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Old 11-12-2007, 04:43 PM   #1
InspectorGeneral
 
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Default GURPS Fantasy Question

New to GURPS, haven't actually played (well, maybe once in the 80s).

I'd like to hear peoples high and low points about GURPS Fantasy. What do you like about it? Or dislike? What sticks out - good or bad - in your mind?

I'm also curious about the magic system (since I only thus far have the characters book). In the basic system, do magic users spend points and buy each spell seperately?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 11-12-2007, 04:57 PM   #2
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Default Re: GURPS Fantasy Question

I have to say that I was leary of buying GURPS fantasy, having pretty much set my campaign in concrete before its release and not having had much use for the 3e book of the same name.

I don't regret buying it, though! My favourite aspect is the breadth of coverage and (necessarily shallow) dip into various fantasy genres. I pulled loads of ideas from the text, without actually using any of the genres as written. It is also handy for the stats it contains.

Dislikes? Well the poser-esque artwork (again), and (unfairly) the lack of depth into any given trope. I realise that it would be impossible to fully detail any one trope in a book of this size, but I am struggling to find negatives and so that will have to stand as one of them.

Magic - ("standard" magic system) wizards buy Magery at various levels to allow them to cast spells. They then buy spells in the same way as skills (most spells are IQ/Hard), with the proviso that some spells normally require prerequisites. For example, to get that fireball spell you first need to learn how to create fire and so on, which is one reason why specialising in a particular school of magic tends to be more cost-effective (you probably already have the prerequisite spells). Throwing missile spells about requires the Innate Attack skill, which you buy seperately for each type of magical attack.
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Old 11-12-2007, 05:03 PM   #3
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Default Re: GURPS Fantasy Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by InspectorGeneral
New to GURPS, haven't actually played (well, maybe once in the 80s).

I'd like to hear peoples high and low points about GURPS Fantasy. What do you like about it? Or dislike? What sticks out - good or bad - in your mind?

I'm also curious about the magic system (since I only thus far have the characters book). In the basic system, do magic users spend points and buy each spell seperately?

Thanks in advance!
GURPS Fantasy is a must have. It is an invaluable tool to anyone who wants to think with any depth about the specifics of their fantasy setting.

The notes in there about places and settings, as well as the introductory material about the different kinds of fantasy gaming are my favorite sections.

The Magic System is presented in Characters pretty much as it appears in Magic, but Magic has many, many more spells. Mages spend 1 point per spell to learn a spell, but may buy up higher skill levels if they desire.

The best thing about the GURPS Magic system as it is presented in Magic is that it has a lot of spells, so it can be used for a lot of differnt types of magic. Unfortunately, the mechanics of magic as presented represent a very specific view of how magic should operate, and while the system is quite playable, it may not fit your specific desires for a fantasy magic system.

There are a number of other approaches you could take, some of which don't even involve buying Magic, but instead investing in Powers. The Powers approach would be very daunting for someone new to GURPS.
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Old 11-12-2007, 05:10 PM   #4
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Default Re: GURPS Fantasy Question

The new GURPS Fantasy book is like GURPS Space -- it's a survey of most of the field. I like this approach, and this particular book as well. It's good for sparking ideas.

What it doesn't do (and what people used to complain about with Space) is that it doesn't hand you a ready-to-go campaign with adventures, maps, stats for all the NPCs, etc. Actually, Fantasy does have a pre-done background (Rome with magic), but it's a small part of the book. The old GURPS Fantasy world (Yrth) got moved into the Banestorm book.

The main magic system in GURPS Magic is the same as the one in the Basic Set Characters book. Buy the Magery advantage, then buy spells as skills. Magic has many (many) more spells, of course. It also has at least some rules for various other magic systems: verb-noun magic (e.g., "Create Fire", which also covers rune magic), ritual magic, magic via commanding spirits, and so on.

GURPS Powers focuses on building, well, powers out of advantages, enhancements, and limitations, and has a lot of new advantages and modifiers, as well as examples, suggestions, and tips on achieving popular effects. Building spells as powers is another popular alternate magic system.
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Old 11-12-2007, 05:16 PM   #5
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Default Re: GURPS Fantasy Question

By an amazing coincidence, I recently reviewed GURPS Fantasy in my Live and Let Dice column at Pop Thought.

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Old 11-12-2007, 05:20 PM   #6
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Default Re: GURPS Fantasy Question

I liked it, just remember it's not DnD.

Combat is going to be quick and nasty - avoid it ;)

Magic...

Well there are many ways of getting the same result.

Use powers and talents from the Powers book is one way.

But the traditional method, a spell list is going to be fairly lengthy. You will be working backwards, you need spell Z but also need Y and to get that you need X. If mages steered clear of the traditional fire ball blast style then they won't have to worry about stuff - like the player needs about 4-5 skills to do this trick, having said that a good aim is also essential - hint the mage is going to need a bit of IQ, DX and HT.

Note, mages are hugely powerful, creating fire from nothing and being able to blast guys with fire is more frightening than a guy with a throwing axe or bow.

Mages will require a good base for fatigue (watch out for 'very fit' mages) and at really high skill they can do lower the casting cost.

Note - assume that a fantasy world is very much an illiterate place and that way mages will need literacy to do all their nifty stuff.

In the more mundane part of the world. Hulking great barbarian with a halberd is going to chop things up really quickly and you may need to use shield damage rules too.

Quick guide to combat, assume, unless stated otherwise all hits are directed to the body and make the players use combat cards, you know choose your action, give them more time if they have combat reflexes (not much more) and any dithering means you put them on the 'wait' action. The hit to the body default gets rid of rolling hit locations and only save that type of rolled for wild swing and missed missile shots. Make combat as fast and as messy as possible.

Keep the players on their toes with busted shields, weapons and armour. This way you can hopefully avoid too much combat and do some roleplaying. Remember without social rank, they are dirtwards, scum and anyone with a rank or law enforcement is going to look down. Weary of strangers with different dialects or languages!
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Old 11-12-2007, 06:03 PM   #7
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Default Re: GURPS Fantasy Question

Quote:
Note - assume that a fantasy world is very much an illiterate place and that way mages will need literacy to do all their nifty stuff.
Remember, literacy is assumed. Illiterates have a -3 disadvantage.
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Old 11-12-2007, 06:25 PM   #8
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Default Re: GURPS Fantasy Question

Go ahead and pick G4e Fantasy, G4e Magic and if you like even more detailed fighting, G4e Martial Arts too!

You will not regret of it.

PS: G3/4e Dragons is an excellent sourcebook, too.

Edit:

Quote:
Originally Posted by InspectorGeneral
I'd like to hear peoples high and low points about GURPS Fantasy. What do you like about it? Or dislike? What sticks out - good or bad - in your mind?
Ok, I know I haven't answered to your questions... so: the pros? The advantages and quality of the GURPS system (both in crunch and fluff) in some of its different facets handled or expanded by the respective sourcebook (Fantasy, Magic, etc). BTW, Powers is cool ;)

The cons? I don't know in this moment. Sorry, I'm happy with the material!
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Last edited by demonsbane; 11-12-2007 at 06:58 PM. Reason: answering
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Old 11-12-2007, 07:09 PM   #9
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Default Re: GURPS Fantasy Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by InspectorGeneral

I'd like to hear peoples high and low points about GURPS Fantasy. What do you like about it? Or dislike? What sticks out - good or bad - in your mind?

I'm also curious about the magic system (since I only thus far have the characters book). In the basic system, do magic users spend points and buy each spell seperately?
Is Fantasy a must-have? Not literally. Not like Magic is you if want to do a campaign where standard magic (or Alchemy) is a significant element.

Will you get your money's worth out of it eventually? Yes, there are a lot of handy little things like vehicle stats and siege weapons. It goes up to TL4 too.

Drawbacks? Low incidence of immediately useful crunchy bits. Lots of theory and literary discussion but not much rules material. The Character templates are too low-powered to give you a lot and the sample setting is uninteresting IMHO.

Not the first thing I'd put on my acquisitions list. If you're curious about magic and usually do fantasy settings, Gurps Magic probably would be. Maybe Banestorm after that but that's not really a "usual" sort of fantasy world. It does have better Templates though.

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Old 11-12-2007, 11:13 PM   #10
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Default Re: GURPS Fantasy Question

Thank you all for the advice!

Sounds like it's great for figuring out the setting, but it may not be what I was hoping for right now. I think I wanted the crunchy parts, and I'm wondering if it has the crunchy parts I want. Suggestions on point costs to be an Elf? Stats for Goblins? I have a setting in mind but - as a newbie - I was hoping I wouldn't have to figure out stats for every little thing. Oh well, good way to get to know the system I guess. Just not sure my players will wait that long.

So what crunchie bits should I expect?

EDIT: I see from quarkstomper's review (thank you!) it does have an elf template. How many template or creature stats should I expect? I don't need an entire creature book, but a few to start with while I learn the system would be helpful.

EDIT2: Just looked at the table of contents on the SJGames site - do you feel the book helps design new racial templates for those not listed?
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Last edited by InspectorGeneral; 11-12-2007 at 11:18 PM.
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