• Game design musing: Easiest-ever, zero-math “weight-to-power” factor for characters (GURPS)

    The last thing I posted to this site was a book review, and before that, a notice of a Kickstarter campaign. That’s two posts in a row that aren’t overly nerdy (as RPG hobbyist stuff goes). So I’m overdue to post something really dorky. You: “Uh, no, that’s okay, you don’t have to, really…” Say you want to set a weight-to-power ratio, or level of weight-to-ST, however you style it, for characters in your games. “O-o-o-kay, I think we’ve seen this before, and we know how it goes. This is why we got you those meds.” Hold on. There are two parts to a discussion: That second is the big…

  • Thor vs Hulk

    Update to new damage for ST

    The old article “Rules Bit: New Damage for ST” was a fairly well-visited piece on this site, exploring the topic of a ST-based damage that scales linearly with ST – like “1d per 10 ST”. It’s a change that no one needs but that a lot of rues tinkerers like. I’ve revised the article considerably to cover additional considerations, remove unimportant cruft, and offer a spiffier Damage Table. I’ve also renamed the article, as it’s much more an exercise in system hacking than a mere rules tweak. I invite you to give the renewed version a look:

  • Katie Sandwina

    Game design musing: Notes on ST in GURPS

    GURPS has a long history of wrangling the cost and workings of ST to make it behave. Simultaneously the most straightforward and the most wily of attributes, ST commands a bizarre amount of attention on this very site. While writing up STROLL, I found myself with a bunch of longer takes and miscellaneous notes on ST-related topics that didn’t quite belong in that article. Well, waste not, want not, Grandma Bone (allegedly) said, so here’s the content for the few interested souls out there. I’ll probably add other stray thoughts on ST to this page in the future. (Maybe rants like “Grrr, lazy media articles, quit saying ‘insects are so…

  • Bridge battle

    Game design musing: Simplifying ST-based thrust and swing damage (GURPS)

    Here’s a small simplification GURPS could make: Replace the two damage scores (thrust and swing) attached to ST with one damage score. Huh? You mean do away with GURPS’ distinctive difference between a weapon’s swing and thrust damage scores?  No, nothing of the sort! That thrust-vs-swing distinction adds fun considerations to the choice and use of weapons. It’s one of my favorite features of the game’s combat system, right up there with defense rolls. Let’s keep it! But I think the game could remove the small complication of two damage scores if it wanted – not from combat, but from character stats.  I’ve made mention of this somewhere in the…

  • Fight

    Game design musing: Swing vs thrust damage: What’s the difference? (GURPS)

    Welcome back to Dork Labs (a name you can count on to mean “spreadsheets will follow”). In writing an upcoming post involving strength and damage, I had reason to revisit an old question of mine: in an ideal GURPS, how much should ST-based swing and thrust damage differ? It’s by no means a pressing matter at anyone’s game table, but on the off chance that someone finds this of interest, and continuing this site’s hallowed tradition of yammering incessantly about all things ST for reasons only Yog-Sothoth can divine, here’s what the numbers show. Swing vs thrust, by the numbers The table below is self-explanatory. At left are ST-based thrust…

  • Game design musing: Meeting weapon ST requirements (GURPS/DFRPG)

    Hand-held weapons in GURPS and DFRPG have a ST requirement. The rules let Striking ST help meet the requirement. But they should give that honor to Lifting ST instead. You: “Cool! A topic that’s both trivial and boring!” Yep. I seem to be outdoing even myself on that front here. Grognard gamers who recognize this as some long-retired, fiddly rules ephemera will be happiest heading back to the gaming table and playing things however they always have. Newcomers to GURPS/DFRPG (or RPGs), meanwhile, are encouraged to skip this because it’s terribly unimportant. (Just play the rules as they’re written, and revisit this page some day after you, too, have become…

  • Gaming Tips: Taking your chances on 3d6

    “A 12 or less? That’s good… right?” If you come from one of those popular games that uses a twenty-sided die to whack monsters and roll other checks, and you step up to one of several games that uses three six-sided dice instead… you might feel a little lost. We deal with percentage-based probabilities every day: “30% chance of rain” and all that. So given the obvious fact that each number on that twenty-sided die has a 5% chance of occurring, it’s easy to mentally convert “Roll 19 or higher to succeed” into “10% chance of success”, or to understand “You shrug off the poison on a 12 or higher”…

  • Game design musing: Drawing a bead on ranged combat targeting

    D. Cole, an inveterate rules hacker, Pyramid contributor, and GURPS community guru on things gun-, bow-, and armor-related, is posting plenty of good stuff on his Gaming Ballistic blog. If you’re the sort of gamer who likes this site, you’ll probably like his even more so. Hie thee to it. D.C.’s recent post Shoot/no-shoot: checking fire under pressure resonated with me, because I’d pondered something similar in the past: In a game’s ranged fire rules, is there a way to simulate the act of “lining up” your sights, only firing when you’re “where you want to be” (as D.C. nicely puts it)? As noted there, this can involve highly variable timing, and…

  • Thor vs Hulk

    Game design musing: New Damage for ST (GURPS)

    This old (2010?) article was placed under the “Rules Bit” umbrella of minor rules tweaks for GURPS. But mucking with ST-based damage scores involves a number of considerations; it’s not really a “hey, gang, new rule tonight” kind of thing. So, this 2023 rewrite places the article under the “Game design musing” header, complete with “CAUTION” graphic noting that this is stuff for system hackers. 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 decades, and so far no one’s gotten hurt. (Except all those on the target end of ST 14, 2d swings, of course.)…