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 01-13-2010, 03:09 AM   #1
gijoel
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Default Non Combat campaigns

Hi I've recently been invited to Google wave and have been thinking of running a game on it. Because of its PBM nature I'd prefer to run a campaign with little or no combat in it to start with.

I've done a few non combat games before. One was the Victorian Mystic Detective Agency. Where a vicar and the Artful Dodger investigate paranormal activities. Such as a vampire ghost, a zombie Mrs Rochester from Jane Eyre and uniting the future Lord Mayor of London with a legendary cat in order to battle King Rat.

Another was a great race campaign where players had to race around a fantasy kingdom for fortune and glory.

So has anyone else tried to run a no/ lite combat game? What were they? And do you have any tips on running one?
gijoel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-13-2010, 04:05 AM   #2
combatmedic
Banned
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: a crooked, creaky manse built on a blasted heath
Default Re: Non Combat campaigns

Most of my call of Cthulhu games have been light on combat and heavy on investigation. The players always had a lot of fun.
combatmedic is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-13-2010, 02:03 PM   #3
trooper6
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Medford, MA
Default Re: Non Combat campaigns

I was in whswhs's THS campaign that ran for 3 years and had the following combat-ish encounters.

Combat Situation 1:
Diurmid has seduced a suspect. While she is asleep he gets out of bed and proceeds to try and search the place. Her AI, however, is awake and attacks him. The combat looked like this.
Suspect 1: Suspect punches Diurmid.
Diurmid 1: Diurmid makes a good fast talk roll and says he was looking for toilet paper.
Combat over. I consider this .5 of a combat situation

Combat Situation 2:
We have gotten all the info we needed on the suspects and turned that info over to our clients. Diurmid, however, has decided on his own, that the suspects (more specifically the one he seduced in Situation 1) are better than the client and goes off to warn her that our clients are coming. She is at the train station escaping and Diurmid is seeing her off, when heavies from our client show up. Diurmid decides to pull out his electrolaser and fight them so that she can escape. There is a brief firefight. Everyone ends up getting detained by security.
This is the one situation I consider the only real full combat of the three year period.

Combat Situation 3:
The team had to escape from the Triads in Singapore. So we faked a public kidnapping. With us being the victims of the kidnapping, and our kidnappers being a rival Triad (actually they were our merc buddies from Montreal). So in order to make the kidnapping look good, there had to be a fight. This fight used a combination of actual fighting, Acting, and Stage Combat.
This was a real multi-round GURPS fight, but we were faking it...but I generally count that as a full combat.

That gives us 2.5 combats in 3 years.

This was a game where we were all detectives in Montreal.

I have run games with less combat. How do I do it? A combination of
a) combat being realistically dangerous...i.e. yes, you can die or be crippled.
b) having realistic consequences for your actions...i.e. if you kill people the police will come after you. Or that guy you got into a bar brawl with may sue you for medical bills.
but most importantly
c) The main challenge of the game is about making a hard choice. If the main challenge of the game is to get the MacGuffin, players might decide that fighting is the best way to win. But on the other hand, if the main challenge is to decide which of the two factions to give the MacGuffin to...well, no amount of combat will be able to solve that conundrum. The players have to roleplay out and decide who they want to give that MacGuffin to.
d) Have players who are interested in character development.
trooper6 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-13-2010, 09:01 PM   #4
Rocket Man
Petitioner: Word of IN Filk
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Longmont, CO
Default Re: Non Combat campaigns

Most of the In Nomine games I've played have been low-combat (at least, from my end -- some of my fellow players, by contrast, are experts at seeking out trouble). A "big fight" was usually the climax of a long built-up campaign, rather than a constant feature of it. That's not to say there was no tension, but rather that the tension came from:

1) Finding ways to avoid getting caught.

2) Resolving tough situations where violence wouldn't do anything. (Such as trying to help a mentally disturbed woman through her personal dreamworld, or slowly, carefully, bringing a demon to the point where it might be able to Redeem.)

3) Interpersonal relations and occasional inter-PC conflict. (Some of our characters are more methodical and subtle, others more ... shall we say, impulsive?)

It's not a style that works for everyone, but I certainly enjoy it.

(Note also that In Nomine is very "cinematic" in terms of its play style, but that there can be consequences for kicking up too much of a disturbance ... so a thinking player is still rewarded.)
__________________
“It's not railroading if you offer the PCs tickets and they stampede to the box office, waving their money. Metaphorically speaking”
--Elizabeth McCoy, In Nomine Line Editor

Author: "What Doesn't Kill Me Makes Me Stronger"
Rocket Man is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-13-2010, 09:20 PM   #5
Ubiquitous
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Default Re: Non Combat campaigns

Quote:
Originally Posted by trooper6 View Post
if the main challenge is to decide which of the two factions to give the MacGuffin to...well, no amount of combat will be able to solve that conundrum.
Oh boy does that ever sound like a bet.

As a general rule I find detective/mystery campaigns involve little combat; even considering how many thugs and meatheads you have roaming around storyline typically makes people wanna avoid combat so they don't interrupt the flow.
Ubiquitous is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-13-2010, 10:22 PM   #6
gijoel
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Default Re: Non Combat campaigns

Thanks for the ideas. Not really up on Cthulu mythos or In nomine to feel comfortable running those games. Had an idea where the players were SS officers in Nazi germany tasked with keeping nameless horrors at bay. Then they'd be given a choice in helping the Reich weaponize them or sabotage such a program.

They weren't really keen on that.

One of my players suggested a political game where they're on a generation ship that's just entered their target's system. The game will revolve around where and how they'll colonize the system. ie terraform, adapt to conditions or just stay in space.

What do you guys think?
gijoel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-13-2010, 11:32 PM   #7
whswhs
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Default Re: Non Combat campaigns

Quote:
Originally Posted by gijoel View Post
One of my players suggested a political game where they're on a generation ship that's just entered their target's system. The game will revolve around where and how they'll colonize the system. ie terraform, adapt to conditions or just stay in space.

What do you guys think?
Years and years ago, I ran a campaign that had some similarities to this. The setting was Earth in the mid-1930s . . . as an alien race entered the solar system by navigating their planet into orbit around the sun, and shut down the small artificial sun they had created to keep them alive on their journey. The PCs were (a) a group of diplomats from the major powers of Earth (America, Britain, Germany, Japan, Russia, and the Vatican) negotiating with the aliens to determine who would form alliances and gain the benefit of advanced technology, and at what price, and (b) a group of scientific advisors. Each player played one of each, with the stricture that their scientist had to be an advisor to another player's diplomat.

There was almost no combat; we had one fight at the very end. There was a lot of bargaining and double crossing.

I let the players play historical figures; we had George C. Marshall, Winston Churchill, Hideki Tojo, John von Neumann, J. R. R. Tolkien, Carl Jung, Enrico Fermi, and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin as PCs.

To make this work, you have to have clearly identifiable factions that the players can support and whose agenda they can try to advance. And you have to have players who are willing to take conflict between their characters in good spirit.

Bill Stoddard
whswhs is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
campaign advice, non-combat

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 04:43 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2022, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.