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Old 01-06-2013, 11:54 PM   #9
Peter Knutsen
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Europe
Default Re: High GM burden - Time saving tricks?

Originally Posted by ErhnamDJ View Post
Say the characters meet a mysterious old man. It could be as simple as writing down:

Old Man
Mysterious in manner [-1]
Likes telling tall tales [-1]
Compared to other RPG systems, such as any edition of D&D or AD&D, GURPS' attributes are very strongly clustered. A great many of the humans living in the OP's world falls within the 9-11 range in terms of DX, HT and IQ.

ST varies a bit more, but can usually be derived - assumptively derived - from what the NPC does. If this NPC has Farming-11 and he's old, then chance are he's a farmhand who hasn't made any strategic decisions about the running of the farm on which he works, ever, and that pegs him as a labourer, which suggets high ST, but mitigated a bit by his "old" tag.

The point is, when you don't write a trait value down, it's because that trait value is as expected. If IQ isn't specified, then it's 10. If Will isn't specified, then it's 10.

Unless there's selection pressure for the social role or profession that the NPC is in. Among scholars, it's reasonable to assume that average IQ is 11. Among ascetic monks, it's reasonable to assume that average Will is 11, or maybe even 12.

But if the GM is willing and able to make such assumptions, then there's a lot of stuff that doesn't need to be written down, for minor NPCs. Because possible to derive - again, assumptively - attributes and other traits on an as-needed basis. Even easier on a group basis.

Let's say you have a group of 5 city guard NPCs, whose main duty is to patrol the city market during day time. It's reasonable to assume that they average PR (Pereption) 11, due to a combination of job selection and the fact that GURPS sees attributes as being trainable ("if you use your eye muscles a lot, they grow stronger"). What else might be reasonable? Might one of them have Danger Sense? I don't think so. Danger Sense is a high-cost and fairly cinematic Advantage, and would be more appropriate to occur with some random chance in a group of NPC body guards, e.g. if you have 6-7 highly competent royal body guards, as a GM you might arbitrarily decide there's a 40% chance that one of them has Danger Sense.
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