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Valdar
05-27-2009, 03:20 PM
For my upcoming GURPS game, I'd like to build in a system in which players are encouraged (forced?) to specialize their skills, so that the party winds up as a team of specialists, rather than a band of generalists with all similar skills. Here are a few ideas so far:

--Each character picks a Profession from real-world examples; only skills that relate directly to that profession can be higher than 14.

--Same as above, but give characters bonuses to skills that relate to that Profession instead of restricting skills to a certain level.

--Restrict access to certain skills, so that only a doctor can have Surgery, for instance, and only a career pilot can know how to fly a space fighter.

Thoughts? Am I killing one of the good things about GURPS by doing this, or is the potential for teamwork worth losing some of the versatility of character generation?

Bearfoot_Adam
06-01-2009, 10:25 AM
I say it is always better to have a characters skills make sense. Give them a profession, something they do everyday. and maybe a hobby or two but thats about ti.

korhal23
06-01-2009, 06:02 PM
In Aces and Eights, to advance a skill, you must have used it at least once this session. You earn points to advance skills and stats by achieving ever increasing goals in your job (even if you have multiple jobs, you select the only one that counts for advancement this session), and in your personal life (things like buying more land, or getting married, or whatnot). That being said, any character could potentially have any skill.

I'm going to say that I don't much care for your system. Professions can be a good thing, and a source of advancement. But what you're proposing is to remove much of the freeform nature of GURPS. There's nothing stopping someone from knowing a little bit about everything. Knowing a thing or two is useful when you find yourself alone. Should a doctor be the only one with surgery? Probably, but there's nothing stopping your characters from having once been a surgeon, or a veterinarian (close enough, right?), or just being a medical journal enthusiast, or just being stupid lucky. I once in a Star Wars game made a character who worked in a machine shop, but he wasn't very good at his job and had a poor mechanics score. What he didn't know he had was a high Force skill until it was drawn out of him (without Jedi training). But I played a few sessions without ever using his force score because he didn't know he had that innate talent.

Insofar as the player can in character justify what he's writing on the sheet, let him use it. If they can't adequately explain, then you may have a problem.

Valdar
06-02-2009, 11:26 AM
I'm going to say that I don't much care for your system. Professions can be a good thing, and a source of advancement. But what you're proposing is to remove much of the freeform nature of GURPS. There's nothing stopping someone from knowing a little bit about everything.

That's why I'm tending toward the first option (those were three possible scenarios- I wasn't going to impose all three!) So yes, you could have once been a surgeon or a fighter pilot, but if you're not one now, your skills are rusty (hence the limit to 14, which is the lowest skill defined as "professional".) This lets a more physical character be better at the (mental) skills defined by his character concept than the high-IQ scientist or magic using type that just chucked a half point into it.

Basically I'm trying to get around the problem with GURPS in that unlike other games, there's no standardized "target number for x character level or point cost" idea, so the difficulty of the adventure is based on your current skill levels, thus the best tactic is to have many different skills at low levels so you can cover all the bases- hence the party starts looking all alike (At one point, we'd write down First Aid and Running on our character sheets even before coming up with a character concept...). By limiting the ability to do this, hopefully I'll be encouraging the party to diversify.

cliff
06-02-2009, 05:33 PM
I've been working, off and on, on a supplement I call "GURPS Higher Education," which is a set of templates for given degree programs. It's easy enough to figure out, we know how many hours of training per skill point, and we know how many hours a credit hour is supposed to work out to, but it's still a whole lot of work.

That said, it might not be a bad idea for you to have players choose a degree for their character and then work out the skills for that degree from a given school (considering most schools have their schedules online now).

Of coz, this is only useful in a modern game.

Valdar
06-02-2009, 07:37 PM
I've been working, off and on, on a supplement I call "GURPS Higher Education," which is a set of templates for given degree programs. It's easy enough to figure out, we know how many hours of training per skill point, and we know how many hours a credit hour is supposed to work out to, but it's still a whole lot of work.

That said, it might not be a bad idea for you to have players choose a degree for their character and then work out the skills for that degree from a given school (considering most schools have their schedules online now).

Of coz, this is only useful in a modern game.

That's a good start- you could look at Traveler as an example of CV-driven character generation :D. Personally, I work in software and have yet to take a useful class in computer science, so in my experience, you'd have to also take into account on-the-job experience and independent study...

The game I'm working toward is _almost_ modern- set in 2099, and assuming that history goes very favorably for technology from now until then, so the university system would be very much alive and kicking...

korhal23
06-02-2009, 09:10 PM
Ah, well I apparently slightly misunderstood the original post. I definitely prefer the second idea more than the others.... Bonuses related to professions is good, but perhaps limit them to a certain number of times per session. For instance, Spycraft has things called "Interests" of which your character has a few (it can change based on several factors). Interests are not professions though, they're hobbies... things like "fine dining" or "weight lifting." Then, a certain number of times per session (again, variable) anytime the player wants to employ his interest and the GM agrees that the interest is relevant, that's a +1 bonus, and multiple interests can be used if they're relevant, for a maximum of +2. So, to use the fine dining example, say a player wants to seduce someone, and decide to take them to a fine restaurant, they could potentially get a +1 to the seduction check. Later on, the player is talking to someone else about fancy foods, they could boost their networking roll with it. If you spend your resting time partaking in your hobby, you also can receive extra healing, particularly to stress damage (basically mental strain).

Origin, in Spycraft, is the (pseudo) replacement for D&D's race (bear in mind Spycraft is a re imagining of d20 modern). Origin is a two part selection... what you are, known as your Talent (Agile, perhaps, or Gifted, Fit, or any of the 28 total Talents in the main book alone) and what you have done (40 different professions or ways of life in the main book alone, such as "City Dweller", or "Clergy", or "Playboy"). Together, these create your origin. Being as Spycraft is based in part on 3.5, the talent section typically contains +2 to one stat and -2 to another... but beyond that there are absolutely no penalties, only potential extra benefits.

Can anyone have healing as a skill? Sure. But only a doctor has a base threat range of 19-20 on Medicine (threats being the conditions where you can activate a critical success by spending your action dice.) There are other mechanical benefits too that aren't super relevant to what we're talking about. That being said, there's a difference between in the field first aid (typically wisdom based) and surgery (typically intelligence based) so there's that distinction too.

Long story short, I think you're much better off (and your players will be much happier) if you reward them for playing a more diverse group than if you say you MUST play this way. It's just a general part of my philosophy as a GM... say, for instance, a player wants to hop up on a table to attack an enemy. In some systems (such as d20) that's an acrobatics check that the player might flub and land on his face, forfeiting his turn. Provided the current game's style fits, the way I GM, if the player describes leaping up to the tabletop stylishly, not only would I forgo the check, but I'd probably give a bonus to that attack. Just something to think about.

Naturally, everything I say and its relative value is based on the style of the game you're running.

cliff
06-08-2009, 05:09 PM
That's a good start- you could look at Traveler as an example of CV-driven character generation :D. Personally, I work in software and have yet to take a useful class in computer science, so in my experience, you'd have to also take into account on-the-job experience and independent study...

Well, my intent was for "fresh college graduates," but also to have a good idea of what skill levels a "new professional" would have. I am also a software developer with no degree, so the templates wouldn't be perfect for all cases, but they would certainly be great for a baseline.

I have too many projects, 'cause I think this one would be an awesome if I could just find the time to finish the dang thing.

newsmancharnley
06-08-2009, 11:56 PM
"--Restrict access to certain skills, so that only a doctor can have Surgery, for instance, and only a career pilot can know how to fly a space fighter. "

I don't want to sound like I'm missing something but, why not just insist on 'REALITY CHECKS'. Get a detailed character background and a really good explanation for having certain skills.

If we look at your examples, virtually no-one outside the Armed Forces would know how to fly a space fighter. And Paramedics might do tracheotomies but they don't do heart transplants or neurosurgery. Surgery (above a certain level) IS only taught to Doctors.

Then a little roleplaying incident

Policeman: "Do you always carry surgical instruments with you?"

Character: "Oh yes... I may have to operate"

Policeman: "Ah...You're a Doctor?"

Character: "Oh no... it's more of a hobby"

(pause)

Policeman (speaking rapidly into radio): "BACKUP! I NEED BACKUP!"

Valdar
06-09-2009, 01:16 PM
I don't want to sound like I'm missing something but, why not just insist on 'REALITY CHECKS'.

Because I'd rather have a hard rule than a vague one. "Only five skills that are related to a real-world profession above 14" is much easier to go by than "your character has to make sense to me".

Razmus
06-09-2009, 09:54 PM
And Paramedics might do tracheotomies but they don't do heart transplants or neurosurgery. Surgery (above a certain level) IS only taught to Doctors.

I would think making things expensive would do it. Surgery requires Physician, and to avoid a -5 penalty on Surgery, Diagnosis at a competent level. If I were attempting to discourage without banning a set of skills, I might make remind the character that they may need to make rolls against Physiology to avoid penalties in Diagnosis. So, that's two Hard, and two Very Hard skills into which a potential doctor player will need to spend points. Someone with significant (usable) medical experience AND relevant adventuring skills might require something of an Unusual Background on top of it.

Similarly for jet pilot - it'll limit several disadvantages, probably require a host of other related skills (Aviation, Navigation, and at least a couple different Electronic Operations), (military or courtesy) ranks, and/or yet another Unusual Background.

But of course, if you are playing at Buckaroo Banzai point value levels.. perhaps everyone being a quantum physicist, skilled surgeon, race car driver, adventurer, and rock star isn't so wild. :D


(At one point, we'd write down First Aid and Running on our character sheets even before coming up with a character concept...).
If I were in a reasonably modern campaign, I'd start all my concepts with, 'yeah, I was a <boy/girl/spivak> scout when I was growing up.' That alone can justify half a point in a number of 'adventure related' skills. :p
And if the campaign is far enough in the future, perhaps half a point each in Electronic Operation (Medical) and Pilot (space shuttle).;)

Omegaman
06-15-2009, 07:24 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by newsmancharnley http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/Greys/buttons/viewpost.gif (http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/showthread.php?p=83595#post83595)

I don't want to sound like I'm missing something but, why not just insist on 'REALITY CHECKS'.

Because I'd rather have a hard rule than a vague one. "Only five skills that are related to a real-world profession above 14" is much easier to go by than "your character has to make sense to me".

It seems WAY easier to go by "your character has to make sense to me". LOL, but then I'm NOT an engineer. They are somewhat bound by the laws of game mechanics. Rules for everything. A little humor is all. It seemed funny to me.