[Podcast] Episode 03: FnordCon2 – AMA – Kromm

Come, o’ seekers of Kromm’s truth, and enjoy a few of the answers from his AMA at FnordCon2!

I did a tiny bit of post-processing on this audio, so please let me know if you think the quality is better or worse than the GURPS Panel episode. Kromm was of course his usual friendly, charming self at the AMA and many of the questions asked were not about GURPS specifically (it’s an AMA, not an AMG), but naturally that’s what I’ve focused on here. Enjoy!

Download: Game Geekery Podcast 03 | Duration: 09:53 | Size: 8.0 MB



If Kromm had to pick one mechanical change for a hypothetical GURPS 5th Edition, what would it be?

“Might not make everyone happy, but I’d probably zoom out the general level of detail… I think just the general level of character detail is perhaps too high for people trying to get into a game at entry level, and I think that’s what keeps GURPS [from] being more popular.” — Kromm


What kind of GM is Kromm? “Rules are never good for a game” is absolutely my new favorite KrommQuote!

“As a GM, I am definitely a quick, light GM… I don’t really like sticking my nose in the rules. Frankly, I think rules are never good for a game. I definitely make judgement calls rather than look at the rules. I definitely do not plan things too far ahead, and when [the players] suggest a better idea than I had in mind, even if that would wreck the world I’m so player-centric I’d go with it and we’d all have fun.” — Kromm


How much of the GURPS lines are influenced by Kromm’s home gaming?

“GURPS Dungeon Fantasy was based to a very, very large extent on my ‘Dawn of Magic’ campaign… GURPS Action was basically based on my experiences with ‘The Company’ campaign which was this secret agent type thing I did, and in fact the templates and basic Action rules were my… notes for that campaign.”


Full tactical hex grid map or theater of the mind? Depends!

“For the most part, I really prefer tactical fights. I think that it’s kind of dishonest to the players to handwave something like that because the characters could die if they don’t see what’s going on and they don’t have a clear picture or it’s not the same as your picture. Which said, when I ran my Action type campaign… I did all that theater of the mind style because, well, firearms, generally at pretty long ranges. And I discovered quickly… that that doesn’t fit well on a map… it’s just too many different scales at once.”


Kromm, how do I know if I’m ready to write something for GURPS?

“I think the wish list is the wrong thing to look at. If you want to know if you’re ready to try writing something for GURPS, you should look at the template we have for our supplements and so forth, and our writer’s guide. And our writer’s guidelines. I think that you have to be backwards, frontwards, sideways familiar with everything that’s in there, even if it’s long, even if it’s boring, even if it’s technical before you should even think about writing for GURPS.”


Other Panels/AMAs to discuss:

Friday 7pm AMA: Steve Jackson
Friday 8pm PANEL: Online Tabletops

Saturday 8pm PANEL: GURPS (episode 02)
Saturday 9pm AMA: Kromm (episode 03)

Sunday 11am AMA: Phil Reed
Sunday 3pm AMA: What’s New at SJG
Sunday 5pm AMA: Steve Jackson II
Sunday 6pm Final Wrap Up


Please let me know if you have any questions or suggestions. Did I blather too much? Now’s your chance to let me know!

If you enjoyed this post and others like it, might you consider the Game Geekery Patreon?


  1. Thanks for the summary of the Kromm’s AMA. I have GMed several games where firearms are the weapon of choice. Before I heard of range bands, I split the game mat where the first five hexes were 1 yard each. Beyond that was 10 or twenty yards per hex – depending on the situation. The scale slid back as the targets – I mean NPCs – got closer. Fortunately, I haven’t had seriously problems concerning range effects with players.

    18 months ago, I ran a GURPS Prime Directive game where members of the landing party, the PCs, decided to participate in defending a mile high tower. One the players, Whitney, was dismayed that his phaser was ineffective beyond it’s max range of 100 yards. Another player, Nathan, knows GURPS as well, if not better, as I. It took some discussion which ended with Whitney agreeing to disagree. But the game continued.

    Large scale tactical maps are an answer. For example, using the mapboards from Squad Leader – each hex is 40 yards – could cover spread out groups. For me, I no longer have my copy of SL and it’s supplements. They were damaged by smoke in 1992. Dropping $$$ isn’t an option.

    I like Range Bands. Nearly every player I had likes to keep the party physically together. Or at least with comms.

    Thanks again,

    • Agreed on all points! Many ways to ‘work around’ massive scales, but as you noted, in my experience 95%+ of all firearms encounters are *well* within like 50 yards, usually a lot closer.

      You made me think of Squad Leader! Back in the day I bought ASL because I thought it was one of the few games my dad might actually get into. Learning to play out of the box was…. lol not as easy as I’d hoped. Ah well, it still looked damn pretty.

      • I had SL, but not ASL. SL used “programmed instruction”. You read couple pages of the rules, then played the scenario. As I recall ASL did not have that option. A friend bought a copy of the rules. The rules were full of abbreviations. After about a half hour we gave up trying to read the rules.

        The group I used to play with the GM would only fantasy with GURPS 3rd, this was before 2004, and Champions if it was supers. One time he fantasy setting in which it was Colonial America with magic w/minimal fire arms. Indians were replaced with Orcs. i ran hunter, but he wouldn’t allow me to use a Kentucky. I used one of two firearms allowed. In an encounter my PC took the shot to take out an Orc shaman at a couple of hundred yards. The shaman had a ward spell against missile weapons, the GM failed the roll on the spell. The PC dropped the shaman. I think it was in the vitals. That was the ONLY time a firearm was used in one his GURPS games.

        • Ah, looking at the box covers, you’re right — it was Squad Leader I tried to start with (though I did later get ASL even though I never deciphered SL lol). Even with the programmed, it was a bit over me at 13. I like to think I could figure it out now 🙂

          Oof! Orc go boom!

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