Friday, November 25, 2016

Still Out There, a Short Update

I'm not gaming right now and not working on anything GURPS or OSR related

Reason is pretty simple,  I'm mostly interested in GMing and while I'm willing to play sometimes , the rest of the group (3 people now) wants to play a western setting using 5th edition D&D . I gave it a go but it wasn't my cup of tea so I'm on hiatus

I might be trying to build an OSR or maybe Action Modern Fantasy focused group at some point but its not important.

Also I dropped The Sign of the Frothing Mug , it had good content for a while but its become a political blog apparently and I don't do politics, Left /Right or Center on this blog  or link to it unless somehow they are entirely germane to the OSR or gaming in general

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

A Tip For Much Faster and more fun GURPS Combat

In a word, maneuver cards.

Making these is incredibly simple.

Take a couple or three index cards and write the basic maneuvers any NPC is going to use on them, include weapon damage and defense and reference that when the fight starts

A short example

Goblin Skirmisher

DR2 Small Shield DF2

Thrown Javelin Aim 1 round throw 10 yards skill 10 -- 5 yards from ambush skill 12 -- 1d Impaling

Block 11 12 with retreat

War Club (baton)  swing torso 12- 1d+1 crushing

These simple prearranged combat moves will speed up combat enormously and can also be used with Martial Arts by simply setting up the more complex maneuvers in advance.

Applied carefully they can also  give the impression of on the fly tactical thinking by NPC's

I do recommend  encouraging PC's to use them which  not only will  this will make things quicker for them, it will make them use combat options more than "thrust to the torso" which is a help when moving players over from systems like D&D which have much more abstract combat.

Lastly, they can be used to flavor combat as well, applying cool or historic names to moves will add a bit of excitement and can be used to increase immersion

Say a PC does  taekwando , writing his knife hand strike as  punch torso  1d and sonkai tageri /knifehand  gets PC's into character and it can even  easily be used with any kind of power up, say an attack that is all out attack head, 2d +1d cold might be called "reap the frozen fruit" or whatever you like.

Anyway hope this helps your game and see you in a while

What Happened to GURPSday

With apologies y'all but life happened. Between real world BS and a general lack of ideas I've missed a couple of posts.

Ah well, back to the grindstone.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Because Everybody Loves Weapons (from GURPS Farther Tomorrows_

Here is a list of common guns in the Farther Tomorrows GURPS  game


12 and 20 gauge (all types) (everywhere) 12g may used adapted Gyroc loads at 200% cost for ammo

.22 pistol and rifle (all types ) (everywhere)
Hunting Rifle (6.5mm Varminter Colonial, Hunter (everywhere) The most common rifle in the Cradle. It uses an Enfield Style Bolt Action and the older 6.5mm Cartridge

M65 Semi Auto, similar to the above gun only in Semi Auto

30/30 New Century – A nice lever gun seen in Mexico and the American Colonies of very antique design

.45 caliber “classic” (American)

.45 SMG (American) – a rare weapon used as a companion to the classic. Usually suppressed.

these three can be had cheaply as they are standard on a mini fac

9mm and .40 Cal SMG (common)  

9mm and .40 Cal Cartridge Pistol (common)  

9mm and .40 Cal Hold Out Pistol (common)

This revolver series has modular barrels and removable trigger guards. Its favored by spacers and some Americans. It is treated as Fine Quality / Reliable and Fine Quality / Accurate and is fully space proof.

9mm r M7 Revolver (spacers. Americans) shoots 9mm r, and 9mm magnum (side arm)

9mm r M6 Revolver (spacers. Americans) (hold out)

9mm r M10 Lever Rifle (spacers. Americans) (a companion piece to the above, common on frontier worlds)

9mmr Double Dutch Derringer (a novelty piece using the 9mmr load. A holdout gun with limited capacity and tiny grip.

The below weapons use a more powerful magnum cartridge suitable for medium game

.44 H6 Revolver (American) shoots .44 r and .44 magnum
.44 S5 Revolver (American) shoots .44 r

.44 H10 Lever Rifle (American) shoots .44 r and .44 magnum

.44 S6 Revolver (American_ shoots .44 R – this is rare sidearm sized weapon. It is fine/attractive as well.

More Modern Guns

Caseless (Full Range)

Gyroc (full range)

Edmund Dynamics Laser Rifle (as laser carbine with all settings) 15,000 grand

Edmund Dynamics Laser Pistol  (as laser pistol with all settings) 10,000

There are also Chinese versions of these

Tesla Pistol (as Electrolaser) 5,000 Chinese models offer a kill setting

Telsa Rifle (as Electrolaser) 12,000 Chinese models offer a kill setting

Vortex Gun

Hand Weapons

Hatchet (fine at default) superfine (extra +1) is rare costs 10X

Knife (all) can be had in superfine

fine (cheap) very fine (normal) superfine (6x)

Clubs (all)

Bayonet (all) can be had in superfine

Machete (Short Sword)

Stun glove
Stun Stick

Other weapons may be fond on Fringe Worlds or in areas with heavy cultural presence

Most Common Firearms
12g Western Arms Frontier with over and under mounts

30-30 New Century (as 30/30 +p +20% to range categories)

6.5mm Colonial 10 Shot rifle as .270 +p

In case anyone wants something akin to Vera. 

It is a H.C. Arms heavy bore, automatic dual feed custom. 

In  GURPS terms 

ETC 10mm Storm Rifle Fine Accurate with Dual Mags (24+1)

13+2 Pi+1 1950/7500 ACC5 +4 from Smart Scope

A Rules Blurb from GURPS Farther Tomorrows

I kept rules changes to a minimum for the game. Here are the guidelines I  gave my players. Also I was fooling around with hero point systems at the time, don't use them anymore though


There are no non human races , robots or uplifts allowed

This game uses 200 points with no points for disadvantages. You may take disadvantages as you see fit and some will be given you

Hero Points are not used

Cybernetics and Bio-Mods require an unusual background of 10 points

Psychic Powers exists however they must be ESP or limited body control related. They usually   require a 10 point UB.

Luck and Ridiculous Luck are allowed

Optional rules in Martial Arts and Tactical Shooting may be used.

Otherwise RAW

Notes from GURPS Farther Tomorrows

This is highly disorganized, not entirely original  but reasonably game worthy setting notes for GURPS Farther Tomorrows.

Its enough tech data, cultural and historical date to get people into the game, especially those not familiar with  Firefly or 2300 A.D two of the bigger inspirations.

Its not terribly well done and frankly my players deserved better but we had fun and that was what counts.

 Background Notes

The year is 2275

Mankind has expanded into the New System, the Cradle rich in habitable worlds  and for the last 120 year or so has been building great colonies. About 10 years ago a group of Transhumans called the Polity waged war against humanity in an attempt to force an uplift. This war banished them from most of space to an area well past an asteroid belt known as the Shattered Star

There are 112 Known Habitable Worlds,

They are arranged in what are called Arms

Currently the main factions each with an Arm are

The United Commonwealth


28 Unnamed

United States with its major colonies Liberty, New America, Ellis and Freedom

China with its major colonies Xin Guo (New County) and Shinnon (from FF)

The United Commonwealth (Britain, Scotland, Australia, New Zealand, Wales) with its colonies Albion, New Australia, Londinium (from FF) , Anzac , Cymru and Scotia

Canada with a single major colony Cascadia 10 Million
Russia has a single colony major Novazeemylah (New Earth) 40 million
There is also a single Pan Islamic Colony called the Caliphate 60 million population
Hispaniola (Spanish Speaking)
Nuevo Brasila (Brazilian)
Nova Europa
France has 3 colonies, Gloire, and three habitable moons Liberte, Fraternite and Egalite

Minor colonies include

Uhuru a small African colony population 500,000
New Midgard which is Asatru and Heathen with a minority Hellenic Pagan  Population . It has a population of about 20 million
Coventry (a prison world)
Helios, A desert World
Kibou (Hope a Japanese Colony)
Ashita (Tomorrow a Japanese Colony)
Geojong (Home, a Korean Colony)
Astra Deseret (a Mormon Colony)
White Rock
Minos (Greek)
Starfall (uninhabited close to Outsider Territory)
Ostmark (German/Austrian)
Glai Tee Din (Far Land) Thai Colony
Pengajar (Teacher) a very difficult Indonesian Colony
Bituin Tirahan (Star Home) a Filipino Colony

Guay (Hell)


WulingYuan (Perfect Heaven)

ShanwU (Sky Mountain)

Fengdu (Underworld)

List of others (cribbed from Firefly)

White Fall
Green Leaf
Clark's World
Anderson's Moon
High Gate
Liann Jiun
Three Hills
Whedon's Hole

List of others cribbed from 2300 AD
Brilliant (French)
Leto (American)
Freihaven (German)
Nouveau Provence (French)
Tirane (American)
Santa Maria (Mexican)
Nieblungen (German)
Tierra de Helado (Argentine)
Poseidon (International Scientific) Blue Planet
Inferno (Canadian)
Beowulf (British)
Chengdu (Chinese)
Crater (Unclaimed)

A bit on the Thai people

Thai folk can be found all over space commonly as Space crew. They have recently established a small thriving colony, a matter of enormous national pride. Glai Tee Din


Technology is Safe Tech GURPS Tech Level 9 with access to super science gravity control and fusion power.

Genetic engineering, cybernetics and nano tech are frowned upon and widely regarded as too dangerous.

Computers are a solid TL9 (this is about 20x what we have now)

State of the arts weapons are TL9 as per GURPS. Mostly they are caseless firearms though Tl10 lasers as 3x cost and binary weapons called Vari-Guns exist. Controls vary from place to place with lighter controls on colony worlds.

Most weapons are “Improved TL8” with about 20% more energy and capacity for the same basic stats although they are cartridge guns (mostly) Convert by giving them +p power with no downsides.

Mature life extension tech exists. A person at age 50 is genetically reset to between 25 and 30 and will age at 1/3 rate thereafter. Assume other medical tech is TL9 with stem cell therapies pushing TL10

Core worlds are usually TL9

Rim Worlds a hodgepodge of TL9 and TL8

Fringe Worlds can go as low as TL5 or 6

Robots are a rich mans toy and its illegal almost everywhere to arm them.

Computer security is weak in this setting as even the best crypto only gives a -4 penalty to hacking rolls. This puts a focus on cash (do to trust issues) and manned craft of all sorts. Factories and such are automated but as you have to be in the building to access the SCADA systems , this is not regarded as a serious risk.

Starships are usually not armed in Core or Rim worlds and usually a hard to come by permit is required. Fringe areas may be armed. Ships can be armed with caseless cannon, laser, C-Beam (Charged particle beam) or gauss guns. Missiles are semi guided.

Defense include chaff launchers , anti missile arrays and hull armor. Plasma armor exists and it screws with missiles (by guidance) and C-Beams and offers some degree of lock on spoofing.

A number of common ships

“Conestoga” Free Trader

“Darwin” Class Science Vessel

Tien Dao (Heavenly Saber Chinese Patrol Ship)

Z-95 Starfighter

Cultural Notes and Reputation

General society has a kind of Victorian Era flavor with a strong whiff of bigotry and snobbishness. Isolates are quite common almost the norm and space instead of bringing people together into some stellar community tends to separate them into smaller groups.

Americans have a reputation as overly adventurous cowboys. Its not entirely undeserved. They are friendly with Europeans and downright chummy with Eastern Europeans who can be found in substantive numbers on American worlds. Do to some old bad blood from the Sino American War and Chinese support of the Oligarchy most Americans hate the Chinese with a passion and contrary to Verse custom will often not aid Chinese vessels . Asa Folk from New Midgard often shoot any Chinese ships they see as the nations have been at a cold war status for some time

Europeans are a bit more like their Victorian and Edwardian counterparts and are in general quite Conservative save for the French and Germans who are always land hungry.

Russia is well recovered  and is  highly ambitious. They are friendly with Americans as both hate the Chinese.

China. China touts itself as civilized but its authoritarian and controlling. The Chinese colony Shinon is arguably the most beautiful planet in the Cradle . Even Americans occasionally visit. They are allied with pretty much no one.

Japan. Japan is very conservative and insular.

Canada is the peace keeper nation, a pleasant if lightly populated country. For some reason they are allied with the Ukraine. 

and note to the above, yes its a reference to the Firefly parody Mosquito 

Mexico is finally stable enough to manage a colony. They are officially neutral though they hold “gringos” in some disdain a feeling that is reciprocated.

Brazil is a Friendly Neutral with everyone except the Chinese who they dislike and the Portugese who are Allied

The United Commonwealth is a very very British. They are friendly with both Europe and America, Neutral with everyone else.

Iran is a new up and comer looking to expand into the colonies. They do not have a colony world but they do have a ship works making some decent technology. Its probable they will have a colony in 5 to 10 years.


English, Russian  and Mandarin are widely spoken. Mandarin is favored for swearing. Americans , Canadians and UC instead swear in English or in Eastern European dialects including Russian


Travellers. Professional Tourists who feel like they are citizens of the Verse. They are usually capable and surprisingly law abiding on most issues. They are known for towel, cup and a pocket knife a popular poem. These people are not Pavee who are sometimes found of UC worlds.

Spacers. Spacers tend to spend a lot of time in different places in many arms and as such are far more cosmopolitan than most. Most speak Mandarin and English

Cool New Jobs

Bounty Hunter

These are the folks who bring in captives from Fringe or Rim worlds to the justice. Its a glamorized job that pays poorly and is dangerous

Bonded Courier

With communications limited to the speed of light, these are the folks that deliver packages. A registered courier is usually allowed to carry arms and is considered to be trustworthy. Normally you only see one although couples or pairs are not unknown

Registered Companion
Not a prostitute of low repute  but a very sophisticated highly trained expert courtesan. They are transnational, select their own customers and are highly regarded except in America and Midgard where they are only tolerated. They are even permitted in the Caliphate.

Beam Jack

Orbital Construction Worker. Dangerous skilled well paying trade.

Slang Terms

Ship Up! Roughly equivalence to lifting off.

Clear Skies. Traditional Spacer Good Luck Saying

T.A.N.J. There ain't no justice, “Goddess” of the Spacers

Atmo short for Atmosphere

Verniers – Ion Maneuver Thrusters, from the name of the inventor Eckhart Vernier

Full Vernier – full power to secondary Ion thrusters

Full Burn – full power to main Thrusters

Hard Burn – overdriving the thrusters

Stallard Roll or Stallard Bounce – Roll and Pivot maneuver

Crazy Ivan – Rapid Breaking to get target behind them and bake them with the main thrusters

Towel, Cup and Pocket Knife – A Traveler ditty, also ready to go “I've got Towel, Cup and Pocket Knife.”

Frood “Buddy” – probably short for friendly dude

Lets Jet “Lets get out of here.”

Hoopy “Very Cool” Neo Hippy Slang

Jank-- Complicated and Poorly Made – also Janked or Jankie

The Black – Space

Space Motor Companies of Import

Pierce/Archer US– make a very robust motor (probably the best but new ones are pricey)

Parker-Merlin – a UK/UC competitor 2nd place in quality

Astra-Dyne US often found on institutional ships – r Also US Military and widely exported. Quite common

Wu-Yujou A Chinese motor firm (Wu's Space roughly) – export, cheapest

Chinese State Space Motor Company (Chinese state vessels)

Solokov Space Motors (Russian) export

Werner Stahlard North “WSN” GMBH used on Midgard as well Austrian-German_Icelandic-Finnish

Roseau Stellarics SA – French make most space components

Navio-Esterla – Brazilian Space Company, mostly in Brazilian arm though they are starting to catch on

Aster Persia – A new company from Iran that manufactures ship components

Ship Costs (about 3x a comparable surface ship)

A heavy Freighter can be had for about 7-8 million CR

A converted Cutter for about 3 million

1 million to 1.5 will buy you a rusty old ship like say Serenity

20 million for a luxury yacht

A research vessel for about 3 million + fittings

lastly a small never Freighter is about 3 million as well

OP costs are about ½ of 1% a month, ½ for fuel and ½ for repair – so an older freighter, minus crew expense is about 5k a month

Cultural Notes

Roughly there are three cultural familiarities African, Western, Eastern. You won't see African much and Uhuru uses CF Western

Savior Faire is by culture. It also includes Mafia, Spacer, Military , Police and Dojo. The last two are only  of marginal use.  

1- Religions (partially from Religion in 2300 AD by Bruce Hill and my own work)

Many folk are non religious and some are outright atheist

Europeans are about 50% Atheist with the 35% Folk Centered and 15% Christian

Americans however are fairly religious 65-35 religious, usually Christianity (35%) or occasionally (20%) Pagan or (10%) Buddhist other

Judaism and Islam were largely destroyed in a nuclear exchange although Judism persists in America as an ethnicity as much as a religion and Islam still exists. Most remaining Muslims are Reformed Islam and many live on Caliphate.

Buddhism is widely popular and a fair number of technically atheist persons practice some kind of Buddhism

Hinduism and the other strains are found mostly on Earth although Sikhs can be found the various Military units

Orthodox Christianity is found in pockets

Black Catholicism. This is an African Animist Catholicism seen mostly in Africa on Earth

Mormon Church is found everywhere in modest but growing numbers

Christianity is mostly American, Mexican and South American .

Asatru and other sort of Heathenism and Paganism is moderately common (about 35%) among people of European Extraction though its often a social religions as much as a faith. They can be found anywhere people of European extraction are found.

Outside of Buddhism people are very leery of expansionist or universalist religions, mainly do the religious wars of the late 21st century but also do the influences of the book “Faiths and Folks” by Dr. Paul Lane laying out the underpinnings of the urge for religion and its risks.

This books was very widely read and many schools consider it mandatory reading even though the book is well over a century old. This book lead directly to many selecting “Folkish” religions in the West, especially Asatru with some Hellenic Paganism  Druidry, and Wicca  with a range of variants . Whether this revival is set to remain is yet to be seen though it has been going strong for longer (since the tumult of the mid 21st century) longer than anyone expected

The Crew of the Vi-Vi from GURPS Farther Tomorrows

This is material from what was  my GURPS Firefly-esque game. Inspired obviously by Firefly and Serenity but with other inspirations including Cowboy Bebop , Aliens, Outland , Soldier , Almost Human, 2300 A.D. and other "hard" and "firm" SF.

GURPS 4e stats, actor who would have played them in the movies names   but no character names because I forgot to write them down. No pictures for copyright reasons 

 Under the companion and pilot  you'll note a custom talent or two . I don't remember what it effects were but all skills include bonuses. 

Its not up to spec really but it was what I gave my players to tweak.  Most of the cast except the doctor was my suggestion since the players kind of hung on the idea of "who would play them in the movie.

On the whole the game was a lot of fun and as you would expect GURPS is superb for this kind of thing. 

One interesting fact, despite the fairly heavy weapons loadout and good combat skills, the players mostly avoided combat as it was too lethal and the one fight they go in nearly killed several of them. Ultra Tech weapons are scary.

Of all the characters the space princess was the most shoehorned in and got the least play. She was part of a Filipino space colony that was a monarchy and was running away from an arranged marriage which proves you can use Space Opera and Fantasy tropes even in hardish SF

Captain (Dirk Benedict) 

S 11
D 11
I 13
H 10

Handsome 12
Business Acumen +1 8
Smooth Operator +2 26
Serendipity 15

Skills 61
Guns Pistol 12
Guns Shotgun 12
Brawling 12
Accounting 13
Administration 14
Merchant 15
Economics 12
Gambling 13
Market Analysis 12
Acting 14
Carousing 12
Detect Lies 15
Intimidation 14
Leadership 14
Sex Appeal 12
Diplomacy 14
Fast Talk 15
Streetwise 14
Savior Faire 15
Merchant Law 12
Politics 14
Pilot 13
Crewman 13
Engineering 12
Cargo Handling 12
XP Beam Weapons 12
XP First Aid 13
XP Stealth 10

Major Stuff
TL9 Armored Vest
12 Gauge Shotgun 8+1
Heavy 10mm caseless pistol
Chinese Electro Laser Pistol
Wearable TL9 Genius Computer  

Engineer (John Leguzamo) 

S 12
D 11
I 12
H 12

Attractive 4
Artificer Talent 3 30
Perk Familiarity Low Tech 1
Insider Glance (½ penalty for instant diagnosis) 1
Alcohol Tolerance 1
Gadget 5
Signature Gear Laser Pistol with belt pack 1
Weapon Bond (Your Laser) 1

Beam Weapons 13
Scrounging 14
Brawling 12
Housekeeping 12
Cooking 12
Carousing 12
Sex Appeal 12
Stealth 10
Lockpicking 12
Computers 12
Crewman 12
Streetwise 12
First Aid 12
Area Knowledge 12
Driving 10
Guns Shotgun 10
Ship Engineer 18
Armorer Ship Guns 14
Machinist 15
Armorer 14 Guns
Armorer 14 Lasers
Gravitics 14
Life Support Tech 15
Ship Design 14
Electronics Engineer 14
Electrical Repair 15
Mechanical Engineer 14

Important Gear
Various Fine Tool Kits
Laser Pistol with Belt Pack (100 shots, 20 without ) Blinding, Dazzle, Pulse, Standard settings
Body Armor Overalls

Medic (Jeff Bridges) 

S 12
D 11
I 12
H 11

Attractive 4
Luck 15
Fit 5
Healer Talent 2 18

Fluent Romanian
Streetwise 12
Profession Terraforming 12
Stealth 10
Scounging 12
Guns SMG 14
Guns Shotgun 12
Guns Pistol 12
Knife 12
Brawling 12
Wrestling 11
Soldier 12
SF military 12
Crewman 12
Physician 15
Diagnosis 15
Surgeon 15
First Aid 16
Physiology 12
Psychology 12
Pharmacy 12
Play Instrument 10
Play Chess 12
Play Poker 12
XP Research 12
XP Rifle 12

Major Gear
Civilian Shotgun 8+1
5.7mm ETC PDW
Hunting Rifle
Superfine Knife
Light Body Armor Full Suit
Crash Kit with extra bandage spray
Surgical Tools
Diagnostic Rig  

Princess ( Angelica Panganiban) 

ST 9
DX 12
IQ 12
HT 10

Attractive 5
Emotion Sense L4 range (Unlimited) at Skill 15 30
Mind Shield 3 12
Fear Blast L4 100 yards range Does Not Require Eye Contact at Skill 15 60
Status 4 (some worlds) 10
Psi Ping 1 (may Ping “I want to contact you” at unlimited range on a 12 or less

Skills 53
Language English Fluent
SF Filipino 12
Guns Pistol 12
Politics 12
History 12
Dance 12
Acrobatics 12
Karate 12
Holdout 12
Scrounging 12
Stealth 12
Psychology 15
Literature 12
Art Appreciation 12
Filch 12
First Aid 12
Household Management 12

Skin Suit
First Aid Kit
Arscorp Model C9 9mm Hold Out Pistol 4 extra magazines of 10 rounds each 

Companion (Bar Refaeli) 

S 11
D 12
I 12
H 10

Advantages 50
Status 2 10
Registered Companion 1
Beautiful 12
Fashion Sense 5
Companion Training 2 28

Skills (54)
Acting 14
Sex Appeal 12
Psychology 15
Diplomacy 13
Merchant 13
Dance 14
Art Appreciation 13
Music Appreciation 13
Erotic Art 12
Detect Lie 13
SF Companion 14
Play Instrument 13
Painting 14
Teaching 14
Karate 12
Judo 12
Sport Archery 12
Fencing 12
Profession Guardian 12
Guns Pistol 14
FD Pistol 12
First Aid 12
Shuttle Pilot 12
Area Knowledge 12
Housekeeping 12
Driving 12
History 10
Literature 10

Important Gear
Fancy Clothes and Make Up Kit
Holdout Pistol 2 spare clips
Painting Box
Musical Instrument
Super Fine Smallsword with fancy umbrella scabbard  

Cargo Hand and Security (Timothy Olyphant) 

S 12
D 13
I 12
H 10

Advantages 24
Acute Vision +1 2
Dead Eyed 1
Signature Gear (Rifle/Ammo) 2
Weapon Bond (Rifle) 1
SOP (Go Bag ) 1
Fit 5
Combat Reflexes 15

Skills 71

Camouflage 12
Stealth 12
Armory 12
Guns Rifle 16
Guns Pistol 15
Guns Machine Gun 13
Guns Grenade Launcher 13
Guns Rocket Launcher 13
Fast Draw Pistol 14
Brawling 13
Soldier 12
Crewman 12
Scrounging 12
First Aid 12
Savior Faire Military 12
Cargo Handler 13
Driving 13
Intimidate 12
Carousing 10
Gambling 12
Tactics 11
XP Fluent English 4

Russian ETC Storm Rifle Fine Accurate with Smart Scope
Holdout Pistol 2 spare mags in a power holster
12g Military Shotgun with Under Barrel Grenade Launcher w/ Various Grenades
Splat Gun
Combat Armored Vest w/ Inserts
Light Armored Suit  

The Vi-Vi 

I cannot remember for the life of me what Vi-Vi stood for but the ship looked lots like a Traveller ScouT Courier and sported a highly illegal ship AI and illegal weapons

Stats are "generic" for the setting since ships are  mostly used as transport backdrop. GURPS Starships stats not included. 

 Vi Vi

Custom Designed Science and Exploration Vessel
Length 400 feet long, 225 wide and 95 feet high at high point center

Crew Minimum 2 , Standard 5
State Rooms + Berths Double Sized Captain's Suite + 8 additional staterooms and 12 berths (double
occupancy) includes enhanced life support
Cargo: 1000 Tons with optionally isolation cage
Special – Full Medical Suite with 24 cyro-tubes , lab and automed
Speed – Category 4 Thrust with category 6 Hard Burn with range of 750 AU empty/150 loaded.
Drive-- Parker-Merlin space drive with Dale Fusor. Normal rating 110% of needed.
Sensors and Computers – Advanced sensors with experimental robotics system and heavy automation
Weapons-- 4 Hardpoints with pop-up “Q” capability each mounting high energy ship to ship lasers and a single chaff dispenser. Also 4 mag grapples
Small Craft: Mounts for 4 Escape Shuttles (not available) 2 Modular Cutters each with 4 modules
racks. 10 self powered buoys and 2 scout drones
Atmo Capable with full ram scoop

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

New Blogroll addition, The Sign of the Frothing Mug

Took a look at the content and this article on Apprentice Wizards and Masters  sold me and earned them a place on my blogrol.l

Thursday, February 18, 2016

GURPSday 5 Areas where GURPS falls a bit flat

GURPS like any games does have its limitations and weak areas. Many other  games share similar weak spots so please y'all don't take this as ragging on GURPS only as pointing out its  weaknesses.

#1 Bestiary/Book of Adversaries  

GURPS really needs a book of adversaries . Not just D&D monsters but everyday foes in a plethora of settings ranging from Tl1 infantry to Tl12 police and with common critters as well.

#2 Vehicles

GURPS is not very  good for vehicle combat. Its great for infantry fights even futuristic and modern , tolerable for horse  mounted battles but not great for any kind of vehicle combat whether it be modern war, chariot battles or spacecraft. It works and its abstract systems can be fun but its not something the game is meant to do or as yet does well.

#3 Benchmarks

GURPS does have a rudimentary "your stats mean X" system but its sucks for determining things like "how do I compare to a typical man at arms or soldier or cop or professor or whatever." This is kind of a product of a lack of a books of adversaries as much as anything.

#4 Supers Design

GURPS has come a very long way since 3rd edition and its current rules (GURPS Powers, GURPS Supers) make Supers viable mechanically but its not easy to build powers or to use things like the Handbook of the Marvel Universe to benchmark ones own characters. If I wanted to play say a knock off of a certain web spinning guy who can lift 10 tons or a certain metal dude who can manage around 75 and bounce artillery shells or just a guy with an eyebeam whose power can punch through one inch of armor at 2 feet its surprisingly hard to do . Its also hard to make a good super quickly though templates do help here.

#5 Scale

GURPS even with the 4e upgrades and the awesome T-Bones Gulliver  doesn't handle scale well either very fast characters like speedsters or heck a mundane cheetah   big ones, GURPS attack on Titan or Shadow of the Colossus would not be optimum nor would GURPS the Littles or Bunny And Burrows 4e  be especially mechanically sound . really small ones. It does though children and young PC's surprisingly  well , it doesn't benchmark skills but its otherwise not bad and GURPS Lashings of Ginger Beer or Rugrats could work

GURPSday 5 places where GURPS Excels

Like every game GURPS has its strong points and its weak points.

I'd like to start with its strong points, where GURPS is amazing

1st High verisimilitude mechanics for combat

2nd Highly detailed and flexible charter generation

3rd Cinematic movie style combat especially for Gun Fu settings.

4th Time Travel. GURPS can handle any time travel setting you can imagine, probably better than they native rules can. If you like the rules from Continuum or Dr. Who or Time Master or whatever  you can use any of them or all of them if you feel crazy.

5th Subtle magic systems. GURPS Thaumatology and its predecessor GURPS Voodoo  which along with GURPS Spirits I wish would be updated cover the genre better than any other RPG. The only game i know that comes close is Eden Studios Witchcraft written by C.J Carella who wrote GURPS Voodoo . Go figure.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

So what GURPS have you played and run ?

I've played and run a  lot less than I'd like to be honest

I've run three campaigns all recently in 4th edition

#1 A one mildly cinematic fantasy starting at 150 points. It ran about 12 sessions or so

#2 A highly cinematic Fantasy inspired by the anime  Inuyasha

It was 250 points and extra "shard" powers.  It ran 12 or 15 sessions

#3 A firefly like SF game 150 points also 8-10 sessions

I've also run "non campaign" games,

 Three sessions of Twilight 2000 in GURPS 3rd edition and a   smattering of one shots, one fantasy Europe  and one espionage shooter that I can remember

I've played exactly once, Fantasy 100 points in 3rd edition Fantasy back in the day I think I played a mercenary. Its been a long long time though so I might be off

By comparison I've run one Pathfinder campaign , 6 Angel or Buffy campaigns (though I've never played) load of Rolemaster and tons of D&D in various versions.

GURPS simply was never on the menu until my current group for some reason but now that it is, well hey. I am going to play while I can.

A late night GURPSday post Some notes on house rules

Next week i think I am going to start converting some of my old 3e content and posting it. It may take a while as its all on paper but I have a ton of interesting characters to post

Now onto some questions. What are your house rules ?

#1 I often use the no points for disadvantaged variant from the old 3e GURPS Compendium 1

The short version of the rule. Everyone gets whatever the campaign base is (typically 150) plus an extra 50. They than take whatever appropriate advantages they like.

#2 I occasionally use bits of GURPS Gulliver 

#3 I use  edge protection in GURPS that is armor is doubled vs cuts with damage that gets through the normal DR being applied as blunt damage.

An example

A broadsword cut does 6 points vs chainmail.

In normal GURPS this would be 2 points +50% cutting. 3 points in total

With edge protection its 2 points, 6 points minus 4 vs blunt/points and an extra 4 vs cutting

#4 I sometimes use armor as dice 

#5 I sometimes use Doug Cole's strength damage  rescale  This does reduce damage and make it much harder to kill someone in armor but its far more realistic and increases character   survivability  as well. I do not use this in Dungeon Fantasy games though, only realism driven ones.

#6 I use T-Bones "Graze" rules . If you make an attack exactly or miss a defense roll by one you take half damage. It stacks. This feel realistic to me and makes characters just a spot tougher.

#7 In some games I use T-Bones revised defense flow. Its a bit clunky till you get used to it but once you are, it makes combat even more realistic.

It works this way

Here's a suggestion for an improved way to play: When an attacker announces his attack, have the defender announce what he'll do in defense without knowing the TH result. (The defender has to be specific, as always: say, "I'll Dodge and Retreat", not "Yeah, I'll defend".) Resolve TH and defense normally.

Its a solid rule that brings a dose of reality to combat and is fast to impliment. It also adds a lot to precognitive types who use the regular GURPS rules

As above I don't use this rule in  Dungeon Fantasy which is highly cinematic.

Monday, February 8, 2016

What Would your ultimate custom game look like ?

My game would have the following traits

High verisimilitude especially in combat  like GURPS or Unisystem

Quick Life path character generation with reasonably simply skills  and a non lifepath option

A solid bestiary with the common monsters

 Two magic systems, 1 like True20's psychic system and the other like Ars Magica

Quite detailed equipment lists

Vehicle , Outdoor and Chase rules

fantasy, modern/urban fantasy and SF support and maybe post apoc support.

So a cross between Melanda, Beyond the Wall  and Unisystem basically

Friday, February 5, 2016

A terrific game I left off my list True20

True20 probably should have made #5 to be honest.

Its a mutant cross between Mutants and Masterminds 1st Edition, the generic classes from D20 Unearthed Arcana using the Complete Psychics Handbook from Green Ronin as its magic system

It has many settings SF, Fantasy, Horror, Modern you name it a variant (its predecessor Blue Rose) and support for most things a GM or player needs.

It fills a similar niche to Savage Worlds though I vastly prefer True20 . YMMV of course

Alas its not that popular anymore and the system is pretty moribund

Its too bad as I would have liked to see what other cool stuff came out and its signature horror setting "The Razor in the Apple" made into a full book

Thursday, February 4, 2016

All my current favorites in order (yes with GURPS listed it is GURPS day)

My favorites in order

#1 Unisystem classic and cinematic (Buffy/Angel, All Flesh Must be Eaten witchcraft more) . A wonderful game that is a bit moribund right now. Not dead just resting waiting for BRAAAINS...

#2 GURPS. If I could choose only one system, I'd choose Big G no hesitation. It might be the best RPG ever  designed

#3 Beyond the Wall. A D&D variant that oh heck I'll link its main page and let them describe it.

#4 Rolemaster. I don't play this old warhorse these days but I've never had a bad game.

#5 Every other D&D variant. I like 2e, 3x and 5 mostly though Swords and Wizardry is a solid choice too.

So What do You Think of Pathfinder and D&D 5 as compared to GURPS Fantasy

First Pathfinder. It  is an OK game. It doesn't support the kind of fluid action that I like in a game and in many respects, outside of the D&D for the sake of D&D experience class/level is stifling and overly structured.

I like chases, acrobatics, action and that kind of thing and Pathfinder and D&D even with my home brew  rules don't support it. GURPS has  a   whole lines GURPS Action and GURPS Dungeon Fantasy on the topic.

Also while I get around power creep by running Epic 6 Pathfinder , that is leveling stops at 6 with feats substitution for further advancement , simply hit point escalation is not my thing nor is the vast power differential between level 1 and say 10.

As for D&D 5e I rather like it . It still sucks for action games and has hit point creep but it basically takes care of most of the rest of the power difference. It feels like a world where Eliminster say could live in with regular people. Its quite good and designed that with luck a low level party could kill a high level NPC. Its not likely but its possible and I like that.

GURPS however is just better than either . It does action, verisimilitude and high action equally well.

Downsides well, I personally don't care that much for GURPS Magic.  Now  it works fine and  of course  I've got entire product lines that change it up anyway.

Where GURPS fails though is in bestiaries.

Pathfinder has I dunno 5 official bestiaries and who knows how many 3rd party references, maybe as many as 50 . Monsters galore

D&D 5e has one Monster Manual  which is probably enough, I suspect another will be forthcoming eventually and since the system resource document and open license is released, there will be 3rd party stuff

GURPS has monsters  scattered in Dungeon Fantasy, race templates  and tools to make more of both  but it is lacking in that area. Conversions from 3e are fairly challenging and frankly though charming the old Fantasy Bestiary is full of folkloric monsters no one would use . No one needs Agro-Pelters and Snolligosters (yes they are in the book) in their game they need far more conventional sword fodder.

GURPS is lacking in that area and I hope some means to fill that empty space comes up. It won't be me doing it though, I'm not up to the task. Maybe I'll manage a pyramid article someday though. Who knows.

What would you play if you GURPS didn't exist?

I discovered GURPS around 1989 or 90 when I was a young gamer. I've collected books, read books, play a few sessions  though surprisingly few for how much I like the game, GM'd a bit more and done some comped play-testing.

It was my  very favorite system for many years, the only one I regularly  bought anything for.

It stayed at number one only  supplanted  by  its offspring, the Unisystem written by GURPS Voodoo alum  C.J Carella .

Unisystem famous for Buffy and All Flesh Must Be Eaten  is basically the child of GURPS and World of Darkness, using a simpler system of character generation more akin to WoD but with a strong focus on verisimilitude like GURPS has.

However imagine  a hideous world without GURPS or Unisystem  would I'd still be gaming?


I'd almost certainly be playing D&D of some kind, I still do , the Fantasy Trip if it existed and I discovered it and likely some kind of system that covered modern fantasy.

I'd also be playing BRP/Call of Cthulhu probably a lot of it. My 1st serious RPG was Runequest 2 and it was and is a great game.

So is GURPS Deep Star Inspired by the Expanse ?

In short. No.

I hadn't watched the show till well after I decided on what would suit our current play situation best. I have seen the first episode, it was a tolerable Space Opera using some Hard S.F.

Nothing wrong with that as it seems right up my alley but thus far, I find the show to be meh and probably won't be watching it.

That said from what little I saw it would be quite suitable for a GURPS game.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Alsmost missed GURPSday and What's Next GURPS Deep Star

I have decided what GURPS game I will be running next.

GURPS Deep Star which is simply Star Trek style space exploration in a TL 9 setting using TL 11 "Alien" Star Ships

Like the last campaign, this game is designed to be episodic and to allow for player walk on and offs.

Inspiration include Ancient Aliens, UFO Folk Lore, a little X Files ,  Star Gate SG 1, Aliens 1-4, Outland , a tiny dash of Solider and Blade Runner, Runaway ,  Star Trek (of course) and the Tri Tac RPG Incursion 

PC's will be 255 points with a 15 point duty (all the time  hazardous) one of Code of Honor, Sense of Duty or Honesty and one 5 point disadvantage if desired. No points will be given for disdvanatges as they are worked into the point base.

Character types can be a a mixture of astronauts, specialized scientists and a few military personal. Most shoudl come from the Anglosphere and for any that do not, English at native is a requirement

House rules will include Doug Cole's  reduced hand weapon damage system and possibly Technical Grappling though this is unlikely to be used.

Well that should be everything. Next week, maybe some crunch.

Till then. Good gaming.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

My next plans regarding GURPS for 2016

I'm polishing up running a Pathfinder  game . I ran epic 6 (levels cap at 6 , get a feat  each session after) and it its been fun but on the whole I  found out that not Pathfinder is far from my ideal playstyle . Good fun  but not a great game.

Not only I'm I settling for a game that doesn't suit me well  that I am neglecting my old pal GURPS.
Well not any longer

So my "GURPS in 2016" will be another campaign. I don't know which setting but its going to be Action driven and to carry the fluid excitement that Pathfinder simply doesn't deliver

What I hope to accomplish aside from simply being fun is to introduce new gamers like the many walk-ins and drop ins at my FLGS who join our PF game for session or two  where we game to how great GURPS is

Get a little space in their head for GURPS and a taste for the game and we can grow the play base

It may never be as big as D&D, probably won't but there is lots of room to grow and I plan to do my part.

Its GURPS Thursday so a bit of personal history and making GURPS bigger

Well its becoming a custom in the community to post about the game on Thursday and though I'm not calling Thor's Day GURPSday seeing as how I've been part of the community for a very long time I figured I ought to contribute with an article on my personal history with the game

I've owned  GURPS since Man to Man and been a playtester and for a while it was the only RPG  I bought anything for or owned. 

For all that  I've only played or  run it a handful of times,. 

I've played a ton of games but  run mostly 2nd thru Pathfinder editions of D&D, some games of Marvel Superheroes and a lot of GURPS's cousin Unisystem (Buffy/Angel/All Flesh Must Be Eaten) 

And there is a reason for that. Lack of players and GM's  

In my experience not  many people at least in the US actually play GURPS or gravitate to it given a choice. 

There are a lot of reasons for it, perceived complexity , lack of flavorful rules (GURPS is workmanlike not exciting) too realistic for personal  taste and so on. 

Back in the heyday of print books and  mostly before the Internet was ubiquitous  this didn't matter much. Most GURPS books were bought as source books anyway. Some of them were well written enough you crib nearly an entire high school level maybe  college Freshman paper  from them.

Even the ones that weren't that dense were pretty much almost everything you need for gaming that setting style. 

Now though times have changed, 

Don't get me wrong, GURPS is not ill its in fact as healthy as a horse and in raw terms has more support than it ever had in the print book days. You can count on getting something cool every month and htis doesn't seem to be going anywhere   

But what it does not have is space in  the average gamer's mind. GURPS is a bit invisible to most being limited to a few hundred sales of its best stuff and maybe the core books on the shelf (my FLGS has them) 

That can change though and it is where we come in. 

If we want GURPS to be something more than a tiny niche for gearhead gamers , we the GURPS fans have to make it happen. 

We have to run them, encourage others to play and put in the hard work needed to make the game newbie friendly. Make the pregens  master the rules (easier said than done) and make the  game smooth as butter 

Its not always easy since most of us have lives, jobs, careers but if we are willing to say put in a few hours over a weekend we can make it happen. 

I'm in. Are you? 

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

RIP David Bowie

Sad as all heck that a mere few days after I post some David Bowie music, he passes on.

Thanks for all the music and entertainment Mr. Bowie. Heaven at least will be a bit stranger.