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Old 04-17-2023, 10:21 AM   #1
scorpion
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Default Guidelines for Points Total, etc. for my campaign

I am setting up a streamlined GURPS campaign. Players will largely be my wife and teenage children. We have teenagers willing to spend family time, so goal is fun and engagement, NOT realism.

Setting:
Victorian England/Earth - year is 1870
Alternative Timeline - Steampunk Aesthetic/influence, causes revolutions to largely fail, i.e. more European courts exist, so lots of court-based intrigue - think Steampunk Swashbuckling, with a crew inspired by League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

Play style:
Monster of the week - each adventure is self contained, because I'm not sure which kids we'll have
Substitutes ready - my nerdier kid may have friends join us
Play Style - Super simplified. For what it's worth, we're an observant Jewish family and generally play Shabbat afternoon, so no writing things down, computers, etc, so everyone's GCS sheet is printed, and everything is super simplified. If you are wealthy, you can pay for incidentals you need. If you are broke, you can't.

We have previously over the years done a Fantasy Game and a Steampunk Pirate game.

Each week: an NPC gathers the group, and dispatches them (via Airship) to whatever City on the planet they are needed. They then solve the Murder, Steal the Secret, Assassinate the target, whatever is needed.

I want the characters to be powerful, but still have room to grow.

Supplement's I'm leaning on heavily:
Steampunk (3E) and Steampunk 1 (4E) for background/NPCs
Monster Hunters - for paranormal/undead targets
Mysteries - for structure of missions

Supplement's I'm leading on less heavily:
Old West (3E) - for trips to the US
Magic/Thaumatology - For Alchemy ideas - largely for plot purposes
High Tech - equipment list
Swashbucklers - for fun story hooks, its the wrong time period
Social Engineer - I like this, players not so much, so it's more on background

TL: 5+1

Suggested point totals? I built up a character at 150, it was disappointing to build. The Monster Hunter templates suggest 400, which seems outrageously high. Is 200 or 250 more reasonable? Is 400? Is my anchoring to playing 3E w/ 100 points as teenager clouding my judgement?

I have been debating the use of tactical combat vs. simplified. Using Martial Arts+Gun Fu in Cinematic to make things more epic. I was generally planning to avoid the serious injuries. You hit 0, you pass out.

Any thoughts for how do I run this to:
Keep the game moving fast
Meaningful combat
Sense of accomplishment
Rapid character development
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Old 04-17-2023, 10:34 AM   #2
ericthered
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Default Re: Guidelines for Points Total, etc. for my campaign

The more math and detail you do, the farther a single point goes.

Which is to say, that those really high point numbers might not be as high as you think they are in this context. Also, 3e could do more with 100 points that 4e can.

you've also picked a really over-the top genre. 250 points feels like a good starting point to me.
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Old 04-17-2023, 11:02 AM   #3
Fred Brackin
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Default Re: Guidelines for Points Total, etc. for my campaign

Quote:
Originally Posted by scorpion View Post
I

Suggested point totals? I built up a character at 150, it was disappointing to build. The Monster Hunter templates suggest 400, which seems outrageously high. Is 200 or 250 more reasonable? Is 400? Is my anchoring to playing 3E w/ 100 points as teenager clouding my judgement?
100pts in 3e didn't leave you quite as feeble as a 1st level D&D character but it left you a pretty basic combat only type with stats in the realistic human range. 150 pts in 4e doesn't take you much farther. In 3e you could have straight 12 for 80pts and in 4e it takes 120.

Another thing is your campaign type which has extensive non-combat activity planned. Your PCs will need to spend cp on Status and Wealth, Appearance and Voice and Skills to go with them.

Swashuckling characters need DX and social characters need IQ and these cost more in 4e. Oh and Mental skills cost more in 4e even if Physical skills cost less. 250pts is probably your minimum.
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Old 04-17-2023, 12:50 PM   #4
johndallman
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Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Cambridge, UK
Default Re: Guidelines for Points Total, etc. for my campaign

250 or 300 looks right for this. The most similar campaign I've played was Madness Dossier, which uses 350-point templates but charges them for a 90-point patron, making the characters feel much more like 250 points.
Quote:
Originally Posted by scorpion View Post
Any thoughts for how do I run this to:
Keep the game moving fast
Meaningful combat
Sense of accomplishment
Rapid character development
Definitely consider using Wildcard Skills, to save the consideration of which skill to use. Monster Hunters has a selection of useful ones, and gives them extra benefits.

To have meaningful combat, make injuries hurt, and restrain the availability of instant healing.

For rapid character development, hand out more than 2-3 points per session. w12 is enough to buy up a wildcard skill.
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Old 04-17-2023, 01:12 PM   #5
whswhs
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Lawrence, KS
Default Re: Guidelines for Points Total, etc. for my campaign

Back in the day, I ran Heroes of 1889, a steampunk campaign partly inspired by the Legion of Super-Heroes. I still have a nearly complete campaign log. If you'd like to take a lot at it for possible inspiration, private message me with your e-mail and I'll send it along.
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Old 04-17-2023, 05:56 PM   #6
mburr0003
 
Join Date: Jun 2022
Default Re: Guidelines for Points Total, etc. for my campaign

Quote:
Originally Posted by scorpion View Post
Suggested point totals? I built up a character at 150, it was disappointing to build. The Monster Hunter templates suggest 400, which seems outrageously high. Is 200 or 250 more reasonable? Is 400?
Keep in mind the foes a 400 point Monster Hunter group is meant to face, they are designed to go up against groups of vampires. Not 1 or 2 and handful of thralls... but more like 1v1 vamps and then another 1v2 thralls.

So set those adjustments in mind.

Dungeon Fantasy sits at 250 points to allow for "roughly 5th level D&D" play, and that's a super 'rough' roughly, but it just about eqautes if you squint.

Quote:
Is my anchoring to playing 3E w/ 100 points as teenager clouding my judgement?
What did your GM usually throw at you, what were the PCs primary activities? Was it a "paper man of the week" game?

Set your adjustments accordingly. 3e to 4e rough point comparison:
3e 100 pts about equals 150 in 4e
3e 200 pts about equals 300 in 4e
3e 300 pts about equals 500 in 4e

Roughly.


Also, something to consider; it was far more costly to advance in 3e once the game started than it is in 4e. So you can start lower and then just hand out extra exp if you feel the PCs are under-powered for a bit and let them grow into the power level you fell comfortable with, then slow the rewards back down. Just make sure your Players know it's coming.
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Old 04-17-2023, 08:58 PM   #7
scorpion
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Default Re: Guidelines for Points Total, etc. for my campaign

Ironically, I've played more 4E than 3E, I just think I might be "anchored" low because of being a teenager there.

I think I've done 4E at 100 (bad idea, too weak), and 150 (still too weak). I worry that at 300+ it becomes easy to "take everything.

I'm thinking maybe: 250 with a 75 pt disad cap (I find too many disads and they don't play them).

Last time we played, it was 5 pts/session for great play, 3 pts/session for okay play. They advanced pretty decently.

Another thing I've always done, you can deploy your character points into anything you rolled a default skill roll at. That usually means after 1-2 sessions, anything the player forgot gets added.

I think the 3E vs 4E advancement is a good point. Again, "anchoring" - I'm thinking advancement is slow and hard, it's NOT, it just is in my head.

I think I'm going to fire up GCS with some 250 pt characters and 75 points in disads and see what it looks like.

Thanks!
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Old 04-17-2023, 09:36 PM   #8
Fred Brackin
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Default Re: Guidelines for Points Total, etc. for my campaign

[QUOTE=scorpion;2480741
I'm thinking maybe: 250 with a 75 pt disad cap (I find too many disads and they don't play them).

![/QUOTE]

75 is probably already too many Disads. Besides being forgotten by the players there are plenty of Disads that make work for the GM like Enemies or Dependants. Those need to be limited sharply.
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Old 04-18-2023, 12:15 AM   #9
mburr0003
 
Join Date: Jun 2022
Default Re: Guidelines for Points Total, etc. for my campaign

Quote:
Originally Posted by scorpion View Post
I worry that at 300+ it becomes easy to "take everything.
For "mundanes" it is. But once you start piling on several Attributes at 14+ it really isn't easy to "take everything". Also if you have 25 and 50 point "Powers" packages...

Quote:
I think the 3E vs 4E advancement is a good point. Again, "anchoring" - I'm thinking advancement is slow and hard, it's NOT, it just is in my head.
It's median now, depending on how much exp you give out. The biggest difference is Attributes are a flat 10 or 20 per level to raise, and skills are 4 exp [per lvel max, instead of bumping up to 8 or 12.

Quote:
I think I'm going to fire up GCS with some 250 pt characters and 75 points in disads and see what it looks like.
I'm with Fred, I think you'll be happier with 250 and 50 in Disads.
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Old 04-18-2023, 08:18 AM   #10
Stormcrow
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Ronkonkoma, NY
Default Re: Guidelines for Points Total, etc. for my campaign

The Basic Set, page 487, has your back here.

150 points is where the Basic Set says that "most full-time adventurers start their careers." This is a character who is "heroic" but inexperienced at that heroism. A realistic character at this level is at the "pinnacle of physical, mental, or social achievement," but a more cinematic hero is not.

200300 points is where "leading roles in kung fu movies, fantasy novels, etc." happens, and is also good for experienced cinematic adventurers who aren't necessarily the best cinematic adventurers. This seems to me where you want to be: you want a team that is being assigned to accomplish a serious mission each adventure, and newbies aren't going to be sent on jobs like that, even if they're cinematic.

I suggest 200 points: room for growth without going straight into "legendary" territory.

People will argue about disadvantage limits all day long. I worry less about the limit and more about what sorts of disadvantages are being taken. If you make it clear which sorts of disadvantages are suitable to the game, it won't matter so much if players take a lot of them. I also like to remind players that (a) they don't have to take disadvantages up to the limit, and (b) that I award bonus character points in part on how well they play up their mental disadvantages, including mental quirks, and if they take too many they won't be able to keep up with them and get the points for them. Between these things, I find that players don't go nuts with them.
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