• MERC: Make Every Roll Count

    Intro: Keep it interesting! RPGs evolve. New games don’t just invent snazzy new mechanics; they poke deep into questions of what game-table play is about. MERC stems from author Ben Finney’s interest in the innovations of recent games, and ways to strengthen those concepts in the now-classic RPG GURPS. Broadly speaking, MERC is a set of guidelines for placing story first and making the most of gamers’ time at the table. More narrowly, it homes in on a key question at the heart of all RPGs: When should the dice be used at all, and toward what end?  From the GURPS perspective, that often equates to “When should we make success checks?” The general answer…

  • Earn It to Learn It: Advancing GURPS skills by tests

    Article by Ben Finney This article introduces Earn It to Learn It, a simple system to link GURPS skill and technique advancement more directly with meeting challenges in play. Inspired by the skill advancement rules in Burning Wheel, these rules provide motivation for seeking out diverse challenges in play, whatever one’s level of ability. Copyright: © 2008 Ben Finney <ben+gurps@benfinney.id.au> License: Permission is granted to modify and/or redistribute this work in any form, provided this copyright statement and license grant are preserved in all copies. Updated: 2008-10-27 The GURPS model for improving a character’s abilities is straightforward: earn generic character points from the GM at the end of a session, and spend them…

  • GURPS Metric

    Article by Ben Finney This document presents many of the rules in GURPS Fourth Edition that refer to measurements, and converts them to the world-standard SI (modern metric system) measurements. Article notes Attached to this page are three files: XHTML and RST (reStructuredText, given .txt extension here) files with the article content, and the license file. [Note: As of this writing, the XHTML file is unavailable; the redesigned site will not allow its upload. It will be added later if the issue is fixed.] The article is copyright Ben Finney, and is licensed to all recipients under the GNU General Public License. If you’d like to publicly comment on this…

  • European Martial Arts in Role-Playing: Where are they?

    Recent years have seen an explosion of interest in historic European martial arts. Although the active traditions of European hand-to-hand masters largely broke down during the age of gunpowder, centuries of trainers, tacticians, duelists, and other “Masters of Defence” left behind over 100 written works detailing techniques of fighting with sword, dagger, hand, foot, and other weapons. Modern-day enthusiasts studying these tomes and actual period weapons, aided by an Internet that brings together practitioners, translators, historians, and other experts, are re-discovering facts that should have been obvious all along, yet are directly contradicted by mistaken popular notions that are filtered by Hollywood (while reaching back to Victorian times). They’re re-discovering facts…

  • GLAIVE Weapon Design System for the d20 System

    d20 version and article by Tail Kinker ( http://tailkinker.batcave.net ) Based on GLAIVE, by Tbone. Call me a traitor. I don’t care. I’ve grown to really like the d20 system. Doesn’t mean I’ve given up on GURPS. Far from it; my GURPS library remains central to my gaming needs. Not just for running, but as a bridge to other systems – like d20. But the weapon system for Dungeons and Dragons is just plain dreadful. So here I go, trying to update it. This system will not faithfully reproduce the weapons from Dungeons and Dragons, but if used consistently, will give a good play-balance while fixing some of the more…