Wednesday, June 16, 2010

More on GURPS

GURPS Skills are fairly straight forward. You start by paying 1 point which gets a skill level of your Attribute minus something. If it is an easy skill then it is minus 0, a Average skill is -1, Hard is -2, and Very Hard -3. For example Knife skill is DX/Easy, A boardsword is DX/Average, Karate is DX/Hard, and Blind Fighting is Per/Very Hard.

Subsquent skill levels have an increasing cost. You pay a total of 2 points for +1, 4 points for +2, a total of 8 points for +3 and +4 points for each +1 skill afterwards. The scale works out so that at normal points levels you can have a bunch of skills at average level and be specialized in a few.

The reasoning behind difficulty levels is spelled out in a short section of skill chapter. It basically boils down to challenging skills like Biology, Alchemy, etc being rated Very High and ordinary everyday skills like Knife, Area Knowledge, and Bicycling Easy.

This brings up another point about GURPS. It's adherence to realism. In the absence of a specific genre reason the designer GURPS justify their rule decision in terms of gamable realism. The skills difficulty is based on real world consideration not internal game balance. Alchemy is difficult to learn because it requires a lot of time and study. They don't have any thing complicated just a single chart with each level of difficulty as a column. You can see this in GURPS Lite.

Skills also have defaults. So if you never learned Broadsword as a wizard and decide to pick one up in the middle of a fight then you either default to DX-4 or if you have another weapons skill then you get a better default like Shortsword -2.

The Skill list is extensive but not excessively so. Few skills overlap and for Fantasy or Modren it is obvious which ones to pick out. It get more complicated with Sci-Fi but the genre books like GURPS Space and GURPS Traveller give you template that help greatly.

Template are a great innovation in late 3rd Edition and are implemented Fully in 4th edition. They don't give you any benefits but organize skills, advantages, disadvantages, perks and quirks in a coherent way. For example in GURPS Traveller the Starship Engineer Template give you clear choices to make up that type of characters.

Campaigns with detailed background can use them to allow players to make characters that are part of specific Organizations. You can see an example here. It is a template I use for making characters that are Myrmidons of Set. It predates the one in the Majestic Wilderlands supplement by several years so it differs a little.

8 comments:

The Rusty Battle Axe said...

So are we playing GURPS next? I'd definitely be up for it, but I'm probably not the person to be GM in that case.

mikemonaco said...

The idea of "reality testing" as it was called in the 1st ed. was a big selling point to me & my brother when the first edition came out. I wonder if he still has those booklets. They had no covers at all, just staple bound booklets, so they may not have held up.

Rob Conley said...

My GURPS posts are more of a reaction to the Runequest cheerleading going on. Running a Runequest game was informative as to it's strengths and weaknesses.

As for the next campaign I when Tim, Dwayne, and I talked about we were keenly interested in having you GM for us using whatever rule system. The three of us never played together in a campaign. (Unless you count Pool of Radiance on the IBM-PC) A couple of convention game yes but never a campaign.

The Rusty Battle Axe said...

@Rob: Me? (gulp) Actually, I would be up for that.

Tim Shorts said...

Yup Rusty, D and I want to see how many ways we can torment Rob without actually killing his character. Muhaha

Good post Rob. I would also add with the disad and advantages plus the quirks add a nice touch of realism and pleny of RPing potential.

Tajemniczy Pan C said...

Recently I have just finished short campaign using GURPS Lite. It`s been my and my colleagues in dice-rolling first meet with GURPS and, to be honest, your blog was one of the reasons I decided to introduce my players (and myself) to the system.

We played only 6 times. Although I am not going to use GURPS in the next campaign, I have to say that this is the game I would have played by now if I had discovered it 10 years ago. Nowadays, when I do not want to spend too much time on RPG, I found GURPS too time-consuming during preparation NPC and bit too complicated to keep using it. I know that this is a matter of getting used to it and after playing another campaign it would get easier and easier, but it still demands these few games more. There is definitely too much rolling during the fight (attack roll, defense roll, then – if the hit was successful – damage roll for every round and every player).

But this is the cost of the good rules. I especially appreciate the skill system. And yes, GURPS adherence to realism is another worth mentioning factor.

I think I will try to come back to GURPS Lite in the future, though it surely is not easy to love it at first sight.

By the way – excellent blog.Thanks for all your work.
C

Chris said...

Any possibility that a gurps conversion could be in the work for wilderlands? This has always been a interesting campaign setting and Now that im working with the Gurps 4e rules, which i think offer something beyone 4e dnd to describe such a facinating campaign world.

Chris said...

there also is some e books on e23 that help minimize the time to create characters useing Gurps 4E. However nwo that i have the Gurps 4e tharmatology book and powers I am pretty sure that i could describe nearly any character/ npc once i get the nuances down for this system.