A Few More Thoughts on GURPS

About a week and a half ago, Abigail, Liam and I got together with their friends Ryan and Eleen, my cohort Jason Young, and my brother Chris for another round of GURPS, the tabletop roleplaying game we’ve been enjoying lately. I had been planning to run an adventure in a Science Fiction setting this time around, but time grew short, so I instead grabbed one of the free D&D modules that’s available on the internet and quickly adapted it. Science Fiction is still certainly in our future, but since I have to do more inventing for that, it’s going to take a while longer.

The session went well: I got to use the GM’s Screen I received for Christmas, the players got through a little bit more than I expected them to, and found the dungeon guardians less of a challenge than I’d thought they would, due mostly to Liam’s somewhat unbalanced combat specialist character. Kathy very graciously kept us all supplied with food and drinks throughout the 6 hour long play time.

One interesting thing I noticed this time around was the marked difference in how the younger folks and the adults approached the game. Jason was playing as Gront the Dwarf, who would be a familiar sort of figure for anyone who saw John Rhys-Davies’ version of Gimli. Chris’ character went by the nom de guerre Jimmy Softshoe, and had the interesting quirks that he only referred to himself in the third person and he hated poetry. Both of the adults really engaged with and enjoyed the role-playing aspects. Jimmy screamed in frustration when the party encountered a sphinx with rhyming riddles, and Gront gruffly exclaimed “no tossing the dwarf!” when the party faced a chasm they had to cross.

The kids, on the other hand, almost entirely ignored the role-playing aspects except when forced to deal with them. (Liam, for example, wasn’t allowed to participate in decision-making and problem solving because his character’s intelligence was too low.) They instead spent hours beforehand figuring out how they could use their allotted points to make their character the most effective fighter (in the case of the boys), or finding the perfect character portrait for their winged elf (the girls). Even after traversing a particularly tricky obstacle, Ryan asked me “Was there a better way to do it?” still apparently thinking about optimizing the game system rather than having successfully navigated an obstacle.

But regardless of the play style, everyone enjoyed the time a great deal. I really like the cooperative spirit that develops during these things, and look forward to our next session.