Steve Jackson Games - Site Navigation
Home General Info Follow Us Search Illuminator Store Forums What's New Other Games Ogre GURPS Munchkin Our Games: Home

Go Back   Steve Jackson Games Forums > Roleplaying > GURPS

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 03-04-2021, 05:55 PM   #1
Greg 1
 
Greg 1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Default [DF] The Underdog Campaign?

By an "underdog campaign", I mean a campaign where the PCs are outmatched in combat by much of the opposition. They might be "low-level" PCs willing to take big risks for big rewards, regular PCs taking on an epic dungeon, or just PCs living in a game world where the monsters are really dangerous.

It's a common trope in Dungeon Fantasy games that the PCs take down the opposition in pitched battles, using their amazing abilities to overwhelm them. But in an underdog campaign, the PCs have to think their way through carefully, finding ways to achieve their goals without being able to bring overwhelming force to the table. Think Call of Cthulhu, Odysseus outwitting the Cyclops, and Sam and Frodo creeping through Mordor.

Does GURPS DF offer any unusual opportunities or pitfalls for an underdog campaign? One strength of GURPS DF is definitely that it has well developed rules for non-combat skills, and enough variety in non-combat skills to keep the characters from feeling "samey" out of combat.

Are there PC templates that you would add, remove or change for characters living in a world where PC types are generally outgunned by the monsters around them?

Any other thoughts about the "underdog campaign"?
Greg 1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2021, 10:59 PM   #2
RyanW
 
RyanW's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Southeast NC
Default Re: [DF] The Underdog Campaign?

I saw the title and thought this would be a Supers+Furries crossover. I'll try to temper my disappointment.

Personally, not a big fan of the dungeon fantasy genre (though DF is an adequate implementation of it). But I've given thought to some campaigns featuring outclassed PCs, usually involving trying desperately to not be noticed. The most extreme probably being the little-folk campaign idea I keep going back to in my mind, based on The Borrowers or The Littles. Meddle not in the affairs of cats, for they are massive jerks.

If running an underdog game in a straightforward DF milieu, I'd use the 125 point templates from the hirelings book.

Not bird nor plane nor even frog...
__________________
RyanW
Gondor has no king. Gondor needs no king. Gondor doesn't have to show you any stinking king.
RyanW is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2021, 11:46 PM   #3
corwyn
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Saskatoon, SK
Default Re: [DF] The Underdog Campaign?

If the intent was to solve more problems without resorting on combat, the template I would change is the knight. More than any other, it is woefully mediocre when the objective is not "beat the crap out of stuff." He has a few options, but less than any other profession.
__________________
MiB 7704
corwyn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2021, 02:20 AM   #4
Opellulo
 
Opellulo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Rome, Italy
Default Re: [DF] The Underdog Campaign?

The problem of being underdogs in GURPS is that the system, being math and physics based, could push you in a corner where you cannot literally touch your opponent (between high active defenses, DR, injury tolerance, high skills and whatnot).

It's a trope that works best a narrative pitch and as it should be focused: yes the PC should be mundane (may more mundane than DF heroes) and maybe they should already know how to work together: a team of trappers able to bring down giant beasts, a posse of bandits specialized in ambushes and stealth etc, so while they are weak if taken as singles they can match superior foes when coordinating.

I think the focus should be to avoid the fights as most as possible: using misdirection, stealth, diplomacy, wit... and and prepare carefully when and how to fight.
__________________
A strange game. The only winning move is not to play. How about a nice game of chess?
Opellulo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2021, 05:04 AM   #5
Gnome
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Cambridge, MA
Default Re: [DF] The Underdog Campaign?

I have found that a well-designed GURPS battle really benefits from good tactics. I have run a lot of DF, and I generally plan the opposition to be stronger than the PCs, but they somehow almost always manage to win.

Ok, part of this is that I have certain PC-friendly switches turned on (like fodder rules to speed combat), and NPCs rarely have Luck, which can be a bit overpowered, especially at high levels.

But a big part of it is good tactics on the PCs' part, which in the best cases will include stealth to achieve a surprise attack, but lacking such an opportunity, just sticking together, using healing spells wisely (Awaken is a must!), making sure the tank is out front, focusing attacks on important enemies, using Extra Effort judiciously, choosing the right offensive magic, taking advantage of facing to achieve side attacks, using retreats to improve positioning and force enemies to overextend, taking advantage of terrain and other environmental features, etc.

And I'll just opine here that if your picture of what PC underdogs do is sneak around and avoid battles, that could be a fun game but it's not really DF, which is after all supposed to be hack-and-slash fantasy. If I am running something called "DF," my players will expect some action!
Gnome is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2021, 05:59 AM   #6
Varyon
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Default Re: [DF] The Underdog Campaign?

I could see this working as a sort of reversal of DF - rather than the PC's delving dungeons for treasure, they go to towns besieged by monsters, setting up traps, ambushes, etc to kill off the invading monsters (or you could go full-on reversal, with the PC's as weak monsters protecting their dungeon from powerful delvers).

Alternatively, a [150] DF game could work well. Have the players choose a [125] henchman template, then give them another [25] to spend as they see fit (this should allow the Squire to become competent outside of direct confrontations). You then design dungeons that are meant for standard [250] (or stronger) delvers and see what they players come up with.
__________________
GURPS Overhaul
Varyon is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2021, 06:11 AM   #7
Say, it isn't that bad!
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Default Re: [DF] The Underdog Campaign?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
(or you could go full-on reversal, with the PC's as weak monsters protecting their dungeon from powerful delvers).
...It's technically still Dungeon Fantasy if the adventures are managing a dungeon, perhaps centered around an orb-like, immobile quest-giver...

Throw in Realm Management once its out, and you've got the start of a fairly cliche LitRPG. ;)
__________________
In which I post about a TL9-10 solar system

http://forums.sjgames.com/showthread.php?t=169674

If you don't know why I said something, please ask. Assumptions are the death of courtesy.

Disappointed in the behaviour I have too-often encountered here.
Say, it isn't that bad! is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2021, 06:30 AM   #8
Varyon
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Default Re: [DF] The Underdog Campaign?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Say, it isn't that bad! View Post
...It's technically still Dungeon Fantasy if the adventures are managing a dungeon, perhaps centered around an orb-like, immobile quest-giver...

Throw in Realm Management once its out, and you've got the start of a fairly cliche LitRPG. ;)
From my experience, "LitRPG" and "underdog" don't really go along. I mean, the main character might technically start out as an underdog, but events will rapidly conspire to change this (be it because the character has a skill/power-stealing/absorbing ability, they get lucky and take out an enemy worth obscene amounts of xp or find a ridiculously-overpowered weapon, they become BFF's with an overpowered dragon, or whatever). Still, a Dungeon Defense game like that in GURPS could be... interesting.
__________________
GURPS Overhaul
Varyon is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2021, 06:34 AM   #9
Mysterious Dark Lord v3.2
 
Mysterious Dark Lord v3.2's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: The deep dark haunted woods
Default Re: [DF] The Underdog Campaign?

It was my impression that all really good RPG campaigns were "underdog" types. What's the point of not overcoming unbelievable odds? Or not facing impossibly mighty opponents?
__________________
"When you talk about damage radius, even atomic weapons pale before that of an unfettered idiot in a position of power."
- Sam Starfall from the webcomic Freefall
Mysterious Dark Lord v3.2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2021, 07:17 AM   #10
Boge
 
Boge's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Default Re: [DF] The Underdog Campaign?

That would be fun to me, require the players to strategize and employ some real teamwork to be successful. I embrace vulnerability in these games. It's what makes the decisions and the risks more enjoyable.
Boge is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
dungeon fantasy

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Fnords are Off
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 12:32 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.