Author Topic: Technical Difficulties Gaming Podcast: Red Markets Beta Campaign: The Reformers  (Read 48132 times)

The Lost Carol

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Re: Red Markets Beta Listener Campaign: The Reformers
« Reply #45 on: December 02, 2015, 10:53:14 PM »
Well, as we near the end of the Beta (but not the Reformers,) my players continue to valiantly NOT GET INTO COMBAT GODAMMIT JUST LET ME SHOOT AT YOU AND CAUSE YOU DAMAGE FOR FUCK'S SAKE  :'(

MARKET FIAT CONTRACT FOUR: THE CANDYMAN (STORYLINE MISSION TWO) / MARKET FIAT CONTRACT FIVE: ANHEUSER–BUSCH, ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI

As our heroes entered combat with the men Freebird used his turn to use suppressing fire to force the man with the handgun into cover, and Elder used his gun to turn the leg of the axe-wielder into paste after also realizing more were on their way. Pixie tried to get them into negotiation and failed, but Freebird used intimidation, and barely got the men into Combat Negotiation.

With a tense three turns (as that was all the time until the reinforcements arrived) the heroes were barely able to agree to heal the man who was shot and talk about ways to work around this. Three more people came into the room. The quintet made up the cult of the Candyman; leader Millie, and Rigby, Will, Harold, and Burton. As Pixie healed Burton, she realized they all were Latent. Millie agreed to give up the plastic, but as recompense, they had to help clean out the Anheuser–Busch plant, as they needed sugar for the Candyman, as well as apologize to said Candyman. She insisted that Rigby and Will would accompany the group to ensure the job got done. They couldn't do it themselves because they knew the place was occupied by armed opponents and they were outclassed.

As they rode in the pick up, the Reformers conversed with the cultists. They learned that they were ex-Archivists who shacked up in the candy factory and were 'saved and protected' by the Candyman, and it appears that while all are loyal, some are a bit more... fanatical than others (Rigby was more lucid than Will, for example.) Also, the more they talked about the Candyman, the more nervous the Reformers got (how is he able to protect them? Why is it 'better if you're a Latent?')

At the Anheuser–Busch plant, Pixie and Elder stealthily rode up to the front after reviewing a map from the cult and tried to negotiate (AGAIN) with the occupants. As they started to talk they mentioned that they were the Reformers, the two of them, members of the Candyman Cult, and Freebird... which elicited screams of "Freebird?", a dead line, and shots fired. Pixie and Elder were able to flee to the truck and drive to a safe distance.

While looking into the occupants they found they were part of Freebird's former crew, the Douglas County Avengers, specifically Squad Pi: Patton, Powell, and Pickett. As they planned, Pixie video called Sarge to let them know they'd be late, and mentioned the cultists and the force in the plant. After name dropping Pickett Sarge recognized the names; Pickett (aka Loren Bristow) is a former Civil War reenactment actor who was ex-military. He said they might be able to negotiate with Patton and Powell (Patty and Gus), as they were members from before the white supremacists joined the Avengers, but in all likelihood Pickett is the driving force and will have to be dealt with, and also learned his soft spot.

Armed with information, the Reformers snuck in through the back. While testing the door they realized that it was booby trapped. Freebird walked back a string and realized that it was a keg rigged to be a battering ram that would swing through the open door. Critting while realizing that, he also saw the NEXT trap, a motion sensor that would loosen a rope attached to the ceiling... with a SMG. As the rope swung it would eventually tighten on the trigger and unleash spiraling death. By noticing it they were able to disable the trap, but while sneaking Freebird couldn't sneak enough, and was caught by Patton, which will initiate combat... in part two!

MARKET TICKER

When will my players enter combat? Hopefully this time *sigh*  ;)

Honestly, I kinda like that we haven't been forced into going into combat; it helps show the different aspects of the game in that it is supposed to be a game about economics; that's why I came up with Combat Negotiation. Both times they've succeeded, but only by a slim margin; in this session they had three turns to get to Labor and stay there, and they just barely won the final leadership test to stay there and get out of combat. It helps add tension, and the other players are still able to help (by acting outside of combat or trying to discern how best to negotiate.) Plus, nothing is free; though I had to pull them out of my ass, the most frequent means of dealing with the problem generally would end up being helping with another problem; business and the holidays meant that I only had another contract planned, but it made sense, and if the Reformers play their cards right they can land two birds with one stone.

It was fun coming up with the traps; hope Caleb appreciates them! One is particularly nasty, but in a way unique to the setting that is another thing, like the Mega Playground. Trying, but interesting.

For me it's easier to visualize what's going on with the maps. I'm not using them in a tactical sense in that there's grids and forced movement; but as a visualization tool. I've been to candy factories but couldn't tell you where shit is. While residences and office spaces are easy to find it was a bitch to find the factories; the Tasty Treet is actually the original blueprint for the Dr. Pepper bottling plant and Anheuser–Busch plant is Languanita's bottling plant mixed with a brewpub. IMHO, it also adds to IMMERSION and makes sense in system; the game takes place in a facsimile of the real world,  where such buildings exist, and by being able to show these maps to the players it's stuff they would find IRL if they were researching a place.

TLC can't help himself with Easter Eggs Part 10,833:

Pickett's real name is Loren (I actually fully spelled it out in game, but was tired, so sue me)
Millie: Milton Hershey
Rigby: William Wrigley I-IV
Will: ...y Wonka
Harold: Harry London (local candy company; famous for making Buckeye candies, recently merged with Fannie Mae (no, not that one))
Burton: Cadbury
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trinite

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Re: Red Markets Beta Listener Campaign: The Reformers
« Reply #46 on: December 03, 2015, 03:33:02 PM »
but while sneaking Freebird couldn't sneak enough

Just to clarify what this means, I failed three Stealth checks in a row, and then failed my Perception check to notice that I wasn't being stealthy. So I deserve whatever I get.

EDITED TO ADD: I love the candy cultists.
« Last Edit: December 03, 2015, 03:37:02 PM by trinite »
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The Lost Carol

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Re: Red Markets Beta Listener Campaign: The Reformers
« Reply #47 on: December 07, 2015, 11:26:54 PM »
Well, we finally had combat...

MARKET FIAT CONTRACT FOUR: THE CANDYMAN (STORYLINE MISSION TWO) / MARKET FIAT CONTRACT FIVE: ANHEUSER–BUSCH, ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI

Frankly, most of the episode was combat, so not too terribly much to report. I can do a play by play, but I need to re-listen to the episode for that. Highlights include;

-More limb destruction on the opponents
-The heroes being lucky they made their purchases; Pixie was shot in the head and would've been killed had she not had her helmet, and Freebird was shot in the chest; good thing he overpaid for that kevlar vest.
-After multiple turns the villains were wounded but not down, but a group of Casualties appeared. All being mortally wounded, our heroes left the villains to be eaten.

After coming back in, the Reformers and the two Candyman Cultists cleaned up the place, looting the bodies and checking for the rest of the traps (including Molotovs that Freebird set off and caught fire on, an oil slick, and a flashbang), and one very nasty bit of Quarentecture; Murderer's Row, which is essentially lining up an alley with tied up captives; by having this line there's a buffet line for the Casualties and plenty of noise and food to keep the Casualties at bay. Disgusted by this, Pixie took photos to further drive the DCA's rep in the toilet. Searching the upstairs and the bodies, the Reformers took a lot of great gear, a diary, and a bunch of Bounty, and left for the Tasty Treet with both the bottles and the sugar.

MARKET TICKER

Combat was interesting. The players did well, and nearly got themselves killed human v PC combat did fine, as I tried to use tactics to get the players to also act tactically. However, limbs getting mutilated made my choices few and far between, especially maimed legs meaning people couldn't escape and had no choice but to agro.

The Murderer's Row concept came to me as an example of 'evil' Quarentecture. For all the good that it does there's certainly ways of protecting from Casualties that are beyond acceptable; think kneecapping someone to make the zombies focus on them.

It's funny how the random encounters end up being so important; if they hadn't taken the helmets and Freebird hadn't bought the vest Pixie for sure would be dead and Freebird might be too with half his chest filled with killing damage; resist the urge to skip legs; they might save your life (... or take it.)
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The Lost Carol

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Re: Red Markets Beta Listener Campaign: The Reformers
« Reply #48 on: December 15, 2015, 10:04:32 PM »
MARKET FIAT CONTRACT FOUR: THE CANDYMAN (STORYLINE MISSION TWO) / MARKET FIAT CONTRACT FIVE: ANHEUSER–BUSCH, ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI

With their goods and evidence in tow, the Reformers returned to the Tasty Treet, hoping to avoid seeing the Candyman and taking all sorts of precautions, but in the end they had to go visit him to get the plastic. The Candyman, as they suspected, turned out to be an Aberrant that was boiled alive in melted sugar, making a horribly burned Aberrant with a thick, rotten caramel coating. Barely keeping it together, the heroes apologized, and were led to the plastic... which was in front of 9 dead Candymen. They grabbed the plastic and left without incident. After speaking with the leader of the Cult, Millie, they found that all 10 were former cultists, except for the original, and all willing. Their plans at documenting the horror now questionable, they kept the film but left for Jeff's City, where they turned in the plastic... and found they had more fake Bounty. After fulfilling their promises to their sources, they returned home.

They called the Cases to negotiate for the for the bottles. After some careful negotiation, they sold them and a bunch of the gear from the bottling plant, for an absurd 264 Bounty. That easily put all three Reformers past all their Retirement levels and ready for Mr. JOLS...

MARKET TICKER

Whoops.

I realized afterwards that I should used score mechanics for the sale of the bottles, not standard negotiation. That, along with the tricked out gear owned by the DCA members allowed for way too much Bounty for the Reformers. However, at the same time they did have to combine two contracts into one, and a few failed rolls and they're all dead. I'm a little disappointed the campaign will end early, but it's my fault not theirs.

I was also terrified because the main storyline... uh... still needs dealt with. I've sown enough seeds to not let it come to pass. However, I came up with a way to finish it, and even in a way that will fit their play style. We'll see after Mr. JOLS...

At times I feel like I have trouble keeping everything together, whether mixing up names or stuff like this, but more often than not that's my fault as the GM. I'm still getting used to the GM seat, but with the help of a good system and my players I'm glad that we're still having fun and I haven't ruined their time and/or Caleb's system.
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trinite

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Re: Red Markets Beta Listener Campaign: The Reformers
« Reply #49 on: December 16, 2015, 11:50:22 AM »
Just to be clear, we're having a great time and The Lost Carol is doing a great job playing the Market. This particular 2-fer mission definitely felt tense and dangerous to me, more so than most of the previous ones. Things could have broken really badly for us, but they didn't. I got super lucky with all the candy cultist horror, passing almost all the Self Control checks and taking very little mental damage. Freebird did better than his player did, I think. If I were to change anything on that front, I think certain Threat tests should have added difficulty to represent their particularly brutal nature.

When we got that grand total payoff, I thought for sure that the math was wrong. It was definitely not in the same ballpark as the previous few jobs. I'm thinking that the main issues were: (A) we did extremely well on negotiation for both jobs, maxing out the payoff for the bottle delivery after we'd already completed the mission; and (B) a huge portion of our income has come from finding and selling equipment.

(B) deserves a playtest note. I'm pretty sure that this particular issue will be common for many groups, and needs to be addressed in the rules.

We've houseruled a Networking test for selling gear: Success = sell for Upkeep value, Failure = sell half Upkeep, Crit Success = sell for double Upkeep (same price it would take to buy it new), Crit Failure = can't sell, must either keep or dump. We've been doing a single roll for the entire pile of stuff we want to sell each time for simplicity. This math might be a little high, I don't know. It can definitely be worth while to blow a Will point to upgrade to a crit and double the payout.

Whatever Caleb decides to do, I think the game's economy needs to expect players to supplement their income by raking in found gear. Takers gonna take (everything they find that isn't nailed down).
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The Lost Carol

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Re: Red Markets Beta Listener Campaign: The Reformers
« Reply #50 on: December 17, 2015, 10:04:02 PM »
Well, we had our last session (of the Beta).

After our heroes informed their loved ones of their massive bounty of Bounty, the Reformers met and came up with their Mr. JOLS. Using the Score mechanics, the team came up with Vertical Farming / Bioengineering/Gengineering equipment that was done by a startup in downtown KC. Many would love that gear, and should be useful. They successfully recruited Anton and Corporal Samuelsson to be redshirts NPCs that fight with them. After some additional rolls for guaranteed gear and intel, we left our heroes in stasis for what might be there biggest success, or darkest hour...

MARKET TICKER

The Score mechanics worked really well. While the 3D printers was free form we used the structured mechanics, which meant for some good ideas from the players, and the secret rolls with which I can screw them with.

We won't be meeting over holiday break, so we won't restart until likely the first or third week of January. We will finish Red Markets (as it's 1-3 sessions remaining,) and move onto new adventures, likely MAOCT, playtests of trinite's excellent Civil War scenarios, or other things (...Action Movie hack Slasher Flick? Hc Svnt Dracones One Shots? DG? Not-Fatale?) before we start an EP campaign.

But Red Markets has been a blast. I think even in beta form Caleb has come up with a wonderful system and I hope our playtest has been helpful. We can't wait to throw money at you and, say it with us, "BUY YOUR BOOK! BUY YOUR BOOK! BUY YOUR BOOK!"

Also thanks to my playtesters, trinite, Alethea, and smalltowncinema. They've been a great encouragement for a first time GM and have been excellent players; of course, I'll save the rest of my praise for after their fates have been sealed.

Hope you all have enjoyed. Once La Corbusier starts posting we'll start posting our APs. Mind the dust and warts; we're all new to this. Thanks again for following us.

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Until next time!
« Last Edit: February 03, 2016, 11:35:26 PM by The Lost Carol »
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trinite

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Re: Red Markets Beta Listener Campaign: The Reformers
« Reply #51 on: December 20, 2015, 09:36:12 PM »
Seems like we've finally resolved our technical issues here at the end. It's been interesting to make this pretty sudden transition to the "endgame." Since the system doesn't emphasize mechanical character advancement(i.e. increasing stats and stuff), it's more up to the Market and players to develop the narrative so that it feels as though the campaign is approaching a climax. It's been a bit abrupt for us, since we managed to get such a redonkulous level of profit on our previous job. Still, I think we're all working together to make this last job feel suitably epic. We'll see how it plays out!
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clockworkjoe

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Re: Red Markets Beta Listener Campaign: The Reformers
« Reply #52 on: December 21, 2015, 04:27:24 PM »
the narrative is based on the retirement plan, not leveling up your character. Does hitting the milestones not feel like a story arc?

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Re: Red Markets Beta Listener Campaign: The Reformers
« Reply #53 on: December 21, 2015, 05:28:06 PM »
the narrative is based on the retirement plan, not leveling up your character. Does hitting the milestones not feel like a story arc?

We kinda hit two milestones at once... and by kinda I mean totally did. And by we I mean everyone in the party at once. None of this some of the players saving towards their milestones while others pour everything into skill and gear improvements.
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The Lost Carol

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Re: Red Markets Beta Listener Campaign: The Reformers
« Reply #54 on: December 21, 2015, 10:01:54 PM »
the narrative is based on the retirement plan, not leveling up your character. Does hitting the milestones not feel like a story arc?

Since they essentially did two scores at once the made several McDuck's worth of Bounty. After paying everything they had enough pure profit to clear out their remaining retirement goals.
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trinite

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Re: Red Markets Beta Listener Campaign: The Reformers
« Reply #55 on: December 23, 2015, 11:38:26 AM »
the narrative is based on the retirement plan, not leveling up your character. Does hitting the milestones not feel like a story arc?

Since they essentially did two scores at once the made several McDuck's worth of Bounty. After paying everything they had enough pure profit to clear out their remaining retirement goals.

In fact, we made so much that if that had been the very first job we'd ever done, we still could have retired immediately. That wouldn't have been much of an "arc".

That's a good point though, Ross. I agree that the Milestone system helps a lot in developing a campaign arc, so long as the jobs are paying off at a rate that reasonably corresponds to the Milestone levels. This could have two failure states: too high payouts (like if our last job were the normal expected result), or too low payouts (like a maximum of 1-2 bounty per job, so that the Milestones become impossibly distant). If Milestones are benchmarked at 20 Bounty, I would expect that each job should payout somewhere between 5-10 Bounty per Taker in disposable profit, slightly adjusted according to the campaign's Boom or Bust tone. That puts each milestone at somewhere between 2 and 4 jobs to complete, which I would say is a good pace to make them feel like real accomplishments. And in general, our playtest has stuck pretty well to that pace until the last bit here. I don't think the system is broken; I do recommend that Caleb should make this expected campaign-pace clear in the written rules to help Markets avoid accidentally breaking the mechanics that help define the narrative arc.
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The Lost Carol

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Re: Red Markets Beta Listener Campaign: The Reformers
« Reply #56 on: February 03, 2016, 11:33:13 PM »
And we're back! We're back. Strike up the band.

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MR. JOLS: [REDACTED]

After leaving the Four Seasons our heroes (after making some more purchases and checking up on research), with Corporal Samuelsson, Anton, and Bruno in tow, made their trek to the lab, Gregor Agriculturals. Elder's Criminality reminded him that they needed the plant growth devices, the research notes, and the repair manual. They proceeded to skip every leg except the mandatory one; in exchange for coming to sell them stuff, Tigris asked the Reformers to stop by a mini-mall and see if they could lock down any potential merch to sell. The mini-mall had a department store, a toy store, a Christian book store, an educational supply store, and a pool bar. They stopped in the department store, Christian book store, and pool hall, finding some food and tools (and Freebird taking an 8 ball for good luck), before realizing that another swarm of locusts being gassed by drones (with Casualties, no doubt nearby) was incoming. They elected to hide in the Starbucks in the department store, and also used it to secure the goods for Tigris before driving straight to Gregor.

Upon arriving, they cased the joint to check the entrances, and found a dusty but still sound building. They went in the rear service entrance, electing to have Anton and Bruno stay in the pick up truck as scouts. Inside, they looked around the labs, electing to go upstairs before checking the basement (where, thanks to Elder's research, they knew the vertical farming equipment was; at present, the devices are so heavy they can't be on roofs.) On the ground floor was meeting rooms, cubes for office workers, and the break room and cafeteria. The security station had a stun gun, and was quite robust for the company. Also, the phone list referenced everyone, and also had the personal numbers for the CEO, a man named Barry Valentine; Pixie had heard of him, but wasn't sure his deal beyond being a multi-PhD in Botany and Biology. The place seemed to be like any other Silicon Valley-ish start up; nice equipment, relaxing break room. In the break room were lots of obtuse technical manuals and journals on horticulture - and biology?

Before heading upstairs, Pixie got a call from Anton. A pickup truck drove by; a jacked up one with Truck Nutz (C). Anton tried to duck, but was sure the occupants saw them. Unsure of what to think, they pressed on. On the second floor were the labs and the server room. The server had to have all the research data and would be highly valuable regardless. In a conference room they found the research notes, and yet more references to biology in addition to horticulture. Perhaps it was for the super and / or unique plant's effects on human tissue? While exploring on this floor, they heard gun shots in the distance, confirmed by Anton.

Racing upstairs, they found that parts of the third floor had collapsed. Freebird and Samuelsson carefully went up the steps, and used their rifle scopes to scout. In the distance, the pickup truck, along with a second, was rounding up Casualties for a Dead Drive. There were over 20. They also had attached a flag to their truck: a Confederate flag. The Delta County Avengers! They must have caught up with our heroes after the events of the Anheuser-Busch plant. As our heroes fortified the doors and pulled the truck inside, they were ready for a fight. Will the Reformers survive the attack? What is in the basement? Will Pixie ever tell us what happened in Denver? Stay tuned!

MARKET TICKER

I'm glad we took awhile before I executed Mr. JOLS. In the interim we had a two part EP session to do Think Before Asking, as we were slated to have an absence, and then wanted to finish it. In the meantime I had the mission mulling in my head. By giving it time I was able to cut away the stuff that made it too complex or overly big. I think this was the best I could make it, and the players seemed to have fun. Some of the ideas I'm sad I cut, but I know they were necessary (RPPR cameos as a Payday Gang-like group, anyone?)

I was able to ratchet up the tension, much better than I did in the first contract. By making giving less rolls and allowing the players to explore it made it more nerve-wracking as they started to piece together what was going on here, and my approach for the DCA that more tense.

I'm surprised they skipped all the legs. I shouldn't be, since they knew this was Mr. JOLS, but sadly for them I included multiple clues that the DCA were coming. And a leg at an Archaeo-Bucks!  :( I'll keep that one for later. I am aiming to attend GenCon, and am planning on having a one shot ready with pregens (The Reformers, Samuelsson, Anton & Bruno, and my created character NRG.)

We are working on getting the episodes ready for the Community AP site. smalltowncinema has done a phenomenal job recording Google Hangouts and cutting up the episodes for Caleb's (and our) use. He's working on tagging the episodes and getting them ready for posting; we're shooting for 1-2 episodes every 2 weeks, so we don't post everything faster than the Brutalist campaign does.

The time away did not make the game less fun or show any holes in it. We can't wait for the conclusion, and for the Kickstarter!
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trinite

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Re: Red Markets Beta Listener Campaign: The Reformers
« Reply #57 on: February 04, 2016, 12:29:14 PM »
It was a pretty exciting session, and withstanding a siege is definitely going to be a huge change of pace from our previous missions, where we were always the ones doing the breaking and entering.

TLC, you left out the part at the strip mall where I crit-failed my perception roll and broke my THIRD PAIR OF BINOCULARS IN THE CAMPAIGN GODDAMN IT
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The Lost Carol

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Re: Red Markets Beta Listener Campaign: The Reformers
« Reply #58 on: February 04, 2016, 12:46:26 PM »
TLC, you left out the part at the strip mall where I crit-failed my perception roll and broke my THIRD PAIR OF BINOCULARS IN THE CAMPAIGN GODDAMN IT

Oh yeah! I was piecing the session from memory and forgot the best part. 😄

I would make an argument that critfailing three separate checks for binoculars might make an argument against fragile, as you surely will never purchase binoculars again, but it's mostly an odds issue with uneven dice and not the mechanics fucking you over.
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trinite

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Re: Red Markets Beta Listener Campaign: The Reformers
« Reply #59 on: February 04, 2016, 03:09:08 PM »
TLC, you left out the part at the strip mall where I crit-failed my perception roll and broke my THIRD PAIR OF BINOCULARS IN THE CAMPAIGN GODDAMN IT

Oh yeah! I was piecing the session from memory and forgot the best part. 😄

I would make an argument that critfailing three separate checks for binoculars might make an argument against fragile, as you surely will never purchase binoculars again, but it's mostly an odds issue with uneven dice and not the mechanics fucking you over.

Oh, I think I like binoculars just fine the way they are, fragile and everything. It might make more thematic sense if they only broke if they were being used in a dangerous/action-type situation, or if they were repairable. Maybe you could houserule that a broken piece of equipment gets a repair roll, with success meaning that it can be fixed (for a cost) and failure meaning that it's totally trashed.

But That's kind of an edge case, and not something that I'd say would be worth revising the whole Fragile quality over (this is exactly how rules bloat gets started!). Right now the Rugged upgrade is certainly worth buying, though. I wish I'd thought of it before we started Mr. JOLS.*

*But not as much as I wish I'd thought of prepping a case of Molotov cocktails we could drop off the roof. I'll be asking to make some scavenging rolls at the start of next session...
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