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Old 04-15-2016, 07:50 PM   #1
Ulairi
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Default How to demo GURPS?

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?

Back in 6-8th grade my older brother and his friends played GURPS and when they spent the night at our house they'd let me play with them. In high school I played some GURPS and Rifts but I stopped really role-playing except for some D&D 3.5 in college. Anyway, in grad school my friends and I would play a lot of Munchkin (this is back around 2004-2006). I recently found my box of Munchkin and was playing some buddies at work and it got me thinking about how much fun I had playing GURPS back when I was a kid. Anyway, I found the "How to GM GURPS" eBook and picked up the basic set and I really want to get a group going. However! I have some friends that have played Munchkin but have never played a role-playing game before. What's the best way to create a demo?

I have never been a game master so it would be good for me as well. I loved character creation back in the day but it can take a lot of time. I'm not sure if I should just create some characters or talk to them about what sort of character they'd like to play and then use that information to create something for them.

Also: I was thinking about picking up Infinite Worlds because we all love sliders and I kind of used Sliders to pitch playing GURPS.

Any help would be really great. Thanks!

Also did the Discworld game ever get released? I cannot find it anywhere and my friend and I are really into it so that would be another option.

Last edited by Ulairi; 04-15-2016 at 07:51 PM. Reason: added something more
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Old 04-15-2016, 08:39 PM   #2
mook
 
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Default Re: How to demo GURPS?

Hiya Ulairi, welcome to the forums (and back to GURPS!)

If your group is kind of on the fence and not sure they actually want to play an ongoing GURPS campaign, I'd suggest starting with a very simple one-shot using pre-generated characters you make yourself, like it's a convention game.

"Caravan to Ein Arris" is a free GURPS 4th adventure, you'll just need to make some PCs. I have a couple of Quick-Play adventures for download as well -- they already have the characters but are a lot more free-form in terms of the actual adventure. Or, just go nuts and make your own adventure/PCs.

This has the benefit for the players that all they have to do is show up and give it a try. Once they have a great time and get hooked, then they can make their own characters for the "Sliders" campaign, or whatever you decide to play.

If the group is already on-board with joining a campaign (or is now on-board because they loved the one-shot), probably better (and more fun) for them to make their own characters. Depending on where they/you are in terms of the GURPS rules, this could be spending a few hours together making PCs from scratch with the Basic Set, whipping together some simple characters (using the "Pointless Slaying and Looting" article in Pyramid 3-72 for Dungeon Fantasy characters, or my generic Quick-Start rules... there are others), providing them with a variety of Templates to choose from ("GURPS Template Toolkit 1 - Characters" is super helpful for creating your own Templates), or using some kind of questionnaire to elicit responses from the players that you as GM can use to make characters for them.

Infinite Worlds games are super fun -- my favorite kind actually! -- and also play to GURPS' strengths, just be aware they can be a bit more work to GM simply because of the huge range of possibilities. You could probably get by with the IW chapter in the Basic Set, but the full book expands greatly on it and I really love it. :)

Regardless of what choices you make and what kind of game you play, I think you'll find these forums an invaluable resource. Everyone here loves to answer GURPS questions and help new GMs!

Good luck on the game... I bet you all have a blast.

P.S.

The Fourth Edition "Discworld" has been completed but hasn't yet been scheduled for release. When it is, it'll be announced here.
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Old 04-16-2016, 04:48 AM   #3
Blind Mapmaker
 
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Default Re: How to demo GURPS?

Demoing at cons I usually do a very mixed Infinite Worlds team thrust into some weird alternate parallel - pregenerated characters obviously.

Caravan to Ein Aris is nice (and free), but it doesn't really show off any of the things that make GURPS special. Of course that might not matter if this is the type of campaign your group wants to be playing. I ran it twice on cons and the first time, when I did it by the book without magic, it was a bit disappointing. Any larger injury will basically put a character out of commission for a considerable time. If you run it, I would at least expect some healing potions, better characters with access to magic.

Generally, I agree with the mook. Find out what your characters want to play first - both campaign and characters and go on from there. The forums are quite helpful in building campaigns and characters, just be aware that you'll get a thousand recommendations about what books to buy. Depending on how far you want to take your campaign you actually might want to consider buying some of the big ones, but you can have a lot of fun just with the Basic Set (Powers helps, but is not absolutely necessary for half the campaigns).

Once you found out what your players want, design their characters yourself (or ask for help on the forum) and then go over the sheet with them, making sure they understand everything that's there and revising as needed. Real character building by players won't happen until after you've had a couple of adventures under your belt. Even then a good GM never just expects their players to bring characters without looking them through beforehand.
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Old 04-16-2016, 06:40 AM   #4
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Default Re: How to demo GURPS?

My group is currently playing a campaign with a lot of new GURPS players (everybody except me, actually), some with experience playing other games and others with none. tshiggins is GMing, and he and I did a combo approach of both providing sample characters for those who wanted to see or claim them, and of working with players to develop their own concepts if they wanted to, and it's been going well. The players that we worked with to build their own idea tend to be grasping the rules more quickly, but your mileage may vary on whether it's worth it if you're planning a one-shot rather than an extended campaign.

I'm not going to recommend a thousand books here, but if you get players who are hungry for more, the first two generally-handy books that I'd suggest are Powers and Martial Arts, mostly in that order depending on the group's taste. Others will be along shortly to suggest Low Tech, Gun Fu, and Tactical Shooting, which are all the sort of thing that you'd like if you like that sort of thing. That said, you can do just about anything with Characters, Campaigns, and a little elbow grease.
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Old 04-17-2016, 01:35 PM   #5
Captain Joy
 
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Default Re: How to demo GURPS?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mook View Post
"Caravan to Ein Arris" is a free GURPS 4th adventure, you'll just need to make some PCs. I have a couple of Quick-Play adventures for download as well -- they already have the characters but are a lot more free-form in terms of the actual adventure. Or, just go nuts and make your own adventure/PCs.
Here's a modern-day Steven-King-esque Horror one-shot I've run a few times. Even if you don't run the adventure, youmight find my 50 character point "normal" pre-gen characters useful.

Last edited by Captain Joy; 04-17-2016 at 01:45 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 04-19-2016, 09:53 AM   #6
Nymdok
 
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Default Re: How to demo GURPS?

Play the game.

Its easy to get wrapped up in and intimidated by pre packed adventures, and the tomes of rules, and all theworld builidng that is wonderfully fun, but at the end of the day, PLAY THE GAME.

Pick a 'simple' game.

Simple in this case means accessible and intuitive. I generally recommend modern day Zombies for this because the genre is familiar and the modern day has accesible maps (via google) and common cultural understanding.

ALSO GURPS zombie support is GREAT. Zombies, Zombies Day One are affordable, accessible, easy reads that will get you started quickly!

Then pick a simple plot

Survive till extraction.
Clear the area.
Overthrow the LMO/dictator etc.

Pick any of those, watch an episode of walking dead get inspiration :)

Help your guys build simple cahrachters. In this case simple means 'fairly low points (100-150)' with basic archetypes (Ex-Millitary, High School Teacher etc) and clear motivations.

Then PLAY THE GAME.

None of the prep work matters if you dont get the game played. You cant really demo GURPS by world building alone.

Show them how SIMPLE GURPS is. 3 Dice. 4 Mechanics. Roll Low. Boom.


You're gonna have a great time!

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Old 04-21-2016, 09:31 AM   #7
arconom
 
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Default Re: How to demo GURPS?

I run GURPS Zombies at DragonCon. I think it generally works well because zombies are perfect fodder. I am trying to put together a group for that game on roll20. If you want in, you should send me a message.
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Old 04-23-2016, 06:13 PM   #8
tshiggins
 
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Default Re: How to demo GURPS?

Quote:
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?

(SNIP)
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.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uyknfocH8t4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tXhH-o418ZI
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Old 04-24-2016, 04:25 AM   #9
Gold & Appel Inc
 
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Default Re: How to demo GURPS?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tshiggins View Post
(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.)
Thanks! I should add the caveat that my one-shots are almost always just one or two fight scenes with minimal RP (I like violence, what can I say?) and that I always plan them with optional scenes so I can speed them up or pad them out as necessary if I intend to finish in a single session. That said, I've had a few planned one-shots become two-fers if we ran over time and the group seemed to be having fun, and I had one explode into probably my best campaign ever once.
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Old 04-24-2016, 08:50 AM   #10
acrosome
 
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Default Re: How to demo GURPS?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blind Mapmaker View Post
Caravan to Ein Aris ... Any larger injury will basically put a character out of commission for a considerable time. If you run it, I would at least expect some healing potions, better characters with access to magic.
Adding basic Alchemy fixes this without overwhelming the setting. Who is going to have a all-powerful alchemist as a character concept? It takes to damned long to make a potion! So, no one is throwing fireballs yet you can still have a touch of "magic" including healing potions, zombies, a lich lord, etc.
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