Friday, January 28, 2011

What to write about, since LT is out

Plans for Game Writing. Low Tech being out and probing the forums as to any future releases regarding any material that work on the details I find important in telling the story. Details that help illustrate the underlying organizational mechanics for running Mass Combat and major Operations. I think this is important, well its important to me, in the least. Since there seems to be no one else interested and I'm the only one interested, then I guess it is not market viable for GURPS to pursue. I guess that leaves me to make them, despite how confusing the opportunity and the lack of support in the direction I want can make me feel.

News is that the next Low Tech add-on is Instant Armors, by Dan Howard. I do like having several tables for armors in detail and transmitting some last minute corrections that didn't make the cutting room floor. Although sadly thats it.

My personal need is making Mass Combat more useful and easier to use. Again I like the idea of working with Land Assets which was partially covered by Hal's thread, and method of drawing up villages where key strategic details can be used, either at the level of village or the level of the Principality or the Fief (group of villages).

So I find myself looking forward to some real material to write about. At least if I'm not gibber-gabbering about "Meta" stuff.

Personal Load outs Levels of detail, particularly drawn out of historical sources or infered because of biometrics, necessities, and context of survival conditions. Particularly when applying survival skills, terrain, and personal logistics to the load out.

Larger Organizational Load outs. Squad level equipment and larger organizational levels and their equipment is something that is not tackled and I don't think will be. I'm getting more into it, because I'm trying to reconstruct historical scenes of great war leaders and powerful households because of my experience in being part of a "house hold" as well as drawing more from Archeological sources that detail the household, with the emphasis how the household affects organization and limitations of adventuring or major operations.
One of the interesting things I realized from my work is how I have to visualize every part of the steps I'm going to do, because I have to communicate it to my superiors through presentation, and that in every step where I don't know what I'm doing I have a method or time to ask questions and draw from someone else's expertise.

Personnel and Retainers. This is something like Load Outs, but in terms of People: it answers the question: What are the Expertise or Experts I need to accomplish this Action Plan? This is really drawn from work again, drawing from the projects I've been tasked to do and finding a pattern to the kind of experts employed and the limitations of multi-tasking (wearing so many hats).

I plan to draw from Historical Texts and work forensically from military organization at the time, as to speculate what could it mean by having certain experts. I find this ability to look at a group's organization and find how their tasks and responsibilities are organized a skill for both gaming and real life. For gaming, its really helpful in looking at Entourage, Commes (Companions), Power distribution among peers or near equals, and Households.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Free Download @ e23: Running A Game Publishing Company

I have not finished reading it, but I'm kinda hoping to doing something similar, a publishing company that makes critical thinking material in the vernacular. My dad gave me, what was supposed to be my brother's Idiots guide to business plan. I've made business plans before, for Traveller (LOL). I also learned a lot and began to like accounting in Traveller, when we were trying to make the ship as profitable as possible. (we ended up diluting ship shares to make up for lost income :(, better to fail in an RPG scenario than in RL ). My dad dropped off Bed and Breakfast for dummies on my desk, which is also interesting, particularly because of GURPS low tech companion 3, when many the GM's in the forums are trying to digest income generation rules and look into the details of how these low tech business work. So now I have the basic accounting examples of an Inn; in Business Plans for Idiots I have late 90s pay scale for administrative jobs and typical Financial Statements and Business accounts. (I just have to fill it up with Traveller related businesses: A mercenary company, a merchant ship owner, a freelancer, etc)

Interestingly the material and the training are like game sessions. BATNA exercises are designed like RPG scenarios and are run similarly. These allow people to be trained in keeping their wits intact when they are facing tough social situations or a more skilled negotiator.

Using RPGs to make life better for people and foster the critical thinking skills. Specifically Communication and Negotiating training (useful in Sales and Customer Care), the highest job attrition because most training focuses on quick sales and meeting quotas instead of giving the people an array of improved coping, conflict resolution, empathy, and improved communication skills. Hence when these people hit frustrating circumstances and they are left there without adequate support or structure to improve and make the experience a character building exercise, so they don't recover from it as often.

The average Filipino has 8 years of education and the government can't provide the later education needed for them to go beyond business that depend on microfinancing (borrow $20 in the morning, pay back $25 in the evening) or be able to form more sophisticated and stable cooperatives (in a pure game theory perspective, one needs better communication or information dissemination to have better checks and balances, and to keep everyone on the same page).

In games and gaming, visualization is one of the key aspects of any implementation processes. In RPGs we do it in make believe and the GM throws the wrenches in the works, but in real life we have to do the RPG processes of visualizing the course and have the GM's monkey wrenching around as an automatic reflex to obstacles in order to quickly adapt, act and react. It also codes the right emotional reactions: Caution when things are going well, and Optimism when problems come up ("I see what you did there").

Wow, it seems growing up with gaming books created a kind of mnemonic memory devices when it comes to games, and if I can relate it to business.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

IQ or Wits Check; Fallacies and Cognitive Biases

What are instances where PCs make an IQ check? Asking that question, I've come to observe how often people make IQ checks when someone is pulling a fast one on them.

Here introspection comes to help observe reality and model it for the purposes of an designing a Game. Ok my gamer blog has been "meta" of late, I can't help it because growing up RPGs have given me the basic tools to Model what I observe or how understand things work, and strangely pushed me into the rest of the Empirical Method by refining the technique of Modeling Reality as effectively and fun as possible.

Back to the Topic: IQ or Wits checks. Now if you pick up a list of Cognitive Biases or the Fallacies, and look at how people effectively follow the method of analysis one begins to notice gaps and leaps in reasoning that is not all that strongly funded.

Sorry if Philosophy can be boring, but let me get this out: It can help one ask the right questions. Philo makes us be aware of Assumptions, Epistemology, Context, and "meta" thinking process terms. This awareness, or for me appreciation, brings to light how often we make leaps of conclusions using rather weak evidence or proof, or purely intuition.

Ok to the gaming part. When your aware of these weak leaps that everyone, including myself, can't someone take advantage of that? One of the basic methods of gamers is looking at things and asking questions to help discover weaknesses to take advantage... and basic operating cognition is pretty susceptible to manipulations.

I apologize for the strangeness of the topic and its relations to gaming, I've been reading "The New Sales Methodology", basically a Sales Book that talks about "Old School" Sales and how much it tends to be Fast Talking. So the New Sales "theory" is to get rid of Fast talk, so in order to do that, it has to Identify how short-sighted and what is fast talking or BS persuasion.

So this is where my interests, my work and my hobby collides: The frailty of the mind and how understanding it allows the GM to create more instances of Wits Checks.

An example.
Confirmation Bias, is pretty much talked about in DnD regarding Bluff and in GURPS regarding Fast Talk: How much the listener wants what he's hearing to be true. If you've read up on Confirmation Bias then checked out the Fallacy: No True Scotsman, Shifting Goal Posts, Cherry Picking, etc. one begins to notice that when someone is in Denial no amount of convincing will ever work.

In this case, this calls for a IQ or Psychology check to realize what the Character is witnessing is Confirmation Bias in someone else or a Will and Psychology Check at -5 to realize the PC being Biased, catching himself/herself. The will check may require an external stimuli to for the character to have cause to reflect.
What is strange looking at these Biases or Fallacies is that, realizing what skills come into the characters defense. How vulnerable is someone to attacks that prey on their biases? How much margin of success allows the "attacker" to come away without the "sucker" even knowing or not figuring things out until much later.

Law (Trial*)
Psychology (Biases)
Philosophy (Argument, Logic)

I'm an Emotional Intelligence proponent so I'm all for negotiation and Role-playing to help develop conflict resolution, negotiation, and communication skills. I realize these tools: the Fallacies and the Biases, help to create more realistic models of social situations.

Looking again at the Confirmation Bias, what if the "King" or powerful 3rd party, won't ally with the PCs because of a number of biases: the King wants to believe there is no problem, that his sons are not plotting to kill him, that all the accidents he's survive are mere coincidental.

Whats worse: the array of Red Herrings arguments the Villains can use to discredit and muddy the waters for the PCs. A real spectacular villain is one that can be within the PC's reach but they can't do any harm without ruining their greater good goal.

If you are aware of leading questions and speculative arguments, then you realize how one is able to verbally damage credibility without even saying a single falsehood. These two: leading questions and hypothetical arguments/Speculative arguments when employed (and often are employed by politicians or anyone who wants to manipulate grounds of morality for their cause) are really scary because regular people save at -5. You NEED Philosophy (argument) or Law (trial) to argue against it, and because these two arguments can be so effectively ladened with emotional rhetoric, it is easy whip a crowd into a frenzy or to drown out all reasonable or rational argument.

You need a judge to point this out, but even a judge can't convince the mob effectively.

Hope this is informative.

*trial lawyers are a Philippine Specialization of Lawyers, specializing in argument.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

GURPS Effort Levels. Real World Character Building?

There is really no aggregate system for Effort Levels in GURPS, if you want one, you would have to take the Running and Hiking rules and work off of that. I've talked about Fatigue and GURPS a lot before.
  • B426 Fatigue
  • Physical Feats in B350
  • Hiking in B351
  • Running in B354

Heart Rate and Effort.
One interesting thing I stumbled on in the measure of effort is Beats per Minute, BPM, or Heart Rate. BPM is one of the symptoms that can actually track effort and stress.

In stress, BPM measures levels of alertness in response to flight or fight responses. So it makes sense that when the body is preparing to fight (anger, desperation, etc.) or flight (fear, panic etc.) the muscles of the body have adequately provided for a bust of activity.

If you take the Running rules in B354 and apply it to "universally" as basic system to track effort levels in GURPS this will provide an added dimension in challenge. the problem is that we don't know how other actions can be tiring. What BL multiplier over rate of movement will cause X amount of fatigue? In this case BPM will help indicate where you are in the rate of FP loss ranges.

BPM also makes me realize some other contributing factors to effort and energy.
  • Coffee increases BPM and is used as a Diet tool and to increase Alertness and Concentration. Voluntarily raising mental activity level can be very hard, especially since many things people do are not exactly self motivating (thus naturally inducing the alertness and slightly elevated BPM level).
  • Meditation, Breath Control skill and Autotrance can be used to alter BPM, allowing a person to relax more quickly or rest more efficiently. Although slowing heart rate is not advisable when the body needs the resources, although voluntary raising it along with breathing control is an exercise in swimming and running that may help in allowing the body to shore up resources for an explosive action. Maybe a bonus to an extra effort task.

GURPS and BPM. I plan to use BPM to examine fatigue levels, looking into other tasks not just running. One question that needs answering is "If BL is the weight a character can lift over their head with one hand from a resting position, how many times should the character be able to do it consecutively and at what FP rate of loss?" A person trying to impress would use extra effort to prove that he fits XST score (24lbs for 11, 29lbs for ST12, 16lbs for ST9 etc.) the effort level will help settle consistency.

Typical At rest BPM is 60-80.
  • BPM at Rest is of course Resting and Mentally at a leisure state. (Typically 60-80)
  • BPM at Rest x1.15 is very light exertion, this is a Mentally alert state.
  • BPM x1.3 Light Exertion 1FP x Enc. Modifier per Hours
  • BPM x1.6 Moderate Exertion 1FP x Enc. Modifier per Minute
  • BPM x1.8 Heavy Exertion 1FP x Enc. Modifier per 15 sec.
  • BPM x2 or greater, this is Extra Effort levels.

Overall Look at Effort. I was wondering what increments or multiplier would be more effective when measuring effort. In GURPS its 1 second, 15 seconds, 1 minute, then 1 hour. thats x15, x4, x60. I was thinking a more reasonable straight progress of time would be more useful.
16 Waking Hours. This is affected by fitness levels and sleeping condition. Those who are affected by sleep apnea depending on severity don't get to recover as much or any energy at all.
Some of those who underwent Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty surgery have highly improved sleeping situations of those who suffer sleep apnea. Some being able to sleep only 6-4 hours. Thats 2-4 more waking hours per day, if that goes into time for catharsis or personal investment it free's up more time for other things.

4 hours of consumption intervals. This depends on the diet, those who have tried going vegetarian will notice the shorter consumption intervals. This is a simple experiment you can try on yourself, especially when your diet requires you not to go hungry at all (to prevent the body from "storing" resources in fat).
Here is an alternate rate which I plan to develop into a more comprehensive system. Its in multipliers of 4-ish. I fudged it a bit, but Its to make it easier and simpler to use:
  • 1 second; @ Greater +100% BPM
  • 4 seconds; @ +100% BPM
  • 16 seconds; @ +80% BPM
  • 1 minute; @ +60% BPM
  • 4 minutes; +35% BPM
  • 16 minutes; +25% BPM
  • 1 hour; @ +15% BPM
  • 4 hours; @ +0% BPM
  • 16 hours
Save Based Systems. In a save based system in every effort level there is the same but cumulative penalty that makes a fatigue inevitable. In a system like GURPS it is the Total Fitness and Athletic Bonus (Fitness HT bonus, Athletic skill with HT).

What if Crawling: Stealth + HT + Fitness modifier at a BPM of +60% would be a cumulative -1 penalty per minute. In a Margins of failure determines current state of fatigue. Recovering from the fatigue condition depends on the amount of rest.

What if I used the realistic Injury rules in Martial Arts 136, for torso here are grades of Fatigue. What if Resting and recovery reduces the accumulated penalty.
  • Fresh and Alert
  • Fatigued -1 on all physical and mental actions - failure by 4 or greater
  • Very Tired -2 on all physical and mental actions; 80% movement - failure by 6 or greater.
  • Exhausted -3 on all physical and mental actions; 50% movement - failure by 10 or greater.

Another Topic but it relates to Gaming, particularly Character Creation... kinda.
In another topic, reading up on Dan Arielly again I begin to realize the Habit Programming through the understanding of the science can be an interesting "real world" Character building tool. Professor's Hinshaws ending note on the "developing a personal narrative" makes me realize that when writing down one's own thoughts, emotions, experiences and mental process, we begin to understand the behavior we exhibit from a more objective and 3rd person view. Using one's own narrative as a way to identify key habits and behaviors and applying ways to manipulate one's own cognitive biases/irrationalities for a more successful or healthy life.

The problem I see though is the effort it takes to accumulate data to process one's own behaviors requires a habit of writing one's thoughts down, despite how silly or shameful they may be. the best or only evidence anyone will ever take about their own faults is from their own hand. The most convincing words are our own words, after the event has passed and we have come to a different and distant state of mind to make a 3rd person or a more objective assessment.

The tools have been around a while, now its more readily available and easier to use and research. Investing in one's self and building up a "kick ass character" is not anymore for just the character sheet, it can be or IS the reality.

RPGs have helped Identify behaviors and try to exercise our empathic sides to play the Role. The more seriously one takes role-playing, the more aware one becomes in their ability to adopt behaviors and understand motives. We learn motivation is the key driving force, the combinations of quirks and mannerisms are accidental traits a product of the uniqueness of the experience, and one's background are the tools the person has in achieving and reasons for their goal.

After a while of this, maybe we would start having a more objective and less flattering "sheet" of ourselves and maybe start looking at those stats figuring out the most Min/max strategy to pursue for the best possible and sustainable utility.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Low Tech Companion 3: Other Food Crops and Other Possibilities

In the lecture Origins of Civilization by Professor Scott MacEachern I learned that civilizations depended greatly in the time it takes to domesticate their primary food crop. In the examples of Rice, Maize, Teff, African Millet, and Sorgum these civilizations got their momentum once these plants became more reliable and cost efficient.

For the World Builders out there, I highly recommend the lectures and the perspective and appreciation one gains from this. What I see is that world builders can really see the economic and developmental impact of Food crops in their settings. the understanding highlights key differences in other cultures from the kind of labor and work that goes into their food production.

When i first learned that there were other food crops other than the one's we mostly hear about, being asian living in a tropical environment I've already have the appreciation with the food crops locally and what is available from western cultural contributions.

So these African Cereal Crops really caught my attention. Particularly since I've never heard of them and I'm intensely curious how they would taste like and the variety of methods of preparations. How are they when applied the the methods of fermentation, breadmaking, boiling (Porridge) and refining?

Gaming does open us to a lot of worlds, but I can't help but be curious about the alien or least understood things within our own and imagining the potential.

The composition of tef is similar to that of millet, although it contains generally higher amounts of the essential amino acids. The amino acid composition of tef is excellent, its lysine content is higher than that of all cereals except rice and oats, it has good mineral content and its straw is nutritious.


In Ethiopia, tef is traditionally grown as a cereal crop. The grain is ground to a flour which is mainly used for making a popular pancake -- like the local bread called enjera -- and sometimes for making porridge. The grain is also used to make local alcoholic drinks, called tela and katikala. Tef straw, besides being the most appreciated feed for cattle, is also used to reinforce mud and plaster the walls of tukuls and local grain storage facilities called gotera. Tef grain, owing to its high mineral content, has started to be used in mixtures with soybean, chickpea and other grains in the baby food industry.

Enjera made from tef is traditionally consumed with wot, a sauce made of meat or ground pulses like lentil, faba bean, field pea, broad bean and chickpea. The traditional way of consuming tef with wot provides a well balanced diet.

Limitations of the crop

The small size of tef seed poses problems during sowing, and indirectly during weeding and threshing. At sowing, the very small seed size makes it difficult to control population density and its distribution. This remains true whether one broadcasts the seed by hand, uses a broadcaster or a seed driller.

The uneven plant stand after germination has an impact on nutrient use, efficiency of the crop and crop yield. Owing to the scattered plant stand, farmers find it difficult to use mechanical weeding implements and are forced to either hand-weed or to use chemical herbicides.

Since there is very little research on this, Use Wheat Stats in GURPS LTC3 (p10) The Trade off with Tef is that it has high calcium (higher than its comparitive cereal). I guess this is a good crop for Races or People to exhibit better calcium nutrition. If Calcium vs Calorie is a trade off, to the farmers and the lower classes means having to eat more or supplement their diet. Basically it affects Macro Economically to a slightly smaller population support (-10% pop as would a wheat). This would make for taller and bigger social Elites, especially if they have milk and protein access.

Other Crops
Food as a Building Material. Rice was discovered as a the secret ingredient in medieval Chinese mortar in examples of Ming Dnasty (1368-1644CE). Teff straw is used to reinforce building materials. Fibrousness and Stickiness give a mechanical advantage to food as an aid to building. (Archeology 9/2010-10/2010).

All things being equal. If One were to design a World where different food crops were domesticated about the same time, and have particular trade offs, but still worth while to choose farming as a successful survival strategy one can probably conceive of the kinds of Peoples would develop from such.

What would be the crops that would result with Elf-like, Dwarf-Like race, Halfling-Like race?

America or African Continent being the Old World?
If Maize, Tubers, African food crops were domesticated 2000 years earlier, how would the world look. Those with the very high productive foods: Maize and Tubers would have expanded alarmingly quick and advanced much faster having a larger amount of population, not producing food but working on Organization/Administration, Thinking, Writing, etc. ?

Would that have made the new world, the Old world instead? How much of the world would have changed?

What if the Americas underwent the extensive agricultural transformation its undergoing now given the food demand much earlier? The way Germany was once a sea of forests, what if South and Meso America was systematically cleared and cultivated using these high yield crop? Would it reach China's pre-industrial levels of 500M (5000 years of Chinese history, From Yao to Mao) or even surpass it? How much earlier, what kind of empires would result?

According to the Origins of Civilization, maize came about more by chance than by human or animal selection. What if the mutation came much earlier? What if the New world weren't occupied by hunter gathering/herding Native Americans, but Byzantine Empires with complex politics and diplomacy, steel weapons and a tradition of warfare that existed for few millenia, and urban diseases of their own? Will the geography of the American Continent allow for an Empire like China or a Balkanized and competing set of Kingdomes like Europe? Would they have domesticated the buffalo, the lamma's or other animals to serve as the horse or elephant in warfare?

Ooo... someone make this setting and I'll play it.

Friday, January 14, 2011

How fatiguing are Skirmishes? Non-Grid-Mini Skirmishes aided by Mass Combat

I play airsoft and I'm very much aware of how far I am from what is considered "fit for military duty". In RPGs, my Character is the Hero, not me and his stats are MUCH better than my own. It helps that I try to experiment and play with other airsofters who play RPGs, so the post game discussion tends to be in GURPS stats and checks.

Fatigue is so important, that I find even computer games that have no stat or way to measure it nerfed. Every tactical decision is influence by one's energy reserves. It is a grave miscalculation to be fatigued too badly that you can't shoot, think, or talk straight when performing an action. In the case of commanders, soldiers will often say yes even when they can't perform the action. The spirit may be willing but the flesh is weak, when commanders ignore obvious signs of fatigue when leading troops, this can easily lead to disaster.

Skirmishes are very fatiguing, even in GURPS stats there are many factors the game system has left OPTIONAL but GMs can put back on the table if they want players to really appreciate the Fitness and Difficulty the tasks their Heroic characters are performing. In the end all these feats are appreciated Relatively to what the GM and the Players can communicate.

Bad Terrain:
Soft Foliage can hamper movement. These long grasses pull at limbs and any piece of equipment that can be snagged. Sometimes these plants, combined, can be as tough as rope requiring blades to clear a path.
Ruling. The GM can just add encumbrance or FP cost to movement.
Uneven ground and Encumbrance can break the smaller bones in the ankles or trip and fall to sharp rocks that can wound or worse: break equipment.
Ruling. Jumping may be necessary to overcome this quickly, at least at 3/4ths max speed. Thats a DX check or a Per Check, also apply the Enc penalty. Its worth a PC's while to invest 2cp for a +1 to Jumping in this case. This counts as Sprinting and fatigues just as much.
Visual Obstruction. Grass hides dangers, from growing over small pits or sharp rocks, to traps.
Ruling. No Per check or Dex Save, when on a Run. Half of Full move, -2 to -4 Per or Dex depending on conditions. Characters may want to Jump to avoid places all together, go back to ruling above.
Footing and Inclines. The steeper the incline the more difficult the footing. Loose dirt or grass can make things slippery.
Ruling. This requires extra effort to plow upward, +1FP cost, or Dex Checks affected by Incline penalty and Equipment. -5 is hard, anything that in the GM's call would give anyone a hard time, -2 for difficult, same call. This is better to rule on experience. Failed Dex requires 1d more seconds.

Skirmishes without the use of hex Grids.
I think skirmishes or combat engagements need more context and ways to resolve without girds or miniatures. Narrative and descriptive methods are difficult because it needs a set of assumptions.

Roles and Assumptions:
  • Blockers and Tanks are Fron-tline and Clustered together. Medium Infantry are Loose formation, Heavy infantry are tight formation. Heavy infantry have special bonuses vs Shock and Ranged attacks because of discipline and large shields.
  • Flankers are detached and take 1FP to join the Main Body, or 1 less FP to flank or Circle. They require a separate perception check. Higher Mobility and Stealthier can be placed farther. Flankers must dictate where they are relative to the main force: Forward or Advanced, or Very Advanced, or Far forward (double or tipple the FP costs to respectively) Wing/Flank or Rear guard,
  • Ranged Support or Light Infantry are behind the Blockers. They gain +1DB from Heavy Infantry. In Close engagement they are far enough to use their Ranged weapons effectively. Engaging them requires a successful Opposed Tactics Roll, note that the amount of Blockers and Flank guards affect the Circumstantial Modifier (use Mass TS Combat Ratio
    • Group Causalities uses GURPS mass Combat rules. Used Mass Combat rules to Resolve the effects of NPC elements performance. This can be done in the background instead of rolling for every NPC, the GM just rolls the performance of units and telling the roll results in the narrative cues for the PCs.

  • FP costs pretty much dictate tactics, they can also be used to work back details. These are 1 minute FP costs. Skirmishes are moving battles, they are not like duels. Typically these are in minutes and these engagements last only 3d seconds before the battle tide will require a new set of movements or opportunities spring up. Slow and Reserved movements, intended to conserve energy may ignore the FP cost but take x2 to x4 (1d3+1) the amount of time to execute.

    Tactics, Discipline (Soldiering, warrior, or Combatant Professional Skill) and Athletic (Mount's athletics) rolls are important in these maneuvers. Leaders tactics (Will for maneuvers that require force of personality to inspire or IQ requires superior organization, or HT requiring the leader have the energy to move around adequately), everyone following rolls Soldier IQ (quickly organize themselves), HT (in a tiring formation and keeping up) or Will (discipline).

    Failure depends on context, most common is lost time in delays, catching one's breath, weaknesses, or shuffling into place. In the 3d seconds roll, the element might have to take one less die instead , acting on the end of the worse die result in seconds instead. Crit failure means one less die being able to act on a the number of seconds after the highest die FOR NPCs No action or useless at the moment.
    Unable to act doesn't mean defenseless, assume they are taking All-out-defense or Regular defense.
    Ex. A roll of 2, 3 and 4. Failure means only 4 and 3 (7) seconds of significant actions, acting only after the first 2 seconds pass. Crit failure means Only 4 seconds of actions.
    Feel free to use Mount's movement and HT instead, on a mounted moving skirmish.
    • FP cost close to Engage. Combat and Running have very similar the same FP over time cost. 1FP in the first 10-15 seconds then 1FP per minute. I would ignore the 10second FP adrenaline burst and focus on the Sustained Running Effort Level of 1FP/min/encumbrance. That is about 120-180 yards, which is basically bow shot. All things being equal, the GM can just ask for 1FP*Enc*terrain modifier.
    • FP cost to Flank. It is the Cost to Close and Engage *2/3rds more and a stealth \and appropriate Roll.
    • FP cost to Circle Around. Same as Cost to Close and Engage x2 to x3 and a stealth or and appropriate Roll.
    • FP cost to Break away Retreat. x2 of cost to close and engage and and appropriate Roll.

    Keeping track of things. Again Mass Combat Cards come to mind in keeping track of things. Enemy cards being face down and stacked to hide their numbers only until full visual confirmation, even then requiring a Soldier and Tactics IQ check since there are tactics that are designed to prevent soldiers from knowing the actual force they are fighting (for one's own side and opponents). Dummy or Blank cards are helpful in hiding real force numbers.

    If you look at the Spaces created by the Lines, each should be enough to illustrate where are the relative positions of units with cards.
    • Units Engage are in the Front Line.
    • Units as Flank Guards will be at the Flanks.
    • While those at the rear, are at the rear.
    The relative positions point out who can easily move to where.

    Ex. Right flank guard in the GM's side Can't engage the Right flank guard of the Player Side without having to move through the center (2 actions) or circle through the rear center then GM's left flank.

    • Moving beside Opposing forces require Tactics, Soldier, and Athletics or Movement roll and FP cost as described above in the previous topic.
    • Ranged attacks can attack adjacent areas, when unengaged. When engaged it can be done, but circumstances make the ranged attackers very vulnerable when their attention is not to their immediate and dangerous surroundings.
    • It is Ideal to get to the opponent's Rear, note that Circling will just allow Rear units to arrive at a flank with a contest of perception for the targets about to be flank.
    • This assumes players are all of one side, 3 sided battles can be done I'll just leave it for anyone to improvise how.

    Saturday, January 1, 2011

    Women in RPGs, my 2 bits

    Attempting to take the empiricist point of view, I think that one has to break down the components and accurately describe the RPG experience, its people, and the personalities that enjoy it. Having said my disclaimer about how there are exceptions and not to get carried away with the generalities (since we deal with majorities that need to be accurately measured to maximize informed context).

    I would say that the hobby has traits like sedentary nature, limited socializations, strong familiarity influence (comfort zones etc.), very personal and subjective and have a limited set expressions because of its deeply personal nature. Not really a hobby that a lot of people would take.

    Its a hobby that people take really personally so there is very little accommodation to strangers. An outside perspective would find this game difficult to take, especially when the peculiarities differ from their own view of the world. And by nature, women are more inclined to be cautious and men more risk taking (i'm speaking of generalities is behavior). So I think this cautious nature, which is reasonable in my understanding, is a very valid reason why not get tangled up in the deeply personal ideas of the gamers.

    Also if we take into account the gamers who lack any socialization and their personal ideas regarding the gender will have a very damaging effect on female participation. Just one gamer with distasteful views can turn away a much larger number of women gamers, while the most charming of gamers are not in the job of recruiting the most difficult to convert (because in the time vs output its the least rewarding).

    Joethelawyer's Wondrous Imaginings has the list of all the other points