Steve Jackson Games - Site Navigation
Home General Info Follow Us Search Illuminator Store Forums What's New Other Games Ogre GURPS Munchkin Our Games: Home

Go Back   Steve Jackson Games Forums > Roleplaying > GURPS

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 11-19-2013, 06:58 AM   #1
trans
 
trans's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Augsburg, Germany
Default Harkwood - character points and players less-than-fluent in the language

I've been diddling with starting a 4th Edition campaign in Harkwood for my son and some of his friends, building a set of characters that could be PCs or NPCs as the mood strikes. With 150 points and 40 in disads I just don't quite seem to get them to where they would be really fun to play.

Part of this is the kids' expectation that every elf is going to be like Legolas.
I guess the obvious solution is "no elves", or to bump up the points and the adversaries, but maybe there is another solution that I am not seeing.

My second question is about real-world language. Some of these kids have only three or four years of school English, which as we know isn't always of much practical value. So far I have thought of letting their characters have disads like Confused and the like to reflect this, or to use mouthpiece characters who speak different languages (and there are mouthpiece characters built into Harkwood - SJ Games comes through again!)

But if anyone has other ideas or experience with players who have limited language fluency, I'd like to hear about it.
trans is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-19-2013, 09:13 AM   #2
davidtmoore
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Default Re: Harkwood - character points and players less-than-fluent in the language

You could start by upping the disadvantage limit; in a 150-point game, you can allow up to 75 points' worth of disadvantages. Or simply up the point total, or ignore game balance and allow elves to have more points than human, or just not allow elves. That's going to be your call, ultimately. All are perfectly valid approaches.

Making characters whose grasp of language matches the players is simple enough - buying their native language down to Accented or Broken is a disadvantage worth -2/-4 points (or -1/-2 each in written and spoken) - but coping with players whose grasp of language is limited is a different challenge. I would say it's not really a system issue, though, but a GMing challenge? Just take the time with the kids whose grasp of English is less-fluent to make sure they're understanding what's happening, or give them limited scope to "take back" decisions based on misunderstanding? Tricky; I don't really envy you the task. Massive props for doing it, though!
__________________
Doc Thunder Drinks Free
davidtmoore is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-19-2013, 09:36 AM   #3
trans
 
trans's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Augsburg, Germany
Default Re: Harkwood - character points and players less-than-fluent in the language

Quote:
Originally Posted by davidtmoore View Post
or give them limited scope to "take back" decisions based on misunderstanding?
Common Sense seems to be what you are pointing at here. Many thanks!
trans is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-19-2013, 03:24 PM   #4
sir_pudding
Wielder of Smart Pants
 
sir_pudding's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Ventura CA
Default Re: Harkwood - character points and players less-than-fluent in the language

Quote:
Originally Posted by trans View Post
Part of this is the kids' expectation that every elf is going to be like Legolas.
I guess the obvious solution is "no elves", or to bump up the points and the adversaries, but maybe there is another solution that I am not seeing.
This is a general problem with players expectations of GURPS. Some players who come from a background of old school FRPGs expect a "zero-to-hero" character ark. Players who read a lot of fiction may expect characters whose abilities are simply adequate to the challenges they face. Players who've mostly just seen Hollywood movies and video games expect characters who can do awesome over-the-top stuff routinely.

In your case, I think playing to player expectations is the best course. Rewrite Harkwood as a DF adventure and let the PCs make 250 point DF characters. Legolas is within shooting distance of a Wood Elf Scout, as makes no nevermind.

Quote:
My second question is about real-world language. Some of these kids have only three or four years of school English, which as we know isn't always of much practical value. So far I have thought of letting their characters have disads like Confused and the like to reflect this, or to use mouthpiece characters who speak different languages (and there are mouthpiece characters built into Harkwood - SJ Games comes through again!)
It's not like you (or your NPCs) are actually speaking Anglish either. I'd just run the game in German if I was fluent and my players were native in it. Give them the German GURPS Lite, too.
sir_pudding is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-19-2013, 03:28 PM   #5
Kromm
GURPS Line Editor
 
Kromm's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Montréal, Québec
Default Re: Harkwood - character points and players less-than-fluent in the language

Quote:
Originally Posted by sir_pudding View Post

This is a general problem with players expectations of GURPS. Some players who come from a background of old school FRPGs expect a "zero-to-hero" character ark. Players who read a lot of fiction may expect characters whose abilities are simply adequate to the challenges they face. Players who've mostly just seen Hollywood movies and video games expect characters who can do awesome over-the-top stuff routinely.

In your case, I think playing to player expectations is the best course. Rewrite Harkwood as a DF adventure and let the PCs make 250 point DF characters. Legolas is within shooting distance of a Wood Elf Scout, as makes no nevermind.
I'll go further and say that aside from the old-school gamers who constitute a dwindling minority of the RPG market, most players in 2013 want the movies-and-video-games heroes. This is part of why the Action and Dungeon Fantasy series kick off at 250 points, and why Monster Hunters starts at 400 points. Me, I'd never run a GURPS campaign on a budget smaller than 250 points just because I'd have no players . . . so I'd counsel ditching the implied zero-to-hero style of Harkwood and going with 250-point super-knights who can win 27 jousts and still have enough oomph left to hit the dungeon for some quick looting afterward.
__________________
Sean "Dr. Kromm" Punch <kromm@sjgames.com>
GURPS Line Editor, Steve Jackson Games
My LiveJournal [Just GURPS News][Just The Company]
Kromm is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-19-2013, 04:24 PM   #6
ULFGARD
 
ULFGARD's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Seattle
Default Re: Harkwood - character points and players less-than-fluent in the language

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kromm View Post
I'll go further and say that aside from the old-school gamers who constitute a dwindling minority of the RPG market, most players in 2013 want the movies-and-video-games heroes. This is part of why the Action and Dungeon Fantasy series kick off at 250 points, and why Monster Hunters starts at 400 points. Me, I'd never run a GURPS campaign on a budget smaller than 250 points just because I'd have no players . . . so I'd counsel ditching the implied zero-to-hero style of Harkwood and going with 250-point super-knights who can win 27 jousts and still have enough oomph left to hit the dungeon for some quick looting afterward.
I'd second that -- I'd go with DF Harkwood, which is totally doable. It's just becomes a bit more over the top.

Though I have run several lower powered games, I also ramp up fast enough that characters usually end up at the DF end of things by the end of a campaign (which usually means when we get tired of it).
__________________
Seven Kingdoms, MH (as yet unnamed), and my "pick-up" DF game war stories, characters, and other ruminations can be found here.
ULFGARD is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-19-2013, 06:18 PM   #7
Rolando
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Default Re: Harkwood - character points and players less-than-fluent in the language

I will add that as a GM part of your duties is to make everyone have fun, including you of course.

So you may play the adventure as a guide and increase the power of all the challenges but a few. In the joust, for example let them thrash most knights until some of the renowned knights appear, then things get interesting. Make dramatic descriptions and even over the top, specially when the normal NPC's are in danger... so they feel they are unbreakable, while Lady Durham is not, go help her fast kid.

If you want to teach them some RPG manners (this one is just a joke) and a more down to earth kind of game you may talk them about flexibility and different kind of "power" and games, just briefly, to not bore them down (is a real possibility), concentrate in that it is a side scene, and then give them some squires, pages and commoners to play some side quest. For example, what happen in town while the heroes are of killing giant spiders and or during the grand melee... make it as heroic as can be for some low level guys and make it as action packed as the high level one.

I have done this a few times and it is refreshing for the players, the players see a bigger picture of the world and they value they powerhouses more after it and respect the servants and peasants a little, specially if they get the opportunity to gang up on an NPC that gave them trouble while been powerhouses. The NPC may live, but scarred... or plain killed, but the main villain is for the heroes.

Just remember the objective is a good story and have fun.

Good luck!
Rolando is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-20-2013, 02:59 PM   #8
trans
 
trans's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Augsburg, Germany
Default Re: Harkwood - character points and players less-than-fluent in the language

Quote:
Originally Posted by sir_pudding View Post
It's not like you (or your NPCs) are actually speaking Anglish either.
The Denglish I work with almost every day might be pretty close :-)

Part of the idea is to make this an English language-learning experience. I think I will speak English myself and let other things fall as they will.
trans is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-20-2013, 03:05 PM   #9
trans
 
trans's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Augsburg, Germany
Default Re: Harkwood - character points and players less-than-fluent in the language

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kromm View Post
I'd never run a GURPS campaign on a budget smaller than 250 points just because I'd have no players . . . so I'd counsel ditching the implied zero-to-hero style of Harkwood and going with 250-point super-knights who can win 27 jousts and still have enough oomph left to hit the dungeon for some quick looting afterward.
You wrote the book(s), so I had better listen to you, but I might still try to get by with 200 points and giving out 4-6 per session.
trans is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-20-2013, 03:06 PM   #10
sir_pudding
Wielder of Smart Pants
 
sir_pudding's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Ventura CA
Default Re: Harkwood - character points and players less-than-fluent in the language

Quote:
Originally Posted by trans View Post
You wrote the book(s), so I had better listen to you, but I might still try to get by with 200 points and giving out 4-6 per session.
It'll be a lot easier to go with 250 as you can just use the DF 1 templates as is.
sir_pudding is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Fnords are Off
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 03:56 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.