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Old 03-18-2010, 11:19 PM   #41
martin_rook
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Default Re: GURPS Alpha Centauri

Quote:
Originally Posted by chipjamieson View Post
Anybody play a campaign of this or run this? I LOVE the computer game, and was wondering if anyone has played the GURPS game...

If so, could we exchange characters/notes/ideas?

Yes - I heard the book is only so-so. I had it once, but sold it to buy RAM (sigh) and now am hooked on the computer game again.


Transcendence to you...
I ran the beginning of a campaign, just a couple of adventures. The PCs were a scout unit for Morgan just after planetfall. I literally based their adventures off of what my first scouting unit did in one computer game. They had first contact with an alien monolith (i forget what they were called) and first contact with one of the other factions, and salvaged some pods to help establish Morgan's second city (they got in on the ground floor of that franchise).
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Old 03-21-2010, 09:36 PM   #42
Phoenix42
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Mainz, Germany
Default Re: GURPS Alpha Centauri

Welcome!

I'm interested, how did you run the contact with the monolith (which, by the way, were prosaically called "monoliths", I kid ye not)? Specifically, how did you portray the special powers of the monolith?
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Old 05-19-2010, 08:04 AM   #43
Pollux
 
Join Date: May 2010
Default Re: GURPS Alpha Centauri

I found this thread while searching for background material for a new campaign. I played AC yesterday and came up with the idea to use it as a setting.

Thanks for all the valuable info here, you guys did an amazing job!

The biggest problem i see right now is the huge timescale:
The people I'll play with will most likely NOT know anything about the AC storyline. I love the story and I want to present it completely.

So now, I cant play a campaign for hundreds of years. So I need a way to get players involved in all the key elements, but skip the years in between.

theres basicaly three possible ideas in my heads:
a) Switch characters. Basicaly a set of mini-campaigns. Benefit: Allows the group to be right where the most intresting situation takes place, even at totaly diffrent sides of a war, eg joining the ranks of the enemy with the next set of characters.
b) 'jump over the timegap' now and then. The same persons need to see all the important moment. Even thou the immortality thingys in AC would allow them to do so, my own livespan is limited so I cant play like that. Unimportant times need to be 'jumped over'. For each jump, there needs to be an explanaition. Some alien technology could throw them some years forward in time, they could be frozen in some lab, etc. But thats totaly unrealistic and foreseeable. I fear the moment some player says: "Hey now that the mission is done, I should invest all my cash in the stockmarket. I got a feeling that i wont need any cash for a few decades!"
c) The characters are are very close friends to one of the leaders. They are basicaly the ones he trusts the most. While he can stay active all the time, the immortality sessions are too cost-intense for a whole group. So they get 'conserved' between missions. The leader wakes them whenever he needs a trustworthy group of people to carry out a difficult task. This would be a very easy way to do it. Some guy could get them an update on what happened while they were sleeping and a mission briefing and they are good to go. But it feels very... static. As if the players were not involved in theire own life.

Any better ideas here?
Or maybe a way to make one of these ideas work?

I'd realy appreciate any imput!

And again: Thanks for all the info allready provided :)
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Old 05-19-2010, 10:10 AM   #44
Kelly Pedersen
 
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Location: Saskatoon, SK, Canada
Default Re: GURPS Alpha Centauri

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pollux View Post
So now, I cant play a campaign for hundreds of years. So I need a way to get players involved in all the key elements, but skip the years in between.

b) 'jump over the timegap' now and then. [...] For each jump, there needs to be an explanaition.
Conveniently, such an explanation already exists in AC, no funky alien-tech necessary. :-) Stasis pods from the colony ship were preserved after the crash, and were used by high-ranking faction members. In fact, GURPS Alpha Centauri suggests this as the default reason that the faction leaders were so long-lived - they weren't actually experiencing the whole time, they were put in stasis a lot, and brought out to make important decisions, at least until the higher tech levels when they could simply live longer. You can say that the faction(s) the characters belong to want to preserve their expertise, and offer them access to the stasis pods, then bring them out again at the next crisis point.
In the Alpha Centauri game I played in, we established that the stasis pods actually had anti-aging effects, handwaving something about stasis allowing the body to clean out some of the accumulated toxins and wear and tear that contributes to age. Basically, every two years spent in stasis actually decreased your effective age by one year. That let us justify a bit more uptime for the characters in the pre-longevity time period.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pollux
I fear the moment some player says: "Hey now that the mission is done, I should invest all my cash in the stockmarket. I got a feeling that i wont need any cash for a few decades!"
Honestly, unless you're dealing with the Morganites, this probably isn't a big issue. Unless you're seriously fiddling with the factions, only Morgan is likely to have anything close to a market economy in the early days of the colony. All the others will have a more communal approach to money. Energy credits are a means of exchange between colonies, not individuals.

Of course, once you get past a certain point, market economies will start developing, and this does become an issue. My suggestion would simply be to roll with it. After each timeskip, give the characters a good-size pool of points (10 or more), and tell the players that they can spend them on social advantages like Wealth, Rank, Status, etc. The points represent the particular means of social advancement that the characters are pursuing within their faction.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pollux
Some guy could get them an update on what happened while they were sleeping and a mission briefing and they are good to go. But it feels very... static. As if the players were not involved in theire own life.
One way to do it would be to start each timeskip with a set mission, but then let the characters stay awake for some time after the immediate mission is finished. After all, if they're the trusted agent of the faction leader, it's in the faction leader's best interests to both keep them happy and loyal to the faction, and giving them some time to relax and enjoy themselves and to renew their ties to the faction does both. During their R&R times, other adventure types can be run - pursuing personal projects, problems for the faction that the characters discover on their own, and so forth.
If the characters are awake for 5 years or so at a time, that gives them time to find out about how the faction has changed since the last time, and build some connections to the new community. An interesting idea, depending on how much your players like roleplaying their daily lives, is to establish NPC relationships, either romantic or platonic, and then have them look in on those people after the next timeskip. Might be a cool idea to have a character in a romantic relationship find out that they have a child they didn't know about!
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Old 05-20-2010, 09:01 AM   #45
Phoenix42
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
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Default Re: GURPS Alpha Centauri

I'm with Kelly - the use of the immortality thingies (as you put it :) ) allows for the same characters to reappear at different points in time. Of course, these characters will become exceedingly powerful, the quintessence of the AC "Talents". These guys/gals will have lifespans that are the same as the faction leaders... And you don't even have to freeze them up...

The main problem I see is that after a certain time, the characters will be so powerful (just imagine what you can do with 100 years of learning and study - I worked it out once, it's sickening.) and/or high in the social strata that they won't actually be fit for adventuring anymore.

Example from my round: It started in 2060 with the Unity voyage. The characters were two security officials (one marine colonel and a strategical officer) and a xeno-biologist. During the Unity disaster, they all decided to stay with the UN (later Peacekeeping) faction. It is now MY 2110, and due to their adventures they have advanced so far up the social ladder that they are, for the moment, virtually unplayable. Not only because their point total averages at around 300 pts, but also because the Strategic officer has become the Councillor for Security Affairs (read minister of defense), the Colonel is now leader of the armed forces (all 25 of them, at this stage, but nevertheless), and the biologist has become the leading figure in UN science after extracting planetpearls from mindworms and using them for the rejuvenation process, and is now the head of the newly-founded UN university. All of them are eligible for juvee-treatment, but they are highly unlikely to be going adventuring in the classic sense. The last campaign I have planned for them is one where they oversee the first Peacekeeping Colony outside UN Headquarters, and get inadvertently entangled in the odd adventure, of course, but that is it (stumbling into adventures only goes so far).
This does not mean that the characters die out, however: In the future campaigns they will resurface; in the Cloudbase Academy campaign, the Councillor will reappear as the one making the large-scale strategic decisions (and the player will have a say in UN vendetta strategy). The Colonel will probably become something of a heroic contact or patron for foot soldiers, or maybe even an adversary for other factions. And the Professor will always be around whenever xenobiology or new research is around, or will have to be interviewed when some new psi technology goes missing.


In short, characters resurface in other campaigns, depending on their personal inclination. (I have this vision of the characters of a Nautilus/swashbuckling campaign being saved from a Hive Submarine by a last-minute airstrike by the players' own characters from the Cloudbase Academy ("Captain, looks like we arrived just in time - we have a message for you from Councillor Lindström..."). So basically you have the possibility for the characters to take part in major events as main characters or guest stars, depending on the type of events.
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Old 05-20-2010, 10:37 AM   #46
Pollux
 
Join Date: May 2010
Default Re: GURPS Alpha Centauri

First of all: Thanks for your quick and realy helpfull answers! im amazed two see two long responses after such a short time! Thanks!

I'd like to go into detail a bit, as you guys seem to be way farer into the scientific matter of AC and, well, I appreciate the help :)

So... about this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelly Pedersen View Post
During their R&R times, other adventure types can be run - pursuing personal projects, problems for the faction that the characters discover on their own, and so forth.
If the characters are awake for 5 years or so at a time, that gives them time to find out about how the faction has changed since the last time, and build some connections to the new community.
I got no idea how you play, but 5 years is extremely long to be played in-time from my perspective. We play every word spoken and every intresting action taken. Even a short day (hardly anything happening) will take like an hour on average. Only the most boring phases are skipped, like "the voyage from a to b takes five days". But even then I will hold like a five minute monologue about the change of landscape, the other people they meet and aspects of the general routine of the day. In about 50% of these cases players will react to my descriptions and additional time will be taken.

Lough about it, but sometimes the characters might end up discussing in-game politics for a few hours.

Playing five years in one go is totaly impossible. The estimated reallife time for that would be at least two years, more like three or four. We played Vampire: The Masquerade as well, and after three years of playing we counted the in-game time taken and ended up with like 7months.

OK.

The longer I think about it, the more I prefer the 'switch charakters' idea. In fact, This might work well If I can find seven moments in AC history that are intresting enough to be played out. I could let my players join each faction once, so they know them all in the end (no aliens or AX content but the general background).

Maybe:

- Planetfall (Believers)
The early days, building the first colony and learning that the promised land is occupied by horrific aliens.

- Forming the Council (Peacekeeper)
Lal knows the factions are out there. Someone has to travel the planet to find them. Who might that be? A 'first contact' scenario.

- The Voice of Planet (Morgan)
Morganic scientists compete with the university and the gaians to unreveal the secret of fungus and worms. The players act as industy-spys.

- Rise of the Hive (Hive)
The Hive declares Vendetta against someone and expands with brutal force. The players are leaders of one attack group, conquering a minor settlement.

- Fall of the Hive (Sparta)
The Spartans decide its time to end the Hives dominance. They speak a pact with some other factions. The players act like spys/diplomats, helping to form the coalition.

- Planetbuster (Gaia)
Believers develop the first Planetbuster. They plan to use it against the Gaians and the players have to take meassures to stop them for just a few days so that the first defence sats can be deployed.

- Transcendence (University)
This ending sequence will need less action from the players. The big picture is revealed. They may defend some installation against an attack or something, but overall its like an epilogue.


Something like that. its a first idea so far. Not realy happy with it.
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Old 05-20-2010, 11:49 AM   #47
David Johnston2
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Default Re: GURPS Alpha Centauri

Well here are some things to bear in mind:

1. The distinction between a Talent and a regular worker is that a Talent is someone the faction considers valuable enough that if he has a currently incurably lethal or incapacitating condition, they will be placed in stasis until a cure is developed. Workers may be placed in pods for a while, but Talents have a long term lease. If the characters have been heroic but all caught a dose of Prometheus or something slower acting in the process, the survivors can be podded en mass only to wake in a Research Hospital 80 years later.

2. Monoliths and alien artifacts are all purpose plot devices. You can use them to give characters free longevity and they'll never even know until many years later.

3. After the time Planet hits TL 10, about 180 years in, the Longevity Vaccine will be generally available. The rejuvenation tanks which allow age reversal for a privileged few are probably available in TL 9

4. The average point total of citizens goes up substantially over the eras as genetic engineering, psionic training and cybernetic enhancement become more common and training techniques become more sophisticated. Oldsters may have a lot of formidable skill levels but the youngsters of the later eras have superhuman physical characteristics.
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Old 05-20-2010, 01:15 PM   #48
Kelly Pedersen
 
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Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Saskatoon, SK, Canada
Default Re: GURPS Alpha Centauri

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pollux View Post
I got no idea how you play, but 5 years is extremely long to be played in-time from my perspective.
Fair enough. :-) The groups I'm in tend to skim a fair bit, picking up the highlights rather than detailing every waking moment.
Of course, if your group plays at this time-scale, you could probably achieve the same sort of results by only doing a year, or six months, of game time "awake".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pollux
The longer I think about it, the more I prefer the 'switch charakters' idea.
That could certainly work as well, yeah. I'd suggest, for more continuity, to have the characters connected with the earlier characters in some way. Descendants, protoges, personality engrams recorded from the first PC's brain, etc. Also, consider the "stored in stasis" option for players who are strongly attached to their character, and want to keep playing them. If you assume they're put in the stasis pod right after the earlier mission, and woken up right on time for the new mission, you can gloss over the point-inflation issues.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pollux
In fact, This might work well If I can find seven moments in AC history that are intresting enough to be played out.
The secret projects provide an excellent framework for this. Each project gives the characters a definite goal to work towards, emphasizes the challenges of the era in question, and lets you create history to reference later in the game. My suggestions for the eras you mentioned, project-wise:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pollux
- Planetfall (Believers)
The early days, building the first colony and learning that the promised land is occupied by horrific aliens.
The classic project at this level would be the Weather Paradigm. It will involve lots of exploring the world around the base, doing in-depth studies of Planetary life, and interacting with the native life forms.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pollux
- Forming the Council (Peacekeeper)
Lal knows the factions are out there. Someone has to travel the planet to find them. Who might that be? A 'first contact' scenario.
Several options here. The most directly relevant would be The Empath Guild, as that gives you the commlink with all the other factions. It's also a good way to bring psionics to the fore, if you're intersted in that aspect of the game.
The Planetary Datalinks and the Merchant Exchange are solid second choices, as they both involve the faction working on them engaging in extensive, long term contact with other factions.
The Planetary Energy Grid, Command Nexus, Maritime Control Center, Plantary Transit System, Citizen's Defense Force, and Virtual World could sort of fit into this section. They don't involve interacting with other factions so much, but they do involve efforts to tie your own faction together, making it more of a nation, and less of a collection of independent bases that share an ideology.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pollux
- The Voice of Planet (Morgan)
Morganic scientists compete with the university and the gaians to unreveal the secret of fungus and worms. The players act as industy-spys.
The Xenoempathy Dome is the obvious choice here, since it's the project that's all about communing with Planet on a large scale.
The Neural Amplifier could be another option, if you want the faction to take a more strictly exploitative approach to Planet - they're only learning enough to improve their psi defenses, rather than all they can, sort of thing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pollux
- Rise of the Hive (Hive)
The Hive declares Vendetta against someone and expands with brutal force. The players are leaders of one attack group, conquering a minor settlement.
This one could work equally well with the Cloudbase Academy, the Cyborg Factory, or the Cloning Vats. All three provide significant military advantages, and involve the sort of invasive human modification that the Hive tends to like.
A second choice could be the Aescetic Virtues, if you want to emphasize the degree to which the Hive is altering and preparing its whole society for war.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pollux
- Fall of the Hive (Sparta)
The Spartans decide its time to end the Hives dominance. They speak a pact with some other factions. The players act like spys/diplomats, helping to form the coalition.
Couple of options here, depending on how much you want to emphasize the diplomacy aspect, vs. the military/espionage aspect.
The diplomacy angle works well with the Living Refinery or Universal Translator projects. The Living Refinery would be about creating a support network for all the forces involved in the alliance, while the Universal Translator shares Progenitor technology with everyone.
For the military angle, the Nano Factory is a solid pick. It gives the faction who develops it unprecedented military flexiblity, because it eliminates the need for supply lines, aside from new sources of nanopaste. Characters could get involved in field-testing new varieties of nano-paste, preventing the Hive from developing its own, and so forth. The Space Elevator is also a strong military advantage, since it allows airdrops of units anywhere on Planet.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pollux
- Planetbuster (Gaia)
Believers develop the first Planetbuster. They plan to use it against the Gaians and the players have to take meassures to stop them for just a few days so that the first defence sats can be deployed.
This one is actually a bit earlier in the tech sequence than I've been proposing so far. If you're following my suggestions, I'd move this one back, to be around the same time as the Voice of Planet sequence. If you haven't used it already, the Cloudbase Academy would be a good project to work on, as the factions try to produce interceptors capable of providing a stopgap against planet-busters until the defense satellites come online. The Hunter-Seeker Algorithym could also work, as the characters struggle to defend their networks from the Believers' probe teams, who want to learn the command codes that will turn off the defense satellites.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pollux
- Transcendence (University)
This ending sequence will need less action from the players. The big picture is revealed. They may defend some installation against an attack or something, but overall its like an epilogue.
Lots of options here. The Voice of Planet is the most obvious, but they could also be working to defend an existing or almost-complete project that will provide a big boost, Transcendance-wise, such as the Singularity Inductor, The Network Backbone, the Telepathic Matrix, the Bulk Matter Transmitter, the Manifold Harmonics, or the Self-Aware Colony.
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Old 05-20-2010, 06:13 PM   #49
Pollux
 
Join Date: May 2010
Default Re: GURPS Alpha Centauri

Very nice ideasy Kelly, thanks!
You realy help me with sorting things :)

The planetbuster: The actualy techtree ingame is less of a problem. As I said, my players wont know much about the game itself. So they wont notice the change. In addition: the low-reactor busters are, well, just like a huge a-bomb. The last ones, thes radius 3+ beats are realy insanely powerfull thou. Im talking about one of these.

I might come back tomorrow and post a more detailed plan.

Im realy excited about this AC-chronicle becoming real so quickly, thanks again everyone!

bzw: im not playing gurps, never did. so the occassional pointer to the rules of that game dont tell me anything
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Old 05-24-2010, 04:23 PM   #50
Phoenix42
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Mainz, Germany
Default Re: GURPS Alpha Centauri

The "stored in stasis" idea does definitely sound like the best bet for what you're planning, if you don't want your players to have to make half a dozen characters. But it could be kind of weird as far as far as tech levels and acclimatisation are concerned.

Imagine you went to sleep in 2160, in one of the more experimental cryogenic devices, and wake up in 2240 - That can mean going from shredder pistols to Gatling Lasers, from tiny outposts to cities with a hundred thousand inhabitants, in a weirdest-case scenario. The whole technological background and cultural context can be expected to change radically, even within one faction. If you're changing factions, well, you know where I'm heading. This will also mean many of the character's skills run the risk of becoming redundant. Of course, this can be a good backdrop, but it could well get tedious when you're acclimatising for the umpteenth time (okay, so everything I know has changed... again). So I would agree with Kelly, that can be done once or twice, but overall different characters with some connecting links are probably your more interesting option.

And you can still use the older characters as heroes of former times, or high-ranking superiors, or something younger characters can idolize, using phrases like "So you think you can just march into New Jerusalem and defuse a Planet Buster? Who do you think you are, [insert player's former character here]?". A martial character can have become a Alamo-style hero, an intellectual character may have become the spiritual founder of a new movement within a faction, the [Insert Name]ists, a scientist may have something named after him ("But Professor, does the [Insert Name] algorithm not state that...") and so on and so forth.

I think most players appreciate that sort of immortality, and that can well make up for having to roll up a new one from time to time.

Btw, what rules are you playing by, just out of interest?
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