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Old 01-18-2010, 03:34 PM   #1
Cornelius
 
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Default A bit of Advice

I’ve been recently asked by a friend to run a game ( a brief campaign actually) for him and his pals. The guys asked me to use D&D initially, but after my refusal (I wouldn’t touch that system with a nine foot pole), they have agreed to try Gurps. This put me in a bit of a quandary, since I haven’t had new players in a while; in the last years in fact I mostly played Gurps with my own group and I’m afraid to have lost the “touch” necessary to enthrall new players to Gurps.

So I’m here asking for a bit of advice.

Preparation
I’m going to print at least another copy of Gurps Lite and I’ll prepare a couple of sheets with a redux of combat and the other main rules. Should I prepare anything else (a part from the usual set: maps, handout, pictures etc...)

Characters
Since they know nothing about the game, I’ve decided to keep things simple and create the characters using just the basic book, avoiding any supernatural power and ability. Mundane characters. Many new players are actually scared by the sheer amount of possibilities offered by Gurps and mine are accustomed to D&D and his “precooked” approach.

Campaign
Deciding what kind of adventure to run has been difficult. Consider that they have played only “high fantasy”, a genre that, after so many years of role-playing, I’ve come to hate with passion (really, I could do pretty nasty things to any bloody elf). This rule out most of fantasy and DF.
They don’t seem to follow science-fiction a lot and running a SF campaign without a common milieu is a recipe for disaster. Historical campaigns require dedicated players.

In the end I’ve restricted the choice to three campaigns I had hidden in the depths of my PC:

1) An Horror Campaign. The players are policeman that will have to face a foolish medium, the ghost of a former SS captain killed in the last days of the war, his not-dead-enough soldiers and possibly his demonic master. Setting: North Italy.

2) A Pulp Campaign. The players are WW1 veterans sent in the Far East in search of the fabled treasure of the Tsar. White Russians expatriates, bolshevik spies, femmes fatale, diabolical chinese crime lords and the baron von Urgern Sternberg will appear during the play.

3) The Age of Reason. The players are brought by a banestorm event in a world similar to our 18th century where magic albeit erratically works. After being “spontaneously” enlisted in the Prussian army (the seven year war is in full swing) the players discover that they have become pawns in a power struggle between two powerful warlocks. The campaign will be more a “light steampunk” with ritual magic and a lot of swashbuckling adventure than “High Fantasy”.

So what campaign should I run? And how many points should I concede? Are there any other problem should I be aware?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 01-18-2010, 03:43 PM   #2
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Default Re: A bit of Advice

good choices on campaign but I lean towards the first two more. As there used to High Fantasy I think they might be more comfortable and able to adjust.
I would also print out the combat cards which are free on E23 and could really save some time and give them something to look at thats right in front of them.
As they get more adventuous or such you can add more rules but teel them upfront the basic or light versions cover most things and the rest just gives you and them more options and ways to do things.
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Old 01-18-2010, 03:51 PM   #3
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Default Re: A bit of Advice

I like the third option the best, myself. It also seems like it is, in terms of flavor and content, the "closest" to what they're used to, even if it is a couple of TLs higher and quasi-realistic in setting. (Edit: And, of course, while I was writing, Refplace came in and said the exact opposite. I suppose perceptions may vary.)

Are you going to pregenerate the characters for the players? I feel like that, with some guiding input from the players about what sort of character they generally want to play, would be the best way to get new players going quickly and painlessly. Additionally, as D&D expatriates, they will probably be prone to making false assumptions about abilities and the like when they make the transition.

When I was teaching myself GURPS, I tried to replicate a d20 character of mine with the GURPS system and ended up completely butchering him because of the different functions of ST/Strength and DX/Dexterity between the two systems. If they make their own characters but end up with results that aren't true to their visions due to not being familiar with the system, they'll just get frustrated with the whole thing.

Definitely give them enough points to make the characters useful and skilled enough not to frustrate a player who doesn't know all of the ways to make the system work for him. But not so skilled that they can coast by without starting to learn those ways. Good enough with a musket to be able to make an easy shot without much problem, but not so good that they don't have to learn how to use the Aim action, for example. I would probably say 150 points is a good number.

On the other hand, if they're used to the high-flyin' style of D&D, they may get frustrated by characters who are too "mundane." This doesn't necessarily require additional points, but I wouldn't shy away from allowing some limited-cinematic abilities to satiate what I assume are their historical preference for "actiony" character behavior. Obviously you don't want to go overboard and turn the whole thing into an 1800s Crouching Tiger piece of nonsense, but enough for them to be able to do some "cool" things they probably associate with role-playing games.
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Old 01-18-2010, 04:21 PM   #4
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Default Re: A bit of Advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cornelius View Post
So what campaign should I run?
I'd present the players with a written prospectus with all three and allow them to choose.
Quote:
And how many points should I concede?
Include the point total in the prospectus (and since they are new to GURPS the "power level" category suggested for that point total in Characters).
Quote:
Are there any other problem should I be aware?
There are alot of basic assumptions that people with a strictly D&D background have when learning new game systems that might present problems.

First they often seem to have issues with the one second combat turns and the lack of any "rounds" in which turns occur. They often think that they should be able to do quite a lot in one turn and get frustrated when they can't interfere with their opponents without taking a Wait.

They often assume that characters are uninjured until they reach 0 HP, and are either dead or alive after that.

They sometimes have issues with GURPS's lack of a "Charisma" stat.

Looking at your campaigns I notice they all have a historical element, while some people like this, I've encountered a few players for whom this is a major issue. Perhaps you should consider including at least one campaign set in an invented world or in the present or future.
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Old 01-18-2010, 04:27 PM   #5
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Default Re: A bit of Advice

As far as campaign recommendations, email each of the players the summaries you just posted and ask them to vote. I just started doing that and I'm surprised at how well it worked. You might want to add a couple or a few more options (maybe Action!).

For points, I'd say 200 minimum, maybe 300. Perhaps split the difference and go with 250? Look at the more reasonable Iconics in Basic and remember that these players are probably used to a little more "over the top" than you are.

Don't just limit the character building options, make templates! Templates are close enough to classes to give a sense of familiarity, plus they are modifiable! The last group of D&D converts I ran really liked that.
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Old 01-18-2010, 04:45 PM   #6
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Default Re: A bit of Advice

You hate Fantasy but that's all they've played; so I think one of my questions is, do they only like Fantasy?

High Fantasy can be really effing annoying, but if that's what they want... *shrugs*

I agree with Landwalker, they might be put off by characters who are too "Mundane." So maybe Urban Fantasy, DresdenFiles-ish, or old technomancer? Or some punkpunk.

Unlike the others I don't think you'll have much problem with their characters. D&D is rife with house rules and homebrew classes. Get their character concept and then help them make their character, they should be pleased.
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Old 01-18-2010, 09:02 PM   #7
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Default Re: A bit of Advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cornelius View Post
Preparation
I’m going to print at least another copy of Gurps Lite and I’ll prepare a couple of sheets with a redux of combat and the other main rules. Should I prepare anything else (a part from the usual set: maps, handout, pictures etc...)
GURPS Lite might be a little much to plop down with them on the first session. I'd recommend giving the one-page summary at the beginning of the first session, and letting them take home GURPS Lite. If you hand it to them at the start they're gonna be thumbing through it while you're playing and trying to look stuff up instead of punching bolsheviks/huns/zombies.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cornelius View Post
Characters
Since they know nothing about the game, I’ve decided to keep things simple and create the characters using just the basic book, avoiding any supernatural power and ability. Mundane characters. Many new players are actually scared by the sheer amount of possibilities offered by Gurps and mine are accustomed to D&D and his “precooked” approach.
My earlier advice is assuming pre-gens. I'd suggest doing pre-gens for ~2 sessions to get a feel for the mechanics, then letting them build their own.

That way they'll know roughly what everything does in play, what skill and attribute levels are "good enough" for what they want to do, etc. It eases them into the mechanics first, shows how easy that is, then eases them into the character creation system.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cornelius View Post
Campaign
Deciding what kind of adventure to run has been difficult. Consider that they have played only “high fantasy”, a genre that, after so many years of role-playing, I’ve come to hate with passion (really, I could do pretty nasty things to any bloody elf). This rule out most of fantasy and DF.
They don’t seem to follow science-fiction a lot and running a SF campaign without a common milieu is a recipe for disaster. Historical campaigns require dedicated players.

In the end I’ve restricted the choice to three campaigns I had hidden in the depths of my PC:

1) An Horror Campaign. The players are policeman that will have to face a foolish medium, the ghost of a former SS captain killed in the last days of the war, his not-dead-enough soldiers and possibly his demonic master. Setting: North Italy.

2) A Pulp Campaign. The players are WW1 veterans sent in the Far East in search of the fabled treasure of the Tsar. White Russians expatriates, bolshevik spies, femmes fatale, diabolical chinese crime lords and the baron von Urgern Sternberg will appear during the play.

3) The Age of Reason. The players are brought by a banestorm event in a world similar to our 18th century where magic albeit erratically works. After being “spontaneously” enlisted in the Prussian army (the seven year war is in full swing) the players discover that they have become pawns in a power struggle between two powerful warlocks. The campaign will be more a “light steampunk” with ritual magic and a lot of swashbuckling adventure than “High Fantasy”.

So what campaign should I run? And how many points should I concede? Are there any other problem should I be aware?

Thanks in advance.
I like the first two, but I think letting them pick is a good idea. I think for especially the first one, you could have their pre-gens be the people who stumble onto the horrible truth and end up dead, and have the characters they create be the guys who investigate the disappearance of the pre-gens. Plus it'll give them an appreciation of the lethality of the offense without killing the characters they sweated over to create.

As for point totals, I'd do 150 for 1 and 3, and 200 for 2, but make those 50 points a "pulp hero" package of Luck, Hard to Kill, Attractive, etc that everyone must take.
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Last edited by Crakkerjakk; 01-18-2010 at 09:06 PM.
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Old 01-19-2010, 12:23 AM   #8
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Default Re: A bit of Advice

Take advantage of existing GURPS Aides available for download, for one thing:

Campaign Planner:
http://www.sjgames.com/gurps/resourc...gnPlanning.pdf

Combat Cards:
http://e23.sjgames.com/item.html?id=SJG37-0202 Very useful instructional aid, shows the Players things they can do in game.

Trait sorter.
http://www.sjgames.com/gameaids/gurps/sorter/

Go through the trait sorter for advantages, disadvantages and skillls, click submit on each one and print out the 3 resulting pages. Anything with a 'Recommended' rating should be highlighted if it's not in GURPS Lite. This is your list of traits not in Lite you WANT your PCs to have.
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Old 01-19-2010, 12:24 AM   #9
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Default Re: A bit of Advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cornelius View Post
I’ve been recently asked by a friend to run a game ( a brief campaign actually) for him and his pals

Preparation
Should I prepare anything else (a part from the usual set: maps, handout, pictures etc...)

Characters
...
Campaign
Deciding what kind of adventure to run has been difficult.
So what campaign should I run? And how many points should I concede? Are there any other problem should I be aware?
Combat sheets are a great Idea. Someone has a color coded one that is really nice! A simplified version for Gurps lite might be useful.

For charachters, regardless of what genre you play, stick to archetypes. YOu can enforce this thorugh party templates or whatever you like. Make sure everyone knows who the fighter/gun bunny is and who the Mage/Scientist is ans who the Cleric/Medic is.

For the campaign, do something straight up and simple. You can kill huge amounts of Zombies, Aliens/Xenomorphs, Robots etc without a single drop of guilt. You can add charachter rich bad guys as you see fit, but starting out simple is always my recomendation.

For Charachters and Points, I think 180/-35 (without counting ability sell offs) is probably what I would prescribe. That give you a budget of 215 to work with. Thats about 30 for skills, 120-160 for attributes, and about 25-40 for some nice Advantages.

Nymdok
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Old 01-19-2010, 12:28 AM   #10
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Default Re: A bit of Advice

A fourth suggestion: GURPS Cops/Mysteries. Time and place are here and nowish. The Action pdf series might be quite useful here. Guys used to high fantasy may be inclined to do something in the range between NCIS and Jason Bourne.
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