• 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…

  • Rules Bit (GURPS): Duck!

    Intro: “Not the face!” Ducking your head beneath a blow, or pulling a hand out of harm’s way, is much easier than shifting your whole body in a split-second. It’s simple to game this in GURPS. The rule Allow a +1 bonus on Dodge when the target is a mobile extremity: head, arm, hand, wing, tail, antenna, and so on. Definition of mobile extremity The target part should be able to move reasonably freely and should have a -2 or greater TH mod for location. The body or vitals don’t receive the bonus, nor do legs or feet supporting the body. (A flying bird’s dangling legs would be a different…

  • Updated DECIDE defense tweak

    I’ve made an update to DECIDE, the suggestion that combatants make defense decisions without unnatural prior knowledge of whether attacks will succeed or not. It’s a GURPS article, but could be applied to any game handling defenses in a similar manner.  On the topic of whether to use DECIDE with melee as well as ranged attacks, I’ve changed the article’s options from 1, 2a, and 2b, to 1, 2, and 3. For Option 3, I’ve made a change first discussed in DECIDE implementation notes: a change from -1 to 0 for “last-second defense” penalty vs melee weapons, and a blanket +1 to all “immediate defense” rolls that don’t wait to check…

  • Distance and defense: Tiny tweak for GURPS combat

    Here’s a minor, yet-untested melee idea that came up during chatter over some GURPS combat scenarios: When you close a distance gap to attack, you give the defender more time to react than you do by starting out close enough to strike. Game that consideration with this simple rule: If the attacker begins his turn with a Step or Move to get within striking Reach, the defender gains +2 on Active Defense vs the attack that turn. If the attacker begins his turn within striking Reach (even if he chooses to Step or Move anyway), the defender takes no mod to Active Defense vs the attack that turn. If the…

  • 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. The rule In general, treat shields as offering only their DB, per written rules. But whenever the GM thinks it sensible, treat shields as cover (B407) instead: A shield treated as cover offers a TH penalty equal to the shield’s DB, instead of adding DB to Active Defenses, for any…

  • 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 p8 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 in the same quick’n’dirty fashion is pretty…

  • 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:…

  • DECIDE: Drop Excess Combat Info from Defense Evaluation (GURPS 4e/3e)

    In a combat, GURPS has us ask defenders this question: “The attack will hit you. What do you do?” What if, instead, we asked this: “The attack might hit you. What do you do?” From will to might: that single-word change is arguably a much more realistic representation of the knowledge a defender would have – in many cases, the knowledge that a defender possibly could have – in battle. It suggests interesting implications and tactics, for no extra complexity in play. I’ve been a vocal (if not quite proselytizing) proponent of the proposal below; I’ll daringly call it “the biggest pro-realism, pro-roleplaying bang you can get from a zero-bookkeeping, zero-extra-rolls,…

  • FEND: Fully Enabled Defenses (GURPS 4e/3e)

    Defense stats in GURPS are based on skill divided by two, an odd mechanic not used elsewhere in the game. What if defense used full skill, just like any other skill-based action? This GURPS rules hack is a look at a simple, single, “for the heck of it” rules change, followed by the usual commentary. As always, it’s yours to use, abuse, or refuse, as you choose. History v1.0: Created 2003/04/28 v1.1 update (2009/07/27): Modified for use with 3e or 4e.   Using Full Skill for Defenses  There’s one funny bit in the GURPS skill system. Nothing that need ever actually bother anybody, just a little oddity that’s so basic…

  • GURPS House Rules Best Left Homeless

    GURPS gamers are a rules-tweaking, happy lot of home-brewers, Hastur bless ’em. But among the crunchy’n’nutty house rule suggestions that come up in forums, websites, and actual games, there are always a few that should be shown the door back out of the house. Below are a few such. I was hoping to make it a Top 10 list, but am stopping far short of that for now. Actually, I’m glad I can only think of far fewer than 10 offhand! (Needless to say, the below is opinion; if one of the items already fits into your game to much acclaim, good on you. Witless opining is what blogs are…