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Old 05-14-2018, 01:34 PM   #1
kdtipa
 
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Default GURPS Modern Fantasy Setting - Alternate History Help

Hi all,

I keep getting busy and dropping out of the forum for a while. I'm sorry for that. So many of you have helped me with things, and I don't think I'm contributing enough in return. And here I am again asking for more thoughts. Hopefully it's fun for you.

I'm writing a setting using GURPS rules for personal use. The trope it's based on is the idea of our modern world merging with a fantasy setting as we'd normally understand it. And our world is the dominant one. At some point in the 50s, rifts in space starting occurring randomly... no one knew what they were, but the rifts were pretty destructive if they intersected buildings (for example). Over time they increased in frequency, and eventually became more stable.

To try for a shorter explanation: the other world was dying, and the species from the fantasy world fled for our world. And magic came with them as part of a result of the rifts.

Among the species that came here are trolls. And in my setting, trolls are monsters that can stand up to technology. They have way too many hit points and ridiculous strength... and between the rifts doing damage, and the trolls actively hunting people for food in cities where it's really hard to bring military ordinance to bear... our population didn't skyrocket like it did in reality.

There are also elves, dwarves, fairies, and orcs (though orcs aren't inherently evil... just... not very friendly). And Dragons came through too... though, they're elephant sized instead of building sized. Dragons for the most part realized that we would turn all our destructive intelligence toward them if they hunted us, so they decided to stick with game animals for food, and some even work with humans for mutual benefit. Trolls are just not civilized and think more like animals... so they don't care about the consequences of hunting humans for food.

Magic is pretty common. Anyone can cast spells with training, though more powerful magic is not common, and enchanting is rare too. So magic won't replace technology, but it's pretty normal for a kid to be able to make magic light.

My request is for ideas on what major events would have happened differently. How would technology have grown differently knowing that healing magic exists for example? How would the cold war with Russia have been different if magic could make spies invisible? What kinds of things might have happened for the immigrating elves, dwarves, and halflings who need places of their own? How drastically different would their experiences be if coming from a world of kingdoms and waterwheels to a world of cars, skyscrapers, and guns?

I've got ideas, but in the scope of a world, I'm sure there's a lot I'd fail to consider or account for. And so I'm happy to hear ideas.

As a potentially important note: I may use this setting as a basis for a novel or set of novels, so if your idea is one you don't want me to include, please don't share it. The likelihood of me writing these novels is low, but I want to be upfront about my intentions so no one feels like I am stealing their ideas.

But far more likely is that this will be a game setting for my gaming group.
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Old 05-14-2018, 03:11 PM   #2
Pomphis
 
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Default Re: GURPS Modern Fantasy Setting - Alternate History Help

Where were the rifts ? In GURPS Technomancer the location of the hellstorm is of major importance. It makes a big difference whether the trolls first showed up in DC, or moscow, or in africa. Or everywhere at once. And regardless how tough they are, I would assume that a military with fifties tech could hunt them down relatively easily. If Fighter-Bombers with rockets and MBTs are not enough, there are always nukes and chemical weapons. I would be more afraid of gremlins.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gremli...ns_in_aviation
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Old 05-14-2018, 03:31 PM   #3
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Default Re: GURPS Modern Fantasy Setting - Alternate History Help

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Originally Posted by Pomphis View Post
Where were the rifts ? In GURPS Technomancer the location of the hellstorm is of major importance. It makes a big difference whether the trolls first showed up in DC, or moscow, or in africa. Or everywhere at once. And regardless how tough they are, I would assume that a military with fifties tech could hunt them down relatively easily. If Fighter-Bombers with rockets and MBTs are not enough, there are always nukes and chemical weapons. I would be more afraid of gremlins.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gremli...ns_in_aviation
The rifts were a random distribution around the world, and they shifted. So it wasn't permanent locations. Each rift would open for a few days, and then fade away.

Heavy military ordinance that could kill the trolls wouldn't likely be used if the trolls are in cities populated with innocent people. The people they're trying to save. The first notice of the trolls is when people start dying in the cities in larger numbers. Small towns were ignored as animal attacks at first. So trolls became entrenched before the authorities knew what was happening.

Trolls in this setting are meant to be tough enough that a Gatling gun would have a hard time taking a troll down before it could close distance and ruin the gunner's day. I made them purposely super tough and dangerous. They are the mechanic I'm using to put the fear of something primitive back into a society that is technologically advanced. Sure, a helicopter gun ship would likely win in a fight, but using a helicopter gun ship in a city isn't going to work as a solution.
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Old 05-14-2018, 08:15 PM   #4
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Default Re: GURPS Modern Fantasy Setting - Alternate History Help

The bigger reason for lower population won't be how many trolls kill unless they are here in the many millions. The big reason will be less effort spent on promoting modern medicine in the third world because of the effort in dealing with trolls. So lots more infant mortality because of lack of vaccines and sanitation in the third world.

I can see police or at least experienced police being issued bazookas and RPGs.
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Old 05-14-2018, 08:21 PM   #5
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Default Re: GURPS Modern Fantasy Setting - Alternate History Help

GURPS Technomancer (mixed with banestorming infinity) only it avoided the Tolkein tropes.
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Old 05-14-2018, 08:22 PM   #6
Fred Brackin
 
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Default Re: GURPS Modern Fantasy Setting - Alternate History Help

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Originally Posted by kdtipa View Post
T Sure, a helicopter gun ship would likely win in a fight, but using a helicopter gun ship in a city isn't going to work as a solution.
Living in cities where you can get attacked by trolls isn't really that much of a thing to preserve. So as soon as the trolls show up the civilians flee and the real estate gets sacrificed.

A 50s military would fight back with things like bazookas and flamethrowers. No helicopter gunships then. No gatling guns either but there would have been lots of .50 caliber machine guns mounted on jeeps and trucks. They might even bring the National Guard Sherman tanks into town a la a Godzilla movie.

I'm not buying this "troll" thing yet.
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Old 05-14-2018, 08:57 PM   #7
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Default Re: GURPS Modern Fantasy Setting - Alternate History Help

This is no help with your history, I'll admit, but it was the first thing I thought of with that synopsis:

How do dragons feel about troll-flesh? They might find it profitable to team up with humans for troll-hunting expeditions.
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Old 05-15-2018, 06:22 AM   #8
Michael Cule
 
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Default Re: GURPS Modern Fantasy Setting - Alternate History Help

Well, the two big historical themes of the 1950s are decolonialisation and the Cold War.

Assuming that the appearance of the unfriendly species doesn't trigger a major nuclear exchange (though perhaps you might want to include a near miss in your background) then the two sides in the Cold War might well try to recruit them and start to make their magical knowledge a new weapon.

The story of how magic got from being classified knowledge to common knowledge is one you should probably think about.

Also if nations about to become independent from their European overlords suddenly found themselves beset by 'monsters' that required major military capability to overcome it might interrupt the disentanglement a bit. Or, you know, the withdrawing imperialists might just say 'sod it, your problem now' and go.

How do the incomers, particularly the friendlier ones, react to the cultures they meet? Do they want to carve out territory for themselves or are they willing to offer fealty in return for protection. (We Brits are good at that sort of thing. Is the New Forest now full of the Fair Folk?)
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Old 05-15-2018, 10:01 AM   #9
Fred Brackin
 
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I'm not buying this "troll" thing yet.
As a further thought, perhaps you could make your trolls sneaky rather than super-tough. They could close to melee range with PCs through the use of "shadow magic" or something like that. Then they could be "only" as tough as a "normal" 400 lb combat monster.

That would be a problem that could not be solved by bigger guns. Just making the trolls super-tough simply escalates the size of the guns that would be used on them.
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Old 05-15-2018, 11:12 AM   #10
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Default Re: GURPS Modern Fantasy Setting - Alternate History Help

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Originally Posted by Fred Brackin View Post
As a further thought, perhaps you could make your trolls sneaky rather than super-tough. They could close to melee range with PCs through the use of "shadow magic" or something like that. Then they could be "only" as tough as a "normal" 400 lb combat monster.

That would be a problem that could not be solved by bigger guns. Just making the trolls super-tough simply escalates the size of the guns that would be used on them.
Maybe I should have included a definition of the Troll to help. I know it's not usually a good idea to stat out villains in a setting completely and to just use judgement when possible, but to help me think it all through, I defined my trolls pretty solidly. For the definition to make sense, I need to explain something about how I am handling species in this setting.

For attributes, I set minimums and maximums. I might define Human strength like...

ST 10 (10/H16/L4)

The first 10 is the species average. The second one is the points per level of strength. The "H16" means "highest possible score of 16". And the "L4" means "lowest possible score of 4". The high and low for secondary attributes might be defined as a percentage increase or decrease, or it might be a numeric amount of allowed increase or decrease.

When I define species for my settings, I like there to be incentive to pick one species over another (beyond access to species only advantages), so a Dwarf might have...

ST 11 (8/H18/L5)

Which would mean it would be cheaper to have a higher strength, and you have the potential to be stronger than any human could be. But then I'd give dwarves something that is less advantageous to balance it.

Oh, and I defined my own progression of regeneration speeds.

With all of that explained... here's the ridiculously long definition of a troll for this setting. It includes Chameleon.

==================

Troll
(character point cost: 475)
Trolls are built a lot like large Gorillas, but with less hair, and barer callused skin, that has the ability to change color to better hide in its surroundings. They are unreasonably strong (even stronger than gorillas), and very dangerous. Their digestive system can handle a lot, so they have become trash divers. But they seem to enjoy better foods, and far too frequently will make the trip into a city to slaughter a few people to eat. They’re not terribly scared of technology since their hides and physiology are very hard to do damage to. And if you manage to hurt them, their bodies recover quickly enough to visibly watch wounds heal. They are very nasty creatures, and all cities have agencies dedicated to keeping the trolls out. If you see one and can’t kill it fast, you’re better off running and hoping for a miracle. The good thing is that most times, trolls are solitary.
ST 60 (2/H90/L50), DX 10 (20/H20/L4), IN 3 (20/H5/L2), HT 15 (5/H20/L12)
HP (ST/2/+100%/-50%), Will (IN/1/H20/L12), Per (IN/2/H25/L12), FP (HT/2/+100%/-5)
Basic Speed (5/+3.00/-1.00), Move (Basic Speed/5/+7/-2)
Species Advantages: Absolute Direction (5 pts), Amphibious (10 pts), Breath Holding (x32, 10 pts), Catfall (10 pts), Chameleon (normal vision, Infravision, UV, +14/+7, 49 pts), Claws (Sharp, cut dmg, 5pts), Damage Resistance (Tough Skin, 3/lvl, base level DR 5, 15 pts), Damage Resistance (Ablative, 1/lvl, base level DR 60, 60 pts), Enhanced Move (x2 Move score, 20 pts), Filter Lungs (5pts), Hard to Kill (+5 to HT rolls, 10 pts), Hard to Subdue (+5 to HT rolls, 10 pts), High Pain Threshold (10 pts), Hyperspectral Vision (25 pts), Nictitating Membrane (DR 5 eyes, +5 HT rolls for eyes, 5 pts), Pressure Support (up to 10 times normal pressure, 5 pts), Radiation Tolerance (divide rads by 50, 25 pts), Recovery (10 pts), Regeneration (6 per second, 110 pts), Regrowth (30 pts w/ regen), Resistant All Metabolic Hazards (HT +8, 15 pts), Super Climbing (+4 climb speed, 12 pts), Super Jump (x8 jump distance, 30 pts), Hunter Talent (lvl +4, 40 pts), Teeth – Fangs (thr-1 imp, 2 pts), Temperature Tolerance (+[HT x 5] degrees to comfort range, 5 pts)

Species Disadvantages: Berserk (SC 6 or less, -30 points), Bestial (-10), Cannot Speak (-15), Hidebound (-5), Loner (SC 6 or less, -15 pts)
Species Traits: large size (+2 size mod)

Hunter Talent
Brawling, Climbing, Navigation (Land, remember bonus for absolute direction), Stealth, Survival, Swimming, Throwing, Tracking
Animal Rule of 12: For skills that animals would have, like tracking; land navigation; and so on, treat base Intelligence as 12 instead of 3. If the troll pays for an intelligence score of 5, this means using 14 instead of 12.

Example: Average Troll
ST 60, DX 10, IN 3, HT 15
Will 12, Per 12, Hit Points: 60, Fatigue Points: 15
Height: 11’ 4”, Weight: 1600 lbs, Basic Speed: 6.25, Move: 6
Advantages & Disadvantages: all normal for species

Skills: Brawling 16, Climbing 18, Navigation: Land 20, Stealth 16 (with +7/+14 for Chameleon), Survival (with specialty for region they live in) 16, Swimming 20, Throwing 16, Tracking 16

Breath Holding: An average troll can hold its breath a long time. With no exertion, they can hold their breaths for 80 minutes (1 hr, 20 minutes). With exertion at the level of walking or treading water, they can hold their breaths for 32 minutes (a little over half an hour). With heavy exertion like running, climbing, strong swimming, or combat, they can hold their breaths for 8 minutes. The average human can handle 10 seconds of breath holding in high exertion circumstances.

Jumping: They can jump 17’ 4” straight up (which is ridiculous). They can make a standing broad jump of 24 yards (also ridiculous). With a run of at least 6 yards preceding the jump, they can broad jump 56 yards (over half a football field). And in combat, with no preparation, they can broad jump 12 yards (the world record for running broad jump is under 30 feet).

Stealth: Trolls are excellent at hiding, and even more so from visual senses including infravision and UV vision. Their normal stealth roll is 16 (well above expert level), though their size gives those searching for them a +2 in the contest. The really difficult part is that Troll skin can camouflage itself really well. If it’s motionless, it gets a +14 to its stealth roll versus visual detection. Even if it’s moving it gets a +7. Having an effective skill of 23 means that most average people with a perception score of 10 stand no chance of winning the contest.

Defenses: First is their natural outer layer of skin DR of 5. Some lower caliber bullets have a hard time with that. Second is the toughness of the flesh underneath that first layer, which is treated as an ablative DR of 60 (meaning that you need to get 60 points of damage past the DR of 5 before the troll is actually getting hurt. After that, the troll has 60 hit points, which is 6 times as many as an average person who didn’t have any of that DR. Finally, trolls regenerate really fast. They recover 6 points of that ablative DR and 6 hit points every second. If you’re not doing at least 12 points of damage per round to the troll after its tough skin DR, you are not making progress toward ending the troll.

It also has a +5 to its HT rolls to stay conscious and stay alive. With a HT of 15, it is rolling against a 20 to stay conscious. And once it is forced unconscious by being below -1 x its HT in HP, it rolls against that same 20 to stay alive. It is almost a necessity to bring a troll down to -5 x HT (-75) in HP to kill it because that’s the automatic death point.

Offense: Trolls are brawlers. They fight with their claws and teeth. They’re also stalker hunters that take advantage of their impressive stealth abilities to find game they like and wait until conditions are favorable to them (they recognize threats pretty well). And they will use surprise to their advantage. And in those cases, their target very seldomly has a chance. But if they find themselves in a real fight, they’ll fight normally until they take at least 15 points of Hit Point damage. If they take that much hit point damage, they’ll go berserk (like the disadvantage), and stick with all out attacks for the rest of the fight… usually choosing the extra damage option. If the target is armored well enough to avoid damage, the troll will switch to grappling and start tearing off armor until it can tear off body parts.

Basic Claw Attack: skill 16, 7d+5 cutting / Basic Bite Attack: skill 16, 7d+5 cutting / All-Out Attack Claw skill 16, 7d+19 cut

Grappling: skill 16 to grab, target has -4 to DX as long as held. Troll will use next turn to take down target with ST 60 vs highest of ST, DX, or grappling skill of target. Next, they try to pin with ST 60 vs highest of ST, DX, or grappling skill. Finally, they will start tearing at armor to get off. GM will rule on that, but it might also “wrench limbs” in the process. It’s ST 60 vs highest of ST or HT. If the troll wins, the target takes 9d damage to that limb, and DR that is not from a rigid frame (like powered armor) does not protect. It can bite while grappling, if it exposes something juicy.
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