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Old 04-04-2006, 10:13 AM   #1
GameBuddah
 
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Default Compare power of AD&D 1st Ed Magic User vs GURPS 4th Edition Mage

Hi,

I'm curious has anyone compared the power level of an AD&D 1st Ed Magic User with the GURPS 4th edition spell caster. My thought has been for years that the AD&D MU would just kick a GURPS MUs butt, but I'm not so sure now that I'm playing a 1st ed AD&D MU for the first time in almost 20 years.

Thoughts?
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Old 04-04-2006, 10:46 AM   #2
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Default Re: Compare power of AD&D 1st Ed Magic User vs GURPS 4th Edition Mage

You'd have to decide on a point level (and disadvantage limit) for the GURPS character, of course. And there's the difficulty of AD&D characters being susceptible to death from things like house cats. The GURPS characters will vary a lot, and be better able to specialize, complicating things further.

Assuming 25 points with 25 points in disadvantages, a GURPS character might look like this:

ST 9 [-10], DX 10, IQ 10, HT 10
HP 9, FP 10, Per 10, Will 10, Speed 5.00, Move 5
Magical Aptitude 3 [35]
Disadvantages [-15]
Skills: Innate Attack (Projectile)-11 [2], Staff-10 [2], Thaumatology-12 [2].
Spells: Ignite Fire-11 [1], Shape Fire-11 [1], Fireball-13 [4], Explosive Fireball-12 [2], Detect Magic-11 [1].

That might be sufficient to kick around a 1st level AD&D mage, but again, it all depends on what assumptions you make. (A more specialized mage could be much deadlier, but I aimed for a reasonable starting character.)

Last edited by Shumway; 04-04-2006 at 12:56 PM. Reason: Shifted a couple points around.
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Old 04-04-2006, 10:46 AM   #3
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Default Re: Compare power of AD&D 1st Ed Magic User vs GURPS 4th Edition Mage

A GURPS 4e spellcaster based on how many points?

Assuming a 150 point spellcaster, optimized stats which let him get skill 15 for a point each, and a few appropriately selected spells, and further assuming that I remember AD&D correctly, I'd think the GURPS spellcaster would come out far ahead of the AD&D first level MU by most measures. He'll have a more versatile set of spells (say, a set of elemental spells leading up to a decent missile spells like Stone Missile or Fireball, a set of healing spells including Major Healing and Recover ST, and at least one other set of useful spells) and be able to cast more of them in a shorter period of time. The AD&D MU might be able to do more damage in a single spell, particularly relative to the likely number of hit points of other beginning characters, and hit automatically with that spell, but that's about the only advantage I can think of.
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Old 04-04-2006, 10:59 AM   #4
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Default Re: Compare power of AD&D 1st Ed Magic User vs GURPS 4th Edition Mage

It depends a lot on how you interpret the opposition. The general weakness of the AD&D wizard is the limited number of spells per day, and to be fair, a GURPS wizard is going to have trouble getting off more than one major spell in a fight (even a first level D&D spell is pretty powerful by GURPS standards).

GURPS mages are much more utility and support characters than magical artillery.

I'll also note that a first level AD&D fighter is probably only around 50-75 points in GURPS, so if you build your wizard on that many points, he's not going to be too impressive.
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Old 04-04-2006, 11:21 AM   #5
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Default Re: Compare power of AD&D 1st Ed Magic User vs GURPS 4th Edition Mage

I wanted to elaborate on what has already been said. The basic GURPS magic system is built around the idea that your mage can be specialized in whatever he wants to be specialized in. You can make a combat mage; there are several ways to do this, too. He could be a defensive combat mage, centering his abilities on blocking and shielding spells. He could be a ranged offensive mage, focusing on one or two spells that can dish out damage over a range. He could be a melee combat mage, using several melee spells on his staff with which he is adept at using, or alternatively, he could have a shape-shift spell that allows him to be a tough creature for the fight-- you know, like a bear or a lion.

A mage could be built to summon creatures to do his combat for him. A mage could be an enchanter, keeping a stash of enchanted items to make combat easy for himself. A mage could be centered around supporting his friends through healing or personal enhancement spells. A mage could be a civil type mage, who uses his spells to aid agriculture and civic works. A mage could be built for a lot of things, combat and not.

Not so in DnD; for the most part, it is assumed that your mage will be in combat, and most of the spells reflect that. If you want to make a combat-oriented GURPS mage, you can make one specialized in killing DnD mages. In that case, you'd probably win every time.
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Old 04-04-2006, 11:27 AM   #6
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Default Re: Compare power of AD&D 1st Ed Magic User vs GURPS 4th Edition Mage

Quote:
Originally Posted by nanoboy
Not so in DnD; for the most part, it is assumed that your mage will be in combat, and most of the spells reflect that. If you want to make a combat-oriented GURPS mage, you can make one specialized in killing DnD mages. In that case, you'd probably win every time.
That's a very hard comparison to make, since the game mechanics are so different. In any case, 1st level mages are notoriously weak in AD&D. A comparison at, say, 6th level, would be rather different.
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Old 04-04-2006, 12:37 PM   #7
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Default Re: Compare power of AD&D 1st Ed Magic User vs GURPS 4th Edition Mage

Quote:
Originally Posted by GameBuddah
Hi,

I'm curious has anyone compared the power level of an AD&D 1st Ed Magic User with the GURPS 4th edition spell caster. My thought has been for years that the AD&D MU would just kick a GURPS MUs butt, but I'm not so sure now that I'm playing a 1st ed AD&D MU for the first time in almost 20 years.

Thoughts?
The big thing here is that for neither the D&D character nor the GURPS character has a level/point value been given, nor in what context, although I suspect when you're talking about butt-kicking you mean in combat. It's like saying "Compare a man and a woman".

Comparing Stephen Hawking vs. the current female olympic weightlifting champion in a weightlifting competition is a little uneven. Comparing the same two people in solving a quantum physics problem is just as uneven.

Comparing a "starting" character from either game is a little closer, but AD&D and GURPS 4e have completely different standards for starting power level - a level 1 AD&D character does not really compare with the suggested 150 point base from Basic Set, and that 150 point number is highly mutable anyways.

Although if you DID compare a lvl 1 AD&D character with a 150 point GURPS wizard, both spec'd for combat, in a fight, I think the GURPS wizard sets the AD&D fellow on fire a few times and then goes off to smoke a cigarette - it takes the AD&D wizard at least 6 seconds to cast anything, in which time the GURPS wizard has cast 3 3d fireballs and thrown them at him. One fireball does over twice the AD&D wizards hit points on average :D
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Old 04-04-2006, 12:51 PM   #8
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Default Re: Compare power of AD&D 1st Ed Magic User vs GURPS 4th Edition Mage

Remember also that without the entire "alignment vs. class vs. race vs. weapon & armor restrictions" complex that comes part-and-parcel with AD&D, a GURPS wizard needs to be compared to something like an AD&D cleric/fighter/magic-user, because she can cast what AD&D would identify as cleric and magic-user spells, do so in armor, and still fight reasonably competently with a battlefield weapon. A typical wizard adventurer starting out in GURPS might know Body Control, Fire, Healing, Mind Control, and Protection & Warning spells, wear leather armor, and carry a broadsword and medium shield. And that's not even considering the fact that this no doubt high-IQ character could have 60%+ in most of the "thieving skills" for a few points.

Point-build vs. class-based is generally a hopeless comparison.
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Old 04-04-2006, 01:24 PM   #9
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Default Re: Compare power of AD&D 1st Ed Magic User vs GURPS 4th Edition Mage

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kromm
Point-build vs. class-based is generally a hopeless comparison.
Yeah, we've had all sorts of posts arguing the comparitive value of character types across systems which bear no resemblance toward one another. It's not even like comparing an apple to an orange at that point... it's like comparing a fish to a rock for all the sense it makes.
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Old 04-04-2006, 01:33 PM   #10
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Default Re: Compare power of AD&D 1st Ed Magic User vs GURPS 4th Edition Mage

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kromm
Point-build vs. class-based is generally a hopeless comparison.
Absolutely.

I think it would be a better idea to compare each of the characters to a fighter (of their own system), a peasant, and a different wizard. Otherwise the whole "And they attacked 60 times per round" saga will be true once again.

BTW, did anybody see that humour article/saga on a D&D party meeting/fighting a GURPS party, and then the survivor whining to the Archmage? I'm still searching, as I've only heard of it.
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