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Old 09-03-2019, 04:15 PM   #1
Refplace
 
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Default Bestiary comment thread

The topic kind of took over the anniversary thread so I thought we could move it to its own topic.

A number of people complain about there being no bestiary for GURPS, the trouble is that is demonstrably not true.
For Horror we have Horror plus 5 volumes of Creatures of the Night, plus Zombies.
For DF we have 4 Monster books, three more for DFRPG, and monsters in various books of the seines.
For animals we have mostly whats in Basic. Though more online, especially the Animilia pages.
We also have Lands out of Time for dinosaurs and a Dragons book.

So clearly its not an issue of does GURPS have or not have a Bestiary, its more a matter of individual expectations or definitions.
I feel this is important as we keep seeing new books and the calls for a Bestiary remain. So, no blame or sticking defensively to our corners - what do various people think of or want when they ask for such a thing? What compromises will they accept to get something?
If loyal GURPS people make that complaint you know it gets out to those looking at trying the system and they may just stop looking as soon as they hear it and we just lost potential players and GMs to help the system grow.

So if you had your wish what would it be? What would it take for you to say "Oh, yes GURPS has a Bestiary, creature, monster, or whatever book" when someone asks rather than say we have been waiting for one since Fourth Edition came out.

Some practical things to consider.
  • A New Hardback is very unlikely!
  • Any printing without a Kickstarter seems unlikly, especially for a non DF book
  • Most of the material is already out there in 4e or 3 and authors might get less pay for just updating or consolidating
  • A consolidation is likely to net fewer sales than new material
  • Stat blocks are a pain to work through and edit so this will be more expensive than other books for the same amount of content
  • Writers need motivation and updating or recycling material is less fun than creating new material
  • Sales have to be high enough to motivate a freelancer to take the risk or a staffer to take time away from other possibly more lucrative projects
A Bestiary has been in the works for a long time but stalled so who knows if it will happen. It is on the W23 wishlist so an established author has a shot at getting it greenlit if they want to write it.
We know writers and staff read the forums, so lets see if we can make interesting pitches or requests that encourage.

So to start off whats missing or scattered that you would pay for?
Big books are harder to write and edit so take longer and of course money is often tight, especially for reprints.
Smaller books with a consistent naming pattern seems to me to address that but others prefer bigger books over several smaller books.
Whats your preference for size and content?
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Old 09-03-2019, 06:04 PM   #2
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Default Re: Bestiary comment thread

I would suggest a series of Bestiary books. The first one should probably be longer, as it would contain any expanded animal rules or terms needed, much like how GURPS Spaceships 1 is longer than the other books in the series (69 pages, where most of the others are around 40 pages). The first book would be the most general, having a selection of the animals that are most common to campaigns in general, based on the experience of the authors and editors, and any research they do. Horses, cats, dogs, dragons, falcons and so on.

Later books would be specific categories, like Dinosaurs (partly covered by the adventure supplement Big Lizzie, but they could do with more detail and examples) or Birds, regional books like Australian Wildlife, or power-related creatures like Psychic Beasts. Given the variety involved, this would likely be a continuing series... if enough writers actually take that much of an interest in it.

On a related note, the main GURPS Books site has a list of published books about Beasts, though it doesn't seem to include Pyramid issues (apart from one collection book, some of which have articles that would be useful, here.
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Old 09-03-2019, 06:20 PM   #3
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Default Re: Bestiary comment thread

I for one would accept either larger PDFs in the sizes of 3e's Bestiary/Fantasy Bestiary/Space Bestiary/Dinosaurs or a series of smaller PDFs with a focus on a given angle (e.g. "Modern Megafauna", "Classic Fantasy", "Cryptids", "Pre-Historic Megafauna", "More Dinosaurs", etc.). My preference would be the former, but I recognize that that's a lot of work; the smaller line would also help people grab just the ones that would fit their games - not every game needs have gryphons, brontosaurs, or yeti, after all.

The former would lend itself to POD sales. Not sure how that's working out for the company though, income-wise, and would be a larger project.



(Also, I found out the hard way that the dinosaurs in Lands Out of Time are rather anemic compared to applying GURPS Update to 3e Dinosaurs....)
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Old 09-03-2019, 08:20 PM   #4
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Default Re: Bestiary comment thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by Prince Charon View Post
Given the variety involved, this would likely be a continuing series... if enough writers actually take that much of an interest in it.

On a related note, the main GURPS Books site has a list of published books about Beasts, though it doesn't seem to include Pyramid issues (apart from one collection book, some of which have articles that would be useful, here.
That interest is I think the problem. Its been on the wishlist for a long time but few takers so far. PK did the Creatures of the Night series which was a horror based theme, not sure if that was as a freelancer or asst line editor.
Except for articles or adventures the rest seems to be from Kromm.
As for articles I would like to expand on my Animal Combat article.

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Originally Posted by Phantasm View Post
My preference would be the former, but I recognize that that's a lot of work; the smaller line would also help people grab just the ones that would fit their games - not every game needs have gryphons, brontosaurs, or yeti, after all.
Yeah, lot of work and a gamble on poor sales for both the writer and SJG which I think is why we have mostly seen staff writers tackle it.
I'd be willing to pitch a smaller project but I'm not well established and if sales were poor it might kill my chance to write the books I am keenly interested in writing (3 different magic systems and at least 2 more spirit related books). But I would so love to have someone, anyone finally stamp out the meme that GURPS needs a Bestiary. I'd much prefer to hear it needs more instead.
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Old 09-03-2019, 08:29 PM   #5
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Default Re: Bestiary comment thread

Maybe they need a "GURPS Bestiary" series names, a la Thaumatology or Social Engineering, and just update all the existing titles to "GURPS Bestiary: Creatures of the Night", "GURPS Bestiary: Monsters", etc.
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Old 09-03-2019, 08:39 PM   #6
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Default Re: Bestiary comment thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by Prince Charon View Post

On a related note, the main GURPS Books site has a list of published books about Beasts, though it doesn't seem to include Pyramid issues (apart from one collection book, some of which have articles that would be useful, here.
I just noticed it does not have GURPS Zombies on it, or Blood Types for that matter.
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Old 09-03-2019, 09:40 PM   #7
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Default Re: Bestiary comment thread

I suspect that most people who complain that there is "no bestiary" actually mean "there is no dedicated fantasy bestiary" a la D&D's Monster Manual (or the prior GURPS Bestiary). Or at least nothing quite as rich as the Monster Manual.
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Old 09-03-2019, 09:44 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by acrosome View Post
I suspect that most people who complain that there is "no bestiary" actually mean "there is no dedicated fantasy bestiary" a la D&D's Monster Manual (or the prior GURPS Bestiary). Or at least nothing quite as rich as the Monster Manual.
The prior GURPS Bestiary was mostly real world animals with some extinct and some cryptids, not fantasy creatures. GURPS Fantasy Bestiary was a separate book.

Honestly, Dungeon Fantasy Monsters covers the kinds of creatures you'd find in the D&D Monster Manuals.
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Old 09-03-2019, 11:32 PM   #9
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Default Re: Bestiary comment thread

I once contemplated whether a Bestiary might better end up as a back-door compilation of other products. I realize that’s the solution others fear, though it also seems a more likely way to get them written and sold. You might have titles like:
  • GURPS Aerial Adventures — with rules for dragon vs. biplane dogfights, magic spells for cloud-castle construction, etc., but also stats for eagles, buzzards, falcons, owls, and so on? (And gryphons, hippogriffs, and pegasi, of course.)

  • GURPS Fantasy: Familiars — with actual (not amped-up Dungeon Fantasy) versions of cats, ravens, toads, and so on, and perhaps a few oddities like hedgehogs, porcupines, or penguins?

  • GURPS Powers: Lycanthropy — with stats for wolves, dingos, jackals, coyotes, maybe foxes, and assorted domestic canines, along with myths and mechanics?

  • GURPS High-Tech: Safari — with rules for administering long lines of native bearers, etc., in Teddy-Roosevelt-style expeditions into deepest Africa or the Amazon, and information on exotic beasts like giraffes, rhinoceros, hippopotami, ostriches, hyenas, Komodo dragons, kangaroo, Tasmanian devils, and more?

  • GURPS Horror: Cats — with myths and movies about malevolent felines, and stats for housecats, cheetahs, leopards, panthers, lions, tigers, sabertooths, etc.?

  • GURPS Low-Tech: Beasts of Burden — with stats for oxen, camels, elephants, mammoths, donkeys, and various types of horses, along with amplifications for rules on barding, packing, and the like?

  • GURPS Low-Tech: Farmers and Hunters — with some of the farming rules from Pyramid; stats for game animals from deer and elk to rabbits and snakes; stats for domesticated creatures like cattle, alpacas, sheep, goats, emus, pigs, turkeys, chickens, and other small fowl. Oh, and rules for Celtic cattle raids.

  • GURPS Ultra-Tech: Uplifted Companions — with adaptations of the rules from 3E's licensed publication, and stats for original and variously modified gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos, bears, dolphins, dogs (again?), raccoons, parrots, and octopodes?

  • GURPS Underwater Adventures — an extension of the Pyramid article, with gear and so forth, but also with stats for otters, seals, sharks, stingrays, whales, barracudas, walruses, alligators, and the like?
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Old 09-03-2019, 11:37 PM   #10
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Quote:
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[*]GURPS Low-Tech: Beasts of Burden — with stats for oxen, camels, elephants, mammoths, donkeys, and various types of horses, along with amplifications for rules on barding, packing, and the like?
Speaking as someone who did a dive into the subject for Hall of Judgement, you missed reindeer. ;)

One thing to include in a bestiary would be how to GM animals, getting the right behaviour is at least as important as the stats.
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