Hail, hello, and happy GURPSDay, all!
It’s been a few months since the last Scattershot post, and today I have a bunch of little tidbits to share that might not otherwise warrant their own blog post.
GURPS and Fantasy Grounds/Roll20
First off, the bad news: the Roll20 quick encounter I posted about before didn’t end up happening due to player postponement, but we’re still hoping to do it in the future. The good news is, I spent some time on the holiday weekend poking around with Fantasy Grounds instead and finding that it, too, rocks for running GURPS games online!
After experimenting on my own a little bit, I ended up chatting with Saithan, the author of one of the GURPS Rulesets for Fantasy Grounds. He showed me around his personal GURPS setup — it’s more advanced than his latest publicly-available build and it’s fantastic, something he’s built up over like 8 years of work. Very impressive!
I would probably start off using Ronnke’s latest GURPS ruleset myself, as it is current with the latest Fantasy Grounds “Core RPG” upgrade (which added a lot of tweaks and features). Here you can find the Ruleset itself, the GURPS Theme by Gigermann (which gives the UI a more modern, “GURPS-y” feel than the standard fantasy-themed FG theme), and a GCA exporter file from Andraax for importing GCA characters directly into Fantasy Grounds (I haven’t actually used this yet, but that would be a huge time saver!)
Again, I was just messing around for an hour or two, but this should give you some idea of what the program looks like.
The left monitor (portrait) has GURPS Character Assistant and the GURPS Basic Set PDF open, with Fantasy Grounds dragged over the middle (landscape) and right (portrait) monitors along with a browser window (currently opened to GURPS Calculator. Fantasy Grounds is showing the chat window with some of the automatic rolls, a character sheet, village map (with token and fog of war), and a few GURPS-specific tables I’ve started working on. Everything at the GM’s fingertips!
Here, though, is the biggest drawback to Fantasy Grounds, Roll20, and all the other Virtual TableTops out there: there is no official GURPS support. With Fantasy Grounds, you can purchase the actual, official D&D 5E books and immediately have all their content available inside the VTT. Or buy adventures for D&D, Call of Cthulhu, Savage Worlds and others that come with tokens, pre-made NPC sheets, maps, all the materials you need to run that adventure for a group. Roll20 also has a license with Wizards of the Coast, offering official versions of those products for their own VTT.
Seeing these marketplaces just flooded with all this official content for games I don’t play is crushing, and I hope against hope that one day GURPS will have an official VTT presence somewhere. I would support the hell out of that, and I know I’m not alone.
For the moment, though, I’m going to be doing a lot of typing and copy/pasting if I want anything resembling a barebones GURPS setup. Naturally, I’m not going to type in entire chapters of, say, skill or advantage/disadvantage descriptions. But as characters get created, slowly over time I should build up a database of material. I do want to get started on things like tables for Random Hit Location, Crit Hits/Misses, Fright Checks, etc.
I’m going to keep experimenting with Fantasy Grounds when I have time. To learn more, I’d recommend reading this forum thread and maybe watching a couple of videos (like an overview of the ruleset features, or an actual play of a one-shot).
New GURPS Dry-Erase Battlemat
Okay, getting back to running GURPS games in the non-virtual world, I found yet another product that I think a lot of GMs will dig. It’s a folding dry-erase gameboard with hexes on one side and squares on the other! Here it is folded up (with a character sheet for scale), and unfolded with some cheapo Alien/Colonial Marine figs.
It is very sturdy, compact when folded, large enough for the majority of battles I run when not, and seems to clean off the dry-erase markers nicely (though I haven’t yet left them on for any appreciable time before wiping off). Perfect for GURPSin’ out!
TV Bits and Pieces
Finally, as I had a long holiday this past weekend, I caught up on a few TV shows.
- Legion (Grade: A) I watched all 8 episodes of this show before it left Hulu, and it was an absolute treat. Original, creative, quirky, well-acted, connected to the larger Marvel X-Men universe… I just loved it start to finish. Reminds me of Mr. Robot (which I also really enjoyed) in all the best ways. Can’t wait for the second season next year!
- Con Man (Grade: C) I really wanted to like this series because I love every single person involved in it. I bought both seasons through Steam since they were on sale for $10/season, and to me it was a total waste of 20 bucks. To be fair, I only watched the first five episodes of season one… who knows? Maybe it picks up. But I just found it kind of boring, with a few chuckles here and there. Very disappointed.
- Preacher (Grade: A) Continues to be a delightful, crazy, visual feast. There was no way I thought a TV show could capture the gonzo energy of the comic series, and I’m really happy to have been proven wrong. (I wonder if Transmetropolitan could ever be done right? Honorable mention to American Gods, which also totally killed it).
- Orphan Black (Grade: B-) This was a strong A for the first few seasons, but my interest is beginning to wane a bit. So far I’m still sticking with it, but if room needs to be made on The Roster… it may hit the chopping block.
- Blood Drive (Grade: n/a) I’ve DVRed the first 3 episodes of this. It sounds just insane enough to be a total hoot! Looking forward to checking it out.
That’s all I’ve got for this week, folks. Thanks for checking in. Be sure to chuck them dice at every opportunity!
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