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Old 01-20-2010, 02:27 AM   #31
Darekun
 
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Default Re: A bit of Advice

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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
But I'd still expect the default expectation to be 'guns are lethal' and only if someone specifically told me that they were not all that dangerous in a given game would it even occur to me.
I suspect that seeing an RPG about guns, they'd think John Woo before they think Saving Private Ryan, but seeing an actual gun, they'd regard it like death in a can. (Although many people do stupid things even then.)



One useful thing to ask is whether they prefer to start D&D characters at first level, or higher.

In the first case, "semi-pregen" may be the best way to go - present them with a list of races and class templates, with flexibility being optional. Race+class=character. Each class template would need to be the same point cost for balance, and each race would need to be the same point cost - you can deal with humans having low point costs by importing the D&D solution, humans have [X] points to spend. Also, the templates should be light on disads, so the players can optionally take some for more raw points. Finally, if the templates are interactive, come up with a default build for each one.

If they prefer to start higher in D&D, the usual complexity of GURPS templates should be fine.



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Originally Posted by Stormcrow View Post
but I recommend playing something completely different than what they're used to.
Thirded :J

It might be good to pick something that does "PC immunity" on a grand scale. For example, Highlander or wire fu. If they have Unkillable, or at least a bunch of Semi-Ablative DR, they can take damage that could kill an ordinary human, and you can use that as a touchstone. If they have Regen, they can come back from any culture shock with a minimum of fuss. This can also be treated as an augmentation - for example, space marines in superscience power armor could have all sorts of abilities granted by the armor, but it's equipment. Even if it takes them a dozen sessions to do any action out of uniform, the idea that they're realistically-fragile without it should both accentuate the scale of their usual action and show them that GURPS can do it both ways.

GURPS is also really good at the "squish two genres together" school of campaign design. You might present them with a list of ideas, have them vote, and use the top two. Highlander meets Land Of The Lost, anyone?
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Old 01-20-2010, 09:33 AM   #32
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Default Re: A bit of Advice

I vote for the Pulp campaign - it's the most straight-forward and is very much in the high action style of D&D fantasy. There isn't new campaign- or history-specific knowledge since there's no magic and it's set in something like the real world in a fairly recent era. Also, pulp is awesome :)

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Characters - I'd suggest 175-225 points for characters, and that you make them all yourself with player input.
Seconded. I'd aim for the lower end of the scale to keep things from overwhelming, but if you're comfortable with the system, the upper range would be alright I should think.

Overall, the thing is to consider your players: for example, if they're the sorts of people who want to try new things, you'll want to differentiate GURPS and your campaign (make it less like D&D fantasy, emphasize the advantages of GURPS like "you can build whatever character you want!" [with GM guidance of course, as others have pointed out], etc.) and have them vote on the campaign. If they're "D&D for life! Anything else sucks!", well, obviously you're in a tough spot :) But if such they are, I would try to limit the changes, as the jarring of different expectations may cause them to curl up into a ball. Also, you can ask them, keeping in mind that what they say may have little to do with how they actually feel.
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Old 01-20-2010, 02:52 PM   #33
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Default Re: A bit of Advice

Thank you to all for the quick answers!

I think that I will follow the advice of letting choose the players the campaign (well without giving away too much, surprise is an important part of any adventure). I'll add few other choices too, after all I've more than a dozen plots stored away...

I'll let them make the characters (under strict supervision, of course). Pre-gen are fine, but one of the aspect I love most in Gurps is the character creation. One hundred points and up to 40 in disadvantages should be fine. Personally I think that low points characters are more challenging and rewarding to play.
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Old 01-20-2010, 03:22 PM   #34
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Default Re: A bit of Advice

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Originally Posted by Darekun View Post
I suspect that seeing an RPG about guns, they'd think John Woo before they think Saving Private Ryan, but seeing an actual gun, they'd regard it like death in a can. (Although many people do stupid things even then.)
That's not unreasonable, of course.

But note that even in John Woo movies, that bastion of realism and sense, the reason bullets don't kill the main characters because they miss. Not because 'oh, yeah, if you take three or four hits with these things, you might want to slow down and take a healing surge'.

Guns (or lethal weapons in general) that don't penetrate the inhumanly tough hide of otherwise perfectly normal humans are not a common fictional trope. They are, instead, a specific D&D/d20 trope that is unlikely to be widespread among people who have no gaming experience at all.
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Old 01-20-2010, 05:00 PM   #35
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Default Re: A bit of Advice

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Originally Posted by Cornelius View Post
One hundred points and up to 40 in disadvantages should be fine. Personally I think that low points characters are more challenging and rewarding to play.
I happen to agree with you. My last couple of games started with 50 points and a 25 point disadvantage cap.

However, it is probably a good idea to find out the power level the new players are used to and expecting. What is their preferred range of levels in D&D? You don't want to force too many new things on them all at once or they might rebel against all of it.
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Old 01-20-2010, 05:08 PM   #36
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Default Re: A bit of Advice

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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
Guns (or lethal weapons in general) that don't penetrate the inhumanly tough hide of otherwise perfectly normal humans are not a common fictional trope. They are, instead, a specific D&D/d20 trope that is unlikely to be widespread among people who have no gaming experience at all.
Of course even in D&D it's not that they have inhumanly tough hide. Only the last 10 or so hit points represent actual direct hits. Of course that isn't always clear to people who don't think about what is "really" happening.
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Old 01-20-2010, 05:16 PM   #37
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Default Re: A bit of Advice

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Of course even in D&D it's not that they have inhumanly tough hide. Only the last 10 or so hit points represent actual direct hits. Of course that isn't always clear to people who don't think about what is "really" happening.
Or to people who think too hard about what is really happening.

D&D HP are abstracted so far they've pretty well broken tethers to actually representing anything other than themselves.
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Old 01-20-2010, 06:07 PM   #38
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Default Re: A bit of Advice

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I also agree that letting the players vote is the best policy, but I recommend playing something completely different than what they're used to. If you play something too similar, they'll just start thinking it's D&D, and will get frustrated with the differences. If you play something very different, it will seem like a new experience.
Agreed, very much.

If you try to wean players from D&D to GURPS by giving them as much as possible what D&D already gives them, there won't seem to be very much reward for slogging their way up the learning curve. Sure, eventually they'll enjoy a game with superior mechanics and a vastly wider scope. But in the critical early stage the awkwardness of unfamiliarity will sap their enthusiasm, and it will feel as though they are struggling a lot for little return.

I always recommend that when you are trying to get players to switch to a different RPG system you ought to start a new campaign with new characters (not convert, which some people try to do) is a completely different setting and genre, preferrably one which their usual favourite game obviously can't do, or cant' do without a lot of kitbashing. That way the effort of learning and familiarising oneself with a new system gives an immediate and obvious reward: a game that the old system could not have supported.

My usual advice is to pick a genre of stories or film that has a large body of popular material in it, so that its genre conventions are well understood and so that there is a range of different well-known heroes in the genre. For this, I usually suggest Westerns, swashbucklers, 20s-30s Pulp/matinée serial adventures, 'hardboiled' mysteries, police procedurals, or thrillers. That way players get a good idea of a wide range of things that characters might do, and the sort of results to expect of them.

Then I suggest a DVD night in which you show three varied examples of genre material from movies or TV, to work up enthusiasm and to give a clear reference.

And then say "help me make a GURPS game come out like that".
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Old 01-20-2010, 09:05 PM   #39
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Default Re: A bit of Advice

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Originally Posted by Cornelius View Post
One hundred points and up to 40 in disadvantages should be fine. Personally I think that low points characters are more challenging and rewarding to play.
Considering that they're new to GURPS, and that 100 is pretty tight in 4e (I, personally, mourn the loss of half-points...), I'd suggest that you give them customization points in-game -- i.e., when they say, "Oh, crud, I forgot to give X and my character should've had that!", you can say, "Okay, take 2 points for X."

Keep track of these in-play-granted points, of course! But tell them that they do have a smallish pool of "oh, crud, I forgot..." points to retcon their characters in play, so they don't stress out about getting it Just Perfect.

Alternatively, you could give out extra points for the first few sessions, to do much the same thing.

Both of those should keep them from deciding they hate point-mongering. I mean, me? I like point-mongering. It's an art form. I also like designing characters because it refines a vague concept into something more focused. But some people glaze over at numbers enough that trying to keep them on a tight budget may just convince them that GURPS is only enjoyed by point-mongering accountants; giving them some "flex" to refine the characters after they see how play actually works would probably help that sort of player feel less cramped.
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