people under the old system going for broader character concepts that covered too many categories? Was there any thought to limiting how many different skills a PC could have?
3e had several unsatisfactory features:

There were three different skill progressions: Physical (, 1, 2, 4, 8. 16, 24, 32 ...), Mental (, 1, 2, 4. 6. 8. 10, 12 ...) and Mental/Very Hard (, 1, 2, 4, 8, 12, 16, ...). Having just one makes things simpler.

Most Mental skills seemed too cheap to buy up to high levels.

Buying Physical skills up to high levels was expensive, and buying up attributes in play was double the price you paid at character generation.

Talents hadn't been invented, as such.

The combination of these things created strong incentives to create characters with most of their points in attributes and advantages, and few points in skills. That's a perfectly valid character concept, but other concepts were disadvantaged. The new pricing made a wider variety of concepts cost-effective.
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Old 06-02-2021, 07:13 AM   #26
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Default Re: Skill Advancement

Also, just because something is harder to learn in real life doesn't mean it needs to cost more as a fictional trait.

In a realistic campaign, GMs should absolutely require progressively longer periods of time between increases of skills, especially skills where the PC is at the forefront of world-class in his field and rarely finds anything a challenge any more.

In a campaign where realism is not a concern, Broadsword DX+11 provides no more than 4 points of benefit over Broadsword DX+10, at most.
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Old 06-02-2021, 07:25 AM   #27
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Default Re: Skill Advancement

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Originally Posted by Emerikol View Post
I'm suspicious of being able to improve stats after character creation on everything but ST and maybe to a lesser degree HT. I don't think people's IQ changes
Keep in mind that GURPS IQ is not just a rating of some theoretical mental CPU power (despite the abbreviation). It also includes education and experience. (See, for example, rules for children having lower IQ, or the vast number of IQ-based defaults which represent knowing a little about a subject that you never actually studied.) Smart people can learn more easily, yes -- but IQ is the store of past experience at least as much as potential for the future. And IQ-based skills include a lot of things that aren't intellectual or difficult or demanding a lot of specific study -- being familiar with your hometown, for instance.

Any system with a small number of attributes means those stats each cover a lot of ground.

DX is certainly improvable in the real world. There are exercises to improve hand-eye coordination (one of the reasons you play catch with kids, but there are also exercises for adults. I'm studying guitar, and despite having had a profession that exercised my manual dexterity, I've still made a lot of improvements over that starting ability in controlling my fingers (especially with the left hand). That's certainly gotten noticeably better in less than a year. Stretching exercises improve range of motion and flexibility, both in exercise (yoga), PT, or athletic training.

Stats aren't divine gifts fixed at birth. They change throughout life.

And when it comes to game stats -- even if you believe there's an inherent natural limit, why assume that the numbers that a character happens to start with are actually at that limit? That hero might have an impressive ST or DX already, but their full potential has yet to be realized or revealed.

The main reason I can picture for prohibiting stat increases is a purely gamist one. It will always cost more to raise a bunch of skills than it will to raise the base stat. Therefore, the minmax thing to do once you have five skills at the 4 CP level (or ten with just 1 CP, so the next level would cost 2) is to just keep bumping the stat. In practice, it's not quite that bad, because players also think some skills are more important than others, and will run them up a little higher. But there's a point that's not hard to reach where a reasonably experienced character is mathematically better off just by raising their stats. In some genres and stories, even the omnicompetent hero isn't a problem -- even a trope -- but at lot of people tend not to like their games to get that extreme.
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Old 06-02-2021, 08:03 AM   #28
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Default Re: Skill Advancement

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Any system with a small number of attributes means those stats each cover a lot of ground.
This is probably the bottom line. I've always seen stats as more innate talent or ability and skills as learning on top of that. Again with ST being an obvious exception.

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DX is certainly improvable in the real world. There are exercises to improve hand-eye coordination (one of the reasons you play catch with kids, but there are also exercises for adults. I'm studying guitar, and despite having had a profession that exercised my manual dexterity, I've still made a lot of improvements over that starting ability in controlling my fingers (especially with the left hand). That's certainly gotten noticeably better in less than a year. Stretching exercises improve range of motion and flexibility, both in exercise (yoga), PT, or athletic training.
So for my real answer read above. For a fun (I hope) dispute on stats continue on...

Let's use my playing pickleball as an example. I can make shots and react to shots far better now after a year than I could when I started. I attribute this to my pickleball skill rising and not me becoming more dextrous. When a really good player, begins to age and lose some of his edge in pickleball, I attribute that to declining DX and not declining pickleball skill. When someone shows up and takes to the game almost instantly that is their innate DX but from there as they improve I see it as their pickleball skill.


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Stats aren't divine gifts fixed at birth. They change throughout life.
I agree they change but I also think we can't change them by our activities all that much. We might move HT a little by eating better and ST could be if we built it up by weightlifting. I theorize that how long we live has a lot more to do with genetics than anything else.


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And when it comes to game stats -- even if you believe there's an inherent natural limit, why assume that the numbers that a character happens to start with are actually at that limit? That hero might have an impressive ST or DX already, but their full potential has yet to be realized or revealed.
Well of course there is a natural limit. In the real world that would be indisputable. Nobody can lift a car overhead and throw it across the road.


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The main reason I can picture for prohibiting stat increases is a purely gamist one. It will always cost more to raise a bunch of skills than it will to raise the base stat. Therefore, the minmax thing to do once you have five skills at the 4 CP level (or ten with just 1 CP, so the next level would cost 2) is to just keep bumping the stat. In practice, it's not quite that bad, because players also think some skills are more important than others, and will run them up a little higher. But there's a point that's not hard to reach where a reasonably experienced character is mathematically better off just by raising their stats. In some genres and stories, even the omnicompetent hero isn't a problem -- even a trope -- but at lot of people tend not to like their games to get that extreme.
Well the whole point of buying stats is to have characters of similar ability in the group. Fairness if you will. It's why when I generate NPCs I won't buy stats in that sense. I will compute a probability for any given stat and generate NPCs that way.

I wouldn't have a problem saying that whatever you spend on your stat initially cannot be more than doubled. So if you go with a 12 IQ then you can never get above a 14 IQ. If you spend nothing on a stat then maybe you can only add +2. That would encourage higher stats initially which if you like the zero to hero concept for play would work out.

Again I am just theorizing and discussing at this time. I will not do anything until I have a few games under my belt and I see what my PCs actually do. I think having 20 be the human max is reasonable in a non-wuxia game
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Old 06-02-2021, 08:07 AM   #29
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Default Re: Skill Advancement

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This is probably the bottom line. I've always seen stats as more innate talent or ability and skills as learning on top of that. Again with ST being an obvious exception.
That's explicitly not how GURPS treats Attributes, Advantages and Skills.

Declaring that a character has great natural gifts, but has squandered them, or that someone has gotten to where they are through hard work rather than natural ability, is a special effect, background, a roleplaying note. It has no game-mechanical effect, but it may affect how points are spent for a given character.
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Old 06-02-2021, 08:12 AM   #30
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Default Re: Skill Advancement

I recently ran a campaign in which I decided to apply the 3e advancement rules for Physical skills to combat skills and spells only. These are the skills that seem most abusable at insanely high levels, and they're the skills that if you raise just one of them sky-high you can be extremely effective even without a whole lot of supporting traits.

And it worked great! The PCs had plenty of flexibility, could still focus on important skills, but it encouraged more variety in skills which makes for more interesting gameplay. I've never had a problem with high attributes (they're expensive, so it's a big investment!), but I've often struggled with the cheap combat dominance of characters that just put every available point into a single melee weapon skill, because that one skill gives you attacks (Rapid Strike for multiples if needed), defenses (Parry), and damage (targeting locations, using Deceptive Attack to bypass defenses, etc.).

If I'm making a 250-pt hero, even with DX 10 it "only" costs 80 points to buy Broadsword-30, which will make me an absolute terror, and that leaves plenty of CP left over for essentials like ST, HT, Combat Reflexes, High Pain Threshold and Weapon Master. And if I would prefer Broadsword-40 so that I can do even more Rapid Strikes, etc., it only costs me another 40 points!

Comparing that with the 3e progression, it would essentially cost twice as many points to become god of the sword, making it a dicier proposition, which in turn encourages PCs to take additional weapon skills, invest in techniques, buy better attributes, and in general I think you get a broader variety of fighter archetypes.
I plan to use these rules in future campaigns!
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