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General Category => Role Playing Public Radio Podcast => Topic started by: Cthuluzord on January 31, 2014, 06:27:34 PM

Title: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Cthuluzord on January 31, 2014, 06:27:34 PM
Okay, I'm at the point where I've written more than enough rules for Red Markets to break, change, and discard. Doing anything more would be building on uncertain foundations. Here's what I've got written up so far.

Drafted
•   Basic Mechanics
•   Terminology (my personal zombie nomenclature)
•   Tools (tags for gear and rules for spending charges)
•   Gear list
•   Casualties (rules for fighting zombies)
•   Combat
•   Humanity (Sanity system, basically)
•   Negotiations (the social combat mechanic to determine prices)
•   Outfit Sheet (character sheet for the company owned by the PCs)
•   Reputation (how your outfit is perceived, and how it helps or harms you)
•   Character Backgrounds (think in terms of classes or races in traditional RPGs)
•   Character sheet
•   Truncated Setting Description (see below)

I'm going to wait and see how all of that (about 25K words worth) holds up before going on to write the other stuff that will need to be beta-tested

Not Yet Drafted

•   Short fiction
•   Style-guide (will need it for the drafting process, and it will let me farm out portions as freelancing if the KS does well, finished the project faster)
•   Expanded Setting Description (this will be IC voice from metaplot characters, describing the Recession safe zones, Enclaves, The Loss, International setting, and continental US)
•   Competition (cultists, military, rival outfits, and other human enemies)
•   Aberrant (special zombies not to be trifled with...think zombie animals or Zombie jesus for Land of the Dead, plus other monsters as designed by Caleb)
•   Enclave Rules (running contracts out of a community settlement instead of a self-contained base)
•   Interlude Rules (a story telling mechanic akin to a road movie, used while travelling to jobs. There’s something similar to what I’m shooting for in the Savage Worlds Ultimate Edition)
•   Travel Rules and Random Encounters (d100 random roll tables!!! Mwhahahaha!!!)
•   Vehicle Rules (AUTODUEL!!!)
•   Mass Combat Rules
•   Contacts (Networking and reputation economy stuff)
•   Markets (not everyone is capitalist anymore: how do you transfer the rules to barter, controlled, or socialist economies?)
•   Character Advancement
•   Character Generation

Now, it might seem a little odd not to have those last two finished before the Alpha starts, but let me explain my thinking: since the game is about economics, achieving a balance early in the game is key. If players get powerful later through smart decisions and saving Bounty (the in-game currency), there are many options the GM has to make the game more challenging. But if they are too powerful or too weak from the start, the game won't work. I need to find a base number of starting character points and bounty to give level-one's, so to speak. Only after I have that baseline can I codify a process for creating a unique character concept as a player-facing choice.

Furthermore, people are going to think up character concepts I've never dreamed of before. If I can build as many of those into the system from the start and balance them with the game's and setting's economy, Red Markets is going to be more fun to play.

So I'm posting a description of the setting in this thread so people can pitch character concepts that might fit in with the world of Red Markets. I really encourage the RPPR crew to describe what they want to play here, but pitching is open to everyone. I'll try to build each character, then give that described character to the player that pitched it, or draw it at random for another playtest. There are going to be a lot of one-shots before we try the more extended play; the more varied individual characters we have to choose from, the better.

INSTRUCTIONS: read the setting descriptions (next few post), then write up as detailed a character concept as you care to in this thread. Since you don't really know about the mechanics, keep the description narrative. What does the character do well? Why are they a Taker? What happened to trap them out in the Loss? What is their retirement plan? How did they come to meet their crew? Who are their dependents? Do they live in an Enclave, the Recession, or back at the base?

I'll build the character and we'll throw it into a one-shot when we start alpha testing in a month or so. I really look forward to seeing what everyone comes up with, and I hope to get this out of the way so I can give a beta to everyone's home group soon.

Thanks!

UPDATE:

Red Markets is ready to play. We are six sessions into the macro playtest, and I've got 115 pages of rules ready to go. Things are going well with the RPPR crew, and I’m psyched to run some games for fans. It looks like GenCon scheduling is solidifying, so here’s what I’m thinking:

I’m doing panel talks at 11am and 1pm Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at GenCon (please come!). I need to keep evenings free for the RPPR meet-up, the Posthuman Freelancer meeting, traditional Glancy game, and the off-chance I could convince some experienced designers to try it out. That means Red Markets playtests will start about 2:30 pm and end around 6:30 pm. That will give me time to leave the Crown Plaza, make it to an open play-space coordinated through GroupMe (I feel shitty selling tickets to an unfinished game, and tables might all be taken when we arrive somewhere), and run the game before shuttling off to wherever I need to be that evening. I could also run games Wednesday night (depending on when we get in), or after the RPPR meet up (depending on my GenCon endurance roll).

So Red Markets playtests will be unofficial games, played where space is available, from 2:30-6:30 Thurs-Sat. If you are attending the con and want a spot, let me know. I will offer space as available.

Meanwhile, in the future...

If you want to rules to playtest with your own group, I've been filing away every request. I know who you are if you've already told me. I have the “Playing Red Markets” rules done (well, ready to edit, at least), but I’m writing the GM section as we continue recording the RPPR campaign. Additionally, there are no scenarios written outside of my chicken-scratch notebooks. The full workings of a beta playtest won’t be done until I get the school-year wrapped up, but it will certainly be done before GenCon. So if you’re one of those noble souls and want to try the game with some rando’s at the con, you’ll have the ability to do so. Ross might also be running some after-hours Red Markets adventure, to make sure I’m selling a game and not me as a GM.

Fair warning for those looking to playtest at home: I am asking for some dedication. I don’t have time to parse the rules down into the condensed nuggets offered as betas by big studios, and I don’t want to delay the start of the KS any longer by trying to do so. Running the game will basically require reading 2/3rds of the book in a draft format, having your group make characters or copy pregens, and giving one or two example scenarios a shot. It’ll be a big packet for a playtest, bigger so if you’re group is beautiful enough to try one of the campaign modes.

That said, we've got a bitching character sheet done, along with a bunch of helpful handouts, cheat-sheets, manipulatives, and hard-won advice. I also want to see about distributing a preview AP to playtesters, so they can at least hear the game as I envision it as they parse the text. You should all be able to have fun with at least a session or two before something breaks, and I’m eager to get finished so I can hear everyone’s experiences. More on the closed RPPR forum beta as it develops.
Alright, that’s all. Let me know in the thread if you want A) to play at GenCon or B) copy of a future beta and haven’t messaged me yet.

Thanks!
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Cthuluzord on January 31, 2014, 06:29:21 PM
Please note that what follows is a VERY rough draft and subject to extensive change before publication. Red Markets is the intellectual property of Hebanon Games and Caleb Stokes

The Blight

Here’s everything we know about it, or have been allowed to know:

0: Classification:

We don’t know what it is. It behaves like a virus or bacteria for large portions of its life cycle, but develops complex physical structures given a long enough timeline, suggesting some sort of asexually reproducing parasite. But, unlike anything else in the animal kingdom, the damn thing seems to violate the Conservation of Energy, producing kinetic force even in cases where the infected hasn’t ingested protein or any other food source. It’s either the most remarkably efficient organism ever – converting energy from photosynthesis, heat absorption, and a number of other sources simultaneously – or a manmade substance engineered and yet to be understood. People are throwing around the word nanotechnology a lot lately…

Then there are the Aberrant, which, if they actually exist, imply everything from alien fungus to supernatural plague to new stage of human evolution.

Like I said, WE DON’T KNOW. Or, as an even more unsettling possibility, someone knows and doesn’t want to tell.

1: Infection:

Infection occurs from direct contact with infected fluids: spit, blood, saliva, sexual fluids, or pure Blight (that black stuff they bleed). Not every bite or exposure is enough; five years of hindsight have produced documented cases of exposure without infection, which were later proven not to be Latency or Immunity when a second exposure produced full-transformation.

Immunity complicates things immensely, as we know it exists but have no idea why. Certain individuals can’t be infected no matter how many exposures occur. Science has determined that it has something to do with bone marrow, and they’ve determined that a processed form designed for direct injection can cause Blight in the midst of initial viral amplification to go dormant (thus developing the drug Supressin K-7864). Other than that, the Immune share no known commonality: they have no common sex, upbringing, diet, race, age, blood type, or ancestry. Medical science is racing to find the magic factor…usually by cutting it out of the poor bastards with document Immunity. A lot of doctors regret the thousands of potential golden guinea pigs shot for harmless wounds (cold bites, as they are called) during the initial outbreak.

The injection of Supressin K-7864 directly after a hot bite can prevent the development of symptoms, though the Latent condition has also been recorded as occurring inexplicably and spontaneously. Latents are infection carriers, able to spread the Blight by all the same means of a Casualty, but they retain their mental faculties and life. The Blight amplifies in the system without attacking the brain, entering a dormant state. The only sign of Latency is persistent necrosis around the bite area, caused during the transition from active Blight to its dormant/reproductive state. A single kiss from a Latent loved one has been the cause of many an outbreak, and their blood remains another valuable resource in researching the Blight. Worse, the continual reproduction of the Blight even in its dormant states means that, after the death of a Latent, the virus goes live within seconds.

This creates a Vector, which is the fate of 98% of the population after receiving a hot bite.

2. Vectors

Upon infection, the Blight cells (or whatever they are) amplify in the bloodstream at a speed unprecedented in the history of viruses, bacteria, or fungi. Some documented cases report as many as a couple of days passing before full transformation, but many transform within a matter of minutes. The process is so fast that many victims, torn apart by other Vectors, are eventually reanimated into Casualties even after death; hot Blight needs only a partial journey through the circulatory system before reanimation becomes inevitable.

In cases where the body is infected but escapes violent death, the cells of the victim serve as fuel for the Blight as it attacks and converts blood vessels first. This leads to the hemorrhaging and bloody vomit typical of the freshly infected.

Once distributed throughout the circulatory system, the primary activity occurs in the brain. Dilation of pupils become irregular and is followed by a sense of euphoria, then confusion, muscle tremors, and slurred speech. The hormonal dump follows – a pituitary explosion of stress chemicals – and leads to the first violent tendencies. Predatory instincts develop around the time all higher brain functions begin to completely break down. This causes the unfortunate, psychologically scarring “apologies” victims commonly report as being screamed by some Vectors when they first begin to infect, kill, and eat loved ones.

Vectors are extremely fast and very infectious. They bleed from every orifice and wound, and their fluids are in the midst of a frenzy of Blight reproduction that can carry over to victims easily. All governors of physical exertion are destroyed in the corruption of the brain, meaning that even physically weak individuals can move with uncharacteristic speed and ignore mortal trauma for disturbing amounts of time.

The Vectors remain dependant upon the brain stem to function. As with all Casualties, a headshot is the only way to ensure immobility.

3. Death

Due to combination internal hemorrhaging, trauma, overexertion, exposure, dehydration, and starvation, all Vectors qualify for medical definitions of death within a matter of hours or days after transformation. The actual time of death is difficult to pinpoint since the corpse remains animate. Signs include slowed hemorrhaging, stiffness due to rigor, gastrointestinal bloating, and a pallid skin tone.

In all but the most robust individuals, transition from Vector to Casualty involves a period of torpor where the corpse appears inanimate and still. Twitching may occur, but the overwhelming predatory instinct that define Blight infection relax for a number of hours as the victim enters the so-called “puppet” stage.

4. Casualties
 
According to pre-Recession science, dead things cannot move. The dead have no way to metabolize energy into electrical impulses to trigger muscle twitch. Technically, that logic holds even though the dead walk and kill the living.

The Blight uses it’s torpor to focus on metabolizing dead flesh, either consumed during the Vector phase or from the victim’s own tissues, into “strands.” These black, fibrous monofilaments duplicate throughout the body rampantly, occasionally even bursting from the flesh in the form of black spines or bulbous tumors. The purpose, near as we can tell, is to form a redundant nervous and musculature system on the wasted anatomy of the human’s. These strands originate in the stomach, quickly metabolizing consumed proteins and the victims own intestines (thus the gaunt look typical of most Casualties). A separate clutch develops in the cortex, mirroring human neurophysiology almost exactly.

When the strands have infiltrated all muscle tissues, they begin to excrete a viscous, liquefied form of the Blight known colloquially as “juice.” This substance has remarkable preservative properties unseen in other organic compounds and serves to pickle the dead flesh rotting around it. While not a perfect chemical, the black juice preserves the tissues of the dead victims for many years beyond the human norm and makes consuming the dead flesh toxic to all carrion eaters, even those not directly susceptible to Blight infection.

When the torpor ends, the Blight has essentially become a multiple-cellular parasite, sending nerve impulses down its strands to trigger unsophisticated muscle twitch reactions in the host. It’s suggested that the drive to consume flesh arises from the metabolic need to fuel these electrical impulses, but if this is the case, the Blight has the most remarkably efficient metabolism imaginable, approaching a 1-to-1 transfer ratio. Other theories posit that starving Casualties supplement their energy needs through some sort of photosynthesis located in the breeches of Blight strands, or that the creature operates off a form of heat absorption.

Regardless, the durable strands “puppet” the corpse around, now typically referred to as a Casualty, and repeat the behavior of a Vector, albeit slower and less coordinated. The strands are so redundant and resistant to damage that only total body destruction can render the body immobile. Thankfully, the impulses that drive the creature forward are routed through the central location of the brain, meaning that destruction of the brain stem or separation of the head will render the body inert.

5. The Aberrant

The existence of Aberrant types is widely debated in the medical community. No active specimens have ever been recovered, but supposed witnesses account this to the remarkable danger posed by these creatures. Accounts vary wildly and smack of urban legend, but enough reports occur simultaneously in geographically distinct areas to suggest at least some validity to the claims.

If the Aberrant do exist, they suggest that the Blight is entering a new evolutionary stage or has some even more complex stage of its lifecycle. As the existence of run-of-the-mill Casualties is problematic enough and reported sightings are rarely reputable, the scientific community has done very little work trying to categorize this supposed final stage.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Cthuluzord on January 31, 2014, 06:30:43 PM
Please note that what follows is a VERY rough draft and subject to extensive change before publication. Red Markets is the intellectual property of Hebanon Games and Caleb Stokes

The Crash

So that’s what we know about the Blight so far: five years and a mountain range of corpses later.

Back when it started, the only thing certain was that people were eating each other. And we knew what that reminded us of.

Honestly, the zombie movies killed as many of us as they saved. It’s a hell of trip to scroll through the old news archives and watch the transition. In the first week, the article titles were enthusiastic click-bait, almost gleeful to report acts of “supposed” cannibalism. But then they devolve to skeptical disbelief, earnest pleading, and, finally, dire and clinical evacuation orders.

The films initially caused overconfidence. In the early days, certain fools treated  the outbreaks like sport, confidently leaving their homes with nothing but a hunting rifle and getting run down by the sprinting, screaming, and insane Vectors. The slowness wasn't there yet; not enough time had passed to enter torpor. It took days for the infection to kill its host, and another after that for the rigor to set in. We thought they'd never slow down in those first weeks, that they would run the whole race down. We were almost right.

And we couldn't figure out how it had come from every direction at once. The only explanation was a God-ordered apocalypse (it still might be). None of us considered Latency. None of us considered that a few people might be Immune, or that the infection might not take hold with every exposure. After all, what self-respecting pandemic advertises the second it hits a host? Better to let some run, go home, give their family sloppy kisses, and then eat the neighbors. We know this now, a few years and a lot of dead relatives too late. The few statistics gathered in the fallback in the Recession suggest that humans killed more Latent and Immune than the monsters did. A bite meant a bullet back then, regardless. In many places, it still does.

The movies were responsible for the insane paranoia and overreaction: the terror of a cultural nightmare suddenly realized. Entire towns were wiped out without a single confirmed report of infection. Hoarding and looting started almost immediately when there was still plenty left. It wasn't like now, where morality is for dead men and legends, and the rest of us are trapped in the math of the Loss. People thought being a survivor meant being an asshole, just because that’s what Romero had taught them.

But we knew to aim for the head, though. We knew that quarantine would lead to hard choices, ruthless betrayals necessary for the survival of a species. We knew that a virus that behaves like a fungus, and a bacteria, and a parasite, AND an animal was too far beyond our scope to cure, and we didn't waste time trying. We knew what we were seeing by the second day of news reports, and we aimed for the head. That’s probably the only reason anyone is left alive.

At least the movies provided some advice, which is more than could be said for every other form of existent media. Early panic led to the suppression of the news outlets, outright censorship and government lies meant to “protect us” from ourselves. Thus came our ironic term for the zombies: Casualties, the bloodless alternative to the word we were all thinking. “LA took Casualties” or “St. Louis lists Casualties” or your hometown “…now had Casualties to report.” And by report, they meant scream helplessly into a webcam as they were eaten alive.

I think it was Zisek who said that we can all imagine the end of the world, but nobody can imagine an end to capitalism. Turns out he was dead on. Before long, our leaders were using the term “need to know” more for profit than protection, trying to get rich from the war before ensuring it could be won. They told to all get underground. Hole-up. The cavalry was on its way.

But then LifeLines came online and the Gnat set us straight. We learned that the new reality was just more of the old. Death remained a constant...but so did Taxes.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Cthuluzord on January 31, 2014, 06:31:36 PM
Please note that what follows is a VERY rough draft and subject to extensive change before publication. Red Markets is the intellectual property of Hebanon Games and Caleb Stokes.

Ubiq and LifeLines

Austin Palbicke grew up in a rural Texas trailer with no internet and less opportunity. He didn't see his first functioning Wifi connections until he switched high schools at 16, but he was instantly hooked. By the time he grew into a multi-billionaire through his software start-ups, he had already planned the Ubiq system in his head. "Nobody, no matter how poor," he said at the launch, "has to be cut-off anymore." If we Takers could still believe in anything, we'd inscribe that under a stained glass window in the church built for the poor dead bastard.

Ubiq utilizes thousands of high altitude weather balloons composed of prototype synthetic fabrics, each carrying a solar-powered, self-sustaining satellite transmitter and server. Solar winds shift the balloon cloud at all points around the globe, an ever-shifting pattern of coverage that is unbreakable for more than a few minutes at a time. The signal was meant to be everywhere, and everything could be managed from the Ubiq compound built in the Colorado mountains: an entirely green tech start-up city powered by an experimental geo-thermal reactor that cost more to build than the GDP of most developed nations. It was in beta when the Crash started, and as Ubiq programmers transmitted desperate pleas for help over the snarls of their cannibalistic coworkers outside, it looked like it was never going to get beyond the testing phase.

But then, after weeks with the power out, after starving in pitch-black basements under the government orders, the signal came back on. What few laptops could be charged suddenly had email. Cellphones, long since abandoned, had reception. All survivors needed was a hand crank or a solar panel...

One of the programmers had survived and, somehow, gotten Ubiq online. She called herself Gnat. Her forum was the LifeLines. She whispered the truth in all our ears.

Ubiq had been keeping an eye on everything while the rest of us huddled inside. The government blackout, the destruction of the United States, was just a stall tactic. They were marshaling forces, pulling back to beyond the Mississippi in preparation for the establishment of the safe zones. Gnat had found their traffic since they worm piggybacking signals using backdoors the NSA had wormed into the Ubiq signal, and all of us got to see their plans.

Fall back. Order everyone to stay inside at all costs. Use the entirety of the armed forces to secure the Mississippi and cordon off infected Eastern cities. And wait. Wait until the infected died and their puppeteer-ed corpses got dry, brittle, and slow. Wait for torpor and rigor to set in...then clear them out of the Eastern states using every round in the armory and every soldier that had ever enlisted. Launch a full-scale assault to take back the country, but only half of it. The West was to be cut off like a gangrenous limb.

Gnat posted their emails, then told us to run.

The rush on the bridges over the Mississippi was insanity. People thronged. Fresh outbreaks occurred. The Blight’s body count paled in comparison to those desperate fools that tried to swim across the river. Realizing the dam would break, the government backpedaled and set up checkpoints, stripping and checking all comers for infection. They'd never meant to abandon us, they claimed. This was all part of a plan. They called it the Recession.

But even when all the power was out, before they knew Gnat had their number, they never wrote down their plans to nuke the Eastern Canadian cities. Pre-preemptive genocide, they called it later. When the sun rose in the North in the middle of the night, then again, and again, those of us still waiting at the bridges knew that they were done making concessions. The bridges were blown and mined a few hours later; the border shut down. The West was closed off by a mighty river and a 200 mile long manned wall spanning from its mouth to the Great Lakes. And there was no one left in the North to become infected.

The country was divided: those of us safe in the Recession...and those of us written off as the Loss.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Cthuluzord on January 31, 2014, 06:33:29 PM
Please note that what follows is a VERY rough draft and subject to extensive change before publication. Red Markets is the intellectual property of Hebanon Games and Caleb Stokes.

The Recession

The American tactic was copied around the world in countries with enough life in them still to try. Everywhere, people retreated over rivers and behind mountains. Brazil retreated behind the Pa Rana and Amazon. The Philippines and Papua New Guinea became a war zone as China and other Asiatic nations fought for the previous island space. The Australians joined the island struggle after it had cleansed the infection from its own borders in a land grab. Japan and New Zealand closed their borders England recovered and became a giant hodge-podge of European refuges, along with the parts of Scandanavia protected by cold and Sweden behind its mountains. The remains of Russia retreated to the Urals. Alaska – long since thought dead in the death throes of Canadian military retaliation – somehow survived, opened the strategic oil reserve, and promptly seceded from the Union. The Middle East’s militarized culture and protection by the Suez and fertile-crescent rivers fared quite well and continued to supply the world with oil at a substantially increased price.

Collectively, these truncated and surviving states became known as The Recession. Everything else was The Loss, as in "written off as" ... including the hundreds-of-thousands left alive on the wrong side of the line.

They didn't have time to mourn, or perhaps didn't care to. In the United States, the availability of natural resources, international trade, and farmland was reduced by over 50%, yet the population those markets were meant to support was exponentially larger than the government had planned on. Famine and plague were rampant. Outbreaks still occurred in the safe zones and had to be put down quickly, with extreme prejudice. Whole cities had to be reclaimed and gutted of their infrastructure, redesigned into easily cut-off blocks according to the new aesthetic of Quarin-techture. The currency had collapsed. Entire industries had to be rebuilt or abandoned entirely.

With much to do, the government didn't even have time for revenge. Ubiq was declared a terrorist network, access punishable with the forced-labor and slavery of the newly simplified penal system. The crime was listed as "treasonous propaganda." How dare Gnat tell the world there were people left alive in the Loss? They were all Casualties now, infected now and forever. Anything else was a poisonous lie and punishable by death.

It's not like the Feds could actually do anything about it. Anyone with a battery and a phone could access LifeLines, and missiles sent to blow up weather balloons still use fuel that no one could afford. A DOS attack would deny the government access to Ubiq too, meaning that they’d have to rely solely other their half-destroyed network structure.

They did attempt to retake Ubiq City once with a special operations squadron. Gnat told us about it. The ones still left alive work for her now.

They had better luck enforcing the other new laws. Like outlawing all Latents, corralling their infection risk into camps or prisons or mass graves. Or conscripting everyone with a demonstrated immunity into "medical service," testing them like animals for a cure and farming out their bone marrow to produce Supressin K-7864. Any male between the ages 16 and 22 got thrown into 2 years of compulsory military service or shot for “desertion of duty” under the new, perfectly-legal mandates. And it’s not like they could have been going to school anyway, as the Department of Education dissolved overnight. Between the misery, depression, and overwhelming need of the Recession population, a new golden age of Crime dawned, too hungry to get ahead to worry about possible forced labor or street execution if anyone bothered to catch them.

Hardly anyone escaped the pain of the Recession. If you lived in the East, you probably lost your job, or had soldiers take over your home, or were forced to live with 3 refugee families crammed into your living room. If you fled before the borders closed, you had almost no possessions and were likely living out of your dead car in the massive parking lots of the new refugee camps. Food and clean water became the only worthwhile currency, so the military started issuing ration dollars.

But the 1% still did fine. Those with enough money to have enough power always found themselves stocked, and nobody was turning their mansions into factories anytime soon.

Career military did well too. They certainly were in demand more than every. Armed forces were the only ones assured ammo, food, and fuel. They needed it all to start establishing settlements in the Loss, retaking fracking facilities and factories to produce the drone farming equipment needed to get the Midwest feeding people again. The risk certainly justified their rewards, but it’s hard not to suspect corruption when Generals start driving around in Lamborghini’s instead of jeeps.

The new order became clear: work, die, or get rich enough to leave humanity behind.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Cthuluzord on January 31, 2014, 06:34:52 PM
Please note that what follows is a VERY rough draft and subject to extensive change before publication. Red Markets is the intellectual property of Hebanon Games and Caleb Stokes.

The Department of Homeland Quarantine and Stewardship

A couple years into the hell of Recession America, the government formed a new organization: The Department of Homeland Quarantine and Stewardship. The DHQS was a blanket operation charged with assisting the military in maintaining the quarantine, the CDC in researching the Blight, secretly supplying strategic Enclaves to lure dead of the Recession borders air establishing forward reclamation settlements, and, most importantly, assessing the Loss.

In short, it was an organization spread so thin that it was doomed to fail before it existed and easier to cheat than an online age-restriction prompt.

The DHQS, aside from having the most “don’t-fuck-with-us” soldiers ever to rape the Loss, is really known for creating the Bounty system. See, even with the Blight’s unnatural preservation of dead flesh, the Casualties weren't completely immune to the elements. In studies (that the public never got to see), it was predicted that the infection couldn't keep anything moving and biting form more than twenty years, even in the best of conditions. So, if the government could go twenty years without a new infection out in the Loss, the Blight should have burned itself out completely, and mankind would be set to reclaim the world with ease.

Yeah…right. But people bought into it. Even false hope is better than none, I guess.

A futures exchange emerged, quite literally. People began speculating on the possible reclamation of the Loss. And why not? After all, who would claim all that unclaimed property? Was it subject to probate and inheritance? Can a corpse, if it is moving and has a partial neural imprint surviving in the form of a monsterous infection, still own property? What about all that abandoned real estate? Vast tracts of valuable land and oil rights were now up for grab. Who gets control of Ubiq when they finally find a way to blast Gnat out of her mountain fortress?

But exactly how much could be looted and how much was still legally owned by survivors? Who made it into the Recession? They didn’t exactly have time to take a census during the evacuation. How many have been born since and what are the lines of inheritance? Who owns business property when the corporate entity is, for all intents and purposes, dead? Do you have to pay property and income tax on holdings that can’t be physically accessed without being shot for violating quarantine?

Early attempts by the DHQS to establish legal precedent for answering “the government gets it” caused a huge backlash. The markets, still depressed from the near-apocalypse, dipped even lower as the US appeared to be lurching towards totalitarianism. Productivity plummeted. Riots spread faster than outbreaks, and the military was loathe to help. The generals and other power players certainly wanted to get rich off reclamation, but they wanted to retire with their loot, not hand it over and spend the golden years in a mobile home.

So the DHQS went in the other direction. Income and property tax would be suspended until proof of ownership could be established, and then reinstituted at a reduced rate in exchange for personal salvage rights. All other property without proof of ownership would revert to the government.

The next outrage was the obvious risk of corruption such a system presented. What was required for proof? No attempt had been made to quantify the number of survivors? No one knew who was next in line of inheritance with so many families shattered and scattered? And, the truth everyone knew but wasn’t allowed to say, what about the survivors still left alive out in the Loss?

Thus, the Bounty system was implemented. Former ID would be collected from living survivors in the Recession to establish proof of life: driver’s licenses, birth certificates, anything issued before the Blight. The government knew that a lot of these documents were moldering in safe deposit boxes behind the Mississippi and other had been burned for heat. But still, if you could prove you were alive and owned it, it was yours when the mythical twenty years rolled around.

The real money was in proving who had died. Fencemen, the militia police force charged with clearing Casualties that managed to get across the river, found that most people evacuated their homes carrying a wallet before they got bite. Fish around in a decapitated zombie’s pocket, find their ID, and you’ve either got instant proof of property the government can now seize, or a ticket to a fat inheritance for some lucky refugee.

The DHQS announced a bounty system: any ID recovered off a dead Casualty was now worth a standardized number of ration dollars, adjusted for inflation. The idiots had accidently established a new defacto currency that the government and the people wanted in equal measure… and the abandoned, supposedly-dead bastards stuck in the Loss had access to the majority of it.

The Red Markets had already been long established by the time Bounty was announced, but they were barter only affairs. Now there was an exchange rate between the Recession and the Loss. Abandoned documents, survey-able property, and all the dead man’s IDs you could kill for – it finally became possible to not only survive in the wastelands, but thrive there as well.

The Takers were born.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Cthuluzord on January 31, 2014, 06:35:42 PM
Please note that what follows is a VERY rough draft and subject to extensive change before publication. Red Markets is the intellectual property of Hebanon Games and Caleb Stokes.

The Red Markets

Food canned on day one of the Crash had, at best, two years before expiration. MRE’s have five years if kept in the best possible storage conditions. The hardiest antibiotics and over-the-counter medicines lost effectiveness or become toxic after four years. Bottled water can evaporate.

All this is to say that, while a lot of people managed to live in the Loss after the borders closed, a great many of them died in ways that had nothing to do with Casualties. There was this idea of self-sufficiency left over from before; this wet-dream fantasy held by corporate drones that said a hardened person could survive the apocalypse with nothing but a personal garden, some defensible walls, and hard work. But for the majority of human life, a septic paper-cut could send a person to the grave, and that same unforgiving bullshit had returned to the world in a big way.

Don’t get me wrong: a lot of people were ripped apart and eaten alive. But even more starved when their local grocery store went sour or ran out of loot. Thousands died of dysentery from bad water. Hardened soldiers got killed because they ran out of ammo, and medical doctors froze to death because they couldn’t sew a coat.

Self-sufficiency has always been a myth. At best, it’s an ideal to strive for, but humanity broke off into specializations and castes for reasons of survival. There are only so many hours in a day and so many calories in each individual, which meant that those that tried to do it all often ended up dead or undead.

Those that survived did so by setting up trade almost immediately. People held up in bookstores sold survival manuals for the food they couldn’t grow in concrete floors. Survivalist nuts in control of gunsmiths sold ammo for the raw materials to make...more ammo. Even the drug cartels plied their narcotic recreation for vital resources like water. Everybody needed something survive, and Gnat opened up the LifeLines forum so we could all find out who had it.

Sure, there were still psychos and loners: the raiders, cultists, living cannibals, and rogue military elements. But they were just another need to be met. Purchase protection with gas. Provide shelter in exchange for those rifles. It was a story as old as human civilization.

Within months of the evacuation, the most defensible locations solidified their power struggles and became Enclaves. Chain-store distribution centers and industrial zones became the new cities of the Loss, hot spots for bartering goods and services. Everyone may have been half-insane with fear and under constant threat, but they still needed to eat. The few brave enough to venture outside the walls to facilitate trade or fetch resources for the Enclaves became known as Undertakers: those who deal with the dead.

By the time the Bounty system came online, Gnat had already distributed underground documentaries online about all those still-not-dead folks the governments had left to die. She used Ubiq’s satellite imagery to prove that the settlements of these non-citizens was the only thing keeping the Mississippi line from being overrun by Casualties. We were already the secret everybody knew in the Recession, and then the bumblers at DHQS gave us a way to communicate.

Things in the Recession were far from rosy too. Nobody was in much danger of getting eaten, but most of the Free Parking ghettos dotted down the Eastern line were in worse shape than most Enclaves, denied basic resources the scavenger cities could just pick up off the ground. People needed food, water, and documents they could sell to the government for better housing or luxury items. Oligarchs wanted to lay early claim to salvage and data stores to build their future empires. Even the government needed “contractors” familiar enough with the terrain to do jobs their military units were getting wiped out trying.

Meanwhile, the Loss needed things our barter infrastructure couldn’t produce: birth control, vehicles, specialized ammo, Supressin K-7864, and, most of all, safety. Enough Bounty could buy a new identity; an actual home on a real city street; a job that didn’t involve the ability to score headshots on the run.

Ask your average denizen of the Loss what they think about the Recession and you’re bound to learn about all those new curse words we’ve invented since the Crash. But while those assholes may have left us to die, nothing can bring people together like the universal impulse to fuck over and rob our fellow man. Thus the Red Markets were born, a totally illegal, yet completely accepted, underground economy between the Loss and the Recession. The safe zoners began calling undertakers by the pejorative Takers, and we didn’t mind; it was shorter. Time is Bounty.

Things are far from easy, mind you. Ubiq and the LifeLines make finding jobs remotely simple so long as you can find the juice, but delivery sure is a bitch. Performing any kind of service sucks when things are trying to eat you, and goods have to be smuggled across the Mississippi. The latter means dodging mined waters, bridges, and fencelines, all whilst avoiding getting shot by the military for violating quarintine. If you’re lucky, the poor border guard will have family back home benefitting from the trade and let your crew by with nothing but a bloodtest and a bribe.

Once over the river, it’s pretty easy to blend into a tent city and avoid getting detected. Then all there is to worry about is your Latent infecting someone and causing a massive outbreak, or your Immune body getting snatched up for medical experiments, or your client ditched out before paying, or your “comrade” Takers killing you to snag a contract, or…

Well, you get the picture.

But survive long enough, and there’s a shiny new life waiting on the shelf just for you, or at least that’s what they keep telling me…
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Cthuluzord on January 31, 2014, 06:38:22 PM
A Taker’s Motto

What you ask me? Why we doin’ this?! You fuckin’ kidding, citizen?

Y’all took our lives. You stole our chance and left us to die. But now you want some of that sweet old life so you can…what? Understand why? Appease your ‘survivor’s’ guilt? As if you even know what that word fucking means.

Well, we got a rhyme out here: asking why’s a good way to die, figuring out how matters right now. The Loss is ours now; how y’all planning on getting it back?

I’ma say this once, and you make sure all your citizen-ass buddies sitting at home hear it too: we done took all your shit, and now we fixin’ to take ALL yo’ shit, know what I'm sayin'?. We gonna take care of the dead, take back the world, and take care of our own. And if you soft-handed, fence-watching bitches try and stop us? We gonna take you out.

Why we out here doing this? Because we’re Takers.

Pay up


-- Casual-Tee of the D-Town Takers, from the documentary The Great Repression: Life in the Loss
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Cthuluzord on January 31, 2014, 06:40:24 PM
Okay, that's it  :P

I hope those of you interested enough to read all that (thanks, btw) found something that got you thinking of character concepts. I look forward to reading pitches and trying to design your ideas in the character generation system.

Thanks again for all the help and support, RPPR guys. I always appreciate it.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Kamen on January 31, 2014, 08:16:55 PM
Holy shit dude, I fucking love it. I'm legit excited for all of this.
(http://i.imgur.com/3xJPxTj.jpg)
 I could go on and on about how rad all this sounds, but I'll hold back for now. Tomorrow sometime I'll type up some stuff for the mechanic character I mentioned in the other thread and try and flesh him out a little. Can't wait to see what everybody comes up with!
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Tadanori Oyama on January 31, 2014, 09:56:09 PM
My Saturday will be spent doing this now. Excellent.

I will be reading through this.

I made Caleb's posts into a PDF so I can read it on my phone easier but I can't attach it to my post.

Question: Caleb, would you object if I made a PDF available to everyone via an external link?
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Cthuluzord on February 01, 2014, 09:49:31 AM
I'd be fine with that, Tad. Just be sure to include the disclaimer at the top about it being a rough draft, subject to change, and protected intellectual property, ok?
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Tadanori Oyama on February 01, 2014, 12:49:13 PM
Excellent. There's the PDF: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B3he8CJfYGjSZVVoa3Azbk9pU28/edit?usp=sharing

For those not used to Google Drive you can click on the downward facing arrow in the upper left corner, next to the print button, to download the PDF.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Kamen on February 01, 2014, 05:14:27 PM
Ok, here we go...

Finn Mayweather is an auto mechanic; gasoline and oil in his veins since childhood. From go-karts and tractor lawnmowers to 1970 Chevelle SS 396 Turbo-Jet V8s and Peterbilt 379s, if its internal combustion, he can fix it... or at least he would if he could get the parts. Being stuck in the Loss puts a damper on readily available auto parts, not that those in the Recession have it that much better, but technically Detroit, or whats left of it, is on that side of the Mississippi. Finn does what he can though, usually trading his mechanical expertise to local Takers with vehicles for needed supplies and occasionally joining trusted outfits on ventures out of the Enid, Oklahoma Enclave he currently resides in to gather useable parts. Sure there's lots of gridlock cities on the highways, but vehicles are just as susceptible to "expiration" as most anything else, leave a car unattended too long in harsh conditions and the acid rain and oxidization will eat up anything useful.

So that's been Finn's life for the most part, gather parts, fix vehicles, and survive, up until recently. See, about three years ago he met a girl, Miranda, who arrived in the Enclave with a Taker caravan, and about 6 months later they were a couple. Two and half years later they're still together, but now there's complications, Miranda is pregnant and there's no way Finn wants his fledgling family out in the Loss. They've been able to work for enough supplies for themselves, but ensuring a safe and healthy newborn is a serious gamble out here. So, Finn has come to a decision, hook up with a Taker outfit in town and build up enough Bounty to buy their way into the Recession. He's met quite a few Takers before talking about bribing their way across the Mississippi, though how successful they were is up in the air. Still he doesn't see much other course of action, between his repair skills and previous experience, even if it was just going a few miles outside of the Enid safe zone for an alternator or a water pump, Finn is sure he can gather enough to make it to safety and a better life for his family.

Just a few things regarding skills, Finn obviously has a lot of know-how when it comes to vehicle repairs, engines are his thing, along with the rest of the vehicle, so I figure things like internal combustion generators and the like he'd have some knowledge of as well, since its just a hop over concept wise. He's not the greatest at combat, but knows the basics of firearm use and to shoot Vectors/Casualties in the head. I figure since Finn is located in Enid, OK and that Vance Air Force Base is nearby that there would be a few survivors from the base that could help secure at least part of the area and train able-bodied citizens in basic security and weapon usage. That's about all I got, feel free to leave comments and suggestions. Thanks!
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Cthuluzord on February 01, 2014, 06:02:59 PM
That's great! That's exactly the kind of stuff I'm looking for. Thanks and keep 'em coming!
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Quiet side on February 03, 2014, 01:21:31 AM
Gordon Hamilton wasn't much of anybody before the Fall, and now that it's done he isn't anyone at all.

He had an unremarkable childhood in British Columbia, Canada, happy if not perfect. Growing up his teachers and family despaired as he was intelligent but unfocused. His academic career was spotty, his early twenties filled with dead end jobs. Marriage at 25 and an adopted 5 year old daughter, followed 3 years later by one of his own sharpened him up considerably. Gordon dusted off the technical and graphic design skills he had excelled at in his teens and got a good job with a marketing company. His daughters grew up, graduated and moved out.The only tragedy that marred his life prior to the Fall was the death of his wife after 15 years of marriage. Her death wasn't sudden, but she did not linger long enough to leave him bitter.

Only a few months later Gordon was down in Houston visiting his older daughter and her new husband when the first news reports began to come in. By the time Gordon realized what was going on it was too late. Air travel was impossible, panics and riots were commonplace and he ended up on the wrong side of the line.

Gordon survived though. Knowing a little of everything came in handy as things went wrong. His experience in dealing with diverse groups of people, stress and constantly changing situations helped him to navigate the worst of it. Where those things couldn't help luck or chance took care of the rest.

In the last 5 years Gordon has worked Bounties with a half dozen groups. He's picked up a few more things along the way and while he's no specialist those who have worked with him point out that he never panics and rarely balks at 'doing the right thing'.

That's always been Gordon's gift in a way, he does what he believes to be right or necessary and suffers the consequences later. That was what made it possible to put his daughter down after she got a hot kiss from her latent husband and tore his throat out in that basement apartment back in Houston.

Thing is Gordon isn't quite as ok as he appears to be. He's earned enough that he could probably have made his way into the Vancouver Island Q-zone by now, but he keeps spending it. There's always someone who needs it more than he does, someone whose kid needs suppresin or some enclave that could use those ration dollars for antibiotics. Even though he talks about making his way back 'home'; that he's sure his younger daughter made it to safety; he never really gets closer.

Without knowing about mechanics - generalized skills, with a slightly higher focus on leadership/social, if you're doing perks/flaws as part of the system:

Jack of All trades / Slacker - Gordon has a reduced unskilled penalty, but can't learn skills beyond a certain qualification as he lacks focus

Stable/Strong Willed - However that would be handled, the idea is that Gordon is capable of overriding his humanity where it would prevent him from doing what he thinks is right. He rarely panics. He still loses it, gains disorders, suffers from ptsd but remains in control in the moment.

On the other hand his need to help others isn't about conscious choice or morality, it's a compulsive need to save his dead daughter.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: D6xD6 - Chris on February 03, 2014, 09:20:27 AM
This character initially started out as a pre-gen for an upcoming game of Base Raiders, but I think she might be an interesting spin on a character in Red Markets. 

---
Agnes Anderson was tired.  And old.  The only thing she had to look forward to was her retirement.

Well, thanks to the Blight, that has been delayed. 

Anges wasn't always so tired.  In her youth she was a member of the national guard.  She volunteered to help with the Red Cross, and for a few years after that she worked as a missionary for St. Louis' Apostolic Church.  She saw the ravages of hunger, poverty, and disease.  On her last trip, she was on a truck delivering food and medical supplies to a village in Somalia ravaged by drought.  When armed bandits robbed the convoy, she was stunned by the apathy of her armed guards.  They offered no defense, no retaliation.  They simply shrugged.  This is the way it is, one guard told her.  We have no government to aid us.

Agnes found a cause.  She championed her government, and found herself a low-paying job that offered her what she wanted most:  a comfortable retirement.  She began her career as a food service worker in the public school district.  She counseled her neighbors, friends, and congregation members about the benefits of having a strong government.  A devout Catholic, Agnes attempted to date, but her piety and devotion to volunteer efforts left her little time for romance.  She was fine with this; not every Catholic can help populate the lord's people.  Her task in life was simple:  champion the government, participate in labor movements, and serve her community.  Her reward?  Her pension, and the last quarter of her life spent in the quiet comfort.

Things started going badly before Agnes well before she became a czar in the Lost.

First, she noticed anti-government sentiment growing at an alarming rate.  Then, she was caught off-guard by the sudden attack against labor unions.  Soon she was no longer a government employee, but a worker for "Food Service Supply."  She still worked for the school, but she was told she was now an at-will employee.  Her pension was frozen; she would still receive payment for what she put in, but now she had to start putting money into a 401k.  Her health insurance was replaced with a plan that gave her little room for additional savings. 

She worked longer hours.  Her pay was not increased.  Her disposable income and savings were a fraction of what they once were. 

She aged.  She became tired.  Her dreams of retirement were pushed back by at least ten years, if not more.  She was scared to lose her job; she had no protection anymore.  The company didn't seem to like her; they said she "cost too much."  She started making mistakes, she couldn't sleep at night.  Her doctor started giving her pills, but she had to pay her week's savings to get the pills.  She called her local officials and congresswomen to plead for aid.  She was told that they were simply doing what the people voted for.

The people.  That is all she ever heard.  Blame the people.  Blame the voters.

She remembered the supply truck in Somalia.  This is the way it is, she told herself.  The people gave up on government.  They decided to prefer no government.

And she was not surprised when the Blight started to ravage the world.  The government failed to protect its people.

Which is exactly what the people wanted, right? 

The years after the Recession were something of a blur to her.  She remembers people telling her to go with them to flee.  She remembers serving fewer and fewer students in the school cafeteria.  She remembers grabbing her few possessions at home, including her Maine Coon, Julia, and moving it all to the school.

She remembers working with Carlos, the custodian, to board up all the doors and windows.  She remembers carefully making an inventory of all the canned food items she had.  She remembers.

But she also forgets.  She forgets the time some young man came in with a gun.  Carlos says she killed him and took the gun.  Carlos says she did this multiple times. 

She vaguely remembers seeing her first Casualty.  It reminded her of a starving man she saw in Somalia.  Some people said he had rabies.  Others said he was possessed by a demon.

She tries not to think about Casualties now.  They are like the snow in winter.

Carlos also told her she needed her pills.  But she was too old to venture out to get them.  So he says she made deals with others; she would trade her food for her pills and other supplies. 

The pattern repeats.  The people she trade with begin to ask if they can help fortify the school.  She says yes to some, no to others.  Carlos provides guidance.  Carlos provides counsel.  Julia meows.

Carlos tells her now the school is now a community.  It is small, but it is sufficient.  It has supplies, it has weapons, it has trade goods.  It can survive, as long as she leads it.

She tells Carlos that she is tired.  Carlos says she should consider growing the community a little more before retirement.  She says she wants to retire.  Carlos says she cannot do that yet; there is still work to be done.

So the pattern repeats again.  The "School," as it becomes known, grows.  It becomes strong.  Agnes rules with strong, central leadership.  There are laws; there is order. 

She says she is ready to retire again.  Carlos says the community needs to grow more.  But it can't grow, she tells him.  We are strong and stable, and our trades are well-developed.  What else can we do?

A few days later, a worker informs her about the Red Markets.  She asks Carlos what he thinks.  Carlos mulls it over.

The worker sees his leader talking to herself.  He becomes worried.  Rumors start to spread.

Carlos then tells Agnes that this is her chance.  She must make a score on the Red Market!  Then she can buy her way into the Recession.  Then she can retire.

Then she can rest. 

Carlos will come with her, he says.  Julia can come too.

Agnes decides it is time to retire

---

For whatever reason my recent fascination is with OLD characters.  Not ancient, but certainly elderly and struggling with aging.  But just because they are old doesn't mean they are invalid and unable to perform.  I guess I am on a kick to see if players can use aging as a role-playing opportunity, not as an obstacle.

And isn't it the ultimate American dream for an aging, schizophrenic lunch lady to become an entrepreneur and community leader?  ;)
 

Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Cthuluzord on February 03, 2014, 12:54:55 PM
@PaulyMuttonchops

Yeah, that character concept totally works for Red Markets. It sounds like she leads an Enclave. I've yet to write rules for a running a whole community's upkeep, but I plan to and it will probably become a Background (read: class). If she's suffering from a mental illness at the start, I imagine I need to build in some sort of option to take Humanity damage at the start. But then again, the point of the Humanity system is to NOT denigrate the mentally ill, meaning that her schizophrenia is really just a roleplaying challenge until she takes Humanity damage out in the Loss (of course, it sounds more like she's suffering from dementia than anything else). Hmmm...I'll need to think on how to do Threats to Humanity during character generation, because that is something people are going to want.

@QuietSide

A Jack of All Trades is definitely something you could do. The Marketing and social skills will definitely come in handy negotiating for jobs. I'm not sure about a perk that caps skills, but what you describe is easily represented in the game system. Bounty is used to advance skills and potential (downtime for practice is not time spent scavenging and earning). If your guy really is giving away his Bounty to people with sob stories, that's going to cap his character advancement considerably, as each increase in skill costs exponentially more.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: D6xD6 - Chris on February 03, 2014, 02:05:34 PM
I'm not sure Agnes would need to take humanity damage at the start.  She has dementia, but is not conscious of that, and her dementia actually helps her lead an Enclave.  It would start to hinder her when she becomes aware of her mental state(if people point out that Carlos isn't there).

Maybe the way to deal with humanity loss regarding mental ability is to have the loss occur when it is reasonable to assume that the illness will hinder the character going forward...?
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Flawless P on February 05, 2014, 02:22:53 PM
I tend to write my character backgrounds more like a casting call, short physical description, then some bullet points of formative experiences and relationships. Sorry for the lack of focus and the prevalence of errors, I normally only write these for myself, so I kinda gave up on grammar.

Doctor James Porter "Doc"
Geneticist

Late 20's, 6'0", shaggy brown hair. Thin build with long limbs. Wears corrective lenses.

-Grew up in a typical family, one brother and one sister, both younger.

-His family quickly learned that he is extremely intelligent. He skipped 2nd and 5th grade.

-Started High school two years early and ended up in the same grade as his cousin Rebecca. Rebecca and her boyfriend befriended him and protected him from being bullied.

-His cousin had a baby in her senior year of high school named Jonas. Jonas was born with a genetic disorder that causes blurred and limited vision.

-Already having an aptitude for science this helped shape his career path, and he went to college to become a research scientist looking for a way to treat genetic defects.

-He finished school and began working for a large bio tech company.

-When the loss began his company was assisting in providing transport for their employees. He manipulated events(including drugging a fellow coworker) to help his cousin and her kid take one of the transports into the safe zone, promising to follow.

-The time that followed is a blur violence and questionable moral choices.

-Eventually he reconnects with Rebecca and Jonas,who help him to feel less hopeless and give him a reason to try and get out.

-Now he works as a medic/street doc type with his crew. He has turned his genetics experience into trying to find a cure for the change, albeit unsuccessfully.

The basic rundown here is a guy who wasn't necessarily a traditional doctor before the loss but he had to learn to adapt.

I left the locations ambiguous intentionally so that he can fit in anywhere. His ties to humanity will be sending supplies to and skyping with his cousin and her kid. He assumes that the rest of his family are still alive(His parents lived in Maine and his brother and sister shared and apartment in New York) but the only people who he has been able to reconnect with were

Rebecca and Jonas. I leave the fate of his cousins husband open to interpretation because he could easily be a player character as well(lots of people who have kids in highschool join the military so he could even be the gunman for Porters current crew).

He's generally a nice, happy guy, he actually wants to actively help people, but he does have a dark side when it comes to protecting people he cares about. His goal is to eventually reunite with his family and finally get to work with real lab equipment and help work on a real vaccination with people in person, instead of trying to get his random message board posts noticed and taken seriously.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Jay Dugger on February 10, 2014, 01:52:42 PM
jwd - Walter Pear - (20140210)

* What does the character do well?
  Walter Pear can write, shoot a little video, take a picture or two, draw what he can, record a little audio, but he really does two things well: he listens, and he talks. He seems to have a chip of the Blarney Stone for one of his fillings. Other than that, he's a patient optimist.

* Why are they a Taker?
  Pure luck. Most days, he'll say "good luck." He's got a front-row seat at humanity's next round of myth-making, the literal conquest of death, and he knows it. Somewhere out there's a new Paul Bunyan, a new John Henry, a new Pecos Bill, a new Johnny Appleseed, a new Harriet Tubman, a new Bugs Bunny, a new avatar of every old hero, and all he has to do is find that man and that woman and tell the story that makes it so--whether or not that story's true.

* What happened to trap them out in the Loss?
  Pure luck. Most days, he'll tell you "where else would a storyteller go?"
  But that story's not true. Walter Pear stays out in the Loss because he's sick. He doesn't know what's he got. Could be he's Latent, but it could be he's Immune and has something perfectly ordinary and no less pernicious. Cancer still kills, and so do any number of other diseases. Walter knows he has something, because it fucking hurts.

* What is their retirement plan?
  Live forever through his art. The whole human race has had enough horror and plain bad news for the next seven generations. It needs heroes, larger than life, larger than undeath, and Walter Pear will bring their stories back to every body who just wants to smile and have a little encouragement at the end of the day. Laugh at the slapstick antics of a half-dismembered zombie? Cheer when someone brings back a big score? Whatever it takes to make the Takers the new heroes for a civilization on the back foot--Walter Pear plans to have his name in the credits.

'Cause he ain't gonna live to see it happen very often.

* How did they come to meet their crew?

  Pure luck. Most days, he'll tell you about each of them, the larger-than-life heroes that push back undeath and reclaim a little more land for the living. If the audience is a little older, yeah, he'll tell you about feet of clay, or faults they overcome through work and grit or in the worst-case, noble sacrifice.
  But that story's not true either. Sugar and spice tales, and Walter knows it. Greed gilding sociopathy, a weird saprophytic subculture recycling the corpse of humanity's greatest civilization. He's got those stories, too, because knowing where the bodies got buried has kept him alive.

* Who are their dependents?

  Walter's got a few support staff back in the Enclaves. Some rework his material for distribution, cleaning up raw copy to fit local markets. Some distribute it as samizdat, others as propaganda, others as cartoons or comic books or coarse videos for the increasingly common illiterates. Walter would like to find a few more investigators to join him "out in the field," but he figures it'll take a generation or two at least for that to happen on its own, and he hasn't got anything like that long to live.

  Of course, there was that fellow Fagin, who had a school for orphans...

* Do they live in an Enclave, the Recession, or back at the base?

  Pear lives out in the Recession, near the action, and far from the suspicious CDC types of Fedland.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Cthuluzord on February 10, 2014, 03:07:12 PM
I love it, Jay! Embedded journalist of the Loss with questionable journalistic ethics. I also like the fact that he doesn't know if he's Latent or Immune or not. Mechanically, that would be written on the sheet, but it could easily be roleplayed that he's uncertain and wants to keep it that way. Good stuff.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Cthuluzord on February 13, 2014, 02:32:27 PM
Hey, I've been getting lots of request to get in on the playtest. I'm keeping a list and I'll send stuff out as soon as I have something worth looking at. For now, I thought I could post this links. It's my initial ideas for the international setting. A world-wide setting description chapter complete with maps is something I hope to add to the KS when the time comes, but even after consulting with multiple cartographers and geographers to make this little mock-up, I'm not sold only anything 100% for who survived globally.

Furthermore, being both American and from the Missouri means I'm pretty damned ignorant and provincial (knowing this about myself puts me well above the curve for the area though). This makes me paranoid about anything I write internationally. I'd welcome any feedback people have and request they'd like to see in the final map.

Guidelines: Zombies have some limited climbing abilities, but unless they are hunting they'll travel the path of least resistance and avoid steep slopes. They cannot swim at all and sink like rocks, making oceans and rivers the primarily defensive borders. They are much slower in cold weather, but they don't stop completely.

http://www.scribblemaps.com/maps/view/RedMarkets

Note on ScribbleMaps: For some reason the text boxes don't scale along with the map itself. This is stupid and makes the map unreadable on the macro scale. Just zoom in close enough to a specific region and the text will be readable. In addition to the actual borders of the surviving global powers, I'm also eager for advice about a better software solution for annotating maps. I'll need something better than this if I get enough money in the KS to hire a cartographer to do the book's maps.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: D6xD6 - Chris on February 13, 2014, 03:03:01 PM
First,  I am definitely willing to provide feedback if you need more play test opinions.

Second, and I think you do this in the map (it is a little tricky to read on my phone), but the Great Lakes are great spots for organized communities/forts.  Duluth seems particularly suited  to with stand against zombie hordes (steep elevation + lake Superior).  There are also places like Madeline island in the Apostle Islands in Lake Superior that have the infrastructure for a community that could thrive and make a killing off the Red Markets.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Tadanori Oyama on February 13, 2014, 04:46:27 PM
If the zombies are slowed by the cold and avoid inclines than you should consider focusing new population centers, ones created after the Recession, in high places while low places are avoided. Infact, if it's been a number of years than you could map Casualty progression in a manner similar to water flow. River outlets, floodplains, and marshes would be suicide regions positively swarming with danger. Cities in low locations would have the problem of existing populations AND new wanderers entering the area all the time.

The whole west coast is probably one long Casualty train running along the I-5 corridor. If they follow the path of least resistance, Casualties would reasonably follow paved roads, train tracks, and foot paths. That makes conveniences a liability; clearing a path for yourself and the team, especially if using vehicles, means you make a path for the Casualties, possibly even attracting ones that would otherwise have avoided the area.

In the US you have four areas for new high elevation colonization: Appalachia, Rockies, Cascades, and Sierra Nevada. These would be good places to have bases of operations that are unlikely to suffer random Casualty encounters but have more limited resources. Low territory like the Great Plains would be more resource usable but be literally crawling with Casualties.


Ideas for secure bases:
Old copper mine with tailings.
Any island or river delta.
Repurposed floor or roof of an office tower with the stairs destroyed.
Converted observatory.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Cthuluzord on February 13, 2014, 07:55:46 PM
Those are both great ideas. Thanks!

I didn't mean to overemphasis the "path of least resistance thing. I think I'll go for one step down from what Tad described. Keeping to roads and whatnot is fine, but I'm not going to make them all deathtraps. I'm sure plenty of Casualties will wander into the woods, especially considering they have no fatigue, understanding of the elements, or cognition. They'll climb like bastards if they see food too, which would mean that those high elevation safe zones would have to be VERY careful not to let themselves be see or heard, and SUPER careful not to be followed back if they come back from a run.

But, if you have no stimulus, aimless wandering, and impaired motor function, it makes sense that a Casualty is more likely to trip on an upward incline or heavy foliage. If every trip has the chance to turn them around in a direction they are less likely to trip, it makes sense that there would just be more in the lowlands. But upper elevations, unless they were behind protected passes and vertical slopes, would still have some Casualties.

I plan on having stampedes of Casualties ala the Walking Dead: trains of food stimulus leading to great migrations of undead. One of those could wipe out an entire Enclave. In fact, zombie herding is going to be a job I'll provide plot hooks for, redirecting Stampedes away from population centers; or towards one, if you're that kind of asshole :-)
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Lordsloth on February 13, 2014, 10:12:04 PM
Hey Caleb, kind of a weird question, but... What is the area delineated by the lines from near Duluth, MN to River Falls, WI? I want to know because I actually live in that (relatively) small sliver of land- and it weirds me the fuck out. ;)
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: D6xD6 - Chris on February 13, 2014, 10:24:29 PM
Maybe something to do with the St. Croix river? 

Or Michelle Bachman.  Maybe she leads the Woodbury Enclave...
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: clockworkjoe on February 13, 2014, 10:59:02 PM
Caleb and I have already talked about this over gchat, but I think the West Coast wouldn't lose all of its population, especially on the coast itself. If water totally stops zombies, then given the sheer number of ships (Navy, Coast Guard, and commercial freight ships etc) I could see San Diego (due to huge naval base there) and possibly other locales develop permanent floating cities. Takers make runs into land for supplies and live in smaller ships like tugboats. Some structures right on the coast could be defended as well.

Also, given their habits, would it be possible to develop a lemming strategy to cull Casualties? I.E., kind of like directing stampedes, but with the goal of sending them into the water and then possibly destroying them with depth charges or whatever? The Navy could use carefully positioned air raid sirens to lure a bunch of zombies into the bay, for example. Position the sirens north and south of the main city to draw away wanderers and you could build up fortifications pretty quickly.

Obviously, this does not deal with the threat of reinfection, but it could make coastal cities possible. For power, they have solar, wind, hydro, and nuclear from aircraft carriers.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Kamen on February 14, 2014, 12:02:18 AM
Interesting! I could totally see something like Rivet City from Fallout 3 popping up on a secured port or something. I could also see the lemming/corralling plan working on land, too. Say an Enclave gets word of a Casualty front moving towards them, they could set up explosives, either scrounged together bombs or something a bit more improvised, lure them in a particular direction, then BOOM! You've either avoided a major zombie storm or lured more in.

I do have a few questions though, since they sink like stones in water are they still active on the river/lake/sea-bed, a-la World War Z, or are they inert? Also, aside from ubiquitous wifi, what is the level of tech we can expect? I know this is very near-future and I certainly don't expect full on cyberpunk cybernetics or what-not, but would stuff like personal drones, like Big-Dog or the Amazon Prime quadrocopter, or slightly more advanced prosthetic limbs be available? I've got some character concepts that would use some of this tech and I just want to make sure it wouldn't be too unusual. I've been looking at stuff like microprocessor and myoelectric prostheses. Thanks!

Finally, I know there are some ways you can edit Google Maps, but I am fairly ignorant to the means. I'd take a look at stuff like Nuke Map (http://www.nuclearsecrecy.com/nukemap/) or this Shadowrun Seattle Locals Map (http://shadowrun.chinagreenelvis.com/map/) for some ideas and maybe contacting one of these guys for some tips? Hope it helps.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Lordsloth on February 14, 2014, 12:18:08 AM
Maybe something to do with the St. Croix river? 

Or Michelle Bachman.  Maybe she leads the Woodbury Enclave...

Bachman? Sheesh, I'd take my chances out in the wild with the zombie hordes.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Cthuluzord on February 14, 2014, 01:08:55 PM
@ Lordsloth

The Mississippi is thin enough up that way in some places that you could hope over it. The Western line is the actual river, the Eastern is the military lines of defense against the Casualties. Inbetween is a sort of DMZ. I can't decide what to do with that area during the Crash though. Part of me wants to nuke or gas the major population centers as part of the Premptive Genocide policy. It would help buy the government time to establish what is essentially the largest military cordon ever constructed in the nation's history and could be false flagged to justify their nuclear attack on the Canadian cities. However, I also like the ideas of survivors making in that northern wasteland, hiding from both government advance teams mining chokepoints against zombies and the Casualties pouring into the area.

@clockworkjoe

The lemming strategy will work depending on terrain. Just getting them in water won't do anything but disorient them and possibly scatter them with current. They don't drown. But sending a bunch of Casualties off a big cliff might work, or trapping them in a truly epic inferno. However, it only takes one Vector, Aberrant, or unreported bite to royally fuck up that plan. Like we talked about, I'm fine with the floating city ideas and some port city Enclaves so long as California isn't doing just fine or anything that extreme (-ly boring).

@Kamen

Zombies sink and don't have the motor skills to resist a current. They don't drown. I'm also going to note that the fluid the Blight excretes is extremely toxic to insects when consumed and Casualties just want protein from any animal, not just humans. That will answer the question of why fauna and insect-based decomposition doesn't solve everyone's problems in 3 years. So Casualties won't be eaten by fish, but they will break apart in salt water. The Blight relies on the flesh it inhabits to drive around, and salt water has a real bad effect on decomposing bodies. The massive rivers are used because they are deep enough and fast enough to thin out any Casualties going for a swim, and keeping away from the banks makes it that much easier to keep them from even trying. Most get slowly torn apart by the river bottom or wash out to sea, decomposing. Some make it across, justifying the government paranoia and defenses. But it's a manageable number rather than a great horde. Since the Western bank of the Mississippi has been luring zombies into the river's meat grinder for years, rural areas with clear sightlines to both banks are some of the safest areas in the lose because they've been bled out. Cities like St. Louis are still really bad though because buildings block view of the river and the tasty humans from most angles.

As far as tech, Amazon drones are already in the gear list. Monsters that fight for you like Dog are outside the pale (though if you want to train an actual dog to fight for you, I've written some rules for that). I actually want to include some of the advanced prosthetic stuff, but it will not be like Will Smith in I, Robot good. You can take off the governor of force and squash a zombie's head, but you'll risk doing it to items too. Plus, now a body part runs off the Tool rules, meaning you've got limited charges for use in the terms of batteries. So I hope it will be available in the final draft as a character option, but it will be a mechanical trade off. I don't want to write rules yet though because, the more I think about it, I think I need to take another pass on the gear and further simplify it. Just can't figure out how yet without totally abstracting things.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: D6xD6 - Chris on February 14, 2014, 01:16:07 PM
Amazon drones!?  SOLD.

I am also just going to assume zombie Apocalypse Amazon will offer two day delivery service on Red Market goods and payments.

This does present a cool question for the game:  how do successful,  huge companies respond to the new market conditions?  Amazon will always find ways to stick around and make money.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Cthuluzord on February 14, 2014, 01:57:03 PM
Drone drops are how Takers stay alive in the Loss. They convert their Bounty to bitcoins using dealers in the Recession, then buy fresh goods they can't scavenge from the productive facilities in the Loss. It is technically illegal, but a lot of capitalism is, and drones are small enough and fly low enough that they remain almost impossible to track using radar.

As far as big companies, it depends. I was actually going to turn the Amazon distribution centers into Enclaves. For instance, the Cheggs warehouse is 600,000 square feet and can ship 17,000 textbooks per hour. Barnes and Nobles and Amazon have even bigger ones in the midwest. The walls are secure, the ceiling and floor could be removed to allow for farming, and they could trade books for food and services (survival manuals, for instance, would be in big demand).

Other places are even more mind-boggling. Ubiq is basically a reskinned google server warehouse. The Boeing factory in Everett, Washington is 98 acres big. That's an entire city, right there. The grain elevator in Hutchison KS can store 18.2 million bushels of grain. It could be a government Settlement shipping the stores back to the Recession, or maybe it became an Enclave when the repurposed the silos into vertical living spaces ala Wool. The government might want to take it back when more drone farming comes online.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: D6xD6 - Chris on February 14, 2014, 02:09:40 PM
The Amazon distribution centers as Enclaves makes perfect sense.  They are building one near me and it is. . . impressive,  to say the least.

One question about the drones.  If they are the key means for takers to purchase and receive supplies, would it make sense for there to be robbers that track and intercept the deliveries?  If so, that is one more avenue for players to survive (either by stealing the goods or collecting bounties on bandits)
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Lordsloth on February 14, 2014, 02:15:01 PM
Caleb, I like the ideas for that small area on the MN/WI border. The area is pretty heavily wooded, and I know (near here, and north of here)there are a lot of small, out of the way hunting shacks, state parks and forests that people could attempt to hide out.

Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Tadanori Oyama on February 14, 2014, 02:38:01 PM
Quote
The Boeing factory in Everett, Washington is 98 acres big. That's an entire city, right there.

As I started reading your post I thought of this and was mildly surprised you got there. Being a local I forget how unusual the Boeing factory actually is.

When I run this game the facility will be an Enclave for sure. It's gonna be the results of straight up atrocities from a bunch of the former engineers and workers, surrounded by walls made of collapsed highway and the planes that remained in the facility.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Discomonkey on February 14, 2014, 10:09:11 PM
Just wanted ask a question about other countries. In Australia we have around 8 deserts separating the east and west coast.

http://www.cazr.csiro.au/connect/images/koeppen.jpg

What effect would the extremely high temperature, as well as the dry weather, have on casualties?
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Cthuluzord on February 15, 2014, 10:53:37 AM
Dry and hot weather doesn't do wonders for the flesh, but it doesn't speed composition as much as usual. insects aren't more prevelant, but the tissues do still dry out and shrink. The biggest effect of those deserts is population density and sightlines, which is why I have Australia surviving the outbreak and the only continent with clean borders.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Teapot on February 17, 2014, 11:26:39 PM
What about wet/jungle heat on them?

Are people with immunity called 1%ers?

Guard dogs you say?  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tibetan_Mastiff

Do the casualties regenerate? If one gets tricked off a 20 story building will they ever get up again? Can you bleed them out?

Can casualties be burned for warmth or power or any other useful product? Does burning them spread the infection or cleans it?

What other cyber currencies do people use?

I'm kind of imagining an ecosystem building around around hunting drones for their parts and goodies.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Cthuluzord on February 18, 2014, 12:13:35 AM
Quote
What about wet/jungle heat on them?

Along with insects, I'm thinking the Blight kills most other forms of microbiology as well. I don't think the heat and wet of the jungle would have as big an affect as it normally does on a corpse. They're still walking around out in there and will be for awhile.

Quote
Are people with immunity called 1%ers?

No. They've got a big lead in the Loss, that's for certain, but it compensates for how shitty their lives will be if they get sold to a Pharma company, kidnapped by the government, or eaten by cultist that believe their flesh is magic.

Quote
Guard dogs you say?  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tibetan_Mastiff

Go for it, but while it can bite zombies for you, actually eating them will kill the pooch. Good luck paying it's food bill!

Quote
Do the casualties regenerate? If one gets tricked off a 20 story building will they ever get up again? Can you bleed them out?

The Blight can, but not the body of the host it is infecting. I'm saving that kind of stuff for the Aberrant types. Falling off a building 20 stories tall would crush the skull and kill a Casualty instantly. They can't be bled out. It's a head shot, crippling shot, or you might as well as missed them. Everything else is just dead flesh dancing on millions of razor-thin, black sinews.

Quote
Can casualties be burned for warmth or power or any other useful product? Does burning them spread the infection or cleans it?

Burned for heat? The human body isn't the most efficient fuel source. They could be used for physical power if you were crazy enough to strap them to a treadmill or something, but weigh the risks and rewards there. Burning them does kill most of the Blight, but you've got to burn the interior of the brain stem or the entirety of the body before they go down.

Quote
What other cyber currencies do people use?

Don't know how much I want to get into it. While currency exchange rates is something I have no doubt a certain type of grognard would get into, I can't think of a way it would be fun at the table. That's why I'm currently leaning towards just expressing everything in Bounty.

Quote
I'm kind of imagining an ecosystem building around around hunting drones for their parts and goodies.

That's a good idea, especially considering that the Enclaves and Settlements starving as result would be sending people to hunt those characters down. Rife for gaming material there.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Nulzilcho on February 18, 2014, 12:41:12 AM
Quote
Can casualties be burned for warmth or power or any other useful product? Does burning them spread the infection or cleans it?

Burned for heat? The human body isn't the most efficient fuel source. They could be used for physical power if you were crazy enough to strap them to a treadmill or something, but weigh the risks and rewards there. Burning them does kill most of the Blight, but you've got to burn the interior of the brain stem or the entirety of the body before they go down.

I did recall something about animal carcasses being used to heat homes in europe (http://www.thelocal.se/20091012/22610) and a hare-brained scheme to use them to power steam trains, then I found this: Council plans to use excess heat from cremations (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/energy/6753705/Council-plans-to-use-excess-heat-from-cremations.html). Although I do believe that has more to do with disposal in the first instance and harnessing the waste heat from the ovens themselves in the second, as opposed to getting fuel from the remains.

Still, it could make a neat snake-oil pitch.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Tadanori Oyama on February 18, 2014, 12:45:45 PM
Pretty sure mammalian bodies don't burn especially well because of high water content. If you really wanted to explore body based fuel than you could hang a body for a few days out in the sun to drain the blood and dry it out. Probably an area that hasn't been widely studied since it's pretty insane. Might make for a good atrocity.

"Thanks for letting us stay the night. It's cold out there."
"Yes indeed. Starting to get a bit chill in here too. Better get another... log for the fire."
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Teapot on February 19, 2014, 09:38:21 PM
Do the  bodies degrade normally after you kill them? I'm not sure what I want the answer to be.

Makes me want to watch after humanity again.

So next thing, has ranching more or less vanished? What about the ecosystem in general? A mob of freshies would be a pretty apex predator and a hoard of old ones likely can/will still mangle even a longhorn.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Kamen on February 20, 2014, 10:52:09 PM
GUYS! GUYS, IT'S HAPPENING! :D

pic.twitter.com/mWsg7VFYF7 (http://pic.twitter.com/mWsg7VFYF7)
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: icephisherman on March 01, 2014, 12:59:16 PM
I made an account because I like this game idea so much. I actually ran a session in d20 apocalypse since I was so familiar with it. I hope you don't mind.

Quote
Don't know how much I want to get into it. While currency exchange rates is something I have no doubt a certain type of grognard would get into, I can't think of a way it would be fun at the table. That's why I'm currently leaning towards just expressing everything in Bounty.

I suggest corp scrip. Money that is only useful for buying products from one company. Inferior in every way and products that aren't covered by said corporation are subject to availability. So you may have a month's worth of hot and ready pizzas, but Pizzahutco is not in the business of selling bullets.

Since I ran the game outside of St. Louis I thought about how the city would look after a good ruining. Quite a few of the once large buildings are now not so large and no one really calls it St. Louis anymore since a million or so zombies still roam the place. The arch has actually fallen in the middle and is now one of the tallest structures in the entire place, but it didn't fall entirely. So now due to the jutting blackened structures are now referred to as "The Horns", which then everyone started calling the city that. Only old timers and a few people actually from there actually call it St. Louis anymore.

Capitalism enjoys a good status quo. Status quo is good for business. I imagine that they would be quietly sabotaging the government's ability to reclaim land west of the Mississippi or better yet, profit from them by purchasing land plots from people at better prices than what the gov is asking for, consolidating said land into large plots and then selling it to the government at the premium.

Oh wait, Farmer John had a living descendant and we purchased the rights? We can just give her a pittance or litigate her poverty stricken self into oblivion. Or if worse comes to worse, sometimes the house that those kind of people burn down with everyone inside of them. You know how squatter houses are these days...

Essentially it would be cut throat capitalism. A return to the sort that was common in the guilded age, but now more technologically advanced.

We need you to escort these 100 strike breakers 50 miles past the river to an enclave where the workers no longer want to work 16 hour days for little pay and dangerous working conditions. What do you mean that you're being fired at? Those are just local insurgents. Mark their locations and we'll send in the pacification drones.

Lastly, and this came up a few times in the last game, I imagined that old zombies are usually so low on the totem pole of threats that they're not killed on sight, but often ignored. So there would still be a fair number of them walking around. I imagine that herding dozens, hundreds or in the case of enclaves, even thousands of them to push on an enemy to waste their strength would be a standard tactic. Sure it's dangerous because of the odd aberrant, but there's no better way to deal with moving or pinning entrenched forces. Then they go back and loot the then cleared (or mostly cleared) area when the only other force besides zombies that could threaten them are on the run or under siege.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Jace911 on March 10, 2014, 01:34:49 AM
I'm rolling around a couple of character concepts in my head, but I wanted to ask a potentially naive question before I did: are hackers (Aside from Gnat the God-Queen of Ubiq City) still a thing in Red Markets?

("I am not a hacker/CompSci major" disclaimer applies)

I know people think of more Wild West gunslingers and wrench-wielding auto mechanics when they approach post-apocalyptic settings (At least I do), but reading about Ubiq makes me think that there could still be demand for people who can digitally infiltrate or sabotage networks and whatnot. Even out in the Loss Takers might have room on their team for someone who knows how to crack into a digital lock, remote hack another group's Amazon drone, or break into secure government websites for intel. There could even be entire criminal groups dedicated to scamming the whole Bounty/bitcoin economy somehow, although I'm not an econ major so that might also be a silly proposal.

Is this idea feasible at all, or am I thinking too much in Hollywood terms?
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Cthuluzord on March 10, 2014, 09:57:24 AM
Hackers are definitely a thing. The main metaplot NPC is a hacker (Gnat). They can have a big effect on getting leverage over clients and competition in the negotiation part of the game. They're technical skills are somewhat limited out in the field without abundant electricity, but I'm finding that I need some crafting mechanics so they could useful there. Finally, if the job site has power or security, having a hacker makes things a LOT easier. So think Deckers in Shadowrun; they might not be spec'ed for maximum utility in a fight, but they definitely have spotlight moments where the team uses their skills to survive.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Jace911 on March 10, 2014, 01:20:40 PM
Quote
Hackers are definitely a thing. The main metaplot NPC is a hacker (Gnat). They can have a big effect on getting leverage over clients and competition in the negotiation part of the game. They're technical skills are somewhat limited out in the field without abundant electricity, but I'm finding that I need some crafting mechanics so they could useful there. Finally, if the job site has power or security, having a hacker makes things a LOT easier. So think Deckers in Shadowrun; they might not be spec'ed for maximum utility in a fight, but they definitely have spotlight moments where the team uses their skills to survive.

Okay, so I'm not insanely off the mark after all. :p I figured it would be handy for a group of Takers to have a hacker if they came across an abandoned government facility or sealed bank vault or whatever, but depending on when Red Markets is set I wasn't sure if it would be unrealistic to assume such places would still be secured and/or have electricity. I'll post a concept in a bit, thanks for the response!
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: icephisherman on March 12, 2014, 09:15:28 AM
Hackers are definitely a thing. The main metaplot NPC is a hacker (Gnat). They can have a big effect on getting leverage over clients and competition in the negotiation part of the game. They're technical skills are somewhat limited out in the field without abundant electricity, but I'm finding that I need some crafting mechanics so they could useful there. Finally, if the job site has power or security, having a hacker makes things a LOT easier. So think Deckers in Shadowrun; they might not be spec'ed for maximum utility in a fight, but they definitely have spotlight moments where the team uses their skills to survive.

If you're talking about shadowrun, you could always put in drones. If this is the near future and drones are a prevalent thing I could see corporations having money dumped into R&D so they can supplement their own small, private armies. This means that your hackers would have more to do out in the field, but have the drones simple enough that they don't make the rest of the team redundant or prohibitively expensive to send into dangerous situations.

IE: This drone is cheap. It rolls on tank treads and has a camera attached to it for scouting.

This drone can open simple doors, but is delicate and prone to break if any weight drops on its manipulators. Don't send it into the house.

This drone is actually a twenty year old model airplane with roman candles strapped to it. It fires off its flares as a distraction.

Or your hacker is up against an expert team and has the ability to shut down their drones by hacking them or jamming them, or s/he can hack their communications to give tactical bonuses.

On the downside it's hard to pay attention to what is going on around you when you have your nose buried in a computer screen. And combat drones haven't been around half as long as surveillance drones, so ironically the ones that shoot guns instead of enormous missiles are expensive and primitive.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Twisting H on April 12, 2014, 12:08:53 AM
Quote
Caleb wrote
“Guidelines: Zombies have some limited climbing abilities, but unless they are
hunting they'll travel the path of least resistance and avoid steep slopes. They
cannot swim at all and sink like rocks, making oceans and rivers the primarily
defensive borders. They are much slower in cold weather, but they don't stop
completely.”

I just had a sinister thought.  Most zombies are not expert climbers/mountaineers as you said. What if the sasquatch/yeti was real?  And we only found that out when aberrant versions of the yeti took out supposedly safe mountain enclaves?

Imagine a “Come to Safeville” recorded radio announcement on repeat and players have heard of the impregnable mountain fortress located in a high elevated area. 

Imagine their horror as they trudge up the mountain pass, seeking shelter from a blizzard, and they find the fortress’s sheet metal walls have been rent apart by a force comparable to a bulldozer. 

The only greeting is silence and the falling snow.

Edit: Or what if the origin of these Aberrants is completely unknown?  Maybe the Blight just supercharged some animal with super strength, unholy mountaineering skills, and snow-stealth ...and the side effect is that it shuffles/lumbers like a hominid?  Maybe chimps escaped from a zoo...or that secretive "FEMA" research camp with all those biohazard signs and those aggressive snipers....
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Twisting H on April 12, 2014, 01:00:30 AM
Character Background Ideas.

I’m terrible with names so if you use anything please make it sound cooler.

I’ve always favored White Wolf splats, so here goes:

Mary Bomb, Saint Mary (Vengeful Latent)

Inspiration:

Quote from: ”Caleb”
Latents are infection
carriers, able to spread the Blight by all the same means of a Casualty, but
they retain their mental faculties and life. The Blight amplifies in the system
without attacking the brain, entering a dormant state. The only sign of Latency
is persistent necrosis around the bite area, caused during the transition from
active Blight to its dormant/reproductive state.

Players weaponize everything

Concept: Vengeful Latent

Quote: Remember me? Never forgot you.

Description:

Survival situations reveal a lot about people.  It strips the burial shroud of civilization we’ve been carrying all along and reveals the pure unadulterated flesh of our personal morality underneath. 

Often, it is writhing with maggots.

The stink says it’s been rotting for quite a while.

Maybe your lover put a bullet in your knee to escape a hungry horde.  Maybe you were military, covering the angles for your unit when your CO thought it was better to cut and run.  Maybe you were just the runt of the human litter and your neighbors let you know that in a big way when they took from you, suburbia shifting to gangland tribalism in a heartbeat as they trussed you up and left you for the elements and the darkness, laughter ringing in your ears to keep you company.

Maybe you were one of those sick fucks that got bitten on purpose seeking an opportunity to right a wrong back in the Enclave. 

Not many of those 'round, I can assure you.

Whatever the case, you got ‘lucky’.  You are a Latent. Fuck the powerball, you won the only lottery that matters.  You treasure that itchy, leaky patch on your skin like the devil’s own mark and you work every day to improve yourself physically, build resources, and bide your time.

All the while you are remembering and chanting those names like a mantra.  Dead men walking you tell yourself as you practice sneaking through the shadows and applying facepaint looted from the community college drama department.  Aria Stark has nothing on you.

Purpose: Your character is angry and has decided hunt the humans they have a grievance against.  As a Latent they have decided to settle the score by infecting their target with the Blight they carry within them.  Would-be assassins with a bullet in their bloodstream, they focus on building physical and infiltration skills to carry out their goals.

Sampler (Scientist-Hunter)

Quote1: Andy Fire. Stanley Prusiner. Major advances in discovering fundamental processes in cell biology has always come from studying outliers.  If we are going to beat the Blight, the answers will come from samples of outliers. *racks shotgun* From Aberrants.

Alternate quote

Quote2: Back in the Good Times, before everything went to shit, I was sitting in lab late one night, reading this web comic.  It said when you are doing research you miss everything that goes on outside: a sunny day, the second coming of Jesus, a zombie outbreak.  Funny how you remember the little things that turned prophetic.

Maybe you were a scientist who was downsized from an Enclave research facility because of shortages.  Maybe you were a physician who was just fed up with degrading or contaminated samples crossing your microscope and you got fed up. Maybe you were really never very good at bench work but you had to do something and you had enough scientific training to take optimal samples.  Maybe you can’t sleep, always hearing your loved one screaming apologies as she rushed at the door, jaw distended.   Maybe you want to prove you are more than one of the “lazy booksmart” the Enclave citizens struggle to feed and despise. 

You have some or significant scientific training and you usually team up with another group of hunters to secure samples from an Aberrants.  All Samplers have a tendency to take risks however.  They may prioritize getting the biological sample over teammates’ wellbeing or even their lives.

In addition, some Samplers are commissioned by Enclaves or other groups to expose Vectors to certain conditions (usually dangerous) and obtain samples and take notes on the results.  Conditions like exposing Vectors to odd chemicals, trying to get a horde hit by lighting, exposing a bunch of Vectors to an engineered spore strain in an enclosed environment like a mine shaft or just having a horde chase you to a fallout area to get a dose of good ol’ radiation and report the results.


Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Twisting H on January 17, 2015, 09:22:47 PM
Still excited for Red Markets

Regarding Ubiq and the post Crash internet, here are a couple of news articles about developments in that field.

http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2014/08/28/google-drones-look-to-compete-with-amazon-aerial-devices/ (http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2014/08/28/google-drones-look-to-compete-with-amazon-aerial-devices/)

The above mentions Google's "Project Loon" to deliver the internet through balloons and Google's competition with Amazon with respect to self flying drone delivery services.

Perhaps there is a competition between two ancient internet delivery and drone systems in the time of Red Markets?

http://www.cnet.com/news/elon-musk-is-trying-to-bring-the-internet-to-space/ (http://www.cnet.com/news/elon-musk-is-trying-to-bring-the-internet-to-space/)

This discusses Elon Musk's plan to deliver worldwide internet access through satellites.
 
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Cthuluzord on January 19, 2015, 12:58:36 PM
Thanks for the links @TwistingH !

I suppose I owe everyone an update.

For once, I'm caught up. With the exception of my Skype games, my Better Angels obligations are done. I'm caught up on grading and planning for work until the end of February, and the next freelancing job I've pitched for is late sending me a brief. So I've got a golden opportunity here.

For the next few months, I'm on a full Red Markets blitz in an attempt to get 2 out of the 5 sections of the book written ("Playing Red Markets" and "Running the Market"). If I can get that done and sent out to those of you that have so generously volunteered, we can run a quick alpha while I commission some preliminary art. Ideally, we could have cheap ashcan draft to sell at GenCon for $5 and build awareness for a kickstarter.

This is, of course, a best case scenario. But that would leave next year for open beta, writing the setting material, and hitting a KS hard sometime next Spring.

So that's it. Those of you that have PM'd me may be getting something in the next couple of months  ;D
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Tadanori Oyama on January 19, 2015, 04:01:22 PM
Good news. I think I speak for most of us when I say we look forward to the chance to shill for Red Markets at GenCon.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Kamen on January 19, 2015, 04:19:29 PM
Awesome! Definitely excited to see the game coming along!

Also, agreed Tad, gotta form a Red Markets Street Team to get the word out.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Jace911 on January 19, 2015, 05:04:23 PM
Thanks for the links @TwistingH !

I suppose I owe everyone an update.

For once, I'm caught up. With the exception of my Skype games, my Better Angels obligations are done. I'm caught up on grading and planning for work until the end of February, and the next freelancing job I've pitched for is late sending me a brief. So I've got a golden opportunity here.

For the next few months, I'm on a full Red Markets blitz in an attempt to get 2 out of the 5 sections of the book written ("Playing Red Markets" and "Running the Market"). If I can get that done and sent out to those of you that have so generously volunteered, we can run a quick alpha while I commission some preliminary art. Ideally, we could have cheap ashcan draft to sell at GenCon for $5 and build awareness for a kickstarter.

This is, of course, a best case scenario. But that would leave next year for open beta, writing the setting material, and hitting a KS hard sometime next Spring.

So that's it. Those of you that have PM'd me may be getting something in the next couple of months  ;D

(http://weknowgifs.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/its-happening-ron-paul-gif.gif)

Can't wait for the full release!  ;D
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: trinite on January 20, 2015, 03:52:11 PM
Woo hoo, good news!
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: MrWiggles on January 22, 2015, 06:49:47 AM
So, does it have to include zombies?
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Cthuluzord on April 11, 2015, 08:39:20 PM
Here's the write-up for the La Corbusier Enclave. I expanded on things. If I left anything out or any of the players want to redefine something, please let me know.

For those that want to listen to the actual plays without any knowledge of it beforehand, SPOILERS BELOW

1.   Enclave Name

La Corbusier – named after the brutalist architectural mogul in a fit of self-referential irony

2.   Location

Chicago suburbs. The high-price and elite status of the architectural school put it far away from the city’s sprawl, barely qualifying it as a suburb. The much bemoaned distance from the airport and other transportation hubs proved vital to the school’s survival during the Crash.

3.   Defenses

La Corbusier survives the constant onslaught of casualties through an accident of aesthetics and timing. The experimental architecture of the campus actually made it quite defensible. Certain buildings featured sharp overhangs, sheer surfaces, elevated terraces, criss-crossing ramps, and winding stairways that could easily blocked off and bottlenecked. The campus was also engaged in a massive design competition at the time focused on repurposing shipping containers as family homes. The containers were moved to block off more open spaces, fortified, and used as additional housing.

4.   History

La Corbusier survived the crash due to a variety of factors. The most vital contribution in the early days came from an exceptional campus security force, many of whom happened to be veterans of foreign wars. Working with the logistical planning of faculty unwilling to assume the media blackout meant all was well, they prepared a few buildings for defense. These strongholds housed the majority of campus survivors as the first waves of the Crash washed over the city.

But vectors move fast and go where the victims are. As things died down, the faculty contacted local contractors aiding in the shipping container project. In exchange for food and shelter provided for their surviving family and workforces, these construction firms made desperate pilgrimages to the campus under cover of night, dragging along all equipment and materials that could be salvaged from the industrial warehouses and fenced construction zones they had been hiding in. Quick fortifications sealed off nearly the entirety of campus of casualty attacks, and the few vectors left capable of climbing were repelled by heroic efforts from the campus police, inflicting heavy losses on the group.

As things settled down, those that did not flee to other Enclaves or try to make it to the Recession before the border closed came to La Corbusier. Much of the population is made of a random sampling of local and migratory populations, but the primary leadership groups of the academics and the construction workers still hold sway.

5.   Top Exports

La Corbusier primarily trades for its education and expertise. The library remains largely unlooted. Rather, the academics use their expertise in third-world development, sustainability design, and logistical management to consult with other enclaves over Ubiq. This expertise comes at a fee, and crypto charged for consulting brings a large portion of the enclave’s total yearly bounty.
Similarly, the contractors that established the wider perimeter sell their construction expertise to struggling enclave projects around the world, sharing experiences in salvaging and building with improvised materials. Machine parts are a major export, utilizing manufacturing skill sets and the advanced 3d-printing and machine shops on campus. In some instances, if save caravans can be established, former construction workers have been known to go so far as to travel and work job sites at other Enclaves. These excursions have been made for construction projects at The Union, the Ivory Field Ministry, and Machine enclaves, though the latter was in the early days before the group became more militant. The on-site construction projects and custom part manufacture provides a major revenue stream

Finally, the remaining undergraduate and graduate population focused their studies almost entirely on sustainability architecture and technology due to the deteriorating environmental situation before the crash. The proprietary innovations of these young inventors have been released across Ubiq, but not before ransom crowd funding projects go up. After some initial success, the crowdfunding efforts of the youth have been contributing an increasing percentage of the enclave’s total income.

6.   Top Imports

While some maintained lawns have been converted to gardens, La Corbusier lacks enough food to feed its people. Seeds, fertilizer, and preserved foodstuffs must be constantly traded for or ordered by airdrop, though water has been secured via a clever hack of the former sewer system.

Weapons are also in short supply and sell for a premium. The heroes of campus security supplemented the non-lethal arsenal provided by the college with personal collections of pure gun fetishists, but these weapons are aging, in disrepair, and increasingly difficult to feed. The crime world of “Chi-raq” and improvised melee weapons provide all other defense, but La Corbusier has a very small percentage of this supply. The bulk of the illegal weapons in the city were locked down by other enclaves or lost to the glut of undead that prevents all but the most suicidal salvage attempts.
Finally, the harsh Midwestern winters make fuel of any type a valuable commodity.

7.   Competition

Though not a direct threat, the Lake Pirates operating out of Michigan complicate things for La Corbusier. Their raids have all but shut down lake shipments between the Chicago area and northern enclaves, and their tactics are so extreme that they preclude any black market trade with soldiers patrolling the Illinois River Wall. All trade suffers from the predation of these floating raiders.

A rural megachurch, the Ivory Plains Ministry, holds an entire gated community even further away from the city. A combination of evangelical dominionism and prosperity gospel theologies positioned Ivory Plains nicely during the Fall. Much of the infrastructure of the community remains intact, and the gated community seems almost unchanged in the center. Though not extreme enough to be labeled Believers like some post-Crash Christian sects, Ivory Plains is still heavily resented in the area. They’ve been known to exile families for political and judgmental reasons, feeding innocent families to the casualties for innocuous or nonexistent offenses. Furthermore, the group’s religious beliefs preclude them from certain work. This necessitates subcontracting with local takers. Though the megachurch provides valuable income, many crews forgo the money in exchange for avoiding the group’s holier than thou attitude. However, life inside the fence is about as idyllic as life in the Loss can get, and Ivory Fields’ extensive citizen backing means it is wealthy and a leading candidate for DHQS settlement.

The Machine is made up of the remains of Chicago’s political and police structure. In true Chicago tradition, the Homen Square controversy did nothing to teach those in power anything save to hide their corruption better. The Machine is made up of a variety of former CPD black sites for interrogation and the story of militarized police arsenals. The Machine ignores the fact that they are homo sacor like everyone else and still operates off the briefly declared martial law edict passed down over five years ago. They regard all enclavists as citizens bound by extinct US laws and act accordingly. As such, almost no one deals with The Machine. They have been known to arrest and execute those found out in the Loss for “crimes.” They kidnap people under the authority of imaginary evacuation orders and seize property with force citing “civil forfeiture.” The Machine would not be tolerated at all were it not for its intimidating military resources, but their monopoly on force belies a paucity of other assets. The black sites that make up the Machine are widely distributed, hard to get to, and difficult to coordinate. The leadership argues over who actually wields executive authority until they are resettled. The desperate thugs of The Machine survive solely off their equipment, sociopathy, and delusions of legitimacy.

The Union operates out of fortified shipping docks relocated just outside the city limits. Though difficult to travel to by land, the Union is an extremely safe harbor and a vital port trade with enclaves in Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, and the remains of Canada. In the early days of the Crash, they dealt with everyone and acquired a reputation for fairness. However, the recent Lake Pirates problem has affected The Union most of all, and the enclave is in economic decline. Members are fleeing for other enclaves or risking a lake run of the border.  Though it still provides some trade, the Union is but a shadow of its former power and will remains so until the lake is again a safe trade route.

8.   Social Structure

Class divides from before the Crash have perpetuated themselves into the current political landscape of La Corbusier. The administration of the enclave is run by a small parliamentary democracy of officials elected every year. There are no term limits or checks and balances build into the system. Yearly elections are dominated by too political parties: the Tenured and the Pillars.
The Tenured are made up of the college faculty responsible for saving the school. They are as predictably liberal as one would expect from private architectural college professors. Their stance on defense has grown lax in the latest years, and their opposition to any new rules limiting the freedom of residents is constant regardless of intent. Despite their concern for personal liberty within the enclave, the Tenured insist their forethought and expertise entitles them to their privileged place in the enclave, apparently without irony.

The Tenured are opposed by the Pillars of the Community, or the Pillars, as they have come to be called. The Pillars are made up of the owners of the wealthy contractors that helped establish the shipping container perimeter. They are far more conservative and security minded, but equally entitled to their privilege.

Not enough of the campus security responsible for the early battles against the vectors survived for from a major political bloc, but the gratitude felt towards these veterans makes them powerful political pawns exploited by both sides.

One of the few things the Tenured and Pillars can agree upon is the goal of settlement. Both groups are willing to do anything to attract DHQS settlement of La Corbusier. They imagine the government will rescue them all.

9.   Neighborhoods

Day Laborers: The storage container apartment block where the majority of the late refugees live off the farms of repurposed lawns.

Adjunct Row: Low-level academics and those without necessary skills occupy this tent city ghetto. This is the bad part of town.

Admin: The former administration building houses the Tenured elite. Technically, the offices and apartments are to be occupied by whomever among the party is elected to lead, but that never seems to change from year to year.

Patchwork Palace: A McMansion constructed on the former soccer field, assembled from salvaged materials brought in by the Pillars. The building houses many members of the party, but its extravagance is still absurd.

Hanging Gardens: The roofs of every university building have been converted to water collectors and rooftop gardens.  Many have rope bridges connected them so that the Detoxins gardeners can move from roof to roof.

10.   VIPs
Dean Chevalier: Head of the Tenured bloc

Harold Carmichael: Leader of the Pillars bloc

Professor Clara Bradley-Matterknick: Swing vote and renegade academic, resentful of the Tenured but without sacrificing her influence over them

Former Undersecretary of Housing Dylan Martinele: a visiting bureaucrat caught in the Crash, living among the Pillars on promises of influence when resettlement comes

Synthenia: Low-level pot dealer turned drug kingpin feeding the addicts of La Corbusier

Dr. Epicuras: would-be messiah leading the Detoxins believers infiltrating the caretakers of the Hanging Gardens.

Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Kamen on April 12, 2015, 03:48:18 AM
So looking forward to this. Isn't Synthenia the infamous prostitute from Andrew's Fortune?

Also, this has got me thinking about a possible ARG aspect to Red Markets. We could use the forums as Ubiq to allow different groups to effect/assist/hinder each other. There'd have to be a bit of group buy in, but it could be interesting.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: trinite on April 13, 2015, 11:31:53 AM
Very cool enclave design. I'm a little curious: since Chicago is east of the Mississippi, has the border of the Loss been adjusted?
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Cthuluzord on April 13, 2015, 02:42:26 PM
@trinite
Thanks!

They really wanted the Chicago area, so I pushed the line back to the Illinois river. I suppose it makes sense, considering the population density of Chicago and its vulnerability as a transit hub. I'll keep the Mississippi line in the actual text, but there's not much about the setting that can't be adjusted once you understand the economic realities that the mechanics support.

That said, there will be an in-game setting as described in the GDW podcast because it's easier to pick up and play. Plus, that's the actual fun part of the book to write, so I'm not about to skip it.

@Kamen
They wanted a campus drug dealer and wouldn't come up with a name fast enough, so they got the Stokes canon.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Twisting H on April 13, 2015, 06:46:00 PM
Edited.

Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: clockworkjoe on April 14, 2015, 05:49:23 PM
yaaay red markets

Steadfast Stanley - 3rd Year Film (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T2E0x704I2s#ws)
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: trinite on April 15, 2015, 05:23:31 PM
Awwwww.


Coincidentally, while eating lunch with my dad today I ran into Shorty, the guy I based my Springfield GAME Red Markets character on. He's a five-foot tall guy on disability with a cowboy hat and boots, who wanders around downtown aggravating people and occasionally tries to play harmonica at local blues jams.

The real life version isn't a wanna-be doctor, but he's probably better at driving an ambulance.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Kamen on April 15, 2015, 06:21:49 PM
Awwwww.


Coincidentally, while eating lunch with my dad today I ran into Shorty, the guy I based my Springfield GAME Red Markets character on. He's a five-foot tall guy on disability with a cowboy hat and boots, who wanders around downtown aggravating people and occasionally tries to play harmonica at local blues jams.

The real life version isn't a wanna-be doctor, but he's probably better at driving an ambulance.

This... I... I feel like there's so much we're missing from this story.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Mr. Purple on April 15, 2015, 08:03:17 PM
Awwwww.


Coincidentally, while eating lunch with my dad today I ran into Shorty, the guy I based my Springfield GAME Red Markets character on. He's a five-foot tall guy on disability with a cowboy hat and boots, who wanders around downtown aggravating people and occasionally tries to play harmonica at local blues jams.

The real life version isn't a wanna-be doctor, but he's probably better at driving an ambulance.

Now now, you did hit a lot with that ambulance.  Several zombies, the front of the store, me...

This... I... I feel like there's so much we're missing from this story.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: trinite on April 16, 2015, 09:28:27 PM
During a playtest at Springfield GAME, I played Doctor Shorty, the closest thing to a medical professional one is likely to find on a Taker crew.  Good doctors make it out of the Loss, and mediocre ones can get stable jobs in an Enclave. Shorty is...neither of those. And not very smart, either, but pretty self-confident. He was about to flunk out of his EMT program when the Crash came, but he happened to be in the right place to steal an ambulance full of supplies and equipment. So he figures that he's a real doctor now, but the team mostly just keeps him around for his wheels. Which he drives using blocks glued onto the pedals so he can reach them.

And that's where the problems came from in the game. Through a number of critical failures -- the infamous 7-7s, never to be forgotten -- the crew got themselves into a close-quarters casualty fight inside a music store. Shorty decided to just crash the ambulance through the front windows for a rapid extraction. Which he did -- with another 7-7, running over David's character. Apparently Shorty had decided to manufacture a little business for his first aid skills.

If that recording ever gets posted, you can hear that and more, including Shorty's speed-fueled catwalk knife fight, and my brother totally losing his shit after the eighth or ninth 7-7 of the session.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Zombieneighbours on April 17, 2015, 01:57:32 AM
Ross, you are a horrible monster! I do not need those kind of feels before work!
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Twisting H on April 18, 2015, 10:45:54 PM
That's a fantastic video Ross.

I am avoiding all spoilers until the Red Markets AP come out so I have no comments on the latest posts, but I was thinking about character sheet layout.  When you are coming to the end of a massive project like writing a core book by yourself, how do not despair and fill up that terrible gnawing whitespace with something cool?

Here some interesting character sheets. Inspiration or what not to do?

Eoris

(http://i.imgur.com/tlWnHffh.jpg)

Adventure Zone

(http://i.imgur.com/kZV3Pf7h.jpg)

Fan made D&D Next (on reddit somewhere)

(http://i.imgur.com/J1PCEV9h.jpg)

Official D&D Next character sheet

(http://i.imgur.com/o38JlHnh.png)


So how do you emphasize (or hint at) zombie and economic horror in a Red Market's character sheet?  Make it like a an IRS 1040 form to instill anxiety in adults and confuse the kiddies?  Model it after a home foreclosure form for true terror?

Do you include any flair? A bloodied Platoon-like dogtag in the corner? Grasping zombie hands? Or do you keep the character sheet minimalistic?

When Ruin has a character sheet, I would love to see one made in the BRUTALISM style. 
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Twisting H on April 18, 2015, 11:32:58 PM
Some further thoughts on Ubiq and the post Crash internet based on recent news releases.

Facebook is testing solar power drones to deliver internet to remote locations.

http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2015/03/facebook-tests-laser-equipped-drones-but-they-come-in-peace/ (http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2015/03/facebook-tests-laser-equipped-drones-but-they-come-in-peace/)

Quote
The drone program, codenamed Aquila, is the result of Facebook's purchase of the British unmanned systems design firm Ascenta—the company that currently holds the record for the longest solar-powered flight. The aircraft has a wingspan comparable to that of a 737, Schroepfer said, and the weight of a small car. Schroepfer told attendees that the completely solar-powered drones would "loiter at very high altitudes and beam down backbone Internet access."

Facebook is planning on deploying squadrons of the drones at altitudes of greater than 60,000 feet; the aircraft would stay on station for months at a time. When deployed, multiple aircraft would link together via laser communications to provide a network backbone, acting as routers to route communications from ground stations. Wireless networks tethered to the ground stations would provide user access to the network.

Google bought its own drone company, Titan, last year. Titan's drones, which the company refers to as "atmospheric satellites," are being integrated into Google's Project Loon, which has also investigated using high-altitude balloons to provide large areas with wireless coverage.

Further developments on Google's Project Loon and testing of balloons for internet delivery.

http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2015/03/google-balloons-cell-towers-in-the-sky-can-serve-4g-to-a-whole-state/ (http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2015/03/google-balloons-cell-towers-in-the-sky-can-serve-4g-to-a-whole-state/)
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Twisting H on April 25, 2015, 09:44:02 PM
In a post apocalyptic world if you have the training, the right software, access to a big dish and amplifier you might be able to hack a satellite to accept commands. 

Balint Seeber was an engineer on the ISEE-3 reboot project. 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Cometary_Explorer (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Cometary_Explorer)
Quote
The International Cometary Explorer (ICE) spacecraft (designed and launched as the International Sun/Earth Explorer 3 (ISEE-3) satellite), was launched August 12, 1978, into a heliocentric orbit. It was one of three spacecraft, along with the mother/daughter pair of ISEE-1 and ISEE-2, built for the International Sun-Earth Explorer (ISEE) program, a joint effort by NASA and ESRO/ESA to study the interaction between the Earth's magnetic field and the solar wind.

ISEE-3 was the first spacecraft to be placed in a halo orbit at the L1 Earth-Sun Lagrangian point. Renamed ICE, it became the first spacecraft to visit a comet, passing through the plasma tail of Comet Giacobini-Zinner within about 7,800 km (4,800 mi) of the nucleus on September 11, 1985.[1]

Quote
Reboot effort
Sometime after NASA's interest in the ICE waned, others realized that the spacecraft might be steered to pass close to another comet. A team of engineers, programmers, and scientists began to study the feasibility and challenges involved.[7]

In April 2014, its members formally announced their intentions to "recapture" the spacecraft for use, calling the effort the ISEE-3 Reboot Project. A team webpage said, "We intend to contact the ISEE-3 (International Sun-Earth Explorer) spacecraft, command it to fire its engine and enter an orbit near Earth, and then resume its original mission... If we are successful we intend to facilitate the sharing and interpretation of all of the new data ISEE-3 sends back via crowd sourcing."[17]

On May 15, the project reached its crowdfunding goal of US$125,000 on RocketHub, which was expected to cover the costs of writing the software to communicate with the probe, searching through the NASA archives for the information needed to control the spacecraft, and buying time on the dish antennas.[18] The project then set a "stretch goal" of $150,000, which it also met with a final total of $159,502 raised.[19]

The project members were working on deadline: if they got the spacecraft to change its orbit by late May or early June 2014, or in early July by using more fuel, it could use the Moon's gravity to get back into a useful halo orbit.[20][21][22]

Replacing lost hardware
Earlier in 2014, officials with the Goddard Space Flight Center said the Deep Space Network equipment necessary to transmit signals to the spacecraft had been decommissioned in 1999, and was too expensive to replace.[23] However, project members were able to find documentation for the original equipment and were able to simulate the complex modulator/demodulator electronics using modern software defined radio (SDR) techniques and open-source programs from the GNU radio project. They obtained the needed hardware, an off-the-shelf SDR transceiver and power amplifier,[24] and installed it on the 305-meter Arecibo dish antenna on May 19, 2014.[24][25] Once they gained control of the spacecraft, the capture team planed to shift the primary ground station to the 21-meter dish located at Kentucky's Morehead State University Space Science Center.[24] The 20-meter dish antenna in Bochum Observatory, Germany, would be a support station.[24]

Although NASA was not funding the project, it made advisors available and gave approval to try to establish contact. On May 21, 2014, NASA announced that it had signed a Non-Reimbursable Space Act Agreement with the ISEE-3 Reboot Project. "This is the first time NASA has worked such an agreement for use of a spacecraft the agency is no longer using or ever planned to use again," officials said.[26]

Contact reestablished
On May 29, the reboot team successfully commanded the probe to switch into Engineering Mode to begin to broadcast telemetry.[27][28]

On June 26, project members using the Goldstone Deep Space Communications Complex DSS-24 antenna achieved synchronous communication and obtained the four ranging points needed to refine the spacecraft's orbital parameters.[29] The project team received approval from NASA to continue operations through at least July 16, and plan to attempt the orbital maneuver in early July.[21][30]

On July 2, the reboot project fired the thrusters for the first time since 1987. They spun up the spacecraft to its nominal roll rate, in preparation for the upcoming trajectory correction maneuver in mid-July.[31][32]

On July 8, a longer sequence of thrusters firings failed, apparently due to loss of the nitrogen gas needed to pressurize the fuel tanks.[8][9][10]

On July 24, the ISEE-3 Reboot Team announced that all attempts to change orbit using the ISEE-3 propulsion system had failed. Instead, the team said, the ISEE-3 Interplanetary Citizen Science Mission would gather data as the spacecraft flies by the Moon on August 10 and enters a heliocentric orbit similar to Earth's. The team began shutting down propulsion components to maximize the electrical power available for the science experiments.[33]

On July 30, the team announced that it still planned to acquire data from as much of ISEE-3's 300-day orbit as possible. With five of the 13 instruments on the spacecraft still working, the science possibilities included listening for gamma ray bursts, where observations from additional locations in the Solar System can be valuable. The team was also recruiting additional receiving sites around the globe to improve diurnal coverage, in order to upload additional commands while the spacecraft is close to Earth and later to receive data.[34]

On August 10 at 18:16 UTC, the spacecraft passed about 15,600 km (9,700 mi) from the surface of the Moon. It will continue in its heliocentric orbit, and will return to the vicinity of Earth in 17 years.[35]

Contact lost
On September 25, the Reboot team announced that contact with the probe was lost on September 16. It is unknown whether contact can be reestablished because the probe's exact orbit is uncertain. The spacecraft's post-lunar flyby orbit takes it further from the Sun, causing electrical power available from its solar arrays to drop. Reduced power could have caused the craft to enter a safe mode, from which it may be impossible to awaken without the precise orbital location information needed to point transmissions at the craft.[11]

So granted the team had full access to NASA's archives and compliance with more than one observatory, but the hardware was available off the shelf and as I understand it (not an expert) the software permits transmission of radio frequencies without a great deal of hardware requirements.

Evidently if you have one of these Universal Software Radio Peripherals you can make your laptop an FM transmitter/receiver, have it emit passive radar, and have it receive GPS transmission among other things.

I think all you really need from the observatory is access to a dish, which I would imagine would be possible in a post apoc scenario.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_Software_Radio_Peripheral (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_Software_Radio_Peripheral)

Balint Seeber talks about the project here on the Risky Business podcast.

Quote
One of them was by Balint Seeber on Software defined radio haxing, he’s our feature guest in this week's show.

We'll talk to him about messing around with aircraft radar, ACARS, keyless entry and all sorts of stuff. He even managed to take control of a satellite 15 million kilometres from Earth from his laptop while he was in a DEFCON talk! (Don't try this at home. Or do. I don't know what advice to give on that one.)

http://risky.biz/RB363 (http://risky.biz/RB363)

Another link on the subject.

Quote
How to Talk to a 36-year-old Space Probe (ISEE-3) with GNU Radio, a USRP, and a Big Dish

http://www.jmalsbury.com/how-to-talk-to-a-36-year-old-space-probe-isee-3-with-gnu-radio-a-usrp-and-a-big-dish/ (http://www.jmalsbury.com/how-to-talk-to-a-36-year-old-space-probe-isee-3-with-gnu-radio-a-usrp-and-a-big-dish/)
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Twisting H on April 26, 2015, 08:13:44 PM
There is a Roguelikes sale on Steam until Monday 10 am.

I have to recommend Neo Scavenger.  It is a survival post apocalyptic roguelike that is some what unfinished as a game, but it really does feel like you are in Mcarthy's The Road where dirty men warily size each other up and then engage in brutal and frenetic combat with makeshift spears and glass shanks over a can of condensed soup. 

(http://i.imgur.com/915knk9l.jpg)

I'm not sure if Red Markets is going for this level of bleak survival, but Neo Scavenger scratches that itch until Red Markets opens.

Neo Scavenger is $15 normally, and $10 now. If you like turn based post apocalyptic games or have played Dwarf Fortress, pick it up at this price.  If this will be your first roguelike, I'd wait until you can grab it for $5.

Steam: http://store.steampowered.com/app/248860/ (http://store.steampowered.com/app/248860/)

(http://i.imgur.com/K7rDAPbl.jpg)

RPS review: http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2014/01/17/impressions-neo-scavenger/ (http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2014/01/17/impressions-neo-scavenger/)

Lets Play: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUlr-ciKi24 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUlr-ciKi24)

I've played about five games since I purchased it a few days ago.  In my fourth game I was pretty confident with my military grade gas mask, two layers of shirts plus a hoodie for warmth, and a scoped hunting rifle with four total bullets.  A long way from beating dogs with a tree limb for nourishment was I.  I had set up shop in a abandoned apartment high rise when I was roused from my sleep by my tin-can-on-a-string noise alarms going off.  Some nameless scavenger with only shorts to his name wanted my stuff.  I shot him from afar and he ran away, coughing up blood.  I chased him to the next tile with a predator's confidence.  My next few shots were unlucky misses but I decided to close with the nearly naked man to beat him in the head with my superior rifle butt. 

Then I started losing fluids from both ends.  Evidently the marsh water I so desperately drank a day ago was contaminated.  I had cholera.  What was once certain doom for my bleeding shorts-clad prey turned into a knock down drag out fight. 

Desperate to get back to my highrise camp site, I was ambushed by two men combing the city's ruins.  One had a crowbar and I was too dehydrated to deliver effective blows with my rapidly degrading rifle butt.  They were not impressed by my attempts to intimidate them by brandishing a scoped rifle.  Fortunately I had passed out from the pain before the crowbar split my head like a melon.



Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Tomsawyer on April 28, 2015, 12:57:54 AM
Listening to Dungeon Crawl Classic game I hope there is a Character Funnel like feature for Red Markets. It can be called Free Market Character Creation, the character you play is decided by the market  ;D
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Dom on April 28, 2015, 10:40:59 AM
My new PS4 came with a digital code to download The Last of Us : Remastered, so I decided to give it a go. And, well, it's pretty much what I envisioned Red Markets to be like. Even the main characters keep talking about a "gun shipment" that will make them rich, and they bribe with ration cards distributed at government-run refugee centers. Makes me very interested to see how Red Markets will play.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Tadanori Oyama on April 28, 2015, 11:54:05 AM
Joel is the quintessential murder hobo. Problem in my life? Kill it with gun. Or pipe. Or arrows. Or shivs. Or shrapnel bombs.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Twisting H on April 28, 2015, 04:27:08 PM
Listening to Dungeon Crawl Classic game I hope there is a Character Funnel like feature for Red Markets. It can be called Free Market Character Creation, the character you play is decided by the market  ;D

This is a cool idea.

You could have a pool of random early survivors like CEO, Human Resources, Public Relations Officer and they would start off with class appropriate gear like that stupid executive ball-pendulum toy, "You Don't Have to Be Crazy to Work Here; But It Helps" mug, or ten cellphones with no batteries because they were all playing candy crush, respectively.

The characters who managed to survive the first zombie dungeon get the opportunity to get a real job like mechanic or woodworker.

On a more serious note,  roll up a number of characters equal to the players with random stats and attributes/disadvantages.  Then roll up a random amount of equipment. Everything from toothpicks to hunting rifle.

Give each player an equal number of poker chips, then have the players bid with each other for the right to play a specific character like a draft. Then do the same with the limited equipment pool.

So you could spend all your chips on a character with good stats but you only have like rags and a shiv while someone else has a dude with a club foot but a flamethrower.

Something like how Amber has the players barter over which character gets the best stats.

Edit: So I was thinking about the flaw in a competitive barter-for-your-character-and-then-your-equipment system.  The issue I can see is that the guy who gets the Ubermench, eventually turns on the other players and loots their equipment.

To encourage cooperation after this competitive draft, one solution could be to enforce distribution of specialization in the party.

You could do this by bundling skills + the appropriate equipment.  So in the first round of the draft, you bid for your randomly statted character.  In the second round,  you bid for your specialized skill set + equipment.  So in this case the equipment really isn't as random as I first suggested.  For example there is ONE skill bundle "IT guy" which includes a multitool, a PC and the skills to use both.   

So the guy who spends a bunch of points on the Ubermench has a few skills at the end of the draft, while the guy who spent fewer points on a disadvantaged character with sub average stats has more skills.  This should encourage interplayer reliance and cooperation.

It also would make everyone valuable to the team and increase tension if a character dies/is threatened with death.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: trinite on April 29, 2015, 10:07:58 AM


On a more serious note,  roll up a number of characters equal to the players with random stats and attributes/disadvantages.  Then roll up a random amount of equipment. Everything from toothpicks to hunting rifle.

Give each player an equal number of poker chips, then have the players bid with each other for the right to play a specific character like a draft. Then do the same with the limited equipment pool.

So you could spend all your chips on a character with good stats but you only have like rags and a shiv while someone else has a dude with a club foot but a flamethrower.

Something like how Amber has the players barter over which character gets the best stats.

That's an interesting idea, but it might be hard to get the players to actually competitively bid, since they're all going to be on the same team anyway. I know that if I were in that situation, I'd probably try to reach a consensus on an optimized party rather than trying to get all the best stuff for myself. Especially since the rewards of successful gameplay jobs are collective rather than individualized (at least they were when we playtested last year).

That said, I do think some random chance during character creation would help add to the sense of struggle for the characters. In keeping with the "everything is about money" theme, maybe you could roll a debt pool at character creation, and then randomly assign fractions of the pool to each character, which they could choose to buy off with disadvantages, swap to other players for gear, or just live with. That could be fun.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Shallazar on June 08, 2015, 11:32:54 AM
So, I was think about bounty. And how in my room right now I have about five distinct pieces of ID. My passport, my international driver's license, my alien registration card, my driver's license and my birth certificate. Is it worth 5 bounty?

What about people who manufacture fake IDs? Is everything RFID?

Otherwise my concept is a forging sniper. Used to make fake IDs and sell them to high schoolers, and other minors. Used to live out in the country untill casualties broke down his fence and trampled his farm. He was able to make it out with his rifle.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Jace911 on June 08, 2015, 12:08:01 PM
So, I was think about bounty. And how in my room right now I have about five distinct pieces of ID. My passport, my international driver's license, my alien registration card, my driver's license and my birth certificate. Is it worth 5 bounty?

What about people who manufacture fake IDs? Is everything RFID?

Otherwise my concept is a forging sniper. Used to make fake IDs and sell them to high schoolers, and other minors. Used to live out in the country untill casualties broke down his fence and trampled his farm. He was able to make it out with his rifle.

Is he a 19 year old Japanese kid? He better be.  >:(
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Cthuluzord on June 08, 2015, 02:01:53 PM
Quote
So, I was think about bounty. And how in my room right now I have about five distinct pieces of ID. My passport, my international driver's license, my alien registration card, my driver's license and my birth certificate. Is it worth 5 bounty?

What about people who manufacture fake IDs? Is everything RFID?

Otherwise my concept is a forging sniper. Used to make fake IDs and sell them to high schoolers, and other minors. Used to live out in the country untill casualties broke down his fence and trampled his farm. He was able to make it out with his rifle.

The unhelpful answer is that bounty adjusts however it needs to in order to remain a stable game currency. Everything could be un-spoofable RFID tags, or perhaps the DHQS adjusts the price of bounty to include an average number of attempts to defraud them per ID per person, shorting the valuation of an average adult's pre-Crash assets (and thus devaluing the currency and lowering overhead) to make up for losses due to fraud. Maybe that's why they pay out bounty for repeat IDs; more IDs equals more certitude that the person is indeed dead and their assets are available for seizure or probate upon reclamation.

As far as being a forger/ sniper, that makes more sense in Red Markets. One could have gotten into forging after the Crash as a means of survival, or a forger could find incentive to learn marksmanship once the dead rise. Rural fake ID forger even works at the outset, so long as the setting is in the USA.

Being a Japanese kid that just so happens to be the best sniper AND the best forger in the world, despite only having ever lived with his mom and having zero military or espionage experience...well...that's just...just Tom's character concept.

Dear GOD that was a stupid character....(stares into the middle distance, having NBA flashbacks)
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Kamen on June 08, 2015, 03:35:02 PM
Being a Japanese kid that just so happens to be the best sniper AND the best forger in the world, despite only having ever lived with his mom and having zero military or espionage experience...well...that's just...just Tom's character concept.

Dear GOD that was a stupid character....(stares into the middle distance, having NBA flashbacks)

(the sounds of tazers and... ebola(?) echo in the distance)
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Cthuluzord on June 09, 2015, 04:17:39 PM
I actually updated the blog! As apology for the long hiatus, please accept a preview of the Red Markets cover.

http://hebanon.blogspot.com/2015/06/red-markets-update.html (http://hebanon.blogspot.com/2015/06/red-markets-update.html)
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Jace911 on June 09, 2015, 05:57:56 PM
I actually updated the blog! As apology for the long hiatus, please accept a preview of the Red Markets cover.

http://hebanon.blogspot.com/2015/06/red-markets-update.html (http://hebanon.blogspot.com/2015/06/red-markets-update.html)

(https://33.media.tumblr.com/493b7094c4842b79c41a3016ccfdc676/tumblr_inline_mksnpjfyU71qz4rgp.gif)
(https://38.media.tumblr.com/e59c51080e14cee56ce93416cf8055c8/tumblr_inline_mksnpoxWQ21qz4rgp.gif)
(https://33.media.tumblr.com/442a580bbece29186b5ef2bb4a64cafa/tumblr_n95j69PPTG1se8oe3o3_250.gif)

[screaming eternally]
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Shallazar on June 11, 2015, 12:07:18 AM
Don't  feel too bad about missing GenCon now. And looking forward to running it (maybe???) next year.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Tadanori Oyama on June 11, 2015, 01:28:47 PM
Blog is being difficult so I'll post here: really like the cover, very Night's Black Agents but bleaker.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Kamen on June 11, 2015, 03:44:59 PM
(http://i.imgur.com/ytNvgIH.gif)

I'm so hyped! I already mentioned this on the facebook page, but if we can back this to the point that it's hardback it'd be really sick to do a 2-texture finish on the cover, similar to the D&D 5ed books. From the market line up would be a matte finish, minus the lettering, and everything else would be gloss.

Also, if one were to want to donate or fund some pre-kickstarter money, would the No Security pay-what-you-want scenarios be the best route?
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Twisting H on June 17, 2015, 01:10:33 AM
I actually updated the blog! As apology for the long hiatus, please accept a preview of the Red Markets cover.

http://hebanon.blogspot.com/2015/06/red-markets-update.html (http://hebanon.blogspot.com/2015/06/red-markets-update.html)

I like the cover.

A few critiques.

- My first thought was "why is the market going up?"  How does it look if the stock ticker is declining or crashing?
- It is a little subtle, so given your focus from the last GDW, have you considered going full Marxist with the "Red Market"'s font?
- I like the Latin motto. If the motto is strictly separated from the game world then it looks great as it is. If the motto is encountered in the game world then I had some thoughts.

Thinking out loud, a Latin motto could be encountered on a university, the seal of a government organization or a military unit's patch.

Generally most institutions of higher learning (pre outbreak) focus on acquisition or glorification of knowledge. I do not see "Out of terror, we profit" being the motto of a university, even a post outbreak one UNLESS you are going full dark gallows humor for tone and then it fits really damn well.

The motto could work for a post outbreak government agency. I imagine the original motto was something more noble but the first wave of takers shortened/corrupted it to "Ex Terrorem, Lucrabamur."  This would imply that the taker movement has a common origin.

Generally I think most military units have their own motto/like to invent their own heritage and history. If you decide that all takers have a common military origin (even if spiritual successors rather than direct) maybe takers use this Latin motto as an identifier for their community, though not all bands of takers include it on their insignia, if they even have one. Or as luck maybe. For example maybe it is a ritual to say the motto before going beyond the safe are into the zone.  In Roadside Picnic the main character mentioned all STALKERS had some sort of ritual before they went into the Zone.  I imagine there would be a great diversity between military patches/insignia and mottoes of taker bands based on their origins (state militia, local police, formal US Army, inbred family, local brewery, union etc.), accomplishments or whim.

Now that I think about it, I wonder if a taker group would arise from the KVWN channel 4 news team. Or what was the name of that man-rooster fighting rppr news team?
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Twisting H on June 17, 2015, 01:36:07 AM
Since the revelation of the dronkey, looks like Caleb is going for near future tech. 

Here is some more tech in development.

Clothing with integrated wireless electronic device interfaces.

Smart clothing from Google ATAP. Project Jacquard.

http://singularityhub.com/2015/05/31/forget-google-glass-its-all-about-google-smart-clothes/ (http://singularityhub.com/2015/05/31/forget-google-glass-its-all-about-google-smart-clothes/)

! No longer available (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qObSFfdfe7I#)

And yes, you have to plug in your pants.

Immaterial electronic device interfaces

Google ATAP. Project Soli

Project Soli is developing a new interaction sensor using radar technology. The sensor can track sub-millimeter motions at high speed and accuracy. It fits onto a chip, can be produced at scale and built into small devices and everyday objects.

! No longer available (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0QNiZfSsPc0#)

Hoverbike prototype

Drone adapted motorcycle. Nothing says safety from zombies better than going vertical!

! No longer available (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mNkLjv--q7Y#)

Proof of principle by a German team in 2011 with a different design.

! No longer available (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L75ESD9PBOw#)
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Capitalocracy on June 17, 2015, 07:03:32 AM
Twisting H actually brings up a pretty good point... it might make sense for the market to be going up, because theoretically we're recovering from a major apocalyptic crash here, but it might feel less optimistic at first sight if it were going down (for reference, put "euro dollar" in Google ;) This could be accomplished by moving the text to the right, but the actual artwork definitely prohibits it. I wonder how it would look with a significant downward dip at the tail end...
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Tadanori Oyama on June 18, 2015, 12:39:17 PM
If the market marker is the players than they are on their way up. A starting character in Red Markets is someone who had a wind fall or has had a good stable tend of economics to put them high enough on the hog to even try and risk Taking as a job.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: trinite on June 18, 2015, 03:07:24 PM
If the market marker is the players than they are on their way up. A starting character in Red Markets is someone who had a wind fall or has had a good stable tend of economics to put them high enough on the hog to even try and risk Taking as a job.

We might be over-thinking it. What matters is what works best as a visual design, in relation to that cover image (which is awesome, by the way).

That said, I actually do think a final "crash" downward on the line, if it started above the glasses-guy's head and went down to the right of this head, would look pretty good.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Tadanori Oyama on June 18, 2015, 03:59:35 PM
If the market marker is the players than they are on their way up. A starting character in Red Markets is someone who had a wind fall or has had a good stable tend of economics to put them high enough on the hog to even try and risk Taking as a job.

We might be over-thinking it. What matters is what works best as a visual design, in relation to that cover image (which is awesome, by the way).


Never! Everything is shades of meaning... just take a hit of this and you'll understand why the lizard people are speaking through Caleb's commissioned artist's cover art when they already have psychic powers...
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Tadanori Oyama on June 24, 2015, 05:22:42 PM
Enclave idea: Shenandoah, Iowa

"Seed Capital of the World", "The Fifty Families"

The town is home to a Walmart, a rural airport, and a clean energy company which can produce ethanol.

The enclave was pulled together out of the disperate families that took up shelter in the various safe places around the town during the inital phases of the Collapse. As each set sank their claim and plied their specialized trades, intercooperation blossomed and eventually the whole sprawl came to be considered a united Enclave.

Not so secure as most other Enclaves, the Fifty Families are mobile and flexable by requirement. The Walmart, energy facility, and local schools have been fortified for their purposes and interconnected while many outlying facilities must be left unconnected.

Over the last few years the Families have broken themselves into Jobs to help facilitate their way of life.
The heads of the five Jobs are the authoritative voice of the Enclave, resolving disputes for the good of the Enclave and representing the interests of their follows.

The Fifty Families for the majority of the Job staff, the upper class of the Enclave while "late comers" are forced to find whatever means of survival and contribution they can to earn their keep. A rare few who already possessed the skills required for a Job have been allows into the ranks but the majority are stuck effectively slaving at menial tasks.

With access to sufficent water and a huge storage of seeds, Fifty Families primarily exports seeds, food stuff, and some biofuels. They import medications, comfort goods, and much needed raw materials (wood and metal) to maintain their machinery.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Cthuluzord on June 26, 2015, 11:48:13 AM
Quote
Enclave idea: Shenandoah, Iowa

That's awesome, Tad! This kind of write-up is exactly the kind of world building I'm hoping to encourage in Red Markets.

God, I've got to write faster. People that haven't even read the game are starting to play it without me....
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: clockworkjoe on July 06, 2015, 04:48:15 PM
(http://i.imgur.com/OvggWKr.gif)

(http://i.imgur.com/dLpouDR.jpg)

BEEP BOOP BOP LUDWIG IS A GOOD BOY
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Tadanori Oyama on July 06, 2015, 07:26:13 PM
God I want to play this game so badly...

Addition: Correction, I want to play it badly but I want to hear the RRPR crew playing it desperately.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Alethea on July 06, 2015, 08:10:48 PM
Addition: Correction, I want to play it badly but I want to hear the RRPR crew playing it desperately.

Seconded.

I'm now at three systems and counting of RPGs I want to learn/play because of listening to the RPPR crew.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Thesauradon on July 09, 2015, 01:23:23 AM
Can't delete this post in the wrong thread, I'll think of an intelligent response when I have one.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Twisting H on July 09, 2015, 09:41:23 AM
Looks like Molly Crabapple of The Guardian is part of the Red Market's playtest

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jul/08/new-york-stock-exchange-suspends-trading-wall-street-aftermath (http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jul/08/new-york-stock-exchange-suspends-trading-wall-street-aftermath)

Quote
I was met by fires in the streets, the screams of the dying tourists and the shouts of former traders offering sacrifices to their new gods.

I wake up from my whiskey stupor to the scent of burning motherboards, and I know that something is wrong. Out the window in New York’s Financial District, two men in torn bespoke suits roast a body over an oil drum. It looks like Thomas Friedman’s, but I can’t be sure.

“Brother can you spare a bitcoin?” one screams.

In the distance, I see fire.

I haul myself up, wipe the cigarette ash from my hair, and put on a flak jacket made solely from Golden Parachutes. “War. Horror. Hatred. Death.” I say, to no one in particular. “Looks like I’m gonna get a fucking Peabody.”

“Reporting live from the frontlines of #NYSEDown!” I tell my phone cam. Then I run out the door.

Outside, I take in the scene: street preachers denouncing Gnosticism, a lone banker trying to garrote himself with ticket tape, and the Bull – that gold, beautiful bull – running through the streets like Zeus. I chase after it for a quote, but, like the dubious financial transactions powered by super-compressors, it is too quick.

At Freedom Tower, lost German tourists ask “Where is 9/11?”, but the commemorative booklet sellers who cater to them have disappeared. FiDi’s new currency in the wake the stock market shutdown is glossy pics of The Twin Towers exploding, and the commemorative booksellers already made their killing and moved uptown.

Smoke. Weeping. Screams.

My face attractively smeared from the ash of burning cocaine, I pause for a selfie. Then, I see it.

All the tourists are dead. And missing their spleens.

I hire now-former JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon as my local fixer. “Tell me the ways of your people, caught as they are between the present and the ancient past”, I demand, offering him half a hotdog as payment. Instead, he weeps. He tried to seek shelter at the dungeon of his favorite pro domme, he tells me, but when his black card bounced she slammed the door in his face.

“She was the only human I ever loved,” he splutters. I pat his head in a sensitive but professional way, wiping excess hair gel on his shirt from Pink.

“War is hell” I tell the camera, while manfully clenching my neck.

In Zuccotti Park, once the home of Occupy, the ex-Goldman Sachs boys have built a squatters city out of Hermès gift boxes that were meant for their mistresses. They communicate only by wiggling their fingers. No cops try to roust them. Behind us, Tiffany’s burns.

Then we hear the chanting. Dear god. The chanting. Dimon and I run towards it.

“ALL HAIL THE GREAT GOD HSDSDAOOOF!”

That’s when we see those pile of spleens – some glistening fresh, others roasted black – presented as an eldritch offering before the Google Data Center. “HSDSDAOOOF! HSDSDAOOOF!” the traders shout, beating their CrossFit-sculpted chests. One climbs to the top of the data center’s ledge and throws himself into the pit. “I am the god of light and math”, he chants. The tubes rise up to consume him.

“Dimon! Ask them how much a spleen is going for?” I demand, and he translates. Though this is my beat, I never learned to speak Suit.

He asks, but does not translate the answer. Instead, he jumps at me, clawing at my left rib. I think I make out his local dialect: he wants my spleen, to sell it, and get money, and then give it to his Pro Domme. Perhaps she might love him again.

I see the Bull, leaping and golden, and jump onto its back. “My savior”, I whisper into its metallic ear. “Take me away from all this.”

But he has his own secrets to tell: the bull’s testicles contain the power of capitalism, which is why the police barricaded him during OWS. But his blue-clad servants became lax and, one night, a former occupier gave his balls an irreverent slap.

When Occupy uploaded the footage to Instagram, the crash was born.

The Bull sheds a single brass tear. “If you survive this hell, tell future microsecond traders of my fate”, he gasps, before dying like Aslan.

I sell his spleen. War is no time for sentiment, and I have my own deals to make with the old gods. I want a Polk Award.

I run past the looted Fed and past Ciprianis, where Jamie Dimon’s corpse now hangs from the balcony from its intestines, wearing the rumba panties given to him by his one true love.

The stock market looms in front of me, adorned with the severed heads of unpaid interns. Anderson Cooper poses before it, wearing his tight black t-shirt of war. He rips it off, to reveal another, tighter t-shirt.

“Shit’s gonna get real,” I say into my phone cam, as I turn my face to the more photogenic side. But I know that if I keep taking selfies, my phone will run out of juice.

Meanwhile, atop the barricades of The Autonomous Republic of Fie Die, Jamie Dimon’s rumba panties are flown as a flag. His dominatrix has declared herself the Emira of Goldman Sachs Caliphate. I kidnap Anderson Cooper, and sell the story to CNN using the last of my iPhone’s power.

Above me, I hear the whirring of drones.

Then, they release the bees.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Tadanori Oyama on July 09, 2015, 11:32:48 AM
Quote
Above me, I hear the whirring of drones.

Then, they release the bees.

"Drones Filled With Bees" is my "Blood on the Gauges" cover band.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: constructacon on July 10, 2015, 12:26:25 AM
quick question caleb you said you had a word document that you had that a prospective gm could use to run an Alpha playtest of...i have a group that playtested several of the NWOD books and are willing to help if you still need it.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Tadanori Oyama on July 10, 2015, 12:51:23 AM
quick question caleb you said you had a word document that you had that a prospective gm could use to run an Alpha playtest of...i have a group that playtested several of the NWOD books and are willing to help if you still need it.
Exterior playtesting hasn't started yet, unfortunately. At last official word it'll probably be sometime after GenCon 2015.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: clockworkjoe on July 10, 2015, 05:47:09 PM
THE FUTURE IS NOW http://www.cnn.com/2015/07/09/opinions/obeidallah-bush-zombie-economy-remarks/index.html (http://www.cnn.com/2015/07/09/opinions/obeidallah-bush-zombie-economy-remarks/index.html)
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Twisting H on July 23, 2015, 12:56:27 AM
Wow. Look what I stumbled across!

(http://i.imgur.com/30O17EFl.jpg)

http://www.deviantart.com/art/A-boy-and-his-dog-544816592 (http://www.deviantart.com/art/A-boy-and-his-dog-544816592)
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Sodajerk1313 on July 23, 2015, 08:59:51 PM
Thank you for telling me on Twitter where to go to let you know I'd really like to alpha test Red Markets, Caleb! can't wait for you to post that link. All my player keep talking about is how excited they are to try this system!
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: infinitejesting on July 26, 2015, 08:51:05 AM
Hi Caleb,

Whenever you're done, I'd love to get a copy of the Red Markets playtest. I'm looking for a group right now, so I might not be able to actually playest it, but I will definitely be able to do some copy editing at the very least. I'M ALL ABOUT THAT SENTENCE STRUCTURE.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Flawless P on July 26, 2015, 08:50:13 PM
I find the prospect of playtesting this relevant to my interests. Might I volunteer my services?
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Lordsloth on July 26, 2015, 11:16:11 PM
I'd like to help out with the playtest, but my group is a bit flaky at getting together regularly.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: sandcastles on July 27, 2015, 01:57:36 PM
VERY interested in that play copy for my group

looking forward to backing the project once it's in Kickstarter mode just like No Soul Left Behind. for now, I've got a consistent group to run it for and we record online, so that should be helpful feedback

only downside being I'm a bit of a slow reader, but we often have "well someone's missing. what backup should we do tonight?"
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: lurk on July 28, 2015, 12:03:05 AM
Hi.

I stopped lurking and made an account to post - solely that I may plead for a copy of Red Markets to beta test.

I don't have anyone to play with, but I can do minor proofreading if you just need more eyes, I would love a chance to peruse your handiwork.

Right.

Uh.

Thanks in advance, I guess...
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: trinite on July 28, 2015, 03:33:48 PM
Caleb, for us perverse, sadistic souls who are willing to proof read, let us know how best we can send you our corrections.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Alethea on July 28, 2015, 06:26:58 PM
Caleb, for us perverse, sadistic souls who are willing to proof read, let us know how best we can send you our corrections.
Seconded.

Also, are you sure you don't mean us perverse, masochistic souls?  ;D
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Jace911 on July 28, 2015, 10:55:27 PM
Having just downloaded my playtest packet a few hours ago, during which time I have been voraciously going through the Beta pdf, I figured it was high time I finally post that character concept I started more than a year ago ( :-\ ):

"MAKO"

Bio:
Any Taker crew knows you need the right skills and tools to take advantage of the post-zombie economy, but the best Taker crews are the ones who know that a good laptop and code monkey can be worth more than a pickup full of ammo. Thanks to Gnat and the Ubiq network people who can navigate online databanks and cut through firewalls or digital security systems are still in demand, and this demand is what keeps food on Mako's plate. Nora Adler is a former Berkeley programming undergrad with a dirty streak--in her college years she was a member of an online hacking group that loved to go after the email accounts of 1%ers and air out their embarrassing secrets on social media sites and chans. That ended when one of her net buddies raided the wrong server and got a visit from the FBI as a reward, sending the rest of them scrambling for cover. In the year after the raid Nora worked to keep her nose clean and finish her degree, planning on working straight as an information security consultant for one of the big corporations she'd humiliated as a hacktivist.

Then came the Crash, and suddenly all her technical knowledge and Stick-It-To-Em spirit meant nothing to the screaming undead nightmares on television. And soon, in her university's halls.

Nora's story of survival during the early days of the Crash was more or less the same as everyone else's: a cocktail of random factors some would call dumb luck and the primal driving fear that others call perseverance. By the time the borders between the Loss and the Recession were established Nora was trapped on the wrong side with countless others, in particular a group that would found the enclave of Prosperity within the gates of an old country club. With millions of Casualties and a heavily-defended river between her and any surviving family, Nora gradually accepted that she would never see home again and set herself to making a new one in the Loss. It was during this time that she first met Dante, a medical student, and became involved with him. In hindsight this would turn out to be one of the biggest mistakes of her life, as Dante proved to be a manipulative and deceitful lover. When Nora was bitten but not infected by a Casualty on a supply run--a cold bite--Dante helped her hide the bite from the rest of the community, but led her to believe that she was still at risk of infection unless she received regular doses of "Supressin", a new drug being developed as a possible cure for the Blight. Dante claimed he could get his hands on the drug for her--in reality placebo shots--while also spreading a rumor in the Enclave that she was an Immune, making her paranoid and mistrustful of the other survivors.

Although she didn't recognize it at the time, Nora was trapped in an emotionally abusive relationship. Dante was the only person in the world she believed she could trust, and her fear of being outed as an "Immune" prevented her from seeking outside help. If Dante hadn't been bitten himself while outside the Enclave, she would probably still be stuck with him today. As he'd done with Nora, Dante concealed his bite from the rest of the Enclave until he could return to their compound and dose himself with the actual Supressin-K7864 he had stashed for emergencies--Nora had suffered a serious panic attack just as he was about to leave, and in his hurry to calm her down he'd forgotten to pack it. By the time he made it home the Blight was already bubbling through his system, and just as the two of them were alone in their home the infection reached his brain. Nora embraced him, and he bit a chunk out of her face.

If she hadn't been able to get her hands on his gun, she wouldn't have lived through the next minute. And if she hadn't stumbled across the stashed Supressin injector while digging frantically through Dante's medkit, she would have become a Vector instead of a Latent. When the neighbors arrived to investigate the screams and gunshot, Nora took one look at her mangled wound and knew they wouldn't ask questions before putting her down next to Dante. She grabbed his survival kit, still packed from his trip, and fled into the Loss.

Over the years Nora drifted from community to community, hiding her disfigurement and condition however she could, until she settled with a crew of Takers who were willing to hire on a Latent with useful skills. Her experiences with Dante and life as a Taker have given her an almost pathological distrust of strangers--her joining a crew was by necessity, rather than a desire for companionship, although she slowly learned to rely on them. She still holds a special fear of Vectors, particularly males--psychologists would diagnose her with BPS-related PTSD, if she bothered to see one--and sometimes imagines Dante's snapping face over theirs. To avoid drawing stares and looks of disgust she took to wrapping gauze around her lower face and wearing a shark mouth bandana over it, which earned her the Taker handle "Mako". She rarely speaks--when she does her voice is little more than a low growl or harsh whisper--and gets by with a mix of shrugs, head gestures, and hand signals. Her main role in the crew is as a finder and security specialist, searching for lucrative jobs on Ubiq networks, looking up information on clients and other useful details, and getting past leftover digital safeguards in old world treasure troves--aside from that, she's not bad with a bow.

Her sole dependent is Rourke, an old Gulf War One veteran she met out in the Loss her first year away from Prosperity. Rourke taught everything she knows about surviving as a Taker, becoming almost a surrogate father figure to her despite her condition, until the day Mako hacked his leg off at the knee to save him from a bite. Now she supports him with the Bounty she makes as a Taker, paying for his well-being in the crew's Enclave until the day she can afford to send him over the River and into the Recession. As for herself, Mako hopes to save up enough hard cash to allow her to retire to Leper without having to work as a slave for the rest of her life.

Soft Spot:
Helping Victims--Just because the world isn’t fair and people take advantage of each other doesn’t mean you should just sit back and let it happen. This isn't a general desire to help the needy so much as a dislike of seeing others being exploited or used.
Weak Spot:
Once Bitten, Twice Shy--Slow to trust thanks to her previous lover. Still sees his face on male Vectors thanks to BPS-related PTSD.
Strong Spot:
Latent--Can’t be infected, but hated and feared by most.

STRENGTH 1 - Health 1
Melee 1
Resilience 1
SPEED 2 - Initiative 2
Shoot 1 (Shoot Bow 2)
Sneak 1
Athletics 2
ADAPTABILITY 2 - Haul 3
Awareness 1
Self-Control 2
Criminality 1
INTELLIGENCE 3 - Meme 3
Foresight 1
Research 3
First Aid 1
Profession (Hacktivist) 2
CHARM 1 - Support 1
Networking 1
WILL 2



Thoughts?
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: infinitejesting on August 01, 2015, 08:20:40 AM
Hey guys, I'll probably post about this on some meetup boards, but if there's anyone in the Boston area that would like to run a playtest of this, let me know!
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: beckett on August 03, 2015, 07:02:10 PM
Hello, can I get in on the playtest please?
If capitalism's horrors didn't sell me, your panel appearance at Gen Con did.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Tadanori Oyama on August 03, 2015, 10:57:13 PM
I just got my printed copy of Red Markets. I had a print shop make one for me but it doesn't have the awesome front page like Caleb's copies at GenCon did.

Play test campaign begins on Tuesday next week.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: garrettkahn86 on August 04, 2015, 12:11:16 PM
I just listened to your gen con panel and would love to run red markets. No one else in my group listens to rppr so I'll get unbiased feed back.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: RapturePaladin on August 04, 2015, 02:07:05 PM
Hello there! Long time listener, but I'm not on the forums much.

I'd love to be a part of the playtest. I can for sure offer reading feedback, but I'll also try and run a few games for my (predominantly pathfinder) group.

Also just want to say I've been listening to the podcast for years, and because of y'all I want to try and get them into more conversation/sanity challenging games like CoC, A Dirty World, The Long Year, Eclipse Phase, and Better Angels!
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Tadanori Oyama on August 05, 2015, 02:32:26 PM
We generated our playtest Enclave last night. It's based on a fictionalized version of a bridge connecting to a huge island off the coast of Washington state, near were we game.

1 ) Name
Deception

2 ) Location
Deception Pass, Washington State on the connecting island of the Deception Pass Bridge
(http://i.imgur.com/E3DMPHg.jpg)

3 ) Defenses
Built on an island. Spires were raised prior to the Crash on the island which were repurposed for broadcast and vision. Bridges have had fortifications and gates built onto them.

4 ) History
Founded by a group of non-commissioned officers and enlisted from the military base on Whidbey Island left behind during evacuation. They assumed the military would be back for them but after a few months began broadcasting for aid. A group of millers and a collection of fishermen eventually responded, bringing much needed food and supplies to build up the island into an actual Enclave.

5 ) Exports
Raw wood and lumber and specialized knowledges

6 ) Imports
Building materials (nails, glue, tools) and medical supplies

7 ) Competition
South Whidbey: Founded by the naval enlisted who split off from the marines it was later reinforced by a local yacht club and the ferry operators. They have salavaged a few of the state ferries and are one of the only options for moving large amounts of gear around the sound. There is a deep rivalry between the South Whidbey enclave and Deception.

Hospital: A collection of surgeon and farmers manage a small enclave which produces food, medical services, and burials. Located on Whidbey Island itself.

The Carvers: An enclave in the port city of Everett run by the workers at the wood and paper mill. They are supported by the engineers for the train system who have directed the tracks and trains to serve as mobile zombie defenses and distractions.

The Free Market: A protected bay in Anacortes managed by the wealthy citizens of the town and the US customs agents from the border patrol with support from the forest service.

Steel Wheels: An enclave with the ability to produce metal goods in Mukilteo. They are also the only enclave with a professional made distillery.

North Point: The military base, originally abandoned by both the marines and navy enlisted has been reclaimed by the Recession as a Settlement. Insult to injury, many of the officers at the settlement are the same ones originally removed from the base. North Point presents navigational difficulties due to their tendency to fire on ANY ship that comes within their sights and range.

8 ) Social Structure
Tribunal rule with the head of each of the groups sitting on a council. Individual disputes are brought to the tribunal and majority rules. The exception is matters of enclave security which must be resolved unanimously.
Due to the marines having been left behind while their officers were saved the adage "don't call me sir, I work for a living" has been enshrined into law. This attitude has spread even to the non-military citizens and a general dislike of military officers and of anyone in a "command" caste is common to citizens of Deception.
Everyone works in Deception. You do duty or you do labor. The enclave hates the idea of leaving anyone behind (see above) and will find work for anyone in normal circumstances. Exceptional circumstances sometimes result in exceptions but people are sympathetic and will allow others to "donate" to supply someone unable to work. Willful violation of a duty is a capital offense punishable in one of two fashions, determined by the criminal. They are either allowed to leave via the bridge road on the condition that they do not make any attempt to come back or they are set adrift on a non-millable section of wood.

9 ) Neighborhoods
The Spires- The bridge spires where intel and technical individuals live and work.
The Road- The bridge itself has become a no-go zone. Only The Watch, the military responsible for manning the gates, is allowed to stand on the road. Anyone who steps on the road and gets noticed by The Watch is forced to work a full 8 hour shift by weight of tradition (this was intended to discourage kids from wandering around but has become a game, trying to dodge the Watch and walk the road without getting caught).
Up Town- The wooden shacks built high on the island, under the bridge itself. They are the most protected from the elements and the most comfortable. The upper class lives there.
Down Town- The majority of the settlement, quickly built wooden housing, often in long house form with a dozen or more people in a single "home".
The Yard- A protected pool and work area used by the millers to float wood and do the rough cuts before refining the trees into building materials.
The Dock- Across the island from the Yard, the dock is the rough port, a pier that sticks out from the island to provide some shelter for the boats. Some of the fisherman live here.

10 ) VIPs
The Tribunal (also known as Top, Chop, and Slop)
Top, military leader Sergent Gibbs
Foreman, lumber leader George Foreman
Cap'n, fishing leader, Tanelle

Gun and weapon quarter master Rodriguez

Master of the intel spire Vlad

Corporal Robert O'Nell, in charge of the falconry program

Salty, political extremist and isolationist who is attempting to built a fence in the ocean

Dr. Nathan Simms, former oceanographer turned bootlegger who has converted his research vessel into a refinery. He's gone more than a little crazy but the brew he makes from seaweed is basically rubbing alcohol which is actually useful to the enclave so he is allowed his oddities.

Muckscraper Jolly Buccanon, phobia of heights, he cannot live in the main city and lives in a wrecked boat pulled onto the rocky shore.

Former botanist (and former companion to Dr. Simms) Dr. Herbert Olivia, attempting to breed crops to survive the harsh environment of the islands.

The Red Horizon Cult- A practical joke that got out of control, this cult believes that they can undergo vision quests, like the native americans, by fasting an entire day and then drinking the alcoholic mixture that Dr. Simms creates in his lab. They are called the Red Horizon because they believe a new disaster is approaching, something as bad or worse than the Crash, and want to forewarn the others. The enclave thinks they are harmless enough but is somewhat concerned that their practices could result in a self inflicted death of the members aren't careful. Dr. Simms is viewed as a prophet by the cult but the doctor himself isn't a member and doesn't even seen to be aware of the cult's practices.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Ezechiel357 on August 06, 2015, 02:13:15 AM
I would like to throw in my little contribution.

Since RedMarket is all about scarcity of goods, here is some figures to take in consideration when generating settlements and enclaves.
All figures are in metrics, but they are easy to convert.

How much food to I need to feed my settlement?
Depending on the farming practices, skills, lands and weather, a grain crop (typically wheat) will yield between 1.5 to 8.2 ton of grains per hectare (1 hectare = 2.5 acres). Current EU and US yields are around 7-7.5 ton/h.
Considering a calorie intake of about 2’000 kcal/day/person (a bit less for woman than for man) and that a kilo of grain supply 3’270 kcal (it includes moisture content and indigestible fibers), one hectare of grain producing 7.5 tons of grain can support the calorie intake of 33.5 persons for a year.

But that’s the best case scenario: it requires good lands, capable farmer, adequate supply of fertilisers and good seeds. It is very reasonable, in dire circumstances, to see this value divided by 5 to the lower end of the spectrum so 6 persons will be fed per hectare.
For a settlement of 1’000 persons, between 30 to 170 hectares will be needed. That’s  300’000 sqm (550x550 m) to 1’700’000 sqm (1300x1300 m) (to convert, keep it simple 1 meter = 1 yard).
Keep in mind that with this serving of calorie, considering mostly physical work, the population will very quickly become “lean” (for physical work, the calorie intake can climb easily to 2’500 or even 3’000 in harsh condition like winter). Five years after the beginning of the Blight, being overweight will be a clear sign of wealth.
Also, this diet on grain is not balanced and will be missing several micronutrients unless multiple crops are grown. Finally, potatoes field can feed about the same quantity of person as the same field of grains.

Additional points to consider, a large proportion of American grains are from Monsanto. These grains are sterile, which means that contrary to traditional practices, the farmer cannot save some grains to seeds his field for next year crop: he has to buy new grains.  Those facilities manufacturing such grains are out of order (only a few are on the right side of the Mississippi), so unless there was some old grains left by an institute or some organic farmers, once the stock is depleted, nothing will grow.

If seeds from old crops are used, do not expect the same yield. Very likely, they will be sturdier and less fragile than the one coming from GMO and selective breeding, but they won’t be as performing. And worse, they might not resist the latest Round Up version, which have been specifically engineered not to harm Monsanto seeds, but might could very well burn other crops…

We are not bird, we are meat-eater !
Not for long my friend, unless you belong to the 1%...
To grow one kg of beef meat, 7 kg of grains need to be spent.

Hold on, we don’t need to give grains to cows, they can graze!

Sure my friend, as long as you have ample grass growing. And you need much more land to grow pasture to feed your cow that to use grains. And considering that grains will be used to feed people, feed cattle and manufacture biofuel, there is not much chance that a fertile patch of land will be left for grazing.
Other figures that can be useful: 4 kg of grain for a kilo of pork meat, 2kg of grain for a kg of poultry meat and a bit less than that for a kg of fish.

Idea for an Enclave:
I would not be surprised to see some huge mall being completely sealed, filled with water and converted into giant fish farm. Hint: uncontaminated dead bodies are an excellent source of protein. Cremation is such a waste of precious resources when you can convert them into fish…
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: trinite on August 06, 2015, 11:25:44 AM
A lot of those modern estimates, though, are dependent on heavy equipment (i.e. tractors and combines, etc.) for maximally efficient plowing, sowing, and reaping.

Maybe a better source of metrics would be pre-industrial subsistence agriculture. Here's what seems to be a pretty good table of average yields during the Medieval period in Belgium: http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/thelemur/ars/mundane_background/General/medieval_agriculture.html (http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/thelemur/ars/mundane_background/General/medieval_agriculture.html)

After a few seasons of trial and error, I suspect Loss farmers would be able to do a little bit better than that. We do have a better understanding of fertilization and soil chemistry than the Medievals did, and also tech like steel plows that make farming easier but don't depend on cheap fossil fuel inputs.

As for animal husbandry, it will probably only be done with marginal, non-plantable land, as was the pre-industrial norm. Also, with the decline of human population density and livestock grazing, wildlife populations will likely return to higher levels, meaning hunting will probably be a significant source of meat for enclaves (at least in areas with relatively low casualty density).

P.S. I started a new thread to collect together all of the Red Markets inspiration material in one place: http://slangdesign.com/forums/index.php/topic,1946.msg43929.html (http://slangdesign.com/forums/index.php/topic,1946.msg43929.html) I'm gonna cross-post this there.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: The Lost Carol on August 06, 2015, 01:01:36 PM
I'll cross post here. It seems like a few of us want to be part of the beta, but don't have groups / groups don't meet regularly/won't be receptive to play testing something. We don't just have to limit ourselves to proofreading. We can band together and play via Skype or Google Hangouts. EDIT We're all set, but if you want to make up a group there's hopefully more people who'd be willing to play with you.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: clockworkjoe on August 06, 2015, 03:33:39 PM
I would think that farming productivity wouldn't be as low as medieval ages because of improvements in agricultural knowledge, weather forecasting, satellite imagery (still available thanks to Ubiq) and the sheer amount of available machinery for looting. Keep in mind, takers are still very busy 5 years after the Crash - there's still loads of goodies available for the taking out there. One drone combine can do a tremendous amount of work, after all.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Ezechiel357 on August 06, 2015, 05:41:36 PM
I would think that farming productivity wouldn't be as low as medieval ages because of improvements in agricultural knowledge, weather forecasting...
Completely agree.
The main evolution are selective breeding, knowledge and agricultural practices. Heavy duty equipment allows one man to do the work of dozen, if not hundred. But otherwise, there is no need to dig deep or do things that a man cannot do with simple tools. Especially hundreds hungry men. Technology allows to go faster.
The lowest range of the output correspond to third world country without much equipment ( and definitely no heavy duty machinery) and difficult weather conditions. I believe it is reasonable to take that as the lowest limit baring extraordinary hostile conditions.

So if a settlement want to grow crops on the roof of some building, a typicall 20x20m building (enough for 2 to 4 average flats per story depending the number of rooms) does only provide enough for one man, with high performing farming practice. If he is not so competent, with limited fertlisers, he might need four rooftops to sustain himself. Hard to see a large community only living on rooftop crops for example.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: trinite on August 06, 2015, 08:40:02 PM
I would think that farming productivity wouldn't be as low as medieval ages because of improvements in agricultural knowledge, weather forecasting, satellite imagery (still available thanks to Ubiq) and the sheer amount of available machinery for looting. Keep in mind, takers are still very busy 5 years after the Crash - there's still loads of goodies available for the taking out there. One drone combine can do a tremendous amount of work, after all.

Sure, we keep all the advances in knowledge, but we lose virtually all of the high-density energy inputs.  That means no gasoline for your drone combine, unless you find a huge supply somewhere. Also no industrial-scale fertilizer production, and no targeted pesticides and herbicides (and GMO crops tailored to using those chemicals. We certainly should be above Medieval yield levels, at least after a few years of adaptation. But we won't be anywhere near modern Western yield rates.

But the biggest difference will be the amount of manpower needed for farming: ploughmen, reapers, manure-spreaders...there's a reason why 30% of the U.S. population worked on farms in 1920, while less than 2% do now.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: vthings on August 15, 2015, 02:54:10 PM
I think I'm a little late to the party, catching up on RPPR episodes now that I'm commuting again, I would like to give the playtest a go if that's still going on.  I've been really interested in the ideas behind Red Markets and have talked over with some of my players about it and they seem intrigued.  I'm in the process of finding some new players here in the Portland area but I just took a a job at an IT place so I think my seats will probably fill up pretty soon.

What I would do with the rules is go over them myself first and then present them to my players.  If I can close the sale with them we'll do a one-off to familiarize ourselves with the nuts and bolts.  From there I'll have them make characters and we'll do a multiple session game and give the tires a good kick and other mechanical analogies.  For Caleb's sake I'll be doing rather a lot of note taking and record our sessions.  I've got a decent setup for that so the audio quality won't suck balls.  I'll record an after-session analysis with everyone to get their thoughts about the way the game went.  Unless they just argue like idiots.  I'll load up Audacity and cut the BS out ahead of time.  I have a feeling Caleb has better things to do than to listen to nerds he doesn't know bitch at each other about dumb crap in and out of character.  So if I can't get everyone off their cellphones for longer than five minutes I'll just hand in notes.

I don't really have any character or enclave concepts to post at this time.  I've been purposefully avoiding that thought exercise with the idea that I'm going to be the one running the game and I'll let my players do that.  I want to keep my own expectations a blank slate so they can take the reins on that and I don't want my stupid ego getting in the way.  Good luck with the writing and looking forward to backing the Kickstarter.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: D6xD6 - Chris on August 16, 2015, 08:07:19 PM
Just a quick suggestion after reading the beta and listening to the APs:

The Scam system seems quite entertaining, but it might need a little "cheat sheet" or template to guide new Markets and Takers.  Since it uses non-linear time, maybe setting up a cheat sheet as a storyboard-type playmat might be useful. 

This isn't an "official" reply to the playtest questionnaire because it might be something useful to add to the current playtests to see if it helps.  Along those lines, a similar three-column image showing what rolls are free, what needs to be bought, and what charges to use might be useful.

I love it so far, though. :) 
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: michfigs on August 17, 2015, 01:08:17 PM
Fairly new to the podcast (I heard of Ross Payton through the BAMF radio podcast a while back) and have been following since then.

If possible, I would like to give a go to the Red Market play test. I have a few players who might be able to swing a few short scenarios.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: jefimeyerhoff on August 17, 2015, 03:34:17 PM
Yeah, I'm new to the forums too.  I've got ~20 or so episodes of podcasts and actual plays under my belt.  I'd be happy to help with the Red Markets beta.  I don't have an active play group but I can proofread if another set of eyes would be helpful.  If not, no sweat - guess I'll just buy your book  ;D
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: KillItWithFire on August 19, 2015, 02:53:50 PM
Long time lurker, first time posting.

I finally broke down and made an account, and would like very much to get in on the alpha playtest of Red Markets, if it's not too late. I have a weekly group that would devour this game and demand seconds.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: TSNCLRBLK on August 26, 2015, 03:53:33 PM
Same as KillItWithFire, this finally got me to make a post. I'd love to read the beta, and, if my group isn't too flaky, give it a run and record it.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Daegan on August 27, 2015, 10:55:18 AM
Redundant post with the old Gencon one, but what they hey?  Home group's interested in playing Red Markets.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: SageNytell on August 28, 2015, 10:43:50 AM
I have a new group of players, primarily employed or previously employed by... let's say we all work in the field of taxes. When I described the concept of this game, there were cheers.
If it's not too late, we would love to sign up for a beta playtest!
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Straggler on August 31, 2015, 02:49:24 PM
I've got a regular group with a few people who are always micro-managing their supplies and logistics. I think they'd really enjoy red-markets so I'm throwing my name into the hat to get a beta-PDF. I'd be happy to fill out playtest surveys as well.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Dradis on September 07, 2015, 02:19:07 AM
Not sure if I am a bit late. Getting caught up in the podcast. If you still need more playtesters I have a group I can run it for. Promise to fill out the surveys.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: lightpagoda on September 12, 2015, 07:45:29 PM
I dont know if my group will finish our current campaign in time to run the playtest rules but I would also like to get my hands on the rules so I can make the attempt.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Grey_Stranger on September 20, 2015, 10:40:06 PM
If at all possible I would love to get in on this play-test shenanigans.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Wooberman on October 07, 2015, 12:02:23 PM
Please add me to the list of Wannabe Playtesters!
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Sir William on October 10, 2015, 11:54:14 AM
Would love to help out with the play test. Planning on recording a mini adventure actual play. 
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Morbid on October 14, 2015, 02:07:56 PM
After listening to the last Game Designer's Workshop, does anyone have their own playmat that they'd like to share?  That idea (plus keeping track of things with poker chips and/or coins) sounded very cool.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Tomsawyer on October 14, 2015, 09:51:07 PM
After listening to the last Game Designer's Workshop, does anyone have their own playmat that they'd like to share?  That idea (plus keeping track of things with poker chips and/or coins) sounded very cool.

Here is the one that they were talking about, my group really likes it because it lays everything out in front of us.

(http://i.imgur.com/TTIPVbx.jpg)
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Morbid on October 15, 2015, 01:11:19 PM
That's awesome!  Thanks for sharing, I think it will make things way easier for my more visual and less number-y players.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Alethea on October 15, 2015, 04:35:00 PM
After listening to the last Game Designer's Workshop, does anyone have their own playmat that they'd like to share?  That idea (plus keeping track of things with poker chips and/or coins) sounded very cool.

Here's a jpg of the play mat if anyone wants to print it out. I have the Gimp file version if anyone with actual graphic design experience wants to play with it, just PM me.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Mox313 on October 17, 2015, 06:16:56 PM
Is it too late to receive a playtest copy? Pretty please?
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: vincorine on October 28, 2015, 05:30:05 PM
Probably way too late for this, but on a recent trip I binge-listened to all the GDW episodes and now want help alpha/beta playtest. Caleb, if you think another group's feedback of realistically 3-4 sessions will help, send along a copy.

Here's my personal character concept if you're still looking for them:

Isaac Huxley was a scientist working for a large pharmaceutical organization when The Crash happened. His company saw The Blight as a market opportunity, and immediately began working on a formula to delay infection (because curing the infection isn't economically viable, you must make sure people need your product for life). His brother was bitten soon afterwards, and he stole a lab sample of the lead anti-Blight compound. Unfortunately, it had not been safety tested on humans, and administering the compound killed his brother. His brother's infected wife fled, and now roams The Loss trying to put her out of her misery, and collect enough money that he'll be able to care for his niece and nephew...
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Cthuluzord on October 30, 2015, 02:59:07 PM
Playtest Update and Reminders

Hello everyone,

I’ll start by saying thank you. The amount of time and dedication you’ve spent reading, critiquing, and playing Red Markets is one of the most encouraging things to happen in my short game design career. I’m so grateful for everyone that’s taken the time to write up their sessions on the forums. It’s really great to see, and witnessing how you guys are interacting in-character online has given me a dozen more ideas for future products and features.

We are entering November, meaning there is little over a month left in the beta. I’m already compiling playtest reports and my own notes into a master change log.  Here’s a reminder of the plan:

•   Get all the playtests in by the Dec. 20th deadline
•   Use Christmas break and (hopefully) snow days to do a massive revision of the rules text
•   Run a second playtest campaign with the RPPR crew in late Winter/Spring to test the post-Beta revisions. Revise the book as I go and plan the Kickstarter campaign.
•   Ross posts the first playtest campaign as we start playing the second, hopefully building up some hype.
•   Kickstarter launches in early Summer, sometime after school lets out and man the comments section full time.
•   If the book doesn’t fund: cry forever.
•   If it does fund: do a jig. Perhaps even a “Carlton.”
•   After my jig, distribute Beta 2 to backers.
•   Complete the setting stuff, edit, layout, art, etc.

But all of this hinges upon you – the noble playtesters – turning in the playtest reports. I’ve noticed more participation in the game than I’ve received feedback…by a much larger margin than expected. I understand some of this is inevitable, and many of you are merely waiting to get more games under your belt in order to make an informed decision, but we are quickly approaching the point at which I need those reports back.

The audio is priceless, and listening to you guys play my game every day on the ride to work has deeply informed my revision plans already. But whenever possible, I still need as many detailed playtest surveys as I can get. The audio is great for in-depth analysis, but Red Markets is a big book in need of big changes. In short, I need breadth as well as depth, and while I can drop a hundred playtest reports on my office floor and collate revisions all at once, I can’t listen to a dozen AP’s simultaneously.

So as we enter the final month, that’s what I wanted to say. Thank you to everyone that’s reported in so far. For everyone else, thank you and PLEASE email in November if you have not reported in yet. I need all of you if I’m going to help make the game better.
My address is stokes353@gmail.com.

Happy taking,
Caleb
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Morbid on January 14, 2016, 02:17:49 PM
I just finished up the "No Bouncing Back from this" job with one of my playtest groups.  (The holidays interfered with doing so earlier.)  I enjoy reading the other ones, so here are the highlights:

They really loved Spots and kept making more trouble for themselves.  Even when it wasn't quite enough to get the Will point, everyone enjoyed playing to the Spots.  ("I'm externalizing my frustration on this crazy old lady!")

- They sent the Chinese army troops to their enclave, reasoning that the troops would have useful skills.
- Banhammer (the latent) got chewed up during the locust/casualty combo in the second leg.
- In the third leg, they killed all the Slavers and then debated a lot about what to do with the Immunes.  In the end, they decided to send them somewhere safe and figure it out later.
- No luck catching horses in the final leg.

Then we had a case of breaking math once they got to the actual job site.  Something like 7-8 failures in a row just to get over the fence without attracting the casualties inside.  They finally got inside and immediately split up (a gift to any Market).  Banhammer tried to go through the vents, but they hadn't been quiet enough and the two Meek knew they were there. 

Pa drops one of the doorjam things down the vent to try and fix Banhammer in place.  Banhammer dodges, but when the doorjam punctures the walls of the vent, Pa fires the rifle at that spot.  He only hits BH in the leg but fills it up, damage spills over to the body and gets him within 4 boxes of going Vector.  Meanwhile Mal and Gnat climb up to the catwalks and run into Ma who is claiming to be a Shepherd.  Gnat immediately gets suspicious but all those weird cults run together for her (failed Sensitivity). 

In my favorite part, Gnat introduces herself as the ubiq admin who saved a ton of people.  Then Mal comes up with a lie to distract Ma - saying that they need some of the expired antibiotics stockpiled there as part of a new potential cure.  It was a good line and a good roll.   Now Ma (who believes that the Blight is divine punishment and should affect everyone) has to choose what to do.  Trying to kill either blows her cover but here is one person who saved thousands of lives from the Blight and another who claims he can stop it entirely.

She ultimately tries to shove Gnat off the catwalk and stab Mal with a casualty-blood covered knife.  It doesn't go well, but the tensest moment of the night was when they realized that they didn't check her for Latent veins before shooting her in the chest. 

Banhammer manages to drag himself out of the vent and hammers Pa down to the babies below. 

During all of these, Grizz is sneaking around below.  First he finds the canned food that Ma and Pa have been living off of.  Then he manages to find some of the rubber, enough to technically complete their contract.  Basically, Grizz has a totally professional time gathering supplies.  They meet up and limp home, forced to leave behind a lot of supplies due to the milling casualties attracted by the rifle fire on the catwalks. 

In each session I ran, I noticed players getting more serious as their charges dwindled.  They really did want a horse or to do more looting at Bounce but didn't feel confident enough about getting away with their limited resources. 

Most of the other feedback matches what I heard discussed on GDW; frustration with no defaulting (they felt it should be possible but at a higher cost of some kind) or losing track of what you can spend rations to boost, initially.  I had noticed that players mostly used the Playmat in combat, so I made a version with Twitch/Tactic/Multitask/Focus in addition to the Endurance and Rations.  Then I made a (slightly busier) version that listed the example actions under each so it was both a reference sheet and playmat.  I've attached it to this post in case they are useful for anyone else.

Everyone seemed to have fun and expressed an interest in playing more in the future. 

And to finish on headcanon, my wife has decided that Gnat is short for Gnatalie Portman.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: FHRegulus on January 21, 2016, 11:51:38 PM
So we're gearing up for our Red Markets minicampaign and we put together our Enclave, the surrounding areas and two characters. The concept was put together by Kat as a "Latent Hospital/Society" so we built on top of what she had and I think it ended up really cool.

Latent Mercy General
Latent Mercy General is located in what was once the LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City. The surrounding buildings have been rolled in to LMG's territory to make for a considerably sized enclave. The vast majority of the population resides within the hospital proper.

2. Location
Salt Lake City.

3. Defenses
The strictest of quarantines helped LDS transition into LMG. Add to that the barricading of the surrounding area comprised of the many, many vehicles people drove their loved ones to the hospital in and LMG's autowall is more than enough to keep the majority of casualties at bay. The buildings that were brought into the fold of LMG are connected by bridges that allow its inhabitants to walk from building to building without ever having to head to ground level.

4. History
LMG has its roots with the Latter Day Saints. When the Crash came they were prepared. The hospital fell fairly quickly during the chaos with a handful of doctors and other staff barricading themselves in the upper floors to protect themselves from the vectors. One of these doctors believed he received a vision from Jesus instructing him to find a cure for the disease ravaging the world.

Little did he know that it was simply the fever dreams of a man going septic after a scratch from a vector. The greatest miracle came soon after the others realized he was infected. He didn't turn. The doctor was what would later be referred to as a latent. The others took this as a sign from God on High. They held on long enough for a group of travelers desperate for medicine to clear the hospital. It is from these two groups that the LMG was formed.

5. Top Exports
Medicine and medical training. LMG is known around the area as the place to secure new meds. They produce them in-house and medical supplies make up the vast majority of their income. Also of note is that they aren't above training outsiders in the medical arts for the right price.

6. Top Imports
Medicine isn't grown on trees. It takes raw materials to manufacture them and the LMG is happy to buy what they need from outsiders.

Additionally, due to their unfavorable location in the city they import a great deal more water than others with direct access to the springs or Salt Lake.

Finally, weapons of all manner are in short supply within LMG. Guns, crowbar, and crossbows are all highly sought after goods within the enclave.

7. Competition
Salt Wave Station is a rival enclave built around a local radio station that is still broadcasting. The people of SWS are almost all young and headstrong. They watched their friends die just like the rest of us but it lit a fire in them. They're more than willing to provide free entertainment to the city but distributing actual, important information through them comes at a high price. Additionally, they employ an incredibly dangerous group of Takers, The Risk Jockeys, who undertake incredibly dangerous jobs and then tell stories about them on air (with an Ubiq simulcast).

The Station is a strange group of survivors that have made a portable enclave. Built on the skeletons of train cars, the Station dominates the rails of Salt Lake City. Some cars have been converted into what can only be described as mobile weapons platforms while others are open air agricultural boxes. It is thanks to the completion of many proposed lines that the Station is able to circle Salt Like City without having to reverse and they've engineered a machine/system to 'quietly' move the trains with man-power (in order to save their fuel reserves for when they really need to boogie). The Station is known as a large trade hub that services any group in the city with enough bounty to barter and follows a schedule of where the will be. Nothing prevents the Station from arriving on time. They also employ the Taker group known as The Rail Walkers to those willing to pay.

The Repository survives in the re-purposed Salt Lake City Library and is an incredibly technophobic organization. They believe that Ubiq and those who use it (namely Takers) are criminals who must be punished. For a group run by former librarians they are incredibly cutthroat but their well-learned nature gives them an edge over others as they possess a great deal of information not on Ubiq that they withhold from others unless bribed. Many traps built around the city are the result of someone from the Repository trying out something they've learned recently (like a homemade claymore or ankle-catch).

8. Social Structure

LMG runs in complete contrary to almost every other enclave in the Loss. It is ruled by the Latent and being a Latent is considered an honor within its walls. The Convalescence are a group of willingly Latent doctors and researchers that shroud themselves in simple robes detailed with black lines while they pursue the ever mythical cure for the Blight. The society as a whole has adopted a bastardized evolution of the conservative ways of Mormon culture. All members of the Convalescence remain covered up while in public (making things like gender and race irrelevant) and are convinced that if there is a way to force the virus into latency then there must be a way to cure it. The final task for a doctor or researching seeking to join the Convalescence is to willingly infect themselves with the Blight and then inject themselves with Supressin K-7864 to become Latent themselves as "only those truly invested in finding the cure have any hope of doing so."

The Convalescence is opposed by the other major party within LMG. The Claim consists of uninfected members who act as the driving forces behind LMG in order to ensure its continued existence. Run by a former health insurance specialist, the Claim is an absolutely cutthroat organization dedicated to "the Bottom Line." They higher Takers, they arrange trade, they direct the vast majority of the Orderlies, and they make sure the Convalescence can continue to pursue a cure that most high ranking members of the Claim are sure is never coming. Just like insurance companies in real life, the Claim is a group dedicated to taking every piece of Bounty they legally can from the working man.

On hand to prevent the spread of infection and to put down Vectors are the Orderlies, the security forces of LMG. The Orderlies answer to both ruling factions and are split by those who are and aren't infected so it is rare that a Latent Orderly will ever interact with an uninfected Orderly. To become an orderly you must be "processed" by the Claim. Individuals undergoing processing are bunked up in the Evaluation Room (or ER) over the course of their trial period.

The vast majority of the population are Latents and are known as "Patience" (something they must show and a clever play on words). They live above the non-infected individuals of LMG. Many of the uninfected brought their loved ones here believing that LMG would be the best chance at a cure they could find. The uninfected live in the areas collectively referred to as "The Waiting Room."

Anyone who is unable to work in LMG is "Discharged" from the hospital and released into the world.

9. Neighborhoods
The Morgue: The area directly outside the barricade. Casualties are few and far between but it is a stark reminder of the dangers outside LMG.

The Waiting Room: Comprised of the uninfected that wait to hear if the cure has been found for their loved ones. Also individuals with no interest in the cure live within the sprawl of ground level buildings.

The Adjustment: Where the Claim exists. It's next on the upward stack of locations after the Waiting Room.

Pediatrics: Where the large orphan population lives. They are required to work the bridge farms and perform other tasks in order to prevent themselves from becoming discharged.

ER (Evaluation Room): Where Orderlies in training live. Many Takers also make use of the ER as their home.

The Walkways: The Walkways contain many rooftop gardens and the bridges that connect the various buildings to LMG proper.

The Quarantine Zone: Where the Patience and the majority of the Convalescence live. Higher quality of living for Latents than for the uninfected.

The Operating Room: This is where the Convalescence and Caduceus do their good work. Almost no one has ever been this high up. The rooftop of LMG is a large rooftop garden where the Convalescence can go to calm their nerves without interacting with the uninfected.



10. VIPs
Caduceus: The doctor who was the first Latent. Extremely reclusive and utterly devoted to finding the cure.

Chester Ploughman: The head of the Claim. A stubby fat man who has a nasty attitude.

Selene Winter: An uninfected engineer responsible for maintaining the security the carpool perimeter affords LMG.

The rest are TBD.




Finally the first two characters of the Taker group known as the "Hearse Practitioners" are:

Tristana ? (Kat): A Latent who just recently became a member of the Convalescence. Her official appointment was to the Takers as a liaison between the Convalescence and the Claim. Occasionally she is tasked with recovering certain things while on a run. A very eccentric young woman, Tristana is easily excited by the prospect of Aberrations being real. Though she has never seen one she is very sure she will be just as enthused if she manages to confirm the rumors. We'll see about that...

Seung Eom-Dae (Kyle): A 12 year old child who was "conscripted" by a "general." Served as a soldier for three years before his "general" was summarily killed in an operation gone bad. Several of the surviving children were badly wounded. Seung Eom-Dae came across LMG while looking for medicine for the others. Due to his lack of education and his only applicable skill being murder, he volunteered to perform the duties of a Taker in order to support the others until they grew. He's armed with an incredibly poorly made zip-gun rifle.

Super pumped to play.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: icephisherman on May 22, 2016, 01:44:28 AM
So I'm gearing up by writing a few jobs for the kickstarer for a campaign I'm pulling together soon. One in particular I'm fleshing out.

The job is highly volatile and needs to be done quickly. It's just a few short legs away in a secured underground parking lot (read, urban warfare nightmare). The job, which is only revealed via scams, is that the client needs biometric data from a certain person holed up there. What he'll only tell them upon arrival is that the target is a full blown vector. The biometric data that is required is a drop of blood, a thumbprint and an optical scan. The blood is easy and the thumbprint can be gotten with the provided kit, but the eye is tricky because the man turned vector only has the one. They therefor have to capture it alive and scan its eye.

All the while though the "apologies" it's screaming out mostly concern betrayal, revenge, apologizing to a loved one and screaming how "it's mine" over and over. So after the capture they can just get the data and execute its ass or they can try to get it to apologize in the right direction by doing research. They'll learn from the vector between the insane screaming and babbling that the client is going to fuck them over, or at least they can infer that.

So if they try I launch immediately into a negotiation. At their end is "gibber insanely and try to murder" and its end is "give them the final pass code and try to murder". They do this by guiding the vector's apologies with memories from its past life via research while they're making sanity checks as it tries to break free of its bonds.

Anyway, the idea behind it was that if the terrifying sprinting murder zombie, maybe it can say something useful. If it can say something useful then it would have to be captured and capturing a vector is insanity.

Still trying to flesh this story out. Any suggestions?
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: RadioactiveBeer on May 22, 2016, 02:02:37 PM
How long does the Vector stage last? Given that jobs often have multiple legs, and legs last for about a day, the job would have to be somewhere pretty local and the infection have happened extremely recently to be valid. I remember the job in Vigilant, that episode starts with Vigilant falling and becoming Vectors, Drift skips a whole bunch of legs with The Path and by the time they got to Vigilant a number of the Vectors were entering the Torpor phase of infection.

Also, why can't they just shoot the Vector in the chest (since they die like regular humans) and get their biometric data in safety? Would the Blight in the blood interfere with the biometrics when the blood drop is scanned in?

I do like the idea of the murder zombie babbling key plot information as its mind dies, but what you might to do is, say..

The client was after a high-value target in the building attached to the car park and went in with his partner, the vector. Stuff goes wrong and they have to split up, so he hires the Taker crew to clear the parking lot and "confirm the death" of his "beloved partner" - while he in fact is breaking into the building and finishing the job while the Takers are drawing out the dead.

The complication is that the partner didn't die and has been fending off the horde, holed up somewhere. He's wounded - lost one of his eyes - but might not be infected. Of course, the client is going to insist that "I saw him get bit" which might raise the question of is he a Latent, is he immune etc.  And if they say they work for the guy who betrayed him, of course he's not going to be happy to see the players and will probably get infected trying to escape. At which point the apologies set in as he babbles "it's mine, it's mine", the code etc.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Cthuluzord on May 23, 2016, 10:46:04 AM
The Red Markets Kickstarter is up!

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/159466030/red-markets (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/159466030/red-markets)
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: NathanaelKelley on June 06, 2016, 01:06:21 PM
I know I'm late to the party, but are there any chances of still obtaining the alpha/beta rules? A member of my group showed me the RM Actual Play and I've been hooked ever since (not to mention they've dropped endless hints that they want me to run an RM campaign).
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Gorkamorka on June 06, 2016, 02:05:10 PM
I know I'm late to the party, but are there any chances of still obtaining the alpha/beta rules? A member of my group showed me the RM Actual Play and I've been hooked ever since (not to mention they've dropped endless hints that they want me to run an RM campaign).

Back the kickstarter.  It's my understanding that you get access to the late Beta rules as soon as the kickstarter finishes.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Twisting H on June 07, 2016, 10:35:15 AM
I had a thought this morning. (I had a few thoughts this morning. This is the result of inexplicably waking fully after two hours of sleep. So it goes.)

First,

There is enough very creative setting and enclave design posts on these forums that if the authors gave their consent, an unofficial Red Market's gaming magazine could be put together if a layout expert had time.

Something like Dragon or The Unspeakable Oath.


Second,

WE SHAPE OUR BUILDINGS; THEREAFTER THEY SHAPE US... WINSTON CHURCHILL

Thank you Ludwig.

At this point Ludwig is so intrinsically (to me) Red Markets that he's like the Pip Boy trademark to Fallout.

Perhaps make the friendly dronky a logo in green or have "Ludwig says" atop sidebars in future supplements? 

Of course this requires a cute, cartoonish yet essentially Ludwig icon to be drawn. Perhaps chibi?
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Adam_Autist on June 07, 2016, 06:51:28 PM
I think Ludwig is the closest thing RM has to an Iconic character since he's based on the original artwork of the dronkey with Hockey mask. It has reached the point for me that I imagine all the Dronkeys have different facegear like Payday. I keep imagining one with the skull of a bull on it's front. Old school western style.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: trinite on June 07, 2016, 09:03:49 PM
I support making Ludwig the Dronkey the official Red Markets mascot character.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: RadioactiveBeer on June 07, 2016, 09:12:57 PM
Okay, hear me out: a Ludwig app. Picture of Ludwig on the screen, tap him and get architectural quotes blared at you in a synthesised robo-voice. You can also dress him up in hats, different cargos and paint jobs.

I'll take my million dollars now please.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Adam_Autist on June 07, 2016, 09:53:50 PM
I've been planning what I'll call my drones if I have a chance: Bigglesworth, Augie, Ginger.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Twisting H on June 07, 2016, 11:37:03 PM
I think Ludwig is the closest thing RM has to an Iconic character since he's based on the original artwork of the dronkey with Hockey mask. It has reached the point for me that I imagine all the Dronkeys have different facegear like Payday. I keep imagining one with the skull of a bull on it's front. Old school western style.

Yes. Exactly. 

I'm partial to my own idea that some dronkeys will have those baseball caps that hold two beers for thirsty takers.

I support making Ludwig the Dronkey the official Red Markets mascot character.

'Mascot' is exactly the word I was looking for and couldn't think of at 4 in the morning. Thanks again trinite for translating what I said into what I meant.

Okay, hear me out: a Ludwig app. Picture of Ludwig on the screen, tap him and get architectural quotes blared at you in a synthesised robo-voice. You can also dress him up in hats, different cargos and paint jobs.

I'll take my million dollars now please.

I've advocated (in a pie in the sky way because I don't know how to do it) for a php generator for Taker names on the website.  A similar generator could be made for Ludwig quotes.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Adam_Autist on June 08, 2016, 06:58:37 AM
I always imagine his speech bubbles would be blue with the jagged soundwave marks at the edge like Atomic Robo.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Jace911 on June 10, 2016, 11:39:12 AM
Ludwig for prez 2k16
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: CADmonkey on June 10, 2016, 03:01:35 PM
I've been planning what I'll call my drones if I have a chance: Bigglesworth, Augie, Ginger.

Huey, Dewey and Louie.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Discard on June 13, 2016, 03:42:13 PM
I have to say after this game it confirmed something for me.

 In Caleb games you cant spell Victory without Pyrrhic
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Twisting H on June 16, 2016, 03:39:33 AM
A discussion on Red Markets Beta: The Brutalists episode 10 that is worth expanding.

http://actualplay.roleplayingpublicradio.com/2016/06/genre/horror/red-markets-beta-the-brutalists-episode-10/#comments (http://actualplay.roleplayingpublicradio.com/2016/06/genre/horror/red-markets-beta-the-brutalists-episode-10/#comments)


Chados
Quote
My first thought when they found the plane was- “Get an idea of what’s worthwhile inside it, tag its GPS location, and sell the info to someone!”

Cheap, even. And continue on with the mission. Caleb would find a good way for it to bite the Brutalists in the ass somehow, though. 😉

Hell, even their current missions have a good chance of some really hinky shit going down.



Ethan C.
Quote
Chados, I’ve thought about that previously, too. For example, when they found those extra winch motors (or whatever they were) next to the bridge to the Recession. That’s some useful hardware; more valuable to some groups than others, but certainly sellable.

I find myself imagining a special board on Lifelines dedicated to selling tips on loot-worthy locations. You could set it up as an Ebay-style auction system, with the highest bidder getting the exclusive tip, with the promise from the seller not to give anyone else the info for a set period of time. The seller crew would mostly be relying on their reputation for honesty, and on how many high-quality previous locations they’ve sold. I would imagine that rating sellers would be an important feature.

Chados
Quote
Yeah, a rep score system on LifeLines would be a good thing for Takers. And their contacts.

Maybe post a teaser image of the plane, or some of its contents- grant some legitimacy to their sale, as well..



Twisting H
Quote
@Ethan C. and @Chados your Ebay-style board for tips of loot locations in the Loss and a Lifeline Rep score are great ideas.

With an Ebay-style loot location lifeline board this opens up a number of gaming possibilities.
–this is another great opportunity for a new random chart of hooks. some legitimate, some Stokian death traps.
–when takers take a main job this could be a great mini game to see if they find another reason to search one of the legs.
–instead of the Negotiation mechanic, this could be a bidding war mini game with opportunities for computer hacking, DDOSing, making fake auction accounts, etc. The danger for too many computer related scams is that the Moths find your identity and reduce your rep, doxx you or ban your account.


As I am envisioning it right now, there is a Quest then multiple Legs of a quest.  Legs are opportunities for Bounty but with additional risk. Vehicles allow legs to be skipped.

Purchasing a Loot Location adds a permutation to a Leg.  Roughly additional potential reward plus additional possible risk.

I have been reading the Dev Blog for Six Ages, the upcoming spiritual successor to the computer game King of Dragon Pass, written by Robin Laws.

Refs:
What is King of Dragon Pass?: https://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2014/10/17/king-of-dragon-pass-retro/ (https://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2014/10/17/king-of-dragon-pass-retro/)

Six Ages game news: https://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2014/10/30/return-of-the-king-of-dragon-pass-six-ages/ (https://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2014/10/30/return-of-the-king-of-dragon-pass-six-ages/)

Six Ages Dev Blog: http://sixages.com/ (http://sixages.com/)


Back to my main hairbrained argument.

I'm thinking of this in terms of Legs as encounters with scene tags and Loot Location as permutations to encounters that add/remove scene tags. Kind of like the following:

http://sixages.com/blog/index.php/2016/05/scene-tags/ (http://sixages.com/blog/index.php/2016/05/scene-tags/)

Quote
Since Six Ages is our second iteration of a storytelling game, I wanted to make sure it would be easier to do certain things. Being able to categorize scenes was something that was easy to improve on, since in King of Dragon Pass, everything was a special case. For example, when we wanted to make sure you got to deal with tribal disputes when you were a king, we had to list them all.

...

So I came up with the idea of tagging scenes. Here’s what the OSL documentation says:

"Tags begin with @. They can be any word (e.g. @help, @hurt, @tutorial, @actThree, @endgame, @notEnd, @codeTrigger, @frequent, @infrequent). Tags can be purely informational, only a few have predefined meanings. Feel free to invent tags. Tags could be used when triggering scenes at random. (For example, if the player is doing poorly, there could be an increased chance of an @help scene. If the player is very wealthy, it might be time for an @hurt scene.)"

So there could be an @kingly tag and an @rumor tag.

...

Robin extended the idea with what I call dynamic tags. For example, he came up with a scene which could have a variety of outsiders. So he wrote, “scene gains tag @dwarves.” The implementation is

AddSceneTag(ThisScene, "@dwarves")

Obviously, making sure a scene has the right tag for a random outsider is important when there are blessings that are tied to tags.

I’m also making use of tags to help ensure correctness. For example, sometimes a scene wants to trigger another scene years later, but perhaps a character in the scene is off exploring when the time falls due. We handle this by triggering a code fragment, which can handle whether the character is exploring, died, or whatever.

Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Twisting H on June 16, 2016, 04:55:00 AM
Hey guys. I know someone detailed an Enclave or two based around Theme Parks but I can't find the posts.

If someone could link them I would appreciate it.  Thanks in advance.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Twisting H on June 25, 2016, 10:54:43 PM
Really fantastic Post Apoc music video. Watch it!

! No longer available (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aE2GCa-_nyU#)

How does a traveling band survive in the post apocalypse.  If they are all mutants, what mutations do they have to allow them to harmonize/synergize? 

Alternatively imagine a musical group stuck on the Borderlands world of Pandora.

Alternatively imagine this group as "The Incident" in Red Market's podcast with One Shot.

http://oneshotpodcast.com/podcasts/one-shot/150-red-markets-part-1/ (http://oneshotpodcast.com/podcasts/one-shot/150-red-markets-part-1/)

Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Twisting H on June 25, 2016, 11:01:40 PM
Caleb mentioned The Girl With All the Gifts as an inspiration for one of the more recent Brutalist Red Market Podcasts.

Guess what they are turning into a movie?

Warning. Trailer has spoilers.

! No longer available (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HjGkB_oWTe0#)
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Twisting H on October 21, 2016, 09:50:01 PM
Is there a compiled art list of the DHQS and "Red Markets in game world posters"?

Every piece of art that is similar to "a bite equals a bullet". I was going to explain by example a thing about world building that a game dev was doing and cross promote at the same time. 
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: clockworkjoe on November 05, 2016, 11:46:20 PM
Is there a compiled art list of the DHQS and "Red Markets in game world posters"?

Every piece of art that is similar to "a bite equals a bullet". I was going to explain by example a thing about world building that a game dev was doing and cross promote at the same time.

No. I would just check the KS updates, Caleb's blog,  and images I use on the AP site.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Twisting H on November 16, 2016, 11:01:09 AM
I suppose it was inevitable.

In bizzaro Red Markets land...

"We are the Walking Debt"

(http://i.imgur.com/yc6AtNi.jpg)

http://ktla.com/2016/11/15/cal-state-students-plan-to-disrupt-board-of-trustees-meeting-amid-proposed-tuition-hike/ (http://ktla.com/2016/11/15/cal-state-students-plan-to-disrupt-board-of-trustees-meeting-amid-proposed-tuition-hike/)

Quote
When the California State University Board of Trustees headed into their meeting chambers in Long Beach at 8 a.m. Tuesday, more than two dozen students marched outside in protest of a controversial proposal to increase tuition for the first time in six years.

Repeated chants of "students not customers!" and "the more we pay, the longer we stay!" pierced the early morning silence. Many had arrived before 5:30 a.m. from Dominguez Hills, Fullerton and other campuses across the state to set up a dramatic "graveyard" on the lawn, decorated with tombstones depicting the system’s 23 campuses. "R.I.P Fresno State," read one. Another one, covered in fake cobwebs, declared: "Here lies San Diego State."

The students, playing off the popular apocalyptic TV show “The Walking Dead,” donned zombie face paint, wore shirts covered in fake blood and carried signs that said, "We are the Walking Debt."

“We’re going for something big, something visual. Our concern is that the Board of Trustees and Chancellor White are not listening to us," said Courtney Yamagiwa,  a member of Cal State Long Beach’s Associated Students Inc. and the grassroots activist group Students for Quality Education, which is leading Tuesday’s protest. The group pledged to “shut down any plans to increase student tuition that will force more students to drop out of college.”
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Twisting H on April 26, 2017, 05:45:32 PM
Given Ethan's use of Red Markets for a Call of Cthulhu scenario in the Civil War, I was wondering if anyone had hacked Red Markets for use in WW1 or 2.  Specifically WW1 trench warfare. 
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: clockworkjoe on April 28, 2017, 12:27:03 AM
Not to my knowledge. Given the economic emphasis of RM, how that would work out? I don't see WW1 frontline battles as a good setting for Red Markets.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: trinite on May 11, 2017, 12:18:53 PM
Not to my knowledge. Given the economic emphasis of RM, how that would work out? I don't see WW1 frontline battles as a good setting for Red Markets.

I dunno, I could see it working in some situations, converting the economic horror aspect into low-resource survival horror in a war theater-setting. I don't know if WWI trench warfare would be a good setting, as (so far as I know) running out of supplies and operating in very small teams (like a PC group) were not major features of the trench experience, at least on the Western Front.

I could see it working better in more isolated settings, such as WW2 pacific island combat, or behind-the-lines special forces work in Vietnam or the GWoT.

Either way, it would be a pretty major system hack, probably just keeping the resolution mechanic and the gear system and removing almost everything else.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: clockworkjoe on May 13, 2017, 12:23:37 AM
Well, I could see a WW! themed Red Markets game where the PCs are European villagers near the frontlines. They can be black marketeers trying to survive or maybe just villagers who take jobs from both sides to survive. Jobs would include informing reporters about battles (requires getting close to a dangerous battlefield), carrying supplies to one side or the other, looting destroyed buildings, and so forth.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Gorkamorka on May 13, 2017, 05:01:55 AM
I can imagine a game about a soldiers wartime economy.   But it would have to be about an army that is under-supplied.

You would play a team/squat/platoon that is sent on random missions.  The economy part would be to barter with other soldiers/teams to get what you need to survive.  Foot, ammo, special equipment.  There would also be an aspect of the game trying to snag the good jobs that have low risk but high looting potential. 

A typical thing would be to get a crooked motor pool captain to give you a jeep for the job in exchange for picking up a particular painting said to be in the mayors house in a occupied village. 
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: trinite on May 15, 2017, 05:32:30 PM
Well, I could see a WW! themed Red Markets game where the PCs are European villagers near the frontlines. They can be black marketeers trying to survive or maybe just villagers who take jobs from both sides to survive. Jobs would include informing reporters about battles (requires getting close to a dangerous battlefield), carrying supplies to one side or the other, looting destroyed buildings, and so forth.

Oh, that's a great idea.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: constructacon on May 17, 2017, 07:00:45 AM
if you are looking for good WW2 battles for a scenario or short campaign there's always Bastogne
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Bastogne (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Bastogne)
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Twisting H on May 18, 2017, 05:38:16 PM
Not to my knowledge. Given the economic emphasis of RM, how that would work out? I don't see WW1 frontline battles as a good setting for Red Markets.

trinite basically articulated the idea I could not.

You might even say he called me by the stole my thunder.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: trinite on May 22, 2017, 12:01:57 PM
Heh heh!

Another fun wartime idea would be a Kelly's Heroes-style scenario, with a rogue unit going out on a treasure hunting/profiteering operation. Most of my grandpa's World War 2 stories were about stuff like that. Stealing crates full of wine bottles in France, commandeering a crop dusting biplane in Italy and cruising it around until the Air Corps threatened to shoot them down, etc. You could also have larger-scale hijinks like Milo Minderbinder's trading operations in Catch-22.
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Twisting H on June 23, 2017, 12:46:14 AM
Website and Forums for Red Markets are up!

redmarketsrpg.com.


 redmarketsrpg.com/LifeLines/
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: trinite on June 27, 2017, 05:35:34 PM
I wonder if there's any way to copy these threads over to there?
Title: Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
Post by: Twisting H on June 30, 2017, 06:27:05 PM
Congratulations to the Red Markets group for a job well done.