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Old 07-15-2019, 02:54 AM   #1
Malfi
 
Join Date: Sep 2016
Default Realistic campaign with unrealistic/supernatural people

Hello everyone.

Any advice on how to run a realistic/gritty campaign where players and enemies have supernatural powers? So normal people cannot do superhuman things but powers/magic in the vein of hunter x hunter anime do exist (i know in hunter x hunter normal humans are insanely unrealistic but I am talking about Nen's fluff).

Anyone has run such a campaign? Was it successful? What worked and what didn't? Any cool ideas?

Thanks in advance for answering!

Last edited by Malfi; 07-15-2019 at 03:22 AM.
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Old 07-15-2019, 04:05 AM   #2
Tomsdad
 
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Default Re: Realistic campaign with unrealistic/supernatural people

are you thinking about setting repercussions or rules implementation?


For the latter honestly pretty much just run the system as is, for how those power interact with normal people.
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Old 07-15-2019, 04:07 AM   #3
Michele
 
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Default Re: Realistic campaign with unrealistic/supernatural people

Sure, the standard solution is that magic/superpowers etc. absolutely must be kept secret. If anybody uses his powers openly, then everyone else, including those who would normally be on their side, pile up against him. Then the outburst of supernatural activity is explained away as... something natural. Evidence is tampered with, witnesses are first warned then discredited, collective psychosis is invoked, etc.

By this token, you could say that even our own world has something like that. The legends and tales about witches, or vampires, or superheroes are what is left after the redacting. We know about those, but we believe they don't actually exist... how wrong we are...
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Old 07-15-2019, 04:18 AM   #4
Malfi
 
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Default Re: Realistic campaign with unrealistic/supernatural people

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomsdad View Post
are you thinking about setting repercussions or rules implementation?
Both really its a really open ended questions I guess.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomsdad View Post
For the latter honestly pretty much just run the system as is, for how those power interact with normal people.
I guess that's true. I can't really ask about setting repercussions because I haven't detailed a setting yet.

Regarding rules I am thinking of allowing cinematic advantages, higher than 16 attributes and higher than 25 skills only through powers.
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Old 07-15-2019, 04:20 AM   #5
Tomsdad
 
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Default Re: Realistic campaign with unrealistic/supernatural people

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Originally Posted by Malfi View Post
Both really its a really open ended questions I guess.



I guess that's true. I can't really ask about setting repercussions because I haven't detailed a setting yet.

Regarding rules I am thinking of allowing cinematic advantages, higher than 16 attributes and higher than 25 skills only through powers.
sounds good it will help demarcation between 'normal' and 'super'
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Old 07-15-2019, 04:20 AM   #6
Malfi
 
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Default Re: Realistic campaign with unrealistic/supernatural people

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Originally Posted by Michele View Post
Sure, the standard solution is that magic/superpowers etc. absolutely must be kept secret. If anybody uses his powers openly, then everyone else, including those who would normally be on their side, pile up against him. Then the outburst of supernatural activity is explained away as... something natural. Evidence is tampered with, witnesses are first warned then discredited, collective psychosis is invoked, etc.

By this token, you could say that even our own world has something like that. The legends and tales about witches, or vampires, or superheroes are what is left after the redacting. We know about those, but we believe they don't actually exist... how wrong we are...
I was actually leaning towards supernatural is known in the world, but still very difficult for people to develop supernatural abilities. Maybe the supernatural abilities simply require training, but people don't have much control on what abilities they develop their subconcisous does.
In general I haven't settled on an exact setting, that's why I wanted to hear other peoples experiences.
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Old 07-15-2019, 08:29 AM   #7
RyanW
 
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Default Re: Realistic campaign with unrealistic/supernatural people

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I was actually leaning towards supernatural is known in the world, but still very difficult for people to develop supernatural abilities.
That's a very different question. Gifted people will probably see both praise and condemnation (which one from what corners likely to be as arbitrary as not). There will be research into supernatural abilities. Expect to see countermeasures to the most abusable abilities as a major goal of such research. Further expect to see the research condemned for both interfering with the will of God and not going far enough to find a final solution to the mutant question.
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Old 07-15-2019, 09:06 AM   #8
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Default Re: Realistic campaign with unrealistic/supernatural people

I recommend the Secret World Chronicle for this sort of thing. It's a podcast/book which has superheroes living openly in a realistic world. And it's entertaining.

Some highlights:

It's US based, and there are implications that while the rest of the world mostly followed the US example, there are differences.

There are strict laws about when supers can apply their powers. Mostly, they can do things for themselves and on their own property, but anything that affects others must be strictly consensual.

For crime-fighting, supers must be registered, and may only fight crime as part of a team. Unless there is imminent danger to lives (not property) or the suspect is known to be superpowered, law enforcement must be left to the normals. Additionally, one member of the team is strictly assigned as the safety officer and may only protect bystanders and prevent property damage. The safety officer MAY NOT engage the villain under any circumstances. The team must be registered as part of the governmental agency which also carries insurance to cover collateral damage.

A branch of the governmental agency rates supers on power level. There are guidelines, but it is ultimately subjective and is really only about combat effectiveness.

There is an aid organization to help people whose super/mutation is so unfortunate that they cannot lead normal lives.

Public sentiment is very mixed. Some people look up to and/or idolize the supers. Some people think we'd be better off without them. Some people think they are the literal embodiment of evil.

Some supers choose to use their powers for celebrity. There's lots of money to be made in movies, punditry, social media etc.
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Old 07-15-2019, 09:24 AM   #9
Varyon
 
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Default Re: Realistic campaign with unrealistic/supernatural people

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Originally Posted by Malfi View Post
I was actually leaning towards supernatural is known in the world, but still very difficult for people to develop supernatural abilities.
While it's a narrative rather than a game*, the web serial Worm - and its on-going sequel, Ward - may be worth a look. In that, the supernatural is in the form of superpowers (it's a superhero story, albeit a deconstruction of the genre), which are known and studied, but you can't really get them on purpose. Basically, to get a superpower, you have to be "triggered" in a certain way by extreme physical, mental, and/or emotional stressors, in a manner one character described as "the worst day of your life." Skitter got her powers from being trapped in a locker filled with rotting, used tampons. Grue got his powers from finding his sister in tears from being abused by her mom's boyfriend (and subsequently beating said boyfriend within an inch or two of his life). Imp got her powers from being cornered in an alley by a gang of thugs intent on killing her father and raping her. Attempts to purposefully trigger are known to be doomed to failure. The powers themselves are unpredictable, but believed to be related to the manner in which the character triggered (of the above, Imp's is the easiest to link to her trigger - she makes people forget she exists), although there's some thought that the character's personality may play a role. Interestingly, family members (including, bizarrely, adopted family members, or people who are like family) of existing parahumans trigger more easily, and often have thematically-related powers (Glory Girl and her mom both have forcefield-related powers, while a kid in a quasi-orphanage under Skitter's protection develops bird-controlling powers).

Despite the powers, the setting is rather gritty and fairly realistic, with a healthy respect for firearms and the like. The characters have to be careful to avoid accidentally killing people with their powers (Skitter, a bug-controller, carries epipens in case someone has an allergic reaction to a bug bite).

*Interestingly, I know there was at least one case - probably a few cases - where there was a slight bit of a game element to it, with the author literally rolling dice (with modifiers based on the relevant character's powers and placement in the scenario) to determine who lived and who died during a particularly brutal story arc.
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Old 07-15-2019, 09:40 AM   #10
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Default Re: Realistic campaign with unrealistic/supernatural people

Might want to look at the Heroes thing - keeping the masquerade is an important part of not spending the rest of your life under Porton Down/Area 51/wherever having yourself studied by a government that considers you of more value as a research subject than as an agent.
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