I met with a new group of players last night for a tight 4 hour GURPS session.Things went far better than I had hoped for for a lot of reasons. These are the ones I think that most added to the game in no particular order.
#1 Well prepared focused and committed players and because there was a strong Earth connection they were actually interested in the game world. Midrea for the win.
#2 Lively Non Morlock players (I have had a lot of these guys of late)
#3 A willingness to get in on the whole William Shatner School of Drama and ham it up on everybody's account
#4 Me thinking fast on my feet, preparation on my part was limited to a few encounter notes which I adjusted as needed, moved to a plausible but fun location and in fact simply added stuff I thought would be fun (The Schroedinger's Princess)
#5 Borrowing from video games A: . Rather than continue a combat that was fait accompli anyway and boring the players, I used cut scenes to move the action along.
#6 Keeping pre game info dumps short and verbal. No one wants to read page after page of notes, they are however interested in listening for around 5-10 minutes or so
#7 No rolling unless failure is interesting or probable. GURPS normally charges for this calling it a perk "no nuisance rolls" I make it a game rule as it speeds up the action.
#8 The presence of a couple fate points. Normally GURPS combat is super deadly and while interestingly no one needed to use any they still helped the game. Having a few fate points and a means to earn more (by being cool) relaxes players and enables them to take more risks. GURPS also supports this with the rules as "Its only a flesh wound" I just used a small separate point pool.
#9 Borrowing from video games B:Quests. Rats, Tunnel, Reward. Easy to understand, plausible and trope-tasticly familiar. The players loved it.
#10 Humans only. People may disagree with me and in fact I did allow non humans but everyone in my group played a human. The group oddball was a Japanese character with a bought local title that he mostly played to his advantage. This worked nicely and contributed to a cleaner game.
Well there you go, story free actual play tips.
And in case anyone wonders, session 2 will be next week if all goes well with schedules.
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