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Old 08-04-2011, 09:06 AM   #1
RussellChamp
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Default Explaining the 1 second/turn rationale

Hello!
My local group of GURPS players and I have nearly finished our first campaign. Rah rah rah! Anyway, one thing that has been bothering me is the fact that GURPS defines one turn rotation as taking one second. To me, at least, this seems an insanely short amount of time in which players draw weapons, drop weapons, attack (often multiple times), defend (often multiple times), and frequently a combination of the above. Players also talk as a free action but often communicate large ideas in 20-30 seconds "real time".
My first question is this: Why was one second chosen as the time taken for one round? Is there any rationale here or was it just a number pulled out of a hat?
On the flip side of thing, DnD turns take six seconds (as far as I can remember). However, as a low level player, this is equally annoying as you are typically limited to a single attack per six seconds!
Second question: This fall I'll be the one running a campaign. Could we make a compromise and call each round 2 or 3 seconds? Would this completely break the game? Am I foolish for even trying to trifle with "the system"? Do I not know with what powers I contend?
Thoughts and comments would be appreciated!
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Old 08-04-2011, 09:18 AM   #2
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Default Re: Explaining the 1 second/turn rationale

There is a lot of reasoning behind it, but in the end you can call a turn any number of seconds you want it it really won't matter in the slightest.
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Old 08-04-2011, 09:29 AM   #3
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Default Re: Explaining the 1 second/turn rationale

Quote:
Originally Posted by RussellChamp View Post
This fall I'll be the one running a campaign. Could we make a compromise and call each round 2 or 3 seconds? Would this completely break the game?
From one point of view, it doesn't really matter. Whether a turn takes place over the course of a second, two seconds, an hour, or whatever, from a game-rule point of view, as long as you don't change the number of abstract turns it takes to complete any given action, what you call the real-world length of that turn is window dressing.

However, you start to run into trouble when you go back to the real world. Whether or not one can attack or defend as many times in a turn as the rules say may be questionable, but I'm not sure it's universally and demonstrably wrong. However, if a turn takes 2 or 3 seconds, that means that people move half or a third as fast. Even someone sprinting flat out slows to a waddle, and that is demonstrably wrong. There's a similar contrary-to-reality effect on automatic weapons with known rates of fire and the like. All things considered, I'd leave it as is and accept that D&D and GURPS model similar things differently.
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Old 08-04-2011, 09:31 AM   #4
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Default Re: Explaining the 1 second/turn rationale

...complaining that PCs do too much per turn in GURPS is relatively rare... If you've got characters quick-drawing into a Rapid Strike regularly, they must be very skilled. They deserve to be that fast! Well, mostly. The lengthy table talk isn't realistic, but is in keeping with Talking Is A Free Action. And if you don't want it, that's largely to be resolved at the table. You could insist that lengthy speaking requires (or forces) a Do Nothing or Concentrate maneuver. No guarantee that players will appreciate that though.

Changing to multi-second combat turns would really call for changing just about everything. It's not a minor thing. It's just plain wrong to keep the rules as they are, but call each round 3 seconds. Your characters will be absurdly slow in every respect. Since the game is built around the 1 second turn, stats are based around that.

Trying to actually scale the turns up to three seconds will be messy in a number of ways.
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Last edited by Ulzgoroth; 08-04-2011 at 09:37 AM.
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Old 08-04-2011, 09:32 AM   #5
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Default Re: Explaining the 1 second/turn rationale

I like 1 second myself for a few reasons. In terms of combat, I have seen fencing matches end in fewer than 5 seconds of match time, which means the 5 required touches averaged just under a second apiece. In terms of movement, the top sprinters move more than 10m each second after their initial acceleration, so with a lot more time you could get immense amounts of motion.

A few of my thoughts regarding how to deal with this:
1) I've considered giving players no time to make decisions when I come to their action. They've had the other players' times, so putting them on the spot shouldn't be so bad. It's not like the characters have time to sort things out.
2) If they want to say more than a few words, I would require several seconds for all the information to come across. That doesn't mean the action can't be free, just that it won't be finished in 1s.

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Old 08-04-2011, 09:33 AM   #6
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Default Re: Explaining the 1 second/turn rationale

Quote:
Originally Posted by RussellChamp View Post
Hello!
My local group of GURPS players and I have nearly finished our first campaign. Rah rah rah! Anyway, one thing that has been bothering me is the fact that GURPS defines one turn rotation as taking one second. To me, at least, this seems an insanely short amount of time in which players draw weapons,
Drawing a weapon should take only about a second. If the weapon is where it can't slide out of a sheathe or holster, perhaps you should say it takes two rounds to do so instead -- but either way, drawing a weapon isn't a slow affair unless you're a klutz or untrained, or the weapon is tucked away where it's hard to get to.

Fast Draw, which makes the action a free action, implies learning how to make the action very swift; as simple as moving your arm.

Quote:
drop weapons,
THIS is definitely the fastest thing you can do; there's a reason it's considered a free action. As soon as you let go, the item is dropped; you aren't waiting for it to hit the ground when you act afterward...

Quote:
attack (often multiple times),
In almost every case, attacking multiple times indicates that you're all out attacking (sacrificing everything else for the speed), or using rapid strike -- something only a true expert can accomplish. Generally, you're really laying into the enemy. For example, view this video at 0:40 -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uH48HTA7qXo

That's truly laying into someone with a series of rapid strikes -- and as you can tell, every attack takes shorter than a second! Generally, however, combat will be interspaced with evaluates, all-out defenses, waits, etc. Attacking every round is generally what happens when two fighters get in close and wail at each other second after second -- generally, it doesn't last indefinitely.

Quote:
defend (often multiple times), and frequently a combination of the above.
Well, some of it depends on how you view a "defense". It's possible to "parry" by carrying through a maneuver -- some martial arts maneuvers, for instance, teach to carry through with a kick, and as a result the force of your enemy's attack, thanks to your stance, falls harmlessly on your body. Many parries are included in the attack; bring sword up, lash it out. Dodge to the side, attack in the same motion. There's a real sense of fluidity -- which is why making obvious, slow motions that you see in many unskilled fighters can't use rapid strike and get +2 to defend against (it's the Telegraphic Attack maneuver!)

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Players also talk as a free action but often communicate large ideas in 20-30 seconds "real time".
This... is part of GMing. I believe the book says they can't communicate indefinitely -- keep things a sentence short. If the character is supposed to talk faster than the player (who will take a bit longer to think), that's one thing. Otherwise, use common sense.

Quote:
My first question is this: Why was one second chosen as the time taken for one round? Is there any rationale here or was it just a number pulled out of a hat?
Combat is fast. No, really, it is. Very fast. Whether a short-range gunfight or melee combat. The gunfight at the O.K. Corral? Over in a matter of seconds -- I believe half a minute to a minute. It only gets slow when you're at range, when even while aiming carefully you're likely to miss! GURPS emulates this as well as it can.

Quote:
On the flip side of thing, DnD turns take six seconds (as far as I can remember). However, as a low level player, this is equally annoying as you are typically limited to a single attack per six seconds!
Second question: This fall I'll be the one running a campaign. Could we make a compromise and call each round 2 or 3 seconds? Would this completely break the game? Am I foolish for even trying to trifle with "the system"? Do I not know with what powers I contend?
Thoughts and comments would be appreciated!
Sure, you can easily make a compromise and change the time. The timing between rounds is actually not incredibly important -- except for "timed events" like spells and the like, but you can change the duration, or just accept the duration and simply have a "minute" pass quicker.

Generally, I wouldn't recommend it because a turn being a second makes sense to me. But that's all; it's stylistic choice.
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Last edited by Lonewulf; 08-04-2011 at 09:40 AM.
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Old 08-04-2011, 09:55 AM   #7
RussellChamp
 
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Default Re: Explaining the 1 second/turn rationale

Holy cow! So many good responses in such a short amount of time. It seems the general feeling is that the 1 second turn is fine. Addressing my concern for the amount of action a PC can perform in one turn, I like the suggestions of limiting communicated information and putting a time pinch on players when their turn comes around. But, as new players, we still get the "ahh... um, I think I want to do this... how do the rules for that work again?"

However, as a new GM, I will most likely prohibit the taking of Extra Attack for our starting out PCs since there are several other ways to get in extra attacks per turn (Eg. AOA, Rapid Strike, some Gun Fu rules we'll be using). Hopefully that will make it easier for me to balance encounters.

EDIT:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lonewulf View Post
Drawing a weapon should take only about a second.
Most of the players in our current campaign have Quick Draw for everything in their arsenal in addition to Extra Attack. This has allowed several players to drop their current weapon, draw new ones, and attack multiple times in one turn.

Last edited by RussellChamp; 08-04-2011 at 10:07 AM. Reason: clarified previous statment
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Old 08-04-2011, 10:02 AM   #8
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Default Re: Explaining the 1 second/turn rationale

Quote:
Originally Posted by RussellChamp View Post
Most of the players in our current campaign have Quick Draw for everything in their arsenal. This has allowed several players to drop their current weapon, draw new ones, and attack multiple times in one turn.
Um...no. That's not how it works. Generally speaking, you get one attack per turn. Dropping a weapon and fast-drawing another lets you switch weapons quickly, but you don't get a new attack just because you happen to have a fresh weapon in your hand. The way you get multiple attacks is by buying Extra Attacks as an advantage or by manuevers like Rapid Strike.
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Old 08-04-2011, 10:06 AM   #9
RussellChamp
 
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Default Re: Explaining the 1 second/turn rationale

Quote:
Originally Posted by Turhan's Bey Company View Post
Um...no. That's not how it works. Generally speaking, you get one attack per turn. Dropping a weapon and fast-drawing another lets you switch weapons quickly, but you don't get a new attack just because you happen to have a fresh weapon in your hand. The way you get multiple attacks is by buying Extra Attacks as an advantage or by manuevers like Rapid Strike.
Ah... I think I miscommunicated a bit here... a turn may go this way.
Start -> (wielding a weapon they don't want like a bow) -> drop weapon -> quick draw first 1-hand weapon -> quick draw second 1-hand weapon -> attack once -> attack twice (using Extra Attack 1) -> End
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Old 08-04-2011, 10:07 AM   #10
Lonewulf
 
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Default Re: Explaining the 1 second/turn rationale

Quote:
Originally Posted by RussellChamp View Post
Holy cow! So many good responses in such a short amount of time. It seems the general feeling is that the 1 second turn is fine. Addressing my concern for the amount of action a PC can perform in one turn, I like the suggestions of limiting communicated information and putting a time pinch on players when their turn comes around. But, as new players, we still get the "ahh... um, I think I want to do this... how do the rules for that work again?"
And for new players trying to feel their way around the rules, this isn't a bad thing. I'd recommend being lenient. If you feel gameplay will be slowed down too much, I'd recommend what's said in Martial Arts, I believe; have a "signature" attack that the character tends to make often. For a gunplay campaign, it can be as simple as, "I aim for a round, then fire, unless less than 10 yards away, then I just fire, and aim for the face", etc.

Either way, get a core idea of what the character will *tend* to do, help them out to having them do it well (Targeted Attack/Pistol/Face for instance!), and then encourage them to do that often. One way to do so -- for melee weapons more than ranged -- is to let them take that one perk (I forget the name), that allows them to do their "signature moves" at +1 if they do them in the order they're listed in a turn. I'm not sure if that can apply to ranged attacks!

Quote:
However, as a new GM, I will most likely prohibit the taking of Extra Attack for our starting out PCs since there are several other ways to get in extra attacks per turn (Eg. AOA, Rapid Strike, some Gun Fu rules we'll be using). Hopefully that will make it easier for me to balance encounters.
Certainly would! Extra Attack is a powerful option.

Quote:
EDIT: Most of the players in our current campaign have Quick Draw for everything in their arsenal. This has allowed several players to drop their current weapon, draw new ones, and attack multiple times in one turn.
That... that wouldn't work. At all.
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Last edited by Lonewulf; 08-04-2011 at 10:11 AM.
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