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Old 04-23-2016, 07:13 PM   #8
tshiggins's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Denver, Colorado
Default Re: How to demo GURPS?

Originally Posted by Ulairi View Post
Hi everybody,

This is my first post on the forum and I tried searching but I couldn't find a good topic related to my question on how I can run a good demo of GURPS?

Okay, you've got a group that has a common interest in a dimension-hopping game, but who have also enjoyed Munchkin. So, you have two obvious ways to get your foot in the door, but you need to not overwhelm them.

Your first choice, Infinite Worlds, has a lot to say for it -- but that might be a problem, if what you want is a demo. It's a kitchen-sink setting open to characters from all sorts of backgrounds, with all sorts of abilities. It can take a lot of work to come up with a cohesive group of characters for that, and you might want to consider tightening things down, a bit.

Alternatively, Dungeon Fantasy offers a lot of the standard AD&D dungeon-delving, murder-hobo tropes, but the characters start out with 200-250 points and a lot capabilities. Your group might be able to get a handle on that, and grasp the basics, because it's the genre Munchkin spoofs.

As for the adventure, itself, a demo game shouldn't take more than two or three sessions to complete -- aim for 10 or 12 hours, maximum. That means 200-point starting Dungeon Fantasy characters should probably be generated, ahead of time. One session would be rather short, in that the characters might not get a really good workout.

(That said, Gold & Appel, Inc., has hosted some great one-shots for the Denver GURPS Group, which we've managed to finish in an evening.)

The nice thing about a "Sliders-style" campaign is that the character concepts are so easy. Everybody's a modern-day person of some background or another, which makes character concepts easy to come up with.

Target about 125 points, or so, and describe the characters as people introduced in the pilot episode of an action-adventure TV show -- a bit more competent than most people, but not superhuman.

Then (and I can't stress this, enough) have the players come up with character concepts. Even a simple description of three or four sentences would be enough to get started.

Sit down with the players, and involve them in the character generation process. Explain the decisions made about character design, and tie choices about stats and skills directly to their descriptions. You'll do most of the number-crunching, but the players will have a better understanding of their characters' capabilities.

The adventure, itself, should work like a two-hour pilot. The group friends go out on a picnic (or head out for a weekend at the Cabin in the Woods owned by someone's relative). There, they find a lost conveyor in the basement, or stumble into a portal (the premise for my Facets campaign), or get caught in a banestorm, or something.

This pulls them through to a parallel world, and the group has to figure out how to survive, and how to get back home. Make the return home do-able after a modicum of effort and creativity, which will take the players several days to accomplish. Once they return home, the demo game is done.

Here are a few idea seeds you might be able to use. I think both of these were series pilots, and they're kinda cheesy, but cheesy movies can make the basis for good games.
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