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Old 07-28-2013, 08:04 AM   #11
Territan
 
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Default Re: Hooking New Players at the FLGS?

So what I have so far:

Pre-gens: Not only accepted as read, but pretty much mandatory. I also had the idea of writing two or three paragraphs of character history to "introduce" the character to the player. For each character presented on the table, I'd have an index card behind the GM screen with their complications and plot hooks, for blending into the game du jour.

Peter's "lens" idea is intriguing, and I may try something like that, only smaller. Say, 10% of the character left unspent and five optional builds (check one) under the character notes.

Advertising: DAT, your link to the demo posters worked and I think those will come in handy.

System Briefing: This isn't the first time I'd felt the GURPS demo bug, so I have a one-page system briefing written up. Given that I might actually go through with a demo, I need to fine-tune the crap out of that.

Genre: Therein lies the rub. While the shop attempts to carry a wide swath of different games, out of necessity and demand it carries darn near every current D&D and Pathfinder product. I'm inclined to agree with some that the dungeon fantasy is not the way to go, but then again, I would have about 2-3 hours for each demo session (the window for this would be 6–9 PM), and that's not enough for a proper dungeon crawl anyway.

If I run it as a demo series, then nothing's stopping me from running a different genre each trip. Pulp adventure one night, planet-hopping the next week, an ISS adventure the week after, a Banestorm set the week after that, blah blah blah yakkity schmakkity. GURPS, Smörgasbord-style. Yes, it's to showcase the richness and variety of the system, but also to keep them guessing. (I hate being predictable.)

I also had the semi-devious idea to run a major alteration of the dungeon crawl fantasy game. Set it up as a GURPS Space game, but the mission is to regain contact with the fortified underground installation the survey team set up to monitor the medieval-tech-level locals, because something has gone Horribly Wrong™.
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Old 07-28-2013, 08:23 AM   #12
Peter Knutsen
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Default Re: Hooking New Players at the FLGS?

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Originally Posted by Territan View Post
Peter's "lens" idea is intriguing, and I may try something like that, only smaller. Say, 10% of the character left unspent and five optional builds (check one) under the character notes.
Okay, here's a more detailed description of the idea, including a lot of assumptions that you'll have to fit to the situation.

150 CP characters
4 players

Okay, you have 4 players. If you're a bit lazy, you'll make 2.5 characters per player, as an absolute minimum, for 10 characters.

With more players, you might be able to go a bit lower than 2.5, while with fewer payers you need to go higher. The important thing is that no player ends up feeling like he's forced to choose between a list of character types none of which he wants to play. So go for many different character types, and if possible include two somewhat similar rogue types or ninja types, maybe one Ranger and one Ninja, or one Assassin and ont Cat Burglar, or whatever. And probably at least 3 who can fight in melee, with or without weapons. All different from each other.

Anyway, you got 10 characters.

Now you make variants of each of them. Say you take 20 CP (a bit over 10% of their CP total) and split out into Lenses. Five of the charactes get 4 Lenses each, and the other five get 3 Lenses each because you simply couldn't come up with a 4th Lens you liked.

That means you have not 10 but 35 characters, for the players to choose from. You just need to "link" each of the 35 characters to its "parent" character so that the players know they can't choose 2 variants of the same character.

This "link-to-parent" thing becomes more and more important, the less difference the Lens makes. If the Lens only takes up 13% of the CP budget (let alone 10%!) then it's very important. If the Lens takes up 25% of the CP budget, it's not particularly important, although you still need to individualize the characters.

Either way, as I see it, you're going to be bringing 35 diffeent character sheets to the campaign, even if there are only 10 different character names.
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Old 07-28-2013, 01:57 PM   #13
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Default Re: Hooking New Players at the FLGS?

This sounds like the perfect situation to run ISWAT. Throw them into a different time period each week. You can even give them the "iconic" characters out of the back of _Campaigns_.
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Old 07-28-2013, 04:25 PM   #14
Agemegos
 
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Default Re: Hooking New Players at the FLGS?

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The one-schtick-per-character thing in Feng Shui was a gigantic turnoff for me, and can easily come to look like AD&D, where most character classes are defined by merely two things: How well they fight, and the one other thing they can do that's not about fighty stuff but has to do with occasionally encountered dungeon hurdles.

GURPS is the exact opposite of AD&D. And by GURPS I mean all GURPS, including Dungeon Fantasy.

Real people are about combinations of schticks. Ignoring those action movies where the hero always coincidentally can do whatever it is the plot requires, that's how larger-than-life heroes work, and why they fascinate and impress. Because they've got several items of coolness on their character sheets.
For a longer format I might agree with you, but my experience of running three-hour games for pick-up groups (which I have done at cons) is that you have to keep the adventure very streamlined and the characters simple. Players have to be able to appreciate their characters quickly and confidently, which militates against complexity and subtlety, and they have to be able to work out what to do in an unexpected situation without any temptation to dither.

This is indeed not GURPS' strong suit. GURPS can easily be "too much game" for a three-hour pick-up session.
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Old 07-29-2013, 01:39 AM   #15
Peter Knutsen
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Default Re: Hooking New Players at the FLGS?

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Originally Posted by Agemegos View Post
For a longer format I might agree with you, but my experience of running three-hour games for pick-up groups (which I have done at cons) is that you have to keep the adventure very streamlined and the characters simple. Players have to be able to appreciate their characters quickly and confidently, which militates against complexity and subtlety, and they have to be able to work out what to do in an unexpected situation without any temptation to dither.

This is indeed not GURPS' strong suit. GURPS can easily be "too much game" for a three-hour pick-up session.
As I said before, GURPS' charm is that it is "much game", allowing an even encouragnig the creation of characters with multiple abilities, and in many cases with odd combinations of abilities.

I don't think the OP is going to convince many of the wonders of GURPS, if he gives them low-brow hypersimplistic characters to play, in the style of AD&D or Feng Shui.
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Old 07-29-2013, 04:40 AM   #16
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Default Re: Hooking New Players at the FLGS?

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Originally Posted by Territan View Post
Genre: Therein lies the rub.
The rub is part of you wants to run swords and sorcery and the other part knows that's a terrible idea if the goal is to successfully complete the mission statement of proliferating GURPS.

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Originally Posted by Territan View Post
I also had the semi-devious idea to run a major alteration of the dungeon crawl fantasy game.
Stop. Channel that creativity into creating a game in another genre. Dungeon crawl all dressed up is still dungeon crawl.

You're absolutely not going to convert D20/D&D/Pathfinder guys by running what those systems do. If you're seeking to plant the seeds of GURPS and watch them grow, you can't run swords and sorcery. Even if they enjoy the session, they won't leave their system.

Run something contemporary or futuristic. Cyberpunk. Zombie apocalypse. Robot Apocalypse. Post apocalypse. Hard Sci-Fi. Space Opera. Weird War II. Weird West. Super spy.

Just make the game session as quick and simple as possible. Don't make this all complicated. Simple pre-gens. Fun, interesting, short scenario.

Here is some inspiration:
  • Players are on a leisurely cruise across the galaxy in their skyscraper-sized spaceship. Suddenly, space zombies (or xenomorphs) are flooding the corridors. "Oh no! Set the self destruct and get to the escape capsules!"

  • Players have been living in the dust bowl of the future for all their lives. "Oh no! The robots took little Jimmy? We're going to rescue him! The rest of you, get back to the Vault!"

  • The cybernetic and biologically-enhanced PC's are given a mission. Should they chose to accept it, they will be infuriating the secret headquarters of Cobra Khan to steal the plans of their next terrorist attack. This message will self-destruct in five seconds.

  • "There's a new preacher-man in town," Deputy Zed started lazily, the brim of his hat tilted down over his eyes to avoid the red rays of the low-setting sun. Without looking up at the sheriff—who had just arrived by train from a long trip—the deputy continued his update after spitting a lip full of tobacco juice onto the planks of the saloon's porch. "Says there comes some sorta evil this a'ways. He's a weird one, that preacher. Got a gun with silver bullets strapped to his leg, even during service. And, he's got this sharpened crucifix he carries round with him. Nuttier than a . . ."

    Just then, both Zed and the sheriff slowly turn their attention down the street, slack-jawed and eyes wide with disbelief.
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Old 07-29-2013, 09:37 AM   #17
ClayDowling
 
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Default Re: Hooking New Players at the FLGS?

Nobody else is capable of doing the optimistic near future the way GURPS is with Transhuman Space. There are a number of Personnel Files supplements you can pick up, which are essentially a pack of pregens and a short convention demo. I had a lot of fun with School Days 2100, and the others are probably good too. TS is the setting that got me interested in GURPS.

Frankly, it was a fantasy game that totally hooked me on GURPS. The pregens did things that I could never do in The Other Game. GURPS Fantasy has been the single most rewarding fantasy game I've ever played or run, because the range of character possibilities was so much more interesting. This isn't DF though, just straight up Fantasy, with its much wider range of character options.
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Old 07-29-2013, 12:09 PM   #18
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Default Re: Hooking New Players at the FLGS?

Caravan to Ein Arris is a great free introductory adventure for GURPS. Pregens will probably make it run more smoothly. We had a lot of fun with the character creation part as well. It took a number of sessions to complete, but even starting it could be a good time.
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