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2015-06-28

The Disadvantages of GURPS (Part 2)

My first post on my problems with Disadvantages generated a lot of responses. In it I went over some ideas how to deal with this issue in brief, but after the responses, I wanted to speak a bit more about them. So, here are some are some ways that GMs might limit disadvantages:


1. Limit the number of disadvantages. This is a simple solution that can keep down the number of disadvantages that player take. A hard limit like 3 or 4 could be used instead of or in conjunction with a disadvantage point limit. Another option to add to this is to separate disadvantages into "major" and "minor", and limit the number of each. Major might be any disadvantage that give 15 points or more.

2. Set number of disadvantages. This is similar to the option above, but the disadvantage numbers are set in stone. Players must take a set number of disadvantages. If the "major" and "minor" options are used, then there may be some sort of give or take: "2 major, or 1 major and 2 minor". To keep things very simple, a GM might even just have players take one disadvantage only.

3. Disadvantages give point in play. This options players may take disadvantages, but they do not get any points for them in character creation. Instead, players are rewarded by the GM with extra CP for any session which a disadvantage comes up as a hindrance to the character. This requires more judgment calls on the GM, deciding when exactly the disadvantage has caused a setback that is worth the bonus character point.

4. Disadvantages are flavor only. With this option, disadvantage don't give any extra CP to taking them, nor do they earn a player extra CP in play. They are taken for flavor and roleplaying. Good roleplay should still reward a player extra character points, so disadvantage could earn the player more CP, but this option is not a set mechanic like the one above.

5. Just lower the disadvantage limit. This maybe the simplest solution. If -80 points in disadvantages is too much to keep track of, then lower to it -50, or -35, or whatever. A limit set too low might prevent players from taking some of the higher priced disadvantages, so you might want to allow for players to exceed the limit by taking only one disadvantage that has a price greater than the limit.

6. Only allow disadvantages from the character concept. Have the players write up a backstory, fill in a character interview, or use some other system that creates a solid picture of the character that can be used to then create them in full. Then any disadvantages that are bought must be justified through this process.