Saturday, March 2, 2013

Things I learned from my recent failed GURPS game

My GURPS campaign just wrapped up by my request after about 10 sessions. I can't say I am entirely disappointed though as it was a learning experience and we did have some fun along the way.

I'd like to share what I learned

#1 I am allergic to heavy prep.

I simply do not enjoy the tedium of creating stat blocs, drawing maps or any of the admin work that is part and parcel of games. Heck though I have plenty I rarely even use minis. This is product of me being spoiled by the Buffy RPG and needs to be unlearned for other games.

#2 I was overly ambitious.

GURPS Dungeon Fantasy Style meets Inusyasha was too much for my level of skill at GURPS 4e

#3 GURPS really needs fast play support material.

IMO a nice book of blog standard simple stats and basic maneuvers for common NPC types and critters would be a great asset. This is not a bestiary in the “you can play that with these stats” sense but a big book of things to smack. And yes Dungeon Fantasy does have some of this. I am not interested in buying a bunch of books or virtually thumbing through them for just some stat blocs.

#4 GURPS combat can be amazingly cool if and only if the players are interested in learning how to do their part.

Mine players just just want to kick some butt and would be better served with simpler rules. GURPS lite combat isn't any more interesting than any other system and is less interesting than some. I actually thing D&D HP attrition is better for these guys (as is class/level but thats another post)

#5 Neither my players nor I really care for my game world.

Midrea works as intended, its a very kitchen sink setting but its just not interesting and because of the divergent power levels, the guns and lasers and whatnot are a poor fit with GURPS. They work but they feel wrong.

#6 My players aren't very good and sandboxes

In my opinion they get bored easily, don't ask the right questions and aren't as motivated as I thought they were. Don't get me wrong they are fabulous roleplayers and good reliable players but the “Game” aspect of the RPG trinity just isn't their best bit. They honestly do just as well with no rules or rules on the fly and don't even mind being railroaded. This is a new thing to me and we both have some adjusting to do.

#7 Next time I need a fate point system to help get the players more into the game.

The players love them and I like them too . GURPS does have several in fact, one in the defunct on-line pyramid and of course Power Ups 5 Impulse Buys we are getting that next time.

#8 I don't like the GURPS baseline magic system.

We didn't use it much this time but in past games when we did the game before this , it was complex and unsatisfying. If I had preplanned better and the players were on the ball this might not have been an issue. The trick is getting there .

#9 The game balance works.

The GURPS point systems are roughly balanced vs one another. Its a masterpiece of game design.

#10 To really make GURPS fly requires a lot of tracking of fatigue and HP and maneuvers and such.

This can can be short cutted (I see a Pyramid article in the offing) but I can only get one of my 6 players into it. This rules out a lot of the excellence of GURPS martial arts, GURPS combat and makes GURPS core magic not work right either.

#11 All of the players need steady power ups and rewards.

GURPS can provide this but it doesn't do it as well as D&D or other games do. Also its easier to get the players to level up than to allocate points. I think it just feels more rewarding to them and maybe familiar as well (they are younger than I am having started with 3.5 D&D and GURPS as vs me with Holmes and AD&D) I can adapt as I have a number of old school adventures they haven't played. Ghost Tower of Inverness anyone?

#12 I make good NPC's including bad guys and nifty magic items

The players like them, I enjoyed them too.

and last the appropriate 12.5 or is it dum dum dum dum 13...

I am addicted to fairy tales. I can't stop using fae and enjoy RPing dragons, goblins and all the panoply of European Fae more than any other monster. I think what I need a Grimm's Faerie Tales with a dose of Thieves World. Any recommendations?

Well thats that. A least I learned some things , got some GURPS on and got to hang out with some awesome gamers. Maybe the game wasn't all that it could be but it was fun with peoplewhose company I enjoy and thats all one could ask for. In the event you are reading this, thanks ya'll for being great..