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RE: (TFT) Why not GURPS? --> Because it sucks! (No, seriously...)
>My questions for the list are:
>Why do you play TFT and not GURPS?
>What aspects of TFT do you prefer?
>What aspects of GURPS don't you like?
I tried GURPS a few times, bought Man-to-Man
and all of the early supplements but it never
really clicked. Then I thought, "I am so wedded,
WELDED to TFT, I'm not giving GURPS a fair chance".
So I told my group, we are going to do GURPS until
we know it backwards and forwards, and we can just
naturally do it, like we do TFT. THEN we will see
that it is great."
I invented a new game universe for the GURPS
campaign. We played it. After a while we got to
know GURPS so well that we could do the fights
smoothly and with out having to look up rules, with
out any needless delays.
And we found we just liked TFT better.
In GURPS, there were just more dice rolls for
every swing. At the end of the day, the results
1) Scary people / things threaten PC's.
2) If a fight breaks out, NPC's die, sometimes
PC's get hurt. (No one died in that campaign.)
3) We get on with the game.
GURPS did the same thing TFT did, it just
In my group, we like the story, the character
advancement, the gradual merging of the PC's into
important movers and shakers in the campaign world.
Most of my characters claim that they are into the
ROLE PLAYING AND THE STORY, but I find people are
a little grumpy if a couple sessions go by with out
them being able to fight things. So I've concluded
that my players like the fights as well. There is
an appeal to being able to take direct action and
KILL the SoB's.
In GURPS you can do the roleplaying, the
character advancement, all that stuff. But in TFT
the fights are sudden, violent clashes. Some times
deadly action is over in 2 minutes of real time.
In GURPS, the fights started and gradually the
rolls took over and we lost the story; we lost the
suspension of disbelief.
Apart from the speed of fights, I prefer the
TFT magic system. There are three ways that you
can improve as a wizard in TFT, adding ST, DX and
IQ (plus spell selection, etc). Note that these
forms of improvement make the wizards better in
Many TFT campaigns allow you to improve your
fST and memory as well and that adds a bit more
In GURPS you can improve spell casting by
increasing IQ, magery level or spell skill level.
This all results in the same sort of improvement.
Almost all GURPS wizards (where being a
wizard is the primary class) take high magery and
high IQ. Then they can take tonnes of spells for
1 character point each, and each spell is at the
same skill level. Boring. I mean, the COOL thing
about GURPS magic is that you can have some spells
that you are good at, and others that you are poor
at. GURPS puts a fair bit of rule complexity into
to allowing this possibility. But then character
creation leads people to having 'tonnes of spells at
the same skill level' if they want to have tonnes
of spells. (And you NEED tonnes of spells...)
The GURPS prerequisites piss me off. In TFT
you can take pretty much any combination of spells
that you want (based on your IQ). This allows a
huge variety in spell selection. In GURPS, you
must take a huge number of boring, mundane spells
to get to the good ones. So people TAKE these
long chains of spells. All wizards in GURPS feel
like, 'oh a fire mage, THIS FAR, on his career
path. Just like every other fire mage that has
pass thru THIS POINT and every other mage that
hopes to pass thru THIS POINT...' I mean GURPS
has colleges of magic, many more spells than TFT,
and I feel like I have LESS choice than in TFT.
There are just so many damn clever ideas in
the GURPS magic system, it amazes me that it is
so poor. It says something about how some game
systems 'jell' and how some do not.
GURPS psionics does a much better job with
the abilities' power and skill level. There
different types of improvement give different types
I hosted Steve Jackson at Westercon 44 in
Vancouver, and he said (as best as I can remember)
that "90% of the GURPS rules should be ignored by
the GM, 90% of the time. If it is dramatically right
that the PC jump over the cliff, then the PC should
just do it. If the dramatic situation demands that
they fall in the GM should have them fall in. But
it pisses me off when I buy a role playing game and
the rule book always says, 'the GM decides'. I
feel that the rules should give a fair way to
adjudicate conflicts if the GM needs an impartial
But in my experience, most GM's do not throw
out 90% of the rules. After going to the trouble of
learning all of the damn things, the GM uses them.
Which brings me to the main reason I dislike
GURPS, it has too many rules. If a GM does not
follow the rules for an Advantage that a character
has bought, the player is bugged. If the player
has at great cost in character points got this and
this and this that all work together and should
give that person some synergy, then the player is
bugged if the GM is not doing things right.
I ran a GURPS WWII campaign at a science
fiction con one year. A PC had bought his sniper
/ rifle skills up to an unbelievable level and was
taking snap shots a Nazi's a giant distance away.
Because it was a snap shot, they had no real hope
I ruled, "you must expose yourself to get
the bonuses of your scope and talents at this long
range." The player bitched, I was breaking the
RULES, he had mini-maxed by damn. I held firm, (&
the party leader, a real life Lt. in the Canadian
army backed me up. (A real gentleman and not just
for helping the poor GM)).
So the PC still blew away the Nazi's, but at
least I had them shooting back a bit before they
But the only argument that held weight with
that PC was 'GURPS is not realistic in this
situation. Yes the rule book says that, but it
was an oversimplification.'
This PC had bought into the idea that GURPS
TFT is not realistic. And that is a good
thing. To quote from an article in The Space
Gamer, 'the combat system is a way to dramatically
delay the PC numbers killing the NPC numbers'.
TFT is not realistic, but it allows dramatically
interesting things to happen quickly. And it has
just enough realism, to allow small unit tactics
There are some things that bug me about TFT
but it was easier to fix them for my tastes than
to fix GURPS. So we have stuck with TFT.
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