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Old 02-14-2014, 01:24 PM   #1
Varyon
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Default Tech! - A New Take on Wildcard Techniques

In anime - and plenty of other media - there are always characters who have a variety of nifty-but-difficult Techniques, and of course the guy who seems like he has bought up all the Targeted Attack options to full is ubiquitous. In GURPS, it's far, far more efficient to simply boost skill up a step. This can lead to a problem - namely, your character who is skilled enough to hit any hit location is often best off just aiming at the Torso (particularly in low-armor settings, like most anime), sinking all his skill into Deceptive Attack, and maybe buying a Technique or two (which will easily result in creating a specialist, when the character concept was for a generalist).

My solution to this would be simple - a "Wildcard" Technique (specialized by skill) that will buy off the penalties for any Technique. You are essentially buying skill with a "Only to negate penalties for Techniques" Limitation - although under this system Hard Techniques are effectively at an additional -1. For balance, I would by default disallow Combinations and Improvised Techniques from this, although a Perk would allow a specific Combination or unique Technique to benefit. Alternatively (or even in addition), it might work out to let Combinations and Improvised Techniques get some benefit, but they'd suffer from a poor exchange rate - say, every +2 Tech! negates only -1 from their penalties. Specialists would still be able to buy Techniques under the normal system as well (although naturally they'll only want a few, as it is now).
This also avoids the potential problem that high-skill characters are virtually impossible to hit. If we cap a character's actual skill at, say, 20, and then have any other "boost" be in the form of Tech!, the character's Parry isn't going to get any higher than 13 (before CR, Enhanced Parry, Staff bonuses, etc). This will let skill 16 veterans actually stand a chance at hitting combat masters. This is, of course, highly optional.


The primary issue here comes down to pricing. Obviously [1]/level is too cheap, while [4]/level is too expensive. Personally, I feel this actually works out to have about the same level of utility as Enhanced Parry. As that is [5]/level, but each level is equivalent to +2 to skill, [2.5]/level for Tech! seems appropriate. This will typically work out as [5] for the first +1 (most combat Techniques are Hard), then [5] per +2, with the option to get an odd bonus (another +1) for [3].

As a note, our main other options are [2]/level and [3]/level. [2]/level works out to [9] per +2 skill and +1 defense (from Tech! and Enhanced Parry), as opposed to the [8] of just buying up skill; I personally feel this is too close for comfort, but as Tech! + EP isn't actually quite as good as just buying up skill, such pricing probably wouldn't be too terribly far off. [3]/level works out to [11] per +2 skill and +1 defense, where I feel we're getting too close to the [12] of +3/+1.5. For me, [10] for +2 skill and +1 defense seems to be "Just Right" - you're better off buying skill, but if you want just defense or just Techniques, your options aren't too bad. Additionally, it seems to me that [2]/level actively discourages players from building specialists (that is, those with a Technique or two they prefer), which I don't like.

Thoughts?

Last edited by Varyon; 02-14-2014 at 01:28 PM.
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Old 02-14-2014, 01:37 PM   #2
whswhs
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Lawrence, KS
Default Re: Tech! - A New Take on Wildcard Techniques

Wildcards are standardly triple cost. I would start from the Hard technique scheme of 2/1 and triple it to 6/3. I don't see any reason to use a higher multiple than 3x.

Bill Stoddard
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Old 02-14-2014, 02:15 PM   #3
Varyon
 
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Default Re: Tech! - A New Take on Wildcard Techniques

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Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
Wildcards are standardly triple cost. I would start from the Hard technique scheme of 2/1 and triple it to 6/3. I don't see any reason to use a higher multiple than 3x.

Bill Stoddard
I previously looked at it using both the Wildcard price scheme (as you suggest) and trying to make it as a Modular Ability. MA ended up being a cost of somewhere around [5]+, so obviously that was a horrible idea.

As I noted in my post, I feel [3]/level (Wildcard) is a bit too much, while [2]/level seems a bit too cheap. [2.5]/level - or more appropriately, [5] for the first +1, [5] per additional +2 - seemed just right, in no small part because it subscribes to GURPS' rampant pentaphilia. If a player wants to get just a +1, I'd allow them to get it for [3], just as I would allow partial Ambidexterity ([0] for -4, [2] for -3, [3] for -2, [4] for -1, [5] for +0).
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Old 02-14-2014, 07:44 PM   #4
The Benj
 
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Default Re: Tech! - A New Take on Wildcard Techniques

If you've got great Skill, aiming for the Torso is a foolish choice when you could be socking people in the Jaw, kicking them in the Groin, or poking them in the Eyes. If you really wanted to do this, I'd say probably 5 points for the first level, 3 for each after that. Yes, that means there's no reason to get this for 1 or 2 levels, but after that it gets a little cheaper than buying up Skill.
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Old 02-15-2014, 01:07 PM   #5
Varyon
 
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Default Re: Tech! - A New Take on Wildcard Techniques

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Originally Posted by The Benj View Post
If you've got great Skill, aiming for the Torso is a foolish choice when you could be socking people in the Jaw, kicking them in the Groin, or poking them in the Eyes. If you really wanted to do this, I'd say probably 5 points for the first level, 3 for each after that. Yes, that means there's no reason to get this for 1 or 2 levels, but after that it gets a little cheaper than buying up Skill.
High skill characters will typically simply drop their skill down to some level (often 14-16) when attacking by the combination of Techniques and Deceptive Attack. This means aiming for the Face gives a +2 (up to +4 if using Tbone's Duck! rules) to your target's defense, aiming for the Groin gives +1, and aiming for the Eyes gives +4 (+6 with Duck!).

Let's say you're a Skill 30 combat monster going up against a "master" with mere Skill 20, Combat Reflexes, and Enhanced Parry 1. Against the Torso, you can drop skill down to 16 and impose a -7 to his defense, giving him Parry 8. Going after any of the targets you've listed grants him a telling boost in defense - you go from "probably going to connect" to "probably going to be Parried," so unless your foe has heavy armor over the Torso you're probably best off going after that.
Using my proposed system, perhaps you've only got Skill 20 or so (making the fight more interesting, as your foe now has a chance at hitting you) and Tech! +10 (saving [12]). Now the only "price" you pay for going after those hit locations is that you can't toss in as many other Techniques as against the Torso - but as long as you're not going after the Eyes, you can probably add in one or two for flavor. Personally, I feel this will make for more interesting fights, as players of characters with the trait are more willing (in fact, they'll feel compelled by their point investment) to use untrained Techniques to mix things up. It also means "high skill" characters don't necessarily need extremely high skill enemies to be threatened, particularly if you enforce some sort of skill limit.

As for your suggested pricing, that's pretty much identical to Wildcard (with the exception of the "buy-in" price), so it would probably work out alright. I just like my pricing scheme a little better.
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Old 02-16-2014, 02:42 AM   #6
dataweaver
 
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Default Re: Tech! - A New Take on Wildcard Techniques

Personally, I prefer the approach described for Wildcard Styles in Martial Arts: define a selection of Skills and Techniques as a Style and buy it as a Wildcard Skill. You get the Skills at the Styleís level, and you get the associated Techniques at their maximum level (or at a +3 if they have no maximum) instead of their minimum.

Aside from that, I feel that Techniques are overpriced. When I use point costs at all (which is seldom, these days), I replace the normal pricing scheme with a Perk that maxes out one Technique in the same way that a Wildcard Style maxes out all of that Styleís Techniques. If itís a Hard Technique, I require a double-Perk to max it out; otherwise, a regular Perk is adequate. If the Technique lacks a maximum, the Perk can be bought repeatedly for a +3 with each purchase (Hard Techniques donít require double purchases after the first time). Iíve found that nobody misses the intermediate levels between minimum and maximum. And in general, the swing from minimum to maximum is rarely more than two or three levels; so while thereís a jump in competence whenever a Technique is learned, itís usually a tolerable one.

With that in place, I havenít needed Wildcard Techniques.
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Old 02-16-2014, 02:54 AM   #7
sir_pudding
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Default Re: Tech! - A New Take on Wildcard Techniques

Quote:
Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
In anime - and plenty of other media - there are always characters who have a variety of nifty-but-difficult Techniques, and of course the guy who seems like he has bought up all the Targeted Attack options to full is ubiquitous.
See Pyramid #3/61: Way of the Warrior p. 7, for Peerless Slayer Training which is exactly this. It's priced as a Technique!:

Quote:
Techniques: Targeted Attack! at maximum. Price such a “wildcard technique” like the usual technique and then triple cost to allow it to work with all applicable skills – here, Melee Weapon skills.
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