Saturday, June 4, 2016

Fundamental: How to Not Die - Advantages and Skills

Unless they have Extra Life.
This is the last possible post in the series that I can think of, besides all the fundamental rudimentary applications of our attributes, and our first line of defense, active defenses, advantages can change the rules of the game to allow us to survive situations we normally couldn't, or simply augment our survival capabilities. Let's take a closer look at all the fundamental abilities that allow us to survive better in the Basic Set.

  • Advantages
    • 360° Vision (p.34) improves our abilities to defend ourselves from sneak attacks from behind. See also Peripheral Vision (p.74).
    • Ambidexterity (p.39) can better enable parries with the off-hand allowing more chances to protect ourselves.
    • Catfall (p.41) Improves our ability to fall great distances without injury
    • Combat Reflexes (p.43) one of those advantages that everyone is recommended to take in a campaign that focuses on combat. Improves active defenses, Fast-Draw, and resistance to stunning. Enhanced Time Senses (p.52) is a stronger version.
    • Damage Resistance (p.46) This advantage encompasess a ton of ways to soak up damage, more than I'd like to go over right now. It is almost two pages of information, so if you have a character with a shell, force fields, or uncanny grit, I recommend you take a careful look over it.
    • Doesn't Breathe, Doesn't Eat or Drink, Doesn't Sleep (p.49-50) These allow you, obviously, to survive without basic staples required for living by most humans. Filter Lungs (p.55) is like a weak version of Doesn't Breathe. Less Sleep (p.65) is like a weak version of Doesn't Sleep but it is not exotic. Similarly, Reduced Consumption (p.80) compared to Doesn't Eat or Drink.
    • Enhanced Defenses (p.51) These are straight improvements to your active defenses. Whether they are worth it is a bit hard for me to discern, but personally, only Enhanced Block makes sense to me.
    • Extra Life (p.55) if you don't die when you are killed, then you are still alive.
    • Fearlessness (p.55) getting spooked can screw you up.
    • Fit (p.55) allows you to recover FP quicker, and acts as additional levels of HT when it comes to remaining conscious and alive. Like Combat Reflexes, this is a highly recommended advantage, and the weakest version is pretty cheap!
    • Hard to Kill (p.58) Like HT, but only when checking if you stay alive.
    • Hard to Subdue (p.59) Like HT, but only when checking if you stay conscious.
    • Healing (p.59) Nominally, this only helps other characters, but if you have Powers, there is an enhancement for using it on yourself.
    • High Pain Threshold (p.59) This keeps you from suffering shock penalties, and is, along with Fit, and Combat Reflexes, one of the major fighter advantages.
    • Injury Tolerance (p.60) This covers a large swathe of exotic abilities that can keep you alive. Note, they are exotic so most of the time you need to be born with them, but with the right powers, you might be able to temporarily induce them.
    • Insubstantiality (p.62) Keeps most conventional attacks from hurting you.
    • Invisibility (p.63) You are really hard to hit and track.
    • Lifting ST (p.65) This can allow you to equip more impressive armor with higher level Damage Resistance. Also allows one to better protect oneself in a grappling situation.
    • Luck (p.66) This can be used as a do-over button in a place where a single bad roll might end you otherwise. Very heavily recommended.
    • Magic Resistance (p.67) This is like extra Will strictly for defending against magical attacks. Mind Shield (p.70) is similar for telepathic abilities.
    • Psi Static (p.78) Gives invincibility to psionic attacks. The Powers book introduces rules for a similar advantage for different types of powers.
    • Rapid Healing (p.79) Makes recovering lost HP very easy. It also helps with crippling injury, which, incidentally, hasn't come up a lot in my games. I see this advantage recommended a lot, but it doesn't feel especially useful, though maybe if I had more crippling injuries, it could be very valuable. Included in Regeneration (p.80)
    • Regeneration (p.80) You can recover HP very fast. Powers introduces some modifiers to allow regeneration for FP instead of, or in addition to HP.
    • Regrowth (p. 80) Regrow lost body parts.
    • Resistant (p.80) Certain things don't harm you like they would other characters, usually those you would need to roll against HT to see if they affect you.
    • Slippery (p.85) Among other things, this is really helpful for escaping a grapple or pin.
    • Talent (p.89) Talents are a category of advantages that give bonuses to certain skills. Ifa talent might help certain weapon skills (thus, parries) or acrobatics (thus, dodge) you might be able to get some price effective survival ability out of a Talent that might not be worth it if one were to simply invest in skills.
    • Temperature Tolerance (p.93) This might allow you to survive extremely low or high temperatures. Sometimes, Damage Resistance limited to a small source comes to be a more price effective option when talking about surviving in lava, for example.
    • Trained by a Master (p.93) This advantage can give you better parries among other things. Weapon Master (p.99) is similar, but different, and has the same parrying benefit.
    • Unkillable (p.95) Read the definitions of each level carefully, they have very different mechanical parameters, and the lowest level doesn't even technically prevent you from dying.
  • Skills
    • Acrobatics (p.174) this skill can help improve dodges, makes difficult movement (standing from lying in one turn, for example) possible, and helps land great distances safely.
    • Weapon Skills I'm not going to speak to each of them, but raising them increases parry ability, making you better able to protect yourself.
    • Cloak (p.184) or Shield Both of these skills improve your ability to block.
    • First Aid (p.195) You can stop small wounds and recover a little of your lost HP.
    • Poisons (p.214) This lets you identify and treat poisoning.
    • Survival (p.223) This skill allows you to find suitable staples for yourself in a given environment. Food, water, and shelter.

Other Thoughts and Closing

This list is, of course, not exhaustive, and if you try, you can probably find ways to say any skill helps you survive (EG: If I know a professional skill and can make a job roll, and have good enough housekeeping and/or merchant, I can afford and acquire room and board at a probably reasonable value.)
I think I am done with this series for a bit, which is fine. The first real session of the new campaign I am running happens on Tuesday, and that might give me a whole new slew of questions to answer. These posts on fundamentals have been surprisingly popular though. I guess a lot of people are interested in learning GURPS? Maybe it's veterans looking for small tips they didn't realize they overlooked? Helpful people looking to verify the content and see if I missed something?

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