Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Random Thoughts VIII (I think)

Just some random links and comments.

- Grouchy Chris has put up a nice table of GURPS weapons. It's nice to get a quick glance of "where does my weapon fall?" in terms of damage capabilities. You'll notice the full-size polearms are pretty far on the damage axes vs. knives. ;)
I'd need to modify it for using the Low-Tech weapon damages, which upgunned a few weapons a little bit to correct for some long-standing issues (basically, more thrust damage for some smaller swords, more cutting damage for heavy unbalanced weapons). I use those in my games so it's gotten weird to see shortswords still doing "thrust" and not "thrust+1."

- There is a good discussion of Fast-Draw on the GURPS forums, wherein I reveal that I let Heroic Archers buy perks to avoid those every-turn Fast-Draw and ready the bow rolls for Quick-Shooting Bows rules. It's that or have to pay attention to up to 5 rolls every turn for each of two scouts, and they make all of them almost all of the time. I went with "give me a character point and we can all stop with the extra rolls" and it's fine.

- There aren't a lot of copies of Vornheim (reviewed here) available, or so I hear. I highly recommend it, if you're going to run a big-city based or big-city visiting game. Mapless and easy city generation in a "how to" book rather than a sourcebook.

- Here is a good look at Feints in GURPS. I especially like that he mentions Dirty Tricks, which is something we linked to Feints in GURPS Martial Arts because, well, it's a fun and rules-consistent way to resolve them. He's doing them differently than we did there, but still, it's the same idea - do something unexpected and foul in a situation where it isn't expected, and maybe you get the advantage. Or maybe not - you don't always know who you're messing with.

- You want to know why I link to, and read, so many OSR-type blogs? I like dungeon crawls and I speak fluent AD&D. I don't miss it, but I like a lot of what it offered up. So I find a lot of inspiration in reading about other people's D&D-ish blog posts. I like the general thoughts on what makes a good dungeon, what makes a good game, and so on. I tend to shy away from the larger "what is good gaming?" "what is the OSR?" "what is player agency?" stuff, though, because ultimately that doesn't interest me so much. I get a lot more mileage out of "put at least three ways into and out of each dungeon level" than I get out of a dozen posts "balance and why it sucks" and does game X count as game type Y?" and "where it all went wrong." That's partly a philosophical issue, and partly my thought that if my players keep showing up at game and bug me when I don't run it, we're already doing it right. If I'm already doing it right, then I just need tweaks to the details and inspiration for my own game rather than deeper thoughts on gaming in general.

- Explaining my hobby is interesting. I can't tell people I play something like D&D but it's not D&D. That ship sailed a long time ago. I have to tell people (especially Japanese people, who I interact with a lot) that I play role-playing games without a video game system. That's a niche within a niche.
I find it easier to explain MMA - "It's like K-1 Heroes or Pride" (to Japanese people) or "Like in the UFC" to Americans. And then the question is "why?" not "what?" Explaining tabletop roleplaying is harder now than ever. It's not that people think I'm weird, it's that they don't understand what I'm talking about. RPGs are a kind of video game, and saying I play them without a video game is like saying I race cars without a car - it's like I'm just talking nonsense. Sometimes I just say my friends and I play fantasy games with little miniature figures, like a board game without the board, and that seems to click with people much faster.


  1. Thanks for the link. I did list the shortsword, cutlass, and large katar separately for their Low-Tech versions. I think those are the only cutting/impaling weapons that changed damage amounts. If I missed any, please let me know.

    1. That might be all of them, at least for weapons that both cut and thrust.

  2. The dirty trick and the beat are for my player real tactical opportunities. Although we play fantasy-style GURPS, their PCs' character points are mainly on non-combat skills. The MA feint variants are potentially hilarious, and hopefully quite useful in real play.

  3. As someone that has gone back and played Basic D&D... I have to say that the "deep thoughts" posts are pretty important. Growing up with sort of an "anything but D&D" type attitude, I would *never* have thought to pursue a "old D&D versions are not broken" line of thought.

    Granted, the original books do not contain the sort of insight and commentary that would make them understandable to the uninitiated. But the fact that people understand and articulate what seems to me to be impossible things, I personally find captivating.

    Also... it is interesting to see people argue about whether it "all went wrong" with the thief or with the cleric-- especially since Steve Jackson immediately excised both "classes" from The Fantasy Trip.

  4. Although, if I see one more article about someone's variant Thief class, I will punch somebody.

    1. I almost never read the class variants people post, because I don't do class and level.


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