Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Review: Hotspots - The Incense Trail

Title Page
This is challenging for me because the Hotspots series is not exactly my favorite. This one is written by Matt Riggsby (and several others in the series are as well.) And I do like his work. This book is very dense with historical information about the Incense Trail, going several millennia BCE to almost the Common Era. It is 11 pages long, and subtracting the title page, contents, intro, and back matter, 8 pages.
The book is extremely informative, or at least, feels that way, but it has next to nothing mechanically useful for GURPS specifically; take that as you will, if you want some reading material about a prehistoric to iron age middle eastern trade center, it might be useful to you regardless if you are reading for pleasure or a campaign in any other system; if you specifically want help with stats for things like caravaners, or the tools and finances of the trade in GURPS terms, you're served better by other books, like many of the Low-Tech supplements. This supplement does cross reference several other GURPS books for ideas and recommendations though, several belonging to the third edition of GURPS, which doesn't necessarily preclude them from being useful in GURPS 4e, what the majority of games are run in nowadays, but it might require a simulacrum of elbow grease to do some simple rote conversions if you want to use anything from these books as written in the fourth edition.

Overall, this book might be useful if you are running in a setting based on the given time period and geography, which could be really interesting. I might want to run something in that backdrop one day, so if nothing else, this short, inexpensive book impressed the inspiration upon me.

Table of Contents

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Review: Action 6 - Tricked Out Rides

Cover page
 I don't recollect if I reviewed Action 5 even while I was taking a break from blogging, but I thought it might make more sense to tackle this one because it isn't exactly out yet, so maybe the decision making content will be more helpful for a consumer. I dunno when it might be out, and it's not very long, but I think it's a fantastic resource for being so short. Let's take a closer look.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Review: How to Be A GURPS GM - Ritual Path Magic

Apparently it's not
for sale yet, so the
link 404s.
 So, a while back, Steve Jackson Games did an experiment on Kickstarter that involved trying to get enough people to buy in to "unlock" finished products as a stretch goal. If enough people pledged enough money, you could potentially get several short books for a very small amount of money. How to Be a GURPS GM - Ritual Path Magic was among them (when you italicize a title that has an italicized word, do you reverse the italicization of that one word?) Bottom line, I think it's helpful. Coming from an angle that I already have a decent system mastery of RPM, it isn't vital for me, and frankly, I'm neither here nor there on the system for reasons outlined in this post from Mailanka. To be fair, it can be a good system, in my opinion if it's used for the right type of game and setting. However, this isn't supposed to be a post editorializing whether Ritual Path Magic is a good system or not (I hate to say it, but, "it depends.") but whether or not this writing is worth your time. To summarize, I think it can be helpful if you need to get up to speed quickly with the system or if you get hung up on the vagaries of the system; if you are a master though, there is little of value (though "little" is more than "none.") Let's take a closer look.

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Not GURPS: I'm Interested in Blogging again

I've been updating PseudoBot regularly still, but haven't blogged for a while. I'm kinda interested in doing so again. This is just a metapost with a few details of what has happened in my real life recently, and if that kinda boring minutiae is not your cup of tea, then there is no reason to see what is beyond the break. One important thing to note: from now on, my pronouns are she/her.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Cheat Sheet - Conditional Injury

If you are interested,
check it out.

Conditional Injury is a wound based system to replace the hit points in GURPS. I don't necessarily prefer one or the other, but it's a fun alternative that gives a different flavor to dealing with wounds; some might argue it is more realistic than hit points, I dunno, haven't watched enough people die in real life to make an authoritative statement one way or another. Get the cheat sheet here, if you like it.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Pseudobot - Math and Graphs; How Fair is the Random Stat Generator?

So, last week, and the week before I worked on a tool to randomly generate character attributes in a way that the results would all have the same point values. At first, the algorithm assumed a character would have no decreased attributes and secondary characteristics, which was not satisfying to me, so I adjusted it so that the character could have minimum values based on some numbers I extrapolated from various GURPS sources as the bare minimum ok amount for a character. I think this was a good improvement. However, after making a naive implementation of the algorithm that gave each attribute or secondary characteristic an equal chance of occurring, on a whim, I decided to generate several thousand characters to see what the expected outcomes would be like. The result was that certain things apparently had certain unfair advantages in selecting them that made it so that certain attributes had noticeably lower or higher averages, thus began a complicated process of trying to make the algorithm as balanced as possible.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Pseudobot - More Balanced Random Stat Rolling

This took a really long time to get right, but I have arrived. This is the stats of 20,000 randomly generated characters with 0 points.

  • Average DX - 10.04
  • Average HT - 10.09
  • Average IQ - 10.17
  • Average ST - 10.07
  • Average Basic Move - 4.68 (This seems pretty low for the average 0 point character, but it is actually pretty ok for behind the scenes reasons)
  • Average Basic Speed - 5.03
  • Average FP - 9.98
  • Average HP - 10.26 (Weirdly high, but still ok.)
  • Average Per - 10.02
  • Average Will - 10.04
The goal was to make it hit close to what a 0 point character would be. The tricky part is that there is bounding logic which means that the difference between HP and ST isn't allowed to get too far off track, so, for example, if HP is currently at the minimum relative threshold to ST, more ST can't be added until more HP is added. This causes a complicated chain reaction where slightly nudging the balance one way or the other suddenly makes a different result much more likely. I had some weird problems with average IQ suddenly jumping 1 or 2 whole points - not 10.2, 12 - trying to balance the probability of FP versus HT, HP versus ST, Perception and Will versus IQ, but after holding it up to a very shoddy standard of scrutiny, it looks "good enough for me." I might analyze the math and source code in an upcoming post, maybe someone can point out an obvious flaw.
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