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I'm currently playing a character, and just made another, in a Dungeon Fantasy/DFRPG group that starts at 75 points (+50 disads, +5 quirks). It's not all that difficult to make a viable character, even at that point total -- you won't have skills at "expert" levels, or only one at the expense of having others above default, but the group adventures are balanced for this power level.

What has just occurred to me, however (and appears to be an equally valid concern for vanilla GURPS), is that a common 250 point starting value, or even a 125 point value, will start with more Advantages than a 75 pointer -- because the lower point total spends everything on attributes and skills (the template for a mage, for instance, pretty much limits advantages to Magery 2 over the required Magery 1, or an attribute increase).

One of the underlying tenets of "leveling" in DFRPG is that, once you've gained, say, 50 points and "leveled up", your 75 point character will be roughly indistinguishable from a new character who started with 125 points -- but that seems not to be the case, because the 125 point character will have started with one or more Advantages that the 75 point character couldn't afford, and most advantages (like Magery, Trained by a Master, or Luck) can't be gained through experience spending.

What's the best way to ensure that a 75 point character isn't at a, um, disadvantage relative to Advantages compared to a 125 point start, after playing a while and earning 50 experience? Is there a mechanism in the DF/DFRPG rules that I'm missing that allows adding Advantages on leveling up, or under other circumstances in play?

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DF and DFRPG don't stick to the conventions of some editions of GURPS, where acquiring advantages after character generation is difficult or forbidden.

Standard DFRPG characters can buy anything on their template, without any need for justifications or special mechanisms. See Spending Bonus Character Points, on pp. 92-3 of DFRPG Exploits, or Adding New Abilities on pp. 42-3 of GURPS Dungeon Fantasy 3: The Next Level.

The GM can simply designate a standard template as the "target template" of a lower-point character, and that allows them to buy anything on it. If the GM wants to design other templates to serve as targets, that's fine.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't have a copy of DFRPG -- I have a few of the original DF ebooks, and that's it. Do you have a reference for the DF core rules from before DFRPG? \$\endgroup\$ – Zeiss Ikon Nov 18 '19 at 17:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ @ZeissIkon: Added that. \$\endgroup\$ – John Dallman Nov 18 '19 at 19:38
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Even in DFRPG, the GM decides what abilities can be added or not, but in DFRPG, the default suggestion is that PCs can add any abilities available on their professional template, including advantages. However even DFRPG lists an optional rule about adding advantages during play (Exploits p.93 - Training Expenses) which requires you to be at your guild or other place where a new ability can be trained, and to spend time and fees to actually receive the training during play. Also see Exceptional Training on the same page, and the other suggested limits in that whole section.

As far as being at a disadvantage, despite all the admirable and well-considered efforts to make points "balanced" in GURPS, different traits are still often apples versus oranges comparisons.

So when trying to avoid "disadvantages" of one use of points versus another, it's almost always more a question of being different rather than better. Even if you limit the domain you're interested in to combat ability with similar styles, or magic, spending points in advantages such as you mentioned (Trained By A Master, Luck, or Magery), spending those points in other ways will yield different types of advantages, not simply better ones.

Nonetheless, especially with the super-hero-like advantages, certainly there is value in having access to them or not. That's partly why often in ordinary GURPS, being able to take some abilities may also cost an additional Unusual Background that explains why the character has access to those, which generally costs points.

There are also some hidden subtle advantages of creating a new character at a higher point level, such as being able to carefully choose all the abilities, and not having to actually survive play at a lower power level. So consider that the 75-point character saving up to qualify as Trained By A Master, may be more likely to survive, and in some ways more effective if they, for example, put those points into increasing some other important skill or advantage they already know.

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