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Old 01-25-2021, 05:30 AM   #21
borithan
 
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Default Re: Skills - maybe this game isn't what I'm looking for

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Originally Posted by adaman14 View Post
I have just started playing GURPS and really thought it would be the RPG for me but now I am not sure. I have DX 11 and Riding Horses as a skill. Every time I mount a horse I need to check my skill?
I was checking to see "is that right?" and yes, the skill write up technically suggests this. However, as people said:

1) there should almost certainly be positive modifiers to this. If it is a riding animal it will gives at least +1 for having the "Mount" skill, and if it is *your* mount and you keep good care of it you are likely getting another +5, and even if it isn't in most non-stressful situations you are likely getting +4. (edited because I was working on a presumption that you has skill 11, and I realise that wasn't actually what you said!).

2) the GM shouldn't be asking you to roll *every* time you mount. Only when it is important, like mounting an animal in combat (where the time pressure matters), or where failure is likely to have a dramatic effect. Even if you wanted to enforce riding rolls for normal day to day riding it is probably best to treat it how it is suggested a job roll or commuting roll is treated, ie, you roll once for an entire month, with failure meaning some minor setback, and only a critical fail suggesting there is anything major going to have happened.

The main issue is the number of rolls you are being asked to make, which isn't an issue with the system itself (though it may be impacted by the GM's confidence with the system, if this is the first time they have run GURPS, for example). If the GM did the same in D&D (for example), the chances of even a skilled character failing an average check are higher than you might expect. While the DCs have generally been lowered in 5th edition, the whole "take 10" mechanic (equivalent of the +4 for un-stressful situations in GURPS) doesn't technically exist except as a Rogue class feature. An good skill for a common person would likely be +5 and even on a DC 10 check that leaves a 25% failure chance. Of course the game doesn't actually expect you to roll for every little thing.

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1 in 3 chance to fail and then what happens if I fail?
You don't mount the animal and waste some time. This might matter in combat (the bad guys have more time to catch up with you, you have left yourself in a vulnerable position etc). It would likely only be a critical failure that there would be any consequence other than wasted time (fall when almost mounted, or maybe the mount bolts while you are half mounted and might fling you and drag you... but even then you probably get another chance to mitigate the failure somehow).

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Dang, a normal person without the specific skill fails to even mount the horse 95% of the time?
So a normal riding horse has Mount 11, which they average with the unskilled rider's default of 5, making an effective skill of 8. Now, arguably the first time you are riding a horse it will not be stress free, so you might not get that full +4, and the mount isn't likely to know you that well, so you almost certainly won't get you a +5 for that. However, a proper riding instructor will probably be nearby to keep an eye to make sure the horse is calm (and to reassure you too), probably have allowed the horse to acclimatise to you a bit, so you probably still get some bonus (+2 maybe?) and the very least will probably preventing any negative modifiers come in to play. And a lot of new riders will quite possibly fail their first attempt, but not so badly that they end up flat on their arse, and will take a few tries to get on. Once they get used it, even if they don't qualify for a point in the skill they probably qualify for getting the +4 for un-stressful circumstances... just don't go riding anywhere that might be stressful (effective skill of 8 is *not* something you want to be testing).

That the chance of a unskilled rider mounting an untrained horse in unsupportive circumstances is very low is kind of fair enough. That kind of thing would be actively dangerous.

Last edited by borithan; 01-25-2021 at 05:51 AM.
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Old 01-25-2021, 07:34 AM   #22
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Default Re: Skills - maybe this game isn't what I'm looking for

Thank you everyone for such detailed responses. I am a trying to learn this game by reading the rules and I must admit it is really a daunting task. I suppose trying to learn any RPG by reading the rules is daunting though.

To be honest I am disappointed in GURPS so far. I am sitting here wondering why anyone would actually use a horse for anything other than mundane day to day activity so buying and documenting the skill is a waste. I see that the modifier is anywhere from -5 to +5 or more depending upon the GM interpretation of about any number of variables (and a few of the variables one should always apply are located in three different locations of the rules and one must know the DX of the horse and the training of the animal...I am frustrated). I can resolve this whole thing with original D&D as a DM just saying roll percentile and in this situation you have a 20% chance to fail. I bet it is nearly the same thing.

I really want to like GURPS but I feel that I would gut about 80% of the rules as ultimately pointless. Perhaps I should dig out my original 1986 version of GURPS and look through that.
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Old 01-25-2021, 08:00 AM   #23
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Default Re: Skills - maybe this game isn't what I'm looking for

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Originally Posted by adaman14 View Post
I really want to like GURPS but I feel that I would gut about 80% of the rules as ultimately pointless.
Honestly, this is the GURPS spirit. It's something the GM should do before the game starts, though. If you're running a wild-west game, throw out the rules for lasers, gravity, etc. and ditch the whole magic chapter. If it's an action-based game, there are lots of nitty-gritty rules to ignore too. Take a light touch on the sleep rules, but maybe activate the tinkering rules.

In a fantasy game, throw out guns, activate magic and weapon quality. Tinkering is probably out, but alchemy is in.

So, then, if there's that much monkeying with the rules, why GURPS at all? Why not just use a single-purpose system? Why not play D&D and then Deadlands and then Marvel and then...? 2 big reasons for me.

1) Learning curve. When everything uses the same base system, it is much faster to get into the game you want. You don't have to teach new players the intricacies of the new system every new game and then discard it again for each new genre. I have several players in my group who learn new rules slower. It's fine, they're great to play with, just less crunchy.

2) It works. I can make each genre from realistic to cheezy from ancient to post-modern work in GURPS. So many systems have giant gaping holes in them which they try to patch with new editions which have new holes. Sure, GURPS isn't flawless, but it hangs together quite nicely across the whole spectrum.
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Old 01-25-2021, 08:14 AM   #24
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Default Re: Skills - maybe this game isn't what I'm looking for

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Originally Posted by adaman14 View Post
I am sitting here wondering why anyone would actually use a horse for anything other than mundane day to day activity so buying and documenting the skill is a waste.
Maybe you're playing an Old West game where riding horses to chase outlaws is a thing. Or maybe you're playing in a game about warfare where cavalry is important. There are lots of situations where riding a horse is an important skill, even if it doesn't happen to be an important skill in YOUR game.

GURPS strives to be relevant to ALL genres. That means there will inevitably be pieces you don't want to use for one particular game. Don't try to use everything; just use the parts that make sense for you.

Quote:
I see that the modifier is anywhere from -5 to +5 or more depending upon the GM interpretation of about any number of variables (and a few of the variables one should always apply are located in three different locations of the rules and one must know the DX of the horse and the training of the animal...I am frustrated).
Some people like detailed lists of modifiers to cover as many situations as possible. Other people don't care so much about them. If you're one who doesn't care so much about them, then just use task difficulty modifiers (page 345) instead of the skill-specific modifiers.

For example, if you declare you want to vault onto the back of your horse and spur him away all in one turn, the GM doesn't have to look up the modifiers for Riding. The GM could say, instead, "Well, it's your horse who knows you well, but the horse isn't really used to stressful situations, so I'm gonna call that 'favorable,' for +1." That's all you need to do.

"Many skills suggest difficulty modifiers..." (p. 345). Notice the word "suggest." You are not required to search for and apply all possible modifiers if that's not the kind of game you're running. GURPS allows you to be flexible, playing with the level of detail that you prefer.

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I really want to like GURPS but I feel that I would gut about 80% of the rules as ultimately pointless.
What kind of game are you trying to run? Do you prefer to play games where you hardly ever think about the rules or games where players like to carefully build up detail? Do you like to zip through a plot or dwell on scenes? Figure out what you WANT the system to be, then you'll know how much and what detail to use.
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Old 01-25-2021, 08:16 AM   #25
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Default Re: Skills - maybe this game isn't what I'm looking for

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Originally Posted by adaman14 View Post
I am sitting here wondering why anyone would actually use a horse for anything other than mundane day to day activity so buying and documenting the skill is a waste.
I mean, if you just use it to ride to places then you barely need a skill, and if you want to keep things simple (a DF campaign) you could just skim over transports. The GM could just have everyone walk all over or have an NPC drive them there in a wagon as part of a caravan, etc.

But a lot of people are using their horse in combat, possibly with a lance, or using historical horse archery. Others have players riding around on wyverns. For that reason GURPS needs rules for that, otherwise it wouldn't be a very universal system.

When you use GURPS you have to use it with the understanding that you should only pick the parts you actually need. If you're running a realistic conspiracy spy-game with little focus on combat there is no reason to even look at GURPS Martial Arts. If the only thing you're going to to in a spaceship is run around it and shoot aliens you don't need GURPS Spaceships, etc.

If you want to use GURPS for fairly straight-forward 'dungeon fantasy' then I suggest looking at either GURPS Dungeon Fantasy, or the Dungeon Fantasy system which is a slightly modified version of GURPS.
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Old 01-25-2021, 08:22 AM   #26
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Default Re: Skills - maybe this game isn't what I'm looking for

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Originally Posted by adaman14 View Post
Thank you everyone for such detailed responses. I am a trying to learn this game by reading the rules and I must admit it is really a daunting task. I suppose trying to learn any RPG by reading the rules is daunting though.

I really want to like GURPS but I feel that I would gut about 80% of the rules as ultimately pointless. Perhaps I should dig out my original 1986 version of GURPS and look through that.
In D&D a 1 always fails right? (I used much older editions and am not up to date on anything past the early 80s.
So that is a 5% vs. .01852 of rolling a 17 or 18 for automatic failure, much better odds!
Start with GURPS Lite which is free and just a few pages. That way you can read the core rules in maybe 5 minutes.

Next important thing to consider is that GURPS is designed from the ground up to be modular, meaning most skills, rules, and advantages can be tossed out or ignored when desired. This of course is for different genres such as ignore magic in most sci-fi campaigns but also refers to granularity or depth such as techniques or advanced combat options.
The idea is to provide basic tools to do anything - roll under skill on 3d6 to do something while letting those who want more granularity get into much more detail. You will never please everyone doing one or the other - so GURPS allows both and a lot in-between.

If you have a skill and are trying to do something simple or routine, normally you dont bother rolling. The Campaigns book (mostly for the GM) explains this more clearly.

Firs time I rode a horse (very young but dont recall the age) I was using default skill and nervous but had a relative helping me. So I was able to munt (barely) but had no control over the horse and it darn well knew it. It ran around the house a couple of times I think (at least once, my panicked memory may be exaggerating thinking it was several times) then jumped a low fence. I managed to hang on until the jump and somehow lost both shoes and a sock during the ride. I would call this a failed roll (though hilarious to my family), but much later on as an adult I could manage simple riding (still with the default) because the animal was better trained (Mount skill, +1), decent riding instructor who helped me (complimentary roll bonus,+1) and low stress for another +1 to +4.

In many other systems I either can ride a horse or I cant (often based on class), very simple but unrealistic.

Lets take Driving.
After some practice and training in Drivers Ed I could drive a car but was very nervous and made lots of errors. Most people that drive in America dont really have the Driving skill, they operate off the default they get from their parents or school training. For day to day use like that dont bother to roll.
However they get that +4 routine task bonus most of the time. But come a storm, ice, or idiot driver and you need to roll and may even lose that trivial/easy task modifier.
Professional drivers, and in my experience many European drivers actually have the skill and you can really tell the difference.

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Originally Posted by adaman14 View Post
I am sitting here wondering why anyone would actually use a horse for anything other than mundane day to day activity so buying and documenting the skill is a waste.
As you say, for normal use you probably wouldn't bother. But what if your playing a bronco rider or a jockey? Going to and from the dungeon or town to town- sure skip the skill and the GM can justsay everyone succeeds if they have a well trained mount and dont do anything fancy or stupid. But what if your in combat? Thats not trivial as all the noise will spook many horses.
How about playing a Old West campaign? You want to leap onto your horse when escaping from the saloon? Take the skill.
Again, its all modular - use what is appropriate and ignore what you want.
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Last edited by Refplace; 01-25-2021 at 08:29 AM.
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Old 01-25-2021, 08:33 AM   #27
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Default Re: Skills - maybe this game isn't what I'm looking for

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Hmm, seems we have different rule books.
P242 is something about spells so I will take your word for it. P325 is the second page of the quick combat rules, so again I will take your word for it.
The "P" was for page number not Powers. The GURPSwiki has Task Difficulty Modifier turns the Basic Set's information into a more useful table.
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Old 01-25-2021, 09:02 AM   #28
adaman14
 
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Default Re: Skills - maybe this game isn't what I'm looking for

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Originally Posted by RedMattis View Post
I mean, if you just use it to ride to places then you barely need a skill, and if you want to keep things simple (a DF campaign) you could just skim over transports. The GM could just have everyone walk all over or have an NPC drive them there in a wagon as part of a caravan, etc.

But a lot of people are using their horse in combat, possibly with a lance, or using historical horse archery. Others have players riding around on wyverns. For that reason GURPS needs rules for that, otherwise it wouldn't be a very universal system.

When you use GURPS you have to use it with the understanding that you should only pick the parts you actually need. If you're running a realistic conspiracy spy-game with little focus on combat there is no reason to even look at GURPS Martial Arts. If the only thing you're going to to in a spaceship is run around it and shoot aliens you don't need GURPS Spaceships, etc.

If you want to use GURPS for fairly straight-forward 'dungeon fantasy' then I suggest looking at either GURPS Dungeon Fantasy, or the Dungeon Fantasy system which is a slightly modified version of GURPS.
First off, I am not angry but rather disappointed. I really appreciate every response to this thread and I read them over and over to wonder what I might be missing.

I have Dungeon Fantasy and have been reading through it for hours. The rules are almost exactly the same but without the other tech stuff. It is obvious to not use the other tech stuff. What I said in earlier posts about gutting the rules refers to DF as well.

I will slug on and see. I will get into a few other games as well but to be honest the gaming community of GURPS appears to be bleak.
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Old 01-25-2021, 09:34 AM   #29
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Default Re: Skills - maybe this game isn't what I'm looking for

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I will slug on and see. I will get into a few other games as well but to be honest the gaming community of GURPS appears to be bleak.
GURPS is not for everyone. You may be one of those who don't like it. It happens, and that's fine.

You remain somewhat vague about what you're trying to accomplish with GURPS, and this makes it hard to advise you. What drew you to GURPS? What do you expect to get out of it? Besides "lots of modifiers," what about it disappoints you?
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Old 01-25-2021, 10:06 AM   #30
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Default Re: Skills - maybe this game isn't what I'm looking for

Sometimes the issue is less the game than its community. We're helpful here . . . but a company's forums for its games tend to draw a focused, invested community that jumps immediately to the most complex view of the game, or that forgets what it was like to be a beginner.

First, make sure you're in the right forum. Sometimes, the GURPS forum (this one) is like drinking from the hose. You have the Dungeon Fantasy Roleplaying Game, so you might find its forum more friendly.

Next, make sure you even want company forums. You get less technical detail and more casual gaming input on forums not run by the company. Examples exist on reddit.

If Facebook is more your thing, there are groups there for the Dungeon Fantasy Roleplaying Game and GURPS.

After that, consider that discussion forums and groups let people info-dump rather easily, which can get intense. They're also full of threads that get entangled; it isn't always clear who's answering whom. You might prefer real-time interaction with people who are talking to you. There's a very good Discord server with #introductions and #gurps-newcomers channels.

No matter which path you take, it really helps to word your questions in the form "X is what is I want to do but Y is the vibe I'm getting, based on what I've read on p. 00, p. 00, and p. 00. Is there any way to do X? Where can I find guidance for that in the rules? Do you have any specific advice you're willing to share?"

Finally, don't overlook the official resources – particularly How to Be a GURPS GM.
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