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Old 06-19-2017, 08:08 AM   #1
Toman Briar
Join Date: Jun 2017
Default Requesting ideas for a new campaign.

So I've been playing D&D 5th ed with a group for a while, and we've been having lots of fun. But the GM is feeling a bit burnt out and I'm thinking of running a campaign to give him a break.

I'd like to run GURPS, because it's my favourite, but it'll be a new system for everyone else at the table. What I'm thinking is, how can I best show off what GURPS can do? How do I convert a bunch of D&D players to the infinite complexity that is GURPS?

Any thoughts, or advice?
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Old 06-19-2017, 08:42 AM   #2
Hero of Democracy
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Default Re: Requesting ideas for a new campaign.

Well, that entirely depends on your group, and on what books you have available.

I suggest a genre that is not combat only: gurps shines in mysteries, chases, and social conniving. You do want to show some of it though: because Gurps has some awesome combat complexity.

If you have the books for them, Monster Hunters and Action both do this well: They support both combat and non-combat play, and they're pre-built genres that make character generation easier. I will admit though most of the time I play action I've mixed it in with a different genre-- with awesome results.

If you want monster hunters, here is an idea thread. Some of them are adventures, some are campaigns.

Speaking of Idea threads, we have one in the general roleplaying board.

I don't know that I'd suggest ISWAT for a starting campaign: It can be tricky for people to get their head around what they should build when they can build anything. On the other hand, I had lots of fun GMing an all mundane special forces team in infinite worlds trying to retrieve a captured conveyor from a Lich. That was a one shot, though I could have stretched the plot out to be a small campaign. I used Action templates.

But it all really depends on what sort of game you want to run, and what kind of players you have. So tell me what they enjoy, and we can give you better info.
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Old 06-19-2017, 08:56 AM   #3
Toman Briar
Join Date: Jun 2017
Default Re: Requesting ideas for a new campaign.

All I know for sure is that they like Dungeons and Dragons... Maybe I should quiz them a bit.

And thank you for the idea threads, I didn't think to search before asking (my bad).
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Old 06-19-2017, 09:09 AM   #4
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Default Re: Requesting ideas for a new campaign.

One of the things that attracted me to GURPS was the ability to do cross-genre with the same rules. So a "Thundaar" or "Torg" type of "kitchen skin" setting with magic, lasers, robots, whatever, is a great way to show off lots of things.

You could even convert their exiting D&D characters over and have them brought to this new world (or worlds), if the group would be more comfortable with that.

If you do plan on having them create new characters, I highly recommend either using the "character interview" or something like it then you build the characters... or building them with the players to guide them through. First time GURPS character creation can be intimidating.
My Blog: Dice and Discourse - My adventures in GURPS and thoughts on table top RPGs.
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Old 06-19-2017, 09:11 AM   #5
Join Date: Aug 2004
Default Re: Requesting ideas for a new campaign.

Ah! Asking a question like that around here, you're bound to get a lot of conflicting advice about this, all of it good. So take anything I say here with a grain of salt, and measure it against what others say.

But my two cents:

1) Don't start with Dungeon Fantasy. It's a great series, but if your group has just come from D&D 5th, and is feeling burnt out, then you'll showcase GURPS' strengths best by showing how fun it is to play in other genres. You don't want them constantly comparing GURPS to D&D 5th in their heads; you want them immersed in your game.

2)To showcase GURPS' particular strengths, my preference would be to go for a modern-day action adventure format. An easy way to do this without a lot of prep work would be to use either the Action series, or the Monster Hunters series - either would be great fun! No doubt that's what many would advise you to do. And that's good advice.

3) But taking a slightly different tack: in my experience, players who are used to D&D can find GURPS's commitment to realism/simulationism pretty amazing and/or shocking. This can be either wonderful or terrible, depending on how it's handled.

As a GM, when I do it right, and the players are willing to go with me, then this "realism shock" can make for some really great gaming - after the four-color, cartoonish world of D&D, GURPS can seem so gritty, desperate, real, full of drama. On the other hand, if I run it poorly, or if the players aren't open to it, then people can be left with impression that the system is nitpicky about small simulationist details.

What to do? Well, nowadays I like to take advantage of this "realism shock" (as I call it) by starting new players off with a low-powered Horror adventure. "You're ordinary people, going about your day in the city... then the apocalypse begins!" "You're a family taking a camping trip in the woods... but then, on the first night, your hear snuffling noises" etc.)

When players who are used to being D&D heroes suddenly find themselves playing very limited, everyday people in desperate situations, then GURPS starts to feel gritty and wonderful and terrifyingly real, and the simulationism of the system really shines.
My (ahem... hugely entertaining... ahem) GURPS blog: The Collaborative Gamer
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Old 06-19-2017, 09:14 AM   #6
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Default Re: Requesting ideas for a new campaign.

I was going to suggest bringing their D&D characters into a new world too. Possibly IW, or Banestorm them.
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Old 06-19-2017, 09:48 AM   #7
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Default Re: Requesting ideas for a new campaign.

May I suggest throwing out three or four very different ideas you'd love to run for your players and having them choose? I find that approach works well.

Since just about anything is on the table, I'll start throwing out ideas:

We come in "Peace".

Aliens have arrived on earth, bringing high technology and opening peaceful diplomatic relations with earth. Or so they say. They're really prepping for an takeover of earth, gathering information and especially allies among the pariah states and warlords of earth. They intend to arm humans to fight most of their war for them.

The PC's aren't buying it, and they're out to thwart the aliens. A lone scientist knows how to read the emissions signature of the super-science teleportation device, and the characters investigate why the aliens are landing where they are. Their task is to thwart the aliens actions, and hopefully to convince earth these visitors aren't all they claim they are...

Action fits this game well, but is not necessary. I also use the aliens from gurps space designers notes, but that's for convenience. Use any set you want.

The Sword of Ryland
a quick play I put together. Its designed around its pregen characters, but I feel its worth mentioning.

In a similar vein, The Mook has a bunch of well documented games he's run at conventions. They're spread across multiple pages, and they use pregens, but they're explicitly made to show off gurps to newbies.

Monster Hunters BIO
In the heart of Africa, and against the background of civil wars, unscrupulous factions experiment on humans in an effort to build new and terrifying weapons, while a group of extra-dimensional aliens find this the ideal beachhead for their invasion of a new world.
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Old 06-19-2017, 01:59 PM   #8
Join Date: Jun 2005
Default Re: Requesting ideas for a new campaign.

I'm running a GURPS campaign for five players I haven't GMed for before, including some who haven't played GURPS before. I offered them a list of four possible campaign ideas. They didn't want a campaign with magic; apparently they were looking for a change. I ended up running a game set on a version of Percival Lowell's Mars (the one with canals and an ancient, dying race), with late 19th century Earth people visiting and exploring it. In fact I used the "Dying Mars" setting from the 3/e supplement GURPS Mars, though I wrote up the Martian races in 4/e terms.

I had planned to run a campaign with a fair bit of combat. But in fact the player characters have often tried to avoid combat and talk their way out of problems; for example, faced with Martian lay preacher stirring up a mob against the "sky devils," they went and got a member of the local priestly hierarchy that had invited them into Cydonia, and then when the priest was losing the resulting debate, one of the Earth people stepped in and offered his own arguments, which managed to stump the preacher. And here I was all ready to have them fighting for their live against an angry mob!

Of course you can run a Monster Hunters or Action campaign. But GURPS also provides sourcebooks for a whole lot of game worlds. You might look at a few of them and see if one or another inspires your imagination.

Giving your players a short list of "campaigns that I think GURPS could do well" might be productive. I do something like that regularly.
Bill Stoddard

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Old 06-19-2017, 04:02 PM   #9
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Default Re: Requesting ideas for a new campaign.

I'll second the suggestion for campaign prospectuses (prospecti?), as that helps get the players to start thinking about RPGs quite differently. Here's a thread that includes suggestions about how other people hand them, including Bill, above.

Here's a copy of one I gave to players, a while back:
1. Roadmarks
Tagline: "We are on the Road. It traverses Time -- Time past, Time to come, Time that could have been, Time that might yet be. It goes on forever, so far as I know, and no one knows all of its turnings."
Genre and Setting: Time-travel with a twist to the ability to easily travel to the past, the future, and to alternate timelines.
Player Characters: Modern day individuals (2008) who either live near, or who have friends in, the Denver area. Characters will all know and trust one another at the beginning of the campaign, and find themselves drawn into the situation, together. 100 points.
Mission Statement: Explore the past, carefully investigate the future, get caught between truly ruthless established powers who have vested interests in protecting the current timelines, and equally ruthless insurgents who want to change them. Hopefully, make a little money along the way and don’t get killed, doing it.
Play Style: Merchant-adventures spiced with political intrigue and the occasional bout of ultra-violence, all the while trying to avoid the notice of those unaware of the existence of the ability to travel through time. Combat will be gritty and realistic, for high stakes. It also frequently means something, somewhere, has gone terribly wrong.
Source Material: “Roadmarks” by Roger Zelazny, of course. GURPS: Alternate Worlds (for some of the ideas). The alternate history fiction of S.M. Stirling, Harry Turtledove, and others, will also provide inspiration.

2. Dies the Fire.
Tagline: “Modern society suddenly and mercilessly tossed into a new dark age.”
Genre and Setting: Post-holocaust survival, in which most modern technology becomes suddenly and permanently useless.
Player Characters: Modern day individuals (1998) who live near, or who have reason to visit friends in, the Denver area. Characters will know and trust one another at the beginning of the campaign, and must rely on one another to survive. 100 points.
Mission Statement: Survive, prosper and start to rebuild, in that order. Eventually, start to learn what has happened to the world, and if anything can (and should) be done to reverse the Change.
Play Style: Hardship and stark violence, at the start, with an eventual segue into the re-creation of some sort of society, with all the politics, and even warfare, that suggests. Be aware! The GM has a strong background in Political Science and History, and will treat the development of social structures and new political institutions quite realistically! Utopias would work about as well in this campaign, as they would in the real world! Keep it real.
Source Material: The Emberverse series by S.M. Stirling, which begins with, Dies the Fire. Other post-holocaust, survival stories of the more realistic sort, will prove useful. Jerry Ahern novels most certainly will not, and attempts to move in that direction will seriously annoy the GM.

3. Tempest
Tagline: “Modern society suddenly and mercilessly tossed into a new dark age, but in this Awakened world, what dreams may arise?”
Genre and Setting: Magical post-holocaust.
Player Characters: Same as above.
Mission Statement: Similar to the campaign above, but with the presence of magic to provide additional complications – and opportunities.
Play Style: The presence of magical creatures will make initial efforts to survive even more difficult. The major differences will start to manifest in the long term, as the characters start to come to grips with the existence of magic and the supernatural, and bend them to the will of man.
Source Material: Most of the above, with the addition of Ariel by Steven R. Boyett; as well as (in the long term) elements of Castle Falkenstein-style ritual magic. Again, Jerry Ahern characters need not apply.

4. Castle Falkenstein
Tagline: “Magic and high adventure in the Steam Age!”
Genre and Setting: Magical Victorian steam age.
Player Characters: Brave explorers! Daring adventuresses! Dashing officers! Cunning mages! Mad scientists (but in a good way)! Clever consulting detectives! Loyal sidekicks! Faithful servants! Inscrutable Celestials! Ladies and gentlemen of good standing and irreproachable reputation! (Well, so far, anyway.) 125 points.
Misson Statement: The world has achieved an uneasy peace, but beneath the bright surface, menacing powers threaten to destroy this Victoria Age of Wonders! The end of the Recent Unpleasantness in the United States has brought peace to New World, but the other10 nations of North America fear the technological marvels forged in the crucible of war will turn to conquest in the name of Manifest Destiny. The defeat of the Prussian war machine by the combined arms of Austria and the Bavarian Air Navy, has brought Europa to an uneasy peace, and a newfangled “Cold War.” New powers arise in the Far East and the mysterious Incan Empire of South America threaten to disrupt the delicate balance of the Great Game. Explorers bring unbelievable tales of hidden lands filled with fabulous treasures and beasts long thought extinct! The growing rage between the Seelie and Unseelie courts force ever more of the Fey Folk to choose a side.
Play Style: Skull-duggery! Deeds of derring-do! Romance! Ballroom dances! Swash-buckling of a most satisfactory sort! The word “cinematic” barely begins to describe it!
Source Material: Castle Falkenstein, of course, as well as its inspirations -- the Wild Wild West, the Prisoner of Zenda, Sherlock Holmes, King Solomon’s Mines, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Jules Verne and H.G. Wells.

5. Reign of Steel
Tagline: “The war is over. The robots won.”
Genre and Setting: Hard science fiction, brutally dark post-holocaust survival, desperate rebel insurgency.
Player Characters: The best and brightest of the United States military, academia and NASA. 150 points.
Mission Statement: Volunteers become subjects of human tests for a new cryo-suspension technology that offers the hope of opening up the solar system, and perhaps even the stars, for humanity’s bright future. But when the volunteers awake, all hope for the stars has died, and all that remains is the struggle to retake the world from the tyranny of the machines.
Play Style: Razor-wire and broken glass. It’s bloody and painful, but at least it leaves you alive to fight another day. That means it’s a good day, and those don’t come along very often.
Source Material: The future of the “Terminator” movies, plus the GURPS 3e campaign setting.

6. The Commonwealth
Tagline: “The gate is straight, deep and wide, break on through to the other side!”
Genre and Setting: Faerie, magic, swash-buckling and exploration.
Player Characters: Modern day tourists trapped in a dangerous, but strangely compelling, world. 100 points.
Mission Statement: Thrown together by a disaster at sea, travelers find themselves adrift in a world of adventure, from which springs wondrous tales and deep mythological truths. Can they survive long enough to find their way home again, and what gifts will they earn along the way?
Play Style: A sense of wonder and danger. Of all the campaign ideas, this will challenge the GM the most, if done right.
Source Material: Joseph Campbell; “Silverlock,” by John Myers Myers; a dash of Brothers Grimm and J.M. Barrie; plus a heapin’ helpin’ of American folklore.

Eventually, the players chose Castle Falkenstein, but that didn't work out as well as I'd hoped. Their expectations and mine turned out to differ, too much.

The next campaign has worked out quite well, so far. You can see the session write-ups, in thread:

If you want a look "under the hood," as it were, you can see a more detailed thread with character concepts, plans and discussions at The Denver GURPS Group forum:

Hope this helps.
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Old 06-19-2017, 05:43 PM   #10
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Sacramento metro, California
Default Re: Requesting ideas for a new campaign.

I usually offer a couple of suggestions for any new campaign. The campaign planning sheet is a good tool for laying out general assumptions. You could tweak it after talking to the players.

Easy campaigns using just a few GURPS items I have run:

GURPS Supers/Banestorm (book was called Fantasy 2e at the time). We used the Banestorm setting, but all PCs were either Supers or used the standard magic system as they wanted. The game was not so serious--one PC had the Megalosan Wizard's Guild out to get him and rather than take out this superstrength fighter in combat, they used seduction or trickery to capture him. Said PC was often down to his skivvies needing saving. . .

GURPS Grapefruit Republik. The name is a long story, but this is essentially a biopunk setting. Think cyberpunk but with biology instead. The U.S. has been broken up into several new nations, including an insane police state in grapefruit-growing areas of the U.S. I've also run it as a psionic adventure one-shot and would do so again the next time I run GURPS if I have interested players. The GURPS Psionics series works nicely for this.

GURPS After the End is a 2-PDF series and would let you do some post-apocalyptic gaming. How grim you want and what ended the prior world is up to you.

I've used GURPS Supers IST a lot and various GURPS books on supers. Supers campaigns are easy to do in GURPS and the current edition of GURPS Supers gives you a lot of suggestions and some templates.

GURPS Powers would be of great interest to those who like building PCs. . .
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