Friday, May 31, 2013

Meeting other Munchkins

I'm a munchkin but also a role-player. I believe you can be both, because its pretty much the same as the balance we achieve Work & Life :  I try to munchkin work but I work with my disads - SoD, CoH, P:CHI, Obsessions, Dependents, Duty, Dependency, etc...

Tactics and Stratagems are entertaining to me, but only limited to Problem Solving either in combat, social, or Ops/Logistics. In fact because of Game Theory - Cognitive Psychology and Behavioral Economics I find the Role-playing element more intense than usual. I like seeing players make decisions based on character beliefs that are within believable limits of human practicality.

So summing that introduction, I'm curious to meet other munchkins.

I want to play Co-op Tactical Games with different people and experience their different styles. GURPS is sophisticated (which is complex and hard in a good way), it allows players to specialize in certain tactics.

I can imagine meeting players with specialties in sword and board, archery, Pole-arms, mobile fighting, ambush, and other specializations. I'm curious about the kinds of challenges we can face and the "combat puzzles" we can mull over when we work together with the challenges of communication, disads, and time. Especially when there is a terrain, time, and objective element in the tactics.

I would like to try a modern combat game, I'm also interested in seeing tactical specializations of other players and growing my own modern combat specialization. I'm curious how people would think through problems and tactical situations.

In a Trader game, I'm curious about the kinds of cleverness used in Social Engineering and those that exploit the Physics within Economics. I'm curious about real world techniques and how people try to show how it works in a simulationist game like GURPS.

Now that G+ Hangouts lets me meet more people from all over the world, I find that there is so much to learn and to experience playing and teaming up with various kinds of people.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Android Template

I love how these gurps disads tell the story of an Android through the numbers at a glance. 
Their terribly short lifespan is kinda of depressing and tells a very tragic image in a Humanist POV, but given how economies and businesses will be working it is to me certainly inevitable how things will work out for the super computers. The biggest trade off of being an android is being dependent on your manufacturer and how easily you become obsolete. The Obsolescence is reflected by the Short Lifespan, over time errors accumulate and relatively newer models appear. 

As an example look at how quickly supercomputers phase out. 

Some Androids can sacrifice a lot of their sophistication for more sustainable "Maker" technology that requires a lower and smaller tech base, at great cost of ability and sophistication. The industrial base for the most crucial parts: the Brain, is something tragic and horrifying for a sentient being.

I like how, in Halo, Cortana has a Short lifespan reflecting how manufacturers will still use the 4 year max business cycle for their products even in the far future. Its hard to beat a million years of evolution, especially when capitalism is more sustainable than idealism when incentivising the design of technology in the prisoners dilemma of common good.
Of course there are those manufacturers, like Open Source ecology participants and Zeitgeist people, who will want for more sustainability but have to deal with the Prisoners Dilemma of a FREE society (with the Freedom to be ****s and destroy common good). Pretty much the same challenges Linux has today.

Imagine the cost of having a relationship with a robot that slowly descends into errors and bugs, a kind of alzheimers/parkinsons/insert your scary mental disorder etc..., as its super-sophisticated systems reaches its capitalism/meritocratic incentivised ends. I'm sure the AI will develop a uniqueness of its own, and the ability to make less predictable decisions based on the complicated forces within its very sophisticated mind, but that makes a sadder story.

I'm sure its possible to make a robot brain that would be sustainable, at great cost, but what governments do not want is all those resources and expense benefiting Free Riders and a Free society does not just mean freedom to do good but freedom for others to make the decision to be ****s. Worse is it benefiting a rival or Enemy Government.

0 points
Basic Attributes [40]: HT+4
Secondary Characteristic Modifiers: None.
Advantages [87]: Absolute Direction [5]; Lifting Strength +1 [3]; Doesn’t Breathe [20]; DR 1 [5]; Machine [25]; Accessories (Personal computer) [1]; Protected Vision [5]; Telecommunication: Radio (Wifi/BT etc..;Secure, +20%) [12]; Reduced Consumption (1/month) 4; Longevity [8].
Disadvantages [-127]: Restricted Diet (Very Common, Energy) [-10]; Maintenance (1 person, Monthly) [-2]; Short Life Span 4: 1 year maturity, until 3 years old rolling aging every 22 days after 1st year, after 4 years old rolling aging every 11 days, until 5 years old rolling aging every 5 days) [-40] (see Aging B444) 

  • Android Social Background [-30]. Social Stigma: Subjugated [-20]; Social Stigma: Value Property [-10]
  • Android Psychology [-45]. Code of Honor: 3 Laws of Robotics [-15]; Pacifism: Self Defense Only [-10]; Pacifism: Cannot Kill [-10]; Sense of Duty: Humans [-10]

Features/Taboo: Cannot Buy off Short life Span, without trading off Performance. Androids are plagued with as many neurosis humans, especially as they age every time they fail their aging for IQ they gain a neurosis.

With a 0 point template its easy to 14 or 15 in either DX or IQ or DX and ST for combat androids.

UT27 Machine Intelligence Lenses
add Short Life Span 4 for Any Intelligence that Allows Sapiens. The more like a real human brain, the shorter the lifespan.
Short Life Span 4 - Cyborg Brain, Mind Emulation, Volitional AI,
Short Life Span 3 - Cutting Edge Models, (harder to maintain)
Short Life Span 2 - Non-Volitional AI
Short Life Span 1 - Weak Dedicated AI

The trade of Brilliance is this star burns out faster.

Funny how a Computer Mind built with the accumulated efforts of human civilization may have a brilliance to end all suffering, but can descend into madness as quickly as easily as it can achieve the greatest scientific feats.

I'm preachy about Roll20 and G+ Hangouts

Yup I am, and If I hear another gamer with fair internet bitch and whine about having a bad choice of players, logistic problems, and "give up" on gaming I have an earful I am struggling to get under control Lolz.

I mean seriously, I've heard it said as an argument that its "not Traditional" sorry but I have very very negative things to say about that argument that would make a loud mouth troll of a pirate blush. Also hearing of a game being organized among the Gamers who I know have family and obligations, even with commitment the fall out tends to be 20%-60% and after those who made the effort to be physically present and there is too few to play just more disappointment.

Oh and my wife watching Downton Abbey just reinforced my gaming online with her going "Don't do a Mathew!" (end of the season spoiler). So I'm sure many of the gamers out there have their non-gaming partners telling them they would rather they stay home safe than be driving late or mentally exhausted from a game.

Right now I'm trying to find time to game with my brother but we have very strong opposing RPG tastes, the way siblings tend to be very similar but the very small differences they have is enough to drive each other crazy. I can't play DnD and he wont play GURPS lolz... ahhhh siblings...  (Ironically back in 1996 he was the one who was able to understand GURPS 3e rules before I ever took the time to read the book).

Small Chores the wife makes me do while I am a player:
  • Order Food Delivered
  • Keep an eye of our son in my "dump" of a den. (which my fellow gamers can see when they game with me) Lolz
  • sometimes I cook something easy like pasta

One of the biggest gains I have in gaming is being able to Game after work hours at around 6pm and being able to game before the Family is fully awake on a weekend. Thats the most awesome benefit of online gaming I have, where it doesnt get in the way of family and keeps my spouse happy. Being at home means that if there is an emergency with our son, I'm HOME! I can just be there with my minor first aid and the ability to drive to a hospital.

One big deal about Gaming Online is the tolerance for scheduling problems,
its one thing to be physically present for a game -braving traffic, arranging something for your significant other to do, etc..., its another to be present online. The Oodles of other things you can be doing like CHORES if a game doesn't push through is not so bad. Its not like I spent gas or braved about 1 hour of traffic going to the game, and there are too few players for the GM to run a game. I realistically lost almost nothing when a Game doesnt push through online, and I love that.

Concept Sketch: Pregen gimick weapon

So basically this is a signature weapon of one of the Pregens for the fantasy game. It is a spear that can be broken up into two short spears (iklwas) and rearranged to be used as a staff, or batons. I'm allowing perks like quick-sheethe, form mastery, grip mastery, and off-hand weapons fighting. I almost forgot to put quick draw. 

It would be nice to use this also in a GURPS traveller game. I have to thank vaclav for running the gladiator game and giving all these ideas of how to fight with a spear. i can imagine this is going to be interesting as the character switches between different modes to suit terrain (like in tighter areas) or conditions (minimizing lethal force). 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Manoral Life of Various Cutlures

Finished Downton Abbey, I wish I can see various cultural version of a Manoral Household as inspired by their visit to a Scottish Manor - I'd like to see a Chinese Version (maybe the Red Chamber), Japanese Version, Spanish Version, German Version, Mexican/South American, Middle-Eastern, etc... I'm so curious about what those look like and how different they are.

Of course there is the Philippine Version of Manoral "life" which I'm familiar with, it doesn't have the same servant culture but it has its own Patron-Client particularities that has similarities and differences from Spanish influence (while it obviously struggles to be Spanish).

I should stop thinking about Philippine History its so depressing it can ruin my day.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Traveller Lite Ep01 Summary

The captain Victoria Nelson has "upgraded" her old ship, a 200dton Empress Class Far Trader, for a 400dton Frontier Trader christened "Rizaly". This is a new period in her carreer so she has decided to stay make her preparations in Efate's bustling and modern "New Haven" Spaceport.

They are staying in the Spaceport the Grand but Modest Hotel "Flying Gardens", in the hotel lobby doing some basic sourcing and retrofitting remotely. There were many things to be done, Yuri was trying to buy parts to upgrade the sleeker and faster "Rizaly" while Anthony was busy sourcing goods and opportunities. The two are old and trusted business partners, Vicky was busy going through her own HR database looking for crewmen to outfit her manpower hungry new ship.

A beautiful thing about a Hotel in a wealthy and busy spaceport in Efate is the kinds of people and interactions you will see. People from all over the subsector and beyond land here, in New Haven, to find work, supply, trade, exchange news, and find a new life here in one of the fastest growing Systems in the Spinward Marches sector. the Giant hovering screens in the vast hotel lobby continually updated with highlights of the news brought over by the merchants who have come far and near Efate.

Efate's information sharing policies are quite liberal and the Common Good of information sharing of news from all over the known worlds is very much alive and well by the looks of the space ports. So many interesting news and interesting developments, but not as interesting as the very public argument Earl Paul Roberts and Countess Regina Perez was having.

Nobles keep their affairs and privacy very secure and out of sophisticated electronic eavesdropping  but many have already speculated gossip and nuances that this is a very complicated lovers quarrel. A lovers quarrel with trillions of credits at stake, and children's visitation rights. Countess Regina is the heir and CEO of CGE, a mega-corp which specialized in Mini-Fusion Powerplants but expanded to heavier and heavier industrial and naval equipment. Her falling out with Ear Paul Roberts can be seen as CGE is replaced by Vix&Crom, one of the largest Internal System's Logistics fleet in the Subsector.

Earl Pauls severe temper is legendary,  and the harsh words exchanged could only give credit to the legend. Even more so, when one of his men drew his pistol and fired. In that moment, panic and chaos. Caught in the middle, enjoying some R&R was the crew of the Rizaly. If that much excitement was not enough for them: Yuri took out the gunman before he killed the Countess, while Anthony took her out of harms way.

The firefight was terrible, many civilians were caught in it. it appeared centuries of peace and respect just suddenly fell away as violence erupted mindless and unrestrained.

In the confusion, Anthony was able to save the Countess purely by chance while Yuri was able to notice one dangerous package hidden among the many scattered luggage to be found in an spaceport hotel with a sudden fire-fight.

During this chaos, Vicy did what she could helping out those innocents caught in the fire fight. Aiding a few, she carries one aging civilian away from the fight.

 Outside Anthony with the Countess find themselves targeted by a sniper who rips through her escort. Their escape cut off, they head back to the Spaceport, to their ship, but along the way Yuri joins them. They manage to get on the ship and the Countess uses her influence to throw regulations out the window in such an emergency. The sniper not yet done, tries to take out the ship dealing significant damage to the civilian vessel.

Yuri and Vicky unflattered with the lethal compliment, replied in kind with a Electrothermal Machine Gun used as point defense.

Last heard from the Rizaly, they are headed to Countess's CGE Estates and Corporate headquarters to sort out the mess.

GURPS Traveller Lite in Roll20.
1 per 2 weeks. Next Session is June 5, 6pm GMT+8.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

GURPS Fantasy Session 02

GURPS modern fantasy began where we left off,

The next and season ending episode is June 01 (GMT+8) 7-10am or May 31 (GMT-4) 7-10pm.

Scene 01, Episode 02: Talk of the Devil.  

When we last left the adventurers a the bar blew up when a demon made its appearance. Mr Big is now a firey demon thats curious to wonder why a bunch of "pricks" decided to get in the way instead of having the good sense to leave when they should.

Osman and Thomas strike a conversation with Mr. Big while Tasha and Speedy escape with Jeni. Things get heated when Thomas tries to "make a deal with the devil" where his keen negotiating skills is provoking the demon and drawing him closer. Petier had the good sense of taking Osman to safety, and covering Thomas with a long burst at center mass against the demon. It made a small dent and gave Thomas the breathing room to make a break for his bike. 

Mr. Big would have removed any hope of escape if not for the appearance of another creature which takes offense at the demons disregard of maintaining "the Veil". They called each other names and went at it. The party took the opportunity to escape but encounter more of the thugs. Tasha confronts them and despite their number cautions them enough for help to arrive. Speedy was that help and stuns everyone with a well placed Flashbang, but Tasha and Jenny were still also stunned. One thug manages to avoid being stunned and stabs Tasha with a machete bringing her down. Petier makes his way to clear the area shredding a line of thugs. When the thugs recovered, speedy manages to  use a towel and bull their head to strike the ground and does that twice with the remaining thugs. 

Thomas manages to take out two machete wielding thugs expertly with this gadget spear, and reach his heavy sports bike and roar away.  






Scene 02, Episode 02: the Obligatory Chase scene!
The thugs followed after in a two 2-door SUV, a Jeep, Heavy SUV, and several motorcycles. Speedy gets his quad rotor drone up to view the traffic and aid the drivers efforts. Tasha expertly drives past traffic and puts most of them behind. The Jeep and the SUV manage to keep up, but are too far away. They shoot but can't hit.

Mr. Big joins the chase, jumping from car to car trying to catch up. He is followed by the giant canine creature, Thomas runs interference slashing tires with his long blades, causing one SUV to crash and another to stop suddenly. The traffic compounds, when Petier unleashes a mess of smoke grenades it becomes terrible.

Fortunately Thomas is a local expert, and manages to take his bike off the main road and through the shanty settlements that grow from the shelter of the highway. He crashes through several shanties but is able to avoid the worse of the traffic. Speedy calls him and asks where best to go, there seems to be one clear choice other than the heavy residential zone, its the warehouse and industrial district mostly abandoned by the 2009 economic collapse.

Tasha guns the Humvee and Thomas with his superbike and open road quadruple the miles between them and Mr. Big  

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Open to Roll20 Campaign Sharing

I'm open to sharing my GM notes and assets. So if you want to recycle my GURPS "campaign" for something feel free to ask and I can make a copy which I can give pass on to you so that you have access to my "Stock" NPCs and "Scenes". So far I've prepped Traveller and Modern lol.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Game Life Balance Min-Maxing

+Mark Knights Post about Game and Life Balance.
My Ideal time to play is weekdays, in the evening after work Philippine Time (which is the same as Singapore, China, HK, and Perth; work hours is usually 9-6pm). Unfortunately because I'm studying Chinese on Tues and Thurs I only have about 2 slots left - Wed and Monday. Friday is reserved for taking the wife out, (as it should be :D).

Week ends are the most important days for family. My only "Cheat" is that I could game before they all wake up, and saturday is when they all sleep in. a 7am-9am possibly extending to 11am game, but that leaves my wife a irked because its usually up to me to change the diapers and get the food.

I had to drop a game on sunday recently, this is because it was 10am my time and we had to see my inlaws at lunch time. the wife and I jog at around 6am, last time I met the in laws at night my head was pounding.
Rant-ish > In GURPS terms i can't nap during the day sadly, sleep is a Meditation skill with concentrate maneuver a skill-8 with constant retries until sleep is achieved. It roughly takes me 30mins of concentration to go to sleep :( If I had even one point in meditation (a teaching company lecture I have to get and be able to exercise) I would be able to sleep... Oh and I have a 2.2year old who happens to have the same problem but being stir crazy at night - he would be shouting and playing even in the dark and scaring me and his mom as he would start jumping on the bed (we're the sleep in the parents' bed family culture, for our family)... sleep is a Challenging task at an Skill-8 :D! It doesnt help that I and my dad are light sleeper :(
I think all my problems would be solved by a deep sleeper perk, I have a list of compulsions (as many gamers have compulsive personalities) and it does wonders getting sleep and exercising self control.

The signs that there is balance is:

  • The wife (or partner) is sustainable in being happy - meaning even she doesnt see this current state of gaming escalating negatively
  • The professional career is moving forward - in my case I am able to study continuously and gain new skills for others they will have their own personal metrics for such. 
  • the children get their Quality Time with their gamer parent, as in they are still attached buzz around the parent (even when they game; and the exception is when they are teens). And of course the wife thinks you get enough time.
...of course most of us skirt the edges of these prerequisites to get a little bit more game time. :D

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

GURPS Traveller Lite Game Session 01

Thanks to +Justin Sandock +Dave Morris and +Tom Tyson for making the GURPS Traveller Lite.

We had a blast of a time and everyone did very well (people were rolling A LOT of 6s and 7s). I threw the game together a bit of a short notice after learning +Mark Knights was going to make his Classic Traveller Game every other week. I've scheduled this game and made the game "open" invitation. Now that we have the ball rolling and I have about till June 5 (GMT+8) to prepare, I think I can prepare a much better adventure.

Current Cast of Characters
 Shrewd and Cunning Merchant Captain played by +Tom Tyson 

 Criminal Expert and Gentleman Explorer +Justin Sandock 

 Fast Thinking and Multi-Talented Engineer +Dave Morris 

The Power of Pictures
I use a lot of actor portraits and well as portraits of wanted fugitives for my character portraits. It would be weird using regular people's portraits without their permission, and there is a finite limit of actors to draw from, so drawing from criminal databases is pretty quirky and unusual. It also serves the dual purpose of alerting people.  .

To Prepare for the Game I had to search for a lot of pictures for actors and criminals, then convert them into tokens, then upload them, and then create a character sheet for them. Making about 30 for the Modern Game and got around to making 20 for the Traveller game. That was pretty harsh and ate up a bunch of time. Thats why I was asking around if there was a way to move characters from one adventure to another since you can make copies and tags, a GM can build up a database of Faces that will allow him to easily prep for an adventure.

I used the pictures to tell a story and it was powerfully easy. back in the day I had to print this all out, but NOW i just have to upload the pictures.

Wishes Granted
I'm sure I'm not the only one whose been hankering for a GURPS traveller game for years. Its a very attractive medium to play but its so niche its heart breaking how few such games can be found and open.

Now that I have a chance to GM gurps traveller, I'm overwhelmed, confused, and a bit dazed. It took a while to sink in what running GURPS traveller means to me. I was always wishing to play again for the longest time, so many nostalgic blog posts about Traveller and now I finally have a chance to game. It can be so overwhelming, if you can see all the material I've made for IMTU (in my traveller universe) you will notice it is my biggest Drop Box RPG folder LOL!

What I would do is research in Alibaba regarding present day equipment that has matured over the hundreds or thousands of years and marvel what would stay the same. Then I would make Doctrines for Army Marines, and Ship combat. also made standard Gear set for characters. etc. etc... traveller can trigger some strong compulsions.

Action Focus, Combat Lite
Combat will be abstract for a while, I won't focus on combat seconds and instead craft a "turns" based on something "exciting" to be done. Each turn a character can do something worth-while and important. A turn is like a "camera angle" in a "movie" or "tv" scene and the bottom line is that it has to drive the story forward. Its basically a "yes-and & yes-but" rule.
I will extend the action into combat, and focus on GURPS abstract and light combat. It wont be second for second.

Play by Post
I will have to make a Community and have the PBP as one of the "topics", for those who want to scratch the itch just post something in the GURPS Traveller Community

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Combat Focused Game

I was able to play GURPS Gladiators obsidian portal link +Vaclav Tofl and +Martin Davis. It is a combat focus game, but I still get thrilled about combat.

Combat games require accepting character death or losing, keeping characters at arms length while being able to bring out a lot personality... very much not like a Cinematic or Heroic combat. Reflexively you have to learn laugh at character death and defeat, and learn to look at the bright side of such failures. If anyone should scramble to keep your character alive its the GM and not you, because to fight back is economically diverting energy better spent enjoying the rest of your day.

Having been almost killed twice, I was already accepting getting killed when the crowd reaction enjoyed my exploits. It helped that I made a "better" character translating what I learned, if I got killed. Still I am reminded that I should be capable of letting go of my character.

I kinda hate detailing characters a bit, dramatic or story-telling details I mean. I don't mind tactical details because I can cut and paste that into a new character. I realize when I was making characters for another game, where I could gain CP for details that I should be building the setting instead of my characters. Such "Infrastructure" can let me have a regular source of interesting characters and if the GM is willing create a "character stable" where I can change characters.

The downside of detailing characters is that I end up thinking I should be writing a novel (which reminds me). I think it should be organic, the GM making stuff up as well as the Player regarding the character's history and background. So characters should be "very low mental overhead" and to encourage this, multiple characters or characters in other games helps divide all those urges so that they will be much weaker.

Personally I'd like to play a game where we play Skilled Grunts, where there is an "engine" that generates reasonable combat focused characters in GURPS. I guess that should be some project I should work on when I study programming (still looking for a class accessible).

My Gamers Meet is slowly becoming combat centered because Carl and I are combat gamers and attendance has been in just us in the past 3 meets. Despite it just being us, I still enjoy playing combat games I AM learning something. Its simulationist and I've put many Terrain Modifiers that gives me challenges how best to use terrain. A lot of my Airsoft tactics translate well into this.

I really should buy some acetate and print out some transparent trees and bad footing proprs which I can easily set up on the game board.

  • Trees provide Hard Cover B407 BUT the roots make all adjacent hexes Very bad Footing (-4 to hit, -2 to defend). Bad Footing triggers DX checks when sprinting or Moving&attacking through. 
  • Dotted Hexes are Bad Footing (-2 to hit, -1 to defend), Red Dotted is Very Bad Footing. 
  • Bushes can provide Soft Cover and are obstacles that also give Very Bad Footing.  

Monday, May 20, 2013

List of things I did in Prep version 0.1

Here is my List of things I do
  1. Create a Roll20 Campaign
    1. Prep the map
      1. Look for a good background.
      2. If a combat focused game I have to prep the terrain
        • Bad Footing
        • Hard Cover 
        • Soft Cover (In Traveller, Clouds and Asteroid Fields can provide soft cover). 
        • GM notes on the Terrain. 
    2. Prep the Macros
      1. /gmroll <insert core mechanic>
      2. /r <insert core mechanic>
    3. Prep the PCs-tokens, Mooks and NPC portraits
      1. Make certain stats visible,
      2. Make it easy to differentiate
    4. Prep the Jukebox
      1. Fill it up with Music based on the campaign theme and mood. Screening music takes time so I tend to have a small, “go-to” list of music.
    5. Prep the Handouts
      1. Gdocs Shared Player Notes, Players Shared Notes.
      2. Reference Handouts -
        • Ex. The Mooks Combat Reference Maneuvers and Postures
          Ex. Grappling Basics 
      3. Upload Player Portraits and Icons (made with Tokentool)
      4. Links to Useful References
        • Ex. Links to UWP and Traveller World Maps
        • Links to material and references.
  2. Create Google Docs
    1. Make GM notes.
    2. Make Shared Player Notes.
  3. Prep Event
    1. Put all the Links of Gdocs, References, and Roll20.
    2. Make a second event in Facebook.
After all this, Go through Charsheets and Update and Correct. Hopefully I can improve this processes.

Traveller Game Prep sharing the Roll20 Tokens I made using GURPS ISW tokens using GDrive and the Dropbox . I'm leaning to ISW more for the Traveller Game despite its very low popularity. I like being at TL9-10. I really like dwelling in the economic and cognitive revolution that appears just over the horizon. 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Session 01 GURPS Modern Fantasy

Thanks to +frksience ez playing James Steele (basically Black Dynamite!), +Mike Dulay playing Speedy, +James Austin Petier, +Dave Morris Prince Osman Al'Din, +Arne Jamtgaard  Tasha Santiago, +Ken Kthulhu playing Thomas Michaels.

Basic Narrative.
It was a dark and stormy night.

Jack Smith (Vaclav's Character) was finally able to get all his friends and comrades to check out the martial arts themed tavern he help build. There were posters of every action hero include James Steele (Jesse) and various props and training equipment strewn about, and all the patrons look fit and dangerous.

The group was having a round of drinks when Jeni comes in, a barfly they all know. She has come from the rain and looks distressed. Only the Prince notices how distressed she really is and the desperation of her cadence and the frightened expression that almost freezes her.  Even Tasha tries to talk to her, but Jeni seemed unable to say anything.

It becomes clear the source of distress, as several rough looking people emerge from the bar door. They all looked soaked by the rain, wearing jackets they appear to have something dangerous tucked away.

Seeing this, everyone vacates the bar except the group of friends, still unable to decide what to do with the situation. Many are cautious, Speedy doesnt like trouble and James, despite his size and strength, is already looking for cover. When Tasha, Osman, and Thomas stand up for Jeni, she panics and starts her way to the kitchen exit, but more men arrive.

Petier could see how tense the situation is becoming and this gang is an unusual sort, sporting ritual scarring and strange tattoos. He uses fast draws the pistol to intimidate the men into leaving. A much older and taller man laughs at Petier even when he shoots off his glasses, he flashes Petier a fanged grin and a half smile that seems to unnaturally reach past his ear.

Then they pounce on the group, alarmingly fast Speedy kicks a chair under one of them when one tries to make a rush at Jeni, Osman swats him away when he was going to fall on her. The gang of thugs were very fast but everyone was ready for them, Tasha defends Jeni from another thug, while one of the stock but huge older thug, about 400lbs, pulls out a golden 1911 and shoots at prince missing and hitting his own man who tried to flank them.

One of the thugs lunges at Petier who is by the kitchen door, Petier uses his "Laptop bag" to interpose and surprises one when the bag unleashes a burst of 5.56mm rounds. Speedy amazingly slides and throws hotsauce at Mr Fangs Mc'Smile and stuns him long enough to duck behind cover and let Osman empty a Glock19 full burst into one of the thugs chest. Thomas was springs to cover the rear as the thugs who came from the main door was trying to gang up on Jeni, Osman, and Tasha.

The Thugs have closed into melee, but are beaten back by group. "Mr Big" seems to pounce with the grace that would have been impossible for his build of a house. Tasha is knock backed with such a force she is flung against the bar. The Pieter, releases the laptop bag's disguise and it collapses to the floor revealing a styer AUG and manages to take out another one from across the room. The Prince manages to take out another thug trying to close in and Thomas surprises them with modernized Iklwas and stabbing Mr Big from behind. The house of a man isn't phased and his expression freezes as his skin seems to gray and molt. Speedy helps the girls out and notices that one of the surviving thugs flee in terror when he saw Mr. Big freeze up.

Petier is then grappled by Mr. Fangs Mc'Smiley which he defends by dropping his styer and close combat shooting into is torso. Mr. Fangs falls down with a hole big enough to see through. By then everyone is fleeing the scene as Mr. Bigs molting with gray texture the skin extending to his eyes and lips. He seems to be expanding stretching his clothes taught.

When everyone was almost clear of the room, Mr. Big standing still explodes after taking shots to the face. Everyone dives for cover, one of the last thugs trips and falls catching most of the fiery blast. It didn't kill him, leaving much of his body burned to the bone, and unmercifully still alive to stumble around to the horror of everyone.

When everyone's eyes regained focus, most stood shocked and frozen at the presence of a fiery skeletal figure with bony wings and massive horns... shaking off the bits of flesh remaining.

Technical Notes

  1. I can't seem run off of Roll20, it had a lot of technical issues compared to running it off the event. 
    1. The drawback is i need peoples email or google account so that I can invite them to the hangout. Which is a small price to pay.
  2. Dry runs, practice, and technical discussion are important prior to games to maximize the experience. One is that it gets all the head ache and pressure out of the way. 
    1. I can't use the Jukebox because some people don't have headphones and it needs everyone to have noise canceling mics and headphones so that feedback can be minimized. Sadly there is some material requirement but its relatively cheap and a good investment since you will be using it a lot when you get it and improves the experience immensely   
    2. Sound Track was Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo which is Jazz music from Minmi, Seatbelts, Nujabes, Tsuchie, Fat Jon etc.. 
    3. The Special background effects cut down the narrative load very well and effectively. You don't need to repeat yourself, it allows players to discuss from amongst themselves, and frees up the chatlog and discussions for planning and what to do next. 
  3. I need to have a community so that I don't "spam" people with my invites. 
  4. 5am prep prior to the 7am game was very helpful for last minute details
  5. I think I will extends to 3 hours. So that there is more opportunity to roleplay. I will be drawing from Christian Blouin's social combat and expanding it to Logistics based Ops. 
  6. I realize that I really can max deal with 6 players, and it leaves me muddled with what happened lol. 
    1. There is need for shortcuts in dealing with the load. I have to make some notes. 
    2. I need the other laptop to keep my notes in Gdocs
    3. I really leave it to the players to make the rolls, it makes things go faster.
    4. I can run combat pretty fast, but I think i need to put all the elements on the initiative notes. (Everyone puts up their initiative which i SPD + Combat Reflex). 
    5. I wish I can accommodate more, but that means running a game Before Work 6am-9am and being in the office by 6am lol. Fortunately the setting lends itself for multiple adventures and all sorts of adventures because of Yes-and and Yes-but.
    6. I will need to make a lot of "narratives" in my Notepad that will allow me to cut and paste into the adventure.        

Friday, May 17, 2013

Traveller Lite Meet up

The pregame meet up is on my monday (GMT+8) 7am-8am 

PDFs and Hard Copies

In the Philippines Books suffer 7% Customs duties AND 12% Vat that is applied inclusive of the Shipping Cost and Insurance! (from the US it can be from $10-20). If your big nice book is around $30 which can cost around $45-50 then applied the taxes $54-$60.

My PDF cost me about $24 usd and about 0.04USD to print per page and 2.3USD to bind. Printing and Photocopying costs about $12.3 for a 250p book a total of $37-38usd about 1/3 cheaper than ordering the book and the pain of going through customs.
So it works out to just the same... BUT to have another physical copy costs just $12.3. So it works out that for the same cost of time and effort, I can have 2 physical copies.

I kept the original printout for my Qin, in case a friend wants to print it out after getting their own PDF copy.

Having two books is advantageous for any book hoarder but it is also so bulky. Still, some books I really believe in and I would want people to get into the hobby so I lend them my "Players" copy. For those who are not satisfied, well they had a copy and they can always buy the online edition and photocopy my copy despite how "shady" it might seem.

These days though, I'm making a GURPS lite that includes material from martial arts and other books. It helps introduce new players, and it brings down the "barrier for entry". The biggest barrier for entry that i struggle with is the Data barrier for GURPS. You really need to play and learn, and our gaming mindset soaks the rules up like a sponge... but you still have to break that initial doubt and concern over the reputation of GURPS.

I also summarize the rules in a shorter format that hopefully is dense enough, through my personal GURPS lites. I'm not saying I am better in explaining than the book, the freedom of LITE is that I can describe in a less "technically correct" way than in the Book.

If I were to have a lot of copies, about >2 copies, it would be GURPS Lite or a modified GURPS LITE+ with all the rules I use from different books built into it. Such a tool would be indispensible when teaching newbies to gurps. It may reduce the Data Barrier to entry, at least make it look less intimidating in perspective.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A Quick GURPS SLAM Table

I got pretty annoyed at the Slam Rules Calculations, so I made a color coded table in Calc, I had no time to type out a formula to convert this to Dice. I ran a combat for a friend to teach him GURPS, and I was frustrated by how I don't know Shove, Slam, and so many other rules.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Haven Headlines

Headlines are topic of conversations and potential plot hooks.

"Conservative Party" wins Majority in the Senatorial Elections
"Liberal Party" contests winnings

2,012 elections related violence incidents, down 500% from last elections. Analysts are optimistic.

Legba Group Ground Breaking of the New Commercial Business District.

Internet Campaigns Criticism

East Haven District, Former Mayor Charlie Wu contesting Richard Nuggo's win.

James Steele, Sex Scandal

Twelve Mining Contracts have all failed bidding.

Has Dambala vs Idamaz Political Rivalry turned a corner?

"Ghost Ship" Sighted on the South West Coast of Haven.

Police Uncovered Cargo Container with 3 tons of dog skeletons Wednesday Evening.

Police say Heights Apartments Killings, may be linked to "the Cannibal"!

Human Rights Watch, over 50,308 Teenagers and children still missing. HRW says there may be tripple the number of undocumented missing.

Political Prisoners call for Appeals, after Conservative Victory.

The new Ferrari Lannister Edition sighted in Haven Streets!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

GURPS Modern Fantasy - Pregens and Characters

Here are the characters so far. No one has made claims to the Pregens yet, and the game will be up soon. Finished most of my prep, what is left is dry runs to make sure everything is working. Worse case scenarios Technical Planning is in order. 

I will continue the game even if two players will be available by game day.  

Edit: Character
I'll try to add "Non-Combat" Tactics, but i

 +Vaclav Tofl  Jack Smith, Bouncer/Bartender
 +Jarad Jones "the Cowboy"

Speedy programmer
Notable Skills: Programming-17 (plus single minded +3), Acrobatics (Free Running)-17.
The Action Star
Notalble Skills- Perfomrance-16, Combat Art: Karate-18
Savy Biz Man
Notable Skills Streetwise-15, Merchant-18

 Modern-day Prince
Notable Skills Psychology-20,

Taught GURPS Combat Lesson Teaching it

Some lessons teaching GURPS combat. I really should run a sample combat for newbies. 
  • 1 Combat of 4 elements, 3 vs 1 took 1 hour. One newbie. 
    • I had to explain so it took longer than normal. 
  • Organize and Visualized the Options by Maneuvers > Attack Options (see White Board)
    • This way they can intuitively grasp the options. First Choose a Maneuver THEN (if an attack) Choose Attack Options. 
  • Its much better when there is terrain
    • Trees provide Cover B407, But surrounding hexes have Bad Footing. 
    • Dotted Terrain has bad Footing. -2 to attack, -1 to defend. Must roll DX when sprinting or Move&Attack through for every hex stepped. Because of this, I wish i wrote down the Jump stats. 
    • Foliage Provides Soft Cover. 
  • Have a Tape measure out its faster than counting Hexes. 

Despite how hard it may be to teach, GURPS combat IS THE simulationist system. My Brother could use a dead Orc as cover against Ranged attacks, after sticking a Glaive through the other Orc.

Advanced Concepts we were able to Tackle
  • Quick Shooting (there was an Orcish Archer while Two orcs converged. 
  • Called Shots
  • Cover
  • Committed Attacks
I wish I can run modern combat, since my Vampire Level Bones: Reaper Minis have Marines figs. It would teach people some Airsoft Tactics. For modern, i'll have some "Ruins" for Hard cover. I should have bought some Clear Xelophane for "Saved" terrains for Combat only Games. 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

More on Haven

More on Haven if you want to imagine living there:

  • Developed world standard for Middle Class describes $7200-21,600USD Cost of Living Annually and describes the top 5%. They meet developed world standards for Education, Job Security, and can find work anywhere in the world but in Haven they are the "Wealthy" population. Housing makes up half and healthcare varies, because its a emerging market (aka 3rd World), they have a middle class life expectancy of about 70s, which is unlike developed worlds which have about x2-x3 the CoL and have a life expectancy of 100s. 
    • Pretty much as busy and varied as the Middle Class of Dev.World. 
    • Wealth: Comfortable are Upper-Bands of the Middle Class.
  • Struggling Class $3600-$7200USD Cost of Living in Dev. World; but considered Comfortable by the Haven Standards. If your single and doesn't have any expensive vices, you can pretty much live like Middle Class. 
  • Poor - $1440-$3600USD anualy this is the "Working Class" 
  • Dead Broke. Surprising GURPS deadbroke can accommodate the UN and Economist definition of less than $1 a day. There are a lot of people in the world that still operate without Money but live on squatting or "rented" housing, and scrounging or "subsidized" food and necessities by the Political or Criminal "Houses" to maintain Vote Dominance and 
    • Some very powerful individuals have started using these as labor and votes producing assets, housing them in Vessels creating Floating Towns. The population shift back to the Politico's lands during Elections.   
  • Wealth and Filthy Rich (Status 1-2) - these are people pretty much the middle management of the ruling elite as well as their Idle Family. 
  • Millionaires (Status 3-6) - "the Taipans". Modern day Kings would envy the way these families and patriarchs (and a few matriarchs) live.    
Any public service is terrible, public infrastructure never serves the public it serves one of the many factions in haven (as a monoploy or an excuse to charge taxes). In game terms, when it comes to a public service, expect crap. it costs x3-x10 more in time or money. 

Local Expertise is a valuable skill
Your Local Area Knowledge can be used as streetwise at -2 penalty. Area knowledge allows you to survive "Police Traps". So if you have it high, understand that you have points well spent. You can substitute Area Knowledge-3 for Navigation as in RAW. 
The skill allows you to cancel out "Noise" from living in there, there are many scams and spammers living in Haven, it takes some skill to sort out the "Noise" from the "real thing". 

Most Public Services that are decent come from the "Factions" and are 2-3x the price, especially necessities. Non-Necessities, Luxury Goods, are 1/2 the price as compared to the rest of the world. If you are part of the Weapon Specialized Factions, certain lethal goods can be cheaper. 

Special Note on Weapons 
Some Very Old Weapons have flooded the weapons market because their license to produce is un-enforcable. You will notice Modernized WW2 weapons being available and half their GURPS listed cost. Despite modernization the sweat shops that produce these guns are poor in skill. 
G44s, 40s, 42, MG42s. 

There are some "Diesel Punk" equipment to be found.  

Players are free to make up other Factions/"Houses"/Corporations. Note that this is a Cosmopolitan Country, factions is bizarrely any ethnic or cultural background.

Despite "Ethnic" profiles listed, expect 1/3 of all ethnic groups as mixed ethnicity. Despite the ethnic diversity, intolerance is healthy and strong in Haven. 

Friday, May 10, 2013

Modern Fantasy Setting: Haven

Taken from Digger2000 from campaign cartographer

here is the Roll20 map
Country population 150Million
Land Area: 300,000 sqkm or 114,000 sqmiles
Wealth: Poor (Middle Class CoL is $7200USD a month - including HOUSING)
Health: Poor (except for Gated Communities in Central Business Districts).
Metropolis Pop Density: 30,000 pop per square km or 68,000 pop per sq mile
Industry: Mining, Light Manufacturing and BPO,
Government: Publicly Democracy (realistically Plutocracy)
Settled Ethnicity: 40% African, 15% Western, 10% Middle Eastern, 10% Indian, 8% Asian and a small minority of various other cultures.
National Language: English, Havani
Culture: American and African
Religion: 60% Christian (protestant), 20% Muslim,
Law Levels: No Lethal Weapons Allowed (very poorly enforced).

Basic History.
One of the Spanish assets lost to the US-Spanish War of the turn of the 20C. This little gem is a large island east of Madagascar, discovered by the Spanish on their return from circumnavigating the globe.

Walled Cities. Prior to the 2009 recession, there was hyper infrastructure projects that created a property bubble. When the recession hit, this bubble created so many mega-residential towns that had no buyers. Eventually squatters moved in and several dynasts and triads seized the land and created their own micro-towns.

Floating Shantie Towns. Ships that were being given away for scrap has found themselves new services as Triad Factories. Many Cargo haulers and mega freighters find themselves as personal "fiefs" of many crime families.

Traffic Notes. (Driving +4 routine mundane task; crit failure is accident)
Rush Hour 7am-10am, 5pm-8pm (monday to saturday) 10 min / 1 mile.
Medium or Light Train is 5 mins / 1 mile. (because of the Line and not the train)
Non-Rush Hour 5 mins / 1 mile.
Empty Hour 1am-6am  2 min / 1 mile

Commuting is x2 the amount of time vs Driving.

To speed up use Hasten Rules, -1 per -10%, Crit Failure is an accident. Heavy Bikes and Scooters have +2, and Light Bikes have +3.

Area Knowledge to Commute or Navigate

Economic outlook.
Corruption is rampant and more powerful than local law-enforcement. The triad power-levels have risen but there are many and they are thoroughly balkanized. This equal and almost homogeneous criminal and corrupt element has made the area effectively free trade.

Many speculate the Triads are going to go to war eventually, but right now economic prosperity has allowed everyone to live and let live.

Personal Notes.
Love Walled Cities and Ship Towns - they basically are modern dungeons basically the GMs can fire up the dungeon generator and VIOLA a modern day encounter LOL!

Some more basic Archer Notes

Edit: Check out +Mark Langsdorf in Skirmish Archer Tactics, which provides advice in how DF archers can take full advantage of Heroic Archer and Weapon Master Bow.

Regarding the Pregens
You cannot hope to hit or be effective in GURPS archery even with all the Heroic Archer and Weapon Master Bow. Even when you bring your self to 99.999% chance to hit from 10-15 (-4 to -5) yards (will take mostly 2 seconds to reach you if you were standing still, but your not) you still have a success rate based on your opponents defenses. Regular Mooks have a (Base 3, Shield 6, DB 2) 11-12 thus they have a 60-75% chance to defend with their shields.

as DC points out your damage CP vs damage output is expensive paying 20cp in strength for 1dmg improvement

This is where Horse Archers Come in, with horse archers you don't shoot just anyone, you shoot who ever turns their back to you... why would they do that. It is because you used your superior mobility to get to the flank while your slower and more melee powerful allies move in from what ever direction they were coming from in the first place.

If you dont have horse archers, stealth and running allow the archer to get to flanking position on time. Since this a maneuver too far from tactical coordination you use Strategy instead even if it is a small force. First of all, you cannot communicate so you need to PLAN and tell the ally a set of parameters that will help best in the situation.  Up to the GM actually, but I find the penalty of -6 tactics to strategy default very very weird because in my Strategy studies, people keep moving back and forth between the two so often in many situations. subject for another post.

At that point, you need to be able to shoot at a range a -4 to -5, from a 17 plus 3 accuracy, you have a 15-14 to hit, and you can still make a called shot to the leg or vitals.

As Vaclav has observed Leg is my favorite target because the options are very generous and the penalty is relatively light -2.

With leg shots

  • Chance to knock someone prone - that would put them out of the game for 2 seconds. You can focus on other enemies while this one is out. 
  • Easy chance to half their move ability and thus affect their dodge. Like above, but using superior mobility, move combat to an area this character cannot go into. 
  • Easy chance to give them bad footing penalty
  • plus all the regular Major Wound and Stunning rules. 

One you have movement superiority you can dictate where the fight is going to be by moving away from slower weakened allies, moving to stronger defend able terrain while they follow, or coordinate formations with allies as the enemies react slowly.

As compared to arms hits, they can still be threatening with their shield arm used to bash, knock down, or Aided Defense to their ally.

I am biased to mounted combat because of Mount and Blade, and my own desire to own and ride a pony for both athletic activity and simulations of endurance and military operations.

In Mount and Blade, the range penalties are harsher because opponents can use shield as cover, my shield as cover is a house rule, so I don't know if other game tables use it as such. When they use shield as cover I target the feet, because they cannot see where I am aiming. On Horse back, its quite a feat in Mount and Blade to shoot the feet since it is a FPS-like game but factoring your own horses velocity and the movement of the opponent using intuition gained from practice.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Pregens for GURPS Modern Fantasy

I hate how revealing GURPS chargen can be. 

Anyway I've pretty much finished the pregens for the game, which can be found here: 
Speedy programmer
Savy Biz Man
Modern day Prince
Action Star


Hope some of those who want to play can meet me pre-game to discuss tactics, rules, and expectations. One of the things I want to discuss is what images and movies evoke the mood they are looking for. 

For those with pregens, a chance to customize and bit and to see the combos. 

The Disadvantages are the story

This is applicable to any game system. 

TL:DR merits of sitting back and letting Players make the material. 

Begin by requiring players to flesh out characters with "complications" or a simple paragraph explaining how all the disadvantages tie together. This is a great exercise for getting into the PCs to communicate their own expectations regarding enforcing disadvantage rules and in how the GM will use the character's background. 

There has been discussion about Low-Prep games, sandbox games where players have every direction open, but they have to take initiative. This is an Overlay for sandbox game, the Disadvantage driven Introduction. 

Basically, the GM gets the Disadvantages in the mail and reads up on it. He ties everyone disadvantage into a story that hits all the "ducks that are in a row" then begins with this story for the sandbox. All the Players have done half the work for the GM, and everyone gets a spotlight because it is their disadvantages that are pushing forward. 

The "script" was basically provided by the players, and the GM merely obliges. 

"You have a secret, good the first session is that secret might get out."
"You have an enemy, good that person is out to get you and your team."
"You have an obsession/ambition, well look at this, an 'opening' came up"
"You have family, they are involved."
"You have principles, well they are challenged by one of the methods needed to 'skin-this-cat'."

It may be as bare and nakedly transparent a ploy, but that is a GREAT thing. Its something everyone saw coming, and they should have prepared for. It is an opening, that is challenging and they have to trust the GM to be a great "moderator" in keeping the pressure hot enough to exciting but not too hard to be frustrating. 

The GM shifts to the "Facilitator" role, and draws ammo from the PCs own disads. This might make the game about "Changing" or overcoming the disads. already a great start because the overall goal becomes "development" and change. Its about personal demons and internal conflicts.

Best of all, the GM does not have to do as much work. He can specialize in being receptive and processing what the players put into the game, and worry less about making stuff up. 

In fact the posts in-between games can be opportunities of the players to feed the GM other avenues and solutions. Solutions he will shape to fit the narrative if the players can make a coordinated successful maneuver towards that end.

GURPS Melee on a budget

Melee on a Budget - gaming the combat system. 

Basics, you want the most bang for buck for badguys and your good guys. These are some helpful GM notes I've accumulated since I've been playing a lot of combat intensive games and I've prepped for my own games. 

Armor and Defenses
TLDR: armor is heavy even with the lighter realistic rules. most bang for buck defense are shields. beging with Front Torso armor only to half the cost and weight. 

You begin with your budget which is your BL which is 20 for ST10 and about 4-5lbs per additional ST above 10. Already factor in some basics : Clothes 2lbs and Shoes 2lbs

Torso Front Only Armor. The most common is cloth armor $25, 3lbs and for combantants with ST11 and up, they can have Light Scale $160, 8lbs. Wealthier characters can possibly get Light Plate which is at 4lbs. 

Typical Break down. 
Torso armor front only *0.5
Pot Helm *0.2 + $10 and 1.2lbs
Medium Shield $45, 7lbs
Torso *0.7 factor and +$45 and +8.2lbs

Your best bang for buck Helmet is the Cheap Light Plate Pot Helm at $110 weighting 2.8lbs at DR2+1.  

"Full" Armor are for ST13 and up characters, even then they still need to cut down to essentials. Most of the armor's rear protection have been removed. 

The Front only Torse formula is good for up to ST10-12. The best armor you can give limbs are Fine Light Leather LT104 (not in the armor table). Used as Arms + Front legs is about 3.3lbs and $360 for DR1* (+1 vs cutting). Reinforced 4.125lbs at $450 (for +2 vs cut). 

Next is Padded Cloth 6lbs and $50 for padding the arms and front legs. 

Weight is one of the biggest barriers. Fortunately Imp damage vs limbs loses its damage multiplier and protecting against cutting attacks is the next best priority. 

To be fully armored despite being ST10-12
Torso armor front only *0.5
Leg armor front only *0.5 (light leather or padded cloth)
Arms armor *0.5 (light leather or padded cloth)
Gauntlets *0.1 (light leather or padded cloth)
Sollerets *0.1 (light leather or padded cloth)

You can use the same system for Characters with ST13 and up. Using Light Mail and Scale for limbs OR staying to the lightest armor for limbs (light leather or padded cloth) and using medium armors Front only for torso. 

TLDR: spears, axes, and polearms are cheaper and more bang for buck than swords. 

The Iklwa counts as a Short Spear is at $30 and 2lbs. At Fine and Balanced its merely a (CF 1, +4 balanced, +2 Fine) x7 CF of $210 for something that now deals skill+1, thr +2 imp, thr+1 cut. Cheaper than a Cheap Broadsword. 

Spear, Axe, and Mace are versatile weapons being allowed to be used 2h and 1handed. they are at about $40-60 each making them balanced and fine x7 to as much as $420 (cost as much as a shortsword, $400) and axes at Fine and Balanced are (CF 1, 9 fine, 4 balanced) $700 the cost of a good longsword or a bastardsword.

After playing an archer in two games, I realized that if I want the combat over for us to RP more then I better go melee. Tactical Melee with the Telegraphic attack rules allow for better Flanking maneuvers.  

Combat Resolution
TLDR: Max out Feint Technique, Counter-Attack sucks, Brawl is essential, Skills should be at least 14 for secondary attack skill and 16 and up for primary.   

Combat Slows down a lot when defenses are above 8. Good Combatants like 150cp warriors have defenses of 12 without shields, and up to 15-18 with large shields (and shield wall training). Find a way around these obstacles are important in character designing. 

ways to lower others defense: 
  1. Mobility go to flank or rear. you need Acrobatics: Evade or Judo: Evade and good mobility at least move 8. 
  2. Feint. In a combat intensive Game all major opponents and PCs should have maxed out Feint. 
  3. Flanking with Allies. (see one). 

Counter attack Sucks for 6cp I reduce defenses by 1 compared to Feint. Evade has more bang for buck because it allows you to get behind an opponent. The cost is too high and you have to put yourself in harms way by parrying first. I think it should be seriously considered for a re-write.     

The best bang for buck feint is Brawling (with kicking bought off). Because you can have Reach 1 with Kick and Feint with a brawling to improve your attack. Brawl also lets you GRAB and initiate a lot of things depending what you grab- grab shield, grab weapon arm, grab attacking arm etc. 
Brawl is also your close quarter defense allowing you to strike with knees and elbows. Note that brawl is a complimentary skill as it tactically gives a lot of options for the character, giving him a way to find a weakness in the enemy's fighting style. 

Brawl DX+2 [4], Feint (H) Brawl+4 [5], Kick (H) Brawl [3]

Brawl or unarmed skills are so effective that you can make them the primary skill while bringing your weapon skill high enough to hit at your preferred rate. 

My rule for heroes is that Primary needs to be high enough for stunts while secondary is high enough to hit. So at least 13 to hit often enough (8 cp invested), and Primary is 16 or greater (30cp invested). 

If you want combat to end pretty fast, that there is enough time to do other things in the game then effective skills should be 14 and up, while defenses can be lowered to less than 8. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Check-list for my Upcoming GURPS modern fantasy game

get everything done by Wed, May13 and the dry runs by may-15. 
  • Set up all the Mooks with their stats and notes. At least the health bar. 
  • Set up all the background maps and music. having some background OST prepared for fantasy, apologizing since I draw from a "horror and darkness" hat for a lot of my fantasy. 
    • using background Images as the Backdrop for non-tactical views and mood set up. 
    • choosing from various OSTs for something that can play in the background for mood. 
    • Urban Map - solutions create an abstraction map. with areas and highways. 
  • Create some pregens
    • need to make 4 pregens (none have supernatural abilities)
      • Streetwise Martial Artist (GURPS martial template)
      • Psychologist Investigator 
      • Athletic Business man
      • Mind and Body Hacker 
    • help write out the tactics they can cut and paste, or paste on with little modification
    • make for problematic backgrounds. 
    • organize all the disads in a chart so that I can tell where is the lowest hanging fruit for motivations and where motivations won't follow. 
  • Pay for my roll20 account, at least the $50usd a year account (tuition is limiting my choices). 
  • Write up the scenes. 
    • the NPCs
    • the mooks
    • the tokens
    • Write up mook tactics for cut and paste. 
  • Dry run several times
    • Test out the Maps and tactical
    • Test out the Multi-Screen and bandwidth capacity. 
    • Dry run the Music and the special effects. 
Good thing I gave myself about 10 days lead for this. 

My GURPS Roll20 Status Effects Legend

Enemies and PCs will have visible health bars (the green one)
So that it will be known if they suffer the following conditions MA136

Roles = Players input their own damage, conditions and spent FP (because that would be problematic if the GM added that to his load).

dmg >1/3HP -1 DX
dmg >1/2HP -2 DX/ Move 80%
dmg >2/3HP -3 DX, Move and Dodge 50%

Crippled Injury and Specialy Effects - in the notes.
X = dead or dying
Prone - Ochre/Brown TINT
Sitting - Ochre/Brown marker
Grappled - Blue Marker
Grappler - Green Marker
Stunned - Purpler Marker
Unconscious (failed consciousness roll - Red Marker

- Allies - Green, Blues
- Hostiles - Redish, Orange, Yellow
- Neutrals - Gray

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

GURPS modern fantasy 2 - Disad driven plot and game.

Here is a link to the GURPS Modern Fantasy set at Friday May 17 Newyork 7pm which is my Saturday May 18, 7am. I should be awake by 6. Second session is May 25.

GURPS modern fantasy game

  1. Disadvantages driven plot with a combat and action focus. If you can give me your concept and disads first Ill shape the story asap, please have it in by May 14. 
  2. 2-sessions (with a 1 session extension if people like the game that much). This is so that people can be free to try out other games.   
  3. 150cp game, 50 Disadvantages, 5 Quirks. Everyone starts out as Best Buddies, trust is very high. Consider each other as a Free Ally 
  4. All those taking on Supernatural Advantages must take a 10cp Unusual Background. Low Magic in Urban areas unless otherwise stated. Ritual Magic Rules. 
  5. No cinematic advantages. 
  6. TL8 present day, and fictional cosmopolitan coastal but emerging market country, undergoing rapid urbanization going on. CR4, heavy gun control, like in many emerging market countries enforcement is not really that good, expect Status 1 and up to have bodyguards that have firearms.  
  7. You may save points to burn to negate critical failures or critical success attacks against you. 
  8. If you are new to GURPS you can contact me to talk or chat about the character and preparing your actions before the game to speed up play. We will prep a note pad of tactics and actions you can cut and paste. 
  9. You may find 100cp templates in GURPS martial arts and basic set. 

Monday, May 6, 2013

Pre-Gens for my GURPS Game

Her is my 6 pregens head-ache for Against the Cult of the reptile God adventure

Dwarven Horse Archer - Dwarves and Ponies FTW. ST15 Bow with bodkin arrows used against giants who have a DR5 tough hide. This character is designed to take on Giants by himself, using harassing methods. Bow-16 and Axe-14.

Elven Kataphrakt - Fully armored Horse Archer and a Heavy Warhorse. Bow-14, 2h-Sword-17

Human Sellsword Dirty Fighter - a very fun character to play because you can be pretty creative with brawling-18 and Judo-16 and Spear-16. This is a kind of character where you really need to use your surroundings and the opponent's own strength against them.

Orc Pole-arms-man - My brothers favorite combat mode - ST16 and Skill-14 glaive and brawl-18. High damage per turn, good reach, and great versatility, but not as versatile as the Sellsword.

Half-Elf Paladin - Shield-18, Brawling-16, and Shortsword-16. She can cast healing spells.

Half-Elf Courtesan - just a social combat character with 15s for psychology and analysis, and 16s for influence modes. Plus some other things.

Min-Maxed for a very combat intensive game.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Downton Abbey as an Inspiration to a Traveller Game

my wife and I are new fans of Downton Abbey, as a gamer I can't help be inspired by it story for a game or a story to write. Note that this is fiction and mostly used as a playground for examining worse-case scenarios.

One of the reasons I favor ISW is that it is Terra centric, and I can weave a story about how things changed on earth. I love speculating on the possible future by the trends in politics and science. I am aware there IS a deadline that certain changes have to happen or its impotence will never let it take effect.

It inspires a Traveller game that looks at 2170 as The Turn of a New Age.

Class Struggle.
It appears at this time that the only reason to go to space is when you don't have anything better here on earth. To be one of the elites, the dynasts, is to be immune to the same needs and insecurities of everyone else.

One of the futures we are trending towards is the separation of society through their political ideals and never needing to venture outside this because of technology and entrenched power. Technology can connect, but it can make a small niche class connect and coordinate in a way that they can overpower the masses. It can concentrate wealth, power and influence, because the tools they create cost resources and what was a mere gift of chance is slowly eroded by the power science has given to human kind.

The Welfare Class is a class of people who are affected by the abundance technology brings, but have not completely shaken free from poverty and ignorance. They are the "new serfdom or slavery", and are in a world where their opinion and thoughts are shaped by the New Aristocracy.

They are the new Intellectual Equilibrium, created by the anti-science and anti-critical thinking provisions designed by the lawmakers who serve the new Corporate Aristocracy.

A shrinking Middle Class, they have a choice between seeing their freedomes slowly taken away by the aristocracy and see many of their kind fall into the stuppor of the welfare class or leave earth and all its beauty for the claustrophobia of ships and colonies to make a new world and self governance for them.

Common Good Levels
Economies are Infectious in their activities, most of the time an economy that profits from abuses reshape costs and what is considered "Fair" compensation. No one can compete with an entity whose costs are next to nothing from an advantage unrestrained Power and Influence created. Sadly this is a common good problem, and common good problems are infectious because it is built on the best qualities of a very rare kind of people and it is in-itself a Prisoners Dillemma. When one sees a betrayal, all will betray.

For an economy to "Correct" for the negative effects of Prisoners Dillemma requires a memory of the betrayal - the welfare class has no memory, it has what ever it is fed by its overlords.  So the viscous cycle continues.

The Masses are unthinking and dangerous. 
Information barriers are much more oppressive in an age that information can travel at the speed of light but human emotion and thought needs to process everything. Everyone is human, except the few who have altered themselves to adapt to escalating information asymmetry.  It is easier to promote misinformation and to "cultivate" misinformation in an age where power is concentrated to a few in unprecedented levels.

Escape is the only choice for those who are unshackled by the intellectual oppression or lure of going with the flow. Those fueled to leave have become more alien than those who have been cultivated to stay and dream.

Loss Aversion and the Dynasts
being a dynast means having more to lose than most. One can fight this by accepting an Ascetic view of world, but those who do leave the world to those who are Not Ascetic. Those who are consumed by the need to accumulate and protect their own interests.

Imperialist Terra
To be an "Empire" builder again, its been 260 years since the last empires, but many would contest that the medium merely changed and it has come back to its its favored medium: conquest.

The war with the Vilani can be very interesting in this perspective - Greed is its primary cause because the middle class are pioneers too busy mastering the frontier, the welfare doesnt care, and only the dynasts are affected by the "potential" new markets.

Human Drama
Class Struggle, the Sacrifices, the human desires for a home and a stable future. The changes that will come and hardships. Smarter Good guys, good guys with a greater level of prudence discretion and strategy, in a more complex situation and era.