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Old 07-27-2013, 11:13 AM   #1
Territan
 
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Default Hooking New Players at the FLGS?

TL;DR: Does anyone have any advice or resources for someone thinking of running a GURPS demo for local players?

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For a while, the Friendly Local Game Store carried GURPS Horror. By itself. With none of the other GURPS books. The reasoning behind this was really rather simple: Because Ken Hite and Horror. But this seemed weird to me.

Something questionably wonderful happened recently: They got more of the books in. They have copies of the Basics, and Fantasy and one or two others. I say "questionably" wonderful because the only people I know of who play GURPS in that store are myself and one of my friends, and we both already have those books.

Ideally, I want to cultivate more players in the area. That means introducing people to the system. That means, most likely, running a demo.

Has anyone done this before? Does SJG have a demo pack for this purpose? Are there any prepared scenarios for this sort of thing, or guidelines for writing such a scenario? And if they do, who should I contact at SJG to get my grubby little mitts on those resources?
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Old 07-27-2013, 11:28 AM   #2
JP42
 
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Default Re: Hooking New Players at the FLGS?

I can't speak to any official demo packs or the like, but there are some things you definitely want to do if you try this.

First and foremost - pre-gens. As you well know, GURPS is very heavily front-loaded for investment of time, so removing that impediment to getting into the play of the game is key.

Is your FLGS primarily D&D or Pathfinder players? If so, Dungeon Fantasy might well be your best entry vehicle. Of course, that may be counter-productive, as those who are already in love with fantasy gaming might wonder why they should change it up, and find a Monster Hunters game serves you better.
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Old 07-27-2013, 01:23 PM   #3
jmurrell
 
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Default Re: Hooking New Players at the FLGS?

I second the motion for pre-gen characters. I would go with 2-3 times as many characters as you expect players. And use them to showcase the range of GURPS. So (assuming DF or similar) say three heavily armored fighters; one with spear and buckler, one with large shield and sword, and one with a two-handed weapon.

I actually would suggest not doing DF. Do a pulp style actioner or a detective story or modern horror. But pick something you enjoy and are comfortable running.
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Old 07-27-2013, 01:41 PM   #4
DAT
 
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Default Re: Hooking New Players at the FLGS?

I had a longer post that the system ate :-(

I agree with the above comments concerning lots of pre-gens.

One idea to consider is a Modern-Horror Zombie Apocalypse game.

Start a group of simple 50 point characters with access to baseball bats (clubs) and improvised weapons from a used sporting goods store, run them through an encounter and then upgrade to axes, knives, and maybe a sword from a knife shop. Then give them a second encounter or two and then let them get some pistols from some security guards that were overcome, and run another encounter. Then let them get some shotguns and rifles before a final encounter and rescue/safety.

-Dan

Last edited by DAT; 07-27-2013 at 01:45 PM.
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Old 07-27-2013, 01:43 PM   #5
DAT
 
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Default Re: Hooking New Players at the FLGS?

If I have the tags right, here is a link to the Demo Resources posters:
http://www.sjgames.com/mib/grafx/
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Old 07-27-2013, 01:54 PM   #6
Blind Mapmaker
 
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Default Re: Hooking New Players at the FLGS?

I've run fantasy games for cons and I've got to say there isn't much of an interest. You might snag two players, but you basically have to bring your own to have a game. There are just so many other games that do the same thing and in a way that is more accessible for players who know The Other Game.

Modern Horror is a good idea to hook players, so are things that mix up the usual genre concepts. I've had good results running Infinite Worlds with a large cast of diverse characters and moderate weirdness. At a FLGS you might also get some input first and then decide on the genre most of the regulars would be interested in.
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Old 07-27-2013, 09:59 PM   #7
Gef
 
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Default Re: Hooking New Players at the FLGS?

In my experience, different is good. For awhile in 3e days, I'd do demos with 2 adventures prepped, standard fantasy fare and something you can only do with GURPS. It also helped that I could pretend to be a carnival barker to drum up a bit of enthusiasm. "Come try GURPS! It'll be a lot of fun! Takes about 4 hours. You'll be playing a gladiator in ancient Rome with mutant super powers!" Talk with exclamation points. Yes, I used pregens.

The other way I've gotten gamers to try GURPS is to join a pickup game of someting else, contribute, have fun, be a guy people would like to game with. And oh, thinking like a GURPS player, have my character do things that would be easy in GURPS, maybe even explain how you'd do it in GURPS as you ask the GM what he wants you to roll. Most games don't have the flexibility; poor GMs will say you can't do it, good GMs will wing it, but either way, you've piqued some interest.* So in a few weeks when you run your demo, they want to see it in action. Beware: This tends to lead to people wanting you to continue your goofy one-shot demo as a full campaign with all the world-building that entails. For that reason, I'd suggest real-world, modern or historical, although it can have fantastic elements.

By the way, that gladiator game was very simple: One of the gladiators from the school of Hardius Knocksae has been kidnapped - whichever pregen none of the players picked. The lead suspect is the grudge rivals, the school of Dirtius Tricksae, but a few Carousing rolls later, and they're on the trail of that new school, Equus Darkus. They're also drunk, so they get mugged by some normal thugs on the way back to barracks. Super powers with DX penalties, fun intro to combat. Break into Darkus compound to rescue their bud, then into the arena, with their team back up to full strength, for some payback. Four hours easy. As I recall, some of pregens were as follow:

Tank - a 12' giant, lots of ST and HP, skin as tough as leather
Blaster - 3d lightning attack, fly by "electrostatic repulsion" max altitude 30'
Sneak - basically a tiger in human form, keen senses, super jump
Super-Normal - no powers but high skill
Speedster - looked normal and was a senator's daughter in it for the thrill
Morph - I only gave him 5 shapes, to keep it simple for a short game

Every time I ran this, a player told me GURPS was obviously unblanced, because one character was so much more powerful than the others. I was told this, on separate occasions, of the giant, the sneak, the blaster, and the morph.

Good luck,

GEF

*EDIT: Sample scenario, your guy lurks in the mouth of a dark alley until his mark passes, then steps out to grab him in a choke hold from behind. Plausible in most any genre, and in fact plausible for a low-skilled or unskilled hero because of the circumstances. In GURPS it's straight-forward: Stealth-vs-Per, bonus you because you're not moving and you're in a shadow and maybe never in sight if the mark doesn't glance up the alley, all-out attack to cover the distance and get a bonus to hit (not so risky since the mark can't hit back if A) you surprise him or B) you succeed in the grapple), mark defends at penalty because you're behind him. Again, with the bonuses, circumstances favor the attacker if neither party is unusually competent at rough stuff. Not every game handles this well. The fact that GURPS does so is alone insufficient reason to try it, but the fact that you can explain it simply would be a good reason to try GURPS with you as the GM.

PS: One note about pregens - don't make them too competent, even if you eventually hope to run a high-powered campaign with the same players. I'd even say, don't use cinematic combat rules. In other words, don't put yourself in position to explain, "With skill 24, you can target the eye at 15, or take a Rapid Strike at half penalty because of Weapon Master, for two extra attacks, and target the Arm at 16 for the first attack, the Vitals at 15 for the second, and if that doesn't finish 'em, a riskier to shot to the neck at 13 for the last attack. Note that the defender will be at a penalty to defend against your final attack." By the way, I've just started a campaign for new players, psionic conspiracy setting, 175 points but with 75 in psi powers, that makes them 100-pointers for mundane stuff like weapon skills. I tell them that skill 14 or 15 is pretty good, and I make sure it's true when I build NPCs, and they have no reason to whine that they can't snipe with pistols.

Last edited by Gef; 07-27-2013 at 10:34 PM.
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Old 07-28-2013, 01:29 AM   #8
Peter Knutsen
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Default Re: Hooking New Players at the FLGS?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DAT View Post
I agree with the above comments concerning lots of pre-gens.
Me too. GURPs character creation can be intimidating to those who have "learned" that you just roll randomly for attributes and then select whatever character class the attributes point most strongly towards.

Pre-gens are the way to go. At the most, include a selection of Lenses with each pregen, so that e.g. the first 125 CP are spent in a pre-defined way, and then the last 25 CP can be spent on one out of 2-5 Lenses, which each "flavour" the character in a certain direction.

That might be doable, and in fact can also work for DF, using the advice that comes after each template.

Anyway, as others have said, make sure to offer many more pre-gens than there are players. That maxmises player freedom to choose. If there are 4 players and 5 pre-gen sheets, the last player will often feel forced to play a character concept that doesn't appeal to him at all.
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Old 07-28-2013, 05:36 AM   #9
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Default Re: Hooking New Players at the FLGS?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JP42 View Post
First and foremost - pre-gens. As you well know, GURPS is very heavily front-loaded for investment of time, so removing that impediment to getting into the play of the game is key.
Agreed, endorsed, etc.

Quote:
Is your FLGS primarily D&D or Pathfinder players? If so, Dungeon Fantasy might well be your best entry vehicle. Of course, that may be counter-productive, as those who are already in love with fantasy gaming might wonder why they should change it up, and find a Monster Hunters game serves you better.
If you switch to GURPS but stick with players' usual genre then all your dependence is on GURPS' mechanics being better than their usual game's — which they are, but that isn't always apparent to a newcomer who might be struggling with unfamiliarity. That's why I recommend offering an instant pay-off with a switch to a genre that the players' usual game won't do. Go with a Western, thriller, hard-boiled mystery, urban horror, spy action, caper, sci-fi, etc. Do something the other game can't.


And I suggest keeping it simple. Give each character one schtick.
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Last edited by Agemegos; 07-28-2013 at 05:44 AM.
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Old 07-28-2013, 06:50 AM   #10
Peter Knutsen
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Default Re: Hooking New Players at the FLGS?

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Originally Posted by Agemegos View Post
And I suggest keeping it simple. Give each character one schtick.
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.
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