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Old 02-20-2020, 01:34 PM   #1
Shostak
 
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Default Adventures in Transhuman Space

Games like The Fantasy Trip, Call of Cthulhu, and D&D are pretty straightforward in terms of what players can expect PCs to do, and published adventures are eagerly sought after by their player base. Indeed, some adventures, like Tolenkar's Lair and Masks of Nyarlathotep are seen by many as rites of passage. Transhuman Space is a superbly detailed setting, but there are only a few published adventures--about one adventure for every 10-or-so publications (I'm not certain, but this seems like an atypical ratio), and those few seem to have only tepid reviews on these forums. Is there something about this setting that makes published adventures difficult to accomplish? Or is it something about the people who play in the setting? In short, why are there not more adventures that help highlight the uniqueness of Transhuman Space? I don't think it is something about GURPS itself or GURPS players themselves, since DFRPG seems to have warmly-welcomed adventures, and there is another coming in the queue.
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Old 02-20-2020, 02:13 PM   #2
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Default Re: Adventures in Transhuman Space

Observe that neither The Fantasy Trip nor Call of Cthulhu is a setting. They are both much more focussed on a single activity (fighting with magic and mediaeval weapons in a labyrinth in one case, investigating the activities of cultists in the Cthulhu Mythos in the other) than an entire world (Cidri, Earth in the 1920s).

Transhuman Space involves a huge range of possible activities, conflicts, characters, and its very hard to come up with an adventure that any large proportion of them might involve. It is not straightforward in what a scenario-designer might expect PCs to do.
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Old 02-20-2020, 02:51 PM   #3
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Default Re: Adventures in Transhuman Space

TFT's default setting is Cidri, and the Legacy Edition even features a map of a portion of it. CoC's default setting is Earth, generally, and Earth of the 1920s is specifically detailed in the core books.

While Transhuman Space does not have a specific activity, there are certainly central activities implied with some of the publications in the line, e.g. Transhuman Mysteries and Wings of the Rising Sun. If mystery adventures warrant a book on the subject, one might reasonably expect that a mystery adventure might find an audience.
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Old 02-20-2020, 07:30 PM   #4
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Default Re: Adventures in Transhuman Space

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Originally Posted by Shostak View Post
TFT's default setting is Cidri, and the Legacy Edition even features a map of a portion of it. CoC's default setting is Earth, generally, and Earth of the 1920s is specifically detailed in the core books.
Having a setting is different from being a setting.

TFT can very easily be used to run adventures set in Nehwon or the Hyborean Age, without giving up much that makes it special or that you had to pay for. It consists mostly of stuff that is not particular to Cidri. CoC, on the other hand, consists mostly of stuff that Earth in the 1920s (as such) won't give you. Much of the CoC rules content isn't specific to Earth in the 1920s either; it's useful for Cthulhu by Gaslight and mythos adventures in 1950s and contemporary settings that we used to run even before Delta Green came out. But that goes more to help explain why CoC and TFT sold well and long retained loyal players. It's not the reason they worked well for published adventures, while THS seems not to have done so.

If a group is playing CoC their characters are very likely investigating Mythos phenomena, so scenario designers design adventures that are based on mythos investigations, which the groups buy because they feel confident they'll be able to play them.

If a group is playing TFT or DFRPG their characters are very likely securing and looting dangerous underground complexes, so scenario designers design adventures that are based on securing and looting dangerous underground complexes, which the groups buy because they feel confident they'll be able to play them.

But in THS the PCs aren't stereotyped enough, so that potential designers can't confidently or successfully design adventures that are suitable for most groups. If they try anyway, few groups buy the result because they don't feel confident that they'll be able to play them in their campaigns.
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Old 02-21-2020, 05:18 AM   #5
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Default Re: Adventures in Transhuman Space

The "Who are you, and What do you do?" questions are an issue with TS, to be sure, and one way I attempted to answer them was with the 4e Personnel Files line, which offers four different sets of possible answers. Note that each of these PDFs includes a sample scenario and a bunch of additional scenario seeds.
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Old 02-21-2020, 05:25 PM   #6
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Default Re: Adventures in Transhuman Space

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The "Who are you, and What do you do?" questions are an issue with TS
Yes, but I like wide-open richly-detailed settings in which a broad range of disparate adventures and campaign schemata are available. Which is why I have a copy of THS but no interest in DFRPG, and why my copies of TFT are 38-year-old relics that I keep for sentimental reasons.

I'm not saying that THS' broad range of possible characters and activities are a problem. I'm putting it forward as a probable answer to Shostak's question as to why THS doesn't have such widely-played introductory adventures as TFT or CoC.
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Old 02-25-2020, 11:18 AM   #7
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Default Re: Adventures in Transhuman Space

You may be right about a given adventure not appealing to a broad enough segment of the player base, but if so, that is a little disheartening. From my perspective, Transhuman Space begs for a sprawling adventure that explores a wide array of the signature elements and locations of the setting.
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Old 02-26-2020, 12:18 AM   #8
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Default Re: Adventures in Transhuman Space

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Originally Posted by Shostak View Post
You may be right about a given adventure not appealing to a broad enough segment of the player base, but if so, that is a little disheartening. From my perspective, Transhuman Space begs for a sprawling adventure that explores a wide array of the signature elements and locations of the setting.
Perhaps it does. If so I think the way to structure that would be as a self-contained or introductory campaign designed for characters who are a particular X who do a particular Y. Make it substantial enough that player find it worth generating character for, and give up the idea that it should be a self-contained drop-in module for any existing campaign. But perhaps then you would have a problem in that people with existing campaigns couldn't use your adventure and the people who need an introductory adventure would balk at buying GURPS, THS, and Changing Times just to run/play the adventure. You would need white-hot reviews, such as Masks of Nyarlathotep gets.
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