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How do you get to GURPS?

Rory Fansler

Villager
On the one hand, sure. On the other hand, the game is already pretty complex at the baseline, so I'm not terribly eager to add in a bunch of optional rules.
Thats fair. Though in this case the rule is
Deceptive Attack (p. B369): For every -2 penalty you choose to your attack roll the foe gets -1 to his defense roll. You may nor reduce your final effective skill below 10 for this.
Feint (p. 365) is a bit more complicated since its written up as a Maneuver (or action) but basically is a quick contest of weapon skills. If you win (roll better than they do) your next attack lowers their defense by 1 for every point you won by. Again its a little more complicated since it describes what happens if you succeed and they fail, you both succeed, etc.

I find Deceptive Attack to be more popular. Its more of a penalty but you dont give up an attack to do it.
 

DMMike

Game Masticator
Yeah, if the GM gives a player a stack of GURPS books with a zillion options, creating a character from scratch is daunting. The template system, however, makes this much easier. . .

Templates won't convert someone into a GURPS fan if the system is otherwise anathema to their preferred game design, but I've found that they largely eliminate any barriers to entry during the character creation process.
So GURPS, or the GM's intended complex game, just needs some training wheels to get new players into it?

On the one hand, sure. On the other hand, the game is already pretty complex at the baseline, so I'm not terribly eager to add in a bunch of optional rules.
This is my concern. Is a gateway RPG the solution here, or might that just muddy the waters? A certain other thread is making a good case for D&D as a gateway RPG...But on the other hand, once players are accustomed to armor class and attack bonuses and 5 foot squares, it's hard to teach them something new. And dare we say it...better?
 

Rory Fansler

Villager
So GURPS, or the GM's intended complex game, just needs some training wheels to get new players into it?


This is my concern. Is a gateway RPG the solution here, or might that just muddy the waters? A certain other thread is making a good case for D&D as a gateway RPG...But on the other hand, once players are accustomed to armor class and attack bonuses and 5 foot squares, it's hard to teach them something new. And dare we say it...better?
Templates help, they are kind of training wheels but D&D needs guides and its own training wheels.
If you dont know the options and plan carefully youll often find your character cant turn out the way you wanted them to.
Both systems have complex character creation, the difference is GURPS is more forgiving of mistakes or poor choices because given enough time you can overcome them. However D&D can be easier in the beginning if your not planning ahead because you have fewer choices and those choices come in small chunks.
With a good GM and a player that knows what they want though its much easier.
 

dbm

Explorer
From personal experience, the benefit with GURPS specifically is that the core is simple and robust, and the options are genuinely optional.

When the group started playing, they were basically going with ‘I attack’ as a choice in combat. There is an instant, mandatory choice of what combat manoeuvre they want to follow, and that was easy to introduce (since everyone is picking from the same set and sees what everyone else tries out).

Now, in GURPS it’s actually quite tricky to simply whittle down HP on enemies, so when they start to complain about that, I pointed out other options like called shots so that they get higher damage multipliers. That got them a boost in effectiveness pretty quickly and it rewarded the specialist characters. That helped speed up combat from a results perspective.

They also complained about high skill enemies being able to defend and avoid the hits the characters were landing. I pointed out that they could use positioning, ganging up and more advanced options like feints or deceptive attacks to overcome this. They started to adopt some of those strategies and their results improved. As they implemented more they got even better at playing the game and achieving their results.

Other complex games may lack this scalability and robustness, but GURPS certainly has it. You can start with the simple core, facing low threat enemies and have some success. Then, as the enemies become more challenging the players have to adapt rather than the characters needing to adapt through levelling up.

My players have levelled up their GURPS skill...
 

John Dallman

Villager
I was first shown GURPS by a friend who wanted to use the first edition to rebuild his established fantasy campaign. This did not work out: the campaign was influenced by OD&D in ways that he hadn't realised.

I got into GURPS when another friend, who's a huge Andre Norton fan, wanted to run a Witch World game, and had found the GURPS world-book. That worked very well: we were using just the 3e Basic Set, Magic and Witch World, but we learned the core from that, and gradually expanded our use of the combat, magic and psi rules. Nowadays, GURPS is most of my gaming.
 

dbm

Explorer
3e GURPS was the undisputed king of book properties, some of which were really quite niche. Certainly I had never heard of Horseclans until I bought the GURPS adaption...
 

Rory Fansler

Villager
I got into GURPS when another friend, who's a huge Andre Norton fan, wanted to run a Witch World game, and had found the GURPS world-book. That worked very well: we were using just the 3e Basic Set, Magic and Witch World, but we learned the core from that, and gradually expanded our use of the combat, magic and psi rules. Nowadays, GURPS is most of my gaming.
I'd love to see Witch World in Fourth Edition.
 

Michele

Villager
So GURPS, or the GM's intended complex game, just needs some training wheels to get new players into it?
I don't know if "needs" is the right word. You might use them - say, templates - if you feel the players will feel more comfortable to start with.

Or you could do as I did, make the first adventure or two really easy and simple, so that the players get the hang of rolls, combat, character development. Then gradually add the ingredients they desire. If nobody wants a bow, then you can ignore the ranged weapons rules. That is, at least until you feel the players can withstand a curveball and you give a bow to one of the goblins.
Then it's likely at least one of the players will want his character to learn a ranged-weapon skill, and so on.
 

innerdude

Adventurer
So, my game group is now two sessions into our GURPS supers game (basic setting is Brandon Sanderson's "Reckoners" universe).

And here's the thing that keeps coming to me time and time again --- the system just keeps getting in the way more than it facilitates the effectiveness of the narrative. Way too much time is getting spent referring to the rules, checking equipment stats (oh my goodness, so . . . many . . . weapon . . . stats).

And because the GM claims to "love" the GURPS system, but only has a relatively passing familiarity with said rules (he's only GM'd maybe 3 or 4 times in his RPG "career"), a lot of stuff is just getting hand-waved anyway. "Oh, I don't know about that, buuuuut, I think it's sort of like this, so . . . we'll just go with that for now."

Which is fine. Except that a "hand-wavy" approach isn't really what GURPS is supposed to be about. You play GURPS because you want to have the level of detail presented in the rules.

I've played GURPS before, so this isn't my first exposure to it, but I'm once again reminded just how non-compelling I find the system. I'm getting nothing from GURPS in terms of character flexibility, gameplay, and narrative that I wasn't getting from Savage Worlds at 1/5 the rules complexity, and was additionally getting a much, much, much easier system to improvise with.

To its credit, I do appreciate the fact that GURPS does make it possible to fully realize nearly any character concept. My "superhero" character pretty much turned out the way I envisioned with his available "powers"/advantages/skills, so that's a notch in its favor.

But my character-building exercise further convinced me that the GURPS core-four stats aren't as granular as they need to be, while the skills are ten times more granular than they need to be.

And even if I could forgive GURPS' overbearing complexity, I've never liked GURPS' flavor of "roll under" for basic task resolution. I hate the way it seems to obfuscate the difficulty of a task---"It doesn't matter how hard something is to do, it only matters how skilled you are at it." I realize that underneath it, the math is actually just a "reverse" of "Check against a target number of 21, plus or minus modifiers." But I still despise the way it feels in play.

Anyway . . . I glad that all of you GURPS fans have the system and can enjoy it. More power to you.
 

dbm

Explorer
So, my game group is now two sessions into our GURPS supers game
And here's the thing that keeps coming to me time and time again --- the system just keeps getting in the way more than it facilitates the effectiveness of the narrative.
the GM claims to "love" the GURPS system, but only has a relatively passing familiarity with said rules (he's only GM'd maybe 3 or 4 times in his RPG "career"), a lot of stuff is just getting hand-waved anyway. "Oh, I don't know about that, buuuuut, I think it's sort of like this, so . . . we'll just go with that for now."
In my opinion, supers is probably the hardest type of game to run well in GURPS. It can be done, but you are giving yourself a lot of balls to juggle and, given the impact of super characters, those are bowling balls...

To the key question of this thread (how to get people to play a complex game) the relevance here is to pick as straight forward an option as possible for that game. I started with Dungeon Fantasy. Modern horror would probably been even easier from a rules perspective, but my group doesn’t love horror as a genre. Your GM has given himself a really tough job and it sounds like he hasn’t put quite enough time into preparation.

Which is fine. Except that a "hand-wavy" approach isn't really what GURPS is supposed to be about. You play GURPS because you want to have the level of detail presented in the rules.
I don’t fully agree with you here, as there are times and places when you only want enough granularity. There is a generic task difficult table in the core rules to help support this style of play, and series like Action also have more cinematic and less precise options to game with.

I've never liked GURPS' flavor of "roll under" for basic task resolution. I hate the way it seems to obfuscate the difficulty of a task---"It doesn't matter how hard something is to do, it only matters how skilled you are at it." I realize that underneath it, the math is actually just a "reverse" of "Check against a target number of 21, plus or minus modifiers." But I still despise the way it feels in play.

Anyway . . . I glad that all of you GURPS fans have the system and can enjoy it. More power to you.
Dice mechanisms are a funny one. I really dislike d20 as a primary randomiser (he said on a D&D forum) :)
GURPS isn’t for everyone and this isn’t a thread trying to convince you otherwise!
 

Rory Fansler

Villager
I bet the license has expired - it hasn't appeared in PDF. A fan-work update for the 3e book, would be possible of course.
Oh, I'm sure it and most of the Third Edition licences have expired, also books that old are likely not to be worth re-licensing. Still like to see it though.
 

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