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Old 08-28-2021, 06:21 AM   #1
FF_Ninja
 
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Default Coming back to GURPS... and I could really use a hand.


I've been a major fan of GURPS since I first picked up the Basic Set years ago. It's a wonderful system - if one with some hard-to-overcome flaws - and I've never quite been able to find anything that really comes close to its potential.

Recently, I've been planning an Outer Worlds styled campaign. I've been investigating which systems might work best for what I want to do. The suggestions have been numerous, and I'd taken a cursory look at every one of them (Traveller, SWN, Starforge, etc) until one of my friends threw me a cruel curve-ball:

"Hey, man, why don't you just use GURPS: Space?"

I... love GURPS. Like someone would love an old girlfriend who was so amazing and utterly unforgettable, but who you broke up with because you couldn't handle (or appreciate) her properly. And then you hook up with a series of other girlfriends who have their lives together, who are low-maintenance, who are stable and safe - but in the end, you find your heart wandering back to the "one that had it all."

I have avoided going back to GURPS because I simply could not properly handle "her" and it ruined my [gaming] life. She's complex, infinitely deep, takes everything you have to give and promises some truly wild experiences. Yet if you do not properly appreciate her or care for her, you end up with the distinct impression that you've no idea what you're doing and everyone else feels that way as well.

Analogies aside...

If I dig back into GURPS, I want to make sure I do it right this time. I'd like to avoid all of the old pitfalls that really caused the game to slog - and I'm hoping that by reaching out to the grognardiest of all GURPS grognards, I'll be able to do just that.

So, here goes.

First. I have always been the type to consume material in its entirety and attempt to master/process it before I'm comfortable enough to use it. I tried his with the GURPS Basic Set and it contributed heavily to burning me out. What should my approach and philosophy be when it comes to consuming and absorbing anything GURPS? Because evidently swallowing it whole only leads to severe constipation and stomach ache.

Second. No matter how many times I've worked with character generation, I've always ended up chasing the rabbit down an infinite hole and ended up pulling out a freak of nature that resembles nothing like that which I'd originally sought. In future endeavors, I plan on creating templates and lenses to be used exclusively by both me and my players. That said: What are some ways you most experiences GMs (and players) avoid the infinite draw that is GURPS and all of its creative capabilities?

Third. GURPS can be so deep and complex that (in my experience) it slows down to a crawl in certain areas. Combat is an obvious culprit, as I've seen many combat sessions which took less than 10 seconds in-game take four or five hours to complete. What are some methods or tools I can employ to keep my GURPS session from grinding down in any one spot, becoming crippled by the granularity? I love complexity, but not when everything stops to inspect bits at the microscopic level.

You folks have been great for reading this far. If I'm going to hook up with this "old girlfriend" again, I'd like to put my best effort into making it work - and maybe for good this time.
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Old 08-28-2021, 06:28 AM   #2
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Default Re: Coming back to GURPS... and I could really use a hand.

Quote:
Third. GURPS can be so deep and complex that (in my experience) it slows down to a crawl in certain areas. Combat is an obvious culprit, as I've seen many combat sessions which took less than 10 seconds in-game take four or five hours to complete. What are some methods or tools I can employ to keep my GURPS session from grinding down in any one spot, becoming crippled by the granularity? I love complexity, but not when everything stops to inspect bits at the microscopic level.
Demand that your players learn the combat rules and various modifiers, and are well supplied with cheat sheets (plenty on these forums).

The proper way for a combat round to go is no more than a minute per character, where intentions are stated clearly and concisely, dice are rolled and the GM announces the result.

Text-based game is best used for that because you can pre-type your round's actions while another person does theirs, then all you have to do is send the stuff you pre-wrote when your turn arrives. Saves tremendous amount of time that's normally wasted on "UHmm uhhh ahhh I wanna uhh ehh ahh what did this do hmmm ehhh let me look it up ahh so that's what it does uh huh +3 here +4 there hmmmm... I stab goblin in torso with my sword let me look up my damage... 1d6+1 and then it's x1.5 for cutting...."

You stick to that. For a 4 person party + GM, each combat round should last no more than 6-8 minutes, allowing you to stuff 8-10 seconds of combat in an hour. Usually all combat ends by round 5-6, so it is exactly what you need - combat goes at least 4 times faster if your players aren't stalling.
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Old 08-28-2021, 06:37 AM   #3
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Default Re: Coming back to GURPS... and I could really use a hand.

1) Decide on what type of game, what genre, what game world you want to run. Decide exactly what books you need to fulfil that game, and stick to just those books. In many cases this can be just the Basic Set, though a couple extra books can come in handy here, especially for particular genres.

2) Templates, Templates, Templates. And don't worry too much about making them yourself (though if you do consider getting Template Toolkit 1: Characters). Right now there are tons of templates for all sorts of different genres. Dungeon Fantasy, Monster Hunters, Template Toolkit 3 Spaceship Crew, etc. Most of the Genre and Worldbooks also have readymade templates (Space, Fantasy, Infinite Worlds, Traveller, Discworld, etc). Just use the templates as written to make it easier on yourself. If you want you can offer small changes (like campaign advantages, disadvantages, or skills that can be added to the template choices) or lenses to add on top of those templates, but it's far easier to just use the existing work that other people have done for you.

3) Get everyone to be familiar with the combat system, but most especially YOU need to be intimately familiar with it. If they are not familiar with it, ask them to describe what they want to do then explain to them how you're translating that into GURPS rules actions.

I've also found that player indecisiveness can slow things down considerably; you can combat this through your attitude as GM, quickly switching from player to player asking them what they're doing, and telling them to make up their mind quickly or they're going to just take an evaluate/aim maneuver as appropriate. Or offer them suggestions on the best actions to take. This, of course, only works with some players; others don't like being put under pressure like this, so you need to take a different tact of making them familiar with the combat rules so they can confidently and quickly make their decisions.

For teaching them the combat rules you can do some arena style games which are just light combats, either using premade characters or just using the characters they make in an area (describe it as a VR experience or training simulator or whatever).
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Old 08-28-2021, 06:53 AM   #4
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Default Re: Coming back to GURPS... and I could really use a hand.

You'll certainly get a lot of responses, that's for sure! Anyway, here are some of my tips:

* Use GURPS Lite. Seriously, just GURPS Lite. The easiest way to reduce crunch overload is to cut back on the options.

* Templates and lenses are certainly useful in cutting down on chargen overload as well. But ultimately, that's just a matter of discipline. As a GM, I insist that characters be designed with me in the room, and my SOP is to ask the player to describe the kind of character he/she wants in as much detail as possible. In so doing, I've a pad of paper in my hand, and I'm filling in the blanks as we go. And voila: now someone's down to only a fraction of points left to spend.

* Handwave modifiers. A big slowdown is in flipping through books parsing every last number in using a skill. Don't do it. If a player wants to write down, in advance, the standard modifiers for Climbing (say), sure, whatever. But I'm not going to bother. A 70 degree slope with lots of handholds and in good weather? Sure, pluses. A sheer brick wall in an ice storm? Yeah, roll at -5 or so.

* I'm unfamiliar with the Outer Worlds setting you describe, but my own experience with running very high TL space is that GURPS doesn't handle it well: you have a syndrome where the weapons are so potent and the ultra-tech armor so good that either a target's unharmed or he's flash fried, and problems are solved with widgets, not with wits or tactics. (By contrast, GURPS handles a Firefly campaign just dandy.)

* So, combat. Alright. GURPS combat being sequential, not only does everyone have their spot in the order, they all know when it is, and they've had several minutes at least to mull over what they plan on doing when their turn comes around. An ironclad rule has to be that there is neither excuse for, nor tolerance of, dithering. When someone's turn comes around, I give them about six or seven seconds -- and I really mean that little -- to tell me what they're doing. Then I hold up a fist, and begin to extend a finger every second thereafter. If I hold all five fingers up, the PC just blew his action, and he's standing there gaping. If my players are faffing around on their electronics instead of paying attention to the combat, that's not my problem, and I don't make it my problem.
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Old 08-28-2021, 08:01 AM   #5
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Default Re: Coming back to GURPS... and I could really use a hand.

I think my advice is going to differ from some of what you've already been given. It may or may not work for you. It's how I run (and occasionally play) GURPS, and it works for me.

* I decide what genre I want to run, and use only the books and the rules that are essential to that genre.

* In particular, I limit character creation options to fit the genre and to fit my intentions. In a mundane campaign, I don't let players take any powers or any form of magic—nor, usually, any cinematic skills. If it's not martial arts focused, I may not allow techniques, and I certainly don't use any of the complex options in GURPS Martial Arts, or any styles. If it's fantasy, I decide what system of magic to use and stick with it. Even if it's supers, which can be pretty kitchen sink, I decide what power modifiers are allowed.

* I don't myself use occupational templates, or provide them to my players, even though I commonly include them in my books. My approach to designing a character is to choose a central theme, and decide on a few traits that embody that theme, and then build outward from that. For example, when I created La Gata Encantada, I started out with "a Hispanic high school girl with incredible speed, but in the idiom of Spider-man rather than of the Flash." That gave me DX and Per 19, Basic Speed and Basic Move 12, and Enhanced Time Sense—which together gave her Dodge-16 (Dodge-17 for an acrobatic dodge). Then I started looking for things that would fit with these: DX-based skills and defaults; Enhanced Move and Super Jump; Daredevil; Impulsiveness and Odious Personal Habit (Can't sit still); Increased Consumption, Skinny, and a minor addiction to chocolate; once-a-year Catholic . . . I didn't give her traits simply because they would be useful; I chose them to fit her theme.

* When my players are creating characters, I have them submita first draft to me. Then I go over them and check the point costs, the correctness of the arithmetic, and the inclusion of required prerequisite traits, and have players fix anything that's a problem; and I suggest traits that would logically go with the character's background, or that could be cool complements to what they already have, and invite the players to take them. No character is played until I've approved the final character sheet.

* A useful trick is to give every character 5 unassigned points at the outset for things they could logically have, but that the player and I both overlooked.

* When I'm running combat, I tend to use a fairly simple version of the rules. I don't use the formal rules for tactical grids, for example. On the other hand, I do use hit locations, because I like the added realism; but I tend to offer the players the option of choosing to aim at the torso (center of mass) at no penalty, and avoiding random rolls for hit location. I only use complex combat options on the rare occasions when I'm running a campaign that's not merely action-focused but martial arts-focused.

* I don't try to rush my players through scenes, even combat scenes. I characteristically ask, "What do you do?" and then, if necessary, figure out how to translate the answer into game mechanics. I want the player to be thinking about the character as a person who's in an imagined situation, more than about the tactical situation—though of course their character may be a tactician who WOULD think about the tactical situation, and that's fine.

There's a story that Isaac Newton was asked how he came up with his ideas, and he answered diu noctuque incubando: by brooding on them day and night. I do a lot of that. It may look as if I'm doing things casually, but that casualness rests on a platform of very noncasual preparation. GURPS will support that approach well, if it suits you.
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Old 08-28-2021, 08:07 AM   #6
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Default Re: Coming back to GURPS... and I could really use a hand.

Hm. It's hard to answer any of these, as specifics of the problem(s) aren't given. The game has "hard-to-overcome flaws" ... is "complex" and can slow to "a slog" ... Right, I don't doubt that you've got reasons and experiences behind those points, and you're by no means the only person saying those things, but I don't know what you see as flaws, what you find complex, or what exactly is slogging your games. So I don't think I can say much of use.

But trying to do so anyway, broadly and generically:

Quote:
Originally Posted by FF_Ninja View Post
What should my approach and philosophy be when it comes to consuming and absorbing anything GURPS?
I think the answer is found in that same paragraph: don't try to master/process it all, don't "swallow it whole". Set a limit up front: "We're going to start with just Basic Set" (or just LITE, as was suggested), and stick to it. ("A matter of discipline", as RGTraynor said well.) Only bring in more stuff when there's a need and an interest.

And even with an initial limited selection of books, commit to just exploring the parts needed for your game. "Vehicle combat... won't need that for some time... Psi? No, not this campaign... Same with high-tech weaponry..." Mentally pare down that Basic Set (or whatever you're using) and flat-out ignore the unneeded stuff.

It works. There are big swathes of important books like Powers (even some of Basic Set) that I've barely read, because I'm not interested. Be a "pick and choose" guy.

Quote:
What are some ways you most experiences GMs (and players) avoid the infinite draw that is GURPS and all of its creative capabilities?
As above: "We're going to start with just these parts of these books, and we'll also be ignoring these rules, at least for now."

Lots of extras will look tempting. Set it aside - not as something given up, but as something to look forward to. Every time you feel the group's gotten pretty comfortable with all the pieces you're using, that's a good time to introduce something new (more combat options from Martial Arts, more gear from one of the many tech books, whatever).

Think of it as leveling up and "unlocking" new stuff, to borrow a video game term. That way there's always something to look forward to.

Quote:
What are some methods or tools I can employ to keep my GURPS session from grinding down in any one spot, becoming crippled by the granularity?
Mm, this one I really can't speak to without specifics. It all depends on what is grinding down your games. In slow-playing combats, for example, is it the players dithering over what to do next? Is it the GM trying to account for every modifier to every roll? Is it lots of time calculating and tracking special hit location effects and bleeding and a dozen other optional rules switched on?

You have to examine the slowness and identify the specific bottlenecks at your table.

That said, one generic piece of advice that's pretty universally good: Become very fond of the "look it up later" philosophy. As in, "Uh, let's just say yes, you can try it, at, oh, a -2 penalty. We'll look up the actual rules after the session. Roll!"

Yeah, you can end up discovering that you missed some mods, or that a ruling was flat-out wrong. Fine. The worst that happens is it messes with consistency and continuity a bit: a piece of tech behaves a bit oddly in a scene, certain combat effects mysteriously disappear at times, a character too easily succeeds at some feat that oddly doesn't work so well in later sessions. When you later discover what you did wrong, laugh and embrace it. You've created the same sort of discontinuities that pop up in even the best of heroic movies and comics and novels, and that's fine!

==

Sorry if all that's not too useful, but I expect others will offer (and already have offered) better advice. In any case, they're good questions, and the answers should be of help to returnees like you and newcomers alike.

(Side note: Whatever the common wisdom of the gaming market may say, this is a great time to return to or come into GURPS. The breadth of supplements is crazy (I know, maybe a bit overwhelmingly crazy : ) and the quality is top-notch. The 4e line is an amazing thing.)
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Old 08-28-2021, 08:53 AM   #7
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Default Re: Coming back to GURPS... and I could really use a hand.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FF_Ninja View Post


First. I have always been the type to consume material in its entirety and attempt to master/process it before I'm comfortable enough to use it. I tried his with the GURPS Basic Set and it contributed heavily to burning me out. What should my approach and philosophy be when it comes to consuming and absorbing anything GURPS? Because evidently swallowing it whole only leads to severe constipation and stomach ache.

First, GURPS is a tool box. Just like you wouldn't try to use every tool in the box for every job do not try to cram every rule into each campaign.

Second, I ran a GURPS campaign for my friends kids over this past summer.
Teaching them, I learned that you can only really learn the rules by playing. Add complexity slowly over that as you learn & integrate the old stuff.


Quote:
Second. No matter how many times I've worked with character generation, I've always ended up chasing the rabbit down an infinite hole and ended up pulling out a freak of nature that resembles nothing like that which I'd originally sought. In future endeavors, I plan on creating templates and lenses to be used exclusively by both me and my players. That said: What are some ways you most experiences GMs (and players) avoid the infinite draw that is GURPS and all of its creative capabilities?
Two things:
First is be ruthless with keeping to your character concept.
Second is to use templates as much as possible.
Also, I'm a Hugh fan of the Action 4 -Specialists moduals. There are more moduals in some of the pyramids for space, occult ect...


Quote:
Third. GURPS can be so deep and complex that (in my experience) it slows down to a crawl in certain areas. Combat is an obvious culprit, as I've seen many combat sessions which took less than 10 seconds in-game take four or five hours to complete. What are some methods or tools I can employ to keep my GURPS session from grinding down in any one spot, becoming crippled by the granularity? I love complexity, but not when everything stops to inspect bits at the microscopic level.
0) Make sure the players know their characters & have copies on hand to have stats in front of them.
1) As others have said, make sure the players know the rules of combat.
2) Make sure they know what they want to do before their turn comes up.
(sure, the situation can change & you might have to readjust what you want to do, but in general it shouldn't.)
3) Don't be afraid to simplify damage rolls take average damage for multiple hits, ect...
4) If a complicated situation happens & you don't know/have rules for it, just roll vs a reasonable stand-in skill or attribute. Or guesstimate bonus/penalties.
Don't sweat getting it exactly right if it means everything grinds to a halt.
5) If you need something looked up, have one of the players do it (between their turns) while you move on.

Last edited by Tinman; 08-28-2021 at 09:11 AM.
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Old 08-28-2021, 09:58 AM   #8
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Default Re: Coming back to GURPS... and I could really use a hand.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FF_Ninja View Post
[SIZE=3]
First. I have always been the type to consume material in its entirety and attempt to master/process it before I'm comfortable enough to use it. I tried his with the GURPS Basic Set and it contributed heavily to burning me out. What should my approach and philosophy be when it comes to consuming and absorbing anything GURPS? Because evidently swallowing it whole only leads to severe constipation and stomach ache.
Know your campaign and setting and focus on strictly on the rules you need for it.
Systematize your appoach - learn the structure of the rules and use the index to find the particulars when you need them. If you use .pdf versions, make word search your friend.

Quote:
Second. No matter how many times I've worked with character generation, I've always ended up chasing the rabbit down an infinite hole and ended up pulling out a freak of nature that resembles nothing like that which I'd originally sought. In future endeavors, I plan on creating templates and lenses to be used exclusively by both me and my players. That said: What are some ways you most experiences GMs (and players) avoid the infinite draw that is GURPS and all of its creative capabilities?
Don't short-change chargen. It's one of GURPS best things. It's what makes role-playing ROLE- playing.
Tell your players clearly what kind of characters they are allowed. Tell them the point limits and let them shop the traits freely and then cut back to the point limit. Vet their characters before play and adjust them to the requirements. Set a low Disadvantage limit and disallow anything that will interrupt the campaign (Dependents, Enemies, Compulsions etc.). Consider disallowing Allies as well. Save 5 points to fill 'well you realistically would have' situations that arise in early play sessions.

Quote:
Third. GURPS can be so deep and complex that (in my experience) it slows down to a crawl in certain areas. Combat is an obvious culprit, as I've seen many combat sessions which took less than 10 seconds in-game take four or five hours to complete. What are some methods or tools I can employ to keep my GURPS session from grinding down in any one spot, becoming crippled by the granularity? I love complexity, but not when everything stops to inspect bits at the microscopic level.
Improvise non-critical things. For example, if an athletic character wants to jump on a table, have her roll and let margin of success and failure guide you to a you-generated outcome.
Avoid nuisance rolls. If a gorgeous or intimidating character tries to impress an NPC, just let it happen unless there is some reason to test it.
Let mooks be weak and cowardly. When they reach 0HP, call them out of action. Preplan a limited scope of combat options NPCs will use in an encounter so that your side of the combat moves quickly.
Simplify the hit location rules to torso, head and limbs.

Last edited by Donny Brook; 08-28-2021 at 10:01 AM.
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Old 08-28-2021, 10:02 AM   #9
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Default Re: Coming back to GURPS... and I could really use a hand.

Come at GURPS in 1986, I had the benefit of YEARS of playing with other game systems and then seeing the simple beauty of GURPS that was at the same time, EASY to use on the fly.

How easy?

Think about it. Person needs to roll at skill or less on 3d6. THAT is the number one thing that you have to remember. The new players are going to ask you what the modifiers are. Tell them simply put that they are learning the ropes, as are you - but that there is NOTHING they can imagine doing that can't be handled by GURPS and its rules. If they say "I want to swing my sword in an arc that starts low and hits high - deceptive attack. As them how much of a penalty do they want to take to their to hit (as long as it doesn't lower their skill below 12) and the halve it - that's the defensive penalty. If they say "I want to swing for his head" - oh, let's see, head is hard to hit (-5). So, as they said above me in the threads (have a cheat sheet right in front of you with hit locations penalties etc. Do NOT try to memorize it all at first. Your job is to get the STORY rolling. So ROLL it.

When you get a chance NOT at the gaming table, play against yourself in mock combats. You'll learn more by doing that for a month, once per week (or how ever much time you feel like doing it for) than you will sitting at the table reading and rereading and re-reading yet again. Just DO

(Cue Yoda scene about either do or don't do, no try).

Have FUN. If you're not having fun, they won't have fun either!

Rule of thumb? If the opponent is barely skilled in your mind's eye? No skill over 10. If they're professional? No skill over 12. If they're well trained? No skill over 14. If they're professionals? Well, NOW you hit them with skills at the 16 and higher level.

No one likes to lose their character after spending time getting it into gear. So be GENTLE the first few times. Let them enjoy the process of learning. Let them pick up the "oh yeah, Arm hit is only -2" after they've done it a few times. If they go for the legs - same -2 to hit right? If they want to go for the vitals, then hit them with the -3 to hit etc.

BUILD up your bag of tricks over time instead of having to have ALL the tricks ALL the time right from the start. Trees grow mightier when they've had a chance to grow a few extra rings wider (so to speak). Keep it fun from the start and stop worrying about whether or not they will judge you on how accurate you are all the time.

As the joke goes...

Priest student gets up to give his first sermon. He is really scared because he notes that the Bishop is in the congregation. After it was over, he asked the bishop how he was. The Bishop told him "Well, for a first time, not bad. But I'll give you the same advice my teacher gave me when I was fresh out of the Seminary. Mix some of the wine in your water that you sip from during your sermon. It will help relax you. You'll do juuuuuust fine."

Next sermon next week, the now really relaxed budding priest asked "How did I do this time?" The Bishop said "Well, I'm glad you were MUCH more relaxed - but we have to clear some things up. First, we don't refer to the Holy Trinity as the Big Three. Second, there were 10 Commandments, not 12. Third....

< this is G-rated forum, so I can't tell you the rest of the punchline>

Net point is - RELAX! So what if you make a few mistakes on your first run. As long as you relax, keep it fun, and give them the freedom to make their destiny (with the help of the dice), they'll want to come back for more.

I started with GURPS in 1986. I'm still playing it 35 years later. My wife played D&D for the first time and said "I don't like that in D&D, once I hit 3rd level, there is no real contest in fighting ordinary fighers". Ask her instead, what kept her on her the edge of the seat combat wise (did I mention my wife fenced foil and saber in her youth). Her reply will be "You never know how the fights will end". She's done things with swords in game play that made the rest of us gamers wince in sympathy for the imaginary foe she was pitting herself against. She's always played from the viewpoint of "What would I do if I were really there."

THAT is what you have to do as GM. Respond to THEM - not the freaking rules being 100% perfectly on the nose. With time, they will become second nature. Someday, after being a GM for 35 years, you will be able to walk into any convention, any house, and at the drop of a hat - run ANY genre you want without any PREP. Why? Because you will KNOW everything you need to know. You will realize that how they feel in game play and the stories told afterwards is more imporant than whether or not you remembered EVERY possible rule and optional rule or not.

Someday, you too will have the infamous litenany of "Missed by one Darn it" or "YEAH!" as 3 sixes come up when you're rolling for the NPC bad guy's defense roll and they triumph after a particularly TENSE game session.

Describe things as if you can see them. If as GM, you think a Kid would be close to tears - PUT some near tears in your eyes or at least SAY they see those bright moist eyes. If a kid walks up to one of them saying "I'm not afraid of you" let someone in the party with "Body language" see that the kid is trying to act tough but is terrified. Play on the emotions of the ladies at your table. Give them NPC's that they LOVE to banter with. Let them win a few - break a few hearts. Break THEIR hearts with STORIES.

Role playing is the art of being in another ROLE. You can do it with D&D. You can do it with BASIC ROLE PLAYING. You can do it with Burning Wheel. You can do it with TFT. Each is a VEHICLE that gets you to where you and your players want to. THE STORY is KING...

So why haven't I been tempted away to other systems? Where else can you spend time to learn one set of rules and be able to portray any movie you can get your grubby mits on to watch? Where else can you have a Civil War soldier lost in the land of the Fey - be lost for 150 years, and then arrive in modern times, lost and frightened? Where else can you have rules for a woman falling in love with your character, decide out of pride to not show it, and have some idiot of a guy not see how much she loves him." Sure, D&D can do that. But GURPS gives you "mechanics" adapted from the core...

3d6: Roll under skill and success. Roll over skill and failure. Roll on reaction table, and 12+ is Good, Roll under 10 and that's starts being bad.

Well, if you want more advise, more encourgament - you can always find me via my email address.
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Old 08-28-2021, 10:37 AM   #10
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Default Re: Coming back to GURPS... and I could really use a hand.

http://www.warehouse23.com/products/...-be-a-gurps-gm

This may be one of the best investment you make in GURPS.

All of the advice above is excellent - I'm not suggesting for a moment the above book will replace any of it, but it will be tremendously helpful, imho.

Issue 1: As has already been suggested, read GURPS Lite. Once you have that, then consider going through the Basic Set in more detail, but don't read it cover to cover. Use the Contents and the Index to search for things you think will be relevant for your game and start there. Note anytime it says "Advanced" or "Optional" rules. Consider whether you want to introduce them or not. Starting off without them may be easier and thus more enjoyable, but if you skim through and think something's going to help or be more fun, then by all means use it. And cheat sheets - heaps of them out there, there's even a GURPS GM Screen PDF that's going to help - http://www.warehouse23.com/products/...sic-gms-screen

Issue 2: Consider getting GCA or GCS as tools for Character Creation. Not everyone likes them, but lots do. They have a learning curve, but they can really help you deal with some of the mechanics and track points and so on. Set a point limit and do some trial builds and see if they look like what you want. Play around until you get an appropriate point level. Remember, although there are not levels in GURPS, handing out character points is a thing! So you can develop characters as you play - you don't have to have everything at once.

As a GM, this is really important. Avoid scope creep. Build the characters to the limit. If they're not working after a session or 2, consider allowing a few more points. It's OK.

Issue 3: Cheat sheets, read through the rules thoroughly so you know them, consider avoiding optional or advanced rules until you've mastered the core ones. And encourage players to think ahead as their turn approaches, and to look things up. If they have special skills or items or advantages or techniques etc., get them to look them up and read through thoroughly and note down all the modifiers for quick reference.

When making an NPC, don't get too caught up in crunchy stuff unless they're a key NPC or boss or similar. As others have said, by the time it gets to each players, give them 5 or 6 seconds to tell you what they want to do. Maybe 10-12 in the first couple of sessions if they're new to it. Similarly, don't take ages for your NPCs. Give them basic motivations and have them act accordingly.

Yes, some very complex fights with high level characters and lots of tactical considerations can take longer. But GURPS combat is generally pretty lethal, so it can be short and sharp. Using a mud map of some sort (doesn't have to be gridded out) can help a lot in support of a "theatre of the mind" style to help you and the players understand where things/people etc. Don't worry about advanced tactical combat on grids initially (or ever, if you want). If you want to move up to that and enjoy it, then fine, but not to start.
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