Friday, February 26, 2021

Robot Brains: Skills as Software

In our last post, we talked about limiting the ability of AI's to buy skills. Now that we've done that, we still need to know how much those skills will cost. There are two basic approaches: Buying skill levels, and buying skill points.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Robot Brains: The Limits of Purchased Skills

Artificial intelligence links two mostly unrelated parts of Gurps: Character points and Wealth. While skills can often justify wealth, and fancy tools can give a few mild bonuses or cancel enormous penalties, Artificial Intelligence almost demands that we stick a price tag on specific skill levels.  Without additional limits purchasing skill with money can warp a game very quickly. 
 
Fortunately, in most settings, such additional limits exist. Software doesn't just pop into being out of nowhere, and not all software works for all hardware or all operating systems, and installation of new software isn't instant and painless. 
 
Placing these sorts of limitations has a few welcome effects. They reduce the power of wealth and set a social baseline for what the players can expect. If most robots can only get riffle-14, but such robots are cheap, Players know what to prepare for, and establish their skill of 13 as workable but nothing special. These limits also make space for the exceptional. When the PC's run across a robot with riffle-16 instead of riffle-14, they will take note and at least wonder why this robot is special. It will let them know why they are considered elite, and what they need to accomplish to become elite in something else.
 

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Starship Crew and the BAT

I love the BAT, or basic action template, from action 4. Its flexible, its fast, and I especially love it for quickly fleshing out NPCs who don't fit into a neat template. Since it came out, we've seen a few expansions for it, and I've posted a few more on this blog. Despite being made for the Action series, I've found that it works for a lot of different genres. One place I'm always looking for additions is science fiction.

Template Toolkit 3: Starship Crew came out with 50 point "Multi-role" Lenses that basically serve the same purpose as a BAT package: they give a character that may be specialized in something else the basic ability to fulfill that role. So we're going to look at how to do that.

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

More Mechanical Horses

Previously, we built a mechanical horse for the broken clockwork world. That's awesome, but what else can we do with this horse? surely not everyone uses the same design? What will people want? What can we do with it? Here, we look at tweaks we can make to the horse using the spaceships design system.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Mechanical Horse: The Broken Clockwork World

The Broken Clockwork World is a 10 page PDF that was sold as one of 12 in a 3$ bundle on kick-starter. As such, its a fairly small PDF, and using the world probably requires a little expansion on the part of the GM. 

A big element of the Broken Clockwork world is its steampunk robots. One line in the PDF makes reference to soldiers on mechanical mounts or horses with gas masks. These have caught my imagination, and the image of troop of soldiers on steeds of iron is an awesome one.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Robots as Spaceships: Armor Options


In a previous post, I compared Gurps: Spaceships armor to the very best personal armor in Gurps, and came to the conclusion that spaceship's armor was weak, especially T8 body armor and ultra-tech armors. Since that post, I've participated in a few conversations about spaceships armor in Gurps. I still think that its on average weaker than it should be, but how much weaker depends on the context. Here, rather than advocating a single "one size fits all" armor tweak, I'm going to look at options for getting the sort of armor your game needs. 

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Alternate Parrying of Heavy Weapons


A while back I was playing out a sample combat to see how some mystically-powered knights fared against the massive beasts their order was founded to combat. And I found myself frustrated with parries. The knight could block essentially any attack, against almost any size of beast he faced. So I've come up with a new parry system. I hope you find it useful.