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Old 06-17-2019, 03:42 PM   #11
Ulzgoroth
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Default Re: Examples of "surprise" from B393?

In most cases I wouldn't use Psychology as a reactive 'he goes for a knife, let's see if you saw that coming' roll. If Psychology twigs to a threat, it wouldn't be in the moment that it materializes - you'd have recognized the potential danger earlier and would (if you don't like being stabbed) be Focused on that threat, guaranteeing you don't suffer surprise.

Body Language, I could see lighting off reactively.
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Old 06-17-2019, 05:28 PM   #12
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Default Re: Examples of "surprise" from B393?

A civilian who isn't in a war zone can be totally surprised by pretty much any outbreak of violence provided only that that it doesn't have much build-up, ie. doesn't start as a shoving match which escalates to someone pulling a weapon. For adventurer types it's a little harder but it's still a bit surprising when someone walks into a bar with a gun and opens fire, was hiding in the closet of your room for the night, snipes someone on a peaceful city street, attacks right after making a successful Seduction interaction roll (or really any successful interaction roll that wasn't Intimidation) or looks like a prepubescent child.
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Old 06-17-2019, 07:58 PM   #13
Plane
 
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Default Re: Examples of "surprise" from B393?

Being a child could offset something that would be a warning sign in an adult, like if they seem angry/menacing you might write it off as a tantrum but have your guard up against an adult stranger who might have a weapon.
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Old 06-18-2019, 08:14 AM   #14
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Default Re: Examples of "surprise" from B393?

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Originally Posted by Stormcrow View Post
All of that is pretty much subsumed into the GM responsibility for determining surprise, no? The rest of the surprise rules are really about how long you're surprised (0 turns, 1 turn, 2 turns, etc.) rather than whether you end up being surprised.
Yes... I just included it in my attempt at a quick house rule for completeness.

The length of time surprised is not the only bit in the surprise rules. That "partial surprise" section makes no sense to me. Why would the entire side of a conflict be surprised together? Maybe I'm misunderstanding the rules, but Total Surprise seems to work on the individual and Partial Surprise seems to work on a group. That just doesn't make sense to me.

I much prefer leaving "freezing" out of it entirely, and just using Mental Stun. It's possible for people to remain stunned for multiple rounds, but a player can't be completely stuck for up to 6 turns with nothing they can do about it. Maybe that's realistic. I don't know. But it seems punitive to me in game terms.

So, my attempt at house rule was meant to get rid of the concept of a group suffering the same fate, and to make the surprise rules less punitive to players.
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Old 06-18-2019, 08:42 AM   #15
Lord Azagthoth
 
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Default Re: Examples of "surprise" from B393?

For the sucker punch surprise, I would use a PER-based melee combat skill roll to see it coming (avoiding the full surprise).
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Old 06-18-2019, 09:12 AM   #16
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Default Re: Examples of "surprise" from B393?

Related question: how do you start a combat if the person who decides to initiate the violence doesn't have the highest Basic Speed? In other words, do they get a "free" action before round-by-round starts? What maneuvers does everyone else assumed to have taken? If he does have the highest BS, does he effectively get to act twice in a row (once "before" combat, once in the first round)? Yes, I realize "round" is not a term of art in GURPS, blah blah blah
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Old 06-18-2019, 09:22 AM   #17
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Default Re: Examples of "surprise" from B393?

If you realize that round isn't a GURPS term of art, then you recognize that the question doesn't have a meaning. There are no Maneuvers "before" combat "in the round that it starts", because there's not only no round, there's no combat time. You start with the action that starts combat time and proceed from there in the usual speed order, around and around and around. There's no need for an "extra" action for the fast characters; there's no "round" where they got "cheated out of one". An order to a cycle doesn't require a beginning point.

If you have to make an assumption about the exact Maneuver they chose when Maneuvers weren't relevant, Do Nothing works. If the fast characters are just standing around, they're effectively not fast. Or, if they weren't doing nothing, you can base it on what they were actually doing (perhaps Concentrating on some task). I can't think of a reason offhand except for effects on Active Defense.

If someone isn't literally instigating the violence, but they are nervous and alert and preparing for it in case the other guy attacks, then you are changing to combat time, even if no one's made an attack roll. Just ask the players -- perhaps they're Reading their own weapons, just in case, or All-out-Defending, or Evaluating. Likely, some player will make some indication of one of those even if you're not formally in combat time.

Last edited by Anaraxes; 06-18-2019 at 09:26 AM.
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Old 06-18-2019, 09:23 AM   #18
Lord Azagthoth
 
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Default Re: Examples of "surprise" from B393?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gnome View Post
Related question: how do you start a combat if the person who decides to initiate the violence doesn't have the highest Basic Speed? In other words, do they get a "free" action before round-by-round starts? What maneuvers does everyone else assumed to have taken? If he does have the highest BS, does he effectively get to act twice in a row (once "before" combat, once in the first round)? Yes, I realize "round" is not a term of art in GURPS, blah blah blah
If he doesn't surprise his opponent, highest Basic Speed goes first. He might have initaited the fight, but his opponent reacted faster and timed his attack before the initiater could strike first.
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Old 06-18-2019, 09:30 AM   #19
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Default Re: Examples of "surprise" from B393?

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Originally Posted by Gnome View Post
Related question: how do you start a combat if the person who decides to initiate the violence doesn't have the highest Basic Speed? In other words, do they get a "free" action before round-by-round starts? What maneuvers does everyone else assumed to have taken? If he does have the highest BS, does he effectively get to act twice in a row (once "before" combat, once in the first round)? Yes, I realize "round" is not a term of art in GURPS, blah blah blah
If the person who decides to initiate the violence achieves surprise by doing so, people with higher speed (and people with lower speed) are stunned, which gives them at least that first round 'free'.

If they don't achieve surprise, people with higher speed could act first. In many contexts reacting first is going to mean drawing weapons, moving to more suitable positions, or taking a Wait rather than an instant Han Shot First offensive, but the latter is an option.
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Old 06-18-2019, 11:12 AM   #20
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Default Re: Examples of "surprise" from B393?

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Originally Posted by Gnome View Post
Related question: how do you start a combat if the person who decides to initiate the violence doesn't have the highest Basic Speed? In other words, do they get a "free" action before round-by-round starts? What maneuvers does everyone else assumed to have taken? If he does have the highest BS, does he effectively get to act twice in a row (once "before" combat, once in the first round)? Yes, I realize "round" is not a term of art in GURPS, blah blah blah
If combat has not started yet, we've always played it so the first person to actually claim they're attacking will get the first maneuver. So if we're standing face to face and the GM tells me, "He punches at you" then the fist is thrown and I need to defend even though I have the higher speed. But if it's a matter of "DRAW", then we play by those specific rules.

Once that first attack has been made, then we start the combat as usual.

Sometimes the GM will just set up a fight. It's obviously happening, so we go by basic speed first, then he has us roll off if it's tied rather than go with highest DX (that bothers me).
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