Tuesday, May 31, 2016

My notes in using Zones

Zones (in Fate SRD) is a method of handling the location of a scenario or scene. Instead of working with precise details instead we work with abstract details and we try to maintain internal consistency when we declare the features of the location.

Instead of working out details like:

  • various measurements
  • relative locations of NPCs 
  • special effects of various features
  • Tracking all these elements
Zones works on the principle of simplifying this with a "Yes&" approach found in many more narrative systems. It lets the players make up the other details instead of asking permission from the gm ever time to speed up play and relies on a higher skill level of improvisation and problem making ability of the GM. 

Zones simplifies things to:
  • Scale
  • Abstract Features
Drawbacks to Zones
  • Higher Improv Skill requirement. The GM can be more likely stumped by a player when he does something clever. The GM may not be able to manage the challenge to match the expectations as easily with less control and more unpredictabillity. 
    • Improv Skill can be practised, trained and tools prepared. 
  • Not as Tangibly and Visually Satisfying. It takes more imagination effort to do this and it kinda throws away the hours and dollars spent on minis. Its easier if one has not "sunk cost" in the props. 
Strengths of Zones
  • Portable. It doesn't take a lot of minis or maps to pull it off. 
  • Less to preparation. instead  of having a lot of details to communicate


Scale is describing spaces in small, medium and large. Saying it can fit a team, squad, a platoon... army, field armies, etc... Being familiar or proficient in the scales a location can take would be useful.
Typically I use the organizational scale of Armies and use the nomenclature to describe how much people can fit in a given space, how much time it takes to move, and to organize and recon surrounding spaces. Typically most game systems are in the Team scale of describing spaces and only uses the larger scales in narrative.


There are many ways to go about features but I've settled with the Art of War's most used terrain feature terms. Six terrains and Nine Conditions (also known as Nine Grounds).
Features follow the Action, Evasion, and Position principle in more Narratively part 2.


  • If a Side has up to 50% superiority in an ability as compared to another side they gain an advantage in the form a favourable modification to their TDM of 2 or a penalty to the other side's TDM of 2. 
  • More that 100% better than the TDM is modified by 5.
  • Kinds of Superiority
    • Numbers
    • Movement
    • Position
    • Certain Actions 
  • Some Superiorities Stack.

Various Terrain Features

These various terrains are the most often used. There are more but they have just minor nuances as compared to these basic features described. This should help make the use of zones easier. This has been factored using GURPS. 

  • Open
    • Open terrain is a level and accessible ground. 
    • Movement Superiorities
    • Numbers Superiorities 
  • Broken
    • Broken terrain is have small obstacles that provide cover, and sometimes concealment
    • Movement Superiorities. Half the bonus (round down) what can be gained in superiority.
    • Number Superiorities. Half the bonus (round down) what can be gained in superiority.
    • Other Kinds of Broken Features. 
      • Entangling. Marshland or Bogs or ground that gives bad or worse footing. 
        • Movement Superiority. None. movement is half or quartered. 
        • Numbers Superiority. Half. 
        • Bad footing penalty of  -2 to -4 TDM fighting in this terrain. 
        • Fortifying a Position negates the penalty fighting in the bad footing.
        • Advantage is when one is staying put to fight in entangling ground and the other party has to Move and Attack (action and position).  
      • Concealing. This can be a temporary feature because of weather or a natural feature from the plants and the terrain itself. 
        • -2 or -4 TDM in fighting in this terrain because of poor visibility.  
        • Recon or Coordination action are important to use this ground. Having mastered the concealing terrain allows one to negate the penalty fighting in this ground.   
  • Strategic Features
    • Scale. Determine the size of the force that can hold the strategic ground. 
    • Numbers Superiority. only if the forces are below the scale of the strategic ground. Otherwise in large groups there is no advantage in superior numbers in strategic ground. 
    • Movement Superiority. Movement superiority only matters in taking strategic ground first. In a contest to seize it the movement superior force has an advantage. 
    • Position Superiority. the GM determines how much advantage does holding the superior position in the strategic ground grants.  
    • Narrow.
      • Scale. Determine the size of the force that can hold the Narrow ground. 
      • Numbers Superiority. as strategic ground.
      • Movement Superiority. as strategic ground. 
      • Position Superiority.  typically from 1-2 favorable advantage to TDM. 
    • Fortified
      • Scale. Determine the size of the force that can hold the Narrow ground. 
      • Numbers Superiority. as strategic ground.
      • Movement Superiority. as strategic ground. 
      • Position Superiority.  typically from 3 to 10 favourable advantage to TDM. 
      • Other Superiority. depending on the other features Fortified ground can have more advantages. 
    • High 
      • Scale. Determine the size of the force that can hold the Narrow ground. 
      • Numbers Superiority. as strategic ground.
      • Movement Superiority. as strategic ground. 
      • Position Superiority.  typically from 1-2 favourable advantage to TDM. 
      • Ranged Superiority. higher ground grants a ranged superiority.

Other Terrains not Covered

  • Stand Off Terrain
  • Remote Terrain

Other References

Land Forms

I stumbled on Land forms from my research on zones. I was trying to examine terrains and discovered a lot of them. Here is a list of a lot of Landforms that may be useful to expand and enrich your imagination.

List of Landforms in Wikipedia

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Leadership and Teamwork in TRPGs

The thesis of this post is that Leadership is made up of a combination of Roles that fall under what is conventionally conceived as "leadership". A person can perform all, most, some, and none of these roles. That to have them all in one person is what is commonly thought about as "leadership" but in most cases this "Ideal" (that all the traits are in one person) is not needed. What is needed is that the group or team has all of these traits to operate well.

Now that I've decoupled leadership into these traits: we now have Teamwork!

edit: +Nick de Vera  this is post can be taken as either Teamwork or Leadership. If most or all the roles are given to one person then its about a leader, if its been diffused to a group then its about teamwork.

In your game if your expectations match the thesis of this post then you can help players find their niche in the Team or have someone take most of the roles that make up leadership. In either case it should help your players enjoy the game more and have a better understanding of Teamwork or Leadership that can be carried into real life.

This thesis removes Leadership Skill, and replaces them with the 5 roles you have below. Instead of rolling leadership you check it the situation can be broken down into these roles.

Taking a gurps example:

  • Rolling leadership for a group to march faster is not a leadership roll so much as a Hiking roll where the best hiking or navigating person sets the best most sustainable pace for the group as well as knowing how to make up for the weaknesses of some in the group. 
  • Rolling leadership to get people in the right mindspace when there is fear and frustration is a Public Speaking roll, or a Professional roll (sorting their distractions from their priorities), 
  • Rolling leadership when there is an internal problem with the team is the leader's consensus and relationship building skills. 

Leadership as various Roles

To fix this problem I've come to look at leadership as a variety of roles. That for a team or group to operate well many of these roles need to be present. These are flexible "traits" that appear in the mix in a group. Typically the "leader" tends to have the most of these traits.

This should appeal to Gamers who want Niche protection or know their role in the decision making of the team.

  1. Responsibility / Burden of authority / Credibility. Someone who can make the call and accept the consequences and credit. This is the person who has the credibility in the group. He may have Decisiveness and or Technical Expertise/knowledge.
  2. Decisiveness. The difference with Responsibility is that this is the ability to make the call when the call is needed. Its an issue of timing and making the call. Typically this has aspects of Responsibility or Technical Knowledge. 
  3. Coordinator. Coordinator is soemtimes the consensus builder or chief communicator of the group. He sometimes provides the Inpiration or Motivation, Technical Expertise, and sometimes has also the Decisiveness to allocate resouces and information to make a call. 
  4. Inspiration or Motivator. This could be the chief communicator and influencer in the group. he gives everyone the motive or reason to act as a group. Influence and aligning personnel in a group is a lot of work. Even if everyone is aligned with motives that mesh there are the other roles needed for the group to reach any action stage. Typically acts as coordinator, responsibility, or technical expert.
    The motivator gets the team in the right mindspace. 
  5. Technical Expertise or knowledge. Simply possessing the knowledge, perception, awareness or expertise to know what is the right decision OR know how to find the information to make the right decision. Sometimes this role coordinates, often makes the calls, and sometimes has the responsibility through his awareness of the matter. 

Leadership through Flaws

these traits tend to be visible through the flaws of the organization. We can always assess our own organizations and others by how their failure manifest. 

Analysis Paralysis. Like in many organizations which suffer from Analysis Paralysis there is no Decisive role who can make the call and Implement even if they know what to do, the risks, consequences, and reality surrounding the circumstance. Sometimes its the absence of Motivator to make a timely call or to frame risk and reward. There is also a tendency to lack someone with clear stakes and credibility to follow through. 

Bumbling organizations lack Expertise and Credibility. They do a lot of things but they fail practically all the time. Since there are no serious costs to them they still exist and they have no one to take serious responsibility for their actions. Unlike Analysis Paralysis, they don't know what to do. 

Apathetic organizations. Clearly lack motivations and key authority with responsibility and tend to also lack everything else. They may still be around as a dinosaur and may have some or most of the traits but has lost any motivation to follow through.  

Lame Duck organizations. These organizations that are powerless and are mostly appearance and little substance. They may lack credibility (responsibility) and decisiveness,  and may possess the other traits. 

Leaderless Team

In a TRPG its possible to have the traits so diffuse and ambiguously set up in a group that there is no clear leader. That's not a bad thing: in fact it may be an awesome trait or potential nightmare (see diffusal of responsibility).

Diffuseness of responsibility will only happen if the roles are not clear and clean, as well as a poor in personal initiative. Drama (good role playing in my opinion) ensues as there is overlap and individuals come into conflict and they realize this is a complicated problem after all.

A Mesh System is actually pretty awesome but requires everyone to be on top of their game. The ability to adapt or adjust their roles when plans make first contact requires a lot of skilled and well developed individuals. There are serious recruitment problems when one has  societies which have gross inequality (in education, capabilities, and wealth). There is a altruism to make a team so well oiled that one's absence is not a great hindrance. The mind touch a well trained team has makes it adaptable in adversity but doesn't mean it wont miss the members that are gone.

Leaderships Traits in GURPS

  • Responsibility. Rank, Reputation, or Status. 
  • Decisiveness. Perception or the person with the best skill appropriate to the situation. 
    • Callousness to ignore emotional distractions (or human costs)
    • Behavior Codes (like Code of Honor, Discipline of Faith, Fanaticism, etc...) that makes for the most objective (or the most stake holding) call. 
  • Coordinator. 
    • Communications. language, writing, sign language or gestures, or the professional skill (like jargon or comm protocols). 
    • Organization. Administration (in a bureaucracy)
    • Consensus building. Politics or Diplomacy. Possibly propaganda.
  • Motivator. Influence Skills
    • If consensus building. Politics or Diplomacy. Possibly propaganda
    • Inspiration. Reputation, Charisma, Public Speaking, Performance, etc... (Emotional Influencing skills or Traits). 
  • Technical Expertise. The appropriate Professional Skill or the key  Knowledge or Technical skill.  
    • Support skills. Such as Administration, Research, Information Analysis, and all the information gathering, filtering, and sorting/selecting skills. 

Parting notes on Leadership

Like Rationality Leadership has Instrumental and Epistemic traits.
The Instrumental concerns with goals and achieving these goals as being a good leader or possessing the leadership virtue which is problematic because it can be substituted with another virtue.

Then there is the Epistemic leadership which there "word porn" of traits and so many books and authors have attempted to describe and break down.

You can imagine as I run my fire team in airsoft, follow my squad leader, work in a battalion sized company with several projects under my domain how often the thought of "Roll Leadership" happens when problem arises or challenges have to be met.

In my experience its not workable to look for the "Ideal" of leadership that one person has all these traits. Its unrealistic to expect in an organization and with your friends, team, and fellow players or workers. Its better to think in roles and try to fill these roles as best we can

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Crosspost: GURPS Day Impact on Game in the Brain

Cross Post about the GURPS Day brought to us by +Douglas Cole

Gaming Ballistics of GURPS day have had a very good impact on my blog. Its impact to traffic is not as significant as its impact on my writing and ideas.

On my Traffic.
My normal traffic is about from 0.1 hits per day on its down season to 1-2 hits per day when I was writing more often was more active. The only time I hit 5 per day was when I was running games and making material to 2013. I hit that number again recently and I did it with all this work I'm juggling.
*note on traffic: because of spam crawlers my traffic count in only half or 1/3.

Now that I checked the Blogger statistics I have to thank the blogs:
BAT IN THE ATTIC that has been with game in the brain the longest.
Dungeon Fantastic another great source
and finally Gaming Ballistic's GURPS day!

On my Writing
The GURPS day blogs has had a great impact on my writing. I'm most inspired when they talk about mechanics and workflow:

There are some new blogs I've just added  to my feedly and I'm going to have to wait till I see more of their ideas in my works. Still this is the font from which I draw inspiration. There is actually so much to write about the thing is these days I struggle to get the 4-6 hours to write the 1-2 posts a week. 

What I look for in GURPS Day.
Post I can add to my GMing List*. If you have a good idea I test it if its applicable with Any Game System or if it can be Overlayed in other game systems. Then I test if it would be good for a Newbie GM or where would it be in his path to being a good GM (later or early). If its a great idea I put it in a list and if its clearly from the blog I link to it. If it gives me an idea after some transformation I still reference it but take less effort doing so.

Drawing inspiration from the GENERIC UNIVERSAL role playing system for Any Game System should be no surprise. GURPS horror, mysteries, and splat books are great for any game system. While Game in the Brain is GURPS in mental hard-wiring it seeks system agnosticism by making concepts more modular and translatable (see the running GURPS More Narratively Series.)

Parting Thoughts
I decided at around 2008 to stop participating in the GURPS Forums and instead write my ideas in a blog. the discussions there can get very long and there was a lot of great ideas - but only a limited audience. I wanted to meet other gurps gamers in the "wilds" of the internet, so i decided to just blog what would have been LONG posts and hoped someone also was into gurps. 

Another push was from RPG bloggers (my highest source of traffic) which meant that I had to create a GAMING blog separate from my private and personal blog. I was blogging about gurps since 2003 in my private blog but only in 2008 starting Game in the Brain. How I love how this describes me and the writing. 

Anyway I hope you get ideas from the GURPS day blogs and join the it if you can. I'm always updating my feedly when there is a new blog in the GURPS day and I want want to read (i actually listen to them through an app) what you want to say.

*this list is a idea dump bucket. will organize it when i have free time but use it mainly to keep ideas from repeating or at least if it repeated in a new perspective and version tracked. 

Thursday, May 12, 2016

GURPS day cross post - Appreciating the Work

when my gurps basic set fell apart with the bad binding problem of 2004 first edition copies I had these made. They were for the protection of my originals which SJgames replaced. Since 2004 I lost two of these to players  who borrowed and forgot to return it and this has been what I used where ever I went so my main books were never touched. 
"This is not it even its final form" my main GURPS day cross post is next week.

On of my take away from the GURPS day posts  is the appreciation in the amount of work many of the posts need since its on the data heavy side. For every bit of information on the post there is considerable increase in complexity and the lengthier evaluation in how that bit is placed and validity.

A 400 word post may take about 1 hour to research, compose and edit  (call center metrics of such work) . Doubling that to 1000 words doesnt double the time to compose and edit but it exponentially increases. it may take 3-4 hours. While scaling down may be so exponential oversimplified as to be ignored. See Erooms law and Man month fallacy as an example of complexity exponentially increasing the work.

Then there is the symbolic data bits - data that is representative of more data (like character stats and game mechanics) that is handled more difficulty. these posts take a lot of research and that is a challenge and an example of ideation with limitations.

Sometimes I count the ideas that needs editing and revising based on my poor revision needs and marvel at how they can turn out their posts. Slowly I'm working my own mechanics in predicting or estimating work for the blog and the work others make. Everyone in the gurps day have a day job, even the writers since they dont make money from such posts (but it may help with their readership). One definite pattern is that: these guys are like me, our methods and hard-wiring has given us a working memory able to work with these very dense data elements relating to Games and Real World or Other Mediums as it applies in a more accessible general medium.


  • Metrics of Composition (research, composition, and editing)
  • Complexity is exponential relative to elements (erooms law and man month myth)
    • add symbolic data: highly dense data bits. 
  • Writing, Researching, and Composition as a GURPS gamer are different from other game systems. 
    • that GURPS has trained observation of genres or real world material and apply it to a more accessible and general medium. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Running GURPS more narratively Part 3: implications

Continued from Running GURPS more narratively Part 2

A more elegant approach to complexity 

This makes it more elegant to me: the GM and players ideate, negotiate, narrate and roleplay their 2-5 minute interactions then there is a roll as compared to a process that has many rolls between certain decisions. Mastery is easier when the stages move more seamlessly into the next instead of punctuated by uncertainty and dice.

Instead of this flow chart. Which is basically:

18 Maneuvers > if attack 12 Attack Options (up to 28 actually and more per book) > modified by 14 factors > action/attack roll > 7 defense options > defense roll > damage roll > condition rolls* 


Course of Action (3 fields of attention, but 6 combinations) > Specificity (2 levels, up to 12-18 combinations) > Conditions/Modifiers (3 conditions) > Roll > Succeed at a Cost > conditions (may or may not roll).  

*of the top of my head: shock, major wound, bleeding, stunning, wound condition, and penalties. I agree with Colin.

Objective of Hacking the GURPS  to be more elegant and working with:

  • less prep (all of them reusable and modular to be rearranged for a new adventure), 
  • less space (cafes), 
  • less materials (less books to bring and papers), 
  • less working memory (see parting reflection below)

Elegance vs Simplicity. For this series I'm using elegant as a way to describe an approach that can scale well when it gets more complex and people want to use more details as their working memory gets better in handling the system. Simple is a stage, it gets more complex and rewarding and we want that escalation to be elegant.

It will be obvious why I use the GTD philosophy and Super Memo's Knowledge Formulation guideliness in crafting these rules. Bundling ideas for better mnemonic carrying capacity and leaner working memory is what I hope to achieve with this set up.


  1. Higher Tension. The NPC threats are more certain. 
    1. With no roll the GM just counts the number of actions and maneuvers it takes to line up the NPCs to take down the PCs. How many he needs to surround them, the circumstance, and how much firepower. 
    2. The GM thinks in these action steps instead of basing his plan on the uncertainty of every step hanging on a die roll. These guys will kill the PCs if they don't make a significant action in every opportunity.  
    3. Even the Players know their Risks. At an assumed Roll of 10 the Players know what will kill them and will maneuver accordingly. 
  2. Significance. Clearer Objectives and Action for Players. 
    1. Position and Opportunity vs Options and Attempts. This makes it easier to get to the key objectives. No more stages divided by a bunch of rolls, every option has cascades elegantly into various trade-offs. the players can make the calculations in their head without stopping for dice. So from Situation to the Action needed - the PCs have one die roll between them and their next action. 
    2. Options and Attempts were pretty much "Kill the leader" and everyone has a high pay-off but low chance to kill the boss. Now you can't just simply gamble like that: the options to position and maneuver for an advantage have no rolls - the rolls are mostly to inform what Costs the PCs are willing to take for that advantage. 
  3. Threat Measure. Lethality is easier to Measure by Getting the TDM and Turn Count. 
    1. The working statistics for the Finally Odds for the PC would be typically be:
      1. 6-7 in high pressure high attrition adventures. 
      2. 8-9 to bloody and costly battles, and 
      3. 10-12 for some nail biting but the PCs escape mostly intact.
      4. 13+ for most of the easy combat. 50:50 unscratched. 
    2. The number of rounds the PCs have to manuever before one to half of them can be killed can be counted easily. X/Y where X is the number of rounds it takes to be in a position to automatically deal meaningful harm to a PC. Y is the number of rounds/turns it takes for half the PCs take meaninful harm. 
      1. 1/3 is hard. 
      2. 2-3/6 is moderate.
      3. 4/8 is easy.

Coordination Actions

Coordinating Actions are the following:

  • Comm-Coor. Giving coordinating information to allies who are not in line of sight of each other but can hear the coordinator. 
    • potential to grant a +1 to all allies when they attempt to team work an action. Typically limited to a zone. 
    • can grant  +2 to two allies coordinating (this typically offsets coordination penalties). up to one zone away. 
  • Overwatch (rear-guarding). on a successful roll can be attacking a flanker or giving the ally the opportunity to defend. 
  • Gain Ground. Shifting the positional condition of all allies in the same zone. This can be from disadvantageous ground to neutral, or from neutral to advantageous. 

Concepts so far:
  • One Roll per Player Scene
    • Non-Binary Consequences (NBC)
    • Success at a Cost
  • Task Difficulty Modifier (TDM)
    • Agent
    • Basic Abstract Difficulty (BAD)
    • vs Agent
    • vs Situation
  • Superiority 
  • Specificity
  • Zones
  • Aspects
  • Initiative
    • First Move or Last Word
  • Significant Actions
    • Scale by the Least.
    • Flexible Time Scale
    • Lead by the Least
  • Prepare Options
  • Inquire and Ideate
  • Support Tactics 
  • Flow of Narrative Combat Overview. 
  • Limited Modifiers
    • Target Number
    • TDM
    • Defense 
  • Action, Evasion, Position
  • NPC Actions
    • NPC's go-to strategies if they can't hit the PCs. 
    • No Extra Rolls
      • Except Damage to the PCs
      • No Fast Draw, Zen Archery, Acrobatics, etc...
      • Damage is MoS
      • No Defense Roll
      • No Deceptive Attacks, Conditional Telegraphic
      • Retreat and Drop
  • Support Tactics
  • Implications of the less rolls
    • Higher Tension.
    • Significance.
    • Threat Measure.
  • Coordination Options. 
    • Comm-Coor
    • Overwatch
    • Gain Ground

This is a work in progress, and I'm tearing down old practices, habits and skills and overlaying my GTD learnings as scaffolding in how I approach the game. The procedure approach is to work with less working memory and free up my mind to fully engage in the fun of the game instead of the rules. This is pretty much what GTD does to any task - be it work or chores or games - freeing up working memory to the point that possibilities arise and perspective changes. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Profession Skill Scope

As work also inspires my gaming, I've come to see Profession more differently.

Market Knowledge

  • Market Cycles. the seasons of the business, when most of its earnings happen and the timing of each aspect that has time sensitivity. 
  • Network 
    • Profile of Clients and Customers. 
    • Suppliers and Sources. Those up the supply chain feeding rawer materials into this business. 
    • Who's who in the industry. 
  • Protocol and Etiquette. 

Working Knowledge

  • Operations
    • Roles and Responsibilities in Operation.
      • Scope of work of each role plus the number ratio needed for each role. 
      • Sub specializations within a line of business.
      • Includes sub-tasks that are modular which can be outsourced or in-sourced.  
    • Work streams or Work groups and their steams of output
    • Costs of materials, consumables, services, and other expenses related to running or operating. 
    • Tools, Equipment, and Capital related to the business. This may include infrastructure if the business has frequent infrastructure related tasks. 
    • Awareness of the risks, possibilities, and consequences. Knowledge of various scenarios these business may have. 
  • Technical Skills. some professions is mostly made up of a core skill while others have a collection of skills that make up most of the work. 
    • Heuristics related to the work. 
    • technical skills 
      • Processes or sequence of activities that are practice often. 
      • These can be very complicated calculations and coding like Coding in modern and sci-fi settings, or Math or Rituals in earlier times.  
    • Time and Motion or the Metrics regarding the core technical aspects of the profession. 
  • The ability to work back this key concepts and heuristics to measure others. 

Imperfect Knowledge
This means that of all the scope mentioned no one knows everything in their profession. Normally people rely on others, reference materials, and best practices to remember these little details. People more readily remember something that they perform regularly and have a vague understanding of others outside their team or sphere.

The Role in a particular Trade
Its important that the character's other skills reflect the role he performs in his Profession. If there is informing details in the game system or setting material about the role more specificity gives a clearer picture of what the character can do.

Ask what does this character do most often, and what is his value in his work and field. If he's a grunt or peon, describe and elaborate the kind of engine and machine he's part off. If he is a special cog or gear get to describing more about it.

Adaptive Problem-solving 
Professional "skills" (as skill from RPG design patterns p.66) can be approached as having a near equal to equal "guage" as the Professional Skill (specify profession) and diminishing guage for taks moving away from the core Task ability.

One can be flexible as to let the Core skill have other applications (those enumerated above) related to the profession or scope of experience the Character has. So an Artist may possibly have some familiarity based on his core Artistic skill relating to the scope above.

DnD 3.5 had profession and craft as a skill as craft, if working or industry knowledge is called for the character can attempt to work a solution at a minor penalty or handicap it is a reworking of the Scope of Work the character is familiar with.

Defaulting in GURPS would be adaptive reasoning, instructional scaffolding, and conceptual framework in real world terms (lolz).

Having a lot of Professions.
As the "Lifetime" professions (20+ years in a single profession) are more quickly disappearing in light of automation this idea of professions needs to be able to scale with the relatively more frequent change of jobs and roles. A character would have a couple of professions or they have trained for a particular profession only to go to another one. These days its quite normal to have 2-3 professions in one's background and adaptively using a similar conceptual framework to marry these different worlds. Those with more than 2 having an interesting story of how they got where they are.

Looking back and we have more generalist and self sufficient professions. When carrying capacity improved because of technology we had greater and greater levels of specialization. When automation improved we have diminishing roles, unusual specializations, and more adaptive job roles (see Knowledge Work)

Application in GURPS. 
The Profession Skill (B215) can make the Job of the GM much easier if this approach is adopted. A Professional: Monger, Merchant, Inkeeper, Urban Prefect, Quaestor, Soldier: Optio, Soldier-Infantry, Homesteader, Tenant Farmer, etc.... can be made soo much simpler.

We can use the Profession as the defaulting attribute relating all the related spheres in the profession. If there is already a skill that deals with the Core role of the profession (like Negotiating, which is diplomacy, for Merchant) grant some flexibility A Roman legionnaire would have Profession (Soldier, Infantryman) and would have a lot of skills relating to his role - if he was a Tetrark or Dekark he may have some leadership, if he's senior enough to specialize maybe he would have some masonry, carpentry, or familiarity with the many specializations of an Infantryman.

Summary and Conclusion.
If your taking anything away it would probably be that you will narrow down the role of the Character in his profession. The GM and Player will work with the oversimplification of what he does and its relation to the narrative.
if you're a GM it may relieve you of some burden if you had these scope to reference when looking at a character Profession or a Profession in your setting you need to clarify.
If you're a player you would probably want to ask your GM these questions to narrow down the role of the character.