Saturday, July 11, 2020

The Basics of Using GCS

Someone on a Discord server I frequent was attempting to learn the ropes of GCS, and was unimpressed with the level of documentation available on how to actually utilize the program.

I've been using GCS for years as I've found it to be a very convenient and powerful tool for making character sheets. I consider myself a bit of a GCS power user, so here's the start of what may become a series of posts on the basics of using the program.

When you first create a new character sheet, you'll be presented with a blank sheet filled with some pregenerated character fluff (Height, weight, eye color, etc), and baseline GURPS stats.


Click to Expand

Of note, the Master Library contains the bits and pieces you'll most likely want to add to a character sheet- advantages, disadvantages, and skills. The libraries for Basic Set Advantages and Basic Set Skills will likely be where you'll spend the majority of your time searching for what you want to add to your characters.

Most tabs will have a blank line at the top that functions as a search bar, as well as a drop-down that usually filters by categories.

I've typed warp into the Basic Set Advantages Library here



On a character sheet, blue text means that that field can be directly edited. The fields for your stats (ST, DX, IQ, etc) will decrement unspent points appropriately as they are increased. Additionally, GCS will update derived stats appropriately (increasing DX will increase related skills, and basic speed calculation, for instance).

Some traits have way more modifiers
than others...
To add something from a library to the character sheet, you can either drag and drop it onto the sheet, or hit CTRL+SHIFT+C. Depending on the trait being carried over, a dialog box might open with modifiers related to the trait- CR ratings for disadvantages, enhancements for advantages, etc.

To edit a trait in GCS, either double-click on it, or select it and hit enter.

For advantages and disadvantages, the top portion contains fields for how to price the trait, as well as fields that help with categorizing it.

The dialog window that opens will also usually include the following tabs for most traits, including equipment:
  • Prerequisites- These will turn a trait red if your character fails to have the listed traits. (Example: Cinematic combat skills without Trained by a Master or Weapon Master.)
  • Features- These are how you can tell GCS that an advantage should give a modifier to a character- such as voice improving reaction modifiers and giving bonuses to certain skills, combat reflexes increasing defense scores, or the damage increase Striking ST gives to attacks
  • Modifiers- these are the limitations and enhancements present on numerous advantages and disadvantages
  • Melee Weapon and Ranged Weapon- these tabs allow you to specify that an attack should appear on your character's sheet, and allow you to define the statistics of those attacks
  • User description is a field that allows for entering notes.
Skills have largely the same dialog window, but have a tab for Skill Defaults, and the top portion has different fields specific to skills, which I'll drill down deeper into in a future post.


Friday, March 13, 2020

Modeling Osteogenesis Imperfecta in GURPS

Osteogenesis imperfecta (OI) is a congenital disease where the body doesn't produce collagen in sufficient quantity or quality, depending on the specific type the subject has. Due to this, people with the disease break bones very easily. It's more commonly referred to as Brittle Bone Disease.

OI Can generally be split into 3 Types:
  • OI Type 1- the mildest form of the disease.
  • OI Type 2- normally fatal within the first year of life
  • OI Types 3+- Moderate to severe types of the disease with differing clinical presentations

My friend has OI Type 4, which is a moderate to severe type. She broke her foot attempting to walk across concrete in socks. Accidentally kicking the leg of her bedframe broke her toe. A fall in the kitchen broke her elbow. She's cracked ribs, herniated a disk in her back, and had a metal plate in her elbow to correct a break from before I met her. To say that OI doesn't seem like an appealing Player Character trait is entirely accurate, as I'll illustrate below.

OI leads to numerous effects that could be relevant to a GURPS character, which I'd consider core to the trait:

  • Propensity for bone breaks
  • Hypermobility (A propensity for dislocated joints)
  • Chronic pain
  • Distinctive Blue Sclera
Let's start by modeling the bone breaks. Let's flip Injury Tolerance (Unbreakable Bones) on its head, and then address the duration of crippling injury.

Injury Vulnerability (Easily Broken Bones) [-10 or -20]: Your body is especially vulnerable to crippling injury.
Mild: Your limbs become crippled when they take damage over HP/4. Your extremities become crippled when they take damage over HP/6. -10 Points.
Severe: Your limbs and extremities become crippled when they take damage over HP/10. -20 points.

Injury Vulnerability (Long-lasting Crippling) [-10]: When you roll HT to see if a crippling Injury is Temporary or Lasting, you at HT-4.

Now for modeling the frequent dislocations, I suggest using the rules for Bad Back- the rules fit suffering painful dislocations very well.  

Likewise, Chronic Pain also works right out of the basic set. I could see mixing the triggers of Bad Back and the effects of Chronic Pain to simulate bouts of pain triggered by unwise physical activity, which is true to my experiences with my friend.

Distinctive Features covers the Blue Sclera as a Quirk.

Now in real life, OI can lead to additional effects, some of which will come down to a case-by-case basis:

  • Hunchback, per basic set, in the case of deforming types of OI
  • Lame (Crippled Legs or Paraplegic), or One Arm, or No Manipulators in the case where OI leads to compression of the spine, resulting in nerve damage that causes one to use the use of their arms/legs.
  • Loss of Basic Move

And for Cinematic Icing:
  • Flexibility (Double-Jointed), if the Hypermobility has beneficial uses, although people with Ehlers' Danlos Syndrome are better fits for it.
  • Bonuses to Weather Sense, or Detect (Low Pressure Atmospheric Conditions) since we all know bone breaks react to atmospheric pressure.