21 March 2015

Campaign FAQ

I've found this a useful thing, over the years, in giving a quick precis about my campaign, my setting and the system I use.  I think all GMs should use something like this, and I know I would've avoided a couple of campaigns in my time if the GMs had handed me one of these:

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New Player FAQ                Celduin Campaign, RG Traynor, March 2015

Hello!  I’ve written this for prospective new players to clue you into what the style of our campaign is like.

What system do you play?  I was one of the original GURPS playtesters nearly thirty years ago – as well as a writer for Steve Jackson Games and several other gaming companies – and I’ve GMed it ever since. 

Ack!  Don’t they call that a hard system?  It isn’t nearly as tough or “math oriented” as its detractors make it out to be.  The real deal is that a dithering player can take forever over the choices available.  I recommend GURPS Lite, a 32 page free PDF from the Steve Jackson Games website at http://e23.sjgames.com/item.html?id=SJG31-0004, for a look at a stripped down version of the rules.  You don’t need anything more complicated.  Besides that, I require new players to sit down with me and tell me, in as much detail as they feel like, what kind of characters they want to play.  Character creation takes a great deal less time with me present to answer questions and give guidance.

Alright, I know GURPS.  Any changes I need to know? 
A number of them, including new Advantages, Disadvantages and skills, templates appropriate to my campaign, and a few other fillips (such as that I still use BSII missile rules for simplicity’s sake).  A number of skills, Advantages and Disadvantages are restricted or disallowed.  I have some house rules for things, but the gist of it goes back to GURPS Lite, which substantively I run; I'm not inclined to slow down play hunting and pecking through rulebooks for every last little modifier.  I have an edited version of GURPS Lite on my campaign’s website, incorporating the house rules, which I urge new players to download.

What’s your campaign like?  I run a Renaissance tech fantasy world, very loosely based on Kenneth Bulmer’s Dray Prescot/Scorpio series.  It is now getting into the Gunpowder Age.  Realism is a hallmark of Celduin, and you won’t see magical streetlights, orcs carrying hundreds of gold pieces and flying cities.  The current party (an all-mage group, an experiment that’s been going on for a couple years now) is based out of a giant seaport, and maritime and urban adventures have traditionally predominated.  Characters ought to be able to get along in a city and at sea. 
            
What’s the play style?  We have a collegial, laid-back atmosphere with a bit of socialization and digression – someone expecting wall-to-wall Action!!! will be disappointed.  (Then again, someone who can’t hack two hours of rip-roaring combat will be disappointed too.)  We’re also a crew of mature grownups and like to see like-minded folks.  I run a character-driven game more than a plot-driven game; of course there’s plot, and lots of it, but I want the players to tell me what they’re going to do far more than I push the plot into telling the players what to do.

When and where?   I run on the 2nd and 4th Saturdays of the month; it starts at 11:30 and wraps up around 6:00 PM.  Good attendance is strongly encouraged.

Anything else I need to know?  We have a cat and a rabbit, and anyone with serious pet allergies should take notice.  This is a non-smoking apartment, and we’re not much for drinking.