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Old 06-08-2008, 08:35 PM   #61
malloyd
 
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Default Re: Does GURPS need original-setting world books?

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Originally Posted by Agemegos
I reckon that the best approach is to pick a point in time, or a stretch of time with an established time-line, and stick to it. The core setting book ought to amount to an introduction and summary that remains valid and adequate even as the supplements and adventures are published. Supplements ought to flesh things out, fill in detail. They ought not to change anything or add major features.
Yes, but. This approach means much lower sales, and hence that the line will not get many supplements. You are essentially constrained by definition to stuff that isn't all that important, and hence probably won't be on the must have list of your fans. And the best approach, focusing by region, is particularly vulnerable to this. Your existing fans have started a campaign and either made up the necessary stuff that wasn't in the core rules for the region they are playing in (and your new region book for it is useless since it contradicts what they are already doing) or else your new region book is useless since their campaign isn't set there.

If you are frozen in time it's even worse, as their campaigns long ago ran on into the future, so even if they plan to use the region your new book covers, they have no use for detailed information about how the locals are reacting to a recent major event from the core rules that is long over in their campaign. But yeah, if you have a meta-plot, you need an outline and timeline for the whole thing in the core book. It's then possible to run the campaign in the same mode as a historical game, and the GM can at least consider whether he wants to run an alternate timeline or if he should just fudge the die rolls when the PCs accidentally kill Sir Modred at his first tournament.
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Old 06-08-2008, 08:57 PM   #62
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Default Re: My problem with Yrth

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Originally Posted by Caleban

Looking at the elder races. Fantasy 3E states that the elder races don't have a religion but rather more of a philosophy of honoring the eternal. What? They never tried to answer questions like:
Um, you do know there are real Earthly faiths that are similar to the elder races positions right? And that most of these questions are quite addressable within them, or indeed within philosophies that are not grounded in religious beliefs at all. Well OK, some of them are totally meaningless without a specific religious belief - questions about the role of something in creation seem to presuppose both the universe is created and that things need to have final causes (telos) for example, neither of which is necessarily true.
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Old 06-08-2008, 09:18 PM   #63
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Default Re: Does GURPS need original-setting world books?

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Originally Posted by Caleban
Earth religions would not fare well in Yrth with out major reformations.
This one I rather agree on. It does rather strain credibility that Yrth has largely ended up with religions that so closely parallel those of Earth. Indeed often they manage to parallel their Earthly counterparts even when the Earthly version has changed since the ca 1050 divergence point.

I do think you are over-obsessing about cosmology though, most people don't really care all that much. Now how to react to new everyday phenomena like magic and non-human races (and odd humans, after all the Banestorm mixes up cultures pretty drastically too), those ought to be volatile, routine practices that have to change in the new conditions ("Wait, this means the merchant's probably *won't* arrive this year with the communion wine" - about the only one Yrth addresses is the Muslim qiblah, and that one in a way that doesn't seem too plausible), and the outcomes of debates that hadn't been settled yet on Earth (lay investiture for example, this one *has* to come out differently in the absence of a Pope, and you'd expect it too anyway given the early communities will have to figure out how to replace their clergy when they aren't in contact with anybody)
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Old 06-08-2008, 09:26 PM   #64
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Default Re: Does GURPS need original-setting world books?

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Originally Posted by blacksmith
See this is exactly why it does not work. You show why such a setting could not work in GURPS precisely there, too many people with to many views on what vampires should be.

You dismiss many of the settings that have been produced that fit that because one small element is not to your taste, demonstrateing why any such setting that you want would be rejected by most gamers like you.
That's nonsense. I can tell you based on the time frame when GURPS Black Ops was written the way to make vampires interesting to an occult investigation agency tasked with finding out the threats and exterminating them was NOT what was done with GURPS Black Ops. Quite frankly it was a move that went counter to all the pop culture icons for vamps at the time. Almost any other interpretation would have worked. It wasn't that vampires can fly vs. ones that can't or vampires are affected by silver weapons, not just wood stakes. GURPS Black Ops simply made them boring prey with no intelligence. The cool factor was entirely eliminated.

First edition Shadowrun had an incredibly interesting and cinematic cover. It caused me to walk over and pick the book up. The setting was at once unlike anything I'd ever seen before, but also very familiar. It mixed the old with the new. The setting was rich and detailed and interesting enough to suspend my disbelief and overlook the occasional problem in the setting. It was compelling.

The closest GURPS has come to this is Autoduel and Transhuman Space (THS). Autoduel is rather old and perhaps the window for that genre has past. THS is still fresh. The problem is presenting it in a way that attracts a bigger audience. The THS cover while quite artistic, gives the potential customer absolutely no sense of what the setting is about. The details are washed out and from a distance it really looks more like a cover for a roleplaying game of US-Soviet 1960's style space race. Christopher Shy is perhaps one of the better artists that SJ Games has used, but for cover art, it's just not a good idea to use him since his work just really doesn't convey the necessary information to draw a gamer into the setting. His interior artwork certainly conveys mood and adds consistency, but I'd have added a couple of other artists to handle things like illustration of gear so it would be more informative and not just evocative.
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Old 06-08-2008, 09:35 PM   #65
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Default Re: Does GURPS need original-setting world books?

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Originally Posted by Caleban
The responses to my objections about Yrth's religion strike me as a lot of hand waving. They ring to my ear like: "Never mind if the details don't stand up to close scrutiny. They are unimportant" or "It just is."
Do note though that this *is* a valid answer for Yrth. A good many things were set entirely for purposes of enabling particular themes and not because they were especially plausible extrapolations. Some effort has gone into tightening up the logic, but the designers certainly didn't weight that *more* heavily than including specific traditional cool stuff. This is a design decision really, and personally I might have preferred moving even further away from trying to make sense of stuff via Banestorm effects and historical contingencies. Internal consistency and minimal number of miracles or change points are not nearly as important to fantasy as to say hard SF or alternate history.
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Old 06-09-2008, 06:10 AM   #66
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Default Re: Does GURPS need original-setting world books?

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Originally Posted by griffin
That's nonsense. I can tell you based on the time frame when GURPS Black Ops was written the way to make vampires interesting to an occult investigation agency tasked with finding out the threats and exterminating them was NOT what was done with GURPS Black Ops. Quite frankly it was a move that went counter to all the pop culture icons for vamps at the time. Almost any other interpretation would have worked. It wasn't that vampires can fly vs. ones that can't or vampires are affected by silver weapons, not just wood stakes. GURPS Black Ops simply made them boring prey with no intelligence. The cool factor was entirely eliminated.
So it should have bowed down to the sexy sophisticated vampire? Bucking that trend and presenting more traditional vampires is just too orrigional for you it seems. This small point of individual taste put you off the whole setting, this is bound to happened if most GURPS players are as picky as you.

You are providing a perfect demonstration of why GURPS players are not going to accept any setting.

As to other orrigional settings you failed to address, what about cabal, or Voodoo?

You have shown that minor elements will drive you from a setting. Well any setting is going to have styleistic choices different than you would make that will likely drive you from it.
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Old 06-09-2008, 06:54 AM   #67
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Default Re: Does GURPS need original-setting world books?

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Originally Posted by blacksmith
So it should have bowed down to the sexy sophisticated vampire? Bucking that trend and presenting more traditional vampires is just too orrigional for you it seems. This small point of individual taste put you off the whole setting, this is bound to happened if most GURPS players are as picky as you.

You are providing a perfect demonstration of why GURPS players are not going to accept any setting.

As to other orrigional settings you failed to address, what about cabal, or Voodoo?

You have shown that minor elements will drive you from a setting. Well any setting is going to have styleistic choices different than you would make that will likely drive you from it.
I'm not sure I buy this premise.

People choose one setting over another all the time. I imagine that, since choosing a setting is a temporary decision, like choosing what TV show one will watch tonight (but not EVERY night), unique features are part of what attracts people to a particular setting rather than driving them away.

As for the actual writing, it would be a simple matter to point out that, in campaigns involving other timelines, one is not bound to the any "native limitations." For example, perhaps vampires are mindless beasts in one timeline. But vampires from OTHER timelines might not be.

In fact, one could build an interesting campaign around the presence of vampires who, "impossibly," were not mindless.

And making them mindless beasts does not make them boring, although it does make them more akin to zombies than traditional vampires. You can do a lot in terms of campaign design with such creatures.

But, again, I think the real issue is that Black Ops, although an interesting setting (not one of my favorites, but interesting) is "unsupported." The core world book was published and, as far as I can tell, that was it. People who invest in a setting want to see new material for it on a regular basis.

I've said earlier that I think one way (perhaps the most practical way) to do this is through e23. A series of short e-books, published at regular intervals, provides players with a stream of new material that keeps them interested and keeps them from moving on to another setting; the first e-book is the general core book and the rest are specific settings, adventure modules, catalogs of monsters, etc. And each four books or so are designed, in advance, to eventually be republished as a PoD softcover "anthology."

And, as I've said before, the real key is getting people to write them. Of course, if I'm right about all this, that also means getting those writers to commit, in advance, to a long term project and then stick to a schedule. That isn't always the easiest thing to do.

Mark
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Old 06-09-2008, 07:09 AM   #68
blacksmith
 
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Default Re: Does GURPS need original-setting world books?

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Originally Posted by Mgellis
I'm not sure I buy this premise.

People choose one setting over another all the time. I imagine that, since choosing a setting is a temporary decision, like choosing what TV show one will watch tonight (but not EVERY night), unique features are part of what attracts people to a particular setting rather than driving them away.
Sure and if they don't like what color shirt the actor is wearing in one show they will refuse to watch the show ever again.

Vampires are a minor minor element of black ops. They are not supposted to be one of the more major threats. So it is not like much space is given to them.

He is essentialy objecting to single monster write up as a reason not to play a setting. It is something so trivial to change or suplement that he seems to be trying for reasons not to play in a setting.
Quote:
As for the actual writing, it would be a simple matter to point out that, in campaigns involving other timelines, one is not bound to the any "native limitations." For example, perhaps vampires are mindless beasts in one timeline. But vampires from OTHER timelines might not be.
Black Ops is not a multi timeline setting

Quote:
And, as I've said before, the real key is getting people to write them. Of course, if I'm right about all this, that also means getting those writers to commit, in advance, to a long term project and then stick to a schedule. That isn't always the easiest thing to do.

Mark
Then you have to pay them with respect to sales, it is not like people have ever purchased support in great numbers even in the settings that had it.
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Old 06-09-2008, 03:19 PM   #69
Caleban
 
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Default Re: Does GURPS need original-setting world books?

I am not nearly as obsessed with religion as my posts in this thread might suggest. I have many objections to Yrth. Religion just seemed the easiest one with which to illustrate my point: "I don't find it to compelling work of fiction due to what I perceive as a lack of internal consistency and logical extrapolation." I'm not going to spend any more time arguing the specifics of my previous posts on Yrth as it is only tangential to the type of discussion I hoped my thread would create.

I am coming at this from a 3E perspective so not all of my observations necessarily apply to 4E publications. I am not new to GURPS. My 3E library numbers 30 books focusing on core rules, historical settings (Rome, Old West, Time Line, Who's Who?, etc) and the genera treatments (Espionage, Horror, Cyberpunk, Space, etc).

My favorite supplements from 3E were the historical books, but the only setting books I liked were: G:VtM, In Nomine, and Traveler; all licensed properties or GURPS conversions of other games. These licensed properties tended to have much more cohesive worlds in my opinion. I think that is because the original treatments weren't all that concerned with making them compatible with other genera or settings. I feel like the GURPS setting books which were not already based on a previous works of fiction frequently suffer from what I call a kitchen sink approach. "The setting is this, but it could be that, unless you prefer it to be something else."

Last edited by Caleban; 06-09-2008 at 03:22 PM.
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Old 06-09-2008, 04:57 PM   #70
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Default Re: Does GURPS need original-setting world books?

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Originally Posted by Caleban
My favorite supplements from 3E were the historical books, but the only setting books I liked were: G:VtM, In Nomine, and Traveler; all licensed properties or GURPS conversions of other games. These licensed properties tended to have much more cohesive worlds in my opinion. I think that is because the original treatments weren't all that concerned with making them compatible with other genera or settings. I feel like the GURPS setting books which were not already based on a previous works of fiction frequently suffer from what I call a kitchen sink approach. "The setting is this, but it could be that, unless you prefer it to be something else."
I too think it is a mistake for an RPG setting to try to be "all things to all men". A timid, consensus-driven approach to setting design tries to assemble a coalition of appeals by throwing in everything that seems cool to anyone. The result is no better in setting design than the same approach would be in cookery: never mind that I like lemon chiffon cream and vinaigrette dressing, I don't want them in my osso bucco, nor pork rinds and chocolate chips in my vichysoisse. That is why I always avoid open calls on public forums to "let's design a collaborative setting".

In my opinion no good setting ever results from a committee or a survey assembling a shopping-list of elements that must be introduced, or even with a designer think "Let's see: gotta have a lake, anna forest, and some mountains, anna city; gotta have elves, and dwarves, and orcs". Good settings, settings that inspire players and GMs, settings that stand out from the crowd, settings that people go to buy rather than standing at the shelves with two products trying to make a line call, result from some person or small group having a good basic idea, and idea which provides a theme. And, as Whswhs can tell you, a theme is a criterion for deciding what to put in and what to leave out.
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