Sunday, March 27, 2011

GURPS through a FATE lens

I have been thinking about GURPS a lot lately, and it feels like it wont leave my head.

GURPS is a very crunchy system, and while I have no fear of crunchy systems (I did start out with MERP and Rolemaster after all) something scares me off GURPS. That something is character generation. One problem with point buy systems is that it necessitates a lot of thumbing through the rules books, and recalculating and juggling numbers around. That takes time. I hate that part.


Still the allure of a generic and universal system have never left me. While I have never actually played GURPS, I imagine it could be pretty smooth in actual play. So, how do I take out the points while keeping the customization possibilities? Today I got this idea of merging GURPS with FATE.


FATE, Fantastic Adventures in Tabletop Entertainment, doesn't only have the worst name ever, it's also a pretty slick game system. Even better, I have played it, and enjoyed it. FATE is a game engine, an outgrowth of FUDGE, that can be used for lot of different settings. It almost start to sounds like "generic and universal", doesn't it? I took a stab at combining the two flavours.

Step one. Roll your stats, ST, DX, IQ and HT, on 3d6 - in order. That's your basic stats, and you can calculate Move by averaging HT and DX, or something similar.

Step two. Now pick your Aspects. This is where we bring in FATE. You can have any kind of trait as an Aspect. It could be a personality trait, an advantage or feat like Advantages in GURPS. The important thing is that this is a defining aspect of your character, and from this you generate your skills. Eyeballing it I'd say you pick three Aspects for a 100 pts GURPS character. Maybe add another one per 25 pts?

Step three. Now you get to pick skills. My first idea was to say you get a bunch of points to spread around. Then I remembered the idea was to get rid of points, and decided on picks instead. Make of it what you will, it's all for free on my blog, right?

So, skills. I suggest you now pick five skills per Aspect. Make them all relate to the Aspect in some way. The rating is eight to start with, and if you spend more of your picks on the skills they get +1 per pick. Got that? If one of your Aspects are a Power of some kind, like magic or psionics, you get 5 free "skills" for free, at rating 6, before spending picks.

Step four. Roll 3d6 x 10 for money. Or credits or dollars or whatever you want to call it.

How's that for a slimmed down GURPS? What? How to use those aspects? Well, this is what I'm thinking.

For every Aspect you have, you can once per game day invoke it to add +2 to any skill roll, i.e. 3d6 against your skill rating. Once every session you can invoke it for +3. Take your pick. The gamemaster can do the same to give you a penalty of -2/-3 instead. What helps sometimes hinder, right? Untrained skill use I'd say you roll 3d6 against a relevant stat -4, or 10 if that's lower.

Will this work? Will it feel like GURPS? I have no idea. Feel free to test it and tell me. Some days I feel like tinkering with rules, but I seldom get a chance to play test them.

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