Monday, October 31, 2022

Snowmobiles in Gurps

Once again, I need snowmobiles in my campaign. And strangely enough, I can not find anyone who has GURPS stats for snowmobiles. Even things like the fan made vehicle collection don't have any stats for them. Astounding for a vehicle I've actually driven. So what is a GM do to?

The same thing I did last time I needed snow mobiles. Use the stats of motorcycles from the basic set. Its simple-- but how close are they really?

This is the second time I'm doing this, and I expect it to matter more this game, so I started looking up stats. Snowmobiles are actually really fast. Maybe even faster than the bikes, though that may be only under ideal conditions. The enthusiasts also claim they accelerate faster than motorcycles. So we can leave those numbers. Snowmobile's range is a lot lower than bikes: they get terrible gas mileage, so we'll halve the range. They're also a bit harder to handle than motorcycles, but they're more stable. So -1/+1 to Hnd/SR. The weights seem to be in the correct ballpark, and the costs aren't bad either. I'm not sure about ST, so we leave it there. 

So to use a motorcycle's stat-block for a snowmobile

  • drop handling by 1, raise stability rating by 1
  • halve the range 

And that's it! You have a range of snowmobiles! I hope you find this useful. Its a fairly quick and dirty conversion, but it seems functional enough. If I'm weird and the only GM who ever ends up using snowmobiles in their games, I hope I have now inflicted the need to use snowmobiles in the game upon all of you. Happy adventures in the snow!

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Monster Hunter Pregens

Back in 2016, I created a series of characters for monster hunters. The goal was to see how well characters with powers, wildcards, or inhuman templates did in various adventures. I never finished the full set of games, but my conclusion was that the easiest group to build, and funnest to play, were the inhumans. They had strong character identities, were better rounded, and always seemed to have both something to do and some amusing limitation getting in the way. They were not particularly efficiently built or optimized, but I think that was part of their charm. At any point in the game, everyone had something to do.

I've written up these characters as pregens, and generated some faces for them with Each character has a sidekick template from Gurps: Monster Hunters 4, plus a monstrous template to add an inhuman race. Their inhuman templates are drawn from pyramid, blogs, and one is even from the original book. Most have their two templates contrasting each other rather than complimenting: that's part of the fun. I hope you find the pregens useful in some way: I've found the characters to be a lot of fun. 

I've really enjoyed these characters. I hope you enjoy them as well!

Thursday, August 4, 2022

Review: Action 9 - The City

I finally gotten around to reading Action 9: The City. The book is split into two halves, which feel very different, but really help each other to function. I really enjoyed reading the second half, but the second half wouldn't exist without the first.

The first chapter is very dense, explaining how to turn numbers from city stats (and/or real world data) into numbers for action. While reading it, I thought: "How will I ever do all this?" Its good stuff, but it didn't have much context to hang the numbers on.

Fortunately, in most cases, you won't have to actually translate these factors, because chapter two is full of six very slick examples. These cities aren't real... and yet you've seen them each half a dozen times in movies. They form a wonderful grab bag of locations that can be used again and again. They can inspire you when designing locations for games, and even if you want something slightly different, these cities form a solid starting point for tweaks and as a way to remember what features to touch.

So my recommendation for this book is to read the second chapter first. Its a catalog of evocative modern locations with stats for action heroes. They provide advice on what chases through them look, how police responses work, and hooks for villains and plots. My only comment is I wish that we had six more of them for a round dozen. If you want colorful locations for action heroes, go ahead and get this book, and read chapter 2. And then look up what you need to use out of chapter 1.

I hope this helps you decide if you want this book or not. Happy Gaming!

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Magic Systems I use in My Gurps Games

I've mainly used three systems of magic in my Gurps games: Magic as Powers, Ritual Path Magic, and magic as technology. This is quite a bit less less than I thought I've used, and I'm actually somewhat surprised by it. I've tinkered with several of the systems, but the main ones I've run for players are Magic as Powers, Ritual path magic, and magic as technology.

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Power Systems I've Used, Adapted, or Modified

 Last Week, I talked about a specific powers system I used in a recent game. Of course, I love magic systems and powers system in gurps, and I love to tinker. Here are some of the powers systems I've used in my various games: 

Monster Hunters

I've run various monster hunter games over the years. The point of these games is that its usually really easy to get a monster hunters game off the ground. I almost always have an RPM mage of some stripe, as well as an inhuman. The rules for inhumans are really smooth, almost not a power system, though I consider it to be one. I've found RPM to be really strong in PC hands, and less strong in GM hands. Part of this is because the players get lots of planning time for their spells right on the scene of the action, and as a GM I have to plan all the enemy spells ahead of time. It'd be really nice if RPM Ritual lists for enemy load-outs were a thing. I've run a couple games where I limited mages to 400 points and gave everyone else either 500 points or 600 points that could only follow the templates strictly. I still got mages and they felt about right. I haven't really played with a psi or crusader PC for more than a session, and the experiments play pretty similar to inhumans. 

Banestorm Atlante

 Banestorm Atlante featured three magic systems. One was my first real play test of Magic as Technology. The Melbronx had devices that let the user read the minds of others, another for levitation, and another for fireballs. The limitation was the skill of the user, based on Electronics Operation (Magic Device Operation), and on the availability of the materials used to make the devices. I really liked the effect and the result: the players treated the limited number of magic devices with respect a game where they had a monthly budget of about a million bucks.

The second magic system belonged to the elves, and was never given stats. From the players point of view, it required a lot of study, plus an innate gift they thought for 70% of the campaign was exclusive to elves. The magic probably should have been bought as Mind Control and Affliction: Physical Only Modular Abilities, both with a time limitation, requiring skill rolls to use, and a modifier penalizing the skill roll and giving. Even that would probably have been far out of the point range I wanted, so I just kept not giving them stats, and when a player eventually got the physical only modular abilities affliction I told her to pay 5 points for magery and then to start buying up skill. So if you have a good enough idea of how NPC magic works, and don't tell the players, you don't really need points...

Third magic system was a bunch of racial magical powers, and those just kind of worked smoothly or didn't come up. 


Dreadstormers is about psychic secret agents infiltrating and steeling a space dreadnought. It uses Psionic powers, plus a few custom powers from both the GM and players, alternative abilities, and buckets of points: all psychic powers, skills, and talents must be under 100 points of the 380 total. I've really liked the result. The characters feel competent and dangerous when their powers are suppressed (the first half of the game) and awesome when their powers on online, without being able to simply solve the challenge in five minutes once they have their power.

Called From Exile

Called from exile is set in space, with a fairly heavy emphasis on psionics. It uses psionic powers as written, a buffed version of alternative abilities where they can be used at the same time, and an alternate pricing scheme for powers that directly compete with vehicles. Essentially you can pay 60 points for stats similar to a mecha or 30 points for only one mecha-level ability. I set a 150 point limit on powers for this game. 

I haven't been quite happy with the results. If ST and TK were overpriced before, they are underpriced now. I probably needed to charge twice as much as I did to simply have a vehicles stats. I remain convinced that the price is fair if you have to get out of the mecha, but not if its a psionic power you can't leave at the door of a dinner party. 

The main probably is really that all the players are relying on the psionic powers shorthand on their sheets rather than having power modifiers written down that tell them what their ranges and penalties are. One of them also struggles to tell apart the wrapped up advantage from the skill. This causes all sorts of issues at the table. This is a communication issue, and its probably my fault... but it means I will not be using the official powers from the book again.

Overgrown Secrets

I've talked about Overgrown Secrets ultra-lite take on metatronic generators before, and I still really like it. 10 points of advantages with a specific sort of fluff and a gadget are just really easy to whip up quickly. 

Overgrown secrets also had a bunch of racial magical powers, which I worked out before hand. These were all NPC, so points didn't matter.

Murder in the Court

Murder in the Court used Realm Powders, which I blogged about last week! I loved the magic system, though it has a huge impact on the society, and so isn't for every game-- but a good magic system is like that!

Wrapping Up

I've played other games, but those are my most recent and memorable, at least as far as powers are concerned. I hope these give you ideas, and help guide you towards what does or doesn't work. Have fun with your games!

Friday, June 24, 2022

Realm Powders

Realm Powders are mystic substances that grants simple and concrete powers to those who consistently use a specific powder. Over time, these substances infuse the partaker with the ability to see and interact with the "Realm", a version of the world defined by energy rather than by matter. Each substance has a unique and localized organic source, as well as a very specific combination of powers it grants.

Realm Powders are from my game "Murder in the Court", an aborted campaign about a murder in a fantasy version of the imperial Chinese court. While that game had issues that led it to end early, realm powders were not one of them. They served as our mystical element, and a lot of successful game-play was driven by what individual powders could or couldn't do, both in PC and NPC hands. I share it with you now, as an example of a "Powers System I've Used"

Thursday, June 9, 2022

Spaceships Armor Table

 My Small Armor Table for Spaceships (really for robots as spaceships) has gained attention, and I've received a request for version that covers sizes more typical of a spaceship. And so I've built and now present a table of armor values for spaceships. It should make finding the armor values a lot easier. The image below is an easy reference, but the text version you can highlight, copy, and so-on, is here

The DR given is the amount of dDR per system of armor. Not the DR! See Gurps: Spaceships 1 pages 10-13 for more information on spaceships armor.

The weights follow the size/range table, which gives us three divisions in each size modifier. For more stats on spaceships of that weight, see Between SM's

The TL number is given because its useful when working with the "Boost" numbers for adjusting armor, also explaining the example armors that go up to a theoretical TL 15. The numbers I find myself checking the most are 6, which is basic Steel and thus the cheapest option, and 13, which is "Awesome Future Armor" in TL 10, which seems to be a great spot for Battlesuits, Mecha, and general space opera. 

I hope you enjoy building and flying your spaceships!