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Old 07-25-2017, 12:16 PM   #31
whswhs
 
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Default Re: my new campaign ideas

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Originally Posted by Irish Wolf View Post
In Waldo and its followup, Magic Inc, the introduction of magic didn't eliminate technology, or cause civilization to crumble - it supplemented technology, enabling devices to do things they couldn't do before (like the flying cars, using an antigravity spell). And honestly, I think I'd rather play in a campaign where magic is supplementing and replacing tech, not causing it to fail - there are still going to be those opposing the process, those seeking to accelerate it, and those who just haven't adapted yet to, say, spies who use crystal balls and have to be stopped by antimagic spells. (Just avoid the high levels of pessimism that permeated Shadowrun... :) ) Oh, and occasional surprises as someone combines things that haven't been combined before, like say a Fireball spell imbued in a BB to give you the world's smallest grenade launcher.
I don't see Magic Inc. as a followup to Waldo. They were published in the same book, and both had themes relating to magic, but Waldo showed magic being discovered in a world of advanced technology, one where Tesla's ideas about beamed or broadcast power had been realized and space travel was possible. Magic Inc. had no such advanced technology and was basically the United States of the 1930s, but magic seemingly had long been around and was well integrated into technology; in fact I believe this was the first work in the genre that also included Anderson's Operation Chaos and Turtledove's The Case of the Toxic Spell Dump.

In any case, optimism is fine if that's the theme you want to explore. In this particular case, it isn't.

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Which also reminds me, that was my only issue with oWoD - it was so very pessimistic. Every metastory in the entire line seemed to be bending toward the End Of the World - which was coming Very Soon. I far prefer nWoD's meta, where there's hope for the future even if you're undead - sure, as a Kindred you're living a life of despair preying upon your former loved ones and only ever able to experience shadows of the emotions you once felt, but there might be a possible way out, and if you want to pursue it you've got centuries to work with (as long as you can avoid Final Death).
On one hand, I did my best to ignore the metaplot stuff. I was playing MtA for the sense of wide open possibilities; in fact, I bought 2/e revised, saw the narrowing of possibilities and the closing off of the Umbra, and when I was ready to thin my gaming shelves, it was the revised version that I let go and the unrevised one that I kept. I didn't even try to follow the final stage material.

On the other hand, I bought two nWoD books, Mage and Promethean, and detested both of them. Mage: The Awakening in particular left me with a bad taste, because it basically said that the Western occultist tradition was right about everything and that no other culture had any magic worth mentioning. And over and above that, it had a really strong formalist aesthetic, in contrast to the romanticism of Mage: The Ascension—I suppose that fits with the Western occultist stuff, but it wasn't to my taste. And I didn't like the way everything had to fit into fivefold patterns; it felt artificial.
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Old 07-27-2017, 10:05 PM   #32
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Default Re: my new campaign ideas

I find some of these quite interesting. Others, not so much.

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(SNIP)

_1__ GURPS Mars [4th edition GURPS]: Carry on with the current campaign.
This would be the most fun, for me. Victorian adventure on an inhabitable Mars takes me right back to my childhood as a fan of Edgar Rice Burroughs, and GURPS does this sort of thing better than any other system.

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_2__ GURPS Space [4th edition GURPS]: A campaign about frontier life.
This could be a lot of fun, also, assuming everybody in the group understands that the whole point of this campaign is to develop a viable colony, and not go traipsing off into the High Lonesome all by themselves.

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_x__ GURPS Supers [4th edition GURPS]: A campaign about people with superhuman abilities.
If anybody could make a supers game that I might actually enjoy, it would be Bill. That said, I've never enjoyed any supers game I've ever tried, and that's largely because I dislike the genre, rather intensely, as an RPG game. Best to just take a bye, on this one.

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_4__ Mage: The Ascension [2nd edition]: A campaign about secret magic in the modern world.
I'm already running a campaign with this as a central theme, so I'd really prefer to do something different. I'm also pretty hesitant about WoD's system. It just seems too clunky. I've never really cared for it.

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_3__ Sorcerer (part of the World of Darkness): A campaign about the slow failure of civilization.

(SNIP)
I've tried to run a couple of campaigns with this as the premise, because it always seemed pretty cool, to me. I like the Emberverse books, quite a bit, as well as Ariel, by Steven R. Boyett.

That said, this would probably move up to slot 2, if it used GURPS.
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Old 07-27-2017, 10:51 PM   #33
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Default Re: my new campaign ideas

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I've tried to run a couple of campaigns with this as the premise, because it always seemed pretty cool, to me. I like the Emberverse books, quite a bit, as well as Ariel, by Steven R. Boyett.

That said, this would probably move up to slot 2, if it used GURPS.
I understand that a lot of people are averse to the OWoD system. Aside from my not sharing that aversion, it seems to me that GURPS doesn't really have a ready-made magic system that quite suits the feel I was looking for, whereas the "static magic" paths in Sorcerer just felt right to me as a way to suggest "the return of folk beliefs and folk superstitions."

In a way this is akin to Stross's Laundry novels, but this isn't Case Nightmare Green or Red or anything like that; magic is not coming back as daikaiju or Elder Gods or invading elven armies or anything splashy, but as glimpses out of the corners of people's eyes as twilight descends. With maybe a hint of

The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle
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Old 07-28-2017, 12:41 AM   #34
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Default Re: my new campaign ideas

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Victorian adventure on an inhabitable Mars takes me right back to my childhood as a fan of Edgar Rice Burroughs, and GURPS does this sort of thing better than any other system.
I recently contemplated a John Carter-inspired campaign, and I feared that GURPS' mechanisticism and level of detail and realism would be actively detrimental to such a style. It's interesting that your opinion seems opposite. Could you elaborate why you think GURPS would do the job well?

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That said, I've never enjoyed any supers game I've ever tried, and that's largely because I dislike the genre, rather intensely, as an RPG game.
But . . . your avatar?! What flips your opinion when applied to RPGs?
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Old 07-29-2017, 08:26 PM   #35
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Default Re: my new campaign ideas

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3. GURPS Mars [4th edition GURPS]: Carry on with the current campaign. Setting: An inhabited Mars in the nineteenth century, which people from Earth have begun to visit. Theme: Exploration and discovery. Characters: Ordinary human beings who have travelled to Mars in search of knowledge, wealth, or strange experiences.
I feel like you can't go wrong with the Livable Fanstasy Mars style. Only hit 3rd preference due to a couple of others standing out more.

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5. GURPS Space [4th edition GURPS]: A campaign about frontier life. Setting: Pavonis Portal, a colony of the Brazilian Empire on Mars, and the ground terminus of the orbital elevator on Mars in the twenty-fourth century. Theme: To be chosen by the players. Characters: Residents of Pavonis Portal, often but not always of Brazilian descent.
a cool idea but I'd try the others first.

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2. GURPS Supers [4th edition GURPS]: A campaign about people with superhuman abilities. Setting: The United States in the years right after World War II, in a world where people with special abilities have been around since the 1800s. Theme: Changing the world. Characters: Human (or other) beings with extraordinary abilities trying to find or make a place in a postwar world where they or others like them played a major role in the war. Power level to be decided by the players: streetlevel, classic, or major military asset.
This is my number 2 preference, but only at the streetlevel view and low power. Maybe because I loved the recently cancelled "Powerless" TV Comedy series so much. I think there'd be some good stories and gaming plots to be had in a Supers-type world that pitted low-powered super characters w/ their wits and tech against Normals and High Powered Supers (probably indirectly for survivability's sake).

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1. Mage: The Ascension [2nd edition]: A campaign about secret magic in the modern world. Setting: London in the years before World War I. Theme: The conflict between science and wonder. Characters: Students of magic who have awakened to the true nature of reality—and the struggle to control it.
This sounds the most interesting to me. I've not tried any of the WoD ruelsets but am passingly familiar with them. A good GM and story would outweigh games system for my tastes. If *I* ran any of these, it'd have to be GURPSified. I like the "Secret Magic" early TL6 concept.


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4. Sorcerer (part of the World of Darkness): A campaign about the slow failure of civilization. Setting: A college town in the Midwest in the mid-21st century, in a world where technology is breaking down and magic is reawakening. Theme: Survival and mutual trust in the face of the unknown. Characters: Small town people with useful knowledge and skills. A minimal level of magical arts will be an option.
Another one where I'd have to trust a GM's running style and an unfamiliar rule set. I'd love to explore the "why don't my tech work no more" aspect and have it make sense in the plot development.
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Old 07-31-2017, 12:55 PM   #36
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Default Re: my new campaign ideas

LokRobster: Your top choices are actually the ones I prefer. After that there's more divergence; I've been running the GURPS Mars one for a few months now, and I'd be happy to take up something else for a change.
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Old 08-21-2017, 07:29 AM   #37
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Default Re: my new campaign ideas

Update: I've now ascertained a consensus of my local players. The outcome was interesting.

There's a clear favorite: Mage: The Ascension. No one ranked it below 3, and it was two people's first choice. There's a clear unfavorite: GURPS Space, with the realistic future Mars. No one ranked it above 3, and it was two people's last choice. GURPS Supers, Sorcerer, and (a continuation of) GURPS Mars were all grouped in the middle, with a wider range of rankings, and each was one person's first choice. The sum of rankings was respectively 10, 20, 15, 16, and 14, with no one giving an X to any campaign.

So it's going to be Mage. Set in London, in 1905, and the players get to decide if they'd rather play Traditions or Technocracy.

That's very different from the ratings here, where GURPS Mars was the top choice, followed by GURPS Space, and where we had a couple of people giving GURPS Supers an outright pass. Of course, those differences are precisely why I hand out prospectuses!
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Old 08-21-2017, 11:47 PM   #38
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I recently contemplated a John Carter-inspired campaign, and I feared that GURPS' mechanisticism and level of detail and realism would be actively detrimental to such a style. It's interesting that your opinion seems opposite. Could you elaborate why you think GURPS would do the job well?
Because of all the dials and switches. You have every tool you need to run everything from John Carter/Carson of Venus, to Space: 1889 (except for Vehicles...), to The Expanse, or even something in the setting of The Martian.

I mean, you don't have to use hit locations, if you don't want to, or anything in G:Martial Arts; G: High Tech gives you all the guns you'll need for such a campaign. You've got G: Powers if you want to throw in some psionics, and you can always throw in some Action rules if you want a cinematic feel.

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But . . . your avatar?! What flips your opinion when applied to RPGs?
As with all rules, there are exceptions, and the Shadow is the only pulp hero/comic hero I'd ever want to play. I have zero interest in playing flashy-four color heroes, although I did like to read them when I was younger (and will still pick up a good story collected into graphic novel format, on the rare occasion).

The Shadow dates back to the pulp magazine days, prior to comic books. He's contemporary with Doc Savage, Zorro and other larger-than-life pulp heroes who went on amazing adventures, although Lamont Cranston is a ruthless, lone-wolf, crime-fighting vigilante. He's one of the few who successfully made the transition to comic books, but he didn't really fit in with them, very well, even back when Bill Sienkiewicz was drawing it in '87-'88.

During the CCA days, Shadow stories in the comic were watered down they counted as emasculated tripe.

I like the Shadow's powers, I like his planning and precision, and I like the fact that, because he can read minds, there is never any question about the guilt of his targets. That said, if I were to actually get such powers, I wouldn't waste too much time hunting down drug dealers. I'd go after the real villains -- those who abuse positions of power and authority out of arrogance and greed, and make life more difficult for people than necessary.

However, none of that is conducive to team play, and that's what RPGs are all about. The only pulp hero who interests me does not play well with others, which makes superhero settings pretty problematic.

I mean, who wants to play in a superhero game with a guy whose character would rather blow a corrupt cop's brains out, than fight a supervillain?
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Old 09-07-2017, 03:43 PM   #39
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As I mentioned, the consensus of my local players was for Mage: The Ascension. Naturally, I've been fiddling with it a bit; I hardly ever run anything completely straight! In particular, I don't want to use the Werewolf or Vampire rules, which seem to me to be too focused on making the respective monsters the centers of the game universe. So I've been puzzling over how I think supernatural beings should fit into the game world.

For werewolves and other lycanthropes, I think I want to borrow a motif from Jack Williamson: lycanthropy is a matter of projecting your consciousness out of your body, as a spirit entity, and having it take on animal form to manifest itself. That seems to account fairly well for the difficulty of harming lycanthropes with mundane weapons, and also for their not behaving like actual animals—their behavior comes from the human image of the critter, and from the emotional drives of the person. I can define the spirit manifestation of the person reasonably well by saying that Willpower equals Willpower, Rage equals Strength, and Gnosis is based on the average of Mental and Social traits (possibly modified by the number of points invested in relevant abilities; I need to fiddle with that). But I'm not sure how to handle Power. A first thought would be to make it equal to Quintessence, but I think that lycanthropy ought to be a static magic path, and hedge mages don't use Quintessence.

For vampires, the obvious hint seems to be that beings who are "unnatural"—for example, people with big boosts to their Physical stats—become thaumivores (a really misformed word; it ought to be thaumatophage, or perhaps virivore, "eater of vis"), needing to consume Quintessence or start devouring their own Health levels. Taking blood from other humans could be a specialized source of Quintessence, with each Health level granting one Quintessence. This would imply that vampires are either mages who've pushed their own bodies outside the natural limits, or legendary creatures that can only survive in the physical world by preying on mundanes. I can also see an analogy to the way that Marauders export their own Paradox to the people around them, so maybe vampirism is a vice that Marauders fall into.

Changelings and wraiths aren't such a problem; they seem to be spirits that inhabit, respectively, the Middle and Low Umbra.

I've also been thinking about groups. I definitely don't want the Disparates as they appear in the recent reissue, and not just because my campaign is set more than a century too early. The whole point of the Disparates is that they were groups that refused to join the Nine Traditions; the idea of taking a bunch of nonjoiners and having them join together to maintain their common nonjoinery just doesn't feel right. Certainly I want there to be Crafts out there in the world! I also like the idea that Crafts tend not to make a sharp distinction between dynamic and static magic, and include members of Crafts who have suitable static magic Paths.

I'm more bothered, though, by the Nephandi. For one thing, they're presented as embodiments of entropy; but there are also the Euthanatos, who are masters of the Sphere of Entropy and are members of the Traditions, and I don't see how those two concepts fit together. But more importantly, it seems as if Mage has done the same thing that RuneQuest did long ago by having many different Runes and gods, in a relativistic worldview, but then having Chaos, which was apparently an objective evil that all the gods were against: You have a theme of conflict between different worldviews, but then you have a faction that is the Evil faction. It's kind of like having the Slytherins be the Evil House at Hogwarts. If I'm going to run a campaign based on a relativistic worldview, I think I want to have it be relativistic all through.

This isn't going to affect character creation, which is a good thing, as the character creation session is ten days from now. But it's interesting to puzzle over.
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Old 09-07-2017, 07:21 PM   #40
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A relativistic view of the Nephandi is that the universe needs to be destroyed in order to be rebuilt because of the imbalance caused by the Weaver. It is like the thing in Promethea where she realizes that the thing trying to destroy the world is herself.
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