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Old 06-08-2021, 01:53 PM   #61
Varyon
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Default Re: Skill Advancement

Quote:
Originally Posted by bocephus View Post
Another, possibly simpler, option is to limit Crits to a max of 6 or less. If you follow the "exceed your skill by 10" rule a 40 skill would be a crit on most swings.
I'm fairly confident that's already the default.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bocephus View Post
No matter how good your skill anything higher than a 6 is just a hit. This makes a 40 sword skill much much less useful. The math just doesn't pay back the points. Once you get to skill 20, to absorb a reasonable number of penalties, more is something you will grow into figuring out the sweet spot of whats legitimately enough to do the job.
This is situational, but Deceptive Attack can be scaled up to any skill (it's -2 to hit per -1 to defend, with the only requirement being that you not drop below skill 10) - Broadsword-40 can strike at the Torso and impose a -12 to all active defenses while still being a roll against 16 (it also means your own Parry is against a 23 - 24 with Combat Reflexes - which requires similarly-incredible skill to get past... or using unparryable attacks). And, of course, you can trade in some (or all) of that defense penalty to do things like stab Eye Slits (-10 to hit, so "only" enough left to impose a -7 to defenses), do Rapid Strikes (-6 to hit - +3 to defense - per additional attack, unless you have Weapon Master or similar, in which case it's only -3 to hit - +1.5 to defense - per additional attack), etc. Combat skills don't really have the same diminishing returns as a lot of other skills - there's only so much of a penalty you can take for haste, not having the right tools, etc when using most skills, but with combat skills you can always use more rapid strikes and deceptive attack (eventually you hit the point where you don't need more hits to reliably drop any threat you can reach - and harm - and every attack requires the foe to roll a Critical Success to actually defend, but that can take a while).
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Old 06-08-2021, 06:32 PM   #62
Kallatari
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Default Re: Skill Advancement

I personally advise against ever-increasing cost of skills because it throws off the "character creation balance" elsewhere.

No matter how you cost out the increasing skill cost, it will eventually reach a point where increasing the underlying attribute will be cheaper than raising the skill. At that point, your problem won't be the "DX 10, Broadsword DX+30" characters, it will be the "DX 30, Broadsword DX+10" characters.. or whatever the min/max threshold ends up being according to the used pricing method. That threshold becomes even lower if they have multiple skills based on the same attribute they want to increase.

The only way to solve that is to have the same ever increasing cost of attributes... which then shifts the problem to the derived characteristics (e.g., it's cheaper to raise Dodge, Basic Speed, and Move combined than it to increase either HT or DX). You could mitigate this problem by placing a cap on attributes or characteristics, but if you're willing to do that, why not just place a cap on skills in the first place?

Anyway, that simple change to the price of skills leads to requiring many additional changes, or you're just moving the problem elsewhere. It's a full repricing of many other traits.

Additionally, once you do that, you have the flaw that 3E had with ever-increasing attributes: how do you price a "bonus" to a trait? What is a +1 DX worth if the price of DX always increases? Do you get a "cheaper" rate if 1 of your levels of DX comes from a racial bonus? How do you create a fair "Affliction, Attribute Boost +1 Dodge")? I have in my game powers that amount to "Affliction, +2 Broadsword" which is worth 8 character points. With an ever-increasing skill value, how do you create such an ability? (Or, you create is as a bonus number of character points, but you need to look it up every time for the exact effect. And if there are cheaper ways of increasing attributes as bonuses rather than increasing the underlying attribute, the power gamers will find and use that.

None of the above is game-breaking, however. So if you think the cost of skills really is a problem in your games, change it. So long as you're aware of these issues, you can manage it as a GM. It just takes more managing and character creation oversight, and a bit more attention on what else it impacts.

Finally, solving "ridiculously masterful skill" can lead to a reserve problem: "good at too many skills". As someone who has GMed games with high-point PCs, if the characters can't get the better at something once they've reached the best possible level, they'll get really good at everything else. Instead of having the world's best fighter, the world's best thief, and the world's best sage in your party, you'll have a trio of "one of the best fighter/thief/sages". This is just as important as it involves PCs stepping into the role of other PCs. It's a "social" issues of an RPG rather than a rules issue, but it's still important to pay attention to. That said, this is only a problem when characters have a lot of points to play with, so easily managed by a low-point game... you know, less than 500 or so...

In my campaigns, with my group of players, I've found character growth in play is what really helps shape the PC to prevent any abuse of skills. Place a cap for starting characters only. You can't start with more than Broadsword DX+6, but can increase it to any level with earned points. My players make plans to get the high skill levels, but the way the story develops and plays out, they wind up taking a lot more variety than just what they originally planned. Yes, they do eventually achieve their original goals (the "combat monsters" of my campaigns tend to max out at skills in mid twenties), but definitely not as quickly as they had planned because they found so many other interesting things to learn and improve along the way. And my campaigns usually start at about 150 points and end around 1000 points, so plenty of room to grow for my PCs. It's definitely not foolproof, and a player who really wants something will get it... but for my group of players it seems to work.
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Old 06-08-2021, 06:51 PM   #63
Kesendeja
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Default Re: Skill Advancement

My proposal is that the progression cost remains the same until Attribute +5, then it becomes 8 points per skill point until it reaches Attribute +10, after that it would be 12 points per skills.
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Old 06-09-2021, 06:19 AM   #64
Emerikol
 
Join Date: May 2021
Location: Eastern Kentucky
Default Re: Skill Advancement

All this discussion about throttling super high skill/attribute levels brings to mind perhaps a difference in the GURPS world vs many other fantasy roleplaying games. The concept of zero to near-God is likely harder and to be honest in some cases that is a plus for me. I want to flatten both ends of the curve a bit and GURPS helps me do that. Still I think one of the fundamental things about RPGs that people like is the sense of advancement.

In my own mind, I keep wanting to create a table with levels that says -- at this level I expect PCs to have this many character points and this range of attack/defense skills. Naturally fighting types are better and other types would be lower but still within a range. This would help with building enemies etc... Such a table could be given to the players. Hey, I'm not forcing you to do anything but here are some guidelines and effectiveness that I may use when building encounters and setting difficulty.

So I'm not sure on the 67 point characters but I keep thinking 120 is a nice starting amount and then do 20 points per "level" afterwards. So at the end of the campaign you are at 500 which would be the equivalent of 20th level. Monsters will perhaps fight and defend with skills equivalent to Attribute + Level on average.
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Old 06-09-2021, 07:13 AM   #65
Celjabba
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Luxembourg
Default Re: Skill Advancement

Quote:
Originally Posted by Emerikol View Post
All this discussion about throttling super high skill/attribute levels brings to mind perhaps a difference in the GURPS world vs many other fantasy roleplaying games. The concept of zero to near-God is likely harder and to be honest in some cases that is a plus for me. I want to flatten both ends of the curve a bit and GURPS helps me do that. Still I think one of the fundamental things about RPGs that people like is the sense of advancement.

In my own mind, I keep wanting to create a table with levels that says -- at this level I expect PCs to have this many character points and this range of attack/defense skills. Naturally fighting types are better and other types would be lower but still within a range. This would help with building enemies etc... Such a table could be given to the players. Hey, I'm not forcing you to do anything but here are some guidelines and effectiveness that I may use when building encounters and setting difficulty.

So I'm not sure on the 67 point characters but I keep thinking 120 is a nice starting amount and then do 20 points per "level" afterwards. So at the end of the campaign you are at 500 which would be the equivalent of 20th level. Monsters will perhaps fight and defend with skills equivalent to Attribute + Level on average.
It obviously depend on each GM, but for me Gurps is not a game where a player can come and sit at a table with a character he made on his own.
Creating a character, and upgrading it, is a collaborative task between the player and the GM, balancing the player wishes and the setting constraint.

So, for me, most of the woes reported in this thread cannot happen, because a character cannot have broadsword-40, unless I as GM said I was ok with it, in which case I better be ready to balance the game around it.

If I feel that in a certain game a character shouldn't have more than DX-14 and broadsword-18, that will be the limit in that game.
And maybe in another game I will allow Broadsword-30 and DX-20.
And in either case, I would allow going slightly over the max, with a suitable UB, but not much, and not for cheap.

Likewise, coming from the other side, each characters in a high-point game are expected to be able to handle a minimum level of opposition on their own.
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Old 06-09-2021, 07:55 AM   #66
Gnome
 
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Default Re: Skill Advancement

Quote:
Originally Posted by Celjabba View Post
It obviously depend on each GM, but for me Gurps is not a game where a player can come and sit at a table with a character he made on his own.
Creating a character, and upgrading it, is a collaborative task between the player and the GM, balancing the player wishes and the setting constraint.

So, for me, most of the woes reported in this thread cannot happen, because a character cannot have broadsword-40, unless I as GM said I was ok with it, in which case I better be ready to balance the game around it.

If I feel that in a certain game a character shouldn't have more than DX-14 and broadsword-18, that will be the limit in that game.
And maybe in another game I will allow Broadsword-30 and DX-20.
And in either case, I would allow going slightly over the max, with a suitable UB, but not much, and not for cheap.

Likewise, coming from the other side, each characters in a high-point game are expected to be able to handle a minimum level of opposition on their own.
I totally agree with all of this. I like point costs, because rather than a simple yes/no, they give a numerical value to how hard it should be to get that ridiculously high skill. It's easy to say no or to place a skill cap, and I've done so in games a few times. But I find it's more fun if rather than saying no to something, you make it cost enough that the player really has to think about whether they want to make sacrifices to raise that skill (your suggestion of a UB for breaking the cap is a good one, and it's the solution I've used in my longest-running campaign ever). In my experience, 4/level is simply not enough of a sacrifice in a primary skill, especially at higher levels.

For those arguing that raising skill costs cause problems elsewhere, I haven't seen such problems. DX costs 20/level, which is a big sacrifice for raising that skill by one level, which means the player has to save up a lot of points, not buy other potentially powerful abilities, etc. It will take a lot longer to outclass the world's threats at 20/level than 4/level, and a lot longer to outpace other party members whose niche is less fully covered by a single skill.

For those arguing that Sword Guy isn't a viable build, you're just not playing games where such a niche exists, which is totally fine. It exists in DF, and if you read the published adventures, a Sword Guy is an extremely effective character type to handle the kinds of threats in those adventures. If you build a 250 character using the Swashbuckler template, everything works out fine. Once you add another 40 or so points, that's when things get out of hand and that character potentially becomes ludicrously effective (unless you adopt one of various house rules like the ones suggested in this thread, many of which strike me as excellent ideas).
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Old 06-09-2021, 08:53 AM   #67
Emerikol
 
Join Date: May 2021
Location: Eastern Kentucky
Default Re: Skill Advancement

Quote:
Originally Posted by Celjabba View Post
It obviously depend on each GM, but for me Gurps is not a game where a player can come and sit at a table with a character he made on his own.
Creating a character, and upgrading it, is a collaborative task between the player and the GM, balancing the player wishes and the setting constraint.

So, for me, most of the woes reported in this thread cannot happen, because a character cannot have broadsword-40, unless I as GM said I was ok with it, in which case I better be ready to balance the game around it.

If I feel that in a certain game a character shouldn't have more than DX-14 and broadsword-18, that will be the limit in that game.
And maybe in another game I will allow Broadsword-30 and DX-20.
And in either case, I would allow going slightly over the max, with a suitable UB, but not much, and not for cheap.

Likewise, coming from the other side, each characters in a high-point game are expected to be able to handle a minimum level of opposition on their own.
I'm in a fantasy gaming mindset right now so I lean towards at least allowing higher skill levels. Anything that was more realistic, I would agree that you could just say human max is DX+Z where Z is the max. I like this because it also rewards those who start out with innate talent. I'd also limit how much you could increase your stats if I was playing in a realism based game.

With fantasy, I'm more flexible though I won't say there aren't limits even in that genre.


Edit:
I am very much on board with GM and the other players collaborating on what is allowed and not allowed. For me especially in fantasy, it's impossible to build a character without this collaboration. I've practiced that approach for years.

Last edited by Emerikol; 06-09-2021 at 08:54 AM. Reason: Added a comment about something I missed.
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Old 06-09-2021, 08:56 AM   #68
bocephus
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Default Re: Skill Advancement

Quote:
Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
I'm fairly confident that's already the default.
I'm not as confident as you are that this is well understood. As you can see I did a whole post having forgotten it again. Especially since the OP has admittedly not played GURPS yet, so pointing out what might be obvious to you might not be to new user (nor was it me till just last year).

Snipped from B556
A roll of 3 or 4 is always a critical success.
A roll of 5 is a critical success if your effective skill is 15+.
A roll of 6 is a critical success if your effective skill is 16+.
A roll of 18 is always a critical failure.
A roll of 17 is a critical failure if your effective skill is 15 or less; otherwise, it is an ordinary failure.
Any roll of 10 greater than your effective skill is a critical failure: 16 on a skill of 6, 15 on a skill of 5, and so on.


I myself have only recently experienced my first game where skills above 20 were at a thing and not at all uncommon. Prior to this specific setting skill 16 was always the sweet spot (it negates the crit fail of a 17) and more than Skill17 was unheard of. Imagine my surprise when the "rules" don't actually say what I always thought they said.
When I read the rules decades ago I took away: if 'Any roll of 10 Greater than skill is a crit fail' then it stands to reason 'Any roll of 10 Less than skill is a crit success' (see examples for skill15 & 16). I had been playing 'my' way since 2e. The periods at the end of those lines about skill15 and skill16 are there for a reason :)

It seems nit picky and even a little obvious once its pointed out, but I had to have a side bar conversation with the GM to try and understand how he was going to handle "crit success" for this PC I have with some ungodly skills of 20 and 21, its really easy to roll an 11 or better.
He probably thought the same thing you did... but he had to explain this interpretation to me, and two of the other players ended up making the same mistake (though one was relatively new). I assume there are others out there that may require this explanation. I still tend to forget it, I played so long the other way (thought it really didn't matter because no one had such legendary skill levels).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
This is situational, but Deceptive Attack can be scaled up to any skill (it's -2 to hit per -1 to defend, with the only requirement being that you not drop below skill 10)
I can say with 100% confidence of accuracy that the below portion of the Deceptive Attacks rule is the only one I have ever actually gamed with (as player, or GM):

The GM may opt to speed play by limiting Deceptive Attacks to a flat -4 to skill, giving the target -2 on his active defenses.

As I have said many times, in many posts GURPS offers a vast array of variability in how a game is structured. It's difficult for me to even conceive of a game that has a char with your Skill40 example. I don't mean to say it cant exist according to rules, just that the way such a char comes into existence is such a foreign idea to my thought process, that it doesn't even feel like a real thing. I have never experienced such a char, and no one that I have played with has ever tried to design or play such a thing.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Kallatari View Post
I personally advise against ever-increasing cost of skills because it throws off the "character creation balance" elsewhere.

No matter how you cost out the increasing skill cost, it will eventually reach a point where increasing the underlying attribute will be cheaper than raising the skill. At that point, your problem won't be the "DX 10, Broadsword DX+30" characters, it will be the "DX 30, Broadsword DX+10" characters.. or whatever the min/max threshold ends up being according to the used pricing method. That threshold becomes even lower if they have multiple skills based on the same attribute they want to increase.
You are quite right, and I should have taken care to also post the other House rule as well (Im just so used to it existing, I forget its really not the norm for everyone)... which I often use even in games where I don't use the modified skill progression. This is just because of how I tend to design my worlds (150pt starting chars). This may not work for worlds that have a huge amount of race options for PCs, Im not big on that so its not really a factor for my world design. This obviously wouldn't work for supers or highly cinematic type games.

House Rule 3 PC stat caps:
Base stats below 9 must be approved ahead of time.

At creation Max Cap IQ and DX=13, ST and HT=15.
After creation IQ and DX are capped at 25% of starting value, ST and HT are capped at 40% starting values. These caps do not include magical enhancements.

So IQ/DX 13 at Creation could be increased via char points to 16 max and ST/HT 15 could go to 21, a DX 10 char could go to 13, a ST 10 could go to 14.

My thinking here is, even though you are exceptional "people" there is a limit to the amount your innate abilities could conceivably increase in terms of your body/mind maximum potential. A tiny person can lift weights to get stronger, but will never be able to get as strong as someone born with an naturally powerful physique who commits the same effort. IQ and DX much more difficult to "increase" so I cap their max potential more than ST and HT, IQ/DX also have a disproportionate value on the bulk of the skill system which in essence gives a double bonus.


My way of doing things probably seems very boring to some, but I prefer for the players to focus on the story as if they were "anyone" in this world that could have been chosen, and that every "person" they encounter will have similar restrictions. No this wouldn't apply to non-people creatures. Players are exceptional because they get more points to work with, just like in real life only a very few people get to be a 'Hafthor Björnsson', and players are one of those lucky few but they are still limited by the max potential of their species. I like PCs to be broad and well rounded, and try to challenge them with situations that need multiple skills and abilities to resolve, and challenge my imagination to design. Though the occasional solution via brute force does occasional pop up.
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Old 06-09-2021, 10:34 AM   #69
Kallatari
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Default Re: Skill Advancement

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gnome View Post
For those arguing that Sword Guy isn't a viable build, you're just not playing games where such a niche exists, which is totally fine. It exists in DF, and if you read the published adventures, a Sword Guy is an extremely effective character type to handle the kinds of threats in those adventures. If you build a 250 character using the Swashbuckler template, everything works out fine. Once you add another 40 or so points, that's when things get out of hand and that character potentially becomes ludicrously effective (unless you adopt one of various house rules like the ones suggested in this thread, many of which strike me as excellent ideas).
I personally agree with you here. It is no more or less viable than any other build, which is totally dependent on the setting and how the GM runs the game. All the arguments against it where basically based on variations of "the GM just needs to make scenarios where Broadsword 40 isn't useful"... well those scenarios apply just as equally to someone with Broadsword 14. A Royal Ball with no sword fighting makes everyone's combat skills, regardless of level, irrelevant. But when the scenario calls for melee fighting, it works. So these arguments all amount to "what if", and since there's an infinite number of what if scenarios, that build will be viable in some and not in others.

I personally think getting such a high skill level is a waste of character points for not much gain. But that's my opinion/judgement, not a fact. Others will view it worthwhile, and they're not wrong. They just view it differently than me.

For those who don't want such high skills to be as useful - and thus not as worth investing points in - you need to cap to some of the effects of a combat skill: Active Defense and Deceptive Attacks. Pick a value you think is a "realistic maximum".. let's say 20 for example. Have Active Defenses cap out at that level, so any skill above 20 doesn't add to active defenses. Likewise, Deceptive Attack can't reduce skill below 10 (I always thought it was 12.. huh), so with the 20 cap then you can't do a Deceptive Attack greater than -10 to skill for -5 to defenses, regardless of how high your skill gets. At that point, getting skill levels above 20 are only there to counter other penalties, so it's still useful, but not as much. So people won't be as interested in increasing the combat skills higher (e.g., they may stop at Broadsword 30 instead of Broadsword 40).

(Personally, I think a simple cap to skill is even easier, but the above is sort of a middle ground approach)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gnome View Post
For those arguing that raising skill costs cause problems elsewhere, I haven't seen such problems. DX costs 20/level, which is a big sacrifice for raising that skill by one level, which means the player has to save up a lot of points, not buy other potentially powerful abilities, etc. It will take a lot longer to outclass the world's threats at 20/level than 4/level, and a lot longer to outpace other party members whose niche is less fully covered by a single skill.
I don't follow here. You're not comparing 20/level to 4/level; that's the rules now. You are comparing 20/level to whatever your upper cost for higher level skills are in an increasing cost system. As soon as the price of the skill reaches 20/level or more, the attribute wins. (e.g., using the one example where the cost of the skill increased by 1 point each level, that would be at DX +20 and higher).

It also ups the importance of attributes when you have more than one skill you want to increase. With the actual rules, increasing DX for 20/level is better than increase 5 skills at 4/level because it also increased Basic Speed, Move, and Dodge. If skills cost 10/level, well, suddenly it's better than increasing 2 skills. If the costs of skills goes even higher, it's even better.

Yes, Broadsword 40 may be cheaper to build just paying for 1 skill (if the cost per skill remains less than 20/level), but as you said you still have plenty of points for other things... So why settle for Broadsword 40 when I can have Broadsword, Shield, Climbing, Acrobatics and Stealth 40 for just a few points more by increasing DX to high levels?

The current GURPS rules aren't perfect as the optimization of point use already exists. As I mentioned, the moment you hit 5 skills to improve, it's cost neutral to up an attribute and that actually improves characteristics as well (and GURPS Power-UPs 9: Alternate Attributes even provides an argument for raising the cost of DX to 30/level to partially mitigate this). If you increase the cost per skill, this becomes even more of an issue. Even if that only takes place at much higher skill levels (say at DX+5 or DX+10).. that delays it, but it eventually hits a point where it becomes better to up the attribute.

And just because you haven't seen that issue, it doesn't mean others haven't (as supported by talks of optimization in GURPS Power-UPs 9: Alternate Attributes). Just like others haven't seen the Broadsword 40 issue in their games but you have.


Anyway, in the end, I still think the best way to solve this is for players and GMs to sit together an carefully explain expectations. And expectations usually translate into some sort of cap, whether direct ("no skills above 20") or indirect ("don't expect skills above 20 to be useful") or even ("there won't be any combat in my games so don't waste time with combat skills").

Changing the point cost of skills creates other "issues." And I do put "issues" in quotation because not everyone views them as issues. Some will think it creates bigger problems (in this case, I fall in this group), others will think it doesn't matter, and others will actually think the new "issue" is a bonus feature. I'm just trying to point out what is connected so that the GM can make an informed decision for his or her own campaign.

Last edited by Kallatari; 06-09-2021 at 11:00 AM.
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Old 06-09-2021, 10:55 AM   #70
Kallatari
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Default Re: Skill Advancement

Quote:
Originally Posted by bocephus View Post
You are quite right, and I should have taken care to also post the other House rule as well
Just to share for your info, I likewise use caps, but it's campaign specific. I use the following guidelines to help me decide - in collaboration with the players - before each campaign.
  • Realistic: A maximum of 80 points in starting attributes, no single starting attribute above 14, and cannot improve attributes by more than +2 with earned points. Derived characteristics cannot be be improved by more than +3 from base. Skills cap at Attribute +5
  • Heroic: A maximum of 120 points in starting attributes, no single starting attribute above 15, and cannot improve attributes by more than +3 with earned points. Derived characteristics cannot be be improved by more than +4 from base. Skills cap at Attribute +10
  • Cinematic: A maximum of 200 points in starting attributes, no single starting attribute above 16, and cannot improve attributes by more than +6 with earned points. Derived characteristics cannot be be improved by more than +6 from base. No skill cap.
  • Legendary: No restrictions.

Again, these are just my own guidelines, and the exact limits will vary depending on my specific campaign. Most of my campaigns fall in the realistic to heroic range.

And yes, the limits also applies to ST, but I use the log ST from KYOS in pyramid, so ST 16 is what approximately what ST 20 is now in the rules.

Anyway, as you can see skill caps are always built into my campaign premise, which is why the excessively high skills are not an issue for me requiring a cost fix. Players can only get skills at levels I foresee using in my games.
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