Dec. 29th, 2010

dagoski: Emperor Norton I of the Bear State Republic (Default)
I just updated my gaming shelf with the GURPS 4th ed. rules.  Overall, I think I made a good investment.  Everything needed for just about anything in two compact rules books.  If you hated GURPS before, you'll hate it the same now.  If you liked it before, you'll like it better because two books now contain twenty years of game development in their pages.  No more digging through world books or Pyramid backissues looking for rules to cover your player's crack headed character concepts.  Overall, GURPS is still GURPS only a bit more succinct, somewhat more all encompassing and still a big bundle of details for any GM to manage.  A couple of things stand out.  First, the illustrations.  There's fewer and they're relevant to what's on the page.  More importantly, the female characters are not decked out in chainmail bikinis.  This is a first for rolepaying games.  There is no overt misogyny.  I don't know how I feel about this.  I mean, what's a roleplaying game without immature attitudes towards women?  Gee, I might have to call that one progress.  It means that more women might play and you might stand a better chance of finding a mate as a gamer.  Worked for me by the way.  The second thing that leaps out is organization.  You can find stuff quickly and informative diagrams abound.  Was this update worth it?  Yeah.  It brings everything together and makes teaching players the system a whole lot easier.

Now for the field test part.  Most games don't get their strength attribute even remotely right in terms of the real world.  That's okay, though.  Things like this only have to make sense in the game.  Still, it's fun to test them.  1st Ed D&D explained strength as the amount of weight you could military press divided by ten.   A military press is performed by pressing a barbell from you shoulders over your head.  So, an 18 strength means lifting 180 lbs.  That made sense.  You have to be close to the limits of human capacity to perform such a feat and every single pound past that gets exponentially harder.  By comparison, I have, at most, a strength of 15 and I'm one of the strongest guys in the gym.  D&D 2nd ed. explained the strength stat as bench press divide by ten.  Pfff.  I bench 190.  Those writers had never been in a gym.  In GURPS, they use a formula to derive what you can lift for any given strength.  The feat described is lifting a given weight from the ground over your head in one second.  I gave this a try and got to a  strength score of 16 with no effort.  That's fifty pounds in one hand over the head.  If I had pushed it, I could've gone to a score of 18 which is close to where the Supers rules kick in.  Does this mean GURPS fails the reality test?  Not at all.  I noticed something.  When I lift, I start in good squat position and I coordinate my muscles.  In other words, someone, several someones to be exact, trained me to lift and I practiced.  In other words, I have a skill.  Sure enough, GURPS lists that skill.  I probably have a raw strength score around 12 or 13 which would make put me in the athletic range.  However, because I know what I'm doing I can make the most of that strength.  GURPS passes the reality test.


dagoski: Emperor Norton I of the Bear State Republic (Default)

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