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comment How can I avoid players spending too much time planning?
I'm with @Falco -- game time and real time are different because either the characters are doing something that physically takes longer (I send a week travelling to the other town), or it just wouldn't be fun playing downtime (we spend a week resting). This meets neither of those requirements. YMMV, but as a player, I'd call foul if a GM said that.
comment Is there a good way to distribute pregenerated characters?
For the secret sheet, I sometimes put a "I was going to leave this blank because your character is transparent, but I figured you should have something to read. Feel free to laugh a bit or say 'oh, that will be fun when I betray everyone'."
comment Vast and expanded realistic combat system
I was coming into this to add GURPS. The Martial Arts book adds more in terms of different types of weapon parries (parrying with two weapons, for example), different types of attacks (for example, telegraphing your attack to give you a plus to hit and a plus to the opponent's defense), and maneuvers. If you want to get crunchy, I would look at GURPS + Martial Arts.
comment How do I handle moving to someone's back and attacking in GURPS?
Good question. I don't know. It was originally a comment, but I thought the detail on the Retreat rules warranted its own answer.
comment Is the use of XP as a narrative currency for both GMs and players a novel idea?
The Cortex system did a similar shift between the first set of rules of Serenity (you spent Bennies for advancement) and the revised rules (Bennies were in a separate pool from advancement points). I imagine it was a similar rationale (to discourage hoarding them).
comment Dominate and interaction with environment
I chatted with the DM after the session was over, and he said that he made that choice mainly because it was too powerful/unbalancing to give me that power. After he showed me what it could do, I agreed with him. :-). As it was, it worked as an extended stun, so I couldn't complain too much.
comment Differing Starting Points Levels
Makes sense. I guess I'm just pointing out that in GURPS, points alone does not dictate power level. To use a D&D example, if everything is immune to normal weapons, the 3rd level fighter with the +1 sword is going to do a lot better than the 10th level fighter with no magic items, even though the 10th level is technically "more powerful", overall. And in GURPS, everything is based on where the points are spent.
comment Differing Starting Points Levels
I think saying "power levels should be close to equal" is trivializing how GURPS works in its point structure. Power levels in what? Granted, 75 to 250 points is a large point spread (more if disadvantages are taken into account), but I think I could create a 75 point character that can be competitive with a 150 point character in the right circumstances.
comment Game design differences between contested rolls and general attack rolls in combat
GURPS sounds similar, except that the defender always rolls something; you can choose to Dodge (which is unlikely) or you can Parry (which is more likely, but can only be done once a turn). M&M is nice in that it allows you to make tactical choices during your attack phase that affects your defense (e.g. all-out attack subtracts your defense), but it's only during your turn.
comment Looking for help on expanding my campaign concept while avoiding railroading
Didn't say it didn't work well :-).
comment At-Will power side effects outside of combat
Can you attack an ally? After all, the ally may be a meaningful threat, depending on how often you try this :-).
comment When does marking occur
Two things. First, PC figher attacks monster. Monster has an interrupt that attacks PC warlord. Does the monster have a -2 because it is marked? Second, there's a feat that does extra damage if a creature is marked. Does the act of attacking the monster mark the creature, and the damage is immediately applied?
comment +1 from Versatile Weapons
Added clarification -- Brutal increases effectiveness because the more dice you roll, the greater the chance that one of them is equal or under the Brutal score.
comment Cortex rules: formatting on action rolls
Makes sense. Context: I'm writing a program to handle combat in the Cortex game (keeping track of damage, actions, dodges, etc.), and part of that is including a way to display rolls.
comment Building Campaigns to Characters' Strengths and Weaknesses
Done -- thanks.
comment Cortex rules: how to handle complications
Interesting. I didn't think of that, but doesn't that ultimately resolve to option #2, just with adding to the other side instead of subtracting from your side? I'm trying to wrap my head around what the difference ultimately is between option #2 and the bonus die option. And, who rolls the penalty die?
comment Cortex rules: critical failures
Not surprising, per se, but it changes the flow of the game. It makes sense from a logical point of view (someone who is naturally athletic won't screw up as much), but from a storytelling perspective, the critical failures add to the story, and if you include all dice, it does decrease that chance.
comment Invoker's Hand of Fate ritual
@Erik -- fixed -- thanks
comment What is innovative about the Smallville RPG?
That's it -- thanks.