As I mentioned in my recent Quick and Dirty Technical Grappling post, the biggest GURPS showstopper in my experience has been recalculating ST scores on the fly, and this wasn’t only a Technical Grappling issue. Today I’ll try to tackle the other rule where this issue has bit me: The Blessed (Heroic Feats) advantage.
This is one of the most powerful Holy Warrior abilities in both versions of Dungeon Fantasy, and it allows you to temporarily increase your ST, DX, or HT. The problem here is that the increase is variable, expressed in dice (+1d or +2d). It’s also an increase that applies to the full attribute, which means the following:
Increasing ST changes your HP, Basic Lift and base damage.
Increasing DX changes your Basic Speed and potentially Move.
Increasing HT changes your FP, your Basic Speed and potentially your Move.
Of these, the HP and FP changes are pretty straightforward. Basic Speed changes are the next easiest to calculate on the fly, since each extra point of DX or HT changes it by 0.25. Basic Lift is not too bad, since the formula for it is easy to memorize (ST * ST/10 kg, or twice that in pounds).
But then you get to base damage, and the gears of your game grind to a halt while you look it up in a table. Now, I’ve been dealing with GURPS for a number of years now so I know that this table is in page 16 of the Basic Set, but people who are new to the system won’t have that memorized. And knowing that didn’t help me in the event that prompted me to write these articles, as I was using the Dungeon Fantasy RPG and had to look up the table like anyone else who is new to those books.
There is actually a specific algorithm for figuring out your change in basic damage, but it’s fiddly enough that finding and consulting the table is usually quicker. And whether you calculate or look up your new basic damage, you still have use that to figure out the damage of your actual attacks, with things like weapon modifiers, Weapon Master, or high Karate bonuses.
My Solution: Deterministic Heroic Feats
The Heroic Feats advantage now increases your attribute by a fixed amount: 4 per level. This still lasts for 3d seconds, to still keep the favor of the gods somewhat fickle. GMs who want to get rid of that remaining bit of randomness can just have it last 10 seconds instead.
When you take the Heroic Feats advantage, write down your new total stats somewhere, and use those when the power is active.
Example: Our friend Seelah has ST 13 and Heroic Might 1, so in a separate space in her character sheet we record her stats with ST 17: Basic Lift 28.9kg and Damage 1d+2/3d-1. We also pre-calculate her enhanced sword damage (3d cut or 1d+4 imp). When Seelah uses Heroic Might, we refer to those stats instead of her usual ones.
If she later increases Heroic Might to its maximum level of 2, her enhanced strength becomes 21, so we recalculate her secondary stats: Basic Lift 44.1kg and Damage 2d/4d-1. Her sword damage becomes 4d cut or 2d+2 imp.
If later still she buys Weapon Master, we apply the damage bonuses from that advantage to both sets of stats. Her normal sword damage becomes 2d+4 cut/1d+4 imp, and her enhanced sword damage becomes 4d+8 cut/2d+6 imp. Now that’s what I call a smite!