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Old 07-16-2023, 06:36 AM   #21
Arcanjo7Sagi
 
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Default Re: Re-calibrating Attribute Costs

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Originally Posted by mburr0003 View Post
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.
The system is designed so that some choices are going to be better than others. Some characters will be more optimized for X or Y. Wanting an unoptimized character to be as good as an optimized one in your area is almost paradoxical.

I understand the motivation, to make the game fun for everyone. But if the player wants his character to be as good as Lionel Messi in football/soccer, with Stephen Hawking's sheet... then it becomes really difficult.

Despite the above exaggeration, I really understand. Sometimes we think of a character concept that is not efficient in points. It happens. I've had some of those: characters that didn't make sense to have IQ or DX 18, but who were competent in many areas. In the case in question, it would conceptually have about 3, maybe 4 Talents. But the cost of these Talents added together was greater than simply increasing attributes. It wasn't efficient. So yes, some characters are not attractive from a cost-benefit point of view.

However, this ceases to be a problem when the group stops caring about point balance. It's not for everyone, it's not for every game, but sometimes people just want to make characters and have fun and don't care if there's a difference between points. As long as everyone has space in the game, some people don't care.

It's like playing Justice League or Avengers. Characters like Thor and Superman have far more points than Batman or Captain America. But when the story is done well, everyone has room to shine and have fun.

I know it's not the solution you're looking for, but it's something that works for me. Sometimes.

I understand that RPG balance is a common concern. Not every system cares, but I understand it's a recurring subject. But when we have an excess of concern in this, it can lead to lands where it is not attractive to me, like in D&D 4: from worrying so much about being balanced, it ended with the taste of the unique aspect that each class had, and everyone it became the same in a way that didn't attract me.

I know this isn't exactly what you're saying or looking for, but I thought it was a related topic.
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Old 07-16-2023, 08:10 AM   #22
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Default Re: Re-calibrating Attribute Costs

Easy solution: Don't use a point buy system. Either use a different system, or use GURPS and ignore the points, because there isn't a way to make every combination fairly priced against every other.

Or if you do find a way to make every possible combination of abilities fairly priced, let Steve Jackson know. I look forward to Hot Lead.
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Old 07-16-2023, 09:56 AM   #23
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Default Re: Re-calibrating Attribute Costs

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Originally Posted by mburr0003 View Post
"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),
Armory defaults to Engineer.

Quote:
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).
Engineer specialties default to each other. Blacksmith? Expert Skill (Computer Security)?. Getting Computer Hacking and Computer Programming separately? Now you're just padding. Yes, I know that Tony Stark has made a low tech version of his suit when stranded in low tech environments but that's obviously an application of a Wild Card skill. A realistic Tony Stark would be lost in such an environment.

Quote:
(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.
He's not good at it, you know. He gets other people to do the actual work of running the company.
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Old 07-16-2023, 11:10 AM   #24
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Default Re: Re-calibrating Attribute Costs

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Originally Posted by mburr0003 View Post
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?
GURPS models social problems with disadvantages because it makes for better roleplaying. That means that giving the "genius nerd" inventor loads of disads to knock their otherwise very high ability with social skills down to reasonable to pitiable levels.

A potentially simple way around all those disads is to give the character an "Anti-Talent" disadvantage. Say, -5 points per -1 to social skills. Not as cost effective as buying roleplaying disads with game mechanics effects, but it saves pesky roleplaying and bookkeeping.

The idea of Anti-Talents is discussed in whichever Power-Up book covers talents, but not fleshed out, IIRC.

Going the other way, there's no rule that you can't have more than one Talent, like Artificer 4, Business Acumen 4, but otherwise IQ 11.

That's point inefficient, though since you're paying 25 points per level just to boost a subset of skills.

A potential workaround is to cap costs for multiple talents at 15+1 per talent after the first or (cost of most expensive talent) + 1 per extra talent, max 19 points/level.

If you want a RAW explanation for cheaper levels of multiple talents, call it a subset of Secondary Abilities.
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Old 07-16-2023, 08:22 PM   #25
mburr0003
 
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Default Re: Re-calibrating Attribute Costs

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Originally Posted by Arcanjo7Sagi View Post
Maybe what you call a problem to others is simply something intentional in the system that others don't care about.
Just because it's documented doesn't mean it's a feature and since when did "it doesn't affect me so why are you asking for assistance in solving it" ever been helpful?

Quote:
And a very specific situation.
Yeah, it kind of is. A rather specific niche problem I keep bumping into.

Quote:
Or you can take the idea from the other topic and have a Universal Skill Talent.
I'm going to mention this one last time, then I'll simply start ignoring anyone talking about them: This thread isn't about talents. I know about Talents. I like talents. I wish Talents were a cost effective way to resolve this problem.

Quote:
In some systems ... like Eclipse Phase... Castle Falkenstein ... other RPGs ...
I know, and that's another option I'm considering, but one which does not involve discussing possible price recalculations for attributes, the issues or problems that arise from a cost change, and what sounds like a fair price for the attributes at the end of the day.

Quote:
Look at page 12, "More Expensive IQ", in Power-Ups 9, Alternate Attributes.
So... nothing you actually find particularly significant, you just think I should reread that section for the umpteenth time. Okay then.




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Originally Posted by malloyd View Post
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.
Well, as I'm also amenable to raising character points at chargen, I wouldn't say it 'cripples' them. I'm simply looking at making the two builds equally viable without "and we just ignore costs, make what you want".

It does mean I need to find a new "breakpoint". Where does it become better to buy up an Attribute rather than skills because it's again become inefficient to do so. Like 20+ skills?

Right now, with the way I let Players just makeup whatever they want in Talents, I feel that's about 10 skills. After 10 "core character" skills, Talents stop being as efficient as just raising IQ. I have Players however who say the breakpoint is 4 skills. After 4 "main character" IQ skills they prefer to just raise IQ, even when Talents are on the table, because they never just have four IQ skills "and may as well raise all the others too".

This means, IQ is too inexpensive.

Again, inversely, I don't often see this problem DX, I've seen plenty of PCs where teh Players had 4-6 DX based skills and were fine leaving DX at 12-14 (whatever they started at) and just nudging up the skills if they thought they needed them.

And again, another 'anecdote', but I've had Knights raising IQ because they had 5 IQ and Per skills and it was just better to raise IQ and get the Per and Will bumps along with! I'd rather see those PCs raising individual skills.




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Originally Posted by Pursuivant View Post
GURPS models social problems with disadvantages because it makes for better roleplaying.
I don't know that it "makes for better rp", but it does generally work. It does make certain "high IQ" PCs hard to build.

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That means that giving the "genius nerd" inventor loads of disads to knock their otherwise very high ability with social skills down to reasonable to pitiable levels.
You say that, but there is no Social/Mental Disad that just affects social skills without also making the person easier to to take advantage of. I've known a few "socially incompetent" types who weren't also easy marks. They were just bad at social engineering and staying on top of rapidly evolving conversations* in a way that IQ 18 doesn't allow for.

Actually, this is the one place I do allow for Anti-Talent, if someone has an Attribute over 14 and wants an Anti-Talent, I generally allow a modified version (half the number of skills affected in cost, each level is -1 to affected skills, you can still buy the skills). But again... Talents are not the solution I'm asking for assistance with.


* Actually Confused minus the "flashing lights and loud noises" autism penalty really works well for this type of "smart person who is socially incapable". It just really requires a deft and subtle hand and a Player who isn't going to still constantly try to make social skill rolls anyway.

Yes, about half my Players are the type to try to 'get around' their disads. Le sigh. So I do have to kinda build things with that annoyance in mind.

Last edited by mburr0003; 07-16-2023 at 08:39 PM.
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Old 07-16-2023, 11:20 PM   #26
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Default Re: Re-calibrating Attribute Costs

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Originally Posted by mburr0003 View Post
You say that, but there is no Social/Mental Disad that just affects social skills without also making the person easier to to take advantage of. I've known a few "socially incompetent" types who weren't also easy marks. They were just bad at social engineering and staying on top of rapidly evolving conversations* in a way that IQ 18 doesn't allow for.

[...]

* Actually Confused minus the "flashing lights and loud noises" autism penalty really works well for this type of "smart person who is socially incapable". It just really requires a deft and subtle hand and a Player who isn't going to still constantly try to make social skill rolls anyway.
Possibly, this is me IRL sometimes (albeit also with the "flashing lights and loud noises" autism penalty) - "I don't know what's going on in this conversation. ...I'm going to stand here and look obstinate until I do know" :-D

Doesn't Clueless work?

It looks like, in the other direction, the Smooth Operator talent is sort of overpriced at 15/level (it seems hardly worth buying that instead of just buying IQ), especially since Charisma, which does most of the same things, is 5/level.

What other characters have you had this problem with, or is it always "Gomer Pyle Iron Man"?

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Originally Posted by David Johnston2 View Post
He's not good at it, you know. He gets other people to do the actual work of running the company.
Possibly, this reminds me of the "Avengers... Adventure!!!" comic (which is sort of "the Avengers films if they were a role-playing game" and I don't know how like the films this is), in which Tony is a genius engineer, a charismatic party animal... and put all his points into those things and being rich, so in anything involving strategy he's an overconfident fool and Pepper is constantly tearing her hair and trying to run damage control :-D
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Old 07-17-2023, 12:28 AM   #27
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Default Re: Re-calibrating Attribute Costs

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Originally Posted by malloyd View Post
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.
Neither IQ nor DX have a lot of benefits that aren't reflected in skills or sub-stats that you can buy individually. GURPS would work fine without having those stats at all.

ST and DX are, essentially, extremely broad talents with some minor side effects, and they exist for the same reason as any talent: to provide a discount to a group of related skills, either because of a simulationist desire to produce 'realistic' (or, sometimes, genre-appropriate) characters, or a gamist opinion that those skills are highly redundant and thus you probably won't get full value from more than one of them. Most game systems (that use attributes at all) are simulationist for attributes, and if the other type of talent exists, it has a different name.

Simulationist attributes become a problem when people disagree on what's actually realistic. This is why people argue a lot more about IQ than DX.
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Old 07-17-2023, 07:28 PM   #28
mburr0003
 
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Default Re: Re-calibrating Attribute Costs

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Originally Posted by Inky View Post
It looks like, in the other direction, the Smooth Operator talent is sort of overpriced at 15/level (it seems hardly worth buying that instead of just buying IQ), especially since Charisma, which does most of the same things, is 5/level.
Actually Charisma and Smooth Operator do fairly different things:

Charisma is mainly for modifying Reaction and Influence Rolls with everyone who talks and interacts with you, it also increase four Social Skills by +1/lvl.

Smooth Operator directly applies to 14 Social Skills for skill rolls (which includes Influence Rolls) and improves Reaction Rolls with niche group of people (other 'con-men' who see you in action, but aren't being manipulated by you).

Smoove Opie would definitely be worth 15 points if IQ weren't only 20 points, or if IQ were capped and you were still getting a good inflow of exp and you weren't at skill cap yet (I find most GMs who stat cap also skill cap and throttle exp, it's kind of an all in one package deal for them.

Quote:
What other characters have you had this problem with, or is it always "Gomer Pyle Iron Man"?
As mentioned it's a far more prevalent problem with "IQ 18+ Wizard who accidentally steps on the Off-Face". Basically it's anytime someone with a low IQ (for whatever reason, like the Knight Template or the "broadly skilled not-smart guy") who gets skill wrecked by the high IQ PCs defaults despite having spent a bunch of points to be good in those skills that the high IQ PC is "getting for free".

And it's not just social skills. That Wizard I made would have also stepped all over any starting Barbarians or Scout's outdoor skills (and a Thief's Lockpicking and Traps) because, lol IQ and Per 18 gave me all those skills at 13 for 'free'. But we didn't have a Barb, the Scout had boosted their Per, so my defaulted 13s weren't as good as their 16s and I just never bothered trying to lockpick because we had a Thief (and when the Thief died I just took a couple of spells that made Thief PCs superfluous and we stopped worrying about trying to make that profession viable).


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Originally Posted by Anthony View Post
Neither IQ nor DX have a lot of benefits that aren't reflected in skills or sub-stats that you can buy individually. GURPS would work fine without having those stats at all.
This is true, but I'm trying to keep them relevant, not just because I have Players who will wail and gnash their teeth, but because I'm aiming for a solution that still allows for "and make an IQ roll", despite the fact I almost never ask for bare IQ or DX rolls (because there is a skill for whatever situation comes up).

Also because if the solution ends up being simple and elegant enough, I'd like to think it might work for other people. I've already played under a handful of GMs 9who did not know each other directly) who thought reducing ST was perfectly fine, so i know "playing with the cost of Attributes" isn't that great a crime. But ask for help in increasing IQ (and maybe DX) and suddenly it's like Zeus is here fitting me for a rock and an eagle...
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Old 07-17-2023, 09:58 PM   #29
Inky
 
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Default Re: Re-calibrating Attribute Costs

It seems like, wizard is one where you can't just solve the problem with a middling IQ and a big chunk of Talent in the thing he/she's good at because the Talent for Magic is Magery and that's semi-officially capped at 3 (maybe a case for houseruling that IQ+Magery is capped at 18 or something, instead) - and since the default magic system involves loads of "skills", it really isn't going to be very point-efficient to start from a lower base and buy up skills.
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Old 07-17-2023, 10:00 PM   #30
David Johnston2
 
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Default Re: Re-calibrating Attribute Costs

Anthony Pyle

Strength: 10
Dexterity: 15
Intelligence: 14
Endurance: 13

Advantages:
TL 9 (5)
Gadgeteer (25)
Multimillionaire x4 (150)

Disadvantages:

Absent-Mindedness (-15)
Oblivious (-5)
Stubborn (-5)
Pacifism CHI (-10)
Sense of Duty (All those threatened by misuse of his inventions) (-10)
Crippling Shyness (-20)
Stutter (-10)

Skills:

Engineer (Robotics) 35 (74)
Engineer (Small Arms) 31 (1)
Engineer (Materials) 31 (1)
Engineer (Electrical) 31 (1)
Engineer (Electronic) 31 (1)
Engineer (Mechanical) 31 (1)
Engineer (Rocket) 31 (1)
Engineer (Micromachines 31 (1)
Electronics Repair 28 (1)
Electrician 28 (1)
Chemistry 12 (1)
Metallurgy 12 (1)
Mathematics (Applied) 12 (1)

Et cetera and so forth. Honestly it would be easier to go the wild-card skill route.
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