Wednesday, October 30, 2013

GURPS modern fantasy S02E01 Primer

Sasha was going over a month's CCTV footage of a months worth with some of Speedy's IT and Jackie. Even with Speedy's facial recognition plug in, its been pretty laborious. Still, they seem to have caught it in time, thanks to the Dynamic Sentinel System set up with the Drones set up by the little Prince. The drones perch and change position time to time in a randomized algorithm allowing the company to have more fields of vision and to make it harder to develop a line of approach. This is what triggered the facial and body type recognition to throw up a the first red flag.

The Corazon parking garage building is one of their safe-houses in Old Town. Its fairly new, but was relatively cheap to build since it didn't need internal furnishing although it was a small consolation given the manpower overhead it needed in security as a mini-bus hub in the lower floors. Thomas was pretty smug about the investment since it dealt with so much cash, and it gave him the demographic information of the area's growth and trends. This is where the a number of red flag clustered, and when Speedy allocated more IR drones they detected  "masked" features meant to give facial recognition a harder time (a BIG red flag). The cool weather of May-June helped highlight these even more. 

In a period of 4 weeks, there was a few faces that appeared in an unusual statistical anomaly around the company's properties. One face and build did not visit it all, but there was enough of a chain of similar faces and builds to create a statistical anomaly to start figuring things out. There was a good reason Thomas and Tedora rigged the bidding for the Police' database in their favor and at great expense, although it was not hard since none of the more-honest businesses would ever offer a bid unless one of the Generals backed them (Jackie and Jamie's dad was instrumental in greasing those wheels; General Solomon may have been retired, but he patronized and acted as older brother to many of the currently empowered Generals). 

The clear faces were some petty criminals, mostly locals of Old Town with records of activity in the general area. Gusi was called in to supervise the analysis but was too busy putting out current fires. The Sasha was the next best at this trying to see if there is any logistical angle, Thomas put Speedy to research all the other area's infra to look for who would benefit at their expense, and Osman with Jaimee was joining Gusi and Tedora in many of the social occasions to pick up and filter information. 

Peiter on point with Jackie, Teo (aka Creamcorn) and Vash were on the ground following leads, beginning by bugging the these guys. 

  • Players can reply here on post on the notes for Long Actions (I'll just cut and paste it eventually where it should be). Players's comments and actions will affect the primer and what happens before we begin the game on Nov 15 19:00 EST / Nov 16 07:00 GMT+8 / Nov 16 12:00 NZDT
  • The game begins with an bugging attempt (note attempt). Don't worry about who or where, logistics characters can participate via Drone's and feeding information to on the ground characters OR can be switch over to be on the ground if they wish.  
  • Background Social Characters are in the CBD wining and dining (but not much focus on them); Logistics characters are in their respective safehouses, and Front-liners are on the ground getting things done. 
  • Current base of operations is the Corazon parking bldg top floor. There is a 400sqm command center fairly equipped. The bugging attempt is 1 kilometer away in very congested and traffic streets (see haven traveling notes in roll20).
  • Operational and Tactical Maps will follow. Hope to finish them by monday next week, the latest wed. 
  • This this it Story Notes (different from Game Rules/Ruling and System Notes). 

Supernatural Tansparency

I'm running a Kitchen Sink Setting and magic and psionics are usually very hard to balance. One thing that makes it a BIT easier is Supernatural Transparency. I'm taking a rule from D20's Magic/Psionic Transparency but applying it to anything supernatural.

This is important when there are very different beliefs in the setting, beliefs that say the other belief should not work. So a Catholic ritual of warding works (probably derived from the cult of Mithras religious ritual and latin requirement maybe) as well as an South American's Rainforest people's method of Warding when stopping a "Catholic" Vampire or some South American ethnic monster.

Of course, supernatural is a funny in a game when you go back to real life. like Transubstantiation in light of a setting where all religions have some ability. lolz. I'm not in the game to argue religion but I'm the GM and I have to allow for these things.

So in this setting, a "Shady" minister can actually have supernatural powers while the holiest and devout monk may not have any depending if they have points and in the inconsistency of supernatural benefice. A obscure Cult leader can have more supernatural power and a greater connection to his god than a world renowned religious leader! (never underestimate the power of Marketing and Propaganda).

Information Asymmetry  is going to be a constant, accepting it as a part of life and its challenges and "gaming the hell out of it" is a successful adaption IMO.

Wow, i just realized: does magic require cultural familiarity and language? If using an Ancient Egyptian spell, one must be familiar with the Culture AND the language enough to word it precisely? hmmm, if I'm going to use Ritual Magic (GURPS Magic p. 200)

Monday, October 28, 2013

System Neutrality

Given the conflicts of editions and system preferences, is it weird for someone to appreciate any system... of course knowing that I could identify where good effort was made in the design of the game (be it fluff or crunch) and how the creatures used their resources.

I guess i'm a gear head (a recent topic by +Peter V. Dell'Orto ) but why the edition or game system wars? I mean isnt that all just Marketing Fueled? I have a love and hate relationship for marketing, but its become a science because of how people have mastered memes and the insidiousness of how easy it is to exploit cognitive biases of people.

I'm gonna put this meme out there: To quarrel over editions or game systems or brands is to be primed by Marketing. If you like a game system, then it has value to you regardless of the effect of marketing or its utility. If you use it and you use it alot, and you enjoy it, thats what matters.

Now if you tell people about it or Rave about it, thats fair IMO. But when you start pushing it, or requiring it, I guess thats where things get murky and problematic.

Putting my opinion out there is sadly a contribution to the noise that needs to be filtered to get at the truth. Opinions are opinions after all, they don't need to substantiated by facts. Putting FACTS out there though is a different story altogether (and will not be covered by this discussion).

What it boils down too is looking for the silence despite all the noise and the marketing that is priming us to act in a certain way. Even the opinions of dear friends and loved ones need to be filtered (it doesn't mean ignoring it but setting it aside and sorting it). Its what we enjoy, despite the previous marketing that has already influenced us back when were vulnerable. Trying to enjoy things despite what others think or opinions say, is the clarity that needs to be established.

Once that clarity is established we get to decide if its making us happy, sans what everyone else says, its time to try something new. Because it is in the trying do we have the clearest idea if things work for us.

What does it has to do with RPGs, i love playing RPGs and its value is intrinsic to me. I've become pragmatic about how I play it to save time, money, and improve my quality of life but its not an infectious idea that it is the Be-All-end-all of me.

These days, marketing and bullsh*t goes to describe so many parts of your life that they have no business deciding or influencing. The noise is only going to get worse, and the best thing we can learn to do is Filter it, but still not to close oneself off from trying new things and experiences.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Gods and Monsters, GURPS Modern Fantasy S01E8

This pretty much wraps up the season, which began with one of the oldest tropes: damsel in distress and ends with the characters maturing.

In this episode the Pieter, Speedy and Merle were trying to drive back in flooded 3rd world city streets. Scenes inspired by Binondo and "old Manila", basically torrential rain at night battering down a city that has seen better days. Overcrowded and with poor drainage, the Tower's weaknesses as unleashed the creatures that it held within. Creatures that have taken the darkness and the flooded waterways to prey on the populace. 

Flooding, dangerous neighborhood (exacerbated by supernatural threats), darkness, stalled vehicles, and poor Telecommunications all contribute to a very dangerous situation for the party. Low on ammo and actually at half their FP (3 days with almost no sleep). 

The guys made their navigation and Speedy had to go on foot and with free running to scout ahead. This was pretty dangerous but, nothing too dangerous went after him except for one encounter near the  closest safe house (an old building).

Well the players played it smart and stayed in the car and forced they way through the obstacles. Three fast undead was running towards them, but Pieter rolled better than I expected taking them down before they got close despite the darkness penalties and the pouring rain (which I learned helps in aiming automatic shots since the rain gives makes the projectile visible). There was more creatures encountered, a minor diety (an bipedal elephant) fighting off the something sinister. They did the smart thing and kept running. 

They had a competent wheelman with them and it mattered a lot in this situation. They reached the safe house where they debriefed. Around here we continued the discussion about where they want to game to go. I got to use my maps, although only one of them was for encounter, the rest was problem solving and immersion. 

Next Session I need to have the primer out by wed, ideally on monday. 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Been Busy Lately; Bringing Down Standards

My writing has been getting worse and worse and I've been so busy I was not able to write the past two weeks as well as prepare much for my upcoming game. I have a map in the works but pretty much I have bare bones prep for this upcoming game.

Anyway I have a ton of drafts I will have to edit and bring up to spec. Always shooting my mouth off has some considerable risks and things to consider if it was PRUDENT or appropriate. Trying to keep ideas substantive is really a stretch especially when my inspiration comes from my work and science which can be a bit boring (but I guess if really think about how I write I guess the audience who bothers to visit wouldn't find that all tooooo boring if they've been reading this blog a while).

Lower Standards

There is something very annoying and mildly scary about having written something only to discover it didn't come out the way it sounded like in my head. Re-reading so much makes my brain starts skipping necessary grammatical infrastructure, and its pretty much the rule with anything boring and mundane: the brain fills up the blanks to save time and energy.

So why not use that to my advantage? I mean thats what happens when we skim and scan. We use that amazing context engine we have called the BRAIN and look for key words ignoring grammatical structure. All you need is an expectation of what you are looking at and the experience to spot key words and arrangements to confirm or verify a particular expectation.

The reason people skim is because our brains can't exactly get an upgrade to get faster unless there is a giant leap in science when I wrote this (i'd like to think). Experience and Education is what an older and slower brain has, and Anticipation is our evolutionary compensation to the slower processing power age has burdened us. Anticipation is what allows to react to something we expect far faster than having to process something would allow us, even with the Fastest Organic Processor that can be found.

Anticipation is what allows you to trigger a trained response when certain conditions are met. This is the crutch and tool of a mind past 25 and has fully matured its frontal lobe. So if that's the hand that's dealt me by time then I guess I better learn to use it than bitch and whine. Mistakes are ok anyway, certain kind of mistakes and in certain situations. Identifying appropriate circumstance for the lower tolerance but speedier performance is where the learning comes into.

So a bit fast and lose, and accepting that I do not have the Information Resolution I would be comfortable with in a calculated trade-off. I guess I'm getting more things done, but its going to be a bit flawed and less "perfect" or lofty. Ugggg... and the trick is to give you guys LOW EXPECTATIONS lols... that goes for my players.

Don't get me wrong, I'm aiming HIGH I'm just realistic that If I get this all done a head of time maybe I can build it up to something more, when opportunities bear the right fruit because of my efforts.      

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Pretty much Game in the Brain

A lot of my experiences inspire me to model things as a game, which is pretty much explains my hadron for SCIENCE.

Running inspires me to improve the movement rules, which also affects logistics and combat. Movement is a logistics puzzle, and the aspiration to model it in a way that it can plug into a Logistics Model and Combat Model is a continuous goal. It also inspires me to model health because of all the nutritional science that goes into maintaining and improving performance through diet (what you eat).

Airsoft, although I can't talk about our team's doctrine (so I have to keep within fundamentals) gives me a lot of inspiration to model Decision Making, Awareness and Perception, and Economy of Action and Force.

Work inspires me, sometimes, to model Logistics and Puzzles. The family business is pretty diverse because of its organic adaption to the market. A finger in every pie from manufacturing, construction, IT, leasing, BPOs etc... and both my extended family and my family are graduates of commerce/finance, accountants, economists, and dealing. It also inspires me to model Social Combat or Negotiations.

The Philippine business arena quirks as compared to the US (since most of the professors I listen to are american professors and talk about american business practices) is also an inspiration, especially when it compares and contrasts to other countries and neighbors. A Model of how these all work out is helped by studying Game Theory, my first The Teaching Company Audio Book I learned (which was half my take home when I first bought it).

I even had to write a separate content blog about how much I talked about business, economics, my studies and politics from a Gamer Point of view in Gaming Work. All part of journalizing what I learn to keep better digest the lessons. Often I find myself in topics that can be either in Game in the Brain or in Gaming Work... with stuff that are more controversial in gaming work.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

GURPS Modern Fantasy: Gods and Monsters 2nd Arc

The Tower shook, at 100 stories it dwarfed many of the buildings around it by 40 floors. Its architecture is reminiscent of much earlier eras that was inspired by more Ancient architecture, unlike those glass and steel structures that make up the newer portions of the Central Business District.

The storm has flooded much of the Old CBD and many strange things have come from the depths of the tower seize the stranded and struggling public. The storm's winds bellowed loudly, within the tower's broken windows letting out an almost human wail. The older buildings around it, all begin to look more worn and broken, with inhuman silhouettes begining to move around the dark interiors.

 Tabaqui, the Jackal lord, was staring at a different face as he peered the polished marble floor cris-crossed with lines of silver, gold, and salt. The face is of a weak and pathetic mortal who was moments ago bargaining for his life. But this mortal did not seem so weak and pathetic as it smiled back at him.

"I lost my angels, but gained a god" he said quite satisfied.

in the Warehouse

Osman and Thomas were arguing logistics, normally Osman would let his business partner do most of the thinking for this but his inner voice warned him that the people in the plan had a fundamental flaw. A flaw he would have to show Thomas to be believed, but that is going to have to wait.

Something arrived and it has leaped over the gate, but not without thrashing it on its landing. It has tested the doors with a savage charge but was held back by the metal sliding warehouse doors. It can be heard scaling the walls, leaping from smaller structures to larger ones. Each leap a heart bursting moment of anticipation before making that loud metal wrenching landing. Its footsteps would bend the riveted iron roof but did not give way when it pounced to further weaken it. It didnt take long for it to find semi-clear plastic sun windows and tore it to shreds.

When it landed, Tasha was in one of the Kuratas and bull rushed it. Jeni ran with Thomas to his sports bike and just put on his helmet. Osman was running towards the freight truck.

It was knocked back, and Tasha pressed her advantage clumsily throwing oil drums and heavy machines she can swing at it. The minor diety took the savage beating but was able to dodge the last one, taking its opportunity to get back on its feet. It's senses focused and could see its prey speed away with a loud engine roar.

Tasha called out to it, unintentionally switching on the loud speakers. Taunting it, it thought better and rushed at its primary target which was slowly gaining speed. The wind carried withit the smell of rain and Thomas had his HUD on GPS mapping in the corner of his vision, "nav mode on, nearest safehouse!", and gunned the engine some more.  

They were almost out of view when Osman was able to start the truck. Tasha was able to leap at the back abandoning the Kurata while he drove it smashing into old wooden electric posts. She managed to get into the truck and take the wheel when Osman began calling Thomas.

The creature chasing them was huge and heavy, and Thomas had a small experiment: he made a sharp turn in the corner. The creature made a wider turn, it slammed against the old concreate walls but was still on its feet but he was able to gain a small bit. He was multi-tasking and near panic, "nav mode: screen overlay map, Zoom" he had to say it a couple of times before the could control the tone of his voice so that the speech recognition could detect it. The creature gained, but it when it kicked he realized he heading for a dead end.

Tasha held down the trucks horn as she turned to swiped at the creature. It dodges her easily, but not without giving Thomas room to maneuver and he begins to gain distance. It continues to ignore Tasha, and by the time it has come to focus on Jeni, Thomas was making sharp turns regularly to slow it down till he hit the major roads where he boosts the engine.

Osman is arguing with Thomas again on the phone, when they see the burst of light like lightning coming from the Tower. Chained lighting strikes have been hitting the structure, tremor were felt, and many have come out to stand and watch it. The storm has made the area dark and many can be seen on phones calling loved ones.

The Creature see them and gives up chase, which is when they slowed down to do the same: calling to check on loved ones.  

Monday, October 21, 2013

Debt in a Game example

I borrow money to buy a Desktop, a Car, a home. Interestingly, I took on a Debt disadvantage forcing to have less disposable income but in return I have an Asset.... but where is the Asset I took debt for? Should a character take a disad to get a Car, a House, or money for his adventuring Start-up capital?

Assets = Equity and Liabilities; Duties

The Debt disadvantage resulting to a House that is not 100% yours is already in some kind of game balance IMO. The uncertainty makes opens the door to the risks everyone naturally faces when borrowing a large amount of money, that anything happening to that asset can destroy your future.
If you know any business owner who borrowed to start his business (who makes an honest living) such an expensive asset is something to regularly lose sleep over and worry about.

Technically you have a duty disadvantage that is on call, and have a ton of consequences: loss of credit-worthiness, bad reputation, possibly jail time etc.. etc.. This makes for a Perfect Vehicle to design characters around. Everyone who joined in the venture can all have Debt and Duty. Working for someone and failing in the duty will has significant consequences, failing in a business you borrowed to build has more significant consequences.

In TL3, a status 0 farmer making $700 a month can sustain -10 cp of debt for $100/mo still make their cost of living, anything more requires a drop of Quality of Life and lifestyle (up to -20; which is -$200 forcing the farmer to live in 500/mo cost of living). The higher the TL the more you can't sustain a threshold of -10.

Debt has a broader meaning 

Don't limit debt as owing someone money, expand your thinking to that Cell-phone Plan you got, internet or utilities billing, the mortgage for house and car or Business, OR the Lock-in contract for your apartment where you have to pay X amount every month even if you want to terminate the contract you suffer negative consequences.

Almost everyone has some form of debt, by the broader definition. Everyone has a cell phone plan, a lock in period for their housing to bring down the cost, and various other financial exercises that can fall under debt. So its normal in the modern world to leverage future earnings into investments or conveniences or for a dignified existence.

Living within Means

So characters now have debt, and it can reflect their housing. So what happens to CoL. Now it reflects Utilities, Food, and lifestyle. 

To scrape up some cash the GM may require a Professional Roll or a combination of various Professional Rolls to find some time to make money. In real life, this is pretty much the Challenge and Adventuring many regular people get into: Deal Hunting, Cross Training, and various Odd Jobs.

Sadly in many situations work takes up 50 hours a week, with small breaks of incredible boredom during the 50 hours. The GM may want to ask a professional roll to slip some online work (trading online; making and working on apps or products to sell; part time work). Although I think this should be done at the end of the month with a skill roll, with the Job roll modifying your "2nd" job roll. 2nd sources of income is becoming a trend these days, and the 50 hour work week is slowly paying less per hour as well (all over the world).

Nothing is for Certain: Job Market; Consequences of Defaulting

In medieval times, a farmer makes a living as a farmer their whole short life. Social mobility was in several generations, in Modern times it i within one's lifetime. Debt has the ability to move one up the social ladder (investing in a business and growing that business) or Falling down the ladder (one can still be fairly valuable for their experience if anyone would hire him/her). 

In Modern Times, there is greater uncertainty and "friction" when it comes to the job market. the character's Job or means of living is more uncertain than their ability to pay their debt... except for countries which has subsidized training and education so that people simply retrain to fit a more long standing profession in the face of greater and greater automation. 

It can be annoying when a dressing part of the world comes to light when the GM is building worlds :( anyway, if the character cannot sustain his payments consequences are pretty bad. One simple consequence is living beyond your means is really just getting poorer. That -10 to wealth from Average is now Struggling, not just a loss of Income generation BUT a loss of assets. In gurps since Debt scales, a struggling person with -10 debt loses an amount proportional to their assets. 


Osman and Thomas (Pregens in GURPS Modern Fantasy) both are Filthy Rich. In Haven their Starting Wealth is $20,000,000 and 2,600,000/monthly. Their debt, a number of infrastructure projects have a realization of 10 years making the total cost ($480 Million combined). Because of the synergy of the two business partners: Osman being a master empath and diplomat, and Thomas who is incredibly shrewd and skillful in business these two characters were able to start a very deviant business type: Shadow ISP (creating a unlisted and technically illegal ISP infrastructure). 

Basically the two characters sell Internet bandwidth, but they do it with many dummy accounts and hidden behind many false infrastructure project. Exploiting the City's convoluted Urban Sprawl and the many dizzying relationships with other local ISPs, Osman and Thomas are the guys you talk to if you want to have complete anonymity and electronic "commodity" trading investing and banking. Such a secure and Anonymous Marketplace is going to have a lot of  

Their wealth is divided into many shell assets warehouses, low-rise-buildings (being used as DR sites and collocation that participate in the electronic commodity market with idle processing) built around CBD area in various properties that have some legal and diplomatic immunity. They connect to the CBD area wirelessly through many dummy terminals. Speedy is the parkour programmer set up a very interesting array. The infrastructure they set up has been instrumental for black markets and shadow banking as well as sheltering human rights groups, all the flavors of activists, and some insurgents. Tedora also benefits from her relationships with two Partners and provides legal muscle    

Despite all this Osman and Thomas can only work with their $600,000/mo. CoL and what ever revenues Thomas can scrounge up for them with his business savy. Thomas with his "Hobbies" and  

The two characters reflect the main lessons of business: People Skills and Business Acumen. Note that Thomas is a bit of a computer wiz, and Osman is an "Old Money" elite as a Prince. They have Peiter and Speedy as their friends and retainers.

Currently there is a big debate where Emerging Market's Growth is coming from. Some say education, or increase of living standard, etc. My theory is that its a new *cough*sucker*cough* to take on debt and invest in infrastructure projects that should improve productivity and quality of life. lolz. I'm sure infra projects do, but never at the level promised. Its all a gamble really.

Thomas is an aberration of having the right amount of technical abilities in your home country. The funny thing about it is that, it takes a person like Osman to find the right people to do the project and Thomas and Speedy to implement the design, and Thomas and Osman to know who he has to pay to let such a project go through. Mama Mary and her crew also are very important.

I'm beginning to think I can write a whole TV series around these characters about doing business in the 3rd worlds. With the surrounding characters showing day in a life of struggling in such a place. 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Sunk Cost Effect and Benchmarks

Observing my players, myself, everyone I play with is one of my favorite parts of RPGaming. I admire those players who really RP their decision making and really taking on those cogntive biases that are interesting in story telling and having the discipline to overcome the cognitive biases that occure during the game that challenge their problem solving ability.

I've only experienced "Rage-Quit" once in a game, and it startled me a bit. Typically when one is frustrated with the GM people bare it and are polite until they have to leave never to come back again, but I was surprised by the Rage-Quit. I've had friends who tell story of Mastubatory GMs who exhibition their GM-Character and NPCs and completely make the other players an audience to flaunt their imaginary Ding Dong as Huge as they can possibly "creatively" narrate it and STILL these players would bare, laugh, look at each other (knowing they had the same bad feeling) and wait till the game is over never to invite the GM ever again. Thats my experience and those I know of Terrible GMs, nice GMs that challenge us and we were getting challenged (and it was getting exciting) only for someone to Rage-Quit was bizzare for me and for everyone else at the table.

Why Sunk Cost effect and Benchmarks. I realized that Sunk Cost effect is what makes missing an Attack regretful more than the failure in itself. Hyperbolic Discounting makes you want Utility NOW, but Sunk Cost effect makes you regret or get frustrated with every failure.

Recently my players reminded me of how calm and progressive they can be about problem solving. They didn't let set backs hold them down. They didn't feel as bad as a normally-emotion-regulating person has when a setback hindering them. They did well under pressure, they had some mistakes, but these mistakes took advantage of Background NOISE.

One of the things that make SCE(sunkcost effect) bad is having nothing but the unknown to deepen the regret and frustration of having failed. Age and experience, gives us benchmarks that tell us how many opportunities we will have in a given situation and it allows us to overcome this bias.

RPGaming is a great way to explore those emotions (LOLz Dr Phil!) and experience them more and more, until hopefully we learn from them and improve decision making skills.

When one of my GM's basically "reset" the adventure I admit I was a bit frustrated. Being out maneuvered was something I hated as any armchair Strategist and it threw all those Social engineering books i've studied both in military and psychology papers (and i real life business work) at my face because I failed to call on all those real world lessons I'm supposed to have (with a character who could execute it even if he was a cripple). I felt helpless when I could not problem solve my way in that one and I didn't know how to proceed without overwhelming the GM with my geek nerd-on with a barrage of questions and possibly spoiling the game for other people as I occupied the GMs time.**

Still, emotion regulation and overcoming bias should be instinctual. The set back is a set back, and my character was from a Failing Dynasty, such set backs is nothing when you've lost more than a ship you barely had a stake in. Still it also meant, he had more influence over the matter, etc. etc... All the cognitive gears should be turning and turning each other and VIOLA I don't feel bad anymore. I felt bad, but not any more and an open mind is the only frame-set that can see opportunities.

So i have to be optimistic, while some of my allies can be the conservative ones to reign in and challenge the optimistic strategy and hopefully we find Truth in between our perspectives. Vice versa if someone else is being optimistic, and its natural to reign in each other in a problem solving exercise. The Apolo 13 case study on problem solving is an inspiration of how the flow and participation could be for an RPG. 

**I will simply just talk to my party mates about my plans, and the objectives. They are free to take it, leave it or critique it, and also wing it (no plan survives intact). Nothing special or special rules needed, just basic REAL WORLD communication skills.

I should talk about how much and why I like BACKGROUND NOISE in decision making process. How it enhances and exercises the imaginative mind and why I seek it in the game, and don't mind it when the GM gives confusing signals (they should IMO) etc... I can have a whole post all about Noise.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Science in the Role-Playing; is a Good System Relevant?

Role-Playing is Decision Making Sciences for me. Stuff from Intelligence of Emotions, Cognition, Behavioral Economics, and Economics and Demographics (backgrounds and trends of human personality archetypes: ex. coming from severe poverty, ignorance, intollerance, etc..). 

I like Role-playing within the Limited Scope of my Character's information. Doing things I would do with the resources I have, optimally arranged in the limits of time. What I love about it is that its Role-Playing, but its also Problem Solving in a way. More specifically, the interesting part is What Decision Making Process is best with limited Information?

I've been playing an Illiterate SCUM lately in a WH40k game, and its a pretty bad handicap to not be able to read. That basically means the SCOPE of  my experience are all Conversational or Direct Experience. Being able to Read and Having Access to literature gives me another Point of Reference, increasing the ability to seperate Fact from Fiction. As the Player I can meta certain decisions, of course, as long as I keep it within his line of motivations - thats why I always play a Deviant, Curious, and Pragmatic when I play uneducated characters. 

I've recently Tackled Decision Making process in Combat with the 6 seconds and 1d6 minute luls. And listed the Lectures I found relevant to discussion of Attention and Decision Making corroborating observations made from different disciplines in science. Very Science Munchy. 

Journalizing is one of the most IMPORTANT learning strategies I've come on (thats why I have like 5 blogs, one blog I had to stop posting because it was talking about Team Doctrine. 


First not everyone plays to learn, we sometimes play to Escape, even me, so other motivations to play does not invalidate their way of playing. 

Do I need a good Game System to Run a Learning Experience Game? Yes, because without a good GAME system then we are shifting Goal Posts every time. Being able to play with Crunchiness is a great way to analyze and see what causes what. It also allows one to see how Reality is so different from the Modeled Abstraction Game. 

A good System, on rare occassions, makes a good narative and makes good sense. A bad system, isn't memorable and there is no way to anchor the experience to a benchmark for relational memory. Its just becomes bad data, that you cannot make heads or tails of. 

Different Modes of Problem Solving: 

Combat... pretty much done to death by everyone. I'm happy many systems have adopted the 6 second combat round, expounding, and developing simpler and more intuitive systems as they cross pollinate. I think for the sake of player introduction and cross compatibility of thinking modes it would be a good option that a system can adopt this medium.  

Logistics. There is the Long Actions, Administration/Organization of resources, Running a Business, etc... All these can be boiled down to a simple system drawing from Economies of Force (fun fact, Sun Tzu discusses economies of force as early as 500BCE). I'm happy that some players don't mind being Non-combatants in my game with some Business and Logistics Abilities, and I'm glad to tilt things Ad-hoc in their favor to make their presence felt. But of course, if time and money was broken down to resources Units ($USD, Manhours, Capital Values) things would be an interesting problem solving exercise. 

This would be a great game app project to work on as well. How I would model an Any Game System Logistics Game that will allow players to run Entities. 

Social Engineering or Social Combat. Still one of the best Ideas i've seen is +Christian Blouin found here in Orbs and Balrogs.  I will make a make my own tweaks and pamphlet for this system, drawing from the Intelligence of Emotion, Cognitive Bias, Social Dynamics and of Course what will generate great Narrative inspired by great shows that have really good Politck ing (the good wife ex. will check out house of cards and all those others when I get the chance). 

A Social Relationship Map Tracker would make a RPG APP project and would be best to plug in to any other game system even computer game system! Especially if it can Export the data into a relationship map. 

Monday, October 14, 2013

After Moore's Law

I tried to model Moore's Law and computing power over time, and wow those assumptions of data processing are pretty exponential. Note that Moore's Law is made up of two things: The scientific progress towards more CPU output (more FLOPS) AND the growth and investment of the Computer Industry.

Linus Torvalds is worrying about the end of Moores law's rate of improvement. Why? I'll try to explain that below.

Growth is measured in Annual Compound Interest with the progress of computer science you have your Moore's Law rate of improvement which is roughly 40% increase of computing power per year.

Note that next couple of year's newest "Standard" Desktop chip may be double the processing power and would get pretty much the cost of the same model today.

Longer Cycles but the Market Adapts.
4-6 year hardware cycles will be LONGER! What does that mean to the consumer, computers should not be replaceable in 2-3 years they should be replaceable only 4-6 year cycles now. I think smaller computers like Smart Phones and Watches and accessories

For those of us who replace hardware much slower than companies (typically 4-6 years) that means being stuck with the same computer performance 6 years (which is not bad). Marginal improvements come from Collective Computing or Swarm Intelligence. That means a new path of computer consumer electronics is through merchandising, through Computer Accessories and allowing multiple computers to share cores.

More than ever Digital Ecosystems will matter... and notice which OS is finding its way into many smaller computers and accessories. Which is why I'm not so worried about Linux, since it empowers people who are not programmers like me to self study to learn to program while we maintain our day jobs. The first to reap the full benefits of Digital Ecosystem in a micro scale (individuals and small companies) will be those who are now seeing the trend and the raw productivity enhancement. Basically increased multi-tasking (via variable priority processes having faster cycle rates between tasks) in a wearable intuitive input medium.

So that Smart Watch/Bands, Phone, HUD eyeware, that computer stick you carry, and all these smaller computers worn will slowly add up their processing for greater feats of CPU performance or extraordinary feats of multi-tasking and coordination.

Imagine my biometrics computer (like the fitbit but on steroids measuring heart rate, blood pressure, kinesthetic motions through NFC accessories, also emergency contact and medical information; a marketing ploy of medical insurance to better track health), my visual HUD computer, my Smart Phone, Smart Watch/Band, the computer in my car or on my bag (which has power supply accessories for all my computers) wirelessly depending on each other. With a digital ecosystem, they all mesh perfectly.

Well I was going to write it up for a game, and decided to write up all these assumptions and trends for my Sci-fi shortstories instead lolz. Still, I'll try to make some rules regarding CPUs. I've talked about these before when I talked about GURPS Ultratech. Now I guess I'm fleshing out my sci-fi assumptions for a series of stories I'm drawing up.

Its easier to write stories with well researched (by a munchkin) backgrounds and assumptions. Unfortunately research is not an entertaining read for normal people, but a good story out of that data can be interesting.

Relevant News
First Carbon nano Tube Computer

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Session 07 of GURPS Modern Fantasy

I don't want to set high expectations about how I run games lolz. So here is Session 07 of GURPS Modern Fantasy, a Kitchen Sink Game where serious to casual gamers can play and I'll try to accommodate everyone's taste.  

This game is very special, because its basically a game where I used DnD monsters (the Bodak, Ghouls, and Animated Statues) against the players with their depleted magazines and low energy levels. The players did something you won't find in a typical movie with undead: They Played Smart! 

Unlike a Horror Film, where fear should be telling the protagonists to RUN RUN RUN, but instead they (for many B-film flimsy reasons) do something stupid, the players ran ran RAN! I had like a ton of things prepped plus a whole Office Floor Encounter of a size that was about 120x150 hexes to play out some frustrations I have in the Kenyan mall incident. 

I was also using the Treasure Tables for loot, but since they did the smart thing the expedience is its own reward. 

Since this is the end of the first Arc- Everyone 2CP, and 4cp to give to the other players.   

Kitchen Sink and Game Balance

For the GM who wants variety but doesnt want to keep changing campaigns or give players a hard time, Kitchen Sink is the way to go. You will notice I use WW2 weapons for my baddies, cutting edge IT, i even have mecha (thanks to the Kuratas), and a lot of Dungeon Like terrain because Cargo Ship Converted Shantie Towns (inspired from India), Archologies (the Walled City of Hongkong), Massive Ghost Cities and Economic Zones (because of recent economic events), Near-Civil War like conditions with emerging markets being new fronteirs of money making and opportunity. 

It can be "Western", "Fantasy", Historical-ish, Modern Combat Sim, and i can draw from so many other inspirations and the players can make this anything they want. 

Game balance is not so hard to fix in GURPS because everything is so damn lethal, and situations are not just combat but exercises of Logistics and Problem Solving. The Covenant of Good Faith is there, and even players run out of their Best Weapons over time. So no problems. 

It brings me back to days when me and the guys would play ourselves but made-heroic and idealized. The 150pts is not a lot if you're used to Dungeon Fantasy of 250cp or Monster Hunters at 400cp... but its WAY more than the typical net points of real life people which is at 10-50cp. Its like What would you do if you had about 150 more points (since you have 50 points of disads to draw from). 

Preparing for More Games

Tedora or Mama Mary the pregen based on Jessica Pearson of Suits is my vehicle character since she has 9 allies that are 112cp-50disads-5quirks. These characters roll for availability or are just made available for new Players.

The idea behind her as a Pregen is to be able to play a big shot dealer character. So that the Game is not just about Combat, sometimes a Political character would be fun to play and a power trip.

her Crew

  1. Faceman Lawyer, a romantic and machismo character. Has the typical fun RPing formula with his distracting Amorous escapades. In Combat he has basic guns skills that comes from the machismo circles he plays with (milsims, gun clubs, golf etc..)   Inspired by Bautista in Dexter. 
  2. Personal Assistant Body Guard ex-Marine from a Local Martial Arts Family. Optimized for Striking and specialized grappling ability with skill adaption. 
  3. Honey Trap, sister of the PA MA. Secretly a skilled grappler. Former Ms. Haven, moonlights as underwear model, and all the skills that makes a good Honey Trap. 
  4. Old Retired Hacker. former legend during the cold war, retired in Haven and works as the systems security and all other Electronics Ops needs of a powerful lawfirm. Since there are many young hackers, I'd try an old school one. because of such, he is more hardware focused, which is great for a 3rd world country like Haven which doesnt have the Infra.  
  5. Witch. Walda the voodoo witch that got tortured and escaped the Jackals finds shelter with Mama Mary. 
  6. Wheelman. Since Tasha is Tedora's cousin, this makes her brother fit to be Mary's annoying but very competent wheelman and plain clothes informer. 
  7. Analyst/Sleuth. former Army Intelligence (I learned in some third world countries their Army or Navy or Airforce houses their Intelligence agency, ex Philippines Naval Intelligence is the Intelligence Agency also of South East Asia because of the Archipelago nature of the neighbors) Inspired by Kalinda (goodwife) and Lena (Ray Donavan)
  8. Professional Asshole Bulldog Right-hand Inspired by Ari Gold (Good Wife) & Eli Gold (Entourage), which are all inspired by Air Emanuel. 
  9. Cleaner. Former Police Lieutenant. Specializes in tying up loose ends. Basically an Procedural an Methodical Criminal with Assassin abilities. Examples Mike Ehrmantraut of Breaking Bad.). 

Other than her the Prince of Bots, Osman's prodigy son is another character that would work very much with a player with a schedule problem. When ever he is not around: There is bad Reception. The prince of Bots aid Osman and the Party by giving a bunch of technical skills to their problem solving challenges.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Giant Fighting Campaign

Rules and Physics for large creature fighting are pretty challenging. One of the reasons one would like to play such a campaign is to kill big monsters, but for me it would be what would combat doctrine be like at such sizes.

Shinjeki no Kyojin is an inspiration to this, but I believe you can achieve heroic and dramatic Feats as well as visually stunning scenes even with the science and physics still intact. Although to be true to the Inspration, i want to have a game with a good number of fatalities. My first programming learning project is a character generator (spitting out characters).

Here are the Giants I contributed in GURPS . I tried following the square cubed rule when it came to sizes. These giants have huge bellies that allow them to extend their range as they forage.  

I'd use gurps but modified with 6 second rounds instead of second by second. DnD would work also, and even Mgt traveller system but it has to be made more elaborate. Many low tech fantasy systems come to mind that can run this, but they need a lot of work. If it were me and Gurps it would be probably 40 hours of prep with maps and tokens eating up 90% since I already did most of the research on size scaling in gurps.

The world builder has to establish an ecological and biological reason how such huge creatures exists. Drawing up studies on elephants would be the first order of business. Then he proceeds to figure out how man fits in this complicated picture. A lot of eureka moments just doing that, and unfortunately not much appreciation.

Naturaly this would have Acrobatic Combat, and this would be fun. If you've seen whirling Wuxia spear fighting (that can be used as a Pole) with Acrobatics, and pretty much Post Apoc and Alien Dynamic Terrain, this would be epic!

Maybe some Post Fall Pharmacy have special drugs for healing and muscle strength, and special conditioning for altered human forms (Heavier or Lighter). 

Sample Campaign

  • A colony lost in an Interstellar Dark Age, fortunately humans have adapted to the environment so much and its been "terra-formed" to meet half way that it is as bio-diverse and growing as Terra. Aesthetically a bit different, but the biology and physics allow for a bit of fantasty creatures. 
  • Barely Industrial Revolution level of technology. Food is plentiful, birth rates are much higher than medieval and medicine. Its like China in pre-industrial levels 500Million in 3.7 million square kilometers (roughly the size of the US).    
  • Other than Giant Trees, that create a city like landscape, there are Canyon systems as well. I would draw from Yellow Mountains in China as well (one of the terrain inspirations in Dragon Ball and many China inspired martial arts movies, the pillar like mountains is different) as well as those found in Africa. 
  • Human settlements are on these special terrains (giant trees and canyon or mountains) where water is available and many industrial earth movers and water works allow for sheltered farming. Some of the terrain is still accessible normally, but are guarded with walls and holdfasts. 
  • Giants are of the 3-5m variety. see giants templates above. The Giants have ranging endurance of about the same as an elephant typically 20km or 15miles a day when foraging but when pushed to extremes can cover up to 80km per day. When they organize for marches, they can cover 30km consistently daily (it is whittled down by terrain modifiers, but they can overcome most terrain because of sheer size). 
    • Carniverous, they will eat the all the dead (sans armor and metals spitting them out or working around them the way a human would with seeded fruit). They can pretty much store enough meat in their belly for a week of travel without need for foraging. They can basically make foraging roles everyday at a penalty relative to their fast pace. 
  • Humans have limited access to gunpowder. The most common weapon are SPEARS and Pole-arms when fighting giants, and most tactics and doctrine is about maneuverability instead of armor. Parkour or Acrobatics and a lot of Running is part of the training of the defensive militia. 
    • There are a lot of cavalry using exotic mounts: deer-like, goat-like, bull-like, flightless bird-like, and some horse-like cavalry. The most common type is a Lamma-like pack animal that has stats similar to a mule with poor gait but can 
    • Acrobatics, Running, Hiking, and Logistics are key skills humans have that allow them to fight these Giants. Logistics can be sophisticated with secret caches of supplies left over by ranging parties. Human's Endurance advantage is important and is augmented by logistics. 
  • Combat system has to be adapted to the 6 second one because most of combat is maneuvering instead of attacking. 
  • Mysteries on mysteries on mysteries...  
  • Players can be part of armies trying to established secure trade routes or merchant retainers trying to protect trade and assets, or the defense force of an isolated city state under siege. They can be scouts searching for other survivors and lost technology.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Less Games

I had to drop out of 2 games, since I don't have flexi-time anymore. So my wednesday morning games are gone :( Oh well, thats the nature of work and being a "grown up" schedules change and we adapt to the challenge.

Whats left is the Traveller Game Alternating Wed night at my 6pm. So right after the shift ends, I have to run home. Then there is the WH40k which is around 5pm, which I can still play but I have to move around stuff to play it, it great that the guys don't mind it if I get there by 6pm.

My GURPS modern fantasy has new interested people, thats great. I can see everyones schedules shifting and having problems so I'm keeping the table open. Someone asked if they can still play if they come in late, sure they can but I can't extend too much, the other guys have other plans and my wife will be giving me that look if I take too long.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

GURPS Low-Tech Fantasy Elven Kataphrakt Alexios

Alexios of House Ducain

The Ducain Lands.
900,000 acres

  • He was Duke Tytos’s squire, and Tytos abused him and is very much still infatuated with him.
  • Betrothed to Lady Yliani of House Baccarynn; disapproved by her brother Sir Malique
  • Squired with Sir Jeremane (fellow Squire at the time, now a Banneret), who has a constant rivalry with him, bordering on hatred. They stay far from each other to maintain a fragile indifference.
  • Duke Tytian (knows his secret, and is his current lord as a hostage exchange), and wants Alexois father, Lord Konstantine’s lands through marrying his sister Lady Bella and his vassal Godwin the Bastard.  
  • He is in love with Lady Alyss (bastard daughter of Lord Quentin of House Qish)


-30 points
Elves are
  • ST-1, DX+2, Per +2.  
  • Impressive Appearance - +1 reaction bonus in awe of their a natural beauty.
  • Extended Lifespan Extended Life Span – Elves are long lived and slow maturing, they become a young adult at around 100 years, an adult at around 180 years, middle Aged at around 240 years, Old at around 300 years, and Venerable at around  360 years.
  • Magery -  Elves can learn and detect magic.
  • Night Vision 5 – reduce the penalty from darkness and low light conditions by 5.
  • Severe Insomnia – An Elf's highly attuned senses does not allow them to sleep well. The GM secretly rolls 2d-1 days to determine how long is their bout of Insomnia, then secretly rolls 3d to determine how long between bouts. Elves tend to be skilled in meditation and use the skill to enter a trance, which they use to substitute for sleep.
  • Light Sleeper – Elves do not sleep soundly, they need to make an HT roll to fall asleep, and will wake up on a successful Per check when there is detectable activity. Elves  use the trance from Meditation.  
  • Vulnerability to Iron – Elves take twice as much damage from iron weapons and four times as much damage from meteoric iron weapons after damage penetrates damage resistance.
  • Intolerance to Dwarves – Elves are racially averse to Dwarves. They treat dwarves with a -3 reaction penalty.
    • Unusual Complexion – Elves range in unusual complexions from Coppery, Pale Green, Porcelain White, Pale Gray, Pale Purple, Marble, etc...
    • Unusual Eye Colors – Elven eyes are like gemstones and precious crystal minerals in color and mixture.
    • Bronze materials cost nothing additional to the wealthy elves.

Elven Social Background

30 points
Elves are

  • Language Speak/Comprehend Elven (Native, Fluent)
  • Language Speak/Comprehend Common (Accented)
  • Language Read and Write Elven (Native, Fluent)
  • Cultural Familiarity: Elf (Native)
  • Numerate  
  • Wealth (Wealthy) – Elves are a wealthy peoples, they begin with five times more wealth than the
  • Status 1 – from the wealth

A good counterpoint to the Dwarven self reliant horse archer, is the most expensive and heaviest uptkeep kind of Cavalryman to field medieval warfare: The Kataphrakt. The Kataphrakt is basically combining Heavy Armored Lancer Cavalry with Horse Archer Training. They are very expensive because they have to be the lightest and most armored as possible, and with the best possible horses for the Job.

Elves in this setting are Wealthy at the least. Meaning that an Elf is not without at least a Holding with more than 50 families paying rents and providing labor and half their produce to the Elf. Low birth rate in their lowest of members, and powerful Armies actually leaves elves shorthanded in managing all their lands. Instead they "Lease" these lands to their Human Vassals.

The elf here is pretty much similar to the DnD high elves, along with the disadvantages of the high elves, except that unlike DnD elves they are truely Fae creatures and are vulnerable to Iron. Bronze is 4x more expensive because Elves have horded it All (and pay without the x4 modifier to cost), and its their preferred Alloy because of the incredible lifespan they have: its easier to reforge, does not take much to maintain (unlike Steel), and they possess all the key Mines that produce the Tin and Copper.

Elves are powerful and Elite. you can have an All elf party although you would be treating Humans as disposable assets meant to soften up the opposition before glory can be achieved. Of course, their lives are complicated because of all the Politics and Jockying. Note that this elves, don't kill other elves, even their worse enemies. they usually have Ransoms and Hostage situations. A human killing an elf, would mean all those they know up to 9 degrees of blood relation and friends would be killed (a practice common in historical China). A villager who accidentally kills an Elf, can expect his whole village destroyed and his human lord punished with severity depending on the whim of the Elves.

I see it as an opportunity for Human characters to role-play Vassals, Serfs, Slaves, and Outcasts authentically.

Elven Magic    

Magic is in the Form of GURPS Advantages with the Magic Limitation. It can take many forms, as they are Techniques and Spells that are modular enough to be shaped. Some Families specialize in certain "Themes" of advantages. Example is House Ducain and Body Enhancement. Alexios can strengthen himself magically (which is negated by anti-magic and dispell magics).

Traditional GURPS Spells can be used, but i think the GM gatekeeping all the spells and advantages provides a great Counter-Munchkin balance. Having to approve with the GM, requires a more Conservative strategy of ability building. Of course the GM has to make benchmarks.

To counter act the effects of Iron, many elves have magics that protect them specifically against Iron and Steel. Typically these need to be brought down before hurting them seriously... but of course using their own weapons against them stands a better chance.


My ideas of the Elves were best realized when i played John Wick's House of the Blooded's Ven. The Ven, made much more sense and, for me, pointed out how such races would co-exist given factors of Economics, Elves are Empires of Elites, with Humans and Dwarves (who were once their peers).

More about this Generic Fantasy.

The way I would have done this is by taking a very detailed Fantasy Setting Map I could get off the web and just use everything from all these different Settings as long as I could "Hack" the Look and feel through my story telling.  

The idea is less adherence to Dogma or any Core source and flexibility of material just to set up the Conflict and Story. This is an RPG and the GM and Players are doing real life in between games. To Hack stuff up to suit this game is the key principle. Imagination should be very flexible and adaptive, it should make gold out of sh*t if it has to.   

Monday, October 7, 2013

Open Table; 5 or more Players in Roll20

I have an open invite to my GURPS Modern Fantasy Game. I tend an interested person every other week. So far out of the 4 people who asked (which i clicked invite to game) 1 has joined and 1 has voiced interest in playing and has chosen Merle Jessie's character (because Jessie can't make the schedule and I have little time to make a new pregen).

I try not to limit the max players because I have some fall out. Many of the interested people are really just shopping around. Although I do really have a maximum number of players, and I'm worried if I might go over that maximum which will cause the game will suffer, it seems that it never happened. Life seems to get in the way of so many of us, it hasn't gone overboard YET.

5 or more players in roll20

When there are a lot of players or if I'm a player (or the GM), I recommend to write down your actions in Roll20 chat log instead (i think some of my fellow players do the same). The GM can focus on the player he's talking to and quickly respond with the Text Action (multi-tasking without having to eat up extra attention if you used up your spotlight minutes). If your feeling generous with the details feel free to put it in the Chat log. I recommend, Yes& or just Improvising something (with clear intent) and let the GM just decide. Also don't forget to soft remind the GM (he's only human) if he skips your turn.

When the GM responds, write it down as well. That way its all in the campaign notes/ Chat Log so that it would be easy to follow when in doubt. I really should put a Time Unit and export the Chat Log and link it to the Video.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Recent Roll20 Learnings

Speed for me is being able to focus on drama instead of just the rolls. I want the narration and the emotion substantive  with the rolls getting a little out of the way.

Maps Preparation

Recently there has been some map updates allowing Light Sources to be in place that will not be seen when there is no line of Sight. Ctrl + L while selecting a Token to check for visibility. 
Another is the improved speed when importing a map that is > 1024x1024. So i learned: Try to keep my maps smaller. 

You can Scale Down Hexes despite the number of "Units" a map is made up of. The default is 25x25 but you can shrink a grid to 0.6 before the tokens that fit these hexes become problematic to click on (in my experiments). So I have a 35 unit wide map at .6 scale it now has about 60 hexes wide. Adjust the unit scale appropriately.

Perception as Visibility 

Perception is Visibility. The Perception Score and the ACT of observing affects what the PC can see. Lets use GURPS as an example - Perception-5 or Observation Skill + Night Vision + Acute/Keen Vision is the Light Radius Score of the PC token, x3 this value for their Fade Radius Score. if the PC has Night Vision Goggles x2 to the Light Radius, if they spend the Turn to Observe x2 as well (to a x3 if NV and Observing).

Limiting Perception means making more Inferences and Making it a more challenging Puzzle. I like it that the PCs cannot see how many they are actually fighting.
Rule Experiment, trying to Simulate Cone Vision.Players Token is 0 Lighting Score. Use only Fade Score = 1/2Per. Then give a Light Token (a Tinted Token of themselves) that is assigned to the PC, that has only a fade score = Per under the ownership of the PC. The PCs can only move this Light Token up their Per*2  in Ruler range. 

Speeding Up Turn Taking

I'm getting rid of NPC Combat Turns, instead I will move NPC tokens on the Turn of a PCs their action or before (asking the PC if he wants me to move first, and allowing the PC to react or interrupt). NPCs will not be on the Turn Tracker, instead only PCs.

The trick is that I will only move a number of NPC tokens every turn as all of them will take Optimum Actions (Aim x 3, Shoot) while the Player decides. The faster their decision making the LESS NPCs I move. This heightens the drama since the PCs have to act quicker and decide sooner how they are going to act or the Baddies have a very high to hit.

I realized this as it takes newbies (and I have a lot of people new to GURPS) to choose their action. So while they are deciding I will start moving units while they are taking their time. If they decide faster I move less units. Since Units are moving on the TURN of their Allies, they have to pay attention on their Allies turn. Lolz. It sounds ruthless but I think of it more as a DRAMA enhancement.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

GURPS Low-Tech Fantasy Dwarven Horse Archer

One of my many heavily prepped games, that I never got to run was converting an old DnD Module I was never able to run for my brothers into GURPS. One of the fun things about looking at old modules is making them more mature and a bit more complex for problem solving purposes. 

I use games to explore poverty, slavery, social justice, and all these other interesting topics within the confines of a low tech environment with limited education or access to information. I always find it a game of how does one learn try to be "good" with the cultural lenses and biases inherent after so much history of suffering and cynicism. 

Anyway, I've made a stable of Interesting and detailed stated out Characters in the same manner I obsessively detailed my JTAS submission. Complete with load outs (the words per cents per time of prepping a load out is not worth they pay off).

GURPS Low Tech Character Folder

You will notice that the Dwarf Template follows pretty much the D20 DnD format of explaining powers. There is a "summarizing" term and what the feature, power, or difference means. It does not follow the GURPS format of stating out everything in its points. 

Note that a Dwarf's Template is different from their Default Dwarven Social Background. This is there is no mix up with abilities and features, because some dwarves (any many minorities) can be raised as slaves or serfs despite their ethnicity. 

Dwarf Template

-15 points

  • Slow Move - They begin with Move 4 instead of Move 5
  • Lifting  Strength +3 – Calculate Basic Lift for Dwarves, as though they have 3 levels greater ST.
  • Night  Vision 9 – Dwarves have excelent night vision, negating 9 levels of darkness penalties.
  • Extended Lifespan – Dwarves are long lived and slow maturing, they become a young adult at around 36 years, an adult at around 60 years, middle aged at around 100 years, old at around 120 years, and Venerable at around 140 years.
  • Workaholic – Dwarves are hardworking to a fault, they are so single minded with their work their relationships suffer. They suffer -1 reaction penalty with those who are affected by it.
  • Stubborn – Dwarves unusually stubborn people, it takes a great amount of effort to change a Dwarves mind. Double the time and resources it takes to argue an opposing point across to a Dwarf. Because of this inherent nature Dwarves are get along better with each other intoxicated or not minding the business of others. Often the Dwarf suffers a -1 reaction penalty to anyone affected by their stubborn nature.
  • Taciturn – Dwarves are a naturally grumpy, cranky, and taciturn people. Other peoples find these offensive and rude. The Dwarves suffer a -1 reaction penalty to other races.
  • Elven Rivalry – Dwarves have an unhealthy rivalry with Elves.
  • Social Stigma: Minority Group – Dwarves are a Minority Group, they suffer -2 reaction penalty to other races and +2 reaction bonus to their own. They are all Vassal States to the Human and Elven Empires.
  • Features:
    • Stocky and Heavy Build (Height x0.8, Weight x1.3 of a human of the same strength).
    • Male facial hair grows faster than head hair.

Dwarven Social Background

10 points
  • Language Speak/Comprehend Dwarven (Native)
  • Cultural Familiarity: Dwarven (Native)
  • Literate in Dwarven (Native)
  • Language Speak/Comprehend Common (Accented)
  • Numerate

Here is Rulfar of Clan Dunnum
Rulfar is a Dwarven Horse Archer. Dwarves ride ponies and ponies are logistically the best for Horse archery if you are going inject some realism into "Fantasy". Also Ponies are the only horse which has a gait allows it to be used in dwarven terrain. In the DnD version, ponies are cheap and he affords 8 of them but in GURPS he can only afford one.


* Wants his sister, Rallyah, to have a chance as the Clan Shield Mother (the female equivalent of Chief). She stands a better chance with him in self exile.  
* Secret: His Father Gritter’mane has broken down since the breach of the Dunnum Hearth, 5 years ago. His claims that it was his “faulty intelligence” that made his father decide to the Clan defenders to hold the eastern wall, which resulted for a successful enemy feint and an attack from the south. He has taken the duty and self exile of frontier patrol as a result.
* Secret: His father let a young orc warrior live, an attack of compassion. The orc was a young warrior, who was crippled and blamed him, Gritter’mane, for all the suffering of his people. Wanting to prove a bigger man, he let the orc escape... not knowing he was bearing valuable intelligence. In the frontier, Rulfar has lost the taste for killing orcs (he has no bonus against orcs).
* 3 year ago, when he left he took a dangerous assignment and went as far east as he could. He went so far as to find lands unknown to dwarves and elves. His brief stay earned the fierce hatred of an enemy who will cross the great steppes and deserts for revenge.
* Upon return, he got the most disliked assignment any dwarf could ever conceive - being oathbound to serve an Elven Lord (Duke Tytian).

Clan Dunnum
Grandfather and Chief: Umber’kin
Father: Gritter’mane (age 230; Early 60s in human years)
Mother: Dalia of Clan Boffin (age 240; Early 60s in human years)
Twin Sister: Rallyah  (*Heir*)  (age 118; early 30s in human years)
Younger Sister: Katlane (94 Late 20s in human years)
Younger Sister: Bethany (82 ; Mid 20s in human years)

The Dunnum Lands.
123,000 mountain acres (not flat land)

I wish I can do this in Miyazaki or Studio Ghibli Style (will update the character sheet when i get to draw him).