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Old 03-22-2018, 02:34 PM   #1
Toaster
 
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Default Fleshing Out New Campain Ideas

Hey Folks. So, I've played many games, but never run one. Our previous GM had RL events remove him from our group. Which has effectively left no group.

So, I've got the bones of a game I'd like to try and run, but really not much more than a skeleton of random ideas. I've come here to list them out and see if you guys want to chip in and help.

The following is going to be a mixed mashup of ideas, in no particular order:
-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-

Base Game: TL 7+ (contemporary-ish)
Available Points: ~130 give or take; I'll put a pin in that later
Additional points: +25 (For 'Professional' ie(police, fire, rescue, army, etc) ) *Must provide detailed back story and explanation to qualify.

One of the 1pt Quirks, replaced with a 2pt Plot Hook.It seems the value here may need adjusting
** I could use a couple extra suggestions here
A Plot hook, is like a basic quirk, except that it is a cornerstone to your characters psyche, something that needs a 14 (maybe 12 or worse) to ignore.
-Indiana Jones risking his arm to grab his Hat, under the collapsing door.
-Tallahassee and his quest to find a Twinkie in Zombie Land.This is one of my favorite examples, How many points is this worth?
Something either easily lost or stolen, or like the Twinkie on the hunt for but unavailable.

I expect this will likely end up as a Newbie game, So I made a suggestion list of "Character Seeds/Class" about 10 each of Civilian and Professional builds. To help give players inspiration without detailing the story ahead of time.
It seems all of the best adventure stories in books and movies happen to people who happen to be there, rather than being Career Adventurers, Goonies, Stranger Things, Mystery Men(I know). ** I could use a couple other references if you can think of them.


The starting Location is a small remote village several hours from major centers, but located at a junction between highways. The area is used for plenty of sports (hunting, fishing, etc) the next town over hosts a large medieval reenactment event, the town itself is hosting a large week long music festival. The near by mountian has an observatory hoping to view a rare meteor shower.

So there are plenty of reasons to have critical population density in an otherwise sparse and vacant area.
Play for a bit and establish (Story Idea) introduce the players, in close proximity, not necessarily to each other.
Then have (Some Event) over the evening, so that in the early morning light the players can see "near the vacant middle of the field away from the tents and kiosks, is some topless chick in her underwear clearly looking for something and staggering obviously still drunk from the night before." The lure to attract at least one player to assist, and Roll to Dodge: She tackles you and tries to bite you!

What I do not want to have to do is tell my players it is a Zombie game until it is to late.Ok, point made by everybody so far the bait and switch is a party foul. Players will be made aware that the story is going to involve a different seed. It's an Adventure, waiting to happen
Then, if the game lasts to go multiple sessions, I want to ramp the difficulty over time, from a basic zombie game and turn it into Dead Space.

Please give me your thoughts, I'd love to hear the good and bad, and will take any suggestions under advisement.

Last edited by Toaster; 03-24-2018 at 10:11 PM. Reason: Tweaks and Clarification.
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Old 03-22-2018, 02:34 PM   #2
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Default Re: Fleshing Out New Campain Ideas

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Old 03-22-2018, 03:34 PM   #3
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Default Re: Fleshing Out New Campain Ideas

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Originally Posted by Toaster View Post

(SNIP)

Please give me your thoughts, I'd love to hear the good and bad, and will take any suggestions under advisement.
While not a bad idea, you do need to watch out for those who resent "bait and switch."

I once had a friend who walked out of a game (fortunately, not one of mine), because the GM said it was one sort of game, but then shifted it to something different several sessions in.

So, I'd warn your players that they need to build modern-day characters in a rural area who have backgrounds that gave them the skills needed to cope with a situation in which the fecal matter hits the whirling blades.

I'd also review their character concepts carefully. Anybody who builds a character with lots of wealth or status would get completely screwed by the collapse of modern society. You'd need to steer that player in a more practical direction.

I'd also pay careful attention to the inter-connectivity of modern life, and how quickly that can break down if you quickly knock enough links out of the technological network that supports us. For instance, most modern farms are highly mechanized. How long will the tractor remain useful if fuel deliveries stop? What happens to the refrigeration for the milk if the electricity goes out, and never comes back? How do you power the milking machines at a dairy? Or the center-pivot irrigation system that pumps water up from a well? What happens to agricultural productivity in the absence of fertilizers and pesticides produced as by-products of the petrochemical economy?

https://archive.org/details/james-bu...ections_s01e01

Most of the best-yielding seeds some from agribusinesses, and while they're genetically designed to maximize yields, they produce no fertile seeds for re-planting. Where do you get new seeds or, if there are some legacy seeds floating around, how badly does the use of them impact yields?

Of course, if you just want a game in which people have infinite amounts of resources to use to kill zombies, then that's a whole 'nother thing. If that's the case, ignore the realities and have fun waxing walkers. :)
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Last edited by tshiggins; 03-22-2018 at 03:44 PM.
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Old 03-22-2018, 03:46 PM   #4
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Default Re: Fleshing Out New Campain Ideas

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While not a bad idea, you do need to watch out for those who resent "bait and switch."

I once had a friend who walked out of a game (fortunately, not one of mine), because the GM said it was one sort of game, but then shifted it to something different several sessions in.
That is exactly the warning I was going to give. I wouldn't tell my players I was going to do a campaign of type A, and then give them a campaign of type B, or turn it into type B partway in; I would expect them to dislike and perhaps even resent it, because I would feel that way myself. It's not only that I would feel that I had been invited to create a character who wasn't suited to the actual campaign, though that can be significant; I might also find myself in a campaign in a genre that I disliked and would have refused to play it. In fact, a zombie survival campaign is one I would refuse to play in, and I might resign if I found myself put into one by surprise.

(Some years ago, I offered to resign from a GURPS Supers campaign. I had built a combat-focused character; then the campaign turned into investigating the secret conspiracy behind the emergence of superbeings, partly by socializing with Important People and partly by searching the Internet, and I sat through two sessions with nothing to do.)

If I were planning to surprise my players, I would tell them "your characters are going to find themselves faced with the unexpected." That way, when the Elder Gods showed up, or they turned the wrong corner and walked into an alternate timeline, they'd at least have known that something was coming.

It would also be important not to hit them with challenges that heroic adventurers could deal with, but ordinary people with more generalized skills couldn't.
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Old 03-22-2018, 06:06 PM   #5
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Default Re: Fleshing Out New Campain Ideas

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Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
That is exactly the warning I was going to give. I wouldn't tell my players I was going to do a campaign of type A, and then give them a campaign of type B, or turn it into type B partway in; I would expect them to dislike and perhaps even resent it, because I would feel that way myself.
Ditto. bait and switch is usually not a good idea.

Also, I'd avoid "If you play a cop and give a detailed history you get more points", that can lead to resentment by Players that aren't as good at writing backstories.
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Old 03-22-2018, 09:16 PM   #6
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Default Re: Fleshing Out New Campain Ideas

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Originally Posted by Toaster View Post
Available Points: ~130 give or take; I'll put a pin in that later
Additional points: +25 (For 'Professional' ie(police, fire, rescue, army, etc) ) *Must provide detailed back story and explanation to qualify.
None of the professions you listed is exotic enough to require a backstory justification. "I was in the army during the Iraq war" is plenty, in my opinion.

Characters having real world occupations should help with immersion. I'd recommend building every character around a core occupation template. For this genre, [100] point templates for each occupation sound right. Have the players choose [-20] points worth of occupation appropriate disadvantages as part of their template. I'd emphasize mental disadvantages here, as these will do the most to develop the character. This means that the characters would effectively be [120] point characters (120 - 20 = 100), which is in your target point range.

I'd also recommend giving the players up to [-10] to [-30] worth of optional disadvantages that they can take from the full list. That way, they can take any disadvantages that weren't associated with the occupation they chose.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Toaster View Post
One of the 1pt Quirks, replaced with a 2pt Plot Hook.
** I could use a couple extra suggestions here
A Plot hook, is like a basic quirk, except that it is a cornerstone to your characters psyche, something that needs a 14 (maybe 12 or worse) to ignore.
-Indiana Jones risking his arm to grab his Hat, under the collapsing door.
-Tallahassee and his quest to find a Twinkie in Zombie Land.
Something either easily lost or stolen, or like the Twinkie on the hunt for but unavailable.
These "hooks" sound more like full blown disadvantages to me. Note that Pyromania [-5*] would be worth [-2] points if you took a SC number of 15 and [-5] at 12. I'd recommend using the normal disadvantage rules rather than introducing this house rule.

In game terms, there are several quirks or disadvantages that could lead Indie to risk his arm to grab the hat. Daredevil certainly fits Indie. Likewise, Talahassee's Twinkie quest could be driven by the quirk "Likes Twinkies", or the Compulsive Behavior or Obsession disadvantages. The normal disadvantage rules will work fine for what you are trying to accomplish.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Toaster View Post
It seems all of the best adventure stories in books and movies happen to people who happen to be there, rather than being Career Adventurers, Goonies, Stranger Things, Mystery Men(I know). ** I could use a couple other references if you can think of them.
Make sure that your players are on board with playing "people who happen to be there". In RPGs, the typical assumption is that the characters are career adventurers. If you and your players are operating under different assumptions, your game will fall apart.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Toaster View Post
Play for a bit and establish (Story Idea) introduce the players, in close proximity, not necessarily to each other.
Taking time to introduce the normal town and characters is a good idea. Expect the players to try and group up their characters right away. That shouldn't be a problem as long as you don't fight it, though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Toaster View Post
Then have (Some Event) over the evening, so that in the early morning light the players can see "near the vacant middle of the field away from the tents and kiosks, is some topless chick in her underwear clearly looking for something and staggering obviously still drunk from the night before." The lure to attract at least one player to assist, and Roll to Dodge: She tackles you and tries to bite you!
That's a good hook. But I'd recommend having a backup plan if the players won't nibble.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Toaster View Post
What I do not want to have to do is tell my players it is a Zombie game until it is to late.
Then, if the game lasts to go multiple sessions, I want to ramp the difficulty over time, from a basic zombie game and turn it into Dead Space.
As the others have said, a bait and switch is likely to alienate your players.
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Old 03-24-2018, 05:17 AM   #7
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Default Re: Fleshing Out New Campain Ideas

Like others bait and switch often ends badly. You don't necessarily have to tell them zombies but do tell them that after the first couple sessions something drastic will happen.

Vet the characters for Advantages and Skills that will be useless after the event and either warn them not to take those or plan how to replace them. Wealth for example if afterwards it turns out that they are a part owner and only one that can be contacted of a local resort or business that will be useful to the party the absolute amount of Wealth might be lower but they are still one of the Wealthiest around.
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Old 03-24-2018, 09:52 AM   #8
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Default Re: Fleshing Out New Campain Ideas

Let me add my virtual voice to the chorus warning about the bait-and-switch. I know that a surprise twist can be fun, but it requires a situation where it won't be seen as violating someone's trust and/or wasting their time, and GURPS requires a lot of time investment.

So I'll echo the advice the others game; don't go into specifics, but be open that you plan on adding some "other" element to the game. Given that you're a new GM and they don't sound like super-experienced players, that might be the best approach. Otherwise, you might even consider having your first few sessions not be part of an ongoing campaign, so everyone has time to get a feel for the new normal. Being a GM can be really tough! I know I failed spectacularly at it. ^^' This way, both you and the players are free to find out what works without wrecking an ongoing.

This shouldn't be confused with me poo-pooing your ideas, but it sounds like something for a more experienced group (Players and GM alike). I think the other advice given is also correct; the stated reasons you give for changing things run contrary to the expected results. Quirks and Disadvantages of any capacity can be "Hooks" that help define a character; if a Disadvantage doesn't matter, it isn't worth getting any CP back, and players should be roleplaying those traits. Having a detailed backstory can help someone roleplay better... or it can hurt because it shoehorns them into a character it turns out they don't enjoy.

That is why GURPS allows up to five Quirks but also allows you to fill them in during the first session or two after play has started! :D I want to clarify, however; I'm not against providing an incentive for such things, but the amount of CP is a lot, and you might want to be clear that this is just "bonus roleplay CP". If someone isn't good at writing a detailed backstory, or just would prefer to fill it in after the first session or two... maybe allow that?
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