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Old 03-25-2020, 10:37 AM   #11
Proteus
 
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Default Re: GURPS Shadowgun [Brainstorm]

The U.S. Civil War could be prompted by different treatment of the Awakened along with disagreement over slavery. If the South abhors the goblinized for racist reasons, and feels religious qualms over magic, then they have all the more reason to get squashed by the North (and generate lots of outlaws for the frontier....)

The U.S. Panic of 1819 (part of the general downturn after the Napoleonic Wars) might be a good accompaniment to the initial change: doesn’t the original Shadowrun also pair its magical changes with societal and financial collapses?
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Old 03-25-2020, 11:00 AM   #12
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Default Re: GURPS Shadowgun [Brainstorm]

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If the South ... feels religious qualms over magic...

In the mid 1800's, religious fervor, especially political religious fervor, was as strong or stronger in the north than in the south. The Civil War resulted in an increase in religious strength in the south, and the forces that would eventually weaken religiosity in the north were only getting started.



I suspect that all over the world magic will appeal most to the greedy and the desperate, while the content will resist the change as best they can.
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Old 03-25-2020, 11:11 AM   #13
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Default Re: GURPS Shadowgun [Brainstorm]

Considering that the desperate would include everyone being colonized by Europe, that is the vast majority of humanity. South Asia would have likely used its mystical traditions to toss the East Indian Company out on its ear, effectively destroying the British Empire. The tribes of Siberia and Far East Asia, and their shapeshifter allies, would have used their mystical traditions to roll the Russian Empire back to the Urals. Within a couple of decades, the European colonial empires would be only a traumatic memory, soon forgotten as magical empires fight over resources.
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Old 03-25-2020, 11:34 AM   #14
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Default Re: GURPS Shadowgun [Brainstorm]

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Considering that the desperate would include everyone being colonized by Europe, that is the vast majority of humanity. South Asia would have likely used its mystical traditions to toss the East Indian Company out on its ear, effectively destroying the British Empire. The tribes of Siberia and Far East Asia, and their shapeshifter allies, would have used their mystical traditions to roll the Russian Empire back to the Urals. Within a couple of decades, the European colonial empires would be only a traumatic memory, soon forgotten as magical empires fight over resources.
Why?

Without institutional expertise in administration, law and all the boring stuff that polities actuslly require to function at more than tribal level, there is no reason to assume that there would be coherent entities like South Asia or even that tribes in Siberia or South East Asia would be capable of working together effectively.

In fact, there is every reason to suspect that only the strongest institutions could survive the upheaval of supernatural powers emerging. Areas with little infrastructure and limited organizational traditions would be more likely to collapse into bloodsoaked anarchy than to be able to make any kind of efficient use of individuals born within their borders with esoteric abilities.

Social organization is technology, the most powerful technology possessed by any polity in the 19th century, and it will act as an enormous force multiplier for any exotic abilities.
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Old 03-25-2020, 11:35 AM   #15
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Default Re: GURPS Shadowgun [Brainstorm]

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South Asia would have likely used its mystical traditions to toss the East Indian Company out on its ear, effectively destroying the British Empire. The tribes of Siberia and Far East Asia, and their shapeshifter allies, would have used their mystical traditions to roll the Russian Empire back to the Urals. Within a couple of decades, the European colonial empires would be only a traumatic memory, soon forgotten as magical empires fight over resources.
Do existing traditions actually work? Do the myths and legends of existing peoples come into being? That hasn't been established yet. And if the mystic traditions of the world work, where does that leave the European Astrologers and Holy men?
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Considering that the desperate would include everyone being colonized by Europe, that is the vast majority of humanity.
But how effective is it? Is it practical to put together an army of completely invisible soldiers 10 years after the change? And not everyone will be in desperate circumstances. Some will be more desperate than others, and some will already be conquered (some of those more effectively than others). And the political problems and weaknesses that plagued many targeted nations won't go away.

We should also look at what we WANT the setting to look like, and act accordingly.

I favor the new world, including Siberia and Australia, having their natives get good at magic but lacking the numbers and organization to drive out the invaders. Asia and Africa remaining places that are traveled to but not conquered makes for a good setting flavor. India may be the exception there, with Bengal owned by the British but the rest of the subcontinent remaining independent and politically vibrant.



But what magic are we using, who gets it, and do existing traditions matter?
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Old 03-25-2020, 02:34 PM   #16
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Default Re: GURPS Shadowgun [Brainstorm]

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The premise for this is that it's like Shadowrun but in the Old West. It was brought up in GURPS: Book Titles You Don't Want To See. Turns out there was some demand for it, so let's brainstorm:

So magic has come back, and so has Elves, Dwarves, Orcs, Trolls, and various magical beings. That is, certain humans are transformed into Elves, Dwarves, etc. In the Shadowrun universe I believe this happened in 2012 (that's not important), but when did it happen in this world? And who got transformed?
I would personally start with GURPS Deadlands: Weird West and modify from there.
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Old 03-25-2020, 02:39 PM   #17
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Default Re: GURPS Shadowgun [Brainstorm]

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I might go with 1816 for the changepoint. The Year Without a Summer, first year of a New World Order after the world wars ended in 1815.
I posted a riff on this very topic literally two days ago.

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Given that the basic non-human types have more of a Viking myth feel, I'd go with something up in Scandinavia. Making it unrelated to the gargantuan Napoleonic struggle appeals to me; that has enough story hooks as it is. So...

In 1814, Iceland is nearly annihilated by the catastrophic eruption of Hofsjökull. As the ash other detritus fall all over the globe, people change - mutating into creatures out of ancient Nordic myths (or at least, near enough for the 18th century). Stout dwarfs, slender and elegant elves, ugly orcs (or svartalfr, as some of them come to be called), and towering trolls. Children, too, are born thus. About a quarter to a third of the global population is affected.

In the same year, magic starts to work again (or perhaps it never stopped, and now it's just easier). Societies of enlightenment mages are soon comparing notes and fighting over secrets, just as old folk traditions and shamanistic religions acquire new potency. (Organized religion is thrown into a bit of a crisis.)

Of course, this is all against a backdrop of a year or two without a summer and the turmoil that comes with famine, Napoleon's struggle against the Sixth Coalition, and - perhaps - the coming of Ragnarok. There are certainly great dragons abroad in the mountains and oceans.

PCs could be...
  • Political and magical operatives in Vienna, trying to shape the new world order after the fall of Napoleon and the ash fall
  • Courtiers of an Indian prince, dealing with the English and their John Company, not to mention rakshasas, nagas, and all those sorts of monsters who've just started making trouble.
  • Frontier folk in North America - white settlers, native people, or both
  • Freedmen in Haiti, looking to stay that way
  • Romantic aesthetes/mages trapped in a villa on Lake Geneva by a miserable summer
  • Curious scholars in the salons and courts of Europe, discovering new magic and old evils
  • Newly changed folk, trying to make a new life for themselves - maybe with or without relations from the old one.
Or really, anyone where power, intrigue, magic, and adventure intersect.
For a proper Old West campaign, I think you need a native presence that's not so effective as to actually resist white settlement - otherwise you get a game where the frontier isn't acting as a "relief valve" for tensions back east, but is instead a border with another power. Probably a good setup, but not the same.

There needs to be the opportunity for lawlessness, and the tension between violence and civilization.

If it's going to be Shadowrun style, there needs to be the opportunity for capers, and colossal organizations that pay for shadowrunners. If it's an Old West game, the usual urban environment is a bit harder to come by, though. Sudden but inevitable betrayals are required, of course.

So here's what I'll go with if I want to run this. Focus is on North America.

Year is 1870. The ACW ended with a Union victory in 1865; unrepentant Confederates, opportunistic Northerners, and ordinary folk of every background continue to settle the West. The settlement effort is dominated by the great railroad and mining concerns based Back East; these huge corporations are branching out into oil, dipping their fingers into birthing big agriculture, chopping down massive forests in the North and Northwest, and of course there's always manufacturing on an unheard-of-scale.

The presence of magic has allowed American Indian tribes to resist white dominance somewhat more than in our timeline, but they still face a massive demographic disadvantage - and of course, they're just as prone to fighting each other as they are settlers. I'd say there are a couple nations that have managed to hold onto territorial integrity, a couple that have joined the Americans as states, and others somewhere in between. (As a nod to Shadowrun, I'd definitely put a Coast Salish nation around the Puget Sound, maybe as a protectorate of the United Kingdom.)

Magic is Path/Book. "Civilized" magicians use Books, because they tend to write things down; "uncivilized" magicians prefer an oral traditions, and so use Path magic.

Tech is unmodified TL6.
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Old 03-25-2020, 02:41 PM   #18
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Default Re: GURPS Shadowgun [Brainstorm]

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We should also look at what we WANT the setting to look like, and act accordingly.
Good point.

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But what magic are we using, who gets it, and do existing traditions matter?
Well, the people in the know suggest that RPM would be the best way to simulate the magic in Shadowrun. So let's go with that. I would suggest that people get magical power at random, so they're evenly spread over the globe.

Do existing traditions matter? That's a good question. If they do, then yes, traditional societies will have an advantage over industrialised societies. If they don't, industrialized nations will have a massive advantage, since they can put resources into magical research that would dwarf anything traditional societies can.
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Old 03-25-2020, 06:00 PM   #19
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Default Re: GURPS Shadowgun [Brainstorm]

The default assumption of Shadowrun was that traditional societies had a massive magical advantage. The Great Ghost Dance forced the USA, at the height of its power, to back down because the alternative was a continent wide cataclysm. Even after sixty years, the UCAS had not caught up to the NAN when it came to magic, and it had been pouring tens of billions per year into magical research.

Without early 21st-century technology to limit their gains, traditional societies would kick the crap out of Western societies, if you keep the same assumptions as Shadowrun. The European powers would find their colonial empires evaporating overnight and new nations like the USA would have a difficult time not being tossed driven into the sea. The only saving grace for them would be the low population of the Native Americans, but their populations would quickly rise as they used magic to address the European diseases.
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Old 03-25-2020, 06:57 PM   #20
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Default Re: GURPS Shadowgun [Brainstorm]

Why the traditional fantasy races? Just because that's what Shadowrun did?

To me, they seem to clash with emphasizing Native American and other colonized peoples' magic. Either way might make a good game; mixing the two feels more like a struggle.

Absent the D&D influence, the game's going to feel a lot like Deadlands -- so GMs are going to have to lean hard into the "cowpunk" element. Railroads as megacorps? Pinkertons as secret police?
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