While the song continues “absolutely nuthin’,” and proceeds to say it again, this isn’t so for GURPS. After I posted today’s GURPSDay script pull, someone asked in a seemingly non-trollish way why play GURPS instead of the other seemingly eight billion games out there.

It’s a good question.

My RPG History

Like most, I got my start with D&D – specifically my friend Howard introduced me to AD&D, and he had all the books (and he was one of the first to have an actual IBM PC, which meant we would gather at his house to play Wizardry, as well). That was my introduction to RPGing in general. We did try (very briefly) Star Frontiers as well. Then I started collecting at home. I got the Red and Blue box D&D games from my parents. I was given the Top Secret RPG as well, which I was fascinated by because it had a gun on the front, and the art seemed very edgy to my pre-teen self.

After a while, I fell in with a fairly serious gaming crowd, helmed by a future art director for Accolade, and a bunch of other good guys, including one who would be the best man at my wedding. We played what seemed like darn near everything, and made up characters for many more games. I remember D&D, Twilight: 2000, Robot Warriors, Champions, Bushido, Lords of Creation, a ridiculously epic Warhammer RPG campaign, WEG d6 Star Wars, Ringworld, and MERP. At least.

And then Mark came over with a game called GURPS. One game, he said, could do everything. No longer would need to learn a new system for each setting we wanted to play.

I was hooked. This was 1989.

I went off to college, then, and I continued my RPG habit, picking up the next generation of RPGs, including Dark Conspiracy, the second edition of Twilight: 2000, and Shadowrun. But all in all, none of them – with the exception of the d6 Star Wars system – held my attention like GURPS did. I tried to run Dark Conpiracy, I really did. But wow, was it incoherent and hard to run. So in a game with 15 players, I took nearly every GURPS book I owned, so it would seem, and ran a great campaign.

Oh, it was fraught with newbie GM errors. Too many sourcebooks, way too much “let me look that up.” But it was glorious, and was consistent in a way that other games weren’t.

In grad school, I really discovered the internet, and started on usegroups, such as rec.games.frp.gurps. I became a regular abuser of the GURPS Vehicles rules, and my first practical use of multivariable calculus was to design proper hull shapes for spaceships built in the Vehicles system. I even got one or two modules in to the game, and started receiving my first playtest credits.

When I wound up in Minnesota in 2000, I started writing for real, contributing a few articles to Pyramid magazine. Playtested more. Then Lead Playtested, and got some nice compliments for my work on High-Tech and Tactical Shooting as lead playtester.

By that time, I was basically playing GURPS, GURPS, and nothing but the GURPS.

Which brings us to the basic question again: Why?

Why GURPS for Me?

Of all the reasons to play, what are my top few? Continue reading “GURPS, HUH! What is it good for . . . ?”

It has literally been one month since any sort of “real” content post on Gaming Ballistic. That ain’t right.

There are good reasons – or they seemed so at the time – but still, there has to be more to the blog than an occasional play report and a “work was done” update about the two RPG projects that are eating my time and some of my creative energy.

Make a List: Bad Guy Rosters

Starting small, though: I endorse fully Peter’s notion of Bad Guy Rosters from his post a few days ago.

I’ve used these myself, and I find there are two ways of doing them that just rock on toast.

The first is the simple spreadsheet list, but organized in such a way that the order has meaning. In short, if you’re mucking about in a room killin’ monsters and takin’ their stuff, then you’re probably making noise. Lots of it. The blood-curdling shriek of a fallen hobgoblin. The whoosh of air as it escapes from lungs the size of forge bellows as an ogre’s throat opens the wrong way. The dull but powerful woomph of a detonating fireball.

All of these should instantly alert neighbors that fouble is a troot. At least one “nearest neighbor” should go on high alert, and if these dwellers have any sort of communications system (and I don’t mean cell phones, though magical equivalents are great – I mean runners and messengers) the entire dungeon will soon be on alert.

The key information in a bad guy roster is pretty obvious: what’s in a room, notable things in the environment that must be noted, distance to next rooms, and nearest-neighbor connections.

The easiest way to do this will be with an example. Continue reading “Benefits of a Keyed Monster List”