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Old 03-17-2016, 02:25 PM   #31
philosophyguy
 
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Just as an off-the-wall suggestion for the rules arguments issue- what about borrowing the "player challenge" rule from tennis? If you don't know it, a player can challenge a line call (i.e. was it in or out?) and the video judge is referred to. The players have unlimited challenges, but are only allowed 3 wrong challenges.
It's an interesting suggestion, but the problem is that it assumes there is a clear right or wrong based on objective evidence. In tennis, either the ball touches the line or it doesn't, and the video can show that. In RPGs, at least one and maybe both of those assumptions are false. First, aside from clerical errors like misreading a table, there isn't usually a clear right or wrong. Second, there's not objective evidence: the GM needs to interpret the situation. The rules lawyer metaphor is actually pretty apt, because the better parallel is a judge who needs to decide which rules apply to the situation, and that's an inherently subjective process even with objective guidance like case law, Congressional testimony, etc.

The other issue is that a single challenge can potentially take a huge chunk of time as players flip through dozens of rulebooks trying to remember that one sentence that the rules lawyer is certain supports his or her. While some groups may enjoy that, the vast majority of players don't, and would far prefer to spend their time moving on with the adventure. When you think about a rules challenge, it's helpful to use the concept of people-minutes to think about the burden of the challenge. Looking up a rule doesn't just cost five minutes--it costs five minutes times the number of people who have to wait. In a group of 5 people, a rules challenge gives one person 5 minutes of showboating while the others waste a collective 20 minutes. Compare that with a scenario in which the group moves on immediately and after stewing for a few minutes the rules lawyer gets back into enjoying the game. Now it's 2 minutes of time lost to disappointed stewing vs 23 minutes of collective enjoyment. That's a massive swing.
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Old 03-17-2016, 08:15 PM   #32
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It's an interesting suggestion, but the problem is that it assumes there is a clear right or wrong based on objective evidence.
Right. And this approach conflicts with defaulting to the difficulty table when you forget the canon modifiers for a skill roll. Unless you limit the number of "OBJECTIONS!", an argumentative player could challenge you on this every time and technically still be right. Whether you count this as a valid challenge or not, someone is going to be angry or time is going to get wasted.
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Old 03-17-2016, 08:32 PM   #33
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My policy is to not allow rules arguments in the middle of the game. If there is a conflict over the rules, I would prefer to discuss it in between sessions so that we aren't spending game time on it.

However, I might make an exception for a ruling of life-and-death importance for a character. But only for situations that will directly result in the death of a character.
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Old 03-22-2016, 09:27 AM   #34
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This week's post is a review of GURPS Lite. GURPS Lite is a great resource for new players, but it's not perfect for every type of game. This review attempts to clarify where Lite is strong, as well as what kinds of games don't work within Lite's condensed rules. There are also some suggestions for how to supplement Lite with elements from the Basic Set.
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Old 03-29-2016, 10:33 AM   #35
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This week we explore how damage works in GURPS combat. By default, combat in GURPS has more realistic impacts like shock, wounding modifiers, and the possibility of passing out when you're severely injured. These assumptions can catch new players by surprise because they are different from many RPGs.

This post explains how the GURPS damage model works, and how it differs from the assumptions in other RPGs. It also gives suggestions for how GMs can turn off rules in order to create an effect more similar to other RPGs, if that's what the players want or what fits the campaign.
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Old 04-05-2016, 11:22 AM   #36
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Character creation can be one of the most intimidating parts of GURPS, so this week's post focuses on Minimalist Character Creation. This post is an unabashed simplification of GURPS, and it cuts a lot of corners in order to make simple but legal and playable characters. Hopefully it will help some gamers overcome the intimidation hurdle from making their first characters!
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Old 04-05-2016, 08:52 PM   #37
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Perception isn't a skill, it's an attribute. I think you meant Observation skill in the worked example in the Task Difficulty Modifiers article, or you should specify that Perception is an attribute.
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Old 04-06-2016, 08:50 AM   #38
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Character creation can be one of the most intimidating parts of GURPS, so this week's post focuses on Minimalist Character Creation. This post is an unabashed simplification of GURPS, and it cuts a lot of corners in order to make simple but legal and playable characters. Hopefully it will help some gamers overcome the intimidation hurdle from making their first characters!
Maybe you are saving the concept for another post, but one big thing I feel like you need to touch on is templates. Though they transfer a lot of work to the GM, is a really good shortcut in building a character, and one that fits the campaign. It's kinda like training wheels to make sure your player hits all of the bases without requiring enough system mastery to know what to buy and what to ignore.

It also tells players something about the campaign if, for example, your Archeologist template has Hidden Lore (Demons), Trained by a Master, and Throwing Arts, versus Archeology, Research, and Contact Group (University Archeology Department)
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Old 04-06-2016, 09:21 AM   #39
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Maybe you are saving the concept for another post, but one big thing I feel like you need to touch on is templates. Though they transfer a lot of work to the GM, is a really good shortcut in building a character, and one that fits the campaign. It's kinda like training wheels to make sure your player hits all of the bases without requiring enough system mastery to know what to buy and what to ignore.
Absolutely. I'm of two minds about templates. On the one hand, they do reduce the number of decisions players need to make, and they set expectations for a campaign. But, they also require more effort on the part of the GM, and they don't necessarily simplify the game. I remember running a DF game with a group of new players, and they were really lost by all the advantages on the DF templates because those words didn't mean anything to them. I as the GM could simplify some of it, but since I didn't have all the advantages memorized we spent a fair amount of time reading explanations in Basic Set. I'm actually curious how other GMs handle the "technical language" barrier in templates, because a lot of template advantages are not intuitively obvious to brand new players.
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Old 04-06-2016, 10:25 AM   #40
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Perception isn't a skill, it's an attribute. I think you meant Observation skill in the worked example in the Task Difficulty Modifiers article, or you should specify that Perception is an attribute.
Thanks for the catch!
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