Thursday, July 28, 2016

The Hurt Locker: Spoiled and Rurnt

So I've been thinking about this for a while now and realistically - which After the End is not - batteries, ammo, etc. would have spoiled a long while back. Batteries will likely last twenty years at most and that's being optimistic. Gunpowder eventually does go bad. MREs eventually go bad. Everything eventually becomes spoiled or ruined (I'm from the south, so we say "rurnt" but that's a whole other thing). It's the inevitability of the universe. It all goes away. So as an optional rule the GM may want to use the following:

Spoilage Optional Rules
When the GM uses the Scavenging rules (GURPS After the End 2: The New World, p. 36) he may decide that the location being looted may have been exposed to the elements, had old stock, etc. so that any items gained are spoiled. To determine if something may be spoiled roll 3d and consult the "Stash" column on the Scavenging Table (The New World, p. 37) to determine the target number. Add the penalty from the Unlooted, Semi-Looted, and Looted column as a bonus. If you roll under this number then 20% of the found items are unusable plus another 20% per point beyond the first. A roll by 5 or more means there is nothing usable. For example, an unlooted warehouse in a commercial distract (a Commercial location) would have spoiled gear on a roll of 6 or less.

If the GM prefers not to have everything be completely unusable he could instead decide that every point by which the Spoilage roll succeeds results in -0.2 CF worth. For example, gear found in that warehouse might be pristine if the roll fails, but if it were to succeed by 2 then it might be Fragile (-1 to HT and 3/4 normal DR) and Hard to Use (-1 on rolls to use it).

Picking Over the bones
I can totally understand why the author decided not to introduce yet another roll to looting, but some gamers might prefer the austerity of such a rule. When I finally get my D-Team Aeon game off the ground I'll likely be using this just because it adds to how I envision the campaign setting working.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Carpe Blogiem: Somewhat Open Call for Aeon Players

Welp, I'm here again. I need one player who can play on alternating Tuesday afternoons from 2pm EST to 6pm EST. The game is post-apocalyptic supers and I'm looking for someone reliable with rules knowledge of GURPS who's friendly and team-oriented.

So if that's you drop me a line at my email.

Friday, July 22, 2016

The Hurt Locker: Climbing Lines and Auto-Grapnels

I've been kind of chewing on this one for a while - it originally came up in a Dungeon Fantasy game I was in and I came up with an imbuement to make it work (which is fine), but I got to thinking: How does Climbing Line work? Sure, I could just say "It works!" but it's kind of like how Generator works (but in reverse) - what's a power cell's wattage? Who can say.

Climbing Line as an Advantage
Climbing Line is in multiple sources (GURPS Power-Ups 2: Perks and GURPS Supers and likely others), but I'll just repeat it here for ease of use:
Climbing Line
You can generate a climbing line at will, in the form of a silk thread, spider web, or similar. This gives you improved climbing ability (p. B349) and can also be used with Swinging (GURPS Power-Ups 2: Perks, p. 16). Buy Binding (p. B40) if you want to entangle foes.
So thinking on this a bit more a couple of things we'd need to know about the generated line would be the following:

  • How much weight can it hold? It would need to be able to hold your weight plus a specified amount.
  • How long is the line generated?
  • How quickly does the line retract? (If it's retractable in the first place.) If it retracts how much can you carry and have it retract?
  • At what point does the rope break?

If we assume that a Climbing Line is the equivalent of a normal 10 yard section of 1/4" rope appropriate to the TL that can hold half it's listed weight (a dynamic load), then this gives us a dynamic load of 250 lbs. for TL8 1/4" Rope (GURPS High-Tech, p. 56). Since a SM 0 human is approximately 200 lbs. that suggests that a climbing line could support an extra 50 lbs. Average ST is 10 and Basic Life is 20 lbs., so you could further infer that Climbing Lines support the character plus their Basic Life x 2.5. How long is the line? Let's assume it's equal to your ST in yards since we're using a 10 yard as a base amount.

That leaves the last part - how quickly can your line retract? If we assume you can expand or contract your line fully out of combat and use the same rules for Jumping outside of combat (p. B352) we could then say you can retract 1/3 of your line in one second. Since a Winch (Action 1: Heroes, p. 29) allows you to reel in 3 yards/second, that seems about right. This would increase with the length of your line, of course.

The latter would likely be it's own perk with reduced effectiveness for what could be held or perhaps another level for the Climbing Line perk.

Lastly, at which point does your line break? Most literature suggests that more than 10x your load is enough to snap the line. It could be fairly ruled then that each 2.5 your Basic Lift over your additional load of Basic Lift x 2.5 requires a HT roll every (HT in seconds) with a -1 penalty per increment. Failure means your line snaps and takes another minute before you can generate another one. Critical failure means you take a point of injury and cannot generate a climbing line for an hour.

So, modified the new perk would look something like this:

Climbing Line
You can generate a climbing line at will, in the form of a silk thread, spider web, or similar. This gives you improved climbing ability (p. B349) and can also be used with Swinging (GURPS Power-Ups 2: Perks, p. 16). Buy Binding (p. B40) if you want to entangle foes. The line's length is equal to your ST in yards and can hold your weight plus your Basic Lift x 2.5. You can exceed this weight, but every Basic Lift x 2.5 lbs. requires you make an HT roll at -1 per increment every (HT in seconds). Failure means your line snaps and takes another minute before you can generate another one. Critical failure means you take a point of injury and cannot generate a climbing line for an hour.

Your line can be retractable if you wish at a rate of (ST/3 per second, round down), but can only hold your Basic Lift in additional weight. This rate is reduced by 10% per 10% by which your exceed your maximum load. Optionally, you can hold your normal weight if you pay an additional point - this is effectively a second level. If the GM wants to treat this as a leveled trait, each additional level increases your ST for the purposes of this perk by two or increases the speed of retraction (for retractable lines) by one increment (an additional ST/3 per second, up to your maximum length) or increase your total line length by ST in yards.

Metatronic Generator: Electromagnetic Grapnel Pistol
Here's a grapnel pistol that always seems to be in the superhero's arsenal.

Electromagnetic Grapnel Pistol (EGP) (TL8^)
This blocky looking pistol is sleek and matte black. It allows you to shoot a line up to 100 yards to any point you can see with an Acrobatics, Climbing, Per-based Electronics Operation (Metatronic), or Observation roll. If your skill is 16 or higher you don’t even need to roll! Once attached you can pull yourself (up to 200 lbs.) and another 200 lbs. to where your line is attached (typically a vertical surface). Your line retracts at a rate of 13 yards/second. You can exceed your weight limit, but every 200 lbs. by which you do requires the generator to make a HT roll (it has a HT of 12) at -1 per 200 lbs. increment. Failure causes the line to snap. Fixing this requires a minute of work and an Electronics Repair (Metatronic) skill roll. Critical failure causes a major breakdown instead (p. B485)! As long as the lines are not released this can be reused. This generator acts as basic equipment for Climbing.
            This can be used offensively by attacking a target. This is a Binding (p. B40), except that you can retract it with a Ready action using the better of your ST or 15. Moreover, you can attach this line to another target via a microspindle with a powerful adhesive. The spindle can then be operated by controls on the pistol. This can be done at most twice after which it must be reloaded with new spindles and line. Small, $375,000, 1.5 lbs. XS/6 hours or 2 shots. LC3.

GUNS/TL (PISTOL) (DX-4 or other Guns-2)
[1] The Binding ST for this is 15 and the Binding line can be retracted with a Ready action using the higher of your ST or 15. You pull your target 1 yard to you for every point by which you succeed.

Statistics: Accessory (Climbing Kit) [1] + Accessory (Grapnel) [1] + Binding 15 (Conventional Firearm, Shots 2, Slow Reload, -30%; Cosmic, Can attach binding point to another target, +50%; One-Shot, -10%; Retractable, +100%; Superscience, -10%) [60] + Climbing Line (Retractable ST/3 x 2, ST +10, Length STx5) [12] + Swinging [1]. Notes: The Cosmic modifier allows the Binding to be attached to a specific target other than the grapnel gun if the wielder wishes. As a special effect, the Binding’s total length is based on the Climbing Line’s. The Climbing line uses a static ST of 10 as a feature. This has the Compact modifier (+1 CF) which reduces the weight by half and reduces the bulk to -3.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Hurt Locker: The Dragonslayer from Berserk

I started watching the new Berserk Golden Age Arc trilogy of movies in anticipation of seeing the new series and I got to wondering what would such a thing look like in GURPS terms? Berserk is an excellent mana and the anime is quite good, but it's the blackest of dark fantasy and I don't recommend watching it without a little research - seriously, it's a gut punch in the worst way at some parts.

That said, how would you construct Gut's sword - Dragonslayer - from the anime/manga? (Note his "raider sword" that he uses during the Golden Arc, but the giant one from the manga.

Dragonslayer - Giant-sized Zweihänder
So looking at his sword a bit more I think we can calculate it’s approximate weight. Guts is 6’3” and the sword is as big as he is. Since the sword is listed as an inch or so thick in the middle of the blade and most weapons taper out toward the edge we could assume a thickness of 3/4". The width of the sword is at least 6" (I'd probably go with about 8" myself). So the sword is 6 ft (long) x 8 inches (wide) x 1 inch (thick). A cubic meter of steel weighs about 8 or so tons. Assuming a lighter alloy is around 7 tons per cubic meter we get something along the following:

(Note: 1 inch is around 2.54 centimeters and most of the material I could find uses metric numbers so that's what I'm using.)

182.88 cm (length) x 20.32 cm (wide) x 2.54 (thick) = 9438.948864 cubic centimeters

Since 1 cubic meter is about 1,000,000 cubic centimeters we get 0.0094389489 cubic meters of material. So ...

0.0094389489 cubic meters x 7,000 kilograms/cubic meter = 66.07264205 kg or 145.66524134875 lbs. Rounded down Guts sword is around 146 lbs.

Looking at GURPS Fantasy-Tech 1: The Edge  of Reality (p. 11) a zweihander weighs 10 lbs., has ST 14†, Reach 1-3 or 3, does swing+6 cutting or thrust+3 impaling, and has a base cost of $1,800. Flipping open GURPS Low-Tech Companion 2: Weapons and Warriors (p. 21) we see that the closest size to Guts sword is SM+3 weapon. So a SM+3 zweihander weighs 122.5 pounds, has ST 49†, Reach 1-7 or 7, does swing+21 cutting or thrust+11 impaling, and has a base cost of $22,050. 

He likely has the special grips to reduce the SM by one (+0.5 CF). I'd personally call Dragonslayer a Balanced (+4 CF), Very Fine (+19 CF), Oversized Zweihander for a final cost of $540,225!

This means Guts has a minimum ST of 49 to use it two-handedly - but he uses the freaking thing one-handedly. It also means he suffers a -2 penalty to use it because it's wrong-sized for his SM. Wielding it one-handed requires that he have a ST of 74, but suffers an unreadiness penalty - which he clearly never does so he has twice the listed ST or 98!

Guts likely doesn't have an actual ST of 98 or even a Striking ST of 98. Since his sword is kind of his signature item I'd give him something like this to use it:

ST 20 [100]
Striking ST +76 (Specialized, Signature weapon only, -80%) [76]
Huge Weapons 2 (SM) [2]
Huge Weapon 2 (ST) [2]

So for 180 points Guts can wield his massive sword and do a whooping 10d+15 impaling or 12d+25 cutting. Average thrust damage is 50 points, while average swing damage is 67 points. That's...about right for Guts sword. That thing cleaves people in half. This doesn't even account for Weapon Master (which raises thrust damage to 70 points and swing damage to 91). Who needs a freaking armor divisor when you do that much damage?

Picking Over the Bones
Huge weapons are one of the things associated with anime along with big eyes and small mouths. Looking at this I think I'd allow something like this in an appropriate game - heck, my Aeon game might have to have some sort of super-swordsman who does crazy things like cut cars in half. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

GURSP101: Long-Term Fatigue and Extra Effort

I've talked about the idea of Long-Term Fatigue before - it's a damn interesting concept. It lets you do things with Fatigue Points that would otherwise be difficult to do (or at least hard to track) in other ways. So what else could you do with Long-Term Fatigue? An idea that struck me the other day was to use LFP and Extra Effort together somehow. Playing around with a few ideas I came up wit this:

LFP and Extra Effort
In game-mechanical terms, GURPS treats Extra Effort as a Will roll requiring the expenditure of FP. The character then gets access to an enhanced their of his capabilities for a short while. It's like a mother having the strength to lift a car off her child or a boxer being able to go additional rounds on adrenaline alone. For anyone that has made use of that dose of adrenaline it's strictly a short term thing - afterward you're shaky, tired, and possibly mentally impaired judgement-wise. The more you draw on those reserves, the longer you'll need to recover later on. The GM could represent this by ruling that every expenditure of FP for Extra Effort also results in -1 LFP. LFP gained this way can only be regained by being in a non-stressing environment while resting normally.

Thus, if a character spent 5 FP for Extra Effort of his total 12 FP he'd end up with -5 LFP and thus could at most regain 7 FP until he had a moment to decompress.

Picking Over the Bones
I've said it before and I'll say it again - I like LFP. It's a simple and easy concept that lets you do so much. A concept I've been toying around with for my Aeon supers campaign is that FP used to Power Stunt abilities also inflicts a "Power Fatigue" penalty equal to the total spent. This penalty goes away at a rate of 1 PF per 10 minutes. You're basically channeling the raw energy of your power through your body in such a way that it's not supposed to do be done (or done often). You could do something like this for magic too. On the other hand, penalizing too much will cause a problem of its own.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Gamemaster's Guidepost: Someone Always Has to be the Nazis

Over on Facebook there was a thread talking about being the bad guy and eventually someone chimed in "Someone Always Has to be the Nazis." Think about that for a moment. Someone always has to be the Nazis. That's...pretty damn profound if you think about it - at least for storytelling and game design. Let's break it down a bit:

What is the Metaphorical Nazi?
Let's just ignore the historical nazi for right now and go with a generalized pop culture version of them: they are sneaky, zealous, fanatics who embody evil. They kill anyone not like them and they destroy anything that doesn't glorify them. They conquer nearby lands and spread ever outward like a plague. In short, they're the ultimate bad guys. There is nothing about them we can readily sympathize with and that makes things cut and dry. It allows us to dehumanize the already near-inhuman antagonists and treat them the way they'd treat others without any guilt. In essence, killing a "nazi" is like putting down a rabid dog, not only should you do it it's your duty to do it so it doesn't hurt anyone else. Ironically, this also makes those who deal with the nazis nazi-like themselves.

How Do I Use them?
Nazis are perfect for RPGs because it allows the PCs to distinguish black and white morality without any overlapping greys. Furthermore, nazis don't have to be human. Arguably, Tolkien's Orcs are "nazis" as are the Jaffa from Star Gate (even though they look kind of human, they aren't). Sometimes this is played straight (e.g., Stormtroopers) and sometimes it's a bit more subtle.

Nazis work best as mooks or at least high-caliber henchthings. Moreover, since they are effectively interchangeable creating a single statblock for them is a cake walk. Something like this...

Nazi Henchthing
ST: 11            HP: 13           Speed: 6.00
DX: 11           Will: 10         Move: 6
IQ: 10            Per: 10           Weight: 200 lbs.
HT: 11           FP: 11            SM: 0
Dodge: 9       Parry: 11        DR: 0

Firearm (13): Typically a 9mm machinegun (p. B278), which does 3d-1 pricing or assault carbine (p. B279), which does 5d piercing.
Kick (11): 1d crushing; Reach C, 1.
Punch (13): 1d-1 crushing; Reach C.

Traits: Bloodlust (12); Bully (12); Callous; Extreme Fanaticism (Ideology) [-15]; Total Intolerance (Those not of their ideology) [-10]; some might also have Overconfideance, Sadism, or any other sort of nasty disadvantage. Elite troopers have Combat Reflexes and other combat-enalbing advantages like Gunslinger or Weapon Master.
Skills: Brawling-13; Guns (two appropriate)-13; Soldier-10; Stealth-12; Wrestling-11.
Notes: Absolutely loyal to their cause (whatever that is).

Should I Use Them?
Using a "nazi" foe really depends on two things: how campy you play up the uber-evil angle and how realistic a game are you running. For the first, it's a matter of taste: are all antagonists evil and thoroughly irredeemable? Or are there shades of grey? For the second, it's going to depend on the genre of the game you are running and your own GMing style. Some genres lend themselves easier to explaining why a mono-ideological organization/group might exist. For example, supers, space opera, and even post-apocalypse are fertile ground for explaing away such things.

Picking Over the Bones
When you need someone you love to hate you gotta have a nazi. Seriously, for sheer dislike and instant acknowledgement of that dislike you cannot go wrong with the nazi. People know them and this allows you to hang an idea on shared popular culture in such a way that you don't really need to explain anything. "These guys are like nazis except they hate all non-elves with a passion and kill them on sight!" Building on a shared popular culture consensus allows you to rapidly jump start a scene or campaign, but that's a topic for another day.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Aeon A-Team S00E01 - New Age Breakfast Club

Dramatis Personae
Aysella Shinjitai aka Marionette (played by +Ann LS): a telekinetic who can detect Kyberian Energy, and boost or dampen other metahuman powers.
Hobs Ini-Herit aka The Alchemist (played by +Christian Gelacio): a straight-up matter controller with super-strength and devastating good looks.
Roth Reynard aka Red Zone (played by +Troy Loy): a super-genius with flame powers and a fear of heights.
Samuel Donick aka RePlay (played by +Curtis Johnston): A telepath who can do your standard mind-tricks, but is exceptionally good at altering memories.
Jacob C. Wikvaya aka Shaman (played by +Thomas Phelps): A plant, animal, and weather-controller. Also a criminal-mastermind (but not by choice).

Severus U. "Sue" Edgeworth (NPC Ally): Young angry man. "Super-normal" who's insanely good at hand-to-hand combat, infiltration, and other spy/military skills. What kind of name is Sue? It's the one he gave himself. Mock it at your own risk.

Don't You Forget About Me
Aysella, Hobs, Roth, Samuel, and Jacob
Fort Hamilton High School, 72°F, Clear skies
Friday, September 7th, 2001, 5:00pm
8301 Shore Rd Dr, Brooklyn, NY 11209

The PCs starts out with everyone in detention some are in there for life, which is an accomplishment as it’s the first week of school starting back. The Vice Principal – Mr. Rigney Carlos – announces in no uncertain term that he has to go to his bowling league. Leaving the sorry group of teenagers in detention for various “crimes”: Roth for setting fire to the chemistry lab, Samuel for doing other people's homework for money, Jacob for selling cigarettes, and Hobs, Severus and Aysella all for fighting. Others in the class are “Monday,” “Tuesday,” and “Thursday.” These are the “girlfriends” of Hobs.

After some soft whispers in the corner and heated words with Thursday, Hobs convinces his girlfriend to calm down. Thursday heads off to the bathroom. The PCs debate just leaving since “…if the teacher isn't here why should [they] be?” Jacob having a tough home life (being an orphan) decides it’s in his best interest to get to his job and is the first to leave detention, followed closely by Hobs, who was missing one of his girls.

A scream splits the quiet detention room causing Jacob to burst into action and rush to the direction of the scream. Everyone else heads in that direction as fast as possible. In the school pool Jacob finds a girl floating face down and blood seeping into the water around her. Without a thought for himself Jacob dives into the pool to get the girl out and hopefully save her, she is in clearly bad shape.

Samuel arrives on the scene and begins to do CPR [a ginormous crit on Medicine! And the expenditure of a Karma Point shifts the red shirt from “death” to “alive and disfigured”] and dealing with the wounds – it looks like she has been mauled by a bear. The girl's identity turning out to be “Wednesday” – April Ross – one of Hob's girlfriends. She was doing laps for the swim team when she was attacked and critically wounded. Prints that appear to be those of a bear but not quiet can be seen poolside. Samuel manages to get her stable while others call 911 to get help at the school [Thomas spends a Karma Point to have an ambulance nearby]. Sue and Jacob track follow the tracks, but they quickly disappearance.

April disappears into the back of the ambulance, but not before whispering about a bear, or shark, or man…

I Didn't See Nuthin
Aysella, Hobs, Roth, Samuel, and Jacob
New York City Police Department - 77th Precinct, 68°F, Clear skies
Friday, September 7th, 2001, 8:00pm
127 Utica Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11213

The NYPD takes everyone in for statements and parents are called. Which brings the kids closer together since they have to endure their parents while being questioned by the cops. Sue's father – Boyd Chataignier – is a detective with NYPD and helps to ease the fears of the other parents. Samuel’s helicopter parents show up first, with Roth’s coming next. Jacob’s “guardian” – a seedy and slimy director for a privately owned orphanage – shows up next and is instantly disliked by the PCS. Since Aysella’s parents are on a dig in Brazil her $10,000-dollar-suit-lawyer Alfred de Chance comes in.

Jacob and Samuel wind up talking about the abuse he is getting at home at the hands of the orphanage head. Which Aysella overhears and consults with Sue, her partner in crime. It’s clear that Jacob is going to get a beating when he gets home and put in the “pokie” (whatever that is).

You Have Been Weighed, Measured, and Found Wanting
Aysella, Samuel, and Jacob
Happy Faces Orphanage, 62°F, Clear skies
Saturday, September 8th, 2001, 12:00am
579 Montgomery St., Brooklyn, NY 11225

Samuel makes his way over to the orphanage the same way that Ayselle and Sue do, only the two go in costume, with the intent of beating the fear of them into Jacob’s guardian. Things get a “little” (which is to say a lot) out of hand as the two exact their own brand of vengeance. While Samuel rescues Jacob from the lockup of the small closet, he has been forced to stand in with no dinner. A little boy that lives there also brings him dinner even though he's not suppose to.

Upstairs, the Jacob’s guardian – Earnest Patterson aka Evil Mr. Rogers aka Creepy McSlimey – gets duct-taped to the bed and beat bad enough that he would be peeing blood for weeks to come. [a critical hit on the part of Sue] It would have been left at that, had things not come into light that made him more and more the scum of the earth.

The two costumed heroes encounter both Jacob and Samuel in the garden roof, where Aysella meets the mutant squirrel in the tree (named “Shirley”). They discover that the beating and torment has been going on for years. That Patterson has been selling his children out to the sex trade and forcing them to commit crimes. This leads to him losing his bits and bobs to a very sharp knife which is then pinned to the wall along with a quote:
“[Is] not this the fast that I have chosen? To loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?”
Deciding that things were only going to get worse Aysella disguises her voice and calls the police into the situation. He’s summarily dragged off to the hospital but not before being arrested by the NYPD. The police are a bit weirded out about the quote. The news of the vigilante justice spread among the cops on the scene (something that’s been on the rise in the last year) and one of the policemen joke about the man being “judged and found wanting.”

Aysella calls her lawyer and has him champion Jacob and his fellow orphans against any charges that might be brought against them. In the mean time, she also has de Chance buy the orphanage outright from a shell company of a shell company of a shell company of a defense contractor: Blue Skies.

(Meanwhile, Hob was throwing a rave vigil for April who was in ICU it was also a means for those that sneak out to have a more normal cover story. Ross was busy researching creatures that might have been able to turn into animals finding a lot of information on such a thing. Most pointedly people who can turn into creatures. Less known before the pulse more known after. Dropping by the party for a cover everyone went home and would meet up again on Saturday.)

From the Mall to the Hospital  
Aysella, Hobs, Roth, Samuel, and Jacob
King’s Plaza, 73°F, Clear skies
Saturday, September 8th, 2001, 2:00pm
5100 Kings Plaza, Brooklyn, NY 11234

The PCs decide to go to the mall, which is really a cover to meet up and share the information that they had gathered about “Bear-Shark-Man.” Roth was hanging out with Hobs at his place heads to the mall. Samuel gets out of the house under the pretense of fixing up the family truck, which he does (and gains a job working for Charles de Witt of de Witt Motor in the first place). Jacob spends much of the time going through things with his social worker and Alfred de Chance.

The group gets tickets and Hobs’ girls meet them there too, he sends them away to get ice-cream while there is a discussion about what the monster could be. Hobs [with an amazing roll on Art!] gets a fantastically creepy and life like version of the creature on paper. The PCs begin talking about the weirdness and they eventually discover they all have powers of some kind. Deciding to do something about the monster from the pool, they discuss the best plan with the resources they have.

Dolls in a Dollhouse  
Aysella, Hobs, Roth, Samuel, and Jacob
The Dollhouse, 77°F, Clear skies
Saturday, September 8th, 2001, 4:00pm
114 Macdonough St., Brooklyn, NY 11216

Everyone heads home with the intent of meeting up at the Dollhouse where she lives alone (Asyella's nickname for her Bedford–Stuyvesant brownstone). She reveals to her friends her parents are actually dolls she had created herself, that the story of them being in Brazil was fabricated. Her real family remains in Japan. While she came to the states to do things she did not need guardians telling her “no” over. It’s creepy but the others accept this.

With a quick decision by the group they go to the hospital to see April who is in bad condition and obviously going to be scarred terribly. She has blurry reclamation of what happened, Samuel goes into her mind and plucks what happened from her head. He then rearranges it so that it does not appear supernatural in nature. The PCs give her a multitude of gifts including flowers (ones Jacob grew for her!) and a teddy bear is bought. This leads to a discussion over healing and what can be done with medicine (and esoteric medicine and plants). The PCs do a quick run to gather things from Roth's chemistry lab, and work with Asyella's Atlantean Lotus, the group manages to come up with a formula to help heal April [lots of Karma spent and lots of low or critical success rolls]. Something they agree as a whole can not be given to the public at large, but all maintain the formula for. Just in case.

After many hours, they finish up and get Sue to sneak back into the hospital and administer the drug. All hopeful it’ll help the girl (and it does). Pizza is had everyone heads home for school on Monday.

Another Manic Monday
Aysella, Hobs, Roth, Samuel, and Jacob
Fort Hamilton High School, 78°F, Slightly overcast and rainy
Friday, September 10th, 2001, 11:00am
8301 Shore Rd Dr, Brooklyn, NY 11209

Monday rolls around with the group being spoken to by the Vice Principal, who wants the group to cover for him with the cops. Everyone agrees to cover for him and is given three “get out of detention” cards Samuel decides to read his mind and find out what he's been doing. He was actually sleeping with his best friend’s wife [having a telepath is useful…]. (Sue uses this right away to kick the snot out of a kid named Caleb who had gotten him in trouble before.)

Meanwhile, in the school there is a scream on second floor in the girl’s bathroom. Aysella [who won the roll off] had just stepped into the girls bathroom as the “Man-Bear-Shark” was lingering over a fallen girl – Shay Rasmussen. Aysella attempted to toss her into the wall with TK, but it didn’t work. Scuttling across the wall it clung like an insect despite its massive bulk. Instead of trying to stop the creature Aysella rushes to Shay to try to help her. Not having healing powers she uses her ability to direct Kyberian energy to speed up the healing process [in this case she stunted a roll and made three crits: one to stunt and one to use the ability. I decided to have her roll a second time and that was a natural 3 so instead of just healing her she actually gave the NPC permanent super abilities: regeneration and super-strength]

Roth and Jacob engage it with the monster before it heads off to a girls lockerroom. There Jacob causes a massive rose bush to grow to trap it inside. Shay’s manifestation is traumatic and Samuel uses his abilities to calm him down. Samuel sends out texts to everyone and they converge on the lockroom. Inside is a creature with glowing green eyes, a praying mantis head, and an ursine body. It attacks Shay, who smacks it with a ripped off locker door to the face. It charges at Aysella next, but she sidesteps it luring it into the shower stalls where Jacob and Hobs restrain it with a “gooified” floor and rose vines. Once restrained it struggles until eventually it gets helplessly entangled and then turns back into a girl: Naomi Atticus aka “Thursday” (one of Hobs many girlfriends).

Samuel slips into Naomi’s mind and discovers she’s also a metahuman who can shift shapes, but she has no control over it. She becomes a murderous beast every time she feels envious or jealous of another person. Aysella, realizing that they won’t be able to help her calls her contact at AEGIS: Agent Patrick Templeton. Within a few hours he arrives with a containment team and promises to take care of Naomi before disappearing.

Just as the last bell for school sounds the end of the day announcements inform the student body that they must have all permission slips turned in for the senior trip to the World Trade Center tomorrow…

After Action Report/Rules Notes
The PCs formed up into a a team fast. It wasn't in an unbelievable Dead Gentlemen way, but it was way faster than I would have thought. The time we put into character backstories and preplanning the characters themselves REALLY paid off. It felt like I was running a TV show or directing a movie and that is not a bad thing. The RPing from all the players was pretty freaking amazing too. EVeryone had formulated their characters so completely that it was like putting on a mask and going.

Like my other games there seems to be a large amount of crits and low-rolls happening - almost an unusually large amount. I stopped counting the crits at 13. The PCs are still flexing their abilities and trying to get used to their power sets and I feel like I'm almost failing them in this regard. There MUST be a way to simplify super powers so that it boils down to something like "I wanna do X!" and then "Okay, Roll Y at -Z." I must think on this more.

Like all my "intro" games this one was a simple plot: bad monster thing hurting people and the PCs have to deal with it. It was supposed to last two game sessions, but the PCs decided otherwise and 16 real hours of plot got shoved into 8 hours.

Next session ought to be interesting: the PCs will be at ground zero during the terror attacks of 9/11. I made sure they all understood that some events of that day are fixed and that they were going to need to figure out why they weren't also celebrated heroes of the day along with the Commander and his Regulators. But seriously, what American wouldn't want to be there and try to help? Even if it's a fantasy. Especially if you had super powers. It'll be a bit vicarious, but I don't care. Been wanting to do something like this for a while. We'll see how it works.

(Note: +Ann LS wrote the write up of this and I just did some editing and formatting. Thanks, girly!)

Session Soundtrack
"Don't You (Forget About Me)" - Simple Minds
"Jealousy" - Queen
"When It's Over" - Sugar Ray
"If Your Gone" - Matchbox Twenty
Hemorrhage (In My Hands) - Fuel

Saturday, July 2, 2016

GURPS101: Dungeon Fantasy Styles - Zodiac Styles

(Note: This was inspired by my work, but not written by me. The author would be +Hal Batty
who graciously offered it to me to use however I like. Thank you again, Hal.)

“Eastern Adventures” in Pyramid #3/89: Alternate Dungeons II has a box called “Martial-Arts
Styles and Power-Ups” that alludes to the possibility of a simplified system for style familiarities
in Dungeon Fantasy. I personally wished I’d had had the time and space to add full-on styles, but I didn’t. I’ve considered doing a Patreon Special on actual styles but Hal beat me to

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GURPS101: More Telepathy Powers for Psionic Powers

GURPS Psionic Powers is one of the better worked examples for a powers-framework in
GURPS 4th edition. The only real issue (and it’s the same issue that all worked frameworks
have) is that there are just never enough powers...

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GURPS101: Alternate Alternate Form Rules

+Emily Smirle aka Bruno is perhaps one of my favorite GURPS people (well, people in general)
of all time. She’s smart, quick, and has an ability to look at a situation within the rules
and say “This is kind of broken” and then come up with a fix. In my Aeon campaign Emily is
playing “the Rat Queen” a freaky being who is a hive-mind of rats – oh yeah, and she has super
strength. Her character hinges a lot on the Alternate Form advantage. One thing she pointed
out (something I never really noticed before) was that when you raise one Alternate Form
it’s always better to just raise them all. That’s just wonky. We talked about this for a while and
she had some ideas she’d already noodled on. The following stems from that conversation...

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