Friday, July 31, 2009

Sci-Fi Load-out: Long Ranged Operation Load

TL10 Long Operational Range Package. $37,190
Basically, this is a long range package complete with all essential gear for a mission that may last for a week. It is possible to extend operational range beyond a week with the appropriate survival checks for rationing and foraging.

This load out is intended for skirmishing and ambush engagement where absolute stealth is needed to reach objective. Which usually consists of a long foot hike through hostile and dangerous environments.

In this load-out the PCs can hike at about 4-8km an hour, depending on their fitness and Strength. PCs can operate with practically 16 hour hikes because of the expedition suits, enhanced liquids, and high energy rations.

Drop-Backpacks have some homing beacons and equipped with prog-camo to be dropped to enhance combat range and mobility. The Water and Ration pack is a modular part of the backpack meant to remain when the bag is dropped.

Worn (26.5lbs). Prog-Camo Expedition Suit (UT178) (w/ Load Bearing Rig, Knee and Elbow Pads) (DR5*) $2,530 8.5lbs; Prog-Camo Tactical Load Bearing Vest (UT173) (DR24/10*) $1250 9lbs; Prog-Camo Cheap Rugged Stealth Exo-Skeleton (UT182) (DR24) $11,000 (18lbs); Prog-Camo Combat Infantry Helm (with Hyper Spectral Vision) (UT180) (DR27/18) $3125 5lbs; Multi-Spec Camouflage Cloak $6000 4lbs. Total $23,835

Carried (20lbs)
. Prog-Camo Gun-Sleeve $370 1lb; Very Fine (accuracy) ETC Battle Rifle 7.62mmCL (w/ smart gun electronics, compact targeting scope, and portable bipod) (Dmg10d+1(3)pi-; Acc7+2; Range ; ROF10; Shots34+1; Wt 12/2;Bulk-5; Rcl 2; LC2) $10,400 14lbs; 3 Extra Mags (APEP 34 shots each) $900 6lbs. Total $11,300

Drop-Backpack (60lbs)
. Prog-Camo Backpack $490 10lbs; Water Pack (6L- 1 week with expedition suit) $60 15lbs; Meal Rations (1 week) $105 10lbs; Trail Rations $100 10lbs; Battery Charger (2 D-cell) $300 10lbs; Very Fine Quality Survival Kit $1000 5lbs. Total $2,055

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

GURPS Modern Combat part I: Common Ground

I want to go into how I run my Modern Combat games, but first lets start with some templates that can be useful in explaining my points. Here are some templates based on some Ideal conditions in a developing countries soldiers. I would have to say that these are a bit optimistic for Soldiers of the Philippines, but can be expected in armies of better quality, funding and efficiency.

There will be some surprises concerning the weapons and build of this templates. There are some basis to them but that is besides the point. What I want is to have some common ground to begin with. These soldiers, as you can observe have no Officer skills, because that is not the purpose of the exercise.

The Rebels have Area Knowledge, which is a big factor in over strategy and operations. They also have Survival and Navigation over the local soldiers which compounds their terrain advantage which is mostly the reason soldiers don't go charging into rebel territory in the first place. Soldiers cannot enter and gather information in an area an enemy has the strategic advantage.

Enjoy the templates, and in the next part, I'll draw up some easy to follow sample skirmishes. Maybe I can upload or draw some of the examples over a screen cap of google maps.

Modern Soldier


Private Infantryman from a lower tier nation's well-funded Army. The soldier's secondary skills, are that of support and maintenance. Many countries cannot afford dedicated support personnel and sometimes cut costs by training soldiers maintenance and support skills to cut labor costs.

Attributes [90]: ST 11 [10]; DX 12 [40]; IQ 11 [20]; HT 12 [20].

Secondary Characteristics [0]: Damage 1d-1/1d+1; BL 24 lbs.; HP 11 [0]; Will 11 [0]; Per 11 [0]; FP 12 [0]; Basic Speed 6 [0]; Basic Move 6 [0].

Advantages [20]:

Soldiering [20]: Combat Reflex [15]; Fit [5].

Disadvantages [-50]: Duty, Hazardous (12) [-10]; A total of -40 points selected from Bad Temper [-10*], Callous [-5], Curious [-5*], Chummy [-5 or -10], Code of Honor (Soldier’s) [-10], Disciplines of Faith [-5], Duty [variable], Enemy (Military rival) [variable], Fanaticism (Nation or Religion) [-15], Flashbacks [variable], Greedy [-10*], Lecherous [-15*], Honesty [-10*], Incurious [-5*], Intolerance [variable], Jealousy [-10], Nightmares [-5*], No Sense of Humor [-10], Overconfidence [-5*], Sense of Duty [-2 to -20], Pacifism (Cannot Harm Innocents) [-10], Stubbornness [-5*], Trickster [-15*], Unluckiness [-10], or Workaholic [-5].

Quirks [0]:

Total Skills [40]:

Primary Skills [25]:

Soldiering [13]: Soldier (A) IQ+1 [4]-12; Hiking (A) HT-1 [1]-11; Running (A) HT-1 [1]-11; Swimming (E) HT [1]-12; Climbing (A) DX-1 [1]-11; Survival (Woodland or Jungle) (A) Per-1 [1]-10; Navigation (Land) (A) IQ-1 [1]-10; Savoir-Faire (Military) (E) IQ [1]-11; Current Events (Military) (E) IQ [1]-11; Stealth (A) DX-1 [1]-11.

Combat Skills [12]: Rifle (E) DX+2 [4]-14; Pistol (E) DX [1]-12; LMG (E) DX [1]-12 or LAW (E) DX [1]-12; Grenade Launcher (E) DX [1]-12; Knife (E) DX [1]-12; Wrestling (A) DX [2]-12 or Brawling (E) DX+1 [2]-13; Tactics (H) IQ-1 [2]-10

Secondary Skills [10]:

Support Skills [5]: First Aid (E) IQ+1 [2]-12; Driving (Heavy Wheeled or Tracked) (A) DX-1 [1]-11; Choose from Electronics operation (Comm) (A) IQ-1 [1]-10 and Electronics Repair (Comm) (A) IQ-1 [1]-10, Electronics operation (Sensor) (A) IQ-1 [1]-10 and Electronics Repair (Sensor) (A) IQ-1 [1]-10, Mechanic (Vehicular Type) (A) IQ [2]-11, Electrician (A) IQ [2]-11 or Armoury (Small Arms) (A) IQ-1 [2]-11.

Academy Education [5]: History (War) (A) IQ [2]-10; Administration (A) IQ-1 [1]-10; Law (Military) (H) IQ-1 [2]-10.

Background Skills [5]:

Everyman [5]: Computer Use (E) IQ [1]-11; Driving (Automobile) (A) DX-1 [1]-11; Current Affairs (Popular Culture) (E) IQ [1]-11; Games (E) IQ [1]-10; Sports (A) HT-1 [1]-11.

Equipment [35.4lbs]:

Worn [11.5lbs]: Battle Dress Uniform (heavy clothing, balaclava and boonie hat) 4lbs; Web Gear or Vest 4lbs; Holster 0.5lbs; Boots 3lbs.

Carried [23.9lbs]: Battle Rifle 10lbs; Auto Pistol 9mm 3.2lbs; Combat Knife 0.5lbs; Cellphone 0.5lbs; Canteen 2lbs; First Aid pouch 1lb; x4 Extra Rifle Mags 4lbs; 2x Extra Pistol Mag 1.2lb; Personals 1lb; Gun Kit 0.5lbs.

Primary Weapon: (Basic set)Assault Rifle, 5.56mm-15; Dmg 5d pi; Acc5; Range 500/3,500; Wt. 9/1; ROF 12; Shots 30+1(3); ST 9†; Bulk -4; LC 2; Cost $800/$20.

Secondary Weapon: (Basic set) Auto Pistol 9mm-12; Dmg 2d+2 pi; Acc2; Range 150/1,850; Wt. 2.6/0.6; ROF 3; Shots 15+1(3); ST 9; Bulk -2; LC 3; Cost $600/$12.

Backup Weapon: (Basic set) Large Knife-12; Dmg 1d-2 imp/1d-2 cut; Wt. 0.5; ST 9; Bulk -2; LC 3; Cost $24

Other Goverment Squad Weapons:

1x LMG; x40 TL7 frag grenades (28cr, 1m 9cr, 2m 4cr, 3m 3cr, 4-5m 2cr, 6-9m 1cr) $40; 1 HMG.

Rebel Insurgent


This template adequately reflects a Rebel Insurgent. Rebels can be well trained, and have to be in order to put up against government troops. Unfortunately, their circumstance is much more uncomfortable and logistics are a common problem in the circumstances they are operating in.

Attributes [70]: ST 10 [0]; DX 12 [40]; IQ 11 [20]; HT 11 [10].

Secondary Characteristics [0]: Damage 1d-2/1d; BL 24 lbs.; HP 10 [0]; Will 11 [0]; Per 11 [0]; FP 11 [0]; Basic Speed 5.75 [0]; Basic Move 5 [0].

Advantages [15]:

Soldiering [15]: Combat Reflex [15].

Disadvantages [-50]: Duty, Hazardous (12) [-10]; A total of -40 points selected from Bad Temper [-10*], Callous [-5], Curious [-5*], Chummy [-5 or -10], Code of Honor (Soldier’s) [-10], Disciplines of Faith [-5], Duty [variable], Enemy (Military rival) [variable], Fanaticism (Nation or Religion) [-15], Flashbacks [variable], Greedy [-10*], Lecherous [-15*], Honesty [-10*], Incurious [-5*], Intolerance [variable], Jealousy [-10], Nightmares [-5*], No Sense of Humor [-10], Overconfidence [-5*], Sense of Duty [-2 to -20], Pacifism (Cannot Harm Innocents) [-10], Stubbornness [-5*], Trickster [-15*], Unluckiness [-10], or Workaholic [-5].

Quirks [0]:

Total Skills [40]:

Primary Skills [27]:

Soldiering [20]: Soldier (A) IQ+1 [4]-12; Hiking (A) HT-1 [1]-10; Running (A) HT-1 [1]-10; Swimming (E) HT [1]-11; Climbing (A) DX-1 [1]-11; Survival (Woodland or Jungle) (A) Per [2]-11; Navigation (Land) (A) IQ [2]-11; Savoir-Faire (Military) (E) IQ [1]-11; Camouflage (E) IQ [1]-11; Current Events (Military) (E) IQ [1]-11; Stealth (A) DX [2]-12; Area Knowledge (Territory) (E) IQ+1 [2]-12.

Support Skills [7]: First Aid (E) IQ+1 [2]-12; Driving (Heavy Wheeled or Tracked) (A) DX-1 [1]-11; Choose from Electronics operation (Comm) (A) IQ [2]-11 and Electronics Repair (Comm) (A) IQ [2]-11, Electronics operation (Sensor) (A) IQ [2]-11 and Electronics Repair (Sensor) (A) IQ [2]-11, Mechanic (Vehicular Type) (A) IQ+1 [4]-12, Electrician (A) IQ+1 [4]-12, Explosives (A) IQ+1 [4]-12 or Armoury (Small Arms) (A) IQ+1 [4]-12.

Secondary Skills [8]:

Combat Skills [8]: Rifle (E) DX+2 [4]-14; Choose one between LMG (E) DX [1]-12, LAW (E) DX [1]-12, or Grenade Launcher (E) DX [1]-12; Knife (E) DX [1]-12; Tactics (H) IQ-1 [2]-10

Background Skills [5]:

Everyman [5]: Computer Use (E) IQ [1]-11; Driving (Automobile) (A) DX-1 [1]-11; Current Affairs (Popular Culture) (E) IQ [1]-11; Games (E) IQ [1]-10; Sports (A) HT-1 [1]-11.

Equipment [39.9lbs]:

Worn [10.5lbs]: Olive Drab Fatigues (light clothing, and balaclava) 3lbs; Web Gear or Vest 4lbs; Holster 0.5lbs; Boots 3lbs; .

Carried [29.4lbs]: Assault Rifle 12.3lbs; Auto-Pistol 9mm 3.2lbs; Combat Knife 0.5lbs; Cellphone 0.5lbs; Canteen 2lbs; First Aid pouch 1lb; x4 Extra Rifle Mags 7.2lbs; x2 Extra Pistol Mag 1.2lb; Personals 1lb; Gun Kit 0.5lbs.

Primary Weapon: (Basic set) Assault Rifle, 7.62mm-15; Dmg 5d+1 pi; Acc4; Range 400/3,500; Wt. 10.5/1.8; ROF 10; Shots 30+1(3); ST 10†; Bulk -4; LC 2; Cost $300/$36.

Secondary Weapon: (Basic set) Auto Pistol 9mm-12; Dmg 2d+2 pi; Acc2; Range 150/1,850; Wt. 2.6/0.6; ROF 3; Shots 15+1(3); ST 9; Bulk -2; LC 3; Cost $600/$12.

Backup Weapon: (Basic set) Large Knife-12; Dmg 1d-2 imp/1d-2 cut; Wt. 0.5; ST 9; Bulk -2; LC 3; Cost $24.

Other Rebel Squad Weapons:

x1 Sniper Rifle (Fine Self-Loading Rifle) Dmg 7d pi; Acc6+3; Range 1,000/4,200; Wt. 10/0.5; ROF 3; Shots 8(3); ST 10+; Bulk -5; LC 3; Cost $600/$10.

x2 Light Machine Gun Dmg 6d pi; Acc5+2; Range 600/4,500; Wt. 10/0.5; ROF 10; Shots 72(3); ST 9+; Bulk -6; LC 2; Cost $900/$265.

x30 Grenades Dmg 21 cr, 1m-7cr, 2m-3cr, 3m-2cr, 7m-1cr (roll vs Fear at -1 for every damage level closer to explosion; Fail means supressed for 2d seconds + margin of failure); Range STx3.5m; Wt.1lb; Cost $10

30lbs of explosives, 5dx2cr ex each lb.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

GM tools Ideas to write about

GURPS magic tools. How to introduce magic in your game with the most control and predictability with GURPS magic system.

GURPS 6 second rounds. How to run 6 second player turns in your GURPS combat.

GURPS Conservative Character Creation Parameters. Start basic and simply, and move toward complex when your comfortable. A way to control escalation and keep games challenging and rewarding.

GURPS Wealth. GURPS wealth system compared to the International Economic data instead of using American Economic Data.

GURPS Skills. Factors that constitute having the skill vs defaulting a skill. Skills we take for-granted in ourselves or take for-granted in peoples of history.

GURPS Intelligence. What Constitutes a Genius and How do We gauge intellect in more up to date and modern standards.

GURPS Modern Combat. How to Run a Modern Combat coming from the DND mindset. I've touched on this, and I've reread my old posts and realized I could do a better job explaining it as detailed yet simple as possible. I want to explain it step by step and help people have a fun yet authentic TTRPG modern combat experience. Note- that I've taken my Airsoft Milsim experience into this making this as efficient, visceral, and more reliant on Player's choices than their abilities.

Gaming Myths. Misinformation vs Informed Opinions- How RPGs contribute to education, personal knowledge, and approach to life.

GMing Style. Less Rolls, more Tactics. Lessons in speeding up play through experimentation, reflection and player feedback, particularly the my Theory behind occassions of rolls vs automatic success or execution of the action.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

How to use all those skills?

One can find my Knight or Warrior caste templates in my byzantine blog.

Things to Roll...

Administration: roll to stretching resources farther beyond their current capacity. Failure, just means you cannot stretch it any farther than your current range. Critical failure means mismanagement.

In a game, I used administration for the player to "hide" his paper trail, a -5 task difficulty to compound the difficulty of someone attempting to track it. (all paper work can be traced, the time it would take though is what you're really attempting to buy with the roll).

Intelligence Analysis: Convert Raw Data to Simple Player-Friendly Information (secret roll). GM will give bad info in a really bad roll (usually at margins of 5 or greater).

Strategy: The GM rolls to Highlight more options or the best Available Options (secret roll). The GM can provide bad data in a really bad roll. Personally, Major Decision are a Player-Only matter and Strategy should Aid the player and NOT-do the player's job. Also, no plan survives first contact, even the best possible strategy roll.
Literature (popular or folk lore):

Soldiering: Adds to Fear Checks when Discipline would matters. Knowledge of all the common and uncommon risks of the job, as well as familiarity of how to negate those risks. Soldiering skill bonus gives a lot of advantages and the fact so many rolls are default-able to soldiering that no more reasons could be cited.

Savoir-Faire: This is basically the skill to show respect, courtesy, and present the best "appearance". Sincerity of Respect essentially what is communicated by this skill. The timing and candor of a salute, knowing which chair to sit in, what fork to use, how to compliment a dish etc. All this is very cultural but is what is part of the Savoir-Faire skill (which I tend to simply call etiquette). Even common people have the Savoir-faire skill, showing "respect" can be taken for granted but is the foundation of basic manners. Of course, some-people are ingrained to constantly use certain etiquette which becomes a disadvantage when presented with a different culture. While some people may already expect respect, Sincerity is another element the skill can offer.

Animal Handling. Simply the ability to make an animal do what you want it to do. TDM +0 for trained animal but unfamiliar to you. TDM +5 if it is an animal you trained and it has been trained in the trick. TDM-5 to -10 a wild animal. Dogs, Horses, and Falcons are common Animal handling skills.

Math (Applied). Also known as Arithmetic, TL3 characters don't get as much practice as us and under time pressure there are a variety of problems that one can think of that being knowing one's numbers is more than handy. In every Merchant transactions, give a -3 to -5 when there are high values involved. You can use this skill to substitute for Accounting when making sure relatively small figures are added correctly. Accounting is more specialized for organizing and juggling more raw numeric data. If the task is personal accounts, roll Math, when dealing with an Army's ledger use accounting to add up sums. Suffice to Say, Narses a Eunuch general who was a Palace Steward, must have depended on his organizing skills (administration, accounting, math, intelligence analysis and strategy) in running his army instead of his credibility as a warrior or favor of the emperor.

Farming. Growing things, identifying raw food materials and their quality, appraising the state of a small community (since ALL small communities are agricultural in nature in Low tech). Its a skill that lets a character get along with farmers, use Farming to talk shop and as an influence skill. "my father would plant blah blah blah..."

Noble background. All the skills you see in noble background, come in play in any social event. A celebration will have dancing, audience participative-entertainment, and carousing. Without Any of the skills present, means the PC seen as a dullard, not part of the crowd and basically singles himself out. Celebrations are important in the REAL world, they are usually religious events and intended to manage populace morale. Gossip (aka Intelligence), contacts, and future endeavors are made by such gatherings because they are important enough to make people leave their far flung self-sufficient estates.

Psychology (Applied). Check out the description of the skill. All thinking characters actually have this skill. Consider that if you used Strategy to determine your enemies options and his best strategic option, then used psychology to use his pest "personality" option, a PC can do a lot of damage. This is always and SHOULD be a secret roll. I find this just too good to allow players the access of being Dead certain of the roll.

Roll against skill to predict the general behavior of an individual or small group in a particular situation

Housekeeping. Low tech house keeping has a ton of chores that makes a family relatively self sufficient. Like Administration, this skill can be used to best utilize domestic stretch resources for guests, or Impress peers or their masters.

Cooking. Low TL cooking has A lot of skills modern times have taken for granted. Knowledge of edible herbs and mushrooms are part of the skill. Preparation of secondary, anciliary and emergency food groups to make edible is also part of the skill. So a Survivalist better have cooking if he hopes to make that near toxic food he found edible. It would be quite exciting when survival or death can be made with such a under-estimated skill like cooking.

Navigation. Path finding, the needed to get from A to B (secret roll). A very important skill in adventuring, in fact an indispensable skill. The default Time is calculated by take the distance and multiplying it by the terrain difficulty factors (x1.5 to x3). A good roll allows the PCs to take the most established or safest (with the best watering points) route (not the fastest), A margin of success of 5 or more will maybe save 10% off the travel time (critical is saves 20%) by finding some time shaving shortcuts along the main path. A margin of failure by 5 is basically double time spent. critical failure is lost. A player who wants to risk a path can ask the GM for a voluntary penalty like Haste actions in B346 (-1 = -10%). Note that moving through difficult terrain doubles or triples travel time, the most efficient path can never be faster than time it would take traveling the distance in a straight level road. Path-finding, Land Navigation is an awesome skill, since victory and defeat can be made just by time alone.

Survival. Survival checks are also secret rolls, because typically they are made to avoid natural hazards. Typically you only know you failed a Survival check, when your already IN the deep trouble.
Survival and Camping. Survival checks are also important for knowing where best to lay camp. This roll is important at night or when there is poor light. Judgment of a good camp depends on the amount of information at hand and the situation of the players.
Survival and Water. Survival is an active roll when the PCs are looking for water. Enough for themselves can be found along the way in tiny alcoves where the survivalists will collect the water for drinking of the next day after they can boil and clean it. Typically with easy to find naturally occurring anti-septics and by mixing in some wine (and possibly honey or beet sugar syrup) with the water when boiled. Failing by 1 or 2 may lead to some bad water or some hard water substitute (like high water content roots or stems that need to be laboriously prepared at night). Failing by 5 means either water that takes a little more than the usual amount of processing to be drinkable (roll HT!). Remember that foraging for water is much harder when you have to drink more, -2 if your foraging for a horse, -5 for 3 of them, -10 for 7 of them. Note that Main Roads have watering points (thats why they were main roads), like artificial or natural ponds, streams or brooks. Seasons and the Region's unique traits affect these rolls.

Theology. Theology is important because it may give the best religious guidance possible in a time. A PC can interpret messages or signs, cite scripture, for the best course of action. A Theology roll can allow the PC best manage a uncertain situation by allowing him to beseech the proper deities or their representatives (invoking the right saint), know the best or proper offerings, and determine the message of an omen. Basically it is a Morale and uncertainty management skill, it provides the best suited religious answers in a given situation that would best ease the fears of the PC or a crowd. Another more impressive use of it, is its use in religious debate and interpretation. Religious knowledge can Awe, shock, Shame and Rebuke individuals (used with Public speaking, intimidation, diplomacy, or fast talk) among those who don't have their priorities in the religious; use the average of the skill (public speaking + theology; fast talk + theology etc.). A character unequipped with theology will be brow-beaten by others who are equipped with it, when this ignorance is seen.

History (local): Just as good as Area knowledge, but has more connected topics. This skill can impress locals, allow for a better grasp of the political layout, and a bunch of usefull things depending on the situation. Knowing the history of one's home region, always turns up interesting and useful tidbits.

Diplomacy. Saying something politically correct, double talking, or saying something that can be left to the targeted interpretation of the listener is one of the FUNDAMENTAL tricks of diplomacy. Understand that there is a HUGE spectrum for Point of View, and Diplomacy allows a character to safely navigate that spectrum. Basically it allows the character to Say what he means, without being mis-interpreted or his words twisted to be used against him. Roll diplomacy if the Player wants to say something shielded by His PCs diplomacy (optionally secret). Diplomacy is also a weapon allowing un-shielded or shielded discourse to be twisted into something else.

In my personal game view, social rolls are meant to augment Player's abilities and not do the Player's job in the matter of conversation or intelligence gathering. That just takes out all the fun from role-playing the interaction. Give the players the safety net of their character's social graces.

Politics. Politics in the GURPS definition is basically Popularity or Publicity skill if you contemplate the RAW meaning. BUT my use of the skill, is basically as an Organization Tool, being political is the skill in being in the good graces of certain people (a juggling act of keeping as many people happy or up in the air). Almost every major action is political, you can choose to Roll Politics when your making waves to "manage" them and make sure they have the most recoverable backlash. Ideally the GM doesn't roll this skill, he basically makes the skill a form of "Damage Reduction" adding a level of precision to the PC's overtures. Other Non-political PCs suffer Backlash, political PCs suffer less backlash for their actions. The GM and the Player can think of "after-the-fact" excuses why he wasn't hit by as much backlash.

Acting. This is the GURPS skill needed to Lie convincingly. It is also the skill to guard a PC's reactions (vs Psychology, Body Language, and detect lies). A poker face also takes Acting, but as a WILL roll (or a Fearlessness Roll for intimidation). A character without acting is an open book to expert social animals, the default penalty of acting (-5!) makes it a skill that cannot be easily ignored. In a recent discussion in the boards, acting is used to "pretend" not to be looking at something. Surprisingly Acting has too many good uses to ignore.

Packing. Have you ever packed for a trip? Packing IS a skill of organizing and efficiency, a character with packing can squeeze in more things than a person without it. While administration can be used to keep army logistics going, Packing is for Personal Logistics, any ranger or trekker who doesn't know how much he can carry efficiently and how best to carry it, will not get from A to B in one ideal piece. Roll this to squeeze in more equipment beyond the basic encumbrance and Bulk levels. This also allows the PC to take care of pack animals.

History (war). Like in Sherlock Holmes, and many detective stories: "nothing is original". There was always something like it, or happened that is close enough. History can act an intelligence skill, interpreting data with the aid of historical precedence and patterns. As a last ditch, Characters can always look to history for insight to a problem. If a character is making an military operation roll (Organizational, Intelligence, Strategy or Tactical) and fails by any degree let him re-roll with History at -4 as a second chance. This provides an incredible buffer against absolute failures. This should be allowed only once per scenario.

History (family): Part of establishing ones self as part of a peerage, one tends to need the pedigree to pass. Family history establishes legitimacy through the line of long dead, glorious or inglorious relatives. TDM easy tasks (+5) to remember the most notable, TDM -5 for the most obscure and secrets. Practically, this skill is useful in establishing legitimacy and precedence for a bunch of useful actions. This acts in the same way as History (war) for Political matters because by extension of one's own family, the character learns of their relationship with other families.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

GURPS Skill Organization; Running a Game

If you have read Design, Repair, and Use B190 you'll begin to notice one of the initial patterns to the skills.

In Medicine The skills are broken up as:
Diagnose (Doctors primarily skill), Physician and Medical Equipment (Nurse).

Then there is the Military
Ground/Naval Strategy,
Ground/Naval Tactics, Miltary (Both) Intelligence Analysis
Politics is just one skill when more accurately it can be broken down to
Political Strategy, Political Intelligence Analysis, and Diplomacy

GURPS Mass Combat. Replace Strategy Rolls with Tactics Rolls. If you've read the same books I've read in Management, Military and Game Theory: Strategy is Knowing or Creating options, while Tactics is the micro level of Strategy where you are making smaller detail oriented decisions part of executing the over all strategy.

More on Explaining Strategy and Tactics place in an RPG. Including the Player in the Decision-making Process the PCs are more more equipt to make (in merit of their stats) the better decisions can be best compromised by the GM being the Strategists voice for the Player. The GM lays out the options (relative to the skill of the strategist- better strategist the better options) and letting the Players decide and modify these options.

Never leave these things to a ROLL, in theory every strategy is viable and workable. Remember that no plan survives first contact with the enemy, and even with the BEST plan, the PCs are the ones who will try to make things WORK.

When executing a Plan, go through Every stupid detail: from the PCs interacting with a contact, to the PCs walking from A to B, and every detail which courts Uncle Murphie. )

What is the Point of a plan when it never survives intact? Answer: The PCs choose the "battle field" they are going into, there are risks to every plan but it is the PCs not the GM who determines these Risks. The PCs will still shine despite murphy because of their heroic individualized virtues like
preparation perks, organization, anciliary skills, useful background and familiarity etc. that come into play that saves the day or gets the job done.

What is Politics- For game purposes, Politics is the understanding of Power and Influence and how these forces interact. Generals, Politicians, Monarchs, Corporate Heads etc. all function in a non-violent political environment where they interact and exist for their own reasons. A PC understanding these can understand:
  • The PCs can translate or understand political inteligence, the nuances of jargons, the implied meanings, etc. with Political Intelligence Analysis.
  • The GM can Process for the Players the Information the PCs gathered into Options with Political Strategy skill. Remember to always Give Players Options and never let the PC make these key decisions. It is the GMs job to format every Strategic Medium into their appropriate options (contrary)
  • The PC executes his strategic maneuvers with Diplomacy, with Role-playing adding a circumstance modifier (+4 if the Player Gets It and stresses on the right points; +3 to +0 on the accuracy of the pc in getting the point

Same Goes with Business:
Business Strategy for Options; Economics and Market Analysis for Translation of Data to Player legible data, and Merchant for small deals or Finance for corporate or group deals (Role Playing or Knowing what the real point is gives a bonus up to +4!).

Administration or what I wold Like to Call Organization skill allows PCs to organize and do more with a given amount of time, (because they are organized). I personally want to stress that Administration SHOULD be specialized per body of organization: Civil or Legislative Admin, Military Admin, Business Admin, Religous Admin etc. etc. They default to -2 to -4 each other depending on the system.
Although normaly a Religious Admin has -3 or -4 to default with Business admin or Military Admin, A Militant or Comercial Religious Organization might make it -2 or -1! (basically unfamiliarities).

It was called Bureaucracy before being called Administration, which in my opinion is more accurate but Organization is a simpler broader and even more accurate description of the two.