Tag Archives: GURPS

How to be a good RPG player

1. Know the rules of the game you are playing. You don’t have to memorize every book, but you should at the very least be able to roll up a character and understand the basic dice mechanics of the game.

2. Know how to make a decent character, know what constitutes a good character. Building a D&D character that averages less than 1 point of damage per turn is a useless character, on the other end of that scale, a Call of Cthulhu character whose primary skill is shooting/punching things, is likewise useless.

3. Know your group. Try to get to know everyone in the group, try to find out what they want out of the game and what their strengths and weaknesses are. If you are not a good fit for the group, politely drop out of the game.

4. Know your GM, know what kind of game he wants to run. Find out what his expectations are, does he like a fast paced shoot em up game, or does he prefer a slow burn plot. Build characters that play to your GM’s strengths, don’t build characters that exploit or highlight the GM’s weaknesses.

5. Be a player that other players like to be around, play characters other characters want to be around. If you find yourself uttering the words “I am just playing my character!”, you have failed this one.

RPG’s that come and go

Each year a slew of new role playing games come out, occasionally one of these games becomes popular. I generally refer to these games as the darlings of RPG.net. I have written about a game called Noblis before, this is the paragon of this type of game. Basically this type of game is an RPG that sounds good in theory, this generates a lot of excitement in various gaming circles and by extension the internet. You start seeing thread after thread on RPG.net “Sell/Unsell me on XXXXX” and everyone gets on the thread and praises the brilliance of this new RPG and how it is going to replace D&D. Then the game reports start trickling in, it becomes obvious no one is playing more than 1 or 2 games with this new RPG and eventually it fades from site without anyone really saying what is wrong with the game and why it lost momentum.

Usually, as was the case with Noblis, is the game is just plain boring. Court intrigue style games are entertaining for about 20 minutes, after that 99% of all gamers get bored. With other games it is the lack of support material, this was true of The One Ring. The core books came out then it was almost a year before there was a  follow up product and by that time most everyone assumed the game was dead and moved on. The other primary reason is a tragically flawed game system, this is where games like Adventure! went down, either it was too easy to build an unbeatable munchkin or it was too hard to build a reasonably fun character. Alternately combat is slow and bloated with no good way to house rule it without switching to a new game system.

The newest RPG.net darling is Numenera, I am starting to see the threads  and even some “I have not played this yet, but I am going to review it anyway” articles. I am thinking about starting a pool so we can bet on how long it will take for Numenera to go from darling to damned.

RE: Friday Night Dice

My usual Friday night game is currently on hiatus. My job and old age have conspired to make playing the game on Friday nights difficult to say the least. My intention is to start playing again this fall with some changes.

First, I plan to move the game to Sunday afternoon starting at 12:00 PM central time. This was actually the time we played when I first started the group and somewhere along the way we switched to Friday nights. Unfortunately, this leaves us a man down most likely. David works 3rd shift, making Sunday afternoon impossible for him, so I will be looking for a 4th player and maybe a 5th as well.

The second change will likely be the game we are playing. While GURPS is a great game, it does not have nearly the support material AD&D/HM have and if I run out of my own stuff, I can always fall back on one of hundreds of modules out there, for that reason we will be playing AD&D when we come back together. I feel comfortable with this decision, most everyone I know owns a copy or if they don’t, they can get a used copy off ebay for $5 or buy one of the new reprints. My only question now is what books do I allow, I have 3 choices; Player Handbook or Player Handbook+Unearthed Arcana or Player Handbook+Unearthed Arcana+Wilderness Survival Guide+Dungeon Survival Guide.

My last decision I have not decided yet. What game world, what setting should I use. I have a few options. First there is always Caldoom, a place everyone is familiar with and has a full and rich history built primarily by player characters. Second, I can go for the Points of Light campaign world, this was the setting I was going to flip to before we moved to GURPS, it is well written and looks like there is a ton of opportunity for PC’s to die horrible screaming deaths. My third option is to build something from scratch. Plop a town down at the mouth of a river empting into an ocean, with a distant smoking mountain and see what happens.

New World smArtists Interpretation.

So what have I been doing for the last 12 months?

Okay that is a pretty reasonable question I suppose. One that has several answers.

Work: I was promoted last September, proving yet again that snowballs exist in hell. This last year also saw me training 3 new hire classes. I seem to have finally settled into a team, who have now been on the floor for about 3 months and are doing well.

Computers: Most of my computer time recently has been consumed with my obsession with the Raspberry Pi (RPi). These small inexpensive systems are just plain cool. I have converted my server to one, I have been working on using an RPi as the basis of a wearable computer and I have one I have been using for general messing around, like programming and arcade emulators. This year also saw me move back to Desktop computers, I bought an Alienware x51 and I am very happy with it. I also switched back to using Ubuntu, while Mint was interesting, Ubuntu works better out of box and I did not have to jump through hoops to get get Steam running on it.

Gaming: This has been a very hard year for me in this aspect. As I get older, I find I can not stay up until all hours of the night any more and I need time to recharge my batteries. So my regular Friday night game has been put on hiatus. That is a polite way of saying I shut it down. I think I will probably start a new game this fall, but there will be some changes. First I think I will move it to Sunday afternoon, maybe 12P-4P, something like that. Second I think we will probably change games, we have been flirting with GURPS for a very long time and I think as a group we are at the point were we need more depth to our characters. I think I may also be inclined to change genre, fantasy is the best option for RPG’s, but I really want to do something in Supers, Space Opera or Cyberpunk. Maybe I will mix all three and do something in the TransHuman subgenre.

Oh and I still like tits.


GURPS Cyberpunk ][

I was looking over the GURPS Cyberpunk book and reading the recent Pyramid Magazine dedicated to updating GURPS Cyberpunk to GURPS 4E and two things jumped out at me. First, the Cynerpunk genre as seen through the lens of 1990 is outdated and almost retro now. Second, the rules for building computers and CyberDecks does not really parallel or emulate real world computers at all. The first one I am not really going to get into, science fiction writers have been getting it wrong for a lot longer that 20 years. The second issue though requires some looking at from a game mechanic aspect.

GURPS computer rules seemed to be based on the idea that Atari ruled the personal computer industry rather than IBM and Apple. The rules are based on the idea that computers come with their operating system (OS) hard coded into the hardware and programs can only be run a very few at a time and are loaded by slotting the media into the system. Now I don’t know about anyone else, but my OS has not been hardwired into my computer for a very long time and my programs are installed onto my hard drive, not slotted in like a Nintendo game and I can run a whole boat load of programs at the same time.

At the current time, we are living in a mature Tech Level (TL)  7. General purpose computers are fairly common and dedicated computers are small, cheap nearly everyone has one.  What is not available at this point is a true 3D interface, most of our interaction with computers is still based on the keyboard and mouse, touch screens and gestures are only now just coming into common use. Most Cyberpunk stories pretty much take place in early TL8, where computer technology and communications have made large leaps, medicine has made many interesting steps forward, but men are still killing each other with bullets and space travel is still largely non-existent.

In my brain I thinking along the lines of the Book Ready Player One, where most computing has been taken over with a massive online world called Oasis and while there is a variety of computers and equipment available, all of it will run Oasis to some degree or another and even the poorest people can afford a dedicated system to access it. At its most basic level, the computer you are using is basically not relevant, what is important is your avatar and your ability to build it up. Of course having better equipment and higher speed network makes things easier for you, but at the end of the day, your avatar can still be put in the penalty box with a virtual bullet to the head, just like everyone else.

GURPS Characters

Since I am running a GURPS Game in a few weeks, I decided to sit down and do up a character in case I needed to help anyone with theirs. The character creation rules were 200 points, no disadvantages or quirks allowed. This is what I came up with, a fairly stock fighter type character. I took the Extra Attack advantage on the premise that the best defense is a good offense and being able to use two weapons would shorten my opponents life span by several turns, even if it meant forgoing the ability to block with a shield, which is the cheapest defense point wise.

Name: HighTower, Race: Human

Attributes [144]
ST 14 [40], DX 14 [80], IQ 10, HT 12 [20]

HP 16 [4], Will 10, Per 10, FP 12

Basic Lift 39, Damage 1d/2d

Basic Speed 6.5, Basic Move 6
Ground Move 6, Water Move 1

Advantages [30]
Ambidexterity [5], Extra Attack (1) [25]

Perks [1]
Honest Face [1]

Skills [25]
Area Knowledge (local) IQ/E – IQ+0 10 [1]
Brawling DX/E – DX+0 14 [1]
Broadsword DX/A – DX+2 16 [8]
Fast-Draw (Sword) DX/E – DX+0 14 [1]
Fast-Talk IQ/A – IQ+0 10 [2]
Knife DX/E – DX+2 16 [4]
Riding (Equines) DX/A – DX-1 13 [1]
Shield (Shield) DX/E – DX+2 16 [4]
Swimming HT/E – HT+0 12 [1]
Writing IQ/A – IQ+0 10 [2]

Stats [144] Ads [30] Disads [0] Quirks [0] Skills [25] = Total [200]

GURPS and other miscellania

I am fairly certain I have been boring everyone to death about Magic: The Gathering, but I blame PezWitch for that. So anyway, in other news, in a couple of weeks I am starting a new campaign. We are officially shifting our game from HackMaster to GURPS. This change is not much of a surprise to anyone I suspect, after all, we have been playing HackMaster for 10 years. You heard that right, this year is the 10th anniversary of my gaming group. This group is officially the longest lived game group I have ever participated in. We have had a few bumps here and there, crappy software for one. When we started, OpenRPG was so bad, we had to stop in the middle of the game so we could all restart the program to keep it from consuming all the memory of our systems. We have also had some bad players, I am not naming names, but I think we all know who I am talking about. I am fairly certain the group has been on the verge of breakup at least twice. But through it all, some of us kept coming and so here we are.

Back to GURPS, on May 5th, I am starting a fresh campaign. We are playing GURPS Fantasy, the setting is Banestorm (The “Official” GURPS Fantasy setting). We played GURPS Fantasy a couple of month ago, sort of a trial run and we learned a few things. The biggest thing was 100 points is no longer enough, the game now scales much better and the points are balanced, but as a result the power levels have changed. This time I gave them 200 points and as with the trial game, I am not allowing disadvantages. I also learned that GURPS is too gritty and realistic (I say that with my tongue firmly in my cheek) for there not to be some sort of extra healing ability going on. In the trial game there was no magic healing of any kind and a couple of characters spent to whole series of games on the verge of passing out. So I moved the game to a normal mana area and made magic more available. Hopefully we will get some interesting character mixes.

Oh and by the way, for anyone who does not know, we have moved the game to Saturday night at 9 PM CST. The server, room and password are all still the same.

Wrapping up GURPS

We are pretty close to wrapping up our stint playing GURPS. We played through OrcSlayer and Harkwood. Both of these adventures were written back in the mid 80′s and were the first GURPS adventures. They took place in the BaneStorm world, specifically Caithness, I of course had to update them to fit into the current goings on in that campaign world. I also had to update BaneStorm a bit, since its last official update was in 2004.

The gist of the campaign was the characters started as squires in the service of Baroness Bronwyn of Durham. There is an orc incursion into Caithness while the knights of Durham are tied up in fighting the Caithness civil war. The Baroness send the Squires in pursuit of the orc raiders. After chasing the orcs back across the desert, they assist the human population retake Castle Defiant and return to Caithness heroes and are knighted in short order.

After enjoying a few weeks as celebrities and newly minted nobles, the characters go off to participate in Harkwood’s annual jousting tournament, where they immediately became involved in a plot by Lord Baethyn, the governor of Harkwood to kill Baron Fenmarc and take Harkwood for himself. Lord Baethyn is funded by the Sterling Rebellion who in return will side with the rebellion against King Connel. This was a lot of fun, as I have said before, this reminded me why GURPS was my game of choice for several years.


It is Christmas Eve, so Merry Christmas everyone, I hope Santa is good to you all.

Best GURPS Ability Evar

I was once again perusing the GURPS forum and came across this ability. I had actually seen this several years ago and I was amused to come see it again, this time from its place of origin. It remind me of two things, first the Nobilis RPG, where everyone has godlike powers, but no one ever actually does anything with said godlike powers. Second it reminds me of this asshole I use to know in High School who came up with a champions character whose only power was the ability to destroy the world, which he promptly did simply to piss the GM (Me) off. I had the last laugh though, when he used the power, I said to him “Okay, the world has ceased to exist.”, I then turned to the other players and said, “You see Jerry’s character keel over and die, you have no idea why”.

Munchkin’s Universe-shaking Nondirectional Cosmic Hyperluminal Kinetoelectromagnetic Interference Neurodisrupter (M.U.N.C.H.K.I.N.) (+5190%):

Toxic Attack 1 point (Affects Insubstantial, +20%; Area Effect, 2475880078570760549798248448 yards (about 74 gigaparsecs), +4550%; Cosmic, Irresistible attack, +300%; Emanation, -20%; Rapid Fire, RoF 300, +300%; Selective Area, +20%; Underwater, +20%) [53].

Notes: It’s a cosmic attack, literally. Pulses of cosmic energy that radiate from the attacker (reaching 74 gigaparsecs in a flat second) burn out the neural system of living beings in the affected area, and remember that even the edge of our universe is “merely” about 10 gigaparsecs away from Earth. Also note that an Area Effect attack with Emanation involves no to-hit roll and simply affects anyone in the area. Furthermore, it allows victims only to dive for cover, and actually there’s no effective cover since this Cosmic, Irresistible attack ignores DR. In conclusion, the user can attack every living thing in our entire universe, with 1 point of damage, 300 times per second. Have fun. 53 points.

1400 point GURPS characters

Since we are playing GURPS right now, I am spending a bit of time on the GURPS forums. Mostly it is standard fare gaming stuff, people asking about rule clarifications and campaign suggestions. This thread caught my eye, he is running a GURPS Supers game and needs suggestions for character in the 1400 point range. In 4th edition GURPS, this is considered a mid powered super, basically your average Marvel Super Hero or a low powered DC character.

Most of the characters were uninteresting until I got to this guy on page 7.This character made me laugh out loud. It is a great concept for a super hero.  I think this classifies as one of the best origin stories ever written by a player.

Dave was born under about 20 different lucky stars in a patch of 4-leaf clovers. He is a probability matrix very improbability stuff happens around his all the time. He thinks it is completely normal. In fact he has come across so many ghost, witches,etc. That he thinks they are commonplace so although he doesn’t take any effort to hide his knowledge “So when Fed passed though the wall to get back to his grave”. He also has no idea about his lucky powers he thinks it’s normal. He takes it for granted that guns blow up when fired and wonders why people bother to use them. He is also lazy he know that to succeed at something you just have to try hard and it will work out.