Sunday, October 25, 2015

Even MOAR points!@@!@!!

Compulsive Lying: Like Lecherousness, Compulsive Lying is a -15 point disadvantage that needs some reasons to justify its high point give-back.

The easy way to do this is to assess a -3 reaction penalty, which turns Compulsive Lying into an Odious Personal Habit with a roll to resist it, much like Bully. Half of me says this is the right way, but the other half of me says this is the quick and easy way, and the quick and easy path leads to the Dark Side. You can handle it so an NPC rolls against IQ (that's 10 if you don't know) to know if you're lying. If he doesn't make his roll, he has a -1 reaction penalty to you, but if he does, he reacts at -5. Treat the self-control roll as a bonus to the NPC's roll, a la the chart with Phobia (p. B149), with the negative sign read as a positive bonus. The advice given in GURPS Social Engineering (pp. 35-36) is mostly for someone practicing deliberate deception, rather than someone who just can't tell the truth for the life of him.

Something about this seems unsatisfying. I've known folks with this disadvantage—I suspect we all have—and much of the time, their constant lies are only annoying, but sometimes, they make big problems. I'm torn between what the effects of this are in real life, which are unquestionably worth -15 points, and the smaller in-game problem that you're unable to convey facts to NPCs, which is a -5 point disadvantage, maybe -10, which is how the Basic Set treats it.

Gullibility: The game effects of this are wholly unlike Unluckiness, which I consider the definitive -10 point disadvantage. Again, Unluckiness doesn't kill you or even directly hurt you, but it happens in every session.

Gullibility, however, won't happen every session, but when it does happen, it can kill you. If we think there's a trick every session, then a self-control number of 12 means you'll fall for it one session in four. I'm not sure there is a trick that will trigger this every session, but if you say that Gullibility also gives a penalty to resist illusions equal to the Phobia self-control penalty chart (p. B149), this becomes fully worth the -10 points.

Klutz: This is a small physical disadvantage, but the issue is that it's an extra roll each game day. Its effects are akin to Unluckiness, so I don't see how this is too much to make it at the beginning of the session, then maybe again later when there's a new day or some other significant happening happens. It would be boring to roll this each day of wilderness travel, especially when the typical 250-point delver taking this will have DX 12. Maybe roll it once for being in town at start, once for the trip to the dungeon, once each level of the dungeon, once for the trip back, and once for ending in town.

Laziness: Just a reminder that after I published my article, Peter V. Dell’Orto added some suggestions for this one, to which I linked in an edit.

No Sense of Humor: Since the lone game effect of this disadvantage is the -2 reaction penalty and the disadvantage is worth -10 points, it applies all the time. This overrides what the text in the Basic Set says. Maybe it won't apply when talking to the King, but that's a special effect at the GM's whim. This is another Odious Personal Habit in all but name.

No Sense of Taste/Smell: While I don’t think there need to be any more game effects, this is a disadvantage that might be worth more than its -5 points suggests. No potion tasting for you. No detecting poison gas traps. If a GM plays his dungeon right, this one can be nasty.

Short Attention Span: This one makes Absent-Mindedness seem harmless for guard duty. Rather than making both a sense roll and a self-control roll to detect an ambush, make the sense roll at a penalty equal to twice the penalty a Phobia of the same self-control (p. B149) roll would give you: -2 for 15, -4 for 12, -6 for 9, -8 for 6. Also apply the normal Phobia penalty (not twice it; see p. B149) to any spell with a casting time longer than a minute. And you’ll need to make a self-control roll to ever take extra time to do something.

Squeamish: I know I talked about this one last time, but the self-control roll will need to happen to go into a sewer. Like Phobia (Open Spaces) or a conflicting Vow, this one could make someone not do anything during an adventure, or at least split the party, so a GM will have to think about what to do with a character stuck outside a sewer.

Trickster: For the most part, this disadvantage seems fine as written. Indeed, reading it, it seems to be fun to play even if it might get you killed, like Berserk. My issue is more like the one I have with Klutz: a day isn’t always a great span of time for this, especially when trekking through the wilderness with nothing more harmful than a deer coming into your sights. Think of having a schedule for this akin to the one I wrote in Klutz, or, if you do roll daily, having a trickster who finds no one to outwit to be grouchy (see Fanaticism). Being -1 to IQ-based skill rolls is deadly in the wild, wherein Survival, a Per-based skill (and thus affected), is the one that keeps you alive.

Lessons learned by this exercise:
  • The table for Loner (p. B142) or Phobia (p. B149) is your friend if you want to get rid of rolling things twice.
  • A whole bunch of GURPS disadvantages are only small variations on other ones. There are many Odious Personal Habits hidden under other names. If there ever is another revision of the GURPS game, it would be a good idea to systematically go through the disadvantage list and just list these under 
  • Some of the prices are whacked out. Lecherousness, I’m looking at you.
  • I wish I could get a good hour with the full HackMaster book rather than the free Basic PDF. There are a few good ideas for Odious Personal Habits in the Basic PDF, if nothing else: Close Talker (you have no concept of personal space), Foul-Mouthed (alright, I’ve seen this fucking Odious Personal Habit before), Needy (which is kind of like Chummy). There’s also a good table of Superstitions (Delusions) and a list of Allergies: Animal Dander, Food, Insect Stings, Mold, Pollen. The HackMaster d20 has an interesting list of Quirks and Flaws: Flatulent, Sound Sleeper, Sleep Chatter, Nervous Tick, Male Pattern Baldness, Narcolepsy, Jerk, Loud Boor, Inappropriate Sense of Humor. It seems like one of those games wherein I never would run the game myself, but can gleefully mine it for stuff to use in games I do play, like GURPS or D&D.

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