Monday, August 6, 2012

Hekinoe Via GURPS

I get bored I guess.

So Hekinoe has been designed for Pathfinder at this point, anything I create for it tends to be created in terms of a class based system with periodic tweaks from small abilities like feats. I felt like trying to convert the more finicky elements of Hekinoe into a GURPS format. The first step is to identify the most iconic or finicky of Hekinoe's traits. Let me say to be clear, I have no intention of converting Hekinoe to GURPS (except in the unlikely circumstance that my players were to demand it), I am merely doing this out of curiosity and boredom and to have something to do while watching old episodes of Tosh.0 and to salve the ache caused by the corruption of my most recent Minecraft save.
  • Fucked up magic. Magic is unreliable and prone to misfiring into weird random effects. Without that aspect, there can be no GURPS Hekinoe. 
  • D'alton's shadow powers. Shadowdancers are one of my favorite prestige classes, I have a hard on for darkness and gloom I guess. One of his key abilities (despite never being used during gameplay) is his ability to hop in and out of shadows as a means of traveling. Additionally, his other iconic ability is the power to call forth his shadow self to do battle on his behalf. 
  • Xein's mutagen. I have a good idea how to achieve this, but Xein is a long running character in my campaign and he needs to have himself a mutagen. In the long run though, I imagine GURPS has enough stuff for gadgetry that Eric never would have considered taking advantages that would amount to a mutagen if we had ever played GURPS, still, I feel like throwing it in here.
  • Leadership. With Fort Jagged Tooth and everyone taking Leadership (or becoming a Thrallherd), there needs to be a way to have a bunch of cronies on hand to red shirt it up in here. 
  • Elduman. Elduman have the ability to reconstitute their body via psychic power. In Pathfinder they pay power points as an immediate reaction to undo damage dealt to them, and I really like the way Cary used it in our RP emails, so it needs to be present. 
  • Fallen, Fell Soulless, Rankethlek, and Soulless. These races are tricky to make and rather powerful, so we need to be sure they can be built with GURPS and be cost effective to play.
  • The mutagenic nature of sorcery. There has to be some way to represent the fact that the use of sorcery alters the humanoid form.
  • Vyanth are resistant to sorcery, so I need to be able to build that into them while still allowing them to be a race of sorcerous hedonists. 

Before we get started, I'll give you an idea about point totals. Small children come in around 25 points while career adventurers come in around 200 points. Batman would come in around 250 points, Captain American around 500 points, and Superman somewhere around the 2000 character point range. So most adventurer types would come in around 200 points, factor in another 50 or so from taking disadvantages to boost the number of points you can play around with. If we were to play Hekinoe with GURPS I would start out with 200 point characters and allow them to take up to 50 points of disadvantages, and disadvantages from races (such as the Vyanth and Sereth having Skinny for -5 points) would not be factored into the 50 points allowed for disadvantages. 

Alright, so we'll start with magic. So, the magic in the base game allows for critical failures that do a range of things from failing and damaging the caster to erasing the spell from the caster's mind temporarily, or failing and summoning some malign sorcerous entity. It should be noted that spells are not memorized in GURPS. This is a pretty good start. Additionally, there are a pile of extra critical failure charts in one of the magic related sourcebooks. I think with these tables I can make a pretty good rendition of the current system. There's also a type of magic called Threshold-Limited, what it does is divorce a caster's magic from his physical form, in normal GURPS magic, spells cost fatigue points, which are based on your Health, which is kind of like Constitution in Pathfinder. Threshold-Limited gives you effectively 30 fatigue to spend on spells, if you go over this, you must make a calamity check. If you fail, bad things happen ranging from giving you nightmares to causing your spells to be much more likely to critically fail. With all of these options, I think I could come up with a pretty comprehensive spell misfire system. 

Shadow powers, lets start with Summon Shadow, the ability for Shadowdancers to call forth a shadow version of themselves. This one is actually a cheat, it is extremely simple. We take the Ally advantage and for the ally's power we say he has 100% of the character's character points, which costs 5 character points for this GURPS D'alton. Since the shadow is always there, we apply a x4 modifier for constant frequency of appearance. We're looking at a 20 point ability for D'alton here. Now we apply the limitation of sympathy since D'alton and his shadow share the same life force. This means that if one is stunned or mind-controlled or knocked out, both are. Additionally, if one is killed, the other is reduced to 0 hit points. This is a -25% limitation, bringing this ability down to 15 points. Now you just craft the shadow with the same amount of character points as the non-shadow D'alton. You give him the Shadow Form advantage, but make it constant and give him disadvantages like Cannot Speak and reduce his Strength to 0 and you should have plenty of points to put into some sort of cold or energy draining effect.

Alright, so the shadow walking ability. Quickest and easiest analogue is Warp, a 100 point teleportation ability. However, shadow jump has a few more restrictions and benefits over Warp. D'alton's max range at 10th level of Shadowdancer is around 300 feet, so we can apply a range limitation to Warp to a range of 100 yards, which is a -40% limitation. We can also apply a Magic limitation to the power, which means anti-magic effects would stop it, for another -10%. Shadow Jump is very reliable and can be done instantaneously while Warp is neither of those things. It takes prep time and a check to work that is penalized by instant jumps and distance. So we apply the Reliable enhancement to aid in that, we give 5 levels of Reliable for a +5 bonus to IQ rolls to Warp, which is a +25% modifier to cost (we're at -25% cost for the ability now, still a hefty purchase of 75 points for a 200 point character). Additionally, Shadow Jump uses shadows, so we apply the Anchored limitation, which means it can only be used in shadows, since shadows are fairly common, this is only a -20% modifier. This puts us at a total of -45% to points cost, giving us a 55 point Warp ability that mimics Shadow Jump pretty well to me. If we wanted to further cheapen it, we could reduce the range or give it a limited number of uses per day. So yeah, this quick and dirty version of Shadow Jump works and with a little more tweaking we can make it very cost effective.

Xein's mutagen is another cheat, it involves the Shapeshifting advantage using the Alternate Form version of the Advantage. The long and short of it is that you switch out your racial template for another stock one or one of your own devising. Alternate forms cost 15 points if they have the same point value as your racial template, if they cost more, they cost 15 points plus 90% of their point total. Basically all you do is construct a racial template similar to Xein's but with an increase in strength and durability. To make it cost effective you can limit the uses per day, make it cost fatigue points to turn on, etc. This is a quick run down of it, but yeah, it can be done.

Leadership. Alright, so this is a lot like D'alton's Summon Shadow ability, we are still using the Ally advantage.. Since these guys are your underlings and are at your call at all times, we use the x4 cost modifier for the frequency of appearance. Since these guys are designed to basically be a pile of red shirts and low power thugs, we have them built with 50% of the character points the controlling character was built with, so they're built at 100 points each if we have a 200 point adventurer controlling them, if you want true red shirts you can probably drop them to being built at 25% of the character's point total to cut costs. This ends up costing 2 points, putting us at 8 points for the ally. Because it is a group of allies we apply a group size modifier. If the group is 5-10 guys, we apply a x6 modifier, if it is 11-20, we apply a x8, and it goes up from there. Lets go with 11-20, so we have this group of allies costing the player 64 points. Mind you, these allies are thinking creatures and if you mistreat them, they will leave. If we want to make them thralls for a Thrallherd we add the Minion enhancement for +50% to cost, putting the ability at 96 points. This ability is pretty tweakable, so there are ways to reduce the costs of these abilities. Another option for Cary's Thrallherd stuff is the Mind Control ability, which is cheaper and doesn't increase in cost based on the number of slaves you have, but it does require concentration to maintain.

The Elduman ability to self heal injuries. We start with the Regeneration ability, since we want it to have an actual quick impact that is relevant to combat, we do it at 1 hit point per second, which costs 100 points, the next step in Regeneration does 10 hit points per second and costs 150 points. A note here, unlike Pathfinder, each round of combat in GURPS lasts one second. We'll add the Costs Fatigue Points limitation, which means you have to pay for it before it will kick in, so we'll say it costs 2 fatigue points to run it for a minute, which reduces the cost by -10%. We'll say that it works in emergencies only, so the regeneration only kicks in when I say so, but it is tied to adrenaline and excitement, so it will almost always work in combat, this reduces it by -30%. And lastly, this is a psychic ability so we add the Psychic Healing limitation to it for -10%, which means it is psychic and does not function under anti-psi effects. So, we've got it down to 50 points for it. Sadly, this is a hefty ability to purchase for a 200 point character, and it wouldn't help an Elduman that took enough damage to kill him the way it can help Cary in Pathfinder as this would only function after you've been shocked or injured or scared and it would take time as well. Not a perfect fit I guess, and a pretty expensive ability to boot, which is displeasing. 

Fallen, Fell-Soulless, Rankethlek, and Soulless. So typically what you do in GURPS is construct your character point by point, but often times a GM will build racial templates for races of his world. I have a few lying around for some of the Hekinoe races. Additionally, there are things called meta-traits which are guides to combine abilities to achieve certain effects. For instance, for the Rankethlek I'd use the Machine Meta-Trait, costs 25 points but covers abilities for not having blood and not being vulnerable to disease or poison and whatnot, and also the inability to heal. A little bit of modification for the necromantic nature of the Soulless and you have a good example for them. From another book we find a meta-trait for Rotting Undead costing 59 points to cover the Fallen. If we combine aspects of the Machine Trait with a Fell Human racial template, we get something that covers Fell Soulless. Ta-da.

The mutagenic nature of sorcery is something that ends up needing a GM ruling, rather than a specific disadvantage or advantage. So I guess my ruling would be that a percentage of the points a character spends on spells and magic abilities needs to be spent on wonky mutagenic stuff or be paid off in part by mutagenic wonky style disadvantages. 

The magic resistance of the Vyanth is easy to duplicate, just Magic Resistance, which costs 2 points per rank. This offers a +1 bonus to checks to avoid the effects of spells and gives spellcasters a -1 to their casting. Normally this resistance prevents you from ever using magic, but for a 150% price increase you can make it Improved Magic Resistance, which allows you the resistance and allows you to cast spells as well. 

So anyway, that was a fun little exercise. 

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