Tuesday, January 18, 2011

GURPS Effort Levels. Real World Character Building?

There is really no aggregate system for Effort Levels in GURPS, if you want one, you would have to take the Running and Hiking rules and work off of that. I've talked about Fatigue and GURPS a lot before.
  • B426 Fatigue
  • Physical Feats in B350
  • Hiking in B351
  • Running in B354

Heart Rate and Effort.
One interesting thing I stumbled on in the measure of effort is Beats per Minute, BPM, or Heart Rate. BPM is one of the symptoms that can actually track effort and stress.

In stress, BPM measures levels of alertness in response to flight or fight responses. So it makes sense that when the body is preparing to fight (anger, desperation, etc.) or flight (fear, panic etc.) the muscles of the body have adequately provided for a bust of activity.

If you take the Running rules in B354 and apply it to "universally" as basic system to track effort levels in GURPS this will provide an added dimension in challenge. the problem is that we don't know how other actions can be tiring. What BL multiplier over rate of movement will cause X amount of fatigue? In this case BPM will help indicate where you are in the rate of FP loss ranges.

BPM also makes me realize some other contributing factors to effort and energy.
  • Coffee increases BPM and is used as a Diet tool and to increase Alertness and Concentration. Voluntarily raising mental activity level can be very hard, especially since many things people do are not exactly self motivating (thus naturally inducing the alertness and slightly elevated BPM level).
  • Meditation, Breath Control skill and Autotrance can be used to alter BPM, allowing a person to relax more quickly or rest more efficiently. Although slowing heart rate is not advisable when the body needs the resources, although voluntary raising it along with breathing control is an exercise in swimming and running that may help in allowing the body to shore up resources for an explosive action. Maybe a bonus to an extra effort task.

GURPS and BPM. I plan to use BPM to examine fatigue levels, looking into other tasks not just running. One question that needs answering is "If BL is the weight a character can lift over their head with one hand from a resting position, how many times should the character be able to do it consecutively and at what FP rate of loss?" A person trying to impress would use extra effort to prove that he fits XST score (24lbs for 11, 29lbs for ST12, 16lbs for ST9 etc.) the effort level will help settle consistency.

Typical At rest BPM is 60-80.
  • BPM at Rest is of course Resting and Mentally at a leisure state. (Typically 60-80)
  • BPM at Rest x1.15 is very light exertion, this is a Mentally alert state.
  • BPM x1.3 Light Exertion 1FP x Enc. Modifier per Hours
  • BPM x1.6 Moderate Exertion 1FP x Enc. Modifier per Minute
  • BPM x1.8 Heavy Exertion 1FP x Enc. Modifier per 15 sec.
  • BPM x2 or greater, this is Extra Effort levels.

Overall Look at Effort. I was wondering what increments or multiplier would be more effective when measuring effort. In GURPS its 1 second, 15 seconds, 1 minute, then 1 hour. thats x15, x4, x60. I was thinking a more reasonable straight progress of time would be more useful.
16 Waking Hours. This is affected by fitness levels and sleeping condition. Those who are affected by sleep apnea depending on severity don't get to recover as much or any energy at all.
Some of those who underwent Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty surgery have highly improved sleeping situations of those who suffer sleep apnea. Some being able to sleep only 6-4 hours. Thats 2-4 more waking hours per day, if that goes into time for catharsis or personal investment it free's up more time for other things.

4 hours of consumption intervals. This depends on the diet, those who have tried going vegetarian will notice the shorter consumption intervals. This is a simple experiment you can try on yourself, especially when your diet requires you not to go hungry at all (to prevent the body from "storing" resources in fat).
Here is an alternate rate which I plan to develop into a more comprehensive system. Its in multipliers of 4-ish. I fudged it a bit, but Its to make it easier and simpler to use:
  • 1 second; @ Greater +100% BPM
  • 4 seconds; @ +100% BPM
  • 16 seconds; @ +80% BPM
  • 1 minute; @ +60% BPM
  • 4 minutes; +35% BPM
  • 16 minutes; +25% BPM
  • 1 hour; @ +15% BPM
  • 4 hours; @ +0% BPM
  • 16 hours
Save Based Systems. In a save based system in every effort level there is the same but cumulative penalty that makes a fatigue inevitable. In a system like GURPS it is the Total Fitness and Athletic Bonus (Fitness HT bonus, Athletic skill with HT).

What if Crawling: Stealth + HT + Fitness modifier at a BPM of +60% would be a cumulative -1 penalty per minute. In a Margins of failure determines current state of fatigue. Recovering from the fatigue condition depends on the amount of rest.

What if I used the realistic Injury rules in Martial Arts 136, for torso here are grades of Fatigue. What if Resting and recovery reduces the accumulated penalty.
  • Fresh and Alert
  • Fatigued -1 on all physical and mental actions - failure by 4 or greater
  • Very Tired -2 on all physical and mental actions; 80% movement - failure by 6 or greater.
  • Exhausted -3 on all physical and mental actions; 50% movement - failure by 10 or greater.

Another Topic but it relates to Gaming, particularly Character Creation... kinda.
In another topic, reading up on Dan Arielly again I begin to realize the Habit Programming through the understanding of the science can be an interesting "real world" Character building tool. Professor's Hinshaws ending note on the "developing a personal narrative" makes me realize that when writing down one's own thoughts, emotions, experiences and mental process, we begin to understand the behavior we exhibit from a more objective and 3rd person view. Using one's own narrative as a way to identify key habits and behaviors and applying ways to manipulate one's own cognitive biases/irrationalities for a more successful or healthy life.

The problem I see though is the effort it takes to accumulate data to process one's own behaviors requires a habit of writing one's thoughts down, despite how silly or shameful they may be. the best or only evidence anyone will ever take about their own faults is from their own hand. The most convincing words are our own words, after the event has passed and we have come to a different and distant state of mind to make a 3rd person or a more objective assessment.

The tools have been around a while, now its more readily available and easier to use and research. Investing in one's self and building up a "kick ass character" is not anymore for just the character sheet, it can be or IS the reality.

RPGs have helped Identify behaviors and try to exercise our empathic sides to play the Role. The more seriously one takes role-playing, the more aware one becomes in their ability to adopt behaviors and understand motives. We learn motivation is the key driving force, the combinations of quirks and mannerisms are accidental traits a product of the uniqueness of the experience, and one's background are the tools the person has in achieving and reasons for their goal.

After a while of this, maybe we would start having a more objective and less flattering "sheet" of ourselves and maybe start looking at those stats figuring out the most Min/max strategy to pursue for the best possible and sustainable utility.

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