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Old 11-28-2008, 11:57 AM   #1
Johnny Angel
 
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Default New to GURPs; not sure where to start

I used to play mainly D&D, but I find myself becoming more and more discontent with the new edition of that product. It's not a bad game; it just caters to a different style of gaming than what I would like. After considering a few different roleplaying games (Hero, Warhammer, etc) I have decided that GURPs looks like something that will be far more satisfying for me to spend my leisure time with than the current edition of D&D. I really have no idea where to start when it comes to GURPs though. What are some things I should know? What adjustments will I have to make to go from a D&D mindset to a GURPs mindset?

One thing in particular that I've noticed that is different is that in D&D rolling high is good; from what I've seen in GURPs, rolling low is good in GURPs.
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Old 11-28-2008, 12:33 PM   #2
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Default Re: New to GURPs; not sure where to start

Yes rolling low is good rolling high is bad.

Probably the best starting point (other than asking questions on the forums) is the GURPS lite rules that you can get for free on e23.

http://e23.sjgames.com/item.html?id=SJG31-0004

and the GURPS combat cards that helps make combat gel a lot.

http://e23.sjgames.com/item.html?id=SJG37-0202
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Old 11-28-2008, 01:15 PM   #3
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Default Re: New to GURPs; not sure where to start

The first thing to remember is that GURPS isn't one of those games that's ready to go right out of the box. You can't just start rolling up characters after reading the first couple of chapters.

If you're the game master, be prepared to set up a framework for your players to design their characters in. You'll have to make up some character concepts that you think are appropriate to the kind of game you want to play. You can codify those concepts as templates (if you get the Basic Set). You also need to set out what's encouraged in character design, and what is forbidden.
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Old 11-29-2008, 01:59 AM   #4
Johnny Angel
 
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Default Re: New to GURPs; not sure where to start

Quote:
Originally Posted by ClayDowling
The first thing to remember is that GURPS isn't one of those games that's ready to go right out of the box. You can't just start rolling up characters after reading the first couple of chapters.

If you're the game master, be prepared to set up a framework for your players to design their characters in. You'll have to make up some character concepts that you think are appropriate to the kind of game you want to play. You can codify those concepts as templates (if you get the Basic Set). You also need to set out what's encouraged in character design, and what is forbidden.

After reading some of the material, I have a lot of ideas for things I want to do; they range from medieval warfare to a modern day American revolution to space exploration and everything in between. However, since I'm most familiar with D&D, my thought is that creating something similar within the framework of the GURPs system will probably be the best way for me to learn the rules.

I'm not quite sure that I fully understand the concept of templates. It seems as though templates are mostly just a collection of skills and traits which the DM has already bought with character points. For example: To make elves I might make a template which starts with the underweight disadvantage, some extra DX, and some sort of GURPs equivilent of low-light vision. To make dwarves I might make a template which starts with the disadvantage which makes you smaller than normal human height, the overweight disadvantage, and skill with masonry. I may not have gotten the names of all of the features correct; I don't currently have the book sitting in front of me.

One thing I seem to have missed (maybe I just haven't gotten to that part of the book yet) is how equipment works. I understand that ability scores such as ST are used to calculate damage with attacks, but is the damage always the same regardless of weapon used? Does a punch or a kick deal the same damage as a sword or a hammer?
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Old 11-29-2008, 02:54 AM   #5
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Default Re: New to GURPs; not sure where to start

Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Angel
However, since I'm most familiar with D&D, my thought is that creating something similar within the framework of the GURPs system will probably be the best way for me to learn the rules.
If you're interested in something like D&D I suggest that you look at Dungeon Fantasy. It's good, it caters for the genre, it contains racial and "occupational" templates, special gear, etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Angel
I'm not quite sure that I fully understand the concept of templates. It seems as though templates are mostly just a collection of skills and traits which the DM has already bought with character points.
There are two different kinds of templates:
  • Racial Template
  • "Occucpational" Template
A racial template is the way the GM envision the race in his campaign. It is non negotiable, if you want a character to be of that race, you have to take the template (and all of it).
"Occupational" template on the other hand, is just a guideline. It's a tool to make the work of character generation easier. Although you, as the GM, may enforce mandatory templates, not every GM will.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Angel
I understand that ability scores such as ST are used to calculate damage with attacks, but is the damage always the same regardless of weapon used? Does a punch or a kick deal the same damage as a sword or a hammer?
In a word, no. There are tables for equipment in the equipment chapter and the explanation for using them.
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Old 11-29-2008, 03:06 AM   #6
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Default Re: New to GURPs; not sure where to start

Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldSeal
If you're interested in something like D&D I suggest that you look at Dungeon Fantasy. It's good, it caters for the genre, it contains racial and "occupational" templates, special gear, etc.



There are two different kinds of templates:
  • Racial Template
  • "Occucpational" Template
A racial template is the way the GM envision the race in his campaign. It is non negotiable, if you want a character to be of that race, you have to take the template (and all of it).
"Occupational" template on the other hand, is just a guideline. It's a tool to make the work of character generation easier. Although you, as the GM, may enforce mandatory templates, not every GM will.



In a word, no. There are tables for equipment in the equipment chapter and the explanation for using them.

Thanks for the reply. I'm sure a lot of my questions seem simple to other GURPs users, but after spending so much time with D&D, it's hard to adjust to something new.

Just to double check that I understand though. Templates are preconstructed ways of spending points which encompass a race or a class. A race template would be similar to what I said in my previous post about elves and dwarves: to be an elf you'd be required to have certain features. Likewise, I might create something akin to D&D's barbarian class with a template which has uncontrollable rage, lower than average reading skills, and proficiency in certain weapons, and more tolerance to pain and damage while raging.


I noticed in a different thread that there is some debate as to how realistic the damage values are for weapons (missile weapons in particular) in the new GURPs fantasy rules. Is there truth to that? If so, is there any way to bring the values more in line with what would be realistic when compared to other weapons? I'm looking to create something similar to D&D, but I want a little more grit and realism if possible. I'm still going to allow players to be heroic and do amazing things, but I'd rather have a game which is grounded more by reality than the new edition of D&D is.


In my head, I'm considering giving character points of about the 150 point range. Dwarves, elves, and other races will come with some templates; humans might start with slightly more points to reflect the D&D idea of humans having bonus feats and similar things which reflect the concept of humans being more resiliant and adaptable. The extra points would have more strict guidelines for what the could be spent on though.

I'll probably enforce the racial templates, but I don't think I'd be as strict with class templates. I'll come with a few to cover the typical fantasy stereotypes, but allow players to build their own if they want to go into more detail. If you've ever played the PC or console Elder Scrolls games, that would probably be similar to how I view character creation; you can choose premade classes or you can build your own.
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Old 11-29-2008, 04:05 AM   #7
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Default Re: New to GURPs; not sure where to start

Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Angel
What adjustments will I have to make to go from a D&D mindset to a GURPs mindset?
There are two ways to get in a mess with your first GURPS session, and that both stem from the fact that GURPS is designed to do anything.

The first "trap for young players" is that GURPS is not ready "out of the box" for anything. There are options to choose to configure GURPS for any particular campaign, and the GM has some initial prep work to do. If you try to start before you have done that prep you and your players will get swamped with information and muddled by unresolved options, and may have a very off-putting first experience.

The second is that there are a lot of optional bits and pieces, and if you start with them all switched on you and the players will have to learn everything at once. I recommend starting off with a campaign that has no magic, no powers, only one tech level, not much unfamiliar technology, etc. And at first, don't use any optional combat rules. When you and your players have a firm grip on the basics, start using a few optional systems and learn them one at a time.

My usual recommendation is not to start by converting your D&D campaign to GURPS. I truly believe that dungeon fantasy actually runs better under GURPS than D&D, but players have to get fully familiar with the new rules before they can start to appreciate the benefits. Which means at first they will be going through the agonies of learning without rewards. It is better, I believe, to start by first working up enthusiasm for a genre that D&D cannot do, such as Westerns, technothrillers, or 'Thirties cliffhangers, and then to use that enthusiasm to motivate a switch to GURPS. In a few months your players will be comfortable with GURPS and ready to switch on the fantasy options and resume their careers of murder and robbery with GURPS Dungeon Fantasy.
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Last edited by Agemegos; 11-29-2008 at 04:53 AM.
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Old 11-29-2008, 04:32 AM   #8
zorg
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Default Re: New to GURPs; not sure where to start

Quote:
Originally Posted by Agemegos
The second is that there are a lot of optional bits and pieces, and if you start with them all switched on you and the players will have to learn everything at once.
Amen to that.

My Gurps starting advice:

#) Do NOT stat every NPC, ability or gadget up in terms of rules. CP values are only relevant for PC creation and advancement. The CP value of a specific NPC or monster is irrelevant. CP values don't equal combat capability, threat level or anything else you need to know.

Example: It's sufficient to note that your mean robot villain gets +1 to all combat rolls versus an opponent he has scanned with his bioscanner. It's tedious and unnecessary to stat this as a "legal" ability (unless a PC wants to buy it at character creation).

#) Do NOT use every single optional rule, or even most. The more rules you use (especially as a relative beginner), the slower the game gets as you have to read up on stuff.
When in doubt, have the player roll a Regular Contest of something or other, a Quick Contest, or simply a roll vs some attribute or skill. Only ever use specific special rules if and when you happen to know them by heart.

#) Do NOT allow an advantage, disad, skill or combination thereof only because it's in the books.
Agree with your players on what kind of game you want to play. Set some (loose, informal) guidelines. Check all PCs before the game begins, and reject those who are illegal, dysfunctional or inappropriate.

In case you sit down all together to make characters: don't expect to get any gaming done that day. Character design with a whole group of people unfamiliar with the rules & the setting takes time in any system. Consider handing out pregens (if only for the first one or two session), or using templates (hint: check sig).

Worthwile reading is found here.
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Old 11-29-2008, 05:22 AM   #9
Johnny Angel
 
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Default Re: New to GURPs; not sure where to start

Thanks again for all of the feedback.

I didn't really plan to convert a D&D campaign that was already being played to GURPs. I've been in the process of building a world, and I've come to realize that what I won't to do won't work as well in D&D as I want it to.

Agemegos, you bring up a lot of good points though, and I understand the reasoning behind trying a different genre. I had originally considered a space campaign, but then I realized that the amount of options and things to consider might be a little too overwhelming for me since I was new to the system. Another thing I have considered is possibly some sort of modern day game in which the government breaks down and the players (my friends) would essentially be playing idealized versions of themselves in a world gone mad with anarchy or something similar to that. I figured that might be a good way to gain some experience with the system since I have good knowledge of the local area and wouldn't have to worry about doing a lot of research to put a background story together. I'm still a little unsure of what I want to do; I might ask some of my friends what sort of games they would be interested in. Many of them seem pretty content with D&D, but I think they'd be open to trying something different if presented right.


zorg, thanks for your feedback too. One of the few things that I do like about D&D's new edition is that it does tend to take a rules-lite approach for DMing, so I have a little bit of experience with that. I still appreciate the advice though because with being new to the system I'm not entirely sure what thinks I need to know to run a creature.

One of the main things I'm unsure of is what sort of balance is there in combat with GURPs? For example, in D&D 3rd Edition a monster or a creature would have a challenge rating; that rating let you know what level of party it would appropriate for. Likewise, in D&D 4th Edition different creatures are given levels and given designations such as "standard, minion, elite, solo." In GURPs, how do I know what sort of challenges are appropriate for the characters? How do I measure how difficult something would be?
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Old 11-29-2008, 06:23 AM   #10
mlangsdorf
 
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Default Re: New to GURPs; not sure where to start

GURPS doesn't have a Challenge Rating system, and I'm really not sure how useful it would be. I've seen encounters that should be walk-overs turn into very difficult fights, and I've seen my Big Bad Guy get killed in 3 turns.

General set of guidelines, though, for credible foes in combat:
Combat skill should be roughly equal to the PCs'
Their attacks should be capable of penetrating the PCs' DR and doing ~HP/3 net damage
Their DR should be capable of reducing a PC's hit to only doing ~HP/3 damage
The numbers should be equal on either side.

So if the PCs average weapon skill 16, are armed with broadswords at ST 13, and are wearing chain, then you're looking at foes with weapon skill 14, also wearing chain, and carrying hand axes.

The more you deviate from that formula, the easier or harder the fight will be.
* Highly skilled PCs will blow through the defenses of unskilled foes, and will rarely be hit. Unskilled PCs will never get blows through skilled foes' defenses.
* If the PCs are nigh-invulnerable to attack, that opens up a lot of options in combat. If the PCs will die from a single successful attack, combat becomes very hard to predict.
* If the foes die from a single hit, they won't last long in the fight, and you can throw in more of them. If the PCs can't damage their foes, then the fight will be very hard.
* Doubling the number of foes probably quadruples the difficulty of the fight. Halving it makes it easier.

A couple of other notes:

In low-tech/fantasy fights, shields are very powerful. Fighting dumb animals without shields is very easy; fighting veteran warriors behind large shields is very hard. You can radically change the difficulty of a fight by changing the foe from Shield-16+Medium shield to Shield-14+Small shield.

Because of the bell curve of the 3d6 system, small improvements in skill can lead to strange results. Skill-14 PCs should avoid combat and will rarely get successful hits in against defending foes. Skill-19 PCs can wade into combat, perform funky tricks like Rapid Strikes, and defend themselves against multiple foes. Skill-24 PCs can make successful attacks against a foe sitting on their back while the PC is lying on the ground. Think about what kind of combat environment you want when people are designing characters.

In high-tech combat, damage is very high and armor is generally inadequate. An assault rifle almost always drops an unarmored man, and a single shot from a battle rifle will likely kill. Sending lightly armored PCs against hordes highly skilled gunmen will result in multiple PC deaths. Alternately, you can pretty much play out Black Hawk Down, with highly skilled PCs killing hordes of unskilled, unarmored goons.


Hope that helps, and good luck!
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