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averagejoe
2008-01-23, 11:31 PM
I've mostly been playing DnD for almost all of my tabletop RPGing career, with a few exceptions, but I was looking to possibly move on, or at least take a break. I was looking at GURPS the other day, and I was wondering what everyone else thinks. I've only been able to glance at the rulebook, and the rest of my knowledge comes from cobbling together hearsay. As I understand, it's a "generic" RP system, with rules that aren't really attached to any flavor/world, as DnD is, and that the rules allow you to do potentially anything with them. This seems incredibly cool to me, but I have no way of knowing if it's well executed. What is it like from the player's perspective? I know that it uses point buy, but how is advancement decided? Is "magic" something assumed to be used, or does the GM have to create a system for that on his own? Most importantly, however, I'd like to hear what people think of it, and whether they could reccomend a better system that could serve similar needs.

Oh, and please tell me why you think what you do. This is vitally important.

EvilElitest
2008-01-23, 11:32 PM
I've been considering it, if my scary evil twin didn't play it i would want too.
from
EE

Ted_Stryker
2008-01-23, 11:58 PM
It's not bad. Task resolution is based on a 3d6 system, so you get a more bell-curvy distribution of outcomes. This is fine when the players are in the middle of the bell curve to a few points beyond the middle with their skill levels, but can be problematic when PCs have a lot of skills in the upper teens and low 20s.

Advancement is mainly by GM fiat, as is starting power level. Fantasy type games probably will be in the 75-150 point range for starting characters. 150 might even be a bit high if you're just starting out, but it would be analogous to starting somewhere around 4th-5th level in D&D 3.5.

There are small sections on magic and psionics in the Basic Set rules. GURPS Magic is a worthwhile investment for a sword-and-sorcery type campaign.

Character options are extremely flexible. Good for somewhat experience players, but it can be a drawback for beginners. It's also an attribute-heavy system -- high attributes make it easier to get high skill levels across many skills. This problem is probably even more pronounced in GURPS than it is in D&D. On the other hand, magic items typically do much less in terms of defining your character's capabilities in GURPS than they do in D&D.

Guildorn Tanaleth
2008-01-23, 11:59 PM
I think you mean GURPS. Grups, as far as I know, is the Greek word for griffin.

EvilElitest
2008-01-24, 12:00 AM
Could you go into more detail about GURPS compared to D&D
from
EE

averagejoe
2008-01-24, 12:10 AM
I think you mean GURPS. Grups, as far as I know, is the Greek word for griffin.

Ah, thank you. I hate it when I make those sorts of mistakes. How do you say that? It appears that it would have a short "u" but I'm far from knowledgeable.

EvilElitest
2008-01-24, 12:15 AM
what does it stand for
from
EE

Cybren
2008-01-24, 12:17 AM
Here's how Sean Punch, line editor of GURPS 4th Ed. says one should 'sell' the best points of GURPS, while dismissing some misconceptions of the game.



The fact that it has precisely one task-resolution mechanism: "Take a score, add a modifier, and roll three six-sided dice under the result." If you can "get" a game where some success rolls are d20 + modifiers/roll high, others are d%/roll low, and yet others are sum Nd<whatever>/see if you can get X . . . well, you can certainly "get" rolling 3d6 under a score, every time. Even if you drag in effect rolls (reactions, damage, Fright Checks, whatever), it's still only two sorts of rolls, and they all use the ordinary d6.

The fact that it has precisely one kind of points. You don't have a pool of attribute levels, a number of feats, and a bunch of skill points, none of which are related in any clear way. Moreover, the experience points are the points you use for buying -- not a number you use for a table lookup to find a level that tells you how many of three other kinds of points you get to spend.

On a bad day, I find it close to offensive that people have the gall to call the game "complicated" when its basic character-creation and game-play rules are just about trivial. What they really mean, of course, is that there are lots of modifiers for success rolls and lots of choices to spend points on. I guess that brings me to the third thing I'd pimp: almost everything is optional -- and clearly marked as such -- so the GM has lots of control and there's never any requirement to go whole-hog and use the whole darn game.

There are also approaches I often hear but think are bad for people who aren't already fans:

"It's realistic." No RPG is, really. If you black-box all the rules and just look at the outcomes, you get a sense of realism. That isn't the same as being line-and-paragraph realistic. Sure, we reality-check stuff . . . but that's more to avoid howlers than to ensure realism positively.

"It's cross-genre." It can handle lots of genres. It can handle cross-genre. But most gamers don't play cross-genre, and in fact associate it with twinky, dorky gaming. Most gamers stick to a genre. It's fine to sell GURPS as supporting most genres, but not so smart to sell it as a cross-genre game.

"It has worldbooks for everything." Counting everything from 1e to 4e, there are lots of worldbooks. But there are notable gaps, particularly through history (where entire continents and centuries have no coverage), and in certain genres (the entire post-apocalypse genre comes to mind, as does interplanar fantasy). Really, the GM who wants "everything" ends up making up most of it, which is not a selling point.

I would describe GURPS as a Games Toolkit as much as I would a game in and of itself. GURPS requires work on the part of the GM to define is world, his campaign, and how it will be played. It also offers a lot more flexibility however, and can accommodate most settings, styles, and players

EvilElitest
2008-01-24, 12:19 AM
Here's how Sean Punch, line editor of GURPS 4th Ed. says one should 'sell' the best points of GURPS, while dismissing some misconceptions of the game.



I would describe GURPS as a Games Toolkit as much as I would a game in and of itself. GURPS requires work on the part of the GM to define is world, his campaign, and how it will be played. It also offers a lot more flexibility however, and can accommodate most settings, styles, and players

wow, that seems like something i'd like (damn evil twin,) but does it work as well as it sounds?

Damn i sound like i'm in an advirtismet
from
EE

Cyclone231
2008-01-24, 12:29 AM
GURPS stands for Generic Universal Role-Playing System. The biggest advantage to GURPS over other "universal" role-playing systems is that it has some truly excellent supplements.

I mean, GURPS Religion is probably the best book on the subject I've ever read. In fact, it's so good that I expected Deities and Demigods to be like it and as such found Deities and Demigods to be crappy and boring.

Prior editions of GURPS were a lot more... "spread out" so to speak - if you wanted to know about how to play in a Supers world (rules-wise) you had to buy GURPS Supers. If you wanted to know how to play in a campaign with aliens, you had to buy GURPS Aliens.

I was just flipping through GURPS Space to make sure this has changed, and it has. All the abilities listed are page references to the core books, so a person can easily find them there if you don't want to buy Space.

However, I would like to recommend that you check out a competitor before committing yourself to GURPS fully: Hero System. It's also a universal RPG. I haven't really got a good grasp on GURPS 4E so I can't say which has a more intuitive and versatile powers set-up, but at least in prior editions, Hero far outpaced GURPS in this regard.

In 3E, GURPS had dozens of different ways of doing a thing: magic spells were skills, psionics had their own system, the exact same ability costed a different number of points depending on whether it was "Toughness" or "Damage Resistance" and there were two kinds of superpowers in the Supers book.

Whereas Hero System runs Psionic abilities, Magic spells and superhuman abilities the exact same way - as Powers with Modifiers: a psionic energy blast might have the modifiers Based on EGO Combat Value, Does No Knockback, and Indirect, whereas a magic energy blast might have the modifiers Requires A Skill Roll, Guestures, and Incantations.

Cybren
2008-01-24, 12:33 AM
To illustrate some differences from D&D:
GURPS has no levels, which is something I imagine people will already know. But it is also designed without the assumption of broadly linearly increasing capability. Thus it is possible to make a 'master' character in even the most humble campaigns.
GURPS is internally consistent, and GURPS sourcebooks or worldbooks are extremely well written, to the point that many gamers who don't play GURPS still buy the books to use in other games as references.

Like D&D, it will make concessions or assumptions in favor of the PCs, but unlike D&D there is no assumption that the PCs are heroes and super kewl and all the NPCs are losers and never will be as good. The comparative powerlevel between the PCs and NPCs is set by the GM, and governed by genre, not by the game system. Try running any style of D&D game other than heroic dungeon fantasy, and you'll have to stop leveling or use a houserule like E6, whereas in GURPS you can still award points but if the PCs don't have access to cinematic or exotic techniques, they will still be able to progress

Shadowdweller
2008-01-24, 12:54 AM
Has the best character creation / alignment system I've ever seen.

Fhaolan
2008-01-24, 01:20 AM
Just as a note, I don't know the current edition of GURPS. I last played with 3rd edition, and it was a modern-world sci-fi setting, so I'm not that familiar with the fantasy/magic aspects of GURPS.

GURPS is wonderfully simple to play, being as there's one single resolution mechanic. Character generation however, is *very* tedious, as the level of detail and number of options is very high. It helps if the GM goes through all the books and notes out which options are valid for the intended setting and which aren't, because the sheer number of options is somewhat overwhelming.

Most GURPS sourcebooks are different campaign settings. There are several that are just equipment books, spell-listing books, etc., but most of them are individual campaign settings. There are few, if any, GURPS equivalent to D&D modules, so there's a lot more reliance on the GM doing the world-building and adventure writing.

If you use the 'standard' GURPS Magic system, it's a lot more complex and lower-powered than D&D. It's pretty much impossible to convert a D&D Wizard to GURPS because each spell has prereqs, and each spell is defined as a skill.

Basically, my opinion is that GURPS is a *lot* more reliant on the GM than D&D is on the DM.

averagejoe
2008-01-24, 01:27 AM
Prior editions of GURPS were a lot more... "spread out" so to speak - if you wanted to know about how to play in a Supers world (rules-wise) you had to buy GURPS Supers. If you wanted to know how to play in a campaign with aliens, you had to buy GURPS Aliens.

I was just flipping through GURPS Space to make sure this has changed, and it has. All the abilities listed are page references to the core books, so a person can easily find them there if you don't want to buy Space.

I've seen those sourcebooks, but to clarify: am I correct in thinking that the books don't actually do anything that the GM can't do himself within the core rules, and they're mainly handy for the GM to not have to do the work himself?


However, I would like to recommend that you check out a competitor before committing yourself to GURPS fully: Hero System. It's also a universal RPG. I haven't really got a good grasp on GURPS 4E so I can't say which has a more intuitive and versatile powers set-up, but at least in prior editions, Hero far outpaced GURPS in this regard.

That's actually good to know. I've seen the Hero system, but from the title I thought it was a superheroes game, like Champions or what have you.

Cyclone231
2008-01-24, 01:35 AM
I've seen those sourcebooks, but to clarify: am I correct in thinking that the books don't actually do anything that the GM can't do himself within the core rules, and they're mainly handy for the GM to not have to do the work himself?Yes. The modern 4E supplements are mostly just flavor (along with prebuilt character packages like Consort or Soldier or whatever), at least as far as I know.

That's actually good to know. I've seen the Hero system, but from the title I thought it was a superheroes game, like Champions or what have you.Hero System originally started off as Champions, but it's a universal setting now. So yeah.

Lord Tataraus
2008-01-24, 01:38 AM
Disclaimer: I have not played GURPS nor claim to know a lot about the system. I have, however, looked into it and reviewed for my own games.

Personally, I don't like GURPS for two reasons:
1) too much reliance on the GM, I almost always GM and I already have too much to do.
2) GURPS is too spread out and I would need to buy just as many books if I went with a variety of systems.

I do not wish to discourage you if you really want to play it or try it out, its just not made for people like me. I will agree that it is an amazing system, but I prefer to find the best system for each genre and many times its not GURPS. My group and I don't mind learning new systems because they usually don't take too much time for us. We play Cyberpunk 2020 for its realistic lethality and massive amounts of cybergear and weaponry. Then we play Mutants and Masterminds 2e for superhero games because it is very simple but you can do anything with it. We also play WoD's Vampire and Werewolf for their respective genres and then D&D for high fantasy. I have looked at many options, but for myself and my group these are the best for the games we are interested in. However, many people would not want to learn a large variety of systems, so GURPS is great for them, if you don't mind learning new systems, I suggest you look into systems built specifically for their genre.

Cybren
2008-01-24, 01:53 AM
Disclaimer: I have not played GURPS nor claim to know a lot about the system. I have, however, looked into it and reviewed for my own games.

Personally, I don't like GURPS for two reasons:
1) too much reliance on the GM, I almost always GM and I already have too much to do.
2) GURPS is too spread out and I would need to buy just as many books if I went with a variety of systems.

I do not wish to discourage you if you really want to play it or try it out, its just not made for people like me. I will agree that it is an amazing system, but I prefer to find the best system for each genre and many times its not GURPS. My group and I don't mind learning new systems because they usually don't take too much time for us. We play Cyberpunk 2020 for its realistic lethality and massive amounts of cybergear and weaponry. Then we play Mutants and Masterminds 2e for superhero games because it is very simple but you can do anything with it. We also play WoD's Vampire and Werewolf for their respective genres and then D&D for high fantasy. I have looked at many options, but for myself and my group these are the best for the games we are interested in. However, many people would not want to learn a large variety of systems, so GURPS is great for them, if you don't mind learning new systems, I suggest you look into systems built specifically for their genre.

I would have to say that 1) GURPS is only reliant in the DM in that it gives the GM more freedom to define the game, and that 2) the Basic Set is all you need to play in 4th edition. GURPS Sourcebooks are additional information to expand the rules in certain areas, and GURPS Worldbooks are mostly campaign world creation information about certain genres. For a "in the box" setting see something like GURPS Banestorm or Infinite Worlds. There are also genre that really aren't covered by other systems, and some genre that are fairly unique to GURPS (Cross genre and historical settings being somewhat popular in some GURPS circles, and are decidedly much harder to do with other systems)

Lord Tataraus
2008-01-24, 02:11 AM
I would have to say that 1) GURPS is only reliant in the DM in that it gives the GM more freedom to define the game, and that 2) the Basic Set is all you need to play in 4th edition. GURPS Sourcebooks are additional information to expand the rules in certain areas, and GURPS Worldbooks are mostly campaign world creation information about certain genres. For a "in the box" setting see something like GURPS Banestorm or Infinite Worlds. There are also genre that really aren't covered by other systems, and some genre that are fairly unique to GURPS (Cross genre and historical settings being somewhat popular in some GURPS circles, and are decidedly much harder to do with other systems)

Hmm...well, I probably looked at 3rd edition, so some of my dislikes might be eliminated, though I think the character creation process still is very long on both the GM's and player's side of it. Also, the games my group plays are the only genres we're really interested in, two of my players hate historical genres and I'll never play any modern or sci-fi game other than Cyberpunk 2020 (or an adaption of it) because its combat is just too good, unless the system has a really awesome fluff like WARS RPG. Though I might look into GURPS 4th edition to see whats different.

Hades
2008-01-24, 03:15 AM
Whereas Hero System runs Psionic abilities, Magic spells and superhuman abilities the exact same way - as Powers with Modifiers: a psionic energy blast might have the modifiers Based on EGO Combat Value, Does No Knockback, and Indirect, whereas a magic energy blast might have the modifiers Requires A Skill Roll, Guestures, and Incantations.

GURPS 4th edition now allows you to do this as well, creating spells as Powers in almost exactly the same way you describe, but the base Magic system as it stands with spells as skills is apparently the baby of Steve Jackson himself, which explains a bit why it has stayed how it is.

Charity
2008-01-24, 03:16 AM
I've played a bit of GURPS in my day.
The system is sound, though as somebody has already stated, it is very Stat heavy (ie it is always better to invest in stats in character gen than skills etc)
The thing I've found with it is that if you have a particular genre in mind GURPS always seems the second best system to use.
It is excellent for cross genre games, but if I were looking for a system to adopt I might start with the genre and look for a game designed with that in mind. Don't get me wrong GURPS is fine, it's just there are easier, faster flowing setting specific systems out there.

warmachine
2008-01-24, 07:24 PM
The maths of attributes and skills does, indeed, make it cheaper to pump the attributes, especially IQ, and only put a few points in each skill. If you're not careful, this can lead to generalists with many, overlapping skills. This has been fixed in 4e with the introduction of Talents, which add to a specific set of skills but are cheaper than the attributes. This encourages the creation of specialists.

Chris_Chandler
2008-01-24, 07:47 PM
I play GURPS as much as I play D&D, and I really do prefer GURPS overall. I like flexibility and choice, which GURPS gives in spades. The only "clone" characters I've seen in GURPS have been due to player inexperience/lack of imagination/ what have you, rather than the inherent similarity between many D&D characters. I know that D&D has flexibility, but GURPS can do it without 7 books.

Now, the style of character generation takes a bit of getting used to, if you are used to class-based play. GURPS added templates with 4e, which vaguely resemble classes, but are really just there to help novice players. It's important to remember that you aren't assigning a character a "vocation" or "skillset", but rather looking holistically at exactly what you would like to create, then do so. There are a lot of choices.

I will say that, because of the amount of choice, a more experienced player will be better served with GURPS. D&D is a better "out of the box" experience for most novice players, because choices are more set in stone. GURPS isn't harder - rather, a novice would have a "kid in a candystore" moment - there are a lot of good choices.

The GM has a lot of work in a GURPS campaign, but I would argue that the DM has just as much work. GURPS games, I've found, end up being more collaborative, because the GM and players are working toward what choices will be found within the game, rather that dealing with a set of static outcomes and predicted plateaus.

mostlyharmful
2008-01-24, 08:21 PM
I love GURPS and haven't played it nearly enough. It takes a while to get into and internalize the mechanics but once you've got the basic system you're good to go in any genre which I like and it replicates any level of "realism" dependant on what the DM allows. Since its got just one mechanic it can go really fast after a while.

Also it's got about the best replication of combat in RPGs for my taste, players get better and better but combat is always scarey, a knife wound always hurts and arrows are no-ones friend. Plus the spells as skills and using them drains fatigue is just the best way to run magic. It's powerful enough to be useful, reliable and easy enough to be used throughout the day/dungeon/adventure and unreliable/draining enough not to be just thrown around and abused into overshadowing everything else.

Severus
2008-01-24, 08:21 PM
What I like about GURPS:

-Point based system allows you to fully customize your character. You can go broad or deep as you see fit and mix and match what you want.

-dice resolution. 3d6 curve is pretty intuitive and its very easy to get running with it. Novice gamers may need help building characters, but can run an existing one without too much trouble.

-its gritty. Critical hits and lower hitpoints means that you sweat all encounters. It is a really excellent system for modern horror campaigns and the like. (this could be a downside to some.)

What I dislike about GURPS:

-Magic. Gurps magic is a confusing throwback to old systems with spell pre-requisites creating confusing chains. Spells have very short ranges, and it doesn't feel at all epic.

-encounter balancing. This is really hard. There are no useful guidelines and a few tweaks to an NPC can turn a wimp into someone near unkillable. (mostly in the area of defenses and health rolls)

-Stat dominance. Most skills default as stat-X. Pump your stats to the roof and default everything. They've fixed it some, but I still don't like it. I think there should be many fewer default skills. Make people spend points in skills.

Overall, I wouldn't recommend it for a fantasy setting game.

I also personally prefer hero for flexibility. It lacks the grittiness of GURPS, but I think the overall system is better constructed, and you can easily adapt the normal power system to a magic system. It requires some upfront work, but its quite doable. Also, I think encounter balancing is significantly more intuitive in Hero than in GURPS.

Cybren
2008-01-24, 10:11 PM
I think I forgot to mention probably the biggest difference between GURPS and D&D
GURPS character points are not a measure of combat effectiveness. GURPS is designed with the assumption that adventurers will have as much, or more non-combat tasks and scenes as they do combat. Points measure the general effectiveness of the character, across all avenues of adventuring and such.

Matthew
2008-01-24, 10:59 PM
Why not download GURPS 4e Lite (http://e23.sjgames.com/item.html?id=SJG31-0004) from Steve Jackson Games and check it out for yourself? There's a free adventure lurking around there as well as a 3e Lite document.

BardicDuelist
2008-01-24, 11:13 PM
A few months ago, I hesitantly introduced GURPS to my gaming group with the knowledge that they disliked systems other than D&D, but hopes that they would consider it. To my surprise, the response was "I wish we would have learned this instead of D&D and not wasted out time for the past seven years." This is not typical, of course. In particular, I love the skill and combat system. It is based upon attack and defense options rather than stagnant numbers (a defense roll instead of AC, but where you have different types of defenses).

WhiteHarness
2008-01-25, 12:37 PM
What I dislike about GURPS:

-Magic. Gurps magic is a confusing throwback to old systems with spell pre-requisites creating confusing chains. Spells have very short ranges, and it doesn't feel at all epic.


See, this is precisely what I like about the GURPS magic system. D&D magic is too epic and too arbitrary for my taste. GURPS magic feels more "real" and believable to me than D&D magic--as real as any pretend magic system in a tabletop RPG can feel, anyway...

Tokahfang
2008-01-25, 12:51 PM
I am a big fan of GURPS. It is the ideal game for a group of players who know the concept of the charaters they would like to play and a GM who knows exactly what kind of world he wants to run.

GURPS doesn't give you a lot of "hey, this is how it is". GURPS is a toolbox that says, "Hey, we think this would be a cool way to resolve -blah-, if it works for the game you're running." The GM also has to feel empowered to say "No!" to blantant abuse of the gaming group, even if it works by the point. (What constitutes abuse is highly variable from group to group, I've found.)

Some genres are easier to run with it then others. D&D is almost its own genre, so to run a D&D style game in GURPS takes some work and a good set of rules choices. The more plausible a genre is, the easier it tends to be to run.

SpikeFightwicky
2008-01-25, 01:06 PM
Here's my 2 cents from playing GURPS:

1) Character creation is fun, but lends itself well to number crunching/min-maxing. One player took the 'weak bite' flaw to get bonus points, despite the fact that it would never come into play. It didn't seem nearly as smooth as M&Ms (another point based game).

2) Despite 1)'s nuances, I had a very interesting character that I liked. He had a 'tick' where he wrapped his cloak around him Bela Lugosi style whenever he left a room. However, I took the 'indecisive' flaw, which for 5 points made my character utterly useless. That was a huge let down, and re-tooling the character would have led to chain reaction of lost abilities.

3) Combat was terrible. It took our group (3/4 of us were veteran gamers that have played everything from D&D to Toon to WoD Vampire/Werewolf to Rifts, etc...) and it seemed VERY complicated/pointless. It took us about 3 hours to resolve a bar fight between 4 players and 3 thugs. It was mostly 'attack -> miss' - 'attack -> parried' - 'attack -> dodged' with very little in the way of actual hits. Also, the quarterstaff was statistically the best weapon, which seemed very odd. Comparable damage to a sword, extra reach and a bonus to your parry roll. We had a party of quarterstaff wielders because we could not find a better weapon. Also, after combat was done, we , we realized we were only using half the combat rules (shocks, stuns, and other stuff...).

4) The fact that female characters get superior armor bonuses for walking around partially clothed was included in the rules made me feel alot 'nerdier' just for playing the game. From a numbers perspective, a bunch of chain mail bikini wearing female quarterstaff combatants are nigh invulnerable.

In conclusion, it had the potential to be fun, but the combat mechanics made it a dreadful experience.

valadil
2008-01-25, 01:17 PM
GURPs does a pretty good job at most things, but excels in no single area. I've played it a few times and have had mixed experiences. My opinion is that D&D 3.5 is better for fantasy. Deadlands is better for Wild West. White Wolf is better for Werewovles and Vampires. But if you want something that isn't so well defined, or that allows for several different genres, GURPs is the way to go. It was very well suited for the first couple games I played in. The GM had us all make characters from any genre we wanted and then put us together. The rules held despite the different technologies each character had. For that sort of game, or a time traveling game GURPs is perfect. For anything else I'd go with a system tailor made for the genre you're playing in, assuming one exists.

Hades
2008-01-25, 01:56 PM
Here's my 2 cents from playing GURPS:
One player took the 'weak bite' flaw to get bonus points, despite the fact that it would never come into play.

Technically, Weak Bite is an Exotic disadvantage forbidden to humans without genetic modification and such, which would require an Unusual Background or something else like that, so that sounds like a GM slip-up. I do agree that it is quite possible to min-max to a great extent in GURPS, but the sheer number of "useless" or role-playing elements that don't help you are amazing.



The fact that female characters get superior armor bonuses for walking around partially clothed was included in the rules made me feel alot 'nerdier' just for playing the game. From a numbers perspective, a bunch of chain mail bikini wearing female quarterstaff combatants are nigh invulnerable.

Bulletproof nudity is a genre convention of cheesy action flicks, and is an optional cinematic rule that actually gives bonus to anyone who is Attractive, male or female. But yes, it is hilarious.

As for GURPS combat, it doesn't seem to me any more or less complex than any other combat system that gives enough options to support everything from gritty and realistic combat reflecting real life played out tactially, to abstract quick contests of skill. Everyone in the combat uses exactly the same mechanics, and your options in combat are essentially as complex or simple as you want them to be.

raygungothic
2008-01-25, 01:59 PM
Spikefightwicky, I know you were with experienced gamers, but it sounds to me like they missed something.

D&D operates on a basically inclusive assumption: all the core rules are assumed to always exist, and extra supplements stick on very easily. GURPS doesn't work this way. It's written on the assumption that players will subset even the core rules, and that the vast swathes of material inappropriate to any given campaign will be omitted. This is a sensible assumption and I like it.

So, your friend shouldn't have been allowed "weak bite" in the vast majority of campaigns. It's appropriate only if you're statting out a freakish new alien species. Not in space? the GM should have already declared that it doesn't exist. (Ideally, he shouldn't have to, and players should start out by only picking the appropriate bits... it's not really a good choice for super-competitive play)

Combat can get very cumbersome if you turn on all the rules... but they don't expect every single game to work that way. It's not like D&D where omitting anything from the combat chapter carves huge gaping holes in the mechanics. It works great for a low-combat game in which fights are over swiftly, just strip it down to the basics and away you go. You might turn up the detail on shooting rules to "full" if you're playing a scout/sniper team in a military game... but certainly not in a space opera.

Similarly, the "armour for partially dressed" thing is in a humorous sidebar about simulating certain Hollywood genre conventions. GMs should only choose to apply it if they specifically want to simulate trashy action movies. It's hardly meant to be universal - it's more the authors getting satirical, if anything. Hell, in GURPS Goblins - a wonderful supplement about Regency London, if you'd believe - defence against shooting is based on Theology skill and it works. Very flavourfully, in fact. But meant for use only in a very specific context.

As a nitpicking aside, quarterstaffs are really quite terrifyingly effective weapons. Have you ever TRIED to take on a quarterstaff wielder with a sword? I have, and it wasn't pretty. This tallies with the historical experience - if I remember, George Silver has something to say about it. On the other hand, they're bulky and require extensive training and experience to use well. Swords, however, are much more practical in confined spaces or busy battlefields - much easier to carry - better against armour, up to a point - and had a social station advantage. Different tools for different purposes.

To the original poster - this is the thing: GURPS isn't really an RPG. It's a modular system for tailoring an RPG to your purposes. For some things it works beautifully - historical games, hard SF, low fantasy, "realistic" campaigns in which the characters are ordinary mortals. For some things it's merely acceptable. For some things the system options available are very clunky - it's too crunchy and quantified for action cinema or pulp space, and the heavy martial arts rules are always going to take up too much time for wuxia. Many of the genre sourcebooks, though, are good stuff whatever your system.

Matthew
2008-01-25, 02:55 PM
As a nitpicking aside, quarterstaffs are really quite terrifyingly effective weapons. Have you ever TRIED to take on a quarterstaff wielder with a sword? I have, and it wasn't pretty. This tallies with the historical experience - if I remember, George Silver has something to say about it. On the other hand, they're bulky and require extensive training and experience to use well. Swords, however, are much more practical in confined spaces or busy battlefields - much easier to carry - better against armour, up to a point - and had a social station advantage. Different tools for different purposes.

Swords are also significantly more lethal, but the 'reality' of historical arms and armour fortunately has its own stickied Thread here (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=18302&page=92).

SpikeFightwicky
2008-01-25, 03:36 PM
Technically, Weak Bite is an Exotic disadvantage forbidden to humans without genetic modification and such, which would require an Unusual Background or something else like that, so that sounds like a GM slip-up. I do agree that it is quite possible to min-max to a great extent in GURPS, but the sheer number of "useless" or role-playing elements that don't help you are amazing.

[quote=raygungothic]So, your friend shouldn't have been allowed "weak bite" in the vast majority of campaigns. It's appropriate only if you're statting out a freakish new alien species. Not in space? the GM should have already declared that it doesn't exist. (Ideally, he shouldn't have to, and players should start out by only picking the appropriate bits... it's not really a good choice for super-competitive play)

I'm aware that it shouldn't have been allowed, and if I were GM I likely wouldn't have. However, they put that flaw in with all the other ones, and there were no 'categories' of flaws to classify it. Only one player picked it (a notriously wannabe min-maxer) and the rest of us groaned. It also doesn't explain why 'Indecisive' has such a low point value. The only way to make an indecisive character playable is to either use the bonus 5 points to make your character stats good enough to overcome it everytime, or house rule the flaw to make it less severe - but we didn't have the time to go through flaws and find out which ones needed retooling so we left it as is.


Combat can get very cumbersome if you turn on all the rules... but they don't expect every single game to work that way. It's not like D&D where omitting anything from the combat chapter carves huge gaping holes in the mechanics. It works great for a low-combat game in which fights are over swiftly, just strip it down to the basics and away you go. You might turn up the detail on shooting rules to "full" if you're playing a scout/sniper team in a military game... but certainly not in a space opera.

As far as I can tell, we were running with the rules about half on. It seemed like there was alot of trying to do stuff, but not much overall. Like I said, it was mostly alot of parrying, dodging or missing going on (sort of reminiscient of the Paladium dodge/parry rules or the old WoD damage soaking mechanics. You can go through multiple rounds of combat and still be exactly where you started). We'd have to dumb it down to make it go faster (instead of grinding play to a halt if a stranger in the streets tries to kill you), but I was hoping for something fast right out of the box.


Similarly, the "armour for partially dressed" thing is in a humorous sidebar about simulating certain Hollywood genre conventions. GMs should only choose to apply it if they specifically want to simulate trashy action movies. It's hardly meant to be universal - it's more the authors getting satirical, if anything. Hell, in GURPS Goblins - a wonderful supplement about Regency London, if you'd believe - defence against shooting is based on Theology skill and it works. Very flavourfully, in fact. But meant for use only in a very specific context.

I understand the context of the rules, it just gave me these weird ideas of what the developers sessions were like when they were creating the system. The idea was definately entertaining, though :smallbiggrin:


As a nitpicking aside, quarterstaffs are really quite terrifyingly effective weapons. Have you ever TRIED to take on a quarterstaff wielder with a sword? I have, and it wasn't pretty. This tallies with the historical experience - if I remember, George Silver has something to say about it. On the other hand, they're bulky and require extensive training and experience to use well. Swords, however, are much more practical in confined spaces or busy battlefields - much easier to carry - better against armour, up to a point - and had a social station advantage. Different tools for different purposes.

I'm not really up on my real life weapon superiorities, the GURPS rules on the quarterstaff made them even better than any other weapon that I saw in the book (polearms, axes, maces, etc...). There was absolutely no reason (other than fluff) not to take the quarterstaff over any other weapon. I'm sure they might have been effective in real life, but they're not quite so prominent in any fantasy literature I've read.

Another nitpick, the magic system seems overly difficult. I could shoot a ball of fire an enemy, but it usually missed, and didn't deal much damage. Ironically, after I stopped relying on magic and went to my quarterstaff, I was about 200% deadlier. Call of Cthulhu magic seemed more reliable, which isn't necessarily a good thing.

All that aside, I think the biggest problem was that none of us were very familiar with the rules. I think my opinion of the system would be a whole lot better if we'd had a GM that was experienced in running GURPS games.

SpikeFightwicky
2008-01-25, 03:42 PM
Technically, Weak Bite is an Exotic disadvantage forbidden to humans without genetic modification and such, which would require an Unusual Background or something else like that, so that sounds like a GM slip-up. I do agree that it is quite possible to min-max to a great extent in GURPS, but the sheer number of "useless" or role-playing elements that don't help you are amazing.

[quote=raygungothic]So, your friend shouldn't have been allowed "weak bite" in the vast majority of campaigns. It's appropriate only if you're statting out a freakish new alien species. Not in space? the GM should have already declared that it doesn't exist. (Ideally, he shouldn't have to, and players should start out by only picking the appropriate bits... it's not really a good choice for super-competitive play)

I'm aware that it shouldn't have been allowed, and if I were GM I likely wouldn't have. However, they put that flaw in with all the other ones, and there were no 'categories' of flaws to classify it. Only one player picked it (a notriously wannabe min-maxer) and the rest of us groaned. It also doesn't explain why 'Indecisive' has such a low point value. The only way to make an indecisive character playable is to either use the bonus 5 points to make your character stats good enough to overcome it everytime, or house rule the flaw to make it less severe - but we didn't have the time to go through flaws and find out which ones needed retooling so we left it as is.


Combat can get very cumbersome if you turn on all the rules... but they don't expect every single game to work that way. It's not like D&D where omitting anything from the combat chapter carves huge gaping holes in the mechanics. It works great for a low-combat game in which fights are over swiftly, just strip it down to the basics and away you go. You might turn up the detail on shooting rules to "full" if you're playing a scout/sniper team in a military game... but certainly not in a space opera.

As far as I can tell, we were running with the rules about half on. It seemed like there was alot of trying to do stuff, but not much overall. Like I said, it was mostly alot of parrying, dodging or missing going on (sort of reminiscient of the Paladium dodge/parry rules or the old WoD damage soaking mechanics. You can go through multiple rounds of combat and still be exactly where you started). We'd have to dumb it down to make it go faster (instead of grinding play to a halt if a stranger in the streets tries to kill you), but I was hoping for something fast right out of the box.


Similarly, the "armour for partially dressed" thing is in a humorous sidebar about simulating certain Hollywood genre conventions. GMs should only choose to apply it if they specifically want to simulate trashy action movies. It's hardly meant to be universal - it's more the authors getting satirical, if anything. Hell, in GURPS Goblins - a wonderful supplement about Regency London, if you'd believe - defence against shooting is based on Theology skill and it works. Very flavourfully, in fact. But meant for use only in a very specific context.

I understand the context of the rules, it just gave me these weird ideas of what the developers sessions were like when they were creating the system. The idea was definately entertaining, though :smallbiggrin:


As a nitpicking aside, quarterstaffs are really quite terrifyingly effective weapons. Have you ever TRIED to take on a quarterstaff wielder with a sword? I have, and it wasn't pretty. This tallies with the historical experience - if I remember, George Silver has something to say about it. On the other hand, they're bulky and require extensive training and experience to use well. Swords, however, are much more practical in confined spaces or busy battlefields - much easier to carry - better against armour, up to a point - and had a social station advantage. Different tools for different purposes.

I'm not really up on my real life weapon superiorities, the GURPS rules on the quarterstaff made them even better than any other weapon that I saw in the book (polearms, axes, maces, etc...). There was absolutely no reason (other than fluff) not to take the quarterstaff over any other weapon. I'm sure they might have been effective in real life, but they're not quite so prominent in any fantasy literature I've read.

Another nitpick, the magic system seems overly difficult. I could shoot a ball of fire an enemy, but it usually missed, and didn't deal much damage. Ironically, after I stopped relying on magic and went to my quarterstaff, I was about 200% deadlier. Call of Cthulhu magic seemed more reliable, which isn't necessarily a good thing.

All that aside, I think the biggest problem was that none of us were very familiar with the rules. I think my opinion of the system would be a whole lot better if we'd had a GM that was experienced in running GURPS games.

Ted_Stryker
2008-01-25, 04:08 PM
4) The fact that female characters get superior armor bonuses for walking around partially clothed was included in the rules made me feel alot 'nerdier' just for playing the game. From a numbers perspective, a bunch of chain mail bikini wearing female quarterstaff combatants are nigh invulnerable.
The bulletproof nudity rule is contained in a rules supplement, and it's listed in a sidebar that has the heading "Silly Combat Rules."

From p. 76 in Compendium II:

Silly Combat Rules
"The following rules are not just cinematic -- they're downright silly. they can also be a lot of fun in a cinematic campaign. All of these rules are optional; some will unbalance a serious campaign, so use them at your own risk!

"Bulletproof Nudity - PCs can increase PD by undressing. A ragged t-shirt or skintight bodysuit is PD 3, stripped to the waist or skimpy swimwear is PD 5, total nudity is PD 7. Add +1 for female PCs."

There are also entries for things such as "Cinematic Explosions" (cosmetic damage only for PCs from explosions), "Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy" (bad guys never hit first in a firefight), "Infinite Ammunition" (self-explanatory), and "Martial Arts Etiquette" (NPCs engage a PC in unarmed combat one at a time, no matter how many of them there are) under the Silly Combat Rules.

Long-winded combat is a fair criticism of the system, but I don't think bulletproof nudity is. If your GM was actually throwing quarterstaff-wielding women clad in chainmail bikinis in situations where the parrying effectiveness of the q-staff actually mattered, that is extremely cheesy.

Hades
2008-01-25, 04:08 PM
However, they put that flaw in with all the other ones, and there were no 'categories' of flaws to classify it.

Actually, each disadvantage has an icon by it that classifies it, in the case of Weak Bite it is both Exotic and Physical.



It also doesn't explain why 'Indecisive' has such a low point value. The only way to make an indecisive character playable is to either use the bonus 5 points to make your character stats good enough to overcome it everytime, or house rule the flaw to make it less severe.

Indecisive should have been 10 points, and you should have had a control roll at 12 or less on the 3d6 to ignore it. If you only took it for five points, that actually means you could have controlled your indecisiveness on rolls of 15 or less, modified, of course, for the number of alternatives as described in the disadvantage. It sounds to me like you may have let your disadvantage be entirely too crippling.

Combat can be quick if you remember things like only allowing one active defense per attack and ganging up on adversaries. GURPS tends to require a bit more of a tactical mindset if using relatively low-powered characters and ignoring all of the All-Out Attack options that can put foes down in one hit.

Ted_Stryker
2008-01-25, 04:16 PM
I'm not really up on my real life weapon superiorities, the GURPS rules on the quarterstaff made them even better than any other weapon that I saw in the book (polearms, axes, maces, etc...). There was absolutely no reason (other than fluff) not to take the quarterstaff over any other weapon. I'm sure they might have been effective in real life, but they're not quite so prominent in any fantasy literature I've read.
Quarterstaffs do crushing damage. Any damage that gets past DR is the damage you do with a staff attack.

Edged weapons do cutting damage, and pointy weapons do impaling damage. Any cutting damage that gets past DR is multiplied by 50% (rounded down), any impaling damage that gets past DR is doubled. This is why you might choose axes, swords, or spears over a staff. A staff-spear is a pretty fearsome weapon in GURPS, as I recall.

SpikeFightwicky
2008-01-25, 05:10 PM
The bulletproof nudity rule is contained in a rules supplement, and it's listed in a sidebar that has the heading "Silly Combat Rules."

From p. 76 in Compendium II:

Silly Combat Rules
"The following rules are not just cinematic -- they're downright silly. they can also be a lot of fun in a cinematic campaign. All of these rules are optional; some will unbalance a serious campaign, so use them at your own risk!

"Bulletproof Nudity - PCs can increase PD by undressing. A ragged t-shirt or skintight bodysuit is PD 3, stripped to the waist or skimpy swimwear is PD 5, total nudity is PD 7. Add +1 for female PCs."

There are also entries for things such as "Cinematic Explosions" (cosmetic damage only for PCs from explosions), "Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy" (bad guys never hit first in a firefight), "Infinite Ammunition" (self-explanatory), and "Martial Arts Etiquette" (NPCs engage a PC in unarmed combat one at a time, no matter how many of them there are) under the Silly Combat Rules.

Long-winded combat is a fair criticism of the system, but I don't think bulletproof nudity is. If your GM was actually throwing quarterstaff-wielding women clad in chainmail bikinis in situations where the parrying effectiveness of the q-staff actually mattered, that is extremely cheesy.

I'm starting to wonder if I was playing the same version/revision as you guys. The whole extra defense by being scantily clad was in my main GURPS RPG book, and it was listed as an semi-optional rule in the main section on defense. I don't recall there being a 'silly combat rules' section in my book.

Cybren
2008-01-25, 05:20 PM
I'm starting to wonder if I was playing the same version/revision as you guys. The whole extra defense by being scantily clad was in my main GURPS RPG book, and it was listed as an semi-optional rule in the main section on defense. I don't recall there being a 'silly combat rules' section in my book.
Well he was quoting the 4th edition, which is pretty new (it came out in 2004). I imagine most peoples casual experiences with GURPS were with 3E. GURPS combat flows smoother from what I understand, though i have no experienced with 3E

Newtkeeper
2008-01-25, 05:22 PM
I'm starting to wonder if I was playing the same version/revision as you guys. The whole extra defense by being scantily clad was in my main GURPS RPG book, and it was listed as an semi-optional rule in the main section on defense. I don't recall there being a 'silly combat rules' section in my book.

What edition are you playing? 4e has it under "very optional and very cinematic" in the second core book (since you used book, singular, I assume you aren't using 4e). Ted seems to be using 3e (that's where there are compendiums). 1e and 2e I've never read.

Hades
2008-01-25, 05:24 PM
I'm starting to wonder if I was playing the same version/revision as you guys. The whole extra defense by being scantily clad was in my main GURPS RPG book, and it was listed as an semi-optional rule in the main section on defense. I don't recall there being a 'silly combat rules' section in my book.

Yeah, Stryker was quoting the 3e stuff, but in 4e the Bulletproof Nudity rules and such are found in the Cinematic Combat Rules section, which is "shamelessly unrealistic and strictly optional, but can be fun in larger than life games!"

Saph
2008-01-25, 05:28 PM
I played a GURPS campaign a few years ago - can't remember exactly which edition it was, but I think it was 3rd. It was fun, but I was glad to move on to D&D when 3.0 came out. My thoughts on GURPS compared to D&D:

Good points

Character creation is much more flexible. You can create just about any combination of skills, abilities, and weaknesses you want.

NPCs and enemies in general are much more dangerous, and you don't get the issue of monsters that are supposed to be fearsome but which in practice are cannon fodder.

Magic is nowhere near as dominant (though nowhere near as cool or fun, either).

Your characters aren't totally reliant on equipment at higher levels.

Bad points

While character creation is much more flexible, character advancement is kinda boring. There's not much to look forward to except a slightly higher chance of making your skill checks.

The system encourages and rewards min-maxing to a much, much higher degree than D&D does. D&D characters are required by the level system to spread their 'points' over BAB, HP, skills, feats, saves, and class features. GURPS characters aren't, which means you get 'clone trooper' type characters who literally can't do ANYTHING but fight.

As several people have pointed out, the attribute-based skill system heavily encourages you to buy high attributes and then get loads of skills at 1/2 a rank each (or none at all, and just default).

It's much harder for the GM to come up with level-appropriate challenges for the party.


Having tried both, I prefer D&D on the whole. While GURPS does some things very well, it just feels too bland to me. For me, the inherent coolness of the stuff D&D characters can do makes up for the system's odd imbalances.

- Saph

Hades
2008-01-25, 05:37 PM
D&D characters are required by the level system to spread their 'points' over BAB, HP, skills, feats, saves, and class features. GURPS characters aren't, which means you get 'clone trooper' type characters who literally can't do ANYTHING but fight.


Well, I would argue that this is the case with any game in which the GM is not supervising the players during character creation. While GURPS doesn't require you to take any non-combat skills or advantages, it offers you at least an order of magnitude more options for non-combat skills and advantages.

Saph
2008-01-25, 05:41 PM
Well, I would argue that this is the case with any game in which the GM is not supervising the players during character creation. While GURPS doesn't require you to take any non-combat skills or advantages, it offers you at least an order of magnitude more options for non-combat skills and advantages.

It's not a matter of the GM supervising. It's that every time you're trying to decide how to spend your character points, you have the decision "Shall I improve my non-combat and background skills, or shall I sink everything into making my character more effective in a fight and more likely to survive?"

I was playing a mage-type character, and found quickly that I really couldn't afford to spend my few character points on anything except magic power and spells.

- Saph

Hades
2008-01-25, 05:49 PM
It's not a matter of the GM supervising. It's that every time you're trying to decide how to spend your character points, you have the decision "Shall I improve my non-combat and background skills, or shall I sink everything into making my character more effective in a fight and more likely to survive?"

I was playing a mage-type character, and found quickly that I really couldn't afford to spend my few character points on anything except magic power and spells.

- Saph

Again, this doesn't really sound to me like a limitation of the system, more like the nature of whatever game you were playing. It sounds like you were playing a game heavily focused on combat, with a relatively low output of CP, which of course means that you are going to need to spend everything on combat in order to survive it.

You said the system itself encourages min-maxing to a great extent, my point I guess is that the system only encourages min-maxing in applications in which min-maxing is rewarded. If you are playing in a campaign that encourages min-maxing for combat, then the system supports it. If you are playing in a campaign that encourages well rounded characters, the system supports that too.

warmachine
2008-01-25, 05:50 PM
In GURPS 4e, Bulletproof Nudity appears on B417.


Cinematic Combat
The following rules are shamelessly unrealistic and strictly optional, but can be fun in larger-than-life games!
Bulletproof Nudity
PCs with Attractive or better appearance can get a bonus to active defenses simply by undressing! Any outfit that bares legs, chest , or midriff is +1. Just a loincloth or skimpy swimwear is +2. Topless females get an extra +1. Total nudity gives no further bonus to defense , but adds +1 to Move and +2 Water Move.

Newtkeeper
2008-01-25, 05:54 PM
It's not a matter of the GM supervising. It's that every time you're trying to decide how to spend your character points, you have the decision "Shall I improve my non-combat and background skills, or shall I sink everything into making my character more effective in a fight and more likely to survive?"

I was playing a mage-type character, and found quickly that I really couldn't afford to spend my few character points on anything except magic power and spells.

- Saph

There is more to life than combat, in GURPS as in real life. I have seen, on the forums over there, people who run weekly games, but have one real fight a month, if that. The rest is investigator work, traveling, socializing, etc. You can have a great adventure without ever once drawing steel!

Cybren
2008-01-25, 06:05 PM
A GURPS character is a lot more likely to see events out of combat requiring skills or advantages to help with. Many (most) advantages don't even deal directly with combat, nor do most skills. Using a variety of templates will also give plenty of ways to flesh out a character with background skills and abilities.
A GURPS combat monster will be useless in anything other than combat, and if you, as GM want the character to have skills reflecting his background, having the player write a background and description will allow you to at least see if he's following it in character creation

SpikeFightwicky
2008-01-25, 06:37 PM
I'll have to dig out my book and check which version it was. I remember that I got into it through a 'GURPS Lite' handout from a local gaming store (it was a 6-ish page booklet that had a very basic rundown of the basic rules - it was printed on the same kind of paper that old-school coloring books are (where?) printed on, kind of a grey rough thick paper).

I must admit, however, that from hearing everyone else, the problem may be more with me/my gaming group running the game without a firm grasp on the system. It's very likely that we didn't read the rules thouroughly enough, or didn't read the entries we should have.

WhiteHarness
2008-01-25, 06:53 PM
The quarterstaff was better at *parrying* in 3rd edition, but that's about the only way it was better mechanically than, say, a sword. In 4th edition, it's only slightly better--it doesn't let you parry with 2/3 of your weapon skill (as opposed to half for all other weapons) anymore0--it just grants a slight bonus. At no point was it the best weapon available in the game. Plus, GURPS 4th edition lets you use other staff-like weapons with Quarterstaff skill so you can enjoy that parry bonus with more than just the quarterstaff.

Ted_Stryker
2008-01-25, 07:58 PM
Yes, I am talking about 3rd edition, but I am glad to see that 4th ed. treats bulletproof nudity similarly; I just assumed that "Parry = 2/3 quarterstaff skill" meant 3rd. ed.

I actually do have a few 4e books, but my "Characters" book basically disintegrated a few weeks after I bought it, and I never got around to sending it in for a replacement (as offered by SJG when they realized they had a batch of books with substandard binding), so I'm not nearly as familiar with GURPS 4e as 3e. I do seem to recall, thinking back to before when my Characters book fell apart, that making DX and IQ have a flat cost of 20 CP per +1 above 10 in concert with the whole Talents thing in 4e mitigated the attribute-heavy nature of 3e.

EvilElitest
2008-01-25, 08:10 PM
See, this is precisely what I like about the GURPS magic system. D&D magic is too epic and too arbitrary for my taste. GURPS magic feels more "real" and believable to me than D&D magic--as real as any pretend magic system in a tabletop RPG can feel, anyway...

could you elaborate on that please?
from
EE

Cybren
2008-01-25, 08:29 PM
could you elaborate on that please?
from
EE
The default GURPS magic system requires an advantage (magery). It gives you the ability to use spells, detect magical properties, and determines how hard to use and learn magic is (as magery adds to your IQ). Spells are a series of skills, often with prerequisite spells that come before them. They are split into a variety of colleges, "Fire spells" "Water Spells" "Illusion and Creation Spells" "Movement spells", these are all colleges. Some spells require lots of prerequisites, including certain levels of IQ or magery, or other advantages. You advance them as you would a skill, but since you can't use them without any training, you can't spend earned character points on new spells (unless of course, you find a teacher and/or spend time studying)

Anyr
2008-01-26, 11:28 AM
I'm not really up on my real life weapon superiorities, the GURPS rules on the quarterstaff made them even better than any other weapon that I saw in the book (polearms, axes, maces, etc...). There was absolutely no reason (other than fluff) not to take the quarterstaff over any other weapon. I'm sure they might have been effective in real life, but they're not quite so prominent in any fantasy literature I've read.


This seems to be a somewhatcommon impression for new players, since I had similar thoughts about the quarterstaff when I first started to play GURPS. Actually, the quarterstaff's seeming superiority is mostly an illusion. Here's a comparison:

A Strength 12 character using a quarterstaff (which is two handed) deals 1d+4 crushing on a swing and 1d+1 crushing with a thrust. That's a range of 5 to 10 damage on a swing (and with a quarterstaff there's little reason to thrust). A damaging blow, but nothing exceptional.

Now, the same character wielding a thrusting broadsword (one handed) deals 1d+3 cutting on a swing and 1d+1 impaling with a thrust. Against an unarmoured target that's 6 to 13 damage when swung and 4 to 14 on a thrust. The stronger the character the more marked the difference becomes. Now, the quarterstaff still gets that nice +2 to parry, but it's also a two handed weapon. Our broadsword fighter still has a hand free, so he can easily top that with a decent shield.

That's not to say that the quarterstaff is useless; It has variable reach and is considerably cheaper, as well as being able to be enchanted as a Staff. It's a solid weapon for the monk or wizard on a budget, but it's hardly the be all and end all of medieval weaponry.

On the whole, 4th Edition is much better balanced in terms of weapon choices. The days of the 3rd Edition ludicrous Katana are thankfully over.