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vicky_molokh 06-28-2007 09:09 AM

(Unofficial) FAQ of the GURPS Fora
Greetings, all!

This thread contains a collection of questions and answer that come up with a noteworthy frequency either on the forum or in the wider GURPS community, or that carry very significant implications that they're worth posting pre-emptively. They're not necessarily well-sorted, and are unwieldy to organise into neat categories despite prior attempts. So search this thread by terms of art relevant to your question.

NOTICE: I'm removing those uFAQ entries that are already in the oFAQ. So the uFAQ will start looking thinner. However, it will still be used for frequent answers that did not yet get into the oFAQ (as it's updated once a month, and with a delay).

EDIT: From now on, all updates will be posted in the end of the thread as regular posts before inclusion into the oFAQ (if they're deemed important enough).

Possibly-useful read: Before you start using GURPS - READ THIS FIRST.

If you feel there are important Krommquotes that should be added here, PM me.

Kromm 06-28-2007 10:06 AM

Re: (Unofficial) FAQ of the GURPS Fora
And I hereby give permission to anybody who feels industrious to copy my rules Q&A posts and paste them into a handy document, provided they leave them intact.

Added March 21, 2008: It is important to know what assumptions I am nearly always making in my rulings, which form the basis of many FAQ items. For the record, I assume these things (and this list will doubtless grow):
  • You are playing GURPS Fourth Edition ("4e"). We no longer support earlier editions. In general, if you are not sure that something from an earlier edition works the same way in 4e, assume that it does not and ask how it works.

  • You are in a game with a GM. GURPS does not really support PvP or referee-less gaming; most of its rules require significant judgment calls by a GM. My answers should be read as "If you are the GM . . ." or "As a player, you should ask your GM . . .".

  • House rules, however popular or "more sensible," are not official or supported in any way. If you get into trouble with house rules, I may not be able to help you much. ;)

  • You are at least aware that there are books called Magic, Martial Arts, and Powers that significantly expand on character abilities, and that for the most part, gamers assume that you will be using these works.

  • Where not explicitly noted otherwise, PCs are built on 150 points with no more than -75 points in disadvantages, and are subject to the attribute and secondary characteristic maxima on pp. B14-18. Different assumptions should really be stated (although it is safe to assume 250 points for Dungeon Fantasy discussions and 500 points for Supers discussions).

  • You are allowing all traits except those marked "exotic" (alien-head icon) or "supernatural" (lightning-bolt icon) in your campaign -- including cinematic ones, like Gizmos and Signature Gear, unless the discussion has already established that these are effectively "exotic" or "supernatural" in context.

  • You are allowing any traits marked "exotic" or "supernatural" that suit genres that traditionally use these. For instance, fantasy mages can have at least Magery 3 and supers can have Innate Attack.

vicky_molokh 06-28-2007 11:04 PM

(u)FAQ: Advantages and Powers, part 2

How do I build the ability to transfer FP from myself to others?

Originally Posted by Kromm
You can come close simply by taking Healing, allowing one of the FP-healing modifiers for Regeneration (Heals FP Only -0% or Heals FP +100%), and simply ruling that the rate is 1:1 because 2:1 would be abusive.

Why is a Fatigue Attack the most expensive Innate Attack? It doesn't even kill targets!

Originally Posted by Rev. Pee Kitty
To summarize:

1. Remember that knocking someone out lets you kill them easily. Bearing that in mind, it should be clear that the ability to capture or kill someone is a whole lot more useful than the ability to only kill someone.

2. Any kewl powerz rely on FP for power or at least extra effort. On top of the above, Fatigue Attack lets you deprive your foe of the juice he needs for his powerz.

3. Bricks, elephants, supers, and so on, typically have many more HP than they do FP. A Fatigue Attack will bring such an opponent down much easier and faster than any other Innate Attack will.

And there ya go. Try building and running (in a game) some PCs with both, and you'll find that the one with the Fatigue Attack uses it all the time and accomplishes more, while the one with (e.g.) Impaling Attack uses it more rarely and in more specific situations. This demonstrates utility.

Oh, and too much FP damage does kill.

When weapons have a minimum ST requirement, can I add Arm ST, Lifting ST, and/or Striking ST to my ST for this purpose?

Originally Posted by PK (Post 1182696)
Arm ST always helps if it applies to all arms necessary to use the weapon. It's rather useful! If you have a two-handed weapon, however, and only one arm has the Arm ST, it doesn't help at all; always use the "weakest link."

Lifting ST helps with non-muscle-powered weapons, like firearms. The ST requirement for these weapons is primarily due to their mass, and Lifting ST helps with that. Their standard operation requires you to hold them steady, not to swing or a stab with them dynamically. (With some weapons, like heavy-recoil slugthrowers, Striking ST could be argued to help, but this kickback is still less of an issue than the weapon's mass -- thus, always use Lifting ST.)

Striking ST helps with muscle-powered weapons, from swords to thrown daggers to bows. The ST requirement for these weapons is primarily due to the need to use them dynamically -- you have to be able to swing, thrust, or pull with great force, which is what Striking ST is all about. (To some degree, Lifting ST could be argued to help, as it allows you to more easily support the weapon, but that's less of an issue than the need to attack with the weapon -- thus, always use Striking ST.)

So note that you can combine ST, Arm ST, and one of Lifting ST or Striking ST for the purpose of meeting a weapon's minimum ST requirement -- but you'll never combine Lifting ST and Striking ST.

vicky_molokh 06-30-2007 01:30 AM


If I have a Reach-1 weapon, and I'm attacked by a Reach-C enemy, can I Parry...
...while Retreating?
...while the enemy enters my hex?

Yes and yes. Otherwise, somewhere in Martial Arts there is a passage that allows Parrying Reach-C attacks with Reach-1 weapons at a penalty even while in Close Combat.

How do I scale weapons for large creatures?

Originally Posted by Kromm
We'll probably cover this in a future book, but our math at the time we were writing the Basic Set 4e made it clear that there were no simple rules. The problem is that the same SM can give very different surface areas, and SM doesn't reliably have a whole lot to do with ST and arm length. Thus, we'd need a set of rules that could cover many body morphologies and builds, which would be far too complex for something called the BASIC Set.

A quick-and-dirty approach for armor might be:

1. Find height in yards from SM using the table on p. B19.

2. Assume that minimum ST for that height is 5 x height in yards, as is done for Growth on p. B58.

3. Work out the Basic Lift (BL) for this minimum ST.

4. Since ST corresponds to height, ST^2 corresponds to area. Because BL is simply a multiple of ST^2, you can scale armor -- which covers your area -- with BL. Simply multiply armor cost and weight by BL/20, where "BL" is the BL for the minimum ST above and 20 is human-average BL.

Example: An SM +1 creature is on average 9' tall; that is, three yards tall. Minimum ST for that height is 5 x 3 = 15. BL for ST 15 is 45, so armor cost and weight scale by a factor of 45/20 = 2.25. A $500, 18-lb. breastplate becomes $1,125 and 40.5 lbs.

Weapons are more troublesome, because they don't all scale the same way and because materials limit useful dimensions. Still, if you naively assume that a weapon has to scale with its user in all dimensions -- so that it can deliver his full striking force -- then a really dirty way to treat weapons is to scale with (minimum ST)^3/1,000, since ST scales with height and normal human ST^3 = 1,000.

Example: Our 9' creature has minimum ST 15, so his weapons scale by a factor of 15^3/1,000 = 3.375. A $500, 3-lb. broadsword becomes $1,690 and 10.2 lbs.

The ST stat of weapons should just scale with the minimum user ST. For instance, a normal broadsword needs ST 10, so a big one like this needs ST 15. It also requires SM +1 or it's going to be too overbalanced to use. That's not a ST issue but an issue of hand size. A ST 15 man would need to use two hands! Remember that the maximum effective ST to use a weapon is three times its ST stat, so our example sword maxes out at ST 45 instead of ST 30.

Damage is hard to judge; most of the extra damage comes from the user being really strong. And of course with a higher ST stat, the maximum effective ST can be a lot higher, too. Still, some damage comes from weapon weight. I'd cop out and just add (scale factor - 1) to damage. So that broadsword would get 3.375 - 1 = 2.375, or +2, damage. That's swing+3 cut/thrust+3 cr.

If a character is firing a ranged weapon at a target below them how do you figure out the range penalty?
Specifically, is it is just the range penalty based on linear range-(height/2) (min. 1/2 linear range) or do you also apply the penalty based on the difference in height?

Originally Posted by Kromm
Linear range minus the height factor, subject to the listed limits. I'd
say that half height is the minimum range, if you're shooting straight

So how many attacks can a character make in a turn, maximum?

Originally Posted by Kromm
Number of Attacks = 1 + Extra Attack Level +1 if All-Out Attack (Double)

E.g. 1: A human with no Extra Attack has 1 + 0 + 0 = 1 attack normally, or 1 + 0 + 1 = 2 attacks with All-Out Attack (Double).

E.g. 2: A dragon with Extra Attack 3 has 1 + 3 + 0 = 4 attacks normally, or 1 + 3 + 1 = 5 attacks with All-Out Attack (Double).

In addition, one can swap one and only one of those attacks for either a Rapid Strike (or Combination) or a Dual-Weapon Attack.

Note that Altered Time Rate effectively provides you with extra turns for the purpose of the above calculation!

Q: How obvious are negative status effects, such as being stunned, to opponents in combat?

Originally Posted by Kromm (Post 1063800)
The following results in combat are obvious without any dice rolling:
  • Knocked back.
  • Knocked down.
  • Stunned; the heart attack mortal condition; and the agony, choking, daze, and ecstasy incapacitating conditions.
  • Crippled.
  • Hallucinating incapacitating condition.
  • Retching incapacitating condition.
  • Seizure incapacitating condition.
  • Dead; unconscious; the coma mortal condition; and the paralysis, sleep, and unconsciousness incapacitating conditions.
However, it would require a Concentrate maneuver and a skill roll to distinguish between two conditions on the same line above in a fight (stunned vs. daze, dead vs. merely unconscious, etc.). Ditto to distinguish between two causes of the same condition (knocked down by failed HT roll vs. knocked down by failed DX roll, mental vs. physical stun, etc.). And ditto to identify shock (the penalty due to injury), irritating conditions (coughing/sneezing, drowsy, drunk, euphoria, nauseated, pain, or tipsy), or wounds (missing 1 HP vs. missing 4 HP, etc.).

I would allow several skills to work here. Diagnosis is obvious, but other possibilities might be Body Language (to notice shock, tell types of stun apart, etc.), Physiology, Streetwise (to spot drunk, euphoria, etc., and to distinguish ecstasy/daze due to drugs from combat stun), and anything else the player convinced me made sense. For instance, I'd let a boxer make a Per-based Boxing roll to assess the results of his beating. The important part is the turn spent scrutinizing the target, not the skill. I'd probably give a bonus equal in size to the largest relevant penalty to notice irritating conditions and shock, too; drunk, with -4 to self-control rolls, would be +4 to spot, compared to +2 for tipsy. Likewise, -4 in shock would give +4.

However, the simple answer about stun is, "Yes, it's obvious when somebody is stunned." In general, if somebody wants to fake still being stunned (or any other status above), the onus is on him to win a Quick Contest vs. observers' IQ or relevant skill.

Q: How do Darkness and general Vision penalties affect Active Defences?
A: By RAW basic rules, they don't. However, if you prefer to change that, here's a less official but still coherent way to handle them:

Originally Posted by Kromm (Post 783710)
[ . . . ] Darkness penalties amount to DX and Per penalties for tasks with a vision component, and DX penalties affect DX-based skills. Thus, if you're at -N to DX, you have -N to combat skills, which means -N/2 to defenses. I'd also apply this to Dodge, for consistency's sake.

vicky_molokh 06-30-2007 11:10 AM

(u)FAQ: Chargen, part 1

My archer is too slow! How do I make him as effective as mêlée fighters?
Historically, archers never engaged enemies the same way swordfighters did. This was exactly because, realistically, archers can't shoot as frequently as one can swing a sword. GURPS tries to handle things realistically, most of the time. If you want a Legolas-style archer, build it the way you build other non-realistic characters: take either Innate Attack with modifiers, or the Heroic Archer advantage from the upcoming MA. As a last resort, load up on Fast-Draw (Arrow) and don't aim in combat (which doesn't net good results unless you have very high skill though).

Also, check this too.

GURPS offers so many possibilities! How do I choose what skills are essential for my character?
Aside from the skills descibed for your Character Type (B12-13), here is a list of skills that come in handy for a mixed campaign. For more specialized campaigns, it is recommended that the GM modifies the list as appropriate.

How do I measure the difficulty of enemies/bosses/monsters by point totals (compared to PCs' totals)?
You don't. Balance and combat difficulty depend on combat skills, damage output, defenses etc. Point totals have little to do with that, unless you compare two 'pure' warriors (all points go to attributes and combat skills/advantages). For instance, you can have a 300-point king (Wealth, Rank etc.) and a 75-point assassin. Naturally, face-to-face, the assassin has a pretty good shot at taking the king down.
See also:
What does ST 0, exactly, mean in game terms?
ST 0 means you have Basic Lift 0 and can pick up nothing. If you have any encumbrance at all, even a gum wrapper, you collapse under its weight. You also have 0 damage, and can't even shove a door open or push aside a cobweb. However, you can walk and act, as long as your walking and acting doesn't involve doing anything other than moving your own body weight from A to B. Thus, air and fire elementals (p. B262) can have ST 0 without being immobilized, but can also be kept out by any barrier they can't penetrate by seeping around or burning. Note that overcoming air resistance, under normal circumstances, is considered negligible for game balance purposes.

What does DX 0, exactly, mean in game terms?
DX 0 mostly means that you have no useful ability to do anything DX-based at which you're not a dyed-in-the-wool, committed-to-muscle-memory master. At DX 0, even the most routine tasks that require DX rolls at +10 are a coin toss -- 10 or less -- so things that the GM normally waives rolls for now require rolls and fail half the time. Thus, the implied shove attack vs. a door or grapple attack vs. a doorknob, at +10 for utter simplicity and normally ignored, is now a 10 or less roll. You have a 50/50 chance of missing the door and fumbling around for a turn! Hurling yourself at the broad side of a barn has a 50% chance of failure, too, with a miss meaning you probably fell down trying to do it.
Default skill use is doomed. Your default level -- not penalty, but level! -- is -4 (E), -5 (A), or -6 (H) with DX-based skills. Under stress, you fail. Even in perfect circumstances with a +10, you have 6, 5, or 4, fail most of the time, and critically fail on 16+, 15+, or 14+. (Remember, you only get to try to roll a 3 or 4 on a defense!) This has important implications for people using, say, Driving by default, or recreationally shooting at their Guns default.

What does IQ 0, exactly, mean in game terms?
IQ 0 means you're a rutabaga. Per p. B15, at IQ 0, you're mindless and unable to act without somebody possessing you and operating you via remote control. You need at least IQ 1 to have a self and be able to perceive and act at all, which includes grunting and making gestures. You need at least IQ 6 to use tools and language -- that is, to talk, wield weapons, etc. A human afflicted with -5 to IQ (making him IQ 5) is essentially a gorilla. A human hit with -10 to IQ (making him IQ 0) is essentially a mindless clone body waiting to be possessed.

What does HT 0, exactly, mean in game terms?
What HT 0 means is that your HT roll is against 0. Almost all crippling injuries will be "lasting," and about half will be "permanent"; any major wound in combat is likely to knock you out (failing "0 or less" by five or more is about 98% likely); almost any lethal wound in combat will kill you (unless you roll 3-6, see the (o)FAQ); and afflictions, diseases, poisons, etc., will have their way with you. If you're at HT 0 for a long time, failed HT rolls to recover HP and resist the ravages of aging will kill you eventually. However, HT 0 doesn't mean instant death or even an instant coma . . . it just means inevitable infirmity, illness, decrepitude, and death unless you live in a bubble.
Also, mostly on machines: Numerous rules say, "Roll vs. HT or bust!" If a machine suffers enough damage to break down (p. B483) or fall apart (p. B484), is exposed to harsh conditions that could foul it (p. B485), is cinematically redlined (the "extra effort" option on p. 160 of Powers), is Fragile (esp. combustible, explosive, or flammable, p. B136) and exposed to damage that can trigger special injury effects, is Electrical and receives a dose of radiation (p. B436) or an electrical surge (p. 102 of Powers), is a vehicle that suffers a severe body hit that can cause power failure (p. B554), or needs to make a "structural integrity check" for any reason (to see if a rope snaps, a seal holds, etc.), then HT 0 means that, except by blind luck (a roll of 3-4), it is doomed to fail and come apart like a cheap toy.

What should I do if I want an Ally who can conjure/summon/create minions of some sort? NPCs don't pay points for Allies...
At this point, it becomes an important supernatural ability (esp. due to being summonable). So yeah, this is the exception when NPCs pay for their Allies.
(Duplicated in Powers and Advantages.)

When I want realistic, non-heroic characters, how do I benchmark their stats/traits/skills/etc.?
Link to a long post.

I want an ability that costs FP or HP to use, but the ability consists of several Advantages; how do I allocate the FP/HP cost limitation?
For those familiar with the problem, here's a solution from Kromm:
First, do not buy a Link unless the ability really needs it (see below).
Second, chose an Advantage that gets the best discount for FP/HP Cost Limitation. Now, add Accessibility (Only while that main Advantage is active) -10% to all other Advantages in the ability. Unlike switchability (of any sort), Accessibility doesn't require separate Ready manoeuvres to turn on the Advantage, so it just flips on once it is accessible.

Exceptions (Switchable): Static, Mana Damper, and other Advantages with a non-10% Switchable price still need to take the Switchable enhancement to benefit from this build; this makes them have a net cost of 190%. Otherwise, either the Accessibility or the FP/HP/ER cost have a free Switchability included.

Exceptions (Link): links are needed for transient abilities, like Shapeshifting, Attacks (incl. Binding and Afflictions) or other 'special' cases. In fact, Linking them at +10% level actually prevents you from using them unlinked (and thus negates the right to buy the -10% Accessibility).

Limbs with the Long enhancement vs. Stretching:
Why are long limbs, at some point, more expensive than Stretching?
What's the point of buying many long limbs instead of a single instance of Stretching and some Swing-only Striking ST?

For one, Stretching requires a turn of Ready per SM change per limb to activate. And no, you can't circumvent that by taking Always On: that makes as much sense as Always On Shrinking or Growth.
Second, Stretching doesn't provide one benefit of Long limbs:
Long limbs get their HP multiplied by their linear size, as appropriate for their relative SM. E.g. a SM+1 limb gets ×1.5, an SM+2 one gets HP×2, an SM+6 gets ×10. Do not forget that limbs have a ×½ multiplier relative to body HP by default (e.g. 5 HP for a 10-HP character).

I can't find the Reduced Duration limitation! What gives?
By RAP it doesn't exist. But!..

Originally Posted by Kromm
Maybe -10% for 1/3 duration, -15% for 1/6 duration, -20% for 1/10 duration, -25% for 1/20 duration, -30% for 1/30 duration, -35% for 1/60 duration, -40% for 1/100 duration, etc. About 1/3 off for going from minutes to seconds seems quite fair.

Should animals (IQ<6) receive points for Dead Broke? After all, they don't for Low TL/Dyslexia . . .

Originally Posted by Kromm
Animals being designed as characters do, for the purpose of point value, receive Wealth (Dead Broke) [-25].

Gunslinger is overpriced! I'm better off dumping points into skills! But why?
Gunslinger is worth the price, most of the time:

Originally Posted by Kromm
Being able to overlook up to -8 in Bulk when running about with sniper rifles and machine guns is also handy, and supports the "32 points of skills" interpretation; this is added functionality, to appear in High-Tech. As well, [...] Gunslinger reduces penalties with some techniques [...] reduces penalties to Fast-Draw. Finally, Gunslinger gives access to cinematic skills, including the new Zen Marksmanship.

Also, oFAQ variant.

vicky_molokh 07-01-2007 04:22 AM

(u)FAQ: CharGen, part 2
Is there a Grand Unified List of Frequency of Occurances of various entities?

Originally Posted by Kromm
Remember that things like "Common," "Occasional," and "Rare" are shorthand for "Common as an attack," "An occasionally encountered creature," and "Rare as an environmental condition." They are pegged to the context of specific advantages and disadvantages. Use, say, the rarities set for Detect or Neutralize with DR at your peril.

How do I build DR vs. Everything Except Y?

Originally Posted by Kromm
My general feeling is that DR with a "hole" against something ought to get -15% for a Very Common flaw, -10% for a Common one, -5% for an Occasional one, and just be a quirk for a Rare one.

There's Extra Attack, but what about Extra Parry and Extra Block?
A.k.a. Why I can make a multiattacking catgirl, but not a multiblocking turtleboy?

Short answer: you can't, because then the ability to parry/block repeatedly [sic] wouldn't be useful, and it would do funny things to the multi-parry/multi-block modifiers' depndence on Fencing weapons and TbaM/WM. But there's an interesting alternative:

Originally Posted by Kromm
There is no "Extra Defense" advantage that you could then modify with, say, Independent or some other modifier that would make it hands-free. However, you get one additional block or parry per hand, regardless of number of hands or number of attacks, so that's where the solution can be found. Try this:
Extra Arm 1 (Force Extension, +50%; Shield Mount, -80%) [7]
Force Extension is stolen from Stretching; see Powers, p. 78. In this case, it gives you a visible limb of force that can't be injured.

Shield Mount is by analogy to Weapon Mount. If being restricted to mounting and using one weapon is -80%, the same should go for any other dedicated-purpose limb.

You can make it invisible with No Signature, if that's important to you. I don't see how it's worthwhile, but whatever. Since you can always specify special effects for your abilities, why not just say it has the appearance of a glowing shield?

As for the shield itself, I'd allow the arm itself to count as a shield to block -- it's an indestructible force! Use the standard Parry for an arm as your Block score, which is DX/2 + 3. If it needs to be higher, buy Enhanced Block (Mystic Shield) [5/level]. Enhanced Block requires a specialty, and I think this is fairly specialized!

To give, say, a wizard with DX 12 a first-rate Block of 16, you'll want Mystic Shield [7] and Enhanced Block 7 (Mystic Shield) [35]. I'd say that 42 points is a fair price for one sure-fire, stop-anything defense a turn. (Especially when you compare it to Blocking spells . . .)

What can be taken as an Accessory Perk?
Examples follow:

Originally Posted by Kromm
Some things I have considered to be or would consider to be Accessory perks:
  • Calculator (for normal use; pay 2 points for Lightning Calculator to get one you can use while fleeing zombies)
  • Cigarette Lighter
  • Clock (ordinary-quality; pay 2 points for Absolute Timing to get a precision chronometer)
  • First-Aid Kit
  • Hooks (for cargo, towing, whatever)
  • Lamp (each type would be its own perk: flashlight, Gro-Light, rotating police lights, strobe light, UV light, etc.)
  • Laser Pointer
  • Magnifying Lens (×1.5 to ×2)
  • Measuring Device (each would be its own perk: dosimeter, laser level, pH meter, ultrasonic ruler, etc.)
  • Megaphone (= Penetrating Voice)
  • Mirror (each type would be its own perk: funhouse, heliograph, rear-view, etc.)
  • Noisemaker (each type would be its own perk: horn, siren, whistle, etc.)
  • Shades (= Nictitating Membrane 1)
  • Shield (if it occupies a hand in use, can be unreadied, etc., then it isn't an expensive force field, just an Accessory)
  • Sound System (essentially a "theme music" Shtick)
  • Tools (each skill aided would be its own perk: Carpentry, Cooking, Lockpicking, etc.)
  • Tow Cable
  • Tray
  • USB Key
  • Vacuum Cleaner

Machines and other characters with No FP Score and what does it mean
Q: Machines are not listed as having No Sleep; nor is there an explanation how sleep deprivation affects Fatigueless characters. How does it?
A: It has all the usual effects of not sleeping, aside from FP loss. Note that most of the effects of not sleeping aren't FP loss . . . If this makes no sense for a machine, then give it Doesn't Sleep. Most machines do have it; it just isn't universal.

Q: How do Fatigueless characters interact with food or water deprivation? Do they just lose HP, or HT, or do they shutdown immediately? Can they enter suspended animation? What is changed depending on the status of the hunger/endurance feature?
A: Most have Doesn't Eat or Drink. Those that do not and that are undead suffer the effects of Dependency -- generally, Doesn't Eat or Drink is exclusive with that. Those that do not and that are machines simply stop working once they run out of fuel. Suspended animation is only an option if you pay for it as Metabolism Control. Otherwise, you die from injury (in the Dependency case) or shut down (in the fuel case).

Q: Followup question: if machines cannot take Metabolism Control, how is standby mode handled? What about a computer or robot that turns on under specified circumstances (timer, change in power input, strong signal, damage etc.)? Same about other self-diagnostics and direct control of internal systems.
A: That's simply a matter of saying that fuel isn't used until the machine is actually active. It's not any kind of special feature or rule to say that hanging around doing nothing doesn't consume fuel.

Q: How do Fatigueless characters interact with suffocation/choking? Do they just lose HP, or HT, or do they shutdown immediately? How can they be recovered?
A: Generally, things that would deplete FP have no effect at all, while things that would cost HP have the usual effect. That said, all undead and most machines have Doesn't Breathe.

Q: Some traits and skills have a default FP expenditure. Jumper has specific rules, but some traits don't. Can/must I use an Energy Reserve? Must I buy Reduced FP cost only? Can I have some trait or modifier that allows me to use HP instead?
A: All of the options you list are acceptable. Which ones make sense will depend on the character.

Q: What exactly is Redlining? There are some hints of a form of Extra Effort for Fatigueless characters, is that it? Can some ER be used for mundane Extra Effort?
A: See p. 160 of Powers.

Q: Basic mentions that Machines/Fatigueless can always sprint with no negative consequences. What else can be done without losing HT, and what makes a Fatigueless lose HT? (I remember it being HT, not HP; is that correct?)
A: Extra effort is the only thing that runs down HT. Otherwise, most things that cost FP aren't possible unless you have an ER, or somehow tack on Reduced FP Cost or Costs HP. Note, however, that without Doesn't Eat or Drink, machines need fuel and simply stop when they run out. They don't just "get tired" and slow down, like people do.

Q: Do FP Attacks reduce the points in the ER of a Fatigueless character?
A: No. ER isn't FP. Powers is very clear on the fact that things that affect FP don't affect ER. It doesn't matter who owns the ER or how the Fatigue Attack is defined.

Q: Can Fatiguless 'feed' a Leech that turns HP into FP? And what Machines can and can not Leech HP from?
A: If the character has HP, then those HP can be leeched. It isn't important what the person doing the leeching later turns the HP into; that's attacker-side function, and blind to the origin of the leeched stats. Whether one can leech from machines at all is another matter; p. 96 of Powers spells out the special form of Leech you need to drain machines.

Back to general questions . . .

When buying Weapon Master for a limited set, do I specify the skill set or the weapon set?
Is Weapon Master a skill-specific or weapon-specific trait?

Weapon-specific. A Katana master gets the bonus whether she weilds it one- or two-handed, and even if she throws it. OTOH, she uses all other Broadsword-skill weapons as a mundane character.

vicky_molokh 07-03-2007 11:30 PM

What are the reasons to have a Shortsword instead of a big knife? Their thr damage is the same!
A shortsword is still plenty superior to a large knife for your money:
It has +2 cutting damage.
It can stab at reach 1. (Long reach is many times the advantage of close-combat utility, in part because it lets you avoid close combat!)
It isn't at -1 on all parries.
It risks breakage on a parry vs. a 6-lb. weapon instead of vs. a 3-lb. one.

Body Sense says a successful roll allows one to act normally on the next turn after Warp... What about instant Warp (at -10)?
From Body Sense's PoV, the 'next' turn is the one that occurs after Warp. Since an instant Warp doesn't take an Action, your 'next' turn is the one you're entitled to take after the (free-action, at -10) Warp. Thus, you can instant-Warp and do whatever you want immediately after that, provided you make your Warp roll and your Body Sense roll. Full post here.
(Duplicated in Powers and Advantages.)

Where are the lines between various ship skills (Crewman, Shiphandling, Piloting)?

Originally Posted by Kromm
FWIW, when we were designing the rules, our thinking was this:

Crewman is the most basic skill for shipboard activities: "It includes familiarity with 'shipboard life,' knowledge of safety measures, and training in damage control." In space, the relevant Crewman skill is Spacer, "The skill of working with airlocks, docking clamps, hull patches, pressure doors, etc." In peaceful times, when you don't need your crack helmsman, anybody with Spacer can steer the vessel. As the book says, "This skill also lets you steer the vessel . . . it only includes knowledge of how to steer. Specialists handle such activities as plotting courses and operating sensors. These experts report to the captain, who in turn tells you how to maneuver . . . effective skill cannot exceed your captain’s Shiphandling skill."

Piloting is for maneuvering in situations where precise vehicle attitude and/or split-second response matter: "Roll against Piloting for takeoffs and landings, and in any hazardous situation." It's a DX-based skill for a reason! For fighters and other small, tactical vessel, this would be the only vehicle-control skill necessary. For large craft with a bridge, multiple crew, etc., this would be the skill that the helmsman uses in battle, for dodging rocks in a cinematic asteroid field, when entering or leaving spacedock, and to make reentry.

Shiphandling is the skill of being "the master of a large vessel." It comes down to the skill of coordinating other peoples' Electronics Operation, Gunner, Mechanic, Navigation, and Piloting skills so that they can act like a single person with all of those skills rather than as uncoordinated mice. At any time, Spacer can't exceed Shiphandling when a non-pilot takes the helm. Also at any time, Shiphandling is the go-to skill when the GM checks whether the logs are up to date or the ship's permits are in order, or when the CO is looking for mutineers or choosing the best crew for a job. In hazardous situations, roll when encountering hazards in order to coordinate Electronics Operation (Sensors), Navigation, and Piloting so that those crewmen can coordinate efforts without the -2 for doing two things at once. In combat, it's much the same deal, but the roll is probably to ensure that the guy using Piloting gives the lads with Gunner a shot.

The simple version is that all crew need Spacer, systems operators need Electronics Operation, gunners need Gunner, engineers need Mechanic, navigators need Navigation, and helmsmen need Piloting. The commander needs Shiphandling, and all of the above skills will at best work at -2 without somebody with Shiphandling on duty. Many uses of those skills will be capped at Shiphandling, though. A veteran crew with technical skills at 18 might be better off working at 16 without a CO with Shiphandling at 12-14 limiting them to 12-14 . . . but a typical crew with technical skills in the 12-14 range would be better off working at 12-14 with a commander who has 12-14 than at 10-12 without.

The Other Game System© has the Gather Information skill, GURPS doesn't. How do I gather info by GURPS rules?

Originally Posted by Kromm
In GURPS, as in real life, there are dozens of ways to get info using one's skills. It's up to the player to propose and the GM to dispose. A few examples:
  • Administration to glean info from a bureaucrat, either through discussion or by filling out the right forms to request it.
  • Area Knowledge to know where people with useful information hang out so that you can bribe, trick, spy on, or otherwise interact with them.
  • Carousing to buy a few rounds and get information at a pub or a tavern.
  • Current Affairs -- a simple roll will often suffice once you've spent some time catching up on the latest news.
  • Fast-Talk to pry information from somebody who knows what you need to know and who shouldn't talk . . . but who is easily bamboozled.
  • Intelligence Analysis to discover useful info in the reports of people who use these other skills.
  • Interrogation to squeeze information out of somebody you corner or capture.
  • Lip Reading, Observation, Shadowing, Stealth, etc., to spy out information the hard way.
  • Merchant to buy information legally.
  • Politics to glean info from a politician, perhaps by promising cash support or by convincing him that something untoward is going on under his nose and that you can help if he fills you in on a few facts.
  • Research to find information in records of some kind.
  • Savoir-Faire to glean info from somebody in the relevant social group by convincing him that you're a peer who "needs to know."
  • Sex Appeal to get information from a horndog.
  • Streetwise, either to find people to bribe, interrogate, and spy on, or simply to walk the streets, make contacts, and hear rumors.
"Information gatherer" is an entire PC profession -- every group needs one. Somebody who's good at that task will have most of the above skills, plus advantages that boost them and/or give reaction bonuses, and probably a decent bankroll.

What skill do I use to find Secret Doors? Search?

What's the default for Brawling?
Heeey, No Brawling Default?

Yes, Brawling has no default. Nonetheless, a character can punch, kick, bite, and perform some other attacks based on DX (with modifiers where appropriate). This is not a default! It's just that 'natural weapons' can be used at DX (DX-2 for a kick etc.). Also, see below.

The first point in Brawling is useless! Or is it?

Originally Posted by Kromm
Brawling gives a parry with either hand. A DX 10 man with Brawling 10 gets two parries at 8. Granted, he also gets a dodge at 8, and has 11 if he opts to retreat . . . but he can only retreat from one foe per turn. He'll find the parries useful if he has more than one foe. And a more likely DX 14 action-hero type with Brawling 14 gets two parries at 10, and a dodge at perhaps 9. Against multiple foes, retreating on the dodge for 12 and then parrying twice at 10 could even be reliable.

Brawling lets you use Elbow Strike and Knee Strike, both of which have little benefits built in. Elbow Strike lets you get at somebody behind you at only -2, instead of at -5 with a skill cap, as with Wild Swing. Knee Strike removes the penalty for targeting the groin when grappling, and delivers kick damage without the danger of falling down on a miss. Neither has a DX default.

And with Martial Arts, that second item up there will be an even bigger deal.

The executive summary is that even a point in Brawling is worth it if the character ever plans to get into a melee with multiple foes, people coming from behind, people grappling from in front, etc. That is, if he ever plans to be in a brawl. It's only a bad deal if all his battles are frontal, one-on-one fist-fights.

Is there a point in having Observation above default but below Per?

Originally Posted by Kromm (Post 214227)
There are effectively two distinct uses of Observation:

1. Roll against the higher of Observation or Perception in any Contest against a stealth or concealment skill such as Camouflage, Shadowing, or Stealth, and to notice Filch, Pickpocket, or Sleight of Hand attempts. This is the "tactical" use of Observation.

2. Roll against Observation (default: Per-5) to gather intelligence for later analysis with Intelligence Analysis, typically to avoid penalties for unprepared breaking and entering, military action with Strategy or Tactics, etc. This is the "strategic" use of Observation.

Ogo 07-05-2007 10:39 AM

Re: (Unofficial) FAQ of the GURPS Fora
Excellent definitions of "basic adventurer competence," from here:


Originally Posted by Kromm
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.

Daigoro 07-25-2007 10:17 PM

Re: (Unofficial) FAQ of the GURPS Fora
Kromm speaks out on Binding:

vicky_molokh 11-05-2008 11:44 AM

Re: (Unofficial) FAQ of the GURPS Fora

Originally Posted by Kromm

Originally Posted by Molokh

It's not the first time I see people puzzled by the second half of this controversial sentence. Basically, it doesn't seem to make much sense: ignoring DR is handled by a different Imbue skill.

For the weapon damage, sure. The sentence you singled out specifically addresses the issue of added damage. In other words, if you want your weapon to ignore DR, take any kind of Imbue -- you don't need Cosmic -- and learn Penetrating Strike at some huge level. If you want extra effects from the various skills to bypass DR, then you need Cosmic.

I really don't see the other wording. The sentence says that your Imbuement Skills can then ignore DR, not that your weapon damage can. This isn't free Penetrating Strike. This is just an exemption from DR interfering with skill-specific damage and afflictions.

Leaving it here for others to see - we don't have an Imbuements section here, but I'll make one for the oFAQ.

vicky_molokh 11-28-2008 04:57 AM

Re: (Unofficial) FAQ of the GURPS Fora
Is there a Compendium of Talents from the whole of GURPS 4e?
Yes! GURPS Power-Ups 3: Talents.
You can also look here.

vicky_molokh 01-13-2009 10:11 AM

Re: (Unofficial) FAQ of the GURPS Fora
Not sure it's worthy, but here goes:

Originally Posted by Bruno
Can't find any particular reason per the rules why a halfling can't Judo throw an Elephant. Makes my brain hurt. Please send help.


Originally Posted by Kromm
I'd say that since "more than twice your ST" is the limit on useful grappling, the same ought to go for Judo Throw. So a ST 6 halfling can throw up to a ST 12 man, a ST 23 ogre up to a ST 46 elephant, etc. It errs on the side of cinematic, but then most games do.

PS: As always, this is Approved For Sharing™.

vicky_molokh 01-15-2009 01:26 PM

Re: (Unofficial) FAQ of the GURPS Fora
Breath Control - the RAW is vague how does it work? Is it owerpowered?

Originally Posted by Kromm
Breath Control is pretty much custom-made to help people with cinematic martial-arts skills get back their FP. If you think those skills are "supernatural" – and I do – then the skill should also work for FP blown on magic, the Healing advantage, etc.

Yes, Breath Control indeed recovers almost any lost FP (lost as a cost for powering some ability, that is).

Originally Posted by Kromm
With Breath Control, you must sit still and do nothing but breathe, rolling vs. skill over and over. You will fail some of the time, and critically fail – and thus be at the GM's mercy, and perhaps pass out or inhale a fly that chokes you – on occasion.

Notice that this makes BC markedly less useful than Recover Energy for mages.

vicky_molokh 03-16-2009 03:33 PM

Re: (Unofficial) FAQ of the GURPS Fora
How do I build a wide damaging field/aura? Not just skintight, but several hexes in size?

Originally Posted by transmetahuman
Emanations have two different modes. Emanation + Area Effect is a conscious attack, taking an Attack maneuver to activate and going off in an immediate, one-off burst. You can affect people over and over as long as you spend a turn each time doing it, just like an ordinary Area Effect attack. Emanation is basically "zero range" for an AE attack, plus immunity to its harmful effects for yourself, but doesn't change anything else including the need for an Attack maneuver.

The variant in Powers (Emanation + Area Effect + Always On) makes it a permanent field that you don't have to consciously use - it affects people automatically when they enter it, but only once (or possibly more, if they enter then leave then enter again, but in any case they aren't affected again while remaining in the area effect).

Aura + Area Effect (plus Melee Attack at -30%, if the base attack is normally ranged), per a PM exchange with Kromm*, gives you a Switchable field that continues to affect everyone in the area, once per turn, without any attention or maneuver needed on your part. You get the immunity that Emanation gives as part of the Aura enhancement.

Originally Posted by Kromm
Powers states that an always-on damage field requires Aura (+80%), Always On (-40%), and Melee Attack (-30%). That's a range 0, "if I touch you or you touch me" type of thing. An actual radius would amount to adding Area Effect on top of it all. That might not be "canon," but it's logical and the simplest way to do it. So a 4-yard field would add Area Effect 2 (+100%) and the net modifier would be +110%. I don't see any conflicts: Aura covers the "free attack" effect, Always On addresses the "constant effect" angle, Melee Attack takes care of the "ground zero is at range zero" element, and Area Effect handles the "blankets an area" aspect. You can omit Always On -- for a net +150% -- if you want it to work like an ordinary Aura that you can switch on and off. The other aspects don't seem negotiable.

As of Pyramid #3/19, this is canon, with the following combination officially allowed:

Originally Posted by Auras of Power
Statistics: Area Effect, 2 yards, +50%; Aura, +80%; [ . . .]; Melee Attack, Reach C, -30%; [ . . .]

vicky_molokh 05-29-2009 12:55 PM

Re: (Quick-Patch Version of the) FAQ of the GURPS Fora
Note to everybody: Quick Contests don't usually have meaningful criticals:

Originally Posted by Kromm (Post 271109)
As the rules state, the winner of a Quick Contest is the contestant with the greatest margin of success or smallest margin of failure. The rules don't mention critical results because they're not relevant to the calculation of a margin.

Consider a Quick Contest where Character A has skill 14, rolls a 4, succeeds by 10, and scores a critical success, while Character B has skill 30, rolls a 10, succeeds by 20, but scores only a regular success. Character A loses to Character B, and in fact Character B gets a 10-point margin of victory. It might seem to "cheapen" Character A's critical success to say that Character B wins, but all Player A did was roll dice well. It would cheapen Character B's massive investment in her abilities even more to let Character A win with a critical succes. After all, Player B actually paid points -- she bought another 16 levels, which might be 64 points in a skill, 80 points in Will or Per, 160 points in ST or HT, 320 points in DX or IQ, or some combination thereof. To put it in perspective, Player A could "buy" a critical success for at most 5 points (see the box on p. B347)!

Some rules do specifically note what critical success and failure do in a Quick Contest if you win or if you lose. However, actual victory and defeat depend on the margins. This is for the sake of fairness. Points, not lucky die rolls, are the gold standard in GURPS. If we're going to start letting lucky dice trump points, then we might as well have people roll up attributes instead of pay points for them . . .


Originally Posted by Kromm (Post 1961337)

Originally Posted by Tinman (Post 1961328)

I was thinking that a 17+ fails automaticly.

Concepts such as critical success, critical failure, and automatic failure normally matter only for straight, uncontested success rolls. Reread Margin of Victory (p. B348) and you'll see that Quick Contests are purely quantitative and do not care about qualitative degrees of success. Notably, "The winner's 'margin of victory' is . . . the difference between the loser's margin of failure and his margin of failure if both failed." You can fail and still win! All that matters is margin, found from each party's dice roll and full score.

Resistance rolls are special and unusual because you must succeed to win. But that rule applies only when a Contest is specifically called out as a resistance roll. Choke or Strangle (pp. B370-371) is a Quick Contest, not a resistance roll.

Feints are also special and unusual because you must succeed to win and margin of victory is worked out according to rules that don't add your foe's margin of failure to your margin of victory. See p. B365.


Originally Posted by Tinman (Post 1961328)

Also for Margin if the target is a 14 & I roll a 14 doesn't that count as pass by 1?

No, that counts as success by 0. It's still enough to win if your opponent fails by 1+. But for anything that depends purely on margin of success, your margin is 0, not 1. A few rules do assign a minimum margin of 1 to any uncontested success, but those are special cases. Strangling, resistance rolls, feints . . . none of those are among those special cases. Mostly, those special cases arise when margin of success is used to calculate duration or a similar parameter.

vicky_molokh 06-11-2009 12:05 PM

Re: (Quick-Patch Version of the) FAQ of the GURPS Fora
A bit that might be good to remember:

Who builds Allies? Player or GM?

Originally Posted by Kromm (Post 804326)
. . . They're GM-created and -controlled characters. [ . . . ] Treating Allies as something like PCs sans players, or as PCs shared with the GM, is missing the point.

I would say that an Ally designed and controlled by the player, and that always has a Good or better reaction and goes along with the PCs' plans, is surely worth a lot more points. I'd call that the equivalent of Cosmic, +100% on Ally, probably on top of the +50% for Minion.

vicky_molokh 06-21-2009 01:34 PM

Re: (Unofficial) FAQ of the GURPS Fora
Q: When targeting the eyes on an opponent wearing headgear that does not explicitly cover the eyes, does the headgear offer any DR?

--- Warning: Low-Tech probably supercedes this by now ---

A: Yes, targeting the eye-slots on headgear that does not protect the eyes is the same as targeting a chink in armor with the special penalties for face, eyes, vitals, arm, etc.: the target gets half the DR of the headgear, for a -10 on the to-hit roll.

Q: What about headgear with explicit eye DR?

A: In that case, the eyes are not considered chinks.

vicky_molokh 07-14-2009 02:23 PM

Re: (Unofficial) FAQ of the GURPS Fora

Originally Posted by transmetahuman (Post 819593)
Hey, Molokh, I couldn't find anything like "Which limitations (Costs FP, etc.) include Switchable 'for free', and when do you have to use the enhancement?" in the FAQ. I know I've wanted to look that up fairly often; maybe I was using a bookmark to a Kromm post that got lost - anyway, I think it'd be very useful.

AFAIK all of them do, except those whose Switchable cost is increased (Static). Not much of a list, IMO. Do you still think it should be in the oFAQ?

Mgellis 09-02-2009 07:44 AM

Re: (Unofficial) FAQ of the GURPS Fora
Please consider adding this issue (how do you build switchable force fields?) and its resolution for the FAQ...

You may want to check and get a more firm ruling, but it looks as if Switchable is not required for DR (or other passive abilities that are usually Always On) to make it "usually off" if it is built with a limitation that implies it is usually off, has to be turned on, and will only last for a certain amount of time, and will then shut off whether you want it to or not...this would include Requires Concentration, Costs Fatigue, Trigger, Accessibility, etc.

In short, the reason Switchable, +10% is an enhancement is that it gives you a great deal of control over when something is on or when it is off, at no extra cost. If something can take that ability away, then the power is Transient, and you don't need Switchable, +10% to build it.


vicky_molokh 10-18-2009 02:14 AM

Re: (Unofficial) FAQ of the GURPS Fora
Slams and Evades: If someone misses with a slam (or is Dodged), why does this effectively give a free Evade? Can I prevent that?

If someone tries to slam you, and you got out of the way, it's your fault that he ran past you - you could choose to take the hit. You can waive your Dodge if you don't want that to happen. In fact, here's another option you might want to use:

Optional Rule: A defender against a Slam may opt to grant the slammer an automatic hit to remove the chance of running past. After such an automatic hit, the defender may use any Active Defenses normally allowed.

vicky_molokh 02-09-2010 07:00 AM

Re: (Unofficial) FAQ of the GURPS Fora
What do the various skill and attribute levels mean?

Skill levels.
Attribute levels.

vicky_molokh 02-12-2010 05:02 PM

Re: (Unofficial) FAQ of the GURPS Fora
How do the Surprise (Partial Surprise/Total Surprise) rules work?


Originally Posted by Kromm (Post 932319)
In brief:
  • Partial surprise is used when:

    1. Two hostile parties are moving blind to one another and suddenly encounter each other, leading to a hasty encounter battle. This is likely when the two parties are patrolling or searching, and through blind luck step out from concealment and run into each other at engagement range. For this, roll initiative and follow the rules under Partial Surprise.

    2. One party successfully sneaks up on another party that was expecting trouble. This is normally the result of winning a Quick Contest of Camouflage, Shadowing, Stealth, or similar vs. the prey's Per score or Observation skill. Don't roll for initiative! The Quick Contest above replaces the initiative roll, and victory at sneaking automatically gives the initiative to the sneaky party. The surprised party is affected as described under Partial Surprise.*

  • Total surprise is used when one party successfully sneaks up on another party that wasn't expecting trouble. The dice rolls work like the second case above, except that winning the Quick Contest means the surprised party is affected as noted under Total Surprise.
* This is the case that applies in the OP.

Buzzardo 02-26-2010 10:43 AM

Re: (Unofficial) FAQ of the GURPS Fora

Originally Posted by entitivity (Post 941890)
GURPS Campaigns says this of attempting a concentrate maneuver while grappled:


If you have been grappled...Aim, Feint, Concentrate, and Wait maneuvers – and ranged attacks – are completely impossible. (B371)
GURPS Magic says this of casting while being grappled:


If you use an active defense against an attack, or are knocked back, knocked down, injured, grappled, or otherwise distracted while concentrating, make a Will roll at -3 to continue casting your spell. On a failure, your spell is spoiled and you must start over. (M7) (Emphasis mine)
I take the above to mean that if you are grappled, you cannot begin a concentrate manuever, but if you are already concentrating and someone grapples you, you can attempt to finish what you started. Is this correct?


Originally Posted by Kromm (Post 941918)
That is correct. Starting a Concentrate maneuver isn't an option whilst grappled. You're allowed to complete one you've already started, though, by making a Will-3 roll.

(I hope no one minds that I added the uFAQ, but it seems like a reasonable addition.)

DanHoward 03-28-2010 04:27 PM

Re: (Unofficial) FAQ of the GURPS Fora
Just read the FAQ's. This one isn't right


3.5.3 Why is chain mail suddenly much better at stopping impaling attacks in Fourth Edition?

We felt that Third Edition mail's vulnerability to impaling weapons didn't pass a reality check. The weapons fine enough to pierce the rings of TL2-3 mail didn't come along until TL4, by which time the mail was fine enough to avoid most of the consequences.
There are plenty of TL2 and TL3 weapons that are as narrow as a TL4 stiletto but there are very very few instances of mail with links large enough to allow a stiletto to slip through a gap in the weave. These weapons were used to bust apart the link, the gaps in mail are not large enough to slip through.

The real reason why GURPS "chainmail" was vulnerable to impaling is because it was modelled on SCA butted mail, which is susceptible to impaling (and retains this vulnerability in LT 4e). Butted links can be pushed apart very easily because the join is not fastened. SCA mail is also the reason why GURPS chainmail is unrealistically heavy. Mail that was historically used in battle was not butted; it was riveted. Riveted mail is much better at resisting impaling damage and is generally much lighter than butted mail.

vicky_molokh 06-24-2010 12:38 AM

Re: (Unofficial) FAQ of the GURPS Fora
Q: Should Darkness Penalties somehow affect Defense Rolls?

A: Aside from RAW, you can use the optional rule that every -2 worth of Darkness Penalties also give a -1 Defense Penalty (basically, -2 to skill is -1 to defense). In that case, you should probably apply half the Darkness Penalty to Dodge for consistency.

vicky_molokh 10-25-2010 05:07 AM

Re: (Unofficial) FAQ of the GURPS Fora
Q: I'm wondering, what are the assumptions about the default traits of a character?

A: Kromm writes:
"The game assumes that a human not only has ST 10, DX 10, IQ 10, HT 10, HP 10, Will 10, Per 10, FP 10, Basic Speed 5.00, and Basic Move 5, but is someone who . . .

. . . is a member of the setting's dominant sapient race.
. . . has Status 0, and in fact has a Status rating at all.
. . . has a Wealth of Average, and starts with campaign starting money.
. . . has a TL, because his/her racial average IQ is high enough.
. . . has a culture, because his/her racial average IQ is high enough.
. . . has a language, because his/her racial average IQ is high enough.
. . . can articulate that language.
. . . has an Appearance of Average vis-à-vis other humans.
. . . has sex-differentiated positive Appearance, if he/she has positive Appearance.
. . . can have any mundane advantage or disadvantage, but can't have exotic or supernatural ones.
. . . is self-aware and creative.
. . . can learn and improve skills and attributes.
. . . has senses of vision, hearing, touch, taste, and smell.
. . . can see color, depth, and motion in a 180° forward arc, including 30° of peripheral vision on each side.
. . . sees in the spectrum that starts after IR on the long-wave end and ends before UV on the short-wave end.
. . . has poor night vision but good light tolerance.
. . . hears in the frequency range 40 Hz to 20 kHz.
. . . has no intrinsic supernatural awareness, yet has the innate ability to resist supernatural attack even when unaware or unconscious.
. . . has a vertical, upright posture.
. . . isn't blob- or box-shaped, and so bases SM strictly on height.
. . . has a head -- with two ears, two eyes, one nose, and one mouth -- atop a vulnerable neck.
. . . has two arms that end in hands with fingers, two legs that end in feet with toes, and no other limbs.
. . . has a master hand and an "off" hand.
. . . has a bodily layout that allows catching, climbing, digging, dodging, dragging, hiking, jumping, lifting, running, striking, swimming, and wrestling.
. . . uses consistently the same ST and DX for all of these purposes.
. . . can deal thrust and swing damage based on ST.
. . . can lift weights based on Basic Lift calculated from ST.
. . . has a default Water Move of 1/5 Basic Move and a default Air Move of 0.
. . . has native conditions of a 21:78 O2/N2 atmosphere at 1 atm of pressure, a temperature of 35°F to 90°F, and 1 g of gravity.
. . . must breathe, but not so constantly that injury results instantly from pausing for a while.
. . . must eat and drink three times a day, but almost any organic matter will do except for a few things specifically described as "poison."
. . . must sleep approximately 8 hours a night.
. . . is vulnerable to acid, disease, heat and cold outside natural limits, poison, radiation, vacuum, etc.
. . . is living, not unliving, homogenous, or diffuse.
. . . bleeds when injured.
. . . suffers extra injury when hit in the skull, neck, or vitals.
. . . risks unconsciousness at 0 HP, death at -HP, certain death at -5×HP, and bodily destruction at -10×HP.
. . . heals naturally, but doesn't regenerate.
. . . benefits from drugs manufactured by human society.
. . . ages, and gets 32 years of optimal capability, between maturity at age 18 and possible decline due to aging at age 50.
. . . has FP in the first place, and so can use extra effort.
. . . gets one turn per second."

If any of those things isn't true, then you have to account for it in a racial template. Exceptions won't always cost points -- often, features will do the trick. However, you must still account for them; statements like "one of these things won't be true, so these others won't, either" don't cut it.

vicky_molokh 10-29-2010 12:44 PM

Re: (Unofficial) FAQ of the GURPS Fora
Q: What are the differences and nuances of Empathy, Body Language, Psychology and Detect Lies?

A: Kromm has it sorted out!

Originally Posted by Kromm (Post 1070110)
There's a whole mess of traits here, but no two are exactly alike. The important bits:
What It Is: The near-psychic ability to spot impersonators, pod people, possessed individuals, and traitors instantly with an IQ roll. Fringe benefits include detecting that someone is lying in general by making an IQ roll, and +3 to Detect Lies, Fortune-Telling, and Psychology.

When It Works: When you meet the subject in person. You don't necessarily have to see him, but you must come within touching distance of him.

Limitations: Doesn't work on IQ 0-5 entities or on spirits. Doesn't work outside of personal meetings. Its lie-detection ability is vague, and only reveals whether any lying is going on, not the specific bits that are lies, much less the truth.

Illustrations: If anybody in The Matrix had Empathy, they'd have strung up Cypher as soon as he cut his deal. If any of Mystique's enemies had Empathy, her power would be kind of useless.
Detect Lies (untrained use at Per-6 • defaults to Body Language and Psychology at -4 • gives Body Language at -4 • Empathy gives +3)
What It Is: The studied, fairly realistic ability to tell when somebody is lying, primarily from voice stress and word choice. It resists each attempt to lie to you; your subject rolls IQ, Acting, or Fast-Talk. Victory reveals whether a particular statement was a lie – a trick that's beyond simple Empathy (although someone with Empathy could add +3 to the default of Per-6 to try this at Per-3).

When It Works: Whenever you can hear your subject speaking. You do not have to see or even be very near him! This works on dictators giving shouted speeches at rallies or on the radio, and even over the telephone.

Limitations: Does nothing until the subject speaks. Doesn't detect emotions, hidden features, motives, or truths – only lies. Can be defeated by someone with high Acting or Fast-Talk.

Illustrations: This is the classic detective ability in police drama, where the cops behind the one-way glass listen to the interview with the suspect, and one of them suddenly says, "He's lying!"
Body Language (no untrained use • defaults to Detect Lies and Psychology at -4 • gives Detect Lies at -4)
What It Is: The studied, fairly realistic ability to read physical "tells." Can spot impersonators and strong emotions (but nothing as weird as possession or pod people) like Empathy, and lying like Detect Lies, by observing someone. A fringe benefit is being able to spot physical tension: "He's going for a weapon!", "He flinched when you said 'England.' He may be a British agent.", etc.

When It Works: Whenever you can see your subject. You do not have to hear or even be very near him! This works on dictators gesticulating at rallies or on TV, and even via camera or other remote optics.

Limitations: Does nothing if you can't see your subject; hearing or even touching him isn't enough. Doesn't detect motives or hidden features – just lies and impersonation. Empathy gives no bonus.

Illustrations: This is a traditional bodyguard skill, used to spot fake guards and people going for guns. This is also the classic kung fu sifu ability in martial-arts flicks, where the ancient master can tell when his student is angry, not training properly, etc. merely by looking at how he moves.
Psychology (untrained use at IQ-6 • defaults to Sociology at -4 • gives Body Language and Detect Lies at -4 • Empathy gives +3)
What It Is: The studied, fairly realistic ability to predict the general behavior of an individual in a particular situation. This can be reversed to determine whether a particular behavior or deed (e.g., a murder) suits a given person. This is the only predictive ability on this list (although someone with Empathy could add +3 to the default of IQ-6 to try this at IQ-3).

When It Works: After a lengthy period of observation or a full-length interview, possibly supplemented by scientific tests, or after reviewing a file that includes roughly the same level of data on the subject or deed of interest.

Limitations: Does nothing in short order – if you can't observe, interview, or review a file, you can't make any guesses at all. Vague, giving broad answers ("He'll resort to violence.") but never specifics ("Only one man would put deadly poison in the city's water supply."). Worthless against lies and impersonations happening right now.

Illustrations: This is the realistic profiler's ability, often used somewhat cinematically in serial-killer movies like Se7en and Silence of the Lambs.
Somebody with neither Empathy nor points in these skills has no chance of spotting motivations or impersonation on merely meeting or seeing someone, as described for Empathy and Body Language; can tell when he's being lied to in speaking with default Detect Lies at Per-6; and can predict others' behaviors from their profiles with default Psychology at IQ-6.

Highlights: Empathy allows using an IQ roll to get a general feel about a person, and to broadly detect lies. Or it can add +3 to Detect Lies instead of getting an IQ roll. Do note that while your Detect Lies skill will likely be higher than your IQ, it is a resisted skill. So think which is more advantageous - a straight roll, or a higher but resisted one. You must pick one or the other:

Originally Posted by SE37
+3 to Body Language
or Detect Lies for having Empathy (or +1 for Sensitive), but not
if Empathy was used actively to detect the same lie; empaths
may make an active roll or claim this passive bonus, not both.

Also, the post is old, and the range limit is not confirmed anywhere in the books that I know of, and is in fact contrary to certain other statements (e.g. Remote allows one to use Empathy through phones without needing to be within any specific range; Emotion Sense acts as Empathy but only acts within 2 yards).

Also note that Detect Lies is at -3 when used on written text instead of spoken/signed.

vicky_molokh 12-09-2010 01:41 AM

Re: (Unofficial) FAQ of the GURPS Fora
Q: Bladed Hand/Blade-Hand/Nekode/Neko-de + Karate gives damage comparable to, or better than, a Broadsword! What gives?

A: The damage bonus from Karate to fist/hand weapons might be exaggerated. If this is how you feel, remove the damage bonus from swing damage of fist/hand weapons. The short version: Knock footnote [4] off the first line on the table for the bladed hand.


vicky_molokh 02-09-2011 10:34 AM

Re: (Unofficial) FAQ of the GURPS Fora
Q: Why are Reaction Modifier advantages affecting almost everybody as cheap as 4-5 points per +1? They seem to be better than Talents when it comes to modifying Influence Skills (or so it seems).

A: No they aren't. Reaction Modifiers only add to Reaction Rolls and Influence Attempts; they do NOT add directly to Influence Skills. An Influence Attempt is specifically an attempt to roll an appropriate Skill to replace a Reaction Roll. Other uses of Influence Skills, such as predicting the outcome of a conversation (Diplomacy), distracting a mark with a deception (Fast-Talk), or deciding if an attire is appropriate for a person of high society (Savoire-Faire (High Society)), do not get such an automatic bonus (but the GM has the final say, as usual).

Q: Why don't you have a Social Combat system in Social Engineering (or elsewhere)? Is it really that hard? Or did nobody truly get this idea by now?


Originally Posted by Kromm (Post 1378787)
[ . . . ] we didn't overlook "social combat," but consciously chose a different approach that fit better with the rest of the game. Other reviews have missed our intent . . . The fact is that we didn't want "social combat" because we didn't think it was good rules model. Our goal was to show the GM how to use the existing mechanics to shift the campaign focus onto social matters [ . . . ]

vicky_molokh 03-03-2011 04:27 PM

Re: (Unofficial) FAQ of the GURPS Fora
Q: Can I buy up Techniques and Skills from a Wildcard Skill?

A: Yes and yes. Skills covered by the Wildcard are treated as if they default to it, and can be raised at the appropriate cost. Techniques work as they always do.

Notice that raising more than two 'normal' skills per Wildcards, or raising more than 3 Techniques per 'normal' skill, is almost always a waste of points.

BaHalus 03-05-2011 10:58 AM

Re: (Unofficial) FAQ of the GURPS Fora

Originally Posted by vicky_molokh (Post 819604)
AFAIK all of them do, except those whose Switchable cost is increased (Static). Not much of a list, IMO. Do you still think it should be in the oFAQ?

More doubts in this issue:

1- If I take "takes Extra time", "Reduced time" or "Reactive" on an advantage like RD (I suppose RD is considered always on, right?), I must also take switchable?

1.1- An RD with 2s of activation is a 0% modifier, a -10% modifier ou a -20% modifier?

2- The activation time counts also as a deactivation time? If I have 4s of activation due to takes extra time, I have to take the same time to deactivate?

2.1- There is any limitation or ampliation that changes that?

3- There is some way on RAW to simulate a fade in, fade out effect?

Peter Knutsen 03-09-2011 06:51 AM

Re: (Quick-Patch Version of the) FAQ of the GURPS Fora

Originally Posted by vicky_molokh (Post 804333)
A bit that might be good to remember:

Who builds Allies? Player or GM?

Kromm's reply is +100% if the player gets to build the Ally and the Ally is always guaranteed a minimum of a Good reaction.

But what if the player only wants to build the Ally, but is perfectly happy to let the GM roleplay the reaction of the Ally realistically during the campaign?

Is that +30%? And the remainder +70% is for the Always Good Reaction? Or what? It seems extremely odd to lump two completely different things together in one Enhancement with no acknowledgement of the possibility that some players might the one, or the other, but not both.

vicky_molokh 03-23-2011 04:02 PM

Re: (Unofficial) FAQ of the GURPS Fora
Q: What are the benchmark skill levels? Could someone expand what each skill level means?

A: A slightly expanded reply from Kromm.

vicky_molokh 06-04-2011 12:08 PM

Re: (Unofficial) FAQ of the GURPS Fora
Q: Under Basic rules, which unarmed skills / attacks suffer from off-hand penalties / need OHWT?


Originally Posted by Kromm (Post 1027218)
Just to be clear: There is no "off" hand in unarmed combat in GURPS. The Basic Set failed to make this as clear as it could have, hinting at it in a few skill descriptions but not generalizing it. Martial Arts makes it far clearer. Claiming that there is an "off" hand for the purposes of unarmed combat is fine as a house rule, but definitely not what the entire body of rules published to date supports.


Originally Posted by Kromm (Post 1942016)
The Karate skill states "Roll against Karate to hit with a punch (at no -4 for the 'off' hand)." When using equipment of some sort, read the description carefully. If that gear is a glove (e.g., cestus, myrmex, or sap glove), or explicitly enhances punches (like brass knuckles or anything with the "Hilt punch" note), you're throwing punches and may ignore the off-hand penalty. Otherwise, the item deals a weapon blow – not a punch – and attacks and parries are considered armed. In effect, you can claim either the benefit of no off-hand penalty (because you're punching with Karate) or the benefit of no risk to your hand (because you're using a weapon, not your hand), but never both. The Karate damage bonus has nothing to do with where this line is drawn; that bonus applies "when you calculate damage with Karate attacks," which is simply any attack that rolls against Karate to hit.

vicky_molokh 07-08-2011 09:52 AM

Re: (Unofficial) FAQ of the GURPS Fora
Q: What are the more obscure effects of Enhanced Time Sense (ETS)?

Originally Posted by Kromm (Post 1208363)
The benefits of ETS, found by searching the Basic Set, Martial Arts, and Gun Fu:
  • all the benefits of Combat Reflexes (+1 to active defenses and Fast-Draw, +2 to Fright Checks, immunity to freezing when surprised, and +6 to recover from lesser surprise)
  • always act first in the combat sequence
  • always draw first in a standoff with unready weapons
  • always go first in a Wait situation/standoff with ready weapons, even unarmed vs. a gun
  • dodge snipers' bullets fired from "surprise" if you can see a flash, hear a report, or have Danger sense
  • ignore penalties to attack around fast-moving obstacles
  • invoke the Bullet Time rule, if used
  • parry bullets with the Parry Missile Weapons skill, or shoot them down effectively with the Area Defense perk
  • request extra time on the real-world clock to make combat decisions, even if the GM has everybody else on a turn timer


Originally Posted by Kromm
ETS has no effect on how much time is needed for actions. What it does is allow essentially zero-time responses (like parrying or drawing weapons) to occur close enough to the stimulus that provokes them that they're actually useful. Starting composition of a poem or a battle plan a fraction of a turn (second) sooner doesn't provide a useful benefit, because those things take longer than a turn to execute.

In other words, an action can take m milliseconds (or whatever) to initiate, and then n milliseconds to complete. The penalties for being rushed that ETS eliminates are for having t < m for initiation; examples include the penalties or outright prohibitions connected to dealing with fast-moving attacks. The penalties for haste on p. B346 are for having t < n for execution, and unrelated to anything ETS does.

Kromm quote on ETS:

Originally Posted by Kromm (Post 561165)

Originally Posted by NineDaysDead (Post 561154)

Originally Posted by Kromm (Post 561146)

Originally Posted by NineDaysDead (Post 561145)
Would Enhanced Time Sense negate the -10 penalty?

Nope. ETS negates penalties for being rushed by the plot or GM. People with ETS are affected normally by elective uses of Time Spent (p. B346).

What's the difference between taking less time because you’re rushed and taking less time because you choose to? Either way you're doing the same work in less time.

"Being rushed" in the ETS description wasn't intended as "you're cutting corners on purpose to save time," because then why wouldn't every character with ETS do every task in 1/10 the usual time and ignore the penalties? It was intended as "you feel as though you're under pressure, and don't know how much time you have," which lets you ignore maybe a -1 or -2 for beading sweat and shaky hands. That's the difference.

Edit: The trait of being able to work faster is Altered Time Rate. And yeah, I'd be happy to allow task-specific limits on that. ETS is just Combat Reflexes, Level 2, and like Combat Reflexes, more of a coolness-under-fire trait for combat than anything else. Thus, it gives bonuses for staying cool (or elimnates penalties for not staying cool), but it doesn't really help you move any faster to complete tasks.

Regarding the +5 to certain sensory tasks listed in Powers: Enhanced Senses, pertaining to Observation, Body Language, Connoisseur, Lip Reading, and Tracking:

Originally Posted by Kromm
My point [in that uFAQ quote] is mostly that *in general,* ETS isn't "+5 to everything because you always have all the time in the world." That's a *possible* trait, but one worth a few hundred points! However, "+5 to any task where time to perceive things is the limiting factor" is a lot narrower and fairer for the price.


Originally Posted by PK (Post 1879078)
Suitable tasks include Observation when analyzing a potential threat, Per-based Tactics to size up foes mid-fight, and Tracking rolls to follow a trail. Passive rolls, such as Sense rolls to notice something, are never affected, only those requiring active concentration. Deduction rolls also do not benefit as each roll represents the potential culmination of a long-term investigation; in fact, all deduction rolls for Per-based skills should be “floated” to IQ, as deductions require careful research and contemplation, not fast reaction time.

vicky_molokh 08-02-2011 02:44 AM

Re: (Unofficial) FAQ of the GURPS Fora

Originally Posted by Daigoro (Post 1195167)
Can we FAQ something about how Armour Divisors stack, how Hardened works against that stacking, how Cosmic fits on the scales, and whether AD higher than (10) is available?

Just in case, ADs from different sources are always multiplied. however, buying an armor divisor higher than 10 for Innate Attacks is houserule territory. I suppose an extra (in addition for the (10) cost) +50% on top for (100) will do.

Other useful notes on Hardened:

Originally Posted by Kromm (Post 412162)
From p. B47:
Hardened: Each level of Hardened reduces the armor divisor of an attack by one step. These steps are, in order: "ignores DR," 100, 10, 5, 3, 2, and 1 (no divisor). +20% per level.
To paraphrase Armor Divisor, p. B102:
Armor Divisor . . . Modifier
(2) . . . +50%
(3) . . . +100%
(5) . . . +150%
(10) . . . +200%
Note how the modifiers are priced at +50% per canonical step. The next steps would logically be (100) for +250% and "ignores DR" for +300%.

Finally, to precis Cosmic, p. B103:
Irresistible attack. Your attack does negate the target's protection; e.g., an Innate Attack that ignores DR. +300%.
That's simply an explicit statement of the missing final step of Armor Divisor.

When Powers says, "DR with Cosmic subtracts from 'irresistible' attacks with Cosmic," it means exactly what it says. DR 100 with the +50% version of Cosmic counts as DR 100 vs. an attack with the +300% version of Cosmic. Against an attack with a (10) divisor, that Cosmic DR acts as DR 10, because the defensive +50% version of Cosmic isn't Hardened, and does nothing againt other armor divisors. Somebody with DR 100 (Hardened 1, +20%) gets DR 1 vs. an attack with the +300% version of Cosmic, because he shifts "ignores DR" to (100), while he gets DR 20 vs. an attack with a (10) divisor, because he shifts (10) to (5).

If you want an attack that not only ignores DR but also ignores Hardened, then add another +50% to your +300%.


Originally Posted by Kromm (Post 412243)
Malediction and Sense-Based aren't meant to interact with Hardened at all. It's very specifically Cosmic that's affected, because Cosmic is really a high level of Armor Divisor. Malediction and Sense-Based aren't high levels of Armor Divisor -- they're something else. And yeah, when we get a FAQ Keeper, we can note this.

Q: How does Armor Divisor interact with Ablative DR?

Originally Posted by Kromm (Post 1652915)
You have DR 96, HP 80. Repeated huge piercing attacks (pi++) lower DR as if ablative (footnote, p. B559), to a minimum DR 3. Against a homogenous target like concrete, huge piercing has a wounding modifier of ×1/2 once it penetrates DR (p. B380).

With 2d+2 pi++, you'll average 9 points of damage per second. You'll need 10 seconds to ablate DR 90, leaving DR 6. On the 11th second, you'll put 3 points past DR 6, which will inflict 1 HP, and also ablate down to DR 3. Then you'll be putting 6 points per second past the minimum DR 3, inflicting 3 HP per second, for the next 26-27 seconds. Total time: 37-38 seconds.

With 2d+2(2) pi++, you'll average 9 points of damage per second. But now DR is halved! You'll need five seconds to ablate DR 45, leaving DR 3. Then you'll be putting 8 points per second past half the minimum DR 3, inflicting 4 HP per second, for the next 20 seconds. Total time: 25 seconds.

The main advantage is that if you're boring dozens of these a day on a worksite – say, to pass cable – you're taking 2/3 as long to do it. That's a huge savings in labor. When you're trying to be sneaky . . . well, a rotary hammer isn't the tool for the job! But 2/3 as long to be noticed should be good for reducing whatever bonus the GM gives your opponents for a sustained racket.

vicky_molokh 08-05-2011 12:47 PM

Re: (Unofficial) FAQ of the GURPS Fora
Q: What exactly happens after Berserk wears off?


Originally Posted by Kromm (Post 1224808)
Ending your berserk state triggers one extra HT roll for consciousness at 0 or fewer HP, and one extra HT roll for survival at -HP or worse. Both are subject to the usual modifiers (e.g., -1 to consciousness rolls per full multiple of negative HP) and results (e.g., failure by 1-2 on a survival roll means a mortal wound). Neither enjoys the +4. These rolls represent additional chances to fail, over and above what you would face were you not a berserker. You don't keep a laundry list of every HT roll made at +4 and then reroll them without the +4 later; if you did, then Berserk would have a base value of -20 or -30 points, not -10 points.

vicky_molokh 11-09-2011 02:42 PM

Re: (Unofficial) FAQ of the GURPS Fora
Q: Some weapons have no listed Rcl (Recoil), yet I need Rcl for use with Multi-Shot. How do I calculate it?


Originally Posted by Kromm (Post 1275641)
For Multishot on low-tech weapons that lack Rcl, I'd use Rcl 1 for Bulk 0 to -2, Rcl 2 for Bulk -3 or -4, Rcl 3 for Bulk -5 or -6, and so on.

Q: Why do some single-shot (RoF 1) weapons have Rcl (Recoil) listed in the table? There are hints of them being useful for something, but I can't find any.
A: Imbuements can make a single-shot weapon magically (or equivalent) fire multiple shots. Some weapons can be made to exceed their RoF through Techniques (see High-Tech, Gun-Fu and Tactical Shooting). Some special rules for volley fire (e.g. Spaceships weapons) use Rcl.

vicky_molokh 03-13-2012 03:27 AM

Re: (Unofficial) FAQ of the GURPS Fora
Clean up time. Meant to post for some while, so here goes:

Of the latest uFAQ'ed questions, which ones seem important enough to you that I put them into the official FAQ? The latest trends seems to be a bunch of 'minor' questions, unlike the earlier ones that got asked over and over again. (Obviously, aside from different people inexplicably failing to find the same passages in the Basic Set, such as the shotgun explanations.)

vicky_molokh 05-11-2012 12:54 PM

Re: (Quick-Patch Version of the) FAQ of the GURPS Fora
Q: Why are many write-ups of monsters and opponents left with no templates/point values/etc.?


Originally Posted by Kromm (Post 1370002)
With apologies to those who like it, point values on creatures expressly designed as evil NPC monsters represent too much work for too little gain.

It takes me perhaps five minutes to slap down the right attributes and traits to fit a monster description, and maybe another five minutes to calculate damage, Dodge, etc. so that they're consistent with those attributes and traits. It takes me at least an hour to work up a relatively complex monster on points if I must modify Affliction, Innate Attack, Leech, etc. for its special attacks; build unique techniques for its trademark combat moves; coin new perks for its minor-but-beneficial features; and so on. Indeed, a complex Innate Attack can take me 5-10 minutes all by itself. And if the creature uses Alternate Forms, or has a set of alternative abilities, or uses an actual structured power (with power modifier, power Talent, and abilities) . . . well, it can take hours to write up properly.

And that's me, one of the designers of GURPS Fourth Edition; coauthor of GURPS Martial Arts (for techniques) and GURPS Powers (for abilities and powers); author of GURPS Power-Ups 2 (for perks); and one of two people in the whole world paid to work on GURPS and only on GURPS as a full-time job. My freelancers assure me that things are tougher for them. This is why PK and I must double-check all of their math, which adds editorial overhead to the writing overhead.

Such expense is nevertheless entirely justified for a race that's intended for PCs, for Alternate Forms for PCs, and/or for NPC Allies. However, if the author intends his creation to be strictly monstrous – a race of foes – and if most gamers will likely use it that way, then this additional work is impossible to justify. Freelance writers simply do not get paid enough to do an order of magnitude more work on the off chance that somebody will need a point cost for some optional rule – and gamers wouldn't pay what the books would cost if we remedied that. The gamer who's interested in off-label use has the tools at his disposal if he wishes to work out points.

The point of GURPS is that it provides the means to transcend old-school concepts like "NPC races." This means that it provides the tools to do the math, not that it does all the math for you. The fact that one can work out point costs for monsters if one wishes is the promise that the game makes. There's no promise that it will do that every time. In a good many cases, the latter would be a rather perverse "Because it's there!" exercise.

vicky_molokh 05-29-2012 08:37 AM

Re: (Unofficial) FAQ of the GURPS Fora
Some notes on Will, inspired by a recent thread. Might come in handy some day.


Originally Posted by Kromm

Originally Posted by vicky_molokh
Q: Anything with IQ 0, by extension, has Will 0 unless stated otherwise/bought up from IQ, correct?

Yes. That's pretty much self-evident, since Will = IQ and Per = IQ by default, so buying IQ down to 0 takes Will and Per down to 0, too. You don't get Will for free!


Originally Posted by vicky_molokh
Q:Transhuman Space Changing Times includes a template for a robot body with no AI and little to no software (i.e. one that is driven externally by remote or internally by a pilot), which includes IQ-10 [-200]. I'm assuming this can as well be applied to other stuff without a meaningful mind (e.g. modern cars, rocks), despite coming from a setting-specific book. (Another example would be a plant template with IQ & Will 0 from Fantasy, which is genre-specific but not setting-specific.) Am I correct?

It seems applicable to all dumb machines. Note that rocks aren't machines, though . . . a robot body is inherently Unliving, not Homogenous.


Originally Posted by vicky_molokh

Q: Will 0, similar to HT 0, means that 'afflictions etc. have their way with you' if they are resisted by it? (Assuming the effect makes sense in the first place, e.g. Burning Innate Attack against a tree or a car.)

If the attack in question would affect you at all, sure. Note that lots of things with Will 0 have no mind to affect, so mind-affecting abilities fail automatically. Things that have low IQ but a mind generally buy up Will to allow resistance. Those that have low IQ but no mind often have Immunity to Mind Control. And some power modifiers already assume "Only affects targets with minds."


Originally Posted by vicky_molokh
Q: Resisted by Will is not the same as Affecting The Mind. E.g. a Will-resisted Burning Attack is the former, while a HT-based Mind Control or Delusion-Affliction is the latter. Correct?
Q:Lacking a mind protects from Mind-Affecting effects (due to them becoming meaningless). Correct?

Exactly what I was saying above, yes.

vicky_molokh 07-24-2012 05:10 AM

Re: (Unofficial) FAQ of the GURPS Fora
Q: Please resolve an ambiguity - do Side Effects work based on Injury, or on Penetrating Damage?
A: Penetrating Damage.

vicky_molokh 07-25-2012 02:36 AM

Re: (Unofficial) FAQ of the GURPS Fora
Q: Could you clarify the details of immediate HT checks for unconsciousness at 0 HP and the periodic checks that follow?

Originally Posted by Kromm (Post 1127962)
The instant you're injured to 0 HP or less: No matter what maneuver you selected before being injured, you must roll vs. HT to avoid unconsciousness. Do Nothing – as a choice on that turn or as a consequence of something else – is beside the point.

Turns after you're injured to 0 HP or less: If you select any maneuver but Do Nothing, you must roll vs. HT to avoid unconsciousness before you take action. If you select Do Nothing – as a choice on that turn or as a consequence of something else – you do not have to roll but of course have no action to take.

That is, my clarification was of the two offending sentences. The Do Nothing exception isn't in either of them, and works as it always did: It lets you avoid a HT roll. But that's neither here nor there in what I was trying to clarify. The whole rule would be:
0 HP or less – You are in immediate danger of collapse. In addition to the above effects, make an immediate HT roll, at -1 per full multiple of HP below zero. Failure means you fall unconscious (or simply stop working, if you weren’t truly alive or conscious in the first place); see Recovering from Unconsciousness (p. 423). Success means you can act normally, but must roll again at the start of every turn to continue functioning. Exception: If you choose Do Nothing on your turn, and do not attempt any defense rolls, you can remain conscious without rolling. Roll only on turns during which you attempt a defense roll or choose a maneuver other than Do Nothing.

vicky_molokh 08-19-2012 09:12 AM

Re: (Unofficial) FAQ of the GURPS Fora
Q: Summonable Allies - how long do they last, can they be summoned/de-summoned repeatedly etc.?
A: Generally, there are two flavours of Summonable - the Classic (as intended by Basic Set) and Spell-Like (emulating spiritual predecessors of Dungeon Fantasy, computer games etc.) Here are some details:


Originally Posted by Kromm (Post 1424582)
I'll try to sum this up:
Common to All Interpretations
Ally can be summoned at the time and place of your choosing, and no social or practical considerations impinge on appearance. The place can be anywhere you can go, even if the Ally couldn't get there for reasons of size, lack of mobility or stealth, etc., and even if the GM imposes dramatic conditions that allow just one person (yourself) to be present. Until summoned, Ally occupies no space, consumes no food, requires no transportation, and cannot be detected.

If the appearance roll fails, the cooldown is one day, not one full adventure.
These things are what make a Summonable Ally worth the points.

Classic Ally Interpretation
Frequency of Summoning: Once per adventure.
Duration of Summoning: One adventure.
This is no change from a standard Ally, and is worth no points.

Spell-Like Interpretation
Frequency of Summoning: However often you like until you fail and hit the cooldown.
Duration of Summoning: One minute.
This is a big change from a standard Ally, but it's a tradeoff and worth no points.

Spell-Like assumes a Concentrate manoeuvre is enough to summon an ally in combat, behinds someone's back etc.
Classic assumes that once you de-summon an Ally, you have to wait until the end of the Adventure. With Spell-Like, there is no such drawback.

More from Kromm:


Originally Posted by sir_pudding

Originally Posted by Kromm

Originally Posted by sir_pudding

The "Conjuration" version of summoning allows you to replace a destroyed ally after 24 hours. If you dismiss a Conjured Ally can you conjure a replacement in (a) 24 hours, or (b) you have to wait until the next adventure?

If you're not limiting duration (say, to a minute, as I suggested), then it isn't fair to allow you to conjure a dismissed Ally as soon as you want to, but "next adventure" is extreme . . . I'd go with 24 hours.


Originally Posted by sir_pudding

Can the 24 hour limit after a failed summoning simply be extended to dismissals as well?


The difference between Summonable and Conjured isn't to do with duration or frequency or anything else tied to time. They are identical in that respect. The difference is that a Summonable Ally is unique, loyal, and irreplaceable, and amounts to a normal Ally plus the ability to "gate" him to you, while a Conjured Ally is always a different entity that might not react well to you, but that's infinitely replaceable should he die.

Refplace 08-24-2012 12:18 AM

Re: (Unofficial) FAQ of the GURPS Fora
Sounds to me like he clarified it nicely.
Not sure what all the hubub was in the thread of doom but...
These posts are consistent in saying that with the "spell like" version you can summon and dismiss or "put away" as often as you like until you fail the roll.

roguebfl 08-24-2012 12:31 AM

Re: (Unofficial) FAQ of the GURPS Fora

Originally Posted by Refplace (Post 1429129)
Sounds to me like he clarified it nicely.
Not sure what all the hubub was in the thread of doom but...
These posts are consistent in saying that with the "spell like" version you can summon and dismiss or "put away" as often as you like until you fail the roll.

don't forget

There is a 24 hour cool down on a failed summoned or dismissal not it not just keep rolling.

vicky_molokh 09-03-2012 02:10 AM

Re: (Unofficial) FAQ of the GURPS Fora
Q: Chameleon (and Silence) seems overpriced compared to a Racial Skill Bonus . . .
A: Well, there's this old PM exchange with Kromm:

Originally Posted by Molokh
Also, your mention of partial Invisibility hints (as far as I understand) that Chameleon should plain penalize all vision-related action by the enemy [as opposed to providing a Stealth bonus]. Should Dynamic Chameleon give a penalty to hit, like Blur [even in the middle of combat]?


Originally Posted by Kromm
Yes. If your enemy can only see part of you, because other parts look like the wall, floor, bushes, etc., then it makes no sense that he would have no trouble hitting you.

Yes, the answer is fuzzy. But it is reason enough for GMs to houserule the change from providing a Stealth bonus, to providing a Vision penalty instead (which can be used even in combat with Dynamic).

vicky_molokh 09-14-2012 03:47 AM

Re: (Unofficial) FAQ of the GURPS Fora
Q: Where do the Hit Location penalties (the numbers, that is) come from?



Originally Posted by Kromm (Post 518314)
This is 100% correct. Hit location penalties consider three factors:

1. Target size. How large or small the body part is -- in essence, its Size Modifier. (On bigger or smaller foes, overall SM accounts for changes in the size of body parts; e.g., since an SM +2 giant is attacked at +2 no matter where you hit him, his hands and head are effectively larger by +2.)

2. Target mobility. The body part's potential range of movement, speed of movement, and likely movements in a combat situation. (This isn't treated as a Dodge bonus simply because a body part moving unpredictably is still a hard target for, say, a surprise attack where no defense is allowed. An entire man running in a straight line isn't, really.)

3. Target attitude. How the body part is normally offered in combat. This accounts for whether it's presented or denied by combat stances, often behind other body parts or a shield, above or below the usual line of attack for an equal-sized foe, etc. (Incidentally, this explains why the feet of a higher fighter or head of a lower fighter are struck at a bonus, despite the body part not changing size!)

A helmed head, for instance, isn't all that small; it's between 8" and 1' across (SM -5) and basically spherical (+2 to SM, for a net -3 for size). However, it's highly mobile (-1): it twists around on a neck constantly in a fight, and it's maximally displaced from the center of mass, meaning its potential range of movement is exceptionally high. It's also generally denied (-1): no tried-and-true combat stance leads with the jaw; moreover, against another man, it's above the median line of attack. This gives -5.

A gloved hand is over 5" across (SM -6) and basically spherical (+2 to SM, for a net -4 for size) when balled into a fist for punching or around a weapon grip. It, too, is highly mobile (-1): it whizzes around striking and parrying, and is highly displaced from the center of mass. However, it is most commonly presented (+1), since all that striking and parrying is a tad difficult otherwise -- and if it's able to defend, then it has a high probability of being right on the median line of attack. This gives -4. The same hand behind a shield has the full -6 for size, as it isn't balled up into a sphere, and is mobile (-1) and denied (-1), which gives -8.

A weapon arm, shoulder to wrist, is about a yard long (SM -2), long and skinny (no SM adjustment), mobile (-1), and presented (+1). That's -2.

A shield arm, shoulder to wrist, is also about a yard long (SM -2), mobile (-1), and denied (-1). That's -4.

And so on. A few body parts might not quite make sense in these terms if you don't agree with my assessments of mobility and attitude, or whether the SM ought to assume a stick (0), elongated box (+1), or sphere (+2), but I think you can see how it works.

vicky_molokh 11-09-2012 12:38 PM

Re: (Unofficial) FAQ of the GURPS Fora
Q: All-Out Attack (particularly when Berserk) makes it trivial to become Pinned. This seems dubious.

A: While Martial Arts indeed says that AoA deprives one of the right to defend against Pins, it can be reasoned that Pinning a wildly thrashing target should not be that easy. Thus, it can be ruled as a partial or complete exception. Full answer:

vicky_molokh 11-14-2012 04:23 AM

Re: (Unofficial) FAQ of the GURPS Fora
Q: How do Very Fit and Extra Effort In Combat interact?


Originally Posted by Kromm (Post 282344)
You always round FP costs (and most other things that are bad for the characters) up in GURPS. Half of 1 is still 1. You need at least 2 FP for a single action before Very Fit does a thing. The main job of Very Fit is to halve multi-point FP costs for things like exertion in armor.

Extra Effort In Combat use assumes FP expenditure in single-FP bursts. GURPS does not support half-FPs. Even though further supplements may add cases where combat Extra Effort can spend more than one FP at a time, the original intent was only to affect FP expenditures from effort over a period of time.

Also of interest whenever 'what does FP affect' comes up:

Originally Posted by Kromm (Post 1341654)
FWIW, I give pretty much all career combat soldiers Fit in my games (and I give most special operators Very Fit and Combat Reflexes). This reflects the effects of marching around all the time with heavy loads, not sleeping much, and so on. If you don't wash out – which is antithetical to "career" – then you're Fit. I give most amateur athletes Fit, too, and anybody better than amateur Very Fit. This treatment makes these types of characters tougher survivors without automatically making them all sexy singers with excellent drinking skills.


Originally Posted by Kromm (Post 282857)
A trained jock with Fit and Breath Control (which in 4e is the totally realistic skill of pacing yourself) can get back 1 FP per minute (1 per 2 minutes with Breath Control, doubled for Fit).


Originally Posted by Kromm (Post 282475)
The fact that GURPS always rounds injury, fatigue, and point costs up for the PCs is entirely consistent. "Inconsistent" here would be rounding down for any reason. One could argue that there are bizarre "quantum effects" owing to the fact that N 1-FP expenditures always round up to N FP, while for N > 1, a single N-FP expenditure would become N/2 and always save at least 1 FP . . . but so it goes. Such quantum effects are part and parcel of GURPS having a resolution level or granularity, like any other game. In this case, the effects were also intended. Very Fit is the advantage of suffering less from large, realistic FP burns and not the advantage of needing fewer FP for unrealistic effects (cinematic martial-arts skills, magic, psi, etc.) -- and extra effort in combat is heroic silliness, not realism. Its FP cost was set at 1 FP with the full knowledge that no effects that halve FP costs would work on it. Realistic FP costs for a fight are the ones assessed at the end.

In fact, the decision to make virtually all special skills that cost FP and all extra effort cost 1 FP per use was made with the full knowledge that round-ups would negate Very Fit. :)


Originally Posted by Kromm (Post 1340985)
"All HT rolls" means what it says. HT is used for four things:
  • HT rolls
  • secondary characteristics (FP and Basic Speed)
  • HT-based skills
  • HT-based calculations (notably effect durations)
Fit affects the first of those things. I'm not sure why bleeding rolls would be excluded . . . they're unambiguously part of "all HT rolls" and none of the other three things.

Q: Does Unfit (and Very Unfit) apply to Extra Effort in combat? What does it apply to? How is it applied?

Originally Posted by PK (Post 2080772)

Originally Posted by Edges (Post 2079685)
The Unfit disadvantage says that you lose FP at twice the normal rate. What does this apply to?

Any FP lost to natural conditions, such as exertion, environmental effects, and otherwise pushing your body too hard. It doesn't affect FP spent on spells or similar powered abilities, nor does it increase the FP loss when you're hit with a Fatigue Attack.


Does it apply to Extra Effort?


Does it matter if the Extra Effort is in or out of combat?
Sort of. Combat-related Extra Effort involves quantum expenditures of 1 FP over a period of time that is effectively instantaneous. And some non-combat uses do work the same way. But if an out-of-combat use instead covers a measurable span of time (e.g., Extra Effort that costs 1 FP per minute), Unfit instead doubles the rate by halving the time (that is, that theoretical example would become 1 FP per 30 seconds, not 2 FP per minute).


It says it applies to FP lost due to heat. Does this imply that it also applies to FP lost to other hazards like sleep debt, hunger, and thirst? Does it apply to the FP lost at the end of combat?
Yes, those are all examples of pushing your body too hard. An Unfit character is terrible at doing such things.

vicky_molokh 11-21-2012 01:53 PM

Re: (Unofficial) FAQ of the GURPS Fora
Q: How are Blocking Spells used / rolled? What modifiers do they get?


Originally Posted by Kromm (Post 1479906)
While the effect of a Blocking spell is equivalent to an active defense, the roll involved isn't an active defense roll. Just to start with, the roll is against a full skill, not (skill/2)+3. On the downside, Blocking spells are affected by the penalties for low mana, shock (DX/IQ penalty for injury last turn), spells "on," and a lot of other things that don't affect active defense rolls, and do not get +1 for Combat Reflexes. In addition, they always cost FP (even high skill can't change this), automatically interrupt long castings (no Will-3 roll allowed), and can't be used repeatedly in a turn (even at a penalty). As they have their own, fairly extensive drawbacks like this, making them subject to the standard run of active-defense penalties as well would be excessive. Thus, Blocking spells aren't affected by standard active defense penalties.

vicky_molokh 03-26-2013 10:59 AM

Re: (Unofficial) FAQ of the GURPS Fora
Q: I would like some clarifications on how Autohypnosis works in games.

Originally Posted by Kromm

Originally Posted by vicky_molokh
  • Since the this is a skill that is more useful in a hurry, and has a listed time requirement, and isn't supernatural, I'm assuming Time Spent modifiers apply. Correct?

No. Time is fixed by skill level. Skills like that don't allow changes in time spent unless they specifically say so and give rules, as with Power Blow.


Originally Posted by vicky_molokh
  • The Increase Will option is ambiguous. On one hand, it says that it Increases Will, which seems to be a broad use. On the other, it says that this applies to attempts to resist torture, interrogation, or magical/psi attack, though it is not explicitly mentioned to be an exhaustive list. Is the latter meant to narrow down the former or not?

It's a reminder that these things have to do with Will, not an exclusive list.


Originally Posted by vicky_molokh
  • Real-life mentions of autohypnosis helping overcome one's inner demons exist. Back in 3e, resistance to Phobias was mentioned. Should perhaps an option of increasing Self-Control numbers exist in 4e?

No. Or to be precise, it was discussed and rejected . . . a "weasel out of my disads" skill was deemed a very bad idea indeed.


Originally Posted by vicky_molokh
  • You cannot talk or move during the initiation of the trance state. Ergo, talking and doing stuff while the effect lasts is okay, right?



Originally Posted by vicky_molokh
  • A successful skill roll allows you to do one of the following. This limit applies to the number of effects that are active at a time, not per roll.

You can have one effect "on" at a time, yes. You cannot make N rolls for N effects.


Originally Posted by vicky_molokh
  • You once mentioned taking more injury after ignoring pain/fatigue broke the trance. I'm assuming this was missed in the book for whatever reasons, and should be considered an 'approved' effect. Right?



Originally Posted by vicky_molokh
  • Corollary to the above: it is mentioned that regular Hypnotism is as good as anæsthetic for Surgery modifiers. Should Autohypnosis be too?



Originally Posted by vicky_molokh
  • Negate Pain/Fatigue is the only one with a limit of one roll per hour. Ergo, you can retry other rolls. Right?

Yes, that's why the one case is called out as special.


Originally Posted by vicky_molokh
  • Should Negate Pain be usable for actual long-term pain effects, such as a Pain affliction or the long-term pain from an old wound/sickness/etc.? If so, what would the effect be? Perhaps a High Pain Threshold equivalent?

I always let it work as HPT with an activation roll and time limit, so that seems fair.


Originally Posted by vicky_molokh
  • Does the character (and player) know whether s/he succeeded on a roll?

Yes. This is a roll by the player.


Originally Posted by Kromm (Post 1588694)
You can get one of the effects, once. You cannot get more than one effect at a time, or stack instances of the same effect. That is what "one of the following" means.

vicky_molokh 04-05-2013 03:26 AM

Re: (Unofficial) FAQ of the GURPS Fora
Q: Fatigue attacks ignore hit location. What exactly does that mean?

Originally Posted by Kromm (Post 1553972)
The cited rule means that attacks that cause FP are subject to no special wounding effects for hit location. You can pick any body part on your target and attack it at the usual penalty for hit location. If the target has FP, then the attack reduces those FP by the amount rolled minus any DR on the body part, unless the attack happens to ignore DR (not an intrinsic property of attacks with the fat damage type). The only limit on how many FP can be caused is the target's usual floor of -FP.

In much shorter terms, it's mostly a statement that you can't get bonus FP by aiming at the skull or vitals, and don't inflict fewer FP just because you hit a hand or an arm.

vicky_molokh 05-09-2013 02:18 PM

Re: (Unofficial) FAQ of the GURPS Fora
Q: Specifically what counts as a Style perk?

Originally Posted by Kromm

Originally Posted by sir_pudding

Specifically what counts as a Style perk?
I don't think it's:
a) Any perk that appears on any style anywhere.

Because that means you'd need tens of points in Guns to have a CC permit and work at a Gun Store with an employee discount. And other such absurdities.

or is it:
b) Just the sort of perks that PU2 calls "Combat Perks"?

The answer is (b). It's just that Style Perks that aren't Combat Perks happen to appear in some shooting styles.

vicky_molokh 06-21-2013 05:05 AM

Re: (Unofficial) FAQ of the GURPS Fora
Q: In combat, how much can I see about the state of my opponent? (I want to plan what to do next!)


Originally Posted by Kromm (Post 1063800)
The following results in combat are obvious without any dice rolling:
  • Knocked back.
  • Knocked down.
  • Stunned; the heart attack mortal condition; and the agony, choking, daze, and ecstasy incapacitating conditions.
  • Crippled.
  • Hallucinating incapacitating condition.
  • Retching incapacitating condition.
  • Seizure incapacitating condition.
  • Dead; unconscious; the coma mortal condition; and the paralysis, sleep, and unconsciousness incapacitating conditions.
However, it would require a Concentrate maneuver and a skill roll to distinguish between two conditions on the same line above in a fight (stunned vs. daze, dead vs. merely unconscious, etc.). Ditto to distinguish between two causes of the same condition (knocked down by failed HT roll vs. knocked down by failed DX roll, mental vs. physical stun, etc.). And ditto to identify shock (the penalty due to injury), irritating conditions (coughing/sneezing, drowsy, drunk, euphoria, nauseated, pain, or tipsy), or wounds (missing 1 HP vs. missing 4 HP, etc.).

I would allow several skills to work here. Diagnosis is obvious, but other possibilities might be Body Language (to notice shock, tell types of stun apart, etc.), Physiology, Streetwise (to spot drunk, euphoria, etc., and to distinguish ecstasy/daze due to drugs from combat stun), and anything else the player convinced me made sense. For instance, I'd let a boxer make a Per-based Boxing roll to assess the results of his beating. The important part is the turn spent scrutinizing the target, not the skill. I'd probably give a bonus equal in size to the largest relevant penalty to notice irritating conditions and shock, too; drunk, with -4 to self-control rolls, would be +4 to spot, compared to +2 for tipsy. Likewise, -4 in shock would give +4.

However, the simple answer about stun is, "Yes, it's obvious when somebody is stunned." In general, if somebody wants to fake still being stunned (or any other status above), the onus is on him to win a Quick Contest vs. observers' IQ or relevant skill.

vicky_molokh 09-25-2013 02:51 AM

Re: (Unofficial) FAQ of the GURPS Fora
Q: Does Corrosion damage reduce all DR on the character hit, or only some areas?
A: Only the area hit:

Originally Posted by sir_pudding

Originally Posted by Kromm

Originally Posted by sir_pudding

Is the DR reduction from 5+ points of Corrosive damage supposed to effect:
a) Only the hit location that suffers the hit
b)All DR on the target everywhere?

It's supposed to affect the area hit. A disintegrator beam that blasts your glove isn't going to make your boot disappear.

vicky_molokh 10-05-2013 02:53 AM

Re: (Unofficial) FAQ of the GURPS Fora
I'm admittedly unsure how often this comes up, but:

Originally Posted by Turhan's Bey Company

Originally Posted by sir_pudding
As far as I can tell the Bottomless Backpack in DF8 is exactly 1/10 the price that it should have based on the Hideaway enchantment. Is that intentional?

It's been sufficiently long since I wrote that that I don't remember. But I'm sure I had my reasons, so, sure, let's say it's on purpose.


Originally Posted by Turhan's Bey Company

Originally Posted by sir_pudding
So it's definitely not errata caused by leaving off a zero?

Without finding and consulting my notes, I think it's not.

vicky_molokh 10-23-2013 03:37 AM

Re: (Unofficial) FAQ of the GURPS Fora
Q: What Cultural Familarities (CFs) are there in the modern world?

Originally Posted by Kromm (Post 1660763)
We have never published such a list, but behind the scenes, we use this one:
  1. Latin American (Mexico and parts south)
  2. Anglo (the U.K. and its English-speaking former colonies, including the U.S.A.)
  3. Western European ( "the Continent")
  4. Eastern European (the former Soviet Bloc)
  5. North African (from the Mediterranean coast south to the Sahel)
  6. Sub-Saharan (specifically as contrasted with North African)
  7. West Asian (from the Mediterranean east to Iran)
  8. Central Asian (Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, and so on)
  9. South Asian (dominated by India)
  10. East Asian (China, Japan, Korea, etc.)
Of those, I'd say you could afford to break up Latin American and South Asian further, and Sub-Saharan a lot further, if the campaign requires it. But if you want an even 10 to hit Cultural Adaptability on the head, this list works well enough.

You would almost certainly find "Colorless Green Ideas Sleep Furiously" (Pyramid #3/44: Alternate GURPS II) and "Speaking in Tongues" (Pyramid #3/54: Social Engineering) to be of value, then.

Update: An unofficial attempt to illustrate this split can be found here.

vicky_molokh 11-07-2013 11:54 AM

Re: (Unofficial) FAQ of the GURPS Fora
Q: Rapier Wit seems like a potentially scary ability. Exactly what are the requirements for using it?

Originally Posted by Kromm (Post 664970)
You have to know something meaningful about your specific target, and then turn that into an insult. Rapier Wit is worthless against mysterious hit men and spies, randomly encountered thugs, golems and zombies with no personal life, strangers on the street, and anybody with any skill at all at hiding his true self or past. It's specifically intended for old rivals, public figures, and others you know something about. If you want it to work on just about any ordinary person, you must add Words of Power, +100% -- and if you want it to affect golems, robots, undead, and so on, you'll also need Cosmic, +300%.

I'm not saying that it still isn't somewhat cheap, but it's probably a good idea to start the price comparisons in light of the correct assumptions.

And I hasten to add that it's a cinematic trait for silly cinematic campaigns, where things like Bulletproof Nudity and Melee Etiquette are free for everybody already. You're effectively paying 5 points for another cinematic rule that only benefits you. Arguably, that's 4 points more than the perk it ought to be in a game like that.

Clarifications to clarification:

Originally Posted by Kromm
Feel free to share this:

As written on p. B79, Rapier Wit can be used repeatedly on the same target and doesn't spell out very clearly that it requires any specific information. If the GM wants to use it as written, fair play.

However, also as written on p. B79, to affect a group, you must know something the entire group has in common. The intent is not "to affect a group, there's a new requirement that you know something about them all," but "to affect a group, the existing requirement that you know something about the target is narrowed to something common to all of your targets." Unfortunately, the rider requiring the user to know something about even a single target went AWOL somewhere between this trait's first appearance and its current incarnation. That omission is an unequivocal erratum. The intended level of knowledge is the name of an individual – or, for a group, a designation applicable to them all (e.g., Cardinal's Guard, the Turatello boys, or "you goddamned East Side scum") – plus some commonly known fact . . . which need not be intimate, much less truly secret.

As for repeated use, nothing says you can't allow that. However, it would be more flavorful to require a new taunt for each use (my main concern isn't balance but rather keeping this flavorful, slightly silly social ability from degenerating into a coldly mechanistic attack). If the player can't come up with a new fact per use, I'd at least start applying -1 per successive use. After all, p. B79 specifically says, "any modifier the GM assigns based on your description of the verbal attack." I'd deem it fair, even canon for the GM to invoke this to apply the generic -1 per repeated attempt on p. B348.

Dungeon Fantasy is an interesting special case: Going by the monsters in DF 2 and DF Monsters 1, 43% are IQ 0-5 and/or Bestial beings that don't even have a language, so you can't use witticisms on them; 35% are golems, Elder Things, or greater demons or undead with Unfazeable, and thus explicitly immune; and just 22% are sapient and affected by emotions. Thus, Rapier Wit is only an option about 1/5 of the time . . . and that 1/5 of monsters are mostly fodder, and of course they probably don't speak common languages. So you know what? Ignore all the stuff I said above and let Rapier Wit work repeatedly on targets, as long as the user knows their language. In DF, that's such a rare set of conditions that it seems only fair.

vicky_molokh 11-19-2013 03:01 PM

Re: (Unofficial) FAQ of the GURPS Fora
Q: Hey, why is the RoF of Bows so low? I've seen videos of people launching 1+ arrows per second?

A: Sure. With low-ST bow, not drawing it the whole way, against predictably moving (or even immobile) targets at a precisely known range and location, with the opportunity to make many videos and only submit the most impressive one. It's a case of impressive tricks covered by use of Bow Art under conditions that provide very nice Task Difficulty Modifiers.

Oh, and demonstrations against poor-quality mail that is placed against a hard surface with no padding makes penetration much easier, even with abysmally weak shots.

Now, for cinematic games, GURPS rules do already cover shooting Bows at ROF 1 (Martial Arts p. 120) and even ROF 2 for cinematic archers (Martial Arts p. 83). These rules can also be used under noncombat conditions for Bow Art demonstrations.

vicky_molokh 03-12-2014 04:19 AM

Re: (Unofficial) FAQ of the GURPS Fora
Q: Some poison descriptions in High-Tech are confusing. Can I get some clarifications?

A: Some Krommwords on more specific answers:

Originally Posted by Kromm (Post 1735756)

With formatting.


Originally Posted by BraselC5048

If an effect (such as seizures) happens regardless of a HT roll, how long do they last once you pass a roll? Or if they happen on a failed roll, how long do they last after you pass the second or later rolls?

The non-injury effects of a poison depend on which of these options the poison uses:
  1. Per p. B438, symptoms triggered automatically by injury persist until HP recover to above the relevant threshold: 1/3, 1/2, or 2/3 of HP. (Poisons may use fatigue thresholds and FP instead, but it's the same idea.)
  2. Also per p. B438, effects triggered by failed resistance rolls specifically for those effects, separate from any rolls to resist injury, normally endure for minutes equal to margin of failure.
  3. Ill effects that don't fall into the first two categories share the poison's duration: until all remaining cycles are up. Effects end when the final cycle ends. If a poison offers resistance rolls, then "all remaining cycles" means however many cycles you fail rolls for; if the poison cannot be resisted, then that's the full course of cycles.
Specific poisons might make exceptions – but if no exception is noted, then assume none is needed.


Originally Posted by BraselC5048

Botulin Toxins - Seems I've been able to figure out that you keep rolling until you get the antitoxin, and if you fail a roll, you're not only paralyzed, but need to be on ventilation, or you die. In other words, respiratory paralysis, or in game terms, choking, not paralysis.

This one is indeed unclear because the wording sounds like option #2 above but doesn't fully respect those rules. As far as I can tell, it's really option #3 with open-ended cycles, meaning that the effects don't end until someone gets treatment for time equal to that needed to recover from a lasting crippling injury. However, the effect is actual paralysis (i.e., you can't move) – it just includes being unable to breathe as well.


Originally Posted by BraselC5048

With Strychnine, it's still not clear. Do you have to make dozens of rolls to avoid choking, or do you only have to pass one? If dozens or more, it's really deadly - effectively a 100% fatality rate. If it's one, then the fatality rate is about 50%. And of course, the "how long do the seizures last" question. If you do suffer chocking, can being put on ventilation in a hospital keep you alive?

The seizures last for 2d hours, since that's how long the poison lasts. The rolls to avoid choking occur every five minutes during that time until you pass one. This is spasmodic, not paralytic, so I'd use the standard rules for duration: minutes equal to margin of failure. I would allow ventilation to work if choking occurs.


Originally Posted by BraselC5048

Ricin - Now I know that choking is if you both fail the first roll and a future roll (it was ambiguous, but now it makes sense). If you pass a roll, do you still have to make future rolls? And how long do the effects last, of course, plus would ventilation help if you do start choking?

This appears to be a standard case of rules option #3: The effects last while you continue to fail resistance rolls. The first successful resistance roll ends the cycles (again, per p. B438). As long as you keep failing, though, the non-injury effects persist. If choking sets in, then yes, ventilation would help. Ventilation is a specific treatment for choking regardless of its cause.


Originally Posted by BraselC5048

Curare - Only a 41% fatality rate for Joe Average, is that right? And nobody really knows if the total number of rolls is 4 or 5.

As with all cyclic poisons, "repeats" implies an initial cycle. Something that repeats four times has a total of five rolls. The average HT 10 person is going to fail all five HT-6 rolls (90.8% chance), suffer the full run rather than shake it off early, take a net 10d injury (avg. 35 HP), go to -2×HP, have to make two HT rolls to avoid death (75% chance of failure), and thus die of pure injury 68% of the time. Of course, if he critically fails by rolling 14+ against HT - 6 = 4 at any point, he'll choke as well and be even more certain to die without ventilation.


Originally Posted by BraselC5048

DMSO - Just came up with the question, can you use more then one dose at once (for 2 doses of poison)?

Yes, you can. If you have n doses of poison, you'll need n doses of DMSO to deliver it, but that's fine. Realistically, huge puddles of DMSO would tend to diffuse, cover too much area to fully contact the skin, and of course be visible. I'd say that each doubling of dosage gives +1 to rolls to notice the poison. I'd also say that the multi-dose benefits of poison stop at four doses, if you're relying on casual contact rather than literally pouring the entire dose on someone, but that the +1 per doubling to rolls to notice the poison continues.

And a bit more:


Originally Posted by Kromm

Originally Posted by BraselC5048
So for Botulin Toxins and Ricin, you suffer the damage listed on each failed roll? I had no idea that would be the case. Makes them a lot more deadly, then.

For ricin, the damage does indeed cycle:
Regardless of the roll, he suffers 3d toxic damage, nausea, and vomiting; failure means he also experiences coughing. This repeats at eight-hour intervals for 10 cycles . . .
For botulin, it does not:
At the next 12-hour interval, he must make a HT-1 roll to avoid paralysis . . .
Note that that it says nothing about damage being repeated. Botulin kills you by paralyzing your respiratory system semi-irreversibly, not through immediate toxic shock.

vicky_molokh 06-23-2014 12:03 PM

Re: (Unofficial) FAQ of the GURPS Fora
Q: The mechanics of Homing attacks are confusing. What modifiers are used?

Originally Posted by z0boson (Post 1778509)

I got the answer from Kromm!


Originally Posted by Kromm
The rules are meant to be taken literally:

1. The attack uses this sense for the purpose of combat modifiers.

2. To "lock on," you must Aim at the target and make an unmodified skill roll. Do not roll against your skill to hit. Instead, use the attack's skill of 10 – plus Accuracy, if you made your skill roll – and ignore all range penalties.

Thus, all the roll is 10 + Accuracy. The only penalties that apply are those that would jam the homing sense: darkness/fog for vision, jamming for radar, and so on. You specifically ignore range and speed.



Originally Posted by Kromm
Oh, and I ignored the most important part: "Lock on" rolls aren't modified. Lock on is just an Aim maneuver where you have to roll against skill. This is a roll to properly use the equipment.

Q: Which Aiming modifiers are capped and which aren't?

Originally Posted by Kromm (Post 1826185)
Here's the hierarchy of modifiers:
  • Bonuses to skill. These apply whether or not you take an Aim maneuver. They include the +1 to skill from a laser, a reflex sight, or a computer sight; the +1 to skill from All-Out Attack (Determined); and any situational benefits the GM gives for, say, shooting at a backlit target. Such modifiers are not subject to any special limit. If, at the instant you pulled the trigger, the basic weapon were teleported away and replaced with another with a higher or lower intrinsic Accuracy score, you would still get the exact same skill bonus.

  • Aiming Modifiers. These apply only if you take Aim maneuvers before you attack. They fall into three basic categories:

    • Weapon's intrinsic Acc. You may always claim your weapon's full Acc bonus after a turn of Aim. Some modifiers adjust this base value for the purposes of the next category:
      • Add any bonus for fine (accurate) or very fine (accurate), or subtract any penalty for a cheap or poorly maintained weapon.
      • Apply any +1 for match-grade ammunition. The previous modifier can qualify or disqualify you for this!
      • Apply any modifier for adding a pistol stock or collapsing a folding stock.

    • Bonus Acc from any aiming aids. You may claim additional Acc from scopes, laser rangefinders (not mere targeting lasers!), or any other gear that says it increases Acc rather than skill if you Aim and meet any special conditions attached (e.g., minimum turns of Aim to claim a full scope bonus). This bonus cannot exceed the previous one. This is the only place where a limit applies!

    • Bonus Acc from the Aim maneuver itself. You may claim bonuses to Acc from two or more turns of Aim, and from bracing as part of Aim (whether on a piece of cover or using a rifle sling, a bipod, or a tripod). This is not subject to any special limit, and is in effect a skill bonus that kicks only in after you Aim.

vicky_molokh 07-23-2014 02:08 PM

Re: (Unofficial) FAQ of the GURPS Fora
Q: From the wording of Zeroed, it looks like a hindrance more than a benefit to me. Just what am I paying for?


Originally Posted by Kromm (Post 932347)
Do realize that Zeroed isn't meant to be an initial condition that wears off the first time somebody takes your picture. It assumes maintenance, and some off-screen means of achieving that. You're Zeroed now and, a few weeks later when your picture shows up again, you're still Zeroed because whatever means made you Zeroed in the first place nuked the records. That's how it works.

Those whose worlds don't assume forces powerful enough to wipe out arbitrarily secure records shouldn't use Zeroed. Neither should gamers who just want to be mysterious Man With No Name types. If you're simply somebody who starts play with no identity and gradually builds up a permanent record, you're not Zeroed. You have something more akin to Zeroed as a one-use advantage (1/5 cost, 2 points, like Favor), if not just a perk.

Zeroed is for people who work for the MIBs . . . or have a backdoor into SkyNet . . . or possess supernatural abilities that completely transmute them every sunset . . . or serve Oblivius, God of Nothingness. It's an active trait. It isn't just an Unusual Background.

vicky_molokh 08-13-2014 08:23 AM

Re: (Unofficial) FAQ of the GURPS Fora
Q: Wealth seems like a rather expensive trait compared to just buying lots of Signature Gear. What am I paying for?
A: Well, there are many things:

Originally Posted by Kromm (Post 1086688)
In GURPS, Status = social standing and Wealth = economic standing, and your complete socioeconomic profile – what we would call "social class" in the real world – comes from the two taken together.
[ . . . ]
A TL8 person who chooses to be Poor [-15] starts with $4,000 and not $20,000
[ . . . ]
he's a homeless itinerant or a drifter, and here's the important part: By getting 15 points for Poor, he's accepting and locking in his legal status as "homeless itinerant." It isn't just money that's affected, but others' perceptions of him. If a cop catches him flashing gift goods from rich party members, sees him entering a residence provided by said allies, etc., the cop will intervene. Such incidents should provide approximately -15 points of inconvenience.

There's also the bit about how much gear you start with, but that's actually a secondary effect of Wealth. The primary effects concern your credit rating, social network, relationship with bankers and taxmen, and so on, and the follow-on effects on your social freedoms and mobility. Wealth represents these things first of all. If the GM has no intention of enforcing the ramifications, then low Wealth isn't a valid disadvantage, any more than low Appearance would be valid in a campaign where all the PCs teleoperate giant battlemechs via FTL radio and never appear in the flesh.


Originally Posted by Kromm (Post 1020109)
As Wealth Level (p. B517) notes, jobs have associated Wealth levels, and those who work at them must spend points to reach those levels. If they don't, what happens is up to the GM. The most logical outcome is that the PC is seen as insufficiently respectable or reliable for the job, and the employer finds some pretext to terminate him or demote him to a job commensurate with his Wealth level. It's entirely possible that the Status associated with the Wealth level of a job is a de facto prerequisite for the job, too; you can't get the job "Knight" without Status 2, and living in a Status 2 fashion requires you to be Wealthy.

And as Finding a Job (p. B518) explains, the Wealth levels associated with jobs are canonically linked to Status levels, and search rolls have a penalty equal to twice that Status level. Thus, while it's fine for a Status 2 character to start with a Status 2/Wealthy job, the GM is within his rights to deny that to a PC with Status 1 or less, or who's Comfortable or poorer, and ask to see him make the search roll . . . at -4.

I guess you could read these rules otherwise, but the above is the spirit in which they were written.


Originally Posted by Kromm (Post 884602)
Ah, no . . . capital-W Wealth the advantage is in itself a measure of social connectedness, credit rating, and economic power. It doesn't go away just because you lose money in bad times. You still have the connections and the credit history; you just don't have the cash. Small-w wealth the real-world concept certainly varies, but on the other hand isn't anything but your bank balance.

A knight, lord, or ruler tends to have some of his Status owing to his track record as being the holder of land and commander of troops who, in the worst-case scenario, can loot or tax money to repay debts. This is what Wealth is about in such settings, and why it elevates Status.


Originally Posted by Kromm (Post 89332)
[ . . . ]
An adventurer who starts out Dead Broke gets to enter play naked, unarmed, and either looked down upon for his low Status or looked down upon for living below his average Status. [ . . . ] if his job ("adventurer") earns him enough money to gain Wealth levels, he's expected to buy those Wealth levels. If he doesn't, he hasn't made the commitments needed to keep the money and something will happen to it.


Originally Posted by Kromm (Post 884668)
The intent of the game design is that the +1 or +2 to Status from Wealth is actual base Status. It isn't an "effective Status" modifier at all. Capital-W Wealth changes your Status. Small-w wealth – including what you can afford to pay as cost of living – affects only effective Status. You seem to be confusing Wealth with wealth. Wealth is a highly complex, abstract social advantage that encompasses about as much as IQ does, including but not limited to starting money, job qualifications, social connections, credit rating, land, and a hidden economic parallel to Status.


Originally Posted by Kromm (Post 884675)
Yeah, that's a different take than the game uses. If you win the lottery tomorrow, your Wealth does not change by default. That's just the spoils of war, the way the cookie crumbles, etc. It's no different from making a friend in play, which doesn't require Ally, or finding a magic sword, which doesn't grant you Signature Gear or a gadget built as advantages. Your Wealth only changes if you specifically invest the required capital – taking it out of play – to buy, bribe, and insure your way to a social position where future changes in fortune won't alter the respect and credit accorded to you. This is the big difference between somebody who keeps their winnings as liquid assets and uses them for trips, cars, and homes, and somebody who invests their winnings in nonliquid assets that will continue to make them money in the future. The former only requires cash; the latter also calls for points, which represent the work done to build networks.


Originally Posted by Kromm (Post 885043)
To be fair, I wanted to call it "Economic Rank" or "Economic Status," but others felt that was too close to "Rank" and "Status," and probably easily confused given its relationship with the political kind of Status.


Originally Posted by Kromm (Post 1713599)
Optional Purchase of Wealth: When your PC receives a windfall (treasure, lottery winnings, etc.), enough to boost her Wealth, you have the option to declare that she's investing some or all of her money in the social structures necessary to support higher Wealth. That means things like buying club memberships, opening a secured trading account, paying off debts, starting tabs by making large purchases from prestigious merchants, investing most of the money for the long term, and having her now-impressed banker, newly hired attorney, et al. vouch for her. Then you can spend some earned points on Wealth, which will give her the connections for better jobs at a future date, and possibly some free Wealth-derived Status. Such a course is never required, and you always have the alternative of saying that your PC keeps the cash for spending and uses it to buy gear – but that won't help her future jobs, Status, etc.

Compulsory Purchase of Wealth: When your PC earns a lot of money by working at a job, the choice is made for her. She has come into good fortune the slow, sure way that most societies recognize as respectable. She has been making connections and investments for months or years. As the player, you're required to spend earned points on Wealth . . . unless you can successfully petition the GM to agree that your PC is suddenly out of a job and discredited with nothing but a bunch of money to show for it.

Spontaneous Addition of Wealth: When your PC is rewarded – when the GM decrees something like, "And your reward from the Prince is riches. Everybody now has Very Wealthy!" – she get Wealth and her point value goes up. The Wealth takes the form of the contacts for better jobs, free Status, etc. There may be no extra cash . . . what she gains, in effect, is credit rating. Thus, this is not a windfall or earnings, but a hybrid case where the respect and connections of the latter are bestowed in the manner of the former, without liquid assets necessarily changing hands. Refusing the free advantage is an option, but this might mean gaining nothing; the kinds of authorities who can award social privilege pay little or nothing to do so, and often lack the personal fortune to award a cash equivalent.

Also see Status, Cost of Living (CoL) and lifestyle.

vicky_molokh 10-16-2014 01:17 PM

Re: (Unofficial) FAQ of the GURPS Fora
Sense Rolls, Stealth and Camouflage


Originally Posted by Kromm
This is a long response, so I've had to split it in two to avoid the character limit for a PM. Note that this took a lot of time to write, so I simply can't justify follow-up comments. I hope these answers will suffice!


Originally Posted by vicky_molokh

Hearing vs. Stealth
Moving quietly normally takes a Stealth roll contested by Hearing. Hearing rolls suffer a -1 penalty for each doubling of distance relative to the 'standard distance'. What is the 'standard distance' at which the Hearing value in the Contest is unmodified?

I'd go with the 1/4 yard implied by High-Tech, p. 158 if the person is truly stalking. The Stealth skill gives -5 when Moving faster than Move 1, however, which is functionally equivalent to +5 to Hearing, making the distance 8 yards at Move 2+. That's too coarse-grained, so I'd prefer to say that base distance equals the stalker's Move. Thus, any combat movement (Move 1+) is audible at full Hearing at one yard; sneaking to within stabbing distance is a simple Quick Contest of Stealth vs. Hearing; and the High-Tech case assumes someone moving at Move 0.25.


Originally Posted by vicky_molokh

The only indication I've found was High-Tech 158: 'Leaves rustling, stalking person 40dB(A), 0.25 yards'; that seems to result in a Hearing-2 roll at 1 hex, which is consistent with the Hearing roll to figure where the unseen opponent is in combat (B394).

That -2 is more for "surrounding noises" (p. B358) than for distance. It's also a simplification; note that neither the distance nor speed of an unseen attacker affects this Hearing roll. I wouldn't attempt to rationalize this. If you must, then use standard distance = Move and apply an extra -2 in a fight, so that someone running at Move 5 is heard at -2 at 5 yards, -1 at 2 yards, no modifier at 1 yard. Just stepping a yard means he's heard at -2 at 1 yard (which is the most usual case in combat).


Originally Posted by vicky_molokh

More on Hearing
The table seems to produce very low chances of hearing normal stuff, such as a mere 50% chance of hearing a normal conversation at 1 yard or a loud conversation or noisy office at 4 yards. Should there be some sort of positive TDM under most noncombat circumstances, perhaps +6 (so that people at 1 yard could always hear each other)?

Vision rolls get +10 for "in plain sight." Those use a progression where every -6 is ×10 – i.e., Vision gets an effective x10^(10/6), or about ×50, range in unchallenging situations. The equivalent for Hearing would be +5 or +6. I'd pick +5, as it's easy to remember and gives ordinary conversationalists a Hearing roll of 15 at 1 yard or 14 at 2 yards, which allows for the occasional "Sorry, what was that?" moment that happens in real life.


Originally Posted by vicky_molokh

Sense of Smell
To turn a Canadian song quote into an actual rules example . . . 'I hate it when they go out, and we stay in // And they come home smelling like their ex girlfriends' - well, what are the modifiers to differentiate between two people or whether one person carries the scent of another like that?

That's more a research question than a rules question. As a rough guide, call it -4. That way, Discriminatory Smell's +4 cancels it out. Ordinary people would be rolling against 6, which seems believable given our atrophied olfaction. If the objective is to spot an impersonator, I might give a bonus of +1 to +4 if the person rolling is intimately familiar with the subject – say, +1 for a friend, +2 for a best friend, or +3 for a lover, and another +1 if you've lived with the subject.


Originally Posted by vicky_molokh

Smell, Stealth and Range
Stealth is at -5 against Discriminatory Smell; that clears up the stealth part. The unclear part is, how do range modifiers work for smell? Yes, a wind in either direction would throw off the table, but at least what are the default modifiers?

That has never been established. I'd apply standard range modifiers, a separate bonus or penalty for windspeed, bonuses for large sources (say, equal to SM) and strong smells, and up to +5 (for "extra time") for persistent sources. Thus, a huge factory (SM +10) that's a mile away (-18), spewing a foul smell (+4) constantly for days (+5) would be detectable at Smell+1, or possibly Smell+2 or Smell+3 with the right wind. A human (SM 0) a yard or two away (0) wearing strong perfume (+1) in a still room would be detectable at Smell+1 when she walked in, or Smell+2 if she had a lot of perfume on – and you'd add up to +5 after she'd been in the room for a few hours. So don't try Stealth if you like perfume!


Originally Posted by Kromm

Originally Posted by vicky_molokh

Scanning Senses
Scanning senses have a designated range, after which they start accumulating stacking -2 penalties per doubling. But what are the modifiers to the Sense roll within the designated range?

There are none. To quote Active Sensors, p. B472: "They can sense objects out to their rated maximum range at no range penalty."


Originally Posted by vicky_molokh

I mean, I suppose detecting something close to the sensor should be easier to detecting it near the very edge of the designated range. +2 at point-blank? It's kinda weird to have only a 50/50 chance to detect things real close, or even a 25% chance to miss a human-sized target at point-blank with a LADAR or the like. Should they benefit from the Plain Sight modifier? Benefit from it only to offset SM penalties and range penalties?

I would avoid most such complications. Our goal was to get away from the Third Edition model with range penalties and Scan ratings. That said, "in plain sight" appears to be nearly universal, and should apply to these senses. However, if the target is being even a little evasive, or if there's any cover – which is to say, in almost any combat situation – I wouldn't give this bonus. If a high-tech sensor shouldn't believably miss targets inside its range, that's what Acute Senses are for. Acute Radar and Acute Ladar are legitimate, and baseline Scanning Sense acuity assumes human perceptions, not technological ones.


Originally Posted by vicky_molokh

Stealth and Camouflage
Camouflage can be rolled to prevent being seen even after a failed Stealth roll; a stationary ambush only requires Camouflage, without Stealth. So Camouflage is of use on the move if vision is more of a concern than hearing . . . but regarding vision, does the Plain Sight modifier apply to trying to see camouflaged targets in the Quick Contest?

No! By definition, camouflaged people or things aren't in plain sight.


Originally Posted by vicky_molokh

(On one hand, by the logical reading of the bonus, it shouldn't, on the other, the numbers get weird if just trying to camouflage suddenly denies a whole +10 bonus to the enemy. In fact, this question applies to Stealth too. So far, the cleanest way for me was assuming a +10 included by default, and reduced depending on the amount of cover available down to +0 for ideal cover, with no roll available through a complete wall.)

The +10 never applies in hostile situations where one side would rather not be seen. It's specifically and exclusively for situations where the item of interest cannot avoid being seen . . . Thus, in most cases, using Camouflage or Stealth doesn't instantly give -10, because even someone without those skills would deny the +10 for "in plain sight" unless standing around like an idiot. I'd let any person avoid giving potential foes that +10 simply by asking, though they'd automatically be "up to no good" in the eyes of any cop or soldier (thus the "approach in the open with your hands above your head" order).


Originally Posted by vicky_molokh

Camouflage says it either makes the user unseen, or provides a -1 to be seen/hit. When does it merely blur the outline for this -1? Can it provide a nastier penalty than -1 and under what circumstances if yes?

That -1 is for a blurry outline vs. ranged attacks. Anything more serious would require advanced tech or superhuman abilities. Obviously, smoke could do it with fairly low tech, but that is unsubtle concealment, not camouflage per se.


Originally Posted by vicky_molokh

Sense rolls in general
What amount of time does it usually take for a sense roll, i.e. how soon another one is possible? Should Time Spent modifiers apply, e.g. for slowly scanning everything up to the horizon?

Canonically, Sense rolls are free actions and not subject to time modifiers. If you fail, you can't retry until something changes to improve your Sense roll: the range decreases, the target turns on bright lights or sounds a horn, whatever. I can't think of a fair modifier that wouldn't be a free bonus for everyone outside of combat, though I might be nice and grant someone who's exclusively scanning and doing nothing else the same +2 that Aim would give after three seconds.


Originally Posted by Kromm (Post 1002886)
Stealth prevents being seen and being heard. Its main uses are hiding from sight behind concealment or in shadow, and treading lightly. However, very little in the way of gear gives a bonus in that situation; mostly, the more gear you have, the harder it is to hide, thanks to encumbrance. Dan was describing equipment bonuses, not skill effects.

Camouflage only prevents being seen. Its main use is hiding from sight by breaking up outlines and disguising oneself as part of the environment. A lot of gear gives a bonus in that situation. Again, Dan was describing equipment bonuses, not skill effects.

vicky_molokh 12-16-2014 03:14 AM

Re: (Unofficial) FAQ of the GURPS Fora
Q: Just what is a Step, and how precisely does it work?

Originally Posted by Kromm (Post 1846907)
Step is simply a unit of distance equal to 1/10 of your Move, rounded up, minimum one yard. You might be accorded it once or rarely twice by your choice of maneuver. You can split up this movement however you wish. There are special cases where changing posture can replace all of this movement:
  • p. B368: You can use a step to go from a kneeling to a standing posture (or vice versa) instead of moving. This requires your entire step, no matter how far you could normally move.
  • Martial Arts, p. 98:
    • Dive forward to go from standing to kneeling, crawling, or lying prone. This counts as your entire step if making an Attack or Committed Attack.
    • Dive forward to go from kneeling to crawling or lying prone. This takes your entire movement allowance in all cases.
    • Fall backward to go from standing to sitting or lying face-up. This takes your entire movement allowance if you make an All-Out Attack, Attack, or Committed Attack.
    • Fall backward to go from kneeling or sitting to lying face-up. This uses up all of your movement in all cases.
All Committed Attack does is give you twice the usual step distance as your movement allowance. It does not allow you to bypass rules that say "instead of moving" or that use up your entire movement allowance.

I agree that it would be clearer if Committed Attack said that it gave you double your usual step as allowed movement, instead of two steps. The latter leaves itself open to rules-lawyering.


Originally Posted by Kromm (Post 1847059)
My point is that "step is a different class of rules objects from all other movement, and can be traded in for other things" is incorrect.

Step is literally nothing more than a movement allowance – it's the distance you can move and still do a certain subset of maneuvers. It's in the exact same category as "none" (e.g., Do Nothing), "half your Move" (e.g., All-Out Attack), and "full Move" (e.g., Move); it fits in between "none" and "half your Move." And just as sprinting during a Move maneuver can add 20% to "full Move," Committed Attack can add 100% to "step." Nothing forbids adjustments to these allowances to smooth out the range of options some.

It is the property of maneuvers that give "step" as their movement allowance that you can instead change between certain postures. However, that is a property of those maneuvers. It isn't intrinsic in "step" and it doesn't mean that each unit of "step" can be traded for another such posture change.

The idea that "step" can be traded this way – that it's an object different from "half Move" or "full Move" – is interesting but also the source of the confusion surrounding Committed Attack. Committed Attack itself isn't especially troublesome; the issue is in applying the unorthodox reading of "step" to it. Rewording it as giving +100% to "step" would help to erase this odd interpretation.


Originally Posted by Kromm

Originally Posted by vicky_molokh

For most manoeuvres which includes a Step and an Attack of some kind, is it legal to split the components like this:
  • Move one hex.
  • Perform the Attack (strike, shot, feint etc.).
  • Change facing to whatever direction.
I had the impression that changing facing is considered part of the Step, and cannot be done separately from the hex-movement (but can replace the movement if desired), but I'm not sure I've the right impression.

The facing change is part of the movement, so it has to be at the same time – it can't be broken up. As p. B363 says:
  • A "step" is movement up to 1/10 your Move, minimum 1 yard, in any direction, a change of facing (for instance, to turn around), or both.
  • You can perform your step before or after the rest of the maneuver.
So the step is the movement and facing change taken together, and all of it must come before or after the maneuver.


Originally Posted by vicky_molokh

For those who have a Step of multiple hexes, or who enjoy multiple hexes of movement from doubled Step on a Committed Attack, how many Facing-Changes are there available:
(a) only one facing change throughout the manoeuvre, or (b) only one free arbitrary facing change, but extra facing-changes to face the direction the character steps into for each hex of movement (like on a Move or AoA) or (c) one free arbitrary facing-change per hex of movement?

Option (b), though you'll need a step of 3+ yards for it to be really useful.

Q: What happens if a Committed Attack gives me two Steps while my modified Move is less than two?

Originally Posted by PK (Post 2140464)
Rule Zero definitely applies here, but if it helps, please consider this a FAQ:

Committed Attack was never intended to act as a superior alternative to Move! As a general rule, no "Step and . . ." maneuver should ever provide movement greater than what you could accomplish via a Move maneuver.

vicky_molokh 01-13-2015 12:45 PM

Re: (Unofficial) FAQ of the GURPS Fora
Q: How does Detect handle target-rich environments? Does it need Selective Effect to be prepared for them?
A: Here's some discussion that should shed some light on the question:

Originally Posted by Kromm

Originally Posted by the_matrix_walker
I was having a look at an old posting of yours,
The Perfect Super Tracker

What I notice is absent there, is Selective Effect.

Is it the intent of the rules for Detect that you can look past known sources and look for specifics, rather than just the "nearest significant source of the substance" without the benefit of Selective Effect?

Thanks in advance for the clarification, and I hope you had a great vacation!

That's just a logical side effect of Analyzing, actually. The Cosmic included there means that IQ rolls for detailed analysis never fail, so you can instantly sort through all sources and know exactly what you've detected.


Originally Posted by Kromm

Originally Posted by the_matrix_walker

So if a character is with his group of adventurers and has Detect Humans, but does not have Analyzing or Selective Effect, he cannot scan his local area for someone creeping around, because the closest significant source are the guys at the campfire?

Sure he can. But now he has to roll vs. IQ for analysis – a simple Per roll for detection isn't enough. The point of Analyzing is that you don't have to attempt this roll . . . it's automatic. Adding Cosmic means that you don't even have to roll if the GM deems the necessary task to be "detailed analysis" rather than mere "analysis," which seems likely for "everybody in creation" but not for "everybody within tens of yards." The goal of my build in the quoted post was to anticipate all likely GM-imposed obstacles to be as over-the-top as possible.


Originally Posted by the_matrix_walker
I may have confused matters by bringing up that particular post.

Over the top examples aside, I'm trying to determine if unmodified Detect can look past known sources, or narrow it's search parameters.

Can the guy with Detect Humans look past his buddies and find someone lurking in the woods?

Can someone with Detect Metal attempt to look specifically for gold?

Does the use of Detect (actually detect all sources in range, but then) need a successful analysis roll to perform these feats?

And if not, is Selective Effect the way to do those things?

Thanks again.


Originally Posted by Kromm
Basically, Detect can detect any subset within its purview – that's why broader forms of Detect cost more, not less. What allows this to work is not excluding a known source or specifying a subset before the search starts, but making the IQ roll for analysis afterward. The simplest way for the GM to handle this is to make the Per roll, look up the margin on the Size and Speed/Range Table to find the range, and then have an IQ roll assess the nature of any appropriate targets within that radius. The better the IQ roll, the more specific the details.

I don't see how Selective Effect really fits . . . That's for active area-effect abilities, while Detect is really no more such an ability than is hearing or smell. Just as abilities with the Discriminatory modifier can't have Selective Effect, I'd say Detect cannot by virtue of making Analyzing available.


Originally Posted by the_matrix_walker
So Detect can in fact pick up things other than the single closest significant source of what you are detecting? The Advantage listing doesn't really read like that... It reads more like you can detect the closest thing that will set it off, and then you can make an IQ roll to analyze that (and nothing beyond it). So that if, by example, there is a pound of gold buried 20 feet from a 2 ton vein of iron, Detect Metal (by the reading in the Basic Set) would never find the gold, as the iron trumps it, and analysis only works on what you actually find.

If I'm reading your response correctly, Detect finds all instances of your subject in sense range, and then analysis (be it by IQ roll or automatically with Analyzing) sorts all that out?


Originally Posted by Kromm

Originally Posted by the_matrix_walker

So Detect can in fact pick up things other than the single closest significant source of what you are detecting? The Advantage listing doesn't really read like that...

I think the existing wording makes for a lousy ability, to be honest. It also leads to stupid arguments . . . "Sure, you can use Detect (Metal) just as soon as you take off all your armor."


Originally Posted by the_matrix_walker

If I'm reading your response correctly, Detect finds all instances of your subject in sense range, and then analysis (be it by IQ roll or automatically with Analyzing) sorts all that out?

That is correct. Honestly, would you pay 30 points for Detect (All Life) so that you can confirm that you have skin bacteria? Even with an "exclude known sources" clause, a jerk GM could have you detecting a mosquito on your helmet, a worm 10 cm from your boot, etc. I think the interpretation I gave is a lot fairer to players.

Q: Do Reflexive sensory abilities (primarily Detect) suffer a -4 when activated reflexively on their sense rolls?

Originally Posted by Kromm

Originally Posted by NineDaysDead

2. Many abilities use Reflexive +40%, but seem to ignore "If this normally requires a success roll, activation requires a roll at -4".

The roll at -4 is the activation roll. A Sense roll isn't an activation roll . . . what Reflexive does here is count as a level of Reduced Time (so you don't need actions to use your senses, like a Concentrate maneuver to attempt a Vision roll to spot a distant target) and let the sense wake you up. I agree that the distinction between activation and use rolls in GURPS leaves something to be desired, but they are different.

vicky_molokh 01-30-2015 04:11 AM

Re: (Unofficial) FAQ of the GURPS Fora
Q: Why are Evaluate and Telegraphic Attack non-stackable / non-cumulative with each other / mutually exlusive?


Originally Posted by Kromm

Originally Posted by vicky_molokh

I've seen this question come up before, and it's come up again. What is the official explanation(s) for why Evaluate and Telegraphic Attack are mutually exclusive?

Telegraphic Attack is about ignoring the opponent's precise actions and focusing on perfect execution, while Evaluate is about studying the opponent's actions to find the perfect opening.* It's hard to justify ignoring something while studying it, so we made the two mechanics exclusive on realism grounds.

* Originally, Evaluate was envisioned as -1 to target's defenses per turn, up to -3. Lots of playtesters disliked that. I still think that would've been a more logical take on "looking for an opening," but coming up with a melee equivalent to Aim won the day.

Q: Can I use Judo instead of DX for things like keeping balance, striking a DX-based (not skill-based!) attack etc.?


Originally Posted by Kromm

Originally Posted by vicky_molokh

Judo is listed as a skill that can replace DX in DX rolls in close combat. I've used to read that quite literally and without reservation - i.e. any action in close combat that calls for a DX roll to succeed one way or another (except equipment-drawing/dropping). Now I have doubts.

That is mostly correct. It covers DX rolls required by grappling, sure, and also DX rolls to keep your footing or for just about any other utility purpose in close combat. The line is drawn when strikes (punches, kicks, shoves, slams, etc.) or equipment (readying, dropping, or using) get involved. Under those circumstances, Judo cannot replace DX unless a specific rule says so. In particular, if a rule explicitly lists the allowed skills – like "DX or Sumo Wrestling," "DX, Brawling, or Sumo Wrestling," or "DX, Brawling, Sumo Wrestling, or Wrestling" – Judo works only if it's called out on the list. For lists of the basic attacks covered by each unarmed skill, see Offensive Techniques (Martial Arts, p. 90).

vicky_molokh 06-13-2015 01:13 AM

Re: (Unofficial) FAQ of the GURPS Fora
(Continued from Wealth.)
Q: How does Settled Lifestyle work, what exactly does it give? Can I use my car on an adventure?

Originally Posted by Kromm (Post 1222872)
To address the question briefly (the long answer being in the thread linked earlier):

The box on p. B266 exemplifies the things you can count on having without any need to itemize them or do detailed accounting, under two conditions: (1) you set aside 80% of your starting money to reflect a settled lifestyle, per the box on p. B26, and (2) you pay the cost of living on p. B265 each month. The fraction set aside for (1) reflects a mixture of cash paid for goods bought outright, cash not earned due to time spent making or stealing things, and possibly equity built up in large purchases. The payments in (2) reflect maintenance costs, mortgage payments, the entertainment budget to impress people enough to extend you credit, etc. All of the above is intentionally left abstract!

Nothing says that you cannot use the goods in the box on p. B266 on an adventure. If you do, though, you risk losing them! This matters because those things are part of what cements your Status. If you lose your car and wardrobe, your house gets blown up by the Greys, and you find yourself wandering around with only the stuff the other 20% of your money bought, like guns and body armor . . . well, the GM can hit you with a Status drop, and have the authorities treat you as they would any armed hobo. If you keep that stuff out of the picture on adventures, then it isn't normally at risk, and you can claim that you have a safe place to heal from injuries, stash your adventuring gear between adventures, etc. "for free."

Alternatively, you can be a wanderer with 100% of your money in adventuring gear. But then you don't get any of the things in the box on p. B266. You have to do detailed accounting on your stuff, and odds are you'll be limited to much less because you aren't settled, have no credit rating, and therefore cannot claim that you're paying off a house, a car, etc. What you will have is, of course, truly yours and likely handy on adventures. You might well still end up being treated like an armed hobo, though.

As for a background where nobody has a job, there are no authorities to look dimly upon wanderers with vehicles full of adventuring gear, Status loss isn't a factor, and there's nothing to pay cost of living on . . . well, that's a post-apocalypse campaign, shipwreck campaign, or post-scarcity science-fiction campaign. Just ignore all the rules for social traits, because they won't be relevant. Doing this yet positing that there's a society with a class structure floating around, and that this somehow doesn't touch the PCs, is a valid simplification for a minimally realistic genre like Dungeon Fantasy, but it's unwise for anything heavier.


Originally Posted by Kromm (Post 1225108)
Status is supposed to track Wealth. And note that the rules do let you pay the cost of living for higher Status and get the purely material goods, even if you lack the Status. However, you don't get authority to go with.

Q: Why are Cost of Living (CoL) numbers so low? I can't survive in USA in real life on the amount of money assigned to my Status!

Originally Posted by Kromm (Post 2211814)

Originally Posted by vicky_molokh (Post 2211811)

USA's living expenses pricing is wacky and shouldn't be used as a baseline when writing a generic universal system anyway.

This seems true as well.

By dint of being Canadian and having made many of my friends in graduate school, where most of the foreign students came from Europe and Asia, the majority of my contacts live outside the United States. When I read about how living expenses are proportioned in the U.S.A., I find it anomalous. Among other things, it seems U.S. culture is skewed toward owning houses and away from renting apartments, favors living outside the city core, and assumes motor-vehicle ownership. Most of the people I know everywhere else rent apartments in the city, and walk or bike. There's also the fact that just about all the world is more socialist than the U.S.A., which adjusts how much goes to taxes and how much is paid for services (from trash collection to hospitals).

Consequently, I'd be hesitant to give too much weight to modern U.S. cost of living in my in-game economics unless I were running a game set in a specific U.S. city where I knew the real-world breakdown (and in that case, I'd do my research locally, not ask people who lived outside that city). I certainly wouldn't base the economic assumptions of a generic game system on that.


Originally Posted by Kromm (Post 2211850)
The issue is that GURPS is a generic game. Setting aside that it must cover historical and futuristic games, fantasy worlds, and campaigns set in completely different universes, and looking only at the real world of 2018:

Status and Wealth are meant to be global indices. Average wealth is the average of everybody worldwide, and the other levels are multipliers applied to that. Status 0 rates the average lifestyle enjoyed worldwide, and the other levels are adjustments up and down from that.

This is why, for instance, Transhuman Space: Fifth Wave, p. 61, labels the average North American as being Comfortable to Wealthy. This means someone there is able to support Status 0 without trying, and Status 1-2 easily enough if that's a priority. That book also typifies Status 1 as "ordinary citizen" in several places.

I suspect we're already in that situation today, and that a modern U.S. citizen – placed on the global scale – is Comfortable to Wealthy, supporting at least a Status 1 lifestyle with a $1,200 monthly cost of living. There aren't enough people in all the U.S. to skew the global averages, which are weighted heavily toward China and India . . . or enough people in any big U.S. city to tip the balance away from Beijing, Guangzhou, Istanbul, Karachi, Lagos, Moscow, Mumbai, São Paulo, Shanghai, Shenzhen, etc. I'm pretty sure $600/month would be more than enough to live a fairly free, non-street-person existence in the majority of those cities.

vicky_molokh 06-23-2015 01:07 AM

Re: (Unofficial) FAQ of the GURPS Fora
1 Attachment(s)
On arcs of vision, Front, Side and Back hexes etc.
Not sure how frequently people actually get confused by this one, but this is probably worth keeping archived in the uFAQ:
Here is how these hexes are defined.

Originally Posted by Kromm
In general, the diagram on p. B74 or p. B389 should be used. The white hexes are where you have unpenalized defense, ranged attack, and Vision rolls; the gray ones are where you have penalties for the side; and the black ones are where you cannot attempt the task at all. This is a question of awareness . . . and note that for defenses, the question isn't "Can I reach this hex with a melee attack?" but "Can I defend against attacks coming out of this hex?" You can parry or block attacks from foes you can't easily attack.

Melee attacks (only) use the diagram on p. B388. This is more restrictive. The Front, 2, and 3 hexes count as "front" if you can reach them; the black hexes on p. B74 or p. B389 still count as "back"; and everything else counts as "side" and demands a Wild Swing.

The two differ mostly because it's easier to turn a head to see something, and possibly to shift a shield or weapon slightly to intercept something, than to launch a full-powered thrust or swing at it. That's a function of body dynamics. Missiles get a special pass and use the better arc because you just have to let go of the bowstring, pull the trigger, etc.; you do not have to follow through with all your weight and might.

An illustration courtesy of Brian Ronnle:
Example A is for Mêlée Attacks (remember that Jets count as mêlée!).
Example B is for vision, ranged attacks, and Active Defences, and probably everything else.

vicky_molokh 07-30-2015 01:39 PM

Re: (Unofficial) FAQ of the GURPS Fora
Q: How do Jets (the attack enhancement and weapon type) work?


Originally Posted by Kromm (Post 722520)
Jet simply turns your Innate Attack into a 10-yard melee weapon that cannot parry or be parried, and that inflicts only half damage past five yards. It's +0%, despite pathetic range, because it lets you Feint, use AOA (Double) from a safe distance, make a Rapid Strike, etc. It's worth more than Melee Attack because, relative to that modifier, it gives spectacular Reach and can't normally be parried. There's no assumption of being able to strike multiple targets unless you use AOA (Double) or Rapid Strike, but note that High-Tech allows AOA (Jet) for flamethrowers, and this lets you engage lots of foes at a cost in damage.


Originally Posted by Kromm (Post 722563)
You can use any option that works with a melee attack. It's a melee weapon, in every sense. It just can't parry (but then, neither can some melee weapons).

A note on Critical results in attack/defence:

Originally Posted by Kromm (Post 17100)
Treat it just like a melee attack, except that when you "unready," "drop," "throw away," or "break" a jet, it goes out and you have to spend time reactivating it. Most of the other results are quite sensible: a jet user could shoot himself by mistake, or even overreach himself so badly while tracking his target that he becomes unbalanced, falls, or strains something.

vicky_molokh 08-18-2015 07:01 AM

Re: (Unofficial) FAQ of the GURPS Fora
Q: Some traits are obvious, some aren't. Some take the Low Signature / No Signature enhancements, others take the Visible limitation. E.g. just how obvious is DR (Damage Resistance) supposed to be? What other principles are there to figuring which applies?
First, a bit of a basic split from GURPS Powers:

Originally Posted by Powers, p. 163-164
If the ability isn’t based on a mental-
influence advantage (e.g., Mind
Reading or Mind Control) or another
trait with explicitly invisible effects,
isn’t totally passive, and isn’t enhanced
with No Signature (p. B106), then the
buyer must describe a set of effects that
are obvious to one or more ordinary
human senses. These occur whenever
he uses the ability. Observers notice
them automatically, barring obstruc-
tions or missing senses.
[ . . . ]
Advantages with invisible effects,
such as Clairsentience and Telekinesis,
are genuinely undetectable to normal
senses – even if their consequences are
obvious, like a rock tossed with TK –
unless given the Visible limitation
(p. 112).


Originally Posted by Powers, p. 228
Some supers with relatively subtle
powers, such as the ability to absorb
the energy of others’ attacks and use it
for themselves, even make a point of
boasting about their abilities . . . when
they’d surely do better to keep quiet
and exploit the ensuing surprise. GMs
may choose to allow supers to take the
Visible limitation (p. 112) when a
power is not actually visible but the
character’s bragging and behavior
make its effects obvious anyway.

Absorbing energy of enemy attacks is surely a form of DR with Absorption.

A more direct exchange with Kromm:
Q: How obvious is DR (Damage Resistance) to onlookers? Does it include any incoveniences? Is there a point to making it Switchable?

Originally Posted by Kromm (Post 479362)
Damage Resistance is normally "always on," per the first paragraph of Turning Advantages Off and On (p. B34). It has no crippling bulk or appearance issues by default, so "it never inconveniences you."

There's little value to being able to switch DR on and off. You must still add Switchable, +10% if you wish to do that, though. Presumably, if you want such a feature, you have ways of making it useful. You can balance that cost with Nuisance Effect and so on to get DR at +0% that's funny-looking or bulky when on, out of the way when off. This isn't a net drawback, because once again, it has its uses. If nothing else, it's really annoying to have to subtract DR from the HT rolls for beneficial Afflictions, or to turn aside hypodermics when you need to be immunized against plagues!

Finally, you can take limitations that shut down or reduce the availability of your DR. These are most often such things as Accessibility and Uncontrollable. If you have a drawback like that, then you don't need Switchable as well.

Kromm later elaborates further:

Originally Posted by Kromm's email
Normally, DR isn't visible. It may BECOME visible if:

* it has a modifier -- not necessarily a limitation -- that renders it
active rather than passive (true for the Active Defense limitation and
the Switchable enhancement), or outright states that it transforms the
DR into something visible;

* it has a power modifier that always has some visible special effect,
which isn't necessarily a drawback worth points when balanced by some
small positive special effect;

* it is justified by a perk like Feathers, Fur, or Scales; or

* its visibility is an effective zero-point racial feature, like being
a tank or being a mammoth, either of which is obviously tough to those
who know what it is (aliens would have no reason to know that a mammoth
has tough skin and may never notice that if they never dissect one and
their ultra-tech weapons cleave right through DR 4, while stereotypical
cave-men would know about the mammoth but not realize they can't spear
a tank);

However, if a human-looking super or android has armored skin, that is
not automatically visible. Attacks will soon reveal the truth, but that
isn't the same as the super or android looking like a mammoth or tank
all the time.


The author of MH notes a genre-specific handling for Monster Hunters:

Q: Are Claws retractable if no modifiers are applied to them? If yes, how hard are they to notice? Or do they get in the way all the time?

Originally Posted by PK (Post 185882)
You pretty much have three alternatives with Claws.

1. You cannot retract them at all. Buy Claws normally, and probably also Poor Grip to reflect the issues with holding equipment, etc.

2. The claws don't get in the way, due to either good design or the ability to partially retract them (but where they're still completely visible and obvious). Buy Claws normally.

3. You can retract your claws fully, so that they're impossible to even notice when you have them withdrawn (without x-rays, etc.). Buy Claws with the Switchable (+10%) enhancement.


Originally Posted by PK (Post 186635)
The cost of Claws assumes that they don't get in your way and make life difficult -- if they do, that's a separate disadvantage. Otherwise, it's safe to assume that you can retract them somewhat, so they're not in your way, but so that they're still very visible and noticeable.

You only need to add Switchable (+10%) if you want to be able to conceal them completely -- as if they actually retracted fully back into your hand, like Wolverine's do (in the movie and most of the comics).


Originally Posted by Kromm (Post 186657)
Yes. Switchable is intended to let you pass as someone without the advantage. If all you can do is avoid the logical drawbacks of an always-on physical ability . . . well, that's the default situation for an advantage. Anything worse is Nuisance Effect or similar.

vicky_molokh 09-06-2015 10:07 AM

Re: (Unofficial) FAQ of the GURPS Fora
Q: I just put my first point into Karate, and it feels like I got nothing (or almost nothing out of it). What good is Karate at less than DX?



Originally Posted by Kromm (Post 1934035)
Remember to use the higher of DX or skill. Going by the Basic Set alone, doing all the math to express things relative to DX (drop fractions at the very end!), and putting the benefits of Karate in boldface, the real progression is this:
0 points (DX only): Punch at DX for thrust-1; kick at DX-2 for thrust; armed enemies who parry your unarmed strikes attack your limb at full skill; parry unarmed attacks at DX/2 + 3, or DX/2 + 4 if retreating; parry weapons at DX/2, or DX/2 + 1 if retreating; cannot attempt Back Kick, Elbow Strike, Jump Kick, Knee Strike.

1 point (Karate at DX-2): Punch at DX for thrust-1; kick at DX-2 for thrust; armed enemies who parry your unarmed strikes attack your limb at skill-4; parry unarmed attacks at DX/2 + 3, or DX/2 + 5 if retreating; parry weapons at DX/2 + 2, or DX/2 + 5 if retreating; Back Kick at DX-6, Elbow Strike at DX-4, Jump Kick at DX-6, Knee Strike at DX-3.

2 points (Karate at DX-1): Punch at DX for thrust-1; kick at DX-2 for thrust; armed enemies who parry your unarmed strikes attack your limb at skill-4; parry unarmed attacks at DX/2 + 3, or DX/2 + 5.5 if retreating; parry weapons at DX/2 + 2.5, or DX/2 + 5.5 if retreating; Back Kick at DX-5, Elbow Strike at DX-3, Jump Kick at DX-5, Knee Strike at DX-2.

4 points (Karate at DX): Punch at DX for thrust; kick at DX-2 for thrust+1; armed enemies who parry your unarmed strikes attack your limb at skill-4; parry unarmed attacks at DX/2 + 3, or DX/2 + 6 if retreating; parry weapons at DX/2 + 3, or DX/2 + 6 if retreating; Back Kick at DX-4, Elbow Strike at DX-2, Jump Kick at DX-4, Knee Strike at DX-1.

8 points (Karate at DX+1): Punch at DX+1 for thrust+1; kick at DX-1 for thrust+2; armed enemies who parry your unarmed strikes attack your limb at skill-4; parry unarmed attacks at DX/2 + 3.5, or DX/2 + 6.5 if retreating; parry weapons at DX/2 + 3.5, or DX/2 + 6.5 if retreating; Back Kick at DX-3, Elbow Strike at DX-1, Jump Kick at DX-3, Knee Strike at DX.
Adding in the Martial Arts rules gives you a bunch more techniques (almost none of which default to untrained DX). You also get to parry with the legs or feet, and may parry grappling techniques with "counters" that don't require a free hand. And you can dive, sideslip, and slip as well as or better than an untrained person can retreat.

The benefits are subtle but real at low levels.

vicky_molokh 01-29-2016 12:48 AM

Re: (Unofficial) FAQ of the GURPS Fora
Q: The Staff skill, various weapons covered by it, Weapon Adaptation . . . uh, how they interact? Is the +2 Parry bonus a property of the skill or the weapon?
A: the answers are a bit scattered, but here's what I managed to gather so far:

Regarding the parry bonus:

Originally Posted by Basic Set page 208
This skill makes good use of the staff’s extensive parrying surface when defending, giving +2 to your Parry score.


Originally Posted by Kromm (Post 18693)
Any balanced weapon used with Staff skill gets +2 Parry. However, there is no such thing as "+2U" Parry, which is why the naginata is "0U."


Originally Posted by the Form Mastery perk
you could start your turn using a spear with the Staff skill, switch to the Spear skill to attack, and then return to Staff for parrying.


Originally Posted by the Weapon Adaptation perk
This lets you wield the weapons covered by one weapon skill using a different skill and its techniques, with all of the benefits and drawbacks of that skill

Regarding the tetsubo:

Originally Posted by Kromm (Post 18693)
Note that contrary to gaming myth, a tetsubo isn't really an iron staff . . . it's closer to a honking huge maul. It just happens to be baseball bat-shaped instead of hammer-shaped. It would definitely use Two-Handed Axe/Mace skill, not Staff.

Regarding use of hooked custom heads on a staff:

Originally Posted by Kromm (Post 1912560)
GURPS Martial Arts, p. 74: "You can learn [Hook] for any Melee Weapon skill, but you’ll need a suitable weapon to use it."

GURPS Martial Arts, p. 214 (or GURPS Low-Tech Companion 2, p. 14): "Any swung weapon [...] can have a small hook to permit use of the Hook technique."

A quarterstaff is a swung weapon, so it can have a hook for +$25 and negligible weight. If you want to go nuts and give it a full-on bill head for +$90 ($100 for dueling bill minus $10 for quarterstaff) and +2 lbs. (6 lbs. for dueling bill minus 4 lbs. for quarterstaff), then you've gone above and beyond the call of duty. Go ahead and learn Hook (Staff) to wield it.

Something to keep in mind for those who want to use a Default to wield a staff with the Staff skill:

Originally Posted by Basic Set page 173
Regardless of your default skill level, you do not get the special benefits of a skill – especially combat
bonuses such as improved damage, special defenses, and unpenalized off-hand use – when you use a skill at
default. To enjoy these benefits, you must spend at least one point on the skill.

vicky_molokh 03-09-2016 05:00 AM

Re: (Unofficial) FAQ of the GURPS Fora
Q: Main-Gauche's skill description seems a bit ambiguous. Do I get any drawbacks?
A: Yes, since it's a Fencing weapon (suffering Encumbrance penalties) and harder than the Knife skill. Otherwise . . .


Originally Posted by Peter V. Dell'Orto (Post 269607)
Main-Gauche is basically "knife plus" - it's a better version of knife. If you have it, you don't also need Knife. It does everything Knife does plus a bit more; however it is more difficult and is a Fencing weapon (which has its own ups and downs) so if you don't need the "extras" you are better off with Knife. The line about using a Knife as a primary weapon is confusing, but I am 100% certain you can use a knife as a weapon - to attack, to defend, and in either hand - using Main-Gauche - thanks to discussions with Sean concerning GURPS Martial Arts.


Originally Posted by Kromm (Post 447039)
Don't forget that Main-Gauche qualifies as a fencing skill, which gives the twin benefits of allowing +3 rather than +1 when you retreat whilst parrying, and halving the penalty for multiple parries with the same weapon. Add that to the ability to ignore the -4 to DX/-2 to Parry with the off hand, and the further ability to ignore the usual -1 when parrying with a knife, and the main-gauche is an exceedingly potent defensive weapon. Moreover, when doing anything short of an All-Out Attack that commits your main weapon in such a way that it can't parry, the main-gauche retains all of these benefits. Thus, you can do nutty things like flying lunges and sword tosses with your rapier, and still parry like mad.

Offensively, Main-Gauche isn't any more potent than Knife. It requires Off-Hand Weapon Training to be really effective, and Dual-Weapon Attack to be even more effective . . . just like Knife. And while it's handy in close combat, it's no more handy than Knife.

But that's as it should be. Generally, the main-gauche is compared to the buckler, cloak, and other parrying weapons. It's only rarely considered a useful part of offense. If what you want is lots of offense, do what some real rapierists did and carry two rapiers instead. Just be careful in close combat. Also, be rich . . . a rapier isn't cheap like a main-gauche is.

vicky_molokh 04-08-2016 10:54 AM

Re: (Unofficial) FAQ of the GURPS Fora
Q: Exactly what sorts of healing are and aren't allowed for characters with Unhealing?


Originally Posted by Kromm (Post 1996434)
The limitations on regaining HP are these:

Either Level
  • Supernatural healing – healing potions and spells, psionic healing, the Healing advantage, etc. – works normally on you.
  • Gross technological repair with a skill like Mechanic or Surgery (depending on what kind of being you are) works normally on you.
  • Natural healing is limited:

    1. No daily HT rolls to recover lost HP – meaning that things that merely accelerate this process rather than restore HP directly and on their own are also useless.
    2. No HP restored by using the First Aid or Physician skill to help the body recover from shock. Surgery only!
    3. You cannot have any level of Regeneration. Yes, for this purpose, Regeneration is considered "natural."
  • Restriction #1 is suspended when a rare condition is met. When that condition applies, you get daily HT rolls.
  • You can heal by stealing HP from others supernaturally, through means like the Leech advantage or the Steal Vitality spell; in effect, these are added to "supernatural healing" at this level.
  • Restriction #1 is never suspended. You never get daily HT rolls.
  • You cannot heal by stealing HP from others. "Stealing HP supernaturally" is treated as different from "being healed supernaturally" – the former doesn't work but the latter still does.

In short, Unhealing is essentially a restriction on whether you can make daily HT rolls to heal, get First Aid, have the Regeneration advantage, or steal HP. Neither level prohibits being healed via supernatural means (e.g., Healing spells) or extreme physical intervention (e.g., Surgery skill), both of which always work on everyone. Invent a new, higher level to forbid those as well.

Nemoricus 10-18-2016 01:22 PM

Re: (Unofficial) FAQ of the GURPS Fora

adm 10-18-2016 02:45 PM

Re: (Unofficial) FAQ of the GURPS Fora

vicky_molokh 03-07-2017 02:01 AM

Re: (Unofficial) FAQ of the GURPS Fora
Q: When trying to calculate the speed of Hiking (long overland walking travel), my characters manage to cross huge distances in little time. Am I doing something wrong?

A: The Basic Set provides outright heroic estimates for hiking speeds of a character with given stats, making assumptions about perfect conditions, 16-hour walking days, and otherwise resolving any doubts in favour of the characters. You may want to switch to the hiking rules found on p. 55 of High-Tech, which are both more detailed and more down-to-earth.

vicky_molokh 04-10-2017 04:11 AM

Re: (Unofficial) FAQ of the GURPS Fora
Q: What happens inf I combine Daredevil and Total Klutz?

A: You get a mild consolation prize, but still get a lot of critical failures:


Originally Posted by PK (Post 1902606)
Daredevil states that you get to reroll a critical failure. It doesn't say that you get to keep rerolling it, over and over, until you get something better. On its own, "reroll" means you get one new shot at a better result -- not infinite shots!

If you do something stupid crazy and get an 18, reroll it. If you get another 18, that just means the Gaming Gods want you to fail.


Originally Posted by Kromm (Post 1902712)

You get one reroll.

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