Thursday, October 29, 2015

Underpriced GURPS disadvantages

I usually post about overpriced disadvantages - the ones that give you more points back than they deserve for how much they hassle you.

In my experience, there are some that are underpriced. You don't get a lot back for what it does for you.


Wounded - this might get takers at -10, but not at -5. Open wound that's vulnerable to strikes and to disease? It's beyond an Achilles' Heel and all the way to Hectors's Sucking Chest Wound. No one takes it because there are many less-worse things around for -5.

Overconfident - people used to complain on GURPSNet-L and the forums (and might still do so) about Overconfident when it was -10. "It's free points for acting like an adventurer!" No, it's points for acting like a better adventurer than your scores say you will. People playing this right tend to take risks they shouldn't because their PC believes he or she will succeed where others would fail. Then the PC fails, and eventually dies from it. -5 is okay, but it's on the stingy side for how many PCs I've seen dead from this one. In a dangerous, 50/50 situation, this is 5 points you pay for in spades.

Berserk - -10 makes it easier to deal with in terms of self-control rolls and enhancements/limitations, but it's also kind of stingy. -10 for having no defenses, plus some bonuses. Yeah . . . I felt it was fair at -15. It's a character-defining trait beyond ones like Lecherousness and Greed and a strong Phobia. In a fight-heavy game, it's a certainty that the points you get for this can't buy you enough to make up for it.

It's a fun disadvantage, but that's not a reason to discount its value. All good disads are fun to have on your sheet. But Berserk seems a little chintzy at -10.

I'm not offering to re-price these (maybe Wounded, though), but I do think they cause more harm than you get back in value, even if only by a small amount.

What costs bother you?

20 comments:

  1. Bad Grip - -5/level. -2 to combat and everything else you do with your hands... 2 points of Arm DX is more expensive than that, 2 points in a favored skill is probably more expensive than that... Hard to pick this voluntarily. Gets slapped on a lot of animals as a racial thing, and I guess there it might be fine, but still...

    Confused - -10*. I cant see this ever working for adventurers. -10 for combat is pretty much a "hope someone attacks you so you can do something", and few other proper adventuring situations are going to be better than -3 to -5...

    On The Edge - -15 Suffers the same issues as Berserk, only not just for combat. -15 doesnt even seem like enough for this, vs -30 for something like Hemophilia. If your going to have a disad that is going to kill you sooner rather than later, -15 serems too low :)

    Unfit and Very Unfit - -5/-15. Never seen anyone touch these. -1/-2 to death checks, poison, stunning, consciousness... If Fit and Very Fit are underpriced, these are too.

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    1. Those are good examples.

      On the Edge - I bet if I priced it -20, I'd see some takers. That's enough points in one disad to get people to give it the eye and think, my guy really is crazy, and I can get Luck or Daredevil and some extra stuff out of this choice . . .

      Unfit/Very Unfit - they're pretty much useful only as disease/Affliction results. Uh-oh, Crit Fail on HT vs. the Black Shakes, you get Unfit for a month after the cure!

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    2. I wonder if you just got rid of the HT penalty if Unfit/Very Unfit would become more popular. There's lot of game styles were resting after a fight is routine, and if you don't use too much FP in fight, Unfit isn't that bad a disadvantage - aside from the HT penalty.

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    3. I think if you let people rest after fights routinely, and took away the HT penalty, Unfit would be overpriced at -5!

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    4. This all makes me wonder whether there should be a Disadvantage of the Week thread.

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    5. Or the same change to Unfit/Very Unfit that Peter did to Fit/Very Fit: -2/-4 to endurance type checks, but not to death checks, disease, etc. That would make it more worthwhile.

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  2. When you are Overconfident and Curious you end up as a giant slug. Albeit, a very handsome one, but a slug nonetheless. :)

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  3. When you are Overconfident and Curious you end up as a giant slug. Albeit, a very handsome one, but a slug nonetheless. :)

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    1. A giant slug with Curious and Overconfidence. "With my new slug powers, I'm sure that going over and seeing what's in that room clearly marked as cursed and dangerous is going to be safe for me!"

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  4. IIRC, the cost complaints about Overconfidence being too much were about the combination of Overconfidence and Impulsiveness being too much at -20, due to the overlap.

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    1. Impulsiveness and Overconfident overlap like Berserk and Bad Temper overlap, IME - they make it that much worse to be you, and take away whatever restraint you as a player would like to exercise. Taking both is tantamount to suicide, it's just a question of when. "I'm going to get myself killed sooner rather than later" is worth -20.

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    2. Yup. We call it the "killer combo"; Impulsive and Overconfident go together like nitroglycerine and Parkinson's.

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    3. Sure. Because on one hand, you think you are much better than you actually are. On the other hand, you don't stop to think about the consequences before you act and you're impatient to do something. That's not overlap, that's synergy.

      Negative synergy, but still.

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    4. Speaking of combos, Bad Temper and Berserk.

      Bad Temper forces you to go Berserk immediately if you fail Bad Temper, regardless of your Berserk severity.
      The most wacky version is when you have Berserk (15-) and a strong case of Bad Temper - that's not very Berserk (in the grand scheme of things) but if someone makes a snarky comment you still immediately start punching them in the face and don't stop until they and all their friends are down.

      Yes, you're getting more points for the higher Bad Temper severity, but you would get exactly those points anyways without a Berserk synergy, and you wouldn't have to murder people all the time.

      It's particularly bad with Berserk at -10 points of course.

      My preferred tweak is to change it so that failing on Bad Temper counts as a situation where you immediately check your Berserk self-control, not automatically berserk.

      On a related note: Loner and Berserk. Loner is only an Aspected version of Bad Temper, causing you to lash out "just as if you had Bad Temper". Which means someone tries to read your newspaper over your shoulder and you kill them.

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    5. Emily, if Loner is just aspected Bad Temper, wouldn't that mean that someone with Bad Temper and Berserk would kill if someone tries to read the newspaper over his shoulder?

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    6. Heh. So Berserk Loners go kill-crazy?

      Holy crap, that explains 99% of NPC hermits in every D&D modules.

      Me, I don't care if Bad Temper leads right to Berserker rage - it's a terrible combination, and it's fine with me that it plays out that way regardless of the self-control roll combo you choose. A guy with Bad Temper, Berserk, and any other triggering traits in combination is totally defined by, and will be killed by, those traits. That I am okay with!

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  5. For me, almost all the -5-point mental Disadvantages without an attached self-control roll feel more like they should be Quirks, most similar -10-point Disadvantages feel like they should have a base of -5, and pretty close to any non-physical thing more serious than that comes down to "I won't put that on my sheet no matter *how much* you pay me!".

    One Eye and One Hand feel perfect to me, any physical Disadvantage with required attribute ranges feels wrong in one way ("no double-dipping" on something giving you back less points than dropping your attributes would to begin with, or else "required double-dipping" that means you're likely to exceed the Disadvantage Limit if your abilities were otherwise going to be any good at all; compare Quadriplegic with Lame). Colorblindness seems more like it should be -5, Missing Digit should be a Distinctive Feature Quirk with the recommendation of also taking Ham-Fisted, etc.

    Honesty, -10 Vows, and -10 Codes of Honor feel perfect to me. -15 Vows and Codes feel more restrictive than they're worth and many at -5 don't seem to be worth much more than Quirks. I don't mind getting more points for the "Being A Virtuous Dude" Disadvantages than I feel they are limiting me by. I know someone out there has to be hindered by Sense of Duty (Adventuring Companions), Honesty(9), Truthfulness(6), Pacifism (Cannot Harm Innocents), etc.; that person is just not running characters I would enjoy playing.

    Pyromania's wording makes it seem far worse than it's clearly intended to be (You're a fire wizard? Self-control roll every waking second you aren't resting to recover your FP in order not to attempt arson in town or starting a forest fire during wilderness travel!).

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    1. That's a lot of overpriced disads for a post about underpriced disads.

      I suspect if let people price them all themselves with just general categories, costs would be all over the place!

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  6. It might make more sense to have two levels of Overconfident. So the -5 level is focused - the PC overrates his ability in a specific area. Think of Cugel and IQ. The -10 level would be a general tendency to overestimate your abilities. Alternately, make Overconfident a subset of Delusion.

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  7. Your problem with the pricing of Overconfident is one of extremes. Many posters you've read use it in the extremely light-handed end of Overconfident while you describe it in the extremely heavy-handed end of Overconfident. There should be two distinct levels of Overconfident: one that means either "I'm overconfident /when it comes to/..." or "I'm overconfident at first but when I fail I come back more cautiously" and one that means "Even if I try and fail I know I can get this eventually so I'm just going to keep trying." The difference is between seeing that you were overconfident in hindsight and just not getting it. Those definitely deserve two levels of disad.

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