PDA

View Full Version : GURPS vs. Specialized RPG



Mr. Mask
2015-07-08, 09:45 PM
I've seen GURPS recommended a lot, but haven't had the time to play it. It's made me wonder how GURPS fares for a specific setting, compared to an RPG purpose made for that setting.

So, let's say you wanted to make a cowboy game. How would GURPS with its expansions compare to playing it with Aces and Eights or Savage Lands?

Or if you wanted to play a high fantasy RPG, how would it compare to Ars Magica, DnD, etc.?

Or if you wanted to play a Shadowrun type RPG, how would it compare to Shadowrun?


Anyone tried both GURPS and one of these RPGs, and gotten a feel for which you prefer (GURPS or a purpose made RPG)? If anyone has tried FATE or the like, you can join in on how it compares to purpose made RPGs.

Mr Beer
2015-07-08, 10:56 PM
I've used GURPS for high fantasy, in fact I enjoy D&D more now that I use a GURPS engine.

I also used GURPS for a low-power supers/investigation game set in 1920s, this worked well.

There is more effort involved that a specialist system, since GURPS is less a system and more a toolbox.

It's very rewarding for simulationists, since there is a model for everything somewhere.

It's highly portable between settings (obviously) and SJG makes a big deal about their world-hopping campaign setting in the Basic Set because that's a draw. I haven't had much benefit from that myself because I pretty much play high fantasy, although Expedition To Barrier Peaks was great, because instead of jamming high-tech weaponry into a system not designed for it, I just pulled laser rifles, grenades, power armour etc. straight out of the books.

If I'm running a game and have time to do the work, I would use GURPS over any system I've played in, not a huge list but still (D&D, 40K, Warhammer Fantasy RPG, FATE, Runequest, Call of Cthulhu and a few more). That said, if I wanted to run a game quickly, I'd use a specialist system. If I wanted to run D&D, I've already done the work, so GURPS either way.

Mr. Mask
2015-07-08, 11:05 PM
So, does it go to the extent where RPG designers should just use the GURPS engine to make their games rather than make a new system?

Vrock_Summoner
2015-07-08, 11:07 PM
The thing about GURPS and Fate is that they're just really good systems all-around, which means that when they're tailored to a particular setting, they're almost always at least decent. So other things being "dedicated systems" isn't enough, they have to be good dedicated systems.

GURPS can run general fantasy... Well, fantastically. This may be my personal system bias showing through, but I do think GURPS does what D&D intends to do better than D&D does it. Now, this is the internet, and D&D's design goals did not match what was produced, so the thing D&D is actually good for really doesn't even look like standard fantasy... And at this weird nonstandard thing, it does admittedly excel. As for Ars Magica... Well, depending on your viewpoint, it's either not standard fantasy at all, or it's standard fantasy made so hardcore that it laughs at Lord of the Rings for being too casual and not setting enough trends. Either way, Ars Magica does what it does a thousand times better than GURPS ever could, but that's because its nonstandard qualities are its best ones, and GURPS is a system aimed at standardizing other settings.

I think GURPS does the "downtrodden PC" type games extremely well, though, as well as any dedicated horror or World of Darkness game, in my opinion. Giving the PCs unique and strong but limited abilities is one of the best things GURPS does, mechanically.

Of course, the real reason you should buy GURPS or Fate, aside from fantastic writing in both... Is so that you don't have to teach your friends a new system every time you want to try a different genre game. :smalltongue: Some would consider that bit alone to be absolutely worth a drop in product quality, and as I mentioned earlier, even that didn't happen; GURPS and Fate are written and designed extremely well.

Basically, what I'm saying is, if you already have a really good system down for what you're after, there's no point switching to GURPS, even if it'll do about as well, since you, y'know, already have a good system. If you don't, though, either because your current system is crappy or you just don't have one, pick GURPS up; it has a high chance of being way better than the product you were going to buy instead, and you don't have to spend even more money next time you want to try another new game style.

goto124
2015-07-08, 11:14 PM
But... you have to tailor GURPS to fit your game... so if you haven't even tried what you were going to try... how do you... do... that...?

It's like being asked to design a game of genre X when you have yet to play a game of genre X.

Knaight
2015-07-09, 07:57 AM
So, does it go to the extent where RPG designers should just use the GURPS engine to make their games rather than make a new system?

It depends. There are lots of specialized games which are very good and which have draws that GURPS doesn't, but they have to be very good. If they aren't, GURPS, Fudge, Fate, Savage Worlds, or a number of other generics will do a better job with their setting than the system built for it. The other matter is of tone - while generic games tend to cross genres extremely well, they often have trouble with tonal shifts. GURPS is a gritty game by nature, and it doesn't do superheroes, really high powered fantasy, or other things all that well.

There's also the matter of personal taste. GURPS is a really heavy game with a number of long lists of incredibly narrow skills, traits, etc. If you're not fond of that sort of thing, it won't be your cup of tea.

illyahr
2015-07-09, 10:14 AM
Specialized systems are better if you want something quick. If you are willing to put some time into what you are doing, GURPS can be adapted to nearly anything.

A bit of trivia for you: the Fallout series of video games was initially supposed to run on GURPS but they couldn't get the rights to it in time, so they had to craft their own system roughly based on it.

jindra34
2015-07-09, 10:29 AM
So, does it go to the extent where RPG designers should just use the GURPS engine to make their games rather than make a new system?

No, and the reason why is pretty simple. GURPS is best used as a toolkit from which to build a game, and using a module will still require most of the work.

Segev
2015-07-09, 10:51 AM
I, personally, do not like GURPS.

I think it does do modern-day settings, and anything you want to be gritty, well.

It does not do high fantasy well.

For a universal system, its magic system is extremely rigid and fluff-tied, demanding that you incorporate elements that are at least as specific as any setting-specific magic system (unless you want to throw out their magic system and make something up...at which point you're not really using GURPS magic anymore).

It also commits what is, for a "universal" RPG, a cardinal sin: it is very "how"-based. That is, your MEANS of achieving a result in fluff changes the mechanics dramatically. As an example, I was in a game where somebody was trying to build an android with a flame-thrower power, and somebody else was building a mage with a fireball power. I forget which it was, but they both could do it more-or-less at will but one paid significantly more points for less damage and area. One was simply determined by GURPS to be the better "method" for spewing fire into an area for purposes of harming targets.


When I want a generic system, I tend to go more for BESM. It is simpler (though definitely still breakable, and thus requires a GM to say "no" to some things), cleaner, and is a "what"-based system: you determine the net mechanical effect and then pay the points; HOW you do it in fluff is up to you. One person's energy-burning flamethrower is another's mana-consuming fireball, but both are Weapons with the "Costs EP" drawback and cost the same points for the same end result of "fire in an area doing X damage."

That said, BESM is not as good at specific settings as systems built for them.

That is going to be generically true, even for poorly-designed systems, because the setting informed the system design and vice-versa. GURPS does not work as well as Palladium in Rifts, despite Palladium being a...clunky system, at best. BESM would similarly work less well.

d20, being designed originally for D&D, works quite well for mid-to-high fantasy, but tends to work less well in modern and future settings.


So no, I would not say GURPS works as well for specific settings as games designed for those settings.

AceOfFools
2015-07-09, 10:54 AM
So, does it go to the extent where RPG designers should just use the GURPS engine to make their games rather than make a new system?

No.

GURPS is in fact a fairly terrible engine for a wide range of games and genres.

1 it's horrifically unbalanced as written, the best example being that it's a fairly small point investment to have a sidekick that is always present built on more points than the PC has. As a GM you have to throughly examine each character (or detail a large last if not okay powers).

2 They erred way on the side of too many options especially when it comes to minutia like kick, punch and sweep kick being not only different mechanically to do in game, but you can spend a resources on them differenty.

This problematic for two reasons. One huge amounts of prep work from both a player and a GM is going to be spent hunting around rule books to find what is allowed among rules that aren't relevant to the game. And it can take a lot of headspace to keep all options allowed in mind in game.

3 The core combat engine is extremely broken and gritty. A reasonably stron character with a sword can deal damage in excess of a reasonable high hp character's max health per attack, although 0 and negative hp does not mean dead. DR (as provided by armor) sews the game horribly between those who invest heavily in it (only volunerable to weapons that can bypass it) and those who don't (most attacks are fatal).

Also, the amount of time you can spend negating attacks back and forth until someone gets lucky... ugh.

4. The bell curve off 3d6 roll under leaves range of skilled very narrow. I.e. 10 in a skill is close to a 50/50, 14 is a ~75 percent chance of success, and a 15 is a 5 out a 6 chance.

I could keep going.

GURPS is good if and only if you want a gritty game where combat is something that is dangerous, that clever people will try to avoid. Where characters have limited powers, but have to do a vast array of things (crash land a spaceship without dying and the research which plants they can eat where they land).

If youwant to play high adventuren tactical (as opposed to strategic), cinematic games, don't use GURPS.

NichG
2015-07-09, 11:36 AM
So, does it go to the extent where RPG designers should just use the GURPS engine to make their games rather than make a new system?

When you purchase a game system, what do you want it to do for you?

dream
2015-07-09, 02:06 PM
You can use GURPS for anything except superheroes, IME (powers like Super-Strength just don't work in relation to available points).

For a "Wild West" type game, there's Old West, Big Lizzie, & Gun Fu.

For a Shadowrun-style game, there's Cyberpunk, Bio-Tech, Ultra Tech & Fantasy.

For "High Fantasy", there's a ton of fantasy related material (30+ books!) :smalltongue:

There are a great deal of options to choose from and that makes character generation longer, but you end up with that exact PC you're wanting, rather than playing classes/archetypes that "specialized" games offer. Any class from D&D/PF can be done in GURPS, and then some.

GURPS also has a more "simulationist" approach to combat, so it can be deadly, but only if the group decides that's what they want. The modular nature of GURPS allows for any kind of game experience you want, with optional rules for more "cinematic" campaigns.

The wide range of options aren't a flaw, they're an outstanding feature of the system. Now, if you want a crunchy, rules-intense experience, there's HERO system. It ends up being a matter of taste.

Final note, a game system isn't broken simply because one doesn't like it. Again, it's gaming taste. No system is perfect.

Mr Beer
2015-07-09, 03:24 PM
So, does it go to the extent where RPG designers should just use the GURPS engine to make their games rather than make a new system?

Well no. Because it depends what you want out of a game. GURPS is simulationist, a toolkit and crunchy.

So if you want a something straight out of the tin, or highly streamlined or narrative based, you may as well build something else. Or use FATE...I think that would be a good option for switching gears without ever having to learn more than 2 systems.

Red Fel
2015-07-09, 03:45 PM
Well no. Because it depends what you want out of a game. GURPS is simulationist, a toolkit and crunchy.

Very much this. As the disparity between posts in this thread suggests, there's a broad gulf between "can" and "should." Can GURPS be used for anything? Just about. Should it? That's trickier.

GURPS is extremely mechanically-intensive. The math and design is heavily front-loaded, and requires either fairly comprehensive system mastery or a very patient and helpful GM to walk you through it. Having a GM who knows the system well enough to set a sufficient point-buy level is more or less mandatory. My own GM had a piece of chargen software with pretty much every book in it, and I can safely say that even someone with his level of system mastery would have had to spend hours designing a single character if he didn't have that program.

By way of example, I was in one campaign where one player played a silent, odious, shirtless brute who did obscene amounts of bare-fisted damage, could pretty much return from death after every combat, and had a damage measured in mooks per round. (Seriously. He had a combination of abilities that basically allowed him to drop one nameless mook per attack, and he got a number of attacks each round.) We had another PC, in this same campaign, whose primary special abilities were stealth skills, and a paintbrush that inexplicably produced an unlimited supply of C4. He wanted to do this specific concept, so the GM ran some numbers, compared some abilities, and came up with the right combination of abilities and modifiers to let him do that.

If you can run a game where a disgruntled brawler with damage measured in mooks per round and a masked whackjob with a paintbrush full of explosives can travel through timespace and fight dinosaur-riding Nazis while being paid in emeralds the size of your fist, you can pretty much run any game. That's what I'm trying to say.

It just takes a lot of work and system mastery to get there.

illyahr
2015-07-09, 04:19 PM
Ya, what Red Fel said. You should always* listen to Red Fel. He knows what he's talking about.

*Just don't, you know, sign anything.

Anonymouswizard
2015-07-09, 04:28 PM
I'm shortly about to run a fantasy game with GURPS, and I can say a few things:

-It took me about 2 hours to assemble the list of skills, advantages, and disadvantages I wanted, including psionics (I actually love the core psionics system). This was difficult, just tedious, and I have created skill lists for a handful of time periods to speed it up later. This is due to size, but it's manageable if you stick to the basic set.

-The core magic system is the worst I've seen. I have two magic using worlds I plan to run, one uses Ritual Path Magic, whereas the other has spells be advantages with preparation requires.

-Power levels can vary, my group currently has a highly focused engineer who is useless out of his depth (nearly 200 points in Attributes, but no skills outside the concept and no advantages), and an ESPer soldier/doctor who is less skilled, but harder to challenge due to having a broader skill set (including diplomacy and riding). As I side note, I advised the engineer to reduce her IQ or strength and get broader skills (the character has 10 skills, 4 at 17), but they refused to listen.

gom jabbarwocky
2015-07-09, 05:25 PM
... there's a broad gulf between "can" and "should." Can GURPS be used for anything? Just about. Should it? That's trickier.

I can't not read that in Jeff Goldblum's voice; "Yeah, yeah, your games designers were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, that they didn't stop to think if they should!"

More to the point, I'm of the opinion that a system developed with the express purpose of emphasizing and supporting a specific setting or genre will typically be better than a generic system doing the same thing. Part of this is because I remember when the d20 SRD was all the rage, and that meant every game got a d20 version, including my beloved Call of Cthulhu. If there was a worse fit for CoC than d20, I'd rather be ignorant.

Anyway, my main issue with GURPS is that whenever I look at it, I suffer paralysis via overanalysis - in trying to make a system that could do anything, they had to make a system where you could do everything, and everything is just too much. I can't take it in, and I suspect that even if I could, I'd be off-put by how same-y everything feels. And it has to do that, so you can build your dwarven fighter, your cyberpunk hacker, a six-gun wielding gorilla, and a delicious muffin that turns into a robot, all within the same system, and they all have to be able to interact with each other, because that will probably be the party.

This is all just my personal bias, of course. My own experience aside, GURPS works. It's like a big tub of Lego - you can use it to build whatever you can imagine, as long as you're willing to spend hours digging through that big tub to find all the pieces you need. And building with Lego is great, it's lots of fun, but I have to run a game tomorrow evening and I don't have time for that.

Oh, GURPS. I want to love her, but she's just too high-maintenance.

aspekt
2015-07-09, 07:05 PM
If you are willing to take one abstraction level away from GURPS then FUDGE might be more appealing. Whereas GURPS is modular, just add splat book(s), FUDGE is actually an outline. It is far more oriented towards description and storytelling, but can be stretched to become more crunchy.

FUDGE is actually probably the source for much of the theory behind FATE, even the dice show that. Originally it was developed by several authors involved in GURPS development. It appears they felt GURPS was attempting to handle too many details at once and in far too literal a fashion. Though I may be wrong on that count.

Either way it sets up a system of creation and resolution that is abstract enough to allow you to build any genre game you would like.

As with FATE I believe it also has a condensed free pdf version.

goto124
2015-07-09, 07:27 PM
I suppose GURPS is not suitable for anyone just starting to learn tabletop games? And that it's so weird and crunchy that you give up halfway and switch to an easier, more streamlined system?

Changing the question: Should FATE be used instead of any other system? If not, why?

Red Fel
2015-07-09, 07:35 PM
I suppose GURPS is not suitable for anyone just starting to learn tabletop games? And that it's so weird and crunchy that you give up halfway and switch to an easier, more streamlined system?

Actually, once you've gotten rid of the frontloaded stuff, GURPS becomes extremely straightforward. Everything you need to know how to roll is on your sheet, and almost every roll is simple. Roll 3d6; if your total is under your skill or ranks or whatever is written there, you win. Skills? 3d6. Abilities? 3d6. Spells? 3d6. Once you're past the initial hurdle, it gets a lot easier for a player.

That's the thing about streamlining. You either spread the mechanics out over the growth of the character (see e.g. D&D and Pathfinder), or you frontload them and let the rest of the game consist of coasting on simple stuff (see e.g. GURPS).

A new player could get confused by GURPS chargen, but he or she could just as easily be confused by D&D concepts like BAB, DC, AC, DR, SR, and 1d6+3d10-1d20*2d8. By contrast, "Roll 3d6 and score under this number" is pretty easy to grasp.

goto124
2015-07-09, 07:43 PM
Aka get someone else more experience to write the character sheet =P

Red Fel
2015-07-09, 07:46 PM
Aka get someone else more experience to write the character sheet =P

Well, frankly, if someone's first game is at my table, I at least walk them through chargen, if not do it for them (depending on their preference and inexperience, of course). One of the most disappointing things is if a newcomer is left to do chargen himself. If he gets lost in the rules, he may give up before he begins; if he takes longer than everyone else, he may feel left out and alone; and if he does a poor job and discovers it later, he may get fed up and leave in frustration. Not good outcomes. Walking a first-timer through chargen, in my mind, is the very least a GM or more experienced gamer can do.

Mr Beer
2015-07-09, 07:53 PM
One thing with character development, just about every GURPS supplement has ready-to-go templates. So the (excellent) Dungeon Fantasy series of supplements has numerous options that cut character development from...lengthy...to 5 minutes of tweaking.

If you're developing your own setting, spending the time to set up some templates may be worthwhile.

If you're going to have a party mix like the sentient motorcycle and the were-Raven and the evil mummy wizard and the kawaii-dragon, well then, you will be spending plenty of time on character development. On the other hand, GURPS will handle all of those with ease. There's something very satisfying about bizarre builds doing RPG stuff using a crunchy simulationist engine. It adds a much needed feel of realism, at least for me.

jindra34
2015-07-09, 09:17 PM
Aka get someone else more experience to write the character sheet =P

Not exactly. But GURPS does require an INNANE level of system mastery to run well. Or at least innane level of mastery of the areas you allow, and good reason for disallowing thing you don't. Because there are lots of cases of abilities that if not properly monitored or noted, can AND will wreck the game. Except each and everyone actually has built in drawbacks and controls to prevent that from happening.

1337 b4k4
2015-07-09, 10:27 PM
I suppose GURPS is not suitable for anyone just starting to learn tabletop games? And that it's so weird and crunchy that you give up halfway and switch to an easier, more streamlined system?

Changing the question: Should FATE be used instead of any other system? If not, why?

Actually, my first real introduction to TTRPGs was GURPS (3e). I knew the basics of what D&D was and the ideas behind AC and such from both general geek lore and things like the NWN games. Ultimately, a few friends and I pooled some money for the 3e core book and had at it. Probably the biggest stumbling block for us was realizing we could ignore or gloss over anything we didn't want to get detailed about. We did that anyways (because holy crap GURPS has options and detail) but it would have been nice to have it explicitly stated upfront. Once we did that though, it was actually relatively easy and because GURPS can do just about anything, we never ran into the "I want to do this, but I can't find the rules for it" thing that using a more specialized RPG might. These days, I much prefer more streamlined and less crunchy systems, but as a first go round, GURPS wasn't a bad thing.

With any system, I'd take Red Fel's advice a step further, beyond just pre-gen or walkthrough character gen. If you have a new player and a GM already experienced with the system, the GM should abstract away the system entirely. Give the player a blank character sheet and just have them start playing, and ask the questions that flesh them out as they go. Ask players what they want to do, when they tell you, if the blanks haven't been filled in yet, ask them. It slows things down a bit, but it also lets them start doing things right away. For example:

GM: You reach a locked door
Player: Can I break it open?
GM: Sure, how strong is your character? Would you say less then or more than average?
Player: Maybe a bit above average, I like to work out whenever possible
GM: Ok, so go ahead and fill in a 12 for your ST score, in GURPS a 10 is average, and 11-12 is considered above average. Any specialized training or reason you might be better than the average bear at breaking down doors, maybe you know kung fu?
Player: Yeah, I'm a rough a tumble kid from the streets, I used to get into fights a lot.
GM: Ok, so under your skills put down that you have Brawling which is actually a DX based skill. So how coordinated are you?
Player: Not uncoordinated, but not really graceful either.
GM: Ok, go ahead and write down 10 for your DX score, like I said before that's average. Now, were you an average fighter then, or would you say you were pretty good, despite not being particularly fast on your feet?
Player: I did alright for myself, won more fights than I lost
GM: Ok, so next to your Brawling skill, write down DX +1, that means when you try to do something related to Brawling, like breaking down a door, you'll roll 3 dice and try to get a score less than or equal to your DX score plus 1, or 11.
GM: So let's break down this door, kicking it down will do the most damage, and I assume you're going all out with this kick, you want in no matter what right?
Player: Right.
GM: Ok, so roll 3 dice and you're trying to get a score less than or equal to 13
Player: Wait, I thought you just said it was 11
GM: Good catch! I sure did. In GURPS when you make an attack, there's usually a few extra modifications that might change things based on the situation. In this case, since you're not trying to avoid any real dangers, you actually get a +4 to your skill. But since you're kicking the door for the extra damage, in GURPS that's done at Brawl - 2, so all together, you're rolling DX + 1 + 4 -2 or 13. Don't worry if you didn't get that all up front, I'll guide you as we go. Now roll those dice.
Player: 11
GM: Great, you slam that door with your boot. A kick with your boot does THR damage plus 1. Under Damage Thr. write down 1D - 1, which means you'll roll a die and subtract 1. With the +1 from your boot, roll a die.
etc etc etc

elliott20
2015-07-09, 10:42 PM
Threads like this just makes me never want to bother with GURPS and stick with Fate accelerated or Simple World for all of my tabletop RPG needs.

Anonymouswizard
2015-07-10, 04:52 AM
Why? GURPS doesn't deserve all the criticism it gets. It is front loaded, but my group has yet to run into actual maths, and I only had to check one of my mental calculations with a calculator (15*0.9, for the ESPer's psionic power). The main complexity in character creation is the giant lists, but as the names are fairly descriptive you can speed it up by just printing out a list without all the rules information.

Segev
2015-07-10, 07:41 AM
If you can run a game where a disgruntled brawler with damage measured in mooks per round and a masked whackjob with a paintbrush full of explosives can travel through timespace and fight dinosaur-riding Nazis while being paid in emeralds the size of your fist, you can pretty much run any game. That's what I'm trying to say.

It just takes a lot of work and system mastery to get there.See, I'd still use BESM or even M&M 3e for this, and I could do it just as well without all the front-loading.

I am curious, though: were both characters built on the same point count?

Getting "mooks per round" in BESM would be difficult on a low point count unless that was all you did (or "mooks" are quite squishy - this is definitely possible). The paint brush making C4 is literally Creation with the Item drawback. Or Weapon with the Trap advantage. There are a number of rather straight-forward ways to achieve it.


Power levels can vary, my group currently has a highly focused engineer who is useless out of his depth (nearly 200 points in Attributes, but no skills outside the concept and no advantages), and an ESPer soldier/doctor who is less skilled, but harder to challenge due to having a broader skill set (including diplomacy and riding). As I side note, I advised the engineer to reduce her IQ or strength and get broader skills (the character has 10 skills, 4 at 17), but they refused to listen.

What skills does the Engineer lack? I know, when I played a hacker in GURPS, I tried building him with skills, but it was just plain CHEAPER in points to get the same target numbers in MORE skills by raising my IQ as high as the GM would let me raise it; I then spent a point or few each in those skills I had to have at least a "rank" in to use, and my high IQ gave me an unbeatable target number.

Skills are...frustrating...in GURPS, because buying them up high enough when you find yourself with a strong enough focus on one stat can be more expensive for less return.

Anonymouswizard
2015-07-10, 08:26 AM
See, I'd still use BESM or even M&M 3e for this, and I could do it just as well without all the front-loading.

You see, I played M&M and it just felt samey, with everyone acting the same way. The only difference was the fluff and what defence we targeted, whereas I prefer characters to act differently. For example, in GURPS I might create a TK with:
-Telekinesis 10 (PK -10%) [45]
-Force Field: Damage Reduction 6 (PK -10%, Costs Fatigue 2 -10%) [37]
-Crush: Innate Attack 4d6 (PK -10%, Costs Fatigue 1 -5%) [17]

This gives me the ability to move objects with my mind, including attacking people, but if I strain I can create a defensive force around me or surround a person or object with crushing force. If a telepath wants to attack they might use mind control.

I might like BESM, but I've never seen a copy.


What skills does the Engineer lack? I know, when I played a hacker in GURPS, I tried building him with skills, but it was just plain CHEAPER in points to get the same target numbers in MORE skills by raising my IQ as high as the GM would let me raise it; I then spent a point or few each in those skills I had to have at least a "rank" in to use, and my high IQ gave me an unbeatable target number.

The engineer is missing any skills to do with: athletics, melee combat, social stuff, knowledge that does not have not have to do with making gadgets. Oh, defaulting to a lot of those at 8 or better, but bad enough when, combined with unlucky that being separated from the party is a death sentence.

First session begins with the PCs separated, shortly after they each entered town independently. This was decided when I began world building.


Skills are...frustrating...in GURPS, because buying them up high enough when you find yourself with a strong enough focus on one stat can be more expensive for less return.

Yeah, you have to work out what stats you want to focus on in order to get good skills. I find Talents are useful, they provide a bonus at slightly less than 1 point per skill per +1.

goto124
2015-07-10, 08:31 AM
Considering how popular the 'don't split the party' phrase is, may I ask why people... well... split the party?

Anonymouswizard
2015-07-10, 08:54 AM
Considering how popular the 'don't split the party' phrase is, may I ask why people... well... split the party?

A) they don't know each other, and one of them was given orders to assemble a team.

B) I need them to encounter a couple of NPCs one at a time, or else the second session won't make sense.

goto124
2015-07-10, 09:03 AM
Just in case it wasn't clear, my question was a general one that's aimed at everyone, not just Anonymouswizard.

Segev
2015-07-10, 09:23 AM
You see, I played M&M and it just felt samey, with everyone acting the same way. The only difference was the fluff and what defence we targeted, whereas I prefer characters to act differently. For example, in GURPS I might create a TK with:
-Telekinesis 10 (PK -10%) [45]
-Force Field: Damage Reduction 6 (PK -10%, Costs Fatigue 2 -10%) [37]
-Crush: Innate Attack 4d6 (PK -10%, Costs Fatigue 1 -5%) [17]

This gives me the ability to move objects with my mind, including attacking people, but if I strain I can create a defensive force around me or surround a person or object with crushing force. If a telepath wants to attack they might use mind control.Yes, but if you do that with magic, instead, it will cost a completely different number of points to do the exact same thing, versus if you do that with some sort of technological gadget that allows you to lift and move things and generate force fields.

I will stipulate that I called out the third edition of M&M; earlier editions were far more wedded, I've found, to their d20 roots. M&M 3e almost - but not quite - throws the core of that out the window in favor of a pure points-based design system. Yes, to build anything that remotely moves objects around, you'll take the same power and fluff it differently. But in reality, you wind up fluffing it much the same way you do in GURPS, with modifiers that only apply specific mechanical effects. You could even take an "array" power to make your force field and crush powers be alternate applications of your general TK power. It's pretty slick.

And, again, you'll pay the same for the same end results as somebody who buys it as a "magic spell" or as a "magnetic manipulation matrix" or as "a horde of invisible ninja who move things around for me without being seen."


I might like BESM, but I've never seen a copy.Tragically, it's ridiculously out of print. 3e is the best of the editions, though 2e and TriStat dX (an attempt at an even more generic version) are both solid. TriStat dX is actually free, IIRC, in PDF format (with $10 for a soft cover when it was in print).



The engineer is missing any skills to do with: athletics, melee combat, social stuff, knowledge that does not have not have to do with making gadgets. Oh, defaulting to a lot of those at 8 or better, but bad enough when, combined with unlucky that being separated from the party is a death sentence.A single rank in the various knowledge skills would elevate that to much higher, wouldn't it?

Maybe he doesn't want to be all that hot at physical things. I know my hacker was in huge trouble if anybody found him, physically. He used drones and remote access to interact with the party from the safety of his lair.


First session begins with the PCs separated, shortly after they each entered town independently. This was decided when I began world building.I assume you told the players this would be the case (it's the opposite of what I would advise, but that's because I have found it gets hard to bring a party together if you don't tell the players that it's their responsibility to decide how they met and became a party and got to the opening scene). Assuming that's the case, did you tell the players the kinds of challenges they'd have to have endured just to get to where they are? Asking the engineer how he got there could have either pushed him to pick up a few basic survival skills or to develop some NPC allies that last for just the start of the game to get him there.

Alternatively, his weaknesses could be a catalyst for getting him to the party, if they put him in a bind that other PCs could get him out of and you can provide reason why they'd want to (perhaps they need an engineer and he's the best available at the price - e.g. a rescue - they can afford).




Yeah, you have to work out what stats you want to focus on in order to get good skills. I find Talents are useful, they provide a bonus at slightly less than 1 point per skill per +1.Maybe. I mostly just find it frustrating, since it tends to feel like you have to buy potential and then pay through the nose for each individual scrap of that potential you actually can use.

If you can find a copy of BESM 3e or even TriStat dX, I think you'll find it a far more straight-forward system that has just as much flexibility and depth. (Still breakable. A GM does need to make sure people aren't abusing a few point-inflators to make characters with effectively double or more points than they should have. But this is all pretty easily policeable, especially if you already are used to working with the mechanical flaming hoops of GURPS.)


Considering how popular the 'don't split the party' phrase is, may I ask why people... well... split the party?Verisimilitude, usually, when it's a start-of-game thing. A lot of stories start with "how we all met," and GMs like to emulate that in play. Personally, I recommend having the players work together to narrate that and tell me, the GM, how their now-unified party got to the starting point of the adventure and why they would be interested in the hook I have set.

The other reasons tend to be the rogue's dilemma or a need to be in multiple places at once. Specialized characters who are good at skills that only take one person failing to ruin it for everybody need to go off without those who will inevitably fail in order to do their jobs. Meanwhile, specialized characters' specialties may be needed in different places in time-sensitive situations (or just simultaneously), so the party splits up to put their talents where they need to be.

This CAN be mitigated by the GM avoiding designing situations that encourage it, but that is not 100% in the GM's control (only about 85%, I'd say), and it can impede verisimilitude. Why doesn't the bad guy split his own forces to force his way around the PCs, if the PCs are the best people around to thwart him?

Red Fel
2015-07-10, 09:45 AM
I am curious, though: were both characters built on the same point count?

Getting "mooks per round" in BESM would be difficult on a low point count unless that was all you did (or "mooks" are quite squishy - this is definitely possible). The paint brush making C4 is literally Creation with the Item drawback. Or Weapon with the Trap advantage. There are a number of rather straight-forward ways to achieve it.

Same point count. It was a pretty high point count game, though.

As an aside, the mooks-per-round character (played by me, by the way) used these cinematic advantages (http://www222.pair.com/sjohn/blueroom/grip.htm). In particular, I used the Truly Badass advantage (75 points). Actually, I think I only used the 50-point version. In any event, I used the "if it isn't important, you can just kill it" bit. A lot. Graphically, because the advantage requires it, but humorously, because I'm just a bit dark like that.

JellyPooga
2015-07-10, 09:55 AM
-The core magic system is the worst I've seen.

Yet, for me, the core magic system in GURPS ties in perfectly with how I think magic should be run. I like that there are prerequisites for high-end spells, that your mastery of spells is skill-based rather than auto-cast and that it drains the user physically.

Having said that, GURPS does provide alternatives for almost every aspect of the game you want to play, if you don't like the "standard" options they present. If you don't like having to build a character from the ground up, there's templates. If you don't like a particular magic system, there's Ritual Magic, Syntatic Magic, Rune Magic, Advantage-based Magic, among others. Don't like having to have a plethora of skills? Use Wildcard! skills. I could go on.

The nice thing about GURPS is that it's a rules-heavy game that provides rules for pretty much whatever you might want. If there isn't a specific alternative, it's a bit of work, but the tools are there to simulate almost, if not exactly what you want. FATE is great for a simpler, more narrative-based game, but GURPS is my go-to for crunch.

As has been mentioned already, it's also a remarkably simple system once you're past the initial front-load of character creation and world-building. 3d6-roll-under for everything makes it an ideal system to introduce players to the system, or even roleplaying as a whole. I've run games where I did all the work; given my players pre-gen characters and run down the basic mechanic (3d6-roll-under) and gone with it. It worked perfectly; the players got to grips with the basics very quickly and it allowed us to build up the more complex rules as we went (I handled the details "behind the scenes" in the meantime). In the second "chapter" of that game (the first was intentionally a TPK to set up the 2nd Chapter), my players got to do their own character creation and having played with the pre-gens first, had enough system mastery that the mass of rules and options was not the obstacle it might otherwise have been.

Compared to something like D&D, with it's varying mechanics that all have to be explained up front, even with pre-gen characters, GURPS can very much be a quick-entry system. It does require at least a GM with system familiarity, though, I will admit. Probably not a good system for an entire group new to roleplaying.

The main thing I like about GURPS, though? It makes sense to me. There's very little, if not nothing, in the way of suddenly manifesting new abilities; everything is a gradual progression from completely unskilled to master of that ability. Many high-end abilities are simply difficult uses of basic skills, which means that even an unskilled character can attempt those things, but until they're good enough, won't be able to pull it off regularly.

Combat is lethal; intentionally so, because, well, it should be. It's relatively easy to kill or injure someone with a sword, for example, even for an unskilled person and GURPS reflects this. It also reflects the fact that skill and training are everything; a master knife-fighter has a significant chance of defeating a novice with a greatsword and platemail; something you don't see in some other games, where equipment often matters more than ability.

With that in mind, however, GURPS also provides the option to make things more "cinematic", from allowing access to certain cinematic/superhuman Advantages/Skills to tailoring the opposition precisely to suit the style you're looking for.

GURPS is an excellent toolbox for those with the patience for it, up front. Once it "clicks", though, it's a remarkably easy system to both play and run, giving you more time to focus on the narrative.

Segev
2015-07-10, 09:58 AM
I'm not sure I follow on the "never manifesting new abilities" thing. Any time you pick up a new attribute, you're manifesting a new ability all of a sudden. You may not be "good" at it, but you suddenly can do something you couldn't before.

goto124
2015-07-10, 10:03 AM
Combat is lethal; intentionally so

Well, I suppose I know one thing GURPS is not good for. Different tastes and all that.

JellyPooga
2015-07-10, 10:05 AM
I'm not sure I follow on the "never manifesting new abilities" thing. Any time you pick up a new attribute, you're manifesting a new ability all of a sudden. You may not be "good" at it, but you suddenly can do something you couldn't before.

This was specifically with games like D&D in mind, where a Wizard might learn Fireball at 5th level despite never having cast or learned a single fire-based spell previously in his career, or (in 5ed) a Battlemaster Fighter suddenly being able to use Maneuvers despite being completely unable to do something even remotely similar.

Yes, in GURPS, when you spend points in-game to learn something new, you get the ability to use it, but as a rule it's a lot more gradual. Want to learn to perform an arm-lock in unarmed combat? Well, anyone with the Martial Arts skill can perform an arm-lock, but until you've spent points on that particular technique, you won't be very good at it.

JellyPooga
2015-07-10, 10:09 AM
Well, I suppose I know one thing GURPS is not good for. Different tastes and all that.

I should probably clarify; if you want combat to not be so lethal, GURPS does that too. Encourage builds with high HP and FP and remove the recommended caps on them. Grant access to Advantages that increase survivability. It's very possible to do low-lethality, it's just not the default, just as the default magic system might not be everyones cup of tea, it provides alternatives.

Segev
2015-07-10, 10:14 AM
This was specifically with games like D&D in mind, where a Wizard might learn Fireball at 5th level despite never having cast or learned a single fire-based spell previously in his career, or (in 5ed) a Battlemaster Fighter suddenly being able to use Maneuvers despite being completely unable to do something even remotely similar.

Yes, in GURPS, when you spend points in-game to learn something new, you get the ability to use it, but as a rule it's a lot more gradual. Want to learn to perform an arm-lock in unarmed combat? Well, anyone with the Martial Arts skill can perform an arm-lock, but until you've spent points on that particular technique, you won't be very good at it.

And yet, you couldn't arm-lock at all before taking "martial arts."

And you still suddenly can fly when you learn the right spell or spend the points on the generic attribute.

Anonymouswizard
2015-07-10, 10:20 AM
Yes, but if you do that with magic, instead, it will cost a completely different number of points to do the exact same thing, versus if you do that with some sort of technological gadget that allows you to lift and move things and generate force fields.

Assuming the default magic rules are used. You, as the GM, can say 'we are not using any subsystems, make any special abilities with advantages'. Lo and behold! That mage's mana draining fireball spell is the same as the cyborg's flamethrower that runs off energy. For gadgets, if you aren't having theft attempts or the possibility of breakage, why are you giving a points reduction for it?


I will stipulate that I called out the third edition of M&M; earlier editions were far more wedded, I've found, to their d20 roots. M&M 3e almost - but not quite - throws the core of that out the window in favor of a pure points-based design system. Yes, to build anything that remotely moves objects around, you'll take the same power and fluff it differently. But in reality, you wind up fluffing it much the same way you do in GURPS, with modifiers that only apply specific mechanical effects. You could even take an "array" power to make your force field and crush powers be alternate applications of your general TK power. It's pretty slick.

I played M&M3e, and what I can say is that I felt GURPS gave me more control. I have nothing against M&M, I just don't like it. If you do, that's great, opinions are cool and why we have discussions, I just like to know if my power costs one or four levels of fatigue, and how close to death I am.


And, again, you'll pay the same for the same end results as somebody who buys it as a "magic spell" or as a "magnetic manipulation matrix" or as "a horde of invisible ninja who move things around for me without being seen."

Again, if you don't want to use the magic or hidden ninja systems, just say they work like normal powers.


Tragically, it's ridiculously out of print. 3e is the best of the editions, though 2e and TriStat dX (an attempt at an even more generic version) are both solid. TriStat dX is actually free, IIRC, in PDF format (with $10 for a soft cover when it was in print).

I'll have a look for TriStat DX, would it be on DrivethruRPG?


A single rank in the various knowledge skills would elevate that to much higher, wouldn't it?

Yep, which is what I suggested. Dropping the engineering skills to 16 would let her give the character +2 or +3 to four knowledge skills.


Maybe he doesn't want to be all that hot at physical things. I know my hacker was in huge trouble if anybody found him, physically. He used drones and remote access to interact with the party from the safety of his lair.

This would be fine if the character could do anything other than build stuff and throw daggers. I suggested being a knowledge monkey or buying basic survival skills. To which 'rest of the party' was the only answer I got.


I assume you told the players this would be the case (it's the opposite of what I would advise, but that's because I have found it gets hard to bring a party together if you don't tell the players that it's their responsibility to decide how they met and became a party and got to the opening scene). Assuming that's the case, did you tell the players the kinds of challenges they'd have to have endured just to get to where they are? Asking the engineer how he got there could have either pushed him to pick up a few basic survival skills or to develop some NPC allies that last for just the start of the game to get him there.

Not right at the start, but yes as soon as I saw the hyperfocus I said it in as few words. The response? 'My hyperfocus is fine, as the rest of the party can deal with other stuff'.


Alternatively, his weaknesses could be a catalyst for getting him to the party, if they put him in a bind that other PCs could get him out of and you can provide reason why they'd want to (perhaps they need an engineer and he's the best available at the price - e.g. a rescue - they can afford).

If there was a realistic way to get him to the city, fine, but the character has no way he'd get to the city. A few knowledge skills more and I can handwave that a university or guild sent him. As it is, he would be locked in a lab to invent and only allowed out for meals and the odd social event. A point I'm Religion and a point in Chemistry, and he's just a sheltered academic.


Maybe. I mostly just find it frustrating, since it tends to feel like you have to buy potential and then pay through the nose for each individual scrap of that potential you actually can use.

Yeah, it's the one part of the system that confuses me.


If you can find a copy of BESM 3e or even TriStat dX, I think you'll find it a far more straight-forward system that has just as much flexibility and depth. (Still breakable. A GM does need to make sure people aren't abusing a few point-inflators to make characters with effectively double or more points than they should have. But this is all pretty easily policeable, especially if you already are used to working with the mechanical flaming hoops of GURPS.)

I'll have a look, but not a lot turns up here.


And yet, you couldn't arm-lock at all before taking "martial arts."

And you still suddenly can fly when you learn the right spell or spend the points on the generic attribute.

You could arm-lock before, but you were rolling martial arts at default with a penalty.

illyahr
2015-07-10, 10:21 AM
And yet, you couldn't arm-lock at all before taking "martial arts."

What's your point? I can't tell you how many "arm locks" I've easily gotten out of because the person trying had no idea how to do it properly.

JellyPooga
2015-07-10, 10:31 AM
And you still suddenly can fly when you learn the right spell or spend the points on the generic attribute.

If you allow someone to outright buy the Flight Advantage without any other prerequisites, then yes, the latter is the case. In the case of the spell, however, you've first had to learn a bunch of prerequisite spells in order to learn the Fly spell. Yeas, you couldn't fly before, but you could manipulate air and/or gravity in some way before that; the flight is an extension of what you've previously learned and (perhaps) mastered.

Anonymouswizard
2015-07-10, 10:37 AM
Weird thought, but it wouldn't take much to change GURPS into a more D&D-like system. Stat modifiers of stat-10, skills are calculated based on stat modifiers, and instead of assigning skill penalties increase the DC of a roll.

Segev
2015-07-10, 11:15 AM
I will try to remember to look to see if TriStat dX is on DriveThruRPG tonight when I get home; I can't do so from here. If all else fails, I have a copy, I think, in pdf form (it may have been tragically lost in a computer swap some time ago). I'll confirm whether it's legitimately free or if I had to buy it; if I can legally share it, I will try to remember to message you to do so.


Weird thought, but it wouldn't take much to change GURPS into a more D&D-like system. Stat modifiers of stat-10, skills are calculated based on stat modifiers, and instead of assigning skill penalties increase the DC of a roll.

Actually, this is one of the areas where GURPS's magic system's rigidity is most obvious: it is definitely its own system, not a universally-adaptable one. Building D&D-like spells using the attribute system is very, very awkward.

Admittedly, if you want vancian-like casting, you should just use D&D. But the question was whether GURPS could/should do it.

Anonymouswizard
2015-07-10, 11:27 AM
GURPS does magic from the dying earth novels great with modular abilities, it could just do magic better than it does.

EDIT: just got the free Tri-Stat dX pdf.

Segev
2015-07-10, 02:43 PM
GURPS does magic from the dying earth novels great with modular abilities, it could just do magic better than it does.Maybe; I confess that when I say "vancian" I mean "as D&D does it," and tend to mentally include even sorcerer-style spontcasting from spell slots. I have never read the Dying Earth novels by David Vance.

I did try to build a D&D-style cleric in GURPS once; it was clunky as all heck. I confess, I was being stubborn about it because the GM had pitched it as a D&D game, and I'd built for one, when he decided he liked GURPS better and changed systems. (If he'd pitched it as GURPS, I would not have signed on; I tend to really dislike GURPS games that try to do fantasy.)


EDIT: just got the free Tri-Stat dX pdf.

Neat! I hope you find it interesting.

Anonymouswizard
2015-07-10, 03:07 PM
Maybe; I confess that when I say "vancian" I mean "as D&D does it," and tend to mentally include even sorcerer-style spontcasting from spell slots. I have never read the Dying Earth novels by David Vance.

I did try to build a D&D-style cleric in GURPS once; it was clunky as all heck. I confess, I was being stubborn about it because the GM had pitched it as a D&D game, and I'd built for one, when he decided he liked GURPS better and changed systems. (If he'd pitched it as GURPS, I would not have signed on; I tend to really dislike GURPS games that try to do fantasy.)

Ah, I see Vancian as meaning 'uses spell slots', so that's why I said it does Dying Earth Vancian Magic great. It sucks at D&D-style.

Also, the only reason I'm doing Fantasy is because there was a lot of complaints at the group that people tend to run either Urban Fantasy or Science Fiction games, the ones I got it for are all Science Fiction of various types (the big ones being a psionic intrigue setting and Space Opera, a post-apocalyptic Psionic setting has been added to the list).


Neat! I hope you find it interesting.

It's interesting, but not for me. I would totally play a game that used it, I'd just never run the system.

Segev
2015-07-10, 03:47 PM
It's interesting, but not for me. I would totally play a game that used it, I'd just never run the system.

That's understandable; you're comfortable with GURPS, so there's little reason for you to run in a different "universal" system.

JellyPooga
2015-07-10, 06:44 PM
Maybe; I confess that when I say "vancian" I mean "as D&D does it," and tend to mentally include even sorcerer-style spontcasting from spell slots. I have never read the Dying Earth novels by David Vance.

I did try to build a D&D-style cleric in GURPS once; it was clunky as all heck. I confess, I was being stubborn about it because the GM had pitched it as a D&D game, and I'd built for one, when he decided he liked GURPS better and changed systems. (If he'd pitched it as GURPS, I would not have signed on; I tend to really dislike GURPS games that try to do fantasy.)

I'll agree that GURPS doesn't do D&D magic all that well. It can do it, but it feels forced and, (as you say) clunky. Then again, I've never been a fan of D&D magic in the first place; it doesn't "make sense" to me and is (in my opinion) just a bad magic system, to put it bluntly. Heck, Earthdawn has a better magic system than D&D and that's a game that has truly arcane rules (I can think of no better way to describe Earthdawn; it's a weird and convoluted system that is not for the faint-hearted!).

On the other foot, I think GURPS does fantasy very well. Not, perhaps, the high-fantasy, high-magic of D&D, but anything a little more grounded like Lord of the Rings or Conan; you know, a bit dirty, a bit gritty. GURPS tends towards real-world simulation rather than narrative super-powers, as a rule. Not to say it can't do over-the-top or fantastical, it's just where its bias lies, which in turn lends itself to sci-fi or contemporary settings.

neonchameleon
2015-07-10, 07:46 PM
There are two questions here.

Question 1: Generic RPG vs Specialised RPG.

The simple fact is that most RPGs that claim to be generic are setting-flexible but have a tone of game they work well with and struggle outside that tone. I've a stable of four generic systems that all do pretty well: GURPS (gritty, detailed situations), Fate (Controlled Pulp with expected consequences), Cortex+ (OTT Pulp with consequences out of nowhere), and Apocalypse World (fast paced and gritty in a setting with urban decay). Yes, I know AW isn't officially a generic system but it's amazingly flexible and out of the box can cover things including Veronica Mars and Late Republican Rome.

What these systems do is establish a baseline - if a game is not better than the relevant one of my generics (Other people have Savage Worlds in their lists; I've never liked that system but YMMV) then I'll use a generic or homebrew.

As for GURPS, first it does grit well. But the real selling point of GURPS is the sourcebooks. Which are great for whatever system you are playing. Or even if you are not. Well researched, and written for adventuring - or writing.

dream
2015-07-10, 08:18 PM
Don't forget Basic Roleplaying by Chaoism. The system is universal, with a lean towards horror. Does supers pretty well, also.

Jayabalard
2015-07-10, 10:07 PM
But... you have to tailor GURPS to fit your game... so if you haven't even tried what you were going to try... how do you... do... that...?

It's like being asked to design a game of genre X when you have yet to play a game of genre X.You don't need to have PLAYED a game in genre X to be familiar with it. You could be familiar with it from comics, or books, or movies.

Say, you wanted to play swords and sorcery a la Conan (so, more the former than the latter). If you've read the books, and are familiar with GURPS, you probably are in fine shape to tailor the game to that genre.

aspekt
2015-07-11, 01:00 AM
Don't forget Basic Roleplaying by Chaoism. The system is universal, with a lean towards horror. Does supers pretty well, also.

After FUDGE I would definitely recommend BRP. Percentage based skill system.

Algeh
2015-07-11, 01:18 AM
I think the biggest problem with supernatural powers in any "generic" RPG, including GURPS, is that the relative value of those powers varies a lot with the level and availability of technology in the campaign. If I'm running a stone age hunter/gatherer campaign, if you can use the powers of your mind to throw a pebble in such a way to more-or-less mimic a bullet out of a hunting rifle, that's a massive range advantage over what anyone else in the campaign world will have access to, and should be very expensive as a result. You may well be the best hunter in your part of the world! In a modern-day campaign? Eh. It's useful because your powers are (probably) harder to steal than your rifle and you don' t have anything for someone to find if they search you, but it doesn't give you a range advantage over anyone else likely to be trying to attack you or anything. I wouldn't let a player have it for free (it's still got some obvious advantages that should be paid for), but it wouldn't be as overwhelmingly useful since anyone who bought a rifle could have most (but not all) of the same abilities your power gives you and hunting rifles are, at least in this part of America, not that hard to come by.

When I play GURPS I generally "solve" this by accepting that not all characters of a given point level bought things that are actually equal in value in some absolute sense and not worry about it as long as everyone's having fun. I also restrict which types of supernatural powers are in any given campaign pretty heavily so players aren't paralyzed by choice trying to figure out if a given build can be more cheaply accomplished using one system or another - if they want to fling fire around in this particular campaign, they're doing it using the Magic system. Next time, we'll using Psionics and it'll cost a different amount, and the time after that I'll let them buy a flamethrower as equipment. Similarly, playing a mundane who can accurately rain death from a long distance will cost a different amount in a stone age campaign, a medieval campaign, or a modern campaign because of the different mundane equipment and skills available.

Since I don't generally run "kitchen sink" campaigns where one person is playing a caveman, another is playing a wizard, a third is playing a robot, and a fourth is playing an awakened tree in a pot that hovers using the powers of its mind, it generally balances out well enough within whatever story we're actually telling. It helps that most players I've worked with aren't interested in stepping on each others toes and generally have some specific concept they're trying to build that isn't actually optimized for in-world success anyway. On the other hand, I've never had a GURPS campaign with wide-open character generation options, no matter how well it fit the fluff of the setting, not be a train wreck, and eventually I gave up and only allowed narrow options for each campaign.

Generally, I'd use GURPS over a specialized RPG unless I thought the specialized RPG handled the specific type of story it wanted to tell really well and that GURPS handled that type of story less well. I don't feel that GURPS does a particularly good job with modeling social skills, for example (unless you buy something to raise or lower them, social skills are based off of secondary stats that default to being equal to IQ since the other three basic attributes are all physical - there's no separate base stat for anything like CHA). It's also non-awesome with modeling foreign language acquisition and use, but I don't actually know of an RPG that does that well and with the (high) level of detail my players would probably appreciate. I'd like more fine-grained detail in the mental, social, and academic skills/abilities arena generally, but that probably is really just my group of players. So, if I wanted to run a game with PCs who were the kind of diplomatic spies who spent their time attending fancy parties and trying to gain intelligence by talking to NPCs in a variety of languages in a friendly/neutral country with only mild breaking and entering and/or combat potential, I might choose another system (I have no idea WHAT system, which is too bad because I've had players who would enjoy the heck out of that).

aspekt
2015-07-11, 01:24 AM
While FUDGE and FATE rightfully have a rep as rules lite, you can easily create as much fine-grained detail as one would like, while the underlying mechanics give spy novel like scenarios a surprisingly mutable basis for interpersonal dealings.

dream
2015-07-11, 08:19 AM
Really depends here on what specific system is being compared to which universal system, I think. Throwing out generalizations --- meh:

D&D (all editions) vs. GURPS: GURPS wins here because:
(1) grittier combat system that simulates the genre (D&D doesn't get how bladed weapons make people bleed 99% of the time & how bleeding kills you quick without swift medical attention. Tolkien and other writers/directors DO understand this.)
(2) far more magic options, to include "make-your-own-spells" and a variety of spell systems within the macrosystem (yes, GURPS can even do Vancian Magic)
(3) waaaaaaaay more settings to play in (GURPS is going to murder any competition over and over in terms of settings)
(4) diverse system of skills & advantages allows for more in-depth character creation (classes = limitation)
(5) diverse system of skills allows for greater variety of choices during social situations
(6) greater variety of combat skills & maneuvers allows for more choices during combat situations
(7) You want balanced PCs? GURPS has Disads to create character weaknesses/limitations. Most D&D PCs might have one Flaw
(8) seeing the trend?

This is the story for any specialized game vs. systems like GURPS that give players more versatility. More
is almost always better. It's really kind of amazing that people would prefer D&D's/PF's minimal point-buy system over the world of options GURPS offers. Guess it's "ease of use" :smalltongue:

GURPS vs. superhero games? They win because GURPS doesn't scale well for high-powered games. Batman? Sure. Superman? Forget it unless you're using 5,000 pts.

NichG
2015-07-11, 11:51 AM
Nitpick, but disadvantages/flaws are one of the major sources of imbalance in modular systems, because its often quite easy to load up on disadvantages and then use the points that gets you to buy something that offsets or negates the disadvantages you took. Even in less extreme cases, the player can always have a certain sort of playstyle in mind and pick out disadvantages that are less likely to be relevant to that playstyle.

That's why even the one flaw you might get in D&D is generally considered an across-the-board power-up for characters.

Knaight
2015-07-11, 02:41 PM
Actually, once you've gotten rid of the frontloaded stuff, GURPS becomes extremely straightforward. Everything you need to know how to roll is on your sheet, and almost every roll is simple. Roll 3d6; if your total is under your skill or ranks or whatever is written there, you win. Skills? 3d6. Abilities? 3d6. Spells? 3d6. Once you're past the initial hurdle, it gets a lot easier for a player.

Sure, until you need to use a skill you don't have, and are checking how it defaults to half a dozen of the skills you do have to find what number you need to roll under. Or until you need to readjust the numbers because of the wide variety of things that alter them. GURPS has a simple core mechanic, and it's frontloaded, but even past the front-loading it's still a pretty rules heavy game. It's even heavier if you're GMing it. There's a lot I like about GURPS system-wise, and the level of research that goes into sourcebooks is amazing, but the crunchiness accusations are valid.

Segev
2015-07-12, 12:38 AM
I think the biggest problem with supernatural powers in any "generic" RPG, including GURPS, is that the relative value of those powers varies a lot with the level and availability of technology in the campaign. If I'm running a stone age hunter/gatherer campaign, if you can use the powers of your mind to throw a pebble in such a way to more-or-less mimic a bullet out of a hunting rifle, that's a massive range advantage over what anyone else in the campaign world will have access to, and should be very expensive as a result. You may well be the best hunter in your part of the world! In a modern-day campaign? Eh. It's useful because your powers are (probably) harder to steal than your rifle and you don' t have anything for someone to find if they search you, but it doesn't give you a range advantage over anyone else likely to be trying to attack you or anything. I wouldn't let a player have it for free (it's still got some obvious advantages that should be paid for), but it wouldn't be as overwhelmingly useful since anyone who bought a rifle could have most (but not all) of the same abilities your power gives you and hunting rifles are, at least in this part of America, not that hard to come by.

My two go-to "generic points-based" systems avoid this problem entirely by being "effects-based." If you want to hurl a projectile for a certain amount of damage with a certain accuracy, it cost the same whether it's a telekinetic power or an ability to throw really hard or a gun that shoots bullets. There might be a slight difference in points values if the modifiers you apply to make it function exactly the way you want are different - the gun is an item that can be taken away, which is a different modifier than the reliance on having a telekinetic ability to hurl it with your mind - but those modifiers are generally also based on how much they impede the effectiveness of your attack.

In BESM 3e, this would be a weapon attack. A gun would be an "item" drawback, which very generously halves the cost...but means somebody can take it away from you. You might tie it to an existing TK ability for a couple of points back, and if you lost your TK ability or were otherwise unable to use it, you would lose the power to hurl the projectile. The amount of damage and the range of the attack and any other modifiers would determine its cost, so by and large it's base cost would be the same for the same base effect.

In M&M 3e, it's again a weapon attack; it might be discounted for having an item on which it depends as a gun, or it might be an Alternate Power in an Array with your TK if you can only hurl things or move things about, but not both at once. Again, though, the primary cost of it would be similar because the damage, range, etc. are used to calculate the cost.

In GURPS, it really can be vastly different, I know; buying a gun requires buying up your TL if you're not in a game that already allows it, but then it's just a matter of spending cash. A spell to hurl a stone requires a tree of spells-as-attributes to get to it, while a TK power to do so would be another special attribute with the "psionic" modifier for a -10% or -15% discount. And trying to tweak any of those to have exactly the same damage and range only makes it harder.

TL;DR: "What" based systems that charge points for net mechanical effect will avoid the problems you outlined.

Knaight
2015-07-12, 10:10 AM
TL;DR: "What" based systems that charge points for net mechanical effect will avoid the problems you outlined.

Not really. Take something like M&M, which is very much a what based system. You could take the described pebble gun thing as a power pretty much exactly. It becomes vastly more valuable if you're using the system in the context of a low tech game though, as it's not like characters can't pick up and use items that they haven't spent points on. You can resolve that issue by not allowing characters to pick up and use items that they haven't spent points on, but that runs into major verisimilitude problems extremely quickly.

Talakeal
2015-07-12, 02:18 PM
My two go-to "generic points-based" systems avoid this problem entirely by being "effects-based." If you want to hurl a projectile for a certain amount of damage with a certain accuracy, it cost the same whether it's a telekinetic power or an ability to throw really hard or a gun that shoots bullets. There might be a slight difference in points values if the modifiers you apply to make it function exactly the way you want are different - the gun is an item that can be taken away, which is a different modifier than the reliance on having a telekinetic ability to hurl it with your mind - but those modifiers are generally also based on how much they impede the effectiveness of your attack.

In BESM 3e, this would be a weapon attack. A gun would be an "item" drawback, which very generously halves the cost...but means somebody can take it away from you. You might tie it to an existing TK ability for a couple of points back, and if you lost your TK ability or were otherwise unable to use it, you would lose the power to hurl the projectile. The amount of damage and the range of the attack and any other modifiers would determine its cost, so by and large it's base cost would be the same for the same base effect.

In M&M 3e, it's again a weapon attack; it might be discounted for having an item on which it depends as a gun, or it might be an Alternate Power in an Array with your TK if you can only hurl things or move things about, but not both at once. Again, though, the primary cost of it would be similar because the damage, range, etc. are used to calculate the cost.

In GURPS, it really can be vastly different, I know; buying a gun requires buying up your TL if you're not in a game that already allows it, but then it's just a matter of spending cash. A spell to hurl a stone requires a tree of spells-as-attributes to get to it, while a TK power to do so would be another special attribute with the "psionic" modifier for a -10% or -15% discount. And trying to tweak any of those to have exactly the same damage and range only makes it harder.

TL;DR: "What" based systems that charge points for net mechanical effect will avoid the problems you outlined.

That sounds good, but doesnt it get in the way of player agency? What if someone without the "gun" trait wants to go into Walmart and buys a shotgun? Or even steal another players gun?

Nexahs
2015-07-13, 12:59 AM
I'm a (relatively) recent convert from D&D 3.5 to GURPS. The biggest draw for me is character creation; to give a specific example, my girlfriend and I played a game of 3.5 with her brothers, where one of her brothers wanted to play an agile, quick fighter, but outside of long, elaborate feat chains and other nonsense, there's really no way to achieve that in D&D. He ended up playing a fighter with an above-average dexterity, just for the sake of fluff and the AC bonus. In GURPS, however, it's very easy to make a character in that style. You can spend points on a number of advantages which benefit you using a certain weapon or class of weapons, you can specifically increase your bonus to Dodge (while NOT increasing Block or Parry, to model that "agile" feel), you can buy Ambidexterity, you can put points into Acrobatics and make use of Acrobatic Dodge... And again, I've only got about ten sessions of GURPS under my belt, so any number of people could provide even more options than I have here. Yes, character creation is a longer and much more involved process, but for me that's a positive, I like to explore more aspects of my characters than D&D or Pathfinder really allow for.

dream
2015-07-13, 09:34 AM
I'm a (relatively) recent convert from D&D 3.5 to GURPS. The biggest draw for me is character creation; to give a specific example, my girlfriend and I played a game of 3.5 with her brothers, where one of her brothers wanted to play an agile, quick fighter, but outside of long, elaborate feat chains and other nonsense, there's really no way to achieve that in D&D. He ended up playing a fighter with an above-average dexterity, just for the sake of fluff and the AC bonus. In GURPS, however, it's very easy to make a character in that style. You can spend points on a number of advantages which benefit you using a certain weapon or class of weapons, you can specifically increase your bonus to Dodge (while NOT increasing Block or Parry, to model that "agile" feel), you can buy Ambidexterity, you can put points into Acrobatics and make use of Acrobatic Dodge... And again, I've only got about ten sessions of GURPS under my belt, so any number of people could provide even more options than I have here. Yes, character creation is a longer and much more involved process, but for me that's a positive, I like to explore more aspects of my characters than D&D or Pathfinder really allow for.
+1 this. Exactly my point :smallsmile:

Segev
2015-07-13, 10:10 AM
Not really. Take something like M&M, which is very much a what based system. You could take the described pebble gun thing as a power pretty much exactly. It becomes vastly more valuable if you're using the system in the context of a low tech game though, as it's not like characters can't pick up and use items that they haven't spent points on. You can resolve that issue by not allowing characters to pick up and use items that they haven't spent points on, but that runs into major verisimilitude problems extremely quickly.


That sounds good, but doesnt it get in the way of player agency? What if someone without the "gun" trait wants to go into Walmart and buys a shotgun? Or even steal another players gun?
At least in BESM, it's unusual to have "money" be a thing that one worries about. You generally don't just go buy guns. If you plan to, you buy the gun(s) you will have with CP. It is possible to have "wealth" with which to do so; "wealth" is a sample "unique power," though, precisely because of how waffle-y it is within the system.

If you wanted to legitimately be spending money on a regular basis to purchase changing gear supplies, that would be a Power Flux attribute.

If you want to just go and buy it because it's "silly" to not do so (for power-gaming reasons or what-have-you), or if you are looting it off of an enemy, then it has narrative anti-protection. That is, an Item you buy with CP can be lost or stolen or otherwise taken away, but will always be recovered/replaced. An item you acquire in play for which you refuse to spend CP will at the very least lack this protection, and may well be more solidly targetted for removal based on the fact that it is not really part of your character (if it were, you'd spend CP on it).

In M&M 3e, wealth is a little more rigorously designed to interact with the gear system, so you can buy things if you want to and they're a reflection of your wealth attribute.

This power is "more useful" in a setting that doesn't have guns, perhaps, but that's more a reflection of this "wealth" power being less useful in such settings. (Also, it's feasible that, in such settings, crossbows might do "gun" damage, since there's no "gun" to which to compare them. But that's a setting/mechanics interaction more than anything else.)


I'm a (relatively) recent convert from D&D 3.5 to GURPS. The biggest draw for me is character creation; to give a specific example, my girlfriend and I played a game of 3.5 with her brothers, where one of her brothers wanted to play an agile, quick fighter, but outside of long, elaborate feat chains and other nonsense, there's really no way to achieve that in D&D. He ended up playing a fighter with an above-average dexterity, just for the sake of fluff and the AC bonus. In GURPS, however, it's very easy to make a character in that style. You can spend points on a number of advantages which benefit you using a certain weapon or class of weapons, you can specifically increase your bonus to Dodge (while NOT increasing Block or Parry, to model that "agile" feel), you can buy Ambidexterity, you can put points into Acrobatics and make use of Acrobatic Dodge... And again, I've only got about ten sessions of GURPS under my belt, so any number of people could provide even more options than I have here. Yes, character creation is a longer and much more involved process, but for me that's a positive, I like to explore more aspects of my characters than D&D or Pathfinder really allow for.
This is one of the concepts GURPS is specifically designed to handle well, so it definitely works well for it.

Milo v3
2015-07-17, 07:55 PM
That sounds good, but doesnt it get in the way of player agency? What if someone without the "gun" trait wants to go into Walmart and buys a shotgun? Or even steal another players gun?

Could have a setting where you can't just do that?

Knaight
2015-07-17, 08:33 PM
Could have a setting where you can't just do that?

You could, but that's a huge setting limitation to impose, particularly as you'll need the equivalent restrictions for a whole host of powers. That's not necessarily always a problem, but for a nominally generic system it causes issues.

BootStrapTommy
2015-07-18, 06:42 PM
GURPS is the bee's knees and I shamelessly plug it at every possible opportunity.

oxybe
2015-07-21, 12:34 AM
You could, but that's a huge setting limitation to impose, particularly as you'll need the equivalent restrictions for a whole host of powers. That's not necessarily always a problem, but for a nominally generic system it causes issues.

I don't know. "The game occurs in Canada" isn't really a huge setting limitation. You know, where you can't just go "Bread, Milk, Eggs, Boomstick"?

:smalltongue:

Milo v3
2015-07-21, 12:57 AM
I don't know. "The game occurs in Canada" isn't really a huge setting limitation. You know, where you can't just go "Bread, Milk, Eggs, Boomstick"? :smalltongue:

As an Australian, who has Australia as the setting for several games, it's sometimes weird to play american made games that expect everyone to be running around with guns.

Anonymouswizard
2015-07-21, 04:33 AM
As an Australian, who has Australia as the setting for several games, it's sometimes weird to play american made games that expect everyone to be running around with guns.

As a Brit who uses England a lot, seconding, thirding, and fourthing this. Of course, it just increased the lengths the players went to in order to get them.

AxeAlex
2015-07-21, 07:58 AM
As an Australian, who has Australia as the setting for several games, it's sometimes weird to play american made games that expect everyone to be running around with guns

Im Canadian, and honestly, it's not that hard to get a gun... And I would be surprised if it was any harder in England or Australia. No, you can't get them at walmart, but you can get a hunting licence, then a hunting gun.

You want a Handgun? Black market. It should not be too hard to find.

Hell, they are PCs, they can rob a hunting lodge, or have one of the characters be in the military, so he can smuggle out guns for all of them.

Anonymouswizard
2015-07-21, 08:39 AM
Im Canadian, and honestly, it's not that hard to get a gun... And I would be surprised if it was any harder in England or Australia. No, you can't get them at walmart, but you can get a hunting licence, then a hunting gun.

You want a Handgun? Black market. It should not be too hard to find.

Hell, they are PCs, they can rob a hunting lodge, or have one of the characters be in the military, so he can smuggle out guns for all of them.

In Britain this depends on the area. On rural areas it's possible to get a licence for a hunting rifle. Getting a handgun is harder (to the point that I have no idea how beyond 'criminal') and significantly less legal.

JellyPooga
2015-07-21, 08:40 AM
Im Canadian, and honestly, it's not that hard to get a gun... And I would be surprised if it was any harder in England or Australia. No, you can't get them at walmart, but you can get a hunting licence, then a hunting gun.

You want a Handgun? Black market. It should not be too hard to find.

Hell, they are PCs, they can rob a hunting lodge, or have one of the characters be in the military, so he can smuggle out guns for all of them.

Well, "just" getting a firearms licence takes a while and has more than a few prerequisites in the UK (including being a member of a gun club for a year, I believe); not exactly a spur of the moment sort of thing. Even then, there are restrictions on the firearms available. Black Market requires having some sort of idea where to start. You can't exactly just hit the city centre and start asking randoms! Just because you're a PC, doesn't mean you automatically know who to talk to and where. As for smuggling guns out of the military...I'm pretty sure that's a good way to get busted by MP's and spend some time in lockdown!

In the UK, your best bet (or at least the easiest way) for finding a gun more powerful than an air-rifle would be to hit the rural areas. To quote Hot Fuzz; "every farmer and his mum has a shotgun" "like who?" "farmers" "who else?" "farmers mums". It's not far off the truth, but parting said farmer from his gun might pose its own challenges, not least of which is a shotgun-toting farmer, his mum and more than likely at least one very well trained dog, not to mention the dangers of skulking around the livestock...

Milo v3
2015-07-21, 08:47 AM
Im Canadian, and honestly, it's not that hard to get a gun... And I would be surprised if it was any harder in England or Australia. No, you can't get them at walmart, but you can get a hunting licence, then a hunting gun.

You want a Handgun? Black market. It should not be too hard to find.

Hell, they are PCs, they can rob a hunting lodge, or have one of the characters be in the military, so he can smuggle out guns for all of them.

Most of my Players don't want to have to commit major crimes just to function mechanically. I mean... Over here it's illegal to even own a BB Gun at all. No matter what. I mean, a farmer might have one, but suburbs not likely.

AxeAlex
2015-07-21, 09:03 AM
Well, "just" getting a firearms licence takes a while and has more than a few prerequisites in the UK (including being a member of a gun club for a year, I believe); not exactly a spur of the moment sort of thing. Even then, there are restrictions on the firearms available. Black Market requires having some sort of idea where to start. You can't exactly just hit the city centre and start asking randoms! Just because you're a PC, doesn't mean you automatically know who to talk to and where. As for smuggling guns out of the military...I'm pretty sure that's a good way to get busted by MP's and spend some time in lockdown!

In the UK, your best bet (or at least the easiest way) for finding a gun more powerful than an air-rifle would be to hit the rural areas. To quote Hot Fuzz; "every farmer and his mum has a shotgun" "like who?" "farmers" "who else?" "farmers mums". It's not far off the truth, but parting said farmer from his gun might pose its own challenges, not least of which is a shotgun-toting farmer, his mum and more than likely at least one very well trained dog, not to mention the dangers of skulking around the livestock...

If finding a illegal gun in Montreal/Toronto is easy, I would guess that in a city like London, that has seven/four times as many people, it must not be that hard. Big cities usually have "crime spots", places where most people know it's dangerous to go. It is INCREDIBLY easy to find those. Ask around to someone, even a police officer if you must, locations you should avoid as a tourist. Then, don't avoid those spots, find a pusher/prostitute/whatever, and you'll get your gun soon.

And that is a "down to earth" and "normal" approach.

PCs could get away with something alot more zany and complicated than that.

But l could be wrong, Im not an expert on crime nor England. If England is almost crime-free, I simply never heard of that fact.


Most of my Players don't want to have to commit major crimes just to function mechanically. I mean... Over here it's illegal to even own a BB Gun at all. No matter what. I mean, a farmer might have one, but suburbs not likely.

Almost no one has a gun in Canada. That doesn't mean Canada is a setting where it's hard to get a gun... That simply means most people don't carry one or care to enough to have one.
You honestly think if someone wanted a gun in Australia it would be very hard for them to get one? Again, I'm no expert, but don't you have drugs? Prostitution? Gangs?

Many players will go to incredible lengts to get what they want, and "legality" is a word that's much too boring for the average player. :smallbiggrin:

JellyPooga
2015-07-21, 09:22 AM
If finding a illegal gun in Montreal/Toronto is easy, I would guess that in a city like London, that has seven/four times as many people, it must not be that hard. Big cities usually have "crime spots", places where most people know it's dangerous to go. It is INCREDIBLY easy to find those. Ask around to someone, even a police officer if you must, locations you should avoid as a tourist. Then, don't avoid those spots, find a pusher/prostitute/whatever, and you'll get your gun soon.

I'm not saying it's impossible, far from it. You do have to consider the implications of what you're doing, though. If your character is a suited businessman strolling through Soho looking for pushers, etc. then you're probably more likely to me mugged at gun point than to find someone willing to sell you one. Look at it from the other side of the picture; is this guy a copper? Will he rat me out to the fuzz? What's he going to do with a gun and will it lead back to me?

Unless you're playing a character with a criminal background, used to dealing with "the street", then you're only likely to come up against mistrust, aggression and possible violence attempting what you suggest. Especially if you're walking around the rougher parts of town with a big wad of cash to buy a gun.

PC's are indeed often willing to pursue illegal avenues to get what they want...this doesn't mean they're any good at doing so!

Anonymouswizard
2015-07-21, 09:33 AM
I'll note an exception I see a lot: people running a game with the 'Metropolitan Police Occult Squad' or 'Metropolitan Police Demonhunter Unit' normally treat them as armed police, under the assumption that their adversaries would already count as armed. Otherwise GM's tend to suggest sticking with quieter or easily excusable weapons.

If a PC wants a gun anyway they start trying to force me to run a session in Manchester. This is why I now avoid letting the party be both free agents and relatively powerful.

Segev
2015-07-21, 09:43 AM
Clearly, the answer is to play Exalted in the modern day. Illegal to own a gun in London? No problem! You just conjure your grand daiklaive from thin air out of glorious golden energy. Or you smarm your way into having the military give you guns with special permits signed by Parliament and the Queen.

Besides, you're dodging bullets like they're taxes owed by a US Congressman anyway.

AxeAlex
2015-07-21, 09:48 AM
I'm not saying it's impossible, far from it. You do have to consider the implications of what you're doing, though. If your character is a suited businessman strolling through Soho looking for pushers, etc. then you're probably more likely to me mugged at gun point than to find someone willing to sell you one. Look at it from the other side of the picture; is this guy a copper? Will he rat me out to the fuzz? What's he going to do with a gun and will it lead back to me?

Unless you're playing a character with a criminal background, used to dealing with "the street", then you're only likely to come up against mistrust, aggression and possible violence attempting what you suggest. Especially if you're walking around the rougher parts of town with a big wad of cash to buy a gun.

PC's are indeed often willing to pursue illegal avenues to get what they want...this doesn't mean they're any good at doing so!

Of course it's not safe... But it's not hard. You make many assumptions that a PCs could easily subvert. (Not bring his suit and tie in a dangerous neighborhood, the face should be able to persuade a lowly street thug / pusher quite easily that he's not a cop) And "not safe" is almost a synonym of "fun" for PCs.

Finally, a gun is not that expensive, and if the PC is rich and has access to a big wad of cash, getting a gun is easier, not harder (Big Hotel Managers, Private Clubs, Big Game Hunters).

You must also take Internet into consideration as a new modern base of operation for illegal activities.

Getting a gun is NOT hard... REALLY not hard.

Segev
2015-07-21, 09:52 AM
I live in the States, and so if I wanted a gun, I would follow the legal process to get one. However, the theoretical process by which one acquires one illegally, in the US or in other nations, is interesting enough that I would research it...except that I don't want to have to answer questions about why that kind of thing shows up in my internet browsing history to men in black suits with contractually-obligated lacks of senses of humor.

JellyPooga
2015-07-21, 10:28 AM
Getting a gun is NOT hard... REALLY not hard.

It's entirely dependent on the campaign setting, style and the characters involved as to how hard it is. Joe Civilian who's never broken a law or handled a gun, is not going to find it easy to get a gun, no matter how easy others might find it. Bob Businessman might find it a bit easier, due to having more assets and contacts, but he's still fumbling in the dark for the most part. Doug Jailtime, on the other hand, can probably get his hands on one within an hour, if he's in a reasonably large city. Sam Farmer just has to go to the cupboard under the stairs and Hank McSharpshooter the local gun-clubs best shot just goes to his gun-cabinet.

Being a PC is not an all-pass to be able to achieve things easily just because you, the player, can think of a way to do a thing.

Segev
2015-07-21, 10:52 AM
However, unless it is not suitable for anybody in the game to have it, being a PC is an all-pass for spending the character resources to get those things. ^_~


(i.e. if you want a gun, spend the CP on having one and write your backstory to accommodate.)

AxeAlex
2015-07-21, 10:55 AM
Joe Civilian who's never broken a law or handled a gun, is not going to find it easy to get a gun, no matter how easy others might find it.

Being a PC is not an all-pass to be able to achieve things easily just because you, the player, can think of a way to do a thing.

Joe Civilian lives there, he knows people to avoid, his mother told him not to go near Crime Alley at night. His wife comes from Motocross Valley, a little town where most people hunt, licensed or not. He uses google, reads the journal. He knows his sister's ex's kid joined a gang. His best friend is a social worker that helps people get out of trouble. Joe Civilian doesn't WANT a gun. If he wants one, he should be able to get one easily enough.

You are confusing lack of interest with accessibiity.

If your players don't WANT a gun, they will of course never get one. But if your players WANT a gun and you refuse to give them one because "they are illegal and hard to find", then you a breaking what most people would expect from a "Canada/England" versimilitude.

Anonymouswizard
2015-07-21, 11:13 AM
However, unless it is not suitable for anybody in the game to have it, being a PC is an all-pass for spending the character resources to get those things. ^_~


(i.e. if you want a gun, spend the CP on having one and write your backstory to accommodate.)

Being the GM allows me to have the police act sensibly. I've had players very surprised then the police try to arrest them for carrying an illegal weapon.

So yeah, if you want to spend some CP on a gun, go ahead. Just remember you'll also have to spend CP on 'is allowed to own a gun', more on 'is allowed to own a handgun', more on 'is allowed to use their handgun on-duty*', and even more on 'the police will not come running when somebody reports a gunshot in your vicinity'. Totalling that up, I'd put it at 5-10CP to be able to own a rifle for defending your chickens from foxes, or up to 60CP+legal enforcement powers to be able to fire your gun in the centre of London and not have the police come running.


Joe Civilian lives there, he knows people to avoid, his mother told him not to go near Crime Alley at night. His wife comes from Motocross Valley, a little town where most people hunt, licensed or not. He uses google, reads the journal. He knows his sister's ex's kid joined a gang. His best friend is a social worker that helps people get out of trouble. Joe Civilian doesn't WANT a gun. If he wants one, he should be able to get one easily enough.

You are confusing lack of interest with accessibiity.

If your players don't WANT a gun, they will of course never get one. But if your players WANT a gun and you refuse to give them one because "they are illegal and hard to find", then you a breaking what most people would expect from a "Canada/England" versimilitude.

Oh, I let my players take guns if they really want to. They just discover that it's a really good way to make their lives difficult compared to building their character around knives, fencing, or archery. Pick something with an easy excuse for carrying, and you'll discover yourself running from the police a lot less.

When going against criminal elements they normally pick up a gun in a couple of sessions anyway, with the same 'be careful or the police will be called' tag. In fact, not having a gun would have once allowed a character to have avoided having to resist arrest or spend time in the cells, they were actually just helping out a friend in trouble.

Also, considering how rare gun crime is here, I ban characters from acquiring illegal firearms without having spent CP on criminal contacts. If you have rank in a fictional government organisation you're willing to help build, then I'll likely be more lenient, but nobody has asked so far.

*Just remember that this doesn't mean the police won't show up, you can just get away with firing it. Our group of Daemonhunters had to deal with the police after gunfights with cultists with people nearby, it took us five minutes for them to make sure our story checked out.

Segev
2015-07-21, 11:13 AM
To be fair, "it's illegal and hard to find" is met by most PCs with, "how hard?" followed by "what do I have to do?"

Knaight
2015-07-21, 11:17 AM
I don't know. "The game occurs in Canada" isn't really a huge setting limitation. You know, where you can't just go "Bread, Milk, Eggs, Boomstick"?

:smalltongue:

Like I said though, that's only one example of a technology-powers conflict. Being able to run at 100 km/hr for hours is worth significantly less when everyone can access a motorcycle than it is when the horse was the pinnacle of transportation; banning vehicle access is a setting limitation. Being able to send messages long distance with supernatural powers is worth significantly less in an era of cell phones and emails than it was when the best way to get information across an ocean was a boat. So on and so forth.

JellyPooga
2015-07-21, 12:18 PM
Joe Civilian lives there, he knows people to avoid, his mother told him not to go near Crime Alley at night. His wife comes from Motocross Valley, a little town where most people hunt, licensed or not. He uses google, reads the journal. He knows his sister's ex's kid joined a gang. His best friend is a social worker that helps people get out of trouble. Joe Civilian doesn't WANT a gun. If he wants one, he should be able to get one easily enough.

Ok, let's say Joe does want a gun and goes looking.

- He heads down Crime Alley, unsure of himself and his surroundings (he listened to his mother and has never been there, after all). He's promptly mugged by some low-life thug; such an obvious and easy a mark isn't something Thug-dude is going to pass up. Walletless and with a sore head, he stumbles home gunless.

- He asks his wife about the hunters in Motocross Valley and she tells him who to talk to. He drives out there and asks at the bar where to find Mr.X. Assuming the barkeep is willing to point him out, Joe goes over and starts asking about the illegal hunting that goes on here. No-one seems to know what he's talking about "ain't no hunting goes on 'round here boy" and Joe is left scratching his head, still gunless.

- Joe looks up his sisters ex; they were on pretty good terms when he was still going steady with Joes sister. "Yeah" say Ex-guy "My kid hangs around the Bridge with his guys". Joe heads down to the bridge and is faced by the stony stares of a gang of youths. Intimidated by their threatening manner, he makes some excuse about being lost and backs the heck out of there.

- Desperate now, he looks up his social worker friend and asks about some of the people he helps. Social worker friend adopts a concerned expression "what do you want with him, buddy? He ain't the kind of guy you should be seeing socially. Here, you'd better read this pamphlet. Besides, I'm bound by patient-doctor confidentiality" and shoves him out the door.

How exactly do any of these circumstances help Joe Civilian get a gun without having any real connection or experience with those social groups that have regular contact with illegal firearms? Just wanting a gun doesn't make it easy to get one.

Anonymouswizard
2015-07-21, 12:22 PM
Ok, let's say Joe does want a gun and goes looking.

- He heads down Crime Alley, unsure of himself and his surroundings (he listened to his mother and has never been there, after all). He's promptly mugged by some low-life thug; such an obvious and easy a mark isn't something Thug-dude is going to pass up. Walletless and with a sore head, he stumbles home gunless.

- He asks his wife about the hunters in Motocross Valley and she tells him who to talk to. He drives out there and asks at the bar where to find Mr.X. Assuming the barkeep is willing to point him out, Joe goes over and starts asking about the illegal hunting that goes on here. No-one seems to know what he's talking about "ain't no hunting goes on 'round here boy" and Joe is left scratching his head, still gunless.

- Joe looks up his sisters ex; they were on pretty good terms when he was still going steady with Joes sister. "Yeah" say Ex-guy "My kid hangs around the Bridge with his guys". Joe heads down to the bridge and is faced by the stony stares of a gang of youths. Intimidated by their threatening manner, he makes some excuse about being lost and backs the heck out of there.

- Desperate now, he looks up his social worker friend and asks about some of the people he helps. Social worker friend adopts a concerned expression "what do you want with him, buddy? He ain't the kind of guy you should be seeing socially. Here, you'd better read this pamphlet. Besides, I'm bound by patient-doctor confidentiality" and shoves him out the door.

How exactly do any of these circumstances help Joe Civilian get a gun without having any real connection or experience with those social groups that have regular contact with illegal firearms? Just wanting a gun doesn't make it easy to get one.

Well apparently the view here is that the UK is overrun with gun dealers. They must be hiding from the sun with the rest of us.

JellyPooga
2015-07-21, 12:36 PM
Well apparently the view here is that the UK is overrun with gun dealers. They must be hiding from the sun with the rest of us.

AxeAlex is actually right; if you know how and where to get a gun in the UK, it can be remarkably easy, whether you do it legally or otherwise. Knowing how and where, on the other hand, is a different matter and who you are makes a big difference; some 40-year old tee-total computer nerd can't fit in to a crowd of 18-year old football jocks at a house party any easier than Joe Civilian will fit in with a bunch of black market gun-merchants. It can be done, it's just not easy.

Segev
2015-07-21, 12:41 PM
Given that people can and do get illegal guns without prior history with the underworld, and given that so far as I know "the underworld" is something one can enter if one finds oneself on the outs with society for any reason, I suspect that a lack of motivation on Joe's part conflates with a GM who is ensuring that he cannot find a gun by stonewalling every effort he makes to do so is at fault.

"Joe the PC" also apparently is unable to go adventuring, because he tries to go to that tavern where mysterious figures hand out quests, but nobody seems to know what he's talking about. He tries to investigate the abandoned mine outside of town, but a huge rat intimidates him into not going further than the front entrance. He talks to his local cleric, asking about adventuring parties hiring, and the man tells him that he wouldn't want to associate with "that sort" and to go read this pamphlet about the right way to live a life (i.e. as a commoner farmer).

If Joe, having been mugged, goes back there with nothing worth stealing and starts asking around again, word WILL get to a seller of such wares, if it doesn't get to the cops, first. Joe could fail; it's not guaranteed. But it isn't impossible. Eventually, he'll learn about a guy who knows a guy.

He will, hopefully, laern from his early mistakes. He'll learn, hopefully, how to approach things.

Obviously, if the GM doesn't want him to, he'll only ever meet people who NEVER trust strangers, and he'll never meet anybody who isn't a stranger to those people who trusts him. (One wonders how anybody gets into this secret club at that point.) But given that if any given person wants to, for example, buy recreational illegal drugs, they CAN find somebody who will tell them who to seek out to make the purchase, and those people get guns from somewhere, there are trails one can follow. If one is willing, desperate, or gutsy enough.

I won't pretend to really know how to do this. But I'm sure it's possible, and, furthermore, in the context of a game, I'm sure the only reason it couldn't be done AT ALL ( as opposed to merely be difficult with a chance of failure and maybe PC death ) is if the GM is actively stonewalling it.

AxeAlex
2015-07-21, 12:45 PM
Ok, let's say Joe does want a gun and goes looking.

- He heads down Crime Alley, unsure of himself and his surroundings (he listened to his mother and has never been there, after all). He's promptly mugged by some low-life thug; such an obvious and easy a mark isn't something Thug-dude is going to pass up. Walletless and with a sore head, he stumbles home gunless.

- He asks his wife about the hunters in Motocross Valley and she tells him who to talk to. He drives out there and asks at the bar where to find Mr.X. Assuming the barkeep is willing to point him out, Joe goes over and starts asking about the illegal hunting that goes on here. No-one seems to know what he's talking about "ain't no hunting goes on 'round here boy" and Joe is left scratching his head, still gunless.

- Joe looks up his sisters ex; they were on pretty good terms when he was still going steady with Joes sister. "Yeah" say Ex-guy "My kid hangs around the Bridge with his guys". Joe heads down to the bridge and is faced by the stony stares of a gang of youths. Intimidated by their threatening manner, he makes some excuse about being lost and backs the heck out of there.

- Desperate now, he looks up his social worker friend and asks about some of the people he helps. Social worker friend adopts a concerned expression "what do you want with him, buddy? He ain't the kind of guy you should be seeing socially. Here, you'd better read this pamphlet. Besides, I'm bound by patient-doctor confidentiality" and shoves him out the door.

How exactly do any of these circumstances help Joe Civilian get a gun without having any real connection or experience with those social groups that have regular contact with illegal firearms? Just wanting a gun doesn't make it easy to get one.

Joe Civilian clearly doesn't want a Gun. In your example, he is only vaguely intrigued by the concept and would like to have one to satisfy his curiosity. Don't confuse lack of interest with accessibility.

EDIT: Segev did a more complete counterpoint just above.

JellyPooga
2015-07-21, 12:50 PM
Joe could fail; it's not guaranteed. But it isn't impossible. Eventually, he'll learn about a guy who knows a guy.

He will, hopefully, laern from his early mistakes. He'll learn, hopefully, how to approach things.

Absolutely agree with this (and the rest of your post). All I'm saying is that it takes a bit more than a casual acquaintance or knowledge of a rumour...that it's not easy for someone in unfamiliar territory to do such things.

Just as much as a fantasy hero who's never heard of the foul creature terrorizing the village, but has heard the villagers describing it as a "dragon with a dozen heads", shouldn't go in knowing it's a hydra and that he'll need fire to stop the heads from growing back. Sure, he could do some research, or go in sword flashing and find out the hard way, but it's going to be the hard way, not the easy metagame way just because he's a PC.

AxeAlex
2015-07-21, 01:13 PM
Absolutely agree with this (and the rest of your post). All I'm saying is that it takes a bit more than a casual acquaintance or knowledge of a rumour...that it's not easy for someone in unfamiliar territory to do such things.

Just as much as a fantasy hero who's never heard of the foul creature terrorizing the village, but has heard the villagers describing it as a "dragon with a dozen heads", shouldn't go in knowing it's a hydra and that he'll need fire to stop the heads from growing back. Sure, he could do some research, or go in sword flashing and find out the hard way, but it's going to be the hard way, not the easy metagame way just because he's a PC.

Guns get bought... It is a very important illegal market.

Minors can get guns... It's easy to anyone who wants one. You are still confusing difficulty with motivation.

I think comparing getting a gun to fighting an hydra is a bit dramatic.

Segev
2015-07-21, 01:18 PM
I think comparing getting a gun to fighting an hydra is a bit dramatic.

Agreed in principle, but I think his point was less "it's hard to fight a hydra" and more "player knowledge is not necessarily character knowledge." Meant to indicate that the player may have a better idea how to go about it than the character, depending on the character, and that merits requiring some roadblocks to keep the character from acting on OOC knowledge.

I think.

Please correct me if I'm putting incorrect words in anybody's mouths.

AxeAlex
2015-07-21, 01:24 PM
Agreed in principle, but I think his point was less "it's hard to fight a hydra" and more "player knowledge is not necessarily character knowledge." Meant to indicate that the player may have a better idea how to go about it than the character, depending on the character, and that merits requiring some roadblocks to keep the character from acting on OOC knowledge.

I think.

Please correct me if I'm putting incorrect words in anybody's mouths.

You are probably right.

Even then, knowledge how to kill the hydra, assuming it is a common monster in the universe in question, should not be hard to find!

Of course someone who has no interest and doesn't want to meet an hydra wouldn't know... But if there was an invincible animal out there I can swear that any and all hunters would keep track of it's weakness. The information to kill an hydra should not be hard to find (Assuming it is not a unique monster), it's just that it's not everyone who's actually interested in doing it.

If it IS a unique monster, then the analogy to finding a gun in a "UK-Like" universe is flawed, because guns are really common.

Anonymouswizard
2015-07-21, 02:05 PM
Guns get bought... It is a very important illegal market.

Minors can get guns... It's easy to anyone who wants one. You are still confusing difficulty with motivation.

I think comparing getting a gun to fighting an hydra is a bit dramatic.

This is entirely dependent on experience, and is why I require PCs to have justifications for this, otherwise it becomes a case of 'everybody owns an illegal weapon'.

You are playing an ex-gangster? For 5 CP you can know a guy who knows a guy and have a chance of picking up a gun within the day. The PC who is with the armed police can carry one on duty, as can the MPOS member.

As a side note: I have never met anybody who owns an illegal firearm. I know people with experience with guns, but nobody who owns a pistol. None of my friends would have the faintest clue where to start, except maybe one who grew up in a rough town. We know we could eventually get legal guns, but we don't want to for the simple fact that, if you just stay to the correct places they are rare, and if not you're just as likely to buy a bullet.

Mr. Mask
2015-07-21, 02:10 PM
They actually covered this in the Akira Kurosawa film, Stray Dog.


One thing I'd like to point out, is that if your game is set in the modern day and your characters are even afraid to get guns, I'm not sure what the game is about. If they're fighting vampires, or demons, or involved in the mafia, or are undercover spies, owning a gun illegally seems to really be the least of a person's worries, regardless of where you are.

AxeAlex
2015-07-21, 02:17 PM
As a side note: I have never met anybody who owns an illegal firearm. I know people with experience with guns, but nobody who owns a pistol. None of my friends would have the faintest clue where to start, except maybe one who grew up in a rough town. We know we could eventually get legal guns, but we don't want to for the simple fact that, if you just stay to the correct places they are rare, and if not you're just as likely to buy a bullet.

None of you want guns... Which is my point since the beginning.

I don't own a gun, I know alot of hunters (But it's typical in Canada). I don't know anyone who owns an illegal firearm.

But if I WANTED a pistol, a trip of a few days to Montreal or Toronto would be enough. Not hard, not expensive.

Now, UK as fewer armed crimes than Canada (Proportionally), and, as I told from the start, I'm no expert and I could be wrong, but I would be really surprised if the same was not possible in London or Manchester.

You must not confuse the lack of interest about firearms of the average citizen with the difficulty to get firearms.

And we are talking about PCs? Fearless daredevils who face bad odds everyday? You can't seriously tell me your campaign don't have any over-the-top moments, epic and dangerous situations, and that your PCs survived many unprobable events?

Anonymouswizard
2015-07-21, 02:59 PM
And we are talking about PCs? Fearless daredevils who face bad odds everyday? You can't seriously tell me your campaign don't have any over-the-top moments, epic and dangerous situations, and that your PCs survived many unprobable events?

Fearless daredevil? My last 3 PCs don't fit that description. I also played in an Unknown Armies campaign where 'over-the-top moments, epic and dangerous situations, and your PCs surviving many unprobable events' was ever other session, and we still weren't fearless daredevils, with not a single gun appearing in the game.

AxeAlex
2015-07-21, 03:14 PM
Fearless daredevil? My last 3 PCs don't fit that description. I also played in an Unknown Armies campaign where 'over-the-top moments, epic and dangerous situations, and your PCs surviving many unprobable events' was ever other session, and we still weren't fearless daredevils, with not a single gun appearing in the game.

Awesome!

There is no way to play "right" or "wrong". But usually, people who will go take on an Hydra for fame and glory fit into "Fearless daredevil", and that is typical for PCs, so don't take my assumptions too seriously.

But I'm pretty sure that if one of your player wanted to find a gun in-game because he needed it to fight the mafia, you wouldn't refuse it because "it's too hard to find and illegal to have".

Again, if your players don't want gun, it's a matter of interest, not accessibility. If your players, PCs who, as you said, survived 'over-the-top moments, epic and dangerous situations, and many unprobable events', I guess finding a gun would not be a problem to them. And that's my point!

Anonymouswizard
2015-07-21, 03:25 PM
Awesome!

There is no way to play "right" or "wrong". But usually, people who will go take on an Hydra for fame and glory fit into "Fearless daredevil", and that is typical for PCs, so don't take my assumptions too seriously.

But I'm pretty sure that if one of your player wanted to find a gun in-game because he needed it to fight the mafia, you wouldn't refuse it because "it's too hard to find and illegal to have".

Again, if your players don't want gun, it's a matter of interest, not accessibility. If your players, PCs who, as you said, survived 'over-the-top moments, epic and dangerous situations, and many unprobable events', I guess finding a gun would not be a problem to them. And that's my point!

Except the PCs are normally hapless fools doing this partially by chance. If you want a gun, give me a reason for you to get one beyond 'want gun'. If you're fighting the Mafia you'll probably lose even with one, so start planning instead of trying to get a gun.

AxeAlex
2015-07-21, 03:26 PM
Except the PCs are normally hapless fools doing this partially by chance. If you want a gun, give me a reason for you to get one beyond 'want gun'. If you're fighting the Mafia you'll probably lose even with one, so start planning instead of trying to get a gun.

... And... honestly... in NO PART of that planning would having a gun seem like a good idea to you?

You are still arguing on INTEREST, not ACCESSIBILITY.
I get it, you don't like guns, it's ok! That doesn't mean they are hard to procure or inefficient at killing your fellow humans.

Anonymouswizard
2015-07-21, 03:35 PM
... And... honestly... in NO PART of that planning would having a gun seem like a good idea to you?

Depends, there are methods of attack other than firefights.


You are still arguing on INTEREST, not ACCESSIBILITY.
I get it, you don't like guns, it's ok! That doesn't mean they are hard to procure or inefficient at killing your fellow humans.

They are hard to procure unless you're the right person. You want to have a gun in my games? There are a whole host of reasons you can give me that I'll except. But if guns are so easy to procure that any idiot could do it if determined enough, why are knife crimes more common?

AxeAlex
2015-07-21, 03:41 PM
Depends, there are methods of attack other than firefights.

They are hard to procure unless you're the right person. You want to have a gun in my games? There are a whole host of reasons you can give me that I'll except. But if guns are so easy to procure that any idiot could do it if determined enough, why are knife crimes more common?

If the mafia wants you dead and you DON'T get a gun, you are a hapless fool indeed. No amount of planning will help you if you encounter a henchman randomly on the streets. If he has a gun and you don't, your knife won't help.

Knife crimes are more common because knives are even easier to procure, and the law is less severe with knives than guns. You litterally get punished less if you used a knife vs a gun.
That still doesn't mean guns are hard to procure, and guns are still better at killing your fellow humans.

I suppose the lives of your PCs are in danger. They would be justified in wanting a gun. You can't say that much for the average british Citizen or the average mugger.

And to be clear: You are justified in disliking guns and not having guns in your games, and your players are also justified in not having them. Fun is the god of RPGs, afterall. But, if you charge points to have a gun, then you tell me we play a game in England... Then what prevents me from getting a gun as soon as I anticipate danger?

If the players are fools that succeed by chance, why would their chance run out when they want to find a gun? That seems like stonewalling.

The Gm. The GM is what is preventing me from getting a gun to defend myself (or to kill someone if i'm the bad guy, whatever). And as a player in your story. I would dislike that. (But that's ME)

That's why systems with point-buy for equipment are often thought as flawed. I'm not alone in that sentiment.

Anonymouswizard
2015-07-21, 04:11 PM
If the mafia wants you dead and you DON'T get a gun, you are a hapless fool indeed. No amount of planning will help you if you encounter a henchman randomly on the streets. If he has a gun and you don't, you knife won't help.

Why does he have a gun? Is he trained in the use of the gun? Is he currently carrying his gun? If you are going up against the local Mafia, where are you getting your gun from, a different Mafia? If so, you are likely working for them, and that's important information that you left out.


If the players are fools that succeed by chance, why would their chance run out when they want to find a gun? That seems like stonewalling.

Because 'happens to get out in one piece' is different from 'finds a gun seller' in my book.


Knife crimes are more common because knives are even easier to procure, and the law is less severe with knives than guns. You litterally get punished less if you used a knife vs a gun.
That still doesn't mean guns are hard to procure, and guns are still better at killing your fellow humans.

Y'see, we are working from different assumptions. Also, I don't live in a country that shares a border with a gun obsessed country, so why are all these guns coming from?

And a gun takes training to be effective, otherwise a knife will be about as good. The main advantage to a gun is range.


And to be clear: You are justified in disliking guns and not having guns in your games, and your players are also justified in not having them. But if you charge points to have a gun, then you tell me we play a game in England... Then what prevents me from getting a gun as soon as I anticipate danger?

The fact that it takes time. You want to spend the better part of an in-game week tracking down a gun dealer? Sure! 'I can go to the dirty part of town and buy a gun straight away?' Let me finish choking on my tea.

If I had said 'this game takes place in the US' during character creation then hey, guns are available. But if I said 'right, this takes place in London' then you probably don't have guns easily available.


You do. You, the GM, is what is preventing me from getting a gun to defend myself (or to kill someone, whatever).

When I said this game is in England you signed onto a game where most people will have difficulty getting a gun. If you then complain that there isn't a gun dealer on the street corner, than tough.


That's why systems with point-buy for equipment are often thought as flawed.

Huh? This makes no sense with the rest of the post.

JellyPooga
2015-07-21, 05:07 PM
@AxeAlex: You seem to be under the impression that the UK has guns all over the place. This may be due to films such as "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels" and similar (I'm not saying it is, but it may be), where guns are readily available. I should mention that those films are about as realistic a portrayal of the UK as "Last Action Hero" is a realistic portrayal of Los Angeles (or wherever it's set).

Guns are not readily available in the UK. We have strict gun laws and outside of a few rural gun shops, most people will not even see a gun that's not on the telly, let alone handle one. In criminal circles, that may not be quite the case, but (and I pluck this number out of my behind) 99% of the UK population wouldn't even know where to start getting a gun, let alone actually get one.

Now, I'm speaking from the experience of having lived in one of the scummiest areas of London, our biggest population center and having lived in rural areas, where shotguns are fairly commonplace, but still largely regulated and from the experience of living with a legal gun owner, as well as having experience of target shooting myself (I was considered quite the marksman as a young man!). I am considered to be someone with a lot of experience with firearms compared to the majority of the population, including those who have done jail-time.

If I, personally, wanted to go get a gun, I could. Probably quite easily. If I asked anyone I currently socialise with on a regular basis where they'd get a gun, the best answer they'd give me is "America?". Am I a "typical" example of UK citizenry? No, I am not (and I don't mean that in an arrogant way; I don't consider myself better than others, just different).

How does this relate to gaming? If the game is set in modern day UK, unless your character background involves some kind of criminal, military or other gun-toting background, you shouldn't even know where to start looking for a gun. It doesn't matter how much you think they might be accessible; they just aren't unless you know the right people, places and avenues of obtaining one. If you don't have an appropriate background, you will find it hard to get a gun, legally or illegally, in the UK. It's not impossible, but you may well have to jump through some hoops to do it.

PC's, as we know, are willing to jump those hoops, but don't be surprised when you see a mountain where you expected a mole-hill.

Mr Beer
2015-07-21, 06:26 PM
I've never taken (or even seen) heroin in my life but I'm quite sure I could go to any large city in the UK and get hold of some within a couple of days if I really wanted to. You hang around aimlessly in major public transport hubs or large drinking holes in nasty areas for a while, the dealers would probably find you.

A gun, not so much...drugs are available everywhere and get sold to every kind of person. Guns are for gangsters, not the kind of people a middle-class guy like me wants to get anywhere near or would let get near them.

My best bet, based on what I know, would be to befriend legitimate gun owners in a rural area and steal a shotgun. That would take a couple of months rather than days.

If I wanted to be armed in a hurry, I wouldn't even think of a gun. I'd buy knives, baseball bats, axe-handles...that kind of thing.

Milo v3
2015-07-21, 07:07 PM
Has anyone played the game Sleeping Dogs? It's a GTA style game, but because of the strict gunlaws in Hong Kong you spend most of the game fighting unarmed and with knives than you do with guns. And when you do have a gun, it's basically an auto-win... which makes things rather dangerous when most situations where to get a gun, you have to defeat the guy with the gun first.

Cluedrew
2015-07-21, 07:12 PM
Why is there such a focus on guns? I would say cell-phones have a bigger impact on a setting then fire-arms. I know the only modern RPG I played everyone else in the party carried guns but I went with knifes instead. Because guns are boring to me most of the time. And I managed to keep up most of the time, get ahead some times and was in trouble on occasion. I did carry a cell-phone as well.

Honestly I don't think getting a gun is nearly as easy as some people. Why? Because I have yet to undertake any endeavor that was as easy as I thought it would be going in. Unless I had done it before and had practice and the knowledge to make a proper estimate.

Mr. Mask
2015-07-21, 07:24 PM
Wizard: "Why does he have a gun? Is he trained in the use of the gun? Is he currently carrying his gun? If you are going up against the local Mafia, where are you getting your gun from, a different Mafia? If so, you are likely working for them, and that's important information that you left out."

You don't need to be part of a Mafia or gang to get a gun.


"Y'see, we are working from different assumptions. Also, I don't live in a country that shares a border with a gun obsessed country, so why are all these guns coming from?"

Even if the country isn't "gun obsessed", guns get into criminal circulation. Doesn't matter if they have to come from overseas, gun trade is a worldwide enterprise. Like, I know someone in Britain who got shot by an immigrant from his own country (he was telling off the dumb boy, that he shouldn't be joining gangs--then he got shot). Watch Akira Kurosawa's Stray Dog, it sums up how you get a gun in Japan, when handguns were still very hard to come by (the modern system of smuggling is about the same, except with more foreign smuggled imports).



"And a gun takes training to be effective, otherwise a knife will be about as good. The main advantage to a gun is range."

This has some truth to it.

Even with basically no training, a gun is very dangerous. At pistol ranges, even an idiot can get lucky and put lead in someone. Guns don't really need you to be physically powerful, they can be small pocket guns, and they can let you harm, kill, or scare off an opponent before they get in effective range to shoot or stab you. That's the positive side.

The negative side is, even with training, many people are no good with guns. A surprising number of soldiers will close their eyes when firing. Several paratroopers shot dozens of pistol rounds at attacking gangsters at close range, and somehow hit none of them. It isn't that you need to be super with guns to be accurate with them, so much as many people are just lousy with firearms. Some people in one afternoon will learn to shoot with marksman precision. If you pay attention, it's simply not that hard.

With a knife, even an idiot can do some damage with a good one, many murders are successfully committed by idiots with knives. This does require you to get close. If you know a little bit about ambush, a knife can be better than a gun in an urban environment. Of course, in Britain and its colonies, carrying around knives is also illegal, so you're probably going to be doing time either way.



"The fact that it takes time. You want to spend the better part of an in-game week tracking down a gun dealer? Sure! 'I can go to the dirty part of town and buy a gun straight away?' Let me finish choking on my tea.

If I had said 'this game takes place in the US' during character creation then hey, guns are available. But if I said 'right, this takes place in London' then you probably don't have guns easily available."

If you know someone, or if you get lucky, it could be a one day trip. That'd basically be a Streetwise challenge, where it's possible to luck out, but it'll probably take a few days asking around



""That's why systems with point-buy for equipment are often thought as flawed."

Huh? This makes no sense with the rest of the post."

I believe he's referring to the fact that GMs will stonewall you to prevent you getting perks through roleplaying that normally cost character points, for the sake of balance. I'm also familiar with this being a problem to my characters.



Jelly:
"You seem to be under the impression that the UK has guns all over the place"
I don't believe that's what he was saying. Compared to adventurer hijinks, guns may as well be everywhere, as you won't need to ask around for long to get one (and if you're getting into adventurer hijinks, you will want to get one).

A lot of people will have no idea what the thing to do to get a gun or a fake passport is. Mostly, it's asking around (another reasonable depiction of this was The Next Three days). I do recommend watching Stray Dog as part of the discussion, as it is a good movie in and of itself.

Now, why you would want a gun, that is a different question. Gun crime attracts attention, so most Brit gangs are smart enough not to bother with them. If you're fighting vampires or cultists or whatever, you have bigger problems than sticking out.

NichG
2015-07-21, 09:39 PM
All this is telling me is that 'Adventurer' should be a high point-value merit in its own right, since it seems to be referenced to as a power that can be used to eventually succeed at any suitably non-adventurous task no matter the circumstances or the details.

I would think that the point of a universal system would in part be that you could use the same system to run a game in which the players are playing Arthur Dents, and a game in which the players are King Arthurs, and it gracefully spans the range between. Which means that if 'has a gun' is actually costing a significant number of CP compared to your total, that suggests that you aren't playing in the power range where you're daredevil hydra-slayers, you're playing in the power range where you're pharmacists, construction workers, and highschool students in over your head.

Mr. Mask
2015-07-22, 03:54 AM
Yeah, someone willing to adventure ought to cost a crazy amount of points, as that not only gives you a lot of options most people don't have, it also is the most optimal build for adventuring by default. The fact they're a disposable character created to have fun does suggest that they're going to be this way by default, of course.

You could rig it from that angle, with normal civilians being the characters. A game where someone with the tenacity to get drunk and get into a bar fight is considered a valuable asset, because the other characters are accountants and lawyers. But someone with the tenacity to get an illegal firearm isn't in the game, because of the high point cost (or they are, and are slightly insane to balance out, and justify their getting the gun before Cthulhu comes to town).

Even then, when stuff starts going wrong and the adventure is happening, either the characters are trying to high tail it out of there as quickly as possible, or they're likely in a situation where getting a gun is one of the least dangerous options, and in fact makes their adventures less crazy dangerous.

Anonymouswizard
2015-07-22, 04:46 AM
There is of course the level between 'civilian' and 'daredevil', which I like to call 'professional'. What you do is up there on the daredevil level, but everything else is on the civilian level. You normally end up with a bruiser, a couple of smart guys, and a rogue type. In my experience this is more fun, and if that bruiser is of a 'gangster' or 'agent' type then there should be no problem with them having a gun (same for the smart guys and rogue). But if Jim the accountant wants a gun he'll have to talk to Dave the criminal.

AxeAlex
2015-07-22, 08:04 AM
@AxeAlex
Guns are not readily available in the UK. We have strict gun laws and outside of a few rural gun shops, most people will not even see a gun that's not on the telly, let alone handle one. In criminal circles, that may not be quite the case, but (and I pluck this number out of my behind) 99% of the UK population wouldn't even know where to start getting a gun, let alone actually get one.

As I have said before. I'm no expert in gun trade or UK crimes or anything, I could be wrong!

Quick stats I can find seems to imply about 4k to 5k firearm-related crime per years, which is indeed very low for your population... I would be surprised if all those crimes were commited by organized crime, but if you tell me guns are almost unexistent in the UK, I WILL take your word for cash, you live there!


Why does he have a gun? Is he trained in the use of the gun? Is he currently carrying his gun? If you are going up against the local Mafia, where are you getting your gun from, a different Mafia? If so, you are likely working for them, and that's important information that you left out.

He has a Gun because he wants to kill you... Guns kill good.

You don't have to go to organized crime to get guns... I think it's fair to guess they use middlemen to sell their illegal products, like with drugs.


Because 'happens to get out in one piece' is different from 'finds a gun seller' in my book.

Still stonewalling... If their luck stops working when they do something you don't like, that's GM fiat.



Y'see, we are working from different assumptions. Also, I don't live in a country that shares a border with a gun obsessed country, so why are all these guns coming from?

And a gun takes training to be effective, otherwise a knife will be about as good. The main advantage to a gun is range.

Why do you think guns are so illegal? Because they are deadly even in the hands of a kid! No, you don't need to use range or require training for a gun to be superior to a knife on all fronts except stealth.

When your life is in danger, I would argue it's a good idea to look for a gun.


You want to spend the better part of an in-game week tracking down a gun dealer? Sure! 'I can go to the dirty part of town and buy a gun straight away?' Let me finish choking on my tea.

I'm have NO problem with you making a little adventure as I get my gun. I just think it would be kind to skip it if the other players are not involved.

But you to tell me "It will take weeks, the mafia will probably find and kill you in the meantime, so really you can't", I would not like that.


If I had said 'this game takes place in the US' during character creation then hey, guns are available. But if I said 'right, this takes place in London' then you probably don't have guns easily available.

When I said this game is in England you signed onto a game where most people will have difficulty getting a gun. If you then complain that there isn't a gun dealer on the street corner, than tough.

You guys have drugs dealers on the street corners, I saw so myself when I went to London. Same as in Canada. I think it would be fair to assume you can work your way up from there... Like anybody who needs a Gun and doesn't know a Gun dealer would do. I didn't mean to find a dude with a trench-coat full of guns standing around.


Huh? This makes no sense with the rest of the post.

That's the whole point of the argumentation... All started from:

That sounds good, but doesnt it get in the way of player agency? What if someone without the "gun" trait wants to go into Walmart and buys a shotgun? Or even steal another players gun?

Equipments as points-buys is the reason we started on guns. I don't like to have to buy equipments with CPs, because you can get them by roleplaying... You like charging equipment with CPs, so you argue with me it's almost impossible to get a gun. No?

Jayabalard
2015-07-22, 08:26 AM
And we are talking about PCs? Fearless daredevils who face bad odds everyday?
I know this might seem odd to some, but not all PCs are fearless daredevils.

Segev
2015-07-22, 08:27 AM
It's not that "Adventurer" is an explicit mechanical advantage. It's that, if you don't have the GM railroading things to not need it (and possibly to make it impossible to obtain), those who do not make the kind of choices which could obtain them such useful tools will not be successfully pursuing the set of goals and overcoming the associated obstacles commonly known as "the plot."

There's a reason that Joe Schmoe the office worker doesn't get involved with gangs, mafia schemes, or the local vampire cult. Even if such things are happening around him, he turns a blind eye or allows their efforts to obfuscate to be sufficient, because he's not interested. Or, if he is forced to be interested, it scares him. He's as uncomfortable chasing down this vampire cult as he would be pushing hard enough to get ahold of that firearm.

So each and ever obstacle that's been named to "getting a gun" has an equivalent obstacle to "being in the adventure." If Joe backs off from the one, he'd also back off from the other. Just as he "can't" break through those barriers to getting a gun, he "can't" break through the barriers that the mafia, vampire conspiracy, or close-knit gang put in place to keep outsiders from interfering.

So it's not that "being an Adventurer" is inherently a mechanical advantage; it's that "being the sort to make the choices that gets one involved in the plot means you're also the sort to have the dedication to get a gun."

Jayabalard
2015-07-22, 08:39 AM
Equipments as points-buys is the reason we started on guns. I don't like to have to buy equipments with CPs, because you can get them by roleplaying...

I don't see that statement as being different than

I don't like to have to buy psionic powers with CPs, because you can get them by roleplaying...
I don't like to have to buy spells with CPs, because you can get them by roleplaying...


Just because you can come up with a reason to justify having an ability doesn't mean that you should be able to get it without paying for it. That's true whether you're talking about guns, or telekinesis or whatever.

AxeAlex
2015-07-22, 08:50 AM
I don't see that statement as being different than

I don't like to have to buy psionic powers with CPs, because you can get them by roleplaying...
I don't like to have to buy spells with CPs, because you can get them by roleplaying...


Just because you can come up with a reason to justify having an ability doesn't mean that you should be able to get it without paying for it. That's true whether you're talking about guns, or telekinesis or whatever.

That's false in all settings where you only get spells if you are born a wizard/psyon. (Like Avatar: The Last Air Bender, Harry Potter, Dragon Age, Mass Effect)

Even then, tell me my character has to work long and hard to develop psychic powers... no problem. I can believe that easily.

But if you prevent my character from getting a full set of armor from the local blacksmith because I didn't get the armor during character creation, that sounds stupid, meta and forced. You will break my immersion and my willing suspension of disbelief, which are important concepts in roleplaying games.

That's why equipment is different.

JellyPooga
2015-07-22, 08:52 AM
I don't see that statement as being different than

I don't like to have to buy psionic powers with CPs, because you can get them by roleplaying...
I don't like to have to buy spells with CPs, because you can get them by roleplaying...


Just because you can come up with a reason to justify having an ability doesn't mean that you should be able to get it without paying for it. That's true whether you're talking about guns, or telekinesis or whatever.

By that argument, though, you'd have to spend CPs on really mundane things like a wrench. It gives you a bonus you wouldn't otherwise have, which might indicate that you have to spend CPs, but at the same time you can just go to a shop and buy one with no more effort than having a fiver in your pocket and the time it takes to get to the store.

You can't merely "have" psychic powers just because you want them; there has to be some precedent for it, in your background or the setting. Just as being able to easily get a gun requires an appropriate background.

On the whole "being a PC means having the determination to do [plot]" thing, yeah I agree. PCs are a cut above the rest, they're willing to do things that Joe Schmoe isn't. This doesn't mean they'll find what they're attempting easy; in D&D a Wizard might have the gumption to kill a bad-guy with the only Sword in the land that can harm him, but that doesn't mean he'll be particularly effective with it, or even succeed. Playing Joe Office-worker in a game, as a PC, means having to deal with the problems and hurdles that his background and training present. If the game was about data-entry (if you could somehow make that interesting enough for a game), he'd be a pro and unchallenged. This makes for a dull game (game content notwithstanding). If, however, the game's about him having to get a gun and fight mobsters, then part of the fun of playing Joe Schmoe is in having difficulty obtaining that gun and learning to use it well enough to fight the mobsters. If the GM just rolls over and says "Ok, you get a gun. It's easy enough 'cos you're a PC", he's denying you (the player) the opportunity to actually play the character you've rolled up.

AxeAlex
2015-07-22, 08:55 AM
If, however, the game's about him having to get a gun and fight mobsters, then part of the fun of playing Joe Schmoe is in having difficulty obtaining that gun and learning to use it well enough to fight the mobsters. If the GM just rolls over and says "Ok, you get a gun. It's easy enough 'cos you're a PC", he's denying you (the player) the opportunity to actually play the character you've rolled up.

I actually agree with all this. I don't want the gun to materialize in my hands. I just think preventing me from having a gun because "It's hard and complicated and takes weeks" or "You are an office worker, you can't find a gun" is simply really a weak way to tell me "No, you can't have a gun".

But then again, if that adventure only involves me and the other players would be bored to watch me get my gun, just give me the gun and go on with the plot!

If you wanna use my gun-trip as a plot point for later (Trouble with the police who spotted me, for example) I won't have ANY problem with that either. Just dont refuse it, and don't make the other players bored and try to tell me it's MY fault because I want a gun.

Segev
2015-07-22, 08:59 AM
In games where equipment is bought with CP, think of it as "narrative advantage." If you buy that gun with CP, then your character has it. You can tell the story about how he got it, and at most the GM will work with you to tweak it so it makes sense in the setting (or he'll tell you you can't spend the CP on it). If you do not, you will have to make an adventure in and of itself about getting it (unless it's really just a common item you can buy at your local AdventureMart).

Items you "acquire through roleplay" are like the superpowers Jimmy Olson got periodically in the silver age comics: here for an episode and gone just as easily as they came.

Spending CP on something makes a statement about that item and how important to your character it is. Not in an emotional, "my character loves this!" sense, but in the sense that a katana is important to a samurai or a suit of plate mail and a mighty steed are important to a knight. Kagome almost always has a bow and arrows with her once she learns to use them in Inuyasha; she paid CP for them to add them to her character. If she hadn't, she'd not be assumed to have them without special effort to get and keep a set. They'd be vulnerable to theft, they could break, she could run out of ammo with narrative ease, and generally she wouldn't be able to assume she has them at the start of any given subquest. She'd have to "role play" reacquiring or securing them specifically.

goto124
2015-07-22, 09:02 AM
Why are RPGs being compared to pre-written fiction, when the latter doesn't face the problem of 'there are real human players behind the characters'. The former are for the entertainment of the players, latter for the entertainment of the readers.

Jayabalard
2015-07-22, 09:07 AM
By that argument, though, you'd have to spend CPs on really mundane things like a wrench.Not at all. You're assuming it gives you some sort of mechanical bonus. That isn't necessary.

Obtaining most mundane items (say, a letter opener) doesn't make you any better at mundane tasks (eg, opening letters). They provide no bonus.
Obtaining a wrench doesn't give you a mechanical bonus for having that item. Either

your mechanic ability has the "requires wrench" limitation, and you HAVE to have one to accomplish anything as a mechanic...
your mechanic ability does not have the "requires wrench" limitation, and you therefore don't need a wrench to do it, and don't get a bonus for it.
You lack the mechanic ability, and can't do anything whether you have a wrench or not.


Obtaining a spellbook doesn't give you a mechanical bonus for having that item. Either

your spellcasting has the "requires book " limitation, and you HAVE to have one to accomplish anything as a spellcaster...
your spellcasting ability does not have the "requires book" limitation, and you therefore don't need a book to do it, and don't get a bonus for it.
You lack the spellcasting ability, and can't do anything whether you have a spellbook or not.


Obtaining a gun doesn't give you a mechanical bonus for having that item. Either

your guns has the "requires item" limitation, and you HAVE to have one to accomplish anything as a gunslinger...
your gun ability does not have the "requires book" limitation, and you therefore don't need a gun to do it, and don't get a bonus for it.
You lack the guns ability, and can't do anything whether you have a gun or not.



You can't merely "have" psychic powers just because you want them; there has to be some precedent for it, in your background or the setting. I don't see that as any more or less reasonable than "you can't merely have a gun and use it just because you want it"


On the whole "being a PC means having the determination to do [plot]" thing, yeah I agree. PCs are a cut above the rest, they're willing to do things that Joe Schmoe isn't.

AxeAlex
2015-07-22, 09:12 AM
Not at all. You're assuming it gives you some sort of mechanical bonus. That isn't necessary.


I can bash heads with my wrench. I can sabotage machinery by just throwing it in the machine. I can screw and unscrew things, all thing I couldn't do without it.

Even if I HAVE NO MECHANICAL SKILL.

But if in the setting I can't acquire magical powers because I have to be born with it, I will never be able to acquire it. (Avatar: The Last Airbender, Harry Potter, Mass Effect, Dragonage, Star Wars)

But I SHOULD be able to acquire a Gun, an Armor or a Wrench.

Again:


Tell me my character has to work long and hard to develop psychic powers... no problem. I can believe that easily.

But if you prevent my character from getting a full set of armor from the local blacksmith because I didn't get the armor during character creation, that sounds stupid, meta and forced. You will break my immersion and my willing suspension of disbelief, which are important concepts in roleplaying games.

@Segev

I could get behind paying for "special" items... Magical, unique, plot important items. Not something I could loot from a dead enemy.

But, if I find a gun, the GM don't get to decide I lost the gun just like that because I didnt pay for it during character creation. I'm ok with losing the gun in a scene relevant to the plot, not randomly between 2 scenes.

Anonymouswizard
2015-07-22, 09:18 AM
But if you prevent my character from getting a full set of armor from the local blacksmith because I didn't get the armor during character creation, that sounds stupid, meta and forced. You will break my immersion and my willing suspension of disbelief, which are important concepts in roleplaying games.

Or maybe he makes horseshoes, not armour. Much more call for horseshoes in this village, only the local lord can afford armour so my friend only makes it to commission.

A week later when your armour is finished the griffon has been slain by the other party members.


That's why equipment is different.

Huh? Because you can just walk into a random shop and buy an item that requires specialist training and time to create?


I actually agree with all this. I don't want the gun to materialize in my hands. I just think preventing me from having a gun because "It's hard and complicated and takes weeks" or "You are an office worker, you can't find a gun" is simply really a weak way to tell me "No, you can't have a gun".

But then again, if that adventure only involves me and the other players would be bored to watch me get my gun, just give me the gun and go on with the plot!

Stop trying to convince me that getting a gun is easy. In my experience most PCs would only have a vague clue where to start. No matter what you say guns are rare in most of Britain and not something most 'adventurers' would be able to get easily. But hey, that applies to most of your enemies, so it really isn't unfair.

Seriously, I think I've run more games where the PCs have easy access to firearms and their opponents don't then the other way round. So if I decide that maybe I want to beef up the realism for once and make guns hard to get you won't be able to wave your magical PC pass. Did you not hear my 'guns are rare' note when assigning your skills? Because there will be one.


If you wanna use my gun-trip as a plot point for later (Trouble with the police who spotted me, for example) I won't have ANY problem with that either. Just dont refuse it, and don't make the other players bored and try to tell me it's MY fault because I want a gun.

It is your fault, because you agreed to play my 'realistic' game with more brawling than shooting. But don't pretend it's my fault that you can't except guns being more out of reach than 'I go to Soho'. Just except that if you need to put down the werewolf today the silver arrows might work as well as lead bullets (or silver bullets).

NichG
2015-07-22, 09:26 AM
It's not that "Adventurer" is an explicit mechanical advantage. It's that, if you don't have the GM railroading things to not need it (and possibly to make it impossible to obtain), those who do not make the kind of choices which could obtain them such useful tools will not be successfully pursuing the set of goals and overcoming the associated obstacles commonly known as "the plot."

There's a reason that Joe Schmoe the office worker doesn't get involved with gangs, mafia schemes, or the local vampire cult. Even if such things are happening around him, he turns a blind eye or allows their efforts to obfuscate to be sufficient, because he's not interested. Or, if he is forced to be interested, it scares him. He's as uncomfortable chasing down this vampire cult as he would be pushing hard enough to get ahold of that firearm.

So each and ever obstacle that's been named to "getting a gun" has an equivalent obstacle to "being in the adventure." If Joe backs off from the one, he'd also back off from the other. Just as he "can't" break through those barriers to getting a gun, he "can't" break through the barriers that the mafia, vampire conspiracy, or close-knit gang put in place to keep outsiders from interfering.

So it's not that "being an Adventurer" is inherently a mechanical advantage; it's that "being the sort to make the choices that gets one involved in the plot means you're also the sort to have the dedication to get a gun."

What I was getting at with the low CP total comment is that if we're talking about a system that purports to be universal, it should also be able to run games about people who normally would run straight away from an adventure of the lethal variety as fast as they were physically or mentally able, but because of their circumstances they're involved and can't just 'un-involve' themselves easily.

AxeAlex
2015-07-22, 09:32 AM
Or maybe he makes horseshoes, not armour. Much more call for horseshoes in this village, only the local lord can afford armour so my friend only makes it to commission.

Of course, but then I wouldn't buy him an armor... Wouldn't I? Would he also NOT sell horse shoes, but only farm tools, if i needed a horse instead but didn't pay for the horse during character creation?



A week later when your armour is finished the griffon has been slain by the other party members.

So you want to blackmail me or the others players with boredom. (YOU WILL DO NOTHING MEANWHILE!)

Do I HAVE to wait behind? Oh mighty GM? Can't I go with them and get my armor later since anyway I always luckily survive without needing armor or guns? But when I return I guess my armor will be stolen, because you don't want me to have it and won't simply tell me so.


Huh? Because you can just walk into a random shop and buy an item that requires specialist training and time to create?

You are putting words in my mouth.


Stop trying to convince me that getting a gun is easy. In my experience most PCs would only have a vague clue where to start. No matter what you say guns are rare in most of Britain and not something most 'adventurers' would be able to get easily. But hey, that applies to most of your enemies, so it really isn't unfair.

If 4k criminals per year and even more hunters can get a gun, then you can get a gun in the UK. If my character has the gender-neutral-balls to take on your dangerous and life-threating plot, YOU tell me he can't get a gun? GM fiat. You want me to stop? I will stop. That does NOT mean I'm wrong.


Seriously, I think I've run more games where the PCs have easy access to firearms and their opponents don't then the other way round. So if I decide that maybe I want to beef up the realism for once and make guns hard to get you won't be able to wave your magical PC pass. Did you not hear my 'guns are rare' note when assigning your skills? Because there will be one.

If you tell me at character creation "You don't have access to guns" No problem. I can get behind that and I respect that 100%. If you only tell me "It's in UK", you must NOT get angry and shut me down when I attempt to get a gun. If you do, you are stonewalling me.


It is your fault, because you agreed to play my 'realistic' game with more brawling than shooting. But don't pretend it's my fault that you can't except guns being more out of reach than 'I go to Soho'. Just except that if you need to put down the werewolf today the silver arrows might work as well as lead bullets (or silver bullets).

Again, tell me straight-up you do a no-gun game, NO PROBLEM. Tell me you do a game in "Modern UK", and anyone would expect it to have guns if they fought werewolves or the mafia.

Segev
2015-07-22, 09:45 AM
What I was getting at with the low CP total comment is that if we're talking about a system that purports to be universal, it should also be able to run games about people who normally would run straight away from an adventure of the lethal variety as fast as they were physically or mentally able, but because of their circumstances they're involved and can't just 'un-involve' themselves easily.

Another GM who really likes GURPS tends to do this. He falls for a ... perhaps not a fallacy, but a bad spot of reasoning that I suspect you're also falling for. I could be wrong, so my apologies if what I'm about to say misses the mark entirely.

This particular GM regularly complains about games where the PCs have actively high chances of success, whether at rolling for tasks or doing really spectacular things or just plain overcoming "ridiculous odds." He talks about how much more awesome it is when the guy who needs to roll under a 5 manages to do so than when the guy who needs to roll under a 17 does so for the same task. How the latter is "too superhuman" for his taste, and thus his accomplishmetns are boringly easy.

However, he forgets that the reason it's "impressive" in theory is that it doesn't happen often. He loves it in fiction, but he forgets that, in fiction, that "million to one chance" isn't a chance at all: the author writes the story how he wants it to go, so it's going to succeed if the author wants it to. Mr. Average Schmoe is "lucky" because authorial-granted luck is his superpower.

This is a problem because, when this GM runs GURPS, he wonders why his players are annoyed at their constant failures if they've taken his advice on what kind of game he wants to run. And when he plays games, he intentionally builds "not powergaming" characters who are meant to "win by pluck," and gets annoyed by the "overpowered" characters who took actually effective mechanics and thus succeed far more than he does, overshadowing his characters. (I'd call it the Stormwind Fallacy, but he isn't actually saying it's bad RP to have an effective character.)


The reason the quoted bit reminds me of this is that, when those characters who lack the drive, means, and talent to be "adventurers" find themselves caught up in those situations described, and cannot un-involve themselves...they usually wind up dead. They're the extras killed because they weren't heroes and were in the way of the bad guy. Tales don't revolve around them because the story would just be "and then he was forced to kneel in front of the gang-banger, and two bullets were put in the back of his head. The end."

The characters who rise to the occasion and do more than just observe and hope they survive are not the sort who get deterred by the one mugging and by their buddy the policeman telling him he doesn't want to associate with those kinds of people.

The only time that's likely to play out is if it's a tale about how the guy BECAME heroic-minded. He is shown failing at these "get a gun" tasks due to his discomfort and lack of dedication, then gets caught up in a situation he cannot escape and really DOES rise to it. The end of the movie would probably show him going and getting a gun just because he COULD. Or proving he doesn't need one by somehow socially or physically "owning" the early-scene antagonists that were in his way. (Or simply dismissing the problem for which he originally wanted a gun, now that he's too badass to be intimidated by it.)

goto124
2015-07-22, 09:56 AM
Reminds me of certain games where level 1 PCs are really fragile, and player kept rolling up new characters until someone survived...

NichG
2015-07-22, 10:09 AM
Another GM who really likes GURPS tends to do this. He falls for a ... perhaps not a fallacy, but a bad spot of reasoning that I suspect you're also falling for. I could be wrong, so my apologies if what I'm about to say misses the mark entirely.

This particular GM regularly complains about games where the PCs have actively high chances of success, whether at rolling for tasks or doing really spectacular things or just plain overcoming "ridiculous odds." He talks about how much more awesome it is when the guy who needs to roll under a 5 manages to do so than when the guy who needs to roll under a 17 does so for the same task. How the latter is "too superhuman" for his taste, and thus his accomplishmetns are boringly easy.

However, he forgets that the reason it's "impressive" in theory is that it doesn't happen often. He loves it in fiction, but he forgets that, in fiction, that "million to one chance" isn't a chance at all: the author writes the story how he wants it to go, so it's going to succeed if the author wants it to. Mr. Average Schmoe is "lucky" because authorial-granted luck is his superpower.

This is a problem because, when this GM runs GURPS, he wonders why his players are annoyed at their constant failures if they've taken his advice on what kind of game he wants to run. And when he plays games, he intentionally builds "not powergaming" characters who are meant to "win by pluck," and gets annoyed by the "overpowered" characters who took actually effective mechanics and thus succeed far more than he does, overshadowing his characters. (I'd call it the Stormwind Fallacy, but he isn't actually saying it's bad RP to have an effective character.)


The reason the quoted bit reminds me of this is that, when those characters who lack the drive, means, and talent to be "adventurers" find themselves caught up in those situations described, and cannot un-involve themselves...they usually wind up dead. They're the extras killed because they weren't heroes and were in the way of the bad guy. Tales don't revolve around them because the story would just be "and then he was forced to kneel in front of the gang-banger, and two bullets were put in the back of his head. The end."

The characters who rise to the occasion and do more than just observe and hope they survive are not the sort who get deterred by the one mugging and by their buddy the policeman telling him he doesn't want to associate with those kinds of people.

The only time that's likely to play out is if it's a tale about how the guy BECAME heroic-minded. He is shown failing at these "get a gun" tasks due to his discomfort and lack of dedication, then gets caught up in a situation he cannot escape and really DOES rise to it. The end of the movie would probably show him going and getting a gun just because he COULD. Or proving he doesn't need one by somehow socially or physically "owning" the early-scene antagonists that were in his way. (Or simply dismissing the problem for which he originally wanted a gun, now that he's too badass to be intimidated by it.)

For me, its a pet peeve when people make implicit assumptions about what kinds of game can be run. A lot of people have a fairly narrow comfort zone as to 'how does a game work?', and I like to challenge that as much as possible. Especially in terms of things advertising themselves as universal systems. In this case it's the assumption that there must be a set of tasks which should automatically be considered trivial for any character just on the basis of 'they're an adventurer'.

You could absolutely run a game about people who lack the drive, means, and talent to be adventurers. But if you're doing that, you also have to scale the challenges. In D&D I wouldn't throw a violent conflict with a Prismatic Great Wyrm dragon against Lv3 characters, and in a super-low-power game I wouldn't throw a squad of gun-toting gangsters who immediately open fire against Arthur Dent. There might be the threat of 'these guys are gangsters, if they decide to kill you, you will just die', but the structure of the game would be such that it is possible for Arthur to progress in his goals, even work against the gangsters if thats what he wants, while at the same time being able to avoid triggering 'the gangsters just want to kill him now'.

For example, Arthur finds out that his friend who he trusted actually borrowed a ton of money from gangsters in his name. He doesn't have said money. The gangsters want said money. They're not going to just show up and shoot him, because then they don't get money, but they aren't going to let up on him and allow him to just not deal with the issue. Maybe they'll propose something he can do that will make it right, or maybe they just give him a time limit and say 'bring us $20000 or we take a limb', or whatever. In a standard adventurer-level game, the PCs would then go and acquire explosives and semi-automatic weaponry and would raid the gangster boss. For an Arthur Dent-level character, that isn't an option, but that doesn't mean he doesn't have viable options.

And actually, you can dial it back even further than that. There's no need to involve life or death violence at all in order to have a workable game. You could have a game about a war of the chefs in the world of high cuisine, a game about merchants trying to build up a network of political favors and trade contracts to seize control of an economy dominated by major guilds (violence could come up, but it shouldn't be that frequent), etc.

Anonymouswizard
2015-07-22, 10:49 AM
Of course, but then I wouldn't buy him an armor... Wouldn't I? Would he also NOT sell horse shoes, but only farm tools, if i needed a horse instead but didn't pay for the horse during character creation?



So you want to blackmail me or the others players with boredom. (YOU WILL DO NOTHING MEANWHILE!)

You're the one who implied that it would be unfair to not let players go in with a gun, if you want to still adventure while waiting for your equipment that's fine but me.

Hey, if you ask your friend Dave he might be able to find a gun for you in a couple of sessions. It depends on the skills and contacts of Dave/you.


Do I HAVE to wait behind? Oh mighty GM? Can't I go with them and get my armor later since anyway I always luckily survive without needing armor or guns? But when I return I guess my armor will be stolen, because you don't want me to have it and won't simply tell me so.

You can. There will be a slight chance that the armour won't be ready (rolled behind the screen so the players don't realise that if it isn't is because it ties in with what I had planned for next session). Even then you'll probably have a better suit than your current one waiting.


You are putting words in my mouth.

As did you earlier in the thread. I don't see how it's any different when I do it.


If 4k criminals per year and even more hunters can get a gun, then you can get a gun in the UK. If my character has the gender-neutral-balls to take on your dangerous and life-threating plot, YOU tell me he can't get a gun? GM fiat. You want me to stop? I will stop. That does NOT mean I'm wrong.

Possible to get does not mean easy to get. Seriously, I live in the UK, was born and raised here, and your first thought is 'Anonymouswizard is wrong and stupid'.
Other possible reasons you can't get a gun:
-You aren't playing a character with a decent reason for one.
-Part of the adventure involves the black market going quiet.
-The current adventure has a time limit. I use this a lot.
-Poor dice rolls, try again next session.
-I plan to drop some guns as loot soon, and just buying one will ruin the specialness.
-Heavy police cover at the moment, the underground has gone underground.
-There just aren't any around right now. Probably in the coat of the easily defeated thug you're supposed to loot them off.
-You can get a gun, but there's an ammo shortage for some reason.

Yes, several of these tie into the MPOS game I plan to run soon, where a black market in combat magic has pushed the firearms one into essential oblivion.


If you tell me at character creation "You don't have access to guns" No problem. I can get behind that and I respect that 100%. If you only tell me "It's in UK", you must NOT get angry and shut me down when I attempt to get a gun. If you do, you are stonewalling me.

...you have strange ideas about how easy it is to get a gun in the UK. It's not impossible, but I will not let you go 'right, session 1, I'm off to Soho to get a gun'.


Again, tell me straight-up you do a no-gun game, NO PROBLEM. Tell me you do a game in "Modern UK", and anyone would expect it to have guns if they fought werewolves or the mafia.

Except the British people I play with. All the time. As in, some of us were surprised when the GM said we could start with guns (the ones who weren't has already asked). None of us even thought the trouble of getting a gun worthwhile in other games because hey, it's set in the UK, not USA, so it'll probably be really difficult to get them.

If we want a game where PCs use guns we either make up a government agency or play a game set in America. Otherwise we do not get a magic PC pass that makes it easy to buy guns.

AxeAlex
2015-07-22, 10:49 AM
For example, Arthur finds out that his friend who he trusted actually borrowed a ton of money from gangsters in his name. He doesn't have said money. The gangsters want said money. They're not going to just show up and shoot him, because then they don't get money, but they aren't going to let up on him and allow him to just not deal with the issue. Maybe they'll propose something he can do that will make it right, or maybe they just give him a time limit and say 'bring us $20000 or we take a limb', or whatever. In a standard adventurer-level game, the PCs would then go and acquire explosives and semi-automatic weaponry and would raid the gangster boss. For an Arthur Dent-level character, that isn't an option, but that doesn't mean he doesn't have viable options.

Arthur Dent here will need some drive or "adventurer gusto" if you want a plot out of this. Jo Schmoe would get a loan to pay them, go to the police and go in protective custody, or deal some kind of payment plan with them...


And actually, you can dial it back even further than that. There's no need to involve life or death violence at all in order to have a workable game. You could have a game about a war of the chefs in the world of high cuisine, a game about merchants trying to build up a network of political favors and trade contracts to seize control of an economy dominated by major guilds (violence could come up, but it shouldn't be that frequent), etc.

Alright, but none of your games will be interesting if they star Joe Schmoe. Joe Schmoe is a lesser chef than Ace McCook, so he agrees to work for him. Joe Schmoe is also a merchant of no-ambitions, so his store gets bought by the guilds and he uses the money to get a house, and start another line of work.


You're the one who implied that it would be unfair to not let players go in with a gun, if you want to still adventure while waiting for your equipment that's fine but me.

No, I imply it's unfair to use your personnal dislike of guns to prevent players from having guns. I'm ok with having to find it.


Hey, if you ask your friend Dave he might be able to find a gun for you in a couple of sessions. It depends on the skills and contacts of Dave/you.

Seems reasonable and not hard.



You can. There will be a slight chance that the armour won't be ready (rolled behind the screen so the players don't realise that if it isn't is because it ties in with what I had planned for next session). Even then you'll probably have a better suit than your current one waiting.

But then, the men-at-arms who started with armor and paid it with CP would be a worse fighter than my giant farmer who started without, as soon as I acquire the armor. So, he was penalised to start with it. Which is a bad incentive, in my opinion. That's why I don't like to pay for equipment with character points.


As did you earlier in the thread. I don't see how it's any different when I do it.

I apologize if I put word in your mouths, and I didn't mean to. That still doesn't make you justified to do so, and you should not be proud to do it. Admitting you are arguing agaisnt a vilified version of me won't get you anywhere.



Possible to get does not mean easy to get. Seriously, I live in the UK, was born and raised here, and your first thought is 'Anonymouswizard is wrong and stupid'.

Still putting words in my mouth. I -honestly- don't think your are stupid. Just because I disagree with you doesn't mean I view you as a lesser human being or disrespect you in anyway.

"Other possible reasons you can't get a gun:
-You aren't playing a character with a decent reason for one.
Then I shouldn't START with it. I could still ACQUIRE one.
-Part of the adventure involves the black market going quiet.
If guns are not available, then of course I can't have guns! Not the point. Guns are available in UK
-The current adventure has a time limit. I use this a lot.
Could be justified.
-Poor dice rolls, try again next session.
Perfectly reasonable.
-I plan to drop some guns as loot soon, and just buying one will ruin the specialness.
GM Fiat. You could do it, but you still refuse my action based on your own preference instead of the universe we play in.
-Heavy police cover at the moment, the underground has gone underground.
Justified. But if you pull this out of the blue, then I will hear "No, I don't want you to have a gun but won't simply tell you"
-There just aren't any around right now. Probably in the coat of the easily defeated thug you're supposed to loot them off.
I don't think a thug with a Gun should easily be defeated if I don't have a Gun... Maybe I didn't get intended sarcasm though. Not the point.
-You can get a gun, but there's an ammo shortage for some reason.
Some reason is very important, if not it's still you stonewalling me based on your own prťfťrences, not the setting you sold me.


Yes, several of these tie into the MPOS game I plan to run soon, where a black market in combat magic has pushed the firearms one into essential oblivion.

That is justified. It's not simply "Modern UK in which you fight werewolves", in which most people would expect guns.



...you have strange ideas about how easy it is to get a gun in the UK. It's not impossible, but I will not let you go 'right, session 1, I'm off to Soho to get a gun'.

Never asked for the Gun to appear in my hand. I just expect to be able to acquire and use a Gun without getting blackmailed with boredom or told i'm unreasonable or told it's too hard and my character can't pull it off.


Except the British people I play with. All the time. As in, some of us were surprised when the GM said we could start with guns (the ones who weren't has already asked). None of us even thought the trouble of getting a gun worthwhile in other games because hey, it's set in the UK, not USA, so it'll probably be really difficult to get them.

You are arguing on lack of interest, not on accessibility. See my previous posts.

noob
2015-07-22, 11:25 AM
You do not need gun training for being way more lethal with a gun than with a knife but knife have multiple advantages:
1:When you are really angry and in your house you already have your knife in the kitchen and so you have the time to grab it and use it to kill before you realize you do not want to kill.
2:It does not attract all the cops and people in an enormous radius super fast.
3:You can cut bread with it.

Elderand
2015-07-22, 11:43 AM
You do not need gun training for being way more lethal with a gun than with a knife but knife have multiple advantages:
1:When you are really angry and in your house you already have your knife in the kitchen and so you have the time to grab it and use it to kill before you realize you do not want to kill.
2:It does not attract all the cops and people in an enormous radius super fast.
3:You can cut bread with it.

You forgto several actually, knife have no security, in all the excitment it's possible to forgot to remove it and being unable to fire a gun, knife goes stab no matter what.

You leave the safety off so you never forget it, congrats you just exponentialy increased the chances of shooting yourself in the foot, or junk for the idiots who tuck a gun in the front of their pants. It's comparatively harder to fataly stab yourself with a knife.

Gun can jams, knives go stab

Over short distance, knife and running beat drawing and firing a gun

Guns need to be reloaded, knives go stab

A broken gun is useless for it's intended purpose, a broken knife is still a knife, just a shorter one.

NichG
2015-07-22, 11:55 AM
Arthur Dent here will need some drive or "adventurer gusto" if you want a plot out of this. Jo Schmoe would get a loan to pay them, go to the police and go in protective custody, or deal some kind of payment plan with them...

If I look at those 'Jo Schmoe' plans, one simply wouldn't work, and the other two would generate a reasonable plot.

First the one that wouldn't work. The premise of the scenario is already 'things are bad enough that the main character needed a loan from the mob (or at least, his friend did)' suggesting that they may not exactly be in a position for banks to want to make life easy for them. If we go by the source material for Arthur Dent, he's a pretty canonical example of the system letting someone down at every possible level, so it'd totally be along the lines of the premise for that avenue to be impossible or to require a nontrivial sequence of plans and actions to make it happen (hey, a plot!).

Similarly, something like a 'payment plan' just buys time, it doesn't make the money appear out of nowhere. So that direction still leads towards plot, probably in the form of a bunch of serial mini-adventures trying to accumulate the necessary cash.

And the best one of the three is 'going to the police'. That means that this character is now basically strung between two big forces that could utterly crush them if they make a mis-step. The police want the character to keep up the mob contact and get someone to incriminate themselves (after all, right now its just threats and impossible to prove, so while the police might provide some basic assurances, they're not going to be able to make the problem actually go away for the character). And if the mob finds out that the character went to the police, they aren't going to appreciate that. So now the character might end up having to be a mole for the cops. Sounds like a plot - even an adventure - to me!



Alright, but none of your games will be interesting if they star Joe Schmoe. Joe Schmoe is a lesser chef than Ace McCook, so he agrees to work for him. Joe Schmoe is also a merchant of no-ambitions, so his store gets bought by the guilds and he uses the money to get a house, and start another line of work.


A character needs a drive, but that's all. They can be hapless or craven or greedy or courageous or just want to go to sleep or whatever. So long as a drive exists, it is possible to create interesting situations centered around it. Even a character who only desires the status quo or to get out of their current anomalous situation can cause things to move, so long as they're in a situation which they actively want to move away from. A hapless guy who 'just wants to go home' still has a drive to do that very thing. If you put a risky opportunity in front of them to end the situation right then and there, that makes for an interesting choice for that kind of character (which is more important to me, avoiding this immediate risk or getting out of this generally risky situation?). The main constraint with 'unwilling protagonist' type characters is that you can't run long campaigns with them unless they grow in some other direction as a result of their experiences (because once the situation is resolved, either they pick a new drive or the game ends).

Not to mention that 'not being willing to risk your life' and 'not really wanting to do anything for any reason' are very different. If I'm running a game about competition between hot-shot chefs, Joe doesn't need to be willing to face down the mafia in a gun battle to be an interesting character. He just has to be willing to challenge another chef to a cooking battle to decide once and for all who has the best waffles. Someone can be passionate and courageous within the thing they've made their speciality without being passionate and courageous in a shady part of town filled with people who want to mug or shoot them. Someone doesn't have to be a D&D-style adventurer to have motivations, goals, characterization, and a willingness to take risks. It just means that the risks they're taking are measured and have limits - risking their pride as a chef rather than literally risking their life, etc.

noob
2015-07-22, 12:03 PM
"Over short distance, knife and running beat drawing and firing a gun"
At what cost?
You also die real life is lethal for everyone.
And there is statistics someone shot by a gun die WAY more often than someone stabbed by a knife.
And you know one person with a knife will die super fast when facing people with guns.
When you have a gun in real life the fact everything is super lethal will make reloading nearly a non issue(you die before shooting 6 times).
And with a knife you will not have the occasion to stab people 6 times because you will die before too.
Guns breaking is a non issue because you are dead before or you die simultaneously(and the same thing happens when you have a knife).
Guns jam really rarely humans scare off and do not want to run toward someone with a gun super often(You REALLY do not want to run with a knife toward someone with a gun).
The main reason you over thrust knives is that you see movies(where they try to make knives look more awesome than guns) but in real life people use rifles/guns and when they want some melee weapon they take a bayonet on their rifle.

AxeAlex
2015-07-22, 12:19 PM
If I look at those 'Jo Schmoe' plans, one simply wouldn't work, and the other two would generate a reasonable plot.

Jo Schmoe will not succeed in a plot with low chances of success. Not in a RPG, in a story told from a single author yes, because the author controls the dice rolls and all the odds. But if you are playing with players who like a challenge and not in collaborative story-telling, they can't be Joe Schmoe. That's what Segev meant. (I think)



A character needs a drive, but that's all. They can be hapless or craven or greedy or courageous or just want to go to sleep or whatever. So long as a drive exists, it is possible to create interesting situations centered around it.

Of course, but it is a very important requirement. And that's why we are following him. Most people don't have the drive needed to be the star of a plot/story implying low chances of success. Most people just fail in these circumstances... That's why they are low chances of success!


Not to mention that 'not being willing to risk your life' and 'not really wanting to do anything for any reason' are very different. If I'm running a game about competition between hot-shot chefs, Joe doesn't need to be willing to face down the mafia in a gun battle to be an interesting character. He just has to be willing to challenge another chef to a cooking battle to decide once and for all who has the best waffles. Someone can be passionate and courageous within the thing they've made their speciality without being passionate and courageous in a shady part of town filled with people who want to mug or shoot them. Someone doesn't have to be a D&D-style adventurer to have motivations, goals, characterization, and a willingness to take risks. It just means that the risks they're taking are measured and have limits - risking their pride as a chef rather than literally risking their life, etc.

I 100% agree with all that. But you still aren't telling the story of Joe Schmoe.

NichG
2015-07-22, 12:35 PM
Jo Schmoe will not succeed in a plot with low chances of success. Not in a RPG, in a story told from a single author yes, because the author controls the dice rolls and all the odds. But if you are playing with players who like a challenge and not in collaborative story-telling, they can't be Joe Schmoe.

Of course, but it is a very important requirement. And that's why we are following him. Most people don't have the drive needed to be the star of a plot/story implying low chances of success. Most people just fail in these circumstances... That's why they are low chances of success!

I 100% agree with all that. But you still aren't telling the story of Joe Schmoe.

Then it seems like Joe Schmoe is just a strawman and actually has nothing to do with my point, since evidently I'm not in fact talking about Joe Schmoe, but rather simply a 'non-adventurer' protagonist. I'm not sure where 'low chances of success' came in as a general tag for a plot, either.

'Chance of success' isn't (or at least shouldn't be) a series of static gates set by the GM and rolled through (or failed) by the players. What a player decides to do determines their chance of success. Arthur Dent has a near-zero chance of success of winning a gunfight against 6 gangsters. Arthur Dent, by virtue of his 3 point investment in 'Dry British Wit', has a good chance of success of making a series of innocent comments to start a domestic squabble between the single gangster guarding him and his moll, then sneaking away in the confusion.

A PC chef in a game centered around cooking wars is likely to have good chance of success in making a souffle that doesn't fall or in remembering the classic recipe for a Hollandaise sauce. That doesn't mean they're going to do well in his attempts to find a black market gun dealer, or even to not run in panic when entering the shady part of town and encountering a mugger.

AxeAlex
2015-07-22, 12:46 PM
Then it seems like Joe Schmoe is just a strawman and actually has nothing to do with my point, since evidently I'm not in fact talking about Joe Schmoe, but rather simply a 'non-adventurer' protagonist. I'm not sure where 'low chances of success' came in as a general tag for a plot, either.

Joe Schmoe IS a strawman created to show you can't do any plot if your are too afraid, unconfident, lazy and unmotivated to do anything... He was thought up by Segev earlier in this thread. So yes, maybe you aren't talking about him!

Any non-adventurer protagonist you might be talking about will have an adventure... Which will make him an adventurer by a narrative view-point, even if he is NOT called an adventurer in-universe. We aren't implying everyone should fight dragons with magics swords. Only that any protagonist (PCs) in a RPG story needs a little something more than real random people (Joe Schmoe) don't have.



'Chance of success' isn't (or at least shouldn't be) a series of static gates set by the GM and rolled through (or failed) by the players. What a player decides to do determines their chance of success. Arthur Dent has a near-zero chance of success of winning a gunfight against 6 gangsters. Arthur Dent, by virtue of his 3 point investment in 'Dry British Wit', has a good chance of success of making a series of innocent comments to start a domestic squabble between the single gangster guarding him and his moll, then sneaking away in the confusion.

Escaping gangsters with dry british wit is NOT something a random no name person can pull off. It IS a classic move a classic guile hero would do. Most real people would remain captive until killed... You can't tell me you are using realistic and down-to-earth characters when he escapes gangsters with intellect and stealth and lives.


A PC chef in a game centered around cooking wars is likely to have good chance of success in making a souffle that doesn't fall or in remembering the classic recipe for a Hollandaise sauce. That doesn't mean they're going to do well in his attempts to find a black market gun dealer, or even to not run in panic when entering the shady part of town and encountering a mugger.

Agree 100%. But if you make the story around cooking he doesn't want nor need a gun, so the point is moot.

Segev
2015-07-22, 01:10 PM
The trouble is that "Joe Schmoe" IS the non-motivated guy who lacks any special talent or nerve or skill or luck and, if caught up in adventure, is Extra #3 that gets shot by the bad guys.

He's the kind of character that GM I mentioned loves to say makes for exciting stories, because that GM forgets that his very criteria for it not being an "overpowered, boring" character is that he NOT be so "good" at whatever the campaign is about that he succeeds more than 50% of the time.

Adventures are about people facing what is, to your average Joe, long odds. I'm pretty sure that if I got caught up in one of these plots, I'd either have to change some fundamental drive in myself or I'd wind up dead (if I couldn't escape), and either way I wouldn't be a very interesting protagonist simply because I wouldn't stay in the thick of the action for very long.


No, your PCs don't have to have specific kinds of drive, but they need drive. They need determination, in some direction, and they need talent or skill or luck to let them overcome difficult situations.

Joe Schmoe in our earlier example is the guy who can't get a gun because he is deterred by very reasonable deterrants for an average guy, but which could all be overcome if risks are taken and nerve is shown to keep perservering.

Agnes Protagonist may not WANT a gun, so she might also be stymied by those obstacles, but that would be a matter of desire. She also probably didn't really try to get one unless somebody pushed her to despite her lack of caring or reluctance. Agnes Protagonist might be caught up in a situation she'd rather just leave, but she's got the nerve, drive, skills, luck, or talents to let her face the long odds against her survival or escaping and determinedly pursue them anyway.

She acts like a PC, going for what she wants. Not WANTING a gun doesn't make you a non-Adventurer. Not being able to get one because of a few obstacles that make you just give up even trying? That does.



As to getting equipment "through play" vs CP, again, there's no guarantee what that equipment will be, and if you got it through play but the other player had to buy his, presumably he also has a share of loot that is equally valuable to that new armor you got. If not, the reason you're more powerful and he's being "punished" is that you took more than your fair share of loot. This should even out with a couple more encounters, where he gets dibs until he's made up the disparity.

AxeAlex
2015-07-22, 02:10 PM
As to getting equipment "through play" vs CP, again, there's no guarantee what that equipment will be, and if you got it through play but the other player had to buy his, presumably he also has a share of loot that is equally valuable to that new armor you got. If not, the reason you're more powerful and he's being "punished" is that you took more than your fair share of loot. This should even out with a couple more encounters, where he gets dibs until he's made up the disparity.

Never saw it as "getting an unfair amount of loot". That could be true from this point of view. And in a system with magic items, I can only accept your point.

However, in a "mundane" story. As soon as the giant farmer gets equipped like the knight (Which, I must admit, could take time), the knight will become "weaker", because there IS no type of equipment for him to look foward to, and the farmer is naturally "Stronger" and "Tougher", but now has the same stuff on him!

So yes, you are right in most default settings with magic items or super-technology or whatever where better loot will always be available. But it still raises the problem of which equipment is rare enough to point-buy, and which is not. And that can lead to arguments like the gun one we just had. The GM has to personally rule out which is which...

Having a default "value" you can have, setting the value of different available equipment choices, and raising/lowering that total value depending on character specs (He's rich or poor) seems like the better option, instead of requiring character points for each specific stuff the character wants, which will encourage to screw with the system to get a more powerful character, and then encourage the GM to prevent some character choices to respect those arbitrary limit.

Segev
2015-07-22, 02:56 PM
Never saw it as "getting an unfair amount of loot". That could be true from this point of view. And in a system with magic items, I can only accept your point.

However, in a "mundane" story. As soon as the giant farmer gets equipped like the knight (Which, I must admit, could take time), the knight will become "weaker", because there IS no type of equipment for him to look foward to, and the farmer is naturally "Stronger" and "Tougher", but now has the same stuff on him!

So yes, you are right in most default settings with magic items or super-technology or whatever where better loot will always be available. But it still raises the problem of which equipment is rare enough to point-buy, and which is not. And that can lead to arguments like the gun one we just had. The GM has to personally rule out which is which...

Having a default "value" you can have, setting the value of different available equipment choices, and raising/lowering that total value depending on character specs (He's rich or poor) seems like the better option, instead of requiring character points for each specific stuff the character wants, which will encourage to screw with the system to get a more powerful character, and then encourage the GM to prevent some character choices to respect those arbitrary limit.

The solution's actually pretty simple: award CP for advancement, and tell the famer that his new equipment needs to be bought from those CP or it will be plot-lost for game balance reasons. The knight now has bonus CP to spend; if he chose, he could "catch up" to the farmer's strength etc., or he could focus on other areas of knightly awesomeness to maintain his own unique strengths.

AxeAlex
2015-07-22, 03:07 PM
The solution's actually pretty simple: award CP for advancement, and tell the famer that his new equipment needs to be bought from those CP or it will be plot-lost for game balance reasons. The knight now has bonus CP to spend; if he chose, he could "catch up" to the farmer's strength etc., or he could focus on other areas of knightly awesomeness to maintain his own unique strengths.

I get your point, but I don't think I like it... Forcing people to spend CP on loot seems meta and forced to me. As is making sure a player loses the armor he didn't spend CP on to properly "acquire".

Just like preventing the knight from losing his armor because he point-bought it ALSO seems unorganic, anti-immersive and silly to me. If he is at the mercy of thieves, he SHOULD lose that armor. But because he spent CP on it the GM will feel guilty to do so... I don't like that.

But then, I guess it boils down to preference and what a given gaming group likes and doesn't like.

Segev
2015-07-22, 03:18 PM
I get your point, but I don't think I like it... Forcing people to spend CP on loot seems meta and forced to me. As is making sure a player loses the armor he didn't spend CP on to properly "acquire".

Just like preventing the knight from losing his armor because he point-bought it ALSO seems unorganic, anti-immersive and silly to me. If he is at the mercy of thieves, he SHOULD lose that armor. But because he spent CP on it the GM will feel guilty to do so... I don't like that.

But then, I guess it boils down to preference and what a given gaming group likes and doesn't like.

GURPS has you covered, to a degree: you spend CP on wealth and buy your armor with that. Since "wealth" is a game construct, if Joe Farmer gets that full plate as loot, presumably the knight is getting wealth as loot, too. I'm sure he can find something to spend it on, while Joe's gotten his loot in the form of that armor.

Thta's also how D&D handles it, incidentally.

BESM would require the CP solution, simply because CP are supposed to represent your character's mostly-permanent state.

The other way, besides making Joe Farmor "pay" for his armor, would be to simply give Sir Knight the CP value of the armor Joe's acquired and let him spend it. Joe got his story reward; Sir Knight instead "learned a new technique" or something, represented by the CP.

AxeAlex
2015-07-22, 03:34 PM
GURPS has you covered, to a degree: you spend CP on wealth and buy your armor with that. Since "wealth" is a game construct, if Joe Farmer gets that full plate as loot, presumably the knight is getting wealth as loot, too. I'm sure he can find something to spend it on, while Joe's gotten his loot in the form of that armor.

Seems good to me. And yes, it seems comparable to D&D.


BESM would require the CP solution, simply because CP are supposed to represent your character's mostly-permanent state.

Never tried that way, but I don't think I would like it. (But I guess I could be wrong)


The other way, besides making Joe Farmor "pay" for his armor, would be to simply give Sir Knight the CP value of the armor Joe's acquired and let him spend it. Joe got his story reward; Sir Knight instead "learned a new technique" or something, represented by the CP.

I dont know. I like my "personnal" power to augment independently to my stuff.

All in all good points though. I'll have to think about all that.

NichG
2015-07-22, 09:29 PM
Any non-adventurer protagonist you might be talking about will have an adventure... Which will make him an adventurer by a narrative view-point, even if he is NOT called an adventurer in-universe. We aren't implying everyone should fight dragons with magics swords. Only that any protagonist (PCs) in a RPG story needs a little something more than real random people (Joe Schmoe) don't have.

Escaping gangsters with dry british wit is NOT something a random no name person can pull off. It IS a classic move a classic guile hero would do. Most real people would remain captive until killed... You can't tell me you are using realistic and down-to-earth characters when he escapes gangsters with intellect and stealth and lives.

The thing is, 'gangsters' isn't 'death manifest upon the mortal plane'. Generally speaking, a gangster isn't going to want to actually kill the average non-gangster they interact with. They're going to want to extort money from them, bully them into cooperation or silence, use them in some way or get them permanently under their thumb, or even just tip their hat and keep on going down the street. 'Most real people' would survive just fine, and would push on the situation using the particular abilities they feel comfortable in pushing with without risking their life. That might be going Stockholm and trying to ingratiate themselves towards their captors in order to earn an increased feeling of safety, for example. Or just sitting there and trying to get their own emotions under control.

There also seems to be a very low bar being set for average people. An 'average person' in the modern world is able to overcome all sorts of obstacles. Its not that those obstacles are inherently unsuitable for gameplay, its that people haven't made a serious effort to understand how one would go about doing so and making it enjoyable. Or rather, people have, but that mostly shows up in niche or specialized systems. For example, I've seen games about going camping, the dynamics of a clique of high-school girls, competing over a romance, etc.


She acts like a PC, going for what she wants. Not WANTING a gun doesn't make you a non-Adventurer. Not being able to get one because of a few obstacles that make you just give up even trying? That does.

There's a lot of space between a complete lump and someone with enough force of will to get through any obstacle. That is to say, you can have characters who do give up trying in response to certain kinds of obstacles, but not in response to others.

In the example of my Arthur Dent being exceptional, he's exceptional but only in one very specific way. Another example would be Rincewind, who utterly fails at anything proactive unless it's related to his immediate survival. They're protagonists, but they're not generalists. Rincewind can run away and dodge with high probability, but he can't manage to win a fight, acquire a specific object, make friends with an enemy, gain political position, etc with the same high probability.

Since all my examples have been from media so far, here's an in-game example. Recently I was in a game session where my character was on a boat that was being boarded by soldiers, and everyone was being taken prisoner. Now, my character had a lot of drive for certain things, but he also has a lot of limits. When a couple soldiers started attacking my character for skulking around, he quickly surrendered and let himself be tied up rather than even take a single combat action against them. Because the obstacle of 'there are 30 soldiers and 1 of me' is something he knows he can't get around by fighting, even though he does have a gimmick that would absolutely guarantee that he'd survive the fight if he tried (but would be in substantially worse position as a result). Maybe he could have slipped the bonds, intentionally fallen off the edge of the ship, swam for shore, infiltrated where his friends were being kept, etc like an action movie star, but that's not this character.

That doesn't mean he wanted to be a prisoner, or that given the choice he wouldn't've stayed stealthy and avoided being taken captive at all. What it means is that he wasn't an omni-character who, in all situations, can beeline directly towards his drive without consideration of the lay of the land.

What I'm hearing about 'adventurers' here is this idea that 'I want' is sufficient to accomplish anything that is not directly related to the GM's challenges. That's the mark of a character who is high-powered compared to their situation, because they are so broadly competent that they don't have to worry about how to accomplish a thing, they simply need to decide that they intend to accomplish it and it will eventually happen. And that's fine, there's lots of gaming to be had with that kind of character since you can still have above-the-normal challenges. But you can also find a lot of gaming in the regime of characters who have a more limited set of things they can or will do to pursue their drive, or who are driven more strongly by aversion than desire.

goto124
2015-07-22, 09:38 PM
So the answer to 'can I have a gun' is 'depends on the type of game and its power level'?

Mr. Mask
2015-07-22, 09:51 PM
If your engagement and challenges amount to a highschool lovers' quarrel, then yes, the PCs are unlikely to have the gumption or drive to get an illegal firearm. If they are fighting for their lives, then either they are doing their best to stop the adventure, or getting a gun is both easier and safer.

Anonymouswizard
2015-07-23, 05:12 AM
If your engagement and challenges amount to a highschool lovers' quarrel, then yes, the PCs are unlikely to have the gumption or drive to get an illegal firearm. If they are fighting for their lives, then either they are doing their best to stop the adventure, or getting a gun is both easier and safer.

Depends ENTIRELY on the setting. My unknown Armies character stuck to archery because it was easier and safer than trying to get a gun (which is not a magic kill anything weapon). He was fighting for his life at least every other session, and nobody in the party ever thought 'hey, maybe I should try to get a firearm' because it was easier and safer to stick to the weapons we had training in.

Mr. Mask
2015-07-23, 07:36 AM
Don't know much about Unknown Armies. If it had modern guns, then its stats for rifles are just plain wrong. You can shoot farther, more accurately, for more damage, and more easily at that, carrying more ammo. If your character had no idea how to use a gun, then that would be an issue.

AxeAlex
2015-07-23, 07:44 AM
Depends ENTIRELY on the setting. My unknown Armies character stuck to archery because it was easier and safer than trying to get a gun (which is not a magic kill anything weapon). He was fighting for his life at least every other session, and nobody in the party ever thought 'hey, maybe I should try to get a firearm' because it was easier and safer to stick to the weapons we had training in.

And anyway, here the character doesn't WANT a gun, so the point is moot.


The thing is, 'gangsters' isn't 'death manifest upon the mortal plane'. Generally speaking, a gangster isn't going to want to actually kill the average non-gangster they interact with. They're going to want to extort money from them, bully them into cooperation or silence, use them in some way or get them permanently under their thumb, or even just tip their hat and keep on going down the street. 'Most real people' would survive just fine, and would push on the situation using the particular abilities they feel comfortable in pushing with without risking their life. That might be going Stockholm and trying to ingratiate themselves towards their captors in order to earn an increased feeling of safety, for example. Or just sitting there and trying to get their own emotions under control.

Yes of course, and "most real people" would get bullied to silence, permanently under their thumb, and be extorted... That's why the mafia works that way. If it failed more often than not, they would NOT work that way. You don't do a story around the dude who pays the gangsters weekly while going on with his day job.


There also seems to be a very low bar being set for average people. An 'average person' in the modern world is able to overcome all sorts of obstacles. Its not that those obstacles are inherently unsuitable for gameplay, its that people haven't made a serious effort to understand how one would go about doing so and making it enjoyable.

It's that almost all people play to get feelings of evasion, power, glory and drama. I would be surprised that your group is not trying to get those from the game. Why play day to day life when you can have your day to day life instead?

Fiction is at the minimum a little larger than life. Every cooking show makes cooking really larger than life.


Or rather, people have, but that mostly shows up in niche or specialized systems. For example, I've seen games about going camping, the dynamics of a clique of high-school girls, competing over a romance, etc.

High school girls competing about a romance? I'm sure if you describe that game it will be FULL of over-the-top moment and your character were be larger than life in their attempts to win their crush's heart.


There's a lot of space between a complete lump and someone with enough force of will to get through any obstacle. That is to say, you can have characters who do give up trying in response to certain kinds of obstacles, but not in response to others. In the example of my Arthur Dent being exceptional, he's exceptional but only in one very specific way. Another example would be Rincewind, who utterly fails at anything proactive unless it's related to his immediate survival. They're protagonists, but they're not generalists. Rincewind can run away and dodge with high probability, but he can't manage to win a fight, acquire a specific object, make friends with an enemy, gain political position, etc with the same high probability.

Yes, every fictionnal hero has strenghts and weaknesses. Georges and Lenny (Of mice and men) are very different and non-violent...


Since all my examples have been from media so far, here's an in-game example. Recently I was in a game session where my character was on a boat that was being boarded by soldiers, and everyone was being taken prisoner. Now, my character had a lot of drive for certain things, but he also has a lot of limits. When a couple soldiers started attacking my character for skulking around, he quickly surrendered and let himself be tied up rather than even take a single combat action against them. Because the obstacle of 'there are 30 soldiers and 1 of me' is something he knows he can't get around by fighting, even though he does have a gimmick that would absolutely guarantee that he'd survive the fight if he tried (but would be in substantially worse position as a result). Maybe he could have slipped the bonds, intentionally fallen off the edge of the ship, swam for shore, infiltrated where his friends were being kept, etc like an action movie star, but that's not this character.

Yes, a pacifist or non-combat oriented adventurer/PC/protagonist is common enough.


That doesn't mean he wanted to be a prisoner, or that given the choice he wouldn't've stayed stealthy and avoided being taken captive at all. What it means is that he wasn't an omni-character who, in all situations, can beeline directly towards his drive without consideration of the lay of the land.

No one ever implied that all PCs had to be allmighty.


What I'm hearing about 'adventurers' here is this idea that 'I want' is sufficient to accomplish anything that is not directly related to the GM's challenges.

Since the will of the PC is the direction and the flow of the story, what the PC wants is of utmost important in any RPG. Success is another matter, and is not guaranteed. Bad choices can a should lead to consequences.


That's the mark of a character who is high-powered compared to their situation, because they are so broadly competent that they don't have to worry about how to accomplish a thing, they simply need to decide that they intend to accomplish it and it will eventually happen.

Most people love being challenged in RPGs. You are confusing Segev's answer to someone who don't have the drive to live an adventure with a comment on powerlevels.


And that's fine, there's lots of gaming to be had with that kind of character since you can still have above-the-normal challenges. But you can also find a lot of gaming in the regime of characters who have a more limited set of things they can or will do to pursue their drive, or who are driven more strongly by aversion than desire.

Agree 100% with that last bit.

Anonymouswizard
2015-07-23, 08:06 AM
Don't know much about Unknown Armies. If it had modern guns, then its stats for rifles are just plain wrong. You can shoot farther, more accurately, for more damage, and more easily at that, carrying more ammo. If your character had no idea how to use a gun, then that would be an issue.

Pistols and rifles are just better. The problem was, 3/4 of our characters were English with no gun training, and the American had less half the chance to hit compared to her kendo stick. But this was because we had been told it was in London, and so assumed that guns would be rare. Also, there was the advantage that a shinai, longbow, sledgehammer, and golf club (later swapped for a sword hidden in an umbrella) meant we got in less trouble with the authorities if they were discovered (I'm on my way to practice or it's part of my toolkit). We didn't want guns due to the fact they were a liability.

Mr. Mask
2015-07-23, 08:37 AM
To be honest, your chance of getting caught from having gang fights with swords is higher than getting caught and randomly searched while carrying an illegal firearm. Unless you wear gang colours, or are already a suspect, you're unlikely to be stopped and searched. If you get into fights with swords and bows, that's newsworthy if anyone hears of it.

That being said, if you can find suitable weapons for the occasion, then having the extra challenge of obtaining firearms and ammo and concealing their existence, as well as the noise guns make, mightn't be worth the risk for a particular situation. But, if you're getting into fights where a golf club is a good option, then a handgun probably would be very useful (unless the noise is a real issue, but you might be able to get a silencer).

As an aside, kendo sticks are basically harmless. A lot of people are terrible shots, but I'm not sure if they're really that much better in melee (I'd be interested to see data about this).

Segev
2015-07-23, 08:46 AM
There's a lot of space between a complete lump and someone with enough force of will to get through any obstacle. That is to say, you can have characters who do give up trying in response to certain kinds of obstacles, but not in response to others."Not a protagonist" is not "complete lump."



Recently I was in a game session where my character was on a boat that was being boarded by soldiers, and everyone was being taken prisoner. Now, my character had a lot of drive for certain things, but he also has a lot of limits. When a couple soldiers started attacking my character for skulking around, he quickly surrendered and let himself be tied up rather than even take a single combat action against them. Because the obstacle of 'there are 30 soldiers and 1 of me' is something he knows he can't get around by fighting, even though he does have a gimmick that would absolutely guarantee that he'd survive the fight if he tried (but would be in substantially worse position as a result). Maybe he could have slipped the bonds, intentionally fallen off the edge of the ship, swam for shore, infiltrated where his friends were being kept, etc like an action movie star, but that's not this character.

That doesn't mean he wanted to be a prisoner, or that given the choice he wouldn't've stayed stealthy and avoided being taken captive at all. What it means is that he wasn't an omni-character who, in all situations, can beeline directly towards his drive without consideration of the lay of the land.Your character, however, didn't think, "Oh, 30 soldiers. I guess I shouldn't try anything to oppose them, and just go do the easiest thing while hoping somebody rescuse me."

He hid. He TRIED to evade them. He failed, and made a choice to not engage in a suicidal fight to no end. And I'll bet he kept looking for opportunities to turn the situation more to his advantage after he was tied up. He didn't just proverbially give up and go home.

Our guy looking for a gun? He gave up after the first obstacle was past in each case. He didn't persist. He tried the first, easy thing that came to mind in each effort, and when that failed, he didn't try again with the things he'd learned; he didn't even really learn anything. He sought no knowledge to apply; he instead just accepted "this won't work" and gave up.

I'm not saying that accepting something won't work and trying another tac means you're not being a protagonist, but the threshold by which a protagonist does so is generally much further along than "oops my first try didn't go perfectly to the end."

What I'm hearing about 'adventurers' here is this idea that 'I want' is sufficient to accomplish anything that is not directly related to the GM's challenges.

I understand why you're hearing that, but it's not what's being said.

What's being said is that saying "I want," when said by adventurers, means they're going to go do some pretty extreme things, try to exploit every ounce of their personal capability, in order to achieve it. And they'll keep trying, applying what they've learned from any failures rather than simply saying "first try failed, best find some totally different approach or give up."

Is there something more you can try with the current effort? An adventurer will try it. A non-adventurer will go home, lick his wounds, and try something else (if he even tries again at all).

Anonymouswizard
2015-07-23, 08:52 AM
To be honest, your chance of getting caught from having gang fights with swords is higher than getting caught and randomly searched while carrying an illegal firearm. Unless you wear gang colours, or are already a suspect, you're unlikely to be stopped and searched. If you get into fights with swords and bows, that's newsworthy if anyone hears of it.

Two of use were legitimate members of clubs and carried our kit with us. Also, our fights were generally out of the way enough that we weren't seen, and if we were discovered to be near the scene of a disturbance we had a reason for carrying our weapons. The chance of getting caught from having a fight with a firearm is higher than the chance of getting caught having a fight with the weapons we had. The chance of being prosecuted when a random search finds an illegal firearm is greater than the chance of being prosecuted for carrying your archery kit.

By the way, the sword was only drawn when fighting in enclosed spaces. Otherwise the disguise was sturdy enough to serve as a club.

Although we did wonder why we had never been arrested when we discovered that, independently, we had all decided our characters were wearing a black trenchcoat. I immediately dubbed the group the Trenchcoat Patrol.


That being said, if you can find suitable weapons for the occasion, then having the extra challenge of obtaining firearms and ammo and concealing their existence, as well as the noise guns make, mightn't be worth the risk for a particular situation. But, if you're getting into fights where a golf club is a good option, then a handgun probably would be very useful (unless the noise is a real issue, but you might be able to get a silencer).

Suppressors would be difficult to find under that GM (unless we rolled really well at our skill rolls to find a gun dealer, although we could likely obtain a gun in a session), but if I have a 15% or better (30% or better in the actual game) chance to hit with my hammer, do I really want to try the handgun I have 5% accuracy with? We had no mechanical or in-character reason to consider getting a gun.


As an aside, kendo sticks are basically harmless. A lot of people are terrible shots, but I'm not sure if they're really that much better in melee (I'd be interested to see data about this).

The shinai was specifically metal cored in order to dish out decent hurt. But aside from that, we all had justification for being decent combatants with our chosen weapons (my thaumaturgist did archery at uni, our shrink had kendo as a hoby, our mechanomancer was used to the weight of his sledgehammer [he was also the worst at hitting IIRC, although it might of been me, I also had the worst dice], and our bruiser grew up in the wrong part of town), none of which are that unusual for the UK. If the game was set in America I can assure you that most of us would have put 15-30 points in a guns skill, but we had no justification for it.

AxeAlex
2015-07-23, 08:57 AM
Pistols and rifles are just better. The problem was, 3/4 of our characters were English with no gun training, and the American had less half the chance to hit compared to her kendo stick. But this was because we had been told it was in London, and so assumed that guns would be rare. Also, there was the advantage that a shinai, longbow, sledgehammer, and golf club (later swapped for a sword hidden in an umbrella) meant we got in less trouble with the authorities if they were discovered (I'm on my way to practice or it's part of my toolkit). We didn't want guns due to the fact they were a liability.

Seems legit to me! You don't want guns because they are noisy and you're awesome with a sword seems like a perfectly good reason not to get a gun.

But you have to admit your characters who get in epic swordfights every now and then would be able to get a gun easily enough, would they want to. (And again, I don't mean that the guns would just appear in their hands)

Anonymouswizard
2015-07-23, 09:07 AM
Seems legit to me! You don't want gun because they are noisy and you're awesome with a sword seems like a perfectly good reason not to get a gun.

But you have to admit your characters who get in swordfights every now and then would be able to get a gun, would they want to.

Probably not, most of us were unsure where we'd even start, and the bruiser was to ditzy. We probably could have got a gun, as our shrink had several backstory contacts who could have got us in touch, but it never occurred to us that it would be possible. Because we are British and it went against the spirit of the game we are playing.

Seriously, you'll find the British will play by a weird set of 'you do not' rules because it breaks the spirit of the game you are playing. It's why I've only ever had trouble with one player powergaming, the actual decent minmaxers in the group build their characters to work in a team and not go against the 'feel' the group wants. So unless the GM gives the characters guns (which I'm far more lenient on in character creation, if you want a gun my first question will be 'why didn't you ask for one in char gen?') then the assumption is that it's a no guns game.

AxeAlex
2015-07-23, 09:19 AM
Probably not, most of us were unsure where we'd even start, and the bruiser was to ditzy. We probably could have got a gun, as our shrink had several backstory contacts who could have got us in touch, but it never occurred to us that it would be possible. Because we are British and it went against the spirit of the game we are playing.

Seriously, you'll find the British will play by a weird set of 'you do not' rules because it breaks the spirit of the game you are playing. It's why I've only ever had trouble with one player powergaming, the actual decent minmaxers in the group build their characters to work in a team and not go against the 'feel' the group wants. So unless the GM gives the characters guns (which I'm far more lenient on in character creation, if you want a gun my first question will be 'why didn't you ask for one in char gen?') then the assumption is that it's a no guns game.

And your group perfectly HAS the right to prefer swordfight (Swords are awesome). And the "spirit" of the game is very important to me too, I have no problem giving restrictions to my players (I was the GM all along!) and they have no problem following them. If that includes not having gun, I am perfectly fine with that, I understand, truly.

But even when someone tells me "Modern Japan" I still expect more guns than swords. (Unless it's modern mystical japan or something, that's different).

So my point was: "Swords and bows" is not the first weapon that comes to mind when most people hear "Modern UK".
I think knives, I think clubs of course, but I ALSO think gun!

And maybe it's a bad assumption from movies or American culture osmosis or whatever, but even then, you can't tell me my "normal" character would be unable and unjustified to look for a gun if he thinks his life is in danger and feels that's the best way to defend himself, just because it's illegal. Especially if we fight with knives in the streets regularly, which is also illegal. I also don't want you to make the gun appear right in my hands, that's not my point.

And if you don't WANT guns that doesn't make you wierdos or anything.
If you tell me it's not in the spirit of the game to have them, that's totally different, and I won't argue with that.

Anonymouswizard
2015-07-23, 09:30 AM
And your group perfectly HAS the right to prefer swordfight (Swords are awesome). And the "spirit" of the game is very important to me too, I have no problem giving restrictions to my players (I was the GM all along!) and they have no problem following them. If that includes not having gun, I am perfectly fine with that, I understand, truly.

But even when someone tells me "Modern Japan" I still expect more guns than swords. (Unless it's modern mystical japan or something, that's different).

So my point was: "Swords and bows" is not the first weapon that comes to mind when most people hear "Modern UK".
I think knives, I think clubs of course, but I ALSO think gun!

And if you don't WANT guns that doesn't make you wierdos or anything.
But you can't tell me my "normal" character would be unable and unjustified to look for a gun if he thinks his life is in danger and feels that's the best way to defend himself, just because it's illegal.

If you tell me it's not in the spirit of the game, that's totally different, and I won't argue with that.

Number of bows: one.
Number of practice swords: one.
Number of real swords: one very high tech one.

The game had a lot more tools being used as weapons, it's just the PCs ended up using real weapons from one of us wanting to fight at range, and one getting a present. But I do think 'sword' before 'gun' when you say 'weapons in modern UK' because 'samurai swords' were actually banned because people were using them in gang fights. But the weapons I think of are clubs, hammers, and knives, with only the big gangsters having guns. In fact, if anybody pulled a gun in a game set in London the first reaction from the characters would likely be 'whoa, do you want to alert the Bobbies to our presence?'

Milo v3
2015-07-23, 09:38 AM
I still say it's weird for many players in gun-strict nations, since we don't see guns except on tv shows. If the only time you experience something is on tv, it makes it feel... fake. Like it doesn't happen. Even on the news, you don't hear of any shootings or anything, unless they're in another country. People get stabbed, glassed, runover or whatever, but guns feel fictitious. So it ends up breaking the immersion for many, if your playing a game set in one of these place but guns are all around. I mean, who has a gun?

Knaight
2015-07-23, 09:51 AM
I still say it's weird for many players in gun-strict nations, since we don't see guns except on tv shows. If the only time you experience something is on tv, it makes it feel... fake. Like it doesn't happen. Even on the news, you don't hear of any shootings or anything, unless they're in another country. People get stabbed, glassed, runover or whatever, but guns feel fictitious. So it ends up breaking the immersion for many, if your playing a game set in one of these place but guns are all around. I mean, who has a gun?

Sure, but if we come back to the broader point, a gun is only one example of technology influencing the value of a power. Communication and transportation are also both huge; cell phones and motorcycles are vastly less restricted than guns worldwide.

AxeAlex
2015-07-23, 09:52 AM
I still say it's weird for many players in gun-strict nations, since we don't see guns except on tv shows. If the only time you experience something is on tv, it makes it feel... fake. Like it doesn't happen. Even on the news, you don't hear of any shootings or anything, unless they're in another country. People get stabbed, glassed, runover or whatever, but guns feel fictitious. So it ends up breaking the immersion for many, if your playing a game set in one of these place but guns are all around. I mean, who has a gun?

That is a good point. My group usually play to emulate some type of fiction. (Medieval Fantasy, Modern Monster Hunting, Government Conspiracy, etc)

So we expect guns if the type of fiction we are emulating has it... We WANT to feel like in a tv shows.

But, if you ARE striving for realism and showing up with a gun ruins that for you, then it's still about the "spirit" and "feel" of the game, and I can't argue with that.

Milo v3
2015-07-23, 10:07 AM
Sure, but if we come back to the broader point, a gun is only one example of technology influencing the value of a power. Communication and transportation are also both huge; cell phones and motorcycles are vastly less restricted than guns worldwide.
I found that this is one of the things mutants and masterminds did right, making equipment, devices, and inventions separate. Inventions also open the door for "okay, you can use this item for the end of the current events, but after that you'll have to spend points on it".


That is a good point. My group usually play to emulate some type of fiction. (Medieval Fantasy, Modern Monster Hunting, Government Conspiracy, etc)

So we expect guns if the type of fiction we are emulating has it... We WANT to feel like in a tv shows.

But, if you ARE striving for realism and showing up with a gun ruins that for you, then it's still about the "spirit" and "feel" of the game, and I can't argue with that.

Well, in most Australian shows, the only people with guns is generally the cops or a farmer way way way way out in the outback, so we still Are emulating the fiction.

Mr. Mask
2015-07-23, 10:28 AM
Milo: I know of a few shootings in Britain. Some people don't want to go to the media after they got shot. As for reality... is regularly getting into fights for your life with golf clubs and kendo sticks reality in Britain? My experience is more knives and pickpockets, with a few guns thrown in.


Anonymous Wizard: If you're seen anywhere near the scene of a crime where someone was murdered by a large bludgeoning tool, carrying a slightly blood stained golf club, you're going to get arrested (if there's no blood stains, then you might just be brought in and arrested when your DNA is matched to the scene). If the police find two or three murders in a row with golf-clubs, anyone carrying a golf club near the area will become a suspect, and they'll start looking into golf clubs (groups) for suspects. If your fights are out of the way enough that carrying golf clubs over to them doesn't attract much attention, a firearm isn't going to be greatly worse.

An umbrella sword would make a terrible club, possibly worse than the kendo stick. I guess you could try to weight it to be a decent club, and the same might be possible for the kendo stick. Will be suspicious if anyone checks it, which sort of ruins the concealable trait--but if no one checks it, that'd be OK.

If the weather was lousy throughout the campaign, wearing trench coats probably won't raise too much suspicion. I've seen quite a few people in black coats, and never really thought much about it. Though, travelling in large groups with loose clothes is likely to catch police attention, especially if you're carrying golf clubs and kendo sticks.

If someone was shot with an arrow at a crime scene, anyone nearby carrying an archery kit will be flagged and possibly detained for questioning. It's why criminals use knives rather than crossbows (also for ambush purposes). Archery clubs will also be checked on if such assaults/killings continue.

If the game's mechanics don't match reality, then guns may well not be worth the time (I remember one game where sticks were deadlier than swords. The game devs' solution? Give all the soldiers sticks). If a guy is willing to splatter someone with a sledge hammer, he probably has the nerve to put three rounds in someone at a similar range. "Nerve" being the most important aspect of a gunfight, accuracy being second, and speed third. It's possible comfort with your tools will make enough of a difference will make the better weapon lesser... I'll have to think about that.

A steel core to a kendo stick ought to make it a fine club. That does mean if police are suspicious, they could work out it's an illegal weapon pretty fast, as soon as they checked it. If someone was clobbered nearby, that'll be enough to get questioned, and they'll probably lock you up for possessing a steel cored kendo stick even if they can't connect you to other crimes.

Milo v3
2015-07-23, 10:32 AM
Milo: I know of a few shootings in Britain. Some people don't want to go to the media after they got shot. As for reality... is regularly getting into fights for your life with golf clubs and kendo sticks reality in Britain? My experience is more knives and pickpockets, with a few guns thrown in.
I have no idea on Britain. I've heard of more stabbings than anything else, but when I think of shootings I can recall two in my entire life (Admittedly I am young in age, but still).

NichG
2015-07-23, 10:37 AM
And anyway, here the character doesn't WANT a gun, so the point is moot.

Yes of course, and "most real people" would get bullied to silence, permanently under their thumb, and be extorted... That's why the mafia works that way. If it failed more often than not, they would NOT work that way. You don't do a story around the dude who pays the gangsters weekly while going on with his day job.

The story becomes interesting when you place that dude against a wall. If he can afford to just go with the flow and let the gangsters skim off of him, then that's hard to do anything with. But what if he can't actually pay the gangsters? Then you have the potential for stories that explore desperation, and the growth which comes out of it.



It's that almost all people play to get feelings of evasion, power, glory and drama. I would be surprised that your group is not trying to get those from the game. Why play day to day life when you can have your day to day life instead?

Fiction is at the minimum a little larger than life. Every cooking show makes cooking really larger than life.

Either you're underestimating life, or considering a very narrow vein of fiction. 'Death of a Salesman', for example - I'd say Willy Loman is less 'larger than life' than pretty much anyone posting on these forums.

Anyhow, 'gaming' is an incredibly broad endeavor all around. You may want 100% power, glory, drama, and escapism all the time. That doesn't mean that its a cardinal rule that must underlie all games or people are having badwrongfun, it just means you have a particular taste. You're in luck since many people share that taste, so lots of games follow that template. But that doesn't mean its the only possible taste, or that someone can't like multiple types of game or various combinations.

Even if you do like it, its like eating a pure icecream diet. There are other foods, even if some are acquired tastes. Deciding 'nah, I don't want to try it' or 'I'm happy with my tastes as they are' is fine, but saying 'no, broccoli can't possibly be tasty, it isn't ice cream' is just kind of strange.



No one ever implied that all PCs had to be allmighty.

Since the will of the PC is the direction and the flow of the story, what the PC wants is of utmost important in any RPG. Success is another matter, and is not guaranteed. Bad choices can a should lead to consequences.

Most people love being challenged in RPGs. You are confusing Segev's answer to someone who don't have the drive to live an adventure with a comment on powerlevels.

The implication was made several times on this thread that a PC should be able to get a gun if they wanted one even when the average person could not (regardless of any consideration of what kind of PC they are), simply by virtue of being an adventurer. Not 'because they have an ability which helps them contact the criminal underworld' or 'because they are a particularly strong-willed character' but simply because of the implicit assumption that desire should automatically translate into eventual success without significant consequences along the way. It wasn't specified in detail, but the implication was something like: anything that any 'normal' person could in theory do should be automatically within scope for any adventurer.

That's why I originally commented 'maybe Adventurer should be a merit with a point cost', because just being an Adventurer was being used as an excuse for certain things being automatically feasible. That's actually a significant power (its comparable to what you get with zero Aspect in Nobilis, e.g. the ability to consistently do as well as an average human on a good day on any task).


Your character, however, didn't think, "Oh, 30 soldiers. I guess I shouldn't try anything to oppose them, and just go do the easiest thing while hoping somebody rescuse me."

He hid. He TRIED to evade them. He failed, and made a choice to not engage in a suicidal fight to no end. And I'll bet he kept looking for opportunities to turn the situation more to his advantage after he was tied up. He didn't just proverbially give up and go home.

Actually, at that point he just went along with things perfectly placidly and told the complete, unadulterated truth in the following interrogation. Its exactly the kind of situation where most of the time PCs are their own worst enemies, because they're conditioned on the trope that 'we are always the strongest individuals in the room at any given time' and things like 'if we want something, we will eventually get it'. There's a bit of DM advice 'never run a plotline that involves taking PCs captive, because you'll just get a TPK'. So actually I found it quite amusing to just go along with the capture in that position and not treat it like a big deal. My 'proactivity' in that situation was recognizing that the correct choice was to be passive.



I understand why you're hearing that, but it's not what's being said.

What's being said is that saying "I want," when said by adventurers, means they're going to go do some pretty extreme things, try to exploit every ounce of their personal capability, in order to achieve it. And they'll keep trying, applying what they've learned from any failures rather than simply saying "first try failed, best find some totally different approach or give up."

Is there something more you can try with the current effort? An adventurer will try it. A non-adventurer will go home, lick his wounds, and try something else (if he even tries again at all).

Thus, the vast space that's getting ignored between 'complete lump' and 'adventurer' occupied by people who won't do pretty extreme things or exploit every ounce of their personal capability in every situation, but will only do so in situations within some range of their specialization or comfort zone.

AxeAlex
2015-07-23, 10:48 AM
I found that this is one of the things mutants and masterminds did right, making equipment, devices, and inventions separate. Inventions also open the door for "okay, you can use this item for the end of the current events, but after that you'll have to spend points on it".



Well, in most Australian shows, the only people with guns is generally the cops or a farmer way way way way out in the outback, so we still Are emulating the fiction.

If you say so. I could argue that most shows about conspiracies have guns. (Millenium is swedish, has guns, Conspiracy 365 is australian, has guns.) So I guess it depends on what TYPE of show you seek to emulate.

Mr. Mask
2015-07-23, 11:00 AM
Milo: News isn't always the best guide for this sort of thing. Recently, there's up to 200 deaths from gun crime a year (it varies by up to 60 casualties between years), in the UK. Not a lot compared to the number of stabbings, but compared to the 2 in a lifetime, it tells a very different story (two in a decade wouldn't even be worth statistics). And I know of cases where random gang kids would sometimes pull a gun on someone for saying the wrong thing. Get into a violent neighbourhood during a turf war, and tensions get very high, and the chance of people getting and using guns increases.

Milo v3
2015-07-23, 11:06 AM
Milo: News isn't always the best guide for this sort of thing. Recently, there's up to 200 deaths from gun crime a year (it varies by up to 60 casualties between years), in the UK. Not a lot compared to the number of stabbings, but compared to the 2 in a lifetime, it tells a very different story (two in a decade wouldn't even be worth statistics). And I know of cases where random gang kids would sometimes pull a gun on someone for saying the wrong thing. Get into a violent neighbourhood during a turf war, and tensions get very high, and the chance of people getting and using guns increases.

Thing is, this isn't about what really happens. This is about how you view and understand the area. And if you don't see that stuff in the media, then you don't know it happens, and thus it didn't happen when it comes to forming your understanding of the area.

AxeAlex
2015-07-23, 12:27 PM
The story becomes interesting when you place that dude against a wall. If he can afford to just go with the flow and let the gangsters skim off of him, then that's hard to do anything with. But what if he can't actually pay the gangsters? Then you have the potential for stories that explore desperation, and the growth which comes out of it.

What happens when MOST people can't pay gansters? They get their legs broken or something... Their family suffer, and their revenge fails. If someone can't pay gangsters and goes into an adventure to avoid consequences and succeeds, he is not "most people". Gangster would not LEND money in the first place if they didn't benefit from it when lending to "most people". And when they don't get paid, they HAVE to set examples to make sure other people don't think they can just not pay, and they succeed with "most people" or else, again, they would not lend the money in the first place.


Either you're underestimating life, or considering a very narrow vein of fiction. 'Death of a Salesman', for example - I'd say Willy Loman is less 'larger than life' than pretty much anyone posting on these forums.

I don't know that story. But I gave "Of mice and men" as an example of story that's down to earth and plausible. There's a LOT of them. But plausible does not mean "day-to-day average".


Anyhow, 'gaming' is an incredibly broad endeavor all around. You may want 100% power, glory, drama, and escapism all the time. That doesn't mean that its a cardinal rule that must underlie all games or people are having badwrongfun, it just means you have a particular taste. You're in luck since many people share that taste, so lots of games follow that template. But that doesn't mean its the only possible taste, or that someone can't like multiple types of game or various combinations.

Give me an example of any kind of player who would agree to portray day to day life without drama and conflict. They will agree to portrait "realistic" and "down-to-earth", but you WILL have conflict, you WILL have drama (But maybe light drama or fun meaningless drama), and you WILL end up with something more than "average". Possible, plausible, sure, but not average/day-to-day/unremarkable. It will be, in some way or another, a little or a lot, "larger than life".


Even if you do like it, its like eating a pure icecream diet. There are other foods, even if some are acquired tastes. Deciding 'nah, I don't want to try it' or 'I'm happy with my tastes as they are' is fine, but saying 'no, broccoli can't possibly be tasty, it isn't ice cream' is just kind of strange.

But the fact that you eat pop-corn is irrelevant if you are in a icecream eating convention. RPGs are about conflict resolution, like stories. You can try to make a conflictless plot, but you will soon be bored.

The difference in RPGs and other narratives is that the story is centered around a character that is not controlled by the world-Creator, that makes ALL the differences.


The implication was made several times on this thread that a PC should be able to get a gun if they wanted one even when the average person could not (regardless of any consideration of what kind of PC they are), simply by virtue of being an adventurer. Not 'because they have an ability which helps them contact the criminal underworld' or 'because they are a particularly strong-willed character' but simply because of the implicit assumption that desire should automatically translate into eventual success without significant consequences along the way. It wasn't specified in detail, but the implication was something like: anything that any 'normal' person could in theory do should be automatically within scope for any adventurer.

That's why I originally commented 'maybe Adventurer should be a merit with a point cost', because just being an Adventurer was being used as an excuse for certain things being automatically feasible. That's actually a significant power (its comparable to what you get with zero Aspect in Nobilis, e.g. the ability to consistently do as well as an average human on a good day on any task).

The protagonist is the center of the story. The PC is a form of protagonist who's will takes the story into any number of directions. A PC will not give up to get a gun is he wants one and feels he needs one. I didn't mean that he would automatically succeed just because he is the protagonist (If I expressed myself in a way that made you conclude this, sorry), but he is not some average person (and no, he NEVER is), who will back down easily, his will is the plot, we are playing out HIS life and HIS will, and we make it so it is INTERESTING to play out for 2 or more outside observers.

The player that controls him may try to play him truthfully, but the fact is, the player himself will face NO consequence whatever happens to his character, so his character WILL act differently than (most) real life person would.

That usually results in a greater persistence, less preservation instinct, no shame and less fear, whether you want it or not.

NichG
2015-07-23, 01:22 PM
What happens when MOST people can't pay gansters? They get their legs broken or something... Their family suffer, and their revenge fails. If someone can't pay gangsters and goes into an adventure to avoid consequences and succeeds, he is not "most people". Gangster would not LEND money in the first place if they didn't benefit from it when lending to "most people". And when they don't get paid, they HAVE to set examples to make sure other people don't think they can just not pay, and they succeed with "most people" or else, again, they would not lend the money in the first place.

I don't know that story. But I gave "Of mice and men" as an example of story that kinda down to earth. But down to earth does not mean "day-to-day average".

Give me an example of any kind of player who would agree to portray day to day life without drama and conflict. They will agree to portrait "realistic" and "down-to-earth", but you WILL have conflict, you WILL have drama, and you WILL end up with something unplausible. Possible, sure, but still unplausible.

I'm not asking for something without drama or conflict, and I'm not asking for Lowest Common Denominator, Uniform Average At All Times and Places. As far as I can tell, you're the only one asking for that. My entire point is that you can get drama, conflict, and ultimately interesting gameplay within the space in between the 'non-characters' and the adventurers.

And this whole 'unplausible' thing is bunk. Average people have conflict and drama in their lives. Someone who manages to live without having any moments where their decisions are actually meaningful and non-trivial is by far the exception, not the rule. The average person will experience many of the following over the course of their life: travelling away from home from the first time, being on their own for the first time, getting lost, getting into an argument, trying to find a job (and having their ability to support themselves or possibly their family depend on their success or failure), finding a mate, raising a child, being expected to do something that they're unable to, being in a murky social situation with conflicting loyalties or realities (e.g. having to be stern with a friend), suffering an injury or illness requiring hospitalization, dealing with unexpected death of family or friends, dealing with seeing family or friends decline, and dozens of other things which are moments of significant drama and conflict in the course of their lives.

Are you really saying that every one of those things is inevitably going to be un-plausible?



The protagonist is the center of the story. The PCs is a form of protagonist who's will takes the story into any number of directions. A PCs will not give up to get a gun is he wants one and feels he needs one. I didn't mean that he would automatically succeed just because he is the protagonist (If I expressed myself in a way that made you conclude this, sorry), but he is not some average person (and no, he NEVER is), who will back down easily, his will is the plot, we are playing out HIS life and HIS will, and we make it so it is INTERESTING to play out for 2 or more outside observers.

The player that controls him may try to play him truthfully, but the fact is, the player himself will face NO consequence whatever happens to his character, so his character WILL act differently than (most) real life person would.

That usually results in a greater persistence, less preservation instinct, no shame and less fear, whether you want it or not.

First of all, the goal here is not some perfect emulation of a non-existent individual - that's a useless standard, and impossible anyhow. Its rather simply about having games that center around sub-adventurer characters. Dealing with the asymmetry between player will and character will is where good game design comes in, both at the level of the system and of the GM running a particular session.

You say that the player faces no consequence, but that's not true - everything else aside, players face the consequence of possibly being bored. If your character gets killed and you're spending the next 2 hours making a new one, that's a disincentive. The DM who insists on running the gun sidequest in gory detail ('nope, no gun seller on this block, now what? nope, no gun seller on this block either, no what?') is applying this consequence - they're making the player feel bored as a proxy for the unease or helplessness that their character should be feeling. Its a primitive technique (because boring your players isn't really something you should be aiming for), but it is an example of a way in which the DM can try to bridge that gap.

(Players and DMs also face social consequences if they behave in a way which goes against what everyone has gathered to do. If everyone has agreed to play a game about cooking competitions, and one of the players insists on playing their 'I want a gun!' sidequest that has nothing to do with anything, that guy is going to end up pissing off the other players who are being forced to sit there and watch - and they're going to get pissed off at the DM who allows that kind of thing to go on rather than just saying 'sorry, that isn't going to happen, lets move on')

Above and beyond that, a good game creates emotional investment, and that emotional investment expands the consequences a player faces. Becoming emotionally invested is actually a player skill, and good players know what they need in order to become connected to the game. An important aspect of the art of game design is creating proxies that the player will become personally invested in, and then tying those proxies to in-world ideas in order to induce a certain kind of style or feeling of play. Something like character advancement and XP systems are exactly this - you're tapping into the player's external interest in receiving reward, and then tying it to in-game concepts. By playing on those rewards and penalties, you can direct a player's will without just directly boring them into giving up. For example, if I'm running a cooking game, if the only method of earning XP is by dealing with problems via cooking, that's going to really strongly shape how the players behave.

There's also quite a lot of room in various forms of narrative control mechanics. Even if the player wants their PC to drop everything and go into the dark alley to find a gun seller, the game mechanics can step in and help represent aspects of their character which the player is unable to themselves represent. Perhaps going into the dark alley costs an expenditure of Willpower points, and the character simply does not have enough to force themselves to do it. Or perhaps the player is rewarded with power-ups for playing the character consistently, gaining Action Points or extra XP or whatever whenever their character's limits come up in a game-relevant way. Or perhaps every detail in the game must be paid for with dramatic editing points (even the details the GM specifies), with costs set by the game genre, and so making a gun appear in a cooking game is just way outside everyone's OOC budget.

AxeAlex
2015-07-23, 01:57 PM
I'm not asking for something without drama or conflict, and I'm not asking for Lowest Common Denominator, Uniform Average At All Times and Places. As far as I can tell, you're the only one asking for that. My entire point is that you can get drama, conflict, and ultimately interesting gameplay within the space in between the 'non-characters' and the adventurer.

You are the one putting the adventurer on a pedestal now. There is no space between "non-characters" and "characters", you are a protagonist or you arent. If you are, you are not "average".

Protagonists have strenghts and weaknesses, sure. But the whole story is about them, the world revolves around them. Their will writes the plot. No unremarkable random person can boast that.


And this whole 'unplausible' thing is bunk. Average people have conflict and drama in their lives. Someone who manages to live without having any moments where their decisions are actually meaningful and non-trivial is by far the exception, not the rule. The average person will experience many of the following over the course of their life: travelling away from home from the first time, being on their own for the first time, getting lost, getting into an argument, trying to find a job (and having their ability to support themselves or possibly their family depend on their success or failure), finding a mate, raising a child, being expected to do something that they're unable to, being in a murky social situation with conflicting loyalties or realities (e.g. having to be stern with a friend), suffering an injury or illness requiring hospitalization, dealing with unexpected death of family or friends, dealing with seeing family or friends decline, and dozens of other things which are moments of significant drama and conflict in the course of their lives.

Are you really saying that every one of those things is inevitably going to be un-plausible?

You are 100% right that plausible was really a bad choice of word. English is not my first language, sometimes I have a hard time expressing myself. I was actually editing this part when you posted:

Your resulting story, in a RPG, can be plausible, but it will never be "average". Possible, plausible, sure, but not average/day-to-day/unremarkable. It will be, in some way or another, a little or a lot, "larger than life".

You will NOT play the simple life of some random person. At the very least, you will FAST FOWARD the boring parts, and doing that is so you can make the "average" and "day-to-day" aspect go away.

If he IS not larger than life, then the larger than life plot you are playing out will MAKE him.

Now if you say you want drama and conflict that's not average and unremarkable inflicted upon average and unremarkable characters, then you will STILL play a character who will handle such drama and conflict in a way that's INTERESTING for the players around the table, not a way that's boring, predictable and uneventful like anybody would do. He's not anybody, he's the protagonist.


First of all, the goal here is not some perfect emulation of a non-existent individual - that's a useless standard, and impossible anyhow. Its rather simply about having games that center around sub-adventurer characters. Dealing with the asymmetry between player will and character will is where good game design comes in, both at the level of the system and of the GM running a particular session.

Again, there si no such thing as "sub-adventurer". Either you live the adventure or you don't. If your character is not suited to live the adventure, you should not play that character.
-"I thought it was a different kind of adventure, I'll have to create a new character."

Again, all I mean is that all RPG stories and/or their protagonists are larger than life. I already apologized if I made you conclude that I think all protagonists must be badass or succeed everything. I don't.

I believe that a real random average person with a good reason can get a Gun, and a PC has even more chances, because the person controlling him has no real fears or consequences to face, and if I am making my character do that, it's because I intent to succeed and I will not give up easily or else I would NOT have gone to get the gun in the first place.

And regular people CAN live special moments in their lives. But you will play out these special, interesting, remarkable moments. Those short moments where the protagonist rise or fall, where he succeeds or fails. The moments where has a chance to be more than an unremarkable random person.

You will not play a story where the protagonist would be uninteresting or of no consequences.



You say that the player faces no consequence, but that's not true - everything else aside, players face the consequence of possibly being bored. If your character gets killed and you're spending the next 2 hours making a new one, that's a disincentive. The DM who insists on running the gun sidequest in gory detail ('nope, no gun seller on this block, now what? nope, no gun seller on this block either, no what?') is applying this consequence - they're making the player feel bored as a proxy for the unease or helplessness that their character should be feeling. Its a primitive technique (because boring your players isn't really something you should be aiming for), but it is an example of a way in which the DM can try to bridge that gap.

These are meta consequences. that's not what I was talking about and you probabbly know it. And the fact that the consequences the player and the character face are so different means my point stands, you already agreed with me on this when you said perfect emulation was impossible.


(Players and DMs also face social consequences if they behave in a way which goes against what everyone has gathered to do. If everyone has agreed to play a game about cooking competitions, and one of the players insists on playing their 'I want a gun!' sidequest that has nothing to do with anything, that guy is going to end up pissing off the other players who are being forced to sit there and watch - and they're going to get pissed off at the DM who allows that kind of thing to go on rather than just saying 'sorry, that isn't going to happen, lets move on')

Of course. But you should read my others posts on the gun-thing. Because we are not talking about a cooking competition, we are talking about a game where people swordfight in the steets of London.

No one wants to bring a gun in a cooking competition. Except psychos, I guess.

Segev
2015-07-23, 04:46 PM
Nobody has argued that, in a game about a cooking contest, you should be allowed to go get a gun. The context was quite clearly related to games where the use of a gun would make sense.

I contend, also, that the "average" person COULD get one, but most WOULD NOT even if they had a mild urge to do so simply because it would be too hard, and thus they would lack sufficient motivation.

Now, you might say, "but that would make them non-average, if they had that motivation," but the key phrase is "could" vs. "would." And that really is about motivation.

Nobody says Superman couldn't crush Lex Luthor's head between his palms and simply take anything he wants with his superspeed, strength, and invulnerability. He definitely could. They say he wouldn't. Because his motivations are such that he will not.

Anonymouswizard
2015-07-23, 04:49 PM
Anonymous Wizard: If you're seen anywhere near the scene of a crime where someone was murdered by a large bludgeoning tool, carrying a slightly blood stained golf club, you're going to get arrested (if there's no blood stains, then you might just be brought in and arrested when your DNA is matched to the scene). If the police find two or three murders in a row with golf-clubs, anyone carrying a golf club near the area will become a suspect, and they'll start looking into golf clubs (groups) for suspects. If your fights are out of the way enough that carrying golf clubs over to them doesn't attract much attention, a firearm isn't going to be greatly worse.

There were various factors such as us operating in a semiofficial capacity and most of the fights being self defence, plus due to the specific circumstances we mostly got away from fights by biking through the tube. My real answer is if you are going to play a game in Britain, either spec for unarmed combat or use cheap, ditchable knives and avoid leaving evidence.


An umbrella sword would make a terrible club, possibly worse than the kendo stick. I guess you could try to weight it to be a decent club, and the same might be possible for the kendo stick. Will be suspicious if anyone checks it, which sort of ruins the concealable trait--but if no one checks it, that'd be OK.

They, the GM didn't have enough materials science. The umbrella also couldn't open from being too reinforced.


If the weather was lousy throughout the campaign, wearing trench coats probably won't raise too much suspicion. I've seen quite a few people in black coats, and never really thought much about it. Though, travelling in large groups with loose clothes is likely to catch police attention, especially if you're carrying golf clubs and kendo sticks.

Yeah, the problem was essentially when four people in the same basic outfit crowded into a white van.


If someone was shot with an arrow at a crime scene, anyone nearby carrying an archery kit will be flagged and possibly detained for questioning. It's why criminals use knives rather than crossbows (also for ambush purposes). Archery clubs will also be checked on if such assaults/killings continue.

Thankfully none of this happened near where my character lived (Hither Green).


If the game's mechanics don't match reality, then guns may well not be worth the time (I remember one game where sticks were deadlier than swords. The game devs' solution? Give all the soldiers sticks). If a guy is willing to splatter someone with a sledge hammer, he probably has the nerve to put three rounds in someone at a similar range. "Nerve" being the most important aspect of a gunfight, accuracy being second, and speed third. It's possible comfort with your tools will make enough of a difference will make the better weapon lesser... I'll have to think about that.

The mechanics matched up with reality well enough, guns were the better option if you had the skill.


A steel core to a kendo stick ought to make it a fine club. That does mean if police are suspicious, they could work out it's an illegal weapon pretty fast, as soon as they checked it. If someone was clobbered nearby, that'll be enough to get questioned, and they'll probably lock you up for possessing a steel cored kendo stick even if they can't connect you to other crimes.

As it turned out, biking through the tube was really useful.

goto124
2015-07-23, 09:55 PM
What are we arguing about now?

NichG
2015-07-24, 01:47 AM
You are the one putting the adventurer on a pedestal now. There is no space between "non-characters" and "characters", you are a protagonist or you arent. If you are, you are not "average".

Protagonists have strenghts and weaknesses, sure. But the whole story is about them, the world revolves around them. Their will writes the plot. No unremarkable random person can boast that.
You are 100% right that plausible was really a bad choice of word. English is not my first language, sometimes I have a hard time expressing myself. I was actually editing this part when you posted:

Your resulting story, in a RPG, can be plausible, but it will never be "average". Possible, plausible, sure, but not average/day-to-day/unremarkable. It will be, in some way or another, a little or a lot, "larger than life".

You will NOT play the simple life of some random person. At the very least, you will FAST FOWARD the boring parts, and doing that is so you can make the "average" and "day-to-day" aspect go away.

...
And regular people CAN live special moments in their lives. But you will play out these special, interesting, remarkable moments. Those short moments where the protagonist rise or fall, where he succeeds or fails. The moments where has a chance to be more than an unremarkable random person.
...


Distillation is a perfectly reasonable approach. My target here isn't to be boring, its to capture the interesting things about a set of challenges or obstacles that usually get ignored because they're lower power level than your default set of 'the powers a character gets simply by virtue of being played by an out-of-game intelligence'.



If he IS not larger than life, then the larger than life plot you are playing out will MAKE him.

Now if you say you want drama and conflict that's not average and unremarkable inflicted upon average and unremarkable characters, then you will STILL play a character who will handle such drama and conflict in a way that's INTERESTING for the players around the table, not a way that's boring, predictable and uneventful like anybody would do. He's not anybody, he's the protagonist.


Again, its not 'average' or 'boring' that I'm after here, but rather those things which are are usually swept under the rug because of the 'of course he's exceptional, he's a protagonist!' mentality setting a high minimum bar for obstacles and thereby excluding a lot of possibilities that make for interesting gameplay beneath that bar. Because the expectation of the character being exceptional is being applied uniformly, you end up excluding anything that wouldn't be a challenge for any person who could be described as average, ignoring the possibility that maybe the character could find something that an average person could do difficult.



Again, there si no such thing as "sub-adventurer". Either you live the adventure or you don't. If your character is not suited to live the adventure, you should not play that character.
-"I thought it was a different kind of adventure, I'll have to create a new character."

You can absolutely have a character who is not suited for the events that they're enmeshed in, but must deal with it anyhow. As I said, that's the entire set of games which center around the theme of desperation. For example, pretty much any character short of Old Man Henderson is unsuited for Call of Cthulhu, but that doesn't make the game unplayable, it means that the game is about a particular kind of story.



I believe that a real random average person with a good reason can get a Gun, and a PC has even more chances, because the person controlling him has no real fears or consequences to face, and if I am making my character do that, it's because I intent to succeed and I will not give up easily or else I would NOT have gone to get the gun in the first place.

These are meta consequences. that's not what I was talking about and you probabbly know it. And the fact that the consequences the player and the character face are so different means my point stands, you already agreed with me on this when you said perfect emulation was impossible.

Dealing with that difference using e.g. meta consequences or other such things is where the game design comes in. For example, lets say my goal is to build a game centering around the lives of street gangs in the UK - going for something like the feel of the show about the Peaky Blinders or similar. In that setting, guns are very serious business and complicate matters significantly, and I want to communicate that to the players who might be coming from a background which sets their personal expectations that 'we're playing criminals, guns should be standard and everywhere'. So that's the expectation I have to deal with - that's what creates the 'what do you mean I can't have a gun?!' reaction.

As a game designer, I would want to make the role of guns crystal clear both in the fluff and in the mechanics. In this setting, I don't want to exclude them entirely, but I want to make sure that they're not all over the place. Sticking with the Peaky Blinders example, one of their gang members was imprisoned for being in possession of a gun - in D&D terms, thats sort of like being subject to a save or die every time you walk in front of a cop. But if I just have cops suddenly arrest and ship off the PCs to prison, that doesn't communicate what is reasonable and what isn't to the players before they've already stepped in it, so it will (rightfully) feel unfair.

So instead, I can try to make such things explicit in a smoother way. For example, I might have a mechanic which represents the amount of police attention that the gang has drawn (Heat), which slowly decays. Even just acquiring a gun creates a bit of Heat for everyone in the gang (that is, all the other PCs as well). A public fight won't generate Heat in areas where that kind of thing is common, but injuries reported at a hospital or deaths will generate Heat. In addition, injuries or deaths that suggest that the gangs are getting access to things that the police really don't want them to have (e.g. gunshot wounds) will increase the Heat a lot more than injuries or deaths that look more like crimes of opportunity (wine bottle over the head, etc). The issue is still, what's the point of a fight if you don't remove your enemy's ability to act? So to fix that, add a healing system which allows you to shrug off minor wounds quickly but which takes a lot longer to recover from major wounds or heavy beatings and which applies penalties to actions in a sufficiently wounded state. So now if you want to deal with a rival gang, you can either kill them (and get a huge amount of Heat for it which will likely lead to police raids and other problems), or get them all wounded so it'll be a few months before they'll be able to act again.

That's what I mean about game design being able to bridge the gap. The players might not believe that 'a gun is a big deal', so they'll come in with expectations along those lines. But very explicit game mechanics can communicate to them 'not only is it a big deal, but here is why'.



Of course. But you should read my others posts on the gun-thing. Because we are not talking about a cooking competition, we are talking about a game where people swordfight in the steets of London.


For what it's worth, I agree that the swordfighting thing is weird, since if you're really trying to use setting realism as a reason to block guns then that should pretty much block swords too. I'm just chalking this up to an argument-generated example which has spun so out of control that its in zany land.

1337 b4k4
2015-07-24, 08:03 AM
You can absolutely have a character who is not suited for the events that they're enmeshed in, but must deal with it anyhow. As I said, that's the entire set of games which center around the theme of desperation. For example, pretty much any character short of Old Man Henderson is unsuited for Call of Cthulhu, but that doesn't make the game unplayable, it means that the game is about a particular kind of story.


Eh, even with CoC there's an element of the characters being unique or of a particular stock to keep going. Most real people would either be oblivious, afraid or genre savy enough to avoid, run or die in most CoC campaigns. That your characters tends to do better than others (even if it's just marginally so) is exemplary of the idea that PCs are something else from just the mere mundane every day person. That isn't to say that your characters still can't be way out of their depth and unsuited for the given tasks at hand, but how they respond to that is generally out of the ordinary and what makes them protagonists as opposed to background characters. To borrow a bit from history, consider Oskar Schindler. He was undeniably completely and utterly out of his element with regards to stopping the tragedy around him. And he didn't do anything that anyone else in his position could not have done. But he found the drive, the desire and ultimately the compassion to do it. He responded differently, and that is why we know his name as opposed to the names of other German industrialists from the same time period.

AxeAlex
2015-07-24, 08:05 AM
Distillation is a perfectly reasonable approach. My target here isn't to be boring, its to capture the interesting things about a set of challenges or obstacles that usually get ignored because they're lower power level than your default set of 'the powers a character gets simply by virtue of being played by an out-of-game intelligence'.

Again, its not 'average' or 'boring' that I'm after here, but rather those things which are are usually swept under the rug because of the 'of course he's exceptional, he's a protagonist!' mentality setting a high minimum bar for obstacles and thereby excluding a lot of possibilities that make for interesting gameplay beneath that bar. Because the expectation of the character being exceptional is being applied uniformly, you end up excluding anything that wouldn't be a challenge for any person who could be described as average, ignoring the possibility that maybe the character could find something that an average person could do difficult.

There is no "default" power-level in gaming. I don't think I get what you mean by challenges that get ignored because they're lower power level than your default set. Could you give an example?

A GM should NOT impose events that are trivial for the average person as hard challenges to his player UNLESS the players agrees or invites it. Nobody wants to roll to walk without tripping, even if people trip in real life. That is disruptive to the story and the game, even if random tripping can have serious, deadly consequences.

If you have to get over a 4 feet residential wooden fence and have no time limit, I would never ask my players for a roll, it's not fun if the GM decides that your character can't do something trivial. Now, if one character was really unathletic it was the clear weakness of the character, I COULD, as the GM, ask him a roll to get over that 4 feet fence, but I would ask the player first:
"You are really unathletic, don't you agree your character could fail to get ovet the fence?"

Even then, I would not impose it on the player if he answers:
"Seriously? Well, ok he's not athletic, but cmon it's a 4 feet fence, I don't think he'd have any problem climbing it.. Even if he did, the others could help him..."


You can absolutely have a character who is not suited for the events that they're enmeshed in, but must deal with it anyhow. As I said, that's the entire set of games which center around the theme of desperation. For example, pretty much any character short of Old Man Henderson is unsuited for Call of Cthulhu, but that doesn't make the game unplayable, it means that the game is about a particular kind of story.

No, all characters you play in Call of Cthulu are suited to have the adventure, or else they wouldn't investigate, or agree to be followed by a shrink and be interned, or paralyse in fear and be killed, or something. And all this would PREVENT them from actively participate in the adventure.

If they HAVE the adventure, even if they fail, they were suited to have it. They had the curiosity to investigate, or the courage to stand up to their cultist boss, or the willpower to go on when they learned they were fightning the impossible, etc. As soon as the player makes the characters get in the adventure, then he decides he that character is suited to "accept" and "live" it.

No players, when they hear their boss speak with a outlandish voice of legion coming from the bathroom mirror, will decide to simply ignore it and get back to work. THAT would make the character unsuited to have the adventure, but it won't happen.

EDIT: 1337 b4k4 above exposed it quite eloquently.


Dealing with that difference using e.g. meta consequences ... SNIP ...or get them all wounded so it'll be a few months before they'll be able to act again.

Yeah, different systems can encourage different ways to play.


That's what I mean about game design being able to bridge the gap. The players might not believe that 'a gun is a big deal', so they'll come in with expectations along those lines. But very explicit game mechanics can communicate to them 'not only is it a big deal, but here is why'.

Of course, but I already accepted that I would NOT get a gun in a game where the GM tells me he doesn't want guns. Just that in a setting where it is NOT specified but guns are available, I could be justified to get one.



For what it's worth, I agree that the swordfighting thing is weird, since if you're really trying to use setting realism as a reason to block guns then that should pretty much block swords too. I'm just chalking this up to an argument-generated example which has spun so out of control that its in zany land.

I think so too. I think any setting that has knife/sword/club fightning in the streets at night should not use realism as an excuse to ban guns. Personnal preferences, stylistic choices, or anything else is perfectly valid to me as a reason NOT to get a gun, though.



The mechanics matched up with reality well enough, guns were the better option if you had the skill.

In a street fight you need almost no skill for the gun to be a vastly superior weapon to anything else. Guns skills would only be important at long-range fights or when fightning strategic professionals like soldiers or something.

The gun is noisy, that's his weakness. But appart from that, a 12 year old kid with a gun could beat a UFC champion, or a Swordmaster. But give him any other weapon and he can't possibly win.

The gun actually has almost no skill required. That's why it eventually replaced all other weapons in warfare. Initially it had worst range than a bow, reloaded alot slower, and was about as deadly. The only advantage it had was that it required almost no training, so regular people could fight trained warrior with them.

So, tell me I have regular, asthmatic, small and skinny office worker as a character, and no way i'll fight thugs and criminals with a knife... I KNOW i'll get trashed since I never fought in my life, have no reach with my short limbs, and can't fight long with my asthma... I'll get a gun, so the skill difference won't matter.

If my life is in threatened by knife-wielding thugs, my office worker should be able to find the motivation to get that gun or die trying, it's his best bet to survive. If he dies trying it's STILL part of the story and the game, i simply failed. I failed a task that was not hard, but had possibly terrible consequences for failure... Like washing the windows outside a skyscraper.

NichG
2015-07-24, 10:56 PM
There is no "default" power-level in gaming. I don't think I get what you mean by challenges that get ignored because they're lower power level than your default set. Could you give an example?

The 'default' I'm talking about here is exists in the minds of the GM and player when they decide implicitly what kinds of stories to play games about. For instance, in the example you gave of the 4 foot fence, you had an assumption 'because these are PCs, a 4 foot fence should not be a challenge'. But 'because these are PCs' means that there is a minimum level of ability you expect to ever run a game about, since merely by virtue of being played by a player you assume some challenges are automatically trivial. But there are people in the real world who can't get over a 4 foot fence, but are exceptional in other ways. Granted, climbing a 4 foot fence is not an interesting challenge, so its a bad example of missed opportunities in gaming.

Maybe a better example would be something like a bunch of characters in an environment like Office Space or Better off Ted. The challenges for those characters would be to protect their personality, ethics, and livelyhood in a soul crushing and evil environment. They can't just quit, because if they quit they lose their livelyhood. They can't just go along with everything they're told, because then they end up violating their ethics. And if they subsume their personality too much, they become dead inside, but if they exhibit it too much they draw the attention of the corporate overlords.

In terms of the will of the player, a player could just say 'Fine, I do the 6 hours of mandatory paperwork. You want me to roll to see if I make a mistake? Well, how about I just spend another 12 hours double-checking?' as easily as they could say 'I go get a coffee.' - they both take the same amount of table time, after all. If you don't do anything special with this, a player who isn't already deeply immersed isn't going to feel like avoiding the paperwork would actually be a worthwhile goal for their character. They'll just see trying to skip out on that as taking a risk which would bring down corporate attention. So of course they can easily just make the metagame decision and play their character as totally iron willed and unbreakable. To really communicate that 'doing 6 hours of paperwork' is the equivalent of taking a blow to the skull from an orc-wielding mace, you have to design the game to make the consequences clear (e.g. each hour of boring labor you perform, you lose a point of Personality, which chains to other mechanics, etc, etc).



No, all characters you play in Call of Cthulu are suited to have the adventure, or else they wouldn't investigate, or agree to be followed by a shrink and be interned, or paralyse in fear and be killed, or something. And all this would PREVENT them from actively participate in the adventure.

If they HAVE the adventure, even if they fail, they were suited to have it. They had the curiosity to investigate, or the courage to stand up to their cultist boss, or the willpower to go on when they learned they were fightning the impossible, etc. As soon as the player makes the characters get in the adventure, then he decides he that character is suited to "accept" and "live" it.


Many characters in Call of Cthulhu do get paralyzed by fear and are killed. That's actually part of the sanity-loss mechanic, where when you lose more than a certain amount of sanity at once you go into a panic and spontaneously develop a temporary mental disorder until you have a chance to get out of danger and recover your senses.

I think the error you're making here is to combine the player and the character too much. If you're playing Call of Cthulhu, then as a player you've presumably bought into the idea that this is a game about how your character slowly enters a downward spiral, is warped by the horror they experience, and eventually dies horribly. You're taking a character and putting them in this situation but you aren't necessarily having the character put themselves in the situation. That is, from the character's point of view, the 'adventure' isn't voluntary; it's not something they can just decide to not pursue. For example, something like the movie The Ring. The protagonist can just stop investigating, but then he will simply die, and he knows that. He's not suited for the adventure - he's not entering into his situation with gusto or willingness - but he will still act, because not acting is no longer an option for him.

There are game systems that make this separation even more explicit, and basically give the players dramatic editing resources with the intent that they not be used to help their character succeed, but rather that they be used to make their character have interesting setbacks and difficulties (along with reward systems to drive that home).

No players, when they hear their boss speak with a outlandish voice of legion coming from the bathroom mirror, will decide to simply ignore it and get back to work. THAT would make the character unsuited to have the adventure, but it won't happen.


I think so too. I think any setting that has knife/sword/club fightning in the streets at night should not use realism as an excuse to ban guns. Personnal preferences, stylistic choices, or anything else is perfectly valid to me as a reason NOT to get a gun, though.

Clubs or knives I could see, because anything can be a club and knives are everywhere and generally are used for things other than killing people. But 'swords' don't have a secondary usage or a standardized place in society, so a city that bans guns isn't going to say 'oh a sword, well thats okay!' unless its a very heavily themed game or an alternate time/setting where swords do have a standardized secondary usage in society other than for killing people.



So, tell me I have regular, asthmatic, small and skinny office worker as a character, and no way i'll fight thugs and criminals with a knife... I KNOW i'll get trashed since I never fought in my life, have no reach with my short limbs, and can't fight long with my asthma... I'll get a gun, so the skill difference won't matter.

If my life is in threatened by knife-wielding thugs, my office worker should be able to find the motivation to get that gun or die trying, it's his best bet to survive. If he dies trying it's STILL part of the story and the game, i simply failed. I failed a task that was not hard, but had possibly terrible consequences for failure... Like washing the windows outside a skyscraper.

It actually isn't your best bet to survive. Your best bet to survive is to not engage the knife-wielding thugs in any form of combat whatsoever. Your guy with a gun against six knife wielding thugs is just as dead as your guy without a gun against six knife wielding thugs.

Mr. Mask
2015-07-24, 11:27 PM
If you're playing a horror game, where the goal is to escape the adventure as quickly as possible, then yes, just about any character with some drive to survive will work out, even if they're otherwise normal or unadventurous. If you want them to investigate cults and regularly get into fights, then no, they'll need to have a pretty strong sense of adventure or some other strong drives (and if they have those other strong drives, it basically acts like a sense of adventure).


"I think so too. I think any setting that has knife/sword/club fightning in the streets at night should not use realism as an excuse to ban guns. Personnal preferences, stylistic choices, or anything else is perfectly valid to me as a reason NOT to get a gun, though."

"Clubs or knives I could see, because anything can be a club and knives are everywhere and generally are used for things other than killing people. But 'swords' don't have a secondary usage or a standardized place in society, so a city that bans guns isn't going to say 'oh a sword, well thats okay!' unless its a very heavily themed game or an alternate time/setting where swords do have a standardized secondary usage in society other than for killing people."

I think the response here doesn't quite follow the previous statement. I figure this is in response to the general chain of discussion, but still, this doesn't really answer or contradict Alex's point.


"It actually isn't your best bet to survive. Your best bet to survive is to not engage the knife-wielding thugs in any form of combat whatsoever. Your guy with a gun against six knife wielding thugs is just as dead as your guy without a gun against six knife wielding thugs."

Which is why the character ignored the adventure hook and stuck to their office job, like any sensible person would.

NichG
2015-07-25, 12:10 AM
"I think so too. I think any setting that has knife/sword/club fightning in the streets at night should not use realism as an excuse to ban guns. Personnal preferences, stylistic choices, or anything else is perfectly valid to me as a reason NOT to get a gun, though."

"Clubs or knives I could see, because anything can be a club and knives are everywhere and generally are used for things other than killing people. But 'swords' don't have a secondary usage or a standardized place in society, so a city that bans guns isn't going to say 'oh a sword, well thats okay!' unless its a very heavily themed game or an alternate time/setting where swords do have a standardized secondary usage in society other than for killing people."

I think the response here doesn't quite follow the previous statement. I figure this is in response to the general chain of discussion, but still, this doesn't really answer or contradict Alex's point.


Its a separate branch of the discussion. I responded because I felt it was important to clarify the 'why' of what was reasonable or not reasonable here, since that seemed to speak to Alex's viewpoints on the other matters.

That is to say, its not that "it doesn't make sense for guns to be inaccessible because people who are fighting for their lives would want them in order to survive", its that "it doesn't make sense for guns to be inaccessible if the city is perfectly fine with people possessing other lethal weapons whose only purpose is killing".

E.g. the need of the character doesn't determine what is reasonable for the setting. It's the internal self-consistency of the setting that determines what is reasonable for the setting. A character can simply be unable to actualize their desires in a given setting.


Which is why the character ignored the adventure hook and stuck to their office job, like any sensible person would.

Presumably, the knife-wielding thugs are coming after the character, so sticking to their office job isn't actually that sensible either. But going to the police, going into hiding, fleeing the city, bribing the thugs, trying to find out why these thugs are trying to kill him, etc would all be reasonable things to try.

Mr. Mask
2015-07-25, 09:12 AM
""I think so too. I think any setting that has knife/sword/club fightning in the streets at night should not use realism as an excuse to ban guns. Personnal preferences, stylistic choices, or anything else is perfectly valid to me as a reason NOT to get a gun, though."

"Clubs or knives I could see, because anything can be a club and knives are everywhere and generally are used for things other than killing people. But 'swords' don't have a secondary usage or a standardized place in society, so a city that bans guns isn't going to say 'oh a sword, well thats okay!' unless its a very heavily themed game or an alternate time/setting where swords do have a standardized secondary usage in society other than for killing people."

I think the response here doesn't quite follow the previous statement. I figure this is in response to the general chain of discussion, but still, this doesn't really answer or contradict Alex's point."


"Its a separate branch of the discussion. I responded because I felt it was important to clarify the 'why' of what was reasonable or not reasonable here, since that seemed to speak to Alex's viewpoints on the other matters.

That is to say, its not that "it doesn't make sense for guns to be inaccessible because people who are fighting for their lives would want them in order to survive", its that "it doesn't make sense for guns to be inaccessible if the city is perfectly fine with people possessing other lethal weapons whose only purpose is killing".

E.g. the need of the character doesn't determine what is reasonable for the setting. It's the internal self-consistency of the setting that determines what is reasonable for the setting. A character can simply be unable to actualize their desires in a given setting."


This doesn't follow. If the setting allows you to carry guns and swords legally, that's an entirely different subject to Alex's point.

You've inadvertently scarecrowed Alex's point. He said nothing about the setting's laws being whatever the players desire, and you've said nothing to counter his point.


"Presumably, the knife-wielding thugs are coming after the character, so sticking to their office job isn't actually that sensible either. But going to the police, going into hiding, fleeing the city, bribing the thugs, trying to find out why these thugs are trying to kill him, etc would all be reasonable things to try."


Most people stick to their jobs and normal lives after receiving death threats, and are just careful not to be anywhere too isolated until they stop feeling worried. The police will probably tell him they'll look into it, and to do what I described. If it's a really serious death threat, then you might get into a police protection program or move away from the area quickly, but that isn't going to work as an adventuring hook unless moving and getting through an airport is an adventure. You can move the character to somewhere you might be able to give the player an adventuring hook, to explain why the accountant ended up moving to Halloween town, but unless the adventure is all about escaping to preserve your own life (in the terms I described earlier), the character won't be doing any adventuring.


I don't think I'll argue this further with you, as you have been given good arguments for this several times already, and still persist in the idea that fighting for your life on a daily basis is reasonable for an adventure, but looking for illegal guns is crossing the reasonable/realism threshold for anyone without the proper labels.

NichG
2015-07-25, 12:23 PM
This doesn't follow. If the setting allows you to carry guns and swords legally, that's an entirely different subject to Alex's point.

You've inadvertently scarecrowed Alex's point. He said nothing about the setting's laws being whatever the players desire, and you've said nothing to counter his point.


Not the laws, but the realities of the setting. The repeated point has been 'even if guns are super-illegal due to the setting, criminals have them, so a PC should be able to get them'. The nonsensical thing which that somehow morphed into was a discussion about a setting where 'having/getting guns is super-illegal, but a sword is just fine, so everyone is fighting with swords'. We agreed that that was nonsensical, but Alex extended that to 'a setting where having/getting guns is super-illegal, but people are fighting in the streets with (swords) or knives or clubs'. There I disagreed.

My point was, the fact that people are fighting in the street with clubs has nothing at all to do with guns being available, because clubs are an improvised weapon. The reason owning a club isn't illegal is because its impossible to make it illegal or hard to get - you'd have to outlaw chairs, bottles, wooden signs, etc. Whereas of course its possible to make it illegal to get or have a sword since its a very distinctive item.

When Alex implied that 'guns are hard to get is nonsensical because people are fighting in the streets', thats where I read out that there's a line of thinking behind it that the needs of the characters determine the nature of the setting. That's why I'm being very particular about that point.


Most people stick to their jobs and normal lives after receiving death threats, and are just careful not to be anywhere too isolated until they stop feeling worried. The police will probably tell him they'll look into it, and to do what I described. If it's a really serious death threat, then you might get into a police protection program or move away from the area quickly, but that isn't going to work as an adventuring hook unless moving and getting through an airport is an adventure. You can move the character to somewhere you might be able to give the player an adventuring hook, to explain why the accountant ended up moving to Halloween town, but unless the adventure is all about escaping to preserve your own life (in the terms I described earlier), the character won't be doing any adventuring.

I don't think I'll argue this further with you, as you have been given good arguments for this several times already, and still persist in the idea that fighting for your life on a daily basis is reasonable for an adventure, but looking for illegal guns is crossing the reasonable/realism threshold for anyone without the proper labels.

I'm pretty sure you're mixing up my arguments with someone else's in this thread. Almost everything I've been talking about has to do with there being space for certain kinds of gaming which are dismissed out of hand. Realism doesn't come into it at all, and I've certainly never said anything about these 'sub-adventurer' characters fighting for their lives on a daily basis.

If anything, my point has been that interesting stories don't have to be about people throwing themselves gladly into conflicts - you can have a game where the characters are reluctant, out of their comfort zone, and even know that if they directly attempt conflict, they will inevitably be killed with no recourse. In such a game, the things the characters do will perforce be more indirect, but that itself creates an interesting type of gaming which isn't well modeled by a mindset which assumes as default that the game is about 'adventurers'.

Mr. Mask
2015-07-25, 05:33 PM
Ah. Sorry, I misunderstood the point of contention. I thought this was trailing off from an argument about getting illegal handguns being too much, even in a scenario where the characters were willingly facing deadly encounters regularly.

I agree with you, you can have games about highschool romance or the like with people who aren't particular adventurous (to the extent where a highschool romance is an intimidating challenge). You could also give a normal, non adventurous person an extreme drive to do something, like kidnap their daughter and have police help not be an option.

NichG
2015-07-26, 05:11 AM
Ah. Sorry, I misunderstood the point of contention. I thought this was trailing off from an argument about getting illegal handguns being too much, even in a scenario where the characters were willingly facing deadly encounters regularly.

I agree with you, you can have games about highschool romance or the like with people who aren't particular adventurous (to the extent where a highschool romance is an intimidating challenge). You could also give a normal, non adventurous person an extreme drive to do something, like kidnap their daughter and have police help not be an option.

No problem, this thread has gotten pretty convoluted :smallsmile:

AxeAlex
2015-07-27, 08:42 AM
Maybe a better example would be something like a bunch of characters in an environment like Office Space or Better off Ted. The challenges for those characters would be to protect their personality, ethics, and livelyhood in a soul crushing and evil environment. They can't just quit, because if they quit they lose their livelyhood. They can't just go along with everything they're told, because then they end up violating their ethics. And if they subsume their personality too much, they become dead inside, but if they exhibit it too much they draw the attention of the corporate overlords.

Yes. So if the player doesn't play his character as an "adventurer", you will roll a bunches of dices until you are bored and the GM puts the character in a "adventurous" situation (You are confronted by your boss, there is no way you will be on time for that meeting, etc). When confronted with this, the player will react like an adventurer to trigger the adventure.

If he reacts like most normal people would in the situation, there will be no adventure, because "adventures" don't happen to most normal people. Most normal people are the other people who works in the office that won't live the adventure which we are NOT focusing on.


Many characters in Call of Cthulhu do get paralyzed by fear and are killed. That's actually part of the sanity-loss mechanic, where when you lose more than a certain amount of sanity at once you go into a panic and spontaneously develop a temporary mental disorder until you have a chance to get out of danger and recover your senses.

Yes, failing does not mean you didn't have the adventure.


I think the error you're making here is to combine the player and the character too much. If you're playing Call of Cthulhu, then as a player you've presumably bought into the idea that this is a game about how your character slowly enters a downward spiral, is warped by the horror they experience, and eventually dies horribly. You're taking a character and putting them in this situation but you aren't necessarily having the character put themselves in the situation. That is, from the character's point of view, the 'adventure' isn't voluntary; it's not something they can just decide to not pursue. For example, something like the movie The Ring. The protagonist can just stop investigating, but then he will simply die, and he knows that. He's not suited for the adventure - he's not entering into his situation with gusto or willingness - but he will still act, because not acting is no longer an option for him.

The adventure doesn't have to be voluntary for it to be an adventure. But the players will always try to TAKE the plot hook and SEEK the adventure, that's why they are playing. Most normal people would try to AVOID and IGNORE the adventure for their sake or the sake of their loved ones. A GM will not play with a player who ignores/avoid the adventure, it is very frustrating.

Of course, you can trap the character so he has no other options, but if you are following this character, then it's because he has a chance to succeed against the forces conspiring to kill/control him. Therefore, he is not most normal people. If he was most normal people, he would have no chance agains't these unbeatable odds and the story would NOT be about him.


There are game systems that make this separation even more explicit, and basically give the players dramatic editing resources with the intent that they not be used to help their character succeed, but rather that they be used to make their character have interesting setbacks and difficulties (along with reward systems to drive that home).

Of course, success is not a given of the adventure.



It actually isn't your best bet to survive. Your best bet to survive is to not engage the knife-wielding thugs in any form of combat whatsoever. Your guy with a gun against six knife wielding thugs is just as dead as your guy without a gun against six knife wielding thugs.

6 knife wielding thugs probably won't even attack a gun-wielding guy if they can just run away. Who will be the sucker to charge first?

Earthwalker
2015-07-27, 09:18 AM
I think a lot of problems I am seeing are assumptions being made by players / GMs when we come to defining what should or shouldnít be possible in game. I am mainly refereeing to the getting a gun side of things here.

Say a Gm pitches a game that is set in a modern day Uk with super natural elements. He wants a game about normal people confronting supernatural beings. The game is going to be more about the investigation then physical conflict.

So three players make characters.

A clerk in solicitors.
A young college student (studying marine biology)
And a writer of romance novels.

The GM starts the game and weaves all the characters into a plot about Bobby the college students former aunt, all are dragged into the adventure and end up exploring strange super natural goings on at the former aunts house.

Now if the plot is being created and say the clerk decided before he canít go and investigate a dead old womanís house, he NEEDS to have a gun. So start derailing the proceedings till he gets a gun I find that odd and a serious miscommunication on what the game is about.

The GM set the game in Britain because he didnít want it to be about guns. I believe it is possible to get a gun over here but I would also say that guns are carried by two types of people. Law enforcement and criminals. Guns are owned by a wider range of people.

The answer to the above problem isnít giving the character a gun, or not giving him a gun. Its deciding what the game is suppose to be about and going from there.


Letís try a different example to do with GURPS. The GM has decided to run a modern day game but adds magic. Magic is learnt from books or mentors who teach you spells and the GM expects there to be magicians among the PCs. The GM has set the game in Britain but is happy to make it slightly more cinematic and so doesnít mind guns but think they are a bit of a game changer like magic and so wants them less common just possible to get.

The Gm creates to advantages for this game only

10 CP Ė Can get gun.
If you have this advantage you may start the game owning a gun. This advantage will also allow you to replace your gun if lost. You have connections with the criminal underworld / secret government agency.

10 CP Ė Trained Mage.
If you take this advantage you can begin the game with two spells and the following spell casting skills. You can also choose a mentor or magical school that will provide additional training.

The game was going to be a 100 point game but the GM boosts this 110 to give a chance for people to start with one of the above advantages.

Now suppose a Player makes a character and decides not to take these advantages. As soon as the game starts the player insists on getting a gun. He takes up game time in hunting down a gun and will ignore all plot hooks or other things happening until he gets his gun. Is this a problem player or a problem GM ?

Now try the same with another player starting the game and deciding he isnít doing anything until he finds a magical school and learns some spells. Again problem player or problem Gm ?

AxeAlex
2015-07-27, 09:36 AM
Now if the plot is being created and say the clerk decided before he canít go and investigate a dead old womanís house, he NEEDS to have a gun. So start derailing the proceedings till he gets a gun I find that odd and a serious miscommunication on what the game is about.


You are right in your whole post.

I agree that going for a gun if it was derailing the plot is bad taste and poor manners. And I wouldn't do it.

There is also the possibility that the story never allows the character to go get that gun due to various restrictions. And I accept that.

But that doesn't change my point: UK and Canada are not settings that, in themselves, justify the GM to refuse and stonewall a character's attemp to get a gun.

Other things can justify it, though.

NichG
2015-07-27, 09:37 AM
Yes. So if the player doesn't play his character as an "adventurer", you will roll a bunches of dices until you are bored and the GM puts the character in a "adventurous" situation (You are confronted by your boss, there is no way you will be on time for that meeting, etc). When confronted with this, the player will react like an adventurer to trigger the adventure.

If he reacts like most normal people would in the situation, there will be no adventure, because "adventures" don't happen to most normal people. Most normal people are the other people who works in the office that won't live the adventure which we are NOT focusing on.

Yes, failing does not mean you didn't have the adventure.

The adventure doesn't have to be voluntary for it to be an adventure. But the players will always try to TAKE the plot hook and SEEK the adventure, that's why they are playing. Most normal people would try to AVOID and IGNORE the adventure for their sake or the sake of their loved ones. A GM will not play with a player who ignores/avoid the adventure, it is very frustrating.

You're mixing together two different senses of 'Adventure' here. Either an 'Adventure!' means a life or death risk, in which case there are lots of interesting plotlines that aren't Adventures, or an Adventure is just any interesting plotline and doesn't have to be a life or death risk, in which case there's no reason why normal people wouldn't have them all the time. 'You work at Company X; there's a secret impromptu Foozball tournament held after work every Tuesday; supposedly one of the bosses slums there and loves to play.' You can follow that hook without putting yourself or your loved ones in peril. I can go on an 'Adventure' of the second kind by talking to someone I normally would just pass by, by going to a museum I've never been to, or going on a vacation somewhere new, joining a new online community, etc, and its not like I'm sacrificing my loved ones on the altar of my ambition - its just the kind of Adventure that almost everyone has periodically throughout their lives. In that sense of the word, almost everyone on Earth is an 'Adventurer'.

You can also work differently, and rather than thinking in terms of plot hooks and Adventures, you can think in terms of situations, interactions, and choices. Usually where GMs get themselves in trouble is that they make the mistake of having "choices" which only have one answer that lets the game continue or be interesting. If every answer to a choice is interesting, including choosing not to answer, then game goes on.

Certainly you need players who are willing to engage, and players who play their characters as having desires rather than just being lumps, but if you run it that way they don't need to actively seek out and respond to plot hooks. They just have to care about what happens enough to be engaged in thinking about the situation they're in and the choices that are available.



Of course, you can trap the character so he has no other options, but if you are following this character, then it's because he has a chance to succeed against the forces conspiring to kill/control him. Therefore, he is not most normal people. If he was most normal people, he would have no chance agains't these unbeatable odds and the story would NOT be about him.

It doesn't follow that the character has a chance to succeed. There are games in which failure isn't in question - it is inevitable, it will happen no matter what. The game is not about if it happens or not, its about how it happens. Or it may simply not be about success or failure at all, but what a character does along the way - what they learn, what they sacrifice, or how they change. You know that you'll get out of the Faerie Wood alive, because you already saw that future in the scrying pond beneath the tree of possible futures, but you know that someone who came with you will not - who will it be, and how will it happen?


6 knife wielding thugs probably won't even attack a gun-wielding guy if they can just run away. Who will be the sucker to charge first?

Maybe, but that 'probably' is a factor that is entirely in their hands once you've stepped forward with a gun. At that point, either you're lucky and they back down/run away, or they don't and you're dead - one of them is drunk or drugged up and charges forward before you've established distance, one of them knows about the effective range of guns and reflexively closes distance to increase his safety, one of them spooks in a way that breaks the moment and it all turns into chaos (disadvantage to the gun-wielder), etc. Also, if you display a gun, its more likely to make the attackers default to lethal measures rather than trying to torment or draw things out.

All in all, you've got nothing to fall back on if things go wrong. That makes it a pretty bad bet.

AxeAlex
2015-07-27, 10:01 AM
You're mixing together two different senses of 'Adventure' here. Either an 'Adventure!' means a life or death risk, in which case there are lots of interesting plotlines that aren't Adventures, or an Adventure is just any interesting plotline and doesn't have to be a life or death risk, in which case there's no reason why normal people wouldn't have them all the time. 'You work at Company X; there's a secret impromptu Foozball tournament held after work every Tuesday; supposedly one of the bosses slums there and loves to play.' You can follow that hook without putting yourself or your loved ones in peril. I can go on an 'Adventure' of the second kind by talking to someone I normally would just pass by, by going to a museum I've never been to, or going on a vacation somewhere new, joining a new online community, etc, and its not like I'm sacrificing my loved ones on the altar of my ambition - its just the kind of Adventure that almost everyone has periodically throughout their lives. In that sense of the word, almost everyone on Earth is an 'Adventurer'.

Yes, you could extend the term adventurer to whatever adventure you would like, I guess. But the term adventurer is only about the person living the adventure in question. So everyone can be an adventurer at some point in their lives, and that's the point where they rise above the rest, and for a brief moment are not everyday normal people. That's the moment in their lives you would play out in a RPG. Not the weeks where they follow their routine.


You can also work differently, and rather than thinking in terms of plot hooks and Adventures, you can think in terms of situations, interactions, and choices. Usually where GMs get themselves in trouble is that they make the mistake of having "choices" which only have one answer that lets the game continue or be interesting. If every answer to a choice is interesting, including choosing not to answer, then game goes on.

Yes, having differents interesting choices make for better games.


Certainly you need players who are willing to engage, and players who play their characters as having desires rather than just being lumps, but if you run it that way they don't need to actively seek out and respond to plot hooks. They just have to care about what happens enough to be engaged in thinking about the situation they're in and the choices that are available.

The players also need to play CHARACTERS that are willing to engage and take part in the adventure. And if they are trapped, they will never simply answer that they cover in fear and wait to die, which is a reaction some real people have. If they DO have this response, it's the games MECHANICS that are encouraging them to react like everyday normal people, NOT THE PLAYER.

If the whole adventure is someone discovering evil, becoming paralysed by fear and dying, no one had any fun. And you failed at having a good time, which is the purpose of RPGs.


It doesn't follow that the character has a chance to succeed. There are games in which failure isn't in question - it is inevitable, it will happen no matter what. The game is not about if it happens or not, its about how it happens. Or it may simply not be about success or failure at all, but what a character does along the way - what they learn, what they sacrifice, or how they change. You know that you'll get out of the Faerie Wood alive, because you already saw that future in the scrying pond beneath the tree of possible futures, but you know that someone who came with you will not - who will it be, and how will it happen?

RPGs are about decision making. Only about decision making. Even if you can know the ending, the story must never be set in stone. That would be railroading.

These decisions will always culminate in failure or success, or a form of it. Either it goes the way the players wants, or not. So yes, it's always about if it happens or not. Even if the characters know he gets out alive, what happens if he decides to suicide himself to save someone else? You refuse his heroic sacrifice because the future said it doesn't happen?

You CANNOT do a story set in stone, then you would NOT need players. Failure and success are always a fact of the game.


Maybe, but that 'probably' is a factor that is entirely in their hands once you've stepped forward with a gun. At that point, either you're lucky and they back down/run away, or they don't and you're dead - one of them is drunk or drugged up and charges forward before you've established distance, one of them knows about the effective range of guns and reflexively closes distance to increase his safety, one of them spooks in a way that breaks the moment and it all turns into chaos (disadvantage to the gun-wielder), etc. Also, if you display a gun, its more likely to make the attackers default to lethal measures rather than trying to torment or draw things out.

It's a possible outcome, my character would be dead and I would have failed because I took bad decisions. That doesn't mean my character couldn't have imagined a better outcome. He was still justified to get a gun.

Earthwalker
2015-07-27, 10:06 AM
You are right in your whole post.

I agree that going for a gun if it was derailing the plot is bad taste and poor manners. And I wouldn't do it.

There is also the possibility that the story never allows the character to go get that gun due to various restrictions. And I accept that.

But that doesn't change my point: UK and Canada are not settings that, in themselves, justify the GM to refuse and stonewall a character's attemp to get a gun.

Other things can justify it, though.

While you group UK and Canada together there I still feel that it would be harder to get a gun in the UK than Canada. I certainly agree with you that given time and will it could be done (things could go very very wrong) but it should be possible to try.

Over in the Uk we had a purge on hand guns of all stripes and legal handgun ownership is very very low.
We don't have the same level of hunting and general ownership of hunting rifles.
What we do have is shotgun shoots so they are legally owned.

This means less legal guns to steal to become illegal guns.
We also have a less open border. I am looking to Canadians southern border here.


As a GM if one of my players tried to get an illegal gun, I would be very tempted after he made a shady contact. For said contact to say meet me at place X with a grand and I will get you a gun. Of course when the player turned up the shady criminal might point a gun at him and say "give me the grand or I will shoot you".

AxeAlex
2015-07-27, 10:17 AM
While you group UK and Canada together there I still feel that it would be harder to get a gun in the UK than Canada. I certainly agree with you that given time and will it could be done (things could go very very wrong) but it should be possible to try.

As a GM if one of my players tried to get an illegal gun, I would be very tempted after he made a shady contact. For said contact to say meet me at place X with a grand and I will get you a gun. Of course when the player turned up the shady criminal might point a gun at him and say "give me the grand or I will shoot you".

If I was the player in that situation, and I felt you really looked forward to the adventure, I would enjoy the situation.

But if I had reasons to believe you simply did that because you don't want me to get a Gun, I would rather you tell me "I'd prefer you would not get a gun for X reasons".
I could argue gun dealers have no reason to dissuade people from buying guns, like stealing them and argue alot more. But again, I wouldn't if I felt the situation was legitimate "RPG action"

Earthwalker
2015-07-27, 10:34 AM
If I was the player in that situation, and I felt you really looked forward to the adventure, I would enjoy the situation.

But if I had reasons to believe you simply did that because you don't want me to get a Gun, I would rather you tell me "I'd prefer you would not get a gun for X reasons".
I could argue gun dealers have no reason to dissuade people from buying guns, like stealing them and argue alot more. But again, I wouldn't if I felt the situation was legitimate "RPG action"

That set up just seems a logical reaction to Joe Shmoe office worker walking into the rough part of town asking anyone and everyone where can I buy a gun. Clearly this guy has no conections. He is not going to go to the police and say someone stole his money he was using to buy an illegal gun. Why lose a gun to get some money when I can just take his money.

Now if the player comes up with a different plan things might go differently. I was just responding to some of the chatter that has gone on with this thread.

AxeAlex
2015-07-27, 10:42 AM
That set up just seems a logical reaction to Joe Shmoe office worker walking into the rough part of town asking anyone and everyone where can I buy a gun. Clearly this guy has no conections. He is not going to go to the police and say someone stole his money he was using to buy an illegal gun. Why lose a gun to get some money when I can just take his money.

Now if the player comes up with a different plan things might go differently. I was just responding to some of the chatter that has gone on with this thread.

To expand your network... Any gun dealer wouldn't do that.
Now, if it was just a random thug trapping Joe Schmoe it's different.

Now why would it be a thug instead of a gun dealer? If your are punishing the player because of your personnal preferences (I.E.: No Gun), it's bad, just tell him you don't want guns. If you are setting up a legitimate event for the game, then it's all cool.

Knaight
2015-07-27, 10:44 AM
Yes, you could extend the term adventurer to whatever adventure you would like, I guess. But the term adventurer is only about the person living the adventure in question. So everyone can be an adventurer at some point in their lives, and that's the point where they rise above the rest, and for a brief moment are not everyday normal people. That's the moment in their lives you would play out in a RPG. Not the weeks where they follow their routine.
That's one option, yes. There's plenty of room for RPGs that don't follow this restricted definition of "adventure". Look at other storytelling mediums, where there's character after character and plot after plot that isn't about "rising above the rest" and are explicitly about normal people in fairly normal situations. It's just fine to have RPGs about these, though using a game made for the adventurer paradigm is likely going to fail here.

There's also another genre which is about a character significantly below normal struggling to do things which would be no issue for the norm. Several RPGs and modules fit in this category, from Everyone is John (a competitive RPG where the players each play fragments of one person's personality, when the person in question is generally pathetic) to Another Fine Mess (a Fudge module about a group of wizard familiars trying to get their wizard out of trouble).


If the whole adventure is someone discovering evil, becoming paralysed by fear and dying, no one had any fun. And you failed at having a good time, which is the purpose of RPGs.
This sounds like an extremely succinct summary of multiple horror plots. Given that horror is an immensely successful literary and cinematic genre and that there are multiple fairly successful horror games, it's pretty clear that people can in fact have fun here.



RPGs are about decision making. Only about decision making. Even if you can know the ending, the story must never be set in stone. That would be railroading.

These decisions will always culminate in failure or success, or a form of it. Either it goes the way the players wants, or not. So yes, it's always about if it happens or not. Even if the characters know he gets out alive, what happens if he decides to suicide himself to save someone else? You refuse his heroic sacrifice because the future said it doesn't happen?

You CANNOT do a story set in stone, then you would NOT need players. Failure and success are always a fact of the game.
Nonsense. You're looking at a narrow facet of games here and treating them like they are the entirety of RPGs. Decision making of some sort is generally always involved, but there are plenty of games where it's not a matter of culminating in failure or success, including more than a few GMless games where there is no capacity to railroad. Moreover, if the group as a whole has agreed to some sort of conceit (such as an eventual guaranteed failure or all the characters eventually ending up somewhere in the future), then sticking to that conceit isn't railroading of any form.

Segev
2015-07-27, 10:53 AM
Letís try a different example to do with GURPS. The GM has decided to run a modern day game but adds magic. Magic is learnt from books or mentors who teach you spells and the GM expects there to be magicians among the PCs. The GM has set the game in Britain but is happy to make it slightly more cinematic and so doesnít mind guns but think they are a bit of a game changer like magic and so wants them less common just possible to get.

The Gm creates to advantages for this game only

10 CP Ė Can get gun.
If you have this advantage you may start the game owning a gun. This advantage will also allow you to replace your gun if lost. You have connections with the criminal underworld / secret government agency.

10 CP Ė Trained Mage.
If you take this advantage you can begin the game with two spells and the following spell casting skills. You can also choose a mentor or magical school that will provide additional training.

The game was going to be a 100 point game but the GM boosts this 110 to give a chance for people to start with one of the above advantages.

Now suppose a Player makes a character and decides not to take these advantages. As soon as the game starts the player insists on getting a gun. He takes up game time in hunting down a gun and will ignore all plot hooks or other things happening until he gets his gun. Is this a problem player or a problem GM ?

Now try the same with another player starting the game and deciding he isnít doing anything until he finds a magical school and learns some spells. Again problem player or problem Gm ?

Given that this is a GURPS example, there is the mechanical approach and the GM-runs-the-game approach. Both are valid in this particular circumstance:

Mechanically, guns in GURPS have an availability and a cost in game-funds. Game-funds are obtained by spending CP on them. If the PC spent the CP to get enough money and contacts to arrange a gun, he can get one...but it probably invalidates most of the CP he spent on those thigns he got them for (at least 10 CP worth).

GM-runs-the-game, the GM simply tells him: "You had the option to get a gun. You did not take it. I am telling you now that anything you attempt which does not cost you 10 CP will fail to get you a gun. If you somehow manage to get your hands on a gun, it is not permanent and the game will not support you keeping it until you spend 10 CP to have it."

These are valid things to do. The complaints of a GM doing the latter are more around pulling this kind of thing without having actualy provided any explicit, chargen-time indication of how guns are valued/handled in the game. Tell the players, "I am running a game wherein I do not want the PCs to have guns," and most players will cooperate. Some may take it as a challenge, but with them you simply reitterate: no, this isn't a challenge, it's about the tone of the game, so deal with it.

AxeAlex
2015-07-27, 11:02 AM
That's one option, yes. There's plenty of room for RPGs that don't follow this restricted definition of "adventure". Look at other storytelling mediums, where there's character after character and plot after plot that isn't about "rising above the rest" and are explicitly about normal people in fairly normal situations. It's just fine to have RPGs about these, though using a game made for the adventurer paradigm is likely going to fail here.

RPGs are not that same as every other storytelling mediums. They are a game, they have more than a single "author".


There's also another genre which is about a character significantly below normal struggling to do things which would be no issue for the norm. Several RPGs and modules fit in this category, from Everyone is John (a competitive RPG where the players each play fragments of one person's personality, when the person in question is generally pathetic) to Another Fine Mess (a Fudge module about a group of wizard familiars trying to get their wizard out of trouble).

Yes, games can have protagonists of varying degree of powerlevels. You will still won't ask them to roll for trivial things like walking. There is always actions that are trivial in any setting. Of course those actions won't be the same depending on the characters, the setting, and everything. A dog COULD be required to roll if he wants to walk on 2 legs.


This sounds like an extremely succinct summary of multiple horror plots. Given that horror is an immensely successful literary and cinematic genre and that there are multiple fairly successful horror games, it's pretty clear that people can in fact have fun here.

I said if "the whole adventure". I didn't say I was doing a succinct summary. Of course you can have fun in a story where your character dies, and of course you can have fun in horror.


Nonsense. You're looking at a narrow facet of games here and treating them like they are the entirety of RPGs. Decision making of some sort is generally always involved, but there are plenty of games where it's not a matter of culminating in failure or success, including more than a few GMless games where there is no capacity to railroad. Moreover, if the group as a whole has agreed to some sort of conceit (such as an eventual guaranteed failure or all the characters eventually ending up somewhere in the future), then sticking to that conceit isn't railroading of any form.

I already said that I agree you can know a point in the future, you don't have to convince me it's possible. I will simply repeat myself: The story is never set in stone. If it was, you wouldn't need players.

What do you do if, halfway during the story, the players decides it's better if he sacrifices himself to save his friend? You say he can't because you agreed he survives?

You could. But no, you seem to enjoy a good story, so my bet is that you will embrace it and the story will now be about fighting fate and how the future can be changed if you are willing to sacrifice enough.

The player will always want to achieve something. You cannot remove success or failure from decision making. All decision are make with a goal in mind... That goal is reached, or it isn't or it's mitigated. Success, failure, or complication (partial success/failure).

But even if you get a setting that is the exception to any perticular sentence I said, my point still stand. Protagonists are not anyone... They are not average random people. If they were, the story would not be about them.

Knaight
2015-07-27, 11:18 AM
But even if you get a setting that is the exception to any perticular sentence I said, my point still stand. Protagonists are not anyone... They are not average random people. If they were, the story would not be about them.
Sometimes they are average people. I'd also add that even the assumption of defined protagonists is iffy, there are RPGs which don't have singular PCs and operate with ensemble casts. There are RPGs which don't really have protagonists at all because the stories they are made for aren't about individual people, and while there may be a de-facto protagonist during a short section that's far from the same thing.

The restrictions listed apply to traditional games where there is one GM and a number of players which all control one character. RPGs are broader than that.

NichG
2015-07-27, 11:24 AM
Yes, you could extend the term adventurer to whatever adventure you would like, I guess. But the term adventurer is only about the person living the adventure in question. So everyone can be an adventurer at some point in their lives, and that's the point where they rise above the rest, and for a brief moment are not everyday normal people. That's the moment in their lives you would play out in a RPG. Not the weeks where they follow their routine.

Or its not so brief, but the characters are still people who wouldn't have the will to walk into a shady alley in a strange part of town, or risk their lives, or do a number of other things.



The players also need to play CHARACTERS that are willing to engage and take part in the adventure. And if they are trapped, they will never simply answer that they cover in fear and wait to die, which is a reaction some real people have. If they DO have this response, it's the games MECHANICS that are encouraging them to react like everyday normal people, NOT THE PLAYER.

If the whole adventure is someone discovering evil, becoming paralysed by fear and dying, no one had any fun. And you failed at having a good time, which is the purpose of RPGs.

If its not a kind of gameplay you enjoy, that's fine. That doesn't mean that no one enjoys it, or that the type of gameplay doesn't even exist. I won't say I care that much for fatalist games either, but there are plenty of people who do. I can acknowledge that their tastes have meaning to them even without sharing them. And by seeking to understand it, even if its not something that appeals in its present form, that's what gives the insight to figure out what works for those players, and why, and then adapt it to broader tastes without losing its essence.

If you can understand why some people get excited about a game like Ravenloft, where everything is more powerful than you and if you ever start to win, the world itself smashes you down, then you can take a fragment of that experience and embed it into something like Paranoia, where the world is sadistic and wants you to screw up and die, but instead of angled at a long, depressing spiral down its a fast-paced gallows humor sort of game where its fine if you die (and, with clones, you'll have lots of chances to do that) as long as you mess up everyone else worse on the way out. Or you can take it in other directions, slice it, dilute it, intensify it, use it in particular places for stronger effect, etc.



RPGs are about decision making. Only about decision making. Even if you can know the ending, the story must never be set in stone. That would be railroading.


Games with built-in railroading exist and are fun for some people in some moods as well.

One of the things they're good for relates to the idea of abnegation (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uepAJ-rqJKA&feature=youtu.be&t=7m26s) in gaming. This is like those mindless cellphone games you use to pass time. In a Tabletop environment, this is more like Beer & Pretzels play, where the game itself is just a context for something else like relaxation or socialization.

Another place where railroading is useful is in sharply defined competitive gaming, where open-ended interpretation on the part of the GM would introduce bias. So if you're playing e.g. a tournament module then there are certain things that are well-defined and so will be common for all the competitors. If actions get sufficiently out-of-bounds then they need to be reined in, so that they can be adjudicated in a consistent way across multiple GMs.



These decisions will always culminate in failure or success, or a form of it. Either it goes the way the players wants, or not. So yes, it's always about if it happens or not. Even if the characters know he gets out alive, what happens if he decides to suicide himself to save someone else? You refuse his heroic sacrifice because the future said it doesn't happen?

You CANNOT do a story set in stone, then you would NOT need players. Failure and success are always a fact of the game.

Gaming is about decisions, yes (and, related to that, the questions that create the decisions), but 'did I get what I want?' is only a very specific question one could ask. There are far more general questions 'what happens?', 'how does it happen?', etc that don't need to connect to success or failure. Putting it in those terms is a limiting oversimplification in most cases.

For example, again in the Faerie Wood, if I start with a known outcome: 'no matter what, the player succeeds in saving everyone'. If I accept your premise that success and failure are the question which a game asks, it should be impossible for me to construct anything in this scenario which would make for interesting gameplay. So, here are my attempts - remember, in each case I'm restricting myself to the player inevitably succeeding in the stated goal of 'all companions leave the Faerie Wood alive'.

- The character simply kills himself, breaking time itself. Everyone steps out of the forest, including him, as now causality is damaged and effect ceases to always follow cause. Its not a consequence he either desired or didn't desire when he chose his actions, but now he's faced with a followup choice of what to do about it, if anything.
- The character finds a way to swap souls with someone else and then sacrifices himself in the other body, then the vision is true. Someone's body is missing, but everyone but him makes it out alive modulo the body swap.
- The character makes a deal with a fae to steal his memory of the prophecy, so that moment never exists in time to bind causality. But now as a consequence the fae has that memory and can inflict it on someone else, binding them to that fate instead.
- The character leaves the wood one companion short, then immediately walks back in and fetches them (the prophecy didn't say anything about what would happen the next time he went into the wood).

Even if I ran this as 'you are not allowed to fail, we're going to repeat the scenario until you have a successful solution', there are still interesting choices to make and questions to answer. 'How did he succeed?', 'What were the consequences?'.

A game with a fixed outcome just embraces this fully and puts its entire effort into making the 'how' along the way rewarding and fun. A game like 'My Life With Master' doesn't have variation in the final outcome, but it has variation in the path that leads there.

AxeAlex
2015-07-27, 01:16 PM
Or its not so brief, but the characters are still people who wouldn't have the will to walk into a shady alley in a strange part of town, or risk their lives, or do a number of other things.

Yes... But that would be the player's choice, not the GM's. I guess it could also be the mechanics forcing the player into a "mundane" reaction, instead of him allowed to control his PCs as he pleases. If the player agreed to it before hand, there is no problem with it.


If its not a kind of gameplay you enjoy, that's fine. That doesn't mean that no one enjoys it, or that the type of gameplay doesn't even exist. I won't say I care that much for fatalist games either, but there are plenty of people who do. I can acknowledge that their tastes have meaning to them even without sharing them. And by seeking to understand it, even if its not something that appeals in its present form, that's what gives the insight to figure out what works for those players, and why, and then adapt it to broader tastes without losing its essence.

If you can understand why some people get excited about a game like Ravenloft, where everything is more powerful than you and if you ever start to win, the world itself smashes you down, then you can take a fragment of that experience and embed it into something like Paranoia, where the world is sadistic and wants you to screw up and die, but instead of angled at a long, depressing spiral down its a fast-paced gallows humor sort of game where its fine if you die (and, with clones, you'll have lots of chances to do that) as long as you mess up everyone else worse on the way out. Or you can take it in other directions, slice it, dilute it, intensify it, use it in particular places for stronger effect, etc.

You don't get my point. I said "the whole adventure was" that, not that the summary of the adventure was. I have nothing against horror, failure or death.

But, an adventure can't simply be "You Wake up, there is a monster, you are paralyzed by fear and you die". If it is, nobody has any fun. The adventure will be "bigger", more complicated, the Protoganist is never simply the guy who randomly dies to evil. He has to witness, do or survive something. There is a reason why we follow that guy instead of his best friend who woke up and died.


Games with built-in railroading exist and are fun for some people in some moods as well.

Yes, of course. If a player is willing to accept limits to his agency, he can still have fun. That does not counter any of my points though, the game will STILL have decisions and will STILL not be set in stone. If it is, it's not RPGs, it's simple storytelling.


One of the things they're good for relates to the idea of abnegation (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uepAJ-rqJKA&feature=youtu.be&t=7m26s) in gaming. This is like those mindless cellphone games you use to pass time. In a Tabletop environment, this is more like Beer & Pretzels play, where the game itself is just a context for something else like relaxation or socialization.

Another place where railroading is useful is in sharply defined competitive gaming, where open-ended interpretation on the part of the GM would introduce bias. So if you're playing e.g. a tournament module then there are certain things that are well-defined and so will be common for all the competitors. If actions get sufficiently out-of-bounds then they need to be reined in, so that they can be adjudicated in a consistent way across multiple GMs.

These cases sell strategy combat games (And there is nothing wrong with it), not real Roleplaying Games in a story sense. Even then, characters in these tournaments are still special people.


Gaming is about decisions, yes (and, related to that, the questions that create the decisions), but 'did I get what I want?' is only a very specific question one could ask. There are far more general questions 'what happens?', 'how does it happen?', etc that don't need to connect to success or failure. Putting it in those terms is a limiting oversimplification in most cases.

For example, again in the Faerie Wood, if I start with a known outcome: 'no matter what, the player succeeds in saving everyone'. If I accept your premise that success and failure are the question which a game asks, it should be impossible for me to construct anything in this scenario which would make for interesting gameplay. So, here are my attempts - remember, in each case I'm restricting myself to the player inevitably succeeding in the stated goal of 'all companions leave the Faerie Wood alive'.

What happens? is a question to set up the story, not a decision making-point. How does it happen? can be a decision point. It happens in the way the player wanted it to (success), in a way he didn't want it to (failure) or in a way he didn't want to, but that doesn't really trump him (Mitigated success). Decisions the player make expand the story. Each can "help" or "harm" him. (Harm in a narrative sense, not physical harm)



- The character simply kills himself, breaking time itself. Everyone steps out of the forest, including him, as now causality is damaged and effect ceases to always follow cause. Its not a consequence he either desired or didn't desire when he chose his actions, but now he's faced with a followup choice of what to do about it, if anything.
- The character finds a way to swap souls with someone else and then sacrifices himself in the other body, then the vision is true. Someone's body is missing, but everyone but him makes it out alive modulo the body swap.
- The character makes a deal with a fae to steal his memory of the prophecy, so that moment never exists in time to bind causality. But now as a consequence the fae has that memory and can inflict it on someone else, binding them to that fate instead.
- The character leaves the wood one companion short, then immediately walks back in and fetches them (the prophecy didn't say anything about what would happen the next time he went into the wood).

Even if I ran this as 'you are not allowed to fail, we're going to repeat the scenario until you have a successful solution', there are still interesting choices to make and questions to answer. 'How did he succeed?', 'What were the consequences?'.

Each consequences is, from a narrative point of view, a success or failure. When in the forest, the character sees a fae and wants to speak with it. His intent is to have a conversation with the creature. If the creature, noticing him, becomes a horrible monster and attack him, the character failed. He could not converse with the fae, and had to flee or fight it. If he decides to flee, but his legs get stucks in roots and he hurts himself, he failed, because he got hurt, and/or because he couldnt flee the fae.

The story is not set in stone. Even if the ending or any part is agreed upon, all other parts, the one you will spend the most time on, are not. Those parts are meant to make him grow, to make him rise or fall, to make him love or hate. Whatever, all the parts you play are meant to make him something special. Something worth spending time on.


A game with a fixed outcome just embraces this fully and puts its entire effort into making the 'how' along the way rewarding and fun. A game like 'My Life With Master' doesn't have variation in the final outcome, but it has variation in the path that leads there.

And those paths will be full of decisions. Some impotant, some not, each with successes, failures, mitigated results. Not set in stone.


Sometimes they are average people. I'd also add that even the assumption of defined protagonists is iffy, there are RPGs which don't have singular PCs and operate with ensemble casts. There are RPGs which don't really have protagonists at all because the stories they are made for aren't about individual people, and while there may be a de-facto protagonist during a short section that's far from the same thing.

The restrictions listed apply to traditional games where there is one GM and a number of players which all control one character. RPGs are broader than that.

We are talking about PCs. Collaborative storytelling was not really on the table, but I will bite:

If we play a game where no one plays a single character, we still play "some" characters. And we chose to play those for a reason. They are important to the story, they are not anyone. Some will be protagonists, other deuteragonists, other antagonists, but none of them are "random". They all have a purpose to the story.

noob
2015-07-27, 01:49 PM
"If we play a game where no one plays a single character, we still play "some" characters. And we chose to play those for a reason. They are important to the story, they are not anyone. Some will be protagonists, other deuteragonists, other antagonists, but none of them are "random". They all have a purpose to the story. "
I remember having played in an adventure with a character who was following the other players and never did anything useful or important nor participated.

AxeAlex
2015-07-27, 02:45 PM
"If we play a game where no one plays a single character, we still play "some" characters. And we chose to play those for a reason. They are important to the story, they are not anyone. Some will be protagonists, other deuteragonists, other antagonists, but none of them are "random". They all have a purpose to the story. "
I remember having played in an adventure with a character who was following the other players and never did anything useful or important nor participated.

If you give me more information, I could defend my point better.

As is, I doubt the character was a PC. If he was, his player probably wasn't having fun.

If he was a NPC, maybe he was a comic relief, which generate fun which is the reason everyone is around the table.

Maybe the plot didnt go the direction it was intended for the character to do something. Maybe he should have left the party and the story. No one WOULD stay in the party if they didn't contribute to it.

In any case, if that happens, then I could argue the character should not have been present at all. (Assuming he REALLY didn't contribute to anything, which I'm sure he did a least a little. If not, it's even wierd in-universe. No one would follow around and never do anything. In a way, it breaks versimilitude and in that way, the character was probably a mistake to introduce.)

NichG
2015-07-27, 02:58 PM
Yes... But that would be the player's choice, not the GM's. I guess it could also be the mechanics forcing the player into a "mundane" reaction, instead of him allowed to control his PCs as he pleases. If the player agreed to it before hand, there is no problem with it.

Fortunately, many players are sufficiently able to distinguish themselves from their characters that they can reason from the point of view of the character and conclude that there are things their character can't or won't do, or weaknesses that the character has which the player doesn't have from their outside viewpoint. As you say, the game mechanics can also create this effect, and can also make things more fair when you have a mix of players where some want to play up weaknesses and others don't.



You don't get my point. I said "the whole adventure was" that, not that the summary of the adventure was. I have nothing against horror, failure or death.

But, an adventure can't simply be "You Wake up, there is a monster, you are paralyzed by fear and you die". If it is, nobody has any fun. The adventure will be "bigger", more complicated

Fair enough.



, the Protoganist is never simply the guy who randomly dies to evil. He has to witness, do or survive something. There is a reason why we follow that guy instead of his best friend who woke up and died.


Or rather, we follow whomever we're interested in exploring, for as long as they're interesting to explore and through whatever points they're interesting to explore. It doesn't necessarily mean they're inherently special, just that there's something we want to do with their story potential.

You could do a sort of morbid slice of life game (lets call it Bucket List), where the start of the game is 'your guy wakes up and dies to a monster' and then you roll back 2 weeks and play that character through the last weeks of their life, building up a set of incomplete things that they will leave undone when they die. Then afterwards (or interleaved with that), you play people who are trying to clean up the lives of the victims, tying up loose ends. Its not that the guy was intrinsically special, but rather that he was a convenient vehicle for creating an interesting premise to explore.



What happens? is a question to set up the story, not a decision making-point. How does it happen? can be a decision point. It happens in the way the player wanted it to (success), in a way he didn't want it to (failure) or in a way he didn't want to, but that doesn't really trump him (Mitigated success). Decisions the player make expand the story. Each can "help" or "harm" him. (Harm in a narrative sense, not physical harm)

Each consequences is, from a narrative point of view, a success or failure. When in the forest, the character sees a fae and wants to speak with it. His intent is to have a conversation with the creature. If the creature, noticing him, becomes a horrible monster and attack him, the character failed. He could not converse with the fae, and had to flee or fight it. If he decides to flee, but his legs get stucks in roots and he hurts himself, he failed, because he got hurt, and/or because he couldnt flee the fae.

That's way too myopic a view. That may be a way that certain players use to make decisions (and even then, not always), but it doesn't capture the essence of the decision from the game point of view. Every decision involves multiple factors and multiple agents, and they are all involved in a way that is more nuanced than just +/-. One player is playing the fae, one player is playing the wanderer, and one player is playing the magic tree whose root tripped the character because it was straining up towards the light. They're all involved, they all made choices, but did the tree succeed or fail?

A player enjoys tormenting their character and having them escape from dire situations, and so makes a choice to have the character go carousing on their own in a city in which they're a wanted criminal. The character gets drunk, and is captured. Who succeeded and who failed here?

A character wants to discover the properties of a magic item he found. To do so, he enlists the aid of another party member, who decides to help. He activates the item, targetting them, and the other party member loses their memory. Both characters succeeded at their stated goals, right?

A character is granted a boon by a deity - either a powerful weapon that can cleave anything, armor which can deflect any blow, or a voice which can melt any heart. He chooses the armor. Success or failure?

noob
2015-07-27, 03:16 PM
It was my only character and it was a PC it simply followed and did not do anything of importance in the scenario it was also not comic since it was someone ill carrying a staff with bells and it had some skills at healing people but since it was ill it did healed nobody since he did not wanted to contaminate people with a severely crippling disease.
And in fact it was useful for me: it allowed me to be at the table and to follow the adventure which might have not been played without me since it allowed me to have the rank of player instead of the rank of guy staying at the table to hear the story and so I could hear all the story and have it from the point of view of someone in the adventure(the gm did often took players individually when they were separated from the main group).
But I did nothing of any importance or usefulness in this story.

AxeAlex
2015-07-27, 03:19 PM
Fortunately, many players are sufficiently able to distinguish themselves from their characters that they can reason from the point of view of the character and conclude that there are things their character can't or won't do, or weaknesses that the character has which the player doesn't have from their outside viewpoint. As you say, the game mechanics can also create this effect, and can also make things more fair when you have a mix of players where some want to play up weaknesses and others don't.

I agree 100%


Or rather, we follow whomever we're interested in exploring, for as long as they're interesting to explore and through whatever points they're interesting to explore. It doesn't necessarily mean they're inherently special, just that there's something we want to do with their story potential.

Yes... This inherently makes them special. You chose them! Why?


You could do a sort of morbid slice of life game (lets call it Bucket List), where the start of the game is 'your guy wakes up and dies to a monster' and then you roll back 2 weeks and play that character through the last weeks of their life, building up a set of incomplete things that they will leave undone when they die. Then afterwards (or interleaved with that), you play people who are trying to clean up the lives of the victims, tying up loose ends. Its not that the guy was intrinsically special, but rather that he was a convenient vehicle for creating an interesting premise to explore.

Yes, you didn't choose someone who had no incomplete things to do, no one to find, miss or love him. You picked THAT guy because he was a convenient vehicle for creating your premise.

You chose him. He was special enough to do a story around him. If he was an old person everybody though died of a heart attack and nothing "noteworthyl" happened before his death, you wouldn't play him, and wouldn't play his story.


That's way too myopic a view. That may be a way that certain players use to make decisions (and even then, not always), but it doesn't capture the essence of the decision from the game point of view. Every decision involves multiple factors and multiple agents, and they are all involved in a way that is more nuanced than just +/-.

You are right it's more complicated than that. I was simply using it to demonstrate the story was not set in stone. It's not like it's relevant to the actual point.

Anyway, i'll try:


One player is playing the fae, one player is playing the wanderer, and one player is playing the magic tree whose root tripped the character because it was straining up towards the light. They're all involved, they all made choices, but did the tree succeed or fail?

The fae wanted to kill the character. As of now it failed.
The character wanted to run away but tripped. He is still alive and still put distance between him and the monster, so mitigated success/failure.
The tree wanted light and got it. He succeeded.


A player enjoys tormenting their character and having them escape from dire situations, and so makes a choice to have the character go carousing on their own in a city in which they're a wanted criminal. The character gets drunk, and is captured. Who succeeded and who failed here?

The player succeeded in having his character in trouble. Assuming the character did not want to get capture, he failed at getting drunk without being captured.


A character wants to discover the properties of a magic item he found. To do so, he enlists the aid of another party member, who decides to help. He activates the item, targetting them, and the other party member loses their memory. Both characters succeeded at their stated goals, right?

Mitigated success/failure in both cases.


A character is granted a boon by a deity - either a powerful weapon that can cleave anything, armor which can deflect any blow, or a voice which can melt any heart. He chooses the armor. Success or failure?

If he chooses the armor and gets the armor, that is a success, but an easy one because there was no difficulty and no potential for failure.

In any cases, it's not really the point I actually agree with you it can be alot more complicated than that. My success/failure analogy was only to show you stories are never set in stone.


It was my only character and it was a PC it simply followed and did not do anything of importance in the scenario it was also not comic since it was someone ill carrying a staff with bells and it had some skills at healing people but since it was ill it did healed nobody since he did not wanted to contaminate people with a severely crippling disease.
And in fact it was useful for me: it allowed me to be at the table and to follow the adventure which might have not been played without me since it allowed me to have the rank of player instead of the rank of guy staying at the table to hear the story and so I could hear all the story and have it from the point of view of someone in the adventure(the gm did often took players individually when they were separated from the main group).
But I did nothing of any importance or usefulness in this story.

They should probably simply have accepted for you to show up and drink beer and listen to the story...

Anyway, in this case your character is the witness of the story. Unlike other normal ill people, he didn't just get brought to a temple/hospital and nursed back to health while the rest adventured. He was special enough for the party to carry him around everywhere with them so he could witness their adventure.

They wouldn't have acted that way toward ANY random wounded, crippled or ill person, wouldn't they?

Hecuba
2015-07-27, 04:05 PM
Stop trying to convince me that getting a gun is easy. In my experience most PCs would only have a vague clue where to start. No matter what you say guns are rare in most of Britain and not something most 'adventurers' would be able to get easily. But hey, that applies to most of your enemies, so it really isn't unfair.

I have an uncle who dealt with FAC/SGC licensing for the Northumbria Police until he retired. Obviously, Newcastle isn't London. But still, from his rants, I think you're probably overestimating the difficulty of getting a gun in the UK significantly. Long-barreled pistols, shotguns, and rifles (including semi-automatics) are readily available for the purpose of shooting sports. You can't go to a gun show to avoid background checks like you can in the USA, and the licensing process is to have one rather than for concealed carry. Otherwise, the process is relatively comparable to buying from a storefront in the states of the Northeastern USA. If you work in wildlife control or as a large animal veterinarian, you can generally even get a standard pistol without too much fuss. It's all largely a matter of filling out the paperwork and going to the training classes.

And this is all through legitimate channels. Truthfully, you would probably have more difficult going through the black market in the UK: the big push to constrict the supply after Hungerford mostly starved out the domestic black market.

Where the real control comes in is in ammunition. If you're getting anything bigger than a .22, you're not going to find ammunition for it readily available. If you're going through significant ammunition in an area where people have been shot, there will be questions.

Earthwalker
2015-07-27, 04:57 PM
To expand your network... Any gun dealer wouldn't do that.
Now, if it was just a random thug trapping Joe Schmoe it's different.

Now why would it be a thug instead of a gun dealer? If your are punishing the player because of your personnal preferences (I.E.: No Gun), it's bad, just tell him you don't want guns. If you are setting up a legitimate event for the game, then it's all cool.

Again tho my point is, going from what originally was expressed. I go to a rough part of town and start asking hookers and drug dealers where can I get a gun. You aren't going to only get honest honourable gun dealers.

You could be getting some random thug who has a gun for sale. Or a random thug that just wants to roll a out of towner.

Even if you do get a professional gun dealer, what is the downside of him rolling a out of towner ?

If the out of towner was a professional looking for more guns in future he has lost them sales. Its unlikely to be the case tho as they would be looking for a better hook up and would have mentioned it up front.
Are the gun dealers customers going to lose respect for him ? Would it hit his rep ?

Gang Banger "nahhh man we wanted to buy guns from you but we heard you took advantage of some poor out of town slob. That's not right dude" Doesn't sound much of a worry to me.

One point is if the out of towner turns up wanting to buy guns and when told "Meet me in the lonely alley and come alone with 1000 dollats (pounds)" Then the player (and so his out of town character) at that stage should maybe say "Nah, why not just do the exchange a little more public where I don't think you will roll me"

I honestly also don't buy "Any gun dealer wouldn't do that." I cant believe that every seller of illegal guns in the world is a professional that has never ever rolled someone for money when they could get away with it.

NichG
2015-07-27, 09:28 PM
Yes... This inherently makes them special. You chose them! Why?

Yes, you didn't choose someone who had no incomplete things to do, no one to find, miss or love him. You picked THAT guy because he was a convenient vehicle for creating your premise.

You chose him. He was special enough to do a story around him. If he was an old person everybody though died of a heart attack and nothing "noteworthyl" happened before his death, you wouldn't play him, and wouldn't play his story.

The word 'inherent' here is important. Inherent, meaning that the special factor is something about the person that would still be true even if you removed the metagame considerations of picking to play that character.

In the example I gave, the character is special because he's the one who got eaten by the monster (which is noteworthy), which is a consequence of the metagame decision to play him (e.g. you picked him). But he's not necessarily particularly 'special' aside from those external factors. Assuming that the monster thing is a metagame external factor and will happen to whomever you pick, you could e.g. pick 100 random people and find that 70-80 of them are suitable for this.



You are right it's more complicated than that. I was simply using it to demonstrate the story was not set in stone. It's not like it's relevant to the actual point.


Okay then, for this part we're probably just in agreement but not communicating it well, since I never said something like 'the whole story is set in stone', but rather that you can have stories that actually center around the fact that certain parts of them are fixed (including the ending, for a certain sub-genre)

noob
2015-07-28, 07:26 AM
"They should probably simply have accepted for you to show up and drink beer and listen to the story...

Anyway, in this case your character is the witness of the story. Unlike other normal ill people, he didn't just get brought to a temple/hospital and nursed back to health while the rest adventured. He was special enough for the party to carry him around everywhere with them so he could witness their adventure.

They wouldn't have acted that way toward ANY random wounded, crippled or ill person, wouldn't they? "
1: They did not drank.
2: It was an incurable disease and there was no healing magic or anything of this kind.
3: There was no speech about this it was just that this homeless person followed them and they never said that it was particular and also the character was not here to look at the people adventuring but just because he wanted to follow a knight.
4: Maybe they would have let any ill person follow them since there was no particular reason this character was there.(or maybe it was just because I was a player)

AxeAlex
2015-07-28, 08:09 AM
see below
1: They did not drank.
No really my point... They could still let you watch
2: It was an incurable disease and there was no healing magic or anything of this kind.
No really my point either. Most normal ill person would stay in one place to conserve energy. and feel safer
3: There was no speech about this it was just that this homeless person followed them and they never said that it was particular and also the character was not here to look at the people adventuring but just because he wanted to follow a knight
Yes, then why did he want to follow the knight? No reason? Then it would break versimilitude, then back to my initial point..
4: Maybe they would have let any ill person follow them since there was no particular reason this character was there.(or maybe it was just because I was a player)
Someone ill following you has a number of inconveniences... Is he contagious? Can he alert enemies? Is he a spy? Does he want to steal from us? Etc... So yes, they probably (I wasn't there) treated you in a special way.


The word 'inherent' here is important. Inherent, meaning that the special factor is something about the person that would still be true even if you removed the metagame considerations of picking to play that character.

In the example I gave, the character is special because he's the one who got eaten by the monster (which is noteworthy), which is a consequence of the metagame decision to play him (e.g. you picked him). But he's not necessarily particularly 'special' aside from those external factors. Assuming that the monster thing is a metagame external factor and will happen to whomever you pick, you could e.g. pick 100 random people and find that 70-80 of them are suitable for this.

Yes and no. If you have a specific character in mind, then it's him only that can provide your story. Remember, you are imagining him, your are not picking persons out of a crowd you are making them up.

If you DON'T have a specific character in mind, he could START as anyone, someone unremarkable and not special. But then the story (and HIS story) will expand him, and it's not long into the game that the character will become irreplacable. That specific character, and only him, could offer you the story you are playing. You imagined him, all his quirks, friends and personnality traits to suit your story, he BECOMES special. If you imagined him any other way, you could not have the same story. Whatever you imagined, there will be something about him that fuels your story. You needed that exact character, he is special.

Furthermore, when you chose him, those 80 other people are no longer comparable to him anymore. The story is on him now, and the monster eats him, making him narratively noteworthy. The other 80 people fall into oblivion, they are of no importance for the story and become just other background, non-protagonist, non-pc, unimportant characters.

The characters in your story are not the same as the other characters, who AREN'T in the story. The protagonists always have a bigger role, bigger significance, than a random extra. That's why they are protagonists!


Gang Banger "nahhh man we wanted to buy guns from you but we heard you took advantage of some poor out of town slob. That's not right dude" Doesn't sound much of a worry to me.

I honestly also don't buy "Any gun dealer wouldn't do that." I cant believe that every seller of illegal guns in the world is a professional that has never ever rolled someone for money when they could get away with it.

Gang Banger: "Dude, you screwed that town slob, what tells me you won't screw me too? I want the gun in advance, then I pay after."
Another Potential Buyer: "I heard you screwed that other guy, so no thanks, i'll get my gun from someone else/not get a gun"
Rival: "That dealder screwed that other guy, so you should get your gun from me"
Dealer's Boss: "You screwed a potential buyer... For 200$? Now he will never point another in our direction, and our only publicity is mouth to mouth, you are fired, LITTERALLY *fires at him*."

If the dealer screws his Customer, you can be sure people WILL use this as a excuse to get privileges or pay less.
Drug dealers work the same way.

If he gets screwed, it will be by a random thug who trapped him. And again, I would be ok with that.

Not an illegal arms dealer though. If he steals a guy, the guy goes to the police and denounce him. The guy DOESN'T have to incriminate himself. "He stole from me" is enough to get the police on the dealer, who would probably already be looking for where the guns come from. And "Yeah but he wanted to buy from me" from the dealer is not enough to have any real consequence on our random citizen.

If the dealer screws with him, he's gonna kill the guy so he can't talk. He's not gonna do that for 200$ or the price of any single gun. He would do that in a huge outrageous deal where the prize would be worth a murder investigation.

Earthwalker
2015-07-30, 07:15 AM
I agree with the points from AxeAlex it is possible that ripping off clients can damamge a gun dealers reputation. It is certainly not automatic and there are reason why it might not be.



Gang Banger: "Dude, you screwed that town slob, what tells me you won't screw me too? I want the gun in advance, then I pay after."


I am operating under an asumption that criminal culture is reasonably insular. I think that members inside a gang have vastly different opinions on people that mistreat those outside the culture than those within.



Another Potential Buyer: "I heard you screwed that other guy, so no thanks, i'll get my gun from someone else/not get a gun"


This depends on the gun dealer bragging about how he rolled someone. Or the Victim telling everyone how he failed to buy an illegal gun. Not saying that doesn't happen just seems less likely.



Rival: "That dealder screwed that other guy, so you should get your gun from me"


Again the news has to get out for this to be a thing. Also the Rival is going to be talking trash about his rivals anyway. What proof is being offered with this claim over any other that are made ?



Dealer's Boss: "You screwed a potential buyer... For 200$? Now he will never point another in our direction, and our only publicity is mouth to mouth, you are fired, LITTERALLY *fires at him*."


Is this really how it works ? In the original example we were talking about someone traveling some distance to a major city to go to the rough areas to get get a gun. Is that really the majority of the trade for gun dealers ? Not selling to those already in the criminal society that exists.

The gun business is basically dependant on people traveling into the city, buying guns and then going back to thier home town and saying to everyone, the best place to get illegal guns is...




If the dealer screws his Customer, you can be sure people WILL use this as a excuse to get privileges or pay less.
Drug dealers work the same way.

If he gets screwed, it will be by a random thug who trapped him. And again, I would be ok with that.

Not an illegal arms dealer though. If he steals a guy, the guy goes to the police and denounce him. The guy DOESN'T have to incriminate himself. "He stole from me" is enough to get the police on the dealer, who would probably already be looking for where the guns come from. And "Yeah but he wanted to buy from me" from the dealer is not enough to have any real consequence on our random citizen.

If the dealer screws with him, he's gonna kill the guy so he can't talk. He's not gonna do that for 200$ or the price of any single gun. He would do that in a huge outrageous deal where the prize would be worth a murder investigation.

You can go to the police. With a he stole from me line.
It is going to be an odd conversation tho. I was minding my own business in murder alley when known gun dealer took $1000 off me(the price I started with not $200).

The police are going to ask you some questions you don't want to answer.



Here is the problem we are having I think.

I say Illegal Gun Dealer and I mean

Someone who will sell an illegal gun for money. Thats it. He could also be some thug. He doesn't have to be a member of some organization with rules and structure. He is some bloke that will sell you a gun.

My example of rolling a PC and mugging him when he came to pay was a demonstration of using the plan of....

Ask around till someone sells me an illegal gun.

You have no idea who you are getting. You don't have the skills or the connections.


I think we can talk back and forth with exmaples of how it will or wont hurt a gun dealers reputation. I don't think that helps so here is what I think is true. Tell me if you disagree.

1) Having the capacity to sell an illegal firearm in now way makes you a safe and loyal provider. The ability to sell an illegal gun is not mutually exclusive with being an oppertunistic scum bag.

2) It is possible for a connected and professional gun dealer to rob from a client (not likly, but it is possible)

3) Having no skills or connections to criminal society makes getting an illegal gun a difficult and risky affair. It is not impossible tho.

AxeAlex
2015-07-30, 07:47 AM
Yes, you are right. I don't think I know enough the criminal world to offer you any kind of solid truth on the matter, anyway. So let's stick to your main points:



1) Having the capacity to sell an illegal firearm in now way makes you a safe and loyal provider. The ability to sell an illegal gun is not mutually exclusive with being an oppertunistic scum bag.

2) It is possible for a connected and professional gun dealer to rob from a client (not likly, but it is possible)

3) Having no skills or connections to criminal society makes getting an illegal gun a difficult and risky affair. It is not impossible tho.

I can only agree with points 1 and 2.

3, I can't argue with, so I will trust you. Since the subject is about getting guns in UK, and I live in Canada, where getting a gun at Montreal or Toronto, while illegal and not "obvious", is not really "hard".

But, overall, my original point was not that you were WRONG to ambush my character who wants a gun.

My point is that we are all playing a game.

If you ambush my character because you want play the scene and your offer me an interesting scene, I will accept ANYTHING you throw at me, however implausible.

If you ambush my character because you want to punish me for doing an action you don't approve of because of your personnal preferences... That is just wrong... In those cases, you should simply tell me "I would prefer not having guns in this game", that would be more honest and I wouldn't feel like you abused your GM powers to "teach me a lesson".

Players can usually feel the difference in a cool scene offered by the GM, and a personnal vengeance inflicted upon them.

Earthwalker
2015-07-30, 08:18 AM
3, I can't argue with, so I will trust you. Since the subject is about getting guns in UK, and I live in Canada, where getting a gun at Montreal or Toronto, while illegal and not "obvious", is not really "hard".


I don't think either of us are experts so we kind just go by what we "feel" is right.




But, overall, my original point was not that you were WRONG to ambush my character who wants a gun.

My point is that we are all playing a game.

If you ambush my character because you want play the scene and your offer me an interesting scene, I will accept ANYTHING you throw at me, however implausible.

If you ambush my character because you want to punish me for doing an action you don't approve of because of your personnal preferences... That is just wrong... In those cases, you should simply tell me "I would prefer not having guns in this game", that would be more honest and I wouldn't feel like you abused your GM powers to "teach me a lesson".

Players can usually feel the difference in a cool scene offered by the GM, and a personnal vengeance inflicted upon them.

Oddly the reason for the ambush was what I saw as one logical conlusion to the actions taken. Of course the player can take action to avoid the situation.

As I said when the potential arms dealer says "Meet me in 3 hours in secluded murder alley.with $1000 and come alone". This is the point the player should be saying "How about I set the place we will trade".

I do agree with you tho. Just telling the player, no this is a no gun campaign is way better than any passive-agressive stuff. Also if you do say, no this is a no gun campaign, dont ambush the players with loads of people with guns !!

AxeAlex
2015-07-30, 08:34 AM
As I said when the potential arms dealer says "Meet me in 3 hours in secluded murder alley.with $1000 and come alone". This is the point the player should be saying "How about I set the place we will trade".

I do agree with you tho. Just telling the player, no this is a no gun campaign is way better than any passive-agressive stuff. Also if you do say, no this is a no gun campaign, dont ambush the players with loads of people with guns !!

Seems very reasonable to me.

I would have no problem with any GM who handled any situation your way.

You set up a trap as consequence to my actions and not any passive-agressive punishment, I'm cool.

You offer a way out? I'm super cool. That way, even if I fall in the trap, I'll be like "I should have thought of that!" and I will feel like my choices led my character in that position, so I will have crazy fun whatever the outcome.

With scene like that you could make my character fall down a sewer-hole after being pushed in it by a clumsy dinosaur walking in the streets and I would not even take the time to stop and think if it's plausible.

Mr. Mask
2015-07-30, 05:28 PM
You know, instead of arguing about this, you could watch Stray Dog. It gives you a good depiction of the hard way to get an illegal gun.

AxeAlex
2015-07-31, 12:31 PM
You know, instead of arguing about this, you could watch Stray Dog. It gives you a good depiction of the hard way to get an illegal gun.

Alright, alright! :smallbiggrin:

I will promise you to watch stray dog in the near future!

Or in the kind-of-near future... Or someday... but I WILL watch it!

Mr. Mask
2015-07-31, 05:59 PM
:smallbiggrin::smalltongue:

Raimun
2015-07-31, 08:51 PM
Okay, I haven't played GURPS and I have played Savage Worlds but I still wager I would prefer Savage to Gurps.

Way, way before I heard of Savage Worlds (I bet it wasn't even invented yet) I happened to find a book in a local library. It was the Gurps core rulebook. There were also a few splat books as well, such as superheroes and fantasy. I borrowed them all and read most of it. I really liked the idea. A game system you could use to play any genre or setting. However, I still haven't met people who actually play GURPS, so it's always been some other game/game system.

So naturally, when I learned of Savage Worlds, I was really interested. How could the slim volume, that is the Explorer's Edition of Savage Worlds, do what GURPS was set out to do? The answer, as far as I'm concerned, is that Savage is the superior system. It's light and plays fast, without sacrificing versatility. GURPS on the other hand is just as versatile but is also more cumbersome, at least when I made a few a characters as a test. Edit:Making my first Savage Worlds characters was way faster, in comparison.

Of course, there are some fundamental differences. GURPS is more gritty and simulationist. Savage Worlds is all about cinematic flair, with its Wild Die, Bennies and exploding dice.

dream
2015-08-01, 12:22 AM
Okay, I haven't played GURPS and I have played Savage Worlds but I still wager I would prefer Savage to Gurps.

Way, way before I heard of Savage Worlds (I bet it wasn't even invented yet) I happened to find a book in a local library. It was the Gurps core rulebook. There were also a few splat books as well, such as superheroes and fantasy. I borrowed them all and read most of it. I really liked the idea. A game system you could use to play any genre or setting. However, I still haven't met people who actually play GURPS, so it's always been some other game/game system.

So naturally, when I learned of Savage Worlds, I was really interested. How could the slim volume, that is the Explorer's Edition of Savage Worlds, do what GURPS was set out to do? The answer, as far as I'm concerned, is that Savage is the superior system. It's light and plays fast, without sacrificing versatility. GURPS on the other hand is just as versatile but is also more cumbersome, at least when I made a few a characters as a test. Edit:Making my first Savage Worlds characters was way faster, in comparison.

Of course, there are some fundamental differences. GURPS is more gritty and simulationist. Savage Worlds is all about cinematic flair, with its Wild Die, Bennies and exploding dice.
GURPS can be as cinematic as you want. The system has optional rules for just that.