Category Archives: Campaign Info

In Conclusion

After eight sessions, we decided (through various means) that the campaign wasn’t quite blowing anyone’s skirt up, and therefore, to end it. But that doesn’t mean it was a failure—it really wasn’t, overall. Lots of lessons-learned; some “the hard way.”

  • Communication is vital—I really can’t stress this enough. If I had to sum up the campaign’s failure in one word, it would be “miscommunication.” Some of the terminology I used in the setup process resulted in wrong expectations, which resulted in characters that didn’t quite work for the type of campaign it was supposed to be, and in-game behaviors that were counter to the intended theme.
  • My first true “sandbox”: neverminding the ending, it proved to be a viable concept. Google Earth removed the need to improvise “what’s over that hill” (sadly, only works for a modern campaign). Use of the tarot was fun for me, and I’m getting more comfortable and proficient with it, though the results did force me into some situations I didn’t want (prime example: Harveyville—I really wanted to put off any “community involvement” until the group had time to acclimate to the environment a bit more). The other random helpers did their job well enough, though the results could be a little underwhelming at times—never quite achieved the “feel” I was looking for. My improvisation skills are still less than optimal, and “processing time” still needs to be reduced; need to find a way to make it more “seamless.” When it all worked, it worked well, but when it didn’t, it was ugly
  • True “Player Agency” is an acquired taste for the Players—you wouldn’t think so, but it is. It requires a different mindset from the usual A-to-B flow, and some folks just don’t grasp it well. Sometimes you just have to experiment a bit, to find out what they’ll enjoy or not, and accept that it won’t always work out. Might help to ease them into it, somehow, a little at a time
  • The crunchiness level of the campaign appeared to be a bit of a turn-off for the current Players, and they didn’t even experience the full weight of what I had in mind (though it would have been mostly under-the-hood, by design). Like the above, it takes some experimentation to find the right balance. In this case, a little preparation might have helped (where possible—being a sandbox game, it isn’t always possible); spending half a session sorting out gun-cache stats isn’t good
  • The above said, I found the low-prep situation “sustainable.” Had we not painted ourselves into a corner through miscommunications, I feel like I could have continued indefinitely—not the case for any of my previous campaigns (which normally leave me exhausted). I also found myself without the usual pregame “dread”
  • My decision to go ahead with zombies turned out to be a bad one. I did so because it was easier to work with, and everyone knows what to expect from them. As it turned out (and wasn’t well communicated at the beginning), zombies were disliked enough by the Players in-general that it cast the campaign in a bad light
  • My old nemesis, Attendance, was back, in force. Fewer than half the sessions were played with a full table, and multiple sessions were delayed for too few players being available. As usual, the absences were for understandable, legitimate reasons, but gone is gone—still frustrating

We could easily reboot this campaign, or pick up where we left off with some new characters (and expectations), but I think it more likely that this one won’t return.

Non-Player Group: Harveyville

Bill Adams
Chief of Police

Laura Rosen

Saul Tyson
Councilman, ex-Marine

Lee Adams

Dr. Gaius Baltierra
Refugee, Engineer

Kara Chase
Local Cop

Karl Agnew
Local Cop (MIA)

Galen Terrell
Auto Mechanic

Felix Garcia
County Clerk

Anna Duarte
Air Force, Comms

Sharon Valerio
Nat’l Guard, Driver

Billy Kaye
Substitute Teacher

Kelly Henderson
Farmer’s Kid

GURPS After the End, Overview

This campaign is a pure sandbox/hex-crawl in a modern, zombie-apocalypse setting. After some discussion with the Players as to the nature of the Event, I decided to go with an eschatological explanation, a “what if Supernatural/Constantine/The Prophecy/Legion went horribly wrong” scenario. It’s first appearance in the Daniverse has the Hosts of Heaven™ and Hell™ in a more “mythological” role (as typically depicted in modern cinema), with a bit of a mix of (movie) Thor’s “extradimensional advanced aliens” and Babylon 5’s Vorlon/Shadow war—but that’s really irrelevant for the time being, as what’s happened has happened, and humanity is just trying to move on in the aftermath (though they will undoubtedly become involved later). As with all Daniverse campaigns, it will also feature a great many composite/mash-up elements and homages from other fictions.

As a GM, I’ve been struggling with out-of-game workloads and general lack of motivation, while trying to keep the game going and contributing to the success of the group. As much as I struggle with improvisation, encouraged by several online articles on the subject (this one, this one, and this one), I decided that, with judicious use of random table systems, a sandbox campaign might be the way to go. In specific, I have access to some All Flesh Must Be Eaten material, and the core Twilight 2000 books, which will be featured heavily, combined with the use of Google Earth, and other online resources. For inspiration, I have been watching a lot of post-apocalypse movies and TV series, some of which are really bad (*coughrevolution* 😛 ), but I’ve forced myself to persevere, for the sake of the art. In fact, the little planning I do have in mind for the future is to take scenes and elements from the shows I’ve watched and play them out for the PCs—we’ll see if they make better choices than the usual protagonists. 😉

This will be the first campaign I’ve run that will have its play-sessions recorded via weblog—due to its’ more improvised nature, I’ll have to record what happens on a regular basis, rather than afterward via my notes (which will be mostly nonexistent, as far as the goings-on of the PCs are concerned).

Side note: The start of this campaign predates the official GURPS Zombies or GURPS After the End series.

♫ It’s the End of the World as We Know It ♫

So, what form did Man’s doom take? Here are the basics as known by the survivors (other than the PCs, who missed the fun):

It starts with the appearance of some sort of structure (Ref: Conquest Icons from Chronicles of Riddick) in the middle of major cities (as it turns out, worldwide). Shortly after, a disturbing, loud “horn” is heard (Ref: Tripods’ “horn blast”-War of the Worlds (2005)), repeated seven times. Then everyone on the planet “blacked out” for what would be determined (on analogue clocks) to be 11 hours, 38 minutes; also, any electronic device with a circuit board was fried. Every city wherein the Icon appeared bore evidence of a massive nuclear explosion. Within 24 hours of the Event, the recently dead are seen coming back to life, seeking human victims; they spread infection to other humans, and wither plant-life, and those infected exhibited signs of increased paranoia and aggression, resulting in widespread rioting and small-scale warfare. By the end of 4 weeks, world population is down ~60%, as a result of war, death, plague and famine; nobody has a clue why any of it happened, but the running theory is that “our time was up.”

Campaign Tropes:

After the End, Crapsack world, Zombie Apocalypse, Slept Through the Apocalypse, Late to the Tragedy, Action Survivor

Campaign Rules and Conditions

General Campaign Info on the Core Group forum