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Old 10-10-2011, 10:38 AM   #1
Stormcrow
 
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Default Cinematic gloating and nonviolence

When I was running Tales of the Solar Patrol, I found it difficult to keep the players to certain cinematic conventions. Specifically, no one ever let the mastermind gloat and reveal his evil plan, and players never hesitated to shoot first and ask questions later.

I was just watching a chapter of a Flash Gordon serial, and I noticed that the only time anyone fired a handgun was to destroy one of Ming's machines. There was plenty of prisoner-taking and aiming of guns, but there were never fired at other people. When there was a fight, it was a fistfight, even though some people had guns. And even though a lot of people die, it's always because of the bad guy's plots, not because they were shot.

I was wondering how to make this happen in GURPS. If this were Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space it'd be easy: there are severe consequences to killing, and the structure of extended conflicts forces shooters to wait for talkers. But we don't have this in GURPS.

I was considering making a rule that a player earns no experience points for a session if his character fires upon another person when he isn't being fired upon by that person.

Does anyone have any other ideas about how to get players to follow these cinematic conventions despite their typical impulses to shoot first and often?
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Old 10-10-2011, 10:46 AM   #2
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Default Re: Cinematic gloating and nonviolence

Well, it takes the right sort of players, but you could make it clear that in this campaign it is a feature of the setting that villians are allowed to monologue and that shooting first just isn't an impulse for heroic characters. That can be enforced by simply not letting the PCs shoot first. If you don't have the right players, they'll throw a fit and not want to play in your game, though. If they REALLY want to shoot first, make them buy an Unusual Background: raised as a villian or something of the sort, but then they'll get negative Reputations, it might be an Odious Personal Habit, heroic NPCs might be trying to capture them for their own good (to have them mentally rehabilitated, etc.), and the like.


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Originally Posted by Stormcrow View Post
I was considering making a rule that a player earns no experience points for a session if his character fires upon another person when he isn't being fired upon by that person.

Does anyone have any other ideas about how to get players to follow these cinematic conventions despite their typical impulses to shoot first and often?
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Old 10-10-2011, 10:56 AM   #3
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Default Re: Cinematic gloating and nonviolence

Just play by the rules. Talking is a free action and so takes no time.
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Old 10-10-2011, 11:18 AM   #4
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Default Re: Cinematic gloating and nonviolence

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Just play by the rules. Talking is a free action and so takes no time.
I think there's something to this. If a player says "I shoot [something or someone]!", tell him that he can do it once the monologue is over (while, of course, making scrupulously sure that nothing else happens during the monologue). That a long speech, possibly with visual aids, takes no turns might be regarded as another genre convention.

Failing that, equip your evil mastermind with a good public address system, so that he can rant while the PCs run up and down tunnels looking for him.
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Old 10-10-2011, 11:40 AM   #5
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Default Re: Cinematic gloating and nonviolence

That answers the monologue question. How about the shooty bit?
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Old 10-10-2011, 11:45 AM   #6
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Default Re: Cinematic gloating and nonviolence

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That answers the monologue question. How about the shooty bit?
Without tinkering too heavily in the rules, you might require all PCs to take a disadvantage which would make them hesitate to randomly open fire, such as Self Defence Only Pacifism or Reluctant Killer. You might also impose the Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy rule (a side's first volley always misses) for everyone.
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Old 10-10-2011, 11:46 AM   #7
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Default Re: Cinematic gloating and nonviolence

Inform the players that there will be a "reciprocity rule." The Bad Guys will respond in kind to escalating violence.

If the PCs start making head or groin shots, so will the Goon Squad.
If the PCs bring Vibro-Plasma Axes to a fist fight, then the Goon Squad will bring Vibro-Plasma-Nullifying Mega-Swords next time.
If the PCs start sniping, so will the Goon Squad.
If the problem becomes too bad, then the Goon Squad will suspend the "line up and attack one at a time" rule.

If the PCs come in shooting, perhaps the Goon Squad will simply retreat and call the Planetary Patrol about the blaster-waving crazies in the Town Square.

Make it advantageous for the PCs to allow a monologue. For example, The Evil Emperor does not know that the PCs sabotaged his Voice Activated Mega Force Field so that it is now running on Emergency Power. They now have a reason to keep him talking until the power runs out.
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Old 10-10-2011, 12:01 PM   #8
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Default Re: Cinematic gloating and nonviolence

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Make it advantageous for the PCs to allow a monologue. For example, The Evil Emperor does not know that the PCs sabotaged his Voice Activated Mega Force Field so that it is now running on Emergency Power. They now have a reason to keep him talking until the power runs out.
A friend of mine was once playing Brainiac-5 in a Legion of Super-Heroes campaign using CHAMPIONS rules. Brainy had been captured by the Big Bad and had no offensive weaponry or powers except for his force-field belt and his 12th-level intelligence. So, with a quick gadgeteering roll, he modified his belt to project a force bubble around the Big Bad's head and then said, "So, tell me about your Evil Plan..."

Then he waited for the villain to use up all the oxygen in the force bubble and pass out.
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Old 10-10-2011, 12:04 PM   #9
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Default Re: Cinematic gloating and nonviolence

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Originally Posted by Turhan's Bey Company View Post
Without tinkering too heavily in the rules, you might require all PCs to take a disadvantage which would make them hesitate to randomly open fire, such as Self Defence Only Pacifism or Reluctant Killer.
Yes, I thought of that. Of the various forms of Pacifism, Cannot Harm Innocents seems to be the most applicable. I suppose if it's made clear that it's a genre convention and not a character's personal limitation, it might work. All Patrolmen work under the limitations of Pacifism (Cannot Harm Innocents), while the NPCs react similarly with regard to guns, but gleefully slaughter all sorts of people with elaborate machinations. Maybe renaming it would get players to understand that they're not being limited by a moral code, but by a genre convention...

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You might also impose the Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy rule (a side's first volley always misses) for everyone.
Heh. And tell the players this? There would be chaos at the gaming table!

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Inform the players that there will be a "reciprocity rule." The Bad Guys will respond in kind to escalating violence.
I tried that. The result was slaughtered PCs. They believed it was necessary to kill the goons faster before they were themselves killed.
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Old 10-10-2011, 12:42 PM   #10
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Default Re: Cinematic gloating and nonviolence

How about this? If any character takes a Do Nothing maneuver and makes a speech (and it can be of any length and still only count as one turn), no other character may take Ready, Attack, or All Out Attack until the speaker chooses his next maneuver. A character may take Aim only if he was already Aiming.

This would let characters choose not to attack immediately, and not lose all initiative. Otherwise I could see players saying, "As soon as he finishes saying whatever he's saying, I shoot him," making monologues a death trap.

Call it a Monologue maneuver. :)
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