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Old 06-16-2015, 07:42 AM   #1
JMD
 
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Default GM Secrecy and Metagaming

One of the big things I noticed upon switching from DnD to GURPS about 7 years ago was the lack of any sort of monster compendium. An interesting byproduct of this is that my players, all of which own the DnD monster manual, no longer knew what sort of being they were facing. They went from a world where they knew the powers, stats, ac, and damage of every monster (or least the general idea from seeing its entry) to having no clue as to what they were facing.

This is mostly fine. The mystery is pretty great and keeps them on their toes. However, the players no longer knowing the monster forces all the math onto the GM. "I hit for 14 impaling, armor divisor 2, 4 burning follow up." The GM, if he didn't reveal the monsters DR, is now stuck mathing that out, nullifying the autocalculation feature of many GURPS aids and sheets (such as the GURPS Calculator, have you checked it out? It's insanely amazing.)

What's your policy on keeping the statistics of monsters secret? What are the pros and cons in your opinion?
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Old 06-16-2015, 07:46 AM   #2
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Default Re: GM Secrecy and Metagaming

Only keep stats secret for boss-type monsters. Anything that can be encountered on a fairly regular basis in the wild should be well known, and the stats can be read in the Beginner's Guide to Adventuring.
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Old 06-16-2015, 08:21 AM   #3
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Default Re: GM Secrecy and Metagaming

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What's your policy on keeping the statistics of monsters secret? What are the pros and cons in your opinion?
I don't use many "monsters", as most of the opposition is people, whose armour and equipment varies wildly. I can usually keep track of the damage calculations in my head without any particular difficulty. I will tell the players if they don't seem to be hurting an opponent.
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Old 06-16-2015, 08:46 AM   #4
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Default Re: GM Secrecy and Metagaming

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Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
I don't use many "monsters", as most of the opposition is people, whose armour and equipment varies wildly. I can usually keep track of the damage calculations in my head without any particular difficulty. I will tell the players if they don't seem to be hurting an opponent.
I think most of us use people as the primary opposition.

I do like to give the characters a chance to figure out exactly what they're up against. After the first few shots I'll give a skill range, let them know if they guy is particularly skilled, and so on. Equipment DOES have published stats. I do like to do this dependent on per and IQ based rolls though.
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Old 06-16-2015, 08:50 AM   #5
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Default Re: GM Secrecy and Metagaming

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"I hit for 14 impaling, armor divisor 2, 4 burning follow up." The GM, if he didn't reveal the monsters DR, is now stuck mathing that out
I have to say I always took that for granted as part of the GM's job. It isn't as if the calculations were hard; I've never felt that they slowed things up much.
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Old 06-16-2015, 09:03 AM   #6
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I have to say I always took that for granted as part of the GM's job. It isn't as if the calculations were hard; I've never felt that they slowed things up much.
It's not too bad, but it does slow down play when using powers as you get a lot of AOE with follow up on 5 guys type stuff and they all have varying DR.
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Old 06-16-2015, 09:10 AM   #7
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Default Re: GM Secrecy and Metagaming

I find that in my group they have pretty much figured out the stats by the end of the first fight. After that, I let them know so they can help with calculations ect...

However, when a 'new' monster comes up they have to figure it out for themselves again. Also, if it's a variant on something they have encountered before, I make sure they know.
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Old 06-16-2015, 09:16 AM   #8
Peter Knutsen
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Default Re: GM Secrecy and Metagaming

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Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
I don't use many "monsters", as most of the opposition is people, whose armour and equipment varies wildly. I can usually keep track of the damage calculations in my head without any particular difficulty. I will tell the players if they don't seem to be hurting an opponent.
I don't see how simple mental arithmetic can be a problem for a GM, either.

I think I'm vaguely aware of a few cases where GURPS expects you to divide two-digit figures by a non-integer figure (granted, 1.5 is the least bad non-integer figure there is to divide by, after 0.5 and 0.33 and 0.25, but still...), which strikes me as quite error-prone in addition to being mental-labour-intensive, but if that started being relevant for me, I'd just use a spreadsheet to create a lookup table for the results.

Or if (and that's quite likely to be the case) it's the same 3 or 4 usual suspects that keep rearing their complexicated heads, then I'd just use a pocket calculator the first few times and then be able to remember the results after that.
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Old 06-16-2015, 09:18 AM   #9
Peter Knutsen
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I think most of us use people as the primary opposition.
"Monsters" can be "people" too. Both in GURPS (including in GURPS DF), and in recent editions of D&D. It doesn't matter if the players can look up the stats of a basic Ogre in the D&D 3.0 or 3.5 Monster Manual, because this Ogre isn't a basic Ogre, it's an Ogre with 7 levels of Barbarian and 3 levels of Druid on top of that, and so many of its abilities are enhanced far beyond that of a basic Ogre.
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Old 06-16-2015, 09:21 AM   #10
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Default Re: GM Secrecy and Metagaming

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Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
I don't use many "monsters", as most of the opposition is people, whose armour and equipment varies wildly. I can usually keep track of the damage calculations in my head without any particular difficulty. I will tell the players if they don't seem to be hurting an opponent.
I do things much the same way, usually saying "ping" or "ouch" depending on whether the hit's penetrated armour (and of course if there's major wounding involved that's generally visible). If a fight's lasting a long time I'll reveal after a few hits what DR the target has, and the players can take on the calculations.
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