September 30, 2014

Musings about the Steve Jackson Interview - Part 1

I interviewed +Steve Jackson, who of course wrote and published the game system for which I write, GURPS. +Jeffro Johnson said nice things about the interview.

Steve and I covered a lot of ground, much of which could have elicited an even larger response than I made during the interview itself. 

I'm going to excerpt parts of the transcript, and say what comes to mind. Hey, it's a blog. That happens

*** *** ***
Doug: It was the axes are something like growth and profit, and so the high growth, high profit where you are just printing money is the Star. Low growth, low profit is the Dog, and what do you do with those – shoot ‘em.

Then there were the problem children, which were high profit, but low growth and then there was another one that was high growth, low profit. That’s the cash cow?

Steve: The cash cow would have to be high profit, low growth.

Doug: Yeah. Something like that.

[Note: Doug got this a bit wrong. The original BCG framework was growth vs. market share, with share being a stand-in for cash production or consumption, a proxy for profitability but not a direct analog. So high-share, high growth were the Stars, high share, low growth were the Cash Cows. The low-share, high growth were the Question Marks or Problem Children, while the low-growth, low-share were either the Dogs or, perhaps more pertinently, the Pets.]

Steve: In those metrics Ogre is the star because it’s profitable, but it’s also still growing.

As I mentioned in the transcript itself, I got this a bit wrong. One of the interesting twists on the original BCG model of "Stars and Dogs" is that another name for the low growth-low profit markets is "pets." This is likely more apt for the GURPS brand at the moment. As Steve goes on to say, people still like it enough to be profitable, if only marginally, and so it stays. Not because of any particular force of business, but because he wants to  see it go on.

Doug: Which I think brings me to something we’ll weave in and out of. The relationship of Steve Jackson Games and its product set to some of the 800 lb. gorillas in the role-playing game industry: How did Munchkin Pathfinder happen?

Because I was sort of on record saying that (on my blog) “This is so unlikely to ever have these companies get together,” and I was really happy to be wrong, because it potentially opens up at least speculation about other things. How did that work out?

Steve: The executive summary would be we asked Lisa and she said “Ha! Go for it!” It wasn’t quite that quick, but it wasn't slow. 

Perhaps I should not have been surprised by the evident collegiality here, but I sort of was. Of course, Munchkin Pathfinder will do nothing but support Patfhinder as it succeeds, so this was clearly, as Steve notes, win-win. But I also can't help but wonder, in direct contradiction to my earlier comments on the subject, if a GURPS Golarion adaptation might be feasible.  
You'd want some sort of conversion guide that would either allow for the translation of Pathfinder monsters into GURPS, or give substitutes that provide the right feel. You'd do it with Dungeon Fantasy, and probably customize or adapt one of the magic systems to feel more like Vancian magic rather than going with the standard spell system so that the flavor would be the same . . . but you'd give advice for using other magic systems as well, for those that like them.
Finally, I'd want to stat out 50, 100, 150, 200, and 250-point lenses for some of the core templates that feature in Pathfinder. Much of that is already done in one way or another. The Knight (Fighter) and Barbarian (um, Barbarian) are already right there. The Ranger is a Scout; the Monk is a Martial Artist. Clerics are Clerics or Saints, Paladins are Warrior Saints or Holy Warriors (Warrior Saints are much more evocative, thanks to Divine Favor and +Antoni Ten Monrós nice work on the subject). The various flavors of Magic-User would need work to make them unique, etc.

All in all, it would work well, and provide a huge wellspring for all kinds of games. Now that DF16: Wilderness Adventures is out, a true "hex crawl" can be entertained, with dungeons thrown in for fun.

It would certainly be a boost in pre-published and available material for GURPS players. I'd have to think more on what the Paizo guys would get out of it - though even if I do say so myself, having the stable of writers that contribute to Steve Jackson Games be familiar with the Golarion world and writing content that could be used in Pathfinder would not be bad for either party. It's certainly quite lucrative to dip toes into the world of Dungeons and Dragons-based games (my casual forays into talking about D&D5 broke daily records in views for me), and I think the material that would come of such a thing would be very good stuff.

All in all, it would work well, and provide a huge wellspring for all kinds of games. Now that DF16: Wilderness Adventures is out, a true "hex crawl" can be entertained, with dungeons thrown in for fun.

It would certainly be a boost in pre-published and available material for GURPS players. I'd have to think more on what the Paizo guys would get out of it - though even if I do say so myself, having the stable of writers that contribute to Steve Jackson Games be familiar with the Golarion world and writing content that could be used in Pathfinder would not be bad for either party. It's certainly quite lucrative to dip toes into the world of Dungeons and Dragons-based games (my casual forays into talking about D&D5 broke daily records in views for me), and I think the material that would come of such a thing would be very good stuff.
Doug: Do you think there is a market for this sort of dimebag of awesome that we can throw at kids? Is Munchkin Adventure Time or Munchkin Princesses geared towards a younger set, or is it taking adventure of the fad that is Disney…I don’t know if “fad” and “Disney Princesses” goes together. . . it’s been 30+ years of beating us over the head with it.

Steve: Yeah, give me a fad like that every time. No. Those cards are both aimed at the adult viewership. We still think of Munchkin as a game for teens and up.

We know perfectly well that some families are playing with it, and that’s great, and one of these days there will be a Munchkin game aimed at the younger set. But that’s going to be our answer, rather than to…I don’t want to say it, but everybody will understand, but better than to dumb down Munchkin.

Oh, you mean like THIS one?
+Andrew Hackard noted that he nearly spit out his drink when Steve dropped this utterly opaque-to-me-at-the-time hint as to this game that was released a short time later. 
Yousa gots to watch that tricksy Steve - he drops hints and you have to be on your toes to pick them up.
Steve: Okay. Implicit in that question is the idea that keeping the same line going for decades and decades is necessarily right. It’s not necessarily right. You could make a good argument now, and you could have made a better argument five years ago, that GURPS ought to be turned off, because the market for table roleplaying had really shrunk by faster, easier to learn table games.

But I’m loathe to quit doing something that people like. And because we are not at all a public-traded company, I can get away with saying “Fine. This particular marginally profitable thing may not have played out yet, so we’re going to continue, and we are going to continue to try and develop it.” I can get away with that and someone who lived or died on quarterly returns cannot.

And here is where I read the implicit statement that GURPS as GURPS will be sustained as long as it can be done with at least its level of current success. What it won't likely do is have extra resources thrown at it that could profitably be deployed to Munchkin, Ogre, or likely Car Wars when it comes out.
This is both good and bad. Good because my system of choice will continue to be supported at least at some level. Bad because the pipeline, as it's called, will likely remain fairly tight, with risks that a larger market segment might take being minimized. 
We'll see - +Sean Punch's LiveJournal makes noised about at least four projects currently going through for eventual release (more, actually), which is a nice haul. As this gets through, I hope people realize that this is definitely a case where being a collector tells SJG that "more please!" is a good answer. 

Parting Shot

We're about to get to some really interesting stuff about Virtual TableTops and GURPS. Given that this is a reasonably controversial topic on the SJG Forums right now, I'll save this for a post of its own. In short, I think that a VTT for GURPS would be Just Ducky, and the key is more about how to ensure quality control and IP protection. The former harder than the latter, I think.

Stay tuned and more later!


September 28, 2014

Interview with Steve Jackson: Text Transcript finally available!

I finally forced myself to sit down and put nose to grindstone and finished editing the text transcript to the Firing Squad Interview I did with +Steve Jackson.

It took much longer than usual - I've had a lot going on at work with presentations, various internal meetings, and lots of conference calls. That and having a collicky 3-month-old has left me with little spare time and few brain cells to scrape together.

The text transcript is inserted into the original interview post and will be updated over time with appropriate links and pictures. It will get better as I take a half-hour here and there to provide more value-added content.

I still think the video is worth watching, and honestly I put many hours into post-production on that one, so I'd love it if y'all would look at it and let me know if the video overlays I did were worthwhile.

But I prefer reading interviews myself, so please go back, watch the video, listen to the MP3 track, or read the transcript.

Thanks for joining me on the Firing Squad, and thanks again to Steve for sitting down with me for an hour.


September 25, 2014

GURPS and X-COM Long War

Maybe he doesn't like me. But the other day +Nathan Joy emailed me and noted that the downloadable content X-COM: Long War - a modification on the Enemy Within DLC - would be "right up my alley."

I blame him for the misery that ensued. After all, it's completely his fault that

  • This game is right up my alley
  • I enjoyed the XCOM Enemy Unknown game and love the mod even more
  • It plays like my GURPS Alien Menace game, but without endless hours of game prep on my part
From the start, you have a selection of weapons, armor, and other equipment that is like a cheat sheet form GURPS High-Tech and Tactical Shooting. 

It emphasizes cover, mutual support, and the need to work methodically in order to ensure you don't get outflanked.

It has a morale component to it that GURPS also has in the form of a Fright Check that got a boost in Tactical Shooting.

More tenacious aliens in the early game. Seeing that a mission is too much and aborting is a viable choice. You usually need to send several jets after a UFO in order to shoot it down, and that UFO doesn't automatically trigger a recovery mission.

Anyway, it's a great game, and makes me feel like I"m GURPSing in my own campaign, which is cool. 

Now, if they'd only come up with an XCOM: Alien Menace expansion where you fly to Sectoid planets and take the fight to them.

September 20, 2014

RPG Mechanics: Don't fight the system

This post has been a long time coming; I first mentioned it back when I interviewed +Kenneth Hite maybe. It's not that important, but it's an idea that has been growing on me for a while, and I think my discussion with Ken crystalized something.

Frankly, it's why I want to play a game of Night's Black Agents, since my mind was jarred like Hawkeye's in the Avengers when Ken told me that your point totals were only peripherally related to your ability with a given skill in Night's Black Agents.

No, what the points measure is how many times you can be awesome in any given scene. They were related to skill, obviously, since if you can be awesome a lot, you're probably good at something.

But ultimately, NBA is about screen time, as in "movie or TV." It's a narrative-based game.

And that's OK.


Don't Fight the System

Each game is going to be tailored to a particular style of play. The games I've been playing lately couldn't really be more different on the cover. +Matt Finch's Swords and Wizardry Complete, GM'd by +Erik Tenkar, and GURPS Dungeon Fantasy, by either +Nathan Joy or Emily Smirle. Both of those, by the way, are converted D&D modules.

I have tons of fun in both games, but they're different. Very different. Not "better" or "worse," but very different.

Swords and Wizardry

To me, the thing about S&W (and based on the free version, D&D5 as well) is that the key is really in resource management. You are either going to run out of resources - spells, hit points, healing of various types - before you destroy your foe(s), or you won't. At lower levels, and for some classes perhaps even higher levels - you don't really have much of a choice to make.

Rul Scararm is a fighter. On any given turn, his only choice is really "shoot with my bow, or take a magical sword out of my golf bag and smite away." Other than what target I'm swinging at - which is usually "the one in front of me," or failing that "the one with the lowest HP," since it's better to take a guy out of the fight than whittle down a few of them - my choices are few.

The spellcasters have more choices; they're the Omega of the game. Have the fighters hold the line, the wizard casts Web, and basically it's all over but the looting. Or it's not, in which case the fighters mop up. Now, the alternate rule Erik uses allows you to keep attacking (cleave) if you kill a guy, so the fighters can cleave up to their level, while other classes can cleave once. +Peter V. Dell'Orto and I each have lain waste to 3-4 foes in one round this way.

So we're useful, and we open a lot of doors with brute force. But the rate limiting step on our adventures is really a combination of our combined HP, the priest's healing spells, the group's potions (we always clean out the shop every adventure start), and the magic-user's spells.

We embrace this. I've not noticed +Joe D (our magic-user) or +Tim Shorts (the cleric) complaining at all. Rul and Mirado go in first (sometimes we scout), set up a wall of pain, and then the other guys do something impressive if they can, or provide some additional carnage if they can't. Any individual encounter isn't that tense; the question is how much loot and how many experience points can we get before we deplete our resources. If we run out before we voluntarily quit - very likely someone's going to die, or be about to die.

We don't struggle against that. We strive to clear the most rooms and get the coolest stuff. We banter in and out of character. We tell really awful jokes, and without question it's the most fun I have gaming these days.

GURPS Dungeon Fantasy - All Options ON

In Nate and Emily's games, we use the GURPS Dungeon Fantasy genre treatment. Well, sort of. They turn on a lot of Martial Arts switches. Emily has decided to use the same Technical Grappling variant Peter uses. We use a lot of Low-Tech armor rules, and even a nifty new armor system made by +Mark Langsdorf. They don't like the regular spell magic system, so we're using some sort of Threshold Magic.

Here, the challenge is that any fight can be deadly.

Any. Fight.

Get cocky and throw some All-Out Attack? Expect to be nailed if you don't kill your foe, because you can't defend. And unless you have DR 10+, you are likely to be vulnerable. With the TG system i place, getting thrown down and grappled by a monster is a real threat.

DF character templates are cool enough that there are lots of options for each blow, too. You aren't limited by low skills. You can easily step up with Weapon-16 through Weapon-20 right out of the gate, They key is using your unique skill set to do tactically superior and effective things on any given turn.

Most fights are over in a couple of very long (in real time) turns, but every action has tension. You can critically succeed or fail, which means you can be suddenly awesome or really in trouble. My Warrior Saint, Cadmus, dispatched a swordsman with Broadsword-30 in one blow . . . because he turned his back on me while within my Move radius. Splorch.

The key bit here is that the GURPS rules as we were using them reward detailed tactical choices, and the system is deadly enough that you're not going to have a hundred turns of it.

Now, GURPS can be played fast and loose. I've never run it that way, but I've played it that way. But I think that, in terms of not fighting the system, GURPS really shines when you can turn the detail up as high as your group's comfort/enjoyment level will allow.

GUMSHOE

I fought the system, and the system won. I just didn't get it, so I played my character in Trail of Cthulhu like I would a GURPS character. My focus was on any specific task, not on "do I want to be Awsome this scene, or not."

In a way, the General and Investigative spends make GUMSHOE systems games of narrative resource management rather than tactical resource management.

The kicker here is that's true of combat too. And if you fight the system, and it bothers you to a large degree that a .50BMG and a punch to the face really aren't that different in potential effects, then you're going to hate it. A lot.

But if you don't fight the system, if you decide that your awesome martial artist is going to simply hold his own this fight, and accept the narrative, rather than the tactical, consequences (because when you get to that final battle in the episode, it's on, baby) then you can enjoy it the way it's meant to be played.

Parting Shot

Recently I spoke about games I'd like to play, and NBA and FATE were high on the list. I've never played in a game of FATE, but I made Thor as a character with +Leonard Balsera, and I'd love to experience the game. +Sean Punch recommends it as a narratively crunchy, rather than tactically cruchy, bag of fun.

Once I can guarantee my schedule is such that I can make the game, I'll probably pester +James Introcaso to run a game or five of D&D5 for me (and Peter) at the very least, so I can experience the new thing.

But ultimately, it would probably behoove designers to both know and say what kind of game they expect you to be running, and how they designed the rules to support that game. For a game like GURPS, which can support many genre flavors, advice on "well, if you want tactical crunch, do X, Y, and Z with these books," while if you want narrative, low-detail flavor, you simply must have Impulse Buys, and may need to hide Low-Tech and Tactical Shooting in a deep, dark hole.

By and large, I have a lot of fun gaming. The few times I have not, it can nearly always be attributed to expectations mismatch.

There's a lesson there.


September 19, 2014

User commentary on Technical Grappling

Writes like feedback. Even negative feedback, constructively given, is useful.

While I'm still waiting for +Erik Tenkar to review Technical Grappling (hey! where'd that bus come from?), I got a pleasant surprise when +Mitch French over at Don't Forget Your Boots spent about 1,750 words talking about his impressions of my book.

Highlights:


  • He likes enough of the concepts that he can't use 'em all. That's cool; I don't use 'em all either.
  • He finds the basic conceit of the book, that Control Points express how well someone is grappled, both mechanically and narratively compelling.
  • He likes how Trained ST gives the highly skilled "light fighter" a much-needed boost. If he wants to double down, he should apply Trained ST to striking, too!
  • The rules for armed grappling are usefully simplified by making them not a special case of other rules
  • He likes the concept of spending CP to improve certain things, and wonders if they could be more broadly applied. Yes. Yes they can. I didn't do it in the manuscript because we didn't have that many test-fights going on in the actual playtest, and some of that sort of stuff needs thorough in-play experience.

Read the entire thing. Then, of course, go buy the book!

*****

Note: When I wrote the thing, and when sales figures were easily available on e23, my hope was that about half the people who purchased the digital version of GURPS Martial Arts would buy my book, which would put my target at 400-500 copies sold. I'm within that range, about in the middle, on this book.

Certainly there are many more who bought the hardback of Martial Arts who can use TG. But I'm pleased to at least have hit about 50% penetration of those who bought the digital version of Martial Arts. And you have to have the book to use TG. Even if it's not a perfect Venn diagram, that 450 number was my target, and I'm about there. Woo hoo!

September 18, 2014

Technical Longsword: GURPS gets it right

I seem to be riffing off of +Peter V. Dell'Orto a lot, but in this case we both got forwarded the same neat clip at the same time.

Peter made a lot of good points in his post. What I'm going to do is break down the iconic exchange in this video in roughly one-second intervals. And try and ascribe GURPS mechanics to them. I'll use some screen captures to illustrate my point, but the entire video is also linked below.




Ready . . . fight!

We'll pick up the action at roughly 2:46, where one of the featured interviewees ( Turns out it's +Jake Norwood, HEMA fighter and author of The Riddle of Steel roleplaying game!)  is talking about how points are scored. The real action picks up a few seconds later, with the red-socked fighter closing, and then starting the exchange.


The times given are in milliseconds!

The First Turn: 0-1000ms


000 milliseconds - Time start
At the point where I decided to start turn-based combat, we have Red-Socks (the combatant on the right) advancing to close the distance between the two fighters.

Red makes a deliberate advance - in fact, he does a step and attack, thrusting at his foe's head. It would appear that, given the position of his foe at 0ms, he is starting from Reach 2.


373 ms - starting the thrust
By the time 373ms have elapsed, Red is making a very deliberate thrust for the face. He has advanced just about as far as he's going to for the rest of the fight. In fact, one curious thing about this exchange of blows is that there is basically no retreating at all in terms of horizontal space. At this point, The defender on the left (identified as +Axel Pettersson by a commenter)  has not exactly finished the parry, but it is well begun. The blade is sweeping to the defender's right as it pushed the thrust in the same direction.


594 ms - thrust is parried
At just shy of 600ms, the thrust is fully developed and the parry is already in place, and it is continuing through the thrust so as not to bind the blade. It's definitely the other fighter's turn now, and he slides from that parry immediately into an attack of his own,


About an eighth of a second later, the fighter on the right has already committed to a swung attack to Red Sox left shoulder or left torso.


723 ms - Initiate swung strike to red left arm
One interesting thing here, that doesn't really play in GURPS at the moment, is that it's clear from the video that the defender did not have the time or the room to develop his parry into a thrusting attack. The sweeping parry that was used precludes that motion, so he's got to deliver the swing - likely giving his foe a bit more time (but we're talking about actions that are ticking by in 0.1s increments, so not that much time!) to defend.


934mn - red parries
Finally, at 934ms, the second attack of the first second has been launched . . . and is in the middle of being parried by Red Sox. The two fighters are still at Reach 1, where they'll remain for the rest of the fight.

Notice that other than the first thrust, the parry turns right into the attack, with little hesitation or pause (at least this exchange). Also, following the high thrust, there was a high parry, a high counterattack to the left shoulder, and another high parry. Going high-to-low in one second probably is too much, perhaps.

The Second Turn - and the final one. 1000-2000ms


1018 ms - disengage from parry and start swing to head
We pick up pretty much where we left off, and as one might imagine, Red Sox does not surrender the initiative, and begins to develop an attack of his own.

He slides his sword out, disengaging from his parry and preparing to launch a head blow.


1147 ms - head blow delivered . . . and parried!
Note that from parry to disengage is 84ms by the movie capture clock. This stuff is happening fast.

By the time the clock ticks another 1/8 second, the head strike has landed . . . but already been parried by the fighter on the left, with a very strong parry.  This may actually be where "the mistake" happens, as you can see that Red Sox has stepped to a more-or-less isosceles stance - the first time that has happened this fight.
1363 ms - This doesn't look good for Red Sox

As the sands go through the hourglass here in bullet time, the fighter on the left has taken a strong offensive striking pose, while Red Sox is out of position and off balance a bit.

The two fighters' blades are not in close proximity or contact for nearly the first time in this fight, and you can see - and Red Sox can sense - the advantage held by his foe.
1528ms - Fatal Step Back

Another 165ms ticks by, and Red Sox hesitates and begins to take a step back. Not a big one, but more importantly, he's gotten fixated, perhaps, on protecting his head. Not bringing his sword along, it's out of position and Red is off balance - this is even clear in the full-speed video. At this point (or maybe even two frames ago!) it's probably all over but the bleeding for Red.
1632ms - Opportunity knocks and White answers
Our friend from Chicago (White Sox?) sees his opportunity and commits to it, a full-strength cut to the ribs. Still out of position and knowing it, Red tries to dance back - but it's clear that he is off balance for a retreating dodge.

That being said, Red Sox does have this big sword thing over his head, and he's about to realize it.


1746ms - The fatal blow
These last few frames are still very interesting,
though, since the end of the fight for one doesn't instantly save the other. As the lethal blow lands, Red finds himself in a position to strike, if perhaps a late one, and commits himself to it.

White is stepping to his left, through the blow. and has not yet obviously committed or begun to any defensive action to finish the fight.
1763 - Last-ditch attack, kneeling defense

Only 17ms later, White is following through on his attack, while Red, despite having been struck (or while in the process thereof) is now attacking strongly to White's head. He has recovered his stance (too late, alas) and is powering into a final blow.


1967ms - Final Defense, game over
You can see that White is starting to bring his left hand up, preparing for his guard stance. He cannot help but be aware of where Red's sword was, and so he knows from where an attack must come.

And 204ms later, he has a very strong defense going, having dropped to one knee and completed his follow-through into that parry.

The point is over, a clear strike for white.

GURPSify Me

We'll start with Red, obviously


Red: Step and Attack, a thrust to the head
     White: Parry. [1]
White: Attack, perhaps Defensive Attack, a swing to the torso [2]
     Red: Parry [3]

Red: Attack, a swing to the head. Maybe a Committed Attack? It would explain . . .
     White: Parry [4]

White: Deceptive attack. Swing to the torso.[5]
     Red: Cannot parry; must dodge. This does not go well and he's hit.

Red: The hit hasn't registered with him yet, and he's already made up his mind. Attack, Committed, to the head.
      White: Drop to knees and parry [6]

Some notes:

[1] As noted above, that parry precludes a thrusting counter. This might mean that one can trade a bonus to parry an attack now for a penalty to your next attack. This is something mentioned in Option 11 of my old "MECE" post. It's also likely the result of not being able to use a 'fencing' parry, which favors the thrust on both attack and keeping the blade in line for such during a defense. It may also be worthwhile to give flavors of defensive parries.

[2] Defensive attack because he can't really wind up in a way that would say to me "yes, you've just doubled your penetrating power!" which is what swing basically does.

[3] Perhaps benefiting from his defensive attack, his parry allows him to clear the line well and deliver a strong attack to the head. He clearly strikes hard.

[4] White parries the attack to the head, and things go poorly for Red after this. For whatever reason. Red's blade is out of position after this. The rules not allowing you to parry with the weapon you attacked with for Committed Attack would cover this well. So we'll assume that's what he did.

[5] At this point, White knows he's been Committed Attacked. His foe must dodge. He also cannot retreat, which covers what happens next pretty well. White throws a Deceptive Attack to the torso, and Red must Dodge without retreating.

[6] White drops to a knee to successfully parry the last head blow, which suggests to me that doing that - dropping to a knee to defend vs. a high-line attack, should probably be worth the equivalent of a retreat. So if you drop to the knees during a defense - a Kneeling Defense - you get +2 to your Active Defense against a blow to the arms, torso, or head. You do not have to step.

Of course, given how things flow together, it may be that this move was just a sideways retreat, but giving a full +3 for a sidestep and posture change seems OK to me.

Parting Shot

Five blows were exchanged in two seconds. The fourth blow was the lethal one.

The only thing that would prevent this from happening in GURPS RAW are a couple of tweaks due to certain types of attacks not being allowed, and the fact that at reach 1 after a parry, you can still develop a full-power attack. Or maybe not. Maybe Committed or All-Out Strong attacks are the full "don't get in my way," and the type of decisive and fast swing we see here works fine.

It doesn't change my thoughts about "only use thrust" damage, though. It also seems to emphasize that Trained ST (adding a bonus to ST based on skill) is perhas as true, or more true, than a big huge muscular guy being able to just do that much more damage with this kind of blow. Maybe you only get swing damage if you AoA at full reach!

In any case, these guys could probably not keep that pace up for long, which makes The Last Gasp look pretty good in terms of the Action Point economy.

September 16, 2014

You got your Technical Grappling in my Dungeon Fantasy

+Peter V. Dell'Orto gives a play report on how, despite what you might think, GURPS Martial Arts: Technical Grappling makes Dungeon Fantasy more awesome, rather than less.

In fairness, he and I developed a huge treatment of this subject on our own, so it's not "out of the box" ready to go, but it wasn't that close.

Highlighting some stuff again:


  • TG makes grappling incremental and non-binary, which is more fun, more dramatic, and stretches disbelief less
  • Monsters that bite and hold are scary and cool with TG. Not so much with the rules as they are written. 
  • If you choose, the options for spending CP and using them to do crazy stuff (move people around, grab and smash, make attacks easier to hit on the attack or easier to dodge on defense) add on seamlessly and provide a lot of fun
  • Tentacle beasts are scary again. 


Anyway, if it's good for DF, it'll be good for most other genres out of the box.

So go read Peter's stuff. Then check out my book, because grappling should be as awesome in game as it can be in real life.