GURPS · Solo

What should Temian spend his points on?

So – after the events of last session, Temian has a bucketload of character points to spend. What should he spend them on?

Let’s just quickly review his point budget.  In total, Temian currently has:

  • 5 unspent character points that can be used to purchase anything.
  • 1 character point that can only be used to purchase a social advantage like  Reputation, Favor, Contact etc.  This new social advantage has to be related to what he did last session – i.e., deprived the Witch of Dunmoss of her infernal power.
  • 15 character points that can only be used to purchase things he might plausibly have gained as a narrative result of succeeding in his quest to bring the Witch of Dunmoss to justice.

How to spend all this?  A few thoughts, in no particular order:

My PC found an awesome bow of awesomeness!  Now, if only he knew how to shoot…

First up, there’s the small matter of Temian’s awesome new magic bow.  He’s keeping it for sure – I like it! – but he doesn’t yet have the Bow skill.  Thus it’s very, very tempting to use one of his 5 free points to buy it.  I couldn’t justify doing that right now – he’s had no practice at all – but perhaps I could save the point, and use it for this purpose a bit further down the line,  once he’s had some time to practice a little.  Of course, he’s not going to be practicing much archery with that crippled hand, so he has to deal with that first…

+1 to a Basic Attribute?  Every GURPS player’s dream, surely!

But that’s only one point, and maybe this is the time to think bigger.  Five plus fifteen makes twenty – which is exactly what he would need to raise his DX or IQ by a point.  That would be a big gain: he’s such an all-rounder, with a wide variety of different skills, that it’s very efficient for him, in the long run, to invest in basic attributes.  Increasing IQ would be the easiest to justify, I think: this adventure involved a lot of research, secret-door-finding, and dispelling of traps and wards – as well as a lot of Will rolls.  Pus he found out a lot of new and interesting information about the world, and had a lot of rich and formative experiences – all of which could plausibly contribute to IQ, I think.   I’m highly tempted to do this – it would be a great long-term option.

…but then surely more +1s are better?  Right?  Right?

On the other hand, those 5 points could go a long way by themselves if they were used just to bump up a few of his key skills: say, Literature (because he got such great use of it last session), Exorcism, Research, Hidden Lore (Demons), and Navigation (Land).  All of these purchases would be easy to justify, given what he spent his time doing during the last adventure – and all are skills in which he currently has only a single point, so he would be raising five IQ-based skills by 1 each, for just 5 pts.  Compared to raising IQ for 20 pts, that’s a bargain!  Then the other 15 pts could be spent elsewhere – maybe a cool new advantage?

If those 15 pts were available, perhaps I could justify really heading in a new direction, and giving Temian some sort of supernatural advantage.  After all, he was just bathed in strange infernal energies, while breaking an evil altar….  and he’s been dealing with demonic powers now for some time.  Perhaps when he took the power from the Witch, he inadvertently gained some himself – maybe I could go all CRPG and get him an Innate Attack, to blast his enemies with hellfire….  though it seems as if that would go a bit against the tone I’ve tried to establish so far.   Or perhaps the Witch’s power went right back to the demon prince from whom she stole it in the first place.  Maybe Temian has now unwittingly put a powerful demon prince in his debt, and demons are famously contract-bound….  15 pts of Patron, perhaps?  Divine Favor?  A minor demon Ally from Dungeon Fantasy 5?   Or else we could flip the coin to the other side, and say that his good deeds have attracted the notice of some sort of good and decent divine power…  There are many options here.

Then there’s the single point he can spend on a social advantage.  The obvious choice would a small Reputation, I think – though that’s a bit complicated, since no-one saw what he did.  But he was dabbling with the powers of the Infernum, so someone in the Infernum probably knows.  Maybe it would be cool to give him a +1 Reuptation as the noteworthy mortal who managed to strip the Witch of Dunmoss of her powers, only among Demons?   That’s not likely to help him in daily life (I hope!), but it could at least help him with an Intimidation roll, somewhere further down the line.  Plus demons like to make deals, and the way this seems to be going, maybe he’ll one day end up negotiating with a demon prince….

Hmmm….. Decisions, decisions.

Those are my first thoughts anyway.  Feel free to chime in with your thoughts in the comments!  Y’all were a great help last time.

Edit: I couldn’t decide right away, so I ended up running a little mini-adventure before spending these points.  Check it out!

Later Edit: Then, finally, I spent the points.


8 thoughts on “What should Temian spend his points on?

  1. I think it would be really interesting if the magic bow opened up a new narrative direction – elves being a magical race, they might well find out that Temian has freed their historic bow from the clutches of the evil witch and reward him somehow? Perhaps he could gain an elf Contact? Or alternatively he meets a wandering elf who spots the bow and gives Temian some instruction in it’s history and use?

    The increase in IQ seems like a great idea as it would have a knock-on effect on so many skills and rolls but of course that would eat up practically all his points. I agree with some of the other comments about finding a way to gain some skill in Traps as he’s had some close shaves during the adventures…


  2. You could have the reputation bonus being less specific. Temian has now been out in the world, faced some horrors, been wounded in the process, but still come back to tell the tale (and what tales they will be).

    In his home town that could be enough to start to modify how people view him. Previously he was an adventurer wanna-be, now he has proven he has actually got something about him. Maybe now when he starts asking for stories about old ruins to find, people will start to take him seriously (particularly academics who never have much time for time wasters).

    Specifically Aed the soothsayer should be completely free of the witches influence and a soothsayer may be able to influence a lot of useful people. What if in his absence Temian finds that suddenly many soothsayers in the region now react positively to his requests for information. That could be very useful (depending on if they are wise rather than simply bonkers).

    You could explain away some level of bow skill as untapped latent talent. Alternatively he may previously had some skill, but just stopped exercising it. If you list your CV, you probably don’t mention that you covered basic biology when you were seven. It’s not enough to class as a complete skill, but maybe enough to allow a partial skill. As bow is DX-5 (skill 7) by default, spending a point only raises the skill to DX-1 (skill 11) it hardly makes Temian a sniper. You should perhaps apply an unfamiliarity penalty to account for his lack of practice as surely no bow experience will prepare you for a bow with no string that fires concussion bolts! On that basis the lack of a bow skill shouldn’t be that large a penalty either so allowing him to buy a special variant skill right off the bat that would allow him to use a normal bow with a -2 penalty (like for compound bows) isn’t that outrageous.

    Personally I would concentrate on upping his sword skill. He has used it a lot, fancies himself (by keeping trying those special moves even though he regularly tanks) and has invested in cleaning it up. The ancestral spirits could “guide his hand” a lot easier if he just practices a bit more (and he can’t use his off hand for a while anyway). He has too many close calls of late where he didn’t fight well enough to avoid getting hurt. That should focus his mind. Finding an old hand shouldn’t be too much trouble. You could allow him a “natural facility” that would allow him to buy a technique (maybe disarm)without having to find a tutor or have one conveniently turn up (maybe those spirits lend a hand again)

    That still leaves a heck of a lot of points to spend though 😉 I have always been concerned about attribute increases after character creation mostly due to the default skill rule in GURPS. If you have an attribute high enough, even single skill point investments have disproportionate effect. Raising secondary attributes is less “cheesy”. Raising either Perception (he has been doing a lot of checking for hidden things) or Willpower (he must have developed his self-confidence by defeating a witch) would be reasonable though.

    I am basing all this on the 4th edition character book as I don’t know what other texts you have access to.


  3. I’m also against taking the reputation for breaking the witches power. As mentioned already, no-one knows that Temian did it, and it is unwise for Temian to admit to robbing her of her powers at all. For one thing, assuming that Juliana doesn’t already know who robbed her of her powers*, it would be best to keep the secret from her. Secondly, and much more significantly, admitting to being at the temple, if the news got back the the Hawkmen, would be as good as admitting that he killed one of their number, which, given what we know of Hawkmen, would get them hunting him. Temian may have succeeded in killing a single hawkman guard, but if a dozen elite warriors track him down, the campaign comes to a screeching end then and there. Again, motivation to keep quiet.

    Now, if that reputation can be as a successful treasure hunter in general, it would work. “Yeah, I found an old ruin in the Wistwilds, fought some orcs and found this loot.” Is a way of describing the trip and while being literally true, conceals his involvement in Juliana’s loss of power and the death of the hawkman.

    *If this was my campaign, I’d rule that the witch knows exactly who robbed her of her powers, and more so, that the only way to regain them is to sacrifice that person. Maybe Aed can warn Temian of this. In any case, it ties in with the outstanding “Slay” quest and becomes a matter of getting the witch before she gets him…


  4. I am not sure why Juliana should automatically know who robbed her of her powers. Once she lost them she can’t call on them to divine anything. She didn’t witness it personally, and I doubt the Demon would tell her “Oh, by the way, kill Temian and you can steal my power again… oops said the quiet bit loud again.”

    Bragging about it wouldn’t be very smart, but Temian is overconfident. “Ding dong the witch is dead…”

    But these are not direct consequences of choosing how to spend character points, they would only occur because the DM chose for them to do so.

    Thinking further, if the demon appeared in person to explain to Temain that whilst he has removed the power from a local baddie, in returning it to the demon he may in fact have simply helped the forces of evil in a broader sense. The demon could offer a favour (and try to lure Temian to the dark side). That would create an interesting new dilemma (and possibly a new plot arc) for him.


  5. Thanks to everyone for all these comments – there’s much food for though here, not only in relation to spending points, but also regarding possible directions for the plot in future. With all these options on the table, it will be very interesting to see what the dice throw up next time – maybe they’ll point in one of these directions.

    Also – I should perhaps add that I appreciate fomergamer’s suggestion from last time, that Temian might want to put a point in Traps – I forgot to put that in the post, but it’s certainly an interesting option.

    I’m hoping I can make this decision soon, since I want to get on with the next session! But I’m still quite undecided… Hmm hmm…


  6. As for how the witch knows, she was clearly stated as being in the temple while Temian exorcised the altar, so it is logical that she can identify Temian. She was probably too badly affected by the altars destruction to immediately attack Temian unless he chose to seek her out, in which case she has no choice but to fight.

    But again, the real problem is that he will not want the hawkmen to know he was there. Overconfident or not, I don’t think he is stupid enough to invite vengeance from them by revealing his presence there.


  7. The real priority is healing that hand. And I agree with swordtart that Sword would be a smart choice: he needs it pretty often, and it is super easy to justify (for that very same reason) .


  8. I would be inclined to hold off on boosting IQ. As you’ve remarkes, he could raise all his IQ based skills by a level for far fewer points, so, apart from defaults, the benefits would only be seen a long way down the road- and it would be a very long way down the road indeed, if you have as little opportunity to run these adventures in the future as you have had in the past few month. (When and if he does raise IQ, I as a GM would permit spending 15 points to raise it without raising the already boosted Will, until his IQ stat catches up to the Will level. On the other hand, Will has served him so well so far that it wouldn’t hurt to pay the full 20 points and raise it to 15).

    I would also agree that, whatever else you do, boosting Broadsword by a level is a very good idea. For three points (because of the one point that was spent last time), Temian gets +1 to hit with his usual attack (a bonus which no warrior yet has ever regretted obtaining) and, because his skill level is currently odd, +1 to parry. Moreover, it can’t be denied that he’s been getting to practice his swordsmanship recently, and has just been strongly motivated to get better at it .

    Further thoughts: a point (or even three, for +2 skill) in stealth would not go amiss. They say not getting hit is the best armour, but not getting attacked in the first place is usually even better. He’s avoided several fights with stealth in the past, so it is clearly useful, and he’s failed with it several times, often by small margins, so boosting it further is likely to be useful. Meanwhile, if intimidation is going to become his go-to social skill, boosting that would be helpful.


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