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Old 05-02-2016, 12:06 AM   #11
starslayer
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Default Re: GURPS PC 'roles'- a thought on pen and paper role playing in general

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Originally Posted by Mailanka View Post
I think you're looking at it the wrong way. I see this sort of thing, but even worse with the typical D&Der, sort of a "Fish don't know what water is" thing.

You're not discussing the roles of RPGs, but the roles of GURPS (and mostly Action). GURPS, by default, focuses on what I like to call "Agent" play. The abilities with the highest costs and the most mechanical focus tend to be abilities that agents would use, face-to-face, to get a particular job done. For example, GURPS has four different Influence skills, allowing four different core Influence strategies... but it only has one Politics skill, only one Strategy skill. Other games have different emphasis, different roles (though it's not always obvious, because many games copy one another: If you played nothing but D&D and its many knock-offs, you'd be forgiven for thinking that "Healer" was just a standard role in all games)

Imagine, for a moment, you were playing an entirely political game, a game about roman senators and generals trying to outmaneuver one another in an effort to gain empire. Each character has a different focus. Some specialize in demagougery, some focus on hob-nobbing with the aristocracy, some focus more on the military. You have different roles within that political/strategic structure, but none of the "I'm a combat role!" Being able to punch another senator in the face is not particularly useful.

GURPS does understand this. That's one of the big points behind the GURPS Template design books: You need to choose the roles/niches appropriate for your campaign. Often, the agent-style of play is what people are looking for and what they want, but not always. The typical GURPS Cabal campaign, in my experience, does not turn on how well you can punch someone in the face, but how well you can subvert organizations and uncover ancient secrets. It's the sort of game where players complain that Archaeology is OP. On the other hand, the combat-oriented roles of GURPS DF is different from the combat-oriented roles of GURPS Monster Hunters or Action. Action, for example, has no "I'm good at dealing with supernatural problems" niche, while DF has several, and Monster Hunters also doesn't... because every character should be good at dealing with the supernatural.

Thus, campaign design is game design, and game design is organic. Each game is unique and different. You can move and slot predefined roles into a campaign if you want, but it'll feel like other predefined campaigns. Better to understand how roles work, holistically, and design your niches as appropriate for the intent of your campaign.
I am very not sure I agree.

Given your political game set in roman times- it will never be useful or applicable that being able to mix/deliver poison will be a good thing? (murder- indirect). It will never be applicable that you have resistance to poison or disease (survival)? It will never be useful to support one of your fellow senators via whatever skills you have? Senators will never have to use there own deductive reasoning to figure out situations (problem solving)? They will all obviously have some social traits, and likely divide up multiple sub-types from there as a focus from the game, but I still think my categories encompass the type of activities that would take place in any game.

If you believe I am wrong I legitimately want to hear how and why, but please understand this is not a 'flash in the pan' conclusion so much as something that I am drawing from a good deal of role playing background, so I may be resistant to something that appears, to me at least, to be a straightforward application of what I am proposing.
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Old 05-02-2016, 12:32 AM   #12
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Default Re: GURPS PC 'roles'- a thought on pen and paper role playing in general

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Originally Posted by starslayer View Post
??

I don't want to seem hostile, but did you read the list- Resource control specifically referencing almost every one of the items you listed are item 5 under Social interaction?

As for the archetypes, again I'm not sure I follow- these are intended to be the roles that PCs/players fill, not the sole definer of what they do- I even mentioned that most PCs will be in multiple roles, so;

Rogue- Murder (Sneak attacks), survival (stealth), support (Mundane skills like traps)

Protector- Survival(taking hits), Support(pulling agro)

Comic Relief- Social, Survival, Support (debuffs through things like Rapier wit)
No hostility intended. I read your post, your categories are different to how character roles are loosely described in the GURPS characters basic book. I wanted to understand how they matched up with your ideas.
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Old 05-02-2016, 12:33 AM   #13
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Default Re: GURPS PC 'roles'- a thought on pen and paper role playing in general

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A lot of these are redundant or just ways of murdering things. Murder is just a way of solving a problem. Social interaction also falls under problem solving, and what doesn't obviously fall immediately under the umbrella of problem-solving in survival are generally aids to murder. Support is another category that is mostly aids to murder.
I'm not sure I agree.

Murder is a way of getting things dead- which is often a desired end result in both life and role playing, and is sometimes a means to an end.

Social interaction is just that- dealing with others, it differs from problem solving in that problem solving is personal your rolling on YOUR search/chemistry/traps skill, rather than trying to convince someone to do something.

Support is literally that, it will generally boost (or penalize) any one of the other 4 categories. Healing boosts survival, cursing boosts anything that deals with others.

Real life example: I had an infestation of rats (farm land, fact of life). I used problem solving to do some research on the internet and learn about my rodent invaders. I used some more problem solving to go around the outside of the house and reinforce the roof/soffit connections where ice heaving had made the gaps wide enough for the creatures to get in. Then I used more problem solving to actually patch those holes. I still had rats in the house, but more could not get in.

Now I switched to murder (indirect- poison), and when that failed Murder (indirect- traps), a few times I had to switch to murder (Ranged- indirect engagement) and once I even had to do Murder (Direct engagement- close up; stomping)

All that murder meant that I had to do more problem solving (cleanup and sterilization), and when I realized the attempts to poison the rats had failed problem solving to get rid of the poison.

Survival fortunately never played into it (Unless perhaps you count that direct engagement- close up; stomping as having required some type of resistance roll to not have gotten sick from the result)

I also did some social interaction when I called experts to make sure I was on the right path, and the wife provided some much needed support when I had to do unpleasant things like mop up blood and sterilize the area.

Had my rather mundane life been converted into a full campaign I would have used 3 or 4 of my 5 items encompassing research, prof skill (household repair), traps, Guns (Air rifle), Knife, brawling, prof skill (cleaning), diplomacy/public speaking, and leveraging my average wealth to buy all of the things I needed.

My wife would have been using her own problem solving skills to analyze my ideas and tell me which ones were really crazy, and her social skills to explain that to me as well as give me positive encouragement and support during the more unpleasant parts of the endeavor.

That'd be a thoroughly boring campaign- but I think it nicely shows how I think all of this comes together.
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Old 05-02-2016, 12:59 AM   #14
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Default Re: GURPS PC 'roles'- a thought on pen and paper role playing in general

What would scouting for information gathering be under? A sub set of detective work?
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Old 05-02-2016, 01:04 AM   #15
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Default Re: GURPS PC 'roles'- a thought on pen and paper role playing in general

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I am very not sure I agree.

Given your political game set in roman times- it will never be useful or applicable that being able to mix/deliver poison will be a good thing? (murder- indirect). It will never be applicable that you have resistance to poison or disease (survival)? It will never be useful to support one of your fellow senators via whatever skills you have? Senators will never have to use there own deductive reasoning to figure out situations (problem solving)? They will all obviously have some social traits, and likely divide up multiple sub-types from there as a focus from the game, but I still think my categories encompass the type of activities that would take place in any game.

If you believe I am wrong I legitimately want to hear how and why, but please understand this is not a 'flash in the pan' conclusion so much as something that I am drawing from a good deal of role playing background, so I may be resistant to something that appears, to me at least, to be a straightforward application of what I am proposing.
You can thrust your model onto anything, of course, in the same way that many D&Ders find a way to turn every game into D&D. You can turn a roman political scenario into a roman spy/agent scenario where gameplay turns more on knives in the dark than on understanding the law, more on uncovering hidden plans than on setting up exquisite logistics, but then you aren't actually playing the game I propose. You're going back to your model, using it, and then saying "It can do anything." And because you cannot see that it's different, this is why I say you have a "Fish doesn't know its in water" problem.

Have you played Nobilis? Most of the proposed roles wouldn't fit or work there. In Legends of the Wulin, essentially everyone is just "a fighter," but the roles are more about how they fight. In Maid, your roles are "Cool" or "Sexy" or "Cute" rather than "Fighter, Mage or Thief." Quite a few explicitly narrativist RPGs turn on roles based on genre, and amount to something more akin to a story-telling game than an action game.

Consider a game that focuses on a high-school soap opera crossed with your family drama, where gameplay and choices turn more on handling your schedule/schoolwork and on moral choices you make. Consider a game about corporate lawyers, where gameplay turns around understanding the law, the numbers, and on forming temporary business alliances to move ahead. Consider a game about fantasy chefs with competing restaurants in the imperial city, where they all struggle to have the most exotic dishes full of the most interesting monsters that they need to, somehow, acquire and cook. Gameplay would almost certainly turn on some level of DF-style dungeon-crawling, but you'd also need to create niches for different cooking styles.

This is why the template book doesn't say "Oh, here's the only 20 or so niches that matter," because it doesn't work that way. What you're describing is the sort of game you particularly like or have a lot of experience with, but you're trying to say that it represents something universal or fundamental, and it doesn't.
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Old 05-02-2016, 02:46 AM   #16
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Default Re: GURPS PC 'roles'- a thought on pen and paper role playing in general

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Theres some rats in the cellar oh chosen one.
That was one helluva cool campaign description there. Not even kidding :D
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Old 05-02-2016, 06:03 AM   #17
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Default Re: GURPS PC 'roles'- a thought on pen and paper role playing in general

I have occasionally used 'killing things', 'not getting killed by things', 'finding things to kill', and 'misc'
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Old 05-02-2016, 06:16 AM   #18
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Default Re: GURPS PC 'roles'- a thought on pen and paper role playing in general

A 'Healer Role' presupposes that A - People will get hurt and B - they won't conveniently healtthemselves
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Old 05-02-2016, 06:25 AM   #19
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Default Re: GURPS PC 'roles'- a thought on pen and paper role playing in general

I don't think you can set up this kind of model for RPGs in general - there are too many varieties of games... but I do think that this kind of thinking is important before setting up a game. In order for every player to get their chance to participate, the game must address the capabilities of each PC. And the players and the GM has to take care that the PC's roles do not overlap too much, so that dominant players don't take over the game and solve all problems while the less dominant players sit off on the side.
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Old 05-02-2016, 10:18 AM   #20
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Default Re: GURPS PC 'roles'- a thought on pen and paper role playing in general

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A 'Healer Role' presupposes that A - People will get hurt and B - they won't conveniently healtthemselves
Healer is a sub role, it's how you provide support, there role itself is still support the party, healing is just a way to do that.

But it is a good point that PCs may well have there own survival include rapid injury recovery, which would invalidate a 'healer' support role.
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