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Old 02-08-2011, 08:57 PM   #1
harliquin76
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Default New to GURPS my head hurts

So I am trying to run a Fallout type game. I have never used GURPS before and have been reading the character basic book all day. My head hurts. I have looked at the conversion for Fallout but it seems to set the game up I need to go through all the basic books and some addtional books and select which skills/traits/advantages my players can use. Does this sound about right? also any tips on how to build a better game?
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Old 02-08-2011, 09:07 PM   #2
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Default Re: New to GURPS my head hurts

First, take a deep breath. Relax. The first rule for people new to GURPS is that you don't have to use everything. Start with the simple stuff. Remember that GURPS is a very big tool box, and right now, you just need to learn how to use a hammer and a wrench. Socket sets and rotary tools can wait.

I'm not familiar with the Fallout setting or the conversion stuff, but I would imagine any fan-based adaptation of Fallout (or readaptation? I understand that the game was originally built on the GURPS engine...) would include a bunch of books. You won't need them to have a good time, and trying to include them at this point will only leave you more frustrated. Also note that any conversion or whatever may be based on GURPS 3rd Edition, and if you're reading GURPS Characters, then you're looking at 4th Edition. Just check and make sure, since there are some important changes between editions.

So, where do you start? Folks more familiar with Fallout can probably give you more specific tips, but generally, you should write down all of the advantages, disadvantages, and skills that would be applicable to your game. Eliminate any that you don't understand and think will never come up. You would be surprised at how many you don't write down. Stat out a few example characters for yourself to learn how character building works. When you play, just keep the combat system simple at first. Don't use hit locations or anything else like that, until and unless you are ready for them. A new GM for GURPS should start simple and gradually add optional rules until they feel that the balance is right for them.
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Old 02-08-2011, 09:25 PM   #3
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Default Re: New to GURPS my head hurts

If you're looking for what books would be handy, I'd recommend High-Tech and Ultra-Tech, with either Gun-Fu or the soon-to-be released Tactical Shooting (depending on how realistic or cinematic you want). Both High-Tech and Ultra-Tech include equipment lists for stuff that exists in the Fallout universe as well as some new optional rules. Gun-Fu (and Tactical Shooting as I understand it) are mostly new character options and more optional rules to add certain flavors to the game. If you're new, you might want to hold off on the new books (or at least the additional rules added by the new books) until you can get the basic stuff under your belt.
My general advice to you as a new GURPS gm is:
1.) Walk your players through the character creation process if at all possible. If not, use pregens (GURPS Character Assistant makes character creation go faster if you're interested). Either way you are intimately familiar with what each character has, what they're capable of, and whether or not they are a good fit for the campaign you're setting up. Don't give them the book and expect them to come back with something that will work. It happened in my group once with 3rd edition, and I had to fight to get them to play a one-off in 4th several years later.
2.) Read the all the relevant sections of the Campaigns book until you can feel confident explaining the mechanics to your players without having to constantly refer to the books. Print out the charts that you know you will have to use (the speed/range table, rapid fire chart etc.)
3.) Run a couple of one-off combat-centric scenarios with pre-gens with your players to help all you get a feel for the rules. Use the rules you feel comfortable with and then integrate more as you get more proficient with the rules. Side benefit is you get to test the system on your players before you do the leg work involved in building a campaign.

Anyway, hope that helps. Good luck with you're campaign!
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Old 02-08-2011, 09:59 PM   #4
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Default Re: New to GURPS my head hurts

GURPS Lite is a handy resource, both as a free players' guide, and as a subset of advantages and skills that are suitable for ordinary humans. My advice would be to leave the other books for later and just use Lite and the 2 Basic books. If there's anything you can't find during play, either because it's in a different book, or simply because you're having trouble looking up the rule, remember that you're the GM and just make up something fun for everyone. Have the player roll some dice, declare the result and move on. You can add additional pieces from the vast GURPS toolkit whenever it makes for more fun at the table.
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Old 02-08-2011, 10:00 PM   #5
Fred Brackin
 
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Default Re: New to GURPS my head hurts

Quote:
Originally Posted by harliquin76 View Post
it seems to set the game up I need to go through all the basic books and some addtional books and select which skills/traits/advantages my players can use. Does this sound about right? ?
Step one for you might be to go through the book and create what you think you want a sample character to look like. That should show you the Advantages, disavantages and skills that your players would need.

As to suggestions I would go with Characters and Campaigns onloy with an equipment book at msot. Do not start with rules expansions like Martial arts or the Gun Fu pdf. Get used to the basic rules before you expand.
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Old 02-08-2011, 10:55 PM   #6
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Default Re: New to GURPS my head hurts

Fallout is a retro-futuristic post-holocaust setting.

While that sounds good, it doesn't make much sense without explanation.

The background of the setting is that United State culture didn't change much after the 1950s. The U.S. citizenry remained strongly anti-communist (McCarthyism was much more popular), militaristic and even reactionary. Imagine the United States as if the era of Eisenhower was never followed by Kennedy's focus on domestic policy, or Johnson's War on Poverty, or the anti-war or Civil Rights movements. Change occurred slowly, and the 1950s were romanticized as the Golden Age of the United States.

This continued until the the last quarter of the 21st Century, when tension over declining oil reserves triggered an all-out nuclear war between China and the United States. The post-apocalyptic setting takes place 90 years after the exchange of nuclear and biological weapons.

So, that makes the setting post-apocalyptic TL9, with heavily-armed mutant bikers, crazed isolationist societies whose members have big guns, wandering bands of cannibals, and a few scouts and others emerging from huge fallout shelters (vaults) to try to re-establish the United States and cleanse the world of remnants of the dirty diapers of Communism, for all time.

I'd say you could use any of the Mundane advantages and disadvantages you'd logically find in a TL9 survival-oriented society. Mental disads might include any socialization needed to survive in a given community (for instance, vault-dwellers might have obsessive neatness as a disad, or suffer from mild agoraphobia and serious fear of heights; while isolationist tribes might put the needs of the clan before personal desires).

As for advantages and disadvantages, I'd avoid anything with the "Supernatural" notation (that's a huge number of possibilities you can eliminate in one fell swoop), and restrict access to any with the "Exotic" notation to only those worth 50 points or less (there's another sizable batch gone).

Also, vault scouts will be the best and brightest, and the mutants and survivors will be the roughest and toughest. So, I'd start characters at about 200 points, and perhaps toss in some extra advantages (such as advanced vault equipment, patrons, pan-immunity treatments, or claims to hospitality) appropriate to the character background. That gets you an experienced and capable bunch, with some nice benefits, but nothing terribly difficult to handle, and no one character able to do everything.

Then, I'd set the books aside, and ask your players to jot down some notes about the types of characters they'd like to play. Don't even look at the books while they do that. Let them come up with character concepts based on fiction or imagination, which are appropriate to the setting.

Once they've got the character concepts down, then start to build 'em in the system. You'll find that GURPS makes it very easy to generate characters based on an initial concept. The presence of a character concept also reduces some of complexity, and that's good at the beginning.

What you don't want is for the players to ask, "What can I build"? The answer to that question, in GURPS, is "anything." Well, that's a pretty open-ended answer, and invites confusion at the complex range of options.

Instead, you want the players to ask, "How do I make this guy?" For instance, if they start with character concepts as simple as "medic on a vault scout team," or "salvager/mechanic for a kind-hearted mutant biker gang," or even "Mad Max," they have a direction. Have them focus on stuff appropriate to each character concept, and not even worry about the rest.
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Last edited by tshiggins; 02-08-2011 at 11:43 PM.
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Old 02-08-2011, 11:01 PM   #7
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Default Re: New to GURPS my head hurts

Fallout is actually a good starting point to learn GURPS.

Start in the Vault. In the Vault you only need GURPS Lite. Kill some rad roaches. Fix some plumbing. Bargain for a luxury item.

Head out of the vault. Outside of the vault you start needing more books. Introduce each new thing slowly as you explore the outside world.

By the time you are done you might have brotherhood knights blasting super mutants with tesla cannons, but you don't have to start there.
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Old 02-08-2011, 11:08 PM   #8
Pragmatic
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Default Re: New to GURPS my head hurts

There's a free adventure, Caravan to Ein Arris, available on SJ Games' online warehouse (e23).

With that and GURPS Lite, you should be good to start learning the basics.

There are other free downloads on e23, also, so look for those.
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Old 02-08-2011, 11:44 PM   #9
tshiggins
 
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Default Re: New to GURPS my head hurts

Heh. Caravan to Ein Arris with battlesuit troopers.

The bandits better be some pretty serious mutant bikers. :)
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Old 02-08-2011, 11:53 PM   #10
Crakkerjakk
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Default Re: New to GURPS my head hurts

Quote:
Originally Posted by tshiggins View Post
Heh. Caravan to Ein Arris with battlesuit troopers.

The bandits better be some pretty serious mutant bikers. :)
That would TOTALLY WORK! Though I wouldn't jump straight to some BoS guys. I'd have it be a merchant caravan going from town to town having to fight off some legion and negotiate with tribals.
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