Vizzini: We’ll head straight for the Guilder frontier. You catch up with us there. If he falls, fine. If not, the sword.
Inigo Montoya: I’m going to duel him left-handed.
Vizzini: You know what a hurry we’re in!
Inigo Montoya: Well, is only way I can be satisfied. If I use my right… over too quickly.
Vizzini: [exasperated] Oh, have it your way.
And that, right there, is the key to the other half of high point total campaigns.
First, let me talk about the first half.
A High-Skill Refresher
GURPS doesn’t really have an upper bound on what your raw skill should be. It definitely has an upper bound on what your effective skill should be, and that’s about 16. Higher than that doesn’t raise your chances of a critical hit, and even at that skill level, 17 is an automatic miss and 18 is a critical failure.
So, if that’s the case, why bother with more skill? Well, to soak penalties. And these penalties are not arbitrary or contrived – they’re a result of skilled characters being able to deal with extreme situations.
Combat is the easiest example, but lighting, improvised or no equipment, and poor weather or terrain conditions are all fantastic and real-world instances of making life difficult.
You can find all of these, at once, in combat surgery on the lower decks of a tossing ship in combat. (Warning: graphic images of surgical techniques demonstrated on animal carcasses). Low light, due to it being an interior space lit by lanterns and torches, poor tools and a limited confined workspace, and constant movement due to the motion of the ship. Not to mention the odd cannonball moving through the operating theater, which I can only imagine would be a tetch distracting. Continue reading “High Point-Value Characters in GURPS”