Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Awareness an Alternate Attribute

This is an alternative attribute for my settings, at least on a trial basis. Its based on GURPS Power-Ups 9: Alternate Attributes and some discussion on the SJG forums.


20 points/level
You are extremely aware of thngs and always paying attention, even to minor details others over look. This starts at 10 and costs 20 points per level.
It is the controlling attribute for skills based purely on perception and observation as well as Per rolls.
For many skills a keen awareness of whats happening is important but another attribute such as IQ or DX are also fundamental, this includes skill where analysis and reaction are important.
  • Controlling (Any Per based): Blind Fighting, Body Language, Detect Lies, Esoteric Medicine, Fishing, Observation, Scrounging, Search, Survival, Tracking, Urban Survival.
  • (Awareness + IQ)/2 or (Awareness + DX)/2 or (Awareness + DX)/2: Accounting, Administration, Animal Handling, Area Knowledge, Artist, Bicycling, Boating, Body Sense, Camouflage, Carousing, Climbing, Combat skills, Connoisseur, Computer Operation, Criminology, Cryptography, Current Affairs, Dancing, Diagnosis, Diplomacy, Disguise, Dreaming, Driving, Electronics Operation, Electronics Repair, Erotic Art, Falconry, Farming, Fast-Talk, Filch, Fist Aid, Forensics, Forgery, Fortune-Telling, Forward Observer, Gardening, Gesture, Group Performance, Herb Lore, Hidden Lore, Hiking, Housekeeping, Intelligence Analysis, Interrogation, Intimidation, Invisibility Art, Jeweler, Knot-Tying, Leadership, Lip Reading, Lockpicking, Market Analysis, Merchant, Mimicry, Mount, Naturalist, Navigation, Panhandling, Photography, Physician, Pickpocket, Piloting, Politics, Pressure Points, Pressure Secrets, Propaganda, Prospecting, Psychology, Public Speaking, Research, Riding, Running, Savoir-Faire, Seamanship, Shadowing, Shiphandling, Skating, Skiing, Sleight of Hand, Speed-Reading, Stealth, Strategy, Streetwise, Submarine, Submariner, Surgery, Tactics, Teaching, Teamster, Throwing, Throwing Art, Traps, Veterinary, Weather Sense, Zen Archery.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Opensecrets funding for each of the major Oklahoma candidates for federal office.
General Race data

Kendra Horn (OK-05) 12.79% small dollar
Danyell Lanier (D) vs, Mark Mullin at a horrible 0.37%

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Another Take on GURPS Attributes and Skills

So on the SJG forums where a discussion on GURPS Power-Ups 9: Alternate Attributes I was inspired by Kromm and Douglas Cole to come up with a different model for skills.  Turns out Mr. Cole had already done something similar in By Default, Pyramid #3/65 Alternate GURPS III

Nonetheless, I like where that started but would take it a bit further.
Right now skills are Controlling Attribute + applicable Talent and Technique.
This makes attributes very desirable but after a few skills are purchased to the point where they cost 4/level to increase its more efficient to increase the attribute instead of more points on several skills. Talents help a character fill a niche, especially since they often apply to multiple attributes but the direct additive nature makes Talents still limited in use, especially in higher point campaigns. Techniques are worse as few will take more than one or two of them.
However attributes having an effect on skills is core to GURPS and a feature I really like.
Another issue is that certain skills are and should be very complicated to master, while others should be trivial. The Easy/Average/Hard/Very Hard model  reflects this by making them progressively a point lower in effectiveness. Its kind of --- meh.
So taking a cue from a difficult use of a skill the Active Defense roll (Block, Dodge, and Parry) what if we used that? Turns out Douglas Cole thought of that (see the above referenced Pyramid) and added a bunch of detail that is worth a look.
But, again I like the idea of differentiating and representing increasing complexity of certain skills.
Easy Skills: 5 + (Controlling Attribute/2) + applicable Talent and Technique.
Average Skills: 5 + (Controlling Attribute/3) + applicable Talent and Technique.
Hard Skills: 5 + (Controlling Attribute/4) + applicable Talent and Technique.
Very Hard Skills: 5 + (Controlling Attribute/5) + applicable Talent and Technique.

Assuming base attribute of 10 this gives us...

  • Current method for 1 point Easy [Stat] -10, Average [Stat -1] -9, Hard [Stat -2] -8, Very Hard [Stat -3] -7.
  • New Method for 1 point Easy [Stat] -10, Average [Stat -3] -7, Hard [Stat -5] -5, Very Hard [Stat -6] -4.
This makes many skills worse than using the default for the first level or so, but Douglas addressed that issue in his article.
The difference here is that while still important, skills benefit more point for point expenditure in buying up Talents, Techniques, and certain advantages which increases variety between characters. This is especially true for the more complicated and difficult skills!

Friday, November 22, 2019

Advantage: Chi Adept

This was inspired by GURPS Power-Ups 9: Alternate Attributes which I reviewed here.

Chi Adept

5 points +15/level.
You have awakened your inner chi and learned how to directly harness it. This creates a new attribute "Chi"starting at 10 that has several effects.
  • As long as Chi is at or above 10 use the better of this or the normal attribute for using chi based skills, powers, and resisting chi and physical supernatural effects.
  • May be used to replace any HT roll, including most HT skills (see below), resistance, and any HT check such as staying conscious or avoiding death.
  • May be used to replace Will for extra effort rolls.
  • May be used instead of normal Per rolls to sense chi related effects.
  • May be temporarily lowered to power chi effects and extra effort, exactly as if it were HT and FP.  However using this energy lowers the effective score for all purposes until its recovered through rest or other means.
  • Use the worst of this or the appropriate attribute when resisting effects, or for chi and HT based skills and abilities if the Chi attribute is currently below 10 for any reason.

Chi skills

Chi skills include Autohypnosis, Blind Fighting, Body Control, Body Language, Body Sense, Breaking, Blow, Breath Control, Esoteric Medicine, Flying Leap, Hypnotic Hands, Immovable Stance, Invisibility Art, Kiai, Light Walk, Lizard Climb, Meditation, Mental Strength, Mind Block, Parry Missile Weapons, Power Blow, Pressure Points, Pressure Secrets, Push, Sensitivity, Throwing Art, and Zen Archery.

HT and Other Skills

Carousing, Erotic Art, Hiking, Lifting, Running, Sex Appeal, Singing, Skating, Skiing, Swimming.

Review: GURPS Power-Ups 9: Alternate Attributes

The Power-Ups series is a look at a narrow thing and expanding it. A few books introduce new ideas, such as Power-Ups 1: Imbuements and Power-Ups 5: Impulse Buys but most expand on and consolidate ideas from the Basic Set. This is more the latter, but a lot like a long Alt GURPS Pyramid issue.
One of the biggest core parts of GURPS is the streamlined attribute system. This book looks at ways to tweak it, goes in depth over possible consequences, and overs related ideas such as new attributes.
GURPS Power-Ups 9: Alternate Attributes is a tinker heavy book, not for newbies or those afraid of some math and analysis, but for those who like to tinker, it has some great material!

Chapter 1: Playing With Points

9 pages
The heaviest read, this chapter really points out how well balanced the attributes (Primary and Secondary) are and provides not only Under the Hood math but some brief history and concept origins. As a fan of GURPS from its beginning in Orcslayer and Man to Man and its predecessor The Fantasy Trip I understood the history but it was a nice call out. This was the most boring and hard to read chapter for me (quite a bit of math, not my strong suit) but really enlightening. I already knew the attributes were pretty well balanced and why certain decisions were made but the authors explanations and thoughts gave me new appreciation for just how well this system was designed and why its lasted so long as my favorite RPG.
Edited to add....
One bit here is the TL adjustments to ST which gives alternatives, including a chart for lower cost ST at higher tech levels since its arguably less useful.

Chapter 2: Changing The Game

24 pages
This chapter comprises the bulk of the book and is the one I found most useful. It has three main sections, Reformulating Secondary Characteristics, Adding Attributes, and Doing Away with Attributes.  The first was a lot like chapter 1 but laid important groundwork for the rest of the chapter. The fun part for me was in the second two sections, especially Adding Attributes.
Some highlights...
  • Status and Wealth as Attributes provide a new way to handle these aspects in GURPS, Wealth could be used as the idea from Abstract Wealth, Pyramid #3/44 Alt GURPS II, which though less complete might even be simper to use. I'm considering combining both for a future post.
  • Charisma as an Attribute is something thats come up on the forums and one of the few things I would like to tweak in GURPS, especially in socially focused campaigns. In fact combined with some other ideas, particularly expending resources I may use this to create a new subsystem for interacting with spirits, and possibly animals and plants.
  • Magery as an Attribute explores ideas discussed in GURPS Thaumatology and further explored in The Fifth Attribute, Pyramid #3/120 Alternate GURPS V. Much as with Abstract Wealth combining these ideas can make for a nice change to the magic system that is fairly easy to implement but changes the flavor. Allowing for low IQ but still powerful mages, mages that weaken themselves to cast spells, etc.
  • Chi as an Attribute is closely related, and one I have already started working on the details - expect that post within a week or so.
  • Dividing up Attributes is a nice section that explores different aspects of current Attributes and could be useful, though needs to be watched carefully to avoid problems with game balance.
  • Splitting Up the Universe explores attributes done in games such as InNomine and Vampire The Masquerade. I doubt I will use it for my InNomine conversion but others might like to do so, it would make for a closer adaptation than GURPS Classic InNomine. In fact,I just got an idea for a GURPS Toon adaptation after coming across InNomine Animae when grabbing those links!
  • New Resources closes the main section with addressing things like FP and Energy Reserves and using them as Attributes.  Combined with Adding Attributes (such as Magery) its a good source of inspiration, with just enough guidance to help a GM design a new system pretty quickly.
Overall this is the key chapter for those of us who link to tinker and comes with not only ideas, but new perspectives.

Chapter 3: Fallout

This chapter deals with the ramifications and consequences of changing things around and helps with a lot of the math and heavy lifting to keep things from slipping beneath the cracks in unpleasant and surprising ways. It includes costs for Attributes based on number of skills they affect (also discussed earlier) and other useful bits.


This book is definitely not for everyone, nor is it a 'drop in the game ready to play' like most of the series. But its a really good book for those who like to tinker with the system and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I created a new advantage Chi Adept for my Chalice World setting based on this book. Probably making a Per based attribute fr that settings Fae and Buddhists as well.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Why You Should Not Vote for Trump in 2020

Coal Miners

  • See those promised jobs come back?  Nope. Meantime the companies got bailouts, McConnell and the Republicans fighting the promised pension funding. Truth is those jobs will not come back, deregulation lets them use alternative and cheaper mining methods such as mountain topping which require fewer workers. And fracking and other energy sources are cheaper than coal. Workers need real healthcare and good paying jobs, not empty promises of jobs coming back. Specifically this group needs to support Paula Jean Swearengin for US Senate, Coal miners daughter fighting for YOU


  • Soybean sales tanked due to trade war to boost manufacturers. Fun Fact - not only are farmers losing sales, those sales are largely going to Brazil and a major Trump and GOP donor, the Blackstone Group.
  • Corn sales down to boost profits for oil companies.
  • Farm bankruptcies up 25% and climbing, mostly due to the Tariffs but Climate Change is a factor as well with planting season issues and a mix of flooding and droughts.

Manufacturing Companies

  • Trumps haphazard trade wars have increased your input costs and hurt your customer demand. In picking a fight with so many countries at once in his hope of seeking bilateral one on one deals he has alienated many of our allies and weakened Americas economic power,
  • For example his trade war with China would be going a lot better if it was in coordination with our allies.  Also because its one sided, China put counter tariffs on the USA and lowered tariffs from other countries. So lower demand for American products due to higher prices compared to elsewhere.

Manufacturing Workers

  • Jobs are still going overseas and the Republicans kept in a 50% tax cut for companies making plants overseas when they did tax reform.
  • Trade wars raising costs and of course that means companies cut jobs to compensate, maybe they will come back, maybe not. But in the meantime you need to pay the bills so that is no consolation.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

House Rule Advantage: Energy Transfer

In some supers and fantasy fiction a being can transfer energy to another or power a device.
There is no real obvious way to do this in GURPS.

  • DR with Absorbtion lets you regenerate HP or FP.
  • Healing lets you spend FP to heal others HP (or other injury).
  • Leech lets you drain someone elses energy to heal yourself.
  • Regeneration can be bought for FP.
Those are good options for taking, not giving.
You can use an Affliction or Affects Others to let someone have one of the above abilities but that requires them to use it. Doesn't work too well if your charging up a battery or something and it just doesn't have the right feel.
So what do we do?
Healing and Leech could just be hand waived as new advantages that reversed the effects.  Healing would let you transfer any amount of FP to another, while Leech is limited to 1 FP per level.
The latter feels the best to me so here is a variant totally not cannon advantage.

Energy Transfer

25 + 4/level
You can transfer your energy to an unresisting or helpless subject. This requires touch on a willing subject or a grapple on an unwilling one. The energy must fit a specified source and can only transfer energy to beings or objects that can contain the same energy, this includes Energy Reserves.
It costs the user 2 FP per FP the subject receives, and is limited to 1 FP received per level per turn.
Examples Sources: Chi, Divine, Heroic, Magic, Spirit, Vitality (normal FP), and mundane sources such as electricity.
  • Efficient Transfer, +25% allows you to transfer on a 1 to 1 basis.
  • Hazard, varies. can restore FP lost to the specific hazard (Dehydration, lost sleep, suffocation, etc,) in addition to normal FP loss. Use the typical modifier for Hazards and halve it (round up).
  • Malediction, varies. Your able to concentrate and gather the energy around the subject instead of shooting a beam. Use normal Malediction modifiers, Ranged is not required, as it is for Leech.
  • Range, +40% allows you to project a beam of energy over a distance, uses normal range modifiers and can be increased with the normal modifiers.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Dragon Magic in Chalice World

Dragons in Chalice World are tied to the elements and use magic that reflects this. They learn it almost instinctively but do train each other, as well as occasionally teaching other races.

Dragon Magic Style

4 points.
This style of magic is heavily focused on the elements, but also includes dreaming and protection magic, as well as a unique Affinity that lets them manipulate and sense their personal horde. Dream magic is used to communicate with other dragons, or even other races and they sometimes entertain themselves by viewing others dreams.
Skills: Power Tapping (Dragon Lines), Ritual Magic (Dragon Magic), Thaumatology.
Affinities: Dream (IQ/H), Earth (IQ/VH), Fire (IQ/VH), Hoard (IQ/A), Magic (IQ/VH), Metal (IQ/VH), Void (IQ/VH), Water (IQ/VH), Wood  (IQ/VH).
Reflections: A dragon has the Reflection for its element. Because of this they tend to focus on that element as its spells are more effective. Dragons are unable to learn other Reflections.
Affinity (Hoard): This Affinity is tied to the dragons personal horde and allows spells to find it or parts of it that may have been ..relocated. However it also allows spells to conceal, examine, move, and protect it.
Energy Reserve: They typically have a personal ER matching their ST.

Resources: Dragons gather large hordes, which they use as power objects (DF 18: Power Items) which can give them access to a large FP store to power their spells. They also like to build caverns on dragon lines, or near nodes and mana basins. They prefer to avoid mana geysers which can be more disruptive than useful, especially since a surge tends to wake them up.

Friday, October 18, 2019

GURPS Review: High Tech: Electricity and Electronics

Disclaimer: I was a playtester on this one and that can sometimes make you feel a part of the book, hence possibly biased.

High Tech is basically the industrial period to modern and near future in technology.
That can cover a lot of material, and much of it easy to understand and stat for a game. So High Tech gear books are mostly time savers rather than new and original ideas.
This one though is a little different.
At 52 pages its a good sized book and as is typical of the author its pretty dense and tightly written.
So lets break it down....
High-Tech: Electricity and Electronics
Rogers review

Chapter 1: Basic Science

5 pages
This covers the basic science and is really useful at giving the reader a simple grasp of electricity and an idea on how electronic devices work.

Chapter 2: Laboratories and Workshops

5 pages
There is a lot of adventure useful material here your unlikely to see elsewhere. It goes over measuring methods and devices, goes over devices including a bunch of medical stuff, and finishes up with toolkits. This is a really useful chapter and gives the reader specifics on whats in various toolkits. Also a lot of very useful tools here.

Chapter 3: Power and Machinery

9 pages
Whats electricity without a means to store and transmit it? This chapter covers batteries, generators, motors, lighting, and more. Except for the lights this material is more useful for the base than the field.

Chapter 4: Signals and Waves

9 pages
I think we spent more time on this chapter than any other.  If your players (or you) like to improvise stuff in the field this will give you stuff about signaling that is really useful.

Chapter 5: Computation

5 pages
Wait, another chapter on computers? We have this material in other books but here the author goes into more detail and especially the history and under the hood of the technology.

Chapter 6: Electronic Warfare

8 pages
What modern day adventure would not include secure facilities and ways to break into them? Thats the scope of this final chapter. But it also includes weapons, jammers, targeting, fuzes etc.


This is the kind of book GURPS was famous for in Third Edition. The author put in a lot of research time and camr up with an extensive list and stats for gear.  The playtesters included people with a lot of electronics backgrounds of various types and the author used that feedback to refine a few things and add a bit of material. Its really handy for the techy types with ideas for using various things and improvising things as needed but the equipment list is also great for most modern settings.
This is the kind of source book we haven't seen in awhile and is useful for other game systems set in the right time period.

RogerBW's Review

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Oct 2020 Dem Debate Opinion

Lets see what the polls say but my initial takeaways...


  • Senator Sanders had people writing him off after his heart attack. He needed to show he had it still and I think he was the most animated on the stage. Also again, most issues are framed around him. He easily had the most to lose so needed to do really well and he dd that tonight.  Also the AOC endorsement came out tonight will help, not a huge deal since so many supporters shared but if she had gone for Warren it would have hurt him. 
  • Yang did a great job. His UBI is practically a mainstream issue now where before it was treated by the media as a joke.
  • Castro did a solid job overall. I doubt he gets a big bump but he did very well.
  • Tom Steyer was pretty focused as we knew he would be but he hit his core issue of corruption really well. Also saying as a billionaire he also thinks they need to pay more in taxes will win him points.


  • Senator Harris kept trying to use that personal anecdotes and it came off false. Also what was with that attack on Warren? Trying to pin her on twitter banning Trump was a weak move I dont think resonated well.
  • Mayor Pete was overly combative,though he had a good moment on Syria.
  • Senator Gabbard also was overly aggressive and her attack on Mayor Pete on Syria I think will alienate a lot of vets who would agree with Buttigeg that Americas word is a powerful defense and our soldiers need it.
  • VP Biden took some solid hits from Senator Warren and Sanders. And he opened himself up to both those big hits. If he hadn't have attacked Sanders I doubt Sanders would have hit back. And he came off condescending to Warren on the CFB, especially if you know the history,


I think Sanders had the biggest night, he really needed to show he still had more energy than anyone else on the stage. I was watching talking heads and they commented on it.I think it was Maggie Haberman who said he had more energy in the last hour than she did.
I dont think anyone else will see a big rise but the winners list dd well for themselves.
Warren had the mos talk time and as the current front runner took the most incoming fire and she did not really win them all. She needs to come clean on the increased taxes thing. Overall I think she held her place, which as a front runner is enough.
Biden was I felt a big loser here. He picked two fights he came out behind on and relied on his record which is a mixed bag. Also he needed to turn around the falling in the poll status. He came off week.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Vampires in Chalice World

I liked the vampires in the Vampire the Masquerade setting (First Edition) in many ways and was disappointed at what happened when they were converted to GURPS Third Edition. Over the years various fans have made their own conversions but I wanted to go with the concept rather than a conversion.
The basic idea is instead of a single vampire tpe there are a bunch of bloodlines with different powers. I also did not like the origin as it wont work for anything other than earth history.
So I made my own vampires...

I have the detailed, though not yet completed writeups on this site. But a quick summary follows.
There is a common vampire template, mostly based on the standard GURPS Basic Vampire.
Each vampire also belongs to a bloodline, each with their own lens and available powers,
I designed the bloodlines not based on the abilities I wanted but based on each clan feeding on a specific emotion or mental state. This gave me a good variety, though there is room for expansion.

This is the key thing about these vampires, they feed on blood but also on mental energy.
Part of the inspiration for that was the tv show "Lost Girl" and I liked the differentiation.
They also have a variant on Energy Reserve that I want to use for various things and this gives me a way to test it, especially in the most abusive and munchkinney ways since they can refill the pool through draining..
Another key difference was the origin story.
How are vampires created? Why can they have different abilities? Why drink blood?
These vampires are essentially created by forgotten and lost gods who are so weak compared to their old selves that they can only survive as parasites. They need both life energy (blood) and spiritual or mental energy to thrive. So the origins are beings called Vampire Lords possessed mortals and drained them dry but infected their spirits with a disease that can be passed along.
So those first vampires could create others, though I made it require a ritual to keep the population in check. In this setting than, vampires are a disease of the spirit rather than a possessing demon, soul returned from hell, or some magical force binding them like a lich.

Vampire Page

Monday, September 30, 2019

This week on Right, Left, Center

Lets talk about Defense Spending!


Conservatives, especially leadership feel that the majority of our tax money should go towards defense spending. A strong military is an important part of national security. However Conservatives also believe in smaller government and lower taxes.


Liberals and Progressives (there is a difference) believe that the majority of the governments spending should be domestic. The Left is more willing to pay higher taxes but want the money spent wisely and according to their priorities.


Both sides agree that a strong military is vital to protecting the country. The dispute between them is a matter of how much is enough and where the priorities are. Unfortunately this is also confused with pork barrel politics and lobbying. Defense contractors lobby Congress for further increases in spending so they can make and sell more stuff. A Corrupt Congress will do what gets them the most money, influence, and power. Also defense contractors may operate factories, research facilities and other things in a Congress persons district which can affect voting. And House Reps especially are supposed to look after their districts and the people who voted them into office. Senators look after their states but are generally supposed to have a long view on whats good for the country and act that way.
All too often when the Budget is figured out Republicans raise military spending, even above what the military requests. If Democrats object they are called unpatriotic and if they want to match the increase domestically they are called wasteful and accused of just wanting to raise taxes.
This leads to a partisan mess that hurts the country and wastes tax payers money.

Choosing Priorities

No one really likes paying taxes or wants them to go up. However money has to be raised to be spent.
So the question is not do we spend it but how do we spend it and when is enough enough?
US Military spending is typically over  half the US budget in discretionary spending. So if taxes are to be lowered its an obvious place to look for cuts. If we cut too much we make ourselves vulnerable, which is unacceptable. So again how much is enough?
The US outspends every other country in the world on defense, and by a large margin. In fact we typically spend as much as the next 5 to 10 top spending countries combined! The count varies from year to year but its always a lot more than others.
Here is a fairly recent example but this has been measured for various years by many companies.
In deciding if we spend enough the question has to be asked. Why do we need to spend more than everyone else year after year to be safe?
Is Congress saying the American military is so bad it can only win if it costs so much more than anyone elses?
Regime change wars are ineffective and usually turnout bad for us. We win the war but turn the people of the country against us and build up more anti-US sentiment which spawns more problems, including terrorism.
I think we need a strong defense but not t be involved in so many wars or prop up defense contractors. Imagine if we put a hundred billion into repairing our roads, airports, new dam and water projects to better manage flooding, renewable energy to combat climate change, etc. We could create thousands of new jobs very quickly and save more American lives.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Chalice World Magic

As a player and GM I tend to favor kitchen sink settings and Chalice World fits the mold in several ways. Different magic systems give the players wider strategic choices and can add color to different cultures. This article discusses the various systems in use for the setting but may be useful as a high level overview for their use in your settings.

Affinity Magic

This is a home brew system and the rules are available to my players but not online. Basically its a tiered system with Path Magic for the non mages and peasants, Ritual Magic (GURPS Basic, not the RPM kind) for the adventuring and professional mages, and capped with Realm Magic for legendary mages. However the colleges, paths, and realms are all replaced by Affinities (which are like college/path skills from Easy to Very Hard depending on breadth) and rituals e created using in house rules, mostly template driven.  Its actually a lot simpler than it sounds and very flexible.
It works for specialty or broadly capable mages and priests.
The Commonwealth has a well organized magic guild that supports society and interacts with most professions and trades. The primary religious order is pantheistic and uses the same system (Just swap out Magery for Power Investiture).
The Crystal Kingdom also uses Affinity magic but on a more industrial level. They use dragon lines (ley lines)  and mana basins to direct and store energy. This allows its members to draw upon extra FP to fuel their spells, typically 1 to 3 FP but higher is possible. Especially for troops who get a bonus.

Aesthetic Magic

Elves use magic based on artistic skills. I havent decided yet but none of the current published systems work exactly the way I want for this and have tried adapting various systems. Low priority since the players are all in the Commonwealth and no one has yet wanted to play an elf.
I tried a version of RPM but found it too versatile for what I was looking for. Currently working on a mix of High Craft and Hedge Magic from GURPS Thaumatology. This will be either a home brew system or one that is heavily tweaked. The idea though is that its based on mundane skills ratcheted up to cinematic levels.

Imbuement Magic

GURPS Power-Ups 1: Imbuements introduced a system for enhancing non character point based traits such as attacks with a weapon. Its been further expanded in Pyramid articles.
Imbuement skills are used in two primary ways, and as written. As Chi skills and magic skills. The main magic Imbuements are by the Dwarven Federation in combination with Sigil Magic.
Imbuement Magic is specialized and FP intensive but effective in combat.
A list for this category in the GURPS Wiki can be found here.

Incantation Magic

This is a variation on Ritual Path Magic, making it an Effects based system. It may be the most versatile system in the setting. However it can take time at the table so players should have prebuilt incantations  covering most expected uses.

Ren (Name Magic)

Ren Magic is from the First Kingdom and an ancient magic based on knowing True Names. Its rare now, but can be learned in the Shattered Lands.

Sigil Magic

GURPS Thaumatology introduced Symbol magic and Sigil Magic is based on that but with some expansions and setting switches. This is the primary magic system of the Dwarven Federation but is mixed in with increased tech level and Imbuements when refered to in the campaign. The idea is that higher tech items are built and used with symbols to empower and control them. The sstem is so reliable its built a increased tech level and powers things like trains. Warriors use more symbol magic as with Imbuement Skills and finally advanced users are more like what players would expect from mages but based on Symbol Magic rather than the spoken word. Its versatile but takes time to set up and several skills to work on so most specialize.


GURPS Thaumatology: Sorcery is a powers based magic system. As a general rule powers based systems are less flexible and more point intensive than magic systems, though potentially more powerful. Especially in combat. The Sorcery system has a lot of prebuilt spells, both RAW and fan made and its GURPS Wiki entry is here.
Sorcery in Chalice World is more an individual thing and not widespread. There are a couple of guild houses that teach it (mostly so players can learn it during play if they want) but it is not common.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Why Every American should Support the Fight Against Climate Change

National Security

  • The Pentagon has identified this as the key threat to our national security.
  • Oil in the Middle East funds terrorist activities and wastes our resources trying to secure and protect various countries over there. This costs us American lives and billions of dollars every year. Clean Energy sources cut into the wealth of Middle Eastern countries.
  • Migration and refugee crisis. As food and water shortages continue to get worse because of flooding and droughts people flee for other countries, creating a massive refugee crisis. This also increases global warfare which we can get dragged into.  Especially if were still reliant on oil.


  • With all the money we have been spending on disaster relief we could have put that towards something else, and its just going to get worse.
  • We not only give fossil fuel companies enormous tax breaks, despite them making billions in profits, we also give them hundreds of billions annually in direct subsidies -corporate welfare.
  • Public lands are being sold off at bargain prices to fossil fuel companies. Be nice to have them for the public!


  • Breathing and other problems are increasing in the country, especially among children and the elderly who are most vulnerable,
  • American average life expectancy is going down, despite it being better in other countries.  Not all of this is due to climate change of course, we also have the most expensive and least effective health care system in the developed world.

Jobs and the Economy

  • The renewable energy sector is the fastest growing part of our economy, even as we lose jobs in coal mining to the Natural Gas industry. Oil jobs are boom and bust with layoffs every time the price dips.
  • Putting money into renewable energy, especially with some of the more Progressive campaign plans means a lot more jobs in every state. And they are good paying jobs! Senator Sanders plan for example will mean work for building contractors, plumbers, roofers, manufacturing, and more. Instead of trickle down economics its trickle up. Workers tend to spend their money, and much of it locally which spreads the wealth around more effectively than multimillionaires who tend to invest most of their money (often in shell and tax dodges). So more money spent, plus a larger tax base,
  • Insurance prices go up as the companies need to make up for money spent covering claims related to climate change.


  • Farmers have been hard hit the past decade and its getting worse with more drought and flooding. Farmers need predictable weather and steady water supplies, not the boom/bust cycle caused by climate change.
  • Bees are dying as are other useful insects and this also creates problems for farmers, and others.
  • Why does climate change create both droughts and floods? If you live in the South this should be easy to understand. Hotter air can hold more moisture (higher humidity) so as the temperature warms up more water is held in the air and it evaporates from the ground faster. Then when the temperature drops there is more water coming down as rain.  So we get extreme cycles instead of a more even swing between dry and wet spells.
  •  As farmers go bankrupt then lose their farms we lose a valuable resource. Also food prices go up from scarcity and we may have to import more food, though the rest of the world is often even worse than we are at the moment.

Hunting and the Great Outdoors

  • Places where we can do this get smaller and wild life less due to climate change and over development.

But the Cost!

Yes, addressing climate change is going to be expensive. If we had gotten serious about it in the 70's when the oil companies studies realized what was happening, or the 80's when it was more public knowledge it would have been cheaper and easier.  However the longer we wait the more expensive and harder it gets. Also we lose out on developing technologies if we keep stalling while other countries invest in those sectors. Instead of us making and selling stuff to other countries, we will be buying it from them.
Finally, when someone talks about the cost and how it will hurt the economy ask them these questions.
  1. How much is your life and your children's life worth?  Because as it is now Americans are dying from climate change and it will only get worse.
  2. Why should we spend money propping up oil and gas companies or bailing out farmers and people who lose their homes from severe weather?  How much does that cost us now? How much will it keep increasing?
  3. Doesn't it just make more sense to spend our money on growing industries that make our lives better? On activities that increase our resiliency and stop rising sea levels and dangerous storms or drought powered wildfires?

Saturday, September 21, 2019

The FP Economy

There are several ways to get FPs for use. This article explores several of them and how thy can affect magic use.

  • Extra FP 3/level.
  • Energy Reserve (Powers) 3/level
  • Threshold Magic (Thaumatology)
  • Raw Magic
  • Powerstones and Manastones
  • Power Objects

Extra FP

Can be used for anything normal FP can, is vulnerable to things that drain normal fatigue, and recovers at the rate of 1 per 10 minutes rest. Fit (p. B55) doubles recovery rate but this does not help FP used for magic or powers. Breath Control is a cinematic skill that allows recovery of FP  at the rate of 1 per two minutes, not cumulative with spells like Recover Energy. Recover Energy is a spell that recovers FP at a faster rate depending on skill level and mana level.

Energy Reserve

Cant be used for normal FP purposes, is not vulnerable to typical FP draining activity, and recovers independently of rest and at the same time as recovering normal fatigue. A few levels of ER thus go a long way as it effectively doubles a casters available FP and that recovering without resting is a nice bonus. Recover Energy applies to both at the same time.
Modifiers: -20% for recharging 1/hour, -60% for recharging 1/day.

Threshold Magic

Introduced in GURPS Thaumatology this as an update the S. John Ross's UMana article introduced in Roleplayer many many years ago. It changes spell casting to a strategic exercise more than just a tactical one as you have a decent sized pool but limited daily recovery. However this is a setting switch and there are no point costs for the trait. There are traits to modify it however.

Raw Magic Store

This advantage from Thaumatology (pp. 227-229) lets you gather and store energy. Each level (costing 5 points) stores 1 bit of raw magic equaling 5 points of FP. See the referenced pages for more details.

Powerstones and Manastones

These cost no character points and are equipment that can be bought and sold. Powerstones recover 1 energy per day in normal mana so are more of a strategic resource. If you use them your unlikely to have access to that energy till after the adventure. Manastones are cheaper and do not recover so are disposable items. Another item is Paut which is a potion that recharges FP.

Power Objects

These are similar to powerstones in that they are a limited strategic resource. However they are simpler in their mechanics. You can recharge them in town for a small fee, but they do not recover on their own. Again they are equipment and cost money, not character points.

Default Magic vs. Powers as Magic

So users of the magic system have numerous options to increase their capability with cash as well as points. Those using powers as magic such as Sorcery only have options that cost points.
Most magic as powers abilities should have a 1 FP cost to keep them from overwhelming others in the party. Since normal magic can cost several FP for powerful spells this is an advantage to the powers type, though high skill offsets that.
Playing a Sorcerer one should invest in ER.  But getting gear that helps your magic is a staple of dungeon fantasy so how can we do that?
Metatronic Generators, Pyramid 3/46 provides a decent answer.
Lets look at a powerstone type device. Assuming TL 3 and tiny size it would cost $175/point so $525 per level of ER. This is quite a bit more expensive than a powerstone but recovers much faster! A stone that only recovered 1/per day would cost less or about $210 per level of ER, more expensive than a low level powerstone but cheaper for more powerful ones. A power object like device would be about $157.50 per level (using Special Recharge, -70%). Double the $$ cost for TL 4.
Given that Sorcery uses less FP on average this gives a comparably useful item.

The Strategic Option

For some settings the strategic option of Threshold Magery has an appeal, but how to build it?
Suggested value is Threshold 30 and Recovery 8 and a suggested idea is changing the values as long as keeping the same multiple.  Also there advantages that increase the Threshold or Recover rate.
So 30*8= 240 Increased Threshold +4% per point and Rapid Recovery 5% per point.
An ER like the above could be 29 ER (Recovers 1/day, -60%) [35] + ER 1 (Recovers 1/hour, -20%) [3] for 38 points, though that is not really allowed as they should not stack because the hourly recover would be munchkinny if it helped the bigger pool.
More Math
30/8 takes 3.75 days to fully recharge. 
Using suggested defaults Threshold  would be 6 [5] or 1.2 [1] and Recover 2 [5] or 0.4 [1].
Those numbers change with a different starting default.
So a 6/2 for 10 points compared to ER 3 for 9 points isn't desirable for players as they will get much more mileage out of straight ER since it would fully recharge in a half hour. What if we scale that up though? 5 levels would be 30/10 [50] (Incidentally the cost of Variable Energy Access) where a normal would be ER 16 [48] half as useful in one shot and takes just over 2.6 hours to fully recharge,
Another look; on 50 points those 5 point advantages as enhancements would be +10% for either +6 (20%) Threshold or +2 (25%) Recovery rate. 

So building it as a new advantage could look like...

Strategic ER

50 points
You have an Energy Reserve that has a high capacity but recovers much slower than the standard Energy Reserve. The ER holds 30 energy and recovers 8 per day.
New Enhancements: Increased Cap +6, +10%; and Increased Recovery 2, +10%.
New Limitations: Reduced Cap -6, -10% (Max 5 levels); and Reduced Recovery -2, -10% (Max 5 levels).
Other optional modifiers: From GURPS Horror Corrupting, -20%; from GURPS Powers (p. 119) Abilities only, -10%; One Power, -50%; and Stunts only, -10%; and from GURPS Power-Ups 8: Limitations Aftermath, Aspected, Attracts Threats, and Backlash.
Note: The new limitation values mach up with the suggested version for Magery under Threshold Magic!


Strategic ER is not just for Magery, its a variant for of ER that can be used with any source or power theme where the desire is to make a more strategic option available.
With the Aftermath limitation it could for example represent physical stress.

Crystal Kingdom: National Magic


Everyone in the kingdom can use magic, and it is tied to social status so higher status individuals have access to more powerful magic. Magic is based on Dragon Lines which are narrow channels of energy crisscrossing the world. They have learned how to shape the lines and store the energy using crystal spires (hence the name of the kingdom). This makes the kingdom very dangerous to attack, though the magic is not as effective outside its territory where mages cant draw upon as much power.
The kingdom is very advanced with magic compared to the Commonwealth in several ways. For one thing they use Production Line enchanting (Pyramid #3/66 The Laws of Magic, Thoroughly Modern Magic) as if TL 5.
The real reason for the success of the kingdoms mages though comes from a special Power Tapping skill that draws on energy storage and distribution facilities. Citizens do not have access to this power and its access is monitored and can be limited at any time by government people. Generally citizens are allowed to use the extra energy freely, but fines and other penalties can be applied for use against other citizens or in the commission of a crime.


A number of traits work differently in the Crystal Kingdom, also there are a few new ones.
  • Magery: Magery 0 is trainable and possessed by almost every citizen. Higher levels work normally, both in effect and how they are acquired.
  • Rank: While on duty members of certain organizations are able to draw on extra power.
  • Status: The higher a citizens status the more power they are allowed to draw from the national system.

  • Power Tapping (Crystal Kingdom): is a widely available skill, though not everyone bothers to learn it. However, any serious mage will study it. It gets a bonus of +1 for each level of Status and another +1 per level of Rank when appropriate. This is the key factor in making local mages so powerful compared to others, though it only works in or near the Crystal Kingdom. The cap is normal area 5, spires 10, and audits are automatic for anyone using more than (Status *10) in a month.
While many affinities are available, certain ones are more common.
  • Commuter: Covers abilities to get around within the Crystal Kingdom. This includes typical movement spells and specialty ones such as riding dragon lines. It also includes a Calling ritual for taxis.
  • Public Access: Primarily communication and Knowledge spells related to the country. Includes checking time, locations of self and registered buildings and shops, peoples location or info that they want publicly available. Also listen to news bulletins. A Calling spell exists for police and emergency services.
New Advantage: Magic Account
Prerequisites: Wealth (Comfortable or better)
30 points (50 points with a -40% gadget).
You have applied for, and received access to a special pool of energy that can be used to power your spells. This is primarily used by wealthy merchants and nobles and is strictly regulated. Bearers have a touchstone that provides a link to the kingdoms energy. This is a 4 inch badge, usually worn on the shirt (DR 5; SM -7; must be forcibly removed, will not work for the thief, and is difficult to replace; -40%). Replacing it requires a visit to the Bureau of Magical Affairs head office at the capital and takes about a week for them to make and attune a new one. It is possible for a thief with the right spells to disguise their aura and trick the stone into thinking its the original bearer.
The daily recovery works automatically within the territory of the Crystal Kingdom (including embassies) but requires use of the Power Tapping (Crystal Kingdom) skill to recharge which takes Long Distance modifiers rather than the SSR table, though it takes an hour.
Statistics: Threshold Magery Tally 30, Recovery 8.
Threshold can be increased by 6 points for 5/level and Recovery can be increased by 2 points for 5/level. This does not get the gadget discount!

Friday, September 20, 2019

GURPS Review: Pyramid Dungeon Collection

This book came to my door yesterday and is not available on W23 as yet. It is a collection of articles from Pyramid from Volumes 1 and 2 which are largely no longer available. More than just reprints however the articles are updated to Fourth Edition, in most cases by the original authors.
Its organized into 3 chapters and focused on Dungeon Fantasy.

Chapter 1 Locations

The largest chapter, and it includes several maps. 9 locations are
covered in its 56 pages.

Chapter 2 Advice and Ideas

At 34 pages this is the second largest chapter with 10 articles.  For me this was the best chapter, in particular I liked Chaos and Ritual, Magic Ingredients Revised, Riding the Tiger, and Sylvania Unbound. Riding the Tiger is a short but very nice article on exotic mounts and easily dropped into many campaigns. In particular I will be adding giant eagles, triceratops, and hill turtles (maybe the grand caiman too) to my setting.

Chapter 3 Adventures

At 29 pages this is the smallest chapter, though it only has 3 adventures so each gets plenty of detail,including monster stat blocks.


Overall I liked the book, which shipped with my printed copy of Monsters 2 (already reviewed).
There is a lot in it I wont use but enough here that something is likely to appeal to most people into GURPS Dungeon Fantasy.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Review of GURPS Sorcery: Sound Spells

The Sorcery system gets another worked lis of spells in this volume!

GURPS Sorcery: Sound Spells

This book has 35 spells designed as powers, specifically for the Sorcery system. Converting them for use with any other system is trivial and the introduction even tells you how. That lets even those who do not have sorcery know all they need to make the conversion so it could work for any GURPS powers system or individual builds.
This is I think, the first book edited by Christopher Rice.

I have been looking forward to this one for awhile now, most sound spells are obvious in how to design them if your familiar with GURPS Powers. However a few might require more creativity, and certainly worked examples make life easier on GM and player alike!
This is a concise book and easy to read. I like the usage of Telesend for a few spells, have minor nitpicks with one or two spells in that I would have done them differently, and overall liked the builds.


As a short worked list of spells as powers the $5 price point makes this book a great value. Building all these spells yourself would take more time than that, even if your good at building powers. And if your not good at powers builds its worth a lot more!  It also gives a few ideas you may not have thought of, or done differently while giving the reader a base for designing new abilities.
Certain rules it uses are kind of obscure (alternative enhancements), certain applications are nice to have in cannon or precedent (helps curb arguments at the table), and a few new modifiers such as uses of Cosmic or limitation values are also highly useful to have in print.
This is the second supplement to the Sorcery line, the other being Protection and Warning Spells.
For those interested in this series the GURPS Wiki has a category for them and the blog Generic Universal Eggplant has a bunch of writeups, an index is here

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Mantles, Supernatural Titles

In the Harry Dresden series of books the author introduces something called "Mantles". The concept is not original to that series (Piers Anthony's Incarnations series is another example) but I credit it for giving a good example of the concept.
A Mantle is a unique title that can be given to an individual, granting powers and personality changes. Examples are Mother Winter, Winter Queen, Winter Lady, and the Winter Knight with corresponding versions for the Summer Court.
These can actually be built in GURPS using the Spirit Vessel rules from GURPS Thaumatology, or the Totem-Bearer rules from GURPS Powers: Totem and Nature Spirits.
Some tweaking of the power modifiers may be needed but this ability is well represented by the Alternate Form advantage.
The Winter Knight mantle for example can be removed for ignoring or violating "Winters Law" and grants several traits and personality changes. Since the personality changes over time I would probably use the Spiritual Distortion rules from GURPS Thaumatology or the Corruption rules from GURPS Horror which are essentially a refined variant of the distortion rules from Thaumatology.
As a mantle is designed to be worn most, if not all the time it fits Totem-Bearer better than the more exhausting Totem advantage from GURPS Horror: The Madness Dossier or GURPS Monster Hunters: Holy Warriors which add an ongoing FP cost. However the Requires Skill Roll is inappropriate for Dresden Mantles  (though might work for other concepts), and Shamanic, Mediated works but might be renamed.
Mantle Modifiers

  • Shamanic, Mediated, -5%
  • Corrupting, -20%
  • Reduced Time 5. +100%
  • Total +75%
Thus a Mantle costs 27 points plus it's pool cost.

The granted abilities of the new form are not entirely known but for the Winter Knight probably include High Pain Threshold, Heroic Reserves, a magical ER limited to winter powers and perhaps other toughness related traits. Note that it does not need to include a healing ability as he seems to heal normally (though Wizards heal a little faster in the setting) and as an Alternate Form it swaps out the paralysis he has in his normal form.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Unionizing America

Listening to various talking heads I had this thought. What Senator Sanders is trying to do is unionize America.
Labor unions helped the workers by uniting large numbers of workers so they could fight for better pay, benefits, and safety as a group rather than individuals,  As individual employers would simply fire them and the status quo remain. The corporations had all the power.
But by uniting and working together unions led to substantive changes, We enacted child labor laws, shortened the work week, raised pay, increased health benefits, and improved worker safety, among many other improvements.
Of course since the 80's the Republican party has rolled some of that back and virtually destroyed the power of unions, and in large part due to corporate influence the Democrats allowed it. But still a lot of those changes are lasting ones.

What Sanders is talking about is effectively unionizing Americans.
The situation is much the same corporations hold most of the power and control most politicians through large campaign donations and promises of cushy jobs when a congress person retires.
The average American citizen has little power, districts are divvied up with gerrymandering to minimize our votes (If your in a safe district both sides can ignore you as your vote doesn't not typically matter), voter suppression laws and purging of the rolls, and other in my view flat out Anti-American tactics but even more so the ruling that money is free speech and corporations count as people (even if they are owned in whole or in part by non Americans).

The fact is that American citizens have little effective power as individuals but when we unite we do have power. Senator Sanders plan is to give voters something worth fighting for, not more of the same or incremental change that may benefit us a little bit and our grand kids a little more (if not rolled back). Are his ideas bold? Will they be hard to push though Congress? Absolutely!!!
But Freedom isn't free, and anything worth having is worth fighting for. His plan to use the Bully pulpit to bring issues to the voter is a powerful one, little used by previous Presidents.
Trump understands that power and uses it to stir up his base to protect him even when he does things that would have resulted in any other Presidents impeachment and removal from office.

It is a fact that the candidate with the most money usually wins. But what the media and establishment politicians are not really publicly acknowledging is that in 2018 a lot of candidates who were massively out spent won their races.  The trick is to win those seats they had to speak to their voters in clear and inspirational messages that made a stronger impression than the paid for advertising.
Also old fashioned methods like town halls and door to door campaigns as well as reaching people through the internet more than television.
Senator Sanders inspired these grassroots movements by his efforts in 2016. He had the powerful message that he would work for voters, not corporations and put his money where his mouth was by refusing corporate super pac money.

Imagine That Integrity and Powerful Messaging in the White House!

With the bully pulpit of the Presidency he can get air time by simply making a speech. His plan is to put issues to Congress or promote ones he favors in his speeches and get the word out to us, the American voter.
It will be up to us to band together, as we have in the past and tell Congress what We The People think. If he makes a good case we tell that to them, likewise if we disagree.
But by uniting and bringing his case directly to you and me he is helping us gather our power and use it effectively to serve us.  Instead of the current back room politics he will haul it onto the front lawn where we can all see what is really going on.
Like the unions and civil rights movements of the past we can, under President Sanders leadership take back our country and make it work for Americans. This is a powerful opportunity we may not have again if we allow it to slip by.

An interesting Kickstarter for RPGs

The Book of Unusual Potions and Spooky Hats Kickstarter.
This is one of the more interesting Kickstarters for an RPG, though not for everyone it is system agnostic so works for most fantasy RPGs,

The book of Potions is now at 28 pages by my count and is a PDF and printed book by a noted person in the RPG field. Provided are art and descriptions for various potions.
The Book of Spooky Hats is slightly smaller and available not as an add on but comes with the PDF or printed Potions book.
This is because of the stretch goals that have already been met.
The art is nice for any game, the creative thoughts and ideas they can inspire are especially good for GMs who want to add a personal touch to their games.
I backed it and recommend you do too!

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Vanity/Status Post

Just got word that GURPS Powers: Totem and Nature Spirits sold enough copies to get another check!  That short tail thing where sales quickly drop off due to most interested buyers buying it early is definitely a thing. We need more GURPS players!
Still its a niche of a niche so I'm pretty happy and hoping that sales are high enough that they accept my next proposal which I'm scheduled to make in Oct.
I have two more spirit related books and three different magic systems in mind to pitch and hope I get to write them for SJG. If not I may just blog them,but better for everyone if they see the full book treatment.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

The Cunning Path, a fanzine for GURPS

I've been waiting for this to come out! Available now as PDF or epub
Its a fanzine by two GURPS old timers who have written some articles and such but their real activity probably goes largely unrecognized but noticed just the same.
John Dallman is active on the forums and has a couple of long running series of threads describing various traits in GURPS that covers how thy have been used in games and references to additional information and where such can be found besides GURPS Basic.
Roger Bell West is less visible but created a Pyramid Vol 3 index on the forums that inspired my magic focused one and I used to helped me update the GURPS Wiki. Additionally he runs a script that has been used by several people to maintain the W23 Digital Speculation threads which has been going on for several years now.
I was happy when approached to post a Designers note for my GURPS Powers: Totems and Nature Spirits book since it came out after the end of the venerable Pyramid magazine where that would normally be published.

So check it out as I am about too!

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

It Should Have Been Obvious...

On the forums someone posted a note about the cost of FTL spaceflight vs. the cost of Warp. It got me to thinking and I provided a significantly cheaper and RAW build.
 Flight (Space, +50%) [60]
Enhanced Move 30 (Space, Instant Acceleration, +50%) [180] (900/5)
Enhanced Move 6 (Flight, Instant Acceleration, +50%) [36] for atmospheric travel, bought as a alternative ability of EM (Space) with a travel speed of 1,280 MPH.
Impulse Point Pool Cap 2, recover 2 points session [30].
Total 306 points to be able to travel anywhere and back in the Milky Way in about an hour if the GM rules its a good off screen or especially appropriate use once per game session. And to take it a step further, thats really only an extra 210 points towards a really nifty player controlled plot device.
Not bad IMHO.

This got me thinking about how comic book supers often have powers that are extraordinary in one issue but greatly scaled down in other issues.  Basically the character is as powerful as the story demands and the author desires. The advantage is that a character can have immense cool powers but for some reason they are not normally used and thus do not easily override normal problems.
This is actually a large part of what GURPS Power-Ups 5: Impulse Buys is about. A steep discount for abilities that are rarely used, and especially if that use helps the story.

So for a Supers, High Fantasy, or any narrative type campaign we can use Impulse Buys to allow the characters abilities that will see limited or off screen use. This really was brought up in the book, but I do not recall making this connection. It really fits a Four Color supers campaign!  For that matter it also fits a GURPS Toon campaign, just call Impulse Points "Comedy Points" or something.

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Dwarven Federation Martial Style - Stones Breath

Stones Breath

Created and almost exclusively possessed by stonekeepers Stones Breath is a very cinematic and Chi based style.  It relies heavily on Ki powers (what others may call Chi) to account for stonekeepers low strength and innate abilities. It is compatible with the Elemental Martial Arts, but few bother to learn both.


Beginning students focus on basic moves, exercise (mostly Running), and Meditation. They are not typically very effective fighters due to thee low strength.
4 points
Skills: Karate, Meditation, Running
Techniques: Feint (Karate).
Optional Traits: Energy Reserve (Ki); Kiai


An Adept has learned to effectively harness their ki. Thy have Ki Investment at level 1 and of course work up from there. Some abilities require an attribute roll to succeed, this can be replaced by Kiai for HT rolls and Meditation for IQ or Will rolls if desired.
27 points
Skills: Kiai (H) HT-2 [1]; Karate (H) DX [4], Meditation (H) Will [4], Running (A) HT [2].
Required Traits: Ki Investment (Chi Sorcery, Pyramid #3/105) 15 points for level 1, +7/level. 
Ki Talent Abilities

  • Level 1: (15) Breaking Blow; Chi Sensing; Concealment; Invisibility Art; Light Walk; Lizard Climb; Mental Strength; Zen Archery.
  • Level 2 (22) Anatomic Control; Immovable Stance; Kiai; Phoenix Heart; Power Blow; Precognitive Parry; Push; Sensitivity.
  • 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.
Optional Traits: Claim to Hospitality; Extra Attack 2; Perfect Balance.


The Master has reached the pinnacle of Ki Investment and further refined their skills.
72 points
Skills: Kiai (H) HT [4]; Karate (H) DX [4], Meditation (H) Will [4], Running (A) HT [2].
Required Traits: Ki Investment 7 [57].
Optional Traits: 

GURPS Prime Directive

GURPS Prime Directive 4e, Revised is out!
First created for GURPS Third Edition this is a Powered by GURPS product.  That means its a complete game, and one that is fully compatible with GURPS. So GURPS players wont need to learn a new system to play in the Star Fleet Battles universe, and those not familiar with GURPS will have a complete and battle tested (Fourth Edition was published in 2004, the original system published in 1986) game system.
Currently PDF only, a hard copy is expected early next year the book is on W23 as Volume 1 Creating a Character, Volume 2 Playing the Game, and a bundled Vol 1 & 2 set.

This is not really Star Trek but its as close as your likely to get!
Based on the Star Fleet Battles wargame this adds a roleplaying option in a non canon Star Trek universe. Its a lot like the Star Trek animated TV series if your familiar with that.

Included is information on most of the Alpha Quadrant, with of course all you need to play a Star Fleet character.  Even medals and promotions are include for the up and coming officer!
Templates speed character design, a nice feature - though of course custom characters are still available.

One of the new things is a chapter on space combat which can be used or experienced GURPS players can work with the standard GURPS space combat system using the GURPS Spaceships line, adding options to build new ships with different technologies to throw a curve at your players. From Precuser tech to cross setting scenarios.
Not to fret if you dontwant to design a ship right away as included are several ships, including large freighter, Free Trader (with Deck plans!), security skiff, Federation heavy cruiser, Klingon D7 battlecruiser, Romulan War Eagle, Kzinti command cruiser, Gorn Allosaurous Battlecruiser, Tholian patrol corvette, Oriion Pirate light cruiser, and the standard administrative shuttlecraft.
An adventure "Rescue on Roon" is also included.

Dwarven Federation Martial Styles - Thunder and Lightning

Thunder and Lightning

An elite style that combines expertise with the sling and Sigil magic to create deadly rains of stones. They guard battlements, patrol, and merchant escorts, but their primary role is to support the Granite Guard. Slings are typically normal, though dart slings (GURPS Low Tech, p. 76) are often used for hunting and staff slings are unusual and mostly used above ground (if at all). Sigil magic is also used to enhance the kusari which is their main backup weapon. Some soldiers will modify a kusari for use as a sling by adding a central pouch, this lets them quickly switch weapon modes in combat.
Note: Sigil Magic is a combination of traits in this setting. It includes the basic knowledge of sigils every dwarf is raised on (Increased TL), the Imbuement advantage, and Symbol Magic.


Students are expected to be able to competently fight in both ranged and melee combat so this is a mixed style.
4 points
Skills: Judo; Kusari; Sling.
Techniques: Aggressive Parry; Armed Grapple; Arm Lock; Back Strike; Choke Hold; Disarming; Entangle; Evade; Feint; Retain Weapon; Return Strike; Sweep; Triangle Choke; Trip.
Cinematic Skills: 
Cinematic Techniques:  Binding; Dual-Weapon Attack (Kusari); Grand Disarm (Kusari); Whirlwind Attack (Kusari)
Optional Skills: Bolas; Running.
Optional Techniques: Throw Kusari (H; Bola -4).
Perks: Eye For Distance; Reach Mastery; Weapon Bond


Once the student learns to effectively use Sigil magic they are considered adepts. The first Imbuement skill learned is Forceful Blow which is used to break up enemy formations, slow down ravening hordes, or just help knock foes down.
34 points
Skills: Forceful Blow (VH) DX [8]; Judo (H) DX [4]; Kusari (H) DX [4]; Sling (H) DX+1 [8].
Additional Traits: Imbuement (Magic) 1 [9].
Perks: Special Exercises (Rapid Recovery)*
Optional Traits: Energy Reserve (Athletic) [3/level]; Energy Reserve (Magic) [3/level]; Imbuement 2 or 3 [18, 36]; Magery; Weapon Master (Kusari) [20].
*Allows "Rapid Recovery" extra effort option from GURPS Martial Arts.


As the practitioner becomes Master rank they are proficient in all levels of Sigil magic and effectively a mage,though a starting one. While dwarves can and do learn magic in other ways, this is by far the most common method.
65 points
Skills: Forceful Blow (VH) DX [8]; Judo (H) DX [4]; Kusari (H) DX [4]; Lexicon (Dwarven) (VH) IQ [8]; Sling (H) DX+1 [8]; Symbol Drawing (Calligraphy) (VH) IQ [8].
Additional Traits: Imbuement (Magic) 1 [9]; Magery [15].

Dwarven Federation Martial Style - Silver Guard

Silver Guard

Town defense and policing is an important, though less glamorous function of the military. This style represents the training of those charged with this duty and focuses on non-lethal weapons to capture drunkards and other miscreants. Many members of the Silver Guard have also been part of the Granite Guard.


Students are expected to learn the basics, but Evade and Feint are commonly practiced as well.
4 points
Skills: Axe/Mace; Kusari; Observation.
Techniques: Aggressive Parry; Armed Grapple; Arm Lock; Back Strike; Choke Hold; Disarming; Entangle; Evade; Feint; Retain Weapon; Return Strike; Sweep; Trip.
Cinematic Skills: 
Cinematic Techniques: Binding; Dual-Weapon Attack (Kusari); Grand Disarm (Kusari); Whirlwind Attack (Kusari)
Optional Skills: Bolas; Knot-Tying; Running; Wrestling.
Optional Techniques: Throw Kusari (H; Bola-4).
Perks: Reach Mastery; Weapon Bond

Silver Fist

Members who have earned this rank wear a badge with a silver fist when on duty and can get their gauntlets inlaid with a design of silver. Not only are they typically more skilled in combat, they have basic training in the law and observing situations. Also learning the basic glower language is required so they can understand and respond to alerts.
12 points
Skills: Axe/Mace (A) DX [2]; Gesture (Glower) (E) IQ+1 [2]; Kusari (H) DX [4]; Law (Criminal) (H) IQ-2 [1]; Observation (A) Per [2].
Additional Skills: .
Perks: .
Optional Traits:

Silvered Helm

Those distinguished with the title of Silver Helm are of course proficient with weapons but also well versed in the law so they can better uphold it. While Weapon or Trained by a Master are rare, its this rank that is reached before that becomes an option.
30 points
Skills: Area Knowledge (E) Town) IQ [1]; Axe/Mace (A) DX+2 [8]; Gesture (Glower) (E) IQ+1 [2]; Kusari (H) DX+2 [12]; Law (Criminal) (H) IQ-2 [4]; Observation (A) Per [2].
Additional Skills: 
Optional Traits:  Extra Attack 2; Weapon Master (Kusari) [20].

Dwarven Federation Martial Styles - Granite Guard

Granite Guard

This represents the standard soldier training, including advanced levels. It focuses on effective shield use with axe/mace and spear as primary weapons. As primary front lint fighters they are expected to take a pounding, hold the line as long as possible, then get right back up and do it again.


Grunt is used respectfully and represents the basic training of soldiers of the line which make up the bulk of the dwarven forces. Solders are expected to spend most of their time training and thus most will have more than basic skill levels.
5 points
Skills: Axe/Mace; Shield; Spear; Sumo Wrestling.
Techniques: Acrobatic Stand;
Cinematic Skills: Immovable Stance; Push.
Cinematic Techniques: 
Optional Skills: Acrobatics; Armory (Melee Weapons); First Aid; Hiking; Thrown Weapons (Axe); Thrown Weapons (Shield); Thrown Weapons (Spear);
Perks: Hold The Line; Sacrificial Block; Shield Familiarity; Shield-Wall Training; Shoves and Tackles (shield);  Weapon Bond.
Optional Traits: Enhanced Block; Hard to Kill; Hard to Subdue; High Pain Threshold; Rapid Healing; Recovery; Shield Mastery [15/level]; Weapon Master (Dwarven -Axe/Mace, Shield, Spear) [35]; Weapon Master (Shield) [25].
Note: Some of this material is from Shield Bearers in Pyramid #3/118. The price of Weapon Master (Dwarven Weapons) is higher than suggested in GURPS Basic but includes thrown versions and the benefits of Weapon Master (Shield).


The rank of Rook is granted to those who demonstrate proficiency and can be counted on to anchor key parts of a shield line. This level is more common among dwarven soldiers than the Adept rank is found in typical styles. In fact one must obtain the Rook title before obtaining the first level of Rank (Military), at least as standard units.
15 points
Skills: Axe/Mace (A) DX+1 [4]; Shield (E) DX+1 [4]; Spear (A) DX [2]; Sumo Wrestling (A) DX+1 [4].
Additional Skills: Carousing; Kiai; Kusari; Leadership.
Optional Traits: Claim to Hospitality; Extra Attack 2; Lifting ST; Perfect Balance; Very Rapid Healing [15 +10/level; see MH Power Ups p.13].


These elite soldiers are practically a line unto themselves! Weapon Master is practically standard, and they are afforded the respect of a knight in medieval Europe.
44 points
Skills:  Axe/Mace (A) DX+2 [8]; Shield (E) DX+4 [12]; Spear (A) DX+1 [4]; Sumo Wrestling (A) DX+2 [8]; Thrown Weapon (Spear) (E) DX [2].
Additional Traits: Status 2.
Optional Traits: 


Action 3 Furious Fists: Disarming; Feint; Rappelling; Retain Weapon.
Dungeon Fantasy 11 Power-Ups: 
Monster Hunters Power-Ups 1: Duct-Tape Bandage [14, 21, 28]; Enhanced Critical (Shield) [1/level]; Greater Weapon Bond [5/level]; It's Just a Scratch [12, 25, 32]; Tough Guy [10/level]; Weapon Specialist [10/level].

Commonwealth Martial Style - The Watch

The Watch

This is a standardized style taught to the town watch. It focuses on effective and quick combat, typically against lightly armored foes. Skills ranks are recognized as Watchman, Watch Sergeant, and Watch Captain, though these are not the actual ranks in authority.
The watch works under the mayor,not the ruling noble and is primarily concerned with keeping the peace and maintaining order within the town. They are not responsible for town defense or its outskirts, though they can be pressed to help as needed.
Cinematic skills and abilities are rarely learned as part of the Watch. Those few who possess such unusual abilities tend to be retired adventurers or soldiers.


Students are expected to learn the basics, but Evade and Feint are commonly practiced as well.
5 points
Skills: Broadsword; Running; Shortsword; Tonfa.
Cinematic Skills: 
Cinematic Techniques: 
Optional Skills: Carousing; Intimidation; Observation; Savoir-Faire (The Watch/Police).
Optional Techniques: 
Optional Traits: Claim to Hospitality; Duty

Watch Sergeant

At this rank the stylist is typically in charge of a larger patrol or coordinating the patrols in a section of the city. While weapon skills are expected to be improved a lot of training time is spent on other skills.
20 points
Skills: Area Knowledge (E) IQ [1]; Broadsword (A) DX+1 [4]; Intimidation (A) Will [2]; Law (Criminal) (H) IQ [4]; Observation (A) Per [2]; Running (A) HT [2]; Savoir-Faire (The Watch/Police) (E) IQ [1]; Tonfa (A) DX+1 [4].
Additional Skills: Leadership.
Optional Traits: Claim to Hospitality; Duty; Police Rank 1 or 2 [2/level].

Watch Captain

Typically in charge of a shift in a town or district of a city. At this point the watchman has likely served in the same city at least a year and demonstrated dedication towards protecting the city. This level is actually awarded by or with the approval of the City Spirit. The Watch Captain is granted the ability to sense and talk to nearby spirits, which is very helpful in dealing with many problems and early warning of problems.
46 points
Skills: Area Knowledge (E) IQ+1 [2]; Broadsword (A) DX+2 [8]; Intimidation (A) Will+1 [4]; Law (Criminal) (H) IQ [4]; Leadership (A) IQ [2]; Observation (A) Per+2 [8]; Running (A) HT [2]; Savoir-Faire (The Watch/Police) (E) IQ [1]; Tonfa (A) DX+1 [4].
Additional Traits: Medium [10].
Optional Traits: Claim to Hospitality; Duty; Police Rank 2 to 4 [2/level]; Spirit Empathy; Totem (City Spirit).

Rank and Hierarchy

The Town Watch has Police Rank [2/level] but no Legal Immunity. Rank is not based on experience, quality of service, and often how well they get along with others, especially their superiors.
Villages will typically have a watch of 5 to 10 members, leader with Police Rank 1.
Towns and cities will have a watch of 1 per 100 to 1000 citizens.