This is the third post in a series of adventure seeds for my new book The Bugstiary, published by Gaming Ballistic for The Dungeon Fantasy Roleplaying Game.
Friday, December 30, 2022
Bugstiary Adventure Seeds: Elder Spider to Goblin Spider
Friday, December 23, 2022
Bugstiary Adventurer Seeds: Astral Spider to Dauðaprestr
The second post supporting my new book The Bugstiary, published by Gaming Ballistic for The Dungeon Fantasy Roleplaying Game.
Friday, December 16, 2022
Bugstiary Adventure Seeds: Gold-Digging Ant and Ant-Lion
In this series of posts, I'm going to give one or two adventure seeds for each monster entry in The Bugstiary.
Friday, June 24, 2022
Powers Systems I've Used, Adapted, or Changed
GURPS Powers (2005) expanded the rudimentary example of psionics in the Basic Set to the full 4e powers system. In GURPS a "power" is a set of related abilities that share a source (the energy that the power uses or manipulates) and a focus (the specific concept the power is themed around). Mechanically they have a Power Talent that adds to rolls to use the abilities of the power, and the Power Modifier: a shared modifier (typically a limitation worth -10%) that defines the limits of the power.
I've run (or at least started) a few different games since Powers was published, some like my new weird road-trip Desolation Road and my Transhuman Space technothriller Hearts of Oak, Souls of Fire, didn't use powers at all, but the rest did.
Xiá of the Empire of Heaven
The Blight Years
Psionics: Ergokinesis is not split (and Cyberpsi is generally unavailable); Telepathy works on all vertebrates; Dream Control does not exist (and there is no “dream world”); Optional Crippling Rules (GURPS Psionic Powers p. 7); anyone may use the Mental Maneuvers (GURPS Psionic Powers p. 11); the Jam technique (GURPS Psionic Powers p. 31) exists for all abilities; Telekinetic Control (GURPS Psionic Powers p. 54) and Telespeak (GURPS Psionic Powers p. 59) do not exist; and RL Exoteleport (GURPS Psionic Powers p. 70) replaces Exoteleport.
Imbuements: Psionic imbuements using the rules in GURPS Power Ups 1: Imbuements, and Psi-Powered Imbuements, Pyramid #3/12: Tech and Toys p. 24-26 (including the TK Bullet optional rule on p. 25).
Unfortunately this game never made it past character creation, but character creation did go well.
The Phoenix Imperative
Characters may have abilities as part of Powers. The most appropriate sources are Chi, Divine, Magic or Spirit. Depending on concept the power may include the abilities that make the character immortal in the first place.The system of miraculous prayer described in GURPS Powers: Divine Favor is certainly appropriate for many character concepts in this campaign. Taoist immortals might find powers in GURPS Thaumatology: Chinese Elemental Powers useful!
Unfortunately this game fell apart even before character creation was complete. I don't recall any of the characters that were made had powers or not.
Pickup Dungeon Fantasy Games
- Holy Might for (Dungeon Fantasy 7: Cleric's) Messengers and Rogues, War, Order (which became "Clerics of Order and Chaos" in Pyramid #3/78: Unleash Your Soul; Pyramid: Dungeon Fantasy Collected) and the generic good and evil powers from Dungeon Fantasy 1: Adventurers.
- Psi from Dungeon Fantasy 14: Psis. The mentalist PC especially revelled in "putting encounters in your encounters", which led to me expanding the table of psionic threats. "More Psionic Threats" (Pyramid #3/80: Fantasy Threats) originally included the expanded table but this was unfortunately cut for publication (I hope it can see print one day).
- Ninja powers from GURPS Dungeon Fantasy:Ninja. I also expanded these powers with power-ups for the ninja, and wrote this up for publication in Pyramid, but it remails unpublished.
- Druidic Arts
Friday, May 27, 2022
GURPS Rules Kalzazz Doesn't Use, Replaces or Revises (Guest Post)
Kalzazz asked me to host his post on this month's GURPS blogger topic. Here it is:
"Rules I Don't Use, Replace, or Revise" Part 1
This was a harder topic than I thought! I had to really think to see what fit here, I have a fair number of house rules, but they are mostly silly little things here or there, but here are some real ones.
I am sure I will think of more AFTER this gets posted, thus, Part 1.
1. Initiative. Rolling initiative is as American as Apple Pie and the Star Spangled Banner, and GURPS doesn't do it. Whenever I have played in RPGs (GURPS included) not rolling init has just felt wrong and lessened the enjoyment. It also adds a certain sameness that people go in the same order every single time.
Solution - turn order is decided by dice! 1d6+Basic Speed (round down to integer) + 1 if have combat reflexes. Roll at start of every round if logistics permit, or once per combat if logistics do not permit. (Every round adds extra zest and chaos and confusion and is preferred, but trying to successfully get everyone to roll and load the scores into the initiative tracker is not for the faint of heart on an every round basis.) Also we round down basic speed to enable ties for simultaneous action!
2. Cover - The cover rules I find unsatisfying as they seem both utterly finicky with their list of body parts and potentially quite irrelevant in many cases as sometimes people just want to shoot you in the skull anyway. Other RPGs I had played before GURPS had far more satisfying cover rules, so these were just not fun. Solution - I just don't have cover, people shoot it out in the open with no cover. As the DM I am responsible for set design, so sets are cover free. I have considered having it grant a bonus to active defenses, which I like, but has issues with player buy in and confusion. Another potential solution is to double DR for someone behind cover. I may go for a player choice +2 active defense or double DR. I like the idea of cover and adding it to my games would be interesting, but I just don't like the default way it is handled.
3. Min ST x3 Max - This rule for the most part seems unnecessary and unfun. It also doesn't feel right that a ST 21 guy doesn't hit harder with a large knife than a ST 18 guy. I am honestly not convinced it is even that realistic as discussions with long time partner in crime StarSlayer who probably has Gadgeteer, and he has discussed that if Conan wants a knife a actual weaponsmith can make a knife Conan can wield. Finally things like Power Blow, especially if someone has skill enough for the Triple ST option, easily drive clean past it. Solution - Just ignore it, if Conan wants to use a knife instead of a greatsword, throw a dagger instead of a spear, whatever. Let him. It adds more options to strong characters to use these (in some cases a bit inferior) weapons. And people love tropes such as knife throwers etc. so why not embrace It?
4. Bless - in DFRPG, Bless is a spell on. I do not use this, spells on have a clear and easy definition 'spells you can maintain'. So I do not have Bless count as a spell on. You also cannot Bless yourself. This leads to the weird idea of 'Thor loves all the cleric's buddies more than he loves the cleric', so I allow self blessing as well. This adds some dissonance as I tend to think of Bless as something a clergyman does to someone else, but less dissonance than 'the cleric's deity likes the cleric the least'. Now, prior to getting into DFRPG, I did not have a problem with not being able to bless yourself, as Bless did not explicitly require a cleric, so as long as you had 2 spellcaster sorts 'I bless you, you bless me' and off to the races.
5. Fine Armor - By default Fine armor can't fit anyone that isn't an exact match to the wearer. I ignore this and assume, yeah, you can get it refitted and retain the fine nature of the armor. Because I want to hand out fine armor as loot, and it's much less useful as loot if the Fine quality doesn't translate.
Wednesday, May 25, 2022
GURPS Rules I Don't Use, Replace, or Revise (or at Least Consider Doing So)
Animal Empathy (p. B40)
Improvement Through Study (pp. B293-B294) and Time Use Sheets (p. B499, p. B569)
- Improvement through Study has no diminishing returns. 200 hours with a teacher (or 400 self-study, or 1600 on-the-job, or 100 hours of intensive training) gives a character point. It doesn't matter if it's your first or fiftieth. Not only does this not reflect pedological science, it also doesn't reflect common experience. After you've learned the basics of something continuing practice doesn't result in steady improvement. Practice has diminishing returns, as you find less and less opportunities to challenge your ability or expand your knowledge. This post on Gaming Ballistic goes into much more detail about this.
- Many, perhaps most, advantages and disadvantages should have effects on downtime (Status, Contacts, Addiction, Dependents, Duty...). Of special note are Single-Minded and Laziness, both of which should directly impact how efficiently you can use your free-time. There's no mention of this on B499, and Time Use Sheets aren't mentioned in any specific trait description, with only traits like Less Sleep and Slow Eater expressly modifying any downtime activity. Monasticism and Mysticism are exceptions; but it's unclear exactly how "75% of your time" and "Most of your time" actually translate into hours for "Religious Observances"; taken literally these traits would seem to preclude any downtime use whatsoever.
- It's not very generic, e.g the 40 hour GURPS workweek is largely a 20th century American construct, modification for other cultures or even species is left to the GM.
- It allows unrealistic amounts of time spent on studying a single skill. A unemployed person can spend 12 hours a day on a single skill, a part-time person can spend eight hours, a full-time person can spend four hours. There's no accounting for boredom, Single-Minded isn't a requirement, Laziness has no specified in-game effect here; anybody can just mindlessly spend half or more of their free waking hours alone doing math problems or sword drills or whatever, day after day for years on end if they want.
- The form on p. B569 only allots 2 hours and 51 minutes per day for "meals, personal care, etc." and only Slow Eater expressly modifies this. At minimum this is three half hour meals, leaving 71 minutes for "personal care, etc.". It's unclear what "etc." includes here other than that it excludes "Travel", "Entertainment", and "Religious Observances"; if it's meant to include everything that's missing (see the next item) it's a very rushed life, a GURPS character leads.
- Activities missing from this include:
- Maintenance — Characters with the Maintenance disadvantage require a specified time, but most characters also need to spend some time repairing or maintaining weapons, equipment, clothing, vehicles, dwellings, etc. Similarly health care also at least occasionally requires dedicated time.
- Sustenance and sundries — Whether you are a hunter-gatherer or a 21st century office drone at some point you'll need to go out and get food, clothing, tools, etc. This often can average more than the hour or so a day you'd have if this was included in "personal care".
- Exercise — Realistically, characters with traits like Fit or Very Fit, would lose these traits without regular exercise, and most characters living sedentary lives would eventually get Unfit. The (optional) rules for maintaining skills don't address advantages at all, but really there just should be time for exercise included, if it's not coming from a physical job or study of an athletic skill or advantage.
- Maintaining personal relationships — Most people who spend most of their waking hours doggedly buried in textbooks or doing katas would be very poor spouses, parents, and members of their communities. Real humans are social, and spend much of our time at maintaining our social connections.
- Illness and fatigue — Humans (and presumably most other biological characters without significant Immunities) don't always feel well. In times and places with poor public health, you may even spend a plurality of your time suffering symptoms of non-life-threatening diseases and syndromes.
- Wasted time — Nobody is 100% efficient, and we all waste time. Some traits should cause more wasted time than others, and really this includes most mental disadvantages. The form assumes completely efficient time management which is absurd.
- Delays — Even if you are somehow perfect at time management, the world you live in isn't. You will be stuck in traffic, or waiting on a bureaucratic process, or in a long line while shopping, etc.
- Hygiene and cosmetics — While some people can easily fit bathing, etc. into that 71 minutes per day, this is definitely not true for many other people. Some culture's standards of beauty require hours per day of maintenance, and this typically increases with both Status and Appearance in many cultures.
- Commuting — While this may be supposed to be included in Travel, it's not clear that it is. When the GURPS 40 hour week is literally the 20th-21st century American model, it also includes something like an hour daily commute on average. Other people in other times and places may spend more or less time getting to and from work.
Rated ST for Crossbows (p. B270)
Friday, March 18, 2022
GURPS Vehicle Stat Line: M2 Bradley
I admit I always want to use military things which for some reason lack stats
I think a Iowa Class Battleship, Bradley IFV or M1 Abrams are all cool things My urban fantasy suffers greatly from 'all tanks are T72s' I sorta justify that as possibly the US has rules saying street gangs and dark cults of Great C'thulhu should not buy Abrams tanks
Which is a common sort of complaint in GURPS 4e, especially from players used to 3e's GURPS Vehicles.