Saturday, August 26, 2017

Origins of the +4 to hit the hex - found

The other day I asked about the origins of the +4 to hit a hex.

No one chimed in with the answer, but now I'm back at my office and can check myself. It's exactly where I thought it was from.

The earliest reference I could find was in GURPS Fantasy (subtitle - Magic System and Game World) for 1st edition GURPS. Or maybe for 2nd edition - I had 1st edition, and I got this and used it with 1st edition. It was published in 1986.

Under the spell Explosive Fireball, it says:

"Can be thrown at a wall, spot of floor, etc. (at +4 to hit) to catch foes in the blast."

- GURPS Fantasy, p. 20

That is carried forward to GURPS Magic, 1st edition, and eventually got clarified to mean a single hex. So, why is it +4 to hit a one-yard hex? Expansion from this "spot of floor, etc." from 1986.

Generally I ignore this for direct-fire, non-lobbed attacks. I just don't see why a 3' circle is a +4 to hit, especially when monsters that are 2 wide by 1 tall aren't even +4 to it. Either way, this seems to be the earliest reference.


  1. A Telegraphic Attack on the ground, perhaps? After all, it can't dodge, though everyone near it sure can.

    1. That might work, because of the +2 to Dodge everyone gets.

      Still, though, I am happy to give a bonus because you lob something into a general area. You just need to make that general area big enough for a bonus and accept that it lands somewhere within that.

      But when that general area is a specific hex, chosen because you're pin-point targeting a blast to nail as many enemies as you can with the most damage you can without letting that guy just dodge aside and miss completely, I don't see why a +4 is justified.

      I do need to remember to have foes Dodge from explosive spells, though - it's allowed, and just because a 3d went off at a foe's feet doesn't mean he just has to stand there. The rules are pretty clear that he does not . . .

  2. Just a guess, as I'm not all that familiar with GURPS, but the ground doesn't tend to dodge all that much, unlike a living target.

    1. That's why the ground doesn't get a defense roll. Your roll to hit isn't given a bonus for a non-defending target.

      The bonus pre-dates a lot of later rules about speed, movement, etc. so it's possible that was the logic, but it wasn't found anywhere else except this "target an area" rule when came out.


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