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Old 10-14-2016, 04:40 PM   #21
lachimba
 
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Default Re: Least genre most low powered GURPS game that you have run?

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Originally Posted by sir_pudding View Post
I'm fairly sure that a lot (most maybe) of media with ordinary people doesn't have them even attempt adventuring tasks. Where's the adventuring tasks in a typical situation or romantic comedy or in a mainstream fiction novel?
I'm pretty sure most characters on 'ordinary' tv shows could be built on sub 50 points. Actually wealth and attractiveness are two things higher on tv than real life. That could be another 25 plus points just there.

But ignoring that take something like Breaking Bad or Better Call Saul.

Starting Walter White, Jesse or Saul Goodman are not more than 50 points if even 25.

Many Cohen Brothers movie characters are not more than 50 points.

Their combat, and struggles at the low power level are gripping on the screen. I just wonder if you play that level in a game.

Last edited by lachimba; 10-14-2016 at 04:45 PM.
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Old 10-14-2016, 05:08 PM   #22
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Default Re: Least genre most low powered GURPS game that you have run?

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Originally Posted by sir_pudding View Post
I'm fairly sure that a lot (most maybe) of media with ordinary people doesn't have them even attempt adventuring tasks. Where's the adventuring tasks in a typical situation or romantic comedy or in a mainstream fiction novel?
Well, I suppose situational comedy often makes hay of hilarious failures. Barring comedy, however, most popular fictional media has protagonists overcome challenges. Even tragedy usually has some initial success before the inevitable tragic end.

I don't know what 'mainstream' fiction refers to specifically, but if it refers to the kind of fiction produced by the most popular media creators of our generation, I'm pretty sure most of it is chock-full of competent protagonists, regardless of whether they are initially presented as trained professionals or ordinary people randomly thrown in peril.

I don't think we need to address the most popular fiction of today, superhero movies and the young adult novels of supernatural events in the modern world that popular movies are often based on. Whether Harry Potter or the Avengers, it's pretty clear that the protagonists are not very ordinary, even it is a cliche for those in the Harry Potter mould to initially believe themselves to be ordinary. I don't actually know whether the books which were made into movies starring Jennifer Lawrence had supernatural elements, but in any event, I'm pretty sure from a trailer I saw that there's no dispute about the protagonists being capable at adventuring tasks.

Moving to less superheroic fiction that has been massively popular in our day, that would be the likes of Michael Crichton, John Grisham, James Patterson, Robert Ludlum, Tom Clancy, Dean Koontz, Stephen King and Dan Brown. Leaving aside those who do not purport to feature 'ordinary' people as protagonists, I still maintain that any 'everyman' protagonist of these authors is a lot more capable than a 150 point GURPS character.

In general, Grisham's sedentary lawyer protagonists are capable of surviving assassination attempts by professional covert operatives, evade survaillance by same and finally bring down powerful conspiracies. Chrichton's unwordly scientist protagonists are nevertheless capable of car chases, acrobatic escapes, armed and unarmed combat and the like. The 'ordinary' protagonists of Stephen King or Dean Koontz novels usually prove quite adept at surviving supernatural horror. Even a band of children were mostly surprisingly competent, resourceful and courageous, in It.

Pretty much the archtypical media with 'ordinary' people is survival horror. I don't play any computer zombie survival games or watch The Walking Dead, but it seems from observing friends consuming such media and from playing boardgames like Dead of Winter or Zombicide that the 'random' survivors are usually capable of action hero parkour and operatic violence. A long tradition of disaster movies and books seems to feature 'ordinary' protagonists who are nevertheless tougher than Navy SEALs.

It's true that 'literary' fiction has protagonists like Holden Caulfield, who might have failed every single skill roll he ever made, or Stephen Dedalus, who didn't seem to make any attempt at anything and thus, didn't really roll against anything, but they are balanced against the Atticus Finches, who never fails a skill check, even when it's against Guns (Rifle) for a character who has no special reason or established background that would require him to be a cool and competent combatant in addition to the model of moral courage.
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Old 10-14-2016, 05:20 PM   #23
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Default Re: Least genre most low powered GURPS game that you have run?

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Originally Posted by lachimba View Post
I'm pretty sure most characters on 'ordinary' tv shows could be built on sub 50 points. Actually wealth and attractiveness are two things higher on tv than real life. That could be another 25 plus points just there.

But ignoring that take something like Breaking Bad or Better Call Saul.

Starting Walter White, Jesse or Saul Goodman are not more than 50 points if even 25.
That's what I don't agree with. Surviving a life-and-death situation without training once might be good dice rolling. Surviving a series of them calls for 14+ at many skills (whether or not the characters admit to having the skill), Combat Reflexes, Danger Sense, Luck and Serendipity.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lachimba View Post
Many Cohen Brothers movie characters are not more than 50 points.

Their combat, and struggles at the low power level are gripping on the screen. I just wonder if you play that level in a game.
Cohen Brothers do enjoy portraying failure, misery and pointlessness, but even so, the characters generally fail because of their fatal flaws, Disadvantages in GURPS terms, not because they are unable to succeed at adventuring tasks.

Take The Big Lebowski. Donny was a 25 point character. Donny didn't make it. The Dude has plenty of Luck and Serendipity to make up for not having a lot of adventurer skills. And Walter is legitimately scary in a fight, once it comes to it, taking out three armed men quickly and decisively with improvised weapons. He can also obtain an illegal Uzi at short notice, perform a skip trace faster than most real private investigators do and effectively assume a persona which allows him accesso to a strange house to interrogate a suspect without actually breaking the law by pretending to be a police officer. These are adventuring skill checks at TDM +0 (or worse, in the case of the combat).
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Old 10-14-2016, 05:47 PM   #24
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Default Re: Least genre most low powered GURPS game that you have run?

Let me somewhat cancel out my unintentional self derailing into the point cost of fictional characters.

One way of playing ordinary people might be to give all the PCs the meta advantages of luck, serendipity etc just so they don't fail their first skill check and leave the game.

So assume that. Assume it's 25 to 50 points plus campaign meta advantages. Maybe your disadvantages are the most exceptional thing about you.

Assume it's guns at 10, 11 or 12. No exceptional stats. Maybe five points in martial arts abilities.

Assume the fights are getting caught up in some street violence. Or a boxing competition. Maybe the opponents outclass you a little (outside of your meta advantages which are how you'll get through the story) or maybe it's you've got five points in combat skills and they've got one.

Have you run something like it? Would your players be interested or would they be waiting for the zombies to walk in or the powers to be handed out?
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Old 10-14-2016, 06:16 PM   #25
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Default Re: Least genre most low powered GURPS game that you have run?

GURPS 3E Bunnies and Burrows. The game is rescaled to rabbit level, so 10 ST is average for a rabbit not a human. So in regular GURPS terms we would have been negative points.
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Old 10-14-2016, 09:23 PM   #26
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Default Re: Least genre most low powered GURPS game that you have run?

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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
That's what I don't agree with. Surviving a life-and-death situation without training once might be good dice rolling. Surviving a series of them calls for 14+ at many skills (whether or not the characters admit to having the skill), Combat Reflexes, Danger Sense, Luck and Serendipity.
.

Ive turned my attention to this, even though it was my own derailment.

Saul IIRC never does anything combat related. He does though display adventurer level social , investigation skills and a whole lot of luck not to get killed by NPCs (I assume the other PCs have a campaign restriction on killing each other). Perhaps by the time he gets his own series I could even see him as 150 to 200 pts.

Equally WW and JP make a whole lot of rolls.

But all of them when they first started frequently failed and were only saved by the plot. They also didn't demonstrate all their resourcefulness in the first episode season.

I'd say giving everyone meta advantages, some genuine character advancements and allowing CP rewards to be spent on buying successes pretty much solves a lot of issues for the campaign.

The other thing is just to let the PCs get seriously injured or die. That's something that TV if not all fiction won't always be willing to do.


Anyway I was thinking more of Blue Ruin, Green Room, Heavy Rain type characters.
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Old 10-14-2016, 10:38 PM   #27
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Default Re: Least genre most low powered GURPS game that you have run?

A couple of years ago, we played 25 point characters; in the first session we were impressed into the British army, shipped overseas, and stationed in St. Johns, Newfoundland, Canada.

Of course, not that long after we were 200 point time travelers with exotic advantages (Regeneration, Gadgeteer, Gunslinger, Snatcher), facing cyborgs, a T-Rex, and a mecha-Kraken.
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Old 10-15-2016, 04:45 AM   #28
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Default Re: Least genre most low powered GURPS game that you have run?

I have never played or run in really low power campaigns. The lowest have been several with about 100 starting points, like my current fantasy campaign that started at 100 points.
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Old 10-15-2016, 10:21 AM   #29
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Default Re: Least genre most low powered GURPS game that you have run?

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Originally Posted by lachimba View Post
What's the least genre most low powered GURPS game that you have run?


I've long considered an 'Ordinary f&^#ing people' campaign with 25 point PCs no powers, no magic.
While I am a fan of low points value campaigns, c50 points before disadvantages is about the lowest that I have either run or played in for more than about two sessions.

Given my preference for SF and Low Fantasy 'least genre' (as in ordinary people facing ordinary challenges) is very relative these things will always be there in the background.

Probably the least genre campaign I have been involved in was a post Apocalypse campaign I played in but helped write background for. We had fifty point everyman characters with lower end professional skills (level 12-13), 'incidental' levels of combat skills (say 10-12) and limited disadvantages. Primary threats were other survivors (operating on about the same level), environmental hazards, and a pack of feral dogs.
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Old 10-15-2016, 11:14 AM   #30
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Default Re: Least genre most low powered GURPS game that you have run?

Ran low-power pirates games twice, lots of fun.

The key thing is that people without great abilities or defenses surrender.
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