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Re: (TFT) Why not GURPS?

At 10:36 PM 9/13/03 -0500, David Michael Grouchy II wrote:
What follows is the confession of a bad GURPS player. [Warning: my examples contain the worst kind of min-maxing]

GURPS lets me wreck the game too easily as a player. Two examples follow. One a fantasy game I played in. It lasted to the first encounter then ended. The second a Space campaign. It lasted two days and then stopped. In both cases because of the characters I made.

I made a guy with rapier, quick draw rapier, and high Dx. All one hundred character points went into this one ability. My character could quick draw and attack in one action at DX 26, doing a critical hit on a 16 or less. None of the GM's NPCs stood a chance.

Like some of the other comments, this would be due to the GM and players not really knowing the GURPS rules. This shows that GURPS' complexity can cause problems, unless the GM or an assistant has really mastered the rules. However:

1) Similar to TFT, critical hits in GURPS only occur on a 6 or less at the highest. (This is very clearly explained in the first reference to critical hits.)

2) There is a limit to the number of points that beginning characters can be put into skills - twice the character's age. Moreover, the GM is encouraged to forbid skills inappropriate to your character's background, and dumping all points into fencing probably wouldn't fit anyone's background. (This is clearly explained on page 2 of the Skills section.)

3) If the GM couldn't make an interesting game involving a master fencer, he probably isn't a very creative GM.

4) If the GM couldn't think of any tactics that could challenge a master fencer, he was quite incompetent as a GURPS tactician.

5) If the GM couldn't think of non-combat ways to challenge a character with no real skills or advantages besides a high sword skill, he wasn't very creative as a situation-inventing GM.

... unless it was an arena campaign that consisted only of one-on-one fencing duels... ;->

In a GURPS space game there are a lot of IQ based knowledges and skills. And they all have defaults! So I made a character with IQ 18. Even the most difficult stuff defaulted to an IQ 12. So basically my character could do ANYTHING. I could fly, navigate, operate, reprogram, repair, etc...
There was nothing my character couldn't do.

This is closer to a real weakness or something in need of more GM discretion and/or a house rule. However here again, it's not quite correct.

For one thing, IQ 18 in GURPS is a super-genius, and a good GM will probably give some guidelines including maximum attribute levels unless you have a really fun character concept which naturally requires it. Just because the system can represent super-abilities, doesn't mean the GM has to allow characters to have them.

For another, there are mental skills with no defaults possible, or that only default to other skills (not to IQ). Astrogation, Computer Programming, Surgery, and Computer Programming are among those. Piloting has an IQ default to figure out controls, but not to physically fly it (that's DX-based).

Also, defaults are mainly for improvised attempts to do simple things related to a skill which can reasonably be done by someone with no training. For uses of skills which actually require knowledge, the GM doesn't have to let you pretend to know everything.

So no, with a GM who knew the rules properly, you couldn't really do any of the things you mentioned very well without actual study, except maybe fix things, which makes some sense for a super-genius.

In conclusion my accessment of what is wrong with GURPS is that character design is too flexible. No one can really put 100% of themselves into any one thing. I mean somewhere in their life they are going to have to cook their own meal, or go for a run, or cut wood, or something. To imagine that someone could spend every waking moment doing nothing but ready and strike with a rapier is preposterous. But, as is, GURPS not only allows it, but it puts players who make more well balanced characters at a disadvantage. In a word, GURPS punishes anyone who does not min-max.

Mhmm, unless you have a GM with discretion and a solid knowledge of the rules. Of course, many GM's don't, and many of those don't realize that they don't - it takes a lot more for a GM to master the GURPS rules than the TFT rules.

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