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MyGURPS - Absorption Revised

Absorption Revised

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Absorption is an odd beast, as written. It makes sense as an enhancement to Damage Resistance, sure, but the cost seems to outweigh its benefits. For an extra 5 points (the price of a +100% enhancement on a single point of DR), you can have an extra 1 point which can be allocated to any attribute or advantage... for one second. And it only works when someone attacks you. Compared to a similarly limited Cosmic Power, this seems a little weak.

It gets much worse when you take Absorption, One Trait, though. That enhancement costs 4 points for every level of DR you have, and each level grants you the ability to raise a single, predetermined trait by 1 point... for one second... after being successfully attacked. One must ask: why not just sink the 4 points directly into the trait in question when building the character? It would be four times as efficient, permanent, and safer!

The only use of Absorption which arguably justifies the price is when it is used to heal your missing HP and FP. As this is a permanent change, it is possible to use it over and over again, making it an attractive option. In fact, the combination of healing and of raising any trait makes the canonical +100% version of Absorption the only one that's sane to buy.

Thus, Absorption is badly overpriced at the "One Trait" level, and not really worth buying at any level except the +100% one. So what would a fairer build be?

Obviously, the ability to permanently increase a trait by 1 point is worth exactly 1 point. The next step is to tack on some limitations. Going from "permanent" to "lasts for a matter of seconds" is the inverse of taking a short-duration ability and adding Extended Duration to it. Even being generous and using the +150% version, that works out to a -60% limitation (1/(100%+150%)). The value of "Only when damaged" is debatable, as characters with this advantage could certainly have their friends pull their punches to a safe margin and hit 'em over and over again, but that takes enough time that I'd price it at -20% as a minimum. So, with -80% in limitations, that suggests that each level of Absorption, One Trait should cost around 0.2 points. That would be a +4% enhancement on Damage Resistance, which I'll round to +5% for ease of use.

An interesting note here is that it doesn't matter where each absorbed point comes from -- it's still worth the same amount (5% of the cost of DR 1). So it's perfectly sensible to make Absorption a leveled enhancement. That is to say, you can store a total number of absorbed points equal to your level of DR times your level of Absorption. Whether I have DR 1 (Absorption x5) or DR 5 (Absorption x1), the 5 absorbed points I can use cost me the same 1.25 character points. The former build is cheaper when you add Extended Duration, but the latter build fills up much faster, so it's fair both ways.

So what of the ability to raise any trait? It seems clear that if +5%/level is fair for one trait, then +10%/level is fair for two traits, +15%/level is fair for three traits, and so on. Not taking healing into account, I'm going to say that once you get to 10 traits, you may as well be able to raise any of them. Most PCs only have a handful of signature advantages, after all, and it seems unnecessary to continue the levels any further than that -- I don't think there's a significant difference between "can raise 14 traits" and "can raise 15 traits". So +50%/level lets one raise any trait, which works out to 2.5 points per absorbed point.

This leaves healing. For a long time, I have been using an enhancement value of +40% to heal either HP or FP, and +60% if you can heal both. It works out to the character paying 2-3x the price of a single HP or FP to be able to heal one later, and this has always seemed fair in play. These would stand alone, as they do not require levels and can be added to any existing form of Absorption.

So the canonical version of Absorption would now be represented as Absorption (Any Trait) x1 (+50%) and Absorption (Heals HP or FP) (+60%), for a total of +110%, or very close to the original price. However, one can now build things like DR 10 (Absorption: Heals HP, +40%; Absorption: ST x10, +50%; Extended Duration x30, +60%) [125], which lets one heal 5 HP when attacked, or sink up to 100 points into ST for up to half a minute after being attacked 10+ times. The absorption itself in that build costs 75 points, making it attractive without being a point crock.

Here's the summary:


These two related enhancements for Damage Resistance allow you to absorb damage and use it to enhance your abilities and/or to heal yourself. Your DR stops the damage normally, while also turning each point of damage stopped into an "absorbed point."

Enhancing Abilities: Immediately after absorbing points, you can spend them as though they were character points, using them to raise an attribute or existing advantage. You may spend a total number of pseudo-character-points equal to your level of DR times your level of this enhancement. Points drain away at the rate of one per second (Extended Duration will slow this); if you have spent points on multiple traits, you decide which ones are lost first.

This enhancement is worth +5% per level if you can only spend the points on one trait, +10% per level if you can spend the points on two traits, +15% per level for three traits, and so on. For +50% per level, you can spend the points on any attribute or advantage you wish. Note this as (e.g.) "Absorption: ST, HT, or Burning Attack x4, +60%".

Healing: Immediately after absorbing points, you can use them to recover your lost HP and/or FP. Every two points of absorbed damage lets you recover one HP; every three points of absorbed damage lets you recover one FP. These cannot be stored up -- if you are at full HP and FP when struck, you gain no benefit from this enhancement. To be able to raise HP and FP with absorbed points, combine this with the modifier above.

This enhancement is worth +40% if you can heal either HP or FP, or +60% if you can heal both. Note it as (e.g.) "Absorption: Heals HP, +40%".

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