Thursday, March 22, 2018

Review of the weekly blogs.

This weeks Gaming Ballistic Blog Update is out and reading the things I came across these.
If you blog about GURPS consider submitting yours to the lst.  If you like to read about GURPS its a good weekly summary to catch up with.

Motivational Lenses
Really nifty list to help flesh out your character and why they do what they do.

Mooks Darknet game.
Session 0 where they spend time making characters and deciding the type of game it will be.

The rest had some good stuff too, those were just my personal favs this week.
Honorable mentions are the Sorcery spells from Generic Universal Eggplant and from Ostary's Tactics we have ideas on making the thief more party friendly

Sunday, March 11, 2018

The Four Primary Attributes of GURPS

Some threads on the Steve Jackson Forums inspired this post.
GURPS has 4 Primary Attributes and some secondary ones calculated from those.  Other games typically have more, usually in the 6 to 10 range from my experience,
Some people think 4 is too few, others just enough.
So lets take a look.


This is the overall mental ability score and includes Will, PER and a LOT of skills are based on it.
An optional rule is to make Per(perception) and Will default to 10, because some concepts require a smart individual who is not very observant or strong willed.  And vice versa, animals are often very observant but not very smart,for example. Another item is Social skills being based off IQ.
GURPS already supports buying these scores up or down but  lowering Will and Per as you raise IQ arguably makes IQ to cheap for all the skills it raises.
  • IQ [20]
  • Per [5]
  • Will [5]
  • Charisma [5]  Not considered an actual attribute but adds to many social skills.


This is the skill of coordination, agility and fine manipulation.
Basic Speed and Move are in part calculated off this attribute as well.
Some people like to break it up, and especially separate Move or Initiative from it but overall my impression is most people are ok with this one.
  • DX [20]
  • Basic Speed (HT+DX)/4 [5 per +-0.25 to Basic Speed]
  • Basic Move = Basic Speed (dropping fractions) [5]


This is most useful in low tech campaigns where you use muscle powered weapons but it also dictates how much you can carry and is used for base HP. Not many skills are based off it, so its cheaper.
  • ST [10
  • HP [2] Hit Points are pretty cheap but not dying is a typically popular goal of players.


A few skills are based off HT, mostly the kind that rely on good endurance such as Hiking, Running, Swimming, etc.  Also one like Sex Appeal where being in good shape is a string asset. FP or Fatigue points are directly derived from HT since they represent endurance.
  • HT [10]
  • FP [3]
  • Basic Speed (HT+DX)/4 [5 per +-0.25 to Basic Speed]
  • Basic Move = Basic Speed (dropping fractions) [5]


While I understand the IQ is too cheap argument, I do not fully agree with it. Drop Per and Will what you have is 10 points to raise a lot of skills.  That makes it a very powerful Talent (normally a 10 point Talent would raise 7 to 12 skills) I think this is ok, as more than 12 skills are not likely to be core and really useful to a character in most games.
A big exception to that is Spells as skills (the default magic system) but they have their own 10 point 'super talent' anyhow in Magery.
Certainly DX skills are more valuable to most charecters as that covers nearly all the combat skills.

High attributes can create a problem with super high skills but thee are ways to deal with this as well.
  • Stat Normalization: This is the optional rule of limiting stats to "realistic" levels.
  • Rule of 20 (p. B173) limits defaults to 20 so superhuman attributes wont help defaults, meaning you need to put at last a point into it to benefit fully.
  • Idea: Super Attribute is a +25%  (GURPS Supers, p. 23) enhancement applied to attributes above 20 to let them exceed the Rule of 20. What if you applied that and changed the rule so that score above 20 (or set lower for more gritty settings) does not apply to skills?  In other words IQ 30 counts as IQ 20 for skills unless extra levels are purchased with the Super Attribute enhancement?
  • Idea: What if skills (or maybe just a set of skills, such as Social Skills) were based off 10 but gained a Trained ST type bonus (Introduced in GURPS Martial Arts: Technical Grappling) instead of being directly based off an attribute?
Overall I am happy with the GURPS key 4 Attributes as too many other games suffer from so called "dump stats", this keeps it simple but with different ways to tweak towards an infinite variety of character types. Between attributes, advantages, disadvantages, skills and talents  the player has an incredible range of affordable choices.