Thursday, September 17, 2009

Gurps and a love of an older edition.

Well first off let me start by saying I have a couple of new reviews posted. One is for Alpha Omega's creature manual, The Encountered, and the second is for SSDC's Galactic Underground 3 for Battlelords of the 23rd Century. Have a look, both games are excellent in fact Alpha Omega is currently the only game I am GMing.

Now to the fuel for this blog. I recently re-bought both a Gurps 3rd edition revised core book and Gurps Supers 2nd edition sourcebook. This caused me to dig out my decent sized collection of 3rd edition stuff and start to flip through them reliving some fond memories of fun games in times past. After some nostalgic dreams, a few thoughts crossed my mind. I own most of the Gurps 4th edition books in pdf form. I have even contemplated what kind of game I would try to play with them, and I fall flat everytime. I end up looking through them and thinking "hey that's a nice bit", or "that rule is pretty cool", but it missing something for me. It doesn't excite me like 3rd edition did, and now I realize, still does.

The problem is, I can't figure out why. The rules are not much different from each other, what did change is a non-issue for me as the things they changed or fixed from 3rd seem to be things my players and I never had any trouble with. So I can't blame the rules.
The layout of 3rd esition has some nostalgia factors for me, and 4th edition looks a bit too uniform for me, but neither feel exceptional or terrible to me. So I don't blame the layout changes.
So this leaves me with the actual content. I don't know if I can blame the writing style, it doesn't seem too different either. The content itself seems to have gone too generic. Yes, yes I know that Generic is the first word of the system, but it seems that in 4th edition they held truer to the name than any other edition. I think for myself, 4th edition has made it so generic that I am at a loss as to what I want to use it for. IT gives me the feeling I will have to put too much work into it as a GM to get a game, and that's not what I go for anymore in a game. Don't get me wrong, I like crunch, but I don't like having to make everything myself. Gurps 4th seemed to head closer into HERO's territory. And also realize that I know 3rd edition could be used generically too.

I now realize what it is. The fluff is missing. It's the sourcebooks. 3rd edition had lots of sourcebooks, that if you look at again, are mostly fluff. This fluff could be an entirely new setting such as Yrth, or historical fluff on Japan and China, to licensed settings such as Vampire, Traveller, or even the Starfleet Universe. Sure they all had some crunch too that could be used generically, but every single book for 3rd edition, save a few, had lots and lots of fluff that gave you everything you needed to run in a setting without needing tons of prep.

Sure there is some of this for 4th edition, but with their slower production schedule it just doesn't compare with the library 3rd edition was constantly expanding and revising. 3rd edition often had a lot of fluff in basic supplements, such as Gurps Fantasy was basically the Banestorm setting plus the generic fantasy information. Gurps 4th's Fantasy comes across a lot more as a toolkit for you to make your own, yes it has a barebones setting for a Weird Rome, but its very bare and still feels like oyu'd need to work to flesh it out, that is if you even want to use it. Banestorm's Yrth was fleshed out much more while still using the generic crunch. The weird Rome, almost doesn't fit the genre, it is at least by no means a good representation of the average.

There doesn't seem to be the hunger for licensed properties like there was in 3rd. In 3rd it seemed companies were likely to want there settings Gurps-ized. 4th seems like it really doesn't care about that anymore and just wants to be there for those who like toolkit games. Which there is nothing wrong with that, but for me "I not wants". Seeing several forums and articles on the internet have lead me to believe I am no where near alone on this attitude either.

My thoughts end on realizing that Gurps is the one game that I truly love an older edition so much more than the current edition. Ad&d 2nd use to be another, but 4th has been extremely fun for me. I am not one to cry they messed up my game, and I love it when editions are truly different than previous ones. I am of the attitude "why would I want the same thing again?" so change is good. I don't think 4th is a failure or bad, I can see lots of people loving to use it, hell even I would have at another time.

Okay so one more thought, Gurps 3rd with Supers is probably the only game right now I would actually GM a supers game with. I lose steam with everything else.

So what older editions just really work for you even though they have more "modern" editions?

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Exalted Spirit: Part Two

I feel that Part One of this blog actually did a good job of giving the basics of what I need. The only thing I don't think I have put down yet is the idea of Caste Abilities. Players choose a caste aspect in character creation, not only does it decide what caste they are a part of but it also decides what their anima looks like and gives them one or more caste abilities which are similar to stunts. Unless noted otherwise a Caste Ability adds 5 to the Anima Stress Bar no matter what its cost in FATE points. This represents that their inate caste abilities are used by truly manipulating the essence within themselves. This could possibly send the PC through all the consequences of the Anima Bar in one swoop.

The Solar Castes:

  • Dawn Caste - (The Forsaken) The Dawn Caste are known as the warriors of the Solar Exalted. They are the Generals and Champions. Their Anima Banner is a golden sunburst.
  • Zenith Caste - (The Blasphemous) The Zenith Caste were the Priest-Kings of the realm. They are hunters of the minions of darkness, being almost zealots in the destruction of the dark denizens of the Underworld and Malfeas. Their Anima Banner is a large bright gold filled disc.
  • Twilight Caste - (The Unclean) The Twilight Caste are the scholars of the Solars. They seek to enlighten the ignorant and seek knowledge and learnign through experience and study. Their Anima Banner is a golden circle filled with gold in the top half but an empty ring in the bottom half.
  • Night Caste - (The Wretched) The Night Caste were the protectors and security of the realm. They are known for the stealth, guile, skill and cunning. Their Anima Banner is an empty golden ring.
  • Eclipse Caste - (The Deceivers) The Eclipse Caste are the diplomats of the Solar Exalted. They are masters at social interaction and know how to handle court play amongst any groups. Their Anima Banner is a golden disc within a golden ring.
Each class has different Caste Abilities they may use when needed.
The Caste Abilities are:
  • Dawn - For 2 FPs a Dawn Caste member can  make themselves appear huge and terrifying for the remainder of a "scene". This gives them +2 in defensive rolls, often this would be Physical Conflicts, but in some instances a player and GM may find it appropriate for Social Conflict as well. Any creature immune to fear such as undead or controlled golems ignore this ability.
  • Zenith - For 1 FP a Zenith can burn a corpse with but a touch, sendign the smoke to heaven and preventing the dead from being raised as a minion of evil. For 2 FPs a Zenith can surround himself in bright sunlight that lights up the area around him as if it were noon. For the remainder of the scene the Zenith is +1 in Physical Attacks and +1 Health Stress to any minnion of darkness or undead.
  • Twilight - When a Twilight Caste receives Health Stress, they may spend FPs on a 1 for 1 basis to prevent health stress from the attack. A very potent ability, but can burn through FPs quickly if not careful.
  • Night - Anytime a Night Caste uses an action that would cause stress to be added to the Anima Bar they can spend 1FP to prevent the stress, this ability does not add 5 to the Anima Bar. Also for 2FPs a Night Caste may spend 2 FPs to add Aspects to the environment around them that cause the area to be darker, have more shadows, cause sounds to be muffled, and to cause smells and footprints to be lighter. All of these effects are rolled into one Aspect known as "The Night Unseen".
  • Eclipse - For 2 FPs an Eclipse Caste can sanctify an oath. The participants are bound to it and if they break the oath, they immediatelly gain the Aspect of "Oath Breaker's Curse". Oath Breaker's Curse can only be compelled by the GM and it should come at the worst possible moment for the one afflicted. There are special rules for Oath Breaker's Curse, when it is compelled the player receives the afflicted receives no FPs, cannot negotiate the compel, and fails the current action...terribly. Breaking an oath is a terrible thing with powerful consequences.
Well I believe this is all of my thoughts on using FATE to run Exalted. The one thing I did not work on was Sorcery. I am apt to make it a Tiered group of stunts with Celestial being a prereq to Solar and Terrestial being a prereq to Celestial. This would allow the PC to use truly remarkable rituals and powers based on their highest circle/stunt. I would probably leave it at that for now, being free-form and lots of player and GM fiat. But once Dresden Files RPG is out that may change things. I am not too worried about it as Sorcery has always been the most ignored part of Exalted for me.

Please let me know if you have any questions, comments, or feel I left out something important.