Friday, August 31, 2012

Gob, Son of Gul, Son of Gar

Points Total: 312
Disadvantages: -62
Total: 250

ST: 11 [10]               HP: 15 [8]
DX: 14 [80]              Will: 11
IQ: 11 [20]               Per: 11
HT: 10                      FP: 10

Basic Speed: 6         Basic Move: 6
Size Modifier: -1

Languages: Goebleen (Native), Malstern (Accented) [4]
Wealth: Average
Status: Average
Cultural Familiarity: Goebleen
Technology Level: 5

Allies: Gob's Cousins (made with 50% points, Frequency of Appearance: 9, 6-10 cousins) [18]
Ambidexterity [5]
Combat Reflexes [15]
Contact: Uncle (Frequency of Appearance: 9, skill level 18, reliable) [12]
Dark Vision [25]
Enhanced Defenses: Dodge +1 [15]
Gunslinger [25]
Teeth (Sharp Teeth) [1]
Signature Gear (Pistols) [2]

Addiction (Nicotine) [-5]
Duty (Goebleen, Quite Rarely, Frequency: 6) [-2]
Phobia (Underground, non-warren places, Self Control: 12) [-15]
Sense of Duty (Goebleen) [-15]
Short Attention Span (Self Control: 12) [-10]
Short Lifespan 1 [-10]
Skinny [-5]

Acrobatics - 15 [8]
Armoury: Small Arms - 13 [8]
Explosives: Demolition - 12 [4]
Fast Draw: Ammo - 17* [4]
Fast Draw: Pistol - 17* [4]
First Aid - 13 [4]
Guns: Pistol - 22^ [12]
Leadership - 11 [2]
Melee Weapons: Shortsword - 14 [2]
Stealth - 16 [8]
Survival - 11 [2]
Throwing - 15 [4]

*Factors in +1 for Combat Reflexes
^Factors in the Accuracy bonus from Gunslinger and pistols

Double Loading - 18 [2]
Dual Weapon Attack - 22 [5]
Thumbing - 22 [3]

So that is the GURPS version of Gob, power-wise this rendition of Gob is probably closer to level 10 than level 3 in Pathfinder. This Gob is built with 250 character points, plus a disadvantage allotment of -50 points (though he didn't use all 50), plus whatever he gets from his racial template (the Goebleen get -16 from their racial template. Long story short, Gob is built with 250 character points. Yay.

His basic attributes follow his Pathfinder version fairly well, though the numbers are different due to what the numbers mean in each system. Gob's ST is above average for a Goebleen because he has those heavy duty .45 caliber pistols and he needs to be able to lift them. His 14 DX is an exceptional score. His IQ is a little above average and his HT is right smack dab in the center of average.

His secondary characteristics are all based off his basic attributes, so they're only slightly above average aside from hit points. His whopping 15 HP are considered exceptional. I bought extra hit points because I figure Goebleen are tough little buggers and I am paranoid about GURPS combat with guns leaving dead PCs all over the place. Realistically, he should cap out at 13 hit points, which is still "a lot" but not really overkill.

He knows Goebleen and Malstern, his wealth and status are average, though if I had extra points I might increase those. He is familiar with Goebleen culture and his technology level is 5, which is unusual. The overall tech level of Orcunraytrel is around 2 or 3, which is iron and steel weapons and that sort of thing. To give you an idea, The Known World would be 5+1 to indicate that they are generally TL 5 (though there are some very backward cultures like the Greenskin Abraxens and tribal Uncout) while the +1 indicates the nonsense about steampunk gadgetry and weaponry I have lying around. Our real world TL is something like 9 on the way to 10 I believe. I figure Gob and his dad have had enough experience with the pirates that it isn't unreasonable to assume Gob's tech level is similar to that the pirate's. Show him a steam rifle or suit of lightning driven armor and you'll make his head explode though.

With his advantages we start with Allies, he's got his cousins to hang out with him every once in a while. Basically how it works is that at the start of every scenario (unless the GM decides they are important to the scenario and just factors them in from the start) you'd roll 3d, on a nine or less the cousins show up. The range is 6-10, I'm not sure if that needs to be a set number or a random roll or what. I'd probably do it as a random roll of 1d+4 and add one if you end up with the minimum. However, the fact that it is a range that does not easily convert into dice rolls would seem to indicate it is a set number, so eight, Gob has eight cousins that like to hang out and stick Asosans with arrows. With more points I'd probably start tinkering away at this ability to increase the frequency first, then increase the points value of his cousins.

Next is Ambidexterity, which just removes the -4 DX penalty for using your off hand, makes using two guns a slight bit easier. Combat Reflexes is next, it is a pretty good advantage for any combat character, it improves all of your active defenses, your fast draw skill, helps you avoid being surprised, and helps you wake up quicker from stuns. Any experienced combatant would have it I think. The Contact allows Gob to try to get answers about stuff out of his uncle, he makes a 3d check and on a 9 or less his uncle can give him some info. His uncle is a reliable source so his answers won't be worthless and his skill level is 18 so he is pretty knowledgeable. His uncle would only advise him on sorcerous issues though.

Dark Vision is part of the Goebleen racial trait, it is effectively Darkvision from Pathfinder, Gob can see in black and white in the dark. Enhanced Defenses gives Gob a +1 to his dodge defense, I think it comes out to about an 11, so if Gob is aware of an attack he can roll 3d and on an 11 or less he can dodge it.

Gunslinger is basically a must have for any big deal firearms expert. It allows a shooter to add the weapon's accuracy statistic to their attack rolls, the full bonus for a one handed firearm and half the bonus for a two handed firearm. Gob's pistols have an accuracy stat of 4, which jumps his skill up to 22. In a straight roll without modifiers, Gob hits everything he shoots at unless he rolls a critical miss (an 18 is a critical failure, a 3 or 4 are critical successes). He can target head shots (which have a -7 penalty) and still have an effective skill of 15, which is pretty decent. So if he rolls below a 15 on 3d, headshot for x4 damage.

The Teeth advantage is another advantage from the Goebleen racial template and makes Gob's teeth do cutting rather than crushing damage, and they do his thrust damage -1, so his bite does 1d-2 cutting damage, which multiplies damage by 1.5 if it penetrates damage resistance. Normal teeth do thrust-1 crushing damage, which has no injury multiplier if it penetrates damage resistance.

The last advantage is Signature Gear, which accounts for Gob's pistols, a hand me down from his father and grandfather. Signature Gear gives you X amount of cash per point you spend on it to buy signature items for your character like heirlooms or relics of your people that your wealth would not normally allow you to afford. The GM is allowed to have them get stolen or destroyed, but the player always gets a chance to recover them.

Addiction to nicotine is the first disadvantage Gob has, it is pretty minor. Basically he gets restless and irritable if he goes too long without a cigarette, prolonged periods result in penalties to DX and IQ and self control rolls. Next is his Duty to the Goebleen, this basically means he is obligated to work and fight for the Goebleen nation, however their control is pretty light. The GM either sets up a scenario around his Duty or at the start of a scenario he rolls 3d and on a 6 or less some aspect of his duty to the Goebleen people comes into play during the scenario.

Gob has a Phobia of underground places that aren't warrens. Basically any time he is underground to the point where demons are a possibility, he has to roll a 3d self control roll, on a 12 or less he is ok for now, but needs to roll again in ten minutes. If he fails he starts freaking out and gets penalties to DX and IQ and has to make a Fright Check, which could stun him or drain his FP, or have other effects more serious effects. Luckily Combat Reflexes adds a bonus to his check.

Gob, like most Goebleen, has a fairly short and twitchy attention span unless something is super serious to him. In situations where he is doing something long and boring or where something much more interesting is going on, he makes a 3d self control roll. On a 12 or less he is fine, if he fails he fails at whatever he is doing at the moment and goes and chases a butterfly or whatever it was that distracted him. If I had more points, I'd probably buy this down to the Distractible quirk or increase the self control roll.

Short lifespan means that Gob doesn't live as long as humans. This is another disadvantage from the Goebleen racial template. It means that he doesn't live past 50 years of age and has to roll aging rolls much more frequently than other races (25, 35, and 45 years old). Aging rolls are a series of HT checks for your ST, DX, IQ, and HT stats. When Gob reaches 25, he makes a HT check every year, at 35 it is every six months, and at 45 it is every three months. If he fails his check, he decreases the characteristic in question by 1 point, two if he rolls a 17 or 18 on the 3d check. This HT check gains bonuses based on technology level of his society and if he is Fit or Very Fit, there are other advantages that can have an effect on it as well.

Skinny is the last disadvantage of the Goebleen racial template. Basically, Gob and all Goebleen, are kind of scrawny. This disadvantage gives him a -2 to his checks to resist knockback and a -2 to his checks to use the Disguise and Shadowing skills. It also caps his HT score at 14.

Gob has a bunch of skills that basically mimic his competencies in Pathfinder. Acrobatics is basically the same as its Pathfinder equivalent, additionally it allows you to roll against Acrobatics once a turn to do an Acrobatic dodge, rather than your dodge stat. You can do like a flip to avoid an arrow or bulletor hop over a swinging axe blade or what have you. Something agile and cinematic.

Armoury with the Small Arms specialization is basically the equivalent of Craft (Gunsmithing). The crafting rules for GURPS are a little less stringently defined than in Pathfinder. I'm honestly not sure how they function, but I suppose as the GM I can wing it. Or Google it. I'm sure that would turn up legit answers. 

Explosives with the Demolitions specialization is Gob's skill with setting and timing explosives. The Fast Draw skills ensure that Gob can draw his pistols quickly without spending a ready action during his round of combat if they're holstered and that he can reload them quickly. Normally it takes 3 seconds (three rounds in combat) to reload a single round in the revolver, but Fast Draw: Ammo shortens that by at least a second or two. 

First Aid is one of several skills that are the equivalent of Heal in Pathfinder, which Gob has several ranks in. It allows Gob to apply bandages and treat shock. Applying bandages stops bleeding and heals 1 HP, treating shock at TL 5 with First Aid heals 1d-2 HP if Gob treats the patient for twenty minutes. 

Guns: Pistol is Gob's skill with pistols and using them to put holes in people. Leadership is Gob's ability to command troops and can give a few bonuses to attack speed and some skills of the group if he is leading a group. I figure since Gob's goal is to be kind of a warleader of his people, this is a pretty integral skill to his character. Melee Weapons: Shortsword is Gob's skill with small blades. Stealth is Gob's ability to sneak around, which he is pretty good with. Survival is his ability to live off the land and survive. Finally, Throwing is his attack skill with thrown objects like grenades and knives and such. 

Techniques in GURPS are essentially a subset of skills, but kind of not. Their function is to basically allow you to buy off penalties for certain actions. For instance, Gob has the Dual Weapon Attack technique. Normally, if you attack with two weapons in combat, you suffer a -4 penalty to your skill level. The technique defaults to the skill level -4, which is normal for the action, so what you do is buy the technique at the default +1-4, to lessen the penalty for such an action to make it easier to attack with two weapons. So instead of attacking with an 18 skill level, which is still a success on anything but an 18 in normal circumstances, Gob attacks at a 22 for his skill level, his normal Guns: Pistol level. I guess it gives him more wiggle room to target more difficult shots with both weapons at once. The Double Loading technique allows him to load two rounds instead of one at a time and the Thumbing technique enhances the rate of fire of his revolvers. 

So that is the GURPS version of Gob. Now I am going to return to building a castle out of lava in Minecraft. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Tower Upgrayedd

Alright, so the following pics are some additions to the whole Minecraft Fort Jagged Tooth thing I periodically work on. Recently my computer crashed while I was working on it and I lost my most current save file of Orcunraytrel. At that time, I had about seven hundred feet of ten foot tall and ten foot thick wooden wall surrounding the fort, a two level stone barracks, and a double sized forge. I held off from posting pictures of it because the guys didn't have the cash to put up all those additions at once. Since the corruption of my save file, we've established that they just want a Goebleen barracks and storage space for now with more additions to be built as cash is available, sounds like the next one will be an addition to the forge. 


The above picture is kind of an overview of the area. I didn't feel like flying around the massive maps that Minecraft can generate in an attempt to find the perfect spot for For Jagged Tooth, so I found a fairly flat area and started building. However, that flat spot was surrounded by hills and there is a large swamp to the east. So I started using TNT to blow holes in stuff and now it exists on a flat plain that I can expand as needed to represent the Fort and its environs. TNT is fun, but dangerous. One blast accidentally took out half the first floor of the tower and I had to rebuild it. The mound on the right side of the map is the Goebleen barracks.

The tower from the north side. 

The tower from the east side. 
The wooden structure is the stable with a water trough in front of it while the stone structure on the right is the exterior of the forge. On the left is a well. The mound on the right is the south facing side of the Goebleen barracks. 

The tower from the south side. 
The little wooden structure on the left is an outhouse. After all, there are like thirty or so dudes in here, they need someplace to shit. 

The tower from the west side.

The outhouse.
 The outhouse has a hatch to shit in. The shaft extends to the very bottom of the map. Don't fall in.

The Goebleen barracks from the east side.

The Goebleen barracks from the west side.

Interior of the barracks.
Originally, when I built a barracks I built it out of stone, but the guys said they were planning to house Goebleen mercenaries in it and have them build it, so I decided it would be build in the way Goebleen build their warrens. Basically it is a big hard packed dirt mound with tree trunks as supports and rafters. They've laid down cobblestones as flooring (I couldn't use dirt because any dirt near other dirt in Minecraft starts to grow grass and turn green) and have piled blankets on the floor for sleeping mats with chests for belongings. The ceiling is also six feet tall than ten feet because Goebleen are short. The ladder to the storage space is in the corner near a support beam over in the right corner of the screen.

Goebleen barracks storage.
This is the storage facility beneath the barracks, full of chests and supplies. They also keep it well lit with torches and such because Goebleen are wary of darkness and the demons it typically holds. Ten feet underground is about as far as the Goebleen are willing to dig. 

Anyway, so that is the new addition to Fort Jagged Tooth. Previous pictures of the interior of the tower itself are here. Yay Minecraft!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Modern League

Alright, so I've completed the next scenario of our Pathfinder game, which means it is time to kind of start work on the GURPS Modern League one shot adventure. I believe everyone has a pretty good idea of what they are going to play, and I know what I'll be playing as well. I'm actually watching a movie right now to do research on my NPC. Hehe. I guess I am just having some difficulty getting started and figuring out where exactly to start with this whole process. The GURPS books are kind of light on issues like enemy construction and plotting out scenarios, but it can't be too terribly different from making a Pathfinder scenario, outside of the mechanics.  

I have the plot settled out. The guys are The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, except they work for the United States rather than England and whatnot. Their liaison with the government is an agent of a branch of United States security known as FLAG, he is called Agent Plissken. He has an eyepatch and a beard. In this pseudo-futuristic setting, the island of Manhattan has been turned into a penal colony walled up and left to its own devices where rival gangs just kind of prey on each other for shits and giggles. 

The penal colonists are monitored by the government to ensure that no one is on the cusp of breaking out or attaining complete control over the area and perhaps unifying them into an army of criminals prepared to charge the barricades and lands mines and whatnot to escape the place. Which is where FLAG and the players come in. Government surveillance has revealed that one relatively small gang is starting to make waves in their neck of the woods. They're starting to get more and more territory and they've also taken to destroying government surveillance in their neck of the woods as well. The government monitors the various districts of Manhattan with surveillance equipment, bugs, and security cameras all over the place. 

I just want to mention at this point that since this is a one shot, I am trying to avoid putting a shit ton of work into the setting. The details of a lot of stuff are going to be vague in the interests of playing it in the relatively near future. I have no intention of making a campaign book for a one shot meant to test a system I am curious about using in the future. For now lets just say Manhattan is a penal colony and the government watches it because that is what they do. Additionally, magic, superscience, aliens, psychics, and mutants exist.

Alright, so this gang, calling themselves The Warriors, is starting to take control of more territory while kind of managing to keep their activities from the eyes of the authorities. The government knows they're consolidating power and wants them to stop, in part because their surveillance seems to indicate that they are doing it by extreme savagery and violence, rather than a weapons cache or politicking with other factions. What info they've gathered seems to indicate that The Warriors are engaging in cannibalism and a host of other violent and weird tendencies possibly indicating the use of magic. Basically they are killing and eating opposing gangs and freaking everyone the fuck out. The government wants FLAG and their sub-organization the League, to figure out what is going on and put a stop to it by any means necessary, as long as enough of Manhattan is left to still act as a penal colony. 

So I guess I have the plot down, and I have an idea how to implement things, so I just need to get to work I guess. I think the first step is making sure everyone has their character concept down and that they're well on their way to making them. I guess the step after that is to start making enemies. I think I have a better idea than in the past as to how to create enemies though. 

The guys in that actual play podcast were fighting the T-800 with 500 point characters, so what the GM did was build the T-800 with 1500 character points, which is the points total of the three players added together. I think that might be the way to go with bosses or whatever you want to call them. So I guess the theory is that if you want to challenge the group to within an inch of death, make enemies with points totals equal to the players and split it among however many enemies you want to have. If you want to make a bunch of faceless mooks to piss the party off but not eviscerate them, just kind of undercut the point total a bit. Faceless mooks should also probably not have disadvantages that revolve around their background or short lifespans, basically anything that would boost the character points they spend on advantages, stats, and skills without having any real impact on gameplay during the one shot. 

So there we go, I have some starting points and an idea for the plot of the campaign. Anyone have any thoughts or ideas as well?

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Question of Eldumanity

Alright, so I think I figured out the whole Elduman thing. For starters, here is the original:

  • Regeneration (Very Fast) 100 points
  • Costs Fatigue Points (2 FP) -10%
  • Emergencies Only (works when I say it does, but tied to adrenaline/excitement) -30%
  • Psychic Healing ability (doesn't function in anti-psi effects) -10%
  • 50 points after limitations

That is what I initially conceived that the Elduman ability to reconstitute their crystalline flesh was. Basically, in a fight where an Elduman gets excited (making it a really poor decision to take any "combat and blood and death are boring" advantages) the ability kicks on and drains their FP. This makes it a 50 point ability, which is a fifth of the character points I would allow in a Hekinoe game, not counting bonus points for disadvantages. Its a really good ability, and charging the fatigue points sets it going for a solid minute before it turns off or drains more FP. A minute is sixty rounds of combat. It basically ensures that an Elduman or an Elduman Descended Uncout with the ability will be at full hit points following almost any battle. Assuming they survive it. The Elduman ability in Pathfinder doesn't heal, it just prevents the damage by paying power points and causes the Elduman to not be dealt any damage. Regeneration kind of misses the main point of this ability, the prevention of damage. While writing at some previous point on the blog about GURPS it popped into my head that perhaps Damage Resistance, rather than Regeneration, was the way to go with this ability. So I tweaked it. Here is what I came up with:

  • Damage Resistance 12 60 points
  • Semi-Ablative (every 10 points of damage reduces the DR by 1 point until it heals) -20%
  • Costs Fatigue Points (1 FP) -5%
  • Emergencies Only (only works when I say it does, but tied to adrenaline/excitement) -30%
  • Psychic Healing ability (doesn't function in anti-psi effects) -10%
  • 21 points after limitations

So that is the new version. It is cheaper, if a bit less flashier. It also fulfills the intent of the ability by preventing the Elduman from ever taking damage. Basically what it does is reduce all damage dealt to the Elduman by 12 points. However, because it is semi-ablative, it slowly decreases in strength. We can attribute that to mental strain from the Elduman binding every atom of its physical form together with its psychic power. To give you an idea, a GURPS version KMT Revolver does 3d -2 p+ damage. What that means is a bullet from the revolver does 3d6-2 damage, and any damage that gets through damage resistance does 1.5 times damage. On average the weapon will do 9 damage, which is completely prevented by the damage resistance of the ability and is not sufficient enough to reduce it. Elduman can take bullets from a large caliber revolver (.45, specifically) and survive. This ability does not preclude the use of armor either, so you can pile on some TL 5 armor and if that doesn't stop the damage, you have the Elduman ability beneath it as an additional layer of protection. Ablative Damage Resistance heals the same as hit points, you make a HT roll at the end of every day of rest and if you succeed, you heal one point. Various healing effects like First Aid skill use and the Healing ability can restore it much faster. 

Additionally, because the Elduman are utterly inhuman and basically a crystal lifeform animated by psychic power, I have given them the Unhealing (Partial) disadvantage. This means they can only heal naturally when a certain circumstance is met (haven't quite figured that out yet, whoops), by stealing hit points via stuff like Vampiric Bite or Leech, or through psionics and magic. This frees up more points to power up this Damage Resistance ability if you want to further improve it, or you could buy off the Semi-Ablative portion of it. Whatever. 

I'm actually really quite pleased with the Damage Resistance version of the ability. It just really fits with the intent of the ability in a way that the Regeneration version did not. Plus, I really really enjoy diving into my books and trying to tweak this system to get precisely what I am looking for from it. 

Unfortunately, talking about the partial healing and the reconstitution of crystalline flesh and whatnot has got me thinking. If Eldumans are in fact a nervous system sheathed in crystal matter that is animated and given life by their psychic power, would it perhaps be appropriate for them to have Injury Tolerance (No Blood) or (No Brain) or (No Vital) or perhaps even the mighty (Unliving)? I mean, the first three are cheap, at five points a piece. Unliving is a twenty point ability though, and if I determine that all four are appropriate, we're looking at a thirty-five point increase in the cost of the Elduman racial template, which already sits at forty-one points. Forty-one isn't that bad, especially considering Soulless rate at a mighty one hundred and thirty-one points for their template. 

Might have to think on this more for a bit. 

In other news, I've converted Gob, Eran, and Karrak to 250 point GURPS characters. I was originally working on building Bartelby from Dogma (came in at 350 points with wings and various vision powers and a flaming sword) for Jeremy, but then we got to talking and he wants to play Scrooge McDuck and I got distracted by the Damage Resistance thing. Might post those at some point. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Extraordinary Gentlemen

So I was having a purely hypothetical discussion with Jeremy the other day about a modern League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. I'll back up for a moment and give the whole story before getting into current events. 

So from time to time I listen to actual play podcasts, where a group of gamers sits down and records their sessions, it started with Penny Arcade doing the podcasts of their 4th Edition adventures with WoTC. I started searching for other actual play podcasts and found this group called Role-Playing Public Radio, they do actual plays and your standard ramble about gaming for an hour podcasts. They're a pretty funny group and they cover a wide range of systems (4th Edition, GURPS, Call of Cthulhu, Monsters and Other Childish Things, Rifts, and a few others). 

With my obsession I tend to pay close attention whenever they use GURPS (bolding and italicizing it every single time got old quick). Recently, after kind of a hiatus from listening to their actual plays, I saw they played a GURPS Modern League of Extraordinary Gentlemen four part actual play. The podcasts are lengthy, each session is like four hours long. Anyway, ever since the somewhat sub par film came out, I kind of fell in love with the concept of a League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, it is basically a campaign/story/whatever based on call backs. 

So in the film and comics heroes from literature team up, Mina Harker, Alex Quartermain, Dr. Jekyll, Captain Nemo, Moriarty, Holmes, and the Invisible Man appear as the main characters in the comic. The film added in Tom Sawyer, Ishmael, and Dorian Grey. The concept behind a modern League is to take characters from film and team them up. So I was listening to RPPR and they are playing one called TMNT II: Judgement Day. I'll explain in a moment what that means. 

So the character roster from this session is Bill Strannix, Tommy Lee Jones' character from Under Siege brought back to life via the Universal Soldier program from the Van Damme/Dolph Lundgren films. I may have inadvertently described this character as Steven Seagal's character from the movie to people. Whoops. The second character is Gary Hampton, Image comic's The Astounding Wolf Man. I know nothing of him. Finally, the team is rounded out by Dean Winchester, from the tv show Supernatural, a show I have enjoyed for like six years now. The team is given their orders by Keyser Soze. They also have the option of recruiting Mike Pearson to their cause, the kid from Phantasm. 

The plot is that T-800 (The Terminator) is attempting to kick off Judgement Day. His first task, once again, is to kill John Connor. However, John is the son of April O'Neil and Casey Jones and the T-800 has already killed Casey Jones, April, Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo, and Splinter. I believe he is also Shredder and has used the Foot to combat the turtles.  Also, I believe Raphael is becoming Robocop, not sure on that yet, have to listen to the next episode. 

Anyway, so I got the idea to ask everyone what they might play in such a situation, and one thing led to another and I sent out an email and now we are going to at some undisclosed future time play our very own modern League one shot adventure with GURPS. 

The roster is as follows: Lance with Ash of Evil Dead/Army of Darkness. Eric with Pete Lattimer of Warehouse 13, a SyFy show based around the concept of that warehouse in the Indiana Jones films where the Ark of the Covenant gets stowed, though the show has no affiliation with those films. Jason will be playing Ray Stantz of Ghostbusters and Jeremy will be playing Bartelby of Dogma. 

So that is a pretty eclectic cast with a bit of a supernatural theme. The theme of the group kind of lends itself to some sort of supernatural, rather than science, themed adventure. I have an idea with a suitable villain for this type of campaign. Its not a ridiculously entertaining mashup like RPPR's, but it is a callback to a decent film from the 80s.

Ash and Pete are fairly easy to build. Pete is an intuitive type with his Tesla and his firearms skill. Probably give him Intuition and Luck along with Combat Reflexes and some Contacts in the Warehouse to use as information sources. Give him Alcoholism for a disadvantage and some other stuff to kind of simulate his goofy and easily distracted nature. He isn't really an artifact guy, Artie is the one from the show that tends to pull out the artifacts. The rest is basically skills and such. I don't think Pete is enough of a gun guy to merit getting the Gunslinger advantage, but if you have points left over, I would probably go with that.

Ash is pretty simple as well, Innate Attack as his chainsaw arm. Give him High Pain Tolerance, Hard To Subdue, and Hard To Kill (he did cut off his possessed hand and replace it with a metal hand and chainsaw after all) and some skills with shotguns and occult knowledge. I'd have to watch the movies again if I wanted to find more stuff to give him, as it has been many years since I've seen them. Probably safe to go with the One Hand disadvantage though.

Ray Stantz is kind of a hard thing for me to build. He's a pretty normal smart guy, maybe give him the Science! wildcard skill and Unfazeable to simulate his experience with all kinds of crazy nonsense. Not sure if the theme of Unfazeable is entirely appropriate though. I'm not sure what to do with his proton pack, as it has been a while since I've seen the films and I'm not sure what effects a single beam has on stuff or how useful it would be against anything other than ghosts.

Bartleby is a little more difficult for me to make. He is an integral character to the plot of Dogma, but gets little face time in comparison with other characters so we don't have a lot of material to go on. We can guess that he is likely stronger and faster and tougher than a human, so increasing HT, DX, and ST is probably a given. He can fly, so we give him Flight. We should probably use him before he appears in the movie, before he has delusions of destroying everything that exists and loses his wings. He also wears a metal breastplate in the tail end of the movie, so we can buy that as Damage Resistance as some sort of tough angelic plate armor, but he seems to lose his wings to bullets relatively easily so he isn't innately tough against physical attacks. Beyond that and some skills, I dunno what else to give him. We don't see him do too much magicky angely stuff in the film, likely due to budget concerns.

I was initially going to use The Shadow for my NPC, but now I'm not so sure. I'll have to think about it, but I have some ideas. The Shadow would be pretty easy to build as well, but he has so many alternate identities that it becomes costly and almost silly to buy those for a one shot adventure. I'd probably stick with Gunslinger, Mind Reading, and the Invisibility Art skill and fill out the rest with some cool toys and gun related skills and techniques.

That's all for now I guess.

Monday, August 13, 2012

GURPS Continued

I may have had a double helping of twelve year old whiskey and been listening to copious amounts of Pink Floyd whilst scribing this upon the Internets.

I like GURPS. I want to play/GM GURPS because I think GURPS is a swell system. You know why I like GURPS? I can sum it up very easily. You know those shadows you see burned into walls and stuff? Shadows left around people burned by radiation blasts? I made a sentient one of those with GURPS and it was a viable character. I mean, it had issues with communication, but in a pulpy alternate WWII kind of supers campaign, it would have worked. Also, one of the iconic characters of the game is a Buddhist combat robot. 

Anyway, I find it hard to articulate precisely what draws me to GURPS. I was just talking to Jason the other day about class vs. points/skill based systems and how I reacted upon opening a Shadowrun book and being utterly flummoxed by the complete lack of classes to be found in it. I was mystified as to how one would play such a game, as it had no classes. There were all kinds of abilities and whatnot, but no classes. It was mystifying. Despite loving the concepts of the setting, I did not reopen the book a second time.

A side note, I found out yesterday (which is seven days ago at this point) that the appropriate way to write GURPS is bolded and italicized.

Lately I've felt the desire to play GURPS, which is what led to the most recent GURPS related posts. I'm not sure what led to it this yearning, but I feel it as a strong urge. I feel that it is a strong system, and one that has been well vetted. I think the fourth edition of the game has existed for like eight years now. There are tons of sourcebooks for tweaking the game to get it to be what you want to be. The customization is ridiculous and the comprehensiveness of the rules is just as ridiculous (Want to dive in front of a friend to save them from a bullet? Rules for it. Want to flying tackle someone from across the room and knock them off a cliff or into a grain thresher? Rules for it. Want to grapple someone and snap their neck? Rules for it. Want to punch dudes in metal armor or block large bladed objects with your unarmed strikes? Rules for it, and the damage doing so can do to your hands and fingers. Want to run down someone with a 55' Chevy from the future? Rules for it, with damage based on velocity and weight of the Chevy.) Want to called shot someone's eyeball with a warhammer? (Can't do that, warhammer is too big, strike defaults to targeting the face.) I did another like exploratory exercise and converted all of my Hekinoe races into GURPS racial templates and they all work, except for that whole Elduman ability to reconstitute their flesh with psionic power, still just regeneration, although I suppose I could transform it into some manner of tough skin, ablative damage resistance the can be turned on and off. Hmm, that actually might work. Give them a slower version of regeneration that kind of simulates their psychic powers reinvigorating their crystalline flesh over time, but call the damage resistance kind of a souped up adrenaline fueled version of the same process where instead of healing them, their psionic might is kind of binding the lattices of their flesh together more tightly. Hmm, this idea has potential. 

In my recent conversation with Jason he said that he does not care for class based systems, he doesn't hate them, they're just not his preference. Another recent conversation with Lance informed me that he was having a hard time not min maxing and differentiating his Ranger from other Rangers. I told Lance that things like that are what make me regret my decision to use Pathfinder instead of GURPS.

The way I feel about GURPS while writing this is the same way I felt about Pathfinder while we were playing 4th Edition. Granted, I was very irritated with 4th Edition at the time and I have no real legitimate complaint about Pathfinder as a game. This leads me to wonder if my issue is merely just wondering if the grass is in fact greener on the other side of the fence, which is why I spent most of my day off today (again, this is seven days ago) puttering around in GURPS books looking to make sure it had defined crafting rules and rules for construction of fortresses (it does).

GURPS is more simulationist than anything else, it was designed to be "realistic" so sometimes the rules can be irritating in a way that Pathfinder rules are not. For instance, your Monk can punch iron golems all the live long day and never worry about breaking this fist into the stuff you find at the bottom of a box of cereal that used to be pieces of cereal and not crumbly leavings. The thing in GURPS' favor is that a lot of the rules are optional, and you are advised that if a rule is too serious or not in keeping with the flavor of the game, ignore it. Pathfinder never advises you that if you want a more "realistic" game you should give near misses blunt force trauma damage to simulate the weapon impacting the character's armor or nonsense like that (If a non crushing attack is blocked completely by damage resistance in GURPS, it deals blunt forced trauma damage to armored characters based on how much damage was blocked, yay realism).

Additionally, despite all my investigations and pdfs, we've never really actually played GURPS. One time Eric and I faced the Doctor and the Robot of Inconsistencies Continued off against one another. The Doctor iced the Robot. The battle lasted less than five minutes of real time and a single one second round of in game time, so its not like I have run a bunch of test scenarios and situations to gauge  GURPS as a game. On paper it looks good. In play, who knows. I just kind of feel like GURPS would be a lot easier to make my own so to speak than Pathfinder ever will be. Don't get me wrong, Pathfinder is awesome and I have definitely made some tweaks to the way classes operate, but I feel like I could do more with GURPS. For instance, the Alchemist is one of my favorite classes, but I think giving it a mutagen ability is goofy. I understand that we're channeling Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde, but it seems like kind of a bizarre senseless addition to the class. I'd love to read some designer notes on the class and what the motivation for the inclusion of the mutagen was. Point, if I could, I'd yank the mutagen out, but what could I replace it with that is in keeping with the class' theme? More spells? More skill points maybe, but I think they already get like four or six per level, so there isn't exactly a lot of upward movement there. I dunno, just rambling here I guess. 

I wish either A) I could kick whatever bug is up my ass irritating my GURPS gland, or B) I could play GURPS and finally after what is probably over three years, see how the game works. I have no desire to switch systems mid campaign again, that was kind of irritating from a narrative standpoint when we switched from 4th Edition to Pathfinder.

The toying with GURPS (dog, that is getting annoying to type) that I am doing is basically me trying to scratch an itch to get it to go the fuck away. My players like Pathfinder and have no experience with GURPS and likely no desire whatsoever to switch systems and more importantly, we're all pretty satisfied with the game right now. Which is I guess the most important part of gaming, that we are mostly satisfied and having fun. 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Inconsistencies Continued: Reboot

The Robot, the Driver, the Atlantean, and the Doctor drove across the wastes in a Chevy from a future that was never to be. In their wake they left bikers and mutants and leftover bits of the Wehrmacht from a past that was as obliterated as the future that Chevy was to have been part of.

When the Robot's power plant had detonated, it had ignited the skies of Earth, sort of. The Robot's calculations had not taken into account the Other Robot's power plant, a vastly more unstable device not built with the safety parameters of Tesla's original tech. When the blast wave found the Other Robot and ruptured his power plant's housing, it reversed the tachyon flow and ignited the antimatter stream, which had done a whole mess of things that the Robot hadn't intended. The long and short of it was that instead of destroying most of Earth's population, the Robot had instead turned most of the planet into a radiation scarred wasteland full of mutants and savage leftovers of modern civilization. Enough people had died so that the dimension hopping demons had lost interest in the planet though, so he counted it as a success.

They were driving as fast as the Chevy could, and the Driver was the Driver, so they were screeching across the cracked and broken road at a dangerous speed spewing loose gravel behind them like rounds from the Gangster's piano, which was in the trunk. They'd left the burning wreckage of a motorcycle gang a few miles behind them, and wanted to be well and truly gone when the looters crawled out of the woodwork.

They drove for miles, till a semi armored in chains and fenders and road signs barrelled out of the desert and onto the road in front of them. The rear end of the trailer slammed down and kicked up sparks and The Driver put the Chevy's pedal to the floor and took the ramp into the back. The semi was big, but just a hair less conspicuous than a Chevy that could do a hundred and forty without breaking a sweat with a one ton Robot in the back. The semi swerved and bucked as the trailer jerked wildly with the Chevy's weight and momentum and The Brick cursed at his allies in German.

The sun beat down on them, Hellishly hot, the ozone layer of the planet had mostly been burned off by the Explosion. Come to think of it, a lot of things had burned in the Explosion. The Atlantean, the Brick, the Gangster (the fat and flesh burned onto the trigger and stock of his piano was all that had been left), and the Robot himself especially so.

There was a point where flesh and bone and metal could be burned black by radiation and fire, but not be reduced to ash. The Robot, the Brick, and the Atlantean occupied the far side of that point, just this side of the edge of the line where everything became ash.

The Doctor's gauntlets had saved him, and the Driver too. The Chevy had survived because it had been built that tough. The Driver still discovered new features and hidden compartments on a daily basis. The Explosion had incinerated the paint job though, and now it was all dull metal and scorch marks that frankly made it look badass in this new wasteland.

The Atlantean was as he had ever been. His alien biology had healed him well enough. He'd had to eat The Robot's weight in Nazis and wasteland motorcycle gangs to get there, but he'd come back from the mewling, blackened thing he'd become following the blast. If anything, he was more pissed off and hungry than he had ever been.

The Brick was burned to a crisp. His flesh was charred black, not like an African's was, but like meat left on the spit over a fire for a month too long. His burned flesh was cracked and wept blood and fluid freely and where it wasn't dead and dried out, there were little clusters of tumors growing like happy little radioactive mushrooms. He smelled like barbecue, and looked like he'd been cremated, but he hadn't felt a thing and could still cave in skulls and walls and such with his thickly knuckled fists.

 The Robot, most notably, was no longer a socialist. Ceasing to exist by being melted down to his component chemical compounds, then having that process reversed when the explosion reached his brother and being returned to life as a clanking and rumbling nearly cremated version of himself had taught him that perhaps, once in a while, the needs of the many do not in fact outweigh the needs of the few. The Explosion had turned his chest into a blackened crater and scorched his metal hide. The Doctor and The Driver had used battered pieces of the Chevy to repair and armor his chest, so it was a mess of rippling and gleaming weld marks and Chevrolet symbols, not quite as strong as his original tungsten hull, but enough to turn away small arms fire and the occasional direct hit from a rocket. 

There was a blast of static over an intercom system and hoarse voice of the Brick thundered in the dim interior of the truck, "Success?"

The Doctor answered, "Affirm, the Chevy has been refueled. Back to the base."

The Brick grumbled something vaguely resembling an affirmative and the semi kicked into a higher gear.

The Driver kicked the driver's seat back and reclined, lighting a cigarette as he spoke, "You think Hitler's dead?"

The Robot's head swiveled to look at the Driver, and there was a dull clunking noise emanating from his head before he spoke, "Does such a thing matter in this world?"

The Driver shrugged and pulled the Gangster's hat from the glove box of the Chevy and pulled it down over his eyes. Still puffing on his cigarette he said, "Just curious."

The Atlantean hissed and said, "I grow weary of boredom, apes. I grow wearier of hunger."

There was a clanking ratcheting noise, the ammo feeds cycling on the Robot's gun arm.

The Atlantean snarled, "The apes are too irradiated, golem. They would taste bitter and foul, I have no desire to sup upon their flesh only to retch it all up almost immediately."

The ammo feeds didn't stop cycling, but the Robot nodded and didn't seem to notice what his gun arm was going.

The Doctor sighed and elected to spend the rest of the ride up front with the Brick.

"They're back there catting and hissing at eachoth-"

"Return to the Chevy," grumbled the Brick, "we are pursued."

The Doctor sighed and returned to the Chevy, bellowing, "Incoming."

The Gangster's fedora flipped up and the Chevy roared into life all in one quick movement from the Driver as the back panel of the semi slammed back into the ground and the Driver kicked the Chevy into reverse, swinging the scarred vehicle around to face their pursuers, a motorcycle gang of a dozen riders with shotguns and chains. The Driver revved the Chevy into motion and howled down the road towards the bikers. 

The bikers fired small arms and they pinged against the Chevy, but the Driver kept facing them head on. Three swerved away from the Chevy, the Driver moved through the road like a shark in water deliberately fishtailing and sending three motorcycles careening away like pinballs as the rear end knocked them away with a crash of metal and screams of pain. 

The Atlantean leapt from the roof of the Chevy screeching like some irradiated banshee. Scything talon took the head from one biker and moving like a bird of prey the Atlantean bounced from one bike to another, toppling this one and following the rider to the asphalt. The screams were drowned out by the noises of gnashing teeth and wet meat being hacked apart. 

With no grace and significant noise the Robot simply fell out of one of the doors of the Chevy, rising from the shattered road with his Gatling gun arm sending a hail of rounds into the bikers. A Molotov cocktail shattered against his hull and he strode down the roadway like some mechanical demon out of Hell, billowing black smoke and shrouded in a clock of burning liquid. Under the hail of bullets, two bikes went down, one exploded and left a crater of flaming wreckage on the road. The Driver rambled over it, crushing the burning biker's skull with a quick swerve of the Chevy's heavy tires.   

Two bikers lashed at the Chevy with heavy chains while the third pounded shotgun shells into the windshield. The Doctor leaned out the passenger window, his fist clenched within his gauntlet, and red lances of whining energy severed the chains and bisected the bikers. Their bikes crashed against the Chevy and the car from the future swerved under the impact, the shining bumper now dented and curling away from the front end of the vehicle. 

The last biker spun his bike around and fled back down the road. The Driver turned the wheel and knocked aside the wrecked bikes, his foot descending a fraction of an inch on the pedal while guiding the car with his knees and lighting a cigarette with his hands. Once his hands were back on the wheel the pedal hit the floor and the engine roared like the Brick had when the Explosion had burned his flesh black. 

"He is fleeing," said the Doctor, "I believe we are done here."

The Driver's eyes narrowed and he pulled miles per hour from some hidden place and the speedometer needle hit the red. 

"I just replaced the fucking bumper. I'm gonna feed his bike to the Chevy."

"Fair enough," said the Doctor as he buckled up. 

The Chevy gained on the biker and the Driver eased up on the gas as he passed the leather clad looter. The biker aimed a few shots at the Chevy with his sawed off, the Driver flipped him off as the rounds pinged against the car. Once the Chevy passed the biker he jerked the wheel hard and pulled the parking brake. The Chevy's tires screeched against the road as the rear end of the vehicle swung around and impacted the biker like a battering ram swung by the Robot. The bike shattered and the rider went airborne. He crumpled against the road in a wet, limp heap, screaming and howling through a broken face. The Atlantean fell upon him like a descending hawk and ate his face. 

"Is...isn't that going to leave a bigger dent?"

The Driver pulled his pack from the visor of the Chevy and lit a fresh cigarette, "Principle of the thing."

The Doctor sighed. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


(or how I’ve learned to stop worrying and learned to love 3.5)

I’ve been playing D&D off and on since 2nd edition. For a kid growing up, THAC0 was an annoying amount of math to make combat fun for someone who wanted to just kill Orcs. I liked 2nd edition’s use of campaigns and game worlds. It was a neat way to spark creativity in a young impressionable player. It turns out Dark Sun was my favorite for its strange and foreign game world.  Psionics, a godless land where day to day survival was a challenge, let alone what was hiding in the desert wastes made this campaign setting my favorite one to date.

In college, 3.0 came out and I didn’t have the money or really the interest to invest in books. I managed to buy Neverwinter Nights, and invested a TON of time into the 3.0 game converted into video game form.  From an RP perspective, Neverwinter was geared more towards hack-n-slash.  It was when the five minute work day really became apparent to me.  From playing the campaign to persistent game worlds, you fight a group of monsters and then you have to rest to regenerate your powers.  I also noticed myself pumping points into use magic device to make up for lack of character skill to get around in-game obstacles.

It’s at this point when 4e is released and I have time, money, and interest in pen & paper gaming again.  I enjoyed the toned down skill system, and in my eyes Wizards focused more on combat rules and left the RP more ambiguous for the DM.  I thoroughly enjoyed the system, and its use of At-Will, Daily, Encounter, and Utility (ADEU) form of combat.  I liked how casters didn’t run away from the melee players at higher levels.  I didn’t like how the use of wands and spells made other classes & skills irrelevant in 3.5.  In non-combat encounters, use Diplomacy?  Nah, Charm Person.  Pick a lock?  Knock spell.  Jump a ravine?  Fly.  At the 10th and 20th level, you could pick your paragon and epic tier class features.  This, to me, helped separate your typical Rogue, Fighter, or Cleric from what someone else generated.

So how did 4e fail … well its combat system is TOO tight.  It was hard to implement homebrew rules or use weapons that didn’t fall into a tradition fantasy setting.  The powers typically focused around weapons that were characteristic of each class.  To some, the limit of skills meant limiting your role-play ability.  I would disagree, but then we start that age old debate of whose opinion is more right?  For instance we didn’t even have skills really until the advent of 3rd edition.  But people almost vehemently believe that skills are needed to define the player.  How did this happen?  Also, Save vs. Death.  4e wasn’t lethal.  The DM had to make the encounters absurdly hard in order to kill the players.

4e could have been great had they re-tuned the game and released a 4.5.  4e was just missing that little something to make the adventurers and the worlds they inhabited feel truly heroic.  Followers, castles or keeps, a way to, within the game mechanics, inspire fear in a classic Tomb of Horrors or White Plume Mountain fashion.  I felt there were enough skills to cover almost anything within the players or DM imagination.

Right now, I’m playing a campaign using the Pathfinder system and I am having a good time.  I overlook the fact that my ranger is the same every other ranger in the 3.5/Pathfinder system.  I ignore the fact that I have to go elbow deep in a skill system to micro-manage what my character is proficient at.  I’m trying to embrace the crafting system, when I find it difficult to believe a character has time to be a master smith, master armsman, and full time adventurer.  Where does he get the time to become proficient, let alone know which end of the smithy’s hammer is the business end?  In the end, it’s the players and the DM that make the game worthwhile.

To bring closure to this rant, I appreciate Paizo’s ability to stick to its guns and create a consistent and concise product.  In terms of how to run a game, not much has changed in years.  But what they've done is keep with the times and what players want from their system.  Digital content, check.  Flexible game system, check.  Consistency across titles and products, check.  I love 4e, but I can’t love how the player base was ignored or abandoned.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Hekinoe Via GURPS

I get bored I guess.

So Hekinoe has been designed for Pathfinder at this point, anything I create for it tends to be created in terms of a class based system with periodic tweaks from small abilities like feats. I felt like trying to convert the more finicky elements of Hekinoe into a GURPS format. The first step is to identify the most iconic or finicky of Hekinoe's traits. Let me say to be clear, I have no intention of converting Hekinoe to GURPS (except in the unlikely circumstance that my players were to demand it), I am merely doing this out of curiosity and boredom and to have something to do while watching old episodes of Tosh.0 and to salve the ache caused by the corruption of my most recent Minecraft save.
  • Fucked up magic. Magic is unreliable and prone to misfiring into weird random effects. Without that aspect, there can be no GURPS Hekinoe. 
  • D'alton's shadow powers. Shadowdancers are one of my favorite prestige classes, I have a hard on for darkness and gloom I guess. One of his key abilities (despite never being used during gameplay) is his ability to hop in and out of shadows as a means of traveling. Additionally, his other iconic ability is the power to call forth his shadow self to do battle on his behalf. 
  • Xein's mutagen. I have a good idea how to achieve this, but Xein is a long running character in my campaign and he needs to have himself a mutagen. In the long run though, I imagine GURPS has enough stuff for gadgetry that Eric never would have considered taking advantages that would amount to a mutagen if we had ever played GURPS, still, I feel like throwing it in here.
  • Leadership. With Fort Jagged Tooth and everyone taking Leadership (or becoming a Thrallherd), there needs to be a way to have a bunch of cronies on hand to red shirt it up in here. 
  • Elduman. Elduman have the ability to reconstitute their body via psychic power. In Pathfinder they pay power points as an immediate reaction to undo damage dealt to them, and I really like the way Cary used it in our RP emails, so it needs to be present. 
  • Fallen, Fell Soulless, Rankethlek, and Soulless. These races are tricky to make and rather powerful, so we need to be sure they can be built with GURPS and be cost effective to play.
  • The mutagenic nature of sorcery. There has to be some way to represent the fact that the use of sorcery alters the humanoid form.
  • Vyanth are resistant to sorcery, so I need to be able to build that into them while still allowing them to be a race of sorcerous hedonists. 

Before we get started, I'll give you an idea about point totals. Small children come in around 25 points while career adventurers come in around 200 points. Batman would come in around 250 points, Captain American around 500 points, and Superman somewhere around the 2000 character point range. So most adventurer types would come in around 200 points, factor in another 50 or so from taking disadvantages to boost the number of points you can play around with. If we were to play Hekinoe with GURPS I would start out with 200 point characters and allow them to take up to 50 points of disadvantages, and disadvantages from races (such as the Vyanth and Sereth having Skinny for -5 points) would not be factored into the 50 points allowed for disadvantages. 

Alright, so we'll start with magic. So, the magic in the base game allows for critical failures that do a range of things from failing and damaging the caster to erasing the spell from the caster's mind temporarily, or failing and summoning some malign sorcerous entity. It should be noted that spells are not memorized in GURPS. This is a pretty good start. Additionally, there are a pile of extra critical failure charts in one of the magic related sourcebooks. I think with these tables I can make a pretty good rendition of the current system. There's also a type of magic called Threshold-Limited, what it does is divorce a caster's magic from his physical form, in normal GURPS magic, spells cost fatigue points, which are based on your Health, which is kind of like Constitution in Pathfinder. Threshold-Limited gives you effectively 30 fatigue to spend on spells, if you go over this, you must make a calamity check. If you fail, bad things happen ranging from giving you nightmares to causing your spells to be much more likely to critically fail. With all of these options, I think I could come up with a pretty comprehensive spell misfire system. 

Shadow powers, lets start with Summon Shadow, the ability for Shadowdancers to call forth a shadow version of themselves. This one is actually a cheat, it is extremely simple. We take the Ally advantage and for the ally's power we say he has 100% of the character's character points, which costs 5 character points for this GURPS D'alton. Since the shadow is always there, we apply a x4 modifier for constant frequency of appearance. We're looking at a 20 point ability for D'alton here. Now we apply the limitation of sympathy since D'alton and his shadow share the same life force. This means that if one is stunned or mind-controlled or knocked out, both are. Additionally, if one is killed, the other is reduced to 0 hit points. This is a -25% limitation, bringing this ability down to 15 points. Now you just craft the shadow with the same amount of character points as the non-shadow D'alton. You give him the Shadow Form advantage, but make it constant and give him disadvantages like Cannot Speak and reduce his Strength to 0 and you should have plenty of points to put into some sort of cold or energy draining effect.

Alright, so the shadow walking ability. Quickest and easiest analogue is Warp, a 100 point teleportation ability. However, shadow jump has a few more restrictions and benefits over Warp. D'alton's max range at 10th level of Shadowdancer is around 300 feet, so we can apply a range limitation to Warp to a range of 100 yards, which is a -40% limitation. We can also apply a Magic limitation to the power, which means anti-magic effects would stop it, for another -10%. Shadow Jump is very reliable and can be done instantaneously while Warp is neither of those things. It takes prep time and a check to work that is penalized by instant jumps and distance. So we apply the Reliable enhancement to aid in that, we give 5 levels of Reliable for a +5 bonus to IQ rolls to Warp, which is a +25% modifier to cost (we're at -25% cost for the ability now, still a hefty purchase of 75 points for a 200 point character). Additionally, Shadow Jump uses shadows, so we apply the Anchored limitation, which means it can only be used in shadows, since shadows are fairly common, this is only a -20% modifier. This puts us at a total of -45% to points cost, giving us a 55 point Warp ability that mimics Shadow Jump pretty well to me. If we wanted to further cheapen it, we could reduce the range or give it a limited number of uses per day. So yeah, this quick and dirty version of Shadow Jump works and with a little more tweaking we can make it very cost effective.

Xein's mutagen is another cheat, it involves the Shapeshifting advantage using the Alternate Form version of the Advantage. The long and short of it is that you switch out your racial template for another stock one or one of your own devising. Alternate forms cost 15 points if they have the same point value as your racial template, if they cost more, they cost 15 points plus 90% of their point total. Basically all you do is construct a racial template similar to Xein's but with an increase in strength and durability. To make it cost effective you can limit the uses per day, make it cost fatigue points to turn on, etc. This is a quick run down of it, but yeah, it can be done.

Leadership. Alright, so this is a lot like D'alton's Summon Shadow ability, we are still using the Ally advantage.. Since these guys are your underlings and are at your call at all times, we use the x4 cost modifier for the frequency of appearance. Since these guys are designed to basically be a pile of red shirts and low power thugs, we have them built with 50% of the character points the controlling character was built with, so they're built at 100 points each if we have a 200 point adventurer controlling them, if you want true red shirts you can probably drop them to being built at 25% of the character's point total to cut costs. This ends up costing 2 points, putting us at 8 points for the ally. Because it is a group of allies we apply a group size modifier. If the group is 5-10 guys, we apply a x6 modifier, if it is 11-20, we apply a x8, and it goes up from there. Lets go with 11-20, so we have this group of allies costing the player 64 points. Mind you, these allies are thinking creatures and if you mistreat them, they will leave. If we want to make them thralls for a Thrallherd we add the Minion enhancement for +50% to cost, putting the ability at 96 points. This ability is pretty tweakable, so there are ways to reduce the costs of these abilities. Another option for Cary's Thrallherd stuff is the Mind Control ability, which is cheaper and doesn't increase in cost based on the number of slaves you have, but it does require concentration to maintain.

The Elduman ability to self heal injuries. We start with the Regeneration ability, since we want it to have an actual quick impact that is relevant to combat, we do it at 1 hit point per second, which costs 100 points, the next step in Regeneration does 10 hit points per second and costs 150 points. A note here, unlike Pathfinder, each round of combat in GURPS lasts one second. We'll add the Costs Fatigue Points limitation, which means you have to pay for it before it will kick in, so we'll say it costs 2 fatigue points to run it for a minute, which reduces the cost by -10%. We'll say that it works in emergencies only, so the regeneration only kicks in when I say so, but it is tied to adrenaline and excitement, so it will almost always work in combat, this reduces it by -30%. And lastly, this is a psychic ability so we add the Psychic Healing limitation to it for -10%, which means it is psychic and does not function under anti-psi effects. So, we've got it down to 50 points for it. Sadly, this is a hefty ability to purchase for a 200 point character, and it wouldn't help an Elduman that took enough damage to kill him the way it can help Cary in Pathfinder as this would only function after you've been shocked or injured or scared and it would take time as well. Not a perfect fit I guess, and a pretty expensive ability to boot, which is displeasing. 

Fallen, Fell-Soulless, Rankethlek, and Soulless. So typically what you do in GURPS is construct your character point by point, but often times a GM will build racial templates for races of his world. I have a few lying around for some of the Hekinoe races. Additionally, there are things called meta-traits which are guides to combine abilities to achieve certain effects. For instance, for the Rankethlek I'd use the Machine Meta-Trait, costs 25 points but covers abilities for not having blood and not being vulnerable to disease or poison and whatnot, and also the inability to heal. A little bit of modification for the necromantic nature of the Soulless and you have a good example for them. From another book we find a meta-trait for Rotting Undead costing 59 points to cover the Fallen. If we combine aspects of the Machine Trait with a Fell Human racial template, we get something that covers Fell Soulless. Ta-da.

The mutagenic nature of sorcery is something that ends up needing a GM ruling, rather than a specific disadvantage or advantage. So I guess my ruling would be that a percentage of the points a character spends on spells and magic abilities needs to be spent on wonky mutagenic stuff or be paid off in part by mutagenic wonky style disadvantages. 

The magic resistance of the Vyanth is easy to duplicate, just Magic Resistance, which costs 2 points per rank. This offers a +1 bonus to checks to avoid the effects of spells and gives spellcasters a -1 to their casting. Normally this resistance prevents you from ever using magic, but for a 150% price increase you can make it Improved Magic Resistance, which allows you the resistance and allows you to cast spells as well. 

So anyway, that was a fun little exercise. 

Friday, August 3, 2012


I miss GURPS.

I was looking over some old Hekinoe material and some old GURPS books and found myself really missing the game. Say what you want about it, but it is hands down my favorite RPG to date. There is just so much to it. So much customization and tweaking that it blows my mind and fills me with joy. It lacks a certain shinyness and glitteryness found in other games, but makes up for it in sheer comprehensive glory. The books are wall to wall compendiums of abilities and statistics and rules. The core content of the two main books is enough to run pretty much any type of game from high fantasy to futuristic. You'd need a space supplement to cover a lot of starship type stuff, but you could likely cobble something together from the main stuff if you tried.

Look, I love Pathfinder. But GURPS, man, I could write love sonnets about that game.

I look at the old Inconsistencies Continued stuff here on the blog and the Reich-5 campaign ideas Eric and I tossed around, the old Hekinoe stuff from back when I swore we would play Hekinoe with GURPS when we finished the Rebellion Arc, and some of the Nel stuff I played with in GURPS, and I miss it. I wonder what might have been.

Would the game be worse? Would Hekinoe be enriched by the ability to apply a point value to every single facet of the world and its contents? Would my players have risen up against me for trying to lay their bloody heads upon the altar of Steve Jackson? Is there an analogue for D'alton's shadow walking and Donovan's reconstitution of his crystalline flesh?

The problem is that I have lots of questions like that. These questions lead to curiosity. This curiosity leads me to delving into my GURPS books to explore and see what I can see. This exploration inevitably leads to yearning. When I yearn, I start to seriously devote time and energy to conversions. It is a short step from that yearning to full conversion and switching game systems mid campaign, and I really don't want to do that again. 

I am pleased as punch with Pathfinder. As a system, I love it. It is my favorite class based gaming system (GURPS being a skill based one). Of the game systems I am knowledgeable about (granted, this does not necessarily mean I've played them), I think Pathfinder offers the best combination of player enjoyment/comprehension and GM world view achievement. What that means is that I think my players like it and understand it and it represents my vision of Hekinoe well. I don't necessarily think GURPS would end up the same way. 

GURPS has a rather steep learning curve. You can do a lot with it, but even I feel sometimes out of my depth looking through the books and toying with powers and advantages. It demands a lot from players and GMs if they want to get their vision of their character out of it. Whereas with Pathfinder, all your powers and abilities are laid out for you in the family friendly pre-designed feats and classes. With GURPS, you have to construct each of those feats and abilities and even your race from a 249 page collection of powers, stats, disadvantages, spells, and psi powers. This is just the selection from the main rulebook. If you start creeping around into one of the many supplemental books, the number of options starts to scale up rather quickly. I suppose that is a good thing for a system that touts itself as the Generic Universal Role Playing System. GURPS does have some faults though, the steep learning curve is one. Additionally, it is possible that it is too realistic. Firearms combat is savage and deadly, and you usually die. The power gain is very sluggish as well, your capabilities as a player inch forward with a few character points every scenario or so after character creation, whereas with Pathfinder and other class based systems, every few levels you gain a serious boost in power level, whether it is finally being able to pump out that lightning bolt, or raise the dead, or summon your shadow to drain the life and vitality out of your enemies. 

I don't really have a point here, just spitballin about nostalgia. Probably post some nonsense about GURPS Hekinoe conversions in the near future here, just to see if some of the more unique aspects of Hekinoe work in GURPS.