• Game design musing: “Sims” (with a sample sports sim for GURPS)

    In this post, I muse that it’d be interesting to see examples of ways to game a sporting match in GURPS (or whatever game you like). By which I don’t mean some per-second simulation of every dash and tackle and kick by every player on the pitch, a la RPG combat. (Lordy, just imagine trying to play out a combat turn-based simulation of two 40-minute game halves. “Okay! We begin with Turn 1 of 4,800!”) No, I refer to some abstract simulation that resolves a complex activity in far less detail than what RPGs typically lavish on combat systems, while offering more of interest than a simple “Roll vs your…

  • Rules Bit (GURPS/DFRPG): Better Aim

    Intro 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. Notes  By the book (Basic Set…

  • 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…

  • Zen and GURPS and the Art of Blowing up Death Stars

    The setup for Luke Skywalker’s Death Star run isn’t complicated. Luke and his rebel pals need to shoot a wee little exhaust port to end the menace of the Death Star. (“That’s no moon; it’s a space-opera stand-in for Smaug and his vulnerable weak spot!”) But the shot is a really tough one with major penalties on the TH roll, and the heroes keep missing as both the clock and the stock of rebel pilots run out. (Even their fancy targeting computers aren’t help enough. No, not even computers with astounding vector graphics technology from that far-flung future known to Jedi prophecy as “the 70s”.) “Use the Force, Luke! Let…

  • Idea Pot: Earn-as-you-go disadvantages for GURPS

    In a game like GURPS, what do you get for saddling a PC with a disadvantage? A more interesting character, of course, but also a more immediate benefit: instant character points you can spend on stuff that makes you awesome. Not everyone’s crazy about how that works, though. Like this SJG forum commenter: I don’t like buying disadvantages at character build time… I’d much prefer a system (or option) which rewards disadvantages as they come up during play rather than as a big chunk of bonus points beforehand. Hmm. Could that work in GURPS? I think it could. Even better, I think it could work alongside the game’s tried and…

  • Tiny GURPS idea: A better Outdoorsman

    Edit 2019-01-14: Added notes on Outdoorsman in Dungeon Fantasy Roleplaying Game, and on other talents of use to outdoor types. Edit 2020-01-23: Added further ideas on beefing up the sparse Green Thumb talent with two druid-friendly skills. While we’re on the topic of back-to-nature barbarians: GURPS offers the nifty Outdoorsman Talent (B91) that boosts seven relevant skills for 10 points/level. That’s a great bargain over buying up the individual skills at high levels. Yet it feels expensive to some gamers, especially in any genre that prioritizes success in combat or social dealings over competence at the campsite. GURPS Dungeon Fantasy Denizens: Barbarians even calls out the issue on P21, suggesting two…

  • Bad medicine: Tiny tweak for Unusual Biochemistry effects

    Here’s a really tiny idea of the type I try to relegate to Twitter, but I just couldn’t smush it into the character limit. So here it is, at languid non-abbreviated length. Shake it up Unusual Biochememistry (B160) is a nice disadvantage for alien or other exotic bodies. The effect is simple: standard drugs, if not tailored at high cost for your oddball chemistry, may have the expected effects, or no effect, or expected effects with added bad side effects. Those effects are simple to determine too: there’s just a little 1d6 table with those three outcomes (some imagination required). There’s nothing wrong with that at all! But some imaginable…

  • Tweeting tiny ideas: Tactical Hand Signals and Acrobatic Jump

    Hey, check out that slick new feed of Games Diner tweets on the left side of the front page. Scroll down a bit if you have to… ah, there they are. Just like on the actual Games Diner Twitter page. Mmm, pithy. (As I note in one tweet: “Twitter: 30 seconds to write the tweet, 3 minutes to mangle it into 140 characters.”) I mention this as a reminder that the feed exists, and to note that I’m starting to use it for a bit more than “hey, look at something I found.” First, it’s a good tool for announcing minor web site updates (bug fixes, article brush-ups, etc.), as…

  • Idea pot: Kickin’ it with GURPS

    (In which I inaugurate the diner-themed term “idea pot”, inviting your cogitative degustation of little semi-tested morsels long bubbling on the back burner. Or still just leaking juices behind the vegetable crisper. Or brushed free of floor lint and returned to the stew. Shhh, you didn’t see that.) A GURPS character can kick another guy in the leg on a Brawling -2, Karate -2, or DX -2 roll (plus the modifier for hit location). I, too, can kick another guy in the leg without much trouble (well, until he kicks back, that is). A GURPS character can also kick another guy in the head on that same Brawling -2, Karate -2, or…

  • Update: A Better Cost for ST – now with HP too!

    It’s A Better cost for ST… and HP too! Oh, and Striking ST and Lifting ST! An article that’s received many kind remarks over the years (and has been put into use by GMs far and wide) now gets a v2.0 update. The first version put ST on a diet with a neatly-declining cost scale (designed by D. Weber), enabling easier and cheaper power for supers and Giants. The update goes on to address ST’s component parts: Striking ST, Lifting ST, and HP. In the end, the rule provides a single scheme for pricing ST (and its components) in normal Joes, over-muscled barbarians, boulder-hurling Giants, and planet-cracking supers, with no special size-based…