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Old 10-21-2015, 08:39 AM   #1
sonic232
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Default Diceless GURPS: Mechanical Discussion

I tried doing a search, and that function seems broken for now, but I'll post my thoughts on this here. Over the years since GURPS has come out, various mechanics, both built into Basic Set and coming out in supplements like Power-Ups: Impulse Buys and Power-Ups: Wildcards have come out for various ways of achieving success while ignoring the dice rolls through Destiny Points and spending your Character Points. My intention is to use these to outright REPLACE the dice entirely which would make for easier chat-based games and encourage descriptive roleplaying to give bonuses and penalties. What I propose is as follows:

TASK RESOLUTION:

Take skills as usual, but always assume a base roll of 11. Apply modifiers as usual. This means that Parries and Dodges will always tend to fail without bonuses and most competent adventurers will succeed without penalties. If you don't like this, adjust your base roll based on the feel for the campaign: An easier, lighter campaign may assume a base roll of 9, giving defenders in combat an advantage unless the attacker starts to use Deceptive Attacks. Potentially, combat should require a different base roll (this is something to be discussed.

A few major questions would be: Should the defender and the attacker assume different base rolls? Who should get priority? Should it be assumed that both the Defender and the Attacker succeed their rolls, thus requiring points spent to force a failure on somebody else? Or should it be assumed that the defender is assumed to lose and needs to spend points to avoid the attack using a Diceless system?

CONTESTS:

Again, assume a base roll of 11. This basically means that the highest adjusted skill will tend to succeed. Keep this in mind! Skill bonuses and penalties to the situation can still apply. This makes tracking skill bonuses and penalties very important to Diceless GURPS. Your success or failure literally hinges on giving yourself benefits and giving your foe as many penalties as you can.

DAMAGE:

Convert every 2d to a 7. If its an odd number of dice, the last die adds 4. (9d = 28 [8d] + 4 [1d] = 32) becomes Then apply any other additions or subtractions. Spend an Impulse Point, Wildcard Point or Destiny point to make it 6 damage per die. Apply all other rules as usual. Speaking of...

BUYING SUCCESS: GURPS Impulse Buys + Destiny Points + Wildcard Points

Suddenly this becomes VERY important to the game. Contests can become Bidding Wars using Impulse Points, Destiny Points and Wildcard Points to buy success. Encourage players to purchase Destiny and Wildcard skills and enforce this effect. Buying a critical success in combat should not be allowed unless it is against a Mook.

Additional Concerns:

How should Complementary Skills work? Would just invoking the skill (so long as it is above the base roll) allow you to gain its benefit?

Last edited by sonic232; 10-21-2015 at 08:43 AM.
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Old 10-21-2015, 08:57 AM   #2
johndallman
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Cambridge, UK
Default Re: Diceless GURPS: Mechanical Discussion

Quote:
Originally Posted by sonic232 View Post
Suddenly this becomes VERY important to the game. Contests can become Bidding Wars using Impulse Points, Destiny Points and Wildcard Points to buy success. Encourage players to purchase Destiny and Wildcard skills and enforce this effect.
This isn't an "encourage players", this is a case for "the players have to buy some of this", and the only question is how much to allow. I suspect that having much of a mismatch between characters in a party, or between characters and opponents, will produce characters who just run out of steam while others are still going.

This model also creates a strong premium on having very high levels in some skills: someone with Stealth-20, for example, is essentially always going to remain undetected, because she never gets bad rolls.

Given that resource management of the buying-success points becomes the key to the game, there's a case to be made for using something less complicated than GURPS as the underlying game system. Have you looked at the Gumshoe game system? I don't know details, but it seems to have some related ideas, from what I've heard.

Quote:
How should Complementary Skills work? Would just invoking the skill (so long as it is above the base roll) allow you to gain its benefit?
Yes, for the basic benefit of +1. It's implied by your basic diceless rules.
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Old 10-21-2015, 09:10 AM   #3
sonic232
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Default Re: Diceless GURPS: Mechanical Discussion

Quote:
Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
This isn't an "encourage players", this is a case for "the players have to buy some of this", and the only question is how much to allow. I suspect that having much of a mismatch between characters in a party, or between characters and opponents, will produce characters who just run out of steam while others are still going.
Very true, I should have made that more clear. Typically when I say 'encourage' I mean 'you COULD go without buuuuut...'

Quote:
Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
This model also creates a strong premium on having very high levels in some skills: someone with Stealth-20, for example, is essentially always going to remain undetected, because she never gets bad rolls.
This is a concern, but that's what Contested Rolls are for. Yeah, they'll remain unseen against mooks, but if your PCs have skills at 20, then important NPCs should as well...

Quote:
Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
Given that resource management of the buying-success points becomes the key to the game, there's a case to be made for using something less complicated than GURPS as the underlying game system. Have you looked at the Gumshoe game system? I don't know details, but it seems to have some related ideas, from what I've heard.
I have, but the thought was to focus on using Wildcard Skills and Action/Monster Hunters style rules to help ease players into the system, eventually converting to using dice once players are comfortable with the other mechanics.

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Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
Yes, for the basic benefit of +1. It's implied by your basic diceless rules.
That's what I was thinking, but I wanted to make sure others agreed.
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Old 10-21-2015, 09:20 AM   #4
Desthro
 
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Default Re: Diceless GURPS: Mechanical Discussion

If you want to use a diceless system, I would suggest using some other sort of engine like the FATE point economy and assume that everyone rolls a "0" on the dice. I would soften it a little bit, and use advantages and disadvantages to determine "aspects" for invoking or compelling, and provide "soft" bonuses for being more skilled, better prepared, having skill in situations that call for it, etc. Might take a little tweaking, but it would probably get some mileage. Unfortunately, you would end up with the situation where it is more beneficial to be a jack of all trades as opposed to mastering a few areas.

An example could be Attractive, Beautiful/Handsome, Very Beautiful/Handsome may only provide additional benefit when being compared to another attractive person. Or, since it is leveled, you might allow it to be invoked more than once in order to gain more benefit.

I could see it working really well with GURPS, though it would be a bit more of a bother ;)

Edit 1: though with the stealth-20 example, in GURPS they are largely going to go by undetected anyway, and high skill only serves to maintain your advantage against people with above-average Per.
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Old 10-21-2015, 09:21 AM   #5
johndallman
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
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Default Re: Diceless GURPS: Mechanical Discussion

Quote:
Originally Posted by sonic232 View Post
This is a concern, but that's what Contested Rolls are for. Yeah, they'll remain unseen against mooks, but if your PCs have skills at 20, then important NPCs should as well...
I mentioned Stealth for a reason. It's almost always in a contest with sense rolls, not another skill.
Quote:
I have, but the thought was to focus on using Wildcard Skills and Action/Monster Hunters style rules to help ease players into the system, eventually converting to using dice once players are comfortable with the other mechanics.
I'm not sure this is a good idea. A lot of details in GURPS assume that you'll be rolling dice and "roll three dice, add them up, wanting to roll under your skill number" isn't very complicated. If people new to GURPS play this way, and then switch to dice, they'll have to unlearn some things, which is harder than learning new things.
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Old 10-21-2015, 09:39 AM   #6
sonic232
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Default Re: Diceless GURPS: Mechanical Discussion

Quote:
Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
I mentioned Stealth for a reason. It's almost always in a contest with sense rolls, not another skill.
Fair enough, unless the one trying to be snuck past is specifically looking for those hidden (very typical when actively guarding a location), in which case you would use Observation or Electronics Operation depending on the method, with appropriate bonuses for equipment!

Quote:
Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
I'm not sure this is a good idea. A lot of details in GURPS assume that you'll be rolling dice and "roll three dice, add them up, wanting to roll under your skill number" isn't very complicated. If people new to GURPS play this way, and then switch to dice, they'll have to unlearn some things, which is harder than learning new things.
Again, fair enough. Still, a fun experiment to mess around with to see how one could use the system to go diceless without making major tweaks to what's already there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Desthro
If you want to use a diceless system, I would suggest using some other sort of engine like the FATE point economy and assume that everyone rolls a "0" on the dice. I would soften it a little bit, and use advantages and disadvantages to determine "aspects" for invoking or compelling, and provide "soft" bonuses for being more skilled, better prepared, having skill in situations that call for it, etc. Might take a little tweaking, but it would probably get some mileage. Unfortunately, you would end up with the situation where it is more beneficial to be a jack of all trades as opposed to mastering a few areas.
This is basically what the system would already encourage: Everybody starts on the same level, with the advantages that give you situational skill bonuses applying as they normally would determining success or failure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Desthro
An example could be Attractive, Beautiful/Handsome, Very Beautiful/Handsome may only provide additional benefit when being compared to another attractive person. Or, since it is leveled, you might allow it to be invoked more than once in order to gain more benefit.
That's what Appearance's bonus to Reaction Rolls would do if you did all rolls as base 11 ;) And Action has rules for 'Hamming it up', where you apply penalties based on per -5 points in a disadvantage. It wouldn't be a stretch to say that somebody could CALL you on a disadvantage once per session to give the same penalty.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Desthro
I could see it working really well with GURPS, though it would be a bit more of a bother ;)
Yeah, it would, but like I said, its a fun exercise (at least to me). There's been more than one Pyramid article that involves changing how you do dice rolls. Why not a way to eliminate them altogether?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Desthro
Edit 1: though with the stealth-20 example, in GURPS they are largely going to go by undetected anyway, and high skill only serves to maintain your advantage against people with above-average Per.
My thoughts exactly, plus the point that somebody can counter with Observation or Electronics Operation if they're actively looking for people rather than just standing around.
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Old 10-21-2015, 12:45 PM   #7
dfinlay
 
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Default Re: Diceless GURPS: Mechanical Discussion

There was a Pyramid Article about this exact thing. I thought it was one of the Alternate GURPS, but I can't seem to find the article.
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Old 10-21-2015, 12:57 PM   #8
sonic232
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Default Re: Diceless GURPS: Mechanical Discussion

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Originally Posted by dfinlay View Post
There was a Pyramid Article about this exact thing. I thought it was one of the Alternate GURPS, but I can't seem to find the article.
I think you were thinking of 'A Deck of Dice', Alternate GURPS I, which is close but not quite what I was trying to do.

EDIT: Nevermind! Pyramid 3/65: Alternate GURPS III - This One Goes To 11! Wow, I basically just re-invented that article, huh... Even mentions Impulse Buys...

Last edited by sonic232; 10-21-2015 at 01:02 PM.
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Old 10-23-2015, 11:20 AM   #9
Desthro
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Albuquerque
Default Re: Diceless GURPS: Mechanical Discussion

Quote:
Originally Posted by sonic232 View Post
Fair enough, unless the one trying to be snuck past is specifically looking for those hidden (very typical when actively guarding a location), in which case you would use Observation or Electronics Operation depending on the method, with appropriate bonuses for equipment!
For clarification: Observation is always the skill used, you only use Electronics Operation or w/e other skill to allow the Observation roll in the first place (Using a Security Camera,) eliminate potential penalties on your Observation skill (using an infrared device during the dead of night to eliminate vision penalties for darkness,) or to gain an advantage (using a spell to increase your perception.) You still need to make the Observation roll in all instances.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sonic232 View Post
That's what Appearance's bonus to Reaction Rolls would do if you did all rolls as base 11 ;) And Action has rules for 'Hamming it up', where you apply penalties based on per -5 points in a disadvantage. It wouldn't be a stretch to say that somebody could CALL you on a disadvantage once per session to give the same penalty.
Isn't that still treating the system as if it had dice? Just defaulting the rolls to 11?
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Old 10-25-2015, 09:57 AM   #10
sonic232
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Default Re: Diceless GURPS: Mechanical Discussion

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Originally Posted by Desthro View Post
Isn't that still treating the system as if it had dice? Just defaulting the rolls to 11?
Yes, which is what a lot of diceless conversions do... And what the article did, which I inadvertently recreated ^^; Not sure if I just came to the same conclusion or if I was subconsciously spouting information from an article that I had read but didn't consciously remember, but I pretty much accidentally summarized most of the article in my original post.
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