Monday, March 23, 2020

Building a GURPS Setting 1: Fantasy

My favorite thing about GURPS is its flexibility and one of the parts of that is its not tied to any specific setting. However,for some people thats a drawback because they are used to integrated settings and many GM's do not have the time to design their own setting. I have previously put some of this information on the following pages of this blog

Official Settings

There were a LOT of Third Edition licensed settings, unfortunately most of the licences have expired and those books are no longer in distribution, hence not included in this list.
  • Banestorm is the update to the Third Edition Ysgarth setting. Basically its a fantasy world with several transplanted cities from earth and elsewhere. Several books make it one of the most supported GURPS fantasy settings.
  • Conan A licensed Third Edition supplement that is easy to convert to Fourth Edition if you want to play in the Age of Hyboria!
  • Nordland Reviewed by me here this is basically a fantasy vikings setting.  Its pretty cool, produced by Gaming Ballistic under a Third Party licence and offers several books with a steady supply coming. High quality art and content, if I wanted to run a setting without making one up this is a very strong candidate. Its written for GURPS and d20 so pay attention to what book your buying
  • Historical's: GURPS Third Edition had a number of historical books published and while stats will need to be converted they provide great information, focused on a gamer's point of view.

Mix it up settings

This are partial settings, rich in detail but not a fully developed or mapped world. As such they can be dropped into many fantasy settings.

Making Your Own Setting

This is really my favorite part of running or playing in GURPS, the toolkit approach lets a GM create whatever world they have in mind without being restricted by system mechanics.
GURPS Fantasy is the starting book. If you already know what you want and are experienced at world design much of this material will be less useful to you. However there is a lot of material here and even experienced world builders are likely to get something out of it.
GURPS Religion is a Classic or Third Edition book discussing various religions and how to design your own. This book is very light on stats so using it in Fourth Edition requires no extra effort.
  • GURPS Monster Hunters 6: Holy Hunters was not built for this genre but the chapter on real world religions is about the best your going to find anywhere. It is therefore a great book for using those religions, especially if your running a pseudo-historical setting. It also has some nifty abilities for religious types.
  • GURPS Spirits is also useful.Its Third Edition so stats will need to be converted and the magic system in it was updated and published in GURPS Thaumatology. However it has some good information and ideas for spirits.
  • GURPS Totem and Nature Spirits by yours truly deals specifically with Totem type spirits and local nature spirits. Its mostly a Powers book aimed at playing a type of spirit based character but has some material to add flavor to a shamanic setting.
GURPS Low-Tech and its expansions help develop the science side of your world and provide details for how long it takes to build things, whats available, etc. Like with everything but the Core Rules you do not truly need these books to play but, wow they sure can add depth and detail to your world!

GURPS Adaptations provides guidelines for converting books or movies to your own GURPS setting.
GURPS Template Toolkit 2: Races gives guidance and tools for building your own races.


With GURPS you have most historical periods already covered, a few unique fantasy settings, and rich tools to design your own fantasy worlds from scratch or based on your favorite book!

Monday, March 16, 2020

Ceteri - Team B Season 1 Interlude: It's Magic!

After stopping the cultists from summoning a Nameless One (you really dont want to know what that is) some things happened...

4 months later...

Alice (Amos's Aunt) moved into his place till she finds a new place to live. She has spent most of this time giving Amos some intense magical training. He was a powerful Hedge mage already but the lack of formal training had left a few holes she seeks to fill in.  He also started working at the Library, some mystical place that is a storehouse of magical knowledge.

Lorenzo finished off the Hunter's Trade training for Dillon and Henry, with a few guest spots from Amos. This helped him brush up on and practice some of his skills as well, handy since his foster mother told him he was getting sloppy. Hes also managed to make time with that comely doctor that treated Henry and of course hold down the fort at the firehouse where he volunteers.

Dillon found some benefit in the Hunter's Trade training but mostly the noncombat stuff. He also has been going to vocational skill to learn metal smithing and practicing with making esoteric armor. Hes also found himself some work as a white hat for local construction jobs.

Henry did not spend nearly enough time learning the martial side as he probably should have because after that night he had a Visitation. Horus came to see him!
Henry was told he needs to learn more about his abilities and that his falcon Bishop is his familiar and will help teach him how to cast spells and learn more about his powers. Something really bad is coming and Henry has to get ready.
After 4 months Henry has learned a few spells he can cast, given the time and circumstances and picked up some special prayers he can use. He also has shared his special sight with the rest of the team. It was nerve wracking but Amos just grunted and acted like he knew all along (probably did) and the rest just took it in stride. After years of fearing people would think he was insane or should be dissected the result was pretty much a relief.

On the Hunt

Of course the monsters havent been totally silent these past months and the group has been patrolling and taken down a few as well as collected a few more cursed objects. No details on the guy dropping them around town yet but hes definitely out there.  Dropped a Monky's Paw among other things. Plus some vampires thought they could move into town.  The group knows each other much better by now and Henry has picked up some new tactics and gear.  Using the Hunters training plus his already expert knowledge of firearms he set up a reloading workshop in the basement and test firing range for exotic ammunition.  Also called purchased some from various sources. He picked up a 12 gauge revolver and has everything from Baton, Bean bag, and tear gas rounds (See GURPS High-Tech) for handling cultists, wooden slugs for vampires, silver bullets for werewolves, rock salt and hollowed slugs with holy water for demons and spirits, and a bunch of other stuff for special circumstances.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

The 2020 Crash and Failed Response to Corona virus

So the Virus we knew was coming a decade ago finally hit us and the USA is woefully unprepared. Pay attention and please share these talking points as we still have a chance to reduce the damage the next time this happens, and it WILL happen again.

Why its so bad

  • Trump disbanded the emergency response unit that was put in place to protect us. Standard Conservative policy, cut govt programs because individuals and corporations should be able to fend for themselves.
  • Trump has made things much worse by not taking it seriously from the start and worrying more about the stock market than human lives. So he kept telling people it was contained and over rated, nothing to worry about. So it spread further.
  • He waited to long to restrict travel and then exempted countries where has hotels.
  • Testing kits were offered by WHO early on but Trump admin refused, so an American company could get exclusivity. Except of course the kits were made in China because of our disastrous trade agreement and turned out to be contaminated. This put us way behind the rest of the world.

Trump and Republican "Solutions"?

  • Bailouts to major corporations.
  • Payroll tax cuts which of course wont help the people sent home without pay or laid off.
  • Finally after more than a month persuading insurance companies to not charge copays for testing and our taxes covering their costs. Meanwhile treatment wont be covered, and of course millions of workers will lose their insurance because there no longer working.

The Corporate Response

  • Lay off workers because consumer demand in many industries is down.  Honestly you cant blame the companies, but rather than put people on leaves of absence so they keep their health insurance (If they can afford the premiums without a paycheck) their now out of work for an unknown length of time.

The Biden Plan

  • This is what the status quo with our health care system looks like.Once you lose your job you lose medical coverage. Even before that happens your discouraged from getting testing (when available) or treatment because for many people the copays and deductibles are too high.
  • Taxpayers by the way foot the bill when these people use the ER after it gets serious because they could not afford to go.
  • Think about that come election time, The AHCA was better than what we had, and certainly better than the nothing Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnel came up with but it was not enough.

The Sanders Plan

Had Sanders won in 2016 and managed to get his Medicare for all plan through Congress (yes it was and is a long shot and hard. But anything worth doing is hard, and the alternative to not even trying is failure) we would simply not be in this mess.
  • You have no Health Insurance now or its too expensive? Under Sanders plan you and all those healthy young people would have been paying into the same healthcare pool everyone uses.  Yale did a study and showed it would save $45 Billion a YEAR. Yes it costs 30 trillion over 10 years as the health insurance companies and the talking heads on TV tell you.  But were already spending 54 trillion in that same time period according to a REPUBLICAN study by The Heritage Foundation. In other words even they know it saves money, they just don't want YOU to know so Health Insurance companies will keep paying them off. Every researcher knows it saves money, they just tell you the costs in taxes but not the savings in your wallet with no more premiums, deductibles, and copays.
  • Imagine if everyone who gets sick could get tested (Neither Sanders or Biden would have botched the testing kit thing) and would get tested because they could afford it. Maybe they lose their job for being sick, thats sad but they would still get medical care and maybe quickly find another job.Especially since companies would still be doing a good business.


Its really too late for this outbreak, we should have elected Sanders in 2016.
However there will be another one, maybe in a few years, maybe a dozen, we do not know when but we know it will happen. In the meantime 45,000 Americans die each year and thousands of newborn babies because people cant afford the current system. It works great for the upper class, lousy for everyone else. And do you really like your insurance company? Not talking about your doctor, but the company you pay every month to help with your medical bills when you need it - are they there for you when you need them? Or do they delay payments and string you along with paperwork?

Getting rid of a business that only makes a profit by not paying out what you pay them for just makes no sense. Of course we have the worst health care in the entire modern world!

Biden is winning the Dem election, not because people like his policies, exit polling in every single state so far proves that. He is winning because the millionaires on TV and the Radio, as well as those in D.C. are telling you everything is fine, lets not rock the boat. Ask yourself, is it fine for you? Would you like it to be better? Sanders can still win if people come out and vote not on nostalgia over President Obama, not over fear of stupid buzz words like socialism but because they want a better future. If Sanders loses America loses, simple as that.
Its true he may not get his plans through Congress and we may lose anyway. But the other side is telling us we certainly will lose of they win and Sanders is defeated because they will change nothing.
I fought for America in the USAF, I'm not surrendering now. My country and generations after me deserve better!

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Ceteri Team Recap - Stop the cultists!

When we last left our intrepid band of hunters they were outside a church run by cultists engaged in a summoning ritual.
GMs Recap

As they approach they see an otherworldly light coming from the windows and as they get close Alice senses that they are summoning a Nameless one. Henry asks what the plan should be and impatiently waits for a response (ok, barely waits) then declares lets go through a broken window since the door is more likely guarded. Hes anxious with several known hostages inside and the ritual already started that any delay may cost lives. He and Dillon head to a an empty window casement to the left of the entrance, while Amos and Lorenzo head for the door.
The door is unlocked and Lorenzo runs into a guard and shield bashes him before more rush him.  Dillon jumps into the window with Henry right behind him. Meanwhile Alice sets up a barrier around the church to contain things.
Dillon rushes the nearest cultist, and caves his skull in with his fist. Henry has one rush and try to punch him, which he dodges.
Lorenzo pushes in further and is surrounded by wave after wave of cultists which he slowly takes out, while deflecting their attacks and Amos uses his sling to back him up.
Dillon also gets swamped, Henry tries to back him up but is much less effective, especially since he tries to avoid killing them and targets legs instead of the head shots he normally favors (Targeted Attack/Gun/Face) but a few peel off Dillon to attack him so he does contribute.
While Lorenzo is impressive, Dillon takes out about as many cultists, even severing the leg of one at Lorenzo's back with a shuriken. Dillon also tried to avoid killing early but as he gets surrounded pulls out his knives.  Also where Lorenzo deftly avoided most blows Dillon used Judo and Aggressive parries to help pile up his body count and just toughed out the hits he took, including a knife to the groin. Henry start off with Brawling but pulled his gun early as Brawling wasn't cutting it under these circumstances.  Amos is scary good with that staff sling of his, crippled a few, mostly going for leg shots.

As we clear out the cultists and move towards the chanting Lorenzo is the first to see the cult leader and tosses his spear at him. However its bounced back by a powerful warding spell. Henry runs up to start releasing the tied up cultists who were to be sacrificed, trusting the Wizard to deal with the cult leader. Amos (Wizard) apparently casts a spell that prevents the summoning then tosses a sling stone near the cult leader that magically stuns him, thus taking down the ward and Lorenzo runs to grab the last hostage, turns out (duh) its the girl we came from.

After that its just clean up. Alice calls in the Conclave to take care of things and we all head home.


This was our first physical confrontation and the group just naturally worked out well together. The two ranged specialists backing up the two melee specialists, who cleared most of the foes and Amos taking out the big bad at the end was almost anticlimactic. Trouble with magic is it either fails or works spectacularly, especially to the others who just see the results.
Dillon surprised most of us with just how effective he was even without his knives. Lorenzo surprised Henry and Dillon who had not really seen him fight before. Henry was the weakest of the bunch but that was expected as hes new and not focused on combat. After this fight though hes going to be better prepared and getting a better gun (12 gauge shotgun revolver) with a good choice of ammo options, some armor, and learn a few spells and combat oriented prayers.
After this session we have our midpoint break and can spend some experience.
It was a good fun game, and everyone made noticeable contributions.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Ceteri Team Recap - The Trouble With Family

B- Team Session 6 The Trouble With Family

Ceteri Team Recap, Session 6 B-Team - Sept 28th.

GMs Recap

Since Last Time

Its been 3 weeks since the coffee shop events and things have been quiet, with no new leads on cursed objects. Henry has used this time for work and to study up on the concepts and purpose behind various martial arts. Lorenzo has started teaching Dillon and Henry "The Hunter's Trade" which is a martial and scholarly style he and Amos were taught as youths. Its versatile and designed to hunt monsters. Amos helps teach some as well, especially some of the more scholarly aspects of it, allowing both teachers time for their own projects. Henry has a +9 learning modifier (See GURPS Social Engineering: Back to School) and already knows a few skills in the style so is a pretty good student. Dillon may not have that high a bonus (I have not seen his sheet) but is starting off ahead as he has far more natural talent (Higher DX and ST) and more advanced combat skills (Escrima! and Knife!) that he can apply. Amos spends additional time studying spells, and Lorenzo is busy covering extra shifts at the fire department as many have gone to NYC to help with 9/11 recovery efforts.And Dillon finished the underground rooms for Henry. A third container was added for a sound proofed shooting range.

A Morbid Anniversary

Sept 28th is the anniversary of the Lorna Road Massacre, the night all the boys on B-Team were orphaned (though Dillon still has his mother as they had separated and moved away before then). Amos in particular has been having a rough week sleeping, and they go to The Last Call to commiserate together. After drinks and a small meal, Dillon goes to play darts, though the place is nearly empty so he plays alone. Henry buys the table pixies food in return for information on anything unusual and they tell him about a bunch of kidnappings and the possible involvement of a church. After a few rounds three women arrive together, Myriam foster mother to Amos and Lorenzo, and the other are related to Amos (Aunt Justine Waite, and Great-Aunt Alice Waite) and come over to the table, as does Dillon in response. The meeting is a bit tense, Justine is distraught and its been eight years since shes seen Amos, and he and Alice have never met at all. Justine got involved in a cult and her young friend was taken by the leader. They ask for Amos help as he has a family heirloom that can help track her down.
Henry offers to help but Alice turns him down, saying she will use magic. Things between the family get a bit tense and though curious Henry starts to feel uncomfortable and suggests Dillon and he play a round of darts, meanwhile Myriam and Lorenzo catch up.

After a few quick rounds in which Henry never had a chance he recalls the role Myriam had in the others upbringing and gets an idea. He thanks Dillon and heads over to ask about the stuff he recently acquired, Dillon following. Lorenzo explains Henry and Dillon are "the new guys".
Showing the inventory list he had prepared for Amos he explains he would like to know what they are, languages involved, and if anything is dangerous or cursed. Myriam looks at the list and apparently its unique enough that she recognizes the former owner and asks how he got it and what he plans to do with it. Henry explains Mrs. Norcross gave it to him, though after she had died and he plans on using it if he can and saving it for the granddaughter should she want it when she comes of age. Myriam was an old friend and sorry Sharon Norcross had died, she hadn't heard. She writes down some notes and lets him know he could sell some of it for quite a bit of money, but nothing there is dangerous as Sharon would never have anything like that. L
Henry thanks her and they head back to the table where the conversation seems over as Alice is doing a Tarot reading.
Alice does three readings, each exactly the same and explains they will find the girl but shes well guarded and tings will go badly. There is some discussion about magical matters and she appears to be almost testing Amos.  She complements him on his Wards,to which Amos replies its just a matter of reading a book and following the instructions carefully. Getting a raised eyebrow he yells to the bartender for confirmation who in agrees his Wards are among the best hes seen, if not quite as good as his. Asking if Amos can do a Gate spell, he replies no, he was never taught it. She frowns at that and apparently effortlessly creates a gate to Amos home. Pointing out that we drove here she simply recreates the gate outside and large enough to drive through! Henry looks around for crowd reactions to see how normal this is and notes a few patrons a little impressed.

Back at Amos house they scry and find shes at a church about two hours drive away, Henry checks his notes from the pixies and sure enough its the sane church. Some talk occurs and when Justine insists on coming along Henry remarks "Arent you the reasons shes in this trouble?" and is promptly told to shut up by Amos. Cant account  for family, you dont pick them but sticking up for them is expected and Amos did so.
Amos is exhausted after casting multiple spells and penetrating defenses and needs to rest a bit. Henry feeling time is of the essence, (is it a coincidence its the same date as the massacre?) offers to drive ahead and scout around but is talked out of it. Alice does create a gate back at the Last Call which saves an hours drive.

They get there well after dark but its a full moon and clear night with plenty of stars in a large open area, Henry uses his Clear Sight to scout around as they approach and reports what he sees to Dillon who has Lorenzo and Amos on the phone n the other car. They discuss strategy.

And we end the night there.

The TIP Report

Henry spent the past three weeks on a few small jobs, nothing worth the GM giving any details but good enough that he gets to make his job roll.  Because paying the bills is good :)
He has been trying to build up his social network and supernatural contacts, mostly at The Last Call but nothing substantial yet.

Player's Thoughts

A good, though short session. No real party conflict, Henry and Amos had a tense moment when Henry spoke out of turn (Hey, you get a kid kidnapped you deserve to be called out on it) but Henry doesn't fault Amos for sticking up for family. Some of this was also a result of the player apparently mishearing a few things, though Henry could have too so it works out. Henry learned a bit more about Amos capabilities and his limits, apparently he cant do anything he wants, has to read a bit first. And both Henry and Dillon started martial arts training so can spend points on that when we hit the mid season break.
Next session probably some heavy combat, giving the other players a better chance to show their stuff and Justine may be useful backup.  I think Alice is coming too, though definitely not Myriam.

An Open Letter to Joe Biden

You had a good night, owing to your expected win in South Carolina after getting the Clyburn endorsement and President Obama and the party leadership telling Amy Klobachar, Pete Buttigeg, and Beto O'Roarke to toe the line and endorse you to consolidate the right wing of the party against the left wing of it.
It will be a week or two before we know the full results, but that helped you get back in the contest.
Your case is your more electable and you say you can unite the party. Its up to you to convince the voters of both these things. Here are my questions, and though I am just one voter I hope your staff points this letter out to you for consideration because these things will come up.

Unifying Rather Than Dividing the Party

Clinton and the DNC divided the party in 2016 by cheating on Sanders and this in effect was telling every Sanders supporter to, as your wife put it 'I know you dont like the policies but you need to just swallow it and vote party line' (paraphrasing as the swallow is all I recall for certain.). Clinton is to this day still whining and trying to say her oss was all Sanders fault, as if Comey, the media harping on forever about her emails, Russia, and her bad decisions such as telling many in the party they had to vote for her even when she ignored them (like Wisconsin) or told them their votes were not important (Sanders supporters). She lost that election due to her actions and choices. Will you do the same?
If you dont not win 51% of the delegates and get the nomination through a contested or brokered convention, there is no doubt Sanders will support you, just as he did Clinton because hes more loyal than most of you. Remember Clinton did less for President Obama - remember her phrase PUMA?
The thing is that Sanders is not in control of his voters, this is America after all and politicians should earn our votes, some will support the nominee no matter who but when you yourself refused to commit to that you cant reasonably demand his voters to toe the line. And not all his supporters are even Democrats, he won Independents and even Republicans too. You need a message that appeals to the voters and to give us reason to trust you.
The DNC is right wing and at war against the Left, preferring to support people who vote Republican most of the time over progressive candidates. If the Dems want to be Right over Left, why not just vote Republican? What, and can you be specific about how you will unite the party rather than continuing the policy of demanding voters just do what the party tells them to.
Clinton's attitude more than anything else lost 2016, how will you be different? Especially if you win not by voters but by the decision of party insiders?

What Do You Offer as Reason to Support You?

Other than supporting Obama Care which the Republicans have largely dismantled and will again if you reinstate it how will you improve the situation with health care?
What will you do, if anything about the issues voters care about?
We all know Sanders is unlikely to get everything he wants, but we trust him to at least fight for it and us. You have been recorded as telling your donors not to worry, nothing will fundamentally change. That led us to Trump in the first place.
Voters have disagreed with you at town halls and you tell them to vote for someone else, including telling them to vote for Trump. You do not appear to be trying to address or care about their concerns.

How Can You Beat Trump?

The Republican party have given permission and support to weaponize the federal government against their political opponents. 
  • He will use the DOJ and the IRS against you and Hunter, are you prepared for that?
  • He will go on and on about your history as a DC insider and the money you and your family have made, Ukraine, China, the stuff in Delaware,etc Does not matter what he is doing is far worse he will do it anyway and his voters will cheer, even as they are ripped off.
  • Despite being the stupidest person ever to hold the office he will make fun of your Gaffs and slurred sentences.
  • He will bring up your comments about cutting Social Security, despite him trying the same thing.
  • He will hit you with the Iraq war and the Crime Bill.  He will hit you with stuff most of us dont even know about yet, and he will lie and twist things so they appear even worse than they were.
  • In 2016 he had a lot less money and was less organized, his attacks on Clinton will pale to what he will do to you. Are you really ready and up to it?  Can you convince us that you are? Against Sanders all he really has is calling him a socialist, which of course he will call you anyhow. The difference is Sanders will embrace it so the attack fails among his supporters but you will deny it and likely just look weak to the conservatives and independents, while reminding the progressives they could have had someone with policies they believe in and wanted.
  • Trump is a liar, a cheat and will play dirty, worse with the Federal government supporting him this will be the toughest and nastiest fight of your political career. Can you really handle that? Please convince us.