Saturday, March 29, 2014

The War Beneath Heaven S02 E09 - Falling from Grace

Thanks to
+Kalalification Playing Jack Striker
+Panic Slark Playing Archie Griffith
+Lee Fairweather Playing Sam Morpheus
+Ken Kthulhu Playing Fish
+Ffej Lednam  Playing Eeshu

  1. This happens a few days before the explosion on the mountain. Thomas asks fish to check on Jakub and Merle. He finds them hanging out in this Anime Megastore, being run by two mercenaries Jack and Archie. Sam is their doctor friend who they are trying to get to appreciate anime. They get him to try out Boku no Pico (nsfw). They all know each other in various jobs and contracts. Constanz is there pushing Jakub's wheel chair. 
  2. Fish is no diplomat and asks Merle how they are doing. Merle is ok with Fish, but kinda hates the company now that its entertaining lowlifes and people with no moral character. He doesn't like working with gangsters, the russian mob (vampires), and all the questionable people HSS has gone to bed with. Even at great personal expense they break up with Thomas and Osman. Fish doesnt give a shit, and just plans to report these guys are in "ok". The doctor, Sam, notices Jakub is not doing well. 
  3. Jakub is friends with Jack, and he's like asking to borrow some anime. He doesnt get to practice anymore being crippled and stuck in a wheel chair. He looks to pitiable, so Jack lends him some stuff against Archie's wishes. Sam tries to talk about Jakubs health, and Constanz gets defensive. 
  4. When Jakub fails to text and follow up, Jack gets worried and checks him out. He brings everyone else along. They find him in seedy apartment building with vagabonds sleeping n the hallway. When they get to the door, they here a scuffle. Jack breaks down the door, at which point Merle is struggling with an Intruder in whispy black shadows covering him. He shoots only to be shot back, two shots at his concealed vest and one at his foot for maximum damage. He manages to stay up. 
  5. Everyone else tries to check on whats going on, Archie just goes straight for the the impoverished mercenaries valuables while there is a struggling for their life. Merle is already bleeding and he asks them to protect Jakub, before the assailant does something that causes him to bleed all over and gush. Fish and constanz protect Jakub who has turned gray and green. After taking out merle, the assailant escapes. Merle is recovered a bit, but has a weak pulse, Sam was expert in helping him. 
  6. They try to get out after getting the wounded up and propping them out of the building. Some locals are preventing them to use the elevator and they can't climb 8 flights down. When Archie props his guns at them, the locals all bring their hands up - they are large and intimidating, but only carry improvised weapons and knives. Archie empties a Saiga-12's whole mag into  the elevator with shots spraying everywhere and leaving the locals into a bloody pulpy mess. When they reach the ground floor, Panic. Locals take phone pics and they all scramble. There are 3 dead bodies covering the service elevator floor with guts and human meat. Sam is aghast and is swearing at Archie. Fish doesn't mind. They get away but shots were being fired at them, Fish makes a clean get away. 
  7. They arrive and the go to the safe house clinic. Jeni receives them and seems to be the only one in charge. She does like Archie immediately, she asks Fish what happens and fish won't tell her about the gunning down of some locals. She can tell if something important is being withheld, she presses but fish does not give her any more information and endorses the people with them. She does not trust them, especially Constanz (where they had an argument and it got very lively). They use the clinic to fix everyone. Sam gives a powerful opiate to Jack to kill the pain, it appears to work very well. Explosions erupt. 
  8. Eeshu props himself out of the land slide, he sees the swarm stay on the top of the mountain. He is less harmed than speedy who looks really beat up and half buried. Speedy makes him drive and they try to drive back. He manages to drive poorly scratching and banging other cars. They don't give a shit, and speedy just gives them all the finger. They are trying to get back to HQ, they can see the fire. Its all burning. Fortunately they are not too far away. 
  9. Explosions were happening around the building. Pillars of smoke covering it all in many angles, the building is veiled in smoke. The cant see whats happening. The drones that are launched get destroyed. Archie sees whats causing it but it sounds impossible to others, fish and Jeni don't seem to be surprised. They can't see whats causing it. They go up to the reinforced command centers, Jeni is hesitant to bring in Constanz but everyone else endorses her. Sam stays down to help examine Jakub and Merle.  
  10. When they finally get to the rooftop, they see it in the outline of smoke that is hollowed out because of its shape. Much time was lost as fear and panic overcame them, the dragon was flying rounds and trying to find reinforced wall to shoot at, but chooses to occupy itself with the prey. 
  11. Eeshu arrives carrying speedy. He notices Sergei through his veil as Dimitri gets off the terrifying beast ridden. He passes him off to Jeni who is helped by Sam. Eeshu joins the group upstairs 
  12. They fire at it, doing very little to damage it but something seems to get hit. They empty a couple of magazines. The dragon is at a distance and when close enough, an RPG bursts from burning smoke. They all take cover and the dragon closes in,  fish throws a plastic explosive and it knocks the dragon and its rider. The dragon let his rider slide down to the rooftop instead of falling off it into the dizzying heights. Its perched in the edge of the building where it will engage them.  
  13. Eeshu manages to pass them a back of armaments. Fish dives toward a pit in front of the dragon and falls to the lower floor. The dragon launches of at them, destroying the cover of Jack. Archie fires, Fish fires APDS shots from his shotgun, and Eeshu throws the last plastic Dimitri carried. It pushed the dragon back. When the team started shooting at the fallen rider, they can see blood pooling. It takes the rider and leaves. Many get to shoot at the rider and the dragon, the creature casts a powerful spell engulfing the entire area in thick black smoke. Archie puts on his gas mask and tries to scrounge for valuables. Sergei charges from his nightmare at the dragon, and leaps to impale it. 
  14. The team manages to recover, some are wounded - Eeshu from the Land slide 4hp, Fish from the fall 5hp, and Jack still had a sprain in his foot. Most are tired, 2FP or so, some even more tired. Pulling back, they returned to a control center which has on emergency lights and bodies on the floor. Jakub can be seen standing over one of them, his body gray and green. Merle aims a gun at them.   (end scene)
  • I realize in the report ALOT happens. I don't know if people notice it in a 4-5 hour game. That's why I do the reports I guess, a lot do happen and they make for more directions for me to pull the story based on what the players are up to. 
  • I do admit that I'm a bit affected by cold blooded killings, but I gotta let them do it. I won't stop PCs from doing that, Sociopathy is part of the game but the world does have its consequences. If you want to get away with a lot of carnage, take a page from the play book of the more famous sociopaths. Of course 3rd world police response times suck and there happens to be panic and fire in some other place tying up the cops. Although note that in an age with cell phone cameras, more discretion is needed when killing people. 
    • GURPS mysteries is an awesome read, it talks about how killing affects even non-sociopaths (even out of duty, self defense and survival). I don't want to oversimplify or dehumanize sociopathy and playing them or characters who has to work with them is one of the main interests I find in running games.
      I wonder if the characters will let their humanity fall away and is sociopathy the best strategy to dealing with high threat situations? Note that I allow high functioning sociopaths get away with murder, if they can, not just out of drama and internal conflict but to see how the players react to it and if they can internalize or immerse. Some games are known to reward Sociopathy by killing PCs loved ones and other important things to the PC (bold to emphasize an observation that will get me in trouble). The "coping" mechanism is making someone who has nothing else to live for but money, and power. (would players like to Internalize people who are sociopaths? or keep the character at arms length?)
  • Something was opened up when the mountain was demolished? 
  • Who was the dragon, and why such a blatant attack? How is the press going to spin this, and how is it going to affect the HSS-Dao Joint venture. What does Cheng-Dao need to do to get everything under control, what will he not stoop to gain power and respect among the other Mage Elites. 
  • Thomas and Osman appear to be unable to control the situation. Clearly burn out, but much more as they deal with Dylan and Cheng more than the regular team. Good friends leaving does not help, Merle and Jakub, and Tasha being unable to deal with them as well. 
  • Speedy is wounded (again) and the Two Mages are pre-occupied with Cheng's machinations. 
  • How will the collateral damage affect the people in the Heights? 
  • What will happen if the Police will go after the ones who murdered the guys in the elevator? Does that implicate everyone who was there? Will HSS get caught up with the police and not just their supernatural enemies? 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Things to Look forward Too

Because of the Games I'm running both Modern and Historical here are the projects that are just going through last edits and where I have to step away a bit and clear my head.
  1. Monsters and Avatars
    1. Avatars
    2. Fallen Deities
    3. Were Creatures
    4. Giants (in haven they occupy another plane since they will disrupt the veil; Yeah an excuse to fight Titans ala Shinjeki no Kyojin)
  2. Undead Templates
    1. Liches, lesser or Proto-Lich
    2. Vampires
    3. Zombies (as drones)
  3. Demons and Dragons 
  4. Spirits and Ghosts 
  5. Modern Templates
  6. Historical Templates
I will try to get them all ready. They will be in my Gdocs so that i can easily edit them. You can see them as I edit them.

Although what I have in the works will take probably a month or two. 
  1. TL1-3 Ships. Galleys and Sail craft spreadsheet using GURPS Vehicles. With Blender Guide in building Galleys and Ships. Probably coming out in June or July. Includes "board game" combat for ships and tools to easily build fleets and create set piece battles. 
  2. GURPS Magic Strategy Guide! - Basically taking all the transcripted spells in a spreadsheet and looking at them by Prerequisite count level by level and at certain point budgets. Consolidate all the assumptions organize them as Tags. The tags will describe each spell and will reference other spells. Basically magical best practice organically grown based on the spells available in GURPS magic. The spreadsheet will be done about april. The index first part Prequisites up to -2 or -3 done by Sept (i'll be in the US by August hopefully). 
  3. War Beneath Heaven 2.0 Season 03! Consolidating much of the Fluff and material. Since the world is not beholden to any theories it can be easily modified to any campaign. My favorite part about it is that its a Fictional Country - you can make stuff up on the fly. Will create a tool to break down factions and entities for easy world building and adjustment. Since I'll be adding the Marches and other realms, there is going to still be a lot to do. 

So basically everything you need to run a Kitchen Sink or you can use for you game. Its low powered, easy math, and a GM who you can talk to about how to work on other stuff. Since I'm running all these games I'm getting more and more material. I'm also encountering more and more problems which line up together for a solution that tends to solve many of them at the same time. 

I've contemplated having a break from WBH, but if the players keep coming, I'll entertain them and I will try to run - health and family obligations permitting. The table is open and accommodating, and despite many awkward moments when meeting new people its still going on. Enjoying it while it lasts. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Character Questionnaire: Gamer Meditation / Reflection

Please Answer In Character

How much doe you Value Life and easing suffering and misery?
Are you capable of remorse? Will you be conflicted in taking life or causing suffering and misery (see Pacifism, Reluctant Killer)? Will you avoid causing direct harm, misery, or death to innocents (see Pacifism, Cannot Harm Innocents)? Can you only resort to violence in self defense (see Pacifism, Self Defense)? Are you totally averse to violence (See total Non-Violence)? Do you have no internal conflict at all taking life, causing misery, or inflicting suffering in others (see Callous)?

the tables if you cannot decide. 
Roll 3d
Total Non-Violence
Self Defense Only
Cannot Harm Innocents
Reluctant Killer

What People or Ideals do you value?
Does you value their word, integrity, honor, or self image in a way that restricts her actions (see Code of Honor Professional)? Is your honor or self worth powerful enough to put her in harms way (see Code of Honor Soldier or Devoted Professional, the High Ideal Virtues - Manly Virtues)? Is your self image and ideals so powerful as to taunt and court danger actively (see Code of Honor, Chivalry)?

the tables if you cannot decide. 
Roll 3d
Chivalry, Fanaticism
Soldier, High Virtues
Professional, Neighborly

The "Manly Virtues"  (veriliter agite) expected by societies like the Romans and Other cultures, which have some martial aspects. Women's "ideal" cultural virtues in Low Tech Eras are not the same. Then the question is "Can a female character Take a Man's Code of Behavior?" (ex. Briene of Tarth in GoT).   

Do you have loved ones, people you considers family, even if they are not related by blood ? Is there a lot of them, do you maintain a large number of relations and social obligations (see Sense of Duty)? Do you support any of them, are they part of your household (see Dependents)?

Roll 3d
Dependents (Clients)*
Dependents (Family)
Sense of Duty Family
Sense of Duty Clan/Tribe
*You may buy them Also as Ally or Ally Group.

Are you aware, or driven by personal goals or objectives? Do they have any vision of what they want to be, even if it is an impossible ideal, or where they want to be, or do they change their path according to the changes of the fates and wind (see Obsession)?

Sample Objectives
Roll 3d
An Ideal
Love or Peace of Mind
Economic Security

Is there are a group of people you do not see as equal to you, maybe you are raised to hate them? Is there people, that you consider not part of society and less human? Is it everyone else or just one broad category of people (see intolerance)?

Do you have any vices, compulsions, desires, fascinations, or habits that get you into trouble and have caused you a lot of grief? Is it a personal weakness that you are aware of?
Are you vindictive or violent with perceived snubbing or disrespect? Can you be easily insulted to lose your calm (see selfish)?

Do you have a violent temper if someone wrongs you? Can you be goaded to lose your cool or become emotional (See Bad Temper)?

Is it an Addiction, Compulsion or Desire (see Compulsions and Addictions)?

Is it a habit of expression, your mannerism, or the odd perspective you have of things and how you interact with other people (see Odious Personal Habits)?

Roll 3d
Bad Temper
Odious Personal Habit

Do you follow authority without question (see Honesty)? Are you able to speak without voicing your thoughts (see Honesty)?
If you read the disadvantage of Honesty in the basic set, its more of a fear (because its a compulsion subject to self control) of Authority. Honesty can be by way of Code of Honor - because CoH gives you leeway for discretion (how to navigate a muddy situation), but this disadvantage is the reflexive/compulsive adherence to Authority. 
Do you have Trauma? Have you survived a terrible event that have left you scarred? Since such perspectives can be relative, it just has to be bad enough for you. Has the scars left a mark, do you have problem sleeping (see insomnia), does your dreams distract you or disturb you (see nightmares), do the dreams haunt you while you are awake (see Flashbacks), or does a terrible sound, voice, or silence deafen you (see Phantom Voices)? Are you plagued by guilt, is there something you make up for despite the past (see Guilt)? Do you have a powerful source of fear (see Phobia)?

Roll 3d
Phantom Voices

Professional Abilities
Do you have a Talent? Are you raised in a way that emphasized certain skills, strengths, perspective, and ability? Are you born with such inherent gifts, or is it from the circumstance of growing up (see Talents)?

How many years have you been working in your field, and what skills were crucial to master or else you could not survive or live the life you are accustomed to? What is your work now, and how do you fare compared to others?

Social Background
Who are your Peers in society? Can you approach them and exchange favors? Are they plenty, or just a few people you really trust and depend on (see Contacts and Contact Group)

Is there someone who is always there in your life? Someone who you depend on and also depend on you? (see Allies or Ally Group)

My Notes

So basically this was what was lacking in my GURPS lite for low tech handout for my Sins of the Crusades Game. You can say its an Internalization Guide for one's character and it reflects how I, as the GM, profile the character. Of course there are variations in behavior and breaking from consistency does not make one something else - I assume that most of the time the character is internally consistent. I do not punish failing to be internally consistent (which is a peeve about in some game systems), but I do want players to adjust their character's disads to reflect the change of habits and perspective (while tracing they were previously).

There is a lot of psychological mumbo jumbo about why I allow people to change their character how they perceive the world and perceive their character (which I will not get into because honestly I forget the correct terms). First of all, we are merely guesting what we each define as a particular behavior and we learn the tolerances as we play - of course the GM should not use it as a platform to preach - in fact the GM is merely the audience who puzzles the character's subconscious.

It doesn't have to be heavy, because we all have the ability to make it emotionally dense in our interpretation or reflection (that's why I like fudging what really happened in the post game analysis I write from my POV). We are free to enjoy it the way we want, we just have to remember to let everyone else enjoy it the way they want. In my mind the characters become overly interesting, dramatic and complicated. Thats the great thing about the hobby, when we are playing imagination is over-drive and it can have the best special effects and casting money can buy - there is no expense that can't be spared.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Appreciating how things are going before its gone

The two games I'm running has put me in a good place. Both are very different and have a some things in common (both in GURPS). So I'm just enjoying the feeling before something more serious gets in the way and spoils it.

for the Crusades game, i've gotten most of my research done for naval logistics, political-economic forces and boundaries. Few more tweaks in the system to speed up resolution (no more rolling for mooks).

I'm sure people also noticed I've gotten some groove back in my drawing. I can output pretty quickly, some usable portraits lolz. Looking forward to more practice, planning to do a portrait of everyone after the WBH game.

for the War Beneath Heaven, I have just finished most of my doctrine notes and baddies best practice studies (posts on Zombies, Spirits, and a ton of Notes from GURPS Powers and Magic). I'm worried for the characters because I will need to amp up the baddies for more drama, and they may get killed - Problems with no Fixed or Preconceived solutions. A lot of the background notes come in handy and have finally matured (see the setting index) which means I can create connections easily (why X is after Y or doing Z).

I have a feeling Feb and March is a Peek gaming season, where there are a lot of inquiries based on my own Roll20 history. So I gotta pace myself.

Interesting Observations

  • many are willing but they all have schedule issues. 
  • Its an anomaly, my current batch of crusader players were pretty nice and actually told me if they can or cannot make it. I think in my roll20 experience, I've had about 50 inquiries and these five, plus my friends makes for a total of 8 : 50 have (<16%) have basic courtesy lolz. (this is me on the GM side and only in my games). This may be helpful in expectations. OR is it because of their taste in games - Aha is there a correlation lolz.  
  • Solved some technical problems. I have 2 ISPs at home, a dial-up and a pretty good line. So for the next game I plan to do is have both laptops on and on different ISPs. When one gets choppy (which was happening the other game) I will switch to other one and reset the Modem and the laptop if I need to.  (its a 4+ year old modem, I've been researching on a new cisco router, currently evaluating e900 but its 50% more expensive than US prices :(  ) 
  • There is a need for a Character Questionnaire (like the game of 20 questions in L5R) and maybe a way to randomly decide on Disadvantages. GURPS disads are not disadvantages more of an "engagement" to the game setting - valuing life, perspective, sense of duty, dependents, loved ones, etc... these all ATTACH the character - it gives them roots and life. A character without roots, its kind off odd. I like humanizing characters, although that's not appropriate in some games (games I dont play lolz). 
  • Having my own GURPS lite handout (my GURPS low tech lite) so that my players are not Overwhelmed WAS SOOOOOOO USEFUL! I incorporated the questionnaire and some system tweaks to allow me to model some activities. One activity I'm going to plug in is how to Model Marathons - in GURPS there is a disconnect in the current system that prevents such a model. I just need to correct the system. 
    • Basically the Higher the skill in Running or Rowing (under Crewman + HT) the longer between intervals of needing to roll. Every time I run I keep thinking of the flaws of the system in modeling running lolz. 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Channeling Obsessive Gaming Habits

I was taking Accounting 101, about 5-6 years ago. Around that time to keep me interested I worked Traveller Balance Sheets and Income Statements. Around the same year a friend who knew of my penchant pointed out and lent Harn Manor. Yeah, Harn Manor wow. Traveller and Harn made accounting fun for me (and of course my wife who is as a CPA).

I'm no accountant, although I play the support character often, but It was very useful to channel all that obsessive behavior with games into accounting and methods of analysis. One of the most important lessons was the habit of organizing information and making room for notes. Much of the exercises in my accounting studies was analysis, it got really interesting when I imagined Company A or B as Shadowy Corporations in a Action Genre game or Traveller merchant company trying to make ends meet.

Anyway, one thing that I really learned was if you have a player full of energy - make him do the accounting and business analysis. Holly crap the energy I had 5 years ago, and compared to now. One is that they get training and practice is a very useful skill, but since it was trained to Frame an experience in a way to be fun it also trains in a Coping mechanism.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Sins of the Crusade Pilot

Some Background, the reason I chose 1092 is because if there is anything going to be done that will alter the course of history of the crusades its going to happen about 4 years prior to it. Nothing happens in a vacuum and to move armies, economies, and dynasties, characters will need to have a lot of accomplishments and familiarity within the world.

It is also a Schelling point in history. There are a lot of interesting things that happened in 1091 that makes for the reason why the Crusades happened. If the players want to alter history and try to prevent the crusades this is an opportunity, if they want to ride along side it, this also is an opportunity to amass one's own wealth and power. There are less events at 1092 vs 1091 making 91 give more context on what can happen next. 

1090 and earlier
  • Re-conciliatory measures towards Rome
  • Seljuq Aegean Campaign
  • All remaining Byzantine Anatolian Holdings (except Pontus) was lost
  • Pecheneg Invasion, Battle of Levounion (80k vs 60k)
    • Probably really just 40,000 - there is a tendency to exaggerate. 
  • Theodore Gabras, tried to steal back his son. 
  • Constantine Humbertopolous and Ariebes conspiracy
  • Another Conspiracy, with religious slant (all I can remember he had to burn someone to death). 
And many more conspiracies


Xenophon - A Greek Privateer Captain, out for revenge and riches. played by  +Il Pella 
Konrad - A German Courtier who can stand toe to toe with Byzatnine courtiers, despite his handicap. played by +Kalalification 
Cato - An Italian "eccentric" Genius, famous around Constatinople as an honest Napolitan Merchant. Played by +Wilton Heath 
Tertius - A Soldier and veteran of the Byzantine and Seljuq Wars. In the past 10 years, with all the wars going on and the fronts that need defending he find himself off in another long shot mission. +Thunder Clonch 

Game Summary

  1. Everyone begins from the disgraced house of Humbertopolous - which we called Umbertos for short (because we are really not used to the long names). Umbertos is in disfavor in participating in a conspiracy, one that actually targeted the empror's mother and he was an unwitting pawn. Disgraced he has been taken out of command of his frankish army, but so valuable that he is maintained on. He someone how got into a strange scheme, an unusal idea - hire some varangian (despite Kiev being vassals of the Seljuq empire) and restore the honor of the varngian guards since the Battle of Dyrrachium when they are all lost.
  2. He holds a little get together in Feb 2, hoping that he can convince people of the idea. His party is interrupted by Tatikios, the Emperor's right hand man, who lectures Umbertos on the folly of raising mercenaries after having escaped punishment for conspiracy. The first to come to Umbertos aid is the Xenophon, who answers Tatikios' naval concerns on how long and how fast such a trip make. 
    1. Second was Tertius, his greek heavy armsman. He points out how this is nothing compared to all the campaigns he's fought and he's been in them all, and they were all long shots. 
    2. Konrad, his german steward, begins to explain the risk and all the key problems and how they can overcome it. He stresses the importance of getting the project done and working now. 
    3. Cato, joins in when everyones attention has been peeked by the clarity of the plan in action. He offers his expertise of the area and that of his family. His brother says he will be able to send letters of introduction for all their contacts in all the routes to accommodate them. 
    4. Impressed Tatikios grudgingly assesses the plan, and even offers to let them air it to the emperor. They decide in a week, and are given the permission to get all their numbers together for their plan. 
  3.  Their presentation of the emperor was quite simple and straight forward, there was nothing for the emperor to grant other than the leverage of his name in the bargaining. His administrators would handle the rest (it was probably Isaac working with the team after to get all the seals and letters of introduction stamped and signed). Since Umberto will wager his family's estates for this, it was all on them if they failed. 
    1. The audience with Alexius was successful, and he even went over the details and offered Tatikios to join them. They politely refused. 
  4. They took two weeks to prep and set sail. Along the straight along abydos, they chanced upon Seljuq ships headed to new captured port territories in the north. They manage to talk their way out of being mistaken as an enemy thanks to the captains savvy.
  5. They sail to Athens where they manage to meet the ship building families and vett them for plans to meet them in Taranto, hopefully in 60 days time. It was March 8 when they left Athens.  
    1. They had an encounter with many captains in athens, and got to meet personally with them in amicable terms. 
    2. They had an interesting encounter with a particular working girl, who was impressed by them. 
  6. They sailed as fast as they can to Nikopolis, particularly Preveza where they got caught up in a storm. The captain was very skilled, but he was no Thor to master the heavens. They were thrown off course, but manage to find their bearings. They lost a week. 
  7. They were not the only one thrown off course by the storm.  They encounter very light galleys, of 30 oars and a sail. Three of them drifting until they spotted them. They had white sales and moved desperately at them - they were headed down wind while the party was headed upwind. 
    1. Battle was savage, a crew of 64 vs 90 raiders. 30 were taken out when they rammed them straight on. 60+ were left, those who could swim to wait along till the fight ended. 
    2. Despite their level of preparedness they took a massive beating. 30 were wounded and 12 died of their wounds after the battle. out of the 60+ 40 wounded, and 20 of that died of their wounds. (GURPS Mass combat)
    3. they are headed to Nikopolis when we ended. 

Friday, March 21, 2014

Thursday, March 20, 2014

GURPS Magic Notes 18: Zombies

“The Far East Triad lets everyone know they are into human trafficking, but what they really specialize in is what happens with expired goods” - Killian Tarmikos

Basically magical automations. The hungry zombie is just a zombie inflicted by its mage with uncontrollable appetite (since they are re programmable). They are tools, and much of what made them human became fuel and material for creating the magical automation.

The template explains most, or you can just skip it on to the Template Notes. 

Zombies Template

202 points
Attribute Modifiers [-90]: ST+1 [10]; IQ-5 [-100]
Secondary Characteristic Modifiers [58]: HP+4 [8]; Per+5 [25]; Will+5 [25]
Advantages [135]: Does not Breathe (B49) [20]; Doesnt Eat o Drink (B49) [10]; Doesn’t Sleep (B50) [20]; Immune to Metabolic Hazards (B81) (poisons, disease, sickness) [30]; Immune to Pain (B81) [15]; Injury Tolerance (B61) (unliving, no blood) [25]; Unfazeable (B95) [15].

Disadvantages [-345]: Amnesia (B123) [-25]; Appearance (B21) (unattractive) (universa, +25%) [-5]; Bad Smell (B124) [-10]; Cannot Learn (B125) [-30]; Dependency (B130) (Ambient Mana) (Common, Constantly; 1HP per minute) [-50]; Meta-Trait (B263) (Automaton) [-85]; No Sense of Smell/Taste [-5]; Reprogrammable [-10]; Short Lifespan 4 (B154) [-40]; Social Stigma (Valuable Property) [-15]; Supernatural Features (B157) (Pallor, No Body Heat) [-15]; Unhealing (Partial; Repaired by Magic) [-30]; Wealth (Dead Broke) [-25];

Features :
  • Affected by Turn and Control Zombie,
  • Pentragrams and various magical wards
  • No Mental Skills (until they have their sapiens mostly restored), Physical Skills still exist but degraded (half the points)
  • Zeroed (Legally Dead)

Zombie Template Notes

  • Their appearance makes them look really sick. Make up is needed to hide their symptoms.
  • This zombie is pretty much like a machine, you can kill it by shooting at vitals. In WBH organs are converted into something that processes and stores ambient mana.
  • No Biological Living habits: no breathing means no chest rising and falling, except when talking, No sweat, no warmth, no blushing, etc… assume Supernatural Features covers all this.
  • Slave Mentality and Automaton - they can be programmed, so treat it like a pretty sophisticated computer. Averaging IQ5, its a pretty powerful computer.
  • Magical Repair. Assume there is equivalents of the Healing Spells in Necromancy with worse prerequisites of up to 2.
  • As a template note how the person died, if they were crippled, the zombie gains the same disadvantages.  Blind zombie can be useless unless the mage does significant repair.
  • Automaton and Slave Metality is slow. They need to be updated after every command. Typically commands are programmed. 
  • More notes on Weak Dedicated AI (UT26):  
    • Coordinating zombies is a teamwork perk specialized with (zombie). Use IQ or Soldier. Complex commands may need a check, or to have less rolling the zombie will interpret it poorly. Typically commands have end statements and conditions, and drills were used to see the parameters of the zombies comprehension.
    • Zombies need to be "primed" typically soldiers need to issue commands, followed by confirmations of command receipt. Its complicated and hard, but drills are meant to make it very easy and intuitive. Without Familiarization, penalties of controlling a zombie in combat conditions can be hard to staggeringly impossible.
    • Note Language Considerations means, Zombies coming from the poor and uneducated Haven, or possibly african refugees will require different commands. See Modifications.


How to Modify Zombie

  • Zombies can be modified. It takes skill and magic to do so. Fleshcraft is a Hard Technique that defaults at -4 from Surgery or Artist (Sculpting) used to modify the Physical form of the zombie. Anima-Craft is a Hard Technique that defaults -4 from Psychology (familiar with behavioral sciences) -5 or Programming (AI) -5.   
  • Modifying a zombie can be treated as an enchantment activity - either quick and dirty or slow and sure. 1FP can modify up to 5 character points worth of changes to the template. The maximum modifications on any one zombie is Fleshcraft skill x2 in FP or Anima-Craft skill x2.
    • An Expert in Fleshcraft would have a 15, allowing up to 150 character points of alteration.
    • An Expert in Anima-Craft would have a 15, allowing up to 112 character points of alteration.  
  • The material costs for such modifications is an additional $10 per FP.  

What can be Modified

  • Physical Modifications: Appearance and Bad Smell. As well as some of the damage the body sustained in death.
    • Increased Strength and Toughness.
    • some features like Payload (a very common practice in haven - typically carrying explosive or gass bombs.
    • Partial DR. Some Mages have gone as far as to insert subdermal armor plates and sew the zombie back up. They vitals are protected and allows them to take more damage. Use partial DR rules Or just pay the cost of the armor.
    • Zombies which have fuller Sapience (like Zombie companions; IQ6+ and Slave Mentality and Automation is removed) can have increased speed and dexterity.
  • Mental Modifications brings the Zombie closest to its original form at great cost. A lesser skilled Mage will probably trade off the Automaton, Reprogrammable and Automation with Phobias, Compulsions, Flash Backs and Phantom Voices and many other psychological syndromes from the brain damage of death. A Zombie cannot have full memories restored and at best have Partial Amnesia (B123).  
    • Removing the large, -5 IQ penalty, or Reducing it.
    • Cannot Learn needs to be removed in order for the Zombie to learn more about its former identity.
    • Modifications cannot grant skills, although once the ability to learn and remember is restored they can start practicing and learning again.
    • Cannot Learn Magic or Magery! the zombie’s new form despite how modified has focused most of its resources in animating itself and cannot accomplish that of Ghouls and Vampires in magic and independence.  
    • Language Modification requires spells. See Gift of Tongues (M46) 50fp * cost for enchantment. This can be the most expensive part of the zombie.

Zombies Companion

-27 points
Attribute Modifiers [10]: ST+1 [10];
Secondary Characteristic Modifiers [8]: HP+4 [8];
Advantages [120]: Does not Breathe (B49) [20]; Doesnt Eat o Drink (B49) [10]; Doesn’t Sleep (B50) [20]; Immune to Metabolic Hazards (B81) (poisons, disease, sickness) [30]; Immune to Pain (B81) [15]; Injury Tolerance (B61) (unliving, no blood) [25].

Disadvantages [-165]: Amnesia (B123) [-10]; Dependency (B130) (Ambient Mana) (Common, Constantly; 1HP per minute) [-50]; Flashbacks, Minor (B136) [-5]; No Sense of Smell/Taste [-5]; Short Lifespan 1 (B154) [-10]; Social Stigma (Valuable Property) [-15]; Supernatural Features (B157) (Pallor, No Body Heat) [-15]; Unhealing (Partial; Repaired by Magic) [-30]; Wealth (Dead Broke) [-25];

Features :
  • Affected by Turn and Control Zombie,
  • Pentragrams and various magical wards
  • Zeroed (Legally Dead)

My Other Notes

This can be a lot of fun, a bit of Trans-humanism in my Modern Fantasy is a way to vent some of my sci-fi urges with out changing the game. I also realized a show called Resurrection also has some interesting ideas that can be applied to the zombie template.

PC should expect Zombies to be the very versatile tools of many baddies, as well as their ally (Cheng Dao). There are many ways to play with them, and use them for encounters.

Zombie, the better Drone

Treat them like a drone. A Zombie fire team lead by a soldier, or one zombie with one soldier. Zombies designed to take the hit and act as cover. They have IQ5 or improved, thats pretty much a sophisticated computer. They could be wearing improvised metal armor (cheap modern, heavy plate torso $500 DR8 3.5kg or 8lbs). Assume they are trained in formations and some carry very durable shields. Weighed down, they probably move-2 or 3.

Scary, would be armored BOMB delivery drones. Soldiers with pre-set detonation charges on the zombies can order them to charge (countered with area jammers) and blow them up on hard points. They can be used for bomb disposal.

I have two factions in WBH that uses zombies with technology as part of doctrine. I've used them in the background as Swarm delivery and insertion.

Identity Theft

Zombies have former Identities. There is a lot of crime that can be used with having an animated dead person giving their ID credentials to open a bank account or funnel money. Suffice to say, this is pretty much the standard criminal activity - from voter fraud, money laundering, and inheritance stealing.

Body Harvesting

Africa is a great resource for Zombies, especially because of the human tragedy that goes on. Expect this to be one of the major underground industries occurring in the continent and in Haven.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Checking stuff out, this time Play by Post

A Friend, asked me about where to find a place where he can just Play by Post. He's, like me, in GMT/UTC+8 or 12 hours advance to PST. Since most gamers (by a very big margin) are in US time zones he had some trouble looking for a place to play.

Like many other gamers, he wants to play but really can't find the time. Still the drive the play is so strong he actively sought Play by posts. Another thing we talked about is how he likes to try out other games, like a buffet, try out different genres and settings and play with many others. With work days can pass pretty quickly and an adventure quickly escalates as he can go through his daily routines.

+Tim Noyce runs a few games in Role-play online. I found it useful to know and maybe get some of my older gaming friends out of the hobby with kids to check it out lolz. (like a PUSHER lolz, their wives are going to be pissed at me)

+Jason Packer recommends myth Weavers as a source.
+Dall Hall showed me Storium, it seems they will be coming out with an App.

keeping this in my notes.

What I would want out of a PBP RPG APP?

An play by post app would actually save time and worry for the GM

Design Goals

  • Micro-RPGing. basically an app that allows me to quickly type out my activities and actions.
    • Add another layer to Character banter, allow them to talk in voice, but have events and actions part of the conversation. 
  • Organize, even create a timeline or narrative anyone can follow. 
  • Coordinate with other Artists for collaboration.


  • Quickly be able to separate Speech, side comments, and character actions. 
  • Scene Tagging
  • Have Emoticons Slots for the character's reactions. (connect with artists or allow players to add their own art)
  • A matrix for combat, who is threatening, attacking, and defending against who. 
  • Scheduling, Alerts, coordination, and various Activities. 
  • Library access of Materials and Wiki. They can add or search the campaign wiki. 
  • Organize the Timeline and Export events in SCRIPT (comic or movie) format so that easy to follow. 
  • A way to coordinate with Artists and tools to add your own personal art and ideas into the narrative. 
  • A way to juggle multiple campaigns. 
  • A small market for the participants to donate, gift, and pay for services and content.