• Rules Bit (GURPS/DFRPG): Better Aim

    Intro   This tiny little rules tweak that I use is one so small that I can’t come up with any clever-ish title or subtitle. It’s so trivial that I tend to forget it’s a house rule, not official rules-as-written.  With that lack of ado, here it is: The rule Boost the TH bonus for the Aim maneuver by +1. Reworded: The TH bonus from the Aim maneuver becomes +1 TH per second of Aim (up to +3 for 3 seconds of Aim), plus weapon Acc. Notes  By the book (Basic Set p364), you add weapon Acc to TH after 1 second of Aim. The bonus becomes Acc +1 after…

  • Why GURPS defenses use half skill: A half-baked idea

    Continuing the Games Diner’s fine tradition of bringing you the most inconsequential gaming gab out there… Why does a Parry or Block in GURPS – figured as 3 + half your skill with your weapon or shield, respectively – use half skill, something seen pretty much nowhere else in the game? I asked that question in FEND, a bit of fun with rolling defenses like anything else, using full, normal skill. There, I opine that GURPS‘ use of half skill is simply a matter of making defenses play well: with their range flattened by the halving and the resulting too-low score boosted by the +3, the final defense scores are not…

  • Zen and GURPS and the Art of Blowing up Death Stars

    The setup for Luke Skywalker’s Death Star run isn’t complicated. Luke and his rebel pals need to shoot a wee little exhaust port to end the menace of the Death Star. (“That’s no moon; it’s a space-opera stand-in for Smaug and his vulnerable weak spot!”) But the shot is a really tough one with major penalties on the TH roll, and the heroes keep missing as both the clock and the stock of rebel pilots run out. (Even their fancy targeting computers aren’t help enough. No, not even computers with astounding vector graphics technology from that far-flung future known to Jedi prophecy as “the 70s”.) “Use the Force, Luke! Let…

  • Beware the assassin’s blade

    DFRPG idea: “Assassin’s weapons”. Has small notches, grooves, etc. on blade, supposedly to carry more poison. Probably not real, but let it be in game.Add cost to blade. Gives +1 to Poisons roll to use extra poison (Practical Poisoning, Exploits p58). Also lets poison survive 4, not 3, blocked its (Adventurers p116). However, Armory (Melee Weapons) +5 roll (= IQ) makes purpose clear; gives negative reactions!  You may have heard of the “assassin’s weapon” or “assassin’s blade” or some such: a blade etched with grooves that help carry poison and more effectively deliver it to the target. This isn’t necessarily something that was used in real life (or so I’ve…

  • 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…

  • Idea pot: Kickin’ it with GURPS

    (In which I inaugurate the diner-themed term “idea pot”, inviting your cogitative degustation of little semi-tested morsels long bubbling on the back burner. Or still just leaking juices behind the vegetable crisper. Or brushed free of floor lint and returned to the stew. Shhh, you didn’t see that.) A GURPS character can kick another guy in the leg on a Brawling -2, Karate -2, or DX -2 roll (plus the modifier for hit location). I, too, can kick another guy in the leg without much trouble (well, until he kicks back, that is). A GURPS character can also kick another guy in the head on that same Brawling -2, Karate -2, or…

  • Gaming Low-Power, Low-Tech PCs, Part III

    This is the wrap-up of thoughts on keeping a campaign going when the threats are high-powered but the PCs are low-powered – that is, when the PCs are “mundanes” with no magic, no special powers, and little technology. Again I use GURPS Fantasy II‘s Mad Lands setting as a prime example, but the considerations will hold in other settings, especially low fantasy or non-fantasy. Part I was a short look at the challenges of keeping such a game going. Part II suggested beefing up the PCs to match the challenges – specifically, understanding “low power” to mean character sheets that may lack spells and energy blasts, but are still packed…

  • Building the dungeon matador: Creatures and combat familiarity

    Here’s a GURPS idea I’ve been kicking around for a while: a trait for improved fighting prowess against a specific type of creature. The concept is easy to understand, and it’s not hard to quickly whip up a game trait that, at quick glance, appears to do the job. But, in a refrain that’s as familiar to rules hackers as the clacking of a tumbling d6, scrutinizing and testing a solution turns up fiddly considerations, especially in making the creation mesh neatly with existing game traits.  I’m not yet satisfied with what I’ve got. Below is an overview of design considerations for fellow rules hackers, followed by my half-baked suggestion…

  • Gaming Low-Power, Low-Tech PCs, Part II

    Introduction I’ve changed the title of this article and its Part I, to better fit what the articles are really about. Yes, they’re nominally a look at the Mad Lands setting of GURPS Fantasy II, but let’s think bigger. What I’m really writing about is how to keep PCs alive, and growing as characters, in any setting that sharply limits PC power without dialing down the threats they face. So, while I focus on Madlanders as a perfect example of no-magic, no-powers people – “mundanes” – caught between hammer and anvil, what follows might be of use in any low fantasy game where monsters and wizards wield great powers that…

  • Game design musing: Drawing a bead on ranged combat targeting

    D. Cole, an inveterate rules hacker, Pyramid contributor, and GURPS community guru on things gun-, bow-, and armor-related, is posting plenty of good stuff on his Gaming Ballistic blog. If you’re the sort of gamer who likes this site, you’ll probably like his even more so. Hie thee to it. D.C.’s recent post Shoot/no-shoot: checking fire under pressure resonated with me, because I’d pondered something similar in the past: In a game’s ranged fire rules, is there a way to simulate the act of “lining up” your sights, only firing when you’re “where you want to be” (as D.C. nicely puts it)? As noted there, this can involve highly variable timing, and…