GURPS Dinosaurs Pseudo-Conversions: Charismatic Cretaceous Carnivores

The long overdue second post of GURPS Dinosaurs Pseudo-Conversions covers some of the more famous active hunters of the Cretaceous period that have become frequent stars in written and filmed media. This monstrous menagerie is made up of seven theropod dinosaurs, as well as one awe-inspiring crocodilian. As with any GURPS Dinosaurs Pseudo-Conversions post, refer to the introductory post for some basic conversion logic being used, as well as for mental lenses such as using PK’s house rules separating Will and Perception from IQ.

Carnotaurus [-6 Points]

Meta-Traits: Wild Animal [-30].

Attributes: ST +20 [40]; DX +2 [24]; IQ -7 [-140]; HT +2 [20].

Secondary Characteristics: SM +4; Will +7 [35]; Per +8 [40].

Advantages: Claws (Sharp) [5], Damage Resistance 4 (Cranial armor, upper layer; Skull only, -70%) [6], Damage Resistance 3 (Hide, lower layer) [15], Discriminatory Smell [15], Enhanced Move 2 (Ground move 12) [20], Horns [5], Striking Tail [6], Teeth (Sharp) [1].

Perks: Long-Range Smell1 [1], Scales [1].

Disadvantages: No Fine Manipulators [-30], No Physical Attack (Arms) [-10], Restricted Diet (Carnivore) [-10], Short Arms [-10], Short Lifespan 2 [-20].

Skills: Brawling DX+1/E [2], Running HT+1/A [4], Tracking Per+1/A [4].

  1. Source: GURPS Powers: Enhanced Senses, pg. 26.

This 25″ to 30″ long theropod from Argentina takes the biological features of its family, the abelisaurids, to their logical extreme: slender legs, thick tail, relatively long neck, thick skull with rugose cranial ridges, big shoulders, and almost vestigial arms. Its snub nose and brow horns give it a unique facial profile put Continue reading

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Masks, Personas, and Flesh-Shaping: Playing With Shapeshifting (And a Few Other Advantages)

Happy Halloween, everyone! It’s unthinkable and shameful that we’re nearly through the entirety of October, yet I haven’t written even one post for the best month of the year. I’ve decided to rectify that by giving a generic GURPS post on a subject close to the spirit of the season: putting on a different guise. Shapeshifting, in both figurative and literal forms, features in stories, art, and cultural practices the world over. Why, exactly, are they so ubiquitous? Given that shapeshifting iconography goes back into prehistory, it seems like something that’s pretty big to the human consciousness, and the usual suggestion is that shapeshifting (or at least animal-related shapeshifting) related to crossing the perceived boundaries between humans and the rest of the natural world.

Whatever the reason for its prevalence, the theme of changing form has remained with us into the present day in both real world belief and fictional media alike. For GURPS, shapeshifting is primarily achieved through the two advantages listed under…well, Shapeshifting. In some edge cases, other advantages do come into play instead, but for the most part those two advantages are where any skin-changing spellcaster, superpowered hero, or strange esoteric being will be heading for mechanics. This isn’t nearly the end-all-be-all on shapeshifting as a concept – especially when it only covers advantages and disadvantages, not skill-based skill systems and such – nor do I expect anyone to find it on par with an officially published GURPS title, but hopefully it’s at least a somewhat useful set of gathered rambling thoughts on the subject. The post format was inspired by the one used by Christopher Rice/Ghostdancer for his GURPS 101 advantage posts, but tries to avoid adhering to it 100%, as 1. I’d prefer my words to flow in my own way, not someone else’s. 2. I’m not nearly the level of writer he is. I had originally planned to end this post with a set of premade shapeshifter goodies, but time was against me, so that will be a follow-up post at a later date. Continue reading

Creatures of Fallen Stars: Winged Things

The age of great passenger planes and aerial militaries is over: soaring beasts rule the skies once more. While giant insects and powered-flight reptiles may still be a thing of the distant past, birds and bats never vanished, and have now begun to flourish in new (and sometimes truly strange) forms. This post covers eight members of those lineages that dwell in the world of Fallen Stars, including two that have given up the wild blue yonder for a life on the ground.

Boobrie

Scientific Name: Ardea robusta Continue reading

What’s in a Name?: Looking Past the Labels in GURPS Traits

In much of our culture, names and labels are important. Names are what we use to identify things, to identity others, and to identify ourselves. In certain stories and folklore, magic is heavily influenced by the power of names. And where would things like roads, instruction manuals, and maps be without labels? Of course, names can also be restrictive: a label that makes it hard to see past it and dig deeper. Names and labels were actually a problem I had myself when I first encountered GURPS in 2011 via a copy of GURPS Horror in the local brick and mortar store. Back then, I mostly had knowledge of systems that either carefully labeled and boxed everything or the polar opposite in the form of extremely freeform systems, and the idea of having a middle ground of defined traits that were also modular and not necessarily always just what their name and description entailed was novel to me. This post is sort of a combination of “don’t make that same mistakes past-me made” and “think outside the box”; nothing groundbreaking or world-shaking for most people who know the ins and outs of GURPS, but I collected from some thoughts I had while reminiscing on the subject anyway. Continue reading

You Don’t Need to Play a Setting to Find it Valuable

Two of the most recent additions to the GURPS stable were two new hardcover-only books published late December, GURPS Mars Attacks and GURPS Discworld Roleplaying Game. I picked up copies of both and enjoyed them immensely, which leads into a topic I felt like talking about for a bit. You see, while I do love the work of the late Sir Terry Pratchett, I’ve never really considered running a game on the Disc. Furthermore, I have no history with the Mars Attacks trading card series, and came into that book as someone only vaguely familiar with the aesthetics and artwork of its source material. So what do you do with two books you don’t play with? This post is my answer to that, with a short post made up of some probably self-explanatory bloviating about why setting books shouldn’t be a no-buy just because you aren’t using the setting. Continue reading

[HWBS] Dominion of Spirits: A Primer on the Otherworld

Imagine you are wandering in the woods one day, and you suddenly stumble across a cavern you’ve never seen before. You’ve been in these woods since you were a child, and yet never once has this cavern made its presence aware to you. Strange? Yes, but not impossible when the Otherworld’s tendrils extend out into our reality. This post dives headfirst into this world of spirits and illusions, a murky borderland where you can never be fully certain that what you see is the truth.

Note: this post makes heavy use of the Facade system from the article “Mask of Humanity”, found in Pyramid issue #3-97, pg. 13 to 20. While individual skills, advantages, and modifiers are annotated, the system itself and terms such as “Facade Rating” are a focus of the entire article and thus have no specific page number listed.

What is the Otherworld?

Enveloping Earth like a blanket, the Otherworld is a space between spaces, a dimensional “warped mirror” where the features of the planet have a twisted and distorted reflection. While some areas may seem familiar enough beyond oddly bright or subdued colors and slightly misshapen features compared to what would be on Earth, others are exaggerated or inverted, such as Continue reading

Creatures of Fallen Stars: Water Monsters

Wetlands, from thick hardwood bottomland and murky swamps to vast marshes and open northern bogs, are rich habitats for wildlife. In the post-apocalyptic world of Fallen Stars, this means strange and sometimes dangerous wildlife created by the outpouring of unnatural effects from the Starfall. This post introduces eight animals found in various locations where you have to be prepared to get your feet wet.

Afanc

Scientific Name: Castor cetiformus

Creature of Origin: Beaver

Average Length: 50 feet Continue reading