Michael (2percentright) wrote in gurps,

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Gm wisdom needed

A little back story:
I've been running a gurps game for the past 2 months. This has been my first GM'ing experience ever, so I'm at a loss sometimes on rules, and tools that Gm's have picked up over time. Just so you understand where my request is coming from.

At the end of the last game, the player's characters accidentally stepped through what is called a "Time Slip"; a rip in reality that leads to any number of random alternate timelines. This version of reality they're in has gone to the wall, as it were. There is a massive battle going on that is tearing apart the city.

I know what I want to do, but would like some feedback on how to do it.

I want the characters to keep moving. The game session I want them to be pushed hard and have to deal with things quickly and move on rapidly, with only a few chances for a break to take a breath until they finally reach the end of the game session when they fall back into their home reality.

Any thoughts from the braintrust here that can help me focus my game a bit more. One of the other problems I note is if I rush things, the game will get done sooner than normal; how do I ensure a full game session?
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It really depends on your players. Some will simply walk the path they see the GM setting for them. Others will do their own thing, and will need compelling, in-game reasons to behave in the fashion you want. And still others will go out of their way to thwart your plans, and will generally make asses of themselves.

So how would you classify your players?
One way of dealing with this is to have lots planned, so that whatever they do it will lead back to your plans for them, ideally without them realising that's happening.

The way I'd keep them moving is to set a time limit on decision making - no more than one minute to decide. That gets you out of the situation where the game seems delayed because they're all sitting about trying to make the 'right' decision (or maybe it's only me who has players like that!)
The other thing it does is to set an artificial fast pace which leads to naturally quick play.

It also means that you must be well prepared with what's going to happen - design much more than you think you could possibly get through - to fill in the whole of the time allowed.

Any time the players start taking a long time to talk or think, send in the ninjas. Or blow something up nearby. Or something similar that fits the gameworld.
hmm I had a very similar problem and ended up waffling through it without much previous experience much like yourself.
I found that it helped if I had 1 or 2 "generic" adversaries on hand to keep pressure on them. For me it was a generic goblin slave and a generic Orc soldier. Whenever the characters started dragging their feet in an area I wanted them to be rushed through, I would start pouring in the "generics" (who happened to be inhabitants of that particular dungeon area so were easy to come by). The longer the PC's where in an area, the more "generic adversaries" would find them and in turn alert more "generic adversaries" for backup. The PC's could kill 5 of such badies at a time, but couldn't fight for ever so would be forced to keep moving and hiding and thinking quickly.
Then to spice it up a little (and as part of the plot) I had a "Sweeper" NPC who was after them the whole time. He was too tough for them to face in such an environment so that also kept them moving. When they would stop to stand their ground against some orcs and goblins too long, Damien would catch up to them truely hinder them in some way (he severed a Pegataur's wing, almost impaled another PC, barred exits, etc.).
So if you are playing a modern type setting maybe you could use the authorities (cops are on their tale, and that arrogant Detective) or maybe since they are in the midst of a war, one of the factions detects them as "spies" and sends a seek/destroy squad after them. Anything/anyone that could rationally have reason to either chase them and/or keep showing up.
Just keep the badies coming, and have at least one easy out for the PCs at all encounters.

Hope that helps.
(Good to see GURPS blogging!)
I'm currently planning out a campaign for my wife using 4ed GURPS. She's playing a paranormal investigator, and there's a Detective after her. I can't really get into what happened to warrant such attention since she may read this, but I'm planning on using him as a prod when her investigations are taking too long. Shoo her off to the next scene, even if the current one is unresolved, allowing her to come back to it at a later time. I've used it before when I was running shadowrun, and it lends itself well to keeping things moving.

You have to keep good notes, and sometimes it means killing off a certain plot line if your players don't get back to it in time, but that adds to the urgency I like in my games.