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Mike's House Rules

by Michael Brown (cybermancer70@hotmail.com)

[Note: I've originally planned to include some of these advantages and disadvantages into the page I have around for stuff like that, I've eventually realized that it would be better to present them all together as they are. -- Incanus]

New Advantages

Eidetic Memory (30-45 points)

This is as the Eidetic Memory advantage in GURPS Basic (p. 20), but does not have the additional mental skill point bonuses. They have been separated into a new advantage, Quick-Study (see below). This version of Eidetic Memory is simple power of recall, either partial or total ("photographic"). It may be combined with Quick-Study, however, for the extra point cost.

Perfect Pitch (5 Points)

You are able to discern the exact pitch of a given musical tone. With this advantage, you can play music by ear and play instruments better. Perfect Pitch adds a +2 to any music-related skill, in addition to any other modifiers.

Quick-Study (15 or 30 points)

Your study speed and powers of comprehension are greatly enhanced. With this advantage, all points put into mental skills count double at the first level of Quick-Study, and quadruple at the second level. You also take much less time to study; study times are half the required time at the first level and one-quarter the time at the second. The minimum amount of time required to gain a character point through study cannot go below 50 hours. The advantage may be combined with Eidetic Memory, above.

(Note to players: this is a house rule prompted by the fact that Eidetic Memory as taken straight out of the book is very prone to abuse. The fact is, anyone retaining that kind of information in their head without some sort of cyber-enhancement is usually suffering some sort of mental impairment, usually delusions, since at that point, so much information is retained, the line between fantasy and reality gets blurred.)

New Physical Disads

Asthma (-10 or -20 points)

You have a respiratory ailment that periodically makes it hard for you to breathe. Asthma "attacks" can be triggered by illness, airborne pollutants and irritants, allergies, or by emotional stress. When exposed to any of these triggers, roll HT - a failed roll will bring on an attack in 3d minutes. The symptoms of asthma are shortness of breath, reduced endurance, and a distinct "wheezing" sound (-2 on stealth-related rolls, or +2 to opponents' Hearing rolls.) A critical failure means respiratory arrest; use the Suffocation rules in GURPS Basic. During an attack, your Fatigue is halved, and you will suffer -4 to all combat and physical skills. Base HT can never be higher than 13.

Attacks left untreated last for 2d hours. At the end of that time, roll HT+2 to avoid the permanent loss of 1 HT as the lungs deteriorate and lose their elasticity, leading to more serious respiratory ailments.) Drugs to control asthma appear at TL 5. An asthmatic of this tech level and beyond gets only -10 points for the disadvantage.

Sensory Overload (-15 points)

This disadvantage can only be used in conjunction with some sort of Acute Senses (Vision, Hearing, Taste/Smell, or Alertness.) You senses are so keen that their input overwhelms you. Whenever you use any of your acute senses or Alertness, roll vs. IQ-4. Failure means that you are mentally stunned for 1d minutes, analyzing the last thing you were sensing. At the end of that time, if no one snaps you out of it first, roll again vs. IQ-3 for another 1d minutes, etc., adding +1 to the chance to make the roll each time. A critical success immeidately ends the Sensory Overload. A critical failure means that you go into a complete catatonic state as your brain overloads and shuts down all input. The catatonia lasts for 1d days, exactly as the Fright Check result (Basic, p. 94) Strong Will and Combat Reflexes do not apply to any of these rolls.

Tone-Deafness (-5 points)

You have trouble distinguishing between different musical tones. While this won't prevent you from learning music, you will be at a -4 to do so. You will also be at -4 any time you attempt to play music or sing. You cannot take both Tone-Deaf and Musical Ability (Basic, p. 22).

New Mental Disadvantages

Addiction: Combat (Combat Junkie; -15 points)

You are addicted to combat - any sort of combat, whether simply sparring with a buddy or fighting for your life. This is the only time you feel most alive, when your adrenaline is pumping and you are using your combat abilities to the fullest. Any time you cannot at least get a heated chess match going, you become moody and despondent. In any situation in which you know you should not fight, you must make a Will roll to keep from doing so. (Automatic failure on 14+). Yes, this means you will probably be starting lots of fights! Bloodlust (Basic, p. 31) can be taken with this disad, although it probably means you won't live long...

Masochism (-10 points)

You delight in pain, whether self-inflicted or inflicted by others. You will always refuse painkillers, and have no fear of physical torture, impending combat, or anything else likely to cause pain. (This will add a +1 to Will rolls to resist torture - you enjoy the pain too much to worry about answering questions!) Note that this does not make you suicidal! This can be combined with Sadism (Basic, p. 36), but not High Pain Threshold (Basic, p. 21).

New Social Disadvantages

Rivalry (varies)

You have an ongoing friendly (or not-so-friendly...) competition with someone. The rivalry can be professional, romantic, or whatever, but doesn't usually escalate into open conflict. Calculate the points for an Enemy, then divide the total by 5. Frequency is as for Enemy, as well. Most Rivalries are with individuals or small groups. The Jealousy disad goes very well with Rivalry.

Social Chameleon (-5 points)

You suffer from extremely low self-identity. Anytime you are around others, especially charismatic or assertive individuals, you become as much like them as possible, even so far as to mimic their dress and mannerisms. In any situation where you're called upon to "be yourself," you must make a Will roll to do so.