Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Aeon A-Team S02E01 - You Are Broken, But Not Forgotten

Dramatis Personae
Alexander Griffith aka Singularity (played by +Natiel Leealexander): a starving college student who moonlights as a private detective and a "failed" superhero (he was one of the first back in 2000). After his partner died he burned his costume 
Aysella Shinjitai aka Marionette (played by +Ann LS): a telekinetic who can detect Kyberian Energy, use telepathy, 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.

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.
Sarah "Ras" Rasmussen aka Suicide Girl (NPC Ally): Girl with a deathwish. Gained superhuman powers after Aysella tried to save her from her wounds. This awakened her dormant abilities. Superhumanly strong, tough, and capable of extreme regeneration.

The last few years the PCs have maintained the facade of normality by going to college, working, and otherwise going about their daily lives. At night they continue doing what they've committed to: a better world. They infiltrate the surveillance system put in place by the city of New York after 9/11 and begin to make contacts throughout the city: the homeless, the food venders, cab drivers, and others who are often overlooked or taken advantage of.

57 65 20 41 72 65 20 53 65 6e 74 72 79 2e

(They also use the Alchemist's ability to generate matter to create gold and use that as capital to start a company, Theia Dynamics, to disseminate several of the ideas that RePlay, Red Zone, etc. had. They start with the idea that they' revolutionize the satellite and rocketry field.)

Time's Getting Short
Alexander, Aysella, Hobs, Roth, and Jacob
"Shorties" 91°F, Muggy and overcast
Wednesday, July 6th, 2005, 3:00 pm

42-47 Main St, Flushing, NY 11355
Replay alerts the rest of the team to shots being fired near a restaurant in Flushing. Police are on the scene with backup being called because "[They] have no clue what the hell is going on!" When Sentry comes in they see a scrawny man screaming at the police about how he is "a GOD compared to [them]" and a group of thugs attacking people. Continuing his rant he doesn't notice the PCs maneuvering to get close. They hear a man from another car say "I'm sorry, Melvin..." but before he can finish Melvin screams back "Melvin Morowitz is dead! You killed him. I. Am. Shear!" and cuts the car in half with the power of his mind.  Several other cars begin to just be cut apart and Shear becomes increasingly incoherent.

Replay began the combat by putting a thug to sleep, and attacking another whom seems to be less enthusiastic to sleep [Natural 3 on the roll). Than with a bit more force he stunned the other one. The Alchemist (who had approached from the roof on the far side) jumped from the rooftop between bystanders and Shear. Redzone attempts to heat blast Shear with his powers, but a force field shimmers around him and it does nothing. Shaman blasts a thug with his "seed bomb" and instantly roots nad branches begin to grow out of it enveloping the target. Sue slips up behind two of the thugs and chokes them both out before hiding again. Marionette gets closer to Shear and uses her strings to choke out a nearby thug. The thugs friend tries to hit Marionette but ends up breaking his bat against her force field (power parry with stunted Destructive Parry modifier). When another of Shear's thugs shoots at her the bullet breaks a part in the air before it can hit her (this was Alexander performing a power parry from a distance with his density powers).

Angry and crazy as a bag of cats, Shear conjures forcefields (how he has been cutting things) to hurt Marionette, the Alchemist, and Shaman, but his attacks are mostly avoided. Marionette sends Skully (her animated teddy bear companion) to deal with more of the thugs and is surprisingly effective. RePlay tries to stun Shear, but finds the crazed lunatic has a force feild in his head that makes it impossible for anyone or anything to tamper with his mind. Alexander (who is still a bystander) is filming the whole thing to sell to the tabloids later on (a guy has to eat).

Shaman conjures a thunderstorm overhead and causes a localized thunderclap, but again Shear's forcefield seems to protect him. Redzone heats up another of Shear's thugs and the Alchemist grabs Shear's previos target (the guy and his girlfriend in the cut in half sportscar) and retreats upward to the roof.

Marionette uses her kyberic enhancing abilities and boosts Sue's strength to insane levels (he ends up with a ST of 130). While Shear is distracted with the others, Sue gets in close and begins to perform a tracheal choke collapsing Shear's forcefields and putting him unconscious rapidly. Before Shear loses consciousness he cuts Sue's arms to a bloody mess. The rest of Sentry gathers up all the thugs, zipties them, and ghost out of there as Shaman summons a massive fogcloud to cover their retreat. The Alchemist uses his ability to control matter to completely fix the scene of evidence of fighting, while RePlay wipes memories of what happened.

Alexander continues filming, but his camera and film are taken away by Marionette to erase all evidence as if they were never there...

Madmen and Madder Men
Alexander, Aysella, Hobs, Roth, and Jacob
The Panopticon 81°F, Muggy and overcast
Wednesday, July 6th, 2005, 5:00 pm


They study Melvin for hours, scanning his brain with an advanced MRI, taking blood, and in general study him. RePlay is the one who guess  that something is wrong with Melvin's brain.

Meanwhile, Marionette decides to recruit Alexander Griffith to Sentry (who'd been on the team's short list for a while now). She finds him at a noodlecart and lays it all down: what they are trying to do, what they are about, and who they want to be. Alexander is still suspicious of these people, but is swayed by Marionette's argument. He agrees to a "trail run" and comes back to their headquarters.

After Action Report/Rules Notes
The PCs did really well against their first "Soop a rampaging villain" scenario. A lot of this session was the players going back and forth over how they wanted to (as a group) approach things and some time was spent on the idea that they could start a company and then use that to spread useful technology to the populace in a believable way. They decided on getting things into space was the first mission and Redzone's play rolled a critical success followed by a natural 3 on their prototype reentry craft. Basically, they made SpaceX almost a half a decade early and nailed it on their first try.

Session Soundtrack
"All The Madmen" by David Bowie
"Bridge Over Troubled Water" by Simon and Garfunkel (as closing song)
"Down With The Sickness" by Disturbed
"Sugar, We're Goin' Down" by FallOut Boy
"Today" by the Smashing Pumpkins

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Carpe Blogiem: GURPS Discord

Happy GURPSday! So +Mook Wilson has talked about GURPS Discord on his blog and now I have to do the same. The unofficial GURPS Discord Channel is incredibly useful. There are dozens of users now and I'm not afraid to say I'm one of them. I signed onto the server as soon as Mook put up the link and I really haven't regretted it yet. It's not the forums, but it's different - in a good way. The instantaneous interaction between users brings the best parts of the old chatroom interfaces that I loved so much without having to deal with random jerks that I so frakking hated.

The people up there are either (GURPS) knowledgeable, friendly, or both. I know Mook is a fellow author up there and +Douglas Cole has popped in once or twice. So go check it out. Join the community that's starting to really grow.

On a more personal note I started using it for my own games - my mailing lists are great and all, but that "instantaneous interaction" is a damn useful thing. Each gaming group gets its own channel and my think tank members get one for themselves too. Some folks are already starting to use it to run games and I think that's just awesome.

And really, you can't get any more discordian in an RPG than GURPS, can you?

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

GURPS101: Leeches, Vampires, and Succubi (Oh, my!)

"Listen to them. Children of the night. What music they make."
-- Bram Stoker, Dracula (1897)

The Leech advantage (GURPS Powers, p. 96) is the more generalized version of the Vampiric Bite advantage (p. B96) that appeared in the Basic Set. (Buckle your seatbelts up kiddies because this is a long post. Note I'm intentionally ignore the Vampiric Bite advantage for this post. It's breakdown for what it is is explained in GURPS Powers, p. 86.)

Leech as Pieces Parts:
So what does Leech do and how does it do it?
  • To use it you must maintain ongoing contact with your target. In combat this is a grapple or pin. Out of combat this could be a long handshake, a hug, sex, etc.
  • Every second you maintain contact the victim loses 1 HP per level of Leech and you heal 1 HP per full 3 HP you steal. This ends if you break contact or the victim dies this stops. If your target survives he can regain this lost HP normally. You cannot heal above your HP, but can continue to drain HP normally.
  • You can convert levels using Modifying Dice + Adds (p. B269); e.g., Leech 14 is 4d.
  • It only affects living beings with IQ 1+. (Note: it doesn't say that in Powers, but this was how the designer intended it to work.) A variation for machines is offered as well for the same point cost and affecting only machines.
Associated Penalties:

Rules as Written Leech Special Modifiers
A short list of modifiers for Leech appear below, but Ranged (GURPS Basic Set, p. 107) and Malediction (GURPS Basic Set, p. 106) allows you to leech at a distance. This requires a Quick Contest every second. A few others:

  • Accelerated Healing (Enhancement: GURPS Powers, p. 96): Lets you heal 1 HP per HP stolen.
  • Addictive Bite (Enhancement: GURPS Horror, p. 21): If you steal enough of your subject's HP they can become addicted to your bite.
  • Area Effect (Enhancement: GURPS Basic Set, p. 102): Allows you to drain everyone in your area of effect, but you must also add Malediction 1 (+100%) to your ability. Since you steal from everyone in the area you make your Will roll at -1 per person beyond the first. Add Independent (+70%) if you want to avoid this penalty. This means if you have Leech 3 with Area Effect (4 yards) you would make a Will roll (at -1 per person after the first) and gain 1 HP per 3 HP your steal per person. (See this forum post for PK's reasoning.)
  • Aura (Enhancement: GURPS Basic Set, p. 102): Your ability drains those who touch you or those you touch. This requires adding Malediction. optionally, add Area Effect.
  • Blood Agent (Limitation: GURPS Basic Set, p. 110): Requires that you touch a mucous membrane or an open wound. DR always stops you from draining your target. Classic bloodsuckers have this!
  • Contact Agent (Limitation: GURPS Basic Set, p. 111): Requires that you touch bare skin or clothing. DR always stop you from draining your target. Common for "psychic vampires."
  • Cyclic (Enhancement: GURPS Basic Set, p. 104): This requires Cosmic at the +100% level to add this trait in the first place as well as Ranged and Malediction. After the first attack, your ability continues to work draining your target at the interval your purchased. Cyclic on Leech is automatically resistible, if it's not double the final price of this modifier. For example, if you drained 1 HP every 10 seconds for the next 60 seconds this modifier would be +400%. 6 intervals x 10 seconds (+50%) = +300% plus +100% for the Cosmic modifier. If your target cannot resist your draining him this would be worth +700% instead!
  • Doleovore (Enhancement: GURPS Horror, p. 21): You get more HP from those in pain.
  • Emanation (Limitation: GURPS Basic Set, p. 111): Like Aura, but requires you have Area Effect. Add Always On if you constantly drain life from those around you.
  • Hazard (Enhancement: GURPS Basic Set, p. 104): Let's you inflict a hazard when you steal FP (e.g., Hazard, Missed Sleep will let you "steal dreams" and heal FP lost to not sleeping). Any FP or HP stolen in this way can heal you of such losses as well.
  • Heals FP (Enhancement: GURPS Powers, p. 96): Lets you heal HP or FP. It costs more if you can choose to heal HP or FP, less if you can't.
  • Metueovore (Enhancement: GURPS Horror, p. 21): You get more HP from those who are afraid.
  • Obligate Doleovore (Limitation: GURPS Horror, p. 21): You can only drain those in pain.
  • Obligate Metueovore (Limitation: GURPS Horror, p. 21): You can only drain  those who are afraid.
  • Only Heals FP (Limitation: GURPS Powers, p. 96) Lets you heal FP and restore your own, but that's it.
  • Reliable (Enhancement: GURPS Powers, p. 109) combined with Malediction allows you to win Quick Contests even without a high Will.
  • Steal (Other Score) (Enhancement: GURPS Powers, p. 96): Lets you reduce an attribute instead of HP. You heal at the normal rate. Reduced attributes do not reduce derived or secondary characteristics (e.g., lowering ST doesn't lower Basic Lift or Basic Damage).
  • Steal Youth (Enhancement: GURPS Powers, p. 96) Lets you steal the victim's years. This doesn't heal you at all, but it does make you younger if you wish. Add -50% if you don't grow younger when you do this.

Leech Variations
As Powers notes, Leech only works on living beings. A variation to work on machines is available. As noted upthread, a variation that works on plants is also possible at the same cost. For living beings and plants this is pretty straightforward, but what about machines with batteries? (Note: Values are totally guesstimated, but I've been using them for a while and they work decently enough.) The GM could create separate "Leech (Energy)" trait or use the following:

Battery Type                       Available FP*
AA or T or XS                     0.001 FP
A or S                                   0.01 FP
B or M                                  0.1 FP
C                                           1 FP
D or L                                   10 FP
E or VL                                100 FP
F or External Power             1,000 FP or 10 FP/second

* Assumes TL8 energy storage/power. Reduce these values by 1/10th for TL7 batteries, 1/100th for TL6 batteries, and 1/1000th for TL5 batteries. For TL9 batteries multiple the FP by 10, for TL10 batteries multiply by 100, for TL11 multiply by 1,000, and for TL12 batteries multiply by 10,000.

New Modifiers for Leech
Some new modifiers I've posted on the forums or use in my own game:
  • Boosts Abilities: Each HP you steal gives you a character point you can use to heal yourself or temporarily boost abilities. You store these points in a "battery" with a capacity of two points per level of Leech. Once this is full, you can still drain HP but gain no points. On your turn, you can take a Ready maneuver to drain this battery to heal yourself permanently: 1 point repairs 1 point of crippled abilities, 2 points heal 1 HP, and 3 points restore 1 FP. You can also spend stored points to improve abilities (anything but skills) temporarily. You can't reallocate points once used. Points drain away at the rate of one per second, unused ones first. You lose enhanced abilities as the points drain away. This modifier is incompatible with all other special modifiers. +100% if you can only heal or enhance one power, set at character creation; +200% if you can use the points freely. (Taken form here).
  • Cosmic, No Contact Required: You can touch a target even for a brief instant and still drain them. +50%. (From this post.)
  • Cosmic, Permanent Theft: Whatever you drain is permanently gone. This costs +300%. The GM should use caution when allowing this modifier.
  • Create Curse Fetish: When you Leech a target, instead of immediately stealing from your target and healing yourself, your power creates a small fetish in which the the stolen HP, FP, or months of youth are suspended. Until the fetish is broken, the target is safe and you receive no benefits. The fetish may be given away or stolen. When the fetish is broken, your Leech is triggered on the original target, and the holder of the fetish receives the stolen energy. If the original target is the holder, breaking the fetish safely breaks the curse and leaves the original target unharmed. +70% (This was created by +Emily Smirle and I stole it to put here because it's awesome.)
  • Environmental Leech: You take energy from the environment you’re in. “Environment” is used very loosely: you could gain energy from being around happy people or being in an area of unspoilt wilderness. This affects everything in your hex (add Area Effect to affect a larger area) and is always on (though you can turn it off, just like an Aura). You gain 1 HP every 10 minutes you are in your chosen environment. Add +50% to the base cost, if you get 1 HP/minute, +100% if you regain 1 HP/second, +150% if you regain 10 HP/second, and +300% if you regain a full multiple of your HP every second. Modify the enhancement’s value by the triggering condition: x2 if it’s very common, x1.5 if common, x1 if occasional, and by x0.5 if rare. Base price is +300% add -50% if this harms the “environment” in some way (GM’s decision). For example, if you gain energy from being surrounded by happy people then you might drain their happiness as you gain energy. If this causes actual damage, this is -100% since eventually the thing that gives them power goes away!
  • Extended: Your Leech affects another category of being. For example, you could have "Extended, Plants" to affect both IQ 1+ living beings and IQ 0 living beings. This is simply an easier way to write an alternate ability. +20%
  • Follow-Up, Universal (Enhancement: GURPS Power-Ups 1: Imbuements, p. 17): Your Leech works through any melee or weapon attack you make. Add Ranged and Malediction if you can do it with ranged weapons or attacks. +50%.
  • Necrovore: Your power doesn't stop working when you kill your target. After your target dies make a Will vs. HT roll. Success means you drain your level of Leech in HP. You may continue to drain your target until you fail a Will roll or until you drain up to 10 x your target's HP at which point they turn to dust. This is worth +100%. If you are limited to 5 x HP this is worth +50% instead.
  • Obligate Necrovore: As above, but you can only feed on corpses. This is worth -10% if you are limited to 5 x HP or -0% if you are limited to 10 x HP.
  • Obligate Voluptavore: You can only feed on pleasure. Your total (not bonus) HP drain is equal to half your victim’s pleasure  penalty, as described for Voluptavore. (You can take both modifiers, meaning that you can only feed on those in pain, but get “extra” HP from them.) -50%.
  • Power Storage: You can store points that you steal in a temporary battery to be used later on. This is similar to the FP (or Energy Reserve!) gained from Points for Energy (GURPS Power-Ups 5: Impulse Buys, pp. 12-13). If you can store a maximum number of points equal to your Leech level x 10, this costs +50%. At the GM’s option, this may be extended indefinitely. In such cases, this enhancement’s cost is increased by +50% per level and each level multiplies the capacity by a fixed number. Look up your level of this modifier minus two in the Size column of the Size and Speed/Range Table (p. B550), read across to the Linear Measurement column, and use that number as the multiplier for your battery capacity. For example, Power Storage 5 would cost +300% and would let you store 7 x 10 x Leech level. Combined with Steal Skill, the GM might allow you to permanently gain traits this way. In such a case divide your battery by 25 and round down to determine how many points you can steal from someone. You must add +400% to the final modifier to do this.
  • Steal (Other Trait): You can steal a trait other than an attribute or HP. To determine the cost of this trait, first figure the cost of the ability as an inherent ability for the average character and then treat that cost times two as the modifier for the enhancement. For example, if you drain your target's eyesight this would cost +40% (since the average Vision score in GURPS is 10 you'd use Acute Vision to figure the cost or 10 x 2 = 20 points). Thus every level of Leech lowers your target's Vision Sense rolls by 1. These lost levels heal at the same rate as HP.
  • Steal Skill: You steal skills instead of HP. Drain occurs at the rate of 1 point in a skill per level of Leech. Excess drain due to having a higher level of Leech than the total number of points in a single skill do not give extra points in a skill (e.g., you cannot gain more points in a skill than your victim has). You use your attribute to determine final skill level in all cases. For example, if you have a DX of 12 and your victim has a DX of 14 and Karate at DX+2, your skill would be 14, not 16. If Leech has a Power Modifier, you can add your Power Talent as a bonus. This is instead of any other bonus granted by any other Talent you may have. Points drain away at the rate of one per second, unused ones first. You can add Extended Duration to increase this time. Cost depends on what type of skills you can steal. Add an additional +20% if you can decide what skill you take. At the GM's option, this can be applied to non-skill traits as well, but the costs increase. For attributes or advantages multiply all values by 10.
    • All skills: +100%.
    • A broad group of skills: all Technological skills, all magical spells, etc. +80%.
    • A medium-sized group of skills: a subset of one of of the above (e.g., all spells from one college or all skills used to operate a vehicle) or all skills of a particular type (e.g., Combat Skills Only or Social Skills Only). +60%.
    • A small group of skills: a further subset of a medium-sized group (e.g., all missile spells) or all skills from a particular skill category (e.g., all Melee Combat or Ranged Combat skills). +40%.
  • Voluptavore: You can drain bonus HP from people in pleasure. From a given subject, you may steal additional HP per second equal to half his current pleasure penalty – that is, an extra 1 HP/second for Tipsy, 2 HP/second for Drunk, or 3 HP/second for Euphoria – or an extra 4 HP/second from someone in Ecstasy; see p. B428. +20%.

Example Build: Succubi's Touch
Succubi's Touch: Leech 1 (Accelerated Healing, +25%; Contact Agent, -30%; Requires Will vs. Will Roll, -15%; Steal FP, +50%; Voluptavore, +20%) [38]. This allows you to drain a target of FP as long as you maintain contact with him (DR always stops this!). This requires a Quick Contest of Will and you gain 1 HP for every 1 FP you steal (you steal HP when your target has 0 FP!). You gain extra HP if your target is in a pleasurable state (see above).

Powering it Up:
  • For 8 points contact with even DR allows you to drain your subject.
  • For 12 points even brief contact allows you to drain your subject
  • For 39 points you can drain your target at range (with -1/yard). For a further 13 points you take normal range penalties and for 12 points you take long-distance penalties.
  • For 2.5 points per +1 you get a bonus on your Will rolls to drain your target.

Picking Over the Bones
Like my previous in depth looking at the mechanical construction of a ClairsentienceHealing, and Illusion, Leech is a common power in fiction, but could use more options for GURPS. It's also tricky because the construction of the trait in RAW is a bit difficult to adapt over without modifiers. Many of these modifiers are from my own games because I needed to create them so I could create a specific ability I had in mind. Push comes to shove you can create whatever you need or make it work, but the above should work for just about any situation

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Designer's Notes: Mask of Humanity

"The Mask of Humanity" began as "Parting the Veil." It spent almost 4 years on my harddrive (longer than any other "finished and submitted" but unpublished articles I currently have) collecting dust. I've hinted at its existence on the forums dozens of times since then. It contains lots of little gems people asked for many times (Obscure (Memory) I'm looking at you) and canonizes Eric B. Smith's alternate rules for Resistant (which I just love).

Overall, the Facade is one half of a complete "wainscot mechanics" rules that the Threshold system from Safe as Houses completes. With these two rulesets you could completely run a "the supernatural is secret" campaign. Unlike Safe as Houses, I have very little extra material for this one - mostly owing to the fact that this is the extra material from Safe as Houses. Still, most of the material from that supplement and its Designer's Notes applies here as well.

All in all it took me about 80 hours to write, 90 hours to edit, 30 hours worth of research, and 110 hours of revision. There must have been another 5 hours or so of looking over the semi-final PDF as well. An interesting note - and I think this is just a result of having something waiting in the wings so long is that I kept going back and rewriting and editing things (thus the higher than normal counts).

Overall, I loved how this one came together and finally seeing it come out made me happy.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Carpe Blogiem: The Dungeon Grappling Kickstarter

So this is a first. I'm going to talk about non-GURPS on my blog for a change. In this case, the various flavors of popular Dungeons and Dragons. (Fair warning - I plan on getting into DnD5e next years so this is likely the first of such posts). The reason I want to talk about this is pretty straightforward: I was involved a bit with this work and Doug is one of my fiends and fellow bloggers. So here's the endorsement:

Dungeon Grappling is a cohesive set of rules that works across multiple iterations of Dungeons and Dragons. For those familiar with his work on GURPS Technical Grappling Doug approaches the problem in the same way, but tweaked for a different game engine - and it works surprisingly well. To tell you how easy it is I've not looked at the new Dungeons and Dragons, glanced at Swords and Wizardry, and gave up on Pathfinder a while back. The system he presents was intuitive, easy to understand, and provides a lot of flavor. In short, it's a module you can just bolt on and go.

So if you're thinking about playing one of those systems and want to add some new and exciting depth to your games go to his Kickstarter and pledge. Heck, even if you don't play those games it's a steal for the sheer information on close-in combat that Doug provides. Here's a quick and dirty version of the reward levels:

$1 - Name in the book as a sponsor,
$5 - PDF copy of Dungeon GRappling and sponsor credit,
$20 - 5x PDF copies and sponsor credit,
$50 - PDF copy plus getting full color art and sponsor credit.
$100 - PDF copy and a sponsor credit next to a particular bit of art.
$250 - PDF copy, sponsor credit, and art sponsor

Warning (Me): On a personal note, the better this project does the more it's going to help me advance my writing career next year so even if you don't really play one of these games considering buying a copy anyways because it will help me on my path to become a multi-system game designer.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

GURPS101: More Psychic Vampirism Powers for Psionic Powers

Continuing my series of “Hey, let’s pad out GURPS Psionic Powers!” Today’s entry is all about psychic vampires. Yeah, they’re creepy and their powers are too, but no one can deny how useful they are...

...if you'd like to read more, consider becoming a patron!

Note: the link to the actual content for patrons is here.

GURPS101: More Cyberpsi Powers for Psionic Powers

One of the things that’s always fascinated me about the fictional portrayal of electrokinesis is that some users can power machines with their abilities. GURPS can do this by emulating the Create advantage – but it takes a little legwork.,,

...if you'd like to read more, consider becoming a patron!

Note: the link to the actual content for patrons is here.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Aeon A-Team S01E04 - And We Will Not Forsake You

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.

Taking the information they gained last game session, the PCs use Det. Malik and Det. Heade to quietly take down several dozen heroin shipments the Triads were bringing in. For almost a month New York City was heroin-free (which caused its own problem with withdrawal amid the junkies of the populous). The PCs use that time to push hard against the criminal underworld with dozens of raids against known gnags, drug suppliers, gun runners, and so on. (They also somehow manage to keep up their day jobs and college education during this as well.) Each time they leave the police with all the evidence they need (often including video, audio, or photographic evidence). It gets so bad that the criminals of New York City are afford to come out of their homes. Crime rates drop at a rate of over 1% a day. All of this in preparation for the big final push to take down the Triad leadership on the East Coast.

Nah, Man, Not Tonight
Aysella, Hobs, and Roth
Port of Newark, 86°F, Raining
Wednesday, August 16th, 2003, 10:00pm

E Bay Ave, Elizabeth, NJ 07201
The PCs have been planning this night for almost a month. They've worked out every detail and every possible contingency (Sue has the Methodical perk which allows him to take x60 normal time for +6 to a roll. I allowed this to extend to the operation as a whole. With two missing players I decided that they could give a complimentary bonus - both rolled a three and four respectively and stayed behind to work as ops support). Marionette, Red Zone, the Alchemist, Suicide Girl, and Sue ended up in the field with Suicide Girl and Red Zone paired up and Marionette and Sue paired up. The Alchemist went it alone. Their plan was simple: get as much evidence as possible and make sure the police raid the Triad's meeting.

Sentry arranges this by creating a flash rave and spreading it's location on Friendster and other social media. To get the address all they needed to do was take a picture of themselves at a specific location. Then, sending the location of the Triad's meeting to the cops (who trawl for those sorts of events) and the ravers to an entirely other location. Then they tip off Det. Malik and Det. Heade with the location (both have a bit more pull these days since they've been making busts and are able to get a couple of SWAT teams at the location a little bit before Metro gets the tip of the rave). With the scene set the PCs take down over a hundred Triads including top brass from the East Coast and several of the upper echelon. All without even throwing a punch or smashing a skull.

The Red Zone and RePlay put together a video with Sue dressed up in a Plague Doctor mask and hoodie and disguise his voice.

"We Are Sentry and We Are Watching. At 10:10pm on August 16th at the Port of Newark the criminal organization known as the Triads held a high level meeting. Sentry engineered this meeting by leaking the location of several heroin shipments to the police forcing these high level Triads to sort out these problems. We have delivered vast amounts of evidence to the NYPD and distract attorneys of New York City. These men and women will be indicted, tried, and go to jail. You're seeing this broadcast because We want you to know that are everywhere. That criminality will not be tolerated. That We see everything. Our eyes are everywhere. We are the faces in the crowd. We are your neighbors. We are your friends. We are your loved ones. We are everywhere and We will not forsake you."

They then pirate broadcast that video over the entire city of New York on every TV channel and every device that could accept a video signal.

After Action Report/Rules Notes
My brother missed another game session, but again, he was occupied and not just blowing us off. Thomas was not here either because he was out of town. Overall, I don't normally like to play with less than 80% of my players, but I wanted to keep the campaign moving so I did. The PCs took an amazing amount of pride in designing a non-combat solution for dealing with the Triads and I was more than impressed by how they kept "stacking" their ideas. "Let's distract them and send the police in!" "Ok, but let's let the police think it's their idea!" "Oh! But we warn our cop buddies too so they can get some credit!" And so on. It was great. It also dismantled my 8 hours of plot in under 2 hours. Because freaking reasons. Within 4 hours they had taken down a huge criminal organization in game without actually throwing even a punch at the denouement. Before we started discussing Season 2 expectations they put together the idea of an Anonymous-like broadcast. Superpowers in Aeon aren't fully acknowledged until late 2005 (in game it was the summer of 2003), but they wanted to start a foundation of some type to build on later.

Overall, Season 1 was very satisfying. The material I had prepared suggested at least 6 game sessions and as many as 14. They did it in four. I'll need to take that into account when designing the arc for Season 2 - which is going to involve a lot more metahumans and raise the scope from "Crown Heights/Brooklyn" to "Brooklyn/New York City." AEGIS is going to make an appearance next season too.

Image result for Gamemaster plans derailedWe also did the standard "Player Expectations" run down. This is where the players decide the elements they want me to compose the next story arc out of. I find this cooperative campaigning to create very satisfying games despite the extra work. It takes the guess work out of figuring out what your players want. you get them to tell you in no uncertain terms and then you mix it up to create something workable.

As far as rules go I found a lack of a mechanic to quickly gauge how events might impact an area or situation to be annoying. I'm going to have to make some I guess. Maybe some sort of guide "Ok, every action you guys do affects X and if you don't get to Y by Z something bad will happen."

Session Soundtrack
"Eye in the Sky" by The Alan Parsons Project (As the season "closing song")
"Mr. Brownstone" by Guns and Roses (during the drug busts)
"Eyes Without a Face" by Billy Idol
"What a Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong
"Fight Test" by The Flaming Lips

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

GURPS101: Chained and Contiguous Innate Attacks

I've let this simmer for a while so I could think about it a bit more, but a forumite recently asked how to create an attack that would leap from one target to the next. Over the years, there have been a few attempts to make this sort of enhancement for innate attacks. I think there are a few ways to do it and I've outlined them below.

Cosmic, Wandering Cycles
If the original target of your innate attack dies, the remaining cycles "jump." Treat this as if you were making a new attack, using your original attack roll (not including the original range penalties), but originating from the afflicted target. The new target suffers the remaining cycles. This requires you have the Cyclic modifier (p. B103).

Rapid Fire, Chaining
p. B108
This special version of Rapid Fire may also have Bombardment (p. B111) and/or Dissipation (p. B112). When purchasing the ability, first determine the maximum number targets the ability can hit at one time. Next, ignore the normal rules for rapid fire (i.e., it doesn't get a bonus for number of attacks). Instead, make a skill roll to attack the first target normally. If that attack succeeds, immediately consult your margin of success. If the margin is high enough to hit a separate target after accounting for range penalties plus -2, the next target is struck unless they make an appropriate active defense. If the target is hit then check the margin again until the attack fails to hit or the maximum number of targets are hit. Treat the RoF bought as the maximum number of targets possible with a single attack roll. This can continue indefinitely with a high enough skill! This costs the same as Rapid Fire.

Fragmentation, Leaping
p. B104
Use the normal rules for this enhancement, but instead of it automatically affecting everyone withing 5 yards x dice and having a flat skill of 15, it instead uses your original margin of success for the first attack. Range penalties are from your location to your target's. If your margin - penalties is 0 or less you cannot attack any further targets. Damage dice are automatically the same type of damage as the parent attack, but cannot exceed 1/3 the original attack's maximum dice of damage.

Picking Over the Bones
I'm sure there are other options I've not considered - one thing brought up in the thread was Extra Attack - but I think that's WAY to expensive. Modifiers are the right way to go, but these probably need some fine-tuning and playtesting to make them work. How would you handle such an attack? How have you handled it in the past?