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The wording of this rule is just confusing me.

To improve one of your basic attributes, you must spend character points equal to the point-cost difference between the old score and the new one.

What, exactly, does "point-cost difference" mean? Let's assume I have a ST of 13, and I'm attempting to advance it to 14. Mathematically, each level only costs 10 points, so the difference in the old cost vs the new one is literally zero (subtracting 10 from 10). Common sense tells me that can't be right...

Do they mean the cumulative point cost difference? Well, in that case, at character creation, a ST of 13 would cost me 30 points, and ST of 14 would cost 40. 40-30 = 10. Every new additional pump into the attribute will cost me, cumulatively, 10 more than the previous one at character creation, so the "difference" between the costs is 10, always... And common sense tells me that surely this is also wrong.

Using context from other game systems, I'd guess that in my example I'm supposed to spend 40 points (30 cumulative for 13, 40 cumulative for 14, so by that logic, when "leveling up", I should spend a full 40 points to get from 13 to 14). If that's indeed correct, then I could really use your help finding proof to back it up. Does any official documentation exist (something akin to D&D's sage advice) that corroborates this?

To note, I'm referring strictly to level advancement, not character creation.

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The difference between the total price of both scores

It is what you call the cumulative difference. The rules literally say that ST costs 10 points per level in the attribute.

In your example case, the difference is indeed 10 and it will be 10 every time you want to bump up ST by one.

However, there are two cases, where the point cost difference would be different:

  • The difference between both score is not always 1: if you bump up ST by two levels, the price is 20 points.
  • Not all attributes cost 10 points/level, DX and IQ cost 20. So in this case the difference between 13 and 14 would be 20 instead of 10.

This is probably where your confusion stems from.

Note that this is no different between character creation and leveling. It is however, for other character features where it is indicated that you cannot usually gain them later on.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Ok, that's one half of my confusion solved... So, ultimately, it's really the same as it is at character creation? If so, then what got me confused was the extra special mention of it in the character advancement section as if it were meant to illustrate a deviation from what they'd already established. \$\endgroup\$ – Edge D-Vort Jul 24 '20 at 14:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ What extra special mention? \$\endgroup\$ – Dronz Jul 24 '20 at 16:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ Page 17 of the Gurps Lite manual... I read further in on that page, and it uses the same wording for skills as it does for attributes. In that context, it doesn't seem that special after all. User error - reading comprehension failure haha. \$\endgroup\$ – Edge D-Vort Jul 24 '20 at 17:24
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They mean cumulative point cost difference

Well, in that case, at character creation, a ST of 13 would cost me 30 points, and ST of 14 would cost 40. 40-30 = 10. Every new additional pump into the attribute will cost me, cumulatively, 10 more than the previous one at character creation, so the "difference" between the costs is 10, always...

Yes. And for DX or IQ, it's 20 points "difference".

I suspect the wording is a carry-over from the previous edition, where higher attributes cost more points (but all attributes cost the same).

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    \$\begingroup\$ Also in previous editions, increasing an attribute after character creation cost twice as many points. \$\endgroup\$ – Dronz Jul 24 '20 at 16:39

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