Saturday, November 21, 2015

Templates vs. Free Build

Like I said in my last post I'm in the middle of writing a setting book for my gaming group to play GURPS from. I'm going to be including all the basic stuff (attributes, characteristics, advantages and disadvantages, etc) though in a much shorter format than is actually in the Basic Set and the other books I decide to take stuff from. This is partially because I only own one set of the books and I'm not going to make my players buy a game that they aren't sure about, and partially because the last time I tried to run GURPS I set the stack of books down and no matter how much I said "Don't worry, we aren't using much from any of these for actual play," they couldn't get over just how many books are available. So I figure if I can link them a pdf or word document with bare bones write ups and page references to the actual books they may be able to swallow it a bit better.

This leads me to my first conundrum though. Whether I should provide them all with templates from Dungeon Fantasy and make them stick to those templates, or if I should have the players do free build their characters with my help. Both have pros and cons though, and I'm going to list them out for my own benefit at least.


  • Easier character building
  • More independence when building characters
  • Niche protection
  • Easier identification of character types; frex: "Oh you're a wizard and I'm a thief, we need a healer and a fighter then..."
  • DF doesn't allow for much in the way of social skills, advantages, or disadvantages and since I want an almost completely open sandbox that may cause some issues
  • Power level might be too high for the kind of game I want to run and using the low point total 
  • Could induce not just niche protection but the idea that you have to stay inside your role 100%, which isn't what I want. (One of the reasons I want to run with GURPS is I want my mage's player to decide it's bullshit that he can't use a sword and spend the points to learn how, or the fighter to do the same thing but the other way around.)
  • Allowing for non human PCs is trickier. Not impossible though, obviously.

Free Build
  • More freedom in character building
  • Gives me a bit more room to define the power level as far as how many points I give the players to use
  • "Cross classing" will almost definitely be a thing, who doesn't want to be a good fighter that casts spells, can sneak, and track, etc.
  • Allowing for non human PCs is much easier.
  • Easier to introduce social skills, advantages, and disadvantages; they're there from the beginning!
  • No "class" templates means more hand holding on my part and more likely that my players (all new to GURPS) will build underpowered or "useless" characters. It also means much more time spent making the characters as everyone reads over all the skills, advantages, and disadvantages and agonizes over their decisions.
  • The almost certainty of "cross class" characters might also mean that PCs end up stepping on each other's toes a lot.
  • They may also end up with a fairly glaring hole in their capabilities, hopefully I'll be able to spot it before play started but there's no guarantee
So there we go. I'd like to run a good game for these guys and one of the biggest things I want out of GURPS (and why I want to run with this system instead of ACKS like I'd originally planned) is I want the flexibility and openness of the system and I'm afraid I won't get that if I run straight Dungeon Fantasy despite the fact that that would probably be the easiest option. Especially since all my players are brand new to the system. I'll have to think on this more and discuss it with my group a bit. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

A Quick Visit

So I'm back after too many months for me to like thinking about. While this post won't be terribly long I'll try to give a quick update on the various goings on since my last post as far as it relates to my gaming. Basically everything can be boiled down to "not enough". My group hasn't been meeting regularly basically since my last post, we haven't even actually managed to have a game since September and I can't remember the last time we managed to get two games run on two consecutive weeks. The rapidly approaching holidays aren't promoting any hope in me that we'll manage to get together more than twice more this year either. Which isn't the end of the world but it does make me somewhat desperate to game. Unfortunately because I work 2nd shift it's hard to even join an online game since the majority of people are free evenings when I'm working.

Anyway, other updates: I've done a bit of work on all but the Traveller game out of the projects I listed in my last post. The World of Darkness game and the GURPS hexcrawl are getting the most attention though because in theory I'm going to be running them sometime in the near future. Currently I'm working on an outline for a GURPS "game book" for the hexcrawl, putting together a list of templates, allowed advantages and disadvantages, skills, and equipment for the world is proving to be interesting. In theory it'll help me get a better handle on the system and it will make building characters easier for my group since none of them have played GURPS before.

Hopefully I'll get together some more content heavy posts soon rather than these one off "Here's a quick update of my gaming life" things that I've been doing. Maybe I should start up one of those gaming blog writing challenge things to get me in the swing of writing...

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Quickly, Before I Pass Out

Quick post before I pass out since it's almost 3am, I only got about 4 hours of sleep last night and I've been up since 7am or so. Basically this is just an update to declare my intentions of returning to this and hopefully make a better go of it. It's also going to be very stream of consciousness so it might not make a whole lot of coherent sense.

One of my players (temporarily my GM) is running an IKRPG game for the group. When we started out we had a large Protectorate of Menoth paladin, a dwarven arcane mechanic and his "pet" Warjack, and an inquisitive sharpshooter from a merc company full of pirates. Because I thought of something a bit more in-line with the game premise I switched from my pseudo-Arabic paladin to a commando working for Cygnar's intelligence organization. The guy playing the dwarf switch to an ogrun (think civilized orc/ogre that hails from dwarven lands) because I jokingly told him his character had heroically sacrificed himself in battle to save the lives of myself and the other PC. He thought I was serious and erased his character sheet and started making his ogrun ironhead.

Of course now that we're starting to get in the swing of things the guy running the game switched positions at the school we work at and he's now working weekends. Hopefully this won't interfere with game too much. As it stands though game's on indefinite hiatus until he gets used to his new schedule and figures out if and when he's going to be working past five on Saturdays since that's our optimal start time.

On the plus side a friend of ours messaged me saying he had more free time so he could start gaming again. This unfortunately is because him and his wife are splitting up however so I'm very conflicted about how happy to be about this news. I really need to actually take the time to grab lunch with him at some point.

I'm now planning on using this blog (I know, I've said that before) to help me plan out games I want to run. When and if I ever get to run them who knows but at least I'll have something down in case. So, really quick without any real explanation:

  • RuneQuest 6 translation of 2nd edition era Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay with some influences pulled from 1st WFRP and early editions of the wargame
  • GURPS Fantasy hexcrawl set in my own home brew setting
  • further defining my "Ithaca by Night" setting thing for new World of Darkness (That's Ithaca New York not Ithaca Greece. Sorry all you Grecophiles out there. Also does anyone call it the "new" World of Darkness anymore except people that played in "old/classic" World of Darkness?)
  • translate Forgotten Realms to ACKS, with most of the work going into custom divine casters and other classes though defining either the Sea of Fallen Stars or The Sword Coast with the economic rules in ACKS sounds interesting.
  • Mapping out a few sectors for Mongoose Traveller.
  • Further defining the collaborative map my gaming group made for a Burning Wheel game a few years back.
There I think that's all of it. I'm supposed to be planning something for some out of town friends for when they're here at some point. Only problem is I don't know when "at some point" is so it's hard to build up the drive to start planning. I'm thinking I might print off the D&D 5e starter rules and run the two people left in my group through something basic though to fill up time while our GM settles into his schedule. 

Monday, January 12, 2015

I'm Back?

I know it's been awhile and to be honest part of why is the inertia of just not posting. I'm not sure if other people have this problem but the longer I go without a post on a blog, the harder it is for me to start back up again. I need to try to post at least once a week though I'd like to get it up to twice or three times.

Anyway, I'm writing this because I've started a new game. Well technically since the Numenera game I think this'll make the second or third. What's exciting about this is that I'm not running. Which in and of itself is something amazing. I've been running for this group (and I define the group kinda loosly) off and on since high school without anyone else running anything. I've played a couple times during this period (I was involved in a multi-year Vampire: the Masquerade elders game over Skype for example) but only with other groups. So this is very nice. [fake edit- I just went back and looked at my previous posts, turns out I ran a Warhammer Fantasy game using RuneQuest 6...honestly I completely forgot about it. I guess it was successful. :-P]