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[GURPS 3rd] Discworld Small Gods Adventure Ideas?

ChaosGirl

New member
Hello All.

For years I have been running games for a small group of ladies who don't consider themselves "Gamer's" (Despite spending playing in several long running games on a regular basis).
One of the players was looking through the games on my shelf, found a copy of GURPS Diskworld, and everyone's face lit up and made excited noises. They were so excited that I even got them to promise to do GURPs Character Creation. I don't know why I'm so excited about it, but for the last several years I've been running games with one or two stats, where character creation takes a few minuets at most. I think the most complex has been Laws of the Night: Masquerade.

So the two ideas that have been the most popular are
1) Three teenage Witches coming together as a coven
And
B) A group of "Former" Goddess. A harvest goddess who has mostly lost her cult after she divorced a Sky Father type, and was replaced in the pantheon by his new wife. The Goddess of a SPECIFIC bog. And the God of Apathy, who doesn't get many prayers because her worshipers are going to get around to praying to her tomorrow.
<EDIT> Can anyone suggest a good point total to run it at? Years of GURPS IOU has taught me that 100 is the "Correct" number, but Im fairly sure thats not the end all be all of answers

So I'm wondering since I finally get to run GURPs creation, are there any relevant templates for such a thing, and are there any interesting adventure ideas that would be relevant. It seems like the party would be good for a traditional adventuring party, since they would need to keep some people praying to them. Or a "The Greatest Story Never Told" situation where they save the world and no one is ever really made aware of it.

Anyways Much Thanks in advance :)
 

Kelly Pedersen

Active member
Validated User
My first suggestion, if you're willing to pay the money for a new book, would actually be to get the new version of the Discworld RPG. It's based on GURPS 4th Edition, but the nice thing about it is that it's standalone - you don't need to invest in any other GURPS 4e material, not even the Basic Set, if you don't want to. It contains all the rules you'll need to play the game. And the rules haven't changed that much between 3e and 4e, particularly not at the sort of tech level that Discworld covers. Mostly it's just some traits have changed costs. The basic mechanics of actually running the game are still pretty much the same.

Getting the 4e Discworld book has some big advantages for the campaign you're proposing, since it actually has a template for playing a Small God, rather than the rather vague guidelines that the 3e book presents.

If you're wedded to doing it 3e, I'd still suggest that the 4e template has some good ideas in it. The 4e version is 275 points, which, using the standard math of 1 4e point is about 66% of a 3e, point, suggests you should build a 3e Small God on about 180-190 points. Unfortunately, I don't know 3e rules well enough to really suggest a solid list of advantages and disadvantages that would be appropriate. But the 3e Discworld book does have some suggestions, so I'd start there.
 

PaulK

I am not a number! I am a
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Phil Masters ran a great scenario where the player characters are the Gods of a small swamp community. Civilisation had come calling (in the shape of the railway running nearby) and things were happening.
 

Phil Masters

Registered User
Validated User
Thanks for the kind words, Paul.

If you're running for people who "don't consider themselves gamers", I'd probably suggest the witches game rather than the small gods, though. Much as I tried to strip things down to make playing small gods viable, especially in the new edition, gods by definition have large, interesting, potentially complex powers. The simplest game system in the world is going to find that more complex than playing mortals. And I'm not going to tell anyone not to pick up the new edition, because royalties aside, I honestly think I learned enough to improve a few things between editions. Especially magic and divine powers. But the first edition does work.

Anyhow, regarding points totals:

For teenage witches, in either edition, that's going to be anything from 25 points (for a barely-teenage trainee, not really up to forming part of a coven) to 100 points (for someone almost up to acting as a village's resident independent witch). I'd probably suggest 50 or 75 points.

For small gods, the template in GURPS Discworld Also, for the first edition, was 540 points; the template in the second edition is 275 points. (High-power character values in GURPS 3rd ed were frankly all over the place.) On that basis, for first edition, I'd probably suggest 550-600 points for some individualisation; for second edition, 300 points works okay (it's what I used for the scenario Paul mentioned), 325 or 350 would give you a bit more oomph.
 

ChaosGirl

New member
My first suggestion, if you're willing to pay the money for a new book, would actually be to get the new version of the Discworld RPG. It's based on GURPS 4th Edition, but the nice thing about it is that it's standalone - you don't need to invest in any other GURPS 4e material, not even the Basic Set, if you don't want to. It contains all the rules you'll need to play the game. And the rules haven't changed that much between 3e and 4e, particularly not at the sort of tech level that Discworld covers. Mostly it's just some traits have changed costs. The basic mechanics of actually running the game are still pretty much the same.
That is great to hear. The players have said that this is something they would be interested in playing for quite some time, so I'm happy to pick it up both as a new game book. I honestly had no idea that one existed, and it would look good on either the Diskworld or the RPG part of my bookcase. I really don't have much attachment to the GURPs 3rd rule system than it's the one I played in collage, roughly 20 years ago.

PaulK PaulK : My going idea for the scenario is "The Bog is being drained drained by a dam upstream, its also affecting the last few villages where people remember the harvest goddess. And... ummm... I donno that requires alot of hard work and ambition, ruining the goddess of procrastination perpetual holiday".

Phil Masters: I am trying to point them towards the Witches game, the players have already expressed some rather fun ideas, but I think the novelty of the Small Gods thing has them enamored. Heck, I'm pretty sure that watching a group playing teenage witches and trying to figure out who the Matron and who the Crone are could be at least one evenings game (Although I vaguely remember that being a plot line in some book I read at some point) .

For the Small Gods powers I'm thinking of going with a "Ok, since you're gods who have lost 98% of your power over time you get one cool power that's related to your former sphere of influence". I'm fairly sure that the actual rules would be more work then the're used to doing for creation, and I can try to sneak that in later, when they take a break from the Witch party. But I'll look over the rules for the new edition. Honestly I kinda impulse ordered it last night when Kelly pointed out it existed.
 

Phil Masters

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Validated User
No complaints here about a sale...

As I recall, the assigning matron/mother/crone thing was a passing gag in one or two of the witches books. The implication was that witches know about it, but didn't sweat it too much.

A small gods game could certainly be fun, but the first thing to note is that you can't throw a lot of standard RPG challenges at them; they can probably all become immaterial and invisible at whim, don't have to worry much about food or routine environmental conditions, et cetera. On the other hand, you can use a lot of (whisper it) arbitrary metaphysical problems and challenges at them. "You can't go in there; it's been ritually warded by a wizard using spirit magic." "You can enter that rival temple okay, but your followers' worship doesn't reach you there. Your Dependency will cut in eventually." "You can lightning-bolt that mortal if you want, but he may be a serious devotee of Om, and you really don't want to go there." There's a little mental gear-shifting in GM'ing style involved.
 

Kelly Pedersen

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Glad you picked it up, ChaosGirl - I expect you'll find it quite useful. Props to Phil here, who's now twice produced my favorite RPG treatment of Discworld. :)

As I recall, the assigning matron/mother/crone thing was a passing gag in one or two of the witches books. The implication was that witches know about it, but didn't sweat it too much.
I dunno. The need for a third witch in the Lancre Coven, at least, was the inciting incident for Maskerade (Nanny Ogg thought a third witch was necessary for the dynamic of their group, cue tracking down Agnes Nitt in Ankh-Morpork), and it's a fairly significant character point in Carpe Jugulum (Nanny Ogg basically spends most of the book resisting the idea of shifting from the Mother role to "the other one", as she puts it).

I'd say that the idea of witches having to fit into Maiden, Mother, and Crone didn't start magically significant on the Disk, and witches probably generally recognize that. But it became part of the stories about witches, at least to some degree, and that's the thing about Discworld magic - if people believe it works that way, it tends to, at least some time. Part of the skill of being a witch, it seems to me, is to recognize that, and use it when appropriate, without letting yourself be forced to use it.

Mechanically, I'd probably allow a coven who fit the pattern to either get a bonus to rolls when "riding the narrative", or be a bit more generous when deciding whether their actions fit the story in the first place. Probably the latter, actually, as I think that's better for encouraging witch characters to actually fit their actions into the story in other ways.

Also, I think there's lots of comedy potential in a bunch of teenage witches trying to fit themselves into non-teenage narrative roles, and that's a big thing for a comedy-centered game like Discworld. :) Bonus points if you can set it up so that the most sexually active of the witches is the one who best fits the "Maiden" role, or the one who absolutely hates the idea of giving birth gets stuck with "Mother", or the youngest, most naive one is left with "Crone".
 

Phil Masters

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As I recall, it's said at one point that the plural of "witch" is "argument"... And Nanny Ogg decides that they need a replacement for Magrat because otherwise it's just her and Granny Weatherwax, and however good friends they are, that can't end well. But yes, they also tend to go with the classic triad, whatever the reason -- and it's also implied somewhere that part of Granny's power, but also the problem with her, is that she embodies all three aspects in herself. (She's definitely a crone despite the lack of warts, technically a maiden, and one bad mother...) So, sure, run with that if it works for your witches game.
 

Geburah

Brickotherapist
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I've always loved the Discworld setting, but (apologies to Phil) felt GURPS was a rather poor match to the setting and style. It seems like you're really into the idea but how set are you on using GURPS? Way back when I started working on an unofficial Discworld supplement for Risus, which I felt could be a good match, and some other light-ish system of your liking (PDQ, Fate Accelerated, whatever the latest hot-sauce is, etc.) might be a good match, depending on how your/their gaming tastes run...

Both options (Witches, Small Gods), sound like they have potential. For the Witches, it might be interesting to have them experimenting with other coven configurations (Three graces? Seasonal Witches? Animal souls?) because they are dissatified with the models "imposed" on them and they are oh-so-modern (example of how it plays out IRL for some people here: an-ecopsychological-alternative-to-maiden-mother-and-crone). And then dealing with them slipping back into the Dread MMC model because it works (and probably carries a Story with it)... In dealing with Pratchett's style, I think it might be interesting to look at Hillfolk's discussion of dramatic poles (most of Pratchett's characters have a good tension between such poles) and desires for the characters, and themes for the episode.

A Small Gods campaign seems like fun: I wonder if it might help to have a straight (hu)man to play off - someone playing a normal human who can be stunned or call Gods on their bull (worked in Small Gods). Love the idea of a Godess replaced in the Pantheon by a new wife... Might explore themes and the classic narrative of "reinventing oneself" and all the nonsense that goes with that (Small Goddess makeover sessions? Lessons is the proper use of Thundering? Driving a cart off the edge of the cliff after being pursued by the Watch - leading to apotheosis... or ridicule?). There might also be stuff to mine from Shakespeare. The Tempest, maybe? - Prospero, Caliban and Ariel all have some Small Goddishness about them.
 
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