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View Full Version : DM Help I had a new game idea for pathfinder, but my friend is suggesting I use gurps instead



MonkeySage
2015-02-09, 06:39 PM
I'm really big on pathfinder, personally think it's one of the best games i've played... I've tried other systems and for the most part thought they were ok, but not great.

So normally when I consider running a different game, I default to pathfinder, and have had plenty of ideas for how to run pathfinder in different settings.

This time, my idea was to start with this:
Some deity or outsider has overstepped cosmic boundries, enough to gain the attention of other deities. These other deities band together and work to bring some long dead, powerful mortals back to life to solve the problem, who would be the players.

It would start off at a high level, though the player characters would have no memories of what had happened to them up to that point. The game would hit off with them trying to figure out who they are, reacquainting themselves with their abilities.

I figured the game could be set in either renaissance, preindustrial, or industrial era (not steampunk). And the PCs have been dead for anywhere for at least a few hundred years.


I figured, I could easily do this with pathfinder. I've read the necessary material, it wouldn't be that hard to do at all.

But my friend is suggesting I do this with gurps... So, what would gurps have to offer? How would I run the same setting I've always used on gurps?

Arbane
2015-02-09, 08:10 PM
But my friend is suggesting I do this with gurps... So, what would gurps have to offer? How would I run the same setting I've always used on gurps?

Well, GURPS plays a lot different from Pathfinder. It's a point-buy system, so there's no set classes. Characters' behavior is defined by the mental disadvantages they take, not their alignment. The standard magic system is less all-powerful than D&D's. It doesn't use escalating hitpoints the way D&D does, so an arrow through the skull is going to be equally unpleasant for all but the weirdest of PCs. It's primarily skill-based, so it's possible (given a sufficient character-point allotment) to make a fairly competent character at the start, who might not increase in power significantly over the course of the campaign.

Knaight
2015-02-09, 09:48 PM
GURPS is a truly generic system that is generally a lot better than Pathfinder if you aren't going faux-medieval. With that said, it's also fairly gritty by nature, and your proposed campaign sounds like exactly the sort of thing GURPS shouldn't be used for.

JRutterbush
2015-02-09, 11:38 PM
Do not try to run GURPS when you're not familiar with it. Play in a game or two first. GURPS has a lot of rules, many of which interact with each other, and there's a lot of tiny little details to keep track of and pay attention to, which is very hard to do if you're not already familiar with the system. As an example, each type of damage (impaling, crushing, slashing, four different types of piercing, and so on) is resolved differently, with the damage before armor (DR) being multiplied or divided based on the damage type. There are also a huge set of skills, far more specialized than even 3.0, as well as lists and lists of merits and flaws a GM will need to be familiar with in order to maintain game and character balance and keep things within the scope of the intended game style.

People will tell you that you can cut out the rules that you don't need, but you really need to be familiar with a ruleset before you make changes to it, since even a few small changes can have cascading effects. Especially in a system with the complexity of GURPS.

I'm sure your friend loves GURPS, and it's not a bad system. But trying to run it without familiarity will not end well. I've learned this myself, and seen it in action several times with other people as well. Your best bet is to stick with the system you know for now, and get some experience playing GURPS before you try to run it.

MonkeySage
2015-02-10, 12:11 AM
Guess I'm not too worried about running gurps then... I'm no fan of rules lite games, but gurps just seems way too complex for me to have fun with it.

Sith_Happens
2015-02-10, 12:24 AM
Your premise is a perfect fit for Pathfinder or D&D. Anyone telling you to use GURPS instead is doing so purely for the reason that they personally like GURPS.

On that note, I highly suggest you use the Mythic rules for this.

aspekt
2015-02-10, 01:05 AM
Guess I'm not too worried about running gurps then... I'm no fan of rules lite games, but gurps just seems way too complex for me to have fun with it.

Yes.

I have owned the 4ed core books for several years. Frankly I've never felt like they were a good fit for my tables.

It's a very cool, very flexible, very crunchy system.

Having said that I am working on some ideas for FUDGE. Which is a very meta system allowing for lots of rules or fewer depending on your preference.

Also, as mentioned earlier you can easily run what you propose on d20.

Knaight
2015-02-10, 11:46 AM
Guess I'm not too worried about running gurps then... I'm no fan of rules lite games, but gurps just seems way too complex for me to have fun with it.

GURPS is heavy, but I'd consider it lighter and easier to run than any edition of D&D, with the possible exception of 5th. Of course, that breaks down when you try to go outside of what GURPS does well - you're talking about a very high power game involving mythic heroes from another age. That's exactly the sort of territory D&D does best and GURPS does worst, and while GURPS does generally handle higher tech levels better I'd still consider it less well suited.

I'd probably use Fudge for this - it's very variable in how rules heavy it is, and while it leans light I've seen people crank it up to near-GURPS levels.

mikeejimbo
2015-02-10, 05:13 PM
I love GURPS and am always excited to see it suggested!

However, your premise sounds like Pathfinder would work well. I'm really not sure why your friend thought GURPS would be a better fit. Unless he just really wanted to play the system.

Mark Hall
2015-02-10, 05:45 PM
"Someone will always suggest GURPS" is more or less a truism of gaming.

fusilier
2015-02-10, 05:46 PM
GURPS is heavy, but I'd consider it lighter and easier to run than any edition of D&D, with the possible exception of 5th. Of course, that breaks down when you try to go outside of what GURPS does well - you're talking about a very high power game involving mythic heroes from another age. That's exactly the sort of territory D&D does best and GURPS does worst, and while GURPS does generally handle higher tech levels better I'd still consider it less well suited.

Could GURPS supers be adapted to a high-powered campaign? I've never played a supers campaign, but it does seem well supported by GURPS.

mikeejimbo
2015-02-10, 05:55 PM
Could GURPS supers be adapted to a high-powered campaign? I've never played a supers campaign, but it does seem well supported by GURPS.

To greater or lesser degrees of success. I find it hard to balance things at a high enough point level, and without certain arbitration by the GM things get silly fast. The problem is when the GM-imposed rules seem contrived. i personally have not found a way to enjoy high point value games without kind of discarding the more detailled parts of the game and focusing more on the narrative.

So I was thinking about it and I take it that the reason GURPS was suggested was the advanced tech level?

neonchameleon
2015-02-10, 06:02 PM
Speaking as a GURPS fan who dislikes Pathfinder ... that's a Pathfinder campaign that would be a struggle to run in GURPS. GURPS will have excellent research materials but you don't want to push the upper end of the power curve with it. Your friend probably suggested it for the time travelling aspects and GURPS having a sourcebook for every time period, which it does, and they are good, but that's no reason to run the campaign in GURPS.

MonkeySage
2015-02-10, 06:15 PM
As it stands right now, I think if I run this campaign, it'll be as a pathfinder game. I found a weapon set that works well enough for an industrial era setting. As far as mapping things out, I've already got a medieval setting which I run at different time lines ranging from neolithic to proto renaissance, all I'd have to do is update it to early industrial. :) The main thing I hope to work on is figuring out how steam engines might work out, are there rules for that?

Mr Beer
2015-02-10, 06:20 PM
I love GURPS. If you don't know GURPS and like Pathfinder, use Pathfinder.

1337 b4k4
2015-02-10, 11:41 PM
Guess I'm not too worried about running gurps then... I'm no fan of rules lite games, but gurps just seems way too complex for me to have fun with it.

For your specific campaign idea, don't use GURPS. That said, don't write it off your list for future games either. Yes it can be a very complex game, but it can also be simple when you pare it down to the things you need (something the books do a terrible job of encouraging). GURPS is great for oddball ideas that don't quite fit another more specific system. Want to run faux medieval dungeon crawls? D&D is your game. Want to run a game with ninjas from Naruto, mute psions and a science experiment gone wrong who can pull objects (painfully) from a hole in their chest which links to a nether-space while fighting monsters from the Final Fantasy VIII bestiary in a similar world? GURPS is your system.

Algeh
2015-02-11, 03:00 AM
I'm another one in the "use GURPS all the time, would not try to do this campaign in GURPS as a GM new to GURPS" camp.

The problem with GURPS and high power levels is that GURPS does not have character classes and levels. Everything is point buy and incremental. That means that high powered characters got that way by having more points to spend. This in turn means that unless you put a lot of thoughtful restrictions in place on what they can spend them on, you're going to get a wildly diverse group of characters who are probably at very different power levels from each other at any given task and suited to very different types of campaigns. Some will be specialists in doing one thing well, and others will be a little bit good at a lot of things. One will probably be terrible at everything you planned on doing in the campaign, but will be super-awesome at something else, like speaking 20 different languages or playing a bunch of musical instruments. (Or maybe that's just my players.) Also, no one I've ever met tries to play a serious GURPS campaign that allows characters to buy whatever they want from all of the rulebooks, which is very different than the mindset I've encountered in most D&D groups, where DM restrictions on classes and/or races are sometimes met with a lot of indignation and/or whining. This means the GM needs to thoughtfully select which things are allowed to be bought, which can be hard when you're new to the system. (It's normal to have to say no to an entire character concept or two in most GURPS groups I've played in. There is usually a general conversation in the group about possible characters after the GM announces the campaign overview, which helps everyone narrow down what does and doesn't make sense this time. Someone always has a great idea that doesn't actually fit in the story well. Or a really terrible but hilarious idea. Sometimes both.)

If you want to try out GURPS (which is my go-to ruleset for almost anything except that I really dislike the feel of the magic system), I suggest a low powered modern day Earth campaign with "normal people" PCs. I once spun a multi-year campaign out of a bunch of tourists trying to rescue a dog-napped chihuahua from the Pirate Illuminati. One of the characters was an intellectual property lawyer, with all of the combat prowess and tracking ability to be expected of an intellectual property lawyer. It was wonderful, and it simplified the rules considerably for the players, most of whom were newbies, since they could ignore the sections on things like magic and couldn't afford enough skills to have trouble keeping track of them all (a certain type of player, given a giant pile of points, will spend them on being a jack of all trades with a few points in basically every skill in the book). After that, they knew the system well enough to build more complicated characters and add in more options.

Knaight
2015-02-11, 10:23 AM
Could GURPS supers be adapted to a high-powered campaign? I've never played a supers campaign, but it does seem well supported by GURPS.

GURPS supers is pretty much the weakest GURPS book. Having it around would help with a high-powered campaign (as would GURPS martial arts), but it's still a clumsy fit.

kaoskonfety
2015-02-11, 12:15 PM
I love GURPS to pieces.

Don't use GURPS for this unless you want to, and even then, read it all before you make a call. The player suggesting it sees the "many varied settings" thing and that is what GURPS can do well, so they want to.

I've done a full DND translation for GURPS for a cross worlds setting and the characters do not follow the standard "you are human" rules that GURPS outlines - fighters are quickly tougher than people can be, high level everything is tougher than people can be. You will find all the magic you are looking for but it all functions VERY differently unless you chop shop it a fair bit (the game supports the chop shopping, but still).

1st level D&D adventurers tend to wind up in the 80-150 points range and it goes up FAST - very, very fast. A high level party (15+) could reasonably be expected to be 500+ and anyone not knowing what they are doing is going to get lost during Character Generation HARD with those kinds of numbers to toss around.

Mr Beer
2015-02-11, 04:27 PM
A high level party (15+) could reasonably be expected to be 500+ and anyone not knowing what they are doing is going to get lost during Character Generation HARD with those kinds of numbers to toss around.

This is extremely true.

If you have a 15th level D&D character and you create it from the rulebook, you may well fail to optimise but it's still a 15th level D&D character and therefore way more effective than any 'normal' person.

You can easily build a 500 point GURPS character that will get completely curb-stomped by the first handful of mooks the party meets. Which is fine if that's what you're going for, but not so much in a fantasy-type campaign with a fair amount of combat.

Knaight
2015-02-11, 04:55 PM
This is extremely true.

If you have a 15th level D&D character and you create it from the rulebook, you may well fail to optimise but it's still a 15th level D&D character and therefore way more effective than any 'normal' person.

You can easily build a 500 point GURPS character that will get completely curb-stomped by the first handful of mooks the party meets. Which is fine if that's what you're going for, but not so much in a fantasy-type campaign with a fair amount of combat.

This can be easily mitigated just by explaining that combat is a major focus, and recommending that a certain chunk of points go towards combat relevant things. Still, 500+ points takes a good long while to assign, and while it's at least better than in HERO since GURPS actually quantizes to the 1 point level and not the 1/4 point level, the accounting feel is there.

Segev
2015-02-11, 05:56 PM
better than in HERO since GURPS actually quantizes to the 1 point level and not the 1/4 point level

Why on earth would you quantize to the 1/4 point level? Why not just multiply all points values by 4? @_@

kaoskonfety
2015-02-11, 05:58 PM
This can be easily mitigated just by explaining that combat is a major focus, and recommending that a certain chunk of points go towards combat relevant things. Still, 500+ points takes a good long while to assign, and while it's at least better than in HERO since GURPS actually quantizes to the 1 point level and not the 1/4 point level, the accounting feel is there.

say 200 in stats/race templates and similar, deals with alot of the numbers, another 150-250 in combat advantages/magic/powers (or more stats) and 50-150 in skills (not counting any extra points they squeeze out of disadvantages/quirks).

You can eat up a pile with mandatory levels of extra hitpoints, minimums in "Hard to Kill", combat reflexes and similar.

Still...
A skilled player who knows the rules will make be able to a demi-god that can get pretty close to actually mechanically unkillable.
A total scrub would have issues making some one outright bad, but the gap would likely be 'noticeable' to say the least.

Now i want to take 500 points and make someone kinda passable at fighting (good for a modern setting, but no Bruce Lee) and sink the rest into SORCERY and see how bonkers I can get it.


Why on earth would you quantize to the 1/4 point level? Why not just multiply all points values by 4? @_@
Some design decisions are.. weird - Cinnabar (SP?) has basic character easily starting in the 7000 hp range, baby slaps do 1d4. Never played it, looked to "numbery"

Knaight
2015-02-11, 09:02 PM
Why on earth would you quantize to the 1/4 point level? Why not just multiply all points values by 4? @_@

This goes into the "heck if I know" category. It's not like the 1/4 points are some outlier either, they come up all the time. It's one of several questionable design decisions, the other closely related one being that you're effectively assigning upwards of a thousand character points with some frequency. HERO character creation was generally questionably designed, though it is at least versatile.

mikeejimbo
2015-02-12, 02:02 AM
This goes into the "heck if I know" category. It's not like the 1/4 points are some outlier either, they come up all the time. It's one of several questionable design decisions, the other closely related one being that you're effectively assigning upwards of a thousand character points with some frequency. HERO character creation was generally questionably designed, though it is at least versatile.

Hmm, doesn't HERO have a concept similar to GURPS' Enhancements and Limitations? Do you round to quarter points instead of whole points?

I've always wanted to play "no-rounding GURPS" sometime, where you don't round after applying Enhancements and Limitations. Honestly it would only ever save you like 1% of your budget at the best, probably.

Knaight
2015-02-12, 02:20 AM
Hmm, doesn't HERO have a concept similar to GURPS' Enhancements and Limitations? Do you round to quarter points instead of whole points?

It's along those lines.

As for not rounding in GURPS, I strongly suggest avoiding it. It adds a bunch of book keeping, and then has no real effect. It's like tracking D&D experience to 5 points past the decimal - occasionally you get one more experience point added in through the aggregate, but that's insignificant and it makes the math tedious as all get out every time the experience system is used.

Segev
2015-02-12, 12:06 PM
I've often wondered if there could be a viable and useful mechanic made out of paying for some power or ability in D&D on a per-use basis in small XP increments. Small enough that the 1s digit is relevant.

e.g. (and no, I don't think this would be balanced; it's just an example) if every spell you cast cost a number of XP equal to its level.

Bronk
2015-02-12, 12:49 PM
I've often wondered if there could be a viable and useful mechanic made out of paying for some power or ability in D&D on a per-use basis in small XP increments. Small enough that the 1s digit is relevant.

e.g. (and no, I don't think this would be balanced; it's just an example) if every spell you cast cost a number of XP equal to its level.

Earthdawn had something like that... you could use a few of your Legend Points every day to acquire Karma Points, which would let you roll an extra die with a number of your powers.

DigoDragon
2015-02-12, 01:15 PM
I love GURPS. If you don't know GURPS and like Pathfinder, use Pathfinder.

I agree with this ^^

Go with the system you like to use. Don't feel pressured to find the perfect system (http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_b_Wux_kl6mM/TT2yJBmttCI/AAAAAAAAAcw/bKml21bJ-y8/s1600/rpgchart14.gif) your idea was made for, just use a system that you're comfortable with and can make it work with the concept. :smallbiggrin:

mikeejimbo
2015-02-12, 04:21 PM
As for not rounding in GURPS, I strongly suggest avoiding it. It adds a bunch of book keeping, and then has no real effect. It's like tracking D&D experience to 5 points past the decimal - occasionally you get one more experience point added in through the aggregate, but that's insignificant and it makes the math tedious as all get out every time the experience system is used.

Oh, I just meant for a one off joke game. As one of my other group members said, I'd probably use the extra points to build a power that pets all the bunnies.