Wednesday, November 28, 2012

GURPS Lite Setting Specific Polished

I predict that it will be around christmass when I will finish my final polish this this GURPS lite doc I've made. Right now its pretty much fixed, there are some stuff I would like to polish (improve the idea density and clarity).

The purpose of this GURPS lite is so that GMs can give these handouts to their players for a specific game. The one I'm working on is medieval, and I plan to put a Random Character Generation Version with Career Path system (like in traveller) after I fix this up. I will also add a flow chart.

If I have the energy I'll make a modern version of this, set in 2013. I plan to shrink the no. of hand to hand weapons and put the guns common here in the Philippines. Again, this is a doc file, and it is recommended that the GMs customize this for their own game. The idea is that 40 pages is all the rules the players are only going to need.

I admit I got really inspired by Happy Jack's RPG podcast to run again. I am listing to it while I am doing editing work. I cant really listen to discussion while writing.

Of course, no art... this is a GM's tool that is meant for fair use to convince people to try GURPS out.  Office Aps are so powerful now, I'm layouting with Libreoffice.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Organized some text: GURPS Lite setting specific

I tried to reconstruct my GURPS lite that was specific to Low Tech. I've hit a milestone where I finished organizing the text, simply arranging the text from its copy/pasted form. Next is that I proceed to format it. I plan to integrate the Traveller career path system as part of it and some random advantages and disadvantages that are setting specific.

Basically a modular template to make my GURPS more digestible for newbies. Keeping everything in 30 pages. Knowing how my endurance works, I may do this after Christmas LoL!

If you want it, email me. I think this falls under fair use. I just can't "publish" it in public.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Some Rules for Open RPG: System Effect of Difficulty and Modifiers

Here are some rules notes:

Technical Rules regarding Penalties and Modifiers.
Since ORPGS is a Target Number based system, there is a more specific definition of how penalties and modifiers work. Basically all circumstances that affect how hard or easy an action is affects the Target Number aka Difficulty. Something easier has a lower difficulty, while something harder makes the difficulty greater.
ex. readying a weapon, that needs a minor assistance of the second hand forced to be done one handed - the action is requires a roll against difficulty 10 to be achieved in quick action. 

While, the only factor that affects Roll modifiers are the Specifics Employed. This is where the system shows its focus to specifics and creativity; when the action is more specific, taking advantages of narrow specialties and maximizing the details gained from good questions, imagination and visualization nets a modifier to the success.

ex. The same act in the previous example, but the character has in his/her background specific training or familiarty with this method (part of character detailing), and the player points out that the back-slung scabbard has been specially prepared to allow for a better one handed draw despite the length of the weapon. 
When a player makes careful and specific note of little details like this, the character gets a small bonus, +1 to +2, in the task rolls. These bonuses can become permanent, part of the character's rich detail and the players careful preparation. Not all creative and observant specifics are permanent, many are one time - taking advantage of the circumstance.

A GM can dispense +1 for good and well thought out ideas, when a player does his due-dilligence. Ideas that are unique and impressive can be a +2, while Ideas that make a game memorable can be +3.

Disadvantages and Advantages are worth no points.
There are some metrics though, like the hours cost in conditioning or training for an advantage. Since I'll be making tables that allow for various "traits" to be rolled, these are inherent and needs money, equipment, training/conditioning/therapy to overcome, keep under control or minimized.

Enduring Conditions.
Certain "Advantages/Disadvantages" are merely extensions of the Basic Ability Scores. Some conditions are in play given certain duration, prerequisites or circumstances.
Ex.
All the negative physical effects like Wounded or Exhausted are conditions, they are in play until the character gets a chance to heal, be treated, and/or rest. 
I've pretty much discussed this in the Card as tools of organization; conditions being something that may or may not be "in-effect".

As there are many negative conditions, there are many positive conditions. Unfortunately, these conditions have a cost (a Lifestyle cost). There are "maintenance/lifestyle" cost for each character. 30.5 days a month x 24 hours, the character determines how they spend this. These positive conditions have a cost, typically in 30, 60 hours, 90, 120, 180 and 240 hours a month.
Ex. Strength Training of 30 hours gives a +1 bonus to Strength, 60 hours is +1 STR and +1 Con, 120 hours +2 Str and +1 Con. Beyond 120 hours, no more bonus. There is a Dex version, replacing Str with Dex. Only Endurance Training has +1 Con 30hours, +2 Con 60 hours, +3 Con for 120 hours. 
Many what would be "advantages" require lifestyle cost. Adventuring, especially the kind that draws on the Training, allows the character to ignore the maintenance for a few months. I haven't finalized ho those rules work (about a check in the start of the second month where the character will notice that there is some decline in his abilities unless they make up the hours).

Note that typically characters can only juggle so much training while trying to be productive and self-sufficient. Skills require maintenance, and its up to the GM and the players to determine which skills are maintained by certain activities.

 Some Conditions negate disadvantageous traits.

Focus of the Game.
The focus of my GMing and System Building is Problem Solving. Characters try to solve problems and get better and better asking questions/gathering information, creating solutions, going-through the scientific method or problem solving process, and improvising when implementing plans. The system hopes to create a mental framework to view the world, in an easy to follow mechanics that cultivate scientific/problem solving thinking.

Story telling and Socializing is not secondary, its built in if the system is entertaining its target audience - people who like solving problems in a social environment. The narrative/story telling part is built into the exercise because good problem solving mindset tends to have a built in narrative to track sources and timeline of information.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Sorry for no update

My 21 month son is sick, so since I'm the one with flexible time I'm the one taking him to the doctor. :(

I'm at 15th Episode of Season 01 of Happy Jack's RPG podcast.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Philippine Cartography 1320-1899 by Carlos Quirino

Philippine Cartography by Carlos Quirino First Edition in 1959, 2nd Edition in 1963, and this edition is 2010. 

History books are my Campaign Setting Books. 

This would make a great basis for my 1860 historical game. 






Cards as an Organization Mnemonic


Using Cards

The cards are meant to concentrate and prepare details that are relevant. In a Top Heavy game like GURPS, Open RPGS, HERO, Chunkier version of DnD and other Games breaking down information in the cards acts as mnemonic that allows the player and GM better access to information and constructive problem solving. The information is not limited to be displayed in an 8x11 space, all the space behind the GM's screen becomes a plot organizes for before and during the game.

This is not for just the GM, this is meant so that the GM can assign players to do this for their characters. It helps the GM and helps the game.
  • Modes.
  • Load-Out.
  • Special Actions
  • Conditions

What you will need

These are 3” x 5” cards or ISO standard of A7. There are bigger Index cards and un-rulered index cards (being blank sheets). Whats nice about them is that they card-stock and are already pre-cut for your arrangement behind the GM screen.
You will also need a printer and computer, if you want to be modular with your information. Ideally a Doc Template for the cards, as well as good Doc notes of everything you are keeping track.

Modes

These are cards that describe the current status and attention the character is doing. It allows the GM and Player to automatically check regarding instances the Mode is relevant. If we were to go a bit about psychology, its a set of expectations the Character has.
Ex.
Scouting Mode – the character is focused in looking for threats and moving more quickly than his main party.

Hiking Mode – the character is more focused in optimal movement to energy reserve performance in trekking. The economy of his attention is focused on pacing, looking for best footpaths, hydration and the time.

Detect Lies or Credibility Detection Mode – the character is using this skill to vett a target person, to make an assessment of their credibility or the consistency. Anytime the target character is conversed with, the character keeps note of personality traits.

Diplomacy mode – trying to please and keep a civil discussion. (reminds me of the Techniques in TTC's Effective Communciation). The character is concentrating in controlling many intrapersonal, interpersonal, and diplomatically strategic points. Such a character would be very civil, polite, and keenly on the pulse of the social situation.

In these modes, the character is more predisposed to notice or react quickly to a specific set of expectations. The GM enforces economy of attention, and points out trade offs the players may or may not realize. When players or character try to do more than one thing at a time, the GM will note the diminished effectivity of their performance in their skills and passive abilities. It is in these redistrubtion players and the GM have risks and strategic objectives to consider. 

Load-Out

Character Load-outs when prepared allow the players to more accurately deal with the logistical challenges of the encounter. A character can have their combat load, their marching load, or their large, uncarriable, possessions as separate cards with their own notes and details.

Typical are a Civilian Load, what the character carries in non-combat or adventuring situations; Combat Load or variations of combat load (light, heavy, etc...); their uncarriable possessions like their mount, car, house, secret cache, etc...

Conditions

Conditions are a list of details that can be in effect on the character. These are the various status the character can be in: Wounded, Exhausted, Critically Wounded, various kinds of emotional states (Angry, Berserk, Demoralized), special psychological conditions that can kick in (Panic Attack, General Seizure, Etc.).

Special Actions

These are maneuvers  detail heavy techniques, spells, special abilities, and prepared combination of actions. Information in the card will include costs in actions, resources, and mechanics, and the trade-offs and consequences.

Card Tools to facilitate Narrative Combat

Narrative combat or high cycle rate events and activities (cycle rate: going through all the characters, cycling, many times) can be better adjudicated through Cards tools. The cards merely break down actions and reactions/opportunities. Having the cards help tracking the trade-offs of the character, in their condition AND in the battle field.

My problem with narrative combat, is that I don't have the mnemonic device of a tactical layout. Instead I have to keep track of actions and activities. Taking away the simplicity of looking at spatial relations when looking at figs; cards can help by providing a spatial relationship between actions and events. One of the advantages of figs is that, they easily relay information on the status and circumstance based on just a glance.

Example of Usage

Lay out where everyone is in respect to everyone else. The GM assigns values to every side: the GM's side can 12'o'clock or primary threat, the other sides as flanks. Players and the GM can determine how many layers will they stack against primary threat zone and against the flank zones. The GM can then place visible threats outside his Screen to oppose what the players have in each zone. Proximity and Card Position can show ranges and overlapping envelopes of access. You can use figs as paper weights (LOL).

Ex. Instead of Frontal Force you have one card with notes on visible no. Additional notes below the card. Flanking forces is just a card, unless the GM breaks out an autonomous/small force to do something else. Any prepared manuver is its own card.

Next is the GM assigns strategic points within the terrain (If any; i'll make a table to roll for various terrains) which he can use and draw into the zones. These zones are a Zero-Sum game; so its exploited by one or the other force.

The basic rule here is when elements add up, and the situation is becoming complex I should simplify and the break things down to elements up to 3. I re-abstact them back to 3 elements at most to keep things simple and manageable. The cards clarify the objective, while I adlibe/improvise what is happening without losing sight of the element's objective.

Its like Hyrdation – you do it because your conditioned to do it on circumstances that “feel” appropraite. When your confused, like when you are thirsty,  its too late; do it as it gets harder to track things. Like when “I feel this is getting more complicated – simplify and re-arrange elements back to back the primary”.


Open RPG Skill draft
Stealth
Intelligence or Wisdom
You are skilled in obscuring your position and presence. You still make noise but you are highly aware of what noises carry and what blends into the background. You can be seen, if the person knows where to look for you. You are able to see what route makes the least noise, maximizes a concealment and improves security to your destination. You are able to optimize the use concealment, and are very self aware what may be easily exposed of your person. You also know how to blend your visual wake with the movement noise in the background. The better you are, the more natural, consistent and reflexive your actions become.
Mode. Characters who use stealth mode, increase the difficulty to be detected by their skill modifier.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Character Descriptors part 1 (hopefully a series to come)

this is RPGs, and it was always bothering me how perception and notcing things work. Various systems have various takes, and in RL experience sometimes the rules fall short in explaining how somethings work out. I also got the TTC "How we percieve; Human perception" also the congition lectures like Philosophy of the Mind.
All that theory, helped guide me in trying to apply it in my sport, airsoft. I noticed how narrow the mental process of observing can be. its all about brain plasticity again, and how shifting observation gears is actually using various forms of Int. Unfortunately this is a mental process, and having the ability to Meta-think when to pull out or change gears comes from practice and conditioning more than active intelligence. One can say that its hard wired and you can only learn it OR you won the genetic lottery. So in an effort to learn and exercise, I will try to do it more habitually.

Skin Blemishes, non-prominent (easily hidden) vs
Personal appearance flaws, and how they make up/compensate for it.
Able to Laugh on command, sounds very sincere.
Wears clothes a size smaller or larger than would be a "good fit"
Needs to have more airtime in a conversation
Uses sources to back up facts presented, but from ambigous sources
leans towards using technical or academic use of the terms/vocabulary instead of common usage.
Cheap, Robust/Good, or Fashionable Shoes.
Jewelry Worn: almost practical, no common theme, trendy (common trend) vs fashionable (more cutting edge), expensive, classic/timeless, status symbol, obscure, eclectic but has a very artsy or historical or political symbolism, impractical.
Made up/Make up
Manicured/ Nail Polished; last upkeep or maintenance of polish - applicable the style descriptors
Many gadgets/devices (techie load out vs plains persons load out).
Eye Focus Patterns (should be its own long list of descriptors; e.g. focuses in status in a group, in details, disciplined, curious, etc).
Styles - (same as jewlery) but add various forms of practicality. There are those who have socially practical style focus (markers of status, calling cards, logos.) while there are those who have walking, survival/outdoors, handtohand combat, etc... practicalities.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Good Content vs Light Content

Getting organized, i realized that it takes me about 4 hours to accomplish a satisfactory piece. Especially when it contributes something that may be new, or formalizes something that was before purely intuitive.

Because of such economies, I have to break down my content and my focus.

Once a Month, something worthwhile.
Formalized GM tools and methods. Currently, I'm writing an article of a methodology of organizing play in a fun way (to the detail oriented person). Of course the leaning is to optimise time usage and maximize satisfaction.
Formalizing Character Descriptors. See Character Descriptors

Twice a month.
Commentary and Relfections. I'm listenting to some RPG podcasts; will check out some open platform podcasts 2GMs1mic, Pulp gamer out of Character, and Fear the Boot. I get a lot of inspiration, particularly when I add my own lense in terms of where the common points are when viewing certain challenges and skills. Also, expect me to comment a lot about how it applies to the real world :P

At least Once to Thrice a week.
Character Descriptions, a running list. Lessons in observation and perception applied. I will write down all the interesting quirks, descriptions, conditions, etc.. I observe everyday. I will compile them in a Gdocs-spreadsheet and formalize them in a Gdoc about once a month.
I want to build a random character generator, that can be used for modern and historical games. It also allows me to build up material for my open system, while practicing my observation skills.





Saturday, November 10, 2012

Finished my First RPG Podcast; Trying out other History Podcasts

Finished Happy Jacks RPG Podcast se01ep01,
I was honestly pessimistic, but it was a GURPS GM so I had to try. And I was not disappointed, i could relate and they remind me of my favorite GMs of years gone by. I even found myself laughing out loud. sigh... and we all grew up.

I tried the Ancient Warfare Magazine Podcast, and it

Open Mass Combat System
Bascially its made up of a standard of a "professional soldier"; the professional soldier is set as an arbitrary no. Over time and technology, the cost to quality of the soldier improves as better institutions and infra allow better economies of scale training and indoctrination to the warrior profession.

Now; what makes this system generic is how modular it is. Certain parameters will be abstracted: formation (open vs closed), encumbrance (light vs heavy), and descriptors of the weapons (sword and board, pike, bows). The descriptors is where I have to organize it a bit, so that I can group and make certain aspects interchangeable.

A big advancement in the concept of open and closed formations. being a scout, I have a better grasp of open formation. It is versatile, loose, while being highly coordinated. It takes a lot of familiarization and doctrine to develop open formations. A great example of open formations are in cavlary and particularly mongols. Mongols can't hold a rigid formation, and they frequently serve a scouts. Despite that they are highly independent and autonomous, they are organized. thats the thing about scouts; you gotta have great comm skills to keep organized. you can't just stealthy and perceptive.

Closed formation is discipline and trained structure; open formation is versatility and familiarity. they have much in common, but those mentioned are what stick out.

So what how does that relate to this system? There is no Light or Heavy infantry; there are A LOT of warriors that don't fit that standard. one is the macedonian phalanx, they are Closed Formation but Light Encumbrance. Breaking up the force into its economic components is something that will be different and intuitive in certain approaches. I hope that it can be considered an open system, and having pegged this approach no one can copy right it and anyone can use such a methodology.

Another project I have to get around to... once I finish my quota. Ugg,

After seeing World War Z Trailer, I want to run a survival game again. It also helps that we've been on a airsoft high doing much better in the games. This is an arm-chair general doing scouting actions. HAHA! nothing like implementing a plan and seeing all your assumptions go out the window. I really have this sado-masochistic relationship with reality - using sound reason to assess and predict, while getting excited when the plan falls terribly short and I have to improvise...

Improvisation, an RPG staple. The ability to improvise depends on the ability to prepare and analyze, while at the same time maintaining a cool level of calculation and detachment to one's plan. (something some claim as sociopathic... sigh).

Friday, November 9, 2012

Adventuring Utility vs Real World Utility

GURPS looks at relationships of point cost to Adventuring Utility, and not Real World Utility. If you are familiar with gurps and like observing humans overcomming challenges, then you will notice a lot of things are far cheaper in the adventuring mindset than in the RW utility.

Ambidexterity, Photographic Memory, and a ton of the advantages and disadvantages all can be measured as respect to adventuring utility. To argue on the side of Adventuring Utility, its easier to measure things... as compared to RW utility, it is much much harder.

Real World Utility takes into consider economic realities, and economic repercussions. RW-utility is not static, its dynamic and fickle. A piece of technology can reshape an entire economic landscape and thus change the "market price" of an advantage. Details become more important; and sadly it becomes a very long shopping and check list to track when you move into RWutility.

Its just too much work... but thats not exactly a problem. You buy a product because somoene did the work for you, and is trying to get rewarded and compensated for their trouble, effort, talent and inspiration. So I guess its up to someone to make a RW-utility Book of all things of the human condition.

GURPS Magic or Magic Game Systems
This is where RWU and AdU butt heads really badly. We suspend our disbelief, if we have trained ourselves to see RWU; we look through AdU as part of our RPing exercise. But lets talk about that elephant in the room...
... what happens with RWU of how magic systems of various game systems are set up...
Chaos and an unimagined and alien world. The power of magic will affect market forces because it makes Many many things that have a cost in Infrastructure (soft and hard) and Market to be ignored.

What happens is an alien and strange world; far stranger than the world we live in. When you remove the fundamental problems we have everyday: mortality, suffering, hardship, waste, the diversity and intensity of human beliefs and capabilities - the world with magic is something so alien because these elements we take forgranted is how our human psyche deals with things. its like how even infants have an instinctual grasp of gravity; we have some fundamental hard wiring about the world that get screwed at this level.

Example is if your Social Survival Skills vs the typical RPG set up.
I'm in the BPO world, in a fast growing industry with a lot of corruption. I have to be on guard and always reliant in multiple sources of information and continuous looking for weaknesses in the logical consistency (to a point my wife remarks I can be a bit robotic) all these dangers are due to the cognitive and economic environment. In a fast growing industry; more "pretenders" will be around, because there is a demand for talent but not the resources to vett and evaluate it. Fast growing industries has an emphasis in timely delivery instead of risk management. Opportunities are plenty so; there are the cognitive factors that sets things up like the viscous cycle found in Gambling.
So there are the fundamental laws of cognition and economics allowing for all this... and to remove economics or cognition from the equation is a world that is alien to me; i will be spoon fed information... I cannot ask questions... which is a big problem.

I say I cannot ask questions is because; that scientific principle is just thrown out the door. If there is no rationalization; or pretending rationalization that cannot be infused into a world then the most fundamental survival skill: analysis is gone and thrown out the window.

I guess I'm pretty biased to some forms of art; where it falls under whim vs reality. To base something in reality is to base something on what I can strongly disagree with but have to accept. With whim, I cannot exercise the mental flexibility of disagreement while being able to live or accept what contradicts my vision of ideas.

I guess the contradiction is what I look for in a game. When the players give me an opposing view of the world. I can disagree with the players with a vision or idea of how things are going to work out; but I can work within the confines of my players own expectations.

Personal Comments
I get tired of work; but I can never let people be exposed and vulnerable the way I have been made so by all the crap I've gone through. :P Too bad players look for escape; I look for people who want to be inoculated.

Aw shit; I finally got why Bob left for Canada. I guess there is an amount of crap one can take; even if they are not part of the corruption, it just gets so complicated you don't know where up is anymore and your afraid for your own morals - you don't want to be those guys. Well if my mom and dad can live with all this crap and thrive I better be able to. After all those history lectures; what we have in the Philippines is small fish when compared living in india and china.  If i don't survive and thrive in this; what happens when these two dictate how biz is done in the future?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

World of History Podcasts

I listen to Laszlo Montgomerys china history podcast, Lars brownsworth 12 Byzantine rulers, Robin Piersons the history of Byzantium and I will be download a whole ton more of history audio books.

What we all have in common with some of these guys is the very very long commutes in our lives. 2 hours of my day is lost to traffic, even in the least traffic of times. I gobble all these up easily.

What I realize is that the barrier of running historical games should be much lower than ever. History is now a more accessible interest. Although, like historical fiction novels, they are an acquired taste.

I've only checked out happy jacks podcast, because it's pro GURPS. But what would be nice is an rpg podcast sounds like a history podcast. What I mean is that, players and gms in their long commute can learn more about the setting and the rules as they wait in their long commute.

Typically these podcast give me ideas while I drive, where I whip out my e63 and press the record shortcut and dictate my notes while driving.

This rpg setting podcast helps gm learn the materials, especially Gm links me who are audio biased than reading biased.

The world of history podcasts help me learn in the idle time on the road. Because of how hard life is, it's a welcome distraction. I'm the type to ruminate and it has done wonders for my depression when I don't think to much and can learn - a coping mechanism to move forward.

Edit:
Recommended Podcasts
History of World War II Podcast - heavy ww2 history podcast, great for those long drives.
Twilight Histories - alternate histories
The memory palace - history in 6-7mins, award winning
Russian Rulers History podcast
Project History podcasts - notable is "When diplomacy fails" and British history
The History of Rome by mike duncan



Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Is there a bias against ak? Scientific damage

Ok GURPS calculates damage based on barrel length, diameter and mass of the bullet. The ak101 is an ak that uses the same rounds as an M4/m16.

In GURPS high tech ak101's 410mm barrel deals a little less damage than the m16 508mm and more than the m4's 370mm barrel. At least 5d-1 (average of 16.5), vs 17.5 of m16 or 16 of the m4. Just a .5 better damage.

Anyway it seems that GURPS is not using joules or kinetic energy for damage so I hope I can claim this and make it open - meaning anyone can use joules * area of impact/effect * mechanical efficiency as an open method of calculating damage.

By this method an ak47 does more damage at 2100 joules. I don't know where that bias is coming from, although I've never touched a real ak I can from thinking about it see how 2100 joules will screw you with recoil.

Waiting for my dad to get back from south Africa so he can transfer his gun to me, so I can learn to shoot real steel. Mulling the grey area of Philippine gun ownership, regarding assault weapons - sigh- some weapons are cheaper than the airsoft version.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Some Notes on Crisis Game

Crisis games are what I call games where things get really really bad but its not the end of the world. A coup d'├ętat, a war, a large scale terrorist plot, a natural disaster, a market crash, a persecutive martial law, etc. etc. Its not the end of the world, but its pretty devastating to the people around it. 

Anyway, to me the plot or the set up in nearly interchangeable  Basically shit hits the fan and players are individuals have to make best of a situation. The situation or cause has some nuances, but pretty much, its almost an apocalypse. 

I would always cater the game around the Philippines. Its just weird for me when people run games in places they have barely visited  like the US. I can understand my brother running a game set in Jersey, having lived there for almost 10 years. Its no different as running a game based on fictional setting, unfortunately details are what changes the tide of survival, and there are a ton of local knowledge that is wasted and makes the game all the more "immersive". 

Subject Matters or Topics that come from Local Knowledge

Zoning Laws - actually play a part, because you know where you can find unusual concentrations of certain businesses and buildings.  
Building Codes - helps because it allows me to quickly map and narrate structures. I ran a game set in the UP-Ayala Techno park as i was still under construction, since we do BPO fit outs I could draw from the floor plans we have of many BPOs. 
Nuances of Firearms Laws and Environment- Local Expertise help a lot in determining arms and armament found in the game. It helps that my uncle is a gov't contractor of firearms and I have two other friends who's family are military families.   
Market and Economic Local Knowledge - what Groceries, Shopping Malls, etc. Stock. What kind of goods can be found in the locations, what is unlikely and where to find hard to find goods. Friends who are in Commodity Supply and Distribution give a very good picture of how things work. I guess it helps to be curious and the GM side of me likes to find out more about these things.  
Maps - I use Gmaps a lot, and its easier to use when you have a good internet. I love researching with it, and often it pays off so well that it reinforces my dependence on it. I've made some local expertise maps and try to contribute to google maps' map editor site... although I can vaguely understand how it works and I can't understand their verification method. 

It tends to boil down to mastery of your surroundings and how one's world works. GMing for such a setting and crisis, actually makes me want to know more and more about my surroundings. Interestingly its a useful skill, it allows me to source hard to find and necessary goods, as well understanding the local market better. 

Despite having no game to run currently, (there is no market for my games in my location - most role-players are the escapist type) its nice that the GMing habit keeps me looking for data and asking questions. 



Thursday, November 1, 2012

Reflections on GMing after Simulations; Random Generating Flaws and Perks

There are a lot of ideas that come to me from converting my airsoft experience into GMing. One thing that just came up was, how Perception Checks should be handled.

My Captain has excellent perception, everyone else has average. from his description of how his perception works in GURPS its Tactics+Perception roll. He tells me that he uses a process of elimination going through all the best hiding spots in his field of vision. I've tried it and it really needs practice to get good at, but also it makes more sense than a raw perception roll.

My first time to play airsoft, and as we bring in newbies, confirms that there is a BIG default penalty. There is a -4 to -6 default penalty in seeing opponents in cover and concealment. Tactics+Per (or Soldier+Per -1) roll is not an option, its the only way to make sense of information overload. A high perception is not enough, you need to efficiently go through your field of vision as quickly as possible.

A person having at least 1CP or a familiarty will be much better than someone who doesn't know what to look for.

How to resolve Perception Checks with Group effort. 
- first players have to declare what they are doing, what they are paying attention to.
- the GM can roll the average of everyone's Per. The margin of failure tolerance is equal to the highest relevant skill+per. Its like having one roll and checking who would have made that roll.
- Filter who would have made it, by the relevance of their current activity. GM adjudicates, adding bonus or penalty based on their current actions - by how specific the character is looking for it. The more specific the better; the more general the more ambiguous the threat or data.
- This allows Van and Flank guards are able to react better; people busy with logistics worse; and fatigue penalty affects mental performance (unless one is a believer of substance dualism; then why does alcohol change one's behavior?).

These set of rules/guidelines allows me to fit what I have observed and experience, to in the game. Of course, players who don't clearly and definitely focus on what they should be focus would be a more unaware and flatfooted group.

Which brings me to why was a group of soldiers so easily ambushed in this show i was watching. EASILY ambushed.

I actually got "killed" in a game taking the time to tell allies to cross their vision and firing arcs. Talking and command is an action, I was in 90% cover BTW.

When covering 35' angle I notice I can catch anything that occurs within a second, any wider and my mental FPS is much slower than a second. at 90' i can be easily ambushed by a quick pop-up attack. at 180' even easier. This basic FPS rule, emphasizes the economics of mental resources. Unfortunately it takes practice for a pair or a group to optimize their alertness. If only there was a way to practice it without looking to weird.

In a GURPS second by second game, this would be an awful amount of detail. I run my gurps in 6 second rounds, like DND. In a narrative combat, as opposed to tactical combat, a perk should cover this, otherwise I'll throw penalites. When this mode of activity (room clearing) is on, players should be allowed to dodge or wait-attack.

Here is a funny side note about Keen vision in real life, it may be 2cp but if your asian it might as well be 5cp advantage. 70-90% of ethnic asians are near sighted. At least if your asian Bad Sight (mitigation glasses) is definitely easy to justify. What is weird is that in the Philippine Mil. Academy, you need unaided 20/20 vision (since Lasik is best taken in your mid 20s, when vision changes less)... that removes up to 90% of potential candidates(its modeled after the US, funny how it fails to take into consideration ethnic biological circumstance). 

Murphy's Rule makes me biased for Randomly Generated Characters. 

I see my RPGs as problem solving exercises more and more. It comes to the point that my bias towards some randomly generated characters are a necessity for the game. People really need to have the expectation MOST of the time they screwed by circumstance  but with in that situation their choices matter a whole lot more.

Its a head ache making a table for random disadvantages and advantages. That should be my first python exercise if I get around to it. a program that allows me to randomly generate a list of flaws and advantages for my open system.