The next campaign: What to play?

by mshrm

They say when one door closes, another one opens, and so it is for role-playing games: one campaign gets taken out behind the barn for a merciful end, another campaign comes bounding along full of hope and excitement.

This time, I’m thinking we’ll leave it up to a vote. I’ve set up a poll, below. (Hopefully, assuming I’ve figured out how to set all the switches and which buttons to push.) Don’t be shy, voting is open to anybody who comes along. You can vote for your favorite three, so here’s an open invitation to put in your six cents’ worth!

Here’s the list of possibilities that have been kicked around at one time or another.

Old West

We did GURPS Deadlands, loosely converted to 4th edition, long ago. Ever since, there’s been an urge to revisit the Wild West, only this time, without the steampunk gadgetry, evil gambler magic, and desert kraken. How about a group of PCs driving a herd of cattle up the Chisholm Trail, or prospectors in California in the spring of ’49?

Kung Fu Platypus/Seven Magnificent Sloths

A bloody martial arts epic, either in the tradition of Mythic China wire-fu or ninja-and-samurai chambara, but with anthropomorphic animals. Inspired by Kung Fu Panda, Usagi Yojimbo, and the like. Definitely not played deadly serious. Would likely require us to step up our game when it comes to hand-to-hand.

Six-Way Supers

This one’s a bit of a thought experiment. Those who have played in my previous GURPS Supers games have mentioned enjoying them, but they were a lot of work. I asked myself, what would make a supers game easier to run? Well, honestly, the first thing that came to mind was, don’t try to emulate a published comic book universe, but a close second was, reign in the number of power sets. So, how about a supers campaign where there are only (say) six super powers? There might be many individuals with any given power, but if there are only a few powers to choose from, it would really simplify the playing field.

I think this one’s mainly inspired by vague memories of Cybergeneration, where a bunch of the kids of the original cyberpunk generation ended up with nanotech-induced powers.


The classic adventure genre of fire-and-forget weaponry: you fire it, then you forget it, because you won’t get a chance to reload until after the fight’s done. Special bonus for those coming off the last campaign: crippled limbs are no problem! Busted leg? Here’s a peg! Mangled hand? Have a hook! Lost an eye? Fashionable eye-patch! Comes with a discounted parrot as a package deal! Arr!

TL 12 Sci-Fi

This one isn’t so much a half-baked idea as the answer to an idle question. We’ve had a great run with the TL9 Space Cowboys campaign, with its weird TL10 core worlders, so what if we went a step or two further, to TL11 or 12? Depending on how much psionics complication we’re willing to put up with, this could turn into either Star Trek or Star Wars. Maybe even something without “star” in the name.

The Rats of R.O.L.F.

A somewhat more serious take on the old “Catageddon” campaign idea. The PCs are unnaturally-intelligent woodland creatures in a world of humans, as in the Rats of NIMH stories. I see this quickly turning into a fantasy game with little-to-no magic and some offbeat monsters. (“It is the weiner dog! Flee!”)


Kinda like post-apoc, but more hopeful and with better scenery. The PCs are members of a Stone Age tribe – probably younger members of a hunting band. That’s it, that’s all. No magic, no psionics, no dinosaurs, no alien monoliths. No shoes. Just TL0 skills and chipped stone technology. First adventure: hunt and kill a mammoth. The skill list would be short, but I would hope to make Singing and Public Speaking as useful as Brawling and Spear.

Yeah, yeah, I played a little Far Cry Primal, but this one’s been building since long before that. I’ve been threatening a TL0 game ever since I first ran across the idea of Machinist/TL0 being the skill of knapping stone.

Monster Hunters

The genre-and-template books have treated us right in the past, and I was once a real big Buffy fan, so it’s actually a little surprising that we’ve not yet tried GURPS Monster Hunters. I know one or two of the players have previously expressed interest in the magic system, but one of them hasn’t been able to play with us of late, and I’m not sure anybody else has the stomach for that much complication right now. That’s fine, though, there’s plenty of fun to be had just pumping silver bullets into werewolves.

Dungeon Fantasy again but with less mega-dungeon

Part of me isn’t real keen on this, because I don’t want to compete with the other DF game. On the other hand, nobody worried about competition back when “roleplaying” meant “D&D”, so…  The last DF game was fun, but there was a certain amount of trouble with the One Big Dungeon. So how about we take it on the road, the way the game’s expected to be played? Wandering adventurers, travelling from place to place, destabilizing village economies in their wake…

Apocalypse Again: Fifteen Years Later

Speaking of horses running back into a burning barn, what if we came back to the apocalypse game, but after 15-20 years have passed? This would be a real post-apocalyptic GURPS After The End game, 150-point characters, based on templates. Same old pink snow, pink worms, and mind-controlling tripods, but this time, there would be lots more mohawks and the PCs would be more Max Rockatansky than Turk Barrett.

Vote early, vote often!