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Thread: GURPS flaws?

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    Quote Originally Posted by jjordan View Post
    I kind of stumbled onto this issue while brainstorming my magic system where it can take a lot of turns to cast a spell while martial types get to take multiple actions. Do you think the ability to engage at a distance where you can't be hit makes the time trade off worthwhile? Does the amount of damage you can inflict when you can engage make the time trade off worthwhile?
    I think the question is not whether it is worthwile or not to spend multiple turns to get one spell/ranged attack of (which it usually is).

    Rather, the point is that *doing nothing* creates a horrible player experience, especially if the melee turns actually take significant time to resolve.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zombimode View Post
    I think the question is not whether it is worthwile or not to spend multiple turns to get one spell/ranged attack of (which it usually is).

    Rather, the point is that *doing nothing* creates a horrible player experience, especially if the melee turns actually take significant time to resolve.
    I don't know that there's a systemic way to address that. Players can address the issue by roleplaying on their turn rather than dropping lines like "Reloading". I mean "I'm keeping my back to the wall while I reload. Do I notice anything strange about this guy? He seems to be awful fast for one of the city guard." Or they can recognize that sometimes you're the main character and sometimes you're the guy shouting "Look out, he's got a knife!" and expect to get their turn later. GMs can address the issue by keeping things moving so that there aren't significant gaps or, more realistically, fewer supporting gaps.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jjordan View Post
    I kind of stumbled onto this issue while brainstorming my magic system where it can take a lot of turns to cast a spell while martial types get to take multiple actions. Do you think the ability to engage at a distance where you can't be hit makes the time trade off worthwhile? Does the amount of damage you can inflict when you can engage make the time trade off worthwhile?
    GURPS has a magic system where spells take a lot of turns to cast, it's actually quite good and balanced.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zombimode View Post
    Rather, the point is that *doing nothing* creates a horrible player experience, especially if the melee turns actually take significant time to resolve.
    This is the key. Path Magic by default is incredibly slow to cast, but it's actually so slow that you can't use it in combat. Instead magicians have to find other things to do in combat while their spells are used to create big effects outside of combat.

    Conversely, the standard system of magic has you casting a spell about every 1-3 turns if using combat magic, potentially faster if you push up your skill level. It's much less frustrating to be sitting around for a single turn than for five, especially if everybody can get their turns done quickly. But it's why I tend to avoid magic-focused games in GURPS, as bad as the Ultra-Tech book is* there's little in the way of action cost to use it's stuff.

    * That is, the content is mostly fine but the organisation is terrible.
    Last edited by Anonymouswizard; 2019-08-23 at 03:16 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    GURPS has a magic system where spells take a lot of turns to cast, it's actually quite good and balanced.
    I like it but it's not exactly what I want so I'm heavily modifying a lot of it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    This is the key. Path Magic by default is incredibly slow to cast, but it's actually so slow that you can't use it in combat. Instead magicians have to find other things to do in combat while their spells are used to create big effects outside of combat.
    I came across the issue because one of the modifications I was making was the ability for a magic user to prepare one or two spells ahead of time. To hold them in readiness, to steal a phrase. I was worried that would give magic users the ability to kill a combat by going nova in the first couple of turns. I think I can put reasonable, and logical, limits in place that will allow magic users to have a few spells held in readiness (at a cost) but not nova the combat. And my version of path magic makes it possible to cast spells much more quickly but, again, at a cost. We'll see how well I manage to balance this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jjordan View Post
    I like it but it's not exactly what I want so I'm heavily modifying a lot of it.
    What is actually the problem with the standard system? It sounds like you're making spells longer to cast and then being annoyed that they aren't as good in combat, at which point you're trying to kludge a solution together.

    I came across the issue because one of the modifications I was making was the ability for a magic user to prepare one or two spells ahead of time. To hold them in readiness, to steal a phrase. I was worried that would give magic users the ability to kill a combat by going nova in the first couple of turns. I think I can put reasonable, and logical, limits in place that will allow magic users to have a few spells held in readiness (at a cost) but not nova the combat. And my version of path magic makes it possible to cast spells much more quickly but, again, at a cost. We'll see how well I manage to balance this.
    Okay, serious questions.

    1) do you actually own Thaumatology? Path Magic has the idea of mages who can skip the need for rituals, components, and prepared spaces entirely. But more importantly it doesn't really have combat suitable spells, which is mages need other skills.

    2) why on earth does combat magic have to be a thing?

    3) seriously, what's wrong with the standard Fireball spell. Charge for up to three seconds spending up to [Magery] Fatigue per second, release on second one, two, or three, when it hours the fireball does one d6 of damage for reach Fatigue of charge.

    4) seriously, Thaumatology. I've got a setting tucked away that uses the 'spell slots via modular abilities' rule, a heavily controlled spell list, and no prerequisites for spells. Spell does cost 8 points per slot, with the option to spend more CP to increase your skill with the spell.

    5) additional rules breed additional problems. The less moving parts the less chance something will go wrong.

    6) have I mentioned that Thaumatology is a really good book?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    What is actually the problem with the standard system? It sounds like you're making spells longer to cast and then being annoyed that they aren't as good in combat, at which point you're trying to kludge a solution together.
    I'm not wild about the spell progression lists. I'd prefer to have a system with basic spells that can be manipulated and modified such that a very simple create flame spell is pretty much the same as a fireball spell and the difference between the two is the amount of magic poured in and the skill of the caster. BUT... that's very difficult to represent in a timely fashion that allows the game to keep moving quickly and the spell progression lists might be the best way to represent that in a game. There's nothing wrong with the system, it's just not exactly what I want. Even if I use it I'm going to modify the spell lists. And I prefer that magic be harder to cast. I want to expand the runes/glyphs because that plays a big part in my setting. I feel a need to modify the rules on creating magic items. I want to expand and possibly re-cast the basis for alchemy and chemistry. I want mana to be aspected in a way that means that wizards can learn to use all aspects and other casters can only learn to use some aspects. Among other things.

    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    Okay, serious questions.

    1) do you actually own Thaumatology? Path Magic has the idea of mages who can skip the need for rituals, components, and prepared spaces entirely. But more importantly it doesn't really have combat suitable spells, which is mages need other skills.

    2) why on earth does combat magic have to be a thing?

    3) seriously, what's wrong with the standard Fireball spell. Charge for up to three seconds spending up to [Magery] Fatigue per second, release on second one, two, or three, when it hours the fireball does one d6 of damage for reach Fatigue of charge.

    4) seriously, Thaumatology. I've got a setting tucked away that uses the 'spell slots via modular abilities' rule, a heavily controlled spell list, and no prerequisites for spells. Spell does cost 8 points per slot, with the option to spend more CP to increase your skill with the spell.

    5) additional rules breed additional problems. The less moving parts the less chance something will go wrong.

    6) have I mentioned that Thaumatology is a really good book?
    1) No. I've got an old 2nd Edition copy of GURPS: Magic. Which, at $5 for the paper copy at the local used book shop, was a pretty good deal. SJ and company did good work.

    2) So magic users don't feel left out. So it has more of that D&D flavor.

    3) Nothing. But I prefer my flavor of the spell to the standard. Though my flavor might not be doable within the constraints I've set myself.

    4) PDF is available through SJ Games and Warehouse23. It's on my purchase list.

    5) Agreed. But having a magic system that agrees the specifics of my setting is worth a little work.

    6) Yes. I'm looking forward to getting it.

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    Yeah, I think you want Realm Magic, which is in Thaumatology. Take a look at it, I can't remember off the top of my head but I think more complex effects ate more difficult to cast. It's an adaptation of the magic system in GURPS Mage: the Ascension .
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

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    More specifically, I want this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jjordan View Post
    More specifically, I want this.
    I'd forgotten about RPM, It's Probably better than Theme Magic is. But I believe both do what you want, in that you have skill based magic where instead of having Feed Flame, Create Fire, Shape Fire, Fireball, Wall of Fire, and Fire Tornado you just have the ability to use Fire based magic.

    Alternatively you can kludge it together. First take the n absolutely horrible 'ritual magic' system in the core book increase casting times by at least two orders of magnitude, them alow players to buy Modular Abilities (Super Memorisation) slots with Preperation Required and Lost On Use/Once a Day. Let them fill these slots with spells they could cast with Ritual Magic but using the standard rolesand taking a -1 penalty for every prerequisite they haven't invested a point in.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kyoryu View Post
    The biggest flaw for me is a lot of the 1-second combat stuff. It sucks to be a ranged weapon user and have to spend multiple *turns* reloading and doing the almost-mandatory one second of aiming.
    Actually that depends, if you are engaging from 100 meters against melee characters then it will take them around 15-20 seconds to close the distance depending on their encumbrance and if you take skills like fast draw and have a normal bow then you get off 5-6 aimed shots while all they do is move. If you have a bow in relative close combat (under 10 meters) then you just do without aiming if your character is skilled enough and shoot every other second.

    Quote Originally Posted by kyoryu View Post
    The only bright side is that your options in a given turn are limited enough that it prevents the kind of multi-minute analysis you tend to see in D&D3+.
    You should really play with the advanced combat rules and use GURPS Martial arts as well then you have plethora of options. The good thing about GURPS though is that once you memorize those options or make a cheat sheet like I did for my players when they started playing GURPS, then the rules apply to everybody. That is there is no niche protection that gives some characters different abilities based on their class.
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    My problem with GURPS is yes one its a toolkit and then unlike almost all versions of dnd it doesn't have a specific award and challenge system. Even Dungeon Fantasy doesn't have that and even the pyramid article "Its a challenge!" or the writers extra blog notes don't actually provide you with that.


    Quote Originally Posted by jjordan View Post
    More specifically, I want this.
    Note that ritual path magic requires the dm to vet every ritual because even some basic stuff (mainly buffs and the books that add bonuses) are very abusable.
    Last edited by VladtheLad; 2019-08-26 at 05:44 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by VladtheLad View Post
    My problem with GURPS is yes one its a toolkit and then unlike almost all versions of dnd it doesn't have a specific award and challenge system. Even Dungeon Fantasy doesn't have that and even the pyramid article "Its a challenge!" or the writers extra blog notes don't actually provide you with that.
    Do you mean guidance for how to scale encounters and reward them?


    Quote Originally Posted by VladtheLad View Post
    Note that ritual path magic requires the dm to vet every ritual because even some basic stuff (mainly buffs and the books that add bonuses) are very abusable.
    Good to know.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RazorChain View Post
    ...stuff...
    I've played GURPS for like 30 years. It remains one of my favorite games.

    Yes, a ranged user can still get off a number of shots. It's not a balance complaint. It's a statement that saying "I spend this turn drawing" is not a particularly fun experience.

    And, no, GURPS doesn't really promote the kind of multi-minute assessment and balancing of options in the way the D&D 3.x does, for instance. Even when using Martial Arts. I'm not saying it's stupid or doesn't have options, just that you don't get the "well, if I move HERE through these, and I can do this, causing these.... " kind of garbage that extends turns in D&D 3.
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    Putting aside for the moment some recent business contacts which are varyingly sketchy, GURPS has a few notable issues.

    1) It loves its acronyms. This is more stylistic and less mechanical, but part of the reason it feels heavy is that GURPS seems to favor some sort of obtuse acronym instead of a descriptive word whenever given the choice.

    2) Varying skill defaults are a pain. Skills are incredibly narrow, which is fine (narrower than I'd like, sure, but that's a preference), and they default to each other off varying penalties, which makes sense. In practice though this means that there are tons of tables floating around for whenever you use a skill you don't have, which is often, as they are numerous.

    3) Combat. The combination of the 1 second round, active defenses, grid combat, and facing mechanics tends to produce something on the slow side.

    4) Derived stats, and the use of tables. Damage is a great example here, but they're all over the place. This is especially true in certain optional subsystems, which brings me to...

    5) GURPS Vehicles. It basically goes full Phoenix Command here, and even die hard GURPS fans tend to be lukewarm on it at best. That's pretty irrelevant though.

    Basically, GURPS is in a space that I really like (fairly simulationist generic systems that support bizarre settings well), but there's enough clunk to its crunch that I tend to favor a simplified descendant. Usually Fudge, which was written by a GURPS author and keeps a lot of that ethos.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jjordan View Post
    Do you mean guidance for how to scale encounters and reward them?
    Not exactly. I mean specific awards for specific challenges aren't even an option.
    Basically a CR/XP/Treasure/Magic items system like in 3.5 or a XP/Treasure one like in adnd.
    If you really look DF does have some systems like these. In DF 8 it does give a short of Treasure value per adventure but with no guidance on how to scale it at higher point totals.
    A pyramid article in pyramid 3#77 has a way to give CR to monsters and players, though it results in pretty linear xp awards to the players AND its only calculated for about half the published monsters.
    The writer has a blog spot that gives treasure for CR, but its weird because the treasure changes depending on the players party "level". I guess if you don't mind that its fine.
    Last edited by VladtheLad; 2019-08-29 at 05:22 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Knaight View Post
    2) Varying skill defaults are a pain. Skills are incredibly narrow, which is fine (narrower than I'd like, sure, but that's a preference), and they default to each other off varying penalties, which makes sense. In practice though this means that there are tons of tables floating around for whenever you use a skill you don't have, which is often, as they are numerous.
    Eh, I've noticed that the pain of this varies with group. In one group I played with having to crack open the rulebook meant you had failed at the goal of fun, and I never understood why they played D&D rather than something like Unknown Armies*. The other loved how all the rules interacted, and with two copies of the Basic Set somebody could find whatever skill it was you needed, including a character getting a points refund because it was better for him to default from Alchemy than actually roll his Chemistry skill (or the other way around, one of them defaulted from the other at -0).

    The skill defaults work is great, if you're exactly the kind of person is aimed at (the mathematically adept scientist/engineer who is eligible to stop the investigation plot for an in depth discussion of the dwarven subway), but not if you're, say, an engineer who prefers to make up cool abilities and doesn't care about rules.

    * Actually I do know, basic familiarity with the spells they useful and ab reluctance to learn new basic mechanics.

    3) Combat. The combination of the 1 second round, active defenses, grid combat, and facing mechanics tends to produce something on the slow side.
    Basic Combat is fine. I've never seen anybody actually add in Advanced Combat because it more than quintuples the complexity.

    [QUOTE]4) Derived stats, and the use of tables. Damage is a great example here, but they're all over the place. This is especially true in certain optional subsystems, which brings me to...[QUOTE]

    I remember Swing Damage, Thrust Damage, Basic Lift, Basic Speed, Basic Move, Dodge/Block/Parry, Will, Per, and arguably stuff like Effective IQ for magic. Not actually a ton, and three of those are derived from the same stats (Basic Speed is DX+HT/4, Basic Move is Basic Speed with the fractional part rounded down, Dodge is Basic Speed without the fractions plus three). Sure, it's quite a bit, and many of them can be bought independently (and Will and Per probably should be entirely separate from IQ), but not the largest array I've seen.

    5) GURPS Vehicles. It basically goes full Phoenix Command here, and even die hard GURPS fans tend to be lukewarm on it at best. That's pretty irrelevant though.
    They're getting better, GURPS Spaceships has a much more streamlined Spaceship design system than the one in GURPS Space for 3e (I believe Space 4e left it out entirely). But yeah, the 3e subsystems kind of went a little overboard.

    Basically, GURPS is in a space that I really like (fairly simulationist generic systems that support bizarre settings well), but there's enough clunk to its crunch that I tend to favor a simplified descendant. Usually Fudge, which was written by a GURPS author and keeps a lot of that ethos.
    I tend to find Fudge's idea of working out and making your own stat/skill list isn't as good a fit for me as sitting dien with the massive GURPS lists and deciding what is and isn't allowed. I also hate the ladder and will pretty much only run Fudge after replacing it with a numeric scale, it just makes everything run faster for me (on the other hand I get why it makes things easier for other people, I just don't have a massively word oriented thought process).

    But eh, neither approach is wrong. For me GURPS is perfect, but that has as much to do with the sourcebooks as the rules.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

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    Quote Originally Posted by VladtheLad View Post
    Not exactly. I mean specific awards for specific challenges aren't even an option.
    Basically a CR/XP/Treasure/Magic items system like in 3.5 or a XP/Treasure one like in adnd.
    If you really look DF does have some systems like these. In DF 8 it does give a short of Treasure value per adventure but with no guidance on how to scale it at higher point totals.
    A pyramid article in pyramid 3#77 has a way to give CR to monsters and players, though it results in pretty linear xp awards to the players AND its only calculated for about half the published monsters.
    The writer has a blog spot that gives treasure for CR, but its weird because the treasure changes depending on the players party "level". I guess if you don't mind that its fine.
    Cool. Thanks for the clarification. I think I can deal with that and help make the player experience fun with my process, rather than trying to make systemic changes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by VladtheLad View Post
    Not exactly. I mean specific awards for specific challenges aren't even an option.
    Basically a CR/XP/Treasure/Magic items system like in 3.5 or a XP/Treasure one like in adnd.
    If you really look DF does have some systems like these. In DF 8 it does give a short of Treasure value per adventure but with no guidance on how to scale it at higher point totals.
    A pyramid article in pyramid 3#77 has a way to give CR to monsters and players, though it results in pretty linear xp awards to the players AND its only calculated for about half the published monsters.
    The writer has a blog spot that gives treasure for CR, but its weird because the treasure changes depending on the players party "level". I guess if you don't mind that its fine.
    That's a good thing actually. I don't remember any other game other than DnD that explicitly rewards killing things.

    Remember once in Ad&d 2nd ed where the party took a detour to murder some hippogriffs we saw in a distance just because their treasure table was awesome
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    Quote Originally Posted by RazorChain View Post
    That's a good thing actually. I don't remember any other game other than DnD that explicitly rewards killing things.

    Remember once in Ad&d 2nd ed where the party took a detour to murder some hippogriffs we saw in a distance just because their treasure table was awesome
    I actually like it, at least as an option. Note that's its not necessary about killing things. In adnd at least you got xp from carrying treasure to your base and from using magic items.

    It nice to have a specific "you gain xp this way" mechanic in an rpg. I don't mind actually playing in "you took part in the session you gain X amount of xp" games, but I also like the classic dnd approach.

    Regarding the Hippogrifs I don't think you actually get any treasure unless you find their nest.

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    Thanks for all the information, folks. Appreciate your time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RazorChain View Post
    I don't remember any other game other than DnD that explicitly rewards killing things.
    Steve Jackson Games recently re-released The Fantasy Trip. This was a great old system that Steve lost the rights to when it was held by Metagaming. Long story not worth telling, he got the rights back and re-released it. It has a really deadly combat system and only 3 stats, IQ, DX, ST. When you kill a creature you get XP for every point of damage you do and if you put in the killing blow you earn XP = to the character's DX.

    But other than that system, I can't remember any either.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shabbazar View Post
    Steve Jackson Games recently re-released The Fantasy Trip. This was a great old system that Steve lost the rights to when it was held by Metagaming. Long story not worth telling, he got the rights back and re-released it. It has a really deadly combat system and only 3 stats, IQ, DX, ST. When you kill a creature you get XP for every point of damage you do and if you put in the killing blow you earn XP = to the character's DX.

    But other than that system, I can't remember any either.
    1) Really? The Fantasy Trip has been re-released? Cool! That was one of the first games I played.
    2) Rewarding people for killing things is pretty much the basis of most roleplaying games, even if it's sometimes indirect. Rolemaster awards points for killing folks, for example. Runequest doesn't directly reward killing, but practicing your skill with weapons (killing people and creatures) meant that you got more skilled. At killing people and creatures.

    So far as rewarding players I think I can address the issue with an approach somewhere between Rolemaster and Runequest (skills that get practiced improve, new skills can be acquired, and so on)

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