Gateway 2019, Post-Con Wrap Up

Coasting on the tail-end of the post-con glow!

I tried something new with my GURPS games at the recent Gateway 2019 convention, having the players make their PCs at the table instead of using pre-gens, and it was a total blast. We all had a great time, I got inspired to do more work on my Locus setting, and even got some great feedback and things to think about. A big win all around.

Character Creation

Originally, I planned to use my Quick-Start character creation (the “Seven-Minute GURPS Character“), but I thought — erroneously — that players would prefer something with a bit more heft. So, I spent a couple days coming up with this character creation checklist/walkthrough. It takes a player, with some GM guidance of course, step-by-step through creating their PC and ends up with a filled in and ready-to-go character sheet (much like the “Character Creation Checklist” in GURPS Characters, pp. 13-14, but more streamlined and without page flipping).

PC Creation Guide | Downloads: 730 | Size: 274.7 KB

However, it became clear just a short time into the very first group that it was largely superfluous. We were simply chatting our way through building the PCs, with me using the walkthrough as a rough guide. For the next two groups (I GMed this for three different tables on three different days), I never even bothered handing them out, just used my copy to lead everyone from concept to finished sheet.

That first group on Friday, we took about two hours to make four PCs (though at least some of that is because we were having so much fun with it and weren’t in any kind of rush). The Saturday group took about 90 minutes for their four PCs, and in the Sunday group we cranked out three PCs in an hour.

The characters were built on 300 Character Points, with very few limitations beyond that. Locus is a “kitchen sink” setting, full of magic, robots, cowboys, sentient hamsters, so it’s a wide open playground. The characters could look like whatever they wanted and only had to pay for the usual things that give mechanical benefits. That is, I could play a PC with six arms, but would be limited to using only two at a time (like an average human). If I wanted to be able to use a third arm at the same time, it would require the usual Extra Arms advantage, and so on.

These are the PCs the groups dreamed up:

Friday Night

  • Big Mama, an older woman who cast magic through the food she cooked in the PCs’ food truck (which she owned)
  • Schlebnar, a mastiff-sized snail, total non-combatant but great hacker (with a Vulnerability to salt)
  • Tracker Tough, a tough-as-nails bounty hunter
  • Al Tancino, a bare-chested martial artist in a symbiotic relationship with a pair of magic pants (“Tan Chinos”) that gave him enhanced Chi powers. Spoke, of course, only in an Al Pacino accent.

Saturday Morning

  • Buffin Cinnabunnay, a 7-foot tall rabbit wizard (escaped magician’s “assistant”)
  • Synn, a demon summoned to the city of Locus by a powerful wizard, who completed his assigned task and decided to stay in the city
  • Michaela O’Dempsey, a cleric whose healing spells came with the trappings of modern medicine (i.e., casting Heal Wounds would shoot a magical syringe into the target’s neck)
  • Harry Quatermass, a pith-helmet wearing ‘big game hunter’ in search of the ultimate trophy

Sunday Morning

  • Zaban, a psychic zombie ninja hacker”
  • Colonel Otto Von Ornip, a robot cavalry commander from WWII
  • The Deserter, a shell-shocked WWI infantry man who stumbled his way into the city and believes he is either in Hell or full-on insane. He could focus his madness into a withering gaze that would cause anything to collapse under entropy.

As you can see, a nice variety! The character sheets are all available here.

Collected PCs | Downloads: 432 | Size: 206.6 KB

The main thing I noticed about them is… they contain almost no info that isn’t also on this much, much simpler character sheet. Because of this, coupled with the above realization that my PC Creation Guide is still just a smidge too in-depth for a four-hour convention one-shot, led me to rethink my future con games.

GURPS for One-Shots & More Locus

So, the project I came out of this convention stoked about is to tailor GURPS even more for quick pick-up games and one-shots, and centralize it all together for myself. Naturally I’ll post it once it’s all together and share the wealth for anyone else who might be interested. One of the projects after that is to then use that tailored ruleset to explore more of the Locus setting, as for me it’s a perfect fit for GURPS and I would love to connect more of my convention games to it.

I’ll keep you posted. Keep on GURPSin’!


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  1. Well, I see you more of less pulled it off. More importantly, the players and you enjoyed the games.
    I am following the one-shot plan.

    • I think we did! I was anxious about it, but not only did it go well, it actually encouraged me to work on ways to make that style even better (for me, of course).

      It was good stuff. 🙂

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