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Messages - Ezechiel357

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RPGs / Re: BaseRaiders
« on: February 09, 2016, 06:58:00 AM »
One issue I have when starting with mundane characters who gets their power during their first scenario, is that it is hard to shoehorn the power that the players want. So I propose you this intro:

PC are part of a secret paramilitary program, trying to create a group of super-agents. This group have access to various artefacts, drugs, alien technology. PCs are volunteers (for various reason: money, medical treatment for a dear one, etc.). Thus they have a certain control on what power they will get (just a little bit).
The training starts, with all kind of initial side effects due to lack of control and what not.
Then the secret base/camp is raided by an enemy, wiping most of the scientists, experts, boss on site, with the PCs managing to escape - at this stage, their powers are not fully Under control, thus cannot be very effective in a fight to repel the attackers.

Suddendly, the PCs are kind of free, but who attacked the base ? Maybe the company want to retrieve them - maybe they want to kill them to erase all proofs of the program.

This paramilitary program can be governmental, can be financed by the mafia or a corporation, by whichever secret society you need for your story. Very likely the PCs don't know the extent or the real motives behind this program.

General Chaos / Re: Image Thread
« on: January 28, 2016, 03:33:03 AM »
Looks like a good contender for a future Darwin Award...

RPGs / Dice less gming FATE - stealing from RedMarket
« on: January 25, 2016, 03:52:03 AM »
As a long time gamemaster used to openly roll dice, I was immediately in love with RedMarkets concept of a GM not rolling dice to resolve action - it happens, unless PCs act against it.
After running several scenarios of FATE (BaseRaiders, but also generic FATE), I run an experiment last Friday, which was quite succesfull, so I am sharing. And I would like to hear about DMs tweaking FATE.

Simply put, the average roll in FATE is 0, with about two thirds of the results being either -1, 0 or +1. Thus assuming a results of 0 is relatively accurate.

Tweak 1:
As DM, I don't roll dices anymore, however I set a malus to PC actions equal to the difficulty of the task or in case of opposition to the relevant talent of the NPC.
Exemple: PC (Fight skill of +3) fights NPC (athletic skill of +2), so unless additional modifiers, PC rolls at -2 to attack against the NPC trying to dodge.

Advantage: faster (I don't have to roll), and the final result can directly be interpreted on the generic FATE scale as an average, good or legendary success.

Tweak 2:
Since the players know exactly the difficulty they are up against, the DM is the last one to be able to spend FATE point to use Aspect - thus influencing the final results. Players can still spend point after their roll as usual, but not after the DM decide to use some aspects.

Exemple (same scene): PC rolls a final +1 and keeps this results - which would result in him hitting the NPC. The GM decides to use "Slippery as an eel" to give a +2 to the NPC (or -2 to the roll), ending up with a final -1. The player cannot use an aspect to up the ante. However, he could have used beforehand "SWAT training" to boost his results from +1 to +3. Now too late, the NPC is escaping.

Why tweak 2? To still leave some uncertainty. Also the players will commit to an action and spent FATE on what really is important for them to secure an outcome, regardless of the results. Whereas currently, players can wait the result of the DM and then afterwards decide to use Aspect. It slows down the game and put more emphasize on managing ressources than storytelling.

To keep using the same example: if capturing NPC was so important, the player would have spent an additional FATE point to secure the results. By not doing so, it somehow reflects that catching this guy is not so important, or that they underestimate him. They will make the mistake once, not twice.

My players' response was very positive. They found that it was definitely speeding up the system, they found it somehow more stressful as there was always the risk that I would pull an Aspect to foil their attempt, unless they succeeded with a spin, which they were fine with.

On my side, I did not mind showing them my hand, in fact, it was feeling less arbitrary than hidding the stat of the NPC. There was also this moment when suddendly, confronted to a NPC, a PC had to roll at -7... he suddendly realise how out of his depth he was. It was more like, "Ooops, I think we stumbled on the real boss of the story, she is not a collateral victim or even a simple agent, but she is the puppeteer behind the scene". Which was exactly the outcome I was aiming at. And yes, she escaped, to be return soon.

I believe it can work for Atomic Robo. For BaseRaider, further tweaking might be needed: either use a flat -2/+2 for each Power tier difference (as it was already mentionned somewhere), or require a spin for one Tier difference and give automatic fail if there is more than one tier difference regardless of the talent value itself. The second option is a bit harsher, but otherwise, a tier level simply = 2 skills points, whereas it costs a lot of Fate point to buy Tier power (considering that you can trade one FATE point for 5 skill points at the creation, it mathematically better to aim at a lower tier and buy more skill with the additional point).

Role Playing Public Radio Podcast / Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
« 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.

Role Playing Public Radio Podcast / Re: Red Markets Alpha Playtest
« 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…

RPGs / Re: BaseRaiders
« on: December 10, 2014, 02:49:14 AM »
In the several Fate game I run using BaseRaider, there was a few issues:
- list of social trappings a bit too long with some redudant or overlapping trappings (Conversation, Convince, Guile, Disguise...), leading to confusion and overly-costed powers.
- Ressources should be handled differently: if one PC has it, let's say at Supernatural or higher, it is easy for all the PCs to benefits from it (I had the case of "I gave him my Platinium-Iridium-Cowium card" - I did not mind, but in a campaign, it means that no other PCs need to have it)

We did a little bit of brainstorming with my players to find out what was annoying us and we came to the conclusion that the minutia of the powers/trappings system is in opposition with the relative "lightness" of the FATE system.

So I am currently tinkering with a more global definition of powers, taking inspiration from what I remember from the system you used for Heroes of New Arcadia, and having a pool of larger trappings (like combat, social, tinkering, knowledge, health/resistance), combined with enhancements.
I know that we will loose the ability to customise the powers, but it is a trade off that seems to suit my players.

Testing to be done early next year.

General Chaos / Re: What Vidja games are you playing?
« on: December 09, 2014, 02:22:05 AM »
I tried for a few days "7 days to die" as it was on sales on Steam and a friend was looking for a sidekick.
I managed to get kicked in the side far too many times for my liking and dropped it. It is still in Alpha and I guess there is a lot of balancing to be done. I will keep an eye on it, but will wait another 6 months before my next attempt.

So far, I am still enjoying an old favorite: Minecraft, with a twist. I discovered AtLaunch, providing fully modded theme packs in 1.7.10 (sorry FTB, but most of your packs are still stuck in 1.5 or 1.6.4). Currently having fun with "Natural Magic".

RPGs / Re: BaseRaiders
« on: December 02, 2014, 02:20:04 AM »
Taskforce Darknet is meant to be on the easier side - it is an intro adventure after all.

In fact, I believe it could be used as well for a non-super introduction. Of course, it means the PCs needs to have the right set of investigative skills and any confrontation will be more challenging. On the other hand, even if they are caught by the FBI, since they would not be super, they won't risk much (except possibly being charged of trespassing).

Then, when they report to their contact, he/she can give them patches to complete the mission in Boiler Point. Once this is done successfully, as a reward, they can get permanent powers.
That way they have an opportunity to try temporary power and the players can test if it is what they want, and once they get the final reward, they can tweak or change it to their satisfaction.

RPGs / Re: BaseRaiders
« on: December 01, 2014, 07:49:29 AM »
Last Friday, I run TaskForce Darknet - I had to drop one of the two planned sessions, and I thought the investigation part would be easier to introduce a guy new to RP (in general, not only FATE).

Their team:
- Mr Gold, a mummy made from several canope vase, thus with personality issues, but also one aspect was "One of me should know about it". Resistant, put not a fighter. He is a pharaoh (or several bits of them) and his main power is "Aura of Enobled Presence" (a good chunk of the social trappings, including Resources).
- Eckart Busy-Hand, the goblin tinkerer described earlier ("The machine whisperer").
- The Old Cop (but player was almost non existent, two actions for the whole 3 hours games - if you have any tips how to handle this kind of player, you are welcome)
- The voodoo priest (ex-snakeoil salesman, turned real voodoo priest). He is carrying the Eye of Legba (notice + 2xextra, menace, with the flaw "Evil Eye") and the Hand of Baron Samedi (Advanced Minion, must be soaked in blood (at least minor consequence), and also "Wandering Hand"  - those loas are frequently lustful bastards, a bit like some Greek gods). Played by the new player.

Their contact was Professor White, as both the voodoo priest and the pharaoh purchase frequently strange, esoteric items for their own needs or business.
After the initial briefing, the voodoo priest toss me a Fate token saying "Since I was, and still am in the selling of artifact of dubious nature, Rebecca was twice my client. She bought from me a (fake) hand of Glory. I should have her phone number.
It sounds legit and well presented.
So using the phone number as their initial pice of intel, after some cross referencing, using Facebook pictures and other elements, they were able to get her address in Greenwich village (I found appropriate for the relatively wealthy student).
They went there (in the middle of the night) and after some minor shenaniggans and use of the supernatural charming ability of the pharaoh manage to get her trust. They played on the fact that the drug was adultered to induce strong depency and urge her to stop and let them treat her. She gobbled everything (against a roll of 10, there was little she could do not to believe them).
She showed them Agora, the emails with Lukas, his phone number and such (and of course identifying Bamph for "Arnold").

They also brought her to the pharaoh manor (something between the Wayne mansion and the Playboy mansion  ;) to make sure they would be able to treat her in case of dangerous symptoma. I give that to them, they played the theme well, till the end, so she never doubt them.

Before calling it a night, they contacted through Agora Lukas, to organise a purchase of Bamph.

In the morning, they got a response from Lukas asking for a downpayment, and gave them a number from another burner phone.

The Old Cop using his contacts and fate point was able to get Lukas files. After more research, they found his location in a blue collar suburb (I am not familiar enough with New York to give an actual name).

They went there and spotted easily the FBI van. The Goblin crafted some spying Pigeons-bots (Notice + range with his variable power) to both spy the house and the agents van. He snuck under the van, did some clever tinkering, and off the van left on a panoramic tour of the neighborhood with two confused agents.
They broke easily in Lukas house (empty at the time) searched it. According to the scenario, there is not much to find in the house except the scuba gear and the TP vector (the cross and arrow in the basement). I added a little roll of 100 dollars bills hidden under a woodplank for emergency use, a labtot with mostly encrypted data (Agora discussion, business email, plus some downloaded ocean maps). They vacate the premise before the van completed its scenic drive, putting everything back as it was (except that the goblin got a Fate point because of his issue "Can I touch ?"). It ended up not mattering because they decided they did not need to confront Lukas.

Using the information they gathered, they were able to pinpoint relatively accurately the base location.
The goblin spent the night refitting the "Barge of Râ" (the pharaoh' yacht) into something suited to underwater exploration. And this is were we left, as they were about to knock at the base's door.

Yes, they never contacted Professor White to share the info and did not realise that they were doing more than what was originally requested (identify the vendor - not even locate him). I believe they were not considering raiding the base without telling the Professor, but more using "player's logic" to interpret the order as "find the base where the drug is coming from".

- With the right skills it was easy for the PCs to get to Lukas, then to the base. A group more methodic could take up to two sessions at most. Keep in mind that I had to introduce both the system and the world as well as "coach" a new player. So I would say, quite an easy investigation, but perfect for introduction. A well-oiled team could solve it in two hours.
- One the most seasoned player found it straightforward, yet entertaining. But not really challenging. Truth to be said, they have very good combinaison of skills for an investigation, but they are less well suited for direct confrontation.
- Handouts were excellent (except that I will need to translate them in French since their English was so so, and I ended up having to translate the whole FBI initial briefing -hand out #2). I was almost disappointed that I could not use all the handouts due to their decisions and actions.

Ross, I will send you (I hope tonight) the list of typos I found in the initial draft.

RPGs / Re: BaseRaiders
« on: November 24, 2014, 09:52:32 AM »
It is a very interesting idea. I can see three ways to go through the exploration: brute force (disassembling Deathbot one by one), brute hacking (since everything run on computer/IA) or... subtlety.

By Subtlety I mean decyphering the basic program which control the daily routine, and using this knowledge to safely plunder the base - possibly even with the help of the deathbot.

Keep in mind that it is my take on the base's exploration so it might not be your taste.
During the collaborative work and the research part, or latest after the first few hours of exploration in the base, the PCs should be aware of the three Paths of Plundering. But they will also be aware of the risk each Paths has:
- The Path of the Might (aka Smash 'n Bash): high likelyhood of collateral damage, high loss of loot due to heavy damage (material - like Deathbots, weapons and such - are destroyed, but also knowledge as precious databank are destroyed as well by high energy blast and whatnot).
- The Path of the Snake (aka AI subversion): by hacking the system, the PCs will likely preserve much of the physical loot, however, they need to crash somes IT systems permanently and will loose significant amount of data (cure to other illness that the Skull discovered during his search to Alzeimer's treatment for example).
- The Path of the Shadow: by understanding the basic routine, the PCs are able to make some slight change which gently triggers a different reaction from the program. For example, by putting paper or data in the system convincing that the cure has be found, the whole databank is decrypted and downloaded to the nearest public server (that the PC need to hack first hand to retrieve the data before it becomes public), by animating and controlling one Skull's clone's corpse, convincing the AI that he is the new body with Skull conscious and Deathbots should obey him or other subtle trick.

The way I would try to do it would be to prepare an organigram with several questions/decisions steps and the daily program (as you already plotted). And when the PCs acts, the reaction is pre-programmed. Through trials and errors (possibly painful  ;D), PCs learn the response and can lead the program to behave outside of his boundaries where PCs can turn it to their own use (how to trigger the "relocate the base", "backup essential data", "reconfigure the cloning facility to high-end automated hospital to apply Alzeimer treatment", and so on).

If the PCs come with a good idea, I would reward them with narrow but unlimited Useful aspects. An aspect that they can tag without Fate point, once a scene for specific application like "Revival process trigger", which gives them a +2 bonus to use the facility when treating wounds, "Gracious guests of DrSkull", +2 when exploring the base, "Defense Upgrade" +2 when using Deathbot to defend themselves.

Amongst the rewards/loot I could see:
- Stealth technology (at least Ascendant tier), snag: only for structure, snag: interfer with any tech beyond 21st century
- Semi-AI (to reflect the persistance of the AI, but also its lacks of autonomy: hard to hack (A), but limited decision making ability - major snag) - which would be still worth a lot of loot point as it allow to program a good level of autonomy, but is highly resistant to hack, and won't become sentient
- Possibly E to S level database on degenerative disease cures - it could be also used as one reason to plunder this base.
- Cloning facility: treatment (health) A, snag: can only be attuned to one person at a time (after all the Skull was looking to only cure himself)
- Advanced Deatbots (with Semi AI tech) - could become minions (S) for somebody able to take control of them, snag: designed for combat only
- Blueprint for various armour and adequate workshop (Repair, Dismantle, Workshop, Craft: S, snag: limited to weaponry and armor, snag: limited to "low" supertech (only physical weapon up to railgun, but no laser, phaser and other sci-fy gadget))

I tried to design those loot by keeping the feel that it was a supervilain, but too old to incorporate the latest tech in his design. A kind of "diesel-punk" master mind. That could be a way to explain/prevent hacking with usual computer: the system might be running on cogwheel and perforated cards.

RPGs / Re: RPGs about religion
« on: November 20, 2014, 09:07:38 AM »
I guess it is not easy to design "Gods RpG" which feels different that high level Super-Heroes. If they are fighting other Gods or existential threats, it won't be that different than a fight between high level magus/fighter/jedi/superman.

What really differentiate a god from a person with god-like power is probably his connection with his clergy and worshippers.
And if Gods are competiting for the faith of worshippers, it probably means that players are opposing - at least to some level - each other, which is rather unusual in RpG.

But aside from that, no, I am not aware of RpG tackling gods-business.

RPGs / Re: BaseRaiders
« on: November 06, 2014, 08:15:16 AM »
I got the draft of Boiling Point for backing the Kickstarter, and two sessions to playtest the game will be run 14 and 28 of this month. I plan to run Taskforce: Darknet for the first session, and no matter where they stop, the second session will start right into the base (or at least at the door of the base).

I will have a set of pregen (feedback welcome):

- The Goblin Tinkerer, (Magical Being/Super-Genius). Previously bound for decades by a sorcerer to do his bidding, he is free since Ragnarok.
Some of his aspects (I left a few free to be filled by players):
1) I did invented it !
2) The Machine-whisperer
His complication: Can I touch it ?
Genius Tinkerer (S): Dismantle, Repair, Craft, Workshop,  2x variable (with two drawbacks: slow, focus) to represent "Gadget of the Day"
Night Goblin (E): Stealth, Dexterity, Security, Notice (+unusual: darkvision), weakness: blinding light (minor), complication: obviously not human (-1)

- Mr Saturday, Magical user. Previously a fake medium, modern snakeoil salesman, until Voodoo spirits decided to teach him a lesson.
1) I must atone for my misdeeds
2) I could sell freezer to a pinguin, I might have done it
Complication: Curiosity killed the cat
Legba's Eye (E): Notice (+2 extra: darkvision, magic aura detection), Menace, complication: Evil Eye
The hand of Baron Samedi (S):  Minions (advanced, +extra: inst), minor flaw: required dead body, major flaw: need fresh blood, Strike, minor complication: wandering hand

- The Old Cop, Super-soldat. Excellent cop all his life, when is wife was dying from a cancer, he stole some superdrugs from the evidence vault. He gave a shot to his wife and to himself: they would live together or die together. He lived. Not her.
1) Old ? No ! Full of experience !
2) Pensioneer cop
Complication: 'am too old for this crap.
Lazarus' breath (S): Treatment (health) (snag: only self), resist damage, willpower, complication: why me and not Molly ?

RPGs / Re: Freaky Architectural Stuff for Ruin
« on: November 06, 2014, 07:43:18 AM »
For inspiration:

Since I am Swiss, I will do some self-promotion: we might not have SEALS and other famous units, but a serious can opener will be needed for any baddies with hostile intention (those defense are probably no more adequate for the modern warfare, but who cares  ::) ).

Bunker for all Swiss and the largest bomb shelter in the world.

More details on said Sonnenberg Tunnel/Shelter.

And since I am currenlty running a game set in modern Russia, I can only suggest you to google soviet abandoned monument.

Hey Ross, as a backer of Boiling Point, I was trying to download the second part of the RPPR play, without success. Was it just an unlucky bug or do you have other people reporting similar issue ?

RPGs / Boiling point - Baseraider: change of rules
« on: September 24, 2014, 03:58:59 AM »
I just listen the latest RPPR game of boiling point and it seems that the crew is using a different rule to handle the tier difference.

Is it the one proposed on the BaseRaider site, giving a flat +/-3 modification per tier difference ? It sounds like it was a +/-2 difference tier,
What was your feeling ?

I did run a few games with the base raider rule as written, and because it was quite low powered, the tier difference were completely trowing out of balance some test with results of 12 or even 14. So although I like the mechanism, I am looking for a way to shrink a bit the huge difference.

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