Tweeting tiny ideas: Tactical Hand Signals and Acrobatic Jump

Hey, check out that slick new feed of Games Diner tweets on the left side of the front page. Scroll down a bit if you have to… ah, there they are. Just like on the actual Games Diner Twitter page. Mmm, pithy. (As I note in one tweet: “Twitter: 30 seconds to write the tweet, 3 minutes to mangle it into 140 characters.”)

I mention this as a reminder that the feed exists, and to note that I’m starting to use it for a bit more than “hey, look at something I found.” First, it’s a good tool for announcing minor web site updates (bug fixes, article brush-ups, etc.), as well as new posts. And for practitioners of dilettante game design, it’s a fine place to toss out really short ideas that are too small to merit a full post at the Games Diner (other than, perhaps, a batch post at a later date). Like these latest thoughts:

Tactical Hand Signals technique for Gestures

Tiny #GURPS #houserules : Let members of a team (like soldiers) buy added levels of Gesture as a technique, only for comm with each other.

The idea (and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if this is already in GURPS somewhere…) came to me while drafting a Dungeon Fantasy pre-gen team for an upcoming game. Tactical Hand Signals (to give this technique a real-world name) sound really useful, and, like the Teamwork perk, create a spiffy way to define a trained unit when all members make the purchase. (For what it’s worth, I don’t see a particular reason to limit levels in the technique.) Players who use the technique a lot may enjoy inventing its actual signals!

GMs should keep in mind that the signals are specific to a team or unit, and might not be understood outside of it. As an example, all members of the galaxy-wide Star Legionnaires drop a point into Gestures to gain the basics of hand communication. Legionnaires then spend 3 points on Tactical Hand Signals (Star Legion) to learn that organization’s extensive set of regulation signals. (How similar those are to, say, Galactic Police signals is up to the GM.) When the PCs are assigned to serve under Lt McCrade’s ground team, they find they need to spend another 2 points to learn that small team’s additional, non-regulation signals… which turn out to be of no use when the PCs are later assigned to Lt Ashwai’s team, which has its own unique signals. Time to re-learn…

Here’s another tweet-sized idea:

Jumping Dodge

There may be something like this in the GURPS rules somewhere:

New tiny GURPS house rule: Jumping Dodge. Works the same as Acrobatic Dodge, but uses Jumping skill; gives only +/-1 AD.

Or maybe it should be the same +/-2 AD as Acrobatic Dodge. Or, to really draw a difference, maybe +/-3 AD for attacks vs feet, +/-2 AD for attacks vs legs, +/-1 AD for attacks vs other targets. I don’t know; will have to test. But I like giving the under-used Jumping skill more game value.

Follow along! 

Anyway. That’s the sort of thing I’m talking about, so please click “Follow” if you’re the sort of person to read this sort of stuff.

And never fear: As with posts on this site, there’s no chance that I’ll be overloading you with my deluge of output. : /


  • Exegeek

    I’m probably wrong but aren’t tactical hand signals part of soldier?

    Adding a technique for job/ team specific gesture sounds good but maybe gesture is more than team signals; praps that is covered by teamwork. I’ve banksman training, much of it is universal*, but it’s surprising how many people don’t even know Stop.

    *add button up/ open hatches and you get NATO vehicle controller signals.

    • tbone

      Hi! Hand signals are part of what a soldier learns, definitely. Whether they’re part of the Soldier skill itself is another matter; could be, or they could be part of Gesture, with Gesture one of the many separate skills a soldier learns.

      My thinking was that if such hand signals aren’t part of the Gesture skill, then I’m not sure what Gesture is exactly! Yes, as you say, Gesture covers much more than such “Go left, stand guard” type of motions, but that’s exactly why I suggest a technique, so that such signals become a subset of Gesture.

      So Tactical Hand Signals could be a subset of Gesture, and Gesture could be one of the skills a soldier learns. Or hand signals could be seen as part of the Soldier skill.

      Or… maybe both of these can be true. I was actually doing some thinking along those lines about Soldier and similar skills. Could get a little lengthy, though, so let me save it for a post –

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