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GURPS in Ancient Rome

Tartan

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Is anyone here willing to GM a GURPS story set in the Ancient Rome? I have an idea for a story in ancient Germania but I’ve never been a GM before.
 

kenco

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Possibly! Tell me more. :)

- Are you wanting someone to run the story idea you already have, set in Germania? Or just any story set somewhere in Ancient Rome?
- What moment in history are you interested in? Can you give me a year range?
- What points in space are you interested in? Is it Germania? Or something broader?
- How realistic are you wanting this to be? Is this at the level of historical novel? Hollywood movie? Fantasy Rome?
- What are your preferences regarding tone? Story type?
- Do you already have an idea for a character or characters you want to play?
- What are your expectations around 'using' GURPS? Are there particular editions/ books you want to use? Or are you happy with a generic, cut down, rough-and-ready GURPS?
- Are you aware of anyone else who would be interested in playing?

It've wanted to run something reasonably naturalistic in the ancient world for a long time now - it's been a while. My experience with GURPS is somewhat limited, but I have been running a wide variety of games for years, mostly low-tech low fantasy.

I have some concern that GURPS might be a bit... heavy... for play-by-post. Have you given any thought to how to make that aspect work?

Cheers.
 

kenco

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I'd be happy to play GURPS Lite, but would balk at the full version.
Yeah, that is about my limit, too.

Did you have any preferences regarding time, place, character, tone etc?

It's a wide canvas of possibilities, so I'd like to narrow it down.

I think my own preference would be for the mid-late Republic, probably a globe-trotting kind of campaign, where some of the action could happen outside the bounds of the 'empire', and some within. But I am open to other suggestions.
 

King Hellfire

Saving RPG.net...
Late Republic is the era I probably know best, so that works for me. I think travel opens up a lot of opportunities for adventure, so Germania (as the OP mentioned), Britannia and the like, maybe a little in Rome herself? Possibly the Eastern empire may be interesting?
 

kenco

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Yes. The advantage of the Republic is that so much of the world is NOT Roman: it opens up a wider variety of scenarios and character roles, but all within reach of Roman-affiliated characters. Lots of interest in the East, with the border/ client states, the shifting frontier as the successor states are absorbed, Parthians etc.; and the cross cultural elements they introduce. Hispania and North Africa also have adventure possibilities in this period.

Not long after this you have equites travelling overland to the Baltic on trade missions, embassies from India etc.; so there are exploration-type scenarios available too.

I'm not sure that I'd want to have to deal with the complexities of putting the PCs front-and-centre in the republic's top-level political struggles though. It would give more plot flexibility and agency for players if that kind of stuff were background from a the PCs' vantage point.

What do you think?
 

King Hellfire

Saving RPG.net...
Definitely agree...PCs should be the ones getting their hands dirty for the movers and shakers! The patronised not the patrons!
 

kenco

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Tone-wise; gritty, deadly, supernatural elements toned down to the minimum I think
That sounds about right to me. But I would like to build an element of uncertainty about the supernatural into play, since people in all eras have experienced uncertainty about it.

I wouldn't expect to see 'spells' in play, or to have the PCs investigating ghosts, battling vampires, dodging skeletons or anything of that sort. The kind of thing I am thinking about is having characters act on beliefs about the supernatural, and having some in-game events be ambiguous in interpretation. So the PC might see the world through a supernatural lens; but the extent to which that lens is "accurate" remains an open question.

Overall, I am imagining a pretty naturalistic game, with PCs not much more effective than a 'competent normal'. They probably need to be more than averagely competent to offer a reasonable chance of surviving/thriving in an adventure-type context.

Maybe 50-75 CPs after disadvantages?

It might also be helpful to think about a campaign premise: who or what are the PCs and what do they do/ are they doing?

The world is big, and there are many possibilities. But I don't think, for example, mainstream soldiering would be much good, unless we wanted to do a very focused campaign about... a specific military campaign.
 
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