Friday, April 10, 2009

GURPS 4e gunfights

Gun Fights. Here are some basic rules that can help in simulating Gun Fights only GURPS can deliver and no other system can hope to match. These points when followed and practiced, will result to a VERY fast game (a GM practicing how he runs combat drastically affects the speed of it). Implementing Options or Rules, or using Ad-hoc may cut time, but a sensible organization of what rules and why they are applied as such as well as practice makes for much better combat.

Each Players deal will have the Following:
  1. Combat Cards
  2. Fatigue Tokens (which he surrenders to the GM)
  3. Visual Markers (which he places on locals the GM declares he spots an enemy)
  4. Character Sheet or Information
What the GM prepares:
  1. Maps. The GM should have at least studied a map (Google earth and the internet has a lot of maps available, don't waste time making your own) and noted the tactical strong points. Note that the PCs usually have poor access to these maps (maybe only 10 minutes to discuss if they get the map before hand) and do not have the GM's prep.
  2. Deployment Orders. He just has to remember the deployment orders for the NPCs and works on a flexible roster budget. Bogging down with too much details will kill the speed of combat, work with the budget and if you given the PCs CP they can burn for rewinds or autosuccess, then youhave allowance to fudge these budgets to maximise their challenge.
  3. NPC Intelligence. Some up the NPC's objectives, knowledge and circumstance each with a couple of sentences and no more.
  4. Tokens for Heat, Figurines for Visible targets,

The GM could master the following processes to help in his Gun Fights.
  1. Visual Markers. Each player has his own set of markers. When he spots an opponent he could put a marker at the opponent's position.
  2. Heat Tracking. Again with Tokens. The Players receive a heat token for every magazine or load emptied in a 2 minute interval. He remove 1 token every 2 minute interval of cooling. Heating will affect the guns Acc and Malf.
  3. Average Damage. Just have the minimum and average damage of a firearm ready. A margin of success of 0 results in a minimum damage while a margin of success greater than it would result to the average.
  4. Qick turns. Players have to declare their actions immediately or be left to spend that game second thinking.
  5. GM declares Penalties. and the Players should have their bonuses in order.

Visual Markers.
These represents a player spotting an opponent. Other player cannot just attack something their character didn't spot, so shooting at another player's marker will result to blind fire.The GM can replace these markers, with a figure if everyone has gotten a visual of it. This speeds up the game because:
  1. The GM doesn't have to track his pieces on the board.
  2. Players work with less information, thus coming to a decision faster.
  3. Its clearer who spotted what.
  4. Resolving Line of Sight.


Heat Tracking. GURPS combat is in second to second, gun cooling can couple of minutes. This is key in both the players decision making process and simulating. Every excess token drops the Malf by 2! Each weapon has a token cap: Light Assault Rifles have a cap of 1, Battle Rifles and Assualt Rilfes 2, heavy assault/battle rifles 3, Light machine guns 5, Heavy Machine guns 7.
Note: this is partially accurate, but this information his highly realistic. Player understanding what it means to have a machinegun at a squad or party's disposal (or at their enemy's disposal).
Average Damage. survivable damage and lethal damage is what matters. Simplifying the two damages as such will speed up the game resolution to focus on more key-dramatic actions.

GM declares Penalties and Checks. The GM Declares the following others quickly.
  • Range Penalties. The GM declares the Penalties and the Players declare their skill and total bonuses, at this point the GM can quickly disallow any bonuses he sees fit, then roll.
  • Restricted movement. Max 1-2m/s on broken ground, Max 2-3m/s on rough ground, and allowed to go to max move on the most ideal conditions. Any failed Running DX reduces movement or stops movement for that second (the PC catching himself, partially stumbling, or slowing down). Realistically, often only a Track oval or a manicured Pitch would be the one of the few places a person can move at their full speed without requiring a DX check.
  • Unintended Fatigue Loss. Running, Climbing, Jumping as an HT check represents trying to sum up the energy for an action in such crucial timing. Failure means an unintentional loss of Fatigue. These problems are VERY common in the battle field, stressing the importance of fitness and athletics in the battle field.
  • Fear Checks. Getting shot at by auto fire or a group, or getting the shifting tide of battle. Only the GM may know this completely and he should declare it quickly. Even the most well trained marines wrestle with combat fear and the cold unfaezability of gunslingers can only be found in fiction or coked-up zealots. A good rule of thumb is when a Side begins to consolidate, any "drama" happening or a PC about to do a "dramatic action".

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