I’ve been tinkering around with how I run GURPS lately, even more than usual, and here’s my first quick thought: using Fate Aspects as GURPS Advantages.
I like the concept of Aspects, of having these descriptive tags for your character that have mechanical effects, but I much prefer GURPS for… well, most everything else. However, I’ve always found GURPS pretty forgiving of rules hacks and accepting ideas from other games, so…
A player can choose to spend 5 Character Points (CP) to define an Aspect Advantage on his sheet, and then spend 1 Story Point (SP) to get a +2 bonus to any skill roll IF it makes sense for that Aspect to apply.
I’ve written about Story Points before, an implementation of the “Impulse Points” from “GURPS Power-Ups 5: Impulse Buys” pp. 17-18. They are a limiting factor on how many times that +2 bonus can be claimed. Some GMs will find no reason to limit the use of Advantage Aspects, and not require any points to be spent when using the bonus — those brave souls might raise the initial CP cost of the Advantage to 10 or 15 to compensate.
These Advantage Aspects function much like GURPS Talents (pp. B89-91), except the skill list is not rigidly defined — the bonus comes into play as a function of the story, of what context the skill is being used in, not from the skill itself.
For example, a character with an Aspect like “Acolyte of the White Rose Fellowship” could spend 1 SP to get +2 to Fast-Talk another member of the Fellowship, but not to talk to some random bartender or cab driver; or to get +2 to a Research roll when investigating the Fellowship, but not other organizations. The narrower focus of when the bonus can be used is, hopefully, offset by the much wider number of skills it can be used for to when it is applicable.
This is just one more way of giving players even more input on how the game unfolds around their PC. Is it too much? Not enough? That is entirely up to you and your group. But if anyone is using these kinds of rules tweaks in their own GURPS games, I’d love to hear what your experiences have been so far!
NOTE: For a broader, more codified way way of looking at this, see the description of ‘Virtues’ on pp. 10-11 of Christopher Rice’s article, “Pointless Monster Hunting,” in “Pyramid #3/83: Alternate GURPS IV.” That can actually be a more powerful option, since it isn’t limited to a single use and allows for entire rerolls. And the rest of the issue is just as good (the “Alternate GURPS” issues are, obviously, always my faves)!
Finally, on the gripping hand, Douglas Cole also has some advice today on GURPS without points and an alternative disadvantages system. Something is in the air.