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    Dwarf in the Playground

    Join Date
    Nov 2011

    Default Tips & tricks for generating/GMing in a modern real-Earth setting?

    I'm putting together a new campaign/setting, set in the late-20th-century U.S., based in a region with which I'm a bit personally familiar.

    I've never done a near-present real-world campaign before and I wanted to see if anybody experienced in doing so has any general advice, time-savers, resources, etc. that they feel like sharing. Stuff you wish you'd known at the beginning, maybe.

    If it matters, the campaign style is paranormal/cosmic horror and the system we're going with is GURPS 4e. My GMing experiences for the last 10+ years have been in D&D and d6.
    "This civilization has not yet fully recovered from the shock of its birth the transition from the tribal or 'enclosed society,' with its submission to magical forces, to the 'open society' which sets free the critical powers of man." - Karl Popper, The Open Society and Its Enemies, 1945

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    Titan in the Playground
    Yora's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2009

    Default Re: Tips & tricks for generating/GMing in a modern real-Earth setting?

    Since most stuff is already familiar and well known, it doesn't need to be created again. You don't need populastion numbers for settlements, lists of shops, and what you can buy there. You don't even have to look it up, because you already have a good idea what things are possible and which things are not.

    Maybe have a stat block for generic street cop and stats for SWAT teams if you ever run into situations where you need them, but that's really all the stats you need for NPCs that are not relevant to the plot or supposed to be enemies. If you absolute have to have stats for a random person, just use the stats for a standard human without any special abilities.

    You need NPCs and monsters, everything else can easily be done on the fly, since everyone knows how all the other stuff would look and work like.
    Beneath the Leaves of Kaendor - Writing Sword & Sorcery in the eldritch wilds

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Barbarian in the Playground
    yougi's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2007

    Default Re: Tips & tricks for generating/GMing in a modern real-Earth setting?

    As Yora said, there is not much to generate, everything is already there. However, if you're the only one who's familiar with the area, you're not limited to what it's actually like, you can include or exclude things you feel would improve the game.

    One thing I found really hard when running D20 Modern was to come up with plot hooks, as only medieval plot hooks came to mind. That, however, forced me to create a more open, player-driven campaign where each character had their own agenda, and I was only there to put obstacles in their way. However, a large overarching plot can also work.

    One thing that might be interesting is to see how the supernatural interacts with the natural: do the mundanes know of supernatural things? Is it hidden, is it part of the rumors, is it an open, accepted thing? This is definitely what you'll have to think of when you design your campaign.

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