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Old 06-28-2007, 09:09 AM   #1
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Default (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.
Vicky 'Molokh', GURPS FAQ and uFAQ Keeper

Last edited by vicky_molokh; 10-03-2019 at 02:32 AM. Reason: - Table of Contents removed because it's misleading
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Old 06-28-2007, 10:06 AM   #2
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Default 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.
Sean "Dr. Kromm" Punch <>
GURPS Line Editor, Steve Jackson Games
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Old 06-28-2007, 11:04 PM   #3
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Default (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 View Post
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', GURPS FAQ and uFAQ Keeper

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Old 06-30-2007, 01:30 AM   #4
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Default (u)FAQ: COMBAT


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 View Post
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 View Post
[ . . . ] 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', GURPS FAQ and uFAQ Keeper

Last edited by vicky_molokh; 12-10-2019 at 02:56 AM. Reason: How obvious are negative status effects, such as being stunned, to opponents in combat?
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Old 06-30-2007, 11:10 AM   #5
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Default (u)FAQ: Chargen, part 1


My archer is too slow! How do I make him as effective as mle 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 HP2, an SM+6 gets 10. Do not forget that limbs have a ׽ 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.
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Old 07-01-2007, 04:22 AM   #6
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Default (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', GURPS FAQ and uFAQ Keeper

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Old 07-03-2007, 11:30 PM   #7
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Default (u)FAQ: SKILLS

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 View Post
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.
Vicky 'Molokh', GURPS FAQ and uFAQ Keeper

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Old 07-05-2007, 10:39 AM   #8
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Default 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.
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Old 07-25-2007, 10:17 PM   #9
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Default Re: (Unofficial) FAQ of the GURPS Fora

Kromm speaks out on Binding:
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Old 11-05-2008, 11:44 AM   #10
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Default 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', GURPS FAQ and uFAQ Keeper

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