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Old 09-27-2017, 12:58 PM   #1
Taliesin
 
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Default Advice for new players thread.

There's a lot of good advice for new players in the box. BUT old hand know tricks that didn't fit in the word count. I'm not the biggest GURPS-head here but I'm gonna go first...

1. If your template has any one point advantages you should almost always take them. They are generally central to the way the character is designed to play. Most of them are also the best bang for the buck in the game.

2. If your template allows you to take combat reflexes you should.

3. Pumping up skill levels beyond a certain point produces diminishing returns. A broader base of abilities will make your character more useful and more fun to play.

Now everyone else chime in with their best "learned in play" advice.
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Old 09-27-2017, 01:04 PM   #2
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Default Re: Advice for new players thread.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Taliesin View Post
2. If your template allows you to take combat reflexes you should.
See also: Luck
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Old 09-27-2017, 01:09 PM   #3
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Default Re: Advice for new players thread.

I recommend playing a pregenerated character the first time. That way you get a feel for how the mechanics work and how each thing comes into play.

Even if it's not your preferred profession, you need to see what you're getting into. Especially if you're going to play a caster or support role.
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Old 09-28-2017, 06:22 AM   #4
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Default Re: Advice for new players thread.

Players:

1) Play a character, not a number. Very early in the character creation process, you should develop a sense of who your character is. Use that insight to guide your character creation decisions as well as your choices in play. Don't spend your time trying to figure out what the optimal mathematical option is. Real characters have strengths and flaws, and real drama comes from characters having to do things even when they aren't experts.

2) There's nothing wrong with pre-generated characters. They're legitimate adventurers, and they enable you to start playing quickly. Go for it!

3) Pick one or two options as your go-to combat choices. As you are learning the system, especially if your character has lots of combat abilities, it can be helpful to focus on doing one or two things and knowing the rules for those things solidly. As you get comfortable, you can expand your use of various options.

GMs:

1) Ultimately, RPGs are about choices and consequences. Put the PCs in situations that give them meaningful choices and make those choices have results that impact the game.

Choices can be about direction (do we search for traps or race after the guards?) or about method (should we search for traps by looking around or casting spells?). Consequences can be in terms of what further options are available (you looked for traps, now you can do try to disable or avoid this trap but you can't chase after the guards anymore) or resources used (you chased after the guards, so now you have fewer FP available).

When you ask the players what to do, quickly check that there are at least two options available and make sure each has a consequence. Sometimes, you can even say those things explicitly to your players ("You can try to chase after the guards, but you'll have to exert yourself to catch up, or you can slow down and search for traps but the guards may escape.") You are never limited to what you say; players can always be creative. You just need to make sure you have at least two meaningful choices with consequences.

2) Use generic modifiers whenever you're not sure what the rule is exactly. You're not quite sure how illuminated the target is when there's torchlight but the target is just outside the glow? It's really hard to hit: call it -6 and get on with the game. What's interesting is the choices players make and the consequences of those choices, not what the exact sequence of modifiers is.

Remember that you can't really get this part wrong. Whenever the dice are rolled, there's a chance that characters will succeed and a chance they will fail. All you're doing is shifting what those odds are. As long as you're making reasonable judgment calls, the dice are more important than your difficulty estimates.
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Old 09-28-2017, 08:19 PM   #5
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Default Re: Advice for new players thread.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Taliesin View Post
1. If your template has any one point advantages you should almost always take them. They are generally central to the way the character is designed to play. Most of them are also the best bang for the buck in the game.
Similarly, one point in a skill matters more than it seems. Take Swimming. With a HT of 12, one point gets a 12 skill. The default is 8. That's a jump of four points in skill for one point. You'll never see a better return on an investment of one point. Also, having even low skill greatly improves your survivability if the skill becomes relevant. If the water-filled pit trap gets you, you're at -2 for every level of encumbrance. If you have medium encumbrance, the default skill, and HT 12, your skill is 4. You have a 1.85% chance of success. With that one point, you have skill 8 and a 25.92% chance of success. That's a big difference.

So don't overlook those 1-point skills, especially the everyman skills.
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Old 09-30-2017, 02:20 PM   #6
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Default Re: Advice for new players thread.

Don't sweat the rules in GURPS combat, but remember it's second-by-second. By this I mean to describe what you're doing in terms of real-world actions rather than GURPS rules minutiae, but be aware that you're not likely to do the whole super-cool action this turn.
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Old 10-02-2017, 05:15 PM   #7
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Default Re: Advice for new players thread.

Two pieces of advice that are needed for a third:

1. Pay attention when its not your turn, keeping track of the changing situation. Use this time and knowledge to prepare for your turn - this way you're ready to go when your turn comes up and you can spend your time on doing cool things rather than umming and errring as you look things up and figure out where that orc you wanted to stab went on his turn.

2. Your fellow players are also part of the entertainment. Take pleasure in their playstyle, celebrate their successes, and commiserate with them in their failures.

You'll find that "only" having a seconds worth of actions at a time is pretty good if you're scheming and cheering when it's not actually your turn. The turns go quickly anyways when everyone's been paying attention and has their action ready :)
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Old 10-02-2017, 06:07 PM   #8
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Default Re: Advice for new players thread.

Dr Kromm's Everyman Skills are a damned good list:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kromm View Post
Relying on defaults -- whatever the game system calls them -- is rarely fun. In GURPS, I hint that certain skills are necessary for adventurers, true action heroes or not, to keep the story flowing without annoying breaks caused by PCs being incompetent at tasks that adventure fiction commonly treats as "everyman" skills:
  • Carousing, Diplomacy, Fast-Talk, or Interrogation -- Eventually, everybody wants to interrogate NPCs. I'm generous about what skills work, but some skill is required.

  • Climbing, Hiking, and Stealth -- The party is only as good at these things as its worst party member, and nearly every party has to move around as a unit at some point.

  • Driving or Riding -- Travel is vital to adventure, and while "every hero can drive/ride a horse" is often assumed, it isn't automatic in games that have skills for these things.

  • First Aid -- Effective bandaging isn't an unskilled activity, AD&D notwithstanding. Non-action heroes often want to do this to "contribute" to party combat effectiveness, so they especially need this skill.

  • Gesture -- Sooner or later, communication without making a sound will be vital to almost any party's survival.

  • Observation, Scrounging, or Search -- Noticing interesting things takes training, and finding clues and useful items is so central to adventures that no PC should lack at least basic training here.

  • Savoir-Faire or Streetwise -- Everybody came from somewhere. It's passing annoying when a player just assumes that her PC would "get on with folks in her element" without having any practical social skills to back up the assumption.
I further suggest -- strongly -- that action heroes have this list as well:
  • Axe/Mace, Broadsword, Knife, Shortsword, or Staff -- Wielding a stick, knife, or heavy tool to any real effect requires practice. These common improvised weapons are not idiot-proof, trivial, or safe to use without training.

  • Beam Weapons, Bow, Crossbow, or Guns -- However easy "point and shoot" looks, it's quite tough in reality. No credible action hero lacks competency at all ranged combat.

  • Boxing, Brawling, or Karate -- Fisticuffs are the worst place to be untrained. Your fists are the only weapons you always have, so learn to use them.

  • Forced Entry -- No, it isn't easy to kick in a door. Actually, unless you know how, you'll hurt yourself.

  • Holdout -- "Concealable" equipment only works if you have skill at concealment, and frustratingly few players realize this.

  • Judo, Sumo Wrestling, or Wrestling -- The number of people who think they should be able to grab others automatically is astounding. In fact, this is a difficult feat, trickier than hitting people, and absolutely requires training.

  • Throwing -- Whether you're tossing spare magazines to friends or grenades at enemies, this is a trained skill, so it pays to know it.
I think that players would be far less unhappy about surprises if more GMs made lists like this and did everything possible to get players to take them seriously. A PC with Brawling, Fast-Talk, Forced Entry, Holdout, Knife, Scrounging, Stealth, and Wrestling should be able to make and conceal a shiv, overpower a guard, steal his clothes, sneak away from the scene, talk his way past the other guards, and leave through an inadequately bolted back door.


My personal contribution?

Always have rope. Every one in the party needs to have at least 10 yards of rope on them. Minimum.
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Old 10-02-2017, 10:24 PM   #9
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Default Re: Advice for new players thread.

Quote:
Originally Posted by evileeyore View Post
Dr Kromm's Everyman Skills are a damned good list:





My personal contribution?

Always have rope. Every one in the party needs to have at least 10 yards of rope on them. Minimum.
<Mod> A reminder, since not every skill on this list is included in the Dungeon Fantasy RPG to try to keep information in the Dungeon Fantasy RPG subforum to what is in the box only.

Try to keep GURPS and the Dungeon Fantasy RPG separate please.
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Old 10-03-2017, 08:03 AM   #10
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Default Re: Advice for new players thread.

Marching order: You probably want to put the fastest person at the back, rather than the front, and the slowest person at the front, not somewhere else.

Reasoning:
  • The group will always be marching at the rate of the slowest character, so he can't "hold the group up" any more than usual if he's leading.
  • If the slow guy is at the back when you find trouble in front, he's going to be starting the fight five to ten yards further away; you'd never make the slowest runner run a *longer* race, don't do it in the Dungeon.
  • The rest of the party is likely to hit the enemy front lines several turns before the slow guy can clank his way to the fight scene - not only is that not very fun for the slow guy, it means you're down one person for the fight!
  • If something happens that you need the guy at the back up front, the fast character can get there, well, fast. The slow character will take forever.
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