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Old 06-07-2023, 05:38 PM   #101
sjmdw45
 
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Default Re: What is your favorite genre and how well does GURPS handle it?

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I haven't read Hamlet's Hitpoints. I've examined several games designed or strongly influenced by Laws, and I've consistently found it impossible to imagine ever running them; in some cases I found them actively repugnant. So I haven't been motivated to read any of the books where he philosophizes about game design and play.

It seems to me that "fraught relationships" must be a technical term, and one I'm not familiar with. Perhaps you could define it?
It's fine if you find those games repugnant; I'm here playing DFRPG because I find that more fun than DramaSystem too! (Even though I am willing to steal ideas from DramaSystem in principle, I am still 90%+ simulationist/gamist at heart, not dramatist.)

By using the term "fraught relationships" I was trying to call attention to the fact that not all relationships qualify--thank you for asking for more detail. Essentially each player needs to define IIRC two or more relationships with other players' characters, define what emotional reward he wants from that other character, and then work together with the other players to decide why that other character cannot give that thing.

Examples given on pg 16 of the rules include:

1.) Approval from your father. ("I withhold approval because I want you to keep striving.")

2.) Love from your mother. ("I could never love you as I should have, because when you were born I was still in mourning for your brother.")

3.) To punish your brother. ("Who wants to be punished? I'll resist your madness, as anyone would.")

4.) To be punished by the ex-lover you betrayed. (No example given, but "I still love you and want you to be happy" would work.)

5.) To achieve dominance over a rival warrior. ("Even if you were to best me, which you never will, I'd rather be struck mute than admit it.")

6.) "Why can't you be happy for me?" ("Happiness is a dream for fools.")

The network of emotional needs between characters (along with other things like each character's dramatic poles and the theme of the episode) provides a foundation for tension for players to explore. Fraught relationships can change over the course of play but knowing what they are is an important starting point for creating interesting scenes.

Aside: one impact that DramaSystem has had on my DFRPG games is how I create villains, and how I roleplay the impact of setbacks and defeats on those villains. Dying with a smirk on your face is one thing; feeling "punished" by the player characters is another thing. I think that's part of the secret behind the popularity of villain monologues--but once you realize that letting players "win" emotionally is the key, you also realize that it doesn't have to be a monologue! It could be a diary recounting the villain's nightmares, or a cowardly surrender, or a screaming rant at a subordinate. That will make the villains who deny their enemies an emotional victory all the better.

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Old 06-07-2023, 05:49 PM   #102
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Default Re: What is your favorite genre and how well does GURPS handle it?

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"Literal criticism"? I'm not sure what that means. I'm wondering if it was meant to be "literary criticism". . . .
Yep, phone typo.

It's fine if you're not into DramaSystem. It's not better at YOUR thing than GURPS is. It's better at ITS thing, especially as measured by the density of dramatic scenes per table-hour.

Also you seem to be recounting emotional reactions in players, whereas DramaSystem is about the emotions of characters. Apples and oranges.

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Old 06-07-2023, 05:54 PM   #103
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Default Re: What is your favorite genre and how well does GURPS handle it?

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By using the term "fraught relationships" I was trying to call attention to the fact that not all relationships qualify--thank you for asking for more detail. Essentially each player needs to define IIRC two or more relationships with other players' characters, define what emotional reward he wants from that other character, and then work together with the other players to decide why that other character cannot give that thing.
I've seen games that mandated that sort of definition as far as character creation is concerned. I would flatly refuse to play any such game. I don't know who my character is at that much depth at the outset; I have to wait till I start spontaneously speaking in their voice. I can't explain who they are in depth before then. Nor can I count on knowing who others' characters are. I assume that relationships will emerge out of roleplayed character interactions.

There's also the factor that I may want to see if the other players can figure out my character. There was the time, for example, that I signed on to play in a campaign set in Dragaera, and I played a Dzur nobleóbut I didn't want him to be a sorcerer, so I made him not very bright. In fact I named him Bertran and modeled him on Bertie Wooster, though with a style of dialogue inspired by Paarfi of Roundwood. It would haver spoiled the fun to tell the other players, "Oh, and he's Bertie Wooster!"

It sounds as if you're saying that every scene has to end with one character wanting something from another character, and not getting it. And while I'm willing to have that level of conflict in a campaign, I would find it constraining to have it as mandatory, or even as the default assumption.
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Old 06-07-2023, 05:56 PM   #104
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Default Re: What is your favorite genre and how well does GURPS handle it?

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Aside: one impact that DramaSystem has had on my DFRPG games is how I create villains, and how I roleplay the impact of setbacks and defeats on those villains. Dying with a smirk on your face is one thing; feeling "punished" by the player characters is another thing. I think that's part of the secret behind the popularity of villain monologues--but once you realize that letting players "win" emotionally is the key, you also realize that it doesn't have to be a monologue! It could be a diary recounting the villain's nightmares, or a cowardly surrender, or a screaming rant at a subordinate. That will make the villains who deny their enemies an emotional victory all the better.
So, you don't use it, but you've used your experience with it to grow as a GM?

SCORE!
Congratulations, you win!
(This is not ironic or insincere)
This is why I read every game I can get my hands on. I may never use the game, but I might learn something that makes me a better GM.

You just validated its existence to me. You're good.

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I've seen games that mandated that sort of definition as far as character creation is concerned. I would flatly refuse to play any such game. I don't know who my character is at that much depth at the outset; I have to wait till I start spontaneously speaking in their voice. I can't explain who they are in depth before then. Nor can I count on knowing who others' characters are. I assume that relationships will emerge out of roleplayed character interactions.

There's also the factor that I may want to see if the other players can figure out my character. There was the time, for example, that I signed on to play in a campaign set in Dragaera, and I played a Dzur nobleóbut I didn't want him to be a sorcerer, so I made him not very bright. In fact I named him Bertran and modeled him on Bertie Wooster, though with a style of dialogue inspired by Paarfi of Roundwood. It would haver spoiled the fun to tell the other players, "Oh, and he's Bertie Wooster!"
This.
Just.
This.
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Old 06-07-2023, 06:01 PM   #105
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Default Re: What is your favorite genre and how well does GURPS handle it?

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I've seen games that mandated that sort of definition as far as character creation is concerned. I would flatly refuse to play any such game. I don't know who my character is at that much depth at the outset; I have to wait till I start spontaneously speaking in their voice. I can't explain who they are in depth before then. Nor can I count on knowing who others' characters are. I assume that relationships will emerge out of roleplayed character interactions.

There's also the factor that I may want to see if the other players can figure out my character. There was the time, for example, that I signed on to play in a campaign set in Dragaera, and I played a Dzur noble—but I didn't want him to be a sorcerer, so I made him not very bright. In fact I named him Bertran and modeled him on Bertie Wooster, though with a style of dialogue inspired by Paarfi of Roundwood. It would haver spoiled the fun to tell the other players, "Oh, and he's Bertie Wooster!"

(A) It sounds as if you're saying that every scene has to end with one character wanting something from another character, and not getting it. And while I'm willing to have that level of conflict in a campaign, I would find it constraining to have it as mandatory, or even as the default assumption.
Sure, sure, I get it. You don't want to play DramaSystem. And I want you playing GURPS so you can write fantastic supplements like Low Tech Companion 3 and Social Engineering!

RE: (A) no, that's optional. It would even be theoretically possible for every scene to end up granting the implicit petition, but of course in practice that doesn't happen. Players are not so pliable. In practice denial will happen sometimes because it makes roleplaying sense--or even because the other player doesn't realize what the petition is! ("I wanted you to blame me but you just kept being so nice that I felt even more horrible.")

P.S. Paarfi is hilarious.

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Old 06-07-2023, 06:07 PM   #106
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Default Re: What is your favorite genre and how well does GURPS handle it?

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So, you don't use it, but you've used your experience with it to grow as a GM?
Exactly, yes.
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Old 06-07-2023, 06:15 PM   #107
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Default Re: What is your favorite genre and how well does GURPS handle it?

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I've seen games that mandated that sort of definition as far as character creation is concerned. I would flatly refuse to play any such game. I don't know who my character is at that much depth at the outset; I have to wait till I start spontaneously speaking in their voice. I can't explain who they are in depth before then. Nor can I count on knowing who others' characters are. I assume that relationships will emerge out of roleplayed character interactions.
If you would have told me, when I first started playing James, that he would go from "a second-banana, third-rate super" who used his minor abilities like most teenagers would (to impress and influence the objects of their desires) to a first-rate super and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the Justice League, in a world that was not set in the DC universe. I think we all would have laughed at you.

This was not planned. This is how it worked out.

Because GURPS.
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Old 06-07-2023, 07:17 PM   #108
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Default Re: What is your favorite genre and how well does GURPS handle it?

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Also to see (as an author getting ready to make his next pitch) the kind of things people like GURPS for, and what they don't.
Hm.....I feel like GURPS could use a little more support for playing non-humanoid animals. Expand Bunnies & Burrows out.
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Old 06-07-2023, 07:30 PM   #109
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Default Re: What is your favorite genre and how well does GURPS handle it?

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Also you seem to be recounting emotional reactions in players, whereas DramaSystem is about the emotions of characters. Apples and oranges.
Well, that's a fair point.

In that same campaign, though, midway in, we brought in a new player character, Sterling. She was Superman's illegitimate granddaughter from a planet of bisexual polyamorous women (Superman had started his career in 1938; his illegitimate son, "Superboy," later called Steel, started his in 1946; he eventually spent time on another planet as the lover of its queen, by whom he had a daughter who eventually came to Earth). And after a while, her teammates decided to take her out and show her what Earth people did for enjoyment. So, among other things, they went to a good restaurant where Diana Trevor (still agelessly beautiful) was having dinner with her quite elderly husband Steve; they dropped in on Zatanna's fiftieth birthday party, and she introduced him to his father, John Constantine; and they went to a night club owned by Lucifer, where Gabriel had dropped in and he and Lucifer were trying to jam togetheróand both were playing brilliantly, but utterly failing to get together.

So in the course of this, Sterling danced with (the original) Captain Marvel. And eventually they had a conversation on a rooftop where they acknowledged that they were attracted to each otheróbut decided that it wouldn't work, because Captain Marvel was Professor William Batson, born around 1930, and with rather traditional assumptions about morality, and Sterling had quite different assumptions. That was definitely an emotional question for the characters, and a very well played one. But it wasn't a thing we had set up, or agreed on in advance; it was emergent.

I just like to see things like that emerge spontaneously from roleplaying. They follow from the way the characters are conceived, but they aren't defined as specific conflicts; they appear during play. That's my preferred approach.
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Old 06-07-2023, 07:42 PM   #110
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Default Re: What is your favorite genre and how well does GURPS handle it?

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I think, lordabdul, we're trying to figure out what your issue is.
I don't have an issue :D I was just seeing a lot of posts giving "A" grades to GURPS for almost every genre and wondered if I was the only one who ran other games... sometimes it's because I'm lazy, and I reach for a game that already covers the genre/setting I want, but sometimes it's because GURPS doesn't give me the right "feel". Apparently my experience isn't shared by anybody, and y'all run GURPS for anything and everything. That's fine! We're all having fun (hopefully)!


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Many of us look at a self-control roll and saying "okay, my character will usually succumb to this, so I should play them this way." (...)
Sure, some people do roll-play (roll your disadvantages and follow the ones you failed), but most of us try to put the disadvantages together and play the character they build out.
I'm a forever GM so I don't actually *play* GURPS, I gamemaster it. But what you describe is often how it happens at our table. I tend to roleplay scenes out a lot, to the point that I noticed my games running somewhat slower than the average. I don't call out self-control rolls much -- my players are either acting it out (because, as you said, that's the character they want to play, so they built them that way), or make the rolls themselves when they can't decide.

But that's not what I was talking about. I guess I was talking about the "feel" of some mechanics. Fright Checks "feel" differently than the CoC SAN madness spiral which "feels" differently than the Alien RPG stress mechanic. GURPS has many options for, say, magic systems, so you get the magic system that "feels" right for the genre/setting you want to emulate. But it doesn't have as many options for other things, and that's where I reach out to other systems. Does that make any sense?
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