Thursday, April 25, 2013

[Q&A] Sean Punch (GURPS)

[20:02] <+Sean_Punch> So, as my nick cleverly implies, I'm Sean Punch, GURPS Line Editor at SJ Games these past 18 years.
[20:03] <+Sean_Punch> Which is to say, I'm the institutional memory, occasional policy-maker, and frequent editor of GURPS.
[20:03] * +J_Arcane takes a number and readies his kicking shoes. ;)
[20:03] <+Sean_Punch> I also write GURPS content -- quite a bit, of late, thanks to the convenience of PDF publishing.
[20:04] <+Sean_Punch> And for those who are asking, "What is this GURPS, then?", it's the Generic Universal RolePlaying System, designed by Steve Jackson and first released in 1986.
[20:04] *** Sharpe is now known as Stripe
[20:04] <+Sean_Punch> (It was the '80s, so CamelCase was okay.)
[20:04] *** Kage2020 has joined #rpgnet
[20:04] *** ChanServ sets mode +v Kage2020
[20:05] <+Sean_Punch> It being a generic game, my job consists of herding cats . . . the cats being all those genres and the people who are experts on them, my writers.
[20:05] <+Sean_Punch> But that's enough meeble . . . people can ask if they want gory details. ;)
[20:05] <+Sean_Punch> (done)
[20:05] <~Dan> Thanks, Sean!
[20:05] <~Dan> Would anyone like to get us started with a question?
[20:05] <+Stripe> How do we know you're the real Sean Punch and not his evil twin?
[20:06] <+Delgrim> I'm not so familiar about the 4e for I have only core books from it, but the old supplements from 3e that I still love, are you continuing to put squish lot's of them into one book?
[20:06] <+Stripe> XD
[20:06] <+Sean_Punch> Stripe: You don't, but if you send me your bank account number and password, I'll prove it to you.
[20:06] <+Delgrim> Errr -put
[20:06] <+Stripe> XD
[20:06] <+Stripe> That's the real Kromm.
[20:07] <+Sean_Punch> Delgrim: Could you clarify what's getting squished? Do you mean "lots of rules" or "lots of genres" or what?
[20:08] <+Delgrim> Sean_Punch: Like those Time Travel & Alternate Earths to Infinite Worlds, or is it totally new line?
[20:09] <+Sean_Punch> Oh, I see: Are we squishing multiple 3e books into 4e releases? Not as a matter of policy. Some items are like that; for instance, GURPS Magic for 4e contains GURPS Magic *and* GURPS Grimoire for 3e.
[20:09] <+Sean_Punch> But others aren't . . . GURPS Low-Tech is still GURPS Low-Tech, just with more stuff and updated. And GURPS Powers is really an all-new item, not a squishing of anything from 3e at all.
[20:10] <+Delgrim> 4e Magic is quite thick.
[20:10] *** BPIJonathan has joined #rpgnet
[20:10] *** ChanServ sets mode +v BPIJonathan
[20:10] <+Sean_Punch> And of late we're mainly publishing short items as PDF, which has the opposite effect: Things that were once a chapter in a book are now expanded into a small supplement that's considerably longer.
[20:10] <~Dan> (Welcome, Jonathan!)
[20:10] <+BPIJonathan> (Thanks Dan)
[20:10] <+BPIJonathan> (What did I miss?)
[20:11] <+Sean_Punch> Delgrim: Does that cover it? Or was there another angle I missed?
[20:11] <+Old_Pink> What new and/or interesting projects can you tease us with?
[20:11] <~Dan> (Sean introducing himself and discussing how 3e material is being introduced in 4e.)
[20:11] <+Delgrim> Sean_Punch: Thank you. It about covers it, I just happen to dislike PDF's :)
[20:12] <+Sean_Punch> Old_Pink: Hm, well, because of Ogre -- which had a large Kickstarter that went completely nonlinear -- GURPS has been queued up. That means there are LOTS of things in the works that might qualify.
[20:12] <+Old_Pink> Well, pick one for now, and save some for later
[20:12] <+tbrock1031> Some have claimed 4e Magic wasn't as well-edited or fully updated to 4e.  Any chance we'll see a Magic Revised, bringing oddball spells to 4e's standards? (f'rex, Sunbolt currently doing impaling rather than burning damage)
[20:12] <+Stripe> Please Pick Vehicle Design System
[20:12] <+Sean_Punch> Many of them are secrets, but it's no secret that we have my own GURPS Zombies in the queue, which should be out in print this year.
[20:12] <+the_matrix_walker> I was wondering if we had more DF in the works!  (PDF is here to stay brother, it's just optimal for what GURPS does!)
[20:13] <+BPIJonathan> I have GURPS books that go all the way back to 1e. I have tons of GURPS pdfs, but I prefer the print book myself. I wouldnt mind seeing a POD option on books.
[20:13] <+J_Arcane> Is there any chance of any further licensed GURPS sourcebooks in the future, like Hellboy, Alpha Centauri, Myth, etc. of old?
[20:13] <+Imion> Regarding chapters being made into supplements: Any news about Madness Dossier? Last thing I hear about it was that the final draft was being revised.
[20:13] <~Dan> (Question pause, please.)
[20:13] <+Sean_Punch> And then there are follow-ons for many books, like GURPS Banestorm: Martial Arts for GURPS Banestorm and GURPS Martial Arts, and GURPS Martial Arts: Technical Grappling for GURPS Martial Arts. And yes, more GURPS Dungeon Fantays.
[20:14] <+tbrock1031> (for those who hate PDFs, myself included, there's always this handy device called a "printer", or failing that Kinko's or whatever they're calling it now.)
[20:14] <+Sean_Punch> Er, "Fantasy" . . . typing too fast.
[20:14] *** Seraioli has quit IRC: Ping timeout
[20:14] <+Sean_Punch> I have some other personal projects queued, too, including a GURPS Thaumatology supplement, another GURPS Power-Ups item, and a GURPS Social Engineering item.
[20:14] <+Sean_Punch> Among others.
[20:15] <+Sean_Punch> tbrock1031: I would love to see GURPS Magic updated and polished. Whether we can justify the resources to redo something big, crunchy, and already released when there are as-yet-unreleased things in the queue . . . that's less clear.
[20:16] <+korbeau> Yea but "printer" do same "cheap' quality book like 3ed was. 4ed got me with colorful high quality book... not the case anymore
[20:16] <+Roguebfl> Any news on the VDS front or still a back burner?
[20:16] <+Sean_Punch> It's unfortunate that GURPS Magic for 4e was still in development when we were working on the GURPS Basic Set 4e, but that's what human resources dictated. There are hitches, and I would love to see GURPS Magic redone. It definitely gets tossed around periodically.
[20:17] <+the_matrix_walker> I love the "popcorn" RPG things GURPS has been doing, Monster Hunters, DF, Action....  I was wondering of there were any plans for adding more lines of that nature, steam/cyberpunk or something with a more Ultra tech environment
[20:17] <+saithan> included expansion of rpm maybe?
[20:17] <+Sean_Punch> the_matrix_walker: There's definite more DF in the works. I am writing a DF item right now. It's a secret. Hopefully, we'll also have more DF Monsters items before the heat death of the universe.
[20:17] <~Dan> (Question pause is on, folks. Thanks! :) )
[20:18] <~Dan> (Please wait for a "(done)" from Sean before resuming questions.)
[20:18] <+Sean_Punch> BPIJonathan: Well . . . Steve's recent Report to the Stakeholders ((Link: says that POD plans fell through. SJ Games may take another crack, but for now PDF is going to have to do. That's economics, not pecking order.
[20:19] <+Delgrim> :(
[20:20] <+Sean_Punch> J_Arcane: Licensed works are always a possibility IF the licensor approaches SJ Games. We still hope to do GURPS Girl Genius, for instance, and of course the Discworld RPG is written, edited, and in the production queue.
[20:21] <+Sean_Punch> I cannot say what the future holds because I cannot predict it. Also -- and this is important -- I am not really in that loop. That's IP, and IP involves executive decisions, lawyers, and contracts. My job happens after all of that is settled. Often, the first I hear of a license is when it's signed, done, and we need to find a writer.
[20:22] <+Sean_Punch> Imion: In fact, the final draft of GURPS Horror: The Madness Dossier just arrived today! It goes into editing . . . uh, now. I cannot guess at the release date, but at least now you know it isn't mythical.
[20:22] <+Sean_Punch> Well, the quality of the supplement will be mythical, I'm sure -- it's Ken Hite, for goodness' sake! -- but the product will actually be published and exist in our lifetime.
[20:23] <+tbrock1031> *heh*
[20:23] <+Sean_Punch> korbeau: Sadly, the colorful hardbacks aren't economical in the slightest. People see our competitors releasing them and tend to forget that a sales volume 10 or 100 times as large enables major economies of scale. GURPS is really a boutique game, despite SJ Games' importance in the games biz.
[20:24] <+Stripe> ouch.
[20:24] <+BPIJonathan> I am not really a "must have" guy when it comes to colorful hardbacks. I love the 3e paperbacks more.
[20:24] <+Sean_Punch> Roguebfl: GURPS Vehicle Design isn't on the back burner and never really has been. It's on David Pulver's front burner, I do believe. It's just fiendishly complex, and its fans tend to overlook that it's still being written. The meme about it already existing and being held up is unfortunate, but it's also just a rumor.
[20:25] <+Sean_Punch> As far as I know, Vehicle Design will exist when David is good and ready to submit the work.
[20:25] <+GenoFoxx> :(
[20:25] <+Delgrim> BPIJonathan: Me too, but when it comes to digital verse ...not for me..
[20:25] <+Sean_Punch> But on something that large and that complex, we don't set tight deadlines. We let the writer write, and we publish once we have something to publish. Anything else would be incredibly mean to a freelancer who isn't paid by the hour, but with a royalty after publication.
[20:26] <+Roguebfl> back burner was more meant being worked on during free time of other projects
[20:26] <+korbeau> What's look like for me is what happen to In nomine.. i was a IN fan and all the projects they had.. then silence. Nothing. Hope gurps didn't going the sane way. Declined then disapear.
[20:27] <+Sean_Punch> the_matrix_walker: Well, more ready-to-go genre series are always a possibility. Action, DF, and MH already represent a pretty big commitment, but we have at least one we would like to do, and we're not averse to others if the right freelancers approach us.
[20:27] <+korbeau> Understand instead the economy is a PIT*
[20:27] <+the_matrix_walker> "Space Opera"  droool
[20:27] <+tbrock1031> Personally, I'd rather have a good solid product for GVD than something rushed.
[20:27] <+Sean_Punch> saithan: Indeed, there's a GURPS Thaumatology: Ritual Path Magic book sitting in the art queue. So you'll get that wish.
[20:28] <+saithan> :) looking forward to that one
[20:28] <+Sean_Punch> krobeau: I cannot say a word about In Nomine. That's a totally different product line. I don't even see the reports on it, and haven't -- not ever. You would have to ask people involved with IN about that.
[20:29] <+stevenmarsh> I can offer a smidge of insight, if it's desired...
[20:29] <+Sean_Punch> Er, that was at korbeau, and once again I typed too fast.
[20:29] <+Sean_Punch> But GURPS isn't going to go the same way because it isn't in the same boat.
[20:30] <+Sean_Punch> IN faded because, let's be honest, it wasn't a commercial success. It cost more than GURPS to produce owing to the need to adhere to rigorous canon and have a consistent art style, yet sold fewer copies.
[20:30] <+Sean_Punch> GURPS is on hold because there's a huge Kickstarter project in the way.
[20:31] <+Old_Pink> Could you please politely ask the Ogre to move out of the way -- just a little? ;)
[20:31] <+Sean_Punch> It's an unfortunate fact of life in RPG publishing that setting canon is a bear. It really is. Rules canon is trivial by comparison, because it's 90% logic and 10% emotion, whereas setting is closer to 50/50, if not 10/90.
[20:31] <+korbeau> Agree with old_pink ;)
[20:32] <+Sean_Punch> Old_Pink: Oh, I have asked. Believe me, I have asked!
[20:32] <+J_Arcane> Sean_Punch: 4e seemed like a significant shift in target audience, from the options-flexible, casual-friendly 3e and 3e Lite, to a significantly more "hardcore", gearhead-ish, and complex (not to mention large) corebook with 4e that made many former "options" and specialized mechanics into core and even mandatory rules.
[20:32] <~Dan> (YOU try getting a kaiju-sized tank to move!)
[20:32] <+Sean_Punch> Old_Pink: But shoot, dude, it's a city block with nuclear weapons. It doesn't cede right of way!!
[20:32] <+korbeau> Yea but is not that gurps missing? A solid setting? Earing peoples, it one of the flaw about gurps..
[20:32] <+J_Arcane> Was this shift in target audience a deliberate change, or simply the result of the designer's and playtester's tastes and feedback?
[20:32] * ~Dan high-fives Sean
[20:33] <+Roguebfl> want to have an idea how big an orge is (Link: ;)
[20:33] <+Sean_Punch> J_Arcane: I'll have to answer this delicately, because it's subjective. Personally, I don't agree with your assertion.
[20:33] * +Stripe wonders if they really high five'd in real life.
[20:33] <+tbrock1031> used to, back in the '80s ;)
[20:34] <+Sean_Punch> GURPS 4e is still very options-flexible . . . by instance, it has more rules per publication marked "optional" and "if the GM wishes."
[20:34] <+Sean_Punch> I know, because I've counted.
[20:34] <+Sean_Punch> That's part of the job, even.
[20:34] <~Dan> (Question pause is on. Please hold further questions until Sean finishes answering J_Arcane's question. Thanks!)
[20:34] <+Sean_Punch> There are lots more OPTIONAL specialized mechanics, but that's what they are.
[20:35] <+Sean_Punch> We consider more optional mechanics to mean a game more friendly to casual gamers.
[20:35] <+the_matrix_walker> Korbeau: I don't know what the prevailing opinion is, but I don't want or need a fully fleshed out setting (nor can it really be done!  there are Infinate Worlds!) where you see a bug, I see a feature!
[20:35] *** Grinning_Lie has joined #rpgnet
[20:35] *** ChanServ sets mode +v Grinning_Lie
[20:36] <~Dan> (Oh, I forgot to mention, folks: #rpgnet2 is open for those interested in general chat while the Q&A goes on.)
[20:36] <+Sean_Punch> And a lot of complex 3e rules -- like multiple skill cost progressions, Passive Defense, and strange curves for attribute costs -- went away in 4e. IMO, it's an easier system to learn and use.
[20:36] <+J_Arcane> Then why make more math-intensive mechanics like the percentile modifiers for ads/disads more or less mandatory, to the extend that some ads/disads are actually deliberately stated to be basically unusable without them?
[20:36] <+Stripe> Agreed. Fourth Edition is better in every way than Third.
[20:37] <+Sean_Punch> J_Arcane: They aren't mandatory at all. Many GMs totally ignore them. It's just that putting them in the core rules means that nobody gets to complain that some weird-ass option is only in an add-on they have to pay for. The Basic Set gives people a taste of modifiers, perks, Talents, etc. but nobody has to use any of it.
[20:37] <~Dan> (JA: Please hold follow-up questions until Sean finishes answering. Thanks!)
[20:37] <+korbeau> Agrer with stripe.. at last until gurps vehicule design system will appear ^^
[20:38] <+Sean_Punch> Later books really tell you what you can do . . . modifiers are optional, but including them in the Basic Set means that things like GURPS Powers don't need to start at zero comprehension.
[20:39] <+J_Arcane> Are there or are there not ads/disads in the 4e corebook that specifically state that they are only meant to be used with modifiers?
[20:39] <+Sean_Punch> korbeau: The problem with settings for a generic game is this: Settings tend to fit one or at best a couple of genres, while the natural audience of a genric game is split among many genres. Thus, no setting will really appeal to all that much of the audience. That makes it hard to justify spending money on setting development.
[20:39] <~Dan> (No more questoins until we get a "(done)" from Sean, please. Thanks!)
[20:40] <+Sean_Punch> Single-genre games with rules wrapped  around canon wrapped around rules enjoy the HUGE advantage of having one audience that came for the same show, not 20 audiences, 19 of them complaining when the other 5% gets a setting. ;)
[20:40] <+tbrock1031> Besides, modifiers being percentiles is a late 3e addition, but it was still in 3e; look at 3e's Compendium I for such things.  4e just cleaned them up nicely.
[20:41] <+the_matrix_walker> I remember the ol Level modifiers!
[20:42] <+Sean_Punch> J_Arcane: I would challenge anyone to find a trait in the Basic Set that only makes sense if you apply modifiers. We specifically designed all traits to work "as is." Modifiers might be required to get the version that one specific gamer feels *ought* to be the core version, but that gamer isn't the designer.
[20:42] <+Sean_Punch> One privilege of being the designer is getting to decide what the core functionality of a trait will be and what variants are optional sidelines.
[20:43] <+Stripe> Agreed. We rarely use modifiers.
[20:43] <+Stripe> Almost never, actually.
[20:44] <+Sean_Punch> The problem is that a lot of gamers see something and think, "I paid for it, so I have to use it." Or they go to the forums, populated mostly by "advanced," super-geeky gamers, see that they all use something, and conclude that everybody has to use it.
[20:44] <+Sean_Punch> (done)
[20:44] <+Stripe> Sean_Punch: Blonde, brunette or redhead, and as a follow up to that, in what genre do you normally play? Please say Dungeon Fantasy!
[20:44] <+Sean_Punch> (I think . . . did I miss anyone?)
[20:44] <+Kage2020> If an opinion matters, I felt that 3e reduced the fragmentation of the system across the various supplements and overall created a more integrated product that, while I was initially wary of, I'm now very much a fan of it.  YMMV, of course.
[20:44] <+Kage2020> *4e in that last.  Oopsie.
[20:45] <+tbrock1031> I use modifiers a lot in character design, but then I make a lot of Supers characters just for fun.  Modifiers there are quite necessary.  Other games - Old West, for instance - don't need mods.
[20:45] <~Dan> Sean: Would it be correct to say that GURPS strives to be realer-than-real at the base, then builds from there? And if so, does that make more over-the-top settings more difficult to model?
[20:45] *** Guest58354 has joined #rpgnet
[20:45] <+J_Arcane> So, I'm lying, and it's my fault for lacking imagination, and the issues don't exist. :/ About the answer I expected, but I'm still disappointed to hear it.
[20:45] *** ChanServ sets mode +v Guest58354
[20:45] <+Stripe> Good question, Dan.
[20:46] <~Dan> J_Arcane: Cool it down, please. Thanks!
[20:46] <+Sean_Punch> Stripe: Redhead . . . I like them so much I married one. By hours, the genre I've played most is fantasy of one sort or the other. Currently, though, I'm running a secret-agents campaign set in the real world: (Link: .
[20:46] <+Delgrim> Is there going to be Compedium in some point? For more optional rules? Or are you trying to hold back and stick with those in Basic Set?
[20:46] <+Stripe> Thanks. :)
[20:46] <~Dan> (Welcome, Guest58354! You can set your nick with the "/nick" command.)
[20:46] <+Stripe> Me too, by the way. ;)
[20:47] *** Guest58354 is now known as dntimm
[20:47] <+J_Arcane> Dan: My apologies, that was glibly stated.
[20:47] <+tbrock1031> (OT: and Sean channels Heinlein.  I wonder if he selected the same type redhead as Heinlein did.... )
[20:47] <+tbrock1031> ;)
[20:47] <+Old_Pink> What are the approximate point-values of the PCs in your secret-agents campaign?
[20:47] <+Sean_Punch> Dan: GURPS strives to deliver versimilitude. Contrary to myth, outright realism of the harsh, simulationist kind was never a goal. Even in 1986, Steve's own statement was that we'd consult with reality to get results that felt real in play, but never at the detriment of story.
[20:47] *** Le_AFK is now known as Le_Squide
[20:48] <+BPIJonathan> (I have it bad for redheads myself, I have been married twice. Both redheads).
[20:48] <+Sean_Punch> "When in doubt, roll and shout!" was Steve's credo, which isn't harsh-realism motto, but more of a dramatist one.
[20:48] *** GoldenH has quit IRC: Ping timeout
[20:48] <~Dan> (I have a follow-up observation, when you're ready.)
[20:48] <+Sean_Punch> J_Arcane: Nobody said anyone was lying. I just said, quite objectively and as the editor, that nobody needs to use modifiers. They aren't necessary to make GURPS work, and GURPS doesn't force you to use them.
[20:50] <+Sean_Punch> Delgrim: One of things that Steve was fairly insistent on was "no Compendiums for 4e." That's part of the reason why all the options and possibilities get at least a rudimentary stub in the Basic Set.
[20:50] <+the_matrix_walker> How do you find the time and patience to deal with all us crazies PMing you daily questions?
[20:50] <+tbrock1031> Sean: Getting back to an earlier observation... Has anyone approached you with an idea for a book or series to give Space Opera or Mecha/Super-Robo the same treatment that DF, MH, and Action was given?
[20:50] <~Dan> (Question pause after tbrock1031's question. Thanks!)
[20:50] <+Delgrim> Sean_Punch: Thank you. I kind of saw that.
[20:50] <+Sean_Punch> That said, there have been mini-compendia, like GURPS Power-Ups 2: Perks with all the perks up to a point, and GURPS Power-Ups 3: Talents with all the Talents up to a point.
[20:51] <+tbrock1031> Those Power-Ups have also given original content as well, IIRC
[20:52] <+Sean_Punch> Many, sorry about the speed-induced typos . . . "verisimilitude" is a work I can spell, really! And I generally do include definite articles: "One of the things that Steve . . .". Apologies for the haste!
[20:52] <+Sean_Punch> PS: "a work I can spell" was a joke. ;)
[20:52] <+tbrock1031> *heh*
[20:52] * ~Dan chuckles
[20:52] <+Stripe> Kromm, it's IRC, man. Don't sweat it. :)
[20:52] <+the_matrix_walker> no worries, and we know "verisimilitude" is one of your favorite words ;)
[20:53] <+tbrock1031> on another server, we use "Ai kan tipe!" and "hukt en fonix werkt fer mi!"
[20:53] <~Dan> Kromm laughs at your four typos!
[20:53] <+Sean_Punch> the_matrix_walker: I find time because I got this job by being the Q&A guy for some time, and I got that task because I liked it and was impressed with how SJ Games answered customer questions.
[20:53] <+Delgrim> Damned PayPal :(
[20:53] *** Le_Squide is now known as Le_Showah
[20:54] <+Sean_Punch> I consider myself a gamer first, RPG professional second.
[20:54] <+the_matrix_walker> Well, it's very appreciated!
[20:54] <+BPIJonathan> (I view myself the same way as Sean)
[20:54] <+Stripe> It is, very much appreciated. Yes.
[20:54] <+Delgrim> I'm just a newb gamer...
[20:55] *** Seraioli has joined #rpgnet
[20:55] *** ChanServ sets mode +v Seraioli
[20:55] <+Sean_Punch> tbrock1031: We haven't yet had a proposal for an Easy-Bake Genre series in a science-fictional vein. In part because that's a much looser genre than Action, DF, and MH, and thus a bear for the poor writer who wants to tackle it.
[20:55] <+Sean_Punch> We're not averse to it, however.
[20:56] <+Sean_Punch> (done)
[20:56] <+Stripe> Sean_Punch: Is GURPS in fact, better than Pathfinder, D20, or Dungeons and Dragons at delivering a fantasy, dungeon-delving gaming session?
[20:56] <+Sean_Punch> (Or did I miss someone?)
[20:56] <+Old_Pink> It's absolutely appreciated -- just _try_ and get an answer-of-intent (or other authority) for some esoterica of those "other," "more popular" games.
[20:56] <~Dan> To follow up on my earlier question...
[20:57] <~Dan> ...I recall in 3e that two blows from a sword were likely to kill someone, because it's realistic. (more)
[20:57] <+Sean_Punch> Stripe: It totally depends on what you want. I have the greatest respect for other game systems. Some people might think that I'm a True Believer or a system hater because I've been the line manager for the same game since 1995.
[20:57] <~Dan> Now, I get that, but to expand a bit on my question: How tricky is it to go from that to, say, an action hero who laughs at a hail of bullets? I'm a big believer in rules as the physics of the setting, btw. :)
[20:58] <+Sean_Punch> I think that the Pathfinder/d20 complex of games deliver a better pick-up-and-play experience, and clearer character improvement. If you just want to game with 10 random people in an hour, they're better.
[20:58] <+Delgrim> Dan: Even I can answer to that :D
[20:58] <+Stripe> That's certainly true.
[20:58] <+Sean_Punch> If, however, you want the various rules and options to work together as a machine, and want support for slightly goofy things that fall in the shadows and wings of the genre, DF is better.
[20:59] <+Sean_Punch> The thing with DF is that it's part of a bigger system that supports just about any task or genre or character type or option.
[20:59] <+Stripe> True, that.
[20:59] <+Sean_Punch> That works against you for quick-start and easy improvement, for you for handling weird character concepts and in-game puzzles. So . . . what's more important to you?
[21:00] <+Stripe> Intercourse mechanics.
[21:00] <+Stripe> ;)
[21:00] <+dntimm> lol
[21:00] <+tbrock1031> *snrk*
[21:00] <+Sean_Punch> Dan: You can make GURPS as bloody or as cinematic as you wish. The default is that being stabbed kind of makes you dead.
[21:00] <+etaoinshrdlu> (This Q&A is getting weirder by the second)
[21:00] *** Kael has joined #rpgnet
[21:00] *** ChanServ sets mode +v Kael
[21:01] <+the_matrix_walker> In GURPS you can do anything.  Or Everything...badly  (as you've got a point in everything)
[21:01] <~Dan> (Welcome to #rpgnet, Kael! Q&A with Sean Punch in progress! :) )
[21:01] <+Stripe> Thanks for your reply, Sean.
[21:01] <+tbrock1031> (oh, this is nothing compared to some of the tangents on the fora)
[21:01] <+Sean_Punch> But . . . you can buy Luck, lots of HP, or whatever. You can use options that let you buy your way out of trouble with points (see GURPS Power-Ups 5: Impulse Buys). You can get all kinds of special abilities . . . a martial artist might have DR on his skin to represent being really tough.
[21:01] <+the_matrix_walker> Sean, Have you ever reversed a ruling?
[21:01] <~Dan> Can you do it while keeping the rules consistent across supplements, or does it require setting-specific tweaks?
[21:02] <+Sean_Punch> Stripe: I can promise you that there will be no official GURPS Shagging or GURPS Me Love You Long Time. We do have limits, even if the system doesn't.
[21:03] <+tbrock1031> *heh*
[21:03] <+the_matrix_walker> LOL
[21:03] <+Stripe> Dang! XD
[21:03] <+tbrock1031> However, there *was* someone on the forums saying he was redoing _GURPS Sex_ for 4e
[21:03] * +etaoinshrdlu slowly backs away ...
[21:03] <+Sean_Punch> Dan: The rules are consistent, yes. However, which ones are turned on for a given campaign is up to the GM. GURPS is a strong Rule Zero game, and the GM is required to flip switches and set dials.
[21:03] <~Dan> To rephrase: If you make Action Hero Guy from GURPS Badass, does he use abilities that can carry over to GURPS Horror, or does he use actual changes to the rules?
[21:04] <+tbrock1031> (which was a fan-book in the 3e days)
[21:04] <+Sean_Punch> It's just that the switches and dials remain the same in all GURPS books.
[21:04] <+Delgrim> Stripe: Fortunatelly to you, there's rules for making your own GURPS Love.
[21:04] <~Dan> (I hope that made sense.)
[21:04] <+Sean_Punch> GURPS character sheets always make sense in all rules-as-written GURPS campaigns.
[21:05] <+Stripe> Agreed.
[21:05] <+Sean_Punch> What changes is how abilities can be (ab)used and which optional rules are in effect.
[21:06] <+Sean_Punch> For instance, the player of Mr. Badass might be allowed to spend unspent points for amazing effect in GURPS Action, only to find out that his GURPS Horror GM doesn't allow that, because it makes horror less scary if you can just opt out of being in trouble.
[21:06] <+korbeau> Ideally, i see gurps more like a rpg tool kit to "build your own rpg game" GM take what he need and drop the rest.
[21:06] <+Sean_Punch> But his on-sheet abilities don't change. Just what rules he's allowed to invoke.
[21:07] <~Dan> Sean: Ah, I see. In a way, it sounds like the reality-specific rules in TORG.
[21:07] <+Sean_Punch> the_matrix_walker: When I'm wrong, I admit it. I have reversed rulings for sure. I cannot recall a specific example out of the blue, but I don't consider anything set in stone unless Steve Jackson personally tells me, "Here's how it's gonna be."
[21:07] <+korbeau> I don't believe that gurps as a "by default" system.. all optional, use them wisely
[21:08] <~Dan> (e.g., go to the pulp reality, and crashing through a skylight with both guns blazing actually makes sense.)
[21:08] <+tbrock1031> one of the biggest "fish out of water" types would be the DF Elf Wizard being dropped into Renaissance Florence.  He might be able to get along as far as tech and culture, but his magic would be useless.
[21:08] <+tbrock1031> (actually, not the biggest, but it'd be notable)
[21:09] <+Sean_Punch> The thing with GURPS is that it isn't a canon-heavy game. It really is a kit for GMs to use to develop rules subsets for their campaigns. It's just less meta than, say, FUDGE.
[21:09] <+Kael> bigger would the same same wizard in a hard SF setting,
[21:09] <+tbrock1031> said Elf, hwoever, would not lose his skill
[21:09] <+tbrock1031> *however
[21:10] <+technoshaman> Sean, whas there a soucebook for alien abuctions, war with aliens and alien apocolypse in different time periods?
[21:10] <+the_matrix_walker> Any chance we could talk you guys into doing a GURPS 4.5 Update type thing where you would put al the goodies you might like to have done differently, like how Afflictions work for example.
[21:10] <+Sean_Punch> But beyond listing what traits are and aren't allowed at character-creation time, the details of that don't exist on the character sheet. They're inherent in the in-play aspects of the game. The character sheet might manifest differently in different settings, of course.
[21:11] <+Kael> Matrix: you mean like some big errata?
[21:11] <+Sean_Punch> The key thing is that GURPS doesn't have as its goal, "Makes every character valid in every genre run by every GM!" It simply goes for, "If the GM wants to hop genres, then GURPS will let him do that consistently."
[21:11] <+the_matrix_walker> Kind of, but an optional one
[21:12] <+Sean_Punch> Another GM might hop genres in a totally different way . . . because, um, genres are pretty much subjective. See your local video shop or bookstore.
[21:13] <+Sean_Punch> technoshaman: There has never been a secret-history-with-aliens supplement per se. The topic was touched on a lot in the 3e supplements GURPS Illuminati and GURPS Warehouse 23, and rather unsubtly included in GURPS Black Ops and GURPS Atomic Horror.
[21:14] *** GoldenH has joined #rpgnet
[21:14] *** ChanServ sets mode +v GoldenH
[21:14] <+Delgrim> What was Aliens about?
[21:14] <+Sean_Punch> the_matrix_walker: I think that even partial edition updates are totally out of the question in the near future. We just have too much tied up in Ogre, Munchkin, and now the Car Wars Kickstarter. GURPS has to hold station for a few more years, at least.
[21:15] <+Sean_Punch> However, we are subtly presenting alternative options in works like GURPS Power-Ups 3: Talents, which includes some totally revised views of Talents. That's just one example.
[21:15] <+dntimm> what does 'hold station' mean for GURPs?
[21:15] <+the_matrix_walker> If you ever do decide to work out something like that, I hope we see it in Alternate GURPS 3 or 4 ;)
[21:15] <+tbrock1031> hmm... is Car Wars licensed or SJGames original? If the latter, will we see an Autoduel update around the same time as the new CW product?
[21:15] <+dntimm> Just e23 releases and such?
[21:15] <+Sean_Punch> And Pyramid has Alternate GURPS issues periodically, which seriously revise things for those happy with optional rules in a 'zine.
[21:15] *** GenoFoxx has quit IRC: Disintegrated: (Link: ajax IRC Client
[21:16] <+Stripe> I have no more questions, personally.
[21:16] <+Sean_Punch> Delgrim: GURPS Aliens was a 3e supplement about classic sci-fi aliens of the sort met by guys who . . . talk . . . like . . . THIS. And . . . punch people . . . with both hands . . . while hanging from a doorway.
[21:17] <+Delgrim> Sean_Punch: Oh, thanks. I have that in somewhere.
[21:17] <+Sean_Punch> That is, for ultra-tech campaigns with regular space travel and lots of starships. It isn't about the sneaky sort of alien that abducts people.
[21:18] <+Sean_Punch> dntimm: By "hold station" I mean keep its current course and support its current rules approaches, rather than veer off and go in slightly different directions that necessitate a reboot, however small.
[21:18] <+Delgrim> I'm running a Space campaign at the moment, somehow that book's been hidden whole time.
[21:19] <+dntimm> Thanks
[21:19] <+Sean_Punch> tbrock1031: Car Wars is 100% ours. Steve designed it, and most of the cars-with-guns fiction since is basically ripping him off, though we're usually more polite about how we say that. Whether GURPS Autoduel ever gets updated is crystal-ball territory.
[21:20] <+the_matrix_walker> Be a nice companion for Vehichles
[21:20] <+Sean_Punch> The thing with Car Wars is that the basic assumption that car-sized masses of plastic and metal could race around at 100mph whilst carrying and surviving hits from anti-tank weapons . . . well . . . it's a little at odds with GURPS' basic realism.
[21:20] <~Dan> Sean_Punch: Not that the RPG biz is all that cutthroat, but what games would you consider to be in the most directo competition with GURPS?
[21:20] <+the_matrix_walker> but with one h
[21:20] <+Sean_Punch> What would be needed is a major set of cinematic combat rules, more so than Yet More Tech And Gear rules.
[21:21] <+Sean_Punch> The quandary being that the people most interested in writing vehicles-related stuff are caught up in the tech and gear, and aren't the biggest fans of cinematic combat. So it's more an issue of suitable writing talent than anything else.
[21:22] <+Sean_Punch> Dan: Well, the closest thing to GURPS is probably Hero.
[21:22] <+Stripe> Agreed.
[21:22] <+Sean_Punch> And FATE is super-adaptable across genres, too.
[21:23] <+Sean_Punch> Hero is more mechanistic; FATE, more dramatic. Thus, neither is so much direct competition as the same idea at different places in game-space.
[21:24] * ~Dan nods
[21:24] *** WinsonPaine has joined #rpgnet
[21:24] *** ChanServ sets mode +v WinsonPaine
[21:24] <+J_Arcane> I can definitely agree that 4e very strongly resembles HERO these days. ;)
[21:25] <+tbrock1031> there are still folks that play BESM3 and insist it's the best out there, despite it being available only as a pirated PDF. :(
[21:25] <+WinsonPaine> Is there any chance of us ever getting Hot Lead or something like it again?
[21:25] <~Dan> By mechanistic, do you mean that HERO breaks everything down into its component parts?
[21:25] <+Delgrim> I think I'll be running 3e for a little while longer, mostly because I have supplements for it.
[21:25] <+Sean_Punch> J_Arcane: I think that depends on what you do with it. For instance, I run a campaign that feels nothing like any Hero game I've ever been in. No complex power builds, just lots of skill-based espionage action.
[21:26] <+Sean_Punch> WinsonPaine: I really cannot comment on that. Hot Lead isn't GURPS and was never really going to be GURPS, and it was SJ's personal baby.
[21:26] <+Stripe> Sean_Punch: You were a particle physicist at one time? What's up with that?
[21:26] <+J_Arcane> Sean_Punch: I think some of the clash of opinion here also comes from me being primarily a "corebook only" player when it came to 3e.
[21:27] <+WinsonPaine> Fair enough.
[21:27] <+J_Arcane> The old book was smaller, and a lot more neatly compartmentalized, than the way 4e approaches things with a more encyclopedic approach, and that made it, personally, seem a lot more complex and difficult to work with for me.
[21:27] <+Sean_Punch> Dan: That's exactly what I mean. In Hero, a flashlight is something you can build with points, and everybody buys gear with points by default, and indeed points are your gods. In GURPS, a flashlight and most gear is just that -- gear. Points are nice, but you can play GURPS without them.
[21:27] <+the_matrix_walker> J_Arcane: You missed out an ALLOT
[21:27] <+WinsonPaine> Has anyone asked about 4e Vehicles then and if not what is up with it?
[21:27] <+tbrock1031> WP: it's been asked...
[21:27] <+J_Arcane> the_matrix_walker: I still used some of the sourcebook stuff, but only what I needed, usually, not the whole mess at once. And most games I played in didn't even use anything but pure Basic Combat.
[21:28] <+Sean_Punch> Stripe: I studied particle physics, yep. Then my supervisor died, my department was unable to support me morally or economically, and I needed a job to pay rent and bills that very month. Fortunately, I got one, in my hobby.
[21:28] <+Stripe> Speaking of which, we're sorry to hear about your friend. :(
[21:28] *** korbeau has quit IRC: Ping timeout
[21:29] <+Sean_Punch> J_Arcane: You can do that in 4e, too, but the corebook is bigger. There's absolutely no lie in this next statement, though: Everything in the Basic Set for 3e is in the Basic Set for 4e. There are just other options to make the game truer to its claim as a generic system.
[21:29] <+the_matrix_walker> Well, I think you have a bigger cult of personality as an editor interestingly enough...
[21:29] <+tbrock1031> ... and I can't find the quote about VD :(
[21:29] *** jeffszusz has joined #rpgnet
[21:29] *** ChanServ sets mode +v jeffszusz
[21:30] <+BPIJonathan> I think the only issue we had with G4e was when were playing a Victorian game, seemed that there was something missing. However, this was back when the core was first released and I havent used it for that genre since.
[21:30] <+J_Arcane> Sean_Punch: Yet it is still buried in a much larger space of text, and a lot of it uses assumptions the previous book didn't, or relies on stuff like modifiers that, in 3e core, weren't even used for anything by psi and magic.
[21:30] <+Sean_Punch> Stripe: Thanks for that. Yes, my friend of 33 years and my first GM, ever, passed away this week. Thanks to him, I got into RPGs, found a fun hobby, and had something to fall back on when I needed a job.
[21:30] <+Stripe> That's so very sad, man. :(
[21:31] <+tbrock1031> Kromm: our condolences on your friend's passing
[21:31] <+dntimm> sorry to hear that
[21:31] <~Dan> Sean_Punch: Thanks again for making it tonight despite that. It's very much appreciated, and you have my deepest sympathies.
[21:31] <+Sean_Punch> Thanks folks.
[21:31] <+BPIJonathan> Thanks Sean, it was great to have you here.
[21:31] <+Stripe> Yeah, thanks for keeping this appointment despite your tragic loss.
[21:31] <+Sean_Punch> So . . . are there any other questions? My redheaded friend here is hinting that it might well be time to eat. I'm a night owl, so I eat late, but . . . nom.
[21:31] <+BPIJonathan> And my condolences for your loss.
[21:32] <+J_Arcane> I feel at a disadvantage in arguing the point because I don't know the books that well anymore, but there were a lot of the abilities in 4e when I read it that were very clearly built as skeletons for those modifiers to be attached to, in a way most weren't in 3e core. :/ But that's my piece on it. I appreciate you at least listening to my complaint, even if we don't agree. ;)
[21:32] <+dntimm> Are there going to be any more 'powered by GURPs' titles any time soon? (Barring the mythical Girl Genius) :)
[21:32] <+J_Arcane> And losing people sucks. So you have my sympathies on that. :(
[21:32] <+Stripe> Sean, I hate to ask a favor, but could you just drop by and say hi to #gurps? Real quick?
[21:32] <+Sean_Punch> dntimm: Powered by GURPS is a dead concept. Licensed works can still happen without it, though.
[21:32] <+Delgrim> Sean_Punch: Thank you, please visit us again for at least I have loads of questions ;)
[21:33] <+dntimm> Thank Sean
[21:33] <+Sean_Punch> Cheers, guys! Just find me a date and I'll do Round Two!
[21:33] *** WinsonPaine has quit IRC: Disintegrated:
[21:33] <+the_matrix_walker> Thanks and sorry
[21:33] <~Dan> Thanks again for stopping by, Sean!
[21:33] <+Stripe> Thanks so much, Sean!
[21:33] <~Dan> The log will be up shortly. I'll send you the link.
[21:33] <+the_matrix_walker> Thanks Dan
[21:34] *** tbrock1031 is now known as Phantasm
[21:34] <+Phantasm> Well, it was a good chat.
[21:34] <+Sean_Punch> Thanks, Dan! Thanks all! See you soon, I hope
[21:34] <+stevenmarsh> Talk at ya soon, Sean!
[21:34] <~Dan> Certainly. Don't be a stranger! :)

No comments:

Post a Comment