Thursday, November 29, 2018

GURPS reprinting more classics

So Steve Jackson Games announced more reprints of various books.
GURPS Spaceships which is a simple vehicle design system for spaceships. Basically you have 3 hull sections (Front, central, and rear) holding a total of 20 systems making up about 5% of total mass each.  This makes very a pretty simple yet flexible modular design system.

GURPS IOU which is a fun setting on a very weird college campus and GURPS Illuminati, an exotic conspiracy setting both talked about in a previous months blog
Also GURPS Ogre and a number of non GURPS stuff
And upcoming in Dec is another print run of How to be a GURPS GM

These days I mostly buy PDF which allows me to get a fresh copy if my computer crashes and carry all my GURPS books on my phone or a USB stick for reference at the game table. I would need a couple of suitcases to do that with my printed books!
However new print runs mean sales have been and are expected to be good on these books.
That's great news for GURPS.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

The Transporter character in RPG's

So my group has decided to travel a decent distance in my campaign and I started going over some details.
The Chalice World is about 15,000 miles radius so 7.07*10^8 or (I think) 707,000,000 sq miles in surface area (the disc portion) which at TL4 is pretty hard travel.
A possible new player was asking for what would be useful and I suggested a traveler and came up with some options. There pretty expensive so we shall see but the thoughts led to this blog entry.

The ability to travel vast distances and take passengers is expensive, and I think it should be. On the other hand tying up a lot of points for the transporter type makes the character less useful in other circumstances and possibly less fun to play.
Being a pilot, driver or ships helmsmen is cheap enough but providing an expensive vehicle can eat up most pf the characters points. One of the reasons I wrote up The Captains Boat was to address that issue, at least in part.

The Transporter character needs to be either built on more points, able to apply those points in multiple situations, or willing to be inferior and carried by the other players in combat and perhaps social or other situations.
The Captains Boat is an example of a cheaper option and applying those points in other situations.
 For this fantasy campaign I came up with ...
Warp (Area Effect,+50%; Can Carry, Extra Heavy, +50%; Dimensional, -10%; Immediate Preparation Required, 10 minutes, -45%; Slip travel, -25%; Tunnel,+40%; +60%)  160 points.

Warp (Area Effect,+50%; Can Carry, Extra Heavy, +50%; Dimensional, -10%; Granted by mount, -40%; Immediate Preparation Required, 1 hour, -75%; Requires  Skill Roll (Symbol Drawing), -10%; Slip travel, -25%; Tunnel,+40%; -20%)  80 points.

Slip travel is a modifier to Warp that means you cannot travel instantly, Take the penalty for distance and match it to the identical IQ bonus for preparation time and that is how long the journey takes.

The second build in response to the players suggestion of the mount granting the ability, which I liked and added to the setting even if the player opts not to play that option.
I envision divine steeds (maybe even 8 legged ones...) capable of traveling between dimensions and riders that bound with them and learn to use Symbol Drawing to expand that ability to create a warp tunnel.
Its too cool to discard!
Now 80 points is a lot on a 250 DF level budget, and the mount needs to be bought as an Ally as well, we can lower the advantage with other limitations. Player suggested extra FP, not wanting the character to pass out on arrival (or worse) I countered with an ER granted by the Mount to help.
As we work out the details its still likely to cost a decent amount of points.

Alternative abilities can be our friend here. Leveraging the points spent on Warp can provide attack or other powers for 1/5 cost. Is that good enough?  We will see, but the exercise is one I wanted to share.  Transporters come up in many campaigns and are often vital but make for a weaker support type character.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Learning GCA

So I have been messing with GURPS Character Assistant (GCA) and gotten wonderful help from the author and chief data file coordinator Armin and EricBSmith respectively.
I am working on entering stuff for my Chalice World campaign.
Completed two race templates, Coatl and Stonekeepers
Completed one of my custom magic systems Affinity Magic (that was the hardest job) and entered Affinity lists for Lanterns, Druids, and Gems. Its a pretty versatile system that covers and converts Book/Path Magic, Ritual Magery, and Realm magic with simple rules for Book/Path rituals and more complex for more standard spell casting. I liked the original systems but people complain they dont have good spell design rules so your limited to whats already printed or guesstimates.
This takes care of that and gives a nice system I can use for magic, mysticism, and religious casting.

I plan on putting up a few videos on using GCA, hopefully later this week.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Inscription Magic

Developed by stonekeepers who maintain vast libraries inscribed into gemstones and crystals this subtle mystic system relies on stored information and bringing out the essence of the substance its inscribed up. Most call it magic,though it is closer to chi abilities than magic. It works well with Sigil magic and Stonekeepers have taught it to scholars and sages of many races, though most need to rely on bigger and bulkier books. Dwarves and Stonekeepers have invented a jewelers loupe that acts as 1 level of Microscopic Vision and sells for $150.

Inscription Magic Basics

3 points
You have the ability to write on objects, including very fine details as long as you can see clearly. Stonekeepers are effectively using microfiche with this ability.  This also includes the lifting of small objects. Statistics: Telekinesis 1 (Mystic, -10%; Visible, -50%; -60%) + Accessory: Micro Tools [2 +1].

Book Learned Wisdom
5 points base plus 2 points per point of abilities.
 Based on Dungeon Fantasy #4: Sages,  Takes 2 hours reading per point, halved with successful Speed-Reading roll and points are limited by the lower of whats in the book or the slot.

Invoke Gem
26, 33, or 36 points per level
Allows the user to invoke the essence of a gem, crystal, or jewelry and briefly possess one skill or even ability that is related to the items nature.
Statistics: Wild Talent (Accessibility, appropriate gem, -10%; Mystic, -10%; No Advantage Requirements, +50%; +30%) [26/level]; or add Retension, +25% [31/level] or add Wild Ability, +50%. [36/level].


Stonekeepers spend a lot of time inscribing and studying gems and other stones, hence their common name, As a side effect of this they developed their own Affinity lore based on precious stones. A few rare stonekeepers have a Reflection for a certain type of stone and if so that is added to their surname as an honorific. The effects tend to be more subtle than most magic and the sheer variety of stones (as well as many overlaps) mean few truly master all but a handful of them.
  • Agate: Earth, gentle, nourishing and strengthening. Steadiness.
  • Alexandrite: Beauty and joy.
  • Amazonite: Harmony, balanced emotions, resolve conflicting motivations. Truth
  • Amber: Sun, warmth, life and well being. Also plants.
  • Amethyst: Spiritual protection. Protection, Cleansing, Intuition. Prevents drunkenness. Aids against compulsive behaviour.
  • Apatite: Communication, Initiation, Wisdom; Blue open to psychic awareness, Green soothes the nerves.
  • Aquamarine: Calming, centering. The sea.
  • Aragonite: Emotional strength.
  • Aventurine: Green aventurine is for luck and prosperity.
  • Azurite: Stimulates the Third eye and enhances dreams, inner vision and psychic or chi powers.
  • Bloodstone: Courage, determination, and nobility.
  • Calcite: Chakra stone coming in several colors; Blue=Throat; Green & Pink=Heart; Red-Root.
  • Carnelian: Action, works on first three chakras.
  • Charoite: grants wider perspective, Illuminated, Discernment.
  • Chrsophrase: Heals a broken heart, Empathy.
  • Chrysocolla: heart stone, Empathy, sharing of feelings, feminine energy.
  • Citrine: Dreams and willpower
  • Diamond: Light, clarity and truth.
  • Emerald: Heart chakra, plants. improve eyesight and fertility.
  • Fluorite: Clears away confusion and mental clutter.
  • Garnet: Visualization, self healing, Work.
  • Golden Obsidian: Removing obstacles, divine will. Third Chakra.
  • Hematite: Grounding, clearing away negative energies.
  • Howlite: Calming, live and let live.
  • Iolite: Shamanic journeying; inner vision, past lives, soul retrieval.
  • Green Jade: Earth and nature,
  • Jasper: Grounding and stabilizing, patience and persistence.
  • Kyanite: Communication and energy transfer.
  • Labradorite: Telepathy and Prophecy.
  • Lapis Lazuli:  Royalty; Inner nobility.
  • Larimar: Diffusing anger, speaking from the heart.
  • Lepidolite: Relieves stress and anger.
  • Malachite: Strength and willpower.
  • Moldavite: Spiritual awakening and personal evolution
  • Morganite: Heart chakra.
  • Obsidian: Root chakra, grounding.
  • Ocean Jasper: Removes depression.
  • Onyx: Helps work toward goals and restore energy ater prolonged illness.
  • Opal: Amplifies emotions
  • Pearl: Chastity, purity. Protect from fire.
  • Peridot: sunshine, positive energy. Protects against nightmares.
  • Picture Jasper: Journey to the past, Psychometry.
  • Prehenite: Confodence
  • Rose Quartz: Love
  • Ruby: Passion, confidence; fire
  • Sapphire: Blue sapphire is a stone of air and mental focus. Wisdom.
  • Serpentine: Natural connection. Earth
  • Snowflake Obsidian: Courage
  • Sodalite: Intuition, enhanced creativity, analysis and observation.
  • Spineal: Hope, revitalization.
  • Sunstone: Creativity, leadership.
  • Tanzanite: Aligns the heart and third eye chakra, compassion.
  • Tiger eye: Centering, dealing with conflicts.
  • Topaz: Magnifies; Blue enhances psychic abilities, White helps with short term tasks and Visualization, gold helps with long term tasks.
  • Turquoise: Serenity, Throat chakra. Protect from possession and the evil eye.
  • Yellow Sapphire: Helps with wealth building.
  • Zircon: Pain relief, sound sleep.

Related Info

Books (Dungeon Fantasy #5: Sages, p. 13-14)
Primer: 1 point, $25, 3 lbs; Textbook: 2 points, $50, 6 lbs; Thesis: 3+ points, $25/point, 12 lbs.
Modifiers: Obscure, +1 CF; Esoteric, +2 CF; Magic, +3 CF; Dwarven, +4 CF, doubles weight (Metal pages); Fine, +8 CF, doubles weight; Very Fine/Luxurious, +17 CF, doubles weight; Stonekeeper gem/crystal, +25 CF, negligible weight but requires Microscopic Vision to use.
Final cost is base value * (1 + total of CF).

Stonekeepers, Gnomes of the Third Eye


90 points
ST -3 [-30] DX +1 [20] IQ +1 [20]
Advantages: Acute Vision 2 [4]; Ambidexterity [5]; Arm DX +1 [16]; Eidetic Memory [5]; Enhanced Tracking 1 [5]; Fit [5]; Flexibility [5]; Hyperspectral Vision [25]; Magery 0 [5]; Manual Dexterity +4 [20]; Microscopic Vision 2 [10]; Nictating Membrane 1 [1]; Penetrating Vision 1[10]; Sensitive Touch [10]
Disadvantages: Easy to Read [-10]; Hemophilia [-30]; Light Sleeper [-5]
Quirks: Artsy [-1], Curious [-1].
Skills: First Aid [1]

Common Advantages: Double Jointed from Flexibility for +10; Extra levels of Microscopic Vision, Penetrating Vision; High Manual Dexterity (Cosmic +50%) up to +10 total [7.5/level above 4]; Inscription [3].


Thin and wiry, stonekeepers are about 3 tall with grayish skin. Their most distinctive feature however is a large third eye on the forehead. Stonekeepers have an extremely developed sense of touch and dexterity as well as unusual vision abilities which while making them good scouts and sentinels, makes it harder for them to sleep due to the sensory input. They also have an unusual cardiovascular system that lets them recover fatigue faster, but makes them more vulnerable to bleeding and show physical responses to emotions (like blushing) or sensations.


Stonekeepers live chiefly among the dwarves though are commonly found in large human cities as well. They are generally peaceful people and known for their scholarly, jewelry, and medical skills. These benefit greatly from their combination of dexterity and vision abilities. Their hemophilia makes them cautious of combat but everyone is trained in First Aid as a youth. Around 20% continue to become full surgeons, but most focus on jewelry which is a better money making skill and allows them to work with pretty things and get paid for it! A few become police investigators or other services making use of their enhanced sight.

Magic and Special Abilities

Stonekeepers can readily learn dwarven Sigil magic but also have their own form of Affinity magic based on gems. They also lean chi based abilities, most typically Chi Sorcery (Pyramid #3/105) blended with Chinese Elemental Magic. However the ability they are most well known for is Inscription Magic.


Because of their low ST and HP, not to mention hemophilia, they would seem to be poor combatants. However those that do train for combat have some unique advantages that play into their own custom styles and specific tactics.
Penetrating Vision grants +2 to Diagnosis and Physiology for spotting internal injuries or uses like Pressure Secrets.  They rely on precision in combat and will typically fight with bare hands or small throwing weapons. They can be very deadly in the dark and attacking from cover as well, using Penetrating Vision to see through thin cover while they attack around it or use popup tactics.  Finally where they become extremely dangerous is those who choose to master Ki (Chi) abilities.

Martial Style: Stones Breath

Skills: Karate; Meditation, Running
Advantages: Ki Investment (Pyramid #3/105) 15 points for level 1, +7 points/level. Ki Talent
  • Level 1 (15) Chi Sensing; Light Walk; Mental Strength; Breaking Blow; Concealment; Invisibility Art; Lizard Climb; Zen Archery
  • Level 2 (22) Anatomic Control; Immovable Stance; Phoenix Heart; Power Blow; Precognitive Parry; Push; Sensitivity; Kiai; 
  • Level 3 (29) Iron Skin; Breath of Life; Hypnotic Hands; 
  • Level 4 (36) Flying Leap; Pressure Secrets
  • Level 5 (43) Blind Fighting;  Dim Mak; Throwing Art
  • Level 6 (50)
  • Level 7 (57) Pressure Points

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Mystics in Chalice World

There are several kinds of mystics in Chalice World, varying philosophies and mechanics make this an eclectic bunch. The primary thing they have in common is that they rely on philosophy, which guides not just their powers but also their actions. They seek to understand the universe and how it works, a key difference between them is in  how they go about this more than the end result. Most people simply call all mystics a mystic rather than use the names below.


Philosophy (Aesthetics): The study, creation and understanding of beauty.
Very common among the elves where appreciation of and creating beautiful things is an important way to cut down on boredom.


Philosophy (Elementalism): The study of the primal elements and how they fit together to make up everything.
Powers: Primarily based off GURPS Thaumatology: Chinese Elemental Powers
This is the most well known and common philosophy as the six elements have a profound and visible effect on the world. Dragons study it, indeed it is said that mastery of this philosophy is how a dragon becomes a Grand Dragon.

Inscription Magic

A mystical awakening related to gems developed by the stonekeepers. Its a very intellectual system, relying heavily n mental enhancements.


Philosophy (Logos): Also called the Way of the Word teaches that language is the key to understanding and practitioners strive for accuracy and precision in their words.
Powers: Primarily based off GURPS Powers: The Weird
Probably the most social of mystics they wander civilization and often earn a living telling stories or singing.


Philosophy (Noumena): The observation or perception of reality. Things are not always as they appear and correctly perceiving them is key to understanding the universe and your role in it.
Powers: Primarily based of Noumena in GURPS Powers: The Weird
This is probably the second most common philosophy, though often misunderstood. It is a key part of Fae civilization and culture, though few others understand it.


Philosophy (Pathos): The study and understanding of emotions and strong desires. Words, material concepts, even logic and rational thought are al distractions that keep you from enlightenment.
Powers: Pathos system
These mystics are perhaps treated with the most wariness and least respect, and its more popular among the youth and rebellious. Practitioners tend to focus on one emotion or desire and use it as their driving force.


The idea that everything has a name and knowing somethings name lets you control it. This is not strictly a philosophy, though some people think it is a part of Logos. Historians know it was a key aspect of magic in The First Kingdom.

Comments and Suggestions Welcome

This covers most of my ideas but I am on the lookout for more, especially ideas that are gameable. So please feel free to comment below or message me directly.