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Old 06-18-2021, 04:18 PM   #1
Navaronegun
 
Join Date: Jun 2021
Default First Time Poster - need advice for fantasy setting

Hi All,

I’m a long-time role-player and GURPS aficionado, but I haven’t played with 4th Edition. I’m planning a Fantasy campaign that re-rationalizes certain classic fantasy races and is set in a low-magic (none, really except for prayer and perhaps minor spiritual channeling) setting at start. Essentially the continent The Players come from is devoid of all that and has a very simple pantheon. However, the players will be engaging an open world discovery of a recently discovered continent with foothold kingdoms from the old continent present but with the vast majority of the new continent undiscovered.


I want the tech level to be 1450 - 1500 CE equivalent; mainly high medieval but with access to matchlocks, cannon, and three-riggers.

So this is an “Old World” exploring an unmapped, unvisited “New World” kind of campaign. Psionics, at a low level, are known by certain cultural groups in the “New World.” Like I said above, as the campaign starts, it i low magic. But I want magic (and Psionics) to be able to ramp up and have player characters able to discover/develop mage abilities as the exploration commences.

So I Have two questions for you GURPS Sages here. ��

1.) What books will I need. That’s the simple question.

2.) How do you suggest I approach Magic (and Psionics) practically in the system to get the results I want above. This feels like the tough one.

Thanks!

Pat

Last edited by Navaronegun; 06-18-2021 at 04:22 PM.
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Old 06-18-2021, 05:14 PM   #2
johndallman
 
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Default Re: First Time Poster - need advice for fantasy setting

Welcome!

Books that will be useful include, apart from the Basic Set:
  • Fantasy, as a guide to fantasy worldbuilding.
  • Low-Tech, and the Low-Tech Companion series, for equipment.
  • Martial Arts, if you want detailed personal combat.
  • Psionic Powers, for a detailed psi system.

For magic, there are lots of systems for GURPS 4e. If you can describe how you'd like your magic system to behave, we can guide you better.
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Old 06-18-2021, 05:19 PM   #3
Stormcrow
 
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Default Re: First Time Poster - need advice for fantasy setting

Quote:
Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
Martial Arts, if you want detailed personal combat.
Note that "detailed personal combat" means "much more detailed than the already detailed system in the Basic Set." You don't need this unless you want a lot more options in your combat than you already get. I didn't notice any mention of combat in the request, so I'm not sure whether GURPS Martial Arts is called for.
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Old 06-18-2021, 05:46 PM   #4
whswhs
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Default Re: First Time Poster - need advice for fantasy setting

Quote:
Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
Books that will be useful include, apart from the Basic Set:
  • Fantasy, as a guide to fantasy worldbuilding.
  • Low-Tech, and the Low-Tech Companion series, for equipment.
  • Martial Arts, if you want detailed personal combat.
  • Psionic Powers, for a detailed psi system.
(1) Note in particular that the chapter on magic in GURPS Fantasy (chapter 7, I believe) has a section on turning psionics into a magic system, titled "trance magic."

(2) If you want to look at magic systems in MUCH greater detail, I recommend GURPS Thaumatology, especially the chapter on "magic as powers."

(3) As Stormcrow said, you don't need GURPS Martial Arts unless you want to go into great detail on combat. I've run one campaign specifically to explore its options (set in France in the early 1700s), but usually I run campaigns with just the combat rules in the Basic Set.

(4) The other books I strongly encourage you to take a look at are GURPS Power-Ups 2: Perks and GURPS Power-Ups 6: Quirks. They're a marvelous resource for adding nuances to character design. For what you want, the chapters on supernatural perks and quirks may be especially helpful.
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Old 06-18-2021, 06:17 PM   #5
Emerikol
 
Join Date: May 2021
Location: Eastern Kentucky
Default Re: First Time Poster - need advice for fantasy setting

So here is my adviceÖ

There are many approaches some involve powers and some skills. A subcomponent of these are techniques for skills and talents/abilities for powers.

I would read these sections very carefully in the basic rules. The books Powers, Magic, and Thaumatology cover all the variations. If you want to be inventive buy Thaumatology but if you want a ready system Magic is probably your first buy. Powers is an awesome book but itís midway between Thaumatology and Magic in terms of prep level. For a magic heavy campaign you might still need something with examples of spells like Magic. I realize Sorcery is out as a download but it just gives the system and not all the spells.

Anyway good luck as I am doing a more high magic traditional campaign but all unique manifestations of magic so Iím hard at work. I consider all three books indispensible.
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Old 06-18-2021, 07:05 PM   #6
Emerald Cat
 
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Default Re: First Time Poster - need advice for fantasy setting

Quote:
Originally Posted by Navaronegun View Post
I’m planning a Fantasy campaign that re-rationalizes certain classic fantasy races and is set in a low-magic (none, really except for prayer and perhaps minor spiritual channeling) setting at start.

[...]

Like I said above, as the campaign starts, it i low magic. But I want magic (and Psionics) to be able to ramp up and have player characters able to discover/develop mage abilities as the exploration commences.

[...]

How do you suggest I approach Magic (and Psionics) practically in the system to get the results I want above[?]
Psionic Powers is a good starting point for psionics. You could enforce the low magic setting by limiting what your players can buy starting out.

It would be helpful to have more details about the flavor of magic in your setting. That way we can more easily suggest magic systems that fit your goals.

One issue I foresee will be the players affording their new/improved powers. Some of the magic systems are quite point intensive to buy into, and often prohibitively expensive after character creation. Players being unwilling to invest in the new abilities would defeat the intended feel for your campaign.

One solution to this issue would be to use time skips implementing the rules for learning skills/abilities through study. A montage of the players developing their new abilities does lend itself to verisimilitude. If the base rules are too time consuming you can reduce the time required for learning the new magic/psi.

Another solution would be to simply allow the players to spend their points to develop their new abilities freely. Limitations could be taken to make their abilities more affordable such as Unreliable or Requires Material Component: Psi-Crystals. Removing limitations with earned character points would also give the feel of the players mastering their new abilities.
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Old 06-18-2021, 08:20 PM   #7
Shostak
 
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Default Re: First Time Poster - need advice for fantasy setting

The suggestions of Fantasy are right on; it's an excellent book.

There are a lot of possibilities for magic, so Thuamatology is a good place to start (and I especially like the Path/Book system it describes), but there are other more focused books likeChinese Elemental Powers, Divine Favor, Ritual Path Magic, and Sorcery to name a few. Think about how you want magic to work and get the book that focuses on that. Books in the Powers series will make more sense if you have Powers to go along with them.
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Old 06-18-2021, 08:44 PM   #8
JulianLW
 
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Default Re: First Time Poster - need advice for fantasy setting

Sounds like an awesome game you're planning!

I would strongly recommend the article "A Little Bit Psychic," by Sean Punch ("Kromm"), from Pyramid 3/69 (2014). It sounds like exactly what you're wanting to do with very low-key powers to start that can be developed, eventually, into full-scale powers.

That article is a real goldmine for small, uncanny effects and powers. To understand it, you'll probably want to get, as has been recommended, Psionic Powers, which is a worked example of a power set as outlined in Powers. I learned how to build GURPS powers by reading Psionic Powers very carefully. There is a little bit of a learning curve.

Two other very valuable examples of how to build GURPS abilities, in my opinion, are Thaumatology: Sorcery and Powers: The Weird. Those three books (plus Basic and Powers, of course) will give you a strong sense of pretty how almost everything PC-related in GURPS works.
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Old 06-18-2021, 09:33 PM   #9
maximara
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Default Re: First Time Poster - need advice for fantasy setting

Quote:
Originally Posted by Navaronegun View Post
But I want magic (and Psionics) to be able to ramp up and have player characters able to discover/develop mage abilities as the exploration commences.

(...)

2.) How do you suggest I approach Magic (and Psionics) practically in the system to get the results I want above. This feels like the tough one.
It is because there are so many options for magic.

"Low Magic" in GURPS Fantasy is magic that anybody might pick up, without systematic formal study, and used in everyday life or emergencies.

However some people use the term to refer to High Fantasy or Rare magic.

By "be able to ramp up" do you mean in terms of power of available or the depth of the powers available?

In any case Fantasy and Thaumatology are going to be your go to books.
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Old 06-18-2021, 09:52 PM   #10
JulianLW
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Default Re: First Time Poster - need advice for fantasy setting

Another possibility for ramping up would be to let players purchase psionic abilities or Magery but then have no skills or spells. All use of psionic abilities (as Hard skills - as described in Powers and Psionic Powers) would be at default: IQ-6 or Will-6 usually. Likewise, players could have Magery but no spells. The acquisition of psionic training and spells could be a main point of the campaign.

You might also want to take a look at "Secret Advantages" (see the "Potential Advantages" box on B33).
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