Monday, January 16, 2012

Gamemaster's Guidepost: Heroes with Many Hats



GURPS is in my opinion one of the most flexible, perfect role-playing game systems ever to come into existence. And despite my fanboyish attitude towards the system it does really hold up well to just about any genre a GM could want to run it with. Due to both my gaming group’s preferences and my own we tend towards high-octane, high-paced, high-stakes campaigns. I’ve ran a dozen or so campaigns since I made GURPS 4th Edition my go-to system in late 2005, never once regretting it. In 2008 when GURPS Action 1: Heroes came out, I could only marvel at the sheer awesomeness, here was a ready to go line like GURPS Dungeon Fantasy that used many of the tropes and themes my players and I liked. Of course, being the GURPSer that I am I’ve never really ran a ‘straight’ Action game, whether it was hunting monsters in the Yucatan (something the Monster Hunters* line would do perfectly later) or as with my current campaign running the silvered shadows of a dystopian future. When building my current campaign I felt I had to incorporate the Action framework, I’d need to adjust things a bit, but the templates from that book looked like a perfect fit for what I had in mind. Given the fact that I was also planning on using the Netrunning rules from Pyramid 3/21 Cyberpunk (starting on p.4) for the campaigns version of the internet it all fit a little too well. The problem came (as it always seems to do…) when my players came up with the concepts** for their characters. Their characters were well-thought out, fantastically wrought in-depth, and as I’ve come to expect from them full of awesome-sauce. Everybody had something different, but when we got into the actual character design it was like ordering from a Chinese restaurant menu, a little from column A, some from B, and special order C. They all had a core concept but wanted other things as well. That’s where this bit on ‘mixing archetypes’ came from, it is a shamelessly borrowed concept from Dungeon Fantasy 3: The Next Level but it has (so far) worked quite well in my game. I also must mention the first time I got the idea was from a post (thread here) done by Sean Punch aka Dr. Kromm on the SJ Games Forums. Eric B. Smith has done something along the same lines with his ‘Dungeon Fantasy on the Cheap’ which can be found here.
* It has also been brought to my attention that these lenses might work quite well in conjunction with Monster Hunters 4: Side-Kicks, though this remains untested on my end.
** I prefer that a player creates his concept and then tries to build it versus trying to come up with a concept via a build.

So here they are, I hope you can get some mileage:

Assassin

+50 points

Attributes: +1 DX [20].
Advantages: Craftiness 4 [20].
Disadvantages: Callous [-5].
Skills: Camouflage (E) IQ+4 [1]*; Guns (Rifle) (E) DX+2 [4]; Holdout (A) IQ+4 [2]*; Shadowing (A) IQ+4 [2]*; and Stealth (A) DX+4 [2]*. • Four of Guns (Pistol, Shotgun, or Submachine Gun) (E) DX+1 [1], bought from Guns (Rifle) default; or Crossbow, Fast-Draw (Knife or Pistol), Garrote, Knife, or Liquid Projector (Squirt Gun), all (E) DX [1].
*Gets a +4 bonus for Craftiness.


Cleaner

+50 points

Attributes: +1 DX [20] or +1 IQ [20].
Advantages: Unfazeable [15].
Disadvantages: Callous [-5].
Skills: Driving (Automobile or Heavy Wheeled) and Stealth, both (A) DX+0 [2]; Camouflage and Housekeeping, both (E) IQ+1 [2]; Holdout and Smuggling, both (A) IQ+0 [2]; and Search and Tracking, both (A) Per+1 [4].


Demolition Man

+50 points

Attributes: +1 IQ [20].
Secondary Characteristics: -1 Will [-5].
Advantages: Enhanced Dodge 3 (Dive for Cover) [15].
Skills: One Explosives specialty:
1. Explosives (Demolition) (A) IQ+5 [20]. Defaults: Explosives (Underwater Demolition) (A) IQ+3 [0], Explosives (Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Fireworks, and Nuclear Ordnance Disposal) (A) IQ+1 [0], and Engineer (Combat) (H) IQ-1 [0].
2. Explosives (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) (A) IQ+5 [20]. Defaults: Explosives (Nuclear Ordnance Disposal) (A) IQ+3 [0], and Explosives (Demolition, Fireworks, and Underwater Demolition) (A) IQ+1 [0].


Face Man

+50 points

Attributes: +1 IQ [20].
Advantages: Attractive [4]; Honest Face [1]; and Smooth Operator 1 [15].
Skills: Savoir-Faire (High Society, Mafia, Military, or Police) (E) IQ+1 [1]*; Acting, Fast-Talk, Leadership, and Public Speaking, all (A) IQ+0 [1]*; Diplomacy (H) IQ-1 [1]*; Carousing (E) HT+1 [1]*; Sex Appeal (A) HT+1 [1]*†; Intimidation (A) Will+0 [1]*; and Detect Lies (H) Per-1 [1]*.
*Gets a +1 bonus from Smooth Operator.
† Gets a +1 bonus from Appearance.

Hacker

+50 points

Advantages:  Born to Be Wired 3 [10]; Quick Gadgeteer (H4xx0r, -50%) [25].
Skills: Computer Operation (E) IQ+3 [1]*; Electronics Repair (Computers) (A) IQ+2 [1]*; Computer Programming, Cryptography, and Expert Skill (Computer Security), all (H) IQ+1 [1]*; Computer Hacking (VH) IQ+2 [4]*; and Scrounging (E) Per+0 [1].
*Gets a +2 bonus from Born to Be Wired.


Infiltrator

+50 points

Attributes: +1 DX [20].
Advantages: Flexibility [5]; Perfect Balance [15].
Disadvantages: Loner (12) [-5].
Skills: Forced Entry and Jumping, both (E) DX [1]; Stealth (A) DX [2]; Climbing (A) DX+3 [1]*†; Escape (H) DX+1 [1]*; Acrobatics (H) DX [2]†; and  Electronics Operation (Security), Lockpicking, and Traps, all (A) IQ+0 [2]. Additionally spend 2 points to raise one of the previous skills.
*Gets a +3 bonus from Flexibility.
† Gets a +1 Bonus from Perfect Balance.


Investigator

+50 points

Attributes: +1 IQ [20].
Secondary Characteristics: +2 Per [10].
Skills: Intelligence Analysis (H) IQ+1 [8]. • Six of Criminology, Electronics Operation (Surveillance), Interrogation, Photography, Research, Shadowing, or Speed-Reading, all (A) IQ [2]-15; Body Language, Lip Reading, Observation, Search, or Tracking, all (A) Per [2]; or Detect Lies (H) Per-1 [2].

Medic

+50 points

Attributes: +1 IQ [20].
Secondary Characteristics: -1 Per [-5].
Advantages: Healer 2 [20]; Higher Purpose (“Medic!”) [5];
Skills: Fast-Draw (Medical Gear) (E) DX+0 [1]; Diagnosis, Pharmacy (Synthetic), and Psychology, all (H) IQ+0 [1]*; Physician (H) IQ+2 [4]*; and Surgery (VH) IQ+0 [2]*.
*Gets a +2 bonus from Healer.


Shooter

+50 points

Attributes: +1 DX [20].
Secondary Characteristics: -0.50 Basic Speed [-10].
Advantages: Gunslinger [25].
Skills: Fast-Draw (Ammo), Forced Entry, and Jumping, all (E) DX [1]-16; and Acrobatics (H) DX [4]-16. • Guns (Pistol, Shotgun, or Submachine Gun) (E) DX+2 [4]-18. • Four of Guns (Light Machine Gun, Pistol, Rifle, Shotgun, or Submachine Gun) (E) DX+1 [1]-17, bought from default to first Guns specialty; Crossbow, Fast-Draw (Long Arm or Pistol), Gunner (Cannon or Machine Gun), Guns (Grenade Launcher or LAW), Liquid Projector (Flamethrower or Sprayer), all (E) DX [1]-16; or Throwing (A) DX-1 [1]-15.


Wheel Man

+50 points

Attributes: +1 DX [20].
Advantages: Absolute Direction [5]; Driver’s Reflexes 2 [10]; Higher Purpose (Deliver the package) [5].
Skills: Two of Boating (Motorboat), Driving (Automobile, Heavy Wheeled, or Motorcycle), Piloting (Glider, Helicopter, Light Airplane, or Ultralight), or Submarine (Free-Flooding Sub), all (A) DX+2 [2*]. • Three of Artillery (Bombs, Guided Missile, or Torpedoes), Electronics Operation (Communications or Sensors), Freight Handling, or Mechanic (any), all (A) IQ [2]; Navigation (Air, Land, or Sea) (A) IQ+3 [2]†; or 2 points to raise one of those skills by a level.
*Gets a +2 bonus from Driver’s Reflexes.
† Gets a +3 Bonus from Absolute Direction.


Wire Rat

+50 points

Advantages: Circuit Sense 2 [10]; Gizmos 1 [5]; and Quick Gadgeteer (Solder and Duct Tape, -50%) [25].
Skills: Electrician, Electronics Operation (Communications, Security, and Surveillance), and Electronics Repair (Communications, Security, and Surveillance), all (A) IQ+1 [1]*. • Three of Electronics Operation (Media or Sensors) or Electronics Repair (Computers, Media, or Sensors), both (A) IQ+1 [1]*.
*Gets a +2 bonus from Circuit Sense.


Big Guy

+50 points

Attributes:  ST+2 [20].
Disadvantages: -15 points chosen from those listed on p. 5 of Action 3.
Advantages: DR 1 (Limited, Crushing, -40%) [3]; Trained by a Master [30].
Skills: Spend 8 points on any of the skills listed under Primary Skills for the Big Guy template on pg. 6 of Action 3.
Martial Arts Abilities: A total of 4 points in any of the perks, cinematic skills, and techniques from pg. 6 of Action 3. Where several specialties exist, choose unarmed ones.


Fast Guy

+50 points

Attributes:  DX+1 [20].
Disadvantages: -10 points chosen from those listed on p. 7 of Action 3.
Advantages: Trained by a Master [30].
Skills: Spend 8 points on any of the skills listed under Primary Skills for the Fast Guy template on pg. 6 of Action 3.
Martial Arts Abilities: A total of 2 points in any of the perks, cinematic skills, and techniques from pg. 7 of Action 3. Where several specialties exist, choose unarmed ones.


Ninja

+50 points

Advantages: Craftiness 1 [5] and Weapon Master (Ninja Weapons) [35].
Disadvantages: Either Callous [-5] or Loner (12) [-5].
Skills: Spend a total of 10 points in any of the skills listed under Primary Skills for the Ninja template on pg. 8 of Action 3.
Martial Arts Abilities: A total of 5 points in any of the perks, cinematic skills, and techniques from p9. 8-9 of Action 3.


Traceur

+50 points

Advantages: Perfect Balance [15]; Trained by a Master (Evasion, -50%) [15]; and Urban Jungle Gym [1].
Skills: Acrobatics (H) DX+1 [4]; Climbing (A) DX+1 [2]; Jumping (E) DX+2 [4]; and Running (A) HT+1 [4].
Martial Arts Abilities: A total of 5 points in any of the perks, cinematic skills, and techniques from pg. 10 of Action 3. Where several specialties exist, choose unarmed ones.

Weapon Master

+50 points

Attributes: +1 DX [20].
Advantages: Enhanced Parry 1 (Weapon of choice) [5]; Weapon Bond (Any starting weapon) [1]; and Weapon Master (Weapon of choice) [20].
Skills: Acrobatics (H) DX+1 [4]; Climbing (A) DX+1 [2]; Jumping (E) DX+2 [4]; and Running (A) HT+1 [4].
Martial Arts Abilities: A total of 5 points in any of the perks, cinematic skills, and techniques from pp. 11-12 of Action 3. Where several specialties exist, choose armed ones.

4 comments:

  1. Concept before build is the way I create characters. I always recommend this to players when I GM'ed. In GURPS it is essential to have a concept before throwing points onto the sheet. This is especially true if they are new to the system.

    Are most of the games you run high paced cinematic or gritty? Do your players like genre changes? I ask because it is sometimes difficult to get players to change genres or playing types.

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  2. I more or less require it. I'm a bit of a concept/back-history Nazi. Unless I know you pretty well and know you are going to eventually (read here: within 3 game sessions or so) provide me with a history I need it up front. Though to sweeten the deal I offer extra CP starting out the more detailed a history you write (i.e. more word count).

    You're going to say I'm full of sh*t but my games can go from cinematic to gritty in a heart beat and typically it's somewhere between the heroes being the cinematic larger than life but all the NPC's are 'gritty'. We all rather like it like this. It really makes for interesting gaming.

    My players are full of awesome sauce, as long as they have some say in what's to be played they will go along with almost anything. I find that letting them 'vote' on a series of things I want to run is often best and recommend this to all GM's with such troubles.

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  3. I get the cinematic to gritty. I always make my NPC's and story concept gritty and let the players decide how much of they want to use. They are in charge of the fun train.

    Your way to get player to change it up is cool. It does help if they are open to pretty much anything. Good to have awesome sauce groups.

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  4. They are really some of the best folks around, and I really treasure that I have them. Sometimes I want to beat them silly, collectively or individually, but still, quite awesome. My group is notorious for using their earned character points to go hog crazy in game vs. upping stuff between games.

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