Thursday, April 17, 2014

GURPS Magic Notes: System Mechanics Review

Bringing down the information barriers, and helping you get to play a mage or allow supernatural elements in the game. I'm particularly trying to work towards games with strategic and tactical magic. Like any level of complexity its built over a good foundation of fundamentals.

Quick Review 

  • B234 Glossary of Terms - I skipped this and went back to it (now that I looked at it seems I never really paid attention to this). 
    • Note the Spell Classes (B239): Regular, Area, Missile, Melee, Information, 
    • Area spells are funky when calculating area of effect. For every increment calculate it as as ((X*0.6)^2) * pi. Where X is the number of increments. 
      • It follows close to the hex area formula in very large values which is about (t^2)*2.6 where t is radius which is also equal to the length of a side. 
    • Note the Colleges, in GURPS Magic there is a TON of them, about 20s compared to DnD's 7-8 groups. 
  • B235 under Casting Spells - Spells are Skills. Pay the FP cost of the Spell and Roll your Spell Skill
    • Your spell skill is IQ + Magery (B66-67) + Controlling Attribute Modifier (B167). Mana Levels are a Factor (B235), and only Low Mana matters in most situation because it imposes a -5 penalty. 
    • Magical Rituals (B237) - skill 9 and below sucks and you look silly casting a spell, 10-14 makes you look funny, and 15-19 is where most cinematic fantasy fiction fall under, and 20 and up makes you look bad ass. 
    • You can burn HP (B237) but it Penalizes the spell at -1 per HP burned due to something like shock. Immunity or Resistance to Pain has to be house ruled (B80). Note that since it says that its due to Shock but it says High Pain threshold has no effect its shock but not shock (make your ruling). Numbness should help (B146). 
      • I house ruled Immune to Pain (but still you can feel damage since this is still not Numbness) as 20cp. GURPS Powers gives the maximum duration limitations and if I need an ability check to activate. I basically made it a 4cp ability with 80% limitations that brought down its duration and ability to use, you have to make a will check to activate this and it lasts only 1 minute. Note the Missile Class spell rules, since it takes turns to "Power Up" a missile spell, you may not be able to burn HP enough and in time when the pain will start giving penalties. 
  • B348 Critical Failure - at level 16, only an 18 is a critical failure (made that mistake last game a player rolled an 18; still erred on the side of the player). 
    • There is a Critical Spell Failure Table in B236. The odds of getting the worse result (18 and 18 again) is about 1:46k or 0.002% ish which is a demon. On the Table >70% of the effects are not so bad. Only 17-18 makes you the GM's bitch.
  • B308 A lot of Spells. There are about 106 spells in the Basic Set and about a total of 600 more spells in GURPS Magic. 
  • B242 Ritual Magic Rules in the box, under Clerical Magic System. 
  • B201 Innate Attack (specify) is needed for various attack modes. Read more M12/B240 
  • B226 Throwing Skill for spells which can be hurled. 
  • B238 Casting While Maintaining Other Spells basically is your Multi-Tasking rules.  Unfortunately Multi-Tasking rules are not consolidated and come from ISW226 and Gurps Spaceships 1 p. 59. 
    • Some Spells require Skills like Art like Illusion, Art (illusion), or Shape Earth, Art (sculpting). Since these are mental skills it takes a concentration maneuver (see B366) to use them. Since Shaping these things are speed of thought, the GM calls how much time it is to form.  
    • M7 or  B236 Distraction and Injury rules. 
  • B349 Rule of 16, Basically in a Quick Contest Roll (B348) an uber-powerful spell casters margin of success is capped at 16 or the target's contesting stat. So a Mage with skill-36 which targets HT would be used on a PC with only 12 HT can only have a margin of success limited as to only 16 (and not his 36 skill). 
    • So if the PC rolls a margin of 5 by rolling a 7, the Mage needs to roll at least a 10 and below Instead of rolling a 15 and still succeeding. Since the margin of success is using 16 to calculate a roll of 15 would have a margin of 1, instead of 11.  
  • B241 or M13 Blocking spells have no discount. 

In Summary 

  • B234 Normal Magic:  Roll your IQ + Magery (B66-67) + Your spells Controlling Attribute Modifier (that's a mouth full). Lets just call the Basic Set's core normal magic system NM vs Ritual Magics RM. in B242 its calls it "Normal" magic system.  
  • B242 Ritual Magic:  Roll your IQ + Magery (B66-67) + Ritual Magic's or Thaumatology's Controlling Attribute Modifier - Prerequisite Count of the Spell (the counts can be found in GURPS Magic B225; I have a suspicion there are some errors but to check them would be such a head ache and I'm fine with the approximations). 
  • In both NM (Normal magic) and RM high skill discounts (See B237 under Magic Ritual). Basically 15, you have a discount of 1FP, and every 5 levels after that is 1FP more discount. So at 20, -2FP discount, 25 -3 FP. The sweet spot is 25. In RM your Pre-requisite Count or your "count" brings down your skill, so more powerful spells (those with higher counts) don't get a discount. 
  • Your Effective Skill matters a lot. It determines a Spells' Endurance (M20; not found in the Basic Set as far as I can research), a spells ability to contest other spells that try to affect it. 
  • Resisted Spells, Note that many spells make the target roll HT or Will or even a Skill to resist the effects.  Note that some Area effect spells can be Dodged, with Drop and Dodge (B377). So if you see someone look at you funny in a magic game setting, it would be acceptable to Dodge and Drop for cover the same as you would if you heard gun fire. 

Strategy Guide and Tips

  • Familiars or Companion one of the largest sources of limitations for Magery. Its basically -40% and its not so visible, you will find it in the Allies Advantage in B38 on the very lower left corner of the page. 
  • Aspects are pretty much a must. You can make an Aspect just lower your effective by halving the Limitations effect (see Accessibility B110, 2nd to the last paragraph). So a Mage that is Half as powerful in the Day will have Half the Night Aspect limitation (B67) at -20%. If you want Mudras  aka Somatic Components, Poetry like in Visionaries aka Verbal Components, or Prepared Material Components like in DnD I recommend just basing it off the Aspects and House rule it or you can use my house rules for it (C'mon you don't really need someone else to make this and I'm sure someone online has made it already).  
  • GMs who wants to play around with various mage builds should consider the following: 
    • LIMIT THE COLLEGES! yes, limit it to like 10 or 7! This will make your life so much easier. 
    • Use Ritual Magic. If your going to Build Mages and have to list every spells, F-that! Just write down your Ritual Magic (VH) IQ [8], College of Choice (VH) IQ [8] etc... Its so much easier. 
  • Be a nice guy and point out this post about Modular Abilities: Super Memorization Spells to your GM. Basically I can make it 0.6cp per 1 modular CP with limitations. That means every 3cp I spend in Modular Ability: Super Memorization, I can have 5cp to allocate for spells. If he allows it great, if not you never ever entertained it or wasted your time with it. 
  • Energy Reserves and Extra Fatigue. With the right amount, your mage can do a lot of cool stuff. If you bring down the cost to 0.6cp per 1FP than you have 3cp for 5fp. 15 points invested is 25FP of energy. Its not so bad or broken, its actually fun of course you may run some simulations and scenarios how much you would allow. 

The Can of Worms

  • Air and Earth Spells. if we go science-y does mean I can create, seek, and shape various Minerals and Gasses. Its not so bad but its going to make you learn more about science in a fun way
  • Prerequisite Count for Related Spells. Talisman and Amulet (M58) affect spells of the same family. Example Dull (M133) and Dullness (M134) can be affected by a Talisman and Amulet. 
    • Here is the annoying follow up, Enchant spell (B480 or M56) and Temporary Enchantment have prerequisites of -11 and -12 respectively. Does that means that my master for Enchantment will not carry over my proficiency of Temporary Enchantment? you make your ruling. 
      •   My ruling - I don't want a lot of point inflation and messy character sheets and enchantment is very expensive in my game setting at $250 1FP worth. Guess how I'm going to rule? - yeah it carries over but it has to be as strong relationship. So a Mage with Enchantment (H) [12] has a -1 to cast Temporary Enchantment. Note that these spells depend on a second spell skill so its kinda balances out. I've not thought as far as Enchantment Spells like Accuracy and the Like.  
  • Extra Fatigue and Energy Reserve. It can be broken. Introduce a Cap. Stop a player from doing a yenkidama explosive fireball for 25d ex damage if he goes around and spends 30cp.   

More Material

  • Magical Familiar and Companions - why can't dogs and horses be companions? Well join me in magical heresy - this is gurps after all and I want to have horses and dogs.  
  • Sample Mages - An experiment in magical demographics and work force allocation. 
  • Zombie and Zombie Companion - inspired by almost human and resurrection lolz
  • Minor Spirit Servants  - Inspried by hayao miyazaki takes on such creatures.
  • Proto Lichs - Because there is so much sacred cows when it comes to vampires. 
  • Swarm Familiar - the most dangerous familiar, GMs should really limit who gets these. Inspired by Chinese cockroach farms and some basic biology that comes with gurps gaming (like the square cubed law). Imagine where 2/3 of food wasted goes. 
  • Information Gathering - Note that you should check out GURPS Mysteries, it has a chapter on the value of each spells in crime and investigation. 
  • Darkness Mages - Because there is a scary combo asking to be used. Needs to be reworked a bit but the basic combo is still powerful. 
  • Demon Ally - a review of contract and negotiation basics, because your dealing with the devil here. 
  • Ghostly Companion - for those who really can't let go and leave things to rest. 
Next Article will focus on Ritual Magic and High Magery Campaign. Hopefully I covered the most basic and key points, and did a bunch to bring down the complexity of the game. I will feature 2 Master level mages and their Best Practices. They are what I use to gauge the level of preparation and organization the mages have in the War Beneath Heaven. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Gurps talents, combat talents.

As part of the Cult of stat normalization I found talents to be indispensable and it models so many things so well. I interchange talent with Aptitude, we may be somewhere else later in life where our aptitudes change - certain skills are easier to raise than others given time opportunity and resources.

I've been building a small collection of templates around just two levels of 5pt talents and I've been able to make well rounded realistic professionals. It's better you saw it for yourself. Modern Templates under Construction

Anyway, one of the more interesting things to think of is talents in respect to modeling our-self. I made a requirement that talents have to follow a themes but talents can be unrelated and born from the chaos of circumstance. In such cases we gain Reputation only from our most valued and highest skill.

Defaulting more

- 6 to - 2. What I love about talents is that we default more. We use what we know and try to adapt it the different circumstance.  It also makes us pursue and choose skills because it gives us more things to default to or we realize.

Looking at the defaulting penalties a skill is more valuable when you can default tasks at -2 to -4, and diminishing returns are at around -5 and worse.

Merchant and Psychology have a lot of defaults. Soldier should have a lot of defaults, and other professions that have a lot of training and a lot of change of lifestyle.

Why can't we have combat Skills as talents?

How the system is designed comes to mind, this rule basically means its unbalanced to have combat skills as part of talents, while violating this in GURPS Dungeon Fantasy lolz. Ok so lets just look at the Game Design.

Lets try having Weapon Talents and all of a sudden we have a +2 to +4 bump in over all skils. That means a soldier whose works with the sword for 4 years (8cp of work experience) now can have a +2 bump... making him an Expert at 14. Why is that so bad?

In a Realistic Combat Game, with none of the special advantages like Gunslinger, Heroic Archer, Weapon Master, Enhance Parry etc... around a +2 to +4 bumb in skill at the cost of 10-20 points is not so bad. Quickly weapons have diminishing returns for every weapon skill you add. The only time you would add weapon skill if a weapon can be wielded by other weapon skills like an Axe can be used by Axe/Mace or 2h-Axe/Mace or a Spear with Staff and Spear and even Pole Arm, a Naginata or dueling Pole-sword with Staff, Pole-arms, 2h-sword etc.

What it does really do is change the landscape of the game a bit. What I love about Low Power games is that Talents are easier to calculate diminishing returns vs bringing up a Stat. So you don't have really Dexterous Swordsmen, you have TALENTED swordsmen. Since talent is a combination of genetics, background, and education, and "je ne se quoi" in the resolution level of gurps, it fits quite well in the things we have trouble measuring... unlike DX or IQ across the board.

Are all Skills equal in value? Thats the thing, they are not all valuable and some skills are not valuable without some other complimentary skills. Programming is great and a valuable skill, but it needs other complimentary skills to add its value (merchant skill, computer expertise, electronic operation skill etc...). They are not equal and the Game system should not make a value judgement on it except for how hard the skill is to learn based on many discover-able factors

One non-combat skill to one combat skill

So why not allow it? not because of other gurps products violating this rule, but because of how skills and aptitudes/talents are supposed to work. If your really conservative, why not try this: substitute 1 combat skill for 3 non-combat skills until? So Talented Roman Soldier with Armatura will have talents in soldier skills and shield and sword?

The Cult

The Cult of stat normalization is the nickname of the group in gurps who are not satisfied with the assumptions of the system and try to tweak and adjust the assumptions so that stats are closer to real. World expectation. They tend to limit stats to 15 instead of 20 because they base it on humans and not adventurers.

We are admittedly a bunch of killjoy if you think such benchmarks and statistics ruin fun. But in our defense it makes us appreciate exceptional Abilities more when we are very conservative and skeptical of ability ranges. When things are awesome and the data proves so we really gush. It means everyday marvels rarely escape our attention and do not Attribute to malice what can be attributed to incompetence.

My current qualm is that Physical stats do not distribute as well as IQ in the current system. The most gross example is just looking at running statistics for amateur runners (which affect DX and HT, fitness and actually economic circumstance). Also when you factor economic circumstances like poverty line and the world instead of just the US (which GURPS bases off) there is a

Saturday, April 12, 2014

War Beneath Heaven S02 E10 - The End has Arrived

  1. Speedy is in the infirmary. Sam was taking care of him. Jeni visits him and this happens while the team was fighting the dragon. Sam notices something odd about Merle and Jakub. Jakub begins having violent seizures. Constanz arrives seems to calm him down. When everyone was distracted, Merle grabs the Sam who manages to escape. Sam tries to escape. Jakub smashes speedy back, and merle begins to strangle jeni. Speedy uses a flashbang, which knocks them out. 
  2. The guys get back down only to find Jakub up and Merle standing among st slain staff. Jakub charges and proves very difficult to kill. Merle gets lead in the face and goes down. Zombies attack them from the rear. They manage to kill Jakub by bringing up a thin concrete barrier and shooting through it preventing him from dodging or parrying their weapons from arms reach. 
    1. Fish is hurt terribly. The guys go through two M4 30-round mags against Jakub. 
  3. The guys discover Speedy, Jeni and Sam guarded by zombies who attack and harm speedy as he tries to escape. The guys make use of the many secret stashes HSS has to scrounge and re-equip. They manage to recover a bit. They proceed to recover more gear in the infirmary. 
    1.  All the bases are under attack. 
    2. Tasha survives an ambush when she fails to appear in a trap because of her intense hate for Cheng. Cheng sets up a meeting with the partners only to kill them all, Emily survives because she's been too haggard and weak from the constant work. Someone raids his home in brighton trying to kill Emily and Osmans child but they managed to escape. 
    3. A lot of time getting ready and doing evaluations.
  4. The are able to distract some ghouls enough to get to parking where they were able to load up. A loud car door opener gives away their position, and they rush to get out fighting of two powerful ghouls. Speedy and Eeshu manage to fight them off.
  5. Tasha meets them outside, but someone manages to shoot her from the building. She is badly wounded but still manages to drive them. Speedy sends out one of the last remaining drones to check on what happened to everyone
    1. They find bodies, Chengs gang being consumed. 
    2. they find Cheng impaled in his board room. 
    3. They find Killian on the floor dying while Sid defending him. Sid's true form emerges as she fights off well armed and equipped vampires. Speedy detonates one more flash bang before the drone dies. It last vision is another swordsman facing Sid. 
  6. The group tries to navigate through the heights but the area has become abandoned and filled with creatures who emerged from the gash in the mountain to feed on the populace. they are trying to getting to Brighton. The encounter one of them, sending it pipe bombs, they manage to bring it down in a rain of meat. 
  7. Tasha navigates and Speedy tries to correct her. He is unable to change her mind (fails leadership) and she goes on her expertise. She manages to get them out, but on the forested jungle mountain and into a dead end. 

Killing of much of the old Cast and Pregens

  • avoiding GM PCs. 
  • removing the Clutter in the Cast
  • More opportunity for the PCs to shine. 

Other Notes

  • to build a setting and let it all go to hell to make for a good ending and add drama. 
  • When I was preparing my guidelines were - which would make more drama for the character - loved ones and survival were easy marks but I wanted other sources of conflict. When tasha argued with speedy and speedy didnt have any leadership to correct her, it was two friends having a really bad fight and a wounded relationship. 
  • Now I'm looking for conflict, as in two beliefes that draw the player in directions they cannot align so easily. 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Interesting Notes on GURPS Skilll and then some.

What I've noticed is that some skills can be bundled as part of a broader skill - exam

  • Police Work is a Optional Specialty of Law. In fact this is true with some of the paralegal work for business. You can say Law (Law Enforcement) is a sub specialty of Law compared to the various other specialties. These days with Law outsourcing services for information analysis, they still need para legal or people with legal background, so it actually make sense that there are more Law Optional Specializations being used regularly. 
    •  Procedural processing of a criminal should be under Law, IMO. Usually a Optional Specialization  Law (Criminal, Law Enforcement) (IQ/A).
    • Example. Law (Business) can have Subspeciality Law (Business, government regulations) (A) instead of (H). 
  • Criminology and Psychology, basically you can say Criminology is a Optional Specialization of Psychology. The big deal is the defaults and the ability to "predict" a particular behavior. Depends how you're GM sees the field of Criminology vs Psychology, what is normal or more applicable to most people vs what is applicable only to deviants behavior.
  • Heraldry and History. History in low tech for characters of such an age would be specialized in  Dynasties and War (counting grudges). Dynasties can have an optional specialization: Heraldry... depending in what culture and if they have such or similar systems. thats how I see it, History: Dynasties should be broader and better in identifying High Status NPCs by their relationships. 
    • History and Current Events? The Question arises is how much of History is part of the skill, yesterdays news can be history. Given how heavy it is, and to prevent from having too many facets of the same skill in play or on the character sheet, Id recommend that Current Events should be part of History.
      • Example. TTC History of Economics has lectures about the earliest philosophies of merchantilism, through the birth of Lassie Faire, in many eras up to the present (tackled in bands of decades).  It is actually a pretty good look at Business History and how policies changed and how it affected everything as a whole. This would be an example of History (Business) TL8
      • admittedly I'm a history nerd, so knowing how things came about is what I find important although more academic.    
  • Administration being more. RAW Administration is a reaction roll in basic set, in Mass Combat its part of a logistics roll. Although its a really important skill in business and an expectation form many professional where I come from the organization skill is part of leadership skill.  In call centers its how big a team you can lead or manage given that you have enough sub ranked personnel. Now why is this an issue of Administration and not leadership is because of my anecdotal experience. In short it takes very good prioritization and organization to expand your leadership influence. 
    • Administration is pretty important because there are MANY standards that certify for levels of administration - ISO, Six Sigma, and various other certification bodies... even Agile is a kind of organization, and its applied for some other work. 
    • Math (Statistics) would be a requirement for higher levels of Administration. It means a character can use many of the Statistic based techniques and disciplines that have these in mind. It would be what is use when using powerful computing tools and attacking information barriers (like Intelligence Analysis). 
  • Merchant a requirement for Freelancers. A character who freelances must have merchant, or will be screwed. They can even use optional specialization, particularly their industry (example. freelancer computer programmer, IT, artist, etc...) That means haggling, pricing, learning industry practices, and knowing how to set up the business aka paper work. This reflects why many free lancers have a hard time, since they're dividing their time between work and the "running" of the business. It also accounts for how some freelancers have median ability but can get a lot of gigs and work.  
  • Leadership as an Influence skill. its strangely an organizational skill but when it gets everyone to work together. In my experience with it, its often when the leader talk to the group or individual discretely about the situation and gets them in the right motivation or alignment. Pep talks as Public Speaking can work, but the way good leaders work dont usually  for oration and handling press conferences or debates. When your in a closed door meeting with your elements, you tend to use leadership. Strange its in work I see these "skills" being used and as a Gamer I cannot help but really watch attentively and take notes. 
    • SUB- reaction roll.  Basically you are all friends, so you are all within the Friendly band of Reaction Table. In this Sub-Band, there is a reaction roll where the player can attempt to ignore or aggravates one of their many motives and disads. No need for the table, just translate the Raction Table roll into the Bands of how you react to a friends/team-mate's most negative or most positive reaction rolls, modified by the stuff they do (ex. betrayal can be a large penalty, and "watching their back" being the biggest bonus)
  • Leadership as an IMPORTANT skill. Democratic doesnt work in decision making, some one really has to take charge but that person still needs to consider the ideas and opinions of his group. Leadership is under-rated in the system and to fix that here are my notes:
    • Conflicting Information should be role-played, but a failed leadership roll means lack of Initiative. The group loses their initiative advantage from the leaders's combat reflex, or they all have 1 less initiative OR they baddies move up in the turn order. 
    • Characters with different Moral or Ethical lines and qualms are addressed by the leader in a period where there is Haste and Initiative can be taken. Roll and Role-play.
    • Morale and Various Social Engineering attacks on the Group can be applied to the Leader's Attribute Modifier (talent applies) with the average of the groups ability score (typically will). 
    • In my field of work, good leadership is defined broad generalizations but it can be boiled down to:
      • Getting everyone's motivations align to the goal of the group
      • preventing large and small problems from coming up with a number of rules of thumb along with an instinct for sniffing out mis-alignment. 
      • Being able to maintain cohesion and conflict at the same time by judicially tackling or coping interpersonal problems - either buying time, satisfying demands or needs, channeling the negativity somewhere else or giving a place for vent. 
      • Promoting a particular culture, this is a sign of a strong charismatic leader (leadership +15!), when there is a strong tangible team culture that is enforced and easily assimilated. The group adopts the leaders own motivations and goals, to a limited degree (particularly the Code of Honor), and a protocol is developed handling all the other distracting and divisive motivations or forces. 
      • A leader is able to shuffle his inconsistencies into the inconsistencies and flaws of his own team, it doesn't diminish his credibility but endears him to them. 
      • Leaderships is a Conditioned response and behavior. If you would try to use Psychology, Intimidation, and Acting to promote it impose a -5 penalty and use the lower of IQ or Will because of the duration and mental endurance needed. 
  • Interrogation vs Body Language or Detect lies. Interrogation is special because it should be noted that it can compel people to talk or answer IMO. People can just keep silent, and we assume everyone is not stupid enough to talk (roll will +5 for a perp to remember what all their betters tell them: Keep your trap shut). Note that an interrogator or interviewer wants people to keep talking, even the noise gives clues. 
  • Intelligence analysis Game Uses. The skill doesn't really have a lot of game applications. From my own studies, the skill would reflect for dealing with noise, filtering information, and looking for patterns. Think of it like Cryptography roll - breaking Information barriers. Usually its in hours and requires a lot of tools and other skills. 
  • Years of Experience. One year is equal to 2cp of practicing the job. This is common in many job requirements. So 10 years of experience is at least 20cp in the core skill (enough for a attribute +4 for a hard skill). Years of self study is 4cp each year, example a hobby which you can really find time to do (and you have a certificate or some way to verify the level of attainment). Dedicated Study or Guided Study is worth 8cp per year. This assumes typical modern labor paramters of 200 days a year, although most of the world experience ~240 or even countries that have 288-313 days a year still suffer off days because of health reasons.  Unlike GURPS, real life requires more attention and practice. 
  • Make Workaholic a DISADVANTAGE - Treat it as an Odious Personal Habit or a severe penalty (-3) in occasions where one has to take away from work. People at home will have a -3 reaction penalty to their workaholic family member in some way. In social occassions they bring up work to a fault for up to -1 to -3 disadvantage. When the socialize FOR work, they are Hard Sell and get a -3 penalty.  If they try to meditate or relax or sleep AT WORK they may have problems relaxing. ... definitely GMs who want to emphasize work life balance or who are haggard because of work will echo such sentiments about taking on such a disadvantages. Cultures with Workaholic as an Ideal or Accepted lifestyle will have its trade offs... the typical statistical markers of unhappiness still follows them despite it being "culturally acceptable". lolz - the heart wants what the heart wants.  

Workload Assessment

Being able to Asses workload or give benchmarks is a little peeve of mine when it comes to game systems. GURPS does this for a few skills, Traveller has this completely arbitrary (roll 1d6 hours or minutes or 10 minutes), DnD 3.0-3.5 was inconsistent, in some systems it doesnt matter or "skills" take a level of abstraction that uses no assumptions and has moving goal posts it amazing people are still able to communicate ideas in them!

Some GM skills I realized that is hard to get is multi-disciplinary exposure to Workloads. I'm in a strange circumstance since the family business is into construction, IT, logistics, and manufacturing. The wife and my parents are accounting and finance in training, and I was lucky to have a grandfather who was into science and I got to to study a bit about the industry (and learned a lot about the Pharma industry recently). Taken in all, Workload patterns is something that I got to particularly observe and see a pattern into. Basically how to analyze it or forensically look for it when I look at a system. So its a great thing as a GM to know what each tasks MAY entails when I ask people to Roll for their skill.

Again my 4 hour unit of work, finding it in other systems is kinda neat. Anyway, projects take time and not all projects are expected to be done at X amount of time. Given how arbitrary things can be in an industry, typically people are comfortable doing Tasks in x2 to x4 amount of time than it normally is possible. Engineering related industry people typically throw you time to completion of that much, while some give you optimistic times (only to fall short of expectation). It is a "grown up" or sign of maturity and reflection to be able to quickly make estimates about how much time it really takes to do a project.

Sales will always give optimistic values (short times), while the guys on the ground will give you longer than what you can afford to wait. its a puzzle and in the end the GM makes the call. I talk about these things when I can on the blog, but really who reads this shit lolz. I had to separate work-game writing another blog lolz.

you know that saying, if all you've got is a hammer everything is a nail? Its discussed in JDMS (judgement and decision making science), whats funny is what if your brain is a GAMER and everything is a Game Challenge to be "gamed". This is pretty much a fault of mine and why I am able to fill this blog with non-sense always lolz.


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

GURPS Magic Notes: Spirits

Spirits are useful tools used by mages. The basic Spirit trait you see below can be slapped on a lot of various useful spirit lenses (also below) and is meant to be used with the Command Spirits spell found in GURPS Magic p. 153. The Command Spirit spell gives you a minimum of 50cp spirit, so you have a lot of lenses you can use.

I got the idea behind drones, but spirits as tools and aids has been a very old idea. Of course, it is in modern thinking of logistics and organization where we see methods and techniques to use spirits in a scale a mage would not have thought of prior to the advancements of logistics and economics.

I think of spirits as a much smarter drones, and a particularly unpredictable because they have their own personality and quirks. Mages see them as tools but they are much more than that. A simple and powerful use of spirits is "spying" and gathering information. Acting as agents for the Mages, they can be very powerful... but have their risks.

If you get the chance to read the template/trait, you will notice these are two spirits: light and darkness. The darker spirit being more useful because it tends to be used for more roles.

Here is the Gdocs which I update more frequently

Hidden Lore (Spirits) (IQ/A)

Defaults: Hidden Lore (Undead) -4, Thaumatology -6, Necromancy Path-4,
The ability inductively or deductively determine the abilities and qualities of a Spirit. Since spirits are not just the "dead", there are spirits can be those found in the worlds behind the veil of reality. Spirits is an optional specialty, and a broader expertise is possible looking all creatures beyond the "veil".

Command Spirit (Necromancy; prerequisite count 5; M153). This spell can be maintained by a mage with at least the spell skill of 25 (a gross skill ability of Thaumatology-36 or Necromancy-30)

Spirit Template

-14 points
Advantages [181]: Doesn't Breathe (B49) [20]; Doesn't Eat or Drink (B50) [10]; Doesn't Sleep (B50) [20]; Immune to Metabolic Hazards (B80) [30]; Insubstantial (B62; Always On -40%) [48]; Invisibility (B63; Substantial Only -10%; Visible in Mirrors -10%; Resistable, WIll-2, -20%) [24]; Night Vision 9 [9]; Unkillable 2 (Achilles Heel, Silver and Magical -50%; Hindrance, Silver and Magical -25%; Trigger, Simple Ritual, -5%) [20];
Disadvantages [-195]: Dependency (B130) (Very Common - Ambient Mana, -5 points;  Constantly x5 cost) [-25]; Dread (B132; Symbols of Protection) [-10]; Supernatural Features (B157; Pallor, No Body Heat) [-15]; Vulnerability (Rare - silver and magic; x4 damage) [-20]; Vulnerability (common - Energy Attacks; x2 damage) [-40];  Weakness (B161) (Sunlight 1d per minute) [-60] or Dependency (Very Common, Light -5 points; Constantly, x5 cost; 1d3 of damage per minute, +100%, Total -50), Vulnerability (Rare - Dark Magic, x2 damage; -10)  [-60]; Non-Legal Human Entity Meta Trait [-40].

  • Dark Spirits are averse to daylight (1d burn per minute)
  • Light Spirits are dependency on Light, taking 1 damage in complete darkness per second.
  • They depend on mana, so can't be found in dead zones and dead zones "starve" them (1HP second).

Typical Packages and Features

  • Mindlink (B70) with the mage (making even the smallest chance to communicate with the mage a success).  
  • Detect (all Supernatural; use Observation skill) (B48) [30].

Small Spirits Templates

Lesser spirits tend to be small (SM-5 typically), because it makes it easier for them to hide and find safe places to wait out the day.


31 points
these are small spirits that watch and report
SM-5; Move-5 (flight-5)
Social Background [5]: Cultural Familiarity (human) [2]; Language (Fluent) [3]
Template [-14]: Spirit Template [-14]
Advantages [45]: Detect (All Supernatural; B48) [30]; Talent Stalker 2 (Stealth, Observation, Navigation, Shadowing, Search, and Tracking) [10]; Mind Link (B70) [5]
Disadvantages [-25]: Curious (12) (B129) [-5]; Loner (12) (B142) [-5]; Workaholic (B162) [-5]; Cowardice (12) (B129) [-10]
Skills [20]: Observation (A) Per+1 [4]; Navigation (A) IQ+2 [8]; Stealth (A) DX [2]; Shadowing (A) Per [2]; Search (A) Per [2]; Tracking (A) Per [2].   


31 points
Poltergeist comes to mind, these mean spirits can make someone's life miserable. Great for distracting and harassing people who don't have any defenses (even simple symbols of protection).
SM-5; Move-5 (flight-5)
Social Background [5]: Cultural Familiarity (human) [2]; Language (Fluent) [3]
Template [-14]: Spirit Template [-14]
Advantages [65]: Detect (All Supernatural; B48) [30]; Telekinesis  (ST4, BL 1.45kg or 3.2 lbs; source, magic; focus, magic) [20]; Talent Stalker 2 (Stealth, Observation, Navigation, Filch, Throwing, and Slight of Hand) [10]; Mindlink (B70) [5]
Disadvantages [-45]: Sadism (12) (B152) [-15]; Bully (12) [-10]; Trickster (12) (B159) [-15]; Callous (B125) [-5]; alternate disads:
Fanaticism [-15]; Pacifsm (Cannot Harm Innocence) [-10]; Code of Honor (soldier) [-10]; Workaholic [-5]; Hidebound [-5]
Skills [20]: Observation (A) Per [2]; Navigation (A) IQ [2]; Stealth (A) DX [2]; Throwing (A) DX+2 [8]; Slight of Hand (H) DX [4]; Filch (A) DX [2].   


31 points
Such spirits summon and used to aid the mage in research and study.
SM-5; Move-5 (flight-5)
Social Background [5]: Cultural Familiarity (human) [2]; Language (Fluent) [3]
Template [-14]: Spirit Template [-14]
Advantages [65]: Detect (All Supernatural; B48) [30]; Telekinesis  (ST4, BL 1.45kg or 3.2 lbs; source, magic; focus, magic) [20]; Talent helper 2 (Hidden Lore, Theology, Expertise (Thaumatology), Art, Writing, Research ) [10]; Mindlink (B70) [5]
Disadvantages [-45]: Chummy (12) (B152) [-5]; Obsession (the project at hand) (12) [-5]; Code of Honor (Devoted Professional) [-10]; Truthfulness (6) [-10]; Pacifism (Self defense Only) [-10]; Workaholic [-5].
Skills [20]:  Hidden Lore (Mages, Undead, Spirits, or Magical Creatures) (A) IQ [2]; Hidden Lore (Mages, Undead, Spirits, or Magical Creatures) (A) IQ [2]; Theology (name a Tradition) (H) IQ [4]; Expertise (Thaumatology) (H) IQ [4]; Art (Symbol Drawing, Sculpting, Painting) (H) IQ [4]; Writing (A) IQ [2]; Research (A) IQ [2].   


31 points
Such spirits summon and used to aid the mage in research and study.
SM-5; Move-5 (flight-5)
Social Background [5]: Cultural Familiarity (human) [2]; Language (Fluent) [3]
Template [-14]: Spirit Template [-14]
Advantages [70]: Detect (All Supernatural; B48) [30]; Magery (Limited Magery: Protection and Healing -20%; Accessibility -granted by ally -40%; Pact: Vow protect the Ally -15%; ) [35]; Mindlink (B70) [5]
Disadvantages [-50]: Bad Tempered (15) [-5]; Chummy (12) (B152) [-5]; Obsession (protect client) (12) [-5]; Code of Honor (Soldier) [-10]; Truthfulness (6) [-10]; Pacifism (Self defense Only) [-10]; Workaholic [-5].
Skills [20]: Observation (A) Per [4]; Protection (VH) IQ  [8]; Healing (VH) IQ [8] .   
Various Notes

Various Notes

Notes about Non-legal human Entity meta Trait [-40] - Social Stigma (Valuable Property) [-15*]; Dead Broke [-25];

*Social Stigma: Monster vs Valuable Property. This is the difference between a Pest and an Asset. Its the fine line between a Cockroach farmer in China and many other people. Everyone else can see the cockroaches as pests and destroy it, and even encouraged to destroy the "pest". As for "Protected Animals" these fall under Valuable Property.

Biological vs Alternate "Biology"

Doesnt Sleep, Eat & Drink, Breathe, Immune to Metabolic Hazards basically remove much of the basic "needs" that make up a basic biological being. What happens is that other things take the role of Food&Drink, Respiration, and Rest.

Respiration, Food&Drink, and Rest, can be modeled by Dependency (B130), Maintenance (B143), and other Disadvantages.

With the unusual biology, poisons and disease don't work on it, but there are things that work like poisons and diseases - which can be Weaknesses and Vulnerabilities.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Sins of the Crusade E02 - the Sin of Weakness

Thanks to
+Wilton Heath - Cato Vorenus an Honest Naepolitan Merchant and client of House Milessenos.
+Il Pella - Xenophon Papagiannopolous, Captain of the Zardakos
+Thunder Clonch - Teritus Maxentius, Guardsman of the House Milessenos
+Panic Slark - Berthold son of Gunther, a personal agent of Konrad.
+Kalalification - Konrad of House Milessenos, Koubikolarios (chamberlain) of House Milessenos.

This is the Video, i guess on Air is going to be buggy in what was a 5.33hour game

  • There may be more details I left out, but this is as much as I can remember. 
  • The game began with the party arriving in Preveza, a town that has survived the fall and ruin of Nikopolis. It was dark and from the walls. The walls only being about 3m high, most watchers can only see as far as 6km away, the church tower allows only about 8km. The Zardakos, despite being poorly crewed from the norman encounter was able to approach before alerting many in the town. Only a lone dock hand, who identified himself as Marion, managed to help the crew secure their ships. (note - horizon distance viewed is height^(1/2)(m) * 3.57 in km)

    • The crew was starving, having sailed mostly upwind to reach Preveza in about 3 days. They were not men anymore with all the festering and the lack of food and water. 
    • Miroclenes, the First Mate of Xeno took care of much of the logistics and details in getting the crew ship shape. 
    • Consecration of the Earth by Demetrius Spaneas was playing in the background thanks to sound cloud. 
  • The party went to work quickly, custom dictated they introduce themselves to the master of the town. Xeno and Konrad was able to identify the House of Berenos and Korda. The party split up to make their intentions known. they carried letters of introduction from the emperor and their House. Konrad, Berthold, and Tertius went to greet the House of Berenos while Cato and Xeno went to greet the House of Korda. 
    • She manages to get the Soldier to blather on the situation at the capital. She seemed to expect the bad news. Konrad had deflect the matter. 
  • Those who went to the House of Berenos had a cold reception. they were able to meet the master, or in this case the Mistress, Dowager Countess Lizandra of Berenos. She was suspicious of them, and didn't seem interested in reading their letter of introduction. She didn't even much mind the wine they brought from Athens. When Konrad tried to gather information, she seemed uncooperative and told them the town is fine. If they were looking for help, they should visit the Ekklesia of Agios Andreas. Most of the time she deflected Konrads prying. In the discussion, the party was distracted by Lucretia, the daughter of the countess. 
  • * If you consider Nikopolis and its region a county. 
  •   she made a rather rude hurried departure, excusing her self to visit the church. After which, the conversation ended and the group was still left tired, hungry and worn. 
  • Cato and Xeno fared better visiting the House of Korda,  They first met the major domus, who did not seem to like them at first glance. He was very unhelpful and made many excuses, its only when Xenos was resorting to threats did Mateus of Korda step out and invite them in. With the gift of wine tongues were loosed and many stories was exchanged so early in the morning. They managed to impress mateus, especially the stories of Valor. The old merchant had plans for them and hinted it but would not give them any more information until they had a chance to meet all the other merchants in the town. 
    • Mateus mentions a man who he seems interested to fix, by the name of Hledik. 
    • He brags that the Priest is his Grandson and that the party should seek help there.
    • The party manages to keep secret that they have Norman Prisoners. 
  • Cato and Xeno were headed back, and the Taverna was in the crossroads, letting them spot with easy their comrades who were trying to eat and get a drink. They catch up and while they talked, a man who smelled of sweater horse introduced himself as Kovalsky. He tried to small talk to the party, but they were wary of him. He got them drinks, which he called goats piss (whey with various herbs, spices, and preserves). He tells them he will be in town or Nikopolis if they want to talk to him.   
    • They manage to small talk the merchants and the people of the tavern. They find out:
      • the Count died in 1081, his sons along in the disaster of Dyyrachium / Durazzo. The countess lost her sons and step sons, and all her daughters have been married (i forgot one died in childbirth). He last daughter, Lucretia, is set to be married this year, the family she is marrying into just had to arrange things because she  
      • She is the step mother of the Rev. Theodon. 
    • The party, after eating and settling their bill proceeded to the Market which was near by. They bought supplies and asked them to be taken to the ship. Since they had a merchant with them, Cato sweet talked them to deliver the goods to Miroclenes who would use funds in the treasury to pay for it. 
    • Berthold went on a little adventure, and broke into the Black smith's house and stole some valuables. The smith managed to get a swing at him, for 6hp, and he failed his check to get down safely suffering 5dmg to his foot. 
      • he finds a very fine balanced small knife, an electrum (silver gold alloy) bracelet, and small trinkets and jewelry amounting to $500.
  • They finally proceed to the church around lunch time. When they arrived they heard galloping and a horse being ridden in the courtyard, but they could not see it. When they called up for the gates to open, the riding stopped and it was painstaking for the door to be open. When the door was open by the servants they were by a man who was suspicious of them. He was also skeptical of their papers, and was rude to Konrad. He introduces himself as Deacon Dorian and proceeded to bring them to the Priest. 

  • They meet Rev. Theodon introduces himself and is very grateful to meet people from the Capital. He is very helpful and thoughtful of the party's needs. When he learns of their injury he offers his medical skills. He says he can shelter 30 and more if he conscripts the use of their much unused barracks. 
    • Theodon takes care of Burtholds injuries. 
    • The party asks Theodon to have access to the barracks. 
    • Cato got bored and began to go on to a little adventure. He spots a rather tall woman, walking away from the church which he follows. She is escorted by maids who let her get on a horse and ride away. He badgers the maids to much of their humilation until they bring him to the House of Berenos. He goes there to call on the lady, but the servants say she is not in. He badgers them and they are humiliated and close the door on him.
  • That afternoon they get busy setting up the injured crewmen, Miroclenes takes care of the details and the crew takes Mateus offer for dinner and socializing with the merchants who could join them. They tell many stories and they get to know much about the town and the situation. They learn of Hledik "the Hun" a mercenary employed by the countess who has gotten "out of control" and calls himself the Master of Nikopolis. They learn that Kovalsky is his sergeant, and that they control all the lands north of the town. 
    • Mateus offers them stingy rewards to get rid of Hledik. They paint him as a brute but the party's political survival instincts kick in and are wary of the one sided discussion. Basically the deal on the table is very dubious and non of the party was willing to put their neck on the line. 
    • He asks them if they liked the priest. 
    • Cato gets to the wives of the merchants interested in him, they talk about their daughters and cato tries to get to know them. He is able to make them think he is a better off bachelor than he really is. In the morning he will meet their daughters and see if an arrangement can be made. 
  • That morning, they attempt to find Kovalsky and one of kovalsky's men find them and tell them to meet outside of town. In a farmers house in an hour. The party made plans of what to discuss. The walk to the place and is surprised to meet Hledik himself. He speaks in bulgarian with Kovalsky being rude to the Konrad, Xeno, and Teritius. Xeno asks him to speak and greek, while he mocks them and sizes them up. He plays his hand - he coyly says he can't trust them since they spoke to Mateus, but if he hands them the Norman Prisoners he consider giving them good men in exchange, enough to man all his oars. 
    • Kovalsky despite speaking bulgarian he speaks good greek. He tells them its a good deal, taking the time to meet each of their gazes and tells them they can go save the empire with those men and consider carefully who they go to bed with.
    • As a sign of good faith, he lends them 3 horses. Note that good horses are very expensive, its like lending 3 cars if you compare it to income.  
    • He also points out, if it was not obvious enough that he is watching them. 
  • Meanwhile it seems Cato considers getting engaged and writes letters to be sent to his Brother and his patron, Umbertopolous for permission and a bride price and dowry. The lucky lady is Leandra who is about 15, and seems to be entertained by Cato. Of course there will be some negotiations and exchanges of letters. There is a very long process which will keep everyone else but Cato busy. Still Cato would be expected to write letters to her. 
  • The party strategizes and tries to figure out the puzzle of what is going on and it seems the fate of Preveza and Nikopolis is on their hands. This and they have other responsibilities, injured men and an Emperor to impress and a House' honor to restore. All their tactical con
  • The party figures out who the girl Cato saw ride away, riding north to the direction of Nikopolis was Lucretia and sent Burthold and Tertius to follow her. They manage to follow her and find her practicing horse archery with Kovalsky. They observe and nothing creepy went on. They returned to report, Teritius being able to tell how long such drills would go. On horseback it only takes them 20 minutes to cross 7km. Upon learning that she knows Kovalsky they want to confront her and possibly use her as leverage to change the deal with Hledik. When she got back from her practice, the party managed to get to arrange being able to talk to her in private - after letting her get the smell of horse sweat out of her. 
    • things get interesting because they were breaking a lot of protocols talking to a woman without her chaperon. In the hesitation, Xeno stepped in and confronted her. He manages to convince her, by telling her a bit of what is happening and going on.  That night they went off to try to talk to Kovalsky, Lucretia knew how to find him and he shocked him by bringing to them. 
      • They try to pry about their relationship. Basically Kovalsky and Hledik protected the town when many of its warriors died in Dyyrachium / Durazzo. 
    • He admonishes her and tells them to take the deal. In fact he does better, he promises that they will get the men if they take the deal IF they take Lucretia with them. This is when things get more confusing and the party is pretty much perplexed. When they pushed and tried to get Kovalsky to talk, they were basically asking him to betray Hledik and they learned more about Kovalsky. He told her to join them and to leave. He told them to take her by force if necessary. 
  • The party then follows through. That night they prepare to leave get their affairs in order. Xeno is anguished by what kind of deal they have made, and the predicament he has made. He follows up one more lead, the "Servant Finder" Pesko. He knows pesko and asks him about Hledik. Pesko asks him what he knows, and the news of what Xeno can reveal delights the scumm friend of his. 
  • Cato makes sure Leandra's family is safe just before he goes and warns them of what will happen next. 
  • Just before dawn they sail their ship near Nikopolis where men boarded the ship to act as crew. The prisoners are rowed back. They even get a skilled Javeliner. When the deal was done, a fire arrow is shot in the air. Easily it can be seen from Nikopolis to signal something the crew will not be able to see as they sail to Taranto


  • Hledik wants to be lord of the land and needs legitimacy. He can take it by force, of course, but he would have to worry about people using his illegitimacy against him for the rest of his life. There is only one person in the entire town who can ever give him legimitacy or oppose him with any credibility and that is - the Priest - Theodon. 
  • Mateus is a Merchant, still nothing in the social order. His money means nothing when he does not have the force of arms to defend himself and his goods. 
  • The Countess is weary and cynical. She has few allies, and her step son is one of them. Her father is a miserly schemer, if he had any courage he could have taken over the town years ago - his daughter is the countess after all. Her son many not be a warrior, but there is great hubris and curses to those who would kill a priest. She already knows shes doomed and is paralyzed and stubborn to do anything about it. 
  • The Norman prisoners were pretext, a scapegoat before an angry mob. A man will say anything under torture, and blood for blood is what will sate them after their beloved priest is gone. The Deacon is his man, although he cannot officiate any sacrament, there are few people who know that and he can exploit the ignorance until he gets legitimized. With Hlediks backing he can marry the Countess and take her dowry when he's done with her. Once married, he can set his sights on Mateus. 
  • If Lucretia was there, she would have to be a helpless witness to what Kovalsky would have to aid Hledik in doing. She is a fighter, and she will be killed or worse by Hledik. For his own self preservation it would be better she be removed from this equation. 
  • The party will have a friend in the port of Preveza if next they come back, a powerful warlord who would add to the terribly shorthanded manpower of the empire. He is a monster but too many good men have died in too many wars. Alexius had to forgive many of his betrayers, and swallowing this pill is a small price to pay if they wish to win back an Empire.

Behind the Screen

  • That was a five hour game! And so many things happened. My brain was constantly about to explode with all the details if I didn't get this out on the blog ASAP. 
  • The problem was based on the Economic and Psychological background of the region and the myopia the empire faced in their desperation to keep appearances. You can say preveza is one of many towns and cities that fell to ruin because Alexius and John Doukas' strategy was to focus on the East at the expense of the holdings that still loyal to the empire. 
  • like in Happy Jacks - I just made a problem and there was many ways to solve it. The problem was this town was doomed and a monster was going to take over it. The problem is also that the monster is not strictly bad, and many of the shades of gray elements - avoiding oversimplification and dehumanization - came in handy in dressing and preparing each NPC. All of them sinners but all of them have reasons behind it, and they can be selfish reasons or human reasons, still it is a harsh world and it was a very difficult and frightening era.   
  • I prepared 2 encounter maps, expecting them to want to fight the "Villain" these maps were flexible enough to be remodeled into various kind of encounters.  I can still re-use them in the next game. 
  • Next time I will use my newer computer to run ONair while my older computer to run Roll20 and the large screen. That way there is less lag (there was A TON of la-ag). 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Patron, Duty, and Frequency of Apperance

Typically people work for a Patron Entity, especially for low tech. The relationship may vary, but it a pretty certain thing in such an age and era.

Patrons and Duties

Patrons (B72) are quite interesting since they can be Entities or an Individual. Of course, at default, such "Patronage" does come with its Duties (B133). I always bundle Patronage and Duty, to even out as 0 points. Interestingly, you cannot have RANK without Patronage. So Rank can seem expensive compared to Status (which they really should re-calibrate IMO), but setting Duty and Patronage at default means more Perks and Privileges from your patron from the status within the Patron's Entity.

By now you should notice I'm a Organizational Nerd, a pretty low cast of nerd lolz. Organization, is the new untouchable cast of nerd lolz (because no one wants to deal with it and touch emm ewww lolz).

A simple mental run through:
 A soldier's patron is the Army, or more specifically the "sub group" of the Army he works in. The patron he can approach is his commanding officer. The frequency of appearance is how often they can ask for small favors. At frequency 9 that's few days out of the week, um which is not really common IME, its more of a 6 which is a few days a month. Typically these are requisition requests for equipment, leave, maybe a boy's night out, and other small favors that is expected out of a Patron. 

You can look at it as a Patron in the Archaic sense as well. Typically the Lieutenant or the Chamberlain handles the day to day affairs, and allows such requests to pass through him to the lord in small times. It really depends how you imagine an organization, and each organization can be different in different eras.

The present with the economic downturn has a lot of companies tightening belts and the protocol means less liberties and more crunch time. A company in an upswing can be very generous with their "dependents" or clients but that was an age far far gone. (who wants to adventure in that era?)


One common misconception about duty is that, each thing is separate and compartmentalized. Yeah right, life can be that clean cut. In todays circumstance such a naive assessment needs to be quickly corrected or else something bad will happen sooner, or worse later. 

Duty is very important in my games. Its our job and responsibilities, and in todays circumstance that means so much despite how much we can wish ourselves to be in an age where it may not exist (I will +1 a lot of the memes about such dreams but here I am gaming with the assumption it will never come true). The PCs may be doing a lot of weird stuff, and maybe given unrealistic task load, 

Ex. Bill, Speedy and Fish will need to do over time to have everything ready in the HSS network upgrade. Since this is a covert infrastructure project, logistics is even more complicated if they don't want people getting wind of what they plan and look too closely at HSS.  Then there are matters their Partners/Bosses would want them to personally handle while they put out "Fires" literally. Bill has to help make sure there are no Magical juju going around in the tunnels, its not like they've completely explored it or can Vett they're safe to build into. 

I know people hate it when there is other Motives to an action, but scarcity makes HUMAN and not pure unadulterated saints in our activities. We will be doing things and making choices that Align as much synergy to our circumstances and the only time you will have that Pure Generous Motive is when Scarcity ceases to exist and people can afford to spend their time in a more Ideologically Pure fashion (if that state of mind ever actually existed). 

So the PCs have an Adventure, and they happen to be Doing their Job going through the Trials of the Challenge. What's their motivation: They're regular people with Jobs to Do, and throw in the Loaded Meaning of what having a Job means to that Duty. 

Damn how the idea of "work" or "job" is so loaded. It was loaded then, and very much loaded now. They saw people who specialized in transaction and logistics as outside the social order yet the reality of the value they generate being the one to make sure Goods moved around was staring everyone in their face lolz. That economic truth that "value is what you were willing or PAID for something" was lost then and is pretty much lost even now because of the Cognitive Dissonance surrounding that circumstance. (the philosophical Digging around of what is a Transaction shouldn't be tackled here)

Frequency of Appearance

My experience in BPO really influence a lot of Freq. It is pretty intense in that industry since they need to satisfy 24/7 support and there are a lot of factors that become barriers to that. What I took away is working with months (30.5 days) and a lot of the workload heuristics to be expected. My 4 hours rule helps a lot but despite the statistics its not really a hard rule. 

Patron (6) [5]; Duty, Non-hazardous (12) [-5]
Patron (9) [10]; Duty, Hazardous (12) [-10]. Well Damn, you better have my back if I'm doing this kind of scary shit... would be the modern expectation. In times where BLIND loyalty or faith is a virtue, even consecrated with the most potent symbolism and oaths of fidelity rare is an accessible patron. Of course, smart patron got Family men and had their family's fortunes and fate dependent on the fate of their lord and master.

Patron (12) [20]; Duty, Hazardous (constant) [-20]. Tatikios comes to mind, or famous right hand men or women who was always present.

Alternate Builds. 

Ryuko or the Shield build has Unwilling, Extremely Hazardous Duty to her Master... but that master can be anyone. How about her "being" or what she is as an "economic unit", dead broke? It is possible that one's Social Status is tied to the Patron. A person can be wealthy because of their employment: their RANK, Social Status, and Wealth are all tied to the Patron.

Without the Patron, the character would be struggling or Broke. All their possessions are owned by the Patron. Sounds like what an Android might suffer in an advance era Or a Serf in another era. Depends on how the GM or the Game designer wishes to model being "unemployed" or "masterless".

I'll tackle dependents in another time.