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Old 03-13-2015, 02:58 AM   #1
Elbereth
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Default Firsttime GM, has: plot, needs: pointers, persons and polish

Hi :)

I'm completely new at this, but I hope I won't come off as a complete drooling imbecile.

I've been appointed the honorable, yet extremely frightening title of GM, for what will be our group's very first rpg-experience (unless you count years of Extreme Houserule Munchkins)

We're starting out with Gurps Lite, but I would really like to create a scenario that's exciting/complex enough that we'll want to go back to it with a full set of rules later on (without having to make major alterations). I really, really, really want to make a world we can all build on and expand and discuss obscure details in, and not just a quick hack-and-slash setting. Is this even remotely possible to achieve on a first time out, or am I getting in way, way over my head?

I would really appreciate it, if any of you guys have some general newbie-pointers: What should my priorities be, what are common mistakes, what can I wing it through and what should I do absolutely by the book... that sort of thing.

Particularly I'm stumped on a few points:

NPCs - I'm simply not sure how many/how detailed I should make them, and how often they should be encountered in order to make for an interesting game (not including henchmen-baddies, who are pretty much strong-but-not-too-skilled zombie-types that show up randomly) Also, I kindda suck a character creation, but one of the players rock at it - could I give him a general outline and have him make a "sketch" for me to polish off, or is it just a huge stinkin' no-no to outsource GM-duties like that?

Bundles of joy - the point of the plot (at least the first leg of it) is to get from A to B without losing your toddler. A dead/kidnapped/abandoned child will result in instant mission fail and void the scenario. I'm unsure if I should construct the toddlers as NPCs or if I should treat them as priceless objects - objects would simplify the game, but NPCs would allow for more realism.

Unexpected Epicness - the scenario is set in "real world gone borderline apocalypse" and the players have been asked to construct their characters accordingly (specifically I've asked them to base the characters on themselves). I would, however, like to incorporate some sort of unexpected gift of supernatural, superhuman or possibly even magic skill/item somewhere along the plotline, as a special treat for the players (and as a device to drive the plot forward). I just have no idea what it should be. It shouldn't be overpowered, obviously, but it also shouldn't be some weak makes-no-difference-anyway skill. I'm all for the idea of expanding the world with more dimensions, strange magical lodges in the woods and the like at some point, but it would simply be too expansive for a first (or second, or third) sitting. An ideas, especially along the mystery/conspiracy-lines will be much appreciated.

Oh no! It's a plot hole! - I would really like to construct some sort of plot-hole-fixer for emergencies (like the Doctor has his sonic screwdriver or the supercomputer of Agents of Shield). It doesn't have to be 100% believable, but it's obviously not at all feasible that one of the characters should have a super-computer in her pocket or suddenly sprout wings. Any thoughts/ideas/lessons learned?

Gosh, this turned out rather long, didn't it. Thanks for reading this far :)

EDIT: Details added below

Characters:
The players will base their character on themselves, starting off with 50pts, which should allow them to be a bit more fit/skilled/intelligent than normal. Everyone starts out with 15kg of items (or a child), that are present in their actual homes - it's a grab-a-bag-and-run scenario. They will be allowed a small amount of cash and an ID (real or fake if they can make one).

Plot:
What I'll tell the players at the beginning:
The cure for cancer has been found! Unfortunately it turns out there are some unexpected side-effects turning the persons in the trial-program into something like zombies (oh no!). The local hospital in charge is located on an island, and the island is being isolated, to prevent spreading. The characters have discovered some secret documents from Evil Corp (name pending) revealing them to be the bad guys, and as everyone gets screened when trying to leave the island (for obvious reasons) the characters cannot leave the area. They are forced to try to reach a previously agreed upon in-case-of-apocalypse-location. They're divided into pairs, each pair has a toddler they need to get to the aforementioned location.

Further plot points (known only to me):
Evil Corp's involvement may stretch way further than just releasing a barely-tested cancer-drug too soon. They are in it for world domination, and I'd not be surprised if it turns out their ideas are somewhat of the occult...

Bad guys:
Cancer-zombies and Evil Corp. The cancer-treatment works as a sort of cancer itself (*mumble mumble* *bogus science*) - it regenerates tissue at a very high rate, making it close to impossible to kill the infected person (zombie) by, say, piercing the heart. Fortunately for the players the zombies cannot regenerate nervecells, so they only stay alive as long as they have a functioning central nerve-system - so, traditional zombie-killing by decapitation or head-shot is in order. The super-cancer "crowds out" the nerve-cells gradually = zombies get stronger, but dumber (and ultimately clumsier) over time.

House rules:
We, as a group of card and board-gamers, are huge fans of house rules. I don't think we've ever played a game without changing at least five rules, and then forgetting which ones we changes and prolonged arguments ensue. The arguments are (more than) half the fun in our games, and it's criterion for a successful gaming session. And so, in my all-mighty GM-wisdom I have decided that:
- everyone gets extra skills in one chosen weapon
- the chosen weapon weighs nothing (within reason)
- a character can carry 15kg or a child at a normal walking speed
- a well rested character can walk 25km in a day under normal conditions

Last edited by Elbereth; 03-13-2015 at 12:54 PM. Reason: More info requested
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