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Old 09-07-2010, 06:59 PM   #1
Micahel Silverbane
 
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Default New to GURPS; Advice?

I first tried out GURPS sometime in the early nineties. Finding it not so much to my liking at that time, I carried on with other games for lots of years.

Several days ago, I wondered about the direction GURPS had gone in the intervening years, so I picked up the two 4th edition basic books at my FLGS. Looking through it, I find now that either the game, or my style has changed such that it looks like a fun time.

I am considering starting up one or more campaigns with it (probably a fantasy to start with, but possibly also something like the infinite worlds setting for which the sample characters are made). What sort of advice do you have for a long-time gaming group that is new to GURPS? What supplements do you consider to be must-haves for a pretty generic fantasy campaign? What supplements do you consider to be must haves overall or for a kitchen-sink type milieu?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 09-07-2010, 07:23 PM   #2
Grouchy Chris
 
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Default Re: New to GURPS; Advice?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Micahel Silverbane View Post
What sort of advice do you have for a long-time gaming group that is new to GURPS?
If your game is going to feature combat on a regular or even intermittent basis, practice. Set up a skirmish with some generic PCs and a bunch of mooks, and then have at it. There are a lot of rules to cover, and this way, when you have to say "Well, look here, it turns out that you shouldn't have had to make that HT roll to survive," it's only practice. Also, you'll be much faster about combat after a bit of practice.

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What supplements do you consider to be must-haves for a pretty generic fantasy campaign? What supplements do you consider to be must haves overall or for a kitchen-sink type milieu?
I wish I could make this advice sound less boring, but I don't know how: pretty much, what it says on the cover is what it is. If you want to do generic fantasy, get Fantasy and Magic. If you want to add more detail and options to combat, get Martial Arts. If you want to do mysteries, get Mysteries. Et cetera. And don't overlook all the 3rd edition books available as PDFs, either. Books like Undead and Shapeshifters are useful with just a bit of effort spent on converting to 4th edition.
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Old 09-07-2010, 07:29 PM   #3
Kalzazz
 
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Default Re: New to GURPS; Advice?

The big advantage of GURPS is it can do Everything . . . . to get your feet wet I suggest a no holds barred everything goes game pretty much

For generic fantasy, Magic and Martial arts are the two which are most useful I think, as they get your mages and fighters covered

For overall (or kitchen sink), Magic, Martial Arts, High Tech, Ultra Tech
- Perks and Imbuements are strong second tier must haves, Powers and Supers probably next tier down

I really like Dungeon Fantasy, but well, Im not sure whether its the sort of generic fantasy you want . . . . it has oodles of cool rules and example pre made stuff (however, I personally would NEVER actually use the templates for PCs . . . . GURPS is about being able to make Anything, so make Weird Anythings, not using templates!)
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Old 09-07-2010, 07:37 PM   #4
Ze'Manel Cunha
 
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Default Re: New to GURPS; Advice?

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Originally Posted by Micahel Silverbane View Post
What sort of advice do you have for a long-time gaming group that is new to GURPS?
Have the GM create much of the characters using something like the GURPS Character Assistant.

The system is a toolkit, you as the GM need to make decisions on what will or won't exist in the setting, a good game is as much about what options and knobs are turned off, as to which options are being used.

Don't feel you need to use every option from the start, not only are many of them for different genres and not really meant to work with each other, but if you use too many options you can confuse yourself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Micahel Silverbane View Post
What supplements do you consider to be must-haves for a pretty generic fantasy campaign?
GURPS Character Assistant to help with character generation, and GURPS Magic has lots of spells.
If you're into running something like the less than serious D&D style fantasy then the GURPS Dungeon Fantasy line has tons of worked examples for that style of play.

If you're into running a more serious fantasy campaign then books like GURPS Thaumatology and GURPS Fantasy are great additions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Micahel Silverbane View Post
What supplements do you consider to be must haves overall or for a kitchen-sink type milieu?
Martial-Arts without doubt, Powers for when you want to really turn the knobs on the options.

After that it depends on the settings for things like the tech books, Ultra, Bio and High.
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Old 09-07-2010, 07:48 PM   #5
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Default Re: New to GURPS; Advice?

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Originally Posted by Micahel Silverbane View Post
What sort of advice do you have for a long-time gaming group that is new to GURPS?
Start slow and simple. Do not acquire an armload of books and charge headlong into a campaign using all the options. At first, the Basic Set (Characters and Campaigns) will have enough. You might not think so, but trust me, it does. Use the basic combat rules. Flip only the cinematic switches you truly need. Make do with the basic magic chapter and/or the basic psionics chapter. There are so many options available to you in the Basic Set that it alone can overwhelm you and your group if you bite off more than you can chew. Better to err from too little than too much.

Once you are thoroughly familiar the system, then start expanding your library and putting additional material into use. Martial Arts will give you plenty of extra combat options. Magic will give you plenty of extra spells. Thaumatology will give you plenty of alternative magic systems if the GURPS default of "spells as skills" doesn't satisfy you. Powers will give you plenty of extra options for building pretty much whatever fantastic ability you imagine (and Power-Ups 1: Imbuements patches the only hole in that boat, not that it was ever in any danger of sinking).

Note that "are thoroughly familiar" doesn't mean "have memorized it such that you can quote page references for every rule no matter how obscure." It just means that you've played with just the Basic Set enough that you need it during play to look up only the obscure stuff, not the stuff that sees use in three out of five play sessions. It will not only be easier on your head(s), it will be easier on your bank account(s) to build up your library(s) slowly and add complexity to your gaming in manageable chunks. Think of GURPS as a multi-course meal. Don't rush through it to get to dessert!

Welcome to the family.
Hope your GURPS experience is a fun experience.
This forum is full of friendly people willing to help you if you have any problems. :)
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Old 09-07-2010, 08:01 PM   #6
kmunoz
 
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Default Re: New to GURPS; Advice?

I would start by running a one-shot session using GURPS Lite, to familiarize everyone with the concepts.

For an eventual fantasy campaign you'll want, minimally, Characters + Campaigns + Magic. The Fantasy book is good but it's geared more toward world building than game mechanics. You may also want to get Powers if you plan to have abilities in the game that aren't strictly "magic," or types of magic that don't follow the standard rules.

A list of *everything* that could be useful for a fantasy campaign would at least include:

Magic
Fantasy
Thaumatology
Powers
Dungeon Fantasy PDF series (currently 12 volumes)
Banestorm
Martial Arts

The one gaping hole in all of this is going to be "monsters," if your fantasy campaign relies on them heavily. There is, as yet, no "complete" official bestiary that contains a sufficient collection. Dungeon Fantasy 13 will bridge the gap somewhat. I would humbly recommend the first two items in my signature. The second one in particular (It Came from the Forums) will include descriptions of all the monsters. The first one is largely a stat adaptation from the majority of GURPS 3e bestiary entries. (The only major absence is the second half of Space Bestiary 3e.)

Edit to add: Oh and then there's http://gurpswiki.wikidot.com/ which, basically, kicks ICFTF's rear end.
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Last edited by kmunoz; 09-07-2010 at 11:14 PM.
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Old 09-07-2010, 10:08 PM   #7
Voren
 
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Default Re: New to GURPS; Advice?

Supplements:

The Basic Set really will take you a long way. If I had to do it again with an eye towards generic fantasy without a lot of big rules-picking decisions, my next book purchases would be Martial Arts and Magic. After that, I would consider Power Ups 1 and 2, and then the Dungeon Fantasy series if that style appeals to you.

If you want to get involved with the nuts and bolts and come up with a customized magic system or the like, Thaumatology and Powers come next.

Personally, I get the most use out of Martial Arts and Power Ups 2: Perks, but that's largely a reflection of the sorts of games I've been running lately.

Advice:

Get the GM screen, or photocopy / print out the tables of modifiers, hit locations, etc, from the back of Campaigns. It reduces page turning.

Find / produce a cheat sheet of the dice mechanics, critical success / failure rules, different maneuvers, techniques, and combat options available and distribute this to your players. Provide a list at the very least, brief descriptions with page references are even better.

In GURPS combat, there are no Turns. There's just your turn, and then his turn, and then your turn again. NB: If you have a horse, it gets its own turn, just like everyone else.

All-out-attacks really are dangerous moves to the target and the user.

Don't worry about building NPCs or monsters with character points unless you find that entertaining. Handwave them into being and balance for fun.

Expect fights to take a long time to run, at least at first. Expect characters to potentially get hurt or die in any fight worth playing out. Expect your players to start avoiding fights after they discover this.

Have fun!
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Old 09-07-2010, 10:31 PM   #8
Ejidoth
 
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Default Re: New to GURPS; Advice?

Here is a bit of advice I like to give everyone that's new to GURPS and isn't trying to run a gritty realistic campaign; Luck.

Make sure any character that regularly risks his life takes at least the basic level of Luck (the advantage), or give it to the players free as a bonus, or something. Functionally, almost every cinematic character, protagonist of a novel, video game hero, etc. needs Luck.

Otherwise, the game can end very suddenly when your heroic demigod warrior (or whatever) takes a critical maximum-damage hit to the eye straight through his armor's eyeslit from some random kobold with a shortbow and a good roll. The Luck advantage means that when those disastrous flukes occur, the player at least gets a chance to reroll a couple times.

Remember that while the advantage is called 'Luck', it can represent competence as well -- that is, the character is just too heroic to make completely stupid accidents and failures as often as normal people.

You can get similar results with the 'spend character points to succeed' type rules, but many players are more likely to resent having a character point -- in some sense part of their character -- taken away from them, rather than just having to activate an ability that replenishes hourly anyway.
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Old 09-10-2010, 03:03 AM   #9
Micahel Silverbane
 
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Default Re: New to GURPS; Advice?

Thanks for the advice.

I've built a few dozen characters, ranging in power from 100 to 1,000 points, and run several mock combats myself, to get a handle on the various combat options, the flow of combat, and so on.

Ostensibly, my current plan is to run a TL 3 low-magic high-fantasy urban criminal intrigue style campaign for one player for a short while so that we can work out what sorts of cinematic elements best fit my GMing style.

The player will play various characters, most of whom are either members of a criminal syndicate, victims of the criminal syndicate, or authorities or private security personnel dealing with the activities of the criminal syndicate.

I'm working on putting together a combat flow-chart and a set of appropriate skills. Then I will help the player build a small stable of characters (from 150 to 250 points), and run a few simple scenarios (a B&E, some shakedowns, a brawl, a chase) progressing to more complex scenarios (an assassination, a negotiation, an investigation) as we become more familiar with the rules and the player starts to gravitate towards one or more (surviving) characters. Eventually I hope to turn most of the story-directing over to the player, where he tells me what sorts of activities he wants to engage in, and with which characters, and I improvise and/or plan sessions from there.

With multiple characters to build and choose from to play, I'm hoping that we'll be able to see plenty of different options in play, and that it won't matter too much if a couple of them die ignominious deaths due to poor gm planning, misunderstandings of the rules, or playstyle mismatches. Also, hopefully it'll give us a chance to do some cooperative world-building and engage in some fun scenes.

I will be using just the two basic books to start with, though I'll almost certainly get Martial Arts and Magic before play begins to see if there are some additional options that I'll want to add as we progress.

It should be a good time.
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Old 09-10-2010, 03:16 AM   #10
the_seeker
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Default Re: New to GURPS; Advice?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Micahel Silverbane View Post
I will be using just the two basic books to start with, though I'll almost certainly get Martial Arts and Magic before play begins to see if there are some additional options that I'll want to add as we progress.
If you or your players like spellcasters and are satisfied with the "spells as skills" paradigm, you'll want Magic. It also has some material for alternate magic systems, but if you really feel an itch to get creative, you'll want Thaumatology.

If you or your players like having as many options for you sword-swingers as for your spell-slingers, you'll definitely want Martial Arts. Excepting the two Basic Set books, I'd almost rather lose any two others than give up Martial Arts.

Enjoy your gaming, and once again, welcome to the GURPS family! :)
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