9/26/2012

The logic of Andalusada and GURPS

On Monday, I started writing about the reasoning that guides and shapes the formation of the Andalusada universe. Last night, the first identifiable force in Andalusada was sloth. Tonight, it's something that I've touched on before but never seriously discussed: GURPS.

"The first take on Andalusada," I wrote last night, "was years ago, written up as a GURPS setting. (Which is still how I think about it.)" And it's true. The first year or so of the world-building for Andalusada was written up for a GURPS setting. Most of it, in fact, was being written up in GURPS format for the sake of things.

A fair bit of it still is, when I can remember to find the pieces for it.

It's not Steve Jackson without gun porn

GURPS has shaped Andalusada in a big and relatively simple way: it's moved me to focus a lot of attention on the same things that GURPS does. Mostly, that means guns. "Gun porn" exists as a tag on the Scrapbook because Andalusada started, in the beginning, as a Steve Jackson setting. I was already somewhat aware of the sheer diversity of firearms in the world; GURPS High-Tech (and, to a lesser extent, its supplements, High Tech: Pulp Guns 1&2) took that to a new level, giving me an even longer list of guns, as well as a sense of the historical progression of them - which in turn drove me to read more about guns, and to start tampering with the consequences.

But when I started writing out Andalusada, I didn't know anything about anything - least of all guns. I assigned my calibers somewhat blindly, and with way more convergence than there ought to be. Confession time: Gran Peru uses 7.5mm Swiss as a way of subtly putting them into the Swiss sphere, even if (as of this iteration of the world) Switzerland is the one that emulated Peru, not vice versa; the UCNA uses a "7.22mmR Taha" (i.e. a rimmed Spanish Mauser) as an assertion of how Spanish they are - and in the original draft, everybody else used the exact same calibers that they used IRL, because I was lazy.

Incidentally, this eye for gun porn means that I also have to pay attention to other developments, and who's making them. And now that I'm starting to get comfortable with making a world my sandbox, this is starting to have significant ripples, because I can reshuffle roles within calibers.

Take the CRC, for instance, which uses 7.65mm Mauser because Argentina did IRL - that was also the standard caliber of Belgium, home of FN and the world's de facto armorer; in Andalusada, where Belgium doesn't exist, the Triple Alliance has been assigned to a new role as one of the arsenals of the world - which changes a lot of gun sales because they're otherwise such a noxious place. Japan, meanwhile (having invented the Madsen gun in their spare time), has established a rather more successful role as an arms dealer than they did IRL, and even a distinct style to go with it. (Nobody denies that their stuff is overdesigned, but it doesn't stop anybody from placing an order or two as a supplemental standard.)

GURPS populates my world

A few weeks ago, the night before I started actually writing this article (which has since been reformed at least a dozen times), I scribbled up a writeup of Sufyan, which went like so:
Disadvantages: Lecherous [-20]; Sense of Duty (his kids) [-5]Quirks: Bad with names; Wears his heart on his sleeve; Slightly prudish in public. 
Which says a lot for somebody who had... *catches breath* seven or eight wives (the exact number is disputed), four or five mistresses, a few assorted bastard children, and one pair of twins that he adopted simply because he wouldn't be surprised if he did father them before they were abandoned on his doorstep.

Anybody who's watched me write in the Scrapbook knows that I'm not an organized, systematic thinker. I leave things untouched for weeks (most of my Taiping articles, for instance) until I blurt out something (like so) that connects the dots. Or until I do something like renaming Brazil "Cabralia," which forces me to go back and edit the rest of the blog for the stake of standards. One thing that I'm prone to doing is simply avoiding what I feel uncomfortable with.

One of those things that I'm not comfortable with? Characterization. The "mad libs" tag was created because the world has more people than I've even begun to find names for. I've started to organize people into lists, just to keep track of everyone, but when it comes to actually sorting out the personalities of the Great Names I'm easily stumped.

GURPS gives me a way to handle that. Advantages, disadvantages, quirks, attributes, skills. It takes these flesh-and-blood people and reifies them into tags and numbers that I can build.


This is a work in progress. It will be expanded upon.

2 comments:

Michael Mock said...

I'm just going to step in here and mention that GURPS is one of the great, unrequited loves of my life. I adore the game, the system, the worldbooks... and in my entire life, I think I've run exactly one successful game in that system (and, arguably, played in another).

Edo said...

Which is one of each more than I've ever been able to arrange, you lucky bastard.