Updated: GLAIVE Mini weapon builder system hits v2.0!

It’s out: v2.0 of GLAIVE Mini, my super-short, home-made system for building weapons in GURPS. (That’s “GLAIVE” as in “GURPS Light Arms Invention Expansion”.)

GLAIVE Mini remains what it’s always been: A one-page system for generating GURPS damage and required ST for most any melee weapon. (There’s a bonus second page, too, with an option for semibalanced weapons falling between GURPS’ balanced and unbalanced weapons, along with system customization notes and a couple of odds and ends.)

What’s new in GLAIVE Mini v2.0:

  • Notes addressing new weapon stats and options in GURPS Low-Tech. (Spoiler: GLAIVE Mini works even better with Low-Tech’s revised stats!)
  • A new mod: Poor Stabber, good for modeling wide or curved blades, or short spikes.
  • A revised and clarified explanation of how two-handed and unbalanced weapons work in GURPS.
  • Overall clean-up and improved organization.

Is GLAIVE Mini right for you?

Now that you know what GLAIVE Mini is, let me note clearly what it isn’t:

  • GLAIVE Mini is not my proposal for an ideal weapon design system for GURPS.
  • GLAIVE Mini is designed to recreate existing GURPS weapons (primarily from the Basic Set, with a nod to Low-Tech as well), not to rethink weapon stats from the ground up.

As such, here’s why you might not get big use from it:

  • GURPS’ weapon tables are pretty darn packed as they are! Whatever sort of weapon you’re looking for, chances are you’ll find something close in Basic Set or another book.
  • While GURPS’ weapon stats were (apparently) generated by the “eyeball it” method of balancing properties, not through some consistent system, they do a pretty good job with consistency! It’s hard to find a listed weapon that’s inexplicably inferior, or one so superior within its category that other offerings seem moot. New rules releases generally keep improving things, too. (An example: The Basic Set’s cutlass provides one minor peeve, in that it offers the same goods as a shortsword, plus free brass knuckles, at a lower price and with no drawbacks. Low-Tech nicely remedies this with a higher price for the cutlass.)
  • GURPS has been rolling out rules for creating tiny or huge versions of weapons, one of the original omissions GLAIVE sought to fill. GURPS’ rules are squirreled away here and there, and we may have to wait for Basic Set 5E to get them all in one place, but official rules do exist now.
  • GLAIVE Mini doesn’t attempt to solve all the oddities and mysteries of GURPS’ weapon offerings. For example, I’m not a fan of how the move from a short unbalanced weapon to a long unbalanced weapon in GURPS generally hits the wielder with a triple whammy: higher required ST, plus a requirement for two hands, plus unreadiness after a swing. GLAIVE Mini doesn’t fix this with a smoother progression for these criteria. Likewise, it doesn’t codify the seemingly-haphazard appearances of the “U” Parry on GURPS weapons, or provide a systematic way to determine a unique design’s usable skills and appropriate defaults to other skills. These, and many other properties, remain something you’ll have to eyeball.
  • Generation of weapon cost would be a fine addition to GLAIVE Mini, but that’s not part of the offering now!
  • By intentionally trying to replicate existing weapon table stats, GLAIVE Mini is decidedly human-centric. That is, unless you break out GURPS’ separate rules for tiny beings’ weapons, a 0.25-lb. blade using GLAIVE Mini will – just as on GURPS’ tables – inexplicably require a very human ST 5.

All right. That said, here’s why you might find GLAIVE Mini useful after all:

  • It remains a fine way to fill in gaps on the GURPS weapon tables. If you want a Pixie’s or Giant’s sword, GURPS’ weapon scaling rules may be your best bet. But if you want, say, a human-scale longsword that’s just a wee lighter or heavier to custom match a given PC’s brawn, GLAIVE Mini lets you create such a design with systematic consistency.
  • Likewise, where GLAIVE Mini results do veer a bit from the GURPS weapon tables, you may prefer its results! Redoing your campaign’s weapon table entirely, knowing that all of the listings (as well as any future additions) are generated via a consistent design scheme, is the sort of thing some GMs like.
  • The new Semibalanced weapon option is nifty, and is simply right for designs like hard-chopping machetes or agile polearms. Give it a try!
  • Even where GLAIVE Mini doesn’t address all the questions to be found in GURPS’ weapon table stats, it does offer a few tools for standardizing things a bit. These include suggestions for handling stat oddities in flails and 1-hnd bastard swords, and the Semibalanced option for reworking other designs that seem a bit out of place.

So. If this sort of thing interests you, give GLAIVE Mini a shot! And let me know how it works for you.

(While we’re at it, what would an ideal, clean-slate weapon design system for GURPS look like? I have plenty of thoughts on that, and maybe you do too! But I’ll save that as a topic for another time.)

Go get the goods

GLAIVE Mini page (notes and PDF file download)

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