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Old 04-25-2023, 05:09 PM   #1
Calliban
 
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Default Calculating "Power Level" or "Combat Score" in GURPS

This is a campaign for Martial Arts enthusiasts, with a focus on a cinematic style. I am trying to come up with a straightforward method for measuring "power levels."

In case you're not familiar, characters in fighting Manga have the ability to sense the fighting spirit of their opponents. This is similar to the Power Level Scouter from Dragon Ball Z. In that series, Power Level is a single number that approximates how strong a fighter is.

For my campaign, only TbaM skills, passive Chi Powers, and Imbuements will be available, so there's no need to worry about Innate Attacks and other abilities.

My idea is to use a formula that adds up a character's maximum hit points (which also serves as an estimate for striking damage), maximum fatigue points (which fuel special abilities), and their highest combat skill level (or DX-1, whichever is higher).

Is this a reasonable approximation for "combat power", or should I try a different approach?

If anyone else has figured out a better or simpler method for measuring power levels, please let me know!
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Old 04-25-2023, 05:18 PM   #2
thebigh
 
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Default Re: Calculating "Power Level" or "Combat Score" in GURPS

Could it be just as simple as counting the total character points the character has in those attributes, skills, powers, and imbuements?
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Old 04-25-2023, 05:23 PM   #3
Anthony
 
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Default Re: Calculating "Power Level" or "Combat Score" in GURPS

There have been several attempts at doing this, but GURPS combat is complicated enough that a single numeric score is unlikely to be very meaningful.
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Old 04-25-2023, 05:25 PM   #4
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Default Re: Calculating "Power Level" or "Combat Score" in GURPS

Quote:
Originally Posted by thebigh View Post
Could it be just as simple as counting the total character points the character has in those attributes, skills, powers, and imbuements?
I initially thought that, but this would make it difficult for NPCs. Also, if you have two PCs with DX 16, having a few dozen of level 18 weapon skills costs way more than having a single level 30 skill, which is arguably more powerful.
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Old 04-25-2023, 08:34 PM   #5
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Default Re: Calculating "Power Level" or "Combat Score" in GURPS

Quote:
Originally Posted by Calliban View Post
For my campaign, only TbaM skills, passive Chi Powers, and Imbuements will be available, so there's no need to worry about Innate Attacks and other abilities.

My idea is to use a formula that adds up a character's maximum hit points (which also serves as an estimate for striking damage), maximum fatigue points (which fuel special abilities), and their highest combat skill level (or DX-1, whichever is higher).

Is this a reasonable approximation for "combat power", or should I try a different approach?
So Hank Heavyweight has ST 16, DX 14, HT 14, FP 17, Karate-17, Judo-16, and no other combat related advantages. He has Combat Power 50.

Barry Breaker has ST 15, DX 14, HT 14, Basic Speed 9, Basic Move 11, Karate-16, Judo-16, Combat Reflexes, Extra Attack 1, Extraordinary Luck, High Pain Threshold, Imbue 3, Trained by a Master, and a bunch of useful Imbuements like Telescoping Strike at 16. He has Combat Power 45.

They have a duel. Hank's combat power is 10% better than Barry's, but Barry hits just as hard, has more attacks, defends better, has more mobility, and can punch Hank from 4 yards away.

It's kind of an extreme example, but I think it illustrates the point. I think you need a more complicated formula, that at least takes into account the nature of the special abilities, defenses, and mobility.

As an aside, HP is a bad measure of both combat endurance and striking power. An ST 40 but unarmored opponent with Parry 10 will probably loose to a ST 15 opponent with DR 5 and Parry 14. Combat endurance in GURPS is predicated mostly on having defenses to avoid being hit in the first place, secondarily on having DR to absorb hits, and a distant third is having enough HP to soak the hits. And there's all kinds of ways to modify effective damage relative to HP, from buying extra HP to buying Striking Strength.
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Last edited by mlangsdorf; 05-02-2023 at 12:37 PM.
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Old 04-26-2023, 01:34 AM   #6
johndallman
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Default Re: Calculating "Power Level" or "Combat Score" in GURPS

Quote:
Originally Posted by Calliban View Post
My idea is to use a formula that adds up a character's maximum hit points (which also serves as an estimate for striking damage) . . .
Well, both of those are based on ST, but the number of ways striking damage can be modified is huge. I'd suggest you look at "It's a Threat!" in Pyramid #3/70, "Combat". That calculates a "Combat Effectiveness Rating", (CER). It's for Dungeon Fantasy, but you may be able to leave out some parts of it for your campaign. In particular, it gets damage and defence rolls onto a single scale, which should help a lot.
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Old 04-26-2023, 06:39 AM   #7
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Default Re: Calculating "Power Level" or "Combat Score" in GURPS

Quote:
Originally Posted by Calliban View Post
This is a campaign for Martial Arts enthusiasts, with a focus on a cinematic style. I am trying to come up with a straightforward method for measuring "power levels."

In case you're not familiar, characters in fighting Manga have the ability to sense the fighting spirit of their opponents. This is similar to the Power Level Scouter from Dragon Ball Z. In that series, Power Level is a single number that approximates how strong a fighter is.
...
Just to point out, the creator of DBZ has stated that "power levels" is crockpot. He only introduced it as a way for the enemy to gauge the Z fighters and make them over confident. Your power level does not determine if you can win a fight, but rather your actual experience and ability to control your chi.

This is why, to me, the best fight ever is in Dragon Ball Super where Master Roshi fights Jiren, and Jiren STRUGGLES to land a single hit! Master Roshi forces Jiren to use a large chi shockwave to knock master Roshi back. This was to show Goku that its not about how hard you hit so that he can get a better understanding of Ultra Instinct.

So, Don't use power levels. Cause it never meant anything. If you really want something like that, then only use ST and "Chi" as the measurement. Because that was all it took into account, Master Roshi had a low power level because he did not train as hard and did not have his latent chi unlocked, but he can still be everybody in hand to hand.
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Old 04-26-2023, 07:22 AM   #8
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Default Re: Calculating "Power Level" or "Combat Score" in GURPS

There's a Pyramid article on this, it's called "It's a Threat" and can be found in #3/77.
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Old 04-26-2023, 08:28 AM   #9
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Default Re: Calculating "Power Level" or "Combat Score" in GURPS

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Christopher Rice came up with a detailed Combat Effectiveness Rating system for Dungeon Fantasy in Pyramid 3/77, if you want a detailed discussion.

But ... here's an idea: you could also do a very quick-and-dirty guesstimation of combat effectiveness by 1) adding up the average damage from the highest powered attack, 2) multiplying that by Basic Speed, 3) multiplying again by the number of basic attacks (i.e. not Rapid Strikes) per turn, and then 4) adding DR x 5 (or the point-value, if known, if the DR is modified, as with Tough Skin) to the total.

So a totally average, 0 point unarmed human would have a score of .5 (1d-3 cr punch) x Speed 5 x 1 attack, add 0 (DR 0): 2.5.

But a powerful delver - like the barbarian Argua from Delvers to Go - might have a much higher score: 4d+3 cut (17) x Speed 6.25 x 1 attack, add 12 (Tough Skin 4): 118.25. Note that Argua is nearly 50 times more powerful than an average human. This seems about right to me, since even a crowd of 50 0 point unarmed humans would never be able to injure Argua with barehanded attacks....

Or Miao Miao: 2d+4 cut (11) x Speed 8 x 1 attack, add 5 (DR 1): 93.

A bugbear from DFRPG Monsters: 2d+1 cr (8) x Speed 6.5 x 1 attack, add 0 (DR 0): 52.

A small dragon from DFRPG Monsters: 2d+4 cut (11) x Speed 6.75 x 2 attacks, add 15 (DR 3): 163.5.

A large dragon: 5d+7 imp (24.5) x Speed 7.25 x 4 attacks, add 45 (DR 9): 755.5

A draugr: 4d+2 cut (16) x Speed 7 x 1 attack, add 30 (DR 6): 142.

This would be a VERY quick and dirty way of assessing combat effectiveness. It totally leaves out resistance to mind control and a million other things, but for a hack-and-slash-heavy genre like DFRPG, I think this is a good trade off for being an easy way to eyeball encounters.

Note that Basic Speed is a hasty stand-in for active defenses, skill levels, and death checks and that damage is a stand-in for HP in this calculation.

Quick-and-dirty combat rating: (Damage x Speed x Attacks) + (DR x 5)
Here's a very quick-and-dirty guesstimation of combat effectiveness that I like:

1) Add up the average damage from the highest powered attack,

2) multiply that by Basic Speed,

3) multiply again by the number of basic attacks (i.e. not Rapid Strikes) per turn, and then

4) add DR x 5 (or the point-value, if known, if the DR is modified, as with Tough Skin) to the total.

As has been pointed out, there's no very good way of figuring out combat effectiveness for GURPS thaat's much simpler than just looking at the whole character sheet. But I think this is a good way to eyeball it. The post I've quoted, above, might be informative and helpful too.

Quick-and-dirty combat rating: (Damage x Speed x Attacks) + (DR x 5)
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Old 04-30-2023, 08:58 PM   #10
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Default Re: Calculating "Power Level" or "Combat Score" in GURPS

I'm curious what calculations people can work out, but I did want to give a slightly different take on what zoncxs said:

Power levels are often misleading.

Maybe it is because I've watched too much anime, but for all the fandoms obsessed with Power Levels, far too many forget that the same series using them will make it clear they're approximations... and sometimes, they're just part of the narrative and make little-to-no-sense based on the rest of the series lore.

This isn't me shooting down the idea, though. I'm just saying you don't have to sweat it if your results are only a decent rule-of-thumb. One of GURPS' selling points is that it avoids things like "Level X characters are untouchable if you're are Level Y or lower." Which isn't the same as knowing "Oh, that guy probably needs a really good plan or to get really lucky to be a threat, but that other one over there? If I mess with them, I'm the one who needs a really good plan or a lot of luck to win!"
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