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Old 08-01-2019, 05:40 AM   #1
RogerBW
 
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Default Campaign prospectus time again

(Not stated because the group already knows it: these would be run under GURPS.)

A Very Distant Mirror

The setting: an alternate 14th-century Europe. Barbara Tuchman's A Distant Mirror is not required reading, but will certainly inform my attitudes.

The characters: people who don't fit well into the standard societal roles. Minor knights with impoverished estates, mercenaries, junior priests and wizards, general ne'er-do-wells. Elves are most of the nobility (and, at best, whimsical and childish); dwarves who live in human society are generally looked down on.

The activities: go down holes in the ground, kill the monsters, take the treasure. For profit, or to defend the locals, or to recover items that wizards will pay for; ideally all three. If that's too safe for you, there's always war, or the royal court.

Notes: at least two popes, mystics and visionaries with influence at court, tremendous wastes of human life.

Passage Crew

The setting: the classic Traveller universe, specifically the Spinward Marches.

The characters: people with good starship operation skills who don't mind taking a long job away from home in return for uncertain pay.

The activities: take a second-hand starship from A to B. You'll get paid a small amount for doing this, but you get to keep any profit you make on the way, via trading, haulage, or informal opportunities.

Notes: an experimental take on the traditional Free Trader game, deemphasising the "keep ahead of the mortgage" aspect, giving you an explicit goal (and deadline), but allowing for a reasonable amount of choice about where to go and what to do. This is a campaign that has a defined conclusion.

Hurricane Season

The setting: Florida, modern day, with supernatural monsters on the rise.

The characters: people who don't really deal well with authority, but do have cool monster-fighting powers. (GURPS Monster Hunters templates.)

The activities: investigate problems that will often have monsters behind them; deal with the monsters, usually by fighting them. There will of course be a bigger problem to be uncovered.

Notes: I'll probably do this with a TV season structure, so after some number of monster-of-the-week adventures you'll be in a position to confront the major threat. After which there might well be another major threat for the next season. Not every problem will necessarily lead to a monster fight; sometimes it'll be human strangeness, and sometimes you may find yourselves in sympathy with the monsters. The authorities will not be sympathetic; you'll need to stay under their radar.

Carl Hiaasen and Tim Dorsey will be major influences on the mundane-life side (this is Weird Florida, where every second car has a trunk full of cocaine and/or automatic weapons, and the police are mostly just the biggest gang in town). For the supernatural, I've been watching Wynonna Earp and Lost Girl.
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Old 08-01-2019, 05:51 AM   #2
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Default Re: Campaign prospectus time again

I must confess that none of these compels me. But if I were choosing, Passage Crew would be a definite first choice, followed by Hurricane Season with a substantial gap, and after an even bigger one by A Very Distant Mirror. (The strong D&Dish elements are a big factor in this last.)

If you're looking for weird Florida, by any chance have you ever seen any episodes of Nip/Tuck? C and I watch all the Florida seasons. Its two morally challenged plastic surgeons ran into a lot of twisted situations. Other possible sources could be Dexter (the TV series; I looked at the first book and could not read more than a page of it, so I can't recommend it) and John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee novels.
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Old 08-01-2019, 08:47 AM   #3
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Default Re: Campaign prospectus time again

I tried Dexter the TV series and didn't much like it, but I'll look into Nip/Tuck.

AVDM is about as close as I'm likely to get to running "straight" fantasy again.
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Old 08-01-2019, 03:40 PM   #4
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Default Re: Campaign prospectus time again

Another TV series of RPG-compatible adventure set in Florida, and one that I can recommend, is Burn Notice. It gets eaten by its metaplot toward the end, but the first couple of seasons are very good.
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Old 08-01-2019, 04:43 PM   #5
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Default Re: Campaign prospectus time again

Agreed, I watched and enjoyed most of that.

Another:

Very High External Pressure

The setting: Alt-1960s, as the 1930s-model solar system (think Space 1889 more or less, though without the Martian canals) is being opened up by spacecraft with offboard plasma propulsion (that's Project Orion to you and me). Colonists are heading for Mars and Venus, only to learn that humanity is not alone.

The characters: The USN and VKF are stern-jawed scientists and military men, making the worlds safe for democracy or communism respectively. The RN makes do with the USN's leavings and tries to put its own print on a new age of colonialism.

The activities: as crew aboard a relatively small ship (though even the smallest are 300 tons), explore the surprisingly habitable solar system, and deal with human-enemy plots and alien subversion, as well as potential ancient supertech.

Cold War tropes, big fins and lots of chrome, Nazi remnants, swampy Venus…
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Old 08-01-2019, 06:08 PM   #6
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Default Re: Campaign prospectus time again

Quote:
Originally Posted by RogerBW View Post
Very High External Pressure
Not as appealing as Passage Crew, but I like it better than the other two.
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Old 08-01-2019, 09:05 PM   #7
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Default Re: Campaign prospectus time again

Quote:
Originally Posted by RogerBW View Post
Very High External Pressure
Of all of them, that's the one that would get my vote. I would be willing to play any of them, but I think I would find it tedious to play in a setting as interesting as 14th century Europe and spend it entirely in dungeons, and Passage Crew sounds like it could be dull. On the other hand, I know GMs who can make seemingly dull ideas into fantastic games, and I have little to no familiarity with the established settings or inspirational works you mention, so it's quite possible my personal doubts are completely unfounded.
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Old 08-03-2019, 11:08 AM   #8
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Default Re: Campaign prospectus time again

Quote:
Originally Posted by RogerBW View Post
Very High External Pressure
Cold War tropes, big fins and lots of chrome, Nazi remnants, swampy Venus…
Sounds like fun. Will consider as a future setting to inflict upon my crew. Doubleplus good.
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Old 08-03-2019, 07:52 PM   #9
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Default Re: Campaign prospectus time again

I am not in your target group. But for what little my opinion might be worth, I find my reactions to these prospects dominated by the activities suggested.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RogerBW View Post
A Very Distant Mirror

The activities: go down holes in the ground, kill the monsters, take the treasure.
Hard "nope" from me.

Quote:
Passage Crew

The activities: take a second-hand starship from A to B. You'll get paid a small amount for doing this, but you get to keep any profit you make on the way, via trading, haulage, or informal opportunities.
Still "nope", but with more "meh" than "bleargh".

Quote:
Hurricane Season

The activities: investigate problems that will often have monsters behind them; deal with the monsters, usually by fighting them.
This is more up my alley. Half my points plus half a point, rounded up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RogerBW View Post
Very High External Pressure

The activities: as crew aboard a relatively small ship (though even the smallest are 300 tons), explore the surprisingly habitable solar system, and deal with human-enemy plots and alien subversion, as well as potential ancient supertech.
Yep, more of my sort of stuff, but for some reason I'm not feeling retrofuturistic just now. Half my points minus half a point, rounded down.
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Last edited by Agemegos; 08-03-2019 at 08:09 PM.
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Old 08-04-2019, 05:49 PM   #10
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Default Re: Campaign prospectus time again

definitiely not your target audience... not willing to play GURPS anymore... but a couple comments.

A Very Distant Mirror
Under GURPS, the setting info is intriguing, but seems very much a mismatch to the activity.

And that's before the lethality level of GURPS combat rules potentially turning Monster of the Week into New physical disad of the week.

Passage Crew

It's not a bad Traveller motif, but the nuts-n-bolts of mercantile ships in Traveller is still "Stay ahead of the costs"... Fuel, maintenance, life support, repairs....
And repairs are potentially into the million+ range even on a low damage encounter.

Hurricane Season
Something I might enjoy setting wise for a mini-campaign, but not for 4+ months...

Very High External Pressure
Sounds like a setting I'd like to read stories in, but not one I'd like to play. Too much potential for radio to end an escape right quick.
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