Advantages

Disclaimer: The following material consists of rulings on GURPS originally posted to electronic discussion forums, newsgroups, and mailing lists by Sean "Dr. Kromm" Punch. Some of these statements have been taken out of context, or have been altered for clarity or brevity; therefore, these are not "official" rulings, and neither Sean Punch nor Steve Jackson Games is responsible for the accuracy of the modified content.

These were collected by Travis Foster c. 2004-2005.

Advantages and Disadvantages Combined

08-31-2004, 11:44 PM Re: Can Advantages come with mandatory Disadvantages?

A package of advantage(s) and disadvantage(s) is called a character template or a meta-trait. Use those rules.

Afflictions and Extended Duration

09-02-2004, 12:50 PM

Re: Post your Afflictions here!

Originally Posted by Rev_Pee_Kitty

But Extended Duration specifically mentions how it interacts with Affliction, in the note on "Permanent" below the table.

Yes. Affliction is one of the specific exceptions.

Afflictions and Inanimate Objects

09-04-2004, 03:54 PM Re: Making Affliction Work on Inanimate Objects

Nothing in Affliction says "This only affects living things." Affliction affects any target that's subject to its effects. Now since rocks and such will have Injury Tolerance, Immunity to Metabolic Hazards, etc., most Afflictions will do bugger-all to them. But they probably don't have "Immunity to Invisibility," etc.

Yesterday, 12:14 AM Re: Making Affliction Work on Inanimate Objects

Originally Posted by sir_pudding

Not really. OTOH, the GM would be within his rights to demand you had a huge Area Effect for that.

Afflictions and Size

09-09-2004, 02:40 AM Re: Affliction.

I think a size limit makes sense, and we'll want to include one in Powers. I'm not sure exactly how I want to implement it … a bonus to resist based on SM is no good, because even at +43 for being planet Earth, you could roll an 18. I think a hard cutoff is probably wise, but I'm still mulling over how it should work.

09-09-2004, 12:25 PM Re: Affliction.

Originally Posted by sir_pudding

Why not both? SM provides a bonus to resist Affliction and if the total modified(after affliction levels) bonus is say, +20 or more, the target automatically resists.

My thoughts ran along similar but not identical lines. Frankly, I have no issue with supers needing Affliction 40 (Advantage, Invisibility, +400%) [2000] or Affliction 40 (Advantage, Insubstantiality, +800%) [3600] to play vanishing games with a planet, which is what cutoffs based on SM tend to imply.

Allies

09-04-2004, 03:42 PM Re: Disadvantage limit for Allies.

Originally Posted by hcobb

Does your ally have the same disadvantage limit as your PC or do they have something completely different from the "campaign disadvantage limit" referenced at B452 and B11?

They have whatever disads the GM thinks suits them. They're NPCs, and the GM's to design and control.

Animal Empathy

and animal friend

sjgames.gurps.4e

On Thu, 15 Jul 2004 19:57:10 -0700, Xplo Eristotle wrote:

These skills are clearly intended, if not restricted, to be used on sentient beings with some sort of recognizably human-like psychology. By making them affect animals, we can create absurd results, like the ambassador who has Diplomacy-18 and Animal Empathy, knows no more about animals than the next guy, but can handle them (or at least back away from them) like a pro.

If he has Animal Empathy, he's an animal expert — he has a more-or-less supernatural rapport with beasts. That's sort of the point. If he's just good at animal skills, take Animal Friend.

Charisma

09-06-2004, Today, 12:42 AM Re: Is there alot of errata needed or is it just me?

Because Charisma helps Influence rolls, not Influence skills. You'll sometimes need to roll against Influence skills for things other than Influence rolls, and Charisma is of no use then. It specifically modifies the Quick Contest to influence someone.

If that's what you'd call errata, then I'm not too worried. ;)

Combat Reflexes

and NPCs

07-19-2005, 03:16 PM Re: how common should combat reflexes and hpt be among mercs?

The way I do it: I start with a point level (25-point rabble, 50-point gangsters, 75-point soldiers, 100-point veterans, 150-point elite troops, etc.). I buy them the ST they need to carry and use their "issue" weapons and armor; HT 11-12; any Patron, Rank, etc., that fits; an optimized mix of DX and weapon skills for their gear; and as much Leadership, Soldier, Streetwise, Tactics, etc. as the encounter calls for. Once I'm done, if I have 10 points left, I add HPT. If I have 15, I add CR. If I have 25+, I add both.

07-19-2005, 04:35 PM Re: how common should combat reflexes and hpt be among mercs?

Just remember that concealment skills — predominantly Camouflage and Stealth, but for that matter Holdout, Smuggling, and even Disguise and Shadowing — are among the most overlooked skills for PCs. I've had several amusing moments in my own games where PCs who were supposed to be soldiers didn't have Stealth or Camouflage … Sure, I told the players, but it's easy for a D&D-bred gamer to say, "Naw, I'm no assassin or thief. I don't need those skills to be a warrior."

DR and armor

09-08-2004, 01:18 PM Re: new armor rules… nice

Originally Posted by raven

This DR & HP feature to armor: is that in 4e?

DR listed for armor is its cover DR, and doesn't worry about source. If people really want the bookkeeping (and boy, this GM wouldn't), they can request it during the eventual Low-Tech playtest. Certainly, the rules support detailed DR and HP tracking now, if the GM wishes to use them. HP are flatly weight-based, and DR is given for most common materials.

09-08-2004, 04:02 PM Re: new armor rules… nice

Kaell is correct. The DR of all armor is its cover DR. This is more-or-less the sum of the material's DR and HP, and reflects the de facto DR experienced by those behind the cover. This is greater than the DR the armor itself enjoys, for the same reason that a man behind another man in body armor enjoys more DR than the sap in the armor. Armor DR thus reflects a nonunique combination of the DR of the armor's material and the HP attendant to the armor's weight. Thus:

  • Your hard, easily shattered armor gets its DR from high material DR, low HP.
  • Your soft, weapon-snagging armor gets its DR from low material DR, high HP.

Since most gamers detest the idea of tracking armor damage, we didn't go into the breakdown in the Basic Set … especially since we'd have to have rules for hole size (overcoming material DR just makes a hole, most of the time).

ESP and detailed information

sjgames.gurps.4e

Not even relatively trivial secrets like birthdays, when magical divination is cheap and moderately reliable? That's a bit harsh.

A birthday is no more/less trivial a secret than the guy's bank codes, or the winning lottery number next week, or the secret password for the nuclear missiles in the Bad Guy's base. It's a string o' numbers, really — so many bits, nothing more. For game balance, it's best that finding out precise dates, numbers, and codes is hard, whether they represent a joke or the fate of the world. Vague things, like "He's a Leo," should be easier.

Extra Attack

09-06-2004, 02:37 AM Re: Multiple Attacks in 4/e [clarification]

Feel free to let normal people have one Extra Attack with their primary weapon arm. That lets Weapon Master types make three attacks (two as a Rapid Strike, plus a third at full skill). Powers has a few thoughts on allowing even more attacks with the same limb. :)

Gizmos

09-06-2004, 01:23 PM Re: Three Gizmos Maximum

This is just game-design and GMing experience coming together. I've run lots of games with Gizmos, and I'm not a "pushover" GM. Even so, I found one Gizmo made the game cinematic for sure, two made it into a 1950s comic book, and three just made it silly. I limit my players to two, usually. I think "any number" would ruin most games.

Gunslinger

06-23-2005, 11:54 AM Re: Gunslinger?

Originally Posted by KlausPrinceOfTheUndeads

Gunslinger works with pistols, rifles, liquid projectors and something else that I don't remember. + 4 (average bonus) with all of them is normally worth 64 points. ;)

It helps Beam Weapons, Gunner, Guns, and Liquid Projector — don't bother with it unless you plan to be good at all four and have access to high-Acc weapons. Still, if you want to use a laser sniper rifle in a melee, fire an M60 Rambo-style, dual-wield accurized Desert Eagles, and kick butt with a flamethrower in the course of a day's work, it's the advantage for you. I'd allow a Weapon Master-style cost reduction for taking it down to smaller groups of weapons, I suppose.

Healing

09-06-2004, 12:58 AM Re: Healing?

Originally Posted by Lancewholelot

Wow. I'm surprised they allow healing spells to do more for high HPs without more cost but that is the way it reads.

It's all about scalability. It's pretty crap if a race with 20 HP has to pay twice as much as a human with 10 HP to heal a Major Wound. It sort of makes high HP a disadvantage …

09-06-2004, 02:34 AM Re: Healing?

Originally Posted by Ndreare

The way I read magic was that to affect a creature of a larger SM than you you have to pay a multiplier of 1+SM. So to heal a SM4 creature (or cast any spell) is at 5 times the cost.
Do I have this rite Kromm?

Yes, you have to multiply the cost for Regular spells.

Magery Design Rationale and costs

07-06-2005, 09:00 PM Re: 3e vs. 4e spell costs

Magic might seem kludgy, but we did rethink everything carefully for Chapter 5 of the Basic Set. In the end, we concluded that it would be best to leave the energy cost and casting time breaks alone even though most spells cost more points, because one of the top complaints about the 3e magic system was that wizards could hit "golden levels" too easily and gain de facto magical advantages by maintaining spells for free. This was a very old complaint. In 4e, with Magery proportionally cheaper next to spells, the solution for the GM who wishes to see cheap magic is to allow high levels of Magery, which brings with it all the other cinematic consequences that normally accompany godlike wizards. This was an intentional design goal.

06-30-2005, 11:42 AM Re: Is Magery too cheap?

Originally Posted by sir_pudding

If anybody can get new spells "out of the ether" what is the point of the Retention ehancement to Wild Talent?
I have always required mages (well those without Natural Spellcasting) to learn new spells by study. There was no blood on the table.
In 4e it will be quicker anyway, since magery reduces learning time for spells.

All very true. Learning spells from one's master and old books is a time-honored tradition in the fantasy genre. If wizards could just choose to learn any new spell they wished as soon as the points popped up, there would never be any reason to do magical research, write grimoires, or have wizards' academies — all of which are extremely important to fantasy genres. The entire point of all the wizard towers-and-magical libraries trappings in most fantasy worlds is to develop and teach magic, which is learned slowly, the hard way, because it's a complex subject. Remember that each spell is a Hard or Very Hard skill, the equivalent of an entire science! It makes no more sense to learn that spontaneously than to wake up one morning and understand particle physics.

I'm really unclear on why anyone would think an obscure, esoteric set of Hard and Very Hard skills should be available without a teacher, for earned points, when every other kind of skill requires instruction to learn.

06-30-2005, 12:44 PM Re: Is Magery too cheap?

Originally Posted by Polaris

1. Because it's magic. When you talk about magic, many of our commen-sense notions go straight out the airlock.

Sure … but what I'm saying is that part of "it's magic" is "wizards must spend long hours with mouldy books in lonely towers to learn it."

Originally Posted by Polaris

2. Who says the Mage isn't studying as he goes?

That's bogus, though. For that argument to justify spending points on spells out of the blue, every wizard would have to have the Great Big Book of All Spells so that he could learn any spell that took his fancy and declare "I was studying X" retroactively to justify learning a spell that he suddenly realizes would be useful. I have no issues with a wizard self-teaching a specific spell — named in advance — on the road, at the usual speed, from a book that contains that spell. I don't buy "general magical studies" as an excuse to learn any spell whenever the points are available, though.

Originally Posted by Polaris

The lack of default also begs the question of how the first mage got taught any magic.

Through a few decades of research with Thaumatology would be my guess. That makes far more sense to me than "He adventured for a few days until he felt ready to do magic, and then suddenly, he could cast spells." In any event, if you're invoking "it's magic" to blow off sensible concerns about learning, I'm not sure why you'd care about treating how the mythical "first mage" learned magic sensibly. Just say that the gods put magic in his head, or he sprung from the womb a ready-made archmage, or something equally fitting of myth.

Originally Posted by Polaris

3. The fact is that in many (and from what I can tell most) fantasy campaigns, their isn't any time or opportunity to study.

If the GM and players have agreed to a gaming contract that leaves the heroes no time to study and learn, so be it. The game doesn't force anyone's hand that way, though … the game assumes that the GM will allow the PCs time to learn, which is why it has detailed rules for study, Talents that affect learning time, Time Use Sheets, etc. "All adventure, all the time" is a conscious choice, and kind of a specialized and weird one. (And even then, a wizard could self-teach a specific spell from a book while riding in a wagon or camping at night; it just wouldn't be quick.)

06-30-2005, 01:20 PM Re: Is Magery too cheap?

Originally Posted by Polaris

That brings me to my last objection which I don't think has been answered adequately or frankly at all. With learning, you *don't* spend earned CPs learning new skills (as I know you know). That leads to undesirable results at least with magic both when training is available and when it's not.

Earned CPs are intended for improving things that you already have; for gaining new things when you've been exposed to them for every waking hour (unlikely for magic, where "exposed" means "witnessing casting," since casting takes seconds or minutes at most); and for learning under pressure (which calls for defaults, which spells don't have). Study is intended for learning new things. I have no idea why that's so undesirable.

06-30-2005, 01:34 PM Re: Is Magery too cheap?

Originally Posted by Ze'Manel Cunha

That's massively genre specific, and not Generic enough for most of us.

If someone's magic concept leans more towards a natural spellcasting, with spells being nothing more than a refinement upon that ability, then moldy books and lonely towers are not relevant to the genre.//

GURPS has it covered. It's called Wild Talent with Retention and Focused, Magical. It costs points because it's clearly superior to having to spend time learning. I was speaking of ordinary learning, which is what's on topic here, as the discussion is about Magery and this subthread is about the effects of Magery on learning times.

Originally Posted by Ze'Manel Cunha

CP expenditure on spell learning, is like CP expenditure on any other skill learning.

That is what I've been saying the whole time. You can't learn most new skills without some downtime, either. The Quick Learning Under Pressure rules give you a bit of an out here, but those aren't automatic.

Originally Posted by Ze'Manel Cunha

Like Anthony said, 'you have to spend the experience _and_ have what the GM considers an appropriate training sequence'.

That's a valid approach to GMing, but I'm here to discuss the GURPS rules, and those rules are fairly clear on how one gains new skills; see Chapter 9.

Originally Posted by Ze'Manel Cunha

if you spend as much time learning a skill regardless of whether or not you have unspent CPs, then what is the point of awarded CPs?

To improve your existing attributes, skills, techniques, and buyable advantages. Again, see Chapter 9.

I don't see why this has to be so hard: If it's new, you must train and earn the CPs that way. If you already have it, you can spend CPs acquired on adventures to improve it. If the GM wants to bend the rules, fine, but don't rail at the line developer about your house rules — and don't moan that other things that work within the rules are broken. As I said to Anthony, we do plan to support training sequences that turn earned points into new skills, just as soon as Martial Arts is out. Then you can rail at me all you want about it, because it'll be published rules and not a house rule.

06-30-2005, 01:48 PM Re: Is Magery too cheap?

Originally Posted by Polaris

Why? If every mage has this ability then it isn't an advantage (and would only become one if you went crossworld).

In GURPS, characters are all assumed to be potential crossworld adventurers, and are priced on an absolute scale. Those who can learn magic without teaching are always worth more than those who cannot, even if that's how it works for everyone in their world. The GM can say, "Everyone in my setting has Luck," too, or "Everyone is an Elf," but Luck and the Elf template would still cost points. Zero cost in GURPS is absolute across settings, not relative to a baseline character in one specific world. That's part of what makes the game universal: the same rules apply in all worlds. If the equivalent of Wild Talent is free to all mages in one world, well, that's a different set of rules applying there, and not universal. And it's also rather unfair to nonmages … Why can't my warrior spontaneously recall kenjutsu?

06-22-2005, 12:52 PM Re: Is Magery too cheap?

Magery 0 is effectively an Unusual Background that lets you use magic skills. The skills are all Hard or Very Hard, cost the usual number of points, and typically require more FP than other special skills, such as Alchemy, Musical Influence, or Pressure Secrets (0 FP), or Breaking Blow, Flying Leap, or Power Blow (1 FP). If you want to be a wizard, the real cost is in buying enough skill to cast spells cheaply, which typically means an investment in IQ or Magery 1+. By itself, Magery 0 is mostly just background color.

06-23-2005, 12:01 PM Re: Is Magery too cheap?

Originally Posted by Christian

Well, without learning times and without trouble to find teachers magery should be more expensive.
With learning rules you have quit a few factors which limit its usefullness.

Yep. As written, the rules assume that you're using learning times. We design and price character abilities in the system to support the rules in the system. Altering the rules means adjusting the costs, too. Doing one but not the other throws things out of whack.

06-23-2005, 12:12 PM Re: Is Magery too cheap?

Originally Posted by cmdicely

I consistently play with learning times as an alternative to spending earned CP rather than as a requirement in addition to spending earned CP. Which, as I recall, is how they are written in both 3E and 4E.

Yes, but learning new spells requires time and a grimoire or a teacher; see Learning Magic (p. B293). Earned points only help you improve spells that you know already. As the last paragraph of Adding and Improving Skills and Techniques (p. B292) states, you can only spend earned points on new skills if you tried them at default (magic has no default) or were around people who were using the skills constantly (magic is usually cast in a few seconds, even if its effects endure constantly). Magic is no exception — a spell is "learned just like any other skill" (p. B235). Nowhere do the rules say that you can just chuck earned points into new spells whenever you want.

06-23-2005, 12:41 PM Re: Is Magery too cheap?

Originally Posted by roguebfl

Well there is an exceptiuon to magic having a Defualt 8)
Natural Spell Casters and Wild Talents 8)

Someone with Wild Talent (4e) or Natural Spellcasting (3e) has, of course, raised the de facto cost of his Magery 0. ;)

Aspected Magery

07-21-2005, 06:35 PM Re: Magery Aspect Rules

Since I've been asked …

As written, Magery 0 lets you cast spells. If you take Magery 1+, you cast spells better. If you put a limitation on Magery 1+ to "aspect" it, you can only cast spells under certain conditions.

Clearly, this can get awkward when you want to have aspected Magery 0 (cast spells under certain conditions, but not at a bonus). One could also argue that it's odd that limitations on Magery 1+ wash back on Magery 0 when it lacks any limitations of its own. The easiest way around this is to allow limitations on Magery 0, too. Yes, this would mean offering the basic ability to cast spells for less than 5 points … but spells themselves cost points, and they don't cost any fewer points when you can only cast them some of the time. It isn't nearly as "unbalanced" as some would make it out to be. If you want mages to be rarer for dramatic reasons, just require an Unusual Background.

07-21-2005, 06:49 PM Re: Magery Aspect Rules

Originally Posted by NorthSaber

Except, what happens when you have Magery 0, one level of unaspected Magery, and further levels of aspected Magery (by the book). Is this allowed?

If you have Magery 0 [5], Magery +1 [10], and Magery +1 (Aspected in some way, -40%) [6], then you effectively have "Magery 1 (Magery 2 when aspect applies) [21]." You function just like any other Magery 1 character, most of the time, but get +1 to spells when you satisfy the conditions of your aspect.

If you use my house rule, though, you can't take Magery 0 (Aspected in some way, -40%) [3], Magery +1 [10], and Magery +1 (Aspected in some way, -40%) [6]. If you limit Magery 0, then all your Magery must be similarly limited, or it makes no sense.

07-21-2005, 07:08 PM Re: Magery Aspect Rules

Originally Posted by Ze'Manel Cunha

Just to clarify, in the following situation:

Magery 0

Magery +1 (Night Aspected)

Magery +1 (Song)

Magery +1 (Dancing)

Magery +1 (Necromancy)

Magery +1 (Materials)

In rules as written, is the correct interpretation of the above, that the mage could cast any spell with his Magery 0, and then get a +1 bonus for each of his aspects/conditions which he meets?

Yes, that's what my statements imply. This singing, dancing necromancer, casting his spell at night with the right materials, would get +5.

Manual Dexterity

09-04-2004, 05:10 PM Re: Possible Talent

Originally Posted by the Devourer of Worlds

And as long as we have High Manual Dexterity on the chopping block, why was it put in advantages and not in with the Attributes?

Because it really isn't very attribute-like. It affects a sight fewer things than Will or Per, and while every other character I've seen as a GM has had Alertness and Strong/Weak Will, I've seen one — ever — with the old Manual Dexterity trait. It just didn't scream out for special treatment.

Mind Reading and Combat

06-14-2005, 03:33 PM Re: Mind reading in combat?

So much in combat is reflex — and so much more depends on what your foe sees you do — that by the time you've read someone's mind and put together your response, you'll either be reacting to the wrong thing or not reacting fast enough for it to be useful. I'd say that mind reading is worthless in second-by-second combat. I'd let it give a bonus to Tactics or Strategy in warfare, though. Being able to read the other guy's troop dispositions and battle plans would be a big advantage there.

Modular Abilities and Wild Talent

09-05-2004, 12:10 AM Re: Modular or Wild?

For 20 points in Cosmic Power, you could use 2 points of skills, switch them around, etc. indefinitely. This takes 1 second to prepare.

For 20 points in Wild Talent, you could use one skill at attribute level, which might be worth up to 8 points. This takes no time to prepare.

I'm not sure that Karate at DX-1 after 1 second, then Judo at DX-1 after 1 second, then Acrobatics at DX-1 after 1 second is better or worse than any of those at DX instantly, but only once. I'd suggest getting Wild Talent if you get into emergencies a lot, Modular Abilities if you always have time to prepare.

Patron and Familiars

06-29-2005, 05:19 PM // Re: Questions about Patron/Ally/Dependent?//

Originally Posted by Rowan

does the imp have to buy the wizard as her patron

Definitely not. A wizard isn't a familiar's Patron. The wizard isn't obliged to come running whenever the familiar calls for aid. The wizard merely has to treat the familiar decently.

Perks and Licenses

09-06-2004, 05:08 PM Re: Pilot's License

See Far Trader for my preferred method of handling it. Basically, if a character has the right skills to pass the test, he is assumed to have the license. It's just a side effect of having the right skills more so than a feature that costs points.

09-06-2004, 08:56 PM Re: Pilot's License

Full disclosure: Far Trader is the only Traveller book I know the inside of, since it's the only one I edited. (Actually, I know the core Traveller book fairly well, since I was tapped for a few bits, but not as well as Far Trader.)

As for perks … hm. I definitely see a weird and hard-to-get license as being in the spirit of a perk. It would have to be very weird and very hard to get, though. We're talking "permit to carry antitank weapons in downtown New York"-level.

09-07-2004, 01:05 PM Re: Licenses

Originally Posted by Admiral Benbow

My take on it is that if the license simply allows the character to practice a skillset they spent points on, then the points they spent on skills should be enough. If the license grants other advantages, build those advantages into a Template.

Bingo! That's how I see it, too.

Precognition

08-31-2004, 11:40 AM Re: Precognition penalty

Predicting lottery numbers is critical success territory. I'd go so far as to require a natural "3." As the advantage clearly and unambiguously states: (1) you get brief flashes and visions that are open to interpretation, and (2) nothing about the future is certain.

Rank

Having more than 8 different ranks

07-07-2005, 12:22 PM Re: Religious Rank, how many?

Religious Rank works like all Rank: Pick a sensible number of levels, usually 7 or 8; treat them as bands, not unique standings; and decide which organizational titles fall into each band. If you want more scope, just use Courtesy Rank (box, p. B29) and assign everyone within a given "real" Rank between 0 and 4 levels of that:

  • Rank 0 + CR 0 [0]
  • Rank 0 + CR 1 [1]
  • Rank 0 + CR 2 [2]
  • Rank 0 + CR 3 [3]
  • Rank 0 + CR 4 [4]
  • Rank 1 + CR 0 [5]
  • Rank 1 + CR 1 [6]
  • Rank 1 + CR 2 [7]
  • Rank 1 + CR 3 [8]
  • Rank 1 + CR 4 [9]
  • Rank 7 + CR 0 [35]
  • Rank 7 + CR 1 [36]
  • Rank 7 + CR 2 [37]
  • Rank 7 + CR 3 [38]
  • Rank 7 + CR 4 [39]
  • Rank 8 [40]

07-08-2005, 03:01 PM Re: Religious Rank, how many?

Originally Posted by cmdicely

Hmm. That's an interesting approach, but I've always read CR as a limited form of Rank such that Rank 4+CR4 would have the social precedence of Rank 8 but the authority of Rank 4, rather than CR being fractional rank where Rank 4+CR4 was something like "Rank 4.8".

The Basic Set lists two uses for CR. One is exactly as you say, a stand-in for actual Rank. The other lets a Rank holder have a a fancy title. The latter doesn't have to be additive. It can be "fractional," if it suits the game world.

Status

06-22-2005, 12:21 PM Re: Divine Emperor: Status and/or Rank?

A divine emperor requires but one advantage: Status 8 [40]. All the rest is conditional on the society in question — its economics, theology, internal and external political situation, etc.

First, such a figure almost requires huge Wealth to pay his cost of living. This isn't an absolute requirement — one could fabricate an unusual economic system that supports a Status 8 ruler in Status 8 style without letting him own a thing — but Wealth is very likely. Status 8 is consistent with Multimillionaire 4 [150]; see p. B517.

The Emperor might have Social Regard, if he's truly believed — by everyone in the setting — to be a god. This isn't a natural corollary of having Status 8 and being a god-king, though. A Status 8 ruler might be acknowledged to be a "god" in a symbolic sense … but if he commits injustices, he'll be hated, and if his empire falls into anarchy as a result of invasion or natural disaster, the survivalists will knife him for his fancy clothes. Social Regard means that even the Emperor's injust rulings will be accepted without question as being part of the natural order, and that even the lowest scum wouldn't dare lay a hand on him for fear of being turned to dust or banished to Hell.

As for Legal Immunity and Security Clearance, Status 8 usually makes these things irrelevant. The highest form of Legal Immunity allows only your ruler to judge you … but since at Status 8 you are the ruler, you have no need for this. Security Clearance gives you access to information that's normally above your Status … but since Status 8 has no "above," you have no need for this, either.

That said, if foreign powers grant the Emperor immunity, and even in war would let his entourage pass through their lands unmolested, he should pay the full 20 points for Diplomatic Immunity. Status 8 may cover immunity at home, but immunity everywhere else is a definite bonus, and worth points. Likewise, in a world with cabals outside the mainstream of society — e.g., a Brotherhood of Assassins chartered by the Death God — the Emperor might need Security Clearance to know who leads the cabals and be cut in on their plans. This may or may not be associated with his position as Emperor, of course …

Administrative, Military, and Religious Rank are all unlikely, unless the Emperor personally runs the civil service, armed forces, or church full time. Status overrules Rank in most societies that have both — a Status 8 ruler can give orders to a Rank 8 official without himself holding Rank. Status may only cost as many points as Rank, but it comes with an absolutely punishing cost-of-living requirement; see p. B265. One must dish out 150 points for Wealth just to maintain Status 8, so the de facto cost of Status 8 is 190 points, or about 24 points/level. That's why it's allowed to trump Rank that costs a mere 5 points/level!

This last point makes preconditions to Rank — Clerical Investment for Religious Rank, Legal Enforcement Powers for Police Rank, Tenure for Academic Rank, and so on — equally unnecessary. A venerated institution such as a temple or a college might grant the Emperor an honorary priesthood, professorship, etc., but this is a gift to that individual ruler, not part of his office. Granted, in very old societies with long, uninterrupted dynasties, such honors are likely to be attached to the throne and bestowed automatically on succession.

06-23-2005, 12:39 PM Re: Divine Emperor: Status and/or Rank?

Originally Posted by Silverblade

The divine ruler would effectively get to command armies around, the ability to change laws at a whim (unwise, I know, if he wants to stay in office :p ) and be the final judge on any legal dispute, for status 8 and associated levels of Multimillionaire?

Correct. Status 8 means that no one is more powerful than you! To keep Status 8 you need either a godawful level of Wealth or a seriously weird setting. This makes the real cost very high … high enough that requiring other social advantages is excessive and possibly unfair. (You can shave 10 points off Status for the +2 from Multimillionaire 4, but that's still 180 points — or 22.5 points/Status level.)

Originally Posted by Silverblade

No "Ally group (entire Military)" would be required for example?

Definitely not. The soldier aren't your Allies, even if you're a Military Rank 8 supreme commander. They're just people you can boss around. They're not yours to command even if you lose your social position. Allies are yours — that's what "Ally" means in GURPS. Of course, you can always have a modest personal army of bodyguards as your Allies, but that's not "the military."

Originally Posted by Silverblade

Assuming this emperor would be a PC (I'm only half serious, although this could be interesting to play… :p ), couldn't he just give out titles and land, Legal Enforcement powers, Security Clearance, Rank or even Status to other players?

Being the highest law in the land doesn't let you ignore custom. If you just hand out privileges like candy, you're going to dilute those privileges and ultimately what your Status 8 stands for. Once your subjects realize that a lot of the empire's commanders, governors, law enforcers, and viziers are just "buddies of the Emperor" who didn't earn their titles, their respect for all of these officials will drop. This will in turn boost rates of corruption and crime, and lower military morale. It'll be hard to run the empire if all your old-school generals want a coup (or have been replaced by your strategically inexperienced friends), your officials expect goodies from you and will turn to bribes from others if you don't come through, your property and taxes are being preyed upon by thieves who enjoy popular support, etc. You should only allow a PC to be a ruler if the player can grasp this and understand why he can't just elevate all of his buddies to high office.

06-23-2005, 12:59 PM Re: Divine Emperor: Status and/or Rank?

A further thought: PCs elevated to high office by other PCs without earning the honors must — since they're paying 0 points for the privilege — take an onerous Duty (to some officious council or civil servant, not to their buddy the Emperor), an Enemy (a more deserving person who was passed over, a conservative noble house, etc.), and/or a bad Reputation (as corrupt official or incompetent patronage appointee, etc.) that brings the total cost to 0 points. ;)

06-23-2005, 01:26 PM Re: Divine Emperor: Status and/or Rank?

Originally Posted by roguebfl

The Emporor would be Smater to give them a "special Title"
out side of the normall command struters.
Sort of Emperial Magistrates, the become they Eyes , Ears and Hands of the Emperor.
with a Corspoindy duty to the Emporer.

Sure. Something like Legal Immunity [15] and Duty (To Emperor; 15 or less) [-15] would be quite fair. It costs 0 points, and does mean that to enjoy their privilege, the other PCs have to do what the Emperor says. Given how some players feel about obeying others, I can see this being very much a double-edged sword.

06-23-2005, 07:26 PM Re: Divine Emperor: Status and/or Rank?

Originally Posted by roguebfl

Would Leagle immunity [15] be enough? even high Status people would have to give what they say due consideration (as they are ment to be acting on the behave of the emperor)

Legal Immunity would let the friends of the Emperor ''step outside the sytem'' and say what they wish and ignore whom they wish without penalty. I think that's a fairly accurate representation of imperial favor.

and Wealth

06-29-2005, 05:28 PM Re: Status, wealth, rank, independent income

Originally Posted by Christian

A knight DOESN'T pay with his job. Nobody is paying him. He has to life from the independent income he gets from his land.

In GURPS terms, collecting taxes and being a knight is a job. Independent Income means you're quite literally doing nothing. A knight who does nothing, who's a total absentee, not visible on his lands, not overseeing his servants, not appearing before his lord or king when summoned … well, he won't be a knight for very long, or at least not a landed knight. The very need to tend to that land to keep it is considered a job. Remember that "job" in GURPS simply means "Whatever you spend most of your day doing, if it results in you having an income." It doesn't have to mean being employed.

Originally Posted by Christian

The problem is, that high status medieval nobles can't pay their COL, because there are just not enough people to earn so much cash.

The way it works in GURPS is that "being a noble" is a Filthy Rich or better job, but the money taken home equals the huge income for that job minus the COL. The difference is quite small, and a believable amount of cash. The cash value of the COL is "virtual" and represents the amount of cash you'd need to live that way were it possible to just buy that lifestyle.

06-29-2005, 05:44 PM Re: Status, wealth, rank, independent income

Originally Posted by CrownedSun

Interesting. So, in a modern game, a character might have "College Student" as a job (if he spends all his time going to classes, and gets money for books and living from mommy)?

Yes. Past GURPS books have listed some interesting things as "jobs": "college student" (time is spent studying/money comes from parents, student loans, research assistanceships, or scholarships), "panhandler" (time is spent bumming/money comes from handouts), "society gadfly" (time is spent attending social functions/money comes from parents or wealthy friends), "thief" (time is spent planning crimes and stealing/money comes from robberies), and "wealthy investor" (time is spent reading offers and trading/money comes from capital gains, dividends, and interest). None of these people have a true employer or employment contract. None of these things would be "jobs" in the non-GURPS sense.

Independent Income means you could literally sit at home watching paint dry and still collect your money. Even your physical presence is fairly optional, if the paperwork is filled out. The crucial feature of Independent Income is that you can collect it at the same time as doing a full-time job without the two interfering.

06-29-2005, 08:59 PM Re: Status, wealth, rank, independent income

Originally Posted by Rowan

Ahhh…I think I see what you mean. So, for instance, if I have a character that's the daughter of a lesser noble, her actual job is 'daughter of a lesser noble'?

Correct. She would be expected to appear anywhere her family is required to appear (be that to satisfy duty to the king or custom for the common folk), go on long journeys to meet would-be suitors, spend hours learning courtly graces and embroidery, etc… . not to mention help run dad's castle(s) and/or estate(s). She would not have the option of avoiding social gatherings in her father's home, or a good many masses, or an awful lot of other dreadfully boring events. In return, though, her family would not disown her and she would be entitled to the privileges of her social station — which might have a significant value in $, even if they aren't convertible to cash.

Originally Posted by Rowan

But what if she were to change her job from 'Daughter of a Lesser Noble' to 'Travelling Adventurer'? I imagine 'Travelling Adventurer' is a poorer job than 'Daughter of a Lesser Noble'?

Generally, full-time adventurers earn whatever they earn in the course of roleplaying. "Full-time adventurer" is a kind of job, but the earnings should be set by whatever loot, rewards, and treasures the GM sets before the PCs — not by the rules for Status and Wealth. If she expects to get a little extra for her noble birth, she should either take a Patron, and use that to explain her nice adventuring gear, or above-average Wealth with Independent Income to represent a small stipend.

Originally Posted by Rowan

That would be covered under living below your wealth and status, yes?

Yes. Realistically, her Status isn't all that high to begin with. A good way to represent her would be with Comfortable [10] and Status 1 (Gentlewoman) [5], and she'd try to live at Status 0. She might have Independent Income, she might not; few noble parents will bankroll an adventuress who should be at home preparing to marry a nobleman. She might also have potential Status and Wealth (see "Heir" on p. B33). Giving, say, Status 3+ to some random daughter of nobility who's rarely at home is rather hopeful, though.

06-30-2005, 11:25 AM Re: Status, wealth, rank, independent income

Originally Posted by Silverblade

So, a full-time adventurer would, for all intents and purposes be "dead broke" all the time?

No … where did I say that? I said that adventuring is a job, but one that uses the GM's judgment regarding loot, rewards, and treasure to determine income instead of the usual rules for Status and Wealth. A lot of adventurers might well be Filthy Rich by that token.

06-30-2005, 11:28 AM Re: Status, wealth, rank, independent income

Originally Posted by CrownedSun

An Adventurer not having a job, as I understand things, isn't the same as him being Dead Broke. A Job is just one way to bring in additional money, usually useful to pay off cost of livings. Adventurers just have the "Job" of "freelance adventurer." Which is played out in play, as opposed to being resolved via the Job system.
They still have Wealth as normal, reflecting the worth of their assets.

Exactly. Not all jobs are "roll dice, do math, collect pay based on Wealth level." Lots are "go on adventures and collect bounties, loot foes, and recover lost treasure troves." Other jobs for full-time adventurers are silly — when are they doing these other jobs if they're adventuring full-time?

06-30-2005, 11:32 AM Re: Status, wealth, rank, independent income

Originally Posted by Silverblade

If he already has assets, sure - but if the Full Time Adventurer starts out as "dead broke", and has no assets, but is highly skilled and accumulates a bit of cash, with which he bought some equipment (or made it himself) and shows no desire to accumulate wealth, and also has literally no cost of living he'd stay Dead Broke.

By default, he has a background and that background is Average wealth. This is how he managed to eat while learning his skills, and of course buy his gear. An adventurer who starts out Dead Broke gets to enter play naked, unarmed, and either looked down upon for his low Status or looked down upon for living below his average Status.

Originally Posted by Silverblade

The money accumulates over time and he rarely spends anything, one day he'll have a sizeable cash reserve (and, as an adventurer, he'll carry it all in a purse on his belt, even millions of it :p ) but he'd still be dead broke.

As the rules on p. B517 say, if his job ("adventurer") earns him enough money to gain Wealth levels, he's expected to buy those Wealth levels. If he doesn't, he hasn't made the commitments needed to keep the money and something will happen to it.

06-30-2005, 03:44 PM Re: Status, wealth, rank, independent income

Requiring points be spent on Wealth to keep acquired wealth in the long term is no less fair or more ridiculous than requiring points be spent on First Aid to keep hard-earned lessons in the field long term. The points represent de facto Allies, Contacts, Patrons, Reputations, etc. that have zero adventuring use and so are abstracted into Wealth. Their effect is to give you access to the bankers, brokers, old boys' networks, tax cuts, etc. you need to remain wealthy. If a PC adventures for ages, piles up gold, and then expects to stay in play as someone with a Filthy Rich non-adventuring job once he gets old, then he had better pay for the Wealth. If he doesn't, then he has big pile of uninvested, unsecured, irreplaceable cash that will dwindle and leave him at Average wealth after a year or two, because he lacks the social clout (represented by points in the social advantage called Wealth) to keep banking fees, jealous nobles, lawsuits, taxmen, or just plain old thieves from consuming his stash.

06-30-2005, 07:31 PM Re: Status, wealth, rank, independent income

Originally Posted by CrownedSun

I, in particular, feel that if your going to just ignore money — you should literally ignore it. It's not an advantage. You can't get more points for being poor, you can't purchase Filthy Rich at character creation, and you can't grab Signature Equipment.
If you CAN buy those things, you should be consistent.

Exactly. If you're using Wealth at all, then you should enforce Wealth levels in play. If you don't care to do that, fine … but then don't let people buy wealth-related traits at character creation, either. It's either/or. You can't let people buy great Wealth to get good equipment, or take low Wealth levels to get extra points, and then just ignore the points in question five minutes later once the campaign begins. That's just unfair.

06-30-2005, 07:36 PM Re: Status, wealth, rank, independent income

Originally Posted by Nikolai

You emphasize that Wealth is a social advantage. So are you saying that the CP in wealth represent his ability to keep thieves from stealing his new sword? That doesn’t make too much sense to me, traits like Perception and IQ seem far better suited for an ability like that. You might say Wealth represents some sort of Destiny not to loose his sword (which otherwise miraculously happens to all average people), but I don't like that idea much.

No, I was saying that it represents social clout. The guardsmen/cops watch his person and home more closely because he's one of the Wealthy Taxpayers. Thieves know they can't move his flashier possessions because every fence between here and Timbuktu won't touch an item that nearly every law enforcer and person of authority recognizes on sight. When it comes to cash, he's one of the secured creditors, the insured customers, the guy who gets to keep his stuff in the ''big'' vault. These are the shadow Allies, Contacts, Patrons, and Reputations of which I was speaking.

Strikers, Cost of

09-03-2004, 12:44 PM Re: Innate Attack (and general Ads) questions

Strikers are supposed to be cheap, because for 0 points, every PC starts out with Wealth (Average), which is enough to buy weapons that are better than the best Strikers in virtually any setting. And putting your head in harm's way (in the case of horns) is, um, not optimal, even if you somehow do manage to crock Strikers to be better than spears and axes.

The main benefit of Strikers — and I agree that this is a Big Deal in some games — is that they're always ready, undroppable, and don't take up a hand. Horns, for instance, let you have a scary weapon that no one can knock aside, grab with TK, or steal, and let you carry another kind of weapon and a shield in your hands. That's why there is a point cost at all.

Striking ST

09-04-2004, 04:15 PM Re: Strength Advantages and Readying Weapons

Striking ST lets you hit hard. It's for things that can deliver momentary impulses far in excess of their sustained strength, like a cobra's strike or a martial-artist's power blow. Lifting ST lets you grab and pull in a sustained way using your whole body. Neither would help with reading weapons with the arms. For that, try Arm ST.

Talents

08-25-2004, 09:13 PM Re: The Whole Story on Talents?

I wouldn't write off the reaction bonus so quickly; the group affected should be a fairly large group for a PC who plans to focus on the affected skills and use them on a regular basis. And 20-30 game sessions down the road, the "free" points from study will really rack up at 10-40% off the hours required … if you apply yourself to learning. In short, Talents are fairly priced for highly focused PCs. Generalists are indeed better off with IQ or DX.

Toughness

08-25-2004, 11:58 AM Re: No more Toughness? Or is there?

Toughness in 4e is some combination of a few more HP, High Pain Threshold, and possibly Hard to Kill and/or Hard to Subdue. That's how tough guys work in real life. Having skin equal to boiled leather armor is … um … unlikely.

Versatility

07-02-2005, 01:56 PM Re: Versatility Undercosted?

It doesn't always add to the listed skills. It only ever adds to them for purely creative ventures. Inventing and creating fine art? Yes. Analysis and drawing for your dinner? Nope. And the other skills are your list; canonically, it doesn't affect those.

07-02-2005, 07:31 PM Re: Versatility Undercosted?

Originally Posted by copeab

Actually, I could see it affecting Architecture.

In the case where you're developing a new style, or designing a beautiful building, I agree.

Visualization

08-26-2004, 12:15 PM Re: Visualization trait - rushing it

Visualization is dirt-cheap because you can only use it for one task at a time, verrrry slowwwwly. If you could use it whenever you wanted, it would cost a lot more. I'm not sure Reduced Time is dramatically suitable, although I would never tell a GM not to use it.

Wealth

07-14-2005, 02:20 PM Re: Wealth: a new approach?

Please note that I did not at any time say, "If you benefit from a windfall, you must either spend points on Wealth or lose your cash." What I actually said was, "If you benefit from a windfall, you must either spend points on Wealth or lose the long-term advantages of having lots of cash." You'll have a big bank account, but you won't get multipliers on income, free Status, or any of the other benefits of Wealth. And perhaps more importantly, you won't enjoy the implicit "plot protection" that Wealth extends. Wealth is a lot like Signature Gear, in that it's built in and the GM can't just arbitrarily make it go away. A big pile of cash enjoys no such plot insurance. This isn't a trivial distinction.

07-14-2005, 02:28 PM Re: Wealth: a new approach?

Originally Posted by pator2000

I can't imagine telling my players they have to pay character points to adjust for the treasure they found last night.

And per the rules, you're not supposed to tell them that! Nothing in GURPS says that finding treasure forces them to purchase Wealth. However, if they wish to live as de facto noblemen — that is, at high Status — and enjoy the regard that comes with that, then they need to pay for Wealth to develop the necessary social network. And if they want your assurance that the money is safely invested and will still be there if they bank it in town and come back later, then they need to pay for Wealth to cover the necessary "hidden Allies" in the form of bankers, brokers, and credit references. If all they want to do is lug around huge bags of money, that costs zero points. Of course, it also means thieves, suspicious officials, and having to do all transactions in cash … but for adventurers, that's probably just fine.

Look at it this way: buying Wealth is an optional way to "legitimize" your wealth. If you don't mind being seen as a dodgy mercenary or a likely thief, subject to arbitrary taxation by greedy officials, your buildings often searched and surveilled … go right ahead!

Wild Talent and Modular Abilities

09-05-2004, 12:10 AM Re: Modular or Wild?

For 20 points in Cosmic Power, you could use 2 points of skills, switch them around, etc. indefinitely. This takes 1 second to prepare.

For 20 points in Wild Talent, you could use one skill at attribute level, which might be worth up to 8 points. This takes no time to prepare.

I'm not sure that Karate at DX-1 after 1 second, then Judo at DX-1 after 1 second, then Acrobatics at DX-1 after 1 second is better or worse than any of those at DX instantly, but only once. I'd suggest getting Wild Talent if you get into emergencies a lot, Modular Abilities if you always have time to prepare.