Thursday, February 16, 2017

Designer's Notes: Impulse Control


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FNORD. SO MUCH FNORD. I was lucky enough to be asked to be part of the issue and even more lucky to end up on the cover of the 100th issue of the third iteration of Pyramid. Truly, the Secret Masters have put their blessing upon me. On a personal note, my first article "It's Pure Chemistry!" was published February 2011 in the 28th issue of Pyramid. "Impulse Control" will make my 45th article so far which means I'm putting out about 7.5 articles per year which is just under 3/4 of each yearly issue. Not bad. But I need to do better.

Onto Impulse Control! This article started with material from my Aeon universe. Which was composed of two "action point" like systems from two failed campaigns. Writing it let me turn it into something more cohesive than what I had for my own game and let me rework things I'd had issues with while gaming including addressing concerns some of my players had. That said it's been quite thoroughly playtested by two dozen people and I think it's some of my best work. GURPS Power-Ups 5: Impulse Buys - Appendix A, if you will.

All in all it took me about 60 hours to write, 40 hours to edit, 5 hours worth of research (lots of seeing how other systems did this and adapting my own material), and 80 hours of revision. I spent a further 60 hours looking over the preliminary PDF for any issues and revising. That was not fun, but the finish product turned out great (I think).

A couple of outtakes:


Impulse Point Refresh Rates as Modifiers
Originally, I had an alternative take on Impulse Points using modifiers for refresh rates. This was tossed for two reasons. The first was that adding the cost of the refresh rate to the Impulse Point cost produced skewed results and a possible crock. The second was that in order to make it work it required baking in modifiers to Impulse Points that might not be applicable in every campaign. Since I try to strive for genericness (and PK helped me see the light) I ditched it. Other GMs may decide this works for their campaign. The two new traits can take any of these enhancements.

Cumulative: You can accumulate points over your normal level. This is worth +10% per point over your maximum. For example, if you had two levels of this modifier, you could accumulate two additional points over your maximum and they wouldn’t disappear or bleed away between game sessions (as excess points normally do; see Pyramid #3/100 Pyramid Secrets, p. 6).

Decreased Refresh: Your Impulse Points pool takes longer to refresh than normal. Your decreased refresh rate may not be less than 1 and can be applied to some or all of your Impulse Points. If you regenerate one point per two sessions, this is worth -50% per affected point. If you regenerate 1 point per three sessions, this is worth -60% per point. If you regenerate 1 point per four sessions, this is worth -70% per point. If you regenerate 1 point per five sessions, this is worth -80% per point. This may continue ad infinitum to whatever level the GM feels comfortable with, with each -10% translating to an additional session before refreshing. The GM decides if players who miss game sessions regenerate points or not. It should be noted that if the points can only be used once per campaign, the character may be better off putting them aside as a Potential Advantage (p. B33).

Enhanced Refresh: The GM may allow the purchase of refresh rates faster than two or more per session. If you regenerate 1 point per hour of real time, this costs +350%. If you regenerate 1 point per 30 minutes of real time, this costs +700%. If you regenerate 1 point per 10 minutes of real time, this costs +2,100%. If you regenerate 1 point per 5 minutes of real time, this costs +4,200. Regeneration rates less than five minutes are left up to the GM to determine.

Higher Rates of Refresh
Impulse Control cuts the rates of regeneration at 5 minutes, but the original document had higher levels. Here there are:

1 point per 2 minutes of real time per level is worth 600 points (120 levels of Impulse Points spent over 4 hours) 

1 point per 1 minute of real time per level is worth 1,200 points (240 levels of  Impulse Points spent over 4 hours)

1 point per 30 seconds of real time per level is worth 2,400 points (480 levels of  Impulse Points spent over 4 hours)

1 point per 15 seconds of real time per level is worth 4,800 points (960 levels of  Impulse Points spent over 4 hours)

1 point per 8 seconds of real time per level is worth 9,000 points (1,800 levels of  Impulse Points spent over 4 hours)

1 point per 4 seconds of real time per level is worth 18,000 points (3,600 levels of  Impulse Points spent over 4 hours)

1 point per 2 seconds of real time per level is worth 36,000 points (7,200 levels of  Impulse Points spent over 4 hours)

1 point per 1 second of real time per level is worth 72,000 points (14,400 levels of  Impulse Points spent over 4 hours)

1 point infinitely per level is worth 144,000 points (28,800 levels of  Impulse Points spent over 4 hours)

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