Scattershot – June 2016

Happy GURPSDayeveryone! It’s the best day of the week that doesn’t include sleeping for 12+ hours and no work, so get out there and read some GURPS!

Today’s post is a scattershot, a sort of smorgasbord of topics all worth mentioning but not really needing a full blog post to themselves. Hopefully you’ll find at least a few nuggets of cool in here to take with you.

No, not that kind of Scattershot.
No, not that kind of Scattershot.

Daily Sources of RPG Goodness

I am a man of rituals — my brain finds it soothing to do the same things, at the same times. So, each morning when I get home from a night’s work, the first thing I do is open my “Daily RPG” bookmarks to catch up on the last 24 hours of gaming goodness. I love knowing what’s going on in the world of games, new releases coming our way, developments to old lines, new tricks and tips and resources and story ideas and on and on and on. The internet is the gamer’s best friend.

  • Facebook: To be social, sure, but I also follow a few groups like “GURPS Group North America” and “Tabletop Role-Playing Games” while I’m there, and many in my Friends list are gamer contacts.
  • GURPS Forums: Literally one of my favorite places in the entirety of the internet. Incredibly helpful, civil, and interesting. If you love playing GURPS and don’t read the official forums, I think you’re missing out on some great stuff.
  • RPG.Net: One of the granddaddy’s of online gamer communities. Totally worth keeping up with if for no other reason than their massive user base. There’s not always much GURPS discussion (and there can be a bit of hostility when there is), but it sure is a great snapshot of the hobby as a whole.
  • Reddit/RPG: Similar to RPG.Net (there are nearly 100,000 subscribers), but different enough that I feel like it catches some things that fall through the cracks. Even less GURPS discussion than RPG.Net, but there is a dedicated GURPS sub-reddit that sees a little traffic.
  • G+ GURPS: The Google+ format isn’t optimized for long-term archiving, but it’s excellent for “real time” and recent info. A great community with more than 1,500 members.

Pushback Against Perceived GURPS Zealotry

One thing I notice in a lot of online gamer communities is frequent complaining about people putting forth GURPS as the answer to any question asked, whether it is an appropriate answer or not. I’m not saying that never happens — I’m sure there are some GURPS players whose passion sometimes clouds their judgement — but I think more often than not it’s a misunderstanding of the fact that, yes, GURPS really is the answer (or legitimately can be) to a huge percentage of gaming questions.

It’s not just that nearly any genre can be represented in GURPS, it extends to play style as well. Including 3rd Edition materials, there are scores and scores of books supporting all manner of genres: fantasy, near-future, far-future, Conan, anthropomorphic animals, “The Prisoner,” cyberpunk, Old West, Vikings, World War II… I mean, the list feels endless. But in addition to that, I’ve run games with multiple layers of rules and meticulous attention to details, games that were basically “roll 3d6 and let’s see what happens!”, and everything in-between.

I wish more people would understand that when we answer a post with “GURPS can do that by…” or “In GURPS, you could just…”, we’re not just blindly reacting and trying to cram a square peg in a round hole. GURPS really can do that, and that, and those three other things, and even that one thing you were sure it couldn’t. That’s the appeal of a universal system… it’s literally the reason GURPS even exists: to address the widest possible number of gaming questions and problems with a single flexible system. It’s only natural that it would be a possible fit for many more situations than any single-genre/single-play style set of rules.

GURPSDay

Since we’re on the topic of online GURPS resources, I have to give another shout-out to the wonderful “GURPSDay” movement. In just a few short months it has grown to be an incredible resource, bringing together GURPS-related posts from 50+ blogs every single Thursday. It is an absolute avalanche of material, and I’ve discovered a lot of cool content I’m sure I would have otherwise missed. Absolutely worth checking out.

“How to Be a GURPS GM”

To say I’ve been overwhelmed by the response to “How to Be a GURPS GM” since its release a couple years ago (yikes, really?!) doesn’t even begin to cover it. I sincerely couldn’t have asked for more– the praise has been humbling, the critiques have been measured and helpful, and it has maintained constant sales every month in the low- to mid-teens.

The past few weeks in particular brought a number of comments that I really appreciated:

  • “What really got me back into GURPS was The Mook’s website…” (Twitter)
  • “The massive tome that is 4E is hard to wrap [your] head around. Then I bought the ‘How to Be a GURPS GM’ PDF… Ran my first game two weeks later and now am playing semi-regularly. ‘How to Be a GURPS GM’ is really the basic set…” (forum post)
  • “Personally, if The Powers That Be were to tell me that we could bring one ebook into print, I would absolutely lobby for ‘How to Be a GURPS GM,’ because I agree that it should be on the shelf next to the Basic Set.” (from the GURPS Assistant Line Editor, PK)

As if that weren’t enough, when I sent a quick thank you to the forum poster above, he replied with:

  • “The game I’m running is with my family. My wife and three children (ages 6-9). When I wake up on Saturday, first question from the kids is “Can we play GURPS today?” And your book is the only reason it’s happening.”

Reading that was completely heartwarming and uniquely moving. I may never read another review of anything I write that fills me with the same joy. 🙂

Character Creation Video by Shane Plays

This YouTube video by the Shane Plays radio/podcast was posted a couple weeks ago, in which long-time GURPS GM Tony Dutra brings the host through character creation along with a ton of commentary and explanation of the game. There has long been a dearth of audio/video GURPS resources, so it’s always nice to see more.

I joined them for a follow-up video wherein Tony ran Shane through a 4th Edition version of the classic “All In A Night’s Work” adventure (Tony did all the heavy lifting, I just threw in commentary here and there). I’ll be sure to post a link in a few weeks when that one gets posted too.

GM Kit Updates (Stiff Erasable Cards, Rechargeable Fan)

As you know, a GM’s Kit is never finished. I’m always tweaking around the contents, looking for new useful items or “upgrading” existing ones. Here are the last couple of additions.

First, these 100 blank white PVC cards for about $12. Primarily useful for Fate (which goes through index cards like crazy), they’re also great for any RPG where it would be handy to have stiff, dry-erase writable cards for keeping track of things (which is to say, pretty much every RPG). Write on ’em, pass ’em around, then just wipe off at the end of the game and return to the pile. Awesome!

Second, a Game Geekery reader named Tom suggested this USB-rechargeable fan to replace the much bulkier, D-cell powered one I already had in my kit. I brought this to the last convention: it’s much less bulky, doesn’t require that I pack batteries, and isn’t any louder than the one I was already using while producing the same airflow. The perfect upgrade! Thanks, Tom.

Future Projects (Audio, Roll20, Locus)

Finally, here are a few of the things I’ve got on the ol’ back burner, hopefully to see the light of day in coming months.

  • “Podcast”: I got a couple of great questions for the audio project I mentioned in the past few weeks. I’d still like one more before recording, so if you have a GURPS or Geekery question you’d like some random internet stranger’s opinion on, send it on in and we’ll see if this kind of project is worth doing.
  • Roll20: I’ve been a big fan and member of Roll20.net for, let’s see, four years now. In that time, I’ve messed around with various settings and tools, uploaded a few tokens and pics, configured character sheets… and never once run an actual game. I’d really like to, and hopefully before 2016 comes to a close I will. Naturally I would post about the game, things that work/didn’t work, from a GURPS perspective which I think folks would find useful.
  • Locus: I’ve been struggling to find time to really put some words into this. It’s just not the kind of project that lends itself to small, manageable chunks. But it’s at the top of my list for “Things to Come 2016.” Your reaction to that news will depend on if you have the slightest interest in a new multi-dimensional GURPS setting.

 

That pretty much covers the state of my GURPS thoughts this week. As always, thanks for checking in. I’ll see you next Thursday — get out there and roll some dice!

 

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