[GURPS Rome] A return to trad gaming and importing indie techniques.

edited July 2009 in Story Games
So, I'm running a game for some of my co-workers, including the shipping guy who's never roleplayed before, and my supervisor. It's GURPS, it's an alternate rome where Ceasar wasn't murdered by the Senate. I'll get into the actual playnext post, but at the moment I want to talk about what I'm bringing to it, and plan to bring too it from indie games and how that's going.

Firstly, the two players mentioned above are terrific examples of Vincent's "step up and swing" kinda players, with Doug, my boss, being quite interested in reinforcing the dream as well, so all three agendas are well represented. Once the other two players join the game (they were both indisposed last weekend) I think it'll be interesting seeing how these agendas mix.

I explained during chargen that if they put points into something, skill, stat, advantage, disadvantage, that it would come up, and the more they emphasized it the more i would to. Once I explained that if they didn't take swimming, i wasn't gong to fuck them with endless aquatic adventures chargen went much more smoothly.

Instead of self control rolls for disadvantages I started offering experience points for them popping up at interesting moments. this went over well. Joe, the new gamer, was delighted that he could play what his character was about and get yummy candy for it.

I intend to introduce fanmail at a four fanmail to one xp ratio this friday. We'll see how that goes.

All in all, we're having enormous fun, which is good, because I was really worried that I wouldn't be engaged with running something trad for the first time in about two years.

More thoughts later. It's time for work.

Comments

  • Posted By: OgremarcoI started offering experience points for them popping up at interesting moments. this went over well. Joe, the new gamer, was delighted that he could play what his character was about and get yummy candy for it.
    Initially mistaking your thread for a call for suggestions, my first thought was "he should use something like Solar System Keys to give experience". I'm glad to see you've got that covered!

    Our current group started out with a GURPS campaign years ago, so this game sounds like a lot of fun to me.
  • Nice. I am jonesing to play some WoD (Werewolf, Mage, or Changeling most like), but I'm also not sure if I can get past the limitations of the system. Stuff like this gives me hope, especially since it sounds similar to the stuff I am thinking about importing if I end up running it.
  • Posted By: Ogremarco
    Instead of self control rolls for disadvantages I started offering experience points for them popping up at interesting moments. this went over well. Joe, the new gamer, was delighted that he could play what his character was about and get yummy candy for it.
    Do you offer the roll if they don't want it to come up? Or has that not even happened yet?
  • I'm really interested in how this plays out, Ogre. Keep us updated.
  • edited July 2009
    I too want to hear more about GURPS 5/e.
  • edited July 2009
    Posted By: Ryan MacklinDo you offer the roll if they don't want it to come up? Or has that not even happened yet?
    I have them either take the xp or not. If they really want it to just be random, they can choose to roll instead. If they have a disad that has varying degrees of self control rolls, I try to make it come up more or less depending on the degree.
  • Some campaign notes should go here for reference. I'll try to be brief. Gaming stories are best when they're brief annd details should be filled in by questions, not long winded rambles.

    We're playing in an alternate Rome where Ceasar wasn't killed by the Senate. Someone convinced him to wait for Antony. It's a year later and Ceasar is embroiled in his campaign against Parthia.

    Characters.
    Quintus Civilas is the son of a wealthey equestrian, he's a procurator in the city of Massillia. He's an old soldier who campaigned with Ceasar in Gaul and during the civil war. He's got a bad back, doesn't sleep well, and needs a clerk to read to him because of his farsightedness. He's more comfortable with the lower orders than the higher, but his political career is progressing nicely. He's played by the fellow that won't be around until next session, so tight now, he's sort of a cartoony npc.

    Koplos is his chief of staff, a Greek slave. He's skilled in both administration and medicine, so he's both the sage and healer in a traditional party sense. He's quite meek and freezes up during violence, the poor guy. He's the most empathic of the group. His player joins us this week.

    Polonius is also a slave, a former gladiator Quintus bought to serve as a bodyguard. He's coarse, quarrelsome, not terribly bright when it comes to anything besides killing people, and as oversexed as they come. His player is the newbie gamer, who's doing so well, you'd think he'd been at it for years.

    Decius is a former soldier turned collegia turned hired killer. he's deadly, but a good talker as well. His stoic approach to life wars with his appetite for carousing. Think a cross between Titus Pullo and Lucius Vorenus. He also serves to mitigate the utter brutality of Polonius. He's my boss's character.
  • edited July 2009
    Hey Ogre--

    You've already nailed two of the techniques I've used for perving up GURPS, importing Keys and using all that character sheet stuff as flags. I also widen the scope of task resolution and leave skill selection for any particular task up to the players.

    Say the players' goal is to break into a warehouse. I'll throw some seed details at them and then ask each character what skill they're contributing. Someone will pick locks and someone else will climb through windows and another one will use Animal Empathy + Animal Handling to keep the guard dogs quiet. I'll throw a general modifier at all of them to represent the building's gnarliness and then figure out the various shades of success, complication, and disaster based on the collection of rolls.

    Allowing the players to pick their approach gets them talking and collaborating with me and can turn into a nice inspiration escalation spiral where they throw details at me, I throw details at them, they throw them back, etc etc. I really enjoy that.
  • Nice, John, I'll try something like that.

    I've also been collaborating with the players to come up with interersting consequences for failure. In the case of an interrogation we decided that success would get the information needed, but failure would add enough time that any ship worth taking would have sailed, and they'd end up tailing the bad guys in a dangerously substandard boat with a dangerously substandard crew.
  • With three dice ala GURPS, you can try using the Dice of Destiny hack:

    http://www.sjgames.com/pyramid/sample.html?id=1686

    One die could be "skill", another "fate", a third "time" or "opposition" (I'd roll with Opposition).

    -Andy
  • edited July 2009
    With three dice ala GURPS, you can try using the Dice of Destiny hack

    Andy, since the link you provide is terse, could you perhaps elaborate on the Dice of Destiny hack, and why it is interesting?
  • Well, I remembered one of the things that made me shelve GURPS a few years ago.

    The more awesome the thing you want to do, the more likely you'll fail, also shitty grappling rules that are a perfect example of why rules written to be "realistically correct" by people who don't understand the physics of what they're designing suck. Or in layman's terms: arm bars do not need a huge difference in strength between aggressor and receiver to do damage.

    Also, step up and play players have thhe right to their fun, but the whining when the dice fuck them is the biggest reason I don't take part in that agenda.

    The game will continue, and I'm not totally fed up at all. Just some griping.

    Oh, and I wasn't missing having to constantly pick up the book to look things up at all.
  • Dice of Destiny is all like this:

    In systems where you have more than one die, but not like variant pools (d6, etc, where you have dice pool increase and decrease) in in GURPS or 2d6-based systems, you do a kind of oracular thing.

    So, like, you take GURPS' 3d6: You then decide (for the session, or maybe down to the roll; but basically you pick and then stick with it for the full game) which color of die represents what. Stuff like:

    Skill
    Fate
    Time
    Opponent Skill

    etc.
    So, say my Red Die was Skill, my Blue Die was Fate, and my Yellow Die was Time: I roll them to chase down someone else on horseback, getting a Red 1, a Blue 5 and a Yellow 6, for a total of 12. In this roll, I fail. But the dice show me that I didn't fail because "I whiffed", rather the Skill die was low so my skill was totally up for the challenge. It's just that ... um... It just so happened that the opponent had a huge lead on me to start off with (time), and also knew the area far more than I do, so he cornered me in a swamp where only he knew the way through (fate).

    That sort of thing. It's basically setting colors to dice so you can come up with more reasons for failure than whiffs.

    -Andy
  • I like that, Andy, but I think it might be a little too time consuming for these impatient players.
  • That's very cool. It's a shame that I can't see a way to implement it in the dice pool systems I use (ORE, primarily).
  • Posted By: simjamesThat's very cool. It's a shame that I can't see a way to implement it in the dice pool systems I use (ORE, primarily).
    Well, with ORE you're already using dice to tell you things like Speed and Force and all that.

    However, if you wanted, you could always work with a group of dice: Say that if you knew you had to roll 7 dice for something, you could just grab 2 blues, 2 yellows and 3 reds and roll those, and basing your interpretation on the results.

    It really comes down to throwing sheep knuckles and divining the interpretation.

    -Andy
  • Posted By: OgremarcoI like that, Andy, but I think it might be a little too time consuming for these impatient players.
    You could experiment by not telling them about that or not having them be concerned about it, and just letting that inform your narration as a GM. Then, later, if they seem receptive you could explain how it works for them.
  • So wait, you're saying that the high dice tell you why the failure?

    I'd probably single out the low die and blame it on that. Also, you could go the other way and use the high die to enrich the narration of success! And for pool systems, you could still just use the 3 color dice and add white dice as the pool grows. That way no figuring ratios. You'll still get a success or failure result, then just check the three oracles.

    Hmm, s'pose it could get hairy with Star Wars D6;s Wild Die, though. Maybe make that one black?





    (Also, that Campagin sounds fuckin' sweet, Ogre! Be sure to tell more!)

    Peace,
    -Joel
  • Posted By: MelinglorI'd probably single out the low die and blame it on that.
    Low is success in GURPS.
  • O-o-h! Shows what I know.
  • Joel, you ignorant hippy. :P
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