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Old 07-15-2023, 02:53 PM   #11
Arcanjo7Sagi
 
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Default Re: Re-calibrating Attribute Costs

Quote:
Originally Posted by lvalero View Post
You might want to review the proposal of Douglas Cole in Pyramid 3/65 "By default". He proposes basing the defaults not in the Attrubute's value but in "half the value" +5. He also proposes a revised table of "skills costs"
It could be an interesting solution for less cinematic games. Generalist hyper-competent characters become much more costly to make.

This reminds me of an idea I had a while ago, but I haven't been able to test it. It would keep the costs as they are, but introduce stat modifiers, similar to what happens in D&D:

10-11 = +0
12-13 = +1
14-15 = +2
16-17 = +3
18-19 = +4
20-21 = +5

Using this idea (which I admit I haven't tested, it's just something that came to mind), you would add the attribute modifier to the skill, rather than the entire attribute itself. With this, the skills would have a common base based on difficulty, instead of attribute.

It would be like this:

Easy:

1 point = 10
2 points = 11
4 points = 12
8 points = 13
12 points = 14
Etc

Average:

1 point = 09
2 points = 10
4 points = 11
8 points = 12
12 points = 13

Difficult:

1 point = 08
2 points = 09
4 points = 10
8 points = 11
12 points = 12

Basically, it's like for skill purposes, everyone has a base attribute of 10. Then the final SL is the composition of that base (which can start with 10, 9, 8 and 7 depending on the Difficulty of the skill) + whatever you pay for training by the skill table, as it normally is today + ability modifier + Talents, if any.

At first it sounds like you're doubling the cost of attributes, yes. But there are still situations where you roll the raw attribute, as it normally happens, in situations foreseen by the system (perception tests to notice something, intelligence tests to remember things, DX tests to keep balance, etc).

That way, someone with IQ 20 (+5 modifier) and with 1 skill point spent would have SL 15 for Easy skills, 14 for Medium, 13 for Hard, and 12 for Very Hard. As opposed to the current 20/19/18/17.

Again, I haven't tested it to see how it looks, but in theory it seems to lighten the weight of attributes in skills a bit. It also makes Talents interesting from a cost-effective point of view.
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Old 07-15-2023, 04:11 PM   #12
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Default Re: Re-calibrating Attribute Costs

I dont dislike your solution.

You might as well decide that ALL skills are "average cost" (base 9) and the difficulty of the action (easy +1, average +0, hard -1, very hard -2) depends on the "usage".
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Old 07-15-2023, 09:32 PM   #13
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Default Re: Re-calibrating Attribute Costs

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Originally Posted by David Johnston2 View Post
I don't really understand what "broadly and competently skilled but low attribute" represents in real terms.
Do you only allow PCs to be made if you can understand them in real terms? Do you never run/play supers or supernaturally powered games?

Has no one in your games ever said they want to play "Gomer Pyle Iron Man?" IE, a 'genius' level inventor, weapons and battlesuit engineer, capable wealthy business man, basically everything Tony Stark can do with making the suit, but a clueless, tongue tied, rube otherwise?

Sure, you could make that PC with IQ 18 and then a bunch mental and social Disads to drag him down to Gomer's level, but isn't it simpler (if not heavily expensive) to go the other route? And then, if you say, "Yes, it is simpler that way", then it's also simpler if instead of being a 'genius level' inventor, he's "everyday Batman". Just competent at a whole lot of things, but still Gomer Pyle level of "logical deductive reasoning and social graces".

Quote:
Why would a stupid character be good at a wide range of intellectual skills? How could you master a wide range of intellectual skills and not get smarter?
Study, training, diligence, interest, Talent? I've met a lot of guys on work crews who were competent in a very broad selection of skills, but were still on the "low end" of the smarts slider. Heck, that's where I consider myself to exist.

I wouldn't give myself attributes over 11-12, but I'd need well over 100 points to be able to competently do everything I know I can successfully do under stress. And that's just figuring skills of 12, slightly better than 50% success under stress (which I don't actually consider competent, but I'm willing to accept Extra Time and Tool modifiers might also apply).



Quote:
Originally Posted by mirtexxan View Post
... set a attribute soft cap ...
Caps are not a solution, they are in fact the opposite of a solution to "Let's figure out how to have an IQ 18+ PC not steppy all over the IQ 12 broadly skilled PC".

Quote:
BTW, have you checked Power Ups 9?
Yes I have. It's a good start and if I wanted to work in a vacuum I wouldn't have started a thread. Is there something from Power-Ups 9 you think particularly applies and want to bring up?



Quote:
Originally Posted by nudj View Post
I agree. Just put 1 or 2 points in most skills and interpret part of your higher IQ as learning.
"Just pretend the PC doesn't have a very high IQ" is also not actually fixing the problem.

And before you show up Anthony, no "0% feature" of "you don't actually have a high IQ, it's just a 20 point Talent for skill purposes" also isn't actually addressing the problem. Partially because in GURPS you don't just get what you pay for, but you should also get what you pay for.

And actually, the real solution might be "start over with an entirely new cost structure for everything"... in which case I'm also more than willing to hear thoughts on that as I consider it myself.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr_Sandman View Post
Another option that is particularly applicable in the case of IQ, is to break Per and Will off, and buy them up or down separately from a base of 10, rather than basing them off IQ.
Already done. In fact... I've been contemplating breaking off all derived Secondary Attributes... they are part and parcel with what I consider to be the root of the "Attribtues are too dang inexpensive" problem, just in a "high DX also gives high Speed, Move, and Dodge" (kinda), which... eh... less of a problem for me I guess? I've had far, far, far fewer Players wanting to boost DX to the stratosphere, because, well... most people simply do not invest heavily across as broad a sweep of DX Skills, and buying up just Move or Dodge is cheap enough that doing it separately isn't as big an issue.

The only PCs I've seen who keep pushing DX over individual Skills or Basic Speed are those who want a handful of skills and high Basic Speed (for Initiative, Move, and Dodge) or DF Thieves who want all the non-combat DX skills way up there... and then, well... they never really niche stomp now do they?

Quote:
What is the story of a character that has a level of 33 in ax?
Why does it matter for the purposes of this discussion?

Quote:
Is it ... even meaningful?
I'm guessing you've never even considered soaking -20 in combat on your to hit? We play different games you and I. (Yes, I know you're referring to Arcanjo7Sagi, but still.)

Quote:
Sitting between attributes and skills, you can also make bespoke talents and anti-talents, that help to define a specific character concept.
You can, but Talents are simply never as attractive as raising base stats for most of my Players. Because Attributes are inexpensive compared to Skills (and everything else if it's DX or HT).

Quote:
When it comes down to it, even without altering costs or putting on caps, you can just look at each character individually, and decide if they fit in your campaign or not.
That's not a useful contribution to a thread that's premise is literally "Let's redesign Attribute Costs".



Quote:
Originally Posted by lvalero View Post
You might want to review the proposal of Douglas Cole in Pyramid 3/65 "By default". He proposes basing the defaults not in the Attrubute's value but in "half the value" +5. He also proposes a revised table of "skills costs"
That is indeed a solution I'd forgotten. I still think 20 for DX and IQ is a bit low, but, we're now moving into "solved the problem" territory. I'm not sure it's a viable solution for "more realistic" games, but then those penny-pinching GMs aren't ever going to have the issues I've run into anyway (problems I've run into at 275 points and using Templates by the way - so "just use Templates" is also not a viable solution).



Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony View Post
The easiest recalibration is to make costs nonlinear and rely on revealed preference to determine the true value of a +1.
That... would work. I mean, thirty+ prior years of it working in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd ed show it's viability. It does makes dealing with Racial Templates a non-zero problem (which is why I suspect it was dropped), but there are simple, if unappetizing, solutions to that.


Quote:
Originally Posted by monstrous engineer View Post
Have you considered approaching this from the demand side, rather than the supply side? By that I mean reduce the benefit of having high IQ rather than raising the cost of it.
I've done that. It was neither simple, elegant, nor in the end appealing (it involved much wailing and gnashing of teeth, and cries of "never again" from the Players who endured that short campaign.) I stole an idea from another poster here which was caps on defaults and skills benefiting from Attributes. I'm pretty sure IQ ended up costing like 2 points per level after 16 as a "make it worth still buying" measure...

And in the end it still didn't really solve the problem. It just shifted the problem area down a few pegs. (Okay, the problem did not manifest in that game, but it still could have, just would have been IQ 16 versus 10 in that case, had it showed up.)

Honestly, caps and reduced costs to capped Attributes isn't as elegant as the "By Default" article's answer, it was just far simpler. And it doesn't remove the problem, it just shortens the window in which it can appear.
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Old 07-15-2023, 09:39 PM   #14
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Default Re: Re-calibrating Attribute Costs

Arcanjo7Sagi, I'm splitting my responses to you out only because I hit the character limit and I responded more to you than any other individual.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arcanjo7Sagi View Post
If stats cost too much and the starting score is high to compensate, then problems begin to arise when a player simply decides to spend those points to be hyper-competent in a single skill.
Sure, but I'm not worried about that here and now. Besides, in those cases, "cap on skills above X" where X is a ludicrously high number is fine. I'm also in those cases willing to use Bucket O' Points and others options to limit things.

But, I'll let you in on a secret, I'm not worried about stupidly high single or paired skill levels. Johnny One-Skill is never a problem for me. Not even Dr Kromm's Zombie spell of 50 would be an issue in a game where vanilla magic was allowed.

I run Action! games, so stupidly insanely high skills are perfectly fine. Now, I will grant you, yes, it does need to be considered and thoughts on "but what about everyone else" needs to be addressed... but then I find anyone who has problems with skills above 20 are already probably implementing Skill or Attribute Caps (or both), or they'd be parsimonious with points anyway. Or using Templates which also neatly sidesteps the "but what if extremely high skill".

Quote:
Here the idea is of a higher DX...
DX is literally never a problem.

Let me restate the problem: IQ 18+ PC and IQ 12 broadly skilled PC. The second one gets stepped on all over the place unless the second one spends far more points in skills than the prior did in IQ alone. But yet, I would like to be able to let them both coexist in a party without having to resort to "Just don't step on the other PCs niche, m'kay".

Now, I could see a "low DX broadly weapon skilled PC gets stepped on by DX 18+ PC" as being a problem, and I'm also considering that as part and parcel with this "What about rejiggering Attribute costs" question, so consider DX (and to a far lesser degree HT) also needing to be addressed.

Quote:
I understand that simply increasing the cost of attributes may sound like a simple solution, but we have to remember that they exist alongside a whole set of other elements that make up the system.
Ahem:
Quote:
It's the next step that becomes more untenable; change the cost of the Advantages and Disadvantages that should be changed relative to the cost of Attributes.

And really, I need to back up a step further... because once you start tinkering with Attribute costs... you need to look very hard at starting Character Point allotments.. and woooo. It's a bit of an interconnected nesting problem.
I'm pretty sure I understand that concept, would you like to help address it?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Arcanjo7Sagi View Post
That's why I think Power-Ups 9, Alternate Attributes, is worth a read.
It was. If there is something specific from it you think is highly relevant, please mention it. If you think this isn't an endemic problem (I do) but a "genre assumptions" problem (it might be), I'm happy to have that discussion as well.

Quote:
Or make WildCard Skills more attractive.
I personally find Wildcard skills to be garbage. Okay, wait... not 'garbage', but a solution to a problem that is not being addressed here". If the problem was "how can one player raise 12 skills from two or more attributes in a manner that's inexpensive and we absolutely aren't using Talents" then sure, Wildcard Skills are great. That's not the problem, I love Talents, I wish they were cost viable versus Attributes, but they aren't. The only way Wildcard skills are better than just raising an Attribute is when you only want 12 "thematically focused" skills to go up together or they're from more than one Attribute.

I almost never see that outside of fairly focused PC builds and that's what we have Talents for.

Quote:
In the quoted passage, 80 per level would be way past that point, but perhaps something between 40 and 50 might be acceptable - again, depending on the type of game.
Yes, jumping from 20 points per level to 80 might be a bit much and only doing it for one PC because they "have 20 or more skills in that one Attribute"... yeah. That's wrong, on a few levels.

But, establishing from the start, for everyone, that Attributes will incrementally increase (or are just flatly more expensive), is another thing.

Quote:
I tend to see more specialist characters than generalist characters.
We have different groups. In fact, my Players prefer GURPS because it allows for something most other systems do not: Making generalists who don't suck.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Arcanjo7Sagi View Post
It could be an interesting solution for less cinematic games. Generalist hyper-competent characters become much more costly to make.
That's an interesting take. It doesn't address my problem, but it's an interesting take. It does make higher skills far more expensive, which would inflate the value of buying Attributes on broad generalists... which I'm already finding is a problem with the current system.
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Old 07-15-2023, 11:00 PM   #15
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Default Re: Re-calibrating Attribute Costs

Quote:
Originally Posted by mburr0003 View Post
]Do you only allow PCs to be made if you can understand them in real terms? Do you never run/play supers or supernaturally powered games?
I know what stats represent in supers game too. I got a lot of amusement out of designing Headbanger, a stupid telepath.

Quote:
Has no one in your games ever said they want to play "Gomer Pyle Iron Man?" IE, a 'genius' level inventor, weapons and battlesuit engineer, capable wealthy business man, basically everything Tony Stark can do with making the suit, but a clueless, tongue tied, rube otherwise?

Sure, you could make that PC with IQ 18 and then a bunch mental and social Disads to drag him down to Gomer's level, but isn't it simpler (if not heavily expensive) to go the other route? And then, if you say, "Yes, it is simpler that way", then it's also simpler if instead of being a 'genius level' inventor, he's "everyday Batman". Just competent at a whole lot of things, but still Gomer Pyle level of "logical deductive reasoning and social graces".
I don't actually think IQ 18 is an optimal design for a guy who is great at gadgeteering, good at finance and nothing else. A lower IQ is both more cost effective and portrays the concept in a more valid way. Although I would still give him social disadvantages, because disadvantages are so much more vivid than just stats.
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Old 07-16-2023, 02:45 AM   #16
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Default Re: Re-calibrating Attribute Costs

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Originally Posted by mburr0003 View Post
As can be seen at the end of the other thread (Odd Question in raising IQ) I have a disagreement with the cost of Attributes in relation to the price of Skills, namely Attributes are too dang inexpensive.
A different analysis that a friend came up with years ago is that attributes have too large an effect on skills. Compared to other games, a case can be made for this. For example, in BRP high or low attributes give you a one-off modifier to skills at character generation, and in Hero skills start at 9+(attribute/5).

Having high chances of success on raw attribute rolls doesn't seem to be a major problem in GURPS.

Would refiguring skills based on 5+(attribute/2) make sense to you? That considerably reduces the effect of high or low attributes on skill levels.
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Old 07-16-2023, 04:22 AM   #17
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Default Re: Re-calibrating Attribute Costs

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Originally Posted by David Johnston2 View Post
I don't actually think IQ 18 is an optimal design for a guy who is great at gadgeteering, good at finance and nothing else.
"Great at gadgeteering" is probably somewhere around 12 or more skills, alone. Not to mention he's pretty good at socializing in a few different ways, and other skills depend heavily on if you're just watching the movies or what era of the comics you're reading...

But you do seem to understand what I aiming at, a PC who has 16+ in Armory (Battlesuits), Armory (Body Armor), Armory (Heavy Weapons), Armory (Small Arms), Chemistry, Computer Hacking, Computer Programming, Engineer (Artillery), Engineer (Electrical), Engineer (Electronics), Engineer (Materials), Engineer (Microtech), Engineer (Nanotech), Engineer (Robotics), Engineer (Small Arms), Engineer (Vehicles), Expert Skill (Computer Security), Explosives (Demolitions), Machinist, Metallurgy, and Smith (Black).

(Note, I'm allowing for Defaults to handle a lot of skills I'd still want to pile on such a Character, like Electronics Repair and Electronics, Expert Skill (AI), Cryptography, and I'm handwaving "builds a particle accelerator to invent an new element" under Chemistry, Metallurgy, and Engineer (Materials), instead of Mathematics (Applied) and Physics.)

Probably a 14 in Administration and Finance at least... I mean he runs an international weapons manufacturing company.

That's 23 skills... so once they hit, ahh, we're giving Gomer Pyle Iron Man an IQ of say 12, that plus social Disads should fit, so at Skill 13 those 21 "gadgeteering" skills are going to start costing 84 points per +1. So 252 points just to hit a 16. And you think IQ 17 or 18 isn't a "better" build? Sure, there's a Talent or two we can use to reduce the cost, but we're still talking 20 points per +1. Isn't your argument that at this point, "just buy up IQ" is the better build?

Now, Tony Stark? Yeah, if I were building Tony I'd want IQ 18 (16 minimum!) because there are IQ skills I haven't even listed that he's shown using, not to mention the four or so social skills... but if I want to play "redneck Iron Man" (and not some 'diesel-punk' version) it's stupidly expensive to make the PC using the current rules.



Quote:
Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
Would refiguring skills based on 5+(attribute/2) make sense to you? That considerably reduces the effect of high or low attributes on skill levels.
That, and rejiguring skill costs a bit, is basically Douglas Cole's "By Defualt" article. Basically.

So, yeah, that could work alongside a 'slight' (maybe doubling) of IQ. I'm not sure DX would need to be adjusted with By Default in play. I'm still thinking about DX, it still feels right to adjust it's cost as well, but maybe not as much as IQ.
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Old 07-16-2023, 06:14 AM   #18
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Default Re: Re-calibrating Attribute Costs

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Originally Posted by mburr0003 View Post
Do you only allow PCs to be made if you can understand them in real terms? Do you never run/play supers or supernaturally powered games?

Has no one in your games ever said they want to play "Gomer Pyle Iron Man?" IE, a 'genius' level inventor, weapons and battlesuit engineer, capable wealthy business man, basically everything Tony Stark can do with making the suit, but a clueless, tongue tied, rube otherwise?

Sure, you could make that PC with IQ 18 and then a bunch mental and social Disads to drag him down to Gomer's level, but isn't it simpler (if not heavily expensive) to go the other route? And then, if you say, "Yes, it is simpler that way", then it's also simpler if instead of being a 'genius level' inventor, he's "everyday Batman". Just competent at a whole lot of things, but still Gomer Pyle level of "logical deductive reasoning and social graces".


Study, training, diligence, interest, Talent? I've met a lot of guys on work crews who were competent in a very broad selection of skills, but were still on the "low end" of the smarts slider. Heck, that's where I consider myself to exist.
And

Quote:
Originally Posted by mburr0003 View Post
Let me restate the problem: IQ 18+ PC and IQ 12 broadly skilled PC. The second one gets stepped on all over the place unless the second one spends far more points in skills than the prior did in IQ alone. But yet, I would like to be able to let them both coexist in a party without having to resort to "Just don't step on the other PCs niche, m'kay".
Hm. Maybe what you call a problem to others is simply something intentional in the system that others don't care about. And a very specific situation. Usually when a player wants a broadly competent character he simply buys the relevant attribute or Talents. Then it is clear that in the current system, a PC with 20 or more skills and IQ 12 will need a lot of points invested in each to be good at everything. While a Leonardo da Vince with IQ 18 can have the same amount of skills and be great paying little in each one. And you want both to be able to coexist in the same without frustrations for either side.

One way to try to get around it is with talents. In the case of a hypothetical Tony Stark with IQ 12, a combination of Artificer, Business Acumen, and Mathematical Ability might do the trick. Maybe even excluding the middle one, since the third one includes some financial expertise. Usually when I see players wanting broadly competent characters, when they don't want high IQ, it's usually in a certain theme, covered by Talents. Now, if your player wants to be competent in everything... then it becomes more difficult in the current model, at least without resorting to attributes.

It is difficult because: (1) it is an inherent concept at the core of the system that comprehensive competence is a function of attributes, and (2) there is no Universal Competence Talent in the system.

So I understand the motivation to increase attribute costs, to make both characters' spending closer. But even so, eventually the problem may occur, but you will need more skills for that. If you are going to increase the cost of attributes then, you will have to stipulate how many skills you want to balance it with. Will it be 20? 50? Because there are hundreds of them in the books.

Or you can take the idea from the other topic and have a Universal Skill Talent.

I think this is because it's a concept that people often take for granted: a character with a high X attribute is conceptually more competent in a number of areas than someone with a lower X. Even in D&D this can happen (especially in 5E): The Bard with Charisma 20 without social skills (for some reason) will be better than the Fighter with Charisma 10 who paid for the skills, at least until almost 20th level. Almost every traditional system has something like this, it's the attribute function.

In some systems that use %, like Eclipse Phase, this is minimized because the weight of attributes in skills is much lower than in GURPS. EP stats normally go up to 30 for Transhumans, 20 for normal humans at most, while skills go up to 99. The problem is minimized, but can still occur: depending on how many skills you want to have, it will eventually pay off more to level up the stat to stat. ceiling (although it may not be so easy in the scenario, in theory it is a possibility).

But, it's not the only way of design. In Castle Falkenstein, as I recall, and other RPGs with a different approach, there aren't even attributes, you pay for each skill separately, without any connection to another factor in the system.

Somewhere in GURPS there is a suggestion like this: all skills are unlinked from attributes and are now paid based on 10. Someone with IQ 18 and someone with IQ 12 will pay the same amount of points to have 20 skills at level 15, for example (disregarding talents).

Quote:
Originally Posted by mburr0003 View Post
It was. If there is something specific from it you think is highly relevant, please mention it. If you think this isn't an endemic problem (I do) but a "genre assumptions" problem (it might be), I'm happy to have that discussion as well.
Look at page 12, "More Expensive IQ", in Power-Ups 9, Alternate Attributes. If your goal is to increase IQ cost, it might give you some ideas. I've mentioned it before, but it might have been overlooked in the middle of the messages. The entire section, "More Expensive Basic Attributes," which begins on page 10, is worth reading.
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Old 07-16-2023, 06:15 AM   #19
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Default Re: Re-calibrating Attribute Costs

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Originally Posted by mburr0003 View Post
Do you only allow PCs to be made if you can understand them in real terms? Do you never run/play supers or supernaturally powered games?

Has no one in your games ever said they want to play "Gomer Pyle Iron Man?" IE, a 'genius' level inventor, weapons and battlesuit engineer, capable wealthy business man, basically everything Tony Stark can do with making the suit, but a clueless, tongue tied, rube otherwise?
(Apologies for inserting myself into this back-and-forth)

No, I don't think I've seen anyone seriously want to play those tropes (and for that matter, I don't think they fall under "supers" or "supernatural" at all). It's the sort of thing I'd expect from someone trying to play "gotcha" with a universal system, or perhaps engaging in a contest to see how weird of a character concept they can come up with.

(I have seen one that was kinda close, in a shadowrun campaign, I suppose --- sort of a hyper-specialized character who gets everyone else blown up.)

Quote:
Sure, you could make that PC with IQ 18 and then a bunch mental and social Disads to drag him down to Gomer's level, but isn't it simpler (if not heavily expensive) to go the other route? And then, if you say, "Yes, it is simpler that way", then it's also simpler if instead of being a 'genius level' inventor, he's "everyday Batman". Just competent at a whole lot of things, but still Gomer Pyle level of "logical deductive reasoning and social graces".
Actually, I think "a bunch of mental and social Disads" is way simpler, and cheaper, and easier to build and play. It's literally what those disads were designed for. A batman (or spock) "good at everything" kind of character is exactly what high IQ is designed for, and the right set of disads (to fit the exact idea the player has in their head) is exactly the best way to make that character a gomer-pyle-type.

I see no reason to fight against the system. It handles these things quite well.
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Old 07-16-2023, 06:27 AM   #20
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Default Re: Re-calibrating Attribute Costs

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Originally Posted by mburr0003 View Post
Actually, the solution is pretty simple, change the cost of Attributes.
The reason it isn't is that option cripples a [different] character concept - the guy who wants the benefits of a high attribute but doesn't care about any skills based on it. He's now vastly overcharged for his ability. This is an old, old tension in rpg design, and there are no really great solutions. The classic alternative is attributes don't influence skills at all (the GURPS version is buy all skills from a base of 10 or 12, and probably throw away Talents, though that's debatable). This promptly gets you into arguments like why doesn't being a supergenius help at all with learning Math, but at least charges everybody the same price for what they actually have.

The other not too bad alternative in GURPS is to allow characters to buy IQ (only for skills -0%) if they like, trading any points they have in skills for levels of the "limited" attribute whenever they like. That gets you the same high skills for the same total cost as high IQ guy, without having the IQ - you give up a [few] points, whatever the fair cost of a high attribute that has no effect on skills might be, but not so many the balance is horribly off.
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