Rules Bit (GURPS/DFRPG): Better Aim


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

  • Change the TH bonus for the Aim maneuver to +1 per second of aiming (up to +3 for 3 seconds).

Reworded, that’s nothing more than “add +1 to the Aim bonus”. Do that, and the bonus now ranges from +1 to +3 instead of the official +0 to +2, before the addition of weapon Acc.


“Come on, Carl. Aim this time.”

By the book (Basic Set p. 364), you add weapon Acc to TH after 1 second of Aim. The bonus becomes Acc +1 after 2 seconds of aim, or Acc +2 after 3 or more seconds of aim.

With this new rule, you add weapon Acc +1 to TH after 1 second of Aim, or Acc +2 after 2 seconds of aim, or Acc +3 after 3 or more seconds of Aim.

Or restated: The bonus for aiming becomes +1 per second of Aim (up to +3), plus Weapon Acc.

That’s it.

Variants and options

None. Note that this wee tweak doesn’t change anything else about rules-as-written Aim, such as the additional Acc available for weapon sights, bracing, etc. Nor does it address any variant ways of gaming the Aim maneuver (such as in “On Target” in Pyramid #3/77). It’s nothing more than “boost the TH bonus for Aim by +1”. 

Designer’s notes


This tiny change clearly won’t make any big difference in your combats, but you might like the idea for these reasons:

  • The tweak awards a TH bonus for 1 second of Aim when using an Acc 0 weapon. By the book, carefully aiming for a full second with a throwing knife, sling, handgonne, bolas, lariat, etc. earns the aimer no bonus at all; it’s a completely wasted action (other than its value as build-up to the next second of aiming). This rule grants these fighters a modest +1 TH for taking a 1-second Aim, and for that alone, I like the change.
  • Similarly, a character with the Gunslinger advantage and a 1-handed firearm already gets full Acc without taking Aim – and thus gets no benefit from a 1-second Aim. By awarding a +1 bonus, the rule change makes a 1-second Aim meaningful for these gunslingers too. (Thanks to the anonymous commenter who pointed this out!)
  • The bonus is so easy to remember. When you aim your weapon, you get its Acc bonus along with +1 TH per second of Aim (up to +3 at 3 seconds). Simple to recall and to explain to a new player.
  • The bonus of +1 to +3 TH for 1 to 3 seconds of Aim nicely mirrors the bonus from Evaluate (itself a sort of Aim for melee attacks). Which is neither good nor bad, as far as effect goes. It’s just neat and clean.
  • Figure in +1 from All-Out Attack, and the max TH bonus from a ranged shot becomes +4 with this rule, mirroring the common +4 TH bonus for melee’s All-Out Attack (Determined). Again, this isn’t something needed for any reason, and isn’t even a perfect mirror of melee, where you can get that +4 TH bonus for AOA and another +3 for Evaluate. But that combination of bonuses isn’t common in melee. When juggling numbers in the head, I find it nice to keep the same +4 in mind as a common maximum TH bonus for both ranged and melee combat.
  • An obvious benefit: The rule aids ranged TH a bit, in response to not-uncommon player complaints that hitting stuff at range is just too hard in GURPS.
  • Related to the above, the higher bonus encourages aiming. Proper aiming is a slow thing in GURPS, as frenetic melee fighters get in two or four or more whacks for an archer’s every careful shot. Spear hurlers and other shooters appreciate the tweak’s extra little reward.

Wrapping up

The above benefits are the ones I’ve noticed; hardly critical items, but enough to make me like this tiny change. 

Are there any other benefits you see to using the rule? Or drawbacks that I’m missing?


  • Esteemed Visitor

    One side effect I really like is how this interacts with Gunslinger; normally you get Acc always, but then aiming seems useless. With this change, gunslingers still get a modest reason to aim without needing to actually change anything for them.

    • tbone

      You’re right, that’s a good point (and another minor reason to like the suggestion). Currently, a 1-second Aim does matter for Gunslingers using a 2-handed firearm: they get half Acc without aiming, full Acc with the 1-sec Aim. But with a 1-handed firearm, it’s just as you say: gunslingers get full Acc with no Aim, nothing more for a 1-sec Aim, and additional bonuses only with a 2- or 3-sec Aim.

      I’m going to add the point to the list of benefits in the article. Thanks!

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