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Old 12-01-2008, 10:47 AM   #31
Johnny Angel
 
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Default Re: New to GURPs; not sure where to start

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gold & Appel Inc
If it really bothers you, don't put it on the racial templates. Or let them buy it off freely as suggested upthread.



Sounds like you want a pessimistic take on the Peak Oil Crisis. Total anarchy in the Third World, but modern industrial nations more-or-less keep their feces together with lots of food riots, uninvestigated murders, and other small-scale civil unrest, plus greatly reduced capacity for international force projection, but also enough hoarded fuel for what's left of the armed forces (PC Alert) to prevent an easy coup by angry civilian rebels a couple more skipped meals and long walks in the sun away from Mad Max Land (PC Alert; hockey masks optional), and some bold, square-jawed scientists (PC Alert) desperately trying to get energy alternatives online (details varying widely from new fission plants to technobabble pixie dust that can preserve Car Culture depending on how much sci fi you want here) and modernize the infrastructure to handle it while there's still time and resources.



Careful with this one, especially in a dark, violent campaign. Some players can handle seeing Idealized Self take a bullet to the head and some can't.
Some of my motivation comes from current events and asking myself what would happen if a large enough group just finally decided they just weren't happy with the leadership of the country. At the same time, perhaps a few other things happen to cause the situation to spin out of control. A rival country secretly funds the uprising or (if I mix in some sci-fi) some sort of zombies or other such creature causes a widespread problem. Basically it would be a scenario in which everything bad that could possibly happen would happen at the same time and spark a bad situation. Mad Max would most likely be what I would look to for some inspiration, but it wouldn't be quite that out of control yet. It would probably be similar to how I imagine the world of Mad Max was when things first started to go downhill. Looking back across what I just typed, I'd probably stay away from zombies or anything like that in such a scenario unless one of the players expressed an interest in such things. Mainly, aside from Mad Max, another movie which would give me some inspiration would be The Warriors.

You brought up a good point about people not dealing with dying very well. I'm just trying to figure out a way to base things on local areas so that I have more things they can relate to while learning a new set of rules.
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Old 12-01-2008, 10:53 AM   #32
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Default Re: New to GURPs; not sure where to start

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Originally Posted by Johnny Angel
I used to play mainly D&D, but I find myself becoming more and more discontent with the new edition of that product.
Just to play devil's advocate, have you considered not switching to the new edition? While GURPS is my preferred system, I would gladly join a well run* 3.5 D&D/d20 game.

* In my experience, though, poorly run 3.5 games outnumber well run ones by a wide margin. That will probably improve as time goes by, as GM skill seems to be inversely proportional to "Oh, shiny new book!"
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Angel
What adjustments will I have to make to go from a D&D mindset to a GURPs mindset?
First and foremost, a GURPS player should never think in terms of "I still have X HP, I'm good for another 4 rounds." Injuries hurt, even when they aren't life threatening, and every HP loss is a real injury, not D&D's abstract reduction of defensive capability. While a big fighter will probably have more HPs than a wandering sage, it's his skills that must keep him on his feet.
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Old 12-01-2008, 11:27 AM   #33
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Default Re: New to GURPs; not sure where to start

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Originally Posted by Johnny Angel
I appreciate all the advice.

I talked to one of the guys who I normally play D&D with, and I asked what sort of games he would be interested in playing if we were to try something other than D&D. I told him that I was looking into trying a new system, but that I wasn't sure what sort of genre the group would be interested in. He expressed that adventuring into space was really the only thing he'd not be interested in, but he did mention being interested in something similar to Fallout (which is somewhat funny since Fallout was based on the GURPs system from what I understand.) So, basically, I think that so far it seems as though anything from the D&D/medieval fantasy tech level and genre to the near future is what I'm looking at. He passingly mentioned the wild west and doing something similar to the old tv show Kung Fu, so that's something that I'll keep in mind too.
Great, there are so many good scenarios here. I can think of at least a couple of different threads on this board about what if the government fell/anarchy ensues conjecture. It should provide plenty of ideas.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Angel
To clarify something that I said earlier, I'm not exactly trying to duplicate D&D within GURPs. I suppose what I meant was that there are certain things which D&D portrays differently than GURPs does. Kobolds are one readily apparent example. GURPs portrays kobolds as being some sort of short, stumpy, and mentally slow humans from what I gather. D&D portrays kobolds as being small halfling sized reptilians who may or may not have draconic ancestry (some of them claim to.) They're mainly an annoyance, but underestimating them can be deadly. Likewise, goblins seem to be portrayed much differently. I know that as a GM I'm free to build my world any way that I want, and I need not follow the preset ideals of either D&D or GURPs or any other setting, but I think that if I keep at least some similar concepts that it will be less of an adjustment for some of my friends.
Careful with this kind of thinking... GURPS does not have a standardized definition of kobolds, elves, vampires, dragons or anything else (though a lot of them are similar. SETTINGS probably have standardized templates. The game is generic, but in your setting zombies will be different from the zombies in my setting and neither of ours will necessarily be the same as some other setting. e.g. the Banestorm setting races will be familiar to you and immediately recognizable to your players for their D&D equivalents. If you were playing in Guy Gavriel Kay's Last Light of the Sun setting the elves would be very different.
Summary: race definitions are setting specific, not game specific.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Angel
One thing I'm confused about is how it's considered a disadvantage for a PC to have racial intolerance toward someone. I understand that ideally, as the DM, I'm supposed to enforce those such things, but I'd prefer that a player roleplay their character as they see fit and not be forced to have their character act a certain way simply because I say they are required to act that way. When it comes to things such as greed, bloodlust, and lecherousness I can somewhat understand, and I don't have a problem enforcing those, but I think I would feel uncomfortable telling a dwarf pc that he's not allowed to be friends with an elf pc or that he's required to react in a negative way toward elves (for an example.) When creating a race I would be sure to have information available which discusses that race's outlook on things, but I'd prefer that the player roleplay those things willingly and not be forced to do so. If the player roleplays their character differently then I would imagine they would have a reason for thinking differently than a typical member of their race.
Already been answered, but really, if you act like a bigoted butthead you should recieve reaction penalties from normal people, thus hurting your PCs chances of interacting well. NOTE: there are times and places where religeous or racial intolerance is expected, applauded or required.
"eh.. so he's a protestant, so what" didn't play well in Rome for a long time.
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Old 12-01-2008, 11:42 AM   #34
Johnny Angel
 
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Default Re: New to GURPs; not sure where to start

I'm aware I can still play 3rd Edition of D&D, but it's starting to get harder to find a 3E game. I do play 4E, and I can have fun doing so, but the system doesn't mesh well with what I want to do. It has a different mentality behind it than what I want with the world I'm trying to build. (I said earlier I'm planning on running a modern game, but my main motivation for trying a new system is to attempt to fully realize the fantasy world that has been in my mind and in a few notebooks of mine for a while now.)

Ironically, it is D&D 4E which made me realize that I'd rather play a different system. One of the things I like about the new system is that there is less of a power curve between levels. I loved 3rd Edition, but one thing that was rough to deal with as a GM was that gaining one or two levels could greatly change what sort of creatures were appropriate challenges. 4th Edition closed the power gap between levels and made creatures more able to remain a challenge at a wider variety of levels. It was then that I realized I would like to try playing a game without levels.

At some point in D&D (regardless of edition) the PCs get to a power point at which they are above the rest of the world. The PCs don't exist as part of a world; the world exists because the PCs are there. That's not a bad concept, and it's one that I've had a lot of fun with and still do enjoy when I play it, but I want to try something with which I can build more of a living breathing world. Aside from that, I'd like to try a more gritty game. I'd like to try something in which my fantasy is at least somewhat grounded in reality to some extent. With those interests in mind, I don't feel that D&D is the system with which to do those things.

I suppose a good example to give is similar to what I said in one of the other threads on these forums concerning realism in fantasy. One of my favorite authors is R. Howard, and the reason that he's one of my favorite authors is because he finds a way to make things feel real. His Conan and Kull books having magic, sorcerers, strange creatures, and all sorts of other things which are fantastic in nature, but he still finds a way to make them feel real.

Conan himself is a good example. Conan has nearly super-human strength and battle skills, and he might be able to single handedly chop down a lot of people, but in the process he still gets hurt or injured most of the time, and no matter how strong he is, he still can't take on an entire army by himself. He's still realistic enough, and the stories are still realistic enough that I can actually believe that the story is real. I can lose myself in the reality of it even though it has fantastical elements.

That's what I want. I want to be able to have adventure and heroics, but I also want some realism. In D&D, a 20th level fighter can easily mow down an entire army without hardly breaking a sweat. I'm not saying that style of play is wrong; it's something that I've enjoyed doing for years, but now I want to try something different, and the something different that I want to try isn't very well supported by the D&D system -especially not the new version of the system. I know that earlier I said that the power curve between levels was less, but another thing about the system is that the power curve between monsters and PCs is much different. The threat of death in D&D 4E is pretty much laughable at best and minor setback at worst. That's not to say that I think PCs should regularly die; I don't think a DM/GM should set out to slaughter the PCs, but I do think that the threat and challenge of failure makes victory somewhat more satisfying.

Aside from all of that, I would like a system which has a broader range of things that it can handle. If the PCs want to do the typical D&D-esque adventure with a small band of heroes, I can do that, but GURPs (from what I can see) also has the capacity to handle things if they decide to upscale things and put together an army or something similar.

D&D 3E had some capacity to do this, but the pitfalls of a level based system still prevailed; no number of 1st level followers can realistically challenge even one opponent who is enough levels higher. Another problem is that a disruptive PC can potentially be above the rest of the world. They can laugh in the face of the town guard and not worry about anything. One way to deal with this is by leveling up the rest of the world, but eventually this leads to the question of "well, if these guards are so tough, why don't they just go kill the dragon?"

Even in Lord of The Rings which is full of the heroes doing completely unrealistic things, there is still some sense of realism. Aragorn and Gimli stand on a bridge during the battle of Helm's Deep and fend off a large mob of the enemy, but it's still made somewhat realistic by them being on a bridge which is small and doesn't allow the enemy to completely swarm them. In D&D the high level heroes could have just walked out into the middle of the enemy army and defeated them all.

I'm not bashing D&D; I have fun with it. It just has a different mentality behind the design. GURPs (and other game systems I have looked at recently) seems more capable of building a world in which the PCs are part of a living world which has some sense of reality and consistancy. D&D doesn't lend itself as well to what I want to do as a world builder.

With all that being said, there are certain aspects of D&D which I plan to keep. I like the concept of "skill challenges" which is used in D&D 4E. Basically, a skill challenge sets the difficulty for a certain skill such as trying to win over the help of the king. Instead of simply making one diplomacy roll and succeeding, it may take multiple successes to plead your case. A diplomacy skill challenge might require 4 successes before 2 failures; if you fail twice you say something which causes the king not to help your or you insult him or whatever the DM decides. This doesn't replace roleplaying though. In most cases roleplaying in such a situation always trumps rollplaying, but I think it's a good mechanic to use so as to not punish players who are shy about roleplaying (in the diplomacy example) while still giving a good mental idea of how difficult it would be to complete a task. Another skill challenge idea could be picking a lock; a tougher lock would require more successful rolls before a lower amount of failed rolls. I'm not sure how well this idea will fit into GURPs, but I'm looking into it.

Last edited by Johnny Angel; 12-01-2008 at 11:46 AM.
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Old 12-01-2008, 12:28 PM   #35
trooper6
 
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Default Re: New to GURPs; not sure where to start

Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Angel
With all that being said, there are certain aspects of D&D which I plan to keep. I like the concept of "skill challenges" which is used in D&D 4E. Basically, a skill challenge sets the difficulty for a certain skill such as trying to win over the help of the king. Instead of simply making one diplomacy roll and succeeding, it may take multiple successes to plead your case. A diplomacy skill challenge might require 4 successes before 2 failures; if you fail twice you say something which causes the king not to help your or you insult him or whatever the DM decides. This doesn't replace roleplaying though. In most cases roleplaying in such a situation always trumps rollplaying, but I think it's a good mechanic to use so as to not punish players who are shy about roleplaying (in the diplomacy example) while still giving a good mental idea of how difficult it would be to complete a task. Another skill challenge idea could be picking a lock; a tougher lock would require more successful rolls before a lower amount of failed rolls. I'm not sure how well this idea will fit into GURPs, but I'm looking into it.
I wouldn't do it by number of successful rolls. If you want to do that, I'd do it by target number for additive margins of success. So say you have to attain 10 margins of success. And you only have four attempts, or whatever. So you roll diplomacy and succeed by 2. Now you have three more attempts to get 8 more margins of success. If your next roll you fail by 1, that is subtracted by your tally. So you now have 2 rolls and 9 margins of success to get.

Or, you can go rules as written and go with Regular Contests of Skill (not Quick Contests of Skill). My Diplomacy vs. your Diplomacy. If you roll a success and I roll a success...we are at an impasse. We roll again and try a new tactic. With each roll other players may try to aid the main Diplomat with relevant skills, giving a bonus to his roll. Then the next round of negotiating begins.
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Old 12-01-2008, 12:45 PM   #36
blacksmith
 
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Default Re: New to GURPs; not sure where to start

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Originally Posted by Johnny Angel
I suppose a lot of my questions concerning challenge revolved around point values though. I know that in GURPs a high point value can mean many different things depending on how the points are spent, but I'm mainly looking at combat for the moment. Would a character who heavily invested 100 points into combat skills and attributes be roughly equal to two characters who heavily invest 50 points into combat skills and attributes?
Depends. IF the fight is long distance sniping, then the guy who spend 100 points on his rifle skill and his stealth and cammoflauge skills, is likely to be the winner. In a melee fight it would depend on the weapons each had avalible and the armor and such.

The character with the split points is likely to be a better generalist while the just skills can focus and be very very good at one or two things.





Quote:
Obviously the multiple characters would have the advantage of having more actions to perform in a round, but I'm trying to get an idea of how combat capabilities interact. I realize that combat isn't the only aspect of an rpg, but that's the one I am most concerned with because combat tends to be more deadly than haggling with a merchant over the price of a goat or planting some corn.
GURPS is also pretty nasty for multiple people fighting one person. If they are good they can give him all kinds of defensive penalties. It is not just multiple attacks, one enemy attacking twice a turn is in many ways much easier to deal with than two enemies of equal skill and half the hit points.
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Old 12-01-2008, 12:55 PM   #37
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Default Re: New to GURPs; not sure where to start

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Originally Posted by Johnny Angel
I guess the racial intolerance quirk makes more sense now that I've read some of your explanations for it. The player is getting points for having it; that's reason why the GM (I'm so used to typing and saying DM that GM feels weird) is enforcing it.
Lots of mental disads are essentially "My character is a jerk, and has problems interacting with others because of this. As this limits his actions and interactions with others he gets points for it."

It seems like in your game the best character to play would be the combat monster with Pacifism: Total non violence, and just ignore the disad as you will not enforce it in any way. This is free points.
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Old 12-01-2008, 01:58 PM   #38
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Default Re: New to GURPs; not sure where to start

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Originally Posted by blacksmith
It seems like in your game the best character to play would be the combat monster with Pacifism: Total non violence, and just ignore the disad as you will not enforce it in any way. This is free points.
DUDE! Play Nice! (speaking of people with mental disads who have problems interacting with others...)
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Old 12-01-2008, 02:20 PM   #39
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Default Re: New to GURPs; not sure where to start

First of all, welcome. You're in for a treat, RPG-wise.

The only advice I have for you is to take GURPS in small bites; it's very easy to get overwhelmed since you have so many options to choose from. Very little is "pre-packaged" compared to D&D and entails much more effort from you. But you'll like the result.
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Old 12-01-2008, 02:29 PM   #40
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Default Re: New to GURPs; not sure where to start

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Originally Posted by Johnny Angel
Templates are preconstructed ways of spending points which encompass a race or a class.
Pretty much, yeah.

Note that class templates are somewhat optional. They act as examples of what skills and advantages a particular "class" or "job" might have, and they can speed up character creation if you use them as written, but you don't have to write up templates for every setting you run a game in, and players aren't really bound to use them (unless you say so).

Quote:
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.
The people in those debates are nitpicking. Damage in GURPS isn't 100% realistic, but it's a reasonably good simulation of real life, and much, much more realistic (and gritty) than D&D is.

On that note: being more realistic, combat in GURPS tends to be a lot deadlier than it is in D&D, even if you ignore all the optional rules (extra hit locations, bleeding, etc). Encourage your players to avoid unnecessary fights and use superior tactics.

Quote:
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.
I wouldn't. Remember that anyone playing an elf (for instance) is forced to take the race template, and that means that they may have to pay for advantages they don't really want, or get stuck with disadvantages that they would rather not have. So in that sense, humans are already more flexible.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Angel
I do have some experience with tactics. I was in the military for a while, so that might help me to be able to give my friends a little bit of a crash course in what sort of tactics would be better for survival.
Since you're all learning, it would be a good idea to give them lots of hints and advice (both in and out of combat), even while they're playing. After all, it's not like you're trying to "beat" them, so there's no reason you have to make them struggle through on their own, and they'll have more fun and learn faster if you help them. Ask them what they're trying to do, and point out good ways to accomplish that. A lot of things that make good sense in narrative terms translate well to GURPS mechanics.

For instance, suppose one of the fighter-types wants to guard an area (or a person). In GURPS, there's no such thing as an opportunity attack when people run past you; if you're busy fighting someone, you're too busy to get a free attack on someone else just because they got near you! The correct thing to do here is to take Wait maneuvers and say that you'll attack any enemy that comes within range.. and that makes sense, if you picture the scene in your head. But a lot of D&D players miss this. If you know what they're trying to do, you can tell them how to do it right, rather than waiting for their assumptions to trip them up.

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There's really only one of them that I'd worry about dying a lot, but that's because he tends to have the worst luck in the world when it comes to rolling dice of any kind.
A common character design strategy, especially when making "heroic" characters (rather than realistic, ordinary ones), is to give them one or more levels of Luck. Instead of trying to get as many Luck uses as possible, save them until you really, really need them (such as when someone's just rolled a critical hit against you, or you've just blown your one opportunity to do something really important).

Quote:
Would a character who heavily invested 100 points into combat skills and attributes be roughly equal to two characters who heavily invest 50 points into combat skills and attributes?
Mmm.. I'm not the best guy to answer this, but I think that's a reasonable approximation. Note that "equal" here means that the 100 point guy (a PC, I assume) has a 50/50 chance of losing the fight! Unless you like your games extraordinarily dangerous, you probably want to dial down the opposition some of the time.

Quote:
One thing that the books briefly talk about that I'd like to know more about is what sort of guidelines should I follow for how I allow players to spend character points gained during play. I know that by the book they can spend them on whatever they want, but there are two particular aspects of spending experience points which have been in my head: 1) ability scores such as ST, DX, and IQ should be harder to raise than skills; 2) the character should have some feasible way of learning a skill in order to be able to purchase it. I know that in regards to the first issue abilities cost more, so by default they are harder to raise, but I'm unsure if setting an amount of time required to raise those skills by 'excercise' or 'education' to reflect that it's more difficult to improve natural abilities than it is to improve skills would be justified or not.
I wouldn't worry about raising the cost of attributes. As you've noticed, they're already expensive, and a lot of players won't have the patience to save their points over the course of several adventures in order to gain one extra attribute point. This is especially true if your campaigns tend to be really short, because by the time they can afford to raise their DX or IQ, the campaign could be over!

A lot of people have house rules that say that you can only improve things that you actually used during an adventure. Others require you to come up with some kind of rationale for spending points, and enforce any attendant consequences; for instance, a player can say that his character is taking classes at the local community college, but then you could charge his character a couple hundred bucks for class fees and materials, and say that he has to spend two half-days a week going to school or doing homework instead of working or adventuring, until the semester is over.

(Incidentally, the things that people do in their downtime are a good way to enable characterization, introduce clues or adventure hooks, and so on. For instance, the guy taking college classes might have the chance to earn Favors or Contacts, or maybe even be introduced to potential Patrons or Allies. They could even make Enemies. If he has a Secret, there's a chance that he'll have to prevent it from being exposed. Or maybe he'll make some ordinary friends, or meet a girlfriend. Maybe the school gets attacked, or a professor goes missing. Or, if you don't want to bother with any of that because it would split up the party too much, then at least you know that the PC would rather spend time taking classes than messing around in his garden or hanging out in bars.)

Overall, I don't think I'd worry about it too much except when someone wants their PC to learn something that they have no plausible way to learn.

Quote:
I don't think I would allow someone stranded in the middle of a wasteland to start learning how to sail a ship.
Well, no. See, that's just silly. :)

Last edited by Xplo; 12-01-2008 at 02:44 PM.
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