Wednesday, April 9, 2014

What To Teach: Basic, or Lite?

So Thursday night, if we have time after grammar exercises and essays, I'm going to explain role-playing games to a student of mine.

I'm still debating:

Basic Fantasy Role-Playing, and I run a quickie session with an adventure by Tim Shorts (although "drop him in room 1 of Stonehell" is also in the running)?

GURPS Lite, and I start him rolling on the Caravan to Ein Arris?

It's not really my decision - I plan to show him both and ask him. Does he want something easy he can run with minimal prep for his friends, or something I can run for him but might need more prep if he does it himself?

I have a copy of Basic Fantasy Role-Playing for the former, and I have a copy of GURPS Lite ready to go for the latter. In fact, I have a copy of GURPS Lite to give him (and will, regardless). Swords & Wizardy isn't in the running because it's gigantically large and I can't print it at home or justify printing it at work for him. Basic cost me under $5, I can loan it to him and I know he can pick a copy easily.

I also need to see if he prefers sci-fi to fantasy. His writing indicates he might, so if he does, GURPS wins, because I can also run sci-fi games with it without effort (and it wouldn't be terribly hard for him, either.)

But ultimately, yes, it's what he wants from me.

I packed my GURPS Basic Set books and GURPS Martial Arts to show him. In all seriousness, most people don't believe I wrote a book until I show them the "About the Authors" sections. I guess the odds that there are two Peter V. Dell'Ortos out there, both of who lived in the same part of Japan and do the same sports and play the same game must seem vanishingly slim. It's too many identical points, I guess. They all still say, "Really?" Yes, really. I typed lots of it sitting in Skylark Gusto on the unnamed main street of my town in Japan, too.

By the way, I have to say - I wish Basic Fantasy Role-Playing went with one saving throw (like S&W) or Reflex, Fortitude, and Will like 3.x. I find those easier to explain and, importantly, to remember, compared to the old, old, old school "Save vs. Wands" and "Monster saves as F8" kind of stuff. Too much to look up, when my goal is "zero lookups." The Attack Bonus method is easy, though, and something I like a lot.

I also wish All In A Night's Work was out for 4e GURPS, and that there was a one-book Powered By GURPS fantasy or sci-fi game I could just hand him.

Oh well. But yeah, if he wants to play, I'll give him the choice - my preference to run, or what's easier for him to master on his own and run for others?


  1. Good luck! Way to take me back with that Gusto comment, I always used to take my visitors there for dinner after they got off the plane. It was right by the airport and it was a bit of a drive back to my house.

  2. I've never played either system, so don't look at me for advice.

    I just wanted to say that I think it's Great that you're introducing our beloved game to the next generation. Thumbs up!

  3. I saw the thread about AIANW, and volunteered my art services to Kromm. I know its not his baby, but that was a great little adventure.

  4. Transhuman Space was powered by GURPS with a specialized GURPS Lite appendix. Is that what you mean by "one book Powered by GURPS", or do you mean that it can't be part of a line?

    1. I can't even find a handle on THS to run it; I don't think it's an ideal way to introduce someone to GURPS. It's not going to be easy for a never-played-RPGs would-be ref to learn on.

    2. Ah, so you mean "a Powered by GURPS book with Lite built-in that isn't TS" :-) Wasn't Vorkosigan Saga PbG?

    3. I don't know, I never did see it. Was it good?

      I guess I need to be more specific - a fairly generic Sci-Fi one-book solution would be nice. THS is really difficult for a first-time roleplayer, I think, and Vorkosigan might be nice but I serious doubt he's even heard of the books, and sure he hasn't read them. So it won't grab him in the way a more generic one would.

      That's the issue with a lot of non-GURPS games. I like S&W, but it's pitched at existing players, and it's a bit much to hand to someone who has never played an RPG before in his entire life and say "read this." IMO.


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