Daily Illuminator

September 7, 2010: GURPS Needs Adventures Too!

You've probably noticed that there aren't many GURPS adventures on e23. This isn't because we don't want them, but because GURPS is driven by submissions . . . and being a generic, universal tool kit, its fans like to design tools. Look at me: I've played GURPS since 1986 and been the GURPS Line Editor since 1995, yet I've never written an adventure, just piles of rules!

There are situations where adventures are nice, though: conventions, pick-up games at shops and clubs, introducing new gamers to GURPS (or RPGs!), and the gaming equivalent of those times when you stand in your kitchen and think, "I'm ordering out." Every gamer has been there at one time or another. Wouldn't it be nice to have a few GURPS adventures for those moments?

Which is why I'm making a short list of what we want to see, in the hope that it will inspire you:

Interesting. Nobody needs "You go down a pit, kill 117 orcs, and return with a +11 Sword of Murder and 13 random gems." At the same time, it's possible to be too clever: "As you set out, you're all turned into rabbits." What makes an adventure interesting is a variety of challenges, puzzles, and so forth that let everybody from combat monsters to social engineers play the parts they signed on for, and that support more than one ending to the story.

Complete. Encounters, locations, NPCs, and so on should be written up in the sort of detail that every GM wants but not all GMs have time for. If you're a typical crunch-loving GURPS fan, consider this a challenge: You know the rules, but can you write stats for people, places, and things well enough to inspire another GM . . . and that GM's players?

Time-saving. Completeness is just part of this. As anybody who has ever bought a do-it-yourself kit knows, prefab components are no better than tools and raw materials without good instructions. A plot outline, a flowchart, a checklist of encounters . . . touches like this really help, especially if the GM running your adventure is new to the hobby.

I didn't mention "generic" because that doesn't work for adventures, even GURPS ones. Sure, an adventure should be flexible enough to adapt to an ongoing campaign, be not so setting-specific that you can't run it anywhere else, and include pointers for different power levels and play styles. However, you can't offer a complete, time-saving scenario without knowing the genre and assuming a rough backdrop and mix of adventurers. So don't let "generic" worry you!

Last but not least, we want you to read our wish list and guidelines, and download our template and formatting guide. GURPS adventures should look and feel like part of GURPS, not like hasty adaptations of old campaign notes. (Good adaptations are fine!)

The question is: Do you have what it takes?

-- Sean Punch

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