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Old 02-01-2019, 06:24 PM   #1
Dejavroom
 
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Default Fun vs Rules - When is too much fun a bad thing?

So in my current campaign. My players are new to Gurps as am I!

We've been having a blast already, Slaying the monsters I've created, Talking with NPCs.. You know, The usual.

But there has something that has been on my mind lately in reguards to my attitude of "Fun vs rules" For some context, I make my players track ammunition, Gear, Supplies etc.. But I've been thinking more about detailed stuff, Like First aid and medical gear. Do I may them track the individual tools? Or just give them "Charges" As a stereotypical game item?

I'm torn here, and would like to know other people's opinions. For more context, I am running my sessions as a GAME with serious roleplay elements.

I'm slightly unsure about what I want to get out of this post, But I'd like to just hear what other GMs say!

Thank you in advance.
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Old 02-01-2019, 06:53 PM   #2
Kelly Pedersen
 
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Default Re: Fun vs Rules - When is too much fun a bad thing?

I'm afraid there simply isn't going to be a "one size fits all" answer here - some groups like precise resource tracking, some don't. I'd examine your group's previous responses to tracking resources: did they grumble, or just accept it? And later, when things ran short, was there a feeling of tension created? Or did people just feel it was irritating?

Personally, I don't tend to track resources all that precisely, unless I'm specifically running a campaign where resources are important: zombie survival horror or old-school dungeon crawling, for instance. And even if I was tracking pretty precisely, I probably wouldn't track every bandage in a medkit, I'd just give it, as you suggested, a number of uses after which things are expended. Tracking things in that much detail just tends to bog down the game in my experience, and it usually makes for a lot of extra work, since most kits and such in GURPS don't actually specify exactly how much of a given item are in them, so you'll have to decide that for yourself.

One approach you could take would be to give things like medkits and such a number of automatic uses and then, after those are used up, have the character make an appropriate skill roll when they go to the kit, at a penalty equal to the number of times they've done so, to see if what they're looking for is still there. For example, with the medkit, you could give a crash kit 10 "free" uses where anyone can just pull anything that would reasonably in a big first aid kit out, and then, after that, when the medic goes to dig up some bandages, she has to roll against First Aid to see if she's been frugal enough to have some stashed away, with no penalty the first time she rolls, -1 the second time, and so on. Once she fails, there are no more of that particular item in the kit, but others might still be available.
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Old 02-01-2019, 07:33 PM   #3
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Default Re: Fun vs Rules - When is too much fun a bad thing?

Well, the point of a game is to have fun, so 'too much fun' is never per se a bad thing. The risk, though, is pursuing immediate gratification at the cost of long term payoff; the PCs should sometimes have to work at things.

However, on your question about tracking, groups vary extensively in how much bookkeeping they tolerate or enjoy. "You didn't prepare properly" is a reasonable cause for a setback or failure, but the required amount of prep should be appropriate to the group.
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Old 02-01-2019, 07:35 PM   #4
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Default Re: Fun vs Rules - When is too much fun a bad thing?

Too much fun being a bad thing is unlikely unless you torture the definition of fun pretty hard.

But if you've set up 'fun' as in opposition to rules, either you've already done that or you're on the brink of discovering that you actually want to do freeform RP rather than rules-bound RPG play.
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Old 02-01-2019, 07:57 PM   #5
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Default Re: Fun vs Rules - When is too much fun a bad thing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dejavroom View Post
When is too much fun a bad thing?
No such thing as 'too much fun'.

Quote:
For some context, I make my players track ammunition, Gear, Supplies etc.. But I've been thinking more about detailed stuff, Like First aid and medical gear. Do I may them track the individual tools? Or just give them "Charges" As a stereotypical game item?
I'd say talk to your Players, see what they think. If they enjoy tracking the nitty and gritty, then go with individual items.

I personally go with 'uses' and give them cost divided by 5 uses (but that's for things where there is a clear 'usage') and then let them 'top-up' for free in town (in DF it costs $150 to live in town, I allow that to cover repair and regular maintenance of gear).
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Old 02-01-2019, 08:11 PM   #6
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Default Re: Fun vs Rules - When is too much fun a bad thing?

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Originally Posted by Dejavroom View Post
But there has something that has been on my mind lately in reguards to my attitude of "Fun vs rules" For some context, I make my players track ammunition, Gear, Supplies etc.. But I've been thinking more about detailed stuff, Like First aid and medical gear. Do I may them track the individual tools? Or just give them "Charges" As a stereotypical game item?
One thing I have considered, but never actually used, was every time you use a med kit, you make a roll*. If it fails, you've used up enough of the supplies to reduce the effectiveness. Change the modifier for using the kit by -1, each time it fails. Use it enough and it will be reduced to no better than improvised equipment. I think tracking down to the individual bandage and antiseptic wipe is drastically overdoing it.

* Haven't decided what number the roll should be against.
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Old 02-01-2019, 08:11 PM   #7
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Default Re: Fun vs Rules - When is too much fun a bad thing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dejavroom View Post
For some context, I make my players track ammunition, Gear, Supplies etc.. But I've been thinking more about detailed stuff, Like First aid and medical gear. Do I may them track the individual tools? Or just give them "Charges" As a stereotypical game item?
This is definitely a question of style. Most players at my tables haven't enjoyed too much resource tracking. They're focused on the unfolding story and more dramatic challenges. So I go light on that stuff. Currently, in my DF games, I lean toward simply charging a fee in town that covers cost of living plus supplies needed for the next journey. (Some PCs adjust this depending on disadvantages and whatnot.) We usually just presume that most expendables got used up, so they just pay for a new quiver of arrows, new rations, etc. (Not so for big ticket items like potions.)

I've run different styles at different times and this might be adjusted if I want to emphasize a particularly long, dangerous journey, but mostly we just ignore the details.
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Old 02-01-2019, 08:36 PM   #8
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Default Re: Fun vs Rules - When is too much fun a bad thing?

I don't think that "fun vs. rules" is a valid opposition. In my experience, it's simply not the case that every added rule makes things less fun, or every deleted one makes them more fun. As many RPGs have pointed out, saying, "Bang! I shot you, you're dead!" and "No I'm not, you missed me" and arguing over it is less fun than rolling dice and accepting the result. My take is that fun and rules are independent variables; there are rules that increase fun, and rules that decrease it, and even fun-neutral rules.

I'd also say that fun isn't the only desideratum in playing RPGs.

A long time ago, I ran a campaign set in an alternate DC universe. At one point in it, the PCs mostly got trapped by a mysterious circus with surreal powers. I had taken this from a World of Darkness supplement (it converted really easily to the DC Heroes RPG), which said that the circus had a Veil of Delirium. So after the PCs were all freed, they started wondering about the thing that had clouded their minds. One of them took advantage of a connection built into his origin story to ask the advice of Dream of the Endless, and Dream called on his sister Delirium. Well, that was too much to pass up. So I described Delirium coming back with the PC, and taking a look, and saying to the assembled PCs, "You found it! I didn't even know I lost it!" and reaching out—and then her eyes were the same color, and once again she was Delight. And the players just sat there in utter silence for a full minute. I don't think I'll ever achieve anything as a GM to equal that.

Now, you could call that a lot of things. But I don't think "fun" is the right label.

Which is not to say there's anything wrong with gaming for fun. I do that too. I'm just saying that there's more than one sort of reward to be pursued.

I don't think of rules as an end in themself. But I rather suspect that gaming with no rules would be, as Robert Frost said about writing verse that didn't rhyme or scan, "playing tennis with the net down."
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Old 02-02-2019, 12:17 AM   #9
whswhs
 
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Default Re: Fun vs Rules - When is too much fun a bad thing?

As for tracking, in my current historical fantasy campaign, the player characters are engaged in a series of long-distance trading voyages in a Bronze Age world. On the first voyage, we kept track of exactly how much they spent on each item of cargo, how much space it took up, and so on. After that, they figured they had the general idea, and we went over to a much more handwavy approach. Basically, I had them end up with 10x their original investment in cargo, ±1x for each point by which they succeeded or failed in a merchant roll.
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Old 02-02-2019, 12:51 AM   #10
Mark Skarr
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Default Re: Fun vs Rules - When is too much fun a bad thing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dejavroom View Post
When is too much fun a bad thing?
When it's "badwrongfun."

But, really, the answer is nevar. There is no wrong way to play any game (so long as everyone consents). The goal is to have fun. And if you're having fun, then you're doing it right.

Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
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