• 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. Edit 2021-02-20: Rewrote the section on “Protection and facing” to clean up confusing description of what hexes a shield protects. Also added common-sense stipulation that an immobile, wall-like “shield” should offer great protection from the front hexes, no protection from the side and rear hexes. The rule In general, treat…

  • 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 p. 8 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…

  • Magical Languages for GURPS

    This old (originally 3e-era) article sought to drop a bit of spice into the standard GURPS magic system. The addition of distinct languages for spellcasting lets you create as many unique magical traditions as you like, distinguishing Druids from witches from court wizards in strengths, weaknesses, and special effects. Side benefits including new paths of useful study for mages and prevention of “Johnny One-Spell” over-specialization. Go magically multilingual! History v1.0: 1997 v1.1: 2001 v2.0: 09/04/14 v2.1: 10/03/27: Fixed broken link to additional magical languages by Yuath.   The tongues of magic What if, instead of one “language of magic” used by all mages, the tongues used to cast spells were…

  • COSH: Combat Skill Hack (GURPS 3e)

    COSH is a fun, easy, GURPS-like way to build most any fighting skill, or modify existing fighting skills, in GURPS 3e. Any GM can drop COSH into a GURPS game and be designing unique new combat skills within minutes. History v1.0: Created 03/03/14 v1.1b update (03/03/15): Simplified COSH construction of missile skills, thanks to J. Schipper. v1.2 update (03/04/23): Dropped the beta designation. Clarified use of limits on Dodge Bonus and ST Bonus enhancements. Added example of using COSH to morph a skill into a different skill during play. Added lots of  maneuverless “classic” combat skills, a bunch of new skills, and new “Large/Small ST Bonus (single use)” enhancements. Thanks,…

  • Robin Hood and Little John

    Earn It to Learn It: Advancing GURPS skills by tests

    Article by Ben Finney This article introduces Earn It to Learn It, a simple system to link GURPS skill and technique advancement more directly with meeting challenges in play. Inspired by the skill advancement rules in Burning Wheel, these rules provide motivation for seeking out diverse challenges in play, whatever one’s level of ability. Copyright: © 2008 Ben Finney <ben+gurps@benfinney.id.au> License: Permission is granted to modify and/or redistribute this work in any form, provided this copyright statement and license grant are preserved in all copies. Updated: 2008-10-27 The GURPS model for improving a character’s abilities is straightforward: earn generic character points from the GM at the end of a session, and spend them…

  • 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,…

  • Summary of ways to handle power-vs-weight in GURPS creatures

    Responding to this thread on the SJG forums, I started listing the different ways to handle the design issue of power-vs-weight in creatures. But my would-be post was getting farther from the focus of the thread (handling of armor and creature size), so I’ll place it here instead. The topic Creatures have vastly different ratios of power to weight. Here’s a summary of available ways to handle that, in increasing order of detail: a) Ignore it! Done. : ) b) Follow the 4e BS19 guidelines: just wing some adjustments to Move etc. that feel right. This is usually good enough! c) Per b, but use some rough guidelines for the…

  • Rules Bit (GURPS): A Better Cost for ST and HP

    Intro: “What? Aren’t we done now with ST cost?” After bouncing from one hack to another in the treatment and pricing of ST, GURPS finally settled upon a happy solution in 4e. It works well. (Well, mostly. Contests of ST remain problematic, and Supers‘ Super-Effort enhancement retains a 3e-like tone of “ST just doesn’t work for guys in tights”.) For better or worse, ST in 4e also maintains a certain GURPS quirk: the ever-decreasing relative return that each additional point of ST confers. For a purchase of +1 ST [cost: 10 points], a ST 1 rat gains a whopping +100% ST and +300% Basic Lift. A ST 10 human gains…

  • Rules Bit (GURPS): Die, Monster, Die!

    Intro: “Whaddya mean, the Colossal Amoeba passed out?” A fierce dragon finally meets its match: Conrad the Bavarian, who takes the dragon down from 120 to 0 HP and goes to administer final rites. Good job, but one question: how long will it take to deliver another 120 points to kill the unconscious wyrm? Or 240 points if the beast makes its HT roll? Up to 600 more points if those HT rolls keep succeeding? (Dragon HT can be pretty high!) Won’t the magic-user, the thief, and the cleric have nabbed all the gold pieces by the time Conrad finishes hacking away? Well, if your character managed to chalk up 120…

  • Rules Bit (GURPS): What’s a Miss?

    Intro: “Missed me by that much!” There are two ways in GURPS to “miss” a target with your attack: either fail your TH roll, or have your successful TH roll thwarted by the target’s successful defense roll. The latter case is easy to understand: the attack was “on target”, but the target avoided it. This article will look at only the former case, the failed TH roll. I’ve always played this as an off-target attack, plain and simple: the bullet whizzed past the target, the sword thrust stopped short, and so on. But other interpretations float about: namely, the idea that a “miss” might actually represent the attacker hesitating –…