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Old 10-28-2009, 05:32 AM   #241
PrinceYyrkoon
 
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Default Re: GURPS Does It The Hard Way!

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Originally Posted by Asta Kask View Post
No, it could mean (as has been stated multiple times) that GURPS is something of a different beast. That the strength of the system - its genericity (is that a word?) - is also a weakness, when it comes to writing adventures.

Again, I take this point on board. BUT, Savage Worlds, Basic Role Playing and the Hero system are also generic rpgs, arent they? THEY do scenario packs, dont they? I think it absurd to suggest that they do it to lose money, right?
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Old 10-28-2009, 05:44 AM   #242
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RedMattis

If these calculations were right, how would they account for Shadows of Yog Sothoth still being in print? Or the necessary, impending republication of Masks of Nyarlathotep? Or the success of the plot point campaigns of Sundered Skies and Hellfrost?

By your calculations, rpg companies shouldnt produce anything other than core rulebooks. Its like Games Workshop thinking that, because they sell more black primer paint than anything else, that is all they should sell. See the fatal flaw in the reasoning?
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Old 10-28-2009, 05:52 AM   #243
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Originally Posted by Brett View Post
You can't write an adventure that will fit into more than a few percent of existant GURPS campaigns.
Spelling and emphasis mine. ;)

There is one thing that still could be quite useful (and maybe already exists or was tried out decades ago) that would not interact with existant GURPS campaigns:

Is there a starter adventure that is compatible with GURPS Lite? Lite can wet your appetite for GURPS and role-playing, but I can imagine that some people will have a hard time understanding how the game works if they have never role-played before. Lite is mostly "Characters Lite" and there are only a few paragraphs that make up "Campaigns Lite". Even the homepage says that it's not ment for future GMs (those crazy people that buy the big books), but for future players:

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Originally Posted by http://www.sjgames.com/GURPS/lite/
The purpose of GURPS Lite is to help GMs bring new players into the game, without frightening them with the full GURPS Basic Set and a stack of worldbooks! With GURPS Lite, you can show your players just how simple GURPS really is.
So ... How about you take a blossoming GURPS _GM_ by the hand and present her/him/it with a prefab 10-page adventure. Introduce it with "Maybe you have a great idea what you want to present to your friends: A secret underground dungeon, the daily work of enslaved iron miners on the alien-controlled moon, or the political revenge of an aquatic angel that lost the last election. Don't worry, the GURPS rules will easily let you do that! But maybe you are unsure about diving into such a world-spanning epic story without putting off your players? To get you and your group started, here is a simple sample adventure that will teach you some basic role-playing skills. Don't feel confined by the story presented here. You can dump it and start with a clean slate for your first very own big adventure next time! To faciliate your own creative process, we have added some general tips for your and your players' guidance throughout the story that address usual problems that might arise."

And so on. Then add whatever fun adventure you can think of, whereever, whenever. It doesn't really matter as you have just explained to the reader, that the setting is only limited by their imagination. It's a practise session, run by the pros through the voice of a beginner. Point out how easy it is to adjust the difficulty of tasks, and ways to react if the players leave the roughly predestined path.

Nope, it's not something that will sell. But GURPS Lite is hugely popular, I believe, and this might make _playing_ GURPS Lite hugely popular. You know, millions of millions of paying fans on the first day! Promised! ;)

This is even something that can come from the forums, as those forum people prefer to work for free and are full of great advice! But it would need someone official saying "This is good work." and a link on the GURPS Lite page. The bait must be visible!

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Old 10-28-2009, 05:55 AM   #244
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Default Re: GURPS Does It The Hard Way!

GURPS generic quality may be a weakness when trying to write adventures that sell. But surely it's an advantage when trying to write campaigns that sell?

As discussed exhaustively above, the market for one shots for GURPS seems small. The market for campaigns hasn't really been tested. I think Operation Endgame is the only one on my list, and that's more a series of linked scenarios where the wider setting material relies on knowledge of the real world.

Let's think about Vorkosigan. I'm a big fan of Bujold's books, but this is the first GURPS 4e hardcover I might not buy. If it was half setting and half a linked campaign of scenarios then I would be queuing at the game store door. The book could even be bigger and more expensive, and I'd snap it up.

Why? Because it's a cool setting and I'd love to run some games there, but my adventure writing time is taken up with my existing campaigns. Note, this defuses the argument that GURPS fans won't buy material because it won't fit with their current campaigns. Single adventures can be hard to place; campaigns that come with their own settings are a diversion, and so have a much wider appeal.

The arguments around profitability on this thread are much more cogent, and what I'd like to see us exploring. Is there a way that we can get such campaign material produced?

For example, if Brett, Carnifex and I each wrote two adventures of a linked six scenario campaign set against the backdrop of the Tales of the Solar Patrol, as an introduction to GURPS, would it engender enough interest to increase the sales of each adventure to a point that it would make it worth committing the time to?

If the answer is still 'no', then there's our dilemma.

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Old 10-28-2009, 05:56 AM   #245
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Default Re: GURPS Does It The Hard Way!

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I think the problem here is that prospective writers want a fat check—to which I certainly empathize—but they're just not going to get one in this industry; not freelance, anyway.
Even writers who know not to expect a fat cheque prefer a skinny cheque to an emaciated one. And writing adventures gives you a leaner cheque than anything else. No THS adventure is going to outsell Transhuman Space, and THS will never outsell the basic set. No TotSP adventure will outsell Tales of the Solar Patrol. No Action! adventure will outsell GURPS Action!.

And even if you aren't in it for the money, writing adventures puts you are the bottom of the food chain for whatever you are in the business for. Adventure writers get the least glory, the least recognition, the fewest copies of their name in print.

Maybe it's a good idea for SJ Games to produce a series of adventures for one or more of their lines, and to produce better ones than the ones they have done before. But if it is a good idea then it is a good idea because it will promote sales of Basic Set and the lines supported, which is a benefit to Steve Jackson and the folk who get royalties out of the high-echelon products. It's not very rewarding for the poor schmuck who writes the adventures.
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Old 10-28-2009, 05:58 AM   #246
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Default Re: GURPS Does It The Hard Way!

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RedMattis

If these calculations were right, how would they account for Shadows of Yog Sothoth still being in print? Or the necessary, impending republication of Masks of Nyarlathotep? Or the success of the plot point campaigns of Sundered Skies and Hellfrost?

By your calculations, rpg companies shouldnt produce anything other than core rulebooks. Its like Games Workshop thinking that, because they sell more black primer paint than anything else, that is all they should sell. See the fatal flaw in the reasoning?
Read my post again. I was criticizing one method of spotting a potential buyer over the use of another.
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Old 10-28-2009, 05:59 AM   #247
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I somewhat agree with the idea that it's easier to create a label of 'typical D&D player' than it is to create a label of 'typical GURPS player.' I play both games; although there are a lot of different types of gamers I've sat with at a D&D table, I'd still say that -typically- there's still a smaller range of things to expect versus the wider variety that I've had with various GURPS groups. I've not heard of many of the other games you've mentioned, so I really have no idea about them.

Although I am someone who would love to see some sort of ongoing setting material created by SJ Games using GURPS, I can understand why that doesn't happen. What setting would you support? If you do offer more support to a specific setting, will this give the impression that GURPS is more geared toward one type of setting than it is toward another? Is the idea financially viable for SJ Games as a company? Again, what setting would you support?

I've posted elsewhere a few ideas about how a setting could be introduced, but I feel that would take the thread in a different direction than the original topic, so I'll come back later and link to the other thread I was involved in.

Before finishing this post, I'll say what I've said elsewhere. I feel that the GURPS community should take a more pro-active role in creating some of the things that we want. The tools to build with are available. I've seen some great beastiaries compiled and put together via the work of forum members; there are also a few good websites which convert the settings of other systems into GURPS as well as websites which detail homebrewed settings. GURPS itself does have a number of settings available.


http://forums.sjgames.com/showthread.php?t=63098

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Old 10-28-2009, 06:26 AM   #248
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Default Re: GURPS Does It The Hard Way!

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Maybe it's a good idea for SJ Games to produce a series of adventures for one or more of their lines, and to produce better ones than the ones they have done before. But if it is a good idea then it is a good idea because it will promote sales of Basic Set and the lines supported, which is a benefit to Steve Jackson and the folk who get royalties out of the high-echelon products. It's not very rewarding for the poor schmuck who writes the adventures.
Now this I can relate to. I'd happily create adventures for my-published-setting, but I wouldn't much like writing for IOU. (from a economical perspective)

I believe the original author of a setting needs to write enough adventures that the setting reaches a point where you've got a large number of consumers buying pretty much all of the adventures published. The point where the title becomes a safety zone where you can be pretty sure that your adventure will sell instead of just helping the author of the setting sell his books in the exchange of some spare-change in your own pocket.
Probably won't compare to writing 'GURPS Cool Gizmos' or something like that though. =\
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Old 10-28-2009, 06:33 AM   #249
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I'll add this comment about profitability and adventure-writing. It's not just about getting a reasonable paycheck. That's not an expectation when writing for GURPS as a freelancer.

But every writer wants to deliver something they can be proud of, which feels complete. An adventure takes vastly longer to put together than other types of material, and to get a polished finished product is hard, hard work. There have been various comments on this thread about how writing adventures is easy. Yes, getting the basic idea down and hacking out a few encounters isn't hard, but putting it all together in a well-written balanced framework, with good maps and solid stats where required takes effort. I've written hundreds of adventures for my own use and none of them could be handed to a publisher without considerable additional work and revision.

I've had two articles published in JTAS. The first, an adventure, took me months to write and playtest, and got an approval rating of 3.63 out of 5. I think it was a solid scenario, but it didn't appeal to everyone. My second article was supplementary material about passengers in cryogenic suspension. It took me less than a week and got an approval rating of 4.23. When you're writing for publication, it's nice to be published, and if you can write eight other articles in the time it takes to write one adventure you are sorely tempted to do so.

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Old 10-28-2009, 06:34 AM   #250
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i think you miss one point: a setting/genre doesnt only sell well and thats it. it sells still better when it is supported. and by that it grows.
That seems plausible, and I think it is true. But the crucial questions are "how certainly" and "how much". Writing, editing, illustrating, laying out, and printing professional-quality gaming publications is costly. The effort put into that (recompensed or not) is an investment of real resources that might otherwise have gone into something else. The question is "Which would make more rain? Getting TBC to write, whswhs to edit, Smif to illustrate, and the production staff to produce adventures that might bring in new players; or putting the same resources into producing a Low Tech Companion that will sell to the existing fanbase?"

Steve Jackson has been in the business thirty years, has tried nearly everything, and surely watches his competitor as well as we do. It is absurd to suppose that he needs a bloke with a pseudonym on the Internet to point out the possibilities to him. His considered answer is that producing such material looks like a good idea provided that the writers take a risk on the royalties. He has looked at the sales figures. He has looked at the other companies in the industry. He's certainly aware that he could get the material written if he paid 5 per word or even 4 per word up front. $4,500 up front would get him the copy written for a series of six adventures in a line of his choice. The other investments he figures on making anyway, as is evidenced by the presence of "Adventures" on the wish list.

For all I know he has actually commissioned that stuff, and David Pulver is pounding the keyboard even as we chat. But if not, it isn't because Steve Jackson is stupid, and it isn't because he hasn't thought of it. It's because he figures he has better uses for Pulver's available time.

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maybe in this approach we wont have another 150 or so gurps books. but we will most likely have one stream of well supported material and more players. and besides, who needs most of the 150 books anyway?
Well, I don't need a stream of well-supported material, either. I've never run a prepared adventure in my life, except when I ran one of my own. And I don't need a huge number of more players, either.
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