Incompetence vs. Delusional Competence (Rules Nitpick)

Super minor thing that I’m noting here. I love the GURPS Power-Ups 6: Quirks book but I just noticed that the write-up distinguishing “Delusional Competence” from “Incompetence” is a little wonky. Again, this is a very minor thing. I’m noting it at all because it will come up in my next character design.

The description for the quirk “Delusional Competence” implies that you can’t take “Incompetence” and “Delusional Competence” together but after carefully reading the rules I don’t see why this would be true (see p. 17). The write-up contrasting the two seems to be based on the idea that characters with Incompetence are aware of their incompetence while characters while those with Delusional Competence are not aware.

However, that doesn’t fly for me. Characters are generally aware of their competence at different things–you could say they know their own skill numbers–awareness isn’t a feature produced by adding the quirk “Incompetence” which lowers the character’s skill. So I don’t see why being bad at something would conflict with having a quirk-level delusion or false belief about that thing, as the false belief is modifying the character’s presumed general awareness about themselves.

The text never states that the two are incompatible but it is strongly implied by the language on p. 17 (“Rather than…”). A recap:

The Two Quirks:

  • Incompetence (Skill) [-1] — skill quirk
    • is used for skills you don’t have (you have 0 points in the skill)
    • penalizes a skill default with an additional -4
    • forbids putting points into the skill unless this quirk is bought off
    • cannot be specialized (it affects the entire skill)
  • Delusional Competence (Skill) [-1] — mental quirk
    • is used for skills you don’t have (you have 0 points in the skill)
    • creates a false belief (that is: I am good at this)
    • suggests a loyalty check or reaction roll for NPCs at a -1 or -2 after they witness a failed attempt at using the skill
    • cannot be specialized (it affects the entire skill)

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