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Old 03-25-2020, 06:20 AM   #1
Anders
 
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Default GURPS Shadowgun [Brainstorm]

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?
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Old 03-25-2020, 06:42 AM   #2
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Default Re: GURPS Shadowgun [Brainstorm]

Part of me wants to go with 1789, the start of the French Revolution, but that makes it almost a hundred years by the time of Shadowgun in the Old West - assuming "Old West" is the classic period of 1870-1900, the time of Billy the Kid, Pat Garrett, Wyatt Earp, and Bat Masterson. Whereas in Shadowrun it's only really been 50 years, give or take (going by SR3's "Year of the Comet" supplement, 2061).
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Old 03-25-2020, 06:50 AM   #3
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Default Re: GURPS Shadowgun [Brainstorm]

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.
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Old 03-25-2020, 06:58 AM   #4
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Default Re: GURPS Shadowgun [Brainstorm]

One of the massive changes would be the massive strengthening of Native American Nations, which would have had the USA forced back to the Mississippi in the best case scenario (no Seattle or Denver in this case). European magical traditions had been largely abandoned, so you would have seen the strengthening of societies that embraced mysticism across the globe. For example, the Boxer Rebellion would have worked, as supernatural martial artists would have made mincemeat of the forces of the European powers and the Qing Dynasty.

Another thing to consider would be the supremacy of magical creatures. A dragon versus a wing of fighter jets is a tough fight for the dragon, a dragon versus a Victorian battleship is just target practice for the dragon. Magic would be the only thing that would really protect metahumans from most magical creatures, so the Awakened would become an essential part of any society. Regardless of their background, being Awakened would trump any issues with race, religion, sex, and subspecies.

While the Awakened would be respected, non-Awakened non-humans would likely face massive discrimination based on subspecies. Social status would be based on subspecies, then race, then sex, and then religion (mystical religions would have more skilled Awakened, so they would gain in respect). Of the subspecies, humans and elves would probably have equal status, then dwarves and trolls, and then orks on the bottom (largely due to their high fertility).
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Old 03-25-2020, 07:17 AM   #5
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Default Re: GURPS Shadowgun [Brainstorm]

It's probably time to dig back through Kenneth Hite's Suppressed Transmission archives, especially the ones that were never collected into books.

Off the top of my head, I'd suggest dating the change to the Anglo-Zulu War (1879)/First Boer War (1880-1881)/Ghost Dance movement (1890) period, with maybe a follow-up wave tied to the Boxer Rebellion (1899-1901)/Second Boer War (1899-1902). The idea is that indigenous struggles against colonialism were prompted and aided by the return of magic, disrupting the course of subsequent history. The campaign can be notionally set in c. 1930, but with technology and politics that more closely resemble 1890.

A key feature would be "glitch" magic, which would make automatic weapons and remote/timed fuses unreliable. This might be more a field effect of magic use in general, rather than a specific spell. If you can't be sure your grenades and artillery shells won't explode in your hand, your will be reluctant to use them. If machineguns and assault rifles jam every dozen or so rounds, you might stick with revolvers and lever/bolt/pump action firearms instead. This is more to maintain the "wild west" feel against technological development, but it could also help balance magic vs. tech.
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Old 03-25-2020, 07:23 AM   #6
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Default Re: GURPS Shadowgun [Brainstorm]

I would probably scale back dragons so they don't rule supreme. I don't know anything about Shadowrun, really, but if they are made to fight fighter jets, tone them down. I mean, in Fantasy games people with swords are able to fight dragons - you should be able to do the same with a rifle.
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Old 03-25-2020, 08:33 AM   #7
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Default Re: GURPS Shadowgun [Brainstorm]

Quote:
Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
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'm rather fond of that as a changepoint, as I have a few other magical alternate histories that diverge there.


While Western magical traditions are faded by then, they do exist to some degree, and there would be people in Europe and the colonies/former colonies thereof who were already practicing it, and would notice that it seemed to be working 'better.' Depending on how the GM decides that magic works (not just in the sense of game mechanics), artists, poets, and other dreamers might also develop some ability with magic, especially when they're locked in a villa in Switzerland with terrible weather outside and nothing much to do inside.

Of course, at some point you'd need to decide on a magic system. I'm fond of Path/Book Magic (in this context, probably Effect Shaping with two or three levels of the Adept advantage), but for Shadowrun, something like the standard GURPS spell system might fit the source better - depending on how close you want to get to the other game's system.
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Old 03-25-2020, 08:41 AM   #8
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Default Re: GURPS Shadowgun [Brainstorm]

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anders View Post
T

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?
In the Shadowrun universe the beginning of things is when the Mayan calendar rolls over into the start of its' "Sixth Age" in 2011 or 2012. As you say, exact dates don't matter but a general sense of interval might.

So that's not quite 40 years before the beginning of the game classically in 2050. Dragons appear at the start date and Elves and Dwarves start being born to humans then too. So there's a full gneration having reached maturity by the start even fior very long-lived races and maybe a very young second generation.

Goblinization Day happened 10 years after the dragons showed up and affected 10% of the general pop. Orcs are born in litters of 4 after this and reach maturity in 9 or 10 years while dying of old age by the time they're 35.

Aging is sometimes eccentric for the directly changed on G-Day but any remaining are defintely old. So is the first generation born as goblins while the third gen has just reached "maturity" or what passes for it when you've got 9 year olds with the bodies of football players and fangs.

Another critical date might be when the conventional Internet as we know it irreversibly crashed and was eventually replaced by SR netrunning. That was basicaly 20 years before start date of the campaign though 17 or 18 after the dragons.

So you might have a timeline that goes soemthing like this:

40 years before the game starts monsters appear and things start getting weird.

30 years before 10% of humans turn into "monsters" and with their fast breeding they've doubled thier numbaers at start date but have built-in problems with socialization.

20 years before soemthing devastates the conventional econmy and tech with trasformative repalcements well-established by your start date.

As to exact dates, on this sort of interval schedule Waterloo is too early and Gettysberg is too late but the Alamo might be about right. That's 1836 and 38 years later gives you 1874 which is a convenient date if the introdcution dates of various guns doesn't change. Specifically 1873 sees the intro of the .45 Colt revolver and the Winchester 1873 lever action rifle. Earlier than that and your "Old Weird West" game doesn't have some of its' most iconic props.
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Old 03-25-2020, 08:41 AM   #9
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Default Re: GURPS Shadowgun [Brainstorm]

Path Magic definitely. Fits the world perfectly. Maybe make it an Illuminated campaign, borrowing the Lodges from GURPS Voodoo, to keep things from divering too much from the normal timeline.
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Old 03-25-2020, 08:49 AM   #10
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Default Re: GURPS Shadowgun [Brainstorm]

One possibility to balance the scales is steampunk technomagic. The development of metamagic to enchant objects for mundane use (a variation of Quickening) would likely be suitable, though the metamagic would replace the Karma lost by the magician with Essence invested by the mundane. In effect, you could have steampunk technomagic versions of any augmentations and could create steampunk technomagic cyborgs that could function at a higher effective TL than the mundane technology.

For example, a magician could install four technomagical limbs in a mundane, requiring the mundane to permanently invest 4 Essence to maintain the operations of the limbs. In turn, the limbs would have capacity, which would contain other technomagical devices that draw on the Essence already invested by the mundane. Alternatively, they could do technomagic bioware, representing the implantation of magically quickened tissues to improve the capabilities of mundane.

Creatures like the one created by Frankenstein would be an example of a technomagical cyborg, a fetal tissue brain within a framework of magically quickened tissues that gives superhuman capabilities. Other technomagical cyborgs could be crippled adults attached to steampunk technomagical battleships or airships, perhaps gestalts of dozens of cyborgs, allowing militaries to defend themselves against dragons and other magical threats.

As for magic, RPM is probably best for the high energy magic of Shadowrun. Path/Book magic is too subtle and standard magic is just too clunky. Of course, you could just transfer Shadowrun Magic, giving a Magic attitude equal to Magery, and adding skills as needed.
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