Steve Jackson Games - Site Navigation
Home General Info Follow Us Search Illuminator Store Forums What's New Other Games Ogre GURPS Munchkin Our Games: Home

Go Back   Steve Jackson Games Forums > Roleplaying > GURPS

Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 09-21-2017, 09:08 AM   #1
Night Watchman
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Cambridge, UK
Default How much do you enjoy the character upgrade minigame?

I'm finding that as I get more experienced at GURPS, and as I get to understand my characters better, the mini-game of deciding what to spend earned or training points on gets more and more fun.

There are many motivations to trade off: what the character wants, what the character needs, and what I think would be interesting, as well as the many-dimensional puzzles of getting different traits to operate in synergy, and trying to guess where the campaign is going.

Do you feel this way, or is this mini-game uninteresting compared to playing?
johndallman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-21-2017, 09:18 AM   #2
Join Date: Jan 2006
Default Re: How much do you enjoy the character upgrade minigame?

In my group, CP awards are small (~2-3 per session) and campaigns are short (~10 sessions is average, 20 is unheard of).

I can't remember the last time I did anything other than improve or add a skill that was relevant in the last few sessions.
martinl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-21-2017, 09:20 AM   #3
JMason's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Cockeysville, MD
Default Re: How much do you enjoy the character upgrade minigame?

I've never really thought of it as a "minigame", it's just spending points. More often than not I tend to play in games where there is relatively low point gain per session (around 3 to 5), and spend most points on improving skills that I already have or investing in a skill I've been using at default level.

This is pretty true of the players in the games I run also.
My Blog: Dice and Discourse - My adventures in GURPS and thoughts on table top RPGs.
JMason is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-21-2017, 09:20 AM   #4
Hero of Democracy
ericthered's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: far from the ocean
Default Re: How much do you enjoy the character upgrade minigame?

I like the character building mini-game. I don't like the character upgrade game. I'd rather have everything built right the first time, tell the story, make a few minor additions to the character, and then start over again. I find too many points starts to warp the character concept or make skill levels unmanageable.

I'm primarily a GM, so take the above in that context.
Be helpful, not pedantic

Worlds Beyond Earth -- my blog

Check out the PbP forum! If you don't see a game you'd like, ask me about making one!
ericthered is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-21-2017, 09:39 AM   #5
GURPS Line Editor
Kromm's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Montréal, Québec
Default Re: How much do you enjoy the character upgrade minigame?

I enjoy it. I rarely get to be a player these days, but back when I was playing more often, this was fun for me.

Learn this new spell or that one? Improve combat skill by a level or a favorite technique by several levels? Save up for more DX or IQ and boost everything, or get really good at one thing? Think about the ST needed for that bigger gun, or the social traits I'd need for the other gun that's just as deadly without being big, but also expensive and restricted? I discovered that actual play didn't always line up with "optimization."

For instance, more DX is just about always the best buy from an optimization perspective, but the 20 points for +1 to DX could raise Guns (Rifle) by five levels, and in actual play, if I'm relying on shooting first to survive, +5 to hit is better than +1 to hit bundled with +0.25 to Basic Speed and +1 with a ton of stuff like Dancing, Driving, Stealth, and Sleight of Hand that I use either less often or a lot but mostly not in pure survival situations. If my shtick is "guy with a rifle," +5 to hit means ~7 times effective range, or headshots all the time, or shooting just as effectively at full Move as I used to when standing still, or hitting with two bullets more when I fire bursts. It's huge!

Or for another example, if I'm always using the Dehydrate spell in combat, +5 to go from skill 15 to skill 20 means another 1d-1 of injury at 0 FP cost and casting in half time and adding five yards to my effective range. Sure, +1 to all my IQ-based everything would be great, but . . . I'll contribute more and better in fights right now if I crank up that one spell.

Yet if the GM is the cunning type, I'll rethink. More DX and more IQ will let me succeed a little bit more often when faced with a variety of challenges.

And then there's what the other players expect. If they're always dragging me into battles no matter what the GM does, well, I might go back to sharpening my one deadly trick. Or I might think about the leftfield solution of blowing the 20 points on +2 to HT!

Math like that is fascinating to me. I'm not big on minigames, but this is one minigame I enjoy. By contrast, I find minigames like domain management, vehicle design, invention, and enchantment terribly boring. I'm just too character-centered a thinker to care about money and land and gear. For the most part, I think in terms of "What could my alter-ego do if completely bereft of everything but what he can carry and suddenly tossed into a situation for which he's unprepared?" This probably has something to do with the fact that's practically my personal definition of "adventure," of course.
Sean "Dr. Kromm" Punch <>
GURPS Line Editor, Steve Jackson Games
My DreamWidth [Just GURPS News]
Kromm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-21-2017, 09:54 AM   #6
A Ladder
Join Date: Dec 2012
Default Re: How much do you enjoy the character upgrade minigame?

Apparently my group is weird...we give out 5 points per session at a minimum. It's more like 7-8 on average. Campaigns go based on how long I want them to. I've had ~40 session campaigns and 2 session ones. I guess we average more in the ~20 range.

But, I digress, I personally looooove the upgrade minigame. Like Kromm stated it's all about focusing on the immediate needs vs. long term goals. This last campaign I've gotten to be a player and man, choosing between adding new skills, upgrading the skills that I rolled poorly on last session, or upping my combat prowess, or saving up for a big ol' attribute boost or expensive advantage....whew! I get choice paralysis, but in a good way.

Of course, in one of the campaigns I was GMing I found out one of my players had just sat on unearned points till he had 67! He was just super content with his character. I found that baffling.
Originally Posted by HunterS View Post
Congrats! You win the no-prize.
Originally Posted by DouglasCole View Post
Gotta be fast to escape the propaganda machine of Viking swiftness
A Ladder is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-21-2017, 09:56 AM   #7
Night Watchman
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Cambridge, UK
Default Re: How much do you enjoy the character upgrade minigame?

I'm usually playing (or running) games that award about 3 points a session, but are long-term. Irresponsible and Right has had over 100 sessions, as has Infinite Cabal. This just seems like the natural way to play an RPG to me.
johndallman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-21-2017, 10:11 AM   #8
MIB.6361's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Phoenix, Arizona, USA, Earth, Sol, Milky Way, Infinity.
Default Re: How much do you enjoy the character upgrade minigame?

If we're breaking it down I do enjoy the different aspects.

1: Making of the character. Figuring out how they fit into the world as well as the party. How will they contribute during combat, in social encounters, or in long term adventuring with the group?

2: Playing the character: The actual game

3: Improving the character: I sometimes have a plan or at least an idea of where I'd like to spend my next twenty or thirty points. Often where the adventure leads derails that a bit, and I adjust as needed. Pretty much what's been said on the subject already.
Jessie/MIB 6361
Arizona Men in Black Cell Leader
MIB.6361 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-21-2017, 10:25 AM   #9
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Medford, MA
Default Re: How much do you enjoy the character upgrade minigame?

I don't think of spending cp as a minigame. Maybe it is the way I do cp?

Like others, I give out relatively small numbers of cp per session: 2-4. But perhaps more importantly, players may only spend cp on things they've used that session. So the character sheet and the cps become a record of what the characters have done, they are not an expression of player aspiration of what they'd like the characters to be.

I also, as a player, am a method actor type (Of Robin Laws types)--so my advancement House rules are part of that. I don't particularly want heavy metagaming in advancement. I have personally spent cp on skills my PC used that were not "optimal" choices for what adventures might be in the future but reflected the experiences the character had.

Note: I have found doing advancement this way doesn't warp characters. I tend to go for what I think of as a heightened realist feel (as opposed to a miserable realist feel)...and advancing the way I do results in characters going from 150 to 250cp while still feeling like realistic characters.
trooper6 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-21-2017, 10:45 AM   #10
Bruno's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Canada
Default Re: How much do you enjoy the character upgrade minigame?

In my experience "advancement warped my character" is often "My character had personal growth".

D&D 3e+ always creeped me out with the expectation that you'd basically build your 20th level character, and then claw your way up to that final snapshot along a rather fixed path.

I might have some idea how I'd like my character to develop, but it's not set in stone; often I have no idea or change my mind. It's just whatever makes sense at the time based on events and history.
All about Size Modifier; Unified Hit Location Table
A Wiki for my F2F Group
A neglected GURPS blog
Bruno is offline   Reply With Quote

character building, characters

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Fnords are Off
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 11:20 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2024, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.