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[GURPS] Looking for some help from GURP experts

StreetBushido

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Thanks for all the replies!

To be completely honest my idea to run GURPS one day is one aimed very much at a distant and not-very-well defined point in the future. Strictly speaking I actually have a game of D&D 5e queued up in my GM:ing pipeline before I should even start thinking about this.

But that "Arcanum" idea has been rattling around in my head for so long and GURPS has been tempting me for a long time as well. And thus this thread was born as a way for me to ease that creative pressure a little while also checking on the viablity of using GURPS to realize that idea.

But to summarize:

-Run a one-shot or mini-campaign to get a feel for the system before going all in.

-Stick with the Core Books until I run into something that I feel I want to change, then look up specific books about that.
 

Mr_Sandman

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If you want to see how you like the basic mechanics of GURPS, before you invest in the Basic Set, I think it's worth looking at and running a quick game using GURPS Lite and GURPS Simple Fantasy (a fan work that I think should be promoted more). The Basic Set expands on those tremendously, giving lots more options for character creation, equipment, rules for more situations, etc. But those two free downloads give you a taste of what it's like to play GURPS, and show that it doesn't have to be super-complicated.
 

zorg

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But to summarize:

-Run a one-shot or mini-campaign to get a feel for the system before going all in.

-Stick with the Core Books until I run into something that I feel I want to change, then look up specific books about that.
That sounds reasonable.
 

StreetBushido

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I understand that one of GURPS' main features is its modularity. That it allows you to include and discard various bits and pieces from its vast library to basically build your own game.

However, is there any sort of official (or fan-made) tool available to help that? Or would it boil down to basically writing up your own document with sections copy-pasted from the different books that you're using as source material?
 

dbm

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There are a few resources available for that:
  • There are genre books from SJG that go into how you would build a game of a certain type (Fantasy, Space, Horror, Mysteries and others); you would need to collate your decisions
  • There are several sets of guidance PDFs produced by SJG (Action, Dungeon Fantasy, Monster Hunters, After the End, Steampunk); you can use these wholesale
  • The community has some strong contributors who document their campaigns on line and you can take quite a bit from that
  • (ETA) The SJG forums are full of gear heads with many suggestions on how to achieve a result you are looking for
Campaigns has a campaign planning sheet in it to help you formulate and document your ideas.
 

StreetBushido

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Sounds good!

I'm thinking of really simple (but important) stuff like collecting all the skills I want to include or all the playable races (race templates?) and professions/classes/archetypes (templates again?), advantages/disadvantages, etc. Because I'm guessing that that kind of stuff will be spread out through the various books and that to cut down on page-flipping I'd want it all in one place.

Similarly, I remember looking through GURPS once and seeing that there are several different types of damage, as well as different types of protection and different ways to use a melee weapon (swinging versus thrusting?). While that level of detail could be interesting I also feel that it could easily become a bit too much.

Are there guidelines available for cutting back on that stuff?
 

Jürgen Hubert

aka "Herr Doktor Hubert"
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Well, you will probably create a document for racial templates - you can make your own, or just copy them from assorted books or this finely-crafted wiki:


A list of which skills are relevant to your campaign and which categories they are in ("social", "combat", etc) will be useful - but since almost all of these will be in the Basic Set, it should suffice to just list the page references.

If you use extra rules from specific other supplements, you should probably provide these specific supplements - but most will be short.

I would avoid trying to remove weapon injury modifiers - these are an important part of the combat system and make weapons and tactical choices feel distinct. A sword will have different advantages and disadvantages than a warhammer, and so forth.
 

Jürgen Hubert

aka "Herr Doktor Hubert"
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A good approach would be to explain what kind of feel you want different supernatural powers to have, and then we can help you figure out how to represent them.
 

zorg

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If you work with Templates* (Profession, Race, Dramatic Niche, Zodiac Sign, whatev), you already have the relevant skills and traits collected in a single package. Creating the Templates does frontload a good amount of work, but the result communicates what kind of game you have in mind, and speeds up character creation a lot.

*Basically, preconstructed builds with options, choices and room for customization. The idea is in the Basic Set.
 

dbm

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Sounds good!

I'm thinking of really simple (but important) stuff like collecting all the skills I want to include or all the playable races (race templates?) and professions/classes/archetypes (templates again?), advantages/disadvantages, etc. Because I'm guessing that that kind of stuff will be spread out through the various books and that to cut down on page-flipping I'd want it all in one place.
To provide a bit of historical context: during 3e the GURPS basic book contained only the common core of the rules, and each supplement added in new skills, advantages and power systems. This resulted in a sometimes crazy situation where you would buy a whole new GURPS world book for the two new advantages and three new spells it contained...

The power systems were also more isolated, meaning that costs and benefits could vary greatly between books. The most egregious example of this, in my experience, was how psionics are handled in GURPS Psionics versus GURPS Supers. The stuff in Psionics was literally half the price as in Supers. Given that one of the design aims of GURPS was to be able to mash-up genres this was clearly a flaw.

When 4e was planned, the aim was to gather together all the organically grown ‘stuff’ that has been created for 3e (powers, skills, advantages, techniques and more) and bring them together into the Basic set. That would mean that everyone had all the skills and all the systems etc. from Day 1 of 4e. It also eliminated these competing systems by settling on a single system that all specialist implementations were built from.

This isn’t perfect, and a few new things have been added (especially in Powers, which is often considered the third core book). But it is very well done. The genre books (Fantasy, Space etc.) tell you how to use the existing rules to achieve your aims rather than adding new ones. Books like Martial Arts add new granularity (e.g. more options like new manoeuvres and hit locations) but don’t actually change the rules. That new granularity can be happily ignored - the core works fine without it.

Magic systems are perhaps the most obvious area where new rules get added, but even things like psionic and super powers run off the core rules in 4e.

So: you are unlikely to have the rules split across multiple books, as they are nearly always in the core books. You will get lists and templates in the supplementary books, but that is generally only needed at character creation time.
Similarly, I remember looking through GURPS once and seeing that there are several different types of damage, as well as different types of protection and different ways to use a melee weapon (swinging versus thrusting?). While that level of detail could be interesting I also feel that it could easily become a bit too much.

Are there guidelines available for cutting back on that stuff?
As Jürgen Hubert Jürgen Hubert suggests, I wouldn’t drop this as it is very important to GURPS. Where you can control the complexity is basically house-ruling that all attacks go to the torso (which is the default location in GURPS combat). That reduces complexity very quickly and you can hold these rules in reserve for the first time a player says “I try to knock the gun out of his hand”.
 
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