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Old 06-06-2008, 05:58 PM   #11
Caleban
 
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Default Re: Does GURPS need original-setting world books?

The thing I like about Forgotten Realms, Eberon, and Planescape is despite sharing a system (D20) they each feel like unique places with detailed histories and NPC's.

I love GURPS supplements, but except for the historical ones I don't feel like I ever get to know the place described in them. They feel more like a genera overview then unique detailed worlds. Also the sections on "Using this setting with N supplement" tend to dilute the settings uniqueness making it more generic.

Again I realize that GURPS is generic by definition, but a thread with 68+ pages of "I'd like to play in that world" seems to suggest that there is a market for original-unique settings. I am coming from GURPS 3E. I haven't gotten around to updating to 4E.

Last edited by Caleban; 06-06-2008 at 06:03 PM.
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Old 06-06-2008, 06:13 PM   #12
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Default Re: Does GURPS need original-setting world books?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Caleban

Again I realize that GURPS is generic by definition, but a thread with 68+ pages of "I'd like to play in that world" seems to suggest that there is a market for original-unique settings.
Sure, but within those 68 pages, there's little agreement on genre, genre treatment (mode and voice), plotting level (freeform sandbox vs. meta-plot), realism level, power level, setting scope and scale, technology level, and character types (nonhuman races and exotic abilities). Those posts propose hundreds of unrelated worlds, and no more than a few people like each one. The message that sends us, the creators, isn't "there's 68 pages of people who want worlds, so I guess we had better give them worlds," but, "there's 68 pages of people discussing worlds and reaching no consensus, so I guess 'generic' is the only way to keep them all happy."

For years, I've mostly run high-powered campaigns with only the thinnest veneer of realism necessary to let the players identify with their characters, always gamed sandbox-style in settings of vast scale, typically with heavy doses of horror and moral relativism regardless of genre, and with tech and characters pulled in from all over the place. The nominal genre fluctuates, but has been fantasy more than any other (probably 80% of the time). Frankly, if I thought that 80%+ of GURPS customers would dig it, I'd just switch the game over to that kind of gaming. Hey, I could produce endless supplements and it would simplify all kinds of headaches. But I doubt that even 10% of customers would want the "SPRUG" (Sean Punch Roleplaying Universe Game"), so . . .
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Old 06-06-2008, 06:14 PM   #13
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Default Re: Does GURPS need original-setting world books?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Caleban
Again I realize that GURPS is generic by definition, but a thread with 68+ pages of "I'd like to play in that world" seems to suggest that there is a market for original-unique settings.
I wish it were the case, because I'd like to see my fantasy setting Gehennum, my SF setting Flat Black, and my answer to Indiana Jones and Miskatonic University (Walpurgis University) in print as GURPS books, or at least as PDFs on e23.

Unfortunately, the unslaked thirst for licensed GURPS settings which is manifest on the thread you cite doesn't translate into a demand for obscure original settings. All longed-for licences have something which Flat Black &c., or even new settings from a respected RPG author such as David Pulver or Bill Stoddard, lack: they have hundreds of thousands or even millions of fans who have read rich-detailed stores and comics, or watched TV shows and movies with gorgeous actresses and convincing visuals. They have an established fan base.

The only way to make Flat Black sell would be to write half a dozen novels set there, and have them either a notable commercial success or made into a successful movie. But If I could write popular SF or fantasy novels it would be more commercially and artistically rewarding for my to do so rather than write a GURPS world-book.
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Old 06-06-2008, 06:33 PM   #14
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Default Re: Does GURPS need original-setting world books?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kromm
Sure, but within those 68 pages, there's little agreement on genre, genre treatment (mode and voice), plotting level (freeform sandbox vs. meta-plot), realism level, power level, setting scope and scale, technology level, and character types (nonhuman races and exotic abilities). Those posts propose hundreds of unrelated worlds, and no more than a few people like each one...."
The type of supplement I'm suggesting would not be rules centric but more like "The Grand History of the Realms". Focusing on the settings metaphysics, NPC's, history, and politics; rather then the minutia of how many points it would take to play in it and how various rules and supplements would interact.

I won't belabor the subject though. Both of your posts [Kromm] have made it clear that what I'm suggesting is not feasible or at least not marketable.
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Old 06-06-2008, 06:45 PM   #15
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Default Re: Does GURPS need original-setting world books?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Caleban

The type of supplement I'm suggesting would not be rules centric but more like "The Grand History of the Realms". Focusing on the settings metaphysics, NPC's, history, and politics; rather then the minutia of how many points it would take to play in it and how various rules and supplements would interact.
That would still require general customer agreement on what setting they want, though. I've seen little here to suggest that more than a few percent of people would like any one setting, whatever its rules level. And note that you can't really take the rules out of the setting, because as soon as you go to game in the setting . . . well, boom, you have disappointed players unless there are templates for the races, stats for the items, and rules for the funky abilities.
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Old 06-06-2008, 08:35 PM   #16
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Default Re: Does GURPS need original-setting world books?

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Originally Posted by Kromm
...once you filter down from "all gamers" to ... the three people you end up with....
Hilarious! My two cents: there are already tons of setting out there. If I like the setting, I get it and adapt it to GURPS. It's one of the reasons I game exclusively in GURPS. It's easier to adapt to GURPS than learn a bunch of systems.
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Old 06-06-2008, 09:00 PM   #17
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Default Re: Does GURPS need original-setting world books?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kromm
Sure, but within those 68 pages, there's little agreement on genre, genre treatment (mode and voice), plotting level (freeform sandbox vs. meta-plot), realism level, power level, setting scope and scale, technology level, and character types (nonhuman races and exotic abilities).

(SNIP)
I have to agree with Kromm on this one. For instance...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kromm
For years, I've mostly run high-powered campaigns with only the thinnest veneer of realism necessary to let the players identify with their characters, always gamed sandbox-style in settings of vast scale, typically with heavy doses of horror and moral relativism regardless of genre, and with tech and characters pulled in from all over the place.

(SNIP)
...I'd hate this game, and never play it, no matter who ran it. :)

Give me low or, at best, medium-low fantasy, urban fantasy, or the hardest of hard science fiction. Keep your horror, please. I want a dark, gritty world on the jagged edge where life can be hard. However, absolute hopelessness (in general) does nothing for me, and Lovecraft (in specific) just annoys me.
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Old 06-06-2008, 10:33 PM   #18
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Default Re: Does GURPS need original-setting world books?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kromm
Sure, but within those 68 pages, there's little agreement on genre, genre treatment (mode and voice), plotting level (freeform sandbox vs. meta-plot), realism level, power level, setting scope and scale, technology level, and character types (nonhuman races and exotic abilities). Those posts propose hundreds of unrelated worlds, and no more than a few people like each one. The message that sends us, the creators, isn't "there's 68 pages of people who want worlds, so I guess we had better give them worlds," but, "there's 68 pages of people discussing worlds and reaching no consensus, so I guess 'generic' is the only way to keep them all happy."
That said, there may be some interesting intel to glean from that thread. For example, there is repeated interest in GURPS treatment of old TV shows. Presumably once licensed the 'bibles' of the shows would make GURPsification relativly easy, and multiple ones could be packaged together and put out on e23.
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Old 06-06-2008, 10:40 PM   #19
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Default Re: Does GURPS need original-setting world books?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kromm
Sure, but within those 68 pages, there's little agreement on genre, genre treatment (mode and voice), plotting level (freeform sandbox vs. meta-plot), realism level, power level, setting scope and scale, technology level, and character types (nonhuman races and exotic abilities). Those posts propose hundreds of unrelated worlds, and no more than a few people like each one. The message that sends us, the creators, isn't "there's 68 pages of people who want worlds, so I guess we had better give them worlds," but, "there's 68 pages of people discussing worlds and reaching no consensus, so I guess 'generic' is the only way to keep them all happy."
Not to mention that a lot of those are "things we'd like to see, even though we know there is no chance in hell of them actually getting published." :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kromm
Another way to look at it is like this: we have so few resources, both on the creation end and the sales end, that we can't focus on a setting without depriving the rest of the line. Since the line is built around generic rules, not a setting, that would be bad, so we refuse to do it.
It's an interesting problem. Personally, I like GURPS the way it is...the best set of rules you might want for any setting. I like GURPS precisely because I can build just about anything with it. At the same time, I'd love to see more settings, if for no other reason than that it might attract more people to GURPS.

What's the answer? I wish I knew. What is the "critical mass" where a setting has "support," in the sense of getting a large group of fans to say, "Yes, I like this world enough to game in it, and I feel secure that there will be new material for this world for many years to come!" so that they develop the kind of brand loyalty that keeps them coming back, the way Traveller players and World of Darkness players do?

A related issue is that, while it is important to support the general rules system, I wonder how much more needs to be done besides keeping books in print and making sure errata are taken care of...we've already got the Basic Set, Powers, Martial Arts, the Tech books, Infinite Worlds, genre books like Fantasy and Mystery, and we're getting Thaumatology this summer. Yes, there are a few more genres that could be covered, etc., but maybe SJG could focus more on settings now without hurting the general system?

One wonders what would happen if SJG made a commitment to a particular setting (Yrth?) and said, "We're going to publish one Pyramid article a month dedicated to this setting and one 32-page e-book every three months (and reprint them as a 128-page softcover every year, and design them from the start so this can be done easily). And we will seek out authors, etc. to do this, in advance, maybe even set up a bit of a backlog of material so minor delays don't interrupt the publication schedule." One softcover would be about 20%-25% of the current rate of publication (assuming that two new hardcovers get published every year). Is this feasible? Are there enough writers, production people, etc. to do it? Would it be enough?

(I've made the assumption that fans can be satisfied by providing several titles each year, even if they are shorter works, and then giving them the tangible payoff of a nice softcover once per year. I have absolutely no idea whether this has any chance of working, and I apologize in advance if my ideas are simply stupid and/or dead wrong.)

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Old 06-07-2008, 06:25 AM   #20
Caleban
 
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Default Re: Does GURPS need original-setting world books?

My favorite two supplements from 3E were Time Line and Who's Who. These two items helped make every era feel lived in and gave me lots of little hooks for modern and historical gaming. A combined book of this type for a GURPS fantasy setting is just sort of thing I am looking for.
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