There have been a few posts recently on the SJG Forums that have brought up Technical Grappling. While my old Blogger site had a nifty index page for all my grappling posts and their titles, called The Grappling Mat, this one doesn’t. At least not yet.

But I did want to lay down the various things I’ve written that might be helpful, so without further ado: Continue reading “Grappling Index for GURPS”

Continuing with my exploration of redesigns of the slugthrowers presented in GURPS Ultra-Tech, the next step is to look at submachine guns (SMGs), and Ultra-Tech (sensibly) includes Personal Defense Weapons (PDWs) in this category. However, if one looks at my prior articles, a raw-stats look at the four Ultra-Tech pistols, as well as some heavy design and less-heavy mechanics look at a ground-up TL9 pistol concept, you can see there’s already been some groundwork laid that should influence the following examination.

Prior Art

What concepts have been introduced?

  • TL9 10mm ammo has a base damage of 3d+2 pi+ out of a 4.5″/115mm and delivers around 1,100J of energy
  • There is a family of combustible case 7.8mm ammunition that deliberately targets GURPS breakpoints to deliver 2d+1 pi damage from an 85mm barrel, and 2d+2 pi from a 145mm barrel as a service pistol
  • An integral suppression system probably weighs about 0.1 lbs per 50mm of barrel
  • There’s a high-tech ammo type that was shown as an example of a TL9 combustible case or caseless telescoped cartridge. It uses a long bullet that expands to 75% of the length of the bullet in diameter. Call this CCTAPX (see-tap-ex) for combustible-case telescoped expanding. It’s cost per shot, though, is probalby 10x normal.

What is an SMG/PDW, anyway?

Ultra-Tech uses a fairly conventional classification of weapons, putting SMGs (which it defines as 10mm full-bore pistol rounds from a rifle-shaped platform) and PDWs in one group . . . but classifying short-barreled rifles, the carbine family, along with rifles. Continue reading “GunDay: GURPS Ultra-Tech SMGs and PDWs”

Short post today, because much that has been discussed will be kept in reserve for the actual game.

We had our second or third prep session for the new campaign, now that Aeon has ended. This one is going to be monster hunting style, and I simply love the campaign background.

Christopher asked us what we wanted, and since we’re an experienced group of roleplayers, designers, and such, we all had opinions. The survey method he used was pretty informative in describing what we think we will like, and identifying outliers. There were a couple.

I was dead-set against the monster cabal knowledge filtering up to the big governments of the world. I had reasons why – while I love me some Monster Hunters International, I felt that – just as we saw in the MHI books – it would rapidly spiral out of control as the general public would penetrate the veil of secrecy. It also gave the PCs access to a “clean-up squad,” even if we were the ones that would be cleaned up along the way. In short, it opened up options for hunting in a way that allowed for egregious “what part of SECRET monster hunting organization is unclear? SECRET!”

I actually ran into that with a Black Ops game I ran way back when – must have been between 2000 and 2004. SECRET, people!

But the cosmology of the world is wonderful, and runs in a direction that I feel compelled to explore much more extensively. The monsters and bad guys are all tied together in one way or another, and there are good reasons for things to be secret that we’ve rationalized in terms of God and his design for the universe. We’ve tied in the importance of humanity, and the limits placed on the agency of the servants of both God and Lucifer, and why the Devil can have such sway. It was semi-collaboratively built, in that Christopher did his usual an banged out a gigantic setting bible that covers folklore, rules, history, and many other things, and we read it, skimmed it, or otherwise came into the discussion and poked some holes and asked some questions, which caused some rewrites and modifications for the better. Continue reading “GURPS Campaign: The Chronicles of Ceteri”

As I was writing about the keyed monster list, I had cause to generate a random dungeon as an example using the generator over at donjon. The example that popped out was fine . . . but I did notice that nearly all of the fun threats in that particular output were from random encounters – the Wandering Monster table was far more interesting challenge-wise than the encounters that were in place.

Perhaps that makes sense in some cases, but it got me thinking about the why of wandering monsters. Why might monsters wander, and what kinds of wandering are more likely to provoke violent encounters?

I wonder why I wander

Brainstorming a bit:

  • Travel from place to place – migration, resettlement
  • Hunting for food
  • Patrolling territory that has already been established
  • Scouting new territory for home, food, mates, or resources
  • Scouting new territory for fun
  • Looking for an encounter for a specific purpose – rite of passage, hunting for sport rather than food
  • War party, genocidal or punitive expedition
  • Investigating strange goings on (loud noises, sounds of a struggle, cries of a wounded creature)

I’m sure there are others.

One interesting divide here is that some of these are more appropriate for sapient beings than sentient ones.

A tiger will set up a territory. It will patrol that territory on very regular intervals. It will hunt for food within that territory, and within reason, it will defend the territory from incursion. It uses spray, urine, feces, and scratch markings to not only signal the territory, but to purposefully signal its patrol pattern. So it’s likely to share territory at the borders, so long as other animals don’t encroach during patrol hours, so to speak.

A band of traditional orcs, who are aggressive, warlike, and sapient, may be wandering from place to place, and if they are migrating, they will do it in very large numbers – a clan or tribe (thinking on it, regular migrations will frequently be in force). They may engage in many of the listed activities, and can be counted on doing so with (relatively speaking) great creativity. Their patrols may be more random and less signaled. They may hunt for sport as well as for food.

In a dungeon environment, or any sort of encounter really, it may help the GM or encounter designer pondering a wandering monster or chance encounter table to consider the kinds of encounters that might be had. Continue reading “Purposeful Wandering Monsters”

Forum poster Icelander wanted to create a special martial arts style for actually being trained to arrest and detain folks. It’s based on how they do it in Iceland, I think, and is derived from the Passive Restraint style found in the Technical Grappling book. I asked for permission to repost it here on the blog, which he granted. For more discussion, go here.

Arrest Techniques

6 points

This represents the training police officers or other law enforcement personnel receive in arrest techniques, control tactics and the use of force continuum, excluding tactical shooting and the handling of firearms, which will usually be considered its own style. Teamwork is a vital part of this style and the Perk can be chosen as soon as the style has been learned, even if the character does not have 10 points in its skills.

This write-up is skewed toward the arrest techniques taught by the Icelandic police, as that is what I had the best access to, but will describe many typical British, Danish, German, Norwegian and USA training programs as well. Staff as an Optional skill is rare in Europe and the US, but more common in Asia, where the lathi stick and other long staves are common law enforcement tools. Shield is a primary skill for riot police and their batons are often long enough to use Broadsword skill.

Gunnar, my friend who is a serving police officer, member of a riot team and a certified arrest technique instructor, has visited and/or hosted police visitors who have from the above-mentioned countries, observing their training, trained with them and exchanged tips and tactics, in addition to some twelve years of experience here in Iceland.

Unfortunately, he hasn’t trained with anyone who graduated from Quantico, FLETC or other federal training facility, so I can’t be certain this fits for federal law enforcement agents in the US. His last experience with US police was with the Miami-Dade Police Department and this style would fit well enough for them. From what I’ve heard from other cops here who have gone on patrol or trained with US police, it also seems to work for several other Florida deparments, the NYPD and others.

In general, courses in proprietory systems like the SPEAR Fighting System, CQD or others do not mean that the graduate needs to take another Style Familiarity Perk, as most such courses are not long enough for that. SPEAR Fighting System, popular in the UK and allegedly having been taught at the FLETC and Quantico at some point in the 2000s and 2010s, is basically just adding a point in Brawling and maybe Judo, which are already Optional skills precisely because of a tendency to teach these skills in some training programs. The first point in an unarmed skill, particularly Brawling, doesn’t actually require much time to gain, so it’s fairly realistic that a good instructor can teach it in a course that takes less than a week. It’s gaining higher levels of skill that takes a lot of time.

Skills: Diplomacy; Intimidation; Liquid Projector (Sprayer); Shortsword; Wrestling.

Techniques: Arm Lock (Shortsword or Wrestling); Armed Grapple (Shortsword); Change Position (Wrestling); Close Combat (Shortsword); Disarming; Force Posture Change (Wrestling); Handcuffing (Wrestling); Low Fighting; Pass Limb (Wrestling); Retain Weapon (Shortsword); Sweep (Wrestling); Targeted Attack (Liquid Projector (Sprayer) Jet/Face); Targeted Attack (Shortsword Swing/Arm); Targeted Attack (Shortsword Swing/Leg).

Perks: Grip Mastery (Baton); Licence; Off-Hand Weapon Training (Liquid Projector (Sprayer)); Passive Restraint Certification; Teamwork (Arrest Techniques); Technique Mastery (Change Position; Force Posture Change; Handcuffing; Pass Limb).

Optional Traits

Advantages: Combat Reflexes; Legal Enforcement Powers; Police Rank.

Disadvantages: Code of Honour (Police); Sense of Duty (Blue Line).

Skills: Body Language; Brawling; Broadsword; Fast-Draw (Sword); Holdout; Judo; Law (Police); Observation; Professional Skill (Law Enforcement); Search; Shield; Staff; Streetwise; Sumo Wrestling.

Techniques: Break Free (Wrestling); Choke Hold (Shortsword or Wrestling); Elbow Strike (Brawling); Escaping Parry (Wrestling).

Perks: Quick-Swap (Baton); Off-Hand Weapon Training (Shortsword); Shoves and Tackles (Shield or Staff); Style Adaptation (BJJ; Glíma (Belt/Jacket Wrestling)* or MMA); Sure-Footed (Any appropriate for typical duty environment).

*Replace with any culturally relevant style for other countries.

Yeah, I’m sure I should have noted this before. But . . . while I’d noted that my RSS feed was limited to 10 posts, while my old Blogger site was 25, I just shrugged and chalked that up to system differences.

But this week, I noted that my “Precis” descriptions were not getting uploaded into my GURPSDay feed. I checked, and they were formatted correctly.

What gives?

Ah, looking at the RSS feed itself shows that the main body text isn’t there; it’s an abbreviated version.

Since most of my fellow bloggers on WordPress for GURPSDay also only show 10 posts, I figure I’m not alone.

The Fix is In

This isn’t complicated. It’s so simple I never bothered to look for it. But go into your Settings/Reading in your Dashboard, and make the changes I note.

I’m not positive this will work; I will need to run the script again to check. But I do expect it’ll fix the issue.

Welcome to the second year of GURPSDay, and here’s the final pull for you guys.

We’re currently drawing content from 82 blogs. Only 18 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 47 posts as of 7:30am CST.

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 “GURPS Day Summary Mar 31– Apr 6, 2017”

Wodensday Wonderings is a new feature where I will discuss and comment on things that have sparked my interest of late. Sometimes (like today) it’ll be an animated discussion over mapped vs. mapless combat. Sometimes it might be a game design discussion. Or thoughts about why and why not of firearms and the like in fantasy gaming (to pick on a heated topic I saw on Facebook). More food for thought than “folks should do this,” this is my weekly free association column, so to speak. With that:

I was reading a Google+ post about using mapless/gridless combat, and the poster and commenters were musing about what was basically the tendency of players to precisely place their area effect spells for maximum effect. I’ve seen this too in GURPS games with both spells and grenades.

A quick fix – Random Location

It adds a die roll or three, but there’s an easy way to handle it. Assign scatter to every area effect spell. You can use either d6s or d8s. Continue reading “Spell Targeting – Margin of Error (5e, GURPS, others)”

There’s an interesting problem – or at least an observation – when looking at the near-future slugthrowers from GURPS Ultra-Tech. The weapons themselves are a mixed bag of “well, it must be better!” and “there’s hardly any way that can happen.” It’s understandable, but leaving that aside, a futuristic pistol is a problem no matter how you slice it.

Why? The presumption of evolving threats, and a natural asymptote in the evolution of a design that debuted, fundamentally, in around 1900. The broom-handle Mauser C96, the M1900 Browning, and of course the M1911 Colt .45 ACP are all basically TL6 designs that evolved through two tech levels (in GURPS terms) to arrive at the early 21st century darn near as improved as they’re going to get.


One of the things one has to realize about a pistol is that they’ve always been secondary weapons. They were a one-shot (or even six-shot, in the US Civil War) first-strike to be wielded along side a saber, the primary weapon, initially. Then they were an officer’s weapon or signature, carried by commanders partially in order to remind them that their role was to direct troops, not engage in personal heroics.

Side note: I’m not necessarily making that up. I knew, personally, a Navy SEAL commander who was in Viet Nam. He was the course leader for the McKinsey and Company “mini-MBA,” and a great guy. He was quirky – he went swimming five times a day – but he told great stories, and his charisma and leadership were palpable. Naturally, I engaged him in conversation, and he told me that he rarely (maybe not ever) carried a weapon larger than a pistol, for that exact reason. His troops were there to kill the enemy; he was there to direct his troops. Staring over a gunsight robbed him of strategic vision. Hrm, says I.

But the thing about a pistol is that it’s not a primary weapon. As the old joke goes, “if I were expecting trouble, I’d have brought my rifle.” It’s a defensive or backup weapon that you can have with you all the time. While there’s no question a pistol can seriously kill you, it’s not a “serious” weapon for offensive purposes in nearly any case [1].

So we need to define what the mission of the weapon is. And I’m going to be pretty restrictive about it.

  1. It needs to be something you can carry with you at all times, comfortably. This probably limits total weight and size
  2. In many cases, it needs to be something small enough to carry concealed at all times, and be comfortable doing so
  3. It needs to pose a credible threat to an unarmored person
  4. It needs to be accurate and controllable enough to be used in two or three round salvos; if it’s worth shooting, it’s worth shooting twice
  5. It should hold as many bullets as possible without violating rules 1-4

Note how I don’t say “it should penetrate body armor.” Punching through armor is an offensive task. If you really want to stretch it, you can say that it should potentially be able to incapacitate someone through light armor, and by light we’re probably talking about car doors or casual protection – probably no more than DR 8, maybe even as low as DR 4. If the threat is wearing more than that, you need a rifle.

What does “incapacitate” mean? Heck, it probably means a single vitals hit will make you start rolling for unconsciousness. That’s an average penetrating damage of about 1d+1 pi. Asking a “casual” hit to the torso to do that will put the requirement of base damage in the 3d to 3d+2 range . . . which is 10.5 to 12.5 points of damage. With a pi+ bullet, that’s 2d or 2d+1.

That’s a reasonable ask in either case. Continue reading “The TL9 Pistol – Design Directions (GURPS)”

GURPS Ultra-Tech is a nifty book full of some fine inspiration. It is, however, a victim of being one of the first Tech books out there from fourth edition, and one that tried to be a few things at once, possibly while it was being written, possibly during playtest, and certainly during the post-playtest rewrites that occurred.

The projectile weapons are . . . in need of some work. There are some notable issues for the weapons, and honestly what they’re in need of is a redesign, rather than a rationalization. So, without further ado, here are some thoughts.

I’ll redesign each of the four TL9 pistols in the book, trying to keep close to as many of the stats as possible, but changing the ones that make no sense. Continue reading “Sunday is GunDay: GURPS Ultra-Tech Pistols”