Rules Bit (GURPS): A Better Cost for ST and HP

Intro: “What? Aren’t we done now with ST cost?”

After bouncing from one hack to another in the treatment and pricing of ST, GURPS finally settled upon a happy solution in 4e. It works well. (Well, mostly. Contests of ST remain problematic, and Supers‘ Super-Effort enhancement retains a 3e-like tone of “ST just doesn’t work for guys in tights”.)

For better or worse, ST in 4e also maintains a certain GURPS quirk: the ever-decreasing relative return that each additional point of ST confers. For a purchase of +1 ST [cost: 10 points], a ST 1 rat gains a whopping +100% ST and +300% Basic Lift. A ST 10 human gains a far more modest +10% ST and roughly +20% Basic Lift. A ST 100 super gains nearly nothing: +1% ST and about +2% Basic Lift.

While there’s nothing broken with that arrangement, not every GM likes it, and more than a few point out that proper boulder-lifting supers are still too expensive in the game. That’s where D. Weber offers an interesting alternate suggestion for ST cost. The scheme applies an ever-decreasing cost to every +1 ST that offsets the ever-decreasing relative return, and sets a nifty cost progression at the same time. It was a good idea when originally shoehorned into 3e’s ST rules, and works even better under 4e.

This new version of the article expands the concept further for 4e. It addresses Lifting ST and Striking ST, as well as HP bought above or below ST. (While the original cost idea comes from D. Weber, the article text and expanded ideas are mine, meaning anything screwy is my fault.)

History

v1.0 2008.02.09 Published ST cost suggestion (lifted from GULLIVER for 3e) under title Rules Nugget (GURPS): A Better Cost for ST.

v2.0 2013.05.09 Added consideration of Lifting ST, Striking ST, and HP.

The rule

New cost for ST and related traits

Apply a steadily-declining cost for ST and its related traits, per the table below:

New cost for ST (and Striking ST, Lifting ST, and HP)

 

ST

[50]

 

 

Striking ST

[25]

 

Lifting ST

[15]

 

HP

[10]

 

score

cost per +1

cost per…

 

cost per +1

cost per…

cost per +1

cost per…

cost per +1

cost per…

11-20

10

10

+1

 

5

5

+1

3

3

+1

2

2

+1

21-30

5

5

+1

 

2.5

5

+2

1.5

3

+2

1

1

+1

31-70

2.5

5

+2

 

1.25

5

+4

0.75

3

+4

0.5

1

+2

71-100

1.67

5

+3

 

0.83

5

+6

0.5

1

+2

0.33

1

+3

101-200

1

1

+1

 

0.5

1

+2

0.3

3

+10

0.2

1

+5

201-300

0.5

1

+2

 

0.25

1

+4

0.15

3

+20

0.1

1

+10

301-700

0.25

1

+4

 

0.125

1

+8

0.075

3

+40

0.05

1

+20

701-1000

0.167

1

+6

 

0.083

1

+12

0.05

1

+20

0.033

1

+30

1001-2000

0.1

1

+10

 

0.05

1

+20

0.03

3

+100

0.02

1

+50

2001-3000

0.05

1

+20

 

0.025

1

+40

0.015

3

+200

0.01

1

+100

And so on. The table indicates the cost of additional levels of ST, or of its components (Striking ST, Lifting ST, HP) based on current level. The first “cost per +1” colum (in red text) shows the cost of each +1, which may be an unwieldy fractional cost. The remaining two “cost per…” columns put that cost into an easy purchasing plan: at ST 301-700, a clumsy cost of 0.25 points for +1 ST can be handled as a simple 1 point for +4 ST.

Note that at any level, the cost of ST is the sum of the costs of Striking ST, Lifting ST, and HP. Most designs will use a single ST score: ST 15 means effective Striking ST 15, Lifting ST 15, and HP 15. For designs with one deviation from ST (such as extra Lifting ST), buy overall ST and, from there, buy the differing trait up or down. For a more complex design, it’s easier to forget overall ST, and buy Striking ST, Lifting ST, and HP individually. The costs all work out neatly.

Shopping point-by-point

To purchase a high ST, just follow the costs, taking note of the breaks where a drop in cost kicks in.

Example: Initially, ST costs 10/+1, per written rules. But after you purchase ST 20, the price drops to 5/+1. That continues through ST 30, after which the price falls to only 2.5/+1 (or 5 points per +2, in simpler terms).

Say you want ST 60. Buy +10 ST [100] to reach ST 20, another +10 ST [50] to reach ST 30, and a final +30 ST [75] to reach ST 60. Total: 225 points.

You also decide to buy Lifting ST up to 80. Start from your current ST 60. At that level, extra Lifting ST costs 0.75 points per +1. Buy +10 Lifting ST [7.5], bringing it to 70, after which the cost changes. The remaining +10 Lifting ST cost only 1 point per +2 [5]. Total: 7.5+5 = 12.5 points, rounded up to 13.

So far you have ST 60 (ST 80 for lifting) and HP 60. As a final complication, say you want to cut your current HP 60 to HP 25. At level 60, the cost of HP is 0.5 points per HP. Drop 30 HP [-15] to reach HP 30. From there on down, the cost of HP is 1 point per HP; drop another 5 HP [-5] to reach HP 25.

Final character: Your character has ST 60 for striking purposes, ST 80 for lifting purposes, and HP 25. Cost: 225 for ST, + 13 for extra Lifting ST, – 20 for reduced HP = 218 points.

Alternately, you can forget starting at ST 60. Instead start at the base ST 10 (and HP 10), and buy Lifting ST 80, Striking ST 60, and HP 25 from there. You’ll arrive at the same 218 points.

Shopping with easy steps

What’s missing from the explanation so far is a shortcut that makes everything easier. There’s a pattern that emerges from the cost progression:

  • 0 points buys ST 10
  • 50 points buys ST 15
  • 100 points buys ST 20
  • 150 points buys ST 30
  • 200 points buys ST 50
  • 250 points buys ST 70
  • 300 points buys ST 100

… and so on, where every 50 points buys a level of ST that matches a level on the Size and Speed/Range table’s progression: 10, 15, 20, 30, 50, 70, 100, 150, 200… That is, every “step” [50] multiplies ST by roughly 1.5, raising ST one big step along a progression of multiples: x1.5, x2, x3, x5, x7, x10, x15, x20… Meanwhile, every six “steps” [300] multiplies ST by exactly 10.

The same holds for the other traits: a flat “step cost” (shown in the table in brackets next to the trait name) raises the trait a step along that progression of Size and Speed/Range table multiples.

  • 1 “step”: Multiplies the trait by roughly 1.5 (and for ST and Lifting ST, Basic Lift by roughly 2).
  • 2 “steps”: Multiplies the trait by roughly 2 (and for ST and Lifting ST, Basic Lift by roughly 4).
  • 3 “steps”: Multiplies the trait by roughly 3 (and for ST and Lifting ST, Basic Lift by roughly 10).
  • 4 “steps”: Multiplies the trait by roughly 5 (and for ST and Lifting ST, Basic Lift by roughly 25).
  • 5 “steps”: Multiplies the trait by roughly 7 (and for ST and Lifting ST, Basic Lift by roughly 50).
  • 6 “steps”: Multiplies the trait by exactly 10 (and for ST and Lifting ST, Basic Lift by exactly 100).

That makes shopping easy. Use the easy “step costs” to take each of ST [50 for a “step”], Striking ST [25], Lifting ST [15], and HP [10] close to its desired level, and then fine-tune each from there.

Example: ST 20? You want 2 “steps” of ST [2 x 50 = 100] for a x2 multiple. Or ST 100, but HP 50? You want 6 “steps” of ST [6 x 50 = 300] for a x10 multiple, minus 2 “steps” of HP [-2 x 10] to shed a x2 multiple, for a net 280 points.

Example: Per the earlier example, you want to buy ST 60, bring Lifting ST up to 80, and drop HP to 25.

Again, it’s easiest to tackle this complex design by forgetting overall ST and buying the individual components. To get close to desired non-lifting ST of 60, buy 4 “steps” of Striking ST [100] for a multiple of x5. Desired Lifting ST is closer to 70, so buy 5 “steps” [75] for a x7. Desired HP is between 20 and 30; let’s buy 2 “steps” [20] for a x2. Cost so far: 100 + 75 + 20 = 195, buying ST 70 for lifting-related purposes, ST 50 for other purposes, and HP 20.

Now fine-tune: Bring up Lifting ST by 10 [5], Striking ST by 10 [12.5], and HP by 5 [5]. Final cost: 195 + 5 + 12.5 + 5 = 218, buying effective ST 60, Lifting ST 80, and HP 25.

Easy design for large creatures

The new costs make large-SM designs easy, not just cheap. As laid out in GULLIVER Mini, the way to scale ST with size in GURPS 4e is to multiply a human-sized ST score by the creature’s height multiple (i.e., the multiple of its SM’s “yards” to the 2 yards of SM 0). Under the new cost scheme, this is simple:

  • Buy 1 “step” of ST [50] per SM over 0.

Example: A ST 10 human scaled up to SM +5 is about 7 times human height. Buy 5 “steps” of ST [250] to get a multiple of 7, and ST 70.

Many designs will further tweak stats: in particular, huge creatures should further boost ST a bit (and possibly Lifting ST even more) to account for load-bearing muscles and bulky frames. But buying ST “steps” equal to SM is a simple way to set a ST score quickly, for instant play or for further fine-tuning.

Easy design for supers

Super designs make ready use of massive ST, often with heapings of added Lifting ST. However, HP is often held back to more modest, even “normal”, levels. The new costs make super-stats more affordable and easy to eyeball, with no special genre costs needed.

Use “steps” to buy great big chunks of power (fine-tuning really isn’t necessary for supers!). A quick 4 “steps” of ST [200] buys ST 50. Another 2 “steps” of Lifting ST [30] brings ST for lifting purposes up to 100. And so on.

Quick boosts: Every 6 “steps” of (ST + Striking ST) multiplies ST for damage purposes by 10. Every 6 “steps” of (ST + Lifting ST) multiplies ST for lifting purposes by 10 – i.e., multiplies Basic Lift by 100. Going further, 12 “steps” of (ST + Lifting ST) multiplies Basic Lift by 10,000, and 18 “steps” multiplies it by 1,000,000. To demonstrate how quickly this adds up: A modest 24 “steps” – as cheap as [360] if bought as all Lifting ST – multiplies ST by 10,000 for Basic Lift purposes – which multiplies Basic Lift by 100,000,000. You have the lifting power of 100 million men!

If you purchase incredible power as full ST but aren’t a giant super, you may not want to keep massive HP. Just withhold some “steps” of HP. If you want 100 times the normal human ST score (with 10,000 times the Basic Lift), but only the size, bulk, and resilience to harm of a normal man, buy 12 “steps” of ST [600], then buy down 12 “steps” of HP [-120]. Welcome back to HP 10. (Try to keep your mega-muscles directed away from yourself; a face-palm could be fatal.)

One cost fits all

The new costs are intended to replace any special schemes designed to reduce the cost of high ST and HP in supers, large creatures, and the such. In particular, the costs replace the SM-based cost limitation (-10% cost per SM above 0) on the stats (B15-16). Ignore that limitation under the new costs; apply the above costs evenly as a single scheme that fits everything, from superheroes and Giants to old-fashioned steel-thewn barbarians.

Do apply limitations (or other cost modifications) that reflect other specific functional matters. An example is No Fine Manipulators (B145), a -40% limitation on ST and Striking ST.

Low stats

The above scheme doesn’t apply to stats under 10. That’s not a flaw in the scheme; there’s just no single formula possible that would provide happy results for both superhuman and subhuman ST and HP. For low stats, stick with a simple -10 pts per point of ST under 10. To purchase components of ST below 10, use -5 points per -1 Striking ST, -3 points per -1 Lifting ST, and -2 points per -1 HP.

Variants and options

Multipliers any time, any place

As noted above, each “step” purchase of a trait multiplies it by a step along a progression of multiples: x1.5, x2, x3, x5, x7, x10, x15, x20…. This takes you instantly from the starting stat of 10 to a high stat, with an easy point cost.

If you like, allow such a “step” purchase to multiply a trait any time it’d be useful in the design process, not only to initially raise the trait from 10.

Example: You have ST 22 [110]. The GM agrees with your later wish to buy an extra 50% Striking ST (representing a new superpower). Instead of calculating the exact cost to reach Striking ST 33, just buy 1 “step” of Striking ST [25] to get the x1.5 multiple. You now strike at ST 33. Done.

Example: You decide to design a Giant as a creature with human-scale ST of 13, scaled up for SM 3 (a height multiple of 3). That suggests ST 13 x 3 = 39. Instead of buying ST up to 30 and then finding the cost for the remaining +9 ST, just buy +3 ST [30] to get ST 13, then buy 3 “steps” of ST [150] to get the x3 multiple. You now have ST 39. Done.

Because of cost breakpoints and roundings, the cost of stats bought the above way may not perfectly match the cost of stats bought through more precise accounting. But they’ll almost match!

When to use it

What good is this new cost scheme? It’s good if you want a single scheme that’s intended for all designs, changes nothing for most designs (PCs with ST and HP under 21), makes eyeballing stats for supers and large creatures easy, and makes those designs far more affordable, too.

On the other hand, the scheme calls for some familiarization before you’ll smoothly wrangle the costs of higher-power designs. It’s not as simple as a universal “10 points / +1 ST”!

Connections

New Damage for ST

The New Damage for ST suggestion applies a damage progression that scales neatly with ST: multiply ST by X, and you multiply damage by X.

Using that damage scheme, every “step” of ST [50] or Striking ST [25] multiplies ST-based damage by about 1.5. Every 6 “steps” of ST [300] or Striking ST [150] multiplies damage by 10. All neat and easy.

Status

I noted back in the 3e days that the cost scheme would work much better under “Quad ST” – i.e., ST with lifting ability that scales with the square of the ST score. That’s precisely what 4e later brought, so the scheme should work spiffily.

And it does work nicely – in my own limited experience with designs, which of course is never enough. In particular, I don’t play any mega-ST supers games. Put the cost scheme through the paces in your own games, and see whether it breaks somewhere!

Designer’s notes

1. Doing away with the SM-based limitations on ST and HP cost is, to me, a good thing. I don’t like discriminatory pricing schemes, such as 10 points to add +1 ST to a super, but 2 points (10 – 80%) to add the same to a SM +8 monster. I’m happy to see those differences disappear in favor of a universal “it costs what it costs” scheme. Your thoughts?

2. The initial (and old) version of this Rules Bit addressed ST only, with mere mention of HP. Messages from a correspondent (who humbly requests anonymity) spurred me to fully address HP. The initial plan was to release a new, companion rules article focused on a new cost progression for HP, plus a closely related topic: a revised cost for Injury Tolerance (Damage Divisor).

However, I decided to instead inject HP (along with Lifting ST and Striking ST) into the original ST article, and save Injury Tolerance (Damage Divisor) for a separate article. Reason: The new cost for ST and the new cost for HP really can’t be used separately from each other under 4e. The new cost scheme needs to be applied to both, or to neither.

Injury Tolerance (Damage Divisor), meanwhile, remains a valid topic, but isn’t tied to the new ST and HP cost scheme. The argument for revising the advantage’s cost has merit regardless of what price scheme is used for ST and HP. So that article will come along later.

3. The consideration of Striking ST, Lifting ST, and HP – traits that can be bought up or down from ST – naturally adds complexity to this v2.0 article. As of this first release of v2.0, my explanation of costs and purchasing are looking clumsy and long-winded to me. Do you see any specific items that could be expressed more cleanly?

Wrapping up

Very interesting stuff; my thanks again to Mr Weber. Try out the new costs the next time you need to bulk up a super or monster!

13 Comments

  • Douglas Cole

    This makes nine kinds of sense to me. ST has always been, and still really is, the odd man out for the four basic stats. This at least normalizes the utility of the points spent.

    the odd thing about ST is the quantum of ST is one point of swing damage. Another way to do ST might be to change, well, a lot of secondary things, but make the basic quantum of ST one point of thrust damage, and then you have leverage multipliers or ST adders (same basic thing) for sw damage.

    anyway, looking at it this way, ST is really more of an Advantage than a STAT…which leaves the question of what replaces it. Will would be a good one.

    At the risk of a major digression, my thought for a complete and orthogonal basis set for stats would be Mental, Physical, Spiritual x Power, Endurance, and Control. Or maybe even Mental, Physical, Emotional, Supernatural would be better, since Emotional Power might be “Charisma,” Emotional Control would be some sort of Fright Check resistance, and Emotional Endurance…um. Well, it’s a work in progress.

    More on that, perhaps, later, but I like the ST progression.

    • tbone

      It is a nifty progression, isn’t it. Aesthetically, it’s too bad that it can’t also hold for ST under 10 – but that leads right into your point about ST not fitting well into the “10-based attribute” mold to begin with. No matter how you try to wedge it into that hole, something pops out.

      I don’t know about GURPS, but for some games, ST as a base-0 log stat would be very nice. Infinitely scalable to any huge or puny creature, with each +/-1 representing a meaningful jump at every point along the way. It’d also become properly useable in Contests. In fact, this may work nicely in GURPS too, as long as the damage-to-ST relationship is squared away with things. After all, we already have SM as a 0-based log stat.

      Re the broader set of PC stats: The 3×3 setup you describe sounds good; I think it figures into a lot of homemade designs (and maybe some shipping games too? Did DC Heroes have something like that?)

      For my own homemade efforts, I (with some reservation) decided to use whatever’s needed and not worry about any sort of matrix. Useful traits include the pretty typical Strength, Agility (which is simply coordination, not some mixture of that plus speed), Intelligence, and Health, plus Command (influence and will) and Instinct (non-intellectual perception, reaction speed, etc.) Then again, I’m not drawing any hard lines between attribute and non-attribute, so on top of that, add in Size, Weight, specific Skills, etc. – they’re all “traits” and all define the character!

    • tbone

      A fine question. Using 4e, we’d have to assume that ST bought under this scheme would also includes HP. So to buy HP only, the easy solution would be to use 1/5 the cost of ST.

      As ST gets high and the cost gets low, 1/5 cost gets into some wee fractions. But that won’t be a problem, as no one cares about, say, an extra +1 HP for some house-sized monster or Thor-like super; rather, you’d buy added HP in mass quantities. So at ST 2001, where a mere 1 pt buys you +20 ST, you could instead spend that 1 pt on +100 HP. It sounds ridiculously cheap, but it adds a mere one-twentieth to your existing massive HP total – just as the same 1 pt for a ST 10 PC would add one-twentieth existing HP total (a theoretical half-point of HP).

      I don’t see any problems with the scheme; let me know if I’m missing something.

  • kirbwarrior

    You did say you are working on a new price for Injury Tolerance (Damage Reduction), but for a quick-and-dirty repricing (to go with this article) is to just cut it in half. If we limited IT(DR) with ‘HP damage only -20%’ (it’s probably more like -10%, but let’s pretend) then it’s about as useful as just buying that much more HP. Yes, there is weird rounding errors, and both traits can get different modifiers on them (most importantly, IT(DR) can get PM -10%), but it seems to me that it’s about as fair.

    The main reason I bring this up is because I am making a super right now with super ST, but (at least for them) it makes more sense to get Striking and Lifting ST, then get IT(DR) to match up with it (with the enhancements to get rid of rounding up).

    Can’t wait to read your (probably much better thought out) article, though.

    • tbone

      There isn’t much to my thoughts on repricing Damage Reduction; the idea is simply that a Damage Reduction divisor of X should work the same, rules-wise, as multiplying HP by X. And that’s pretty much true in GURPS 4e, to the game’s credit.

      This leads to the conclusion that the divisor of X should have the same cost as multiplying HP by X. Which, under RAW, means a variable cost (which isn’t “neat” but is perfectly usable); under this Better Cost for ST and HP, it means a nice flat cost, easily priced according to the size of X.

      So all pretty simple, but before writing I want to check out edge cases where things might not work so neatly. In particular, when it comes to healing a character by magic, etc., “Damage Reduction of X = multiplying HP by X” breaks down a bit.

      • kirbwarrior

        The divisor almost does the same as multiplying HP. There are a few things that come up (that I’ve experienced anyway);

        Healing affects the character basically the same. Having high HP already increases healing ability, so it just comes down to granularity issues (Divisor of 1.5 effectively increases healing by 1.5, but 15HP doesn’t)

        Losing high levels of divisor doesn’t do anything immediately, while losing levels of high HP is deadly. If you’ve taken 70 damage, and your Max HP drops to 10, you die. Mind, there is no RAW way of decreasing Max HP, and applying a PM to HP is insinuated to be disallowed. PM on Divisor seems almost the norm.

        Divisor will never give you mass, while HP will. I don’t know if you can have a mass HP higher than HP.

        The comparison seems even if we have Divisor cost halved, and include PM -10% and HP only -10% on it. The biggest distinction the two have is base Divisor affects FP damage (and any other possible damage you could take, such as ER damage). I haven’t had an issue with using the two almost interchangably.

        One last little thing; Divisors of 10, 100, etc, make scale damage (e.g. decade scale) easier by just dropping the divisor.

  • Kallatari

    Hi T-Bone,

    This has indeed been one of my favorite articles (I’m a long-time fan of GULLIVER in general), and I’m glad to see it updated. I’ve been using it for years now in my games, with one slight tweak: I apply it to all attributes and level traits.

    There’s no reason you can’t use the same pricing mechanisms for HT (same costs as above), IQ or DX (at 100 points for each step of x1.5, x2, x3, x5, x7, x10), other than such attributes are unlikely to ever be necessary, particularly when compared to the frequency of high ST being needed.

    But I also use it for almost any advantage: DR, Innate Attack, Control, FP, Altered Time Rate, Binding, etc. You just purchase up to level 10 normally, then each “step” is worth the equivalent cost of 5 levels. So each step for DR would be worth 25 points, for example.

    Anyway, just surprised you haven’t mentioned its broad applicability to many traits out there. It’s a really good rule to promote for supers.

    • tbone

      Hullo. Let me make sure I understand: You’re saying that you use this article’s cost scheme for non-ST stats, like HT, DX, and IQ?

      I agree that it might be good for some stats – and you’re right, I should have at least mentioned DR. It arguably should scale cost-wise in the same way as damage-dealing ability, so if you use this cost progression for ST, using it for DR too may be the right thing to do. It’d be welcomed by GMs who want to make really high DR cheaper, such as in Supers games.

      For HT, DX, and IQ, though, I admit that I really hadn’t thought about it at all. At first glance, it threatens to induce the vapors in a GM – “Good Lord, double DX for every fixed X points!? You are mad, sir.”

      But then again… Applying the scheme to DX, IQ, etc. would have no effect until these stats get above 20, which is the entry point into superhuman crazyland anyway, even in a Dungeon Fantasy game. And the cost of that DX is a whopping 200 points for every doubling…

      Plus, if DX and IQ were capped at 20 for skill level purposes, then the declining cost of these under this scheme may be a very good thing. (And even without the caps… well, again, once those stats reach levels of 20+, the game is clearly moving into a godlike area where point costs cease to be terribly meaningful anyway, IMO.)

      It’s interesting food for thought! But I wonder: Have you come across areas where you’ve found that applying the progression makes some trait problematically cheap, even in PCs that could be feasibly built (i.e., not demigods and the like)? I could imagine, for example, low-cost traits like Acute Vision bought up to insane levels under the progression, even on a standard PC point budget. But on the other hand, I don’t immediately see how an insane level of Acute Vision would break the game, either…

      Again, interesting stuff. If you find a place where the progression breaks things, though, it’d be interesting to hear a report!

      • Kallatari

        My house rules apply it to all the attributes and about 25 levelled advantages (I can list them if you’re really interested). That said, in my various campaigns, my players have only actually purchased level 21+ in a few traits:

        – A “tank” combat android that hard really high ST and DR

        – A master of electricity that had high levels of Innate Attack for lightning

        – A mage that had about 40 Mana Points (i.e., Energy Reserve).

        – several players used it for languages. Basically, I ruled that 1 level in Language, worth 1 Character Point (CP), allows you to increase a single language by one step in either written or spoken. It takes 6 levels to be fully Native level of proficiency in a single language. By the time you get to level 21+, I ruled it made sense to just become easier to learn even more languages. This is an alternative to the Omnilingual advantage i’ve seen bouncing around in Pyramid and a few other places.

        – Had a draft character – but he was never actually played – with Injury Tolerance: DR. Tweaked it so that each level was 25 CP and reduced injury along a /1.5, /2, /3, /5, /7, /10 pattern, allowing IT:DR to be purchased onto infinite levels.

        Otherwise, players stay within the theme of the setting. As GM, I tell them what goes and doesn’t, and they stick with it; e.g., no super abilities in a “realistic” campaign world.

        But with even just those few times my players did go over 21+, I did learn a trick or two to watch out for:

        – Afflictions that increase or decrease a trait should be listed as effect on character points, not levels; e.g., your Affliction gives +20 CP to DX, and not +2 DX. That allows it to scale much better. Ruling came in useful for a spell that gave a large bonus to HT in one campaign, but that spell fell out of heavy use after a while. I suppose your method of purchasing a x1.5 or x2 to an attribute or trait would be another easy way to write it down.

        – I was getting dubious as to the high levels of Mana Points for very cheap, making the Cost FP limitation not much of a limitation. It didn’t quite break the system, but the player did stop at 40 levels, so it wasn’t pushed too far either. But then again, that’s a flaw of allowing unlimited Energy Reserve in the first place. Reducing the cost just makes it occur faster.

        – I mistakenly indicated that Modular Ability would have such a decreasing cost, but thankfully caught that mistake while reviewing a character. You can’t do that, as you’d be “double dipping” in cost savings. It would first cost you less points to get more CP, and then you could purchase higher level abilities for less CP. For modular abilities – and anything similar that gives you flexible CP – I charge the full rate as you get the savings with the traits you place those flexible CP into.

        – I’d also been contemplating capping attributes for the purpose of determining skill levels (only) at 20, but that situation never actually came up in my games. But I’d certainly recommend it or some other limit to keep things in check.

        – As a variation of the rule, anything that gives you a “doubling each level”, such as Enhanced Move which doubles your top speed, I instead cut the price of the trait in half, and had it go along a x1.5, x2, x3, x5, x7, x10 progression, so that it followed the same pattern… and same pattern as the range/speed table.

        Anyway, that’s my experience so far, with it in (admitedly limited) use for about 10 or so years. I haven’t seen it break the system yet.

        • tbone

          This is very good stuff; thanks again for the front-line reports on extending this cost concept beyond ST. I’d like to make a short new post calling site visitors’ attention to your comments.

          Your handling of languages is interesting – if I’m understanding it right, it’s reading base points in languages as effectively “levels”, and then using this article’s cost progression to decrease the cost of high levels. It’s interesting to compare that with my experimental look at pricing “breadth”, including multiple languages; a different approach, but with the same net effect of an increasingly falling cost for additional languages. You’ve shown a good alternate way to go about it.

  • Bruno

    I’ve got reservations about ever-decreasing ST costs.

    One is that I clearly don’t have a bee in my ear over relative utility – I’m an absolute utility sort of person, and more levels of ST absolutely get you more utility. Besides, if you’re inclined to think of things relatively: at high point levels, each level of ST costs a smaller percentage of your point total – right from the first +1!

    The real problem I find is that the damage part of ST (which is linear) is priced assuming the character is going to make full use of leverage, range, yadda yadda and many high ST characters revolve around concepts that just won’t or don’t.

    Another is racial templates, racial lenses, alternate/enhanced forms, and other situations involving layering “metatraits” onto a character: What do you do charge for an ogres racial ST bonus? Or a body-of-stone power-up for a World of Warcraft style dwarf (Which would easily include extra lifting ST, HP, and DR)?
    What do you do in a game where a D&D-style half-fiend or half-dragon lens is available for players to layer onto any race they want (from halfing to ogre)?

    The multiples provide nice constant pricing for those templates, but at least for me, they’re too coarsely grained for non-super games that are still puttering about in the exceptional attributes range. Dungeon Fantasy definitely has one foot in the super-heroes camp, but it also has one foot in the “regular dudes” camp. The towering ogre barbarian might have a ST upwards of 30 before magical enhancement, while “normal” melee specialists are still puttering around in the 12-18 range. DF1 recommends a 250 point total, but I see as many groups opting to start at 300 (or higher) as I do 200 or 150…

    I waffle about the issue. I like high ST characters. They’re fun to play and fun to GM for, but obviously there’s a knot of people who still aren’t satisfied with how the numbers work out.

    • tbone

      Hello!

      Besides, if you’re inclined to think of things relatively: at high point levels, each level of ST costs a smaller percentage of your point total – right from the first +1!

      Yes, that’s also an interesting way of looking at it. That’s the thing about these deep point-cost considerations: there are so many things to look at (absolute this, relative that…) and so many comparisons to be made, that one easily becomes lost in trying to track what’s important. Which, in the end, mostly likely comes down to “This thing the player wants for the PC – will the player (or really, the whole group) make it a fun part of the game, or will the player make it an abused annoyance?” (Player intent – as you mention – is really what it’s all about.) Returning to that all-important perspective, the finer complexities of point costing can start to look like academic exercises…

      Plus, variable pricing makes templates more difficult, as you note. That was one of the downsides of 3e attribute pricing, which 4e nicely fixed; variable-priced attributes are a step backward in that regard. (That said, it’s not necessarily a problem with ST under this system, again as you note. Template-based mods to ST, whether for race, or Body of Odd Substance, or whatever, are arguably best handled as ST mutipliers, not ST adds, and the ST pricing system presented here actually handles that nicely!)

      In any case, your last comment about satisfaction and the price of ST is spot-on: no matter what the pricing scheme, it’s bound to be unsatifying for some player’s vision of some specific concept. I don’t know what its is about ST pricing that so resists a universally satisfying scheme. Perhaps it’s simply that widely-varying ST is so common in real life and in fiction, yet is simultaneously so fuzzy in terms of how it “works” (the connection between lifting ability and damage, for example), and so inconsistent in fiction (superheroes’ feats of strength, etc.), that no matter how you game it and price it, it’s bound to conflict with some gamers’ character conceptions.

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