Sunday, January 3, 2010

Accounting Ratios and Characters.

I learned this "trick" in accounting. Ratios are used to measure, abstractly, an entity's performance. You can do the same in GURPS but it suffers the same limitations as the accounting: requires a lot of Context in interpretation.

Character Ratios work by organizing the use of points into where they are considered an Asset and comparing them to the Total Points invested (including points gained from Disads). I made 4 basic asset groups: Profession, Combat, Social, and Background. These are merely my way of organizing it because of my playing style.

These asset groups require further detailing by the GM or the player to precise roles.

An example is how Soldiering is a profession while a soldier's combat skills are separate. Since soldiering are made up of logistical, travel and survival elements, it is easy to see where they are an asset. Same goes with the Knight since Man-at-Arms can be his profession and Noble can be his background.

Comparing Point Investment make things very clear in certain contexts.

A high point ratio Nobility Background shows how much more a character blends in with his peers.
... Assets in Combat (clarified with Combat Role: Hvy, Lt., Med, Ranged) points out how "invested" a character is in that role.
... Assets in Profession and Social easily reflects the character how good the character is with their role.

Gauging Effective use of Points. Another interesting use for Point Ratios is having a way to gauge Point-expenditure Efficiency. Characters can have a similar budget of Points but perform very differently.

Overlapping. Overlapping occurs when the investment of points overlaps with either of the 4 categories. A Social Character can be Social can have their skills as part of their profession, background. Its ok to Overlap as long as the definition. As in accounting, such overlaps are ok, you can't get everything so clear cut and dry. Especially since there are Backgrounds and Professions that are specialized in either Combat or Social. So a knight may have comparable ratios in the Background: Knight, Combat: Hvy+Cavalry, and Profession: Knight.

So if the Profession Counts IQ, HT, and DX vs Social which is IQ and probably HT (if the character has Carousing and Sex-Appeal), its ok that you count IQ and HT twice for those two separate assets since they are used on different things.

The intent of ratios is to have "power levels" of narrowed down to aspects of characters for quick reference.

After getting a hang of this, "winging" NPCs can be interesting since exposure to the ratios give a feel for how many points it takes to be relatively as good.

In an Social encounter with the NPC Steward against a PC who has a 80/185 ratio in Social won't get much of a challenge against Will-11 20/75 Social.

The same deduction can be said about Adventuring in rough terrain. If a Regular Soldier is expected to have a Profession: Soldiering 30/75 to fair well traveling 5 days in 8 hour marches, characters with a extrapolated Traveler Ratio of 5/185 will have a hard time.

Combining Ratios with Combat rule of thumbs. Combat Rules of thumb be found in Strategikon, some martial arts books (so I've heard) and versions of Tsun Zu that has anecdotes and appendices of further details.

So X Soldiers with combat: hvy. 25/75 will be a challenge for combat: light 80/185, combat: Ranged 110/185, combat: med 130/185, and combat: hvy 80/185.

Sorry it can't be simpler, but after some practice it gets easier to guesstimate.

Professional Ratio: All the points spent on relevant skills advantages, characteristics and attributes, that makes the character do a professional ability (that is neither the other ratios) well. Note the profession, “role” or strategy these points are intended.

Here are NPCs that can be found in the Blog that can be broken down to ratios.
  • Urser of Leon-Silvas

    • Combat (heavy infantry) – 84/185

    • Social (leader) - 51/185

    • Professional (soldier officer) – 86/185

    • Background (veteran)- 10/185

  • Markessa Letissia

    • Combat (self defense) – 0/185

    • Social (Diplomat/Negotiator) - 85/185

    • Professional (Administrator) – 65/185

    • Background (Patrician lady)- 89/185

  • Kayleen of Midrenn

    • Combat (Direct) – 89/185

    • Social (Agent) - 50/185

    • Professional (scout) – 117/185

    • Background (peasant)- 4/185

  • Corsan'gen Veriden Romanii

    • Combat (medium) – 63/185

    • Social (manipulator) - 70/185

    • Professional (Cavalryman) – 55/185

    • Background (Noble)- 42/185

  • Averrin

    • Combat (medium) – 76/185

    • Social (Agent) - 102/185

    • Professional (Agent) – 68/185

    • Background (Noble)- 19/185

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