View Full Version : How heavy/crunchy are GURPS rules?

10-30-2007, 11:55 PM
A couple of the guys in my current group are GURPS players and one wants to run a game using it. I've never played GURPS before and am somewhat hesitant. I get the feeling that its combat is very similar to Hero, which I hated and bored me damn near to death.

I was looking at the 4th ed rulebook recently and have discovered that it's combat section is even longer than D&D's, which puts me to sleep.

Hero was literally 4 hours of sitting there thumb-twiddling while the GM counted inches and did math and that isn't my idea of fun.

Is that really what I'm stepping into here?

10-31-2007, 01:17 AM
GURPS has plenty of combat options ... but that's what they are, options. For example, you can play without a map entirely, forget or fudge combat modifiers due to position, and just use Move to resolve questions of who can get where more quickly. It really depends on what your GM wants.

The basic GURPS combat system is pretty straightforward. Each round is a second, and everyone chooses what to do in that second: Move, Attack, Move and Attack (at a penalty), All-Out Attack, All-Out Defense, Concentrate, etc. You don't count off phases like Hero, or have "attacks of opportunity" as in D&D. An attacker rolls his weapon skill, a defender dodges/parries/blocks (if he can), and if the attack wins and the defense fails, you roll damage.

The other big source of GURPS's complexity is the huge number of advantages, disadvantages, and other character options you can take. However, your GM can cut down that list drastically, depending on genre. For example, if the PCs are all normal people, any advantage/disadvantage marked Supernatural or Exotic is right out. Still, it's not too far off from Hero's point allocation -- except disadvantages are actual disadvantages with spelled-out penalties and restrictions. At least character generation only happens at the beginning.

BTW, if I were running a GURPS game -- and I might someday -- I'd start GURPS newbies off with GURPS Lite and add bits from the main books that were essential to my campaign.

10-31-2007, 11:48 AM
The game is a "Tech Level 10" 'star rangers'/ private detective agency with what I'm guessing are cyberpunk-lite add-ons tossed in. Unfortunately, although I know Transhuman Space is supposedly a Tech Level 9, I'm not entirely sure where to go from there.

10-31-2007, 12:30 PM
The game is a "Tech Level 10" 'star rangers'/ private detective agency with what I'm guessing are cyberpunk-lite add-ons tossed in. Unfortunately, although I know Transhuman Space is supposedly a Tech Level 9, I'm not entirely sure where to go from there.

Did the GM just give you the books and say "make a character"? That doesn't sound promising.

Otherwise, he's probably using Ultra-Tech or some other reference for the technology, including cybernetic implants and prosthetics. Usually those have point costs worked out in advance, with references to associated advantages/disadvantages from the Basic Set.

I don't know TL levels like the back of my hand, but I would assume ranged combat would dominate, with the occasional bit of knife-work or fisticuffs. GURPS gets a little too detailed with its gun rules -- malfunction numbers and range penalties, for example -- but in principle it works like any other combat system, from Storyteller to D20.

Really, I'd suggest bringing your concerns to the GM. All I can tell you is the system itself is kind of crunchy but not over-the-top, somewhere in the vicinity of RuneQuest or D20. The worst bit is character generation; after that it's pretty smooth sailing.

11-04-2007, 12:05 AM
GURPS combat is sort of medium. It's not very complex in play, although more or less rules might in play depending on the GM, the characters, rules options, etc.

Grinnen Baeritt
11-04-2007, 07:11 AM
I'd have to say that explained correctly and you are happy for the DM to deal with the rules... the rules are no more complex than D&D D20. The difference is the dice mechanic.

The character creation is a little bewildering at first because of the wealth of options...but if you are looking for a set of rules that doesn't spoon-feed or control your ability to create your character then you will have found them with GURPS.

11-04-2007, 05:39 PM
. . .the rules are no more complex than D&D D20.

Ok, but I don't particularly like the relatively high level of complexity in D20, compared to games that I usually run.

11-04-2007, 09:02 PM
Ok, but I don't particularly like the relatively high level of complexity in D20, compared to games that I usually run.

The complexity is distributed differently. The combat rules are generally simpler, with fewer exception cases. There's reams of combat modifiers, but you don't *have* to use them, or even use a tactical hex map; an experienced GM (from any system) can just eyeball the complexity and assess a penalty, if he doesn't want to get bogged down in details.

What scares most people, admittedly with good reason, is character generation. Given the sheer number of options in the Basic Set (Volume 1), it's easy to get overwhelmed. That's where a good GURPS GM will set some direction of what he wants and what is and isn't allowed; advantage/disadvantage lists are good, but character templates are better.

I'm probably repeating myself a bit, but I'd say take a look at GURPS Lite (http://e23.sjgames.com/item.html?id=SJG31-0004). (You have to go through the cart nonsense, but if you "buy" just GURPS Lite without registering you get directly to the download.) GURPS Lite is the GURPS system stripped down to its essentials. Everything else is just another option.

11-05-2007, 09:11 AM
Character creation becomes radically simpler if you have good templates as a starting place. With templates, using mostly just the basic rules, GURPS is a good deal simpler than d20 on ALL levels. With all the bells and whistles, prep time can be comparable to d20, but play is pretty much always simpler. The only circumstances under which I see GURPS being harder to grasp is "drowning in the rulebook".... trying to memorize the whole thing without examples of play, creating characters the first few times completely from scratch, failing to understand GURPS's cookbook nature, etc. If you start with GURPS Lite, then upgrade and use a published setting, those problems should be minimal.

03-15-2008, 10:50 AM
GURPS has an amazingly streamlined combat system. For starters, you already know what number you need to roll under to hit, so there is no confusion there. When your turn comes up, you tell the GM what your doing, you make the required rolls and say how much you made or missed by. At that point the GM will say if it worked or not. Unless the GM is new to it, all of the calculations are done by the GM. Also, GURPS has a three second rule. If you can not tell the GM what your doing in three seconds, your skipped. This might sound harsh, but each round is one second and if you, who has more information then the character, cant decide what to do in three seconds, then the character wouldn't be able to decide within one. Combat will start up, finish quick, and leave players with a sense of accomplishment every time. You don't wondrously hit something critically and take it out in one shot, you need to earn your kills in GURPS the way it should be. 100 points, or 1000 points, a shot to the head is always death. Remember that.

03-15-2008, 12:41 PM
GURPS is great! Once you have the basics of the combat system down it can flow pretty quickly. It really depends on the options and level of play. However, at TL 10 it's probably going to involved a lot of ranged combat and firearms, so that will streamline a bit. Combat can get bogged down when you have close-combat, four-color cinematic combat with 300+ characters.