Thursday is GURPSDay, but it’s Saturday, because I ran into some script errors while at the same time being slammed trying to successfully close out all items from my Real Job (for now!) trip to Thailand. So we’re picking up a few extra days this week.

Welcome to the second year of GURPSDay, and here’s the pull for this week.

We’re currently drawing content from 89 blogs – we picked up two more. Only 11 more to go until we’re pulling from 100! But we’ll need your help.

How? Two action items: post more, recruit more. It’s really that simple. More posters is more posts, and more interest in GURPS.

Below you can find the blog activity for the last week. There’s a whole lotta awesome GURPS going on. Read all 44 posts.

Not every blog posts about GURPS every week, but some are ridiculously prolific! The list is randomized, so different bloggers will be highlighted at the top of the post each week.

As always, if you’re interested in having your blog consolidated here, navigate over to The Instructions Page and drop me a line. Take special note of the RSS Settings Fix if you’re on WordPress.
Continue reading “GURPSDay Summary Jun 16 – Jun 24, 2017”

Sorry for the extreme dearth in posting. I’ve been in Thailand since last Monday morning, and I’m still there, for work.

These trips are almost invariably two weeks long, and quite draining. Work hours are regular, but one tends to get very, very sleepy right after dinner, so it’s hard to focus on much, and certainly not focus on rules.

Still, good news: I have a draft of the Venture Beyond ruleset. I have edited and commented on all chapters but the core rules, which I’ll be getting to Real Soon Now, hopefully starting tonight.

We’re going for a fairly rules-light approach. No classes, no levels, though there’s a strong “profession” type notion running through the game. It will feel a bit like a hodge-podge of Fate, the old d6 Star Wars, LBB Traveller, plus a dose of more modern design concepts. Point-buy is primary, but we’re trying to see if there can be some random chargen and maybe even life-path options; that might need to come later.

I’m looking forward to hitting the rules section hard, because I’ve got a chance to try and avoid some of the issues or quibbles I have with other game systems, including my own Dragon Heresy, but also GURPS and others. So it should be fun, and David’s given me a solid core to work with. Once the editing and rules settle, then it’s Kickstarter time, I guess!

Thursday is GURPSDay, and may Thor make your games a bit more exiting today! This post is coming ping-pong from Minnesota to Thailand, as I’m away on business, and my lovely wife has run my script for me today.

Welcome to the second year of GURPSDay, and here’s the pull for this week.

We’re currently drawing content from 87 blogs, which ain’t bad. Only 13 more to go until we’re pulling from 100! But we’ll need your help.

How? Two action items: post more, recruit more. It’s really that simple. More posters is more posts, and more interest in GURPS.

Below you can find the blog activity for the last week. There’s a whole lotta awesome GURPS going on. Read all 33 posts as of 1030pm.

Not every blog posts about GURPS every week, but some are ridiculously prolific! The list is randomized, so different bloggers will be highlighted at the top of the post each week.

As always, if you’re interested in having your blog consolidated here, navigate over to The Instructions Page and drop me a line. Take special note of the RSS Settings Fix if you’re on WordPress.
Continue reading “GURPSDay Summary Jun 9 – Jun 15, 2017”

Vizzini: We’ll head straight for the Guilder frontier. You catch up with us there. If he falls, fine. If not, the sword.
Inigo Montoya: I’m going to duel him left-handed.
Vizzini: You know what a hurry we’re in!
Inigo Montoya: Well, is only way I can be satisfied. If I use my right… over too quickly.
Vizzini: [exasperated] Oh, have it your way.

And that, right there, is the key to the other half of high point total campaigns.

First, let me talk about the first half.

A High-Skill Refresher

GURPS doesn’t really have an upper bound on what your raw skill should be. It definitely has an upper bound on what your effective skill should be, and that’s about 16. Higher than that doesn’t raise your chances of a critical hit, and even at that skill level, 17 is an automatic miss and 18 is a critical failure.

So, if that’s the case, why bother with more skill? Well, to soak penalties. And these penalties are not arbitrary or contrived – they’re a result of skilled characters being able to deal with extreme situations.

Combat is the easiest example, but lighting, improvised or no equipment, and poor weather or terrain conditions are all fantastic and real-world instances of making life difficult.

You can find all of these, at once, in combat surgery on the lower decks of a tossing ship in combat. (Warning: graphic images of surgical techniques demonstrated on animal carcasses). Low light, due to it being an interior space lit by lanterns and torches, poor tools and a limited confined workspace, and constant movement due to the motion of the ship. Not to mention the odd cannonball moving through the operating theater, which I can only imagine would be a tetch distracting. Continue reading “High Point-Value Characters in GURPS”

This is a guest post by Discordian and Forumite Kalzazz, who answered my challenge around high point total characters in GURPS, but doesn’t have a blog of his own.

—Gaming Ballistic

Possible?  The same way as any campaign, you get a group of people willing to give it a whirl!  Given the incredible diversity of RPGs, there is bound to be a market for them.

More seriously, GURPS markets itself as the be all, end all of RPGs, and as such it takes a fair shot at supporting a wide range of power levels.  For instance, the Monster Hunters series considers 400pts as base weight.

As a personal preference, I consider 300pts to be firmly stuck in the middleweight category . . . which is my usual favorite play range back from my pre GURPS days of DnD 3.0 and such when I usually gravitated around level 10 as preference.   Middleweight characters can have some cool tricks, and can do some cool stuff, and if they use the tried and true PC dogpile tactic they can take on some credible foes, but they aren’t so scary they can’t be dogpiled in turn by oodles of riff raffs.   To me, low weight characters can be much less fun, as you have a harder time coming up with challenges weaker than they are, so it closes off half your options as a DM.  Unless you are specifically aiming for fun such as ‘Watch the party get eaten by housecats!’  (which CAN be fun, my low weight campaign was specifically designed around such, and was definitely fun).   High point characters?  Much the same.  Its harder to properly throw heavier weight stuff at them (this is less a complaint in GURPS, in GURPS it is always easier to throw heavier weight stuff, because my lazy DM tendencies are thwarted by my lack of a stack of various monster books with easily marked CR ratings).

Another note is that in its desire to cover everything, some cool options simply do not become available on lower point totals.   Even realisticish ones.   Consider say a knight, who wants to ride into battle astride a fine charger, kitted out nicely with arms and armor, and with his manor to go home to.  He needs Status (he is a knight), Wealth (lots of Wealth, remember only 20% by default can be used for adventuring gear for a settled person), and say he wants to be a strong, healthy guy who is a good fighter and a good administrator of his manor.   And he isn’t a dysfunctional screwball.
Or not so realistically, with low points you will never get to play around much with neat advantages like Altered Time Rate or Extreme Regeneration, and to me, playing around with the tools in the toolkit can be part of the fun.

How it works with big numbers?   Four things to start.

  1. Enjoy the big numbers! You want a Wizard with 18 Int?  Sure, Wizards with 18 Int are definitely cool in a 3-18 scale system, so enjoy Mr. Wizard being able to make knowledge checks by default, and on the skills he has studied doing even better.    The player probably wants Mr. Wizard to be good at that sort of thing.   Same Agile Acrobats and such, its fun to be good at things.
  1. Penalties are everywhere. You don’t even need to go looking for them.   Even basic things such as trying to shoot an ork with a bow can accumulate penalties like nobodies business.  And thats before you deal with the ork may just go ahead and dodge you that knave, so maybe pile on some deceptive? Non combat skills are the same way, consider for instance Kung Fu.   Being sneaky enough to walk on rice paper, or strong and willful enough to heft a giant burning cauldron that scars you? It is cool when PC weight characters can pull off such stunts that riff raffs can’t.
  1. Excess skill is fun, and where the thinking can happen! I love fighters with high skill, and why do I love it?  Because it is fun to play with.   I can ponder between deceptive attacks, rapid strikes, called shots oh my.   Low skill fighters?  How boring, I just swing away and hope for the best, because I don’t have much skill to allocate between coolness points.
  1. The DM can muster bigger numbers. The DM is the DM, so it really isn’t much a problem.   Delving into Kal’s Lazy DM Cheatbook, a simple way is to just give badguys races or such.   Sure, your PC weight swordsman might carve human riff raff into kibble, but how does he fair against vampire riff raffs?

Anyway, having run GURPS from 62pt characters, 300pt, and well above 300pt, I can assure that to me, GURPS doesn’t break any more at higher point levels than it does at lower ones.   GURPS has its hair pulling foibles, but they are fairly well point weight independent.

One thing I specifically want to point out is that just because a character is higher point weight does not mean they necessarily need to feel like a level 20 deity.   For instance, consider the Int 18 Wizard.   Groovy.  In AD&D if the dice gods are with you, then you can be a level 1 wizard with 18 Int!  In GURPS, you can be an IQ 18 Wizard to, who fortune smiled upon but is not yet a hardened adventurer (and with starting wealth being what it is, unless you pony up the CP for a lot of it, you won’t be kitted out like a hardened adventurer either).   You can be a greener than green starting adventurer with 18 IQ, no one is stopping you.

That same 18 IQ can also be on a 1000 year old middling replacement level lich if you like.  Or have 21 ST on a level 1 half dragon, it is all good.
But basically, my points boil down to.

  1. As a DM and player, I like cool stuff.
  2. Being given points to play with expands the realm of cool stuff.

and most importantly . . .

  1. It really doesn’t matter, if you can get interested people to give it a whirl, a cool DM and players can make it work!

Thursday is GURPSDay, and may Thor make your games a bit more exiting today!

Welcome to the second year of GURPSDay, and here’s the pull for this week.

We’re currently drawing content from 87 blogs, having picked up The Olympus RPG Group this week. Only 13 more to go until we’re pulling from 100! But we’ll need your help.

How? Two action items: post more, recruit more. It’s really that simple. More posters is more posts, and more interest in GURPS.

Below you can find the blog activity for the last week. There’s a whole lotta awesome GURPS going on. Read all 43 posts as of 9pm.

Not every blog posts about GURPS every week, but some are ridiculously prolific! The list is randomized, so different bloggers will be highlighted at the top of the post each week.

As always, if you’re interested in having your blog consolidated here, navigate over to The Instructions Page and drop me a line. Take special note of the RSS Settings Fix if you’re on WordPress.
Continue reading “GURPSDay Summary Jun 2 – Jun 8, 2017”

What happened before

Kamali recovers from his seizure, and reports that our ancestors had prepared The Lodge for us to complete, and that our group is somehow fore-ordained to come together to fight. We do a whole lot of construction and eventually finish the building. Timothy is gravely wounded by an angry moose during a hunting trip, and the entire team manages to fight and drive off the spirit of the shaman – we do battle in an ethereal or astral projection (or the functional equivalent). We start play as Kamali wakes up, and Myriam calls on Alex’s uncle’s satellite phone.

Dramatis Personae

Kamali Blackshear (14): Kamali is a young boy in his early teens. He is healthy and is of mixed ethnicity of Caucasian South African and native South African. He is a determined youth who believes in a justice of his own, likening himself to the knight of the round whom he has read deeply into. Just as they stood against the darkness of their age so too does Kamali seek to do the same. For his sister, for his friends, and for the world.

Tag: “A knight without a sword carrying a faith nobody believes.”

Lorenzo DeModouco (15): A handsome and charismatic musician. The loss of his parents didn’t dampen his spirits and he soldiered on after their death. He’s the cheery one always trying to make others happy and sometimes spontaneously breaks into song. Perceptive of others and their feelings, Lorenzo is the one who knows what people are thinking by the looks on their face. He’s also a boy scout and is quite comfortable in the wild.

TAG: “He’s a Jukebox Hero. He’s got stars in his eyes. A Jukebox Hero – he’ll make sure you survive.”

Amos M. Humiston (15) – A comfortable existence turned upside down, he’s still shell-shocked from what happened to his parents and has switched from a small and chatty boy to a small and quiet boy. Amos tends to quietly slip along after the group leaving a trail of books read behind him. And though he doesn’t volunteer himself quite yet, he’s always happy to help the best he can without showing off his intelligence, though that doesn’t stop him from being happy to do so when it’s possible.

Gabriel MacAlister (14) – Built like the natural athlete he is, he shows signs of growing even larger and stronger. A fairly quiet and hard-working lad, always ready to lend a hand with any work, which he will do without complaint or obligating the other person to respond. Emphatically not a pushover or weak personality, but also not one to purposefully show off. Has been in many horrible places and seen many horrible things; he’s a bit of a compulsive planner as a result, as well as always feeling that most folks don’t really know how lucky they are.

Tag: “To serve others is the highest calling; to protect the meek the noblest endeavor.”

Timothy I Mitchell (16): Timothy possess an honest if forgettable face. He tends towards comfortable, though inexpensive clothing and durable running shoes, rounding off his typical attire is a deep pocketed jacket and a backpack slung over one shoulder. Timothy appears to be a poster-boy for bad kids, often finding himself in trouble with any and all forms of authority. A victim of neglect, driven to never become a victim again he often acts seemingly on impulse, taking any dare or challenge in his stride. Timothy doesn’t have friends, not in any real sense. Too few of the people who enter his orbit can deal with him in anything more than bite sized pieces, a fact which only further frustrates the young teenager.

Tag: “Darkness is within all of us, it’s how you use that darkness that matters”

Zombies, Carl! Zombies!

Myriam is on the phone. After some static, Myriam reminds us that she told us that we were in a war, and not everyone makes it back. Kamali repeats that he saw a vision of someone who looked rather very much like Myriam.

“Look, that doesn’t matter right now. There’s something going down in North Dakota, about 900 miles directly south of us. There’s something here, and it’s calling the dead.”

“It’s calling the dead?” Kamali explains.

“What? Say what? The dead?” We put Myriam on speakerphone.

After interacting with our morphine-doped Timothy for a while, Myriam cuts in. A psychic has had a vision; one of us might die. But we cannot let that dead Shaman come down here; too much power in one place. We’re in his way, but he’s not the goal. That’s why we have a shot.

Kamali notes that there are two of us that are badly injured, and we’ll likely need to be full strength to take on the shaman.

Myriam starts dictating a spell for us; there are those among us who have eidetic memory, but we want to write it down in case those with such abilities get killed. Myriam is worried about whether she’ll survive the battle in North Dakota. She’s sending someone to us from the town. She probably shouldn’t have sent us up here, etc.

Gabe cuts in: “OK, Myriam. We’ll wait for your help, and sit tight.”

She thanks us, and hangs up.

Gabe: “OK. We’re absolutely not sitting here and sitting tight while Myriam and others fight for us, and have our loved ones die . . . again . . . while we could do something. We’re going to go kick some shaman ass.
Continue reading “Ceteri Campaign Ep 5: Salt of the Earth”

Thursday is GURPSDay, and may Thor make your games a bit more exiting today!

Welcome to the second year of GURPSDay, and here’s the pull for this week.

We’re currently drawing content from 86 blogs. Only 14 more to go until we’re pulling from 100! But we’ll need your help.

How? Two action items: post more, recruit more. It’s really that simple. More posters is more posts, and more interest in GURPS.

Below you can find the blog activity for the last week. There’s a whole lotta awesome GURPS going on. Read all 36 posts.

Not every blog posts about GURPS every week, but some are ridiculously prolific! The list is randomized, so different bloggers will be highlighted at the top of the post each week.

As always, if you’re interested in having your blog consolidated here, navigate over to The Instructions Page and drop me a line. Take special note of the RSS Settings Fix if you’re on WordPress.
Continue reading “GURPSDay Summary May 26 – Jun 1, 2017”

Over on the forums, there’s a thread on making Evaluate better. There frequently seems to be. Someone invoked my name somewhat kiddingly and asked if it was time for me to write Technical Evaluate.

Thinking about it, I wondered if what that would really look like is to use the rules for On Target instead. Roll an Evaluate just like rolling for Aim – a skill roll to look for an opening, followed by an effect roll to see how much of a bonus you can extract. (Note that using a skill roll for Evaluate has been examined before)

You’ll want to deal with a few considerations, though. The following musings aren’t even a teeny tiny bit playtested. I’m just rising to the bait of how to use effect rolls to replace evaluates.

The Attempt Roll

The roll to spot an opening should probably be related to weapon skill or ability to see openings – that feels like weapon-based training to me. It’s a sensory thing, so that feels like Perception. So maybe the attempt roll is a roll vs. Per-based weapon skill.

That means Joe Average with no training will be rolling against Per-5 or so, which probably means “you will never successfully spot an opening.” That might not be wrong – you’re just not going to “sneak one in” unless the foe does a committed attack or something.

What else could it be? Maybe just Perception, but I don’t think so. There’s a training component here. Tactics? Possibly – that would be a giant expansion of the skill, though, taking it into a “must have” where currently it’s more of a leadership skill.

Why not a Contest of Skills? Well . . . that’s a Feint. There’s a perfectly good mechanic in place for that already. Continue reading “Evaluate On Target”

I finished thinning down the shield in Viking Shield, part 2, and then it was time to see if I could get the handle carved and attached.

I had started with a basic design intent – a tapered handle that would lift up a bit to accommodate my hand, and be slightly offset from the center so that the shield would rotate around my wrist rather than the center of the grip. My instructor provided me with a 2″ x 2″ x 36″ piece of basswood (which I cannot for the life of me find online or elsewhere; I think he conjured it), and started fiddling with concepts, and then just took the plunge and attacked it with a jigsaw.

I tapered the thing from left to right, making the roughly trapezoidal top-down look. Then I again cut a tapered profile from end to middle.

For the handle, I decided that I wanted to try something: I would leave the spine centered on the thickest part of the circle, but offset the handle by a bit by carving. It wouldn’t be quite as offset as above, but it would give maximum reinforcement of the shield while accommodating the grip.

Then, I designed an ergonomic handgrip that would be friendly to grasp, and be symmetric so that when the shield gets reversed in my hand (which happens constantly), it would still be a friendly grip. It’s got a large radius where it fits into my palm, and a short one where my fingers wrap around it, and then it’s mirrored on the other side.

At my instructor’s suggestion, I carved this into a piece of scrap first. It felt great. So, mission accomplished there, and it was time to finish up the handle. I used a hand-held drawknife for the rough shaping, and an orbital sander for finish.

Continue reading “Viking Shield – Part 3 (handle and assembly)”