• Rules Bit (GURPS): New Damage for ST

    Intro: Refinishing the table What’s wrong with GURPS‘ table linking ST scores to thrust and swing damage? Nothing! It’s done its job for over 20 years, and so far no one’s gotten hurt. (Except all those on the target end of ST 14, 2d swings, of course.) But a little thing like “it works well enough” never thwarts the compulsive rules hacker! Nay, the tinkerer’s quibbles must out. First, wouldn’t it be swell if damage followed ST in a neat, linear relationship? (Necessary, no; nice, yes.) That’s certainly not the case now, where neither thrust nor swing damage follows any observable pattern connecting it to ST. Second, what’s with the relationship…

  • Rules Bit (GURPS): Revised Toughness

    Intro: “Go ahead, runt, punch me in the gut.” Imagine that’s the growl of a hulking bully with an Olympic wrestler’s build. And imagine that your physique is more that of… er, a guy who once gamed a wrestler PC. (Did you have to imagine very hard?) It’s easy to imagine that your best punch to his gut – or just about anywhere beefy – simply won’t hurt the guy. At all. Oh, maybe a few dozen punches would start some bruising, sure, but you don’t get that chance; his first punch has you coughing up the lunch money as soon as your limbs start working again. That sort of mismatch can be mighty realistic, but…

  • Rules Bit (GURPS): Grazes

    Intro: “It’s just a scrape!” In action fiction, an endless succession of lucky nicks, scrapes, and near-miss bullet scratches keep heros nicely bloodied but not inconveniently dead. We can do the same in gaming, too. Even under a gritty combat system like GURPS’, it’s easy to set up such hide-saving grazes to handle heroic flesh-wounds – and, as a bonus, simulate armor deflection of attacks better than 3e’s old Passive Defense stat did. These rules are born of some old writings, but please take a new look anyway; there’s a lot of added and updated material. A note on PD Old rules on this site have long suggested tossing out GURPS 3e’s…

  • Rules Bit (GURPS): Shields and Cover

    Intro: Under Cover This rule looks at the matter of letting shields provide cover instead of a DB bonus. That option offers some interesting benefits, from a nicely-restored (in 4e) ability for shields to protect passively, to detailed protection by body location, to shield walls and other defensive tricks. It all meshes nicely with existing game rules for cover, too. Edit 2021-02-20: Rewrote the section on “Protection and facing” to clean up confusing description of what hexes a shield protects. Also added common-sense stipulation that an immobile, wall-like “shield” should offer great protection from the front hexes, no protection from the side and rear hexes. The rule In general, treat…

  • Rules Bit (GURPS): Shields and Size

    Intro: “Is that a Frisbee?” “Sir! We demand that you halt this tea party right now, and give us back our shields!” “Er, begging your pardon, brave Knights of the Shire, but we haven’t seen any shields . . .” “Those . . . things you’re using as tea saucers! Give them back!” Hmm, just how big is a Halfling’s shield? And what happens if the little chap picks up a human’s shield? GURPS Dungeon Fantasy 3 p. 8 offers some nice rules for Pixie weapons and other “tiny tools” – not generic, physics-friendly stuff, but quick’n’dirty guidelines for easy play. While shields got left out of that discussion, handling them…

  • COSH: Combat Skill Hack (GURPS 3e)

    COSH is a fun, easy, GURPS-like way to build most any fighting skill, or modify existing fighting skills, in GURPS 3e. Any GM can drop COSH into a GURPS game and be designing unique new combat skills within minutes. History v1.0: Created 03/03/14 v1.1b update (03/03/15): Simplified COSH construction of missile skills, thanks to J. Schipper. v1.2 update (03/04/23): Dropped the beta designation. Clarified use of limits on Dodge Bonus and ST Bonus enhancements. Added example of using COSH to morph a skill into a different skill during play. Added lots of  maneuverless “classic” combat skills, a bunch of new skills, and new “Large/Small ST Bonus (single use)” enhancements. Thanks,…

  • Game Master tools: Keeping combat challenge level right

    Here’s some further musing on a SJG GURPS Forum post I just made. The question: How to keep “challenge level” right for PCs going into combat – not so easy as to be dull, but not so deadly as to litter the cave with PC corpses? The question was posed by a D&D player just starting to GM GURPS, which makes it a particularly good one for him to ask; GURPS combat can be much deadlier than D&D players might expect, leading to that cave-floor litter. But it’s a good question for any GM to ask, new or experienced, whether changing game systems or not. Whatever the game, the right…

  • Rules Bit (GURPS): Die, Monster, Die!

    Intro: “Whaddya mean, the Colossal Amoeba passed out?” A fierce dragon finally meets its match: Conrad the Bavarian, who takes the dragon down from 120 to 0 HP and goes to administer final rites. Good job, but one question: how long will it take to deliver another 120 points to kill the unconscious wyrm? Or 240 points if the beast makes its HT roll? Up to 600 more points if those HT rolls keep succeeding? (Dragon HT can be pretty high!) Won’t the magic-user, the thief, and the cleric have nabbed all the gold pieces by the time Conrad finishes hacking away? Well, if your character managed to chalk up 120…

  • Rules Bit (GURPS): What’s a Miss?

    Intro: “Missed me by that much!” There are two ways in GURPS to “miss” a target with your attack: either fail your TH roll, or have your successful TH roll thwarted by the target’s successful defense roll. The latter case is easy to understand: the attack was “on target”, but the target avoided it. This rule will only look at the former miss, the failed TH roll. I’ve always played this as the attack proceeding off-target, plain and simple: the bullet whizzed past the target, the sword thrust stopped short, and so on. But other interpretations float about: namely, the idea that a “miss” might actually represent the attacker hesitating…

  • DECIDE implementation notes

    DECIDE has racked up many comments on this site, as well as in a related SJG forum thread. http://www.gamesdiner.com/decidehttp://forums.sjgames.com/showthread.php?p=458795 While the idea behind DECIDE is solid, any specific implementation is a throwaway item: there are plenty of possible implementations, and you can easily drop one you don’t like and replace with another, all without tossing out the core idea. So I’m not too interested in debating implementations; any will generally fall under “yeah, whatever works for you”. But in the spirit of designer’s notes, here are thoughts on why I use the implementation I do, with commentary on objections to it: On melee My implementation allows any defender a choice:…