• 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…

  • Building the dungeon matador: Creatures and combat familiarity

    Here’s a GURPS idea I’ve been kicking around for a while: a trait for improved fighting prowess against a specific type of creature. The concept is easy to understand, and it’s not hard to quickly whip up a game trait that, at quick glance, appears to do the job. But, in a refrain that’s as familiar to rules hackers as the clacking of a tumbling d6, scrutinizing and testing a solution turns up fiddly considerations, especially in making the creation mesh neatly with existing game traits.  I’m not yet satisfied with what I’ve got. Below is an overview of design considerations for fellow rules hackers, followed by my half-baked suggestion…

  • 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…

  • RPG Science: Physical performance with armor and other loads

    Just how tiring is heavy medieval armor? How much does a load slow down climbing? If you’re the type who appreciates a bit of realism in your RPG action, here’s what recent research and an anecdotal report have to say about those questions.  Heavy metal: Walking in plate armor Quite a few months back, a study published by The Royal Society B looked at the effects of medieval armor on physical performance (BBC summary here). No one should be surprised by its finding of “hey, heavy armor is tiring!”. But the researchers’ detailed approach of measuring actual energy consumption under controlled treadmill conditions yields some quantitative crunchiness for the consideration of…

  • Minor update to GLAIVE Mini

    Hear ye, hear ye. I’ve made a minor update to my GLAIVE Mini super-easy melee weapon design system for GURPS 4e, taking it from v1.0 to v1.1. The changes consist of minor clean-ups, plus a change to skill use for semibalanced weapons. The old rule specified the use of unbalanced weapon skills, or balanced skills at a -2 default. The new rule suggests either balanced or unbalanced skill as the natural skill (designer choice), with the other at a -2 default, depending on which is more natural for the weapon. Thus, a semibalanced weapon could be specified as using Axe/Mace or Broadsword skill normally, and the other at the -2…

  • Now in Pyramid: GURPS Combat Options from the Games Diner

    “Ten Tweaks to Customize Combat” in Pyramid #3/34: Alternate GURPS is Your Author’s first article for Pyramid, Steve Jackson Games’ digital magazine for serious gamers, by serious gamers. (It’s the second SJG offering with my handle on it, following the GURPS Range Ruler.) The article gathers 10 simple GURPS combat-related rules from the Games Diner, polishes them shiny, and pares them down to their sweetest essence. If you’ve read the Pyramid article, this post offers a bonus aid: links to the rules’ original write-ups on this site. “Ten Tweaks to Customize Combat” gives you all you need to drop the rules into a game, so don’t think that you need…

  • Rules Bit (GURPS): Throw Like You Mean It

    Intro: “You throw like a kobold” GURPS‘ thrown weapon stats neatly spell out the best distance (Maximum Range) you can achieve with a toss. These are multiples of Strength, typically STx1.5 for heavier weapons (spear), STx1 for very light ones (dagger), and STx2.5 for middle-weight weapons that hit a sweet spot for distance (throwing axe). Working from those stats, Conrad the Bavarian and his ST 16 can hurl a javelin 16 x 2.5 = 40 yards. In battlemap terms, that’s right off the dining room tabletop; it’s a throw that should send even the hardiest of orc miniatures fleeing to a safer distance. With some Extra Effort, Conrad could hit…

  • 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. That’s it. 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…

  • Momentum or Kinetic Energy: Which One Pierces a T Rex’s Chain Mail on a Glancing Blow?

    Here’s a collection of online bric-a-brac with connections to this site’s gaming material: Dinosaurs and their tails Having written about both dinosaur design and tail design, I can’t help but comment on the Smithsonian blog’s report that dinosaurs may have had thicker, beefier tails than often depicted. Sounds fine to me, at least until we get that cloning process working to verify things. What does that mean for critter design? Well, nothing, really. About all I can note is that, using the above tail rules, your dinos really should go for the heavy tail option instead of the slim version – although that always sounded right for dinos anyway. Hmm,…

  • GLAIVE Mini: Weapon Builder System for GURPS

    Don’t settle for off-the-rack weapons from the local blacksmith. Build your own! T Bone’s Games Diner is proud to present GLAIVE Mini, your super simple, single page weapon builder system for GURPS – now updated to version 2.0!  Fresh off the anvil The full (non-Mini) GLAIVE (GURPS Light Arms Invention Expansion) is a complete design system for low-tech melee and ranged weapons of any shape and size, generating unique thr and sw damage, readying time, Reach, and more, based on the inputs you provide. As you’d expect, though, a universal system like that won’t fit into a short page or few. And while you can use GLAIVE with GURPS 4e, it’s still…