Author Archives: Gnomasz

Gurpsifying WoW: Mage basics

I’ve put quite a lot of thought into the idea of running a World of Warcraft inspired game in GURPS. The more I read into the story of Azeroth, though, the less I liked it for tabletop. I’m unlikely to ever run it myself, but I guess it would be a shame to leave all the time spent on gurpsifying WoW to waste. Thus I’m going to post some of my thoughts, unpolished and unplaytested as they are.

First off: mages.

Required books: Magic.

Spells cannot be powered with Fatigue nor Hit Points, but with a dedicated Energy Reserve*. Should I refer to it, I’ll call it “Mana Reserve” to link to the WoW resource but keep it distinct from the GURPS concept of mana. I intend to keep the mage spell list very restricted, similar to the one in the computer game, so every character with Magery gets Mana Reserve 15 for free. You cannot get points for reducing your Mana Reserve.

Magic Rituals: Skill has it’s usual effect on spell cost and casting time, but regardless of skill, you need to make a 2-handed gesture and speak a couple quiet words to cast a spell. Magery stays at 10 points per level (you don’t get a discount for Dance or Song limitations). On Azeroth you aren’t prone to Low Mana or No Mana Zones, so the pros and cons cancel out in my opinion.

I find the Magery and Effect rule very important and assume it’s in use.

Holding a Melee or Missile spell is very important for GURPS mages. You can cast an offensive spell, rest, and then go into the dungeon armed with a 9d fireball and full energy. If you find the option unfitting to the world and intend to ban it, I suggest rising the starting Mana Reserve to 20.

All mages have Code of Honor (mage’s) for -10 character points: never wear armor other than cloth. Don’t teach magic to anyone who does. Any respectable mage would react poorly to an idea of using heavier armor. (Code of Honor is the closest fit I find, though you might reword it as Disciplines of Faith, Vow, or a custom Tradition or Uprising disadvantage. It’s a cultural thing, and something that is just wired into each magical adept’s world view). Should a player want to play an armored mage, you may use any combination of Unusual Background, negative Reputation, and Social Stigma. You might even use the New Inventions rules in-game to make the character come up with an idea of this revolutionary tactic.

I haven’t put much thought into enchanting, but I think Staff and Powerstones should be available.

As I mentioned earlier, the spell list should be cut a lot: only the spells that are part of Arcane, Fire and Frost specializations, and Enchanting profession, are available – I’m going to discuss them in separate posts.

Gnomasz out, cheers!

*) Energy Reserve is a concept explained in Powers, Thaumatology and some other supplements. It’s a separate energy pool for powering spells and abilities in place of FP. It costs 3 points per level, it has no 1/3 threshold and can never drop below 0. It recharges at the same rate FP does, though it does so even if the character isn’t resting.

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Posted by on November 20, 2017 in GURPSifying World of Warcraft


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Gurpsifying WoW: Resurrection

Here I’m toying with how to represent some spells from World of Warcraft in GURPS. Today: resurrecting spells.

It’s not hard to notice that the GURPS Magic Resurrection spell isn’t suitable for WoW feel or for it’s world:

  • it’s too costly and time consuming for how often it’s being used in the computer game;
  • introducing it would raise many questions on why wasn’t X brought back to life.

This could be solved in a couple of ways. We might borrow from D&D 4, where the more important a character is, the harder they are to raise from the dead: to the point where resurrecting a warlord is impossible, but raising a PC is trivial (for a hero). This explanation starts to crumble, though, when the PCs take on the titans and the old gods.

I prefer to look at what role those spells actually have in the game: they quickly bring back to fight characters who’d need a couple of minutes to come back themselves. In GURPS – that’s Awaken. Assuming that the “resurrecting” spells merely wake up the unconscious solves the above issues nicely. (It also makes the game actually potentially deadly, but that’s not a bug, it’s a feature).

The Awaken spell could be included in the spell lists of resurrecting spellcasters as-is, but it might also be tweaked to better suit the world:

  • change it from area to regular, with no effect on cost;
  • non-combat resurrect: change the casting time to 10 seconds;
  • remove the stun and fatigue countering, but reduce the HT penalty for subjects unconscious because of damage and poison;
  • might also be combined with some healing (there are many options for this).

There’s one thing Awaken can’t deal with, as far as i know: Mortal Wounds. You might leave it as-is, or combine it with Stop Bleeding, making Resurrection a Very Hard spell. I prefer something in-between: Resurrection stays a hard spell and cannot deal with Mortal Wounds. But a perk is available: Glyph of Miraculous Resurrection: your Resurrection spell can awaken a mortally wounded character. This feat costs 10 energy. The mortal wound is automatically stabilized. The target awakens only on a passed HT roll, as usually.

Oh, one last thing: I feel like seeing a Spirit Healer while unconscious might be useful. Maybe with the Dreaming skill?

Tinker on, Gnomash out. Cheers!


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Posted by on June 14, 2016 in tips & tricks


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Changing spell magic to build a world

This is an example on how to shape the magic in your GURPS game by selecting available spells and changing their prerequisites, and why a weak spell can sometimes be considered high-tier.

I’ve been playing some WoW lately. There are three schools of magic in the game and they’re all focused on damage dealing. There are differences in their play patterns, but they inevitably end up being compared on the ground of damage per second. That made me wonder if the developers would dare to truly differentiate the three specializations and make one of them a tank. And, for example, one (fire) focused on area damage and the last one (arcane) on single target damage. That idea brought me back to thinking about the Fireball in GURPS Magic.

Fireball is the second least cost-effective missile spell in the book. I cry every time I compare it to the Stone Missile, which has better accuracy, damage, and range. It seems like the only meaningful reason to take Fireball is to get to the Explosive Fireball. Why then can you buy one without the other? If Explosive Fireball is worth the power tax (it really isn’t), this spell should be more expensive, and not the previous spells weaker. Because if you don’t pick up Explosive, you just end up with a couple spells that are weaker for the sake of something that shouldn’t bother you. That’s a poor guidance for players who’d like to pick up just a few spells from the 1000 without reading the whole book and making tabs on the way. So how about we put the normal Fireball after the Explosive one in the prerequisite chain?

It doesn’t make sense in a vacuum, but it does a lot when you think about it in terms of two different magic schools. Let’s say we want Earth to be the single-target damage college and Fire – the area damage one. With prerequisite chains something like this:

  • Earth: (1) Some regular damage spell, (2) Sand Jet, (3) Mud Jet, (4) Stone Missile;*
  • Fire: (1) Create Fire, (2) Rain of Fire, (3) Explosive Fireball, (4) Fireball;

a dedicated fire mage who wants a fall-back single-target spell might pick-up the weaker Fireball or pay more precious points to get to stronger Stone Missile, which would really make him a generalist. That means more expensive Magery and less points for energy, and energy is our beloved mayhem.

Gnomash out, cheers!

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Posted by on May 16, 2016 in tips & tricks


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End of blog

I’ve lost motive to type here. The purpose of this blog was to practice my English and reach broader group of readers. But:

1. I’ve leaved my homeland, and now the language I should practice in my free time is definitely not English.
2. I don’t remember the bases of English grammar, so by maintaining this blog, I’d just repeat my errors, and that I find vary bad for my language skills.
3. Reaching broader group of readers was never a good motivation for me.

So, I leave this blog for now. Maybe I’ll pick it up again some day, but it won’t be soon. I’ll probably add here links to new blogs I’ll start to read, just to make them a bit more noticeable.

Play well, then!


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Posted by on October 7, 2012 in tips & tricks


The War of Kerlath – the end

 Przeczytaj ten wpis po polsku/read this entry in Polish

My laziness is beyond comprehension. I haven’t described session 4th nor 5th, so tonight, as 6th and last session ended, I’d describe all of them very briefly.

Execution of a couple of bandits in Tafars didn’t went well. The executioner was fake and he made knots in a manner, that caused them to untie when hanging was about to happen. The PCs stopped some of the bandits so they didn’t escape from town. Arod nearly died doing that. I asked Verlay’s player to change his character, so I could really make some adventures for all the PCs and he agreed. After fast healing of the watchman, the team went outside the town where they tracked and stopped the remaining convicts.

A few days later they escorted the bandits for execution in a large city. Some NPCs died, because of one of prisoners and because of some robbers shooting in the night. On the way back to Tafars, PCs accompanied a group of wizards.

After a couple of months each character was proposed to join the people trying to take over the province, but they refused. Because of that, they were lured into an ambush full of zombies, and they didn’t lived through this, and so the short campaign ended.

Notes from all the sessions:

1. I’m not able to make a serious, not combat-oriented campaign yet.
2. I have to work on my rules for income. The ones I used in this campaign were nonsensical (it happens with house rules).
3. I have to work on showing Close Combat on map. Five figures on one hex (RAW, there’s unlimited number of characters per cell) is definitely too much.
4. Some fights are worthy of making pictures of them. That crowd today was hard to arrange, but it had some charm.

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Posted by on May 21, 2012 in my sessions, The War of Kerlath



The War of Kerlath, 3rd session

Przeczytaj ten wpis po polsku/Read this entry in Polish

On yesterday’s meeting there were:
Arod, human town’s watchman [106 points]
Othon “Booze” Warfuner, dwarfen veteran, stone-mason these days [99 points]
The other players couldn’t arrive. Point totals are estimate.

A week has passed since undeads’ attack on Tafars, the city where PCs live. “Attack” is in italics, because there were no many lives lost. The attackers were aggressive only to those that were fighting, the rest was only asked to surrender. Booze bore no responsibility for killing the girl, cause three town’s watchmen confirmed that she was dangerous witch.

Arod rallied enough to go back to work. Othon considered his Tropphy Bear as poor decoration for an axe and tried to put it near the fireplace, but he has heard witch’s voice in his mind for a moment. Worried, he decided to ask watchmen wizards for help. On his way he met Arod, as he was patrolling. The watchmen thought that he could help his friend meet appropriate person.

Before they reached citadel, they went to the market, as they saw some assembly. It’s cause being a man in white robes, convincing people that the military has too few wizards.* Othon started to discuss with him, which caused people to split into two groups. One was aggressive against the dwarf and Arod, claiming that they have helped to attack town, as they ordered to show the little witch the watch. The other group was aggressive towards the White. PC’s were arrested, for their safety more than because of suspicion.

Arod and Booze explained their meeting with little witch again. The dwarf told about his issue with teddy bear. Wizards sealed the toy and inspected it, but first they explained Othon, that marking favorite mascot of a little witch with her blood was a bad idea, as could have magical consequences no one could predict. PCs had to wait for Verlay to testify the meeting with little witch, too. The dwarf convinced three people that he saved the town, making them very thankful, and Arod learned some new information of how the attack from last week went.

Next day morning, Warfuner was asked by watchmen wizards to destroy the mascot’s eyes, which were magical stones. They claimed that, because of his “ritual” of marking with blood, it could be safer if he destroyed the stones.

As Othon went back home, he found his door opened with force and his house ransacked. He bought info from a beggar that some thug and a white-wearing men were responsible for this. He told Arod about that went to temple. There he was told that man that was speaking yesterday on the market was no White Mage nor priest. Then he made official notice about burglary, but this wasn’t helpful.

The next evening Arod and Othon were relaxing with alcohol after some sword-wielding practice, when a group of people, led by fake White Mage, arrived at the dwarf’s house, demanding of PC’s to leave the town. Othon, always nervous, now tipsy, drew his weapon quickly. He stabbed three attackers, two others knocked out each other (complete lack of combat skills). The watchman took down another two with his bare hands. The dwarf wanted to surprise remaining ones from behind by sneaking through the window, but there he met some thug pulling the shutter apart with his axe. Booze ended this familiarity with two quick slashes. Then he took down the wizard and cut off both hands of another citizen. The last one fled from the battle.

* White Mages, the quickest thought that comes to mind seeing a wizard in white robes, is an order of wizards of light and healing, friars of which usually wander the kingdom, helping people.

1. Playing without books is a lot of fun. It speeds up the game, and this makes up for some rules inconsistencies. But I have to copy the table of critical misses, especially if there are more fights with nine people having no idea about weapon wielding coming.
2. I have to pay more attention to involving all the PCs into the plot. Arod’s player is not the type that needs to be persuaded to team play, fortunately. But I still think that I encouraged his character to take part in events not enough.

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Posted by on April 23, 2012 in my sessions, The War of Kerlath


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The War of Kerlath, 2nd session

Przeczytaj ten wpis po polsku/Read this entry in Polish 

On the second session we had:
Verlay, human smith, a bit anarchist [100 points]
Othon “Booze” Warfuner, dwarfen veteran, stone-mason currently [97 points]
Arod, human town’s watchman [102 points]
Anwgard’s player was absent.

Othon and Arod were in Verlay’s forge, sharpening their swords, when they heard some screams from the outside. Arod stopped some man and heard from him that the town is being attacked by some monsters. The PC’s went to town’s gate to see what is happening. They saw some dead watchmen and 4 men entering all the houses. The intruders seemed not to see the PC’s, which decided to go get closer, but with backstreets. They met a little red-haired girl, searching for her toy, like nothing special was happening. They decided to take her somewhere safe, ignoring bad feelings about her. When they met another group of people, they left the girl with them and went back to meet the strange intruders.

The PC’s heard women’s scream from a nearby house. They went in to meet four zombies. The undead weren’t attacking, they were demanding surrender with their creepy voice. But a lady was in danger! The PC’s have slain zombies with little effort, as the beast didn’t even have weapons. A group of aggressive people was approaching, but Booze scared them off with critical success on Intimidation, despite lacking the skill. Players set off to town’s center, finding a teddy bear and grouping with some random folks on their way.

There was some fire ahead and the PC’s saw that the post’s door are open. Othon went ahead to scout. He perceived the redhead girl watching the fire with smile, and two zombies and two skeletons were accompanying her. The dwarf called Verlay and Arod with gesture. They were trying to close in unnoticed, but the girl heard them. Booze tried his intimidation skills again, but it didn’t work this time, despite using an advantage of having girl’s mascot. The child commanded the undead to catch PC’s and started casting Fireball. Arod tried to interrupt her with his charge, but he critically failed and ha fallen down at her feet. But she had a bad roll, too, and hit some building with her Fireball, instead of scorching the watchman. But the undead grappled him and the girl Ignited his clothes. Meanwhile Othon and Verlay destroyed one undead each. The dwarf tried to save Arod then, while the smith closed the gap between him and retreating girl. She Ignited his clothes, too, but it exhausted her almost completely. Othon went almost berserk, destroyed two remaining undead, and slain the girl. He decapitated her for sure with his two-handed axe, to which he tied the teddy bear, marked with girls blood, as a trophy. Othon ended fight unscratched, but humans were really badly burned, Verlay has lost consciousness.

In the post PC’s found two burned, but alive, watchmen, and a group of terrified folks. They have taken care of their wounds. Othon went out to meet seven troops from city-state. He led them to a place where he spotted some attackers. He left the last battle uninjured, but not damaging anyone also.

I’m still a very bad GM. There are practically no NPC’s in my games, even in town! When PC’s meet someone, he’s silent. The townsmen are acting artificially, with intelligence of goombas from Super Mario Bros. And I have ideas for plot, but I’m too lazy to prepare them, making them half-minute encounters. And I’m not good enough at improvising to balance this. I have to improve in almost everything.

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Posted by on April 20, 2012 in my sessions, The War of Kerlath


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