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Old 11-29-2008, 07:32 AM   #11
zorg
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Default Re: New to GURPs; not sure where to start

You can dial down (or up) the threat of any fight by adjusting the oppositions tactics a lot. Smart tactics will make a bunch of 25CP peasants fearsome, while dumb tactics will make mooks out of 250CP brutes.
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Old 11-29-2008, 08:35 AM   #12
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Default Re: New to GURPs; not sure where to start

Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Angel
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.
I have recommended this before—in fact, I wrote a Pyramid article about it a couple of years back—but you won't have seen that, so I'll repeat the suggestion.

What I do is write out a prospectus. I come up with a list of ideas for campaigns I might run, and describe each in a paragraph or so. The description includes the genre (such as fantasy or pulp adventure), the setting, what kind of characters are wanted, what their mission is (if they have one), what the play style will be (how much violence, how realistic, how much character interaction, whether it's G, R, or X rated), and any source material (such as a novel, television series, or comic). Then I ask the players to bid on them; each player gets points equal to 2x the number of campaigns, to be assigned as they see fit. And I look for a campaign that no one rates at 0, ideally that no one rates at 1, and that has a high point total. Once I've actually picked the campaign, I do some serious work on the details of the world and on what part of the rules I'm going to use. It gives me the exercise of thinking out several different ideas for running a campaign and it ensures that the campaign I run is one that my players actually think is cool.

For example, the first half of this year, one of the campaigns I was running, a six-session miniseries, had the following description:

___Salle d’Armes: In pre-revolutionary France, a master fencer teaches his art to a number of students, mostly from aristocratic families, though students with unusual backgrounds will be possible with a good character story. Player characters will be talented but not highly trained as yet. The focus of play will be divided between combat and social encounters, including carousing in the streets, rivalries with other schools, and displays of savoir-faire in aristocratic gatherings. Play style will be mildly cinematic, but with realistic injuries. Rules system: GURPS Martial Arts.

Bill Stoddard
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Old 11-29-2008, 09:53 AM   #13
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Default Re: New to GURPs; not sure where to start

Quote:
Originally Posted by mlangsdorf
The numbers should be equal on either side.
I agree with all of the advice you've received so far, except this one. To be an equal challenge, NPCs should outnumber PCs by at least 2:1; 3:1 is better. This does slow combat down considerably, as mlangsdorf mentioned.

The reason, however, is what zorg said about tactics. No matter how many NPCs there are, yours is the only mind behind them. Your NPCs are faced with some number of PCs, each of them with a player diligently making the most of their capabilities. You need some offset, in strength, numbers, or special abilities, to make up for the fact that you can't think of everything at once.

This doesn't mean, however, that you have to introduce the NPCs all at once. Three separate firefights with equal numbers will play out quickly, but as the PCs expend equipment and accumulate damage the outcome becomes less certain.

I will add that as GURPS is generally more realistic (though it is possible to play cinematically), real-world tactics are more important than in a pure fantasy ruleset like D&D. Characters die, especially if their players are not sensitive to overwhelming odds. Area attacks (grenades or explosive fireballs) are deadly if you don't get a saving roll to avoid the effects. Taking cover is a useful technique, but so is shooting through light walls (wood panel or drywall). Medical care is vital: modern medicine can do a lot if you can get to a hospital in time, while magical healing does no one any good if it's the healer that gets hit.

I echo the recommendation to run your first actual game session (including character creation) using just GURPS Lite. This gives you the basics of the rules that everyone is talking about, without all of the extra bells and whistles. When you start thinking, "Man, I wish I could..." or "But I want a character that can...", then move up to the full rules. I still try to run with just GURPS Lite and a setting book; I allow the players to choose one special aspect (Advantage, Disadvantage, or special ability) from the full rules to round out their characters. This keeps me from having to memorize the full rule book to keep track of all their capabilities.
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Old 11-29-2008, 10:51 AM   #14
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Default Re: New to GURPs; not sure where to start

I've been trying to download the free GURPs lite pdf, but I seem to be having problems with registering to the area of the site which allows me to download it.


I've been reading through more of the books I have. I think I have a pretty good grasp on how determining success or failure at a given task, and character creation seems fairly easy. I don't understand a few of the more in depth options yet, but, as many of you said, I should probably start with the basics anyway.

I think that one the main obstacles for me will be that I don't have any experience as either a player or a GM with the system and neither does anyone that I regularly game with. The funny thing is that I've discovered that I'm not quite as new to GURPs as I thought. I found an old GURPs book in one of my book boxes, so at some point I must have been interested by it; more than likely what happened was that I put it away and forgot about it since nearly everyone I knew played D&D.

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. Aside from that though, most of them at least have some sort of interest in warfare games or similar concepts, so I think they should be alright. Most of them seem to have a pretty good head on their shoulders for such things. I do think that perhaps it might take some time to go from the D&D mindset of being semi-superheroes to more realistic combat, but I think they'll catch on. 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.

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? 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.

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 don't think it's something that I would be strict about, but it is an idea that I have considered. In regards to the second issue, I don't think I would allow someone stranded in the middle of a wasteland to start learning how to sail a ship. Could you give some examples of what sort of rules or guidelines some of you have used in your games?
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Old 11-29-2008, 11:47 AM   #15
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Default Re: New to GURPs; not sure where to start

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. 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.
You understand the concept of templates, but a couple of notes on specific traits mentioned: Height and Build disadvantages such as Skinny and Dwarfism alter your height and build relative to the norm for your species. They are very rarely appropriate on a racial template. To make your elves scrawny compared to humans, all they need is -1 or -2 Hit Points, and then an Elf who is underweight compared to them can take Skinny on top of that. A "normal" Dwarf can take Size Modifier -1 (or not, this one tends to vary by setting a lot) to be smaller than a Human, and then an individual Dwarf can take Dwarfism (yes, making him a dwarf Dwarf) to be smaller than his racial average. The reason for this is because the primary Disadvantage to height and build modifiers that you actually get points for is the penalty to do stuff like blend in a crowd or buy clothes that fit, and if everybody in your species has the same averages as you these things aren't a problem.

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. Aside from that though, most of them at least have some sort of interest in warfare games or similar concepts, so I think they should be alright.
You guys should be fine, you just need to remember that stuff like surprise, numbers, and flanking are not to be ignored.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Angel
I do think that perhaps it might take some time to go from the D&D mindset of being semi-superheroes to more realistic combat, but I think they'll catch on. 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.
Y'know if you really want you can run a game where they're semi- (or fully-) superheroic to the point that the dice aren't as cruel, but it adds to the complexity on both ends so we don't generally recommend doing it to start. The Speedster in my current Supers campaign is primarily defended by his awesome Dodge, for example, but when two mooks rolled critical hits against him with their AK-47s in our last session he was also big and tough enough to survive the bullets. There are also several advantages that directly mess with die-rolling on the metagame level (Luck, Daredevil, Higher Purpose, Visualization, etc) in various ways, which are highly appropriate in most cinematic settings IMHO.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Angel
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? 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.
Probably not. Numbers are a huge factor, especially at lower power levels. One guy with 8 points in Broadsword-12 vs two guys with 4 points each in Broadsword-11 is in serious trouble. I recommend the stat comparison method already described upthread.
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Old 11-29-2008, 12:40 PM   #16
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Default Re: New to GURPs; not sure where to start

Quote:
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. ... I have decided that GURPs looks like something that will be far more satisfying for me ... What adjustments will I have to make to go from a D&D mindset to a GURPs mindset?

This thread should be moved to the GURPS forum. That's where you can get good advice on GURPS.

Last edited by griffin; 11-29-2008 at 12:40 PM. Reason: fix quoting
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Old 11-29-2008, 04:23 PM   #17
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Default Re: New to GURPs; not sure where to start

Within the last year I recently switched my gaming group from D&D 3.5 to GURPS Fourth Edition. I can give you some ideas what I did:

1. I wrote out a list of Combat Options that included all the things I felt would be useful to the first few sessions: that is, I went through Basic: Campaigns rules and put together a bullet-point list like this:
  • All-Out Attack. Blah blah.
  • Move. Blah blah blah.
  • Move and Attack. Etc.
I did not include the things in the Campaigns book which we wouldn't be using: in particular, high rate-of-fire weapons (like machine guns), vehicles (no mounted combat), no rules on Fatigue (at least at first), no rules on Extra Effort (at first).
2. I wrote a short page explaining the 3d6 bell curve, Critical Success, Critical Failure, and what a Quick Contest is.
3. I wrote up a brief Combat Flowchart so they'd see how things happened and in what order. My combat flowchart included page numbers I could consult in the Campaigns book for further detail.
4. Writing out a summary of the rules helped me to understand them more fully; giving a copy to the players helped them to understand their basic options. Over time we have added more rules and more complexity.

As far as what to run, I started with superheroes. In retrospect I might have started a bit more simply, but heck, I recommend you start with something that you'll find entertaining enough to stick with. :)
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Old 11-29-2008, 06:52 PM   #18
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Default Re: New to GURPs; not sure where to start

One thing I want to say is that, at its heart, GURPS is really easy. But it can be deadly.

My recommendation? Make a few characters and have them fight each other...just for yourself so you can get a feel for combat. Then if you have players who are up for some gladitorial fights, do some of that. Once you get a feel for it, then help everyone make characters. Make sure you keep a copy of the characters for yourself. Then, when you are planning the adventures, run through some sample combats on your own with your skeletons, or what have you, and the PCs to see if you've balanced it well. This allows everyone to have a sense of deadliness. Once you've done it a few times, you won't have to both with doing that anymore.

Next, don't give the human's extra points, would be my recommendation. Keep everyone equal in the points department. It's just easier that way in a point buy system. If you want to model that humans are more open-minded than other races, just give the other races the hidebound disad in their template.

One big difference that a lot of people coming from D&D get hung up on is the combat time scale. A D&D round is 6 seconds, and people get used to doing a gazillion things in one round. Moving, Attacking, Free Actions, etc. So it is all attacking all the time. GURPS combat turns are one second long. So there is more variety in actions. Maybe one turn you Aim, the next turn you fire. The next turn you quickdraw and arrow and then nock the arrow on the bow. Then maybe you aim again. Then you fire. Then maybe you move. That is a whole bunch of turns.
Maybe one turn you move. The next turn you evaluate. The next turn you attack.
So, very often you may not be attacking every turn. That sometimes frustrates D&D'ers. They have to get used to the new scale.

What you can generally do is attack and defend in the same turn. Most of the combat maneuvers involve changing up the relationship to attacking and defending. For example, default you can attack and defend. Or you can give up all your defense for an All-Out Attack (two attacks, or one attack at more skill, or one attack at more damage). Or you can give up your attacks for an All-Out Defense (Do defenses per attack, or one defense at a bonus). If you look at Martial Arts there are things in the middle. Committed Attack (some bonus to attack at some penalty to defend). Defensive Attack (some penalty to attack for some bonus to defend).
Likewise, you can Move or you can attack. If you do both, you do neither very well, etc.

The system is quite symmetrical and logical.

The things I love about GURPS in relation to D&D:
Hit Locations mean something! (You can cripple limbs and knock people out!)
You can defend. (I hated it when in D&D the baddies would hit my thief for agazillion hp and I'd die and that would be it--in GURPS my thief can dodge and retreat and parry!)
Lots of rules for non-combat things/non-combat skills. (Our GURPS games involve lots of investigating and sneaking and diplomacy and sex appeal and all sorts of other elements, and the game supports that well)
Rules for social standing. (You can make a Knight, or an ugly rich noble, or a handsome low class rogue--and all of those things will mean something in the rules set).

There are lots of things I love, but those are some of them.

Welcome to GURPS!
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Old 11-30-2008, 01:41 AM   #19
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Default Re: New to GURPs; not sure where to start

lots of good stuff upthread... my $0.02

The D&D -> GURPS transition was 15 years ago for me but the things I remember about it were...
1) no class restrictions! I can have spells AND swords if I want to spend the points
2) really detailed and deadly combat..it was almost like our GM was suggesting we try other methods of resolution besides killing things
3) everyone was a 'person' you couldn't look at someone and tell they were evil because they had green skin and lived underground
4) the group needs to have someone with skill in .... well a lot of things really, but languages, diplomacy, research and a bunch of other things that I figured would never be used were essential to getting through the adventure

some thoughts on spending cp...
one old GM I had wouldn't let you spend more points on something than you had successful skill/attribute rolls against in that session. (It represeted learning something in practice)
Another guy gave out cp already assigned (with perhaps one or two player choices... 'did you find the answer because you got better at astronomy or at research?' ... occasionally there was an unassigned point and it was percieved as more valuable for the freedom in spending it... sort of like a wild card.
In the game I am currently playing I don't have many GM imposed restrictions (can't learn new spells without a teacher / scroll/... maybe a few others) but my PC has well defined (and published, and GM approved) goals that he is working towards so it's pretty much a no-brainer where his next couple of points are headed.

as for getting experience as a GM, I'd reccomend you find someone GMing GURPS online and lurk one of their sessions (with permission hopefully) so you can actually see someone else doing it.... perhaps you can even play an NPC or something. It won't be ideal, but you should get a feel for the flow of the game, at least from one GMs perspective.

Good Luck

EDIT: another thought about genera....
I don't think trying to make GURPS D&D is a good idea because of the expectations you will be bringing across. There are some threads on this board about how to model such and such a D&D concept in GURPS and they always set my teeth a little on edge... the game is about the story... all the mechanics are there to help make the story interesting/fair/reasonable etc.
If you go into it with the hope of emulating one set of rules with another set of rules you will be in for a lot of work with little additonal reward (D&D already works...sort of). But if you can avoid bringing that preconception with you it is possible you will end up happier. There are plenty of ancient/medieval-esque settings you can use if that is the story backdrop that interests you (Rome, Vikings, Arabian Nights, English Civil War etc..) and there are a lot of high grade sources to pillage for ideas (though most are written for 3E, but few changes will matter and they can be used 99% as is).

Go ebay and look for an interesting old 3E sourcebook and play out a few adventures in that setting, THEN jump into dungeon crawling when you have transitioned all your expectations and won't be disappointed by not knowing how to model a D&D concept in a new rule set.

/$0.02
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Last edited by benz72; 11-30-2008 at 11:02 AM.
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Old 11-30-2008, 02:00 AM   #20
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Default Re: New to GURPs; not sure where to start

As you study GURPS, pay attention to the charachter creation process.

Test drive the combat system with a friend/guinea pig.

START SIMPLE!

A quick adventure could easily be 'You walk into a bar and kick the green out of some goblins'. That gives everyone a chance to get their feet wet with combat. It also lets them kick the tires on their new charachters.

RULE MORE THAN REFERENCE!
GURPS has a high density of rules. Dont kid yourself about knowing them all. Make decisions in your first few games based on the events that are happening, rather and looking up everything they do. It will help the game move along.

NOBODY DIES ON DAY 1!
This was actually a friend of mines idea and I adopted it quickly. The first game session it is IMPOSSIBLE to die. Nothing mre dissapointing than spending hours min/maxing your charachter just to be decapitated by a Crit Roll in the first round of combat.

Good Luck and Have FUN!

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