Episode 101: Fundamental GURPSiness

This month, Mike and Roger have played James Bond 007 (thanks to friend of the show Brett Evill) and consider how to de-crunch a crunchy game.

We mentioned:

The James Bond 007 RPG, Ice Station Zebra, Top Secret, Espionage, Mercenaries, Spies and Private Eyes, FATE, Hillfolk/Dramasystem, The Avengers, Department S, The Grognard Files on the RPG, The Grognard Files talking more with Gerry Klug, part 1, The Grognard Files talking more with Gerry Klug, part 2, Kevin McClory, Marvelman, Traveller, Mongoose Traveller, Analog, GURPS Traveller: Far Trader, Casablanca, Free Spacer, Blades in the Dark, Ashen Stars, Star Trader (the Traveller trade system expanded into a stand-alone game), EVE Online, GURPS Action 4, GURPS Dungeon Fantasy, GURPS Action in general,

Here’s our tip jar. (Please email or leave a comment as well; they don’t always tell me when money’s gone in.)

Music by Kevin MacLeod at incompetech.com.


Is this up at Apple Podcasts? My client doesn’t seem to see it.

Thanks for taking the trouble to investigate de-crunching the crunchy, entertaining and interesting as usual and much food for thought.

A lot of this has been stemming from my attempts to understand some of the more popular modern games in context with earlier generations of games and the revisions attempting to freshen them up as viewed against say Blades in the Dark and PbtA types of game thus leading to my question.


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It’s in the RSS feed so it should become so, but I don’t know how long they take to update.

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I think that your modern game has a different sort of crunch.

In Traveller the crunch is about “this is the sort of starship you can build” and “this much armour protects you against those weapons”. In modern games it’s just as complicated, but it’s about “this is how your trust X” and “this is what you can get your group to do for you”. This is obviously much harder to model (because biological things are squirmy and slippery); but it’s also much harder for someone to argue against on grounds of realism.

One of the Wharties is interested in running Blades at some point so I may eventually play it…

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There it is! And my name is in the show notes.

Previous discussion of JB007 and my nagging of @RogerBW to play and review it may be found in an old thread on these very forums.

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I’m glad to see that the Sages of High Wycombe have taken up cash-for-comments cost recovery.

If I give you thirty quid, will you make favourable comments about discussion of roleplaying games on the tekeli.li RPG forum?

In all honesty I have to say that it’ll probably happen anyway.

Well, yes. But it is mean of you to count on that, and besides, it would be good to promote the general RPG discussions a bit.

No, no, I mean that I’ll probably say that (the suggestion having been made) whether or not you send the money. (I am a very bad salesman. I think this is what makes me a good game demonstrator – many gamers don’t like to be “sold” something.)

@1:13:00 or thereabouts, I agree on the corrosiveness of random character generation. As has been shown with other primates, we have a sense of fairness and can recognize when someone is getting favorable treatment. Even if we are reasonable people and can consciously deal with a character who is underpowered (relative to others) through no fault of our own, I think there is still a subconscious resentment and frustration that can bubble up, even if it only manifests as simply not having fun.


Fun in gaming is remarkably fragile. If I’m in the wrong mood the best game in the world can seem tawdry and second-rate.


But before the baton of a gaming legend you can have fun in the feeblest adventure with rules from the dark ages of RPG?