Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Smooth Operator Should be [10] points

We were in a character building session when I went on a long tirade about why smooth operator is a bad talent and you shouldn't take it,. As I was winding down, one of my players said "If its such a bad idea, can I take it for 10 points a level?" I thought about it, and then thought about it some more, and said "Yes". And the more I think about it, the more I think its a great idea in general. Here is my reasoning:

First, 15 points can get you a lot in GURPS. You could add +4 to a skill you have. You could get +1 to all defenses. You could get a reroll once per hour. You could get +3 to a more narrow group of skills. If you save 5 more points, you could buy a level of IQ and add +1 to a vast swath of skills. 

Second, Smooth Operator is barely a 15-point talent as it is. It has 13 skills, which is just barely the threshold for a 15 point talent. It has two skills that are HT-based, One that's Per-Based, and ten that are all based on IQ. That's some reach across attributes, but not a lot. Its reaction bonus basically says that if the person matters, the reaction bonus doesn't apply. Its not as narrowly focused as some talents, but it clearly represents a very coherent set of skills. Despite this, I struggle to imagine a character who actually uses all 13 skills, because several of them are pretty niche in application, like panhandling or politics.

Third, the Basic set acknowledges that "the GM’s word is law when determining which skills are “related” and how may points the Talent is worth." This is for custom talents, but its also a general caution that there is a "Feel" to designing properly balanced talents, rather than just relying on counting skills.

So I don't feel bad telling people not to take smooth operator. And that indicates its not worth those 15 points. Is it worth 10 points? probably. It still faces some pretty stiff competition from options like Charisma and the Talker Talent from power ups. So even at 10 points, its not an obvious choice for the type of character that its designed for. And that, to me, is the best proof that lowering its cost to 10 points isn't broken: that it doesn't create a rush of players trying to take it.  

So go ahead and try pricing smooth operator at 10 points. Hopefully it makes a certain type of character more viable, or at least less awkwardly built. Happy Gaming!

Wednesday, June 5, 2024

GCS files for Historical Folks Skill Sets

One of GURPS's specialties is historical games. So it should not come as a surprise that one of the more impressive fan-made projects is GURPS Historical Folks. This project comes in both a 3rd Edition and a 4th Edition version. And recently Infornific on the Forums decided to turn the templates into Skill Sets in the mold of Action 4: Specialists or Delvers to Grow. And I decided to write GCS templates for all of them. So these are GCS templates for the Historical Folks Skill sets:

GCS Templates for Historical Folks Skill Sets

They come in a zip file you will need to unzip: the file is about Half a Megabyte but contains about 150 templates. They are written for GCS 5.20.4, which is a pretty recent version. You can open the files in GCS directly by double clicking, or by putting it in your GCS folders (usually at C:/Users/<username>/GCS, or by going to GCS and right clicking the library and selecting "Show On Disk")

This is the very tip of a lot of work done by a lot of people. You can find their work here:

Historical Folks Skill Sets

Historical Folks 4e

Historical Folks (3e)

I hope you enjoy this, and find it useful. There is a LOT in here. Happy Gaming!