Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Re-Learning GURPS Combat with Vaclav's Gladiator Game

Thanks to +Vaclav Tofl and +Martin Davis for the GURPS Gladiator Game!

Nothing like a bunch of Martial Artist Enthusiasts Trying out GURPS Martial Arts, I'd thing SCA fighters would love the system more. 

I lost and almost died, thankfully I killed a skin changer dire-wolf. Parmenion (Martin) took me down this game. He did very well and I have to hand him such a gracious victory. 

I learned a lot this combat. Vaclav and I had a second melee after the fight with Parmenion and got to explore more risky tactics. 

  • Evaluation Rules are Harsh. It is a maneuver with fleeting benefits. You will lose the evlauate maneuver if you break off your target, (realistically). In terrain where we retreat to defend, you will end up cornered because to begin with a cautious strategy means spending Acrobatic Dodge, Feverish Defense, and Retreat while you are evaluating. 
  • Keep in mind Extra Effort. FP is the stat that tells me I have to have a strategy going in. 
  • Acrobatic Dodge - if fail Feverish Defense
  • Acrobatic Dodge + Feverish Defense vs Deceptive Attack or Penalized Defenses. 
How to Organize my Strategies
I always assume a roll of 10-11 when I am visualizing a strategy. 
- Dominant Strategies - a line of 2-3 second strategy (typically engaging or moving up to the enemy requires its own strategy). Example > Round 1: AoD: Improved Dodge + move 3 spaces > round 2: Feint and step back > round 3: leg attack. 
- Safe Strategies - a list of strategies where the Failure is not a penalty or leaves the character risky. Example > Wait- If steps within reach-1 trigger AoD: Evade through an opponent (B368) on a success you appear behind the opponent on your next turn. 
- Risky to Very Risky but High Pay off Strategies - a list o strategies that require the success of two other skills but results into a very high pay off. Example > Round 1: Wait for an enemy to step and close in for an attack - triggers  CA:D Long Evade to move behind opponent + Telegraphic Attack + Elbow Strike (MA71) or Back Kick/Back Strike (MA67) + attack option Sweep Attack (an attack that cannot be dodged) the purpose of the attack is to down the opponent. 

Players who don't know the rules and Options - Cheat Sheet. the GM spends an hour easily to have a combat encounter with the Player to determine their dominant strategy. This aids both the player and the GM. 

Once a cheat sheet is made, it is merely drag and drop. so the combat can be tracked.  

Monday, April 29, 2013

GURPS Making Initiative Check Based

Initiative is a score that player rolls for his character where his margin of success and failure determines his order in initiative.

Initiative is Tactics roll with SPDx2 OR IQ. If the character does not have Tactics, they can default to -6, Strategy-6 or Soldier-4. Combat Reflex adds +1 to Initiative.

In the beginning of Combat everyone rolls initiative.

SPD 6.00, CR, Soldier IQ+2 has an Initiative-11
SPD 5.00, IQ12, Tactics IQ+1 has Initiative-13

Double rewarding SPD.
A smarter person may think faster and be slower in combat, but his physical speed will be reflected in Movement and Dodge NOT in the order in which he acts. Because of Wait maneuver a faster thinking character Waits and uses his faster thinking to Prepare and Predict the outcome. Of course if his prediction is wrong, he gets screwed so it balances out.

So a Faster Character may Act Fast in the sense that in the second he may travel farther and dodge better but it doesnt mean they can bring actions and plans online faster than a smarter quick-thinking character.

In GURPS it is not clear that the "start" of combat, those who have not acted is considered "flat-footed" like in DnD. You can still defend as though you came from a "Do nothing" turn in the very beginning of combat.

I like using the Core Mechanic through out the system when it is possible. Using a 3d6 Check for initiative benefits the bell curve and makes for some random variables in combat.

Traveller: Living Materials and Gene-gineered Livestock

Living Materials - is like a wooden table that is still alive.  The purpose of living materials is that they are self sustaining and maintaining. using the ambient environment. One particular set of living material is Living Sealant for underground habitats or for reactive Atmospheres.

Living Sealants are organisms are designed to grow around walls to reinforce them and to feed off ambient waste and heat. Many worlds prior to colonization or habitation have gene-gineered living building materials. The advantage is that it brings down complexity by removing some tasks from life-support.

If one starts accounting for all the tasks than need to happen to keep a fully enclosed ecosystem going, its better to having some complex tasks automated through making biological tools perform it.

Other living materials, are plants or what are organism that recombine common elements into a more usable form for colonists. They could grow like runners along the floor of a harsh world, usable as fibers, they can grow up or down into the planet usable has building materials of various qualities (strong and light, dense and insulating).

There are times the seeds are not growing fast enough, a disaster or fate can always cut supplies short and sometimes there can be an oversupply. Gene-gineers can use technology to zero-out a genetic template for their own uses.

Livestock is another form of biotechnology. Livestock creates chemical-cocktails like milk, fuel, glue, etc... (which some Living materials can also provide) using ambient chemicals of the given environment. They care for themselves, and are sometimes designed to perform a human-useful task (like burrowing tunnels or building structures for human habitation).

Another valuable use is a source of Labor and Transportation, require no other infrastructure or ecology except what it is designed to survive and accomodate. Sometimes they can become a source of food, when infra does not allow Hydroponics and Protein Vats.

What is important is Gravity to Hold an atmosphere, Heat, and a variety of ambient reactive elements that an engineer can build a life-form out of.

The variety is limited to only the imagination and ingenuity of the engineer. If technology allows living creatures built out the spewing elements of a start, if the TL is high enough some engineer would probably try to build an organism that feed off that and accumulate the energy and elements.

Friday, April 26, 2013

GURPS Traveller ISW Operating Costs Review

Here is my ISW Ops Cost.
The future has a lot of costs.

from $700 to $7,000 per 1dton per parsec from an independent trader but it costs about half as much from a Imperial monopoly Freighter unfortunately these don't go outside main routes (major and minor).

Increase the occupancy of Low berths by 2.5. So a 1dton low berth can contain as much as 5 medium sized persons.

Cryo is $400 (which is a cell phone or a tablet these days) is now $400 (4x the cost of a two way trip half around the world) and the technology is no 5 sleepers per 1dton (like the bunk). Moving from System to System is a whole career move.

Work in exchange for Bunk Space - if you have Worker Unions so that credentials can be easily verified, there are some that allow people to work for their bunk space.
4000 Cryo or Bunk Hibernation. Bunk hibernation is not covered by any insurance and is not allowed by Megacorps despite how draconian they may be.
10,000 Standard (like every class above economy, these are mostly profit and almost most often not fully occupied)
15,000 Single
20,000 Luxury

From $2,500 standard ticket to $10,000 per jump on a liner or a quarter as much on a Trader or Courier. Note that in a Liner there is entertainment and social activities. One standard liner ticket $10,000 / 7 days translates "Travelling Expense" cost for Very Wealthy. This means 2 or 3 people can travel in double-occupancy staterooms. Like in real life there are many instances where there are discounts, subsidies, and privileges where these costs are covered by another party.

I currently trying to make a GM cheat sheet and trying to update the Commodities
Genegineered Livestock - will replacing livestock and x5-x10 more expensive. Designed to survive, thrive and reproduce in target biome/environment
Living materials - will replace wood and x5-x10 more expensive. Designed to self maintain in and thrive in a target biome/environmen.
Robots - Computers, Machinery, and Tools have the chance to be robots in a 5-6 in 1d6 roll.
Mecha - From exo-skeletons, lifters, to grav-bike variable armor* (inspired by the cyclone armor in robotech but grav-bikes make more sense given the terrain). Will be 5-6 in a 1d6 roll when results of  Ground Vehicles, Fire-Arms, Machinery comes up.

Can't knock the practicality of a gav-vehicle with a built in battledress. Its a battle-dress you bring around with you which you don't have to wear constantly, and is in easy access when responding to a scene.

 My GM cheat sheet Draft

Homebrew Rules
Stealth Modifier only provides an EW bonus, since there is no stealth in space.

Hull HT affects only the cost of the Hull, not the entire ship. The Quality modifier for all the other parts to be HT9, 10, 11 and 12 will affect performance limits. HT8 cannot move beyond its performance range, the others allows a 100% temporarily increase in performance for 4 hours or stretched out up to double the duration but 1/4 the performance improvement (8 hours 25% increase). Every increment increases the boost by another 100%. 9 is +100% (x2), 10 is +200%(x3), 11 is +300% (x4) or 12HT for +400% (x5). HT of a ship that wishes an engineer take advantage of its improved performance requires a -2 per 100% improvement check. Failure means the engineer will have to try again, another 20mins or space combat turn to try. So it takes a very good engineer to max out HT12 (-8). The ship still needs to make an HT check when red-lining, but the margin of success +3 adds to the roll. On a failed engineering/mechanic roll the ship has a penalty equal to the margin of failure -1.

Failure greater than Margin of 1, is dDmg to PP or M-drive (1d6 1-4PP, 5-6 M-drive).

The strategic trade off of High Quality Equipment is that without sacrificing space, the powerplant and m-drives can double its performance if needed. paying x10 more for HT12 allows a ship to x5 their performane at no additional mass and space cost. A really good engineer hacker can hack an engine to perform past its limits but in carefully limited and time usages.

Hull HT allows a ship to be strong enough to weather extreme atmospheres

HT 8 Roll against Extreme Weather in Standard Atmosphere. Can do a emergency water landing.
HT 9 Roll against Extreme Weather in Dense Atmosphere. Can take off from Terra Sea.
HT 10 Roll against Extreme Weather in Very Dense Atmosphere. Can submerse in Terra Sea 100m
HT 11 Roll against Extreme Weather in Fluid Atmosphere. Can submerse in terra sea 500m
HT 12 Can suberse in terra sea in 1000m

The ability to go into very dense atmosphere allows for Warships to take advantage of atmosphere, dust clouds, and cosmic storms.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Wishing upon a Sci-fi System

Questions I don't have answers to:
  1. Wouldn't Doctrine evolve towards low profile warships? Wouldn't the same evolution in predator prey relationship create a ship profile doctrine that would increase the Information barrier in determining threat or prey?
  2. Wouldn't mass-drivers be great in giving missiles a great starting Accel? (like in Honorverse)
  3. Wouldn't there be laser head missiles to fight in more extreme ranges in GURPS?
  4. Wouldn't someone have come up with a Combat Role-System for GURPS traveller already? Gunners, Pilot, EW (sensors and comm), Engineering and the Captain all being able to participate in the space combat.
  5. Has anyone thought up of a nice EW rule-system for GURPS traveller?
  6. How would I make Battle-dress Grav Bikes IMTU (like Robotech Cyclone Armor)?
  7. How would Variable Fighters or Mecha be used IMTU?
stuff I think I already asked before. 

Gender bending without creeping out people

In another game I played a girl character, Sibila Wuchenco. By Playing i mean, i used "I" not "She" and it was not awkward or creepy. I'm pretty happy about the response, because as a GM I would have to "impersonate" a female NPC and have to RP her well (entertaining and consistent). 

Its not that hard to gender bend without being creepy, simply because there is a huge list of things NOT-TO-DO when playing a female character discussed all around the interwebs. All you need to do is listen, and it makes sense why those NOs are creepy. 

  • avoiding needless detail - be discreet
  • of course understand the subject matter - hopefully your common sense and experience that tell you how the world is to women. I guess if its coming from somewhere it has to come from your wife, sister, daughter, friend, mother, or >insert healthy female relationship<. 
  • know your audience - the other players and the GM, obviously knowing their tolerances helps RP a character that hits entertaining without being creepy. 
  • an honest motive - why you are playing that character*

*Honest portrayal is basically having no hidden motives, despite the most "cunning" of intentions hidden motives can quickly be exposed on the table because you have to "feed that beast". GMs are usually too busy to have any hidden motives when gender-bending, so following through the core-character motives is easy. In my case, I was playing about 6x that week and I wanted something different, very different and something I can flex my empathy muscle since these are old friends. 

The woman I played is a mish mash of many women I know, there is a certain patterns that can explained by "personality physics" of a character. One particular woman I am "impersonating" is this very skilled broker who uses active listening and industry expertise to make clients comfortable. there is nothing untoward about interaction with her, everything is very professional and courteous. What I find amazing is that gender does not become an issue, a tool, a weakness, or a factor when I deal with her. 

A motive I can dig up, is that i wish life was not as messy and complicated when it comes to gender in real life. I guess an appreciation of how complicated it is, might be tempering the way I play. 

 I don't think i'll playing a female character in the future, its good to play with old friends I don't think its good to play with new people. Its going to be creepy regardless of how skilled you are, and the first impression you make is going to WEIRD. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

the Running Craze and GURPS

Running is a very basic and very well understood athletic activity now more than ever. Right now the country is experiencing a running phase and I'm somewhat caught in it because of my wife.

Basically I'd rather know the results of a per hour or hours instead of making a roll for every minute.

Paced Running Rules - Half Move in yds/s (m/s)
Rolling per 10 minutes is -3 to running checks with every margin of failure is an additional  FP lost.
Rolling per 30 minutes is -5 to running checks with every margin of failure is an additional 2 FP lost.
Rolling per 60 minutes is -6 to running checks with every margin of failure is an additional 3 FP lost.
Rolling per 120 minutes is -9 running checks with every margin of failure an additional 4FP lost.
Rolling per 180 minutes is -11 running checks with every margin of failure an additional 5FP lost.
Very Fit Cuts the loss to half (rounded to worse)
You cannot use an increment where the penalties will bring a skill below 8.
just add time of rest to time performance so if the total cost of travel over all is 20fp 1FP is 10 minutes of rest.
every level of encumbrance adds one to the loss.

Disclaimer - Forgot my probabilities lessons.
I assumed running-18 and took the probabilities in anydice.com and checked how many rolls it takes for the number to come up. Using the frequency i compared it to Skill-18, and tried to make a penalty to reflect the frequency in one roll. The FP loss is a guess. 

So a character with Running 14 (HT12, Fit, Move 5) can attempt to run  hour at -6. If he fails by 2 he would on average lose 4FP ever hour.
A character with Running 18 (Move 8, HT14, Very Fit) can run a marathon in 3 hours and finish it at 5-6 FP loss.

now imagine this with encumbrance penalties
0.6 (med) * 3yrds/s = 6.4kph travelling 3 hours at (ST11 carrying 72lbs, HT12+1 from fit, Fit) means the character can only take the 30-min increment (-5). Assuming average roll of 10, he loses 1+2FP x2 for a total of 6FP per 30 minute run. He has a pace of 3.24kph since He rests ever after 30min, for 30mins recovering  for a 30min covering 3.2km per hour and losing up to 3FP.

IF the character takes a meal and 4 liters of water, he can recover 1FP faster per hour (1L per hour) which translates to 5minutes saved or translates to an 8.3% increase of pace to 3.5kph. 3 hours a day about 10.5 km carrying 72lbs. Able to sustain 4 hours every day. Excess hours per day is about 1hp of damage per day.

Sustained Pace Ad-Hoc ruling HT or Running -9 in hours per day. Negative means the number of days needed to rest to an HT of 8 is at negative 1 probably 1h every other day. If HT 8 person runs for about 2 hours he would have taken 1hp damage. This reflects shin splints and stress fractures on the legs.

This also helps make GURPS health goals for RL. I want to be ST11, HT12, Fit, and Running HT+2 [8]. After the Zombie Run I realize the importance of Sprinting vs Long Distance running I want to be able to run in an emergency with a load while having the strength to sprint and evade.

I "killed myself" mid run because I couldnt take the increased heart rate of being overly alert to my wife's disappointment LOL. Prior to the Run I was only able to go 3km on the tredmill and after the run with follow up sprints I can now reach 4.8km in 30mins (non-sustainably) Go Science!

My personal goal is to be able to travel 30km in a day with about 60lbs kit (because there is a possibility of having to carry my son).  The distance of 30km is enough to leave the city of metro manila. Its such a simple physical feat in GURPS terms but it can spell survival or death in RL.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Bones Reaper mini's may have arrived, Got my Printer back

I've got a letter in the mail for picking up something from the post-office. I can only visit the post-office in regular work hours, and there is that scary stamp of "subject to customs". I knew that there is a possibility that customs will screw me over.

Last time I bought something online, my airsoft mid-capacity magazines for my G3, I paid about the same cost as my purchase (x2 4000php $80 plus another $80) or about  due to some mysterious and mystical taxes. I only learned recently I was supposed to bring a wad of 50's (1USD) to drop in every open desk drawer if I didn't want to be screwed royally. Customs is supposed to get about a small percentage according to this calculator so at most 15% of the value of my Reaper Minis.

I think this time I will record my entire transaction if possible with customs or send the company messenger to deal with the corruption.

This is why we can't have nice things in the Philippines.

Anyway, I'm glad I just got my printer back (SCX-4200 samsung all-in-one). I just finally got to print my Qin: The Warring States! that took about 2-3 hours while I was doing a number of other things. I lost probably 50php in printing errors. Last time I calculated it costs me about 1.4 php to print a page total. So that It will be one visit to the binders, I better print the Art of War expansion book.

So Printing  272 pages costs about 380 plus binding of 200 and 144 cost about 345 (because the page is not white buy Gray eating up more printer toner) . Ouch.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Traveller - Merchant Team

The Broker or Merchant Team is a different approach from the Traveller setting as the ship is optional. Instead of buying and selling goods, they set up Logistics Networks for continuous trade. These contracts make money for up to 3-5 years. In rare and fortunate occasions  when dealing with Govt. or entities that is practically a Govt. much longer - like 8-20 years.

Merchant Team is composed of the following.

The Merchant

Industry Expert, able to Analyse profitability, Open doors with networks, Character references, and references

The Security (Intelligence) 

Risk and Character Assessment, Background Checks, Surveillance, information security, and drafting Security policies.

The Security (Force) 

Physical Security. They bring the guns, combat ability, and tactical threat analysis.

Note that all Three Parts don't flow harmoniously, each demanding a greater share of the resources. Merchant's can get in the way of S-I or S-F's jobs, or S-I's job getting in the way of S-F or Merchants's and all the other combinations.

A game is usually lasting a Financial Season or about 3 months. The characters begin with a number of leads depending on their background and resources, and try to develop these leads until they reach full maturity.

These leads are basically a great deal with parts missing in its chain. It could be a great supply or demand, lacking the counterpart; it could be a great demand and supply lacking logistics; it can be a mess of risk and leads which requires sorting OR it could be Fools with Money soon to be parted.

This takes a lot of player initiative, the way it takes a lot of entrepreneurial initiative in the real world. This can also be happening while the players are maintaining a business they are already running.

One of the awesome aspects of this kind of business, is that this is how a character builds their own little empire. It begins with one line, then it grows to two or it grows into ancillary industries or fields.  At any point they can lose big enough to start from zero or worse, or they may continue to grow, and negotiate deals, mergers, acquisitions, etc...

Mongoose Traveller Operational Costs
GURPS traveller Operational Costs

Bottom Line

The bottom line in such an adventure is that you are the team that makes things happen. You have the skills, network, abilities, and luck that will sort out all the details and package the deal in a nice pretty bow to the partners, clients, and vendors. 

Logistics is a problem about the details, you make sure the problem goes away using your creativity or problem solving ability. This kind of game can be logisticvs oriented, combat oriented, or social oriented depending on the problem placed by the GM. 

It can be a dozen problems, or it can be one linchpin problem that makes everything else easy. Its really up the GM's craft, more than the system.  

Basic Formula

This works well if you have Character Traits (Key words that describe the personality of the character and his background; this could be disads and advantages). Take the Traits and the Strengths of the characters and build it into a story of where destiny and opportunity is taking them and then take the Weaknesses and the Traits to build the story of their challenges.

Use random name generators and classic tropes to give a face, image, description and narrative  to the challenges.


Jaime Cuervoco (M, Merchant, 40s; Staff of 2). Traits: Family, Duty, Honor. Background Cuervoco Dynasty Scion. Strengths: Admin, Graces, and Network. Weakness: Rivals, Love, 

Tian Jin (F, Security-Intelligence; Staff of 2). Traits: Knowledge, Cunning, Duty. Corporate Security Background. Strengths: Intelligence, Field-Ops, and Counter-Intelligence. Weaknesses: Enemies, Secrets, Addiction. 

Gram Hawker (M, Security-Force; Staff of 4). Traits: Duty, Strength, Courage. Background Retired Marine. Strengths: Combat Prowess, Leadership, Tactics. Weaknesses. PTSD (Ghosts), Debts, and Vows. 


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Traveller Merchant Rising Session 5

+Mark Knights , +duncan mcphedran+Scott Cadoo+Seth Blumberg and +Tom Tyson

Another wonderful game.

We got ambushed, while on concert. Worse is that we were ambushed by very well funded, psionic, extraction team. Tark? (Scott) was able to ambush them, in the darkness. Moloch was able to kill off the cybered lady, Lauren.

Edit: Seth playing Beniades the captian, was able to organize us after the attack. Tom with Tyson Blue was the Life saver of the party, helping everyone get back up. (Mental Note- everyone should train in First aid and carry first aid).

After the combat ended, we checked the bodies and found one was alive. The one that was just unconscious was the Cowboy leader. Jia, was in a hurry since it becomes clear that Jules Bain was the target and her very wealthy person would be a great source of funding if rescued.

Jia then takes the cowboy behind the bar and began making small talk, saying that "I doesn't know how to interrogate or torture anyone, all I really know is that this 1911 has 8 rounds plus one in the chamber and I will blow off digits until you decide to say something useful."

The Cowboy said: "I know you, have you ever heard of 'Know your Enemy*'!"

Jia "Of course I do, I'm Chinese" Then shoots the foot of Cowboy "Oops! He's trying to kill me!" lying quite plainly from behind the bar.

To Jia's surprise, he bursts into flames.... taking 10+ damage against his Dex of 3, Str of 2...

will he be ok hahaha I'll find out the week after next!

*A saying from the Art of War.

Looking back at my traveller notes, too bad the readiness doctrine won't carry over to Classic Traveller. I had like standard outfits and proceedures back in the day in +bobby navarro games (i'm sure the over-preparedness and paranoia annoyed him to no end, how about my current gm?).

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Epic Combat in Vaclav's GURPS Gladiator Game

+Vaclav Tofl 's GURPS Gladiator Arena Game just ended, playing was myself,  +Jessie Foster playing Lucius Aggripa and +Martin Davis playing Parmenion.

Jia, my Paper Tiger who is actually a Horse Archer (23 points sunk in that) survived fighting with Spear-14, Move-8, and with luck (no critical fails that entire 130min game).   We fought a Dire Wolf and several strong wolves.

I have to say my heart was actually racing, because there were too many close calls. I played a conservative strategy and burned through my FP with Feverish Defense almost every time it was my turn.

I just practiced the fundamentals: Waited, Kept Close to my Allies and Supported them by forcing a Retreat and when the position was excellent tried to Feint (and failed) and got really luck of a botched attack which allowed me to use Telescopic Attack at severely wound the Direwolf. It was a Critical Fail on his Death check that killed him, with such great "Dramatic" Timing.

It was a long but very dramatic combat, and I was very lucky and I even got a lot of the crowd's cheers. Too much excitement LOL! So many close calls, and it was easy to forget special plans and techniques when its not our turn. I really need to write it down in note pad.

I copied Vaclav's Technique and pre-written all my cut+paste notes for my actions.

  • /me Free Action - drop shield, Ready Action Remove and Drop Helmet, Free Action (Grip Mastery) Ready Spear for Reach 2 and Defensive Grip
  • /me Wait, when a target charges into me or my allies, Stop Thrust  
  • /me Wait, when a target with in reach tries to attack me or my allies attack (rear) leg (-2)
  • /me Wait, when a target with in reach tries to attack me or my allies attack torso (0)

I need to formulate a one word way to instruct an ally, what does "Latis!" (Flank)! mean? If I say "Latis!" in my turn, and try to Flank, does that mean my ally should do the same? 

Since my character has some Latin "mecum!" when we go into formation? hasta mura or scuta mura?


Monday, April 15, 2013

History as a Campaign Setting

I always liked history as a campaign setting, practically it saved me money and memory. One big advantage was it fed to each other, immersing in history and designing a game to make players feel as immersed as I am made me think really hard how to bridge the gap of Then and Now. 

Historical Gaming is multi-disciplinary I had to study a lot more about economics and military theory, because sometimes sources are weak and it was better forensically teasing out information. 
Because of how much research the average over-prepared GM compulsion would make, there were a lot of skills that developed from this hobby than from my Multi-Media Arts degree that allowed me to shift into analysis. 

Everything I learned I had a chance to apply in a Historical Game, and because I was able to some-what practice so many skills in one activity it saved me time and energy and fed its own positive feedback loop. It was like taking up Acrobatics or Free-running, it was an exercise that exercised many stats at the same time, and in a way they had to work together for a sum greater than its parts. 

GURPS is my go-to game for this, because its simulationist  I can run it with other systems, going as far as Narrative Mechanic based system, depending on the audience and expectation. Although I have this in-mind for the Open RPG system project I am working on. 

I decided to post pix of my books in hopes to run a history game either face to face or hangouts+roll20. 

Historical Gaming is very niche as an RPG because for every book you read, it separates you from others who has not read it. It is an information barrier to entry, as well as playing the odds game of having someone who like RPGs and History. Of course, it becomes a barrier to entry if you make it a requirement to play a historical game, I usually "sell" the idea without emphasis of the history understanding doing everything to bridge the gap, so that hopefully players find it interesting. 

There is a strong anti-science or anti-intellectualism movement happening around the world, and also my country. There are economic forces that actually influence people to take forgranted knowledge and population factor tends to grow the value.  Sometimes it is a stigmatization to be in RPGs and History Nerd. 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Trying to study more Character Accents

I was checking out G+ Hangouts if anyone wanted to discuss accents or practice them. I don't feel uncomfortable working out an accent with a stranger, its not for a professional need anyway its for a game.

I'm getting bored with my Pirate-y Old man accent. I like playing older uninhibited men, (hehehe like my father LOL). When such men say something incredulous they don't take a credibility hit as badly as a younger man, because of all the history they built up.

I like doing accents because the Vulnerability pushes me to get more into character. There is a level of commitment in embarrassing yourself in-front of strangers. Being able to perform and free to fail was a great way of getting over my anxiety when I was cripplingly shy when I was younger.

Happy Jacks have a good episodes on accents where a listener who was an expert chime in.

Anyway, the other accents I have is the "Latin" one because its just a variation of the Filipino Broken English Accent. Of course there is the Broken Filipino Accent Rex Navarrete.

Filipino Provincial Accents speaking English are plenty, but are lost to a foreign audience. It funny to some filipinos, I'm not entirely capable of grasping it. A close friend would do is mix Irish and "Batangeneo" accents to produce an "irish batangeneo" which is hillarious, what he would do is use the Irsh accent, then add in the Batangeneo suffixes and mannerisms.

There is the Rhotacism Accent which i thought was a cartoon accent until I met people who really had them. I was asking my brother, is he faking that or is it real - he talks like elmer fudd? I don't know anyone in the Philippines who has that accent.

An accent I was able to do once because I finished listening to Nightflyers, which I cannot find out who read it, but it was a woman with a Caribbean Accent (I'm guessing Hatian). Damn, got find my old copy of that and re-listen for the accent.

Australian and Kiwi is something we used to train our agents for, Carl is good with that accent. I actually need to learn this accent because I'm playing with them more and My filipino ears is not able to pick up the words as quickly.

Eastern Eurpoean or the Russian Accent is also pretty fun to play, but I have not had a character that fit that profile quite well. I got a lot of ideas listening to Kimi do her russian accent.

Chinese speaker accents is tricky, there is the "holywood" version which sounds more like singaporean than mainlander (which singaporeans have good humour about, they would even type La on chat messaging). then there is the accent in mainlanders or holywood and chinese cinema actors like Jacking Chan and Jet Li which is harder for me to define.

  • Chinese accents can pronounce Ls and Rs (Beijing Accent is like japanese, but unlike japanese they just use MORE  "Rs" not complete phasing Ls out).
  • B and P are interchangable, the same way we can't hear the tones they can't here the difference between B and P. So if you listen to Jet li's accent he would say Better Bebber (better pepper), but thats not all of it.  

Japanese accent is easy, because I grew up in Anime. Its also boring given the crowd I game with, anyone my age can do a convincing japanese accent. Also, many of my generation when listening to japanese can pick the words out and sometimes get the gist out. Every High Schooler who was an avid anime fan would have tried to learn japanese - I did, my little sister did, my brother did.  We can even pronounce it with a good understandable accent. Also there are a lot of Language Similarities to a Malay Based language as to Nippongo. The syllable structure is similar.

anecdote: I one time helped immigration because they could not understand a Japanese person regarding some requirements. I was in the immigration office at the time, and the japanese man was being asked some additional requirements because there was a bureaucratic error. Its not that I used japanese, but used Gestures and focusing on Key words he would know like: passport and plane and said it slowly. That was such a wonderful and memorable experience. It taught me gestures and key words were more important in communication because people naturally realize a Schelling point to what the circumstance may mean and are looking for these key words. 
I work with a fair number of indians, and have made some indian friends because of the BPO industry here. The accent is fairly easy to mimic, but hard to understand. The funny thing is to Mimic it is to Understand it, so I end up mimicking the accent of the Indian I'm talking to without any intention to mock them. Being polite, I would have to rehearse what I'm going to say mentally to maintain my accent.

the English gentleman accent I can't hold for long, I can do it in a sentence at a time and with some mental rehearsal slowing down my "Improv".

The Amercian accents, there are so many. I guess its a great way to make an anology of how regional accents work in other countries.

The new-york accent is very easy to find sources online, there are a lot of movies and youtube videos of people practicing it. I guess I can try that since it is an accent you don't here much in the Philippines. I kinda know it from living in Jersey (my family is all over there). My brother makes a good impersonation of that accent since he's lived there for about 10years.

American accents are lost to a Philippine audience, as much as Filipino accents are lost to non-Filipinos.

The best I can do right now is practice my accents, when I have an opportunity to game. Given how busy anyone is outside of game, practicing out of game is a feat for me.
So many accents to choose from, and more

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Traveller: Merchant Rising Session 4

This is my 2nd game playing Jia or Baron Jia. We had a slow start due to some key characters being unable to join, still we soldiered on and had a lot of fun.

The cast:
+Mark Knights (GM), +Matt Guyder (Darrok the Marine), +duncan mcphedran (Moloch the Engineer), and newly joining us is +Tom Tyson (Blue Tyson? the Medic).

Filipino English has some buried filipino-isms that need editing-out, so I find myself struggling sometimes because I catch myself about to say that and realize, "they won't get that". So i have to edit myself a bit. This game, is the smoothest I found myself being with less of the stops and self-edits.

We are at RUIE and have just recently survived a pirate hijack. Since the Captain was not available, we had to take initiative, so we were looking for something to do. Fortunately there was something to do, we had to go to Elly Archer and check if the delivery of Drilling Rigs contract is still available.

Jia made the usual introductions and correspondences with Elly. He had prepared gifts and the letter of introduction, and in return Elly invited the crew to a concert. Jia took the opportunity to get to know his crewmates better and to look for potential business deals.

This is where "The Accountant" starts looking like more of a schmoozing nobleman, but instead of pulling rank he wears clothes of his job title and rank. In actuality the lack of pomp allows him to dress practically - ballistic "work" clothes and a concealed carry 1911.

There was a limo, and a lot of typical social niceties, that had happened on the way and up on arriving at the concert. Jia was fussing about the dress and make of his crewmates making sure they no detail was "off" and assumed they were ill versed in business etiquette and took the lead by exaggerating a bit so that his team can follow.

The night proved entertaining and fruitful for others. Elly introduced Jules Bain and her body guard Walker-"I-forget-his-first-name". Jia chatted up the business partner and Jules, by lauding Darroks accomplishments and giving him full credit for saving their asses. There was an opportunity for business, since getting the word out of their daring success could means potential business.

Jules took special interest in Moloch, and excusing herself took him and had their own entertainment. When she leaves with him, he hands Walker his card, knowing that its the "servant" who accepts the card.

While Moloch and Jules were having their entertainment, Darrok was chatting up Walker while Jia was chatting up Elly. He gets wind that there will be trouble, and begins preparing himself for it. Catching a glance at Jia, he motions to a few people who are very out of place in the concert. Darrok gives dagger looks at him and points at the scary people, who seem to be now talking to Elly.

Jia, makes the excuse to Elly that he should introduce him to more people as beginning with those around him. Elly uses subtlety to point out the "private nature" of his associates. Jia very much agrees and takes this as an opportunity and spins a quick anecdote about "privacy" and how much he values providing such discretion and service to clients and partners. He uses the tale to get a better look, a mental game of 20 questions where when nothing is plainly visible he assumes a threat when information is lacking.

Two men, one woman. One appears like a Cowboy without the hat, instead a trench coat and jeans. Another man in a asian round colar with curly hair and masked expersession. then a athletic lady with platinum blond hair. Quickly it becomes obvious that these are not "social" creatures and when one of them, was called Lauren, is called to talk to Jia. Jia quickly ends his tale and excuses himself.

Jia is walking back, making very obvious handsignals of danger and mouthing "Dangerous" when Lauren slips to his side and begins talking and taking him another direction. Jia uses social niceties to entertain her but then she wrenches his finger. Jia visible weakens (ST2) and Darrok approaches, only to be stunned for no plausible reason. At this point Jia is let go, Lauren telling him to take care of his friend.

Jia qickly leaves her, heading to Darrok but makes sure all his things are with him, and nothing is planted before he arrives. Before he arrives, Blue comes to Darroks aid, and was able to deduce the possibility of a psionic assault.

Their leader, the Cowboy, makes a big show as he stands to leave. The party watches as this group heads out, but Walker tells them trouble is not yet over.

Lauren ? (F, ?) - Cyber--ed dangerous woman with an athletic build and platinum blond hair.

Jules Bane (F, Entertainer) - an Imperial entertainer who has a head for business. She is a high status entertainer, with a very universal demographic. Come to think of it more of a Tori Amos, she also happens to be a very attractive red-head.

Elly Archer (M, Merchant; Introduced by Bryce Redcalf) - bought the diamond shipment, works for Exo-tech, which produces Drilling Rigs.  Elly has a very strange group of "business partners" and approached Jia regarding some "Logistics" challenges. He has some goods that have challenges getting from one point to another he wants help in.

? Walker (M, Marine) Jules' body guard. Cybered up.

Gaps on my notes:
The name of the Pirate we scared near-death?
and the lacking first and last names.

Carrot and Stick's L5R with GURPS

From the Happy Jack's forums.

Definitely using this over the L5R system when I get the chance.

Threshold vs Attrition Systems

Hit Points vs Hit Threshold; Fatigue Points vs Fatigue Threshold

There is a BIG system difference between the two, but they are easily overlooked.
I prefer to use Hit Threshold or Fatigue Threshold vs the latter. Why:

  • I can dish out Tokens as Damage or Fatigue. Dishing out Tokens is Funner for me. 
  • Special Tokens like special damage can't be removed unless a special action is taken. In GURPS Sleep Loss, Starvation, etc Fatigue is easier to track. "aggravated" wounds cant be removed as easily, so you can track the "Troll's" fire damage with a seperate Token and regular damage with another. 
  • The math and conceptually is MUCH easier. In the Point system you "take" Damage and "subtract" HP. Is dmg a Negative HP value, did I just deal -5HP to Opponent Y? Then we go to healing - You heal 5 damage? Do you recover 5 lost HP or did you remove 5 damage? Conceptually

Its like Comparing Roll vs Target Number vs Roll-Below Score. You can have very similar statistics and probabilities  the advantage of one vs the other. In Target No. systems you have two places to Add or Subtract the Roll or the TN. In Roll-Below, you have only one value, the Score, which after all the modifiers have been applied Viola simple.

I remember back in HS erasing and recalculating damage, I gave myself a hard time.
The GM says you took X damage, you don't erase your HP and recalculate it, you keep that HP and start jotting down your damage.

Taking this to Your GURPS


...has all sorts of complications, because you can't recover Fatigue lost in a certain way normally. 
There is Fatigue Lost to Starvation, Thirst, Sleep*, and Spells., which can be recovered by 2 hours of sleep. You can't recover 

* If your a simulations like me, the "Sleep" Fatigue Token is gained every 4 hours in the day since you woke up. In the course of the day, you have Fatigue you need to sleep-off, that resting won't remove. 


Hit Thresholds Sounds better IMO. anyway, there is damage that can't be healed normally and there are different kinds of damage with special effects. Its easier to track them all with "Status Effect" props like Chips tokens or cards. The threshold system is much easier to use, and with a pencil you can create groups of damage: Special Normal etc.... You can have a box for "Leathal" damage, a box for "Stun Damage", where you scratch at it until it hits a certain threshold.  

Taking it to my Home Brew DnD

I'm using lower levels of Hits and Fatigue Thresholds in my DnD Game. (BLASPHEMY!!!) I've done some simulations "Playing with myself" in running scenarios to see how things turn out, it is lethal but Role-Playing Point Tokens negate that and require Players to take more initiative and narrate more.

Hits T. = ST x Carrying Capacity Modifier (like the bonuses from size: Large x2, etc).
Fatigue T. = Hit-Points as derived through Hit-Dice. Spellcasters can take as many Spell Fatigue Tokens equal to their Spell (Point) Threshold. Going Over Threshold converts the Spell Fatigue to Damage Tokens. So a Wizard Warrior can push Farther than a pure Wizard at the expense of higher magix, but a pure wizard can have so much magic it can consume him.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

GURPS Gladiator Arena Session 3, but my 2nd

Report of +Vaclav Tofl
The games were a "tribute" to a great general and a re-enactment of the war.

Parmenion by +Martin Davis
I'm playing Jia
2NPCs the General's Grandson, Albius, in Legionary fighting style, and Lucius also in the same style.

The battle began with us maintaining a cohesive phalanx for a while, at this point I was already seeing the merits of the formation. Even if they outnumbered us, if they moved in we could take them out easily, many of us striking one opponent.

Par moved to flank, leaving the formation. Jia was covering the gaps and evaluating using his 8 move in Hoplomancha mode. The enemy spearmen kept making safe attacks at reach-2, softening us up.  Lucius stepped infront of Jia, I took the opportunity: Free Action dropping held shield, Ready Action dropping helmet, free action readying Spear reach-2 2h grip.

Then a luck shot caught Lucius and he went down and prone, then I was on the defensive (using wait maneuvers to protect him from attacks by attacking the attacker). My attacks were all Anticipatory Strikes at the first threat within reach, attacking their Leg. My wait-&-attack maneuvers forced attacks to abort their step and attacks Or cut the enemy down at the leg.  

Par was in a melee, taking down the enemy in one on one. Jia was defending giving Albius a defensive retreating point, and Lucius time to recover. The most aggressive Jia was when he used after he survived a AoA Attack against 2-h axe wielder, then he tried to capitalize using Commited Attack: Determined + Mighty blow (1FP spent) and the German was still up. Albius tried to finish him, but the German was still standing.

When we were pushing the enemies back, Jia took the time to make an acrobatic performance.

Near the end my connection was terminated, and I had to leave instructions to attack an opponent I  made a successful feint again, I forgot feints are resolved in the next turn.

Before I could finish the last opponent, Albius called us back. As a soldier, Jia returned to formation. The gong sounded and the game entered a lul - Jia tries to recover some FP with breathing exercises. Albius tells us that there are beasts ready for the second round, and only Jia and he are still in full health (and Jia is a paper tiger). Par has only recovered 4 out of his 14 dmg and is at 1/2 move and dodge. Lucius is at the same condition. We really need to fight in formation now.

There was an opportunity to...

  • striking an opponent that Par caused to turn his back to us by using Telegraphic attack
  • forgot to use my Extra Effort FP
  • forgot to switch grip defensive vs reverse vs standard. I did remember to change form this time. 
  • next time I will shift to Staff mode, use acrobatics to move through the spaces combined with AoD: Improved Dodge for a maximum of +4 dodge bonus or a net +0 dodge and a +1 net to parry. If I fail my acrobatics I should use Feverish Defense if needed. 

I had a lot of technical difficulties

Interesting Notes:

  • Low Fighter + Shield Wall and an Archer or Long Spearman at the back is awesome.
  • AoD: Improve dodge has two strategic advantages: Movement and Dodge bonus, moving out of the way, and a better dodge. Can be combined with Step for another +3 bonus to dodge.  
  • In the next fight I will reprise my Defensive role again.
  • If my brother Jasper could have joined us we would have another spear fighter but a very interesting one, since he can fight with Two spears hehee - one in defensive Grip the other in Reverse grip (similar to Ni-Ten) since it was holiday but I wasnt able to contact him. Another Wei fighter, a Guardsman, is pretty formidable. 
  • For the animals I will "wait" for an animal to attack and use CA:Determined a Stop Hit. 
You will notice the way I organize my thoughts, I try to keep data related near each other. because if it is not immediately visible I will forget it like regular people. I also spell out my tactics and my options. it also allows me remember strategies and tactics I've "crunched" for the future. 

Fingers Crossed: My Kickstarter Bones: Vampire is being shiped

My kickstarter Bones vampire is being shipped, now the problem here in the Philippines is that there is always a risk of not getting here (never send valuables through the Philippine Post office, you can use private commercial logistics but never the Philippine system), or customs shaking us down.

expecting it in 2 weeks then.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Played Around Roll20 last night

Some quick notes and learning

  • Dynamic Lighting is a Paid feature, which is worth it for me (because I'm counting the whole Roll20 package) if I was running a game. I plan to use this feature in Face to Face with a 40" TV if possible.
  • I didn't need to Download any Tokens or upload one's i Downloaded off the Interwebs, all the free tokens and images can be found in the Search option. 
  • I tried out the Card Dealing System, for games like Castle Falkenstein, or Savage Worlds and it was very fun and nice. 
    • I like using poker rules to augment the game, I'm planning to use poker rules with "Role-Playing tokens" as a way to Influence NPCs AND PCs a social and political layer. 
  • I think I need about 4 hours of prep if the game is map intensive, this includes
    • .... finding a way to make existing and free maps usable for my games are a better use of time than making them right now. Especially since my new laptop has some performance issues, little quirks can double the time to make a piece of art. 
    • ... dry runs dry runs dry runs
Master the Following
/w (player or GM) - secret message the player or gm
/gmroll - secret roll for the GM
/me - declare actions
/roll or /r 
in L5R or SIFRP /roll XdYkZ for L5R because the Dice explodes Xd10kZ! (add exclamation)

What I don't know
  • Should I make a Player account to see what the player sees?
  • What is the optimal performance given my Computer and Bandwidth? Can I start using 80x40 hexes or My computer can only handle 25x25 hexes at a time?
  • List of Essential Macros - have a flow analysis and see how I can reduce the amount actions
    • Example: not just the core die mechanic, how about quickly messaging Pcs and the GM about your actions. 
    • Macro that allows me to "declare" my actions clearly for tracking purposes. So that when the GM pulls out the transcript my actions and the flow are clearly states. Best if I do this as the GM and as the player. So when it comes to Postinig the adventure I can post the transcript with little editing. 
  • WOD is more complicated and I have to experiment how best to reflect it. 

Framing makes you Win!


Framing is so freaking powerful as a life skill but as a Game skill.

Framing as a powerful Coping mechanism. It allows you to ignore the Cognitive Bias of Loss Aversion, and is a real mark of maturity IMO. It allows you to work with others despite some beliefs and contrary details, simply because it allows you to cancel out these options and focus on what is on the table (part of information theory, working on what is known).

I would have argued, but now its not so important to me although I would like to still be on the same page and run by some details that will come up during play - immediately I want to know what the GM thinks instead of what the Rules, Forums, or Others would say.

Most importantly, related to Gaming, Framing helps us cross from Traditional style to the New Generation of games those that focus on Narrative Control and Social Mechanics. With Framing we are able to have an array of Perspectives, a whole CLOSET full of perspectives at our disposal. We all grew up with the perspectives we have, being able to take on new ones helps us in enjoying more things and knowing how others enjoy.

I mean, already if your Empathy is working you are seeing how everyone enjoys the game in the table. You can't help but see that value, experience, and that feeling have a positive feedback loop, and know how to rechannel the negative out.

Happy Jacks Season 9, ep15

Email Premise: Designing a Challenging Encounter is an Important undertaking. 

Challenge Design is not an good economic use of your time versus all the other gaming options. It narrows your focus, and a "Good" GM becomes defined by Challenge Design - a Good GM is anyone who can make the experience FUN for his audience IMO (a lot of relative elements there).

This brings us to Framing because, you have to pull away from the Encounter Design Frame and expand your repertoire of Frames/Perspectives.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Games I've Commited to because of Hangout and G+

+Mark Knights Merchant's Rising (Manila Wed 5pm)
+Vaclav Tofl GURPS Gladiator Arena  (Manila Tuesday 10am)
+Christian Blouin Return to Kazadum (Manila Sat 9am)
+Michael Keenan Adventurer's and Adversaries (Manila Friday 1pm)
+Tobie Abad and Various other GM's in the Gamer Meet-ups (Manila Thursday 8pm)

Freaking 5 games, and thanks to Roll20 and G+ Hangout. If your a Table-top Gamer with work life balance needs then G+ games are the way to go.

I have mandarin classes on April 16 Tuesday and Thursday 6-9pm for 8 weeks (15 lessons). Which kills my face to face game.

+Erich Lichnock ran Dungeon Worlds for us this Thursday Night

+Matthew Roman ran a GURPS Lite "end of the world scenario" for us: +King Mathew Von Schuck+Nikos Ong, +rossel miranda, and myself included.

I guess when you get back into something there are instances we over-do it. I overdid it.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

First Session of Reclaiming Khazad-Dum

+Christian Blouin, +Alex Safatli  (Kalin Brother of Gimli) , +Arne Jamtgaard (Bain, uncle of the king) , and +Jason Woollard (Khazek a very young dwarf ranger), and I got to Play Drolf son of Hemmolt.
Congrats to everyone and the preparation was awesome and the results were awesome.

The social combat was satisfying, it really felt like a battle well in my experience it is practically a battle. The council of dwarves were successful in preventing the king in foolishly playing his entire hand before knowing what the dwarves are up against in the KD (Khazad-Dum).

Since I've been playing a lot of social combat games, I find that this is a more organized means and more "game-fun" model to run a social encounter. Comparing it to the others I've experienced, that don't use Narrative Control Mechanics to balance things out.

This approach, by christian, vs narrative control system are a good fit for Traditional RPG gamers for a way of resolving a social situation. In the NC systems, you have to "Yes and.../Yes but..." (all discussed a former post). This system is very tactical and has a beautiful visualization of how the positions are related. Its a "GURPS"sy more system than SIFRP, but it does take some setting up and KUDOS to the GM prepping!

Its such a nice system why not play a Political Animal? Now here is the thing about a Soldier is that they are pieces in the game, and they are trying to survive. They will go with the strongest at the expense that they can't push much of an agenda - I didn't have an agenda and that helped in the long run. Drolf is just trying to get things to work out, and will work with the party to achieve this.

As a Soldier, I just kill stuff and win battles. I execute the command, and my real field is on the battle field and leading troops.

Friday, April 5, 2013

GURPS Lite+ Combat Chapter for your Phone

Combat Chapter of GURPS lite for your Phone or Reader. Have this ready in your next GURPS combat game. No house rules but I did put some MA rules that "balances" combat a bit and some Basic Set Campaign rules.

  • Hit location (Basic)
  • Wound penalties (MA)
  • More Maneuvers than Lite (Basic) 
  • Melee Attack Options: Telegraphic, Deceptive, and Rapid Strike.

Things I learned in the editing GURPS Lite
- Reach Weapons are easy to hit (-2 for Long Spear, -3 Spear, and -4 a melee weapon). Cheaper haflted weapons will always be a better target
- Weapons and Armor Chapter - I've got the ST requirements Down. What I did was I got all the notes in incorporated on the weapon entry itself. Its just cut&paste, so I learned a Spear can be wielded at Reach2 with ST13, but gains Parry-0U and all that jazz. I made the Default Axe a "Thrown Axe" which is $10 more expensive than a regular axe but can be Thrown.

Since my Chapters are not going to be "together" I can use Wildcard for skills and also have Regular Skills as well. I will follow the following format for skills:
Skill (Stat/diff) (heading 4)
Other Uses - list of skills this skill allows you to use. I will put it my GM input and put it in blue text.

Profession: Warrior (IQ/A) (heading 4)
Default: IQ-5, Soldier-2
Other Uses: Strategy-4, Tactics-3, Savoir-Faire (Tribe*)-0, Survival-2, Intimidation-2, Leadership-4, History: Tribe-3.
You are the warrior elite of your Tribe*, you are skill in performing the duties and responsibilities of such a member.
*this definition of tribe.

Profession: Soldier (IQ/A) (heading 4)
Default: IQ-5, Expertise: Military-3
Other Uses: Strategy-4, Tactics-4, Engineering: Combat-4, Survival-2, Leadership-4, Savoir-Faire: Military-2

this way players will buy less skill or focus on a Profession that gives the most complimentary "other uses" to their design. They won't have to Buy and track so many skills.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Acrobatic Feats in GURPS

Just using Search-Fu to look carefully at Acrobatics. Basically I want to know how difficult each feat is, and what are the tactical advantages with some maneuvers. this are notes when considering acrobatics in GURPS, note there are acrobatics in MA.

TL:DR Learning more about acrobatics is a helpful visual aid. Most advantages from Mobility and obstacles.

Initial Thoughts

They are mostly great for Feint Maneuver or as Part of a Deceptive Attack than they are for dodging. Flips and Tumbles are dangerous because you momentarily obscure your own view of a target and it actually takes a whole second to resolve, unlike a quick step back or a dodge. I can't see it as a defense given how much energy it takes, it takes up so much energy that you can easily see the foot work shift in preparation. Defense should be an instantaneous, simple, reflexive and smooth action.  The advantage the acrobatic moves are mostly for attacks because even if the momentum can be predicted the angle of attack can be unconventional, also its harder to read for a Non-Acrobat how footing would work or how terrain would affect tactics.

In difficult terrain with bad footing but sparse solid foot-holds, I can see acrobatics giving an advantage.

My problem is that for a DX hard skill the most you can do are simple feats - Rolls, Cartwheels, Falls, Dives, Slides, Easy Forward Flip, and easy backwards flip.

Practical Uses of Acrobatics in the Game

Free Running aka Parkour has some practicality. Basically the chase scene in Casino Royale illustrates is best but I think the most important use is Strength, Balance and Reflex Training. Having the skill allows you to work out most of the major muscle groups with very little equipment, otherwise you will need to go to use your combat skill to exercise which limits the range of muscles and stats you can train. With acrobatics or gymnastic training you can train with a lot of muscles unlike some sports or one athletic skill that limits your stat range of training.
In games where you maintain stats Acrobatics and Gymnastics are awesome.


These are feats that an acrobat should be able to do at +5 even under stress or combat conditions or default DX. Under non-combat conditions +5 for stress free situation.

Another easy feat i performing an Acrobatic KATA or Route Collection of Maneuvers or Exercise. To the untrained this is a spectacular show that is easy to perform.


Rolls are used to transfer the energy of a fall, reducing the damage and quickly recovering in a safe-distance. Moving in a roll, is useful when moving quickly in a low profile is required (basic move 1/2). Rolls are supposedly taught in many combat fighting techniques, I learned it in Judo when I was a kid (and judo has a lot of throws), although comparing it to when I took up karate and kali it was not so much emphasized.

Slides and Dives

+5 on an Acrobatics roll. the purpose of a slide and a dive is to grab or reach something quickly. Typically a gun, a weapon, or the finishing line. Sports skills like Soccer and Baseball surprisingly both have Slides and Dives as a skill. For the Goalie, you can do both in soccer.

Cartwheels, Front handspring, and Back handspring. 

Basically these are Side Flips, Front Flips and Backflips aided with your hands. Instead of tumbling mid-air, you use you arms. They are a much easier versions of The Flips, and thus a +5 to do.  These are great for moving over terrain (where you handspring over the obstacle) or picking up fallen items while moving back in one smooth action.

Improved Defense Dodge with Cartweels, Front and Back handsprings.
Acrobatics would allow a person to imprpve Improved Defense Dodge with these minor acrobatic

Using Cartwheel to flank a target with a restricted Vision.

Front Handspring

Back Handspring

Cartwheel vs Aerial to illustrate 


Many of the Challenging Acrobatic feats have a lot of air-time 


A handspring-free cartweel. A flashy defense against attacks to your legs, and an ally rolling beneath you.

Jumping Note: The High Jump in track and field can default to Acrobatics-0 and is kind of a Back Flip as you push your chest skyward and throw your head and back backwards. This allows you to reach a spot that you cannot climb on the Quick. In a Pursuit, use this skill to reach a height you can hide in, what is so great about this feat is that it forward momentum you use is transfered to another direction making the sudden change of direction helpful in hiding.


A variation of a backflip. useful in changing position with an ally or moving over an obstacle for advantage IMO.  


Backflips allow you to do a wall stunt where you run up the wall and flip. 

Front Flip

Moving over obstacles can done with a Front Flip. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Traveller Classic Merchant Rising Game on Roll20!

Thank you +Mark Knights for an awesome game, and thanks to all the great players +Seth Blumberg our Captain, +James Austin+Matt Guyder+Scott Cadoo+duncan mcphedran, +Daniel Malone, +Jonathan Henry, +Dansk Macrbe  and  others (sorry for those If I missed anyone). 

I took a while to warm up, I am approaching traveller from GURPS and Mongoose Traveller. I have a character that, my old Traveller GM, +Bobby Navarro  would laugh at because it was a very close version of my GURPS traveller pair* Surprisingly it was a Randomly Generated Character. 

Since the Mark gave him my name as parts of the notes, I named him Jia Si Tian also (same as my character at +Vaclav Tofl game). Hey, I didn't want to dig deep for a good name with a lot of meaning and foreshadowing so I went with a good name I have now. 

Given his career history, he appears to be one of those dynasities in decline. Being a dynasty in decline has been something I've been studying and observing for a while. It breeds a very different kind of  "elite". Failure, long continuous failure, tends to exaggerate flaws and strengths as much as success. 

Most memorable scene. 
The Pirate who tried to waylay us was too stubborn and wanted a quick death. My characters background "helped" the team learn that Will power is not Infinite resource. There are limits to what a man can put up with. So Matt was going to do the cutting up and James doing the Medicine to make the pirate appreciate the pain longer. It worked, as the "other merchant" I helped negotiated for more information and an immediate response. 

When he would not give up a satisfying amount of information, James and I went into the "science" of destroying bodily evidence. 

Not-Verbatim but to the effect we were trying to achieve:
James as Babbage - "Its really better to dump him on re-entery, nothing here will obliterate the body so finely"
Me as Jia "That would mean that after we land, we have to climb back up again and dump him out of orbit. So we will need a small compartment to place the body, probably still alive and cut up stowed away until we reach orbit and THEN dump the body. Now if the marine wants him to suffer more than he would use up some life support so that he would be conscious during re-entry!?"  

It was a laugh trip but it worked! Most interestingly "the Accountant" thought of the idea. Well I'm playing down my "Baron" status until I need to use it to open doors. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Vaclav's GURPS Gladiator Game

This is a summary of what happened on my fight in +Vaclav Tofl's Gladiatoral Game. trying to get the other players names (+Jason Packer and +?). 

The combat began promisingly, with successful theatrics. Jia or Jia Si Tian Shi.  Spearman wise, I've done the math on paper. 
I fought against a Giant wielding two swords, like the one in the Sparticus Miniseries even though he was weakest in points - this character is a Horse Archer by trade so a good number of points is in scout and skirmisher profession. OUCH! Yeah, Jia is a Han with Steppe Blood and Traditions, which makes me Taller than most Han. ST11, DX12, and HT12 makes Jia a light weight. 
In the start of the round the Giant showed off, using Sex Appeal to work the crowd. An early student of the culture Jia used a traditional display of art Spear-14 -2 for default Combat Art. made it.
I was very confused and perplexed how to use a spear man in a fight where if I try to ruin all his attacks with Reach is not sporting!  I really have to be in dangerous position and range to have the crowd cheer. 
The first exchange was a martial arts approach - using Forward Handsprings when my opponent moved forward. We we both ended our move face to face, where I used my faster initiative to wait and make a flashy defense. 
The Giant made a step and attack. Jia stepped back and defended, then on his turn made a Flashy and Obvious attack to his foot. the Giant made it exactly, shifting his foot slightly enough to make the spear hit dirt. .  
He was confused by my movements, and then tried to evaluate. I responded the same, evaluating him in turn and trying to circle around to prevent from being cornered. 
He launched double attack, skillfully Jia was able to parry and dodge, maintaining another Evaluate (+2 now). 
On Jia's turn he then performed a feint at reach 2. which was to be resolved in my next attack. 
Unfortunately, the Giant made a double attack and had a critical success, defending at -4 (House rules since it would be undramatic), failed by a margin of 2. Ouch. Down for the count. 
Failed my HT-5, and Failed my will roll by 6 to go down with "dignity" reducing the Crowd's reaction score.
By the skin of his teeth Jia was spared for he fight he put up.  
What saved me is the Crowd, not his combat skills LOL!

  • Forgetting to Use Staff Skill when close +2 to parry an obscure source that says Spear is a Quarter staff. 
  • Stay a safe 2 spaces away from the opponent not just 1 space, forcing a Move and Attack maneuver. 
  • In spear mode Use WAIT (B366) - when the enemy steps forward use Defensive Attack Maneuver (MA100) with Reach 2 and step back. (The opponent will be forced to Move another step to make the Maneuver Move and Attack or Abort.) 
  • In Spear mode Use Wait (B366) -  when the enemy steps forward use Feint with Reach 2 and step back.
  • In Spear mode Use Wait (B366) -  when the enemy steps forward Evaluate and Step Back. When retreating keep moving to the side not just straight back to prevent from being flanked. 
  • In Spear mode Use Wait (B366) -  when the enemy steps forward step back and AoD: Improved Dodge move half of basic move B366 under movement entry of All-Out Defense maneuver and move 4 spaces (B386; use 3 moves to go around to the back, and the 4th and last move to step back for reach 2 validity) (Basic Move 8; with Acrobatics I can see an Aerial) ending in the back  with enemy at the Spearman's flank, Grip Mastery Reach 1 Grip. Then let the opponent complete his action, attacking the Spearman at the new position. Spend 1FP for Feverish Defense to have a +2 to the Defense Roll. (B357). 
    • The turn ends with the Opponent's back to the character, while the character is facing the enemy at reach 2. Risks is while he is moving out of the way, the opponent gets to attack but hopefully he has a Moving Target penalty to deal with and the Improved Dodge (Jia's Dodge would be 2. 
    • The Telegraphic Flashy Attack at the leg (+4, -2 flashy, -2leg = +0 with Spear-14), ending the the attack with Staff Form. Opponent has +2 to defend but an attack from the rear is according to B391 . 
Prior to the Game I had a Lot of Acrobatic Ideas in mind, but my acrobatics is 12 not something you do All the time. (I made a post about acrobatic research which will be online within the week). If I had CP to spend I will bring some Performance Skill (DID you know performance can allow you to default Acting and Public speaking at -2!). 
random notes
  • This is what Oberyn's Martel would be using against the Mountain. 
  • With a Spear that is not leaf shaped blade, instead a harpoon edge like a upside down V the strike is to miss, but pulling the weapon back in an attempt to "Hook" the back of the knee or Achilles tendon - tripping and crippling the opponent. 
  • Flashy spinning tip slash with Staff?
Deleting Transcript since its mostly rolls