GURPS Action 2: Exploits

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After all, if you can use it for things other than just action movies it becomes more useful. More versatile. I more or less got everything I wanted into this and have only one real regret: not expanding the supernatural specialties more. This one was easy to write — over 30 hours of back and forth tweaking here and there.

If you want to build a character who is strong you are free to purchase a high strength; if you want them to be skilled with a crossbow, able to backstab, cast a few spells, and be proficient with an Axe you can do all of that as well. The only limit is the point budget the GM sets and your imagination.

It is important to note that equal access to abilities does not mean equal outcome or equal "power. This can be exagerated if the GM doesn't design his adventures in such a way that it allow each character to use his abilities. If one character has a lot of combat abilities and another has a lot of social abilities the GM needs to give the group both social and combat encounters or else one of the characters is going to seem more "powerful" than the other. GURPS does not use "classes" to limit what abilities are available for your character. This means it is up to the GM to set limits on what abilities he wishes to allow in his game, or else he may wind up with a chromed-up cyber-punker in his fantasy campaign.

There may be Doctor , Healer , Knight , or Astronaut templates available depending on the book and world background. The GM may write his own templates for use in the game as well. However, unless the GM decides to do so, it is not mandatory to use a character template when making a character, nor is it necessary to stick to the template verbatim, even if you are using it as a guide to creating a character. If you have the points you can take any ability the GM allows.


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Some templates, and indeed some worldbooks, offer Character Lenses to further customize character templates. These lenses are a sort of mini-character template which you add to the character that focuses in on a few aspects of the character for greater customization. Normally all of the traits on a racial template, positive and negative, must be taken if you want to be a member of that race.

Some of the disadvantageous traits may be "bought off" at the GM's discretion; this can be useful if you don't want to play a greedy Dwarf or a nature loving Elf. Some advantageous traits can be removed, giving points back. For instance a member of a race with two extra arms may have lost one of them in combat, meaning that this particular member of the race actually only has one extra arm; this counts as a disadvantage for that character, just as having only one arm counts as a disadvantage for a human character.

Some books, particularly the Campaign Framework books, make character templates mandatory and even limit what out-of-template abilities may be purchased for a character.

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This is particularly true of the Dungeon Fantasy line, where the character templates are designed along the lines of "character classes. Even in these games there's no reason why a group is forced to used these templates, and indeed a group of experienced players can freeform design their characters if everyone wants to. Or a GM might allow players to "multi-class" their characters or give them access to abilities outside of their template; in fact half of the supplement Dungeon Fantasy 3: The Next Level is devoted to Mixed-Professions Lenses the Dungeon Fantasy equivalent of "multi-classing".

All dice rolls use six-sided dice, with 3d6 being used for most rolls except damage. Most of the time you will have an attribute ranging from or a skill or other ability ranging from with values centering around , a bit higher for experienced characters or core abilities.

You will take 3d6 and try to roll equal to or under the target number rolling low is good. Particularly tricky uses of the skill or ability will give you a penalty to the roll, while the occasional easy use will give you a bonus. So you need to roll 12 or less on 3d6 to succeed. Fortunately, armor has a Damage Resistance DR which you subtract from any damage before applying it against your Hit Points HP , and high-tech armor tends to have enough DR to protect you against similarly high-tech weapons.

The last type of roll you might perform is a Reaction roll; these are made when meeting an NPC who doesn't know you and the GM doesn't have a pre-determined reaction towards your character, to see if the NPC is going to reactive positively or negatively towards you.

Sean Punch

Many advantages give a bonus to this roll and many disadvantages give a penalty - Reputation, Social Status, Rank, Odious Personal Habits, etc. You roll 3d6, add any bonuses and subtract penalties that apply, and the higher the final roll the better the reaction. GURPS is currently in its 4 th Edition , but has actually changed relatively little between editions over the years. From 1 st to 2 nd to 3 rd Edition the only major change was in how ranged combat works. There were production changes, as well, moving from a boxed set with booklets in the first two editions to a softbound book in 3 rd Edition and later a hardbound.

The changes for 4 th Edition were somewhat more substantial, but the core of the rules stayed remarkably similar. By far the biggest change moving to this editions was organizational, moving most of the rules from the Compendiums into the core rulebooks, rewriting some of those rules for clarity. One important change in 4 th Edition is that the Attribute and Skill costs were tweaked to better reflect their utility.

Physical skills were reduced in cost while Mental skills were increased so that all skills now use the same cost progression. This significantly reduced the ST required to make extremely large creatures — I provide a ST conversion sheet on my website to help in quickly converting animals, monsters, and NPCs over to 4e. Perhaps the most significant change to the rules was the removal of Passive Defense PD from armor, which was supposed to represent the chance of an attack glancing off of the armor.

Beam weapon damage was also reduced and armor divisors added , and the rules governing the way lasers and shotguns work were changed significantly.

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Some armor also had Damage Resistance DR tweaked. Due to these changes using stats for weapons and armor from 3 rd Edition sourcebooks is not recommended; if possible find the corresponding entries from a 4 th Edition sourcebook. Earlier editions sometimes referred to rules where you'd lose a point of HT when what they meant was that you'd lose a point of HP, or in other words take a point damage.

Action 2: Exploits Review

Similarly, the rules would sometimes say to lose a point of ST, when what they meant is to lose a FP. Because many of the changes were fairly minor it is remarkably easy to use many 3 rd Edition books in 4 th Edition. The ones that are less usable tend to be the Catalog books, with lists of equipment, animals and monsters, or Character Templates. There were also some substantial changes to the way various kinds of "powers" are handled in 4 th Edition , which affects books which include a substantial amount of Psionics, Supers, and Cybernetics and would require more translation work.

It's been out for almost 15 years and is well supported. There are NO plans to replace it with a 5 th Edition. The differences between editions are often times subtle, but are not fundamental. Some 3 rd Edition supplements require conversion work or are fairly incompatible, but most can be used with 4 th Edition with little or no effort. Of particular note for their usefulness and well regard across the industry is the collection of Historical supplements.

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They are generally well written and well researched, with most of the material presented in a manner that could be used in 4 th Edition , or indeed in any roleplaying game. This will give you a taste of the full game and give you a good idea of how it works. If you are ready to try your hand at running an adventure your next stop should be the free adventure Caravan to Ein Arris which is designed to be an introduction to GURPS.

It follows the creation and travel of a large caravan across a desert which the PCs will get a job working on. Where you go from there depends on what kinds of games you want to run and how much money you're willing to spend. I: Characters and Vol.


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II: Campaigns. These volumes are largely divided as you might expect, with all of the rules for creating a character in the first volume while all of the rules for running a campaign, including the combat rules, are in the second volume. Between them they contain pretty much all of the necessary rules for running a GURPS game in almost any world at almost any technology level. That's not to say that more detailed rules expansions covering various subjects aren't available; this is a roleplaying game so of course there are expansion books, but a GM that's willing to make it up a little bit as he goes along can make do it with just the Basic Set.

These two books are available in both PDF and color hardcover.

Game Geekery

There are several standalone products which contain a subset of the main rules. Prime Directive takes largely the same approach for the Star Fleet Battles universe, which is loosely based on original series Star Trek. Due to the odd licensing from Paramount it is also almost , but not quite , Star Trek. This can be offputting to some fans of classic Trek.

Still, if you are a fan of Star Trek style space opera it is as good a place to start as any. It leaves out rules for things like vehicular combat or laser guns so that the box set can focus on all the rules you need to play a dungeon delving game — including creating characters, casting spells, and fighting monsters. It contains five rule books including a first adventure, two double-sided game maps, a slew of cardboard hero figures, and a set of dice. Almost everything listed on this page can be purchased in PDF form directly from Steve Jackson Games through their online store Warehouse Some of the print books are also available there, while many of the rest can be found through Amazon's print on demand service.

Of course, many of the print books can be acquired through your Friendly Local Gaming Store, and whenever possible you should consider ordering through them. While they may not be the cheapest option and may not be fastest option they are your Friendly Local Gaming Store, so it's up to you to support them. Again, where to go from here is going to depend on what kind of games you want to run; whether you want to make your own game world or use a gameworld from an existing worldbook; whether you want the campaign to center on fighting demons in WWII or be a galaxy hopping space opera.

One of the biggest mistakes that new GMs sometimes make is believing that they must use ALL of the rules, from every book.