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Old 06-03-2021, 02:53 PM   #41
Anaraxes
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Default Re: Skill Advancement

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Originally Posted by Gnome View Post
those templates are purportedly designed to help you make optimized melee fighters.
Which remain viable and interesting characters to play in an RPG. Not the same thing as focused break-the-system munchkin combat-only monsters.
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Old 06-03-2021, 03:11 PM   #42
Stormcrow
 
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Default Re: Skill Advancement

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Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
You appear to be responding as though having Broadsword-40 costs [250].
No, I'm responding as though having Broadsword-40 costs a lot, which it does. I didn't say or even hint I thought it cost 250.

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You could readily take one of the fairly-serviceable [125] delvers from Dungeon Fantasy 15: Henchmen (or, I presume, from Delvers to Grow, once that's released), tack Broadsword-40 on top (likely for less than [+120] if you pick a combat-focused template, which will already have a decent DX and some points sunk into Broadsword), and end up with a character who massively outperforms all the [250] characters in any situation where hitting things with a stick is useful.
As I've been saying. Very specialized in hitting things with a broadsword, not so good at anything else. Like hitting things with an axe when your broadsword has been broken or stolen.

I put it to you all that doing things other than hitting stuff with a single weapon is needed even in a dungeon fantasy game.

All right, I'm out of this thread. Trying to talk about GURPS is very frustrating when every conversation is about how GURPS is broken.
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Old 06-03-2021, 03:32 PM   #43
martinl
 
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Default Re: Skill Advancement

Spending CP is only very tangentially connected to realism or simulationism.

RL folks do not spend a spare afternoon to beat a were-marmoset to death with a sliver samovar, rifle through a lost wallet, and romance the lost princess of Samothrace, only to wake up the next morning suddenly an expert level physician.

However, this is a perfectly unremarkable RPG session if CP are being used.

If you want to impose a more plausible structure over this go ahead, but the secret is not requiring an extra were-marmoset romance before you can grab that expert physician skill.
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Old 06-03-2021, 04:01 PM   #44
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Default Re: Skill Advancement

The problem with that Broadsword-40 character is that he probably isn't going to go first in any melee, if he has a 10 DX and 10 HT. And the first character to shoot a bow at him or throw a knife at him probably causes a stun, because he can't parry a missile weapon. The first character to grapple him puts him down. Can he parry a slam? A shield rush? And he's probably not fast enough to chase you down if you want to run away.

That's the real problem with a PC who's sunk most of his points into Broadsword-40. Build this character and put him in an actual fight with a real opponent and see what happens when you have only the one skill to rely on.
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Old 06-04-2021, 05:48 AM   #45
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Default Re: Skill Advancement

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Originally Posted by JulianLW View Post
The problem with that Broadsword-40 character is that he probably isn't going to go first in any melee, if he has a 10 DX and 10 HT. And the first character to shoot a bow at him or throw a knife at him probably causes a stun, because he can't parry a missile weapon. The first character to grapple him puts him down. Can he parry a slam? A shield rush? And he's probably not fast enough to chase you down if you want to run away.

That's the real problem with a PC who's sunk most of his points into Broadsword-40. Build this character and put him in an actual fight with a real opponent and see what happens when you have only the one skill to rely on.
There won't be a fight. No Combat Reflexes, no high Per and no Observation. Someone with decent fieldcraft will simply be hidden until they can shoot an arrow into their back or grapple them from behind and murder them while they are Mentally Stunned.
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Old 06-04-2021, 07:45 AM   #46
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Default Re: Skill Advancement

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Originally Posted by Emerikol View Post
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.
What about someone who trained at one sport for years, then was able to pick up other sports very quickly? People actually do practice juggling and dance to become better athletes.
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Old 06-04-2021, 07:48 AM   #47
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Default Re: Skill Advancement

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Originally Posted by Stormcrow View Post
All right, I'm out of this thread. Trying to talk about GURPS is very frustrating when every conversation is about how GURPS is broken.
That's funny. At no point did I say or imply that GURPS is broken. I love GURPS. I have played thousands of hours of GURPS. The root of this discussion was my proposal to bring part of a GURPS 3e rule into GURPS 4e--hardly a "GURPS is broken" position, considering that everyone I know who plays GURPS uses house rules of one kind or another.

I'm not just theorycrafting or spitballing here. My opinions are based on experience in actual play, and all I'm saying is that some primary skills (mostly talking about melee weapon skills here) are underpriced at high levels, as compared with other ways of making your character better at combat, like buying ST, DX, etc., and as compared with the way other characters advance relative to typical published threats in their chosen area of expertise.

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Originally Posted by JulianLW View Post
The problem with that Broadsword-40 character is that he probably isn't going to go first in any melee, if he has a 10 DX and 10 HT. And the first character to shoot a bow at him or throw a knife at him probably causes a stun, because he can't parry a missile weapon. The first character to grapple him puts him down. Can he parry a slam? A shield rush? And he's probably not fast enough to chase you down if you want to run away.

That's the real problem with a PC who's sunk most of his points into Broadsword-40. Build this character and put him in an actual fight with a real opponent and see what happens when you have only the one skill to rely on.
Obviously a 120-pt character shouldn't spend all 120 pts on one skill. My experience is more like this:

We start a DF campaign, and everyone picks a template. No problem so far. We favor fast advancement, so pretty soon everyone has 40 pts to spend. The swashbuckler spends all 40 on weapon skill. Everyone else spends on various things: higher attributes, more spells and powers, a diversity of skills, etc. The other characters get a bit better at doing whatever it is they do, or they branch out a bit. The Swashbuckler gets way better at fighting, so now the point of every combat is basically "stay alive until the Swashbuckler takes care of it," the Swashbuckler can easily parry attacks that seriously threaten anyone else (or spends one point on Sacrificial Parry to parry for the whole party if they are smart enough to stay close), the Swashbuckler can easily eye-stab any enemy within reach, can take out hordes of fodder with Rapid Strikes, etc., etc.

Of course there are a diversity of threats in such campaigns. The party still needs a Scout with Danger Sense to avoid getting ambushed, a Bard for social encounters, a Cleric for exorcisms, a Wizard to solve magical mysteries, etc. The Swashbuckler wasn't going to compete in those domains anyway. But his advancement path is so cheap, that it takes very little advancement for him to grow way beyond the typical threats that would still be interesting to everyone else. A Cleric with 40 extra points is still well within the level that plays well against the published adventures and monsters with basically no tweaks or maybe a few extra enemies here and there, while a Swashbuckler with 40 extra points has basically graduated from published DF threats and needs the GM to create new ones, which will become totally obsolete again when he gets his next 40 points. And as I mentioned earlier, some spells become outclassed at this level as well, as do some special abilities.

In campaigns without templates, we ironically run into sort of the opposite problem, which is that non-specialists can match specialists by focusing on one weapon skill. I'm thinking of a campaign we played a number of years back in which one character was your typical high DX fighter (sort of similar to a DF Swashbuckler), while another was more of a Bard type (focused on social skills and some limited magic). The fighter had DX 16, the Bard had DX 10, and they had the same primary weapon skill, which meant that the fighter was only slightly superior to the Bard in combat, while the Bard had a whole slew of other abilities.
I'm not saying this is necessarily a bad thing, but it certainly made that fighter want to invest every earned point into weapon skill so that he could shine in his one area.

To those who mentioned dropping your sword: carry a backup weapon. If you lose that or get it confiscated by the druidic authorities or something, pick up a stick (light club) to use with the same skill. If the GM is dead set on nullifying your one trick, of course he can do that, just as he can put the Wizard in a no-mana zone or the Scout in a windstorm or the Martial Artist in an ambush where he doesn't have his high Per buddies with him. But these are problems that the DF Swashbuckler (and every other specialist) already had. You aren't making those problems worse by spending more points on weapon skill, even if you had to, say, lower DX by 1 or 2 to do so, or not buy as much ST.
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Old 06-04-2021, 07:52 AM   #48
Varyon
 
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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
There won't be a fight. No Combat Reflexes, no high Per and no Observation. Someone with decent fieldcraft will simply be hidden until they can shoot an arrow into their back or grapple them from behind and murder them while they are Mentally Stunned.
If he only has Broadsword at DX+30 [120], sure. If he's a [250] character (as was being discussed), he may well have those traits, along with many others (although probably not much Per/Observation; I don't think the DF Knight is particularly great at those, and we're probably dealing with someone more on the level of the DF Squire when it comes to the other skills).
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Old 06-04-2021, 08:47 AM   #49
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Originally Posted by Gnome View Post

I'm not just theorycrafting or spitballing here. My opinions are based on experience in actual play, and all I'm saying is that some primary skills (mostly talking about melee weapon skills here) are underpriced at high levels, as compared with other ways of making your character better at combat, like buying ST, DX, etc., and as compared with the way other characters advance relative to typical published threats in their chosen area of expertise.



Obviously a 120-pt character shouldn't spend all 120 pts on one skill. My experience is more like this:

We start a DF campaign, and everyone picks a template. No problem so far. We favor fast advancement, so pretty soon everyone has 40 pts to spend. The swashbuckler spends all 40 on weapon skill. Everyone else spends on various things: higher attributes, more spells and powers, a diversity of skills, etc. The other characters get a bit better at doing whatever it is they do, or they branch out a bit. The Swashbuckler gets way better at fighting, so now the point of every combat is basically "stay alive until the Swashbuckler takes care of it," the Swashbuckler can easily parry attacks that seriously threaten anyone else (or spends one point on Sacrificial Parry to parry for the whole party if they are smart enough to stay close), the Swashbuckler can easily eye-stab any enemy within reach, can take out hordes of fodder with Rapid Strikes, etc., etc.

Of course there are a diversity of threats in such campaigns. The party still needs a Scout with Danger Sense to avoid getting ambushed, a Bard for social encounters, a Cleric for exorcisms, a Wizard to solve magical mysteries, etc. The Swashbuckler wasn't going to compete in those domains anyway. But his advancement path is so cheap, that it takes very little advancement for him to grow way beyond the typical threats that would still be interesting to everyone else. A Cleric with 40 extra points is still well within the level that plays well against the published adventures and monsters with basically no tweaks or maybe a few extra enemies here and there, while a Swashbuckler with 40 extra points has basically graduated from published DF threats and needs the GM to create new ones, which will become totally obsolete again when he gets his next 40 points. And as I mentioned earlier, some spells become outclassed at this level as well, as do some special abilities.
So no Dragons with breath weapons? No insubstantial foes? No high DR opponents?

Nobody with ... a gun?

Nobody with a very high Stealth score and a knife?

If you play a game where every enemy is something you can easily get right up close to and carve up with a sword, then of course, put all your points into a sword skill and you're golden.

But I do think that the published templates in most GURPS publications - and DF in particular - are made with the logic of the game supporting them. And sure: somebody who puts 80 CP into a skill should be good at it. But it is hardly an "I win" button. Putting MOST of your points into one skill - the way most people seem to play - would likely be more of an "I lose" button.

EDIT: Put 80 CP into Telekinesis and rip the arms off of most things as soon as they get within 10 yards. Or put 80 CP into Great Haste and run circles around everything for free. 80 CP ought to be powerful, but I don't think 80 CP in Broadsword is particularly more powerful than anything else. And I don't think specialist templates beat more generalist templates. They only beat the other templates on what they are supposed to specialize in. That high Stealth thief is still going to kill your Swashbuckler with a knife in the back.

Last edited by JulianLW; 06-04-2021 at 08:56 AM.
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Old 06-04-2021, 10:06 AM   #50
Varyon
 
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Originally Posted by JulianLW View Post
So no Dragons with breath weapons?
An unsupported DF Swashbuckler isn't in very good shape there, anyway. I suppose one with more points in Acrobatics has a better chance of pulling off an Acrobatic Dodge and Drop to get out of the way.

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No insubstantial foes?
A DF Swashbuckler without a Ghost Weapon enchantment or similar is useless against those anyway. If he/she does have such, the one with Rapier-30 is in better shape than the one with Rapier-22 and slightly-higher secondary skills.

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No high DR opponents?
The high-Rapier DF Swashbuckler has a better chance of both getting past the target's defenses and pulling off a strike to armor chinks/gaps. If those aren't options, and he/she lacks some sort of armor piercing enchantment, the more-balanced DF Swashbuckler is likely similarly useless (although if the opponent has high DR but not great grappling skills, the more-balanced character might have slightly higher Wrestling to restrain the target).

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Originally Posted by JulianLW View Post
Nobody with ... a gun?
A balanced DF Swashbuckler might have slightly higher Dodge, which would be an advantage here, but will largely be reliant on support from the rest of the party to get past such an encounter.

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Originally Posted by JulianLW View Post
Nobody with a very high Stealth score and a knife?
I don't think the DF Swashbuckler is terribly perceptive to start with, and is again reliant on the rest of the party to avoid getting backstabbed.

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Originally Posted by JulianLW View Post
If you play a game where every enemy is something you can easily get right up close to and carve up with a sword, then of course, put all your points into a sword skill and you're golden.
If you're playing a game where "sword-guy" isn't a legitimate role in the party, you're SoL regardless. If it is a legitimate role, pumping all your points into a single skill can make you ridiculously competent in said role.

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Originally Posted by JulianLW View Post
EDIT: Put 80 CP into Telekinesis and rip the arms off of most things as soon as they get within 10 yards. Or put 80 CP into Great Haste and run circles around everything for free. 80 CP ought to be powerful, but I don't think 80 CP in Broadsword is particularly more powerful than anything else. And I don't think specialist templates beat more generalist templates. They only beat the other templates on what they are supposed to specialize in. That high Stealth thief is still going to kill your Swashbuckler with a knife in the back.
I think the issue is more that putting [80] into any one skill makes you so incredibly competent (Default+25) that any encounter within your niche that the rest of the party can participate at all is a cakewalk for you, while anything that challenges you will wipe the floor with the rest of the party. Sure, it's perfectly fine - desirable, even - that the Swashbuckler be better at melee combat than the Scout, but it's not so great if the rest of the party is functionally useless in melee combat so long as the Swashbuckler is around.

Personally, I wouldn't build such a character, and wouldn't allow one to be designed, without any sort of mechanical disincentives (just the classic GM veto). For those who would rather have mechanical disincentives, I'm certainly not going to tell them doing so is Hurting Wrong Fun.
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