Sunday, November 24, 2019

Another Take on GURPS Attributes and Skills

So on the SJG forums where a discussion on GURPS Power-Ups 9: Alternate Attributes I was inspired by Kromm and Douglas Cole to come up with a different model for skills.  Turns out Mr. Cole had already done something similar in By Default, Pyramid #3/65 Alternate GURPS III

Nonetheless, I like where that started but would take it a bit further.
Right now skills are Controlling Attribute + applicable Talent and Technique.
This makes attributes very desirable but after a few skills are purchased to the point where they cost 4/level to increase its more efficient to increase the attribute instead of more points on several skills. Talents help a character fill a niche, especially since they often apply to multiple attributes but the direct additive nature makes Talents still limited in use, especially in higher point campaigns. Techniques are worse as few will take more than one or two of them.
However attributes having an effect on skills is core to GURPS and a feature I really like.
Another issue is that certain skills are and should be very complicated to master, while others should be trivial. The Easy/Average/Hard/Very Hard model  reflects this by making them progressively a point lower in effectiveness. Its kind of --- meh.
So taking a cue from a difficult use of a skill the Active Defense roll (Block, Dodge, and Parry) what if we used that? Turns out Douglas Cole thought of that (see the above referenced Pyramid) and added a bunch of detail that is worth a look.
But, again I like the idea of differentiating and representing increasing complexity of certain skills.
Easy Skills: 5 + (Controlling Attribute/2) + applicable Talent and Technique.
Average Skills: 5 + (Controlling Attribute/3) + applicable Talent and Technique.
Hard Skills: 5 + (Controlling Attribute/4) + applicable Talent and Technique.
Very Hard Skills: 5 + (Controlling Attribute/5) + applicable Talent and Technique.

Assuming base attribute of 10 this gives us...

  • Current method for 1 point Easy [Stat] -10, Average [Stat -1] -9, Hard [Stat -2] -8, Very Hard [Stat -3] -7.
  • New Method for 1 point Easy [Stat] -10, Average [Stat -3] -7, Hard [Stat -5] -5, Very Hard [Stat -6] -4.
This makes many skills worse than using the default for the first level or so, but Douglas addressed that issue in his article.
The difference here is that while still important, skills benefit more point for point expenditure in buying up Talents, Techniques, and certain advantages which increases variety between characters. This is especially true for the more complicated and difficult skills!

1 comment:

  1. This looks interesting. As someone who operates more on "feeling" than effectiveness, the Atributte dominance when defining skill levels never really bugged me; however the more I learn about the system the more it starts to...

    Would also be interesting to see a sample character built both ways!