RogerBW's Blog

2016 in GURPS 29 December 2016

The GURPSDay bloggers suggested a series of questions about the year in GURPS, so…

What games did you play? How did they go?

I've continued to play in John Dallman's Infinite Cabal, and to run Irresponsible and Right (magical WWII). These are ongoing.

I finished running GURPS Torg, having been thoroughly annoyed by Operation Hard Sell, and began a new campaign with the Cambridge group, Leave Not a Rack Behind: magical investigations in London in 1930. That's still in its early days and there are plenty of secrets to be discovered.

On-line I've started playing with Whartson Hall (including a GURPS Traveller mini-campaign that I didn't have to run myself), and with another group begun another campaign of my own, Wives and Sweethearts, about the Royal Navy in space. (One-sentence blurb: "If Star Trek had been written by John Winton.")

It's all good fun, because if it weren't I wouldn't be doing it.

What was your most and least favorite rule?

Yikes. I run pretty rules-light most of the time. I continue to be annoyed by the fiddliness of close combat and grabbing people, compared with the relative ease of hitting them with things.

The Size and Speed/Range Table, and the general "×10 for +6" progression, continue to find new applications.

(most and least favorite) Book?

Apart from mine? (Which, to be fair, is the sort of book I want to see for GURPS, which is why I wrote it.) Probably Bill Stoddard's GURPS Adaptations, which brings literary analytical techniques to GURPS without necessarily turning it into a narrativist game.

Least favourite: dungeon bashing in general, and Dungeon Fantasy in particular, are sufficiently far from the games I run that I'm afraid they go to the bottom of the stack however good they are, simply because I won't get any use from them. It's great that people buy them, and it pays for the books I do care about, but I don't want people to think about GURPS as "the Dungeon Fantasy game" any more than I want people to think of Steve Jackson Games as "the Munchkin company".

(most and least favorite) Article or Issue of Pyramid?

Best for me was Spaceships III – yes, I contributed to it, but that's because it's a subject that's relevant to the games I run so I had something to say. The other material here was solid and useful.

Least favourite: Dungeon Fantasy, as above.

What do you want to see in 2017?

A new GURPS book by me, with any luck.

There's obviously going to be lots of Dungeon Fantasy content; I look forward to the things that aren't.

Tags: gurps rpgs

  1. Posted by John Dallman at 11:47am on 29 December 2016

    I ran Infinite Cabal and played Irresponsible and Right, Torg, Leave Not a Rack Behind and Wives and Sweethearts. All of that has been fun; Infinite Cabal is sometimes quite challenging to run, but I have managed to come up with enough strangeness to keep it going.

    I don't really have most and least favourite rules, but I continue to be pleased by the ways GURPS can be bent into the shape of a particular game without breaking.

    Favourite book was probably High-Tech, with a strong showing by Meltdown and Fallout. Like you, I'm not very interested in Dungeon Fantasy; what I play in that genre comes from established settings and characters, and adapting them to GURPS would be a load of hard work to little end.

    Favourite Pyramid was #93, Cops and Lawyers; least favourite was #92 Zombies. I continue to find Pyramid unsatisfying. I had a subscription this year, but will not renew, since too many issues are uninteresting to me (After the End and Dungeon Fantasy are both "well, if you enjoy it, carry on, but I'll pass" for me).

    Discworld should actually arrive for me in 2017, and I plan to run some games at the local shop.

  2. Posted by RogerBW at 12:17pm on 29 December 2016

    Much to my surprise, Discworld has got here from W23 - the first copy even arrived before Christmas. No idea about my playtest comp - I assume that'll be shipped out rather later. Didn't even know I was getting it until I checked the credits.

  3. Posted by Dr Bob at 01:30pm on 29 December 2016

    Played in your Wives&Sweethearts and, er, curse my memory, maybe some other folks' one-offs at cons?

    My least favourite rule is when they changed the range penalty from being increments related to the weapon (sniper rifle 200m, pea shooter 2m) to everything being at minus a billion to hit at 200m. Not sure I have a favourite rule.

    Favourite book is a tie between Special Ops and Cyberpunk. Least favourite - all of the high fantasy and/or dungeon crawl ones.

    Haven't read Pyramid for aeons.

  4. Posted by Owen Smith at 05:53pm on 29 December 2016

    The only GURPS I'm involved with is the Cambridge Wednesday group and I only play, so it's harder for me to answer some of these questions. I've been playing Infinite Cabal, GURPS TORG and Leave Not A Rack. (On Fridays I'm playing in Bob Dowling's Space 1889 under BRS rules and Zyg Lozinski's WWII spies game under homebrew rules.)

    John Dallman gets special merit for the "Magesight with B-axis" spell being "born" from Nell when we got to the iconic realm of the B-axis, that was truly inspired. I was in awe of John thinking of that for several days.

    Infinite Cabal is starting to suffer from the long running characters having divergent interests and goals. They're kept together by their common interest in Science! (which includes magic) but they do have to be kept focussed on that. But really given the Royal Society's shortage of world jumpers and that we have about 4, the characters should each be leading seperate exploration teams. But that ignores the needs of playing a game, so they're still together.

    Not A Rack started too recently to form much of an opinion, we're only in our second case. I would comment it seems to focus more on the intellectual side of investigation, but again that's based on only 1.5 adventures.

    Most favourite rules recently have been the Gunslinger advantage and Shooter! wildcard skill, which together allowed my GURPS TORG Nile Empire character to do amazing things either with guns or at the same time as using her guns. The official scenarios as Roger says had problems, but I had a blast playing my character Diamond.

    Least favourite rules. The cross TL rules are cumbersome and assume you will only use them occasionally. When you play in a TL crossing campaign like Infinite Cabal or Reign of Steel you can either learn the skill at multiple TLs, learn one TL to high skill and accept penalties, or use the Anachronistic Training perk to have a single skill cover multiple TLs. None of these approaches are particularly satisfactory, and GCA doesn't handle any of them at all well. Frankly it's an annoying mess.

    I also share Roger's concerns with the close combat rules. There are supposed to be bonuses for getting inside the range of someone's weapon (which make it not insane to try), and then there are the Judo parry rules which continue to produce dissappointing results.

    I continue to dislike that IQ and DX are so dominant. If you're a DX based character and you suddenly realise you could do with Shadowing to go with Stealth, you find you're crap at Shadowing. Equally if you have decent IQ and DX, one point makes you good at any skill which is both unrealistic and unfair on other characters that may have had that skill for years but suddenly you're better at it. To my mind skill level should be worth more than the stat, I'd like to see the influence of the stat on skills halved so the skill goes up 1 for each 2 points of stat increase. But it'll never happen because that mechanic is so central to GURPS.

    Least favourite book is the fact that after Zombies there was a three year gap where no GURPS was published in physical format. I like PDF for searching and portability, but for reading and understanding I find physical format works much better for me. Also if GURPS is to suceed it needs physical books on shelves for people to see, assuming there are any shops left with shelves to put them on.

    Most favourite book is frankly whichever is being most useful to me for designing characters at any given time. John mentions High Tech and I agree it's well up there. I also really like 3rd Ed Psionics, it gives a flavour and structure to how psionics works that I like and which 4E has lost in the drive to make everything powers based and equal points cost (apart from 4E Magic which didn't get that treatment). 3E also makes it possible to be an experienced and powerful psionicist on a par points wise with Mages, whereas 4E psionics are a bottomless pit for points compared to magic. Some say that should be fixed by fixing 4E magic, but all that would do is turn being a mage into a bottomless pit for points as well.

    Pyramid - I haven't even read the free issue I got as part of the Dungeon Fantasy kickstarter, that's how underwhelming I find it. It just doesn't do a useful job for me in any way. As a player I don't need a ton of non canon rules, which much of it seems to be.

    After the End and Dungeon Fantasy interest me very little. I've done my years of dungeon bashing, and while I enjoyed our Reign of Steel post apocalyptic campaign that is partly because it was about trying to hang on and build society back up. Going out killing robots for parts to sell for food and repeat ad nauseum until get injured doesn't strike me as a fun campaign.

    What do I want to see in 2017? More GURPS in physical print. How the Not A Rack campaign turns out.

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