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Old 05-10-2023, 03:40 PM   #681
ericthered
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Simple Space Opera

Run a space opera game in gurps... using only the basic set, Fantasy, and DF3.

The most exotic aliens are Colepterans, Lizardfolk, Myrmidons, and Devilfish. sea elves, catfolk, ogres, wildfolk, minotaurs, winged elves, and ghouls/corpse eaters provide some more traditional but colorful choices. Weapons come from the basic set: lasers, blasters, and force swords. Ships consist mostly of modified star freighters (Basic p465).

Players should be ending planetary wars, rooting out pirates nooks, or making peace between aliens of different biomes who have long lived at war with each other. As an example mission:

As the factions of Colepteran union ready for war over their royal succession crisis, Tradgedy already stalks their borders: A rouge lizard-chief from the Sriss empire has destroyed the defensive forces on the Colepteran's Desert world of Klakotan, and is striking the surface with impunity, carrying off treasure and slaves. The players must stop this somehow.
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Old 06-08-2023, 01:32 PM   #682
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Dragon Migration:

Every 10 years, dragons from across the continent leave their caves, ruins, castles, and kingdoms, to gather at the great roost for their mating season. For 20 days, they Gossip, Brawl, Negotiate, Boast, and Court. They swap news, technology, alliances, and bloodlines from across the world. And then they all return home. It is thought these migrations are what give dragons their edge in world affairs.

And now you're going to sneak in.

Your mission is to attend the Dragon Migration without the dragons finding out, except maybe a few insiders. Armed with magic to hide you from the dragons and let you survive for 20 days, you will eavesdrop on all the wonderful machinations going on. Specific PC's might have specific goals:
  • Discover the location of the dragon who burned down your village
  • Figure out the alliances of the dragon who ruled the kingdom next door
  • Catch a specific dragon who claims to be allies with your patron in his lies
  • Find out what's really going on in Treland
  • Write a scientific treatise on this whole thing
  • Gather Blackmail on a specific dragon
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Old 06-08-2023, 02:09 PM   #683
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Originally Posted by ericthered View Post
Dragon Migration:
The list of motivations reminds me of the personal agendas in Free League's Alien RPG scenarios -- some objectives unique to each character, which might or might not be opposed to the agendas of other characters and might or might not be secret (though they usually are), and which evolve a bit after concluding each act of the story. (Alien leans hard on a three-act film structure for the games.)

That game also usually includes a shared, public, motivation that brings all the characters together, and on which they cooperate. The PCs are typically a ship crew or military unit, as opposed to the ragtag band of misfits which independently came together by chance -- which structure would still work, of course. A common patron also works, with that shared motive then being "make the patron happy by fulfilling THEIR personal motive".
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Old 06-27-2023, 07:39 AM   #684
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The Annual Demon Run

Once a year, the gates of Hell open
Once a year, its infernal hordes pour out onto the sand
Once a year, they seek to take this world for their own
And Once a year, we harvest them

Deep in the desert, the nomadic tribes gather together one month of the year to fight the demon invasion that occurs when the stars are right and their portal opens up. They don't do this out of the goodness of their hearts, or to save the world: the demons carry magical swords, mysterious concoctions, and exotic armor. To find the best portals is to become wealthy. The gathering is also where the elders politic, the young men prove themselves, the storytellers get news, the parents arrange marriages, and the young subvert such plans. The month is far too short. How will you spend it?

Yes, this is inspired by the thought "What if a salmon run was composed of demons instead?"

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The list of motivations reminds me of the personal agendas in Free League's Alien RPG scenarios -- some objectives unique to each character, which might or might not be opposed to the agendas of other characters and might or might not be secret (though they usually are), and which evolve a bit after concluding each act of the story. (Alien leans hard on a three-act film structure for the games.)

That game also usually includes a shared, public, motivation that brings all the characters together, and on which they cooperate. The PCs are typically a ship crew or military unit, as opposed to the ragtag band of misfits which independently came together by chance -- which structure would still work, of course. A common patron also works, with that shared motive then being "make the patron happy by fulfilling THEIR personal motive".
Yeah, its a great structure, because it gets the players playing just barely against each other in an acceptable fasion, trying to tweak the eventual outcome just a little. My real-time players do it naturally, and its really a lot of fun. I've been thinking on the structure quite a bit recently. I put out this idea in March:

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Complications on the Road

Your mission is fairly simple, even if it will take a while: escort a wealthy individual across a geographic barrier, and then retrieve lost property at the end. Easy Peasy.

But the crew picked for this mission is both overqualified and carrying significant personal baggage that will cause trouble the whole way. For example....
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Old 06-27-2023, 10:13 AM   #685
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The Annual Demon Run
I like this idea. It's a bit reminiscent of Solo Leveling, although there it was only the rare people who had Awakened into having supernatural abilities who stood a chance against the demons, and the portals appeared at random in random locations (but apparently always near population centers). It was also set up so that the portals initially only allowed for humans to travel through and needed a few days before the demons could come out - which basically worked out as humans entering the portal and conquering the attached dungeon (by killing the boss) before it had a chance to fully open and lead to an invasion. And going into the dungeons was incredibly lucrative - minable magical stones, harvestable monster cores, powerful artifacts, etc (with things like the first two being used to make more magic items). Of course, that setting was a bit odd in that everything seemed to revolve around the dungeons - in the beginning (before he gets his powers jailbroken and gains the ability to level up through experience, something the vast majority of delvers can't do - at best they can just refine their own abilities, but are stuck at their starting power level) the main character is one of the weakest of the delvers, but is still notably stronger and more resilient than a mundane human... and yet the only real option available for him to make ends meet is to tag along with other groups and hope to get lucky enough to find something worth selling, rather than using his powers in a more mundane job.

For your suggestion, I could certainly see someone trying to figure out a way to mount an invasion of the demon world in hopes of claiming its riches more directly. The nomadic tribes probably know better (maybe it's been tried before, with disastrous results), but you could have some youths who think they know better than the elders - or some outsiders come seeking rumors of great wealth to be had - making the attempt, which sounds like where the PC's would want to be (at least until the screaming starts). It would also be interesting to explore why the demons keep making doomed invasion attempts each year. A parallel to the salmon runs would be if it's not an invasion, but rather a regular migration where taking a shortcut through this world's desert is the most direct path (or just the safest - "Yeah, we lose some to those crazy humans, but at least we can bypass the Soul-Eaters"). Or taking it from a slightly different perspective, maybe the demons need to fight and kill humans to become fertile (maybe they need bits of human souls to grow new demon souls), and those who are successful then need to make it back through the portal to breed. Or perhaps these doomed invasions are how the demon world deals with overpopulation - either they get rid of their undesirables when the humans slay them, or the invasion succeeds and they now have more lands to support their population.
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Old 06-28-2023, 09:16 AM   #686
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I like this idea.
Thanks!

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For your suggestion, I could certainly see someone trying to figure out a way to mount an invasion of the demon world in hopes of claiming its riches more directly. The nomadic tribes probably know better (maybe it's been tried before, with disastrous results), but you could have some youths who think they know better than the elders - or some outsiders come seeking rumors of great wealth to be had - making the attempt, which sounds like where the PC's would want to be (at least until the screaming starts). It would also be interesting to explore why the demons keep making doomed invasion attempts each year. A parallel to the salmon runs would be if it's not an invasion, but rather a regular migration where taking a shortcut through this world's desert is the most direct path (or just the safest - "Yeah, we lose some to those crazy humans, but at least we can bypass the Soul-Eaters"). Or taking it from a slightly different perspective, maybe the demons need to fight and kill humans to become fertile (maybe they need bits of human souls to grow new demon souls), and those who are successful then need to make it back through the portal to breed. Or perhaps these doomed invasions are how the demon world deals with overpopulation - either they get rid of their undesirables when the humans slay them, or the invasion succeeds and they now have more lands to support their population.
Answering both of those questions requires figuring out what the demons are...

My first thought is that nothing exists on the other side of the portals: the demons are spawned from their, and once a soul is dragged into one, it will spawn as a demon every year afterwards. This doesn't explain where all of the gear comes from though.

You can modify that to say there is a place, but it transforms you into a demon, and this is in fact a breeding cycle, kind of like one of your suggestions.

Demons that reform in their own place again and again help to make the repeated doomed invasions make sense. Maybe the demons know they're going to loose, but they find combat and killing people (or trying to) fun, so they go every year as a sort of sport.

Treating it as an actual migration is fun. That's the orginal inspiration, and it makes sense and gives the whole invasion some interesting geography. though to me it generates a lot of sympathy for the poor demons. Humanize a demon enough, and you get a goblin. Humanize a goblin enough, and you get a person. ("Humanize" here means both looking at them as people, and designing them as people). On the other hand, flipping it around and playing as the demons trying to get through could be interesting. Or even as Humans migrating through portals to hell from one world to another each year.
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Old 06-28-2023, 12:07 PM   #687
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My first thought is that nothing exists on the other side of the portals: the demons are spawned from their, and once a soul is dragged into one, it will spawn as a demon every year afterwards. This doesn't explain where all of the gear comes from though.
If the portals are able to gather matter together (possibly after outright creating it) to create a semi-autonomous creature, creating items to go along with them hardly seems like a stretch. The why of creating such would be to lure humans to show up for the event, indicating that whatever demon-maker gets out of capturing/killing humans is worth the expense of doing the event.

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Demons that reform in their own place again and again help to make the repeated doomed invasions make sense. Maybe the demons know they're going to loose, but they find combat and killing people (or trying to) fun, so they go every year as a sort of sport.
Another possibility is that they're trying to slowly chip away at humanity. When you have infinite respawns (particularly if you have infinite respawns and killing enemies can get you more participants on your side), throwing your side into a meat grinder over and over again isn't a horrible idea. You could also have the treasure claimed from the demons be subtly corrupting - an impressive artifact may become an heirloom, and if it's setup so that keeping such an item for, say, seven generations will result in a monstrous, semi-demonic person being born (with the physical transformation occurring as a sort of second puberty), you're basically setting things up so that some time down the line in the future all the nobility-equivalents will be corrupted.

Or it can be something else entirely - in my Oubliette setting for DF, the dungeons exist for the purpose of gathering energy for otherworldly entities, and the dungeons losing and being conquered and destroyed is actually part of the energy-gathering ritual (basically, delving itself gathers energy for the dungeon-makers, as does the dungeon simply existing although that's slower; unless you manage to find a very young dungeon and destroy it, dungeons are basically always a net gain for the creators, due to them essentially gaming the system; I got the idea from a mission in Destiny II where there's a Hive Knight that you hunt and kill multiple times and your Ghost figures out that this is all part of a ritual that you're serving as an unwitting pawn in). So maybe this is a carefully-orchestrated "sacrifice" being used to gather power (demons don't necessarily have to abide by the whole "Magic cannot enhance magic" rule of thumb).

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Treating it as an actual migration is fun. That's the orginal inspiration, and it makes sense and gives the whole invasion some interesting geography. though to me it generates a lot of sympathy for the poor demons. Humanize a demon enough, and you get a goblin. Humanize a goblin enough, and you get a person. ("Humanize" here means both looking at them as people, and designing them as people). On the other hand, flipping it around and playing as the demons trying to get through could be interesting. Or even as Humans migrating through portals to hell from one world to another each year.
Eh, I'm generally fine with humanizing demons and other traditionally-evil entities, but I recognize it's absolutely not everyone's cup of tea. You can still have it be a migration without generating sympathy for the demons, of course - maybe it's an annual migration to go terrorize the Realm of Adorable Kittens, Puppies, and Bunnies and feast on the inhabitants.
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Old 06-29-2023, 04:17 PM   #688
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Treating it as an actual migration is fun. That's the orginal inspiration, and it makes sense and gives the whole invasion some interesting geography. though to me it generates a lot of sympathy for the poor demons. Humanize a demon enough, and you get a goblin. Humanize a goblin enough, and you get a person. ("Humanize" here means both looking at them as people, and designing them as people). On the other hand, flipping it around and playing as the demons trying to get through could be interesting. Or even as Humans migrating through portals to hell from one world to another each year.
If you want to avoid humanizing then don't give them tools. Japan and Korea go with giving them magic cores that can be used for enchantment.
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Old 06-30-2023, 12:58 PM   #689
ericthered
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You could also have the treasure claimed from the demons be subtly corrupting - an impressive artifact may become an heirloom, and if it's setup so that keeping such an item for, say, seven generations will result in a monstrous, semi-demonic person being born (with the physical transformation occurring as a sort of second puberty), you're basically setting things up so that some time down the line in the future all the nobility-equivalents will be corrupted.
That's pretty insidious. I've previously thought there might be um... diplomatic fallout from using demon invasions as your primary source of material wealth, but that's a good one as well. Who know how much strange evil the demons have manged to sneak into this culture, which is ostensibly their greatest enemy.

Quote:
Eh, I'm generally fine with humanizing demons and other traditionally-evil entities, but I recognize it's absolutely not everyone's cup of tea. You can still have it be a migration without generating sympathy for the demons, of course - maybe it's an annual migration to go terrorize the Realm of Adorable Kittens, Puppies, and Bunnies and feast on the inhabitants.
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If you want to avoid humanizing then don't give them tools. Japan and Korea go with giving them magic cores that can be used for enchantment.
True enough, on both counts. I'd hope that "Eating Kittens" doesn't actually make one evil... but I get your point.
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Old 06-30-2023, 02:02 PM   #690
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That's pretty insidious. I've previously thought there might be um... diplomatic fallout from using demon invasions as your primary source of material wealth, but that's a good one as well. Who know how much strange evil the demons have manged to sneak into this culture, which is ostensibly their greatest enemy.
You could easily make use of both ideas - maybe other nations fear the nomads are being supernaturally corrupted by the spoils of the demonic incursions, but it's unknown if this is actually happening or if their becoming more belligerent (or whatever has changed... heck it may not be that anything has changed but nearby rulers are either superstitious or jealous) is simply a side effect of them becoming wealthier and more powerful.

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True enough, on both counts. I'd hope that "Eating Kittens" doesn't actually make one evil... but I get your point.
If you mean it as a euphemism or that kittens are just another potential food source, no, that wouldn't make you evil. My intent was more that the demons were specifically going there because they enjoy torturing, killing, and eating small defenseless animals, which sounds pretty evil to me. And, of course, even if they aren't evil, a lifeform that specifically targets cute animals for predation isn't likely to enjoy a lot of sympathy.
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