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


  1. Have you seen the free GURPS Combat Cards? They're a good start to what you want.

  2. Thanks for the suggestion.

    The combat cards are handy but the idea behind my maneuver cards is to cut the decision and processing time down to a simple glance.

    I got the idea from my old Rolemaster game where preparation was essential to game flow and having attack/defense ratios (your weapons skills were D100 based rough with no upper bound) were divided in advance the chart was ready for your weapons and the like. Doing this made combat fairly smooth, not perfect as its always been math heavy and bleeding/stun and such still have to be calculated but with practice and a policy of , do the calculation on the other guys turn if you are still up you could make 3+ minutes per player down to about 20 seconds

    In my GURPS games most of the time in a combat round goes to deciding what to do rather than carrying it out. Y

    ou can use a stopwatch system say a count of 1/2 IN or something with modifiers for combat reflexes and other advantages but I'd rather simply have everything ready.

    My pre-calculating all that you can speed up each round so that a 1 second turn doesn't take 30-60 real world seconds.

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