GURPS Banestorm redux

This is the thread to talk about reviving the game discussed at

Narrative thread now at


reviving the game

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Let’s roll.



Hayu, (aka You-there! Smartarse, Likely Suspect, and ‘That prisoner over there’) grew up (somehow) in the back streets, brothels and taverns in Caridel. She’s left for a while, due to a misunderstanding with local law enforcement. She’s anywhere between the age of 18-22 and isn’t sure, herself due to the fact that there is no record of her birth. She spent her formative years (from about 2 or 3 years of age) in a Catholic orphanage run by Jesuits, but left when she was around 11, both parties agreeing that the other “asked too many annoying questions.” She can do large sums in her head, which has served her well in thievery, fencing (of stolen goods, not sword-work. She barely knows which end of a sword to hold and which to stick into people), and working as an alchemist’s assistant. Other than “probably human”, her ancestral background is a mystery. She has a weakness for fine art and is literate, even though she’s a) female and b) not rich, because c) it seemed like it could be a useful skill to have.

  1. Best Friend – Aside from the stuffed rat she had as a kid (a real taxidermied rat, or as best as she could manage, anyway), there was Frankie who got hung by the guards just for selling a few things that might not have been his, and Hassan who taught her a few tricks for telling lead apart from gold, and how to make a piece of gold look like a piece of lead – at least until you needed it to look like a piece of gold again. She also learned quite a few things about acids, alkalis and the way quicksilver fumes could drive a man mad.

  2. End up – Alive and able to afford a secure base of operations or two, and know that there will be a next meal. Maybe have her own crew, someday.

  3. Fighting – Dirty and/or with improvised weapons. Guards get nasty if they find you with a weapon, but it’s amazing the damage you can do with a stable-rake, or what a chamber-pot can do to a skull (bonus points if it’s full). Wears homemade braided leather (with quilted padding on the side against her fist) knuckle-dusters beneath her gloves. She’s almost always wearing gloves. And if there’s a cheap-shot, she’ll take it.

  4. About 5’3", slender but well-muscled build, think dancer or tumbler. Dark eyes, black hair – she looks like she could belong to any of the human races, or even be a mix. Hair is short so it doesn’t get in the way. Has two main sets of clothing: “formal” is a set of nice but well broken in soft leathers in neutral colours of brown and grey. Her gloves are suede. “Regular” is rags closer to a beggar’s. The gloves are worn through at the fingers and fraying, but somehow still cover the knuckle-dusters. Is missing the end of her right pinky finger, to the joint.

  5. Religion – Whatcha got? Is willing to follow any tenets, worship any gods that will keep her from getting killed or thrown in jail.

  6. Magic is fine, sure, but most magic users are bastards. Most fights it’s up close and personal, and even with an archer, you can see where he’s aiming and he needs a clear shot. Then there’s the bastard standing where you can’t even see him who hits you with some sort of invisible snare or something – that’s just not right. Okay, so healers might be okay, but that’s if they’re the good ones and not the ones charging you an arm and a leg just to fix your toe, or fixing you up so you’re healthy enough to hang.

  7. People is people. Some of them are bastards, some of them are fairly decent. Doesn’t matter what shape and size someone is if they’re trying to shoot you or are willing to help you hide from the guys trying to shoot you. If you get picky about that, you don’t make it too long, y’know? Racism/speciesism is for those who have the luxury to be racist/speciesist.

  8. Having worked with an alchemist and knowing a few tricks, she’s rather suspicious about the coins/gold people give her and will test them as soon as she’s got a chance. She’s not stingy – she always buys a round when it’s her turn and doesn’t look at people sideways if they don’t get the cheap stuff, but she’s always aware of exactly how much money she has and never likes to incur debt (because debt collectors are bastards). She doesn’t mind being flat broke, but debt is right out of the picture. It really does not make her happy when someone tries to cheat her on payment, either.

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Cool. Thief with a touch of street martial artist, plus a hint of alchemical knowledge. I’ll work up a draft character this afternoon.

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First pass at Hayu:

Let me know what you’d like changed or explained, keeping in mind that any points added to an ability will need to be taken from somewhere else. At the moment she’s a bit jack-of-all-trades; competent at all of her wide-ranging skills, but not spectacularly good at any one thing. Her lockpicking/trap-defusing skills are fairly low, but the party already has Thwip (goblin engineer) for that.

She’d clean up in a lightly-armed streetfight against a humanoid opponent, but would struggle in a genuine military or monster situation. Brass knuckles ain’t ideal against armour or trolls. It’d be worthwhile thinking how to deal with that; perhaps some archery skill, or load up on explosive potions or somesuch.

Her alchemy skill at the moment is enough to be useful in identifying potions, but is a bit low for safely/economically making them.

The party is currently on a dungeonbash [1], but they’ll likely be heading back towards urban intrigue fairly soon.

[1] They’ve finished off all of the apparent monsters, but are currently trapped by a flooded entrance and are threatened by a group of baddies on the surface.

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Looks mostly good – I would like to add a few things to her gear. Some small bags of spices, for example. And while she isn’t good enough at alchemy to whip up something like a healing potion, I’d like for her to know enough to know that if you mix "x’ with “y” (I am too tired at the moment to look up any actual chemistry, let alone something like the discovery and isolation of chlorine and ammonia) you get eyewateringly bad fumes (so a couple of bottles of x and a couple of y wrapped up carefully)

.[quote=“Wanderfound, post:5, topic:601”]
She’d clean up in a lightly-armed streetfight against a humanoid opponent, but would struggle in a genuine military or monster situation

That’s pretty much how I imagined her. I probably will grab some explosive potions, and/or things that can be lit on fire (such as some vials of lamp oil) and flint+striker. (Oooh. Molotovs.). She’s not a “charge in and attack” fighter – that’s never a good idea when it’s you versus a patrol of the city guard. But in a tavern brawl or a riot, she knows how to take care of herself. I’d rather not go with the archery right now and stick with the chemical weapons (pepper bombs and mustard-gas equivalents) and incendiaries, if possible.

It’s a somewhat realistic low-tech fantasy world, so there are two options:

  1. Low tech chemical explosives, which are infamously dangerous and unreliable, or

  2. Magical/alchemical explosives, which reliably go bang when desired.

“Chemistry” is the realistic skill, “alchemy” is the magic potion skill. At the moment, Hayu has both, but at minimal-competence level.

Have a scan through the skill list; anything you find that you think she shouldn’t have gives me points to apply elsewhere.

Hmmm… Like I said, she barely knows one end of a sword from another, so unless shortsword is a stand-in for something else, I can probably sacrifice that and one of the “acting” points.

And when I say “chemical weapons” I really am talking the “take the two things Hassan told me never to mix together and mix them together. And try not to breathe.” type, nothing fancy. Basic distillation knowledge (for a stronger acid, say), that sort of thing. Nothing complicated like timed explosives or healing potions. Molotovs are basic – she’d be buying lamp oil and rags are cheap. I guess less grenades and more breakables with damaging and/or flammable liquid inside.

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Acting is the skill you use to defeat someone else’s “Detect Lies” skill. Acting AKA “lying skill”.

Sure you want to reduce it? It seemed in character.


Okay, I will look again… It just happened to be one of the ones with more than one point.

It’s fine to shave it if you want to, I just wanted to be clear about why the skill was there. No theatrical background involved. :slight_smile:

So what’s the plan? Are we gonna try to get to the end of the Vault?

Or are we going to start fresh with Thwip and Ranar sitting in a pub going, “My what a shocking end to our adventure.” “Yes. If the day comes I shall write down what happened. But for now words escape me.”

A few options:

  1. Keep playing as before, but find some way for me to sneak the new players into the party as soon as possible.

  2. Have me quickly narrate it largely on GM autopilot up until the point at which the new players could be plausibly introduced (i.e. through the escape from the dungeon and encounter with the baddies on the surface).

  3. Restart.

Personally, I’d vote for (2).

Revised Hayu:

By shaving the points spent on Talents (advantages that boost a range of thematically-linked skills) I managed to raise her DX a point (which itself boosts all physical skills, and helps with avoiding getting hit). Dropped some of the less useful street skills (panhandling etc), gave her the ability to accurately throw anything (rather than just knives). Also added some poison-handling skill.

Smokebombs, lime powder and molotov cocktails are all now in the equipment list.

I really like this second iteration. I can live without the extra tough-guy advantages.

By lime powder, I’m assuming calcium hydroxide, versus calcium carbonate.

Sorry it took a bit to reply, but I wanted to look at it on the computer instead of the phone. 35 degree heat, small screens and migraines do not mix well.

Looking forward to playing. It’s been a while since I last played GURPS, but I have enjoyed it every time I did.


I’m happy with (2), or anything that gets it going again. :slight_smile:

While lime is nasty if you get it in someone’s eyes, it’s fairly difficult to do that in practice. Respiratory agent = make them breathe it, blood agent = get it in their eyes or mouth.

To really boost her combat effectiveness, you want some magical grenades.

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nods Quicklime is Calcium oxide, slaked is hydroxide and chalk is carbonate. I’ve done enough cement-mixing to know the first two are nasty, but carbonate is used as a vitamin. Just wanted to see if I had the “extreme pain in mucus membranes” version or the “cloud of dust but otherwise harmless” one. It makes a difference insofar as tactics, especially if there’s a breeze.

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So where did you want to set the ambush? At the top of the entrance stairs, or somewhere else? Who is where, is the spider involved, what are you doing for lighting, etc.

The opposition will likely notice as soon as the water is removed. The area between the stairways is flooded until then.

Thwip is going to try and pinpoint the locations of all of them. No point in running into an ambush over the next hill no matter what we decide to do.