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GURPS: Looking for Game Session Input

   
Looking for Game Session Input

Hi guys and gals of the Myth-Weavers gaming boards community. It's been quite a while since I've taken the time to post here, but somehow I'm back on the boards, and hoping for a little input from a few consistent RPG players, preferably those who commonly play in table top games.


I have been running a campaign using 4th edition GURPS (no, not Kitchen WoW, 4E D&D) for the last two months now. Over that period I have run 7 session of rising and falling intensity. The world is a mid-high level of magic, most of which hasn't been mastered but has been seen or recorded at some point in some way. The realm is mostly human with a single major settlement of elves within the central forest, while a single dwarven empire lives within the mountains to the northern ridge of human lands before reaching a desert devoid of all known life.

All players are (recently) from a small village named Thurheim. It is known solely for being a farming community of close to 200. Though not massive by fantasy standards, it is quite large, housing it's own small contingent of guards, a few hunters and trappers, THREE bars, and even a small inn for travelers venturing on foot rather than through the river ways leading towards the major trading ports to the east.

The game began following a drought which ruined a large portion of the crop last year. The town was faced with a terrible situation between refusing to pay their taxes but not starving in the winter months, or risking starvation of most of the town just to avoid the anger of their king. The party (two members of the guard, a young boy who was trying to join the guard, and a local street merchant and thief) took up arms to defend the village against the risk of attack from the imperial tax collectors. Over the winter and spring, the party managed to bring two villages under their protection, bringing the citizens to live with them and build a larger settlement, as well as train some new foot soldiers. Even managed to uncover the truth about a small village lain-to-waste for another tax infraction in the past, and to bring their smiths and sailors to their village to help out in the war.

The party has now returned to their village, and spring has turned the landscape back into a beautiful scenery. Unfortunately, the village is housing more than twice the number of people it help last spring. Food is not sparse, but supplies are beginning to show how much has been used. Cloth is almost entirely used up, and medicines won't last to the next full moon. Sadly, the village has made great efforts to fight a just war to protect the people, but they grew too fast, and may fail for that reason alone.

The town is falling ill, quickly. The new villagers, known in game as Albions, have brought with them new illnesses from the coastal regions. Many of the town have never seen such a thing, and due to no exposure to it, have no immunity to it. People are falling ill to a new bacteria that could easily be cured... if the town weren't seen as traitors to the crown and unable to trade.

That said, an Albion priestess know that the hills to the south grow the wild flowers, root, and herbs needed to make plenty of elixers. Unfortunately, she's not a warrior, a tracker, or a hunter of any sort. She is a medicine woman, a naturalist and a teacher, and would likely die to wild animals or be enslaved to bandits, kept as a personal slave or sold into servitude. Thus, the party must escort the new PC (In the form of this healer/priestess/herbalist) to gather these medicines.


Now, with all that said, what I'm looking for from the MW community is some input regarding what the party should face in their efforts. As of now, I have plans to use wild animals and weather conditions to be the primary challenge to the party. I'm also looking to add in more references to the Albion people, maybe a small settlement of a single family from the lost town hiding in the hills, living with a small band of dwarves who were banished from the mountains of the north. What I do know for certain is that this next piece of the story needs to run three sessions of the party working with the priestess.

(It's our group's policy to bring in a new player for three sessions and then take a vote of already approved players rather they fit well, played well, and added to the game. If not, the new players is not brought in, but in a future campaign, can be come back for another set of three assuming the vote was not entirely against the new player. If even a single person votes against the new player, they do not join. In fairness, all votes are taken over a long lunch between sessions and the player discussed in depth.)

Going to keep bumping the thread looking for some input. Need some good ideas, something to spark material in my mind to fill all three weeks of continued story. So if you've got ideas for a table top session you used in the past, or something you're not sure if it would work, feel free to throw it here. Hell, if I use your material, I'll write you and let you know how my group responded to the situation. Let you tweak for material you didn't expect a party to go after.

Anyone with something to add?

Well, you did mentioned bandits, possibly slavers. I think you should have at least one encounter with them.

Fun fact to consider: wild animals taste good. Any random critter attacking people should consider itself dinner.

If some of the (N)PCs are especially pragmatic, this includes bandits.

Medicinal herbs... collecting them... may also include actively transplanting them. It's a somewhat harder prospect than most, but it could work.

And if you want to throw some... "friends in low places" flavor in, don't forget that this kingdom probably has other types of refugees. Such as forming an alliance with local monsters (like, say, goblins)... or a local necromancer who offers excellent prices for fresh corpses... in fact, the latter makes for an interesting encounter on many levels. If they get attacked by bandits working for said necromancer, and are interogated, the bandit will of course bribe them (offering the gold he has is a good start, maybe he'll have a lower end magic item that the necromancer made for him) after capture.

Should they accept a deal with such a monster, knowing how outright evil he is? But also knowing that the use of zombies could save countless lives in the long run.

@ShawnHCorey: Actually the Albion people were introduced as bandits not above slavery originally, and as the party continued interactions with them in their camp (as prisoners originally), their history unfolded. Though other groups do exist, I'm hoping to not over milk one specific direction. And I appreciate the input, but I have to say I'm looking for something more specific in reply. Some good material to add to the world as a whole.

@TanaNari: Well, I have to admit I had never thought about putting in a necromancer. I honestly had no intention of using such an angle or character, hoping to keep the world much closer to a realistic human growth where magic had grown dominate. But I have to say I do like the idea of the party meeting this necromancer and running the (unknown) risk of mindless drones serving in the upcoming war. Looks like it could be a very interesting angle to follow. I think I might have to start bating them with stories of the dead roaming the fields. Much appreciated.

If the player of the Albion priestess is being judged on performance from these three sessions, then that PC needs a few chances to shine.

Perhaps the group encounters some plant-based creatures -- dryads, old-style-D&D vegepygmies or shambling mounds, ents, whatever -- and the priestess has a chance to play diplomat (if she has any skills in that regard). Or perhaps the creatures are suffering from a fungal infection or what-have-you (which flourished under the recent drought), and her skills can help ease their suffering in return for which they'll help in locating the healing herbs for the humans. (Good play might even net some good allies / scouts for the village in the coming conflict).

Perhaps the group encounters a campsite which indicates that someone else is also active in the area, gathering and processing herbs. If she examines what's left, the priestess may discover that someone is brewing poisons -- agents of the king / emperor are brewing up substances with which to attack the town, hoping to camouflage their efforts as natural ailments or accidents. The priestess can figure out where the collectors might be looking for more herbs, allowing the rest of the party to plan an ambush.

Perhaps the Albion family and the dwarves they're sheltering with are suffering from a dietary deficiency which has made them sick (or, alternately, ferociously irritable and on the verge of blows). Figuring out what's causing the trouble, then finding the right extra ingredient for the stewpot, will go a long way toward making for a peaceful haven for the rest of the exploratory journey.

I like the poison plot. I like it a lot.

It'd be interesting to add this to the rest of the situation- add it to my own, and you get the question of exactly how far one must go to fight a war like this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TanaNari View Post
Fun fact to consider: wild animals taste good. Any random critter attacking people should consider itself dinner.
Funner fact to consider: Random critters attacking people are probably predators, and carnivores at that. Carnivores, while generally edible, typically taste horrid. This is especially true of mammalian carnivores; folks don't eat wolves and mountain lions for a reason.

Back on topic:

Give your back story, there are all sorts of things that can go wrong while the PCs are off having a grand time picking flowers: someone can try to take over, tossing their second-in-command into jail (or worse); Albion can be attacked by the vanguard of the King's forces or perhaps by bandits seeking riches or favor with the King. The sickness could get much, much worse thanks to mysterious outside factors (perhaps one of the newcomers is actually some sort of creature which feeds on the misery and suffering of others).

3 Words; Living, carnivorous, plants.

Its one of my favourite story seeds using a search for a plant, to have said plant be more of a threat than any trials you faced getting to it. It has the bonus of being unexpected and hilariously ironic. (The cure is more deadly than the disease... literally)

Of course you will have to leave very minor clues as to the nature of the plants being deadly, bright colours on the flowers and thorns on the stems... and then the giant mouth/spikey vines/acidic flowers attack and try to eat the party.

Of course you have to think carefully when using this, as a wise dwarf once said; they have large size, hundreds of hit points and enough limbs to make dozens of attacks in any round. A hillside of single acidic flowers, not matter how weak individually will still be a threat in these numbers whereas having one large or a few large plants be the trap runs the risk of the party losing instantly to dangerously high grapple mods when they walk straight into the centre of its tentacled maw.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DrMorganes View Post
Funner fact to consider: Random critters attacking people are probably predators, and carnivores at that. Carnivores, while generally edible, typically taste horrid. This is especially true of mammalian carnivores; folks don't eat wolves and mountain lions for a reason.
Bear, if a little bland, isn't that bad. A friend of mine's brother killed one while hunting once, and we had bear burgers from it.

People in africa eat lions all the time. And dogs in china look forward to a life not terribly different than that of chickens in the western world. And people in south america eat panthers (which are the exact same species as mountain lions and cougars). Then there's pigs- which are more scavenger than predator- they somehow manage to taste great- though I'd generally insist that you avoid scavenger animals. THOSE taste horrid. From what I've been told, at least.

Most predatory mammals are greasy... and you'd do well cutting every part of fat off their meat and then making a stew out of it... but they are quite edible. Don't get me wrong- I'll take a good slab of beef or a pork chop any day of the week- but give me a week of nothing but grain mush and I'd be ready for almost anything.




 

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