• An interesting look at The Riddle of Steel

    A friendly correspondent and I were recently discussing some finer points of my Edge Protection rules for armor in GURPS, which led to a tangent about combat rules in general under another system, The Riddle of Steel. Unfortunately, I’ve only looked at that system’s “Quickstart Rules” overview and glanced through its core rule book; I haven’t played it or read it in detail, though I’ve heard many good things about it, especially the realistic feel of its signature combat system. My correspondent, Christian Rosenkjaer Andersen, was good enough to give me a sense of its flavor via a detailed description, which I thought readers in general might find interesting. With his permission, here’s one…

  • Design notes: Implementing “log ST” in a game

    A friendly correspondent (who, like me, is working on a home-brew game system but isn’t ready to release) asks me about ideal implementation of “log ST” in a system. Log ST is the name commonly given to a game feature that sets levels of character Strength to an exponential progression, so that every extra +1 Strength mutliplies the previous level of power by some amount. Typically, that’ll be expressed as every additional X levels of Strength multiplying lifting power by some easy-to-grasp multiple Y. An example is in the HERO System, in which every +5 Strength multiplies lifting power by 2. My reply to my correspondent largely mirrors this post,…

  • Gaming Notes: Playing Giants in any Game System

    Introduction Ogres. Hulking Trolls. Tree-sized Giants. Mountain-sized Jotun. If they’re defined by a size bigger than us, then for this article, they’re all Giants. Because whatever the specifics, they all share one thing in common: “TARG SMASH PUNY HUMAN!” I’m liberating the Big Games notes on gaming Giants from my old GULLIVER rules for GURPS, to give them a proper new home within the Diner (with a little freshening-up too, including a pinch or two of content from other sections). Although I’ve got some GURPS 4e-specific notes at the end, the general overview is useful with any game system. Yet it’s all pretty brief; sorry, I haven’t witten The Complete…

  • Game design musing: Point-cost scale for stats

    A post on the SJG forums: Originally Posted by DouglasCole The value of that extra level of stat/skill very much depends on what kind of challenges the PC will be facing. I don’t have any comment on attribute cost vs skill cost (not here and now, anyway), but on flat vs rising costs, DC’s wise remark above inspires the following note: Point and counterpoint I have an oddball article online that asks what would happen if skills and attributes (stats below) both used perpetually-rising costs: ESCARGO. Doing so offers all kinds of potential benefits. Yet as noted somewhere in the text, it’s only a theoretical “what if” discussion, and I’ve…

  • GURPS Metric

    Article by Ben Finney This document presents many of the rules in GURPS Fourth Edition that refer to measurements, and converts them to the world-standard SI (modern metric system) measurements. Article notes Attached to this page are three files: XHTML and RST (reStructuredText, given .txt extension here) files with the article content, and the license file. [Note: As of this writing, the XHTML file is unavailable; the redesigned site will not allow its upload. It will be added later if the issue is fixed.] The article is copyright Ben Finney, and is licensed to all recipients under the GNU General Public License. If you’d like to publicly comment on this…

  • T Bone’s Rules of Dilettante Game Design, Part II

    More navel-gazing, following an earlier inward journey of pretentious self-discovery (aka Part I). While moving old site and GULLIVER FAQs to a new FAQ page, I extracted some “GULLIVER game design methodology” notes for relocation to a better home. I’m posting them here. Recycling some really old stuff makes for a poor post, so let’s add some new content too: a summary from both articles of what I like to see in game design. Game design that makes me happy A brief list: Realism and detail up-front where desirable – and “under the hood”, not just plain absent, when not desirable up-front. Modular, optional parts – “switches” is a good…

  • Game design musing: It’s About Time (Part III)

    Part 3 of 3. If you thought the articles were geeky before, be warned: it gets worse here.The past two articles: Part IPart II Jumping into the new: Action points, Version 1 In the last episode, I detailed some of my early endeavors at gaming more varied action times. Enough of that. Here’s another general method: action points. I can’t point to any single system as an example; I’ve seen many variations in home-brew games or as options for existing systems. One reader (see comments in first article) points to an AD&D version from an old Dragon magazine. The idea is simple: give each character some number of “action points”…

  • Game design musing: It’s About Time (Part II)

    More on the subject of attack time and pacing in RPG combat systems, focusing on a couple of old home-brew efforts. Continued from Part I: On to another round of writing. I planned to wrap this up, but it looks like there’s going to be a Part III as well. (One note: With occasional digression, I’m discussing melee, not ranged, combat.) Recap Looking at how a few game systems (including some I haven’t mentioned) handle action time and pacing in their combat systems, the below seem par for the course: Combat actions take place in turns, with a default of one attack per turn. Under turns, there’s typically no mechanism…

  • Game design musing: It’s About Time (Part I)

    Gear up, spelunkers! It’s time for a dizzied descent into the dankest depths of game-design geekdom. In a very old blog post I briefly pondered the topic of action pacing – especially combat pacing – in RPGs. Below are some thoughts on how three major game systems tackle the topic. A caution in advance: while I know my GURPS, please accept my apologies where I mangle HERO; it’s been a long time since I last played. And I really risk disservice to D&D, as my only familiarity with 3e rules is from perusing the books, not actual play. Corrections to my text are greatly welcomed. Timing Basics In the three game…

  • Recycled content: Gaming Giants in combat

    In a Gurpsnet thread on how to deal with Giant foes in combat, I commented on a GM’s concern about overwhelming the PCs. The discussion is for 3e GURPS; as 4e has pretty much solved 3e‘s problem with what ST to give a Giant, it’s not too interesting a discussion any more. Still, there may be some fodder there for Giantslayer PCs or their evil GMs. My comments in that thread are as follows: Lots of people have offered good advice on how PCs should (and shouldn’t!) tackle a huge Giant in 3e. There are some very useful lessons in there for the PCs in any game. I think one…